Lasting Love. Volume 1 - The Olsens



Do you ever wonder what it would feel like to be married to the same person for over 50 years?
With an increase in divorce rates and many couples choosing not to marry, it’s easy to wonder if lasting marriages are a thing of the past.

What if we could better understand what makes love last? Are there any secrets we can learn from couples who have stayed happily married?

I want to invite you to follow along on this new blog series I'm calling, “Lasting Love” where I'll be interviewing couples (many from my home town) who have been married for over 50 years. I’ll be asking them questions about life, love, and marriage and recording their answers here. I hope that we can each learn more about what it takes to build and maintain a love that will withstand the test of time.

For this first post of the series, I am very excited to introduce you to one of the sweetest couples I know: Richard (Dick) and Earleen Olsen. 





We drive down the down dirt road leading to their solitary house, and before we can even get out of the car Dick is waiting for us on their doorstep. He ushers us into their home with a big smile and a friendly greeting.

He is tall and skinny man with white hair and a deep voice. His wife Earleen is about a foot shorter than him. A petite woman with kind eyes.  Their home is clean and uncluttered, but it still has a welcoming, cozy feeling.

We each take a seat in their their front room and chat for a while. First about their family and then ours. Eventually, I ask if they'd be willing to answer a few questions about their their love, life, and marriage.  

"We've been married 54 years. This year in June." Dick answers with some pride in his voice.
"Yeah. It’s a miracle." Earleen laughingly replies, and they smile at each other from across the room. 

"How did you two meet?"

"Well she worked with a girl who lined us up."

"Like a blind date?" I ask him

 "A blind date - yeah."

Earleen leans forward in her chair and looks at me with wide eyes. "Well let me tell ya, on the blind date when he said goodbye - he patted me on the bum!" She smiles and shakes her head, "And I thought, 'My mother didn’t tell me this would happen.' I don’t wanna see him again!" She leans back in her chair and laughs. "But four weeks later he called me and I went out with him again."

She continues, "I was teaching Sunday school when we were going together and he always told his mother, 'If my little Sunday school teacher calls, tell her I’ll call her back.' He always had a lot of respect for his mother, and I had a friend tell me that if a man has a lot of respect for his mother he is gonna have a lot of respect for his wife."

"Yes. I agree with that! Well, how old where you guys when you went on your first date?" I ask.

"20, 21 right in there." Dick answers  

"But," Earlean says, "I was 28 you was 25 when we got married."

 "I was in the army for two years, then we got married." Looking at Earleen he asks, "What? Two or three weeks after I got out? A little bit after that."

She slowly shakes her head in agreement.

"What is one of the most difficult trials you’ve faced together as a couple and how did you get through it together?"

After a moment Earleen replies "I think the hardest times was when our son and his wife separated. I said to Dick, go down and put him in an apartment. We set him up and everything. I just felt like it brought us closer together because we were doing things together. Because we were helping our son out. When something goes wrong with your kids, you worry about them. No matter how old they get. Ya know?"

"Well that’s probably about as good as any that I can think of." Dick agrees.

"Well then, what is one of your favorite memories together?" I ask.

"Gee." Dick says thoughtfully. "I don't know – they’re all good."

Earleen says "Well taking our kids on vacation, in fact our kids always talk about our vacations that we’ve been on together. That’s our fondest memories of doing things with our kids. Ya know? Or even, we’ve had fun having family breakfasts for Christmas. It’d been a tradition for years. Now we don’t do nothing." she laughs

"Oh we’ve done a lot of fishin’." Dick responds "A few years ago, on the opening of fishing, we worked all evening: gonna go fishing, put the boat on, extend the camper bumper. We left about 10 at night. We got up there and we stopped on the side of the road, there was cars all backed up - trying to get into Strawberry. So we just pulled off the road and went to sleep in the boat." Dick continues with the story as Earleen starts to giggle, "Well, all the cars going by that night stirrin’ up dust and we woke up and there was dust all over us."

