Category: Valerie (page 1 of 13)

Double Knot

Our middle daughter is already on her second marriage.
Valerie has been married twice but never widowed or divorced.
It took two weddings in the middle of this global pandemic to successfully tie her knot with David. And Friday’s wedding was a spectacular event.

Carrie-Anne and I are both grateful and humbled by the numbers of long-time friends who traveled great distances to be with our family on this special night. Dan and Jennifer and Meredith made the drive up from Marble Falls and Mike brought LeeAnn (and those Virdell granddaughters!) to make those awesome cakes. David and Shanna and Delaney, John and Suzanne, and Lance from the Legacy Church. Jason and Tiersa, Chris and Liz, Kevin and Anita, and Brian and Terry from our days together in Mesquite. All the familiar faces from our Central church family. And our family and relatives from Austin and Dallas and East Texas and Oklahoma City.  All these good people who have poured themselves into our lives for so many years. What a blessing from God to be together for this special weekend.

Thank you to everyone who joined us for this celebration of David and Valerie. Thank you for your love and your friendship. Thank you for all the times we’ve prayed together, eaten together, laughed and cried together, and moved boxes out of each other’s attics. Thank you for what you mean to our daughters and our family. We are so blessed by our God because of you.



Dear Valerie & David

Your wedding in the nearly-empty Central chapel Friday night was a beautiful event. It wasn’t the wedding we had been planning and paying for and praying about for the past several months, but it was sweet. And wonderful. And memorable. And I am so grateful to you both for the magnificent honor and great joy of presiding over the ceremony. Thank you for that blessing.





The way you two have handled the past three months together has been admirable. The way you’ve navigated the uncertainty together has been really beautiful. The wedding week and the ceremony itself are not what either of you had hoped for. But that’s just like marriage. Your lives together are never going to be exactly the way you plan. Things happen. Things change. Marriage is typically what happens while your plans are falling apart.





So much of this has been so up in the air. Where are you going to work? Where are you going to live? Tulsa? A third-floor apartment in Tulsa, Oklahoma? Nobody plans that! And the wedding dates and the changes and the three different sets of invitations and you two being apart and the government changing the rules in Texas and Virginia every two hours and trying to get the marriage license from the closed down Randall County Courthouse — it’s been completely nuts! Everything’s been on-the-fly and mostly out of your personal control.





But you two have handled all of the uncertainty and chaos so well because your love for each other is so rock-solid. Your love and commitment to each other is so stable and permanent and good.





I’ve done maybe 30-35 weddings in my life and I’ve never once read from 1 Corinthians 13. I think it’s overdone, personally. And if you’re not careful, it can sound cliche and expected and it loses its punch. But you two have been living this foundational passage, you’ve embodied it together, in front of everybody who knows you.





“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.”





That’s what God’s love is like for us — this committed, unshakable, sacrificial love that our Father in heaven has for all of us. And you two have demonstrated that same love. The way you’ve dealt with the past three months or so is going to serve you well in your marriage. Because life is mostly out of your control. Because your plans will sometimes fall apart and tough times are going to happen.





People get sick, people change jobs and move, people die. Cars break down, the economy tanks, kids talk back. The water heater breaks, the roof leaks, the toilet overflows — basically everything that has anything to do with water has the potential to wreck your life. And you two are going to have disagreements. It’s always something.

But when you come together on the same side to tackle a thing — that’s the way you do it. Your love for each other and the commitment to your relationship that we’ve all seen is going to serve your marriage very well.





God bless you both. And God bless you as one.

I’m looking forward to doing it again in two months.

I love you,


Goin’ to the Chapel

Wedding bells are ringing today for our daughter Valerie and her soon to be husband David. At 6:00 this evening, in the historic chapel at Central, we’re going to tie the knot in what is the first in a series of wedding ceremonies. Yes, two weddings. No one should be surprised. Valerie’s always been a little extra.

David’s parents and brother and sister and a couple of David and Valerie’s closest friends are defying the travel restrictions and breaching a few social distancing and masks protocols to be here for this important event. The “little” wedding. The official wedding tonight is the “little” wedding and the repeat wedding, the fake wedding in July, is the “big” wedding. So strange. There are going to be less than 20 total in attendance this evening, we’re saving the wedding dress and tuxedos for July,  no dance, Rosa’s for dinner, and the cake is coming from Walmart, not from Sugar Mama LeeAnn Clark in Marble Falls.






