Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Eric's Top 5 Thanksgiving Moments

Everyone has some great and not so great moments when it comes to the holidays.  We are often with family that we don't see very often so it is often hard to tell what is going to happen from one Thanksgiving to another.  I was thinking back to my family's Thanksgivings and I came up with my top 5 Thanksgiving moments. 

5.  One year my Grandparents on my father's side came to Thanksgiving and decided that we would go to the cafeteria for Thanksgiving dinner.  What a great experience having to wait in line to get your cafeteria turkey and dressing.  Having someone from behind the counter yelling "Meat Veg -a -ta- ble  Roll" at you is so much fun.  The saving grace of that experience was the fact that it was a K and W and they had Chocolate Cream Pie.  Don't go to dinner at the cafeteria for Thanksgiving.  It is not a fun experience.

4.  Another year we ate out.  This time it was at a Holiday Inn buffet.  This was actually an exciting and fun experience.  You could eat as much as you wanted and try anything you wanted on the buffet line.  It was nice to have the opportunity to try different things and enjoy time together without having to worry about cleaning up after.  I love a traditional Thanksgiving experience but for 1 time it was a lot of fun and the food was really good.  I am good with any Thanksgiving experience really as long as I get my mashed potatoes.  I have to have those!

3. When we lived in Clemmons, NC we had A LOT of trees which in turn produced A LOT of leaves.  I can remember one Thanksgiving in particular where we had to rake and move leaves all morning.  It was hard work because we had to move all the leaves from the front of the yard to the natural areas and woods in the back yard.  My brother, father, and I were out there for hours that Thanksgiving moving leaves.  I can remember my aunt and uncle and cousins showing up but we couldn't stop, we had to keep going!  My uncle even came out and gave us a hand.  It was such hard work.  The only thing that was worse than raking and moving leaves was when Dad would order mulch for the yard.  Talk about hard work and the smell well that is a different story. 

2.  A couple of years ago I decided that when I got home to Blacksburg that I was going to make a pumpkin pie from scratch, well as close to scratch as canned pumpkin can get you.  When I got to Blacksburg I stopped at the absolutely huge Kroger and bought the ingredients that I needed.  After I got home and visited with my Mom and Dad for a bit I went into the kitchen and started to put my pie together.  Everything seemed to be going well but I did notice that the pie was a little soupy when we put it in the oven.  My Dad and I were sitting in the study watching Virginia Tech play basketball when we heard a scream from the kitchen.  We both went running to see what had happen to mom.  When we got to the kitchen there was pumpkin pie all over the floor.  Mom had gone to check the pie and noticed it was still not firm and needed some more time to cook.  Unfortunately she pulled the oven shelf out too far and the pie had fallen face down on the oven door and splattered all over the place. We did have to give Mom a hard time about it but Dad went out first think Thanksgiving morning and found us a pumpkin pie.

1.  There was a Thanksgiving when we were kids that got us in a lot of trouble.  Mom had been working hard in the kitchen all day and my brother, my father, and I were all three being brats and joking around too much.  We were really getting on Mom's nerves.  She was telling us to settle down and be quiet but we wouldn't do it.  She finally got us to settle down enough to sit down for dinner.  She asked my brother to say grace.  We all bowed our heads and my brother said "Rub a dub dub thanks for the grub amen!"  My Dad and I cracked up but mom threw here napkin onto the table and ran upstairs slamming the door to the bedroom and locking it.  I remember Dad spending the next 30 minutes or so outside the door trying to get her to come back down.  Needless to say we were good boys for the rest of the meal :)  How did she do it with three boys in the house?  I don't know but I love you Mom and I promise to say a better grace this Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Attitude of a Champion

Yesterday, Philip and I, went to the Duke verses UNC-Asheville basketball game.  It was a lot of fun.  After finding our parking spot (just one wrong turn), we made our way to our seats and watched both teams warm up.  The game was close and a little sloppy at first but Duke began to get hot from the outside and hit some three pointers to start to pull away. 

There was a series in the game where a player from Duke stole the ball and hit a layup, he followed that up with an emphatic dunk and then he nailed a three pointer.  It was an awesome display of his abilities but here is where the problem lies.  After he slammed the ball, he got cocky and did a macho walk toward the crowd under the basket. After hitting the three pointer he put his hands out in the shapes of guns and started shooting at the crowd who of course got loud and excited and shot right back at him.  All this happened with Duke up 25 points on Asheville. 

I understand that these are college kids and they get excited but I have never been a fan of a boastful athlete.  I don't think there is a need for that cocky attitude and swagger after you dunk a basketball or hit a three pointer.  I mean, aren't they supposed to be able to be able to do that?  If he plays for Duke he should be able to hit those shots every game!

Tony Dungy says in his book Uncommon Life: Daily Challenge:

"Be confident in your God-given gifts and abilities, but always avoid pride.  Trying to build yourself up will eventually bring you down.  If you catch yourself with a "big head" today, deflate it by confessing your sin of pride to God."

