Thursday, May 31, 2012

Day 24- Crazy Week

This week has flew by me and I haven't done well in eating or exercising. Ian and I are leading the message on Sunday.  It is senior Sunday and the youth lead the whole service.  We also have our last youth group of the year that night.  So much going on.

Next week I am taking a mini vacation and headed up to Blacksburg to take a rest before the summer schedule starts. I need it but it won't physically be a rest.  I have big plans for the middle of the week that I will let you know of at the first of the week. 

This weekend is going to be awesome but I think I am a little stressed our right now!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Day 21

The last four or five days have been a blur.  I haven't been able to work out, ok I have been able to but I haven't.   I have been in sort of a rut.  This weekend has helped with the extra day off but I am really looking forward to taking next week off and my planned trip within a trip.  More on that later but for now things are good.  I have eaten well and still have a chance to meet my goals.  I will work really hard over the next 28 days!  I need to write a devotion but I haven't had one come to me lately.  I hope one hits me in the next couple of days.  Maybe I need to start a new series.  I don't know if any of these blogs are any good or if people enjoy reading them.  I know that is not why I write them or what this whole thing is about, but I just hope people enjoy what I write and get something out of it!

Be good and safe tomorrow!  Enjoy your Memorial Day!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Day 16 and 17

The days seem to run together.  Yesterday I got a lot done in the office and enjoyed a Bulls game with Wes, Bill, and Philip.  It was a nice day.  Today I worked on senior Sunday, did some ASP stuff and then helped do some moving.

My workouts have come to a hault at the moment, but I have big plans for 2 weeks from now.  I am a little excited and it will be a great workout. Until then we have a showing tomorrow so I am headed to the house and will mow if its not raining in the morning.  I have 2 pups for the weekend so it should be good!

It is almost Friday already!  The week has flown by!

Still eating right!

Monday, May 21, 2012

What would you do if I sang out of tune?

We all make mistakes and bad decisions in our lives.  It is part of human nature for us to do so.  Sometimes those mistakes and bad decisions are very hurtful.  We don't even realize it most of the time that we have really hurt someone.  It is kind of like singing a song in the car or in the shower.  We are singing at the top of our lungs and we don't even realize that we are out of tune.  We just keep singing and singing because there is no other there to tell us we are doing it wrong.

We often "sing out of tune" when we make a decision that hurts someone.  The difference between the actually singing out of tune in the shower and when we make a wrong decision is that there is often someone there that is hurt by our decision.  That person may not even say anything to us when it happens, They may just let it go.  That is the problem.  We can't fix something that we don't realize is broken.  The even worse thing is that it is our fault in the first place.

Friends, you need to say something when we make a bad decision or a mistake that hurts you.  You need to let us know when we have sung out of tune and done something wrong.  The only way we know is if you call us on it.  It is not an easy thing to do.  No one wants to call out their friends, but I would rather you call me out then to be mad at me over something I don't know that I did. 

Singing in tune is such a hard thing to do.  Being mindful of everything you say is a hard thing to do.  Although we have control over it, making bad decisions is a bad thing to do.  We can only hope that there are friends out there that will give us singing lessons and help us out when we trip on a note. 

So when you here the question:  What would you do if I sang out of tune?  Make sure to help that person with the notes.  Push them to the right melody.  Tell them what key they should be in.  Just make sure they know that something is wrong and that they are "singing out of tune!"

Day 14 and 15

This week has been crazy already and its Monday!  Yesterday and today are a blur.  I have so much going on and have had to drive to work for two days.  I have to drive tomorrow but I hope to walk on Wednesday and Thursday! 

I have come to a realization which is awesome because I think it will answer my health issues and give me some time to relax.  I made a move today that will really help me out in the long run.  i will talk about that more later this week! 

I am excited for our confirmands who will be confirmed this weekend and I think that Ian and my message will be great on Senior Sunday! 

As far as work and eating right, good week so far.  Exercise.... not so much!  I gotta get back on the horse!

See you tomorrow!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Day 13

Moving day!  Today I helped move Coleen's mommy to her new place.  It was a long hard day but so very worth it for her sweet mom.  I didn't eat as well as I should of and didn't exercise but I am sure I did by moving all that stuff.  I am pretty sure I haven't lost a lot of weight this week being sick and all but I will hit it up again on Monday.  I have a long day at church tomorrow as well so I might not get any exercise in.  We shall see.

I have also had late nights so I hope to get my normal devotions in starting Monday!

Hope you had a great Saturday!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Day 12: Walk at the Lake

Well I struggled through my allergies to get 2.5 miles in today.  It was a nice walk but I didn't push it.  I have been really tired the last couple days so I am hoping to get back to full strength by the first of the week.  I did however take a chair and my laptop to the lake today and sat by a small waterfall and wrote the rest of our senior Sunday message.  I think it is pretty good.  God was working through me while I was sitting in his beautiful creation.  It was a nice afternoon.  Now I hope to get a good nights rest to help a friend move tomorrow :)

Be good!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Under Pressure

I am going to start this post by saying don't ever allow your body to get in a situation where it has high blood pressure.  Do everything you can not to have it.  Eat right, exercise, and lay off the caffeine and salt.  It will make a huge difference.

Last night I bent over to pick something up in my apartment and had a feeling like blood was rushing to my head.  It made me flushed and scared me a little.  I know having high blood pressure that I have to be careful so I went and took my blood pressure.  It read normal.  I felt better so I watched some TV for a little while before I decided to go to bed. 

When I got in bed, I felt that same feeling but not as bad.  I read for a little while and turned off the light.  I woke up around 1:30 and still had that same flushed feeling.  I sat up and took my blood pressure again using my right arm.  Without thinking about it I automatically took it again on the same arm.  I then put the cuff on my left arm and took it one more time.  All three showed my blood pressure in a normal range.

 I tried to go back to sleep but I noticed that I was having a tingling feeling going down my right arm.  It got so bad that it scared me enough that I got up and looked up heart attacks and high blood pressure on the computer.  I than sat around debating whether or not I should go to the emergency room.  I wasn't having chest pains so it was hard to decide.  I ended up going back into the bedroom and somehow falling asleep for awhile.

When I woke up I still had the same feeling i my head as well as my arm so I decided to make an appointment and go see my doctor.  Of course my doctor was off today but they have a walk in clinic from 12 - 2.  After sitting there waiting for the clock to land on 12, I made my way to the Doctor's office.

I told the Doctor all about my night and my pain in my arm and my flushed face.  She took my blood pressure and it was normal.  She listen to my heart and checked my sinuses.  She then said that she thought I was having bad allergies and that what I felt when I bent over was the fluid inside rushing up my face.

We then determined that the pain in my arm was coming from the fact that I had checked my blood pressure twice in a row and probably pinched a nerve. She game me some allergy medicine and when I left the office, because my head wasn't in panic mode anymore, I could feel my allergies acting up. 

I am pretty sure it comes from the 25 miles I walked last week.

We all come under pressure sometimes.  Sometimes it is work, family, friends, school, or even illness.  It is hard to think rationally sometimes when this happens.  We tend to think the world is against us and we either make poor decisions or become stressed out.  I don't have the answer to it all because if I did then I wouldn't of had my episode last night.  I do want to say two things:

1.  Make sure that you are praying about your pressure and stress and that you are asking God for guidance on your journey.  Talk to him about it and at night, so you can get a good nights rest and deal with it again in the morning, prayer and leave the pressure and stress at the foot of the cross.  I guarantee that in the morning it will not feel as stressful.

2. If it is an illness that has you stressed out.  GO TO THE DOCTOR!  I felt so much better after I went.  If something doesn't feel right you need to have it checked out.  God gave them the gifts of healing or at least understanding how to heal you and diagnose your health issues.  Please don't allow something to go by the way side that could be a really big health issue. 

Don't live your life under pressure all the time.  There are people that will listen and are here for you! I can tell you one that always has a listening ear and the call is free!

