It’s Our Anniversary!

32 years ago, I married the guy who turned out to be the love of my life. Funny story, that. I thought he was the love of my life when we were dating. But, not so much. He drank alot. I smoked alot. He played in a band. I was his groupie. Actually, I picked him up in Tom Thumb, the grocery store he stopped in to buy “two packets of Mahlboros.” He is Scottish. Back then, he had a brogue I couldn’t really understand. I was so excited when he said he had come from England because I, too, had just come over from England- the only difference was – I was born, raised and lived here. I was only visiting England. So, I asked him if he would stay for my break and talk to me about the places I’d been to in England – you know- since he knew where they were and all and no one here in the states knew where I was talking about. Well, someone might have, but I had no idea who they might have been. So, he stayed for my break, we drank coffee, smoked cigarettes and he laughed that I had visited Newport Pagnell in Buckinghamshire. But, the guy I’d gone to visit lived there. That was my “youth hostile” – the place I told my mom I was staying. I couldn’t very well tell  her I was spending that time with a guy, now, could I? We talked about Buckingham Palace and Purley, in Surrey where he lived (nudge, nudge,wink, wink say no more)  and suddenly , my break was over. We exchanged numbers and I thought about him all night. He had brown, curly, shoulder length or thereabouts hair, big brown eyes that I have never been able to say no to- until later, and, of course, that brogue.
Before he left, he told me he was going to have a root canal in the next couple of days. I felt so bad for him- it was Christmas , for heaven’s sake – the time when everyone eats until they drop and this poor guy was going to be drinking his turkey dinner.

I never made any secret of the fact I had a daughter from a previous marriage, and he never seemed daunted by it. We were a package deal and  he was cool with that. And he wasn’t all over me like some guys were. We had a fairly long courtship- about three years- off again, on again.  Any day it was snowy-that was a good day to visit him. I usually spent snowy lunch breaks at his house. I met his dad , who had the most sparkly blue eyes and wicked sense of humor I’d ever seen in an older man. He was fun loving  and enjoyed looking after Stephen. There are several fun stories I could relay to you, lovely reader, but it’s best left for another time.

Sadly, one year, Dad passed away and Stephen asked me to marry him. He was quite inebriated at the time and I was none too happy about it. I told him he didn’t love me and he replied, “I could learn to love you.” I laughed and declined his invitation to marry. Later, I recanted my decline and a couple of days later, accepted. I loved him and thought I could make it all better. We married October 29, 1982- my best friend Betty, by my side and his best friend and band mate, Greg at his. We hopped the DART bus headed for downtown Dallas – he at one stop and me at

still in love after all these years.
still in love after all these years.

the other. A bride and groom are not supposed to see each other -you know before the wedding. But, since we had no car, I stayed at Betty’s and he at the apartment and we didn’t see each other before the getting on the bus. We rode to the Dallas County Courthouse where the Justice of the Peace performed the ceremony and then declared, “I now pronounce you man and wife -that’ll be $10- you may kiss the bride.” Good job we had ten dollars. We had no idea it was going to cost more than what the marriage license cost. Just like that, we were married. Amanda and I had a husband and father.Pretty dadgum cool!

Well, the part about him “turning out to be the man of my dreams… ” well, that’s kind of a longer story. We have had many adventures, have divorced and remarried and this is the best marriage I’ve ever had! So what if i’ve been married twice to the same guy… we made it and he did turn out to be the love of my life. Fancy that- all from a chance encounter or was it chance after all?

The Welcome Church

Okay, so over the weekend, there we were in Philly- a place I definately want to go back to when I have an opportunity. I didn’t see much and wanted to see it all- but there is only so much one can do and see while in a car. At any rate, the street church we were observing meets in the Parkway in front of the beautiful Family  Court Building there in Philadelphia. A grand backdrop, no doubt. Sadly, I took no photos as it would hinder the trust built up by the church for it’s people. Unhoused folks are very private individuals and trust must be built and maintained. Once lost, the damage is huge. The church comes to that location once a month. They serve coffee before the service and their liturgy is very close to ours.  The day we were there, there was someone serving donuts or other snackage in back of the Welcome Church and to the side, chicken was being served by the Baptist Church. Unlike our church, they met at 3 o’clock . The Gathering meets at  1:00.

