Neil - Changes and Growth

Growing and Discerning...After the Heart of God

Monday, January 30, 2006

I have just one statement to say to start this week...
Troy Polamalu is a stud, there is no denying it...but....

I'll say it - not to upset people, but just because. Seahawks - 27 Steelers - 24 Expect a big game from Bobby Engram. He's an ex-Bear. And my boy.All steelers fans think the game is as good as won. Confidence is not cockiness. The city has just become to darn cocky. They should win - they are favored to win - but I think this is the year of the Seahawk. We'll find out - I am bold enough to state my honest opinion of how the game will end.Actually, to be honest, I am still hoping for a miracle that involves the Chicago Bears coming in and steeling the Lombardi trophy, but I'm not sure if that's gonna happen or not. One can only hope...Blitz Big Ben, and he won't be able to handle it. Expect the 'hawks to come with the Pressure. The question is, will Big Ben be able to handle it, or hang is head? If this season is at all an indication, sources would point to surrender. BE ready Tommy - you never know...

I love Pittsburgh, I love the people and the city. but that doesn't change that I think the steelers will lose. IN fact...I think somehow, someway, Super Bowl XX will be repeated, and the Bears will win. THAT would be a dream come true....and Mike Ditka will be back, and be hoistered above a crowd and carried off of the field...what a beautiful thing...

You won't handle the blitzes Big Ben, so hang your head...Maybe next year you'll get that one for the thumb - Lets go Buccos!!! (I do love the buccos - but it is the year of the CUB!)

Thursday, January 26, 2006

The car, the Hummer and the Jr Bacon Cheeseburger

So...if you know me you know that, well, I'm kind of an idiot. So here's a nice little story for you...

Yesterday, My boss, Dan Hoey, who is the man, asked me to drop off the biggest bottle of Wine I've ever seen off at a house - it was purchased at a charity auction. So I said "Sure! I'll do it on my way home." Of course it started snowing like crazy that afternoon...messing up the roads and everything. I get to the house, no problem(it's a HUGE house by the way...not surprisngly...I mean this was a BIG bottle of wine!), and leave my car running and run up to the front door. I have a 2 minute small talk conversation with my guy, run back to the car, and get, wait. The door is locked. If you know me, you know that I NEVER lock my car, so this was ridiculous...I must have hit the lock button with the HUGE box or something. there I the middle of nowhere, at a huge rich man's house, whom I have never met before this day, in blizzard-like conditions(My cell phone, of course, was also locked in the car). So I have to walk up to the door, tell him what happened, and sit while I wait for a locksmith to call(We gave a coathanger a go...yea, it wasn't happening). So I sat in the guy's study, read the newspaper, and laughed at myself, as I tend to do more often than I'd like to admit. A half hour and $70 later, a guy like this guy up here came to get me in - it took him about 2 minutes, and I was in my car, driving home. But happens, I really wasn't too was just an unfortunate situation, and I don't feel I could have done anything to avoid the situation. It'll be funny in a month when I don't care about $70 anymore! Hey - thats 70 Junior bacon cheeseburgers, or 70 Jr. Frostys!

On a lighter note, today I was driving down Blackburn Road to I-79 as I do everyday for work. The roads were a bit icy, so I was going the speed limit instead of 50 over. I was followed by a hummer - none of this H3 crap...A real hummer. If you've ever driven in and around Sewickley you know this isn't uncommon. But every time I checked the rear view mirror, there it was - I could speed up, and put a littled distance between us, or take a turn really sharp - but there it was. Maybe that's what God is in our life. He is there to guide us - to push us. And no matter how much we try to run away from Him, He's always gonna be there - right in our rear view mirror. Keeping us in check. When you sin, what's the first thing you do - or should do at least? - confess. You see God in that rear view mirror, and know that he just saw what you did.

So I'm gonna keep that hummer right there in the rearview mirror, and not forget it's there.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Blue Like Jazz, part 2

This is the second half of the BLUE LIKE JAZZ piece I was writing – if anybody cares --

--Tuesday, Dec. 27

Well, the eating frenzy has continued. I am fat. Next subject…

Today the weather was beautiful…it was sunny and got up to about 50, so I spent a lot of the day outside hiking around, up to the top of the mountain and down to the lake. Adam’s Uncle, Aunt, brother and fiance, and cousins are here, so I am really “that guy” being the dark skinned non-family member, just hanging around the house…but I make them laugh so I’m hanging in there…Oh yea, and Adam passed out in the bathroom last night. Poor guy…

Anyways, I’m just about done with Blue Like Jazz, and I’ve sort of been scared lately of the material. It’s a great read and I think I can relate to it a little too much actually. The reason it’s kinda scary is because it isn’t the Bible, and I do a lot of the things that Miller says are fine, and I’m not really sure that they are.

