He followed my flowing wedding gown through the winding pebbled paths of the Dallas Arboretum that hot June afternoon, lugging a cooler brimming with sparkling sodas and virgin margaritas. The women chatted and giggled like a gaggle of birds throughout my bridal potrait photo shoot, and an upbeat Charles stood ready with fans and kleenexes and comic relief. This defining afternoon began my realization of the fortune of an engaged, fun-loving father-in-law.
Fourteen years later, my mind stores countless examples of Charles, aka Papa, making things just a little more fun. He turns the ordinary into adventures.
"I just want to be where Charles is."
This was Jamie's response to my question, "How do you feel about moving from Rockwall?"
After living their entire lives in Dallas, then raising three children and putting roots into churches and schools and a community of dear friends in nearby Rockwall, Charles and Jamie put a for sale sign in their suburban yard and headed for the mountains. Angel Fire had been beckoning Charles' allegiance for years, and the time was right. With their own parents in their celestial homes, two children just married and the youngest tucked away at Baylor, Charles closed up shop and began his long-time dream of becoming a "local" in northern New Mexico.
And Jamie followed.
WITH a happy heart.
A decade and a half later, we all agree that it was indeed the right time. Charles and Jamie have put their mark on the rural mountain towns of Eagle Nest and Angel Fire, and it's given our own little family a beautiful place to claim (not to mention a beautiful place to hike, ski, and breathe fresh mountain air).
But despite all the beauty and grandeur of getting to live in this amazing spot, it was Charles' dream and not Jamie's. She hasn't said so, but I imagine she would have been quite content staying in the comfort of Rockwall. When she said yes to following Charles' dream, she said goodbye to her life-giving friends, a deeply LIVING church body, inspiring Christian radio stations, a convenient grocery store (!), and the familiarities of life. As a newlywed, I was impacted by Jamie's happy sacrifice of not only supporting her husband, but pushing him toward his dreams and callings.
After my last post on our parents' anniversaries, I'm including an email Charles and Jamie sent us last spring. It's their "thankful list" of 42 years together. So - Mama and Papa - we are deeply and eternally thankful for YOU both, for your marriage, and for the indescribable gifts you have and continue to lavish on us all.
Can't wait to hear what your "43" is!
This is for a blessing to each of you for 2010.
Papa and Mama wanted to share 42 of our most precious blessings from our life, one for each year we have been married.
They are our way of saying we love you and have been blessed in so many ways.
1. God's love for us
2. Christ's sacrifice for us
3. A life foundation based on #'s 1&2
4. Our parents
5. Our family heritage
6. Brothers and sisters
7. Finding each other
8. Our relationship built on faith
9. Friendships that have lasted
10. A wedding that began with love and commitment
11. A career that was fulfilling and challenging
12. The adventure of parenthood
13. A fruitful church experience
14. Healthy children
15. A simple community that was comfortable
16 A fun neighborhood
17. Neighbors who became close friends
18. Friends for our children
19. Sharing fun sports events with our children
20. The Rockwall Band
21. Our children finding that eternal relationship with Christ
22. Our children attending college
23. Their college friends
24. Wedding bells for each child
25. Each of our children's mates
26. Experiencing each couples establishing a new home
27. Working on old houses
28. Branson "Charlie"
30. Hudda Budda
31. Nettie May
32. Basden Joy
33. River Luca
34. Esther Jamie
35. Nera Sage Violet
36. Rowan Beth
37. Family holidays and vacations
38. Eagle Mountain Lodge
39. Sharing in the lives and faith experiences of Grandkids
40. HEART felt miracles that have touched us all.
41. Seeing our adult children live joyful lives
42. Another year to be together in spirit and love as a family