My Story

Every Man's Story is Important - Tell Yours!

The Value of Telling Your Story

A man’s willingness to share his story provides benefits not only for himself but also for other men.  By sharing his experiences, he can see God’s loving influence throughout his journey. He gains insight into his spiritual growth to date and the areas that he still needs to address. This process guides him as he glorifies God and inspires others to follow Christ.  His willingness to be vulnerable with other men provides the following benefits:
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Emotional Release

Sharing your experiences with other men provides therapeutic value, showing vulnerability to others.

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Self Awareness

Telling your story helps you gain a deeper understanding of yourself, your values, and your motivations.

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Increased Empathy

Sharing your story helps others understand you more deeply and can also help you develop greater empathy for the experiences of others.

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Inspiration

Your story can inspire others who may be going through similar experiences and can encourage them to share their story.

A Life Touched by Jesus Christ!

Accepting Christ

My decision to ask Christ into my life came naturally due to the pain I was dealing with at that time.  I was a Junior in high school and so far behind.  Yet, positive changes did not occur quickly.  It felt as though I was taking one step forward the two steps back.  But significant changes did occur in my late teens including my acceptance into Indiana University and meeting then Ellen two years later.

Changing My Beliefs

The development of my faith has come from many events throughout my life, both good and bad. Some of these events I caused and some were thrust upon me.   It’s so hard to tell when I’m facing a stressful situation whether I’m actually growing in my faith.  Many times I’m not sure if I can even feel His presence. The situation can take hold of my thoughts and actions without notice. Then my ability to listen for His guidance becomes difficult. Many times it’s not until after the event has passed that I begin to see what Christ was trying to teach me.  

Painful Lessons

The most painful experiences in my life were when I gave up on my original plan instead of moving forward. When I left my job to start a business, I spent months praying, talking to others, and researching. But soon after I made the leap, doubts started creeping in, and I began questioning my decision and my abilities.  Although I was making progress, I felt guilty that I was placing my needs ahead of my family’s. The attack on September 11, 2001, only intensified these feelings. Within two months I announced my decision to close the business. I have regretted that emotional decision for the past two decades.

A Blessed Life

The successes of my life were not as valuable as my failures.  But the big successes, such as marrying Ellen and having a family changed my life and demonstrated God’s grace and love for me!  Although I have felt God’s presence since my teen years, many of my actions/did not reflect my commitment.  After 46 years of being a Christian, the most positive changes in my faith have occurred in the past 15 years. During this time I have become very intentional to deepen my walk with Christ.

My Parents

Barbara was a talented musician.  Her musical career began when she was just 6 years old.  By the time she graduated high school at the age of 16, she had won many national awards in piano, violin, and conducting.

She attended McMurry College as a music major for two years and then transferred to Depauw University, where she completed her degree.  At the age of 96 years, she was still earning a living teaching children and adults how to play the piano and violin.

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Regis was also a musician.  During World War II, he and his future brother-in-law were members of the Army-AirCorp USO band and traveled throughout Europe playing big-band music for the troops.

After he and Barbara were married in 1950, he continued his passion for playing trumpet in nightclubs and dance halls for the rest of his life.  He played his last performance just a week before he died in 1988.

Early Years

Growing up in the 1960s and 70s was very different than today. I spent most of my free time outdoors roaming the woods, shooting guns, and building forts. Yet my years from 10 to 15 years old were unique compared to most.

Childhood

To an outsider, my early years may have seemed normal.  Yet, my family was struggling with my dad’s alcoholism.  The problems began when I was very little and became worse as the years passed.
 
Despite my mother’s efforts, the pain caused by my dad’s drinking continued to drag our family down. By the time of his arrest for drunk driving in 1971, I was already on a dangerous path of my own.

Adolescence

My teen years were difficult.  I was a slow learner, which required a move into classes with other slow learners. Looking back it was not a lack of intelligence but a combination of boredom, ADHD, and my family issues. Yet, Jesus had a different plan.
 
A friend’s mom introduced me to the Bible and to the Student Pastor at her church.  My life began to change.  Then in my junior year of high school, I became involved with Young Life.  I accepted Christ was I was seventeen years old.

Ellen

We met through my older sister in June of 1978 and had our first date in early August of that same year.  The next day I told my parents that I will marry her one day.  Although our initial six months were challenging, something (someone) kept bringing us back together.  Four years later, we married!

Ellen Eric Wedding | Eric R Decker

May 15th, 1982

Ellen,  The years have gone by so quickly.  I can still feel your soft hand on the back of my neck as we held each other after our wedding.  Your love has given me a sense of purpose, direction, a quiet home, laughter, companionship, and a loving family.  You have been my #1 supporter even when I did not deserve it.  My life has been easy and beautiful because of your love and commitment!  Our life together is a living example of God’s direct and loving influence.  Thank You!
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A Young Mother

Your decision to leave your successful career was a perfect example of your life-long desire to place the needs of your family above your own.  It was a big personal adjustment for you.  But, as you know, that one decision continues to pay huge dividends as we watch our grown sons live out their lives.  Thank You!
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A Multi-Generational Impact

It’s hard to put into words the unconditional love and guidance you have provided to these two men.  And now you are shaping the lives of their wives and children.  Thank You!
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The Beauty and The Beach

Hilton Head Island captured your heart so many years ago.  For the Decker family, it’s a wonderful and unique getaway.  It’s been a wonderful place to disengage, spend our days without stress, and enjoy this beautiful coastal environment.

Ellen Bigger | Eric R Decker

Banker to Business Owner

Your accomplishments in your education and career are only surpassed by the love, guidance, and listening you have provided to your sons.  Their success would not have happened without your tireless effort.  Thank You!

Fatherhood

One of the most joyful experiences a man can have in his life is becoming a father. It’s a special opportunity that helps him grow and confront his own issues with his own father. But there’s something even more significant that can make this experience even more meaningful for a man – his faith in Christ.

Kris Eric 1988 | Eric R Decker

The Blessing of Fatherhood

It’s easy to lose sight of how a father’s actions impact his children daily.  I grew up in an environment of alcohol, yelling, and no faith and I wanted something better for my children.  Fatherhood is not about control but servant leadership.  Placing his focus on Christ changes a man’s heart, which in turn, changes the way he treats his wife. A loving and consistent environment for their children is the result.

The Blessing of Laughter

As the boys grew so did the level of fun and laughter. Ellen and I strived to make our evenings enjoyable with a lot of talking. The TV was turned off during the week, which provided time for us to share our lives. Usually, our conversations would gravitate to some kind of joke or funny scene from a recent movie. It still occurs today when we are together.

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Dinner Together Every Night

We always sat down for dinner together.  Watching TV was not allowed during the week. No distractions. As the boys grew and their schedules changed, we would eat dinner later to come back together. In the summer, we ate every night possible on the screened-in porch.  Their close relationship today is the direct result of those daily events.

Fatherhood Continues

Fathering two adult sons is still as important as it was when they were little. Yet, it’s less about fathering and more about guiding and advising. They still need your input, love, and friendship.

Adventures

Ellen and I made a decision early on that experiences were more important than things.  We wanted our boys to see life differently.

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Our First Adventure

It began early in our relationship.  I had a need for adventure and pulled Ellen along.  In anticipation of our honeymoon, we decided to take SCUBA lessons and completed our Open-Water PADI certifications.  The diving off Maui created a life-long memory!

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Northwest Cycling Adventure

In 1998 we spent a week in the San Juan Islands with Backroads.com, on a hike, bike, and kayak trip. We camped out every night, even in severe rain storms.  The beauty of these islands is breathtaking.  The boys slept in their own tent – it was a blast!

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Skiing in Colorado

Our first adventure to Colorado was in 1995.  The boys were just 7 & 5 years old.  We were initially nervous about them participating in ski school for five days.  But their skill development was very good.  Over the years we returned multiple times.  They were great adventures for us all!

Cycling From Banff to Jasper

Definitely, a trip to remember.  In the summer of 2004, Kris and I traveled to Banff, in the Canadian Rockies where we joined a group of other cyclists through Backroads.com. We spent six days riding from Banff to Jasper and camping out along the way.  Our longest ride in one day was over 100 miles in the mountains.

