Monday, April 29, 2013


When we were first married we did not have a dishwasher and we had to wash all the dishes by hand. At that time we were both working and He was still in school. Our meals were fairly uncomplicated and meal preparation fell to the one whose schedule allowed it. Besides sharing in cooking we also shared in the clean-up. This was fairly enjoyable as we were still in the stage of "playing house" (you know, when life is uncomplicated, there are no parenting duties, and there are minimal mouths to feed and no nutritional demands). I guess you could say that our serious meals began when we started a family (literally from conception). It was then when I took over as family chef.

I am a stay-at-home mom (I hate this politically correct term, I much prefer homemaker, because I feel that describes my job more accurately). As such, I feel that my schedule facilitates cooking more readily. However, I also love cooking and baking, and I can stir up a mess of pots with the best of them. However, I hate doing dishes. Planning and preparing a well rounded, nutritionally rich, and delicious meal requires quite a bit of effort. I have often thought how nice it would be to walk into your own home and smell freshly baked bread, see the table set, and all you have to do is sit down and eat (only in my dreams). I am not complaining about being the one who does the cooking, I just have wondered how nice (and easy), that would be.

His mother was a good cook, and I know He grew up eating healthy, well planned, hot meals. However, He also lived on His own and cooked for Himself. During that time He probably realized how good He had it at home. I think that is one reason He has always been very appreciative of my cooking efforts, even with their accompanying mess. Like I said, when I look at the aftermath of preparing dinner my heart sinks at the sight of all those dirty dishes calling my name. Thats when He proves that His gratitude is not just in words. If I cook, I don't clean up. He recruits the kids and ensures the dishes get done.

He washes... more reason I love Him.  

Monday, April 22, 2013


A few years ago He was feeling ill. The doctor noted that He had a low white blood count, but He could not find a cause. He was given a rundown of tests. This went on for over a year. I urged Him to see a Hematologist (whose practice incidentally is often combined with Oncology). After His fathers previous diagnosis with cancer He was hesitant. However, He finally became so run down He relented. We went to the Oncologist/Hematologist together bracing for the worst.

The doctor ran a battery of tests. However, she was baffled. There was no indication of cancer, a virus, autoimmune disorders, infections, congenital diseases, or any kind of blood disease. When we met with her to review the test results, she asked Him some very direct questions trying to find maybe a behavioral pattern that would explain the problem. Finally, she asked Him if there was any reason why He might think His blood count could be so low? He could not think of any. Her last comment was, "it looks like something is just sapping your blood".

He used to be a volunteer fireman (volunteer just denotes "on call" rather than untrained). Regularly His department would give blood to the Red Cross. As a first responder He had witnessed many accidents and recognized the need for donations. It was a community service. He always signed up when our church had a blood drive too. He wasn't just a "regular" giver in the periodic sense, but year after year. He was on the LIST. He is O+ the universal donor. When the red cross needs donations, their first line of offense is a list of past volunteers, from whom they call and solicit donations. Its murky, but I am vaguely aware of them calling for Him once in a while and leaving messages. Apparently, they called Him a lot. And, they did not bother to keep track of how often He gave. As His confession unfolded the cause of His illness became clear. His blood was being sapped almost monthly. To mine, and the doctors amazement He had not made the connection. He excused His behavior by personalizing His contribution. Someones son, daughter, wife, mother, cousin, playmate, outfielder, swim coach, viola instructor, whatever, needed HIS blood. How could He not answer the call as an O+ hero? After four months of treatment returning His blood count to near normal He is now on the honor system to only give blood once every six months.

They needed Him...

one more reason I love Him.

Monday, April 15, 2013


He is the youngest in His family and His dad was older when he was born. When He was a young boy He remembers always thinking His dad was the strongest man alive. He thought his father was invincible. He was very close with His father. They were compatriots. He followed him around, He wanted to be just like him. Even when He grew up and moved out they always found time to be together. His dad called Him Pedro. He doesn't know why-its not even close to His real name. However, it proved to be prophetic. Without getting lost in the meaning of names it is a derivative of Peter, which has been assigned the historical association with "rock".

 Reality came sooner than expected. He was only 32 when His father was diagnosed with advance staged bone cancer. The doctor said that he had already had it for many years (he had just ignored the symptoms, or passed them off on getting older). The family was prepared for his health to decline rapidly. During his fathers battle with, acceptance of, and finally submission to the disease He was unfaltering. His father started chemotherapy first. Soon a tumor was found at the base of his skull on the spine. Radiation took a nasty toll on his already weakened condition. In all, His father struggled through ten months of progressively depilitating pain and decay. He was by his father's side every single day.

