Happy Anniversary, Hubby Rick.

Gratitude Day 318

Mon., Aug. 26, 2019

John 15:9 – (Jesus said,) “As the Father has loved me, I have also loved you. Remain in my love.  

Dear Hubby Rick –

On this day, nineteen years ago, we said, “I do.”

What a glorious day this was. A day that forever changed my life and one that I never want to take for granted. It is the day by which so many other events in my life are measured by.

Often, I think of something as “post-marriage” or “pre-marriage.” I celebrate the precious moments that we have had together and often wished you had been a part of my life much earlier; even though I’m not sure you would have fully “liked” that Dianne.

I have discovered so much more about myself, other people and relationships because of your spot in my life. My faith has matured, my compassion deepened, and my experience grown. I’ve explored feelings, situations and realities that I would have never encountered without you in my life. Walking with you has made me a better person.

Thank you for being patient with me when I needed to process something or come to a clearer understanding of something going on in our lives. Please forgive me for all the times I have poked fun at you; especially your age. You’ve continued to love and care for me, even in moments when I disappointed you and let you down.

While we had weathered a few challenging storms before our wedding day, we were not always prepared for various situations in our marriage. Together, we have remained committed to each other above everything else; something that makes me love you even more.

One day, you told me that while there would be times when it appeared that I would not be the most important priority in your life. But at the end of the day, I always would be the most important thing in your life, after your relationship with God. Thank you for this gift. Unfortunately, I needed to hear this, know this and believe this. I admire you for taking this commitment seriously and living it. When I have failed to live with this same commitment towards you, thank you for accepting me with my flaws and shortcomings.

I pray that I view every day with you truly as a gift. I celebrate every opportunity we have to spend time just with each other. While we have collected chestfulls of memories in these nineteen years, I pray that we are blessed with many more years and opportunities to build our memory banks.

Thanks for adding laughter and humor to my life. Thanks for supporting so many of my crazy ideas and thoughts. Thanks for listening and encouraging me. Thanks for praying with me, sharing a faith journey together and keeping our relationship always rooted in God’s love for us and each other.

Most of all, thanks for saying, “I do.”

All My Love –

PD

For the blessing of Hubby Rick being my husband and such an important part of my life, I am grateful.

Lord God – thank you for bringing a spirit-filled man named Hubby Rick into my life. Thank you for drawing us together and helping us fall in love. May we always see our relationship as rooted in Your love and celebrate the ways you made us so unique and different from each other. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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Gratitude Day 193 – Happy B-day to Hubby Rick

Fri., Jan. 11, 2019

Psalm 90:14 – Fill us full every morning with your faithful love so we can rejoice and celebrate our whole life long.

Today is a big day in our household. One of us turns a significant age; one that begins with a 6 and ends with a 5.

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This would be the person I lovingly refer to as Hubby Rick.

Would you humor me as I take a quick spin down memory lane? And share why this guy means so much to me?

Rick and rope swing

Thanks for humoring me.

partly sunny

Rick and I met in the most unusual of places: while I was interviewing for my first church appointment as a pastor. I was meeting with the leadership from the two potential churches I would be serving. At the time, Rick was the Ad Council chair for one of the churches. Also present at the meeting? My future in-laws.

Dating for a pastor is a little more complicated than “normal” dating. Dating someone from a congregation that you are serving is emphatically not suggested. It’s like dating your boss. When it became clear that we wanted to consider dating, Rick and I jumped through many, many hoops to do things we felt were the “right” way. Seriously, most of the recommendations would have been enough to send any guy packing. But then again, Rick wasn’t just any guy.

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From the get-go, we knew that we didn’t have to get married. We chose to be married. There is a HUGE difference, folks. With this as the basis of our relationship, the option of not being married to each other is off limits. We choose to challenge ourselves to add value and joy to each other’s lives. In choosing to do this thing called marriage, this would be something we would do until one of us wasn’t here on earth. Period.

Rick - car

To say that Rick has brought significant joy to my life would be an understatement. While dating, we both did a Myers-Briggs personality test. In all four areas, we were exact opposites. I am peanut butter and he is jelly. I am ying and he is my yang. I am trying to save the world and he’s just trying to keep up. Being opposites means we rarely have boring days. We just have to learn to navigate from completely different points of view.

Yet, we have made it work. Over time, we have modified and adopted a bit more of each other’s personalities. Most days, he still surprises me with a response or reaction I could not anticipate. I know there have been way too many times I have made fun of him, our difference in age and taken advantage of him in my writings and messages. He has graciously accepted this role, more so than I would have. In the process, he teaches the teacher another valuable lesson.

