Mendenhall Glacier near Juneau.
It was a wonderful cruise….
We had a wonderful cruise. We are right now moving slowly through traffic driving home to Vancouver from Seattle. I will post some photos next time.
Entertainment, food, and family…
Our time together as a family was so good. Nightly, we ate our meal together, with reports about what we’d done during the day. We were entertained by lovely music, a superb ice skating show, gorgeous scenery, and delicious food. I honestly look forward to some plain, less caloric things to eat. Below is a sample of the music you could enjoy any place on the ship.
The weather was not too bad, though there was some fog on day five. Here’s a sample….
Thanks for tuning in! Family is the best!
Travel is fun but has an emotional price…
I love travel, but packing and leaving the house is always treacherous for me. Did I remember my ticket? Did I bring the right clothing? When traveling outside the United States (like today) Do I have my passport? I know, I know. I get to travel. It will be fun. Yes it will. When we’re firmly in our seats, or checked in.
Blending families can be challenging…
Where are we going this time, you might ask. This time it’s a family cruise with fifteen of our blended family of 25. We know once everyone is checked in and on board, it will be fine. We’re heading north to Alaska!
I pray we will connect like never before.
We look forward to this trip and know it will be full of good conversation, food, beautiful scenery, and even entertainment. Most of all, I pray we will connect like never before.
Here we go!
Making new memories.
We’re coming up on an anniversary of our first date in about a month. It will be five years ago on September 4 we had our first date. We are working on a book about remarriage. Here’s an excerpt….
“I don’t understand why you aren’t afraid to marry again. Aren’t you afraid he’ll die?” a new widow asked me after reading my book.
I struggled to give an understandable answer. Sometimes it’s true, I am fearful. Mostly, though I am grateful. I’m grateful for the nearly five years God has gifted Jim and I with. I’m grateful every morning that I wake up with Jim by my side. I’m happy when he’s sitting beside me at church, singing with me during worship, glancing at me in understanding at a sermon point. He’s there on lazy Sunday afternoons when we change out of our church clothes into something cozy and comfortable and we veg out on a movie. As we watch our favorite pre-recorded Sunday shows. When we say good-night and drop off to sleep.
Do I want to give any of that up? Of course not. But would I want to protect myself from hurt by not allowing another one into my heart and home because he might leave me in death? No! I’m grateful for the time we’ve had and pray we have many more years.
Years ago, God gave me a verse that rings true now. At that time, I was in a marriage that was not working. I was fearful to say or do something to rock the boat and I came across this verse:
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7)
At the time, it gave me courage to speak up and not be silent. Gradually things were better for numerous reasons: counseling, learning to communicate differently, and most of all, prayer. Change in me took place when I realized fear is not always the motivator for keeping silent. There’s a time to speak and a time to be silent. Those words gave courage for both times.
I am comforted by verses throughout the Bible that tell me all good gifts are from above. The promise I will never leave you or forsake you flows throughout my favorite book, the Bible. I cling to those promises in the good and scary times of life.
We’ve been given five years to enjoy each other’s company. Last night we celebrated Jim’s birthday early and saw the stage production of Phantom of the Opera. We enjoyed dinner beforehand, watched the crowd before the show, and marveled at the voices and music. At intermission, we strolled outside in the balmy twilight. The last half of play was even better than the first.
As we drove home and discussed various parts of the play, I glanced out of the car window and saw the full moon–well tonight it will be. There it was. A perfect ending to a beautiful evening.
“The moon!” I exclaimed.
I conclude in the book – perhaps– with this:
We face life with this niggling of fear, but also know we are not alone—even when one of us leaves this earth. It’s a promise to us in both the New and Old testaments: Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.(Hebrews 13:6)
Enjoy the full moon tonight! It will be there in all its splendor. Forecast is clear skies
We strolled along the Sandy River
We went on a hike yesterday to Ramona Falls in the Mt Hood National Forest. It was a cool day and a great day for a hike. The sun was hidden behind gray clouds and as we began our hike at 2500 feet, it was foggy. We strolled along the Sandy River–very close to where it was born in the Sandy Glacier. Slate gray, the river was narrow and filled with rocks and logs. There were warning signs everywhere. “Attention. There is no bridge crossing the Sandy River. Do so at your own risk!”
I was ready to go
Hmmm. I thought. I don’t remember not having a bridge the last time we were up here. Of course, I was forty-two years old, so guess how long ago that was! Jim said he didn’t remember a bridge not being there five years ago when he last hiked the trail. Oh well, it will be fine. I told myself. I was wearing hiking shoes and had my walking stick. I was ready to go. As we walked along the trail, we could hear the Sandy roaring somewhere below us. We stopped for a better view.
