I was born on a hot and humid day in Dunedin, FL just outside of Tampa. It was July 25th, 1979 and my mother probably assumed it was just another false alarm. I was already 3 1/2 weeks late and it appeared that I wasn’t coming out for anybody or anything… what can I say, I wanted to be a Leo and not a… whatever people are when they’re born in the beginning of July. My fashionable lateness also widened the gap between my sister and I to a full 11 months. While not the last Dooley child, am I am the last Dooley male. Rosie and I were joined three years later by Sarah Beth.
Now, lets go through the ensuing years a little more quickly, shall we? Our happy family of 5 began a great big adventure that would have me in 12 different schools by the time I graduated from Truman High School in Independence, MO, and that’s with spending the last three years of high school in one place. We lived in (from the time Rosie was born) somewhere in Tennessee, Dunedin, FL, Roanoke, VA (twice), some Podunk in South Carolina, Phoenix, AZ, Atlanta, GA, Concho, AZ (don’t bother looking for it… population 500), Rolla, MO, Jefferson City, MO, and finally Independence, MO. Throw in grade/school changes and a I rarely spent more than a year with the same people except my family until high school.
So we’re kinda a tight knit family. In fact, we’re the only ones we know we can always count on… except for the couple I’ve added along the way (namely my wife and some amazing friends). But anyway, my parents did alright by us kids. We never were in need of anything, and they made sure they taught us life’s valuable lessons. Of course I completely ignored such lessons and post high school I went off to college on the east coast. I don’t really care to rehash that particular college choice, but let’s just say that the chancellor of the college is the same man who becomes president in John Carpenter’s Escape from New York/L.A. Then I came home cuz that particular school was just too much money. So I made an even worse choice of colleges and became so depressed I entered what will hence forth be known as, “The Lost Years” which found me living in Roanoke, VA for the third time in my life.
During “The Lost Years”, (in the midst of what will eventually cause them to be known by their present moniker) God decided He’d better speak up… or I just might have ended up lost with them. So, upon bottoming out and actually listening to what aforementioned Deity was saying, I made my way back home to Independence, MO. There I found that not much had changed other than the fact that I had grown up way too fast. My friends were still my friends and my family was, of course, still my family. So I became an early-twenties college drop out, living in his parents basement. Well, actually, the master bedroom was in the basement, so technically my parents lived in their own basement, but you get the point.
I apologize ahead of time, this next segment will be rather detailed. After a few months of that I decided I’d better come up with “A PLAN”. The plan didn’t have to be good, just something to do. So I went to visit a friend at Central Missouri State University. Now when I say “a friend” I of course mean my best friend from high school. I went to visit mostly to check out the school, with the intent of enrolling in the English department (don’t ask, I don’t know… remember, the plan didn’t have to be good). Mostly we just goofed around the the internet or played video games. But, surprisingly, boredom set in. So I sez to Dave, “Dave, let’s play some pool.” To which Dave replies, “Okay.” “Hold it,” I add, “we need to find some ladies to accompany us.” Of course Dave agreed. So we wandered down his hall to see who was “home”. We stumble across two such ladies, Ann and Kathy, who promptly agree that playing pool is just the thing for mid-Saturday afternoon boredom.
So we play some pool, with one odd house rule (Dave’s an odd guy after all): That whenever a team scratches, the other team gets to pull one of their previously-sunk balls back onto the table. As it turns out Ann and Kathy were terrible, but especially Ann (not that I’m all that good), and they continuously scratched. Unbeknownst to me I kept pulling out one particular ball every time she scratched (the 3 ball as it turns out)… so it became her afternoon’s obsession to sink that darn 3 ball once and for all. I don’t think she succeeded. Afterwards we headed back to Ann and Kathy’s room for dinner and a movie. We watched the sandlot… sorta. We all kept talking and having a good time and the movie got ignored in parts. Next we followed it up with another great kids movie, Jean Claude Van Dam’s Universal Soldier, during which we all fell asleep.
So I wake up the next morning and Ann and Kathy had made their way back to their bedroom (these were the apartment style dorms) and Dave had gone back to his room. Now we have a problem. For some reason my car keys had been left in Dave’s room and Dave is a notoriously heavy sleeper. So, after about 10 minutes of banging on Dave’s door, I inform my now slightly annoyed hostesses that I will be staying in their living room until Dave decides to quit hibernating. And that was how I met my lovely wife, Ann.
