Hello from Nashville! By the looks of the weather back in South Dakota, I am so glad we are here at this time. Our hearts go out to those back in the Midwest that have been dealing with the snow, winds and dangerous subzero temperatures. We've had a good start to 2019 here and are thankful to be close to our children and able to prioritize our health check-ups for now. But you know Larry, always ready and excited to share the Good News with anyone, anywhere!
It's hard to believe that Valentine's Day is almost here. Larry brought me flowers yesterday. He told me that he was gave them to me early so he wouldn't forget. I told him he could bring them every week of the year as far as I'm concerned!
Reflecting back…I wanted to send our latest article!
This is Marriage?
Of course, everyone has the expectation, "Ours will be the perfect marriage." I'm no exception—I knew mine would be, too. I started talking, dreaming and scheming about marriage from the time I was five years old, playing with bride and groom paper dolls. As a teenager, every time I looked through bridal magazines or attended a wedding, I pictured myself in a beautiful wedding gown, walking down the aisle. I could see myself repeating the vows, being kissed by the groom, throwing my bouquet, opening gifts and being swept away in a decorated car into the sunset to live happily forever after in a storybook land. My dreams were intricate with every detail filled in, but somehow my reality didn't quite go along with my dreams. Let me reminisce a little.
Larry and I were married on October 16, 1965, in Sisseton, South Dakota. It was a beautiful autumn day. Everything about my wedding day was going as planned as I had spent a lot of time and energy carefully dotting the "I's" and crossing the "T's". I was determined I wasn't going to run around on my wedding day like a chicken with its head cut off. My wedding day was perfect—calm, smooth, and organized just as I had always imagined. That is…until one hour before the wedding. I was at home, getting ready to go to the church, when I heard my father bellow, "I'm NOT going to wear this clown suit anywhere!"
He was serious. "But, Dad," I protested, "you have to wear that tuxedo. Everybody is supposed to match."
"I'm NOT wearing this tux, and that's that!" he thundered back. Practically in tears, I ran upstairs to plead with him to wear it. But when I saw him, I began to laugh. The tuxedo rental company had mismatched the jacket and slacks. The slacks were 4-5 sizes too big, and he looked like a clown. Thankfully, Dad had just purchased a handsome black suit, and I agreed that it would look much better than the tux. Catastrophe avoided: off to the church we went.
Five hundred fifty guests were seated in the big, beautiful church. The music and ceremony went just as planned. Larry's brother, Lowell, presented a touching marriage sermon. Larry and I sang a song to each other, exchanged rings, and were pronounced Mr. and Mrs. Larry Lundstrom. It was beautiful! After the wedding reception and gift opening, we slipped out and headed off to North Dakota for our honeymoon.
But it seemed that the minute we got into the car, my dream began to unravel little by little. On the road, a car of drunken men noticed the decorations on our car and attempted to sideswipe us. By the grace of God, we weren't killed. The following morning, Larry woke up, sat on the edge of the bed and began to sneeze and blow his nose… for nearly three hours. I got a sick feeling in my stomach and said, "Good grief, Larry, you're probably allergic to me!" (Thankfully it was just pollen and not me!)
Five days after we were married, Larry and I moved into a back room of an old Flexible bus. After living in that old beater, with no air conditioning or bathroom, we learned we were pretty "flexible" to survive in it! There we were, newlyweds, living in an old bus with Lowell and Connie Lundstrom and their two children, Londa and Lisa. Privacy was at a minimum—we had curtains for doors.
After six days on the road, the bus engine blew up, forcing us to move into an old, borrowed car. The back right door was bashed in and a broken window had been temporarily repaired with cardboard and plastic. The snow and cold blew in through the door and window. There we were, the six of us plus clothes, guitars, diaper bags and bottles, all packed into an old car and pulling a small instrument trailer. We continued on to our tour in Kansas with limited finances and all of us piling into a motel room. As we crawled into bed, the past two weeks of our "perfect" marriage flashed in front of my mind. Then I thought of a conversation that Mom and I had before the wedding. Mom told me seriously, "Missy, you know you'll be moving into a new lifestyle. You'll be giving up your single life where you make your own decisions and will begin making decisions together with your husband. You'll be moving into a bus with four others with little or no privacy. Remember, with that come challenges and different personalities. Everyone will have days of discouragement and things will go wrong. Let me give you some good advice: Think before you talk and learn to keep your mouth shut."
Almost 20 years later, during a visit with my mother, I said to her, "Mother, you never told me how many 'one of those days' I'd have!" She laughed. "Well, Missy, that's just part of life. You've made it this far, and you'll continue to make it." If there has ever been a time in our lives—yours as well—that we need to hear the words, "You can make it," it's now. All of us need the confidence of God's help in our marriages, homes, jobs and relationships.
Yes, now, after 53 ½ years of marriage, I can say that my marriage definitely did not look like my dreams. But, I wouldn't change a thing! What I have learned about my relationship with God through my marriage has been worth every hardship. What I have learned about Larry and my children, has been worth every stretching and challenging moment. What I have learned about me…I am not the same person I was when I got married those many years ago…has been worth every opportunity for growth. My reality (though not perfect) has become much better than my dreams ever were because I stuck with it, grew through it and am thankful for every day I have to share with my man.
"Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise." Hebrews 10: 35-26
YOU CAN MAKE IT AND IT'S WORTH IT!
3 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2 1/2 tsp. soda
4 T. cocoa
3/4 cup oil
2 T. vinegar
2 cups cold water
2 tsp. vanilla
Mix flour, sugar, soda, salt and cocoa together right in the pan. Add oil, vinegar, water and vanilla; mix well. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes in a 9x13 pan.