Category Archives: holidays



Today’s my first day of spring break which equals bliss. It’s also Good Friday which equals solemn. Kind of a strange mix of feelings I guess. This has been a strange Lenten season for me with a huge variety of experiences and emotions, good and bad and honestly…that’s probably real life.

My normal mode on breaks like this is to get a lot done at home. Mainly because I enjoy being home and I enjoy getting stuff done so it feels good to me. I’ve always maintained that I’m one of those people who works harder when I’m at home than when I’m at work but it’s completely different because work at home is something that fulfills me.

Anyway…that being said. Today instead of making a huge to do list of stuff to accomplish, I’m telling myself to choose three things this day that I feel I must get done and let everything else go. Trying to learn that it doesn’t all have to happen today. Trying to pace myself better.

I think it’s kind of good for me to ponder at the start of the day…”What would make this day feel successful and well lived today? What really matters when I get to the end of the day?” I’m hoping that thought and question will keep me focused on what is important rather than what is urgent.

This is my last school ‘break’ before my sabbatical arrives. Once we go back it’s one downhill ride to the end of the year. It will be a season of busy ness. Programs, contests, fundraiser arrival, grades galore. It’s almost here. Change is on the horizon and it looks beautiful to me.




six years of this


It’s dawned on me today, this sixth Valentine’s Day Eve as a widow, that I’m sure that Mark probably thought I would be remarried by now.

I don’t know this for fact…but it’s just a gut feeling.

I wonder what he really thought would happen to me and the girls after he left. I wonder what he pictured our life would be like.

All I remember in the conversations that leaned towards this subject is him saying “Ruth…you’re going to be ok.”

Did he get that peace/ok from God’s lips to his ears…I’ll never know.

Or maybe he was just saying it to speak it into existence.

Or maybe knowing that I come from Dennings’ blood he figured…whatever happens to that girl she’ll scrap around and make it.

Who knows…

But here it comes, another Valentine’s Day with no lover.

I realize many of you don’t seem to do anything special on Valentine’s Day. I get it that it’s just another day. We didn’t do much either. But a card…a love letter was pretty routine on Feb. 14. I try to read through the old ones once in a great while. They are good and I’m glad I kept them…but honestly, they don’t hug me or hold me tight today. Those love letters don’t crawl into bed with me and laugh with me and tell me I’m beautiful today. They speak of history. Which is good and something I’m thankful for…but also a painful reminder that history is over.

It’s not the date that matters. It’s what it symbolizes. I am a woman who is unloved by a man. Plain and simple. No need to dress it up or make it sweeter than it is. And if you are loved by a man I don’t wish to take that away from you. In fact…I hope you revel in that love. I hope you realize what you have. I hope you lean into love with everything you are.

I just realize today…I think Mark thought I would be loved again by now. I’m not. At least not by a man. Nothing on the horizon…hasn’t been since he died.

Sometimes I have the strangest thoughts go through my mind. Must be desperation. For example, last night I was biking at the gym…looking beautiful I’m sure when a guy came up and sat down on the bike next to me. Of course there are mirrors all around so it was hard to not make eye contact. I actually thought…hmmm doesn’t look like he’s married…what would it be like to start a relationship with a guy who I’ve never met before. I had lots of time to think as I biked. Biking is relatively mindless activity.

The reality is…I’ll probably never see the guy again, and we never even said a word to each other…but my thoughts reveal stuff on the inside of me.

I’m ok. Mark was/is right. But when you crave to be more than ok…sometimes it’s hard.

If you have a lover in your life…don’t you dare let tomorrow pass without doing something special…something special does not require money…it requires intentionality.

I try not to be overly morbid but…on our last valentine’s day I had no idea that it would be our last. You just don’t know…don’t take anything for granted.

fifty years worth celebrating


I came home for Christmas this year. I’m spending a little over a week under my parent’s roof. So far we’ve done the normal Christmas stuff, opened gifts, ate food, sat around and visited but this year I walked into something I had no idea was coming.

