I think I’ve met my match where birthday blogs are concerned. I’ve been wanting to write this one for days, but I’ve had two things stacked against me. First, trying to write this blog and keep it a secret from my husband (BTW, it’s HIS birthday) and the difficult task of condensing a relationship that means so much and expands a great deal of time into just a few paragraphs. It’s a story whose chapters continue to be written quicker than I can type. Yikes!
I could start with when we met. Now that was funny. I was interviewing for a reporter job in Jonesboro, Arkansas. As I was meeting various staff members, off in the distance I could hear this loud, booming voice. Upon turning the corner in the newsroom, I could see that the source of this voice was “holding court” in the center of the room. I clearly remember that he was in the middle of telling a story, when he stopped and said, “You’re from Kansas?” If memory serves me right, I think the look he gave me spoke volumes. I’ll sum it up by saying that I’m certain he was searching my smile for a shock of wheat and wondering if I wore socks with my shoes, maybe even if I wore shoes at all. You see, HE was from California…which explains his loud, all-about-me nature…which I would later learn he referred to as the “wonderfulness of Steve.” This brief encounter concluded with various Kansas jokes…I’ll spare you the details but they had to do with telephone poles and cow patties. Somehow this was the beginning of our love story.
Fastforwarding, I’ll share another one of my favorite Steve stories: Our honeymoon. Let’s just say we took a wrong turn back to the hotel following a Hawaiian midnight Christmas Eve mass (we sure know how to have fun don’t we?) Down this dark, semi-spooky street we happened to walk past a woman. Being the naive Kansas girl that I am, I just assumed she was waiting for her ride. Turns out she was waiting alright…but her attire didn’t suggest she was on her way home from church. As we moved past her and down to the street corner, Steve suddenly decides that he has to speak to her. Maybe it was because she was all alone on a dark street, maybe it was because it was Christmas Eve and maybe it was because we had just come from church…regardless, Steve just had to go over there and talk to her–leaving me alone, standing on a dark (somewhat seedy) street corner! I wasn’t privy to the conversation with this “lady of the night,” but anyone watching would have thought this scene was hilarious. A man leaves his bride of less than a week, on a street corner, in a strange town, in the middle of the night, to minister to a prostitute. As if this scene wasn’t hilarious enough, you should have seen the send-off she gave him…let’s just say she told him where to go and how to get there!
I should mention that my husband is now a pastor. It’s his calling that has taken us from Arkansas, to California, and miraculously back to my home state of Kansas. Before you think a pastor’s family life must be boring…let me tell you we’ve had some great adventures and God has blessed us with some incredible opportunities. At the same time, Steve’s calling tests my skeptical nature on a regular basis. Nevertheless, he continues to serve others in a variety of settings and throughout all hours of the day. One of the things that I’ve really had to get used to are the constant phone calls. Did you know that someone is always in need? I had no idea. But when your name is printed in the phone book and/or is associated with a church, many times you are the first person that people call. Steve has given money, boxes of crackers, high-priced danishes (inside joke,) and arranged transportation and motel rooms for those who have come across hard times. I’ll never forget the time he told me he was leaving the house to take fried chicken to a guy holed up in a motel room who didn’t have any money for food. Don’t ask, it’s a really long story.
I’ve often thought of writing a book about Steve and his faith walk…gushing about how wonderful I think he is and how much I love and respect his story. He’s a big part of bringing me to this point in my life…not just physically to this place, but mentally and especially spiritually. I fell in love with Steve because he makes me laugh. I continue to be amazed by the depth of his heart and how much he genuinely loves and cares about people. I admire his strong faith and the inspirational way that he seeks to share God with me, our family, our church, our community and just about anyone he meets. If you know Steve, you know I could go on and on. When I do write that book, I already have the title picked out…Fried Chicken Evangelism. Happy birthday, Steve. YOU ARE LOVED.
A bowl of vegetables with someone you love is better than steak with someone you hate. Proverbs 15:17 NLT