It was a beautiful, sunny day, the wind whipping my hair around as if I were next to a fan.It was cool, brisk, really and I was wearing short sleeves. I began to get a little chilly, so I stood in the sun where the warmth covered my shoulders like a shawl. People gathered in a semi circle to try and hear the service in progress. We sang a song for the people that we were taught only the night before.It was a lot of fun to do.After the Eucharist, people lingered about  a bit as if they, too , were gathering the warmth I felt. It was an amazing experience and I was so glad I went.

I love the street church. I always feel humbled afterward and blessed throughout. If you have never been to a church for the housed and unhoused, it is an experience everyone should have. Google churches for the homeless or unhoused in your area and see what you are missing. When you visit, I can guarantee you will be blessed and feel humbled. I can just about guess that you’d never worshipped God quite that way before. But, watch out- it’s a blessing that is addictive and that, my friend, is a wonderful thing!

Learning Church Without Walls- Come and See Weekend

Our flight into Philly landed about 3 in the afternoon -Friday. After obtaining a rental car, we were off to the Lutheran Theological Seminary of Philadelphia. We started out about 3.30 p.m and reached our destination through many neighborhoods, roads -twists and turns via Lyn’s telephone GPS. Why the GPS didn’t lead us through the main thoroughfares, no one knows. It led us off the highway and into the abyss that are the streets of Philly. Tourists with no idea where we were going. A true adventure , if I ever saw one. Frustration mounted as the GPS led us from one turn to another. Something was said, someone cried. Everyone tired.

Eventually, we got to the Best Western where Lyn and Tom checked in and then by 6 o’clock to the Seminary for the conference on serving an unhoused and housed communities. Some people may call the population we serve homeless. They may be without houses, but they always have a home within the church and with God.

The first night of the “come and see” was a time of getting to know the others, finding out where in the United States they were from and what their ministry entailed and dinner. Oh my. Dinner. Real Philly Cheesesteaks, Real Philly pizza, Real Philly pretzels. I was in heaven and had not even died yet! A glass of wine to top it off and I was set to go. It was a wonderful evening, but I was exhausted. Knowing how difficult it is for me to be civil while exhausted, I went to my room and got ready for bed- hung out -being mostly quiet- well, except for calling my husband and daughter.

It was a very quiet night for me – no howling coyotes, no howling, barking dogs , braying donkeys-the music  of my soul-nothing but quiet. I had to get out of bed , turn on the music and begin walking in place and then around the room for a few  minutes. I read my facebook and email and finally fell asleep.

Saturday morning, we had interesting  and challenging sessions with topics such as focusing on criminal justice, social enterprise, trauma and the subject of racism, homophobia and sexism in our congregations. A key to being able to serve your congregation in a way that benefits them best is to know them. Know who they are, what they have been through and then you can sort out how best to help them.

It’s Sunday now and today, we will go to the parkway in Philadelphia at 3 and worship with the people of the Welcome Church. I know it will be a great experience and I can’t wait. I have found a passion in this ministry such as I have never had before for or in church. I guess I have just found my niche.

In the next post, I will be writing about the service and the plane ride home! Have a mahvelous day!10359221_10203767165234526_5540952237518008767_n (1)1779976_10203767164954519_1900002060732461418_n

seeing Philly from the car.
seeing Philly from the car.

