Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Run, Lori, run!

Judging by this photo,
can you guess which
of us had modeling
classes as a child?
The video below contains several of my favorite things: running, Disney World, and my cousin Lori. If she were filmed carrying a Kentucky pom pom in one hand and an ice cold Coca-Cola in the other, we might just have achieved Utopia.

For nearly a year now, Lori's been serving on the Walt Disney World Mom's Panel. It's an incredible, dream-come-true kind of gig you get by either promising Mickey he and Min can raise your first born child as their own or by participating in so many RunDisney events that that the folks in Orlando can't help but take notice. That's the way Lori landed it (well, that plus an incredibly competitive selection process!), and she's doing as great a job on the panel as she did in the video.

Mayme would be so proud, Leri!

But I'd STILL be her favorite.

Monday, June 25, 2012

my Happy Place

a man in his element
What's your Happy Place?

To be honest, mine kinda changes, depending on the season and my mood. When it's fall, I wanna be in a football stadium. Summertime? Pawleys Island, please, and there is rarely (by which I mean "never") a time when I don't strongly desire to be at Walt Disney World or wherever I'll find the Four I Adore, OR, better yet, at Walt Disney World with the Four I Adore. "Happy"? Try "euphoric."

I wish you could see this circa 1996
jet ski up close. On the side of its
purple body is written the word
"Jeremy." In turquoise. If I didn't
already love him, I'm pretty sure
that ultra-retro Dream Machine
would seal the deal
for my Tarheel.
Jeremy's way more consistent than I. Since he was small enough to dream of being "a race car driver or, perhaps, a sports announcer," his Happy Place has been a spot called Lake Chatuge in Hayesville, NC. His family's been spending summers there since Kawasaki was selling stand-up jet skis. Since we met, I've started tagging along on lake weekends and have come to really like this place, but Jeremy? He LOVES it.

That explains why we've already spent a couple of weekends out there this summer. One of those weekends, in fact, offered something for both of us - he got to be on the water. I, on the other hand, got to know that Confederate Railroad was opening for George Jones (assuming "No Show" showed) at a venue sitting on the banks of the lake. Sweetly, he suggested we ride the boat over to see if we could catch any of the concert while parked in the pontoon. Unfortunately, we couldn't. We could, however, ride around the massive lake for such a long time afterwards that the sky was pitch black before we headed back to the house.

fiery sky
Since it was late - and I'm pregnant - I was laying on the bench seat in front of Jeremy's Captain's Chair. As we cruised, I was in an out of a snooze, intermittently thinking about the feel of the spray on my skin and wondering whether I was seeing the Big or the Little Dipper.

What I wasn't thinking about was the fact that we were essentially in the middle of an ebony desert. Lake landmarks that lead the way by day were completely enveloped by the dark of nite. To me, a Lake Chatuge newbie, everything looked as non-descript as an early-pregnancy ultrasound; one cove was completely indistinguishable from the other.

In spite of this, though, I wasn't afraid. After all, this is Jeremy's lake! He knows it in right, out right, right up right, down right! Why in the world would I be worried that he'd get us lost?! Worrying, in fact, didn't even cross my mind ... until it crossed my mind that it hadn't crossed my mind.

"Man," I thought, suddenly stricken by the dark of the nite, "I can't believe I'm not scared. I must really trust this man!"

Then it hit me: shouldn't I just as blindly trust the Lord? After all, the whole UNIVERSE is His "lake." Exponentially better than Jeremy knows Chatuge, our loving God "knows the plans He has for me ..." (Jer. 29:11). After all, He planned my days before one of them came to pass (Ps. 139: 16). Still, instead of lounging mindlessly while He steers the ship of my life, I try to sit shotgun. I want to see the map of where we're heading before we even leave the dock. Surely, I'll have some input as to the route we'll take. Certainly, my way is better. Right?


"HIS way is perfect ..." (Ps. 18:30).

Realizing that and trusting it as blindly as I trusted my husband on our pitch-colored cruise?

Now THAT is a happy place.
our midnite ride

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

To My Husband, on Attending our Second Funeral Together

Jeremy and I went to a funeral yesterday.

