and happily counting more! This past Saturday marked 17 years married for Chad and I! On January 15, 1994 at the tender ages of 19 & 20 we vowed to love, honor and cherish each other till death doth part us. Seventeen years and five children later is a good start but truly just a drop in the bucket compared to the 64 years my grandparents spent together, but none the less a joy for us. We truly had no comprehension of the depths to the vows we were making that cold winter day in Alaska, but by the grace of God, He has intertwined our two individual lives with Himself and in Him we are one…. a three cord strand not easily broken.
We were very thankful for the opportunity to go away for one night! This only happened because of the many sweet people who took our responsibilities for a time so we could have this special night away. Mitchell offered to stay with Papa and so with sweet R’s help for the overnight, he took care of Papa for us….we love that boy and are so grateful for who he is and his kind heart. The younger four had an absolutely wonderful time with Kelsey and Aaron Tolsma for the night! We have heard all about what fun they had….the Library, Dairy Queen, Edaleen for ice cream, movies, dress up….the list goes on…thank you Kels and Aaron! Sweet Mrs. E came out when the children were brought home to spend some time with them and help Mitchell as he needed it. The kiddos so enjoyed their time with Mrs. E also…thank you Barb!
Earlier in the week we took some time to watch our wedding video with the children… what a hoot that was! We had a little shocker when we realized that Mitchell now, at 14 ½, and being 5’10’’ and 185 lbs. is the same height but weighs 40 lbs. more than Chad did when we got married!!! Not to mention his current shoe size …between a 12 and 13 totally dwarfs his Daddy….even now! We often lamented how over quick our service went, almost a drive thru wedding! This time while watching the video we timed it and after the processional and all the wedding party was up front, from the Pastor’s first words until he pronounced us man and wife was 6 min. and 40 seconds!!!! There was still a song and a couple small happenings after that but the total service time from the first lighting of the candles to the last person walking off the stage was something like 22 minutes….YIKES…how many things we would change about that day if we could! We love how different the weddings are now and how there is much more than just the “I DO’s”. Special vows and a charge by the pastor are just a couple of the sweet things we get to enjoy now. It is fun to look back and enjoy memory of the day but in reality it is not the “wedding day” that matters but the marriage itself. To God’s glory we are best friends who are so grateful to be married to one another!
Enjoy life with the woman whom you love all the days of your fleeting life which He has given to you under the sun; for this is your reward in life and in your toil in which you have labored under the sun.
We have been overwhelmed with the love and care of those near and far as my Gigi went home to be with the Lord. We have been abundantly fed in all areas….. physically, emotionally and spiritually. We have been so blessed by the words of love, sympathy and encouragement that came in the form of cards and letters and still come from near and far… almost daily. The flowers and gift baskets were amazing….so beautiful and so many. It has been so neat to have people contact us from my grandparent’s history….family, people from childhood, others who worked with them, went to church with them or simply old and dear friends. All of them deeply impacted by my grandparents lives and they want to express that to us and give their love to Papa. Yesterday Papa was able to talk to a friend from his childhood who is 91 and still living…. living even in the same area where they grew up together! We were also able to connect with the wife of another friend from childhood (the friend passed away years ago) but his wife still keeps in touch. These relationships have stood the test of time, remained in touch over all these decades and now we are privileged to experience just a taste of the depths of these friendships. What I love the most are the Italian last names...Ranieri, Carducci, Panici…oh how I wish I could have spent just a few minutes in one of those home in the 20’s, 30’s and 40's! Those were very difficult times I know, but from the fascinating stories we have heard over the years from Papa, how neat it must have been. I can only imaging the amazing meals that came from those Italian kitchen's!
We are still astounded at the outpouring of love and service from our family and friends and from our precious church family. The meals came like crazy… hot ones…freezer ones…extra ones, dear friends taking our youngest children for the day, others coming to just be with us as we sat with Gigi for her last days on earth, loving on Papa and other family members that were here…genuine love in word and deed. Many details of the memorial service… programs, guestbook, the fellowship and food afterwards, clean up….all of it diligently taken care of by our dear, sweet church family. Words cannot express how thankful we are to have Silver Beach Community Church be where God has planted us for these last 10 years. We are especially thankful for our Pastor(s) and Elders and their example of loving and serving others in many practical ways. We thought we had known and experienced love at the hands of the body before, but these last few weeks far surpassed anything we could have imagined. What an encouragement it has been to our family as we are reminded how important it is to minister to others in their time of need or sorrow. Our church family is a beautiful gift from the hand of the Lord.
We are tremendously blessed. We know it, are grateful for it, and don’t take it for granted...thank you. We look forward to the opportunities to love others as we have been loved.
"Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. “But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."