Okay on to our afternoon (this is where I have a brain fart and write about what happened on Monday afternoon not Saturday so if the timing seems confusing you are on to something) … The only other thing we had on our agenda was get out into the fresh air of beautiful Santa Barbara. Josh was ready for a shift to himself. He decided on a movie …The new James Bond movie was out and I knew he would enjoy it. He decided on the 1pm showing, I was so glad he was doing this, he needed to get out of that hospital, chill out and have some time to himself.
He loves movies. We always laugh because Josh can be a hard person to buy a gift for… His famous words around his birthday or Christmas are “I always love books, music and movies.” These three things are for sure the things he enjoys the most. There is always an on-going list of books he wants to read, new musicians to check out and movies to add to his crazy movie library. In fact I’ve at times thought it all to be a little over-the-top…like how many books, cd’s and movies do you really need! But these are his loves and we are all people who get enjoyment from different things, these are his things! I call him the music man, always finding awesome new artists, from all different genres that have words of such beauty and power and love. So he buys all the cd’s in our house and mostly decides what music is playing at the moment because I just don’t have as strong of opinions in the music world. If it was up to me the only thing I would have on my iPod would be For All Seasons, All Sons & Daughters and every album of Tyrone Wells… Check them all out my all-time favorites! I just never get tired of hearing them over and over again.
For All Seasons is this awesome worship band that was the Hume Lake band the last few years up at Pondy … where I spend a week each summer counseling high school students. I’ve never experienced such deep, heartfelt worship to our great God. The last few years I’ve come to almost depend on these albums to bring me comfort and encouragement in my walk with Jesus. All Sons & Daughters is another worship band that Josh found … He knew I would like them and they are another go-to for music.
Lastly we have Tyrone Wells, what can I say? This very talented musician is a friend as well. We went to college with Tyrone at Pacific Christian College in 1996-1997, I believe he graduated that year before Josh did. He sang in chapel … Our school called it Convo and periodically in church at Eastside Christian Church where we attended sometimes. He went solo in 2000 and has over 10 albums, along with a few single releases that I see I haven’t checked out lately. It’s been a busy year folks… I’ll get to it during these next 5-7 weeks of recovery.
Since Tyrone went solo we’ve been following him whenever we get the chance. He has played a few times at Cal Poly and Downtown Brew in SLO. I even took a friend… the lovely, raw and beautiful Bekah Pogue to Santa Barbara after Tanner, her first-born arrived for a girls nite. We shopped, ate great food and took in a concert at Soho in Santa Barbara featuring none other than my favorite songwriter Tyrone Wells.
The last time we saw Tyrone was a few years ago in Pismo Beach … right on the cliffs, an outdoor event. It was our first time bringing the kids to a concert … we sat on the grass, ate nachos and sang along with Tyrone. The last two songs of the concert, Raegan and I even went up to join the dance circle and I held her in my arms swaying to the music. The last two songs were ‘And The Birds Sing’ and ‘Happy As The Sun’ maybe two of my most favorite, as if I could even pick a favorite? We just danced and sang and I twirled her in my arms … this isn’t a common thing for me to carry my kids because of my usually aching back. God must have wanted me to have this memory with Raegan, He gave me super strength that day to hold her. After the concert I stayed back and said hello to Tyrone, like we usually do … Just a quick hug and how are you and great concert man… See you next time!
Anyway I have almost every album and when a new one is released it’s always on my birthday or Christmas list and have loved seeing him in concert any chance I get. Some of his music is kinda on the lovey, dating and romantic spectrum, very easy on the ears… light, fun and positive messages, but he writes about all kinds of issues too, this guy is truly an amazing artist who has this unique way of putting notes on the page. There isn’t a song I don’t like … Well there’s one that isn’t my favorite but that’s because it is called Jealous Man and it’s just super sad … But still an amazing display of pure genius songwriting!
I hope I’m not boring you with all these details, it’s so strange but this whole experience of having a brain tumor has just given me an appreciation of all the details of this life and it feels like everything matters now … Like everything is worth mentioning! Just so you know, there is a very clear plan in my brain how this blog will unfold and it will not go on forever. But for now, there are still so many things I want to communicate to you if you have the desire to keep reading… And if you don’t I’m totally good with that too. I won’t ever know if you don’t want to hear my ramblings so don’t feel guilty if you stop. I don’t know if you realize but I’m not writing for you … I started this blog for myself, so that I could process and remember where God has brought me through this grand adventure! I must say that the words just flow, it’s like nothing I’ve ever experienced. Almost like I don’t have to even think what to write, inspiration maybe!