They both bust into laughter and Earleen says, "I’m surprised we didn’t have it in our mouths.  We laughed about that all night."

"We used to do a lot of fishin’." Dick says,  "I’d build boats and we’d go fishing."

Earleen exclaims, "Oh! How about going dune buggin’? We used to - that was a lot of fun. Going dune buggin’. There was about ten couples that used to go up to Bear Lake, and we went down to Moab. The elephant hill. It’s been a lot of fun. In fact uh, one of the guys we used to go with just passed away."

Dick gets up from the couch, "I gotta show you them dune buggy trips. Gotta show you them pictures. There’s some good ones."

"Oh no," Earleen sighs. "You’re gonna be here all night long. Have you got all night?" she laughs.

We reassure her that it's fine, and we'd love to look at their pictures. The beginning of the album has old yellowed pictures of their trip to Moab. Dick tells us how there was little restrictions on off-roading vehicles back then. Everyone in the pictures are wearing high waisted, boot-cut jeans. They are young and smiling in each picture, and it looks like they were having the time of their lives.

The photo album also contains other vacations. Dick tell us their family loved to float down the river at Lava Hot Springs. He says, "A lot of people use great big inner tubes, we used little inner tubes and got a better ride. We go through the waves. You hit these waves like that and you go right under’em. Our kids talk about floating the river more than anything else, when they get together.Yeah. That’s some good memories there. It’s free. Don’t cost nothing back then. We didn’t even have a tent. We slept out under the stars and got rained on and ended up sleeping in the car." he laughs.

At the end of the photo album I ask my last question, "If you could give one piece of advice about marriage to your grand-kids, what would it be?"

Earleen says, "Learn how to keep your mouth shut. You can always voice your opinion, but when you voice your opinion back off and go in the other room." She laughs and says, "I always let him think he’s the boss, but I’m really the boss." and laughs again. 

Dick says, "We work together. What you do is your work together, you don’t work against each other."

"And," Earleen continues "I always make sure he kisses me goodnight." 

They smile at each other and I thank them for allowing us to visit and for answering all my questions. As we're leaving they remind us to watch out for the deer. "There's a herd of them that love to spend time around here." Dick says, "Come back in a few weeks, when the ice on the pond has melted, and come canoeing. Bring your friends."

We thank them again and tell them we'd love to see them again soon.




***

As I was writing this post, I thought about how important it is to make life-long memories together, treat each other with a high level of respect, and work together as a team when life gets tough. 

I also realized that the Olsens approach life with excitement and open hearts. Not only are they actively involved in their children and grandchildren's lives, but they stay active in other hobbies and interests as well. They are quick to laugh, but care deeply for their family and friends.


Is there anything you've learned from the Olsens about how to create a lasting marriage? I'd love to hear your thoughts.  



Lucky List 6


These posts are titled, "Lucky List." They're just small moments throughout the week that made me happy - moments that I feel lucky to have experienced.


These Valentines day banners:  I know it's cheesy, but I like Valentines Day. Life is just better when you're in love. These banners are some of the only decorations we put up for the holiday though. I think they're the perfect amount of "lovey dovey" without going overboard.





Bare minerals makeup: I know this is old news for everyone else, but I just started using bareMinerals Foundation this week and I'm loving it. My skin is already softer and I feel like those little tiny laugh lines around my eyes aren't as noticeable. I got a really good deal on the makeup when I went thrift shopping a few weeks ago, and I hope I'll get lucky enough to find them again.

Game Night: We had a game night at our house the weekend before the Superbowl. My sister and brother-in-law brought Cards Against Humanity. We literally played for four hours straight. Four hours!  It's one of the funniest games I've ever played. We laughed until our faces hurt.

Below is a review from someone on Amazon that perfectly describes the experience:



Girls Night Out: I met up with some of my favorite ladies last week. I always leave with a smile and a light heart. I feel so blessed to call them my friends.

