Aug 3, 2013

This is 40

"For the Lord your God has blessed you in all that you have done; He known your wanderings through this great wilderness.  These forty years the Lord our God has been with you; you have not lacked a thing."
                                                                                                --Deuteronomy 2:7

At 40, on August 3, 2013 with one of the 40+++++++++ blessings I've experienced over the past four decades

This is my story, this is my song.  God has been good to me.  Today I celebrated my 40th birthday and I couldn't be more grateful for the twists and turns that have brought me this far in my journey.  In looking back here are 40 blessings from the past 40 years.

1.On August 3, 1973 I was  born in Portland, Oregon in the U.S.A.  There are many wonderful places around the world, but it's been a blessing to be born a citizen of this country.  The advantages far outweigh the disadvantages as far as I'm concerned.  And I get to claim Oregon as my home state and Oregon is just so cool!

2. My share of "baggage" has been manageable. Everyone has their share of childhood pain, I believe and I'm no exception.  But I'm blessed to be happy and at peace at forty.  I've been able to let go, able to forgive.  I have a talking relationship with my dad.

3. I was blessed with three great siblings.  Though we lost my youngest sister Julie just a few short weeks after she was born, I've never forgotten about her, and I now have an extra special reason to look forward to heaven.  And my brother Vince and sister Dawn provided the lions share of the joy in my life during my childhood.

4. My mom Rosalind Maycock worked from home growing up so she was always there when we needed her.  It was always so soothing to go to sleep hearing her typing on the computer in the next room.

5. I lived in a big old house on 905 Hart Blvd in Orlando, Florida for five years with my grandparents William and Enid Thomson and cousins living just a few miles away.

6. I was raised as a Seventh-day Adventist Christian.  Though, as a child it was all I knew, and I wouldn't truly choose and own the faith until I was older I'll always considering growing up in our unique spiritual culture to be a blessing.

7. I have really cool uncles Roland and Robert, that I grew up admiring and wanting to emulate.

8. I learned to love to read early on and started writing stories early on.

9. I started a journal in 1985 when I was just shy of 12 years old and I've been writing ever since.

10. Paul Wood, Christi Snell, and Angie Loveridge--the best friends I could have asked for in elementary school, even though I didn't know it at the time.

11. My mom forced me to go Forest Lake Academy my freshman year instead of finishing out Orlando Junior Academy in the 9th grade.  Only later would I understand how important it was for me to move on from OJA (though my mom just liked that FLA was right around the corner from our house and meant a shorter commute)

12. J Micheal Carlos.  We met when we were 15 years old in Mrs. Gish's earth science class.  Been friends ever since.

13. I was able to maintain good grades for the most part throughout my elementary and high school years, and earned a four year scholarship to Andrews University because of my SAT scores.

14. Chris Cotta, Greg Wedel.  Everyone needs good friends in high school.  I was lucky to have more than a few.  But these two were some of the best.

15. God preserved me through a bought of depression during my senior year of high school and changed the direction of my life through one phone conversation with J Carlos in the summer of 1992

16. I was able to go to Andrews University.  We get a few opportunities to reinvent ourselves in life.  This was one of mine.

17. Kim Juhl.  I don't know that she knows the blessing she was and I'm sure I didn't know it at the time , but nevertheless. . .

18. As part of my four year scholarship I was hired to work for the Behavioral Sciences Department my sophomore year.  I worked there for the rest of my time at Andrews University and was mentored by Dr. Edwin Hernandez and Dr. Oystein LaBianca.

19. In the spring of 1994 I experienced a revolution in my spiritual journey and began, I think, my real adult relationship with Jesus Christ.  It was quiet change in many ways, but it lasted in a way that those "week of prayer" style conversions never did.

20.  In the spring of 1994 I took a trip to Texas.  That trip was the catalyst for some major and much needed growth and change in my life.

