My Wedding Day Planning

Maybe this post should be titled “How Not To Plan Your Wedding.” As Jane Eyre cried “Gentle reader, may you never feel what I felt then”  It was an excruciatingly, emotional, anxiety filled season. Que exagerada verdad? Little did I know that that was easy-peasy, compared to the weddings out there in the big wide world beyond my life. After assisting a daughter, and a daughter in law in their preparations, I can see that I barely scratched the surface of all the complex wedding planning details that are out there.

The days after I was engaged to my cold blooded Englishman I didn’t even think about the wedding, I thought about my flaco, he was gone on Westpac and I was sad and lonely, pobrecita noviecita. I wasn’t a child bride, but I certainly felt like a little girl who had lost her favorite teddy bear.  I stared at my engagement ring and wondered if I really would be married to Benjamin Walter one day. In front of the mirror I sounded out what would be my married name, Rosalba Greene. That sounded weird. I think it was supposed to be Rosalba Zepeda Greene. Hmmm? Would I ever get used to this new name?

My days were busy with work and church, still no planning. Some of the families at church might have been feeling sorry for me because I was getting many dinner invites and I was truly appreciating my friends. Soon I was getting letters from mi fiancé and we were counting down the days for his return. Talking about married life, wondering what our kids would look like, but no mention of a wedding day. Three months into engagement, I was feeling like I could make it, especially since I was truly enjoying all that home cooking, so much so that I was putting on weight.  

Wake Up Call

My roommate, who was my bestie and my appointed maid of honor, came home from a long trip overseas. She took one look at me and said something about my weight. She was shocked and I was…. Hijole! I was sad? Mad? Definitely no longer glad to see her! Gorda?! Is that what she called me? Had I really gained that much weight? Unbeknownst to me, I had gained 25lbs in 4 months. Imaginate!!

The drive home from L.A. airport was not a happy one, I was sullen and she was tired and she had more to ask. 

How’s your wedding planning going? Que? Wedding Planning?  That opened up the floodgates that would remain open probably until my wedding day.  I didn’t know what I was doing. I didn’t know what I wanted. Are you kidding?! It took 2 years to sort out my emotions and heart about marrying my gringo, how was I supposed to know what color scheme my wedding should have? The dress is supposed to be white right? We would have enough color variety in our lives in marriage! For the next 2 hours she drilled me about the wedding date, my wedding dress, our invitations, the ceremony and reception. What kind of bouquet would I have? What about her dress? What did I want her to wear? Dios mio, what was going on? I had to choose a dress for her? After the barrage of questions, like a true maid of honor she walked me through a simple plan, bueno, it was supposed to be simple. 

The race was on now. The first real ceremony and reception I would ever plan and I discovered that planning a beautiful reception of any kind wasn’t my calling. Thankfully, marriage is about life after the wedding (porque, I can cook a delicious meal for a beautiful reception).. I figured out my wedding date. That was a tricky because we wanted to be married as soon as he got off the boat from WestPac in July, but we had to settle for a day in September.

I had my dress, and after a tedious time of choosing paper and envelopes my invitations were printed in both Spanish and English. I breathed a bit easier when they were all mailed out. My color scheme was settled (colors I don’t even like, I don’t know why I chose them?) Someone helped me with a plan for my flower arrangements and bouquet. My wedding cake was ordered. Ben bought his suit overseas and his wedding ring. Those are the big parts, and that pretty much sums up wedding planning.

Vamos , Let’s go to the week before the wedding day. My Benjamin had been home over a month, we hadn’t rested, he was getting fidgety, his mom and brothers were coming to town just before the weekend, just the thought of meeting my future in-laws for the first time made my stomach churn. Did I mention that the stress of planning my muy sencilla wedding  had knocked off those 25 lbs.? That was a Romans 8:28 situation for me! Asi es, I was my skinny size. That Sunday the week before my life changed and I would become Mrs. Benjamin Greene, I was tired and anxious but I was looking forward to my life with Ben. 

Stop The Wedding

Then I got the call. Mi ama, she was in the hospital, she had had a stroke. We didn’t know much else, so I packed my bag and waited for my sis Marina to pick me up. This would be the beginning of a long relationship with Pioneers Memorial Hospital in Brawley Ca. 

It was a quick 2 1/2 hour drive, but they were also the longest 2 1/2 hours of my young life. I had never seen what a stroke could do. My family was in the waiting room. My ama was stable, but resting, I could tell she was different.

