Monday, May 23, 2016

If You Are Kind, It Will Last Forever

Our wedding day seven years ago coincided with a motorcycle rally on the national mall in Washington, DC.  We were thrilled that so many motorcyclists turned out to help us celebrate and even let us pose on/with their motorcycles.  This picture now hangs in the garage of this motorcycle owner's somewhere in West Virginia!
Before our "sealing," or wedding ceremony where we pledged this life and the next to each other and received eternity in return, a white-haired, wizened Washington, DC temple volunteer whispered to us as we exited the elevator, "if you are kind, it will last forever."

Seven years later, we are finally unpacking all of the meaning of that simple phrase. When people marry a bit older, they have several more years of selfishness encrusted upon them.  The selfishness of singledom is inescapable - you live by yourself and for yourself.  Add two very ambitious careers and strong personalities to the mix, and the situation is only escalated.

I was 29 and Lance was 28 when we married.  I had just stepped down from the non-profit I had started, ConSource, to start school in England, and Lance was graduating from business school within two weeks and was already working full time helping to manage the assets of the federal government's Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP - remember that??).

We lived on separate continents twice for a combined year apart and then together only part time, with me commuting between Oxford and London or New York and Philadelphia for another year of our first three as man and wife. Not a perfect situation for any couple attempting to deshackle themselves from three decades of singledom. Add to that two stressful careers, babies that wouldn't come and then did in quick succession, intense health challenges, and intense church responsibilities.

In any event, due to a series of very fortunate and happy circumstances, the both of us are starting to learn the joy of service with no thought of return.  Turns out to be the very small and simple things that breed marital joy.  A kind answer, choosing their happiness over your next to-do, a quick and heart-felt comment, or a simple apology.

I am extremely goal-oriented, so much so that even if I am doing good things with those goals and serving the family, if I let my goals rule my spirit, I miss all of the little, and sometimes big means of making a real difference towards my #1.

Turns out that true love - the kind that always makes me giddy with a look or a touch by the noble man I call my husband- coupled with small acts of kindness is the stuff that dreams are made of.  Happy Anniversary, babe.  Here's to many more!!

Small Wonders

Our hiking class finished up today.  Here I am double deckered up to catch up with our friends.
* This morning as we showed Gideon pictures from our wedding, he said after being shown the above picture and a few more with motorcycles involving grandma throughout our wedding day, "Oh my gosh! That's crazy!"
* I love listening to Gideon wake Esther up.  I've mentioned before that Gideon is able to open her door and then unzip her sleep tent (previously his) to get her out of bed.  He'll usually say something like, "It's OK, sweety!  I'll get you up.  No need to cry!"
* Esther will now consistently unpack the groceries for me every week - take them out of bags and either hand them to me or put them where I say they go - counter, fridge (on bottom shelves), pantry.  She also knows the difference between throwing things away, which she does with her diapers, and recycling things.
* We are increasingly having Esther join us at the table.  For prayer, she'll either fold her arms or reach out for Lance's hand, as she sees Lance and I holding hands during prayer.
* We were able to meet an apostle on Sunday (in my faith we have the same organization that existed during Christ's time).  As they are special witnesses of the Savior, I explained to Gideon that we were going to meet with Jesus' friend.  He said, very slowly and emphatically, "Oh!! That's cool!" Upon meeting him, his big eyes were wide and reverent.
* After finishing the third (!) round of personal prayers with Gideon the other night (because none of my short prayers, based on what he had told me to say, were adequate, "I want a BIG prayer!"), Gideon told me, "Stop! I wanted to feel the Spirit!" So we prayed again. Thrilled to learn that that was the expectation he had.
* Overheard: "My raisins have gluten free in them." "The tractor is cool, and the tractor is hot!" "Absolutely not!"
* Esther will often do something she thinks is praiseworthy (include strip down her diaper and throw it away, bless her) and then say "yeah!" or "hurray" or "tada" and then clap her hands.
* Gideon now sings the Snow Patrol chorus ad nauseum: "Tell me that you'll open your eyes" at various pitches and speeds.  Always brings a smile.

chickens, and pigs

And baby bison, oh my!

Sunday go-to-meeting finery

Continues to be one of my favorite things.

She never left almost the whole two hours we were there!


new (old) couch.  Any guesses what it is and when it was made?

"If you smile, I'll give you fruit snacks!"

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