Tag Archives: Love

Classic Post: The Love Trials

Image by Maura Nicolaita from Pixabay.

This post first appeared on February 10, 2016.

Even successful speed dating requires major time investment to identify Mr. or Ms. Right. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if those longing for true love could detect it within one day?

Ta-da! My revolutionary concept, Love Trials, cuts to the chase. This approach will benefit all humankind, plus make me a few million dollars. Each participating couple will know whether they have found their soulmates after five short sessions in which they:

Trial #1: Pack a suitcase. The girl and guy are given one small bag. Not one each — one. She does her best, but it only holds a weekend’s supply of lipsticks. And is he really going to wear that?

Trial #2: Visit a buffet with one plate. When a woman’s salad vies for space with the guy’s giant nachos topped with five pounds of bacon, she may reconsider. His passion may cool when she doesn’t want his food touching hers.

Image by Arek Socha from Pixabay.

Trial #3: Dig a car out of a snowdrift. Even without debate as to who should have known about road conditions, speed and directions, this trial proves invaluable in unmasking polite claims of gender equality. She dubs him the stronger; therefore, he should push. He thumbs his nose at her so-called dedication to equal rights and claims superior judgment in rocking and rolling out of the predicament.

Trial #4: Hang wallpaper. Participants ask themselves: Do they really want to pledge their lives to someone who can’t distinguish a rectangle from a trapezoid?

This is the way they imagined remodeling together. Image by StockSnap from Pixabay.

Trial #5: Buy each other a $10 gift. She purchases an extra-long towel and embroiders his baby-in-the-bath picture on it (winning his mother over). He buys her a heavy-duty ice scraper.

Have the starry-eyed lovers fled the scene? If not, do they still speak? (Grunts count. So do weepy “how could you!”s.)

If so, light up a huge neon Congratulations! sign. Release balloons and confetti!

In the Love Trials, if he and she have not escaped to Mars and Venus, a relationship with a real, live human being has begun. Break out the chocolates, flowers, music and romance! This couple can celebrate true love until the next great Love Trial:

Planning a wedding.

Image by Pintera Studio from Pixabay.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What tried-and-true Love Trial would you suggest?

OMG, It’s Monday! Prayer: 49 YEARS?!

O Lord, thank You for the nearly five decades You have given us since he, a freshman medical student between semesters, and me, his unemployed bride, said, “I do.” Sometimes wedded bliss. Sometimes wedded stress.

But always, OMG, together in You. 

OMG, It’s Monday! Prayer: My Goofs, His Grace

O Lord, I remembered my name today, but apparently forgot to add that final cup of flour to the cookies. Thank You that my eternal destiny does not depend on turning out a perfect recipe — of any kind. OMG, how I celebrate Your love and forgiveness through Jesus!

September Love Song

Love songs about summer’s end have been around forever. Frank Sinatra’s “September Song.” The Happenings’ “See You in September.” Earth, Wind & Fire’s “September.”

Our elder daughter and her guy sang their own love song while planning a September wedding.

September 22, 2001.

On September 11, I was juggling homework for an unfinished degree, younger children’s activities, and wedding terrors: what if it rained on the kids’ outdoor reception?

Then I learned the World Trade Center and the Pentagon had been bombed.

Bombing? In the U.S.?

Like other dazed Americans, I viewed the carnage on TV.

Image by David Mark from Pixabay.

And wept.

We prayed for victims’ families and rescuers who died. We cried some more.

Our daughter moaned, “Everyone’s so sad. Maybe we should postpone our wedding.”

God gave me the words: “Honey, the world needs to believe life goes on. Love goes on.”

She and her groom stuck to their date.

Planes’ grounding caused endless difficulties. Would flowers and dresses arrive? Could out-of-state relatives attend? The worst: Our daughter’s job had taken her to Colorado the week before the wedding. Stranded!

Maybe rainy weather wasn’t our biggest problem?

Burglars also ravaged our bride’s apartment. A bomb scare occurred at our younger daughter’s college. Two hundred geese invaded the park where the reception would be held.

“Terrorists and goose poop,” I groaned. “What next?”

Image by Elsemargriet from Pixabay.

What happened next? A wedding. The bride found a way home. My mother attended, though we had to answer a machine-gun-carrying soldier’s questions at the airport. The ceremony took place in the church where our daughter first believed in Jesus.

At the reception, people ate, danced and laughed. Laughing felt good.

Even the geese — who feared the white tent — remained across the lake, looking picturesque as if we’d rented them.

Alan Jackson’s song, “Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning?” was a September song he probably never wanted to write.

He sang it, anyway.

Our children never planned to marry amid national grief.

