Friday, December 18, 2009

Memories of Freda

We are grateful for the affirmation of Freda and her influence in the lives of others. Thank you so much.

If other of you would like to post a comment, please do so.

And thank you for your continued prayer on behalf of her family.


Hello everyone, here are the memories you wrote on note cards from her memorial service. Feel free to add more via commenting below.

I worked with Freda very closely when I directed the 9th grade program (1993-1996) at Buchholz. She was always a loving and disciplined teacher. (tough love?) Her students called her Sergeant Crawford. But it was done affectionately. She was an inspiration to us all and I loved her dedication and I treasured our working relationship and friendship. Having lost my helpmate of 30 years in 2000, I know how hard this will be on all of you. But I also know that families focused on Christ and fortified by His love will draw strength from each other. And remember, all of us at Westside are your family and you can always depend on us.

“Look what God has done!” Those were Freda’s words at the reception celebrating Gary and Freda’s 20th year of ministry at Westside. I took it as truth and encouragement. The truth of 20 years for Gary and Freda and the encouragement to someone who had only known our Lord for 5 years.

There are so many than just one way – Freda was truly a Proverbs 31 woman – she let Jesus shine through her life – it was truly a privilege to have known her.

After her cancer, not before, she earned a Ph.D. Freda refused to quit living. For her, life was something to be wrestled and mastered. There was no quit in her. Thank you, Freda.

She and my husband had chemo treatments at the same time one day. Freda greeted everyone, began chemo and matter of factly started to work on an armful of materials. She demonstrated “Christian calmness under fire” and let us know that God’s grace is sufficient for anything we encounter.

The first mission trip was with Freda which forever changed the way I looked at missions and the work.

She fought the good fight. She finished with honor.

I had the privilege to work with Freda when she was a doctoral student in the College of Ed. God placed her in my life when I was away from my walk with “my father”, Freda somehow knew and she prayed for and with me and soon I came home to Westside Baptist Church.

Oh my gosh! Where to start? Mrs. Freda was my SS teacher and she was awesome. She helped me see the vital importance of having that personal, honest and open relationship with Christ. I will always love her.

No matter what was going on, Miss Freda had a smile and an encouraging word for me.

I had the privilege of being in her SS Class. She encouraged everybody. She was a woman of faith and I always remember her as a hero, loving and caring friend. I miss her but she is in a better place. We love your family, Pastor, and we need you so much. Our prayers are with your family.

I only knew Freda for a short time. Knowing her strength to go on has made a big influence on my life because there is a spiritual battle in my home. Love in Christ.

Freda has influenced me in so many, many ways. What a privilege it was to serve supporting Freda in the Women’s Prayer Group for 10 years. I was privileged to be involved with her in ministry in this way. During these last 10 days, I’ve thought much about the influence of the monthly prayer letters that she sent to those on the mailing list. I would like to partner with Pastor Gary and perhaps others to publish those letters so that others may gain strength, wisdom and encouragement. I’m so blessed to have had Freda as a friend. She will forever yield influence in my life.

I was always impressed with Ms Freda’s warm, welcoming smile. Although I didn’t know her well, we shared being Pastor’s wives as a thing in common. My greatest honor was when she referred to a comment I made in her next to last blog and called me friend. Her blogs always amazed me in her continuing praise to God despite her circumstances. I think they should be published to inspire others in difficult circumstances.

Freda influenced me by showing me how to walk with a strong relationship with the Lord. But also how to love and accept what life throws at you and keep going. I truly will miss her.

I have known Freda by attending Westside although I haven’t met her personally. I know deep in my heart that she’s a woman of faith and courage, and really admire her for that. One worship service she sang “Through it All.” I was touched and blessed with that song. Every time I hear this music, I always remember Freda.

I will always remember Biology class at Buchholz High. Freda was an excellent teacher, tough and disciplined, but loved everyone. She will be sorely missed.

I never spoke with Freda. I did, however, listen to her play the piano. The love and beauty of the Lord shone through her music. She was a wonderful blessing to me through her music.

Freda’s spiritual strength and unselfishness had an effect on my everyday thoughts. Her words of encouragement and wisdom will always be in my mind.

Miss Freda, by example, was always a tower of strength and a beacon of encouragement. She taught me to remain steady in my faith and my responsibilities, no matter what I may face in life. She always had a smile and a kind word for me. I loved her, will miss her, and I look forward to seeing her again.

