Love and Marriage vs. Life Challenges


Three years ago I committed my life to this beautiful woman and our life together as husband and wife started off in the best possible way. We were in love. Our kids loved each other. We had good paying jobs. We had an amazing wedding surrounded by our family and friends, and then headed off on a dream honeymoon.

Anyone with half a brain knows that life will throw challenges at you and your marriage. But despite that, there is nothing that can really prepare you for those challenges or how to handle them when they occur. God knows, we didn’t fully realize what was ahead of us.

We’ve had a lot of AMAZING things happen to us and so many good memories that have been made. But challenges have come whether we liked them or not.

Over the past three years we’ve dealt with job losses (hers last year, mine this year), job changes (4 for her, 2 for me), credit card bills that got out of control, crazy rent increases, my autistic son moving in/starting college, and my depression rearing its ugly head once more. This is all on top of the regular challenges that affect every marriage.


But today as I reflect on the past 3 years as a married couple (4 years as a couple), I’m not reminded of the bad. I see the woman who has stuck by my side and continued to love me, truly for better or worse.

I know living with me is no cup of tea everyday, but she still chooses to do it.
She still does it with a smile on her face and love in her heart.

She does it when she makes silly faces or belts out some tune off-key.

She does it when she cleans dishes or makes a meal.

She does it when she holds me and says that everything is going to be alright, even thought it feels like the world is crumbling around us.

She has placed her absolute faith, trust and love in me and believes in me when I don’t even believe in myself.

Sometimes, I question why (because my mind is whack like that) but I just try and accept/appreciate the fact that she does, and hasn’t failed to in the 4 years we’ve been together.

8 years ago I saw the movie Juno and came to love the following line…

“Look, in my opinion, the best thing you can do is find a person who loves you for exactly what you are. Good mood, bad mood, ugly, pretty, handsome, what have you, the right person is still going to think the sun shines out your ass. That’s the kind of person that’s worth sticking with.”

I had wondered if it was possible to find a person like that, or if it was another movie fairy tale.

Today I realize it’s no fairy tale and I’ve got that kind of person.

So today I say to the woman who is still just a beautiful today as she was 4 years ago. Thank you.

Thanks for choosing me to be your husband.
Thanks for loving me as much as you have and continue to.
Thanks for sticking by me and continuing to believe that the “sun still shines out my ass”.

Happy Anniversary Honey. Here’s to the rest of our life.

I love you Jennifer Lynn Tellez. Yesterday, Today and Always.

The Wonderfully Perfect Family Mess

When my wife and I got married, seeing as we were joining two families we decided to involve the kids in the ceremony. We like many other re-married couples with kids, wanted to show it wasn’t just about the two of us. It was about ALL of us.

After searching through all of the possibilities, we decided on using a special picture frame that held sand. Each of us would have our own color sand to represent us.

The big day came and the kids and we took turns pouring our sand into the frame. Kaylin first with her usual pink, followed by Josh’s “Mario” red. Jenny came next with her favorite color green, and I completed it with my favorite blue.

20121111 - 462 of 1134 - IMG_9455Once we were done, we had created a PERFECT and beautiful pyramid of sand.

20121111 - 476 of 1134 - IMG_9464Soon after we were officially a family, and went to celebrate with family and friends.

As the celebration wound down, I spotted Kaylin carrying around the frame, except now instead of the perfect pyramid it was a big jumbled mess.

Me: “Kaylin, what are you doing?”

Kaylin (with a super innocent face): “Mom said I could mix it up.”

I looked over at my wife

Me: “Babe?”

Jenny: “Yeah, it’s fine..”

Me: “Okay, Kaylin, just be careful with it, don’t let it break”

I walked away very frustrated. I had loved how it looked and the symmetry of the lines. It was going to look gorgeous on our mantle. For a brief instance I thought we could do it again. Then realized the significance of doing it would be lost.

As time went on, it sat there on our mantle, still missing the rest of the sand and in its big mixed up state.

photo 2I’d glance at it and some of the frustration would return.

Then one day after we had been through another one of the family challenges life had thrown at us, it hit me.

This mixed up state is exactly what being a family is all about. In our case it’s 4 different personalities, preferences, attitudes and beliefs all working together.

Sometimes we’re clashing or revolving around each other in what I believe is best described as controlled chaos.

