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A Day I’ll Never Forget

November 30, 2010

Some days are forever etched in our mind.  Days like your birthday, Christmas, July 4 as well as September 11, 2001; December 7, 1941; are all days we remember.  I have one of those very days in my own life.  November 30, 1988 was that day.

That day started out like most other days did.  I was a junior in high school (yep, I’m really that old) and went to school then to work after school.  I was working at Toys R Us and really enjoyed my job.  Where else can you get paid to be a kid?

The day turned tragic around 11:30 that evening.  I left work and gave a guy from work a ride.  He needed a ride since he usually rode a motorcycle and it was way too cold for him to ride that to work.  He asked me for a ride and that’s the last thing I remember.

The passenger door sits against the driver's seat...

The next thing I remember is waking up in the hospital a couple of days later.  I don’t remember leaving the store, the ride, the wreck, or the ambulance.  I don’t remember getting my head smashed or bleeding all over the place.  I don’t remember the ambulance, the paramedics, or my heart being jump-started.

I don’t remember what happened to the guy who was riding with me either.  I did later learn he was thrown from the car (through the t-top) and the car landed on his wrist.  He received a cut and 3 stitches behind one ear and a broken wrist.  Definitely luck doesn’t even go close to describing it!

The one thing that sticks out about this day the most…was realizing something…realizing something that would take me months to rectify.  I realized if I would have died at that very moment…which I should have by all means…I would have died without knowing Christ.  I didn’t become a believer until May 1990.  Rather than choose to seriously consider what God had spared me from, I chose to take a different approach.  I chose to look at it this way, “If God didn’t take me when He had the chance, then He must not want me now.”  Stupid approach, but it was what I took.

Regardless of what happens for the remainder of my days, I will always look at November 30, 1988 as a defining moment in my LIFE.  What is your Defining Moment?

I love getting the Man v. Food texts!

September 1, 2010

Long day

September 1, 2010

Working with @brentgambrells for @thebgm coming attractions.

September 1, 2010

Marriage, wives, eyes, and cows

August 5, 2010
My 16th anniversary was July 23…a feat I’m MORE than proud of.  To be married to the same woman for 16 years is huge today and to be more in love with her today than ever before is what I have always hoped for.  We spent the day running around and laughing…something I don’t think we do enough honestly.  We started at Tiffany and Co. (yes, THAT Tiffany and Co.), lunch at Cracker Barrel (a LITTLE change in atmosphere), a couple’s massage at A Moment’s Peace, and then a Picnic Dinner from Henpeck Market at one of the most beautiful (and romantic outdoor venues around) Arrington Vineyard.  Then we capped it off with a movie.  AWESOME…A BEAUTIFUL DAY FOR A BEAUTIFUL WIFE…so…
…as I was reading a blog at Randy Elrod’s page about the eyes of a wife and was truly blessed.  I loved what he said and completely and wholeheartedly agree.  I suggest you read it here…especially if you ever plan on working for someone else.  It’s a great thought.  I had to think, my wife’s eyes have told my story more than once and in more than one way.  Thank God for time together and growing up together!
After reading the blog, I read some of the comments and one by Kathleen Overby
really stood out.  I don’t know her, but LOVE what she writes.  It’s obviously a story she’s read elsewhere, but it’s worth a read.  Check this out.


condensed from Woman’s Day Patricia McGerr

When I sailed to Kiniwata, an island in the Pacific, I took along a notebook. After I got back it was filled with descriptions of flora and fauna, native customs and costume. But the only note that still interests me is the one that says: “Johnny Lingo gave eight cows to Sarita’s father.” And I don’t need to have it in writing. I’m reminded of it every time I see a woman belittling her husband or a wife withering under her husband’s scorn. I want to say to them, “You should know why Johnny Lingo paid eight cows for his wife.”

Johnny Lingo wasn’t exactly his name. But that’s what Shenkin, the manager of the guest house on Kiniwata, called him. Shenkin was from Chicago and had a habit of Americanizing the names of the islanders. But Johnny was mentioned by many people in many connections. If I wanted to spend a few days on the neighboring island of Nurabandi, Johnny Lingo would put me up. If I wanted to fish he could show me where the biting was best. If it was pearls I sought, he would bring the best buys. The people of Kiniwata all spoke highly of Johnny Lingo. Yet when they spoke they smiled, and the smiles were slightly mocking.

“Get Johnny Lingo to help you find what you want and let him do the bargaining,” advised Shenkin. “Johnny knows how to make a deal.”
“Johnny Lingo! A boy seated nearby hooted the name and rocked with laughter.
“What goes on?” I demanded. “everybody tells me to get in touch with Johnny Lingo and then breaks up. Let me in on the joke.”
“Oh, the people like to laugh,” Shenkin said, shruggingly. “Johnny’s the brightest, the strongest young man in the islands, And for his age, the richest.”
“But if he’s all you say, what is there to laugh about?”
“Only one thing. Five months ago, at fall festival, Johnny came to Kiniwata and found himself a wife. He paid her father eight cows!

