Today God Is Faithful....what a year!

I say it almost every year (about this time), but I want to say it again: "What a year!" What a faithful, gracious, loving, wonderful God we have! Some of the "significant" times of 2011:

1) Worked at the hospital on New Year's Day. I volunteered for this day, because I'd rather work--get the holiday pay--than to hear coworkers whine about having to work...just give it to me.

2) TWENTY-THREE inches of snow on February 1st. The very first full day of Founder's Week at the Moody Bible Institute (here in Chicago) saw the 3rd largest blizzard in recorded Chicago was breathtaking, awe-inspiring, and DEEP. That large shovel in my hall closet came in real handy....because we had 7-feet drifts against the front door of my apartment building at the time...

3) My 49th birthday was on a Sunday...and lots of friends were so kind to celebrate with me....wonderful food, deep fellowship, and I felt truly loved. The 50th is coming up....

4) I moved from my beloved Logan Square to East Rogers Park....I really didn't want to move, but due to the "downsizing" in my paycheck, I couldn't go any further in the hole than I already had fallen. (After all, I'm not the Federal Government...)...but the LORD provided a wonderful place. My friends, Joel and Janet Ristuccia moved from the apartment they were renting on a Thursday, and I moved in two days later--that Saturday. I'm grateful for good neighbors, a nice place to live, and for God's provision in my life.

5) My Grandmother Fields graduated to Heaven on May 17th...and thanks to the generosity of a precious friend, I was able to fly to Alabama, and be there for the viewing and funeral. This was also a treasured time of seeing friends--some I had not seen in 30 years or more....Granny is in glory....rejoicing, worshipping Jesus....and we'll see her again very soon.

6) On June 27th, I assumed a new position at Rush University Medical Center. I became a Clinic Coordinator 2 in the Rush University Medical Group Float Pool. I am still a full time employee, but now I work all over the Medical Group....and so far, so good. I have a wonderful supervisor, and work with some tremendous people....and I have my weekends free!

7) The Lord has brought some very special friends into my life...who have won a place in my heart very is a high school teacher/football coach---and now a Second Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corp. So very proud of him...Brandon, you are a wonderful man, and tremendous friend.

8) Had the wonderful privilege--again thanks to the generosity of a precious friend--to attend the Homecoming Weekend festivities at my alma mater, Lee University in Cleveland TN. Had the glorious thrill of seeing so many people that I have loved for so long...and who have loved me through it all. I can't begin to say what this meant to me.

9) Worshipping regularly with my Moody Church family---the very center of my "universe" here in Chicago....and God has been so good.

I'm excited about 2012.


I was talking with a friend this morning--and I asked, "Who are your heroes in life?" I was disheartened to hear that my friend really has no "heroes." I'm more than happy to share some of mine.

Most of my heroes in life are teachers/professors and people in full-time ministry. These are the people who have most affected my life...and helped me to "walk forward" over the last almost 50 years (wow...I'm getting OLDer).

It has been those teachers/professors who "instructed me" in the ways of life, living, and learning. More than one teacher took this little "orphan boy" and helped him "learn"...I was always CRAZY about most of my teachers through my educational career...Some of these same people are still my dearest friends...I could never have survived without them.

The precious pastors in my life---what can I say about them? These people have shepherded my soul...made me part of the larger "family" in the local church....prayed for me when I was sick, applauded me when I did well, and encouraged me when I didn't do so well. These "people of God" have given me opportunities that I could never have dreamed of having otherwise...

My heroes.

Love Calls...

This past Saturday morning, I just felt like I needed to start "expressing" myself more....(and this would be a real shocker for some of you who think I already "express" myself wwwaaaaay too much as it is...)

But as I was sensing the nearness of the Lord Jesus, I felt that I needed to make some "love calls." The purpose of these calls is to tell some folks how much I love them and what they mean to me.

No agenda, no asking for anything---not even sharing prayer requests...Just telling some folks how they have enriched my life over the years...