Day 10 and 11

I haven't been feeling very well the past 2 days so I haven't exercised.  I have continued to eat well but this may hurt my weight loss total for the week.  I am feeling better but still a little under the weather. 

Nothing like allergies to put you out of commission.

Here's to a better day tomorrow!

Be good!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Communication is the key

Everything we do in this world, in our lives, revolves around communication.  I find out everyday how important it is.  I think that people don't really realize how important it is to communicate with each other.  I think that a lack of communication is what gets people in trouble most of the time.  If we would all take the time to communicate then life would be so much better.   I know that communication is easier for some people than it is for others.

Some people are just natural communicators.  Talking to people and meeting new people is easy for them.  They just have a way about them that makes them friendly and fun to talk to.  Often they are the center of attention and have tons of friends and contacts. 

Others are shy and lack the ability to easily talk to people.  They don't make friends easily because they are worried about taking to others so that makes it hard to meet new people.  Often it is lack of confidence that cause this in people.

It is hard for a lot of people in this world to communicate.  We could solve so many issues if we could just talk to one another.  Unfortunately that doesn't happen and messages get crossed up and people end up getting hurt.

I think we should all make a constant effort to work on communicating with others.  If we communicated better we could make this world a better place.  If we talked to each other we could start a revolution.  If we communicate then nothing could stop us.  Let's all work on our communicating.  Let's start today!

Day 9 Muscle Relaxers and Basketball

Today I went to the doctor.  He told me the pain I was having in my neck was either from stress or from a pulled muscle.  He gave me a muscle relaxer which really has helped but it knocked me out for most of the afternoon.  I got some good work done on Senior Sunday and some other stuff. 

The I played basketball which was really good.  I wish I could do that everyday for 2 hours because it raises my heart rate and is really fun.  I could do that everyday. 

Tomorrow is a new day!  I can't wait!

Monday, May 14, 2012

People Watching

Have you ever watched people?  I mean just sit somewhere and watch them.  I do it a lot.  Often at parties, at the mall, on my walks, or at restaurants, I will just sit and watch people.  I watch their facial expressions, their mannerisms, their actions, and the way they interact with people.  I watch people interact with their babies and children and of course I watch how people interact with teenagers. 

Today I saw a guy zoom by me on his bike with a cigarette hanging from his lip and a scowl on his face.  I watched a mother, at a stop light, play peek a boo through the rear view mirror with a toddler sitting in the back of the car. I saw men and women talking on their cell phones.  I watch people react to me as I walked by them some people saying hello while others didn't make eye contact. I saw a man come up to a crosswalk and take the arm of an elderly woman who was trying to cross the road.  I saw people eating lunch and driving.

I have watched thousands of people in my life and one question always comes to my mind while I watch them.  I wonder to my self if they have a relationship with Jesus Christ.  I wonder if they have accepted him into their lives and allowed him to fill them with love and understanding.  I wonder if they pray and worship or if they miss out on those essential parts of life.

I don't have the answer to whether or not they do but I hope and pray they do.  I pray they welcome him with open arms into their lives.  If they only knew the power of having that relationship, they would know they can climb mountains and conquer valleys.  I hope that you have a relationship with Jesus and if you don't I hope you will find out more about Jesus so that you can accept him into your life.  It is an amazing feeling when you let him in! 

Day 8 - Rough Day

Day started with walking to work and I literally could see the storm clouds on the horizon. I should of taken that for a sign.  I ate well all day and got a 2.6 mile walk in but that was all.  I had a  couple of rough patches on some personal things but we all do at some point in time.  I am not feeling the best so I think a trip to the Doctor in the morning is needed I think.

Here is a brighter most excellent Tuesday! 

1st Moment of Truth

Well it is the morning of Day 8 and I have just weighed in.  After seven days of eating right, drinking lots of water, and an estimated 24 miles of walking, I lost 3.2 pounds! That is excellent.  My target is 2 pounds a week so anything over that is awesome! 

We shall see what this week brings.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Child like innocence

When I was leaving the supermarket today I saw a young mother with her 2 or 3 year old child.  I had heard her earlier tell him to say please when he asked for something.  She was putting the cart up and was holding his hand.  He started to cry because he left something in the cart.  She let go of him to go over and look in the cart.  She turned to tell him that it wasn't there.  He looked up at her, smiled and took off running between the cars.  She started to scream at him, "Stop" she yelled.  He just kept running.  By this time I had let go of my cart that I was now behind my car and had turned to help.  It was just a few seconds and she easily caught up with him.  Popping him on the butt a couple of times she said "We don't run in the parking lot."  He immediately started to ball.  When she got to her car she put him on top of the trunk, tied his shoe and said in a very sweet and loving voice, "Mommy loves you, but we can't run in the parking lot.  Don't run away from Mommy."

I smiled and put my groceries in my car.  I got to thinking about it as I stood there.  That child had no idea what he was doing was wrong.  He just wanted to run and play with Mommy.  He had not concept of the location he chose to play his game.  When he saw the opportunity he bolted away from mom.  Kids have that childlike innocence about a lot of things.  They don't understand what is wrong and right until we teach them and guide them.  They learn by trial and error.

I think our faith journey is based on child like innocence.  Every one's faith journey is different.  The only way that we learn and grow it is by trial and error and educating ourselves.  We have to read and pray and interact with others that have the same beliefs. Often in a faith community people come from different backgrounds and different belief systems.  Often even though we believe in the same things we have totally different opinions.  What we are saying and doing we might totally believe is the right why to do things.  Others may have a different opinion of what we are doing and saying.  It comes down to being in a community of faith that will allow you to express your beliefs, thoughts, and feelings and accept you for who you are.  A community that will allow you to grow and learn.  One that will allow you to live your faith with child like innocence.

Day 7: Where did the day go?

Well it is now 5:00 pm on Sunday and I don't know where today went.  I ran the powerpoint at the 8:30 service.  I worked the ASP table.  I helped with Confirmation class.  I ran the powerpoint at the 11:00 service.  I went the reception.  I listened to Glen give his Staff Share.  I came home.  I talked to my Mom for about an hour.  I ran some errands and here we are.

It doesn't look like I am going to get a walk in so I will continue to eat right today and get ready for the weigh in in the morning.  This will be my first of the 49 days!  I hope I lost some weight!

I will fill you in tomorrow!  Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day Mom!

A picture is worth a thousand words, how many words is a video worth?

I love you mom, Happy Mother's Day!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Crouching Eric Hidden Twinkie

Today I was really hungry which is always the case when I am left at home all day.  However unlike those other times today I was really good.  I ate a lot of fruit, mostly watermelon, had some turkey lunch meat, and finished my day with a lean cuisine TV dinner.  Yep I was really good.  There was however a moment of weakness that interrupted my day, only for a split moment but a moment none the less.

I was sitting at my computer and craving something sweet and sugary.  I was typing when I heard it.  It was a whisper in my ear.  It called out to me "Eric."  It was almost so silent that I didn't notice it at first but then it called to me again "Eric."  This time it was a little louder and made me turn my head toward the kitchen.  As I did so, the wind outside picked up and howled through my open window. Again I heard the voice calling to me, louder this time, "Eric!"

I kicked back away from my desk and sent my chair flying across the living room.  Moving with the speed of a tiger on the prowl, I flipped toward the hallway and crouched in the doorway which led into the kitchen.  The voice was extremely loud now.  "ERIC" it screamed at me.  I could tell now it was coming from my cabinet above my refrigerator.  These cabinets I very rarely go in.  With quick head movements looking side to side, I slowly, while crouched, moved into the kitchen.  As I came to the refrigerator, I stood.  Eyeing the cabinet door I slowly opened it.

Without warning, from behind the glass flower vase, dog food and the Disney cup that I never use, sprang a hidden twinkie.  It jumped at me with its yellow cakey goodness and creamy filling.  As it lept for me, I brushed it aside with my left hand.  It slammed into the fridge only to get up and come at me with more force.  I took a swing but missed and it slapped me across the face.  I stumbled backward but catching my balance I waited for its next move.

