Friday, November 25, 2011

When the Years Creep Up with a Perceptive Husband Jennifer Slattery

Ouch! My thirty-fifth birthday tipped me over the edge.

Thirty-four was bearable. It was just below the halfway point. Far enough away from forty to prevent a mid-life crisis and close enough to thirty to round down. And then came thirty-five. No more fudging the numbers. No more mathematical games. 

I think aging is harder for women than it is for men. Gray hair makes men look intelligent. Bald heads look mysterious. On women? Not so much. So we die our hair and apply oodles of make-up only to find our crow’s feet accentuated and our roots more pronounced. And yet, how assuring, how downright heart-melting, to hear your husband tell you after fifteen years of marriage and twenty or so pounds worth of cheesecake and hot fudge sundaes that he still finds you beautiful. Oh, what would we do without those tender accolades from our men?

The other day while my husband and I were driving to the gym (Gotta fight that cheesecake somehow!) I started talking about one of the characters in my latest novel—a middle-aged woman who struggles with low self-esteem. During the conversation, I mentioned how difficult it was for women, in general, to age. I swear my husband’s a mind reader! Either that, or he’s just amazingly perceptive, but he quickly saw past my “characterization” into my heart. And he spent the rest of the day combating the insecurities that I never quite articulated.

Our first stop was the hair salon. Actually, we went there twice. (I chickened out the first time and had to be brought back kicking and screaming.) I have naturally curly hair, which leaves the door wide open for error. The words, “Oops, let me fix it,” have popped out of many a hairdresser’s lips. Luckily, this time was different. By the time I was done, donning a young, perky, even trendy, hairstyle, I felt like a new woman!

But my husband wasn’t through with me yet. The rest of the afternoon he dragged me from one clothing store to the next until my arms were loaded down with stylish outfits to match my new do. Our day ended with a wonderful lunch where I sat and listened to my husband shower me with compliments. All because I casually mentioned how one of my characters struggled with aging. Don’t you just love those men who take the time to read between the lines?

Jennifer Slattery is a novelist and freelance writer who happens to have a very caring husband!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Wholeness From Brokenness - Kimberly Zweygardt

Kim and her extended family
In 1979 I left behind my small home town in Kansas and followed the "yellow brick road" seeking fame and fortune. But I didn't find it and instead found heartache. I came home to raise my three year old daughter and putting my dreams on hold. Though I thought I'd given up my dreams of "happily ever after", instead, God made my dreams come true.

With my history of disastrous relationships I only wanted what God wanted for me, but I didn't know how to find it. So I made a list. Everyone I dated was like a job interview. Like, "What are your views on this?" Check! "What are your views on that?" Minus!

I wasn't even sure I should look for love as I'd failed so often. I even thought God wanted me to remain single. But my little girl had other ideas. She wanted a Daddy and began to pray that God would give her one. And it's hard to argue theology with a four-year-old!

Finally a friend said, "Kim if that is the desire of your heart - to have a godly husband - ask for it! After all, God wants to give you the desire of your heart." I went home that night and got out my prayer journal and poured out my heart's desire to God.

Kary lived about 40 miles away. And though he'd been alone for 5 years he wanted to find a special someone. But he'd made up his mind he wouldn't settle for less than God's best. He would simply concentrate on raising his two sons and wait on God. A mutual friend gave Kary my number, but he didn't call until months later. But when he did, we talked for over three hours. We had so many things in common it was uncanny. We talked about our kids and our hopes and dreams. We talked about the Lord. And by then I knew this guy was something special.

After some time he called again inviting my daughter and I on a date and to meet his two boys. We all had a wonderful time. And when we got back to the car Kary decided to kiss me good night. Now this was with 3 kids in the back seat!  "I think he's gonna kiss her! Yes, he is! Yes, he is! He's kissing her!"

Kary got so flustered, he missed my lips and kissed my eye! But I thought it so romantic. And how brave to kiss me in front of two five-year-olds and a nine-year-old!

By this time Kary decided to propose, but our evening out was cold. When we got out of the car I reached for his coat. "Can I borrow it?" But, "No!" he said. "I'm cold." and whipped it away from me.

Wow! What happened to chivalry? Ah, but I didn't know the ring and roses were hidden in his coat, until he knelt down before me. Well my answer was exactly like, "Yes! Yes! Yes!"

We've been married for over fifteen glorious years, now. Kary still makes me laugh like no other and fun characterizes our family. God has brought wholeness from brokenness in both our lives and I praise Him for it.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Irena Sendler - A Saviour of Children

During WWII, Irena got permission to work in the  Warsaw ghetto, as a Plumbing/Sewer specialist.

