Yes To ____

There’s something in my shower that has changed everything.

It’s not a gadget or a beauty product or a cleaning solution.

It’s a sticker.

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I’m not too particular about which lotions and soaps I use.

Awhile back, I picked up a cleanser called “Yes to Blueberries” because the label said,

“helps improve skin firmness, protect skin, diminish fine lines and wrinkles, and nourish age-damaged skin.”

I’m all for firmness and diminishing wrinkles.

I tried not to be too offended by the “age-damaged” part.

Plus, it was on sale.

Plus, I like blueberries.

Grapefruit and carrots are also on my “like” list, so I tried these.

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I can’t say for sure that I’m firmer or less wrinkly,

but there is a feature of these products that has had a huge impact on me.

The soap comes with a sticker that keeps the lid from opening.  So the other day, I grabbed my new bottle of Grapefruit Rejuvenating Body Wash that promises “soft skin with a natural glow” and pulled the sticker off.

Huh.

Some of my most meaningful prayers have come from reading labels in the shower.

This little two word sticker rejuvenated my spirit.

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This is the prayer of faith I’ve been trying to articulate!

God, today I say “Yes to ____

and You fill in the blank.”

Before I step out of the shower and begin the day,

before I know what the next twelve hours will bring,

before I have the chance to rethink and say “no” –

here’s my prayer:

“Yes to ______.”

Help me stand firm in the truth,

protect me from evil,

diminish my desire to sin,

and nourish my soul.

Keep my heart soft

and help me glow with the Spirit.

Amen.

Aha! Moment

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Hi.

I’ve been on a reading binge and it’s taking me awhile to come out of the stupor.

Since February 1, I’ve devoured 10 books.  My “Books Read in 2015″ list has gone wild.  This has got to stop.

With my nose in a book, February flew by, which was exactly what I hoped.  But today the sun is shining, the snow is melting, the windows are open and it’s time to get my nose back into real life.

I need to reintroduce myself to my kitchen, my laundry basket and my writing desk.  They miss me.

I’ve experienced it before: a God-ordained “Aha!” moment.

My thought: “Should I write in my journal tonight or read another book?”

Immediate impression: “Do you want to leave your grandchildren a list of books you read or a book of words you wrote?”

Ok then.

So I will slow my gallop through books to a trot and see if I can find a few words of my own.

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PB

It’s PB’s birthday today!

On the day of his entrance into the world,

there was a magnitude 8.3 earthquake in the Aleutian Islands

which triggered a Pacific-wide tsunami.

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He’s been shaking things up ever since.

Love you, honey!

Love Still Stands

Final Episode.

It’s been fun sharing our epic love story this month.  Thanks for reading!

I wanted to wrap up this series with one more rollicking story that would amuse and entertain.  To be sure, PB and I have had our share of funny memories and adventures.  In this last post of February, though, I have a different kind of story.

Several months after our wedding, I came down with a bad case of the stomach flu.  There’s something you need to know about me — I’m deathly afraid of throwing up.  I fight the gag reflex with everything I’ve got and I always win.  I’ve done some psychoanalysis on myself and I suspect this phobia (emetophobia, to be precise) stems from losing my mom at a young age.  Every time I got sick as I child, my mother would go into the bathroom with me and rub my back as I leaned over the toilet.  After she died, I was convinced I couldn’t go through such trauma without her comforting touch.  So I resolved to never throw up again.  

Then, as a newly married lady, my greatest fear was upon me.  I couldn’t fight it off or keep it down.  I was terrified.  When the inevitable was about to happen, PB followed me into the bathroom and rubbed my back as I leaned over the toilet.

That’s when I knew he loved me completely.

Here’s the truth about love: it isn’t created by fun dates or silly shared experiences or even deep desire.  Real love is unwavering when the other person is vomiting between sobs.  Lasting love wraps strength and security around real or imagined fears.  Authentic love is built on thousands upon thousands of moments that never make the highlight reel.

Our story isn’t epic because PB played his harmonica under my bedroom window, or because he carried me up Bascom Hill, or because he met me at the train station at midnight in a blizzard.

We have a love story because of what has taken place day after day in between those moments.

Love knows no limit to its endurance, no end to its trust, no fading of its hope; it can outlast anything.  It is, in fact, the one thing that still stands when all else has fallen.  1 Corinthians 13:7-8 (J.B. Phillips version)

Honey, you are my only one.

Take us out, JT.

“Only One” by James Taylor

Love Story: Puerto Rico

Episode #7

beachA few weeks after our engagement, I was scheduled to go to Puerto Rico with my dad and step-mom.  For some reason they thought it would be a nice idea to let me come along with them on their winter get-away.  Since I was a grown-up girl, they figured I would be low-maintenance.  They could do some sight-seeing and leave me to sunbathe by the pool.

