Part One – From The Mother Of The Bride’s Perspective


This is going to be a two-part thank you. Because I know I'd lose your    interest if I tried to fit this all in one post. And because when I     began blogging, I once read that you lose your readers if you go too far past 700 words. But so many have asked about the wedding I wanted to try to share with you and to thank everyone for everything!

Brookie's first headshotBrookie’s first headshot

When I was a young mom, I was invited to a bridal shower that my friend was throwing for her  soon to be daughter in law. I sold my paintings and cards in her Bible Book Store and we became good friends. I remember her telling us all a story at the shower; she said “When the doctors placed my new baby boy in my arms, I began to pray for his wife.” And she continued,  “every year I continued to pray for you, and now here you sit.” She said to her daughter in-law to be. There wasn’t a dry eye in the room that day. And it stuck with me for all of these years.

This woman taught me many things in our friendship and that day she taught me how to pray for my kids. So when the nurse placed my new little baby girl in my arms a few years later, I prayed for her husband to be. Not many boys had come and gone before him. But no one that she brought home, ever felt like Chase did. From the moment I met him. I knew he was the one I’d been praying for all those years.

God is so good. He tends to answer me in detail. I rarely doubt that it is just a coincidence anymore. He probably does that for me (answers me in detail) because I am a doubter. Though there is no doubt that Chase is that little boy and then man who I’d been praying for. I prayed for a man who would love my baby, and have integrity and be honorable and that he would love God and my daughter with an everlasting kind of love. That he would be funny and patient and slow to anger. He is every one of those things and more. And when I listened to their vows this weekend, it was good.

Brooke and Chase Engaged

The days leading up to the wedding since they were engaged have felt like a whirlwind. Though we had 18 months to plan, we were on a tight budget & Brooke & Chase paid for a lot themselves, we were blessed with everyone that contributed generously, their own friends from the industry, family and life long friends all were so amazing.

And from the very beginning my boss & sweet friend, rolled up her sleeves & out of the blue would nudge me to create action plans for the shower and wedding and the day after wedding brunch, creating lists & sharing menus for the shower & then brunch that I was in charge of. Not to mention generously gifting them with their honeymoon! (she’d kill me if I posted  her pic – so just imagine an Angel!)       angel

jody and usAuntie Jodyflower crownBrookie and her pre wedding flower after a day of flower shopping with Jody

My bff Jody, “Auntie” to Brooke,partnered hosting  the shower with me at her house,  (because she lives near where Brooke lives and I live 4 hours away). She made all of the flowers, both at her shower & the wedding! Gifting it all!  Though now retired, she opened up her shop again (metaphorically speaking) & created everything! from the the corsages, bountonniers, flower girl & bridal party & bride’s bouquet & head wreaths, all the center piece garlands & hoop, working to the very last-minute. And her husband allowing all of it, driving the drive to and from a very destionationy destination spot! Brooke had a vision in her head and they worked together to create it like magic.

 

Brookie and DanielleThe other Ring Bearer and maker of the wedding gown! Her sweet cuz and nephew! (Ring Bearer #2!)more changescousin lovethe making of the bridal gowndanielle helpingBrookie in her first role as flower girl - a few more followed after that!

Cousins (sisters and besties) Forever!

And her girls were Amazing! Her cousin (Matron of Honor) Danielle, made her dress! I mean she MADE her wedding dress! Seriously! When they were little they spent many hours in my mom’s sewing room as Grandma would set them free to snip and sew and create their own creations. It was so sweet watching an actual wedding gown being born as they worked tirelessly together, Danielle trying to decode the vision in her cousin’s head! As they changed the pattern several times to create the perfect dress. I watched as she patiently re-created it to perfection! Patient and loving and generous and oh my her husband? Well he has been dubbed “FAVORITE Cousin -in law!  To be continued in part two.

Bestiescrafters oh excuse me artists!silly girls Wedding dress shopping

And Rachel! Who could have ever imagined a better Maid of Honor? But like I said…            (I didn’t know there was going to be a Part Two when I started this. But just had to go back up and re-title this post to Part One!)

And Part Two is going to have

 

typed to be continued

Happy Twenty one!


Posting this one a little early since tomorrow is our actual anniversary but also the 1st day of my new job. So had to get in the lovin’
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Though years have seemed to fly by and life has thrown us curves.

And the love that you have shown me is more than I deserve.

fighting couple back to back

You wake up every morning with a song inside your heart…

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 (singing in the shower)

You’ve made me feel as if I were queen, from the very start!

queen-for-the-day

Lord knows we’ve had our challenges and you may have had your doubts,

when I’ve been mad and showed you the door, and tried to kick you out!

doorknob

You never, ever, wavered, or let me see your love fade.

And I have to admit I’m impressed, you really, actually stayed!

hugging in the rain

Staying in love is like magic, not everyone does it forever.

But somehow we managed to find a way, and we ARE still together!

So here we are at twenty-one years, I guess we’re all grown up!

And who ever knew, that just loving you, would someday be enough.

Jim and I garter pic

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY MY LOVE!

 Diane Reed

You


 washing cars

You fall into my heart like a catchy tune

on a slow lazy car washing  afternoon.

We fit together more than I realized

you’ve touched my heart like a sweet surprise.

46637-love-happy-couple-lying-on-a-sofa

You never really had any doubts about us

and believed all we had would be just enough.

Even when  I messed everything  up

you hung in there and wouldn’t give up.

fireplace sofa

 Oh yeah, Lord knows we’ve had our go rounds,

when we were anything but on solid ground.

But we’ve learned to give and let go some more

and have come out even better than before!

couple hugging melancholy woman's face

For falling in love and falling for you

was something I didn’t know that I’d do.

It took me a while to understand God’s plan

That you are the place He had me  land.

Diane Reed

2014

Falling In Love AGAIN


This one is for those who remember these words from a verse I heard long ago…

“Oh my love come grow old with me… for the BEST is yet to be….

So many times when we are young we don’t grasp that we are actually living our “Good Old Days” we have bills and toddlers to deal with and then suddenly in a blink of an eye it is over… our toddlers have grown up and moved on to have families of their own and we find ourselves living like strangers wondering WHO is this person I am living with? Perhaps with much water under the bridge where we even forget why we fell in love in the first place… It is up to us to remember. To realize that we almost missed the BEST in the part we promised each other long ago.

If you are in that place… lonely and wondering; WHERE the the heck is the BEST you promised me?! Look inside yourself. And remember LOVE is a verb!

coffee in the morning

I caught myself looking at you

and in the wisp of the moment,

on the breath of love,

older couple laughing

as an angel’s wing brushed my heart

I remembered

what falling felt like…

 couple kissing outside

The scent of joy and passion

the sound of laughter

riding on a memory…

All mixed in with the pain of life

arguing couple2

that almost made me forget.

But in that glance

hugging2

I fell down into my memories

rushing past all the bad

and landing in all the good

falling, falling, falling

 in love again.

Diane Reed ’13

couple hugging melancholy woman's face

You Did


At the risk of sounding like an old country song… this one’s for my husband… I’m proud of you babe! I BELIEVE in you!  I miss you!

This one’s for you……..

church pew

Went to church with a broken heart and two kids,

wondering if anyone would ever love me again

and then you did.

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Saw you up there in the front,  leading songs,

my heart beat a little faster after that first date we went on.

Seems so long ago since those days when we first met,

if I’d been a gambler, I might not have taken that bet.

crying in the sand

And yet twenty years later we seem to have survived,

Rose in the woods 1

in-between lots of heart break our love’s still alive!

Wedding Garter

I’ve become a grandma

and you…

a Papa to our kid’s kids.

