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Friday, December 31, 2010

Relationships from God

Ah yes, a Friday off to celebrate the New Year.  Nothing like being able to lay in bed and know that you do not have to get up!  Ginger and I went over last night to her parents house and watched Christmas Vacation.  Gotta love it.  We had a moment of reflection last night with her parents, of the very first time they met me.  I told them it was alot different now, I wasn't nervous!  It is a wonder that I ate anything that night! 

But you can imagine that they wanted to meet me.  All they'd heard was from Ginger.  They knew she was crazy about me but who is the guy, 10 years older than our daughter, a recovering addict/alcoholic, in a completely different social bracket, that our daughter adores.  I mean lets be honest, shall we.  How many red flags you see going off there?  Doesn't have a full time job, works at a ministry, lives in a dorm, and has a $1.00 car (which he loved though it looked the part).  And meets her at a recovery group.  And there daughter is going with this guy to Starbucks where they sit for hours and just talk!  Really!  really?  Okay, we need to meet this guy.  They'd seen some pictures, I'm sure, I believe I was called a hottie at one point (first time in my life), but I can imagine all the thoughts going through her Mom and Dad's head.  Yep, red flags abound.

So in I walk, and I can just imagine (I have an active imagination) how they must have felt, that first impression.  Relatively quiet, respectful, and clean cut, I wasn't the picture of someone who'd been ravaged by years of addiction.  In fact, for the most part, I looked normal.  I get that alot.  People hear my testimony and think I'm talking about someone else.  Which is good.  It shows the change only God could have made.  There were questions they had and I believe, if I'm not mistaken, they'd done a background check on me.  Hey, I would have too.  This was their youngest daughter, the baby, and they want to protect their baby.  She'd had a rough set of years stablizing from bipolar/anxiety, they'd taken care of her through those years, they weren't going to just pass the baton of that care to anyone.  Later on, when they found out it took 5 months for me to kiss Ginger, well, you can imagine the relief!  We really were talking at Starbucks!  And when they found we were waiting till our wedding night (I don't really have to expound here do I!), well, the red flags fell away.

As they got to know me, however, they heard my heart.  Get around anyone long enough and you find out who someone really is.  Even con artists, if your around them long enough, show their true colors.  The proof is in the actions of a person's life.  One thing they realized, early on, is that I loved God.  God had done so much in my life, it was not hard to see the thankfulness I had in my loving Savior.  The other thing they saw is how much I adored Ginger.  I respected her, cherished her, and I wasn't trying to take advantage of her.  They saw something of value in me, not so much materialistically but inside.  Just like God did when I came to Him.  Talk about them modeling a love and acceptance that only God could have put in their heart.  I had to earn their trust through my actions, how I treated their daughter, the family, my life.  And they've seen some amazing things in the process, me too for that matter.

I'll never forget that Sunday Ginger and I were laying on the couch watching TV when they came in and her Mom said we should go look at this apartment Ginger had been told about by Amanda.  I'm going to be perfectly honest, I didn't think we had a shot at it.  What does my Dad say, don't limit God.  Well, her Mom coaxed us off the couch, we called what would be our future landlords, and went to see the apartment.  We fell in love with it.  I mean, if you want to know what my dream place would look like, what I'd always wanted, well, our home is it.  We walked around the place, her parents asking questions, Ginger and I in awe, and I kept thinking, Really God?  I asked a couple of close friends and family to pray about it, we filled out the application, and we waited on God.  Yes, we waited on God, because that was the only way it was going to happen I believed.  Funny, God used her Mom to convince us to go see it, someone who opened herself up to trusting God about me and then God spoke to our landlords to give this young couple a chance as well.  in other words, her Mom and Dad believed in me and what God had done and it was getting played forward yet again.  Needless to say, I'll never forget that call that we got the apartment.  At the time I was working on 20 acres of land and I believe I was jumping and praising God, and the squirrels and birds were looking at me like I was nuts.  God had once again shown that with Him anything is possible!

