Sunday, July 31, 2011

Teacher's Pet

The Tylers: Emily, Greg, Sarah & Mitch Hoskins,Sharon, James & Lucy
 Her eyes said "Yes", but her lips said "No". That's the way it seemed to Greg Tyler just four weeks after meeting her! Sharon laughed when he proposed and told him,"My parents would kill me!"

 Greg  was already working as a primary school teacher when he first met Sharon. But she had only just completed her first year of teacher training. They came across each other at a children's camp where they were invited to be helpers. It soon became apparent that apart from a mutual attraction, these young people shared similar interests and goals. They also shared a love of music and a strong commitment to family. And more, they were both interested in serving God wherever He led them. So within that first month they were deeply in love and knew that God's plan was for them to be together.

Some months later, he asked that momentous question again ... and this time she simply couldn't refuse! Ah, but only on one condition, because she needed to be able to focus on her studies, she insisted the wedding should not take place until her teacher training was complete. This was a complete shift of attitude for Sharon as she'd always envisaged living and working as an independent woman. She'd planned to settle down some time in the future, but what to do when your heart tells you otherwise? And another reason, they both believed it was God's timing that had brought them together, and they were also convinced that His plan was always the best and most perfect one.

Twenty-seven years later, that knowledge still holds true for Sharon and Greg, as they enjoy life and continue serving God together. Sharon is unequivocal when she says, "The Lord is the bedrock of our relationship. He has kept us strong and stable throughout some of life's fiercest storms!" Life has brought them some serious challenges, but these have been balanced by great blessings. Sharon goes on to say, "Our greatest blessing is knowing that God is with us every minute of every day. He provides whatever we need, moment by moment, and in Him our lives find true fulfilment."

They have raised four children, Lucy (24), Sarah) (23), James (21), and Emily (14). And by the grace of God all are string Christians actively involved in church life. Recently they welcomed another member, Sarah's husband Mitch, [see "Together Forever" post,] who has become like a son and brother to this family.

Their favourite verse: Delight yourself in the Lord and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4

Monday, July 25, 2011

A Rollercoaster Romance? Not Exactly ( But had to be there somewhere.)

Ane Mulligan
Here's a gal with a Southern-fried sense of humour! In her own words:

When Rita asked me to tell you my story, I noticed her blog theme was Inspirational Romance. Now, when I think of romance novels, I think of lovers. When I think of lovers—stay with me here, I do have a point to this—I think of romantic heroes from books. But where do these amorous men come from? Don't try to tell me real life, I know better. So do they all come from our imaginations? Maybe the better word would be our fantasies—but I won't go there for obvious reasons.

Borrowing a term from the late author Kristy Dykes, my "hero husband" is a Brit. But don't conjure up images of Hugh Grant. Believe me ... not all Brits are romantic like him. Now, don't get me wrong; my Brit tries, but somehow he's not the model for a novel hero.

What? You think I'm mean? No way. I'm just realistic. You want proof you say? All right ... here's what happened the night I met him. It was a blind date and I was paired with the other fellow. When it came time to go on the rollercoaster, neither of us was willing. I don't do rollercoasters and neither did he. When the other two came off, we remained in the new pairing. A few months later, we were married. So I guess you could say a rollercoaster brought us together, and his motorcycle cemented it, but was it romantic? Uh ... no. But I can say that we've been married 40 years and counting.

And he stuck with me when I took up this crazy world of writing. Of course, it was all his idea. I guess he figured anyone who could read 200 books a year (no exaggeration) should be able to write one and recoup some of that money. Boy, did he have that wrong ... the recoup part, I mean. Y'all know what most novelists make. And it isn't a quick trip to stardom.  He thought it might be like my plays. The first one I wrote was published, and after that, my editor at LifeWay bought everything I sent her. Novels, on the other hand, are a whole different subject. I've been on this journey for 8 years. I've been to editorial committee and pub board so many times they've installed a revolving door for me.

But the hubs stuck with me through it all, and even through my "rollercoaster" search for my birth family. After finding my mother, who did not want a relationship, I honored her wishes and didn't contact her again. But I knew I had some sisters out there and would have loved to know them. Having no idea of their names, it was an impossible task.