The next couple of days were fuzzy and confusing. I had to be at work and what about my wedding? Marina and I drove back and forth a couple of times, so tired and blurry eyed,  and in those times I barely saw Ben, we were both feeling the weight of this. Then I got a call from the person taking care of my wedding flowers. She said the whole deal was off, she said I wouldn’t be getting flowers from that vendor. There would be no flowers for my wedding. Would there be a wedding? I cried, I didn’t know what to do. I had to talk to Ben. 

I calmed down and was alone with both my parents in that hospital room. My ama’s expressions were marred by the stroke. She knew she wouldn’t be at my wedding and she was sad, I didn’t want her to miss my wedding. It was hard to see her like this, I told her I would postpone it until she was better. She wasn’t speaking, she really couldn’t. My dad spoke for them. They had talked after the doctor had talked to them. Mom would be at least another week in the hospital before they could transfer her. They didn’t know how long her recovery would be. They didn’t know where she would go for recovery. I think we both remembered my graduation day, we both cried. Ama had missed my graduation day, she had been in the hospital then too. I still didn’t know what to do. As my mother held my hand, Dad explained that I must go on with the plans for my wedding, he talked about them being old and me starting my life. He assured me that he would be at my wedding for both of them. I am a person of many words but I couldn’t speak the words I had within. Of course I wanted dad there, but how does a girl get married knowing her mother wouldn’t wear the pretty dress she bought for the wedding. No flowers and no mama on my wedding day. There is a chasm of forgotten feelings, I truly don’t recall how I moved forward.

Ben was much relieved to know that the wedding was still set for September 25.  Y asi paso, we were married that day.

I was able to order a bouquet, guess where? A big chain grocery store! Besides not knowing what I was doing I was in a daze on so many different levels. The grocery store flower shop had flowers in my color scheme peach and teal, (ya se, peach and teal??? maybe it was popular in the 80s?) and the florist seemed excited to put together a bouquet for such an important occasion.

So I married my Benjamin and shared a meal with our guests. Then we rushed to the hospital, like I had done on my graduation day and got on the elevator with my esposo y apa. There was ama all by herself on that hospital bed and her face lit up when she saw us come in, the stroke couldn’t hide her joy.  I leaned on her as she laid there. My beautiful ama welcomed my Benjamin into her life. We both leaned into her as the nurse took our picture. I wish I knew what my mother was thinking that day, maybe like a mother does she felt anxious for my happiness, no se, she couldn’t really speak. I was different again, now I was a married woman. De veras? A married woman! 

When we got back from our honeymoon, I went straight to visit mom at her rehab here in San Diego. Now I would be able to be with mom everyday and help as much as possible in her recovery. Her stroke recovery was difficult for her, she never quite fully recovered, she went home to be with Jesus a few months after she went back home with my apa.

Lost Treasure

I cried again as I remembered these days, I cried harder when I couldn’t find my pictures with my ama. I felt the loss all over again and I have to tell myself just now that I’ll see her again one day in my wedding dress. My treasures weren’t completely lost, my Benjamin uncovered my most important picture after some digging and praying, “Oh God, help my wife find this picture, in Jesus name”.

With 33 years behind us we have many many pictures.

Our Cord of Three Strands – 33 Years of Destiny

A marriage contract can sound so serious, verdad? How about a wedding vow, a heartfelt promise, a covenant, I remember using all these to consider the weight of marriage.

I just got back from a sweet country wedding in the beautiful state if Oregon. My bestie’s son was married. Oh how I appreciated the “Cord of Three Strands” tradition, a beautiful picture of marriage with God in the mix.  As it always happens when I am at a wedding, I am pulled back into the  memories of my own love story. 

Watching the young couple, I caught my breath, as I remembered the butterflies that  grabbed me on my own wedding day. Today marks 33 years of marriage with my Benjamin, my flaco, my orejónel amor de mi vida. For Ben, I wanted to shine and I did. It was a simple wedding, no embellishments, no glitter except what comes from pure and genuine love.

The Truest Love

I come from the 80s, and I come from dysfunction. Marriage wasn’t something I wanted or cared for. Having a boyfriend was cool, but I saw too much heartbreak in marriage to hope for any good to come from it. My 18 year old self felt a strong conviction that marriage was for the blind.

