Posts Tagged ‘spirituality’

Sunday, July 31, 2011

One year since “the phone call!”

One year ago today, after completing the mock triathlon with my training group prior to my first triathlon, Ceecee called me and asked me to move back in with her.  Why I had it so firmly in my mind that when I completed the triathlon, somehow we would be reconciled, I don’t know.  I just had an incredible amount of faith for that.  Of course, I thought it would be when I completed the actual triathlon; I never imagined the mock tri having any significance.

Anyway, that was exactly a year ago and two days later, I moved into the loft with my wonderful wife and a week later, the restoration tour began.  Now it’s nearly finished and it seems that it’s only been a few days and that it’s been forever, both at the same time.

Two days from now, one year to the day that I moved back in, we leave on our second honeymoon!  We’re going to Big Cedar Lodge, a world class resort south of Branson.  My wife used to work there and we have quite a history with the place.

Just go to the search bar on this blog and search “Big Cedar” and you’ll find numerous posts related to it.  From the tornado, to the ice storm, to shortly before we split up, Big Cedar Lodge has been a part of our lives.  Now, we will restore that beautiful place in a way that I’m sure neither of us will ever forget!


Sunday, May 15, 2011

As much as we love the family, going to this graduation party was tough.  It was also a necessary stop on the restoration tour, and in the end, we’re both glad we went.

See, a friend of mine has a daughter who is a true miracle child.  She wasn’t even given much chance to live, much less grow up and graduate from high school when she was born at just 1 pound, 6 ounces, but grow up and graduate, she did.  There was a lot of prayer and sacrifice that went into getting to this day and we certainly wanted to be there to take part in the celebration.

The problem was that the party was being held at the church we attended at the time we separated.  That meant facing some of the people and the memories of that time of failure and loss, and my wife wasn’t sure she was ready to do that.  In the end, we agreed to go, with the understanding that I would stay by her side and not allow her to be put in any kind of uncomfortable situation.

It all turned out well and made a statement of who we are as a couple now.  It was also a confirmation of the prophetic words my friend had spoken to me during Ceecee’s and my separation, when he said, “When this is all over, you’re going to get a brand new wife.”  He didn’t mean a new person to be my wife, but that Ceecee would be made new and return to me healed and whole.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Eight months.

I moved into the old loft with Ceecee to end our separation on August 2 of last year.  She has become so much more than my treasure.  She truly is my queen.

My love for her continues to grow, and my commitment to learn to be the best man I can be for her and for my Lord continues growing as well.  We’ve learned so much, come so far, and overcome so many challenges in these past eight months.

Things aren’t perfect, nor can they ever be, this side of heaven.  They are better than I could even have imagined, though.

I’ll never have an answer to the question of, “Could we have gotten here without going through the things that we did, but I would never go back to where we were, and forward is the only option for where we go now.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Five years ago today, the tornado that changed our lives ripped through our house on a Sunday night outside Republic, Missouri.  We were asleep just moments before it hit, and with no sirens to warn us, we would never have known it was coming if it weren’t for God.

He woke me up and, while I didn’t hear any audible voice speaking to me, somehow I knew that a tornado was about to hit us.  I woke my wife and we crawled on the floor into the hallway, calling for our two teenage kids.

We told them to get down and we got on top of them as it sounded like the house exploded.  Suddenly, I could feel wind, rain, and swirling objects hitting my back.  In those moments, which actually were probably only a matter of seconds, I believed that I was going to die.

I had two prevailing thoughts: I hope it doesn’t hurt and I’ll never see my wife again.

Our daughter didn’t know that Taylor had woken up and was with me and she was screaming, “Where’s Taylor?”  My wife was thinking the same thing I was about whether we would die and hoping that, if we did, it would be quick and painless.  Taylor was quiet and had no outward reaction.

