What I’ve Learned From 7 Years Of Marriage

Today makes 7 years ago I married the beautiful girl who would change my life for the better…

Joe Hendricks Photography

Looking back on these past 7 years, my wife has taught me many crucial things and I’m absolutely a better person because of her.

Being married to my wife has confirmed my pre-existing understanding of what true romance is:

That a man truly wants to spend the rest of his life learning how to love the woman of his life; that there’s not simply a “happy ending” to the story just because the guy gets the girl.

Real love from a man to a woman is evolving to a stronger, more mature place, along with her love for him. Evolve is the key word.

It’s not about a happy ending, the way the movies end on their 90th minute right before the credits roll. It’s about an overall happy life-long journey, acknowledging the not-so-happy parts in between that are part of that experience as well, leading to that evolution.

Otherwise, there wouldn’t be the need to evolve together.

That’s how I’ve always felt about her.

It’s almost miraculous that nearly a decade ago when she and I met, despite my immaturity and inexperience as a 26 year-old “guy”, I had enough going on at the time to convince her I was worth her investment.

Joe Hendricks Photography

Because now, as a 34 year-old man, I do have the maturity level and life experience I wish I had when I was a single 27 year-old. But it’s only because of what I’ve learned from being her husband.

Maybe it’s now in this very moment that I am able to realize that despite all the things I appreciate of my wife, the thing I value the most is knowing she is patient to let me learn and work through my own shortcomings..

She always is understanding. Not to mention, she is always willing to give my crazy ideas a chance.

Honestly, it’s this simple: Without hesitation, I can easily replace the word “love” with her name in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7:

Jill is patient, Jill is kind. She doesn’t envy, she doesn’t boast, she isn’t proud. She isn’t rude, she isn’t self-seeking, she isn’t easily angered, she keeps no record of wrongs. She doesn’t delight in evil but rejoices in the truth. She always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Jill never fails.

That’s how I see my wife.

Granted, I’m fully aware that she and I are both two imperfect people. But we are two imperfect people who ultimately always protect, always trust, always hope, and always persevere.

Therefore, perfection isn’t necessary.

Photos courtesy of Joe Hendricks Photography.

Dear Jack: Webisode 14 & 15 of Jack-Man, Featuring 2015 Chevy Colorado

4 years, 7 months.

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Dear Jack,

This past weekend we took a 3 day weekend to Alabama; not only for your cousin Calla’s 4th birthday party, but also to see your cousin Matt graduate Air Force boot camp in Montgomery; while we were there, we also got to hang out with your friend Sophie and her family at Mellow Mushroom.

We were able to drive a 2015 Chevrolet Colorado pick-up trick to review.  So I decided to feature it prominently in our newest couple of webisodes of Jack-Man…

In Webisode 14: “Shadetree Mechanic,” Green Meanie tries to sabotage Jack-Man’s chances of going to Super Calla’s 4th birthday party by taking a wrench to the Chevy Colorado.

It features my new song, “How’s It Feel To Be The Bad Guy?” which is the 1st song I’ve ever done that features Mommy singing too:

How’s it feel to be the bad guy?

How’s it feel to be so mean?

When all your best friends are all enemies?

Did you wake up on the wrong side

Of the cot maybe under a rock?

Do you need a hug?

Maybe you should change your approach? Change your approach

And in Webisode 15: “Birthday Party Crashers”, after Green Meanie sneakily hitches a ride in the back of the Chevy Colorado, he meets up with The Juggler (your uncle Andrew), then recruits The Street Sweeper (your Papa) to help crash Super Calla’s 4th birthday party.

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The new song featured in it is “Blow Your House Down.”

I’m gonna blow your house down

Feel my minty breath flowing through your hair

I’m gonna blow your house down

You can call the law but I don’t care

Uh-oh, I want to know what you believe in

Will you believe if you don’t see it?

