Wednesday, December 29, 2010

13 Years!!!!!!!

Today is a great day of reflection. 13 years ago about this time of the day I was eating Chinese food with my high school coach who was about to serve as my best man in a few hours. I had gotten to spend the night with one of my great friends, D.B., from college and reflect on some good times. D.B. actually set Christy and me up. I was home from college for the weekend and the phone conversation went something like this…

DB: Ty, you need to come back tonight.

Me: Why?

DB: Just because.

Me: Not a good enough reason, see you Sunday night.

DB: Just do it! It will be worth it, just trust me.

Me: Will you just tell me why already!?

DB: Just take a chance on Chancellor (Christy's maiden name).

Me: What is that supposed to mean?

DB: I was talking to her this last night for a long time and she wants to go out with you.

Me: Me??

DB: Yep. All you have to do is ask.

Me: No way man!

DB: Dude, if you don’t get your “rear” back over here I’m gonna Junior High Johnny your “rear” and ask her for you!!

Yep, that’s how it started. Could it have been any more high school?? And as you know now, I came back.

Then as the time of wedding grew closer, 13 years ago, I did some puking, because of nerves. It’s just something I do. Got that from my old Maysville HS track days. Our relay team just wasn’t ready to run until we had thrown-up our lunch then downed an entire bottle of Pepto together. That gets you ready for game time!

We would actually used intense peer pressure on each other if you hadn’t thrown up yet.

“Come on man, you know if you don’t do this you won’t have a good race. Get it out!!! There you go, now don’t you feel better? Now drink the rest of this bottle of Pepto that we have all drank out of so you can be part of the team. No, those are not Cheetoh floaties in the bottom of the bottle, JUST DRINK IT!!”

My wedding day was not any different. Nerves till I puked, full bottle of Pepto down, I’M READY! SEND HER DOWN THE AISLE!

Anyone who know Christy and I knows we have absolutely nothing in common interest wise. The cliché "opposites attract" could not be any truer. That’s what attracted me to her. Though our interests are very different what we do have in common is we love each other and like the different things about each other. So in 2002 I bought Christy a book called What I Love Most About You. It’s a book with page after page of I love that you [blank]…phrases and if that’s true you put a check mark next to it. I completed the book and then started my own list at the end that the book did not include. Since then I have slowly filled the book with Things I Love About Her from time to time. Today on my 13th wedding anniversary I thought I would share just a few in honor of my still rockin’ awesome wife.

I love your smile. One of the first things I noticed about you…then it was the faded back jeans and ECU Pom jacket. In that order I promise!

I love sharing popcorn with you at the movies. Even if we eat it all before the movie starts.

I love your sense of style. One of the first things that attracted me to you.

I love that you express outrage when someone is treated unfairly.

I love your sense of clothes. Evident by looking at the volume in your closet.

I love how you push me to do things I wouldn’t normally do. I need inspired and encouraged from time to time.

I love your sense of decorum. No way could I make our house look like that!

I love how you put people at ease. That’s why our phone rings at all hours day or night.

I love how you can never decide what shoes to wear. And how could you with so many choices.

I love how you sing along with the radio even when you don’t know the words. Or is it the artist doesn’t know their own words??

I love how you can always pick the perfect gift for a friend.

I love the value you put on family time.

I love your unshakable trust in God. You introduce me to “Just turn it over to Him.”

I also love (remember this list started in 2002)…
Never pass up a chance at Jo’s Pizza, love to talk about friends back at ECU, wetting a hook only if there is a shade tree close, driving around admiring people’s houses, watching you cook new things then laugh when they don’t come out just right, the expression on your face when You’ve Got Mail comes on TV even though you own the movie, how you always want to get rid of the dog but take it back when I offer to do so, sometimes your idea of a goodtime is just stopping by Sonic, you’ll lay awake at night wondering if you hurt someone’s feelings, wanting to get me new clothes when I don’t need them (at least I think I don’t - good shirts should last 8 or 9 years), watching Trading Spaces then thinking we could have done so much better, ticked off because Sonic dropped happy hour, riding around in the Scout and having it break down every time you’re in it, going to Chili's just for chips salsa and water, appreciation of a good pair of socks, how you nibble on baby Winston’s hands when he is sleeping, the love that showed in the tears in your eye’s before Winston went off to surgery, your intense attention to detail at holiday decorating and table settings, that you helped me understand God’s grace, you threw me a 30th surprise birthday party and knew exactly who to invite, the “I need you” look when you are sick, the fun you have with friends and never care who is watching, you willingness to forgive me when I mess up over and over and over, letting Wyatt fall asleep in Daddy’s “spot” when I’m up late working, that you didn’t think I was completely crazy when I felt God calling us to start a church in our home, how we’ve grown closer when the world seems against us, THAT YOU ARE STILL WITH ME AFTER 13 YEARS!