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While I have always felt supported and encouraged to follow my dreams, Rick’s commitment to me the past 13 months has made me love and appreciate him even more. When I shared with him that I wanted to step back from pastoral ministry and pursue other things I felt God calling me towards, he didn’t hesitate. He didn’t flinch. He only encouraged me to follow the leadings of my heart and chase whatever God has in front of me. He didn’t question how this would affect us financially or bemoan that this decision might mean he would delay retirement longer. He gladly accepted his role to support my ministry, in whatever form that looks like, and encourages me to continue this path.

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I have a self-aware husband who knows his faults. There are days when life bogs us down and we struggle. But I never question his commitment to me, our marriage and most importantly, faith in God.

Peter 2 B&B

What made Rick different from all those other guys? His faith in God and his commitment to my calling and ministry. It’s not easy to live with a person who believes following God’s call in their life precedes everything else. He believes that his call in life is to follow my call. While this may appear to some that he is playing second fiddle, he has the grace to see it quite differently. When we commit to our faith first, the rest falls into place.

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There are so many qualities and traits that I admire about this man. But his faith in God is always at the top of the list. It’s what has kept him grounded for most of his 65 years. I know this will be what keeps him going for every day forward.

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“Come, on! We can move this tree!”

For the presence of a Godly and faith-filled man in my life, I am grateful.

Rick & Dylan

Lord God – when you lay out our life’s plans, I believe you give us many choices. Thanks for bringing into my life a man who strives to be a servant disciple. May you bless him on this special day. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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Gratitude Day 128 – What I Learned in September

Sun., Sept. 30, 2018

Proverbs 24:32 – I observed this and took it to heart; I saw it and learned a lesson.september

Fall is definitely arrived. With the threat of frost in the forecast, on Friday night, I covered the flowers on our front porch, wanting to stretch their season a little longer. As I sat at my laptop on Saturday morning, it was chilly in the house. We hadn’t turned on the furnace because we were waiting for the broiler to be inspected next week.

 

As I looked at the calendar, I saw is the last weekend of September. Where did the month go? Where did the summer go?

Today, I am sharing lessons I’ve discovered, or maybe re-learned, in the last month. What lessons my middle-aged self continues to see.

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  • It’s important to stop our regularly scheduled lives and find time for God. I took a few days and spent in Northern Wisconsin at my friend Pam’s cabin. All by myself. This is not the first time I have done this. It has been a couple years since I last built this time into my calendar. My expectations of what I will “accomplish” during this time are always unrealistic. By day two, I’m reminded that the most important accomplishment is to pray, read and listen. I try to do these things in my daily life. But it’s a different rhythm when this happens in a different spot; one where you’ve previously been able to do this with God. Rick and I didn’t take a vacation this summer. We chose to participate in a youth mission trip with our grandsons instead. And we’ll gladly make this choice again. The time at the cabin allowed for me to get my heart in a right spot.

Kendra's wedding

  • May we remember the sanctity of marriage. During September, I officiated at two weddings and helped plan a bridal shower. These are wonderful and great events. When I’m part of a wedding, I encourage couples to remember that the marriage is far more important than the wedding. The two are very different. Choosing our life partner is such a big decision. I feel it’s the second most important decision in our lives; after whether we choose to have God in our lives. Choosing to make a life-long commitment to this person is an equally daunting decision. I pray we encourage couples to see these decisions as lifelong ones that they never stop working at. Yes, divorce happens. I would not be married to Hubby Rick had he not been divorced at one time. What I appreciate in Rick is that we never contemplate our marriage ending. It isn’t discussed. We decided 18+ years ago that we would make our marriage work … and we continue to do so.

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  • “Remodeling” is part of our lives. Hubby Rick and I are in the midst of a major overhaul of a significant part of the upstairs of our 110+-year-old house. We started this summer and it will be awhile before it is completed. Honestly, Rick has spent more time on the remodeling project than I have. I’m still trying to make my way through the boxes and totes and boxes of things from my Mom’s. This is my “remodeling” project: finish sorting and dealing with these things. We knew this project would take a while. We had an initial goal that we will not make. And we are completely OK with this. Yes, we could hire the work to be done in six weeks. But we won’t. I think “remodeling” has become a metaphor for other parts of our lives. There’s another blog about this topic brewing.

