Saturday, September 29, 2007

Random thoughts

Tonight's post may be rambling. I'm not sure that I have much worth writing about, so bear with me here ...

Much has been written about the seedy side of the Internet and the adult predators who lurk in chat rooms posing as children, but I'm seeing a whole other side to this thing we know as the World Wide Web, and it excites me.

Conor and Boothe Farley lost their precious daughter Copeland this week just eight days after birth, and within a few short hours, there were HUNDREDS of messages of hope and encouragement on their blog from believers around the country who have been praying for this family.

Let's face it: The Internet brings people together in ways that "real life" never could. It offers us the safety and security to drop our masks and share our lives with each other the way we long to connect ... with authenticity and transparency.

It was therapy for me when I was walking through my dark valley to process the pain, the lessons learned, and the truth gleaned in the safety of this blog. So many of you responded with the most comforting words and scriptures, and I cannot even begin to tell you what it meant to me. Remembering the love I felt as I read each post compels me now to connect with others who are in their own dark valleys and send comfort, love, and hope their direction.

I think this was exactly what the apostle Paul had in mind when he penned these words long before the dawn of the 'Net:

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows." (2 Corinthians 1:3-5)

Okay, this is a total change of subject, but I warned you that I was feeling a little bit random tonight.

I took Rachel to her first Razorback football game tonight, and she LOVED it! We took the North Texas Mean Green to the cleaners, bless their little hearts. They couldn't seem to gain any yardage to save their lives, and the ONE touchdown they made at the end of the second quarter was almost funny. They ran the ball down to their ONE YARD LINE and then took THREE plays to get it into the endzone and score.

She kept watching the scoreboard and exclaiming excitedly, "We're WAY ahead, Mom! Do you think we're gonna win??" And when it was time to call the Hogs or do The Wave, an onlooker would have thought for sure that my baby was a veteran Hog fan, so confident was she with all the goings on in Razorback Stadium tonight.

My favorite moment of the night: When she looked upon the 70,000+ fans in the stadium and asked, "Where are the people from the other team? There's no one here wearing green. Oh wait, they're down below us ... all TWELVE of them!"

Can I hear a loud "Hallelujah!"??

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Guess who's 40 today ...

An open letter to the world:

Before I even get started on this, I should mention a couple of things. First, I am Sheryl’s husband. Second, I am a recovering marriagephobe. I was never against marriage, mind you. I knew that someday I would want to, but the fact was that I was comfortable in my day-to-day bachelorhood. Like a nice old pair of shoes, my life was comfortable. Then Sheryl happened.

For three long years, she laid siege to my defenses, and I found myself unwilling to go one step further in life without marrying her. That’s not to say there wasn’t arm twisting involved, but I was a willing participant. Needless to say, twelve years ago, I married Sheryl and that’s where the excitement really began.

Now anyone who might know me knows that I don’t gush, play games, or act really sappy. I do, however, call it like I see it. Sheryl is, without a doubt, one of the best gifts God has ever given me. I still find it incredible that her father willingly gave her over to me. Me?! I was an ignorant kid. Had the roles been reversed, the young man would still be in a coma. However, God seemed to make things happen for us. I think I was the one He was blessing that day, and let me tell you why.

Sheryl embodies so many of the qualities in a person that I aspire to have in my own life. She challenges me daily. Yes, guys, she challenges me in bad ways sometimes too. One of our long-standing jokes started one day when I looked at her and said, “You are IMPOSSIBLE”! Without missing a beat, she replied with, “I’m VERY possible" ... and then walked off, completely failing to explain. To this day, I’m still working on figuring that girl out. Regardless, I am a better man today because of her. Our differences complement one other perfectly. Where I fail to be tender, she is. When I lack insight, she makes up for it. We fit together like two pieces of a puzzle.

Like a song I heard not too long ago, she does not at all match up to the boyhood fantasies that I carried with me so many years ago. She is so much more than my limited imagination could come up with at the time. Her ability to love me; her love for our children; her hard work; her great cooking abilities; the fire that dwells inside of her all come together to make a wife I could never have imagined.

I love you, Button. Happy Birthday! Let the celebration begin!

