MY NEW YEARS RESOLUTION REVOLUTION –WORLD VISION

 

Christmas 2012 Vertical (2) copyTHANK YOU FOR 2012

First of all, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking the time to read my Barbed Wire Halo Blog.  I want to thank you for continuously supporting both my career and my family.  And more than anything I want to thank you for your prayers and your friendship.  2012 was a year filled with blessings and I thank God everyday for blessing me with you!

NEW YEARS RESOLUTION 2013

News year’s resolutions are a funny thing… they are practically a joke at my house! I make em’ and I break em’ all in a weeks time.  Now I’m sure there are some folks out there that have legit resolutions with the greatest of intentions but more often than not these resolutions are simply just shallow superficial promises that make us feel warm and fuzzy on the inside for a brief and fleeting moment.

In a survey the New York Times discovered that 33% of New Year’s resolutions wont survive the month of January and over 80% of resolutions die within the months to follow.   Some of the most common resolutions are to eat less, exercise more, spend less, and make more money.  Don’t get me wrong I’m not saying that “penny pinching” or vowing to shed a few pounds by consuming less chocolate and soda is a bad thing but then again its not exactly “world changing” kind of stuff either.  Now don’t think for a second that I’m pointing the finger at you.  At the Watson house, thanks to a failed New Year’s resolution a few years back, we now have a room with a Bow-Flex weight machine and a treadmill that rarely do more than collect dust.  So this year when I started thinking about ways I wanted to improve “me”, I decided to not focus on “me” at all.  I decided to focus on something bigger…much, much bigger.

hole-in-our-gospel“The gospel means much more than a personal salvation of individuals.  It means a social revolution.” –Richard Stearns (President of World Vision)

Check out Richard’s book “The Hole in the Gospel.”  It was a HUGE eye opener for me!

worldvision3NEW YEARS REVOLUTION

So what if I told you that my resolution for 2013 was to change the world?  Would you laugh at me?  Don’t feel bad if you do, I laugh at myself occasionally and my wife laughs at me constantly!  Yes, I know it sounds cliché and crazy thinking that one person can really make a dent in this cold, cruel, hard-hearted world.  I mean, is it even possible that one person can really change the world?  Well, I believe that all depends on your perspective.  So what is your point of view?  Are you staring at this world from outer space, from the outside looking in, or are you staring at this world standing barefooted next to a shack in the middle of a poverty stricken village.  The thought of “changing the world” as a whole is overwhelming and intimidating.  The thought of changing somebody’s world is very realistic and achievable.  For example, if you were hungry and homeless and someone gave you food and shelter your world would be changed.   If your children were sick and dying and someone came and gave them medicine, nurturing them back to health, your world would be changed.  Can one person change the world?  Actually one person already did and He set the example for us to live by.  Spreading the love of Jesus Christ will change the world.

“Sometimes I would like to ask God why He allows poverty, suffering, and injustice when He could do something about it.” But I’m afraid He would then ask me the same question.” -Anonymous

564“Christ has no body on earth but yours, no hands but yours, no feet but yours.  Yours are the eyes through which Christ’s compassion for the world is to look out;  yours are the feet with which He is to go about doing good;  and yours are the hands with which He is to bless us now.” -SAINT TERESA OF AVILA

“Don’t fail to do something just because you can’t do everything” –Bob Pierce (founder of World Vision)

WORLD VISION

Gift Catalogue Photos 2007, Part 2In 2013, I vow to continue using my music to move mountains.  Not the kind of mountains made of earth and rock but the bigger ones.  The mountains known as hunger, homelessness, child trafficking, AIDS …all forms of poverty.   We will still remain active with our other non-profits but we will be adding the children of World Vision to the Watson family.  I’m praying that you will also consider adding the children of World Vision to your family as well.

midwives-1There are thousands of children who go to bed every night both hungry and scared.  They live in constant fear because they have no hope of ever being saved from the everyday horrors that they face.  Many will never have the chance to go to school.  Many will die of easily treated illnesses because there is no money for medicine.  The lives they live are unimaginable.  They need us to rise up.

world-vision-girl-with-goatWorld Vision is the largest Christian relief, development and child sponsorship organization in the world.  They are providing a better future to over a million children in almost 50 countries. For about a dollar a day, you can change the world for a child.  World Vision puts your dollar to work with those of other sponsors and targets the most critical needs in your sponsored child’s community. In some places it means providing better food through agricultural training or ensuring that kids have an education by building schools and distributing supplies.  In other places it might be constructing houses, building clinics or drilling wells.  World Vision staff partners closely with every community to determine the best solutions for making sure a child grows up healthy and happy.

Anti-trafficking and child protection efforts in ADP.Just like World Vision, I believe that every single child is indeed a unique and precious “gift from God” and each one deserves a chance for a better life.  World Vision even makes it easy for you to stay in touch with your child. They will send you colorful cards and greetings throughout the year that you can send to your sponsored child. You’ll also receive updates and progress reports so you know how your gifts are changing the life of your child, their family and their entire community.

Bogia WASH ProjectIf this is something you feel called to do, if you’re still searching for your New Year’s Resolution, it would mean the world to me if you would sponsor one of my kids! Click on the link below to join me as a sponsor & LET’S CHANGE THE WORLD ONE CHILD AT A TIME!

http://donate.worldvision.org/sponsorchild/worldwide/?CST=ALL&campaign=2201670

P.S.  I will have something very exclusive and special planned for each of you who sponsor one of my kids through WORLD VISION this year!

Christmas 2012 Vertical Front copyJESUS said….

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?  When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you?  When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’   Mathew 25:35-45

WV Logo_legal_tagJOIN THE WORLD VISION REVOLUTION!

https://www.facebook.com/worldvision

http://twitter.com/worldvisionusa

http://blog.worldvision.org/

http://www.youtube.com/worldvisionusa

Published in: on January 9, 2013 at 3:27 pm  Comments (15)  

Giving Julia Back: Weeks 24-25

one year later :)

one year later :)

12/12/12

Life goes on, I know, but over a year later we still long to hold our little girl as much as the day we had to let her go.  Our entire family just feels incomplete without Julia.  There is something missing and that something is our baby girl.  Jake and Jack miss her and talk about her all the time…and I love that!  Even Jolee Kate told me the other day that her little sister was in Heaven with Jesus.  We talk about her daily but she is no longer here with us.  If I had one word to describe all of this it would be “bittersweet.”

our angel

our angel

And I may sound like a broken record, but I have to tell you the truth:  I thank God for giving me Julia Grace everyday.  Getting to be her Daddy is one of the greatest honors I’ll ever have.  Holding her in my arms and singing to her as she gracefully slipped away is one of my most treasured memories.  If you are in any way feeling sorry for me and my family…DONT!  I am not sharing my story seeking sympathy.  We still hurt but we are o.k.  I am sharing Julia’s story because through this ordeal I witnessed first hand the grace of God, the power of prayer, and the importance of a strong church family.  I am sharing Julia’s story because I want to tell this world about the love of Jesus Christ.  If you are hurting I want you to know that you can find peace and assurance even during your most intense moments of suffering…just as I did…just as I still do.

“Come to me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.”  Matthew 11:28

WEEKS 24-25

AUGUST 7th 2011- 10th: JULIA’S SPONTANEOUS SEAWORLD TRIP 

Kimberly is not spontaneous at all.  One time I tried to plan a last second trip to Maui when she was 10 weeks pregnant with Jake.  For whatever reason, God only knows why, we didn’t go.  Probably because she just didn’t have ample time to prep, primp, and pack.  I was so frustrated!  I was like throw in your swim suit, sunglasses, and sandals and lets do this!  But we didn’t.  Needless to say, she is a bit obsessive compulsive and has to have everything planned out perfectly to a T.  I on the other hand, will make plans, change plans, or cancel plans at the drop of a hat.  Then again, I do kind of fly by the seat of my pants.  Give me five minutes and a backpack and I’m ready to travel the world.  My wife will take two full days to pack enough for a month when she is only going to be gone over night.

JAKE & JACK SEAWORLD 2009

JAKE & JACK SEAWORLD 2009

So, back to Kimberly never being spontaneous…yesterday evening out of nowhere she said, lets take Julia and the kids to Sea World this next week.  I was shocked and said absolutely!  At the beginning of the summer we had planned on going but with the recent events we had put it on the back burner.  The boys will both start school in two weeks so we thought with all the drama it would be nice to take them to Sea World for an end of summer trip.

Checking out the sharks!

Checking out the sharks!

We have been going to Sea World every summer for the past four years and I guess it is becoming a bit of a family tradition.  We always stay at a the wonderful Hyatt Hill Country Resort & Spa, which is literally 1 mile from the front gates of Sea World.

Jolee Kate floating and kissing on her daddy.

Jolee Kate floating and kissing on her daddy.

We wake up in the morning, eat breakfast, and do the Sea World thing until mid-afternoon, and then once it’s miserably hot and we are all tired and cranky, we head back to the resort for a little rest.  The remainder of the afternoon and evening we spend hanging out at the pool, and floating the lazy river for hours on end, only stopping for a burger from the grill and the nightly roasting of s’mores!  I am really looking forward to getting out of the house and out of our everyday routines.  It has been a tough month and we could all use a little rest and relaxation.  Shamu here we come!

AUGUST 9th 2011 – BITTERSWEET REMINDERS

Smoochin' a Beluga!

Smoochin’ a Beluga!

It’s good to know people who know people.  Through my involvement with the San Antonio Rodeo and some various private events in the Hill Country area, I have met a great guy at Sea World who always gives our family the royal treatment.  Not only do they hook us up with free park admission, they also give us VIP passes, free rides, free food, and backstage passes to meet the animals.

Holding a baby flamingo...right before it pooped all over Daddy!

Holding a baby flamingo…right before it pooped on Daddy!

We get to see a side of Sea World that not many get to see and it is an amazing experience.  I am the Dad and even I am having a blast feeding the dolphins, petting a shark, and kissing on a Beluga Whale.  Seeing our kids have so much fun has really been a breath of fresh air, but the gloom of the inevitable is still very much present.

little reminders everywhere we go

little reminders everywhere we go

Even as I walk around Sea World, I am reminded of Julia.  I pass by the souvenir shops and a small license plate with the name Julia jumps out at me.  I walk by the cafe and there are personalized mugs and the name Julia catches my eye.  All the families with four children, all the other pregnant women, it all reminds me of her.  Not to mention, every where we go, there is someone saying to Kim, “How far along are you? Do you know what you are having?  Oh that’s so exciting, a family of four…how perfect!”

BIG BROTHER JAKE

BIG BROTHER JAKE

At the Shamu show there is a family of four right in front of us, two older brothers and two little sisters, all sitting side by side.  And at this very moment, that is our family as well.  Jake and Jack are side by side next to Jolee Kate who is sitting on Kimberly’s lap, right next to her little sister inside her momma still.  At this very moment we are all together and that feels good.  Oh, how I wish it could always be this way.

Jolee Kate floatin' with her Daddy

Jolee Kate floatin’ with her Daddy

There are times while riding the rides, watching the shows, and splashing in the water that for just a little while I forget about what is to come.  But then I look at Kimberly, and then look down at her belly, and the sadness or the reality we are facing overwhelms me.  But I am ok.  Heartbroken, but I am ok.

BIG BROTHER JACK

BIG BROTHER JACK

I know that I am blessed, and even through this ordeal, I remain blessed.  There are three perfectly healthy babies with me here right now and their smiles and laughter fill me with pure joy.  If my life ended tomorrow, there is no doubt that I would leave feeling blessed.  This short last second vacation has been good for our broken hearts and weary souls.  We decided that we were calling this Julia’s Sea World Trip.

 

AUGUST 14th 2011– “MISSING DADDY” from KIMBERLY’S BLOG

Most of you know that Aaron went to Europe for 8 days…he left Monday, July 25th, and came back Tuesday morning, August 2nd (which was our 8 year anniversary).  Before he left on that trip however, he had two shows the week before (he cancelled his Thursday show because we were waiting on results of the amnio at that point and he didn’t want to leave me) and my Lubbock BFF came to town and stayed with me two nights.  LOVE her.  Along with her and her luggage, she even brought my favorite candy.  It was definitely like old college times for sure.  ;)  Ha!  Anyhow, after Aaron flew out, I had more company.  Two of my very best friends and college roomies come in town to stay with me the first 2 days he was gone.  Then, I had my precious mother-in-law, and then our sweet babysitters (who have become like my little sisters I never had) stay with me until my mom and niece, Natalie, flew in Friday the 29th.  So…I had lots of company to sit and cry with.  :)  Sometimes ya just need to cry though, and if you know me well, you know I am normally not a crier at all.  But the tears seem to flow freely lately.  And it is so touching to have people come just to love on you and care for you, out of genuine concern.  I am very thankful for the friendships I have; y’all have helped carry me, and will continue to carry me, I am certain.

IMG_8436.JPGAnd speaking of friends, Sunday afternoon, July 31st, a friend of mine came by with this special delivery.  She was so sweet to think of me.  And what a neat idea she had.  She contacted our mutual friends on Facebook and had the most precious basket put together full of all sorts of goodies.  Lotions, scrubs, music, nail polish, gift cards, crosses, thoughtful cards, and most of all, meaningful and heartfelt words.  I felt so, so loved and cared for.  Again, so thankful for the gift of friendship and the relationships we have because of Christ.

Jolee Kate playing in the water!

Jolee Kate playing in the water!

Anyhow, now we can get to the other pictures of what happened when Daddy was in Europe!  Well, the camera came back out when we were out on the back porch, enjoying another 112-degree afternoon, and this precious little thing wanted to play with the water hose.  It’s like it hit me, “Run!  Quick!  Grab your camera!  These are some shots you don’t want to miss!”

JAKE LISTENING TO DAD

JAKE LISTENING TO DAD

We all handle missing Daddy in different ways.  :)  Jake was really getting tired of Daddy being gone.  Guess I am boring after a while!  Ha!  Anyhow, one evening, he asked if he could listen to daddy in the game room again…and I come in 15 minutes later, and see him in the same place in which I left.  The only change was that his chin was now resting on his arm, and he looked so pitiful.  And it wasn’t an act; this smile was something I encouraged for the sake of the picture.  Previously, there was no smile; just a sad little boy who had drifted off into thought, missing his daddy.  It was both sad but precious at the same time.  And it may sound strange, but I am so thankful that their daddy is such a good daddy that his children ache when he is away.  We are so fortunate.

Crocodile eating a guerilla...?

Crocodile eating a guerilla…?

Anyhow, well, moving along…Jack enjoyed playtime in Jolee Kate’s room.  There’s nothing new there.  :)

JK baking cookies!

JK baking cookies!

And Jolee Kate, she has been enjoying her new kitchen as well.  I know she’s a little young, but let me just tell you, she loves it!  Bakes cookies already!  That-a-girl.

JK talking to Daddy in Europe

JK talking to Daddy in Europe

And one of the last things we did a lot of, was talk on the phone with Daddy at a rate of something like $20 a minute!  Ha!  When you are on an entirely different continent than the rest of your family, a phone call is all you have, and he had to hear their little voices.  But when we hung up, there were often tears.  :)   

AUGUST 15th 2011: BEDTIME PRAYERS

The Watson Boys / Sea World 2011

The Watson Boys / Sea World 2011

One area where I feel I constantly drop the ball is the issue of bedtime Bible stories and bedtime prayers.  The problem isn’t that I don’t want to, it’s that there’s hardly enough time to with the way we schedule things.  If we had the kids in bed by a decent hour, it would be so much easier.  Their daddy has a crazy schedule though, and I think I pretty much throw everybody in the house out of whack because of that.  As the seven o’clock hour rolls around, we should be technically getting them into bed, but we usually play, play, and play, and then all of a sudden realize we still need to do baths, and by the time we are out, lotioned, dressed, teeth brushed, and have the infamous “one more drink of water,” it is almost 9 o’clock.  At this point the kiddos are getting very tired and cranky and so is Daddy.  I often feel myself getting frustrated and a little short with the boys.

check out the chunky monkey eat ice cream in the back seat.... SeaWorld 09'

check out the chunky monkey eat ice cream in the back seat…. SeaWorld 09′

On this day in particular, I really needed the boys to lie down and chill out.  But Jake and Jack decided to have a WWF wrestling match there on the bed, which I always allow, and then they got a real bad case of the giggles.  I’m not going to lie, the giggles gets me cracked up.  It’s been years since I’ve actually had the giggles.  I can remember getting them in school with a buddy, and even if the teacher was red hot mad, I couldn’t stop the giggles.

JAKIE BOY

JAKIE BOY

Anyhow, on this evening in particular, I needed the boys in bed right away!  Kimberly and I had to get up at 5am so that we could be out the door by 6am and heading to Fort Worth for a 9 o’clock appointment with a Pediatric Cardiologist who was going to take a good long look at Julia’s heart.  I was totally exhausted already and I needed to go to bed early.  So I tuck them in, lights are out, and then Jake remembers that I didn’t feed the fish…I mean our one fish.  We have a fish that apparently is some kind of immortal…I accidentally have managed to kill all the other fish, but this guy is tough.  I am convinced that you could drop him in a bowl of Clorox and he would survive.  Anyhow, so I hop up and feed our fish.  Jack then reminds me that we didn’t say our prayers.  As we say our prayers, we hold hands together.  Jack says the longest, sweetest prayers you have ever heard!

My Little Preacher / JACKIE BOY

MY LITTLE PREACHER JACKIE BOY

“Dear Dod, thank you for my pends (friends), thank you for my bruder Jakey and my sister Dolee Tate (Kate), thank you for my Daddy and keep him safe on da bus…(fifteen minutes later)…”  The last thing my little Jack says in his prayer was “and Dod please take care of Dulia Dace (Julia Grace) inside my mommas tummy and please make her hurt foot and broken heart all better.  In Jesus’ name we pray…(and then he screams) AMEN!!!”

AUGUST 16th – APPT. WITH THE PEDIATRIC CARDIOLOGIST

So I don’t go to bed till about 1am and I swear I lay my head down and it’s not but 5 minutes later and I hear Kimberly whispering, “Get up Daddy, it’s time to get ready for the appointment.”  She rubs her hand through my hair and I slowly open my eyes, and see my beautiful wife.  I hate that she has to go through this.  And even as she goes through this “hell of an experience,” she does so with such grace and dignity.  She is one classy gal!  And she is the best mom in the world.  She loves her babies and she revolves her life around them.  Anyhow, we have a pleasant, quiet drive to Ft Worth.  We see the Doctor.  We get more bad news.  We cry a little more.  We gather our stuff and we head down to the valet at the front of the hospital and load up in the car.

As we leave the hospital, I inform the wife that I am taking her shopping.  She says, “Oh, I’m ok, let’s just go home.”  I then say, any mall you want, buy anything you want, and she says, well there are a few things that I was wanting…so we head to the mall.  ;)  That girl shops happy or sad!  She probably even shops in her sleep.  We hit every store inside that monstrous mall and last but not least, her favorite…Nordstrom’s.   On the way home, I stopped in Weatherford and got a triple shot espresso and a few hours later we were home in time for dinner.

AUGUST 16th 2011– from KIMBERLY’S BLOG

“We were advised to have a Fetal Echo done and Dr M was kind enough to schedule an appointment for us at Cook Children’s Hospital on Tuesday, August 16th.  Aaron and I left at 6am in order to be there in time for our 9am appointment.  Once we arrived, we valeted our car and headed to Patient Registration.  That took a bit, and then after a while, they escorted us up to the 3rd floor to a waiting room filled with parent’s anxiously waiting while their child was having surgery.

After 30-40 minutes of waiting, a nurse came and took us back to one of the rooms equipped with the ultrasound machine used for the Echo.  It was essentially the same procedure as any 2D ultrasound, except they look at almost nothing except the heart.  The sonogram technician worked for well over a half an hour, and took what seemed to be a thousand pictures of her little heart from every angle possible, and then told us they were extremely behind that morning, and that it may be a while.  So, since I was lying in a hospital bed, and being that I am very familiar with such, I just adjusted that bed to my liking and waited as patiently as we could for the doctor to come in.

The doctor’s name was Dr. R, and let me just say, she was absolutely wonderful.  It was very obvious she was a Christian, and the peace and understanding that was given to us by her was great.  We talked with her over 45 minutes, and not one time did she ever make us feel like she was running out of time, or that she had to go.  She began by doing a lot of talking and explaining, and then allowed us to ask as many questions as we had.

Let me clarify by saying that we knew going into this that the whole point of having the Echo done was only to give us a better idea of what we will be looking at after delivery, that we knew full-well this wasn’t going to “fix” Julia.  It was simply for more understanding and preparation as to what might lie ahead.

So basically, in summary, this is what we were told:  Our baby’s heart is very much like a Down Syndrome heart.  In fact, she said she wished she could tell us it was far worse because it would make it easier on us as the parents.  But it’s not.  It’s very similar to the typical Down’s heart.  Our baby has ASD, VSD, and in very plain terms, pretty much has 2 chambers instead of 4.  If our baby wasn’t an “18 baby,” they would operate at 4 months of age, and with the corrective surgery, our baby would live. Complications, yes, and some damage done to the lungs, yes.  But she would live.  And probably live between 30 and 50 years of age.  However…because she is in fact a “18 baby”, as they call them, that would not be the case.  She continued to tell us what we already knew, that close to 75% of all 18 babies die in the womb.  And then a large percentage of babies that are able to make it full term end up dying during delivery.  Then, a very small percentage dies within minutes to a few hours of delivery because they cannot breathe.