Pero una noche, on a clear hot dessert night, the truest love came. I gave myself completely to the only one who could heal my heart. Imaginate! I was a new girl and I began to view marriage differently.  In His hands my broken heart would be mended and one day I would marry the right one, at the right time. 

Then came Ben. Otra vez me enamore, I fell in love again, but we came from different worlds. It’s true, opposites do attract. He liked me, I liked him, he was cute, but he was too quiet. I couldn’t figure him out.

I wish I could say it was a lovely transition, a beautiful dance of courting. It wasn’t, neither of us can dance. Ya se, how can a Mexican have no rhythm? My desire was there, I liked that foreigner from the East coast; un gringo! My heart fluttered whenever I looked at Ben.  He couldn’t be the one. White wasn’t on my radar, I wasn’t trying to choose him. Ben had chosen me and when his gaze lingered on me, I could not deny what was unfolding. I needed time, I needed assurance, and I needed God in the mix of it all. We took our time. Have I told you that Ben is a patient man?

Marriage was a serious matter for me, I was apprehensive about the “embellishments” of a mixed marriage. As usual, I sorted out my thoughts, worries, and emotions and I clung to my terapista (my journal)!  I laid everything out, all the intricate parts of my thoughts, what I considered pros and cons, and ALL the differences… It helped me come to a good conclusion and move forward. I’ve never played with legos, pero, if you have kids then you have seen and felt the intricate pieces of a “lego work” when it’s laid out. Ouch!  That’s how writing can be, words thrown onto the pages of my journal or notebook, for later use. Saco todo, I just kind of unpack everything in my journals, eventually I circle around to it again. (37 years of journaling books do take up space pero ni modo, I’m old school, I’ve got to have the hard copy!)

When the time came to say those precious vows, my whole heart was ready.

I, Rosalba Zepeda, take thee Benjamin Walter Greene, to be my wedded husband from this day forward…. Oh what sweet love….

I wrote this poem a few years ago about that journey to the altar, remembering those promises I made as a starry eyed young bride. Here’s a glimpse of that walk down the aisle to my Benjamin. 


He wasn’t my first love, or even my choice

As I walked in my new life, I happened upon him

Two different worlds, the East and the West

A cold-blooded Englishman was calling on me?

As I walked in my new life, I happened upon him

He seemed not to notice my very brown skin.

A cold-blooded Englishman was calling on me?

He weathered the time and my chaos within

His strong white hand covered my young brown skin

As I poised for the battle, he watched with few words

He weathered the time and my chaos within

 God lighted the path that I carefully took

As I poised for the battle, he watched with few words

An array of bright colors our differences made

Our God lighted path we joyfully walked

He wasn’t my first love but with time he was my choice

Our Cord of Three Strands

More than three decades might not seem that long, but it is most of my adult life, more than half my lifetime. Mira nomas!  God’s hand has been on our marriage covenant. 

I don’t want to discourage anyone, especially my two bachelor sons but, some of those 12,045 days of the last 33 years were lived in reverse and the only one who could push us forward was the third person in our marriage cord, Christ. Through Him, with Him I can confidently say “I do” again and a again. I’ve seen the blessing of him holding us together.

The echoes of laughter resound in my mind as I remember our moped drive around the city of Mazatlan Mexico. Young, inexperienced and without credit cards, Mr. and Mrs. Greene moved along the busy streets to see what we could see, enjoying each other more than the beautiful beaches surrounding us. Life came hard and fast. As a young wife, I felt the gape of loss when my ama passed into eternity, who would guide through the early years in my kitchen? Y mi amor, my quiet Benjamin never left my side. I still hear Ben’s calm voice  saying, soothing my fearful cries, “It’s ok, it’s gonna be ok,” when the doctor told us he would have to do a C-section to deliver our first baby. Then I was there again on that operating table, ready to receive our second boy. Imaginate el gozo! When our little bundle was a wee little girl!

Oh how I felt the chasm of east to the west when Ben had to leave me to be with his mother as she finished her days here on earth. I had to be strong, I couldn’t be needy, Bens mama was dying. Pero que feo sentí esa separación. Separations were and are hard for me.  Again I say, hats off to the Navy wife. A heartfelt appreciation and salute for our military families

These are only a few recuerdos, highlights  from the first decade of our life together. God has given us an abundant life together. It wasn’t perfect or painless, but it was beautiful. A marriage covenant with Jesus in it, is the way to go.

Relationships Through Letter Writing

Getting personal letters in the mail is such a fun experience. Something I’ve enjoyed through the years. When I was in middle school I was linked to a Japanese pen pal. This might have been my initial experience of letter writing and the U.S. Postal Service. My pen pals name was Youko, I could tell by her letters and the photo she sent me that  I was writing to a rich & refined girl. She described a life I couldn’t even imagine. I truly don’t remember what I wrote to her. I definitely didn’t have any cute pics of myself looking poised and reflective, or any pics at all come to think of it. I did however enjoy the whole idea of my apa bringing home a letter addressed to me, I liked it so much that I kept writing back.

Writing letters, buying stamps and putting them in the mail for delivery is almost a thing of the past. That makes me sad and I am making an effort to keep the letter writing tradition alive between me and my grandchildren. This was initiated by my 5 year old nietecito, Braye, who told me he wanted to be my pen pal. How could I deny such a request? Oh, that I might water that seed and one day still receive letters from my 15 year old Braye.  

You know what else is so enjoyable and also emotional? Rereading the letters you’ve received through the years. Minimalists might not encourage you to do this, but I’ve saved many of the letters I’ve received through the years. This has helped me through my mourning journeys. Letters from mis hermanos y hermanas. Letters from my mother in law, letters from dear friends and letters from my love. 

I’ve said it already, but it’s worth repeating, girls love to talk and letter writing is a way to talk without interruptions. However, when you are done talking in the letter, waiting for a response kills you! I am embarrassed to admit that I’m an impatient conversationalist, I tend to interrupt, or not wait for a response to the question I asked, so letter writing has definitely built character and patience in me. Dicen por hay, that “patience is a virtue” 

My relationship with my suegra was long distance, mostly through letters. She also saved her letters, when she passed they came back to me. I have found myself nervously laughing or shuddering at my style. I expressed myself in too familiar a tone with my dear mother-in-law. My ama would reprove me, que malcriada! In my defense, I was not trying to be disrespectful, I was attempting to balance two cultures and sound…. casual? Sauve? And I especially wanted her to know my new role was very comfortable, and it was, except for in-law adjustments. Just reading “Dear Nancy” still seems too casual.

In the old, old days letters were much more formal and when I wrote letters in spanish they were also quite proper. For some of the spanglishers or non spanish speakers here’s a thought on manners that I haven’t quite translated well. You is translated usted which would be used to show respect or formality toward a stranger or an older person or perhaps clergy. Then, when you’re familiar with a person, we use with people of the same level age, rank, or friendship. All that to say that to call my mother in-law by her first name felt squeamish. However, it did not stop me from writing and relating to my suegra, and her responses kept our letters flowing.


There was a time when it felt like receiving letters was critical to my very existence! Porque? because immediately following our fireworks engagement, I had to experience a long separation from my fiance, mi amor, my comprometido. I didn’t know much about the engagement process, but I knew we had a marriage to prepare for and a wedding to plan and it would have to be done from a distance. 

I braced myself for a west pac separation, Ben was on an Landing Craft Unit: LCU within the USS Juneau,  a deployment that consisted of port stops into Hawaii, Guam, Hong Kong, Korea, Philippines, and Australia. It was Bens dream to see the world and these beautiful places, but things had changed. He was leaving his girl behind. Meanwhile, being apart affirmed the idea that I screamed in my head that I could not make it as a military wife. All my fears were crowding in on me.  Miedo que se iba a olvidar de mí, scared that his mom would reject me. Afraid that maybe… Anyway, ya te imaginas, it was the longest six months of my life! Those few days before my flaco left, there were few words spoken, he couldn’t find any and I was choking with too many emotional words. We agreed that I would focus on our simple wedding (another time I’ll tell you about that planning, or lack of planning) and he was going to save money to get ready for all the upcoming expenses. This plan would keep me busy and  time would fly by. 

Love Letters

Going to the mailbox and seeing letters from my sailor brought inexplicable joy. 

Writing to my Benjamin was kind of like talking to him in person!  I unloaded it all, all my fears and concerns. Days and sometimes weeks passed before I “heard him speak”. My sailors FPO address made deliveries interesting since they were in the middle of the ocean and I imagine mail was delivered between ports. When mail did get delivered I would receive it in bundles all at once, then nothing for days. While he received letters all mixed up in dates. We ended up resorting to numbering each letter to keep track.