So let’s keep on with the story! Where was I … Oh yea movie, James Bond. So Josh goes to the movie and that leaves Brenda and I to hang together in my room. We just hang together, we’ve never had a problem being together. There is always tons to talk about and we are so comfortable around each other. We have this incredible bond that’s hard to explain, I guess it has something to do with sharing DNA. Time flies when we are together, we like to talk about kids and spiritual things but also recipes, decorating, birthday parties and our latest project … Her graduate classes and the future and new business ideas. The sky is the limit really on what we talk about, it’s so refreshing to have someone like that in my life. We haven’t always been like this, in fact our relationship has transformed over the last 6 months into this beautiful relationship of trust and honesty and dependency on each other.
You see she has been enduring her own trial, her own journey and it has brought us both to this open, broken spot with each other. We have never been so utterly honest before and at the same time, we understand each other better and will do anything to support each other through these scary times. I don’t know if you knew but last Sunday, Brenda and I were suppose to run a half marathon in Monterey Bay. My uncle Jake, who lives just outside of Greenbay, Wisconsin was turning 60. For his birthday, he and his wife planned a trip to Cali for the race. He’s one of those crazies that trains in the snow for races, sending us pictures all bundled up with white in the background. Anyway when we found out they were coming, Josh and I decided that we would spend the weekend in Monterey to see them. We don’t make it to Wisconsin very often! We weren’t going to run … just visit them. Well that all changed on August 13th, me and Bren’s birthday.
We always try to spend the day together and I got a text from Bren saying lets go for a run or hike. I responded, “Let’s do a hike, I don’t think I can run with you.” So it was set, we met on our birthday morning at Reservoir Canyon to hike and celebrate our 38 years together. As we reached the top she asked me about that text and what was that all about, that I couldn’t run with her? You see being a twin hasn’t always been the easiest thing … especially when your twin is so talented, driven and successful. I’ve perhaps always felt a little inferior to Brenda, now don’t get me wrong I know that I have my own set of talents and gifts that God has given specifically to me. Growing up was just so hard … she was so super smart and athletic and married her high school sweetheart, not to mention MVP of every team and Soleutitorian of our graduating class at Atascadero High School … 1995 baby! Anyway you could say I grew up with a complex of comparison that has stayed with me my whole life. Sad huh? Well I really played it off in high school and just threw myself into relationships, thinking I was just trying to find “The One.” I dated a whole slew of guys, sorry if you are one of the guys I dated and you are reading this right now … You may be understanding why I was so needy and desperately wanted to feel like enough.
So back to the hike… Brenda looked at me and said “I think we are done with this comparison trap, what do you think?” If you know Bren you also know that she is a very accomplished triathlete. She has completed several races of all the different lengths, winning age groups and setting PR’s. Can you see how running together on our birthday may not have been the best for my self-esteem? So we decided to run the half-marathon together with no competing, no should’s … in fact we made a pact, whoever was having the harder day set the pace. There was no training plan, just run together for the pure enjoyment of being together. So we started training at the end of August and I’ve never enjoyed running so much, there was no pressure to compete, just the joy of conquering Johnson Ranch!
The 17th of October was our last long run before finding out about my tumor. Bren and I met at Johnson for our 10 miler. Ran the 5 on the trail then out to the Bob Jones Parking lot and back to Johnson for a grand total of 10 miles. The run was great, hard at times to keep going, but I was strong and Bren was telling me how proud she was of me, that she could tell I was really working hard … that I had improved my endurance and speed. It was one of the proudest moments of my life finishing that run with my twin sister and not feeling like I was a step behind … And even if Brenda reached the car first it just didn’t matter anymore … I was free from the chains of comparison. I knew that those chains could not hold me any longer and it was the most unbelievable feeling. Not to mention I knew we were going to rock the race and I was so ready to cross the finish line with Brenda right by my side … maybe for the first time ever.