Sunday, June 21, 2015

Top 10 Things I learned from my Dad...







10.  There are many colorful words that can be used while working on the car.  I have remembered most of them but most of all I remember all the times that we worked on projects together and anything I know about cars came from you.


9.  No matter how good or bad Virginia Tech is we will always be fans.  Being a fan of Virginia Tech has always been a roller coaster ride but you have always taught me to be loyal and that shows up every year when I get excited for the coming season.  We will always have Virginia Tech athletics to talk about.


8.  Mulch doesn't move itself, the grass doesn't mow itself, and the leaf piles don't blow away.  Yard work was always part of our lives in Clemmons, NC but it was a great feeling to accomplish a task.  Thanks for teaching me that the end of the day you can always look back and realize that you have accomplished so much. 


7.  You should never drink Orange Juice as an after school snack.  Orange Juice was always expensive even when we would buy it from concentrate.  I would always drink it when I got home from school and there wouldn't be any left for the next morning. There is a time and place for certain things, it may be as simple as drinking Orange Juice in the morning, or it might be a well placed / timed hug.  Thanks for reminding me that good things come to those that wait.


6.  Lemon cookies, coffee ice cream, and pretzels are amazing!  Your favorite flavors and foods have become my favorite flavors and foods!  Like father like son!


5.  There are a lot of holes in the sea, which you often find when you are riding on your father's back.  When we would go to the ocean, I would ride on your back as we would go out looking for the Kracken and you would often step in "holes" which made us both go under the water.  Thanks for teaching me that simple things can bring joy and laughter.


4.  Always enjoy the classics.  Ever time we were in the car whether it was a trip, a card show, or just running errands, we would listen to the oldies station.  The Temptations, Supremes, Marvin Gaye, and the Embers became staples in my music library.  Music is like fine wine, it gets better with age.


3.  Laughter is the best medicine.  You have always made me laugh.  I hope that I am able to do that for other people because it is an important part of everyday life.


2. Don't ever give up.  When I was in middle school we went to a baseball / basketball card shows and I bought a box of Hoops basketball cards hoping to get some David Robinson rookie cards.  By the time we reached the grocery store right near the house I had opened 3/4ths of the box and didn't have a single David Robinson Card.  As we walked through the grocery store and I was upset, you told me not to give up.  When we got back in the car, I opened 3 packs in a row that had David Robinson rookie cards.  I knew then that I should never give up!


1.  You taught me what it is like to be a great father.  Although I will never be a father, I hope that I show those around me the same love and support that you have always shown me!  Happy Father's Day Dad!

Friday, June 5, 2015

To the Parents of Our Seniors

This has been the hardest I have ever taken a graduating class of seniors.  I think that it is going to be like this from now on based on the relationships I have with our youth.  The girls that are graduating this year have been with me through thick and thin.  They have been such an important part of creating the program that we have today.  I am two days away from Senior Sunday where I will be talking about them.  Today I want to talk to their parents.




Dear Senior Parents,


I can only imagine the emotions you are going through as your girls graduate High School and get ready to enter the "real" world as college students.  I have been pretty upset these last couple of weeks and I am not even their parents so I can only imagine, the joy and sadness that you are feeling.  I want to tell you a few things:


1. Be proud.  Your girls have done an amazing job in life.  They have learned to balance church, work, school, extra curricular activities, and a social life.  Those are skills that will take them far in life.  They had to learn that somewhere. 


2. Have Faith.  Your girls have been devoted to this youth group and through that they are devoted to God.  They have all made an impact on so many lives through the missions they have participated in and the messages they have delivered.  Someone had to introduce them to faith.


3.  They are all beautiful.  Each one of them shines in a different way and they are ready to go out and explore the world.  They are beautiful on the outside and on the inside and they make the world beautiful through their actions and reactions.  They get that from their moms.  Sorry Dads...


4. Be patient.  Each of these girls is going to go off and explore the world but they will never be as far as a text message, a phone call, or a face time session away.  They will come back home they always do.  You had to leave your parents too.


5.  Love them.  Your girls have amazing capacities to love.  They have showed me that in so many ways, from their mentoring of the younger youth to their love of each other.  They love the world, they love life, and most importantly they love you.  It takes love to know love.  Thanks for teaching them that.


I have loved the time I have spent with each and everyone one of our seniors.  I am excited to talk to them when they come back around and tell me about all the adventures they have been on.  They will always have a home here at St. Mark's and I will always be there when they need me.  Thank you for sharing them!


You can let go of the kite but hold on the to the string! 


