Tag Archives: relationships

Spring Break 2010//relationships

Man, what a great week it was.  There were many hours on the road, which was not good for Sonya’s back.  But while we were there, the time was sweet.  I think the things I value most are changing as I get older.  I used to measure each trip/vacation by the rides and the thrills.  Now I look forward to the relationships.  Here’s what meant the most to me last week:

  • Trips to Panera: not only because we don’t have one here in Gadsden, but because of time with Sonya and our friends.  Thanks for the time Annette.  Thank you for listening and sharing your heart.  Thank you Jonathan and Carrie, for giving your time and laughing and cutting up.  Thank you Tony and Maxine for watching the kids while I got away with my wife.  I needed that time with my best friend.

Sonya and Annette

    Me and Jonathan – please notice the matching sunglasses (just purchased at Ross)

    Sonya and Carrie – and Panera

    • Shooting the BB pistol with Brotey and Papa: Brotey’s first lessons in firearm safety.  He hit the Purex bottle many times.  He also pointed the gun at us several times but he’ll learn.
    • The Wednesday trip to Urgent Care with Victoria’s toe.

    • Thursday at the park: spinning the kids so fast on the merry-go-round that some parents got nervous while Sonya reconnected with an old friend.  Now our kids are good friends with her kids.  A great friendship now extending to the second generation.
    • Friday night, very tired, ready for bed, talking with my two oldest girls: I really just sat and listened.  They talked for about an hour and a half.  Oh my body wanted to fall asleep but I wanted to sit all night.  I can’t remember all of it, but what I do remember is that they talked to me.  Me.  I hope they always do that.
    • Family who will drive 30 minutes, 1 hour, or 2 hours to visit: thanks guys, it was great to see you all.
    • The final stop at Krispy Kreme for the Hot Donuts Now.

      Yeah, I’m getting all sappy.  Better hang up now.



      Kenya Report #9 – Deepening Relationships

      I will admit, a two week mission trip is really difficult.  It is a long time to be gone.  But there are benefits that I did not expect.  The first week you just get to know people.  The second week you really get to go deeper with them.

      Week 2, Day 4

      For the men, two projects again this day – building shelves and digging a trench and pouring a foundation for a porch on the new building.  We were thrilled to hear that the next day we would be busting more rocks for it!

      The ladies got to spend a lot more time with the children – teaching, playing, and building relationships.  On this day they took them to nearby Lake Navaisha.  Some of the children had never seen a lake before.  Jason, Joel and the ladies taught them to play baseball, golf, and fish.  They even paid a local boat owner to take the kids for a ride.  They saw Hippos!  It was a great day for all.

      For me, it was also a day of deepening relationships.  One of those was with Peter, the forman for the construction crew that was actually building the building.  I worked closely with him and he had just as many questions about America as we did about Kenya.  I have discovered that he is a brother in Christ and has a great faith in the Lord.

      At lunch, I got to spend time with Maina (pronounced with a long “i” sound like “Mina”).

      Maina and his brother, Wamae, were abandoned by their mother and left with their great grandmother.  She mistreated them badly – leaving them in the house for days, giving them little food, and leaving them to lie on urine soaked bedding.  At age three Wamae could not stand or walk.  Maina, age 7 when they were rescued, was very withdrawn, afraid of adults, and did not talk.

      Today, Maina is much less withdrawn and starting to speak.  I picked him up and he just hung on to my neck for awhile.  He is very affectionate.  Within 6 months of their rescue, Wamae was running all over the place.  They are flourishing under the loving care of the House of Hope.


      My Bride, Our Story – the post

      I put this up as a page last week to honor my bride on Mother’s Day and some have said it should be a post so that it is sure to stay around.  Always wanting to give the public what they desire, here it is.  It is about my bride, Sonya.  If you’ve already read it, sorry.  I’ll post something else for you later.

      My Bride

      Sonya and I met in Music Theory 101 the August of our freshman year at the University of Mobile (it was called Mobile College then).  I was late getting coming to school that year, had no books for my first day of classes, and needed to share with someone.  Naturally, I asked the prettiest girl in the room.  When the class was over, we introduced ourselves and I said something dorky like “My name is Brian, but my friends call me Odie.”  Yes, my college nickname was Odie, but that’s another story.  Incidentally, Sonya never called me Odie.

      I was dating someone long distance at the time so Sonya and I just “hung out.”  We quickly became good friends and soon would call each other “best friends.” We went to the Homecoming dance together as well as every concert we were required to attend as music majors.  In fact, if the seat next to one of us was vacant, people would leave it vacant for the other.  Many people asked if we were dating and we denied it everytime.  We were just good friends.

