Friday, October 28, 2011

Day 116

This week has been crazy.  I haven't gotten to blog at all this week.  I plan to hit the ground running again on Monday.  We have a retreat with our g4C kids this weekend and I have been working hard on that.  On top of that I have been sick all week so it has been hard to workout.  I haven't since playing basketball on Tuesday, but I have been trying to eat right.  I am looking forward to starting over hoping that by the first of the week this cold is gone!  We shall see as I always say!

Well have a great week and Go Hokies!  See ya Monday!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

ACC Week 9 Eric's ACC "Predictions"

Just wanted to put this on here in case I don't get to put up my predictions until later tonight, but there is an ACC game tonight.

Miami vs. Virginia:  Virginia is a tough team to read, one week they are great then the next week they get beay by N.C. State.  Miami is on a roll.  The Virginia Tech game was a kick start for them and for the Hokies.  I think that Miami will keep rolling.  My pick is Miami.   Thursday at 12:09pm.

I will have the rest of the week up tonight!

Looks like Miami is getting ready to lose to Virginia.  Oh well...

Last week I was 5 and 1.  Virginia lost to State last week and are going to beat Miami this week.  It is so crazy! 

Last Week    5-1               Overall:  36-17

Florida State vs. North Carolina State:   Florida State looked really good last week and they have started to get it going.  They are getting healthy.  NC State also is getting healthy and they played a great week last week against Virginia.  Both teams are playing well.  This game is at Florida State so my pick this week is Florida State.

North Carolina vs. Wake Forest:  This is going to be a tough game.  I think that North Carolina has a lot to prove.  I don't think Wake Forest is as good as people think.  They can pass the ball but they will need to be able to run it to get past Clemson later in the season.  North Carolina is going to come out and play hard and I think they will win this game.  My pick is North Carolina.

12 Virginia Tech vs. Duke:  Duke has always played my Hokies tough.  This has all the makings of a trap game.  We have a bye week next week which gives us two weeks to get healthy.  We need that time but we can't look past Duke.  I think it will be a close game but Virginia Tech will win.  My pick is Virginia Tech

Boston College vs. Maryland:  Boston College has yet to win an ACC game.  A lot of people are picking them to win their first game this week against Maryland.  I think that O Brien one of the two quarterbacks for Maryland has something to prove and we will do it this week.  My pick is Maryland.

5 Clemson vs. Georgia Tech:  A couple weeks ago I looked at this game as a way for Georgia Tech to lose 1 game and be tied with the Hokies.  They have lost two in a row coming into this game.  This game could be a high scoring affair but I think that Clemson will win the game.  My pick is Clemson.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Day 113

Today I worked on a lot of stuff for the retreat this weekend.  For some reason I can't seem to get rid of this blah stuff I have.  It seems to be in my throat causing it to be sore.  I hope to shake it tomorrow or head over to the doctor to try and figure out what's going on!  Basketball was a lot of fun tonight!  I really enjoyed it!

My Girls

Nothing brings a smile to my face or a feeling of warmth than to see my girls happy.  Tonight at basketball there were four of my girls and all of them were very happy.  It is awesome to see them smile and to talk with them when things are great.  Don’t get me wrong, it is always awesome to talk to them and be with them, but when they are happy, smiling, and having open lines of communication, it is wonderful.

Danielle plays for my basketball team in our league.  Although she and I were both having a rough night shooting the ball, we had a lot of fun trying to get the ball to each other, she was smiling and laughing and enjoying herself even though she was frustrated.  Is that even possible?  Well she did it tonight!
I had to fill in to start the second game tonight, and I got to play with Chesson who I hadn’t played with since last year.  She worked so hard on defense and trying to get open.  She was laughing and smiling the whole time and even made a car engine or airplane noise one time when she lost the ball out of bounds.  It made me laugh. 
Maryssa and Alex have been wonderful additions to the youth program.  They play so hard and are really good when they get an open shot.  Tonight both girls were working hard to get open and playing great defense.  I am so impressed with how many baskets they hit during a game.  I hope that in the future I get to play with them as well.
Yep it was great time at the basketball court tonight.  It was so much fun to be with all of them and talk about different things.  I am so proud of all of them for being out there and playing with us all the time.  They really do work hard and each year them improve so much.  I am so thankful for their participation in youth group.  All of my girls that come bring so much to the table and I love to hear their opinions.  They are growing on their spiritual walk and every day I see them grow.
It is hard being a youth today.  There are so many things in this world that can draw you down the wrong path.  My girls make an effort to follow the right path and they are at church all the time.  They make my job fun but more than that, they make my life fun.   Nothing is better than seeing them smile and getting a hug.  They truly are the daughters of God.  Thank you for all you do my girls.  All my love to all of you!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Day 112

I am still trying to get over my sickness.  I hope that it will be soon.  I am really tired and have so much to get done this week but I will push through!  I am excited about this weekend and I hope everyone has a great time in the mountains.  I am ready for bed so with this short entry I am headed there!

Coming to Life: A ministry Moment

A couple of years ago we had a youth come to us that was really shy.  In fact, the first thing he came to was our Superbowl party.  I remember it vividly because he brought 3D glasses with him because some of the commercials were in 3D.  It was very meek and quite and didn't talk very much.  He seemed to have a good time and we invited him to come back and participate in youth group.  Although he was quite, he did come.  Honestly he seemed to lack some self confidence. 

As he came week after week, we were able to start to get him to participate.  We got him to come to Sunday school, to participate in conversations at youth group, and we even talked him into playing on the basketball team which was huge.  After months of messing with him and giving him a hard time, I even got him to shave his head!

