A Resolution to Resolve

2022

Now that all the Christmas decorations are put away, estaba pensando…Yup, usually when I say “I’ve been thinking,” it’s because a change is needed or a change is wanted, or something has got to happen! Being the new year of course I feel the pressure of that clean slate, that “2022 organizer” Y pues, gracias a Dios that I’m in 2022, otra chansa! 

The word ‘Resolution’ has all kinds of formal definitions in the world of dictionaries, mira, Cambridge dictionary had one definition in these words “A promise to yourself to do or not to do something”  On January 1 I truly felt the motivation,saw the need, felt it in heart to get things resolved. I make a thoroughly long list of things that must change, things that must go and things that need revamping. Then, as if someone yanks my “New Years Resolution” list away (me)  it gets lost early in the year. Usually by February, I’m purposely forgetting it, filing it away or throwing it out. I continually fall off the race track, fiercely hanging on to somethings on that list. 

La verdad es que, they’re pretty much the same recycled goals. Ya saben, I gotta let Jesus shine in me, I gotta lose weight, I gotta get organized,I gotta finish that degree (heavy sigh and rolling eyes) y I gotta get my book published! 

This year, otra vez, I did re-resolve my new/old list of goals, hopefully this year my “accountability group” will help me stay on track. (That sounds so clinical huh?)  I guess the positive side is that I haven’t stopped trying verdad? Y! With gratitude lenses I see that many things have seen resolution through the decades of my life.

I enjoyed the way this blogger summed up the year and quotes for seizing opportunities:   

Notes to Self at the Start of 2022 — Mitch Teemley

You’re still alive–there’s a reason for that. Get to it! “I’ve got to admit it’s getting better, oh, so much better all the time.” ~Paul McCartney (“It can’t get much worse.” ~John Lennon) “Thank u, next.” ~Ariana Grande “Don’t be afraid to go out on a limb — that’s where all the fruit is.” ~Frank Scully […]

Notes to Self at the Start of 2022 — Mitch Teemley

Wrapping up Christmas

This past week has been like a whirlwind, like for many people out in the big wide world verdad? As I’ve finished those last minute errands in this Covid Era, I know, tagging it like this sounds muy exagerado, but it has been an extreme time. I sat in some parking lot traffic yesterday and it reminded me of the congestion and busyness of Christmases past, call me loca, but I was grateful for the feeling of “back to normal” as I impatiently waited for traffic to move along. The lines were just long, not very long and masked folks were all around, as I waited in line I thanked God for Christmas time.

We are  wrapping up our season with some fun jolly times. Last week on the 20th we commemorated our return to our annual tamalada by remembering my apa. For over 20 years my cunada and I have built a true friendship, pushing aside the lies and insecurities of “inlaw phobias” and God has given us a blessed friendship. We have established a very informal but set in stone tradition of working hard at Christmas making tamales, I was so glad for our day together with our girls. Tamales de puerco, de pollo, de res and my amas sweet tamales. Tamaladas are lots of work, hijole, I’ve always denied myself the opportunities to learn the secret of the masa but I had no choice this year, my hands went into the masa. Tamaladas are lots of talk, hot on the topic list was the fact that although covid separated us, it actually brought Sandra a new helper, mi hermano! Hector says it was a one time deal though. In the end when it’s all said and done we reap pots of tamales. Life circumstances, like “apa watch” hindered our tamale tradition and covid completely blocked it in 2020 but this year tamales prevailed and the time was extra special.

Last night we squeezed in our Scrooge Dinner Party with our dear friends, the Alsobrooks. Heavy sigh, once upon a time they were the ‘Octopuses’, but then Thomas learned how to say their name correctly. Our dinner party consists of three parts: dinner, a white elephant gift exchange and then regular gift exchange. This year was a tight squeeze, since aside from covid, regular nasty little viruses were jumping around making people sick and keeping them laid up in bed. Our family party was smaller since some were sick, but we prevailed and the show must go on, we chose to enjoy and appreciate our yearly tradition. Oh what a great time we had.