Almost immediately, faith began to rise up in me and I began to pray aloud and then to thank God for saving us.  My wife also began to thank Him, saying, “He saved us!” as we realized that the tornado had gone through and we were still there.  The fact that we were also now homeless was secondary to the fact that we were, miraculously, unharmed.

Little did I know then, that this event would affect our lives so deeply.  While it was a great testimony of God’s protection, I also developed PTSD and didn’t do anything to treat or take care of it, even after I was made aware of it.

I don’t know if he even knew today was the anniversary, but a friend of mine wrote to me on Facebook today asking about that house.

Tonight, we have special plans that I’ll write about next time.  Last night, Ceecee and I went to the little theater to see, “Thoroughly Modern Millie.”  It was light and fun, and we had a great time.  I’m really glad we’re finally living the life that we used to only talk about!

Friday, February 4, 2011

How to try to describe yesterday….

We got up in the morning still iffy about actually heading out on the roads to drive to San Antonio.  I mean, it’s about an 11 hour drive under normal conditions.  The conditions yesterday were far from normal.  Even on the major interstates, there was still about three inches of solid ice.  Around town, some of the residential streets were still nearly impassable.

I’ve never been a big believer in using a “fleece” to ask God for a sign, even though I understand that it is a Biblical concept.  I’ve just never had faith for it.  (See Judges Chapter 6:36-40 if you don’t know the context)  In this case, with our safety at risk, I figured I needed to know whether it was going to be all right for us to make the drive, so I asked for a small sign.

While he’s been in Basic, Taylor has only been allowed to eat what they feed him.  When he graduates, he gets a little bit of time to go off base with us and do what he wants, and what he wants is cupcakes.  Not just any cupcakes, though.  He wants cupcakes from The Cup, a specialty shop downtown real close to our loft.

Some of the downtown businesses have been closed due to the blizzard, however, and we hadn’t gotten any cupcakes.  We were going to have to leave early in the morning to get to San Antonio at a reasonable time, so I told God that if there was someone there at The Cup and they would let us in before they were open and they had any cupcakes made that they would be willing to sell us, I would take that as a sign that it was going to be OK for us to make the drive.

We drove around the corner and it happened just exactly the way I prayed.  A short time later, just as we were hitting the edge of town, we got a report that the interstate was closed ahead due to a fatal accident.  We were going to have to be rerouted onto a lesser highway that was likely to have even worse driving conditions than the interstate.

Even though we had the cupcakes with us as a tangible answer to prayer, I prayed again (like Gideon) and asked God to have the detour take us onto a clearer highway to confirm that it was going to be OK.  Almost immediately, the sun came out and we hit nearly clear and dry pavement.  God had shown us again that He was with us and keeping us safe.

I’d like to say it was all smooth sailing after that, but it was anything other than smooth.  In Oklahoma, we were once again driving on a few inches of ice and at one point, the car suddenly went out of control in a slide.  We slid all the way off the road to the right, down the slope of the embankment, then inexplicably back up and back onto the road pointing in the right direction and none the worse for the experience.  I imagined it was angels flying alongside and pushing the car back onto the road.

I’ll finish the story tomorrow…obviously we made it, but not without further adventures!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Have I mentioned that my wife is amazing?

We’ve been going to North Point Church since we’ve been back together and we’re loving it.  They have small groups that meet in homes and Ceecee has been wanting to make some new friends, so she’s wanted us to join one.  The main problem is that I work so many nights at Macy’s and my schedule varies from week to week, so I don’t have regular nights that are free.

They have this event every few months where you show up and mix and mingle and try to find a group to join.  Tonight, I had to work, but Ceecee went by herself.  She called me at one point and said she’d found a couples group that was going to be starting up on Tuesday nights and she wanted to join.  I told her that I often worked Tuesday nights, so I might not be able to go often, but that was fine if she wanted to.