Here is where it gets complicated.  She said that our baby looks to be one that they call “a survivor,” but only in T-18 terms.  Survivor, meaning, live a few days…or a few weeks…or maybe even a month.  However, she said it all depends on how the baby does at delivery.  She said it could not be the case at all, because we are talking about such a small chance the baby would even be born alive, etc.  So, she said we would first see if the baby makes it to term and survives the delivery.  If she does, then you see if she is going to breathe.  Most of these babies have such severe mental retardation that they literally do not know how to breathe and they call it apnea, and the baby dies within minutes.  But, if she breathes, then you next see if she is going to eat.  And again, another major characteristic of these babies is that they do not eat.  So, we see if she will eat.  And she said hardly any of them do, and that in the majority of these babies, their esophagus does not connect to their stomach.

And that’s the kicker.  If you can’t eat and you can’t breathe…what quality of life do you have?  It’s not what we want for our child.  However, it gets sticky and tricky, and complicated, and just not a whole lot of fun at this point.  Assuming she would even make it this far.  But we literally will have to make decisions on what we do for our daughter.

Do no resuscitate vs. resuscitate?  Trachea or not?  Feeding tube?  G-Button?  Etc. Etc. What will we do if she makes it to this point?  I honestly do not know.  But we have been advised by nearly every physician we have seen…and it is exactly what we have felt in our hearts since we got the devastating blow: Comfort measures only.  I hope I do not offend anyone by saying that, but most of my readers are parents, so just think about it for a minute.  Why do things that may cause her to suffer when nothing will change the fact that she has Trisomy 18, considered by doctors to be one of the two worst chromosomal errors, and ultimately is not going to live?  Big decisions lie ahead.  And decisions I never have thought about having to make.  But decisions Aaron and I may have to make in the coming weeks, should our baby be born alive.  Sometimes it honestly doesn’t seem right to have to even consider these things.  However, I know that our strength does and will come from God; it will be Him who will lead us through it all, and holding us up when we cannot stand on our own.

Our baby girl Julia Grace

Our baby girl Julia Grace

Please continue to pray for Aaron and I.  Finding ourselves in the middle of this raging storm is more than I can put into words.  At times I am still in utter and complete shock that we are where we are.  How?  Why?  Oh yeah, because He allows life to happen.  He loves us, and loves us so.  But He never promised us rainbows every day.  Right now, in the midst of this storm, we are giving it our all, and clinging on to Him.  And we have full faith that the rainbows will appear again one day.”

Published in: on December 14, 2012 at 8:44 pm  Comments (9)  

ACHING HEARTS/REAL GOOD TIME

I’m sorry I have been a bad blogger lately but I promise to be better here in the near future.  In my defense, I have been hard at work on our new record “REAL GOOD TIME” which was released yesterday and is currently #2 on the itunes country chart.  Woohoo!  So I hope you will check it out if you haven’t already got it. Hint hint!  I haven’t posted anything in what feels like forever even though I have so many of Julia’s blogs almost ready to go… with that being said, I just wanted get some things off my heart because I have been on a rollercoaster ride of emotions today… 

Today has been a bittersweet day for my family.  On one hand there is the hype and excitement that comes with releasing a new album.  On the other, there is sorrow and heartache as we celebrate the life of the little girl we lost a year ago today.  I can’t help but think that instead of letting red balloons go in honor of her memory we should instead be having a strawberry shortcake birthday party right now.  I feel I should be posting pictures of a cute curly headed one year old brunette that has cake smeared all over her face but all I have is this sweet little black and white photo.  It would be an understatement to say that this last year has been a rough and rocky road, but rain or shine, God has seen us through.

What you do not know is that after losing Julia Grace, I cancelled all my fall studio dates.  Recording this new album was the last thing in the world that I wanted to do.   We did reschedule the dates for January and February but I still had my doubts.  The distraction of my broken heart was far worse than any form of writer’s block.  As the holiday season arrived, I quickly began realizing that in the next few months I would begin recording an album that I had not yet written.  The pressure was building.  Late one December night, out of frustration, I hung my guitar on the wall and I hit my knees in prayer.  I simply asked God for his help, nothing profound, and then I went to bed.  A week passed with no words or melodies….not one single note!   And then one day I woke up inspired.  In the following weeks I would write the bulk of the REAL GOOD TIME album as if it were no big struggle at all.  Looking back now, there is no doubt in my mind, my heart and my soul that this was God answering my prayer.   The fact that REAL GOOD TIME came out yesterday and has charted at the top of the Country Charts for album sales is but yet a tiny testament to the power of God.

You see, I have no choice but to give God all the glory.  There is no major label, no record executive, no publishing company, or mega marketing firm …there is only God.  He has blessed me immensely through my family, my friends and my fans.  And though I am flattered at the successes from this week I am not surprised one bit because my God is an awesome God and all things are possible through him.

JULIA’S BIG BROTHERS & BIG SISTER SENDING HER BALLOONS TO HEAVEN

More than anything, I just want to say thanks to everyone who has both supported my career and kept my family in their prayers.  I also want to say that we miss you Julia Grace and though we selfishly wish we could have you here with us, we know that you are at home in Heaven.  “At home in Heaven,” that is what I call a REAL GOOD TIME.  Knowing Julia Grace is up there with Jesus surrounded by all our loved ones makes me smile.

LOVE YALL,

AARON WATSON aka THE HONKY TONK KID

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me…” Matthew 19:14

Published in: on October 10, 2012 at 7:17 pm  Comments (33)  

THE DAY THE MICK DIED

I APOLOGIZE FOR BEING SUCH A BAD BLOGGER…THE LAST FEW MONTHS HAVE BEEN CRAZY BUSY!  THE GOOD NEWS IS THAT MY NEW ALBUM “REAL GOOD TIME” IS FINISHED AND WILL BE OUT AROUND THE MIDDLE OF AUGUST!  YEEHAW!  MY FIRST SINGLE, “RAISE YOUR BOTTLE,” WILL BE AVAILABLE ON ITUNES AROUND MEMORIAL DAY.  ALL PROCEEDS FROM THIS SONG THAT I WROTE FOR MY DAD WILL BENEFIT THE BRAVE MEN AND WOMEN WHO HAVE PAID THE PRICE TO GIVE US FREEDOM! 

ALSO, I ALMOST HAVE JULIA GRACE’S NEW BLOG READY (WEEKS 24-25).  WE ARE DOING GOOD AT THE WATSON HOUSE, BUT I HAVE TO BE HONEST, WE HAVE OUR MOMENTS FROM TIME TO TIME.  THERE IS AN EMPTY HIGH CHAIR AT THE KITCHEN TABLE.  THERE IS AN EMPTY CRIB IN A BEDROOM.  AND THERE WILL ALWAYS BE AN EMPTINESS INSIDE OUR HEARTS.  WE LONG TO HOLD AND LOVE OUR BABY GIRL.  SHE WOULD NEARLY BE 7 MONTHS OLD NOW.  IT STILL HURTS AND IT ALWAYS WILL.  WE CONTINUE TO ASK FOR PRAYERS AND WE CONTINUE TO PRAISE GOD THROUGH IT ALL.  “WHEN WE ALL GET TO HEAVEN WHAT A DAY OF REJOICING THAT WILL BE…”

THIS NEXT POST IS A LITTLE SOMETHING THAT I WROTE LAST YEAR.  I THOUGHT WITH THE SMELL OF SPRING AND NACHO CHEESE IN THE AIR IT WOULD BE A GOOD TIME  TO POST A BASEBALL RELATED BLOG!  GOD BLESS AND I HOPE YOU ENJOY!  PLAY BALL!

THE DAY “THE MICK” DIED

THE MOVIE, SANDLOT

THE SANDLOT GANG

If you’ve seen the movie, The Sandlot, then you basically know my Dad’s childhood.  For a boy in West Texas in the 1950’s, life revolved around sandlot baseball.  There weren’t all these reality TV shows and video games like the ones polluting our world today.  Kids got their rears off the couch and went outside to play.  If they did watch a little TV, it was in black and white and it was probably either Howdy Doody or the Lone Ranger.

THE SUPER CUTE WATSON GANG

In the movie, The Sandlot, Scotty Smalls is the new kid in town with no athletic ability or knowledge of baseball.  The kid couldn’t kick a ball much less throw it.  He is uncoordinated, goofy, and even the duck bill hat he wears looks ridiculous.  Whether it’s a politically correct statement or not, the biggest insult you can give a little boy on the baseball field is telling him that he “throws like a girl.”  Well, the new kid, Smalls, throws like a girl and the sandlot gang is slow to embrace the nerdy kid who is so eager to earn their approval.

THE SWEET FACE OF VICTORY

One hot summer day, future Major Leaguer Benny “The Jet” Rodriquez hits the ball so hard that it literally rips the cover off the ball, which is a feat that every boy dreams of doing, you know, just like Roy Hobbs does in The Natural!  The entire sandlot gang is in awe, amazed at this tremendous showing of brute strength and power, but Benny is heartbroken!  That was their only ball and they didn’t have the 98 cents between them to buy a new one. The new kid, Smalls, sees this as a great window of opportunity to get in good with the gang and earn some respect.  The whole team is down in the dumps, but he rises to the occasion and says, “I’ve got a ball!”  In all actuality, Smalls doesn’t have a ball, but his step-dad has an autographed Babe Ruth ball in his trophy case.  Smalls doesn’t even know who the Babe is, but races home and snags the ball like a thief in the night.  He shortly returns with ball in hand, and being that he provided the new ball, he gets the privilege to bat first.  Play ball!  The game after the short delay resumes again.  Smalls, who generally couldn’t hit a beach ball sitting on a road cone, somehow connects with a fastball and crushes it over the fence into the forbidden backyard of the Beast!  The Beast, in the eyes of these little boys, is some type of massive, ferocious monster, but in reality is a 300 lb. English Mastiff…a beast nonetheless!  The entire sandlot gang rallies around Smalls, cheering as if he had just hit the game winning home run in the seventh game of the World Series.  Smalls’ brief excitement quickly turns to panic as he realizes he won’t be able to retrieve the irreplaceable ball.  The gang tries to console him, assuring him they can get another ball until they get the whole story from Smalls, who is still unaware at the importance of the ball he had so ignorantly borrowed.  They will spend the rest of the movie trying to retrieve that ball.

Here’s the monologue from the movie after Smalls hits it over the fence and is freaking out:

Squints: Where did your old man get that ball?

Smalls: I don’t know. Some lady gave it to him. She even signed her name on it.  Ruth.  Baby Ruth.

All: BABE RUTH!?

Smalls: I was gonna put the ball back.

Squints: But it was signed by Babe Ruth!?

Smalls: Yeah, you keep telling me that! Who is she?

Ham: WHAT? WHAT?

Kenny: The Sultan of Swat!

Bertram: The King of Crash!

Timmy: The Colossus of Clout!

Tommy: The Colossus of Clout!

All: BABE RUTH!

Ham: THE GREAT BAMBINO!

Smalls: Oh my gosh! You mean that’s the same guy?

THE REAL LIFE SANDLOT

THIS PROBABLY LOOKED A LOT LIKE DAD’S BASEBALL

In 1956, Mickey Mantle came to Midland Texas.  My Dad took a brand spanking new baseball, as shiny as a polished pearl, and had the Mick autograph it.  That Mickey Mantle autographed ball would sit proudly on the mantle in my dad’s room.  But later that year, one hot August day nearing the end of the summer, my dad’s sandlot gang would run out of baseballs.  Being without a baseball is tragic to a young boy because no ball means no game.  My dad, well aware of what he was doing, would walk into his room and grab that ball he had been displaying so proudly.  He sacrificed one of his most treasured gifts at the time, so he and his buddies could continue their summer time sandlot series.  Of course, years later, Dad says he wishes he still had that ball, but I honestly treasure the story much more than I would some leather wrapped ball of twine.  It just goes to show that even though the boy loved Mickey Mantle, he loved baseball just a little more.

6 YEARS OLD AT CORONADO ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

I grew up very similar to my father.  I loved baseball even more than my girlfriend and I would play ball every chance I got.  We even built a mini wiffle ball ballpark in the backyard.  I used my yard mowing money to buy high wattage lights and extension cords so we could light up the field at night.  I had lights strung up in the trees, on the roof, and half way up a power line pole.  There were cords running everywhere!  It was a sight that rivaled Chevy Chase’s house in the 1989 movie Christmas Vacation.  It’s a wonder we didn’t burn the place down or get electrocuted.  The outfield fences were made of old wooden forklift crates and we painted them the same green as the Monster at Fenway.  The grass was plush and we brought in dirt for the infield and the pitcher’s mound.  Behind the center field fence we had a U.S. flag, a Texas flag, and a small pennant flag that my friend’s mom made that said “IWL,” which stood for International Wiffle Ball League.  We went way over the top and it was really a sight to see!  We played for hours and hours on end.  Even in high school when most kids were looking for a party, my friends would park in the alley and we would play wiffle ball till 3 am in the morning.

DADDY & HIS BALLPLAYERS!

JACK (20 MONTHS) JAKE (3 YEARS)

Baseball was life.  I had the heart. I had the hustle. I had the fundamentals.  Perhaps, I was just a little short on talent.  Even during my hard-headed teen years when Dad and I couldn’t see eye to eye on anything, we still had one thing in common, and that was baseball.  I would even go as far to say that God used baseball or a baseball player to open my eyes and nudge my soul a bit.  As a Dad now, I enjoy passing on my father’s and my love for the game to my two little boys.  My wife says that I am borderline brainwashing them and I absolutely agree with her!

SUNDAY, AUGUST 13, 1995

17 YEAR OLD PUNK!

I was seventeen years old and I was ready to give my life to Jesus.  I had actually started thinking seriously about it when I was sixteen, but the thought of getting up in front of our huge church congregation and making that commitment scared me to death.  I kept putting it off Sunday after Sunday after Sunday.  One day I turned around and realized I was quickly approaching my 18th birthday and I had been avoiding the most important decision of my life for nearly two years.  So a few months ahead, I set a date to be baptized on my birthday, which happened to fall on Sunday, August the 20th.

HIS WHOLE LIFE AHEAD OF HIM

On Sunday, August the 13th, exactly a week before the big scheduled day, I woke up to the smell of coffee brewing.  Some of my most treasured memories are my early morning visits with Dad while drinking his famous cup of joe (something we still do even today, except now I make the coffee.)  That particular morning as we turned on the TV we were surprised to hear the news that in the early morning hours, Mickey Mantle had passed away from cancer.  Dad and I just kind of sat there in silence.  I remember feeling a little heartbroken for Dad, knowing his boyhood hero had just died.

ONE OF MY FAVS

Mickey Mantle is to Dad what Nolan Ryan is to me.  Dad has told me countless stories about the Mick.  For example, he would say, “Did you know Mickey was the first person to hit a home run in the Astrodome?  In 1965 the Astros played the Yankees in a pre-season exhibition game and the Mick christened the outfield bleachers with the Astrodome’s first home run.”

SO YOUNG…

So there I am watching the news with Dad and a small documentary about Mickey came on, starting with his small town Oklahoma raising all the way to his rise as a New York Yankee superstar.  They went through his entire life and even with all his outstanding accomplishments it took not much more than a minute.  He went from a 19 year old teenage boy to an old man in his 70′s just like that.  Watching his life flash before my eyes, hit me like a wild pitch right in between my numbers.  Right then and there it occurred to me just how short and bittersweet life really is.  I felt a sense of urgency.

LIFE GOES BY IN THE BLINK OF AN EYE

That Sunday morning as I got ready for church, I decided today was going to be the day.  The day I would give my life to Jesus.  Why wait another week?  On the drive to church, I told Mom and Dad the news.  I was nervous and a little scared but I did just fine.  It was without a doubt one of the best days of my life.  I always smile when I see some old footage of Mickey because his life, or I guess you could say his death, gave me that little nudge spiritually.  August 13, 1995 was the day the Mick died and the day I was born again.

STEP UP TO THE PLATE…and SWING!

JACK HIDING FROM MOMMA UNDER THE BLEACHERS

Mickey was known for his performance on the field but he was notorious for his lifestyle off the field as well.  To say that the Mick was wild and rowdy is probably a huge understatement.  The Mick played hard and the Mick partied harder.  He lived reckless because he always assumed he would die at an early age.  His father, his uncle, and many of the men in his family had died in their forties from Hodgkin’s Disease.  He was certain that this would be his fate.  Mantle admitted his hard living had hurt both his playing and his family, saying, “If I’d known I was gonna live this long, I’d have taken a lot better care of myself.”

JAKE SMOKIN’ A LINE DRIVE UP THE MIDDLE (AGE 5)

Honestly, the Mick was never a role model or much of a family man, but he came around in the end.  In fact, some might say he came around at the bottom of the ninth with 2 outs and 2 strikes against him, which kind of makes sense being that the Mick is the all-time leader for walk off game winning home runs.

MICKEY & BOBBY

They televised Mickey Mantle’s funeral on TV.  Bobby Richardson, former Yankee second baseman and teammate of Mickey Mantle, preached the message.  In several of Mickey’s books, he wrote of his friend Richardson’s strong Christian faith and how he admired him for it.  Bobby spoke of Mickey Mantle and of praying with Mickey over the phone, and shared with the crowd about Mickey telling him that he had accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior. And when Richardson’s wife had asked Mickey what reason he would give God to let him into Heaven, Mickey quickly quoted John 3:16.

HALL OF FAME NUMBERS!

Mickey Mantle hit 536 home runs, hit 18 World Series home runs, won three American League MVPs, played in 16 All Star games and led his team to 12 World Series, winning seven of them.  He won the Triple Crown and is considered to be one of the best switch hitters of all time.  However, the most important thing Mickey ever did was accepting Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. That was his “greatest achievement.”

THE ALL TIME FAVORITE POST GAME SNOW CONE!

Mickey Mantle waited until the bottom of the ninth to give his life to Jesus.  What inning of life are you in?  There’s no reason to wait.  If it’s weighing heavy on your heart, don’t just test the water by dipping a toe in…jump in head first.  Or perhaps I should stick with my baseball analogies… step up to the plate and swing!

What are you waiting for? Don’t wait around till tomorrow because you never know when your last day may be.  Proverbs 27:1

OF COURSE, THE MOST BEAUTIFUL BAT GIRL IN TEXAS…IF NOT THE WORLD!

When God calls us to a particular task, we need to respond immediately…doing it now and doing it well.  Throw everything you’ve got, at whatever God gives you to do.

PLAY BALL and GOD BLESS THOSE TEXAS RANGERS ;)

Published in: on May 3, 2012 at 8:31 pm  Comments (16)  

GIVING JULIA BACK -WEEK 23

Dedicated to my wife, who amazes me everyday with her bravery, integrity and faithand to the little girl who has changed my world with no words at all.

February 1, 2012 – DFW Airport, flying to Cali 

Last week, as I sat at Gate A29, emotions came flooding back again as I reread the things I wrote about Julia nearly 5 months ago.  I know time will heal but even ten, twenty, thirty years from now it will still be tough.  I may have only held her for a very short time, but I held her for her entire lifetime.  Just as I did with my other babies, I fell in love with her instantly.  I will never get over losing my little girl.  And why would I want to?  I love her; I want her to look down and see how much her family is missing her.  Seeing her again is just another reason why Heaven will be so wonderful.  So as I sit underneath the monitors with all the gate information, a constant steady flow of people continue to pass me in a blur as they scatter to their own little corners of the universe.  Although I don’t recognize any faces, I can’t help but think how we all share one thing in common; we are all susceptible to this cold, cruel world and its harsh realities.  We all lose loved ones, we all experience pain, and sooner or later (hopefully later) we all die.  Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. Sorry to be so real and depressing, but it’s the simple truth.  Life is short and unpredictable with no guarantees.  This life is overrated.  Don’t get me wrong, I love life and cherish every single day, but I will not invest my soul into something that doesn’t last.

“Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.”  James 4:14

I know these blogs about Julia are tearjerkers and sometimes I feel bad dragging folks through our heart breaking experiences.  And if you think these last few posts are emotional then just wait for the blogs from October!  Mercy!  But I’m going to plow through regardless because I feel like this is what I’m called to do.  Please don’t EVER feel sorry for my family or I because we are no different from you or any other family.  Just yesterday a family down the street from where we live buried their sixteen-year-old son.  I do not even know them personally, but I am heart broke for them just the same.  I am not sharing my story with you in search of sympathy.  I am sharing this story with you because you too have hard times ahead of you as well.  So prepare yourself.  I know there is someone out there right now going through hell or who has already been to hell and back and I want him or her to read this and know they are not alone.  I want to share my FAITH, my HOPE, and my LOVE with them.

For example, today my road manager forwarded me an email sent from a sweetheart from Fullerton, California who came to one of my shows out on the west coast.  Bless her heart; she has been through some terribly hard times over the last couple of years.  She lost her house in a fire, lost her father quickly and tragically, and then lost her mother slowly to breast cancer, all the while raising her kids and dealing with everything alone while her husband was deployed over seas.  She admits feeling lost, feeling as if her faith has been shaken and she has been very angry with God.  Her email was so heart felt and encouraging, hearing her tell how the story of Julia Grace has helped her regain strength.  Here’s is my short response to her email:

“Honey, it’s ok if you have been mad at God.  He understands your hurt and frustration and knows that some things are almost impossible for us to understand.  Know that God is in no way mad at you.  Being a mother, you will be able to relate to what I am about to say  When one of my babies (Jake, Jack, or Jolee Kate) gets mad at me, does it make me love them any less?  Absolutely not!  I love them regardless and when they are sick and in pain all I want to do is love and hold them even more.  The Bible says we are made in God’s image, therefore we love as HE loves but HIS love is immeasurable and perfect.  HE loves us so much that He sent His Son to save us.  So you are shook up emotionally and I don’t blame you – you have every right to be upset!  But I believe your faith is intact, after all, you have been “MAD” at God, which is proof that you have not given up on Him.  Be mad, be upset, and for crying out loud, don’t stop crying out to HIM.  He will listen to you.

