Category Archives: Marriage

Beach House Memories

12917577We recently purchased a condo in North Myrtle Beach South Carolina.  I’d never been there before we flew down to look at the unit and I love the area. This book is set on the Isles of Palms which is 95 miles from North Myrtle Beach so perfect timing for me to read it.

It opens with Lovie (Olivia Rutledge) again at her beloved beach cottage. She is an old lady and in the last stages of cancer. The story is designed like a sandwich with the first and last chapter in the present and the rest of the book mainly about the summer of 74 at the beach. A plus is the sub plot where they study loggerhead turtles and the newly hatched babies. We saw some nesting spots when we were in Florida. These creatures are amazing.

Lovie finds love this summer and she truly finds herself. We all face crossroads in life. Some us face more than others, but  I think we all wonder what our life would have been if we had taken the other road.

As I read this story I thought that everyone over maybe 60 should read this book. Choices were made that changed the course of life and in the end, if you believe in soul mates you can believe that these two will meet again.

Maybe it’s where I live, but I seem to be more aware of the life journey than I once was.  Here it’s 55 and older, and there have been a lot of changes on our street.  One couple downsizing to an apartment, another moving to a local assisted living, another choosing to move across the state to be closer to their daughter and they also chose assisted living.  One lady described it to me as turning to a new chapter.  This book made me look back and see more clearly the chapters of my own life story.

A recommended read for sure.

 

 

 

 

 

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Happy August

Jillian here. I’m looking around and wondering exactly where this year has gone. Can’t believe it’s August already. Zipping along through 2019 for sure.

My August started nicely with a fun wedding. As y’all know, I have two sons. I’ve been blessed with having one best friend of each of them work for me for a time while they were in college. One went on to be a lawyer (the older one) and the other one works in the governor’s office (the younger one). I like to think I had a little something to do with their successes, but that just may be my ego talking. Lol.

Anyway, the older one has been married a while and is the father of two adorable children. The younger one got married this past weekend. There was a a lot of laughter and love in the room. He’s Hispanic and his mother sang for him and his bride and also had some lovely Spanish dancers perform and there was a red ribbon they danced with and then wrapped around the couple. It was an interesting insight into their culture.

The mother of the bride was a different story. The bride herself is charming and shy and doesn’t say much. The mother offended a number of people by her rude behavior. Even my son, who thinks I overreact and see rudeness where there isn’t any, thought this lady was rude.

A number of people were walking down the entry hall toward the chairs set up for the service—we’d literally just walked in the door—and this woman starting yelling at us all to “Turn around, turn around. Stop right there and face the wall.” (Like we were bad schoolchildren).

Stunned, we did as ordered and in about a minute, she said, “Turn back around. The bride was in the area. You can do what you want now.”

I thought she was the wedding planner who was full of herself, but my son pointed out she was the mother of the bride. People talked about it all night. It was that weird.

Other than that, we had a nice time, some people overindulged in the wine which was kind of surprising. I’m always amazed that some folks take the risk in over doing it with no designated driver. Not that I’m preachy or anything, but that can lead to tragedy. It’s irresponsible.

The venue was the Mission San Luis. An interesting museum in Tallahassee that encompasses a lot of history of the state. They even have a virtual tour on line. Check it out if you have the time.

Here are a few photos. Oh, and the cake picture reminds me that I saved the groom from his first marital faux pas. The ladies cutting the cake asked him if they were saving the top and he said no and they could cut it. I told him he better check as they are supposed to save it for the first anniversary. He told me they didn’t have room in the freezer and turned to the ladies and told them just to save two pieces. I reiterated that he better go check and that he was no longer autonomous and had to confer with his wife. He returned a few moments later and told them to save the top. He hugged me for saving him.  😁

Late is Becoming the New Normal For Me

I’m late again. It seems the 9th has a way of arriving when I’m in the midst of chaos or travel. This time, I was in Orlando for work from Wednesday to Friday and then spent the weekend with my son and daughter-in-law. I got home last night a little after six but it’s an almost 7 hour drive and even though I knew it was my day, I was too lazy to type. Alas.