Auntie me

grandpa and jas

After I thought no one would love me again…

holding hands

 you did.

~~~~~

Diane Reed

2013

Dinner For One


I throw the keys on the table as I walk through the door,

keys3

dropping bags filled with groceries as they fall  on the floor~

grocery bags

Listening to your message you left  when I missed your call,

Telling me that you have to stay one more night after all.

 cell phone in hand

The traffic was bleeping crazy so I missed my run,

traffic best pic

I stand at the freezer choosing my dinner for one~

microwave

Funny, I used to enjoy having the house to myself,

woman reading by the fire

But suddenly I feel things, I haven’t recently felt,

“Hey Beautiful” you say sweetly, as you always do~

And tonight , I realize, I really am missing you!

phone message2

It feels good to realize, I don’t want to be alone,

so I leave you a new message;  “My love, hurry home!”

Diane Reed 2013

Happy Anniversary My Love


I am going on a little anniversary get away with my husband this week. We plan to  go find the boat we were married on and visit good friends. And then  go to my daughter’s first movie premier! She starred in  a little Indie that will be showing along with other Independent films at a Hollywood dinner theater and we are so excited to go and support her.  While all that is planned I have to fit in a “retail” buying trip for the place where I work.

Our trip is our gift to each other and yet I wanted to stop a minute and write a little something on our anniversary here. Excuse me, as I use my blog as a place to store my gift to him. He reads things here when I send them and so I will send this to him on December 4th… The last couple of years have been a little crazy and so the words may only be ones he understands but I thought I’d still share them as I know others here might relate.

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!

I have a lot of memories of times before we met

slowly they’ve been forgotten but some I can’t forget

sad girl

You have been so patient as I’ve  tried to let things go

to share things with you, you never should have known

tears

But I love the way you love me, the way you’ve still held on

I can’t say if it had been reversed, that I wouldn’t have been gone

arguing couple2

You are a better person for loving me the way you do

And I am so very blessed because honey… I love you!

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So… NOW, I want my memories to be the ones that WE have made

and begin to make new ones so that you will be glad you stayed…

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Nineteen years ago on that day in December

YOU are the  only one that I want to remember!

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Happy Anniversary my love!

The Ring


The first time I got married, we bought our rings at Gemco. I still remember, they were just little bands of gold. Mine fit perfectly inside of his. Our Pastor made up a quick little off the cuff sermon about them when they were placed in his hand. Something about, how the circle was unbroken and how the man protects his wife. Well, that didn’t work out too well now did it? The circle was eventually broken and as for protecting… well my heart was shattered into a million pieces and so I think not.

I remember once after we had separated, I had taken mine off. It had been almost as painful as removing my actual finger. Over the years, after we were more financially stable,  he added to that little band of gold and had given me a beautiful diamond engagement ring  for Christmas one year. Several years later, the diamond fell out and I had been devastated  and stopped wearing it until we could replace the diamond. We never did. But I always wore that little band of gold. Always, till I didn’t.  I remember noticing that he still had his on long after we had separated and it kind of tugged at my heart in such a way, I still can feel it today. There is just something about a man wearing your ring after you have taken his off that gets to you.

I have since remarried and  was given a new beautiful diamond ring that I’ve worn since. It has weathered many years. Last year, the band broke, it had just worn down and split right in the middle. It kept pinching my finger and so I finally took it off. My husband (the giver of that ring) and I were going through some rough times and so it was kind of apropos. I placed it in my jewelry box and I remember feeling sad but kind of free. Though when I saw my husband wearing his ring, I felt that same pain that touched the core of my heart again. And yet, I reasoned that my ring was broken and so it remained in my jewelry box.

A ring has a lot of symbolism for many of us. We all probably could share a story or two about a ring  in each of our lives. I won’t go into exactly what was going on in my life, but I went ringless for almost an entire year. All I will say is that it was timely and pretty sympbolic. But every time I would see my husband’s ring on his hand, something struck me. Perhaps it was his loyalty and steadfastness, because no matter what happened, he kept that ring on.