From that point on Ann and I were virtually inseparable. We weren’t dating, per se, we were just really good friends (at first). Then we were dating, but it was the kind of dating where it’s just a really good friend and you care a lot about them and they’re just fun to hang out with kind of dating. Then I figured out what I wanted to do with my life. I was going to follow my dream of being a filmmaker. Towards that end I was going to head off to Chicago, IL (yes another new location) to get my degree. There was just one problem. Somewhere along the way Ann and I had developed an aversion to being apart. So, she crams a few extra classes into the summer and fall semesters, graduates a full semester early and heads off to Chi-Town with me.
Yes, for those of you paying attention we are not married at this point. But this will soon be rectified. God does some talking, I do some listening and being convicted and do what I had intended to do all along, propose to Ann. She says yes, we plan a wedding in 3 weeks and everything is back to normal. Wait a minute…
For those of you who haven’t been told and haven’t had the pleasure of finding out yet, normal changes when you’re married. It changes alot. Is it good? Yeah. Is it bad? Strangely yes, it’s both… but mostly good. And once you realize it’s full potential its great… but that takes a while (sometimes it only takes 5 years or so. =)
So, back to the timeline. I drop out of college again. I can’t afford nearly $10K a semester and living in Chicago at the same time. During this Ann and I make a huge mistake that leads to great learning and great gains (non-monetarily of course). We become members of Hillcrest Baptist Church. Boy was that place full of miserable people not bothering to pay attention to… well… anything remotely like Christianity. They’re much better know, but they went a long way towards teaching me what kind of Christian I didn’t want to be at the time. However, while there I meet Jimm Shepard. Jimm is the operations manager at Service Merchandise. Jimm gets me a job at Service Merchandise, cuz I’m out of work. Jimm actually gives me his job since he gets promoted a month after I start. Service Merchandise treats me good for almost a whole year. Then the whole company goes under. I am, yet again, out of work. However, I now have severance and unemployment. Ann and I buy a house, which I spend my 6 months of unemployment fixing up.
Jimm also attends Moody Bible Institute. Jimm says its free if you’re married and don’t have to live on campus. Jimm says they have a media/Broadcast department. Kevin goes back to school. And with only slight pain, but great annoyance, I tough it out and finally get a freakin’ degree. Whew, that only took 8 years.
During this time I find Reunion Church. I introduce Reunion to my beautiful bride and Jimm, once he gets back from an internship in Atlanta. Reunion is an amazing place filled with people who love God, but refuse to believe in him just because someone else says to. The people are intelligent, engaging and come to God just like the rest of us, broken and humble… but they have thought through every single bit of their faith and believe it because God has convinced them. Reunion does things its own way, and Reunion teaches me what kind of Christian I want to be. The pastors there are amazing and were friends, peers, and amazing teachers. I will never forget the people of Reunion, and it will influence me for the rest of my life.
Also during this time, Jimm and I start a business. Imago Dei Media Group, which Jimm still runs. We have fun and learn a lot (and I mean a lot), but ends just never meet. I take on side work, mostly working on commercial and movie shoots downtown (it’s not that glamorous, I was a Production Assistant which means I watch doors and make sure people don’t come through them when we’re rolling… or I go pick stuff up that other people forgot. I did eventually break into Art Department, and that is loads of fun… building, painting, designing interiors, etc… but that’s another story.) Eventually Ann and I decide life is just getting too hard. Jimm during this time meets the love of his life, Pam. Our last year in business together is rather hard. I’m working side jobs too much to work the business, and eventually Jimm is too because he’s saving for a wedding… 2005 pretty much stalls the business. It’s not dead, but Ann and I decided it’s time for us to move on… Jimm agrees and I get my resume together. The demo reel was already together cuz my mom wanted to know what I did for a living a couple of months prior to this… so I send off the resume to everyone hiring anything techie or videoesque at Church Staffing. As it turns out a church in Rockwall, TX is in desperate need of help and the clock is ticking down to Easter ’06. They flew Ann and I down a week after getting my resume and demo reel. We spend a weekend looking at the church, meeting with their Media Pastor and Worship Producer, and feeling out the great state of Texas. We fly back Monday night and before the plane touches down a job offer has been emailed. Sometimes God seems to work all at once. Total time to find a real job in my field… 2 weeks.
Well, that pretty much catches you up. Sure there’s lots more to throw in there… for instance, I could take a couple pages on just my random job experience… But I’ll bore you with that later, however I will keep future posts to a more reasonable length…