He joined our youth leadership team, has led the service at our Friday's for Jesus program, he has created videos, and he plans to lead worship with me at our next Senior Sunday.  He has grown in so many ways, but it is most recently that I truly saw his growth.  He was asked to help with a ministry moment where he talked about the impact that the youth group has had on him.  He was a dynamic speaker that day, filled with love and excitement.  He was so funny and full of life, a far cry from that shy kid that showed up years ago.

I was really proud of him.  I have always been proud of him and although I give him a hard time quite often, he has always had my love and respect.  He truly has grown, not only as a person but he has grown on his spiritual walk as well.  I am so glad that he brought those 3D glasses that day.  I am so glad that he chose St. Mark's UMC as a place that he wanted to be.  I am so glad that he has been a part of all of our lives. 

We have been blessed to share our lives with him and to watch him grow!  Here is the rest of your senior year Ian!  May we have as many moments of laughter and love in it as we have had through all our years together!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Day 111

Great day but I was really tired.  I am working through the rest of my cold and I hope I found the fix today.  I played some basketball and enjoyed a great, powerful, and informative sermon today. 

I didn't work out much so I am sure I didn't lose any weight this week.  I am looking forward to getting back on a schedule.  It will be hard to start up again but I am on top of it tomorrow!  Thanks for the support!

Amazing as always…

As always, I try to have a very realist view when it comes to things.  I knew we were going to have a hard time reaching our goal of 5000 canned goods this year, but as always our youth came through.  That’s right, we couldn’t have a hard sale this year because of space issues but that didn’t stop our youth.  Nope, they powered through and by going out into our local community and asking for help, we were able to far exceed 5000 canned goods.  I haven’t been able to get a final count, but we had over 7000 canned goods. 

It is so amazing.  I think the best part was the fact that we spent almost 3 and a half hours sorting food on Friday night.  We had 4405 canned items in hand in the church before we even went shopping.  We only had to buy 595 to reach 5000.  That only took about $300.00 out of the $1700.00 we had to spend at Food Lion.  So we were then able to buy almost 2000 more canned goods with the rest of our money.  W also were able to buy some bigger items like detergent and dish soap. 
Of the 7000 items we got, we were able to provide the backpack buddies program with over 2000 items.  We got juice boxes, snacks, pretzels, and other items to help with that ministry.  It was a lot of fun making sure they got what they needed on top of what we took to North Raleigh Ministries.
Our youth worked so hard on Friday night organizing all the food.  When we got to North Raleigh ministries they worked equally hard to help organize it and put it on the shelves.   The whole time they were doing this they were going without food.  It was an amazing site to watch.  I am always so proud of them because I don’t know if I could of done that as a youth.  I don’t know that I would have been able to go so long without food and work so hard on top of that. 
I am so thankful for my youth, my mentors, and the support of our congregation.  We could never provide the program we provide without them.  We are so blessed by the people and support of our church.  We truly are reaching out into our community and providing for those around us!  I am so very proud of them!  I can’t wait to see what we do next year but in the meanwhile, I think I have seen enough canned food items to get me through the school year! 
Awesome job St. Mark’s Youth!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Day 109

I am feeling a bit better today but we will see how I feel after tonight.  Tonight we have our Feed the 5000 event.  I am so proud of all of our youth and everything they have done to raise hunger awareness in our community.  We will have a lot of fun tonight and I get to drive the big old truck!  So exciting! 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Day 108

I was going good today until this afternoon and now I am dead tired.  I hope to feel ten times better tomorrow because if I don't then it will be a long day and night.  I will sleep in and see how I feel in the morning.  I haven't worked out much this weekend and I have just had to accept the fact that it is not going to be a lose weight week when I step on the scale Monday.  Oh well, I can't help how my body feels these days! 

Seventh Day

I have been under the weather the past couple of days.  I am not sure what I have but it has been draining all the energy out of me.  I haven’t worked out since Tuesday and I can feel it.  Yesterday I came home early and took a nap.  It helped so much to lay down for an hour and just sleep.  When I woke up I was able to get some things done before I crashed again.  Today was the same thing.  After a good night’s sleep I was feeling good this morning and got some stuff done but then this afternoon it hit me like a ton of bricks.  I had to take another nap to get me going enough to get up and write my blog entries. 

It is amazing what rest will do for your body.  Sleep reenergizes you and allows you to continue going.  Back in college I used to take thirty minute power naps in the afternoon to get me though my day.  They were amazing.  I had forgotten just how much more you can get done when you are well rested.  I try to sleep at least eight hours every night.  Sometimes that happens and sometimes it doesn’t. 

Life is so busy and we get caught up in it.  We get so caught up in life that we don’t even take vacations from work.  I think a lack of rest is truly what ends up wearing us down.  We don’t stop to reenergize before we take on more or keep going.  I have been healthy for around six months now but just as I have a stretch coming up where I have a lot going on over the next month, I catch something.  Why now?  I think it’s because I haven’t take time to rest.  Although I haven’t had a ton going on, I still haven’t relaxed and reenergize. 

We have to do that, and who sets the best and most vivid example of that for us?  That’s right, God.  God created the world and on the seventh day he did what?  He rested.  That shows me that it is okay to take the time to recharge.  Why should we keep going day after day and not take time to hit the reset button?  We would be more productive if we had that extra sleep or day of rest.  We could do more on the days we did work if we actually took a day to relax and just let our mind refocus and our body recharge. 

God has given us so much in our lives.  We have worked hard to get it but we neglect a lot of including our families when we don’t stop and spend time with them.  I know that we have to work to make a living.  I know there are bills to be paid and house upkeep to be done, but what about self upkeep?  Are you doing that?  Are you taking care of you?