Anyways…on page 60…really good stuff, and relatable for me because it is something I went through in a similar fashion, as I’m sure many people experience. Miller says:

“I seemed to have been provided answers to questions I had yet to ask, questions that God sensed or had even instilled in the lower reaches of my soul. The experience of becoming a Christian was delightful.”

He goes on in the next paragraph to say that he doesn’t feel Joy is long term – that it is a temporal thing. This is what scares me. The Bible teaches us that Christ can provide us with lasting joy, and I have been trying and trying to experience this joy, but I feel exactly as Miller does…it comes in spurts, and never lasts; however, it always comes back. I wasn’t sure at first if this was an acceptable conclusion to draw from God’s love, but I think it is. Why do I become unsatisfied, or why am I not always comfortable with this “lasting” joy that I am promised? Because I screw it up – I think about the times that I am not joyful, and those are the times that I fall into temptation, and feel distanced from God. God wants to give me joy, and I have to let him.

Anyways, back to the quote above. Miller said that “the experience of becoming a Christian was delightful.” Absolutely. I can’t remember a time feeling more joyful then that moment when I became a Christian in Wichita, KS. I was new! I was forgiven – I was part of a Kingdom that was built, and it was so easy. While I have been more satisfied in recent days than back then, I have yet to experience that level of joy again…which worries me. It should be easy right? My problem is a little bit of pride, and a little bit of unacceptance. I don’t lack this feeling of joy because of my lack of faith, its because of my disgust with myself. In order for us to be fully satisfied in God we have to realize that we are going to screw up, and we have to accept the grace of God…which means I need to accept God’s forgivness of me. It’s hard to do, but in the words of Brooks & Dunn, “it’s getting’ better all the time.”

On page 86, he gives a brief explaination of his view on love, and having been infatuated emotionally and physically with girls before(or I guess I should say "women" now as I've learned - since they tur 16 they dont like to be "girls" anymore - of course my mom loves it when I call her a girl because it makes her feel younger!), as many of us are, I can relate. When I first became a Christian, as I said, I was happy. I did nothing about it. 2-3 years went by before I really understood what it meant to be happy. I let emotions, pride, “lack of” humbleness, get in the way. One thing I feel I did do well is to love others, something that has resonated deep within me for as long as I can remember…and now it has such more meaning.

Anyways, for the last year I’ve been trying to discipline myself in my spiritual life – trying to set time aside to pray, read the word, etc. But it didn’t really change my behavior. I learned more, sure, but let’s be honest – about 99% of the time I know what I’m supposed to and not supposed to do, and reading the Bible wasn’t going to change that, but I knew I was supposed to be reading the Bible - So I did. I then think about the way I behave in general. I am always me. I used to actually take pride in who I was – before I was a Christian. I did what I wanted, when I wanted, and loved doing that. I wanted to be me, but that meant being somebody else. Does that make sense? Miller wrote and it struck me…as I said before, I’ve went through so many of these phases:

“Everybody wants to be fancy and new. Nobody wants to be themselves. I mean, maybe people want to be themselves, but they want to be different, with different clothes or shorter hair or less fat. It’s a fact. If there was a guy who just liked being himself and didn’t want to be anybody else, that guy would be the most different guy in the world and everybody would want to be him.” The thing is, no human can accomplish this. Jesus Did, but although we want to, we can’t. For me, I didn’t want to be myself, I wanted myself to be different than anybody else…I just wanted to be what everybody else wasn’t. But that wasn’t who I was, that was who I was trying to be.''

If I had feelings of love come over me, for a woman, do you think I changed my behavior? Maybe not entirely, but of course I did…come on now. The stare of a beautiful woman’s eyes that you have strong feelings for can level you, there is no denying it. Anybody who says “no woman is going to change me” is out of their mind, or they have never really cared about a woman. She won’t necessarily change who you are, but you better believe you are going to act different. Even if it’s just "not feeling good" when your friends are going out(to maybe do something with her of course), or paying attention to how you smell, how you eat, or even buying something for yourself without noticing that woman at home who you adore and who adores you, and putting her needs before your own. And it’s a wonderful feeling.

