Friday, March 9, 2018

Perfectly Clear

"Whoawha Air!  Whoawha Air!!"

This quote is from our two year old grandson, Zach.  Bet you wouldn't in a million years guess what he was so excitedly saying.  Here's the background story.  I promise, it will make you laugh.

Earlier this week, Kristin and I went to Sam's club (a HUGE grocery warehouse) to restock some items for church.  Joy knew we were going and asked if she could meet us there.  We said sure.  Then Meagan decided she would join us, too.

Please remember that Joy nannies two extra babies and Meagan nannies one extra.  So Joy arrived first with Zach - 2; Tyce - 2; Ava - 9 months and Avery - 3 months.

I wasn't at the door to meet them but I heard that as soon as Joy brought them inside,  both boys were shocked by the immensity of the warehouse.  They began looking all around, pointing and loudly yelling, "Whoa!!  Yook!  Yook! (Look) Whoa!"

Que the smiling customers.

When we connected, I took charge of the shopping cart with the two bigger boys.  Meagan was delayed so Zach kept watching for her and his cousins around every corner. 

"Maymay?!"  He would look up at me with immense blue eyes, tilt his head slightly and turn pudgy little hands palms up.  All this I interpreted to say, "Dearest Grandmother, do you know where my Aunt Meagan might be hiding?"

You're probably wondering how in the world one could get all that from Maymay?  Trust me.  These littles know more than we give them credit for; we just have to learn their communication methods.

I know many of them but not all.  Hence, the story......

I shop in Sam's Club often, I even know the names of several workers. (Occupational habit.)  But it is indeed a massive place and I can easily get overwhelmed if I don't stay focused.

Pushing that cart with two active two year olds while trying to concentrate on the items I needed to locate was a comedy show in the making.  Believe me!

Finally, it seemed best that Noni should only focus on the precious cart cargo while Joy found her short list of items.  Then I would do my shopping.

So began my most fun trip to Sam's Club ever.

The boys - fascinated by all they were seeing - noticed a tall net secured above the 20' bank of diary doors.  "Yook, Noni!  Yook!"  Zach pointed and Tyce giggled.  "Backebauh!"  (Look, Noni.  Basketball.)

In a flash, this fifty-nine year old, 5'3" professionally dressed lady became the imaginary twin of Shaquille O'Neal.  I bounced my imaginary "backebauh" a few times then shot toward the netting.  We all three watched while it made its trek; then I started jumping and cheering, "WooHoo!"

Zach never hesitated.  He threw both hands into the air and yelled loudly, "Core!!"  (Score!)

Then began the real competition.  First, I grasped Zach's little hands, dribbled the bakebauh, then threw his arms over his head to make the shot the way I've seen his dad do so many times.

We watched for a moment then all three cheered as the invisible orb "disappeared" behind the netting.  Now, Tyce's turn.  Now, Noni again.  Back to Zach.

It made no difference that several people slowed and stared while passing us.  A few smiled.  The boys were loving it and so was Noni.

When the backebauh game was over, we journeyed on.  That's when we rounded another aisle and Zach went absolutely ballistic.

"Whoawah Air!  Noni, whoawah air!"  His stubby fingers were pointing, his legs were swinging, his bottom bouncing, his short arms waving. Blue eyes were electric.  Red kissy lips formed a perfect awestruck circle.

He was inviting me to celebrate this wondrous discovery with him.  Only one problem.  I had no idea what the child was saying!

"Whoawah Air!"  He kept pointing and repeating it; a bit more intensely now.  Each interpretation attempt was deemed a failure.  "No, Noni!  Whoawah Air!!"  This was getting urgent.

Finally, I spotted Joy standing beside a mountain built of oranges and apples.  I made a beeline for her as quickly as a grandmother in dress shoes can push an over-sized cart containing two little boys and heavy grocery supplies.

"WHAT is He Saying?!"  In my perplexed state, I may have said it a bit too loudly.  Joy jumped and turned to see who was coming at her.  "Tell Mommy!" I directed.

Zach twisted in his seat again pointing and calling out, "Whoawah Air!  Whoawah Air!"

Joy took one look in the direction he indicated then calmly responded, "Yes, that little boy over there has hair just like Noah's."  There were triplets in a cart we had passed.  All three had white blond hair just like Meagan's children, Noah and Madi.

Zach looked back at me, gave a short nod and said again for my benefit, "Whoawah Air."

