Well, I thought for Talia's Birthday, I would do something that she loved to do. A VLOG. Not my thing but ok, I'll do one to celebrate Talia. Well, the video is too big and I have to get to my gig so I'll figure it out in-between getting home from my gig, packing, driving to Det. to Catch a flight to NYC. So Happy Birthday Tal! I'll figure it out and pt. 2 will be coming the video..... So until I get home enjoy a still picture of Talia in her element Books! LOL
I've been able to start getting out and seeing people more now so that has been good. Some have pictures some don't. A few weeks ago was able to have dinner with my dear friends Sandy and Dale Billingsley who just have been so kind and helpful navigating through things with Talia. Then I was able to spend a day with my dear brother Alvin Chea and his Aunt in North Carolina. Lot of love and encouragement and food!!!! Last week me and one of my dear friends Oh and great guitarists of the world Randy Napoleon and I went and had some Indian food which was killin' and great time. Went back to my HS days and drove to Ann Arbor to have dinner with one of my dear friends Ken Laberteaux who him and his entire family have always been a second family to me! Drove to Grand Rapids to have dinner with two friends from my old church. We all now belong to a club that we don't want to belong to. The fellowship was so good and encouraging. Thankful for my dear brothers Ralston Bowles and Tony Himlelspach. Chuck Roberts and I usually will get coffee every week on a day, which we did, and he has been one of the most amazing friends someone could ask for! Then I went to hang for a minute with my dear friend Keith Hall who sounded great as always and always is so encouraging to me. This week had coffee with my dear friend Steve Boughton freshly back from Austria and again someone that I could ask anything from and he would do it for me. Then I have go back to my first year of college on this one but was fun to get caught up and reminisce with my good friend Sam McIlhugga, Then rounded it out with a tip to Detroit who is counting the clock down to hosting the NFL draft in 2024. I guess not a lot of hope for the next 2 seasons of lion football! LOL Two dear friends I met through Take 6. We had a lot of laughs and we could laugh loud because we were the only ones in the entire restaurant. That in itself was fun. Blessed to have so many beautiful people in my life especially when times get hard. I hope I got everyone!
Where to begin? I'm going to keep this one pretty general and not too personal. I'll be more transparent in the next one when I have a little more time to write. Besides God , family, and friends, the following have been helpful to shape my thinking. I feel my mind is in a pretty good place for the most part, the heart is still pretty broken. However, I'm thinking a lot about the future, and goals, and so I'm making good headway in that area. Ok, enough, I'm excited to share some of these resources that have been so encouraging to me.
I consider Bill Johnson my Pastor. Unfortunately he now knows all too well what I have been dealing with the past month as his wife passed this week. His comments here were super helpful to me. He actually spoke today and it was emotional. Here are some of his notes. Some may not make sense out of context:
Notes: 3 days after Beni passed Bill preached this: (from Kris Vallotton)
-The backslider in heart will always judge God by what He didn’t do!
-Answers wouldn’t fix the problem, only His presence will.
-Heaven is HIM!
Mark 16:9-11 Now after He had risen early on the first day of the week, He first appeared to Mary Magdalene, from whom He had cast out seven demons. She went and reported to those who had been with Him, while they were mourning and weeping. When they heard that He was alive and had been seen by her, they refused to believe it.
-Mourning kept them from believing.
Matthew 5:4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
-Mourning can lead you to comfort or it can lead you to unbelief.
-The inability to live with mystery keeps us from childlessness.
-Hope is the joyful anticipation of good.
-If I praise Him without surrender then I am just making a business deal- I will do this for you and you do this for me.
-I don’t ever want to be the one who critiques God; He critiques me.
-My friendship with God can only go as far as the depth of His Lordship in my life.
-His gives us peace beyond our understanding therefore I have to give up the right to understand so I can get the peace He wants to provide for me!
-Worshiping in pain is only possible on this side of heaven so this is a privilege.
Hebrews 12:1-2 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
-We must live in holiness and endurance.
-Every loss is a seed that can bring life and blessings!
-God bring beauty out of ashes.