 Having girl friends that I can trust has been so comforting  through the years, pero imaginate when our families connect and there is true friendship across the board of parents and children, hermoso! Last night we decided to make breakfast for dinner, so that meant Ben’s popular sourdough pancakes. We impatiently waited for everyone to arrive so we could entrarle a la comida, digging into the food as if we were ravenous. Hay si, maybe not ravenous but hungry, borderline, ‘hangry’ the shopping and wrapping had us madd.

How do I describe our scrooge exchange? The rule is to spend as little as possible, Bah HumBug! Of course we all struggle to figure out what we could bring that’s clever and stealable. One person brought brake pads…used with a hidden gift card and another brought a used gift card😎 with a balance of $7.40 left on it. Ben chose a gift that had a puppy in it, hijole! Thankfully his barking and whining had an off button. Thomas stole a sausage that also had a water hose nozzle, ya se, and it got crazier, but it was lots of fun. We ended our night with cleanup but only after we had a wrapping paper wad fight, where in the world did all grown ups go?

Here I am today, Christmas Eve with wrapping left to do. Tonight we’ll go to Christmas Eve dinner with more friends and come home to get the last three items on our Christmas countdown: Ben will prepare the sourdough mix and bring in the wood for the fireplace tomorrow morning and we’ll all wait til just before midnight, to help Santa Clos bring all the gifts. Now that the kids are all grown up, we actually have to wait for them to get to our stockings and gifts…Asi es, as we get older we sleep less.

Merry Christmas to all, may you be blessed on Christmas day and on. God bless you Everyone!

Pause the Christmas Countdown

I know that Navidad is just around the corner but I couldn’t keep it to myself, de veras, I tried. I don’t usually post outside of my weekly schedule, it’s rare when I post in the middle of the week. Pero, it’s my apas first big celebration in heaven. One of the epistles of Peter says kinda like this, mas o menos “ Remember this, with the Lord a day is like 1000 years and a 1000 years are like a day….” So, I think essentially we don’t age… and I remember that my 96 year old apa didn’t want to get old, God heard him huh?

This post is my birthday shout out to my dad, acuerdense, I love a birthday party. Mi apa is no longer suffering from dementia and he can remember us all. 

Feliz Cumpleanos apa, disfrute su alivio. Saludos a mi ama y mis hermanas!

It’s Not Too Late to Send Out a Christmas Card 

Remember the days of snail mail? Like I’ve said before I love getting a letter in the mail, unless of course if it’s from the phone company or the utility company, sheesh and even those are rare nowadays. Pues, certainly at Christmas time business picks up for the post offices everywhere, verdad? Have you mailed your Christmas cards yet? Maybe you pressed the send button and got them out to all your fans? Esperate! Maybe you’re like me, and you’re waiting for your order to come in because you decided to jump on the “photo card” Christmas train. Dare I ask if you’ve even taken that special foto yet? Hijole, it can turn into a race against the Christmas countdown verdad? 

The Christmas Card tradition began for me after I got married. I think that embedded into the matrimony duties is duty #1000 “work on sending out a nice Christmas card each year.” I shopped carefully. The card had to be nice and sweet, but not mushy. Most important was getting a great deal with my budget. Es que, in those early years, when we exited military life, regular paychecks came to an end, and my flaco went from a sailor to a painter’s helper. Our pocket book was quite tight. Christmas wasn’t minimalized but our pocketbook was stretched for sure in the merriest season of the year. The nice card was personalized with an update on our year. Some of the Greene’s modestly send a “brag letter” where nice pictures with updates on all the childrens shine is displayed. I took my time filling our loved ones in on our happenings through our year, que social media ni que nada! Words can paint a good picture, hijole! My hands hurt after all that writing. The envelopes were sealed, stamped and sent, que facil verdad? Then came the era of photo cards, y ahora, a picture is worth a thousand words.

Mis amigas have shared some of their similar experiences with photo cards and although it’s a battle, it must be worth it, because we do it year after year. 

