I apologize, dear readers, for allowing an entire week to pass without posting. (Not that YOU couldn't live without it! Smile. It's just that I made a commitment and want to be faithful to said promise.)
Anyway, the bronchitis monster is just about beaten into submission thanks to another doctor visit and a second round of antibiotics. Oh joy! And thanks to a wonderful treat provided us by dear friends. Frank and I spent three days in a quaint fishing cabin on the Weeki Wachee River. (No, "quaint" is not code for no electricity and an out house!) It really was a lovely place; complete with a porch swing, a perfect view of the river and quiet woods all around. RESPLENDENT!
We arrived on Thursday afternoon and I purposely removed my watch. Oddly enough the two clocks prominently displayed in the kitchen were missing batteries so I was able to just move on "body time". Because I still felt pretty bad, I took a nap while Frank went out to "explore the land". Which being interpreted means: he found the closest grocery store.
We had taken some food to prepare, made an easy dinner, then jumped in the car to find the sunset. (Sunsets are not readily visible deep in the woods.) It was spectacular; one of the distinct advantages of FL being totally flat! We also found a little beach area about five minutes from the cabin and made plans to spend some time there.
The highlights of the time away were - eating, sleeping, reading, holding hands, repeating! I felt too badly for any kind of in-depth discussions (much to Frank's delight. Smile.) And we both had great books we were reading; so it was perfect. We also were treated to many kisses from heaven in the form of seeing manatees glide right by in the river, a couple of dolphins (or porpoises I can never keep those straight), cardinals, woodpeckers, squirrels that ate crackers right off our deck. Yep, resplendent.
It was necessary to do battle with the indigenous monsters known as "Yellow Flies". Good grief, we should all be so relentless in our purpose here on earth as those little creatures! But we followed the advice of our friends, doused ourselves in bug spray and headed outdoors anyway.
By the time we packed the car Saturday afternoon and started back toward Winter Haven, our hearts were refreshed, our bodies were more rested and we could remember why we got married in the first place.
To all the readers who are young, please hear wisdom speaking to you from this "far away" land of getting older: take time with your spouse! I know that where you are now it seems there will always be another day to take that walk, a better time financially to go out, a weekend when the children won't need you as much......... That list is endless and will rob you of an important investment if you aren't careful.
When we were newlyweds, I did a pretty good job of putting Frank first. He and I were very purposeful about nurturing our marriage and finding joy in living together. (Not always an easy task with two strong-willed, first-borns like us.) And as the girls came along, we still took time for one another. I even planned a few "kidnappings" when he was in his workaholic days which were great fun.
Unfortunately, as time slipped by and we became pioneers of two different ministries, I allowed my frugal side (some call it tightwad, I prefer frugal) to take over and we put those investments on the back burner. Our wedding anniversary is December 30th - not exactly the best time to come up with extra money for a nice dinner out. And while we were evangelists, it was hard to justify the expense of a weekend away; we traveled all the time for heaven's sake. I told Frank not to worry about flowers, they just die anyway.
But the truth given us by Dr. Crandall Miller from college days still rings true: "What you feed grows and what you starve dies!"
I'd like to encourage you to be intentional about feeding your marriage the good things of laughter, joy, encouragement, intimacy, faithfulness. Make a choice to starve fear, insecurity, selfishness. Make your marriage priority one after your walk with the Lord and before your job as parent. And the best news is this - it's never too late to begin these practices.
Our time away this weekend felt just like an emotional steroid shot for our relationship. Good habits may take time to develop and energy to execute but they always yield good results. And if you put those habits in place early, when you finally arrive at the "Old Timer's Post-marker" (like us) you'll discover it's just like riding a bicycle. You never really forget how to treasure one another.
Hope your week is special!