Waking Up

Lying next to you,
peaceful and still,
Light peeking at us from behind the curtains.

Not yet committed to the day,
Still claiming the night,
I hear nothing.
And I love the sound.

I smile because I am content.
And then your eyes open.
The first thing you say is, “What time is it?!”

You aren’t content to lie here in solitude like me.
You are immediately committed to the day, bound by it, in fact.

You? You never hear nothing.
If you did, you would not recognize it,
And you would be suspicious of it.
No, you never hear nothing,
For the sound of the clock is always in your ears.

Unknowingly, You have just ripped off my covers of night,
Leaving me bare to face the day.

So forgive me if I am offended by you.
And forgive me if I don’t answer.

Mechelle Ritchie Foster
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I Still Do

Mr. & Mrs. Grant Foster 7-27-1991

Mr. & Mrs. Grant Foster
7-27-1991 

Twenty two years ago I changed my name, my address and my life. I married a man that I admired and loved as much as my limited experience would allow me to. At the time I thought love was just a euphoric emotion. I had no idea how much sacrifice would be involved in maintaining the relationship that began with a kiss and a prayer. I had no idea how young 19 was.

My husband and I have been through a lot together over the past 22 years… job changes, address changes, sickness, the death of loved ones, the births of our two children and the list goes on. My husband sacrifices everything for our family. All the money he makes is invested in our lives. He takes complete responsibility for feeding, clothing and providing a home for our family. I am so thankful for him and so proud of him.

It seems to me that marriage is just not a priority for young people today. It seems that fewer young men are willing to make the sacrifices that my husband makes. In the 50’s, marriage was perhaps the most important thing to a young person. Here we are 60+ years later and marriage is irrelevant to many and redefined by others.

I’m not a salesman…salesperson. I will only recommend something that I have tried and proven to be good. Marriage is one of those things. I want my single friends to find their soul mate because my life is infinitely better now that I have found mine.

I know firsthand that there are people who are in bad marriages. I don’t believe anyone should stay in an abusive situation. I do believe that marriage takes three: a husband, a wife and God. God came up with the idea of marriage. He knows how His design works. He is there to provide technical support. If you’re not married yet, let God guide you in choosing a spouse and keep Him at the center of your union. If you are married and never included God in your relationship, it’s not too late.

I still believe in marriage and that ring on my husband’s finger is the sexiest thing I’ve ever seen. It’s a symbol of our young love that ventured beyond the security of our parents’ homes. It’s a symbol of our maturing love that learned how to communicate the words that are the hardest to say like, “I’m sorry.” and “I was wrong.” It’s a symbol of our intimate, trusting love that doesn’t need words, and a symbol of our committed love that is not debatable, not based on emotions and has no loopholes. It means, I am his and he is mine. If you’re reading this, Sweetheart, I love you! Happy anniversary!

“Luke, I am your father.” Darth Vader

1-darth-vadar-skullWhen I think about the word father, the first thing that comes to my mind is this quote, “Luke, I am your father.” I know. Weird, huh? You say, “father” and I think of Darth Vader. You may think about the day your dad taught you to ride a bike or the time he took you camping. You may remember fishing with your dad or the gaudy tie you gave him for Father’s Day that he wore proudly because it was from you, his child. I’ve never met my dad, so I don’t have any warm, fuzzy feelings about him or memories to draw upon while writing this entry.

I can, however, write about my father, God. I recognized Him as my father when I was 11 years old. From that point on, He put men in my life who would step up and be the paternal example that I was missing; Godly men who mirrored His love for me and the kind of father He is.

The first man who made a difference in my life was Bill Combs. He was my pastor when I was 11 and he introduced me to my Heavenly Father. Bill loved his kids and I could see that. He loved me too and included me as part of his family. He took me to the zoo for the first time and in the winter, we slid down snow covered mountains together on shiny, black garbage bags. During the time Bill was part of my life, I learned that a father is fun.

When I was 13, we moved from Kentucky to Florida and I became a part of another pastor’s family. Mark McGuire was solemn, but kind. His daughter and I became fast friends and we had many sleepovers at their house. I got to know this family pretty well. They had a busy schedule, as pastoral families do, but I watched Mark make time for his wife. They had this tradition… When the kids went to bed, and I was often the fourth child, they would pop popcorn and watch a movie together. We kids were not allowed to get up and be part of this because it was their special time together. I didn’t understand it at the time, but now that I am married and have two kids, I can appreciate their simple, romantic gesture. Mark showed me that a father doesn’t only love his children, but also, that a father loves his wife. I came from an abusive family background and believe me, this was a new concept for me.