In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried out to my God; He heard my voice from His temple, and my cry entered His ears.”  2 Samuel 22:4 and 7 

JULIA HOLDING HER DADDY'S HAND

Honestly, I’m looking forward to the days of writing some less draining, less dramatic types of blogs but this is the story I’m telling right now.  Though Julia’s short life is already over, her story and her impact on her daddy continues to go on and on and only GOD knows how her short sweet life will impact this world.  Julia, I hope you know how much your daddy wishes he could hold you right now. ;)

AUGUST 3rd – I WILL CARRY YOU by Kimberly

I can’t even begin to tell y’all how much this song means to me. I literally have every single SELAH CD, and am anxiously awaiting their newest album to be released this month, and out of all of their songs, this song has been one of my absolute favorites for the past 2 years. Little did I know it would apply directly to me one day.

Anyhow, many of you are familiar with Angie Smith’s story, but if you are not, it is very much the same as ours.  Angie’s husband, Todd Smith, is the lead singer for the contemporary Christian group, Selah, and their baby girl, Audrey Caroline, was diagnosed with Trisomy 18 just shy of 19 weeks.  They carried her until 32 weeks, she was born weighing 3 pounds 2 ounces and lived for 2 1/2 hours. Oh goodness, I can hardly handle thinking about what is to come, but I am trying my best to face it with as much courage and bravery as I can.  But honestly, I still can’t believe it’s happening to me. I wish so badly this weren’t the case.  However, as the song says, “I will praise the One who’s chosen me to carry you.”

Here is a link to the video:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J2CnUtVY35o

I have also copied the lyrics below.  This song will forever be special to me. 

I Will Carry You 

There were photographs I wanted to take,

Things I wanted to show you

Sing sweet lullabies; wipe your teary eyes,

Who could love you like this?

People say that I am brave but I’m not,

Truth is I’m barely hanging on

But there’s a greater story written long before me

because He loves you like this

(CHORUS) So I will carry you

while your heart beats here

Long beyond the empty cradle

through the coming years

I will carry you all my life

And I will praise the One

Who’s chosen me to carry you

Such a short time, Such a long road

All this madness But I know that the silence

Has brought me to His voice

And He says…

(CHORUS) So I will carry you….

I’ve shown her photographs of time beginning

Walked her through the parted seas

Angel lullabies, no more teary eyes

Who could love her like this?

(CHORUS) So I will carry you…

HAIR APPOINTMENT & A LITTLE ANGEL CHARM – August 4th

KIMBERLY'S CHARMS

There are a few things as I husband I’ve learned to dare not interfere with.  One is asking for a bite of Kim’s crème brulee and the other would be asking her to reschedule a hair or nail appointment.  She puts such importance on these appointments that you would think it was a matter of national security.  One time we actually had something last minute come up and she couldn’t make it and it was a huge dilemma.  Apparently there is some unwritten woman law that prevents them from canceling on their beauty parlor.   My wife would cancel a meeting with the President of the United States before she would “no show” on her hair or nail lady!   I do not understand it and I’m not even going to try.

JOLEE KATE FEEDING HER BABY

So anyway, she was supposed to be back a little after 1pm and it was now approaching 2:30.  I called her to see if she was ok and she answered with that fragile sweet sound in her voice, which was an indication to me that she had been crying.  She softly said she was just a few minutes from the house.  When she came through the garage door, her hair was beautiful, but her almond-shaped eyes were red and swollen.  Turns out, after her appointment she stopped by a little boutique in town that sells Pandora Jewelry.

MY BABY WITH HER BABIES

Kimberly has a Pandora bracelet with little dainty charms, all representative of special things and people in her life.  My charm is, of course, a guitar.  Jake’s charm is a giraffe, because when he was two, he loved the giraffes at the zoo and he would always say, “Look Momma, giraffes have a loooong neck.”  Jack’s charm is a little frog.  He still calls a frog a “pog” and it is so cute.  It is going to break my heart when he finally calls a frog a frog instead of a “pog.”  Anyhow, and for Jolee Kate, a little baby doll charm because she is so obsessed with her little babies and she is a baby doll herself.  She walks around the house 24/7 holding and kissing on her babies.  She even goes crazy when she sees a little baby at church, which I find hilarious, because after all she is still a baby. And then Kimberly showed me the charm she picked up for Julia.  Holding that little angel charm between her fingers, she smiled and said, “She will always be my little angel.”  So bitter, bitter sweet.

THURSDAY, AUGUST 4th – Our 8th Anniversary, and 2nd Ultrasound, by Kimberly

Tuesday morning, August 2nd, we saw our precious Julia Grace again.  We had another appointment with Dr. M, basically in order to see the growth over the past 2 weeks (15 days).  Tuesday was also our 8th wedding anniversary.  Going to an appointment as such was not exactly the way to kick off that type of day, but we did it.  It’s like this is our “new normal” these days.  Anyhow, she was weighing 13 ounces, which is still small, or approximately 2 weeks behind.  Given the circumstances of this pregnancy, our doctor’s exact words have been that “ultrasounds serve as our time with our baby.”  Whew.  That is hard to hear, yet at the same time, we know the doctors are right.  So, our plan is to have at least one ultrasound every two weeks for now, and of course more towards the end of the pregnancy, which only God knows when that will be.  And I think that has to be by far one of the toughest parts with this pregnancy…we do not know how long we will have her, and even given her conditions, doctors can not tell us how long she has.  There is absolutely no guessing.  We have been given several facts, one of which is that we do know that over half of babies with T18 die in the womb.  However, as I said, there is absolutely NO way of determining how long she will “hang on.” 

Does that make sense?  Basically, I feel like a ticking time bomb, just waiting to go off.  And really, we are all like that to some extent, because we don’t know how many days the Lord has for us on this earth, but with this pregnancy, it is just hard because you never know what to expect.  It could be tomorrow, or it could be at 28 weeks, or I could carry her all the way to 38 weeks, and still have her on my scheduled c-section date of Nov. 17th.  I have absolutely no idea.

And I think that is what is going to be so nerve wrecking…the feeling of complete lack of control and of uncertainty.  I know that God is in control all of the time and pregnancy in general is not promised to be smooth-sailing, but I guess I am just a little more nervous since I know my baby is not “okay” and that I have to have a repeat c-section, and I am praying for as long of a pregnancy as we can possibly have.

Well, enough of that talk.  Aaron is home from Europe!  He flew into DFW late Monday eve, August 1st, and he had his bus driver pick him up and drive him back to Abilene on the bus that night so that he could get a little rest and be here in the morning to play and get back on “our routine,” whatever that may be.  Ha! Anyhow, he was so sweet…he brought Jolee Kate two hand-made lace dresses, and he bought the boys some toys…a horse, a Knight, and a dragon!  And he brought me a few things for our anniversary.  Look at the wrapping; he said they insist on wrapping your purchases over there.  Ha!

WISE BEYOND THEIR YEARS AUGUST 5th

(Jesus said) Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it. Luke 18:15-17

MY PASSIONATE LITTLE WARRIORS!

Big brother Jake is 5 and little brother Jack is 3 1/2 and they are super, super excited about “baby Julia Grace inside Momma’s tummy.”  Honestly, its stabs me deep when I see them mention her name with such delight and excitement.  I envy and admire them because, I too, want to be so excited about my baby girl, but I’m scared to death to face the inevitable.  The words of the doctors keep haunting me, “your baby is incompatible with life.”  Yet there is still a little part of me that wants to believe that Julia will enter this world defying all odds and shocking the medical world with a perfectly healthy delivery.  Is this my faith, or am I in denial?  It’s probably a combination of both.  I’ve already told friends and family that if she is born healthy that I will travel the globe telling the world of her story.  But then again, I will tell of her story regardless.  She is my baby girl, and every baby is a gift from God.

BROTHERLY LOVE

Naturally, things have been more emotional around the house as of late.  Momma is doing more crying than ever before.  She is exhausted from grieving and worrying. Her spirit is shattered.  I am doing everything in my power to keep the train on the tracks.  I am so thankful for having a house full of sweet kiddos because they give us a joyful, energetic atmosphere.  This week I decided it was time to explain the severity of Julia Grace’s condition to both Jake and Jack.  One night just before our bedtime prayers, I told the boys that Julia Grace has a broken heart and if it doesn’t get better, then she will go to Heaven.  Jake said, “Dad, it’s ok, Jesus will fix her heart in Heaven and then send her back to our house in Abilene.”  Jack chimed in and said, “Yeah Dad, Jesus will fix Julia’s ouchie,” as if he was reassuring me that his big brother’s wisdom was true.  Sometimes I think my two little boys have a better understanding of the situation than I do.  Hearing them pray for their little sister, Julia Grace, every night is something that I will cherish all of my life.  Pure sweetness.

BAD THINGS & GOOD PEOPLE

your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” Matthew 5:45

Lately I’ve had a certain question pop up very frequently.  Whether it’s at a honky-tonk, a church, online, on the road or while I’m out and about at home, it seems like someone is always saying to me, “I don’t understand…why do bad things happen to good people?”  It’s a great question…sure doesn’t seem fair, does it?  Flip through the TV channels and you can find examples of all kinds of injustices.  On one channel there is a National Geographic special about a small village in Africa on the brink of starvation, yet they are so thankful for their new water well and small herd of goats that they have been blessed with from a church back in America.  Look at all those precious little kiddos with their big smiles and deprived swollen bellies running around kicking an old soccer ball barefooted in a dirt field.  Then flip it over to one of the major networks and there are those reality TV shows filled with spoiled rotten brats from New Jersey or desperate housewives from Orange County.  Everybody is fighting, cussing, screaming while wallowing in their self consumed, backstabbing, selfish, superficial, materialistic worlds.  Change the channel one last time over to the Military Channel and watch the World War II in HD episode on the Holocaust.  It’s hard to believe that such a nightmarish atrocity ever existed!  They gathered up the Jews like cattle and filled those concentration camps with innocent children, mothers, fathers, and grandparents.  They were raped, beaten, tortured, starved, murdered and at best, treated like stray dogs.  Then there stands the proud German soldiers, among the naked and helpless, all decked out in their fancy uniforms, skull and cross bone medallions, and their MP40 machine guns, and it just gets my blood boiling.  The Holocaust is by far one of the greatest tragedies in world history!  Now turn the TV off and open up your Bible and you’ll read about the same kind of things you just saw on TV.  Long before being tortured by Hitler and his Nazi’s, the Jews were enslaved by the Pharaoh and his Egyptian army and had their first-born sons cut down right before their eyes.  The Bible is full of real stories about real people like us, surrounded in a world full of scandal, controversy, injustice, murder and pain…lots and lots of pain.

So back to the question at hand…why do bad things happen to good people?  Well, I wish I could answer that question for you but I can’t!  Whatever the explanation, it’s the very same reason why bad things happen to bad people as well.  Since the beginning of time there has been a mastermind behind all that is evil and he shows no prejudices and gives no exemptions.  If you need someone to blame, then point your finger at Satan.  He hates everybody and everything.  If anything, he preys most heavily on the innocent and defenseless.  He is the reason why we suffer.  He is the culprit behind heartache and disappointment.  He is the rodent that spreads disease and death.  Why God has let him torment the world this long is something I cannot explain nor understand. But I do know this, the Bible says that Satan’s days are numbered.

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.”  Proverbs 3:5

ITS OK TO ASK WHY (The following was inspired from a good ol’ fashioned church of Christ sermon I heard once upon a time)

When tragedy strikes, the cry of the soul is “Why?”

The parents of a very smart and very active ten-year-old girl noticed that she was becoming very sluggish and was even slurring her speech at times.  They decided to take their daughter to their family Doctor who referred them to a Specialist.  After seeing several Doctors and running tests they finally diagnosed the young girl with Leukemia.  One year the girl was the starting short stop for the all-star softball team where she had the game-winning hit in the championship game.  Sixteen months, two weeks and 3 days later, after her cancer diagnosis, endless amounts of chemo and a long hard fought battle, their little girl died of cancer.  Her heartbroken mom and dad cried out “God, why did you take our child?”

A young mom noticed that she hadn’t been feeling too good and seemed to be getting more and more exhausted everyday.  Then one night while walking down the stairs, she lost control of her feet and fell down the last few steps.  The next day she went to the doctor and he told her she had multiple sclerosis.  She was told that as it progressed, she would find it harder and harder to walk, and it would eventually be the cause of her death.  Upon hearing the news she broke down and cried, “God, why did you let this happen to me?  I have a husband and two babies who need me.  I am a good wife, a good mother.  What have I done to deserve this?”

RANDY & HIS KIDS

In the book, “The Last Lecture” by Randy Pausch, Randy is a perfectly healthy, middle aged dad, husband and very successful college professor.  He and his wife have three children all under the age of four.  Life is good for Randy and his family.

THE PAUSCH FAMILY

You could say that they are living the American Dream!  Just when things were full steam ahead, Randy’s world comes to a crashing halt when he learns he has pancreatic cancer and only a very short time to live.  One day you are on top of the world planning your next big vacation, consumed in your work, scheming and dreaming, and then the next day you are trying to fathom the idea that you will most likely not be around to see your oldest son’s next birthday party.  Randy’s wife cries out, “WHY, WHY, WHY?”

TAKEN A FEW DAYS BEFORE JULIA'S JOURNEY TO JESUS

There is a couple in their thirties.  They have three beautiful babies but long to have a fourth.  After the excitement of learning they are pregnant again, they prepare for the future.  They plan a big “gender reveal party” for the evening of the big day where they find out whether they are having a boy or a girl.  But that morning, as the couple anxiously waits to hear the big news, the doctor says that he regrets to inform them that their little girl has a condition in which she will not be able to survive.  I walk outside to the parking lot, look up to the heavens and say to myself, “Lord, why is this happening?”

My last example is about a guy in the Bible that goes by the name of Job.  Job was a blameless and upright man; a man who feared God. God had generously blessed him with great wealth, ten children, excellent health, and the love and esteem of his neighbors.  Suddenly, through a tragic series of events, Job lost everything – wealth, children, and respect!  His anguished cry was, “Why?”  “Why was I ever born?” (Job 3.11-19)  “Why didn’t God take my life when everything else was taken from me?”  (Job 3.20-26)  “Why has God turned away from me?”  (Job 9.13-24)  If you have read the Book of Job then you know that it wasn’t God who was attacking Job, but it was Satan who was doing the tormenting, just as he still does today.  The LORD answered Job’s cry, but He did not tell Job “why.”  He just simply said, “Trust me!”

When the going gets tough, God is simply saying, “Trust me!”  Since God knows the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10), we can trust Him in all things – even those that we cannot understand.  Don’t get me wrong, I have a long list of questions for God someday, but I do not doubt His ways because I cannot fathom His magnificence.  Through Julia’s ordeal, I honestly haven’t spent a lot of time asking God “Why?”  I have mostly prayed for strength and understanding.  I have learned that sometimes you just have to saddle up and ride blindly, holding onto your faith, trusting in God’s wisdom, and believing in His mighty power and love. I cannot understand how the earth was created, how He separated day and night, or how He hung the moon and stars.  I cannot comprehend how a small acorn can turn into a mighty oak tree or the everyday miracle of childbirth.  So while I say it is ok to ask God “Why,” we also have to acknowledge that He is the LORD and His ways are not our ways.  So often we look at things from a very shortsighted perspective.  I read about a preacher whose wife does counted cross-stitch designs. If you look at the work from the back it seems to be only a tangled mass of chaos and threads, but on top a beautiful design is being worked out in intricate patterns.  Many times it is hard from a human’s point of view (staring at the tangled mass of chaos) to see the topside where the true beauty is revealed.

“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God” Romans 8:28

Like I said, it’s hard for us to see it now, but God has a master plan and He uses all things in this world to do good and mighty things.  In John 13:7 Jesus said, “You don’t understand now what I am doing, but someday you will.”

MY PAW PAW ON HIS BATTLESHIP DURING WWII. HE WAS A BIG INSPIRATION BEHIND MY SONG "BARBED WIRE HALO".

My mom’s big sister Elizabeth died from cancer at the young age of 16. Elizabeth was a Daddy’s girl, and her daddy was my Paw Paw.  Paw Paw was a good man, but a bad alcoholic.  Before Elizabeth died, she called for Paw Paw and said, “Daddy, take our family to church.”  It took something dramatic like losing a daughter to finally wake that stubborn, prideful old man up, but, better late than never!  Paw Paw went from a drunk on a stool to a man leading a song every now and then at the Kinwood church of Christ just outside of Houston.  The end result was they lost Elizabeth early in this already temporary life, but the LORD used her death to bring Paw Paw back to His kingdom.  Considering the road Paw Paw was on at the time before Elizabeth’s death, it was doubtful whether he would ever give his life to Jesus.  I asked my Mom, who still grieves over the loss of her big sister today, “Was it worth losing your sister knowing now that her death led Paw Paw to being saved and born again?”  Mom unquestionably answered, “Yes!”

You see, God is merciful and compassionate and knows our pain too well.  God sent his Son, not to give us an instant escape from pain and suffering, but to give us hope in the after life.  The sufferings of this world should remind us to lift our eyes towards our home in Heaven where “He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and death shall be no more; neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain, any more” (Rev. 21: 4).  But know that He is also offering us more than just eternity in Heaven.  Throughout this pregnancy my wife and I have experienced other perks from being beneath God’s protective wing.  We have been surrounded with compassion and love from our friends and our church family.  It’s a support system that could carry the weight of the world upon its back.  I honestly do not know how anyone could go through the pain of losing a loved one without being surrounded by the love of Jesus.  I definitely do not have all the answers, and I surely have my fair share of struggles, but I do my best to trust in the LORD.  I constantly pray for strength and understanding, and though I can’t quite explain it, I now see a much bigger picture than I ever did before.  This life is fragile and temporary, and I know I’ll see my little girl again in Heaven after we tell her goodbye here on this earth.

D&E

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.” Psalm 139:13

JAKE - OUR 1ST LITTLE BLESSING BORN MARCH '06

When we received confirmation that Julia Grace did in fact have Trisomy 18 we were given two options, if you want to even call them that.  The first option was to let her continue to grow for as long as she could and if she was able to make it to delivery, to lose her shortly after birth.  The second option was to immediately schedule a procedure known as a D&E (Dilation & Evacuation), which is a method of abortion specifically preformed during the second trimester of pregnancy.  For the record, I am absolutely 110 percent pro-life, yet at the same time, I am 110 percent against anti-abortion extremists who protest using hate and violence.  I understand and appreciate their passion, but I also believe they are going about it all wrong.  I, too, have an intense passion for life, especially for innocent children, both born and unborn, but violence only creates bad media, which distracts the attention from the real issue at hand.  I also have a problem with many of these anti-abortion protesters because they wave the Christian flag, yet do not conduct themselves in the same manner in which Jesus would.  Violence adds fuel to the fire when what that fire really needs is love, compassion, and mercy.  Oh yeah, and forgiveness!  I have researched abortion and even studied it in a college class and honestly, if our society knew the grim details and the truths behind abortion, I believe they would feel much differently about it.  I am all for womens’ rights, but I also believe we have a responsibility to protect our young, first and foremost.

JAKE & JACK

According to the Bible, life begins at conception. Jeremiah was known of God and called by Him while still in his mother’s womb (Jeremiah 1:5).  John the Baptist “leaped with joy” and was “filled with the Holy Spirit” (Luke 1:44) in his mother’s womb.

DIXIE & JACK!

Jesus was “conceived” of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:20) in Mary’s womb.  The Apostle Paul was chosen by God while still in his mother’s womb (Galatians 1:15-16).  The conception of children is seen as a gift from God (Gen 21:1, 2; 25:21).

JACK - OUR 2ND LITTLE BLESSING BORN NOVEMBER '07

When it comes to abortion, my heart breaks for both the mother and her unborn child.  These women and young girls, so heartbroken, desperate, scared, ashamed, and confused, feel they have nowhere else to turn, no other option but an abortion clinic.  So many of these women are completely misguided to the point they completely ignore their motherly instincts and love for their own flesh and blood, which grows within them.  Sadly however, their motherly instincts and love for their unborn child will never go away.  Studies have shown an overwhelmingly high percentage of women who have abortions will suffer from major depression for the rest of their lives; the guilt is simply too much for them to bear.  One day they realize the extent of their actions, but at that point it is too late.  Every child they see serves as a reminder of what could have been.  Every year there is a birthday that never occurred, yet still haunts them like a ghost.  They wonder, what would my child have looked like?  What kind of personality would they have?  What would they have grown up to be?  They long for the child they will never know. Too late, they realize they are missing out on so much.  We need to reach out to these women to let them know there are better options than abortion. I am not being political, just simply speaking from my heart: a daddy’s heart speaking up for little ones who cannot speak at all.  I love the bumper sticker that says, “Thank your mother for letting you live.”  I am not taking a stand against abortion; I’m taking a stand for life…simply saying that life is the only way.  Maybe you have been involved with an abortion in one way or another, and maybe it has haunted you all the days since: I hope you know that God loves you still just as he loves all of us regardless of the mistakes we make so forgive yourself and ask Him to wipe your slate clean.  Live your life and use your experience to help someone else who is going through the ordeal you’ve already encountered.

JOLEE KATE - OUR 3RD LITTLE BLESSING & HER DADDY'S PRIZED POSSESSION...BORN NOVEMBER '09

So here is our dilemma: my wife has given birth three times by c-section over a relatively short period of time (3 ½ years).  With the birth of our first child, Jake, in 2006, there were serious life threatening complications which lead to an emergency c-section after 18 hours of labor.  Because Kimberly had a cesarean with Jake, her doctor felt it was the safest decision to schedule a repeat C-section with Jack, and Jolee Kate and this was to be the case with Julia Grace as well.  Now this is where it gets complicated.  Due to certain medical conditions and the health risks to Kimberly, choosing to carry Julia Grace will most likely mean we will not be able to have any more children.  Kimberly’s body simply cannot handle a fifth c-section.  So if we avoid the c-section with Julia and go ahead with the D&E procedure, we could still try for another baby in the future.  What a dilemma: Carry your baby full term and then lose her, along with the hopes of ever having any more children in the future.