“Miss Freda” modeled how to love God, her family, and her church family in a graceful, steadfast way. She showed us how to pray and how to keep our eyes on the prize when there seemed to be no way to overcome. Thank you, Miss Freda. I am so thankful that I was able to attend the last Women’s Prayer Breakfast. You gave me hope that day that will carry me through this life. Victory in Jesus.

Occasionally, I would see Freda at the gym exercising and would think how could I feel tired or not motivated to exercise watching her on the treadmill. Also, being a part of the women’s ministry, I have cherished her monthly prayer letter and have kept every letter for the past three years using them to encourage my devotional time with the Lord.

Freda was a supportive colleague of mine for years at Buchholz High School. She often shared her smile, her funny observations, and accepted me as I was at that period of my life. For bringing a bright spot & lovely smile into many of my days, I say “Thank you Freda.”

Freda, my friend, was courageous and brave as she faced death. She would come to our office with a smile and never mentioned how she felt. She always asked how I was. I was just at her house 4 weeks ago. She took me on a tour of her beautiful home and talked about her kids and grandkids and Gary- never herself. As she shuffled around her house with the walker all yellowed with jaundice, her eyes bruised from recent falls I was amazed at her fortitude & kindness towards me. She liked the color blue & in honor of Freda I am wearing blue today at my dear friends funeral. I asked the Lord last Thursday, Nov 12 when I found out about her passing, “ Lord, please let me be brave and courageous like Freda when my time comes.” What a Heritage Freda left. Love Doug Smith’s wife

Whenever greeting her with a “Hi Freda, How Are You?” Her response would always be, “Good How Are You?” It would never be about her, but about whoever inquired about her. She could well have responded, “I’m feeing weak today and I’m dying , you know. I’m in a lot of pain too- some days- unbearable, but today I’m dealing with it ok, I think so far”….but she didn’t. Jesus was her life and she showed so many how He is the center- and all goes out from there. She brought Jesus to life. Even when she spoke intimately to the women’s breakfast groups, she was always, positive, encouraging and saw her health issues as learning and teaching experiences rather than a stumbling block to her life or ministry. A wonderful Christian example! What better could be said about anyone? Praise His Holy Name Well Done, Thy Good and Faithful Servant!

I remember her especially when I feel like grumbling because of an ache and pains; then I remember her grace, peace and love she showed throughout the trials of her illness. She motivated one to be better through her witness. I will think of her and miss her dearly but have peace knowing she is in the presence of our Savior-

Praying for Freda as a brand new Christian gave me proof of the power, the true power of Prayer! Thank you.

Pastor, You are the one that told me Freda liked me. Well I liked her too, in fact, I loved her. I know it was because she always took the extra step to make things better. She encouraged me, laughed at me and with me. The Lord showed through her life I will always remember her life- it will continue to encourage me! Loved Her!!! She loved me, but really she loved the Lord!

Mrs Freda’s strength and courage have been a great testimony to all of us. Her faith and love for our Savior have encouraged our family. Westside friends were a great comfort for Ted and me when our son (Nick, Debbie and family) moved to Gainesville. We know they were well loved and guided when we couldn’t be with them. We are very grateful to God for all His wonderful blessings. He is to good to us <3 <3 Ephesians 3:20 “He is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond what we ask or think.” May God greatly comfort and encourage you all. Our memories of Mrs Freda are a treasure.

We have been at WBC for 22 years. Over the years with every contact with Freda, be it at church, Publix or at BHS, you always felt her love of the Lord. You knew that God was first in her life. I’ll never forget how excited our daughters Heather & Shannon were when came home to tell us that Mrs Freda was their science teacher.

Freda was a great example of faith. In this world we need more people like she. Bro. Gary you and Freda are an inspiration in my life and in my wife life. We pray for you and don’t forget to continue to pray for my wife Raquel. We love you.

Being a member of Freda’s Sunday School class in 1989 and the mission trip in Brazil in 1993 allowed me to appreciate her leadership, love and empathy. She will always be in our hearts.

Freda was my first SS teacher. Each year I grew to love her more. Our children grew up together-Christa & Keith, John & Erich. Shared ministry together and helped-guided me to live more like Christ. She was my mentor and never knew it. Thank you Lord for sending the Crawford’s to Westside. I love you

What inspired our family was her faith and dedication, in spite of her illness. As her hair stylist, (Marshall) she was always so upbeat and never complained or was down. Her beautiful example and Godly faith will inspire our family to forever follow her example. God Bless you, Gary and family. We Love You!

Although we did not know Freda well, she did have an impact on us because of her courage and her love for her God and Savior Lord- I know she is with Him- In Love

I still see Freda as a bright-eyed, smart little girl in my beginning band class, with her saxophone, full of energy and eager to learn.

Although I was never the scholar that Freda was, her influence inspired me to finish college and get my master degree. Our families have good memories of plat dates, wall-papering the bathroom at the old pastorium, a trip to Washington DC and trying to fix the brakes on Gary’s old yellow Toyota. These are the ordinary things that young families do. What a blessing that we shared them with Freda and your family! Our prayers are with you as you heal. PS. Gary, remember your beige swimsuit you wore while skiing at the lake?

Hey you guys! When I get to Gainesville & Westside back in Jan ’91- who knew what a great family I’d meet& become a part of. With Miss Freda- it was just her smile, and the way she welcomed everyone in. I love you guys & will be praying for you all. She will be missed, but know she is singing!

Freda-was a good friend from the 1st days at Westside. Never the hint of an unkind word from her lips. She is well and whole and preparing a place for us.

I did not fully appreciate Mrs Crawford until I became an adult and was talked into chaperoning a youth trip with my own church. Never again! Freda showed such patience and humor with a group of wild teen-age girls. I pray that I will have half of her grace, strength, faith, dignity and humor. She was and is a role model for me as a woman, wife, mother and teacher. I am blessed to have known her.

Freda’s faith and strength are indescribable. We thank her and Gary for their steadfast faith. Christian Love!

Freda lived her life in the past ten years under extreme difficulty and illness. Yet she always served the Lord and loved her family and all of us a t Westside. Our family has been living under extreme stress, and Freda’s example has sustained us.

Mrs. Freda had a great influence on my faith. She truly inspired me to strive to be the women God has planned. She encouraged me to persist in my PhD when I thought I could not finish, she encouraged me in a frantic new mommy moment in the hallway assuring me it would get easier & God would provide wisdom in raising my son. She also encouraged me to follow God’s call to the mission field. Most recently though, her writing on her blog greatly impacted me. Every post had some element I was sure God had led her to write just for me as I am sure most other readers thought. I loved her dearly and her teachings live on within me. I love you PG & family and am praying you through this.-(Teri Delucca) one more thought- Our marriage was healed & strengthened through the help of Pastor Gary & thoughts shared of their marriage. We have mentioned several times how we want our marriage to be like theirs. “when we grow up”

It’s hard to put in words. She taught me to keep my eyes on Jesus, every moment counts I thank Jesus that I was able to take care of her in moments she needed help. She touched many hearts at the hospital.

All of what has been shared today is true; that she lived what she believed. Her walk in the “light”, her passion for our Lord, her quiet strength & unwavering faith have impacted me the most! In His Love

As a child I was given a plaque on it said; Only one life will soon be passed, Only what is done for Christ will last. Freda’s life was the embodiment of this verse.

Freda a wonderful, Loving, Faithful women of God. This faithful prayer warrior has set by example how to walk with God, through every season in our lives. She is now in Heaven’s Hall of Fame. I now place Freda in Hebrew 11. A woman of Faith.

What a testimony she had. She was an angel in disguise. She walked the walk and talked the talk. I call her mother Saint Alice and I certainly can call Freda, Saint also. Love in Christ (Diane Duncan) Hopeful Baptist Church

I didn’t know Freda well, but she was always a shining light & inspiration. You could see her kindness in her smile.

I was blessed- and continue to be- by the women’s prayer services. I felt blessed to be there as she walked and prayed for the groups.

Freda was one of the very first friends that I had when we first moved to Gainesville in December 1982. She was the only person I could play tennis with and Gary and I still tell the story of Freda chasing Gary around the house with one of John’s snakes. She pulled a fast one on him, ran right into him and he screamed like a woman- we all had a big laugh. Freda knew how to have a good time. She was my teacher, friend and role model. I will always remember and love her. I will keep you in my prayers.

Pastor Gary, Mrs. Freda was always, always there beside you. You never left her site. I just want to say I’m sorry for Mrs. Freda passing away. Pastor Gary, she influenced me by asking every Sunday morning, how was my week at school every day.

Freda’s desire to glorify God in all areas of her life is an example to me and to Ervin. As wife, mother and friend, she is what every woman should pattern. She showed respect to all individuals regardless of who. With love.

Mrs. Freda influenced my life with her tenacity. She never let anything stop except Jesus. Through her I can say if she went through all she went through and kept going, surely I can go through this little mess. Her strength, strengthens me. Does that make sense? I love and pray for the family.

Radiantly beautiful. A valiant fighter. A model of fidelity. A precious pastor’s wife. An inspiration to us.

As the old radio show said, “Let’s return to the days of yesteryear.” Our choir had a fundraiser which awas our production of Love Boat. Freda was Scarlett and Gary was Rhett. I don’t remember the specific dialog but it culminated with Rhett sweeping Scarlett into his arms and leaving.

The look they shared when he said “Scarlet” and she said “Oh, Rhett” told me (I was divorced and single at the time) what real love should look like. I thank both of you for that example and inspiration. Much love.

Her help, love & faithfulness has been a true blessing for our family. We will miss her until we meet again.

Freda’s unending faith and example that she set with her faith will be something that will always remain with me. Her graciousness and grace she displayed even in the midst of her illness was unparalleled to anything I have ever seen. She will always be a part of my life and in my heart.

Freda influenced my prayer life more than any other individual I can think of. The way she prayed constantly for others during the day as well as morning and evenings, no matter if she was in a meeting, driving down the road, etc. She was such a great influence on my and many, many others.

Mrs. Freda influenced my life by being such an inspiration on a weekly basis because of her strength, faith, her smile and the love she had for God through all the tough times. She will always be in my life and in my heart. I will love her forever.

Christa and I are close friends, which began with working together. Since then, we’ve shared many wonderful hours together over coffee, etc. talking and sharing. Through Christa I have learned so much about Freda, whom I did not know nearly as well. I saw a lot of Freda’s faith in Christa as well as her optimism. Each time I’d call or visit with Christa and ask about her mom, she replied with something like “she’s had a rough 3-4 days but she’s better this week.” When it came time to return to Arkansas Christa said, “I hope she’ll feel better next week so she can go to Arkansas.” Everyone who knows and loves this family should read Freda’s blog. My goodness! What grace, faith, and optimism in the face of adversity. A model for all of us. I am blessed to be a part of Christa’s life and to have her in mine. She is living proof that ages of friends make no difference (she is younger than my daughter). It’s the Christian connection. We love the Crawfords/Lathams.

I got to know Freda as my Sunday school teacher. I had never known anyone more strong in her faith as she was. She always is going to be my inspiration of perseverance to become a stronger Christian. She is always going to be in my heart. One day, I hope to be as strong in my faith as she was. I know I’m on my way!

Though our time at Westside in ’92-’93 was short, we thank the Lord that we got to know Freda, you Pastor Gary, you Christa and you John. Freda was so loving to us. Thank you all for sharing Freda’s life with us today. Amazing life!

Freda was a great friend at work; an example of how to minister to children and the reason Heather and I joined Westside. She also was a great mentor and prayer partner to Heather after she was diagnosed with Lymphoma. We love you all!

We started praying for Freda before we met her. Sharon Skiles, Steves sister, asked for prayer for her when she was diagnosed in 200. When Steven & I joined the Westside family in 2003, we met Freda. She was not a frail, sick woman, but a strong, courageous woman with a gentle, loving nature, that spoke volumes to me. She loved the Word and it showed in everything she did, even when she wasn’t feeling all that well. I thank you all, husband, children, grandchildren and mother, for sharing Freda. Most of all, I thank God for Freda and her life. I will continue to pray for your family and want you to know that our family was touched through Freda. We love you.

She brought all of us here because we all love her.

Thanks to Mrs Freda, our family has talked to God together and focused our thoughts beyond ourselves which has built character into the lives of Julia, Jay & Jessica. We love You!

An Angel on Earth!!

Freda was such an inspiration as we prayed together in the prayer chapel 6 months ago before she was to go to Little Rock. She prayed for Susan’s sister, Diane, who has ALS & we all prayed for her to have a good report in Little Rock. She is the epitome of faith, courage & love & is everything that Jesus would desire in each of us. Go bless you Pastor Gary & Family. Love in Christ,

Miss Freda was an example of the true Christian women to me and my family. I never forgot the day when she received me in this church with her smile. She was a wonderful women and servant of God!

