Tag Archives: Natasha

32 years of mystery and revelation: Married to my best friend

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Thirty-two years ago tonight – I’m writing this on the eve of anniversary No. 32 (6/5/14) – my groomsmen, a bunch of on-fire-for-Jesus evangelicals, were probably somewhere eating pizza or studying their Bibles. I would have been right there with them except for a powerful need to be by myself. I was parked at the Belle City Park, facing the lake that had positive, powerful connections to my young life.  I stared out at the darkness, strangely calm although aware that an “I do” in about 14 hours would chart a course that I was not ready to begin.

Kelly had been 19 for six weeks. I would be 19 in nine weeks. We were just kids who were in love, drawn together six years earlier – barely teenagers – at about the same time both of our homes and lives were gut-punched by the divorce of our parents.

We weren’t “ready” to be married. Yet when I say, “Kids, don’t get married when you’re 19,” we’d do it all over again. Every day is at once new and predictable, laced with a solid measure of security yet seasoned with adventure and discovery. Kelly and I are as different as night and day yet also as similar as lifelong best friends and companions should be.

But imagine changing the way it began? Any delay, any detour might have meant missing the miracles of Feb. 26, 1985, and March 13, 1987 – the births of Kishia and Natasha. Imagine …

The night before our wedding, as I stared out over the pitch-blackness of the city park lake, I asked God for a sign, some indication of whether I should be getting hitched in a few hours. It already seemed that there had not been a time when I didn’t know Kelly – we started “going together” in the eighth grade, Nov. 22, 1976 – yet the thought that overwhelmed me at that moment was to imagine like without Kelly.

There was a lot I didn’t know at the age of nine-weeks-before-19. But what I saw at that moment was life-altering and confirming. The answer was right there in my gaze toward that dark lake: Nothing. Empty. Alone.

I didn’t see what the future held, but I saw what it wouldn’t hold if I opted out of “I do.” I’m not sure if Kelly had a similar epiphany. And if she did see even the most unfocused, however brief glimpse of our future together, the very fact that she didn’t flee and get as far from me as possible is a remarkable demonstration of grace.

I’m a mess. As a writer, I filter each word, sentence and paragraph I write through perspectives that range from, “That’s really pretty good” to “That’s the worst piece of drivel ever penned by a human being.” The wiring is basically the same when it comes to husband-hood. Just when I start thinking, “Hey, I’m finally getting the hang of this,” that other voice suggests, “Dude, you don’t even have a clue.”

I love to watch Kelly. Sounds kinda creepy, maybe, but I love just watching her: talking on the phone, reading, being Grammy to our Princess Kianna, in deep thought – sleeping. Her facial expressions, her unique-to-Kelly mannerisms and speech patterns, the look on her face when she’s sweetly and intently listening to a random stranger who approached her to just spill their guts about life’s trials and troubles. (That happens more often than I can count).

Thirty-two years.

There’s still so much I don’t know. I still don’t know how it’s possible to be so comfortable, so close and so connected to someone. And just when it seems that I’ve given my bride a lifetime of reasons to pull away and withdraw, she pulls even closer and loves even more.

Thank you, God, for Kelly, for these 32 years, our lives together, and the rest of our lives being amazed by the mystery of it all.

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Bride’s guest blog: Why I saved myself for marriage

tash and kory guitar smile

Note from Jodie: Natasha wrote this last week, a few days before marrying her Prince Kory. I was comfortable asking her to consider writing about purity, because I know she has shared her heart about this with other women, and her words about healing and restoration will also be encouraging. Her mom and I are proud of her. Saturday’s wedding was spectacular. I’ll be sure to say more when the photos are available. Meanwhile, Kelly and I spent Sunday and Monday re-charging. I turned 50 a month ago, but I didn’t really feel 50 until now. About all I can recall about Sunday is that I think it rained.

Now … Natasha’s heart.

By NATASHA JACKSON MYRICK

When my dad asked me to write a post on purity, so many ideas went through my mind on how to write this. I feel like it would flow best writing it just as I would talk to ladies at a women’s retreat. But guys, this is for you, too.

I have saved myself for marriage. Purity is not something that religion and church scared into me. It’s not because I’m scared that God would strike me down if I were to have sex before marriage. There are several reasons why purity is something that I have practiced in my life.

