Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | January 12, 2013

Seven Minutes Engaged

Preparing for the 2013 Texas Water Safari

There is no doubt about the fact that Doyle and I continue to feel the pressure to remain faithful to our training schedule as the date of this year’s Texas Water Safari draws ever closer. On Thursday afternoon, we set off for Palmetto State Park south of Luling where we camped out in order to get an early start on the river on Friday morning. Once we set up camp, we enjoyed a relaxing evening of good conversation and delicious food under a beautiful canopy of stars. Our campfire took a bit of the edge off of the mid-forties temperature but Doyle’s summer tent did little to hold back the cold. But, we survived and got an early 5:00 AM start on Friday.

Palmetto CampoutOur training plan is to paddle the entire 260-mile race route from checkpoint to checkpoint. On Friday we paddled a little more than 20-miles from Zedler Mill Dam in Luling to our campsite on the bluff above the river as it passes by Palmetto State Park. Because of recent rains, the water was higher than on our previous runs and flowing faster. We completed our run in 3.5 hours — thanks, in part, to the faster water. We decided to portage at Son of Ottine rapids because a tree had fallen across the river just beyond the rapids. The only other portage was at Ottine Dam located only a few miles past the rapids. All things considered, we had a great run and feel more encouraged about our prospects of successfully doing the Texas Water Safari.

Doyle at Son of Ottine
As great as our training was, the best news of the day came early on Friday morning as we were driving to the river. Gina, my youngest daughter, called me from Malaysia to tell me that she was officially engaged. “Dad,” she said, “I am seven minutes engaged!” She and Arash, her fiancé, are excited even though they have a long road ahead of them as they manage their long-distance engagement. It was a great moment for me, as a Dad, because Cheryl and I have prayed for each of our kids to find good and godly friends. Gina’s friendship with Arash blossomed into love and now, into a marriage proposal. A few weeks ago Arash had sent me an email asking me for Gina’s hand in marriage. Cheryl cried and I did the Dad thing. I said yes and reinforced my expectation that he love and care for my daughter as Christ loved the church.

Gina and Arosh
So, there will be a wedding sometime in the future. As for the month of June, there may not be a wedding on that particular month but there will be a grueling race. And between now and the second weekend in June, Doyle and I have a lot more training to do. Paddling a tandem canoe is not unlike a marriage. It takes lots of cooperation, determination, problem-solving, portaging around hazards, and a resolve to make it to the finish line. My hope is that Doyle and I will survive the Texas Water Safari. But my greater hope is that Gina and Arash will enjoy a lifetime of happiness together and make it to the finish line more in love than they are today.


  1. Congrats on the upcoming wedding of Gina & Arash!! You & Doyle must be supermen to be in that great of shape!! Will pray for great success in the race. I know you are a proud Papa!!

    • Thanks, Sue Ann. Exciting days ahead.

  2. Congratulations to all of you, especially to sweet Gina!!! So very happy for you all! Give her our love~

    • Thanks, Celia. Will give Gina your regards. I still remember Gina in Steve’s arms when she was a baby. Good memories.

  3. So very excited for Gina! Your baby girl is getting married! Wow!

    • Thank you, Stephanie. We are grateful to God for how He has led Gina.

  4. Congratulations Omar to Gina and Arash. What a blessing it is when God blesses our children, especially our daughters with Godly men to lead them. We too have a wedding this year. Amy is getting married on June 2nd 🙂

    • Thanks, Becca. It seems like only yesterday that our kids were playing together in San Antonio. Please give our best to Amy. Congratulations. Regards to all.

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