We were young and I was a typical novia, the important things were: 1. Do you still love me? 2. Do you really miss me? 3. What shall we do about our wedding planning?  Through all letters our common faith in God was the glue that kept us focused and hopeful.

I knew it was going to be hard. In fact, even though I hadn’t experienced it yet, I knew I would barely survive and to think he still had two more years to go in the Navy. All you military wives with years of experience are probably chuckling or rolling in carcajadas at my imagination, verdad que si?!  What memories come up in your mind as you read this?

I say hats off to military wives who endure these separations and keep their family boat afloat during these deployments. Thank you also for your sacrifice.

When I was rereading the other day, the 55 year old mature me, was bien avergonzada at my chillona, rogona letters. My goodness, I really believed it was all about me! Besides telling me very often how much he loved and missed me, he resorted to throwing in some Tagalog and spanish. He called me “maganda”, and I was like Que?! I was his beautiful Rose, I melted and embraced it.

So began our long distance engagement. He reassured me often, calling me darling and his dearest, making me yearn for him. I declared my hopeless devotion in an overboard manner. I quote, “ Benjamin I love you so much…this countdown is making me crazy, it makes me think of you TOO MUCH… When we get married, Ben, I’ve got so many hopes and dreams and I’m believing God for them to come true…I can’t wait till you come home.”

I asked a million questions that he had no answers for, pero, when I asked about a wedding budget. I quote “I have no idea the costs or the arrangements you have made with the exception of the cake, but let’s, if we can keep it under $400.00. That really should be plenty, I hope.” Daniella and I had a nice little laugh at this recollection, when planning her wedding he offered similar sentiment assuring her that $3,000 should cover the costs. If you know anything about planning a wedding, you can imagine the horrified look we shared. Needless to say the princess prevailed and she had a beautiful wedding.

Almost 33 years later Ben and I had a wonderful chuckle at young Benjamin Greene at sea, the ocean waves had lulled his senses.

In conclusion: 

In this day and age, an email and or a text is the closest some people get to receiving “a letter in the mail” I know that my grandkids love to “get mail” and so do I! I encourage you to write a nice love letter to your amor and your amorcitos. While you’re at it, consider writing a letter to a soldier that’s out to sea, Ben appreciated receiving letters; especially the ones from me, his comprometida.

Acuerdense, be extra nice to your mail carrier, they work hard to get that mail to you.

waiting for my sailor
welcome home at last

Enduring Love

A Love Story

Just reading the words ‘love story’ gets you kind of warm and fuzzy inside, verdad que si? I love to hear about the sweet connection of two young lovers.

Lasting Friendship

I met Lynnda in church. I was a new wife and a soon to be mother whom God saw fit to link to his new child. She had walked in from the hail of self destruction. After 20 years, her marriage had derailed. In a way, grew up together together. Joe and Lynda helped Ben and I through the transition out of military life, we helped them take the baby steps towards Gods word and healthy family life. There a beautiful friendship formed.
With their permission, I want to share a glimpse of their incredible journey. The story of a strong and seasoned couple who stayed in the battle and fought for their love. For better or worse, for rich or poor, in sickness and in health, till death do us part. 

Golden Anniversary Celebration!


Joe and Lynda were two kids in a sea of dysfunction. Alcohol, drunkenness, promiscuity and somewhere was an unseen God that they knew of but hadn’t experienced. All around them, young people took their personal freedom into boundless levels. They witnessed their peers delving into drugs, alchohol and sex, perhaps the unseen God kept them from it all?

Lynndas mother was caught in the vicious cycle of addiction. Her children went to live with their grandmother. It was a crowded home where she saw and experienced the pain of addiction all around her. Yet, it was in this home where she received love and protection from her grandmother and her tias. When Lynnda shares her childhood memories, it’s never with anger or bitterness for not having her mother around. Her stories are always confident accounts of a grandmother who loved her and her siblings. She always has a twinkle in her eyes when she tells of her tia’s protection. “I was tia Linda’s favorite,” she says. It would later be God’s providence that Lynnda would one day care for her elderly tia Tencha and help her through that difficult passage from life to death.

Joe had a huge family. They lived in the projects until his parents were able to purchase a two-bedroom house, not far from Lynndas grandmothers home. In this house they raised their thirteen children. As I write this I can feel the walls closing in around me!

Love At First Sight                                           

Love happened so suddenly for Lynnda.