My parent’s fiftieth wedding anniversary is June 7th 2013. I had talked with my mom last summer telling her to make an invitation list of people that they would like to have invited to a party and that us kids would put it together for them. I had no idea over this break she would say…”Ok Ruth, Here are the picture albums of fifty plus years…go through and pick out the ones you think should be shown.”

I had no idea that I was going to walk down that kind of memory lane this week. I planned on rest, and gifts and food and conversation…I didn’t plan on the feelings I would feel looking at that much history. Not just history, but history that is at the very core of who I am.

I’ve cried. I’ve laughed. I’ve remembered. I’ve felt pride. I’ve felt loss. I’ve marveled at each new baby that came on the scene. I’ve looked through what feels like a million Christmas pictures and graduations and weddings and vacations. Those are the things we tend to take pictures of.

Honestly, I would guess that my parents don’t have an overabundance of pictures. They were from the generation that still used film and each picture cost something to make. So pictures were taken only in moments that were deemed ‘special’. Now a days we all take pictures everyday. Technology has changed us.

I’ve decided that fifty years of marriage is definitely something worth celebrating. The fact that two very different people from completely different upbringings can come together and forge a home and a life, a life that was not and is not easy is worthy of great respect and honor.

No wonder in the bible in Proverbs it talks about how blessed is the woman who  her children rise up and call her blessed.

My mom is never on a computer and she won’t read this post. But I want to be the first of many children who will publicly rise up and call her blessed.

My parents story is astounding to me.

And honestly…there is very, very little I would change if I could go back. I’d love to wipe out a few heartbreaking moments. But otherwise…I’d keep it all the same.

My upbringing has given me the foundation and tools I have needed my entire life to live a life that is worth living.

Looking through pictures has reminded me of how little my parents have had to work with and yet how they have always made do and made the best of things.

Looking through pictures has reminded me of what really matters in life. Precious babies and people, friends and family. My parents were still just kids themselves when they started having children and they came in fast succession. Jim, Mary Anne, Becky , Me and Phil all within a few short years and then the gift of later having Sue arrive on the scene.

I look at all of our kids and how our family has grown and it just astounds me.

As my parents get older it’s hard to see some changes that are happening and are sure to happen soon. My dad as most men has always identified himself strongly with his work. He was the kind of guy who did college in three years instead of four and seminary in 2 instead of 3 just because he was so passionate about getting out there and spreading the gospel. That fervor has remained with him his entire life. I think that’s why retirement is so hard in coming. My parents are workers. That’s putting it mildly. As I type they are both out in the campground in the snow and cold taking down more christmas lights than you can imagine.

I pray that more and more they will be able to transfer that purpose and passion and looking back and hoping that they’ve lived a good honorable life from work to family. I’ve looked at the pictures. I know these people, my brothers and sisters and grand children and great grandchildren. I work in public school. I can tell you with complete honesty and little to no bias:)…my parents should feel like they’ve lived a stellar life and have much to celebrate just look at the generations of children and adults coming up behind them. No foundation is perfect. Every foundation has a few cracks and flaws…but my kids couldn’t have a much solider base to build their lives upon. I’m grateful beyond words.

Some of the more touching pictures to me were the ones where my parents were playing with grand kids.

The most heartbreaking are the pictures of Christmas with Duane and Mark in the same pictures…so heart breaking to not have those two men in our family anymore and yet…so grateful that we had the time we had.

We tend to think of being rich in terms of material stuff and experiences. If you base your definition of rich on that my parents have been very poor their entire lives. But…if you base your definition of rich on love and people who would do anything for you and family and relationships and sacrifice…well my parents have got to be two of the richest people I know.

I can remember as a child being proud to be called “Doyle Dennings’ daughter”. It was an honor to be identified with him. I can tell you as a 42 year old daughter looking back over history I am still just as proud if not more so to be part of my family.

I can tell you already, if you know my parents are able to come to their 5oth celebration you won’t be disappointed. I’m going to even con my sisters and brothers and our kids into doing a little singing:).

Grateful…humbled…proud…blessed, so reminded of the Faithfulness of God. That’s what I’m feeling as I peel pictures out of photo books to put into the program. Fifty years is worth celebrating!