Our Lifelong Love Affair

You, my dear are a part of me… a wonderful addition to my soul. Together we’re better… somehow more whole.

When we’re apart… the void is immense. The pain at times… entirely too intense.

My heart has been yours since our eyes first met. Summer youth camp 94’… A week I will never forget.

After camp, I officially became your girlfriend… Driving away I knew you were a godsend.

You, my love, stole my heart 24 years ago… The moment you first held my hand… our love began to grow.

In your arms… I felt safe and secure… A once in a lifetime love, many thought premature.

Five months filled with purely innocent passion… The next six years growing in friendship and compassion.

Six years later, standing before God and a crowd… We said “I do!”… A commitment to love for better or worse, in sickness and in health we vowed.

Young and in love… praising our father above.

The preacher said “You may kiss the bride!” Walking down the aisle… my heart filled with pride.

The future before us unknown… Content knowing God was on the throne.

Together we walked hand in hands… giving a whole new meaning to our wedding bands.

18 years of marriage… we’ll soon pass. The kisses we’ve shared exceed a meadow full of grass.

Lives lived in full… Raising four children sure has been a handful.

Together we’re a team… Rearing Godly children is our theme.

Missing you as you travel far… To Korea, China, Croatia, and even Myanmar.

Awaiting your return from every departure… Long hours spent missing my partner.

The time spent apart… Never fails to break my heart.

Missing your presence around the house… Makes me thankful to be your spouse.

Time away from you, my love, is bittersweet… Without you here I feel incomplete.

The distance between us… always leaves me feeling blue. A great reminder of the gift I’ve found in you.

Thank you, darling for loving me so… You, my dear, are my very own Romeo.

Desperately longing for your embrace… Simply longing to see you face-to-face!

I admit I may sound sappy… For in your arms I’m always happy.

I treasure the love we share… Forever grateful for our lifelong love-affair.


Happy 13th Birthday Christopher


I can’t believe 13 years-ago to the day, this wonderful gift joined our family!  None of us knew what we were getting ourselves into, especially his older brother Robby, but Christopher was the perfect addition to our family!  In fact, Christopher and Robby have the most amazing bond and for some crazy odd reason… they get each other!  The two of them laugh at things no-one else can understand and can communicate without speaking a word!  I know that being the oldest middle child out of four children, is certainly not an easy endeavor!  Somehow, you make the best of it!  You never complain, you take the good with the bad, and your growing in gentleness and responsibility everyday.

Over the past several months, we’ve sat back and watched his height grow 4 inches (several inches taller than his momma), cackled as his voice drops, and observed his personality develop into that of a wonderful young man.  Christopher is as funny as a standup comedian, as smart as Einstein… the kid is a perfect mixture of… amazing! To top it off, he’s sensitive and creative to the core.  Everyone who gets to know Christopher, falls in love with him instantly!  He’s amazing with children and special needs kids are his forte!  He never hides away from people who are different, rather he gathers them close and gives them a reason to smile!  The kid is patient, kind, helpful, compassionate, and wonderful!  Christopher, is the kid that always keeps us laughing!  Even during the most intense and stressful settings, he somehow always lightens the mood with his spontaneous humor!  I mean… this kid gets the entire family rolling!  I simply can’t imagine a world without our terrific Christopher… Today, I want to say….

Happy Birthday, Son!  I am proud of the young man your becoming and truly thankful God placed you in our family!   I love being your mother!”

I love you, son!



Well With My Soul


Sitting in front of a warm fire on New Year’s Day 2018, gazing out the window at the afternoon sun, with temperatures below zero throughout the midwest.  I find myself contemplating the events of 2017.  Saying goodbye to the previous year, I am filled with a wide array of emotions!  Over the past year, I lived a full and wonderful life, complete with countless moments of joy, happiness, & peace!  Sadly, 2017 also consisted of abundant grief, sorrow, and pain!  The turmoil surrounding my life included, my mother’s diagnosis & treatment of cancer, my stepfather’s death a month after being diagnosed with cancer throughout his body, my grandmother’s transfer from home to a nursing facility, and my sister’s death.  Throughout the tribulation in my life over the past year, I found solace in my Savior, Jesus Christ!


As I ponder 2017 … One particular hymn resonates with my soul.  The hymn…

{It Is Well With My Soul}.

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.

It is well with my soul,
It is well, it is well with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin—oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!—
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

But, Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul!

And Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

In the midst of the pain, grief, and hardships of 2017…

I was continually reminded that…

  1. I can have peace and joy even when my heart is aching.
  2. I can be content in the midst of sorrow & grief.
  3. I am never alone!  God is always an {ever present help in times of trouble}.
  4. Although Satan may tempt me, I am victorious through Christ’s blood shed for me.
  5. There are always blessings abounding, which help offset the trials & tribulation.  
  6. There is always something to be thankful for!  

One of my very favorite versions of “It is Well With My Soul” is from Audrey Assad… Here’s the link… As you listen ponder the words in your heart and thank God for the good times & the hardships of 2017!  The Christian life requires tribulation for spiritual growth and character building!  The hardships remind us of our desperate need for the Savior!

Romans 5:1-5 “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we[ have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”

2017 was… Well with my soul.

2018 will be… Well with my soul.

It is my prayer that whatever comes my way in 2018… that God would continue building my dependence on Him and His word!  In addition, I pray I will recognize more of the blessings along the way, live more intentionally, and continually give thanks for the goodness in my life!

Thankful for another year to love, learn, & grow…

Blessings, Crystal Ridlon