Daddy, let’s talk

“Daddy, let’s talk.” Three little words from a young lady that will just absolutely make you stop in your tracks. One phrase said so simple and sweet you almost miss hearing it. Three simple words, said so boldly, you can’t help but wonder what’s wrong. Three words my daughter said to me one evening after a great day with her. One phrase every parent longs to hear but is scared when they hear it.

But as she said it, I could tell, there wasn’t anything wrong, it was all good. You see, it was right after our game at College Station and we had been together for the past 24 hours. Sleeping, eating, watching football, cheering on the Aggies and much more. I could tell throughout the day there was something on her mind. Something she wanted to say or do but just didn’t know how. And as we sat at the Cotton Patch restaurant in College Station, she simply said, “Daddy, let’s talk.”

I wasn’t sure what about but I was sure it was something. Could it be boys? It always seems to be boys. Could it be school? It never seems to be about school. As I looked into her eyes, I said, “Yes, we can talk.” There was time and that’s all we had that night. Nowhere to be and only about 2 hours ahead of driving for us. As she talked, I realized what she wanted. She wanted me. Nothing more, nothing less. She wanted time to ask her Daddy about growing up.

How were times “back-then” she would ask. All kinds of things she wanted to learn about and I was plenty happy to tell her about it. As we continued talking, I could tell she had a peace about talking to me. I could tell this was her first attempt at opening up and seeing how much she could trust me when asking me questions. I could tell this was the beginning, not the end.

Over the few months since this conversation, there have been countless times I’ve picked her up at school and heard, “Daddy, let’s talk.” We’ve talked about how dumb boys are and about how important school is. We’ve talked about problems with friends and who the best friends are. We’ve talked about God and His plans. We’ve talked about cancer, divorce and what hurts us. But mostly, we’ve just talked. Daddy and daughter talk. Things maybe she shouldn’t hear at times but at least she heard it from me. Time for us to grow closer together and build on what God wants us to build on. Talking. That’s it. No expectations, no demands, no pretending.

As I think about our conversations I can’t wait for Garrett to open up more and more. To me or his mother, it doesn’t matter. But I’ve also realized that I haven’t fully said these words all the time to my “Daddy” as much as I need to. Not my earthly Dad, we talk all the time but to my Heavenly Daddy. Why? I have no idea. I can talk about good things, bad things, dumb things or just nothing and He’ll listen. He won’t judge and I may have to wait to hear His advice. But through it all, He will listen. He cares more than I’ll ever comprehend and loves no matter what. He’s the One I need to say “Daddy, let’s talk,” a lot more often to. Three words, one short phrase we need to say more often. Daddy, let’s talk.

I love you all!

More than an Uncle

Over the past week, I’ve had a chance to sit and think about someone who’s really been on my heart. His name is Wayne Rivers, better known as Uncle Wayne to me. I have cried, laughed, pondered but mostly just thought about the great times we had with him and what he means to our family.

Uncle Wayne has always been larger than life to me, well, mainly because he’s a rather large man. But one thing that’s always been great to see is that while he is a large man, his heart has always surpassed his frame in size. I’ve remembered back this week to family reunions at Thompson Park, birthdays, times at lake Fryre, Thanksgiving and Christmas. To me, Uncle Wayne has been more than an uncle.

From as far back as I remember, Uncle Wayne has been the guy who has given me a hard time about stuff but always said he loved me when I left. He’s always been the loud, large uncle who may have yelled at me for doing wrong but the first to give me a hug after explaining to me why he was so upset. Uncle Wayne was the first to give each of my kids a taste of coke and you know what, I didn’t mind because it was his way of showing the kids they could come to him for what we wouldn’t give them. He’s the type of family member you wish everyone had and then when I sit and think, he’s my uncle, you thank God for him.

As much as he means to me as an uncle, he’s always been much more than an uncle. He’s a son, brother, husband, father, grandad, uncle, friend and just full of God’s love for everyone to see. God has definitely used you Uncle Wayne and our family is so much better off for it. Upon the death of Grandad, you filled in so gracefully as the patriarch and you have done an amazing job in Grandad’s shoes.

You and Aunt Eveline together raised 3 amazing children and poured your love and knowledge into 7 amazing grandkids. You have touched so many’s hearts in our family and in this community. Our family and community will be forever touched with your generosity and love.

We will never have another Uncle who will give the “Wayne Balance Test” to our kids when they are just a few months old. Your time on earth may be short now but your memory will last forever. You have done the job God had for you and from my point of view, you did it well. Thanks for everything and know you are loved and your memory will live on in our hearts and minds. I love you Uncle Wayne!

Love you all!!

Don’t Give Up, Don’t Ever Give Up

Last night while reading the info section of one of my friend’s facebook page, I found a quote that has truly inspired me since I first heard it in 1993. It’s not anything cheesy but just an amazing quote to live by. “Don’t give up, don’t ever give up,” Jimmy Valvano. This has become one of the most famous quotes of all times but it wasn’t the quote that caught my attention as I watched Jimmy V give this speech in 1993. The meat of the speech was better than the quote and the speech has become quite an inspiration for many to search for what they believe.

During the speech, Jimmy V challenged us to do three things every day. Laugh, think and have our emotions moved to tears. This is pretty much how I want to live every day. Laughing gives us what we need and helps us keep a good attitude about every situation we come across. I like to think if I don’t laugh at me, then others might not either. And if we can’t laugh at ourselves, then we can’t honestly laugh at others. Think. Thinking frees us to find what we truly believe. Thinking stretches us and challenges everything we think we know. Thinking has to be done daily and I encourage everyone to find a quiet place to think for at least 30 minutes a day. This will allow you to grow and get a clear vision of where you are headed. Have our emotions moved to tears, better known as crying. I guess I’m one of those who like to cry. I cry when I laugh too hard, when I’m mad or when I’m passionate about something. And when you cry about things you are passionate about, you know you are growing. I have probably cried more tears than most over my life and yes, I love those movies that make you cry. When we do these 3 things, we grow and people notice.

But in order to do these things, we must have the desire to do so. Ralph Emerson Waldo said “nothing great can be accomplished without enthusiasm.” Enthusiasm for what you are doing and where you are going will help you stay on the correct path and allow us to share with others. Having this enthusiasm is not easy to find or easy to keep. We must find what keeps us interested and what keeps our enthusiasm high enough to keep us growing. Yes, it’s hard to do this but remember anything worth keeping is very hard work.

Lastly, Jimmy V talked about his cancer. That it could not touch his heart, mind or soul. And he was very correct. We all have some type of cancer that’s eating at us. Cancer is something that has mutated our cells and turns against our body. The great thing is that Jimmy V didn’t allow the cancer to affect his heart, mind or soul. And that’s advice we should all take. Don’t let the “cancers” in your life affect your heart, mind or soul. Keep your heart, mind and soul clean and you will find it’s easier to live, to laugh, to think and to cry.

This speech was huge in my life. It gave me such inspiration to not let anything get me down. Yes, it’s been hard at times to follow what I just typed. But in trying to do these things, I have grown more than I thought I ever could have. Look around your heart, mind and soul and see if there are things you need to get rid of. If there are, cut them out so you can grow. This will allow you live and love and that’s all we really need to do. Live and know you can’t fully live without love!

Don’t give up, don’t ever give up.

Love you all!!