Several years later, God blessed me beyond anything I could ask or think when I married my sweetheart, Grant. His father, Rick Foster, became my father. That’s right, my father, not my father-in-law. From the moment I joined the family, he referred to me as a daughter and treated me as a daughter. He was not a touchy, feely kind of guy. He didn’t show me gobs of affection, but he was a hard-working man. He showed me that a father is a provider. He also loved blessing us. If we had a financial need and he knew about it, he met that need. If he received a bonus at work, he shared his blessing with the entire family. He also gave to his church and to ministries he believed in. He once came home from work without shoes because he met a man who didn’t have any. Rick showed me that a father gives sacrificially, and without strings attached.

The last man I want to mention today is my uncle, Wayne Ritchie. It is honestly a miracle that I even know him. He is my dad’s brother. Last year I had a strong desire to try and find out where my dad was and if he was still alive. I don’t have the time or energy today to tell you all the things God has done and is doing concerning this, or how he is restoring my family to me. But I will tell you someday soon. For today, I just want to thank Uncle Wayne and his family for accepting me immediately. They have been a great encouragement to me, kept in touch with me and checked on me. He has shown me that a father loves unconditionally.

I really don’t know how I feel about my dad. I don’t hate him by any means. I care about him and his eternity. But I don’t recognize the feelings I have for him as love. I’ve only talked to him briefly, and during that time he made it clear that he does not accept me as his daughter. This wasn’t the reaction I was hoping for and it caught me off guard. I wasn’t expecting the raw emotion that burst into the room the moment I hung up the phone. So you see, my dad has never been part of my life and he has never given me the impression that he plans to be. You don’t save a seat for someone unless they tell you they’re coming. It’s no wonder that I can’t define my feelings for him. It’s not as if I’ve saved a seat for him in my life; especially one right next to me. But if he decided to come, I’d make room.

Maybe you’re like me and you’ve never met your earthly father. What I’m hoping is, that also like me, you have been privileged to have spiritual fathers in your life; men of God who have shown you the love of God. If not, I pray that God would send a spiritual father to you soon. But remember, God didn’t send those men into my life until I recognized who my true father was- my father, God. So if you haven’t recognized God as your father yet, I pray that today is the day you do. He will fill that black hole in your life. Whether it be a father you are missing or anyone or anything else, trust me, God is all you need.

“You don’t want to be in love. You want to be in love in a movie.” Sleepless In Seattle

I love to go to the movies! I won’t, however, go to the theater just for the sake of going. I don’t go to the movies to waste time. I go to the movies to laugh, to be inspired and especially to see two people fall in love. I said, “love”, not “lust.”

I have been married for over 20 years. I know from experience that there is more to a marriage than sex. Don’t get me wrong, sex is part of a healthy marriage, but it isn’t the only way to express love; and many times it isn’t the best way.

I have a 17-year-old daughter in school and an 11-year-old son that I educate at home. Some days are frustrating. I am 41 and premenopausal. Some days are exhausting. I have a part-time job that I try to excel at. Some days are overwhelming. There are nights when the lights go out that I am just glad that the house is quiet. I lie awake praying that no one talks in their sleep; because I’m sure if they do they will be calling my name.

I don’t want this post to sound negative. I KNOW I am blessed. I am thankful for my family. The point is…I get annoyed when I go to the movies and see a man and woman meet and then five movie minutes later they are ripping off their clothes and steaming up the camera lens. I prefer to see a love unfold over the course of the movie as she encourages her love interest to go for his dream and he, in turn, encourages her. I love to see him protect her from a guy with wrong motives and see her sit by his side when he is sick. I prefer to know that they want to be intimate with each other but they waiting until they vow their lives to each other in marriage. This is true love. This is enduring romance. I am thankful for the man who made a life-long commitment to me. He has shown me love; not just the physical kind but the God kind, the unconditional kind. Dear Reader, I hope you are trusting God for this kind of love and accepting nothing less!