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There’s Nobody Like Momma

It must have been in ’68 or ’69 when you saved my life. It’s all but a dim recollection now but I still see the three angry bears charging towards me in our backyard. Then from out of nowhere you rushed towards them, positioning yourself between me and the hungry bears, fighting them off with a broom. You really saved me. You were my hero. And although it was just a dream I can’t help but think what deeper reality it represented. I couldn’t fully know or understand until later in my life how much a hero you really were to me. For it wasn’t just those bears that you saved me from. You taught me so many things.

You were one of the most caring people that I have ever known. God gave you a servant heart and you never let Him down with loving service to those around you. You became a nurse because you cared so much for others. You continuously took care of Auntie when she got on up in years and rarely got out of bed. You put up with so much and I know that you were disappointed when she never seemed to appreciate just what you went through. But that didn’t stop you from continuing to care for her. I guess you couldn’t help yourself. It was just so much a part of what made you the special person that you were. From that I learned that we should respect everyone and love them because God made them. And in a world that is moving so fast, we simply cannot forget family. Family is everything.

It was early afternoon on that day, in August 1973, just a few weeks until school started back. Laura and I were playing outside in the late summer heat and Dad was inside taking a nap on the couch. Laura sent me to retrieve a friend a few houses down the street and I took off on her bike accelerating down the sloping driveway. I was a skilled bike rider, having learned several years before, but that did not matter when I hit the rock near the bottom of the driveway. The bike went down and I was wailing in agony. Laura came sauntering down the driveway and even the neighbors came to see what had happened. I screamed at Laura to get Dad and he finally (it seemed like an hour) came down to “fix” me. But he couldn’t. So off to the hospital we went. An x-ray showed that both bones in my lower right arm had broken. They had to set my arm and put it in a cast. Upon our arrival at the hospital, you were told that I was in the emergency room. However, you were in the middle of a surgery and could not come to my aid at that particular time. In fact, I don’t think you were ever able to get there before we left. I was disappointed. In fact, for many years after that, I never let you live that down. It was all in fun, of course. Even though I didn’t see it at the time, I learned some things from that whole ordeal. I learned that the world does not revolve around me. There are other things going on and some of them may very well take precedence over me. The fact that you did not immediately come running said less about your love for me (of course, you loved me!) and more about the importance of your job. The truth of that situation was someone’s life was on the line and I just broke my arm. It also taught me that a strong work ethic is important. You always urged me to do my best even if it wasn’t the best. You consistently followed that advice. You always did your best.

I can’t imagine what it was like for you when both of your children, now grown, were off to their own lives. I guess I was always a “momma’s boy.” I always felt so close to you. I remember calling you two or three times a week just to hear your voice. They say there’s nobody like Momma. I admire you so much because I know of the struggles that you went through with Dad over the last several years of his life. I remember the phone calls from you that would break my heart and yet was so honored that you would call me at those times. I remember encouraging you that your crown in heaven was going to be just loaded with jewels. And I prayed for you mightily. You have taught me that marriage, even during the dark moments, is a commitment that should not be taken lightly. You were steadfast in that commitment until the day Dad died – always taking care of him and putting his needs before your own. I love you for that.

I am glad that you were raised in a Christian home. Your parents were both instrumental in leading you to the Lord and you certainly passed that on to me. As I was growing up, you always made sure that I was in Sunday school. You didn’t always attend church services yourself but you lived out your life as an example of Jesus. Not to say your life was perfect, but you taught me right from wrong. You taught me to love the Bible and that Truth was therein. I thank God when I remember the last time we were together. It is etched in my mind. You were so proud to come to see Trey’s baptism. We could tell that you didn’t feel well that entire weekend. But you soldiered on. You decided to leave early – right after church on Sunday. I leaned over into your open window and told you that I loved you and kissed you on the cheek. Our telephone conversation, later that night, was the last time we spoke. You left us so quickly the very next day, Noah’s birthday. My heart was sad but my faith gave me peace and hope. I know I will see you again someday. I can’t wait for that. I guess, after all these years, I am still a “momma’s boy.”

Your adoring son,

Donny

April 21, 2007

I wrote this last year as a tribute to my mom. On this Mother’s Day I hope you have told your mom that you love her, given her a firm hug, and thanked God for his many blessings. If, like me, your mother has gone on I encourage you to thank God for the profound influence that she may have had on your life. Then find another mother somewhere, perhaps your daughter or a neighbor, and wish them a Happy Mother’s Day.

