Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Many Happy Returns

Linda and I surrounded by friends from her ladies' group known as the "Biblers"

Today is the xxth anniversary of the birth of a very special lady -- my beautiful bride, Linda. And I am so grateful to be here to celebrate her special day once more. While I always anticipated that I would be the one who, in our "sunset" years, would be the stronger, healthier provider/adventurer -- in many ways our roles have reversed as she has faithfully nursed me, nurtured me, encouraged me, chauffeured me, compensated for my newly acquired deficiencies, and served as my peripheral brain with patience and grace. There is no one on earth who has meant more to me.

And there are a scarce few that I know who have invested more in the lives of others with such passion, genuine love, wisdom, energy and grace... and with such a rich return on investment! Pictured above, for example, is a group of ladies (and their husbands) who all love each other as sisters, constantly encouraging one another in practical, meaningful ways and meet regularly for in-depth Bible study, prayer support and outright fun. On this occasion, this precious group of friends prayed over us, trusting God for grace and healing.

This special sisterhood began in the fall of 1990 when Linda (along with a next-door neighbor) mounted bicycles and canvassed nearly 400 homes in the Virginia Beach community where we had just moved to solicit their interest in a lady's home Bible study. Suffering saddle sores from that effort, their investment paid off with the launching of not one but two regular gatherings of women from diverse religious traditions who grew in their understanding of scripture and in their devotion to both God and others.

I could tell you story upon story of individual women, children and whole families whose lives have been forever changed for the better because of Linda's wise, caring, insightful (and often incisive) investment of love, practical acts of service and godly wisdom. Not only has she hosted neighborhood Bible studies, but spent countless hours one-on-one and in small groups of women, mentoring them on a host of knotty issues with exceptional practical insight rooted in biblical wisdom and genuine love. She has served with energy, creativity, and grace as women's ministry director at our church, hosted innumerable couples Bible studies, provided for temporarily homeless or abused women and families, and all the while invested her heart and soul (not to mention her considerable culinary gifts) into the lives of her adoring family.

Linda surrounded by her three favorite mentees, daughters Christianne, Beth and Kim

I could go on and on about her many talents, exceptional beauty (inside and out), considerable culinary skills, disarming hospitality, creative flower arranging, and penchant for making any social gathering that she hosts (whether family or friends) both memorable and meaningful. Her unique passion and skill for distilling complex biblical principles into practical life-changing applications is unsurpassed. It will take an eternity to measure the many happy returns attributable to this one fully invested life, of which I have been the chief beneficiary.

Happy Birthday, Sweetheart!

PS -- check out a previous entry on all this woman has endured by honoring me with her love and devotion.


  1. Happy Birthday, Mom! You have been my mom, my model, and my friend my entire life. As a mom myself, I now finally appreciate all that you did! I love you and still hope to someday grow up to be like you. :)

  2. Happy Birthday Mom! You are a woman who is admired by many, utterly cherished by dad, and envied by masses! You are gifted, beautiful, forthright and a pillar of strength for our family. We love you! Enjoy your special day!

  3. Fantastic. My sisters have beat me to it :). Mom, I know we have never literally done it out loud, but know that your "children arise and call her blessed" Prov. 31:28. You are the closest thing to a walking Proverbs 31 woman that I have ever encountered. You are the example I turn to time and time again when I feel I am losing my way as a woman of the Lord. Thank you for all of the many, many gifts you have modeled and instilled in us. We love you so much!!!


  4. Happy Birthday a little late, sister. It is obvious you have taught your daughters well. It is obvious God has blessed Dan with a woman who loves the Lord her God with her whole heart, and her neighbor as herself, especially the one she has been sharing a bed with all these many years. God bless you guys. It's our joy to talk with our Father about you two often.

    Dean and Deanna