Wednesday, August 29, 2012

A Day to Celebrate

As I prepared the key points on blended families that I want to share at The REFINE Conference in September, one of the most important is to recognize those special moments in life that can easily get overlooked in the busyness of our hectic day-to-day schedules. In 2008 John and I were approaching our 20-year anniversary, but it didn't seem like we would have a chance to celebrate our special day. Life was on overload...and I was ready to give in and let the day slide by without notice. That's when our kids stepped in and changed all that.


“When Two People Fall in Love”

One of the things our kids loved to do when they were younger was making up plays and acting them out. They spent hours crafting props and dragging out old clothes for their costumes. After a multitude of rehearsals they would call John and I in to film the premiere performance. Years later those videos were the source of much laughter at family get-togethers.

In November 2008 John and I hit the 20-year mark as husband and wife and “the kids” were now between 18 and 30. Our youngest son was a senior in high school, and just one month earlier we had celebrated the second marriage in our family. John’s oldest daughter Summer, who had married an air force pilot the year before, lived in Tucson, Arizona. Upon news of her husband’s deployment, Summer decided to move in with us until it was time for her to join him overseas.

John Ryan & Lindsey's wedding
October 2008

As our 20-year anniversary approached I felt like I should plan a celebration, but timing and circumstances took away my hopes. John’s father had been having numerous health issues all fall and subsequently passed away in November, requiring a number of trips back and forth to western Minnesota. The kids all had their own busy work schedules and it was a challenge to meet for dinner with 55 miles of rush-hour traffic between us. Plus our anniversary fell on Tuesday, two days before Thanksgiving. With John working in the supermarket industry, the holidays were his busiest time of year. The long hours that coincided with the season were made worse by the first snowfalls that already graced the Minnesota landscape, lengthening his daily commutes.

When Summer announced she would make dinner for us at home, I was thrilled. John and I came home from work to the delicious aromas of baked rigatoni, salad, Artisan bread, and chocolate-mint dessert. To our surprise, one by one the kids arrived and we enjoyed a wonderful dinner in the best place of all—our home.

After dinner Summer invited us downstairs where the kids proceeded to put on a skit she wrote called, “When Two People Fall in Love.” The sweetness of the moment brought tears to my eyes, filling me with emotion as they reenacted the scene when John and I first met. I felt God saying, Despite the everyday stresses of life, don’t let the significance of this day pass without acknowledgement. I want you to recognize My gifts, a gift that includes bringing two families together and forming one, grounded in My love. Not surprising, God used the voices of our children to make sure I heard His message.

John and I...celebrating 20 years!

If you are in a blended family and would like to hear some helpful tips to ensure a successful blended family, sign up today for The REFINE Conference, September 21-22, 2012 in Bloomington, Minnesota. The conference is specifically designed for all areas in a woman's life, "as we keep it person with ourselves, others, and God...seeking to REFINE our lives." Tickets are available at




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