She had an 'ulterior motive'. As a German, she KNEW what the Nazi's plans were for the Jews.

Irena smuggled infants out in the bottom of the tool box she carried  and also in the back of her truck a burlap sack, (for larger kids).

She also had a dog in the back that she trained to bark when the Nazi soldiers let her in and out of the ghetto.

The soldiers of course wanted nothing to do with the dog and the barking covered the kids/infants noises. During her time of doing this, she managed to smuggle out and save 2500 kids/infants.

Irena kept a record of the names of all the kids she smuggled out and kept them in a glass jar, buried under a tree in her back yard. After the war, she tried to locate any parents that may have survived it and reunited the family. Most had been gassed. Those kids she helped got placed into foster family homes or adopted.

Last year Irena was up for the Nobel Peace Prize. She was not selected. 

President Obama won one year before becoming President for his work as a community organizer for ACORN and Al Gore won also--- for a slide show on Global Warming.

It is now more than 60 years after the Second World War in  Europe ended.

This is a memorial in memory of the six million Jews, 20 million Russians, 10 million Christians and 1,900 Catholic priests who were murdered, massacred, raped, burned, starved and humiliated! 

And still, more than ever and despite the overwhelming evidence, strident voices claim the HOLOCAUST to be 'a myth'. 

 I received this amazing story via email and felt it must be shared. This dear woman gave her life to save others. And so we also celebrate the death and resurrection of our Saviour, Jesus Christ, who died to save us from the penalty of our sins and give us abundant life here and a future in Eternity.

Friday, November 4, 2011


Who would have thought that a discussion of a character from “To Kill a Mockingbird” would be the start of a romance?

But there I was, immersed in a conversation at the home of the youth pastor, discussing my roommate Cindy’s cat named “Boo.” Out of the blue, I heard a male voice ask, “Boo Radley?”

I peered over the sea of teens and young adults to see a long-haired, bespeckled man with a moustache and an impish grin. I returned the smile.

“You know Boo Radley?” I asked in surprise. Here was someone who knew the full name of one of my favorite characters in my all-time favorite movie. Who was this guy?
This guy named Steve quickly grabbed the opportunity to engage in further conversation.  A reporter for the local newspaper, Steve was witty, funny, and nothing like other guys I’d known or dated before. He was also a brand-new Christian. I was less than a year old in my walk with the Lord. We were babies in our spiritual growth but I had already learned enough from Bible studies and sermons to know that Christians did not act like unbelievers. We were supposed to have standards of behavior.

So when Steve asked me out to dinner soon after our meeting, I was both thrilled and scared to death.

How are Christians supposed to act on a date? I pondered this with a certain amount of fear and trembling. Brushing my waist-length hair in preparation for our first time out, I remembered guys from my pre-Christian walk. It was the 1970’s and social mores had “freed” many from the traditional constraints that God-fearing individuals knew were nothing less than sin. And the Bible says that sin makes you a slave, not free. My new freedom in Christ meant that I was no longer “free” to sin.
But how to keep things restrained in our new freedom in Christ?

I’ll bring my Bible, I thought. I was impressed with my brilliant solution!
Steve looked at me curiously as I picked up my Bible and carried it out to his little turquoise Honda. Slinking into the small car, I set King James in between us, right on the console. He never complained about difficulty using the stick shift, but I’m certain it was a little awkward. He never balked once about the Word of God sitting there between us.

Our dinner was wonderful. And there were many more dates after that, although I relaxed enough to trust Steve’s intentions without the Bible set between us. That date was the start of our long and fruitful romance. A couple of years later, our good friend Lloyd Simpkins laughed when we told him about our first dinner together. By now we were married and we visited with Lloyd and Emma Simpkins regularly. They were a wonderful couple from church that opened up their house for a home-cooked meal every Sunday.

“Well Steve,” he said to my husband after hearing the account of that first date, “I guess she figured you’d have to jump over Matthew, Mark, Luke, AND John to bother her on that date!”

That unforgettable date led to the marriage of two Christians committed to the Lord and to each other. And Steve and I still carry the Word of God with us—literally and in our hearts.

Elaine Marie Cooper lives in the Midwest with her husband Steve, her three dogs and one huge cat. She has two married sons and triplet grandbabies, who are often referred to (by her) as “the most beautiful grandbabies in the world.” Elaine’s only daughter, Bethany, passed away in 2003 from a brain tumor. A retired registered nurse, Elaine has been a magazine freelance writer for many years.

Thanks so much for sharing, Elaine. I wonder if our readers have had a funny experience with a first date?