I still have a bunch of people to call....what about you?

Confessions....yet another one...

I experienced the powerful presence of the LORD this morning....while I was sitting on the train--headed to work.

Lately, I've been "confused" about the "wilderness" that I seem to be wandering/wondering through these days. Deep down I want to believe that I am "following Christ" and walking in step with the Holy Spirit--but most days, I'm just not sure about whether I am really "following" or just wishing that I were following Him as I ought.

Eighteen months ago I left a job that I had loved for more than six years. The pay was good (not great, but very good), the working conditions were good....after all I had worked there for more than 6 years....but the LORD was clearly wanting me to look "further" and walk in another direction....but why?

All I could discern was that I should go work in the medical field again (I had worked in a hospital during my seminary years, and then my first job after moving to Chicago in August 2000)...and to eventually pursue training in the "nursing" field. All the "signs" were indicating that I would be going back to school to become a Registered Nurse....

I knew it would take "awhile"--more than a few months---and I was (still am) willing to do this the "slow" (not my preferred) method. I wasn't counting on the "process" taking so long, but I am willing to "wait" if that's what it requires.

This morning, I clearly heard the LORD speaking to my heart to "put the nursing training on hold" because HE wants me to learn "contentment" and "obedience" and "submission." He has 'other plans' for me right now....and only HE knows what those plans entail.

I just know that HE has other plans for me. This is not really 'distressing'--but perhaps a bit confusing for me. I'm one of those people who likes a "clear plan" (with all the details in place) so I can begin "working the plan" and seeing some progress.

That is not always how the LORD chooses to do things in my life. I am learning and re-learning this all the time.

21 Months ago, this very day...(October 26, 2009)

I was preparing for a radio interview with my friend Chris Fabry (, and then readying myself to fly to Birmingham, Alabama where I would spend the evening with my great friends, Dr Tim Stone and his wife Tammy.

The next morning (October 27, 2009), Tim and I enjoyed a wonderful breakfast at IHOP--my "last meal" according to "Dr Stone." (I still called him "friend" after such a negative announcement...LOL). I had to gently assert that I was "donating a kidney, not having my head lopped off.

That was 21 months ago, God has been so good--and how time flies!

"At my age?"

I will be fifty years old on March 13, 2012. (Honestly, I never thought I'd live to see the day, and I'm still not so sure of it...)

But now I'm becoming incredibly introspective...looking "back" to see all the things I missed along the journey thus far...glad that I missed some of them, and mourning my foolishness in overlooking others of "them." If I had it to do all over again...yeah, I know..."famous last words"--well, for somebody at least.

Having grown up without parents in the home (my paternal grandmother was my parent, since my folks divorced when I was very small), I have felt "abandoned" most of my life. I still feel that way sometimes...but nearly as much as I did in my "earlier" years. Looking back, I realize that God never abandoned me...even though I often wonder why He allowed some of the things that happened.

I often look back, wondering what my life would have been like (for the last 25+ years) if I had been more studious in college, my grades had been much better, and I had been more concerned with the "academics" than with all that "other stuff" I deemed to be so important at the time. My college years were a tremendous learning experience for me, in hindsight. I only wish I could re-do them now...

I often look back, wondering what it would have been like to pursue a romance, get engaged, and marry the "lady of my dreams." I won't be indicting anyone here--since the "world wide web" really is "world wide" and I don't need to be getting myself into "webs" from which I may never these "ladies" shall remain nameless....or at least "detail-less." (For the obsessively curious, there were THREE crushes, at various points in my life).

I look back and wonder what it would have been like to stay near all the biological kin--instead of moving away 30+ years ago, and only occasionally visiting. I do emphasize "occasionally"---about once every three years or so.

I do reflect on what "might have been"---realizing that "yesterday's gone" and wondering where those other "roads less traveled" (in my life, at least) would have led....

But now, that I'm nearly the "50" mark...all I can say is "the LORD is my Light and my Salvation..." With all the mis-steps, mistakes, and times of doubt/fear/rebellion, I know this much: God has been merciful and good.

So "at my age" I just have to look forward, knowing that the "best is yet to come." I have more friends in Heaven than I have on this planet Earth now, and all that "could have been" is in the Lord's hands. All that "might have been" is in His hands also. But more importantly, all that "will be" is also in His hands.

And "at my age" I rest in the fact (and the promise) that HE sees everything beforehand and nothing reaches His children that hasn't passed through the filter of His very love for us.

At my age, that's all I need to know.

Bill George profoundly inspired my many years ago!

I'll just go ahead and admit it: I was a VERY CONFUSED young man during my five years of undergraduate studies. I wasn't on drugs (either legal or otherwise), I wasn't an alcoholic...or involved immorally in anything. I was just "confused." I knew the LORD had His hand on me...but just wasn't sure where I was to go, or what I was to be doing...or even what I should be pursuing...

During my last semester of undergrad studies at Lee (, I took an "Introduction to World Missions" course with Doctor Bill George. He is a veteran missionary, educator, pastor, and church leader. His overwhelming love for the "people of the world" struck a very strong chord on my heart strings. I had always thought "missions" was for someone else...but in this "Intro" class, I realized that "missions" was for me...that God could and would use me in HIS mission, if I'd just let Him.

Bill's class was never boring, stodgy, or lifeless. With the power of the Holy Spirit enriching his ministry, and the active participation of my fellow classmates, this "Intro" class was one of the best courses I had ever taken.

What I didn't realize at the time was how profoundly Dr George's life and ministry would impact me. Everywhere I would travel in the years that were to follow, I'd be confronted with the lessons I had learned from the "Introduction to World Missions" course.

Twenty four years after leaving Lee, in ways that only God could orchestrate, Dr Bill George and I would become closer than I could have ever imagined. I would become a living kidney donor for him at the University of Alabama-Birmingham Medical Center.

Since that time, Dr George has traveled several thousand miles, written a couple of books, gotten his "life" back (without dialysis ruling it at least 3 times a week)...and we both praise GOD for HIS goodness to us.

Bill's commitment to "missions" still inspires me.