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Categories: Family

Update on Trey

trey001Several people have asked how Trey is doing. Fortunately, all of that crisis is over. Trey’s last trip to the doctor held good news for us. He is expected to make a full recovery. His eye is still dilated slightly but the doctor told us there was no further damage to the eye. The dilation should go down with time and the eye return to normal. Trey’s vision is clear and his worries about needing glasses seem to unwarranted, at least for the short term. Thank you for all of your prayers and the many nice comments and well-wishes. Friends are great.

Categories: Family

A Goal Realized

March 30, 2008 5 comments

I have said before that I am not really a goal setter. I have hopes and dreams but ask me where I want to be in 5-years and you will get a blank look. “Uh… I don’t know.” I guess I just wander around shiftlessly living in the moment. Or maybe I just don’t want to set goals that I may or may not reach. But one thing is for sure – with steadfast determination (or obsession) I have been able to reach a goal that I have. And look at me… I guess I can do it.

For after 267 days, about 1,200 miles of walking I have reached my weight loss goal and have lost 100 lbs. I cannot believe it. I went from size 50 pants to size 36. I went from wearing XXL – XXXL shirts to now wearing a large. I don’t think I have been this size since high school. Some of my college friends tell me that they have never seen me this small. It is really amazing.

The first question I am asked is “How are you doing it?” The answer is that by walking three times a day and reducing my calories to less than 1,800/day it has just melted off. But it has taken a long time. And I can guarantee you one thing. I will never go back there. It just won’t happen. It has taken too much for me to get here and here is where I am going to stay.

So imagine… me with a goal. I actually did it. Honestly, I don’t think I did it at all. Because of my predisposition that precludes goal setting, along with my love for food, I don’t really take credit for this at all. Sure I got up and sweated but I am certain the determination and focus came from God. He has led me here and now I am tasting the sweet water of being healthy. And for the first time in my life, I feel like I just might be around to see my grandkids grow up (whenever that happens…). That is really awesome.

So take a look at these pictures and see for yourself what a great work God has done in me.

I was wearing a size 50 pants but now am into a size 36. I have not been in this size probably since high school.


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This shot was taken in 2005 for our church pictorial directory. The recent one was taken at Easter 2008.

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This was taken in September of 2006 for Upward football. The recent shot was taken on today, 3/30/08.
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I can hardly believe my eyes. My blood pressure is lower (without medication for the first time in 20 years) and I feel so much better with more energy. I have been told that I am half of the man I used to be. Technically, I am 2/3 of the man that I used to be. I have lost 33% of my original body weight. So, there it is, dear readers. Mark this day down on your calendars as the day Donny realized a goal. Who knows if that will ever happen again? It is simply amazing.
Categories: Family

You can now board…

January 27, 2008 1 comment

After our exciting night in Galveston we got up and walked a mile or so down the beach. That was fun. It would’ve been much better if we could have seen the water. It was foggy. It reminded me of that Scooby Doo cartoon where Shaggy cut through the fog with a knife. We soon gathered everything up and headed for the cruise terminal. We finally found it… it wasn’t easy because like the night before there were closed streets all over the place. So we meandered our way through the line to get to the terminal. When we got there, we were told that the fog had prevented the ship from getting back from the cruise last week. We were supposed to get onboard at 1:30. It was going to be delayed until 5:30. To make matters worse, the parking lot was going to be closed until right before then. So there were hundreds of cars lined up down the street, through neighborhoods. We waited there 3 hours. Now it doesn’t seem as bad but you should try to sit in your car for three hours straight. During this time we were watching people walk back and forth up and down the streets searching for food and bathrooms. (We were all planning on eating lunch on board. We were able to see all of Big Mama’s children arriving at her house for Sunday lunch. It was funny because this one guy (weighing in about 400 bs.) was really concerned and confused as to why all of our cars were lined up and down the street. Apparently, Big Mama has some big children and lots of them. I thought it was neat how they were all spending the Sunday meal and afternoon together. I don’t think that really happens too much these days.

I think we were in a total of six lines (in the manner of Six Flags) that wound back and forth and back and forth again. But finally we were on the ship. And it pulled away at about 6:00pm – a full two hours earlier than they expected.

I will post some pictures tomorow of the ship and other things.

