Saturday, October 16, 2010

happy birthday, jefe!

Holy moly. I'm tired. Kasey (the sister-in-law) and I and another of my brother's friend hijacked my John from work yesterday for his 30th birthday. He was subsequently blindfolded and taken skydiving. Then dinner with way too many people and karaoke afterward - John did an entire Snoop song (wound up so out of breath that a lung nearly collapsed, but still...). It was epic. And exhausting.

But it was worth it!

And I of course wanted to take this post to honor him on his 30th bday with a list of my favorite moments of all times with
John Stanley.

10. When I was jogging on the Bear Trail in college (It was the cool thing to do. Be seen. Be in shape.), John and his friend were driving past me. They decided it would be funny to swerve onto the curb to spook me while I was in the zone and not paying attention. They did. And in my ever-present agility and bodily awareness, I managed to trip, face plant and break my walkman. (YEAH, IT WAS A WALKMAN. SO?). John had to drive me home because I managed to hurt my hip in the incident. THANKS A LOT, JOHN.

9. My freshman year at Baylor, all three of us older siblings were at the same school. It was epic (not for my parents....), in that literally, everything I said or did wound up coming back to them. I hated/loved that. Being a naive little freshman, I went out to a frat party with some nice guy that I met in the Baylor Symphony. (He was a first-chair bassist - how dangerous could he be??). I was being cool, hanging and the party, minding my own business, when in stomps Mark (second oldest brother). He walks straight up to me (in mid-awesome dance move) and says,
"Jennie. This is the worst place you could be." I was so confused. I brushed him off saying, "What are you talking about? This is Kevin, he's nice!" Mark stomped out of the room. Two minutes later, he walks in, cell phone in hand. He shoved it in my face.

"Hello?" I answered.
"Jennie!" John's voice barked, "That is the absolute worse place you could be right now. You need to leave immediately."

I literally was so confused. How did they even know where I was? I mean, it's a fairly large campus, and I didn't regularly check in with them on my Friday night plans. Whatever. I stomped out of the party, humiliated, with Mark trailing behind me, making sure I went safely home to my freshman dorm. Apparently, that fraternity was infamous for slipping things in girls' drinks. Who knew? Later, when I was a little more aware of the social dynamics at Baylor, I realized, that was the worst possible place I could be. Ha. I most certainly DID NOT thank them then, but came to gratitude later.

8. This moment. I don't even remember it, but I love it.

For some reason, it reminds me of a time in college when I had a pretty dramatic anxiety attack - I called John (of course) and he came over while I cried and cried. He ended up sleeping on the couch in the living room and praying for me that night. What can I say? He's good at comforting sisters while they sleep.

7. Going to Haiti with John and a group of people he had helped organize back in 2007. I got to see him walking out as a leader who led with humility, hilarity and wisdom. His heart for the nations and for God's purposes in him and others is astounding. I've been on a few mission trips, and I think he was my favorite leader - the jefe! He was of course responsible and wise, but also a doofus and a lot of fun.

6. The morning Josh passed away, John was the first person I called. Sobbing and so scared, I will never forget what he told me. I had been so afraid of the fact that Josh went to hell, and all John said was,

"Jennie. Our only hope is that when we get to heaven, God will look at us and say, 'I'm more gracious and more loving than you could ever imagine.'"

I love that John lives out that truth. That our God is more kind, loving and gracious than we could even hope for. When John talks about his Jesus, he knows Him.

5. The face that John married one of my best friends, Kasey. I think who you choose for a mate says a lot about who you are. She is sweet, gracious and so kind - maybe some of John's more latent traits. HA. I love that he found for himself a sweet friend and companion and love for him to travel through life together with. They are awesome!

4. When I played in the Baylor symphony, the concert hall was posh and refined. And then there was my ape brothers and their friends acting a fool in the back row. Fist pumping and dancing, they were there to cheer me on at my first college performance. Sweet brothers. John even sent me flowers that day for the event. :)

3. The fact that whenever he says he loves me he always says, "I love you so much it makes me angry." HA. Jefe wouldn't be Jefe without unexplained, unavoidable angst.

2. The day before John left for college, I remember being so so sad. It was this weird moment of realization that our life as a family was about to change (haha...little did I know that we'd all end up at college together later...HA). John, being the sap and sensitive guy (he is hidden by a demeanor of a heart that's 3 sizes too small), played Garth Brooks' "Your Song" for us and as we all sat around and cried. I don't think I've even heard the song since then, but all I remember is that he was telling us that he loved us in his own way.

1. The endless, pointless, redundant jokes that we beat mercilessly to the ground. Jefe's humor is like mine: strange and a little distorted, and maybe slightly inappropriate. He likes awkward humor almost as much as I do. I LOVE it! It keeps me laughing whenever we are together, whether in the slums of Haiti or in the metropolis of Dallas. He is so much fun to be with. I appreciate that humor allows us never to take ourselves too seriously.

I love you, John!
I KNOW that this new year will bring new and amazing things for you and Kasey. As you walk forward, I'm praying that you'll find new life as a leader, a father, a friend and a son of God. Your gifts are irrevocable (no matter how hard you try) and
the calling God has on your life is as plain as the deviated septum in your nose.
Hopefully, you'll get over your awkwardness
as you leave your 20s.
If not, at least I'll be hear to remind you it's still there.

For you this year:

"Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever."

Psalm 73:25-26.