Tuesday, November 15, 2005

This week is a week of celebrating. Last night we went to the new Cheesecake Factory here in Nashville. We've been to the one in Woodland Hills and Beverly Hills (both in California) and we were so excited when they began building the one here. (It's actually in Green Hills--maybe they are all in something Hills.)

In honor of my birthday today I'd like to list 36 things I'm thankful for from the beginning of my life. It's ironic since I'm only turning 26, but still. Ahh....26. Those were the days.

1. My parents--Sam and Judy

2. The house in the country outside Abilene where I grew up

3. Abilene

4. Wylie Schools and teachers--mainly Sally Gary

5. Paul Phillips, Scott and Christy Rogers, Brooke and Robyn Lorenz, Kim, Kirk and Lee Ann Lomax, Amy Nichols, Hainey Price, and so many other childhood friends.

6. My horse, Tiger

7. My pigs, Wilbur, Sir Charles, and Henry

8. My go-cart

9. Shannon Hosch, Shannon Crowe, Shawna Duff, Bo Sanford, Steve Justice, and other school friends who stuck with me from elementary through High School.

10. Lewis Fulks and allowing me to be in ACU Homecoming Musicals as a kid which developed a passion in me at a very early age.

11. Ronnie and Darla Lorenz, Morgan and Pat Phillips, Dave and Ann Jones, and other close family friends.

12. Aunt Dot and Uncle Sam, Butch and Jan, Rob and Vicky, Mike and Margaret Ann, Uncle Chow and Jerri, Granny and Paw-Paw, Mow and Big Paw, Granny Tucker, Aunt Ruby and Uncle Ralph--so many sweet family memories.

13. Jason, Shannon, Deana, Linda, Daphne, Connie, Paul, Shawn, Sean, Shane, Shannon, Shamber, Staci, Johnny, Andy and Jenni, Robert and Jerry and other cousins who gave me hours of enjoyment and laughter.

14. Josh, Jeremy and Mary--really more like siblings than cousins. Christmases spent together, watching Star Wars 27 times in a row, supporting each other through joy and hardship.

15. The trip to the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas with Josh, Sam and Jan. We'll never forget the view at the Grand Canyon--AND the view at that Vegas show. Bada Bing.

16. Dale Horton, Dennis Morris, Vicky Cannon, and others who had a deep Spiritual impact on me as I was growing up.

17. SummerStage at ACU. Performing and then having to go BACK to high school was such torture!! John Scott Davis, Gayla Hester, Julie Corlew, Mike Hart, Brent Bolin, Holly Sparlin, and others who became life long friends as a result.

18. The ACU experience. So many people. So many life-changing times and struggles.

19. Kyle Dickson, Donjalea Reynolds, Brent McCall, Shane Holland, Chris Seidman, Tara and Shannon McKnight, Paula Agnew, Trish Savage, Shelli Braddock, Julie and Jennifer Wade, Camille Coleman, Ty Lovell, Val, Nino and so many other friends who are still woven into my heart.

20. Stephen Bailey, Craig Fisher and Chris Doggett. These roommates and friends are some of my BIGGEST blessings. Still my best friends. And their wives...Stephanie, Beth Ann and Karen, also family.

21. The ACU community, Minter Lane, and Highland Church during the loss of my father in 1991.

22. Mike Cope planting a dream in my heart and being my mentor.

23. Six Flags Over Texas, Casa Manana Theater, Norwegian Cruise Lines, Crystal Clear Studios and other places that gave me opportunities as a performer after graduation.

24. Lindy Heath Cabe--God planted a believer in my life during a period of great darkness. Lindy was my vocal coach at Six Flags and then we preformed together at Casa Manana.

25. Paula Agnew, Dennis Coleman, Stephen Bailey, the Reynolds Family and Jeannette and Harold Lipford--they helped rescue me from my darkness. How can I ever thank them?

26. The building of Sam Thomas Elementary

27. NASHVILLE! Belmont Church, Don Finto, Bobby Harrington, Otter Creek, the OC elders, Melissa Portell, and that whole weird calling from the Lord back to a CofC. He is good to lead us in unexpected paths.

28. Sheryl Rathbun...beauty, grace, voice, heart...wow!

29. Wedding bells, Mike Cope, friends, music, nerves, tears, JOY, St. John USVI, new life, God's mercy! New family! Chuck, Cindy, Bob and Ernestine, Kiki and so many more who've filled my life with blessings.

30. 424 Barrywood Drive. Our first little house. Bear, our first "child". Still with us after more than 7 years!

31. Maddie. What joy! What beauty! She won my heart.

32. Ella. Great excitement! Adorable! Again--my heart was won. How can you love THREE people SO much?

33. Sam. Prayers answered. What a gift! A blessing from the very beginning! He has such a spirit of joy! How can you love FOUR people so much????

34. Otter Creek music ministry. 10 years, amazing people, family! Getting to share that with Sheryl.

35. ZOE Worship--a huge dream turned into reality. Family. Life! Getting to partner with Sheryl here too!

36. Jesus Christ--the same yesterday, today and forever. He's been there every step. His blood has saved me. He never gives up.