It is time to make that a priority.  It is time for a day of rest.  It is time for you to recharge and come back out into the world at full strength.  Make that happen.  Plan your own seventh day and rest.  Take a power nap or just a plain old long nap!  Enjoy time with your family without having to make it a big deal.  It’s time for a break.  I know if I would just take one now and then, I wouldn’t feel so run down.  Let’s make a change and take a little time to ourselves.

ACC Week 8 Eric’s “Predictions”

 Well I went 2 and 3 last week on predicting the games.  I had a feeling the Hokies would come to play and I was on the fence about the Carolina vs. Miami game but I didn’t think Virginia would pull it out.  Although I was wrong on those three games, Virginia really helped us out and I am always glad when the Hokies win!  I wish I had gotten the Carolina game right, but we will see what happens this week.

Last Week:  2-3                     Overall:   31-16

North Carolina vs. 7 Clemson:  The Tar heels have not looked good the last couple of weeks.  I don’t know what has been going on unless the competition has just been better.  The defense hasn’t looked good and the offense is struggling a little.  Clemson is really hot and putting up a lot of points.  There is a chance of an upset here but I think Clemson is running the table this year until at least the ACC championship.  My pick is Clemson.

 Wake Forest vs. Duke:  The past couple of years this game has produced a lot of points.  I think this should be a good game.  Wake has been hot but lost last week.  Duke is coming off being crushed by Florida State.  I wonder which team Ben is going to pull for this week.  I think that Wake will come to play on Saturday and ultimately will win a close game.  My pick is Wake.
Maryland vs. Florida State:  Florida State came to play last week and played well.  Maryland also played well last week but can they keep it up?  I don’t know which team is going to show up this week but I think Florida State is about to get on a roll for the remainder of the season.  My pick is Florida State.

NC State vs. Virginia:  State is coming off of their bye week.  They were hoping to get a few more guys back from injury.  Virginia is coming off a huge win over Georgia Tech.  I don’t know how often I will say this but THANK YOU Virginia!  That being said, I think since it is another home game, Virginia will ride the Georgia Tech win and come out on top in this one.  My pick is Virginia.
22 Georgia Tech vs. Miami:  Georgia Tech did not look good last week.  Teams are starting to figure out their offense.  I think they will have trouble again this week.  Miami is starting to play very good and they are a scary team to play.  I am not sure if suspending their Linebacker is going to hurt them or not.  I think that could make the game interesting but I am still going to go with Miami.  My pick is Miami.

 Boston College vs. 12 Virginia Tech:  I think the Hokies have finally got their groove back. It will take a huge let down to lose this game.  I like the Hokies to win big in this game and will be disappointed if they don’t.  Let’s hope the offense shows up and we can rest some guys on the defensive side of the ball.  Let’s Go Hokies.  My pick is Virginia Tech.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Day 107

What a day today.  I didn't feel very good at all today.  I ended up coming home to take a nap hoping that I would feel better for the weekend coming up.  Today when I was a work, I feel asleep in my chair at my desk and ended up leaning back in it.  I broke on of the legs off and the whole office came running to see what happened.  I was just lying there when they came in the room and after they made sure I was ok.  They went and got their cameras.  It was a funny scene!  Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day!

Book of Faces

The other day I was cleaning off my bookcase when I noticed this weird book sitting on the top shelf.  I reached up to grab this slender, thin but very wide book off the shelf.   As I grabbed it, it slipped from my fingers and fell to the ground.  When it hit the ground it opened and there were all these faces looking back it.  I saw myself sitting behind a birthday cake at my sixth birthday party.  My brother and I were staring back at me dressed as crayons for Halloween.  As I flipped the pages in this book there were all different kinds of faces staring back at me.   They were my faces at different periods of my life.

This book of faces I was looking at was a picture album.  Do you have one of those?  Most people don’t seem to have picture albums anymore.  We all rely on a different book of faces for our pictures.  We rely on facebook.  That is the way we stay in touch with everyone.  We chat, we like each other’s statuses, we comment on pictures and videos, we do all of our socializing with each other through this online social network.  It’s great, don’t get me wrong, but do you want all of your memories to be on a computer?  Does everything have to involve technology? 
I love technology.  I love to make movies and use facebook, and I don’t know how I would do my job without email, but as I stood there holding the memories of my life in my hands I realized that life is not a computer program.  What happens if facebook or twitter, or myspace disappears?  If something happens to the server then all of your memories and pictures could be gone for good.  Here in front of me was my childhood and I am always able to reach up and look at it any time I want to. It is so funny to look back and relive your past through the things you wore and the haircuts you had.
Our world is made up of the faces that surround us.  They are the people we love and have deep impacts on our lives.  We take pictures everyday now with our phones or digital cameras, but what do we do with those memories.  Do we put them on facebook or do we put them into a book of faces.  My answer is we do both.
It is fun to have people comment on our pictures and laugh with us, but it is so important that we have something to remember all those times together.  So tomorrow, go and get a photo album, print some of those pictures you love from facebook.  Take them and place them where you can relive those moments in time anytime you want to.  Place them in a book of faces. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Day 106

Well I missed a couple of days.  Sundays are getting really hard to write on because I am at church at 7:45 in the morning and don't leave until 8:30 pm and I am dead tired.  Yesterday was just a bad day which is not an excuse but I got invovled in a couple of things and time got away from me.  Today was a good day but I have had a little post nasal drip which I don't have time for so I hope it doesn't last long!  I am so glad that Feed the 5000 is almost over because we have sooooo many canned goods in the church.  I am ready to bring them to North Raleigh.  Friday and Saturday will be fun! 

