The Better Half of My Life

20 years ago today, Jennifer (my wife of 16 years) and I went on our first date. God has blessed me in so many ways, but the greatest blessing has been sharing everything with the love of my life! Here’s just a little story (from my point of view) of how the Good Lord arranged for Jennifer and I to fall in love…

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Providence would have it, that both Jennifer Donohoo (of Eupora) and Danny Davis (of Pascagoula) would end up pursuing the next level of education after High School at William Carey College. Jennifer, as a pianist and musician, knew early on that God had gifted her to be a music teacher. She sought out that journey at Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Delta State, etc. But Dr. Milfred Valentine at William Carey was the one who allowed Jennifer to focus on Music Education with a concentration in both voice and piano in order to prepare to become a High School Choir director. The other schools saw Jennifer’s piano skills and pushed that agenda without being open to listening to what she knew she was called to do. Thanks Dr. V!!! Without your openness, Jennifer and I would’ve never met. I, on the other hand, was still trying to balance a call to ministry with continuing to sow a few wild oats. I had applied and been offered to enroll in engineering programs at Mississippi State, Florida State, and LSU. But God has a way of “messing” up our plans. Dr. V (with the help of Harvey McClure) was also very instrumental in recruiting me to William Carey. So, somewhat blind destiny put me in Hattiesburg as well. After being a music minister in High School, I decided to enter Carey as a Church Music Major.

During our freshman year at WCC, we were worlds apart. The only things we had in common was a relationship w/ Jesus and both being music majors. Jennifer was caught up in the BSU crowd. I didn’t fit in there (at the time). I hung with the music and theology majors. I was the guy w/ a natural singing talent that didn’t have to work as hard and sat in the back of the class. Jennifer was the studious hard worker that sat on the front row. We didn’t notice one another very much that freshman year until the last week of school in May. Jennifer was practicing piano one night on the grand piano in the auditorium and having a conversation w/ one of my partners in crime, Kevin Earnest. I have no clue why I was in the Music Building at that time of night, but saw Kevin and went in to say hello. That hello turned into the 3 of us exchanging phone numbers for the summer. I don’t know what I or Jennifer did w/ the phone numbers, but it wouldn’t surprise me if both hit file 13 by the end of the night. Little did we know what would happen the first day of our sophomore year in the Fall of 1994.

tBUnjgciP9dUCKkEbUd0XXLp_oOtxNVp2DedNXU04jUWilliam Carey began school with a special chapel service and convocation to begin each Trimester. Dr. Valentine asked me to lead the music and sing a solo for the service. Newly hired BSU director, Tim Glaze, asked Jennifer to give a testimony of her summer experience working at Camp of the Rising Son in French Camp. I remember that day like it was yesterday. I sang an arrangement of “He Leadeth Me.” Jennifer was wearing a flaming hot red dress!!! The moment our eyes met that day, was life changing. We connected following the service backstage and everything just began to click for us. The next thing I knew, Jennifer was sitting beside me in Music Theory. I was actually showing up for all my classes and doing my work. We were meeting in the Chain Garden and Library to study together. All the offers to go hang out with the guys turned into, “Naw, I’m busy.” It wasn’t just Jennifer and I doing things just the two of us yet either. We were having fun with lots of our friends.

Then a night of study brought a gang of us to IHOP for a big test the next day. If I remember correctly, Jennifer after having ordered some food, realized she didn’t have any money with her. I offered to pay. That kinda led to the next evening when good friend, Ryan Hays, invited a bunch of people in the music building to go to Taco Bell. Only Jennifer and I obliged. Honestly, we were at that stage where we would take any excuse to spend time together, but not ready to do it alone yet. So, that night at Taco Bell, I was the one who didn’t have any money. Jennifer offered to pay for my food and I responded with, “I’ll let you pay, if you let me take out tomorrow night?” She simply said, “OK”…later realizing I had smoothly asked her out on a date.

zGgwGAFgbtmZjzFsyAltI3TM-VhZTOiR7Iu9PSDgva0So, October 20, 1994, Jennifer and I went on our first official date. I picked Jennifer up in my black Nissan Sentra. She was wearing a blouse and a green dress with ducks on it. I was wearing my trusty plaid shirt. That night we had dinner at McAlister’s (doesn’t seem like much now, but it was a very hot spot in Hattiesburg in 1994). I think we both ordered the Club Sandwich and Sweet Tea. After dinner we went to the newly opened Turtle Creek Mall. It was pretty intimidating for Jennifer. We bumped into a lot of people that had known me and my family. But she wasn’t scared or ashamed to be with me. I knew there was something special that night but not ready to express that to anyone.

