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“An Unlikely Match becomes the Perfect Catch” by Sharon L. Patterson Tags: An Unlikely Match becomes the Perfect Catch by Sharon L. Patterson Sharon Patterson

Have you heard…Coach P is dating the French teacher?”  That was the scuttlebutt going around the high school where we both taught. I guess, in a way, you could say we had quite a crowd watching the development of our dating relationship in the spring of 1981. There was no Facebook or You-Tube, but there were 2300 sets of eyes on us five days a week that semester.

What an unlikely match we were. He loved the outdoors and camping as well as coaching football and track. His attire included coaching shorts and tennis shoes. He loved math and science.

I, on the other hand, loved fashion and beautiful clothes, trips that included the beautiful outdoors as seen from the window of a lovely air-conditioned hotel room. I loved French cuisine, music and languages.

The French teacher and Coach P?  Would such an unlikely match make it past that spring?  Was it simply a wonderful time of the year when match-making becomes the prime goal of teacher friends who thought these two single parents should be introduced? Were we only a source of great student gossip?

Thirty-two years later, what began as an unlikely match turned out to be the perfect catch for both Coach P and the French teacher.

We continued to be the hottest love story on campus through the fall semester. Everyone grew accustomed to seeing “us” which included my two small sons and his boy at football games and track meets.

In between late-night track meets and football practice, a summer trip to France with my students, Coach P and I would talk on the phone till late in the night, get up and teach the following day. We discussed everything we could possibly think of. That is, except for one thing that nearly caused a final chapter in our love story.

It happened the afternoon we went to apply for our marriage license. We were filling out the requested information. I looked over at his form and noticed the date he put down as his birthday.

“Honey,” I said, “You put down the wrong year you were born!” He looked at me, by now used to my very honest opinions and replied, “Sweetheart, I think I know the year I was born!”

“But…that means I am three years older than you!.”

“So, what difference does that make?”

“Well, that means I am marrying a younger man…I just don’t know about that,” I said. I could not believe that in all our months of dating, through hours and hours of learning about one another, that had escaped us.  Thankfully, his persuasion that it made no difference to him was enough to convince me to make the right decision.

We married December 12th.  We had many witnesses. The story and the school room gossip faded from popularity. “Us” now includes our boys, a daughter-in-law, four grandsons, and one granddaughter as well as thirty-five years of stories and history. The unlikely match remains the perfect catch to this day.

 

Sharon Patterson, retired educator, career military wife, and leader in women’s ministry, has written inspirational encouragement in various forms from greeting cards to short stories, poetry, and Bible studies for over thirty years. She has authored three books, and is a contributing author for several of the Chicken Soup for the Soul books. She and her husband Garry live in Round Rock, Texas. They have three sons and five grandchildren.

Talent vs. Skill
Category: Member Blogs

Talent vs. Skill

 
My husband is a natural-born chef. Remember Remy the rat in the movieRatatouille? The rat is my husband. This is a man that can make tire rubber taste good. I'm not kidding.

I, however, am not a natural-born chef. I'm a pretty good cook though. The differences between my skills and his abilities almost put a wedge between us because I, the homemaker, was also the main meal-maker in the house- and it galled me every time he came home and 'tweaked' my dinner as I prepared it.

Every. Single. Time.

He'd come home and taste my soups, then add a little of this or that. The problem was he'd never tell me what he'd added, and what he did always improved the dish quite a bit. It drove me crazy- and I'll be honest here- it made me feel like I wasn't good enough.

It was even worse when he tried to teach me.

Not only was I an unwilling student, he was not a natural-born teacher. Arguments would ensue and feelings were hurt, and at one point I stopped cooking altogether. Why bother, when he was just going to 'fix' it anyway?

This was getting us nowhere. Pride was getting in the way, as was stubbornness- on both our parts. Pride goeth before a fall, and we were cannon-balling ourselves right into the chicken soup stock.

Then God intervened.
We began talking with each other and praying together about the situation. 

I have a talent for teaching. Not a great one, but enough to help my husband understand how to teach me to cook. I had to put my hurt pride aside and reallywatch what he was doing (especially because he doesn't measure!), then when I gained confidence, I tried my own tweaks before he came home.

Eventually I learned to ask him for help when the flavor wasn't what I wanted. Oh, that was so hard to do! But the soup wouldn't get eaten if it didn't taste right, and my hatred of food waste was greater than my pride, so I asked- then paid close attention when he showed me what to add.

