20 Years of Precious Memories

I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine.
—Song of Solomon 6:3

Just look at the memories of the past twenty years! Yes, twenty years ago today Rick and I were married in a covenant ceremony. In front of family and friends, we pledged to love and care for each other for the rest of our lives. How these 20 years have flown by!

Much has happened over the years. We’ve experienced both good and not-so-good seasons, but one thing has always sustained us:

God is at the center of our marriage.

The path God has chosen for us as a couple has not always been easy but it is always the best for us because it is His plan for our marriage. I have spent many years enduring chronic pain while Rick has been battling leukemia.  All of this has served to bring us closer together as we take care of each other. And how can we not praise and glorify God through all of it? He is the one who brought us together!

Rick gave me a special ring years ago. It has two intertwining bands that read: “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine.” And isn’t that the very essence of marriage? We belong to each other through the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ.

This image is included in the collage of memories above. We call it the Marriage Triangle and you’ll note that Jesus sits at the top. Rick is on one side and I am on the other side. That symbolizes the fact that Jesus is the head of our marriage. We look to Him for guidance each day and through every situation. And we can vouch for how much closer we have become to each other as we have learned how to walk more in step with Jesus every day.

I am always thankful that God chose Rick to be the other half of my orange. I know that sounds strange but here’s how that phrase came to be a part of our marriage. 

When Rick and I were in premarital counseling, our pastor used an illustration of the orange to show how God created husbands and wives to complete each other. If you take an orange and rip it in half with your hands (instead of cutting it), you have two pieces with very jagged edges. That orange can only fit back together one way—by fitting those uneven edges together exactly. That’s the way husbands and wives work together within marriage. The strengths of one may be the weaknesses of the other, but fitted together—in other words, by working together—they can solve a problem or complete a task that one of them may not have been able to do alone. 

This also applies to illness. For example, many days Rick is my caretaker, making sure I do not overdo and going out of his way to drive me on errands that need doing. There are also times when Rick isn’t feeling too well and I make sure he gets enough rest and takes the medications that help when he has a flare-up of his symptoms. 

And let’s not forget about the power of prayer in marriage. Rick and I regularly pray for each other. We pray for our family and friends. We pray together for people we know are in need of prayer. And we also pray before we travel—whether by vehicle or motorcycle—asking God to protect us and our home while we are away. 

Contrary to the belief that marriage is a 50/50 partnership, it needs to be 100/100. Both husband and wife need to give 100 percent all the time. I read this great quote a while back:

Marriage is not 50-50; divorce is 50-50. Marriage has to be 100-100. It isn’t dividing everything in half, but giving everything you’ve got! —Dave Willis

To my Rick: Happy 20 years together and may there be at least another 20!!! 💞

Happy Anniversary to my Beloved!

Today marks 16 years since Rick and I were married in a covenant ceremony. Like all married couples, we have had our ups and downs, but through it all one thing never wavers: the love God instilled in us for each other. He brought us together and only through Him are we complete. You can read the story of our meeting and courtship here.

This collage shows only a few of the memories we’ve shared over the years. Wherever we go, whatever we do, we are ever thankful for each other. Even though my activities these days are dependent on how I feel and how often I can get out to do things with Rick, we still have a strong love and that certain peace that passes all understanding (Philippians 4:7). As long as we continue to look to Jesus as the head of our marriage and our eternal Hope, He continues to bless us beyond anything we can imagine!

Rick-Anna-Anniversary2014Collage

To my beloved Rick, the other half of my orange: I love you so much! Your continuous and undeniable love for me are truly God’s gift to someone who has always had some trouble thinking of herself as lovable. 

I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine… —Song of Solomon 6:3

 

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Happy Anniversary!

Fourteen years ago today Rick and I were married in a covenant ceremony. A lot has happened since then. We’ve had our ups and downs just like everyone else and have had our share of tussles. But we have learned that when we keep our focus on God, we are able to see past our own viewpoint and concentrate on what the other is saying. We always learn something new in the process.

The next best thing we have learned is this: to thank each other for everything… and I mean everything…from the smallest gesture to the grandest. Examples? Rick often asks me if he can help with the dishes. I typically turn him down and say, “I’m doing okay, but thank you for offering.” Rick has a bad back and it is often very painful for him to bend over to pick up something he has dropped. If I’m close enough to him, I pick up whatever he dropped, and he always thanks me.

I know, silly little things that really should require no statement at all, let alone a “thank you.” But here’s the thing: all those little thank-yous make us more aware of each other and draw us closer together.

This photo of us walking the beach at Rocky Point illustrates the essence of our relationship. We love to hold hands! We hold hands when we walk together, when we’re riding in our truck, when we pray together…and the list goes on.

Marriage is not easy, but then no close relationship between humans is easy because of the egos involved. We all want what we want when we want it, don’t we?

