I have six months to reshape my life. I can do this.

Monday, February 07, 2011

127 Texts

Tonight I counted the texts I received from church family, actual family, cherished friends and brothers in ministry.  There were 127 of them.  127 people letting me know that they are praying for us.  If you are not up to speed on our precious baby 2, check my wife's latest post about it.  Click on the link to the right.

That has all the info you need.  My wife is a strong person.  She has grown so much since the last bad report at an ultra-sound.  And in the grand scheme, we know that God has a pretty special purpose for Baby Smith 2.  How can that not be the case?  We have 127 confirmations letting us know that they are lifting this up to the Father.  I am praying Psalm 127:3-5 and Isaiah 41:10 for my family.  If you pray, pray those verses for us as well.  And thanks for the 127 texts.  People let me know their stories.  Some let me know that they were carrying this with us.  Some let me know that they were there when needed.  Some just wanted to touch base and make sure all is well.  One even offered to let me scream, yell or cuss.

127 is a lot.  It sure consumed a lot of iPhone battery.  It is a bit humbling to have that many different touches from people.  That meant that not only were they affected enough to stop whatever they were doing, they even offered up at least one prayer for us.  Some committed to pray more fervently and consistently.  And then they went so far as to actually let me know that they were praying.  127 people took at least one minute for me and my family today.  At least two hours of prayer of intercession went up on our behalf.  All I can say is thanks. 

I will wind down here.  But I will say this.  I completely stole some advice that was intended for someone else about two years ago.  I have two friends named Mike.  The older Mike told the younger Mike (both are youth pastors) that he was a minister doing ministry before his kids were born.  And now his kids are grown and out of the house and he is a minister doing ministry now too.  But when he had kids, that was his only shot to raise them right.  That was his priority.  He wasn't going to be a great minister and a mediocre father.  Now, substitute your job in the place of the words "minister doing ministry."  You and I have one shot at raising our kids.  That has to be our most noble calling.  Not to the detriment of everything and everyone else.  But be your best for your kids.  Be very present.

I hope your kids get 127 minutes of thoughts and prayers and time each day.  I am going to make that the goal for mine while they are my blessings.  127 minutes.  A nudge over two hours.  That isn't even as long as one of those fantasy movies that Christians love to claim as parables of faith, redemption and salvation.  Am I giving my children 127 minutes?  Am I trying?

I hope and pray that you continue to hope and pray with us.  Danielle and Baby J and Baby 2 and I truly covet your prayers.  Please give us another minute of your day each day for a while.  That is all we ask.  That is all we need.  If you beseech the heavenly Father for us daily, that is greater than any other gift you could ever send us.  And if you give 127 minutes to your kids?  Double bonus.  We love you and thank you.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Update 3: Shoveling Snow and Insulting Legends and Doctors

So I haven't been so consistent in updating the blog.  I apologize.  My wife keeps up with 17 and I can barely keep up with one.  So a few updates and then I am off to probably not update for another week or two.  One would think with all the snow piling up outside that I would have ample opportunity to work out a blog update.  However, that was before I had to shovel Superman's ice fortress of solitude off of my driveway.

You see, basically we live at the end of a wind tunnel.  The wind blows all of the snow in the neighborhood into one massive drift in my front yard.  It means I have a four foot drift to dig out of even when there is only about six inches of snow.  Last year I was not very prepared to deal with my own Pike's Peak in the drive.  This year I was.  I attacked the driveway for about an hour three different times.  After three plus hours of shoveling and sweating, I had cleared about one third of the drive.  At least I can get the cars out.  I went back out two days later and cleared a bit more out.  The wife was a bit "anxious" about backing out.  But now I can safely say that backing out is a "non-issue."

I want her to be comfortable driving.  We still have some tense moments on highway 76 as the best and brightest in the greater Tri-City area continue to set land-speed records on this smallish, two lane highway with the unbelievable and unexplainable speed limit of 65.  That is why I dug out more snow on the driveway and why she is already cruising the fine streets of the Metro in a brand new (to us) ride.  We got a new car.  The wife earned her mom card with a new mini van.  It is a delightful black Honda Odyssey.  She likes it.  The J Train loves it.  And it still smells new.  And we were finally able to let them cash the down payment check only about two weeks after writing it.  Even though the med claim stays open, I do feel mostly a sense of closure about my entire family being in a bad wreck.  I still don't like thinking about my pregnant wife and my two year old son being in a wreck that totaled the car they were in.  But there is one fun little anecdote I can take from this incident.