First and foremost, I want to live to glorify God. So many times I fall so short of that. But at least I can try my best to serve and honor the Savior who bled and died for all of my sins and saved me from eternal misery and loneliness. God intends sex to be saved for marriage. In fact, God created sex specifically for marriage. Having sex outside of marriage would be a dishonor to God and His creation of sex.

I want to be a living testimony for other people – women, specifically – in the area of purity. Not many 20-something-year-olds can say that they have saved themselves for marriage. I’m not saying that to make anyone feel condemned or to make myself seem self-righteous or spiritually puffed up in any way. I want women to know that it is possible (even easy and carefree!) to live a wonderful, fun, romantic life without adding the drama of sex before marriage into the mix.

Clearly, I haven’t had sex yet. But I do know that when two people engage in sexual intercourse, a bond is made. Because God created sex for marriage and that is part of “becoming one” in a marriage, it’s clear to me that sex is meant to intensely bond two souls. Why would I want to bond with someone in that way other than my husband? Why would I allow my heart to go through an act of becoming one with another person when I’m actually not “one” with that person through marriage?

I want to say it again: My intent is not to come across as judgmental or condemning. These are just my thoughts and convictions. I want to honor my husband. I don’t want to bring anyone else into the marriage bed. That might sound harsh – but I feel like if I had sex with anyone else before my husband, I would be bringing all sorts of baggage into the first night. Maybe I would have unrealistic expectations, fears from experiences with a previous partner, etc. My husband might be thinking, “Do I measure up to what she’s experienced before?,” and be insecure to be completely open.

My body is not just something to be thrown around at any person who says they love me or woos me with their charm. My body is to be saved for a specific person: my husband. In the union of marriage, I know that there is a mutual trust there that isn’t there with just anyone else like in any other relationship. There is commitment there. True, I’m with you for life no matter what until we get old and gray type of commitment.

I have had girls ask me: “Well, if you know you’re going to marry someone, why wait to have sex?” I want my body to be a gift to my husband on our wedding. That will not only honor him, but be the greatest wedding gift and even the greatest gift of his life. I believe that if you have messed up and had sex before marriage that God will heal and restore. However, I want to bypass all of that hurt and drama, and really give my fiancé something to wait for. I want it to be a surprise and an exciting gift. I don’t want my gift to my husband to be something he has opened up before.

Have you seen that cell phone commercial where the dad gets his daughter her same exact phone for her birthday, just covered it up with a “new phone smell”? She wasn’t too excited, was she? It was something she had already received before. I want my marriage to be the first time he opens my gift that I have saved for him and haven’t let anyone else have. I have been asked a myriad of other questions about purity, but I think that my post would probably answer most of them.

Like I said before, God heals and restores. If you aren’t pure for your future husband, start practicing that now and pray for restoration and healing. God will honor your efforts to glorify him with your body.

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Four days from wedding day: The countdown

Four days away from giving my daughter’s hand to her prince. Natasha and Kory will officially embark on their forever together, but they’d tell you that their hearts are already on that lifelong journey.

Tomorrow (I’m writing Tuesday, post will publish Wednesday) my primary job is to rub the butts. Um, that’s pork butts, of course, getting them ready for a day of smoking over charcoal and hickory on Thursday.

Can’t you already savor the aroma? Tempted by the taste?

flower man

Let’s shift gears and prepare for more of “How to Wreck Your Marriage.” Today and tomorrow’s wrecking balls can be used by either gender, but I’m primarily talking to the guys. You might want to have the kids out of the room for tomorrow’s, unless you’ve got a young man age 12 or so and up.

Wrecking ball No. 13 – Wait for the big moment.

Women are always doing those “little things” to make life work for us, but we need a big moment – a big splash – to show her how much we love her.

She says, “I keep asking you to take out the trash, but it’s as if you don’t hear me.”

You say: “But I bought you flowers that one time. Back then. A few months … or so … ago. Didn’t I?”

She says, “I just need you to tell me sometimes that I’m pretty.”

You say, “But you know I feel that way about you, you know, without saying it. Besides, my love language was mounting that flat screen for you on the wall in the bedroom. Speaking of which, the Cardinals game starts in about 15 minutes. Why don’t you make us some popcorn?”

That’s it. Wait for the big moment. No need to get bogged down in the little things – especially the little things of the heart. There’s really no need to tell her you love her, because you show her all the time.

