Yesterday and Always

“A living poem” had always been the words that came
to mind when he tried to describe her to others.”
― Nicholas Sparks, The Notebook

Have you ever felt a long-ago memory made with your loved one is as fresh as yesterday? Do you also struggle with remembering a time when the two of you were not together? When I look across the past 26 years with my “Gracie” (my term of endearment for my wife Diane), it’s difficult to ever remember a time without her. As we celebrate our silver anniversary this week, I’m consumed with memories of the life we’ve shared. It hasn’t always been the smoothest of journeys, yet it’s one I wouldn’t trade for the world.

I’ll always remember the first three words she said to me on a chilly Saturday afternoon, sitting at my computer in a lonely one-bedroom apartment in St. Charles, Illinois. The surprise telephone call several weeks later. I’ll never let her live down her expert parking demonstration on our first date. What began as an exploration of a potential friendship became the plan God had laid out for our lives years before.

Among my most cherished of these memories was the evening she sought a real, lasting relationship with her Creator God by placing her faith in His Son, Jesus Christ. How many years had I prayed she would one day find salvation so we might have eternity together to worship God. I’m not sure who had the bigger smile that night, me, or her. As sanctification goes, most of us find we surrender ourselves to God’s will for our lives in stages. I’m most grateful that “Gracie’s” journey to surrender was easier than my own. To watch her spending what seems like hours each morning pouring through God’s Word, studying the Bible, and observing her silent prayers is a blessing indeed. Seeing her read a devotion, then reach for her Bible and journal to seek a deeper understanding is a source of joy.

We’ve traveled many miles and roads together, and I’m certain there was something gained through each one. As I said in the opening, my memories are as fresh as though they just happened, yet I can scarce remember a time when we weren’t together. When I think about why that is, the only answer that makes sense to me is, like Job, it’s God’s way of redeeming my years.

It’s the same way with my relationship with God. The memory of that fall evening in 1975 seems like it was yesterday. That cold winter weekend when I finally surrendered to God’s work in my life in 1996 is as fresh as the day it happened. I must think hard to remember who I was before answering God’s call.

When you become a new creation in Christ, you recognize how He was always there, waiting for you. #AlwaysPresent #NeverApart Share on X

When I think of my life as a child of God and my living out this life as Ms. Diane’s husband and companion, two verses come to mind. I think of the timelessness of God, as Moses described in Psalm 90:4, and how my wife and I will experience that one day soon. I’m also reminded of the words in 1 John 4:16 that tell us, “God is love…”. It is His love that flows through our hearts; and it is His perfect love that enables us to journey through this life together.

It is understanding how God’s love is timeless that I recognize why I penned the words to a poem I shared with my one-day wife not long after we met. As we celebrate 25 years together, we share them with you.

God’s blessings and prayers for a New Year filled with joy, peace, and love,


God’s Gift

Throughout my life, I’ve had a dream,
Of peace, and joy, and love.
I’ve searched and prayed for many years,
For that gift from God above.

I dreamt of a girl, without her name,
Not knowing who or where.
I knew her only by her smile,
Her eyes and loving stare.

Her loving ways, her caring soul,
In my dreams there I could see.
There existed, in this world,
That one true love for me.

As she stood there before me,
I gazed upon in awe.
For I knew that very instant,
My prayer’s answer was what I saw.

As I stand beside her,
I find such repose.
Do you think she feels the same as I,
Do you think somehow she knows.

I know for I have held her,
My dreams they have come true.
For through my journey, and all my wait,
I’ve found God’s gift in you.

Jdw 4/97

70 thoughts on “Yesterday and Always”

  1. What a beautiful tribute to “Miss” Diane, to your marriage and to God! I pray for you both to have many more years of happiness!

  2. I can’t help but be “”Tickled Pink” from reading this sweet post about your love for Mz. Diane. What a wonderful life you’ve shared together! Here’s to many more!

    1. Like to think we’re both blessed with each other, but I’m certain I’m the more blessed of the two. A dear friend reminded me the other day that “I out-punted my coverage”, that “I was boxing way above my weight class”, and that “He’s didn’t know Volkswagens and Ferrari’s could co-exist so well”. Given her maiden name is Mosconi, we both know who the VW is. LOL Thank you for your sweet words and wishes Ms. Tammy.

  3. That is so beautiful!! God richly bless you both and I wish you a Happy 25th Anniversary and many more together. I can definitely relate to much of what you share. I honestly did not think marriage and children was ever going to happen for me and as soon as I made my peace with that, God brought my husband to me. I never thought I’d forget what it felt like before I was married but honestly being married more than half my life in 2023, I can’t remember and I’m happy God has redeemed the time.

    1. I hear ya Ms. Ann. After my first marriage had ended, I had no desire to marry again (way too painful and way too much anguish). It was after I fully surrendered to God that He brought Ms. Diane into my life. I thought He had marked her for me in answer to my boyhood prayers, but He had to wait until both of us were ready to be the helpmates and partners we each deserved. I’ll remember how nearly the first year we were together were spent sitting on a sofa discussing what we would and would not accept in life. We would talk until late at night, and she would finally tell me it was time for me to go home. With time, I learned I could trust another person. I pray Ms. Diane learned what God knew she needed too.