                                                                                Love,


                                                                                        Eric

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Letting Go

I have found that I have a very hard time letting things go.  Whether it is a good thing or a bad thing I have a tendency to pine over it and not let it go.  No matter how hard I try I can't let it go.  The only way for me to totally let something go is to put it out of sight and mind.  I have to remove myself from the situation or distance myself from the person in order to let whatever happened go.  It is really hard for me for some reason. 


I know that I wear my heart on my sleeve and that I am too sensitive about things sometimes.  I even know that I internalize almost everything, that I project outcomes before they happen.  Sometimes I am right and sometimes I am wrong when I do that.  Coleen balances me out very well because she is forever the optimist and I take a more pessimistic outlook.  I take that outlook I think because I don't want to be disappointed by people if they don't live into what I expect from them. 


For the past year I have been dealing with something that I knew had a shelf life.  I knew it was coming to an end at a given point.  Even though something has been different about it all year and it hasn't felt the same I held on and wouldn't let it go.  I tried to make the best of it and take an optimistic approach.  Unfortunately it hasn't really helped and I found myself more times than not praying about it or asking for guidance from God. 


One thing that I really enjoy about working at the church is that everyday I can go and sit in the sanctuary and talk to God.  I can work through issues and problems while sitting in a pew.  God listens to me, I can feel that.  I know that he is there and watching over me.  I feel better after I talk with him.


I am not sure what is going to happen with my current situation.  Will I have to remove myself in order to let go?  Will I be able to work through it?  I am not sure which way it will go.  All I do know is that God will be with me through whatever I have to do. 


You need to realize that God is with you all the time as well.  You might have an easy decision to make or a hard one, it doesn't matter because God is with you.  Whether you have to let something go, confront someone about something, deal with an issue at work or school, or just want guidance in making a life decision, remember that God is always there for you and he is listening.  Make sure you talk to him.  I know that I sure do! 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

A Royal Decree






Alas on this the 5th day of the month of May in the year of our Lord 2015, I Eric of the House of Hagman born of the town of Allen in the royal state of Pennsylvania, do hereby decree that from this day henceforth that no senior shall graduate from the school of Higher learning also known as High School.  Upon completion of the grade of 11 all students shall remain in a  space time continuum which will eternally lock them into a state of being a senior or better know as being of the grade of 12.


Therefore they will henceforth and forever be frozen in a state of senior which will allow them to continue in the group of youth for the remainder of their lives. Therefore Harper of the House of Dabagian,  Kenzie of the House of Mathews, Danielle of the House of Galloway, and Lois of the House of Bouassa will be the first in a long line of princesses of the royal kingdom of St. Mark's to live into this mandated decree. 


Many of our fellow brothers and sisters have been lost to us along the way, Ian of the House of Jenrette, the four brothers of  House of Derringer, Josh and Alex of the House of Garner, Philip of the House of Kiwanuka, Delaney also of the House of Dabagian, as well as countless other souls.  This relentless trend of the loss of seniors must stop upon this very day.


There shall be no need for the throwing of the party of graduation or the walking of the stage.  No need for the prank of senior or the doing something poorly because you are not putting enough care or effort into it better known as the slack of senior.  There shall be no need for the service of graduation or the salty discharge from the eye better known as crying. 


From this day henceforth there shall be no grade or education beyond the year of senior.  All youth shall remain in the tender care of their parents and We shall all be joyous and happy for the remainder of our days. We shall all go out into the paths on which the mechanical  horseless carriages drive and participate in the ritual of rhythmic motions!


This is my royal word and because of that it is beyond contestation!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Down by the River



A man decided that he would take a walk down to the river to contemplate life.  He sat down on the bank of the river beneath a large oak tree.  As he sat there twisting a long blade of grass between his fingers and deep in thought, a strong wind blew down upon the man and toppled him over onto his side.  As quickly as the wind came it left.  The man sat back up and brushed himself off.  As he did this he heard a noise above him in the tree. It was the sound of crackling branches.  He looked up and saw a figure sitting on one of the branches.  He was startled.  As he attempted to quickly get up from his sitting position he fell forward down the back toward the river.  Catching himself before he fell in, he stood up.


Before he could say anything a voice came from the figure.


"Do not be afraid my son" said the voice.


"Who are you?" said the man.


"You know who I am" said the voice.


Without saying another word, the man did know who it was.  It was God.  God came down out of the tree and telling the man to sit down with him, they sat down on the bank of the river.  Although the man could tell that God was there with him he could not focus enough to truly see God.


God asked the man what was wrong.  The man told God about his problems.  He talked about his job, his family, the things that made him sad, the things that made him mad, and the general frustrations of life.  The man talked about how he didn't see him (meaning God) in his everyday life and how that scared him.


God listened intently to the man.  After the man was done.  There was a pause. 