SEEING LIL' SIS FOR THE FIRST TIME!

One doctor after another has said that medically speaking, the easiest and safest route would be to terminate the pregnancy. So much of what I am hearing is far above my comprehension; just because there’s a biology degree on my wall doesn’t mean much right now.  I do know that at the end of the day, we would have to make the decision to end her life.  How could we ever make such a choice?  I can feel her moving and kicking inside her mother’s tummy; she is real and she is alive.  We don’t ever want to let her go, however, eventually we’ll have to.  But maybe, just maybe, we can hold her for a little while.  Like my wife said, “Our little girl has already been dealt a bad hand and we will love her for as long as God allows.”  If there is one in a million chance I can look into her eyes just once, hear her cry just once, sing to her just once, then I will take it and cherish it for the rest of my life.  I am her Daddy and it is my job to protect her, and I cannot bare the thought of her little body going through that D&E procedure.  After she leaves us, I want to see her wrapped up in a tight little bundle as if we were putting her down for a nap.  I can see a little country cemetery and a little shady peaceful spot beneath trees.  It is important that we do everything right during this experience so that when Julia Grace is looking down on us soon, she will know that we loved her in every possible way we could.  It is also important for my well-being and marriage that we do this right. I know this is something we’ll never get over and we don’t need regrets stacked on top of pain.  I will love my little girl her entire life, however long that may be.  All I can do is place this completely in God’s hands; after all He is the Great Physician, the Great Healer.

JULIA GRACE - OUR 4TH LITTLE BLESSING. INCOMPATIBLE WITH LIFE YET SHE IS ALIVE & LOVED

“This day I call heaven and earth as witness against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now CHOOSE LIFE, so that your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God.” Deuteronomy 30:19- 20

Published in: on February 22, 2012 at 3:38 pm  Comments (32)  

GIVING JULIA BACK – WEEK 22

Holding our Julia Grace at the hospital

Dedicated to my wife, who amazes me everyday with her bravery, integrity and faith …and to the little girl who has changed my world with no words at all.

I’m sorry for the delay in between my last two posts.  Going back over and proofreading my journal has really been tougher on me than I expected…but it’s important for me to share this with you, because even throughout this painful ordeal, I have learned first hand that God is good all the time.

JULY 25, 1:00 am FERRARA, ITALY

FERRARA, ITALY

Last week my life felt as if it came to a sudden halt with the news of our baby, but today I am learning that the world keeps on turning regardless.  One second I’m in Abilene, Texas, surrounded by family and friends, and the next I find myself a world away walking the streets in Madrid, Spain.  What an odd and surreal feeling.  After an afternoon of sight seeing in Spain, we hopped on a plane to Bologna, Italy and took a van to my friend Max’s family restaurant in Ferrara, Italy.  After a long day of traveling and airline food, a nice home style, authentic Italian dinner really hit the spot.

PICTURES DON'T DO IT JUSTICE

The food was unbelievable, indescribable and so was the atmosphere and hospitality.  It was by far the most incredible dining experience that I have ever had.  Needless to say, I will never be able to enjoy Olive Garden again!   It was so good that I took all the dishes to the kitchen and began washing them.  You know it was just that good when a guy that hates doing dishes jumps up and volunteers.

THE CASTLE

The hotel where I am staying is phenomenal as well and just happens to be across the street from a castle.  Yes, at this very moment, I am looking out my window at an actual castle with a moat, a draw bridge and all!  I keep thinking to myself, “I wish Kimberly were here to see all this.”  And then it hits me and I realize that even the 7 wonders of the world couldn’t distract her from the shattered condition of her heart.  Even for me, I walk around with a heavy sadness inside.  The last thing I want to do right now is get up on stage, sing, and smile.  Just a few days ago we found out that we are going to lose our Julia Grace.  I still can’t believe this is happening!  Just two weeks ago Kimberly and I were talking about how fun our Christmas cards would be having all four kids, but now the Doctors are saying that will never happen.  How will I manage to stay focused enough to play these shows?  I’ve prayed for strength before, but never like this.  Help me Lord.

JULY 27, STILL IN ITALYVICENZA

Today I sat in a little park area watching a dad play with his two young daughters.  One little girl was around 4 years old and the other looked to be around 2, which is the same age difference between Jolee Kate and Julia Grace.  These two little girls were precious, laughing, screaming in Italian and having tons of fun.  Watching them was bittersweet knowing that Jolee Kate will never get to experience that with her little sister, Julia.

I JUST CAN'T GET ENOUGH!

I know I should be nothing but excited to be in Europe.  After all, most people would consider this to be the vacation of a lifetime. On top of that I am actually getting paid to be here, but I can’t help the way I feel.  Right now I’m missing my family as if I’ve been gone for over a year.  I may be in Italy but my heart is definitely back home in Texas with my wife and kids.  I am especially aching to see my princess, Jolee Kate.  I have been holding her even closer as of late, realizing that I will not get this opportunity with Julia Grace. There are so many images that flash through my mind of things that I will never get to experience with Julia.  Missing out on all those sweet hugs and kisses, from helping her learn to walk, to walking her down the isle, and the list goes on and on and on.  Even the little insignificant everyday things that I so often take for granted, like tucking her into bed.

ONE OF THE NICKNAMES HER DADDY GAVE HER IS "GORGEOUS"

To say that I pamper my girls is a huge understatement!  Here’s an example of the “night night routine” that I go through with Jolee Kate every evening when I put her to bed.  First, I change her into her cute little pajamas, which is mandatory according to Kimberly.  Together, Jolee Kate and I turn on the humidifier and push play on the CD player.  I dim the lights in her room and we dance to her lullaby music.  I swing her around and around and she laughs, squeals, sings and clings tightly to her daddy’s neck.  After a few songs, we sit down and I rock her for while.  We cuddle, she jibber jabbers, and if I’m lucky, she might give her daddy some sugar.  I’ve noticed a trend that she usually kisses on me after I have recently shaved.  I guess like her momma, she’s not a fan of daddy’s sandpaper, scruffy face.  When she’s through with the rocking, she’ll reach for her baby bed.  At that time, I will get up and gently lay her in bed on her tummy.  For what ever reason, she has to have 3 packies (pacifier, binky, whatever you wanna call it), one in her mouth, one in her left hand, and one in her right.  As she lies in the bed she starts to giggle in anticipation of what is fixing to happen.  I then, as she suspects, tickle that little girl from head to toe and she laughs so hard she can hardly stand it.  I finish the evening with a goodnight prayer and give her a little massage and run my fingers through her hair to help settle her down.  Once she seems to be almost asleep, I bend over the rail of the baby bed and kiss her soft, warm cheek.  As I walk out of the room, I say, “Goodnight baby girl”, and she says, “Night night my da-e”.

WALKING LESSONS FROM DADDY!

I am head over heals in love and infatuated with this little girl, which I’m sure makes my wife a little jealous at times.  I’m wrapped so tightly around her little finger that I can barely breathe.  Seriously, I’ve got it bad.  Little Miss attitude has even slapped me a few times and I couldn’t help but find even that adorable (I’m sure I may feel a little differently if she does that when she is 16).  She’s not even 2 and already I’m disgusted thinking about some boy trying to kiss her someday.  Ughh!  I know how I was back then, how I still am now, and oh, how I dread the day.  But I’ve got a solid game plan for the first 18 years for sure.  I figure that between her big brothers and I, we will run off anything and everything that tries to get sweet with our little sweetheart, Jolee Kate.  Now, how frustrated is she going to be with us someday?!

THE WATSON BOYS LOVE LITTLE SISTER

She’ll be the prettiest girl at school that can’t get a date, no matter what!  Teenage boys in all surrounding counties will fear the wrath of her daddy and big brothers, Jake and Jack.  But the sad truth for all of us “little girl Daddy’s” is that we are fighting a war we can’t win: eventually someday she will fall in love with some other man besides me (I hope I can hold her off till she is 30!).  I’m trying to be the best daddy and husband I can be.  I fall short frequently, but I’m aiming to set the bar so high, it will almost be unachievable for any young man to reach my standards.  The young man will have to be top notch in every way because my baby girl won’t settle for anything average.  Every night when I say my little prayers with Jolee Kate,  I also pray for that young man that she’ll marry someday, wherever he is, whoever he is, who is probably only two or three years old right now.

BIG BROTHERS HOLDING JOLEE KATE

I pray that his parents raise him right so that he will be worthy of my little princess’ hand.  Now with all that said, regardless of how good a guy he is, he’s got his work cut out for him.  I don’t care if he’s going to college to be a preacher, for crying out loud!  The Watson boys will always be waiting and watching, and if he isn’t up to par, then he won’t be around for long.

I’m a ROCK STAR in EUROPE in case you didn’t know! Haha!

So I was really struggling with the thought of getting on stage and performing.  My heart wasn’t into it and my mind was cluttered with distractions.  I was also a little worried that we would come all this way and wouldn’t have anyone show up for our shows.  Wouldn’t that be embarrassing!  But like He always has and always will, the good Lord took care of me.

VICENZA, ITALY

I walked into the venue of our first ever European show in Vicenza, Italy for a sound check.  It was a very nice venue called the Crazy Bull.  I hadn’t been there for ten minutes when this beautiful Italian girl saw me and instantly became ecstatic.  She was smiling with tears in her eyes so I gave her a big hug like we were old friends who hadn’t seen each other forever.  She was so sweet.  She said she had been listening to my songs for years and couldn’t believe tonight she was actually going to

ROAD TO FRANCE - EDGE OF ALPS

hear my songs live for the very first time.  I was totally flattered and floored by her excitement.  As far as I was concerned, if she was the only one at my show then it would still be well worth the long trip.  Luckily for the promoter, the show that night was packed and the crowd was fired up.  I was so jazzed about the turn out that I was on my last song before I remembered all my worries.  I had prayed that God would see me through my struggles and he did.  After signing autographs and taking pictures for nearly two hours, I went back to the hotel for a 3 hour nap before we loaded up for the 8 hour drive to France.  What a beautiful drive!  There’s nothing quite like staring at the Swiss Alps on your way from Italy to France.  That was really something for a West Texas boy to see!

THE HONKY TONK KID INVADES FRANCE!

LE PUY EN VELAY, FRANCE

The Honky Tonk KId invades France!  Ok, I’m not going to lie.  I’ve heard all the “Frenchie” rumors about how they can’t stand Americans etc., etc.  I was preparing myself for the worst and I couldn’t have been more WRONG!  The little town of Le Puy was amazing.  Not to mention, Le Puy is the hometown of Lafayette, the French nobleman who came to America’s aid during the Revolutionary War.  Le Puy loved us and we loved Le Puy right back.  We stayed in Le Puy for three wonderful days before we played the 24th Annual Country Rendez-Vous Festival a few miles away in the small town of Crappone.  The Country Rendez-Vous Festival, which rivals huge festivals back home in Texas, was amazing!  The crowds were huge and I was completely taken back by their love for old school country music.  The entire time I was singing, I kept thinking, “How in the world do all these people know the words to my songs?”   It was unforgettable!

ON STAGE IN FRANCE!

There was a press conference that afternoon before our show.  It was probably one of the biggest press conferences I have ever done.  There were journalists from all over Europe.  It was very impressive.  I sat there and answered question after question after question and my interpreter would repeat all my responses in French.  At the end of the press conference, a man raised his hand and spoke up with surprisingly good English.  He said, “Mr. Watson, I have been a fan of your music for nearly a decade now and have always appreciated how hard you tour year after year and how you put out records like clock work.”  I answered with a “Wow, thank you, Sir!”  He replied, “With that being said, I hear how you always give God all the credit for your successes.  Don’t you think the credit belongs to you, Mr. Watson for all your hard work and persistence?’  I said, “Sir, that is a fantastic question!”  I said,” Well, I can’t deny that I have worked my rear off for the last decade and from the outside looking in, it may appear that I deserve more credit than what I give myself.  But that is certainly not the case.  In the beginning, not so long ago, I was a broke college kid, living in a rundown gas station, surviving day to day with never more than $20 in my pocket.  An average country boy and a Mexican guitar…it’s a minor miracle I’ve even made it this far.”  As I reflect on all the different stages of my career, it is obvious to me that God was strategically involved every step of the way.  As one door closed another door would open.  I also witnessed an immediate change in my career once I began singing for Jesus rather than for myself and that was no coincidence.  The truth of the matter is that without Jesus, I’m just another incredibly average honky tonk singer with average songs, an average show.  Without Jesus there is nothing special or unique about me.  But with HIM in my corner, you’d better watch out!  I have faith that can move mountains so you never know where God may take me and this old guitar.  I’ve never had a major record label or fortune five hundred family to support me; I simply have an amazing God and I am where I am today because he has blessed me.  I’m not sure what God has planned for the rest of my career.  Maybe I’ll sell out stadiums someday or maybe my singing career will fizzle out.  Regardless of where I am or what I’m doing, I will give God the glory.  The journalist smiled with the earful that I gave him.  He actually came up to me later that evening and thanked me for my response and music and said that he would be a fan for life.  I thanked him for his question and his unwavering support!

COUNTRY RENDEZVOUS FESTIVAL IN CRAPONNE

I want to encourage all of you to hand your lives, careers, and families over to God.  Give God the glory, give Him your very best, put your trust in Him and then sit back and see the blessings you will experience.  Ok, I don’t just encourage you to do so, I double dog dare you!  I’m not saying God will send the Publishers Clearing House people to your front door; I’m saying keep your eyes and heart wide open so that you’ll see the difference that He will make in your life.  Maybe you feel hopeless.  Maybe you feel like a lost cause, as if you have the deck stacked against you…well, that’s not a bad thing!  Throughout the entire Bible, there are Cinderella stories of people doing the impossible with a little help from above.  God loves the underdog!  God loves you!

JULY 28TH A LITTLE SISTER FROM KIMBERLY’S BLOG

JOLEE KATE'S NEW SUNGLASSES

Just thought I’d post a picture of big sister Jolee Kate in her new sunglasses I picked up for her the other day while getting the boys some new undies.  Isn’t she cute?  I have realized this past week that I get emotional at times when I think of Jolee Kate and how full of life she is, and I just want so badly for Julia Grace to join our family as a tiny little perfect baby that will live and thrive just like her big sister.  I look at her clothes, and long to see Julia Grace in them.  I watch her love on her baby dolls and want so badly to experience her being a big sister in the way that she should.  Each morning when we walk in to get her out of her crib, I tear up because I realize it isn’t going to be like this.  Unfortunately, as much as I desire it, Julia Grace won’t be my little girl sitting on the kitchen floor playing with tupperware and singing her ABC’s like her big sister was this morning.  I guess it’s just hard to accept.

I know some people would say, “Well, this is just God’s plans” but to be honest with you, I get tired of hearing that, ya know?  Yes, I believe God has a plan, but I don’t believe God causes pain.  And the past 10 days have been pain. Lots of it.  I do believe and pray for His Will to be done, but to me, Julia Grace’s condition is just an unfortunate part of the natural course of life.  Trisomy 18 happens before conception (which is so hard for me to even fathom), and it is a fluke.  And it stinks.  Completely stinks.  But I do not believe God “causes” things like these…he simply allows them to happen because it’s just part of life.  Does that make sense?  Anyhow, I just want to state that for the record so that I can look back and remember how I felt, because in no way am I angry at God.  I realize that some people in our shoes would be mad at God, but luckily I look at this differently.  Am I sad?  Yes.  Heartbroken?  Yes. Completely devastated?  Yes.  But God will walk with me on this journey; He promises He will never leave me.  I just need to remember to hold on to His hand and look to Him for my strength because what lies ahead for us is not going to be easy.

JULY 29 BLESSED BY OTHERS FROM KIMBERLY’S BLOG

Touched.  Very touched by the way our friends and family, and even complete strangers, have reached out to support us, to pray for us, love on us, run errands for us, bring meals for us, care for our kids for us, you name it.  We have been so blessed.  And I have no doubt as we continue through this journey, the outpouring of love will continue.  And I am so thankful.  Makes me wonder how people who are not Christians survive the hard times?  What would I do without those that love us and care for us because of CHRIST?  So here I am, exhausted, scared, sad, devastated, broken hearted, feeling defeated in every which way, but yet, feeling thankful for those in my life.  So thank you.

However, I also have learned that this is going to be hard at times.  Realizing people are lending a helping hand, or a shoulder to cry on, is because of their concern for us and the fact that we are carrying a baby that is not going to make it.  Not being a downer, just fact of the matter.  Our baby is “incompatible with life.”  I can not even begin to explain how much those words have haunted me over the past week and a half.  Our precious baby girl, our little Julia Grace, despite all of our hopes and dreams for her, can not medically survive.  It hurts me to the core.

 This week, the cards started coming in already.  And that is when I guess you could say it “clicked’ that there are a lot more of these cards that will most likely make their way to us over the coming weeks and months.  Again, I am thankful for them, I truly am.  It just caught me off guard because it was one of those things I hadn’t even considered, and then I imagined all the things to come.  And I just broke down.

It was so overwhelming to me to realize how many people are already praying for us.  We have received a dozen cards in just a few short days, and 3 cards from people we have never met.  And the few times we have been out and about since we were told “the news,” we have had strangers just stop and smile, or gently grab our arm and say they have been thinking of us and praying for us.  I know things spread like wildfire, and then take into account Aaron’s career and the popularity that it has brought, and we have what seems like all of Texas praying for us.  But it is touching, I tell you.  Humbling, and overwhelming, and extremely touching.

I WILL CARRY YOU JULIA

Today I received a book in the mail called “I Will Carry You”.  Addressed to “The Watson Family, c/o Orphans Entertainment” and it was sent to our business PO Box.  Forget the fact that I had just ordered the book the night before, some sweet fans from Arizona ordered this book for us, contacted Aaron’s management team for our address, and had it sent to us.

 Again, I was SO touched.  The book was written by Angie Smith whose husband is the singer for the Christian group, Selah.  Angie gave birth to a little girl with Trisomy 18 just like I will.  I have followed her blog for 3 years now, however I never had ordered the book.  But hello, “Why?  I wasn’t in her shoes?”  Oh, how I never would have imagined it, but here I am.  I am now fixing to start reading her book about carrying and then losing your precious baby because of Trisomy 18.  Go figure.  Who would of thought?  I do know that I will be blessed from reading it though.  Now to just find the time, and energy, with 3 little ones, being 6 months pregnant, and a husband that tours the country, and now the world.  ;)  Ha!

            Anyhow, well, it is late, and I am getting wordy, not to mention that I need to get to bed so that I can be a good, halfway functioning mommy tomorrow, but so many of you have asked how I am doing.  And well, since I’ll never be able to respond to everyone on Facebook, or through emails, or texts, etc., I figured I’d use this blog, because after all, it’s our family scrapbook and this will give me records of how I felt from time to time.  So, to answer the question, considering the past week we’ve had, I’d say I am doing okay.  Monday and Tuesday of last week (July 17-18), I couldn’t stop the tears from falling; I literally flooded my bed. I remember thinking to myself, “How am I going to make it?” And I thought that several times.  And the time between the initial visit to Dr. M’s, the trip to Dr. B’s in Ft. Worth for additional ultra sounds and an amniocentesis, and then waiting as patiently as one could for the results of that amniocentesis, I still often found myself in total disbelief that this was in fact happening to me.  To me?  It is so rare, but yet I was the statistic?  The 1 out of 3,000?  Huh???  It sure didn’t make sense then, and it still doesn’t yet, and I am not sure it will ever FULLY make sense.  But I still know that good will come out of this because He is in charge.  Romans 8:28 is a good reminder when it says, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him.”  Well, I do love Him.  We both love Him.  And we know that He loves our little girl far more than we ever could begin to love her.  So because of that, despite the unbearable pain at times, I am doing okay, because I know that ultimately it is out of our control and that as much as I dreamed of having her here, He will be calling her home.  And I have to accept that, learn to deal with it, and in time, I know I will heal.  I am not saying it will be easy, but I will make it.  On that note, as redundant as I may sound, thank you again for your prayers for us.  In a lot of ways, ya’ll are helping to carry our load, so thank you.  Please don’t stop.  We love you all.

JULY 29-30th – LAST DAYS IN FRANCE

THE HEAVENLY PIZZA MACHINE

After a week in Europe, I’m almost getting use to ordering food without speaking the native language.   Once I pointed to a plate on the table next to mine and then pointed to myself.  The waitress quickly figured out that this dummy wanted what that guy beside him was having.  Trust me, that’s a much better way to order food than taking a gamble by pointing at something on a menu you can’t read.  That method backfired on me several times.  On one such occasion, I ordered food I thought was something else and when they brought out my plate, I knew I would have to be just short of starving to death in order to choke it down.  One of the band guys (who will eat anything) gladly accepted my untouched leftovers.  By the time we paid our bill, I was bummed out because the supermarket had closed for the night and I was hungry! It was a beautiful night, so we decided to walk the town square, and like an angel sent from heaven, I walked up on a self-serve pizza machine!  Pizza machine,you may ask?  Instead of being a coke machine, it’s a pizza machine.  You put your money in and 10 minutes later it kicks out a tasty, hot pizza!  Genius if you ask me.