Miller uses the analogy of Lucentio’s pursuit of Bianca in "The Taming of the Shrew"(Shakespeare), one of my all-time favorites. If you haven’t read it and love sappy love stories(its funny too), it’s a great lesson. Kindness, patience, and love are all that is needed to win his bride. That's it - sounds easy doesn't it - yea right. These things make me think of my relationship with God, and how I can allow my behavior to change because of Him. I couldn’t change my behavior on my own for anything…Even when I was disciplining myself. But falling in love accomplished all of that for me. When I began to fall in love with a woman, my behavior changed. You realize that another person’s needs are so much more important than your own, and that you actually want to please them. That is what Miller says we need to do with God.
“By accepting God’s love for us, we fall in love with Him, and only then do we have the fuel we need to obey.”

The reason this scared me is because this lesson isn’t something that can be accomplished through the Word, or just through prayer, although it helps. I have to accept God’s love. That’s all. If I do that, I fall in love with him, and realize the importance of Him and put His needs, and therefore essentially every other person’s needs, for my own. Now that is a goal worth striving for. I want that fuel. I need that fuel.

Miller’s last 2 sentences in chapter 7 is beautiful…especially the last line.

“In exchange for our humility and willingness to accept the charity of God, we are given a kingdom. And a beggar’s kingdom is better than a proud man’s delusion.” random fact: the picture of shakespeare is the only one of him known to exist - all others are adaptations or recreations of this Yea i know, who cares

Friday, January 20, 2006

Camels - watch out they spit

We started our new class this morning, called "Engaging Contemporary Culture." It should be really interesting...this week's readings were about the role Christianity plays in art. The readings included writings by Begbie, Steve Turner, as well as the speech given by Aleksander Solzhenitsyn after winning the Nobel Prize in literature.

We also started How to Read the Bible for All it's Worth, which was very interesting. Betty Douglas, our instructor, thought it is a good read for ALL books, not just the Bible. It brings up the idea of reading with exegesis, which is "the careful, systematic study of the Scripture to discover the original, intended meaning." I recommend reading this if you ever struggle with reading the Word. Which is most of us! The example they gave in the book is the story in Mark, Matthew and Luke of Jesus saying that it is easier for a camel(watch out, they spit) to go through the eye of a needle rather than for a rich man to get into heaven. Fee and Stuart(the authors) say that in reality it is widely believed(and I had thought so as well) that there was a gate in Jerusalem known as "the Needle's eye." But apparantly according to the authors there is no historical evidence to suggest any evidence supporting this myth until after the 11th century. Therefore Jesus most likely was in fact referring to an actualy needle, which of course it would be impossible for a camel to enter. Just an example of the importance of "exogesis."

The one "take-away" I had was something Professor Douglas said to us. She referred to her apporoach to Christianity, which is very similar to my belief, but she worded it beautifully. She quoted Matthew 18:3 -

"And he said: 'I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven'"

How wonderful. We MUST live our lives like 5-year olds. What Mrs. Douglas was referring to is that we must be willing to accept the fact that we are going to get ito children often do, in the kind of trouble that we would need help to get out of. Jesus gets us out of that trouble.

Well I need to run - all nighter with the youth group! Movie, ice skating down town, bowling, lazer tag, and Hopefully some ritalin for the kids! Oh who am I kidding, I'll need some too.

UPDATE: - pictures from the night that ended at 7am...I'm still tired. And I definitely acted like a 5 year-old. Me and The Raj-mahal

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Tristan and Isolde

Nobody will go see this movie with me. Come on...they said in the preview..."Before Romeo and Juliet...there was Tristan and Isolde..."

That's all I needed - I'll see it by myself for crying out loud! I like this video though...when the girl is walking on the beach and you can see the ripples(at the end) - it's great. and the song has a nice little "Romeo and Juliet" theme going on.

Gavin DeGraw - We Belong Together

Monday, January 16, 2006

What makes a 'champion?'