I gave it over to God and forgot about it. Well, not entirely. A few times each year, I would think about them and wonder. Ten years after I found my mother, a friend of my sisters found me. The whole story is on my Adoption Share blog, if you're so inclined to read it. I flew to Seattle and met them. It was like we'd always known one another, we're so much alike.

Whatever your dreams are, I can testify that God is able and trustworthy with them.

Thanks, Ane for sharing. Sometimes we can go overboard on the romance. It's the love shown by commitment in the "stickativeness" through thick and thin! (Your Brit deserves a medal!)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

A Wartime Romance - World War I

Beatrice, Rene, and Dora Dunsford
Beatrice Dunsford and her sisters enjoyed their
happy family existence until their father suddenly died. With their mother widowed and money scarce, they each searched for a job that would help the family finances.

Their little brother, Dickie, was a concern to his mother because he cried so often for his darling daddy, and she also never got over the shock of losing her husband for many years. She clung to her faith in the Lord, a real comfort in her grief, and always looked for His Second Coming.

The eldest sister, Dora, married first, and left to begin a new life with Charlie a clever banjo-mandolin player.
The second girl, Beatrice, became an excellent typist and with her looks attracted many young men. However, heartbroken after a failed romance with a handsome young Jewish man, she turned to another young man who told her he was going to marry her on their first outing. Flattered, she finally agreed. But by that time he had joined up as a volunteer. Their romance and courtship was all too brief, and they barely had a week's honeymoon before Harrie Mackie Kinnear was shipped abroad to fight in the Great War. No wonder Beatrice looked so sad in their wedding photograph... Harrie was one of the fortunate ones who returned at the end of that awful time to find he was a daddy. In those days soldiers weren't counseled for the traumas they suffered, and Beattrice never could quite understand his silences, nor he sudden flares of anger. More children followed, but two tots died as three-year-olds. One was lost to diptheria and a childhood accident took their beloved little girl from them. It was only then after a sweet Christian lady visited them that they too found a faith in the Lord and that one day they would again see their little ones. Because of their love for these little ones, they began a Sunday School in their home. It wasn't too much longer before this began a small church of believers in the nearby suburb of Russell Lea.

Harrie enjoyed his work as a signwriter and for many years his work was on public view on the small metal signs naming the variety of flora in Sydney's Botanical Gardens. Some years passed before the NSW government accepted them for the position of matron and manager of various Aboriginal reserves, as they were called in those days. And long after Harrie "retired" he was still involved at painting jobs in Christian camp sites. Their long life together was severed on this earth when Harrie went to be with the Lord. Now they have both joined all their children and their friends in Heaven as they enjoy the Lord's Presence.

Sunday, July 10, 2011


Tears sprang to my eyes at Jon and Teri Anne's story, so here it is in her own words.

"News of a fatal car accident involving a young church member buzzed around the office that blustery October morning. Less than six months before, I had accepted the invitation to join the staff of my former church, moving back across the country where I taught in a Christian school, to Arkansas, where I became the director of children’s ministries. 

In a few moments, a tall young man suddenly entered the reception area where I sat.  He swiftly stepped inside out of the wind and shut the door behind him.  Glancing up from my notes, my eyes met his momentarily.  In that moment, the thought came to mind, “That is the man you are going to marry!”  His eyes were blue, but somewhat dazed.  His sandy-colored hair was windblown. When I noticed a wedding band on his finger, I could only be thankful no one could read my mind.  Dismissing my thought as random, I greeted the young man and asked how I could be of help.  As soon as he mentioned his name, my heart jumped!  That October morning and the events that led up to it changed both our lives forever.

My parents had always shared with me the love of Jesus and that He had a perfect plan for my life. They instilled in me the importance of keeping myself for the man He had for me to marry one day, and they instructed me to pray for that young man as he was growing up, too. As I neared the end of my college career, the burden to pray for the man I was to marry strengthened. That burden took on a new dimension when a close friend and mentor married a young widower in our church.  The concept of marrying a widower was new to me, and her experience gave me pause. Could it be that the Lord had a similar plan for my life?  The man before me in that church office was the one who had just lost his wife in that tragic accident the night before. He was there for an appointment with the pastor.

