Friday, December 19, 2008

The Road we Travel....

Over the past week or so I have been processing my past dating relationships and the current one that God has so blessed. I have often felt that I as well as our culture in America have open the box to finding love way to early. If I could go back and prevent myself from dating and just hung out with any and all without strings attach, I would. It is not that I did not care about those girls that I dated or that I am bitter about break-ups, it's about preparation. I am damaged goods. I come from an unbalanced and now broken home life to which a person must come to terms with before seeking out a partner to live life with. I, as many other children of these homes, need to heal the wounds within before we hurt those we will care most about. We must also come to the conclusion that starting a family will not replace the one that we did not have. Lastly, and throughout this time, one must come to terms with who God is to them. I have often prayed that God might bring to me the marriage he would have for me and wondered why he waited, all of this is why! I now have met this woman, Erin, and appreciate that I am a stronger more prepared man. To all that I dated prior, some of them are my dear friends and would have been even more dear had I not decided to date them in my wretched state.

I finish this note with the hope that in the future I and others will protect our children from engaging in the pursuit of love before it's time.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Wedding Party - Groomsmen

Best Man - Samsam Lingle

Sam and I have been best friends for quite a few years. We have known each other since elementary and spent our childhoods hanging out in the neighborhood playing sports. There were many times back then with him that us kids in had to pull him and Chris Williams apart. These times ended temporarily due to the passing of his father and Grandma which then required him to move to his mother's. We were reunited in high school on the wrestling mat. Also he came to Immanuel Baptist Church where I had been attending and served as the assistant youth pastor during his senior year. Since that time at Immanuel we have not separated and a couple of years ago Sam honored me when he asked me to officiate his wedding with his wonderful bride Kim. There is no better a friend than Sam (and Kim, whom I acquired as a best friend when the two married).

Groomsman - Mark Barry


Mark was the first best friend that I ever had. He and I as young boys were inseparable until the divorce of our parents. It was a few years before he and I would began to hang out together due to geographical barriers. Even when I moved back into the neighborhood it was difficult for our friendship to be fully restore with us having different friends and interests. It was about five years ago that we became roommates and due to some choices he had made we parted ways not to long after until he changed some things in his life. Since that he has been my best friend and roommate. When choosing a best man he was the choice due to the struggle between three, but he stated that he picked Sam to be my best man instead of him. He has been my number one supporter in everything God has called me to do, even to the point that he relocated to Tulsa with me just because I needed help financially paying for school, rent, and any other thing. I can't replace him in my heart with any other and have always struggle with the idea of letting him go. Soon I am to be married and he once again proved true, he helps me in making decisions big and small and the only thing that changes in our relationship is geography, but this time it will no come between us.

Groomsman - Doug Williams


Doug and I met at the end of my eight grade year at Falls creek where we really struck up a friendship. That week we talked a lot and there were many nights lying in the dorms when he couldn't sleep he would walk on the ceiling. After camp him and I did't speak much until we saw each other in wrestling practice after school started for my freshmen year. Doug and I have spent many days and nights discusing life, love, and faith since those first days at camp that year. He has always been a huge encourager and support in my life. Doug is a man among men and is one of the greatest friends that anyone could ask for and with out God placing him in my life I don't know that I would be the same.

Final Note

The decision to choose just one best man in my wedding was an impossible one to make and in my heart all three are it. I choose Sam because, as I already stated, Mark choose him. I love each of the three as if the were all my brothers and am blessed that they are in my life at all.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Wedding Party - Maids

Now that we've talked to everyone, we can introduce them to you:

The Matron of Honor - Shelley Chambers Lowe

shelley2Shelley is an AMAZING sister. Plus she was recently a bride and she's already been an invaluable treasure of advice and good counsel for me. She has imminently good judgement, always. So when I spotted good qualities in Joshua that I had seen in Paul (her husband), I knew I couldn't go wrong.   She is always supportive, but never afraid to gently question. She is ever-available for aid and rescue such as bringing my my spare keys or other uniquely Erin-esqe emergencies. She is a gem and I'm delighted that she agreed to be my Matron of Honor.

