Thursday, August 27, 2009

A PP'sPs about Life


What a crazy few months!

I must apologize for failing to post anything recently. I know that all two of you have been eagerly anticipating my next post. Sorry for the delay.

I'm at a loss as to where I should start! First off, wedding plans are going well. Many people in multiple states have been instrumental in getting us where we are...16 days from the wedding!!! Whoa! It's getting very real! Kristen and I went and applied for our marriage license last week. That really made it real! But, I couldn't be more excited about spending the rest of my life with my HHH! (Half-Hispanic Hottie!)

On a more somber note, the joy of our day will be tempered by the fact that Kristen's mom, Lannie, will not be with us physically. If you had not heard, Lannie was freed from her pain and suffering on July 22 as her Lord and Savior called her home. We have every confidence that her spirit will be with us and we anticipate her presence on that day.

As can be expected, the last 5 weeks have been very difficult for Kristen. She was very close to her mother and had a special relationship with her. She was by her mother's bedside from the beginning of her diagnosis to the final moments. Because her love was so strong, so her grief has been equally potent. To make matters worse, just a few weeks after the funeral, Kristen had to get back into "teacher" mode; a task that has proven quite challenging. Not only has she had to put her energies into a wedding that seems less joyful, but she has had to gear up for a semester with 7 special-needs children on top of her regular students, a surprise she had not anticipated. Needless to say, she could use your prayers as she treads through the next weeks and months.

As for me, facing death again after a relatively short time has been more difficult than I anticipated. Adding to my emotional strain is the task of packing up a home that I built and shared with Christy. Having to pack, give away, or sell stuff that I had forgotten about has been quite emotional. A roller coaster analogy doesn't even begin to capture the emotional journey I've been on over the last several months. However, through it all, I have experienced a peace that truly does pass all human understanding. What a faithful God!

Well, that pretty much catches you up on where we are at this point. I want to continue to express my appreciation for all of you who have kept Kristen and myself in your prayers. They are felt and effective!

Ready to see the Bride,


Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A PP'sPs about Weddings



Who's doing what?

I'm sure these are but a few of the questions that have been running through some of your minds if you have been keeping up with my facebook status lately.

Yes, I'm getting married! It sounds crazy to me, too! I can't imagine how it might sound to some of you who don't know what's been going on over the last couple of weeks. Let me attempt to explain.

If you've read this blog at all lately, you know that I've been dating Kristen and that it is quite serious. We are deeply in love with each other and confident that our love is a God-given love that is destined to lead us into marriage. But, our original timeline was much different. We had originally planned on getting engaged after October and then getting married sometime next summer after Kristen's school year was over.

What you may not know is that, for the past year or so, Kristen's mom, Lannie, has been fighting cancer; fighting with great strength and courage, I might add. On Friday, June 5th, Lannie went in for surgery to repair an obstructed bowel. What the doctor found was a substantial amount of cancer in her abdomen as well as cancer on her lungs and liver. He was reluctant to give any kind of time frame because of the severity of the surgery itself. He had no idea how she was going to recover from the surgery, much less how the cancer was going to effect her future. Well, given the somber tone in the doctor's voice, we knew that time was not on our side.

After many discussions with many people, Kristen and I decided to accelerate our plans because, as one wise woman said, "Every girl needs her momma at her wedding, and every momma needs to see her daughter walk down the aisle."

I am confident that Lannie will not only be at our wedding, but that she will be happy and healthy as she sees her radiant daughter illuminate the sanctuary on September 5, 2009.

I'm sure that you have other questions that are bouncing around in your heads. Please feel free to pose those questions in the comment section of this post. I don't pretend to have full comprehension of what God is doing in our lives right now...I only know that He is working in our lives. He has facilitated the blossoming of our love in a way that is beyond comprehension. Maybe because He knew well before us the time frame we would be working with. Whatever the reason, I know He has placed this woman in my life for such a time as this. May He be praised!

Frantically planning the perfect wedding,


Thursday, June 4, 2009

A PP'sPs about Complications

I thought I would elaborate on my new relationship with Kristen.

More specifically, I thought I would share how we ended up together, complete with the many complications we have and continue to muddle through.