For the next two weeks, I think we did something together every night, including attending a marriage conference (by mistake, oops), sitting in the cold night air in the park by the zoo, and having a little picnic at newly opened Timberton Golf Course where we had our first kiss. After those two weeks, I remember calling my mom and telling her, “Mom, I think I’ve found her.”

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We dated from October 20, 1994 to Cinco de Mayo of 1997, the day we were engaged. Then we married March 7, 1998. It’s been a wonderful life spending it with Jennifer. More than half of our lives has now been together. I can’t wait to live the next 20 years with her. There’s so many family and friends that I’ve left out of this post. And they’re spread from that first home of ours in Petal to Pascagoula, Eupora, Laurel, Hattiesburg, Fort Worth, TX, to Meridian and beyond. I’m thankful that we’ve always had support from all of you. May God bless you and yours the way He’s blessed me and mine!

I love you, Honey!!!

US Get a Result in 1st two matches of WC

2 weeks ago, if someone predicted the US would have 4 points and have a good chance to advance from the group of death, many would’ve laughed at that prediction. But after getting 3 points vs Ghana and a point vs Portugal, most of us feel robbed because of how the Portugal match ended. The full 3 points were there for the taking. And a 30 second lapse in the US team led to the tie. As Americans we tend to overestimate ourselves. Spain and England are going home already. US dominated possession against the #4 team in the world. I’m proud. But…

Alright, I gotta vent all this crap outta my system, then I’ll be over it. Here’s my plethora of questions…
A series of seemingly innocent decisions, late in a draining game – but if the US is to seriously challenge and advance far into this World Cup, these things cannot happen.
This isn’t to say these players were awful, but as Cobi Jones pointed out last night, it’s not one blunder that leads to a goal, but a domino-effect.
1st question: : Why did Yedlin not take the ball into the corner in the first place? Then, why stop the ball from rolling out for a throw-in?
2nd question: why was Jurgen Klinsmann calling for his team to stay upfield on the Portugal throw, rather than get numbers back?
3rd ?: A minor issue, but why was Cameron heading the ball back into the middle of the field, rather than out for a throw-in?
4th ?: Unfairly (but we expect a higher standard from him) taking vast majority of blame, but why did Bradley get caught on the ball, rather than an early pass back or just blast it out?
5th ?: Why did Beckerman get caught flat-footed, rather than retreat at first sign of trouble? And why is Beasley the only player marking Cristiano Ronaldo?
6th ?: Why’s Omar in midfield rather than between Besler and Cameron? Why don’t Johnson, Cameron & Howard notice Varela at the back post?
7th ?: Could Howard have made a better attempt to stop the shot? (Raised only because of his relatively poor performance in the first half.)
And ironically I just realized, that if we screw up Thursday, indirectly Ghana could eliminate us again…I’m done w/ it now. We’re gonna go through, but I had to vent the what ifs.
That’s all. Now it’s outta my system. Bring on Germany!

Official Away Jersey & K is Angry

As the World Cup approaches, USA now have released both it’s home and away jerseys to be used in Brazil.

USA will play a friendly match vs Mexico Wednesday night. Mexican clubs have not released Michael Orozco and DeMarcus Beasley purposefully. This is such a classless move on the part of the Mexican Federation. All Mexican players have been released to play for this match and this is clearly an attempt to make it difficult for USA to prepare for the World Cup. Klinsmann made this statement live on Spanish TV station Univision last night, “We are very angry, very angry about this because the Mexican clubs released all their players for this very prestigious friendly.” The match is set for 11:15 pm set tomorrow night and will air on ESPN from Glendale, AZ.

World Cup Fever is Growing

US Men’s National Team New Home Jersey

Today, US Soccer revealed the Home jersey it will use for the World Cup this summer in Brazil. It’s a very simple yet distinguished jersey. Combining top performance innovation and a classic and bold design, the new jersey incorporates a classic white with gray horizontal pinstripes across the body and sleeves. The jersey features a classic white polo shirt collar with red trim. Inside the back of the neck is a blue pennant tab with the 13 stars from the original American flag.

On the back, the top features a specially designed font for the USA names and numbers – a modern and angular style that is influenced by other U.S. sports teams. The jersey numbers also include a small U.S. Soccer crest at the bottom. The redesigned Nike Pro baselayer shorts are white with a red stripe on each side. The fit is slim and tailored to the body, with a cut specifically designed to aid movement and comfort. The center back of the shorts feature Nike’s signature laser vents to aid in cooling and moisture management.