Of course, he couldn't verbalize it, but his look clearly stated, "See?!  What I was saying was perfectly clear, Noni.  Why didn't you get it?"

I burst out laughing.

Thinking back on that moment of disconnect reminds me of how often I've misunderstood others, as well.  What someone is trying to say may be perfectly clear in their thinking but may not be what I hear at all.

This struggle can become especially difficult between husbands and wives or parents and teenagers. They desperately want us to understand what they're saying but we just can't seem to get it.

Frustrations quickly arise and feelings can be hurt all because we just aren't able to connect.

If you find yourself not understanding someone you love, may I encourage you to find a mediator who can help decipher your communication?  Who knows, you may also end up with a great story of encouragement.  Once the intent of the words your loved one is saying becomes perfectly clear, that is!


Wednesday, February 28, 2018

A Story of Passion and Purpose

February is traditionally the month of LOVE.

Valentines.  Roses.  Teddy Bears.  Chocolates.  Chunky Cherubs.  (Chunky because of the chocolates.)  Hearts.  Promises.  Love Songs and Longings.

Valentine's Day 1979 was when my mom first knew Frank was pursuing me in serious terms. Moms have a sixth sense that tells them things we don't know about ourselves.

My mother was especially gifted in this area!

She had driven down to visit me during Home-Coming week at my college.  She was such a good friend as well as a wonderful mom.  I had always been able to talk to her about absolutely anything.

We were walking toward my dorm from the parking lot when she asked, "What about this 'Frank' fella that you've been dating?  Is this getting serious?" 

"Oh, no," I assured her.  "We're just enjoying each other's company.  We have fun when we go out.  But it's really not all that serious at this point."

At that exact moment, we turned the hallway corner toward my room and stopped dead in our tracks.

My dorm room door was completely covered by a SIX FOOT TALL VALENTINE. 

A six foot roll of felt fabric hung from my doorframe and was covered from top to bottom with cupids and hearts of all sizes.  "BE MY VALENTINE" was stitched onto the fabric in red, 8" letters.  An adorable teddy bear sat jauntily in a heart pocket, center-stage.  On the floor in front of the monster greeting sat a bouquet of twelve long-stemmed roses and a giant heart box of chocolates.

I stood frozen; completely flabbergasted.  Speechless.

Mom stood beside me staring at the display and said, "Not that serious, huh?!"

Frank's roommate at the time returned some years ago and now serves as a professor at that same university.  In one of his lectures, he tells about the giant valentine that was literally the talk of the campus in 1979.

We often hear about it from various students who land at our church.  "Oh, YOU'RE the one who made the giant valentine that covered her door!!  Professor Crosby told us about you guys!  That was amazing!"

The topic of his lecture?  Passion and Purpose.

He tells the students that when Passion and Purpose combine in our lives,  the synergy created will help us overcome any obstacle - perceived or real.

He explains to the students (many of whom are also in the throes of searching for their life mate) that Frank felt he needed to work to win my heart.  He saw our relationship as a challenge requiring all his best efforts if he was to be successful in his quest.

Dr. Crosby recounts how Frank threw caution to the wind. Gathered materials.  Recruited help. Everyone from my best friend (who owned a sewing machine,) to the ladies at the local Hallmark store (who had the displays he needed.)

He put every resource, every penny, every creative skill at his disposal into making that valentine.  It mattered not how others would see him.  Embarrassment never entered his mind.  His reputation wasn't the focus, the object of his affection was all he could see.

He wasn't even able to be there to see my reaction because men weren't allowed into our dorm.  (Oh yeah, he had also convinced my proctor to help him tack the valentine to my door while no one was around.  Sandra was a romanticist at heart!)

Why go to such extremes if one isn't sure of the outcome?

Simply put, it was the combined effect of Passion and Purpose.

Here we are 38 years later.  Still pursuing each other.  Still knowing that although there are obstacles to the relationship we passionately want, we have to give it our best effort.   Because our purpose (a healthy marriage) is worth throwing caution to the wind.  Choosing to focus on one another, not on ourselves.

What is it in your life that you've identified as your purpose?  (Relationships?  Service?  A Project?)  Are you still passionate about that purpose?

If not, ask God to refresh your perspective.  Throw caution to the wind and get moving.  Recruit some help for pursuing what was, at one time, more important to you than your own reputation.

The outcome just may surprise you!

I'd love to hear about your favorite or most unusual Valentine.  Tell us in the comment section.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Add Value

Thank you for your patience with my minimal posting these past two weeks.

