"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it?  And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.  And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'"  Luke 15:4-6

March 21, 2007


My wedding ring is very precious to me, for many reasons.  I didn't get married until two weeks before my 40th birthday, so finally getting that ring put on my finger was a cause for great celebration.  

What really makes the ring priceless, is the fact that my husband designed the ring himself and had it custom made.  (No, he's not a jeweler, he's an electrical engineer.)  He put much love, thought, and time into the design, and everything about the ring has a special significance.  

The ring is made up of three bands; a white gold one that represents Jon, a platinum one that represents me, and in between them is a yellow gold band that represents God being in the center of our marriage.  On top of the middle gold band, are three diamonds which symbolizes the Trinity; the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.  On each side of the diamond set is a 24-karat gold stud that holds the bands together, which represents  the purity of God connecting us and holding our marriage together.  It is a beautiful ring, and I am so proud and honored to wear it.

Last spring, I was working in one of our flower beds, and had forgotten to take the ring off.  I ended up getting what we think was poison ivy, all under and around the ring.  It took several weeks for it to heal, and since that time the skin on my finger has been thick and feels calloused.  I have had a hard time getting my ring on and off, and at times haven't been able to wear it.

The first weekend in March, there was a Home and Garden Show at the Tulsa Expo Center, and Jon and I decided to go on Saturday.   As I was getting dressed to go, I thought "It's been a while since I've worn my ring, and I really want to have it on today."  I had to twist and turn and really work at it, but finally managed to force it onto my finger.  That should have been a clue to not wear it.

We stayed a couple of hours at the Home and Garden show, then stopped by the shop so Jon could do some work.  I was sitting in the office, reading a book, while I waited for him.  I noticed that my finger was starting to hurt, and saw that it was swollen.  I worked and worked to try and get my ring off.  I showed Jon, and he got an ice pack for me to hold on my finger, hoping that would decrease the swelling.

After we got home, I went online to see if I could find any solutions on how to get the ring off.  We tried one of the idea's, to no avail.  I finally asked Jon to call the jeweler, who had made the ring, to see if he knew of something we could try.  We had already tried the things he suggested, and his only other alternative was for me to come in and let them cut the ring off.  When Jon told me, I started sobbing.

I felt really bad for forcing the ring onto my finger that morning, and was mentally beating myself up for doing so.  I could hardly stand the thought of having my beautiful ring cut.

It was almost closing time, so we had to rush to the store, where the jeweler who had made the ring was working.  I told Jon that I would rather go there, because this was the first ring this gentleman had custom made himself and he was very proud of it, so I was hoping he would take extra care with cutting it off.  Because of the band being so wide and thick, the metal wouldn't stretch, so they had to make two cuts in the ring to get it off my finger.

It took approximately ten minutes for the whole process, and I was about to cry the whole time.  I'm sure it was very obvious, because the three gentlemen who were working in the jewelry store, (and Jon) were cracking jokes the whole time.  They were saying things such as: they were hoping they could save my finger without cutting it off, and the reason the store had red carpet was in case they hit a vein and there was bloodshed, etc.  Jon found them more humorous than I did.  They really were extremely nice, but I just wasn't in the mood to joke around at that time.   

It was heartbreaking having to carry my ring, which was cut into two pieces, out in a ziplock bag.  I was told to let my finger heal for a couple of weeks, then bring the ring back in and they would remeasure to make sure I would be able to get it on and off easily, and repair the ring.  The jeweler assured us that once they were finished, you would not be able to tell where the cuts had been made and the ring would be perfect again.

Sometimes we may face things in our life that seem irreparable.  It may be a relationship that at one time seemed so precious and perfect, but now there is separation and hurt.  Maybe it's finances or a career that was so promising at one time.  It may be health issues that have taken a toll on your body.  There are numerous different examples of life issues that can happen to make a person feel broken or hopeless.  It may be something that we have done, or unwise decisions we have made, that has caused us to be in the circumstance we find ourselves in.

Don't ever give up!  As long as there is breath in our bodies, there is hope!  

