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Jason and His 100 Reasons

Often people share stories of heartbreak and tragedy with me. So when I’m let in on something inspirational, I’ll do whatever it takes to get the person to let me share it publicly: plead, cajole, bribe, drug.  Fortunately I didn’t have to go THAT far with Jason.

JASON AND HIS 100 REASONS

First it was Mermaid Girl.

She’d been put in charge of my hand-me-down iPod, while I backed out of the driveway and began the short jaunt to work. I’d forgotten to turn down the volume and Hunter Hayes’ Wanted burst from the speakers. Once we’d recovered, my daughter grinned at me. “Your music is growing on me. I like this.”

Fist pump.

A few days later, a male teacher I sort of worked with sidled up to me, looked furtively around and then confessed. “I’m starting to like country music.”

Fist pump.

If only I could get another unnamed daughter on board.

I picked her up from work the other day, and as she slid into the passenger seat, she rolled her eyes and dramatically mumbled something along the lines of “This is the kind of music that makes people want to end their lives.” I did a literal LOL-the kind of full-bodied laughing out loud that can be dangerous when you are driving.

She was referring to the genre and not the lyrics.

’Cause, c’mon…who could be disgruntled about the lyrics to Brad Paisley’s She’s Everything?

Maybe a little cheesy, but a sweet love song where a man describes very specific things about the woman he loves.

And who doesn’t want specifics?

It reminded me of a recent conversation I’d had with Jason, a friend I’ve known for about a decade. Although I no longer run in the same circles as Jason and his lovely wife Delta (who am I kidding? I don’t run in ANY circles these days…it’s more like hobbling around the geriatric ward…)

Anyway.

Though I don’t see much of Jason and Delta these days, we keep in touch – mostly via Facebook. To those who know ’em, the Harmons have missed their calling. Jason is a Senior Associate at BrighLine CPAs and Assoicates, Inc. and in recent years Delta has joined “that” group with the oxymoronic title of  Stay-at-Home-Mom.

But really they shoulda been an on-the-road Improv Comedy Team.

They. Are. That. Funny.

Some of the funniest people I know.

Individually, they are comedic entertainment at its finest.

But together?  I’mcertaintheyhavecausedmorethanonepersontolosecontrolofthebladder.

They are fluent in sarcasm, hyperbole, tongue-in-cheek, off-the-cuff, quick-witted humor, and I love that about them. The world could use more intellectually funny people.

But this conversation with Jason wasn’t the usual light-hearted version.

He was quite earnest.

 Our 10-year wedding anniversary is coming up on July 11. About 2 months ago, I was thinking about it and realized that it was exactly 100 days away. That gave me an idea. I started a list called “100 Reasons.” 100 reasons why I love her, 100 things I love about her, etc. You get the idea.

Each day I share a new one with her. Some are cute and funny like “her irrational fear of dairy products,” some are complementary like “how her smile can light up a room” and some are highly intimate and personal (not going to share those with you!)

I’ve asked her about it and she loves them. She looks forward to getting a new one each day (but then again, what is she going to say, right? She could very well be counting down the days until it’s over!)

But more than that, I can’t really put into words what it has done for ME. I of course knew that I loved her with all my heart, but to be honest, coming up with ONE HUNDRED reasons why has been difficult! I thought it would be easy, but after the first 25 or so, the reasons become less obvious. It has made me really search inside my heart to find unique reasons, put into words specific feelings, and remember special times and what they REALLY meant. It has also made me pay attention to her and OBSERVE her more–to catch something in a mannerism or the content of a conversation we had that I can add to the list.

Overall, it has been one of the best things I’ve ever done. It has undoubtedly increased the depth of my love for Delta and has definitely made us closer as a couple.

I’m not sure why I’m telling you this–I certainly don’t believe that you and the HH need it. I think it’s because I know the kind of love you two have for each other and know that you would appreciate the process and ultimately the result.

I managed to persuade Jason – whose job it was to then persuade Delta – to let me share what he has been doing because I think there are a number of amazing facets to his gift that could benefit many marriages.