It was extremely generous of my parents to share their vacation with me, and I was excited about going.  That is, until a sparkly diamond ring was securely on my finger.  The thought of leaving my brand new fiancé was more than I could bear.  I wanted to be with him every second of every minute of every day.  But, alas, the plane ticket was purchased so I had to leave the snowy, subzero midwest for the beautiful beaches of an island in the Caribbean.

I cried the whole time.

Well, not the whole time, but enough of the time that I put a real damper on the vacation.  I wrote love letters and sad poems while sitting by the pool.  I longed to talk to PB, but phone calls were out of the question.  Every beautiful sunset made me cry because he wasn’t with me.

The day we were to fly home, there was a huge blizzard that shut down O’Hare.  I was beside myself.  We got as far as Miami but couldn’t get a flight back to Chicago.  I begged my dad to get me home to my true love.  I’m sure he was just as anxious to bring the vacation to an end as I was.  He managed to find a flight to Kansas City where we waited on standby for another flight to Milwaukee.  Finally, we three bedraggled travelers boarded a train and headed west.  I called PB and explained the situation.  Between “I love you” and “I miss you”  I told him where the train was coming in (30 miles away) and when (midnight).  A little blizzard wasn’t going to stop him from getting to me.

In the middle of the night, the Amtrak pulled in to a quiet station.  Because we hadn’t planned on this route home, we didn’t have any winter coats with us.

The train stopped and the three of us stepped off with all our luggage.

Into a snow bank.

On the wrong side of the train.

We stood there, in our t-shirts and shorts, shivering as the length of the train zoomed by.

When the caboose finally passed, I looked up on the platform.  I could faintly see an outline of a handsome figure through the falling snow.  My rescuer.  I was so happy to finally see him after suffering through that long week in Puerto Rico.

So was my dad.

Love Story: The Edgewater

Episode #6

EdgewaterBy the time my ankle healed, PB and I were making plans for our future. There was no doubt — we were meant to be.

My mother’s diamond ring had been tucked away in a lockbox at the bank for several years.  When mom died, it was understood that I would have her ring someday.  So PB not only had to ask for my hand in marriage, but also for the ring to put on my finger.  He drove to my dad’s farm early one winter morning to ask for permission to marry me.  After having a man-to-man talk, the two of them went into town to get the ring.  PB waited in the lobby of the Citizen’s State Bank and soon my dad walked out of the vault holding a little white box.  There were tears streaming down his face.

On the night of December 23rd, PB planned a special date.  He wanted to propose at one of the nicest places in the city — The Edgewater.  When he called to make a reservation, they asked him if he would like a room.

“How nice, ” he thought, “this restaurant has private rooms for a quiet dinner for two.  That sounds romantic.”

“Sure, reserve me a room,” he said.

When he picked me up at my house, the snow was starting to fall.  It was a beautiful drive through downtown Madison.  He looked so handsome in his suit coat and a tie.  I was all dressed up and felt the excitement in the air.  We walked into The Edgewater and PB told the man we had a reservation.

The concierge handed us a key and gave us a room number.

I looked at the key with a confused frown.

I looked at the man with a confused frown.

Then I looked at PB with a confused frown.

“I made a reservation for dinner,” my date said, his face turning red.

“You made a reservation for a hotel room,” the man replied.

“This is a hotel???  I thought this was a restaurant with nice little rooms to eat dinner in…..”

The staff quickly found a table for two in the restaurant, right next to the window overlooking the lake.

I said “yes”.  To the proposal of marriage, not the room.

Love Story: Bascom Hill

Episode #5

bascomFollowing our trick-or-treat adventure, I was forced to hobble around on crutches for awhile.  Getting to most of my college classes was doable, but twice a week I had Economics 101 in a building at the top of Bascom Hill.  It was a fairly steep climb for a girl with torn ligaments in her ankle.

(As a side note: one day the professor started the class by writing the word “BOOKKEEPER” on the blackboard.  “This word,” he said in his Boston accent, “is the only word in the English language with three double letters.” It’s the only thing I remember from Econ 101.)  Back to the story.

I didn’t want to skip two weeks of classes since I was already having trouble keeping supply and demand straight.

Enter my knight in shining armor.

Or perhaps PB was feeling a little guilty about my injury.

Either way, he showed up at the bottom of Bascom Hill right on time twice a week and gave me a piggy-back ride to the top.  It seemed like a fitting penance for dumping me off his shoulders and onto the sidewalk on Halloween.

When he carried me up the hill on those November afternoons, I started to believe that he loved me.

As I sat in that lecture hall taking notes on the Cost-Benefit Principle of goods and services, I began to see the many benefits of PB’s good heart.  I started to believe that I loved him, too.