I have the craziest family in the world, seriously. And most of the time, I wouldn’t trade them for anything.

For me, family is not just a blood line. My close friends and I say “Love ya man” just like I would with my family.

And once you are in that circle of trust – Robert DeNiro line from “Meet the Parents” – there is a high standard. But, everyone in there would do anything for me, and I for them.

To understand where I am coming from, it is important to know where I’ve been.

I was born to Sally and John Stavola in Danbury, Connecticut on Oct. 20, 1988. I was born in the same hospital as my dad and his dad, whom I never met.

My dad was the third of five children.

My mom was also the third (I think) of five.

These two are like oil and water, so naturally they were separated when I was a few years old.

We were very poor during my childhood, but my mom worked hard to improve our situation.

My sister Natalie, who is 16 months older than me, my mom and I lived above a barbershop for a couple years.

When I was 5, my mom met Kevin, who would eventually be my stepdad.

We moved to Florida when I was 11 and by the age of 15 the candle wasn’t shining bright between my mom and stepdad.

At 16, we moved in with my mom’s boyfriend, Rich, whom she is with today — no one is sure if they are married or not.

I grew up in a broken home, but was always loved. I now know my desires were all from a broken perspective.

(I know you are thinking this is depressing, that’s what an intro is.)

I went to college at the University of North Florida and while doing an internship my junior year, gave my life to Jesus Christ.

The internship was in Michigan, thanks to my uncle, who was a big influence into me coming to have a personal relationship with Christ.

His family seemed so perfect that summer while I was doing my internship, but I would come to find out their Christian home is a wrecking ball.

The last 16 months, I worked at a newspaper in Michigan before moving to Pittsburg. I came to be very close to my uncle John, my aunt Shawn and three cousins.

My family and the people close enough to be in that circle of trust meant the world to me. I believe family is more important than anything.

I would do anything for them. They are My Family.

Now, don’t be too hasty to judge. I promise I have some epic stories. And I promise to include photos whenever I can.

Until next time,

Michael Anthony Stavola

— Michael Stavola is a staff writer at The Morning Sun. He can be emailed at mstavola@morningsun.net or follow him on Twitter @MichaelStavola1.