Sandy River in Mt Hood National Forest
My inner voice screamed–Don’t do this!
After a mile, we reached the crossing. There was a large log across the river with a smaller one above it, sort of like a hand rail, although you had to lean forward to grasp it. It wasn’t real steady–it kind of rocked. Jim crossed first. I didn’t like how he had to straddle the log, push up and stand and then carefully turn his body around to face the skinny upper tree. OK. I can do this. I’ve done it before. I told myself. But my inner voice said–screamed more like–Don’t do this. You’ll crash into the water and break something! I ignored both of those voices clamoring for my attention and stepped to the spot where Jim got on. I straddled the snag on the log, carefully stood up and turned around. But that skinny tree that was my handrail was so far away. And I’d have to lean forward and awkwardly side-step across the log above the river! I got off the log–carefully. Let two women cross before me who were about my age. Certainly if they can do it, I can! So up I got up on the log bridge again. I really tried to cross, but could not! I waved to Jim and called out, “I can’t do this. I’m sorry.” He nodded and proceeded to cross back to my side of the river. “I’m really sorry. I don’t want you to think I’m a chicken, but I just can’t do it!”
The crossing. See those tiny figures on the other side? They were the brave women who crossed. Not me!
You were an eagle
He shook his head and in a firm voice said, “I didn’t think you a chicken at all, but an eagle, for being honest. I really didn’t want you to try, but didn’t want to stop you if that’s what you wanted to do. I certainly didn’t want you to fall and break something.” Wow. What a man I’m married to. He totally supported me in my fears of crossing the river. We turned around and hiked back to the car, not completing our plans of seeing Ramona Falls.
We enjoyed the trail. Admiring huge house-sized rocks. The sun started peering through the clouds, warming the air.
Rock settling down right next to the trail.
It tasted as good as I remembered
We didn’t see Ramona Falls, but that didn’t stop us from enjoying huckleberry pie at the same named restaurant in Government Camp, near Timberline. It tasted as good as when we finished climbing to the top of Hood in years past.
Try their pies–they’re great!
A prudent choice
We didn’t make it to our destination, but we got out into God’s beautiful creation–my favorite place to be. A prudent choice, not crossing the river, we both think.
My soul thirsts for God
I love the verse in the Psalms.
As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? Psalm 42:1-2
In answer to the question: When can I go and meet with God? For me, it’s the great outdoors. God is so good and helps me make prudent choices. Jim understood my fears and better than him, God understands.
We took a short get-away last week to the beautiful North Cascades in Washington State. The views were stunning, the weather perfect. The crisp, blue skies added to the beauty. It was too difficult to get many photos while we were driving, but we did take a hike near our B & B and captured a few photos.
Methow Valley near Twisp, Washington
Tempting berries, but we weren’t sure, so we didn’t eat!
Hiking brings me closer to God…..
For me, hiking the great outdoors, helps me feel closer to God than any other time. It’s usually quiet. The views are stunning. I gasp at God’s creativity.
I took the time to remember and be sad…..
That first afternoon after driving through the beautiful North Cascades, I felt a little sad and I wasn’t sure why. Later, I realized it was because the first time I’d been on this road, I was with another husband more than a decade ago. It didn’t mean I wasn’t enjoying myself with Jim, it just meant I had a precious memory flit through my brain. Instead of pushing the sadness down, I took some time to remember and be sad.
He didn’t feel threatened by my past….
I confessed to Jim my feelings and he acknowledged my sadness and told me he felt sad about his former life sometimes, too. I am blessed with an understanding husband who doesn’t feel threatened when I remember my past life with husbands who are no longer here on this earth.
Sunshine and shadows….
After our hike that hot day, we enjoyed lunch where it seemed like we were on the top of the world. Then we ventured back to our B & B, where we rocked in the hammock by the Twisp River. Ahhhhh. Summertime enjoyment. Shadows and sunshine, blended together.
Making new memories.
Please enjoy my blog this week about a young woman named Jamie. I’ve known Jamie most of her life, but in the past five years, our relationship has been different. Read below why…..
There’s a sadness in her eyes….
See you next week!
Together, Jim and I facilitate a grief group at our church. Some who attend are members. Others are not.
We do this because we believe God has called us to help others. Why? Because we’ve both experienced great loss and know what it is to walk the road of grief.
This session is filled with people very new and raw in their loss. My heart aches for them and I would like to take away their pain, but I know that is not part of God’s plan. We aren’t leading this group to take away the griever’ s pain, but to walk with them through it and direct them to the One who will heal and carry their pain. It isn’t what we say to them as much as what God says to them.
