"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

February 4, 2015


I would like wish my in-laws "Happy Anniversary". On February 6th, they will celebrate 53 years of marriage.

February 5th would have been the 33rd wedding anniversary of my sister, Janie, and her husband, Jimmy.

Both of these couples are a strong example of what the marriage vows, "In sickness and in health; for better and for worse; for richer or poorer" truly mean. I think many times, young couples will speak those words to one another, not really understanding what they are promising to one another. They are head over heels in love and think life is going to be all sunshine and roses. And I suppose that is the way it should be, in some respects. But sooner or later those vows will be put to the test, in one way or another, and they will have to choose to be committed to the promise they made to one another.

During the thirty years that Janie and Jimmy were married, their marriage ran the gamut of putting their vows to the test. While in Bible college, preparing for deaf ministry, they experienced the poorer. Three and a half years ago when my brother-in-law was suddenly diagnosed with a brain tumor, they experienced the sickness. As the following year progressed she became his full-time caregiver. She gave up her time and basically her life 24/7 for those last months leading up to Jimmy's death. Honestly, nursing and care-giving is definitely not her calling; but she faithfully did so day after day. Willingly, she kept her vow to love Jimmy in sickness and in health; and did so with great love.

My mother-in-law is currently being tested in keeping her vows of loving and being faithful to her husband through sickness and in health. My father-in-law has Alzheimer's, and the past couple weeks has experienced a drastic change, which has resulted in his need for full-time nursing care. I watched Diane struggle with the decision of putting him in a nursing home, coming to the conclusion that getting him the care he needs is the most loving thing she can do for him.

Jon and I helped with his care for a few nights, while Diane was going through the process of getting him into a nursing home. One evening while visiting with her, she told us that she never dreamed that she would be at this place in her life. She never envisioned her husband having Alzheimer's. But now she's on this difficult journey. Keeping those vows that she made almost 53 years ago is not in question. She loves her husband and cherishes each moment she has had with him in the past; as well as the moments she has with him in the present.

I once had a conversation with a young lady about a couple who had just gone through a divorce. She had talked to the women, who was the one who had walked away from the marriage. The woman had told her that she had just been in a rut and had gotten bored. The young lady's comment was, "I can understand that." The young lady had recently gone through a divorce herself, due to a completely different circumstance. But when she said that my thought was, "You don't walk away from a marriage because you get bored or feel like you're in a rut! If you think it is okay to do so, I feel sorry for you; and am concerned that you'll never know what it is to have a lasting marriage." If someone thinks it's okay to walk away from a relationship because they get bored, then they will never be able to endure real hardships. Their marriage vows are only traditional words that are spoken and not a real promise.

My sister was speaking to someone and they told her that there was an older couple in their church who had recently married. Both of their spouses had passed away. But they went into the marriage with the agreement that if one of them became ill and needed care, then they would divorce so that the other wouldn't have to take care of them. The man telling my sister about this was of the opinion that this was perfectly fine. My sister told him that if they didn't want to commit "till death we do part" and the marriage vows, then they should have just been friends and not married.

Many take the vows lightly, thinking if things get too difficult then they can always go their separate ways. Sadly, many also take that same attitude spiritually. They will ask Jesus into their heart and repent of their sins, but then when things grow difficult, they want a spiritual divorce. But God takes the vows we made to Him very serious. He expects us to keep our promises.

Ecclesiastes 5:4-7 (NLT): "When you make a promise (vow) to God, don't delay in following through, for God takes no pleasure in fools. Keep all the promises you make to Him. It is better to say nothing than to make a promise and not keep it. Don't let your mouth make you sin. And don't defend yourself by telling the Temple messenger that the promise you made was a mistake. Talk is cheap, like daydreams and other useless activities. Fear God instead."

Deuteronomy 23:21-23 (NLT): "When you make a vow to the Lord your god, be prompt in fulfilling whatever you promised Him. For the Lord your God demands that you promptly fulfill all your vows, or you will be guilty of sin. However, it is not a sin to refrain from making a vow. But once you have voluntarily made a vow, be careful to fulfill your promise to the Lord your God."