So, here I am today. I usually take the grand dog, Primm, a toy when I visit. This time I got her a weird yellow creature (picture below). She wasn’t thrilled with it when I got there Wednesday night, but by Friday, she’d warmed up to it. Saturday, she was pulling the stuffing out of it. My son said, “And this is why we don’t buy her soft toys.”

I told him it cost less than lunch at Wendy’s and if she destroyed it, it lasted longer than digesting a meal. I also picked up the fuzz that came out of it. 😁

It seems I’m already a bad influence on the grand dog. And since my daughter-in-law is 17 weeks pregnant, I’m sure I’ll be in trouble some more as the future unfolds. 😁

We’re super excited to have our first grand baby. I was happy to be able to go with my son and his wife to shop for some baby items and some maternity clothes for her. She has just a little bump right now, but she tried on the fake one at the store to see how the dresses would fit later. She was precious as she giggled every time she looked at herself in it.  Lots of fun ahead for them— and us.

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George & Louise…A Great Love by Valerie J. Patterson

George and Louise Boldt–their story is one of a great and deeply felt love.  It’s also a tale of tragedy and a future with a broken heart.  George was a poor immigrant in the late 1800s who managed to gain employment at the famous Waldorf Astoria, and later would own it and another hotel here in Pennsylvania.  It was while he was working at the Waldorf that he met Louise Kehrer and fell madly in love with her.  While vacationing in Alexandria Bay, more particularly, the Thousand Islands, he bought Hart Island, which he legally changed to Heart Island.  In 1900, he commenced building a castle there for his lovely Louise to live in.  In 1904, tragedy struck and Louise Boldt died suddenly at the young age of 41.  That same day, George sent a telegram to the island and ordered all construction to cease and all workers to leave the island.  The heartbroken George never stepped foot on Heart Island again.  He never allowed his children or their families to visit the island either.  Boldt Castle was 96% finished the day Louise died, and it would remain unfinished, too.  So great was his love for his wife, and just as great was his pain from losing her, that he could not bear to live there without her.

In 1977, the heirs of George Boldt sold the castle and Heart Island to the state of New York for $1.00 with the following conditions:  1) The castle was to be open to the public and every cent from the sale of tickets was to be put into restoring the castle, which had been vandalized over the decades it remained empty; 2) the restoration was never to go beyond 96% completion, which was the last Louise had ever seen; and 3) no one was ever allowed to live there or stay there.  To date, $38 million have been used in restoring the castle and only one and a half of the 6 floors have been fully restored.

Beginning at the top left corner and continuing clockwise, the photographs are: A view of 75% of Heart Island as seen from our hotel suite’s balcony; the Italian Garden at the rear of the castle with the castle’s power house (also a castle-like structure) in the background; the view of the castle’s main arch entrance where George imagined his guests docking their boats and visiting he and Louise at the castle–to the right is a 6 story playhouse he had designed and constructed for his children and their guests; a rear view of the castle; and, again, the arched entrance to the island.

Steve took me to the Thousand Islands for our anniversary trip, and I was instantly overtaken with the immense love George Boldt had for his wife.  I snapped over 500 photographs, and I apologize that I don’t have a closeup of the front of the castle for you, but those are on another camera card that I have not yet downloaded.

The entire time we were exploring the castle and its grounds on a self-guided tour, Steve and I discussed George and Louise.  All around us were visual signs of their love from heart-shaped flower beds to hand-carved granite benches with huge hearts carved out of the center of each bench’s backrest to the portraits of Louise to the Italian Garden with its carved granite statues.  We wondered what George would think of all the people tramping around the grounds and invading the castle.  We wondered how he would have looked upon the vandalism each room on each floor suffered from careless youths who didn’t know the story behind the castle or perhaps knew it and didn’t care.

As we sat on a magnificent porch, on a heart-shaped bench, I became weepy thinking about George and his immense love of Louise.  With all that Steve has been through this year, perhaps George’s story hit a little too close to home.  Or perhaps I’m just too softhearted and enjoy a good love story.  Maybe a little of both.  One thing I know for certain, George and Louise Boldt are now a part of my own history, and their love story reminds me to be thankful for my own love story!