Our Bed: aka My favorite place in the house. We got new bedding for Christmas (that we just washed and put on this week) including: a duvet and duvet cover, new sheets, and a new quilt. I've never had a duvet before but I'm really loving it so far. Just writing this right now makes me want to go get under the covers.




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   What's made you happy this week? Sometimes it's the simple things that mean the most. 


Hatch Family Chocolates

                       
I love hot chocolate.  Nothing's better on a frigid cold day than a steaming cup of cocoa. Besides chocolate cake, my favorite way to get my chocolate fix is by drinking it. So, I've made it one of my life goals to find the best cup of hot chocolate this world has to offer. 

I'd read a few articles online saying that The Hatch Family Chocolate shop offers an amazing cup of chocolate, so of course I had to go see for myself. (Just so you know, this is NOT a sponsored post. I'm just freely sharing my chocolate journey with you.) 

Now, I've ordered hot chocolate from many restaurants and a few cafes but never from a chocolate shop, so I didn't know what to expect - but my hopes were high. 





You guys, it did not disappoint! 

The hot chocolate is made by steaming their chocolate in a machine until it's drinkable. See how frothy and fluffy it looks in the cup? Soo good!

 And that whip cream is more like a soft scoop of cold ice cream. Except it melted so so slowly, meaning you could taste the whip cream throughout the entire drink.  J.R. and I shared this cup and I still left feeling sick to my stomach. (In the best way possible, but I don't even want to know how many calories I drank.) 

                                



Of course, we couldn't go to a chocolate shop and not try some of their hand dipped chocolates.
We decided on six different chocolates, and took them home to enjoy when our sugar high from the hot chocolate came crashing down.

The chocolates we chose were: the peanut butter truffle, strawberry cream, lemon cream, milk chocolate cream, milk chocolate truffle, and a mint cream. My absolute favorite was the peanut butter truffle. It has a sprinkling of sea salt across the top, and the texture of the peanut butter was amazing. J.R.'s favorite was the strawberry.


                               


So was this the best cup of hot chocolate I've ever had? Probably.

But I'm not calling it quits on my life goal; I still think there's a better cup of chocolate out there somewhere.  Do you know where I can find the best cup of hot chocolate? Or do you have a favorite hot chocolate recipe? 


Lucky List 5

These posts are titled, "Lucky List." They're just small moments throughout the week that made me happy - moments that I feel lucky to have experienced.


Monster Truck Jam:

Our best friends got free tickets to the Monster Truck Jam, and they invited us along for the fun.
 (Yes - we are the type of people that get excited about monster tucks. Yee Yee!)
We sat next to one of their little boys, who loved every second of it! Seeing his excitement was the best part of the night.




Bandfuse: 

We received an electric guitar and the Playstation video game Bandfuse as a Christmas gift this year. 
Oh-my-gosh, this game is soo much fun! It's kind of like Rockband, except you're playing with a real guitar. J.R. and I spent so much time playing, that we've started to get blisters on our fingers.




Anyways, one of the songs that you can learn to play is Blink-182's "All The Small Things".   
We love Blink-182. (No Shame. We still rock out to them like we're 15.) 

Well, I was playing their song for the first time and when I started hitting all the notes J.R. was stunned. He said, "You're playing Blink - this has got to be the hottest thing I've seen you do." 

Haha!




Blog Success:

I'm happy to say I've been having more blog success lately. I've already had more views this year than I have any other year. whoo hoo!


New Music: 

And lastly,  I found one of my new favorite songs! They aren't even playing this one on the radio yet, but it's gonna be a huge hit when they do. It's called "Back to Me" by A Thousand Horses. I first heard this song while listening to their album "Southernality" on iTunes. 

Unfortunately, the only cut I can find of it on YouTube is a live version, and it doesn't sound quite as good. But if you like county music, then give it a listen. 


                                        

(Click here if the video doesn't work for you) 


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What moments have you felt lucky to have experienced lately? 
I'd love to hear about them.