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
It has occurred to me a few times that Julie and I come from a tremendous legacy of long marriages.
Both of my sets of grandparents celebrated 55 years of marriage before my grandfathers passed away. Until last week, all four of Julie’s grandparents were still living…and both sets were approaching 65 years of marriage. My parents…nearly 21 years before my dad passed away when I was 12. Julie’s parents…more than 35 years and going strong. Julie and I will hit 13 years in August. We are in really good company…and proof that marriage not only CAN work…it can work well.
Not all of those 300+ years of marriage were easy ones. Just speaking from my own experience, somewhere around years 7-9 were tough for Julie and I…mainly as a result of me working through some anger issues in my life. But during those rough times, Julie and I never considered bailing on the marriage. Our commitment to each other from the beginning was that our marriage is for life. That is the way that God designed it…I’m not going to argue with him about it. I committed that as long as Julie and I were alive, we are together. That commitment was to her, but more importantly, that commitment was made to God at our wedding. He is the one who prepared each of us for the other.
And what we have seen is that our relationship with each other just continues to grow stronger. The rough times have actually helped our relationship to deepen. No doubt that the rough times were not fun…they definitely were not. But without the conflict, our relationship would not be as strong as it is.
Here is part two of my interview with Wally Mead. This section is a bit shorter than the first one…in the flow of the questions this just seemed like the best place to break it up. I plan to post the third and final part of the interview next Tuesday, so be sure to check back for the final ten minutes.
My plan is to do some more of these personal type interviews, so I posed a question yesterday…who would you like to see interviewed? Joey started off a fantastic list of people. (He also emailed me offline saying that he would be impressed if I got his whole list…heck…I’ll be impressed if I get half of his list! Although I do already have one of those lined up!) I’d love to hear from you who you would like to know more about. So…go to the post and leave a comment voting for who you would like. If the person is already mentioned, feel free to throw in another vote for them.
But…without further rambling by me…heeeeeeeerree’sss Wally!
Julie saw a shirt recently that read “When the belly button pops, you’re done!” I was highly amused.
Anyway, last night as we were going to bed, I reached over and had my hand on Julie’s belly…she has a little “bump” which is how I’ve been referring to the baby…”bump”. It just so happened that the way my hand was positioned, the tip of my middle finger was on her belly button. Then she coughed…and I felt the belly button pop out. She coughed again, and it popped out again. I started laughing, but she had no idea why. Once I told her, we both were dying laughing. We laughed so hard that we both ended up going into coughing fits after a few minutes.
It was so nice being able to laugh with her. That is the first time we have laughed together in the last couple of months because of the morning sickness. It was fun seeing her laughing and enjoying something related to this pregnancy!
I know that eventually this pregnancy will be fun. I know that I will love this child more than my own life. I know that I will cry at his/her birth and be amazed at each new little thing that happens with this baby.
Right now this pregnancy just isn’t very fun at all. Julie is in the midst of another “bad day” (morning sickness). Some days are good. She is functional on those days. Some days she is almost normal. This is not one of those days. She is sick. She barely feels like moving at all. Taking care of our five year old involves moving. Thankfully I am able to work from home, which I am doing today. But then…if you read yesterday’s post, I’m not feeling all that great myself.
But really…how I feel is nothing compared to how bad Julie is feeling. We would still very much appreciate your prayers.
When I found out last week that my cousin Carrie had died, I assumed that I wasn’t going to be able to afford to go. My first looking at flights seemed to confirm that…they started at $640 and went up sharply from there. NO way I could afford that on my missionary salary! Then I came across flights from Sanford FL (just north of Orlando) to Wichita through Allegiant Airlines. Total cost of my flight was $96…and no…I didn’t leave off a number…it was under $100.
I spent a lot of time with my Aunt and her family. Got to spend time with my cousin Robert (Carrie’s brother) and Robert’s wife Karoline who I’ve never had the opportunity to really talk with. I really enjoyed spending time with them. My aunt asked me to speak at Carrie’s memorial service. That was truly an honor. I was happy to do so.
Robert and Karoline had just gotten there. Robert was playing bass guitar for a punk/hardcore/thrash band that was in the midst of a tour of Europe when he got the call (honestly not sure if that link is the band he was touring with…he plays with a few bands). Karoline spent twelve hours getting in touch with him and getting him a flight back home.
Robert and I have joked (sort of joked…partially serious) about applying for The Amazing Race. We are opposite on almost everything you can imagine. Politics, religion, height, appearance, vocational choice, amount of body art, diet…name it…we are probably opposite. I have to imagine the producers would at least consider us…they would be expecting big fights which would make for great “reality TV”. Funny thing is that we get along really well.
Just received a comment from Jon at Geek Stuff referencing my Why I Do Not Want a Mac post as well as the comments left by “max”. It prompted me to read the post on Jon’s blog that the comment came from. Wow…what a well written post. Thanks Jon.
