stories, lessons, and a lot of nonsense

I’m totally stealing this idea from Marni. It seemed like a great idea to look back over the trials, victories, fun, and misery ten years can bring. Let’s review, shall we?

First, here’s a picture of me from 2000, for your viewing pleasure, of course.

Contrast that to this, a very recent picture of me, Sarah, and Jakob.


In February, I started dating my first girlfriend. In December, I asked her to marry me. To this day, she claims she said yes. Whether she did or not is inconsequential, because she took the ring and married me the next year.

In May, I graduated from high school. I don’t miss high school at all. I haven’t missed it for a single day since graduating.

In September, my sister Lisa married a pretty fantastic guy named Mike. Best moment of the day? My nephew, Matthew (6 at the time; he’s 16 now), refused to call Mike anything other than Mike leading up to the wedding. After the wedding, he ran up to Mike and said, “I love you, Daddy.”

As mentioned, I got engaged in December, at the age of 18 years and 10 months. Sarah was much younger, at 18 years and 9 months.


In February, I was promoted at Bank One. Being promoted after such a short time and at a very young age caused me to reconsider going into ministry, but only for about a week. I saw dollar signs when I thought about staying at the bank and pursuing higher positions there, but alas, God wouldn’t have it.

In August, I married Sarah, who is very beautiful, and happens to be Korean. Thus starts 8+ years of people wondering if she’s a mail order bride. She’s not, although I can see where you’re coming from if you’re thinking that.

In September, we bought our very first car together. It was a brand new 2001 VW Jetta. It was also our first step on the slippery slope of financial stupidity.

In October, our family was blessed with Madison, Steve’s daughter, Cedric’s little sister, and my first niece.


In March, Nathaniel, Lisa’s 2nd son, joins the family. He’s the most tenderhearted of the family. Actually, he’s the only tenderhearted one in the family. The rest of us are cold hearted and mean.

In July, life changes rapidly. Sarah was paralyzed in a car accident. The doctors say she’ll never sit up in bed again. That’s not the news you want to hear, especially when you’re only 20.

God is bigger than the Boogey Man, and as luck would have it, paralysis, as well. After just a short time, Sarah begins regaining feeling and movement in her legs. The right leg has always been ahead of the left in recovery. She took her first steps since the accident on September 16.

In October, my brother Dan married Katey. I got to be the best man. This started the eating at Chili’s and watching Zoolander with Dan and Katey every Sunday phase of life.


In January, Sarah ditched her wheelchair for a walker. She wasn’t cool enough to put tennis balls on the bottom, though. She did, however, leave a really cool trail in the snow every time she went to the car. Oh, and she also started driving again.

She ended up forsaking her walker for crutches, and then one crutch was eventually left to rust in the trunk. Clyde the crutch became her sole walking companion.

In July, I heard God’s calling to move to Ninevah…I mean Florida, to attend Bible college. We wouldn’t go till the next year, though.

In August, I began my youth pastor internship at HBC with Jimmy. He likes University of Tennessee and Peyton Manning. He likes them a lot. And he’s still bitter about Charles Woodson winning the Heisman trophy.

2004-2008 [the Ninevah years]

In July of 2004, a week after we moved to Florida, our 2nd beautiful niece, Elizabeth, was born.

In June of 2006, Sarah’s sister, Jenny, married Rob. Another Republican son-in-law for Sarah’s parents. 🙂

The rest of these years blend together into one big pile of…awesome? Here’s what I learned:

Working full time (plus over time) and going to college full time is very stressful and hard on a marriage, but not as stressful as putting in the same number of hours every week at a church for an unappreciative boss.

I never once questioned my faith, but I did question my calling. I realized that I was called to be a pastor, but I was not called to be a Baptist pastor. I’m a better fit in the non-denominational world. Deep down, I’m still kind of a closet Baptist with some really Baptist tendencies. And yet, I’m so different.

In May of 2008, I did a very hard thing. I left my first youth pastor job. I don’t miss the church, and I never expected to, but leaving our teenagers was hard. In the end, I chose my family over other families. On May 31, we packed up and moved from Florida to Ohio.

So in June of 2008, I entered the non-denominational world at New Hope Community Church. It was quite a relief from what I had been used to. Children’s ministry over multiple campuses, however, was not a relief. It was hard. And I loved it.

In November, Sarah’s parents were blessed with their first grandchild: RJ Volz. He is Rob and Jenny’s boy. Jenny is Sarah’s aforementioned sister.

In December, Sarah became with child.


In January, I learned that I might be laid off from New Hope. The next week, we found out that Sarah was pregnant with Jakob. The week after that, I learned that my job was safe (for now; or was it for then? Either way, it was temporary).

In March, we made a round trip to South Carolina to a church conference, but more importantly, to see our best friends from Florida: Chadwick and Sarah. It was a surprise to my Sarah, and I was so excited to surprise her that I got my very first speeding ticket when we were almost there.

This trip was followed the next week with a round trip to KKK country in Arkansas. Both trips were made by car, and both were made with Charles and Mikey. I haven’t enjoyed that car since those 2 weeks, but I still like Charles and Mikey. I also learned that I like Patrick, who likes to strike up dangerous conversations with drunk men in Klan country.

In May, we learned that Jakob was a boy. We had called him Smiffner until we found out if he would be a Jakob Israel or an Eva Sue. Given his gender, we went with Jakob Israel.

In July, I was laid off for real. If you don’t know, laid off is a really cushy term for fired in the church world. It’s not like in the secular world, where you get unemployment benefits and the possibility of being brought back on. Fortunately, New Hope covered us for a total of 12 weeks, which meant we never went a week without pay. God bless America!

After many interviews and meetings, I was offered my current position at Kalamazoo Community Church, on Friday, September 4.

On Thursday, September 10, we were blessed with the birth of Jakob Israel Selph. He was 7 lb 14 oz, and was 20 1/2 in long. He’s much bigger now, and if it’s even possible, I think he might be cuter, too.

On Wednesday, September 16, we moved from Loudonville, OH, to Kalamazoo, MI. I didn’t start for three more weeks, which meant I got to spend all day every day with Jakob and Sarah for the 1st three weeks of his precious life.

October/November/December – first Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas with our beautiful baby. Being his dad is the coolest thing.

Life has changed a lot since 2000. Ten years is a long time, even though it has flown by. Life is different. Life is good. I’m sure I missed stuff. Sitting down and remembering all the major events of our life for the last ten years isn’t easy. But I did it, and in less than an hour. I think I’ll go find some caffeine now.

Happy New Year.


Comments on: "ten years…where have you gone?" (6)

  1. Hey,I still like you too. Awesome trip!Great post yo.

  2. Thanks for sharing! I was a little scared to read it after I saw the picture at the top though. Really wish you and Sarah lived closer and that we had gotten to know both of you better. May your New Year be overloaded with wonderful new memories.

  3. The story about Sarah and her car accident just blows me away. Man, God worked a miracle for her. That's an amazing testimony!!I loved reading your decade-in-review. Thanks so much for sharing it. Happiest of New Year's to you, Sarah and sweet little Jakob!

  4. Thanks, Charles and Mikey. You know you're loved.Thanks, Kim. It is too bad that we didn't get a chance to know you guys more when we lived there.Thanks, Marni. She is pretty awesome, and of course, so is God. Happy new year!

  5. forgot you changed your blog. love the blog, too.but you forgot that one time that cheese sticks fell from the sky.

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