Later, she called and told me that she had joined the Tuesday night group and that if it was OK  we were going to be starting a group at our house on Sunday nights.  I asked her how that came about and she told me that our daughter and her husband, who hadn’t been going to church much, would come to a group if it was at our house.  Then she said she ran into another couple we used to know who also said that if we had a group they would come to it.

So she went to check it out and in a couple of hours she had joined a group and started a group.  Like I said, amazing.  I love her more all the time!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Sometimes it feels like no matter how much joy and newness we’ve found, the past will never let us go.  We’ve come so far and overcome so much and it’s truly been an amazing, wonderful journey.  At the same time, we both keep figuratively looking over our shoulders and waiting for things to begin to crumble.
These six months have had the highest of highs and some of the happiest moments of my entire life.  They’ve also had some real challenges and every time we allow ourselves to begin to think we might be in the clear to keep moving forward without any setbacks, we seem to run right smack into another setback.

Today was a tough one, to say the least.  Some things came out that weren’t supposed to come out and they were serious enough to threaten all that we’ve been able to build since last August.  It was a painful and frightening day and it reminded me how fragile our love still is and how much we really have come through.

On the other hand, it ended up being an opportunity to reaffirm, in the strongest of terms, our commitment to one another now.  It was a chance to show each other and the powers of Hell itself that nothing will come between us or destroy the love we are building.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

So this is 2011; so full of possibilities…starting out with a heart full of joy.  This was my Facebook status for New Year’s Day.  We’re just part way through the restoration tour and so much has happened.

There’s so much still to do, but it doesn’t seem daunting at all.  On the contrary, it seems joyful and wonderful and I can’t wait to continue our journey forward.  We are learning, loving, and restoring as we go, with August 6th as our target.

I’m so glad North Point Church has Saturday services.  It’s going to be so amazing today to worship the Lord, who has made this all possible, on the first day of the new year with Ceecee and Angie by my side.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Had a nice run through the streets of Dodge City this morning.  It’s one of our least favorite places for a plethora of reasons, but it’s where Ceecee’s Mom and Step-Dad live and close to my daughter as well.  We’ve hardly worked out or trained at all recently, so we decided we better do some running while we’re here.

Dodge City was where we lived when my spiritual decline really began.  We only moved there because we felt that God was calling us to.  We went through a painful church split and a number of other things that caused a lot of bitterness for me.  We were victims of numerous property crimes, had some falling out with people we had been close to, and got into financial difficulties with two houses that we owned.

Although it was wrong to do so, I blamed God and began to shut down.  I started shutting off my emotions toward Ceecee as well, although I didn’t entirely realize it.  We finally left and moved to Missouri as kind of a plea to be allowed to go and try to start over somewhere else.

This afternoon, we went walking downtown and through the old neighborhood.  We reminisced and romanced and it was wonderful to be in a place where we had gone through so much frustration and pain, but now had overcome it and were in such a different place, both literally and emotionally.  We had endured everything that had come against us and come out of it more in love and better people than we had been before.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

A really cool step on the restoration tour today. We each got new tattoos. Well, I got my first, and Ceecee got a new one. I had told Angie and a few others my idea for a tat back when we were separated, but I had never told Ceecee until after we were back together.

I got the verse from Song of Solomon in a circle with her name inside, and we decided that two wedding rings linked together was the missing piece. We went to the same artist who had done Ceecee’s first tattoo last Spring and he wrote it up in this really amazing script. I got it on my upper left arm just below the shoulder and it looks great!

Ceecee got a Champagne glass on the inside of her left wrist with bubbles coming up. It’s really cool. When I think of that bottle of Champagne the night she moved into her loft, and of sitting with her when she got her earlier tattoo and of how much I wanted to be able to love her and have her love me back, I’m overwhelmed. This is what the restoration tour is all about. It’s about revisiting the times and places where we got hurt, let each other down, or just missed out on what was meant to be. Now, we can heal those hurts, replace those disappointing memories, and create new ones that are the way they should be.