Wedding or Marriage: What’s the Focus?

I hear a lot about weddings right now. Weddings are a part of our life, right now. My kids are all in that age range. One is married, one is engaged and the other three are still enjoying the single life. Even my “not-the-daughter” is married. Their friends are getting married and starting  families, too. So, weddings and marriage are definitely on my radar. 
Through the years, I’ve watched as the wedding itself has taken precedence over the marriage.  This was true when I was planning my 1st wedding in 1987. In my 20’s, having a wonderful wedding and a magical wedding night was of the utmost importance to me. I thought the marriage part would be a breeze since we were soooooo in Love. I don’t remember much about the wedding or the reception, except that Terry got tongue tied and the wedding cake was late arriving. I was so tired afterwards, that all I wanted to do was cry. Magical may not be the best description of our wedding night. But, the biggest shock: Being married was HARD!

We left our wedding after being told “the two shall become one” and had no idea what that meant. We were two 20-something’s used to doing our own thing. Now, there was another person to consider. There was another person using “my stuff.” There was another person “in my space.” There was another person with opinions and preferences that were different from mine. He didn’t do things when I wanted or the way I wanted. I tried to “train” him in my ways, but he was pretty sure he was okay and didn’t need my help. We struggled. We grew. We fought. We loved.
I learned that criticism was not the best approach. Regardless of which party was doing the criticizing, the other would react negatively. It would lead to contempt toward our relationship, defensiveness for personal protection, or withdrawing from the moment to avoid things until it died down. And as a result, there would be a fight or worse, no communication at all. It took a lot of time for me to mature and learn how to be a good wife. 
If you are in the beginning of your marriage, here’s my best advise:

1. Don’t criticize. He may not put clothes in the laundry hamper. Maybe he plays more video games than you like. Or, maybe he doesn’t wash and fold clothes the way you would. It doesn’t matter what the subject is, just don’t. You can calmly talk about the issue and explain your reasoning. But have a REAL reason, more than just “I don’t like it.” Come to an agreement such as only clothes in the hamper get washed. 

2. Stop manipulating. The definition of manipulation is “control or influence (a person or situation) cleverly, unfairly, or unscrupulously.” I learned at young teen how to “work” my dad. I knew his interests and would casually drop something I wanted Into the conversation and ask his opinion. Usually, he would get the idea and take care of my desire. (I got a car and a car stereo that way.) As a young adult, I would mention guys I had dated in front of the current young man I wanted to date. It nearly always resulted in a date with the new interest. After I married, I just had to pout a little to get my husband to jump through hoops. Not a very honorable thing to do to someone you say you love. When your goal is to get your own way with trickery, pouting or nagging, it’s manipulative. 

3. Drop your defenses. Marriage is built on trust. You should feel safe in expressing your desires, feelings, likes and dislikes. So should your spouse. As trust grows, defensiveness dies. It takes work, If criticism and manipulation are your favorite methods of communication, defensiveness will thrive. 

4. Stay connected. My first reaction to most anything negative is to withdraw into myself. If my feelings get hurt, I shut down. I’ll keep everything shut up until the inevitable explosion, usually over something really minor. Withdrawing is not a healthy way to deal with the inevitable stresses that come with relationships.
Successful marriages are hard work. Even harder and more stressful than planning the ultimate wedding and hopefully, longer lasting. If you are planning a wedding or just wanting to plan a wedding, I challenge you to take as much time preparing and planning your marriage. This is more than just premarital counseling, take the time to find out what both of your expectations are. Compare you marriage ideals and family backgrounds. Don’t assume you know all you need to know. Decide what you want to incorporate from the best parts of your parents’ marriage and what to avoid repeating. 
“Becoming one” is a process. It’s more than sex. It’s more than wedding vows. It means cooperation and commitment. It’s recognizing that neither of you rank higher in the relationship. It’s wanting the best for the person you love, even if you have to sacrifice. 

 Are you willing?

It’s Personal

I have been challenged to define love several times over the past few weeks.  There’s lots of information about love out there:

  • “Love is never having to say you’re sorry.”
  • “Love is a many splendored thing!”
  • “Love isn’t love until you give it away.”
  • “Love will find a way.”
  • “You can’t buy love.”
  • “Love is friendship caught fire.”
  • “Love is when the other person’s happiness is more important than your own.”
  • “Love makes the world go round.”
  • “Love is like the wind, you can’t see it but you can feel it. “
  • “Love is a canvas furnished by Nature and embroidered by imagination.

and my personal favorite. . .