Photo by Monique Prado

How to survive the Christmas Card sleigh ride: 

  1. What will we wear? Colores navidenos? Would that be red, green and white? Or silver and blue? Gold and silver? Maybe it should be formal colors? Black and white? Will it be casual or dressed up? Must we all match? The Greenes, we never match and our “dressed up” is our Sunday best, no glitter or bling. 
  2. Who’s gonna be in the picture? Immediate family? When is it no longer immediate? Maybe just the abuelos and the grandkids? Que bonito verdad? Ben & Rosie and our growing beautiful brood. When that is settled, let’s set a date to take a picture. LOL right? The last few years have been just Ben, me and two youngest representing the bigger picture.
  3. If you get to take a family picture, wonderful! For us, the pictures I use are the planned and unplanned ones. Like when we’re at an event and we look like we’ve combed our hair, usually mi hijo Emery will say, let’s take a pic and use it for Christmas. After several Emery approved shots, where he is positioned correctly and looking smooth we save them for the end of the year. Creeme, it saves me a lot of trouble. Pero, if and when you gather the kids for a pic, then you will face the next hurdle. Keep the kids clean and make the kids smile. Denise, my nuera says that Rachel tends to always be moody, emotional, and they always get several pics with Rachel’s frown. This year, con mi nieto Jeremiah, he’s two and can be terrible, I have implemented a strong voice and said “Jeremiah! You need to give me a happy face right now”. And it works! He does it, his frown turns into a smile. That is a 2021 milestone.
  4. Y ahora, if you survived the picture, you need to order your Christmas card, if you’ve been diligent you won’t be in my place, waiting 6 days for my order to come in, hijole!
  5. I’m almost at this final step, and honestly it’s about my usual timing. Oh the fun of stuffing, licking and sealing the envelopes. Is a return address really that important at this point? My fingers get stiff from writing. Acuerdense, I’m an abuela now, even writing can be slower!

I have my highlight cards, like the year before our family grew, with inlaw children and grandchildren. It was hard for me to release my adult children to their future spouses. Change is always incredibly difficult for me, I am learning that in God’s hands changes and seasons are laced with grace, growth and love. We took a silly pic under our tree that year. Then, there was the Christmas card that declared our new status: ‘los abuelos’. Y mas reciente, are our Christmas cards that included my apa. I’m so very thankful for all those years. 

I love receiving all the beautiful Christmas cards and filling my christmas board with them. I do have a small album of Christmas cards of the years gone by. It is pretty amazing to see cards with my friends and their kids, chiquititos and then fast forward and have cards from those same kids all grown up. Yikes! Como pasan los años.  Christmas cards are a wonderful treasure to have. 

En Conclusion:

It’s not too late, 14 days til Christmas. Send a Christmas card with beautiful tidings or a Christmas photo with happy faces, like Jeremiah gives on demand and have a wonderful Christmas time.

Thank You Jesus For This Food, Amen.

Sharing food with mi familia has always celebrated milestones, created memories and filled our home with so much joy. This weekend I’ll be busy, maybe even in panic mode getting my ingredients together to feed my familia. Ya se, all those well prepared planners are way ahead of the game, pero yo? Well I just hope I find everything I need and if I don’t, I’ll just do like my ama taught me, work with what I have and keep my family happy. It’s a long day in the kitchen for me but I truly do love it when we gather around the table and counter. I am so very thankful for Thanksgiving, and thankful for my food.

Pero, before the Thanksgiving feast food coma, and before the frenzy of grocery shopping I’m thinking warm and fuzzy food thoughts. Remembering those foods that connected me to a love. I’m basking in those occasions that left a jewel in my heart. These are not necessarily Thanksgiving memories, but food memories that I’m thankful for. Mira:

  • I remember my amas avena during the cold desert mornings. Creamy avena for us was either oatmeal or cream of wheat, slowly cooked in leche with a cinnamon stick and teaspoon of sugar (or more) The chilly weather lately has me cooking avena, como me acuerdo de mi ama. She was adamant about avena with breakfast. We couldn’t leave home without a nice breakfast that always started with hot creamy avena.
  • I remember the fresh flour tortillas she whipped up for breakfast lunch or dinner. Absolutely unacceptable to have a meal without tortillas. She taught all her girls to make them, but my older sister Lupe mastered the “art” . One shelf in her fridge had a flat container of premade bolitas, dough balls; that way she only made dough a couple of times a week, and fresh tortillas were served daily in her home.
  • Nancy’s homemade bread- Ya se, from tortillas to bread. That’s how it is in a Multicultural familia. My suegra taught me how to make homemade bread. I’m so thankful for it and I think my family and friends are too since I enjoy sharing it, especially during this time of the year. 
  • Sourdough Pancakes- A Greene family tradition. This is my Benjamins show. Bien presumido! He loves to show off his sourdough pancakes, he absolutely believes the world is missing out not having his sourdough pancakes. They are pretty delicious though. Plenty of times he gets carried away inviting friends over for breakfast on Thanksgiving, a feast before the feast. My boys get so worried that there will not be enough pancakes for their usual 2nd and 3rd servings. 
  • Yams- These are not a big hit in our house. It used to be my sister Patty and I that loved the oven baked brown sugar and marshmallow yams, now it’s just me, it could be that Patty is having her own yams in heaven? Yams at Thanksgiving are another little tribute to my sister.
  • Cranberry sauce- This made the list because every year Ben insists he must have me serve it. I somehow remember to get the cranberry sauce and every year I forget to put it on the table. Asi es, cranberry sauce an old Thanksgiving dinner tradition, or some kind of berry. Pero, my cold blooded Englishman doesn’t notice that it wasn’t on his plate until after the food coma sets in. 
  • 3 Step Cheesecake. Exactamente just 3 steps. We have tasted better cheesecake, sometimes it bakes too dark, but I stick to this easy recipe. It’s easy, it’s inexpensive and now it’s tied to the Greene family. Thanksgiving without our easy 3 step Philadelphia cheesecake is unimaginable.
  • Pumpkin Pie- I can’t make my list and not include pumpkin pie, even though Thomas just uncovered to me this month that pumpkin pie is not a favorite of his on Thanksgiving- is that even allowed to be spoken? Esta loco! Pumpkin pie with whipping cream y un cafecito, mmm  
  • Broccoli salad- Pues, it’s supposed to be Joan’s Broccoli Madness Salad, pero ya sabes, it has becomes Rosies “lito bit of this and that” Broccoli salad. Again, it started off that Patty and I enjoyed the salad, now it’s me and Daniella. My one and one child that eats veggies, likes my broccoli salad. Provecho Daniella! 
  • Thanksgiving Leftovers- Is it possible to cause division in the camp because of leftovers? Sometimes you feel the tension. Patty and I made a pretty good team for our Thanksgiving planning, she forked out the money and I forked out the labor, a win win. One year she had also wanted to buy a turkey dinner from Honeybaked Ham Co. and I told her that was silly, que exagerada. She came prepared with her containers for leftovers. She was shocked and disappointed that she had leftover empty containers. Que langaros! We ate so much she had minimal leftovers to take home that year, or at least that’s how she saw it. Daniella and Thomas help themselves, no questions asked or comments made. Pero Jonathan, he’s  like his tia Patty, he wants to make sure I make enough for him to take home leftovers. Emery, he’s my lil flaco, he doesn’t pay attention until he comes around looking for leftovers then wonders who took them all! Ben simply expects to be served some leftovers the next day. 

The busy days before Thanksgiving make me a little crazy but of course I wouldn’t have it any other way. This Thanksgiving is lined with some sad thoughts. There will be a missing place setting for my apa and it is a second Thanksgiving with Covid hovering, but Gods hand in my life is undeniable and I must remember to Thank him for his goodness and provision. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Acuerdense, that feast is about storing up food memories, not calories.

It’s not about the food really, its about the people we love. When all five senses come together to celebrate with the people most dear to us, the memories last.

I am a Writer

I probably spent way too much time just trying to come up with a catchy title for this post. Hijole!  This post feels like a desperate plea to get approval or accreditation. Who is gonna give me that final stamp of approval? If this feels like an explanation as to why I’m even here, it is. I need to remember, quizás mi propia voz, my own loud voice needs to tell me to get to writing!.

Voices In My Head

The many opinionated voices inside my head make me lose my way. Esperate! No estoy loca, or maybe I am just a little crazy. You know those sneaky mockers question why am I here, in this blog? Doubting Thomas (not my Thomas 😆) truly questions: Que fregados estas haciendo?! Deveras, sometimes it’s the loudest voice screaming: What the heck are you doing? Really? You think you belong here in Writers land?

Some days my voice is really soft, if you know me, that’s pretty incredible to believe, ya se. It whispers to those loud intimidating voices. “I want to write” Que?! They laugh at me and some days those snickers push me into a corner and I won’t write. Pero, gracias a Dios I don’t stay there long, because I want to write. 

