Cousin Uncle Travis

It isn’t the most becoming title, but he wears it graciously, and today I’d like to share a little about our beloved Cousin Uncle Travis.

Travis is my husband’s cousin. I first met him when he was about 14 years old and I was engaged to Brent. All I remember about first meeting Travis was how fast he talked. He was like an auctioneer. I never had any idea what he was saying, I just knew he seemed really enthusiastic about it.

Say -Pinochle!-One of my favorite first memories of Travis is the picture that was taken at Brent’s and my wedding where Travis is the only guy excited about catching the garter – and he was enthusiastically lunging for it while others were hunkering in the background, with their hands folded. It makes me laugh even thinking about it. I would show it to you, but we got married in the prehistoric era, before digital files, and I don’t feel like combing the garage for our wedding album and messing with the scanner somewhere in the storage shelves. But trust me – it’s a great picture.

In 2009, Travis moved from small town North Dakota, in with us. He was attending college nearby, and we were fairly cheap rent. If I had only known how much food the kid could eat… Travis moved in exactly three days before I found out I was pregnant with our first child. So yes, you may begin to feel sorry for him now. I was nauseated, I was exhausted, and I was irritable. And then I got pregnant. Ha!

After a couple of months, and we don’t blame him, Travis moved out to room with some college-aged friends of his. One thing I admired about Travis was his heart for the Lord. He was always wanting to learn more and do more, and he was constantly running around from social gathering to social gathering to surround himself with other believers. He would still periodically come over for dinner and good game of pinochle, though. (Don’t worry – I didn’t know what pinochle was, either, until I was going to marry Brent. In order to become an official member of the family, I had to learn how to play. My life hasn’t been the same since. Learn how to play and then come over. I’ll make kuchen.)

When Little Miss made her dramatic entry into this world, she had a first cousin named Travis, and we felt it would be a little confusing explaining which cousin we were talking about. Thus, he was stuck with, and graciously adopted the name “Cousin Uncle Travis.”

Some of my favorite visits with Travis were when he would stop by the bank where I worked. It seemed our deepest life-topic conversations took place in my office. His wisdom surpassed his years, and I don’t think there was a single time I wasn’t encouraged after he stopped by. Most of my fondest memories center around conversation and pinochle. There was one time Travis and I were pinochle partners, and we had the largest negative score most people have ever seen. We couldn’t catch a break, and were losing badly. We had a lot of good laughs, though, and there aren’t many times I lose and laugh about it.

Over the years I’ve been able to watch Cousin Uncle Travis grow into one of the most genuine souls I’ve ever known. He is transparent in his faith, transparent in his struggles, and transparent in his heart for others. It’s sometimes hard for me to realize this is the same kid I couldn’t understand once upon a time. He doesn’t talk as fast today, but his brain still works at break-neck speeds, and he is always on the go. He’ll be leaving in a matter of days to return to Taiwan to teach others about Christ…for five years. Taiwan is a long way from home, and five years is a long time. But he’s excited, he’s called, and he’s being obedient in going.

As much as I’ll miss our nights of pinochle, and his complimenting my cooking (which is so gracious of him, because his mother is one of the greatest cooks around), I can’t help but feel a sense of tremendous pride for him. He’s not a kid anymore. He’s a man who has grown in the love, light, and leading of Christ, and not only has he grown up in it, but he’s now heartily pursuing the spread of that message.

He went from being a relative by marriage to an integral part of our family. Cousin Uncle Travis, we’ll miss you as you are over in Taiwan, but how exciting to know and witness how God has called you to His work. I’m not sure it holds any weight, but daggumit, I’m honored to know you.

If you’d like to support Travis in prayer or financial gift, drop me a note and I’ll put you in touch with him. (1)