Numbers 30:2 (NLT): "A man who makes a vow to the Lord or makes a pledge under oath must never break it. He must do exactly what he said he would do."

The world needs more godly examples of people who are committed to keeping their vows, not only to their spouse, but most importantly to God. Let's not take the easy road in life, but pledge to keep our promises; regardless of how difficult it may be at times.


Sometimes we've speculated about what decisions we would make differently if we could see the future. Maybe a lot fewer people would get married. If my mom knew before getting married that she would have to watch her husband slip away from her the way he has, she may not have gone through with it. Now, though, she is glad she did. Even as hard as the last few months have been, and the next months will be, there have been good times that make up for it.

The traditional marriage vows say "for better and for worse", and "in sickness and in health", not just "for worse" or "in sickness". We might have bumpy times with tight finances, poor health, boredom, or anger, but we also have wonderful blessings, someone in our corner, and love in our lives.

Committing to God can be scary, too, but knowing that God is in our corner is worth anything.


Dr. Pepper Shredded Pork

(This is a favorite recipe of ours; but I do tweak the recipe a tad to avoid so much spiciness.)

1 onion (can use less, if desired)

1 whole pork shoulder (pork butt roast or picnic roast) -- 5 to7 pounds

Salt and Pepper

1 can (11 ounces) chipotle peppers in adobe sauce (Optional)

2 cans Dr. Pepper

2 Tablespoons brown sugar

Preheat oven to 300.

Peel the onion and cut into slices. Lay them in the bottom of a large dutch oven (I normally use a crock-pot instead of cooking in the oven -- but either way works well).

Generously salt and pepper the pork roast, then set it on top of the onions in the pan.

Pour the can of chipotle peppers over the pork (including the adobe sauce). NOTE: I omit using this ingredient due to it being a tad more spicier than I like, and it still turns out great.

Pour in both cans of Dr. Pepper. Add brown sugar to the juice and stir in.

Place lid tightly on pot, then place in oven. Cook for at least 6 hours, turning roast 2-3 times during the cooking process. (I don't turn the roast, and normally cook in a crock-pot). Cook until meat is tender and falling apart.

Remove meat from pot and place on a cutting board or other work surface. Use two forks to shred meat, discarding large pieces of fat. Strain as much of the fat off the top of the cooking liquids as you can and discard it. Return the shredded meat to the cooking liquid, and keep warm until ready to serve.

Serve on warm flour tortillas. Top with shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, grated cheese, avocado slices, salsa, and whatever else you'd like.

Can also serve on hamburger buns and use as sandwiches.


February 5, 2005 is the day that Jon proposed and asked me to be his wife. Oh what a happy day that was!! I knew that he had the engagement ring for several weeks, but had no idea what the delay was in him proposing. I found out that he was waiting until he had a chance to ask my dad, in person, for permission to marry me. How awesome is that?!

That Saturday, which coincidentally happened to be Janie and Jimmy's anniversary (Jimmy was preaching out of town that weekend), my oldest sister, Joyce, and her oldest son, Greg, brought Daddy and June to Janie's home for a visit. Jon joined us for lunch. Afterwards, I FINALLY left the room to use the bathroom. While I was gone, Jon hurriedly went over and asked Daddy if he could marry me. Oh yeah.... take her!! Just kidding! But Daddy did give his permission. When I came back into the room, I had no idea what had just transpired. I sat down, and Jon walked over and knelt down in front of me and proposed. His version is that I grabbed for the ring before answering him. I was so excited, I can't remember for sure.... but maybe. But in my defense, Jon had been tormenting me for weeks about having my ring. He had designed it, and I wanted to see it!

Waiting for the right man was well worth the wait, and I am one blessed lady!!


Faith and fear have one thing in common. Both believe in things not seen. - Don Hutchings


We love you!

Loretta & Jon