I agree that you should be very confident in your God-given abilities but remember that they are God-given abilities.  I know that you work hard to be the athlete that you are but you have been given the talents in that area  (basketball, football, baseball, etc.) from God.  He has blessed you and it is up to you use them to glorify him. 

I know that Duke is going to have a great season and rightfully so because they have a great team.  I wish them luck and I hope that Coach K can get some of that showboating under control because if he doesn't they are going to come across the wrong team that won't put up with it and the game could get ugly.

God doesn't sit up in heaven and have a cocky attitude or a swagger about him because he created the world.  If anyone deserves to showboat it is God creator of all.  Let's be humble, let's hit three pointers and dunk basketballs, but lets remember who gave us that ability and act accordingly!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


A couple of months ago Danielle got a job at Chick Fil A in order to start working toward buying a car.  She got the job at the Chick Fill A at North Hills. I like that Chick Fil A a lot, it is one of my favorite restaurants.  While working there Danielle became friends with a senior at Sanderson named Josh Abbott.  Josh has worked there for over a year and a half.  After getting to know Josh, Danielle invited Josh to come to our youth group because honestly Josh wasn't too happy with his.  He agreed and came to his first youth group about two months ago. 

It didn't take long for Josh to fit in.  He was very funny and a really nice guy.  We hit it off very quickly.  After only being there for two youth groups, Josh offered to go to the grocery store and buy over $50.00 worth of canned goods for our feed the 5000 can drive.  He has such a loving and giving heart.  The more he came to youth group the more I liked him.  He came and helped with the Feed the 5000 program and helped with the yard sale.  At the yard sale I talked him into coming to Pilgrimage even though it was his birthday weekend.  The next day he gave me the $65.00 to pay for Pilgrimage. 

Josh continued to come to youth events  and started to build relationships with the other youth.  He even had a count down clock on his cell phone to the start of Pilgrimage.  He tweeted about the event and how excited he was that it was almost here.  Pilgrimage finally came and Josh really enjoyed it.  He worshiped with us, sung with us, and loved the experience.  On Saturday we had a cake for his birthday at our tailgate.  Even through he was fighting a cold and cough and could of been miserable, he didn't let it get him down or ruin his experience.

I am really impressed by Josh.  He is a down to earth young man that knows what he wants and what he believes.  He is strong in his faith and loyal to all of his friends.  I know that if I asked Josh to do something he would do it and wouldn't question me.  I loved watching him sing and see the emotion in his face as he worshiped.  Josh knows what he believes and doesn't waver from his beliefs.  I wish that I had that kind of faith at his age.

Josh wants to go to Liberty after he graduates from High School.  He wants to continue his faith journey and recently started a blog called: God Drives a Truck:  I am excited about rest of this year and continuing to build a relationship with him.  I am excited to watch him continue to grow!  I know that it will be a short time before he leaves for school but I can tell you that he has already enriched my life!

Thanks Danielle for bringing Josh-o! 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Is God in your Cell Phone...

This weekend we went to Pilgrimage.  Pilgrimage is a wonderful youth event where over 5000 youth gather together to worship through music, skits, videos, testimonies from youth, and a keynote speaker.  It is amazing to be a part of and one of my favorite trips to take the youth on.  A couple of years ago we enacted a no cell phones on youth trips policy.  This policy was put into place because at the time the youth were more interested in their cell phones than hanging out with the people that were with them on the trip.

I catch some grief or it now and then from the youth but for the most part they understand and comply.  At pilgrimage this year there were a lot of youth with cell phones around us.  They were on Twitter and Facebook, sending text messages, and making calls.  It was okay when the actual event wasn't going on but you would think it would stop when the music started.  It didn't.  It continued.  It even continued through out everything that was going on.  When there were youth up on stage providing their personal stories of how they came to find Christ there were youth on their cell phones and talking.  When the keynote speaker was on stage sharing the message, there were youth on their cell phones. 

It was very distracting and disrespectful.  What I didn't understand was that there were adults with all these groups and they did nothing to stop their youth from using their cell phones.  In fact many adults were on their cell phones as well.  It was truly a shame.

Why do I tell you this? I tell you this because I wasn't the only one that noticed the disrespectful use of cell phones and talking that was happening during the event.  Our youth noticed it.  They would tell me after each session how distracting and disrespectful the other youth were who were using their cell phones.  They even mentioned the adults on their phones. They couldn't believe that they were engaged in the message that our dynamic speaker was bringing. 

I know that I made the no cell phone rule but when the youth themselves see first hand why that rule is in place it validates it.  I think it was wonderful that all those youth were there and hopefully through their talking and cell phone usage they still received a message.  I know that our youth did.  I can tell by the tears that were shed during the Saturday night session that our youth heard the message and accepted it. 

I know that you can find God in your cell phone but when he is right in front of you with open arms, put the cell phone away!