Thursday, October 17, 2013

Good Day - 3 yrs...

Today was a good day.  I've been looking forward to today since the beginning of the week.  It was a genuine day off for me, and my folks and Les were coming up for a visit prior to L's 3-year check up.  I was able to get some housework done this morning prior to their arrival and that felt good.  Not only to get a cleaner house, but also knowing that it would be a great way to serve Melissa as well. Mom and Dad were bringing lunch so really the only thing I had to do was make some good coffee.  So I did :-)

Leslie has been wanting a demonstration of my "clever coffee" dripper ever since I told her about it being a french press... but better.  There was a lot of good catching up and just general chatter around the table which is just the kind of family visiting that I've always remembered and usually long for.  Good food + Good conversation = one satisfied soul.

One of the conversation threads turned toward's reminiscing about the memories and the "where were you's?" when Kennedy was killed.  Being of a different generation it was good to soak it up.  The closet things I've encountered that could be comparable in magnitude has to be 9/11 for my generation.

Out of all the visiting we had though, L was surely the star :-)  He has grown up SOOO much!  In fact he has literally grown 2 inches in the past 4 months which is just astounding.  I love his mannerisms.  And honestly a big part of writing this blog post is to capture some of that because I know how quickly things change and I'd like to preserve this memory.

L has taken to calling hummingbirds "honey-birds" and I love how whenever he says "I am!" it always comes out "I 'Mam."  Lately one of his latest catch phrases is "Yeah, I know" and he repeats it often, but the context can frequently be quite amusing.  Just this weekend at our family reunion when Jason was "roping" with L he exclaimed to L, "I don't know about this... it's kind of like the blind leading the blind." Insert> "Yeah, I know!"

I'm proud of him beyond measure and I think he's going to be a great big brother to little Baby-D on the way.  

I hope to instill in both of them a courage for life that is wise and fearless... simultaneously.  I want to share my passion with them... to love deeply, commit fully, cook creatively, and enjoy music masterfully.  Above all I want my legacy for them to be that God comes first and to hold our blessings with an open hand.  

I wish music, writing, cooking, reading and just general creativity had more of a time share in my life at the moment... but it doesn't.  Taking care of my family is the highest priority and responsibility I have right now.  From what I also gather from my father, and from those that have been through these footsteps in their prior years, I understand that these years in my life are some of the most demanding and busy years that I can have.

I am establishing myself in my career, and I am carving a path not only for myself, but for the future of my family.  

I'm thankful to have time with my parents, and I'm realizing today that I am somewhat jealous of how close in proximity my sister and her family are to them.  It's challenging for me to stay connected with them on a day-to-day basis and certainly the physical distance is a road block as well.  As my parents are to my sister and her family, my in-laws are to mine.  My sister and I are both richly blessed to have family so close to help with childcare. I just wish I could see Dad and Mom more often, and I'd love for mine and my sister's family to have more time together as well.

I'm not sure what the next chapter will look like when Baby-D arrives... but I will step forth boldly knowing that I have a strong family behind me - immediate, and extended; and I have an even stronger God that can see beyond these feeble footsteps with a bigger plan and purpose for my life than I could ever imagine.

Thursday, January 19, 2012


I wasn't quite sure what to expect as today began.  I've been crying a lot lately, and knew that there would be more tears to be had in a few short hours as today was the day we would be laying to rest the body of my grandfather.

I'm weary and feel worn, and hollow lately.  This is partially due to my job front and coming off a successful, but albeit exhausting, retail holiday season.  The past few weeks have been to no avail either as we immediately pushed into preparation mode for our store inventory.  We finished the task last night while simultaneously my family was attending a visitation for GrandDaddy at the funeral home.

Before 2012 even began, I had to bid farewell to my uncle as well.  The void that is left from his absence is certainly felt, but for the sake of this entry I will only focus on today.  That being said it is dearly important to know this fact as it certainly influences my current state of being.


I managed to make Liam breakfast and get us out the door by 8:15a or so for an appointment to get the oil changed in our family car (a Corolla mind you - because without a doubt, Toyota must be in the gene pool after all the Camrys my grandparents have owned!).  Maybe not the most ideal time to get this accomplished, but it was due for service and we wanted to get this accomplished before taking this vehicle on any major road traveling.

Melissa was taking a half day off of work today so that she could attend the funeral alongside me.  We got on the road as quickly as we could, but there was no doubt about it - it was going to be a tight fit to arrive on time.  I think we ended up squeaking in about 2 or 3 minutes late.

When I was getting ready to leave I decided to shave off the goatee  for the occasion which had grown over the holiday season.  Perhaps for several reasons.  I wanted to dress sharply for my grandfather.  I actually shave with a double-edge safety razor which I feel is homage enough to his generation, but I wanted to have a clean shave to honor his service in the military as well.  My grandmother was always particular about my sister having her hair in a french braid so that grandmother could always see Lisa's radiant face without stray hairs getting in the way.  Perhaps, my shaving was a male version of the like.  Regardless, in my small world it was a way to show respect to him.