It didn’t take either of us long to realize that Jon’s appointment that day was also a Divine appointment. In the course of the following weeks, Jon and I both received nudging from friends and church leaders to consider the other. I mentioned Jon to my parents, and together we began praying for him.  I felt loneliness, too.  I frequently wept and shared with the Lord during this time how much I longed for companionship—someone to love, someone who needed me! 

Meanwhile, Jon’s Sunday School teacher finally convinced him to attend the singles’ Christmas party.  I also decided it was better than staying home alone...again!  As I descended the stairs to join the party that evening, there stood Jon.   He caught my eye and in no time had initiated a conversation with me.  We enjoyed some wild ping-pong competition and we laughed a lot.  That entire evening he gave me his undivided attention. Over the next several weeks, we shared many sandwiches as we talked, read Scripture, and prayed together.  It was a glorious, whirlwind romance!  And soon, we were engaged.  With the encouragement and full approval of our families, pastor, and friends, we were blissfully married. Yes, the Lord had answered my prayers in a miraculous and timely manner.

Some time later, we learned that we would soon welcome a new little life…we were going to be parents!
It was a very arduous pregnancy, and my health continued to fail.  I was hospitalized five-and-a-half weeks before my due date, and my doctor elected to induce labor.  Even so, Jonathan David arrived healthy and strong.  The Lord had again answered our prayers. 

Within the first five weeks after Jonathan’s birth, as my health continued to fail, three specialists confirmed a diagnosis of systemic lupus.  That was the beginning of a long episode of health issues which only spurred our faith and trust in our Heavenly Father.The following year after successful surgery for endometriosis, I became pregnant with our second baby! Jonathan, then five, was going to be a big brother at last. Within the first trimester, however, our precious little one silently slipped into the arms of Jesus. Eighteen months later, we mourned the loss of yet another baby. My systemic lupus flared with each pregnancy, causing the babies' hearts to fail. Each time our hearts were broken, too.

But the Lord was not finished showing His greatness and mercy. We were surprised to learn we were expecting yet another baby.  By now I was considered high risk. One of my specialists actually told me to go home and wait for this baby to die, too. The lupus was already active, and he gave me no hope for a full-term pregnancy. Once again, Jon and I turned to the Scriptures for comfort and encouragement. We pleaded with the Lord to spare this child and show His power. Eight long months later, Jonathan finally became a big brother to little Jeffrey Duane, who arrived in perfect health and with the strongest newborn heart the pediatrician had ever heard!  The Lord had again answered our prayers.      
Both boys have grown into committed Christian young men who passionately love the Lord. And as Jon and I now face the empty nest, our prayers continue for our boys and for the young ladies the Lord has for them to marry one day. May they find the kind of love with which we have been blessed these past 28 years.  It is now 2011, and our love continues to grow!"

This is a wonderful story of the Lord's faithfulness and how two young people grew closer together through all their trials. Thanks for sharing Teri.


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Don't Forget the Little Things

Little things do mean a lot. It's another way of showing you care.

After the courtship and all that goes with it comes the wedding. And the wedding only lasts for ONE day. And many times after the honeymoon period it's amazing how soon romance is allowed to fade. Couples begin to take each other for granted. Oh, big mistake! Such a loving union between a man and a woman is so precious, it needs to be nurtured. Treat your other with courtesy always. It's a way of being faithful to your vows before God. How can men and women speak to the one with whom they share their bodies with rudeness and sometimes contempt? How can they belittle that one in front of others?

But treating that special person with kindness never goes out of fashion. A cup of tea/coffee when one person feels down. Washing up when their other has prepared and cooked a nice meal. A shoulder massage. A back rub. Bringing home a living plant in a pot, (lasts longer than cut flowers & is a constant reminder.) Chocs never go astray! A wink from across a crowded room. Holding hands when in public. A hand squeeze showing empathy when words seem empty. A hug a day. Cultivate an amiable personality. Tension begets tension. That soft word turning away anger really works. Bring a bit fun into your life. Laughter has been proven to be a healthy release for the psyche and the body.And  don't forget forgiveness. How important is that? We humans might have high ideals but so often stray from our own guidelines. Jesus said we need to forgive those who have hurt us...every time. Why? Because we're going to be needing forgiveness for our harsh words or mean spirits!

Oh, there's a million other ways you can add in building a wonderful and contented relationship.