Tag Archives: louisiana

Thankful

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Two of the reasons I’m a lucky, lucky man.

I struggle with the holiday season.

I’m not going to make the same assertions as many cranky sourpusses, insisting that each holiday season is a fabrication of marketers and Hallmark, but there is little doubt that the holidays have a sinister side.

Traffic is worse — drivers become angrier, riskier in their maneuvers, and uglier in the gestures. Feel like going to the store for some batteries or a 12-pack of soda? Well, I hope you enjoy waiting for 30 minutes in a line full of comparably impatient people, all of whom appear to be ready to ram their shopping cart through the hip of the elderly woman in the front of the line, taking 12 minutes to write her check.

For the church workers among us, mid-November through New Year’s is the busiest stretch on the calendar. Parties, special services, social Gospel events, musicals, practices, youth events, and more leave our family with fewer than three free evenings until 2013. I’m not complaining — that’s just part of the job.

And yet through all of the stress and anxiety, the holidays give us some of the most special moments of the year, namely two large chunks of time spent almost exclusively with family. As I type this post, my son lies asleep with his foot literally propped on my computer keyboard hand rest. Just in the hallway, two of my nephews are playing and laughing. Two rooms over, my dad, brother-in-law, brother-in-law’s father, and two dogs are resting with their own legs propped up, recovering from the incredible meal we consumed like ravenous hyenas (with equal amounts of laughter). The ladies stepped outside for a bit to run an errand, but they’ll be back soon, and we’ll all be worn out from doing very little.

Yes, the holidays are expensive. Yes, they are stressful. Yes, I’ll kind of be relieved when they’re over.

But then I’ll start waiting for the all over again.

In this season of excessive complaining, I must admit: I’m still thankful.

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Raylan’s 1st Birthday

Exactly one year ago, my wife was lying in a hospital bed at Willis Knighton Bossier, breathing through an oxygen mask and crying because our son would be taken by caesarean section on Halloween of 2011 rather her being induced on 11-1-11, as was the plan. God had another timeframe in mind, so Raylan Mason Dean entered this world on the holiday that isn’t exactly our favorite.

They rolled Shari into the operating room and began to prep her as I put on my doctor gear (I looked at stupid as you might imagine). The whirlwind began, and I found myself sitting on a stool next to my wife, a curtain separating us from the stomach-turning gore happening on the other side. It was over in a heartbeat, and

“Who in the family has red hair?”

The nurse uttered those words as my eyes grew wide, seeing that tiny, slimy, screaming human for the first time. I thought for months that  I would cry, but the moment was too surreal for me to shed any tears. Shari, on the other hand, was indeed crying and begging for me to show him to her. After the nurses cleaned him up, I was finally allowed to hold him and take him around the curtain to see his mom face to face (he’s been close by ever since…very close by).

We knew our lives would change completely, but we had no idea exactly how much. I didn’t know exactly what colic was (or that it makes time stand still for months), how often kids get ear infections, that he would say, “Ma-Ma” for Shari, “Ba-Ba” for his bottle, and even “Apple,”  the name of our dog before finally chattering out “Da-Da.” I didn’t know that I would at times be dead-tired in the middle of the night, but smiling as he reached out for me to pick him up in the middle of the night.

My little buddy doesn’t look like me, nor does he act like me. In other words, he’s got the same kind of personality that first drew me to his mother a decade ago (being cute doesn’t hurt, either). With every flash of his dimples, he takes another piece of my heart. He’s not at all how we thought he would probably be, but he’s every bit my awesome, hilarious little buddy.

There are times in my life that I’ve been overly-introspective, and I didn’t think fatherhood would suppress that tendency, but having a child truly eliminates a large part of yourself from the equation. I’m always thinking about him, always wondering what he’s doing while I’m at work, and praying that I become the kind of father than he’ll need for every stage of his life. Parenthood has been, as it is for all, a learning experience for both Shari and myself, and I can’t wait to learn more over the next year.

Raylan, I love you more than I ever realized I would. The past few weeks have been incredibly busy, and I haven’t spent enough time with you and your mom, but that’s about to change next Monday. Be good for Mommy until Daddy gets back.