Someone who GREATLY influenced my life: Leonard F Kendrick

I've been away from my blogging for more than a month now--and I really have no good reason(s)--just a lot of excuses, which all sound reasonable to me...and only to me. I've been giving very serious contemplation to the people who have "greatly influenced" my life---and I realized there have been SO MANY...and each of them in very, very different ways. I first met Leonard F Kendrick when I was just 13 years old--(that would have been in the mid 1970s) when he came to preach a weekend revival meeting at our local church in Huntsville, Alabama. He was tall, distinguished, and 'stately'--if that term can be used to describe a minister...he certainly was "stately." He mentioned to me, after that first Friday evening service, how he wished he had all my "energy." He even told my pastor that the church should "bottle up all my energy" and sell it--they would make a fortune. I was duly and completely impressed with Brother Kendrick from the very first time I met him. He would become a regular "guest" at the West Huntsville pulpit--normally about twice a year...and I always looked forward to him coming. Every year when I would make my "pilgrimage" to Cleveland Tn for the Annual Assembly, I would make sure to find him during my "one day" trip to this wonderful "feast of fat things", spiritually speaking. He always seemed thrilled to see me, and I know I was absolutely delighted to see him. A few years later, I would move to Cleveland, Tennessee to start my "college adventure" (I hesitate to call it a "career" because 3-5 years isn't exactly a "career" to me). I knew Brother Kendrick and his wife Joyce would become very dear friends to me...even more than they already were. On more than one occasion, I would go see "Brother Leonard" and talk with him about any variety of things that were on my mind. If I needed $10 I could always go to his office, ask, and usually receive. I always knew to "pay it back" immediately as well. I would always see him, his wonderful wife Joyce at the Peerless Road Church on Sunday morning, Sunday evening, and for the Wednesday evening services. They always sat on the second pew near the end, Organ side of the sanctuary. Always....ALWAYS... When I decided to enter the United States Air Force on active duty, Brother "K" was the first person I called to tell. He thought it would be a great thing. He was a veteran of World War II, having served in the United States Navy, and he strong encouraged me to pursue military service. From September 1986 through August 20, 1996 I made sure that I stayed in contact with the Kendricks...regardless of where I was living at the time. I always called, or sent letters/postcards--this was LONG before the cell phone, emails, and FACEBOOK ever became part of the vocabulary, slang or otherwise. When I left active duty in August 1996, I returned to Cleveland TN to pursue a masters degree at the Church of God seminary, adjacent to what is now Lee University. I was more than thrilled to be back near the Kendricks, among others whom I loved and treasured. Leonard had retired from his position as General Treasurer of the denomination (Church of God of Prophecy), and was now pastoring a small country church of about 70 people. He told me over and over again that "being a pastor was the very best thing" he had ever done. He never wanted to do anything except be a "shepherd to God's sheep." He had traveled the world with his positions at the headquarters for the church, but his first love was being a "pastor." He never sought higher positions, and never really sought to stay in them. He always wanted to be a pastor. When his grandson Curry came along, we all started calling him "Dadda" (pronounced "dad" and "uh") For the 14 years before his death, he and I talked about three times a week, usually. I could tell him ANYTHING, and I usually did. He and Hollis Gause know things about me that I would never share with ANYONE else...I knew that Brother "K" would keep those things to himself, and would take them to his grave. I knew that I could trust him 1000% percent...with anything. Many times our conversations wouldn't last more than five minutes, if that long. But he would always end by telling me that he "has me at the top of the prayer list" and every morning he called my name out to the LORD in prayer. I lived to hear that promise! What I learned most from him: 1. Always keep your word. Always. If something happens, and you have to break your word, then the persons affected need to know as soon as possible from you--not someone else. 2. Love people where they are...not where you wish there were. This one is more challenging for me, because I don't do such a good job "loving people where they are" when I wish they were "somewhere else" in their lives. But Brother "K"--Dadda--showed me how to love people by the very way he consistently loved me. 3. Be thankful. No one exhibited the Fruit of the Spirit more than Leonard Kendrick did, in my very unbiased opinion. I never heard him say an unkind word about anyone....not ever. He was never rude or condescending to anyone. He may not agree with everyone, and he had no problem stating why he "disagreed" with a person or a position. He was every much a CHRIST-ian....I saw the face of Jesus in him. 4. Keep relationships--all of them--strong and vibrant. There are no "practice" relationships in the family of God....every single member of God's family is important to all the other members of God's family. Even when we don't like them...or they irk us...or we'd rather not be around them. The strength of our relationship over the years was a living testimony (to me) of the importance of the family of God. No big "I" or little "you"--just God's wonderful people. 5. Constantly learn. Dadda was a voracious reader, when his health was stable. He would devour books, and encouraged me to do the same. One of the great thrills was when I visited him in 2007, and took three books by my pastor (Erwin W Lutzer) as gifts for him. Pastor Lutzer had autographed this books especially for Dadda. He loved them. He read them...and we often talked about them. I talked with Dadda on Wednesday, April 14th..he was going to the VA hospital to have his pacemaker replaced...he asked if I were planning to come to the Lee University homecoming in November...I told him that I really wanted to come...he asked if I would come spend the day with him while I was in Tennessee...I promised him that would happen if I made it to Tennessee... On Thursday morning, April 15, 2010 I had an interview with my current employer. I had returned to my apartment, changed clothes, and getting ready to have lunch with one of my closest friends here in Chicago. I picked up my Nazarene hymnal from the coffee table, and was singing the words, "To our bountiful Father above, we will offer our tributes of Praise...for the glorious gift of His love and the blessings that hallow our the sweet bye and bye, we shall meet on that beautiful shore..." For some reason I couldn't get this song out of my mind... I walked over to the bus stop, headed to my lunch appointment...and was singing the song very softly under my breath, and very loudly in my heart.... Then the cell phone rang..... It was Kelly Coalter, wife of Bishop Tim Coalter, overseer for the Church of God of Prophecy in South Carolina. Tim had asked her to call me and let me know that "Brother Kendrick is in heaven now..." I was on the bus, and suddenly felt all the oxygen leave my body...I began weeping...I couldn't think...I had just talked with him yesterday..... His funeral was glorious. It was a fitting tribute to the stellar life he had lived, and even more so a marvelous act of worship to God the Father.... My "Dadda" is in heaven now...where he's been for almost a year now....but there are no calendars in glory....