Then there’s the incredibly awesome times where we’re blended together so strong that we’re super bright and vibrant. We’re more colorful together than we are apart, and we create colors, and joy that some people would never think of.

So after almost a year and a half later I finally added in the remaining sand. A little more of Kaylin, a smidge more Josh, a helping of Jenny and a healthy amount of myself. Then I shook it up really well to come up with a unique pattern that will never be duplicated but so aptly reflects all of us.

I don’t expect the sands to stay in the same place and have no doubt that as time moves, and we change that it too will change. We’ll have our messes. We’ll have our perfection. We’ll have our jumbled states of chaos and happiness. Most importantly we’ll have what’s most important, an amazing family built on the love God has for us, and the love we have for each other.

photo 3

God Listens. God Answers. God Loves.

As someone who is a practicing Christian, living up to God‘s word isn’t easy.

I know He doesn’t expect me to be perfect, but my personality doesn’t let me shoot for anything less than that.  Oh, I don’t hit perfect. Never will. Doesn’t stop me from trying.

To say God has blessed my life is an understatement.

I’m married to a woman, who is amazing just in the fact that she puts up with me. Then she’s amazing in so many ways on top of that.

I’ve got two wonderful children who I couldn’t be prouder of.

I’ve got a job where I have the potential to do so many amazing things with co-workers that challenge me and keep me laughing.

I live in a nice home, eat good food and have friends and family that love and care about me.

Recently we received another blessing. My wife got a new job.
It freed her from one where they didn’t appreciate her and left her feeling like crap at the end of the day.

Really what do I have to be upset about in life? Nada.
There are A LOT of things that could be wrong in my life, but they aren’t.

But like so many people, even for those that seem to have it all there are days that stress the ever-loving crap out of me. That’s especially so when it comes to finances.

There was just one small hitch with this new job…it would mean that we’d have to get our own health insurance or pay for COBRA which is incredibly expensive.

We’re trying to be responsible and tackle the debt we accrued so this expense was going to put us in a tough position, possibly leaving us without health insurance.

Saturday night as we reviewed the options and my stress level jumped, my wife was loving and supportive reminding me to lean on God. For  a split second I thought, but didn’t shout out “How the heck is God going to put that money in our bank account?!!!

Yup, I really thought that. Mr. loving Christian…totally doubting his God.

After filling out the massive online application for two medical insurance providers and a couple of drinks, I prayed.

Then over the course of the last few days it felt like all the financial weight of the world was upon me. Yesterday on a long drive to San Diego, I had a long conversation with God.

My simple prayer was “I don’t need more money. I don’t want more money. I just want to be able to take care of everything and make ends meet.”

Then immediately after I was done I got a phone call that created more financial stress. I looked up and cried up “Really? You call that help?”

Yes, I verbally questioned God. I was pissed with Him. Why after spending the time to talk with Him, could He let that happen? I started questioning, why have faith in something that didn’t seem to deliver? Why keep praying and asking for help when I felt like I kept hitting brick walls?

This is the challenge that people make, somewhat rightfully so. How could this all-powerful, awesome, loving entity allow bad things to happen?

Shortly after 9/11 I had a conversation with my boss. Him being a devout Catholic, I asked him “How could God have allowed that to happen?”. His answer was simple “Because He’s fighting the devil, and sometimes the devil wins”.

Yes God is powerful, but bad things happen, they will always happen and He doesn’t make them happen, He doesn’t allow them to happen they just happen.

Sometimes out of pain and tragedy comes something so much better. Sometimes after having your world rocked, good is shown to you and reminds you of what you have to be thankful for and reminds you that there is so much more good in this world than bad.

We saw that after 9/11. We’ve seen that after so many of the tragedies that have taken so many from us and hurt so many. We’ve seen heroes rise from the ashes. We’ve seen people be blessed in ways that they wouldn’t have, had the bad things not happened.

I’ve learned over time  and have been reminded recently by our Pastor, Rick Warren “God wants to turn your mess, into his message. God takes your test and makes it your testimony”.

This morning I said a far simpler prayer. “God, I don’t know what your plans are, or where you’re going with any of this. I don’t understand it and I can’t control it. But I guess that’s just it. I’m trying to wrestle control over something that only You can handle. So I’m going to let You take it from here and stop questioning You.”.