This was by no means the complete list I’ve compiled in this book, just a sample of few I wanted to share with you readers…there are hundreds of other reasons I love my wife and some of my favorites I don’t care to share with you…if you know what I mean ;)

One thing about love though is this. True love with your spouse is when you ask them, “Honey, why do you love me? Is it because of my looks? Is because of the money I don’t have? Is it because I treat you good? Is it because I’m nice? Is because I am colorblind and have no sense of style so you can dress me however you want? Is it because I’m an amazing kisser?”

True love is when they answer “No” to all those question and their answer is “I love you because I love you.”

Happy Anniversary babe!

1997 (Oh my gosh we were young!)

2010 (Dang! She still looks good!)

Friday, December 17, 2010

The middle finger means what????

This week we had an interesting experience when some of our good friends, at our church Christmas party no less, let us know in a humorous manner, to them, that they appreciated Wyatt educating their daughter on the meaning of the middle finger!

“WHAT?!?!”, I gasped sucking down an combination of medium rare steak, broccoli salad, and salsa as it lodged in my throat and I saw my life passing before my eyes thinking, “This is it, I’ll never get to taste that quesadilla cheesecake over there.” (Yes, I like my steak medium rare! That’s how God intended for steak to be eaten! If he wanted it to be eaten well done he would given us cardboard as a food group!)

Once my food was dislodged, I caught my breath and thought, “Wyatt will never get to taste that quesadilla cheesecake over there.” I controlled my anger but I plotted my attack.

On the car ride home after having relished in my Dirty Santa reward of a phone jack, a 90’s model United Way cap, two Harlequin romance novels and some VCR tapes we started gathering all the information from Wyatt’s impromptu education session.

From Wyatt’s story this all took place around a 100 piece Ninja Turtle puzzle which was apparently an important fact in his defense, but I’m still not sure why. Anyway, he claimed that someone broke out the middle finger and, he being the one always looking out for everyone’s best interest, took it upon himself to let everyone working on the 100 piece Ninja Turtle puzzle know that that was not a nice finger to use, which apparently some did not know until he told them. BUT it was someone else that told them all just what it meant. That was his story and trust me, with some slight variations, he stuck to his guns.

We went home later and called his teacher, who’s a friend of ours, to get some facts from an adult. We do know that they were in fact working on a 100 piece Ninja Turtle puzzle – THAT IS NOT IN QUESTION. Who said what, did the informing, educating and degenerating is a little sketchy. But we additionally found out in conversation with Teacher that our baby boy had hurt a little girl’s feelings earlier in the week by calling her a name…UGH, THIS IS NICE TO KNOW!!!!

Christy and I prepared our case and went off to his bedroom to give our closing arguments. Christy gave one of the best gentle speechs, as only a mama can, about using language or gesture that aren’t appropriate and that we really don’t know they mean, how hurtful words can be to other people, how boys are to respect girls and treat them all like princesses, and a final little shot about focusing on school work.

But as I watched our little boy, the one that is going to keep us up at night for the next 20 years, listen to his mom I saw a different side of him…I saw it in his eyes. The longer she talked to him about his actions and their impact the heavier his bottom lids got. Our bullrider/Navy Seal/linebacker/power forward finally couldn’t hold them any longer and the tears rolled out over his cheeks. And for the first time in his young life he wasn’t crying because of his punishment, but crying because he was remorseful. He really saw where he misstepped and felt bad for hurting the people around him. And I’m glad when he felt this overwhelming remorse that the people that love him most on this earth were there to comfort him.

Made me think back to times in my life when God made it clear my actions were having a negative impact on a person or people and I remember my eyes filling with tears until the lids couldn’t hold them back any longer.

Wyatt is very good at throwing out “I’m sorry” in a heartbeat to avoid certain punishment. But remorse, is a totally different feeling than, “I’ve been caught and now the punishment hurts!”

Remorse is not a reaction to punishment; remorse is a reaction to understanding. It’s an important step in our repentance to and reconciliation from God.

And when it’s over, IT’S OVER!! Like Christy and I getting the point across to Wyatt then when the point was made, and he truly saw what he had done, there was remorse and we were there to hold him and let him know it was over. It’s done and we’ve learned, now go on with life because it’s these things that make us who we are.

That’s the God we serve!! We see what we’ve done, we’re remorseful, we’re repentant, we are hurt that we hurt Him and others and then our Father lifts us up on his heavenly knee as only he can and says…“It’s done and I’ve already forgotten about it.”

That’s the God that loved us so much that he sent His son, down from heaven, in the form of a human baby, to this earth, to walk with us, and live with us, and die for us so we would no longer have to carry the guilt of sin we’ve repented and remorsed over and my goodness if we remember anything during this time of year lets remember that!! What a gift!!

