Fear

fear

Truth : What do you fear the most?

caroline says_1

I don’t want to answer this question. To be completely honest, I have a few fears. Ok, maybe more than a few.

The question is ‘What do you fear the most?” I’ll narrow it down to my Top Two.

1. When someone, mostly my children, choke on something they are eating. My fears have been brought to the surface more than once. When I was 5 years old, I was choking on a hot dog & my Uncle Donald saved my life when he gave me the Heimlich! Thanks Uncle Donald. Greg had to give our son, Tygar, the Heimlich a few times. And Tygar’s 1st grade teacher saved his life when he was choking on a peppermint candy at school. As my children get older, this fear has not been as prominent. But I have to admit, whenever my kids are eating grapes, my heart involuntarily skips a beat.

2. Heaven freaks me out. I will wake up out of a deep sleep & heaven will be on my mind & the fact that I will live FOREVER overwhelms me for a brief moment & I have to get out of bed & walk around to calm myself down. It never happens in the middle of the day. Only at night. I know it’s silly. I am a Christian & I trust God & have faith & know that I should be longingly looking forward to heaven. I am. 99% of the time.

~~~~~~

Now for some fun – go to YouTube & search “Ellen Scare Videos”. My favorite ones are Andy & Amy’s Haunted House videos – hilarious!

From now on, all I need to say to myself when the fear creeps in is, “Stop it! Stop it now!”

greg says_1

I’m generally an adrenaline junkie and will try most anything at least once.  I don’t want this to sound arrogant, but I’m not afraid of too many things… but there is one thing that I’m deathly afraid of…

When I was little (maybe 8-9 years old) my “friends” rolled me up tightly in an area rug and then sat on me for like 10 minutes.  I couldn’t move my arms, or legs, and it was difficult to breathe.

Let just say there were a few of my “friends” bleeding when I was done “freaking out” on them after they let me out.  ** My anger management classes have helped out a lot since then :) **

I’m not sure I’m claustrophobic because I’ve gone spelunking, Zorbing, had many MRI’s, and been in other tight quarters without issue…

BUT DON’T ROLL ME UP IN AN AREA RUG

… there will be blood!

 

What do you fear the most?

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Tears

amazing grace

Truth : When was the last time you cried?

 

greg says_1

I last cried on Sunday, October 12th around 10:15pm

Caroline and I went to see the world premiere musical of  “Amazing Grace” at the Bank of America Theater in Chicago.  It’s the story of John Newton… the man who wrote the famous song in 1772.  I won’t tell you all the details of the musical, just know it is a powerful story of redemption of one of Christianity’s most powerful conversions.  Pick up the book “Out of the Depths” for a good read.

If you know me very well… you know I have two favorite songs…

Amazing Grace
The Star Spangled Banner

Both songs bring tears to my eyes… especially when children sing them.  But on Oct 12th… when a host of professional actors and actresses sing all 5 verses of Amazing Grace… it’s was overwhelming.  Amazing words… from a guy with an amazing story.  #tears

caroline says_1

I also cried during the Amazing Grace musical a few weeks ago. It was SO good. If it comes to your area, it is a must see!

Before that, the last time I cried was while I was writing about the one thing I regret for Day 3 of this series.

While I was thinking about my Grandmother Pete & the memories surrounding that weekend, putting those thoughts to words for you to read, brought tears to my eyes.

When was the last time you cried?

 

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Worst Habit

habit

Truth : What is your worst habit?

 

caroline says_1

Twirling my hair when I’m in deep thought.

In fact, I’m doing right now in between typing pauses. It’s a miracle I still have hair left on my head!

Let’s just hope I notice the warning signs before it turns into Trichotillomania…if you ever play Jeopardy or Trivial Pursuit, now you know the answer. Google never ceases to amaze & scare me at the same time.

 

greg says_1

I have too many bad habits…

I’ve already twirled all my hair out!  So I’m over that bad habit.