A cool variation of this wrecking ball is to create chaos – oh, you can do it – and then step in to rescue your damsel. It’s kind of like putting out the fire with a hose in one hand and still clutching the lighter and/or gas can in the other hand.

She’ll appreciate that. And be sure to keep track of your great moments, because you’ll need to remind her
ad nauseum on those occasions that she points out – either indirectly or flat out – that you’re not doing your share of the work around the house.

BONUS WRECKING BALL: If she asks for help with the dishes – because, of course, you would dream of taking that on by yourself – tell her you could help except that it’s “women’s work.”

She’ll love that. Any reference to the 1950s (when women knew their place) or telling her that your mom didn’t expect you to help around the house, so it’s her who has the problem.

Playlist

A couple of great selections. Because I referenced the 50s and Saturday’s wedding has a “vintage” theme, here’s Ronnie Milsap with “Lost in the Fifties Tonight.”

Followed by Nazareth (that hair ROCKS) with “Love Hurts.” It was 1976, I was 13. Kelly and I started “going together” in November that year.

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12 days and counting: Wedding day draws nigh

I've dabbled in origami for a couple of years now. My flowers will be among the décor at the Sept. 7 wedding of my youngest daughter, Natasha Jackson, to Kory Myrick.

I’ve dabbled in origami for a couple of years now. My flowers will be among the décor at the Sept. 7 wedding of my youngest daughter, Natasha Jackson, to Kory Myrick.

Flashback …

Kelly and I were married when we were still kids. I was two months away from my 19th birthday. We were too young. Got it.

But to have done it any differently? Would that mean no Kishia three years later? No Natasha two years after that? 30th anniversary before I was 50? There are things in my life I would have done differently, but nothing before the age of 40. (Except maybe that time my friend, Kenny, and I caught the railroad box car on fire. And maybe a few other things from those days.)

Does any couple truly understand what they’re getting into by getting hitched? No, but you can’t know. You can just know you’re supposed to and, ultimately, that decision is entered into and sealed by the couple. They are accountable to each other and God and — someday! — their children. (No pressure there, Kory and Tash, but this fella LOVES being a grandpa!)

Now let’s get on with the business of “How to wreck your marriage.”

Wrecking ball No. 4: Call 1-800-Mom-orDad.

You’ll see a lot of namby-pamby advice out there about making sure the groom has cut the umbilical cord to mom and that the bride steps away from being daddy’s shadow. Don’t believe it, because if your goal is to wreck your marriage — and this one is a slow, maybe even years-long process — involving the in-laws/parents inappropriately and not drawing clear boundaries about their efforts to steer your marriage and eventually raise your children for you is a no-brainer. (File away the “no-brainer” reference for a sec.)

How this wreck occurs is when bride and/or groom insist on using mom and/or dad to vent about the offending spouse. And this can happen very passively (another GREAT trait for marriage wreckage), as in bride/groom not actively complaining about the other to mom/dad, yet mom/dad might say, “Oh, you poor misunderstood boy/girl,” and the wedge drives a little deeper. Later, when the in-law mom/dad brings this up to the offending spouse, it will create great pain (a la “wreck”). And when offending spouse mentions that talking about her/him to your mom/dad was hurtful, you can blame your mom/dad (the in-laws – stay with me here), and apologize with, “I just wasn’t thinking.”

“I wasn’t thinking” is its own wrecking ball, at the ready for repeated use. Telling your spouse often enough that “I wasn’t thinking” will give him/her the clear signal that, in fact, you don’t think much about him/her. And when you defend mom/dad (instead of defending your spouse) by saying, “Oh, c’mon, mom/dad didn’t mean anything by it,” what you’re saying is that the in-laws don’t think much of or about him/her, either.

That’s a great way to wreck a marriage, and usually it’s a slow, methodical wreck. Might take years of practice. Give it a whirl!

This wrecking ball is basically spelled “F-A-M-I-L-Y,” because your new one will be messed up soon enough even without the deliberate or well-intended meddling of in-laws. But you want to be sure to remind your spouse that “our family has these special traditions at (insert name of holiday) that we always do.” There’s automatically a head-on crash, because both spouses can reference family traditions that are part of the fabric of their lives.

“Oh, honey, you’ll just love Uncle Merle. He’s the one with the hairy back. My family has played Twister with Uncle Merle every Christmas morning now for 83 years. He never wears a shirt. We love that silly goof-ball.”