The new classic Nike Elite Match Fit socks are also white with strategically cushioned zones to provide comfort and protection. Flex grooves were added to the ankle and the top of the foot. The shirt, shorts and socks all feature fabric made from recycled plastic bottles – 100 percent recycled polyester in the shorts, 96 percent recycled polyester in the shirt and 78 percent in the socks. The new U.S. Men’s National Team kits will be available worldwide online starting Wednesday, March 5. The USA kit is currently available in Nike stores and on nike.com for pre-order.

Rumor is, the above jersey will be the Away jersey for the World Cup. It has not been made official yet. We should find out soon.

Here’s the US Men’s Team training yesterday in Frankfurt, German as they prepare to play Ukraine on Marck 5 on the island of Cyprus.

 

Howdy, Welcome to Aggieland!!!

This weekend, my brother and I made a trip to Texas to see Mississippi State play Texas A&M. During the 6 years I lived in Fort Worth, I had invitations to go to a game at A&M but it never worked out. So, finally I was able to make it there and see my team play on Kyle Field for the first time since 1913.

We stayed with friends in Mansfield in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. While there we made eating Texas style our goal. We had a great steak and some of the best stuffed Jalapeños at Texas Land & Cattle Steakhouse a couple of blocks from the Cowboys new AT&T Stadium in Arlington and enjoyed some fantastic Tex/Mex at Cantina Laredo in downtown Fort Worth.

Saturday morning we left early to begin our journey to Aggieland. No trip south from Dallas or Fort Worth on I-35 is complete without stopping in West, Texas at the Little Czech Bakery for the best sausage rolls and fruit kolaches in the world.

As we made it to Waco and got on Texas Highway 6, we began to see the typical Texas farm land filled with Aggies:

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Once we arrived in College Station, we immediately began sensing the hospitality of the Aggies. I must’ve been greeted a thousand times with, “Howdy, Welcome to Aggieland!”howdy

We then made our way to the tailgating area specifically made for big rig smokers. There must have been over 100 big rig home made grill/smoker setups.smoker

There, we spent some time with the TexasTiders who have ties to A&M and Bama. Notice how they have 4 flags at their tailgate: An Aggie flag, Bama flag, upside down MSU flag, and of course, the state of Texas flag.

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As we made our way around campus, we learned about many of the A&M traditions. The Memorial Student Center is quite different from most campus student centers. Remember, A&M is still considered partially a military school. No one is allowed to walk on the grass around the Memorial Student Center; all hats must be removed once entering the Student Center; and it’s a very quiet and solemn atmosphere inside where plaques, flags, and numerous memorials recognize the Aggies that have served our country in the military. 

We had a great time. And it was good to see our team play well. Though we didn’t win, I was proud of our team for not quitting.

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We Are Going to Brazil!!!

After a great run this year, USA continues to climb in the rankings. Why is this important? It’s important for seeding in the World Cup next summer. Right now, USA would be a 2 seed. It would be amazing to somehow gain a 1 seed. Here’s the latest FIFA World Rankings and a few of my thoughts:

1 – Spain (your possession style is over)

2 – Argentina (my favorite for the World Cup)

3 – Germany (my #1 vote)

4 – Italy (much improved from years past; they’re actually scoring goals & fun to watch)

5 – Columbia (too high for them)

6 – Belgium (well deserved)

7 – Uruguay (a little too high)

8 – Brazil (has to make them angry to be behind 3 other South American countries)

9 – Netherlands (meh)

10 – Croatia (scary team)

11 – Portugal (it’s gonna take more than Ronaldo to get me excited about this team)

12 – Greece (Pistachios for everyone)

13 – USA (needs to finish strong even though we’ve already qualified)

14 – Switzerland (really?)

15 – Russia (always a tough opponent)

16 – Chile (Who are these South American teams beating?)

17 – England (Always prepared to disappoint)

18 – Bosnia-Herzegovina (good team)

19 – Ivory Coast (Finally, an African team)

20 – Ecuador (what is this? A South American poll)

21 – Mexico (still too high; they’re in shambles)

22 – Sweden (they have Ibrahimovic)

23 – Denmark (boring 1-0 wins)

24 – Ghana (lumbering into the top 25)

25 – France (Oh, how the strong have fallen!)

 

Other thoughts:

-No Asians in the top 25

-South Americans with a strong showing

-Germany is changing the way soccer is played. They showed the world how to beat the Spanish style of play.

-Are things shaping up due to some traditional powers being weak, for Messi to lead Argentina to greatness?

-USA have lots still to prove and Klinsmann is the man to do it.