Education in itself held no kind special pleasure for my friend, though she did enjoy social studies. What happened and who it happened with was very interesting to her. She also enjoyed the time spent between and after classes😁. Joe passed her one day between classes, he smiled with his eyes. That lingering look sealed their fate! Somehow she knew that he would be her husband one day.

This next part is perhaps my favorite part of their young love story. On the school bus, Joe came bumping down the aisle of the bus and stopped at her seat. He looked at Lynnda and blurted out to another girl that was chasing him “She” pointing to Lynnda, “is my girlfriend!” Lynnda covered her surprise and graciously snuggled up to the proposition. From that day on, she was Joe’s girl and they were inseparable.

Woven into their puppy love were the struggles and tragedies at home that they did not know how to cope with. What was Lynnda supposed to do when her only sister chose to walk in their mother’s shoes? While, at Joe’s house, the lack of privacy in the two-bedroom house seemed to suffocate him. They ignored what they saw in their homelife and focused on what they felt, each other. It was what it was.

Lynnda focused on Joe, Joe focused on Lynnda. School days were mundane. She dropped out and together they got him through his high school with a diploma.  


With diploma in hand, he immediately went to look for work. A job in a hotel as a dishwasher, equipped him for the next step. What was the next step? He took Lynnda to the courthouse. They weren’t sure about anything but each other, so they were married. As husband and wife, they could finally consummate their desire that burst at the seams.   

But there would be no honeymoon. Reality slapped them in the face, dissolving their puppy love. The newlyweds went to live with her grandmother. Ten people living in the small three-bedroom house, something Joe cringed at. No car, not enough money, and no privacy, their existence became a battlefield! The drama of extended family, fueled their own discontent.

They were sure that moving would give them peace, but it eluded them.

While Joe washed dishes at the hotel, he convinced himself that joining the Army would solve his marital problems that seemed to be suffocating him. He went to the recruiting office to take the test to join the Army but failed; twice. Then, the recruiter enticed him with Navy life and presented him with a different test that he was sure to pass. Joe grabbed it, his ticket out of town and the break he and Lynnda so desperately needed. Before he knew it, he was off to boot camp and Lynnda went back to her grandmother’s house, pregnant and alone.

West Pac

With three hundred other sailors, Joe set sail on the destroyer ship called the U.S.S. Tattnall. The Mediterranean deployment consisted of four ships that were present in the high seas to protect the carriers. Six months at sea were long and lonely for the young sailor, he ached for his wife and solid ground. When the ship entered port Joe and his buddy wandered eagerly into the city. They took in the foreign sights and smells, the fast language stirred their curiosity, while the sensual women in their craft pulled them with their eyes and into the night they lingered.

 The West Pac behind them, Joe sought his wife. Their long separation had re-ignited their youthful lust for one another, their baby in her womb did not hamper their enthusiasm. 

Broken Trust

A dark cloud loomed over Lynnda as Joe’s buddy carelessly spoke about the things they experienced overseas and Lynndas innocent joy went out into the night. She imploded. He had betrayed their love. Why? Was this expected of all sailors? Every detail that Joes friend blurted out burned into her mind. She calculated his violations. Anger steered her course. They were plunged into a downward spiral that continued for almost two decades leaving them bound in rejection, bitterness, and regret.                                                                                                        

Sunny San Diego… and Rock Bottom                     

Military life had landed them in beautiful San Diego.  They now had three kids and they brought along the baggage of violations, financial woes, west pac separations, and unending heartbreak. Their marriage was a carcass ravaged by their own ignorant decisions, yet she never spoke of divorce. 

Joe pointed his finger at Lynnda and was ready to give up but she stubbornly clung to the dry scattered bones of her marriage and life. Was it possible to love and hate so much? Joe was numb, nineteen years of their foolishness had depleted him of any hope so he was walking away. 

Lynnda was desperate for relief and answers. She sought solace with her friend who always offered the same solution: alcohol and men. She knew that was no solution but she went anyway. As she drove across the city, the bright lights of the Coronado bridge called out to her. Loneliness and despair squeezed her as she heard death call her. “Look, you can stand up there and you won’t fall”. Going to Coronado Island would bring peace and the bridge was so inviting. The closer she got the stronger the voice was; “There’s a ledge, you can stand on it and you won’t fall” again the voice lured her, “Stand on the ledge, you won’t fall.” She would go to the bridge. “Yes, go, stand on the ledge, it’s safe enough…but, if you do fall, you’ll be ok”. OK!? She sneered as the bright lights of the bridge twinkled. She did not want to be ok! She wanted to be done, like Joe was! She drove on crying and babbling passing the bridge. In her despair she argued with God, justifying this solution, but he was silent. The silence only grounded her desire and decision to end it all. 

