Monday, September 15, 2003

A letter to Arthur

Well, my dear,

The battery on your phone gave out. (Usual story, although we had much more time tonight!) I went to bed, and fell immediately into a sound, dreamless sleep. Then, ten minutes ago I woke up, and now I am wide awake. 2:55 AM my time!

I had a brief thought of calling you just to say "I love you," but I figure you are so sound asleep you would not even hear the phone. So, I refrained from doing that. I know I will speak to you tomorrow!

Now, about the facets I was beginning to tell you about.....

I was afraid that you would focus on only one facet of our relationship. I am sure there is at least one thing that we will not agree on. However, in order to give us a chance, we can't focus on one negative area unless it is a BIG one. I only have a few things that are negative enough to me that would stop a relationship in it's tracks. They are things like cheating, illegal drug abuse, physical abuse towards me or my kids, lying to me, stealing or other illegal activities. I have known you for over 30 years, and I don't think you would do any of those.

So many things to consider! Who am I, really? Who are you, really? I think we already know the answer to that. We are two people with similar values who love each other. But, what are we hoping to achieve if we get married? Here are the "facets" that immediately come to my mind.

1. Love and tenderness
2. Friendship and companionship
3. Teamwork and respect
4. Parenting
5. Protection
6. Religion/worship (I know, that should be first, but I just thought of it.)
7. A home together
8. Financial security
9. Activities together
10. Intimacy

I know there are probably many more, but those came to my mind first.
Now, I will explain how I see us fitting into each of these areas, and I hope that you can picture me in your life in these areas.

Love and tenderness: We already have that. I want you here so that I can express those to you on a daily basis, not only by word, but by look, and touch.

Friendship and companionship: go hand in hand. When you are friends with somebody, you want to be with them. I can be happy going places with you, dancing with you, dining with you. I can be equally happy being at home with you, sitting around in our PJ's listening to the radio.

Teamwork and respect: also go hand in hand. When you respect your partner, you can understand the art of Give and Take. A couple that is a good team works for what is best for the family. A good team also realizes that sometimes an individual needs more attention. Ultimately, they work together to achieve joint goals, and help each other achieve individual goals.

Parenting: As I said while we were talking: if I were to choose a new mate purely on what kind of a co-parent he would be, you would still be number one on my list. A parent must set ground rules in order to keep kids safe from their own immature actions. A parent must also love and respect the kids. I know that you do both, because I watched you with your own kids. I have done the stepparent thing once already, and I know the work can be hard, but the rewards are tremendous. Perhaps the hardest thing in parenting is when the kids are ready to leave home. It is so hard to let them go, and then not bale them out the first time they come crying. Although I would never let any of my kids starve, I have never let them use me, either.

Protection: Not only in the sense of being kept safe, but also being each other's advocate. Everybody needs somebody to defend him or her against the world ... even when they may be the one who is wrong.

Religion: This won't be too difficult, as we are both believers. We can discuss which denomination to attend. The important thing is that we go as a family.

A home together: We are starting to hammer down some things on this subject. I know you are right ... we need a new place that is ours. As I said, I also have fears. I have never sold a house before, and my credit isn't the slickest in the West. (not horrible, but not great.) How about yours? We may have no choice but to start out here. A home equity loan to do a large remodel is much easier to qualify for than a new mortgage. But I am open on this one. I am not taking a hard line.

Financial security: That is my specialty. No brag, just fact. I am a wise investor. I am also honest. I will help you as well as myself. Plus, as I said, there is more to financial contribution than bringing home a paycheck. There is a multitude of ways to help each other. From packing lunches (healthier, anyway) to taking turns cooking. (Much cheaper than eating out.) With two people it is much easier to scout out bargains. With two people it is easier to take care of a home without outside help. (Lawn, etc.)

Activities together: Anything that we care to do. As long as we do them TOGETHER. As in both of us.

Intimacy: Goes along naturally with a loving relationship. I am not talking merely about sex. I am talking about kissing, caressing, holding, and emotional intimacy. I am ready for that on a regular basis, E tu?

That is my long letter for today. Now, love, what are your ideas? Can you think of other areas?

With all my love at 3:02 AM CDT

Stephanie :)

P.S. This is hard work

Saturday, September 13, 2003

State Fair Time again!

Can you believe it is that time of year again? Here is our 17th button in the series. This year, we were honored to have Jimmy with us again. And, if you notice, a token of Andy is in this photo... (hint: Jimmy is holding it.)

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

The Gang!

(We missed having Tiffanie in the photo, but maybe we will get her at Thanksgiving!)
Me, Shelby, Marilyn, Doug, Jimmy, John, Mom, and Victoria
(of course Clarence Andrew is forever with us in spirit.)