The hidden twinkie came at me again and preformed a wardrobe change in mid air with its wrapper disappearing as it closed in on me.  Now before me this beautiful cream filled cake was spiraling at my face.  I dodged it but it came again.  Again it sent me tumbling to the left.   I was able to evade the golden pastry. As I came to my feet, the twinkie was no where to be found.  I looked everywhere. Just as I thought that it was over and I was safe, the twinkie ran up my back, dove off my head and did a somersault swan dive toward my mouth.

Just was it was about to enter my mouth, I grabbed it with my left hand.  We struggled, back and forth we went with the twinkie trying to end up in my mouth and I wrestling it away.  As the twinkie made one last effort toward my mouth by mustering so much strength that it pulled my hand up toward my face, I grabbed it with my other hand as well.  Using both hands, I tore the twinkie in two and threw it into the garbage can. 

I wiped my hands and looked down at my worthy adversary lying in pieces in the trashcan.  "You put up quite the fight hidden twinkie, but you can not beat crouching Eric," I said with my words slightly off time with my mouth movements.  After a couple of more hours of  computer work and laundry, I went to take the trash out.  Looking into the bag before I closed it, the twinkie was gone!  Had it lived to fight another day, would it come back to try again?  We shall see.

Ok maybe that's not how it happened.  Or was it?

Day 6: Baseball and Laundry

I spent today watching some baseball and softball as Virginia Tech lost the ACC championship in softball and Tech losing to N.C. State in baseball.  Oh well, what ya gonna do?

I got a lot of Laundry done, went on a two mile walk and ate almost a lot of watermelon.

Both people that saw our house yesterday didn't like it for one reason or another.  It is the same old song but different people. 

I am looking forward to church tomorrow and hearing Glen deliver his staff share.

Tomorrow is another day on my journey and one day closer to my first weigh in of the 49 days!

Hoping for some progress!

Thanks everyone!

The White Rock and the Tree

For the past week I have been walking up Millbrook road on my way to church.  When I walk I have a tendency to look for things along the way, hence the silver tray.  I just think it would be neat to find something of interest or value on my way down the street.  There are some condominiums that I pass by on the right hand side and everyday I have noticed a small tree that is right on the curb in front of these condos.  I also noticed that there is a small white rock sitting right under this tree. 

It caught my attention because this white rock seems really out of place.  It doesn't go with any of the other rocks around it and seems to have been place right under the tree.  It is just a strange little rock in a big world.  Anyone could of put it there.  It could represent something or someone, it could just be a rock that was in the road and some one placed it under the tree.  It could be a prayer rock.  There is no telling what this rock represents if it represents anything at all. 

I think that that rock represents each and every one of us.  Sometimes in life we are in situations where we are the one that stands out or doesn't seem to fit.  We feel alone in our surroundings just like this rock is alone.  Sometimes we are placed in a situation by the people around us and their words and actions.  We are forced into action because of the people around us and not by our own accord. 

This little white rock seems alone in the world but the most awesome thing of all is that it isn't.  God made this little white rock just like he made you and I.  He never leaves us.  We are never alone.  Although it may feel that way because of our surroundings or the situation we are in, we are never alone.  We need to trust in God and all him to help guide us and love us know matter what happens or where we go.

So if you are walking down Millbrook road and you see the little white rock underneath the tree.  Stop, for a moment, say a prayer, and remember that God loves you!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Day 5: Around the Fuquay in 5 hours

Well I spent my morning in Fuquay at the house.  I drove in and did a little work to it and then headed out with the dogs in toe to wait for the people to come see it.  They came and stayed for about 25 minutes which I will take as a good sign but as for the last four years I no longer get my hopes up.  I then found out we have another showing for 4:45 tonight so that is a good sign that things seem to be picking up.  I hope one of them pans out.

I went to the store and bought breakfast food for the youth as well as snack for tonight's F4J (Friday's for Jesus).  I plan to walk to church and back for my exercise so I thinik I am good to go for today! 

I got a watermelon today and am so happy that it is good and sweet!

Hope you had a good Friday!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Lady of the Lawn and the King of the Court

Everyday when I walk up Six Forks there is a house that I stop for a few minutes in front of.  There is a very sweet elderly woman who waves to me as she works in her yard.  We have never spoken but she has a smile on her face as she moves around doing yard work.  I find it so fascinating because a lot of the time she is walking with a cane, yet just yesterday I saw her leaning down to pull weeds from her yard.

Today she was using a shovel to remove some things from her very well manicured front lawn.  I have also seen her mowing the lawn as well as watering her plants.  It is just so wonderful to see her out there doing something she obviously loves to do and not letting getting older get in her way. I have a hard time mowing my grass and I am only thirty six.  I hope that I can have her drive when I am older with whatever my hobby is.  She definitely is the Lady of the Lawn.

The King of Court absolutely baffles me.  He is amazing.  He is eight five years old and can out run any of us younger guys at our Tuesday night pickup games.  He is in such great shape and plays senior league basketball. If you give Ken an open jump shot you better watch out because he is going to drain it.  Don't even get me started about that layup he does coming from the other side of the court and up and under the basket. 

Ken has been playing with us for years and had helped me coach the basketball team when we played in the league.  I can only hope that I am in half as good of shape as he is when I am his age.  He really is amazing and is the King of the Court.

King Aurthur and the Lady of the Lake have nothing on these royal figures of my modern world.  They truly are what stories are made of and great examples of a life well lived.  They may not ride off into the sunset with swords drawn but they truly encompass the makings of a fairy tale.  May we be as noble as driven, as loving and kind, as goal orientated, as regal as the King of the Court and the Lady of the Lawn.

Day 4: You Spin Me Right Round...

Today was a good day. I ate well, I got a lot done at the office and I literally walked a circle. I walked to work my normal way, up Millbrook and down Six Forks. When I left work I walked down to North Hills, crossed the street, passed the Harris Teeter, down the road to the first left, walked up to Falls of the Neuse and down to where it meets Millbrook. All in all it was about 2 hours and 15 minutes of walking but well worth it! I was happy with my day. Tomorrow should be an excellent day for a walk although I do have to go to Fuquay for another showing! Hope you had a good day!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Day 3: Chaos and Fresh cut grass!

Well, today did not go as planned.  I was awoken this morning by a phone call letting me know that there was showing of the house today from 1:30 to 3:30.  I knew the lawn also needed to be mowed so I went into work today, by car which wasn't the plan, and did some work.  Then I drove out Fuquay and mowed the lawn.  I was almost done with it when the mower ran out of gas.  I gathered the dogs up and put them in the car,  So myself and 3 dogs when to the gas station and then through the drive thru at Chick Fil A.  After that I sat in the car with the dogs and watched the house for the people that were coming to look at it.  For 2 hours I sat in the car and nobody came.  The good thing about it is that I started to write the message for the senior sunday service. 

After that 2 hours, I put the dogs in the back yard and headed home.  It poured down rain as I drove home.  People were driving so slow and it was hard to see.  It took me and hour and forty five minutes to make it home.  It was chaos on the road and you would of thought that no one had driven in a down pour before.  It was crazy but I finally made it home.  What a day.

I ate well with eggs for breakfast and a chargrilled chicken sandwich for lunch.  I will have a good dinner and get ready for day 4.

Hope your day was a good one that was full of fullfilled goals and dreams :)

Direct line to God

Sometimes I wish there was a direct line to God.  You know what I mean?  I mean being able to pick up the phone and speak directly to God.  You could ask questions and get answers.  He could help us understand why things happen to us and how to get through them.  I have a lot going on in life right now and I would love to pick up my phone, dial God's digits and hit him up for some 411.  That would definitely make life a lot easier to understand.

Sadly that isn't an option.  God doesn't have a phone number or a pager like in Bruce Almighty.  Nope you can't tweet him, facebook him, email him, or call him.  There is no direct line of communication with God.  Wait a second, that last statement is definitely wrong.  There is a direct line to God.  The problem is that people forget to use it.  That direct line is prayer.  Through prayer we can talk directly to God and he does answer us.  Okay its not the same as picking up the phone and hearing his voice but he does answer our prayers.