little bathroom

  • Little remodeling wins feel good. In light of the larger remodeling project, we decided a quick remodeling of one existing bathroom would be sufficient. It’s a tiny bathroom. I do not like the existing tile. Two different colors and they don’t match. Rather than tearing another bathroom apart, for about $100, I updated this bathroom. I found a paint color that compliments both tiles and spent a Saturday painting the bathroom. With a new shower curtain, new towels (the previous towels were easily middle school-aged) and some different wall art, it looks completely different! I did buy one piece of art. The other pieces, I shopped my house and found items that I wasn’t using. I’m looking forward to a new master on suite in the future. Yet, the little updates in this bathroom are a breath of fresh air and so worth it. Maybe I’ll show some more pictures of this soon.
  • I enjoy mentoring at the school. Last year, I signed-up to be a mentor. For one hour a week, I hung out with Isaac. Sometimes, we worked on homework. Other times, we played a game. We chatted. We laughed. At the end of the school year, I was surprised how Isaac reacted. He was concerned he would not see me again. He said he would miss not seeing me every week. From a 4th grader? I know; shocking. It was arranged for me to mentor Isaac again this year. This past week, we had our first session. He was outside of his classroom door waiting for me with a notebook and a game in his arms. He would have hugged me had his arms not been so full. The next hour flew by. We worked on a personal narrative he was writing and had a few minutes for a game. Multiple times, he told me he was so excited that I am his mentor. He called me one of the nicest people he has ever met. Seriously? Wow. I know there are times when Isaac struggles in life. If our time together is any small way I can encourage him, this one-hour appointment maybe one of the most important hour of my week.

My purpose in sharing a few of my learnings from September is a way to encourage you to think about what you’ve learned in the last month. Pull out your calendar. Think about the moments that have been most meaningful for you. What have you learned about yourself? What lessons are you taking to heart?

For times of reflection and growth, I am thankful.

Lord God – thank you for continuing to remodel my life. May I see areas where I have opportunities to grow and remake and update … and in consultation with you, dig deep and explore how I can become more like the person you desire for me to be. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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Gratitude Day 106 – My Spouse

Mon., Aug. 27, 2018

Ecclesiastes 9:9 – Enjoy life with your dearly loved spouse all the days of your pointless life that God gives you under the sun—all the days of your pointless life—because that’s your part to play in this life and in your hard work under the sun.

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Yesterday, Aug. 26, Hubby Rick and I celebrated our 18th anniversary. It was a rather low-key day, as Rick worked in the afternoon/evening. There have been years when we didn’t see each other on our anniversary. So, even having part of the day together is a win in my book.

Lately, I’ve been contemplating what a big decision it is when you choose your spouse. Seriously, I am convinced this one decision leaves a large stamp on a person’s life. During weddings that I perform as a pastor, I often say choosing your spouse is the second most important decision in your life. The first is choosing whether to include God in your live. I feel marriages combine these two decisions. As we add more anniversary years to our marriage, I am convinced this is truer than I can ever really emphasize.

Choosing your spouse influences so many other choices and decisions in your life. Who your spouse is will influence how you live, where you live, what priorities you focus on, what is considered “important” and what is considered “less important.” My spouse has affected how I view myself, our families, our friends and our marriage. I turn to my spouse for input, encouragement and a soft spot to land when things are difficult, hard and don’t go as planned.

I was in my 30’s and Hubby Rick was in his 40’s when we were married. Because this was Rick’s second marriage, I think he was more aware of what a big decision it was for us to get married. We didn’t have to get married. We chose to get married. We made this choice because we felt we would add more to our lives as a couple than we would individually. I believe we have exceeded this expectation.

Even though I was a little older and a pastor, I did not fully understand how the choice of a spouse would make such an impact on my life. Rick and I endured some challenges before we were married. His eldest son was killed in an accident seven months before we were married. Emotions tied to this were still very raw at the time of our wedding. Within the months before and after our actual wedding day, we both changed jobs, both moved a couple times and I was attending seminary. These significant events could have negatively affected our relationship long-term. Somehow, they didn’t.

Why? Because of the person whom I chose to be my spouse. When Rick and I said, “I do,” we were committed to this for the long-haul. We both knew this. Yes, there have been times when we each have had to address a difficult issue with the other. Rick and I believe God brought us together in our relationship. And we want to uphold our end of the deal.

Lately, I’ve asked a few friends whether they understood the importance of who they chose for a spouse before they were married.  Nearly everyone says they were not aware. For couples who married when they were young, it was nearly impossible to understand the magnitude of this decision. They look back and feel they were lucky or fortunate to be matched with the spouse they were.

At the time we were married, had someone asked me why I was marrying Rick, I probably would have said because I loved him. This is still true today. However, my emotions towards Rick have shifted. I still believe in love. Yet, I feel some other attributes and emotions I see and feel towards Rick are more important: respect, integrity, honesty, kindness, helpfulness and being supportive. When my heart swells in admiration towards Rick, it’s not only based on love. It’s based on these other attributes as well. He makes me proud every day. I feel supported, encouraged, appreciated and valued. Rick has allowed me to explore my life call and encouraged me to focus my days on the things that are most meaningful to me.

This is what a great spouse does. This is the kind of spouse I have. This is why I am grateful for my spouse.