  • “Your love completes me!”

The question that comes to my mind over and over is this:  Is love an emotion or is love an action?  When we are discussing love, we are usually talking about the “feelings” that are described as love.  You know those tingly feelings.  It’s all bubbly and exciting.  The world is beautiful as long as you can be around the one that is the object of your love.  We LOVE being IN-LOVE!  Many relationships are based on the feelings of love.  So, what happens when the feelings calm down and reality takes a toll on all the bubbly excitement?  There appear to be 2 choices:

  1. Decide to move on since you have ‘fallen out of love’ and you are no longer happy.
  2. Recognize that love is an action and made the decision to show love to your partner is  every way, regardless of how I feel in the moment.

How many couples have moved-in together because they were just so “in-love” only to see things fall apart since there was no real commitment to stay together?  The fun ends and the exit sign lights up when it becomes too difficult to stick around.

How many marriages fail because at least one of the people involved is “not happy” and decides to look for happiness elsewhere?  We hear “You deserve to be happy” or “You only live once, so be happy!”

Love is not an easy choice.  I love my children.  I love my husband even when he drives me nuts with some of his preferences.  I love my siblings and my parents.   I would give my life for any of them.  That doesn’t mean that I always like them or their decisions.(And just for the record, I can say anything I want about my husband, children, siblings or other family members.  But, you better not criticize or demean any of them or I WILL come after you!)  I choose to love through the hard spots, through the disappointments, through the struggles.  My heart breaks when I see any of the people that I love in pain.  I’m concerned when the choices being made aren’t the best and I offer advise even when it’s not wanted.  I stick it out because I have chosen to make love a verb.

I have friends that get really turned off  and even a little offended when I use the Bible to support my points.  However, there are several verses about love that anyone can put into practice, Christian or not.

‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’

‘Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.’

‘Most of all, love each other as if your life depended on it. Love makes up for practically anything.’

One of the best known and most quoted scriptures on love is found in 1 Corinthians 13.  I’ve taken verses 4-7 from the Message and made them very personal by inserting my own name in place of love:

Melissa never gives up.
Melissa cares more for others than for herself.
Melissa doesn’t want what she doesn’t have.
Melissa doesn’t strut, doesn’t have a swelled head,
doesn’t force herself on others, isn’t always “me first,”
Melissa doesn’t fly off the handle, doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
doesn’t revel when others grovel, takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Melissa puts up with anything, trusts God always,
always looks for the best,
Melissa never looks back, but keeps going to the end.

Are these truth’s about my life?  Not always.  But, these are the ideals I want in my life.  In relationships, we need to make this list personal and to work toward loving others unconditionally.  And that may mean, not complaining about the person that I say I love to someone else.  It means that I forgive and FORGET offenses.  It means that I stop manipulating the people I love and let them grow and love in their own way.   It means I have to be patient and content with my life and stop working to “keep up with the Jones”.  It means that keeping the spotlight on myself isn’t really success.

What’s your definition of love?  Go ahead, define it for yourself.

Would I Follow?

I am currently reading the book Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus.  This book is Nabeel Qureshi’s personal account of his life as he went from a devout upbringing in the Muslim faith to find that Jesus Christ was indeed his personal savior.  Throughout the book, the author talks of how simple it often was to shut down any Christian that tried to talk to him about faith in Christ.  The reason it was so simple: the  Christians had only a head knowledge of the “whys” of their own beliefs.  They could not back up the normal rhetoric that is given to prove their beliefs.

I have been struck by many parts of this book.  Most of all, I have to face that many of us cannot defend the faith we say that we have.  Nabeel studied the Bible to be able to  refute the usual comments.  It wasn’t until he met someone who was willing and able to give him facts that Nabeel began to truly “hear” the message.  On the flip side, Nabeel also had to come to terms with the fact that much of what he knew of his Muslim beliefs were based on what he had been told.  Studying the Qur’an and other documents as he defended his childhood religion was very unsettling for him.    Even though he have read the entire Qur’an by the time he was 5 years old, he didn’t know or understand much of the basics of his faith.

