In my very early contacts with who would become my Intended Beloved, I realized that I had not seen any close-up pictures of him. We had met online after Steve had found me in the database of the dating website Yahoo Personals. He certainly spoke and wrote like a God-fearing man yet I could not yet see it in his eyes! “Could you send me a picture that includes a look into your eyes closer-up?” I asked. Here is one that he sent me.
I was tickled that he took the time (long before the convenience of smart phones, by the way) to set up his tripod, take and upload the photos, then send them to me via email! Wow. He must have liked my profile photo a bit more than I thought already?
Flash forward less than a year and the look we have as we gaze at each other at our wedding probably tells its own story . . .
How could I possibly know that this gaze would only deepen, soften, and grow to a bond impervious to the tempestuous trials that came our way four years later? Only the Lord knew what was ahead of us. Only the Lord and the workings of the Holy Spirit could move this love to such a tender place built to last.
Funny thing is that I do not have a recent picture to show you what I mean. We just haven’t been able to go out as much to make memories worthy of recording. A photo taken on our recent anniversary may show a bit of weariness for me. Yet if you look closely, that’s a mighty strong arm holding me closely to his side. The joy on Steve’s face is unmistakable. That’s an arm of protection, of leadership, of devotion like no other wrapped tightly around me on a cool wintry night.
I am so very grateful to see the eyes of Christ in my precious Steve. Like my Lord Jesus, Steve is even more wonderful than the day I met him. His love has transformed my heart for sure.
Ever look into the eyes of someone like that, Gentle Reader? Was it long ago? Oh I hope that if it has not yet happened then it will someday soon! When it does I hope that you will tell the world about it. Maybe with a song like this one, in celebration of the eyes of love tonight:
If you like to kayak then my River Bear has just the right kayak for you! With new layups, two-tone color combinations, and options there is something here for every paddler.
My first surf ski (open cockpit where you sit on top of the cockpit instead of inside) was the predecessor to the Stellar SR that you see in this photo. (See the About Page for a picture of me during my third time out in the SR.) This one is way cooler for sure! Having started in a wide and heavy plastic Sirocco sea kayak, you could say that my hubby has succeeded in helping me to make my way across the water with style. These days I actually prefer a solo outrigger canoe with a single-bladed canoe paddle until my balance skills get back up to par. Lord willing I’ll be back into an SR next year!
Until then and for persons in the Midwest of the United States, feel free to contact River Bear Racing to see a Stellar recreational or racing kayak. You’re only as good as your gear ya know, eh? JJ
Sometimes the person out front is the leader of the pack, charting a course for others to follow.
Other times, the one in back of you controls the rudder of your life and you have no other choice than to give into his lead.
The paddler beyond the stern of your boat may be drafting off your lead, riding your wake, resting to overtake the lead at any moment thus determining your fate.
But when matched up together in the same tandem kayak or outrigger canoe, it’s tough to see who is really steering the craft. Is it the gal in front? The guy in the back? The force of the wind shifting them about? The unseen forces of nature?
I submit to you that on the water, the average bloke cannot really tell what is going on unless you know a bit about the sport of paddling, the features of the watercraft, the paddlers therein, and the goal of the voyage.
Here we have dual controls on our tandem outrigger (OC-2), controlled by the pair of foot pedals in either the cockpit of the front or the back of the hull. We decided a long time ago that Steve would be situated in the back of the boat and control the rudder to steer us from there. My role would be to alert him to hidden rocks or logs and only change the arrangement in the event of an imminent crash! Even if he took a different line down a river or around a lake than I would, it would be his responsibility to guide the boat. And so it was for our first outing in the OC-2 since last year . . .
Blue Lake is one of the cleaner yet smaller lakes in Northeastern Indiana: about the same distance from our home as the 3 rivers that intersect downtown and south of us. It’s about a mile long and a few miles to paddle around, inside the shoreline. We decided that this would be the best place to go for a brief outing on Saturday. The water was cool, the air was warm, and the sun was setting a fiery glow in the distance. Fireworks spouted off all around us with smoke from these and summer cookouts that characterize the celebration of Independence Day in America. The haze reminded us of the battles fought for the freedom of our nation in 1776! This time the declaration on shore included everything cooked on the BBQ; the boaters under power and paddle on the water were friendly too. Even the dad of the family that lived across the street from the boat launch who has befriended my hubby during prior outings, stopped by to say “hello.” The best of our freedoms was all around us. No one cared who was out front, in control, or taking charge of anything. Everyone seemed out to have some good summer fun and that was all, including us!
I really enjoyed our 60 minutes canoeing yesterday. Both Steve and I prayed in thanksgiving for the chance we had to be together sharing an activity that has characterized much of our marriage these past 7 1/2 years. I joke that every summer I become a “kayaking widow” as Steve practices then races his surf ski in the northern Indiana circuit of the United States Canoe Association competitions. But I didn’t use to be so alone. Until the Fall of 2011, I usually went out with him in my own kayak and the Fort Wayne kayaking group on Tuesday nights. On the weekends I loved cheering for Steve from the side of the river for as many Saturday events as I could get out myself out of bed in wee hours of the morning to attend. He has continued to race all of our married life together, and race well. I wouldn’t have it any other way. And yesterday we were together again; last month I got to attend one of his races. Lord willing both will happen again next weekend at a new event-with-festival. Lord willing indeed.
The price to pay for participating in these events is very high. I go to them when there is a break in the convulsive episodes and usually pay my dues with bed rest and intermittent episodes the following day. This has been my routine for over 3 years. This past weekend was no different. And yet we still praised the Lord. Jesus Christ was the One who once walked on water, carried the apostles to safety in raging seas from shore to shore, preached from the beach to the multitudes, and created the beauty we all enjoy. He also led the two of us to a wonderful moment of recreation: just me and my beloved River Bear. I am grateful for this gift. Period.
I am also grateful for the man the Lord has designed in Steve. My Stevers waited all day long until I could leave the house after 6:00 p.m. to pack up the boat on the car racks and load up all of our supplies. He had cleaned his car for me earlier, “just in case” I would be able to make it. He changed up his usual workout once we were on the water to make the day meaningful for both of us. And he led us through the entire experience as if the day was just like any other: a warm summer afternoon on the water together in July. Oh how I love you my River Bear! I really don’t mind letting you steer us from behind. It really doesn’t matter who is in the lead all as long as we can be together again like this.
Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame. 7 Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot sweep it away. If one were to give all the wealth of one’s house for love, it would be utterly scorned. [Song of Songs 8:6-7]
So whether you are waiting for inspiration, the man in your life to make a decision, the Lord to whisper His voice into your darkness, or for the rushing waves of illness to calm down in your tender vessel: take heart. The one, the One who leads will take you through the right waters at just the right time in just the right way to get you exactly where you know you really want to be anyways. I don’t know if there will be fireworks to celebrate that moment in time like there was for me? I do know that there will be a celebration in heaven for the faithful who have waited upon the Lord who loves you more than you know.
And He will bring you to that special place, Gentle Reader, where the sailing will be Divine. Just look at how cool it can be! JJ