A Memorable Day

Greg and Wendy Asimakoupoulos’ wedding day

May 29, 1982

‘Twas a Memorial Day of another kind.
Two love birds (with one single mind)
joined hands before a crowded church
exchanging vows and rings.

In a ruffled shirt and lacy dress,
we faced the pastor and confessed
that we would love through thick and thin.
And by God’s grace we have.

Becoming Like Children

This is a photo of Greg Asimakoupoulos
sitting at his pastor-father’s typewriter

“Become like children,” Jesus said.
“Remember who you were.
Wide-eyed with wonder, innocent and shy.
Acknowledging dependence
on that Someone whom you trust.
Accepting more than always asking “why?”

Childlike-faith is what we’re called to.
Resting in our Father’s arms.
Trusting in His vantage point that we can’t see.
Making peace with limitations,
while believing dreams come true
and believing I am loved for being me.

With their arms upraised, small children
reach for Someone whom they love.
Hands aimed Heavenward 
convey what’s deep inside.
Unconditional affection,
longing to be cradled tight
in those strong inviting arms that beckon wide.

There are shadows on life’s highway
that we just cannot avoid.
Unexpected times of darkness hide the sun.
Death and illness. Loss and sorrow.
Doubts that linger through the night.
And those nagging fears that question what’s to come.

Still the shadows offer contrast,
give perspective. They provide
a point of reference for God’s faithfulness.
In the shadows we are privy
to the promises of grace
that remind us God is with us in our stress.

The poem above is included in this book:

Greg’s book,
When God Speaks
is listed on the
BOOKS menu
at $14.99 from
Lulu Books.

Others Day

Is it time for Others Day?

We set aside a day each May
to honor dear old mom.
To let her know how much she’s loved
before she’s dead and gone.

We do the same each year in June
to tell our dads they’re great.
To grill a brat and drink a beer
and just plain celebrate.

Just recently it dawned on me
we need a holiday
to honor others in our lives
for what they do and say.

I’m thinking of the guys at work,
my neighbors, merchants too.
Baristas, mailmen, waitresses,
the one who heels my shoe.

Toll takers, teachers, dry cleaners,
a pastor, rabbi, priest,
those hospice workers, gardeners,
the not-well-known. The least.

You catch my drift. I’m thinking of
those people in our lives
who ease the burden of each day
who seldom get a prize.

They need to know we value them.
I think I have a way.
Why not a Sunday once a year
that’s known as Others Day?

Two Mothers Named Elsie

The poet’s favorite table game illustrates the content of this post

As we observe Mother’s Day once again this year, I’m mindful of a mother by the name of Elsie. That was the name her parents chose when she was born ninety-six years ago.

Barely five feet tall, Elsie was a giant in the lives of her two sons. She embraced motherhood with tiptoe enthusiasm. Her creative flair and hands-on joie de vivre left her mark on her family and all who knew her. Having had an amazing mother herself, this mom took her cues from one who had quit school in third grade to help care for her eleven younger siblings on a farm in Kitsap County.

Elsie’s mother had taught herself how to play the guitar, piano and harmonica. She was a gifted artist and vocalist. She modeled compassion and nurture. She guided her three children in the ways of the Lord. Since Elsie was her youngest, the baby of the brood was the recipient of her mother’s focused attention.

As she entered adolescence, Elsie resisted being called by the name her parents chose for her. That was about the time that the mascot of Borden Milk Company was a cow by the name of Elsie. For a petite pretty blonde to be called by a bovine’s name was “udderly” embarrassing.  So, when she entered high school Elsie began to go by her middle name.

Following college, Elsie met a young Greek American who was the pastor of a small church in the panhandle of Idaho. After a dozen dates, they became engaged and were married in January of 1951. She became a mom fifteen months later.    

And then there was another mother by the name of Elsie. This Elsie became a mother in 1931. Unlike the other Elsie, this Elsie did not have the godly example of a nurturing parent. Longing for love, she found herself in the unenviable situation of being pregnant without the benefit of being married.

As a nineteen-year-old, Elsie chose not to abort the child within her. Valuing the miniature life she was carrying, she gave birth to a baby boy. She attempted to keep her son, but soon discovered the demands of caring for the child on her own were beyond her ability. Elsie made the courageous decision to give up her little one to the Children’s Aid Society of Vancouver when the boy (whom she named Hugh) was only six months old.

Elsie never saw her baby again. While she would eventually marry and have three other children, she died without knowledge of what had become of her firstborn. While she assumed her son would be adopted, she could never have imagined the life he would lead.

Following his education and beginning a career track with a major department store chain, Elsie’s son married and began a family of his own. A call to cross-cultural missions found the young husband and father living in Mexico City where he discovered his abilities as a writer.

Fifty books (and countless magazine articles) later, Elsie’s son, now ninety-two lives in Southern California with his wife of seventy-two years. He has recently written his memoir in which he includes a letter he wrote to a mother he never knew.  

This man has shared with me the angst with which he has lived having been denied a relationship with his birth mom. After all, I married his firstborn daughter.

And in case you’re wondering, I knew the first Elsie mentioned in this story as well. The middle name by which she chose to go by was Star. And she was the guiding star of my life from the time she gave me birth seventy-one years ago until she died four years ago.

A Crown Awaits!

King Charles coronation calls attention to the crown that awaits all Christians

A crown awaits for England’s king
as church bells peal and choirs sing
their anthems asking God to save
this one who mounts the throne.

This treasured crown bedecked with gems
will rest upon the head of him
who waited patiently in line
until it was his turn.

But there’s another crown we’re told,
a wreath of beauty made of gold
that’s promised all who persevere
who run the race of faith.

This crown of righteousness awaits
that’s marked by grace. As St. Paul states
our royal status is derived
by being clothed in Christ.