“Julie, HELP NOW!!!”
Those were my words a half hour ago when I went downstairs to get my three year old son to bring him up for lunch. What I found was my son:
- On top of the clothes dryer
- Squatting in a huge puddle of Downy fabric softener
- Whimpering and asking for help
He had emptied the entire gallon container of Downy (the one I bought yesterday). It was puddled on top of the dryer…running down into the dryer…running down into the washer…puddled on the floor underneath both. It was truly a sight to behold. He smells very fragrant right now. For that matter…the entire house is smelling quite lovely!
Our daughters have been planning for Easter for a week or so. Yesterday they asked us to take them to Target and the dollar store…but did not want my wife or I to go in with them…they were planning something for us for today.
This morning after getting up early and locating their Easter baskets (that crazy Easter Bunny always hides them in odd places)…they came into our bedroom very eager for my wife and I to come out and look for our Easter bags that they had prepared. They were very excited. Very very excited.
After locating my bag (in the coat closet), my eight year old daughter was eager for me to open it. Turns out that she had picked me, and my eleven year old had picked Julie. As I started pulling things out of the bag…more and more kept coming…multiple kinds of candy, a couple of different snack foods, a watch, a basket… It wasn’t until she mentioned using her “Mom-Mom money” that I realized what she had done. She had taken the ten dollars that her great-grandmother had sent her…and taken three more dollars out of her bank to make sure that Daddy had an Easter basket. My eight year old spent thirteen dollars of her own money on me.
Things that will bring a grown man to tears.
Today is my fifteenth wedding anniversary. It’s hard to believe that it has been fifteen fantastic years with Julie. Not that there haven’t been rough times…there have…but you hold on and grow through those times. If you fight FOR your marriage (instead of just fighting) you end up closer in the end. I am glad to have committed to spending the rest of my life with Julie…I’m looking forward to the next 50 years!
On our tenth anniversary I took a song by Steven Curtis Chapman, modified the lyrics and sang it to Julie as an anniversary present. The original song was titled “11-6-64” and was written by SCC for his wife’s birthday. That song was included on SCC’s “All About Love” album which was essentially 16 love songs…most of which he wrote for his wife. I am indebted to him for that album. Until now, only a few family members and friends have seen this song.
8-26-95 the sun shone a whole lot brighter
Than ever it had before, smiling down on me
Around 11 am both hands of time stopped turning
And you came waltzing in, to change my world for good
And you were all that I could see, and when you looked at me
Everything just faded
And I, I know I smiled and prayed
Harder on that day
Cause my whole world was changing on
8-26-95, we both said “I do”
And suddenly living life meant so much more
On the day that we were wed.
And I, I woke up with the dew; I was thinking of you
And all that was transpiring
Well, I, I know the sky was blue
And all the world looked new
Cause everything was changing on
8-26-95, we both said “I do”
And suddenly living life meant so much more
On the day that we were wed
Suddenly living life meant so much more
On the day that we were wed.
Original words and music by Steven Curtis Chapman
Adapted by Jarvis Davis
A few years ago when my grandmother passed away I inherited a little chair that had been in the family for a very long time. It was owned by my Great Great Great Grandfather who died in 1878. My Great Grandfather learned to walk with the chair by turning it upside down and pushing it around the house. Doing so wore down the tops of the legs of the chair at an angle that you can see in the picture to the side.
Sam has been learning to walk lately…matter of fact, he took his first two unassisted steps on Sunday…walking from the coffee table to the chair that Marybeth was sitting in. He’s nine and a half months old. Below is a compilation video of some of the walking with the chair (and a laundry basket) that Sam did when he was eight and a half months old.
Okay…it has been entirely too long since I’ve posted…over two months. Life has been a little crazy, but I finally cleaned up the rest of the Rod Trent interview to prepare it for posting. Hope you enjoy it. Also…I expect to post the next interview within another week or so…it is with Tim Mintner of the Microsoft Deployment product team!
As I promised last week, here is the first of a two part interview with Rod Trent that took place the last night of MMS 2009. I hope to post part 2 sometime next week. Enjoy!
Last Friday night I took my daughters on a little adventure. The park service in Minneapolis sponsors nighttime canoe trips once a month during the full moon. Friday night was the scheduled “Moonlight Canoe” trip. Only trick is that it was overcast and had a light rain. We went anyway. Bundled all of us up and wore raincoats. It was a fun trip that we will definitely do again…hopefully with a visible moon next time.