It is often hard to remember but worth the effort to treat our spouse better than we treat anyone else in our life. Oftentimes we tend to do the opposite because our spouse is the one with whom we are the most relaxed. It is so easy to snipe at or take a frustration out on our other half. But isn’t it so much sweeter to see a smile on that loved one’s face rather than a frown?

Happy Anniversary to my Rick. I love being the other half of your orange!

Celebrate With Me!

One year ago today I started This Thing Called Life. I have had web sites and blogs before but apparently this one is what the Lord had in mind for me all along. You know how it is. Sometimes it takes awhile until we “get it.”

I’ve been thinking a lot about my tag line: while you’re here you might as well dance. My two bum knees have kept me from dancing for a long, long time so I’m not sure why I decided on that particular phrase. So I’ll be rethinking that in the coming year. I also want to work up the perfect mission statement for this blog and for me personally.

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Thank you so much for spending time with me as I share my heart with all of you. It’s been a huge privilege and blessing for me and I look forward to seeing what the Lord has planned for me here during the next year!

Blessings to all of you!

Happy 8 Years!

Jeremiah 29:11

This is the verse that God gave Rick and me when we were praying about moving from California. Today we’re celebrating eight years in our home in northern Arizona. The story behind our move is an amazing testament to God’s leading in our lives.

The year was 2002 and we were living in central California when we got serious about moving. We analyzed our budget and then realized it wasn’t the right time. We still had a small mortgage to finish paying off and wanted to pay cash for our next home. So we agreed to wait and pray about it, separately and together.

The plan was that if one of us felt God telling us it was time to move, we would let the other know.

Fast forward two years. One day as we were driving home from church, I turned to Rick and told him I had been feeling as if it was time for us to move. Rick’s astonishment made me laugh as he replied, “I’ve been thinking the same thing.”

Now, understand that Rick and I had not been idle during the two years we prayed about this move. After deciding that we wanted a place with cooler summertime temps but not a lot of winter snow, we visited several areas in New Mexico and Arizona. As we checked out each location, we prayed for God’s will. Where did He want us to move?

Once we felt that we were supposed to relocate to northern Arizona, we continued to pray as we began to look at different towns to see where we could comfortably afford to live. We found a wonderful real estate agent who took us to several properties in our price range so we could get a feel for the cost of living there. We told her we weren’t ready to move yet, so once we were home again, she sent us emails with new properties we could afford.

Within the next year, two things happened that showed us it was the right time to move: we were able to finish paying off our mortgage, and the housing market situation changed to our advantage. We immediately put our house for sale and contacted our real estate agent in Arizona to tell her we were ready to choose a new home.

During this time, we made a point of letting both of our real estate agents know of our firm belief that God was orchestrating this whole move.

The first offer on our house fell through very quickly and our local agent (who also happened to be our next-door neighbor) was devastated as she delivered the news to us with tears in her eyes. We assured her that it was not her fault, and that God was still in control and would lead just the right buyer to us.

On the second offer, we had just finished signing the agreement to accept the offer when our agent received a call from the buyers to say they had to pull out of the deal. There had been an accident in front of their house that morning and someone had driven right into their living room. They had no choice but to back out.

Once again we assured our agent that we were not concerned because God would bring the right buyer to us soon. Our agent was almost confused at our calmness over this whole thing.

Throughout this, we had also made another trip to pick out a home in Arizona. We found exactly the right one for us and began the extensive purchase process with a decent down payment. Each time we lost an offer on our California house, we let our Arizona agent know. To say she was worried would be to state the obvious: she did not want to lose our business!

The third offer—of more than our asking price—amazed us even though we were completely trusting that God had wonderful plans for us as promised in Jeremiah 29:11—the verse He gave us. This offer not only overwhelmed us but caused our agent to be awestruck. All we could say was that we knew God had great plans for us!

I love how God uses us for His glory! He used this situation as an encouragement not only for us but for both of our real estate agents. Rick and I don’t know how this impacted their lives, but we believe that He somehow used our faith and trust in Him to speak to these two people.

By the way, we do get snow here in the winter but it generally stays on the ground for only a day or two. I grew up in snow country (the Northeast), so I do appreciate the serene beauty of snow but love that it doesn’t stay around here for long!

Here are some photos of our home and the high desert area where we live:

Our Arizona home

Yes, the sky is that blue most of the year. During monsoon season (which is happening right now) we still wake up almost every day to this gorgeous blue sky but by mid-morning the storm clouds start to roll in.

San Francisco Peaks

I found this photo of the San Francisco Peaks to the northeast of us online. It is a good—but closer representation—of what we can see from our back patio.

View from our patio: beautiful sunrises (and the sunsets are gorgeous too!)

