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November 15th I mooned Bill Navari.  Again, to “moon” someone is to show how someone else’s light has helped you (me) shine bright.  I believe it to be important to not only realize that we don’t go through life as an island but in relationship with each other.  I would go so far as to say it is selfish to not show how (somehow) others have helped us get through each day. Now, as you go through this post you may quickly realize  that you are not mentioned.  I hope (out of sheer volume) it is a very small % of those reading who are mentioned or referenced.  However, at the end I have something for all of you that is purely a gift not only for yourself but for all people in your life.

Today, I would like to moon several men in my life.  They were already there but during this time period they have become much more for/to me.  Yes, they will be surprised that they were mentioned.  As I describe each person I will point out how they relate to me and then what they mean to me.

Mike Pietragallo is the owner of Crossfit Pittsburgh (along with his lovely wife Jennifer but for today we will focus on Mike).  Simply put, he is owns the place where my wife works out.  In reality Mike is a man’s man.  He’s a fighter.  He has faced things I cannot begin to imagine.  Mike and Jenn have helped me in great ways as they have done everything possible to enable/encourage/push Rachel to be physically strong and  healthy.  Mike has taken his fighting spirit and applied it to our battle of faith in regards to Trey.  He is a warrior and recognized the warrior in Trey, and myself.

Simply put, Joe Strauss and Jim Ruhling are the fathers of players I used to coach.  In reality, as time goes on they have evolved into a quasi big brother role in my life.  Joe just checks in with me when I see him and seems to simply appreciate who I am and, to a degree, is a fan.  Jim is more involved (as he is on facebook) and very often comments in support of me.  He makes me laugh and feel like he’s got my back.

In my town of Penn Hills, the District Justice is Leonard Hromyak.  Simply put, when I announce basketball games he sits next to me and runs the clock.  In reality he has come along side me and listens when I need to vent.  I can’t imagine what he goes through in court each week.  I can’t imagine how many times he may wonder, “Am I even making a difference?”  He never says that to me, I just have imagine it to be that way.  Yet, when I roll in there with a story or a perspective…he listens.  He makes a difference, in my life.

Dave Longstreth is the Pastor of Worship and Missions at Riverside Community Church.  Simply put, he is the worship guy from a church I used to go to.  In reality, he has let me know that he is praying for us and interceding for us on a daily basis.  He not only prays for us but has let me know that he considers it an honor to do so.  I know that he is there… praying.

What do these men have in common?  They were already in a relationship with me.  On the surface their relationship with me is not deep.  It is certainly not family or on a best friend/”go to guy” level.  Yet, what they have done is very important.  It is the lesson or “gift” that I have for you that I mentioned earlier.  They have taken their existing relationship and gone “plus one.”  If they had just let their relationship with me be, no one on God’s green earth would have noticed let alone even blamed them.  Yet, by going “plus one” they have had an impact on my life.  For a minimal effort (I assume) they have done more than what is expected of them given their relationship and received great results.  That is the definition of “plus one.”  One of my favorite quotes is, “If you accept a man for who he is he will become much less.”  The idea being that if you don’t encourage growth there will be stagnation and regression.  For these men, they have chosen to not accept their relationship with me for what it is but made it more, “plus one” if you will.

If you take the relationships in your life and make your role “plus one” in some of them you will experience great changes.  You risk very little, perhaps nothing.  The impact you can have though is well worth the effort.  I am very thankful that these men made the effort and I got to experience the blessing.

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