A Love Song For Stephen

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I love Valentine’s Day as much as the next girl. I love to be told I’m loved and adored, I love to laugh  with my husband, Stephen and I love presents. But, some years, we’ve not had enough to get a Valentine’s present and make it through the week. You know, those lean years when you just have to choose which is more important. It is during those times I have felt more love than when I am given some token of love.

Love is a state of being. It’s not just a one day thing. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not implying (or am I ?) that one day out of the year does it for most people. I somehow can’t imagine that. But, many times, people choose only to show their affection through words and gestures on this one day.

My husband is not perfect. Neither am I. That’s what makes us so perfect for each other. But, my husband brags on me, tells of when we met with a gleam in his eye, talks about strengths he sees in me even before I see it myself and I do the same . We’re crazy about each other! That’s the whole thing. We are the real deal.

It’s not always been this way. No siree. There was a time when we were divorced. For two long years. I’m here to tell you we were the world’s worst divorced couple. We were miserable together and apart. But the thing was, we were more miserable apart than we ever were together. I moved away -way far away – to Granger, Texas. A four hour drive  from Stephen. Distance made no difference. If my car broke down, Stephen was there. If I was sick, he came to nurse me back to health. Flat tire? He came Stephen from Dallas to fix it.

Eventually, I moved back to Dallas and because I had no place to stay, Stephen let me stay at the house. It was Valentine’s Day 2000, when  he and the boys came in my room and said they’d talked and wondered if I would marry him again! He had asked the  boys if it was okay with them before he asked me. It was romantic and amazing and I realized I never had lost the love of my life. So, we married that April. We still celebrate our first marriage on our anniversary and six months later, we celebrate our second wedding anniversary. What could be more perfect than that?  We have the occassional argument, but not often at all.

So, I would like to suggest that Valentine’s is a state of mind and we would all do well to practice it every day. Besides, it’s more fun. It’s not the cards, flowers and stuff. Shoot! I have those things. But, the best thing, is the state of mind.

Stephen, “Wild Horses couldn’t drag me away.”

My Life in Pictures or…. What Makes Me Happy

My husband
My husband
Wedding at The Gathering
Wedding at The Gathering
silly cartoons
silly cartoons
Sunbeams
Sunbeams

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beautiful sunsets
beautiful sunsets
baby donkeys, adult donkeys and cartoon donkeys
baby donkeys, adult donkeys and cartoon donkeys

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practicing agility with Licorice
practicing agility with Licorice
our children and grandchildren
our children and grandchildren

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people watching
people watching
the moon
the moon
sunflowers
sunflowers
all of our dogs
all of our dogs
this little girl!
this little girl!
surprise artwork for me from my best friend
surprise artwork for me from my best friend
sitting in the pasture
sitting in the pasture

My 'Sexy Horse Pose"

Rev. Charles Keen listens while the Word of the Lord is being read.
Church- The Gathering , downtown dallas
my art
my art
more art
more art
creating art
creating art

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My crazy husband and beautiful daughter in law
My crazy husband and beautiful daughter in law

And the Water Turned to Wine

Wedding at The Gathering
Wedding at The Gathering

 

My husband and I worship in downtown Dallas – Thanksgiving Square on Ervay and Pacific . We call it The Gathering. It is a service meant for the unhoused as well as housed folks. So, that means anyone can come to it.  Kind of interesting how we got involved in this mission. 

The church we helped start in Royse City had just merged with another church out in Caddo Mills. Caddo Mills is not all the far, but we felt God was calling us to do something else. We were not sure what, but it was something we prayed about and talked about. One day in late August, Stephen asked if I’d ever heard of a church called The Gathering sponsored by the Episcopal Diocese for the unhoused people of Dallas. I had not heard of it, but it piqued my interest. So, the following Sunday, we visited . Our lives have not been the same since that day.

I am not sure what I expected, but what I witnessed was the most amazing thing. I watched people,with little to no material things, worshipping the Lord- raising their hands , thanking God for everything they had- for life, for the chance to worship. I was humbled. Here I was, a housed person- a person who had grown up with ‘things’ , a person who didn’t take the time to thank God for my life, for what I had, for the little things I had experienced. I didn’t thank God for the ability to go to the doctor, the dentist, to buy a Dr. Pepper or a sandwich. I was so ashamed.

I never felt unwelcome. I felt loved and I felt immediately part of something bigger than any of us knew. I hugged and was hugged. I loved and was loved. I felt at home. I was home. I’d found my place in this world with the unlikeliest people in the world. Turns out God has a great sense of humour. 

It has almost been a year since we began going to The Gathering. I was blessed to meet Jim Webb, the founder- whose dream it was to have a church without walls for the housed and unhoused people of Dallas. I am sad to say he lost his battle with cancer not long ago. Father Charlie Keen is the pastor, Tom Hauser, Lyn Burgess and others who are just as important, but names escape me at the moment. 

Rev. Charles Keen listens while the Word of the Lord is being read.
Rev. Charles Keen listens while the Word of the Lord is being read. He wears his tee shirt “The Church has Left the Building.”

Today was the first wedding held at The Gathering- Nikki and James. They’ve been together for a while and wanted to make it a lifetime. They are perfect together. Funny thing- turns out my daughter, Amanda, went to school with Nikki . It also turned out Nikki was from my hometown of Richardson. Small, small world we live in.  Nikki made the most beautiful bride and James , a handsome groom. The love was evident in the way they looked at each other. 

Once , at a wedding in Canaan, Jesus turned the water into wine. He did it again in downtown Dallas today – at Nikki and James wedding at The Gathering. Thank you Jesus!

 

for more information about The Gathering, check out these resources:

http://www.dallasnews.com/news/community-news/park-cities/headlines/20140110-dallas-homeless-find-place-to-worship-in-thanks-giving-square.ece

http://www.transfiguration.net/1118/the-gathering