Nabeel Qureshi’s decision to follow Christ was not an easy choice.  It took years to get to that decision.  He had to weigh giving up EVERYTHING in order to follow the Christ of the Bible.  This decision caused immense pain for both of his parents.  In “Christianity Today”, he made this spoke about the effect his conversion had on his family:

“A few days later, the two people I loved most in this world were shattered by my betrayal. To this day my family is broken by the decision I made, and it is excruciating every time I see the cost I had to pay.
But Jesus is the God of reversal and redemption. He redeemed sinners to life by his death, and he redeemed a symbol of execution by repurposing it for salvation. He redeemed my suffering by making me rely upon him for my every moment, bending my heart toward him. It was there in my pain that I knew him intimately. He reached me through investigations, dreams, and visions, and called me to prayer in my suffering. It was there that I found Jesus. To follow him is worth giving up everything.”

I have to ask myself, “Would I do this?”  I’ve lived a pretty easy life.  Sure there have been bumps along the way, some of them very big bumps.  When my first husband died, I struggled with my faith.  I reviewed all that I said that I believed.  And, I concluded that my faith in God was correct and real.  But, I was never required to give up everything:  my family, my core beliefs, the familiar.  Would I do that?  Could I defend my beliefs to another in a logical and cohesive manner?  Would I be able to give details and truth?  I wish I could give a resounding YES, but I’m not sure.

My family and I have been watching the Leah Remini show on Scientology.  I often sit in astonishment at what people are willing to do and to give up for their beliefs in this “religion”.  While reading Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus, I have a different understanding of the Scientology followers:  they too risk everything for their beliefs.  The difference?  Nabeel Qureshi’s Muslim upbringing did acknowledge parts of the Bible and recognize some of the same people as Christianity (although differently), he had a basis to build upon when confronted for Christianity.  He was willing to debate and discuss to prove his point.  Scientology doesn’t allow any questions.  There is no debate.  It’s all or nothing.  As we have listened to people who have left Scientology, it is so sad to see that most have still not found salvation in Jesus.  How do we as Christians help to fill the void?  How do we take steps in this tender and painful area of trust for people’s of any faith that are hurt and searching?  Do we really care?  Do we really want to step out?

Again, I’m not sure.  It’s more  convenient to throw a tract or book at someone than to interact with  them in any depth.  It’s emotionally safer to invite someone to church than to sit down and have coffee and talk over  and over again.  It’s easier to only communicate about God when you need something by asking  for “a little prayer for _____”  instead of getting involved with God on a daily basis with His people.  It’s less intimidating to just mind my own business and let someone else do the hands on stuff.

I’m challenged.  I’m struggling.

For you see, standing up for one’s beliefs to those in your closest circle of family and friends can be hard, especially if they don’t agree.  It takes balance to lovingly rebuke those who claim to be Christian and  do not live as such.  It takes a measured patience to be ridiculed as “old-fashioned” and “out of touch” when you have lived and may actually have a basis for this “old-fashioned” and “out of touch” advise.  The easiest road may not be the best choice and momentary laughter does not mean a lifetime of joy.

Nabeel Qureshi passed away after a year-long battle with stomach cancer on September 16, 2017 at the age of 34.   His parents were helping to care for him during his illness.  I am so fortunate to have his story from which to learn.  He has touched and continues to touch many lives with his stand for Christ.

Would you follow?

 

 

I Have a Plan for You

“I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. ”   Jeremiah 29:11 MSG

This verse is often quoted when things are difficult or confusing.  It’s a comforting verse.  I’ve quoted it many times and have held tightly to it during rough periods of my life.  Today, I read the entire chapter.  It’s either the first time I’ve read the whole thing or the first time I’ve paid attention to it.  Either way, my eyes were opened.

This verse is in the middle of God sending a message to His children.  The children of Israel had been taken into captivity in Babylon.    Their only desire: to go home.  There were prophets that were assuring them they would be going home soon.  But, God had a different message:

“This is the Message from God-of-the-Angel-Armies, Israel’s God, to all the exiles I’ve taken from Jerusalem to Babylon:   “Build houses and make yourselves at home.  Put in gardens and eat what grows in that country.  Marry and have children. Encourage your children to marry and have children so that you’ll thrive in that country and not waste away.  Make yourselves at home there and work for the country’s welfare.  Pray for Babylon’s well-being. If things go well for Babylon, things will go well for you.

