where it all began

It began in the spring of 1985.  Actually, let me back up.  It began specifically at 12:30 a.m. on Dec.26, 1984 … the first time Craig and I said “I love you” to one another.  I was a month over seventeen, a senior in high school, and Craig had just turned nineteen the week before, a college freshman home for Christmas break. We’d been dating since the previous summer and my years of wondering what it would feel like to be in love . . . well, I didn’t have to wonder anymore.  He was my everything.

Fast forward to that following spring, where he was at school in Iowa finishing up his first year and I was in Illinois, finishing up my last.  He always called a couple of times each week after baseball practice and I would go running down the hall and make an airborne dive onto my bed to pick up the phone.  More often than not, as I was saying hello, I would notice that my digital bedside clock read exactly 7:42 pm.  That was when, 7:42 – I love you, was born.  I starting answering his calls with that phrase. After time, we tried to call each other at exactly 7:42, and even now, three kids and 25 years of marriage later, when one of us has to be away, we still try to call or text each other at that time, morning or night, to say I love you. We continue to have a playful, loving, passionate marriage and I feel blessed beyond measure.

To me, 7:42 stands for many things; I love you, I’m thankful for you, I cherish you, day in and day out – I will be there for you. Over the years, I would check the time and call out “7:42 I love you!” to the kids as we were eating breakfast, getting ready for them to go off to school.  Or in the evening, I’d notice that time on the clock when we were all snuggled in, reading books together before going to bed.

Craig and I were just kids when we fell in love and have experienced so much in the process of growing up together.  He was there for me, several months into our dating relationship, when I lost my dad to a cancerous brain tumor, just two weeks before my high school graduation.  In the last several years, we’ve grieved the loss of one of his beautiful sisters and both his mom and dad.

We parent three amazing people together, two homegrown and one special ordered and imported from the other side of the world. The three of them have each grown us up and made us into better versions of our younger selves; more selfless, more responsible, more compassionate and giving. We fought and kicked our way through the process, and often still do, but we’re happy with the results.

I get lost in the process of composing and revising, and my prayer is when I do share my words, that those reading them may be inspired to draw closer to Jesus and to view and treat their fellowman differently – with more kindness, compassion, empathy and love.

In this life that won’t slow down, I continually remind myself, and I want to remind you also, to breathe deeply and to look to God and to His promises. In Him, I find that I’m His precious creation, loved and valued more than I can possibly understand.

Do you know, beloved?  So are you.

Colossians 3:12-15 “Since God chose you to be the holy people whom he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.  You must make allowance for each other’s faults and forgive the person who offends you.  Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.  And the most important piece of clothing you must wear is love.  Love is what binds us all together in perfect harmony.  And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts.  For as members of one body you are all called to live in peace.  And always be thankful.”

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