Made to live connected and close

These local Ponderosa pines intrigue me. Tall and strong, joined at the hip, each growing their own boughs and pine needles and pine cones.

What happened ages ago that caused their union? And then what induced them to grow from that solid foundation into beautiful displays of individuality?



Central Oregon Ponderosa pines


These trees paint a striking picture of my marriage to Hubby. We were one unit with a strong and unshakable foundation.

We finished each other’s sentences; we read each other’s facial expressions. I knew by the absentminded jingle of keys in his pocket when he was ready to leave a gathering.

We also contrasted with each other. He was the pessimist; I, the eternal optimist.

Hubby was left-brained and analytical, while I leaned toward creative right-brained thinking.

He was a man of few words; I talked enough for the both of us. One rock-solid marriage; two distinct personalities.

Beth Moore wrote this:

The wonder of long-term relationships is that fragile pieces prone to part instead of hold fast. Don’t take them for granted. Marvel over the miracle of long-time loves and friendships.

Hubby and I celebrated 41 years of marriage before he died. I didn’t take this good thing for granted. I still marvel over the miracle of our long-time love.

I have friends who aren’t in communication with their kids, grandkids, in-laws. And so I marvel that my children and children-in-law want me around, invite me to their places, include me in their vacations. That my grandkids think I’m pretty cool (well, maybe only The Littles; probably not so much The Teens). That my in-laws still consider me part of their family.

I don’t take for granted that I’m made to feel an integral part of my hiking/snow-shoeing group, my knitting posse, with my Bible study girlfriends. And you’ve met my Walking-4-Wellness-but-we’re-really-here-for-the-coffee-afterwards gang that walks in rain or shine or wildflowers.




All these people — family, friends, posses and crews — stood side by side with us through cancer. And now through widowhood. Along wilderness trails. Over Chai tea and knitting. Chai tea and Bible study. Chai tea after lively in-town walks (you’re beginning to see the importance of Chai tea in connecting with people).

Here’s the deal, though: Relationships need to be nurtured. And the nurturing requires an investment of ourselves, our time and effort, sometimes our finances.

And so, even though it would be safer to stay home and would entail less wear-and-tear on my twelve-year-old vehicle, I’m planning a road trip across the barren eastern Oregon desert to be with in-laws for Thanksgiving.

And even though it would be less expensive to spend Christmas in Oregon, I’ve got an airline ticket for some holiday time with the New Jersey kids and grands.

This thought from author Shauna Niequist:

Share your life with the people you love, even if it means saving up for a ticket and going without a few things for a while to make it work. … We were made to live connected and close.

There are a number of reasons to plug into community, and I’ve touched on several of them in previous writing. But here’s the point of this particular blog:

Side by side with these gorgeous family members, with these fierce cancer-kicking people, these long-term enduring friends — I am growing more resilient.

And if we are growing more resilient, then think what can be accomplished with our steady, true, resilient, audacious lives to make our corner of the world a better place for others.

Who do you need to connect with?


What’s on your brave-making list?


17 tips for throwing a successful funeral – wait, what?!


  1. Linda

    Nice and inspiring article. Thank you

  2. Sharon Brorson

    Thank you Marlys As always your words inspire me and remind me to appreciate all the people in my life. I agree with you about the Walking For Wellness friends as they have become my energy boosters and encouragers. You know I love your smile, energy and positive words!
    Safe travels and know I pray for you as you are “away from our group” and we are missing you!

  3. Thanks for finding me on glad I stopped by. Your story is touching and inspiring. Hope to read more. God bless you!!!

    Meg @ Faith Adventures

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