Bridesmaid - Yulia Chuiko (Юлия Чуйко)


Could I have made it a year and a half in Tobolsk without Yulia? I THINK NOT! She was (and is!) such an awesome source of support and Godly comfort. I can't even think of getting MARRIED without her nearby to share the joy and weight of this special day.

Yulia and I went to church together in Tobolsk, Siberia, Russia. She was the church secretary and one of few single women my age. She also lived just a short walk away from my house. As we began to get to know each other, we found that despite growing up in different countries and in different family circumstances, we had much the same hopes, dreams, frustrations, and perspectives on many things in life. So many of my own strengths and weaknesses, I  see in her so if ever, anywhere in the world, I could find a "kindred spirit" as Anne of Green Gables would say, then it is Yulia. She is truly my dearest and closest friend in the whole world.

Bridesmaid - Eleshia Butler

eleshia Sweet Eleshia! I can remember meeting Eleshia and thinking WOW! She's just a really amazing woman. Like Shelley, she has that rare ability to be wholly supportive, yet delicately call me out when I get out of line. She's a blessed source of true honesty and has a refreshing ability to fully delight in other's joy. She has reveled in hearing about Joshua and I and has been one of my best sources of excellent marriage insight. Her heart for the nations is touching and her love of God is deep and honest. She is truly a treasure to me.

Extraordinary Aide - Caitlin Chambers

Garden me2Caitlin has graciously agreed to fulfill a plethora of roles. She'll be greeting guests, directing traffic, guestbook attending, helping with a bazillion little last minute things I have no doubt. She's the most laid-back easy-going person that I know and I'm certain that she'll be in top form entertaining everyone during any lull in the action before or after the ceremony. She's talented and gregarious and most of all eager to help and be around people.


So registering. You go to Target, you sign up, they give you a cool scanner gun and you walk around the store, aim your gun, fire, and viola. You've got stuff on your register. It's lots of fun, if sort of annoying because there's just so much stuff and so so so many choices and departments and styles. It's gonna take for ever and ultimately we decided to do a lot online. But heeeeeeere's the funny part....

so you're walking around Target, aiming your little gun and any cool stuff you like and a customer says, "hey, do you know where the folding tables are?" and you feel helpful and are about to answer but then you reeeeealize that they think you are a TARGET employee because you have a scanner gun. Nevermind that there's no nametag, no Target logo on your green sweater (or my pink tshirt), no bright red shirt, no khakis. It's that scanner gun, surely, that's a target employee.

Now this was darn amusing when about 3-4 people had asked us about kids toys, the above mentioend table, where the DVDs are, etc. But these folks PALED in comparison to the fresh faced young EMPLOYEE who stopped to ask "Hey, hey, do "we" carry....". So we told him, as we had all the CUSTOMERS that, yeah, the scanner gun means registering, the BRIGHT RED SHIRT, (like yours) that means EMPLOYEE.

So bless his heart, we pointed his bewildered little self toward the aisles a few rows over where there really were some Target employees and I'm sure he found out whether "we" carry whatever it was.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Dress Shopping

Dress Shopping is frustrating. I don't recommend it. Joshua says we can all just go naked, but I keep telling him that, I'm pretty sure I'm the only person who will want to see him in the buff on that day. Assuming he doesn't get his way on this one, you can thank me at the wedding.

So, progress is being made, though. I think the Bridesmaid dresses will be a beautiful deep purple and mine, obviously will be white. Looking a simple a-line satin styles. Shelley and Caitlin and I are going to make one more pass at the shoppes tomorrow.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

More Corpus Pictures

oops! I found some more Corpus Christi pictures on my phone. I think this is all of them now. really.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Corpus Christi!!