Love from Blacksburg

As most of you know I live in Raleigh, NC.   I love it here,  my job is great, my youth are the best and I love them dearly, I couldn’t do what I do without the adults that are in my life.  I really do have it good.  There is one drawback though.  My parents live in Blacksburg and my brother lives in Florida.  We are pretty far apart so I don’t get to see them very much.  I go to Blacksburg for football games and Thanksgiving and Christmas but sometimes it doesn’t seem like enough.  I am really busy because of my schedule, but that is no excuse.

Yesterday I made a big mistake in my finances.  It was a pretty big mistake and I didn’t know what to do.  I was so mad at myself and uncertain of what I was going to do.  I sat on my couch without the TV or computer on and tried to think about what I was going to do.  Nothing came to mind and I finally drew the conclusion that I was in trouble.  I went back and forth and back and forth over it.  Finally I decided to call my parents.
After talking with my mom and dad they helped me figure out what to do.  I was so relieved after talking to them.  Have you ever felt that way after talking with someone?  When I talk with my mom I know that everything is going to be alright.  We have the greatest of talks and she has helped me through some tough times in my life.  I can always count on her to listen and she will help me with anything, all I have to do is ask.  I have always felt that way about my mom ever since I was a kid.  When I failed to make the soccer team at school, my mother got me a book that had stories about successful athletes that did make teams or succeed when they first tried out.  It helped so much.  To this day, I know that I all I have to do is call her and she will listen to me and help me.
My dad is great too.  He has always supported me and been there for me.  Most of our discussions obviously revolve around Virginia Tech but I know that I need him he will be there.  When I was a kid playing soccer he would come to all my soccer games and watch me.  One time he was videotaping a game and you can hear him snickering on the video tape after I slide tackled a guy that was trying to score.  It makes me laugh when I think about it. 
Last year when I was headed home after Christmas, my radiator hose burst and mom and dad came drove an hour and a half down the road to help me.  Then they drove an extra half hour into Mount Airy following me to make sure everything was working properly.  I can always count on the comfort, love, support, and help from my parents.
So I get love from Blacksburg all the time and I wish that I could see them more often.  Youth, you get love from inside your house.  Sometimes your parents drive you crazy, but that is only because they love you.  Respect your parents, love your parents, let your parents be a part of your lives.  They want to be and when you are a teenager, the only way they can be is if you let them in. 
Jesus was a teacher, he love people and gave everyone in this world a chance.  He was a healer and took care of the sick and injured.  He was a provider and often provided food for the masses.   Jesus loves you.  Does that sound familiar?  It should, because it sounds an awful lot like what your parents do.  They provide for you, they teach you, they heal you, but most of all they love you.  Remember that the next time you get in a fight or your parents make a decision that you don’t agree with.  I wish I had been better about it and had spent more time on my relationships with my parents and brother.  Don’t let life pass you by while you are on facebook, your phone, or in front of the TV.  Unless it is family night and you are sitting in front of the TV watching Star Trek the next generation or the Disney Family movie of the week, eating dinner and enjoying each other’s company.   I remember those nights fondly.  Love to you mom and dad!  Thanks for the love from Blacksburg.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Day 103

Well the Hokies won today! I am extremely excited about that!  They played well.  I had a good day and got a lot done.  I walked 4 miles and enjoyed watching football.  I have my long day tomorrow so hopefully sometime during the day I can write my blog.  If not I will try to get two written on Monday! 

The Fence

Lately on Saturdays I have been walking a route that is about four miles in length.  I really like it because it is a square and I don’t have to go to the lake and walk the same path twice.  I have a beginning and an end and get to see new landscape all the time on the walk / run.  You see a lot of interesting things when you are walking, from different types of trash on the ground to so many different types of cars.  I also notice buildings and specific types of businesses that I normally wouldn’t pay attention to but since I am walking they sort of spring up in front of me.  
Today however I noticed something really sort of out of place.  As came walking around a corner I noticed a fence to my left.  The fence went as far as I could see in front of me and followed the sidewalk.  I have walked this route about four or five times now and I had never really noticed the fence before.  The most interesting part of the fence was the three rows of barbed wire that lined the top of the metal fence.  I know I have never noticed that before because if I had I would of stopped in my tracks like I did today. 
It was intriguing because I couldn’t remember what was so important on this street that it needed first of all a fence for protect but on top of that a barbed wire fence.  I quickened my pace because I wanted to get to the entrance to see what it was that was so important that it required a mile of barbed wire. When I got there I just sort of laughed.  It was a nursery.  I don’t mean for kids, I mean it was an outdoor nursery with a greenhouse for plants, trees, and flowers.  Really, I thought, a nursery with a barbed wire fence.  Were people jumping the fence to steal trees or bushes?   Was there a sudden run on flowers or manure that I didn’t know about? 
What was so important about the nursery that they needed such a big fence topped with barbed wire?  I thought about where it was and whether or not I felt like the street or the neighborhood would require such drastic measures.  Looking around, I didn’t see where that would have been the issue.  I think the people who own this business were just being protective.  A little overprotective I think.  I mean a fence is one thing but one that makes it look like a prison or army base.  It just felt like a little too much.
As I continued to walk, I began to think about how we do the same thing.  We often put up fences and become guarded when it comes to interacting with other people.  It might be because we are shy by nature but most of the time it is because we have been hurt by people or certain situations.  When we put up those fences in life with the barbed wire at the top we are keeping people out.  We are keeping out everyone from the people that would hurt us to the people that love us. 
I think we need to be careful about those fences we put up.  I understand why we put them up to protect ourselves from people’s thoughts, words, and deeds.  We probably should be guarded sometimes when we put up our fences, but do we really need the barbwire at the top?  If we act like the nursery and put up such tough security then we are never letting people in and that may cause us to miss out on a lot of life. 
So my suggestion is this, put up the fence if you need to, but make it a wooden fence with a bunch of gates and no barbed wire.  Allow there to be opportunity to let people in when you really get to know them.  Don’t shut out the world.  Don’t be so inner focused that you miss out on what God’s world has to offer you.  Open the gate, let people in and then maybe just maybe they will help you to take down the fence.  Then you can sell your fence to the nursery because obviously they are extremely worried about someone stealing the manure. 

