Today is the birthday of an important father figure in my life, Mr. Carl Lowder. Papa Lowder passed away this past summer, and I am still shocked over the loss of not only a father figure but a true friend. I met him when I was 10 years old when I moved to Sugar Hill (We'll get to that another day). His son, Jack Lowder, had invited me to his church's youth group @ Belmont Baptist Church, and through that invite, Jack and I became best friends. Hanging out with Jack, I came to realize that his household was ran a lot differently than most households in America. There were no televisions, no alcohol and no swearing. Free time was occupied with reading books (mainly the Bible), discussing politics & history, and for Jack & I, playing basketball in the backyard. When my family moved from Sugar Hill, I needed to crash at someone's house after school until my mother got off of work, so I could continue my education @ Heritage High. Papa Lowder always welcomed me in his home with open arms. He also let me eat dinner with his family whenever my mother had to work super late (my mom is a work-a-holic, and we'll get to that another day as well). I always felt like I was one of his own, and I appreciate the talks that he had with me about being a Christian man, and a leader : not a follower. I remember Jack and I working on his bread route with him during the summer and me just admiring a man that worked hard every day for his family, and made great decisions when it came to his family. Even after I got older and out of college, he would call and leave me a voicemail saying that he was thinking about me and praying for me. I knew that he wanted the best for me, even inquiring about an accounting position with Flowers Bakery's where he worked. I owe a lot of my success to Papa Lowder and I can only hope that I can one day impact someone's life, the way he greatly impacted mine. I love you, Mr. Lowder and see you soon!