Alright...I was driving to work this morning, doing what I always do and started thinking...which is always trouble. Nobody can know what I do in my car on the way to work every morning unless I tell them. I could do whatever I want, and nobody would ever know. Of course I'm sure you can guess what I was doing...Yea...I was singing at the top of my lungs, looking in the rear view mirror at myself, my eyebrows dancing around, my right arm pointing out the windshield to the thousands of people I was singing to. Yea...I'm THAT guy. A nice little escape. Don't act like you haven't done it before....I just may do it a little more often than most people...I love it. And I also have realized that I may be the worst singer in the history of the world.

So...when we were kids, we always were told "God is always watching," right? I started thinking about soccer, and training, and what it took to get ready for a season. One team I was on had the motto:

"Champions are made when nobody is watching."

What did this mean? It wasn't what you did while you were with the team practicing that made you a better player - it was how hard you were pushing yourself on the last half mile of that 5 mile was how many push-ups you did at home every night before you went to bed. THAT is what drives an athlete...what he does when he is alone. It's not hard to push yourself when a coach is screaming up your tail(and coaches LOVED to scream at me) - but it is harder when you are saying to yourself "I could just stop now...nobody would know." And only you and God know if you stop. But you don't get any better by stopping. You prepare for when you are around others. You are preparing for the game, you are preparing for the season. And when I was younger...preparing for that dream of holding the World Cup(I may never win it...but...I'll do the next best thing, and go watch it this summer!)

Our faith is the same way: "champions are made when nobody is watching." It's not hard to go to church, to pray at church, to believe in God at Church. But when you are at home, and by yourself...that's where our faith is tested. How do we handle those situations? And when we give - we should almost always give when nobody is watching - give anonymously, give generously. This puts us in God's favor. You are preparing for the game. You are preparing for the tests. You are preparing for temptation, and for trials. Read this passage - Matthew 6:1-4:

"Be careful not to do your 'acts of righteousness' before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.

So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. "

"Champions are made when nobody is watching"

You may not when the World Cup, Like I did when I was 8, but you can still win the ultimate prize...

Thursday, January 12, 2006


I also watched a few episodes of "Friends" season 9 DVD last night(yes we own them all). I love Friends. IT is the only show that I can put in, watch by myself, and actually laugh out loud. You know the moment I'm talking about....when you just start laughing out loud, and you look over to see if everybody else saw the same thing, then realize that you are by yourself. What an awesome moment that is. I know it's happened to you, i think it's hilarious when it happens to me.

Being content

My boy Charles Stanley said a simple but great thing this morning on the "In Touch" I listen to everyday. Thinking about the times I spend worrying about people - I love people and have a passion to know people - I started thinking about times when brothers and sister all failing. When do we point this out to them? What can we do to help? How can we tell somebody we care without sounding like a hypocrite because we are all sinners?

Stanley made it clear and it makes sense - referring to a story of Paul's journeys through his discipleship. When I am broken before God, this is one of the best places to be. Why? Because I'm learning something - even if it is hurting me. Here is the point. God often tries to teach us things through pain and suffering. If somebody is screwing up, or sinning, and it is causing them pain, maybe God is trying to teach that person something in that situation. So why get in the way of what God is doing? Sometimes people need to hurt to get God's message across. We have to accept this and not get in the way of God's work, otherwise we will just become stumbling blocks, and can often get hurt in the process. Prayer should always be the first option. But we must understand that we are NOT God, and it is not our job to fix problems - that's what he loves to do!

ANYWAYS... Love.


Last night I performed a typical "Neil" ritual and worked out, showered, ate, and threw on a romantic Comedy..."Love, Actually..." (with another pretty girl, Keira Knightley[from Pirates of the Caribbean] ...she's no Rachel McAdams, but she's pretty. Although maybe a bit too skinny...)I had seen it before but am the guy who watches movies more than once. Now I am not the typical Christian, who reads and reads and READS book after book after book about Christian dating, how to tell if a person is right for you, etc. I put my faith in God and try not to discern too much. YES, I am single. hahaha. I just don't see how any of these things can really help. I believe in the heart, and God is in the heart. Therefore it helps guide me when it comes to "romantic relationships." - I don't necessarily think it is worth talking about too much...or it is pretty simple to me - by listening to our hearts, we are listening to God. THinking too much always used to get me into trouble, and I am learning when to use my head, and when to use my heart. To take a quote from the movie "Road Trip," and my friend Paul who has said it before:

"Worrying is like a rocking chair. It takes you back and forth, but gets you nowhere."

We are supposed to be content in every situation we are in. The great passage from Phillipians 4:11-13 says:

"I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength."