I can’t end this story without sharing something very special that happened right after we made the down payment on our new Arizona home and then found out that the second offer on our California home fell through. One of my writer friends (who is now home with the Lord) asked me to read Isaiah 40:31 again with this precious insight in mind:

~Waiting~

Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary. —Isaiah 40:31

The root word for wait in Hebrew means to twist, to stretch. The original meaning was twisting and stretching fiber to make a strong rope. The idea in the Hebrew language is that waiting strengthens us by this twisting and stretching process, and that waiting is never considered a passive posture.

As the Lord loves to do, He used my writer friend to speak clearly to Rick and me with words of encouragement. That’s just the kind of awesome and amazing God He is!

Beloved, if you’re in the middle of what seems like an unending waiting period, be assured that God is indeed at work even if you don’t feel that He is. Maybe God is working out the details of the situation or honing some of the rough edges in your life as you learn to trust Him more every day.

Or perhaps He is simply stretching your faith in Him.

Let us continue to stay strong and continue to trust in Him!

My Beloved Is Mine

As today’s Treasure Tuesday post, let me introduce you to my “Beloved” ring. It looks like two entwined silver bands and each is engraved — one with the words “I am my beloved’s” and the other says “My beloved is mine.”

Such simple words for such a complex relationship, because let’s face it: marriage isn’t always easy. Oops, did I say something I shouldn’t have?

Let me just say here that Rick and I have a wonderful and blessed marriage. It is a covenant marriage, which means we each made a covenant — a promise — to God while speaking our wedding vows to each other. We promised to stay married for the rest of our lives and to always place God at the head of our relationship. To paraphrase something  Rick wrote to me recently, thank God that He has put us together and we can relax and know that it’s forever.

Has it been easy? Well, during the first couple of years we struggled with certain issues in each of our lives. Since we were already in our 40’s when we married, we carried a lot of “previous experiences” into our relationship. How’s that for another term for “baggage”?

We’re both first-borns so we both have the tendency to want to be in charge. This used to cause many clashes and harsh words. Even though I yearned for my husband to be the head of our home, I still found myself trying to take over that role at times. We do have a fairly traditional marriage where I take care of the inside of our home while Rick maintains the outside. Go ahead, you can say it: we’re old-fashioned.

We agreed on this split while we were still engaged, and it works very well for us. Although I can change the oil and brakes on our truck, as well as rotate the tires if that was necessary, I no longer have any interest in those kinds of things — or the energy to do so. Among other things, I have also been known to install ceiling fans, repair kitchen faucets and put up sheetrock. But that doesn’t mean I still want to do these things.

I happen to be married to a guy who not only knows how to do all this stuff, he would rather spend his time on these types of tasks than cook or bake. However, he does do the vacuuming, pumice the toilets and generally pick up after himself. Neither of us likes clutter or things left out in the way.

We have learned over the years that our relationship works well because we allow each other to do what comes naturally and is best for each of us.

One of our friends shared this with us a few months ago. When he and his wife are at odds with each other, instead of glaring angrily at the other, they try to remember to look UP first — to the God who placed them together. They have found that in the process of looking up, their anger becomes diffused and they can then start talking about whatever the problem is rather than pointing accusing fingers. Rick and I like to think of it this way: our marriage relationship is a triangle with equal sides. God is sitting at the top of that triangle while Rick and I are each seated on either side at the bottom.

As for that ring? Rick gave it to me for Valentine’s Day last year and I treasure it. As sappy as it sounds, Rick is my beloved and I am his. The word “beloved” means “dearly loved” and after so many years, we have come to “dearly love” each other. We appreciate each other for who each of us is — quirks, warts and all. One of us without the other is not complete!

Oh, by the way, the message engraved on it is from chapter 6 verse 3 of Song of Solomon which says:

I am my beloved’s

and my beloved is mine…

Happy Sunday!


I love Sundays. Even though I don’t work outside my home any longer, Sundays are still special to me, especially when I am feeling well enough to go to church with Rick. There is nothing like that special time of worshipping and praising God, learning more about Him through His Word, and fellowshipping with friends.
Today is an especially happy Sunday for me. It’s Rick’s and my 13th wedding anniversary. Neither of us can believe how quickly time has flown by. I can still picture his face as he slid my wedding rings onto my finger…

Neither of us could imagine the changes that would take place so soon after our wedding. In the space of four years, I went from being able to work 60-70 hours per week to not being able to work at all. My “new normal” had nothing at all to do with being normal as the world sees it.

I thank God daily for Rick, my beloved. In the face of uncertainties, difficulties and major life adjustments, he has remained steadfast and true. His love for me is evident as he helps me cope with those uncertainties, grieves with me over what was lost, shares my disappointments when we have to cancel fun outings. But the thing is this: he loves me for me, no matter what I can or cannot do any longer. He is my best friend and biggest cheerleader!

So, here’s to us. As Rick and I continue to look to God for every single thing in our lives, may He continue to bless us individually and in our marriage. To God be the glory!

Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let your glory be over all the earth.

–Psalm 57:5