  4. Beautiful. And the two of you look so good together! Your love reminds me of my mom and dad. They were so cute together. If there was a giant sofa, they were cuddled up on one corner together. Mama passed first, 6 months after their 62nd anniversary.

    1. Aww shucks. Where do I send that check again? Whenever I see that photo, I always exclaim, “See! I had hair once upon a time.” Although, another memory was how, when on our honeymoon in Cancun, I awoke from a nap in the beach chair with something cold being patted on the back of my head. My darling new wife smiled sweetly as she told me, “I didn’t want your head to get sunburned” as she dabbed sunscreen all over my growing baldspot. 😀

  5. Happy anniversary! I enjoyed hearing you you and Mrs. Diane met and how she came to know the Lord. What a sweet poem. My husband and I just celebrated our 43rd anniversary last week. In some ways it seems like we’ve always known each other and been together–in other ways, it seems like it was only yesterday we met.

  6. I must confess, J.D., it’s hard to keep the eyes dry as I look across the room at my own Mrs. Diane and read this touching and inspiring testimony. It’s not only hard for me to imagine life without her, it’s also hard to imagine life without someone to share the love God gave us. When I see the multitudes of young people who are shunning marriage these days, and whose relationships are reduced to some kind of sexual “hook-up” it grieves my heart for what they are sacrificing on the devil’s altar of immediate gratification. Jesus warned of the thieves who only come to steal, kill, and destroy and it seems like wholesale larceny is going on everywhere. In many of our inner cities looting seems to have become the great American pastime. But the thieves breaking into stores can’t hold a candle to what the devil’s snatch and grab attacks make off with. He breaks into hearts and minds and steals things like joy, and hope. He assassinates any semblance of faith and genuine love and kills millions of the unwanted babies that result from his toxic counterfeits. Finally he destroys avenues that could result in access to the Truth that could set his victims free.
    In spite of all that, my Mrs. Diane join you and yours in celebrating the years of love and joy that God has granted you and pray that many, many more are waiting in the wings. When Jesus offered us life characterized by abundance, He wasn’t talking about our bank accounts. He was talking about things so overflowing that our hearts can’t possibly contain it all. God bless your for helping us leap clean past New Year’s Day and land squarely on Valentine’s Day–pretty cool experience. 🙂

    1. I’m right there with you Mr. Ron. Satan has done a masterful job of deceiving the world; to the point, that many even deny the existence of God, which is something I could have never imagined I would see. In my youth, I regret to say I had my share of what the kids today call “Hook Ups” and times pursuing “another notch”. How I lament those times I wasted pursuing momentary worldly pleasures. If only young people today could feel what it’s like to have a love one extend their hand to touch yours. To hear them exclaim how “full” they are so you can eat the last pork chop, etc. If they could understand what it’s like to kneel beside a hospital bed and pray until you can’t stand as you ask God to heal your soulmate, your friend, your world. If they could feel the emotion that pours through when you wake up from heart surgery and find their head laying in the crook of your arm, realizing they spent the night in a hard chair next to your bedside. That, my friend, as you well know, is What Love Does. It’s the inexpressible, immeasurable love of God that spurs us on to heights we could never achieve on our own. If we could only show God, and His love, more in this world, Satan wouldn’t stand a chance.

  7. What a touching and heartfelt poem, J. D.! It truly captures that unmistakable sense of God’s presence cementing a life-long relationship. I’m sure Ms. Diane knows how blessed she is!
    Happy Anniversary to you both!

  8. I too have a 25 year history with you and Diane. I was there from the beginning when she introduced me to you. I saw the love develop right up to the marriage that bonded two people into one. I knew my little girl would be loved, protected and happy. HAPPY ANNIVERSARY. Love, Dad

    1. Thanks Dad. You sure have been with us sir, all along the way. I’ll always recall when you and Ms. Emma (Mom) met me. Of course, I’ll remember “Fred’s Wagon” (the “Red Dragon” restaurant in Elmhurst) too. We all had the biggest laugh out of my mis-hearing.

  9. Kathy Collard Miller

    Happy Anniversary to you and “Gracie.” What a beautiful testimony of your faithful love which represents God’s kind of faithful love for us.

  10. Happy Anniversary, thanks for your beautiful story and poem. May God’s love always be with you both, and many more blessed and loving anniversaries to come.

    1. Thank you Ms. Joyce. I’m looking forward to them. Received the sweetest card from Ms. Jan yesterday. Not sure what we ever did to deserve such a friend, but we sure thank God for your sweet sister. You two are so much alike.

  11. Awww, I loved reliving those cherished memories with you. How blessed you are to find such a treasure in Diane. I am certain she feels the same way about you. Yes, it is wonderful to celebrate anniversaries of marriage, but I am touched how you also celebrate your anniversary of salvation. God gave us these great moments on earth to share with one another and to live life together. He is a loving God indeed. May your special day with Diane be full of joy and happiness.