Your husband.

P.S. I know you will edit this. (Note from Sheryl: Yes I did, but only a teeny bit!)

Monday, September 24, 2007

The Celebration Cometh

In case you were unaware (which I am painfully aware that most of you probably are), a celebration is coming tomorrow ... more details to come.

Pray for Copeland

I've been following the story of tiny little Copeland Farley of Nashville, TN, since before her birth last week, and my mind can hardly think of anything else today.

Copeland's parents, Boothe and Conor, were told several months ago that their little girl had Trisomy 18, a chromosomal disorder which usually results in death before or shortly after birth. These precious parents have been blessed to spend several days with their little one, but it's been a roller coaster ride from the beginning. In the wee hours of this morning, it appeared that Copeland was in her final moments of life, but she is still here, breathing and living.

You can read the rest of Copeland's story here. Prepare to be blown away by the faith of this mother and father. If you think of the Farleys today, please pray for them. They're walking through the fire, for sure.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Remembering and rejoicing

Monday, September 10 marked the one-year anniversary since my mother ended her journey on this earth and began a new life in heaven. The following day would have been her 66th birthday, and we chose to celebrate that day exactly like we did last year -- by sending a bunch of balloons heavenward and singing "Happy Birthday" as loudly as we could.

Last year's balloon send-off was held in a church parking lot across the street from my parents' house. There were about a dozen of us there, and we were in complete shock and disbelief that God had taken our mother from us.

This year, we chose a neighborhood park as the site for our birthday gathering (I cannot bring myself to call it a "party"). The mood at this year's balloon release was considerably less somber but still marked by its fair share of tears. The girls sent up one pink balloon each, and the guys a blue (although my little guy somehow managed to pop his before we even left the house). We spent a few minutes before we sang to her just remembering many of the things that made her incredibly special to us. We laughed, we cried, we remembered and rejoiced that we had been so privileged to be loved the way she loved us.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Weekend at the movies

Spoiler warning.

My theater visits seem to come in bursts. The last time I went to see a movie at a theater (in early June), I saw THREE in one weekend. That's a heckuva lot of Cherry Coke and artery-hardening popcorn, folks. The movie bug hit again this weekend, but it was only two this time.

Yes, my arteries are thankful indeed.

My heart, however, is not.

For the first time in I can't remember when, I deliberately did not read a single review before handing over my $7 for a movie ticket. You can rest assured that will not be happening again.

Since the first preview for Becoming Jane, I had been waiting most impatiently for its opening. Oh the disappointment when I learned that yes, August 3 was the release date, but it was a limited release and not one that included Northwest Arkansas.

Circumstances prevented me from seeing it the following weekend on its full release, and by the time this past Thursday arrived, I could not wait another moment to take in what I assumed to be the spectacular love story of a brilliant writer.

And it was. Sort of.

Anne Hathaway was delightful as Jane, and I couldn't help but wonder as I watched the story unfold, "If Jane had written a story about her life, would it have looked anything lke this?" It reminded me very much of the screen adaptation of Emma, Sense & Sensibility and Pride & Prejudice.

I found the tender relationship between Jane and her sister Cassandra very touching and sweet, but when the final credits rolled, it wasn't tender sweetness I was basking in but profound sadness over the author's unfulfilled longings for love and marriage.

Stories of sadness and despair fill newspapers and the airwaves daily. When I go to see a movie, I expect to be uplifted, and frankly Jane just sucked the air right out of me. Judging by the tears flowing down her cheeks as we left the theater, I'm fairly sure that my companion that evening shared my sentiments.

The following evening, Hubs and I enjoyed a rare date and took in Bourne Ultimatum. It did NOT disappoint, and I left some serious indentions in a sixth-row seat to prove it. There weren't too many moments through the nearly two-hour action fest in which I wasn't holding my breath, digging my fingers into something or both. I needed a masseuse after it was over, my muscles were so knotted.

And that's all I'll say about that. It's one you need to see, but be prepared for a bit of unwholesome language the writers, unfortunately, chose to use.

All in all, it's already been a good weekend and we've still got Sunday and Monday left to enjoy!