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Lisa Speers

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Mt. Aconcagua, Mendoza province in Argentina, on the Chilean border.—the highest point in South America. Photo credit—William Finley

*Inspired by the lyrics I Lived by One Republic, in honor of my brother, David Reinhart, who lived his life to the fullest ’til the moment of his passing on December 29th, 2012—Lisa Reinhart Speers, founder of I Do Part Two.

“Hope when you spend your day
They all add up—
Hope when the sun goes down
You raise your cup…”

I hope when you see the gift that Christmas brings each year—
You’ll pause for a moment and breathe into it with everything you’ve got.

Dave—Christmas 1977

Christmas was magical as a kid—no peeking allowed.

I’d gather downstairs with my five siblings on Christmas morning, eagerly awaiting the musical signal to discover Santa’s bounty firsthand. “Did you hear that?” As music started playing—quietly at first, then louder.

My parents blasting Christmas tunes upstairs, while sipping bourbon-spiked eggnog, was all that stood between me and my wish list. 

“Go!” yelled my brother and we’d run up the stairs as fast as we could, in reverse order of our birth. The thrill of Christmas morning—never got old. With eight of us in the family, presents spread out from under our tree like treasured memories dotting my youth.

I was six years old, the first time I remember Christmas. I know, because Santa left a bright, blue Huffy bike—just for me.

“I owned every second that this world could give
I saw so many places, the things that I did.
With every broken bone
I swear I lived…”

I love fishing. My dad taught me how to fish, igniting a passion for the outdoors that still fills my soul. I often reminisce about our conversations, sitting side-by-side, on those crystal clear waters. The memories created will outlast both our lifetimes.

Dave on Crescent Lake in Oregon, circa 1978

Over the years, the thrill of fly fishing took me to some of the most beautiful lakes in the world. Hiking and fishing with friends by day and frying up our catch at night. The smell of a wood-burning fire, under a star-lit sky, still warms me to my core.

“Hope when you take that jump
You don’t fear the fall.
Hope when the crowd screams out
They’re screaming your name.
Hope if everybody runs
You choose to stay.”

Dave with a double catch

My love for all things wild—fishing, hiking, camping, and climbing—delivered an escape from the ordinary that only nature could offer.

There are wonders to be found—hiking amongst the giants. Every time I stepped between two trees, I would enter a doorway to a new adventure…

Whether I am traversing the Haute Route from France to Switzerland or hiking the alpine trails of the Pacific Northwest—the place I call home—I am invigorated by the majesty of it all.

Greg Nourse, Mats and Dave after completing the Haute to Haute route from
France to Switzerland in 2009

Then, there’s the “Annual” as we call it. I lived for this yearly adventure. Twenty-plus suburbanites turned adventurers for a week. First in our 20s, then 30s, and now many are pushing 50. 

The Men of the Annual

I made every camping trip with this crew for 20-plus years—I wouldn’t have missed a one.

Rain or shine…the Annual lives on (Dave in blue)

I still go—they hear me in the whisper of the wind and the thrill of the catch. A few have even caught a glimpse of me, just as the sun sets on the horizon.

“Hope that you fall in love
It hurts so bad.
The only way you can know
Is to give it all you had…”

I fell hard for Char. God, I love that woman. Our passion was fire and it glowed with an intensity that sometimes burnt to touch.

Char & Dave

We waited ’til we were 40 to get married—after years of dating.

Sixteen months of wedded bliss, filled with passion, adventure, and dreams for the future—but fate had a different plan. I still wonder, “What if?” 

I’m always with her—she knows my love for her will never die.

Someday, I hope she’ll summon the courage to love BIG again. I believe in the depths of my soul Char has enough love for us all.