When we prayer, we are asking God for help for so many different things.  Some of them are personal while others are for people we know and the world in general.  The thing is people believe that they are going to get an automatic answer from God and on top of that they believe that they are going to get what they are asking for.  That is not how it works, in fact often the answer we get is not the one we want. God puts people, places, and things in our lives in answer to prayer.  He provides us with quiet time to come up with answers to problems.  There are so many ways that God helps us without having to directly say anything at all.

I often tell my youth that they are so lucky to have the mentors they have in youth group.  Adults that are willing to listen, help, and prayer for and with them.  A lot of youth don't have that in their lives.  They don't have adults, that aren't their parents, that are willing to play a role in their lives and listen to them and love them.  God has put them in their lives to help them through the tough time known as the teenage years. 

We all have a direct link to God.  He is giving us the 411.  All I can say is that we need to be patient, listen for what he is saying to us, and understand that what we want is not always the answer.  The biggest thing is that we will never get the answer if we don't first make the call! 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Silver Tray

Today when I was walking to work I saw something out of the corner of my eye tucked away under some leaves on the side of the road.  I walked over to it and could see silver peaking out at me.  I brushed away some of the leaves and there in front of me was a silver tray.  It looked so real.  It had ornate designs on the handles and sides of the tray.  I started to think to myself, this is amazing, the price of silver is so high right now.

Then I reached down and picked by the try and to my disappointment, it was made of a heavy silver plastic.  It was discolored on the bottom and obviously had been there for some time.  I was disappointed as I dropped the tray back where I found it and continued my walk. 

I started to think about what I would of done with all the money I would of made if the tray had been real.  The bills that I could pay or I could use it as savings for a new car.  So many things rushed through my head as I continued my walk up Millbrook.  As I turned onto Six Forks road, it hit me.  Would I have kept that tray, sold it, and kept the money?  It wasn't mine, it belonged to another person.  Someone would have lost that very expensive tray and I would of calmed it as my own.  I mean I found it, why wouldn't I get to keep the money.

The more I thought about it the true answer came into my head.  I would of taken that tray and tired somehow to find the rightful owner, whether it was taking it to the police or putting some sort of ad on craigslist.  I would of made a huge effort to find the rightful owner. 

I think in a lot of ways we all have a tendency to have that first reaction when we find something, whether it is money or jewelery or something expensive.  We want to keep it for ourselves because we think we deserve it, but then we come to our senses and realize that it isn't ours and we need to do the right thing.  We need to find the rightful owner.

We work hard for the things and money that we have.  What we want someone to do if we lost something?  We would want it back.  That's the key to it all, do unto others as you would have them do unto you.  So the next time you find a silver tray, try to make sure you get it back to its rightful owner! 

Day 2: Picturesque Day

Well today was day 2 of my 49 day challenge! I did a lot today. I ate three square meals as well as some snacks.  I walked to work today this morning and worked all day until 6:45.  I then played basketball until 8:45 and proceeded to walk home.  They walk was nice and kinda neat in the dark, but needless to say I am one tuckered out boy!

This morning I took pictures of my walk in so I thought I would share my walk:

Philly's House!

Wish I had a doughnut!

Love our renovated look!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Mental Hiccups

A hiccup is a brief, involuntary twitching of the diaphragm that repeats several times per minute. In humans, the abrupt rush of air into the lungs causes the vocal cords to close, creating a "hic" sound.

I don't get them very frequently anymore, but when I do they are very annoying.  You get them at the worst time, mine have often been when drinking a soda too fast.  People tend to laugh when you get them and honestly they are quite funny.  They don't really hurt but you can't wait for them to go away.  I was told by someone when I was a kid that if you take seven small sips of water very slowly, the hiccups will go away.  Eventually they do whether you are drinking water or not.

Do you ever get mental hiccups?  I think those are when at the oddest time something you have done in your past that you feel bad about pops in your head.  It happens at the most random of times, in the shower, on a walk, watching TV, or typing on the computer.  Sometimes it is brought on by something that jump starts a memory like a song or something you see, but often it just randomly pops in your head.  I get these sometimes.  They are things that just sort of pop up in my head.  As I relive the event over in my head, I cringe or get mad when I think about what it is I had did or had done to me.  I often think about well if I only said this or if I only did that.

Often these hiccups make me wonder why I did a certain something or acted a certain way.  They then make me think about whether or not I do these same things now and if people look at me in a certain way because of them.  I know it is all sort of cryptic but do you know what I am talking about?  It may be just me that gets these type of mental hiccups.

The best thing about these hiccups is that they go away.  Sometimes the same ones reappear but often they don't.  Just like real hiccups they eventually leave me and I am able to go on with my everyday life.  I do think that these hiccups are there for a reason.  They are there to remind me that I need to slow down and think about my actions when it comes to certain situations.  I need to remember how I acted or what I did in situations that I relive and make wiser choices.  Just like my hiccups, I try to fix my mental hiccups with the living water that is Jesus Christ.

Jesus provides me with a living water.  He provides me with the opportunity to realize the error of my ways, make corrections, and continue on my life path.  By leaning on him and drink up this living water, I am able to cure my mental hiccups and learn from my mistakes.  May we all get a huge glass of living water even if you don't get mental hiccups!

Day 1

Today was day 1 of my 49 day challenge.  I started off weighing myself in this morning and getting set for my 13 pounds that I plan to drop.  I walked to work and back home again which in total is about 5 miles.  I ate well today with yogurt in the morning and after going to a cookout for my buddy, Glen's 21st birthday, I escaped having only eaten 1 hotdog!  I was very proud of myself. 

I kept track of all of my food and am really tired so I think I will get a good nights sleep!  I am looking forward to walking and we have basketball tomorrow night!  Gonna be awesome!

Hope your day 1 was as good as mine!  Talk to you tomorrow!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Take the 49 Day Challenge with me!

As of tomorrow, we have 49 days until we leave for ASP.  ASP is our summer mission trip.  We will be going to Tennessee to work on rebuilding houses and making them safer, warmer, and drier. My goal in the next 49 days is to lose 13 pounds.  This is to be my kick start back into my heathly life style.  I am ready to get started!  You can too!

Take the 49 day challenge with me!  Figure out something you want to do in the next 49 days!  Post it on this blog so you will commit to doing it and then follow along as we all work together to make it happen.  49 days, a month and a half.  It is a reasonable amount of time! Set a goal, stick to it and make every effort to do it.

It is so easy to fall into the rushed, unhealth lifestyle that many of us live.  Let's dedicate the next 49 days to us!  Let's live in the hear and now!  Post, Live into it, Follow along!  I look forward to having you join me on this 49 day challenge!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Open Window

The other day it was really nice outside so I decided to open the windows of my apartment.  I was sitting in my bed reading when I started to listen to the world outside.  At first it was annoying because it was a car that had its bass up way too loud.  So loud that the walls of my apartment shook.  I think that is what got my attention at first but after the car left, I heard children laughing and playing.  I heard a dog barking in the far off distance.  I heard a man yell across the parking lot, "I love you baby!"  Then I heard the reply.  "I love you too!"  A police car zoomed by followed by another and still another.  After the police cars I sort of lost track until the middle of the night when I was awaken by the sound of a tremendous downpour and thunder.  I rolled out of bed and pulled the curtain back to watch the rain and see the lightening.

As I stood there at my bedroom window, looking out into the rain, I could help but think about how this window was a lot like us.  We have a tendency to open and close the window that shows who we really are.  Sometimes we allow people in to get close to us and listen to us when we need to talk about something bothering us or when we just want to say I love you.  Other times, we close that window and lock it so that people can't get in and they have no clue what is going on inside of us. 

We have the choice to open that window that shows who we really are.  We can share it with the world or a select group or we can shut ourselves out.  I think too often we choose to do that latter and end up shutting people out.  This hurts us because not only can people not hear us crying or calling out for help, we can't hear them offering it to us.  We don't take advantage of our friends who are our friends for a reason.  They care for us and love us and want to be here for us but too often we don't open the window so they are left looking in from the outside.

