Dream Small

We were sitting on a plane flying on our honeymoon to Hawaii. I was a century of pages deep in a Malcolm Gladwell book when Jen nudged me on the shoulder. I thought she might be changing her guarantee of a Nigeria vs. Chile World Cup final when she pointed to a section of an article she was reading about this group of guys in Maui who grow, raise, and sell taro chips. The quote she was was pointing at went something like this: “We have been very successful with our business and have grown enough to expand our market. However, we are dreaming small, we are keeping our business under control, and providing very quality products to our customers.” Note: I think I wrote that “paraphrase” as if the guy was Asian, not Hawaiian. Go back and read it with an Asian accent in your head and try to not laugh.

Anyway, we aren’t here to dissect native dialects. The point is this: this guy passed up more money and greater glory because he’s always dreamed small. I could barely believe I was reading the words he was saying. It was borderline heretical to everything I’d ever been taught, everything I’d ever believed. Here was this Hawaiian farmer raising cane and spitting a blasphemous theory that flies in the face of the teachings of all the great leaders and wondrous inspirational figures we’ve ever known. The craziest part was that it kind of started making sense to me.

We have these friends who live in Perry, OK, population 5,230 (not including cows). They own and manage a cleverly named coffee shop and just started a church there. I haven’t discussed it with them in-depth but I don’t think they have any aspirations of taking down Starbucks VIA an Oklahoma-based-breakfast-serving-church-gathering coffee shop. And I think if you were to ask them that’s probably not what they want either.

I enjoy pretty simple things. I love to write. I like to throw the baseball. I enjoy books. I’m fascinated by small businesses. I’ve fallen for the state of Georgia. My life is not some grand melodrama played out on a bright stage in front of the whole world. I love my wife. I like to take trips. I want a dog. And I’ve started dreaming small. I’m beginning to understand that life is not meant to be lived boisterously. It’s meant to be lived by doing that one thing you were put on Earth to do, and to do it well.

I want to encourage those of you who have been so faithful in reading this blog. Stop dreaming dreams that would make Rupert Murdoch blush. Dream small and carry those dreams out. Dream well and perform masterfully. Be faithful with the one or two things God has imparted upon you that you do better than anyone else.

At my wedding I had a short conversation with my high school baseball coach about what he was up to, where he was working, how he was doing. Last I had heard he was employed at a corporate tree-trimming company. He stared at me after I asked him what he was doing as if I should already know: “I just took another head coaching job in Houston, Kyle. I was put on Earth to coach baseball so I guess that’s what I have to do.” There was a shade of sarcasm in his voice as if he was laughing on the inside at the very notion that he had even tried to have a different job. He could coach anywhere in the country, at any level. But he chooses high school because he dreams small, lest anyone scoff at the notion that his dreams not be adequate with the cultural norm. Never have I had so great a non-related influence on my life. He taught me the great devotions and the great enthusiasms. Because he dreamed small I learned to know both victory and defeat.

Dream on.

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This is an experiment. Well, this marriage, yes, is an experiment, but also this video is an experiment. We wanted to throw something random out there and see if you guys liked it. This is me teaching Jen about sports and getting her thoughts on LeBron, World Cup, and The British Open. To me it’s some of the funniest candor I’ve ever seen. To you…it might be stupid. If so then move along and go read this girl, she’s awesome. If you only have 30 seconds…Jen insinuates that Portugal is in South America at 2:15 and the real fireworks begin at 3:26.

Oh, and yes, the title is very much a play on words…

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Only 719 to go…

Yesterday was our 1 month anniversary, or onemoversary as we called it. We celebrated by doing nothing. Get back to us when it’s been a year…or ten.

