Tomorrow’s Thanksgiving and there are a lot of things for which I am thankful. But more importantly, there are a lot of PEOPLE for whom I am thankful. Here is my TOP TEN List of people I am thankful for:

10.  Gwinnett County Public School Educators — As a youth and educational speaker, I speak in different school districts and at numerous conferences all over the country. This means I get a front row seat to dozens of school systems and thousands of students and educators each year. And while I get to see some amazing school districts and teachers, I always return home with a grateful heart that my kids are in GCPS. I am so thankful for the educators who have and still are investing in my kids!

9.  Steeple Station Stingrays (the swim team I coach) — For the past five summers, I have had the privilege of spending Monday-Friday mornings and Thursday evenings coaching 160 swimmers ages 4-18. I LOVE the swimmers and families that make up our amazing swim team community. The friendships we have built through swim team are incredibly special!

8.  Bob Thune — Bob Thune was my boss for eight years when I served as a youth pastor in Omaha, Nebraska. I saw integrity lived out day-in and day-out in Bob, and those lessons have deeply shaped my life.

7.  Dan Miller — No one has contributed to my career success more than Dan Miller. Through his friendship and guidance, I have learned to pursue my vocational calling, design work I love, and achieve my career goals!

6.  Dan Glaze — My high school and early college years were, as they are for many people, the most shaping years of my life. During those years, Dan Glaze was my #1 mentor. I avoided so many mistakes because of the insight and advice I received from my dear friend. What’s more, he helped me navigate my way through the plethora of mistakes I made.

5.  Jim Vaught — Seventh grade was a major turning point in my life. In many ways, I was an “at risk” kid during this season of life. I faced significant academic challenges, I was hanging out with the wrong crowd, and I was doing things I knew were wrong. Jim Vaught, my seventh grade math teacher and middle school basketball coach, caught me in the midst of a major personal mistake. The details are not necessary, just know it was major. Yet, in the midst of this watershed moment in my life, I learned a life lesson that completely changed the trajectory of my life. Bottom line, I learned what Dr. Robert Resnick taught years ago…that e + R = o  (i.e. events + RESPONSE = outcome). Jim helped me learn this lesson that perhaps, more than any other, has positively shaped my life.

4.  Mom and Dad — I am so grateful for David and Janet Julian. As someone who has worked with middle school and high school students, as well as their parents, for most of my life, I continually realize how fortunate I am to have them as parents.

3.  Christopher, McKenzie, and Kelsey — I am both grateful and proud of my three kids. Even more, it’s a joy to see each of them growing up to embrace who God has created them to be!

2.  Kathy — When it comes to marriage, I definitely out punted my coverage. I’m still amazed that Kathy agreed to marry me! She is the love of my life and truly my best friend. I simply cannot express how grateful I am to be “doing life” with Kathy!

1.  God — I don’t write this flippantly. But for the grace of God, my life would be a mess. I am so thankful that He has changed my today as well as my eternity.