Give and Take with Cake

“Let them eat cake!” That’s what newly weds and their guests do at wedding receptions. At 9 ½ minutes after three o’clock on August 5, 1967, I fed my groom a huge mouthful of cake, and he returned the favor more gingerly ten seconds later, if the clock on the wall is any indication.

WeddingCakeCliff

WeddingCakeMe

We are on the verge of celebrating our 49th anniversary. Like the seventh note in an octave, we are almost there, but have not yet reached the golden mark.

How have we gotten this far without hitting the skids? I could make a long list of suggestions, but right now I have only one:

Watch Your Words

Cake is sweet to the tongue just as our words should be to one another. Words have power. Let your spouse or partner hear “please” and ”thank you” every day. Sarcasm is out. Surely contempt must go. Public humiliation, a big NO!

  1. Say “Yes” as often as humanly possible.
  2. Wait for the best time to make a request, offer a suggestion. Everyone needs 5-10 minutes to decompress after walking through the door. Let your spouse have time to breathe before requiring a response.
  3. Once a day, notice the positive out loud: the way they look, something they’ve said, or done.

Michael Hyatt, author and speaker, affirms that “Marriage is a powerful visual of how you treat the people you value the most. (“Why Speaking Well of Your Spouse is So Important”)

Ever the tip and list maker, Hyatt in another post shares his recipe for how to become your spouse’s best friend. Many of items on the list regard minding our words, for example: “Extend grace to me when I am grumpy or having a bad day. Speak well of me when I am not present.”

“Listen without judging or trying to fix me.”

Humorist Ogden Nash adds a dash of rhyme and reason to the mix:

If you want your marriage to sizzle

With love in the loving cup.

Whenever you’re wrong, admit it.

Whenever you’re right, shut up!

And finally, Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer everyone.”  

~ Colossians 4:6, New Revised Standard Version

 

Light a Candle

CandleWedding

This candle first flickered and then burned brightly on a pedestal at Calvary Presbyterian Church in Charlotte, North Carolina. The candle came with instructions to burn for one hour on our anniversary date. Some years the candle probably has shone for more than an hour. But we may have even skipped a year or two. Nevertheless, the long, tapered candle is very short and stubby now. Yet the flame still burns brightly.

Whether you are married or not, on this day I light a candle for you and whatever family relationship is most important in your life.

 

CandleDiningRoom

 

Your thoughts, recollections, or advice are welcome here. Thank you!

 

Coming next: Drawing on Love: A Brief Retrospective

Through a Glass Darkly: Anniversary # 48

This week Cliff and I celebrate our 48th wedding anniversary. We are not experts on marriage by any means, but we have learned a thing or two about

  • navigating its mysteries and
  • negotiating the best for both

 

  • PragueCubeSidePragueCube

We sometimes see through a glass darkly

Image captured in a 3-D hologram cube created via laser – visit to Prague, Czech Republic 2006

(Nothing dramatic happened in Prague except black light shows with marionettes. If you want wild and crazy drama, you’ll have to click here!)

I Corinthians 13, American Standard Version
I Corinthians 13, American Standard Version

For now we see in a mirror, darkly . . . But now abideth faith, hope, love, these three: and the greatest of these is LOVE.

* * *

Poet James Dillet Freeman expressed his view of the mystery of marriage In “Blessing for a Marriage” in at least 8 ways:

  1. May you need one another, but not out of weakness.
  2. May you want one another, but not out of lack.
  3. May you entice one another, but not compel one another.
  4. May you embrace one another, but not encircle one another.
  5. May you succeed in all important ways with one another / And not fail in the little graces.
  6. May you look for things to praise, often say, “I love you!”
  7. And take no notice of small faults.
  8. If you have quarrels that push you apart / May both of you hope to have / Good sense enough to take the first step back.

In the last last stanza he concludes:

May you enter into the mystery which is

The awareness of one another’s

Presence — no more physical than spiritual,

Warm and near when you are

Side by side, and warm and near when

You are in separate rooms

Or even distant cities.

May you have happiness,

And may you find it making one another happy.

May you have love, and may you find it loving one another.

Cliff & Marian_Wedding Day_96dpi

Here’s where you can share your own tips or observations.

Purple Passages with a June Bride

Creativity

You can’t use up creativity. The more you use the more you have.       ―  Maya Angelou

MayaAngelou2

[Hear her read her valiant poem “Still I Rise” here.]

Creativity is intelligence having fun.     ― Albert Einstein

Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.

           Galatians 6: 4-5  The Message

 

Giving and Health

Dr. Stephen Post conducted a survey at forty-four major universities that revealed that giving protects your overall health twice as much as an aspirin protects your heart against disease. Why Good Things Happen to Good People (7)

Original art: C. Joel Beaman
Relief print: C. Joel Beaman

 

Being Young in Heart

Another belief of mine is that everyone else my age is an adult whereas I am merely in disguise.”  ― Margaret Atwood, Cat’s Eye

 

June Brides & Marriage

Wedding of Ruth Longenecker and John Weaver, 1950s
Wedding of Ruth Arlene Longenecker and John Weaver, Bossler’s Mennonite Church, 1950s Bride carries white Bible with lacy handkerchief Groom wears plain (frock) coat

 

Marriage is more like an airplane than a rock.