Friday, October 14, 2011

Day 102

This morning I worked out then I went and mowed the lawn.  I am really tired right now and ready for bed.  Tomorrow will be a long day as I wait for the Hokies to play tomorrow night.  Hopefully I can get a few things I want to get done!  I am going to walk and hopefully shoot some basketball tomorrow.  I have two games on Sunday and I haven't been very happy with my play so far.  I want to hustle more.  We will see what happens.


I was mowing the lawn today and in the middle of it, I stopped for a water break.  I was sitting on the front stairs when I noticed some ants moving across the sidewalk.  I watched as it started out with one ant.  He ran across the sidewalk and disappeared into the grass.  After a few minutes he reemerged and went back across the sidewalk to where he came from.  A few moments later, a line of about fifty ants came across the sidewalk.  I sort of cocked my head in amazement.  They again disappeared into the grass.  A few minutes later they reappeared but this time they were carrying what seemed to be a small piece of bread.  It took almost all of them to carry it, but they worked as a team and before I knew it they had crossed back over the sidewalk and out of sight.

I laughed out loud.  I don’t know why I laughed, but I think it was because of how exciting and interesting it was to watch these ants work.  Was the first ant a scout sent out to find food?  Did he know where he was going or was he just going in a general direction?  Was he always the scout or did he have other duties?  I am not sure what the hierarchy of ants is but I do believe that no person, animal, or insect works as well together as the ant. 
People have a tendency to fight against each other instead of working together.  We are often selfish and when we act on it, our selfishness destroys any thoughts of working as a team.  We often think about ourselves first and others second.  It often leads to bad situations.  If we could all just work together then a lot of the world’s problems could be solved.   
Take hunger for example.  There is no reason why people on this earth should die from hunger.  There is plenty of food to go around, but it is not shared or put in the right places.  If you have money or live in the right area of the world, there is plenty of food and water.  If we worked on a plan that would distribute food to others that need it, then everyone could be feed.  But would people really be willing to let go of what they have to help their fellow man?  We like to think so but unfortunately what happens is that we end up worrying about ourselves.
Hunger is just one issue that could be solved by us as the United Nations of the world working together.  If we could look inside ourselves as people and find our inner ant then we would make such a difference.  If we worried about the collective instead of individuals then we would be able to work together, we would be able to work as a team. 
The ant seeks food and shares it with the rest of the colony.  Each ant has a job that it has to do for the good of the colony.  I am not saying we give up our individuality to be a collective.  I am just saying that if we took the time to think about the concept used by the ant then we could figure out a way to work better together.  We could figure out a way to help with some of the problems of the world.  Let’s send someone on a scouting mission to find out what needs to be done, and when they come back we will send out the rest of us to do what needs to be done.  We will cross the sidewalk, road, country, or world to help and work together. 
Those were some mighty deep thoughts from watching ants.  Who would of thought that one of the smallest creatures on God’s world would make me think so deeply.  I guess I was channeling my inner ant.  I think I will go on a scouting trip.  Anyone what to go with me? 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Day 101

Today's workout was hard.  I did get a lot of work done so I am happy about that.  I am excited to watch football this weekend.  I am headed to Fuquay to mow the lawn tomorrow.  Hopefully it is the last time for the season.  I then get the pups for the weekend.  Lots going on the next couple of weeks so I am excited to have a chill weekend this weekend!

You Gotta Keep Your Head Up

Alright, that’s it, stop it right now.  I know things look bad, I know you had a bad day, but you are making it worse by getting down on yourself.  You have to keep your head up.  You have to smile and enjoy life.  If we allow things to keep us down then we are missing out on life.  If you have your head down then how are you going to see the great things that are happening in front of your eyes?  How would you know if the answer was in front of you if your head down?

Life is full of mistakes, bad decisions, worse decisions, and horrible decisions.  That’s all it is right? No its not.  In fact that isn’t even one third of the life you live.  Life is full of experiences, memories, love, excitement, joy, happiness, hard work, contentment, heart break, sorrow, good decisions, bad decisions, mistakes, promises, broken promises, prayer, vacations, school, work, church, and hobbies.  Life is full of so much but when we have something bad happen or not go our way, we put our head down.  He are upset and we don’t allow ourselves to see the light that is peaking out from behind the dark cloud of life that is hovering over us at the moment.

That is the moment when we have to strain our necks high.  We have to keep our head up and reach out for that light so that we stay ready for the world and the next problem, mistake, or bad decision that we make.  Yes those bad things in life will be there but when we put our heads down we allow them to take over, we allow them to hurt us and scare us.  We end up in a place that is dark and we feel like there is no escape.  We have to stop those times things.  We have to reach high and keep our faces in the sun and our heads held high.

So you say to me what about those people that hurt us and cause us to feel this way.  Well that’s true but the thing is we can only control ourselves.  We can keep our heads up and have a positive attitude and when we do that, we will change not only our outlook but the outlook of those around us.  We will have a positive effect on them.  If we don’t then at least we have our heads up. 