April 19, 1984…25 years ago. A date that has been one of the primary mileposts in my life. That is the day that my Dad died of cancer. I was twelve. To say that it had an impact on my life would be a massive understatement. To no small extent my identity to that point in my life had been very much tied to being “Sam Davis’s son”. He had been one of my few friends. We hunted and fished together. I worked for him during the summer (he was a plumber, electrician, AC, refrigeration, etc). My relationship with him was very much the foundation of my life.
Then he died. It was early in the morning. It was almost time to wake up to get ready for school. My Mom came to get me saying she needed help…my Dad wasn’t feeling well. We tried to call the local doctor…no answer. It was a small town, so she called the doctor’s dad who lived near the doctor. I don’t remember exact details, but the doctor’s dad showed up at our house to try to help us get my Dad to the doctor. He was already dead by then. The rare cancer (Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome) had finally won. We later heard that the doctor was addicted to something and there was suspicion that he was high at the time. Was there anything he could have done had he been able to get there sooner? Probably not but, we will never know.
When the doctor did show up to pay his respects a few hours later I was sitting outside. I still remember that he drove a Jeep with no top. I remember walking over and seeing a Hall & Oates cassette in the front seat. From that point on, I refused to listen to anything by Hall & Oates.
That morning I remember wanting to get away. To be at the farm…in the woods hunting…for that matter I wanted to be living in the woods. To run away from all that was going on that day. My Mom had the guy who had been working for my Dad, Ellis Nasif, take my brother and I out for a drive so that we wouldn’t be there when the hearse showed up. We went to what seemed like the most natural place in town to go to on that day…the local sporting goods store owned by a friend of my Dad where we had spent a good bit of time. We bought pellets for my pellet gun.
The next few days were all a blur. The funeral, the burial. His pallbearers were the men he had gone elk hunting in Colorado with. One thing that I remember is taking my Dad’s 35mm camera and taking pictures that day. I barely knew how to operate it, but the pictures turned out perfect. I’m still amazed at how those turned out…I never took pictures with that camera again that turned out worth a flip. I wrote a couple of times (here and here) before about the effect that the burial had on me…it was one of the most difficult moments of my life. Perhaps more so than the death had been at that point. Seeing my uncles shovel the dirt into the grave was simply gut wrenching.
Little did I know the effects that this would have on me. I mentioned that my relationship with my Dad had been the foundation of my life. With that foundation gone, there were some significant aspects of my life that crumbled. I retreated into a shell. I spent a lot of time during lunch and recess sitting in a corner on the top row of bleachers in the gym. As far away from people as I could possibly get. I was empty and lonely.
Another result of this was that I started stuttering. It was frustrating and humiliating, and I had no control over it. I hated being asked to read in class…I knew that I couldn’t do it.
People who know me now are likely unaware that I ever stuttered. I haven’t since I was sixteen. I had another life changing experience then. I had been going to church for a couple of years, and had learned bits and pieces of what Christianity was about, and I had recently put it all together…realizing that I had made choices that were contrary to God…choices that caused me to be separated from God. The only solution to that separation was the sacrificial death of Jesus that was the only way to bridge that separation. God freely offered it to me…I just had to accept it.
The church that I was going to had an event called “Youth Week” where all of the activities at the church were run by the teenagers. That Sunday night a guy that I knew in passing at church named Chris Kennedy had the job of preaching the sermon. I don’t remember much of what he said, but what nailed me to my seat was when he talked about how God offers us the opportunity to have a relationship with him that can never be broken. A relationship that nothing can break. I remember him reading a section of the Bible from Romans chapter 8.
I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39 NIV)
Did you catch that? Even death can’t break this bond? The finality of separation that death causes had been unbelievably real to me…I was never going to see my Dad again. The hope that there is a relationship that even death has no power over was a very bright light in the midst of a very dark cave. That night was the first time I let people know that I had made the decision to accept Christ as my Savior. That night I also prayed for God to take away the stuttering problem. Two weeks later I volunteered to speak at a school assembly. I had not stopped stuttering yet. Just before getting up to speak I prayed again…”God, if you don’t come through in a very big way, I’m about to make a fool out of myself.” Moments later I got up and spoke without stuttering, and haven’t had a problem stuttering since. God answered that prayer in a very very big way, and to this day I remind myself before I am speaking publicly that my ability to speak clearly is a gift from God.
