It’s a really big day around here. It’s just not everyday that someone in our house turns the BIG 4-0! I’m on the fence about giving said person a hard time, simply because it’ll be my turn before ya know it!
20 years ago last month I went on my very first date with a very persistent, determined and charming guy. He wouldn’t take “No” for an answer when I was sure I was supposed to be taking time off from dating. He showered me with gifts, flirted (a lot!) and when I looked back into the most gorgeous blue eyes I’d ever seen, I really couldn’t say “No”. From that day on, Jeff has been charming me and making everyday of life an adventure! All of us Hickman girls are very taken with this man that takes care of us and leads us so well. Jeff is undoubtedly the most real, honest, passionate and loving man we know. To celebrate him today, here’s a list of 40 things to know about Jeff, all of which have endeared him even more to us, some of which are funny (OK, a lot may be funny) and make him VERY worth celebrating!
1. He makes the best coffee (for me, this is an art, when someone can do this!)
2. Being on the water in a boat, reeling in fish, makes him happy (we literally dated on the water with the smelly fish)
3. He’s a man of few words, but when he speaks he’s got somethin’ to say!
4. He never cuts grass alone…one of our girls ALWAYS rides with him!
5. He used to have a mullet. If you are reading this and you have a mullet, it’s time to make friends with the scissors. This was my first suggestion after we were secure in our dating relationship…CUT the mullet! 🙂
6. As a child, the staff at the ER knew his name! This is endearing because his scars of many tumbles have a story, and his story always had a happy ending.
7. He is very handy. Most of the work done when we built our house was done with his two hands.
8. His favorite snacks are Whoppers (the candy :)) and Beef Jerky.
9. His favorite meal is STEAK. He doesn’t even care if he has a side. He just loves meat!
10. The very first gift he ever gave me was an FSU sweatshirt because my best friend went there and he knew how much I missed her, so he bought me that to remind me of her. He’s always a thoughtful and generous gift giver.
11. He has amazing, if not one-of-a-kind, dance moves. There’s proof out there somewhere!
12. It takes him 1.5 seconds to go to sleep at night…literally!
13. Nothing makes him happier than hanging out with people. It’s his favorite gift.
14. His passion is evangelism. That’s not really new to anyone that knows him. Seeing people find ultimate life-change in Christ is why he gets up each day!
15. When each of our girls were born, he took each one of them within seconds of birth and cuddled them close and prayed God would save them at a young age, and dedicated them for God to use them mightily in life. To this day, 3 of our 4 daughters have become Christ-followers by age 10.
16. Jeff once closed out a church service in prayer and walked around praying with his eyes closed. As he walked around and prayed, he ultimately found himself laid up on the Table of Remembrance. There are witnesses to this…the ones that chose not to close their eyes during the prayer! 😉
17. For years Jeff struggled with God’s call to plant a church. The process of God preparing him before he stepped out on faith was almost 10 years.
18. Jeff has stood in the face of adversity for much of his ministry and has done so with integrity. The path of hurt resulted in he and I both understanding that in order for us to understand how to love and serve hurt people, God allowed hurt to come into our lives…and we’ve NEVER been the same.
19. When we were dating, Jeff wrote some of the most beautiful poems to me. I go back and read them to this day, and to this day, the gift of words from him is my favorite gift.
20. Jeff regularly takes our 4 girls on dates. He also takes them to school every morning and before they get out of the car he prays with them and tells each of them how beautiful they are. I know this because I’ve heard it, but mostly because the girls talk about it.
21. Jeff has had the opportunity to travel to Africa, South America, Mexico and across the US to share Christ’s love with others.
22. Jeff has a tremendous desire to encourage, love and invest in other pastors. Each day I watch as God further fulfills His plan for Jeff in this area of his life.
23. He begins each day on his knees in his office praying. I’ve caught him praying so long that he’s fallen asleep. I never wonder if he’s prayed for me…I know!
24. He adores his family. His parents and siblings are all very close to this day. One of my favorite times is listening to all of the stories they share when we’re together.
25. When we were dating only one month, Jeff served with Campus Crusade for Christ in Panama City Beach, Florida. He never wavered in his commitment to me. It was the first hint of how deeply loyal he was to people, and still is to this day.
26. From the very beginning of planting LifeSong, Jeff has taken our oldest daughter and they have served together even before others arrive. Our oldest still gets up and leaves our house at 6:40 every Sunday morning because she loves serving with her Daddy.
27. When we dated, Jeff taught me to cook. My best memories are of being in the kitchen together creating some amazing recipes! ;0)
28. When Jeff visited my family in Venezuela, we often would look around and he was no where to be found. We would eventually find him ordering his own food, or attempting to make conversation with the locals.
29. Jeff has many other personalities. We never know if he will bust out with his Garth Brooks, Scooby Doo or Barney voices. He’s random with his talent, but we love it!
30. When we first started dating, Jeff sold suits, therefore he wore one everyday. Well-known fact…he only puts a suit on now for weddings and funerals, although I think he looks awfully handsome when he does!
31. Jeff SERIOUSLY loves football. He is not at all about the fanfare or the team paraphernalia. He is about the stats, strategies and the inner workings. He studies it!
32. Jeff proposed to me at the Isle of Palms. He planned a date night of FIRSTS! Every place we went that night was somewhere we had never been together. He took me to sit on some stairs and began to pray for me. When he did, a teenage boy streaked by in his “nothings”. He moved me down the beach and prayed again, this time ending on his knee and asked me to be his wife.
33. Jeff and I have never gone to bed at separate times, unless we’ve been traveling apart.
34. Jeff still reaches over and holds my hand anytime we are side by side.
35. Jeff loves people.
36. Jeff believes in people.
37. Jeff lives to bring hope to people.
38. Jeff’s passion is to live like Jesus, love like Jesus and leave what Jesus left behind.
39. The one thing I know for sure about Jeff…We know, after living each day for an audience of One, the girls and I are his priority, then our church. He spends his days making us his first job and our church second. He never ceases to be all there for us!
40. This list could be unending because I’ve truly never met a man like Jeff in my life that completely LIVES out his life, LOVES those in it and LEADS all of us with such integrity. Babe, I adore you! Join me in wishing my man the happiest of birthdays today! Our lives are richer because you are in it!