A person who influenced my life: Gary R Langley

I knew Pastor (Bishop) Gary R Langley before he was ever a pastor or a bishop. He was my youth leader back in the mid-late 1970s at the West Huntsville Church of God of Prophecy. He was also a drummer, and later pianist....

He was a wonderful choir director as well. I remember the very first "musical" I ever sang in--"Alleluia! A Praise Gathering for Believers" by Bill and Gloria Gaither. We did this production for Christmas, 1977. I sang the solo for "Get All Excited"......I remember it like it was yesterday.

I remember Gary's wonderful sense of humor, and his very kind ways towards most of us in his youth group(s). I remember him "Pickin through First Peter" in the Wednesday night--as a matter of fact, I probably still have those notes somewhere in all my "treasures" (boxes that haven't been opened in 20 years or more).

As a Viet Nam veteran, this wonderful friend continually inspires me to be more patriotic, and to love my country. He answered the nation's call to duty when "answering that call" wasn't the "en vogue" and popular thing to do. He served honorably, and returned home to a deeply divided nation. My generation (and all subsequent generations) owe this great veteran a debt we can never repay.

He always had a "listening ear"---one that I seem to have abused more than once during my teenage years. At the time he and his (still) gorgeous bride, Amy, were the "guiding lights" for a lot of us teenagers who needed to know that someone truly cared. Gary and Amy always truly cared.

The last time I physically saw the two of them was in September 1982 in Cleveland, TN--and they were contemplating a move to the Hawaiian Islands. Shortly thereafter, the Langleys were moving to the other side of the United States---WAAAAY to the other side.

I lost touch temporarily with them...but eventually was able to get back in contact.

I'm not sure that Gary was ever really "running from God"--because he was always faithful in his service to the local church--but somewhere along his life's journey, Gary Langley came to the point that God wanted him to commit his entire life to professional church ministry. He has served as an associate pastor, a senior pastor (where he still serves) and also as a denominational leader. He has returned to school, and is almost finished with his Master's Degree from Fuller Theological Seminary (Pasadena, California). He is bettering himself, and proving himself a "workman that needs not to be ashamed--rightly dividing the Word of Truth."

Gary has always been one of my most trusted "sounding boards" when I needed a solid, grace-filled, scriptural view of something. He and I have "differing opinions" on a lot of the political stuff....and that's just the way it is....

But I have always trusted Gary Langley with some of the most "personal" details of my life....and I still do.

A person who influenced my life: Linda Hayter Turner

I'll always remember the FIRST day of my fourth grade year. I was going to a brand new school--because the districts had been re-zoned. I had spent my first three years at Riverton Junior High School (which also included the elementary grades at the time). Now, thanks to the powers-that-be, I would be an incoming fourth-grader at Brownsboro Junior High School.

I can remember walking to the very end of the hallway...where the fourth grade was, and seeing one of the most beautiful ladies I had ever seen. Her name was Linda Turner...

This was going to be a great, great school year! (And almost forty years later, I still say that she was the BEST teacher I've ever had in my educational process).