“And I hope that you don’t suffer
But take the pain.
Hope when the moment comes,
You’ll say
I, I did it all
I, I did it all…

I owned every second that this world could give
I saw so many places, the things that I did
With every broken bone
I swear I lived…”

From Mt. Hood in Oregon to Rainier in Washington State to Denali in Alaska to Elbrus in Russia—I climbed them all. Climbing for hours, up thousands of vertical feet, on snow-covered mountains has a way of quieting the noise of everyday life. There is so much peace to be found—just the mountain and me.

Dave and Greg on summit of Denali in Alaska

Digging my crampons into an ice wall on a 50-degree vertical slope, while securing my position with an ice axe at 22,000 feet above sea level, kept me hyper-focused on the ultimate prize—the summit.

Climber on the Polish Direct Route, Mt. Aconcagua
Photo credit: William Finley

I almost made the summit that day—22,841′ up Mt. Aconcagua—the highest peak in South America.

The snow blanketing the surrounding foothills, nearly 10,000 feet below me, glistened off the slopes of this exquisite Andean range.

The View from the Polish Direct route on Aconcagua

We were making memories, we three—Greg, Eric, and me. Our adventures had taken us all over the world, through many decades. 

Eric, Dave & Greg—Denali, Alaska

Climbing Aconcagua was to be no different. 

But…I felt slow—for the first time ever.

In exchange for slowing them down, I chuckled offering to buy them beers and steaks—these brothers I’d known since college—as soon as we were back in town.

Our summit bid was going as planned until it wasn’t…

Too much ice. Too many false summits. 

Then, without warning the altitude got to me—it never had before. 

Without hesitation, Eric took off toward the summit to get help. He knew time was not our friend today. Tragically, the only way down was up—there was no easy fix…

No team ready to come to our rescue. Too high for helicopters to fly.

The sun began to set on the horizon—this was not part of our carefully laid plans.

Greg stayed, breaking the climber’s code. He should’ve left with Eric, but he wouldn’t go. He stayed, trying to warm me through the night. We were chilled to the bone—we’d never felt so cold. 

The moon glowed, illuminating our position—offering hope.

I knew our family and friends were waiting…praying…hoping—sending positive thoughts. Their warm wishes reached me and warmed my soul.

I fought like hell to get back—to Char, the love of my life. To my amazing parents. To my three brothers, who I so admire. To my two sisters, who adore me. 

To my adventure “brothers” and my business partners. To all my cousins, nieces, and nephews. All my friends from high school and college. I never gave up trying.

There was still so much to do—so many places to see.

As I looked out, one last time, from my perch at 21,600 feet, the sky unfolded a shimmering white staircase just for me.

The Polish Direct route on Aconcagua

Simply magnificent. So quiet. So peaceful. 

In the distance, I heard a familiar melody—so hushed—I strained to hear it at first.

The music started softly, like snowflakes floating through the sky and quickly grew to a crescendo as angels joined the celestial choir. 

I heard someone proclaim, “It’s time to go.” I hesitated. I’m not ready.

Then, inexplicably, I am sitting around a roaring campfire—with everyone I hold most dear.

From an Annual camping trip many years ago…Dave on the left and Greg on the right.

Warmth engulfed me. My heart overflowed.

These are the moments we live for—surrounded by family and friends—swapping stories and laughing at the same jokes that have been told over and over for years.

Millions of amazing moments, captured forever in my heart.

“It’s time to go.” It was Eric—his voice so pure, so clear. Warmed to my core, I started up the stairs behind Eric—this time, ahead of my siblings and ahead of my parents—who I adore.

As all the angels sang…

“I wish that I could witness
All your joy and all your pain.
But until my moment comes

I’ll say
I, I did it all
I, I did it all…

I owned every second that this world could give
I saw so many places, the things that I did
With every broken bone…

I swear I lived.” 

Dave and Lisa—brother and sister—mid-1980’s

-Written by Lisa Reinhart-Speers (Dave’s slightly older sister)

I dedicated this story to Greg and Eric Nourse, who gave it all they had to bring my brother, David, back to us in late December 2012. Tragically, Eric lost his life in his attempt to save Dave. Thankfully, Greg survived. 

