July 18, 2012

The Girl in the Polka-dot Dress

Nineteen years ago this week, I was on a trip with some friends from my home church in Canton, Ohio.  We went to Toronto, Canada to see The Phantom of the Opera at Pantages Theatre.  On the way home, we stopped for the night in Niagara Falls to see the falls and to keep from going home for another day.  It was a great trip with many memories, especially how beautiful Stephanie was in her polka-dot dress!

The best memory came, though, when we got back.  I had planned to propose to Stephanie Jo at Niagara Falls.  If you know my wife, that would have been too much attention, too many eyes looking at her, too many strangers focused on her.  It would have been a great proposal, me down on one knee and the whole bit.  Instead, I proposed to her in the front seat of my powder blue Ford Escort under the car port at our home church the night we got back from the trip.  No people watching, no big scene - just me and her at the place where we grew up together.

Before that night, she had been part of my life.  We grew up at the same church together.  We were in the church plays together.  Her and her family were at some of the activities my family hosted for the church like sledding and ice skating at my grandmother's place.  Yet, after that night, she had committed to be mine, to be joined to me forever.  From that moment, life was going to be different - and it has been.  There have been good days.  There have been bad days.  There have been hardships, frustrations, and moments of brokenness.  There has been much joy.  There have been tears of sadness and tears from laughter.  Through it all, there has been endless love.
Every day that passes is a new day with her.  Its a new day to show her how much I love her.  Some days I do great.  Other days I totally fail.  No matter how I do, she still chooses to love me.  I do the same for her.

Stephanie Jo, I love you with all that I am.  I'd go back 19 years and do it all over in a heart beat!  Thank you for being willing to be mine all these years.

The Passing of Time

I can remember writing a post a year or so ago about wanting to blog every day and hone my writing.  That never came to fruition.  Shocker.

Then I posted at the beginning of this year wondering if things would be different.  Not so much.

So, here it is, the middle of July.  Time seems to move at such a rapid pace.  Hannah has already made it through 3 years of school.  She's only a year and a half from turning double digits.  Last month I worked by bazillionth week of church camp, marking at least 21 years in a row that I've done some sort of camp.  During the first week of camp I ever worked back in 1990, the students thought I was older than I was.  The students nowadays don't have that trouble.  I'm old.  I look old.  I walk like I'm old.  I sometimes act like I don't want to be old, but it is easily spotted.  Who knows, I probably even smell old.

While time is moving quickly, life is still good.  It seems to grow richer with each day.  I do miss the times of old where life was more simple.  I think of the simple life growing up, spending time at my grandmother's house mowing her yard, swimming in her lake, and enjoying the many, many good things she made to eat like lemon bars (this memory is here because I had a lemon bar today at the coffee shop.  Certainly not as good as Gram's, but at least it brought the memories back).  I think I cherish the now more than the past.  I'm in the creative spot making memories for my daughter, for us as a family, for those that I minister to.  Yes, it is good to enjoy.  But, it is even better to create for others and enjoy with them.

Seth Godin, in his book, Linchpin, would call this "making art".  Art is what your passion and soul need and want to create.  Its what wakes you in the morning and keeps you up at night.  Its the thing that makes your heart sing and your soul the fullest.  Its what you do whether you get paid for it or not.  Its not about money.  Its about making art and then giving it away as a gift to others.

I think he has it right.  Life isn't about me or about how fast time is moving.  Its about me making life more full for those around me.