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2. New Orleans Saints

Stop.

Let me explain a few things. I am from Louisiana, but I am not a Saints fan — I am a life-long Cowboys fan, and always will be. I do like the Saints, but if they go head-to-head against the Cowboys, then I’m pulling for Dallas 100% of the time, even if the Cowboys have no shot at making the playoffs and the Saints need the win to get into them. So there is no home-state bias here. The Saints are nearly impossible to dislike, but I’ve liked their uniforms even in the Aaron Brooks era.

Secondly, the Saints mean everything to New Orleans, which is a city that I’ve truly come to love. That had absolutely zero to do with ranking them this high. They just have some downright smashing uniforms.

It all starts with the fleur-de-lis. The French  has been the official state symbol since 2008, but has long been part of Louisiana culture, particularly in the Acadiana region. You can read about the symbol’s history, but there’s no denying that it’s classy for one, but also deeply intertwined with the state’s history. Louisiana is unique in its culture, food, language, music, and more, and the fleur-de-lis was the perfect choice for the Saints’ logo.

Louisiana

Next comes the colors. Several teams in the league have great colors, but the Saints’ colors absolutely make the uniforms. They’re not unique in their striping, combinations, or anything of that nature — they just throw their colors in your face. Good choice, NOLA.

And now, a picture barrage:

The future mayor of New Orleans

Whoever took this photo is a beast.

"I'm gonna look so awesome in this..."

Clean, yes?

I dance in the air sometimes, like this...

The moment no Saints fan will ever forget

A good look at the helmet

Skipping about

Pretty endearing image, yes?

You Saints fans better not give me any grief about them not having the best uniforms on my list.

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We Raise ‘Em Right in Louisiana

Major League Baseball pitcher Gil Meche hasn’t been earning his salary. This is nothing new in sports — sometimes a player will have a good year or two, then something changes physically or mentally, and he’s never the same. Usually they “play out their contract,” which is another way of saying “takes millions of dollars even though they’re a supreme disappointment.”

Legally, Meche was owed $12 million on the final year of his contract with the Kansas City Royals, who signed him to a $55 million contract over the course of five years. Since then, however, Meche’s numbers plummeted, culminating in an injury-plagued 2010 season which saw Leche amass an 0-5 record with a 5.69 ERA.

But instead of finishing out his contract, getting paid to make $12 million for doing almost nothing, Leche called it quits today: “I don’t deserve $12 million.” (link to news story)

Gil Meche

From the Washington’s NBC site:

Meche announced last week he will retire, giving up the payday due on the last year of his deal. Meche has always been known for his integrity, according to The New York Times, but this move left the baseball world stunned. Meche said he just didn’t like the idea of not earning his keep.

“When I signed my contract, my main goal was to earn it,” Meche told the paper from his temporary home in Lafayette, La. “Once I started to realize I wasn’t earning my money, I felt bad. I was making a crazy amount of money for not even pitching. Honestly, I didn’t feel like I deserved it. I didn’t want to have those feelings again.”

“This isn’t about being a hero — that’s not even close to what it’s about,” Meche said. “It’s just me getting back to a point in my life where I’m comfortable. Making that amount of money from a team that’s already given me over $40 million for my life and for my kids, it just wasn’t the right thing to do.”

He said he has no regrets and is now looking for a new home in the area where he grew up.

“I want to get back to what I remember as a kid, the way of life here in Louisiana,” Meche said. “We tend to think we live a little differently down here. It’s a lot of culture, a lot of French culture. Everywhere I’ve been in the country, for some reason, this is the place I can’t get away from.”

Don’t call us “Lowsyana.” Call us Integrityana.

Actually…don’t. That’s just stupid.

Still, kudos to Gil Meche for letting his deeply-embedded values shine. For once, there is an athlete we can admire.

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The Cokers – Family Portraits

Smiling, happy couple + kid with awesome personality + great conditions outside = blast of a shoot.

You guys absolutely rocked! Thank you so much for letting me take some family portraits for you guys.

If you take one more picture of me, I’m throwing this rock down that fancy-looking lens of yours!

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