Then God spoke, "Life is like this river.  There are ebbs and flows.  Sometimes life will be smooth and easy and sometimes it will be rocky and filled with rapids.  There are many hard times in life and although it may seem like I am not there with you or for you I am.  Look for me in the people that are put into your life when you need them most.  When there is darkness often my light is shone to you though people that I put in your way.  People that might show up out of no where to be there for you when you need someone. Some times people have a tendency to pass right by me or think that I am not there for them by ignoring the people I put in their lives.


  I use you in the same way.  Aren't there times that you feel pulled to call someone or go see someone for no reason what so ever?  Aren't there times in your job when you do something that you might not normally do that benefits someone else? Yes it may be a sudden short term situation where I put you into someone's life, or it might be for a long long time.  Sometimes you will move in and out of people's lives as they need you. 


 I am with you always.  Pay attention to those around you because you never know when I might be starring back at you through the eyes of another."


Upon these last words there was another rushing wind which again knocked the man over.  When he righted himself and sat back up God was gone. 


Or was he?

Thursday, April 9, 2015

The End is Near

I wonder if you could ever tell when something was about to end. 


What I mean by that is have you ever felt like you could tell that a relationship / friendship was about to change or end? 


Have you ever foreseen the future of your job whether it was you quitting or you being fired? 


Have you ever known that because someone else has made a change that it was ultimately going to change you in some way?


I have always been a really observant person.  I often people watch.  It gets me in trouble sometimes with my friends because they know what I am doing when they catch me gazing at someone from a far.  I was really shy growing up.  Watching people and learning things about them and before they even say a word became the norm for me.  I could read people.  I still read people.  I catch things that other people don't see purely by observing a person's mannerisms or behavior.


I get in trouble with Coleen sometimes because I am pessimistic and I know how something is going to play out.  She is such an optimistic person, it is one of the qualities I love most about her.  I often tell her what is going to happen and she doesn't want to believe me because it is normally a negative thing.  Unfortunately I am right most of the time.  I don't like it but it happened very recently and although it is hard to believe it is exactly what I said would happen.


Don't get me wrong, sometimes I am right and it's a great thing but most of the time it is the opposite way around.  There are a few things that are on my radar. Changes that seem like they are going to happen.  A couple of them I really get but one or two of them I am not sure why they are going to happen.  I'll let you know if they pan out.


I believe that God has a plan and there is a reason that people are put in our lives or in our way.  Sometimes they just seem to pass through but other times they stay and leave footprints on our heart.  It is easy to let go of someone that is just passing through but it is much harder when they stay and leave footprints on our hearts. 


I am not sure really why I wrote this post, it was just something on my mind and on my heart.  I appreciate you reading and I hope that you hold on tight to those that make footprints on your heart and never let them go!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

#yournotrocky

Yesterday at the bus stop one of our youth got punched in the face because they grabbed someone by the shoulder to get their attention.  Now our youth was in the wrong for touching someone they don't know very well but who just turns around and starts to whale on someone?  I don't understand what makes people feel like they have the right to hit someone without knowing what exactly is going on.


When I was in Middle School I got punched in the nose.  It was in shop class.  I honestly don't even know what it was I did to get punched.  I didn't instigate it or do anything to rock the boat.  I just remember the kid rearing back and punching me square in the nose.  I then remember standing over the big  metal barrel trash can full of saw dust bleeding.  Both the shop teacher and the gym teacher saw me but neither one of them did anything to help me.  It wasn't till I got home and my mother came to school and took care of things did anyone do anything about it.  Everyone knows what happens when you unleash the wrath of Mom! 


I was pretty shy in school so I didn't say anything to anyone about getting hit so my other teachers probably didn't even realize that anything was wrong. I just dealt with the pain till I got home and told my parents what happened.


I am sure that the boy that hit me had other issues and I wasn't the main problem.  I was just an outlet for his anger and hurt.  I think that is what our youth was as well.  Unfortunately we never know what's going on in people's lives that cause them to react the way they do.  Their reaction may be verbal or it may be physical but 9 times out of 10 you are not the cause of that pain you are just the means to an end.


It is not okay to hit people.  You are not Rocky!  Life is not a boxing match, we are not here to trade physical or verbal punches.  Our youth is a great kid with a loving heart, a joyful spirit, and a caring soul.  He didn't deserve to get punched in the face.


I have to say that I am very proud of our youth for not retaliating.  He got up off the ground and brushed himself off but didn't go after the kid.  That takes more guts and courage than throwing a punch.  Looking a kid in the face after they have caused you pain whether it is physical or verbal pain and then walking away is living into what you believe.  It is showing other what following Jesus in the real world looks like.


Walking with Jesus sometimes means we have to walk away...