What I thought would be reflective time became a "Mini Time Tornado."  (Is there actually such a thing?  Not sure - but it gives you the picture, right?)

So, although my schedule is packed still (just like yours) I'm making myself sit down for thirty minutes to say "Hello!"  I'm so grateful that you continue to stop by Embrace the Grace even if I don't have a new post on that day.  Thanks Much!

Part of the "Mini Time Tornado" was because of a conference Frank and I were privileged to attend this week.  It Was Resplendent!!

There were training sessions going from early morning to well past what I consider bedtime.  2,500 people were all navigating the same hallways and buffet lines at the same time.  For many it was controlled chaos.

But Frank and I stood directly in front of the "firehose" they were using to share information.  (Figuratively, of course.)

When we were so saturated that our tired minds could no longer absorb anything, we kept facing that firehose and just let the truth wash over us.  It was truly an amazing conference.

My favorite phrase from the entire four days?  "Add Value!"  

Incredibly Simple.  Powerfully Profound.  It's a phrase that should apply to every living, breathing human being.

Add Value! 

It marches into dark places and brings light.  It soothes the broken-hearted with hope.  It whispers peace to the overwhelmed and offers a simple plan of action.

We cannot solve all the problems of this broken world.  I cannot change the circumstances of your life.  You cannot answer the questions of my heart.

But we can step into ANY situation today and.......Add Value!

Just try it.  I dare you.

Step into the coffee break room and ask yourself, "How can I Add Value to this conversation?"  

Look around at your co-workers and ask God how you can Add Value to them.

When your family gathers for dinner tonight, set the tone by determining to Add Value to each person sitting with you.

Feel free to use these encouragement starting phrases:
  • "I know you've had a tough day.  Thank you for........."
  • "If others could only recognize your gift for............"
  • "I really appreciate that you"
  • "If it weren't for you, we wouldn't have the blessing of.............."
  • "You've grown so much in the area of.............."

People may look at you a bit oddly at first.  But I can promise you, they will come back for more. 

This world is dying of thirst waiting for someone to share a cup of cool refreshment in the form of genuine encouragement.  Not flattery.  No one benefits when we just try to build egos.

No, I'm talking about taking a moment to look into the eyes of another person.  See their human-ness that is just like yours.  Then intentionally choose to Add Value to that person.

I'm learning in new ways about an age old truth - what I hold out to others, always comes back to me.  (Sowing and Reaping)  By day's end, YOU will be the one smiling and feeling a bit lighter.

I can hardly wait to hear your stories of Adding Value.................

Friday, February 9, 2018

Alpha and Omega

Spencer Matthew Schreck, our very first grandchild, turned 7 years old this week!

I can hardly believe we've been on this Journey of Joy as grandparents for seven whole years.  We celebrated the crown prince on Monday.

When they arrived at Noni and Papa's for dinner, he and the five other grands were ecstatic.  Parties and children just go together like Christmas and snow; Valentines and chocolate; Super Bowl and.......well, you get the idea.

Even the "Littles" (Zach and Madi are 2 1/2 now) came in singing "Happy Burtday, Penchur!" before they saw the first ballon or party favor.  Aunt Kristin came early to decorate my dining room in the requested super hero motif.

It seems Spencer is very taken with The Flash right now.  He and Flash both run really fast.  :-)

There was an added layer of joy because John and Linda (NY grandparents) joined us for the unwrapping of presents via Skype.  The senior Schrecks have done an amazing job of staying connected with all their grandchildren who are spread out over Florida and Missouri.

Grandma and Grandpa Schreck are extremely creative; not allowing distance to make them feel distant.  All our lives are enriched because of their diligent efforts to stay engaged.  (That'll preach in several ways, won't it?!)

After dinner, Frank and I sat back enjoying the controlled chaos.

Gift bags were lined up and the opening began.  Clothes.  Shoes.  A game.  As each gift was opened, Spencer stopped, made eye contact with the giver and thanked them, un-prompted. (John and Joy are great parents!)

Abby (now 5) had written a "cahd" for Spencer all on her own.  In her note, she told him he helped her and she loved him "vewy," "vewy" much.  Definitely a keeper.

There was even a mini scavenger hunt for clues to the Smith's gift.  Meagan had placed clues all over the house and even one on the playground outside.  The search party formed a little train that chugged along in tandem all over.  As each clue was located, the train halted and went silent long enough for Spencer to read it, getting direction for the next stop; then they were off again! Toot, Toot!