“I was hoping we could spend Christmas with MY family. We do that thing every Christmas Eve and then eat deer organ meat and we all sleep on the floor together in the attic. I thought that after we got married you’d want to be with MY family. And what about Thanksgiving? I was thinking of having MY family here this year.”

It’s not just holidays when this thinking is popular. You can’t even begin to imagine all the wonderfully subtle ways this theme gets played out.

Keep feeding the “my family” theme that excludes your new spouse. Don’t for one second think of something as zany as starting your own family traditions, like instead of trying to keep track of who visited whom last Thanksgiving you do something silly like deciding that your family’s tradition — YOUR family, the two of you (and kids when they arrive) — will be to go to the Salvation Army to prepare and serve Thanksgiving to others as a demonstration of gratitude that your family — husband and wife and children — is incredibly blessed.

That would just be old-fashioned, kinda like that ancient Bible verse that says a man (not the woman) must leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife. Old-fashioned. (As if those old sayings even had merit way back then).

Playlist …

Billy Joel’s “Piano Man” (and music video), simply one of the best songs ever.

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Counting down: 13 days until ‘I do …’

funny-wedding-quotes-drink

Thirteen days until I give the hand of my daughter, Natasha, to her prince, Kory Myrick.

Today I took Natasha to see “The Butler” (super, super movie, by the way), then an after-movie meal at Texas Roadhouse. There’s a part of my youngest daughter that will always be my little girl, but that’s not the first persona I see when I look across the table or watch her interact with kids, talk about her music students, or laugh with Kory. I see a strong woman who has been to Mexico, Cameroon, Fiji, and travels around the country, either as Christian musician or Christian minister, offering volunteer muscle to help clean up a part of New Orleans long after it was fashionable to love on people devastated by Hurricane Katrina.

Strong woman. Daddy’s girl. Maybe that sounds like diametrically opposed roles, but I disagree. I’m not going to be first; haven’t been first for a long time already. But that’s what happens when little girls become strong women. And it requires a dad to have a strong heart, trusting his Father to look after his girl. On one hand I think Natasha is still too much like the little girl playing softball, rounding second, headed for third – and coming to a dead stop to examine a colorful butterfly. Back then, I shouted, “Run! Run! Run!” It was exasperating.

Back then, that experience reminded me that going safely from second to third wasn’t as important as enjoying the interruption in front of the shortstop. Even these days, as I still see my girl stopping to watch butterflies, it reminds me how desperately boring life would be without butterflies and those of us who take the time to see them up close.

Enough waxing poetic. Time to get on with the countdown of “How to wreck your marriage.”

Wrecking Ball No. 3 – You’re right.

No, really. You. Are. Right. So insist that your spouse recognize your brilliance, your need to not ask for or follow directions, and the ability to see Rule No. 1, “You are right,” even when you’re not. Of course, a spouse might simply mistake you for being an ass, and that’s absolutely true when you are definitely right and you use that as a weapon against a spouse who happened to be wrong. Very wrong, of course.

Yes, rub it in. And continue to insist on being right, and that being right is more important than being loving, gracious and forgiving.

What’s so great about this wrecking ball is that you can use it over, and over, and over, and again, and again, and again.

It eventually silences the voice that you’ll most need to hear. But go ahead. Be right.

Because, of course, you are.

PLAYLIST

Still stuck in 1978, here’s Lionel Richie and The Commodores with Three Times a Lady.

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Wedding countdown, 14 days away: How to wreck your marriage

car wreck 1938

Wedding day, Saturday, Sept. 7, will feature a bevy of unique elements. For starters, I’m giving away the bride. On behalf of me and my bride of 11,403 days, I’ll present Natasha Jackson’s hand to Kory Myrick. Tomorrow night (Sunday) I’m taking Natasha, our youngest daughter to dinner and a movie, sort of a last father-daughter date before she becomes Mrs. Myrick.

It was really tough passing her off to her kindergarten teacher, so I’m expecting some emotions to well up, but I’m not reluctant. She will be Mrs. to my son-in-law, Kory, a solid man whom I’ve gotten to know pretty well in the last couple of months.

What else will be unique on Sept. 7? The wedding ceremony will include the couple serving communion to the attendees. The reception will have a candy bar (think salad bar, except it’s candy). And I’ve been a bit busy these past couple of weeks perfecting my origami skills to complement the decorations and to accommodate candy-eaters. Oh, and Natasha is baking about 100 cupcakes this weekend for the cupcake tree. If you know Natasha, you know that none of this seems odd. It seems so … Natasha.

