Jumbo Shrimp, and other things I have learned this summer.
So it seems like summer just started and its now August. What happened to it? Well, my summer has been spent in class. summer school are two words that should never go together. Some of my other favorite pairs of words are… Jumbo shrimp… Biggie smalls… Canadian army… and last, but not least… Cute baby.
This summer has flown by. Jes and I have been so busy and so many great (and not so great) things have happened that I really haven’t stopped to smell the… I don’t know what kind of flowers bloom in the summer. So, I want to take a moment to list the events of The Davenport’s summer.
I have been taking two summer classes to keep me on track for graduating this year. I am projected to finish with an A and a B. Both classes have been surprisingly fun and good information for me to learn. They are senior level classes, so the material has been very geared to my interests. It has actually made me consider going a bit further in this “school thing”.
Jesalyn started her new job at Stein Mart at the beginning of the summer. She has already had some great and not so great experiences. She has enjoyed the more moderate schedule and less responsibility that comes with a larger retail company. Like any job it still has its ups and downs, but I can actually say that I am glad she took this job. I was a little skeptical going in, but I think we made a great decision together. That’s why we make a better team than we do individuals.
On the flip side of the last event, I lost my job in June. A week after receiving a tremendous 1 year review at News America Marketing and having my boss sing my praises throughout the company, I found out the company who contracted us was terminating their contract. We were done. Thousands of people in my situation all across the country had two weeks notice that we were loosing our jobs. Some good and bad has come from it, but mostly I have found myself with more time to focus on my family, my magic, and my God. God has been showing me a lot through my “free” time this summer and I know He isn’t done.
We took our first trip to Florida together. We took a long weekend and headed down to see Jes’ brother and his wife. I love spontanious travel and even though this trip was somewhat planned. I love taking side roads and finding new spots for Jes and I to create memories. I think we have grown to love this together. There’s something about not knowing where you are or where you are going that makes a trip more fun. On the way down we stopped on a random public boardwalk that overlooked the beach to watch the sunrise. I took the picture of the sunrise that I used earlier in this post that morning. It was (cliche intended) magical. Then on the way home we timed it so we could stop for dinner in Jacksonville. We ate on the water and walked across the blue bridge together. That was an amazing night. We even got to be on the bridge when it lifted for a boat to pass under it. We also loved checking out the cool places in St Augusting with our own personal tour guide (Grace, our sister-in-law, is a tour guide in historic St Augustine) showing us all the great spots and getting us great deals on everything. Without Bobby and Grace being such supportive siblings we would never have been able to make the trip. They were amazing hosts. God has blessed Jes and me with such awesome families and its things like this trip that make us thank God for how blessed we are.
Since I lost my job we have been bringing in dogs. Mainly my best friend’s neighbor has employed me as her own personal doggy daycare. This has been a huge hassle, but a huge blessing. Without her financial help Jes and I would be in horrible shape, but this dog is no easy dog to take care of. Let’s just say that clothes have been ruined, furniture has been demolished, and even door frames will forever be scarred because of this terrorist. She is such a cute dog that you would never guess how much of a pain she has been, but overall we now see Gucci (yes, her owner likes designer clothing) as the step child that we have shared custody of. She is another great example of how God has continued to provide for us.
Now on to a couple negative things that have happened this summer…
My great friend and mentor in magic moved away. This series of events is difficult for
me to explain, but Craig and I had become really close over the last year. Finding a (great) magician who is a man of God and shares a lot of the same values as me really revived my love for magic. Craig got robbed while busking downtown and punched to the ground by some gang members just a couple weeks before he was supposed to move. This would normally be horrible news, but looking back this allowed Craig to stay a week or so longer and he got to stay at our house. Even though his leaving really sucks, he got to spend his last 10 days here living with us. It was a great time full of magic and eating, the two things Craig and I do best.
Jesalyn’s baby Jake has been going through some tough times. He has been getting worse over the last year, but we spent a long night in the hospital with him and I really thought we were going to loose him. He has been having trouble breathing and controlling his bladder. He has also dropped a lot of weight and we can’t seem to put it back on him. He is very old and we know that these are signs of the end of a life well lived, but that night in the hospital has opened our eyes to just how much he has aged. With some rehab and some meds he has gotten the fluid out of his lungs (for the moat part) and seems to have some good days, but the doc says that he is in the early stages of congestive heart failure and there isn’t really anything we can do.
