Monday, October 10, 2011

Happy Birthday, Tony

Today is my nephew's birthday. Tony (Little Tony) Piantine is 43 (I think) today. That is so hard to believe. I want to honor him today and give thanks to God that he is a huge part of my life.

I think one of the reasons that Tony has such a special place in my heart and life is that he had such a special place in my mom's and dad's heart and lives. Dad loved all of his grandchildren in a beautiful way, but because Tony spent so much time in the summers of his growing up years with mom and dad at the up north cabin, he and dad developed a great bond. I loved to watch how they interacted in some very humerus as well in some very serious times. Mom and dad were good for Tony and he was good for them. Thank you, Tony, for loving and caring for my mom and dad as you did.

I admire and love Tony. He is a great example to me as I see his heart for people who many times are the rejected and neglected in our society. To see him as he directs the summer camps for people with disabilities is an inspiring thing. He has a way of making people feel special and for many of these people, it is the first time that have had that feeling. If you are a helper at camp, you feel that what you are doing is important and making a difference.

Tony is not a yes-man and as his uncle, senior pastor, and colleague, I appreciate that about him. He will tell me what he thinks and not what he thinks I want to hear. He gives good council but equally as important, also receives good council. I love people who don't want to stay stagnant in their lives and ministries and Tony is certainly one of those men who want to move forward and is not afraid to make changes that can often be painful. He would say as many have -- no pain, no gain.

I love you Tony, and am so glad you are in my life, my family, and my ministry. I am a better person for having you in my life. I am excited as I see God doing great things in your life and I know (and you have heard me say it often :) The Best Is Yet To Come! For you, for your family, for Camp Daniel, for Living Hope Church. Thanks for being who you are.