The celebration

Jeff and I celebrated our 20th anniversary by cruising Alaska with our sons in June 2000.

Jeff and I celebrated our 20th anniversary by cruising Alaska with our sons in June 2000.

“A wedding anniversary is the celebration of love, trust, partnership, tolerance and tenacity.  The order varies for any given year.”Paul Sweeney

This month, Jeff and I celebrate our 33rd wedding anniversary.  Without question the past year has been the most difficult and challenging time we have ever faced together, but the “together” part made it easier to bear.

Jeff and I both like Sweeney’s quote, and feel it’s an apt description of marriage.  However, we cannot define what the “varied order” of these traits has been for us during the past year.  We have needed an abundance of all five, and not just for each other, but also for the many people who have been part of our lives before and after Jeff’s diagnosis.  As we continue to pray for many more years together, we will rely on each of these qualities to navigate the uncertain road that lies ahead of us.

The past year has taught us the true meaning of the vows we took 33 years ago “for better or worse.”  We are thankful that the worse is made better when endured with determination to live out the qualities Sweeney mentions.

June has long been a popular time for weddings, so perhaps many readers of this blog will be celebrating an anniversary this month.  If so, congratulations!  May you be blessed with many more happy milestones.  But keep in mind that the qualities Sweeney lists are helpful for everyone, in all types of situations, not just in marriage.  Love, trust, partnership, tolerance and tenacity — in varying order of importance, depending on the circumstances — are a good foundation for any life.  I wish you the best of each!

This post was first published seven years ago today. The original post, comments and photo are linked, along with two other related posts, below. These links to related posts, and their thumbnail photos, do not appear in the blog feed; they are only visible when viewing the individual posts by clicking on each one. I have no idea why, nor do I know how they choose the related posts. That’s just the way WordPress does things.


  1. Judy from Pennsylvania

    Julia, you still look as young and pretty as you do in this photo taken 20 years ago. Your cruise to Alaska must have been fun for not just you and Jeff but for the boys too! Although Jeff is not here with you now in physical form, I’m sure you’re quietly celebrating the 40th anniversary of your wedding day and all the happy times together. If life had not been so tragically interrupted, and if you could have made plans to do something together for this anniversary, what do you think you might have planned? Would he have liked a cruise or another kind of trip, or just going out for a special dinner with you? You both look so happy in the photo that someone took of you and Jeff on the ship.

    Sending you a hug.

    • WOW Judy, that’s quite a compliment, considering it comes from someone who has actually seen me in person 😀 . Photos can be carefully selected to include only the most flattering, but there’s not much one can do with face-to-face time spent with someone…so I appreciate your kind words all the more. Thanks for being aware (as no one else has noted, as far as I know) that this would have been our 40th wedding anniversary. Jeff loved cruising as much as I did, so perhaps we would be cruising the British Isles, as we had always hoped to do. Or maybe visiting some of the National Parks in Utah, Wyoming, or Idaho, as we had hoped to do. Or leasing an oceanfront house in Maine, or Santa Barbara, or the Outer Banks. On and on I could go. Or as another poem fragment says, “Of all the words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these: it might have been…” Drew took that photo of us– I’m glad you like it! I remember I wasn’t particularly happy the photo at the time, but my how our perceptions change! Thanks for being here with me. And for the hug. Sending one right back to you! ❤

  2. Good morning, Julia!
    What a lovely photo of the two of you!
    Good observation by Sweeney.
    Your hair looks quite well managed in this photo, and I’d assume there was at least a light breeze?
    I wear my hair up almost continually nowadays, as I think you do, too. A couple of days ago I noticed after showering that my hair has gotten quite long! It reaches a point where it’s difficult to put up, and now I sleep in curlers after showering, just to give it enough body and texture for the clips to hold it up! How is your hair faring the coronavirus? How are you??

    • “Well managed” is a term that nobody has ever applied to my hair, let alone the “quite.” It must have been a lucky photo, because yes, there is always at least a little bit of a breeze near the rail of a ship. I’d guess my hair stays up about 99.5% of the time, including while I sleep. I was VERY happy recently to be able to get a good haircut. For the first time in over 3 years, I think. WOW! I’m doing pretty well, despite the world at large seemingly NOT doing very well. How about you?

      • Hi Julia,
        Im doing moderately well. Moroccan oil has saved my damaged hair ends, as I haven’t had a haircut in at least a year. So, I wear my hair up all day. I’ve never been one to run regularly to a salon, so I’m happy to wait a few more months.
        Fitness is my new challenge, as I still am not comfortable going out for a walk alone. I probably need to just do it repeatedly until I am comfortable. I finished sewing another mask for myself yesterday.

        • Susan, are you worried about COVID, or just about walking alone? When Jeff first died, I was afraid to walk because I knew there would be no one to check on me if something happened and I did not get back home. That was maybe just an excuse, but it was years (as you know) before I started walking again. It’s hard to get back into the habit after stopping for any length of time. I had to get over my fear of going out for a walk without letting anyone know I was doing it. I stay on well-traveled paths and trust in someone to find me if I fall, get sick etc. Sadly, I never walk the lovely fitness trails all around my home unless someone is with me — it’s too isolated for me to feel free to walk those by myself.

          • Hi Julia!
            I had to ask myself what exactly made me nervous about the whole endeavor and I think it’s that I expect to be harassed for having a face mask. That’s happened to a couple of people I know, and I find it to be such a foreign perspective (outwardly critical of people trying to be safe) that in not entirely sure how to handle such a situation. People like that scare me.
            But now I’ve been out a few times, and I only pull my mask on if I’ll be in closer proximity to (like passing) someone. So far, no one has heckled me, but also no one else in my neighborhood has ever even had a mask visibly in their person. I think there’s huge pressure to behave as if we don’t “believe in” the existence or danger of this virus.

            • WOW, that’s a switch from what I’ve heard and experienced. Here, it seems to be skewed in the other direction– outright hostility to anyone NOT wearing a mask. But like you, I have not personally experienced such. When contractors or guests come to my home, whether or not they are wearing a mask, I always ask if they’d like for me to put one on. So far, the answer is always no. But I definitely have no fear of being heckled for wearing or not wearing one. Generally, I assume respectful behavior by most people, and generally, that’s what I experience. Even at the peace walk in my neighborhood, there were those wearing masks and those not; those distancing, and those not. As far as I know, nobody heckled anybody despite their having been a request for all participants to wear masks. I guess a peace march is (or should be) an inherently peaceful crowd!

  3. Chris

    What a great photo of Jeff and you! I, too, like the quote. Even through the passage of time, those traits remain pertinent; not only in marriage, but in life in general. Hope you’re having a good week!

    • Yes, if only we could somehow convince the whole world (and ourselves) to adopt these traits! It might solve a lot of problems. This has been a HOT week but today it’s cooler. Matt and I enjoyed our morning walk. Happy weekend!

  4. Susan

    What a lovely, special picture. I’m so sorry you didn’t have more anniversaries together. I hope these memories of how much you and Jeff did together are comforting, despite being bittersweet.

    • Yes, the memories are a comfort. Less bitter and more sweet, as time goes by. Thanks for caring. ❤

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