So last night, her Dad says I'm family, not just a visitor like back then.  I'm family.  In fact, both our families love each other and it is one big family.  So the point of this blog (sometimes I don't know I just write as God leads me) is that God is a God of redemption and restoration.  As I sit, looking around our living room, a thankfulness abounds for the relationships in my life and how God has orchastrated each one in my life and shown me a glimpse of Himself in each one.  Ginger, from the onset, knew there was something special about me and never let go, trusting in God.  My parents, through all they'd been through with me, saw a change, something was different.  Her parents trusted God and Ginger and grew to love me as a son.  Our landlords, and though they are that we consider them more along the lines of friends and family than landlords, modeled what it is to listen to God and give us a chance.  All these people gave someone who the world would have thrown away as damaged something that will be cherished forever.   I will say this, my Mom and Dad never gave up on God and to hear and see the joy and thankfulness in their voice and on their faces, well, that is priceless.  God never gave up on me. 

As I look and reflect, it is relationships that are most important.  Things come and go, but it is the people in your life, you know the one's I'm talking about, that are most important.  There is lots of laughter here in this apartment, and love.  We are celebrating life.  Go to my parents house, or Ginger's parents and there is the same thing.  And during struggles, and decisions, and tough times we come together to help each other.  That is Christian love and unity.  We are all unique in our own way but we unite in one common thing, we love God and it shows as we love each other.  

A thankful baa....

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Two encounters with God

On Monday night God put two people in my path at Celebrate Recovery.  These were not chance encounter's, or circumstances of fate, God's hand was directly involved with both.  Not that I can really explain the concept other than you know, deep in your heart, that right here, right now, is where God has placed you.

We'll call the first man Chuck, not his real name.  Chuck is where I was when I first moved to Tyler, starting a new life.  Where I became involved with a ministry, he has too, a ministry for recovering addicts.  Trying to fit into the new environment and the struggles that are involved with such, I had the pleasure of leading the newcomer's that night and he was one of the men.  I can tell the addicts who've walked the path I have.  We are quiet, looking around, keeping to ourselves, trying to get the "lay of the land".  Chuck listened to me as I stepped through the scripts and the group and we talked afterwards.  And I began sharing his story.  Oh, it was mine, but I saw the first glimmer in his eyes of hope, someone who understands.  As I began to share what he was going through, the first smile came.  "Exactly" Chuck said.  I told him I hoped he came back and I'd be praying for him.  Well he came back, and I went to greet him.  Chuck got a big smile on his face, gave me a big hug and said he had felt my prayers.  You see, Chuck didn't feel alone.  Out in the vast universe of billions of people, God had put a person who had walked a path similar to his in his path.  So then we get to this week and Chuck is talking about the ministry, his struggles, and decisions coming up.  And the Lord speaks.  Honestly, it's not me, it's God.  Because as I spoke, he kept saying over and over I was confirming things God was telling him.  Not only that, but I began speaking things that he was feeling in his heart, things I'd experienced, and things that at that time God pulled into my mind to share.  I'm not foolish enough to think that all that came from me, that I'm some great counselor.  I'm a vessel, and God uses vessels that are willing.
God is the Great Counselor.  I'm a big believer in being a humble servant.  Trust me, my pride is a monster and it can ravage my life if I let it.  To God be the glory, I just love watching as God does His thing. 

So the second man, we'll call him George.  Where do I get these names?  Anyway, George is at the ministry I was formerly at.  He has begun coming to CR each Monday and he is getting a lot of flack over the issue.  Welcome to my world, I said.  He was there when I was, I was there first and I watched him grow and he watched me grow.  He said people were talking about him, questioning his choices as he follows the path that God has laid before him and it is hard.  We talked a bit and then, in love, something pops into my head (from the Lord, all God here) and I said, you've got to break your dependence upon the ministry and place your dependence on God.  He looked at me, a smile comes to his face, and he says, thank you for the truth brother.  Yes, true friends tell you things you may not want to hear, but tell you things in love.  I eleborated with him though.  It was a lesson that I had to be taught as well because I was dependent on them to.  If I'd of had my way, because I was comfortable, I'd of stayed a lot longer out of dependence because I was scared of the unknown.  Yep, me.  I mean, I had a place to stay, I was safe, and I was miserable because my beliefs were constantly questioned and my choice of ministries to participate in (CR) was questioned constantly. 