I know there will be times when it is hard and life will continue to get you down.  It will throw all kind of punches at you and when you think it is over it will throw one more.  The world is not an easy place to live in, but here’s the thing, live in it.  Live your life and understand that there will be challenges, mistakes, and bad decisions.  Keep your head up and you go far in life.  Don’t let it get you down, you gotta keep your head up.

ACC Week 7 Eric’s “Predictions”

OK so I went 4 and 2 last week.  One game was a big surprise with Florida State losing to Wake Forest.  I didn’t think Wake would pull it out but they have been playing awesome lately.  I wonder how they will do this week.  Let’s see what happens!

Last Week:  4-2                     Overall:  29-13

8 Clemson vs. Maryland:  Clemson got very lucky this past week that Boyd’s injury was not severe.  That would have been devastating.  Clemson is playing really well and has a great chance at going undefeated.  I don’t think they will have a problem this week as Maryland is having trouble at quarterback.  They haven’t named a starting quarterback for Saturday as of right now.  I think it should be an easy game for Clemson as long as Boyd is not hurt badly.  My pick is Clemson.

12 Georgia Tech vs. Virginia:  Georgia Tech has been great so far this year.  That triple option is really hard to stop.  Last week they had some trouble throwing the ball and it resulted in a close game.  I think they will get it together this week but Virginia has played well at times this year.  This could be an interesting game but I think Georgia Tech will put up a lot of points.  My pick is Georgia Tech.

Florida State vs. Duke: Wow after last week’s showing, Florida State looks very beatable.  On the other hand Duke has been playing really well this year.  I am excited for them.  This game is a close one and hard to choose.  I think Duke has a real shot in this game but I would be really surprised to see Florida State drop another game in a row.  Because they desperately need a win my pick is Florida State.  I would not be surprised if Duke pulls out a win.  We shall see.

Miami vs. North Carolina:  Miami’s offense played really well last week and North Carolina’s defense was really good.  On the other side Miami’s defense was terrible and North Carolina’s offense has been off and on.  I think this game is really close.  It is hard to choose which one will win so I am giving this one to the home field advantage and some of the fans I know will be in attendance.  So for Casey, Jo Ann, Scott, Caroline, Tiffany, and Coleen, North Carolina is my pick. 

19 Virginia Tech vs. Wake Forest:  Well I was so excited last week and loved the offense against Miami.  I know it won’t be the same this week but it was so nice to see after the Clemson game.  Wake Forest has been on fire.  They played great last week against Florida State.  Virginia Tech is having so issues.  Two more starters will not be playing in this game.  We have some holes in it and we got destroyed.  Wake Forest may not have their starting running back.  We both have injuries and issues.  This game will come down to quarterback play.  I think Price is the better quarterback but my hope is that Thomas rides high after his game last week.  It was exciting to watch.  This is a home game for Wake.  This is so hard to pick.  I have to go with my gut, even though Tech won last week against Miami, I think we can easily revert back to the way they played in the Clemson game.  My pick is Wake Forest.  This pick may change if Wake’s running back doesn’t end up playing. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Day 100

Well I am 100 days in.  It is crazy and has gone very fast.  I had a very relaxed day and I am ready to get back in the swing of things tomorrow.  Hope everyone had a good day.  I have a lot of different projects to work on so things have been a little crazy.  I hope to get some of them knocked out soon. Yesterday got away from me.  It was a long day.  Anyway, back on track today.  See you tomorrow!


Sandra was going to be a mother for the first time.  She was nervous and excited all at the same time.  She wanted to do something special like a scrap book or something where she could write different things and keep pictures of her child growing up.  She would spend hours at different stores looking at scrapbooks trying to decide which one she wanted to buy.  None of them suited her.  She was getting upset because her due date was getting closer and closer and she wasn’t sure what to do because she couldn’t find the scrapbook that she wanted.  She decided she would email her mom to ask her where else her mom thought she could look for one.

When she opened up her email account, a message popped into her inbox.   It was an email from her best friend.  It read
Attached are some pictures of the boys at their birthday party.  Wish you could have come.  See you soon with your new little one.  Love you always, Sue.
Sandra opened the pictures and smiled huge at the twins getting birthday cake.  She thought about how wonderful it was that she could so easily see pictures so fast from something that was happening halfway across the country.  Then it hit her.  She didn’t need a scrapbook.  There was something else she could do.  Sandra quickly called her internet provider and had them add another email address to her account.  She called it  That day she sent the first email:
I have started this email account so that you will have a scrapbook of everything that happens between now and your sixteenth birthday.  I will send you emails, pictures, and videos so that you have a scrapbook of your life.  You will soon be here, but already I love you with all my heart.  Love, Mom
Sandra started an online scrapbook  or a scrapmail for her baby.  A couple days later her little baby girl was born.  Emma was beautiful and Sandra told her so in her first email after her birth.  Sandra posted video and pictures of Emma as a baby.  Every week, Sandra would send something to the email account, pictures of things Emma did or video of her talking, walking, or singing.  She would write about things that happened, happy times, sad times, and angry times.  For sixteen years she wrote to Emma without her even knowing.
When Emma turned sixteen, Sandra showed her the email account.  Emma started crying as she looked through it and loved every email, picture and video.  She told her mother that it was the best gift she had ever gotten.  She asked her mother to continue to fill her inbox with her love.  Of course Sandra did, and to this day she still shows her love for her daughter through her scrapmail account. 
Loving each other is such a blessed gift from God.  May we always take the time to love each other, especially our family.  Start your scrapmail account today!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Day 98

Today's workout was really hard.  I am excited because we have a ball game tomorrow and I get to hang out with some youth.  Life is good.  I didn't really lose any weight this week but I am hoping it is because I am building muscle.  I am working really hard so I hope it is!  We shall see.  The Hokies played great this weekend.  I am excited for the rest of the season but I didn't feel that way last week!