But it’s still going to be really sweet.

We practiced a little bit late yesterday afternoon. Valerie grabbed one of those over-sized flowers from the arrangements in the chapel foyer and we walked up and down the aisle a couple of times to “Wise Men Say” and “Some Kind of Wonderful.” I think we worked through the awkwardness of me walking the bride down the aisle, giving her away, and then switching places with David’s dad on the stage to perform the ceremony. And I’m still a little worried about David’s friend, Anthony, not tripping and falling down.

Tonight David and Valerie are promising to give their lives to each other and to give their relationship to God. And we’re joining them in prayerful support as they share with us their love and joy and expectations. It’s going to be a special night. We’re very proud of these two, so blessed by God to have Valerie as a precious gift from heaven and to now have David as a permanent member of our family. May the love of God guide this relationship and all their relationships together. May the peace of Christ crown this marriage with great joy. And may their hearts and lives be forever united by the grace and comfort of the Holy Spirit.

We’ll see everybody for real at the “big” wedding July 24.



Two Weddings and a Hexagon

Our middle daughter, Valerie, is getting married this Friday and it won’t be the kind of wedding we’ve been paying for and planning for the past several months. Social distancing and travel complications mean there will be fewer than two dozen of us  in the Central chapel. It’ll be a very small affair, just our immediate family, hopefully David’s immediate family from Virginia, a couple of bridesmaids and groomsmen, and our church Covenant Group.

Our great friend Dale Cooper was commissioned by Valerie several months ago to construct the wooden hexagon-arch-thing that will frame the stage for her wedding. And, of course, he did a fantastic job. He delivered it to the church building on Friday and it’s just perfect. Valerie even helped Dale screw it together.

This is where I’ll stand when I tie the knot for Valerie and David in four days. And then on July 24 we’re going to reconstruct the hexagon and do it again, this time with a much bigger crowd in a longer ceremony with music, dinner, and a dance; and grandparents, college friends, and people from Marble Falls, Mesquite, and Legacy we haven’t seen in years. This second wedding is the one we’ve been paying for and planning. This is the one we’ve been gearing up for and anticipating. This is the one Whitney’s been counting down every day for a year. But it won’t happen until July 24.

And that makes this week’s wedding kind of strange. It’ll also be weird to do it again in July.  Both of these weddings present their own unique challenges for the principle players and the families. But both of the ceremonies are very important. This week’s wedding is the official one with the solemn vows and the marriage license.  This one sets the foundation for their marriage:  the Word of God, the promises we have in Christ, the vows to love and serve the other in the name and manner of Jesus. The second one, two months from now, will be a repeat in some ways, but it’s just as important. David and Valerie need to celebrate with the people in their lives who have loved them and shaped them into the wonderful man and woman they are. They need to thank those good people and acknowledge the role each of them has played in nurturing them and caring for them through critical times in their lives. And those faithful people need to witness this ceremony and make their own promises to love and support this new couple. David and Valerie need to feel that, the weight of their vows in front of God’s gathered people.

So, it’s two weddings.

I’ve been worried about how I’m going to hold up doing this once, but now I’m doing it twice. I think I’ll charge Valerie double. And no matter how much fun it turns out to be, I’m not doing it again in September.



A Tent Peg to a Sword Fight

Our official Stanglin family photographer, Hannah McNeill, did a terrific job on Valerie and David’s engagement portraits. I’ll share some here so you can see our beautiful middle daughter and the OU and Arizona Cardinals football fan who’s joining our family on May 15. Click on the thumbnails to enlarge the pictures.





In the very first battle of Armageddon, the enemy commander was killed with camping equipment. The Canaanite commander was a guy named Sisera. And he had his head crushed by a woman named Jael. Sisera was running away from the fight when he came across Jael’s tent. She invited him inside, gave him a cup of milk, and he fell asleep. Then she took a tent peg and a hammer and drove the peg right through his temple and into the ground.

That’s a pretty unforgettable story. What are the odds? You bring a tent peg to a sword fight and win!

But that’s a recurring pattern in the Bible . God’s people win God’s battles in really unconventional ways. Gideon destroyed the Midianites at Armageddon with jars and torches. Another Israelite judge, Shamgar, defeated the Philistines with a cattle prod. The Philistine King Abimelek is killed when a woman throws a millstone over the wall and crushes his head. Jericho was leveled by trumpets. Moses defeated the Egyptians with a stick used for steering sheep.