Our last show was on Friday and we don’t fly out til Monday morning so I basically had two extra days to kill in France.  I had thought about flying back home but to change my flight from that Monday to two days earlier on the Saturday was like a $3,000 dollar difference in airline costs.  I decided to sit tight and relax, save that $3,000 dollars and spend some of it on a nice surprise for Kimberly.  So I went jewelry hunting all day Saturday and Ill have to say that I did pretty good ladies!  A guy can score some serious points by bringing home jewelry from Italy and France!

Organ at Cathedral Notre-Dame du Puy

On Sunday, the day before we were to head back to the good ol’ USA, I woke up early and decided to walk around and visit the different cathedrals in town, just as I had done in Italy.  They are such architectural masterpieces.  Spiritually, I don’t get much from all the extravagance and the statues of all the different religious figures. In no way do I mean any disrespect or to discredit their existence in any form or fashion.  These martyrs and saints deserve to be remembered and to have their story told because they are role models and great examples of true Christian faith.  After all, Saint Peter is one of my heroes, but he is still not my Savior, he is not Jesus.  I did enjoy spending lots of time in these different Cathedrals and the peacefulness and serenity within them.  In the Cathedral Notre-Dame du Puy I thoroughly enjoyed the huge pipe organ that was continuously playing.  I sat down in one of the pews and spent a little time in prayer amongst all the shrines, candles and fellow tourists.

The Beautiful Cathedral Notre-Dame du Puy

As I was leaving, a couple, who had come from Germany to see me at the festival, walked up and began to visit with me.  They were so nice and their English was fantastic so it was refreshing to have someone to talk to for once.  At one point the wife said, “Are you Catholic?”   And I said,” No, I attend a little church of Christ back home in Texas.  I could tell that she had no idea what a “church of Christ” was.  I then smiled and said,” I just love Jesus”.  She laughed and said, “I love Jesus, too!”  Isn’t it too bad that we have complicated things with so many different denominations?  Just imagine if all the different kinds of churches were to get past their petty differences and join forces.  Talk about putting an end to world hunger and all the different major issues of that sort.  Instead we waste time, chasing our tails, arguing about things that in the grand scheme of things really don’t matter.  Is Jesus up there thinking that we are missing the forest for the trees?  The next time someone asks me, if I’m a Christian or Baptist, Catholic, Methodist etc., I’m going to say that I’m a follower of Jesus!   By saying so, I am saying I believe with all my heart and soul that Jesus died on the cross for the forgiveness of my sins.  And I will try to live my life according to the word that God has given us…which is a daily struggle, if not an hourly one.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”  John 14:6

Saint Michel d’Aiguile Chapel

Later that afternoon, I enjoyed a good hike to the top of a volcano where there is a chapel called the Saint Michel d’Aiguile, which was built in 962. Yes, I mean 962 as in over 1050 years ago!! There was an old cemetery near the base of the volcano and on the way down we went through it.  Maybe I’m weird but there’s just something fascinating, yet humbling about a cemetery and I’ve always been intrigued by this.  There were lots of family plots, with large marble boxes. Apparently, they cremate the bodies and place the urn inside the marble box and I noticed some families had over 300 years worth of family in one small area. As we were walking out, I noticed a small gravestone with a little girl’s name and I noticed the baby girl died on the day she was born.  It kind of hit me like a ton of bricks and I couldn’t help but get all choked up inside.  I hiked back to my hotel and began packing my bags for the return trip home.  I went to bed early that night watching BBC, eating the left over Nutella and crackers that I had bought in Italy.

AUGUST 1-2nd, JET LAGGED BACK TO REALITY

SUNRISE IN FRANCE VIA IPHONE

We woke up at 5 am and rode a chartered bus from Le Puy France to Lyon; then we hopped a train to Paris and it literally dropped us off at the front door of the Paris Airport which they should rename the Paris Zoo because it was CRAZY!  Finally after waiting, worrying, standing in line, running to our terminal we boarded our plan and flew from Paris into Boston.  Ok, I hate to say anything negative about any place or anybody but the French were 100 times friendlier than the Bostonians.  And I guarantee more people in the Paris airport could speak English then at the Boston Airport.  I felt more at home in Paris then I did there in Massachusets!  I saw dirty looks and mean faces around every corner.  If you looked at someone and smiled or even said hello, you would have thought you’d just insulted their mother.

At customs, I had a Boston Police Officer give me the drill: Why are you here? What do you do? Where are you going? I answered: I was in Europe, I have a country band, and I’m heading back to Texas.  He said, “I can’t stand country music…You a Ranger’s fan?  I said,” Yes”, hence the Rangers hat on my head.  He said,” I hate the Rangers.”  I said,” Well, I hate the Red Soxs (actually now I have to like the Red Soxs cause my buddy, Aaron Cook just recently signed a deal with them)…then I said,”The only team I despise more than the Red Soxs is the Yankees.”  Then he looked at me and smiled.  We had found our common denominator, our shared hatred for the New York Yankees!  Haha!  He asked for my website and then wrote it down.  I jokingly said, “You probably won’t care for my tunes…I know you folks up here are into Justin Beiber and New Kids on the Block.  He laughed and we shook hands.  Then we boarded our plane to Dallas and headed back to God’s country!  The weather in Europe was perfect with the temperature lingering around 65 the entire time we were there and sometimes I even needed a jacket.  I obviously wouldn’t need that jacket for much longer.  We landed in Dallas, got our luggage and exited the airport at midnight and it was 97 degrees!  We were back home for sure.  I had my tour bus pick me up and drive me back home to Abilene.  After a 28 hour trip I was home, dog tired, and excited to see my family.

It was a fun trip with huge crowds and fantastic shows but the ride home was brutal!  You can imagine how much I needed a large cup of coffee in order to go with Kimberly to her sonogram appointment at 9:30 am on the morning of my return.  I pretty much live my life in a constant state of jet lag, but I was really feeling it big time this particular morning.  One day I’m in France and the next I’m back on the other side of the world, back to reality sitting in the waiting area with my wife in Dr. M’s office again.  There are lots of expectant mothers and husbands anxiously awaiting their appointment.  You could see the joy and excitement on their faces.  I know this joy well; I have felt it three times before with Jake, Jack, and Jolee Kate, but today the feeling was mostly numb.  We’ve had half a dozen Doctors tell us that our baby will not, can not survive.  Yet with broken hearts, we were still excited to see the sonogram of our little Julia Grace.  After all, she is our baby and we love her.

The nurse opened the door, called Kimberly’s name and we walked in together, hand in hand, into the same room where we had received the bad news just a few weeks earlier.  They rubbed the jelly on Kimberly’s cute belly and placed the wand like instrument on her stomach and just like that, there she was, my baby girl up on the big screen…kicking and moving all around.   I smiled, teared up, touched her on the TV screen and said, “Oh how I wish I could make you all better, baby girl.”  If her cure was at the top of Mount Everest I would have already been there and back in record time but…that is just a bunch of silly talk.  Like the half dozen Doctors have said, “she is incompatible with life,” but I hold tight to my faith and I still have hope.  My heart just won’t let me give up on my little girl.  I’m stubborn, hard headed, and definitely not a quitter.  I don’t care if every doctor tells me to give up; I will still pray and fight for my girl until I have to give Julia back.

AUGUST 2nd – 8 YEARS AGO TODAY

MR & MRS AARON WATSON!

8 years ago today, I got married to my Kimberly.  It seems like it was only yesterday and hard to believe that we’re just a few years away from a decade.  Let me rewind back before the proposal.  She knew I had bought a ring because she was snooping around and saw my bank statement.  I was frustrated with her nosiness because I wanted it to be a big, BIG surprise.  So out of vengeance, cruelty, and my own personal enjoyment, I decided to delay the proposal for a while and have some fun!  I was out on the road playing shows and was talking to her on the phone when I spontaneously decided to pull a prank on her.  I told Kimberly that I had hid the ring somewhere in her apartment and if she could find it, she could have it.  Well, she totally took the bait and for the next few days she completely destroyed her apartment in search of her ring that in reality was in my safety deposit box at the bank.  When I got home Sunday, I went to see her and when I walked through the door it looked as if a tornado had hit her apartment.  I started laughing and couldn’t stop laughing and when she found out that the ring wasn’t there, she was not happy with me.  She had this look of total disbelief.  She looked so cute, all flustered with her hair falling down in her eyes, her little nostrils flared.  Did I mention that I couldn’t stop laughing…she eventually cooled off and couldn’t hold back her smile watching me roll around hysterically.

SHE WAS EXCITED, I WAS BROKE ;)

That next week I decided I better quit playing games.  It was time to make her mine by putting that diamond ring on her finger.  It was a few weeks before Christmas, snow was on the ground, and it was cold.  I took her out to eat and then we drove a few miles outside of town to a ranch where they had over a million Christmas lights on display that you could drive through.  We had Frank Sinatra Christmas music playing in the background as we admired all the beautiful decorations.  At the halfway point, they had a place to park where you could get out, make smores over a campfire and drink hot chocolate.  Out in the middle of this farm field off to the side of the campfires there were giant letters as tall as a house spelling out three words lit up with Christmas lights: BELIEVE, HOPE and LOVE.  After we finished our smores and hot chocolate, I took her by the hand out into that pasture with “Believe, Hope and Love” all around us and then and there I hit my knee and asked her to marry me.  It was magical!  She said ”Yes!” and that began a new chapter in my life.  She had mascara running down her face and I didn’t cry at all.  Ok, maybe I teared up a little.  It was one of the sweetest, most exciting moments of my life; one I will never forget.

THE ROLLS ROYCE KISS

We had the wedding nearly eight months later near Seattle, Washington.  It was a beautiful and extravagant wedding, far beyond the expectations of this west Texas boy.  I had nothing to do with the wedding.  I gave my opinion if it was asked, otherwise I kept my mouth shut and everything went as smooth as butter.  Here’s a word of advice for all you future grooms: when it comes to your wedding, stay out of it unless your bride specifically asks you to do something.  If she shows you dresses, look and act as if you care and say, “Gorgeous.”  If she shows you flower arrangements say, “Absolutely beautiful.”  Don’t forget that this is her day more than it is yours.  She has been dreaming of this day since she was a little girl, while you have been dreaming about that honeymoon night since you were a teenage boy.  Do what you’re told, show up on time, tell your groomsmen to behave and to be quiet.  Don’t lock your knees and when she walks down that isle, don’t you dare ever forget how you feel for her right there in that moment.  Your marriage will NATURALLY have it’s ups and downs and you have to sometimes go back to square one and remember how you truly feel for her despite all the current distractions…like bills, in-laws, kids, jobs, etc.

THE RECEPTION

So smile for the millions of pictures ,despite getting agitated and before you know it, you’ve said, ”I do,” you’ve kissed your bride, and you’re both in a Rolls Royce headed to the reception.  Our reception was amazing, but of course I kept checking my watch wishing it would hurry up and end…remember what I said about teenage boys?  We spent the next week in Maui, came home, bought a little house, a little dog and schemed, dreamed and starting planning on making a family.

I look back at these pictures and smile.  We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into.  What in the heck was my bride thinking?  Honey, did you really marry a guy that is nicknamed “The Honky Tonk Kid”?  I love that girl more than anything, but please don’t look at these pictures and my sweet words and think, “The Watson’s have it all figured out, they have the perfect marriage” because that couldn’t be further from the truth.  Now I’ve already mentioned how much I love her, but the flip side to that is that no one can make me more angry than her.  She knows where the chink is in my armor, that small unprotected spot on my heart where she can do the most damage.  I am crazy about her and at times she drives me crazy…what a confusing scenario it is at times.  I crave her, desire her, and get incredible grumpy and temperamental when I can’t have her, and I get emotional when I’m away from her.  I’m her puppy on a string and sometimes she drags me around like that dog you’ve seen at the park that has a choke collar around his neck as if my four little paws can’t keep up with her pace.

NOW YOU KNOW WHAT INSPIRED "UNBELIEVABLY BEAUTIFUL"

Needless to say, choking or not, I am happy to be hers.  As much as I loved her then, I love her ten times as much now.  I would defend this girl to the death; there is nothing I wouldn’t do for her, which makes me feel so much more helpless during these hard times.  I wish I could take her pain away, but I can’t.  But I can be there for her every step of the way and I will be.  I love you, babe.  Happy 8th Anniversary!

Published in: on January 14, 2012 at 12:02 am  Comments (17)  

GIVING JULIA BACK – WEEK 21 (PART TWO)

OUR SWEET JULIA GRACE

Dedicated to my wife, who amazes me everyday with her bravery, integrity and faith …and to the little girl who has changed my world with no words at all.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  Matthew 11:25-30

TUESDAY, JULY 19th – ONE LONG SLEEPLESS NIGHT

Julia Grace’s party was very uplifting.  We needed that party even more so than we thought.  Our broken hearts still needed to celebrate her life while surrounding her with prayer after prayer.  I remember how quiet the house got after the guests had all left and the kids were in bed.  This day felt so surreal yet overwhelming knowing that we were at the very beginning of some very tough times.  We finally went to bed around 1 am, both mentally and physically exhausted.  We desperately needed a good nights rest because we had to be up at the crack of dawn in order to make it to the hospital in Fort Worth in time for our appointment with Dr. B, the Perinatologist.  Unfortunately, I would soon find out after my head hit the pillow that a good nights rest just wasn’t in the forecast.  Around 3 am I woke up to the sound of crying.  Kimberly was sound asleep yet sobbing.  Bless her heart, I woke her up and kissed her and just held her until she fell back asleep.  We would drift off and on for a few hours and then do it all over again until the alarm clock sounded.

“The churning inside me never stops; days of suffering confronts me.”  Job 30:27

After one long sleepless night, we woke up at 6:30 am and got ready for our three hour ride to the hospital.  Thank goodness our friends, Zach and Meg, offered to ride with us.  At first when they offered to tag along I didn’t want to put them out, but apparently they knew what we needed more than we did at the time.  It would have been an almost impossible trip if they had not been there with us.  Meg rode with Kimberly in the backseat to listen, cry, and comfort and Zach rode with me in the front, helping keep me awake and headed in the right direction.  Every mile we inched closer and closer to Fort Worth, my nerves began to twist and turn a little more.  We arrived ahead of schedule so we grabbed a quick bite to eat at the Central Market just down the street from the hospital.  We sat at a table outside with our dear friends and we all desperately prayed for a miracle.  I knew deep down in my heart that there was something obviously very wrong with the pregnancy, but I just didn’t want it to be the fatal Trisomy 18.  To tell you the truth, Kimberly and I prayed for it to be Trisomy 21, which is the condition known as Down’s Syndrome, because then our precious daughter would have a chance to live.  And that’s all we wanted.  How can you want anything less for your child?  Therefore I prayed and tried my very best to stay positive.  In our minds, there was still a glimpse of hope, knowing that Dr. M, the Perinatologist in Abilene, believed we had a 50/50 chance.  So we finished our brunch, loaded up, and drove a block or two and then dropped off our vehicle with the hospital valet.

We checked in at the front desk of the Doctor’s office, sat down in the waiting area, and Kimberly began to fill out paperwork.  A Hispanic family with a little boy in a wheel chair came in a few minutes after we did.  I’m not sure what the little guy’s condition was, but he obviously had very severe physical disabilities.  He had underdeveloped arms and legs and was incredibly small for his age.  He sat in his wheelchair just a few feet away from us and I really got a kick out of watching him play.  He was delightful, funny, and as cute as could be.  That little boy gave me a wonderful feeling of hope deep down inside and I thought to myself, “Lord, we can do this!  We are up to the challenge.  We will love our baby no matter what, no matter the diagnosis, no matter what any doctor has to say.  We put our trust in you, Jesus, because I know that you alone are the Great Physician.”  As I continued to watch the little boy (who was now playing with his gameboy despite his small, underdeveloped hands and fingers), I couldn’t help but smile.  Every time he would successfully win another level on his video game he would let out a big “YES!” followed up with a big fist pump!  Yes, he had visual imperfections and physical flaws, but he was perfect in so many other ways I’m not.  I bet years earlier as his mother carried him inside her womb she was probably told that her baby boy was severely handicapped.  And it probably wouldn’t be a far stretch to say that some doctors may have even suggested terminating the pregnancy.  But thank God his parents finished what they started.  That little boy was precious and so full of life.  Think of all the joy they would have missed had they given up on him.

ROBERT SPEAKING ON MY BEHALF AT THE ACU ALUMNUS OF THE YEAR DINNER

That little wheelchair got me thinking about all kinds of things and especially reminded me of one of my mentors from college.  His name is Robert Reid.  Robert has cerebral palsy and NOTHING has ever come easy, yet NOTHING has been able to stop him.  You see, Robert has a secret weapon, and despite his physical handicaps, he has overcome the greatest of odds.  The kind of odds that would stop a perfectly healthy guy like me dead in my tracks!  Our society has tried to ignore and write off my friend Robert since the day he was born, yet there is no road block or barricade that has been able to stop him or his wheelchair!  He rides around this world as if his small framed chair with wheels is some 30 ton Sherman Tank.  Robert is special.  No.  Robert is a super hero!  Every super hero has his secret weapon and Robert is no different.  Robert’s secret weapon is his love and passion for the Lord.  He has dedicated his life to the Lord and for nearly 40 years has been consumed with his mission work, whether in another country or at your local prison.  The Lord has provided Robert with strength and courage that I can not even comprehend.  He has done well for himself, not to mention marrying a beautiful woman from Portugal.  Not too shabby Dr. Reid.  Not too shabby!  You can’t tell his story in a paragraph, and honestly a book doesn’t even do him justice.  Robert knew Johnny Cash, Buddy Holly and Waylon Jennings on a first name basis and I love hearing his stories about those musical heroes of mine.  But more than anything, I love hearing his testimony and how he has shared the good news of Jesus to people all over the world.  Robert’s life is a testament to the strength of the Lord.

Check out Robert’s book, “Bursting with Life.”  I’ve read it twice!  www.robertreidministries.com/The_Book.html

“The Lord said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’  (Paul then writes) Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.”  2 Corinthians 12:9-10

HUGGING MY GOOD FRIEND

One time Robert told me with his sweet stutter, “Aaron, I have handicaps that people can see, but we all have handicaps on the inside that only God can see.”  Can I get an Amen?  Robert is exactly right!  We are all handicapped in one way or another.  Most of us, myself included, keep them hidden and out of sight, but they are there, lurking in the shadows; an ever present thorn in our side.  Isn’t it wonderful that we have a Father in heaven that loves us despite our flaws, imperfections, and thorns?  Sitting in the waiting room I was reminded of Jesus’ love, and I knew from that moment on that He would equip me with the strength that I needed to get my family through this ordeal.  Trisomy whatever you want to call it, this is my baby and she will be loved, loved, loved.  Well, after a thirty minute wait in the lobby, they finally called Kimberly’s name and we walked in together hand in hand.

JULIA'S LITTLE FEET ON THE BACK PAGE OF MY BIBLE

A sweet nurse escorted us down the hall to a little room, gave Kimberly a hospital gown, and said she would return in a few minutes.  Kimberly changed into her gown and when the nurse came back in, she rubbed some more jelly on Kimberly’s belly and began yet another sonogram.  Dr. B, the Perinatologist came in and after a very thorough ultrasound had unfortunately discovered even more major complications.  The bad news instantly took the wind out of my sails.  We learned on top of everything else there were also serious heart conditions, one called ASD and one called VSD.  She also appeared to have an issue with her little foot but her daddy was very optimistic, “We can fix that little foot and heart, and if anyone ever makes any rude comments then I will just unleash her big brothers on them.”  As Dr. B reviewed the long list of complications, I couldn’t help but find myself becoming very defensive.  After he finished his sentence, I looked at Kimberly and said, “It’s okay babe, Julia Grace is perfect and beautiful.”  Dr. B looked up at us and smiled very sweetly.

Although our baby had several of the characteristics of a T18 baby, it could only be diagnosed by having an amniocentesis.  Therefore we agreed to have the small procedure so that we could get a definite and affirmative answer on the condition of our daughter.  The doctor was still uncertain of whether it was a chromosomal or genetic issue.  I remained hopeful despite more and more bad news.  Dr. B said if the results come back positive for T18 then we really don’t have any options.  He continued to say that because T18 babies are considered to be “incompatible with life,” many couples will go ahead and terminate the pregnancy because the outcome is inevitable.  He said if the test comes back positive then we could simply make an appointment at the clinic the very next week.  My sweet wife, who had been quiet with her tears, instantly spoke up and said,” terminating the pregnancy is not an option.”  She said ,”Our baby girl has already been dealt a bad hand and if the only time we get to love her is while she is inside me then we will make the most of that.”  Dr. B, a seasoned doctor with probably 30+ years of experience, seemed to be taken back by Kimberly’s words of unconditional love.  After a few moments of silence, he simply said, “Then you will just love your baby until it expires.”  “Expires?” I thought to myself,  “Come on, find a better word!  Milk expires, not a baby.”

After the appointment, the valet pulled our car around and we loaded up.  I looked at my wife and said, “What do you want to do now?  You can have anything you want, babe.  You’ve been thru hell today and I’ve got some money to burn.”  She let out a sigh and simply said that she was “hungry and would like a manicure and pedicure.”  So wouldn’t you know it, my buddy and I managed to find a restaurant and a nail salon near the Bass Pro Shop.  Typical guys, right?

“My God, my God why have you forsaken me?  Why are you so far from saving me?  So far from the words of my groaning?  O my God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer.”  Psalm 22:1-2

Oh, and I almost forgot, at the restaurant we had the sweetest waitress in the world.  She was an older lady and there was just something about her that lifted our spirits.  As she brought me my credit card receipt, I noticed that she had written a small message on the back of the customer copy.  As I began to read her words, I became moved by her love and tenderness.  On the note she wrote something like “I usually don’t do these kinds of things but for some reason I felt like God wanted me to write you a message and tell you that everything will be ok and that He is always with you.”  Call it a coincidence if you want, but I believe this was God’s little way of letting Kimberly and I know that he had not forgotten about us.