Its not just that He was there, He was his rock. Their roles had been reversed. Where He had once called His father whenever He needed advice, help, rescuing, understanding, acceptance, and solace, He now accepted the elder role. It must have been overwhelming to his father to become helpless, and it was inevitable that those frustrations came to surface. However, He never lost His patience with him and always treated him with respect. As His father slowly lost his mobility His mother became increasingly incapable of physically caring for him, and what had once been daily visits became twice daily (and sometimes more). The day came when He held His father as he left this world. Finally, father-son roles had come full circle. His first real test of manhood was when He became the man his father had been to Him.

He passed... more reason I love Him.  

Monday, April 8, 2013


I was raised in a religious family. My parents encouraged me to marry someone of my own faith. For me, marrying a man who has the same beliefs as I do has been the single most important factor in maintaining a successful marriage (I would also say it has been the single most important factor in staying married). It is hard enough to stay married in our easy exit society without the added stress of differing religious views, beliefs, and customs battling each other. However, religious beliefs alone are not capable of keeping a family together. Rather, it is the practice of said beliefs that ensure He and I continue to work on our marriage.

I have said before that His appearance was deceiving. I guess that means He didn't "look" like a religious kid (if there is a certain look one can have). Nonetheless, before leaving for a date one evening, a few months before we got engaged, He asked if we could pray together before we went out. This should not have bothered me as I said personal prayers and my family prayed together. It wasn't that I didn't know He prayed, I assumed He did. I was just surprised by His request. We did. It was the first time I had ever heard Him pray about us as a couple. At the time, I felt a little silly sitting in His car in My parents driveway praying. However, in retrospect I must have realized that He wanted what was best for us, and for me. I also understood that He was looking for divine guidance in our relationship and was not ashamed to admit it.

I assume, like me, there have been times when He has struggled with prayer. There were probably times when it was easier than others, or, I should say times when it was need more than others. Like me, I am sure He has spiritually felt either feast or famine, and it is usually during these times when prayer seems the most difficult. However, He has consistently been a prayerful man. He prays in solitude, with our family, with me, and at times individually with our children. I know He earnestly prays for guidance in His role as a father. He prays for people He cares about. I am also sure He prays for me. This is how His practice of His faith has created the person He is today, not a perfect one, but one that is becoming. It takes a big man to kneel.

He prays... more reason I love Him.

Monday, April 1, 2013


Consistency is the hardest part of parenting. We set out with good plans to raise our kids, but parenting doesn't work in theory alone. It takes action. It takes day after day, month after month, year after year persistence toward a goal. The hoped for prize at the end is an adult child who holds the values you believe are important, is independent, self reliant, and just plain good. I recognize that even the parents who are diligent in teaching their children those practices they believe are good are still raising unique individuals who have free agency, and sometimes their children choose to go against what they have been taught. However, a parent who has been a consistent and diligent parent has fewer regrets than those who have not. And when you send a child out into the world who has made good choices so far, parents have a sense of peace that they have done all that was in their power to do.

At the beginning of every school year, He meets with each child individually. He asks them if they have anything they are concerned about in their lives, if they are dealing with any problems, and if there is anything that He can help them with. He also brings up any concerns that either one of us have. He reiterates the importance of the values we have tried to teach them, and addresses any problem areas they are struggling with. He stresses that they can bring any concern they might have to us and we will help them without question. He emphasizes the importance of being part of a family, and how they are a part of a whole. He tells them of the things we have noticed about them that we are proud of. He leaves them with the knowledge that we love them unconditionally and always will.

He does this consistently every year. It has proven to be valuable to our family. These meetings have stopped problems before they became too big to backtrack. They have given us insight into how our children think we could be better parents. They have created a dialog between parents and children, parent and parent, and child and child. The kids have come to look forward to this meeting. There have been times when they even asked when they were going to have their meeting (just in case He forgot). We have a child in High School, children in college, and a married child, and He still meets with each one of them (even our son-in-law), at the beginning of each school year. These meetings let each child know that He loves them, is watching out for them, and that He is there for them if they need Him. He takes His parenting responsibilities seriously.

He is consistent... more reason I love Him.