Sooooo we went on vacation with Mom and Dad and Caitlin and it was delightful!

Friday we met my Aunt and Uncle and chilled out after the long drive.
Saturday, Joshua and I watched the sunrise on the beach, went fishing with Dad and Uncle Jim then the whole family went to the museum to see it and the Columbus Ships - replicas of the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria in which Christopher Columbus sailed to find the New World.
Sunday, Caitlin, Joshua and I played in the surf for a lonnnnng time and had an absolute BLAST body surfing. Lost my cute sandals, but it was worth it!
Monday we toured the Aircraft Carrier - USS Lexington, the Lady Lex, the elusive Blue Ghost. The longest serving Aircraft Carrier in US history! it's an awesome tour.
Tuesday Joshua and I went back to the beach but it was too cold to swim. We sunbathed but my beautiful tan lasted only 1 day.
Wednesday- I worked most of the day then we headed downtown to the marina to watch the sailboat regatta, we kinda missed the regatta but Caitlin and I saw a SEA TURTLE!! it's a rare sight so we were pretty excited.
Thursday - Beach plans foiled by clouds :-( but we got to leave early for Houston and spend more time with Grandma and Grandpa.
Friday - Had dinner with Uncle Boyd and mom and I worked quite late on a family project for Aunt Cheryl.
Saturday - lunch with grandpa and home again home again jiggity jog.

It was a fun trip although somewhat tiring because of the drive.We had AWESOME weather and spent lots of time with Mom, Dad, and Caitlin which was good so that they could get to know my Prince better.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Engagement Photos

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Monday, October 27, 2008

The day Erin found her Hunka burnin Man!

On a cold day in March when all I was out for was a good cup of coffee and a stimulating conversation with my friend Ben, I was pursued by a crazy mad woman of whom I quickly became intimidated.

It was the one weekend a month that I was in Norman and I had made arrangements to meet with Ben at around eight o'clock at Hastings. We came into the cafe, purchased our drinks, and sat down at the second table from the door thinking that we would discuss life and/or the typical theological things we were mulling over. But this night would soon change with the entrance of a young lady who was sitting but ten feet away at a nice cozy chair. She had been eavesdropping on our conversation and came over to plug for her business, but the real story was that she saw my smoking hotness and could not resist. We finished the short conversation and she retreated to her computer overcome by my presence.

A short while later she returned to tell us that she was off to pick a movie and headed home to her kitty, but after she had stood there fifteen minutes I invited her to take a chair. Not long after that Ben started feeling under the weather and excused himself and left Erin and I to discuss alone. Ultimately Hastings was closing down and we had to leave, but this would only be the beginning to a wonderful story that could have only be orchestrated by God himself! Now, 233 days later we are engaged to be married!

The Key Story

When I was around 16 years old, for Father's Day, I couldn't think of what to give dad. I was thinking a lot about dating and courting (lots of families we knew preferred for their kids to court which basically means to date with the purpose of marrying rather than more casually). I finally decided that I would give dad a key symbolizing the key to my heart. I searched all over town and finally found a pretty key on a key chain.

The Key
Along with the key, as my I wrote a letter explaining that dad should keep the key until a man was found who met certain qualities that I wanted in a husband, loyal, trustworthy, etc. Through the years, I've wondered if Dad still had it, still felt it was his, still expected to be asked to relinquish it to a suitor, did I still feel that way?

Dad, indeed, still had the key and when Joshua appeared in my life back in March, I mentioned needing to find it and it was clear that Dad still held the key and treasured it. So, when Joshua and I started talking about marriage, I told him that he'd need to ask Dad for not only my hand but the key to my heart as well.

Kim carried the Key theme to the table decoration for video/proposal.

Back in September, Joshua mentioned that he'd like for both of us to travel to Texas to ask dad, and I'd planned to go, but in the end, Joshua went while I was on a business trip and braved that undoubtedly nerve wracking conversation, made only more so because of the key, all by himself. He is a prince.