Greg and Eric Nourse on summit of Denali in Alaska 2008

I never knew Eric during his lifetime, but I had heard so many great stories about what an amazing man and friend he was too all. I know his loss is felt by many—including his lovely wife, Kandee.

I did know Greg, through his friendship with Dave before the tragedy, and I’ve had the great pleasure of getting to know him ever better over the last eight years, along his beautiful wife Emily and their darling daughter.

Although the outcome was tragic, I will always be profoundly grateful to Greg and Eric for their selfless efforts. Thank you from the bottom of my heart—Lisa

*Originally lyrics for I Lived were written by Ryan Tedder, Noel Zancanella. The lyrics were altered and adapted for this story. So much appreciation for the talent of these amazing writers. Thank you for sharing your talents with the world.

**Photo credits noted go to William Finley of AkMountain.com who climbed Aconcagua with his wife in 2010. Lisa Reinhart-Speers and I Do Part Two do not have an affiliate relationship with AkMountain, so thank you for the use of your beautiful photographs. All others are courtesy of Dave, Lisa, Eric, Greg, the Men of the Annual, and Reinhart family photos.


A life well lived…

Dave earning his turns…


Rafting on an “Annual” camping trip
Dave climbing with Wayne
Mats, Dave and Greg, Mt. Blanc France
Dave with Eric on his right and friends
Dave (center) Greg and Eric on left/Friends on the right

Dave and his wife, Char, at an OSU Beaver football game
Dave with his brother John, graduating together at Oregon State University

The Reinhart ‘8’ —Dave third from the left in the cowboy hat and the author, Lisa, on the far left (circa 1978) with siblings and our parents, Richard and Susan

Well, let’s find out together as Christopher D. Connors, an expert on Emotional Intelligence, sits down for a conversation with I Do Part Two to discuss what an emotionally intelligent marriage looks like in 2020.

Christopher D. Connors is the bestselling author of Emotional Intelligence for the Modern Leader and The Value of You. He is a keynote speaker, executive coach and business consultant that works with leaders at Fortune 500 companies, sports organizations, schools and universities. His writing has appeared in CNBC, Quartz, World Economic Forum, Virgin Media, Thrive Global and Medium. Christopher is happily married to his beautiful wife and is the proud father of three amazing, rambunctious baseball-loving boys. He lives in Charleston, South Carolina. Visit him: http://chrisdconnors.com

Mr. Connors references a talk that Brené Brown presented on “empathy.” Brené Brown, Ph. D., LMSW is a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work. She is known world-wide for her work on vulnerability, courage, authenticity, and shame. She is also a gifted story-teller. There are numerous versions of her talk on empathy available online and due to copyright laws, I Do Part Two encourages you to search for them on Youtube or on Brené Brown‘s website.

I so hope you enjoy I Do Part Two’s conversation with Christopher D. Connors,

Is now the perfect time? What is holding you back?

For years, fear held me back from starting a blog, writing, or pursuing any projects I thought they might appear— “frivolous.”

Who am I to start a blog?

There are so many accomplished writers out there— I’ll never be good enough.

How will I ever overcome all the technological hurdles of building and maintaining a website?

Well, something happened when I turned ’50’—I let down my guard. I stopped trying to be perfect. I realized I didn’t want to look myself in the mirror on my 60th birthday, having still not launched the blog I had wanted to start in my early 40’s. The time is now!

What about you? Do you have a passion you’ve been wanting to pursue? I will tell you a secret…there will never be a perfect time to start, but it’s never too late and you are never too old.

Join me in my conversation with Amy Schmidt, the host of Fearlessly Facing Fifty about how I finally got the courage to pursue my passion.

