The Hawaiian Nymans, Nelson & Ann Sophie:

Hawaiian Nymans.

The Chicago/Michigan Nymans, Lars & Margaret:

Lars and Mom.

The Florida Curington family:

Adam & Linnea with Autumn, Micah, Nelson, Isaac, Skylar

Florida Curingtons.

The Michigan Nymans:

Klaus & Brooke:

Klaus and Brooke.

The British Nyman family:

Hans & Katy, with Nicholas, Evelyn, Lizzie, Andrew, Thomas, & baby Jonathan in Katy’s front pack

The British Nymans.

From Indiana, Teddy Reynolds, & Michigan, Louisa Nyman

Teddy and Louisa.

The Iowa Bettis family:

Birgitta, Emerald, & Spencer

Iowa Bettis family.

“God showed how much He loved us by sending His one and only Son into the world….. so that we might have eternal life through Him.”       (1 John 1:9) May this God of hope bless you with peace and joy in 2018!

Newlywed Love (#30)

February 9, 1970

Nate and I were fast becoming good friends with Linda and Judy, along with their husbands. All of us were in our first year of marriage, making similar adjustments to each other and our new roles. Linda’s husband Ron was a salesman who traveled with his job, needing to stay out-of-town one or two nights a week.

Rip does tricksLinda missed him on those nights, so we often asked her to join us for dinner – primitive that it was. Sometimes she brought her dog Rip, who entertained us with a repertoire of tricks.

Linda didn’t drive, so when she came for dinner, Nate picked her up at the Country Fair Apartments and brought her over, driving her home afterwards. One night, after another deep snowfall, the roads hadn’t been plowed, and Nate was taking her home. As they turned into her complex, he didn’t see one of the large white rocks edging the driveway, and he drove up and over it.

Linda with RipHis VW got tightly stuck, refusing to move forward or back. So, using his bare hands (for lack of gloves), he kneeled in a snow bank and worked to dig away the packed snow from around the rock. Then he battled the heavy rock itself, eventually wrenching it out from under the car just enough so the car could move.

Linda cheered him through the long, cold process and felt bad about the whole thing, but of course it wasn’t her fault. In a report to me afterwards, she bubbled over with praise for Nate’s gallant good deed on her behalf. “He’s my unsung hero!” she said.

Cathy and JohnAs we stockpiled experiences together, our friendships were deepening with the carpool couples and also with others. About this time our friends Cathy and John got married, adding to our group of newlywed pals. John and Nate were in law classes together while both Cathy and I worked to support our men. It helped all of us to know that others were in our same boat.

In addition to these, we were making new friends at Champaign’s First Baptist Church.

Pastor Ralph Nast and his wife Lottie taught the young married group, and a dozen couples gathered every Sunday morning before the church service to study what Scripture had to say to them, many of whom were newlyweds like us.

First Baptist Church

Pastor Ralph skillfully guided our discussions as we grappled with some of life’s prickly problems. And we learned that virtually every question we asked was answered in the Bible. It turned out to be a time of rapid spiritual growth for all of us.

Most of us recognized that this was a unique time in our lives, because we were in the midst of making some of the most significant, far-reaching decisions we would ever make. We’d all made two big ones, deciding to get married and to whom, but other important choices lay just ahead. Many in the group were also deciding yes or no to Jesus Christ.

Hashing things out with friends turned out to be a big help. And Pastor Ralph taught us that Jesus was offering to be a friend to all of us – a friend whose advice should always be carefully considered, because it would be superior to guidance from any other source.

Jesus said, “I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” (John 15:15)

Newlywed Love (#16)

December 31, 1969

As 1969 moved into 1970, Nate and I quietly brought in the New Year alone-together, in our little apartment, satisfied to be tucked away rather than at a party, a fireworks display, or even a church service. Life would pick up speed soon enough, starting with Nate’s January finals in law school.

Nate retrieving firewoodOn New Year’s Eve, we had our supper on the floor in front of a cozy fire and recounted all that had happened in the year now ending.

He and I had gone from pen pals into a dating relationship, to an engagement, and then into marriage. I’d left my teaching post in Chicago as well as my apartment and roommates, and he’d finished his commitment as a dorm counselor at the university.

I had said goodbye to friends and family, then moved to Champaign. He’d moved from dorm room to rented room to our apartment. I’d driven a Corvair, then a Corvette, and then had no wheels at all. He’d gotten his first car, a VW.

I began teaching a grade level I knew nothing about, and he’d put another year of law school under his belt. With all this going on, to bring in the New Year with gentleness seemed just right.

Back in Wilmette, Dad was moving through his last workday on the 31st, before his official retirement. He was 70 years old and had dropped one weekday of work each year for five years, retiring in a slow and orderly manner. He and his partner, another Mr. Johnson, had built a Chicago engineering/architectural firm from the ground up, nurturing it from just the two of them into 250 draftsmen with building projects all over the country.

Dad at his deskTheir firm had designed and built everything from churches to factories and had had a successful run. We were all proud of him. Coming from an immigrant family where no English had been spoken till Dad enrolled in school at age 6, he had done well. And it was time to rest.

I had asked if he was nervous about that last day, wishing he could work a while longer, but he had said it was just the opposite – “time to get out of the rat race.” I was glad for him. He’d even married off his “wild” daughter to a stable man, which must have helped his new sense of freedom. I had put him through his paces, especially as a teen, and was grateful that after all our “wars,” he still loved me.

Winter beauity.As for Mom, she wrote in her diary:

It’s so beautiful. I stood by the window and cried. Snow falling – colored lights on evergreen. O God! Your gift!

I think she was referring to Jesus having come to earth, but it could have just been a sense of overall wellbeing.


Mom's emotions

And I had to agree with her. Life was indeed beautiful, nearly to the point of tears, and oh so full.


“…. pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap.” (Luke 6:38)