My pastor, and dare I say 'texas dad' (yep, I have a texas family!) recently posted on our community blog about the people he is thankful for. I have been kinda negative lately (some of my circumstances annoy me but are really nothing compared to what others are dealing with in my community) and thought it would do me some good to take some time to reflect on what I have to be thankful for - so I guess I'm going to 'count my blessings' like the old hymn suggests. I'm going to list people I'm thankful for and then follow it up with a rant of reasons I'm thankful for them (the rant may include some stuggles -but is meant to show authentic thankfulness for the relationship in it's entirety, forgive the length - read what you will, I have a lot to be thankful for)California People!
1. Mom & Dad.
My parents are great. My parents really supported me with the move to Texas even though they might prefer me to be close to home. They raised me to be responsible and encouraged me to love God from a very early age. I learned how to be funny from my Dad. He taught me that life is better when you can laugh at yourself. My Mom loves me to death. Our relationship has been rocky at points. She's what I call a clean freak - I'm a slob by nature so we don't get along very well when we live in the same house. She grew a lot in this area - and I probably don't tell her that enough. I think she would be proud though. Becky says I'm a pretty good house guest - I say the only person to thank is my mother for teaching me how to be cleaner. If I marry a girl who likes a clean house she will have to thank my Mom too. Thanks Mom! I love you!
Beth W. - I really began to develop a close friendship with Beth when we both realized that our spiritual journeys resonated...it might have had something to do with the fact that we both have seen Dumb and Dumber over 100 times! Many of you know we dated for a few months, but eventually decided our relationship was best defined as a friendship. I'm grateful for all the memories, fun times, and good conversations I had with Beth. Beth - I like you a hella lot!(inside joke!)
Matt. Tanis - Matt is my best friend (I have several best friends - i refuse to limit to only one person). We both love to record and worked together at Morris Nursery for a few years before I moved to Texas to join a culll...I mean to be a part of a churh community. We had lots of good conversation. I liked to tell Matt dirty jokes and laugh with him. I liked to make jokes about being a missionary baptist - because he was dating this girl that is missionary baptist, really liked the girl, but kinda struggled with the missionary baptist culture (Lidsay - you know I love you with all your missionary baptist baggage!) Matt - I love you!
Matt & Sarah - they've been dating long enough that I can refer to them as a couple. I think they might like each other enough to stick it out till death do them apart! Matt and I have been on a few road trips together (some of the greatest highlights of my life! CANADA BABY!). I've been on a few with Sarah too! Actually she was the first to take me to portland. Sarah and I worked together in Riverbank (the city of action) with youth. We had a blast. We all love weezer(exclusively the blue albulm and pinkerton) almost as much as Jesus (You don't?!?! Blasphemy!!!) Matt, Sarah - I love you guys!
Kenny, E-beth, Jason - I lived with Kenny in a ministry house in West Mo! yeah. Straight cold playa's. Jason lived there aas well. Kenny, E-beth and I were a trio of hard-core leaders under the training of the great guru(seriously - he's a guru in my book) Marvin Jacobo (more on marvin later). We met each wednesday morning to discuss leadership stuff. One time I made E-beth cry! Funny story - modesto people - ask her about this - it's funny! I love you guys. Thanks for blessing me as I went on to Texas.
Brian Gardner - Umm. Brian is another one of the people I would consider to be a best friend. Strange fellow to most, but I love him to death. I love that he never gets mad if It's been a while since we talked, he's usually a what you see is what you get kinda guy. Our relationship began as a type of project thing - his grandpa (whom I love!) asked to befriend him and help him get some direction. I did, and his life changed quiet a bit. I really believe it was God and Brian - not myself, although I feel lucky to be used by God in his life to initiate some positive change and for the chace to be his friend. Brian can make a guitar from scratch. He is pretty awesome. He plays crazy finger picking styles - i love to hear him play. Brian is very spiritual. I think he might be a buddist some day, but I hope he becomes some sort of jesus-buddist. HAAH! Love you brian!
Marvin - Marvin probably has been the most transformational leader in my life (not to downplay anyone else's role, but seriously, this guy changed my life). Prior to Marvin, most thinking was done by someone else - i was trusted to execute - to follow blindly. Marvin said, no way, if you're going to be with me, we're going to do the real deal - you're going to think for yourself. Eventually I came to the point where I couldn't work in the ministry we were involved in, but Marvin still supported me, he even got me a free room for 8 months! We had our differences, but when it comes down to it Marvin really cared about me and wanted me to be me. Marvin, I love you, sometimes that was hard to say and I may have communicated that you were worthless to me and my journey, but you SERIOUSLY have brought the greatest change into my life. Thank you for that.
Pastor Mike - You were the first person to challenge me to take my faith seriously. You were like a father to me, you loved me like a father should love his children. Some of my most intimate moments were spent with you in your office, pouring out my heart because it seemed safe. Moving on was one of the hardest things I ever did. I think it was time to move on, but leaving the people you love behind is never easy. I love you Pastor Mike. (I still carry the shalom nugget with me).
Marty & Bill - You two came with me into some of the darkest parts of myself. Where the shit seems to stick to the walls of my inner being and embed itself there. Thanks for going there with me and for helping me understand what I can't see about myself. Bill, thanks for being a great friend. I'm sorry for leaving so suddenly. I heart you man!
Holy cow! This is getting long! I'll have to do a to be continued thingy - I've still got more Cali stuff to cover, then I will have a lot to be thankful here in Texas! Stay tuned!