Knee Injury = Loving Community?

Last night during our Joyful Noise League games one of our youth got hurt.  In a play that was a bang bang play with two youth going up for the ball, they hit knees and one of the youth came down hard on his knee banging it into the ground.  He immediately began holding it and wrenched over in pain.  Ice was immediately gotten for him and he was helped to the sideline.  His mother was called and the game went on to finish. 

After the game was over, his teammates helped him to his mom’s car.  A couple of people offered to help drive or take him to the ER but the mother said she was fine.  Now please keep in mind that this youth is not an active member of our youth group, in fact he goes to another church.  He came to us last year and played with us on our basketball team.  Once that ended and we started our three on three league he has continued to play with us. 
After Youth Group was over I got a text from the youth’s mom asking if his ipod, wallet, and water bottle were in the gym.  I went down to look for it and while I was in there another youth and his mom were in the gym.  Jo, the mom, asked me what I was doing and I told her I was looking for some stuff that belonged to a youth.  I explained what happened.  She lives near this youth and offered to take it with her so it was easier for him to get it.  We ended up calling the mother of the injured youth and found out that he had passed out in the car from the pain and had ended up in the ER.  In fact that was where they were when we called them.
Jo said that she would take the stuff home with her anyone and that they could hook up the next day to get it to him.  We all left the church.  With everything that was done from ice, to carrying the youth to the car, to taking stuff for him you could end the story there by calling us a loving community, but that is not where the story ends.  In fact, Jo and Ian, her son, didn’t go home.  Nope they went to the ER and found this youth and his mom.  They visited for a little while, gave him his stuff and told them that if they needed anything to let them know.
Today I wrote an email to the youth’s mom to check on him.  She told me how he was doing, that the knee was just bruised really bad but not broken.  She then told me how blessed she was by the visit from Jo and Ian.  She told me that they were feeling lonely when in walked warm smiling faces.  She thanked me for my concern and told me that her youth would be back soon to watch and help me with the scoreboard.  He really is a great kid.
She was right when she said she say warm smiling faces.  That is what you get from Jo and her family.  They are a very loving and caring family.  They give in so many ways and it is truly a blessing to have their youth in the youth group and their family in the church.  I am so thankful for families like theirs.  We have so many of them in our church.  It truly makes for a loving community.   Everyone who helped yesterday did an awesome job.  Thank you so much for your help!  Thank you for being a loving community!

Should I throw in the towel?

This morning when I woke up, I got on the scale like I always do on Monday mornings.  As I wiped the morning from my eyes I looked down and there was that number staring back at me.  It was the same number as last week.  I couldn’t believe it, I worked so hard all week and worked out every day.  I stepped back off the scale and looked at the picture I have of Drew Carey on my wall over my scale.  He lost so much weight and I have been using that picture as my inspiration along this year of me and JC. 

It is so disappointing and really takes away some of your momentum when you step on the scale after a week of working hard and eating right and you haven’t lost even a pound.  It drives me crazy and on more than one occasion it has made me want to stop trying and throw in the towel.  I could then just be lazy and eat everything and anything and not worry about losing any more weight.  I could just continue to be overweight and live with it.  What’s the point?
I’ll tell you what the point is.  The point is that I have lost weight.  Sometimes it has been slower than others, but I have been consistently losing weight.  I feel better, stronger, and healthier.  I fit into some of my clothes better.  I am more alive than I was before I started this whole journey and I truly feel like good about what I am doing.  I actually look forward to my workouts and really look forward to my writing.  I feel a push to finish the race.  I am only three months in and have nine more to go.  That is plenty of time to lose the weight, I just have to keep trying.
I know that if I keep working hard, eating right, and making God a part of this program that I will lose the weight and feel better about myself.  I have always struggled with weight issues.  Food has always been that vice for me.  Food has always been that one thing that comforts me and makes me feel good no matter what the situation is.  That is what got me in trouble in the first place.
I also hadn’t been motivated to work out or exercise.  I worked at the YMCA for 5 years and I never used the equipment or tried to lose weight.  I always looked for the easy way out or sat in front of the tv or computer.  Now I feel like I make an effort and if I keep working hard I will lose the weight and feel better and confident. 
The main reason to not throw in the towel is because I have the love and support of so many people.  I know that they are behind me and I am making every effort to lose the weight and be healthier.  God has given me the motivation to make this happen and I am going to work harder to help myself.  After all it is the year of ME and JC.  I owe myself that.  I owe God that.  Your body is supposed to be a temple and mine is more like a McDonalds.  I have some renovating to do!
So the next time I look down at the scale and I see that the number is the same as last week.  I am going to smile and tell myself that I have an opportunity to try again.  I will then workout and try even harder to make it happen!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Darkest before the Dawn

When we have issues in life they have a tendency to get worse and worse.  Often they start out with something very small.  Then there are two or three more small things before a big issue hits.  Then just when you think that life couldn’t get any harder, that is when another big one hits.  It usually smacks you in the face and you feel like you can’t take anymore.  That is when those issues make life so dark.  You can’t see your hand in front of your face because it is so dark.  You feel like you have lost all hope when all of the sudden, there is a light.  An answer appears before you or someone comes in to help.  The darkness lifts away and you the light is shining down on you.  Life is good again until those small things start to reappear again.

