Wednesday, August 24, 2016

My, Umm, Our Beach House

I've been thinking of a new name for my blog and all that goes with it - Facebook page, etc. It's been My Beach House for so long but I just got married in June and we are renovating a bigger beach house so I've been thinking of a new name. Driftwood Shores, because my husband is a part-time driftwood artist, Willow Shores, because the new house is in a neighboring community called The Willows. I've actually lost some sleep over this.

After two and a half months of marriage, having been single for more years than I want to admit, I believe I've come upon the perfect name:


After this very short period of marriage it has become quite clear to me and my husband that we are so used to living alone (with the exception of our kids, one each), that sometimes it's hard to remember you have another person to consider. And because he has such a generous and mannerly nature, when I say "WE" I mean "ME." He will always pour me a cup of coffee. He will even ask if I want another one. He never leaves things lying around, unless I'm supposed to review or sign something, which I might get to in days. On the other hand, I'm the person who pours one big glass of wine and then plops down on the couch and says, "What?"

My story about finding Mr. Right is very long, but I wrap it up in a little snippet I call, "THE LIST." All of my friends and my husband have heard it a dozen times so I'll write it here and never mention it again. In all the years that I was alone and longing to find love, a list developed. My list included the things that I was looking for in a partner. Of course, my list was longer at 50 then it was at 25, which is why I had been divorced for so long. If I'd been as picky my first time around...well, that's another story! The top items on my list were: a man who is kind, a man who makes me laugh, a man who likes to travel, a man who is good to my child, a man who is a Christian. I only had one physical requirement - a man who is tall. While my husband meets all of that criteria, including being 6'7", there were other less important items that he didn't meet. But that's not the surprise in the story. The punchline of "THE LIST" is how completely surprised I was that he had his own list. And the newsflash was that I didn't meet all of those items. This is what happens when we spend too long alone. We are the only person in our story except for the unknown love that is out there somewhere. Imagine my shock that he had his own list. And then imagine my humbling when he chose me anyway.

We've been married for almost three months now and together for almost five years. We had our own lives 80 miles apart and spent a considerable amount of time away from each other. Now that we're making our lives together every day, it's a big adjustment. Much of it is humorous. We have both had to apologize often and bite our tongues daily! Throw in that we are both retired and we have purchased a home that needs renovations. We each own a home and fortunately his has finally sold. And my college senior daughter is living at home this semester while doing an internship locally. It's been quite a summer. 

At this point, those major qualities on my list have had to be exercised often, especially the sense of humor and following Christ. Between them both, I am reminded often that this is a shared journey and that I have much to learn about being less selfish, more faithful, and to put my husband first. That was when I knew that I had finally met the man I longed for - when his happiness became as important to me as my own. But I've also discovered that love and marriage are as much action verbs as they are nouns. 

Monday, August 1, 2016

365 Days of Gratitude

A few years ago I participated in a Facebook event called 101 Days of Gratitude. The first day was 101 days before Thanksgiving and the event culminated on Thanksgiving Day. The next year, I started one of my own events and invited my Facebook friends. It is a marvelous and spiritual avenue for counting and sharing your blessings. This year, when Thanksgiving Day came, we all shared that we would be sad for it to end.

My parents - Grateful for life and their love
My childhood home for the first 18 years of my life!

I changed the name of the group to 365 Days of Gratitude, and the group has continued. We don't share every day like we do during the 101 Days, but we keep in touch regularly and share what is going on in our lives and ask for prayers when needed. The group has been a wonderful way to focus on the things that are important: family, love, art, beauty and laughter. 2016 may go down as the most cynical year in American history!

My Bible - so grateful for God's Word.
August 11, 2016 is Day 1 of 101 Days of Gratitude 2016. We welcome all to join us. Every year I am so thankful for many new things to add to the most precious blessings that I hold near. It is an effort some days to come up with something new. It stretches me to focus on the positive. What about you? Are you thankful for the air you breathe, your health, your children or that 10 year old dog who is your faithful companion?

Laughter - is there anything better?
This year I have some new blessings that I've collected over the last year: my husband, our new home, our new community, some new friends, renovations, new goals. I'm looking forward to the daily focus on gratitude. The Lord has been so good to me. I've added some photos of gratitudes from year's past. Think about how you have been blessed and share them with us over on 365 Days of Gratitude. Looking forward to meeting you!

The Beauty of Nature.