The drumroll moment happened at the very end.  Spencer's biggest hope was for a new bicycle and helmet.  (Schrecks are tall people who grow quickly in the early years and his former training wheel bike was just too small.)  The bigger bike was a joint gift from parents and both sets of grandparents.

The moment of revealing was absolutely PRECIOUS!

Joy placed the birthday boy in front of our fireplace facing the family and covered his eyes.  It was easy to see he was electric with anticipation.  (I'm grinning like something silly just remembering the sweet smile on his half covered face.)

Everyone kept calling out, "No Peeking!  No Peeking!" while John carefully rolled the new bike into position in front of him.  We made noise to cover the click of the kick stand.  Can you hear all the squealing and shushing?

"OPEN!" came the simultaneous command from Mom and Dad.

Huge blue eyes popped open and the number one fan of the Flash froze for a split second.  Then all the jumping and whooping and cheering one would expect from a seven year old boy began to erupt.

He put on the helmet right away and started moving the bike toward the front door for a test run.  Dad had to stop him because our driveway was full of aunt's and uncle's vehicles.

"Look, Papa!  NO Training Wheels!"  His face beamed with pride as Papa acknowledged how grown up our little guy has gotten.

The title of this post may seem a bit unrelated until I share with  you the other part of my week.  Before the party, I had just flown back in from doing the funeral of a DEAR friend in Missouri.  Martha and her husband Bob have been part of our lives for over 35 years.

Her passing was so painful.  A huge loss, indeed.  I'll write more about this amazing lady in my next post, I'm sure.

But for just a moment as I sat watching Spencer, I was reminded of the bookends of life.  Beginnings.  Endings.  How quickly it all passes.  How important it is that we make effort to stay connected; to capture moments of joy; to mark life as it happens.

Our Heavenly Father is referred to as Alpha and Omega; Beginning and End.  Solomon highlighted that there are times for everything.  To laugh, to cry.  To rejoice, to mourn.  To live, to die.

I guess my main thought for you today is this - Live while you can, dear friend.

Don't allow distance or discouragement or difficulty to keep you from experiencing the joy that can be squeezed from this moment in time.  The choice of focus is yours alone.

My friend, Martha, demonstrated this valuable lesson for me time and again.

Her decades-long struggle with severe rheumatoid arthritis did not stop her from living a full, exhilarating life.  Pictures at her memorial showed a woman who hiked and picnic-ed and swam and celebrated family.

She had to pace herself and work within the limitations of her debilitating pain.....but she kept going!  And without exception everyone gathered for the memorial remembered her infectious laughter, her kind heart, her generous spirit. 

I want to be a person who lives life while I can.  I don't want difficulty to rob me of what we were meant to enjoy.  I want to take off the training wheels and live today fully; making a difference for someone's tomorrow 

We're all living within the bookends called beginning and ending - Alpha and Omega.  Let's spend our time wisely, Dear Friends!

Monday, January 22, 2018

Tough Love

Talking with Joy or Meagan on the phone these days guarantees the listener will end the call with a huge smile, some quiet chuckles and an appreciation for toddler moms who work from home.

Not only do they have the care of their own little broods (Joy-4 and Meagan-2), they also both care for two additional "littles" for added income.  Hectic is an understatement and that's on a normal day.

This week-end everyone has felt a little sick.  There have been a couple of fevers, some vomiting, a few colorful diapers and general lethargy for all involved.

I called Joy earlier to ask how things were at her house.  The following is how many of our conversations go:

Hi Sweetie, it's Mom.  Are you guys feeling better?

Hi, Mom!  Yes, we're doing fine.  Don't shove your brother.  Say you're sorry right now.  Yes, we're doing fine.  Son, why are you throwing those chips?  Don't waste those.  Can you pick those up for your brother?  Are you listening to me?!  Hi, Mom.  Wait.  Mom, I'll call you right back!  I think she's getting ready to throw up. to the bathroom!

I've heard some great lines while talking to these "Heroes of Home-Making!"

  • Come Here!  Why are you naked?
  • Did you just get that out of the trash?  No!  You can't have that!
  • Don't put her foot in your mouth!
  • Are you bleeding?  No?  Then you're okay, stop crying!
  • Get off the back of that couch - you'll fall and hurt yourself!
  • Get off that shelf - you'll fall and hurt yourself!
  • Get off that table - you'll fall and hurt yourself!
I well remember trying to have an intelligent conversation with someone while my own toddlers were underfoot.  My babies are now mommies themselves and it's so much fun being around them.  