They sang their love song, anyway. It continues 22 years later, despite many challenges.

In his song, Jackson speaks of God’s gifts: faith in Him, hope and love. But the greatest of these, according to the Scriptures, is love.

God’s love can conquer the opposite trio: arrogance, despair and hate. His love can conquer all.

Even terrorism and goose poop.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What helped you survive 9/11?

OMG, It’s Monday! Prayer: Vive la Différence!

Father, You know that for the 11,327th time, I cracked the patio door because I love fresh air. Hubby shivered. “Do you really want that door open?” How have we stayed married 48 years? OMG, You’re right. A lot of love flows straight from You to and through us.

Plus, we’ve learned to go with more/less layers.

Classic Post: Springtime in the Trailer Park

This post first appeared on April 25, 2018.

Image by Stefan Schweihofer from Pixabay.

On frozen days like today, I want to press my nose against the window pane, spread my fingers and push winter away, as I attempted when a preschooler, living in the trailer park.

When spring showed up for real, our mother would no longer imprison my four-year-old brother and me in snowsuits. She’d stop slathering us with Vicks® VapoRub®. She’d let us go outside.

A little later, my sister, brother and I (pictured with my mom) all shared a for-real bedroom in a bigger trailer.

We didn’t dislike the tiny yellow trailer we called home. The kitchenette smelled like bubbling bean soup and love. Our play area: the closet-sized living room. We slept on the sofa, Ned at one end, and I at the other. Long before ESPN’s kickboxing competitions, we conducted world-class foot fights at bedtime — until the Head Referee called emphatic fouls on us both.

Finally, a hundred robins outside sounded an all-clear. Before sending us outdoors, Mom drilled us: Thou shalt not play around the railroad tracks. Thou shalt look both ways before crossing the drive to the playground. Thou shalt never speak to strangers. But the First Commandment eclipsed them all: Thou shalt not shed thy jacket.

Fully catechized, Ned and I darted to freedom. We stopped and looked both ways before splashing across the gravel road that circled the playground, the center of the trailer court and our world.

Paradise awaited, with a clangy old merry-go-round that spun us into an ecstasy of nausea. Ned and his buddies defied God, gravity and their mothers, walking the teeter-totters instead of sitting. Kathy and I soared on swings, singing Perry Como’s hit, “Catch a Falling Star,” as we touched heaven with our toes. Sometimes, we all simply galloped like a wild-pony herd around the playground.

As suppertime approached, Ned and I picked up dandelions like golden coins to take to Mommy. When Daddy’s old blue Chevy turned into the drive, we raced toward it. Daddy stopped and threw the back door open. Ned and I rode home, waving to friends as if in a parade.

Eating soup and johnnycakes, we fought sagging eyelids like an enemy. We wanted to watch Rawhide, with our favorite cowboy, Rowdy (a very young Clint Eastwood). I wanted to sit on Daddy’s shoulders, eat popcorn and comb his wavy, Elvis-black hair. But it had been such a long, wonderful … spring … day … zzzz.

What do you mean, fall asleep? Not me! It’s springtime! That lazy, good-for-nothing sun has finally shown up. I’ve got more to-do items on my list than candles on my last birthday cake: garage to clean, closets to organize. Plus, a new book to write …

But first, I’m going out to play.

Your Extraordinary Ordinary: What childhood spring memories warm your mind?

OMG, It’s Monday! Prayer: Not a TV Big Brother

Lord, thank You for my big brother. Not only is he older than I am (yay!) but he fashioned walnut wood from his acres into a lovely bowl for me. At one point, it was filled with yummy chocolate. But OMG, both You and he knew that wouldn’t last long. …

OMG, It’s Monday! Prayer: Sacred Communion

Father, thank You for a church who can turn a business meeting into a warm, loving family affair. Though, OMG, two tables of desserts probably sweetened things.

OMG, It’s Monday! Prayer: Crazy Love

O Lord, You recall that when we got married, Steve was a freshman medical student. I didn’t have a job. We hadn’t seen each other in five months. Father, You could have had us committed. (Our parents thought about it.)

Instead, OMG, You have walked with us, every step, for 48 years. Thank You that our crazy love grows crazier — and better — every year.     

OMG, It’s Monday! Prayer: Before and After

O Lord, when will we learn not to procrastinate?! This year, our Christmas tree is a Charlie Brown special. I even named it “Charlie”! But once decorated with loving hands, Charlie shines. OMG, how thankful we are that when no one chooses us, You do — and Jesus can make us spindly, crooked souls more beautiful than can be imagined.     

Before: Charlie, a 90-pound weakling.
After: Charlie, with a little TLC.