Writing is Pursuing

I love to write. I think that’s fairly obvious. I once wrote like 9,000,000 words on OSU going undefeated in football last year. Then Dez got….well you know how that story ends, that’s not why we’re here though.

One of my friends (who has a great blog – shameless plug) recently wrote about the importance of pursuing a woman, about how women were meant to be chased, and caught, and chased some more. That sentence makes him sound like he moved to Utah, bought three double-wides, and set up camp as a full-time polygamist. I didn’t mean for it to sound like that. I meant for this to be a rebuttal to my wife’s beautiful post from earlier this week.

Another one of my friends (I’ve listed roughly 8%-9% of my friends on this post) told me a story one time about his story and how he was trying to make it better. He got married on May 30, 2009 and on the 30th of every month he writes his wife a letter (I don’t know what he does in February). He writes a letter about how proud he is of her and how much he loves her and how much he wants to keep chasing her and romancing her. I admire this friend quite a bit.

In fact, I decided to emulate him. On the 5th of every month I’m going to write Jen a letter (printing out my latest post and shoving it in an envelope doesn’t count either). I’m going to write to her about how much I admire her and about how she makes me want to be something greater than I usually think I want to be. I’m sure sometimes I’ll tell her where I’m struggling and where I think our relationship could use some improvement. And most always I’ll assure her that this whole thing is real and wonderful, even when it doesn’t seem like it.

J.D. Salinger, he of “Catcher in the Rye” fame and glory, was quoted once as saying “there are still a few men who love desperately.” I’m not trying to go all DiCaprio in Titanic melodrama on you, but it’s true. The world is overflowing with things to love and it would appear that a lover of one woman’s soul is not a cultural stature to be attained in this current age.

But we are not here to get lost in culture. Writing letters is how we fell in love, it’s likely how we’ll stay. For to write to another is to read and translate one’s own thoughts and ideas into something coherent and wonderful. To write is to be alive. And if you don’t believe me, just remember the medium through which God gave us the most important story that’s ever been told.

Keep writing.

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On Confidence

There has always been this dream of mine, more the daydream kind than the sleep dream kind, that involves me being really old and wrinkly and wearing huge sun hats and garden boots and old baggy mens shirts and cardigans. And in my current state of childhood, I desire to be so old that I no longer care what I look like or what people think of me and I can wear and say whatever I want. And while I try to be more wise than to wish my life away, I have an unquenchable thirst for this certain level of freedom that only comes with age and many, many wrinkles.

I’m twenty six years old, and while I already wear strange things and huge hats and mismatched outfits, there still remains a sort of vanity deep within my soul. The thought of getting married and sharing all my imperfections (the less than perfect swimsuit legs, the stretch marks from when I grew an entire foot during the summer of ’94, the perma dark circles under my eyes) was rather paralyzing. There was somehow this lack of enthusiasm in baring all to my new and optimistic husband. And this is as perfect as my body will ever be, for gravity has its ways and no one will ever conquor it.

And yet, here lies freedom. For every young girl with doubts and imperfections, take heart. Your husband will find you the most beautiful creature alive. Yes, you’ll still annoy him some days, and sometimes he’d rather you not play with his hair and scratch his back while he’s working on your marriage blog. Ahem. But at the end of the day, there is freedom in being loved through things he’ll never even notice. There is joy in seeing beyond yourself, in watching him admire your wisdom and see the beauty in your body and your soul, rather than focusing on what isn’t. Cast your fears and your bodies aside, for love is real and it offers more freedom than staying hidden behind makeup or clothing or even big hats. For you are “fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners…” He hardly stands a chance.

And if you’re a man, and if you have the chance to glean from the soul of a woman, then close your eyes and dive in. The rest is an ever-aging, soon-to-be-vanished-from-this-world vessel. While in this life, you hold her very soul in your hands.

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Last week one of my old friends (not “long in the tooth” old but more like “we did stupid stuff in college and traveled Europe with nothing more than a backpack and now we talk about marriage and kids” old) asked me what Jen and I struggle with most. My first 55 thoughts ranged from “she likes weird TV shows” to “try to not kill each other” but I settled on something else….

Something we struggle with (and always have, as many of you can attest) is that we’re prone to let minuscule squabbles turn into full-blown fights (or “domestics” as some of our friends call them) rather quickly. We can go from “how come we don’t have any milk?” to “you have so many unseemly character flaws I don’t even know where to start belittling you” faster than Kate Gosselin can sign up for another reality TV show.

I guess on a scale of 0 to OJ Simpson we fall somewhere on the innocent side of things. But words are powerful and power can change the course of lives. James says the noise emitting from our mouths can be like a fire burning down acres and acres of trees. He compares it to guiding a ship through the sea, it controls everything, it blesses and curses. We’re just not always good at the blessing part right now.