Like the wind that blows so freely

From my lungs unto your ceiling

Uh-oh, I am not the wind beneath your wings

But I’m the storm with scary lightning

You’re not in Kansas anymore

I am knocking down your door

We also filmed 2 other Jack-Man webisodes as well. I can’t wait to edit them. It takes me at least 3 hours for every Jack-Man webisode I make!

Webisode 16 is about organic, non-GMO produce at Nonna and Papa’s garden, and 17 is a cool chase episode in the woods, leading to a huge rock. I’m really exciting to share them!

I’ll also be writing more about our visit to see your cousin Matt graduate boot camp, after I get a chance to put some videos together for that.

And… this weekend is exciting for Mommy and me because Sunday makes 7 years she and I have been married.

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: Webisodes 12 & 13 of Jack-Man, Featuring Rainbow Child Care Center

4 years, 7 months.

Dear Jack: Webisodes 12 & 13 of Jack-Man, Featuring Rainbow Child Care Center

Dear Jack,

This week in Jack-Man news, you and I made our most popular webisode to date, Webisode 12: “The Great Indoors.” It received 100 views in less than 2 days.

My long-time friend Ben Wilder guest starred as a villain alongside me. He was the Recess Rebel and I reprised my role as the Playground Ninja.

It featured my new song, “The Taste of Defeat”:

What’s that bitter taste in your mouth? Things are about to go south

Too late to figure it out

That’s the taste of defeat

Yes, the taste of defeat

You can’t take my playground away, I’m here to stand in your way

I’m going to make you pay

That’s the taste of defeat

Yes, the taste of defeat

I had arranged it with your preschool to shoot a webisode there, so we met with the school director on Saturday morning.

After about an hour of filming, Ben followed us back to our house to film Webisode 13: “Dog Days of Summer,” in which Ben played a new villain named Salt Water Guy, who attempted to convince Jack-Man that “sports drinks” are healthy, despite the fact they contain so much sugar, as well as artificial food dyes.

Dear Jack: Webisodes 12 & 13 of Jack-Man, Featuring Rainbow Child Care Center

It featured my new song, “You Can’t Be Ready for This.”

So you think you can dance?

Looks like there’s ants in your pants

You should moonwalk away

While you still have the chance

You can’t be ready for this, oh no

Nobody warned you ‘bout me, oh no

You can’t be ready for this, oh no

You won’t believe what you see, oh no

You can’t be ready for this

Do you want my autograph?

So you’ll remember my name

The one who defeated you last

In this cat and mouse game

Coming up we have some more exciting Jack-Man webisodes, as Chevy has sent us a brand-new 2015 Chevy Colorado crew cab pick-up truck. You love it!

Love,

Daddy

Dear Jack: Webisode 11 of Jack-Man, “Panic at the Playground!”

4 years, 7 months.

Dear Jack: Webisode 11 of Jack-Man,

Dear Jack,

Last week’s shooting of “Webisode 11: Panic at the Playground!” couldn’t have gone any better. You had so much fun seeing your friends Sophie and Madison again. They made such perfect superheroes. We spent all Saturday morning there at Pinkerton Park in the hot Tennessee sun.

I love the way the 3 of you interacted with me as I played the Playground Ninja, who was sent by the Green Meanie after Jack-Man refused to buy a boat or use a credit hard; instead, he plans to pay off his house early.

You all have some serious talent!

The number of views of Webisode 11 so far are showing that it is by default the best one yet: In just 4 days, it has received nearly 100 views; whereas it took a whole month for the 1st webisode to get that many views.

Based on the success of this one, I’ve decided I need to replicate that same formula as much as possible; which includes involving guest stars whenever possible, and always including an original song of mine to play during an action sequence.

That means I’ll typically be writing and recording at least one or two new songs each week, but that’s okay… I love doing it! I’m even trying to get Mommy to start singing with me on some upcoming songs…

This weekend we are scheduled to shoot at your school for some special episodes while it rains. I also am planning on having my friend Ben Wilder as a guest star villain.