One regret I have is how for years I was privately critical of my Dad for one of his failings and didn’t fully appreciate the very good things that he did do. My Dad was not a spiritual leader in our family. My Mom has told me that in the months before he died that he had talked about making that more of a priority, but he didn’t live to see it through. For many years, that failure overshadowed everything else in my memory. I still loved and missed my Dad, but I had lost some respect for him because he didn’t have a positive spiritual influence on our family.
In the last five to ten years I have come to have a better appreciation for what he did do well. Much of who I am today can be traced back to the influence he had on me. The time I spent working for him instilled in me an ability to tackle nearly any problem…there is very little that I will not try to fix myself. He gave me a strong work ethic. He gave me a love for the outdoors that continues to beat strongly. He had started to pass the torch of “manhood” to me before he passed away. I remember hunting with him and field dressing the last deer that he killed (part of the antler is viewable in the picture above). At one point during that, I looked up from my work on the deer and saw him standing there holding the flashlight for me. He was looking with a sense of pride. I look back on that moment as him inviting me into a path towards manhood.
Five months ago, my wife gave birth to our son. We named him Sam in honor of my Dad. I hope to have as positive an impact on the lives of my children as my Dad had on mine.
The pain has lessened over the last 25 years. For a long time, I dreaded April 19th every year. This is the first year in a while that I have done any serious reflecting on that day. I still love and miss my Dad. I wish he could have met my wife and kids. I wish they could have known him.
Tonight I had the honor of baptizing my six year old daughter. She has been asking spiritual questions for a few years now, and my wife has been doing a great job of answering them at my daughter’s level of understanding. About two years ago (when she was four) is when she first clearly understood the meaning of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection…that is when she chose to accept His payment for her sins. We have been amazed at her level of understanding of spiritual things and the way she is able to articulate spiritual truths.
The video below is from her baptism tonight. It took place at the church we have been attending in Minnesota, The Church of the Open Door. It was a really neat experience for both of us. Most of our words that we spoke are pretty clear, but I have transcribed them below so that all of the words can be understood.
Marybeth’s initial statement:
At Florida, my teachers at Sunday School told me Jesus died on the cross to get rid of our sins. And then I started thinking about him, worshipping him, then we got together.
My statement before baptizing her:
In case you can’t tell, she’s a little bit excited about this.
Marybeth, it has been a joy for me to watch you grow both physically and spiritually. I am so glad that when you learned about what Jesus did for you that you chose to accept his payment for your sins. You are not just my daughter…you are also my sister in Christ.
And now, because you have acknowledged Jesus as your Savior and want to obey His command to be baptized, it is my honor and pleasure to baptize you in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
It was the pastor who made the statement at the end, "Is she for rent."
Spring has arrived in Minnesota. Matter of fact, last Saturday my family got to watch it arrive in a really dramatic way. We went for a short hike in Henry’s Woods near Rogers. This is land that was given to Hassan Township by the Henry family for use as a park.
As we were hiking along, we were walking up the side of a frozen over streambed. As we were coming up on a bend in the stream, we saw water flowing down. This water was slowly making it’s way downstream, melting its way through the streambed. We followed it downstream for probably an hour just watching it slowly meander around the bends until it connected with another melted area at the far end of the property just before it went under the road. It was really fascinating watching this happen. When we first saw it, I didn’t have my digital camera to take any decent quality pictures or video…just my cell phone. I raced home to grab my camera and head back to get some good pictures and video. Here is a video of what we saw…
I’ve had a few friends ask to see more pictures of Sam, so I finally sat down last night and picked out a few new ones to post.
This blue sweater was hand knitted by our CEO’s wife…thanks Marty!
Little dude had his eyes on the prize when Julie pulled out the chocolate I gave her on Valentine’s Day!
“I’m thinking very very hard right now.”
“MB loves me…can you tell?”
“So does Laurel.”
“Mommy loves me too.”
“And Daddy likes my hugs. Hey…what’s not to love?”
Marybeth enjoys reading to Sam. He will sit there totally enthralled as long as she keeps reading.
“I didn’t so much enjoy hiking until Mommy let me inside her jacket.”
“I was very tired.”
Going back to my previous post about how I enjoy macro photography, I have really enjoyed taking some close up pictures of my son. Typically have better results with it when he is sleeping. Here are a few of my better ones from this week.