Wednesday, October 29, 2014

It is an exciting life

I cannot tell you how many times I reflect on the Osage, Shidler and Grainola every week but the impact it had on my life is everlasting.  I know life on earth is limited and of course it is effected by the past but my eternal consequences are also directly impacted by those small but impactful parts of life growing up in the Osage.  As I reflect I think of my folks forcing me to go to church almost every Sunday and especially those years where they gave out the little bars for perfect attendance.  My mom would never let us miss even if we were at Grandma Annie's in Oologah.  We would get a written document showing we attended Sunday School and YES I absolutely still call it Sunday School, not flock and not community groups.  Last week Jesse Garrison lost his wife of 47 years and I had to think of just how many folks are able to make it that far.  This morning I was doing a little Bible study on perseverance and I have to believe that it takes some serious perseverance to make it 47 years.  I know because Shouna and I have been married 39 years 10 months and 7 days which tells you we are very close to 40 years December 21st, 2014.

Now if you know Shouna you know we have been married 25 happy years (that is a joke).  You also know that she is the funny one in the house (that is a joke).  And you know that I am the talented one (that is a joke).  Now for the facts.  She is God's expression of unfailing love to me.  She has loved me through the ups and downs of my life.  She has raised three of the greatest kids I could ask for and I would have to say the best parts of them came from her.

The other day I asked her if she thought we should slow down and cut some of the things we do out of our lives and her answer was very simple, "why?" and "no".  Let me tell you what we do and I sincerely hope you do not take this as bragging or being boastful but that it is a reflection of what we value and where we want to invest our lives.  I should also state that a primary value is we believe we should serve others not by enabling them for bad behavior but supporting them in good behavior and helping people reach their highest potential in everything they do.

Aw forget it.  I cannot do it.  If you want to know come see us and let's have a cup of coffee and share our life stories.  I bet you have some to tell as well.  But I will give you some highlights of our lives together.

We were married December 21st, 1974 while in my senior year of college which I will point out that I am a strategic thinking as December 21st is the longest night of the year, go figure.

We, or I, finished college at Southwestern Oklahoma State University in Weatherford, OK.  Shouna finished at the Conservatory of Music in Chicago (thus proof that she has the talent).

Straight out of college I went to work for Ross Perot and EDS in Dallas and moved around a few years but the coolest thing I like to talk about is how great Ross was to work for and how proud I was of the folks who worked there.  Over 80% were retired military.

We have always served in our church and are thankful for those who in our early years taught us by example to get over our fears and share Christ with those we got to know.  We taught Sunday School for 34 years and if you are wondering why I don't talk about the business successes and failures it is because the most important and lasting thing we have ever done is sharing our faith not by our words but by our actions.  We may not teach formally today but we still teach and are involved in other types of Christ centered activities like Wings (www.wingsok.org), Joyful Sound Choir, camps for children and adults with special needs, Mendachurch (which is a group of folks who go into churches that are struggling and help them to change), National Christian Foundation (NCF), and other organizations and charities.

We have a wonderful garden where we spend a lot of time and we love our children and their families.
You see we don't measure our success by the money we make or made but the friends we have and the lives we have invested in plus those who have invested in us.

Yes, we are busy, very busy, busier than most but who cares as long as we feel good about what we do.  I hope you can and will look back (just for a second) and be happy with how you invested your life.

So what did I learn in the Osage?

  • Givers Gain
  • Losers lose
  • If you give even when it hurts YOU will be the winner
  • Forgive, forget and go on and count your blessings one by one and see what God has done
Thanks for your time and with a little luck (I don't believe in luck) we will make it to 40 wonderful years!
gary@thepioneerman.com

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