I've been fortunate to be surrounded by some long-lasting relationships that set a great example for me in my own life. My parents have been married over 50 years, Larry's parents were married for over 50 years as well. We are the products of two very committed couples.
This August, Larry and I will celebrate our 30th anniversary. An unlikely couple in many people's eyes, we just knew that we were destined to be together.
He was a student from Venezuela, and he was only supposed to be at the University of Southern Mississippi for eight weeks. He was taking intensive English-as-a-second-language classes at USM's English Language Institute. Thanks to his crazy cousin, Leo, who broke his leg in a motorcycle accident in Hattiesburg, Larry stayed after the eight weeks and enrolled in the University. I had transferred from Mississippi State to USM, and I was placed with a Venezuelan roommate. The rest is history!
We had two beautiful children, both of which have had their share of heartbreak. The good news is that this Valentine's Day, our Joey Joe will celebrate with his beautiful girlfriend, Emily. She is a dream come true. She "gets" Joe, but she doesn't cut him much slack. She holds his feet to the fire and demands the best out of him. As a result, he's doing better than ever in school and has a bright future ahead of him. That's important in a relationship--bringing out the best in each other. Emily brings out the best in Joe and for that we are very grateful.
I think Valentine's Day should go beyond "couple love," and highlight the love we have for friends and family. Nicole and I were surrounded by love last night at Brenda's birthday celebration. An impromptu text message resulted in 15 loving women who showed up to celebrate a birthday and to shower Brenda in love. It was so strong, I could physically feel it. Brenda wasn't the only one the love was directed towards. The women there all truly love each other, and they are quick to say so. It's not uncommon to hear "I love you" spoken over and over with that crowd. Several of them singled me out to let me know they loved me, and Nicole, and our whole family, and that Nicole would forever be "theirs." We were immersed in. Enveloped in it. Drowning in it. And the love was good. Happy Birthday, Brenda! I love you!
So in honor of Valentine's Day, I'm repeating a couple of awesome quotes I put in my facebook status yesterday. I got a surprising response from people who loved it. Some wanted to repost it. Some were in relationships...some weren't. But the quotes resonated with people in a way that was quite unexpected. So here is the first quote, by Bess Meyerson:
"To fall in love is awfully simple, but to fall out of love is simply awful."
The other was by author Henri Nouwen who wrote:
"When those you love deeply reject you, leave you, or die, your heart will be broken. But that should not hold you back from loving deeply. The pain that comes from deep love makes your love ever more fruitful."
Speaking of hope, Nicole is working hard on making her "Evening of HOPE" an event to remember. I'm really proud of what she is accomplishing. She's figured alot out on her own and it's coming together beautifully, thanks to the help of her talented and creative friends.
Mark your calendars for March 27...keep reading this blog for more information coming soon!
With each birthday and each holiday, I am reminded again how very BLESSED I am to have my beautiful daughter with us, when medical science said she should not have survived her fall. I am grateful, thankful, and I have such a full heart. If you haven't already, get the February issue of PORTICO Jackson and read about Nicole's accident and how it affected every member of our family. It's appropriate that the story is in the February issue. Both Nicole and Joseph have birthdays in February...and Valentine's Day is in February. And on Valentine's Day, we remember the ones we love the most. And I do especially love Nicole. So read the article, then hug your children, spouse, friends and everyone you love a little harder and a little longer.
Who do you love and why? I'd love to hear your comments!
Blessings to all who read this!