Our family was very excited to learn this week that for an upcoming road trip, we’ll be able to review a Chevy Colorado truck! That is super cool!

By the way, you are now closer to age 5 than you are to 4. This week you turned 4 years, 7 months old.

Love,

Daddy

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Dear Jack: Webisodes 9 & 10 of Jack-Man

4 years, 6 months.

Dear Jack: Episodes 9 & 10 of Jack-Man

Dear Jack,

Last weekend you and I left the house at 9:00 AM and didn’t return until nearly 3:00 PM. During those 6 hours, you and I made Webisodes 9 and 10 of Jack-Man; plus we got to hang out at Whole Foods for lunch and you bought Fuzzy (your new rabbit) at TJ Maxx for 3 bucks.

We filmed Webisode 9 in our neighborhood, finding the perfect “haunted house” for Jack-Man to encounter. My twist on the story is that the ghost could only exist if Jack-Man believed in him.

In Webisode 10, I got to try out not some newly learned editing tricks to speed up the action sequences. I also wrote a brand-new song exclusively for this episode, “I’m Coming For You.” I plan to do more of these original songs for Jack-Man.

I’m really excited about Webisode 11, which we are planning on filming this weekend while your friend Sophie will be in town, along with Madison as well. That will be a really fun reunion!

Something that I hope is becoming evident for Jack-Man fans is that these storylines contain social commentary and/or a deeper message than is on the surface.

For example, in Webisode 9, the ghost that only exists if you believe in him represents the psychological limits we place on ourselves that only bother us, but not other people.

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And in Webisode 10… well, I feel it’s pretty obvious what Chill Pills represent, as they are easily prescribed to combat “the signs of hyperactivity.”

Jack-Man is a web series that is obviously geared towards children yet contains concepts geared towards adults.

Like in Webisode 11 this weekend, the Green Meanie will be attempting to get Jack-Man to spend the money he got from finding the treasure chest in Webisode 10, instead of investing it.

I can’t wait to record it!

Love,

Daddy

People Want You To Gossip And Judge Others

Disclaimer: While I do make a strong effort to keep my material family friendly, as the name implies, this post serves as social commentary, citing issues which are not particularly family friendly or G-rated.

It’s funny how no one wants to be judged or to be gossiped about, but in good conscience we are able to read “news” stories and watch reality TV shows that ultimately entice us to judge and gossip about the people involved.

In case no one has yet pointed it out to you yet, allow me to be the first: We as Americans live in the midst of a vibrant culture war.

Polarizing ideas are constantly being reinforced that A) liberals are all socialist idiots whose gay marriage is turning America into the perfect place for God’s fiery judgment; meanwhile B) conservatives are all close-minded, homophobic, racist holy rolling bigots.

It’s an ongoing debate between CNN versus Fox News that we allow to live out all around us. To me, it’s become a parody of itself, like both country and rap music have become.

But what about those of us who are in the middle if these two unforgiving extremes? Well, I believe we are the outsiders of our culture.

Because if you’re not taking the bait to either be offended, or to judge others for their lifestyle, you begin realizing there’s really not that much real “news” going on.

For example, check out yesterday’s “Trending Topics” that were featured yesterday on Facebook:

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Target: Ohio Mother Says ‘Girls’ Building Sets’ Sign in Store’s Toy Aisle Shows Gender Bias

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Miley Cyrus: Singer Discusses Coming Out as Bisexual to Her Mother as a Teen in Paper Interview

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The X-Files: Fox Releases Image From Set of Revival of Sci-Fi Series

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Glassdoor: Jobs Site Names Highest-Rated CEOs in 3rd Annual Employees’ Choice Awards

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Joyce Carol Oates: Author Appears to Condemn Photo From ‘Jurassic Park’ Showing Dead Dinosaur

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Bob Costas: Sports Broadcaster Calls Caitlyn Jenner’s Arthur Ashe Courage Award ‘Exploitation Play’

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Robert Gibbs: Former White House Press Secretary Appointed as McDonald’s Executive Vice President