Well, I was able to tell George about what God has done since I left.  My God loving wife, our beautiful apartment,  the $1 car I first got, then the $1200 one I have now, the job, our church, our ministry.  All of these, all of them were from God and He placed those people and things in my life, in His time and made sure I knew they were from Him, that I didn't magically do something to get them.  My miracles I call them.  All of this because I place my dependence upon God and trust that He will provide.  Do I get everything I want?  Thankfully not.  God knows best. 

Two places in my life I got a glimpse, a checkup if you will, of how far God has brought me.  It was awe inspiring to see how God had worked in my life.  From the beginning of my journey in Tyler and then the beginning of my journey into the great unknown.  It brought such a thankfulness to my heart for what God has done for me, but also to see others and how God has them on their journey and I get to witness it.  God is awesome.  I'm not sure who got more out of our encounters, them or me.  God spoke to them, this I believe, but He also spoke to me, I've got you, your in My Hands and I'll continue to walk with you and care for you as you depend on Me and trust in Me.  Can you think of a safer place to be than in God's hands....


Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Blog

Christmas has finally made it, and we actually got a cold and blustery Christmas, though no snow.  Now my parents, they got snow, like 10 inches worth.  This has been a magical Christmas for Ginger and I on several accounts. 

The first is obvious, the birth of our Savior.  We have always kept this at the forefront of our minds and have not let the materialistic flair of the world get us so enraptured that we forget why we celebrate this holiday in the first place.  (yes, I came up with that all on my own).  Yes, presents are nice and we love being around family and eating too much, etc., but let us remember that CHRIST is in Christmas, and is at the front of Christmas.  We had a wonderful service at church last night, the start of one of Ginger and I's own traditions.

We have been able to capture the magic of Christmas from our parents house into our own home.  Mind you, this is no small feat.  It is not something you can just create.  You can buy the tree, the ornaments, a bunch of presents, and lots of food, and still not have the spirit that is prevalent in the homes of our wonderful parents.  It is born of love for each other and more importantly of God, who knitted our family together.  When God brings two people together there is an evidence that is intangible and as we walk towards God, He brings us together and gives us moments, like these, that we cherish.  It's not about how big the tree is (remember Charlie Brown's tree?), how much you spend on presents, or even how many lights you have.  The magic is made by God, the fruit of the Spirit, the joy and peace and love that we have in our wonderful home. 

As far as presents, we had more fun giving presents to each other than receiving.  Watching the sparkle in Ginger's eye as she opened her gifts, well, that was a gift in itself.  It wasn't the amount that the gift was, it was the love that went into giving the gift.  And Jesus, mind you, gave us the ultimate gift, salvation.  And I have to think that He gets such great joy when we get it, and receive that gift.  Salvation first, the second greatest gift I have received is my beautiful wife.  Yes, I dote on her ALOT.  I make no apologies, I love her so dearly and I get to see my gift each Christmas. 

It was fun to go over to see family, and have dinner, and be with everyone.  In the end, we wanted to come back to our own piece of Christmas and spend it together.  The lights shining, the smell of our noble fir prevailing in the apartment, we just enjoy the time we get to spend with each other celebrating this union that God has made.  It is a Christmas to remember, one in which we give thanks to God for so many things. 

I hope each of you had a wonderful Christmas,

A peaceful baa.......

Friday, December 24, 2010

When the Past collides with the Present

Well, it has been a whirlwind of a week, for me it has been all about work, and Ginger, God bless her soul, took care of all the Christmas cards and gifts for everyone.  She actually enjoys it.  I'm so thankful.  As my family how sporadic my cards are, I'll admit I'm terrible at it, but God gave me a wonderful help mate.

So I had to deal with a little issue in my own heart this week.  As most know who read this blog, I am involved with Celebrate Recovery.  It is my safe haven, my sanctuary, where I go and relax around people who have issues and struggles like I did and accept me as I am.  Well, I found out this Monday we have someone new doing the worship service next Monday only.  Kelly, the guitar player is a wonderful friend of mine and one of the most amazing guitar players to ever play.  It is his band.  Well, two of the people, I learned, are part of the ministry I graduated from and left to come to CR.  Two people who at the time had very different belief systems about how alcoholics and addicts find healing.  It's the one step vs. the twelve step argument.  God heals, takes away the craving, and you are healed is the one step philosophy.  I've had people get verbally abusive trying to argue this point to me.  Funny thing is, I didn't argue the point, God does heal and you don't necessarily need a 12 step group to heal.  You do need a support group (church) and people who understand what you are going through (accountability partners), but CR is by no way the only way to get healed, but it is one way (I'm living proof).  I have found lasting recovery through Christ and He has used CR as the tool to help me in my path.