Now let’s get on with the countdown theme of “How to wreck your marriage.”

Wrecking Ball No. 2 – Be a spectator of – not a participant in – your marriage.

This is great, because a spectator has no responsibility for the outcome of the game, except to jeer or curse at game officials – referees, umpires, etc. A spectator can leave at any time, arrive late, spend all his/her time doing anything other than actually watching the game. A spectator spouse is in prime position to complain about the problems and insist that someone (the other spouse, of course) do something to fix the problem. And when the problems aren’t fixed or glossed over, then it’s not your fault at all. Someone dropped the ball.

Spectators don’t drop balls. (Well, technically they can, but unless you’re a Chicago Cubs fan interfering with a ball in play, then it doesn’t matter).

Being a spectator leads to a plethora of additional wrecking balls. For instance, if you’re not invested as a participant, spending energy, time and attention with your partner battling life together, it’s much easier to let your mind and attention wander. The worst spectators – the fair-weather fans – shift allegiance and alliance to other teams without much enticement. Which team is really hot right now? Where’s the excitement?

Spectators are free to look elsewhere; participants are only looking for ways to tackle problems and enjoy successes together.

Being a spectator is about more than simply taking your spouse for granted. It’s also saying that your allegiance is directly related to his or her performance and success.

Spectators are not obligated to show grace. (Let’s go ahead and list “Don’t freely extend grace” as Wrecking Ball No. 3).

PLAYLIST

I promise not to make the wedding countdown playlist a haven for Southern Gospel or old hymns, although there’s an origami-related story there to tell. Later.

My favorite rock band ever, Styx (with Queen, Journey and Foreigner all a close second – I’m a child of the 70s, what can I say?) …

The Best of Times

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The best day in a long time

It’s not that days past were necessarily catastrophic or uneventful, but Monday was simply a good day. A banner day.

  • My 49th birthday, yet I didn’t feel like a grizzled veteran. My co-workers even took it easy on me.
  • Kelly spent most of the previous four days studying for her LMSW (licensed master of social work) licensure exam, which she took Monday morning. In a rare example of my bride reaching for the required score rather than the best score, she announced late Sunday, “I can miss 40 questions and still pass.” I teased her about setting the bar low. But she passed the test Monday and will soon receive her license to do what she’s done with me for 30 years: therapy.
  • It was a productive day at work, notwithstanding being stonewalled by communications directors for the governor’s office and the Department of Natural Resources. With apologies to my friends and readers in the Southern Boone School District, I rejoiced to discover that Monday night’s school board meeting was rescheduled for next Monday night. That schedule change allowed for more time to enjoy my birthday supper with my very relieved wife. She was positively giddy from passing that test. I am proud of her beyond comprehension.
  • A few weeks ago we agreed to be godparents to four great siblings, ages 8 to 12. Desiree, 12, Dasia, 11, Bryant 9, Bryson 8. We’ve been wondering about the details of our roles as godparents. Monday night we were asked by their mom, Rochelle, to drop by to break the news that their pet guinea pig had died. I do have abundant experience in that, so I broke the news as I held the lifeless little cavy. By doing so, I facilitated the breaking of four beautiful little hearts. It looks like we’ll be hosting a guinea pig funeral and burial in the next day or two. On the drive home with the guinea pig and its cage that the kids — for now — couldn’t bear to see, Kelly knew just what to say: “I guess we know now what godparents do.”
  • But it was one of the best days in a long time. The soul-deep tears and sadness from our little friends didn’t ruin the day. Hardly. Sharing that deep loss and letting our godkids react as heartbroken youngsters would react answered a need of my heart and gave me a sense of peace that an ungrizzled veteran would not have found.

Finally, thanks for all the birthday well-wishes.

Tomorrow look for the long-awaited tribute to Granny Nola from our youngest, Natasha, who taught me the importance of letting youngsters grieve the loss of their guinea pigs.

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Grandpa, uncle, godfather: the best titles

When you’re around good kids for any length of time, you learn to appreciate their parents.

We retired to slumber Sunday night with a different kind of tired. Friday night we had our four godchildren for a sleep-over: siblings Desiree, Dasia, Bryant and Bryson. I will provide photographic evidence of this relationship in the future. We only recently were asked to be godparents. With these siblings, their mom, Rochelle, has already done the work of teaching values, manners and personal responsibility.

