Monday, June 25, 2012

8 years

our first overseas journey as a married couple (denmark)
8 years ago, no wait, lets go back further...nearly 12 years ago there was a gathering that took place every tuesday night at my church in grand prairie texas. it was called seven. this was a gathering of your typical young adults who were still interested in the local church, graduated from high school, making the "next" step in their adult life, and if nothing else LOOKING FOR A SPOUSE.

personally, i was in the between phase of youth and the college crowd. not because i couldn't decide but because i was serving in both ministries and i loved working with youth. i still do. but this young adult crowd was full of the friends i had grown up through the youth group and now they were moving on, as most do.

there were many pretty girls that came and went through this ministry, i'm not gonna lie (even in this particular post). some had that appeal that made guys want to forget all they had planned and pursue that one as if she was an heiress to a billionaire's fortune. maybe some did, not me of course. many stories, many memories, many personalities appeared and illustrated a great pattern of god's handiwork. god was doing something inside me however, that i wouldn't know until these moments in my life.

then, one night, there was a visitor who was going to attend christ for the nations institute. she had moved from san marcos texas where she had graduated from texas state (formerly known as southwest texas). san marcos is a little town about 45 min south of austin off I-35. originally she hailed from alaska, i hadn't known this at the time. she was going to room with another girl that was a regular of the church and one of my friends.

i remember clearly the first night she showed up and the group of friends chatted in the hall casually as we always did. i promise, there was something different about this girl. they called her...liz. and i was intrigued to know her. alas, our "connection" would not take place at this moment and it wouldn't be but a few years later that things would get a little more serious.

one evening i was doing my duties as a driver for a local hotel. some of you may remember the embassy suites known as the "pink hotel." i was working a late shift which meant i wouldn't finish until  10pm. some friends were apparently meeting as liz's apartment for a movie and hangout. i received a call from this girl named liz with an invitation to attend. i informed her that i wouldn't get done with work until 10. she said they would still be there at that time. "ok, cool," i said, "i will see you then."

after that night there was a collision course of destinies that would end up in us getting married the next day!

...just kidding. it was a little while later that we tied the knot.

what makes my bride so amazing is not that she has been giving and giving, which she does.
it isn't her amazingly good looks that keep me locked into this covenant, which she has.
it isn't that she explores new and fantastic cooking recipes to make my taste buds dance, which they do.
it isn't her ability as a mother to steward children in a godly manner, as she has shown.
it isn't that she lays down her life for me even when i don't make it easy for her to do so, consistently.

what makes this covenant the most valuable is that...
she is firmly connected to the source of eternal giving.
she is connected to the source of the most blessed covenant giver.
she returns to the well of life that sustains her.
she moves with the voice of the lord and follows his direction before anything else.

i trust this connection more than i trust our personal connection and i wouldn't want it any other way. it is because of this connection she has with her maker that our matrimonial connection will last until death do us part.

i love you elizabeth...

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Friday, June 15, 2012

alone in grand place

last night at around 5pm i was blessed with the opportunity to get away downtown by myself. most of the time going downtown with the boys is not that big of a deal. their faces light up even with the suggestion. it means they can ride their bikes all the way to the waterloo train station and then ride a train all the way downtown. not having a car has its benefits while forcing us to use public transportation. public transpo humbles everyone. that is a totally different post.

last night i rode my bike to gare de waterloo, locked it up, took the 1657 towards anvers-central, and rode it for nearly 30 minutes to my spot downtown. unbeknownst to me the train actually terminated at gare du midi. there must have been train issues. this detour didn't bother me as i was on my own. actually it forced me to either get on another train or ride the metro to the stop arts-loi (french for art law), which would give me the transfer metro line to gare du centrale. i chose the metro and stopped at ave. louise for a possible meal. nothing was appealing so i got back on the metro to hit my original destination of grand place.

grand place has many many different eateries. many nations and cultures bring their style of cooking (except the mexican cuisine, which would be very advantageous for me and my crew). however, there is no other place like pita row. pita row is a street of greek style pita shops which are all fast and very tasty. not so much good for you as much as dora the explorer would say, "delicioso!" it can satisfy the hungriest of the hungriest. i sat down had my meal and watched the euro 2012 challenge on the tele. the whole street was full of excitement as italy and croatia were competing. what an atmosphere.

from there i walked towards the american embassy inside central station...STARBUCKS! had my usual, black coffee. i sat there and did what i love doing downtown...people watch. had my journal out, wrote down observations and prayers for the city and family. i will leave you with part of my entry:

i love being able to ride my bike to the waterloo train station and it being only a 5 min bike ride
i love being able to get on a train that gets me downtown in 30 min
i love having enough time to read a chapter of a book while on the trip to downtown
i love having a starbucks at central station so that i can sit and drink familiar coffee
i love that this is the meeting place for my wife and me
i love sitting at the station and watching the rush of people
i love walking a few meters out of the station into history and all that is magnificent of grand place
i love having a friterie of my own downtown
i love discovering new areas of this great city alone without fear or time limits
i love having famous pita row
i love you brussels