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Today my wife and I are celebrating our twenty-fourth wedding anniversary. While it hasn’t all been sunshine and roses, it’s been good. It’s had its ups and downs, its victories, defeats, and disappointments. In short, its been a real relationship–one where it has been safe to know and safe to be known. My wife is a wonderful woman, full of life, love, and forgiveness. And I’ve needed every bit of it. If I were Catholic, and believed in their process of canonization, I would nominate her for sainthood.

I love you, Lisa! You’re my best friend now, forever, and always. I thank God for you everyday.

Happy anniversary!

>no pooping!photo © 2004 Johanna | more info (via: Wylio)

Random Thursday—Poop, Sin, and Anniversary Edition
      Hello, and welcome again to another edition of Random Thursday, where things get, well, random! On my mind today is poop… (“His posts are like random droppings from his brain”). Hey, I heard that! Not cool! But seriously, what I was wondering is why have I never heard a sermon preached from the pulpit on how sin is like poop. If you think about it, it really is. It’s completely natural, normal, we all do it almost everyday, and well, it stinks! Let that sink in: what naturally comes out of us stinks. Like sin. Paul asked “who shall deliver me from this body of death?” In other words, who’s gonna take this stinky, rotting corpse off my back? That was his metaphor for the natural man—our stinking sin nature that we, even those of us connected to Christ, carry around with us until we step off of this planet and into eternity. Anyway, I’ve never heard that sermon preached yet? Have you? Have you ever thought about how poop is like sin?
      I’ve posted before about my awesome wife; she’s so awesome that, in fact, she’s hitched her wagon to mine for the last twenty years! I can hardly believe it! I mean how did I get so blessed to have her in my life? And where has the time gone? Through ups and downs, through thick and thin, she’s been there. Without her love and support I wouldn’t be who, or where, I am today. She is more beautiful, and I love her more, now than ever. I’m going to break one of the cardinal laws of dudedom and confess that, yes, she completes me. Corny, but true.
Here’s the list part of Random Thursday
  1. Things might get quiet around here tomorrow—I’m attending the Catalyst One Day seminar at CCV in Peoria, AZ. If you’re going, we can hang if you like. I’m kinda quiet around new people (sort of an introvert), but I wouldn’t be blogging if I wasn’t willing to put myself out there. God is stretching me in a ways I never could’ve even imagined a month ago.
  2. Coming on Monday is a new, well, if not random, but irregular interview series featuring bloggers of renown called Textual Harassment. The first victim, er, subject is Bryan Allain. Bryan is a humor blogger living in Intercourse, PA. (Yes, it’s a real city in Lancaster County. I’ve heard that if one flies into Philly, one has to pass through Blue Ball to get to Intercourse. Kinda sounds like marriage, right?) The text-based interview will take place over the course of two, or three, days. Following Bryan, probably sometime next month, will be Mr. Stuff Christians Like himself, Jon Acuff. (No, I’m not fly like a G6, and it’s not true that all I do is win. Trust me—I was kinda douchey towards Bryan, and yet he gave me a second chance anyway. And truly, all I did was ask both Bryan and Jon if they would be willing to be interviewed, and they both assented).
  3. Freedom Friday happens every week around these parts. It’s all about where we need freedom, where Jesus has given us freedom, and how we can help each other on the way to freedom. Even though I get silly, and sometimes sarcastic, around here I mean Freedom Friday to be inviolable: it’s a safe place to be real. And I mean it. It’s my intention to not moderate the comments, and I will stick by that as long as folks don’t insult, or judge, each other. Get rude, and I delete. It’s my sandbox.
That’s all for today. Peace out.

>anne-jacksonphoto © 2010 AnneJacksonWrites Anne Jackson | more info (via: Wylio)

This past weekend, my wife and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary. It has been both a privilege and an honor to have Lisa in my life. And I know that for such a momentous occasion as this, she would have liked to have gone to a place like Hawaii, but that wasn’t feasible at this time. I was able to book us a couple of nights at a local resort, arrange childcare for our kids, but still wanted to make our anniversary a memorable occasion. And that is where Anne Jackson comes in. She seems to have made it her life’s calling to help people get free from all the junk that weighs us down—whatever that is. And she—along with Susan Isaacs and Solveig Leithaug—were going to be in town for the last stop of the fall leg of the Permission to Speak Freely tour. As I have been truly blessed, encouraged, challenged, and changed by reading Anne’s books (her description of her “sex education” resonates with me, because it strongly parallels my own), I got my wife and I tickets. Not exactly a romantic notion, I know, but very memorable. We got to meet strangers who felt like lifelong friends, folks who really cared about us, and invited us into their stories. It was an intimate evening, perhaps not in the traditional anniversary sense, but one that my wife and I will never forget for the rest of her life. Anne, if you happen to read this, Lisa knows now—she knows!–that she is not alone. Thank-you for giving us the gift of going second. It is a gift we hope to “pay forward.”
One of the highlights of the evening were getting to hear of Solveig’s experiences as a single parent—this really made me appreciate anew all my own mother did after my dad left. Honestly, for so long I’d only considered how my parents’ divorcing affected me, and hearing of Solveig’s struggles confronted me smack dab in the face with the fact that my mom had pain of her own with which to contend. This, I think, is yet another sad fact of divorce: the pain of it isolates—isolates the parties going through it certainly, and isolates the children who have no understanding of what’s going on, or why. My own pain isolated—insulated–me from the fact that my mom had to have been hurting, too, and she was doing all she could to hang onto our home, friends, whatever was left of the life we knew. And all I did was resent the fact that she was gone so much, because my dad—in leaving—basically took her away, too.
Another highlight of the evening was getting to both hear Susan Isaacs’s testimony about her dad, and talk with her about it following the event. To say that her experiences paralleled mine would be an understatement. And as hard as it has been, I did what Susan had to do with her late father: I finally drew a healthy boundary that, for now at least, has essentially severed the relationship with my dad. Unfortunately, it was so unhealthy for so long, I know he doesn’t see it that way. I’ve written of it before, but it bears repeating: in the name of what I thought was Christian love, for the sake of what I thought was “honoring” my dad, I let him hurt my wife for a long time. But no more. For my wife’s sake, for my son’s sake, I had to man up and protect my family. It wasn’t easy—didn’t feel “right” at first—but I’ve settled into this decision. And I think it is one of the best things I could have ever done for my marriage.
I have to say the most surreal moment of the evening—surreal, but very nice (yes, I stole that from Notting Hill)—was when Susan, with whom I had corresponded on Twitter, recognized me as “Gandalf” (my former Twitter handle), and spontaneously hugged me. I hadn’t expected her to recognize me at all, so this was very cool.