And again, someone that knows, as Dr. Tony Evans lost his wife. In both of these cases, They were wholeheartedly believing for healing! That was a big worry of mine, but these have really helped shape me.
One of the great blessings of my life is my 3rd grade teacher! She made such an impact on so many. It's such an honor to still have a beautiful relationship with her and her husband. She sent me this. There is no way I could have appreciated this book without the pain I've been through. His brutal honesty was very encouraging to me!
I had dinner with two old friends on Friday, that we all shared unfortunately the situation that we had all lost our wives. It's this club that we never wanted to belong to. There was, however, a sense of bonding that unless you have specifically lost a spouse, you can't understand. I have had a lot of loss in my life, students, co-workers, a parent, mentors, musicians, etc.... but this is on another level. So, my one friend gave me this and I'm looking forward to its daily thoughts.
It seems like every trip I'm making here this week is just filled with lightning. I'm actually glad because it keeps me awake and I love watching it. 11 hours straight of it was a little much to North Carolina. The hour trip back from Ann Arbor last night not too bad!
Well my journey began by driving down to Raleigh, NC. I left at 10:00pm and drove 11 hours to meet my dear friend Alvin! I hung with him and now my Auntie and ate some great food and had fellowship. I picked up Elijah at the airport and while waiting I met Najee. Lij and I walked around Raleigh, had a good breakfast, a funny moment in the airport then got ready for Lij to see Take 6 for the first time. Unfortunately, the concert got cancelled due to lighting. It wasn't all lost however, seeing as the fellas let us stay for worship time! We had a heck of a time trying to get some food after with Vin, but we finally managed. We got up and drove to Charlotte. We hung in the city for a min mainly record shopping then went to the Billy Graham Library to see NFL host JB Brown who gave a great talk. Then we got up at 4 am to drive to Columbus, OH to see one of my favorites Mr. Bobby Floyd but that didn't happen either. LOl They switched his date. All in all, we had a good time and I got to spend precious time with my nephew!
This was my 4th time seeing the Blue Angels. I love to see them and with many things of high quality, the most talented people in the world in whatever area, make it look simple to the point of you loose the reality of how hard and in this case dangerous what they are doing is. I was late leaving home so I actually thought I was going to miss them. Luckily they started 15 mins late. I was supposed to meet my sister and fiancé, but being the cherry festival, I knew at this point if I tried to look for parking and walking etc... I'd miss most of the show. I ended up just by chance parking on the side of the road by the airport. So as the show goes, I missed a lot of the center stage presentation I would have got if I was in the stands, but this last moment was worth it all. Enjoy!
We almost got to 5. We wanted to do something special. We were gonna save up to go to Hawaii which was on both of our bucket lists. Even after Talia got sick, we still had it as a goal to strive for. I got offered a gig today and could have used the bread but I think I made the right choice to just kind of reflect and think about the future. I celebrated by getting Red Lobster take out which was one of Talia's favorite restaurants and she never liked to eat in.
I met Talia at a law firm in Phoenix in 2007. She was in accounts receivable and I was in charge of the file room. We started to date even though I moved back to MI. The time just wasn't right for us then. We kept in touch over the years and anytime I was back in Phoenix, we would meet and catch up and we did talk on the phone over the years. Then when I was out in March of 2017, we knew the time was now. So we got engaged Memorial Day weekend. I tried to do a more formal proposal at the Detroit Library. All the workers were excited when I inquired about it on an inspection trip but the higher ups said absolutely not. LOL I did it there anyways but with a lot less fanfare. Then July 1 we got married in Cave Creek, AZ. Neither of us like to be the center of attention, so we just basically did it by ourselves with her Mom and Dad, and Sister Randi. It was special, because her Dad was not feeling well and hardly ever went out but really wanted to walk her down the aisle. My good friend Randy Napoleon, had made an accompaniment track for me to play along with for Talia to come down to. It was 112 degrees that day but of course I was not complaining. We went to Tucson, AZ for our Honeymoon.
Marrying Talia was one of the best things I've ever done in my life. I'll write another blog soon of my thoughts since Talia's transition. We almost made 5 hon! So proud of you, love you, and miss you so much!
Some of the anniversary Facebook posts over the years: