Newlywed Love (#96)

September 6-7, 1970

M, E, and B

A blog note:

Our daughter Birgitta and granddaughter Emerald (right) will be arriving tonight for a happy weekend in Michigan.


Then on Monday, my college roommate Julie (below) will be coming with her friend Ming for the rest of the week.


Beach buddiesBecause of these festivities, the blog-saga of Meg and Nate’s newlywed year will be on hold for a week or so.

Eventually we’ll get them to their first wedding anniversary (November 29) before closing the book on them. First, though, let’s see how the 1970 Labor Day weekend finished out:


Smooching BaronAfter Lynn and Don’s wedding, Nate and I made a bee-line across two suburbs to Mom and Dad’s place in Wilmette – anticipating a reunion with our beloved doggie Baron. As soon as we saw him, Nate scooped him up and planted a kiss right on his nose. (Picture is of a second kiss the next day…)

We were astounded by how much he’d grown. Obviously, he was a happy, healthy poochie.

On Sunday, Mom hosted a mid-day dinner that doubled as a birthday party for Dad (#71) and brother Tom (#20), who was born on Dad’s 50th.


David and TomAmong the party guests was Tom’s good friend David (to the left of Tom), the guy who had become a regular babysitter for Baron. As the afternoon unfolded, Nate and I could see how close David and Baron had become, with “our” puppy responding better to him than to us.



On the drive back to Champaign early the next morning, we could see the writing on the wall. Since we had one more year in our apartment where dogs weren’t allowed, and since Mom and Dad seemed to continually be on the move, Baron would be spending more and more time with David — and end up in his family instead of ours.

Playing with BaronThough we could rightfully claim him after our year in Champaign, by then that would be hard on both boy-and-dog. So, as we ticked off the miles toward home, we felt ourselves slowly accepting a difficult truth: we would need to begin separating from sweet Baron.

We drove along in silence trying to absorb this sad reality, and I remembered something David had said at the dinner. “I hope some day you’ll let me take care of Baron full time. That would be a dream come true for me. And my whole family already loves him.”

Though Nate was feeling low too, he came up with one positive thought. “I’m sure if Baron went with David, he’d let us visit him any time we came to town.” Since his family and ours were good friends through decades together at Moody Church, I knew that was true.

“Also,” Nate said, “letting your parents get out from under the responsibility we never should have put on them in the first place, is the right thing to do.” We both knew that, too.

Shaking a balloonBy the time we pulled into our gravel parking spot behind the apartment, Nate and I reasoned that maybe the back story of why Baron had come to us at all was because God wanted us to deliver him to David. As hard as that was to think about, it would mean that everything was actually turning out the way it was supposed to be.

“Submit to God and be at peace with him.” (Job 22:21)

Newlywed Love (#95)

September 6-8, 1970


My friend Lynn and I had a storehouse of memories big enough to fill several books, going back to our pre-teen days.

Lynn, high schoolOver the years we’d gotten to know each other well as together we strategized in and out of countless boy-girl relationships.

Once in a while we’d sit down and list what would make the perfect husband.

When Nate and I began dating, Lynn walked with me through the 3 years of ups and downs that finally led to our wedding. And I was with her the night she met Don and through all the heart-to-hearts that followed.

Now we had come to their wedding weekend, and as Nate and I raced toward the Chicago area from Champaign to participate, we couldn’t have been happier for them. Chatting through the miles, I recounted to Nate what a loyal friend Lynn had been as I remembered her excitement the weekend we got married.

Though she and Don had met by then, they lived 850 miles apart and no commitments had yet been made. But despite Lynn not being sure she’d be trying on wedding gowns any time soon, she had happily joined into all my joy in doing that same thing. She made 3 of my bridesmaids’ gowns and in so many ways was my best cheerleader through those heady days.

Now we were on our way to celebrate Lynn and her man on their wedding weekend. As we drove north, we hoped we wouldn’t be stopped by any policemen for anything, since we had 4 very sharp swords packed in the Fiat.

Rehearsal group

We were late arriving to the rehearsal, but Lynn filled us in. She directed Nate and his swords to the other three military guys where he passed along the instruction he’d received from the officer who’d given him the swords. Apparently it was important to hold them a certain way. He also gave them their white gloves.

Sword practiceWhile they headed outside to practice, Lynn introduced me to the friend of Don’s with whom I’d be walking as a bridesmaid. She also told me that if Nate agreed, she wanted him to walk her mother down the aisle. He said yes and considered it a great honor.

The rehearsal evening was almost as much fun as the wedding, although the bride and groom couldn’t go home together afterwards. As for Nate and I, we didn’t go home together that night either.

Lynn and Meg in aisleI went to Lynn’s house with the other bridesmaids, and he went off with Don and Co. to the bachelor party, followed by a night with Mom and Dad.

It was never our first choice to spend a night apart, but he encouraged me to go with the girls, and I loved him for all the freedom he gave me. He was always gracious, never trying to control me in any way.

The bride and bridesmaids wasted no time when we got to Lynn’s house, donning our bathing suits and heading to a neighbor’s pool. Making the most of our togetherness, we stayed up half the night talking about every possible marriage scenario. Lynn could hardly wait!

“A worthy wife is a crown for her husband.” (Proverbs 12:4)

One Year Without Mary

September 24, 2017

One year ago today, Mary left us, although that isn’t the accurate way to say it. She didn’t willfully leave us but allowed her departure to be orchestrated by God.

Trusting God.Scripture says Jesus has the key to death (Revelation 1:18) and that whatever he opens, no one can close. (Revelation 3:7) A year ago he opened death’s door for Mary, and her spirit walked willingly through it, right into eternal pleasure. It was God’s perfect plan for her.

That’s the encouraging thing about a loved one’s passing. If we, like Mary, have loved and followed Jesus in our earthly lives, death’s door is simply a passageway to a glorious new life we can’t possible picture now.

Knowing that, however, doesn’t ease the sorrow in the rest of us. Throughout this day, our minds have been filled with Mary – sweet remembrances and the thousand-and-one-ways we each miss her.

Bervin initiated a time of sharing tonight, to take place at the beach Mary loved so much. A bunch of us gathered to talk and let our eyes freely fill with tears, if need be. From a wide circle of beach chairs, we shared bits and pieces of who Mary was to each of us by way of things we hold dear about her now – memories from silly to serious.

Bervin prays

Bervin coaxed Scripture from us by asking if anyone could recall Bible passages that Mom/Grandma had taught them. As 7 young children played in the middle of our circle, the verses came forth. And in reciting those, we remembered how much Mary loved the Word of God.

It’s mindboggling to realize she is now loving THE Word, face-to-face. (John 1:1) And as one of her children said tonight, “She’s also got all the answers to all the questions the rest of us are still asking.”

SunsetLater, as we warmed hot dogs over our fire on a perfect weather-evening, the sun set over Lake Michigan. And we concluded that none of us knows who will next join Mary or when that might be.

But if she had walked up to our circle on the beach tonight with a bit of advice from her life “on the other side,” she probably would have said something like this: “Trust God with your life… and death. Study your Bibles. And be sure you say these words to others often: I love you.

“Because after all, you never know…”

On the beach“The way of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, which shines ever brighter until the full light of day.” (Proverbs 4:18)