Happy Memorial Day!

Please remember the veterans and active military in your prayers. We are truly blessed to have soldiers such as these protecting our freedom. Special thanks to:

Dr. Allen Lasiter
Louis Balas
Joe Biancalana
Morgan O’Brien
Stoney Portis

Several days ago a great message was shared with me in the same time it took you to read this sentence. Sermons can run short, long or in between. Sometimes they’re gripping, deep and even funny. Sometimes they’re boring. You may rather be watching the big game. Guess what. . . the padre may also.

Well, this particular day was running slightly on the long side when the gem fell forth like a star in the night sky.

“What is truth?” he asked rhetorically. Then he answered, “When you let the spirit guide you. . . The result, is truth.”

I spent the rest of the mass thinking about that statement. That statement, and a couple of friends of mine. Stoney and Alison Portis. They take Christ by the hand and walk through life. The spirit guides them and the result is Truth. True dedication. True faith. True friendship and True love.

Stoney is a Captain in the United States Army. Alison is a serial entrepreneur. The nature of her passion coupled with military travel arrangements creates the need for her to launch her career in intervals. See, she’s a photographer – an extremely talented photographer. And with the assistance of her business minded husband, she’s usually grabbing market share before her new neighboring photographers even know she’s there.

OK, so he’s military and she’s a photographer. How does that make them so special. It doesn’t. Christ does.

Alison PortisAs the supplanter at the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority the summer of 2002, it seems that Stoney’s military training at West Point was already paying off. When Alison met her field replacement, the whirlwind started. She got the bad end of a summer gig and loved every minute of it. Time would see her to New York City as often as she could get there as she traveled from College Station and her home in Seguin to see Stoney at West Point.

Stoney graduated from West Point in May 2004 with a degree in international relations. He has been trained as a cavalry reconnaissance scout and has been a platoon leader, executive officer (second in command of a company) and staff officer. He proposed to Alison in February of 2006. She graduated from Texas A & M University in May of 2006. The couple were married in July of 2006 and Stoney deployed to Iraq October of 2006. He was gone until January of 2008.

I could try to explain their marrital success despite their lifestyle, but I couldn’t do it justice. I recently contacted them to get permission to write this post and to get a little info from them. This is what Stoney had to say about Alison:

  • Alison makes the sacrifices for our family and our country… not me.
  • I deploy away to Iraq or Afghanistan to do my part as a soldier for a year at a time. She accepts the fact that I’m gone, not always necessarily understanding what I’m doing or why I’m doing it.
  • I feel called to serve the military, she never asks why or tries to talk me out of it; instead, she is patient, supportive, and prayerful.
  • I’m given orders to move every couple of years to a new military base to fill a new position or receive training for progression. While I’m consumed with the new job, she’s busy making a house a home, finding a new network of professionals and friends, and restarting her photography business.

Alison is more of a friend than I could ever ask for, an angel of a wife and a gifted photographer. I define a photographer as someone who captures a moment of significant importance. Alison is certainly that by trade, but she is also that as my wife and best friend. She’s captured my heart and filled my life with memories covered with smiles.

Not a word about his military activity, nothing about his rank. Not even one sentence discussing the heritage of West Point. Stoney will deploy again soon. Details won’t be shared here, but please pray for him and his lovely bride. Nothing in his return email mentioned that either. His love for the Lord, Alison, and Country. That’s it. This is a man with his priorites in order. A man lead by the Spirit.

His bride is no different. Here’s what Alison had to say about Stoney:

Stoney has always been so supportive of my passion for photography, and I am truly thankful for that.

Looking back at how Stoney and I met, our time spent courting and the engagement, every single day we are blessed with as husband and wife, I realize that I fall more and more in love with him every single day. He has a huge heart. He cares so much for me, for his family, friends, and soldiers. Stoney is such a hard worker. He puts countless hours toward his work…a job he truly feels called to do. I know he’s the best at what he does. There is no doubt in my mind that he can’t accomplish anything he put his mind to… I love that he puts the Lord first. I love that he is an amazing, loving, Christian husband. He is my spiritual leader. That’s more than I could ever ask for.

Being in the military we have to both be committed to his service. We feel it’s a calling. Deployments suck (to put it bluntly), but we know that it’s what we are called to do. I think being apart ( while, of course, we would much rather be together) makes us that much stronger. Through the last deployment we learned that every moment we are able to spend together is so precious. We try not to ever take those moments for granted. Stoney always makes life interesting… I love that!

So, what is Truth. Christ is the Truth. He is the Way and the Life. These guys have it figured out. What’s number one in your life? Do you trust in the Spirit to guide you always?

Stoney’s response when asked about the importance of military service:

The most important thing to me about my military training is what I got inscribed on the inside of my ring when I graduated from West Point: Isaiah 6:8 – Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying ‘Who will go for us? Whom shall I send?’ and I said here am I Lord, send me!

That’s what this is all about to Ali and me (and always has)… the service. Service to country, soldiers, family and friends.


Further Reading:


10 thoughts on “Truth

  1. James,
    Thank you so much for sharing that. It’s not very often that we get the personal insight into the family and the sacrifices of a service man/woman. I have an unspeakable level of respect for our military and have added Stony & Alison to my prayer list. Of all the things that you could showcase, I appreciate you making an example of these two AMAZING individuals!
    I can’t wait to meet them one day.

  2. Morgan and I are fortunate to know these two very special people. We have the utmost respect and appreciation for all our military personel, but Stoney and Alison also have our love. We will be thinking of you Stoney and Alison, and will always keep you in our prayers. Thank you for all you do.

  3. Thank you for sharing such a lovely post about two of my dear friends. Ali and Stoney are indeed very special people and it is wonderful to be reaffirmed in how supported and loved they are by so many people in their lives. I’ve known Ali since we were two-years-old and I was so impressed and humbled by her decision to thrive despite the challenges of Stoney’s first deployment. While deeply missing her husband, I know she will choose to do the same again. Thank you to both Stoney and Ali for their gift of friendship to me and service to our country — I carry you both in my heart!

  4. I just joined this site today. I read Capt. Portis’s testimony it truly was profound. I am a former Marine Sgt. who is a Viet Nam verteran. Although I was not saved back then I can relate to the love for your men. It seemed to come a bit easier
    in the midst of combat. Than in life here at home. That is the way it was for me. That is until being saved. That happened in
    2004. After my second, and most important baptism that brotherhood, and sisterhood returned. True love, true friendship, wow it can’t be any better now. At lkeast that is what I thought in the beginning. But, it does by the Grace of God, through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. I found all of this right down the road from my home in the First Baptist Chuirch of Dundalk. Cat. Portis God Bles you Brother.

    1. Anthony, Thank you so much for joining the community. There’s no doubt that comments like yours bring as much (if not more) value to this site as anything I can provide. Thank you for your service as a Christian, and thank you for your service as an American.

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