It’s hard to deal with the darkness of life.  It is so drab and so painful sometimes.  We all have been there.  That boy or girl that broke our heart, the car battery stops working, you don’t have enough money to pay a bill, or the project you were working on for work doesn’t go as planned.  It is so hard when these things happen.  They cause us pain and self doubt.  We question a lot of things when we are in that place.  I do however have the answer to what we need when we are at that place.  I know what we need to have ready to go when we are at the darkest parts of life.  We need night vision goggles.
  If we had night vision goggles we would be able to see in the dark.  There would be no fear of the worries and troubles getting us so down that we enter that dark place.  That dark place couldn’t exist because we would be able to see. No matter what we could see and there would be light.  If we had night vision goggles then life could not throw us such painful curveballs.  We would know what was coming and how to react.  So how do we get these night vision goggles that bring light to dark times?  We have God in our lives.
God is the true light of the world.  He is an eternal flame that is burning for us.  We just need to reach out, pull down our goggles and let God light the way.  We have to have him in our lives.  We have to worship him, love him, learn from him, and understand that he will take care of us.  If you are that time in your life when you feel it is the darkest, you have to pray.  Prayer will bring God close to you and he will shine down on you and provide the light for your night vision goggles. 
If we accept him into our lives and have a relationship with you, we will not know what the darkest times look like for we will have the light of the world.  We will have heavenly night vision goggles to light the way.  So do not allow it to be the darkest before the dawn.  Allow yourself the opportunity to always see what is going on and have light in your life.  Invite God into your life and you will have vision in the dark.  You will have heavenly night vision goggles!

Day 96

Well I was pleasantly surprise by my Hokies today!  They pulled it out and won the game.  I liked what I saw from the offense. I hope the defense can heal before Saturday.  Today was a lot of fun watching football, going for a run walk and getting new basketball shoes for the league which starts tomorrow!  Very excited about league play.  Hope everyone has a great time!  Talk to you soon!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Day 95

Wow today was a long day.  I was so tired after Friday's for Jesus that I didn't think I was going to finish my blog for the day.  I did get one written and am now ready for bed.  F4J was awesome and the kids did great.  I am so blessed by them and their work everyday!  They are amazing.  The sweatshirts came in and they rock!  They are the best.  I can't wait for all of us to wear them to pilgrimage.  It  will be sweet!  Justin and I had a good time today.  He rocked me in some NBA 2K11 but I get him back in ping pong.  In fact I was undefeated in ping pong today!  It was a good day all around. 

Hammer and Nails

Jenny always showed up early for Sunday school class.  She would find her seat and place her bible in her lap.  She would wait patiently for her friends for the Sunday school teacher to show up.  She loved learning about Jesus and his love for her.  One day her classmates came in and they all laughed and talked before the teacher got there and got everyone settled.  Once the class was settled, the teacher began to teach.  Halfway through her lesson Jenny raised her hand and asked a question.

“Teacher, how did Jesus die?” she asked.
The teacher a little taken back said, “Well Jenny, Jesus was killed by crucifixion which means he was nailed to a cross.  His hands and feet were nailed to the cross and he was left to die and after sometime he died.”
“Oh, so nails were used to kill Jesus?”
“Yes, Jenny, more like spikes than nails, but yes nails were used to nail him to a cross.  Here, let’s look the story up in the bible.”
After looking it up and reading the crucifixion story, Jenny began to understand what had happened to Jesus and it upset her very much.
A couple days later, Jenny’s Dad was in the house and wanted to hang a picture. 
“Honey, have you seen my hammer and nails?”  said Jenny’s Dad.
“No, did you look in the garage?”  said Jenny’s Mom. 
Jenny’s Dad went out in the garage and looked all around.  He looked in his cabinets and tool box and couldn’t find any nails or his hammer.  He went inside and looked around and still couldn’t find it.  The next day he went to the store and bought a new hammer and nails and hung the picture.
About a week later, Jenny’s Dad wanted to fix a chair leg that was loose.  Again he went into the garage to find his nails and hammer and again they were missing.  He asked his wife and she didn’t know where they were.  He looked around the house and still couldn’t find them.  He looked in his bedroom and in the kitchen and they were nowhere to be found.
He walked by Jenny’s room and heard her playing.  He peeked through the crack in the door and saw her playing with her dolls.  Pushing the door open he walked in.
“Hey sweetie, you didn’t happen to be playing with Daddy’s tools?  Especially my hammer.”
“Oh no Daddy, I wouldn’t play with it.  I did get rid of it though.”
Shocked and unsure of what he just heard, he replied “Got rid of it?  What do you mean Jenny.”
“I threw them away Daddy, both your hammers and all the nails.”
Now a little upset at his tools getting thrown away, he answered, “Why would you throw Daddy’s stuff away?”
Looking up from her dolls, she said “Because Daddy, those are the things that killed Jesus and I don’t want them in our house.”
Her Dad just starred at Jenny with a look of utter shock on his face.  He had never thought of it like that.  The fact that what was used to kill our Lord and Savior was indeed a household item.  It was something that almost every family has in their home.  It was surly a smaller version of what was used, but Jesus, who died for our sins, died on a cross that he was nailed to.  It really made for an interesting story the next week in his Sunday School Class.
The next week Jenny and her Dad sat down and talked about how he needed to have a hammer and why he needed to have one.  He explained what type of hammer and nails were used during the crucifixion and that it wasn’t what he had in the house.  Jenny agreed to let there be a hammer and nails in the house under one condition.  They had to frame a hammer and some nails so that when they looked at them in on the wall, they would remember that Jesus died for their sins.
Twenty five years later, the hammer and nails still hang on the wall.  An everyday remember to Jenny’s Dad of the love of Jesus Christ.