Click on the link below: “EP 72: Making deeper connections with I Do Part Two…

Amy launched her business and brand six months before turning 50. Her mission is to encourage women over forty to push fear aside and find that hidden treasure of confidence that may have been pushed aside for a while and not let this time of life allow them to lose their identity. You can also find her on socials:  Fearlessly Facing Fifty on Facebook, and Instagram: Amy.K.Schmidt and https://fearlesslyfacingfifty.com/

“She’s the puzzle I chose to solve. Far too many people are looking for an easy puzzle, you’re never going to have an easy puzzle” – Anthony Trucks talking about his lovely wife

A few months ago I heard Anthony Trucks speaking about his marriage, divorce, and remarriage to the same “amazing woman,” and I reached out to see if he would share his story with I Do Part Two—Anthony graciously agreed.

Anthony is a devoted husband and father. He is also an author, internationally known motivational speaker and has his own business http://anthonytrucks.com, where he coaches clients to reach their full potential.  In addition, he is the host of his own podcast Aww Shift, which can be found wherever you listen to podcasts.

Anthony is a former NFL player and interestingly enough— he’s a 3 time American Ninja Warrior, and the first NFL player to complete the very difficult obstacle course and push the ‘Red Buzzer.’

He has an amazing ability to navigate life’s challenges……which is so important right now. So, I encourage you to listen and look him up after our conversation.

Anthony had me at hello when he said, “I got to meet someone for the first time that I’d known for 16 years.“

I know you’ll enjoy this interview. Thank you for listening and feel free to pass it along— Lisa Speers

You will be hearing more from contributors to I Do Part Two in the future because, “What will the world miss if you don’t share your story?” (A quote from Donald Miller)

I don’t know about you, but this pandemic we’re all going through—has been REALLY hard! It’s been a string of disappointments for my kids, sad not being able to visit my parents as my dad battles pneumonia, and at times, very stressful as small business owners. Continually trying to find healthy ways to cope has been the key.

For a while there, I felt like my husband and I were dangling on yo-yos—each hanging on to our own for dear life. When my husband was feeling down, I’d try to gently tug on his yo-yo’s string just enough to propel his spirits back up. Then, he’d have to do the same for me, and the cycle would continue­­—leaving me a little dizzy as life spun out of control.

As the days have slowly past, our emotional highs and lows have leveled off, never again descending to the lowest of lows. Just like the yo-yo, the earth’s gravitational pull eventually won out, grounding us to face the next challenge.

I think we were both grieving our “old lives,” of only a few weeks ago, which seemed to have vanished in an instant. At times, I’ve felt paralyzed to move forward and accomplish even the smallest task.

Once we got over the shock of something so microscopic, from so far away, having such a devastating effect on the whole world—I got mad. I wasn’t just angry, my heart ached for my kids as news of school closures, and eventually all their activities were stripped away like a Band-Aid ripped off too soon.

I wasn’t sure who or what to be mad at, but I quickly realized I couldn’t stay angry forever—it’s too exhausting! Like many of you, somewhere along the way I settled in, accepting our lives are going to look a little different going forward.

Then, there’s the matter of our kids being at home. All three are older now, and should be at work, in college, or attending high school. Not to mention hanging out with their friends, but they’re not—they’re home.

At first, I grieved for them: all our son with autism’s daily outings and activities, our 20-year-old’s Spring term in college, and our daughter’s high school track season—all canceled. But selfishly, all three being home together is what I’ll miss the most when our communities start opening back up again.

One evening early on, we arranged the chairs in the family room in a quasi-circle and started serving dinner on trays. The relaxed atmosphere has lent itself to a plethora of interesting conversations.

We’ve debated the world’s response to the Coronavirus, how different (or as I argue…similar) the antics on college campuses are today compared to thirty years ago, and critiqued the latest TikTok going viral—laughing so hard, if we could bottle it, we’d make millions.

How does the saying go? Sometimes the little things ARE the big things in life.