Fortunately, I only have to share one bad habit with you…  so I’ll pick…

Cracking my knuckles… no wait… Skipping breakfast… no… Procrastination… no…

SPEEDING.

Yep.  That’s my worst bad habit.  I am a “speeder”.

Is speeding a bad habit or a “sin”?   Whatever it is… I do way to much of it.  I need to slow down when I drive…

… and to make my bad habit (or sin) worse… I drive a 2011 Chevy Caprice Police Detective Car that has a 6.0 liter engine with a top speed of 155mph.   Clearly my car and my bad habit are not a good combination.

Anybody want to buy my car?  Only 39,000 miles.  Almost mint condition.  4 doors.  Fast.
Will trade for a slower car.

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What is your worst habit??

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Everyday Food

eat everyday

Truth : What food would you eat everyday if you could?

We realize the irony – yesterday, we dared you to fast for 3 days & today we are asking you to tell us what food you would eat everyday if you could…

caroline says_1

All the foods that I had to give up because of my intolerance to lactose. Cheese, glorious cheese. Ice cream. Foods made with cream. Café au lait’s. Gelato. Pudding. Buttermilk biscuits. Oh my.

greg says_1

Basically every potato product ever invented!

Potato Chips
Potato Skins
Hash Browns
Tater Tots
Mashed Potatoes
Potatoes Au Gratin
Etc.

But if I had to pick only one…then without a doubt it would be …

Thrashers-French-Fries-Rehoboth-Beach-DE-01

THRASHER FRENCH FRIES from Ocean City, Maryland. (with malt vinegar)

There are no better French fries in all the land!

I’ve asked God to have them in heaven. He said, “sure”.

What food would you eat everyday if you could?

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To Tell the Truth

lies

Truth : Have you ever lied to your spouse?

greg says_1

This is an easy one.

YEP. Lots of times.

Why… because when I lie to Caroline, it’s almost always because I’m planning a surprise for her… whether it’s a new kitchen… a new Jeep… a completely re-decorated bedroom… or a trip to visit her friends in North Carolina.

I have to tell her lies in order to surprise her…
And I love to surprise her…
Therefore…

I lie to her all the time.

Is that bad?

Here’s what’s even more ironic… I think my wife likes it when I lie to her.

But you’d have to ask her.

Next question.

 

caroline says_1

Does it count as a lie if it involves a secret that my husband was keeping from me? A secret within a secret?

I didn’t need a hypnotist to remember this secret! I just needed to read what Greg wrote today because it reminded me of a secret that I’ve been keeping from him for 12 years now {or I guess it’s called a lie of omission}. Sorry, dear.

12 years ago, Greg & some of our friends planned a surprise party for my 30th birthday. Back then, Greg & I shared a computer & an email account. A few days before the party, I saw an email about it but didn’t tell Greg or anyone else. It stinks for those planning the surprise when it is ruined by the surprise recipient, right?

So I kept my mouth shut & enjoyed the surprise. Thank you, Greg & friends!

I promise, that’s the only surprise I ever found out about beforehand.

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Embarrassing

embarrassed2

Truth : What is the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you?

 

caroline says_1

It was April 1997. I was 25 & a newlywed. We lived in Maryland. Greg was a student pastor at a church & I took on the role of being a “pastors wife”. Basically, an infant in all things surrounding the role of being a “pastors wife” and if I’m honest, wasn’t exactly thrilled with some of the unspoken expectations that came with it. I guess when your spouse is in any type of leadership position, certain expectations are placed on you. I’m getting off track – back to the story…

I was invited to attend the annual women’s retreat in Harper’s Ferry, WV with the church & signed up to go so I could spend some quality time with some girlfriends, hoping to mingle among the crowd quietly.

That quiet mingling lasted until lunchtime on Saturday.

The weather was beautiful on that spring afternoon & a bunch of us decided to go have lunch at one of the local restaurants. The restaurant had outdoor seating & we decided since it was such a beautiful day, we would eat outside.