The whole experience was a battleground for me, and I found my solice when I'd go to CR every week.  I'm thankful for the experience, it solidified my belief's, I learned what NOT to do in ministry and even a few things to do.  I learned about myself and became a stronger Christian as I had to shall we say, defend my faith.  And that is in the past.  But sometimes, as does happen from time to time, past collides with present, and these two people are coming into the place I call sanctuary.  And some old feelings began to surface, old resentments and bitterness that I really wasn't aware were in my heart.  In the past I'd of held on to this, or tried to push it down, but a phone call from one of my closest friends, Aaron, helped me to work through the issue.  He validated my feelings, they were very real and even some justified, and he allowed me to get all the junk out.  But it didn't stop there.  We began to work through it.  You see, Aaron was there with me and knows and the circumstances that led to him leaving the ministry were the start of this resentment for me.  (Yeah, do you think it is coincidence that I struggled with this and he called me this week?)  I began at that time to really see the facade and led me to solidify that I absolutely hate therapeutic community environments (peer pressure is the main tool).  It is about who you know, not your walk as a Christian, and if you can play the game (and I was good) you'll go far.   I was a favorite of one of the staff members, Aaron was not.  I was protected, he was not.  And I watched my friend have to leave, knowing his heart, and the person who provoked him, knowing his heart, and watching what I felt was an injustice take place.  But Aaron helped me.  Paul, I wasn't done.  And he wasn't.  He went out and used again, though I am happy to report that on December 31st, it will be 2 years for him!  And in the end, God has used both of our lives in miraculous ways, me with CR, him with Teen Challenge.  And then, as the light bulb went off that God was in control then and is in control now, I realized that God really knows what He is doing.  I had an issue presented to me, found I had some issues with it, worked through the issues, and now I'm at peace.  I've done some talking with God, and I've talked with my wife about it, in other words, I didn't hide it, or not deal with it, I felt what I needed to feel (anger, sadness, disappointment) and yet let God have control and confess what I needed to confess.  And now, I can honestly go Monday and enjoy CR and worship, because God has them there for a purpose, and since I'm not God (be very thankful...) I'm not in the know on this one.  However, if only for helping me with my heart this week, worth it enough for me.  Resentments and bitterness are poison, and I have too many people in my life who love me for me.  Not for what I can do for them, or for who I know, or even for what I have.  They love me, quirks and all.  If someone doesn't like me for who I am, I don't need them, because this is how God made me and if you don't like how I am, my opinion, take it up with God, He is the Creator.  Trust me, I tried playing creator with my life, and, excuse the bluntness, I suck at it.  So I'm going to let God be God and trust He knows what He is doing...


No problems with bass so far this week...

I'll do my Christmas Blog tomorrow ya'll! 

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Simple Life

Yes, another post.  Two in two days.  Yesterday was a good day.  Except for the traffic.  Yeesh, people must take an extra dose of nutty juice before they get behind the wheel during Christmas.  Forget about the joy of giving, holiday cheer, etc., people are on a mission to go get their gifts and come hell or high water, they are going to get them!  So for me it's like a military excursion, get in and get out.  I usually have a plan, plan my route for the least traffic, including time, and just get it done.

It was funny, last night my neighbor below was having a rocking good time.  Ginger and I were laying on the couch guessing which songs he was playing!  I believe the Cranberries came on at one point.  I opened the front door and wow, you'd of thought we were having a house party!  Lots of bass.  I have my laptop set up in the living room so I just put on some music for us and we danced for a little bit, then retired to the other part of the apartment.  We put on the House of Hair, which was playing Christmas Music, metal style.  You have to laugh, Rob Halford doing We Three Kings is hilarious.  But hey, welcome to our simple life.  Ginger tolerates my music to a point, my indulgence is Saturday nights at 9 with Dee Snyder and the House of Hair (get in, sit down, shut up and hold on...this is the house of hair!).  I don't listen to all three hours, just some music I can bang my head to a little bit and Ginger can get a good laugh.  She thinks it's cute.