So when I listened to Dave and Ashley Willis’ Naked Podcast #81, Rekindling Romance, I realized what has helped me cope the mostit’s all the little things

  • The smell of coffee in the morning
  • Waking up to funny memes and inspiring quotes from friends
  • Listening—really listening to each other
  • Prayer and more prayer, for so many near and far
  • Dusting off my Daily Devotional and actually meditating on its message each morning
  • Patience, and lots of it when one of us is frustrated with challenges out of our control
  • My husband hugging me when I have my little pity parties, while not trying to “fix things for me” in the process
  • Laughing until our sides ache
  • Of course, my husband suggested ‘quickies’ always help
  • Picking up take-out, so no one has to cook
  • Talking with friends on actual voice calls, and joining more on-line gatherings than I ever thought possible
  • Keeping up our exercise routines or at least walking around the neighborhood. In fact, my whole neighborhood seems to be out walking in endless circles

And…

  • If I’m being completely transparent­—yoga pants, mindlessly scrolling TikTok, and a quarantini…or two—have also helped immensely.

So I encourage you to listen to Dave and Ashley Willis’ Naked Podcast #81 (linked here) as they have some great suggestions to not only “rekindle your romance,” but helpful coping strategies as well.

As I write this, some states are slowly relaxing their Shelter-at-Home orders and although the kids aren’t leaving the nest anytime soon, I will be sad to see them (hopefully) go back to school in the fall.

Spending so much time with our kids at this stage in their lives has been one of the unexpected blessings of the pandemic.

When the pandemic hit, I may have let the shock of life shutting down around me affect my mood a little too much, but quickly, both my husband and I realized we needed to pivot and adapt if we were going to come out of this stronger.

My husband and I have survived loved ones lost too soon, serious health scares with family and friends, the dot-com’s bubble bursting, 9/11, challenges in our marriage, the 2008 recession, and we will survive this.

            “The virus can invade our bodies, but we get to decide whether we let it invade our minds.”

Thank you for taking the time to read and I’d love it if you’d comment below, or on Facebook, and share your ideas with readers on how you’ve coped with the threat of the virus and having to stay at home longer than anyone thought possible. —Lisa

**If you’re NOT connected to Facebook and you would like to comment, please do so below the Author’s Bio section.

A day known for love and romance is quickly approaching, and there are A-LOT of expectations wrapped up in just that one gentle rotation of the earth. 

If we buy into all the hype, there are roses to be delivered, perfect gifts to be wrapped, and dinner reservations to be made…weeks in advance. Plus, there’s an overwhelming assortment of cards and candies to choose from, which start filling up store shelves mere moments after the ball drops in Times Square.

Don’t get me wrong, I like Valentine’s Day. I’ve just never felt an overwhelming need to be wined and dined on this one particular day of the year. Even as a kid, I don’t remember it being that big of a deal…

I’m not sure if that incident in grade school has anything to do with it, but if your earliest memory of Valentine’s Day is laughing so hard you pee your pants…February 14th might not be your best day for romance.

Remember those Sweethearts candies, the ones with the cute little sayings like, “Kiss Me” and “You Rock”? Our teacher had the brilliant idea for all of us to read one aloud to the nearest boy if you were a girl or vice versa—one at a time—with everyone focused on you! 

Imagine having to ask the boy who calls you “bigfoot” at recess, if he wants to “Marry Me?” while fifty laughing-eyes stare in a chorus of giggles? 

All I could do was laugh along uncomfortably…unfortunately, I laughed too hard. That’s when it happened, the so-called “Sweetheart incident.”  Trying to keep it on the down-low, I quickly tied my sweatshirt around my waist (hiding my indiscretion), before sneaking out of class as fast as possible. Those chalky heart-shaped candies have haunted me ever since.

I don’t recall all of my Valentine’s Days past, but a few—for better or for worse—are memorable in their own special way…

One year, a boyfriend gave me a dozen red roses, a box of Russell Stover chocolates, and a teddy bear. That teddy bear is one of many reasons said boyfriend is no longer in the picture. 

As we discussed our plans for the big day, I happened to mention how cheesy I thought it was for couples to exchange stuffed animals. So what does the guy do? 

