Wednesday, January 20, 2010

"The Perfect Engagement Ring"

TA DA!!!

And here it is in all its glory, vibrance, and splendor ~ the ring that we believe symbolizes our love for each other.

Our thanks to Luxury Collections NY for their exceptional service, courtesy, and professionalism as we made our purchase through them. A special "thanks" to Alex for shipping the ring more quickly than was first requested.

Family and friends have described it as beautiful, spectacular, stunning, fabulous, BIG, and magnificent. It is all these things and more! Thank you, Teddy, for giving me this lovely ring and for the love that it represents.

A Modest Proposal: Dreams, Signs, and Visions

Dear Gentle Readers:

There were several factors I considered as I made my decision concerning the marriage proposal made to me recently.

Let me start by saying that I believe in dreams, signs, and visions. The dream you already have read about (if not, please read the prior blog and you'll understand); one sign came from the lyrics to one of the pieces from Prince of Egypt -- "Through Heaven's Eyes". Music has the power to speak to me, and I often find answers in what I hear. The words to this powerful piece of music did just that -- it spoke to me and gave confirmation as I said "yes" to his question.

"...and though you never know all the steps,
you must learn to join the dance..."

speaks of the leap of faith one must take -- dare I say "risk" that is involved in the loving and blending of two separate lives.

"If a man lose ev'rything he owns
Has he truly lost his worth?
Or is it the beginning
Of a new and brighter birth?"

Teddy told me that at one point in his life he felt he'd lost everything: his job, his marriage, his chance for happiness. Still, he had not lost his worth, and we believe God is now providing both of us "a new and brighter birth".

The vision is what we see as our future life together. It's beautiful -- filled with love, mutual caring and respect, and the simple daily sharing of life's events.

For your consideration, I offer the words to the song, "Through Heaven's Eyes".

A single thread in a tapestry
Through its color brightly shine
Can never see its purpose
In the pattern of the grand design

And the stone that sits on the very top
Of the mountain's mighty face
Does it think it's more important
Than the stones that form the base?

So how can you see what your life is worth
Or where your value lies?
You can never see through the eyes of man
You must look at your life

Look at your life through heaven's eyes

A lake of gold in the desert sand
Is less than a cool fresh spring
And to one lost sheep, a shepherd boy
Is greater than the richest king
If a man lose ev'rything he owns
Has he truly lost his worth?
Or is it the beginning
Of a new and brighter birth?

So how do you measure the worth of a man
In wealth or strength or size?
In how much he gained or how much he gave?
The answer will come
The answer will come to him who tries
To look at his life through heaven's eyes

And that's why we share all we have with you
Though there's little to be found
When all you've got is nothing
There's a lot to go around

No life can escape being blown about
By the winds of change and chance
And though you never know all the steps
You must learn to join the dance
You must learn to join the dance

So how do you judge what a man is worth
By what he builds or buys?
You can never see with your eyes on earth
Look through heaven's eyes
Look at your life
Look at your life
Look at your life through heaven's eyes

~ Music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

And now, the rest of the story...

Dear Gentle Readers:

I've had several questions about the short story "The Christmas Interloper", and now I'd like to answer them for you.

The story is non-fiction. "Emma" is, indeed, Belinda (me!), and it happens to have a very happy ending. For both your reading enjoyment and entertainment, I provide for you "the rest of the story"...taken from an email recently sent to family and friends of the bride-to-be.

Happy Reading!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Dear Family & Friends,

As I sit writing this email, I am also planning my wedding which will take place on June 26, 2010. Yes, it has all happened rather unexpectedly and suddenly. While we plan for a new life together, we also have established a time of reflection, prayer, and courtship so that we may confirm that this is the right path for our respective and joint lives at this time.