Finally–so as not to leave on such a sad note–It has been my dream to own an island.  Strange dream, I know.  But ever since I learned that Raymond Burr owned his own island, I’ve wanted to own one myself.  During our stay in Alexandria Bay, we came to learn that there were 3 islands for sale.  The first one we saw had a price of $1.4 million.  The second one we saw had the hefty price tag of $5.5 million.  And the third one was selling for $80,000.  I’ll leave you with the photo of the third island, which is still swimming around in my thoughts as a possibility!

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It’s not the size of the house that matters, but rather the island itself that remains important to me.  <grin>

Until next time, may you be as loved as Louise!!  ❤

Boldt Castle

I Ate Bacon and Eggs at 8 AM by Valerie J. Patterson

On April 15th that was the text my husband sent me.  Never before has such a simple sentence brought forth such varied emotion in me.  I laughed.  I cried.  I rejoiced.  And I gave thanks to my Heavenly Father.

Really?  You might be asking yourself.

Yes.  Really!

You see, he sent me that text two days post colon resection surgery.  March 22nd, Steve had a routine colonoscopy.  When the doctor came to get me in the waiting room, he very gently told me he found a tumor and believed it to be cancerous.  Immediately, my heart broke and I began to cry.  He placed his hands on my shoulders and told me not to cry, that Steve would be all right.  I asked him the survival rate and he replied, “Ninety-nine percent plus the Lord Almighty!”

Instantly, peace filled me and I believed right there that he was telling me the truth.  Steve didn’t know yet.  He was in recovery.  When he went into his room, I went in and as soon as his eyes locked with mine, the tears welled in my eyes.  How could I tell him?  How could I break this news to him?  First I had to calm down.

I drew several deep breaths, stood at his bedside and told him they’d found a tumor, but that he was going to be all right.  Steve’s dad came in and we three talked and tried to laugh.  Finally, the doctor came in and explained in more detail what he found and then he recommended a surgeon, stressing that surgery needed to be sooner rather than later.  And thus began our journey.  This blog article is not about the cancer.  It’s about the courage, the hope, the faith, the power of prayer, and the people placed on our path for this particular journey.

The Surgeon: A humble man who–upon hearing us thank him for his expertise–said, “Thank you, but I am not as good as [the man upstairs].”  When his eyes lifted Heavenward, I smiled because it was proof that God had placed him on our path.  I trusted him at first meeting.  He set us at ease as he explained exactly what would occur as well as the healing process.  He answered our many questions, and he took excellent care of my very best friend, my biggest blessing.  Just before he took Steve into surgery, he squeezed my hand and told me it would be all right.  When he came to get me in the waiting room, our eyes met, and he hit me with an enormous smile.  “It went very well.  Took a little longer than expected, but it went well.  I got everything.”  We are thankful that he is on our path.

The Oncologist:  A very sweet, very intelligent, very knowledgeable, very patient man.  He is perhaps the very first–and only doctor–to ever look at me and ask me what research I had done prior to arriving at his office.  I told him what I had read and he took the time to explain what I’d read, how it applied or didn’t apply to Steve, and then went on to not only explain his course of treatment for Steve, but also the science behind it.  He provided us with literature to back up his plan.  When he explained that Steve would not require chemo or radiation, tears sprang to my eyes because I and so many others were praying for this.  He never missed a beat.  He smiled understandingly before handing me a box of tissues.  Our journey with him has only begun, and yet I am thankful he is walking this path with us.  We’re trusting him with Steve’s health.

The Church:  Our church family has been standing in the gap from the beginning.  When there is an entire body of believers praying, miracles happen.  There is power in prayer.  Every night, Steve and I would hold hands and pray.  When two or more are gathered in His name, He is there in their midst.  There’s power between those two.  Imagine the power of hundreds of people joined in the same prayer!  Steve’s cousin’s church was praying.  Our church was praying.  Family and friends were praying.  I am so very thankful for each individual.  I am in awe of the love shown to us through prayers, cards, lawn mowing, offers of meals, hugs of support, encouraging texts, phone calls.  I cannot begin to show my appreciation.

Our Pastor:  Our pastor was with me at the hospital during the long hours of waiting while Steve was in surgery.  He was there to visit with Steve, to pray with him, to encourage him, and to bolster his faith.  He was in our driveway at the first sign of an emergency that put Steve back in the hospital for an 8-day stay.  He was only a text away.  He and his wife provided me with comfort, hugs, care, love, and encouragement.  They were the source of a smile when I needed it, too.    And their care has not ended.  I do not have words enough to express everything I’m feeling.

