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.
I have been learning how to be a better husband and displacing my selfish needs in exchange for enhancing my wife’s life and well-being. Most men need to improve their thought process in their relationships with their wives, fiancé, or girlfriends (whichever situation you are at the present time).
So what am I doing to improve my marriage?
Dating my wife each week of course.
We spend our Wednesday afternoons enjoying each other’s company. Dates do not always have to cost money (great news guys)!
The other day, we decided to stay home and watch a movie on Netflix. We agreed to watch Beauty and The Beast as we had missed it at the theater. It was fun to see the human actors and actresses reenact the movie.
Recently, the weather in our local region had been unpredictable. Temperatures into the high-90’s were sometimes replaced with blustery afternoons. Planning an outdoor wedding would stress any couple during this time of year.
It was my honor to witness a very special wedding this past weekend. Who says that a large wedding is reserved only for the younger people. Why not a loving couple who cultivated a long-standing friendship for twenty-plus years and surrounded by friends and family who have been a part of their lives and long-term relationship?
Well, that is exactly what happened this past Saturday afternoon.
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.
(this is the first of a series of stories from our recent cruise adventure)
Packing our suitcases, checking our list of necessary items for the trip, trying to stay healthy, and arranging for drop-off and pick-up transportation. All this for the start of our first cruise down the Pacific Coastline on the Grand Princess!
Excitement grew as each day drew closer to our embarkation date of April 1. Nothing was going to deter us from our wonderfully planned voyage. I was exceptionally excited as this would be my family’s first cruise ever! Finally, we could see what this cruising-lifestyle is all about.
Saturday morning arrived. We had to wait for my older son and his wife to arrive so that we can carpool together into San Francisco. Last-minute preparations and the loading of suitcases into the car with some extra room for their luggage.
My phone buzzed – it was my son calling probably to let me know they were almost here. Upon answering my phone, I heard the words that would deflate my enthusiasm.
This weekend, there was a somber memorial service for a fallen California Highway Patrol (“CHP”) officer, Lucas Chellew, who was only 31 years old at the time of his death last week. He had served eight years in the CHP and his sister, also a CHP officer, delivered a moving testimony of her older brother’s legacy and life.
While we honored Officer Chellew’s sacrifice to protect and serve the citizens of California, a higher loss was recognized. He was a proud father of his young children. It is very sad that they will no longer have their daddy to protect them.
Have you ever felt buried by problems and circumstances in your life?
Just like this tree overwhelmed by the copious amounts of snow at Lake Tahoe last month, I can identify with this crown. Problems seem to pile up at times and just like this tree, I struggle to keep my head above water (so to speak).
The good news is that when the snow melts in the spring or early summer, it will be standing tall to provide shade and a safe haven for nature as in past seasons.
Have you thought about how the base of the tree reacts to the freezing temperature of the packed snow? Do you ever feel that your problems seem to freeze you in a position that disables you from moving forward?
The brisk sunny afternoon was the perfect welcome for the annual Christmas party that was about to begin. Relatives near and far converged upon this particular home which enjoyed the perfect backdrop of the San Francisco Bay Area. The Oakland hills greeted this extended family to a party expected to be filled with laughter, stories, and love that transcends four generations!
This much-anticipated family party was about to begin!
The holidays seem to have arrived faster this year than most! Perhaps it is a sign of aging or maybe it is the retailers who are always trying to push the seasons faster (have you noticed that Christmas items have been on the shelves since September?).
I cannot wait for that turkey leg and catching up with family members. The many dinners and seasonal foods will definitely force me to stay disciplined with my exercise routines! Of course I could use the excuse that our bodies automatically add a few pounds in the winter for “insulation” (yeah, right).
Then the frenzy of Christmas shopping, the crowds (although I hear online sales are increasing every year now – smart shoppers). Traditions, whether old or new, are created and passed down to the next generation. It is especially fun with the younger kids and their innocence of life.
Presents are wrapped, stockings are hung, and the aroma of sugar cookies fill the house! We do this every year, right? The chaos and panic of finding the perfect gifts, hiding them early only to hyperventilating as we forget where we hid those gifts! Or how about the late night, hide in the garage, hope to fix it right the first time, bicycle!!! Don’t know what is worse – finding extra screws after the assembly or watching your child learn to ride their first bike while parts are slowly dropping along their path to that “right of passage” first-time crash into the bushes (or parked car).
We attended the funeral service of a dear sister in Christ who was suddenly taken home at the end of August. She was only 55 years young and was full of life. She had a conversation with her brother the night before she passed and everything seemed normal.
She leaves behind a humble and wonderful husband and two grown daughters who are just beginning their lives in the world. Nothing prepared them for this unexpected loss. I was very shocked to hear this news (as many were as well) and could not wrap my mind around the finality of the situation.