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Archive for May, 2011

I was given the best present ever,  thirty short years ago. Let me show you this gift, wrapped all in white…

(Still flirty after thirty!)

On that day, before God and earthly witnesses, we symbolically lit one candle from two separate flames, believing in our hearts that we would be better together than apart. Anyone who knows Sandy knows why at least one of us is WAY better off because of this union!

Little did I know, when we exchanged our vows, what a treasure had been given me. The beauty I saw then I still see now, only deepened by her steadfast loyalty, wisdom, patience, and love. We were best friends then; we are even more so now.

Sandy saw through my doubts and fears, and believed in me when I was more potential than actual. As one of her friends loudly put it a while back when she saw a picture of us in our engagement: “Girl, you was visionary!” Yes she was, to my eternal benefit!

We started our adventure together full of youthful idealism, shared vision, and not much else. The love first kindled in Lake Placid, NY (summer of ’79) eventually led to 5 blond-headed boys, outgrown houses, cars that became vans, jobs that became stepping-stones to starting a business – and, always in the midst, a lot of laughter. We have struggled through depression, life re-directions, wayward children, exile in NJ, and learning how to talk dirty. But through all the ups and downs, by the grace of God, the love of my life has stayed beside me.

Bonus: after 30 years and 5 kids, Sandy”s still hot. I’ve seen heads turn when we are out walking. She definitely still turns mine!

The ancient book of Proverbs (31: 10-12, 28-30) says it best:

An excellent wife, who can find? For her worth is far above jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not evil all the days of her life…Her children rise up and bless her; her husband also, and he praises her, saying: “Many daughters have done nobly, but you excel them all.” Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.

My dear Sandy, there is much, much more that I wish I could give you. But this I can say, with the world as my witness: You are noble, praiseworthy, beautiful, and my dearest friend. You are God’s gift to an unworthy man, and you are my only love. I gladly give you my heart before all of these witnesses, as I did among our friends and family 30 years ago today.

I think this calls for a glass of fine wine (I wish I had a vintage ’81 in the cellar!). Care to join us?

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Harold’s Choice

As everyone has heard, ad nauseum, today is the End of the World According to Harold Camping.

As a disciple of Jesus and as someone who embraces biblical truth, I’ve never had much sympathy for the long and undistinguished line of self-appointed prophets who think that they are the purveyors of special and detailed revelation. Especially the number-crunchers like Mr. Camping who act like the Scriptures are some kind of jigsaw puzzle for the specially-anointed to solve. Let’s just say that I’ve been filling my calendar with appointments well past May 21st.

Assuming that, in fact, we reach the twilight of this date of destiny and, lo and behold, Mr Camping is just as wrong this year as he was in 1994, I see that he has maybe four choices as the new day dawns on the 22nd and he is revealed, once again, to be in error.

1. Just shut up and go away. Slink off and disappear in shame. Hey – everybody gets things wrong. But some claims of special revelation are pretty humiliating when they turn out not to be so special.

2. Openly and publicly admit that he is wrong, has been wrong, has been operating a ministry without true accountability, has deceived and hurt his followers, and then do the right thing – liquidate his entire operation and find some serious counsel. This path would require humility, responsibility, and honesty. Things that the Bible really is pretty clear about.

3. Go back to his abacus and slide rule, find the source of his (second) miscalculation, and punt the apocalypse downfield to some vague timeframe that will be long past his personal expiration date (which has to be soon – he’s definitely not a spring chicken). This is the “when you can’t hit a field goal, just move the goalposts” method – you can go 0-20 from inside the 15-yard line and still retain the delusion that you should even be kicking the pigskin.

4. Claim that God has actually extended the time of mercy because faithful Harold got the word out in time. This path gives Mr. Camping a pass (even a promotion!), pretends to glorify God, and has the additional bonus of being thoroughly unverifiable. It also resets the clock to….whatever.

#4 is the most pernicious, and in some ways, it could be the most likely – because this spin would allow the illusion of saving face AND give an out to picking any new dates. #3 has possibilities because he pulled it in 1994 – but hey, who’s going to buy that stunt for a third time? #1 is highly unlikely for someone who has built a public ministry as a lone ranger and who speaks with such imagined authority. #2 is the only choice that would preserve a thread of integrity and honesty.

Then again, of course, he could be right. May 21st could be the day. As could the 22nd. Or the 23rd. Or the 24th. Or the 25th. Or the 26th………

You don’t know. I don’t know. Hopefully, Mr. Camping will stop claiming to know. Because it’s far more important to be right with God, than right about some apocalyptic date.

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For those women who are not yet mothers, and who are not yet married, this whole Mother’s Day celebration may only be a look backwards, at your own mother (which, hopefully, means a fountain of good memories). But take a few moments to look forward, and allow me – a son of a devoted mother and the husband of a stellar wife and mother – to give you one word of advice.

Do you want happy Mother’s Day celebrations of your own in the years to come? Then please, for your own sake: Don’t marry a loser.

You know who I’m talking about. The kind of man who won’t embrace responsibility. Who can’t make commitments. The adult in age who is adolescent in heart, unable to control his passions or deny himself his pleasures. Good time Charlie who lives for today, and worries about tomorrow…tomorrow. If at all.

Drop him. Now.

Yes, the biological clock is clicking. But you need to have the self-respect to call a loser a loser and move forward with higher standards. That man by whom you will have children will have a profound shaping influence on them, for better or worse. And these will be the children who will honor you, or neglect you, on the Mother’s Days to come. No matter how awesome a woman you are, you cannot compensate for a loser. So don’t try. And don’t settle. Do yourself and your future kids a favor – enforce your own personal “No Jerks” policy.

As one comedian so accurately put it, you can’t fix stupid.

And, just to change the genders, the same advice holds for you young men. Thirty years ago, I married a quality young lady, who – and of course I didn’t fully know it at the time, I was too lovestruck – had all the heart and soul of a great mother. Five boys later, it is clear that I chose a winner (jury’s still out on her choice, but whatever…). Guys, there are innumerable pretty faces and sweet-looking bodies out there. If you can find someone with real character who challenges you to be a better man – that’s the one.

Have a great Mother’s Day. Now, and for years to come…

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