Me gusta escribir. Sometimes it’s a lot of work, pero I like it anyway. When I was in university so long ago my english T.A said “you’re a good writer” Deveras? Was a good writer supposed to put some of her dirty laundry on paper? Especially on papers that were graded? Still, I allowed myself some flattery in that comment, it gave me a warm fuzzy feeling inside. 

Then, years later, a very important person in my life asked me to write a letter of recommendation where I described my relationship with the person requesting the letter. When I was done and the letter was submitted, that person said “You’re a good writer” Pues ya sabras, it was like yeast in my brain. The idea grew, was I a good writer? If that person thought so, then it must be, verdad? Now it was more that a good feeling inside and it was more than therapy.

My Writing Plan

Photo by Jess Bailey Designs on Pexels.com

In a different post, I describe my writing as a therapeutic relief, and it is. Mapping situations out with some embellishment, helps me work things out. But all of a sudden, when I got inspired to  write a short story or a skit, I began to do it as if someone else would one day read it. Yes, I neatly, or not so neatly filed  it in my different folders, almost ready to be read by other eyes. I totally enjoy just getting the scenes out of my head and onto paper, quisas someone would enjoy reading them? That yeast was really growing, imaginate! I was bold enough to create my first blog. Asi es, choosethenarrowpath.blogspot.com, was born. I did this toda solita. All alone in the blogging world I began to learn a lot about the hard work of writing, but the desire to share wasn’t quenched despite my lack of skills in the tech world. The lack of readers did slow me down on that platform, but my folders kept growing. 

As the idea of sharing my writing grew, another one did too. The fact that I had never finished my degree bothered me now. Going back to college and finishing my degree, or at least improving my writing skills seemed doable now. I had been way too busy and focused on raising my children and teaching them to walk on the narrow path while juggling life. Besides I had absolutely no time, energy or money for my schooling. Luego, Thomas, my last child, entered high school and I had time again. Did abuelas go to college? 

Back to School

I was glad for the opportunity and  I shyly shared with Ben, my family and dear friends my dream to be a published writer. Going back to school would boost my confidence and sharpen my pencil. It was the weirdest, oddest feeling. Walking back into the college culture, I felt like I was walking back into the 80s, back to UCSD.  A 50 something year old grandmother feeling those butterflies, those awkward moments of not knowing anyone. Inside I was 18 again, but thankfully, God kept me grounded as I stayed focused on the academics and I loved the stimulation that came with learning. Pero, it was short lived. Ya se, the roller coaster of life. My apa needed me. As a full-time caregiver I didn’t have time again, and I chided myself “tonta.” That was silly, of course I was too old and too busy for schooling again. I was disappointed, but my writing didn’t stop.

 My collection of stories grew, especially since my apa was unloading all his memories. I worked on my historical fiction short stories and I hung on to my blog. As dad grew weaker my writing experiences grew further apart, for a long while my journal was the only book I wrote in.

As my apas last chapter in life came to a close, I grew frantic with writing. Como pues? How could he just leave? Was tercera edad, 96 years of living reason enough to close a chapter? I hadn’t gotten my collection of his stories in rough draft order. How would I get the stories out if he left? 

In the midst of a busy emotionally packed season of caregiving, the idea for a different blog came up. My daughter and I brainstormed about a title, and presentation. It would be here that I would bring my experiences, my fathers y todo lo demas, all things pertaining to Rosalba. I was finding my voice. What was my voice anyway, besides loud that is? Daniella, is a visionary, and she said, “Mom you just keep writing, don’t worry about things.” For me it’s a good plan 😉.

Man! It felt good to write like I talk. In my other blog, I write like I think. I hope that makes sense. I have a million questions on the most important person of my life; Jesus, and there I ponder on “the deeper” stuff. Daniella describes it as reflective or thoughtful. “My diary in the corner of the internet”. My besty often wonders “what must it be like in your brain” She says it’s constantly tracking! Anyway, all that to say, I found my voice and it was comfortable.