Nevertheless, we have learned quite a bit. I would say I’ve learned more than Jen has because it’s much easier to live with guys than it is with a girl she’s so wise and wonderful and has so much to teach me. In all seriousness though (kind of) here are a few of the things we’ve learned in 4 weeks of wedded bliss…

  • World Cup + 4 AM = bad idea
  • Wives are not to be thought of, talked to, or treated like cooks, dishwashers, or maids. (You’re shaking your head back and forth saying ‘it’s so intuitive Kyle…it’s so intuitive’…well my question is “Where was your advice BEFORE our marriage started?!”)
  • Two people getting ready for church at the same time on a Sunday morning in a 32 sq. ft. bathroom is like casting Jessica Simpson as the lead in a movie. It sounds cute and fun in theory but it always ends badly…
  • We’d give up 1 hour of sleep every night, fast twice a week, and possibly go without air conditioning at night in exchange for a washer/dryer in our apartment…
  • Our definitions of “yeah, let’s go pick up a few things at Hobby Lobby” are very different from a financial perspective…like worlds apart different.
  • Apparently plastic Masters cups don’t carry the same aesthetic weight in my wife’s head as they do mine…many a war will be waged on this front in the next 11 months…
  • One Shining Moment is “not an appropriate song” to have my alarm play in the morning. I don’t really understand this rule and, frankly, my respect for it is waning by the day…
  • This blog and the people reading it have been one of biggest blessings (if not the biggest) we could have hoped or dreamed for. Thank you to everyone who has participated and helped create community on here, if it weren’t for you we’d only be typing words into oblivion. We’d still do it, we just wouldn’t enjoy it as much.

I told Jen in a letter I wrote to her on our wedding day that I was going to give her 60 great years, Lord willing. That means I’ve got 719 months left. That means we’re going to have to solve this Masters cups/One Shining Moment thing…

See y’all tomorrow.

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The Wedding Budget

Henry David Thoreau once said, “money is not required to buy one necessity of the soul.”

Moment of full disclosure: I don’t sit at an 18th century desk, drink duty-free tea, and pull Thoreau quotes from deep in my memory bank. I have a Mac, drink coffee, read Bill Simmons, and I googled Thoreau.

Anyway, back to the task at hand. Thoreau was right, and even though we didn’t base our wedding on that single quote we put a lot into this idea of “how can we do this wonderfully in the most inexpensive way.”

There were a few decisions we made that helped alleviate the financial burden many weddings place on family and friends. First, and probably most importantly to the overall vibe of our wedding, we decided to have the ceremony and reception outside, at Jen’s parents house. The crux of that (and Jen doesn’t know this) really lies in the fact that I desperately wanted to be able to tell high-society, wealthy Dallas folk at all the galas and events we go to (zero so far), “yeahhhh, we got married in a barn.”

Hey, Jesus was born in a manger. #justsaying

So there was that, and it helped, since the cost of renting a place plus the amenities can run into the triple or quadruple digits (my research team is still looking into exact numbers). We also borrowed most of the equipment we used at the reception from LifeChurch.TV (Jen’s former employer). As much as we planned on keeping costs down this was an unforeseeable blessing because we had planned on renting most of these necessities.

The other big one was that we didn’t have a wedding party. This eliminated a whole slew of potentially awkward/expensive moments. You know that real dicey area when you get invited to be in a wedding but you don’t know who’s paying for the tux, bridesmaid dress, or bachelor/bachelorette party weekend? And you don’t want to ask because then if you have to pay for it there’s like this thing where you roll on that person for a few days and nobody wants that. We avoided that. In fact, as my wife documented here, we wanted to show our friends how important they were to us by making something to give to them instead of asking them to drop 2-3 Benjys (that’s a $100 bill for those wondering) on us. Crazy, I know!

Side note: we aren’t anti-wedding festivities. Well, we kind of are, but the point is that we have been thoroughly blessed by each and every person who has asked us to be in their wedding and the whole experience has been awesome. You might say we’re lucky, I just say we have awesome friends. The point is we just wanted to do it differently.

Those were the big 3. Venue. Equipment. Wedding party. From there we just had a hand-making bonanza. Well, Jen did, I kind of stood there and stared at paper flowers like they were Slovenians attending a post-United States vs. Algeria World Cup party, unable to believe I was getting married. Too soon on the Slovenians, or no?

If you’re interested I made up a detailed wedding budget in Excel. Have a look. This includes most everything save the rings, engagement week, honeymoon (my parents helped us…thanks guys!), and photography (Email me if you want any of that info.). If you’re not into powerful number-crunching programs that make grown men weep in delight then just enjoy the pictures below.

As always, wedding pictures by Shari Hatfield, visit her blog, it’s awesome. Header picture attribution here.

One of our faves, good summary of Bryan residence
Tried to spray paint Bryan out after ceremony, tackled by bride
GT probably making fun of me

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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