But that is what I want to talk about today, the simple life.  Neither of us have a smartphone, we don't have cable, I don't do alot of surfing on the web, and we don't have a gaming system, though word is Santa may be bringing a Wii to us, which is acceptable because Ginger and I can play some G rated games together.  And we love this simple life.  You walk into our apartment and your transported back to a simple time.  We don't have electronic pictures, we have pictures and picture frames up, we have our real tree with our decorations up, and our wonderful, oversized couch in which we can curl up next to each other on.  We don't try to keep up with the Jones', we walk through the door and we are in our own little world apart from the chaos outside.  The downside for the lack of latest technology in our house?  None really.  The world is living in such a fast pace environment where everything is about doing it faster and quicker.  The problem is, relationships are quickly becoming digital, or people are checking out from others as they eat up their time on gadgets.  Not that the gadgets are wrong.  Email and texting allow me to talk to my parents alot more.

Not that I'm against cable, or gadgets, I'm not by any stretch.  But when they increasingly take the time away from those things that are really important, namely God and my wife in my case, then the case must be made that you must decide what is really important.  And maybe I have an advantage in that area, having had lost everything before God slowly building my life back up.  When you lose everything you find what it is that is really important.  The first thing God gave me back was my relationship with Him.  Never know how important that is until you walk away from Him and try to live this life without Him.  You try to fill a void that just isn't fillable without Him.  The second thing He gave me back was my parents.  Realize God, nor my parents walked away from me, I walked away from them.   I had to learn, yes learn, to love people again.  Not earn their love, but be willing to be loved, and love in the process, unconditionally.  Then I began a process of learning how to serve God out of love and not duty.  Still learning that process, but it is getting easier.  God gave me things along the way, a car for $1.00, a stereo, little things to most, huge to me. My relationship with my brother came and He gave me friends and then my best friend, Ginger.  All along the way He taught me about providing for me daily.  Then a wonderful apartment that my lovely bride and I could live in, a better car, and a better job.   How God outfitted our apartment was truly miraculous, a beautiful almost antique bed, a wedding gift couch from my parents, etc.  All along the way, Ginger and I were thankful and thanked the Lord for what He provided.  A big TV from a friend at CR, a stereo from her Dad.  We could have been ungrateful, or wanted the latest technology, but we were thankful.  God provided these things.  And we learned not to fill our time with stuff, or things, but to spend time with each other and talk.  We learned how to live in the apartment and do things separate (like me drawing and Ginger reading) but not checking out from each other.   What I've learned in this process that it is relationships that are most important to me now.  You see, things come and go.  What is the adage, the Lord gives and takes away.  And yet the apostle Paul said to be content in all things.  Again, lest you think I'm anti technology, or against being rich, that is not the point I'm taking.  All that is well and good as long as you keep it in perspective.  Can you go to a TV for last comfort?  Or a laptop?  Maybe for temporary checking out, but when life is a struggle having relationships that can encourage you, strengthen you, and help you are important. 

Our happiness is from God and is a direct result of spending time with God, whether alone or working in ministry together, and with each other.  There is not a TV show, football show, or even event that is more important than my wife.  We enjoy many of those things together, but if she needs me and there is a conflict, she wins every time, and that includes CR.  I love CR, but as one of the summit leaders said, if CR goes away in my life I want my wife there with me.  If I've sacrificed ministry for my wife, then the ministry goes away, then what do I have left?  That is why the relationships you cultivate are so important in my eyes.  And wouldn't you know it this last paragraph had Ginger and I talking about those things that are important to us this Christmas.  God and family.  I'm going to miss my parents but God had other plans this Christmas, it'll make our next reunion that much more special.  So as you go through this week leading up to Christmas make sure to take time to reflect on what is most important in your life....


Saturday, December 18, 2010

Lessons from a Traffic Jam

So last night I'm on my way home from work in Longview. For those familiar with the area, I take I20 for about an 18 mile stretch. Well, about 7 miles into the stretch the traffic slows to a grinding halt. This is the first time it has happened since I've worked my new job, so I knew odds were I'd get stuck in traffic one day. Well, we are stopping, 5mph, stopping, you know the drill. I'm pretty patient, so I text Ginger to let her know I'll be late. Well, I see an exit come up and I figure I can make it to another road, 31, and make it home faster. I get off and follow a couple of rigs thinking they are going the same way. Against my instincts to go straight, I turn with them. Well, we go about 3 miles down the road, turn, and we are back on 20, and the backup. It is, by the way, backed up all the way to my exit, unknown to me. I got to listen to some good teachers on the radio, and though my patience was tested a few times, I made it home at 8, about 2 1/2 hours. I never did know why we were backed up, I can make a few educated guesses, but sometimes we don't know.