My father was dressed "to the 9's" today in a navy suit with a lavender shirt and a matching grey/lavender grid tie.  All of his clothes were from my store.  I thought about this after the fact, but it makes me feel good to think that this was a quiet reflection of accomplishments of mine.  Since beginning the position in November of 2010 I have already been promoted and I may be in line to be promoted again within a few short months. I think GrandDaddy would be proud of me... I know  he is proud of me and all that I have accomplished.  I have a loving wife, a handsome son, a Christian household, a strong work ethic, and a lifestyle that is financially prudent without the load-bearing shackles of debt and strife.  I attribute this to the wisdom imparted through the family tree and I am lucky enough to have grafted a spouse like Melissa into my own bloodline that has the same character pedigree.

My sister, Lisa, is a remarkable, accomplished woman and friend.  She and my dad both spoke today at GrandDaddy's memorial service but being a fellow grandchild I am especially thankful for her speaking.  Lisa, is the eldest of us four grandchildren and whether due partially to that or just her personality, or both she had a very special relationship with Granddaddy.  She could take his guff and give it right back to him.  Furthermore, she had the same poise and reserve in her deliberate choice of words that can deliver such a tenacious bite that it can put someone squarely in their place and she did just that with GrandDaddy on more than one occasion. It is due to this unique ability of hers combined with the close-knit relationship she had with him that allowed her to due some verbal "threshing" to depart the chaff from the wisdom.  I am SO thankful for that wisdom too.  I wish that I could have fielded GrandDaddy's questions with the same clout that my sister had with him, but she and I are different.  As my dad later mentioned about how he and his brother have their different  strengths and weaknesses it is the same for Lisa and I.  Dad sees GrandDaddy in my Uncle Jim.  I see him in my Sister.  And just as much as Jim is my dad's "rock," Lisa is mine.

GrandDaddy knew that I was going to turn out alright.  That as bright, hard-working, and as good as I am with people, that I was going to be successful at whatever I set out to do.  To quote my sister:

"Today, I am clearly a better person for the impact GrandDaddy had on my life. I think we all are. I have no illusions that he was perfect or that he always had the right words, but I know his intentions were pure."

His words weren't always right.  His questions could feel disapproving of my life course, but intentions were ALWAYS pure - the best for me and my future.  His legacy carries on in this way also... through the will of my sister (and no, she doesn't always have the right words for me either, but pure intentions no doubt.  Again how she is like Granddaddy), and my father for me.  GrandDaddy's legacy also carries on in what I wish for Liam and any future children Melissa and I  hope to have some day.

At his grave side what struck me most were the sounds and regalia.  Due to his service in WWII the US military gave him honors and presented the US Flag to my Grandmother.  "Taps" was beautiful on the flugalhorn and unlike any other cemetery that I have been to this one was unique in that there were wind chimes everywhere.  It brought me such peace to listen to them.  Wind chimes always have.

GrandDaddy's love and values are something that we as his grandchildren are working hard to instill into the children of our own so that one day these same love and values may be passed on to their children's children.  You have so much to be proud of, GrandDaddy.  And I am SO proud to be called your Grandson.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Just a few things that make me think of Granddaddy:
Gin Rummy in particular, but cards in general.
Shrimp - as bait, or eaten boiled or fried.
Driving a Golf Cart
My Dad's laughter
The Stock Market
the smell of WD-40

I'm sure there is more... but I wanted to list a few.

What are yours?


A new chapter

My grandfather passed away yesterday.  I suppose this event has been anticipated for some time, but "expected" just doesn't seem to cut it.  You never really "expect" to lose someone you care about.

I got a text from my dad that read "Call me when you can."  I knew what his text meant even though I didn't know for certain... or maybe I didn't want to realize it for certain.  Denial?  Sure.  So, when I called him, and he bore the news to me the weeping was instantaneous.  I spent a good while crying, and asking questions of "... is Grandmother okay? Are you there now?  Were you with him when he passed?"  Yes to all three.

I'm glad my dad and my uncle were there with him in his final moments with us.  I glad they were there to comfort my Grandmother too.  My dad said his passing was "peaceful" and I'm thankful for that also.

After I got off the phone with my father... I cried some more.  Deep sobbing that brought me to my knees.

The most recent memory I have of my Grandfather was at our extended family "Christmas" gathering after New Year's.  He got to see Liam and all of his amiable personality.  It made Granddaddy laugh a few big chuckles.  I hadn't heard him laugh like that in a very long time due to his health complications.

He lived a full life.  He cared immensely about his family.  I think we all have something to be thankful for in how he impacted each of our lives.

Grieving will take time... I'm not sure it has all sunk in yet.  I will see my Grandmother Thursday at his memorial service and I will wrap my arms around her and kiss her on the cheek.  I'm not exactly sure what this new chapter holds for all of us, but I'm glad that Granddaddy can finally rest.  He hasn't been well for a long while.