Christmas was on a Sunday this last year. My husband had to work. We had done presents earlier because we knew we had to go to church and he would have to leave early from there to go to work.  I was not expecting it when he squeezed my leg to say goodbye and pressed a little velvet box in my hand. I looked down as he walked out of the church. I opened the box and there was my shiny diamond ring with a brand new band. I sat there holding it. Feeling as if I did not deserve the ring nor the husband.

It wasn’t as romantic as it could have been. He hadn’t stayed to slip it on my finger or even to see if I would do it myself. I felt kind of empty sitting there looking at it as he walked out the door. There I sat in church with my sweet daughter who had come for Christmas, sitting beside me. She knowingly watched me. she had known, been in on the “surprise” she knew too much as it was. I put on the ring and smiled at her. She smiled back. The singing stopped and we sat down to listen to the sermon. So much was going on in my head,  I don’t think I heard any of it that day.

Today I look at that ring. Several months have passed. Several emotions and conversations later and it still remains on that finger since I slipped it back on, in church that day. Yesterday, I was noticing that in all the rings I have ever worn, this one just seems to fit perfectly. Maybe it is the great job the jeweler did in fixing it, but just maybe it is the ONE that is supposed to be on my finger. The one that The best “REPAIRER” of  all rings and hearts and all good things is still working on.

Directions


It’s really not about all the things I complain about,  the things left undone or not done right, the things you say or don’t say, it’s not even about  the way we can’t seem to find our way back to a place on our path where we can re-connect.  Any place, just a starting place would be nice. I find a spot and think that if you could hear me, I could call to you and you might try to find me there and yet you never seem to be able to hear me calling.

We seem to be stuck in a place where it is all me, the reason we are where we are. I catch you nodding your head as if to say “well, it is all you.”  And I can own most of it. I really can. I know I have made some big mistakes and I am really sorry, and yet you just don’t seem to see the bend in the road that tripped me, the place that you missed too.

Somehow, we lost our way and  it is really hard trying to follow the same signs to get us back to where we started.

And it really scares me… whether our path leads to an old shack

or a beautiful mansion, will not matter if we never seem to have the same directions.

And so I stop to rest, I unfold my map and try to see where to go. To give it one last shot. I rub my eyes. The directions look so faded and I am so tired ~ I fold it back up, almost giving up but in the distance, I see a tiny bit of light and it makes me squint, trying to see and that is when I realize just how lonely I am. And that I have been on this path of ours,  alone far too long. And suddenly my heart is so sad, I realize that I have been trying to read the map all by myself and forgot to invite the most important one The ONE with the right directions!

And suddenly things seem clearer. I can see the road ahead with a different heart. I feel excited to share the road with you again, to invite you back on my journey, our journey, the clouds have cleared and it is a NEW day!

And maybe just maybe, the true blessing is on the inside, in the lessons within the bends in the road, the times we have fallen and the places where we have tripped and to finally realize that no matter how rocky our path or where it leads, home is where you are!

The Love Template


When I was nine, I wanted to write a novel. When I was twenty, I thought I was ready. I thought I knew it all. Now I am twice the age and I am sure I know even less than I thought I did, over three decades ago. I have always loved the concept of, what I know for sure…. Because the statement alone does not profess expertise of a certain subject, it only explores what I think I know about it as it relates to me.

Take love for instance. If I could go back and rewind my life and insert wisdom in different periods of it, how would I live it differently? What would I tell the younger version of me? Would I have listened? I wonder. How funny it would be if this older version of ourselves could pop in during different crisis in our life and tell us what to do. Would we even listen? I guess, maybe once we realized it was really ourselves, someone who had lived through the messes we got ourselves into and had the wisdom of hind sight, we might, I mean who argues with themselves? Well, cough, choke and sputter. I think I do, every day of my life. I reason with me every day. I berate myself for the insane choices I have made at times and want to ask myself; “Really?” in regard to half the dumb moves I have made over the years and very recently as well.

And yet, I wonder, what have I learned? I question myself all the time. Do I have good advice for myself, let alone anyone else? Do my mistakes and the lessons I have learned from them, hold any value in helping others not make the same mistakes? If I had to say what I really know for sure what would I say?