It's also fun watching as they pass on the baton of faith to our grandchildren.  There is a scripture that has become one of my favorites for this season.  "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth." 3 John 1:4

Because these grand babies are more important than any other aspect of life, I sometimes want to step in and help.  I find myself offering suggestions that are actually strong requests wrapped in politeness.  It's hard not to say, "You should do this the way I did."

But during this season of life, it's more important that I stand back and serve as cheerleader for these young mommies.  It's tough to love this way but it's best.  

I read an article today that beautifully articulated my feelings.  I'm not sure who wrote it or I would give credit for this statement, "To let go is not to be in the middle arranging all the outcomes, but to allow others to affect their own outcomes."  


The writer went on to offer a quote of Amy Carmichael, "Choose if your loved ones are to know all that I [God] can be to them, or if they are to miss the best because they have you instead."

Double Ouch!!

It's the kind of quote I'll have to ponder for a long time to come.  But one that I also hope will become a part of the tapestry of my life story.  I want to offer this kind of love in all my relationships.

Each of us wants the best for those we love.  It's hard to think what we have to offer may not be the best for them.  But I encourage you to step back with me and take an honest evaluation after reading the quote a couple more times.  

Perhaps your prayer will sound a little like mine:
Lord, help me recognize when I'm struggling with poorly veiled issues of control.  Help me let go and simply enjoy the gift of having family and friends.  

So often the Heavenly Father gives me help in the form of Tough Love.  One thing is for certain, whatever the form, His love is always best!  


Friday, January 19, 2018

The Right Stuff

So, may I state the obvious?


I'm not sure who left the freezer door open between Canada and Michigan but can someone please close that thing???

And you're absolutely right - I have nothing to whine about.

At the time of this writing, we are experiencing our third week with evening temperatures below the freezing mark.  It's cold here but at least we're in the double digits. 

Most everyone I know is shoveling snow, missing work, avoiding ice, struggling just to keep their fingers and toes from falling off.  I know; I can't really complain.

Still, I'm sitting in front of my fake fireplace as often as possible.  Drinking hot tea by the gallon. Using the seat warmer in my car, daily.  Rotating my three winter outfits to match the only pair of boots I haven't ruined by holding my toes too close to the space heater under my desk.

I'm a WHIMP!  I admit it!

For all you dear readers who know you won't see the ground until April I have one thought, "Come On Down!!"  At least by the middle of next week we'll be getting close to our normal again.

You won't be able to swim in our lakes like the silly ads claim.  But you won't have to break ice cycles off your eyelashes either.   Whew!

Believe it or not, I HAVE done true winters.  Frank and I started our life journey in the mountains of NC.  All three girls were born in Asheville.  Most winters we had plenty of snow and even a few blizzards during our twelve years in that region.

But the girl who grew up in Florida has now fully re-acclimated to Florida.  I no longer own any of the right stuff for winter.  Yes, I own boots and a couple of turtlenecks.  But they're strictly ornamental.

I can't find my gloves and I only have two pair of real socks. My "coat" is designed to lightly cover me during rain storms; not keep me warm. And don't get me started on pajamas.

We've resorted to throwing a couple of blankets into the dryer just before we hop in bed each night.  Last night we broke the cardinal rule and allowed Gracie to sleep on the foot of the bed.  It was a benefit to us all three, believe me, and I don't think any of us moved all night long.

To top it off, we just happened to chose the coldest week in history for early prayer.  Consequently, Frank and I have been rolling out of bed between 4:30 and 5:00 each morning.  He's been at church by 5:45 to turn on some heat and lovely altar music.

As brave members of our congregation have gathered between 6-8 AM, their loving pastor has been right there to greet them.  Their whimpy pastor's wife, on the other hand, has huddled in the back right corner bundled under multiple layers and cradling a steaming cup of tea.

My aura has been less than welcoming, I guess.  Only a few folks ventured to wave at me or even make eye contact across the auditorium until the sun appeared each morning.

Obviously, I'm exaggerating things a bit.  Hopefully, it's helped you smile to think of someone totally unprepared and ill-equipped trying to cope with all this cold weather.

Truth is when we take time to gather the right tools and equip ourselves, most anything becomes more manageable.

