Here Comes the Bride

My niece Chelsea is getting married next Saturday.  I have dreamed of this day since she was born.  Not just the wedding but a lifetime of happiness that she would find my marrying her Prince Charming.

Chelsea has found her guy and together they will bring their two daughters together to form a new family.

Ever since she was a little girl, Chelsea has been an independent, strong-willed mix of tomboy and girly-girl and she has found the perfect guy to embrace everything that she will bring to a marriage.

I have always heard that girls marry their fathers, well Chelsea is definitely doing that.  Brett, the groom, is a know everything, right-wing, sports loving, debating, strong willed guy just like his future father-in-law.  More importantly, like his father-in-law, he is a hardworking, protective, dedicated family man who will move mountains for those he loves.

We are fortunate that Chelsea found Brett and thankful for the family he will bring with him.  His mom, Baboo and daughter Jaydynn complete us.

Chelsea and Brett have a great relationship that is built on love, respect and commitment, values that I know will carry them into old age.  They both have strong alpha personalities, so that love and respect will come in handy when paired with their stubborn streaks.

Brett’s only real downfall is that he is a Georgia Tech fan, but we are working on that and know that soon he will see the error of his ways and come into the light, we’re a DAWGS family and have a hard time comprehending blue and gold over Red and Black!

As the days grow close to their wedding, I am sentimental about the little girl who has overcome challenges, excelled as a mom and flourished through life.  I am proud of the woman Chelsea has grown into and look forward to seeing her in this next chapter.

The wedding will be beautiful, sitting on the banks of a river with all of Chelsea’s touches making the day special.

As they walk down the aisle to marriage, I hope they both think about those who have lifted them up through life.  The ones who celebrate their marriage in heaven and those who will be with them on their day.

I pray Chelsea and Brett have a lifetime of happiness and their girls, Jaydynn and Hadley know that they were chosen in love and good fortune.

I wish nothing more than a world of happiness for Chelsea and Brett.  There will be great times and difficult times for them to maneuver through the next 50 years of their lives together, but when their commitment is built on God, family, love and mutual respect there is nothing they can’t overcome together.

Except maybe that Georgia Tech thing….. he REALLY needs to fix that quickly!

Cheers to Brett and Chelsea, may your lives be filled with adventure and I pray the happiness you find as you approach your wedding will carry you through all the days of your lives.

Life’s Playlist…. Wrecking Ball by Miley Cyrus

Sunday was a perfect day!  One of those days filled with faith, friends and family, I couldn’t have asked for more.

Started off at Church.  The church I attend is filled with good people, people who love each other and are committed to their walk with God.

I saw some great friends, heard amazing music, was touched by unplanned testimony from my friend Carla and enjoyed a sermon of faith and promise from Pastor Adam.

After Church I traveled to Helen, GA to visit with friends who were visiting from Florida.  It is always good to spend time with my friends and to be able to see how their children have grown since I left Florida was amazing.

One of their daughters is my special friend Sophia, a sweet, spirit filled child who embraces her life challenges and overcomes with joy.

We went to a zip-line course and the kids and dads sped through the woods attached by tether to the lines.  We had some concerns about Sophia’s ability to do the course, but she embraced the zip line and giggled with glee as she traversed the course.

As Sophia finished the first line, we knew it would all be OK, as she shouted with glee…. “I came in like a wrecking ball!”

After the dads and kids had finished the course, it was fun to just sit and talk with them all.  We laughed, reminisced and enjoyed each other’s company.

As I come up to my three-year anniversary of moving away from Florida, it is always good to see my friends and catch up.

After a quick trip back to town, I met up with the family for Sunday Supper…. a special dinner for my sister-in-law, Donna’s birthday.

As usual our time together was filled with laughs, reminiscing and total joy as our 3-year-old princess kept us entertained.

We missed having Zach, Brett and Jade with us, but know there will be other times when we can all be together.

It’s days like Sunday that make me realize just how fortunate I am.  My life may not be complete, but with faith, family and friends, I can’t really complain about the things I am missing.