Then, in all his mystery and splendor God silently took the wheel. Lynnda knew not how or why she drove on past one exit, and then the next, until she was parked in front of the small storefront Christian church her co-worker attended. Why was she there? Arise, and go down to the Potters House and there I will cause thee to hear my words. It wasn’t truly a church, nor was it Sunday. Lynnda heard words of hope and restoration. Could completely destroyed lives be restored? She opened her heart to the Gospel message, good news that promised to heal the hurt and pain of the past 20 years. With one simple act of humility, a prayer of repentance she was a new woman.  The burdens lifted, not necessarily gone, but now they were in able hands.

There was much debri to be cleaned up, especially since they would sail on in military life. This time, the long separation of Desert Storm would be maneuvered with God at the helm. Their marriage was rescued as Joe saw his new woman changing before his eyes. God created “a path in the wilderness and a stream in the desert.” 

If you or someone you love is dealing with suicidal thoughts, please don’t suffer in silence. National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 800-273-8255


Thirty years have passed since that fateful night Lynnda passed the Coronado Bridge. I have incredible respect and appreciation for my friends, especially since I considered military life an impossible task to survive and thrive in. I cringe at separations, even the short ones. Life alone without my Orejon… 

Love isn’t always pretty or sweet but in God’s hands, Joe & Lynndas love story has endured and blessed God himself for more than fifty years. 

Flash Back to New Years Eve 33 Years Ago

December 31, 1987

 Ride the Inspiration Wave

I have this nagging feeling as I write these posts. Why? Because my daughter Daniella (also known as my Techy girl) said that I just need to write as I am inspired! Well, that has thrown me off my track! I wanted to set this whole thing up in a chronological order and that was supposed to show you how my life evolved into a Greene lifestyle.

Guess what? Today’s date: New Year’s Eve has inspired me, which means, I’m fast forwarding and skipping for now, all those important chapters. (Who knows, I might get inspired to tell you all about my move to San Diego 36 years ago, when I discovered there were other brown people, and they were not called Mexicans!) But, for now I am stirred to tell you about the day I said yes to my gringo 😊.


He was a sailor and out to sea often, and I was working 2 jobs. We struggled, shuffling our schedule around to make dates and spend time together. One New Year’s Eve, after dating my Benjamin for about 6 months, (I cannot leave out the detail that we had known each other for 2 years and had already dated, broken up and gotten back together. His gringo-ness scared me, but this time I dated him already knowing I was ready for more.)

On New Years Eve, 1987, I was looking forward to a nice dinner and just some quality time with him. He was taking me to a fancy restaurant (another detail: when we dated the first time around, he had to teach me all about utensil etiquette, I mean, why would I need two different kinds of forks? And why did he put his cloth napkin on his lap, what was it for anyway?).

I wanted to look pretty, beautiful was too high a target for my simple self, but my roomie helped me put together a classy look. I wanted him to see me shine! I wanted him to know I loved him; I was just too scared to admit it.

He picked me up in his 1963 Econoline van and we went to Sea Port Village. It was a beautiful night. He took me to an expensive Seafood restaurant and I ordered chicken. I followed his lead to make sure I did not make any etiquette bloopers in that fancy restaurant.

Benjamin is a quiet guy. I am not quiet, and I certainly wasn’t that night. I was chatting away, catching him up on all of the news he had missed while he was out to sea, (the important stuff, you know, like who was dating who). He seemed so nervous. I picked up on it and then I felt awkward. All of a sudden, he said, “Let’s go walk” I was thrown off, but agreed.

He was jittery and I was getting sullen, wondering why he was behaving weird. The night was failing. As we walked along the boardwalk the fireworks started and I allowed myself to enjoy them. I was hoping that maybe we would have a romantic moment. I turned to smile at Ben, and he wasn’t next to me, so I had to turn completely around, looking for him.

Right there, so public an act, my quiet Benjamin was on one knee with a ring box in his hand. My hands went to my face in shock as he said, “Rosie, will you marry me?”

No wonder those fireworks were so beautiful that night. The night another wonderful chapter in my life opened. 

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