With all the emotion that came in those last days of dad’s passing, also came a need to write, a renewed desire to write, a desperate clinging. I wrote and Daniella handled the rest. We’re a good team, she’s alot like her daddy, muy paciente. ☺

In conclusion,

Today, with things a bit more settled, I’m back in school and on the write path. This is the beginning, but just getting on this path was a journey in itself. Hijole! 

I imagine that everyone who has a dream or passion jumps on the  hope train and has to travel sometime before they arrive at their destination.

Enduring Love

A Love Story

Just reading the words ‘love story’ gets you kind of warm and fuzzy inside, verdad que si? I love to hear about the sweet connection of two young lovers.

Lasting Friendship

I met Lynnda in church. I was a new wife and a soon to be mother whom God saw fit to link to his new child. She had walked in from the hail of self destruction. After 20 years, her marriage had derailed. In a way, grew up together together. Joe and Lynda helped Ben and I through the transition out of military life, we helped them take the baby steps towards Gods word and healthy family life. There a beautiful friendship formed.
With their permission, I want to share a glimpse of their incredible journey. The story of a strong and seasoned couple who stayed in the battle and fought for their love. For better or worse, for rich or poor, in sickness and in health, till death do us part. 

Golden Anniversary Celebration!

Childhood

Joe and Lynda were two kids in a sea of dysfunction. Alcohol, drunkenness, promiscuity and somewhere was an unseen God that they knew of but hadn’t experienced. All around them, young people took their personal freedom into boundless levels. They witnessed their peers delving into drugs, alchohol and sex, perhaps the unseen God kept them from it all?

Lynndas mother was caught in the vicious cycle of addiction. Her children went to live with their grandmother. It was a crowded home where she saw and experienced the pain of addiction all around her. Yet, it was in this home where she received love and protection from her grandmother and her tias. When Lynnda shares her childhood memories, it’s never with anger or bitterness for not having her mother around. Her stories are always confident accounts of a grandmother who loved her and her siblings. She always has a twinkle in her eyes when she tells of her tia’s protection. “I was tia Linda’s favorite,” she says. It would later be God’s providence that Lynnda would one day care for her elderly tia Tencha and help her through that difficult passage from life to death.

Joe had a huge family. They lived in the projects until his parents were able to purchase a two-bedroom house, not far from Lynndas grandmothers home. In this house they raised their thirteen children. As I write this I can feel the walls closing in around me!

Love At First Sight                                           

Love happened so suddenly for Lynnda.

Education in itself held no kind special pleasure for my friend, though she did enjoy social studies. What happened and who it happened with was very interesting to her. She also enjoyed the time spent between and after classes😁. Joe passed her one day between classes, he smiled with his eyes. That lingering look sealed their fate! Somehow she knew that he would be her husband one day.

This next part is perhaps my favorite part of their young love story. On the school bus, Joe came bumping down the aisle of the bus and stopped at her seat. He looked at Lynnda and blurted out to another girl that was chasing him “She” pointing to Lynnda, “is my girlfriend!” Lynnda covered her surprise and graciously snuggled up to the proposition. From that day on, she was Joe’s girl and they were inseparable.

Woven into their puppy love were the struggles and tragedies at home that they did not know how to cope with. What was Lynnda supposed to do when her only sister chose to walk in their mother’s shoes? While, at Joe’s house, the lack of privacy in the two-bedroom house seemed to suffocate him. They ignored what they saw in their homelife and focused on what they felt, each other. It was what it was.

Lynnda focused on Joe, Joe focused on Lynnda. School days were mundane. She dropped out and together they got him through his high school with a diploma.  

Newlyweds

With diploma in hand, he immediately went to look for work. A job in a hotel as a dishwasher, equipped him for the next step. What was the next step? He took Lynnda to the courthouse. They weren’t sure about anything but each other, so they were married. As husband and wife, they could finally consummate their desire that burst at the seams.   

But there would be no honeymoon. Reality slapped them in the face, dissolving their puppy love. The newlyweds went to live with her grandmother. Ten people living in the small three-bedroom house, something Joe cringed at. No car, not enough money, and no privacy, their existence became a battlefield! The drama of extended family, fueled their own discontent.

They were sure that moving would give them peace, but it eluded them.