” Yes. Believe it or not, this is the Message from God-of-the-Angel-Armies, Israel’s God: “Don’t let all those so-called preachers and know-it-alls who are all over the place there take you in with their lies. Don’t pay any attention to the fantasies they keep coming up with to please you. They’re a bunch of liars preaching lies—and claiming I sent them! I never sent them, believe me.” God’s Decree!

This is God’s Word on the subject: “As soon as Babylon’s seventy years are up and not a day before, I’ll show up and take care of you as I promised and bring you back home. I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.”   Jeremiah 29:4-11 MSG

God did promise to gather all of His children together and to bring them home.  After 70 years had passed in Babylon, that is.  I don’t think that was what the people wanted to hear.  God was telling them to make their homes there in Babylon.  They were to live their lives to the fullest.  In Babylon.  And, (I think this would be the hardest part for me), they were to PRAY for Babylon to do well!  Really!?!  They’ve carried me and my family away into captivity, and I’m supposed to pray for good things for them?

I don’t know about you, but when I pray for God to do something, I really want it done now.  Next week might work.  A month from now would be pushing things.  I’ve never requested or expected to wait 70 years.  Wow.  This changes the way I look at “plans to give you the future you hope for”. 

How many times have I kicked and complained with my lot in life?  How many times have I cried out to God and questioned His decisions?  How many times have I accused God of not listening or caring?  Truthfully, more than I would like to admit.

I’m currently living within some parameters that I don’t like.  There are rules and consequences that many times seem to take over my every moment.  My life is not always mine to do with as I please.  This will be my life for the foreseeable future.  When I read these scriptures, I knew God was reminding me to wait on Him.  I can live my life, captive to circumstances out of my control.  I can live fully and trust Him.  He doesn’t promise to remove the issues as I would prefer.  But, He does assure me that “I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.”   

The next few verses are actually when the comfort arrives:

 “When you call on me, when you come and pray to me, I’ll listen.  When you come looking for me, you’ll find me.  Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I’ll make sure you won’t be disappointed.”  Jeremiah 29:12-14a MSG

This doesn’t say, “Call out to me and I’ll give what you want.”  He does promise that I can always find Him.  He will always listen.  I will not be disappointed even in circumstances or trials that I just don’t like at all.  I need to make finding God my priority, not escaping from my “captors”.

So, I will always be glad that God has a plan for me.  But, my new goal is to this:

SERIOUSLY seek God and put Him above every circumstance in my life. 

Are you struggling with your own “70 year captivity”?

 

 

 

 

63,072,000

Today is our wedding anniversary.

63,072,000 seconds

1,051,200 minutes

17,520 hours

731 days

104 weeks

24 months

2 years

I am so blessed to be married to this man who just wants to take care of me.

I will always be grateful for this man who opens doors for me,  pulls out my chair and prepares my first cup of coffee every morning.

I am so happy that this mans works so hard, but still finds ways to make me laugh.

I will never underestimate the value of the man who loves and serves all of our adult children.

I will never take for granted this man who is so passionate about our life together.

He is my friend, my confidante, my joy, my lover, my husband.  I love him more that I did two years ago, more than I thought possible.

Here’s to the rest of our lives together.  Whether it’s for 1 second or 1 Billion seconds, I am so glad we get to spend it together!

wedding2015

24 Wives, understand and support your husbands in ways that show your support for Christ. The husband provides leadership to his wife the way Christ does to his church, not by domineering but by cherishing. So just as the church submits to Christ as he exercises such leadership, wives should likewise submit to their husbands.

25-28 Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church—a love marked by giving, not getting. Christ’s love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness. And that is how husbands ought to love their wives. They’re really doing themselves a favor—since they’re already “one” in marriage.

29-33 No one abuses his own body, does he? No, he feeds and pampers it. That’s how Christ treats us, the church, since we are part of his body. And this is why a man leaves father and mother and cherishes his wife. No longer two, they become “one flesh.” This is a huge mystery, and I don’t pretend to understand it all. What is clearest to me is the way Christ treats the church. And this provides a good picture of how each husband is to treat his wife, loving himself in loving her, and how each wife is to honor her husband.”