Miracles of miracles, sometimes I got it just right. I knew I'd done a good job when he went back for seconds!

Eventually I learned enough that he didn't have to tweak things as often, and I had no problem asking him for help if it needed tweaking. We've learned what our talents are in the kitchen, and have taught each other what skills we could. I'm still a better bread maker and candy creator than he is, and he does soup and desserts like nobodies business. He's still learning my pie crust rolling skills- he still has trouble getting a rounded, even crust, but he's getting better with practice. 

We can even joke with each other when cooking now!

It's so easy to envy others their talents. I know I'll never be a great chef, and I've accepted that now. God showed me that not everyone will be good at everything,and that's okay
God wants me to be a writer, not a famous chef- He's given the 'cheffing' talent to my husband. And my husband knows that whenever he creates a talk for his Men's Fellowship group, he can always come to me for editing and rewrites!

It took us a long time to get to this point. It wasn't easy! Prayer, a humbling of our hearts, and a willingness to learn helped us to be a better team in the kitchen- and outside of it. 

Discover your talents through prayer. Learn what skills you can, and understand that not everyone can be the best at everything. Talent (or natural ability) is not the same as a skill- don't envy someone else for their gift! God has enough for us to do without envy getting in the way. 

Be the awesome you that you are, and let His light shine through your talents!
The rich Mans Reflection
Category: Member Blogs

The Rich Mans Reflections

 
There once was a very rich man who stored his hoarded gold in sacks. He enjoyed looking at his gold, but found the sacks cumbersome. He sought a builder to make him a secure storage room.

Many builders came, hoping for the favor of the rich man, but none shared his vision for the storage room. Then one builder got his attention.
"Sir, I can not only build you a fantastic room, it will magically increase your fortune tenfold!"
The rich man didn't believe him at first, but since he was also a greedy man, it didn't take long for him to be convinced. "Build the room first, and then if it's true, I will give you all of the gold I have now." 
Elated, the builder agreed and went to work.

A few days later, the builder returned. " I'm finished Sir! The gold is securely inside. Would you like to see it?"
"Yes!" the rich man said, following the builder to his new treasure room.
The builder gave him the keys to the lock, and when the rich man opened the door, the room shone with ten times the gold he'd had! "This is wonderful! The rich man exclaimed. "You may take the amount I used to have- my servants will count the coins as you take them out. Excited, he went to tell his friends of his newly found fortune.

When he returned with his friends, the builder had long gone with his carefully counted share. The rich man unlocked the door and flung it open to show his friends...an empty room! "What is this?!?" The no-longer-rich man exclaimed. "The room was ten times full of the gold he took!"

One of his friends tossed a single gold coin into the room, and the carefully placed mirrors reflected ten coins after it landed. "Alas my friend, those who seek quick and easy riches wind up with empty pockets!"

There are a few lessons in my story. 

One, the rich man wasn't happy with what he had. We've all been there, me included! But God tells us to be content with the blessings we receive. Sometimes we just lose track and start focusing on what everyone else has instead of the blessings we have. The best way to conquer this is to thank God each day for the big and little things He gives us- no matter how small!

Two, get-anything-quick schemes rarely (if ever) work. You need to invest time in your treasures, whether they be money, relationships, raising children, or building a career. Time is needed to learn, build skill, and know the ropes in order to be successful- no matter whether you're a CEO or a stay-at-home mom.

Three, be careful what you promise. If it seems too good to be true, don't make promises. If you say you'll do something, do it. Pray for wisdom to know when and where to make promises, otherwise you might be taken advantage of- or be so overwhelmed fulfilling promises you miss God's call!

Be grateful. Share what you have. Keep your promises. Be wise. These are all things that make Gods smile! What are you thankful for today?
Valentine Blessings
Category: Member Blogs
Tags: Ruby for Women Valentine Blessing Blog Valentines Day

Valentine Blessings

 

Blessings on Valentines Day

are being sent your way;

with a bouquet of flowers

and a box of chocolates.

 

As you enjoy this day think,

about how much of a blessing

it is to Love, Cherish, and think

while you are believing.

 

With that kind of charisma

brings in good love karma

to you and the ones you love

from the lord up above.

 

By Sharmelle Olson

2017

 

A brief note… This poem has been published in the

February 2017 Ruby for Women Magazine.

ST. PATRICK DAY ANGEL
Category: Member Blogs

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