I have never thought about putting my life out there for everyone to see (which is what blogs are for, right?). But the concept of an online "diary" of my life for the world to see intrigues me and, thus, I have created my first blog. Blog On!
So today is going to be introduction time. I know...BORING. But I will try to make it as clever and fun as I possibly can. First, I am 26 years old. I was born in Dallas, TX and have lived in the DFW metroplex my whole life. I am adopted and have just recently (within in the past 5 years, if that's recent) met my biological dad. Cool guy. I do not know my biological mother, but that's alright , I have a mom that loves me and takes good care of me. Anyway, I went to several schools growing up until I found one that fit me just right - Texas Christian Academy. I went there from 7th grade until I graduated in '97.
I started college right away and graduated with a BBA in Business Management in '00. The whole time I was in school (high school and college) I worked. I worked: 1) for my parents in their insurance agency from '94 to '01; 2) for Texas Rangers Baseball Club. I was in charge of the upper deck novelty stands for 3 seasons; and 3) for an international battery company that was going under in the US. I worked as warehouse manager to help get things in order for the closure. Once I graduated, I focused mainly on insurance and worked with my parents as office manager. In Oct. '01 I decided to try a different approach to insurance - I became a property adjuster, handling insurance claims for Farmers. Not just any property claims - mold claims! Duh-duh-duh (horrifying music follows...) I worked claims for 3 1/2 years and even had some supervisory duties at one point in time. All that is left, however, are complex/litigated files and they are quite interesting to work through.
In July '04 I had the opportunity to change sides once again and opened my own agency. I have been contemplating this possibility since college but you had to have a degree, etc. and the timing was just not right. Well, even right before I opened my agency, I didn't think that the timing was right. But that was MY timing and not the Lord's. The Lord had different ideas, and led me to start my business. It was hard at first with 2 jobs, but it was well worth the effort, and as of this month, I have gone full time into the agency force. That is where I stand right now.
However, in the midst of all the above information, 3 things that were absolutely life changing occured.
1. My whole life I had a passion for 3 things: girls, girls, and girls. As I grew older, it became more of an obsession than a passion, especially through junior high. I started getting into situations with women that probably was not the ideal situation I needed to be in as a hormone-raging pre-teen idiot. But none the less, I started doing things I shouldn't have. By the time I was in 9th grade, I felt hopeless, and even my friends sensed this (my best friend Jimmy later told me that he had been praying for me for a long time). I felt that I had no where to go but off of this earth. I contimplated suicide. I didn't want to live. On top of that, I was a lead-foot driver, and even had several accidents, so I knew that I was going to die, and I knew it was going to be before I turned 18. However, my friend Jimmy started inviting me to church and church functions.
I didn't believe in God, but I needed some friendship and I agreed to go. One in particular my 9th grade year, we went to play paintball and afterwards, we went to a church for some refreshments. Little did I know that there was going to be a speaker there. I listened, but I didn't want to hear what he was saying for some reason. I wanted to live my life MY way. And since I didn't believe in God, I had no reason to listen anyway, right? Wrong. I felt something start tugging at me. As he started telling the crowd why he believed in God, something just would not let me take my ears off of him. In the end, it made sense. How else can you explain why we are here? I searched and searched my whole life (looking into religions, science, etc.) to explain my reason for being.
Why was I here? How did I get here? Where I am I going to go when I die? What happens to me when I die? This speaker explained it all, and even used a book called the Bible for documentation of his answers. Powerful. A book written thousands of years ago, still holds the answer for me today. And most of the prophecies in that book are being fulfilled, or have been fulfilled, yet were written before most of them even took place. Amazing. It started to all make sense. And by the time it was all said and done, that "thing" that was tugging at me to listen, had tugged me all the way down the aisle of that church, tears and all, and I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. Best decision I ever made. The only thing that has made sense in my life, and is my reason for living. Daily I learn new and exciting things about Him. He is real and He is true. He is love and He is forgiveness. He is...everything I need, everything I want, and everything I could ever imagine.
2. In January '01 after battling school and work, I married the love of my life, Natalie Estelle Bickley. We went on our honeymoon and are now almost 5 years in the making (4 years, 4 months, and 19 days today, to be exact). We have been through hard times and good times, but I would never change anything. She is why I am who I am.
3. The last thing just happened about 1 year, 6 month and 14 days ago. My wife gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. She is absolutely gorgeous. It was an emotional, awesome experience that me and my wife (especially my wife...) will never forget.
Something I have been doing for my daughter for a while is reading her "her Psalm". When she was in the womb, me and my wife picked out a Psalm for our daughter and we read that to her almost every night, even today - and probably will for years to come. Psalm 40:1-8 is her Psalm, and to finish up, I would like to quote that verse...
"I waited patiently for the Lord; He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord. Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust, who does not look to the proud, to those who turn aside to false gods. Many, O Lord my God, are the wonders You have done. The things You had planned for us no one can recount to you; were I to speak and tell of them, they would be too many to declare. Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but my ears you have pierced. Burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not require. Then I said, 'Here I am, I have come - it is written about me in the scroll. I desire to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.'"