I knew enough about island customs to be impressed. Two or three cows would buy a fair-to-middling wife, four or five a highly satisfactory one. “Good Lord!” I said, “Eight cows! She must have beauty that takes your breath away.” “She’s not ugly,” he conceded, and smiled a little. “But the kindest could only call Sarita plain. Sam Karoo, her father, was afraid she’d be left on his hands.”
“But then he got eight cows for her? Isn’t that extraordinary?”
“Never been paid before.”
“Yet you call Johnny’s wife plain?”
“I said it would be kindness to call her plain. She was skinny. She walked with her shoulders hunched and her head ducked. She was scared of her own shadow.”
“Well,” I said, “I guess there’s just no accounting for love.”
“True enough,” agreed the man. “And that’s why the villagers grin when they talk about Johnny. They get special satisfaction from the fact that the sharpest trader in the islands was bested by dull old Sam Karoo.”
“But how?”
“No one knows and everyone wonders. All the cousins were urging Sam to ask for three cows and hold out for two until he was sure Johnny’d pay only one. Then Johnny came to Sam Karoo and said, ‘Father of Sarita, I offer eight cows for your daughter.’”
“Eight cows,” I murmured. “I’d like to meet this Johnny Lingo.”
“And I wanted fish. I wanted pearls. So the next afternoon I beached my boat at Nurabandi. And I noticed as I asked directions to Johnny’s house that his name brought no sly smile to the lips of his fellow Nurabandians. And when I met the slim, serious young man, when he welcomed me with grace to his home, I was glad that from his own people he had respect unmingled with mockery. We sat in his house and talked. Then he asked, “You come here from Kiniwata?”
“They speak of me on that island?”
“They say there’s nothing I might want they you can’t help me get.”
He smiled gently. “My wife is from Kiniwata.”
“Yes, I know.”
“They speak of her?”
“A little.”
“What do they say?”
“Why, just…” The question caught me off balance. “They told me you were married at festival time.”
“Nothing more?” The curve of his eyebrows told me he knew there had to be more.
They also say the marriage settlement was eight cows.” I paused.
“They wonder why.”
“They ask that?” His eyes lightened with pleasure. “Everyone in Kiniwata knows about the eight cows?”
I nodded.
“And in Nurabandi everyone knows it too.” His chest expanded with satisfaction. “Always and forever, when they speak of marriage settlements, it will be remembered that Johnny Lingo paid eight cows for Sarita.”
So that’s the answer, I thought: vanity.

And then I saw her. I watched her enter the room to place flowers on the table. She stood still a moment to smile at the young man beside me. Then she went swiftly out again. She was the most beautiful woman I have ever seen. The lift of her shoulders, the tilt of her chin the sparkle of her eyes all spelled a pride to which no one could deny her the right. I turned back to Johnny Lingo and found him looking at me. “You admire her?” he murmured. “She…she’s glorious. But she’s not Sarita from Kiniwata,” I said.

“There’s only one Sarita. Perhaps she does not look the way they say she looked in Kiniwata.” “She doesn’t. I heard she was homely. They all make fun of you because you let yourself be cheated by Sam Karoo.”
“You think eight cows were too many?” A smile slid over his lips. “No. But how can she be so different?”
“Do you ever think,” he asked, “what it must mean to a woman to know that her husband has settled on the lowest price for which she can be bought? And then later, when the women talk, they boast of what their husbands paid for them. One says four cows, another maybe six. How does she feel, the woman who was sold for one or two?” This could not happen to my Sarita.”
“Then you did this just to make your wife happy?”
“I wanted Sarita to be happy, yes. But I wanted more than that. You say she is different This is true. Many things can change a woman. Things that happen inside, things that happen outside. But the thing that matters most is what she thinks about herself. In Kiniwata, Sarita believed she was worth nothing. Now she knows she is worth more than any other woman in the islands.” “Then you wanted -”
“I wanted to marry Sarita. I loved her and no other woman.”
“But —” I was close to understanding.
“But,” he finished softly, “I wanted an eight-cow wife.”

Naika…the latest story

July 11, 2010

Check out the recent events here: It’s a long one, but it’s from the heart.


8th Grade Graduation!

May 21, 2010

What a great day. Sure the weather is a little gray and tough, but today is a special day. Today, Dyllan graduates 8th grade and gets ready for High School!

He’s been looking forward to this day for a long time. Middle School for him has been a great time, a horrible time, a confusing time, and a searching time.

Over the past 3 years we have watched our son grow physically, emotionally, academically, and spiritually. He has been the star, the outcast, faced bullies, rocked his ACT with a mid-20 score, and uncovered who God has created him to be.