Precious Friends – The ways & moments are too many- and flood to mind now & everytime Lynda & I think of Freda. We will share that everytime we were in her presence- we felt His spirit & love and whether in the church, Publix, hospital or wherever- we always felt better & stronger leaving after being in her presence. We love her & you.

In her last blog Freda mentioned clouds and how things always are better when we look up(towards God) The sky is just a glimpse of the wonders of heaven to come. I will never forget her- she will be an inspiration to me for the rest of my life.

For me it was times of candidness. I took a job as a housekeep of Gainesville Health and Fitness- a job not on my radar; far from my career in New York City. I worked there for the membership and to give myself much time to think about my recovery from addiction to drugs…bitterness really. In these pressing prayerful times I would often see Freda working the “line” I would watch her and wonder….and know the p[presence of the Lord was upon her…and me. God is good.

Freda lived her faith to the fullest. She was the model Christian Woman. I am glad to have know Freda.

Freda was a special “Angel” here on earth to her church family. She was such an inspiration sharing her faith of the good news of Christ wherever she went and being do strong outwardly with so much going on inside her body. We love you dear Freda & are so thankful for knowing you and your family at WBC for 26 years.

I couldn’t count how may times Mrs Freda touched my life. Started off when we were in a small “Westside Church” and she was always happy & so pretty. As I grew up her strength & courage was very touching to me & when I had a bad day all I had to do was think of her. Then the way you both loved each other. I have always tried to live like her in my life and my marriage. I have grown up in this church you “Pastor Gary”, Freda , Christa & John mean so much to me. We will all miss Mrs Freda. Love

I never had the opportunity to sit under Freda’s teaching but her walk had a great impact on my life. She truly influenced me in my walk with the Lord. To try to be quiet and listen to the HS and then speaks. She will live on in our hearts.

WOW! What a wonderful Godly Lady. The Prayer breakfast, her singing, her presents when ever I saw her, But the most influence she took the time to sign my Bible (even when she wasn’t feeling well) I’ve had people that have touched my life sign my Bible (about 20 years I done this). Pastor Gary you signed it on my birthday the day I joined Westside, 1/27/07. When I look at this name, it gives hope, grace, and love when I feel down. This is my most cherish thing I have. Keep Pressing on in Gods ever loving Grace. “To God be the Glory to the Life & Legacy of a Blessed Family”

What can I say, She was a precious woman to us with a smile always on her face. It was such a joy to work for her the last 17 years. She will be so missed by us. A true example of a Christ like person! Please call if we can help. Praying for you guys.

Freda always was an encourager. Even when she later was in pain she endured it silently (to us at church0 and yet, always had a kind word…a smile… and something pleasant for others. I will miss her!

The way she lived her faith, one saw Jesus. She projected the fruits of the spirit-Love, joy, Peace, Patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness and self - control.

We were still at the old church. It was a Wednesday dinner at church, Freda sat at the same table as my sons and I. The room had cleared out & Gary joined her. They were talking to a church member across the table. They focused on the member’s concerns BUT under the table they were holding hands and seemed to be playing Thumb Wars. To someone who was never loved that way and never had that kind of “fun & playful” relationship in my life it was a wonderful glimpse of what love & marriage should be! Thank you Freda & Gary!

Knowing how much pain Freda suffered through and yet seeing her keep pushing forward was an incredible inspiration to me and many countless others. We will miss her, but I’m so happy that she is talking with Jesus face-to-face at this very moment. Love and Blessings,

Freda was the first person (along with Terry Crews) to visit us when we moved to Gainesville 11 years ago. I was so impressed by her visit that it is still a strong memory. Freda was also an encouraging factor in getting me to participate in choir. While I struggle to do that she is the one who told me not to listen to the voice in my head. I will miss her but I am filled with comfort knowing she is with our Lord. God Bless!

Our 20+ tears at Westside shaped our lives and the lives of our children. During that time Freda was always a model of grace, beauty and commitment. The love of Jesus shone through her, She could always laugh in the face of adversity.

Freda’s passion fir the Lord is an inspiration to me. Never wavering but growing stronger. She is an amazing women and testimony personally to me. I am blessed and honored to have known her. I can only inspire to be a quarter of the woman she was. Love

People often ask, “Does God still perform miracles?” Well, Freda was a miracle! I’m a better person fir having known Freda and her family.