21. J and I decided to become student missionaries and decided to take calls as 6th and 5th grade teachers respectively at Chuuk SDA School.  The 1994-1995 school year changed the course of my life forever and was truly the hardest and best year I've ever lived.  In a life of mountaintop experiences nothing has approached the emotional pinnacle of that year.

22. Barbara Leen.  I met her in the fall of 1995 and we've been hanging out ever since.  She is the best person in my life and ever since I met her I've never felt lonely. To quote the immortal Carly Rae Jepson "Until you came into my life, I missed you so bad."  Many times in the years prior to meeting her I thought I knew who and what I wanted.  Praise God he saved me from my foolish wishes.

23. I was part of the planning team for the Go'97 Missions Conference.  Those few days at the end of 1996 and the beginning of 1997 were probably the most beautiful spiritual experience of my life.

24. Barbara said yes!  July 27, 1997 we sealed the deal in a wonderful wedding surrounded by family and great friends.  One of the happiest days of my life.

25.  I got wonderful in-laws in Bill and Carol Leen and sister-in-law Jenny.  You know all those stories you hear about the "in-laws."  I never understood those stories and for that I'm very grateful.

26. Babs talked me into becoming a teacher and I graduated with my degree in education in the spring of 1998.

27. We took the call to Saipan in 1998. Our life in Saipan was one I didn't have the sense enough to dream for myself.

28. I got travel, some during college to Europe and extensively while we lived in Saipan including Australia (3 times), Bali, Thailand, South Korea, Japan, the Philippines, and Singapore.

29. I was able to form a traveling drama ministry, REAL Christian Theater with Aaron Knowlton and Kathy Stair that toured for nine years and made a lifelong impact not so much on our audiences but on the kids we worked with.  I got to see several of the plays I wrote come to life on stage with REAL too which was also very rewarding.  The tours to Guam, Palau, Yap, Pohnpei, Chuuk, Rota, and Australia were high points.

30.I was able to co-write and direct my own television series, and the pilot, at least made it on the air.

31. Dan Shor.  His mentorship in film and television were so rewarding.  Acting in his TV pilot State of Liberty was a lot of fun.

32. Vince Asanuma got me into running.  Mai Rhea Odiayr, Judith Edwards,  and Jessica Lee made it fun.  Ken Pierson helped me take it to the next level.

33. I started a blog.  And you are reading it!

34. Grant Graves.  They say that the best friends you'll ever have in life you make in high school.  They were wrong.  I met Grant in 2006.  He was instrumental in helping me realize that even as an adult, life is an adventure.

35. The kids.  Before I had my own--and after--the kids I taught have richly blessed me.  From that first class of fifth graders at Chuuk SDA School through the class of 2013 at Columbus Adventist Academy, the kids have consistently been a source of joy and deep reward. (And knowing so many of them now as adults is an additional blessing)

36. Elijah William Maycock was born August 31, 2008.  There is no blessing quite like your own child.

37. We decided to leave Saipan after more than a decade.  Though we miss Saipan and the friends we made there, moving to Ohio has been the best decision we've made and not a day goes by that I'm not glad we're here.

38. Our dear friends, the Paez family moved to the U.S. at the same time as we did and we were able to continue to maintain our friendship with Carol and the kids through the annual visits to Oregon.

39. I got a job at Columbus Adventist Academy.  I had assumed that the days of deeply rewarding teaching at an Adventist school with a mission were behind me when we moved back to the States.  Praise God I was wrong.

40. Ezra Thomson Maycock was born November 20, 2012.  After the miracle of our firstborn I didn't know how God could create another one that would measure up, but he did!

On my fortieth birthday I am alive, in excellent health, with peace of mind and great joy in my life. I have good friends, a loving family and more blessings than I can count in a lifetime.  Indeed, as I look back I know that I have lacked nothing these forty years in the wilderness of this world.  Now as I look ahead to the next forty, I know that whatever comes He who has led me so far, will lead me all the way.

Just a handful of friends in Columbus were on hand to share the sentiment with me in person, but I've felt the love from precious people from all four decades of my wonderful life across the country and around the world.  Thank you!