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.