Well, I figured it was time for an update...
Tonight, as I sit here thinking about life...how time changes things, changes people...I can't help but be thankful for the constants in my life.
I am 26...feeling older by the day...stress ages you faster than you would like it to. But with life experience comes wisdom...and while I can't proclaim to be wise, I am definitely more grounded today than I have ever been in my life. I often get a "no way" response from people when they find out I am only 26...I hope not because I look older, but because of the way I carry myself. I have grown into the man I am today by the relationships I have with those around me...mostly the example set by my friends and family who have provided me with guidance along the years. Mother's Day is Sunday, and while this year I cannot spend it in person with my mother, I am so blessed to call her Mommy. I was blessed with a strong Christian woman as a mother...a mom who loved me more than herself...who pampered me too much...was a nurse when I was sick or hurting...a friend. I am proud to be able to say that my kids will learn her wisdom as I did growing up...and they too will be thankful for all the love and support she gives them. On top of that I have two beautiful grandmothers who raised my parents to be who they are today. God has showered love upon me through my family...from two sisters who love me despite my flaws...to numerous aunts who have all played a part in my growth from a tiny boy into a man. I am thankful that I grew up in a household that loved the Lord. That respected Him and His will for my family...a household where we went to church each Sunday. A household where we prayed when we sat down to eat as a family. A household where love abounded daily...through the tears and the smiles...love persevered. I am thankful for the constant example that my upbringing gives me when I raise my kids. Family is constant.
I am also thankful for the men in my life who have shown me what it means to really be a man in today's world where males are everywhere but men are few and far between. I have a father who ensured that I never had a need unmet. He led our home...was our protector...and I will forever be thankful for all that he gave up for us growing up. I had an easy childhood because mom and dad put the stress on themselves in order for us to have the chance to just be kids. Seeing how hard life can be as an adult, I see now better than ever how much effort that took them. Thank you Mom and Dad. I am also thankful for two amazing grandpas. I wish so bad I had a greater understanding of the wealth of information they were to me as a child...I would have soaked up even more from them. I miss Grandpa Smiley...but I know he is in Heaven looking down on me and my family...smiling at us. I have never in my life had an opportunity to see someone so sure of anything as my Grandpa was when he was dying and knowing he was going to Heaven. He didn't know then the affect that would have on me now...to know that even if the unthinkable happens with Zion, I have peace knowing he will be dancing in Heaven with Grandpa. I have prayed for peace with Zion...its a part of how God has answered that prayer.
Finally I am thankful for my rights as an American. To be able to sit in the comfort of my home and write my thoughts on here without threat of harm. To believe what I choose, without fear of repercussion. I am afforded these rights by the sacrifices men before me made to ensure that all of us were given the freedoms we deserve as human beings. This weighs on my mind more as the days count down to boot camp for my cousin Nick. His graduation party is tomorrow night...and I cannot wait to see the people come to celebrate the man he has become as he moves forward another milestone in his life. I am proud of you Nick, and as always I love you brother. You will always be my little brother no matter how big you get...and I will always be honored to call you that.
I am off for now.