Certainly, there are days he drives me a little crazy, as I am sure I do the same to him. Yet, I am fortunate. I’ve found a life partner who has exceeded my expectations and adds more value to my life than I can account for. I feel extremely grateful that God brought this man into my life. I may not have known what a big decision it was on our wedding day to marry this man. With each passing year, I am more aware and more appreciative for the man I call my husband.

For this man and the decision that we should be married, I am grateful.

Lord God – somehow you brought Rick and I together. Somehow, we have established a life together that has so much more value than if we were separate. Thank you for bringing Rick into my life. I pray our marriage honors you and points people back to you. Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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Gratitude Day 43 – A Nutty Message

nuts about you

Thurs., May 17, 2018

John 13:34-35 – (Jesus said,) “I give you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, so you also must love each other. This is how everyone will know that you are my disciples, when you love each other.”

My mornings most often begin by going into the kitchen and making coffee. As I walked into the kitchen early one morning, I found a special message on the kitchen island. From Hubby Rick. He works nights and had left me a little morning surprise:

Good Morning. Did you know I’m “nuts” about you??

What a stellar way to begin any morning.

In his own witty way, Rick found an opportunity to make his wife feel pretty darn special.

Our schedules are such that Rick and I do not always see a lot of each other during his work week. Often, I am gone before he gets up in the morning. We try to have lunch together a couple times a week. Sometimes even this is a challenge.

I am very lucky in the husband department. I know my husband loves me, cares for me and respects me. He adds lots of humor to my life as well. Rick is a master of taking some little thing and making it fun and meaningful. Like a couple packages of nuts that he picked up at the store. His favorite kind and my favorite kind. He didn’t stop there. He turned them into a way to make me feel special.

For this, I am grateful.

Lord God – Thank you for the special relationships in our lives. When life gets full and busy, it’s easy to take each other for granted. Place in our hearts a way to simply share with someone we love and care for deeply how much they mean to us today.  Amen.

Blessings –

Dianne

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When We Said, “I Do”

weddingSat., Aug. 26, 2017

John 15:12 – This is my commandment: love each other just as I have loved you.

Seventeen years ago, we said “I do.”

It began as a stormy, wet morning and turned into a muggy, humid day. It was also the day Rick decided to wash his car rather than make sure a couple more fans made it to the reception area to keep our guests cool. This would not be the last time we would disagree on a choice.

But when you say, “I do,” those words are more important than who is right.

Who wants to be right.

Who was right last time.

When you say, “I do,” two people make a choice in which individual feelings are not always more important than a joint resolution.

It’s a choice to stay together … no matter what.

It’s a life choice that is about the long game and not just the short game.

For us, saying “I do” means we don’t give up or give in.

We figure it out with no other alternative ever voiced, explored or contemplated.

Because, there is only “I do.”

Yes, we have disappointed each other. We’ve let each other down. And wished we could take back some sentences that should have been kept private and not spoken aloud.

Our marriage hasn’t always been a pretty field of flowers. Rick was still wounded from the unexpected death of his oldest 21-year-old son who died just months before we said, “I do.” We had both recently changed jobs and careers. We moved twice within a few months of becoming Mr. and Mrs. I commuted to school, as we tried to figure out how to be a married couple who saw each other only on weekends.

While the years have been peppered with wonderful and joyful times, the challenging days and weeks are not forgotten. A grandson who slipped away after being present for 16 short days. Three of our parent’s health changing significantly in 10 days. We have packed, moved and unpacked our belongings several times. We’ve helped clean out homes no longer occupied by our parents. We have physically been apart more of the last 6,205 days than we have been together. We’ve witnessed divorce, death and disappointment.

Yet, we’ve always come back to “I do” because it gives us hope.

For us, continuing to say, “I do” is an everyday choice. It’s our choice. One we gladly make. One we don’t take for granted. One, I pray, we get to make for many more days into the future. It’s a choice always grounded in knowing that God loves us more than we love each other. A choice which reflects our belief God brought us together to be one. A choice to keep God as the third and most important leg of our marriage.

We’re not perfect. But we laugh together. And we cry when one or both are hurting. We’ve experienced family, grandchildren and friends together, as well as we have seen some amazing places together. We’ve collected treasure chests full of special memories. We say, “Please,” “Thank you,” “I’m sorry” and “Please forgive me” regularly. We count our blessings daily and know where they come from. We try to respect, honor and uplift each other daily, even when apart. We pray together. Worship together. Hold each other’s hand together.

This is our “I do.” Thanks be to God.

Lord God – thank you for the gift of our marriage and your presence in our relationship. May we always keep You as the safety net which surrounds, protects and guides us. Help us continue to say, “I do” for every day we are together on this earth. Amen.

Blessings –

Rick & Dianne Vielhuber

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