Kelly and I are simply following that path to reinforce Rochelle’s work. The godparent role is typically associated with Catholicism, so I’m doing some research to figure out what this means for Protestants. It’s basically the same thing, I believe: spiritual mentoring/education.

Any suggestions?

We went from godparenting to having Kelly’s 3-year-old nephew, Marik, on Saturday, overnight and until Sunday afternoon. Just a few days ago I made it clear that when granddaughter Kianna reaches the “why” stage, I will answer every single “why” with a clear, Kianna-level response.

I got that “why” vow put to the test with little Marik this weekend. I’m not good at short, concise answers — just ask Kelly, my co-workers  and anyone with whom I exchange email. But I’m better at that now than I was just 36 hours ago.

Finally, bringing Marik to Jefferson City to hand him off to his dad, en route from Jeff City to Byron in Osage County, our rendezvous site was the Brown Estate where little Kianna awoke from a good nap to find Grammy and Grandpa cooing and doting over her. Her parents, Kishia and Darnell, are making a difference in their daughter’s life. As a result, I have no doubt that Kianna will make a difference in the lives of countless people.

Princess Kianna will be six months old on Aug. 15, two days after this Grandpa’s 49th birthday.

I think a birthday picture will be in order.

This week …

  • Tuesday: Guest blog by youngest daughter, Natasha. She reminisces about her Granny Nola, who died in December. Have your tissues ready.
  • Wednesday: Getting back to the Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting theme, a memoir-in-progress of my life’s spiritual journey.
  • Friday: The 80’s. Not the temperature, but the decade. Another memoir-in-progress.
  • Saturday: The Write Life. (Writing advice, writing prompts, words from other writers, etc.)
  • This schedule basically resumes the thematic approach I took with The Journal back in the spring. I’m also genuinely interested and anxious to have guest contributors as often as possible. Practically any subject (we’re family-friendly, but also thought-provoking), preferably something from 200 to 600 words, and I’ll ask for a bio and mug shot.

Now … Reach out and blog.

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Good, bad, better, best

Here’s how this works: I list something “good,” followed by something “bad,” then, recognizing that life has too many blessings to count, identify “better” and “best.” The list of four somethings may or may not be related.

Let’s begin.

Good: Started today with a good 5 mile bike ride. Bad: The central air unit was frozen this afternoon. Literally frozen. Ice on the tubing. Uh oh. Better: Lunch and afternoon get-together with our girls, Kishia (and hubby Darnell) and Natasha (and boyfriend Korey). Best: Granddaughter Kianna napping on Grandpa and Grammy’s bed, then waking up and smiling and looking for me when she hears my voice.

Good: Watering my parched plants just before sunset. Bad:Andy Griffith died yesterday.

Sheriff Andy Taylor
TV and entertainment pioneer Andy Griffith died Tuesday.

Better: Navigating the Creasy Springs roundabout on a bike creates an awesome buzz of adrenaline. Best: My nephew, Zeke, and his wife, Julie, had their first child on Monday, David Thomas Assel, weighing in at over 9 pounds. His daddy, Thomas Ezekiel, is one of my favorite people on the planet. (Just don’t tell him, ‘cause he has an inflated opinion of himself. Bazinga.)

Good: Preparing brats, chicken breast and my own on-the-grill scallop potatoes for grilling. Bad: Failure to pick up lighter fluid after the last grill-fest. I’m a briquets-only grill guy. Better: Natasha and Korey making a speedy trip to Moser’s to pick up lighter fluid. Best: Brats, chicken, potatoes were magnificent. Also grilled pineapple for the first time. Not a pineapple fan, but apparently it was okay.

Good: Two box fans and a borrowed window unit air conditioner getting the indoor temperature down to 80. At 11 p.m. Bad: Mediacom cable service. No complaints for eight months, but last four weeks or so? Grandpa’s very dissatisfied. Better: Our little dog, Bella, a Brussels griffon, is finally starting to like me. We’ve had her almost three years. Best:Spending most of Tuesday with Kelly enjoying Grandpa/Grammy time with Kianna.

Grammy and Grandpa with Princess Kianna

Good: The Fourth of July. Bad: Too much political and ideological polarization in the country. Better: Agreeing to disagree. Best: Living in the U.S. of A.