Nick Eric Montana | Eric R Decker

Cycling the Continental Divide

Then, in 2006, Nick and I traversed the Great Continental Divide on mountain bikes with the American Cycling Association.  The trip was also six days long but mostly off-road riding.  On multiple days we were riding on single-track trails and carrying our bikes over logs.  We were hoping for cool summer days in Northern Montana but the daytime temperature was typically in the mid 90’s.

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Cruising Europe for Our 30th

Similar to our honeymoon, the European cruise was a wonderful experience.  With close friends, we flew to Barcelona and drove into Southern France for several days, staying at a beautiful bed & breakfast in Olonzac, France named Villa Limonade. We returned to Barcelona for several days before touring the Mediterranean with Royal Caribbean Cruises.

Our Lives Today

Although the types of adventures have changed over the past forty-five years, many exciting experiences are still ahead.  With five little ones, everything is new again and new adventures await!

2022 Family Trip to Hilton Head Island | Eric R Decker

Our Family is Growing

Now in our mid-60s, life is busier than ever. Both families live within a 10-mile radius. It’s fascinating to watch the two men grow, build their own families and traditions, and navigate the challenges of life.

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Relearning Old Skills

Still, the learning continues.  Some time has been required to get reacclimated to caring for an infant.  It’s much different than caring for your own children – they are someone else’s!

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Little Ones, Again!

It’s hard to put into words my feelings for my five grandchildren.  In some ways, it feels the same as when our boys were little.  But it’s also very different.  I don’t remember being so amazed at the development of our boys.  Maybe because we were consumed with the daily involvement of raising two children.

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A Legacy to Leave

It seems like just yesterday that our boys were this age.  Looking back you realize how easy life was when they were five and three.

Yet, as we look to the future we see wonderful and fun-filled days ahead.

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Beautiful Moments!

Well, after four grandsons, we now have a little girl in the family, and at just a few months old, she has already melted my heart.

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Crazy Fun!

The best part of all these Lilltle Ones in my life is the playing, tickling, chasing around the house, and wrestling.  I love the look on this little boy’s face!  

Aviation

Over the past several years, flying, as well as building has taken a back seat to other, more important activities including my faith, a growing family, and starting a small business.  But my passion for aviation never dies!

Back Country Flying

This is an Aeronca Champ.  It was built in 1947 and I have owned it since 1996.  This is very basic flying.  Windows open and the smell of fields being harvested in the fall as I fly over at 500 feet above the ground.

Soaring

This is a wooden glider that was built by a local aircraft builder.  It is designed to be pulled by another aircraft, a tow plane, to several thousand feet into the air.  The glider pilot then releases the tow rope and begins searching for thermals.  A friend and I purchased this glider in the early 1980s.

Towing Gliders

My experiences in aviation have filled my life with a sense of adventure.  In this picture, I’m sitting against the wheel of a Piper Pawnee.  It was originally built for crop dusting.  I had the opportunity to fly this single-seat aircraft for several years towing glider with SoarIndy.  Interestingly, the book I am reading in the picture is “A Purpose Driven Life” by Rick Warren.

Seaplane Rating

This was one of the most interesting experiences of flying.  This adventure was for my 40th birthday from Ellen!  I flew the Champ to Cadilac Michigan and spent two days taking off from one lake and landing in another.

The Need to Build

Like many other aspects of my childhood years, I never had the opportunity to learn how to build.  However, home ownership definitely increased my desire and need to develop my skills.  Yet, the two projects shown below have pushed me far outside my comfort zone.

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Rans S20 Aircraft

I’m now in my 4th year of this adventure. Every step has been difficult with multiple frustrations and setbacks.  I originally thought I could complete it within 2-3 years – LOL.

Duplex Renovation

My Grandmother purchased this duplex in 1950 and its been a part of our family since.  We purchased it from my mother in 2016 and renovated every inch of the house and property.  Many hours of labor over two years before the first Tennant moved in.  It was a great success for both Ellen and I.

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