I think that God puts people in our lives for a reason.  I think that those people, are family, are friends, and our co workers are put in our lives for a reason.  Everybody needs someone to be there for them in their time of need.  Let's just call them window washers.  They are there to help us clean up our messes.  They are there to listen to us, cry with us, laugh with us, and give advice to us.  They are there to wash our windows so that we will open them up so we will be heard.

God wants us to open our windows so we will feel the fresh airs of friendship and love.  Open your window, allow people to hear you.  Make your friends open their windows by being their window washer.  Sometimes when the temperature is just right, open the windows to your home and just sit back and listen to the outside world. You never know what you might hear!


Wednesday, May 2, 2012


For those of us who are animal lovers we know what my friend Ellen was going through this week when her dog Vegas got out and ran away.  When a dog gets the chance to make a break for it and runs away, there is not a worse feeling in the world.  You feel hopeless because how on earth are you going to find them?

On two occasions different dogs decided to make a break for it.  My dog Brusier got away and all day he must of ran throughout the woods around my house.  I went out and searched until it got dark.  I called for him but he never came.  I had the idea that we would leave the garage door open and the door to the house open and when it was time to eat, he would come home for food.  Sure enough, the next morning around 5 am, I was awoken by him licking my face wanting to be feed.

Another time Ripken got out and ran away.  We think that someone found him and was going to keep him because about a week later he came back and his collar was missing.  We thought for sure that he was gone for good because anytime he got out of the house, he would make a run for it and not look back.  Both times I was really torn up and worried about my dogs.

So needless to say I felt Ellen's pain and sadness when Vegas got out.  Two times I went out to drive around their area to see if I could spot her.  The second time I say Ellen and Laura, her mother, on the side of the road looking for Vegas.  I drove around for a little bit and when I came back down that same road, Ellen had Vegas on a leash.  I stopped to chat for a moment before I drove on to work.

Now some people don't understand what a dog means to their owner.  You share so much with them with out realizing it.  They give you companionship, love, and no matter what they stay by your side.  (Unless they make a break for it!)  This poem / song best sums it up and really reflects what I think about and see in my dogs. God and Dog is by Wendy Francisco. 

We are blessed with the unconditional love that we are given by our Dogs, our parents, and our friends.  May we all have those relationships with someone that cares so much for us.  May God look down on you and hold you close, and may your Dog cuddle up to you and fall asleep at your side watching over your every move.  Thanks for coming home Vegas!  Thank you God for bring her home safely!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

A Few Good Men

Recently a good friend of mine ended up having a brain aneurysm or something close to it.  It was a show and really made me start to evaluate a few things in life.  It is scary how things can just change in a blink of an eye.  It makes us realize how fortunate we really are.  We have to be good men and women and fight the good fight.  We need to live a life centered on Jesus.  Through him we can reach out to the world and live life to the fullest.

I started to think about this stuff a lot of the last couple of weeks and I realized there are a few men in my life that I want to strive to me more like and model the way I live on the way they currently live life. They are a few good men!

First there is John.  He is the make that had the brain aneurysm.  It was so scary to hear about.  He is truly blessed in his life.  Not only by the miraculous recovery from the aneurysm, but by his beautiful wife and three loving, wonderful kids.  I see him interact with his children and I see what being a dad should look like.  I see a man that loves his family with all of his being and wants to be with them whenever he can.  That being said, he is always so giving to the church and to the community.  A couple of years ago he became a youth mentor.  The boys of youth group really like hanging with John and talking to him.  At our youth retreat this year, he shared his faith with us all and it was an amazing story to listen too.  He is on the finance committee at church as well.  I am just blessed to know such a dedicated man that makes church and family such an important part of his life.  I am thankful for the blessing of knowing him.

Second there is Scott.  Scott has been a youth mentor for three years.  Scott is so kind and man is he funny.  I think I am pretty funny but Scott has me beat.  He is very level headed and can really help to take the sting out of any situation.  He really does his research before he makes a suggestion or gives an opinion about a situation.  We are blessed to have him in youth group.  He has also been the head of SPRC as well as currently is the head of church council.  He is another man that plays such a heavy role in the church as well as work and family.  Scott is another person is a huge family man and does so much for and with his girls.  He makes every effort to be available to them and gives them every opportunity to succeed at what they do.  I have for a long time looked up to Scott and realized just how important he is to our youth group and church family.  I am just glad that I get to call him my friend!

My third good man is Wes.  Again this is a man that is totally dedicated to his family, but also dedicated to not only the church but the people of the world.  He has a loving kind heart and is always giving to others.  His job offers him opportunities to pay it forward through simple things and he sure does ten fold.  Just the other week we were headed to a Durham Bulls game and we pulled up to an intersection where there was a lady with a sign asking for help.  Before we were even to her, Wes had pulled out a couple of dollars, rolled down the window ready to bless this woman.  It really made me think because it was just one more way that Wes shows me how to live my life right.  He shows me how to be loving and caring.  One of Wes' biggest ministries is our Soup on Sunday program where we provide a meal to a lot of homeless people, one Sunday a month.  Wes makes every effort to make it the best possible experience for everyone that attends, and he reaches and touches so many lives through it.  It is amazing and I just want to strive to be a lot more like Wes.

There are just 3 of the many Good Men that are in my life.  I want to mirror them and provide to the world and live the way they live their lives.  I want to walk side by side with them and know just like they do that God is right there walking with them.  May we all be Good Men and Women. 

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Twas the Day of the Show!

Twas the day of the Show, and all through the church,

Eric was stirring, for spaghetti he did search,

The tables were all set nice and neat in a row,

Around each table ten chairs did go.

The microphones were set properly up on the stage,

all the props were neatly put in a closet backstage,

The signs Delaney made filled Eric with glee,

And the drinks were being readied like good old sweet tea.

The church was filled with excitement on this St. Patrick's Day,

As the ASP participants stopped to pray,

Oh Lord let this be fruitful so we can go do your work,

Because being able to help others is an excellent perk.

We will go out and show your love to everyone we meet,

And with a smiling face and a loving heart every person we will greet,

For you give us this chance and ability to shine,

We know if we trust in you all things will align.

We want to make houses safer, drier and warmer,

So bless us to sow the ASP garden like a farmer,

May the food be hot and the entertainment just great,

For going to ASP only a few months we have to wait.

We will work hard and prove we are worthy to you,

So that when we go on ASP you will see us through,

Thank you dear Lord it's time for the show,

Amen, thank you again and away we go!!!!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

March Madness has begun

It is so crazy.  I created a tournament bracket for all of us from church to play together.  I made my initial picks and then changed them and then changed then and then changed them one more time.  Each time I changed was because a heard a different report from someone about a team. 

Then I waited for today to come.  I planned my day so that I could set my computer up at work and watch off and on as I worked on stuff for the dinner and a show.  It was a great set up and some great games.  I stopped to let the girls practice their song and then I was back to watching again. 

My UNC-Ashville Bulldogs were a sixteen seed and played their hearts out today and almost beat the first seeded Syracuse.  I was really impressed as I was driving home listening to the game.  When I got home I warmed up a TV dinner, and now I sit with one game on my laptop and one on the TV. 

I was so engrossed in the Wichita State vs VCU game that I was nervous at the end when Wichita State had a chance to tie it.  So far they are my only wrong pick. 

It is so crazy but I love it.  I wish that I could get as excited at other things in my life as I do when the tournament is on.  If I could get as excited about eating right or losing weight.  If I could get as excited about writing so that I could write a book.  There are so many ifs.  I think it is time to make one of those a reality.  God has given me gifts but it is up to me to choose to use them to the best of my ability.  I think I shall do that! 