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”  Psalm 34:18

LIL' MISS SWEET & SASSY!

We returned home from the hospital around 8:30 pm after dropping off our friends Zach and Meg.  As we walked through the front door, it was like a welcome home party!  It was so refreshing to see Jake, Jack, and Jolee Kate!  They were so excited to see their momma and daddy, but we were way more excited to see them.  We decided to let them stay up extra late that night so we could spend some special time with them.  We made cookies, drank chocolate milk and had a good time in the game room.  Their smiles and laughter was a sweet remedy for our broken spirits.

CRAZY JACK!

That night before bed, Jake asked where we had been all day and why.  I told him that his little sister, Julia Grace, inside of momma’s tummy was very, very sick.  I told him that she had a hurt foot and a broken heart and that we needed to pray for her everyday.  Little brother, Jack chimed in and said that “Julia had an ouchie and that we needed to kiss it and make it all better.”  That night the boys and I prayed for Julia Grace.  Jake went first, and then Daddy and Jack prayed last.  We always make Jack pray last because my little man can say a 20 minute prayer.  My Jack is passionate.  He prays for his momma and then he prays for his momma a little more and maybe prays for more toys and then prays for momma even more.  Oh, and did I mention he is a momma’s boy like no other!?

"BIG BRUDDER JAKEY!"

He prays for his “brudder Jakey” his sister “Dolee Tate” and every animal at the zoo.  And just when we think he is almost done praying, he starts back over at the beginning.  Somewhere before Jack could say Amen, I fell asleep.  I woke up the next morning cuddled up with my two little boys.  This experience has made me cherish my children even more so.

WEDNESDAY JULY 20th – STAYING BUSY

BLACK ONES aka CHOCOLATE DONUTS

We woke up that morning still tired from the trip and fearful of the news to come.  Sitting around the house was driving me crazy so I got my boys dressed and we hit the door running.  First we went to our favorite donut shop.  Jake ordered donut holes and Jack asked for black ones, aka chocolate donuts.  I got two glazed, a cinnamon roll, and three chocolate milks for my boys and I.  We sat down, we laughed, and we made a big mess!  After we devoured our breakfast I asked the boys what they wanted to do next.   They both simultaneously said, “The zoo!”

zoo train and swimming trunks!

We have been to the zoo about a million times.  They know the zoo like the back of their hand, but they were more excited than ever because the zoo had recently added a new train ride.  So off to the zoo we went.  We rode the train and we fed the giraffes just like we always do.  After a few hours, we got a toy at the zoo gift shop and then I said, “Now what boys?”  Once again they simultaneously screamed, “Swimming!”

JAKE!

So swimming it was.  We went over to our friend Tarla’s (aka Karla) to swim and that’s when it hit me.  I was there in the pool with the boys, splashing and having a blast, when I realized that my sweet wife was still at home.  I can get away.  I can distract myself by staying busy with work or with the kids, but she can’t escape this situation even for a brief moment.  Everywhere she goes, Julia Grace goes with her.  Julia is right there with her, kicking and growing a little more every step of the way.  So after a while, I told the boys that we needed to go home.  At first they weren’t too happy about having to go home, but after I explained to them that Momma was sad and needed to see us they quickly changed their attitude.  Despite their age, they knew something was wrong and their compassion left me speechless.  So we decided to call it a day.  On the way home the boys and I went by the store and each picked out Momma a dozen roses.  One by one, we walked into the kitchen and said “Surprise!”  She smiled with tears in her eyes and gave us all hugs and kisses.

WEDNESDAY, JULY 20th BROKEN & SHATTERED – from KIMBERLY’S FAMILY BLOG

My heart has never been as heavy as it is right now.  Our appointment on Monday, July 18th, unfortunately was not good.  We found out that our 4th baby is another precious baby girl, just as I suspected, but there are major complications with her pregnancy, just as an expectant mother always fears.  I can not even begin to describe how we are feeling.  Brokenhearted.  Scared.  Devastated.  Shocked.  Empty.  Speechless.  The past 48+ hours have been a complete nightmare and I want so badly to wake up.

We had an appointment with specialists in Fort Worth yesterday and are waiting to hear back from them.  I can not go into details at this time, but when we get definite answers and diagnosis from the doctors, we will.  We can tell you this though: it is very serious and we desperately need your prayers.  We BEG for your prayers.

Thank you so much for loving us and pleading to the LORD on our behalf.  Please, please, please, please, please pray.  Pray for strength and courage for Aaron and I, but more than anything, for our precious Julia Grace.  We need a miracle.

Love, Kimberly

THURSDAY, JULY 21st – THE DREADED PHONE CALL

We put the kids down for their afternoon nap around 2 pm.  Kimberly said she wanted to rest for a little while.  I told her that I was going to run a few errands and maybe head over to the gun range or the golf course.  This was the day we were anxiously awaiting the dreaded phone call from the doctor to hear the results of the amniocentesis.  The anxiety was really eating at me, and like I’ve said before, I was trying my best to keep busy.  I had been out and about for around an hour when I got a call from Kimberly’s friend who was at our house.  She said that Kimberly was on the phone with the doctor and that she sounded really, really upset.  I was about five minutes from the house so I tried my best to drive safely home without speeding.  I prayed for my baby and my wife.  I looked down and I was going 75 in a 55.

At some point as I was heading home, I remember praying again that instead of Trisomy 18 that it would be Trisomy 21 which is Down’s Syndrome.  Down’s Syndrome children are so wonderful and I’ve never seen a Down’s baby that didn’t fill my heart with absolute joy.  I was hoping, pleading for anything but the fatal Trisomy 18.  For the entire week up until this moment I tried to stay positive, but Kimberly kept telling me the whole time that she just knew in her heart her baby girl had Trisomy 18.  I pulled into the drive, walked through the door just as she was hanging up the phone and she collapsed into my arms and said, “I told you, I just knew it, I just knew it.”  I just squeezed her so tightly and we both just cried.  It was confirmed we were going to lose our precious Julia Grace.

Up until this point we hadn’t shared the news with anyone except for family and close friends from church.  Earlier that week on Sunday, the night before we were to find out the baby’s gender at the sonogram appointment, I did a silly poll on Facebook and Twitter asking for votes on who thought it was going to be a boy or a girl.   But Monday came and went and I sent no news, nor Tuesday, nor Wednesday.  It was time that we shared the tough news.

JULY 24th AMNIO RESULTS  - from KIMBERLY’S FAMILY BLOG

Our hearts have been broken this past week in a way we never would have imagined.  Last Monday, we went in with great excitement, anticipating whether our 4th baby we have prayed and long for was a precious baby boy or girl. And as I suspected all along, they told us it was a girl.  But what we did not expect to hear was that they believed she had a terminal condition called Trisomy 18.

Tuesday we drove to Harris Methodist and met with Dr. B, one of the leading doctors in the country in the field of Obstetrics, specializing in maternal and fetal medicine.  Our appointment was just before noon, and it just cemented what we already feared: that our daughter looked to have a rare terminal condition known as Trisomy 18.  She has Choroid Plexus Cysts in her precious head; her tiny little heart has a hole in the upper chambers, and a missing valve in the lower ventricle; she only has a single umbilical artery when you are supposed to have two umbilical arteries and one vein (she is therefore not getting the proper nutrition); and her size is perhaps the scariest part of it all: at 21 weeks exactly, she measured only 9 oz.  None of that looks good.  Individually speaking, things would look different, but when you add them all up, it’s fatal.  Anyhow, because T-18 can not be diagnosed by an ultrasound, you have to do an amnio to find out 100%.  So, Dr. B did an amniocentesis after taking a long look at the baby, and the results came in Thursday afternoon.  My OBGYN, Dr. T, called my cell and all he could bare to say was “It’s Trisomy 18.” and I fell apart.  I knew that it would come back positive, but it hurt like nothing else to hear it.

The following is copied off of the Trisomy18.org site, and it breaks my heart that our family blog now has this type of information on it.  It just doesn’t seem right.

“Trisomy 18 is a chromosomal abnormality where there is an extra chromosome present in every cell of the body.  This is an example of where “the more the merrier” is not true.  This extra chromosome means that every cell has extra information encoded into it.  The extra information causes confusion in the way that the cells are formed and results in the potential malformation of all of the body systems.  Just like with Down’s Syndrome, there is a wide range of how this condition will play out.  Unfortunately because there is more information encoded on the 18th chromosome, the severity of this condition is greater than that of Down’s Syndrome.  Current studies show that while 1 out of 1,500 children will be diagnosed prenatally with Trisomy 18, only half that number (or 1 out of 3,000) will be born alive at full term.  Of those who survive to birth, only half will make it to two months of age, and only 10% will survive to their first birthday.”

What more can I say?  Your entire life is centered around your children…and we just learned that our child has medical issues that she will not be able to live with.  Heartbreaking does not begin to describe the pain. Tonight, Aaron and I went to Perini Ranch to just get away and have dinner together before he leaves for Europe in the morning (he will be gone 8 days, please pray for the kids and I, but also please pray for him while he is gone, for his mind to be at rest, and for him to be safe).  Anyhow, so we drive out to Buffalo Gap, hand in hand, and hardly say a word to each other.  We’d squeeze each other’s hand as to say, “I love you, I hate this.”  We have a quiet dinner, and of course the food was wonderful, but we chatted very little, and just looked at each other in silence, all the while hoping that the waiter doesn’t ask us about our expectant baby, in fear that we will have a break down right there in the restaurant.  And this is only the beginning.  I am almost 22 weeks now, but the road ahead is long…and it is going to be hard.  Have I mentioned yet that we need prayers?  Because we do, and so very badly.

Anyhow, I didn’t want to get wordy, however I fear I may already be there, so please forgive me.  I also don’t want to bombard you or think that we want pity.  Pity is the last thing that we want; it is your prayers we are begging for.  We don’t know what to think of the coming months.  There is so much uncertainty.  And with uncertainty comes fear, at least for me it does.  I won’t elaborate, but if you are looking for something specific to pray for, pray that our baby makes it to full term.  It is so important that I make it full term because I have had all c-sections, so I HAVE to have a c-section again, and the earlier the c-section the more risk is put on the mother.  So if I can be selfish for a moment, please allow me to ask specifically for that.  Also, as you can probably imagine, the baby has a better chance of being born alive the longer I go.  So please, please, please…please pray for us.  For me, and for our precious Julia Grace.  I beg you.

Love, Kimberly

SUNDAY, JULY 24th – MY WIFE, MY HERO

HONEYMOON BOUND... AFTER ALL THESE YEARS YOU STILL GOT IT BABE!

Tonight I took my sweetheart, Kimberly, out to her favorite restaurant.  It’s a little steakhouse called Perini Ranch and it’s nestled in the trees just outside the small town of Buffalo Gap, Texas.  At dinner I couldn’t stop staring at my beautiful wife and admiring how pretty she looked in her cute little pregnant outfit.  We didn’t have much to say tonight; we simply held hands across the table, occasionally giving each other these looks of pure disbelief.  Even in her sorrow, I still couldn’t get over how gorgeous she looked.  I’m constantly telling her how beautiful she is and she always reacts as if I’m lying.  Like any other woman, she still holds herself to the same old standards that she did 10 years ago before her four pregnancies.  Now don’t get me wrong, I loved that 100 pound college girl figure, too, but I wouldn’t trade this for anything.  She is 100 times more appealing to me now than she ever was back then, which is saying a lot!  You young cowboys might not understand what I am talking about just yet, but trust me, someday you will.  There is nothing more amazing and miraculous than an expectant mother…especially when that expectant mother is carrying your child.  I’m not trying to win brownie points with women around the world, but seriously, mothers belong on a pedestal high above the rest of us.  They sacrifice so much and put their bodies through hell while carrying and giving birth to their babies.  I have no doubt that Navy Seals are as tough as nails, but even they cringe at the thought of pushing a baby through the birth canal.  And this brings me to another point of sadness; my wife will endure all the hardships and pains of a c-section without the joy of knowing that she will get to keep her baby.  Some might say that she is doing it all for nothing, but that’s not the way a mother sees it.  If at best she only gets to hold her still-born daughter, she will still nurture and love her just the same.   I’ve always admired this love that Jesus has shown us, but rarely do I witness something that reminds me of His love in this world.  However, as I watch Kimberly, I see that same kind of love inside her.  I have the greatest admiration for my wife, my new-found hero.  As hard as these months ahead will be, I know that LOVE will see us through.

THE WATSON'S (ALL 6 OF US TOGETHER) MOMMA & JULIA GRACE, DADDY, JACK, JOLEE KATE & JAKE

I’m sorry if my sorrow seems redundant, but I am having a hard time wrapping my mind around what’s happening to my family.  This should be a time of pure joy and celebration, but instead we are surrounded by this rain cloud of reality that goes wherever we go.  The doctors say it is inevitable that we will soon lose our baby…nothing short of a miracle from God.  We dread that day.  We will drive to the hospital, we will have our baby, and we will lose our baby.  Honestly, the thought of it tears me up even as I type.  And as I wrap this week up, the fact that life goes on slaps me right in the face.  It’s 1 am and I still haven’t packed my bags for my early morning flight to Italy for my week long tour in Europe.  Europe you say?  Yes, I should be excited, it’s Europe!  But I’m not.  My broken heart belongs here in Texas.  The last thing I need right now is to be a world away from my family.  Literally, a world away.

“Therefore we do not lose heart.  Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.  For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen.  For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”  2 Corinthians 4:16-18

“Be merciful to me, O Lord, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and my body with grief.”  Psalm 31:9

Published in: on November 4, 2011 at 9:34 am  Comments (42)  

GIVING JULIA BACK – WEEK 21 (PART ONE)

GIVING JULIA BACK – Week 21 (Part one) Dedicated to my wife, who amazes me everyday with her bravery, integrity, and faith…and to the little girl who has changed my world with no words at all.

OUR BEAUTIFUL ANGEL

October 10th was one of the most bittersweet blessed days of my life.  After a long and emotional pregnancy, my wife delivered our 4th child, precious Julia Grace at 33 weeks.   Julia came into this world with the sweetest little cry that I have ever heard, and then just like that she was gone.  She was beautiful and elegant and I am so grateful for the little time we got to spend with her.  Like an angel returning home, she left us gently and gracefully without any real pain or suffering.  I haven’t posted any blogs since we found out about Julia’s fatal condition over three months ago but I have documented every week of Kimberly’s pregnancy.  All the highs and the lows, the tears, and the fears.  We buried our little baby girl this week and we are heartbroken.  We are heartbroken, yet hopeful.  We are hopeful because we have Jesus.   Through our pain and suffering I now have a better understanding of the magnitude and true significance of the sacrifice that He made upon that cross.  I am a better husband because of my Julia Grace.  I am a better daddy because of my Julia Grace.  Things have been put into perspective and because of that I am a better man because of my Julia Grace.  She is all that has been on my heart and mind.  I have nothing else to write about except for her.  I would be honored to share Julia’s story with you.   Let me start from the beginning.  Here are my words from back in July.

Jolee Kate, Jack, Jake

My name is Aaron Watson.  Although a lot of people know me as “The Honky Tonk Kid,” a Texas Music Singer/Songwriter, that is really only a small fraction of who I really am.  I definitely have a passion for my music but my true love is my family.  I often say that I am a part-time country singer and a full-time husband and daddy.  I’m the proud father to three healthy, beautiful babies: Jake (5), Jack (3 1/2), and Jolee Kate (19 months).  I am well aware that I’m truly blessed beyond what I deserve!  Every morning when I wake up next to my beautiful bride, the first thing that crosses my mind is, “What was she thinking saying yes to me!”  Ha ha!  I know it sounds cliche but I am married to my best friend and the girl of my dreams!  It seems we only met yesterday so it’s kind of hard to believe that she is pregnant with our fourth baby.  But like they say, “Time flies when you’re having fun” or perhaps, in our case, it should be time flies when you’re in love!

GLOWING, RADIANT & PREGO

My wife Kimberly has always wanted a big family so when we found out we were pregnant with number four she was ecstatic!  Laughing, crying, and literally jumping with joy.  I swear, the only thing that girl loves more than shopping and chocolate is being pregnant!  She has pretty much been pregnant our entire marriage or at least that’s the way it feels.  I can’t even remember what she looks like without her cute little basketball-shaped belly.  I have truly enjoyed watching her over the years evolve from my girlfriend, to my fiance, to my wife and now the mother of my children.  She has come a long way!  For crying out loud, she couldn’t even make a PB & J (peanut butter and jelly) when we first met and now she is my top chef, second to none.  She constantly amazes me with the affection and patience she shows our children.  I am honored to call her mine; she means the world to me.

During the first 21 weeks of this pregnancy we had placed dibs on whether it was going to be a pink party or a blue party.  Kimberly went with “girl” so obviously I had to go with “boy” to make things a little more interesting.  But something inside me kept saying it’s a little girl.  I already have my two boys so I would be thrilled for Jolee Kate to have a little sister of her own to play with.  Not to mention, I wouldn’t mind having another little daddy’s girl at the house to hug and kiss on.  Jolee Kate is infatuated or perhaps obsessed with babies so I can’t imagine how she would flip out to have a real life baby of her own.  Around the Watson house you could feel the excitement in the air and for the first 21 weeks I spent a lot of time praying, thanking the Lord for this blessing, asking only for a healthy pregnancy for both mother and child.  We naively schemed and dreamed about our fourth baby, unaware of what the future had in store.  We were all smiles right up until the moment when we were blind sided by bad news.  Just as the mood has changed around our house, so have my prayers.  We still thank God for this blessing because despite our baby’s diagnosis, she is still a blessing.  We now pray for a miracle, we pray for understanding, strength and comfort.  Seeing your baby move inside your wife’s belly is something that is supposed to bring joy, not pain and fear for what is yet to come.  I’d be lying if I acted like everything was just fine because it isn’t.  We’re having some hard times at the Watson house, but in our greatest moments of anguish, we find courage knowing that there is so much more beyond this fragile life on Earth.  This world is not my home.

I am documenting this pregnancy for several reasons.  Mainly so my kids can look back someday and know what we went through as a family.  I’m also writing this for myself as well, perhaps it’s a little therapeutic.  It’s a hopeless feeling for a daddy when he can’t make it all better; somehow writing this down makes me feel like I’m at least doing something.  There’s nothing I wouldn’t do to fix my baby doll, but there’s nothing I can do except hand this over to God.  I’m in no way giving up on a miracle.  My God is the same God who raised the dead, healed the sick, gave sight to the blind, and turned water to wine and He will heal my baby.   He may not heal her in the fashion in which I pray, but one way or the other, He will heal my baby whether that’s here on this Earth or in Heaven.  I’m praying for the best but preparing for the worst at the same time.  We have some rough, rocky roads ahead of us, but we’ll get through this and our faith will not even feel the smallest tremor much less be shaken.  I forgot to add, I’m also documenting this because I know when I look back someday I ‘ll be able to see how God’s healing hand was on my family.  There’s a little girl who has already changed my life with no words at all.  Her name is Julia Grace Watson.  This is her story and to God we give the glory.  Everyday we are praying, preparing and struggling with GIVING JULIA BACK.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5,6

SATURDAY, MARCH 19th - FOUR MONTHS BEFORE THE NEWS

We’d been trying to get pregnant for several months.  My wife was becoming more and more frustrated with every negative pregnancy test.  Is it bad that it actually crossed my mind that I was spending a small fortune on those little pink boxes?  I, for several reasons, didn’t get too worried or worked up over the failed attempts.  I guess trying to make a baby to a guy is something we would hardly consider work.  Hey, I can’t help that I love my wife and love loving my wife!  Also, we have had 3 kids in 3 1/2 years so we hardly qualify as a couple who was struggling with fertility issues.  But this fourth pregnancy was the first time where getting pregnant didn’t just happen over night.  I think with the first three I brushed up against her while passing her in the hallway and she miraculously became pregnant!  So summer turned to fall, fall turned to winter, and then winter turned to spring, and still no baby.

Around the third week of March, the grass is turning green and spring is in the air!  I love this time of year!  The weather is perfect and the countryside is covered in bluebonnets and indian paintbrushes.  Life is blooming all around.  I’m out on tour one morning when I get a phone call from Kimberly and she’s crying which is something she hardly ever does….ever!  Between her sobbing and having a hard time talking, I can’t understand a word she is saying.  I’m kind of starting to panic!  Is something wrong with the kids, grandparents, a friend?  And then I make out a word and I hear what she’s saying, “I’m pregnant!”  I laugh and say, “OH YOU’RE PREGNANT” and then she starts laughing too.  Then she says, “Well you don’t even sound excited.”  I replied, “What do you want me to do?”  “Do you want me to do a double back flip, or scream at the top of my lungs and wake up everybody sleeping on the tour bus?”  She giggles a little more.  Kimberly was so excited; I wasn’t saying much because I was soaking up the experience of her in this moment, enjoying the joy in her voice.

We decided to wait two or three weeks before sharing the news with friends and family.   Of course, the week we shared the news I also played a big festival in front of 10,000+ people and just couldn’t help telling the large crowd over that monstrous PA system.  Between Facebook and Twitter, it seemed like the whole world instantly knew.  What an exciting time.  When it’s done right, “I’m pregnant” are some of the sweetest words you will ever hear…but still not half as sweet as the first time you hear your newborn baby cry.

WORDS FROM KIMBERLY’S FAMILY BLOG  Throughout Julia Grace’s story I feel compelled to include some of KImberly’s thoughts from our family’s private blog.  Her tenderness, strength, faith, and unconditional love is something that constantly amazes me.  Anytime you see words in italics they will be from my sweetheart, Kimberly.  You are my hero, babe!