Thank you, Lord, for life. I am nothing without You.


Jacinda said...

Happy Birthday! I LOVE The Cheesecake Factory! We've gone in San Diego & Atlanta. I'll definitely have to remember this new one the next time we're in Nashville.

Clarissa said...

Happy Birthday, friend ...

RPorche said...

Happy Birthday, bro...

Katherine said...

What an awesome post-God is good! I think I'll steal it and use it on my 27th birthday in a few months...

And I will most definitely be visiting the Cheescake Factory when I am in Nashville in January!!

Be blessed today-Happy Birthday, Brandon!

Anonymous said...

Back when you were celebrating that 26th birthday, I was in the hospital giving birth to one Chase Meador. What a great day this is!! And how cool that Chase shares his birthday with someone he admires so much. Have a rockin' day -- I know we will!


Thurman8er said...

Happy birthday, brother! What a terrific exercise. I should have done it a couple of weeks ago...I guess I could have come up with (gulp) 41 things for which I was thankful.

By the way, they are building a Cheesecake Factory here in Fresno Hills. I don't know if it will be finished by January, but if it is, it's on us!

Chris Doggett said...

Happy Birthday, bro. Welcome to the 36 club.....it's not prestigious. Thanks for your birthday wishes to me yesterday in your blog. Wouldn't trade our friendship for anything.

However, you are an old man. Do you want to compare total number of grey hairs? Or can you even see yours from the high dollar highlights that you ministry folks sport? (now comes the time where I tell all you bloggers that don't know me that Brandon is not offended by this comment, but laughing hysterically and planning his next attack against me). Val - thanks for the reminder that I look like the psycho Jan Michael Vincent.....something I am not so very proud of. If I had a dollar for everytime someone told me that I looked like him or Craig Biggio of the Houston Astros, I would have enough $$$ to get a clothing extreme makeover so I would look as up to date in the fashion world as you, BST. One day..........

Seriously, BST, their are friends and then there are best friends that you would trust with anything.........you are one of those best friends in my life, and I praise God for that, and I am so proud of you and the great husban and Daddy that you are. Sam would be so proud of you.

Tim Castle said...

Happy, blessed birthday, Brandon! God has surely given you wonderful things to be thankful for, as well as the blessing of a heart that knows how to be thankful!

As for me, I'm thankful that I don't have to worry about highlighting my hair. Wouldn't be much point, would it?

Anonymous said...


Jenni said...

Heppy Birthday!!!

Joel Quile said...

Happy Birthday Brandon!

I love you and praise God for you!

Robyn said...

Happy Birthday BST! Thanks for the wonderful walk down Memory Lane and a reminder of how many things God has given us!

Stephen Bailey said...

I think yesterday's phone conversation summed it up. As the phone kept cutting out on us (stuff like that always happens to us) and we laughed and yelled together (that's what friends do when stuff like that happens) and finally gave up with a quick "I love you and I'm glad you were born!" (friends don't need a lot of words). I know you know and so do I.

Zac Smith said...

Happy Birthday Brandon! I can officially say welcome to the back end of 30!!! Just kidding. Thanks for the friendship over the last year here at Otter Creek. It has been a blessing getting to serve here with you and so many great people. I remember summer, 2004 when I actually thought you were still in your 20's and you told me you would be like 35. Man, those highlights just make you feel young I bet. Anyways happy birthday. Next month I should come up with 27 things that I am thankful for since my birthday is Dec 7.

Fajita said...

Happy Birthday, bro.

SG said...

Happy Birthday Brandon!!! WOW 36! I'm just a month or so behind you. You know 36 isn't too scary in and of itself, it's knowing that 40 is just 4 short years away that rocks my world. Really! How did we get here? Weren't we just at ACU just a few years ago? Anyway, you wear it well my friend. May all 36 year olds have your wise young heart! :)Blessings on you and yours! Steph

julie said...

Brandon, Happy birthday! You are a blessing. Thank you for always being so real. I watched that weekend we were there for Zoe. I know that Zoe weekend is so hard...so much work, so much time away from your family, and yet so filling at the same time. But at the end of that weekend...you had done the whole Zoe thing since Thursday and had just finished two services at Otter Creek...and I watched you counseling a young man who was obviously in distress. You were listening intently and being Jesus to that young man. That little glimpse showed me who you really are. Keep letting the Spirit lead.
love and peace to you on your birthday, Julie

Malia said...

happy "belated" birthday

Lovell's Lookout said...

Happy Birthday Bro--- YOu are a blast and a blessing to so many. By The way-- I talked to Shelli Presley last night on the phone (from Thailand) she is doing awesome!!! How I have been blessed with so many friends who are not only Godly, but a riot, I will never know... Love you Bro...

DJG said...

Happy Happy Birthday
We're so glad you came
Happy Happy Birthday
From the blogging Gang! Hey!