"This is the second funeral we've been to together," he told me as we headed, hand in hand, across the church parking lot. Jeremy's good about remembering things like that.  He can tell you where we went on our first five dates, which episodes of Andy Griffith have Gomer and which have Goober, and, of course, what number of funerals we've attended since meeting 16 months ago. In case you were wondering.

This particular funeral was a very worshipful occasion. While we were there, though, I couldn't help but think about a few other things I'd like for Jeremy to remember. These things would probably have never come to mind, were it not for the baby we're expecting, but in light of our upcoming son, I asked myself, "If this were my funeral, what are those things I'd want to be sure Jeremy never forgot?"

Morbid? Maybe. Will my mother maim me for even entertaining such thoughts? Highly likely, but in the uncertainty of this day and age, where babies are born with unsurmountable maladies and women my age are stricken with diseases once reserved for the elderly, it's really important to me to be explicit about my child's rearing.

I wrote my thoughts in a letter to Jeremy, and he gave me permission to share it with you today:

Dear Jeremy,

First things first: I want you to know that you are the most wonderful man I have ever known. You were a spectacular husband, way, way, waaaayyyy better than I deserved, and so worth the wait, and if God leads you to remarry now that I'm gone, I want you to feel NO GUILT for it. I want you to be happy, but more than that, I want you to pursue God's plan - and more than THAT, I want you to see that Biscuit pursues God's plan. As it is written in III John 1:4,

"I have NO GREATER JOY than to hear that my children are walking in the truth."

To that end, I ask these things:

  1. Please ONLY marry a woman who seeks first the Kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33) and who will DILIGENTLY teach our son to do the same (Deuteronomy 6:7). 
  2. Teach him diligently about the faith of his fathers. "... talk of [it] when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise." Don't you ever - and I mean EVER - abdicate your direction of his little life to a church or a school. In that vein, be vigilant about the doctrine of your church. Remember that there are those who claim Christ who will only lead you astray (Matthew 24:4-5). 
  3. Lead him, as the Good Shepherd leads you, in paths of righteousness (Psalm 23:3). Develop in him a hunger for the things of God by exposing him to them, as opposed to the trappings of this world. Don't let Christianity be the afterthought of his life. Make it the centerpiece. The Bible says we are sanctified by the Truth; "[God's] Word is Truth" (John 17:17), so saturate his life with God's Word that he may be sanctified. Do NOT let pop culture dictate his tastes in entertainment. Guard his ears and eyes; protect his innocence from a sinful society that longs to rob him of it. Remember to "be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour" (I Peter 5:8). Don't give your enemy an entry point into your home.
  4. Discipline him. Remember, even when he tries to tell you otherwise, that discipline is a good thing. First of all, it demonstrates your love for him. "Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him" (Proverbs 13:24). Secondly, Proverbs 22:15 says that "Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline drives it far from him." Clearly, discipline will teach our boy to grow into a wise man. Finally and most importantly, discipline, it is promised in Proverbs 23:13-14, will save his soul, so follow the example of the Lord, Who "disciplines the one He loves and chastises every son whom He receives" (Hebrews 12:6), and discipline Biscuit firmly, consistently, and compassionately.
  5. Be liberal in sharing him with my family. Don't withhold him from them. Make sure he knows both branches of his family tree. In that spirit, don't forget there's Kentucky in his blood, and if, through the genius of genetics, he somehow ended up with my need to spend summer nites sitting on the Ohio River bank, catching lightning bugs and listening to mosquitoes fry on his granddad's bug whacker, while laughing with his cousins, 'til he nearly chokes on his oblong bowl of chips and cheese, let him.
  6. Along those lines, make sure he knows about my Mayme. Make sure he knows that I wanted to make his life as magical as she made mine. 
  7. Finally, Sweetheart, don't force feed him all-Tarheels, all the time. Also encourage his inner Wildcat, until that magical age when he realizes that eight national championships is greater than five and can make is own informed choice as to which basketball legacy he prefers to be a part of.
Thank you for the gift of our wonderful son. Now, train him up in the way he should go (Proverbs 22:6), knowing that, "with God, all things are possible" (Matthew 19:26). 

I love you!