You have to commit the thing to flight, and then it creaks and groans, and keeping it airborne depends entirely on altitude attitude. Working at it, though, we can fly forever.             ― Michael Grant in the San Diego Union

 

The Educated Mind & an Opposing Viewpoint

It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.

― Aristotle, Metaphysics

 

Life’s Irritations

Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.      ―  Psychiatrist Carl Jung

 

Memory and Time

Remembering is so basic and vital a part of staying alive that it takes on the strength of an instinct of survival, and acquires the power of art. Remembering is done through the blood, it is a bequeathment, it takes account of what happened before a man is born . . . . It is a physical absorption through the living body, it is a spiritual heritage. It is also a life’s work.      ― Eudora Welty in                her book On Writing in which she quotes Faulkner (103).

In fiction, time can throb like a pulse, tick like a bomb, beat like the waves of a rising tide again the shore; it can be made as the whisper of attrition, or come to an end with the explosion of a gun  (98).

Memory is deceptive because it is colored by today’s events. ― Albert Einstein

Memory. . . is the diary that we all carry about with us.  ― Oscar Wilde
 *  *  *
Add more color to June’s Purple Passages!
Reply with your own quote. Or respond to one above. 

grapes

I promised an answer to the puzzling question from the last post.

BrokenPianoBenLeg

How did this happen? Here is our best guess:

Our children, now in their forties, were in their late teens when Cliff and I decided to leave them at home alone while we took a short weekend trip. One of the children was very mature and responsible (or so we thought), so we felt safe to leave. When we returned home, pictures on the walls were askew, there was evidence of under-age drinking, and one leg on the piano bench had obviously been broken off but bandaged up with rough, brown U-Haul tape. Our kids’ explanation then was that they had a small party but more came, uninvited, when word spread that there were no parents at home. Yes, the cliché fits here exactly: “When the cat’s away . . . !”

At the time of the first break, Cliff repaired the leg with a wooden dowel, which has lasted until a few weeks ago. Then Mr. Repairman had to reinforce the leg with a sturdier steel dowel. The END. (We hope!)

Coming next:  Hats Off to Dad

HatsOffGift

 

 

 

 

Plain and Fancy @ Bossler Mennonite Church

When I was about 6 weeks old, my parents took me to church–Bossler Mennonite Church close to Elizabethtown, PA. I was born in July–9 months, almost to the day, from my parents’ honeymoon night the previous October. When I got older and could figure out such things, my mother simply said, “Nothing happened before we were married.” She said it, so it must be true. In those days, abstinence was the professed norm for engaged couples, and a white dress almost certainly meant the bride was a virgin. A couple whose first child arrived too soon after the wedding date had to appear in front of the congregation and confess their sin of fornication.

Ray and Ruth Longenecker_5x7_150            Marian_as baby_5x5_72 19-05-17

The Christian Mingle of the 50s and 60s happened after the Sunday night service with girls and guys in separate groups lingering, a girl hoping for a guy to break out of his circle and ask her for a date. Weddings were frequently held in the fall, not in summer, after crops were harvested and the family and relatives had more time for big social events.

RuthL.bride Here is Dad’s first cousin, Ruth Longenecker, all decked out in her caped, white wedding dress and black shoes gazing at her tall, blond groom who wears a plain suit and no necktie. She carries a lacy handkerchief, something fancy, inserted into a white Bible (flowers were forbidden then) as she walked down the aisle.

Bossler Church, which celebrated its bicentennial in 2011, was not at all fancy: white building with no steeple and a separate door for the women to enter at the left of the main entrance.

ChurchExterior

The interior too was spare with a middle aisle separating two rows of benches, the one on the right for the men. The other on the left for women. When Mr. Christian Clown Daring Do visited with me one Sunday, he plopped down on the women’s side, mortifying everyone including me.

Bossler Interior_mod_

The separate sections, however, made for a wonderful blend of voices when we sang a capella in four-part harmony. No piano or organ in sight.

hymnbooks  Screen shot 2013-03-23 at 8.46.30 AM

Of course, no fancy garb for members or minister: plain coat and sometimes a beard for the men, and a caped dress with a prayer veiling for women. Usually the older women had black ribbon attached to the veiling while the younger ones had white ones.

PastorFred plainCoupleBlack plaingirl

Next to the church was Washington School grades 1 – 8 with our church deacon once serving as schoolmaster: fancy bell tower, plain interior embellished only with replicas of

SchoolBell     Gilbert Stuart’s painting of Washington and Lincoln, an American flag, and little cards for each letter of the alphabet, printed lower and upper case set above the blackboard.

schoolexterior   schooldesks  original desks                                                                                                                       on display

For Mennonites, the church was the hub of social life. When Howard Longenecker’s barn burned down, twice, men were on hand for the barn raising. Women gathered regularly in an anteroom at the church, or, later, at the school for sewing circle where they made comforters, baby blankets, and quilts.

quiltverticalquiltSchoolhouse

Plain or fancy? Which do I choose?  I choose both–as long as they are beautiful. “A thing of beauty is a joy forever.”      John Keats, Endymion

To some, my story seems quaint and odd. To others, it resonates because you share a similar heritage. What experiences in your childhood or teens do you think curious readers would like to know about?