We had finished lunch & we were just sitting there, chatting & laughing & sharing stories & soaking in the warm Spring sun. It was one of those moments where you think to yourself, “You know, it doesn’t get much better than this.” Oh, Caroline…

A few minutes before it was time for us to leave, I grabbed my Pepsi & took one last gulp. I wanted to finish it & chew on the few pieces of ice that were left in the cup. The joy of the moment ended rather unexpectedly, when I spit out all the contents of that last gulp of Pepsi with projectile force into my best friend Kristin’s face who had the unfortunate luck of sitting across from me!

You see, what I didn’t know when I took that gulp was that there was a honey bee happily enjoying a few sips of my Pepsi as well. As soon as I took my gulp, I saw it & it flew near my mouth so I did what any normal person would do to try & get the bee away from their mouth – spit! & scream!

Now you’re probably saying to yourself, “that’s not so embarrassing, Caroline. For Kristin, because she’s soaked in Pepsi, but not really you.” Well, keep reading…

2 seconds after I spit out my soda while Kristin was screaming at me like I’m a crazy person, my inner thigh started to sting. Intensely. That sweet, confused little honey bee was in my overalls {yes! it was 1997 & overalls were all the rage!}. Apparently, he found an opening that led all the way down to my, um, let’s just keep calling it my inner thigh. It wasn’t my vajayjay {sorry, but I had to clear that up}. But pretty darn close.  Once he was down there, he was stuck. No escape, thus he engaged his defense mechanism & stung me.

I did what any normal, sane person would do when their um, inner thigh was intensely stinging because a bee had just stung you & you wanted that bee out of our overalls right away. I started to repeatedly smack myself in my, um, inner thigh. And scream at the same time.

So much for a calm, quiet, lay low for the weekend pastor’s wife. Thanks, honey bee.

The rest of the table sat in stunned silence, staring at the two of us. We looked like freaks. No, I was the freak. Kristin was completely innocent & covered in Pepsi.

Oh, and as I repeatedly smacked myself, I tried to scoot back in my chair, but the deck chair wouldn’t scoot {um, those chairs just don’t scoot!} & it collapsed so I fell backwards onto the wooden deck. At this point, I had to give the rest of the crowd an idea what I was doing to my, um, inner thigh. As I smacked, I screamed, “A bee flew down my overalls!”

I’m pretty sure I killed the honey bee. I never saw him again. But, the daunting question – did he leave his stinger in me? I had to check, but I needed help.

Fast forward two minutes, Kristin & I managed to get into the one person bathroom at the restaurant, which was inside & now everyone inside has witnessed our crazy because we were crying from uncontrollable laughter! Through tear soaked eyes, Kristin came to the rescue! Even though I had spit in her face a few minutes ago, she found the stupid stinger & removed it.

What happened next? I’m pretty sure I walked around the quaint little town of Harper’s Ferry holding a bag full of ice on my, um, inner thigh.

Yep. That was my last retreat as a pastor’s wife at that church…& I think I threw any expectation of being a “normal” pastor’s wife out the window that day. I’m ok with that!

 

greg says_1

The Year was 2007. The month was September. It was a Monday morning at approximately 8:55am.

It had to drop Tygar… my second son… off at preschool. Usually Caroline dropped him off, but for whatever reason I had the privilege this particular morning.

So in preparation to go to preschool, I told Tygar to use the bathroom before we left home, so he wouldn’t have to use the bathroom once he got to preschool. So he did… and when he was done, he had a great “4 year old question”.

“Daddy… my pee pee is small. When I grow up will it be bigger?”

I non-nonchalantly answered him… “Yep, as you get older… and grow up… everything gets bigger”.

A great, accurate, and harmless answer. Right?

So I take him to school… and I’m the only Dad there, as the rest of the parents were moms or grandmas dropping off their kid.

So imagine in your minds eye… two female preschool teachers greeting students as they enter the class… and a long line of kids with their parent dropping them off. We are third in line. (Have the picture in your head?)