So my friend laughed at me as if to say “you aren’t the only one, brother.” I know this and yet I can’t help but want to be better, to not struggle with unsightly flaws and embarrassing shortcomings. But that’s marriage, it seems to exacerbate those flaws and shortcomings to the point that you wonder why nobody ever told you about them before. That’s why it’s beautiful though, because it is refining and refurbishing, even if you have to go through the fire along the way.

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Marriage Equals Shareage

There are the obvious things you sign up for in marriage. Sharing a household means cooking an occasional meal for the other person, sometimes washing dishes you didn’t eat off of, and keeping your stuff off the floor. I don’t even mind you using my toothbrush now and then, and I’ll even wake up a little early to make you coffee some days. But marriage is such a tease. It lures you in, one cute fuzzy moment at a time, and then it asks you to give everything.

There are dreams you have as a brave 24 year old woman that don’t hold water in a marriage. Suddenly your nights of independence fly by in a blurry haze of grocery shopping and cooking and cleaning and work talk. And the cute little apartment you’ve always dreamed of having is shared with posters of athletes and smells like boy. And so you form a new dream. Except that you can’t form it on your own because you’re only one half of this intricate twisted mess that God has thrown together. And I’m rarely grateful for only one half.

Kyle dreams dreams of things I can’t understand, of doing things neither of us can put our fingers on. He has an incredible job that we’re both thankful for, but he longs to start something on the side, to grow and cultivate something real and good and true. And there is risk in dreaming, for when you find the one thing you’re meant to do, it requires your whole heart. To him, it’s an entire universe of possibility. To me it’s simply maddening. Why can’t he just want one steady job like a normal person? You didn’t marry him because he was a normal person. What if he wants to start a side business and we lose tons of money? It’s only money. Yeah but our kids! Our kids need diapers and clothes and food. You don’t even have kids. Stop being dramatic.

And he dreams a new dream every week.

“We should try this…” or “What if I started this company?”

I bet he hasn’t even prayed about this and that’s just not fair.

“I really want to write for a living. What if I just started writing for a living?”

Seriously? You just have readers sitting around ready to shell out dollars?

“What if we just sold all our stuff and moved to Georgia?”

Don’t say mean things. Don’t say mean things. Don’t say mean things.

Some days it’s fun to dream. And some days I just want to hold my breath and stomp my foot and stay right where we are. Yet I have a feeling that our dream will be ever changing, that some days it will be solid and some days a complete mess. But this is life, and it’s messy and sometimes scary and usually unpredictable. And so I trust in my husband to lead us in whatever direction the Lord takes him. While I work on being encouraging and uplifting and a much better wife than I am right now. God knew what he was doing when he made men the spiritual leaders. No, it wasn’t a misprint, no, he wasn’t just joking around, and no, I am not an exception to the rule. There is joy and freedom in that if only I will open my eyes.

Tomorrow will be a new struggle. But today, I follow you.

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Cuppies and Whoa!

Yes, the title is an ode to our favorite cupcake/coffee shop in all of greater Oklahoma City.

The last two weeks have been surreal in an “I can’t believe this is my life and I’m not watching a movie” kind of way. I was driving to my wedding 14 days ago with my brother and I think my exact words were, “I feel like I stepped outside my body and I’m watching somebody else do this right now.” After a few incidents on our honeymoon Jen might be wishing it was somebody else.

In my mind moons made of honey are meant to be enjoyed as vacations both as a couple and as individuals. To me this means doing the usual couple-y things like going out to dinner, holding hands on the beach, and drinking coconut juice out of hand-picked Hawaiian coconuts with two straws and a heart full of love (check). It also means getting to spend some alone time reading, thinking, and…ahem…watching the most important sporting event in the world which, might I add, only takes place once every four years.

Much to my chagrin (and surprise) this is not in the honeymoon by-laws of what a husband is allowed to do. The “conversation” we had about The Cuppies (as Jen eloquently calls the World Cup) went something like this:

Kyle: [quietly turning TV on at 4:00 AM Hawaii time for Argentina v. Nigeria]

Jen: “OH MY GOSH IS THE SUN IN OUR ROOM?! GET ME MY MASK! (her mask is this weird pink piece of fabric she puts over her eyes to block out light, it reminds me a lot of Cruella de Ville)”

Kyle: [Usain Bolt-ish dash and dive into Jen’s suitcase for said mask which I quickly and accurately placed in her hands]

Later that day…

Jen: “[sing-song voice] Is the Cuppies more important to you than our love Kyle?”

Kyle: “No?”

Jen: “That’s not the answer I was looking for.”

Kyle: “Oh, well it’s over for today.”

Jen: “Heretofore our love ought return for the entirety of this day…”

Kyle: [rolls eyes]

~ End Scene ~

So I learned a very important lesson on our honeymoon: always turn the TV away from where my wife is sleeping when trying to watch a sporting event in the middle of the night.

