Speak Well of Your Spouse Publicly

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While some who submitted marriage advice cards to us were coming from the perspective of the newly married, offering how to get things started on the right footing, others who submitted marriage advice cards have a long history of marriage:

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“Always believe the best of each other and never speak poorly of
your spouse in public. After 37 years, what started off as a practice is now a way
of life.”  (PP)

“My favorite piece of advice for someone getting married is this:  ‘Remember, you are now the reporter or press agent for your husband-to-be.’  What you say about him to others will either be good or bad.  Choose the right way and be a terrific reporter for him.” (BH)

Speak well

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How Precious is the Gift of a Day

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There are times when news stories truly captivate my attention and sometimes my heart in a way I can’t let go. I can’t stop reading about the people, their lives, their journeys. Lately, there are so many things happening in our world and even just in our country that have pierced many of our hearts. School massacres, marathon bombings, rescued kidnap victims, disaster tornadoes.

But then there’s this story of one man in Canada that has fueled many of my prayers, tears, and cries out to God on behalf of the family. And I don’t even know them.

When a friend in Canada posted about the kidnapping of Tim Bosma, asking for prayers for the family, for some reason that story got under my skin. She went to high school with one of Tim’s sisters. Another friend’s family went to church with Tim’s family. He disappeared from the same community where I celebrated my Canadian citizenship coming through in 2010, going up there in time for Canadian Thanksgiving.

Despite not knowing them personally, I found myself praying everyday for him, his family, the wife and daughter who were anxiously at home awaiting news about his well-being. I checked the web each day for news. Along with everyone else, I so wanted to hear that he’d been found alive.

What was so disturbing about this story was he was a man doing an everyday thing that many of us do: trying to sell a truck by listing it online. Innocent enough, isn’t it?

However, when two people responded to the ad and came over to test drive it, Tim went with them, telling his wife and daughter he’d be right back. Naturally, you don’t hand your keys over to total strangers and expect them to return. It seemed like a normal thing to do — To go with them, didn’t it?

Tim didn’t come back home that night. Or the next night. Or the next. The kidnapping was reported almost immediately. The police department got right on the task of looking for him. No 24-hour waiting period required in a disappearance of this nature.

I can’t imagine what the wait must have felt like for the Bosma family and friends. He disappeared on May 6th. Sadly, his body was found, burned beyond recognition, on May 14th. It was the morning of my second wedding anniversary. I cried as I texted my husband the news, aching on behalf of this new widow.

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(Sharlene Bosma, From CBC’s broadcast of Tim’s funeral)

Tim and his wife Sharlene got married a little over a year before my husband Chris and I got married. Their love story was cut entirely too short. The pain she must be enduring is unimaginable. It all seems so senseless: to take a man from his family over a truck. Those who did this to him didn’t think through what this would do to her, or the daughter who would grow up without her father. They acted selfishly. Or as they said at Tim’s funeral, “evil drove up our driveway.”

I have watched this family of strangers from afar and been very impressed with their courage, strength, and how they’re calling evil what it is and trying their best to not place blame on God for allowing it to happen even though they’ve had their weak moments as anyone would. Even I have uttered some prayers to ask God, “Why? Why was this allowed to happen?” They’ve kept their faith intact.

I watched the CBC’s live broadcast of his funeral. Everyone who spoke did so in a way that truly honored a man who was clearly a jokester, a prankster, loved to laugh, and obviously loved his family. They were real, honest, and yet not bitter. They held tightly to their faith in God and Jesus and knew that Tim was in Heaven.

Tim’s sister Michelle was very inspirational in her tribute. “Our family will not be ripped apart. Our family will not lose hope. I urge you today to get your act together. Spend more time with your family. Spend more time with your kids. Spend more time with your spouse.”

The last speaker at the funeral was his widow. I was amazed by Sharlene’s strength. I watched her laugh with people’s jokes and special tributes or cry when they shared something meaningful. And here she was, able to speak to the over 1000 people in attendance, words I will never forget. “What happened to him was not God’s doing. I know that if it wasn’t Tim, it could have been another man and another man’s family. What if they didn’t have the support that we have? Evil came to pass.”

But she didn’t stop there. Evil doesn’t get the last word. This tragedy had put her face-to-face with evil, but it also showed her the kindness, generosity, and goodness that exist in others. And it comes out stronger than evil. She said, “We have seen there is far more good on this earth. I believe, especially in this case, good will overcome evil.”

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That is the grace of God at work. She couldn’t have that strength otherwise. I remember being struck by the words author Sheila Walsh once wrote in a book as she watched a friend lose someone close to her. She pondered how she didn’t know how they were dealing with the pain, how they were making it through. But God whispered to Sheila’s spirit that she didn’t understand it because it wasn’t her trial. She didn’t have the grace to go through that person’s trial, but that God had given His grace to the one going through it. Those words have stuck with me for the decade since I read them. Watching Tim’s family talk so eloquently, in faith, is seeing this concept in action. God truly shows up to comfort the brokenhearted. (Ps. 34:18)

I think being a fellow “newlywed,” this has hit me especially close to the heart. Sharlene humorously talked of their disastrous first date, their long wait to find each other, which for them was about 30 years. Chris and I may have waited an extra 10 years to find each other, but waiting is waiting. Searching is searching. And when you finally find it, as I share my angsty search in my book for singles, Finally the Bride: Finding Hope While Waiting, you don’t want to have to let go of it so soon. Or ever. I feel for this woman. As a screenwriter/novelist, I often cry with my characters’ predicaments. But in this case, the person I am crying for is real with a real journey ahead that no longer involves sharing life with the love of her life.