Definitely saw a spike in hits and comments from my two Mac posts yesterday. In particular I apparently got under the skin of “max”. He first responded to the post on Why I Do Not Want a Mac…a post where my reasoning was because of how some Mac fanatics treat PC users with disdain. It wasn’t an attack on the technology or on Mac users…it simply stated a truth about the way that some Mac people treat PC users. Max then proceeded to comment on quite a few other posts…
Well, max, you did a great job of being an example of the Mac fanatic. You attacked PC Users, the fact that I go to church, my sofa, my gun ownership, my Peyton Manning post, the fact that I desire to protect my wife, my sense of humor, my sense of humor again, the fact that I enjoy hunting, and you defended a guy who cared more about his DVD player than his child. You did such a great job, that I have to wonder if you are just trying to bait me into attacking back. Sorry bud…even if you treat me with disdain, I will treat you with respect. I’m not perfect in this regard, but my desire is to treat people in a loving manner regardless of how they treat me. Why? Short answer…because you are worth being treated with respect. Long answer…I’ll refer you again to the C.S. Lewis essay from my original post.
I’m not really sure why you felt the need to post so many comments on my blog, but honestly I welcome your comments. I’m more than willing to have a dialog with you…just use my contact page with a real email address. Somehow I doubt you’ll take me up on that, but the invitation stands. Regardless…I hope you have a really good day today.
Last Friday night Julie and I were out at an outdoor mall area in Orlando. On one of our stops I stayed in the car while Julie went into a store. I was people watching while she was inside. In particular I was noting a bunch of teenage kids who were all over the sidewalk. A bunch of them were being goofy and acting weird. A few were intentionally getting in people’s way…harassing them. At that point it occurred to me that Julie was going to have to walk through the middle of them to get back to the car. I had no sooner thought that, when I saw Julie coming my direction. I turned the key off and had my hand on the door handle watching to see what was going to happen…ready to jump out to her rescue if needed. Thankfully they ignored her as she walked by.
When she got in the car, I let her know what had been going on, and what I had been prepared to do. She told me that her whole life before meeting me she had always wanted the guys she dated to be willing to defend her…to fight for her if necessary. She didn’t want them to have to fight…she just wanted to know that they would. She wanted to know that she was valuable enough to be fought for.
Julie…you are very deeply loved. Yes, you are very valuable to me. Yes, I will defend you. Yes, I will fight for you if necessary. I’m glad it wasn’t necessary last week. But know this…your husband was and is ready to do battle for you.
My church has a men’s group that meets at 6am once a week. We are going through Men’s Fraternity material. We have a thousand men that show up every week. Today was our last meeting til January, so I took my camera. First pic is taken from up front. The guy standing to the right is our pastor. The second pic is of my table…Table 41. I forgot to take it before the meeting started, so one guy who has to leave early ever week isn’t in the shot. Maybe I’ll photoshop him in later.
As a group we have been growing and helping each other process the next steps that we need to take to be the men that God has called us to be.
A verse that some of us have been quoting to each other is 1 Corinthians 16:13-14: “Be watchful. Stand firm in the faith. Act like men. Be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.” This verse has a great combination of wariness of the temptation to sin around us, exhortations to be the man God has called us to be, along with the reminder that in the midst of being that man…it is to be done in the context of love. Watchfulness, firmness, manhood, strength…all noble goals…but not complete without a backdrop of love. We have come to refer to that verse as the “Maximus Verse”. Picture Maximus from the movie Gladiator quoting that verse…specifically when he is on the floor of the coliseum confronting Commodus…strength under control defined.
Tonight I went to an event at my daughter’s school. I can’t say it was the highlight of my week, but it was pretty funny. They had a local guy named Mr. Richard there. Mr. Richard is pretty popular around Orlando. He reads to kids, plays guitar, sings. He is pretty amusing. It was really amazing to see the kids and parents responding to him. My wife refers to them as “Mr. Richard groupies.” He has several videos on YouTube. That will give you an idea of what he is like. Honestly…the kids love him.
Well…sitting a few rows in front of us was the dad of one of the other kids. He was sitting next to his wife and had brought his portable DVD player to watch what appeared to be a stand up comic. Why did he even bother coming?
For my wife and I, there are a couple of months where the 26th day of the month is special…her birthday and our anniversary both fall on the 26th day of different months. I decided to start doing something special on the 26th of every month…writing a love letter to Julie. Not digital…on paper.
I bought a Moleskine notebook specifically for this purpose. Starting on Julie’s birthday, I wrote her a love letter…front and back of one page. I set a recurring task in Outlook to remind me on the 22nd of each month to start thinking about the letter. Each month I write another letter in the book, and on the 26th, I put it somewhere where she will find it as she goes about her day. There are 240 pages in the book. 12 months per year. 1 page per letter. That’s 20 years worth of letters. We will be celebrating 32 years of marriage that year. I’ll buy another book at that point.
One of the cool things about this process has been that it forces me to slow down, sit down, and think about how to express the love I have for Julie. Let’s face it…as guys, we tend to default to grunts as communication tools. Surprisingly, women don’t tend to respond positively to grunts. The letter gives me the opportunity to think not only of what I love about Julie…but also how to express it. I know that Julie has enjoyed the letters, but honestly I think I have benefited more from them than she has…it has caused me to be a better husband.