Which is exactly why we set aside the first few days of each year to fast and pray together as a church.  We've discovered that this time quiets our hearts and refocuses our perspective.  We take time to equip ourselves for the year ahead; making whatever we may face much more manageable.

This scripture has become a key meditation point for me.  "Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance."  Jude 1:2  Another version says, "Mercy, peace and love be multiplied to you."

I like both.

This short passage has become my key prayer for 2018.  Feel free to adopt it as your own, I think that's what Jude had in mind.  And as we lean in to hear the heart beat of Jesus, we quickly discover that He has mercy, peace and love enough to warm each of us.

Blessings!  Stay bundled up!

Do you have a scripture or favorite thought you're pondering for the year ahead?  Please share in the comment box, someone else may need it too.


Friday, January 12, 2018

Decade of Love

Ten years ago this very day, the weather here in central FL was absolute perfection!

The skies were clear and sunny.  The afternoon air was a delightful 72 degrees.  White, puffy clouds danced slowly just beyond the green tops of waving palm trees.

"Sheri, wait!  Are you making that up?   How can you possibly remember what the weather was like on this particular day ten years ago?!"

I remember so vividly because on this day ten years ago, our middle daughter became our first to walk down the aisle as a bride.  Alicia Joy was set to wed the man of her dreams, John Andrew Schreck.  And they could not have had a more picture perfect day.

Weather this time of year is always dicey in most of the country.  Why in the world would you ever choose January as a wedding month?  What were the chances people could even get flights?

But John and Joy had honored parent's wishes delaying their wedding until after college. Graduation was in December, 2007.  They wanted to marry the first available weekend in January.  John isn't one to delay when he knows the direction he's headed.

So, January 12, 2008 it was!

Joy had been on spring tour for the university in 2006.  She called home and wasted no time with small talk.  "Daddy, do you remember meeting the keyboard player for our choir?  His name is John Schreck.  Well, he's going to call you and ask if he can date me.  Please say yes.  I really like him."

Now some of you may find it surprising that a college student would have a young man call her father before agreeing to date him.  Let me give you some background information.

We birthed three daughters.  They were beautiful children with delightful personalities.   It was obvious they would become teenagers at some point.  We knew young men would notice their beauty and want to date them.


So before anyone was old enough to start thinking about boys, we began developing a plan.  We talked about it often with our girls, laughing together and establishing the "Why" of our plan.

Here's what we came up with - together:

  • When a young man asked to call or date one of our daughters, the automatic reply was to be, "You'll have to call and ask permission from my Daddy first."  
  • The reasoning for this was simple (and discussed often.)  Any young man "worth his salt," would recognize the privilege of talking to one of our daughters as well worth the effort.
  • The daughter being pursued would then let Daddy know if she was or wasn't interested in the fella.  
  • If she had no interest, Daddy was the one who said "No!" taking her off the hook.  
  • If she was interested, Daddy could take enough time with his conversation to set some clear boundaries and start to know the fella.
  • First dates were fun meals at our dinner table.
  • Please note our daughters were completely involved in every part of the process.  
  • They fully understood this to be a plan of action set in motion to protect them; not for controlling them.
Our little family action plan worked well all through their high school years.  We thought it would wrap up when the girls transitioned to college 500 miles away.  

Can you imagine our surprise when that first phone call came?  

"Daddy, I met this fella in my 8 AM class.  He wants to take me out next week.  I told him he needs to call you.  Let me know if he does, will you?"

Walking his first daughter down the aisle that January day wasn't easy.  But Frank did it confidently because he knew the man waiting to marry our beloved Joy was a man "worth his salt!"  

We dropped our anniversary card by their house earlier today.  Our visit was perfectly timed giving us the chance to squeeze all the grands.  Four brilliant little people.  Smart like their dad and attractive like their mom.  

Tonight John and Joy will celebrate with a quiet dinner all alone. (Thanks to wonderful baby-sitters and gift cards.)  They'll talk of all the highs and lows they've walked these past ten years.  Together they'll spin dreams for the days ahead.  

We couldn't be more thankful for the marriage they're continuing to build with Christ as the center.  

And who knows, one day soon it may be John looking straight into the blue eyes of his own beauties saying, "Any fella who wants to date you has to call ME first.  It didn't hurt me any calling your Papa to get permission to date your mom.  If he's worth his salt, he won't mind calling your daddy."  

Who knows.

(Did you have a dating plan that worked well with your family?  Any tips or funny stories to share with other families of teens?  We always enjoy hearing from you.....)