Micah 7:18-20 (The Message)
Where is the god who can compare with you—wiping the slate clean of guilt, turning a blind eye, a deaf ear, to the past sins of your purged and precious people? You don't nurse your anger and don't stay angry long, for mercy is your specialty. That's what you love most. And compassion is on its way to us. You'll stamp out our wrongdoing.You'll sink our sins to the bottom of the ocean...

Have a Merry Christmas (a.k.a Jesus Birthday) family, friends and readers. Don’t worry about Wyatt, he’s okay, and yes, I did eat the last piece of leftover quesadilla cheesecake…with no remorse!!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Pearl Harbor and Pecans

A couple weeks ago I took my boys over to spend some time with my grandpa. We didn’t have to look long for some excitement because he already had the day planned. He wanted to take the boys out to watch his friend harvest pecans. His intent was to educate them on the entire process. This of course was after he stuffed us with a variety of his canned creations and a few that weren’t his from people I didn’t even know. But regardless, we tasted them all…even Winston reluctantly took a spoonful of sorghum to put a smile on his face.

Then we we’re off to an area known as Perkin’s Corner. Much to my satisfaction he suggested I drive, though I knew he would critique me over the next 15 miles it was well worth the trade for the getting to go the actual speed limit and just for safety in general. Though I wasn’t sure we could be injured in an accident at his 15mph pace I was reassured of the decision to drive after he showed me, in a boastful laugh, his tracks from the week before where he skidded through his turn off and down into ditch when he, “had one on his tail” after topping the hill.

I think anyone will agree that one of the unique things about my grandpa is the stories! Or maybe it’s the stunts he pulls to create the stories? Either way it comes out to be a good story. If I would have been taking notes that day I’m pretty sure he made a decent good story about a trip he took to the grocery store a few days before.

What I know for sure is there was a place along the way that his voice changed a little bit and he got a little more serious. It was when we crossed the river bridge and he pointed off to the south and he said, “See that hill over yonder where that barn is? About a half miles south of there was a house where I was born. We moved later but my uncle lived on this place. We were over here with a bunch other family in December 1941. I could walk you over there right now and put you within 10 feet of the spot where some of us youngins were playing in a little gulley when it came over the radio that the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. By the time the news got around to us it was about 3 or 4 o’clock. Yep, that’s exactly where I was December the seventh, nineteen and forty one.” Then there was a noticably long pause.

A pause to see the faces of friend lost to the war that erupted next?

A pause thinking of the family he was playing with in that gully that have gone on before him?

A pause just to relive the days of his youth for a moment?

I’ll never know what the long pause was for, but it was significant, because if my grandpa is awake there are no pauses.

In my short life I’d like to think I’ve had those times I’ll share with my grandkids and great grandkids someday.

The place I was standing in “E” section of the Pesagi Dorms at ECU when the Murrah Federal Building in OKC was bombed, but the first reports thought a gas line had ruptured.

The office I occupied at Groendyke Transport in Enid, OK when Christy called me 8 days before our first son Winston was born to let me know the World Trade Center had a plane crash into it.

And vouching for my cousin Jarrod, we could show you the spot of ground on the old abandoned railroad tracks within 10 feet where we were standing the night grandpa had a great idea. Went something like this:

[Persuasive Grandpa] I’m going to put that raccoon we’ve trapped, you see, the slobbering snarling one that’s looking for a chance to chew one of you boys’ extremities off, yeah that one. I’m going to put him in this snare I made out of PVC and baling wire (similar to one of those things you see dog catchers use). Once I’ve got hold of him you two are gonna use your hands to free him of that trap and I’m gonna to put him in that undersized cage that you two boys are going to hold the even more undersized door open on. Got it?

[Loyal grandsons]…….

[Ticked off Coon] Snarling, hiss, spit, snort, growl….

[Persuasive Grandpa] Got it?

[Loyal grandsons] Is there a reason we can’t be on the safe end of the fancy snare you’ve made?

[Persuasive Grandpa] Huh, much to complicated for you two to operate! You ready?

[Ticked off Coon] Snarling, hiss, spit, snort, growl….

[Loyal grandsons] …..…

[Persuasive Grandpa] Good! Here we go!!!!

To finish this story simply and to uphold the integrity of all those involved I will say the snare worked, the cage was too small, the coon got meaner as was expected, but Jarrod and I were brave to the end despite what Grandpa may say! It was very hard to determine just where that coon was going to go each time Grandpa lunged it in the general direction of the cage. Our flashlights in his eyes and screaming should have had no bearing on the aim of such a gifted snare operator! Brave to end I’ll say! Brave to the end.

Someday I hope my boys will remember so vividly the day they laughed at their great grandpa showing his skid marks that trailed off into the ditch.

I hope they remember the day their 80 year old great grandpa outran them to the truck so we could race from tree to tree because he desperately wanted to educate them about every step of a pecan harvest.

And most of all I want my boys to someday recall the day their great grandpa showed them the area of his birth site, told them the Pearl Harbor story, remember the pause and image just what was in it.

Check out this beast!