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Tonight we put up our Christmas tree, the first Ravella/Gilbert tree. Actually we have two trees. One is artificial. It is perfect. It has p...

Saturday, May 9, 2009


I know it has been a while since we have written on the blog but life has been pretty busy. So many people have encouraged Ginger and me to write a book that we have decided to focus our "extra" time towards that endeavor. Our hope was to have it complete by our move....oh well it was a plan.

Today I'm sitting on our hotel balcony in Phoenix. I took Ginger here for our 1 year anniversary. In some ways it is hard to believe that it has been a year, in other ways it is staggering to think what we did in the last year, hence the title "Crazy."

One year ago I was driving from Phoenix to San Antonio with Ginger the three girls and Ginger's Mom. We set off on the adventure pulling our U-Haul trailer. Our wedding day, May 5th was a good indicator of the craziness of our life at the time. I flew into Phoenix on the 5th. The movers were finishing loading Ginger's stuff and I along with some very good friends loaded the U-Haul and cleaned the house. Yes that was the 5th our wedding day. We told the movers they had to finish by 4 so we could get married at 6! I almost forgot, Ginger and I had to get our marriage license that day as well so we took a break from the packing and cleaning to run to the County offices for our marriage license after lunch. Well we made it by six in time and had a beautifully simple wedding at the Wigwam Resort. The next day we drove to El Paso and were met by 50mph winds and blowing dust. We stayed appropriately at Ft Bliss. The next day we drove the final 10hrs to San Antonio. But along the way the twins had simultaneous diarrhea at a restaurant. It was then that I knew my life had changed! I will forever remember walking up to the restaurant and looking over a fence and seeing Ginger bent over two naked girls her mom running to the bathroom for cups of hot water. Too funny. But that was just the beginning of what was a crazy year. A new home, new schools, and a new family, and during all that Ginger and I were newlyweds.

As I look back on the past year I see the miracle of our life, our love and our family. The other day I looked at Ginger and said, "We were crazy, no wonder people thought that." I said that because I thought of the odds of us making it the last year with smiles on our faces. I thought about all that could have happened and I realized the odds of not just making it one year but the odds of finding each other were staggering. But our marriage is not about odds. The odds were Andrea would have lived. And the odds were Troy would have come home. Odds are for betting or people who seek assurance in this world, they find numbers that attempt to predict the future, or give certainty to the uncertain. Odds do not give us assurance in this life, Christ does. And with Christ all things are possible, even the crazy way Ginger and I got married in what was a whirlwind of change that involved 7 kids as well as Ginger and I.

So as I look back at our first year I see God's amazing grace, and mercy. I see a miracle of our love, and our family. When I look into Ginger's eyes I feel a bond beyond what is humanly possible. We are friends and we are husband and wife, we love each other and we love being together. We both lost amazing spouses and yet we have found another. We agree on so many small things in life and marriage and parenting. Our lives before were similar in many ways it reminds me of God's love and plan for us. I saw Christ in my loss and I saw Christ in Andrea's suffering and I see Christ in my joy. I think we tend allow ourselves to see Christ in someone’s suffering; because who would have chosen pain? Maybe it is pity, or relief that it was not us but I think we tend to view someone’s joy in a different light.

Ginger and I have grown a lot this past year. We are learning how to be someone else's spouse. We have learned, or at least I have, that we may have a few weird quirks that we thought were normal but may not be a normal as I thought. But if I had to pick one thing I have learned, or actually relearned, it is how important communication is. I learned that Andrea and I could and would communicate without many words. You just become so close over 27 years of knowing one another that sometimes words are not necessary and Ginger had the same experience after 14 years of marriage to Troy. But Ginger and I had to learn to communicate in our own unique way. The language we spoke with Troy and Andrea was at times a foreign language in our marriage. We would have a conversation and understand the words but the meaning and expectations were lost in the translation. So we had to go back and learn our own way of communicating. It has not been without our moments but those moments are the beginnings of our life together. We both know that life is not about how you avoid difficulties but how you respond to them.

We continue learning and growing closer and we continue to be humbled by God’s blessings in our life. Now, one year after getting married and moving Ginger and the kids from Phoenix we are getting ready to step over the edge of the boat and move to Florida…yeah, I know it is a little crazy.


  1. Jim, this is why we love you for marrying our Ginger! Your passion for each of your endeavors renders you "highly qualified." Congratulations on your anniversayr & blessing on your next step!

  2. A book is a GREAT idea!! Happy Anniversary to the both of you! Many blessings and prayers for your next move. What part of Florida?

    Jen McDaniel

  3. I love this post--thank you for reminding me to listen to God. We need to turn off our TV and give Him our attention. Happy Anniversary! We are praying for you all and your move.

    Suzanne Wellborn

  4. Please tell us where you're headed in Florida...any chance you'll drive through Tupelo, MS on the move??? We have room for ALL OF YOU, if you need an overnight place to stay.

    Happy Anniversary!

  5. Happy Anniversary to two VERY amazing wonderful people. You both are such an inspiration, THANK YOU!!

  6. it is very hard to believe it has been a year since the diarrhea episode in junction, tx. on the way to SA. jim, thank you for not running away and leaving ging and me and the girls at that barbeque place. i knew it meant something when you stayed around after that. :-) i thank God every day for sending you to our family.....you are exactly what we all needed.
    i love you dearly,
    aka ginger's mom