Over the last year and a half I have gotten to know a great family. I met them on the basketball court, but our relationship has grown serving together at Radiant Life. The kids are half of the youth group (literally) that I took over at RLF. I have loved serving with them, going to their ball games, playing at the park with them, and eating a lot of pizza with them. They always brought their friends and several of their friends are now part of the youth at RLF. These guys are just great people who everyone loves. Well, they unexpectedly had to move back to Mexico (after being here 7 years). Their oldest son graduated high school and got a full scholarship to an international university in Mexico to play basketball. This is a dream for him and the family. So within a week they packed up all their things and just left. We had a great send off for them at church, but it all seemed so short. Jes and I really feel like we were just starting to build great relationships with AT, Edwardo, Dalia, and Ally (all the kids) and now they’re gone. Just like that…
A few more good, no, GREAT things…
My grandmother celebrated her 75th birthday on July 9th. Nanny and Poppy are (outside mine and Jesalyn’s parents) the people I look up to the most in every aspect of life. I think Jesalyn would probably agree. To celebrate this with my grandmother was amazing. We had a big surprise blow out at my parents house. My grandmother is the last of all her siblings to be alive so dad invited all of her sibling’s kids to the party. This was the first time that several of them even met each other. Some of the family had not even spoken in my lifetime so for all of us to be at one place celebrating such an amazing person was unbelievable. I haven’t seen Nanny this happy in a long time. She just lost her sister (her best friend) a month before and this couldn’t have come at a better time. I know I keep mentioning the importance of family in mine and Jes’ lives and Nanny is the biggest reason why I will always have that value instilled in me.
I just mentioned this, but I think it deserves a paragraph all on its own. My great aunt Rosie passed away this summer. Nanny’s best friend and last remaining sibling. Funeral’s are hard, especially when my dad usually has to deliver the eulogy and it makes me upset to see him get emotional, but the reason this is going with other “good” stuff is because Rosie is in such a better place now. She loved Jesus and lead a great life that exemplified the life of a servant. She battled for the last couple years with all kinds of medical issues and health problems. This is a good thing, because she is healthy again and she is so much better off now.
Jesalyn’s best friend got married this weekend. We just spent the weekend in Asheboro. Shandra and Dexter finally tied the knot and it was a great wedding. My wife was away from me for a couple days so getting to go to the wedding and see how beautiful she was when she was all dolled up made me fall in love with her all over again. A moment I will try never to forget was dancing with her at the reception. It was just one of those moments in your life when time stands still.
Over all, this summer God has shown me so much about life. He has been reinforcing values and priorities in my life and He has even been introducing new ones. I have gotten the opertunity to serve at Radiant Life this summer at Angels and Sparrows serving food to some great people in Huntersville and in Huntington Green spending the afternoon with kids who need some good adult influences in their lives. Chris also gave me the opertunity to teach twice in our summer series called At The Movies. The first time I have ever prepared a sermon on my own and delivered it. Some great friends, my grandparents and my parents all came to be a part of the first one I did and it was a great day. I really enjoyed the entire process and I know God taught me so much through this experience.
God is working like crazy in my heart and in our life. All this has happened in just the last couple months and yet the upcoming couple of weeks are going to be jam packed. I have the Final for my second summer class next week. Then Jes and I are going to the Tim McGraw concert the next day. Then the next week we are taking a week vacation with my parents and my brother’s family to Cherry Grove. Jes and I couldn’t be any more excited for this trip. We haven’t had a full week vacation since our honeymoon 4 years ago. Then once we get back from that trip fall semster starts the next day. So we have a lot to pack into these last couple weeks of summer.
Crazy me is wanting to jam one more thing in. I really feel God is working on my heart this summer. I have been thinking for some time now about taking a road trip on my own to get away and talk to God. A lot of spiritual leaders do this and take time in the mountains or in the wilderness, but I am not a “wilderness” type of guy. I love the city. I love watching people and listening to the sounds of life around me. I love the feeling of standing in a place with millions of people and feeling small. I don’t know why I am designed this way, but I appreciate how insignificant I become in a place like this. So I have decided in what time I have left to myslef this summer to get away. I am either going to Philly or NYC or both and I’m going this week. I invited a friend with me to cut costs and just have someone to keep me company on the drive, but I am going to do this with or without him. I am going to do this for myself. I’m going to end this summer with a bang and I can’t wait to spend time with God this weekend.
What a summer!!!