I love my life and I love the people who make each day a blessing.  It was a good day!

As the night grew to an end, Sam and Donna both mentioned that I haven’t been writing.  I actually have been, and completed the 500 Word, Jeff Goins writing challenge, I just haven’t been sharing all my words here.  I’ll work on that as I know the words I put here on my computer screen are another blessing I was given in this life.

Today’s song is for my friend Sophia…. Wrecking Ball.  Keep knocking down those obstacles sweet girl, you are a blessing to everyone who knows you!

Life’s Playlist…. Luck Be A Lady performed by Seal

The day I won the lottery my life changed.  Twelve million dollars tends to do that.

As I read the numbers off my sheet and saw each one match, I couldn’t believe my luck and had no idea what to do first.

I called my parents and shared the good news, then my brother.  Being the sensible ones in the family they advised me to put the card away for safe keeping and not to tell anyone else about my good fortune.

As it was a Sunday, I wouldn’t be able to cash in the winnings until the next day.  I taped the sheet to the back of my dresser for safe keeping and locked myself in my apartment out of fear that someone out there knew that I had won.

I spoke to my family a couple of times during the day and arranged for them to drive down the next morning and we would go to the Lottery office together to claim our winnings.

I barely slept that night.  I was convinced that every noise was an armed robber coming into my house and stealing my ticket.

At 29 years old, I knew that my life would never be the same.  No financial worries would allow me to do what I wanted with my life, start businesses, help other people or do nothing.

What I knew was the my family would be taken care of, there may not be enough to help others, but for us, we would now live on easy-street.

By the time my family arrived on Monday morning, I had my plan in place.  Half the money would be mine, my parents would receive 25% and the final 25% would be split between my brother and a foundation we would start to help other people.

As my mom, dad and brother came bounding into my tiny apartment, we all embraced and laughed at out good luck.   It was one of the most exciting moments of my life to see them so excited!

They asked to see the ticket and we all went into my bedroom where I dug the ticket off the back of my dresser.  We compared the numbers and again celebrated when I called out the sixth number on the roll.  We were winners!

Too nervous to drive, we piled into my brother’s car and started to make our way towards the Georgia Lottery Office in downtown Atlanta.  It was only about a fifteen minute drive from my house, but as I held that jackpot in my hands it felt like a lifetime.

Once we reached the offices, the numbers were verified over and over again.  It was now official, I was the latest winner of the Georgia Lottery.  When the Executive Director came in to meet me, she said “congratulations, you are Georgia’s newest millionaire!”

Within the next hour, the funds were deposited into my checking account, it was done by draft so that I didn’t have to worry about carrying the check to the bank.  When the deposit was made, there was $38 in the account, needless to say that changed dramatically!

Shortly after the funds were deposited I was presented with a ceremonial big check and my family and I took questions from local media.  It was all overwhelming.

Once the formalities of the cash out was over, my family and I went to lunch.  I had barely eaten all day on Sunday and hadn’t eaten anything on Monday, so I was famished.

We went to TGIFridays for our first millionaire meal, obviously we were not accustomed to the high life yet.  When the bill came, for the first time in my life, I bought for my family, it was an awesome feeling.

After lunch we went back to my apartment and soon my family left to make the two-hour long trek home.

Once they were gone, I took a huge sigh and sat on my couch, Georgia’s newest millionaire, alone in a one bedroom apartment.

Day 12 of the Jeff Goins – 500 Word Writing Challenge…… TELL A LIE!

Life’s Playlist…. All in the Family Theme performed by Carroll O’Connor and Jean Stapleton

On this date in 1971, television changed forever…. at least in the Rumsey household.

On January 12, 1971, the first episode of All in the Family premiered on CBS.

In addition to all the hilarity that would take today’s professionally offended into overdrive, the very first episode featured something else that had never been on TV before…. a toilet flush.  (The sound of the flush anyway.)

All in the Family would never make it onto television today, a shame that we can’t laugh at ourselves any longer without someone being offended.

