September 24, 2009

Happy Birthday Johnny

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:04 pm by Debra

Our little Johnny is 29 today. How can it be?!! September 24, 1980 was a very memorable day at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Indianapolis. It was a RECORD number of births at that hospital that day. Many think it was because of the “snow storm of the century” which had occurred the previous winter (go ahead, count on your fingers, 9 months back, yeah). The nurses were completely overwhelmed. My doctor advised me – if you have anyone at home to help, you should leave immediately. In less than 24 hours after his birth, baby and I were home (unheard of in those days!). His two and half year old sister couldn’t wait, she immediately became his mini-mom.

We named him Johnathan after his dad, John, (who did not want a “junior”) and we called him Johnny. But, by the third grade everyone at school was calling him John because “Johnathan was too long to write on every school paper”, he explained to me. However, close friends and family know him only as Johnny, even to this day.

As a little guy growing up he always had tons of energy, loving to participate in sports like karate, YMCA youth basketball, little league, and eventually high school basketball and the city Babe Ruth baseball league. He was very dedicated, practiced day and night, his coaches loved him. I bought him a subscription to “Sports Illustrated Junior” and he soon became an expert on professional sports, the players, and STATS. He loved the stats!

He could read well at an early age, and his favorite books were our family’s set of World Book encyclopedias. This is Me calling out from the kitchen: Johnny, what are you doing?. HIM: Reading. ME: What are you reading? HIM: H. He could read anything we gave him, and have almost instant recall of everything he read. Yep, photographic memory. I was so jealous. It was an amazing natural gift from God, and it has served him well.

He was the star of his church AWANA group, because he could memorize entire passages of the bible and earn huge numbers of points for his team, and win personal trophies. His last year in AWANA he memorized the entire book of Matthew. I was so happy for him, I told him that God’s word would always be written on his heart, and he would never be without it.

In high school and college he would find his love for music, all kinds of music, as he learned to play the guitar, and keyboard, and studied music theory. He became a beautiful writer of music and would devote day and night in the pursuit of his dream of a career of writing and performing music. He wrote and performed a very special piece just for his sister at her wedding, both moving and unforgettable.

A few years ago, while working as a manager of a local LA restaurant, he met the love of his life. She understands all of his eccentricities, his twitchiness, his brilliance, his sports fanaticism, his crazy sense of humor, and his tortured artist self. Yes, she’s a miracle, a blessing from God, his true soulmate, the girl we have been praying for to come into his life since the day he was born. They married less than a month ago in a picturesque setting, a private estate and zoological garden, amidst all their close family and friends. They surprised us all by sharing their newest talent – a fun,choreographed ballroom dance they performed for their guests as their first dance as a married couple. Who knew?

Like his namesake from the bible, the apostle John, who was known for never mincing words, our John found his passion after September 11. He was so outraged at the enemies who attacked the innocent Americans that day, he poured himself into researching terrorism and the evil that surrounds it. His mission has been to speak out boldly, not mincing words, to educate others to the threat our world faces. He wants to inspire others to not only remember the fallen heroes of 9/11 and our courageous soldiers who fight for our freedoms, but also to inspire others to be called to action. That is, to do whatever they can to promote leaders that are committed to preventing further attacks. We are so proud of him in his love for his country, his family, and his fellow man.

Our dearest Johnny, on this special day, your birthday, we are beyond thrilled with your excitement and joy for life, especially as you begin this new chapter with your lovely bride. Your siblings and your little nephews and niece love you so much. We thank God for all that He has given you, and look forward to many more years of fun, laughter, love, and stimulating conversation. May all of God’s blessings pour over you, as you seek Him in all your endeavors. You are a child of the King, and our special gift.

Love you, dear one.

Mom & Dad



  1. John said,

    Mom, this made me tear up as I read it. Love you so much, thank you for taking the time to do this.

  2. Happy Birthday Johnny! Wow, this was such a wonderful tribute to a very special son. My son is also 29.

  3. Sandie De Vlieger said,

    Congratulations on your birthday and new bride. I remember taking pictures of you through the fence as you played baseball in Phoenix, with some mountains in the background. That was a wonderfully written tribute to you by a very talented honestg writer. Their love for you shows in every word. Have a wonderful day and a great 29th year !!!!

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