He gets me—wait for it— a teddy bear holding a stuffed version of a Sweetheart candy (best memory ever!) printed with “Be Mine.” It was definitely the beginning of the end for us.

Jumping way ahead in the time machine…

There was this one special Valentine’s Day shortly after we were married when my husband left little love notes all over the bathroom. He then proceeded to send me sweet nothings, via the World-Wide-Web, for the rest of the day. 

Walking in the door that evening, he greeted me with a kiss and a glass of wine as he escorted me upstairs to a warm bubble bath sprinkled with rose petals. I asked him about it as I prepared this article, and he laughed saying, “I must’ve seen it in a movie.” Sadly, no rose petals have ever graced my bubble bath since.

So, you know what I remember most about good ole’ days of Valentine’s Day when the kids were in grade school? Staying up late the night before the class parties to scribble their cute little signatures on each of those 75-plus miniature cards. Then folding those little buggers in half, while trying clip the tiny half-moon into the irritatingly small cut out. (Insert frustrated emoji here!!)

Of course, my kids didn’t want to only give cards, they wanted to give candy too. But, if you opted to include candy, you had to follow the Allergy Guide. “No nuts, remember-not everyone likes chocolate, some kids can only have sugar free, and others are gluten-free… and it went on.” It was SO stressful trying to meet everyone’s dietary needs—for candy!

All kidding aside, my husband and I have always acknowledged Valentine’s Day with each other and the kids in some small way. From love notes to small gifts, but making each other feel loved and appreciated has never been reserved for just February 14th.

What really matters is how we treat each other every day of the year. When we show up as the best version of ourselves for our spouse, our family and our friends, the myriad of ways we experience and express love are pretty extraordinary! 

It’s exactly why I’m a little hesitant to get overly hyped about this one particular day in February—when we ALL already LOVE the special people in our lives—TWO-FOUR-SEVEN-THREE-SIX-FIVE!

So this Valentine’s Day, if you’re stressing about creating the perfect date night or staying up late actually making Valentine’s cards with your kids, try to remember what’s really important about the 14th

It’s just one of many days to count our blessings, and remind our loved ones how fortunate we are to have them in our lives.

Boating in Hawaii

3 Minute Read

So many of you have asked, why did I name this blog—I Do Part Two? 

Why, Part Two? 

Because ‘Part Two’ means something different to each of us, it’s as varied as all of our marriage experiences. I wanted ‘I Do Part Two’ to be a space where readers could relate to different couple’s stories and know they’re not alone.

Plus, don’t we all have those moments we wish someone would’ve stepped in and yelled, “CUT…Take-two!”

Wouldn’t that have been great? Instead of, “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean that…” We keep getting chances to say what we intended to in the first place. No harm, no foul. 

Unfortunately, that’s only in the movies.

Some of you also mentioned, ‘Part Two’ is about getting it right this time, and feeling confident enough to share the best version of yourself with your partner. And for others, ‘Part Two’ means finding love again after a heart-wrenching loss. 

For us, ‘Part Two’ is all about discovering what it’s like to be “almost empty-nesters” as our kids leave for college and beyond. Last time we were alone in the house, everything was new, and it was all so exciting—but we had no clue what we were doing.

Honeymoon 1992

How can we keep that excitement flourishing with more experience, wisdom and a deeper affection for each other than we ever thought possible? Personally, I don’t have the answer to that—I wish I did. But, I do believe we each have something to contribute to this conversation.

Like you, our marriage has it’s own story. I certainly have moments in the last twenty-five-plus years I would love to do over again, but I wouldn’t want a complete do-over.

A do-over might erase some of the best moments of my 27-year marriage to my husband. So, even if it were possible to start over, I wouldn’t want to. We’ve worked too hard to get to this place in our relationship.

Of course, there will always be those moments I wish we’d done it differently…

I would’ve loved it if, in our early years, I hadn’t always been the avoider and my husband the fixer

I wish I’d been naturally gifted with empathy, genuinely able to see through his eyes. Unfortunately, empathy wasn’t a skill I was even aware I was missing—let alone one I desperately needed—until a few years into our marriage.