I am actually marrying my high school sweetheart. Teddy Ashcraft and I met and dated when I was 16 and he was 20. He was in the military at that time and we met at the Baptist church we both attended in Killeen, Texas. Being a mere 16 years old, my parents had to "inspect and approve" of him dating their young daughter. But he passed the Alice and B.T. test, and we dated for about a year -- as I remember it. During my senior year, he was transferred to Alaska and I subsequently graduated from high school. While he wanted to marry me at that time, I told him I needed to go to college, and so I did.

As Paul Harvey says, "the rest of the story" you already know. I met and married my college sweetheart, Tim. We were happily married for almost 25 years when cancer struck and took his life. Next month, in fact, will be the 5-year anniversary of his death. That doesn't seem possible, but time has a way of marching on -- with or without you.

Just prior to the Christmas holidays, I had a dream about Teddy. He and I were in my parents' living room. We were all sitting there talking. Mom and Dad looked healthy and happy -- probably the best part of the dream. Then all of a sudden, they were gone and I was left alone. A feeling of uneasiness came upon me. I was, in fact, quite frightened. Remembering Teddy was somewhere close, I called out for him and he came to me. Somehow, I felt better after that. But the dream stopped and I awoke.

The next morning was Saturday, and not having much else to do, I did some online research. I found him! I knew he'd been married, but was not certain of his current marital status. Further research revealed an obituary of his Dad's that did not mention a wife for Teddy as one of the survivors. It did list his brother and HIS wife as survivors. Aren't I quite clever?!? More research, a phone number, a possible address...and I called him that evening after much debate on the propriety of the act. Since that time I've been assured that the rules have changed and that women may call men. After all, this is the second decade of the 21st century. I left dating and dating protocol in the late 1970s, so who would have known?

In a fast-forward moment, we talked on that Saturday night and on subsequent occasions for hours at a time. It was fun catching up on a lifetime that happened over 36 years ago. I discovered he'd been divorced after a marriage of 13 years that can only be described as quite unhappy. There were no children from that marriage -- a definite plus in the marital consideration process.

We agreed that he'd come for New Year's Eve and we'd go to dinner. Indeed, he came, we went out, we fell in love (again!) that week, and by the end of the time we'd spent together, he asked me to marry him. Since I've completed all the college I want or need, and after much thought and prayer, I said "yes".

Teddy lives in Clarendon, an hour southeast of Amarillo. He has a brother there, but other than that, there is no other family. Since he is somewhat retired and I need to continue working, he will move here and live in Fort Worth with me. He has attended my church and likes it. He plans on attending, and perhaps joining. Domino, my little Chihuahua, adores him. I have to remind Domino that he is MY dog, but he has taken a great liking to Teddy. I've learned that dogs are a good judge of character. For professional reasons, and the fact that I've been Belinda Scholl for almost 30 years, I will retain my married name. It's a hassle to do all the necessary paperwork that involves changing one's name. We want simple at this time in our lives and keeping my name fits with that philosophy.

The wedding itself will also be simple. There will be no formal invitations, so just come. It will be held at Christ United Methodist Church at 3301 Sycamore School Road, Fort worth, 76123 in southwest Fort Worth on June 26. The phone number is 817.346.2400. The exact time has yet to be decided, but I will keep you posted. This is where I'm a member and have been serving as pianist since September of 2007. After the brief ceremony, we'll have a simple reception to greet our guests, and then be off on our new life together. We hope you will be able to come!

In conclusion, I will say that I never expected this to happen. I really wasn't "looking" or hoping for anything in particular when I called Teddy. It was more or less of a whim. I almost didn't call him! I also never expected to have another husband -- especially one who would love me so unreservedly and whole-heartedly. I never dared to ask God for that since I'd already had such a marriage. To have found such favor with God that He has given me -- truly, given us -- another opportunity for marriage is more than I could have ever conceived.

We ask you to share in our joy and happiness and that you support us with your good thoughts & prayers. We also hope to see you June 26 in Fort Worth, but if that is not possible, we know you will be us in spirit and love.

More later...

Teddy & Belinda