I am going to continue to watch March Madness and enjoy it but after my hectic three week span, I am going to create a little madness of my own.  Let the fun begin!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Unleash the Beast

This afternoon I went to the Dollar Store to look for a couple of things for our upcoming Dinner and a Show.  I was sort of in my own little world looking at things and surveying the candy isle (I didn't buy any candy).  All of the sudden I head some yelling "Unleash the Beast."  I turned to see who it was but I couldn't see them.  I just thought it was someone being stupid, but when I left my isle and headed toward another, a gentleman passed me.  Just as he got next to me he yelled "Unleash the Beast, are you all ready because I'm about to unleash the beast."

I was startled and taken aback by it.  I sort of stepped back honestly hoping he didn't see me and take offense to it.  I continued walking but noticed that others in the store where watching him as he walked along.  I lost track of him and had decided that there was nothing I wanted to buy at this time so I was putting my basket back when he came up past the registered and screamed, "Unleash the Beast, it is about to get ugly in here."  He then proceeded to walk past everyone at this point and out the front door.

A couple of parents grabbed there kids that were running around the store and held them.  Myself and a another gentleman walked to the front door and stood just inside of it.  We weren't sure what he was going to do and although we didn't know each other we seemed to be on the same wavelength.  We were going to confront him if he walked back into the store.

I watched him as he walked through the parking lot and up to the road.  He stopped to tie his shoe.  It took me a minute to realize what he was doing because tying his shoe is not what I pictured him doing.  He ran across the street and started to walk down one way until he saw a city bus coming which made him turn around and run the other way to the bus stop.  I watched him pay for seat and sit down on the bus.

The other gentleman just sort of nodded at me and we both went on our way.  I went out to my car and drove over to the Walmart.  I was thinking so many thoughts in my head.  I stopped the car when I pulled into the parking spot, turned it off and just sat there.  After a few minutes I prayed for this man I had just met.  I prayed that if he is sick that he find the help he needs.  If he is upset that he finds someone to talk to.  I prayed that if he has a beast inside that somehow that beast could be soothed before he hurt someone.  I prayed for the people of the world because you just don't know who you are going to encounter and what is going to happened.  I prayed that he finds peace and love.

Monday, March 12, 2012

The Good Samaritan

In confermation class yesterday we were discussing the bible.  We had four different versions of the bible and we took the time to go through each one and discuss the similarities and differences.  We read the story of the good samaritan in each bible.  In each of the texts it reads that there is a priest that passes by the injuried man on the road and doesn't help him. 

Some of the kids started to discuss whether or not our pastor would stop and help out someone that was in that postion.  Every one of them after joking about it agreed that he would stop and help out a person in distress. They also said Philip and I would too. 

The funny thing is I told them this story and they just laughed at me but it was ironicly similar.  Now I must state that the pastor did offer to help me first.  Please note that even though the rest of the story is funny. 

One day I was sitting at my desk and I wasn't feeling very good.  I was nodding off now and then and really needed to just get up and go home to bed.  After working on a couple of things, I nodded off with my head leaning backward and my body pushed back in my chair causing too much pressure to one side of the chair.  One of the wheels snapped off and sent me tumbling backward in the chair with a loud crash. 

The next thing I hear is yelling down the hallway and people running to my office.  Everyone on the hall came to see if I was okay.  They ran in and saw me laying on the floor.  I just looked up and smiled at them.  I was wearing a hooded sweatshirt and somehow during the fall the hood swung up and when I hit the ground I was wearing it.  I just smiled and said I was good.

Everyone laughed and our pastor said "now is this a run and get help situation or a laugh and take pictures?"  I told him it was laugh and take pictures, which he imeditately ran to his office, got his camera, and took pictures. Then sent it out as an email.  It was really funny.  After he took pictures, they helped me off the ground and I went home to bed.

Although that really isn't like the Samaritan story it was funny and got the kids engaged in converstation.  God works in mysterious ways. 

Saturday, March 10, 2012

St. Mark's Got Talent...

So as I have stated in an earlier blog, we are having a dinner and a show.  I have been running around like a chicken with his head cut off and we still have a week before the show.  I am so excited, scared, blessed, and humbled by this whole experience.  It is going to be so awesome but as the person in charge I feel the pressure.  I want it to be amazing and I know it will but we just need to pull everything together!

Today I spent 5 hours at the church working with the acts that will be preforming at the show. I was really worried about this part because I hadn't had the chance to preview them yet and I didn't know what to expect.  I have to say that I was shocked at how good everyone was!  It was exciting to watch.  I was very happy with everyone that preformed today.  The future looks good!

I would give you a detailed example of what they all looked like but I don't want to spoil the surprise.  Danielle and Chesson were so good.  Ian looked amazing and is ready.  Glen was fun to watch.  Loren and Marshall sounded great and ladies were fantastic.  Everyone was one time for their slots and very professional as they practiced.  It was like being in charge of a really talent show.  I felt like  Howey except I wasn't voting on whether they had talent.

People are going to be asking us to do this every year!  Thanks so much for the love and support.  I will post something after the event to let everyone know how it went.  I can't wait and I hope we raise a lot of money for ASP.

Don't forget to tip your waiter or waitress!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Tournament Time...

This time of year is so much fun even if you don't follow college basketball the rest of the year.  Everyone starts over with a clean slate and teams that barely make the tournament have just as much of a chance as those that are in first or second seed positions.  Who knows who will win the ACC tournament this year or the NCAA tournament.  I do know that there will be upsets, heart ache, thrilling endings, crying, pain, and extreme joy.  It will be a roller coaster of a month. 

It's funny because basically tournament time is like life all rolled up into one experience.  Through out our lives we have great times when we achieve great things and accomplish the goals we set to accomplish, just like those high seeded teams that full fill their destiny and win the tournament.  Other times in life we are like David and Goliath, we are the underdog.  We are not expected to complete a task or solve a problem because of our lack of experience or maybe a fear that we have.  But at that instant we step out of the box or we put the time or energy into finding the answer so just like David, we are able to beat the giant issue or problem when others don't think we will.

We have times in life when great things happen and we are so excited.  Finding a new job, having a baby, getting a wonderful Christmas present.  Those experiences are what it must feel like when you hit the game winning shot as the clock expires.  Unfortunately we have the exact opposite feelings as well when we are on the other side of that shot going in.  We have extremely pain and suffering like losing a loved one, or a job, or becoming ill with a sickness or disease. 

Life is up and down just like the tournament.  There will be wining moments and there will be losing moments.  We have highs and we have lows.  I think the thing that will help us the most during these highs and lows is to choose the right coach.  A lot of the time people forget that no matter what skills you bring to the table if you have the right coach you can do great things.

So my suggestion is if you don't have the same coach as me and are struggling a lot in life, then you need to be a part of my team and have my coach and his staff in your life.  Miracle finishes happen a lot when you have my coaching staff.  Situations and problems that cause suffering are not as bad when you have my coaching staff.  Living into your potential is so much easier when you have my coaching staff.  There is unconditional love when you choose my coaching staff. 

My coach is God.  He loves me and always wants me to win, but when times are tough and I am losing he is always there for me.  He is flanked on his right and left by his assistant coaches, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.  Together they make up for one awesome team.  If you haven't already you need to choose this coaching staff, and if you have chosen them and things are still hard are you actually listening and following the game plan? 

Make sure you do because they will stand behind you no matter if you are on a winning streak or a losing streak.  They will pick you up when you are down, hand you some Gatorade and put you back on the court.  It's so much fun to play for a coach that knows what he is doing!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

who I am...

I wonder some times who I am,

if I am flunking this life exam.

The world moves so fast around me,

It's hard to take time to stop and see.

All my stuggles and problems weigh heavy on my shoulders,

Like two 20 ton rocks or boulders.

Life kicks me and I often fall down,

And the flood waters rush so fast around me I feel like I am going to drown.

But then I feel his hand reach out for me,

and when I open my eyes more clearly I see.

For Jesus stands with me now no matter how hard I struggle,

and all my problems and fears he helps me to juggle.

 His love rushes over me and holds me tight,

and I can feel him to my left and to my right.