I also regret not asking my husband for help more often, when the demands of motherhood, laundry, figuring out what to make for dinner every night, and running the kids to all their activities began to overwhelm me.

I wanted my husband to read my mind. I thought he should just know how to help me, but how could he—when I rarely asked. 

So for me, and most definitely for us, ‘Part Two’ is a process of learning from the past, forgiving, and moving forward… 

Instead of fixing and avoiding, we’re really listening to what the other has to say. And more importantly, we’re more aware of how the other is feeling. Even so, we still don’t always get it right. 

Sometimes feelings get hurt… but we’re quicker to mend and more vigilant to repair what we’ve mucked up.

I remember the first marriage counselor (yes, there’s been at least five, but that’s another story…) that introduced the idea of responding to my husband with empathy versus the silent treatment.

Our counselor literally had to role-play how I was supposed to be empathic. I didn’t get it, and it frustrated the hell out of my husband. How could she not get this? Apparently, empathy is learned and I must’ve skipped class that day. 

Our marriage will always be a work-in-process. So when we start to get off track, we have a little phrase we use.  Actually, calling it ‘little’ doesn’t give it the credit it deserves. Many, many times, it’s been our saving grace. It’s only five simple words, but it’s protected us from misunderstandings more times than I can count.  

“May I make a suggestion?” 

It presses the pause button. It asks permission to give advice—you may not like what I’m going to say, but trust me, you need to hear this—it will help us both move forward.

We’ve learned to trust each other, as it’s only spoken with the best intentions.

This season of our lives is also about unwinding old patterns, finding our voices, having fun together, being more intentional, and continuing to learn how to be more empathetic with each other.

We are embracing ‘Part Two.’ I don’t ever recall a time we’ve been more intentional with how we’re showing up for each other and anticipating the other’s needs. We’re excited about the future, and we‘re looking forward to planning more adventures—together.

What will Part Two mean for you? 

*Many thanks to Amy Leimbach, my friend for over 30 years, who thought up the name— I Do Part Two. We’d brainstormed countless duds, epic fails, and domain names that had already been taken. Then, I woke to a text from her in the middle of the night—isn’t that when most women come up with their best ideas? Amy, thank you for your support and creative genius!

3 Minute Read

So apparently it’s a thing now. Like, 25% of married couples are WAAY into it. 

Even my grandparents, who would now be well over a century old if they were still alive, were into it as young as their 40’s.

I remember discovering their little secret as a newlywed, and after the initial shock wore off, thought to myself…that won’t be us; we’ll never do that. 

Well, it turns out my grandparents were ahead of their time, and I’ve to add it to my list of things I swore I’d never do or say, but every so often, ‘find myself doing or saying.’ 

You see, about every 10th night…I retreat to our guestroom to get a good night’s sleep because occasionally he snores, and I apparently purr; either way, it’s keeping us both up at night. 

I hate to admit it, but some nights, I’m downright giddy. 

I bid my husband farewell, stroll down the hall and gently shut the guest room door. Nestling into bed, I fluff the pillows just so and leave the bedside lamp on as long as I want- because I can. 

Once all comfy, I’ll leisurely alternate between listening to a favorite podcast and scrolling through social media until I drift off; with no worries of the blue glow from my iPhone disturbing my husband’s slumber.

After an evening apart, I feel a little bit like we’ve just channeled Queen Elizabeth and her prince as they sauntered out of their separate bedrooms; she in her silk robe and he in his smoking jacket.

Except, in reality, my prince is already sweaty from his early morning workout and my oh-so-not royal self is stumbling around in old pj’s trying to find glasses and coffee…and not necessarily in that order. Romantic, it is not.

I wake up refreshed, yet discontent. For me, there’s something lost when we don’t sleep next to each other; something is missing.

