Voice and Pen

Posted: March 20, 2012 in Uncategorized

One of the best decisions I ever made was choosing to marry Dena.  Before her, I brought home a few other girlfriends from college.  My parents were kind and polite to each one.  But after meeting Dena for the first time, my step-father whose words were few and compliments even fewer, told me that she was the kind of girl I should marry and not to let her go.  I was convinced very quickly and eventually I convinced  Dena.  June 17, 1989 was the day we made it official.

Now we are going on 23 years of wedded bliss.  Ok, so it hasn’t all been bliss, but it’s definitely been blessed.  Our marriage style could be defined as  team work.  Not that we assign duties and demand that the other one do their part.  No, we have morphed and changed through the years to help each other out wherever we see the need.  Some things Dena is better at (like the laundry – she won’t let me touch it) and that hasn’t changed in all these years.  I’ve pretty much always claimed the lawn work (although Dena will insist you know that she grew up mowing yards and is perfectly capable) and car maintenance.  Lest you think these are the stereotypical gender related jobs, there are plenty of other things like finances and cooking that we’ve both shared the burden of and it’s switched back and forth through the years.  Since we are both leaders and strong-willed (aka stubborn), we don’t necessarily like working right next to each other in close proximity for hours on end.  We’d prefer to cheer the other one on from the room next door.

All that to say… our team work spills over into every area of life….including this blog.  Since beginning the blog back in December, many of you have commented on how well it’s written.  You have been very kind and even suggested I should consider writing a book.  While I have been honest with anyone with whom I spoke personally, I now need to make a public disclaimer:  Dena is the official writer of these blog posts!

Most of the topics we first discuss together;  The thoughts and ideas are my own.  Yet when it comes to putting my thoughts onto the paper, or computer in this case, that job is hers.  After she writes a draft, I give the final approval before it gets posted.  And although she is the pen, it’s my voice and therefore it’s written in first person from my perspective. I explain my thoughts better through speaking, while she can put them into words more clearly.  And since we’ve been married so long, she knows my thoughts pretty well.

God has gifted us each uniquely and in a marriage relationship, those gifts should be enhanced, not diminished.

Give Dena a microphone and she’s going to run;  Give Patrick a microphone and he’s going to make everyone laugh.

Give Dena a pen and expect a a few pages of detailed explanation with correct grammar; Give Patrick a pen and he’ll draw a stick figure.

We are a team; We have always been a team.  In marriage, in ministry, in parenting.  Now as we walk through the most difficult journey of our lives, a team we will remain.

Proverbs 18:22 “He who finds a wife, finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.”

  1. Phyllis says:

    Hi Patrick and Dena,
    Great blog! I’ve really enjoyed each one. It’s great to read of your ‘togetherness’. What a cute picture of the two of you! God has blessed the high schoolers at Cornerstone (and elsewhere before that) with the ministry you’ve both shared and worked at. Now as your ‘other seniors’, Patrick, we look forward each week to you teaching us. Your added humor just keeps things lively and we thoroughly enjoy every minute. May God continue to bless both of you in numerous ways.
    With love and continued prayers,

  2. Jane Miniard says:

    What a great story as to what marriage is all about! Praying for all of you.

  3. Kandi Sherrill says:

    You two are definitely such a strong example of Christian love and Marriage. Dena, thank you for sharing Patrick with us for all these years. For the time he has had to put into being the Youth Pastor that we all know and love. and Patrick, thank you for sharing Dena. For allowing her to be available to us girls, and for sharing your story. 🙂 Much love to you both, and Paige and Parker also. Kalli prays for you guys every night, that Pastor Patrick would feel better, for the his family to help him feel better.

  4. Del Warbington says:

    Thank you for such a candid look into your lives Patrick and Dena. Don and I live in a very similar fashion so we can appreciate your post in a personal way.
    We continue to pray for grace and comfort as you walk through this journey not only side by side as a couple, but also a family.

  5. Jeremy Pearson says:

    Patrick and Dena,

    I’ll have you know that the word that i have used to describe Carlie and myself since we started dating, and in the very moment of my proposal to her was the word “teammate.” We work together for the same goal and help each other out. We are on the same team. Patrick and Dena, you have exemplified a godly marriage to me and I am thankful for God being gracious to you two! His grace in your marriage and your example has blessed so many. I love you both! Thank you.

    p.s. I knew long ago that these words were typed by Dena. 😉

    Jeremy Pearson

  6. lorie smith says:

    Team work, Jesus and you, husband and wife, church family and you
    that’s how we make it each day
    praying for you
    al and lorie

  7. Russ Arbuckle says:

    Truly you are blessed with Dena. Behind every good pastor is his wife. AMEN! Dena keep the faith and be the who you are….a sister in God. Love you guys.