PREGNANT WITH #4

Today is Saturday, March 19th, and I am Pregnant with Baby #4!!!  I took a pregnancy test this morning, and much to my surprise, YES, it was positive!!  {And you know me, I had to take a picture, and this was what came to mind…kinda silly, but I actually love it being with the other siblings picture!} Anyhow, just so that I remember…here is what happened today:

The kids and I were all in Jolee Kate’s room playing for close to an hour, and something registered, but not sure what, and I thought, “I’m more tired than usual this week, and nothing sounds good to eat…I’ll go take a test, just to see…why not?”  So I headed to the bathroom opened up ANOTHER new box of First Response Pregnancy Tests, and the two most precious red lines showed up right away.  I am PREGNANT.

I was fully prepared to see a negative, and then wait until Monday, only to see a negative again as well.  Well thank the LORD that wasn’t the case.  In a matter of seconds, the result displayed that I was in fact, no doubt about it, PREGNANT.  And the tears began to flow.  Flow like never before when it comes to my pregnancies.  I was so THANKFUL.  I immediately stopped in the doorframe of the bathroom, with tears running down my cheeks just to meet the huge smile on my face, and prayed aloud to God, thanking Him for this miracle of another baby, another child of His to raise.  And then I rushed to grab the phone to call Aaron and tell him!

Anyhow, I know that I am SO early, and I am not out of the woods yet…and this is just the beginning…but I am going to try my best to be positive and not consider the “what if’s” because the truth is, it’s out of my control.  But IF something happens, I will be okay.  My Jesus is the same today as He will be then, ya know?  I clearly know and believe that He has the entire WORLD in His Hands…which now includes this precious little life.  Easier said than done, but it’s true…and He is ultimately in control.  I am overflowing with JOY!  Thanks be to GOD!

KIMBERLY

APRIL 12th – THE KIDS ANNOUNCE BABY #4!

My wife and her obsession with her camera!  She hauls that camera around everywhere we go.  And everywhere we go she has to take picture after picture documenting every second of every day!  And even though I get totally worn out and annoyed over her obsessive picture taking, I will have to say that she takes some amazing pictures of our babies.  I know I will treasure these precious moments freeze framed in time long after my children are grown.

Kimberly was so excited to share the news with all our friends and family and of course she has to go all out.  She makes the boys little signs and she takes their pictures and makes her own personalized cards to send out to everyone.   Here are a few lines from her blog on April 12th…

MOMMA'S PREGNANT

Here’s a picture of the kids from today with the little announcements that they enjoyed holding. And of course, Jolee Kate just enjoyed holding her baby doll. Hope she enjoys the real life baby coming late this fall!  Ha!

Praying for Baby #4!  We have been to the doctor twice so far and we heard the most precious little heartbeat yesterday.  Our official Due Date is November 29, 2011.

Yes, ANOTHER November birthday (Jack is the 5th and JK is the 23rd), but I’ll take it!!!

I am still rejoicing over this new life…it has been my desire for so long…and I am praying for a healthy baby, and momma!  I would LOVE to have your prayers, too!

KIMBERLY

SUNDAY, JULY 17 – The night before the BIG DAY! by KIMBERLY

Tomorrow morning, Monday, July 18th, is our big sonogram for Baby #4.  I am SO excited and nervous at the same time.  I always am nervous at these appointments, because as you all know, this is when you get the thumbs up that all is perfectly okay with your baby, and that is what I have been praying the last 5 months.  I already have 3 perfectly healthy children and I have begged the LORD for one more.  Anyhow, I am fixing to go to bed.

And names…I think we have agreed on the following!  Julia Grace and Jett Garrison!

Julia I have just LOVED, and it grew on Aaron.  Grace was my great Grandmother’s name.  Jett was Aaron’s idea, and I came to LOVE it once I realized it was spelled with two “t’s”, ha!  Garrison is just a little tribute to my dad, Gary. So there ya go!  Thanks in advance for your excitement for our family and we would appreciate any prayers for us tomorrow.  My stomach is in knots;  gonna give it to Him now and go to bed.

Goodnight, friends!

KIMBERLY

MONDAY, JULY 18th – THE BIG DAY

21 weeks had passed since we had found out that Kimberly was pregnant and today was THE BIG DAY when we learned what we were having!  Learning that your wife is pregnant is exciting, but finding out whether you’re having a boy or a girl, is in my opinion, one of the most exciting days next to actually having the baby.  So the names were in place and the stakes were high.  If it was a boy his name would be Jett Garrison, and if it was a girl her name would be Julia Grace.

Little Sis Jolee Kate

Kimberly had a big party planned with lots of friends and family coming over to hear the exciting announcement.  It’s actually called a gender party!  The plan was to have the Doctor at the sonogram not tell us the gender of the baby.  He would simply write ‘boy’ or ‘girl’ on a piece of paper and then place it in a sealed envelope.   At that point, the envelope was to be driven straight to the bakery by our friend where they would open the envelope.   If it was a boy, then it would be blue cake, and if it was a baby girl then it would be pink cake, concealed and covered in white icing.  We were going to bring the cake home and big brothers, Jake and Jack, would cut the cake (with plastic knives) in front of everyone to reveal the big surprise.  Kim had it all planned out, decorations, food, beverages…the whole nine yards!  She had been talking about this day for nearly four months.  It was to be an exciting day.

The morning of the sonogram the alarm clock went off around 7:00am so I crawled out of bed, the wrong side of the bed, I might add, if you know what I mean.  Usually I’m an early riser, but the band and I had been touring heavily and I was far from being caught up on my so called beauty sleep.  So like some half-dead ogre, I drug my knuckles as I headed toward the kitchen in search of a much needed cup of coffee.  Diesel engines require diesel, lighters require butane, and Aaron Watson requires coffee in the morning….period!  Perhaps only heroine addicts crave their fix more so than me.  Despite asking the wife two times the week before to grab some more coffee at the store, she forgot both times.  Getting very frustrated, because there was NO COFFEE, I stormed into the bathroom where she was getting ready and said, “Where’s the flipping coffee!”   She said, “Oopsy, I forgot to buy some at the store, but there is some decaf in the pantry.”  “DECAF!” I said.  I threw a little hissy fit type of temper tantrum and set the mood for the morning.  She was excited about her baby and the grouch she married just cared about his stupid cup of coffee.  I stomped off into the game room and she shut the door softly and continued to curl her hair.

JACK loves getting flowers for his MOMMA!

Our sonogram with Dr. M was scheduled for 10:30am and the babysitter arrived around 10am.  Kimberly and I snuck out the back door so the kids wouldn’t see us leaving and get upset, but Jack busted us in the middle of our great escape.  He said he wanted to go!  With Jack not being one for negotiating, I decided to load him in the car quickly and quietly to keep from totally exposing our undercover mission.  As I fired up my wife’s new King Ranch Expedition, I made some smart-alick remark like, “As much as I paid for this car you would think it’d come with a small coffee maker”…obviously still sulking over my no cup of coffee.  As we arrived in the hospital parking lot,  Kimberly turned to me and said, “Babe, please act nice, this is a special moment for us and I want to look back on this with happy memories.”  Isn’t she wonderful.  Our relationship has so many parallels to Beauty and the Beast.  I kind of huffed and puffed and half heartily agreed to behave.  I carried Jack as we walked through the doors.  I’d like to go back to that morning and kick myself in the rear for being such a stubborn, hard-headed baby.

We checked in at the front desk and waited until they finally called our names.   Kimberly, Jack and myself went into the little room with all the sonogram equipment.  It was the same room where we had our other sonograms with our other three kiddos.  Talk about De Ja Vu, but that would change as this experience would soon stand alone on it’s own.  Kimberly sat down in the reclined chair and the nurse then put all that slimy jelly stuff on Kimberly’s belly.  As the nurse began to look at the baby, I noticed Kimberly was trying to peak at the screen.  I called her a cheater and she laughed and said “Ok, ok, ok.  I won’t look.”  She then made me put a small towel over her eyes so that she couldn’t see the baby on monitor screen above her.  The suspense was killing her.  She was giddy!  Even in my bad mood, I found her excitement very cute, enough so that it put me back in good spirits.  The nurse on the other hand didn’t say too much.  She wasn’t very talkative, and looking back, she apparently already knew something we didn’t.  Eventually she got up and said,” Dr. M will be with you in just a bit” and then quickly left the room.  In retrospect, there was a very odd, uncomfortable feeling in the air after she walked out and shut the door.

BIG BROTHER JAKE

As Dr. M entered the room, we shook hands and he immediately sat down and started looking at the baby.   I noticed how quiet it was, and I began thinking how different an atmosphere it was than with the other three kids.  Usually Dr. M will ask me how the music biz is going and where had I been touring but there was only silence in the room.  For several minutes he kept looking at the baby’s head and it remained deathly quiet until KImberly broke the silence by asking a question.  KIm asked about her concerns with the placenta because there had been an issue with that in one of her previous pregnancies.  That’s when he laid it down on us as gently as possible.  He said, “The placenta is fine, but I have some very serious concerns.”  I witnessed Kim’s heart hit the cold tile floor.  I will never ever forget the look on my sweet wife’s face, a mother’s greatest fear, the instant tears.   Things all of a sudden felt like they were moving in slow motion, like some kind of dream or out of body experience.  She went from being excited to being heartbroken all in one split second.  One of our friends was in the waiting room (waiting for the sealed envelope with the gender results) so I quickly took little Jack out to her and gave him some bubble gum and my iPhone.

I rushed back to the room and had apparently missed more bad news, because my wife’s tears had turned to sobbing.  Dr. M then filled me in on their conversation and suddenly I was the one fighting back my emotions.  I did my very best to suck it up and be strong for Kim. “There are several concerns,” Doctor M said. “There is only one artery in the umbilical cord instead of two, there are fluid filled cysts inside the skull, and the baby is way behind schedule as far as development.”   We asked a few questions and the word that kept coming back up in our conversation was a condition called Trisomy 18.  I knew this word from a genetic class I’d taken in college, I couldn’t remember what it was, but I could recall that it wasn’t good.  In Dr. M’s opinion there was a 50/50 chance that our child would have a chromosomal disorder.  Despite the blow, I tried to stay positive and hopeful that we would be on the healthy side of that 50/50 odds.  We then asked him what the gender of the baby was and he said, “It’s a little girl.”  My heart sank a little further…my little baby girl, Julia Grace.  Dr. M called Harris Methodist Hospital in Fort Worth and made us an appointment with a specialist for the very next morning.

Dr. M’s office is also in the same location of our good friend Dr. W, our children’s pediatrician.  Jack, a few weeks earlier, had a double ear infection and Kim wanted Dr. W to check it quickly to make sure it had cleared up.  I just walked out in the parking lot and looked up to Heaven in disbelief.  I prayed for a miracle. I prayed for wisdom and understanding.  I broke down and asked God to help me be a better man, the kind of husband my wife needs to support her through this ordeal.  I paced all around the parking lot, wiping my tears away while talking to my Aunt Patsy on the phone.  My Aunt Patsy has had her own experience with this kind of ordeal with my sweet cousin Jodi…we call her Jo Buggy.  Jo Buggy is now in her 30′s, but she mentally has never developed much beyond a young toddler.  Right there in that parking lot I prayed deeper and harder than ever before.  And though I never had God speak to me,  I did feel an unexplainable peacefulness come over me.  I knew then that God would be with me and my family throughout this pregnancy.

Kim exited the building and said Jack’s ear infection had gone away.  She had a glazed look on her face; she was in shock.  Devastated and heartbroken, she wanted to cancel the party that evening and I even agreed at first.  But on the drive home I began thinking about it, and I knew we needed to have the party even more than we did before the tough news.  We needed our closest friends and family over at our house to help us get through this hard day.  We needed to circle around my sweet wife and baby girl and cover them in prayer as well.  Rain or shine, the party must go on because today I got the news that I have been blessed with another baby girl.

JULIA GRACE'S PARTY

There was cake and ice cream as well as lots of love and lots of tears.  We ended the night in prayer for our precious Julia Grace.

As I laid in bed that night next to Kimberly, we just held hands in the dark.  I told her something had changed in me today, something softened my heart, my unborn baby girl already has her daddy wrapped around her finger.  Because of my Julia Grace, I already feel that she has made me a better husband and a better daddy.  Good is good, but for Julia Grace I will strive to be better.  Not in music, but in the things that matter the most: my faith and my family.  If her life is to be short and sweet then I knew letting her go would bring our family even closer together and that would be part of her beautiful legacy.

As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things.  Ecclesiastes 11:5

GIVING JULIA BACK – WEEK 21 (PART TWO) NEXT WEEK

Published in: on October 21, 2011 at 10:47 pm  Comments (51)  

ME & CARRIE UNDERWOOD

Disclaimer:  I’ve been working on a special blog for our unborn angel, Julia Grace, but I’m just not ready to share it yet.  I thought I was but I’m not.  I didn’t want to leave folks hanging without anything so I dug up a little something silly that I wrote over a year ago…hope you enjoy!  And thank you so much, from the bottom of my heart, for all the kind messages via mail, email, Facebook, twitter etc… I don’t consider you fans but friends and family.  Thank you for your never ending support and unconditional love.   Please continue to keep my wife and baby in your prayers… xo, aw

ME AND CARRIE UNDERWOOD  – Yes mom I know it should be “CARRIE UNDERWOOD & I”

“You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.” Matthew 5:5 (The Message)

            Ok, so maybe the title is a little misleading…I mean a whole lot misleading but I bet it got your attention.  I’d like to think that Ms. Underwood is well aware of the Honky Tonk Kid and even knows a song or two of mine, but who in the heck am I kidding!  She wouldn’t know me from Adam.  The truth is that Ms. Underwood and I are about as far apart on the Country Music spectrum as two can be.  She is a gorgeous blonde that looks and sings like an angel and I, on the other hand, am a “not so gorgeous” brunette who is about as incredibly average as an average country boy can get.  She has probably sold more records in ten minutes then I have sold in the last ten years of working my tail off.  She is married to a hockey player and I like hockey about as much as I like cauliflower or those squishy green peas that mom forced me to eat by making me sit at the kitchen table for hours until I did.  I can honestly only tell you a few songs that she sings. I know “Jesus Take the Wheel” and the song where she vandalizes her cheating boyfriend’s car.  It’s the one that goes “I dug the keys into the side of his pretty little something, something four wheel drive then carved my name into his leather seats…”  *Quick note to all you ladies…whether your man deserves it or not, destroying his car will certainly get you a little jail time.  If by chance you cannot contain yourself, then please leave behind no fingerprints, and for crying out loud, don’t carve your name into the seats because this kind of evidence will only incriminate you further when you go to trial! Ha ha! 

            On a serious note, there is one song she sings that I truly love. I saw a video recording from some award show with her singing the gospel hymn “How Great Thou Art” with Vince Gill.  They sang together so beautifully that I’m sure all of Heaven stood in awe for a moment to admire their heavenly performance.  I’ve only watched it on YouTube about a thousand times and her performance absolutely amazes me.  Her passion for the Lord is obvious and upfront and I love that!  Carrie and I have little in common, except our love for Jesus and Country Music, yet our paths have surprisingly crossed a few times.  I have had a couple of opportunities to meet this lovely Oklahoma gal now crowned the Queen of Country Music but respectfully declined both times, or should I say completely chickened out.  Perhaps I was afraid that I just might react like a teenage girl at a Justin Bieber concert or even like my mother going crazy over Paul McCartney at a Beatles concert from back in the day!

CHECK OUT CARRIE & VINCE’S PERFORMANCE OF HOW GREAT THOU ART http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pLLMzr3PFgk

2009 ACM  AWARDS  LAS VEGAS, NEVADA

            My first Carrie Underwood encounter came at the 2009 ACM (Academy of Country Music) awards at the MGM in Las Vegas.  Maybe I’m crazy but I wasn’t too thrilled about attending this event.  Yes, I was honored to receive an invitation but we had been touring pretty hard and I really just wanted to be at home with my two little boys, Jake and Jack.  But despite not wanting to go, I ended up going after all for two reasons a) my wife really wanted to go and she always seems to get her way, and b) we also had invitations and backstage passes to George Strait’s Artist of the Decade ceremony…which was awesome! 

KING GEORGE'S BIG NIGHT!

          So there I am at the ACM awards, sitting next to my beautiful bride in the “artist” section on the tenth row or so.  All around us are these hot shot celebs like Matthew McConaughey, Jamie Fox, Taylor Swift, etc., etc. Just a few rows away, I spot one of my all time heroes, the former Dallas Cowboy quarterback, Mr. Roger Staubach!  I lean over to Kimberly and say, “I could really care less about meeting 99.9% of the people here, but I’ve just got to meet Mr. Staubach.”  I hopped up from my seat like a man on a mission and walked down to say hello to the former Navy officer, All American Heisman trophy winner, 2-time Super Bowl Champ, Super Bowl MVP, NFL Hall of Famer, legendary Dallas Cowboy QB, aka Captain Comeback, aka Captain America, the one and only Mr. Roger Staubach.  As I got a few “yards” from Roger, I looked up and there was Ms. Underwood standing there in all her beauty wearing some white dress with sparkly thingies all over it!  I could have easily just walked up and said hello but I didn’t!  Maybe I was worried that some dormant stutter condition that had remained hidden inside me all my life would suddenly plaque my speech.  Sounding something like Hel…l….l…o M…M…M…Ms. Underw…w…w..wood.  I just smiled and walked past her as if she was just any other good looking blonde and then introduced myself to Mr. and Mrs. Staubach and talked with them for several minutes. Now if you’re wondering whether  my sweet wife would of cared if I’d had the courage to talk with Carrie Underwood, I assure you absolutely not; she doesn’t have a jealous bone in her body. Besides, I’m pretty sure she was way too busy staring at Matthew McConaughey.  When he walked past us, all she could say was, “Oh wow.”      

JAKE, JACK, JORDAN SLIPPY & TOLT MATOY 2009

            Since the ACM awards, I’ve had several opportunities to visit with Mr. Staubach: Colt McCoy’s wedding reception, the Cowboy’s fundraiser benefit where we played a dinner show, etc.  He is one of my all-time heroes because he was a class act both on and off the field.  I look up to Mr. Staubach and admire the level of integrity in which he lives his life.  He postponed his NFL career to fulfill his Navy obligations in which he served in Vietnam and then ended his career early because he wanted to spend more time with his family.  He is a leader by example, by putting others before himself and standing up for what is morally right, regardless.  I once saw an interview from the mid 70′s where the sports interviewer was asking Roger about his wholesome image.  Roger first responded by saying he is always compared to Joe Namath (aka Hollywood Joe) who was well known for being a ladies man.  His next response caught the interviewer totally off guard.  He said, “I may be married with kids but I still like to have fun!  I like sex as much as Joe Namath but I just choose to do that with one girl.”  Now there’s a statement I can relate to.  In today’s world with so many athletes and stars surrounded by scandal and selfishness, we need more role models like Roger.  I have high expectations for my boys, Colt McCoy and Jordan Shipley!  My two little boys refer to them as Tolt Matoy and Jordan Slippy!

HOT DATE AT THE MIX!

            I had a wonderful evening that night, not because of the ACM experience, but I had the time of my life falling a little more in love with my sweetheart next to me.  We even made it on national TV for .0001 seconds! If you recorded it and pause it just at the right spot you could see us plain as day.  It was easy to pick us out on the wide screen shots of the crowd because I was one of only about a dozen guys wearing a cowboy hat.  Kimberly and I were on cloud nine that night.  We had just found out that she was pregnant with our third baby doll, Ms. Jolee Kate!  After the ACM awards, we had a big time out on the town including a late night romantic dinner at the Mix, which is a fancy restaurant at the top of THE HOTEL at Mandalay Bay that overlooks the strip.  When folks back home heard that I attended the ACM’s I had several naively ask if I was up for an award.   I laughed and said, “No, not even close!”  But in my eyes I felt like I had won Country Artist of the Millennium because I was there with the most beautiful and elegant woman in the world.  And better than any award, I was the guy who got to share a pillow with her that night…if ya know what I’m saying! ;) 

2010 ST JUDE COUNTRY CARES RADIOTHON MEMPHIS TENNESSEE

            My second Carrie Underwood sighting came a few months later at the 2010 St Jude Radiothon Kick Off in Memphis, Tennessee.  Carrie and I were literally shoulder to shoulder for probably ten minutes.  At the big dinner presentation, the event coordinator had all the artists in alphabetical order except backwards…not A to Z, but Z to A.  I’m pretty sure they flipped this around because they were planning on Ms. Underwood with her “U” to be the first one to walk across the stage where all the artists received a framed coloring picture from some of the young cancer patients.  Well along comes Mr. Watson and his “W” to screw up everything.  So what they did was flip me and Ms. Underwood so she could go first.  Of course, I didn’t mind at all, I was just so honored to be there.  Like I said, I stood next to Carrie for about ten minutes, never saying a word, which is saying a lot because I rarely have nothing to say!  At one point, I glanced at her and she looked at me and smiled. I then kind of grinned back and felt my face get red. About that time, the two girls from Little Big Town walked up to Carrie to see her big engagement ring.  That diamond looked like it was as big around as a quarter.  All I could think was, “I bet you could buy a nice size ranch back home in Texas with what that diamond ring probably cost.”   I quickly lost interest in the girl’s conversation as they began talking wedding stuff. 

NEXT TO MY CHRIS LEDOUX AUTOGRAPH!

