20 years later

Last night I was home with Sarah and Caleb.  Everyone else was out of the house doing their various activities.  We were watching the Waltons and it just so happened it was the episode when John and Olivia were celebrating their 20 year wedding anniversary. John-Boy was busy driving back and forth to college, falling in love with a poet.  The other kids were still going to the one room school house, and were painting a picture for their parents’ anniversary.  The painting looked like the inside of a dollhouse, with each room painted in detail.  Then, every person in the house, kids and grandparents, painted themselves into the picture.

John went shopping to buy his wife an elegant dress.

Olivia knitted John a sweater, using yarn from their seven children’s baby sweaters.

They renewed their vows in their living room, with only the children and grandparents in attendance and the local Preacher performing the ceremony.

It was heartwarming and so sweet.  I couldn’t help but compare to my own life….because today Rich and I celebrate our 2oth anniversary.  Our “John-Boy” is a college student now, and our “Elizabeth” is going along to school with the rest of the children.  I’m Olivia Walton and my husband is John!  This is mind-numbing….I grew up watching the show, pretending to be Mary Ellen or Erin, depending on my mood at the time.

And now I’m Olivia.  I love Olivia.  She’s always baking applesauce cakes to celebrate things.

True story, one of my ladies in my bible study class last year called me “Olivia”…..


Rich had to go to work today but is taking tomorrow and Friday off.  He’s having an adventure — a change in job title — makes him just a tad busier than usual.

But this morning as he ironed his pants he stopped to put his hands on my neck and say sweet things about how much he loves me and believe it or not, he loves me even more than when we were teenagers and so on….I started laughing, “Is this a canned message?”  “No, I wrote it myself” he laughed back.  A few minutes later Grace and I tiptoed back in the room.  Ethan was talking to Rich all about his soccer game.  Dave was playing the piano.  I went over to give him a hug so Grace could take a picture of us, “Is this a canned hug, Shan?”  Rich asked.  Perfect comment….he got me.


Our kitten has a name.  A perfect name.


I like to bring Grace’s rabbit inside to hop around and keep us company.  The dog leaves her alone and so do the cats…it’s like peaceable kingdom in our house.  She was nibbling an apple yesterday.


Sarah has had me worried sick for days and days.  She finally got diagnosed with an UTI and has been on antibiotics for 2 days.  She is beginning to perk up.  The crying and feverish silence has turned back into chatting.  The sleep and weakness is turning into quiet playing and coloring.  The no appetite is turning into cravings for bacon.  I’ll make her all the bacon she wants!


Yesterday I walked around with the camera.  I was feeling anxious and weepy…but the eye for blessings (with help from the camera) always soothes and shows me there are an abundance of things to be grateful for, even in the midst of worry and very  little sleep.




Did you ever think, after 20 years, we would have a Seth and he would be our fifth son?  What a dear boy he is, so bright and full of potential.  He was playing a racing game with Jacob when I took this picture.


Did you think we would have a Dave?  A boy so interesting and curious about life, who says thoughtful things every day to make me stop and think and laugh.  He has an amazing mind.


This morning you lightheartedly called Grace “a product of our wonderfulness”.  Can you imagine life without our Grace?  Almost 16 years old, wise beyond those years, sweet and active, with a leadership potential that comes directly from you, her Dad.


And our Caleb….this morning he was spouting off football facts to you.   He has a loving heart and notices the needs of others.  He never goes to school or bed without giving out hugs.


Our Ethan…you still sometimes call him by the baby nickname we gave him…but he’s a SENIOR NOW…how did this happen?  Our pride and joy, our second born son with his silent strength.   Who would have guessed in 20 years, on our wedding anniversary, I would be picking this boy up from school so he could take his driver’s test?


Our college boy, learning and growing so much.  Getting more independent.  20 years of marriage has produced an 18 year old son who is polite, kind, well-mannered, with a healthy dose of fun and silly, too.  Isn’t he a wonderful big brother to our gang?  And now…..he’s been so willing and helpful with his driving around picking up siblings after school.