Categories: Family, Travel

Same Auld Lang Syne

December 31, 2007 Leave a comment

Here we are again at another New Year’s Eve. When I walked this morning I was thinking about the last year and ways that my life is better now than last year at this time. If you believe the media and the Democratic candidates we are so much worse off than last year. Consumer confidence is down and there were concerns about the “worst Christmas buying season in 5 years.” Rhonda and I don’t see it. But I digress…I have been thinking some about personal goals for next year. If you have been with me through the years you know that I am not one that makes New Years resolutions. I think they set yourself up to fail. So, even though I am really not much of a “goal setter”, this year I am going to call them “goals.” It isn’t really the same thing, is it? Regardless of what you want to call them, here is a list of my personal goals for next year:

  1. Continue my weight loss (currently at 54 lbs.) and arrive at my goal weight by in time for youth camp next year. I have about 35-40 more pounds to lose. I started losing at camp last year when they walked and ran me to death.
  2. Give blood as often as they will let me.
  3. Find new ways to show my love for my wife. In the busyness of our lives, we sometimes forget that we need alone time together. Whether it be something as simple as monthly dates or a weekend away, or a cruise (just 24 more days for that one!) we need to make time for each other.
  4. Alone time individually with my boys. A few years ago, I started what we called “dates” with my boys. It was just a chance to spend time alone with them. For a while, I would take one of them and Rhonda would take the other and we would just enjoy each others company. It was great. In fact, there is no one, other than Rhonda, that I would prefer to spend my time with. We stopped doing it at some point. I don’t know why. Every so often Noah asks when we are going to go on another date. I really want to start that again. It obviously meant a lot to them.

So there they are. Kind of short and simple, really. What do you have to work on?

Categories: Current Affairs, Family

Christmas Cardless

December 13, 2007 Leave a comment

One of things I remember growing up was the little wooden tree that held the Christmas cards. As they would come in my mother would add them to that card holder. By the time it was ready to be put back in it’s box there were a lot of cards stuck in the small slits. It was as much of a tradition as Santa Claus. My mom would send out cards and we would receive cards. In fact, I follow the same system that my mom employed, albeit more high tech. “You should always put back enough cards to send to someone that you didn’t think to send to but you receive from,” she would say. Those words have served me well, I guess. I don’t know how necessary that is but I guess it is polite. So the tradition continues, sort of.

When I bought cards this year, I qualified to get a free card holder. This one isn’t a small wooden Christmas tree but a large ring with places to attach cards to it making it look like a wreath. It is okay. Better than just putting the cards in a basket or in a stack on the mantle. Problem is, with twelve days until Christmas, I don’t have very many cards. It seems with every year the cards received are fewer and fewer. Is this a tradition that has run its course? I sent out almost 70 cards this Christmas. Am I living in the past? Does anyone really care about that anymore?

I guess my tradition (and the high-tech part) is my annual Christmas letter. It is difficult to write it considering how boring our lives are. It may be even more difficult to read it. I guess it is kinda presumptuous to think that anyone would actually like to read those things. It is just that we don’t really talk to people throughout the year and it is a way for people to see the boys pictures and to find out what is going on with us. They seem to say the same things over and over. Will I still do it after the boys leave? I don’t know. I realize that some people probably roll their eyes and line the bird cage with it. That’s okay. The important thing is that they were remembered at this special time of the year. Everyone can be thankful for that. Have a great Christmas everyone. I am going to check the mail box.

Categories: Family, Humor

Oh my, she makes me tingle…

November 8, 2007 Leave a comment

I have to be the luckiest man on earth. Why did I deserve such fortune? I am not so deluded to think that I actually do deserve this. But God has continually drenched me with His grace for the last 20 years. Wow! 20 years!

Marriage really is a mysterious and wondrous thing. So many people get married and never really know what they are actually doing. For the act of marriage is more, much more, than a civil ceremony. Mike Mason speaks to this in his incredible book The Mystery of Marriage:

In marriage a man is given the opportunity of seeing one woman, one person, as he has never seen any other woman or person before. Marriage affords as deep a glimpse into the heart and soul of another being as we shall ever have. We long to stand in awe of one another, just as Adam and Eve must have done when they first locked gazes. We long for our whole body to tingle with the thrill of knowing that this one fascinating being, this being of a different gender, has been created especially for us and given to us unreservedly for our help, comfort and joy.

Did I mention God’s grace? I love my wife. Our love has grown stronger and deeper over the past 20 years. She still amazes me. What a woman of incredible grace she is. As I sat across from her last night, happily sharing a piece of chocolate cake I couldn’t help but consider that she does indeed have the same effect on me as that rich, luscious piece of cake. I told her that eating all of that chocolate made my face tingle. I don’t know why it does but it always has. Maybe it is the release of endorphins or something. But I get much the same “endorphic” (don’t think that is a word) effect by just looking at her and being with her. After 20 years, she still gets me going. I can’t wait to see what another 20 years will bring. My hope is that, at the end, people will look at us and consider ours to have been one of the greatest loves ever.

Do I deserve all of that? Probably not. But they say the journey is the thing and I couldn’t have ever imagined that my journey could be so complete. That is ultimately what counts.

Categories: Books, Family, Religion