My advice right this minute is to be true to you. I am not sure that I can truly say that I have done that. But I know that I am working on it. I wish I knew then what I do now. My heart is full as I am filled with regrets. I wish that I would have been stronger and listened to my heart. I am angry now with the adults in my life that pushed their own agendas on me. I understand that they only wanted the best for me. I really do. And yet, it was their version of the best. I was not brave enough then to ask them….”And how is your version of the BEST working out for you?” Because from where I stood… my response would be “not great!” All I know now is listening to them was not being true to me, to what I wanted. It was not just me being young and not wanting to hear what they had to say, it was actually not always the right advice. Just that simple.  Just like today, my kids have to learn for themselves what is right for them. I can’t push my own agenda on them. What might be perfectly right for me, may not be for them. I can share my lessons and hopefully they will have less hard ones by what I share but we all need to learn by our own choices. God gave us that right. It was His idea. We get free choices. Sometimes I wish that He would just tell me what to do but in His wisdom, He gives us all a template, it is our choice how close we stay inside the lines of it.

I  guess it sounds kind of vague when I say that I wasn’t really allowed to love the people I loved, I was pushed and nudged and berated. And I stupidly listened to all the white noise, the voices that criticized me, as my heart was screaming to be heard. All of my life, I have let others tell me what to do. I never really ever relied on where my own heart led me or my gut instincts. I have felt things with my heart and then second guessed myself, asking others what they thought. Now I wonder why did I care so much what others thought, I mean really why? I can’t believe that I put so much weight on everyone else’s opinion but mine.

It started as far back as I can remember. I was told that I should forgive, I was told to look the other way. And then I was told to not forgive, to run as fast as I could, to shut doors, and move on. I fooled myself into thinking that shutting doors was empowering, and giving second chances was forgiving. I put up with things far too long in the name of forgiveness and not wanting to be called a quitter. I stayed in situations that I never should have and yet the time finally came when I was not just hurting me, I was hurting the ones I brought along in my crazy making and I had to save them.

My childhood was filled with uncertainty. I was always worried. I was in such a hurry to grow up so that I could control my own destiny. Mistake number one! Who in this world ever controls their own destiny? And if I was controlling mine, I was sure making a mess of it. And if my template was what I learned growing up, that was mistake #2.

The first time I fell in love, I fell hard. And I think that I have been trying to survive that love ever since. It was intense and new and exciting and terribly, terribly damaging. The abuse that I endured was not so much physical though there was some pushing and shoving and yeah a little more than that, but it was so much more than that. It was so emotionally challenging that I constantly felt as if I were at the bottom trying to reach the surface in order to come up for air.

Everyone had their opinions about that one and I finally succumbed. Between the abuse and people’s well meaning counsel I conceded. We were engaged by that time, so it didn’t mean just a break up, it meant relinquishing a dream we had built together. When it was over, I thought I had died. And I definitely thought that I wouldn’t survive the pain. But when I finally was able to let go, I felt what I thought was empowerment. As I look back, I realize that I was mistaken, what I thought was strength, when the pain seemed to subside, was more like just being numb to it. Now I think it was just part of my heart dying.

Next, there were a handful of guys who I dated, some I remember more than the other, but for the most part, the emotional pull was not there. Maybe I was just not going there again. Falling in love had once been all I ever wanted and now it was something my heart seemed to avoid. Love meant pain I conceded.

Until, I met the boy, a boy who rocked my world, different than all the others. He was quiet and yet, a leader among his friends. He commanded respect without demanding it. He was so different than anyone I had ever known and for some odd reason he loved me back. All his friends were blown away and told me so this boy could have any girl he wanted. Everyone thought he would be the last of the friends to marry. And yet he ended up becoming my husband.  He was tan with broad shoulders and very distinct features. He looked a lot like Michael Landon with a little John Wayne mixed in and he took my breath away for years. But it wasn’t just about looks with him. He was special. He had this wonderful heart that I got to see. He had views and opinions and yet he didn’t push them down your throat. He only offered them if you asked. He was perfect in my eyes and I was thrilled that somehow he had chosen me. He would walk into a room years after we were married and I would feel giddy. I loved him so much.

