The middle granddaughter (she's 12) is the fine arts member of the family. Em loves dance, especially ballet. She's been taking dance for a couple of years now and will get her "toe" shoes this year. Last fall she decided that she would like to pursue piano lessons as well. She is making great progress and her instructor says that no one is more focused than Em. Saturday was her Spring recital and she played very well. Learning to play an instrument is something that one can enjoy the rest of their lives.
Not everything that happens in the sky is a natural occurrence. I believe that, occasionally, God reminds us of His presence though other means. When I looked into the heavens and saw these crossing contrails, I was still reminded that He is present, He is watching, and He cares about me.
38 Years and Counting
May 11, 1974
Today my wife and I celebrate our 38th wedding anniversary. I know that she is a precious gift that God prepared for me and I know that my life would not be the same without her. She is absolutely the best thing that ever happened to me and I am ever thankful that she is my wife. I probably don't tell her that often enough.
In a day and age when half of all marriages fail, one might ask, what is the secret to a successful relationship. Here are my thoughts from several years ago.
First of all, God loves us and everything He does for us is for our benefit. He created the institution of marriage to be enjoyed by a man and a woman and to bring each of them happiness. The Bible tells us that God loved us so much that He gave His Son to die on a cross for us so that we might, through faith, have eternal live. Christ tells the husband that he is to love his wife with the same love that Christ loves the church and gave himself for that church (Ephesians 5:25). If I love my wife with that kind of love, then everything I do, I do because I love her and I want her to be happy. I want her to be pleased with this relationship. I want my Lord to be pleased with me as a man who loves his wife and realizes that his wife is a gift from God created especially for me and for my happiness.
Secondly, marriage is a partnership. Like any relationship, it takes work to maintain that relationship in peak condition. A happy marriage doesn't "just happen". Both of us are committed to the relationship and to each other because we love one another and it is our desire that our partner be happy in this relationship. No major decision in this relationship is made without prayer and conversation. God is not the author of confusion, therefore He will not give my wife a different answer to an issue than the one that He gives me. Again, God created the institution of marriage for our benefit, not for our demise.
Finally, I married a woman far better than I deserve. I thank my Lord and Savior for her every day. My wife is the most thoughtful, caring and giving person that I know. Proverbs 31:10-12 says, "An excellent wife, who can find? For her worth is far above jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil all the days of her life."I have found that woman. Proverbs 31:25-30 further states,"Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she smiles at the future. She opens her mouth in wisdom, and teaching of kindness is on her toungue. She looks well to the ways of her houselold, and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and bless her; her husband also, and he praises her, saying: Many daughters have done nobly, but you excel them all. Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised." I married such a woman.
So, back to the original question, "What's the Secret?" The answer is, you have to give yourself to the marriage. You have to give yourself to your spouse. Whatever you have within you, you have to "Give it Away."
One of my Facebook friends posted this recently. At first glance it appears to be humorous. But after a second reading, then a third, this is basically who I am...and I am okay with that. I was born and spent the first five years of my life in a small Oklahoma town, Henryetta to be exact. It is where my mother was raised. It is where she met my and and where they were married. It's where they are both buried. I grew up in Tulsa and it will always be my 'hometown". Most importantly, the values in this little article are very close to me. I can remember always pulling over to respect a funeral, or yielding the right of way to an ambulance.
Yes, I am from a small town in Oklahoma and I am proud of it.
Last week my wife and I made a trip to Branson, MO for a couple of days. Branson is only a couple of hours from our home, and the drive is scenic and pleasant. About half way through the trip we passed this place and decided to stop for a few minutes.
If you're looking for plants and yard ornaments that you won't find a Lowe's or Walmart, this is your place.
There is a rustic, unorganized clutter about this place that is truly charming and makes your shopping experience more like a treasure hunt. I believe that there are times when the staff are as surprised at what you have found in their inventory as you are.
There are several water features on the property, filled with plants and fish. All are surrounded by a myriad of yard art objects.
There were some of the most unusual planters that I have ever seen. Again, you won't find this stuff at your local big-box store.
Where else would you find an alligator and a dolphin sharing the same body of water?
When was the last time you considered adding a wolf to your landscape project?
If I had a boat house on the lake, I would sooooo have this weather vane!
We spent about half an hour wandering through this place. I know we will return to visit, if only for the entertainment value. Next time you plan on adding something to your landscape, I would encourage you to skip the usual big-box options and seek out some place unique. At the very least, it will be a more entertaining shopping experience than wandering the garden center aisles of Home Depot or Lowe's.
If you remember this photo from a couple of weeks ago you know that this is the oldest grand daughter on the day of prom. She is a sophomore, so she had to be invited by a senior in order to go. If you want to see the rest of her dress, scroll down a couple of posts for more. There is a whole other story to be told about prom. We live in a town with one high-school. A second one is soon to be built. At any rate, we are still pretty much a part of small town America and the prom is a big deal to everyone. Around 3:30 p.m. of prom day parents and students begin to gather at a local park for a meet, greet, and photo session. People from all over town show up just to watch the fashion parade. By 4:30 p.m. the crowd looks something like this.
For someone who loves to take photos of unsuspecting subjects, this is a perfect venue. Here's what I mean.
After spending the morning at the paint and body shop, the girls are ready to show off their hair, make-up and of course the PROM DRESS. These dresses come in all colors, styles and price ranges.
The two dresses in the middle are definitely in the upper end of the prom dress price pyramid. In fact, I think these girls could wear these on the red carpet in Hollywood and take a back seat to NO ONE.
Like I said, all styles and price ranges are represented. I fear an ostrich or emu may be missing some very personal plumage.
Some dresses require constant adjustment for the novice. This is why the guys wear Tuxes. Just saying.
Then there are the shoes. Some are as exotic as the dresses, while others are a bit more whimsical.
Guess which ones I like. Go ahead, guess.
All in all, it was a fun couple of hours at the park photographing unsuspecting teens in their prom finery. This is pretty representative of the day. Sometimes I think these kids had more fun with the whole prom thing than we did. It seemed a little more serious in my day, but then, we didn't spend the afternoon at the park hanging out. I think this is a great idea, and they've been doing it here for over twenty-five years. I can't wait 'til next year.