    1. Thank you Ms. Karen. He is absolutely a loving God, and I’ve learned that He loves giving wonderful gifts to us in the form of blessings. It’s been amazing to see how He has used the blessing of my wife to teach me so many of His precepts. I so appreciate how He brings His master plan for us together through others, whether they recognize it or not.

  12. This is why we prayed for our granddaughters as they were growing up, for their search for a lifetime mate, and also for that mate, that his parents would raise him in the “nurture and admonition” of the Lord, so they would become godly husbands.
    Blessings on you and Dianne. May you together magnify and glorify the Lord God.

    1. Thank you Ms. Jackie. Praying that all your grands find a godly helpmate to share life together. I can’t say that Ms. Diane and I were always that, but as we surrender more of our lives to God and His will for our lives, I find we are becoming closer and stronger together, in His will.

  13. JD, What a beautiful tribute to Diane and to godly marriage! I absolutely love this post.
    I pray blessings for many, many more years together serving God.

    Happy belated anniversary, JD and Diane!

    1. Right back at cha Ms. Becky. When I think back at your health journey of the past couple of years, and look at how your Mr. Scott stood by you, and often lifted you up when you didn’t feel you could stand before God by yourself, it reminded me of the kind of husband I desire to be. You got one of the good ones my friend.

  14. Wishing you and your lovely bride a very happy anniversary! Isn’t it amazing how God brings the right people together. You and Ms. Diane are truly blessed in your lives together. I love the poem—how romantic and loving! Enjoy your celebration.

    1. Thank you Ms. Karen. I don’t see myself as having a romantic bone in my body ma’am, but maybe Ms. Diane saw something in me that I can’t. Thank you for your kind words sweet sister. We are both so blessed by your friendship and fellowship.

  15. What a wonderful way to celebrate your anniversary with words and an endearing poem. Thanks for sharing that ongoing memory with us. May God bless you with many more years together.

  16. What a lovely poem and tribute to God’s grace toward you in giving you a spouse to love for so many years. Happy anniversary to you both, and may God bless you with many more years together!

    1. Thank you Ms. Nancy. We enjoyed a nice, quiet CHRISTmas at home, and expect much the same for New Year’s. With our 25th on New Year’s Eve, we’re looking forward to the traditional chilled shrimp appetizer, slow-roasted Prime Rib dinner, with salt-encrusted baked potatoes, and a nice salad.

  17. Happy anniversary to you both. I loved the poem because it sums up how much God gives us when we trust in Him. I pray you have many more good years together. God bless you both

    1. So glad you enjoyed Ms. Yvonne. Exactly my thoughts when I penned it all those years ago. If I had only known what He had waiting for me, I wouldn’t have struggled for so long. Then again, I recognize now how God used my struggles to prepare me to help others in their walk with Christ. Had I not gone through those things, thing I would not have any authenticity or trustworthiness to help another. Having “walked a mile in their shoes” gives me a testimony that others struggling can often relate to.

    1. Thank you Ms.Joanna. Mr. Diane and I often comment to one another, as we’re so different (she’s a city-girl from Chicago and I’m a Bubba from down south) that only God could have made this pairing work.

  18. Such sweet words and stories of you and your Gracie! And I love the photo of you two. I always enjoy your stories and analogies on the ranch, but this is another endearing part of your blog. The poem is powerful in thought and words. Happy New Year to you and ms. Diane.

    1. Aww… Thank you Ms. Karen. Betting you and Pastor Mike have an even better story to share. That photo was at the dinner that evening after our wedding. It was a Ki’s Restaurant in Glendale Heights, IL. It’s where I learned that if folks clink their glass with a butter knife, the bride and groom have to kiss one another. I like that northern tradition. LOL

  19. J.D., thank you for sharing your heart in such a precious and meaningful way.
    I so love your description that your relationship with Diane is “God’s way of redeeming my years.”
    What a glorious testimony of how our Heavenly Father wants to care for us and give is abundant life.
    I was blessed by reading this.

    1. Thank you Ms. Connie. As you and Mr. Guy visited us here at the Cross-Dubya, and we’d love to one day return the visit to your little slice of heaven, you can see how well “opposites attract” in our case. 🙂 Thank you again for your kind words ma’am. God’s blessings in the new year.

  20. Thank you for sharing your beautiful love story, both your and Diane’s story and the love our Savior has for you and each of us. You’ve sent me joy and tears today. I’m so glad you both are feeling better and could celebrate your anniversary in this season of love, at Christmas. Wishing you a healthy, happy, and blessed 2023 and many more anniversaries with your sweet bride.

    1. Oh, how your kind words have humbled me this morning dear sister-in-Christ. When I think of you, “Farmer Bob”, the life journey you two shared together, and the journey you are continuing on now; to know you make time to read and offer such encouraging words, I pray God re-makes me to be the man you think I am and the man Ms. Diane deserves. God’s blessings sweet friend, and thank you for the well wishes. We’re glad we’re feeling better too.

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