But what do they say? If you grow up with an alcoholic parent, you are destined to marry an alcoholic. That made me so angry when I heard that because I heard that after I had married him. This wonderful boy had one flaw, his very own pain, not to mention the little gene in his genetic makeup that caused addiction. I couldn’t believe that I had found myself in the very place I had run from. I was worrying about him coming home okay and driving drunk. I was worried about his health and safety, not to mention his job that he had worked so hard to grow in.  And I was the total textbook codependent. An enabler, trying to re-fix what had been wrong in my childhood. This time, I thought I was going to make it work. I think I tried with all my heart until I almost lost it, my heart that is. Finally I realized that I could not save him. But I could save me and I could save my kids and so I did.

Where my dad was not a raging alcoholic, my husband was. I had bitten the head off of the proverbial chocolate bunny and I was in really, really deep. There were a few times that I almost left and my mom talked me out of it. Some of my well meaning friends from church persuaded me to try, guilting me into it by reminding me about all the things I already knew about vows and loyalty and forgiveness. But this time I had my kids to think about. And it was only getting worse. I finally pulled the plug. We had tried before and he was stubborn. He was not budging and so I took my kids and walked away before it was too late. . But I always wondered if it was too late. The guilt I still carry because of my divorce is excruciating. I have read verse after verse in the Bible trying to get some relief at no avail. Intelectually, I realize that God would not have wanted me to stay in the situation that I was in and that all I need to do is put everything at the foot of the cross. I know that and have and do daily, I know, I know once is enough, but I will always second guess myself and wonder “if just perhaps,” I might have left but not been so quick to divorce, if things might have turned out differently. Like they say, hind sight is 20/20. We see things much more clearly after the fact. Yet,  in a way, I don’t. I used to be so sure that leaving was always the right answer. Abandond ship, take no prisoners, sink or swim, every man for himself. And yet with all the tools we have now days, I am not sure that not exausting all the tools is not an option before sealing the deal? It has been a thought I have wondered about since finally relenting and recently going to therapy myself. If nothing else, it has brought up a lot of questions I have begun to ask myself.

I was so in love with my husband and yet year after year, the things I had to deal with helped chip away at that love until it almost went away. I had to wonder if I had ever really been in love or if I had just loved the fantasy. My first husband was a man’s man. His friends came first. I know he loved me but he loved himself more. Years later when he was dying, he asked for me to forgive him. And now, especially after experiencing a good therapist, I have wondered if things had been different, if we had found a Therapist like I have now,  if we could have survived without divorce?

The thing is I was always so concerned about what others thought and yet was so stubborn. It was a crazy making dance I would do. Now I realize that I just wanted their support but not necesarrily their approval.  But at the time, approval seemed so huge. Now I know that it’s not what your mom or your friends or anyone else thinks. It has got to be between you and God. Even though I know I prayed and took it to God or thought I did,  I don’t really think I knew how back then. When my marriage fell apart, it was surreal, I felt as if I was in slow motion. I felt in labor again, the pain was inexplicable. The unfathomable had happened. Like the first break up, though now we owned a house and had kids together. It was so much more than a dream. It was a life, my life, dying. A nightmare except I could never go to sleep to escape.

No one ever taught me to fight. When I was growing up, I lived in this Polly Anna existence. I hardly ever saw my parents even argue and I don’t think they ever did. The handful of things I did manage to see, rocked my world and usually were related to my dad’s drinking but other than that. My mom seemed to just suck it up and take whatever my dad dished out. Don’t get me wrong. My dad was amazing but there was always this underlying piece that just didn’t fit.

I remember thinking as a young girl, I am never going to let anyone treat me like that. I am not sure why I thought that. I mean my dad really loved my mom and she adored him. There was just this perfect little world I lived in that almost teetered on the edge of abuse. Not physically, but in a much more ambiguous sense.

Now fast forward what seems like a thousand years and here I am, still struggling with another man, my wonderful husband who loves me. This time, I had learned, no alcoholics! So I did a one-eighty and found someone almost perfect. He loves the Lord, has never done drugs. He drinks a bit but I have never seen him drunk. In fact, he is always the designated driver for me! He came along when I was drowning. He was God sent, I am sure. He saved us. He loved us. Sure he has his faults but I have to wonder if they seem bigger to me because  of all the ones who came first. When is it his turn? Is my heart so numb that I forgot how to love the right way?

