Friends! Run, don’t walk, to your nearest Hallmark store and grab several copies of a nifty little gift book. (www.hallmark.com ) Married for Life—Inspirations from those Married Fifty Years or More by Russ L. Potter, II and Bill Morelan is a fantastic, enlightening discovery.
My friend Mary gave a copy of this book to our newest daughter-in-love, Diana, at a dinner in her honor before she and John Jr. got married. Fascinated by the title, I peeked inside…
Every two pages include quotes, devotional-style, from a different couple who have been married fifty years or more. A snippet of how they met comes with their two cents’ worth on what’s kept them married all these years. The advice concludes with a fitting Scripture.
I was so blown away by this power-packed book, I marched out and bought several copies. One for Hubster and me since we’ve just celebrated our thirty-second anniversary, one for each of our married kids, and one for several different couples who recently got engaged. It’s the perfect gift!
One favorite section is entitled: “Never get too old to hold hands.” This comes from Arnold and Hazel Morelan, married on February 17, 1920 in Iola, Kansas.
They say, “Holding hands is one of the most intimate expressions of love between two human beings. Don’t ever let this beautiful act slip away from you…It requires no words; in fact, no words can convey such a profound message.”
They conclude: “Hold your spouse’s hand throughout your life together; don’t ever let it go until the day when you’ve fulfilled every marriage vow and finally release it from your grasp, placing it lovingly, trustingly into the hand of God.” Tear jerker!
Psalm 73:23-24 ties this together:
The Life Application Bible reminds us, “From birth to death, God has us continually in His grip. But far more, we have hope in the resurrection. Though our courage and strength may fail, we know that one day we will be raised to life to serve Him forever. He is our security, and we must cling to Him.”
Our family of eight was recently gathered around a table, eating breakfast in Orange Beach, Alabama, right down the beach from Gulf Shores. We’d trekked there for a week of vacation. (Just to pull that off is like herding cats, so we were beyond grateful it came to fruition.)
LT read us this very quote from this devotional. Now that we all have a copy, my prayer is we’ll continue to enjoy the book post-vacation.
God blessed us with picture perfect weather, a beautiful beach to look at, walk on, sit on, play in, and the most fun lazy river pool you’ve ever seen. It was the solution to beating the heat.
I must share about a very challenging team-building activity we tried: Breakout Games— “A Life-Sized Game of Twists and Turns”. (Checkout www.breakoutgames.com ) See if your town has one!
Grab some friends or family and go try it! It’s a total blast. I double dog dare ya to watch the “launch video briefing” from the website. It’ll kick your heartbeat up a notch or two or twenty…
Breakout Games currently offers the following options:
We chose the Operation: Casino. Our kids turned out to be super smart sleuths, solving puzzle, after clue, after lock combination. Hubster and I pretty much watched them at work, all the while being one hundred percent wide-eyed.
Participants only get an hour to solve the mystery. You’re also blessed with a “Game Keeper” who watches your every move from another room and occasionally gives you a hint or two. Jessica was our Game Keeper. She was the bomb, bless her patient soul.
The instant the door closed, a very large clock started the sixty minute countdown…oh my… I had my doubts, but with the kids’ persistence, I’m happy to report we were able to break out with less than three minutes to spare.
Lest any of you are claustrophobic, you’re free to leave the room at any time, especially to visit the loo. Just sayin’…You can imagine our dinner conversation after our big breakout!
We all had “jobs” during our week of vacation, just to throw some more ideas your way…
Each of our newlywed couples had a night where they “got” to cook dinner. We called it a “Cook Off”. (Translation: Mom and Dad have a night off.) Each couple grilled.
We had tilapia tacos one night, steaks-n-potatoes another, and chicken with mozzarella, tomatoes and avocado another, pardon me. We never declared a winner as each meal was so delicious, we couldn’t have possibly chosen just one.
My equally tough assignment (!!!) was to choose a restaurant to dine in on the nights when the kids weren’t cooking.
Any of y’all heading to Gulf Shores may like to know we LOVED The Gulf (www.thegulf.com). They have a fantastic grouper sandwich as well as a grouper salad in a very festive atmosphere. We ate at a picnic table right next to the beach.
Since Breakout Games is located at The Wharf (www.alwharf.com), we were able to get a table by the marina at The Villaggio Grille. (www.villaggiogrille.com) The Wharf’s development has only been open a few months, so they’re still trying to fine tune things. Good potential.
Craving a good lasagna as Hubster does nearly nightly, we tried Cafe Grazie (www.cafe-grazie.com) another night. The lasagna was good, but not as pretty as the picture.
I had the grouper with pasta and capers which was delicious. Others of us tried a pizza and different shrimp and pasta dishes. Crab cakes were a big hit. After dinner, we walked out onto the docks and snapped some fun photos:
Group picture of all eight of us above from left to right are: Woody and LT, John Jr. and Diana, Gordy and Lauren and Hubster and Yours Truly. The girls’ photo starts with Diana, then Lauren, me, and LT. Just warmed our hearts to have our kiddos together.
Sadly our last night rolled around way too quickly. We ventured over to Shipps Harbour Grill (www.shippsrestaurant.com) . Big bonus: you could make a reservation.
We tried nearly everything on the menu: oysters on the half shell (not 100% participation there….); smoked tuna dip (delish, but we all ate too many crackers!), fried shrimp and fish, coconut grouper, island mahi mahi, and a crab and brie quesadilla. Our favorite side dish of the night was the smoked gouda mashed potatoes (oh my—to die for!). Our round table of eight led to some massive sharing. This was a favorite.
Finally, let’s look at one more pearl of a quote from Married for Life. At dinner one night, we loved this, given we were at the beach: “Enjoy the simple things—like looking at sunsets.”
This comes from Auburn and Louise Roland, married December 14, 1935 in Leicester, North Carolina. They say, “When you and your spouse feel the need to get back to basics, to look beyond the clutter and clamor of this bewildering, complicated world and see what really matters, just go outside together for a moment and gaze upward. No matter what time of day it is, you will witness God’s splendor—…”
“…And when a butterfly floats out of the sky and alights nearby, examine it closely and consider, Who but God could have made such a lovely, ‘simple’ thing?”
As God would orchestrate, Lauren had just been telling us about a neat connection she has with butterflies. Our gracious God literally sent one her way at the perfect time when we’d been in Naples together a few years ago. (Later this month I’ll be sharing about a new website Lauren’s Mother is launching and you’ll be able to read her whole story. It’s the BEST!)
We also realized Gordy’s had a love for butterflies since he was a small child. We have a great picture of him with three butterflies sitting on one hand one summer day. It “just so happened” it was Lauren who read this particular devotion to all of us. Is God the best, or what?
Let’s close with the Scripture this section offers:
Psalm 113:3 says:
We praise you, Lord.
‘Til next time!