1. Ephesians 2:10 tells us God declares us a masterpiece, His workmanship. But we all need some specifics, some acknowledgment that there is something special about us.  I can’t tell you the number of times that the HH has said “I love you” to me and I have had to ask “why?!” because all I could see was a directionally challenged midget pygmy who had once again lost her cell phone. Specifics are things we can carry with us when we are feeling unloveable. They bring out the truth that we are uniquely made by a gracious God and our spouse recognizes that.

2. A wise man will hear and increase learning. Proverbs 1:5  Wisdom includes “hearing” our spouse and continually learning more about him or her.   As Jason pointed out, acknowledging 100 reasons forces us to slow down and pay attention to our loved one. “The first 25 or so” are the more obvious ones, he said – after that we have to look a little deeper. And when we search for hidden treasure, we find it. It’s an investment that pays off; when we sow into a relationship we reap the rewards.

3. Love…is not self-seeking.1 Corinthians 13:5 NIV  This 100 Reasons was for Delta.  Jason wasn’t posting it on Facebook for everyone else to read, (oops – sorry, friend…) he wasn’t looking for the applause of men. It was a private gift for his wife. And in the process of giving of himself, he is receiving much more back.

4. Love always perseveres 1 Corinthians 13: 7 NIV  We must be purposeful and we must persevere.  All too often, in the early years of marriage, when there are little people demanding time and energy, our spouse gets the leftovers. Our leftover time, our leftover energy. I don’t know about you, but I’m not a fan of leftovers.   If we don’t make a very concerted effort to grow in love and appreciation, we could one day wake up to a dead relationship.  Look around. It’s happening everywhere. I love Jason’s purposeful heart.

There is much more here, but I’ll leave you with a challenge. Why not give Jason’s 100 Reasons a try and see what it does for YOUR relationship? 

Flowers wilt,  chocolate causes weight gain…but words can bring life.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit. Proverbs 18:21

Jason and Delta: Not Just a Comedy Act.

A beautiful inspiration, a godly example.

(Love you guys! Thanks for letting me share.)

Grateful for this wonderful life (and the awesome folks I know!),

Marie with a :)

 

 

 

 

 


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IT’S MILLER TIME: A Nocturnal Comedy (of sorts)

I wanted to remind you that this blog was never intended to be a great theological tool.  It is merely the simple, authentic story-telling of a nondescript girl who sees God at work all around her.

It’s Miller Time!

The news reports prepared us.  Articles titled Miller Moth Invasion Hits Denver, Abundance of  Miller Moths Expected, and (my personal favorite), Ooky Spooky Moth Invasion Underway, left little doubt that it was gonna be a particularly fun season this year.

Here in the Denver metro area, when we exclaim “It’s Miller time!” we aren’t referring to a BYOB gathering, but a season of swatting our arms overheard, and quickly shutting doors at night, jumping back when we open a blanket that has been left out in the dark, and gagging through the stench of  matured Euxoa Auxiliaris freshly roasted on a lamp, as miller dust rises and falls above the bulb in a final curtsey to its short life.

Miller moth season.

They are good-sized and they are ugly, these miller moths, and we have resigned ourselves to their yearly visits.

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I did a little reading and learned they are mostly harmless creatures.  They visit the metro area during their diapause phase – which I discovered is important because it means they aren’t dropping eggs all over the place. Although they reek when they die even a simple death (the odor is caused by their body fat turning  rancid), and they can leave spots on surfaces because they excrete fluid, and they startle the daylights out of  innocent folks, they really are nothing more than a nuisance.

So the articles claim.

So I believed.

Maybe I’ve simply gotten used to them.

Maybe I was expecting a greater number of them. (When the HH and I hiked recently, I snapped photo after photo of cotton candy looking cocoonish shaped fibers – that’s my very best scientific description –  filled with tiny worms and caterpillars, which we guessed were young millers. They were so prolific that it was fascinating and I kept looking at them until the HH reminded me we had limited time. )

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Whatever the case, I’ve barely noticed the pallid fliers this year.