When things like this happen I talk to the Lord. What are you teaching me I'll say aloud. I look at it as an opportunity that maybe the Lord is trying to teach me something, or protecting me from something, etc. For those who do not believe in God this may seem like a crazy notion, but the Lord directs my path, and if God wants to use a backup as a tool to give me wisdom, who am I to complain?

So you may ask, what lessons did I learn from this? Well, the first lesson I learned was follow the instinct that God tells you in your heart instead of just following the crowd. If I would have trusted what God said (go straight) instead of following the rig, I would have made it to 31 and my journey would have been about an hour or so less. But I took the more comfortable path, following something tangible instead of trusting God's voice in my heart. I got to my destination, Ginger was praying, and I made it safely. But sometimes we choose paths, contrary to what God tells us and we wander around, going slowly. His purpose will be done, but which path we choose to take is ultimately our decision, free will.

When I got home I looked up the map and saw where I could have gone off and made my path quicker. I did research, after the fact, and now I have a plan so that if I hit another back up I have routes I can take that are different. Which leads me to the second lesson, seeking God first before decisions or paths I take. If I go to the Bible God gives me advise, and wisdom, and I have a better opportunity to choose the right paths. If I'd of had a plan or known the route beforehand, I wouldn't have been stuck in traffic so long. But sometimes I go through life, not reading the Word as much and I end up taking the round about way to the destination God wants me at, where as, if I'd of done the research before hand, I'd of made it there that much quicker. My life before Ginger was like that. I'm where God wants me now, I just took quite a few detours to get here!

Some may say, Paul, you were just stuck in traffic, why do you read into things so much? Well, you see, during this I asked the Lord, what are you trying to teach me Lord? And you see, He answered my prayer. If He wasn't trying to teach me anything then I do believe my Lord would have said to my heart, nothing, your just stuck in traffic. But I trust God, He leads my life, and I believe there are opportunities in life where God can teach us, give us glimpses of Himself. For me it is awesome to know that something as simple as traffic God can use as a tool to teach. That is how awesome My God is!

You see, it is easy to look around and see God's creation and be in awe. You look at the trees, and birds, the clouds and all around, and you see His handiwork. Sometimes, I look at the things like this and I see how much God is in control. If God can use a donkey to speak to someone, then it is my belief He can use traffic to teach as well. Call me crazy, but I don't want to be one that just follows the crowd. People at work see me as someone different, a Christian unlike one they've seen much of. I've been told I'm real, I don't just say one thing and do another, I admit my faults. I'm the quiet one, remember! And God just gave me a gentle reminder not to follow the crowd, continue to be different from the world, be real but don't conform.

And I am an individualist, an artist who at one time wanted to please the crowd, still struggles at times with it, but I have more moments now where I break out of the mold and I am me. My blog has given me a voice, though I'm rather selective in who I broadcast where the location of it is. My blogging has changed in the sense of instead of writing to others, I write for the enjoyment and to log what God has done and is doing in my life. It is my journal. Yes, I enjoy the fact that my Mum and Dad read it, if for the fact that they get to see how God is moving in my life. I love the fact that Ginger loves proofing my blogs. Rarely do I change the content, usually it is grammatical errors that she finds (she is sooo like my Mom!). And I gain new friends who read my blog and sometimes I hear how it has helped them in some way. But my greatest enjoyment is when I sit back and read it and realize God is working in my life. I look at the words I've written and realize God is very real in my life and is doing amazing things in it. I've been told I have a gift for writing, and maybe I do, but I have to believe that it is because God is sitting right next to me, enjoying a glass of cranberry juice with me, sharing what He is doing in my life, and I'm writing those words. It is awesome to know that the Creator of the Universe, the omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent God of the universe would take time to sit down with me and take the time to spend time with me as I write these words. In other words, He is not so busy with everything that He can't take time to love on me and share with me. How awesome is that?