The Perfect Ring

The Proposal

As you view the videos, keep in mind that Joshua had told me that Kim and Sam wanted interview us for a video about dating for their youth group. In my mind, we were there video-taping for the kids.

Secondly, we'd decided in early September that in October we wanted to go to Mom and Dad's together to talk to my parents so Joshua could as for my hand. We'd not gone that weekend, because it was OU-TX but all weekend, I'd been thinking, WHEN!? and we need to call to make sure my parents will be in town. But Joshua hadn't said anything about it and I didn't want to press him, nevertheless, it was foremost in my mind.

Also, make sure to read the Key Story post so that portion makes sense.

I seriously didn't know what was going on until I looked back and saw mom and dad. omg. I was so fooled. He did sooooo well.

Part 1 - mostly interview. Questions: Where did you meet, What's your favorite thing about your relationship?

Part 2 - interview cont. Questions: What's your favorite thing about your relationship con't and How do you see God in your relationship?

Part 3 - Question: Where do you see your relationship headed in the future? Note the family closing in behind us.

Joshua really did an amazing job. I was so surprised and the ring is perfect. He had to go to a LOT of trouble in the preceding two weeks. He'd driven to my parent's house while I was on a business trip, kept in contact with mom and my two sisters, kept up with Kim's and Mom's additions to his plan, got me to pick out the roses without letting me know they were for me, taken me shopping for a new outfit "for the youth video", made sure I'd not looked at his calls/txts since mom and Shelley had been calling/txting, talked to Hastings (even got us free lattes!), ordered and picked up the ring 2 weeks previously while I was in Tulsa with him, then kept quiet about it (!) while making me think it'd not been purchased yet, at Hastings, steering me clear of my hiding family, and picked music for the Hasting's sound system, all while making sure I was none the wiser. Masterful job, really. He's amazing.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

How We Met - Erin's story

On International Women's Day (March 8), my friend Sue and I decided to treat ourselves to Rusty's Frozen Custard. Having finished my treat, I headed to Hastings to work in their cafe with their free wi-fi. Just as I walked in, I spotted my friend Kris and we decided to sit together.

After a few hours these two guys walked in and as one was pulling out his chair to sit down he said "oh i'll go, and when I do, it'll be with the IMB". Now for some, this would make no sense, but the IMB is a missions organization. Sadly, it's pretty rare for a guy to make this sort of bold statement so I noted him but kept plugging along at work.

I had my headphones on and the guys were sitting maybe 25 feet away, but I could still hear a lot of their conversation because they were speaking so loudly. So the next phrase of note was concerning a support group to which we sometimes refer our clients.

Well, the website I work for still hasn't really taken off, so I went over to give this guy a card. He made sure that it was my direct line and my direct e-mail and asked some questions about the site. I went back to work.

After a few more hours, I was ready to pick my movie and head for home and my cutie-pie kitten. I packed up and headed over to those guys to remind them to look us up and they started asking where I was from and how long I'd lived in Norman. Sooooo, a movie with the kitten, or talk with what seemed like decent guys. The guys won out over the movie date with the kitten and we stayed there until about midnight despite the fact that Joshua would lose on hour of sleep (time change) in an already short night due to ANG drill.

In the end, Joshua carried my heavy computer bag all over the video dept while I picked a movie foolishly thinking that I'd still want to stay up to watch it. I got an old pink panther flick, but didn't watch it. I was suspicious of him wanting to carry my bag but in hindsight I can see that it's just his nature to open doors, carry bags, etc for everyone not just girls whom he's trying to impress.

That night, I got a facebook friend request with a sweet note that it's ok to refuse, if it's uncomfortable. The next day, we started video-chatting on skype and we've talked every day ever since.


Well, I suppose this first post will soon be buried at the last page of our blog, but nevertheless, we say "Welcome!" We're delighted that you've looked around our blog and hope you've been blessed while you were here.