She was wearing a beautiful pink dress, had blond hair, and it was pulled back in a pony-tail. She was wearing white sandals that late summer day in Brownsboro. She had the kindest voice...and I'll always remember her smile, when I marched up to the door and was looking for my name on the list. I told her, "I am Phillip Hoover and I'm in the fourth grade this year." She said, "Yes, Mr. Hoover, you are...and you are in my class! I am so excited to see you! It is going to be a great year!"

And indeed it was!

I learned so many things that year: I learned about fractions, and multiplications (it's not Linda's fault, but I still have mental/emotional blocks when it comes to mathematics). I learned about Helen Keller in Alabama History (which Mrs Turner made extremely fascinating--especially since she grew up in East Tennessee!). She always had spelling bees (and I almost always won! I really liked that part), and she read "Charlotte's Web" to us....probably the most fascinating story I had ever heard.

I remember getting paddled a couple of times by this teacher. My very selective memory can't recall if I was truly deserving or not.....Linda is one of my Facebook friends, and she is free to insert her version of those episodes should she so choose....

I'll always remember her mom and dad (Mr. and Mrs Hayter) coming to visit our fourth grade class....I thought they were the most fascinating and wonderful people I had ever met. They were from TENNESSEE---to this boy who had never been out of Alabama, this was a whole new country!

And one of the saddest days was when I was finishing the fourth grade, and would be going to the fifth grade--just down the hall! Mr Sibley was good...but he wasn't Mrs Turner....

The years went by, and we lost contact with each other...until I was getting ready to graduate from high school. Linda and her family had lived in Europe (because of her husband's work with the government), and then returned to the Huntsville area. Linda came to my high school graduation, with her two youngest sons (Matthew and Mark) in tow. I was THRILLED to see her. She wrote a letter of recommendation so I could get into college...she gave me a wonderful gift for graduation (money which was badly needed)....

A few years later, our paths would cross again...and now I was active duty in the United States Air Force, and stationed in California. She would write me occasionally (this was before email and text messages, and Al Gore's discovery of the internet...), and I always thrilled at hearing from her...

I will remember when I was preparing to move to South Korea in January 1990. I still have the letter she had written me, instructing me to "soak up as much of the culture and richness of the people as you possible can. You will be a better person for it." I was smart enough to follow her advice.

I was getting ready to move from South Korea to Norway, and needed someone (stateside) to book a hotel room in New York City for me (on New Year's Day, 1991 at that!) since I had an 18 hour layover...I wrote Linda a letter, telling her my plight...and she took care of the details for me...

And when I had to make a swift trip to the United States at the end of May 1992, it was Linda Turner who came to the funeral home and stayed with me the entire evening. As a matter of fact, she and I were the first two at the viewing of my Grandmother Hoover's body....and I've never been happier to see anyone in my entire life! Linda was one of those "moms" that I had always wanted....and like all those other times, she came through for me!

Over the last 20 years (or more) we've stayed in good contact. She has been my prayer partner and strong encourager during more than one "down time" of my life. She still challenges me to be my "best" at whatever I'm wanting to "take on."

She is a great wife, a wonderful mother, and a doting grandmother---there are plenty of exhibits to verify these assessments.

But to me, this fourth grader from so long in a new school--she is my hero! She made classes fun, and I learned a lot.

Everyone needs a "Linda Turner" in their life....but you can't have mine!

A person who influenced my life: Jane Ford Pearson

I look back over my life, and realize that so many people have been such a GREAT part of me becoming who I am today. I want to write about each of them...or most of them (at the very least).

I first met Jane (Ford) Pearson when I was in the fourth grade at Brownsboro Junior High School, in rural Madison County, Alabama. Her mother, Mrs Ruth Ford, was the music teacher for the school...and she picked me to play the part of the "Great Pumpkin" for the Fall Festival...that was almost 40 years ago...and I still remember it as though it were yesterday...

Miss Jane came to the school, and remembers seeing me...and more than a year later, I would move to the new school district (Central) and would be in the 5th Grade with Jim Pearson (Jr), Miss Jane's son....

I was always the odd-child out...awkward, backward, and unwanted...