I don’t want to just ‘cuddle’ and go our separate ways

I want to fall asleep next to my husband, reach for his hand to hold in the middle of the night and wake up with him by my side. Sleeping next to each other over the last twenty-seven years has created a bond beyond words, and the less time we sleep near each other, the less emotional intimacy our marriage experiences. 

We spend the majority of our working days apart, and sometimes the only chance we get to reconnect is falling asleep…back-to-back.

So, when the demands of the day overwhelm us, or we’re just a little bit irritated with each other…there is nothing like holding his hand in the middle of the night to melt our frustrations away.  

My intent is not to debate the pros and cons of couples electing to sleep separately, because I know it’s a reality for many couples to get a good night’s rest. I’m simply pointing out that it’s one part of my aging process, I don’t particularly care for and I’m hoping to reverse the course.

Fortunately, we don’t snore every night…yet. 

My grandmother must’ve noticed my surprise all those years ago, because she casually offered, “Honey, your grandad sounds like a freight train, and sometimes a girl just needs a good night’s sleep.”

I pray we have many more decades together, but unlike my grandparents, I don’t want sleeping in separate bedrooms to become more frequent, or even the norm. 

So, I’ve decided to make that appointment I’ve been avoiding; the one with the sleep clinic…

I promise I’ll call…first thing in the morning, just as soon as I get a good night’s sleep.

“In the tapestry of life, we are all connected.”- Unknown

Last weekend I flew from the lush Willamette Valley in Oregon to the arid desert of Tucson, Arizona to witness a longtime friend’s daughter marry her sweetheart.

The outdoor setting was spectacular: a white rose and eucalyptus draped arbor was nestled perfectly under the shade of a decades old Palo Verde, where twenty-two wedding attendants waited cheerfully to welcome the bride down the grassy green aisle on the proud arm of her father; there wasn’t a dry eye to be found.

If that weren’t enough, the rocky Santa Catalina Mountain Range jetted up behind the bride and groom less than a mile from where we were seated to behold this blessed event; it was simply breathtaking.

As the wedding unfolded, even this gorgeous setting was eclipsed by the story their pastor told of all the close familial ties and friendships that have been woven together through the years making this celebration a reality.

Taking us back in time, the charismatic pastor told how as a 6th grader in a new school the bride’s father had befriended him and invited him to sit with his buddies in the cafeteria. 

None of these pubescent boys could’ve imagined the divine intervention taking place at that pint-sized table which ultimately led the father of the bride to meet his wife years later. 

Because it was the pastor who would eventually introduce a cute twenty-something co-worker to his childhood friend, from this union the bride was born.

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As the officiant continued to weave this rich tapestry of relationships, he noted it was only through these longstanding connections that the bride and groom would meet a few years ago in the Windy City, 2,000 miles away from this desert sanctuary.

Scattered amongst the vows and ceremonial traditions was the acknowledgment of all the friends of the bride and groom who have traveled far to support this couple. 

As he spoke on the importance of maintaining these ties, I couldn’t help but think of all the family, friends and the purely divine hand that had helped create and maintain my own marriage over the last twenty-seven years.

The pastor reminded all of us our lives crosses the lives of many others and most significantly it’s entwined with the lives of a special few, those friends and family members who will support and encourage us during the most challenging of times. 

Together, this young couple will begin to weave their own tapestry with a richness of history, familial ties, friendships, triumphs and of course some disappointments, which will only serve to enhance its splendor.

Early morning flight

2 Minute Read

At the airport, very early this morning, I ran into two wonderful couples. 

One on the way to see their daughter play volleyball for her college, and the other taking their son to visit one.

They were excited, expectant and looking forward to a great time together in spite of the ungodly hour.

We had just minutes to exchange pleasantries. 

These are those little moments as a couple, that sometimes get lost in the hustle. Those times when we-are-on-the-same-team.

They’re the kind of moments we’ll reflect on years from now and realize they weren’t so little after all.

The moments we wake up at 4am….and remember we wouldn’t want to run this race with anyone else.

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