            Out of nowhere the MC for the night called “Carrie Underwood” and there was a roar like you would hear at the Ballpark in Arlington if Josh Hamilton were to hit a game winning walk off home run!  Then the MC said, “Aaron Watson” and I actually heard crickets chirping and maybe my manager Gino clapping lightly.  I’m not gonna lie, I swallowed a little pride right then. It was kind of embarrassing in a way, but I got over it the very next second and graciously received my precious hippo coloring from one of the cancer patients and it now hangs proudly in my office.   Over the years, I have found that swallowing your pride is very nutritious for the soul.

            Earlier that week, back home in Abilene, I was worried I wouldn’t be able to hold it together when I visited St. Jude Children’s Hospital.  Have I mentioned that I love kiddos more than anything?!  Growing up, I always wanted to help my mom with the nursery at church just so I could be around those little rug rats.  You can imagine how I’m in total heaven now that I have babies of my own.  I have a strong passion for children so I was unsure about how I would respond to seeing those brave kiddos who were fighting for their lives.  I used to hide it, but these days I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m kind of a softy or a crybaby when it comes to certain things.  It can be really inconvenient at times and especially annoying when watching a chick flick with Kimberly. She looks over at me, laughs and says, “Awe, you’re tearing up, that’s so cute!”  I surprisingly held it together all week; those kids were excited and that made me smile, but inside I still hurt so badly for them.   

            On the  last day of the Radiothon all the artists were set up in booths where radio DJ’s from all over the country could swing by and get custom liners for their radio stations.  My booth was somewhere in-between Carrie’s and Jewels’ and I was certain that I would basically be sitting there sipping on my cup of humble coffee all day.   I even told my manager that we should run by the store, pick up some cokes and cookies and perhaps that would help me attract some attention.  As the radio DJ’s began to show up and fill the room I was surprisingly shocked that I had a decent line all by myself and was even getting a fair share of Carrie & Jewel’s overflows and left overs. It looked as if we had what they like to refer to as “strategic product placement.” So many of the DJ’s told me they had been following my career for years now and that they were sorry that they couldn’t play my music on their mainstream stations.  For all of you not in the music biz, radio play is a very political game and if you’re not on a major record label then its next to impossible to have any success but every once in awhile an independent artist slips through and has a hit.  I told them to not worry about it that I was eating good and my wife spends money like it grows on a tree, so we were doing well at the Watson house!  I was also asked by several DJ’s how I was having so much success without any major label support.  I said, “Well, you can’t give the credit to a record label because there isn’t one – so my only explanation is that I have to give all the credit to the good Lord up above.”  Anything is possible with a little assistance from God.  Philippians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”  It says “all things” which means the sky is the limit. I finished most my conversations by saying, “I am not a Country Artist… I am a Christian Artist that sings country music”. 

            I had a wonderful week at St. Jude’s.  I didn’t have a mob of kids and parents begging for my attention or autograph, probably because most of them were waiting for Joe Nichols, Jewel, Lynyrd Skynrd, Carrie and so on.  But there was one little boy about 3 1/2 that I connected with and he thought I was pretty cool because of my cowboy hat, alligator boots and cowboy church belt buckle.  I really enjoyed spending time with him, he reminded me so much of both my little boys.  And then there was that beautiful, bald headed teenage girl who flipped out as I passed her in the hospital hallway.  She screamed, “Aaron Watson!”, and then just about came out of her wheelchair.  She was from Texas and had seen me play several shows in Corpus Christi.  A large scar on her head was left from a recently removed brain tumor and the surgery left her with a strong speech impediment.  She was pale, looked so fragile and tired, but lit up like a million watt light bulb when she recognized me.  I hugged and hugged and hugged her and kissed her on the head, then did the same with her mother.  I was moved by her and her mother’s strength and courage.  I hope and pray she and that little boy are on the road to recovery and good health.  Those two kids taught me a good lesson that day- just because you’re not the top dog to everybody doesn’t mean you’re not the top dog to somebody.    

            There were lots of big Whigs from Nashville at the St Jude’s benefit.  One guy from a major record label asked me if I was content just being “some small time Texas artist.”   Of course I had to bite my tongue for a second, but then I told him when I first started I had a few goals…I wanted to have an awesome band, a nice bus, make music for a living, and if possible, I always dreamed of singing a song with Willie.  Well guess what folks?  I’m four for four and that’s what I call a pretty good day at the ballpark.  I am blessed and dang proud to be a “small time Texas artist.”  

THE WATSON BOYS FALL 2009

            I got home from Memphis at about 10 pm and my little boys were sound asleep.  I was aching to see them so Momma gave me permission to sneak into their room.  I laid down next to my boys and kissed them on their foreheads, ran my fingers through their hair and as I did, I thought about all those little bald heads at St Jude’s.  I said a prayer for all of them.             

Count your many blessings.  It’s easy to get so wrapped up in all the insignificance and competition in life that we forget the little things that matter the most.  The grass always looks greener on the other side.  In life there will always be something bigger and better beyond your reach, a prettier girl, a better quarterback, a bigger house, a faster car, a fancier tour bus, a better singer with bigger record sales.  When you’re feeling low, feeling like a failure, look at how you are looking at your life.  Is the cup half full or half empty?  Find those blessings that you so often take for granted.  EVEN THE GUY AT THE BOTTOM OF THE TOTEM POLE SHOULD BE HAPPY THAT HE ISNT THE PART OF THE POLE THAT’S BURIED 3 FEET UNDER GROUND.

“You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God…” Matthew 5:3 (The Message)

P.S.

            I wasn’t going to mention this but I just have to.  As I stood backstage there next to Carrie, after we made eye contact and I blushed while the Little Big Town girls were going gaga over that engagement ring, I wrote Kimberly a text message that said, “standing next to Carrie Underwood and she is smoking HOT!”  I pushed send and waited and waited and waited.  After a few minutes with no response from Kimberly I sent another text that said “…but only half as smoking HOT as you!”  She then sent a text that just said, “WHATEVER LOSER!” 

MY GIRLS!

            One of my little buddies, actually he is about 6 ft 3 now and is going to be a senior in high school, asked me if Carrie was as beautiful in person as she looked on TV.  I said she is absolutely that beautiful and classy, stunning and seems to be as sweet as she can be.  There are only two girls that I know that can top her!  I bet you know which one’s I’m talking about….

Published in: on August 16, 2011 at 12:10 am  Comments (42)  

THE LORD LOVES THE DRINKING MAN

THE LORD LOVES THE DRINKING MAN  “For God so loved the world…John 3:16″

So I was sitting on the bus, suffering from a real bad case of writer’s block.  This Barbed Wire Halo blog had me stumped and a few of my new songs in progress had me stuck dead in my tracks as well.  The bus was parked backstage at the Concrete Street Amphitheater in Corpus Christi. My guys were setting up for Fowler Fest, which is obviously hosted by my good buddy, Mr. Kevin Fowler.  After a few hours of drawing blanks, my writer’s block felt more like a thirty foot tall brick wall.  I decided to call it a day and said, “Lord, I might need some help with this one.”  Little did I know, my simple request would be answered with a small hint of a topic suggestion later that night.

So I had finished the show and was visiting with fans when Kevin kicked off his song, “The Lord Loves the Drinking Man.”  If you’re into the Texas Music Scene you probably know this tune well.  It was a big hit for Kevin and even Mark Chestnut recorded it on one of his albums a few years back.  During the second verse this college boy with a bottle in his hand jokingly said, “Hey Aaron, does the Lord really love the drinking man?”  I quickly said, “Absolutely, the Lord loves everybody!”  The college boy then smiled as if acknowledging that he approved of my simple answer and our conversation ended there.  Now I said that the Lord loves the drinking man, but I never said that I thought the Lord approves of all the drinking man’s actions.  But that applies to all of us.  I know the Lord loves Aaron Watson, but He doesn’t always love the way I act.  In defense of the crazy drunk, at least he sort of has an excuse for his actions.  When I act like an idiot there’s no one to blame but me!  No whiskey, no wine, just that guy in the mirror staring back at me.

We all have imperfections, weaknesses and struggles. It’s important that we NEVER FORGET that no matter how big the problem, God’s love is bigger.  His grace can trump any troubles we throw at Him.  He loves because that’s what He does and that’s who He is.  GOD IS LOVE.  His love is unconditional, therefore He loves us even at our worst.  I may not agree with all the theology behind the song, but my friend Mr. Kevin Fowler hit the nail on the head when he said “THE LORD LOVES THE DRINKING MAN.”

“HEY AW, WHY DON’T YOU DRINK?”

“Hey Aaron, why don’t you drink” is probably the most frequently asked question that I get.  Apparently, being a “non-drinking honky-tonker” is an odd combination and even controversial at times.  One night a big corn-fed looking country boy brought me a shot of something and he expected to throw one back with me right there on the stage.  When I declined his offer, I must have really offended him big time because he went from fan to foe instantly.  Thank goodness his tiny little wife grabbed him by the arm and somehow escorted him away.  (Never underestimate the strength of a woman!)  He actually came back to another show a few months later and apologized.  He said he didn’t even remember the incident but his “better half” informed him of his actions the very next morning.  He then laughed and said she had grounded him from the bottle indefinitely.  Before he left that night he brought me a Dr. Pepper from the bar. I thought that was pretty cool!

The soul purpose of this week’s blog is not for me to get preachy by telling others how to live their lives.  It’s simply for me to share my story and the reasons behind my reasons for not drinking.  I’m no “goodie two shoes” so I’m not here to condemn, judge, or criticize.  Nobody likes someone pointing a finger in their face, that’s why I’m going to point the finger at myself instead.  I’m not going to argue Christian doctrine as to whether alcohol is acceptable or unacceptable.  Yes, I know Jesus turned the water into wine and I also know all the bible verses that discourage drunkenness (Proverbs 4:17, Proverbs 20:1, Luke 12:45, Ephesians 5:18, Romans 13:13, 1 Thessalonians 5:6-7, 1 Peter 4:3-4, Genesis 19:30-38, Genesis 9:20-26, Proverbs 23:19-20, etc etc).  Of course I have my opinions, but at the end of the day they are just one man’s opinions.  There are a lot of questions I can’t answer, but there is one thing I am sure of: I am flawed yet forgiven because Jesus died for my sins.

In my short time here on earth I’ve surpassed my life time quota of mishaps.  On a positive note, I’ve learned a lot from my many mistakes.  You know the saying, “what doesn’t kill you, only makes you stronger.”  Well, you would think I’d be as strong as Popeye by now!  I look back at some of the things I’ve done and realize I’m lucky to be alive.  Through trial and error, I found out that me and alcohol get along about as well as mixing oil and water or perhaps fire and dynamite would be a more accurate analogy.  As a young man, the consequences for my actions were less severe than they would be today.  I have a lot more on the line than I did ten or fifteen years ago.  I’m a husband and a daddy now.  I have a responsibility to give my best to my family.  My little girl thinks I’m a knight in shining armor and my little boys think I’m a super-hero and I intend to keep it that way.

You’ve heard the saying “BUSINESS IS BUSINESS” but I believe BUSINESS IS PERSONAL, too.  I take pride in what I do.  My music is a direct reflection of who I am.  I feel it’s my duty to put on a good show for the folks who spend their hard-earned money on my concert tickets, CDs, and merchandise, etc.  The entertainment business is no different than if I were running a little hometown cafe.  If you were to order from “A-DUB’S BURGERS AND FRIES,”  how would you react if the fries were ice-cold, the burger was burnt black, and the service was rude and obnoxious?  Would you tolerate that?  Absolutely not!  You would either send that burger back to kitchen or get up and walk out without paying.  As a fan of music myself, nothing disappoints me more than to get excited and all dressed up just to show up and watch some drunk yo-yo stutter and stumble all over the stage.  There is no excuse for this kind of service/performance.  I believe the fans/customers deserve better.  I guarantee you that the artist that conducts themselves in such a fashion would change their ways real quick if when they went to get paid out at the end of the night, found that the venue had refunded thousands due to a poor quality show.  After all, it’s tough enough remembering 120 minutes worth of music sober…why complicate the issue?

BREAKING MOMMA’S HEART 

I can still hear my Momma saying, your Granddaddy was an alcoholic and your Paw Paw was an alcoholic, so you better watch out because alcoholism runs in our family and its been known to skip a generation.  Now I don’t know how valid this “skip a generation genetic theory” is.  Whether it’s an old wives’ tale or a medical fact really doesn’t matter.  In my eyes, if my Momma said it then it must be true.

During my senior year in high school, one of my buddies had the brilliant idea of throwing a party on the baseball field on the school grounds.  Genius right!?   In the home dugout, there was a 50 gallon trash can full of Cool Aid, Ever-clear and whatever else they threw in there.  I don’t remember drinking much, but apparently I drank enough to have a drastic effect on a little 140 pound skinny punk.  We eventually got busted by my friend’s dad who took me home and made me wake my Dad up at 2:00 am and tell him what we had done.  Dad half asleep said, “Are the police out there?”  I said, “No sir.”   He got up and went outside to visit with the other dad.  When he came back in he said, “Go to bed and we’ll deal with this in the morning.”   I only wish it could have been that easy.

As I walked down the hallway to my room, I could hear my sweet Momma in the living room crying on the couch.  She called me in there and she hugged me like there was no tomorrow.  I had missed curfew by two hours and she had been worried sick!  No wonder she was scared!  A teenage boy at a nearby high school had died a few months earlier in an alcohol related accident.  I felt like the biggest loser on the face of the earth!  There’s something sobering about breaking your Momma’s heart.

I remember going straight to my room, I turned off the lights and flopped onto my water-bed.  I was dog tired and looking forward to a good nights rest.  For a moment, I felt some relief but that was just the calm before the storm.  That’s when I opened my eyes and stared through the pitch dark at the red numbers on my alarm clock.  All of a sudden those glowing digits began to turn a bit sideways and that’s when it started.  Things started spinning.  I would close my eyes but things were still spinning.  At any moment I expected those hellish-red glowing digits reading 2:22 AM to change to 6:66.  Next thing I know, I’m hugging the porcelain pot and hating life.  At some point I literally thought I was going to die and as bad as I felt that didn’t seem like too bad of an option.  I will spare you the details but I would spend the rest of the night there on the bathroom floor.

Dad woke me up at the crack of dawn with a cup of coffee and a long list of chores.  I walked out on the back porch squinting from the sunrise peaking over the tops of the trees.  It was a beautiful yet miserable morning.  I grabbed the chord on the mower and gave it a painful tug.  The sound of the lawn mower firing up sounded more like a freight train inside my head.  Later that night, after a hard days work, I watched an Astros game with Dad on the couch.  I remember he put his arm around me and then kissed me on the cheek.  He didn’t have to say a thing.  He knew that I knew I had done wrong.  And I knew that he loved me still.

Choosing to not drink was not a decision that I came to that day or even the years to follow.  By God’s design I’m sure, I was broke in college and could hardly afford to pay the water bill much less buy alcohol.  Between school and working two jobs there was little time to play.  Then one day I turned around and found myself in a rocking little country band on a honky-tonk stage surrounded by dim lights, thick smoke and lots of neon signs!  You can imagine what my Mother must have been thinking when her baby boy came home and said “I’m going to be a country singer!”  Despite her hesitation and worries, she was very supportive.  She did make me agree to a set of commandment-like expectations.  I won’t go into all of them but I promised to get my college degree, to stay away from drinking, and to never accept a beer sponsorship.  I agreed to all of Mom’s requests unaware of the temptations that lay ahead of me.  Mom’s first time ever in a bar was at the Golden Light Cafe in Amarillo to see her baby boy, “The Honky Tonk Kid” in concert!  She was so cute sitting next to my Aunt Bee with her diet coke in hand.  I was so proud of her!  And wouldn’t you know, during my show, some crazy girl flashed me and I almost died from embarrassment right there on stage.  Thank goodness Mom somehow didn’t witness that!  If she had, she may have made me sell my guitar the very next morning!  Ha ha!

Over the years I have had several beer companies approach me with different business propositions.  I always respectfully decline.  I had one guy in particular, I won’t mention the brand, get a bit put off by my stance on the issue.  He said, “You have got to be kidding me!  Are you telling me that if I were to offer you a ton of money you would still refuse a sponsorship just because of a little promise you made to your Mom?”  I said, “Yep.”  He said, “That’s crazy.”  And once again I just said, “Yep.”  What can I say; I’m a momma’s boy!  Mom is still one of my biggest encouragers.  The other day she sent me a text right before my show that said, “I LOVE YOU BOY.  LET YOUR LIGHT SHINE!”  I’m trying Momma!

THE WINE, THE JERK, AND THE PERFECT WOMAN 

PERINI RANCH STEAKHOUSE in Buffalo Gap, Texas is probably one of my favorite places on earth.  This is saying a lot since I have eaten at lots of great places all over the map.  The fact that I still love it even after working there in college is a huge compliment as well!  This place is five-star!  The experience would be worth your drive off the beaten path.  Rumor has it that even Waylon Jennings and Robert Duvall used to fly to Abilene just to eat some prime rib and bread pudding.  If you ever have a chance to go there, make sure you tell Nan at the front counter that Aaron sent ya!

Kimberly and I have had many a hot date out at Perini Ranch!  One such date, sticks out in particular…although it wasn’t exactly a hot date.  The girl was about 6 months pregnant with our first child and she said the baby was craving some jalapeno poppers!  We were sitting at a corner table in the back of the restaurant.  I had ordered a T-bone steak, green chili hominy and some old-fashioned green beans.  Oh, and did I mention the hot buttery bread?  (My stomach just growled!).  The waitress asked If I would like a beer or glass of wine with my meal.  I’d had a pretty stressful week and a glass of wine sounded really nice.  I glanced at Kimberly, looking for her approval, and she had that “I don’t think so” look in her eyes.  I then got a little flustered and just ordered an iced tea.  After the waitress walked off I said, “What in the heck is wrong with one little glass of wine?”  She said, “There is nothing wrong with one little glass of wine but I just don’t think you should.  A lot of young boys look up to you and you never know who might be watching and what they might think.”  So I pretty much acted like a jerk the rest of the dinner while my sweet pregnant wife seemed to enjoy her jalapeno poppers despite the poor company.

At the end of dinner, I’m stuffed, feeling like I need a wheelchair to roll me out to the truck.  Right as the waitress brought our ticket, a man walked up with his son and said “Aaron, I’m sorry to disturb your dinner, but my son and I are big fans of you and what you do.”  He said, “In my son’s eyes you are bigger than George Strait and I just wanted to thank you for always keeping your music clean and showing these kids they don’t have to drink alcohol to have a good time.”  I instantly felt a huge lump in my throat.  I would have felt horrible if a harmless half glass of wine on my table would have shattered that young boy’s image of me and any good I try to stand for.  Because of the reputation of my occupation, many assume that I embrace the “crazy so-called rock star life” that so often surrounds musicians.  I want it to be clear what I stand for at all times, both on stage and off stage.  It’s never been the issue of whether drinking is right or wrong, but whether it was right or wrong for me, my family, and my job.  I knew in my heart that this experience was a way in which God was answering my prayers.  After I hung out with the dad and his boy for a while, I paid my bill and escorted my beautiful bride to the parking lot.

Before I could get the car in reverse I heard a little chuckle coming from the passenger’s seat.  I looked at Kimberly and she said with that cute little smart-alecky grin that so often ticks me off, “I told you so, that’s why I think you should just stick with iced tea, Mr. Watson.”   She was so right!  I had to smile and swallow my pride.  Did I mention she was right?  Did I mention she is perfect?

BOTTLE IN MY HAND

I have friends who drank occasionally in high school and then “occasionally” evolved into “very frequently” in college.  They went on to graduate, get married, have kids, and then one day they turned around and realized that over the years they had slowly developed a very big problem.  Their drinking life was silently yet drastically interfering with their family life.  Instead of racing home after work to play with the kids, they were consumed with consumption, racing to get their next fix.  Or how about the full-time touring band that plays anywhere from 150-225 shows a year.  Two or three beers before the show is no biggie…right?  Until 2 or 3 turns into a 12 pack, the 12 pack turns into whiskey, and the whiskey turns into something even more destructive.  All this trouble for something that started from nothing.  I would never name names, but I’m talking about real people, and real life situations.  My heart goes out to those whose lives are controlled by a substance of any kind; those who neglect and harm themselves and their loved ones because of some powerful addiction.  Moderation, you say?  I often hear the argument for moderation.  I believe there is something in the saying “anything in moderation is ok”…except for that theory wouldn’t work too well for me.  I am an all or nothing kind of guy.  I’m in no way telling the world to stop drinking.  I’m not saying walk to the fridge, clear out those silver cans, rid that liquor cabinet of all the hard stuff and then head to the bathroom and pour your Listerine down the toilet.  And there’s no way I’m saying stop going to those Aaron Watson and Kevin Fowler concerts!  Ha ha!  Like I’ve said, I don’t believe the issue is as much “drinking” as it is getting wasted and all the bad decisions and bad results that occur from that.  I came to my decision through prayer, asking God for direction.  God never once whispered in my ear, sent me a burning bush or a postcard from heaven, but I feel he guided and influenced me through my experiences.  What some call a coincidence, I call an answered prayer.  Don’t get me wrong, I like to have fun as much as the next guy, if not more!  But at the end of the day it would be a struggle for me to glorify God with a bottle in my hand.

Once I was asked in a radio interview what my choice of beer was.  I said, “I don’t know.  I don’t have one.”  There was a moment of awkward silence, so I jumped in and said, ”Well I’d like to think I’m more of a connoisseur of cheap truck stop coffee.  But if I had to choose, being a die-hard Texas boy, I would obviously have to go with Lone Star or Shiner Bock.  With that being said, I would much rather prefer a Dublin Texas Dr. Pepper made with real cane sugar any day…but hey that’s just me!”

Here’s my toast to all of us – making the most of this life, giving God the Glory with every breath we take.

Cheers!

AW

Published in: on July 2, 2011 at 1:39 pm  Comments (34)  
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