I forget exactly where I first got this idea, but it has been a great experience. Today being the 24th of the month, I sat down this morning and wrote the letter that I get to deliver on Friday. It may have been my best work yet. I’m looking forward to blessing her with it!
This week I’m in Pennsylvania. Our daughters stayed with Julie’s parents while we were at a conference in Colorado. In flying back to pick them up, it was tremendously cheaper for us to fly into Philly and get a rental car than to fly directly to central PA. We ended up getting a nice upgrade car to a Dodge Charger. I just found out that it has Sirius satellite radio and was flipping through the channels to see what was available.
While flipping through I came across a few people talking. One was talking about a rough childhood and how it has affected him on into his adulthood. The others on the radio with him were acknowledging that all that he said was true…but at the same time giving him a hard time about it.
This guy sounded distrustful of people. He admitted to being terrified. He reflected back to when he started on the radio in Detroit how he would do nothing other than sit in his hotel room between radio shows. He wouldn’t even go out to eat…just get food and go back to his room to eat it. He seemed to be controlled by fear. He seemed to have no freedom from the issues that controlled him.
As I listened more I got intrigued and drawn into this guy’s story. Here is a man who is in such need of Jesus in his life. The healing that Jesus could bring to this man’s life. The freedom that he could experience. The change in his life. The freedom from control. Ability to cope. And if surrounded by a loving community of Christ followers, the environment to grow through his fears over time and be an instrument that God can use to influence the lives of countless people.
As I listened more I realized that this is a man who has done much with his radio show that the Christian community simply cannot approve of. He has in fact been demonized by the Christian community. But regardless of what he has done, this is still a man for whom Jesus himself died. His sins, though many, are in reality no worse than my sins, which are also many. Any sin separates us from God and makes us in need of the saving power of Jesus.
Instead of continuing to demonize this man, let’s pray for him. Pray for him to allow Christians into his circle. Pray for those who are already in his circle to come to truly know Jesus and be able to have an influence in his life. Pray for him to seek after God who promises that if we will draw near to him, that he will draw near to us.
For that matter, undoubtedly you have people in your life with rough edges. People who just aren’t that pleasant to be around. People that annoy you. Who hurt you. Who are offensive. Who are not easy to love. Love them anyway. Care for them. Express concern for them…and not just spiritual concern. They might only listen to the spiritual concern after seeing for a long time that you have true concern for the rest of their lives as well. It could be that it is only through you that they will be able to come to see and know and love the true Lover of their souls…Jesus.
Who is this man whose life started me writing? Some of you may have already guessed. Howard Stern.
Julie and I went hiking yesterday. We climbed Horsetooth Rock just outside of Fort Collins, Colorado. As we were going along the hike we kept thinking of parallels to life as we went along. Here are some of the thoughts we had…
As you go through life, realize that there is a path that God has laid out for you. Stay on the path. You can still travel if you aren’t on the path, but the traveling is much more difficult.
As you go on the path, take time to stop and enjoy the scenery. If you do, you will get some needed rest. You will sometimes be able to see where your path fits in with the world around you. As you see the world around you, you will be able to appreciate both the particular path that you are on as well as the beauty of the world where you are traveling. When you start down the path again, your legs will have a bit more spring in their step.
Sometimes the path you are on can look really rough ahead. If God has called you to that path, don’t be afraid of the path, stay on it. He will pull you through.
As you go along the path, take along a friend. Don’t leave them behind. The path is much more enjoyable when traveled together.
If you slip off the trail, you could have a pretty bad fall ahead of you. If you have your friend with you, they can help to pull you back up.
Try to keep your friends from doing something stupid, or at least if they do, take a picture of it!
As you go down the path, take time to notice the small things…sometimes they are the most beautiful.
Many times as you are traveling along the path, you will not be able to see the end of the path.
You need to keep your eyes on the path and the signposts that God has put in place. They will guide you to your destination.
As you tackle obstacles along the path, take time to celebrate those victories.
There are times on the path to be extra careful and serious.
There are times on the path to have fun and be silly.
As you go along the path, be sure to always lean into the Rock.
When you get to the end of the path (and eventually you will), the view from the top is more amazing than you could have imagined.
Lastly, at all times along the path, be sure to give praise to God who created you and designed your path.
For years I have made the statement…once you get married…your full time job for the rest of your life is to be a student of your spouse. You need to get in their head and heart and know…and I mean KNOW…what makes them tick. You need to learn what speaks to their heart. You also need to learn what injuries they have received from others in the past…whether intentional or unintentional…small or large. Seemingly small things to us could be much bigger to them.
Then…as you are going along…you figure out how to apply that knowledge. What can you do with that knowledge to build into your spouse? On the opposite end, you also need to know what things to stay away from that will cause pain of some form. In doing those things, you will become much more intentional in seeking out how you can best love your spouse.