Tuesday, April 22, 2008

14 Years Ago

14 years ago tonight I was at Bell's Dell preparing to get married to Max. We had only known each other for a few short months and most of that time was spent on the telephone. I had met him in person in March, then again when I flew to Charlotte (NC) to load up the UHaul with all his stuff and move him back to Omaha - just a week prior to the wedding.

But, God really worked in this relationship. He worked through my fears and He worked through all of the insanity that can come from marrying a man you barely know.

President Nixon died 14 years ago today. Max and I couldn't come up with something special that had happened on April 23. But, we didn't have Wikipedia then. Today I can tell you that William Shakespeare was born on our anniversary as were Shirley Temple, Roy Orbison, William Penn and Stephen A. Douglas. In 1985 on April 23, Coca-Cola introduced New Coke, which was replaced by the original formula three months later. The first public school in the United States was founded on April 23 in Boston - Boston Latin - 1635.

I love the 'dates in history' part of Wikipedia. It's great fun.

Max and I communicated online for quite a long time. I wish that I had kept more of his emails and the long online chats that we had. I have no idea where they've all gone, but I'm certain that I will never see them again. I printed one letter that he sent to me on January 28, 1994. The subject line: "Feelings grow for you."

Oh my, I was desperately hoping for more time before I met him face to face. I was terrified. He was just as adamant about doing it as soon as possible.

"Our heart to heart last night had me thinking strongly about all I would need to do here at my end to see a loving commitment through with you as my wife.

"I realize and understand you felt we should take a long to know each other before we rush into the serious commitment of marriage. I fully empathise with your concerns based upon past misfirings with othe rmen you met by this 'modern method.'"

He didn't let me off the hook ... he kept encouraging me.

"What prompted this is we have been talking seriously about what kind of marriage we envision, children you name it (hahahahahah - Diane's aside). I am getting the feeling that this is not some mere fantasy infatuation - I feel the Lord in his wisdom is pointing the way for us. It is for us to see if this is part of his plan or not. But providence has a way of being inevitable. I have been thinking that perhaps you are the reason God brought me to North Carolina, which eventually led me to meeting Jay (Max's friend) and using his computer to meet you.

"I have prayed for help in the past 6 months for God to help me finally find a woman who is truly right and good for me, by whatever means he chooses to do so. I can't help but think my prayers are being answered.

"I sincerely hope that reading this letter has not brought you undue stress, but has brought you joy in knowing my thoughts are honorable.

"The rest, dear Lady is up to you. You would not believe how much writing this makes me feel a little anxious, but it is one more example of the risks I have been willing to make to move my life on, in whatever direction it must go."

So, obviously, we got married a few short months later. The last 14 years have been up and down and back and forth. Things have happened to us, around us, with us and I can not imagine that there is a man alive that would have been a better choice for a husband for me.

Max is truly wonderful. He is honorable. He is loving and kind. He cares more about me than he does himself and is more than willing to give up everything to make me happy. All I can do is honor that relationship by doing the same for him. God has given me an incredible gift and tonight as I think back to that young (er) couple that had no idea what to do with the idea of marrying a stranger, I realize that only God could have brought this marriage together. I'm so glad that I waited.

Monday, April 21, 2008


It's been over 2 weeks since I last blogged. Really? Really? Well, that's what the calendar says, so it must be true. Lots of things have been happening, none of which are that big of a deal. I didn't sleep at all last week, so that meant that I had no energy in the evenings. Plus, there was just a lot of crap rolling around at work, so that meant I had no passion to give to anything else. I started twittering (really, just type in twitter.com and see what happens). You can find me at twitter.com/nammynools. What that means is that I 'tweet' what is happening during the day and then it's just not so important to type it all out again in a blog.

Hence ... it's been over 2 weeks since I last blogged.

What have I been doing to occupy myself? Well, I love hulu.com. Online television shows. I've been watching old episodes of Benson. Then, this weekend I discovered that they had uploaded the first season of Babylon 5. WHEE!! I loved that show. I have discovered a horribly addicting puzzle game - Patchworkz. I have started reading a very interesting book, "The thing about life is that one day you'll be dead." by David Shields. I'm not yet sure what I think about it. It's funny, it is informative. But the humor is sometimes really sad. Shields is a brilliant writer. I guess I was hoping to read this and think, 'this is the book I would have written.' It's not. It's the book he wrote. I'm halfway through the book and we'll see.

I'm re-reading "The Shack," and this time I'm highlighting and taking notes in the book. I have a few people asking me to write a study on it so that we can really delve deeply into the 'stuff' of a relationship with God. I'm about halfway through this book the second time.

