Today we’re celebrating the milestone birthday of a remarkable woman whose 50 years have been time well-spent. Debra Elizabeth Payton-Jewell personifies a live of giving, not taking.
Raised in a financially Spartan but spiritually and socially robust environment as the child of Salvation Army ministers, she learned about giving as a natural and urgent response to God’s creative and redemptive gifts. She has made much of her crafting by an attentive family and the larger church that were her formative influences, looking at life face-on and pouring herself into the tasks and opportunities before her.
Those of us close to her in this pivotal year know the vitality and contribution of Debbie in just this, her latest and certainly her most important career. After establishing herself professionally with careers in social work with Big Brothers Big Sisters, in government service as an aide to a U.S. Congressman, and in communications as a fundraiser and public relations professional, Debbie then embarked on the impossible. She birthed two children after the age of 43, and is investing these great years not in decorating a lake home or relaxing in well-deserved comfort, but in weaving and perfecting the character of two little beauties (girls naturally in her image) to take on the very character of her God.
And now, she is also touching the lives of other children, brought into our home and receiving the special care and love that mark this remarkable woman.
The person who has benefited most from Debbie’s birth, God’s gift to us all, and from this half-century of character formation and professionalism, and from her investment in her family, is the individual who now knows her best and loves her most. Her impact on my life is truly immeasurable, colossal. I am the luckiest man in the world because of it.
The places and people and challenges that Debbie has touched have been better for it. What a start! Onward to the next 50!
I love you, my beautiful Debra. Happy, happy birthday.