Thursday, December 18, 2008

Happy Birthday Russ!

Today I want to celebrate Russ and hope you will too! Take a moment to comment and wish him a Happy Birthday and tell him how wonderful he is or share a fun story... he would love it!

Things I love about Russ

Russ and his car
The other day I cleaned Russ’ car out. I’ve always known Russ has a little clutter problem, but this was beyond belief. I found an array of garbage strewn about, but some specific things I uncovered were an empty Triscuit box, a plate, a glass, a cup, 2 coffee mugs, a travel coffee mug, 3 newspapers (still in the bag), about 15 burned CD’s – some in paper cases – some just floating around the car, crumpled up Chic-Filet coupons, a Diet Pepsi can (I’ll claim that one) and 19, yes 19 water bottles – mostly full of water. All this junk was highlighted by the spilled white paint (now dry) in the backseat, and a funky baby powder scent that the detailers accidentally sprayed in the car. The crazy thing is, I don’t think Russ even notices. The paint spot has been there for years, and the baby powder lives on even though the car was detailed more than a year ago. He shamelessly drives around town, picks people up from the airport (even guest ministers!), and simply loves the fact that his car is totally paid for. I am a little concerned about the water bottle collection (we’ve already talked about this), but for some reason I think I would be more concerned if his car was always spotless… it’s just not him. ☺

Russ and coffee

Russ has always liked coffee; very strong coffee. I used to go to Utica Square in Tulsa and visit him when he worked at Starbucks. I think I drank coffee just to visit him. While I could care less about good coffee, he's definitely particular about it, perhaps because he was a Barista for a while, perhaps because he just knows what he wants. Anyway, one day recently, he came out of Starbucks with an Iced Carmel Machiatto. I was surprised as his usual order is just plain old drip coffee. I asked, "You wanted a Carmel Machiatto, huh?" He emphatically responded, "Oh, only because I had a giftcard! I would never ever pay for this!" Something about this made me laugh and I know Russ and I can be a bit too frugal sometimes. A Carmel Machiatto is sooo yummy, and also complete rip-off (is it over $4 for a Tall?), and while he rarely enjoys a special drink like this (even though he likes them), I know he would buy me a $10 drink if I wanted it. I would have a hard time paying that for a drink, but you know what I'm saying. Anyway, the house wouldn't be the same if we didn't have a pot of coffee going in the morning and late afternoon. I give him a hard time about being an addict, but I actually like the fact that he's cofee-savy. It suits him.

Russ and Noa

Nothing makes me love Russ more than watching him with our daughter Noa. Noa Jane is a Daddy's girl to the core and it is definitely because she has a great Daddy. Upon returning from work, he can't wait to see her and when she hears his voice, all she wants is Daddy. One of my favorite things to watch is how he dances with her. You might be getting a picture of a slow, sweet, Daddy-daughter dance, but that's not at all what I'm talking about. They rock out! Noa's got moves! And their infectious laughter puts a smile on my face every time. I'm so thankful for a husband who understands the beauty of family life and I can't wait to have more children with him.

Russ and the church
When I first met Russ it was easy to see that he was a gifted person. One specific gift that stands out is his ability to lead people. If you know Russ, you know that he has a knack for telling people what they don’t want to hear and presenting it in a way that somehow brings about change in their lives. I always joke that he can successfully ask anyone to do anything and I have a hard time picking up the phone to order pizza. He definitely has a way with words. The great thing about Russ is that he’s not a manipulative person he’s just that good with people. Russ loves people. When I was growing up I remember my dad (also a pastor) enjoying the “unlovables” the most and I always wanted to marry someone like that. Russ shepherds people in that kind of a way. And while he’s compassionate, he’s very decisive, as a leader should be. I love to run everything by him because he typically knows what needs to be done in a situation. He can weigh the pros and cons like no one I’ve known (half the time I can’t even come up with a list of pros and cons) and I trust his judgment, as I know most do. When we embarked upon this pastoral journey a few years ago I was more concerned about my role than I was his. I was never worried about his ability to lead the church, much less to love the church. He is a good pastor… a good shepherd… a man after God’s own heart.

Russ and food

Russ loves food (don’t we all?). This was actually a big connection point for us when we were just friends – our common ground, if you will. While I love eating, cooking is not my favorite thing to do and he really cuts me some slack in my lack of preparation sometimes (side note: I’m not a bad cook, I just don’t enjoy it very much). Anyway, he is such a creative person. I’ll look and look and look for something in the pantry to make and find nothing, probably because I don’t want to take the time to throw it together. He’ll come up with some of the best dishes and actually take the time to be creative with it. This is the most amazing thing to me… the effort… a lot of effort. Every possible utensil is used in the process. The kitchen looks crazy when he’s done. But, he genuinely enjoys it. And although he doesn’t return food to the fridge, and constantly gets you-name-it all over himself, he is a good cook and I love to eat his food. ☺

Russ and housework
This morning Noa and I fell back asleep on the couch and when I woke up, I realized Russ had straightened the whole house. While this doesn’t necessarily happen every morning, it happens enough to comment about it. One thing that he almost always does is make the bed. I’ve never really asked him to, and I certainly don’t mind doing it, but it seems to be taken care of before I get to it. Sometimes I’m amazed that he helps me out with those kinds of things because it is contrary to his messy nature (open his desk drawers at work and you’ll know what I mean). I’m the one who has to have everything perfect. But help he does. He still hasn’t mastered the art of closing cupboard doors when he’s done with them, but one day I realized that maybe my job was to be the cupboard door closer, and that’s way easier than making beds. And, if one day he wasn’t around, I would probably open the cupboard doors and leave them that way for a while, just to feel him near.

Russ and his best friend

Ummm… that would be me. ☺ I wish every woman had the opportunity to be married to someone like Russ. It was a long time coming, but definitely worth the wait. He takes care of me. He knows me. He sees the best and the worst. Russ is my husband, my lover, my confidant, my friend, my leader, my dream come true, my role-model, my protector, my provider, my priest, my prophet, my helper, my baby’s daddy, my sounding board, my counsel… Russ is my very best friend. He always was. He always will be.

Happy Birthday Babe!


The Weeks Family said...

What a wonderful way to honor Russ on his birthday! Happy Birthday Russ...go treat yourself to a $4 cup of coffee...or maybe go CRAZY and get the BIG one for what $7 or $8??? :) We love you both! Irene & Charles

Melissa said...

I always try to think of something clever to say, but never can think of you can tell by the lack of comments. But today I had to comment! I even had to sign up just to write something?...

Happy Birthday Russ! I love you so much!'re the best oldest brother ever! I hope today you realize how special you are!

Jackie: For some reason I can't get over the fact that you wrote Russ is your "baby's daddy" haha...

Judah said...

Melissa, you totally beat me to it!!... this entire post of course was so moving, i was really touched by it jacks, and then i got to the baby daddy part and i thought, "that's my girl jacks"!!!
hi melissa too!
As for Russ, i think we're going to give him a buzz or something today, so we'll save all our great comments:)...
think of you sooo much

The Martins said...

Jackie! Your such a wonderful wife! Russ you are truly blessed to have Jackie as your baby mommma! HAHA Happy Birthday Russ hope your day is wonderful and thank you for being an amazing Pastor/Leader to all of us.

Jonathan and Emily said...

Happy Birthday, Russ!

I would have to say some of my favorite memories of Russ are back from middle school and high school. He was always so much fun to be around and creative too! One school project in particular still makes me laugh - the one where we drew faces on our chins and hung upside down and sang "We Didn't Start the Fire" - I can't even remember what class that's from, but I remember it was fun making it and even funnier watching it! Ah, swim team, making home movies/shows (Superman anyone?), hanging out at Granny Yon's pool, New Years Eve celebrations, sitting around singing to the guitar, so many other times just sitting around talking or doing nothing. Fun times...granted, you couldn't pay me to go back and be in middle school again!

Jackie, thanks to you for keeping us all updated on all the happenings in your family. I feel like I'm still connected even though miles and years apart.

Nickel Mom said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, RUSS!! Jackie, that was so sweet of you to honor Russ on his birthday! I loved reading each piece you wrote! Russ is a really great guy! I have known you since we were babes, but we've only known Russ for a few years now! You guys are great together and God knew what he was doing when he put you together! You go together beautifully! We love you guys and always enjoy spending time with you! I'm so glad we can be such close friends for so many years! We want to wish Russ a Happy Birthday today! We wish your family all the best! Happy Birthday, Russ! We hope to catch up at Christmas! :0)

Beth said...

Some years back I was doing theatrical makeup for an Easter production at our church. Jackie had a prominent role; I hadn't heard her sing before then, so when she first began I was blown back into my seat, and from that time on I made sure to always be where I could watch and hear her. She is so beautiful, even more so when she is singing something wonderful in her praise of God.

The one I can still hear her singing was about 'could he be the one, say my search is over....' I remember praying then that when her search was over there could be no doubt that she had found the one.

I am glad you, birthday boy, turned out to be the one that God made just for her.

Happy Birthday, with many more to come. Blessings to you all.

Beth Anne

G-Metal, Coco and Angel Face said...

Awwww, what a sweet blog for your baby daddy. Ya'll are such a precious couple. One of my favorite things about Russ is that all the years I've known him, he has lived life like a "real" christian, not a hypocrite, not a religous zealot, not someone I'd be nervous to bring my unsaved friends around.. .but someone that actually personifies what Christ wants us to be: showing Christ by LOVE first... Happy Birthday Russ!

The Eppers said...

Happy Birthday, Russ! Jackie, it was so beautiful to read your tribute. Thanks to you both for personifying what marriage is supposed to look like in a time when we rarely see that anywhere. As far as memories go, I only had one year to form memories with Russ and Jackie, and my favorite was when you guys led worship at TM. Also, I have this random memory of Russ playing his 12-string while we all sang in that park in Tyler that had the big amphitheater. I think it was a brother/sister focus group thing. Anyway, thanks for sharing. Love, Katie

Dos Helgueras said...

What a beautiful blog entry, got me all choked up...

Sorry it's a few days late, but RUSS I hope you had a fantastic birthday! And many more! And thank you for taking such great care of my step-sister :)
xoxo Beth xoxo

Dad's Wooden Toys said...

This is a little late, but happy birthday, Russ! Jackie, I remember back at Rhema how you said you knew in the internship that you and Russ would be married one day. You guys are so sweet and I am so happy for you!

One thing I remember about Russ is how he would always make those egg and bagel sandwiches with cheese. He got me hooked on them! Every time we got together, Russ would make eggs. LOL!

christa Baca said...

what a way you have with words. I love this post.