I also learned and have been learning (and I mean this in all seriousness) that the things I once put on a pedestal in my mind (like World Cup games) are but a shadow in the fullness of our silhouette as a married couple. I don’t know if that’s a function of my own maturity (doubt it) or a sanctification of our relationship (leaning towards this) but to be learning that perspective is good and right.

Even if my wife’s attitude towards the Cup is wrong 🙂

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The Dirty Laundry Episode

Confession: my life isn’t quite as romantic as it seems.

It’s been so fun to get emails and messages from people saying, “I can’t believe this is your life!” Or, “I’ve watched your engagement video 5 times and I’m still crying…” It’s really fun. And yet, as I sit on a half broken chair in our tiny little apartment surrounded by piles of laundry and mail and half emptied boxes, I think somehow the romance has waned. Unless you count my love affair with my new dishes.

And so, as they say, the honeymoon is over. It was an incredible eight days in tropical paradise with nothing to do but enjoy ourselves. We loved it so much that it started to feel like home, but we couldn’t afford the cocktails any longer so we were forced back to the mainland. We went snorkeling, ziplining, hiking, we read books, we ate amazing food and all the shaved ice we could handle. And yet our moon made of honey was not without its less than sweet moments. Kyle was ready to come home after day 2 after what we affectionately call the dirty laundry incident. I opened my suitcase to find my body lotion had spilled on and ruined my 3 favorite dresses. It was a debacle that ended, and I do not say this proudly, with Kyle voicing some long-harbored frustration at how I don’t take care of my things, me sobbing on the bathroom floor (muttering things about how I will someday drop our children), and Kyle wondering why on earth he asked me to be his bride. Alo…HA.

There’s something strange & exciting about being on vacation with a boy, about pretending to know what we’re doing, about pretending to be old enough to be vacationing together in a land to which neither of us has ever been. It’s a fun transition to what is about to ensue: a life that’s just life. It’s going to be full of surprises- ones less planned than our wedding, though hopefully none that require 2am feedings and diapers. There will be disagreements and dinner parties and just plain days. But in each day we’re striving to find a little adventure, to learn something new, and to love one another more deeply.

Here’s to life. Or something that resembles it.

History made

Were now nearly two years into the world of legal sports betting in the United States, and we have been lucky enough to have a number of our employees involved in the start-up and success of all of our new sites in different markets across the country.

As we were preparing to start up our second sportsbook on our newly formed “Tigers World” we had the opportunity to meet with a group of investment bankers in Denver, Colorado. They are all long time industry pros and they have seen a lot in this space. Over the course of our meeting I took the opportunity to ask them some of the questions you will see in this article. What is the average bet size? How many active online sportsbooks are out there? What types of bets have been the most popular? What are some of the common pitfalls of sports betting? And finally: What are the potential advantages and disadvantages of online sports betting? In this article I will answer each of those questions and more.
Bettors are “fearful” when it comes to sports betting because of all the gambling laws in the U.S. You are most likely to have a problem in this area if you bet on sports which aren’t covered by federal law. If you bet on an NBA game you may be charged state or local taxes even if you were given advance money for the game. Some states also allow you to keep a small amount of the bet after it is accepted, a situation known as tax refund betting. I’ve seen this situation a few times, including a couple in Nevada.

If you bet on the Indy 500 you may be charged for parking if you drive out of town. That’s just one example. If you bet on college basketball or other sports I would highly recommend researching the laws in your area to avoid the most common problems. Also check local laws and you can use my guide to Nevada’s gambling laws to research your specific situation.

Now, let’s dive into more specific issues facing gamblers.

Bounty Hunting – How it Works

If you want to find a group of gamblers who are willing to play your favorite game at a price you can’t refuse, the most popular place is a bounty hunter. Bounty hunting is a practice where a gambling site makes you deposit your winnings and then holds the money for you while you track down any other members of the group. The more players you find, the more money you can collect. While the sites that employ bounty hunters are usually legitimate companies, be wary of them if you have any doubt. Bounty hunting can be an attractive alternative to online casino games if you are looking for a safer bet.

Laser Engines – How They Work A laser is an electronic device that shoots a stream of plasma that generates a beam of light. Lasers are relatively safe as they’re extremely effective. In fact, they can blind other players, although it’s not recommended to use them unless you’re an experienced laser shooter.

Lasers are powered by a capacitor, which usually sits on top of the laser. When a player points their laser at the laser, a light will appear indicating that a connection is available. When this connection is made, a laser is fired at the targeted spot and this stream of energy is sent through the capacitor. As the capacitor is drained, the laser stops working. With just one capacitor, there’s no point to using a laser. Therefore, you must pay off your capacitor so that you can

Just keep in mind that there are many more sites where you can place your bets, one that has been extremely popular lately, is FanDuel. I encourage you to visit their website and get to know all the great options they offer.