Rhythms of a Porch Swing and 30 Years of Marriage

The words still echo, “A 3-cord strand is not easily broken”.   A vow still intact, “I promise you forever!”  It was the ceremony of our dreams. And today, after more sun-kissed horizons than I can count, and the man I said yes to kissing me good morning,

The rhythm of our porch swing lulls us back and forth

A piping hot cup of home roasted brew in hand, we celebrate a unique and privileged milestone…30 years of marriage. The self in us wants to pen a perfectly packaged “10 keys to a successful marriage”, but the soul in us says getting there was anything but “perfectly packaged”.

The rhythm of our porch swing lulls us back

It started with changing my name, and things have been changing ever since: Changing addresses, changing diapers, changing careers, and yes, changing seasons.    In 30 years of marriage, the only constant we have known is change.  Even the fierce flickering flame of our young love has changed. It has become as coals, deep-burning and unquenchable. 

The rhythm of the porch swing lulls us forth

 That 3-cord strand has saved us more than once, and the promise of forever knows a sacredness we couldn’t have possibly understood, so long ago.  Living OUR story (and not someone else’s), has allowed us to build an incredible life together, a beautiful family.  Sharing like values has been our honor, and making decisions bigger than ourselves has kept us both humble and dependent on the third cord in our strand.  I could spend all day talking about our life and the imperfectly-perfect journey that has made us the husband and wife we are today,

But the rhythm of our porch swing lulls us

Our loud and busy teenagers have grown into adulthood and their own young love; and while our youthful beauty may be fading, at the center of this life and love that we’ve built, these things remain:

The power of commitment

A strength of friendship that both fun and fortitude has fashioned

Hearts of steadfast, endearing love

And a deep devotion to all that has been and all that will be.

Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed.  If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.  Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm.  But how can one be warm alone?  A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.                      Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 NLT

Happy 30th Wedding Anniversary My Love,

From the rhythms of our porch swing,


We had so much fun this past Friday night, going on a date and recreating our engagement photos (from 31 years ago).  ENJOY!   In all of our 30 years of marriage, date nights, have been a #1 priority. 

Photo Credits: Val McClure


Love Like There Is No Tomorrow

Quote by Max Lucado

I remember like it was yesterday, our first Valentines Day together, tokens of love and endearment exchanged under a cold, midnight, moonlit sky. It marked the beginning of you and me… loving like there was no tomorrow. And as life would have it, the tomorrow’s would keep coming, and we would keep loving, again and again, and again.

29 years of Valentines Days and you’ve shown me that sometimes love looks romantic and elegant and lavish. But more often than not, it looks simplistic and practical and routine. 2 weeks into recovery from this dreadful shoulder surgery and the way you have put my needs before yours has shown me the deepest kind of love in the most practical of ways, by caring for me, prepare amazing meals, and most of all, exchanging the comfort of our bed for a makeshift one to be alongside me on the reclining sofa.

And above all else put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. Colossians 3:14 ESV

Another February 14 is drawing to a close, but tomorrow is another day, Loving like there is no tomorrow and being bound together in perfect harmony.



Writing A Great Story- Our Story

As the morning sun peeks over the horizon, I pull a book from the shelf. It isn’t just any book.  It is a gift that I deeply treasure for the words inscribed on its pages.  

“I  hope that these stories of love, bring you laughter, joy, a warm feeling in your heart
and an attitude of thanks to God for ALL that he has given to us in each other.  
Let ours be a story that is greater than any contained on these pages”

       Your Husband, Rick 
       Dated: April 13, 1992
           (our first Wedding Anniversary)  

More years than I can believe, have slipped by us!  And since that day, I have learned that great stories aren’t just “written”.  They are walked out and felt deep in the soul. They are forged thru great responsibility and every decision point along the way.  After 27 years, there are a lot of chapters!  All of them making us who we are today.  I sit in the still of the morning with a sense of awe and wonder.  A sense of accomplishment and reward.  We’ve camped in some pretty green pastures along the way, but we’ve ascended some pretty rugged terrain too.  True love binds our hearts, and it binds our story!  How does one celebrate so many years of writing together, walking together, feeling together?    

It’s been fun to reminisce how we’ve marked each year.  
 Big or small, there has always been a special celebration. 
And, because there is still a lot of “story” to write, we keep walking, we keep feeling, 
and ALWAYS making time to do some of our favorite things…..

today, April 13, 2018, we push the pause on schedules and responsibilities
to seek out a corner coffee shop in a quaint little town
and we write yet another page in “our great story”,
Thanking God for ALL he has given to us

Happy Anniversary My Beloved! 
With Love, Both Now and Always,

(our 27th Wedding Anniversary) 

No Good Thing Does He Withold! Savoring The Gifts.

Rushing through the crowds of holiday shoppers just a few short weeks ago,  it snuck right up on me, uninvited, yet so very welcome!    It’s amazing how one piece of music can flood the soul and overwhelm the senses.  First I heard it playing loud through the mall and then a  joyful tear and a lump in my throat welled up.  Memories of preparation for that exquisite January wedding day stopped me right in my tracks and I savored the gift…..a very special one of a kind gift that required no wrapping, ribbons or even fancy bows.  