I either have allergies or another annoying cold. This one is the rotten cough in the upper chest stuff. It doesn't make for great sleeping this week either, but at least once I get to sleep, I stay there.

I say it over and over again. I am so fortunate to be working where I work. It's unimaginable to me that I am encouraged to speak of the things of God in my workplace. To be able to talk to my boss about how trusting in God to walk with us through fire is incredible. I am so grateful. I get so mad sometimes at work - I want everyone to 'get it' and do and say the right things. Then, I get into a conversation like I had today and realize that God is always here and He's got it under control.

I woke up Sunday morning in a foul, foul mood. No one had done anything to me. I don't know if I had a dream that I didn't recall or what. But, I was feeling mean and ugly. I had to lead worship that morning and there was no part of me that wanted anything to do with that. As the water was pouring over my head, I knew that I had to start asking God to deal with this for me. Every time I tried to get myself under control, nasty thoughts crept in and distracted me. They just kept bringing me back to that foul mood. I prayed all the way out to church. I was doing better by the time I got there.

But, then I had to lead the hymn sing prior to the 9 am service. Trust me, I was still praying. After the hymn sing, I had to open the service, do the announcement, be pleasant, play for the middle school choir, have praise band rehearsal, and then come out, open the second service and then lead worship. I was praying a lot! Things kept tripping me up. But, as I began with that hymn sing, I paid attention to what God was saying to me. It seemed as if every song that the congregation chose to sing dealt with trusting Jesus. I knew that God was listening to me and speaking back to me. 'Trust me. Not yourself, Not anyone else. Trust me.'

Now, I'd like to tell you that the rest of the morning went without a hitch. But, that's not necessarily true. However, what did change was my attitude. Instead of trying to get myself out of the funk that I was in, I simply trusted God. It wasn't mine to deal with at that point. It was a great morning.

Alright ... time for me to hit the sack and rest my ole' body before facing another day.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

The Land of the Rising Sun

I had an amazing experience today. Bob & Hazel Terhune have just returned from 40+ years as missionaries in Japan. They are retiring and will make their home in an America that is very dfiferent from the America they left in the 1960s.

Since Faith-Westwood has supported them throughout the last 20 years, they stopped to say 'thank you.' They were in worship this morning and then I was able to go to lunch with them. Alison invited Max and me to join her and I was more than happy to say yes. I'm so thankful that I did.

The Terhunes are an amazing couple. Their heart is all about sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ with a world immersed in Shintoism and Buddhism as well as a nation that reveres and worships it's emperors. Being a Christian in Japan is not an easy thing to do, yet they continued to teach the people they encountered about the love of Christ. And they did it with grace and humility.

It was fun to listen to them speak of Japanese culture, history and changes in that country that have been occurring since WWII. It was interesting to hear Americans speak of relationships with people that view other Americans and the government here quite differently than we do. They have an incredible wealth of knowledge regarding Japan and a strong understanding of the culture. And they articulate their knowledge very well.

They raised three children in Japan and felt the importance of blending American and Japanese cultures for them. Hazel spoke of setting aside her home as an American haven, where mores of Japanese culture did not predominate. In a culture where women are demeaned, she and Bob lifted up the power of a woman. She would serve women first at dinner in her home - which is a strong Western tradition, but absolutely prohibited in Japanese culture.

It was interesting to watch them translate a language that they have been immersed in for many years back into English so that they could communicate with us. It will be interesting to hear from them as they begin to comprehend a new American culture.

I pray for them as they transition back to America, but Bob asked, as we parted today, that I pray for the people of Japan. His heart remains with these people. So, I'll pray for them as well. And for other friends that are in the mission field around the world.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Some of the good things in life

So ... I was too pooped last night (really? I don't remember being that exhausted) to write sensibly, but I have to tell you a story. It just filled up my heart.

Yesterday morning, Julie brought her son, Josh into the office. Now, Josh is 4 years old and one of my favorite little boys. He comes flying into see me on a regular basis, since he attends the preschool downstairs. I generally get a hug and then he's off to play with some of my stuffed animals, or off to see someone else in the office that he loves, too. But, yesterday, he got up to my desk and said he had a present for me. He had his hands behind his back and when he brought them out, there was a can of cold Diet Mt. Dew for me! Now, this little boy noticed that I like green pop! He noticed! And he wanted to bring something for me. What a sweetie! I just about cried.

The best part, though was that Gregg was sitting across the desk from me. He called Josh over and tried to get that little boy to play a trick on me; to take away my pop and give it to Gregg. That completely confused Josh. Why would he want to take something away from me that he had given to me? He looked at Gregg and said, "No, that's for her!" And then, promptly told his mom that tomorrow he would bring me a green pop and Gregg a red pop.

Don't you just have to say, 'awwwww'?