Rest in peace.  I will miss you.


Monday, December 5, 2011

Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!

"Venez m'aider" which means "come help me" is the original french phrase from which the distress signal "MAYDAY!" is derived, according to Wikipedia. I feel like we might as well be saying that right now.

Melissa and I are both working our tails off lately. We're doing our best just to keep up with life, but it feels like life is winning and we are sitting under it's motionless masses. I know that God is in the midst, I know that he hears us, I know that in general... we are okay. There's no need to panic. We have so much to be thankful for and this too shall pass... I just feel like she and I both have to be "on" constantly. There's no room for pause - as individuals or together.

Tonight we had our friend, Kim, over for dinner and to watch a show together. It was a nice reprieve. I only wish that everything else was in order so that after that time passed it still felt truly restful.

We have a partially completely paint job in the kitchen. Dishes are everywhere. Laundry needs to be done. I've got 113 boxes coming in this week at work (33 of which are could be pants and each pant box hold roughly 25-30 pants... I'll let you do the math. No matter how you slice it it's exhausting labor). I'm also not holding my breath about attaining bonus this month either and it honestly hurts - it's hard to describe the feelings that arise from working SO hard towards something only to not achieve it. All I can say is it hurts.

In the meantime...

Our water softener broke (ever since then we've been having MUCH drier, irritated skin).
Our garage door broke.
The hot water heater is acting up....
The last time I mowed the yard (hopefully DONE for the season) the mower started sounding funny
The Christmas tree is only partially decorated which leaves a lot of clutter scattered about in the music room
A Grocery trip still needs to be made this week in addition to a long commute to in search of a Craigslist deal for Liam's Christmas present

Melissa and I need a date... desperately. A vacation would be even better...

The constant mess around here is a constant stress. How do other people do it all? Or is everyone else kind of faking their way through it as well. You know, "Fake it till you make it!"

What's on your plate? Feel free to vent a bit... it'd help us not feel so alone, and it might help you unload in the process.

So... "Venez m'aider!" Which may help you too.

God is near.


Sunday, October 9, 2011


So, upon my recent late night grocery shopping excursion (it is after all the easiest time given our crazy schedules, having a little one, and an HEB that isn't close at all!) I decided I would surprise my beautiful bride with one of her favorite things... Cinnamon Rolls! This was part of today's Sunday Breakfast fare. Usually, if we do buy cinnamon rolls (which is rare) we get the mondo size ones that have an extra amount of icing and only 5 to a pack.

This time I was smart about it though. You see... just like my family growing up, Melissa and I like to divide and conquer. Which led me to purchase the (albeit smaller variety) package of 8 cinnamon rolls. Easier division and more specificity! So after this morning's breakfast I decided to stake my claim:

I call "Mine!"

Melissa - Devouring her portion :-)

Needless to say... we like our cinnamon rolls!!!
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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Four years today...

Melissa and I get the honor of celebrating four years of marriage today. Well... I say today, but in actuality our "celebrating" will be coming monetarily and momentarily later. We have a getaway planned in August as a summer vacation/anniversary celebration and we have tickets to see Cirque Du Soleil this October. So for today we will be celebrating simply :-).

Mel and I are really good at that too - working as a team that is (although we are good at living simply as well!) I'm proud of the dynamic team that we are. Sometimes we even see eye-to-eye before we talk about it. God has made us unique individuals. We each have our strengths and weaknesses. For the most part our individual strengths complement our individual weaknesses and when we are both lacking, then we do our best to encourage one another.
Our running comes to mind. Mel and I have each had the opportunity to cheer each other on. Literally. Cheering for her in San Francisco, and she gave me hope when I ran Houston.

So what does simply look like today? (Sorry dear reader for digressing a bit!) Well, this blog for one - and I know that my sweet bride has written one as well; however, we haven't read each other's blog's yet because we are utilizing future posting by blogger. (you see I'm actually writing this on the 27th... not the 28th. Cool, huh?) We're planning on letting someone else do the cooking tonight. Maybe it'll be mexican takeout, or pizza, or we may even just stop into a local deli for a family date with our little one. We'll see. No matter what I can't wait! We're also going to relax and watch a movie as well. This harkens back to our dating days... In my old apartment we'd always eat while sitting on the floor gathered around the coffee table. We still do that sometimes and it makes it special :-)

One of the things I have ALWAYS loved about Melissa is the way that she is creative, spontaneous, and fun. She has this unique way of naming things that just makes me laugh. When we were dating she named the basil plant I was growing "Billy." Billy the Basil. And now there's Gail the Garmin. From my single days apartment - my neighbor upstairs was G.U.S. (Guy UpStairs) and his pet D.U.S (Yep, Dog UpStairs).

So the other day, after buying a toothbrush holder for our new house I found this note:

On the back this was written:

She makes me SO happy! I smile every time I see this note. My jaw still drops whenever I see her. The love of my life, my beautiful Melissa...

At the Nike Women's Marathon in San Francisco
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