Part of me thought it would be easy to sit down and crank this out. But as I tried to come up with a list of 10 things I found it took a little more brain power. Thank you, Jack Heimbigner, for the challenge!

Hopefully, this will give you a glimpse into who I am, why I write what I write, and where my heart comes from.


1️⃣ – Before Getting Married I Lived in 16 Homes in 6 Cities Over the Previous 10 Years

My parents divorced when I was in 6th grade. Going into 8th grade I decided to move with my mom from Southwest Washington state to Central Oregon.

From age 13 to 23 I lived in a couple homes with my mom, lived with dad awhile, back with my mom, then to college and bounced around some more. The longest I stayed in one place before getting married was my last apartment in college, which I was in for 18 months.

My wife lived in only two homes before marrying me. Then we decided to move to Oregon right after our wedding. We lived in the same home for 10+ years before things kinda blew up earlier this year.

She is the stable one.

2️⃣ – I Work at a Church

Though I’ve changed roles, it’s now been over 11 years I’ve worked at the same place.

I started as the Youth Department Admin helping multiple pastors. Depending on the season we had anywhere between 4 and 8 pastors for me to assist. In addition to my support role, I would lead worship and ran sound for various services.

About 5 years ago I took over our database as the Master Admin splitting my time between that and Youth. Then 3 years ago I stepped in to oversee our IT Department when the IT Director went on leave for 6 months to serve in China.

Upon his return, I moved into my current role as the Executive Assistant for our Executive Pastor. I still split my time between that and our database, while peppering in some IT tickets and running sound for the live stream of our services.

It’s been great working at a place that can handle my odd combination of skills and ADD brain.

3️⃣ – I’m Obsessed with the Blazers and Seahawks

I was born a little ways outside of Seattle. We moved two hours south when I was 6, which happened to also be an hour north of Portland, OR.

It was here that my love for the Seattle Seahawks, Seattle Supersonics, and Portland Trailblazers grew. I remember as a child being so torn on who to root for when the Blazers and Sonics played each other. I was devastated when the Sonics moved to Oklahomah City. However, it narrowed my fanaticism to one team instead of two.

I also love the Seattle Mariners, but as I got older (and the team got crappier) my attention fixated more on football and basketball and less on baseball. This season was great, but I long for the days of Randy Johnson, Jay Buhner, Edgar Martinez, Alex Rodriguez (when he was on the Mariners), and of course Ken Griffey Jr.

4️⃣ – I Used Run Sound for a Small Entertainment Company

While in college, and after I finished sound school, I worked for a small entertainment company in Southern California. They could provide everything for any event, but the bulk of their business was live bands or DJs for weddings and corporate events. I setup and ran sound for our live bands.

Side note** If you want to have the time of your life go to a Jewish wedding. After doing weddings, Christmas parties, and New Years Eve parties for almost three years, I never encountered more fun and celebration than when I was honored to serve a Jewish wedding.

5️⃣ – My Favorite Food is Roast Beef

Nothing tastes better than fridge-cold sheets of roast beef deli meat. That is my happy place.

6️⃣ – I Love to Cook

My grandpa was a cook in the army during the Korean war, then cooked on a steamboat for years. His specialty was making large amounts of food that actually tastes good. A difficult feat if you’ve ever eaten at summer camp.

Thanksgivings and Christmases had large dinners with the whole family, followed by some of the best breakfast food in the world the next morning.

When Lisa and I were first married we flew to visit family, and she was able to finally experience a Grandpa Jon breakfast. While it was only two of us eating, Grandpa Jon would “put on the dog” as he used to say.

There were eggs cooked to order, biscuits, sausage gravy, buttermilk pancakes (with buttermilk he made from scratch), bacon, sausage links, fruit, coffee, milk, and orange juice.

Though I experienced these meals only a couple times a year growing up, then even fewer as a teen and adult, it rubbed off on me. Actually, it rubbed off on me and two of my brothers. We all love to cook, and we all love to do it for lots of people when we get the opportunity.

7️⃣ – I’m Gluten Free

Several years ago my mom decided to go gluten-free. She had done some research and thought it may help some of her health issues. It was a literal miracle. After years of trying different things and various medications, a change in diet was magic for my mom’s life.

While I didn’t have the same health issues, I tend to be very similar to my mom physiologically. I thought I’d give it a shot for a couple months and see what happened.

I used to struggle with insomnia, now I sleep way better. I have struggled with back pain since I was 10. While not completely absent, my pain is significantly less frequent and lower in intensity. I haven’t seen a chiropractor since going gluten-free. I’m sick less often and overall I just feel healthier.

I am definitely an advocate for a gluten-less life. You should try it.

8️⃣ – I’m Adopted

My mom had me just after she turned 22. Though she was in love, the man did not want to be a father. Nor was he probably ready to be. My mom then married my dad about 18 months after I was born, and he adopted me. I think I ended up with the better man. 🙂

9️⃣ – I Have 7 Siblings

My family is a little “messy” on paper. We are the result of four men and three women, who in various combinations have five marriages, one serious dating relationship, and four divorces, that created seven kids.

From his first marriage, my dad (who adopted me) had two daughters. Then he and my mom had two sons. After their divorce, my mom remarried and had another son. My dad also remarried and I gained a step-brother and step-sister.

Of the children my mom birthed, I am the oldest of four boys. Of the children my dad fathered, I am in the middle with two older sisters, an older step-brother, a younger step-sister, and two younger brothers. Combining our craziness me and my siblings look like this:

Sister (Dad’s)

Sister (Dad’s)

Step-brother

Me

Step-sister

Brother (Mom’s & Dad’s)

Brother (Mom’s & Dad’s)

Brother (Mom’s)

It’s a little nuts to write it all out like this because it looks so dysfunctional. But it’s amazing to see where we are as a family and the health we have. There has been much pain. Yet out of the pain has come growth, love, and depths of relationships that I don’t know a lot of other families share.

I’m honored to be a part of this mess and related to people who work on their stuff.

🔟 – Of My Immediate Family and the Aunts/Uncles I’m Closest To, I’m 1 of 3 to Never Have Been Divorced

As you can see from the mess above, my family has been through some relational pain. The adults in my life set the stage for my siblings and I, and there has been great struggle in marriages.

This environment I’ve grown up in, the pain I’ve felt, and the healing I’ve witnessed, is what inspires me to write about marriage and parenting.

I believe we can learn from the mistakes we’ve made as well as those we’ve witnessed. We can listen to those who have been through the hurt to gain in wisdom and build stronger marriages and families. My family has taught me TONS as we’ve grown and healed.


Well… there it is!

As I’m understanding this thing floating around Medium, I should now tag other people to do it. Of those I read here on Medium that I haven’t seen this from, I’d love to read Sarah Cy, Tom Kuegler, Steve Campbell, Benjamin P. Hardy, and Ryan Holiday. I know this doesn’t really fit your brands, but it’d be fun to learn more about all of you. 🙂

Adam Hillis lives in Portland, OR with his wife, two sons, and a daughter. He believes the greatest gift you can give your children is a good marriage. Adam writes about faith, family, and failures. Visit Adam at AdamHillis.com.
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Adam Hillis lives in Portland, OR with his wife, two sons, and a daughter. He believes the greatest gift you can give your children is a good marriage. Adam writes about faith, family, and failures. Visit Adam at AdamHillis.com.

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