Sixth grade would find me in another school district (due to some parental squabbles and conflicts), and I would be back at Central School for the 7th grade...and again, my encounter with the Pearsons...

We lived up the road from the Pearsons in the Cedar Gap neighborhood. In my high school years, we always did our "class float" for the Homecoming Parade at the Pearson much fun, so much work, and always late nights.

I remember when I was getting ready to look at colleges, how Mrs Pearson (Jane) told me that I "must go to college because you are certainly smart enough"...She convinced me that I could become just about anything that I had a desire to become...

That was more than 30 years ago. She has been my "mom" in just about every way that really matters. She has loved me, encouraged me, always welcomed me in her home...just too much to tell...

When I was stationed in South Korea (1990), I went shopping in downtown Seoul one day...and I found this gorgeous Korean dress/kimono...I knew that Jane would love I did the "American thing" and bought it. I put it in the mail, and surprised her. She still has that dress, and still loves to tell the story of how I sent it to her.

I got to make two phone calls every Saturday evening to the United States over the "HAM radio" system at the Air of those calls was always to the Pearson house...and always with Miss Jane. This was such a treat for me, and for her as well. We had to say "over" every time we wanted to switch to the other party (because the HAM radio operators had to make sure we were hearing each other).

One of the saddest times of my life came in May 1992. I was stationed in Oslo, Norway, working for NATO and on active duty with the United States Air Force. I received word that my Grandmother Hoover was at the point of death, and I would need to get back to the States post-haste. This was long before the days of email, internet, cell phones, etc.

During the next two weeks, Jane Pearson was more than anything I could have asked for as a friend, confidant, and "mom." My Grandmother Hoover passed on to Heaven on Wednesday morning...the very next day, Jane was at the funeral home with me...talking with me, and making sure that I would "make it through." She came to get me after the funeral was over on Friday--and I stayed at her home that evening...I needed that...I desperately needed that.

I can't tell you how many times I've picked up the phone to call her...simply because I needed to talk to the most important woman in my life...

Now, she's having some dementia problems...but still calls me when she thinks about it. I call as often as I can...and I miss her terribly. Just about everything I've done in life (that has any value) I learned from Miss Jane. I learned almost all my "social graces" (the ones that I've displayed at least) sitting at her kitchen table. I learned the importance of preparing good meals, and how to iron a table cloth.

Jane Pearson did more for me becoming a confident man than anyone I can think of...I improved my musical skills--because she insisted that I could become a good musician. I improved my cooking skills---because she told me that I could become a great chef (which still remains to be seen). I worked on (and hopefully improved) my writing and communication skills--because I remember Miss Jane telling me to be anything I wanted--just not to be boring!

I really do owe Jane Pearson more than I could ever repay. To say I adore her is an understatement.

50. I am thankful for a NEW YEAR...

2010 was quite a year of "change" in so many ways. Ways that I had anticipated--yes, those happened, and ways that I could never have, in my wildest imaginations, conjured up--those happened as well.

I left a job (on my own volition) where I had made more money in 2009 than I had ever made in one year in my working career...but was emotionally exhausted to the point of being almost irreparable. The Holy Spirit clearly spoke to me on December 31, 2009 to prepare for changes, and to submit my resignation effective March 17, 2010.

At noon, on March 17, 2010, I turned in my keys, said my farewells, and left my office at Coyne American Institute. On March 18 and 19, I showed up at the Moody Bible Institute at 4:45 AM (yes, in the morning) to be one of the people answering the telephones for Moody Radio Chicago (WMBI) Share 2010, raising funds for the radio ministry here in the Windy City. It was a great, great time...I'll do it again in 2011, Lord willing.

2010 was also a time when I had to REALLY trust the LORD to provide for me (again)...and He very, very unusual ways...I never missed paying a bill, and never went hungry...God provided.

So, in 2011, I want to write about the people in my life who have had the greatest influence on me...and why I am thankful for them. Keep reading this blog... you might find me writing about you...