I love keeping a home for you.


I love all our moments together.  You are my safety and my strength.


You were ironing your pants for work and looked at me as I came for another hug…so Grace could take pictures…Ethan was busy talking to you and Dave was playing piano.  It was 6:30 in the morning.


And we hugged and you asked, “Is this a canned hug, Shan?” but it wasn’t.  All our hugs are true.


We laughed.  Our hearts are full of joy and thankfulness today…for 20 sweet years together.


I have just enough time to go bake a cake.  An applesauce cake.


Applesauce Cake for the modern Olivia Walton

1 spice cake mix
2 cups applesauce
1/4 cup oil
2 eggs
1/4 cup wheat germ (optional)
frosting of your choice 

Preheat oven to 350.
Mix together cake mix, applesauce, oil, and eggs in large bowl.  Mix in wheat germ, if desired.  Pour mixture into a 9 by 13 cake pan.

Bake 35-40 minutes

Allow cake to cool and frost.  

recipe source:: 101 Things to do with a Cake Mix by Stephanie Ashcraft

20 thoughts on “20 years later

  1. Congratulations on 20 years of a marriage well done! 🙂 May you be blessed with many more that get better and better as the years go by.

    I use to love ‘The Waltons’. Those are uncanny similarities.

    I’m so glad sweet Sarah is feeling better.

    Hope you have a blessed day!

  2. Happy Anniversary! You are such an inspiration to me and I’m sure everyone that reads your blog! You truly have an optimistic outlook on life and have such a wonderful family! I hope you and Rich have a wonderful day!

    • Thank you for the comment, Wendy! Soon you will be meeting your new baby…I can’t wait to see the FB post! 🙂 So glad we can keep in touch through the internet. xo

  3. Happy Anniversary! Very special day for you both! Sweet, sweet moments! You two are a great couple to watch and hear about! Much love to you both!

    Love the Walton’s story..sniff, sniff. 😉

    I didn’t catch the cats name? What was it?

  4. Such a sweet post, filled with happy things. Glad your wee one is on the mend. I’ve had one sick this week too, and it’s just not a pleasant thing, worrying about sick kiddos. 😦 Happy anniversary!

  5. I love your posts! Happy anniversary to you and Rich or should I say Olivia and John! I hope you have a wonderful time over the next few days!

  6. Celebrating with you from afar! Happy Happy Anniversary. May your love continue to be true. I so enjoyed seeing each of your kids, and hearing the delightful humor and sweetness of family life. So glad Sarah is doing better. That is terrible to have her so sick, and wondering the cause. Lovely menagerie of pets. Love to you all, Jenny PS Even though it has been so hot here lately, yesterday we had tropical rain (Praise God), so it felt more Fall like. I pulled out my “Shanda potpourri”(still smells good like coffee), and my vintage green glass bowl, and put the “Count your blessings” sign in it. 🙂

  7. What a precious, precious, post … I love ‘reading’ your heart, Shanda, and how you share all your blessings with us! You have such a dear family … so many wonderful photos here, and I loved the comparison of you and the Walton’s, as well as the recipe you shared! I’m also glad to hear that your sweet Sarah is feeling better, and when she’s feeling better, I know you are, as well! Oh, and ya gotta love a man who isn’t afraid to iron his pants (yep, I’ve been blessed with one of those, myself! 🙂 ) A very happy anniversary, my friend, and continued blessings to you and your dear family!! 🙂

  8. Happy Anniversary! I’ve been following your blog for some time and you’re such an inspiration to me. I love your style of writing, sharing of family and pictures. Thank you so much. It will be our 21st anniversary on the 30th.

    • Hi Renee, Thank you for the comment and kind words, I loved hearing from you! Hope you and your husband have a Happy Anniversary on the 30th! It’s a beautiful time of year to get married and celebrate the years!

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