Even though my life’s work is serious, I wanted you to know other dimensions of my life, so here are a few light-hearted facts about me and my husband.
• Though I’m well past the child-rearing stage of life, I still drive a mini-van and keep two car seats installed for our grandchildren. Jim and I love having our little ones around and keep “kid stuff” in our house so they feel at home.
They have their own small table and chairs, and Jim built them a craft cupboard that I keep stocked with fun things to do.
The guest room is where we keep their toys and stuffed animals, and of course the guest bed for fun over-nighters with Gramma and Grampa.
• My husband is retired from Boeing, but with never an idle moment. He is intentionally purposeful overseeing and performing the maintenance on the cars in our family (all ten of them). Two or three are sometimes lined up outside waiting for service. He takes every opportunity to pass his knowledge and skills to our four sons/sons-in-love so they learn mechanic skills too.
• My talented husband also builds furniture for me and our kids. He has filled my home with his handiwork, a total of 22 pieces of furniture (and still counting) that he custom-designed and built to my specifications, including a mini kitchen in my home office.
He also renewed 5 pieces of pre-made furniture to match my current decorating style and color scheme. I get to add pretty knobs of all kinds.
• In recent years I’ve taken up house dressing as a pleasant hobby. For more than 30 years I collected fun, precious memories of our family’s lifestyle of learning, most of it tucked away in unseen corners of the house. One of the pastimes that relaxes me the most is decorating my home with some of those memories.
•Another way I relax that I really look forward to is when my husband and I can get a Sunday free to go for a long drive to explore favorite places. It’s a time to visit, listen to music, talk about our kids and grands, pray and trust the Lord for simply everything, and just be.
• Jim is often called upon to help out with the grandkids on the weekdays when the need arises, and he absolutely loves doing it, always making it fun and interesting for our two very active boys!
• Some-times I’m funny, but it’s usually quite by accident, age-related, or perhaps with a bit of gullibility concerning technology tossed in. My dear friend and co-laborer, Barbie Poling, likes to tell on me sometimes.
• My husband decided to homeschool in the early 80s before we knew there was a movement toward it and when there was no law that told us we couldn’t. Later we learned that we were one of the first 2000 families in Washington State homeschooling at the time. God used this pivotal decision as the platform to work in our family and transform us from the inside out, giving us the parenting and education we never had, and preparing us for a bigger life purpose, helping others.
• I collect bird cages as part of my home decor, but they’re for a purpose. I used to display some keepsakes in wicker baskets throughout the house, but when the grandkids came I saw that I needed a new display option that would protect my fragile things from little hands and still be visible, instead of tucked away in boxes on shelves where I’d never see them. Hobby Lobby inspired me with their amazing selection of bird cages and best prices around. I also get to use them as table centerpiece decorations at our Moms M.INT. events!
• The young people around my life refer to me as “Miss Marilyn” or “Miss Mary” (Mary is my family nickname). I’m fond of hearing it and love hearing the stories from their moms about how hearts are growing in relationships between siblings and between friends in our community.
• I’ve come to be viewed as a mother to moms and dads. I used to be a bit disconcerted about that, but I’ve learned to agree with my age. Aging has actually been an advantage in my personal ministry.
Parenting the heart is the fastest way to breakthroughs in a person’s spiritual growth, and I do that just as God parented my own, and as I parented my children’s hearts, and later my future in-loves’ hearts before they married our children.
It works really well for those who have been in want of a mother’s love. I’m always amazed at how many men and women alike respond to a mother’s love in Christ when they recognize their own need.
• The Spring of 2016 marks three major anniversaries for Jim and me that we’re calling our 40-50-65th. It will be our 40th wedding anniversary, 50 years that we’ve known each other, and my 65th birthday. We want to celebrate these milestones!
• When I showed this list to my husband, he reminded me to tell you that I have an identical twin sister. At our stage of life, my sister and I both find that to be a minor detail. I’m older by four minutes but our parents tried to keep that information from us until we were eighteen (they correctly predicted what would happen). One momentous day my sister and I were snooping around in a desk drawer and found a small black spiral-bound notebook of our mom’s that contained this very important fact! We were only twelve at the time, and thus began several years of bragging that I was the older twin. Now, given our current age, my sister says it’s her turn to brag that she’s the younger!
It’s funny, but I really don’t have any childhood pictures of me without my twin except those professional school ones that look more like mug shots. Here’s my first grade pic, which was probably the best of all such pics during my elementary years. We always wore our initial pins so teachers and friends could tell us apart.
My sister and I both had a “crush” on Jimmy (my husband) who lived across the street from us in high school, was a senior when we were sophomores, and drove a Harley. Many of our pictures of those memories are in black and white, color being new at that time and more expensive. I’ve included a couple of action shots taken later since they’re more interesting than the high school ones of Jimmy I took pushing his motorcycle across the street when it died on him!
My sister does all the tedious work of providing transcripts of our audios for you, and I wish she lived closer to us.
• I know this last point is not necessarily light-hearted, but I wanted you to know something about me that I have in common with you. I have a long train-load of mistakes, failures, weaknesses, disappointments, and regrets in my life that I can pull out and torture myself with at any time. You and I both need faith in Christ and grace for this journey called LIFE (especially if you want to live loved). And if you’re a mom, then we have that in common too.
Life is too short to live in the past, and there’s much to do. I choose to believe what God says about me and the purpose He’s given me. I choose to reframe my mistakes as lessons to learn, my failures as God giving me a course correction so I can be more fruitful in my efforts, my weaknesses as His way to display His strength in me, my disappointments into prayers of hope for different outcomes, and my regrets as a reminder of how much I will always need the Lord’s amazing grace. I know that you and I both want God’s best for our respective families. I hope you allow me to help you toward His best for yours.
I apologize for including so many pics, but since I have a very important relational message I want you to hear, I feel it’s important that you can see into my life. I try to be transparent, but given the limitations of technology, I realize it may still be a stretch to be known, but that’s why we’re launching a podcast in 2016— you’ll be able to listen into live conversations! And because of how much older I am than your average information-based internet entrepreneur, I’ve also had a few more decades to collect wonderful memories. One of these days I may get to digitalize my pre-2007 life that is mostly still in photo boxes. I’d love to share some of when my family was younger. Thank you for reading, and I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing a slice of my life!
Remember to enjoy the Lord’s sweet blessings in your family today!
Read “Stupid” Ideas / Smart Decisions by Marilyn