Okay so it has been what, six weeks since I've posted! Probably more, but who is counting! So I guess I need to update everyone how life for Ginger and I has gone! Well, during that time we had a Greek wedding, literally, Thanksgiving, a trip to Iowa for Christmas (the week before Christmas), our two year anniversary, and then Christmas in Tyler. It has been an extremely busy time and yet one full of family, friends, lots of food and laughs, and possibly one of the best holiday season's ever for us.
During this time also I decided to make a decision. I stepped back from leadership at Celebrate Recovery. It wasn't a decision I took lightly, nor is it one that I did because of anything negative (God willing, May 26th will be 10 years). It was a decision in which I wanted to put my wife first. Back in September my wife had a very severe bipolar episode, specifically with the depressive side. We came through the storm, and you can read about that in the post called Storm Riders. It was during that time that Ginger stepped down from leadership to concentrate on being healthy (fyi, she has done marvelous since then) and I felt the pangs in my heart to step back so I could be with my wife should she need me on Monday's. It was not without prayer, nor was it without bouncing it off of my Dad and Mom, and a few other spiritual mentors. The advice was the same across the board, your wife is your first Ministry. And being that she is worth far more than rubies, I felt it paramount to be with her, and care for her. Not that my heart isn't with CR, it is. I believe in the program and will continue to participate and be involved. But I felt God calling me to rest and prepare for a new season.
Having been heavily involved with ministry for the past 5 years, it was quite a change. It seemed each week I had something going on, some responsibility to attend to, and I planned my departure to coincide with the Iowa trip to my parents. And how relaxing was that. I ate so much good food and we sat in a nice warm house and read so much. We talked, watched a little TV, went out to eat, and ate home cooked meals. We looked through old pictures of me (Ginger was happy), and it was such a fun and relaxing time. So when we came back I was in relax mode.
Of course I have a new hobby now and it coincides with my drawing believe it or not. I got a new camera. Not just any camera, I got my first dSLR, a Canon Rebel T3i, D600. With a book I've been studying about it and I've gotten away from Automatic Modes to venture into Manual Modes. In fact, today I went and got a nice tripod to go with it. Ginger loves the fact how I immerse myself into studying and I've taken quite a few pictures to practice. I was so happy to get this camera. I've been wanting a nice one for a long while and after praying about it, was able to get it. For me, beats getting a XBOX or Playstation, how crazy is that! You can say it was my anniversary, Christmas gift!
But the most fun I've had this holiday season is giving. Not that we gave big, extravagant gifts, we didn't. But we gave where we felt there was a need. I'm not going to get into what or who, that isn't the point. We were led by God in some areas and followed that prompting. We gave our time, as a couple, and enjoyed the reason for the season, Jesus and His birth. Sometimes in the midst's of the holiday season that gets overlooked. But having been around family we see the miracles and blessings God has not only given us, but given our families as well. The nice thing about the trip to Iowa was I was going up with Ginger for the first time, and I was going as Paul. I wasn't going as Paul the alcoholic, or Paul needing to be the center of attention to prove I was doing good, I was going as Paul, the oldest son and his beautiful wife. Let me tell you, that is a good feeling. Sure, I have to do certain things to maintain recovery but I'm learning to balance those things behind the scenes so to speak. Sure there are moments I have in which I share my testimony, or share my past. But I've learned something, call it wisdom, or maturity, or what. I've learned that everyone, at some point, has a past. Some harsher than others. Yet, if you live your life as an example, that is what people notice. I could share war stories, and give you a list of I did this or that, but I'd rather move out of the past and live in the present. Like, this is how I love my wife, and this is how we get through this struggle or that. Or even, this is how we became victorious or were blessed. Just a thought, an opinion of mine, but it is the way I feel God leading me. I've felt for a while now that the season I was just in was just that, a season, and a new one is coming. With the changing of the season I've done some house cleaning (inside) and I'm learning more and more to be a man. I'm learning to make decisions and trying to learn from my mistakes. And I'm taking risks by venturing out and doing things like, well, getting a new camera and learning how to use it. What does God have next in this next season, I have no idea. But I feel more compelled to write, to take photographs, to draw, to read, and most importantly, be a good husband. Am I on the right track? Well, I look at it this way. If I'm following God, doing the best I can (I am human) to follow His will, then I'm on my way to a good start. So for those of you who missed seeing my posts, I'm back on line, the holiday's are just about over, and God is ever present in my life. No, I'm not perfect but you know what, God isn't done with me yet!
P.s. Have to brag on my Mom, here is a pic of the gift she gave Ginger, taken with my camera. The amazing thing is, we had no idea about it, she had no idea where we'd put it and as you can see it fits perfectly. So Mom, you get best Christmas Present Award!