Circle of Love

Let’s rewind to December 24, 1958. My mother-in-law, Pam Keefer, was four years old. Her parents and relatives celebrated Christmas with great enthusiasm and joy. Pam said Christmas Eve was a big merriment spent in Gladwyne, PA at her grandparents’ home with her aunts, uncles, grandparents and parents. The spirited evening was wrapped in gifts and the air filled with the sound of Christmas carols. Following this jolly eve of Christmas at Pam’s grandparents in 1958, her parents, Pam and her sister began their voyage home.

Pam’s father, Stephen Edward Elinsky Jr., was driving a car full of happy and precious cargo, along the Schuylkill Expressway in Pennsylvania. While en route, a man’s vehicle was broken down on the side of the road causing another person who saw the disabled car to reverse on the highway. By the time Pam’s father, Stephen, came upon this scene, there was no time for him to avoid what was about to be a deadly accident.

This tragic collision unfolded with Pam’s father having broken ribs and a broken leg. Her sister, Avis Elinsky, had a concussion and a knot on her one eye. Their mother, Margaret Elinsky, died on the way to the hospital. Pam, a dear 4-year-old, remembers being put in a car with a couple of other people, looking at the clock in the car and recalling a woman sobbing. Next, Pam remembers sitting on a hard wooden bench in the hospital, swinging her legs. The following days were spent at her grandparents’ home during which she would not take off her pretty Christmas Eve dress.

That heartbreaking evening, Margaret Elinsky, Pam’s mother, died at 30 years old. She became diabetic when she was 10 and took insulin for the following 20 years. Margaret was a very happy soul who adored her life and was very much in love with her husband. Her brother described her as looking very ethereal the evening that she passed away.

Let’s fast forward to August 27, 2010. Noah and I were on an evening hike in the canyon behind our home. We hiked out about two miles on Western States Trail where you’ll find a granite bench. We were seated there talking about how much we loved our new home of Auburn, CA, as we had just relocated from PA to CA on June 1, 2010. The sun was setting and I stood up knowing that we needed to make our return back to our car. Next thing I knew, Noah was down on one knee asking me to marry him. I immediately accepted Noah’s proposal with great excitement. The ring in his hand was the same engagement ring Margaret Elinsky wore on her left ring finger when her life was cut far too short.

Back Camera      Picture of Margaret & my hand

I stared at my engagement ring the entire hike back to the car. I did not know that this ring existed. I was in awe and so honored to be wearing the ring that the beautiful and brave Margaret Elinsky wore.

Back CameraThe inside of the ring is engraved with the date they got engaged: July 25, 1950. When Noah and I got back to our car, Noah turned the ignition key and the time on the car clock was 7:25p.m. We instantly looked at each other as we connected 7:25p.m. to the date on the engagement ring. We smiled and felt as though Margaret and her husband Stephen, Noah’s grandfather who has passed, were giving us their approval. Noah and I drove home, and shortly thereafter headed back to the car to go out and have dinner. Noah turned the ignition key and the time on the car clock was 8:27 p.m. It happened again, as the date was August 27, 2010. I believe in signs and I don’t think any of this was a coincidence. I think Margaret and her husband Stephen, were celebrating with us.

Wedding 5

Today is our three-year wedding anniversary! As I think of Margaret and Stephen, and look at my beautiful ring with three priceless diamonds, I hope they are smiling and rejoicing with us as we celebrate our special wedding anniversary! To my sweet mother-in-law, thank you for allowing me to carry a piece of your mother with me every day. It is a true gem that I treasure. Noah, thank you for loving me and asking me to marry you! You exemplify the epitome of dedication, you exude patience like no other and I will forever appreciate your unconditional love. I’m proud of what we have accomplished. I love this journey we are taking together. I love you. I love us.

Wedding 1      Wedding 2

Do you possess anything of sentimental value that brings you joy? How does your partner have a positive impact on your life? In celebration of our wedding anniversary, please give your partner an extra big hug today!

wedding rings



  1. Casey

    Very sweet. So blessed to have a husband who supports, loves and treasures me. Thanks for sharing your love story.

    • Valen Keefer

      Hi Casey,
      Thank you so much for the thoughtful anniversary wishes! I’m very happy you have such a wonderful, supportive husband.

  2. Cathy

    Happy Anniversary Valen & Noah! Enjoy your celebration and may you be blessed with many more.

    • Valen Keefer

      Hi Cathy,
      Thank you for your beautiful anniversary wishes!

  3. Olivia

    Valen, blessings on your anniversary! My now husband and I started dating on August 27, 2010. What a gift it is to share life with such a supporting person! When having such a bummer of a disease in our lives, our spouses can be tested in many ways. I am so thankful for a husband who stands by me in sickness and in health.

    • Valen Keefer

      Hi Olivia,
      I am so grateful to hear you have a wonderful supportive husband as well. They give us strength and something to look forward to. It takes a special man to live up to “in sickness and in health.” Wishing you and your husband the best!

  4. Amy Dixon-Eggebroten

    That’s a beautiful story and inspires people to keep the circle of love going!

    • Valen Keefer

      Hi Amy,
      Thank you! We are lucky to be surrounded by so much love.

  5. Wendy

    What an amazing story! You and Noah are the epitome of happiness. Valen, my husband and I have 3 boys. Our last son Cody, who had to have open heart surgery at the age of 7 and then had a pacemaker placed in his abdomen only 1 year after my transplant. Was born on 8-27-2003! This date is indeed special!
    Congratulations again and keep doing what you do.

    • Valen Keefer

      Hi Wendy,
      Thank you so much! Another special commonality we share. Love to you and your dear family.

  6. Trinity Keefer

    Uhhhh I have chills!! Thanks for sharing Frister!!! and HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY Anniversary!

    • Valen Keefer

      Trinity…Frissster! Thank you! Big hugs!!!


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