One thing that I realized, as I looked at my wedding ring, was that the most important components were still intact.  The diamonds, representative of the Trinity, were still where they had always been.  The  gold band, representing God between Jon and me, was still there.  The 24-karat gold studs, holding the bands together, were still in place.  Even though the band was no longer perfect, the message of what it stood for had not changed.  The most crucial element of all, is that Jon and I do have God in the center of our marriage, and when we have faced difficulties brought on by outside forces,  He has held us together.  The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit has never been gone from our lives.

Be encouraged, that as you stay focused on God and allow Him to be the center of your life, He will never leave you.  He was there in your life when things were seemingly perfect, He was there when things seemingly fell apart, and He will be there to make you whole once again.


(Tip from our Jeweler)  If you have a ring that is stuck on your finger (of course, this is before your finger swells so huge, you can't get it off), the best thing to use to get it off is Windex.  Spray Windex on your finger, and twist the ring from side to side, instead of trying to pull it straight up.  



Sour Cream Coffee Cake

1 yellow cake mix (dry)
3/4 cup oil
1/2 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 cup sour cream
Mix above ingredients together and pour half of the batter into a bundt pan.
In a small bowl, mix together:
3 tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup chopped pecans
Sprinkle this mixture over the batter in the pan, then pour the remaining cake batter over it.
Bake 1 hour at 350.
Sprinkle powdered sugar over the cake.


My dad decided to take my stepmother to visit a retired minister and his wife, who had been his former pastor.  She had never met the couple and he had not seen them for several years.  It was about a four hour drive, and they pulled up in front the house.  An older couple welcomed them inside and told them to make themselves at home.  Daddy thought they looked a little different than what he remembered, but thought he must have just forgotten what they looked like.  My stepmother sat down, took her shoes off, and got comfortable.  After visiting for a short time, my dad realized that he had no idea who this couple was.  The older couple was glad for the company and invited them to come back and visit again.  Embarrassed, my dad left and drove straight home.


We're called to build God's Kingdom, not our own castle.


 It has been requested that I share the story of Jon's marriage proposal.

Jon and I first met at church in December, 2003.  We slowly (very, very slowly) became friends.  FINALLY, Jon asked me out on Mother's Day in 2004.  We dated for several months and had discussed marriage.  I knew that Jon had bought an engagement ring, but I didn't know how long he would make me wait for his proposal. I also had no idea that he had designed the ring until he gave it to me.

On February 5, 2005 my sister, Joyce, and nephew, Greg, brought my dad and stepmother here to spend the day.  I was living with my sister, Janie, and her family at that time.  After lunch we were sitting in the living room visiting.  Some time later, I got up and went into the bathroom.  While I was in there, Jon asked Daddy's permission to marry me.  When I came out and sat back down, Jon walked over and handed something to me.  He had carved and painted a small gray sheep, and had mounted it on a wooden base.  On front of the base was a plaque that read,

"Wood Ewe"
Miriam E.
He opened up the box with my engagement ring in it, and asked me to marry him.  He caught me off guard and I was very surprised.  I had kind of expected an engagement ring for Christmas, and when that didn't happen, I thought perhaps Jon would give it to me on Valentine's Day.  I never dreamed he would have the nerve to propose in front of my dad and other family members.

My family had prayed for many, many, MANY years for me to meet the right man and get married, so it was very special to share this historical moment with a few of them.

We got married on June 18, 2005.  Our wedding was absolutely perfect!!

Two weeks later, on my birthday, my husband gave me the most romantic gift ever.  During our thirteen months of dating, he had kept all the letters and cards I had given him,  the ticket stubs to every single movie we had seen, the program and tickets to an opera we saw, etc.  He made up a scrapbook that chronicled our courtship from our first date to our wedding.  Jon had kept copies of absolutely everything.  I could not believe that he had even thought to do that.  I will cherish that memory book always!

(I love ewe) Thanks for the great response I received last week.  It was very encouraging.
May the blessings of God rest upon your life!

Loretta Gray
Website Address:

I enjoy receiving your e-mails and comments.