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Inspired, motivated by God

Tales from the front pew

Anniversaries have been on my mind a lot lately. It’s a few months away, but in mid-June, my husband, Bob, and I will celebrate 40 years of marital bliss. Okay, it hasn’t all been blissful, but the good years have vastly outweighed the not-so-good, which puts us in the “win” column.

Considering it’s a pretty big milestone, we’ve already started contemplating ways to celebrate.

Our initial plan was to go to Las Vegas.

Granted, neither of us drinks, gambles or desires to see racy stage shows, however, we met, graduated from high school and got married while living in Las Vegas. It was all quite wholesome, really.

In fact, the only glitzy thing we did while living there was spend an evening at a popular disco owned by Paul Anka, and that was because our junior prom was held there.

Unfortunately, a trip to Vegas is looking a bit too pricey, so we’ve had to downsize to something a little less grand — a trip to the beach.

We don’t surf or scuba dive, which is a good thing since neither one of us can swim, and the idea of going anywhere by boat makes me hyperventilate, but for some reason, I’m drawn to the beach.

Maybe it’s the tranquility of endless blue or the feel of sun-warmed sand beneath my feet.

Perhaps it’s the breathtaking sunrises and sunsets shot through with vivid shades of orange and pink, or the delicate seashells like intricately designed treasures left behind in the wake of the tide. (Who am I kidding? What really gets to me is the 24 varieties of fudge they sell in every other shop on the Boardwalk.)

Another special anniversary happens for me this very month.

It was 20 years ago in March that my first “Tales From the Front Pew” appeared in this paper. Over the years, people have asked me how it all started. My answer is always the same: It was the Lord.

I had done a fair amount of writing already, mostly newspaper and magazine articles, but one day an idea came to me.

“You know, Bob,” I said to my husband, “I think I’d like to write a column.”

“About what?” he reasonably queried.

“Well, our life, I guess. Being a pastor’s wife and mother of two kids. All the everyday stuff that happens. I’d like it to be humorous. Let’s face it — laughing about the things we go through is all that keeps us sane sometimes.”

“I think you should do it,” he said.

And I did.

One day in late-February, I gathered some column samples and mailed them to the Religion editor at the Altoona Mirror.

Six days later, she called and invited me to write a weekly column that would appear every Friday in the paper’s Religion section.

That was March 2000. A lot has changed since then, but one thing remains the same: The God Who inspired me way back then still motivates and inspires me today, for which I thank Him.

I’d like to thank each one of you, too, for a great and blessed 20 years.

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