THE HONEY-MAN: Chris
I have no idea when I first referred to Chris as my honey-man, but the name stuck and after 23 years of marriage, he is still my honey-man. Both of us were previously married; Chris for an entire five months, and me…well, let’s just say if someone was handing out trophies based on the number of marriages, I would take first place.
We met at a local “Cheers-type” pub in our small town. It was a place where everyone in the community gathered for a sandwich, pizza, cold beer and Monday night football. Like the infamous Cheers, it was a place where everyone knows your name. We began to date the year my daughter entered her freshman year of college and married two years later.
The honey-man also goes by another name, The Wine-Guy. He graduated from Eastern Michigan University with a marketing degree and has spent the last 30 years in the wine business. He is a Certified Specialist of Wine and manages a portfolio of coveted fine wines from around the world; not to mention, traveled to over 17 countries.
Chris is one of eight siblings raised in the Catholic faith. He is no longer a practicing parish member, but lends great insights and a balanced perspective to many of my devotional topics. He continues to pursue his faith in Christ at a local non-denominational church we attend together.
Jamie is my only child and the most perfect thing in my imperfect life; and that outcome is only by the grace of God. For the most part, she was a compliant child with a heart that wanted to please. Sadly, she suffered many of the consequences of my imperfect life choices but refused to let it bring defeat. I dub her my ‘warrior child’.
That warrior spirit is likely the drive behind the many sports awards she received in high school. She was the recipient of a softball scholarship to a major Christian university and later went on to finish her Master’s in Education. She is currently an elementary school intervention coach with three children and married to her eighth grade sweetheart.
At age twelve Olivia loves softball and volleyball. In one breath she personifies everything sweet and innocent, but can grow horns in a matter of minutes. She challenges you daily and would willingly skip adolescence to be part of the “Austin & Ally” teen years.
Yet, she still remains a little girl at heart with her silky blanket, stuffed animals and thumb-sucking. She loves to draw, write, bake apple cakes and dreams of one day being a teacher. Olivia is extremely creative and I believe her magnetic personality, tenacity and striking looks will knock down any obstacles she may face in life.
Fifteen year old Carson has the roar of a lion and the heart of a lamb. As the firstborn, he deals with perfection issues that often lead to anger issues. He wants to please and sometimes dismisses his own needs in an effort to help others. I love his champion the underdog spirit.
Carson enjoys music (he has been taking voice lessons for the last two years) and just started piano lessons. He loves playing Fort-nite, snow skiing, hanging with his girlfriend and anything related to swords and Nerf guns. He makes the best buttered popcorn and loves bringing friends to our lake house on the weekends.
He has signed up to take classes during high school that will work toward an electrical trade license. Loves to design things and could possibly be a fourth generation engineer in the Marks family. His other dreams is to be a missionary.
The last grand child is age ten with curly brown locks, giant blue cow eyes and eyelashes that literally touch his eyebrows. He has a contagious laugh and is considered our family’s greatest storyteller. He loves to cut with scissors, use copious amounts of glue and mix four brands of cereal at breakfast. His best stories are told at bedtime as he snuggles next to NeeNee (that would be me).
Fischer is the only grandchild who folds his clothes when asked, helps with laundry and places his dirty clothes in the hamper after checking pant pockets. He loves to do kitchen experiments that include assorted spices, herbs and untold things gathered from outdoors.
My little guy is quick to apologize, the first to learn his bible scripture for Awana night and the last to admit he ate a piece of candy without asking.
My son-in-law has been a part of my life since his middle school years. His mom was part of the weekly ‘Mom’s’ breakfast club that met at the local Big Boy. Apart from a few on again, off again incidents, Matthew and my daughter have been together since eighth grade.
While my daughter attended an out of state university, Matthew grew a construction business in Michigan. Once my daughter graduated from college and secured her first teaching job, Matthew relocated to be with her. It wasn’t long before they made the decision to wed and shortly before their firstborn son arrived, they moved back to Michigan.
Like my honey-man, Matthew was raised in the Catholic faith but is now actively involved in the same local non-denominational church Chris and I attend. Matthew is the owner of a landscaping company, soccer coach; a regular volunteer at Habitat for Humanity and an avid hunter.
I can only hope to look as good as my mommy at age 87. She is a retired elementary teacher who remains compassionate about teaching others. Her in-depth Bible studies at church are well attended.
Mom and dad were married over 50 years and were lifelong partners in sharing the gospel of Christ and starting new churches. After the death of my dad in 2009, mom went through a very dark period of grief. She has emerged as a new person with a greater understanding of the dark abyss that comes with a great loss.
My mom is a five-time skin cancer survivor that eventually resulted in reconstructive nose surgery at age 76. She mows the lawn, shovels snow, loves to garden and enjoys the companionship of her Shiatsu dog, Benji.
My sister and I are one year and two days apart in age. As my only sibling, and being so close in age, most would think we were joined at the hip when growing up. Not so. I was the proverbial rebellious child and she the future pastor’s wife. And yes, she did grow up to be a pastor’s wife.
In our youth, we choose different paths that left a great divide between us. That is not to say we didn’t love each other, it’s that our lifestyles were polar opposites. I smoked, she didn’t. I experimented with drugs, she didn’t. I married at eighteen; she in her late twenties. She stayed married, I divorced numerous times.
Over time, our sister relationship has developed into something much deeper, and that in itself, is a story waiting to be written. I consider my baby sister my best friend and I know my secrets are safe with her. She is a gifted writer, humorous speaker, talented pastor’s wife, business entrepreneur and mama to two beautiful daughters.
Visit Sharon’s blog at http://garnersharon.blogspot.com/