The strangeness of the weapons seems to be the main point: nobody could win with that unless God was involved!

If the Astros are down in the bottom of the 9th andJose Altuve walks to home plate carrying a soup ladle, it’s not going to happen. He’s not going to win the game with a kitchen utensil. The only way that works is if God Almighty steps in and makes it happen. And when it comes to God’s people fighting God’s battles, it always happens. It always happens in ways that only God gets the glory.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a tent peg or a cattle prod or a jawbone or a smooth pebble or an altar soaked in water. Whatever the means of victory, it rams home the point that, as God’s people, our safety and security and salvation does not come from our numbers or our strength or our weapons or our abilities. Our salvation and assurance and victory comes from the power of God fighting on our behalf.

“Not by might or by power, but by my Spirit,” says the Lord Almighty! ~Zechariah 4:6



Cowboys and Texans

Before I get to a couple of sports points, here’s a first-day-of-school picture from Valerie and Carley who began classes yesterday at Oklahoma Christian University. This first-day selfie was taken before the tornado sirens interrupted dinner last night and forced them into storm shelters during the “inland hurricane.” Of course I phoned both of them early, way before their scheduled 9am classes, to sing “School Bells” and to say, “Work hard, learn a lot, be sweet.” I think they still appreciate that. Maybe.


Ezekiel Elliott is into the fifth week of his holdout, he is yet to sign the latest contract offer from the Cowboys, and I’m not sure where this is headed. There’s so much wrong with this stalemate between the NFL rushing champion and Jerry Wayne — so many weird twists, he-said-she-said stuff, and timing questions. But isn’t that just like the Cowboys? Nothing will ever make sense, it’ll all go against every football maxim and norm, it’ll blow up in the most agonizing way possible, and somehow Jerry’s Death Star will still sell out every Sunday and he’ll still make a jillion dollars and they’ll still go 8-8.

Jerry postures by claiming you don’t need a rushing champion to win a Super Bowl. How in the world would he know?!? He’s never won a Super Bowl without a rushing champion / league MVP and the last time he did that my two daughters at OC in the above picture weren’t even born! Since then, he hasn’t even won a single divisional round playoff game!

The Cowboys have reportedly made an offer to Elliott that is worth between what Le’Veon Bell and Todd Gurley are making, so somewhere between $53-60 million or $13-14 million per year. That would make Elliot the second highest-paid running back in the NFL. And he hasn’t said ‘yes.’ Who’s giving Ezekiel advice? He’s not in the last year of his contract; he has two years remaining. If he holds out the whole season, who’s going to trade for him or sign him to more money next year? If he plays this year and somehow he wins the league rushing title again and the Cowboys go a conference championship game for the first time in a quarter-century, wouldn’t he be in a much-better bargaining position?

This isn’t at all like Emmitt Smith holding out in 1993. Smith had only one year remaining on his current deal, he was a Super Bowl champion and MVP, and the Cowboys had the pieces around him to legitimately win another couple of titles. None of that is the case with Elliott. Ezekiel Elliot has been involved in more league investigations than playoff appearances.

And — people are forgetting this — after the Cowboys went 0-2 during Emmitt Smith’s holdout, he was in the best bargaining position imaginable. And the NFL’s all time greatest running back wound up signing the same deal the team had on the table all along.


I feel like I have to remind people at least once a year that I am not a Cowboys fan. I stopped rooting for the Cowboys when Jerry Wayne fired Jimmy Johnson and replaced him with Barry Switzer at head coach. I am a Houston Texans fan. It’s like rooting for the JV. It’s brutal. I mean, how bad does your organization have to be if you’re an irrelevant football team in Texas? I cheer for the Texans as a protest against Jerry Wayne and to spite ridiculous Cowboys fans. And it’s terribly lonely. It’s awful. I’ve made the five-dollar bet every year with our Central youth minister — Tanner in the past, Josh now — that Houston will finish with a better record than Dallas. And I’ve won that bet four out of eight years. But they’re just as bad as Dallas. No divisional playoff wins. For almost two decades, the same level of success as the Redskins and the Bills.

Now Lamar Miller is out for the year after tearing his ACL on his first carry of the preseason and they’re refusing to pay Jadeveon Clowney. The only intrigue or suspense for me this year will be in which team, Dallas or Houston, goes 9-7 and which team goes 8-8. Just like last year. And the years before.



« Older posts