When I realized this it made me think. I know a woman who I prejudged. Not in the worst ways but it is something I don’t like about myself. The ones I usually don’t connect with at first, end up being lifelong friends. I know that about me and so I also know that my first knee jerk reaction toward someone isn’t always right on. After several casual conversations, we finally had a chance to really talk and I learned that she is slowly going blind. I mean at this point in my life, and considering my own weary eyesight, I guess we all are to some degree but she really is. She told me that she has chosen her profession to set herself up to be able to support herself since touch and not sight is the necessary tools she needs in her career choice. But no pun intended; this little piece of information made me see her in quite a different light.

That little ephiphanie has led me to a whole new platform, something I never considered before. Something I am very passionate about now. I think that the key is that everyone has a story. I wonder now if I had stayed with my first love and if we had gotten the necessary help, if it would have been different. I know now that he was dealing with his own childhood nightmares, much different than my own. My heart breaks for him as I have learned his story.  I wonder….what would have changed for us if someone had counseled us? An entirely differnt story might have played out for both of us. I do know that even though  it seemed like hell back in those days, I also look back now, at a lot of those days as “the good old days” and challenge anyone going through their own version of hell to not make such  hasty decisions. Because our first loves mold us in ways that never leave us. And if it is really true love, and really worth the work perhaps if you could get help, in the beginning, just perhaps you could not bring baggage to all the other places you end up that aren’t going to measure up to the good old days. And if nothing else, at least you will be satisfied that you tried. Because believe me, the baggage you bring from each relationship to the next becomes pretty heavy!

When I was struggling therapy used to be a dirty word. Oprah was not a household name and self help books told you to meet your love at the door naked, wrapped in cellophane. But when you were wondering where your husband was at 2 in the morning, that advice was about as helpful as telling me to jump off a bridge which was where I was headed when there was no one walking in the door for me to meet in celophane!

But today we have resources. We have counseling and mentors and churches that have much more to offer than they did when I was grasping at nothing but the white noise that bombarded me with the advice I didn’t ask for. In the end, hind sight is 20/20, you never know whether to really stay or go. I wish there was some life line that we could go to and really get God on the line and ask HIM what He would have us do. And in a way there is, He gives us prayer and the discernment to hear Him and yet it is a hard place to get to when you keep getting in the way of the answers. It takes patience and a listening spirit.

So what have I learned in the last three or so decades about love? I would say without a doubt that the Author of Love is God. Now that I am a parent, I understand the ultimate sacrifice of His love in giving His Son to us because He loved us so much and wanted us to SEE the Light. I mean if I know anything for sure, it is that God’s kind of love is the true template for all the others that come after;

1 Corinthians 13:1-13 – Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

What I know for sure is:

Love is patient, it puts up with a heck of a lot in it’s own name. It is kind, plain and simple, it is not mean.  Love does not want to see the other one hurt and avoids it at all costs. It is not jealous.  it is satisfied with just being loved back  It is not all puffed up and boastful, it does not brag and cares more about their loved one than themselves. They are proud of , and gives all the credit to the one receiving our love. They care more about the comfort of their loved one than themselves. Love does not lash out or belittle, it does not want to hurt back when their feelings are hurt and it is not easily offended. Love keeps no record of fights and arguments and wrongs we feel were committed against us. It remembers nothing negative. Love does not rejoice in sin or immortality. It is not malicious or violent. Love is honest and  celebrates the truth and everything about it. It protects and shelters the one they love, watching over and caring for without complaining.  Love puts aside it’s own wants and desires and puts the one they love ahead of themself. Love is loyal and true and can be trusted till the end of time because it never will fail or fall short. True love never gives up, it is forever.

And even though I am constantly working on it, and know that I will never measure up to this beautiful template of love we have been given. I am just happy that Love does not keep any record of my wrongs and the very good news is…. I can keep trying and I will because I am finally getting to know the Holy Spirit Who gives me HOPE to be better and love greater.

So I guess my advice would be to never give up. Sometimes it is not how you are loved but how you love that changes everything.