Thursday, September 17, 2009

Happy Birthday Jake!

Since it is Jake's birthday today, I thought I would do a little post to share my favorite qualities about him. :)

1) Great Dad (obvious one, right?)
When I met Jake back in our college days, the first thing I ever thought about him was that some day he was going to make a great Dad! Whenever he was around little kids he always acted like they were so special, and he could most times guess their age and find questions to ask them whether they were in 3rd grade or 9th grade. One memory that always stands out is when Jake used to help run the ISU bball camps. At one of the camps this little boy named Danny fell in love with Jake and followed him around everywhere. He signed up for all the camps that Jake was at, wore Jake's #0 jersey everyday and imitated everything that Jake did. I wish I had a way to post some of the cute pictures I have of Danny following Jake around. After a few days of all of this, Jake eventually took Danny under his wing and let him sit or stand right next to him as he demonstrated drills, led stretching, and everything else. As the years went on Danny always waited in the crowd after Jake's games to give him a high five and tell him good game. And, every summer he would sign up to be in Jake's camps. And, he was ALWAYS wearing Jake's #0 jersey. Everytime I saw Jake interacting with this little boy I couldn't help but imagine the future and Jake someday being able to do all this with a son of his own. Six years after we met this little boy, I became pregnant with JJ. Since little Danny wasn't so little anymore, his mom found me at a football game one day. She said she had something that she wanted to give me....and I watched as she dug into her purse and pulled out that little, old, worn, faded #0 jersey that her son faithfully wore for 4 years. She said that she wanted us to have it so that our son could wear it someday. Yes, tears. Lots of tears. This was one of the most memorable gifts that anyone had ever given to us. She said Jake had been such an inspiration and great role model for her son, that it was a joy for her to pass that on to us. And now, my initial predictions about Jake being a wonderful Dad, have come true!
(Click on picture to enlarge)

2) Hard worker

I might as well stick with the college theme for a bit longer. Jake will be the first to tell you that for him to achieve his goal of locking down a Division I basketball scholarship, it had nothing to do with him being athletic. In fact, he will tell you that he was NOT a great athlete at all. But, instead, he will say that it had everything to do with hard work. This guy was what you call a gym rat in basketball lingo. He practiced and practiced and practiced. The way you might study for a big test, is how he practiced to perfect his shooting and dribbling and passing and footwork.....and there was no other option because basketball did not come easy....he had to perfect his skills and study the game to get himself to the level that he wanted to be at. This meant logging in long hours before and after practice and on weekends and on holiday breaks and during the summer. Always creating new workouts, always challenging his body in a new way, always studying other players and watching how they moved or trying to get ideas of how he could better lead his team. Today I can see how this type of work ethic has transferred over into his job. I know not everyone is lucky enough to have a job that they LOVE and are completely fulfilled by. But, Jake does. He has a passion for teaching kids, and coaching, and being competitive on the court. He logs in so many hours in his job, but it is worth every minute; he comes home every night excited to tell me the details from practice, or how God is working in the lives of one of his players, or the next exciting rennovation for the facility. He's worked for every inch of his success in all aspects of his life and he is such a great example to me.

3) Gives me the confidence to step outside of my comfort zone.
I am sure you know by now that Jake is always thinking of new projects for our family to take part in. I love how when Jake gets a vision or an idea, no matter how big, he has the confidence to try it out. His confidence is so contagious. He asks God for help and guidance, rolls up his sleeves, and jumps in. I love how he leads our family this way, by example. He is not one to sit around and talk about things. He just does it. This is so encouraging to me, especially because I think and analyze and pick apart everything. We perfectly balance each other out in this area. Jake practically lives outside of his comfort zone, always excited to take risks, always prepared to live on faith alone if it comes down to it. He pushes me to go beyond the typical and to think outside of the box.....and this is not an easy feat to go up against little-old-Type-A-personality-me. :)

4) Ice cream lover.
Which is why, for the 5th year in a row, he has asked for a DQ ice cream cake for his birthday cake. :)

Happy Happy Happy Happy Birthday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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