Our Family:  The glue that holds us together when we are facing the tough, the difficult, the heartbreaking things that life throws our way.  It’s easy to take family for granted, but truly life is too short to not tell those precious to you that you love them, value them, and appreciate what they bring to your life.

Steve’s journey will be long, but the hardest is behind us.  We are thankful.  We are grateful.  We are fully aware that we are not walking this path alone.  We are rejoicing for blessings small and great.

Like millions of people, I never wanted to hear the “C” word, but now that it’s out there, I’m genuinely thankful for the very special people who are on this journey with us.

I am thankful for proclamations like: “I ate bacon and eggs at 8 AM!”

Life got extreme, and we fell to our knees.

Until next time, may your journey be peaceful and may there be exceptional people walking it with you.

Wedding Report

I’m back from my trip to Texas for my cousin’s son’s wedding. It was a great time but I came home to two cases that caused me a lot of stress. Grr. It makes me mad that I can’t seem to have a minute without some crazy lawyer getting spun up and filing junk while I’m gone. It’s a conspiracy, I tell you!

The bride and groom are an awesome, fun-loving couple and we had so much fun, it should be illegal. LOL.  Now, don’t get me wrong- nothing against the law was done but their friends sure do party hard. A few times, I found myself wondering if these people were really almost 30. They were having a ball but I have no idea how they were going to feel the next day.

The rehearsal dinner was fab. It was at a place called Vincent’s in downtown Houston. It was Italian and I had to very best filet I’ve ever  had in my life. It was done to perfection and so very, very tender. *swoon*

The wedding was gorgeous. It took place at a renovated horse farm in Tomball, Texas. The ceremony was outside at a replica cantina and the reception was in the renovated barn. The bathroom area was made from some of the old stalls. Super cute.

During the ceremony, the bride’s veil came off and she called out, “Man down.” We all laughed as her mom and a bridesmaid fixed it. When she was set, she said, “Time in.” I love, love how she didn’t even hesitate and was so comfortable being herself in that environment.

The cutting of the groom’s cake was also amusing. The bride and groom pretended it was super difficult. So funny. They are going to have a wonderful marriage full of love and laughter, I know  it.

Here’s a few pictures: including the “man down” one. 465396400417436437440

Back to the Mountain!

This past week, my husband and I celebrated our 25th anniversary by checking off a bucket list item: spending the night on Mount Rainier. Paradise Inn is a venerable old lodge where the rooms are tiny and half of them share bathrooms with the floor. But you know what? That drives folks to a wonderful lobby. I spent quite a bit of time sunk deep into a chair or couch here, reading. We played cribbage, chatted with people and soaked up the ambiance.P1100494

Quick facts: Mount Rainier is 14,410 feet above sea level. Paradise is at the 5,400 foot level. It’s considered a volcano, with its last eruption somewhere in the 1800’s. Each year, a little over 10,000 people attempt to summit the mountain. Only half make it to the top. And each year, a few lives are lost in the attempt. Sigh.

Back to fun stuff. You know, this is probably petty, but the parking lot is always packed to overflowing here at Paradise on Mount Rainier. The park gets 1.2-2 million visitors PER year. We came here on a weekend earlier this year and had to turn around because there was no parking. So getting to relax, have a glass of wine, and watch the lot empty out of all but the folks staying at the lodge was rather nice. 🙂 As well, we got some excellent star-gazing in. It’s not often we catch glimpses of the Milky Way anymore.

For both Mark and I, this is a second marriage. We have been uber-blessed because all five of our children have been happy we got together. In fact, they surprised us will a certificate for dinner in the exquisite dining room. It was excellent!P1100500

We also took in a short hike, to Myrtle Falls. Really, this mountain has something beautiful for everyone to see, no matter your physical capacity. Myrtle Falls is only three tenths of a mile from the lodge. Of course, it’s uphill (and subsequently, downhill) but we even saw a wheelchair on this paved path.

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So I highly recommend anyone in the area make the trip to see this massive reminder of how wonderful our Earth is. Just do it on a weekday, so you can find a place to park.

And hubby? It’s been a great 25 years, and I’m looking forward to the next chapters in our life together!

Laurie