We had the honor and privilege of attending our second wedding in two weekends. The venue was perfect for an outdoor ceremony followed by an indoor reception.
Driving on the beautiful back roads of Vacaville, California, we turned into a gravel road and were instructed to park in the open fields of this spacious ranch. Neither of us have been here before though we have driven by this location several times in the past years.
As we walked towards the crowd, we found our seats under some shade as the sun was beginning its descent. The gazebo was the focal point of the proceedings. The ceremony was concise and I am sure the family members in the first couple of rows were very thankful for that as they sat in the hot sun.
As we turned our attention to the reception, I saw an old friend standing in the shadows. She was a volunteer and I knew that I would catch up with her soon. During a break before the bride and groom reappeared, I stepped outside and bumped into my friend.
Then she told me some amazing facts about the Joyful Ranch.
A wonderful thing happened to me a couple of weeks ago.
Thanks to social media, I was able to reconnect with an old friend from 25+ years ago – gosh, am I really getting that old???
We agreed to meet at a coffee shop (name begins with an “S”) at the old town where our families first met years ago. I had moved away in 20001 so for me, it appeared that there was a lot of changes including this coffee shop we had our get-together.
The conversation flowed easily as we reminisced about old friends and marveled at how our sons had each grown up into young adults. He learned about the loss of my first wife as he remembered her kindness and personality. Though we both looked a bit more “filled-out”, the familiarity was so comforting.
Soon it was time to depart as my friend had a patient to see. We exchanged goodbyes and as I walked to my car, a thought came to mind. Why not drive down Refugio Valley Road to the old house and see what has changed.
“He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” – John 8:7
It is a shame that when change occurs, human nature acts out in a selfish manner. Who is truly entitled to cast blame and doubt on anyone except the blameless?
Yet no one is blameless even though some believe they are above the others.
Let us get deeper.
When devastation occurs in a person’s life such as the loss of a loved one, would you not agree that this is a “major storm” in life? Who would want such tragedies to occur? Who can we blame for our circumstances?
In a blink of an eye, the laughter of young children gives way to the deeper voices saying their goodbyes as one by one, they all leave to pursue their new lives and adventures.
No more summertime lemonade stands to earn spending money for candy. No more gaps in their smiles from lost baby teeth. No more 9pm bedtimes or eating on plastic dishware. No more high-pitched giggling or wide-eyed looks of a new bicycle.
Have you ever considered the importance of a lighthouse? I am fortunate to live in Northern California where I can visit lighthouses along the coastline. Born and raised in San Francisco, I grew up near the beach and always heard the fog horns blaring their warning sounds so that ships would not come too close to the shores.
Active lighthouses shine their brilliant lights that pierce the evening curtains of fog that line the coastline. For some, it is a comfort to know that land is towards that beaming light. For others, it is a fair warning to stay further out in the ocean.
While postcard pictures of these lighthouses display bright colors, one is sometimes disappointed when they approach the lighthouse in its current day. Weather and the salt air makes it difficult to maintain the original colors while rust and peeling paint are the usual sidings of these lighthouses.
My son and I spent some time this evening to assemble his high school graduation invitations. It was only a couple of weeks ago that I had spent time to create a simple mail merge document to print the mailing labels. The return address was already provided by the company the school used to print the package.
Due to limited seating, we were allowed to send a finite number of invitations so immediate family members and close friends were on the guest list. There was a bit of hesitancy as we had to figure out the order of the materials but it did not take long before we had our system. He assembled the invitation and stuffed it into the tight-fitting “inner” envelope and passed it to me for the outside assembly.
The significant dates in your life are like the various stages of the ocean waves.
One thing is certain – that special date (or dates) will recur every year you are alive. Just like the annual holidays, we all have specific dates in our lives that hold significant meaning.
No, I am not talking about birthdays and anniversaries. This blog is devoted to stories of how to live courageously when our loved ones have passed. Those are the dates I am referring to. Continue reading “Here Comes That Next Wave…”
First, I learn about a good friend’s passing (a year after it happened). He was almost 55 years old at the time. Today, I attended a memorial service for a wife (of a beloved pastor) who suddenly passed away in her sleep – she too was almost 55 years old.
Why do they leave us so soon?
The memorial was moving as the room was filled with family and friends who loved her and the pastor. Although I have never met this person, hearing the many stories from close family and friends made me wish I had. I can see how her life impacted so many around her.
Do you remember your first tree top ornament of your very first Christmas tree? Is it packed away with all the other sentimental ornaments in that tattered box sitting in the corner of the closet? Perhaps you found it this year and put it on your tree as a reminder of the memories it still holds for you? Maybe it was lost, broken, or thrown away? Continue reading “That First Tree Topper…”