Jesus stands in front of me and the flood water he does dam,

for they will no longer wash over me and hide who I am.

Broken Storm Door

My storm door is broken.  Sometimes the wind catches it and causes it to slam shut.  The glass is falling out and the door doesn't sit plum in the door frame.  If you have it open there is a draft at the top and bottom of the door. There are screws sticking out if it where they had to try and fix it so it would stay together.   I had to install an inside hook to keep it shut because it doesn't lock and often swings open.  When I leave to go to work I try to latch it but as I walk around the corner I hear it release and slide from the latch. 

Why am I talking about my broken storm door.  I think my storm door is a lot like some of us.  Yes it might be broken and not work properly, it might be beat up and look like it has seen better days, it might allow a draft into the house, but it does work,  It does keep the wind out.  It does sit correctly when I lock it with my hook.  It does allow me to open my front door and still have some protection.

We also are hurting sometimes.  We have scars both emotionally and physically. we don't look our best physically sometimes.  We do sometimes need someone to hold us up so we don't fall down, like my hook holds my door closed, but we are beautiful.  We are individuals.  We stand alone and no matter what people say or do, we will stand up for what we beleive in.  we may not be perfect, we may not always be the best looking or best functioning door, but we will always be there for support and will stand the test of time.

God makes us iin different shapes and sizes.  Just like the many storm doors that don the doorways of my apartment complex.  We are individuals and no matter what we look like or how hard the winds of life have beaten on us, we will stand for God.  We will stand for the love of God!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Show me the Dinner...

So I am still in a little bit of shock as you start the countdown till the dinner and a show.  With two weeks to go, we have sold out.  All of our tickets which was 140 plus an addition 20 were sold because we added two more tables!  I can't believe it.  I thought we would sell out but a lot of people were saying we were only going to sell 100 tickets. 

We are so blessed at my church by the gracious and loving support of our mission work and of our youth program.  People as so supportive and loving and truly help us to help others.  It is amazing to watch.  I am so thankful that I have that support and that God led me here.  He had a plan and I am so blessed.

But back to dinner.  Talking with Coleen she was a little concerned about cooking for so many people.  She was having problems picturing cooking all that spaghetti.  That is a LOT of spaghetti but she went to SAMs today and did some price compassion so I think we are good to go.  She is so good when it comes to food and presentation, I don't know what I would do without her.

The acts are coming together and we have some great ones.  It is going to be so wonderful and I can't wait to see all our youth step out of there comfort zone and perform.  It will be a lot of fun and very entertaining. Everyone is going to have such a great time! 

So a packed house, a sold out show and ASP right around the corner. Thank you to everyone that has bought tickets to the dinner and a show, donated time or will donate time to the dinner and a show and who will be going on ASP.  It is going to be awesome.

Be on the lookout for Ian and I.  We formed a blues group.  It's gonna be awesome!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

My Shadow

I realized the other day how neat my shadow is.  I had never really paid attention to it, but Ian and I were talking the other day and he made me realize that our shadow is a pretty cool thing.  If you are walking outside on a bright sunny day, when there isn't a cloud in the sky and the sun is beating down on you, you can look to the ground and there at your feet is your shadow.  You can wave at your shadow and they will wave back at you, you can tip your cap to your shadow and they will tip their cap at you, you can jump for joy and so will your shadow. 

Whatever action you do, your shadow will do the same action.  If you watch people playing soccer or basketball or baseball, take the time to watch the game on the ground.  The shadows are playing too.  They are playing their own game and it is like watching a ballet.  Everything is so graceful and wonderful.  The movements are spot on and flow perfectly.  A shadow is probably one of the most perfect things in the world.  A mirror image of you.

The interesting thing is that when it is cloudy and gray, our shadow goes away.  It disappears, or does it really?  I think when it is dark and gray or night time and we don't see our shadow, our shadow is actually stronger than ever.  It is a lot like God in many ways.  We often see God in the trees, mountains, our jobs, families, sports, everything great that we have in our lives when we are excited and happy.  But the minute that something bad happens and our world is turned upside down, we turn from God or don't see him so easily.  We don't feel him there with us. 

The thing is that God is there stronger than ever at those points in our lives.  He can't be seen as easily because he is inside of us working hard to help us through our problems and difficult times.  He is holding on to us and loving us.  He has such a powerful loving grasp on us that it is hard to see him which makes us think he isn't there.  That same thing happens with our shadows.  When it is gray and the light is taken away, our shadow doesn't disappear, it goes inside of us and helps us to remain whole.  It grabs onto us and holds on until there is an opportunity to come out again and say hey. 

God is our shadow and our shadow is God.  Tomorrow take a good look at your shadow and I promise you that you will see God.  That you will feel his love when you wave at him and he waves back.  Tomorrow night, take a look at yourself in the mirror and you will see God holding onto you and loving you.  God is the shadow of our lives.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Julie and Julia

Today I watched the movie Julie and Julia.  The movie is about a lady named Julie Powell who needs something to get her life moving so she decides to cook through Julia Child's cookbook and blog about it for a year.  It was a long hard process but she stuck with it and made it work and actually did it.  She cooked all the recipes in the book, wrote her own book and then obviously had a movie made about it. 

I have been struggling a lot lately to get back on the right track with my blog and with my diet and exercise.  It is so easy to stray from the path to allow yourself to stop all three.  I made a pack with myself that I was going to do this, that I was going to write everyday and take the time and energy to create devotions and entries with the hope of one day having my own book published.  However I allowed myself to stop.  I got sucked into how easy it is to lose track of a vision or a goal. 

It is not easy to lose weight.  It is easier to put it on than it is to take it off.  It is not easy to eat right, at least for me.  I always seem to need or want food.  It is my release and I rely on it too much.  It is not easy to right a blog entry everyday and come up with new devotions.  BUT I was losing weight, I was eating right, and God was providing me with the ability to write a blog entry everyday.  I was doing it and I stopped.  Why? 

That's a great question.  Life is not easy and too often we stop doing very important things because they are hard to do. I stopped because I was able to come up with reasons why I should.  Julie didn't stop even when things got really hard, even when there were troubled waters, she continued to cook and write about it.  She persevered and it was awesome to watch.  It was the kick in the butt that I needed to get me started again. 

So with that I say, I'm BACK!  Today I begin my journey again.  It is never too late to start again.  It is never too late to realize your mistakes and learn from them.  It is never too late to make up for lost time or fix a relationship or problem.  It took a movie about a blog and a cookbook for me to remember that and realize that I need to get up dust myself off and start again! 

I thank you for reading my blog and I hope in the past some of the devotions have been good and you have enjoyed them.  I hope you will continue to read and take this journey with me!  Thank you so much and I will see you tomorrow! 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Stars in the sky

Here in the city it is often hard to see the stars in the sky.  They are often few and far between, but when you step away from the light pollution and into an area where there are no artificial lights, the stars shine brightly in the sky.  You can see millions of them hanging in the deep darkness of space.  In the mountains or on the beach you can lay down and watch the night sky for hours at a time and still can't count them all.  There are so many of them that you never have to look at the same one twice. If you watch long enough, you may even see a shooting star melt across the sky.

Watching the stars has always been something I love to do.  When I go camping I always find a place where I can lay and watch the stars for awhile.  One time I even found a place next to river with rapids beating against the rocks and the stars spinning in the the sky.  It was one of my most calming moments in my life.  I can still remember falling asleep on that rock so thankful for the experience and in awe of God's creation.

Another time I had a great experience was on my own drive way in Fuquay.  The Youth Leadership team came to my house for a retreat and as part of it we took a trash can and burned pieces of paper on which we wrote things we wanted to lift to God.  As we laid there, a shooting star shot across the sky right after we had sent up our prayer.  It was an amazing experience and again made me awe at the glory that is our Lord and savior.

Two other times were at our girl's retreats.  Kirstin, Sarah and I would go out on Saturday night and lay on the small deck that was part of the walkway to the beach.  We would look up into the sky and watch the stars appear and shimmer in the moon light.  It was a time of thought and conversation.  We discussed many things on that deck and I remember vividly those conversations.