  8. Thank You for sharing your very personal story with all of us. Your family has been such a blessing to us since we came to Cornerstone three years ago. As Jenene and Scott prepare for their wedding this summer, I pray that they will have a strong Christian marriage and will follow the example that you have set in your lives.
    Our love and prayers go out to you each and every day!

  9. Mandi says:

    Wonderfully written and spoken. Such an honor for Dena to be praised by her man!!! You have both been on my mind so much lately so that means a lot of prayers are being lifted up on your behalf. I don’t have specific requests but I am lifting you up with prayers for strength, spiritual wisdom and understanding, that you would have a spirit of POWER and not of fear, and also I pray for a miracle. Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think according to the power that works within us!!!
    Love Both of YOU!!!!

  10. Mandi says:

    Love Love that picture of you two!!

  11. Jolynn says:

    Beautifully written and beautifully exemplified by both of you. We are praying for you often and love you.
    Jolynn (&Matt)

  12. Kathie Duguid says:

    What a wonderful tribute to each other and commitment of marriage. Our prayers are with your family as you go through the coming trials. Thank you for sharing this part of your lives.

  13. Julie Luzod says:

    Patrick and Dena~ We are SO blessed to have both of you as part of our “adopted family” and thankful for the continuing example you are to us. You truly put Christ on display in your marriage and your lives, even now in the difficult circumstances you face. We are joining with so many others in praying for you and your family daily. We love you!

  14. Jana Braden says:

    I knew it all along!! Love you all and are praying for you constantly. May God continue to give you grace and strength.

  15. Tim & Lisa Davis says:

    I love your perspective. I am thankful that God has surrounded us with His people to make our journey through life so much more fulfilling.

  16. Kerry Weishaupt says:

    Still teaching, and I cried.
    I love you both,

  17. Dennis and Carrie Ginnard says:

    You are truly a blessed man! What a beautiful family you have. Enjoy not only each day, but let every moment be a testament to our great God. Continuing to pray for you all!

  18. shelly mcmahon says:

    I look forward to reading your blog each week to see how you are doing and how our
    family can be praying for you. Thank you for allowing all of us to be a part of your
    personal life during this trial. We want to be faithful to hold you up in prayer and be there
    if you need anything.
    shelly mcmahon

  19. m.e. says:

    Patrick and Dena,
    Chip shared with us about Patrick’s ALS. Our hearts are saddened to hear it but then we remember that God is a step ahead of you in this. You were so kind to us when we stayed in your home way back in 2001 when Chip interned under you. The years and the miles have separated us but please know we will be praying for your family, the health concerns, and for God’s power to shine forth as always.

    Richard and Susan Dean

  20. Tina Winner says:

    I remember the day she said YES. You are both so blessed to have each other. I love you all

  21. Robin Rockey says:

    Hey Patrick, it’s Robin, your….hmmmm, let me think…cousin? My dad is Tom, your mom’s brother. Maybe “long lost cousin” best describes it! Dad told me about your ALS diagnosis and I found your website by googling “Patrick’s Story.” No words, of course, can adequately say that I am sorry for your unplanned illness. I am certain your journey is touching many lives and giving so many people much to think about. I know from experience that personal tragedy does have many teachable moments, though they can be most unbearable for both “teacher” and “student.” Anyway, you were always the happiest, cutest little kid and I remember your fancy house in San Jose and your parent’s Mercedes cars with the fancy door handles (compared to Dad’s Ford Pinto) and the yummy snacks you always had. Always a smile on your face, and your blog pictures show you haven’t changed a bit. You have a beautiful family and I will think about you now and always.

    • Hey Robin, You better believe I remember you. You were my cool older cousin. I always looked forward to seeing you and Christy(Am I correct on her name?). Thanks for your kind words. It truly means a lot. Patrick

  22. Chuck Clevenger says:

    Patrick: You and I have not met, but I met Dena and Patrick (Jr) yesterday in my music studio at Cedarville University. As you walk the path God has laid before you, you are fortunate indeed to be surrounded by such love, strength, and Christian character as I saw in your wife and son. He’s the kind of guy we pray for at Cedarville — good raising will tell, and it’s apparent in his manner, confidence, and musicality. Well done, Dad.

    I want you to know that I don’t teach students … I make disciples. If Patrick decides to come to CU, we will surround him with encouragement, guidance, and accountability. It’s what we do.

    If God allows, I look forward to meeting you.

    Chuck Clevenger, DMA
    Senior Professor of Piano and Humanities
    Cedarville University

  23. […] wrote the first couple posts, then he dictated and eventually I was writing them all. When Patrick passed away, so I assumed, would the blog. No one was as surprised as me when six […]

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