      Now, about that homecoming.  I would learn much later that a significant event took place the night before at the talent show.  I had practiced for weeks on a jazz band solo called “Nichole.”  Sonya listened many times, so we nicknamed it “Sonya.”  (I know, very creative, but it helps in a minute).  It was a very mellow yet emotional fluegel horn solo.  As I played it that evening with the jazz band behind me, Sonya sensed that we were going to be married some day.  While I would like to believe that I wooed her with my very passionate performance, I don’t think it had anything to do with the way I played the song.  God was speaking.  Now, that was in October.

      Somewhere around that time Sonya asked me to come to church with her on a Sunday when she was singing.  Wow.  She was amazing.  Little did I know how blessed I would be by that voice in the future.

      My girl friend from Texas paid a visit for Valentine’s day.  I asked my best friend if she would provide accommodations.  My best friend declined.  While staying with a mutual friend of ours in the dorm, my girl friend asked “So what’s with this Sonya chick?”  Apparently, I’d been talking about her quite a bit.  Our friend reassured her that we were only friends.

      Fast forward to March.  We continued to grow closer and closer.  I drove most Thursday nights to her home in Daphne, where she lived with her parents, to watch Seinfeld and Frazier.  (Now you know why we quote so many lines from Seinfeld.)  Then, she went on a date.  Not with me.  Someone else.  The best part: I encourage her to go.  When they schedule the second date, I began to feel differently.  Oh yeah, I was still dating a girl in Texas.  But I didn’t like this idea of Sonya dating.  Our time was threatened and he like to put his arm around her.  He began to talk about their “relationship.”  To my relief, Sonya quickly began to confess her lack of enthusiasm for the relationship and I encouraged her to end it.

      April came quickly and with it, the Spring Banquet: an off campus event with a catered meal and dancing.  (I believe it was the first one with dancing – lucky for us.)  Sonya did not want the aforementioned young man to ask her to it so we agreed to go.  Three days before the dance, my girl friend from Texas broke up with me.  I was heartbroken and my best friend came to comfort me.  We sat on the front steps of my campus house (girls were not allowed inside – it was a baptist school!) and she consoled me with sweet words and side hugs.  Now I know that inside she was smiling and just a bit giddy.

      Because we were just “friends” we had agreed to go to the Spring Banquet as a part of a 5 person group.  Two couples and a single guy named Eddie Gross.  The other couple made new plans, so Sonya, Eddie , and I went to the Banquet together in my Blazer.  We began the night dancing like friends with a safe distance between us.  By the end of the night, I’m not sure there was any distance between us.

      I took Sonya to her sister’s apartment and walked her to the door on the second floor.  Eddie, who had not said a word from the back seat the entire time, stayed in the car.  There was a awkward hug followed by a quick, glancing peck on the lips from the clumsy guy not sure what to do.  Not knowing what to do I tried it again.  I mean, this was my best friend.  I’m a guy.  I don’t know how to read “signals.”  I can’t sense feelings.  That’s when Sonya took things in to her own hands.  As I turned to leave she said “Wait,” wrapped her arms around my head and did it right.  Boy am I glad she did!  It really was magical.  We say that was were we crossed the “platonic line” – April 3, 1993.

      The transition to “dating” couple was pretty seamless.  We had really been dating for several months without actually dating.  I see God’s hand in it all.  We became best friends first.  We are still best friends.  As people noticed us holding hands, some would actually cheer.  Most just said they already knew we would be together.  Some asked when the wedding would be.

      The next December, I took Sonya back to the apartment door where her sister once lived, reinacted our first kiss, and proposed to her.  That was January 8, 1994.  We were married on December 30 that same year.


      Sonya is my best friend.  She is an incredible wife.  She has given birth to four amazing children who remain to be amazing because they have such a wonderful mommy.  She has been through the dreaded Seminary years with me as well as a very tough ministry stint.  I couldn’t have done any of it without her.  And those of you at MeadowBrook know that my ministry now would not be the same without her.  She sings and leads, which means that most Sundays she gets all four children to church on time to be in her spot by 7:20 a.m.  Yesterday, Mother’s Day, she still gave way more than she received, yet not a word of complaint for even a tired smile.  On Wednesdays, she rocks KidStuf.  Our kids have such fun with her.  She brings laughter to our family.  Her smile is captivating.  There is no one like her and there is no doubt, God created and molded us for each other.  She’s my soulmate.  Thank you, God, for my wife.  And thank you, Sonya, for listening to Him.

      I Love You!



      more pics: