Posted on Jan 1, 2013 | No Comments

This was originally posted on my previous website. And reading through it again, I felt like it needed to live on. I’m still very appreciative of all the people mentioned below. I need to update this to reflect more of my current relationships but will save that for another time.

From 2007:

I’d like to consider myself a very thankful person but the reality is somewhat different. As my life barrels forward and things fall in and out of place, I feel my sense of thankfulness needs more reflection. Hindsight is only 20/20 if you turn around. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the love and encouragement of many wonderful, amazing, and kind people. The words below are brief and certainly do not contain the full extent of their individual meaning.

Deep breath …

Hannah, my wife. Your encouragement is very unique. You’re the only person qualified to put up with my ups and downs and picky, analytical nature. Your creative wit inspires me every day. Our home is often a parade of happiness and I thank God for you. Thanks for everything Mom & Dad … I really don’t know how to thank you properly. You financed the first 19+ years of my life. You raised me well and provided for me far beyond your own abilities. (plus you helped me buy my first Mac). Granny and Papaw (mom’s parents), I have so much to thank you for. Your home has always been like vacation. I’m glad you never sold it because my life would be missing something important without those weekends wondering through the creek at your house. Papaw, you’ve taught me many things … the most important of which is your way with strangers (you always make people laugh) and I think that is amazing. PopArt & Grandma … your spiritual strength has been nothing but contagious. PopArt, even though you’ve passed on, to this very day strangers ask me if I knew you (what an incredible example of the power of a godly reputation)

I have many aunts and uncles who over the years have pushed me toward my artistic aspirations. Vickie gave me my first camera (a Minolta x-e5) which happened to be my father’s camera from high-school (that camera has been my companion on many adventures). Gina (My dad’s sister) never failed to send me art books, supplies, and even a really awesome drafting table (the desk I’m using this very moment) How much more inspiring can a drafting table be to high-school kid who loved to draw? (I remember feeling like Walt Disney). Kathy (mom’s sister) always sent me art books, art supplies, and has never failed to invite me to come west and experience life in Nevada (very inspiring).

I’ll never forget my 5th grade class of friends. I was the least talented artist among five guys who did nothing but draw all the time. Andrew (my first best friend), Brandon, Tony, Josh and me … I moved after that and know very little about those guys save the enthusiasm they shared for what we called art (redrawing NBA logos, comic characters, and our own comic strips)

Mrs. Hansbrough, one of my first art teachers (high school), taught me “how to see, not how to draw” and I’ve never forgotten those lessons. She used to shout “Vertical and horizontal alignment” as we did perspective still-life drawings of old calf skulls, bricks, and crumpled paper bags. I experienced how humbling art can be in her class. Thank you. College (the first 2 years of it in Florida) brought a new bread or instruction with Mike Garth. Mike (a landscape architect with a love for box forms) taught art from the perspective of architecture. At first this was infuriating … but now I understand how it fits into the big picture. You didn’t teach outside or in the box … but about the box itself … thanks. I’ve had many great experiences in the Western Kentucky University art program. Special thanks to instructors Mike, Matt, Jeff, and Joon (you’ve all pushed me beyond) I respect all of you.

There are about 50 fellow students who all need a thank you … you’ve all taught me about good design, bad design, and your passion for design (and life). Your enthusiasm (and sometimes lack of it) pushed me further than I thought I could go. Thank you Chad for your oozing passion for photography and how seriously you took the task of teaching it. To this day, I declare basic photo as the hardest, most fun, most time consuming course I’ve ever taken. I loved it and will never loose the addiction of the shutter.

I learned a lot in the year I framed at Hobby Lobby (more about friendships, patience, and women in general … and most certainly why I dislike Thomas Kinkade) Amanda, Faith, and Brittany always kept things interesting. Lacey J, your life exudes creativity, love, and happiness which has always caught my eye. Amber, you’ve taught me much about all things life, love, patience, and friendship. I truly thank you for all you’ve done for me. Your future is very bright. Dina (a fantastic example of following your heart) left Duke to explore a career in costume design. Your secret treasures, intelligent humor, and easygoing excitement for life have always fueled the creativity in everyone so fortunate to be around you. You are a true artist. Canaan (my goodness man, the things we’ve been through) I thank you for your listening ear, open heart, and encouraging nature. I’ll never forget our homeless spring break adventures. J Sims, thanks for exploiting the light hearted side of life. We share some awesome memories.

Bryce, you’re a fantastic brother. Our adventures (and misadventures) are cherished memories. You’re a constant spiritual encouragement always reminding me what life is really all about (God first, then the outdoors). John S, I thank you for your wisdom and encouragement in my creative pursuits (I found Mrs. Ogden sooner than I expected). Clinton, you’re a shinning example of being a friend to all. You seem to have no adversaries. Your kindness, warmth, and girth of photographic knowledge (and experience) make you an ideal friend. Matt R., your humble discernment of truth has encouraged me more than once. You’re a great friend (and a good backpacker). Matt W., your sense of fair play takes ‘self’ out of the equation and that is something I’ve always respected about you. I need more in my own life.

While working bindery in the print shop I was graced with many great friendships. Skip B (my old bindery manager) taught me a lot about women (both negative and positive). The only word Skip considered a curse word was “perfect” (such is the nature of printing). I miss you man. Terry, thanks for always welcoming my questions about the printing process (and being patient with me when I eventually screwed it up). Earl, Joy (the print queen), Kim, San, Kevin (man you told some stories) and Richard (go-cart king) have all pushed me to finish college and I thank you all.

To all my family at Earnhart+Friends I thank you. Tim, you’ve allowed me freedom and opportunity as we’ve acclimated ourselves to advertising game. Thank you for all your generosity (especially the ping pong table) Becky D, you’re a wise young lady with a heart of gold. I miss your client rants (if you get Becky D mad … you must be truly evil). Phil Earnhart, thank you for your patience, selflessness, art direction, and your easy-going encouragement. Selfishly, I often wish we could work shoulder to shoulder (not email to email) … you have much to teach and I much to learn. Rudy, your “client-eye” approach to reviewing design comps is something I’ve always respected. Thank you for your encouragement these past few years. Matt W, you brought me sanity when I most needed it. You’re a friend everyone should be so blessed to have and an excellent designer. I envy your abilities. Mike, you always challenge my ideas and make me produce the logic behind them, sometimes it drives me crazy but mostly it makes me a better creative thinker … Thank you (Oh, and I’m a better ping pong player than you’ll ever be). Dena, thanks for putting up with me and for your continual optimism. You’re doing a great job.

Shawn, you’re the only person on earth that gets me excited about web development. Thank you, there is hope for me yet. Shouse, your sense of tact may not exist but your sense of friendship most certainly does. Thanks for being a great friend all these years. Craig D (Spongebob) you inspire a lot of things in me … especially; immaturity, laughter, and stupidity (all things a balanced life needs). Thank you. Daniel S. your stories are incredible (as you know) never stop telling them. Kennon B (web master) you’ve been most patient with me over the past year or so. Thanks for your genius and for sharing it so selflessly. We make a good team.

and above all I thank the one true God, the designer.