All in the Family made household names out of Carroll O’Connor, Jean Stapleton, Sally Struthers and Rob Reiner.  It was the first of a trilogy that included other shows that were just as politically incorrect Maude and The Jeffersons.

As a family we laughed at All in the Family, we laughed at the jokes and we laughed when “Archie” made fun of people just like us.  We laughed when the shows first aired, for years we laughed in re-runs and my brother even got the full series on DVD for Christmas this year and as we watched a couple of episodes on Christmas night, we laughed again.

All in the Family shined a light on our society, it was often ugly, it was usually inappropriate, but it was always done in humor.

We could all use a bit of All in the Family in our world today.

You Gotta Believe….. GO DAWGS!

Tonight the Georgia Bulldogs will play the Alabama Crimson Tide for the National Championship in College Football.

The game will take place at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

It should be a good game with two SEC power-houses battling for the ultimate prize.

Alabama has been a participant in the National Championship numerous times over the last several years.

The last time the Georgia Bulldogs played for the title was in 1981, in New Orleans, in the Sugar Bowl, against Notre Dame.

In 1981, I was there.

A few days before the game, my parents, a family friend Chuck Foster, my best friend Andrew Lampros and I piled into an old motor home that my dad had borrowed from his brother.

We left Clayton early in the morning heading to the big game in New Orleans.

Over the next couple of days we toured the sights and sounds of The Big Easy.  We enjoyed the classic architecture, the street performers and got into the spirit of the game on Bourbon Street surrounded by thousands of Dawg fans who knew this was our year!

The Sugar Bowl would be played on New Year’s Day and the revelry of a New Year’s Eve celebration was something this 16-year-old and his friend had never witnessed.

We strolled Bourbon Street with my parents and Mr. Foster, no doubt mouths wide open at the sights and sounds we saw.  We made our way into Pat O’Brien’s Bar.  (In those days and especially in New Orleans it wasn’t uncommon to see teenagers in a bar, especially with their parents.)

In Pat O’Brien’s we met up with friends and mama and daddy let Andrew and I indulge in our first “Hurricane.”  A drink made with almost every type of alcohol imaginable topped with fruit juice.

At some point during our stay at Pat O’Brien’s, we were joined by my brother Sam and a group of his friends who were also in town for the Game.

Somehow Sam convinced mama and daddy to let Andrew and I go with them to usher in the New Year on Bourbon Street.  They promised they would get us home safe and sound.

So Andrew and I, and a group of 20-something guys made our way out into the night.  And what a night it was, memories that I still have to this day.

The next morning, after being delivered back to my parents safe and sound, we arose to the promise that THIS was Georgia’s year!  Nursing the effects of the night before, we prepared for the game.

As we made our way into the SuperDome, the Georgia faithful were everywhere, the excitement building to a frenzy as the Dawgs took the field.

That night we won, as the team carried Vince Dooley onto the field atop their shoulders, the Georgia Bulldogs were National Champions, defeating Notre Dame 17-10 completing a perfect season.

Andrew and I made our way out onto the field that night, surrounded by all the other happy Dawg fans and in those moments and the many moments that led up to that victory celebration, I created memories that have carried me for more than 35 years.

We still talk about that trip to New Orleans, it was a time that will forever be etched into our minds as some of the best of our life.

Deep into the second half of the game, my dad gave Andrew and I a life lesson that we still quote today.  As Notre Dame was moving down the field and threatening to score, a lady near us said loud enough for everyone in our area to hear something like “oh, I don’t think we are going to do it, I don’t think we are going to do it.”

Without missing a beat, my daddy yelled out “lady you gotta believe, you gotta believe.”

We did and he did.

Tonight as the National Championship Game is played, there will be young boys and girls in the stadium who will be making memories that last a lifetime.  Memories that they will look back on as they are older and celebrate, they will celebrate the excitement of a night, and the simple moments that merge together for one of life’s greatest experiences.

And maybe, just maybe, they will learn a life lesson…. you gotta believe!

GO DAWGS!