About 30 minutes later I got a call from my wife. Her new employer was going to let us take advantage of the health insurance immediately. It would go into effect immediately after our current insurance expires.

Problem solved. Crisis Averted. God comes through…AGAIN.

Not only had God helped us get the insurance we needed at a price we could afford, but He also showed us how even more amazing my wife’s new job and boss was. She’s working for people who care about her and our family.

Yeah, I felt like a heel having gotten so angry, and even having doubted Him.

But then I remembered that He loves me no matter what. Even though I had gotten angry at Him and thought He was a bad parent. As it is when my children do this, I still love them and He still loves me. He’s still looking out for me. He’s still making sure that my path ahead leads to something good.

The path won’t be without bumps. It won’t be without challenges. It won’t be without pain, sorrow and loss, but He’s there with me to give me strength, love, support and protection that no one else can.

With this, He’s made my mess his message, and turned a test into a testimony.

Folks, God doesn’t make sense and He never will to us here on this planet.
The great thing is that His love knows no bounds. His forgiveness is powerful. His support is like none other.

When I look at the big picture of my life I see how He’s done some pretty astounding things, and seen the person He’s transformed me into despite who I am and how I’ve talked to Him. My life has been much more amazing since I let Him in it.

One of these days I will learn to let go better. I’ll stop trying to control things I can’t. I’ll stop trying to understand Him and just trust in Him.

So why did I write all of this? Am I trying to convert people? Am I trying to thump a “virtual Bible“?

No, I wrote this for two reasons:

1. To give thanks to Him for saving my butt, yet again in the most public way possible.
2. To help others see how He’s worked in my life in the off-chance they could become interested in learning more about Him.

Even if I never achieve my second goal, I know that my first goal is accomplished and that’s what matters most to me.

“So we don’t focus on the troubles we see right now; instead we look forward to what we don’t see yet. For the troubles we see now are temporary, but the joys to come will last forever.”
2 Corinthians 4:18


Countdown To A New Life…T- 6 Months and 3 Days

In a little over 6 months I am going to get married to an absolutely incredible woman.

ImageA woman who reminded me how incredible she was over the last couple of days and continues to show me what a mature and healthy adult relationship is like. She’s even able to put up with me, which can be no small feat sometimes. ;-)

After having a really good evening with Jenny last night and feeling a little more in the creative writing mode I decided to work on my vows while on the train ride in.

I had already written a good part of them and I went through and refined it, added a little here and there and took out some of it so they don’t go on too long. While I think they’re mostly done, I imagine over the next few months I’ll continue to touch them up. In the end though my my ultimate challenge will be getting through them without tearing up.

After working on my vows and reading a Mashable article on using Pinterest to help plan a wedding, I thought why not journal some of my experiences as we get closer to my wedding day? So with that I’m going to start threading in blog posts about my journey towards the beginning of a new life.

We are for the most part pretty well done with the essential parts of the wedding planning.

The location, DJ, photographer, florist, baker, best man, man of honor and rings have been chosen and deposits made.

Her dress is sitting in a closet that I am making sure I go nowhere near and at this point pretty much everyone I know has seen it, but me (of course).

I think this is where it gets interesting though…all the little details.

We still have as yet to do our tasting and set the menu. The flowers while generally thought of aren’t totally selected. The music playlist is something we’ll actually let some of our friends and family help select…just NO CHICKEN DANCE and NO MACARENA!!!

There’s a multitude of other details and selections as well as a special project and a few surprises for our guests that have as yet to be done and I intend to share that experience here so it should be interesting.

So stay tuned…this is gonna be fun!

Happiness…Just Accept It

Happiness is a really interesting beast.

According to our founding fathers, we’re free to pursue it.
Based on the Will Smith movie, we’re allowed to misspell it.
Once we’ve got it we tend to question it and wonder if in fact we’ve found it.

Then we try and hold on to it so tight that we do stupid things and it slips away from us and we are off on the cycle of trying to get it once more.

Recently I’ve had a lot to be happy about. So happy that at times it seems almost surreal and I wonder how it could be happening to me.

Seriously the thought goes through my mind of “How do I deserve this?”, “Why would I get to feel as happy as I do right now?”.

I ponder if my happiness is true or just perceived. If it is true how much longer is it going to go on (aka – when is the bottom going to drop out?).