Today, whether he wins an award, gets recognized for his academics, or successfully sits through this award show without sleeping, he will never be in this spot again. I couldn’t be happier or more proud.

I could only dream to be able to go back in time and have the smarts and maturity he is uncovering…I could only hope to have that NOW!!

Congrats Dyllan. We love ya!
–Mom and Dad

Evangelism begins with Updog!

May 20, 2010

E-Dub sporting the Updog shirt

As the summer quickly approaches it feels like only yesterday I was in Haiti post-earthquake. At times I feel ill-prepared for what’s coming over the next 10 weeks–6 camps and 3 Haiti trips.

Somewhere along the way the world kept spinning and LIFE continued. Funny how during ties like this I tend to get self-consumed. I tend to focus on the things that are affecting me in the moment and sometimes lose sight of the big picture…just being honest.

The cool thing is, this summer has something new. Our BGM office has designed a new shirt (more appropriately I had Boo design it)! I am so excited about it because it communicates the message I’ve been sharing for a few years now.

Having worked at churches for almost 15 years I have seen a lot of things. One thing that I have always battled has been the way we as Christians (ad more specifically those in evangelical churches) do evangelism. I believe most evangelicals believe in evangelism. The truth is I know some don’t ad others are petrified of it butthe majority (whether yet practice it or not) do believe in evangelism.

I have seen evangelism done in many ways. I have seen it take place from the pulpit or stage, through drama, teaching, skit, sketch, and song. I have seen it done through classes, with training, visitation, and mentorship. I have also seen it done around the globe through teams, individuals, and groups going door to door, hut to hut, and setting up on street corners all over this planet. I have also been able to see evangelism done through relationships.

I have seen men, women, teenagers, and even children tell their friends about what Jesus Christ means to them. I have watched those people (and myself) pray for an search for opportunities to share what they believe. I have seen churches encourage Christians to share their faith in ways that begin with relationships…and I have seen churches require people to take classes on evangelism.  I have even heard church staff members comment on the “untrained” people in the church…those who haven’t been through classes on evangelism.

Let me say this…I don’t think it’s EVER wrong to prepare the church for action, but when I hear people (especially church staff people) discredit someone for sharing their faith because they didn’t use the proper outline, plan, or because they weren’t certified, I have to laugh…or cry.

So, what I think about it is simple.  The best way to begin ANY evangelism strategy is simple…with one word…HELLO.  That’s right, Hello.  Can you imagine building relationships with people?  Can you think of a better way to start a conversation with someone…even someone you don’t know?

That’s where the Updog shirt comes in.  It’s self-explanatory.  Maybe it goes like this, you walk up to someone.  They notice your shirt.  You nod that nervous smile and watch their eyes.  They have that puzzled look and you have them where you want them.  You say, “Hello.”  They say, “What is that?”  You reply, “What are you talking about?”  They say, ” What’s Updog?”  You say, “Not much, what’s up with YOU!?”  They shake their head in disbelief because they just fell for some silly 3rd grade humor.  You smile and say, “Gotcha.”  Then…the rest is up to you.  You can begin the conversation, talk to them, or even take time to get to know them…you’ll be surprised at what happens.

Praying that Updog helps you.  You can get your own shirt if you want it…hope it helps.

Check out Acts 9…Saul became Paul and Ananias had to begin a conversation with one of the most threatening murderous people in the history of the early church.  Think you have people in your LIFE who intimidate you?  Just imagine having to chat with the hardest man in the world…makes Updog look simple doesn’t it?

Get your own Updog conversation starter!

Dear President Obama and Healthcare Reform:

May 4, 2010

This is an open letter…a rant more honestly…addressed to President Obama specifically.  Why you ask?  Because of healthcare reform, I have to be able to give this frustration to someone and he is the champion.  You sit in the big boy seat, YOU get the direct response.

Dear President Obama,

I feel it necessary to tell you something.  I am NOT political.  I loathe what politics does to people…to good people.  I despise it with all that I am.  In fact, you can check my Facebook profile and under political views, I am an avowed Political Atheist…stating I don’t believe in Politics.  I know it’s a stupid argument, but it’s what I choose.

I also want you to know I didn’t vote for you.  Not because you were a dem or because you were an African-American…trust me, that doesn’t bother me in the least.  I didn’t vote for you because I didn’t agree with anything you stood for, I think you represent the political smugness I so despise, and because I didn’t see any of the CHANGE people would come to HOPE for.

Mr. President

All that being said, I would like you to know about our experience.  We are one of those families that “benefited” recently from changes in our healthcare.  This is how it went: our son, Lane, has severe special needs.  He has been on TennCare (Tennessee’s version of Medicare) since his birth in 1997.  When he was born, he was 16 weeks early and wasn’t supposed to live.  You can check it out here: myLIFEspeaks.