The first and least influential complication is the age difference between us. I will be 35 in July (Dang, that sounds old!) while Kristen just turned 28 last week. Not a huge gap, especially when you consider that my maturity level is far lower than my 35 years would indicate! It was a factor for her early, but she seems to have realized that I'm still less mature than she is.

A second complication is the fact that Kristen is the little sister of one of my closest friends, Brian Lucas, or as many know him, Chico. For her especially, dating her brother's close friend was incredibly weird. For me, I was just worried about how it would affect my relationship with Brian. Would he really trust me with his baby sister? Would things be weird between us? So far, so good.

As you would guess, if Kristen is Brian's sister, then it would follow that I have known Kristen for awhile. In fact, Kristen and I have known each other for over ten years. I even taught her Sunday School class while she was in college at Asbury. In fact, she sat next to Christy for much of that class. The two were close friends. Kristen is close with Christy's family. Very weird! But, also very special because I haven't had to introduce an entire stranger into my family relationship with Chris, Julie, and Kyle. They already know and love Kristen and have fully embraced our new relationship, as difficult as it will be at times. For that I am eternally grateful.

The complication that worried me most going into the relationship was the most embarrassing for me. You see, before Christy and I began dating, I had a fairly substantial crush on Chico's baby sister. I liked Kristen eight years ago! And now, here I am again falling for the same girl. My biggest fear was that someone who knew my previous feelings for Kristen would assume that, because I had feelings for her now, I had never stopped liking her. Nothing could be further from the truth. But the thought that someone might think it for even a minute was almost enough to keep me from ever pursuing a relationship with Kristen. Thankfully, no one has voiced that concern and have immediately dismissed it when I have mentioned it. Again, I am grateful.

Knowing all of these complications and weighing them against my feelings, I finally got up the nerve on April 5th to call Kristen and share my thoughts and feelings. Her response was priceless: "I don't know! I don't know! I don't know! (long pause) Josh, this is complicated!" To which I responded, "You have no idea!" We talked for a few hours that first night about the afore mentioned complications as well as our individual feelings for each other and where we should go from there. She agreed to let me take her to a baseball game for our first date, and as they say, the rest is history!

We've had MANY long conversations about the complications and issues that our relationship inherently has. I haven't even mentioned the issues that Kristen has had to deal with in dating a widower AND a pastor! I told her she should have run away that first night! However, she has been amazing as she has considered these and other issues with wisdom and humility. Much to my amazement, shock, and joy, she has come through the other side of all this with a strong, genuine love for me that I feared she would never have. Our relationship couldn't be going any better! I am blessed beyond measure!

Once again, I must thank everyone for your prayers and support over the past 8 months. I am eternally in your debt.

Content inspite of the Complications,


Thursday, May 7, 2009

A PP'sPs about Happiness Revisited

I'm happy again.

And not just kinda happy; genuinely, supremely happy; unable to stop smiling happy.

And I'm not sure if my readers (all 3 of you) are ready for why, but here goes.

The source of my happiness is a woman; a truly amazing woman. What did I do to deserve the opportunity to find another amazing woman? I'm truly in awe of God's grace and provision!

Her name is Kristen. She is stunningly beautiful, both on the outside, and, even more so on the inside. I love being around her. When I'm around her, I feel comfortable, like I don't have to put up a facade, like I can just be myself. That's very important for me right now. She gets that and makes it so easy. The funny thing is that she feels the same way around me. And, in a situation that could be quite complicated and awkward, we find being together surprisingly easy and comfortable.

We've come to only one conclusion that can explain this: God must be in this. More than a few people have commented that there is no way that Kristen or I could have imagined or orchestrated the chain of events that have transpired over the last several weeks. It must be God! In fact, both Kristen and I, in our separate struggles with this have tried to find reasons why this should NOT work. And yet, we keep coming back to the realization that, despite the craziness of the situation, God has brought us together.

Regarding the craziness of the situation, I hope that all of my friends and family understand and support my efforts to move on with my life. This is not how I thought my life would play out. I never knew that one could experience the devastating loss and loneliness that I have been smothered by for the past 7 months. My heart was completely obliterated. And yet, God has seen fit to begin the process of restoring my heart and alleviating my loneliness. I believe with all my heart that He has chosen to use Kristen to do both. She has made me believe that I can love again and find true companionship once more. I hope and pray that each of you understand this.

Believe it or not, like it or not, Kristen is a dream come true. I'm happy again. Truly happy.

Unable to stop smiling,


Friday, April 3, 2009

A PP'sPs about Epiphanies

Sorry I haven't written anything lately. My mind and heart have been jumbled messes!

I had an epiphany the other day.

I have been very curious and even dismayed about my lack of "breakdown moments". I have had very few moments where I have broken down and cried, and one the most recent ones was manufactured. I was at the cemetery visiting Christy and just had no emotion. So, I got in the car, turned on the ipod, and played every song I could think of that reminded me of her. I started with "our song" and that was enough to open the floodgates; but it had to be induced.

Then I started thinking and here is my epiphany: instead of having a baseline of "normal" and then expecting "moments" of grief, depression, and sadness, I have discovered a different reality.

My baseline is grief, depression, and sadness. That is my "normal". The "moments" that interrupt that baseline are temporary and often minuscule moments of joy, happiness and contentment.

Kind of a sucky epiphany, but at least I am not wondering why I am not breaking down more often. The fact is, I should be looking for moments when I can, even for a singular moment, break "up". To be sure, these moments of break"up" are treasured. I just didn't realize how fleeting they can be.

Well, that's my only epiphany. I hope my next one is a more pleasant epiphany. (I really like using the word "epiphany". Apparently, I also like using quotation marks!)

Thank you again for all your thoughts and prayers.

Anticipating my next break "up",


Thursday, March 12, 2009

A PP'sPs about Posting II

Sorry I haven't posted in a while.

To be honest, the thoughts, feelings, and emotions in my head and heart are so jumbled right now that I would be unable to clearly express them even if I tried.

Therefore, please be patient and pray that my life will become less confusing and frustrating in coming days and weeks.

Thank you all.


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

A PP'sPs about Lists

Earlier this week, Momma J (Julie, Christy's mom) posted a short list of things that she missed about Christy.

Because attempting a similar list myself would never end, I decided to compose a list of all the things that I do NOT miss about Christy....

Well, I guess this is officially my shortest post to date.

Missing every minute detail,


Monday, February 9, 2009

A PP'sPs about Erectile Dysfunction

A very strange thing happened to me today:

I quit golf!

It's not permanent, but I quit golf today!

After having lunch with a colleague, I went to a nearby golf course to play 18 holes. My first drive was a great shot in the fairway. Then, because I had driven my cart 5 yards into the rough, a jerk from back at the tee screamed at me to get my cart off the grass and back on the path. I hadn't even realized that it was "cartpath only". So now I'm hacked off. My next shot, after waiting for the foursome in front of me to clear the green, was awful! The next shot was equally awful! For the next 3 holes, I have to wait forever to hit each successive awful shot because the group in front won't let me play through, further hacking me off. Finally, they let me play through, just to get caught behind another slow group that won't let me play through. After 3 awful shots on that hole, I put my 6 iron back in my bag, got in my cart, and drove to the clubhouse.

I only played 5 holes! And I gave up! On golf! I couldn't perform! It was golf's version of erectile dysfunction. The guy at the clubhouse even offered to let me start again on the 10th hole, but I just didn't have it in me. Golf! Not in me! The world is coming to an end!

I honestly have no explanation for this inexplicable event. I wish I did. I pray that it never happens again. If it does, go ahead and prepare to visit me in a padded room!

Unable to perform,


Saturday, February 7, 2009

A PP'sPs about Posting

Sorry I haven't posted in a while.

I just haven't had much to say lately.

I'm kind of in a funk right now. I can't tell if I'm coming or going. I don't know if I'm getting better or getting worse. I don't know if I'm ready to move on or if I'm sinking deeper into despair. I suppose this is my lot for awhile. I know that God will guide me through this phase just as He has each previous phase. My God is faithful!

Coming and Going,


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A PP'sPs about Irony

I have always been a fan of irony...until now.

I have had knee pain for probably 7 or 8 years. Doctors have said that it was probably a degeneration of the cartilage under the patellas. It has gotten much worse over the last year or so. So, I finally decided to have them MRI'd. Yesterday, I got the results...

And here's the irony...


The disease that tortured Christy for nearly 25 years is now affecting me.

Now, it's not quite the same disease that affected Christy. She had Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis and it was severe. I have Osteoarthritis and it's early stage. I have nowhere near the pain and repercussions that she had.

But still! Isn't it ironic, don't you think? A little too ironic? Yeah, I really do think.

Ired with Irony,


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

A PP'sPs about Widowdom

Holy Crap! I'm a widower!

It hits me hard every time.

It says in the Bible that God's mercies are new every morning. Good thing since the reality and stinging pain of my residence in Widowdom are equally as fresh...every morning. I am still amazed at the loss of air supply (no song references, please!) each time it hits me that my wife is gone and I am a widower. I am a widower! There it is again! Shock and awe...shucks!

I figure it will finally set in that I am a widower about the time that I pack up and leave Widowdom for another, less lonely abode. Then I'll have to get used to a whole new world. I have a feeling that will be an easier adjustment.

Milking His Mercies,


Thursday, January 15, 2009

A PP'sPs about Hell

I'm lonely as Hell... Almost.

You see, my primary understanding of Hell is eternal separation from God (II Thess. 1:9); the opposite of the peace of God: a loneliness that passes all understanding.

I see this in the biblical story of the Rich Man and Lazarus found in Luke 16. The Rich Man dies and is seen in torment in Hell - Alone. He sees Lazarus, who has also died, sitting in heaven - Not Alone. Lazarus is with Father Abraham, peaceful and unlonely (I made up a word there).

I would argue that a tremendous part of the Rich Man's torment is the complete loneliness of his situation. There is no party in Hell with all the sinners dressed in red tights, a pointy tail, and horns. It is the utter darkness of loneliness.

All this to say that I'm convinced that the loneliness I'm experiencing right now is as close to Hell on earth as one can get.
I find some solace in the temporal nature of my situation; some. I also now believe that, short of an experience like this, no one can understand this kind of loneliness.

I'm not yet to the point of gnashing my teeth, but it's still early. :) Please pray that the loneliness will subside to a more manageable level, thus saving me from future dental bills!
Thank all (3) of you for your comments and, more importantly, your prayers. They are much appreciated.

Nearly Gnashing,


Monday, January 12, 2009

A PP'sPs about Lyrics

Those of you who know me well know that I am inspired, motivated, and sometimes convicted by music; more specifically the lyrics.

Over the last 3 months, several songs have affected me in profound ways. Some are songs I've heard a million times and never paid attention to the lyrics. Others hit me the first time I heard them. I thought I would share some of those lyrics with my readers.

The song that best portrays my psyche right now is "The Rescue" by Kutless:

I don't know what's happening
Everything around me has come crashing to the ground
It's here I see my need
In all the devastation I'm praying for a miracle, help me to escape. Again

My life is a mass destruction
You're pulling me from the mess I'm in, You take me away
There's glass in the air I'm breathing
Somehow my heart keeps beating till You take me away

Sanctus Real has a song that has a similar emotion:

Whatever you're doing inside of me
It feels like chaos, but somehow there's peace.

As far as my thoughts and feelings about Christy, Nouveaux shares my heart:

If a star fell from the sky every time I thought of you, there would be none
And if the moon would shine all the while you're on my mind
We'd never see the day
And I wish you weren't so far away.

I'm sure there are other songs, but these are the ones I come to over and over again. I hope this gives you further insight into where I am right now and what I'm going through.

Breathing glass,


Thursday, January 1, 2009

A PP'sPs about Dolphins

I'm a dolphin.

Perhaps some explanation would be appropriate.

A few weeks ago, during another sleepless night, I was watching a show on Animal Planet. It was investigating dolphin deaths on Virginia Beach. Apparently, juvenile dolphins were washing up on shore. These dolphins had NO signs of external trauma. They were pristine in appearance. Nothing externally gave evidence of their demise. However, upon doing autopsies, they discovered multiple broken bones, massive internal bleeding, massive internal bruising, and other trauma.

As I thought about these dolphins, it hit me: I'm a dolphin!

Because of my position as a pastor, I feel like I need to carry myself and present myself in a way that portrays confidence, leadership, and contentment. I appear as if all is well. However, further inspection would reveal massive internal trauma. My heart has exploded into a million pieces and created an internal mess! A dolphin!

So, next time you see me and ask me how I'm doing, don't be surprised when I respond by saying, "I'm a dolphin!"

Strangely craving raw fish,