The fact of the matter is that I need to just listen to what so many people have told me, especially friends that have been INCREDIBLY RIGHT when I was so wrong and just enjoy it.

Don’t question it.
Don’t analyze it.
Don’t wonder why.

Just accept it for what it is, don’t try and make it something more (or less) and live in the moment.

Accept that I’ve worked very hard to make a lot of other people very happy. I’ve put a lot of good karma out there, and now I get to enjoy it coming back to me.

God has granted me this period of happiness because I’ve earned it and put a lot of my heart and soul into helping it come to fruition. I’ve also gone through a pretty deep, dark forest to get out to this beautiful clearing.

Now this is a bit of a challenge for an over thinker like myself, but it’s a challenge I fully accept and look forward to. The best part is as I take it on I get to feel things I haven’t felt for the longest time and some I’ve never felt before.

So today I thank God for this happiness (especially the people that are a source of this happiness), I choose to Just Accept It and will enjoy it for as long as I possibly can.

We’re All In This Together…

One of the sites I frequent is Ain’t It Cool News. It’s got all the wonderful movie and TV news that a film geek like me could ever want. I consider it my CNN for all things entertainment.

Today I came upon THIS POST at their site that talks about the tragic shooting in Tuscon. Now fair word of warning it’s got some language and thoughts that some might find offensive, so if you’re easily offended please don’t read that post.

My takeaway from the post though was a reminder that we are all on this incredible planet called Earth together. We’ve all got different viewpoints, different ideals, different ways of life, but we’re all together and we’ve got to figure out a way to work things out together.

This point was driven even further home by the following embedded video.

I love the portion of the video where the narrator says

“For all our failures. Despite our limitations and fallibilities.
We humans are capable of greatness.”

The heroes at the site of the tragedy and those at the hospital are shining examples of human greatness and they all have my utmost respect and admiration.

Every day I’m reminded by friends, family, co-workers and strangers that we are all capable of greatness. Greatness isn’t just large acts of generosity and helpfulness, it also doesn’t have to involve spending a single penny.

It can be as easy as letting that person in front of you in rush hour traffic.

– It can be as simple as putting a post-it-note on your employee’s desk telling them they’re doing a great job.

– It can be as loving as forgiving someone who did wrong or hurt you and moving on to brighter days.

– Greatness can be achieved by just taking that one step further.

I pray that we can all take some valuable lessons from the losses that occurred this past weekend and instead of dividing further can find a way to come closer together.

Let’s achieve the greatness WE ARE ALL CAPABLE of.

My heart goes out to everyone who was involved in or impacted by this tragedy in Tuscon.

My deepest condolences go out to those who lost loved ones.

My encouragement and support goes out to Representative Giffords who I think is going to wind up having, and showing us all an incredible moment of greatness.

Happy New Year!!!

So I hoped to do some blog posting over my holiday vacation but I actually managed to stay off a computer the majority of my time off, and spent time with family and friends. I especially got to spend some great quality time with my son Josh.

We hung out, we did shopping, we played video games and even made cookies for Santa. I’m bragging here, but I gotta say I’ve got a great kid. Smart, friendly, loving, caring, fun and just all around awesome.

While Christmas is my all time favorite holiday, I do love starting a new year. It’s a time to look back at where you’ve been and a time to get excited about and plan ahead for the future.

For me 2008 was a year that I faced a lot of challenges.
Emotionally, Physically, Professionally, I dealt with them all.

In the end I was able to come out on the other side and say “I did it!”. Of course I did it with a great deal of help from God, family, friends, co-workers and all those in between who either brightened my day with a smile, or gave me the positive feedback or push I needed to press on.

In thinking about everything in 2008 the following from “Grey’s Anatomy” really hit home for me.

We enter the world alone and we leave it alone and everything that happens in between we owe it to ourselves to find a little company.

We need help.

We need support.

Otherwise we’re in it by ourselves.


Cut off from each other, and we forget…

Just how connected we all are

So instead,



And for a moment…

We feel just a little bit less alone.

I of course choose love, and I choose life. I am so blessed to be surrounded by so many people that make my life anything but lonely.

So now it’s time to look forward to a brand new year. A new year that’s filled with promise & hope.
To help kick off this new year I thought I’d share this great video filled with inspirational speeches from various movies.

May it inspire you, like it inspires me, and may your 2009 be a great one!