Most of the grievers are surprised at the amount of pain grief brings as well as how long grieving takes. If you haven’t been through grief before, you may not understand. They need a lot of time. It usually takes much more time than expected. The best part, however, is that God is there. He understands better than anyone.
If you are grieving, run to God. He is there. He will carry the griever. Is that you?
Run, don’t walk to the Rock.
Feast on these words…….
Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer. From the ends of the earth I call to You. I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe.–Psalm 61:1-3
She was big….
She was a big girl. Twenty-five feet long with bulging sides. Her awning powered out itself–all you had to do was push a button. She was fully equipped with a stove, refrigerator (with freezer), full bathroom, a bed that was always made up. She was cozy when stormy outside. She was reliable. Sometimes. She faithfully took us more than 35,000 miles across our beautiful country.
Our “glamper” the SQ, is waiting for someone to adopt her.
Glamping wasn’t our thing…
Yes, I’m talking about a vehicle. I’ve written about her on our multiple trips. Yup, I’m talking about the SQ–the name Jim dubbed her. We decided we were ready to say goodbye to her. There was just too many little nerve wracking things that cried for attention. After much conversation and prayer, we decided that “glamping” just wasn’t our thing and we sold our SQ. Today we signed the papers. I said to the acquisitions manager, “I’m kind of sad to sell.”
She matter-of-factly said, “You enjoyed it while you had it. Now you’re on to other adventures.”
We made other plans….
That’s just what I needed to hear. This isn’t death, it’s just something different. Another tomorrow. Another adventure. So we decided to celebrate. Yup. We drove next door to Calamity Jane’s and enjoyed a Country Burger, completely slathered in gently sautéed onions that practically fell off the plate. As we knifed and forked our way through the burger and ate the best crunchy fries we’d had in a long time, we made plans for our next adventure. It won’t be in the SQ, but it will be on the road. We’ll find a little cabin or B & B to stay in. We think the North Cascades would be enjoyable……what do you think?
Jim’s taking the SQ for her last drive. She’s on to other adventures, too.
We loved you….
It’s an end of an era. I’m a little relieved. A little sad, but as long as Jim’s by my side, I’m fine. Goodbye SQ, we loved you when we had you. Hope someone sees you and realizes you’re just the right vehicle for them.
In New York State. She won’t be our ride any longer, but we’ll be together.
What’s next? Stay tuned!
Marriage is like two streams coming together.
I share stories….
I’m working on a new book, tentatively called, Remarriage…Joys and Challenges…Lessons Learned. I just finished the first draft. If any of you are writers, you know I’ve just begun! But I’m excited I’ve done the first round. There will be many more rounds of writing in the next few months. In the book, I share our stories–before and after we marry and then share what life is like the second—or third time around.
We’ve had fun traveling together.
In that togetherness, there’s a pulling away.
Our experience together has been wonderful. Not perfect, but close to it. Unlike both of our firsts, we are more mature and we like to think we’ve learned from our past marriages. Yet, even in that togetherness, there’s a bit of pulling away. A desire for separateness. I know I don’t want the aloneness or separateness for long. I learned that when I became a widow.
It was a shocking reality when after everyone who’d been staying with me after each of my husband’s deaths, left to return to their own lives. I experienced the reality of truly being alone. I regretted not doing enough for my late spouse. Not loving enough. Not encouraging with my words enough. Yet, even now I sometimes pull away from Jim and I don’t know why.
I like the quietness of the early morning by myself.
Most Friday mornings, Jim sets the alarm for 5:00 am. Yes, that early. He gets up and dresses and goes off to his men’s group at church. I stay home and write my weekly blog. I like the quietness of the early morning by myself. Even in the summer, the pearly gray dawn of the day quiets my soul. I enjoy communion with God, reading in the quietness, different Bible passages and a devotional. I don’t understand the pulling away and the desire for aloneness sometimes, but I do know I don’t want it for long and I crave for our drawing together again and reconnecting.
This morning I read about communion. How communion is a gift from creation. What is communion?
When spirits are shared and cups are filled with mutual participation…where humans draw near to each other and to God–emerging from their separateness and partake of the shared life God intended.
Fill My Cup, Lord…with the Peace of Your Presence
Emilie Barnes, c. 1996.
In the morning…..
A cup of communion.
I love sharing my life with Jim, but I also enjoy the quietness of being alone–sometimes–though only briefly. I don’t understand the pulling away and the desire for aloneness, but I do know I don’t want it for long. Even now, as I write, I can’t wait to share what I learned this morning in the quiet dawn. Emilie Barnes calls that coming together a cup of communion.