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Love Letters #101

Two readers, Whitley Osterhout and Michael Damico, a former high-school student of mine, asked me two important questions which flow into this month's February romantic post.

1. How did you and Michael meet? And,

2. How are you and Michael doing these days?

So since it's Valentine's month, I'll answer both, plus give you for free The Frugal Catholic's Best 2020-Red -Hot-Romance -Tip----Love Letters #101.

How I Met My Husband, Michael

God hollered seven words at me one Sunday morning, October 1979, and those words of direction instantly changed my life. It was truly a miracle.

Since I'd overslept for my regular church service at Fairlington Presbyterian, I decided to go to downtown Alexandria, Virginia, where perhaps I'd meet Mr. Right at one of those fancy houses of worship. After all, I was thirty-two, divorced, a newly committed Christian, unmarried, but most important, computers and computer dating didn't exist! It was there while standing at my bathroom sink, holding a black and white panda mug from the National Zoo in Washington DC, a mug full of Folgers Instant Coffee, that God said, "YOU GET YOURSELF TO CHURCH RIGHT NOW!!!!!" Obviously, HE had heard what I'd been thinking!

The voice was so strong that I dropped my favorite cup--which shattered--and immediately knew where to go. You don't mess with God's words. So I threw myself together, quickly drove to my usual Fairlington Presbyterian Church in Arlington, Virginia, tripped up the balcony stairs since the entire downstairs where I normally sat was full, peered through the oval door window; and after the congregation had finished praying, I walked in and sat down in the one seat left --next to the man I would marry. Immediately, my hands started sweating under our shared hymnal. For me, it was love at first sight. It took Michael a few months more.

Nine months later, we were wed in that church and even had our picture taken in that same pew as we held the hymnal in our wedding attire. Was it a coincidence that Michael and I met that day? Was it meant to be? Was it good that I listened to God's voice? Yes --five children, three granddaughters, and forty years later--I'd say so. Was it all peaches and roses? Like hardly! But that's where LOVE LETTERS #101 can help.

Our Wedding Day in 1980

How Are You and Michael Doing Now?

My husband and I are happy to be frugally retired. We split our year between two states, Washington and Colorado, due to where our five children live. We've joined a second Catholic parish here in CO. We love to walk, and with my new and improved spine, it is a blessing to walk with my Service Dog, Bandit, around the track at the local gym. I write for five hours every day. Honestly, that is about it. We are generally pretty boring.

Bandit, my Service Dog

But what about the deeper questions of marriage? How are you really doing? That's where Love Letters #101 come in. So here it is!

Love Letters#101--The How To's

L.L. #101 began three years ago when thinking about retirement cost cuts because I quit buying romantic cards for my husband. Now I'm sure that sounds rather harsh, but after eleven moves in forty years, I'd misplaced too many cards, and most of them didn't contain much more than a signature. That's because when someone else, like Hallmark, composes a great card, no real depth of thought is needed on my part. But suppose Michael and I began to use a spiral notebook between us to express what we were really thinking at the time? And we dated it. Wouldn't it be much easier to keep track of that notebook than a folder of cards?

So we quit giving cards, and this is how it works. For the holiday or anniversary, I write in the notebook first, paper clip what I wrote, then hand the notebook to him, and he does the same. On the appointed day, we unclip our entries and enjoy each other's thoughts.

Here is an entry from Valentines Day 2017 from my normally quiet husband:

"What I have learned, or validated since I always knew it, is that in the absence of stress from finances and raising five kids, you and I both deeply love each other. It has been a journey during which we learned to accept each other's faults. Now that we have reached this understanding and acceptance, it is a source of great joy."

Hallmark can't verbalize that well for free!

So give L.L. #101 a try. That notebook might be the 2020 red-hot romantic tip you've been looking for!


1 Corinthians 13:4-5 and 8 "Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude... Love never ends."


Martha Wild King, M. Ed., Author

The Frugal Catholic: Learn to live on less to give and save more.

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