Ephesians 5:24-33 MSG

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Service or Performance: Does it Matter

During the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, we have all seen acts of service for others affected by the storm. Churches, organizations, businesses and first responders have all banded together to do what is needed to evacuate and to provide food and shelter to storm victims. Teams of people from schools, religious organizations, neighborhoods as well as out-of-state volunteers have come into the area to clear out debris and start the recovery process. The response has been immediate and awe-inspiring. The servant’s heart has had ample use this month.  The opportunities for selfless service have been endless as have the opportunities for those seeking the limelight of recognition.  Does the motive for serving matter?

Having a servant’s heart means to put other’s needs ahead of our own.  A person with a servant’s heart doesn’t look for rewards or recognition or even gratitude.  In our social media heavy world, we walk a fine line between giving information  and seeking recognition.  There were many, many groups posting on the various social sites about helping after the storm.  These posts were important because they  got information out to those that needed it in a rather efficient manner.  Volunteers were organized.  Needs were recognized.  It worked pretty well.  There were lots of photo ops with people working and helping both neighbors and strangers.  Our city came together to help.  As the days passed, I began to see more “LOOK AT ME” posts.  The transition was gradual, but the “where can I help” posts became selfies touting “look what I did today”.  The photo ops were still there, but the focus was changing to “ME”.  Needs were still being addressed.  So, I kept asking myself, “Does it matter why we serve?”

This is a question I ask myself, quite often for some very different reasons.  I have years of experience leading worship in churches.  I started singing in church when I was 5 years old and sang “Little Baby in a Manger” at the Christmas Program.  I’ve sung solos and in groups.  I’ve played the piano and the organ for several congregations.  I’ve even played my trombone on several occasions.  I know that I can sing.  When leading others in worship, I had to review my own motives every week.  Was I singing because I wanted God to be honored or was I really enjoying the spot-light?  To be honest, there was a little of both most of the time.  I love music and I love to sing.  During a season of my life, the only reason I had to be in a worship service was because “I” was on stage.  I did not participate in anything else.  I realized that I wanted (maybe even needed) the reward of recognition that came through performing on Sundays.  But, there were also times when the greatest worship time I received was in rehearsing to lead others in worship.  It was in those moments when I KNEW that God had given me a purpose.

In the 80’s, I heard a sermon that addressed the many people who had come to salvation through the work of some well-known and fallen evangelists.  Jim and Tammy Bakker & Jimmy Swaggart were known as ministers of God’s word.  They built their ministry serving others and reaching out to others in need.  The Bible was taught.  People were saved.  But supporting the ministry became the primary need.  People were no longer encouraged to be involved in their local church.  Once the performers became more important than the God they served, things came crashing down.   A lot of people were hurt and  turned their backs on God as a result.  I believe we have to look at our own motives for every act of service.

In most cases, I don’t know that it matters to anyone else why we choose to serve others.  As long as we are meeting the needs of those around us, we are fulfilling a purpose.  In the end, though, we have to stand before God and give an account of our lives.  I will have to own up to the times that I was more interested in the praise of others than I was in following Him as a servant.  I will have to admit the times I was fishing for a compliment.  I will have to confess the moments when I wanted my star to shine brighter than any other.  I will have to face the moments when performance and not service was my primary goal.

 

A Great Man

I have known a few great men in my life.  A great man teaches by just the way they live each day.  Today, the world lost another truly great man, James Streit.

I first remember Mr. Streit when we went to find out about band in the 5th grade. My mother and I were looking at the various instruments and someone asked “What instruments will you need?”  and he replied, trombones.  And that made my decision.  I was going to play the trombone.  When my own children began band, I realized how truly patient Mr. Streit was with we beginners.  We weren’t nearly as good as we thought, but Mr. Streit always made us feel like we were superior!

As a sixth grader, Mr. Streit was my home room teacher as well as my Texas History teacher.  That was the first year that the Crowell Marching Band made all  I’s at contest.  Our home room class made posters and had a little “coke” party for Mr. Streit that day.  I’ll never forget his bashful grin and little laugh when he walked into the room.

Mr. Streit encouraged all of us to go to band tryouts.  The first year I went to tryouts, there were only 5 of us.  By the time I was a junior in high school, we took 2 school buses to the tryouts.  Mr. Streit worked with every student.  It didn’t matter if you had a gift for music or if you couldn’t “carry a tune in a bucket”, he treated us all the same.