Today I went to a funeral.  One of the things that was discussed at this funeral is how the lady who died pictured heaven.  She recently had gotten some pictures from the Hubble telescope and was looking at the magnificent stars and galaxies.  She stated how magnificent they were and that they were touched by the hand of God just as we have been.  We were both molded by his hand.  The front of the bulletin had a picture from the telescope and it was filled with stars and glorious colors.  Up in the left hand corner next to a big star was written: I am here.  This is where she has gone too, to be with God.

Up in the heavens where she will shine down on us all.  Up in the heavens where God shines down on us all!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Green Screen

My most recent addition to my video production knowledge is the use of the green screen.  A green screen is often used in movies that have cgi (computer generated imagery) effects or other images into the background of a movie.  You have the actors act out their parts in front of a totally green screen.  Then you take that film, add some filters, and put either another film or cgi graphic behind it and thanks to the filters which make the green see through, you see the two images together.

It is really neat.  I had no idea I could actually do it.  I was watching the making of a movie that used a lot of graphics and cgi and I saw how they used the green screen.  I got online and looked up my video editing program and I saw how I could do it.  After purchasing a green sheet (which is not green enough)  I started to mess with it.  It is pretty cool how it works but I definitely need a darker green sheet. 

In the movies they have to use these things to create images and places that don't exist.  In order to create other worlds or landscapes, they use the green screen.  It helps people in the movies visit places they would never be able to visit or go to other wise.  It allows us to use our imagination and sometimes because the cgi is so good now a days, it looks like it is real life.

I think that is great for the movies, but we need to live our lives.  We need to go out and see things in real life, visit places we want to visit and not Just see them on TV or the movies.  Too often I think we spend time watching movies and TV and we don't spend enough time experience God's creation.  We have to play video games or make sure we see our favorite shows or movies and we miss out on experiencing life. 

I love the movies and I love sports on TV but I would rather be playing basketball or another sport than watching it.  I would rather be at the beach than watch people at the beach.  Life is an amazing thing that God gave us.  He also gave people the amazing talent to make these shows and movies, but he also created this world or us to visit and explore.  Our God is an awesome God, and the world is his green screen!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Without You

Today was a long day.  I spent 13 hours at church.  I was there from 7:30 am to 8:30 pm.  It was such a long day but very productive.  Part of my day was spent shooting video for the upcoming retreat.  This retreat will be awesome! Everyone did a great job, but I really like working with Alex, Sarah, Danielle, and Selena on our Without You video.

After spending about 30 minutes working out what we were going to do for the video, the girls did an amazing job with their scenes and did exactly what they wanted to do.  I couldn't be happier with the end product.  They each participated and made it a lot of fun but it was still very spiritual at the same time.  It is fun when you can take a modern day pop culture song and without changing any of it, make it into a Christian song for a youth retreat.

Each of the girls have their own style and range in age from 10th grade to 6th grade.  They each listen to different music, watch different TV shows, enjoy different sports and activities, but they all have one thing in common, they are all Christians and love our youth group enough to spend part of their Sunday afternoon helping me film stuff for our retreat. 

On top of everything they did today, Danielle has volunteered to edit the video for me.  She is amazing with that stuff and I am truly blessed to have her helping me do things!  Thank you Danielle :) 

I think about it sometimes and I wonder if I would of done the things my youth do for me.  Would I have given up my Sunday afternoon to make a video that would be seen by the whole youth group at a retreat?  Would then spend the rest of afternoon hanging out at the church until youth group?  Would I have dedicated all the time and energy that I ask them to dedicate to things we do whether mission work or things for the youth program?

I would hope I would but my honest answer is probably no.  That is what is so awesome about our kids.  They do so much and are such a big part of the program.  I know that I do what I do for them, but the honest truth is that I couldn't do it without them.  So thank you girls for all your help, I couldn't do it without you!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Original Survivors

When the TV show Survivor first came out I absolutely loved it.  I watched it every week wondering what was going to happen next and who was going to deceive who.  I wanted to be on the show and survive on the land while trying my best to survivor not only the environment but the people as well.  The show has gone on for many years since then.  Each year new contestants take their turn to try and survive the show.  There are much more devious people that are worried about who to have as allies instead of worrying about playing the game.  Still can you imagine having to live on the island or in the isolated jungles and deserts they put them in?  They have to learn to survive but only for a month or so.  What if you had to do it for 40 years?  That is why I think that the Israelites and Moses were the original survivors.

After having escaped Pharaoh's army, they are thrust into the desert to try and find the promised land.  This is a short trip in fact it only takes 40 years.  So why they wonder the desert, they have to survive on their own.  This is a task because their game didn't involve voting each other off or winning games or immunity or food, their game was based on pure survival.  This also was not a contest of 20 people, there were millions of Israelites roaming the desert.  They had to stay together and try to survive.

The thing is they never would of been in this situation if they had listened to God in the first place.  Even after everything that Moses showed them and provided for them, they still did not believe.  This is true of the current version of the game Survivor.  They contestants don't believe in each other, they are lying, scamming, and plotting their way to victory.  If the Israelites had only listen to Moses, they would of been in the promised land way before they actually made it.  They had strong leadership from Moses and God, but they still need up wandering the desert for 40 years. 

Through out their years in the desert, they became desperate for food and water.  God provides these for them just like the producers of the TV show do whenever the contestants win a challenge or immunity from the vote.  Unfortunately for the Israelites, they don't pay attention to the rules and their food went bad.  They could of had it for as long as they needed it but they didn't pay attention or listen to directions.

Unfortunately I think this happens a lot when it comes to survivor.  In order to survive, people forget about rules and helping each other.  They are worried about themselves and lose track of the true mean of community and love thy neighbor.  So we should be glad that the TV show is only a TV show and that we don't have to try to survive in the desert for 40 years, because who knows how we would act or what we would do if faced with surviving. 

Friday, January 6, 2012

Lost Love

Yesterday a gentleman at my church lost his wife.  They are both in their 80s and have strong beliefs.  She has been battling cancer for awhile now but on Thursday around noon, she went to be with God.  Although I did not know her very well, Ken is an amazing man.  At 85 years old (I think that old) he runs up and down the basketball court with us. He out hustles and beats most of us.  He is in top shape and amazing athlete.  He has competed in the senior Olympics for the past couple of years with his 3 on 3 basketball team.  I only hope to be close to how in shape and healthy he is.

His faith is amazing.  I have never seen someone so grounded in his faith.  When I read emails from him telling me about his wife's condition he never falter from giving God the glory.  He loves her so much.  You can tell by what he says about her and the look in his eyes when he is talking about her.  It is nice to see a couple that is so in love and caring of each other, but it must be so hard to watch someone pass away that you love so dearly.  To see it coming too must make it even harder.

There love and her passing are such a true testament of faith.  If we could all have that faith that we give God the glory until our last breathe here on this earthly plain. That is truly what it is all about and they both were so blessed that they had that and shared it with one another.  Faith is so important and vital part of life.  I feel sadden by the fact that there are people in this world that do not  have a strong faith.

My faith is strong I believe but it can always be stronger.  We all can strengthen our faith as we work through our lives.  Next weekend, our youth group will be having our all youth retreat.  It is a lot of fun and our topic this year is The Game of LIFE:  Living In Faith Everyday.  We are going to talk a lot about each other's faith and hopefully grow in our faith as well.  I love these retreat because I get to spend time with my youth and watch them grow at the same time.  It will be amazing.

So I challenge you this week to take a look at your faith.  To grow in it, to praise God for what he has given you and who he has put in your life.  I challenge you to love your neighbor and forgive your enemy.  Allow God to take over and trust and believe in him.  If we are lucky, we will have the same relationship with God that Ken and JoAnn have with him.  All my love you both and Ken we are all here if and when you need us.  Thank you for every joyful moment you have brought to my life and the love that you show the youth of our church.  God bless you!

P.S. Everyone: I'm BACK!