I couldn’t begin to tell all the ways Freda has influenced my life. Such a woman of grace & strength! But if I never learned anything else from her, this one thing has impacted me like nothing else. “God has a plan.” In my own difficulties over these past 10 years. I have been able to go forward with strength & peace as I have repeated her words. Thank you, Father for bringing me to this church family and giving me the privilege & blessing of knowing & loving & being loved by Freda.

Freda was a tower of calmness in the life of Westside and everywhere she went. We need calmness in our lives. Thank you for sharing her with us. Thank you, Gary and family for sharing her with us. What a wonderful reunion we will all have when we meet again. God Bless and keep y’all safe. In Christ’s Love

Freda has been a rock of strength and a testimony for others to witness. Since Gib’s cancer diagnosis 12 months ago he and I have prayed for the same strength and commitment to ministry. Even today he is training 45 people at a mission training in Georgia. We love you!

I have been at Westside since the age of 2 when my family moved to Gainesville (1982). Freda taught many of my friends in High School and was a friend to all of us. When Freda & I went on the China missions trip together in 1998, her friendship and words of wisdom to me was so special. Freda is an example to me of God’s strength and power.

Freda has been an example to me since we first started attending Westside over 28 years ago. Her total commitment to God’s will in her life, her many accomplishments but humble and loving spirit, and her strength in the face of such trials has inspired and challenge me in my own walk. We’ll miss her.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Videos from Freda's Service

For those interested, here are some videos from Freda's Memorial Service.

Photo Montage from the Service

Freda's Memorial Service


Monday, November 23, 2009

Closed with a Kiss

When we said “I do,” closed the deal with a kiss, and rode off into our future, I had no idea of the “ride” we would have. One may call it foolish, or presumptuous, or idealistic, but no one could call it boring. The ride together in life has been an adventure.

Like a roller coaster, sometimes up and sometimes down, but always in motion. There has been the slow clank to the top with its anticipation, the fast spiral with its thrill, and always a “hang on” kind of experience. There is more coming!

That deal, closed with a kiss, placed us on an educational journey with a destination of two doctorates (actually your first was a PHT – ‘put hubby through’). Yet, no book learning has taught me what I have learned from you. You have been my true graduate school and what you have conferred, can’t be granted by a diploma.

That same deal closed with a kiss, bore the fruit of two children, both attractive, bright, honest, and loving, who have now blessed us with more of the same in our grandchildren.

That same deal, closed with a kiss, out us on a path in ministry that has crossed the states and circled the globe. So much of God’s created beauty we have either seen, smelled, climbed, crawled, or driven. We have seen the mountain tops, the valleys, the hills, the rivers, the streams, the deserts, the beaches, the glacier ice, the deep underwater, and the high blue sky. We have weathered the freezing cold, managed the humid heat, and enjoyed the cool between. Most importantly, we looked into the eyes of every race and creed and saw the longing in their eyes for a transcendent love and offered that in the person of Jesus Christ.

That same deal, closed with a kiss, has provided the highest ecstasies of life and some of the deepest sorrows, and most powerful losses. In both the highs and lows, we were there together, hand in hand, sometimes sharing mingled tears of joy and sometimes hot tears of sadness. At times our direction seemed clear and certain. At times the path seemed obscure and uncertain. Nonetheless, somehow, we remained on the same path helping each other along the way.

I have loved you, but have failed you in ways that leave regret. Yet, I find comfort in the words you have spoken on more than one occasion – “We do the best we can with who we are at a given time.” I wish I had been more much earlier in our ride together. I wish I were more now as we yet travel together. But whatever there was, whatever there is, your love claimed it and your love has made the most of it.

I cannot imagine a traveling companion that would have, could have offered more for the ride. The strength, the grace, the beauty, the encouragement, the hope to ultimately arrive at our destiny could not have been equaled. You have defined the standard. Your love has been a pearl, your strength my haven, your never-ending hope my rainbow. The light on my face has often been only a reflection of your smile. Your beauty has grown ever more beautiful as I have grown more capable of seeing what was always there. Funny, isn’t it, how that works!

We still travel together. Life holds no more uncertainty now than it ever did. But perhaps now, a bit weather worn and wiser, we understand more clearly that in the uncertainty of life, we find our greatest opportunity and our deepest values.

It has been quite a ride “partner.” Hang on, the best is just ahead around the bend. I’m so glad we “closed the deal” and sealed it with a kiss.

I love you,
11/10/09 (Dothan, Alabama)