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30 January 2007 @ 06:13 am
Q & A - #1 - "If you could do it all over again..."  

Q & A - #1 - "If you could do it all over again, what would you do differently, knowing what you know now?" ~ Brian Farrey @ Dispatches

I figured this as fitting a question as any to kick things off with considering I turn the big 28 years old today. January 30th. If 28 years hasn't taught me everything there is to know about life, then what in thermal underwear have I been doing all these years?

If I could do it all over again knowing what I know now, I would get to know my Grandpa Lura Lyle Stephens better. He went to be with Jesus last Christmas during finals week, and nothing has impacted my life more than attending his celebration memorial service. Grandpa was a good man. I knew this before, but I really know it now. The family devoted the end of the celebration to sharing stories about him, and it touched my soul hearing from all the different people he influenced during his time here on Earth.

Quite a few years before he died, Grandpa wrote his autobiography, which I had the pleasure of reading less than a year before that fated Christmas. He was saucy and stubborn, which I guess explains a lot about me. Heh! At one of his jobs, he taught himself the job of millwright for a lumber mill, working beneath the much older millwright at the time. When the millwright retired, they offered my 18-19-year-old Grandpa the job. He promptly insisted on earning the same wages that the older man had earned, and the foreman laughed at him. So Grandpa laughed back. One important thing to know about a millwright--the mill doesn't run without him. So Grandpa quit, and the mill shut down immediately. When they came groveling back to offer him a job, he turned them down. Ha!

I wish I'd talked with him more, gleened his wisdom, learned from his life, and "knew" him, but growing up, my grandparents were great people who opened their 5-acre ranch in Humboldt County for us to visit twice a year. When given the choice between taking off in youthful exploration of the back hills of redwood country and sitting inside talking with grandparents, I chose the adventure. Now looking back, making use of the time God gave me with that great man, my grandfather, is the one thing I wish I could do differently.

______________

I'll be answering one of these questions a day for as many questions as I have, so if you've got anything you wish you could know about me, ASK IT HERE.

 
 
 
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The Blog of Author Jonathan Stephensjonstephens on January 31st, 2007 03:44 pm (UTC)
They sure can.

Should we call you, Sage, now? ;) Or Fortune Cookie Guru? That totally sounds like some universal axiom.
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Sherwood Smithsartorias on January 30th, 2007 02:53 pm (UTC)
Your grandpa sounds like a wonderful man.

Wishing you a happy birthday--28 is so young and so full of possibility--the adoescent roller coaster pretty much faded, and one is ready to buckle down to a life's work. It sounds to me like your life has been increasingly rich and full, and I wish you more of it.

But you wanted questions, so here is mine: what prompted you to want to write stories?
The Blog of Author Jonathan Stephensjonstephens on January 31st, 2007 03:46 pm (UTC)
He was. And is. He can still be wonderful after he's gone, yes?

And thanks. The adolescent roller coaster has totally faded. Life's work has me buckled down. And life is full.

I with it the same with you.
Lois Toureenpbwriter on January 30th, 2007 03:27 pm (UTC)
Happy birthday, Jon!

If 28 years hasn't taught me everything there is to know about life, then what in thermal underwear have I been doing all these years

Speaking from a perspective that IS NO LONGER 28 :),
trust me, there's a lot you will learn along the way. One thing I have learned is that it takes a bunch of laughing, love, and family time to keep the learning digestible.
The Blog of Author Jonathan Stephensjonstephens on January 31st, 2007 03:46 pm (UTC)
I know I'll learn tons along the way. At least, I hope I remain open enough to learn along the way. ;)
(Anonymous) on January 30th, 2007 04:31 pm (UTC)
Happy Birthday Dude!!!!!
Happy 28th, Jonathan. Glad I clicked over here today for a minute. The answer to question #1 was a nice post. I'm 35 on 2/1 this week, and lost my Grandfather ten years ago this coming 2/22. It's hard to describe, but the older you get the closer you feel to them, even though they are gone (it's one of the really good things about getting older). And, I'll tell you what in thermal underwear you've been doing all these years...you've been living your life. Best Birthday again, :) Ryan Field
The Blog of Author Jonathan Stephensjonstephens on January 31st, 2007 03:47 pm (UTC)
Re: Happy Birthday Dude!!!!!
"the older you get the closer you feel to them"

I love that. It's so true.
bostonerin: kissbostonerin on January 30th, 2007 10:34 pm (UTC)
Sounds like he was a very special man.

Congrats on reaching 28. May it be a year of opportunity!
clarklstephens on January 31st, 2007 12:13 am (UTC)
Happy Birthday
Your grandfather was, among many other things, a man of courage, conviction and caring for the downtrodden. You know him better than you may realize because you have the best of his qualities. May you also know that he was extremely proud of you and intensely enjoyed the opportunities to see you mature as a man. You carry his name well. Dad.
The Blog of Author Jonathan Stephensjonstephens on January 31st, 2007 03:54 pm (UTC)
Re: Happy Birthday
Your words mean a lot, as they always do. Thanks. If I could someday reach his level of courage, conviction, and caring for the downtrodden, I'd feel blessed indeed.

And for the record, I see Grandpa in you all the time. All the good stuff.
mike|tedlost_child2 on January 31st, 2007 02:48 am (UTC)
Happy Birthday! Hope #28's great . . . best wishes
The Blog of Author Jonathan Stephensjonstephens on January 31st, 2007 03:48 pm (UTC)
Thanks! #28 was a bowl of rainbow sprinkles!
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The Blog of Author Jonathan Stephensjonstephens on January 31st, 2007 03:49 pm (UTC)
That's cool that you've had that kind of relationship with them. There's just something about grandparents being happy that makes them adorable, isn't there?

Especially when they're dancing!
(Anonymous) on January 31st, 2007 07:47 pm (UTC)
Hey! Happy, happy b-day (a day late but that's pretty much who I am even though I wish it wasn't who I am but there you are). May 2007 be your Year of the Call ("Hello, Mr. Stephens, we love NORMAL FOR ONCE and want to publish it...").

--Brian
Dispatches
The Blog of Author Jonathan Stephensjonstephens on February 3rd, 2007 05:20 pm (UTC)
I sure as heck hope so. To 2007. To 2007! To 2007!!!