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Our first anniversary!

Okay Mom, I get the hint, you want more posts! I can still hear Dad laughing....Okay, here we go!

A year ago today I married my best friend, my soulmate, my one and only. It has been a wonderful year and one of the best in my life. I never really understood the binding of two into one in a spiritual sense until I wed my beautiful wife Ginger. We were truly made for each other.

So let me tell you about our little adventure yesterday at Walmart. We had received a CD from the photographer containing our wedding photo's. These pictures were ours to do what we wished. So we go to make pictures to put in an album and put up in our rooms in the apartment. 67 to be exact. So we spend about 40 minutes getting them printed out (Ginger had made a list of the pics she wanted, 67 out of 728 isn't bad!). We get them printed out, take them to the counter to pay for them and the young kid (I can say this, I was twice his age) looks at the top one and asks if these were professionally done. Well, yes, we have the CD, they are from our wedding. He proceeds to tell us he cannot sell us the pictures without a copyright form from the photographer. He even calls someone, who tells him the same thing. Well I'm floored. Ginger, of course is looking crestfallen, and her anxiety begins. I keep my cool, tell him to hold them, and I have Ginger call her Mom to get the photographer's number. Let me interject something here. Ginger let me handle this. In the past, with, I'd of had someone butting in, getting ugly, etc. Not Ginger, she let me handle it, which I appreciate so muc. We begin our other shopping. Ginger gets a hold of the photographer's mother at the studio and treats her rather rudely. Now I' Oh, I'd love to call the woman and give her a peace of my mind, Ginger's anxiety is escalating as the woman has told her the CD is ours and they have no idea what this form is. Well, I go back to the counter and tell the kid this on just a feeling that said go back. He says wait, he'll ask his manager what to do. I've stayed calm, I'm level headed, and I wait. The young woman comes up and he talks to her. She walks over, grabs the photos and proceeds to ring them up. She says, they are from our wedding, no problem, she can see we are the people in the photos. She was nice, we thank her for being gracious, and the kid even comes up and apologizes. I tell him he was doing his job, of course he is looking at my wife and can see she is visibly upset. But God helped us through it, and we got our pictures. By the time we got home and Ginger was able to start putting the pictures in frames, etc. her anxiety was gone and happy times were back. It took patience, and almost an hour and a half to get our pictures, but in the end we had our memories, and an experience that we will never forget! Ginger called the photographer's mother back to tell her we had the pics, again very abrupt, and I so so wanted to give the woman a piece of my mind, but it would have accomplished nothing except let me vent. I'm reminded of the verse, don't repay evil with evil, so I just chalk it up to someone having a bad day and move on.

This experience was a snap shot of one of the reasons I love Ginger so. She let me handle it. She didn't try to take the reigns herself, or sidestep how I handled it, she trusts me. I very well could have easily have gotten ugly, mad, etc., but that would have escalated Ginger's anxiety further. God was with us the whole way, and Ginger was praying while I was taking care of it. That is the definition of a helpmate, a supporting wife to her husband. There is no fight for control or for authority over the household, she is the definition of a wife devoted to her husband.

So the night was wonderful. When we got home I went out to prepare for Ginger's surprise for our anniversary. I came back in and she stayed in the bedroom or hall for the most part while I prepared dinner and the dining room. I hung red Christmas lights in the dining room and I had a string leading from the bedroom to the dining room. I prepared chicken caliente, with salad, I had flowers and new candles on the dining table and paper place mats I'd found at Micheal's. So when all was ready, and it was dark, I turned on the Christmas lights in the living room, in the dining room and lit the candles. Then I turned off the lights and brought Ginger, led by the lights into the dining room. Her card was on her plate, and I'll say she loved it. She loves my creativity, and I was able to bring a little of that artist out! We ate dinner and then watched her favorite movie, The Holiday. We made memories (stopping there Mom!!!!). It is a day we'll never forget, and today, well, thanks to my mum and dad, we get to eat out tonight, which is very nice and a big help (even if I let my pride get in the way a little bit...thank ya'll)!

I'm blessed, beyond measure, and I just wanted ya'll to share in the bit of joy of a union God ordained..Thanks for all for sharing in our love...