I am a man who finds joy in service. I have been blessed with many skills. Skills that can benefit others. I'm a teacher, an executive director, a manager, a mentor, a counselor, a friend. I've spoken in front of hundreds. I've worked with thousands of people in our community. Yet, some of my best moments are when I use my gifts that are appreciated in the simplest ways.
This past weekend was my son's birthday. He is a pretty easy going little dude. He doesn't talk much. He is in that preteen stage where having a conversation is like pulling teeth. All he wants to do is play games. I could have gone through the efforts to plan some extravaganza of a party. But that's not his style. So we plan a game night. Projectors, surround sound, PS3, Wii, tournament, pizza, and friends. Now for someone else this might sound like a bit much but I'm an honorary member of many AV clubs. (Nerd talk for audio visual, you know, the red, yellow, and white plugs). I sit back and enjoy the evening. No big deal.
The next day my son is riding with me and just looks over and says, "That was the best birthday party ever." I smile. Joy.
I have been a curious follower of Joel Osteen since stumbling onto his podcast before my first separation. I took my grandmother and aunt to see him in Sacramento. He has a warm, encouraging presentation of God's word. Many of his sermons I have listened to multiple times. He has raised me up in some really difficult times.
Interesting story a few years after our service in Sacramento. My Aunt gave me a cassette tape many years ago when I was living solo. She had found it amongst things that belonged to my Grandmother who was moving in with her. A donation pile of sorts, as her memory is slowly slipping away. . Now I don't have any way to play this cassette except in my vehicle. Who has a Walkman nowadays? So I pop it in and to my amazement, it is an original sermon by Joel Osteen titled, "Keeping Yourself Happy". God is blessing me and has put things in line years before so that when I need His word He is there. Consider the chance that this tape was put in place for me. Pretty amazing.
So I can imagine a simple lunch, maybe sandwiches. We both are huge baseball fans and weekend warriors, I could imagine that would be a fun discussion. I'd like to ask him more about how he maintains his large and loyal following, while being accountable to leading his family, his wife and children. Maybe we would end our time with some advice moving forward in God's plan for our individual lives. I'd thank him for his words that through The Lord have reached me and continue to inspire me.
This lunch may never happen, but through technology I meet with every week. God works in may ways. I guess I should call it iPraise.
I am so blessed to have a brother, who through the years I have taken care of, helped give life guidance , and was there for me when I needed someone to pick me up.
My favorite story about my brother comes from our trip to New York. We had spent the entire day at Yankee Stadium, after maybe an hour of sleep in a movie theater(someday I'll expand upon this). We took a bus into Jersey to hit our hotel. Well, the driver dropped us somewhere that later we find is nowhere near it. We walked for a few hours. East. West. North. South. Finally, we realized we'd have to walk down an on-ramp to get to the street. But get this, the street is also a four lane highway. To cross to the room, we would have had to walk a mile down, cross, and walk a mile up. I look at my brother. Like a badass Sargent in an old war film, he says, "I'm crossing here!"
When times seem to wall against you, sometimes you need to stand firm and push back. God lines up people in your life, so in His timing, that person gives you what you need to reach what He has planned for you. Live life in faith, live to its fullest, don't wiggle around or take the easy road. We could have went around, and avoided the conflict. But I crossed that highway, right there. Cars flying by, honking, but I made it. Funny, looking back, I should have been afraid. But my brother pushed me through! God blessed me with him, and I honor The Lord with every moment I spend with my brother.
Oh, you may notice I said I made it across. Don't worry my brother is still alive. Long hair, slow feet, police, shutting down the highway. But that's a story for another day....
Half way through 2013 I have so much going on. Closing the chapter on one story, and creating a structure for the next.
So here I go. First I'd like to leave Stockton knowing the foundation of all the things I began is strong and maintains its growth in the community. I'm so proud of JLI and all it's members. I will continue to serve as president and provide all the mobile support and on site mentors hop in my limited visitation. Please continue to support and extend the vision "Drawing out your character, one scribble at a time."
Next, I want to see my new business extend. As a social media manager, I hope to expand to 50 clients by the end of the summer, with near 100 by 2014. It's become a passion to support small businesses and my experience will assist them in reaching their potential and finding their consumers and audience.
Finally, I want to see my family revitalized in their relationship with The Lord. Church, Christian friendships, and true work that uplifts others.