Recently, Lane was dropped from his TennCare; not because he is no longer special needs, but because he was one of the latest of those removed from TennCare.  He does not receive SSI, has his own insurance, and his mother and I both work to provide for him.  He wasn’t qualified any longer.  We had tried to get him removed years ago, but were told his qualifications for this state-funded insurance were not income related, rather they were related to his permanent disabilities.  That proved to be wrong.  Lane was on TennCare because he received an SSI check when he was first born and once someone receives even one check, they are on TennCare for the remainder of their lives, or until the bill is repealed (January 2010 by the Tennessee State Legislature) that provided that insurance.

I know how you feel…trust me.

I say all of that to set the picture for you.  We work hard for what we have and do our best to provide insurance for our family.  There have been days when our insurance was equal to our house payment, but we survived.  We have worked hard to get Lane taken care of, regardless of what his “disability” status is.

This morning I received a call from my wife.  She was crying.  I don’t like it when my wife cries just like I’m sure you don’t like it when your wife cries.  My wife doesn’t cry often.  She only cries about a couple of things, her family here in the states and our family in Haiti.  Not much else gets her.

When she called this morning, she explained the bill (WITH OUR INSURANCE) to pick up Lane’s medicine was going to be $663.  You can surely understand my amazement. “NO WAY!,” I cried, “we have insurance.”  That’s right…we do have insurance, and it saved us $400!

Are you kidding me?  I called our neurologist’s office and was amazed.  That was right.  The name brand medicine really is that much.  The generic? $10.  Yep, it’s a $653 savings to go generic.  So guess what, we’re going with the generic.

I have a suggestion for you.  Check out the drug company that just attempted to molest my wallet.  Never mind we KNOW the name brand works to control his seizures, we are going with the generic…same medicine, just without the research costs and corporate payouts. We’re willing to make sacrifices, but I’m putting my child on the line.  This generic medicine might work and I might never have a problem.  His seizures might be under control and everything could be fine…or we might be in for a long haul.

Is this what you were thinking?  Is this what you were hoping for?  Is this Healthcare Reform working as you imagined?  I’m not being political on this, I’m being practical.  I don’t see the CHANGE so many put their HOPE in at this moment.

Hope you understand,

–mike wilson

A Tale of Two Cities…my version

May 3, 2010

This is my Tale of Two Cities that have my heart.  I could start this out with the most popular line ever…but I refrain.

Downtown Nashville--1st Avenue. Monday, May 3. Photographer unknown

I sit here today watching one of the most beautiful blue skies I have seen in a while.  I have watched the last couple of days as the local and national media have covered the recent flooding here in Middle Tennessee.  I have watched and realized we are being inundated by coverage.  We can watch via HD or cell phone coverage.  If the media can’t get a picture from their HD cameras they’ll uplink via ustream from a cellphone.  It’s amazing.

I saw this picture today.  It’s pretty wild to think how many people were down in that area on Saturday night not knowing they would be one of the last ones there for a while.  I’m hearing today, downtown businesses like the Wild Horse Saloon and Joe’s Crab Shack (both popular tourist spots) will be down for a while.  No one expected it to be THIS bad…currently the Cumberland River is over 50 FEET ABOVE FLOOD STAGE!

My little town of Franklin has seen neighborhoods flooded, roads turned to rivers, and water supplies being threatened due to the inability to properly treat and clean the water.  It’s amazing how much power water can have.

Haiti...Port au Prince

Then I remember back to what I saw on January 13.  I was in Haiti the day after the earthquake. I remember looking at a city where I was less than a week earlier.  I was there signing papers for our adoption and remember thinking to myself, “This place is really looking better.  I can see why the people from the countryside want to get out and move to Port au Prince.”

I never imagined an earthquake would do that much damage in such a few short minutes.  I knew when I saw the devastation first-hand I would never be the same.  I remember the sights, the smells, and the sounds of people crying.  I remember the feeling of helplessness as I rode by those who had lost loved ones, those who were without shelter, and those in sheer shock of the situation at hand.

From Jeremy Cowart's Voices of Haiti website...check it out...this is a local pastor who lost daughter in the quake...WOW

As I thought about the hours after the earthquake and the unending coverage on the news this weekend, I couldn’t help but think about Haiti.  i hope and pray on a daily basis that we as Americans don’t forget those in Haiti who have been affected by the earthquake.

Unfortunately LIFE happened and Haiti was no longer important to the media.  I think also about my friends and neighbors surrounded by flood waters, wet houses, and missing cars.  I pray their nearness to us keeps them in our thoughts, prayers, and minds in the days to come.

Hopefully God will continue to break our hearts for those around the world…Haiti is MY place in the world where He has parked my heart.  Where is YOURS?  When you find it, you’ll know and you won’t be able to stop.

Find your place, find your city, find your heart!