Good: Getting four free tickets to Monday night’s “Hot Summer Nights” chamber recital at Broadway Christian Church. Bad: No downside to this one. Better: Remembering Jerry Clower’s routine, “Public School Music Class.” Best: Enjoying the concert/recital/event with our friends Scott and Jane Williams.

Good: Writing a blog entry for the first time in too long. Bad: Going so long without keeping up with Jackson’s Journal, especially after building an audience with “Countdown to Kianna.” Better: Making a commitment to return to a 5-day-a-week blogging schedule. Best: Keeping that commitment.

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Seeing with my ears

It’s mid-week at Jackson’s Journal, time for Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting, a memoir-in-progress of my life’s spiritual journey.

Galileo Galilei and Leonardo DaVinci saw the abstract. Their minds and eyes saw three- and even four-dimensionally. I look at a house and I see the walls, the roof, the doors. Good old Leo looked at a house and saw those, too, but the walls, roof and doors was a transparent skin. Just look at his sketches. Same for Galileo. They both saw the studs, framing, cross beams – I can’t even think of all the segments and details that carpenters and architects design and build.

But G. Leo and Leo D. saw the design, each detail and processed the image in both the abstract and the concrete.

I so envy people who have that ability. I worked some years ago (briefly) as a surveyor’s apprentice. First of all, the guy was a math whiz, measured the azimuth of angles and saw much of the physical world with a Galileo/DaVinci mind.

So where’s all this going?

I’ve been gifted with the ability to hear – even smell – three-dimensionally. Yeah, I said “smell.” I can’t explain it, but many smells come to me as multiple parts, perhaps molecules, but aromas and odors also trigger vivid memories. One of my most annoying habits (if you’d ask Kelly) is that I often smell my food. I don’t just mean sniffing the air or taking a deep breath to draw in the fragrance of life around me. I mean slicing a piece of meat or digging a fork into green beans, lifting the morsel to my snout and smelling. Not every bite, not every morsel, but often enough that it borders on weird. It’s hard to explain.

My hearing, which Kelly claims is deficient when discerning the spoken human voice, is multi-dimensional. I hear harmonies all around. A couple of mornings  ago a redbird in the backyard was confidently singing and a trash truck a couple of blocks away must have been backing up, based on the “beep, beep” that sounded a perfect G to the redbird’s C. Without thinking, I found myself humming the E and then the low C.

A “C” chord.

Our youngest, Natasha, has this same gift. (Maybe part curse and blessing. It keeps my head full and occupied). Natasha and I often harmonize with very random sounds: the hum of a moving elevator, the “ding” of the elevator when it reaches the desired floor, just about anything mechanical. The weird thing is that we’ll add the appropriate notes simultaneously, without cue.

I don’t just hear a note or a sound. I hear a symphony. But I’m not equally gifted with the ability to put those sounds on paper.

You’re still asking, “Where’s all this going?”

In my earliest memories of sacred hymns, prayer meeting music (which was often a cappella) and instrumental music, I can’t remember not hearing and “seeing” every note and chord with my ears. Dad had a deep, resonating bass voice and incredible range. Mom had an operatic soprano voice. I think I was 9 or 10 and singing either bass or tenor (sometimes alto) without knowing it.

It’s what I hear. It’s really pretty cool.

I’ll bet Galileo and DaVinci would have envied me.

Here’s our Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting music. This is the Gaither Vocal Band, featuring David Phelps, singing “Worthy Is Your Name.”

A string quarter provides accompaniment. Very sweet. If you’re familiar with David Phelps, you’ll wonder – as I did – why he’s is such a low register. But keep listening.

I dare you not to stand or raise a hand to heaven at the 2:58 mark. Dude goes an octave higher. Very sweet.

I love searching YouTube for performances of my favorite hymns. I seem to always find a hidden gem. I’ve never heard of The Hastings College Choir and I’m stunned this video has barely over 13,000 views.

Beneath the Cross of Jesus features impeccable harmony and you’ll appreciate this performance even more if you’re a stickler for technical elements. You’ve just got to listen.

Finally, no harmony here, just a simple singer, Don Francisco, and simple lyrics. The selected photos are perfect. Make sure you’re volume is up. Prepare your heart for conviction.

Steeple Song is one of the most unique songs you’ll hear.

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Filed under Kelly, MIP: Memoir-in-progress, Old Time Religion