While Joe washed dishes at the hotel, he convinced himself that joining the Army would solve his marital problems that seemed to be suffocating him. He went to the recruiting office to take the test to join the Army but failed; twice. Then, the recruiter enticed him with Navy life and presented him with a different test that he was sure to pass. Joe grabbed it, his ticket out of town and the break he and Lynnda so desperately needed. Before he knew it, he was off to boot camp and Lynnda went back to her grandmother’s house, pregnant and alone.

West Pac

With three hundred other sailors, Joe set sail on the destroyer ship called the U.S.S. Tattnall. The Mediterranean deployment consisted of four ships that were present in the high seas to protect the carriers. Six months at sea were long and lonely for the young sailor, he ached for his wife and solid ground. When the ship entered port Joe and his buddy wandered eagerly into the city. They took in the foreign sights and smells, the fast language stirred their curiosity, while the sensual women in their craft pulled them with their eyes and into the night they lingered.

 The West Pac behind them, Joe sought his wife. Their long separation had re-ignited their youthful lust for one another, their baby in her womb did not hamper their enthusiasm. 

Broken Trust

A dark cloud loomed over Lynnda as Joe’s buddy carelessly spoke about the things they experienced overseas and Lynndas innocent joy went out into the night. She imploded. He had betrayed their love. Why? Was this expected of all sailors? Every detail that Joes friend blurted out burned into her mind. She calculated his violations. Anger steered her course. They were plunged into a downward spiral that continued for almost two decades leaving them bound in rejection, bitterness, and regret.                                                                                                        

Sunny San Diego… and Rock Bottom                     

Military life had landed them in beautiful San Diego.  They now had three kids and they brought along the baggage of violations, financial woes, west pac separations, and unending heartbreak. Their marriage was a carcass ravaged by their own ignorant decisions, yet she never spoke of divorce. 

Joe pointed his finger at Lynnda and was ready to give up but she stubbornly clung to the dry scattered bones of her marriage and life. Was it possible to love and hate so much? Joe was numb, nineteen years of their foolishness had depleted him of any hope so he was walking away. 

Lynnda was desperate for relief and answers. She sought solace with her friend who always offered the same solution: alcohol and men. She knew that was no solution but she went anyway. As she drove across the city, the bright lights of the Coronado bridge called out to her. Loneliness and despair squeezed her as she heard death call her. “Look, you can stand up there and you won’t fall”. Going to Coronado Island would bring peace and the bridge was so inviting. The closer she got the stronger the voice was; “There’s a ledge, you can stand on it and you won’t fall” again the voice lured her, “Stand on the ledge, you won’t fall.” She would go to the bridge. “Yes, go, stand on the ledge, it’s safe enough…but, if you do fall, you’ll be ok”. OK!? She sneered as the bright lights of the bridge twinkled. She did not want to be ok! She wanted to be done, like Joe was! She drove on crying and babbling passing the bridge. In her despair she argued with God, justifying this solution, but he was silent. The silence only grounded her desire and decision to end it all. 

Then, in all his mystery and splendor God silently took the wheel. Lynnda knew not how or why she drove on past one exit, and then the next, until she was parked in front of the small storefront Christian church her co-worker attended. Why was she there? Arise, and go down to the Potters House and there I will cause thee to hear my words. It wasn’t truly a church, nor was it Sunday. Lynnda heard words of hope and restoration. Could completely destroyed lives be restored? She opened her heart to the Gospel message, good news that promised to heal the hurt and pain of the past 20 years. With one simple act of humility, a prayer of repentance she was a new woman.  The burdens lifted, not necessarily gone, but now they were in able hands.

There was much debri to be cleaned up, especially since they would sail on in military life. This time, the long separation of Desert Storm would be maneuvered with God at the helm. Their marriage was rescued as Joe saw his new woman changing before his eyes. God created “a path in the wilderness and a stream in the desert.” 


If you or someone you love is dealing with suicidal thoughts, please don’t suffer in silence. National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 800-273-8255

Epilogue

Thirty years have passed since that fateful night Lynnda passed the Coronado Bridge. I have incredible respect and appreciation for my friends, especially since I considered military life an impossible task to survive and thrive in. I cringe at separations, even the short ones. Life alone without my Orejon… 

Love isn’t always pretty or sweet but in God’s hands, Joe & Lynndas love story has endured and blessed God himself for more than fifty years.