Monday, March 10, 2008

Just Real

After spending three days in Mississippi last week I came home to change my underwear and headed back out to Missouri on Friday. The plane delay in Springfield put me a little behind but I made it home about 6PM Sunday in time to get to eat and hangout with about 23 of my favorite people. For the last few years, Kathy and I have assisted our pastor and his wife, Jerry and Debby, in hosting a home group. As I have mentioned before these groups from our church meet in homes all over town. This is our third such group. The first was made up of folks our age. And then we began meeting with younger couples. Sometimes we meet at the Walls’ house and sometimes we meet at our house.

And I can tell you we get attached to these young couples. . This is our second group of young folks we have met with on a weekly basis on Sunday nights. We eat, we laugh a lot, we fellowship, we discuss some Biblical truths and we hang out. And sometimes we get very transparent.

I thought I would introduce you to a few of our favorite people who were at our house last night and who we have done life with the past year or so.

This first photo is of Jerry and Debby. The right reverend Walls is the pastor of Southside Baptist Church and Debby is the First Lady. Jerry is the man in charge at church. But here he’s just another guy and gets absolutely no slack. He and Debby fell in love in college and have been married around 34 years… to each other. Jerry is a native of Alabama and worships God and Bear Bryant. They have three grown sons and three gorgeous daughters in law and eight beautiful grandbabies.

Meet Jason and Noelle. Jason is one huge guy and has one huge heart. He was a highly recruited football player in high school and played college football in the University of Tennessee. He had an injury in college that derailed his football career although he did tryout with the Chicago Bears. He met his sweetheart in college and brought her back to Warner Robins and they married soon afterwards. From what I understand, most of the offensive line at UT were part of the wedding party. Jason is a high school football coach and Noelle teaches in the local school system and they both stay busy chasing their beautiful little boy. Amazingly they celebrate their birthdays the same day each year.

Next here is Brian and Natalie. Brian and Natalie both teach in our public schools and Brian also coaches. Brian is a professional softball player. He plays on a traveling team (for pay) and is a prolific home run hitter (for show). His arms are about the size of my thighs and I can see why he would have the power to hit home runs. Brian and Natalie have a beautiful little girl named Abby. Granddaddy and Grandmama just love them coming to the home group on Sunday nights cause they get to keep Abby.

Here is Kevin and Wendy and their little miracle baby Isabelle. Kevin said he has so many baby holders in their family that he hardly gets to hold their little girl unless it is 3AM. Wendy says there is no way she can even get frustrated when Isabelle cries in the middle of the night. Both are very thankful for their true gift from God. Kevin is in the insurance business and Wendy sells drugs…. legally that is… she is a pharmaceutical rep.

Ben and Amanda have been around a long time. Ben is employed at the Air Force Base and Amanda is one of those girls who will jump in and wash all the dishes before everybody else even knows they have to be washed. Amanda is in school to be a massage therapist. I have decided I will learn much more in our home group if I am sitting right in front of Amanda during the meeting so she can practice her massage skills. I really don’t mind sacrificing to further her career. Ben and Amanda have a beautiful little girl.

Dusty and Ashley have also been around a while. Ashley is a RN and works in the high pressure field of time of death anatomical donations. Dusty was also a college baseball player and is an avid outdoorsman – spending most of his time in the woods. Dusty is in the sports equipment business and sales to schools among other places. He was at Natalie’s (see Natalie and Brian above) school recently and visited her for a few minutes in the hall. When Natalie came back in the room the middle school girls thought he was very cute. Natalie, not wanting to start rumors, told the kids that he was gay. I doubt Dusty will ever let her live that one down.

Aaron and Kelly are both teachers and are original members of this group. Kelly (along with Carrie – see below) keeps our group organized and makes sure everyone knows where we are meeting and most importantly – what we are eating on Sunday nights. Aaron is an avid golfer. Aaron and Kelly have been married twice – to each other. I’m not sure why but I assume it’s because they enjoy the honeymoon so much. Kelly has the longest membership at Southside going in our group. She has been attending since she was a little girl. Aaron and Kelly have two beautiful little girls.

Mike and Carrie are also charter members of our home group. Carrie has a great sense of humor and is always giving Jerry flack at every opportunity. And just as I said about Kelly, she makes sure everybody knows where and what each week. Mike is another football coach in our group. Mike and Carrie have a little boy and a little girl. You will find Carrie and Kelly (above) in the nursery on Sunday mornings at church keeping up with the throngs of babies in their care.

You can’t tell it in this photo because they look so relaxed, but Jim and April are the parents of triplets. This obviously creates a full time job for April. Jim is one of Warner Robins’ finest and works for the Warner Robins Police Department. He usually has a loaded pistol with him everywhere he goes. Actually he is part of the security at Southside on Sunday morning and strategically sits in the congregation to protect the preacher of some unruly person. A word of warning: If you decide to come to Southside I would suggest you walk slowly down the aisle if you get the urge to join the church. If you look like you are rushing the preacher, Jim will take you out.

Marc and Heather are new to our group. Marc played college baseball and is now a high school baseball coach. Heather is a RN at the Surgery Center her e in Warner Robins. Heather was one of the nurses who took care of Kathy recently during her nasal surgery. I didn’t know Heather then but if I had known her maybe I could have gotten an enema or something instead of having to hang out so long in the waiting room. I am looking forward to getting to know Marc and Heather more and more as time goes by. I have a feeling they will know me better than they intended.

Alex and Chelcey are the newest members of our group and are the only unmarried couple in our midst. I tried to get them to get married last night. We had a preacher and an undertaker and plenty of witnesses. Alex met his gorgeous girlfriend because she worked in the financial aid office at college. He told one of his friends the first day he saw her that he was going to marry her. That’s why I suggested they get married last night …before she has time to change her mind. Alex said he started dating Chelcey about three months before she started dating him. I would imagine several guys were dating her and she didn’t know it. Just a thought.

As you can see this is a group of regular folks who meet together once a week to consider the important stuff of life. And we all get close to each other in the process.

Real people. Real issues. Real pain. And real victories.

Just about as real as it gets.


Anonymous said...

What agreat blog. I love this group! Jerry

Chelcey Little said...

Haha, actually, he started dating me 3 Months before I started dating him, not 3 weeks. But I'm extremely impressed you remembered all that! =-)

Chelcey said...

I'm really glad Alex & I started going to this small group. Everyone is great! I look forward to getting to know everybody and making them a part of my (and Alex's) life.

Anonymous said...

Bruce you amaze me!!! I thought I remembered a lot, but you remembered everything!! I cannot begin to tell you how much Jason and I love being with the whole group every sunday!!!

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh I LOVE this post!

Anonymous said...

We love this small group so much because it is such a real group! We have met great people and love them dearly! This was a great blog, Bruce....the pic of Ben and I could have been better but its ok, we still love you!!!~Amanda