Monthly Archives: December 2014

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from Wows and Vows! No matter where you are, make sure you take time to hug and kiss your spouse today. Christmas is about realizing how blessed you are and taking time to recognize those blessings.

This Christmas season has me reflecting quite a bit because, to be honest, I am having a very hard time getting into the Christmas spirit. I think that is why I am sitting down and writing a post while I am at my in-laws’ house. I use to dream that after marriage, my husband and I would have an intimate Christmas Eve then have family over on Christmas Day, and that image still remains a dream. Instead, we spend two weeks on the road and go to three different states. We have never spent Christmas Eve with my parents. Because we are on the road, I don’t get to make as many baked goods as I would like. (I foolishly filled my Pinterest board with goodies that I wanted to make this year. I made one new cookie recipe. Le sigh.)

The problem with the image I had conjured was that I didn’t think about my husband who would come into the marriage with his own traditions and his own ideas about the holidays. Our first two years of marriage had us fighting about the holidays and his family’s demands that every holiday were to be spent with them. When we moved, we realized that we cannot make everyone happy and cannot make it every holiday. We also realized how unbalanced the holiday schedule has been; the last two Christmases we have tried to spend it with my parents, but due to outside circumstances, we have been unable to. Even though we won’t spend Christmas Eve with my parents, this year is the most time we will ever spend with my parents at Christmas in four years of marriage.

As a wife, I have two choices: get mad/ pouty/ upset or be grateful for the time I do get with my family. You see, when you pout, you are end up wasting the time that is meant to be enjoyed. Pouting clouds your vision and keeps you from recognizing blessings big or small. Waking up to the family’s 14 year old cat licking my face…small blessing. Dad making French toast…tasty blessing. I could pout, but instead I embrace the time I have and also realize how lucky I am. Many people do not have the luxury of seeing family during the holidays, and I am blessed that I have a good car and willing husband to drive over six hours and tour three states.

Holidays are also a good time to observe the practice of leaving and cleaving. Traveling to see family is wonderful, but you also have to take care of your marriage. We do a two week tour at Christmas because we no longer travel to see family during Easter and Thanksgiving. We have made our own traditions for those holidays. (Granted the first Easter, the oven broke, and we made the the entire meal using the stove top and grill!)

In short, no matter where you are, do not over look those blessings. Christmas is full of blessings as long as you willing to acknowledge them. Right now, sitting in my in-laws’ living room I am feeling blessed. In an hour we will be going to a candle light Christmas Eve service at the church we got married in and I cannot wait to reminisce about being how I was a bride four and half years ago. Then when I go to bed, I will be a few short hours away from a tasty lunch followed by hitting the road to see my parents again.

In short, count your blessings, especially during the holidays. Merry Christmas everyone and to everyone a Happy New Year!

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Lovebirds: 69 Years Later Part I

Update: I started this post on Monday, November 3. I was in the middle of typing the post when my husband came home to tell me his grandfather had died. Papa (Bynum “Bike” Edward Murray) lived a wonderful life for 94 years, and I was blessed to have known him. He had a remarkable marriage to his wife, Colleen Dixon Murray, for 69 years. They celebrated their wedding anniversary on October 28th and threw Papa a 94th birthday party on November 1st.

The Love Story:

Bynum “Bike” Murray had told his close friend (and ex-girlfriend) Mary Brown that he preferred blondes; Mary just happened to be a brunette. Mary quipped back, “Do I know a blonde for you!” and with that she gave Bike an address. Bike wrote to this unknown blonde, not knowing that one letter in a plain envelope would change his life’s course. Colleen Dixon was that blonde. She wrote back because “when one of the boys wrote, you were suppose to write back.”

Bike was 22 and Collen was 16; the year was 1941. For four years, Bike and Collen wrote to each other. When they started writing, Bike was training at Camp Blanding in Florida. He was supposed to be there for a year, but things changed. On December 7, 1941 the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, and Bike was no longer a solider in training: he was a solider going to war.

Throughout the war, the pair continued to write to one another. Colleen would send him pictures. The soldiers would harass Bike: “You got another one from the blonde!”

Who knows what those letters contained; they are lost to time. Did Colleen write about high school football games? Did she describe the white and red gingham dress she was making in home economics? Did she dream about wearing that dress to meet Bike in? Did Bike tell her the story about the man selling eggs for 10 cents from a satchel on a donkey? Did he tell her about a chance meet up with his best friend Martin in Rome? Did he keep one of her pictures tucked in his helmet? More importantly, when did friendship change to love? One day did “Sincerely” change to “Love”?

The pair finally meet in April 1945; Colleen wore the dress she made in home economics and Bike was dashing in his uniform. (Most likely he was trying to impress the blonde he had been writing to).  Colleen recalls, “We knew. The first meeting we knew [we would get married].” On June 12, 1945, Bike was discharged from the army and by end of October the pair were married.

Bike was so nervous about getting married he fell of her parent’s front porch! While that wouldn’t be the only stumble in their marriage, they lived and loved for 69 years. They worked separate shifts for years. After getting off third shift,  Bike would make Colleen coffee every morning before he went to bed; when she got off work, Colleen would make Bynum a snack of cornbread and milk. They had a son after years of trying: a son who would grow up and have two sons of his own.

image0-0_0004 (2)This picture is from Bike and Colleen’s first meeting.
Colleen is wearing a dress she made in home economics.

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