The very music (recorded above) that filled the holiday air, just so happened to be the same music that accompanied the processional of  brides maids, flower girls  and yes,  my own beautiful daughter, as she walked her wedding aisle exactly one year ago today.
(perfectly timed out and dramatized for effect–her grand, closed door entrance, happened at precisely 3:33 min) 

Psalm 84:11 says,  “The Lord bestows favor and honor.  No good thing does he withold from those who walk uprightly.  

What may appear to one as just another arrangement of music, becomes to another,  far reaching passion and emotion during an incredibly beautiful, bridal processional moment….A GOOD THING.    

What may appear to one holiday shopper as joyful music filling the air, becomes to this mother, a gift (of memories) that keeps on giving….A GOOD, GOOD THING. 

This past year as been one of watching my daughter embrace the marriage journey with joy and zeal and tenacity.  So today, just like one year ago…WE CELEBRATE (albeit just a little less exquisite).  The marriage journey is ever filled with new seasons, new hopes and dreams, new goals and purposes, new mountaintops and valley lows.   The memories will always remain our constant joy, but to all that lies ahead, the next year and the next, continue growing in grace, in love and in beauty. 
I’d say there isn’t a finer piece of music that represents more completely the both of you, who you are, and what you share. 

         Christmas Eve 2016                   Wedding Day January 15, 2016
We Love You! 

The Cost Of Marriage, And 25 Years A Bride

Perusing through an article on marriage just one week before a milestone Wedding Anniversary, I am challenged with a thought provoking question.


Sarah and Tyler 2016,  Me and Rick 1991 

Having recently witnessed the marriage celebration of our daughter Sarah and son-in-law, Tyler,  it was easy to quickly recount the budget and the cost (still fresh in my mind) that went into making it a most exquisite event, a near perfect wedding day–I like to say, it was one for the ages! 

Just as quickly as thoughts and happy memories of our daughter’s beautiful wedding day flooded my soul, they faded into the realization that in little more than a week (April 13, 2016) I too would be celebrating happy memories…
25 years a bride.  
Although I remember it as one of the happiest days of my life, I am far removed from the financial details of my own wedding day.  Twenty five years has a way of showing me,  THE COST OF MARRIAGE isn’t about the dollars and cents at all, nor is it really about the happiness, although happiness is a great byproduct.
Rather, what comes to mind has more to do with the giving, the investment, the sacrifice, the commitment and being refined like gold time and time again.  
(Left)engagement picture 1990  and (Right) today 2016
Time may weather our physical bodies but it strengthens our souls


Standing strong thru the years, started with a shared faith and commitment to walk through whatever we faced together.  It continues with an obedience to God’s Word, not just when it is easy and we feel like it, but also when the days are difficult and we don’t feel like it.  
Our Wedding Day,  April 13, 1991

                                                                  Often times, the cost of marriage means laying down our pride (which can be really ugly at times), and taking up our cross (which can be really painful at times).  It means putting you before me and we before I.  It means admitting our mistakes and falling to our knees in both offering  forgiveness and receiving forgiveness.  It means being intentional about us, through every season, protecting, guarding and keeping watch over that which God has joined together….our marriage relationship, our dreams and our purposes, both as a couple and as individuals.  

Rarely if ever, do we go it alone. There is both cost and great risk to staying transparent and vulnerable. Surrounding ourselves with good couples, family, and friends, means we always have people who are there to cheer and celebrate with us when life is great, but who also don’t hesitate to roll up their sleeves and fight alongside us for our marriage and when times aren’t so great.   
A recent Friday night date. 

Loving together, serving together, making great memories together, sharing the deepest levels of intimacy together, raising a family together, laughing together (we’ve done a lot of laughing), crying together (we’ve done a lot of crying too), facing victory and defeat together, facing triumph and tragedy together, playing together, praying together….we still don’t always get it right,even after 25 years, but we always always invite His Spirit to inhabit every little (and big) detail along the way.


With the helping hands of our Heavenly Father and a deep love and devotion, we count the cost and we pay the price….not just for weddings, but for marriage too.     For it is in doing so,  that we know and experience…


   You and Me Rick Steimling, together forever…..in love, being refined like gold, time and time again, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and health, until death do us part.         

  Happy 25th Anniversary to the Love of my life!

To Love and Be Loved

As my “1000 gifts list” continues to grow, I am thankful for the gift of LOVE…..the kind of love that never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
1 Corinthians 13:7

The red roses and chocolate covered strawberries reserved for days like these, makes that 1000 gifts list too.  (smiling)  

We were all there for one reason…To celebrate our love (ok, and maybe a good Italian meal too).  Valentines Day 2012 marked 22 years since our first one together.   We shared reflections and endearments before shifting our thoughts to so many of those around us.   Couples from every conceivable walk of life filled the tables.  From one end of the restaurant to the other,  I couldn’t help but wonder, “what was their story?”    Did love flow easily or require great effort?  Was it intentional and celebrated or did it require sacrifice?   I know our story includes all of the above.  I know God’s story includes all of the above.   What about your story?  
Whether Phileo love (brotherly love) or Eros love ( intimate or romantic), it is   Agape love (Christ’s love) at work within us  that makes our stories possible…. makes our stories beautiful.  In loving and being loved, may we have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high and how deep HIS love really is.    Ephesians 3:18  

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