So the first two kids get dropped off no problem… then it is our turn… But because I don’t normally drop off Tygar, one of the teachers bent down and asked Tygar… in a great preschool teacher voice…

“Who is dropping you off today Tygar?” (Harmless question, right?).

Tygar said… “This is my Dad… and he has a very big ‘pee pee'”.

The two female teachers, along with all the other Mom’s in line, were staring at me… at which point, I smiled, hugged Tygar, and walked to my car… Never to go back to preschool again.

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Wow, we are exhausted from reliving these embarrassing truths!! Your turn now – don’t hold back!

Surprising Fact

Truth : What fact about you surprises people the most?

 

greg says_1

I suppose you’d have to ask “the people”. This sounds like a “truth” for those that know us and are reading these “truths”. So feel free to comment… “I dare you”.  What fact about us surprises you the most?

If I had to guess what fact surprises people most about me … here’s my top 5…

1) I can still walk (somewhat normal) after 17 knee surgeries?
2) My children are cute… and I AM the biological father?
3) I was in Playboy Magazine – February 1992. (Feature article)
4) I partied with Dennis Rodman on New Years Eve 1999?
5) I have traveled over 250,000 miles with over 750 people in 15 passenger vans?

Surprised?

 

caroline says_1

I worked at the White House.

Actually, it was my very first job. I had a friend in high school & her dad worked for the Secret Service. Stephanie & I both started working for the White House Historical Association on Saturdays during the school year & almost every day during the summer. It was my freshman & sophomore year of high school, so 1986-1988. Ronald Reagan was the President.

Evelyn {my boss!}, me, Jodi, Lani, Carolyn & Lois {1988}

my coworkers

The White House Historical Association would sell souvenirs & books & Christmas ornaments to visitors after they had just toured the White House.

setting up our booth outside

Stephanie setting up our booth outside

Stephanie ready to sell souvenirs!

Stephanie ready to sell souvenirs!

Back then, the gift shop was inside the White House & sometimes when the weather was really nice we would be outside. Pretty much the coolest job I ever had.

That's me - somewhere in the White House.

That’s me – somewhere in the White House.

Sadly, I never met President Reagan but it was an honor to work in his house.

Two of the Secret Service guys & Nancy {in the background}

Two of the Secret Service guys & Nancy

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Tell us a surprising fact about you!

Secret No One Knows

secrets

Truth : What is one secret you have never told anyone?

 

caroline says_1

I’m a quiet person but not very secretive.

I can keep secrets, it’s just that after a while, I forget things.

So, if there is this secret hidden way deep inside of me that I haven’t told anyone, then I’ve forgotten it! Maybe one day it will come back to me? Anyone out there a hypnotist?

How’s that for being a completely dull answer to this truth? Just scroll down & read Greg’s.

 

greg says_1

I already told EVERYONE that I blow kisses at Dawn Wells from Gilligan’s Island… and that I’d spend the rest of my life on planet earth with Tina Fey. These don’t count?

I suppose you are looking for a big, fat, juicy, embarrassing secret? One that makes you gasp and say “no way… are you serious?” Something like… “I used to moonlight as a CHIPPENDALE at University of Maryland sororities on the weekends to put myself through college.”

Let me say that I was NOT a Chippendale… Mostly because I don’t qualify to be a sexy male dancer.  I was approached when I was 20 years old to be an underwear model however… I was flattered… but declined. #itistrue #stoplaughing

I have a lot of secrets that nobody knows. And I’m sorry, but I’m going to keep them that way. Let me explain.

I encourage people to have secrets. Good secrets that is. Secrets that tell the stories of kindness, goodness, and generosity. Secrets that only you and God know.

* The times you’ve helped out your neighbor with the rent and electric bill by depositing money directly into their bank account anonymously.
* The times that you take homeless people out to lunch.

You get the idea. I have plenty of secrets that only me and God know. I like it that way.

So you’re just going to have to deal with my “Dawn Wells”, “Tina Fey”, and “underwear model” secrets for now.