Until last night.

Harmless creatures? I don’t think so.

Oh, what the books and articles don’t tell you! I suspect that Miller moths have sent more than one person to the loony bin, have fractured more than one relationship, and have caused enough physical injuries to merit their own Tort Defense Attorney. (In fact a google search showed they were to blame for at least one serious car accident.)

Anyway.

It was nearly one o’clock  in the morning and I was just settling in with my Kindle for a bit of reading and a last turn or two in Scrabble.  That’s when I saw him. Literally bouncing off the walls. Or rather, the ceiling above me.  Like a ping-pong ball. Quite distracting. I may have started talking to him. Fortunately the HH was sound asleep at this point. He has endured a lot of unexplainable behaviors, but his wife trying to reason with a moth hadn’t made the list yet.

Apparently Mr. Miller didn’t like my lecture.

‘Cause that is when the Kamikaze dive-bombing straight at my face happened. I may have screamed. I may have tossed my Kindle. (Apparently the HH has been married to me long enough that he was able to sleep through this first phase of the Miller vs. Marie battle.) I jumped up and grabbed my…Croc. Waited for the lunatic to land. Nearly knocked over my water glass as I swatted at him and grimaced when he got away – AFTER gleefully and spitefully sprinkling his moth dust in my water. I chased him over by the ironing board where I stubbed my toe and grabbed the board, knocking clothes onto the massage chair. When I bent to pick them up, Mr. Miller disappeared. I sighed and returned to my bed.

So did he.

He did a touch down landing on the comforter, spiraled downwards, and then began to casually strut across the worn carpet. AHA…I practically rolled out of bed, pulling the sheet with me and rousing the HH. I smacked my Croc down and woulda high-fived myself except the HH was sorta awake by now and, well, how would I explain it?

I smiled at him and got back in bed.

Either a size 5 Croc has no weight or moths have resurrection powers because two minutes later the thing was flying above my head again. I sat up. The HH rolled over and groggily swung a fly-swatter at me.  I mean towards me. “Need this?” He mumbled.

I won’t go into details, but I spent the next ten minutes or so in a rather comedic death chase. And. I. Was. Losing.

“You could use that lamp and a bowl of water,” the half awake HH sort of pointed to the corner table that was piled with his drawing supplies and other miscellaneous bits and pieces.

And a flexible desk lamp.

Omigosh.

How could I have forgotten?

My fiercest Scrabble opponent – a brainiac engineer – had explained the process for getting rid of moths. We’d even discussed it recently.

You simply fill a container with soapy water and put it right below a lamp. (Uh, turn the light on, too. Doesn’t work otherwise. That’s for us non-engineers.)  I limped to the kitchen and found a large Tupperware bowl,  and quickly followed his instructions.

It worked.

I slept.

I felt the slightest twinges of guilt this morning at the lone moth, motionless, in the Tupperware bowl. I got over it. Then I gave thanks that I married the most patient man in the world otherwise I’d be destined for a life of singleness.

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Anyway.

Silly (but unfortunately true) story of a girl who had forgotten some simple instructions that would have saved her…and her beloved…a bit of grief.

***

As I drifted off to sleep last night, I wondered how I could have forgotten the bowl trick so quickly, how thankful I was that the HH reminded me before I needed a straight jacket, and how wonderful that we’d heard about it in the first place.

Then I thought about Darlene’s words from just a few hours before.

Earlier that evening I had sat in a small but posh Denver home with a beautiful, gracious hostess and a diverse group of ladies. We ranged in age from early twenties to late sixties and were from various stages and walks in life. Some I’d known for eons and others I just met that night, but I felt a connection, a unity with all of them as we gathered to embark on a study and discussion of the book of Esther from the Bible. This first meeting time we shared snapshot bits of ourselves through brief introductions and prayer requests.

Darlene shared how she had gone to church as a little girl, up until the fourth grade or so. Then she spent the next decade and half doing her own thing, completely apart from what she’d been taught from the Scriptures.

