The Story of Us

It all started in the Fall of 1992. I was just starting my freshman year of college and not real clear of where life would lead me next. It was a Monday afternoon when it started. I remember it like it was yesterday. I remember it clearly and each time I think about it, my heart races just as it did that day. It was the beginning of the Story of Us.

As I entered Daniel’s room with James and a video tape of the latest Dallas Cowboys game, I saw someone who I had not yet met. I saw a girl, no a woman, who I may not have known but someone who I did want to meet. As Daniel introduced everyone, I could not help but think, “Why is she here?” What I was really thinking was, “Why is she here to see Daniel?” Not giving my friend enough credit or whatever, I could not help but think she’s too, well, too pretty, nice, sweet, too everything for him!

As I sat and visited, I couldn’t help but wonder what she was thinking. Why was she here? Is she Daniel’s new girl? Has he kidnapped her? Or does she feel sorry for him that he has a broken collarbone? Honestly, it didn’t matter because I knew what I saw. I saw a beautiful, loving person who I wanted to get to know. Who I met that afternoon was an angel named Christy.

A person who, as I got to know much better over the next few months, would make me better as a person, never question God’s plan or love for us and someone who, I wanted to spend forever with.

As the next few weeks and months past, we finally got together and started dating. I was so nervous I forgot her name on our first date. We went to a movie and ran into my Uncle Wayne and Aunt Eveline. I couldn’t remember her name so I didn’t introduce her to them. I just kind of stood there and talked to them with my back to her. As they left, I could see it in her eyes. What the heck man? Rude boy. Oh boy, this first date could be the last.

But as the night drew to a close, we set another date and then another and another. It was a get to know you time and it was great. Again, I was so nervous that it took me about 3 dates and as many weeks to finally give her a kiss. It wasn’t either of our’ first kiss but it would the last kiss that lasts a lifetime. There have been kisses since this day but only with each other.

As fall turned into winter in 1992, we grew closer and closer. As 1992 drew to a close, we both knew this was going to last. It would not turn out like the others had. It might be hard but everything great is supposed to take hard work.

Over the next few years, we continued dating and really started talking about marriage. Our plan was to get married in the summer of 1996 but instead and against the advice of our parents, we set on July 22, 1995. It was a great day and a time to join two families into one. And what a great family it has become!

Since that date, we have added much to our story. We have added 2 beautiful children, a home, many great fiends, 2 college diplomas, great careers, a business and 4 dogs. We have also been able to watch our family change so much over the years. We have celebrated the births of nieces, nephews and cousins. We have celebrated and welcomed new family in through marriage. And, we have celebrated the lives of 4 Grandparents, 2 uncles, a cousin and too many friends who have gone to be with the Lord well before we were ready for them to go.

We have loved each other enough to say forever and mean it. We have made mistakes and been so mad at each other it would be easy to say enough is enough. No, it hasn’t been perfect all the time but that’s okay. As long as each day we wake up and know how much we love each other, it will be okay.

Our story is just 18 years old. It’s a high school senior if you look at it that way. It started out with baby steps, grew into learning more and more about each other and life, grew into a marriage, then with kids and it’s still growing. This story, I pray isn’t near over. We have lots to see, lots to do and lots to learn.

On this day, I pray for each of you no matter where your story is right now. Many are happy, many are hurting and many are searching. It’s okay. Life may throw you a curve now and then but it’s just part of your story. Learn from it and carry on like you know you can.

I look forward to many more years of seeing our story written. I love my wife, my kids,my family and my friends. The Story of Us would not be if it weren’t for each of you. Thank you and know we love you all!

I 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!!