 

Do you have a secret no one knows?

Don’t tell Caroline, she’ll forget it. Or maybe, she’s the perfect person to tell…

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Be Anyone

anyone

Truth : If you could be anyone, who would you be?

 

greg says_1

I suppose I should want to be “Barry Ihavetoflatch” , or “Bobby Lightamatch”. Wait… what’s his name again?

Oh yeah, Benedict Cumberbatch. My wife’s current celebrity crush. He’s tall, has a great accent, and evidently has cheek bones to die for.

But I don’t want to be “Benny Pumpkinpatch”. I don’t know him.

As I was thinking of who I want to be for the rest of my life… I figured it should be someone I know. Someone I know very well… otherwise, I may be in for a lot of surprises. Like…

What if they are selfish, dishonest, lazy, or rude?
What if they aren’t patient, kind, or faithful?
Most of all… what if they don’t eat meat, shoot guns, or enjoy adventure?

The more I thought… The shorter my list became.

But one person stood out above the rest.

gale
I would want to be my dad. He’s my hero.

He works hard, considers others more important, and tells the truth.
He perseveres through tough times, and fights for what is right.
He’s humble, polite, patient, and kind to everyone.
He’s incredibly smart as well as wise.
He’s extremely generous.
He’s a constant learner.
He’s a great leader.
He loves God.

I could go on and on about my dad… but you get the point.

Yep. If I could be anyone… I’d be my dad.

His name is Gale. He’s my hero.  (below is a pic of my dad bungee jumping off the Victoria Falls Bridge in South Aftrica – he was in his 60’s)

gale bungee

 

caroline says_1

This is by far the toughest truth question for me to answer during this challenge so far.

If I could be anyone, who would I be?

I’d still be me.

I hope that doesn’t sound arrogant.

The truth is, I have struggled with low self-esteem most of my life. During some low moments of beating myself up emotionally because of a choice I made or receiving a hate letter in the 6th grade from a group of girls that I thought were my friends to being in an abusive relationship during my Sophomore year of college…there have been plenty of lows. Plenty of times where I wished I were anyone else except me.

God used a few key people in my life to remind me that no matter what, I am loved. Those people? Greg, my parents & Kristin.

Each of them have spoken life-giving truths into my life at just the right moment. Most of all, I needed to hear the whispers that God was shouting at me:

I am loved.
I am beautiful.
I am forgiven.
I am free.
I am blessed.

The list could go on and on.

I just want you to know that even though the low self-esteem lingers around a few dark corners for me, I’m not wishing I was someone else now.

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Your turn – if you could be anyone, who would it be?

Stranger

i dare you

I Dare You to pay for a stranger’s meal at a restaurant.

caroline says_1

We have done this several times before. Sometimes, nothing happens as a result of spending a few extra dollars to anomously pay for someone’s meal at a restaurant.

Sometimes, those strangers become lifelong friends.

cochrane

Mark & Leanne Cochrane

The Cochrane family came into our lives at just the right moment. The timing was unexpected but meant to be. Telling this story will never get old. And it is one that we have told you before. Please take some time to click over & read it.

Christmas 2005

New Years Eve 2005

Fall 2008

Fall 2008

April 2013 - On our way to my 40th Beach Week!

April 2012 – On our way to my 40th Beach Week!

April 2012 - 40th Beach Week!

April 2012 – 40th Beach Week!

9 years later, the Cochrane family continues to be an important part of our lives.

We gather together for family dinners & date nights with Mark & Leanne.  We have encouraged each other through the highs & lows that life can bring. Mark & Leanne, Connor, Noelle & Logan are a beautiful family & we are extremely thankful for their friendship.

The bravery of one little 4 year old girl & the tug on Greg’s heart to do something unexpected.

The simple gesture of paying for a stranger’s meal.

Maybe that stranger will become a lifelong friend? Would you want to miss out on that opportunity?

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