I took her to a hospital about two hours after the wreck so we could have an ultra-sound and hear the heartbeat.  We drove out to a hospital in Moore that will remain unnamed as it is a great place and not very crowded.  While she was in a room being attended by Norman doctors, my lovely bride managed to be rude and insult not one but three doctors AND Oklahoma's ONLY living inductee into the Rock'n'Roll Hall of Fame.  The hospital we went to is associated with one in Norman.  In fact the ER docs pull shifts in both Moore and Norman.  So imagine my horror when my wife said, "I am glad to be here and not in Norman. I think they kill people at that hospital."

She said that.  Out loud.  Not in some crazy inside voice that you never, ever make known to the listening public.  Especially listening public that you are implicating in a building-wide game of death tag.  The doctors brushed it off as they would anyone accusing them of "offing" patients.  I just stared at her.  My other favorite thing was her flippant response to them asking her if she was ever unconscious after the wreck.  She would typically answer, "I think I blacked out.  It went black.  I am not sure.  Maybe I just closed my eyes."  She wasn't sure if she was unconscious or just blinking.  This is the same person who has self-diagnosed herself being allergic to ibuprofin or some such pain killer.  But I nixed the "blacking out theory" because I could see myself talking her through two hours in an MRI machine.  Ugh. And if it wasn't enough to insult the kind doctors taking care of her, she also managed to insult a living legend in Rock and Roll that I have been angling to meet for almost two years!

Wanda Jackson is the Queen of Rockabilly and a legend in Rock'n'Roll.  She is a true pioneer who recently recorded a great album with Jack White of all people.  A week after our meeting she would perform on Letterman.  A week after Letterman, Conan.  She was also two cubicles down in the ER with her 97 year old mother.  I had called my best friend who had served at the same church Wanda attends when she is not RECORDING WITH JACK WHITE or talking about DATING ELVIS PRESLEY!  I have her greatest hits on my iPod and iPhone.  I listen to them frequently.  My buddy saw her there and asked if she would meet me, telling her I was a big fan (quite true) and that my wife was pregnant and in a wreck and we were there checking on the baby.  She had graciously agreed and he came in to get me.  This had all taken place without my knowledge.  I walked out and he said, "Craig, this is Wanda Jackson."  I was shocked.  I told her it was a great pleasure to meet her and I hated saying this in an emergency room but that I was a big fan.  I scored points simply by knowing the band that made Jack White famous (which my very sheltered and sacred friend had not known).  While she was telling me about Letterman and Conan, the wife came out and asked me for her driver's license.  I gave it to her.  Wanda Jackson addressed her too.
"I am glad you are okay, honey" said the Queen of Rock'n'Roll.
"Thank you, ma'am," grunted my loving bride.
Later when I told her who that was and that her own mother was very weak and failing, the wife was more sympathetic.  One of the wife's high school friends who has always wanted to meet Wanda was more horrified than I was.  But that is the wife.  Had it been that guy who hosts The Bachelor, you know, the guy they pay a bazillion bucks to count roses each week, she would have gone apey.  She would have introduced me as "a guy from Super Summer" instead of her husband had it been The Bachelor dude.  But it was just Wanda Jackson.  Ha.  We still laugh at that.

An update on the weight loss:  Since we last updated, I am down a total of 25 lbs so far.  I have been faithful to workout and the lovely wife has been very patient with my persnickety diet.  But it has been effective.  My goal is to be down another 15 or so by March 1st.  I have a retreat at the end of February with some other youth dudes.  I am excited to be down enough weight to actually be in 60th percentile of body mass instead of the 90th.  I also like not being the biggest guy in my church.  I may not even be top five.  I am certainly not top five in youth dudes.  Those guys can strap on a feed bag and then wear out a couch cushion.  I hope I can help them change that.  We will see.