HAPPY BIRTHDAY TEEDLES!!!
My baby brother isn’t so little anymore. Today marks his 22nd birthday, and while I awake to July 2nd in Nashville, TN (or “July Sense” as 3 year old TJ called it), he welcomed the day in Tallin, Estonia leading a team on a missions trip. I could not be more proud of this man who I’ve been blessed to see grow up for the past 22 years.
I was 4 years old when he was born, and I thought he was just the greatest gift I could have ever received. He was, as I called him, “my baby.” I toted him around and probably pinched his little cheeks a little too hard, but he has always tolerated me. TJ has ALWAYS had a sweet & tolerating countenance. His feathers aren’t easily ruffled, and he’s always just CHILL. I remember him being SO chill in fact, that whenever he’d tell a story it would take him about 5 minutes to get each sentence out. I’m pretty sure LaLa land was a place he frequented. However, I truly believe whenever he was zoning, he was creating. Since he was a little squirt, he’s been creating. I recall him taking those little chocolate, strawberry and vanilla wafer cookies and stacking them ever so neatly on a plate and then garnishing the plate with chocolate syrup. A $3 pack of cookies never tasted so gourmet.
One year he received about 10 costumes for Christmas, of which my Mom probably found on clearance after Halloween, and you would have thought TJ had died and gone to heaven. The kid has ALWAYS been our little creator. He hid himself in a bathroom once for about an hour, only to emerge COMPLETELY painted with face paint. Never a dull moment with this guy.
I love him because he always knows how to make me laugh. TJ, you have the ability to recognize a mood of a room and know whether to do a dance or funny impersonation, or to be serious and talk things out. You have always been very conscientious of other’s feelings, and I appreciate that so much about you.
For those of you who know TJ now, you know that this creative gift of his has become much more than a hobby. The Lord has made him very aware of his talents, and I have seen him become such a man this year as God has revealed piece after piece of this vision for his life. At 22 years old, TJ is running a small business called Ebenezer Leathergoods, making customized bags, wallets and necklaces. This business has begun to grow exponentially, and I cannot wait to see what God does with it. If you haven’t placed an order yet, check him out (new website coming soon).
He has also fallen quite naturally into his role as a high school leader. These kids LOVE TJ, and cannot get enough of him. He is a constant entertainer & life of the party (hmm I wonder who he gets that from… Dad?), and yet can flip the switch to lead these young high school men into a deeper relationship with Christ. His gifts are absolutely evident, and I’m so glad God is using him in these areas.
So…TJ, Teedles, Trenton, I love you SO much, and I could not be more proud of my baby brother. You’ve grown into such an amazing man of God. You’ve become one of my BEST friends, a man I look up to, and treasure in my life. You’re a leader, a creator, an entrepreneur, and a dreamer. I cannot wait to see how God leads your life and where He’ll take you next. Believe in yourself, because remember…we all do! Happy 22nd birthday Teedles! See you in 3 weeks!!!!:)