There are several things that immediately bring Mr. Streit to mind: 1) circles, 2) the songs “Light my Fire” and “Sweet Caroline” and 3) music stands.

We learned so many circle drills during my 6 years in the CHS band.  (Yes, 6 years.  We started marching as 7th graders.)  We did circles with crosses in the middle.  We did circles with bands running from one to the other.  We did a circle and a square.  We did a 4 circle drill.  While there were other songs that we used for circle drills, “Light my Fire” is the one that sticks in my mind.  When I hear it, I am immediately transported to the practice field with little flags marking our circles and the positions.  The time he spent prepping our shows was amazing.  We learned several shows through the season, not just one and he always stressed that we were a concert band that marched.  And, “Sweet Caroline”.  On my, how many times did we play that one as the band sweetheart or the homecoming queen and their courts were walked across the field.  I can almost feel the breeze and see the lights of the stadium even now.

One of my favorite memories involved Mr. Streit’s music stand.  One of the things that anyone that had Mr. Streit in band will always remember is his temper.  Mr. Streit was a very calm, very nice man.  But, as the stress level rose, so did his breaking point.  We all knew that at some point during marching season, the megaphone would go flying.  It was never thrown at anyone in particular, just at the ground in frustration.  There would be stomping and yelling.  Then, he would regain his composure (and we would try not to snicker) and rehearsal would resume with a new focus.  Similarly, during concert season, we came to expect a blowup.  When he reached the end of his patience with our antics and/or lack of attention, Mr. Streit would pick up his music stand and band it on the floor.  Sometimes, several times to get our attention.  There were several of us, including Mr. Streit’s son Scott, that spent our study hall in the band hall.  Sometimes, we practiced.  Sometimes, we sorted music or ran errands.  Usually, we just wanted out of study hall.  On this particular day, we knew that Mr. Streit was nearing his breaking point.  So, “someone” loosened the screws that held the music stand together.  That afternoon during our band period, we went out of our way to be annoying.  Finally, Mr. Streit had enough.  He picked up the music stand, but this time it fell apart in his hands;   the sound of metal pieces falling across the floor.  He stood there for a moment and then looked up.   For a moment, I thought he might throw the remains at us as tried to hold back the giggles.  He blushed, shook his head and laughed with us.

The highest honor that a band could received was to be named the state honor band.  In 1975-1976, the Crowell High School Band was the ranking Class A All State Honor Band.  In the fall of ’75, we began preparing for the marching season and our TMEA concert.  That meant, full rehearsals in the mornings before school started as well as our normal afternoon band period and our Tuesday night rehearsal.  We worked hard.  There were sectionals in our band hall as well as in  Wichita Falls.  We had clinicians that came and heard us and made suggestions.  The low brass clinician was Mr. Charles Enloe.  We went to Wichita Falls several times to rehearse with him.  After one session, we were back in our band and we began playing Chorale and Capriccio.  There’s a section that was all trombone.  Mr. Enloe had taught us to blast that section out.  The first time we did it in rehearsal, Mr. Streit stopped us and told  us “Not to do that!”.  The next time Mr. Enloe was around, he was quite upset when we didn’t play like he had directed.  This went on for a few sessions.  Finally, Mr. Enloe did a band clinic and we played the section like Mr. Streit had directed.  Mr. Enloe landed right in the middle of the trombone section giving us quite a tongue lashing.  I can still see Mr. Streit walking around the gym behind Mr. Enloe looking back at me rather sheepishly during this time.  He did admit to Mr. Enloe that we were following his directions.  We played it Mr. Enloe’s way from then on.

I am so blessed to have had Mr. Streit in my life.  I was an adult with kids before many of the things he taught me really came to light.  He taught me that people will rise to your expectations.  He taught me that you treat everyone as if they are the best.  He taught me not to play favorites.  There are students that Mr. Streit touched that had never felt important or valuable.  He instilled value in his students.  He invested his time and energy in building the best students he could and built the best program in the area.  I can only try to impart the same things to the people who come across my path.  Thank you Mr. Streit.  You were more that just a band director.  You were an example of goodness and kindness.

Our world is better for having known James Streit.  He will be missed.