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Holly Madison: Hugh Hefner’s Former Girlfriend Details Life at the Playboy Mansion in New Book

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Librarian of Congress: James Billington Announces Retirement After Nearly 3 Decades in Position

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#WWDC15: Apple Announces Product Updates at Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco

It’s very clear that in the midst of a few non-sexual headlines, we are being prompted and provoked to make a judgment call on what constitutes as gender bias, as well as to either support or be shocked by Miley Cyrus’s sexuality, then an accept an invitation to either agree or disagree with Bob Costas’ comments on Bruce Jenner’s gender reveal, and then to finish it off with learning some juicy details about life in a house that celebrates pornography.

If nothing else, you can at least judge the author who condemns the “dead dinosaur” photo, right?

Yes, that’s supposed to be “the news.”

That’s not the news.

People want you to gossip and judge others. It’s abundantly evident in the headlines, TV shows, and reality shows in our culture. And we do; that’s how they make money off us.

The Kardashians wouldn’t be famous if we ourselves didn’t keep them famous.

Imagine how many people tune in each week for The Bachelorette/Bachelor; a show that is presented to us under the guise of romantic people trying to find love and marriage, via a polygamy style game show in which the bachelorette/bachelor and the final few contestants have the option of staying overnight in a “fantasy suite” to sexually “try out” each of the people before they marry them.

In other words, by supporting that show, we are contributing to the fact that the bachelor or bachelorette is being pressured to have sex with 3 people they only recently met. We laugh it off as silly, which it is. It’s also people’s actual real lives involving real decisions with actual consequences.

I say it’s impossible to watch shows like this without judging other people for their actions and lifestyles.

Ultimately, it seems virtually impossible to avoid all forms of gossip. But if I can be more aware of it in media, I can make a deliberate effort to step out.

And I can only hope what I just said doesn’t sound like I’m being judgmental of others.

Dear Jack: Webisodes 7 & 8 of Jack-Man, Plus Motivational Speech; Shia LaBeouf Style

4 years, 6 months.

Dear Jack: Webisodes 7 & 8 of Jack-Man, Plus Motivational Speech; Shia LaBeouf Style

Dear Jack,

This week we released 2 new webisodes of Jack-Man. In Webisode 7, “Caffeine Conspiracy,” Green Meanie attempts to sell Jack-Man on drinking soda by explaining it will give him extra energy.

Of course, he is referring to the addictive, unregulated caffeine. Green Meanie openly acknowledges his “caffeine conspiracy” to addict others to his soda.

He also recruits his old friend Caffeine Cowboy to intimidate Jack-Man into drinking soda, resulting in a draw.

Dear Jack: Webisodes 7 & 8 of Jack-Man, Plus Motivational Speech; Shia LaBeouf Style

Webisode 8, “Banana Shenanigans,” shows Caffeine Cowboy becoming a politician in an attempt to make bananas illegal, so that Jack-Man will no longer have access to what gives him his superpowers.

We also decided this week to take advantage of a trending video of Shia LaBeouf.

You, as Jack-Man, delivered the same motivation speech.

This coming weekend, we’re planning on filming 2 more webisodes, which will introduce a new concept in our Jack-Man webseries: allowing Green Meanie to interact with the audience in attempt to get ideas to drink Jack-Man to give in to Green Meanie’s agenda.

I like the concept of “choose your own adventure” being incorporated into our show. So we should have 10 episodes up by early next week.

Before we know, we’ll be doing our 100th webisode. And so many cool things can happen between now and then.

It helps that you’re so cooperative as we make this videos. A few weeks ago as we were filming in the Franklin Factory, a lady walked by and commented under her breath, “Good luck getting a kid to make a video.”

She didn’t realize I didn’t need good luck.

Making these videos is what we do. It’s our father and son quality time each weekend, which is important.

I love knowing in the midst of our busy lifestyle, we get to dedicate time together for this.

Love,

Daddy