Until someone spoke truth into her life and “all of a sudden, it all came flooding back, the Bible stories and lessons and it was like, ‘Yes, Yes, that makes sense, it all fits now.'”

It’s really true, she said, Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he won’t depart from it. Proverbs 22:6

Sometimes our loved ones walk away from the things they’ve been taught and choose harmful or wearying paths. Sometimes we do. Both the episode with Mr. Miller and Darlene reminded me of that last night.

They also reminded me that these truths eventually come back to us, to them – sometimes when we least expect it. 

Praise God.

And never give up.

Grateful for this wonderful life,

Marie with a :)


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Just a Broken Coffee Mug

­I’m not much of a keepsake kinda gal.

A hopeless romantic and a silly dreamer maybe, but not a keepsaker, not a collector, not a saver of things.

Sure, there is a box or two of kids’ projects tucked away in a dusty closet beneath the stairs.

And a poem scribbled in primary school penmanship hanging on a bulletin board.

A “you’re a grreat and terrriffic mom” pennant that sits in with my colored pencils, presented for no particular reason by a little-boy-now-turned-man.

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Pictures drawn by a young Monet-Wannabe that have been taped to my closet door for so long the colors are faded.

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A paper Secret Agent ring stuffed in a drawer full of pens and pencils and calculators and tape.

And of course numerous notes from the HH stashed all over the place.

Mostly, though, I am not attached to the tangibles. (I may even have lost a wedding band or two without shedding a tear.)

But I found myself weepy this morning, when my favorite coffee mug, the one I pulled from the microwave after reheating the hazelnut brew for the fourth time, slipped from my fingers and shattered against the kitchen tiles.

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It was an inexpensive mug. Just a simple white exterior, a lovely robin’s egg blue interior and a small raised square of matching blue with shadowed trees and snow-capped mountains painted on it.

We have so many coffee mugs that when the family room is cleaned and the dishwasher is emptied, the cupboard that houses them barely closes. Yet I always dig around for the white one with the little square of robin’s egg blue.

I knew this mug was the keepsake I wanted when I found it in a little shop filled with trinkets and memorabilia on Elkhorn Avenue in Estes Park in 2012, the year the HH and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary. The year our hoped for visit to see friends in Cyprus was  willingly waylaid by a daughter’s wedding and we found ourselves in Estes Park instead.

It was an inexpensive little mug but it carried with it memories from a sweet week spent in a mostly unoccupied lodge by a serenading river. Memories of a  massive garden tub and the best Cabernet, long hikes, and dinner on a private balcony high in the Rocky Mountains. Chocolate covered strawberries and vanilla bourbon salmon.  Cool night breezes and sweltering sunny afternoons. Early morning coffee, and private jokes and hand holding, and the knowledge that God had carried us through so many seasons together.

It was an inexpensive little mug, but I loved it.

So when the HH texted this morning asking how my day was going, my fingers told him: I just dropped and shattered my Estes Park coffee cup. Sad, sad face.

 That means we definitely have to go again (this summer) so you can get a new one, he quickly replied.

That’s when my grin usurped the tears;  it was, after all, just an inexpensive coffee mug and the shattered pieces of porcelain could not break the memories written with a permanent marker inside my heart, because things that are penned upon the heart are not easily fractured.

Our love grew that week by the river, and the memories are solid.  Slivers of porcelain in a puddle of coffee can’t change that.

***

Some folks give up on faith. They are disillusioned in their Christian walk because they have not let Jesus be the author and finisher of their faith. Instead their stories – their hopes – have been written by people who disappoint, on steeples that tarnish, on idols that shatter, on circumstances beyond anyone’s control. On trinkets and keepsakes.  That break and splinter.

But.

When Christ writes His Words on your heart, they cannot be broken and they cannot be erased; they are eternal.

So give Him the pen.

“This is the Covenant that I will make with the House of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put my law within them, and on their heart I will write it; and I shall be their God and they shall be my people.  Jeremiah 31:33 NASB

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Grateful for this wonderful life (broken mugs and all),

Marie with a :)