I found it gut wrenching, through the generosity of the location, they returned to the site of their wedding reception for Tim’s funeral. I tear up just thinking about what that must have felt like for anyone in that room who attended their celebratory wedding just over three years ago.

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Tim had no idea that May 6th was his last day on earth. Those who loved him didn’t either. His story is such a harsh reminder to not waste time.

Just like we expressed in my film The Ultimate Gift, through James Garner and Abigail Breslin’s characters, life is precious. When I wrote that screenplay, of all the 12 gifts, The Gift of a Day was my favorite one. It highlights how precious life is. We shouldn’t waste any time because we never know how much time we have left.

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(Cheryl with Abigail Breslin, who played a cancer patient, Emily, in “The Ultimate Gift”)

Sharlene jokingly talked about what drove her crazy about Tim: he’d leave his socks on the end tables in the living room and dirty dishes just above the clearly available dishwasher. But now, she says she’d give anything to have back those dirty socks and dirty dishes.

To the Bosma family, know that there are many people around the world praying for you, inspired by you, praying for justice, and for good to overcome evil. You have touched the hearts of many.

If anyone is so inclined to help the family, they have website set up to donate toward a trust fund to help Tim’s wife and daughter. They also have a photo slide show to see a celebration of Tim’s life.

In Memory of Tim Bosma

“Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Rom. 12:21 kjv)

Have Crazy Fun with Your Spouse

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“Keep your love strong by spending quality time together. Enjoy doing fun and crazy things together.” (CS)

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Who says marriage is supposed to get routine and be boring? The fun shouldn’t stop!

We went to a photographer’s studio and played around, doing funny poses and taking crazy pictures. It’s one of the ways we like to have fun.  What’s fun for each married couple is going to look different than what’s fun for us. Just make sure you find ideas that are fun for both spouses.

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Here’s another example. Every road trip we take together, we try to find ways to take some silly photos by posing with various things in the environment. Whether its statues, murals, or acting out fun scenes when we stumble upon “set” like places, we are game for some silly fun. Our scrapbooks from trips are a lot more interesting than normal smiley photos! Here’s just one of many examples from Williams, AZ:

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Renew Your Vows

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“Plan to renew your vows at every opportunity.” (KSM)

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Renew Vows

We loved this piece of advice. I usually hear of people doing this at a particular marker, like the 20th year or some other big anniversary, having a ceremony among friends and family. Chris & I decided to take this advice to heart and started the tradition on our first anniversary trip. Yesterday was our second anniversary. This is a tradition we plan to continue. Reminding each other what we promised on our wedding day is a very good practice.

On our first anniversary trip, we went on a road trip up the coast of HWY 1, and stopped in a little town called Harmony. (Population 18. It’s one street long.) We stopped at their chapel and renewed our vows right there. It doesn’t have to be fancy. We didn’t book the place or anything. We just stopped on our way to San Simeon, and set up the tripod and took a photo while we did it to capture the memory.

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Put God First then Your Spouse

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“Continue loving God first and showering His love on each other.” (LF)

“Each day continue to look for the imprint of God in the lives of each other and you will always be refreshed and fall deeper in love. Seeing Jesus in your wife and seeing Jesus in your husband will always be exciting and fresh.” (PF)

“My favorite piece of advice to anyone contemplating marriage is to make sure that God is at the center of that relationship. Although marriage is a wonderful thing, it is also difficult at times so understanding that God is the first member of your relationship is a must. When hubby and I are having a disagreement, we make the choice to take our eyes off of each other and look up to God instead for guidance.” (anonymous)

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Put God First

How does putting God first look to you in your marriage?

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Ripple Effect of Life

Have you ever asked yourself the question about what led to you being put on this earth, at this time and place? What events took place that allowed you to be put into your family? Check out this blog about the types of ripple effects that can have that kind of impact on your life.

Cheryl McKay (Screenwriter/Book Author)

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I don’t even know how to begin this blog, this delicate story on my heart. There’s a story I’ve wanted to tell for years. It’s inspired by actual events from my own family. (And for once, no, it has nothing to do with how long it took God to write my love story, as shared through my books Never the Bride: a novel and Finally the Bride: Finding Hope WhileWaiting.) It’s more in line with the themes of my feature film, The Ultimate Gift: legacies and what we do with the time we have, and the gift one day of life brings to us.

This story is about my history, its roots, and how the ripple effect of events are why I am here today, why I was able to be born.

But this story also meant the death of someone else. That is sobering.

In fact…

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Dream with Your Spouse

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“The first year is to learn each others personalities, desires, and dreams. The second year is to love each other for who they are and to help each other fulfill those desires and dreams.” (CB)

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Dream with your Spouse

Chris & I often talk about our dreams, desires, and hopes. We also often end up in long waiting seasons to see our dreams come true. This was definitely the case before we found each other (as shared in Finally the Bride). Waiting for dreams to come true has continued after marriage. Thankfully, we can “wait” with each other. But we also can help facilitate each others dreams by our support, encouragement, and making room for the other to work toward achieving that dream. Sometimes that can mean time or money invested into the dream itself.  What’s really fun is when our dreams cross each other and we can prepare together. (For example, one of our big dreams is to make a film together, so we’ve been taking a low budget, independent film making crash course together.)

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