Philadelphia, Here I Comee

Tonight, I will be getting ready to embark on an adventure to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I don’t know if I have ever been there. My parents used to take my sister and I on vacations every July for two weeks. We went on jaunts through the Wild West- MontanA, Wyoming,Colorado and several times up through Canada.We almost made it to Alaska onc, where we might have been able to look out the motel room and see Russia, but time ran short. Alaska and Russia will have to wait.

The  reason I am going to Philadelphia, though, is not a family vacation. Many of you know I attend a church that caters to the “housed ” and “unhoused.”  “Unhoused” because they have no building for their home. But they have a home in the church and in God. So, I will be attending a conference on how to have this type of church. Going to learn more things our diocese  can do for those less fortunate. I will be giving updates from time to time about things I’ve seen and done and heard. I will be adding photos as well. I can’t wait and I hope you’ll follow along with me on this journey toward helping others.

Jack.

our dingo, Jack
our dingo, Jack
Buddy.
Buddy.

I have happily decided that as a writer- I’m not too bad. I’ve begun a children’s series , “Jack”. Jack will learn various things and learn it’s okay to be himself. Jack is a real dog. He’s ours. A dingo- or Carolina dog as some call them. He is not wild and he hasn’t eaten any babies as  the Seinfeld episode suggested. He does have a personality that won’t quit. Always a smile on his face, the only time he is angry is when he sees his friend -turned-nemesis, Buddy. Oh my, how they  used to jaw-box on the living room floor til the cows came home.

When our Rosie passed away, Buddy and I had a heart to heart talk. I told him it was time to step up to the plate and be the dog of the house. He was happy to comply, but I didn’t know he would take it so seriously. I wanted him to be a leader, be a friend to the other dogs, guide them in  the way they should go. But, once he and Jack reached puberty, they both wanted to be the alpha dog. The difference was Buddy was willing to fight for it. Neither had been fighters before. I loved being able to take them for walks together . They would happily play and carry on. Sadly, those times have gone by the wayside.

And I have gotten well and truly off topic. Kind of. Anyway, Jack is going to have experiences in life that all good dogs should have with a lesson in there for him and children too. Anyway. Jack will be the star and I will be the voice. Watch for it to come soon!

What About My Life?

Question-Mark-Photos

Steven Farquharson, one of the bloggers I follow, wrote in “Design Your Days to Design Your Life” he didn’t know where his life was going. I got to thinking about that and I wonder if any of us really ever know. As Steven states, he “has goals, plans, but no way to know whether any of them will work out. ”  I felt I had to write about this because I never knew what my life was going to be about, what I was going to do with it, but that I wanted to make some kind of mark while I’m here. The problem was – I never really believed I would live past 30 anyway to plan any kind of life. I thought I would have killed myself long before I was 30. A diagnosis of bipolar is not really a happy-let’s-plan-my-life-now kind of diagnosis. Life is uncertain at best- unpredictable, but with bipolar- even more so. Now, don’t misunderstand- I’m not whining and I will eventually get to my point.

There was a time- in the 70’s when I wanted to be a medical technologist, then a radio news personality. I worked in grocery stores, baby stores, I worked for a time at Raytheon as a person who obtained clearances for others. I’ve done alot. I thought -in my teens- that I wanted to be some kind of missionary- was sure God had called me to help out somewhere with someone. I thought that meant I would go to some kind of foreign country. In fact, what it meant was that I was to meet and marry a man from Scotland! Also what it meant, was I was to work with others who had autism, or the aged, or the homeless, or my own children.

When I look back on my life, I feel like I am a sort of Jack -of -all-trades -master of nothing. There are so many things I love doing, now that I have lived a good 27 more years than I thought I would. I love painting, art, crafting, writing, learning, riding my horse, loving my animals, being silly and loving passionately those I can help and those who will let me love them and help them.

So, we can plan our lives- we can say we are going to be this or that. It might work out- it might not. What is important – at least to me- is that I live right, according to my belief in God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, that I do right by my fellow man and that I “love my neighbor as myself.” That’s a successful life in my eyes. Great post,Steven.