Monday, January 27, 2014

Little Brother in the Middle Seat with the Hump Between His Feet

Please stop kicking me!
My annoying little brother in the middle seat with the hump between his feet. 
Your attention span is short and I don't really have time for you. 
Sister is watching this month's latest pop craze and I just want to play Super Nintendo. 
We're only two hours in to this eight hour car ride and I can already tell we're going to be mortal enemies when this trip is through. 
After last year's fiasco where sister threw my blue comb out the window, I'm not prepared for another vacation of terror. 
And I just know deep down in my gut that as soon as we get to the hotel, mom and dad are going to suggest we share a bed. 
Oh this nightmare just won't end. 

And I know, that one day you'll be the one by my side, as some unknown man walks to me my future bride. 
You'll tell a joke as my best friend, about disastrous car trips from way back when. 
And I know that you'll always be there for me
And if you have a bully, he'll have to mess with me. 
And that's all great and I'm looking forward to it. 
But right now... Please stop kicking me!!! 
My annoying brother in the middle seat with the hump in between his feet.  

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Fields Of Grace

"And I started to wonder if He (God) had been with me all the time and I just hadn't allowed myself to see the beauty and breadth of His reach because of the narrow lens I had been given through which to see Him." - Hannah Luce

I read Fields of Grace last week while on vacation. It was an easy and compelling read. I picked it up on  a whim because it looked interesting enough. I think if I had done more than look at the cover of the book I would've passed by it. If I had seen it was written by Ron Luce's daughter, I might have ignored it. I'm glad I didn't. 

I'm not sure I've ever read a book where I've thought "holy sh!t" as much as I did while reading Fields of Grace. Part because Hannah's story and personal tragedy is heartbreaking and at times hard to read. Mostly because some of her life experiences make me wince and I find it hard to believe that anyone would think books by CS Lewis and Donal Miller to be rebellious and not good for a christian teen to read. 

I think Hannah's experience and where her relationship with God went represents a lot of people I know. Some have walked away from their faith and some have just expanded and shifted their view of God. It's interesting to hear someone who was their and in the trenches of Teen Mania talk about questioning God and having to figure out what she believes. And I don't have any hard feelings for Ron and his ministry. My life was deeply impacted by Teen Mania and Acquire the Fire is where I rededicated my life to God. But I also know that Ron and me wouldn't see eye to eye on everything if we sat down today. 

Hannah didn't "hear" God. She felt abandoned and alone. Because she didn't feel and connect with things the way her parents and those around her did, she felt lost. And I relate. Because I was there. It's a struggle I think a lot of people my age have felt. What do we do when our perception of what God is doesn't match up with our convictions and what we see? It was a struggle of mine and I related to Hannah's struggle. 

I also enjoy that the book doesn't end with any sort of declaration. Yes, the book is more about her struggle and the tragic plane crash in which she was the lone survivor. But it would've been an easy and a nice happy ending to have Fields of Grace end with Hannah talking about how she's come back to God and has clarity and life is awesome and her relationship with God is perfect. But it doesn't...

And I love that! What we get is a girl who no longer needs painkillers and alcohol to help numb her pain and grief and is finally able to just be comfortable in her new skin and with her scars. She's still trying to figure out the role that faith and God play in her life and what both of those look like. And I appreciate that. Because it's real. 

It's not a conventional happy ending but it's a resolution that leaves you feeling satisfied and not cheated. 

Fields Of Grace is a great read and I think a lot of people will connect to Hannah and her (spiritual) struggles. She's relatable. And her story is both heartbreaking and inspiring. There is hope....

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Let The Steroid Guys In!

I've said it before and I'll say it again, the greats from the steroid error, even those who were using, SHOULD be in the Hall of Fame.

Let me be clear, I'm against cheating. And the big home run guys who used steroids to hit those ridiculous numbers, were in the wrong. Bu the idea that Bonds, Sosa, and McGwire hurt baseball by using steroids is a little hypocritical.

Baseball thrived on Sosa and McGwire's home run race to break the record.These guys were honored and covered nonstop. They helped bring fans back to baseball after the strike. I, like thousands of others, watched every night to see if one of those guys would hit a home run. We watched and waited for the record breaking home run. It was an exciting summer and baseball made a lot of money on the backs of these guys.

Yes, they cheated and were in the wrong. But they made baseball really exciting and it's a damn shame that they won't be in the Hall. Go ahead and put an asterisk by their names. But them in the Hall!!!

Hall Of Fame

The baseball Hall of Fame just added three new members yesterday and as a Braves fan, it was an exciting announcement. Along with Frank Thomas, former Braves pitchers Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine were added to he Hall of Fame. And both deserve it.

Maddux and Glavine, along with John Smoltz, Chipper Jones, and Bobby Cox, represent my Braves fandom. They're a part of one of the greatest starting trios of pitchers ever. They were a huge part of two World Series appearances, one World Series Championship, and fourteen straight NL East titles. It's a well deserved honor.

The two pitchers will go into the Hall with their former manager Bobby Cox. It's a great trio and I imagine a lot of Braves fans will make the trek to Cooperstown to see all their inducted. I know I want to go.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014


As Christians, we put a lot of focus on being righteous, living righteously.Our lives should reflect righteousness. There are things we should and shouldn't do to live righteous lives. But are we over complicating things?

Abram was considered righteous in God's eyes.

And Abram believed the Lord, and the Lord counted him as righteous because of his faith. (Genesis 15:6)

Abram's faith and trust in God's word was credited to Abram as righteousness. Nothing he did, or said, or didn't do, or din't say... Just his unwavering faith. 

So, like many other things, are we over complicating what God wants for and from us?

Just a thought... 

Friday, January 3, 2014

Counting Your Blessings

It made me happy that as Amanda and I started planning for 2014, we were able to come up with wins from 2013 easier than the loses and heartaches. It was a good reminder of how great a year 2013 was, despite not everything always going the way we wanted.

Of everything that happened in 2013, the obvious big one is that Amanda and I got married!!!

Naturally we threw a crazy awesome party! It's what we wanted. We wanted people to have a good time. And while I can' speak for everyone there... I had a great time!

We then flew over to the island of Santorini in Greece. Oh my goodness... Amazing!!!

Great food, beautiful landscapes, super relaxing. It was a great 11 days and I can' wait to go back!!!

One of my favorite things to happen this year was a new family tradition. Every year we do a Christmas gift exchange among the siblings over the age of 18. It's not really secret Santa because everyone knows who got who. But I had a brilliant idea this year... What if we chose who we were getting a gift for... Draft style! As one can imagine, it was an instant hit. But I couldn't have predicted how awesome the experience would be. Being the first year of the draft, we all drew numbers for our draft position. We had a big board to write down our picks, a Santa hat to wear as you were drafted... It was a lot of fun! We're thinking of ways to improve it next year. But I think it's a success that's here to stay!!!

I read through the Bible chronologically this year. I came away with some deeper insights into the character of God. His heart for the poor, orphans, and widows is evident all through the Old Testament bit was one of Israel's big downfalls. It gives some credence and background to James' statement.

2013 was a great year. I'm super excited for what 2014 has in store!