Paul - that crazy cat - he really knew what he was talking about. Just be content. I am single right now, making a little bit of money, and studying things I should be studying, and I am loving it and want to be doing that right now. Last year I was in college and was playing soccer and loved and wanted to be doing that. 3 years ago I was working and was NOT content with doing that, and I wasn't happy as a result of it. I may not always love what I am doing, but I will try to be content and understand that I can do everything through him who gives me strength. I know we hear this verse ALL the time, but we should look at its context and what it really means. Be content.

This picture is my favorite scene from the movie...when the writer proposes to the Portugese woman while she waits on tables...and the sister, who is overweight, is told by her father in Portugese..."Shut up, Mrs. Dunkin' Donuts 2003!" either that, or when the cute kid runs to find his girl in the airport...and afterwards gives his dad a big hug...the look on his face is priceless.

Okay, I love Top Gun, Rocky, and NFL football...just so I don't get any crap for this.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Oh what a Beautiful morning

I'm not sure how much water I drank so i started counting the number of times I "went # 1" Yesterday before 5 - the total was 9.

This morning, being it was 60 degrees, it had rained last night and the sun was peeking through, while I was walking into work I found myself singing "Oh what a beautiful morning...oh what a beautiful day...I've got a wonderful feeling, everything's going my way..." Is everything going my way? Heck No....I was just in a good mood. But I got to thinking...I could sing that song myself everyday - because everyday I am blessed simply by being awake. Will I sing it everyday? Probably not, but who knows? You know how I am....

A little Kenny Chesney for your viewing. One of my favroite videos. Love it! Can't wait to learn to surf!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Who's your daddy?

So...Last night I was at the pharmacist, and I was waiting a while. SO, I was of course conversing with everyone in sight. The pharmacist had accidentally given me the wrong fax number, as I had been waiting for an insurance fax for about 30 minutes. we got a laugh, and she was finally filling the prescription about 2 hours after I got there, and this lady with her 2-3 year-old in a shopping cart came up and stood beside me. All of the sudden the kid points at me and starts yelling...not saying, yelling. "Daddy! Daddy! DADDY!" I look at the kid, then look at the pharmacist, and say "Gee, this can't be good." She started cracking up. Then the mother said to the son - "HOney your daddy has blonde hair and blue eyes." I mean, I can't wait to have kids, but on my own time! I don't want somebody else's son! Moral of the there is some guy out there with blonde hair and blue eyes who wants to beat my face in. Probably looks like this guy here on the right.

Oh yea...and I am trying to see how many 16 oz. cups of water I can drink today before 5. The over/under is 11. Any takers? I'll let you know how it goes.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

My Girl, My God, and My Brothas

So I'm starting to see signs...of mine and Rachel McAdams' love going to the next level. I went to see a movie with my parents and grandmother and brother today(im in Indiana visiting them) and after resistance I talked them into seeing The Family Stone, which of course, she is in. It is by the way, the ultimate chick flick, with a few laughs and a few know, the usual. But then we come home, and my brother talks my mom into watching another movie...none other than "The Wedding Crashers." - Ironically enough, THERE she is again! Gotta love that brown hair and blue eyes.... and down here below, I love the T-shirt/sweatpants look...and I know...all girls hear the song "Comfortable" by John Mayer and say to themselves "That's me! I need a guy who can love me like that!" when they hear the lyrics "Grey perfect..." - He's just the typical college guy that all girls just lovehuh? bushy long hair, plays the guitar...tall and slender...I may be the opposite of all of those, especially the tall and slender part! Eh, they[college girls] will grow out of it...and the when then do, the Seal will be there...

Anyways, I have TONS that has been on my mind lately, but I won't write about all of it. I was thinking while walking home from our roundtable dinner Thursday night at the Wicker's residence...a VERY nice Sewickley couple that has done alot for the Fellows program.

It occurred to me: I've never heard "God's voice." I realize this is a controversial subject, but I don't hear it. I'm saying this because I know lots of Christians and non-Christians think about this - and they think its a bad thing if you can't hear it, or Non-Christians are told that God speaks to people all the time, which can be misleading because they don't think they'll ever hear it. I don't. I don't hear distinguishable words...I don't hear these things - but that doesn't mean I don't feel them. I have a conscience...and after a long conversation with my boy and roommate LANEY he made it clear as we reviewed through the Good Book that the Bible definitely states a separation of our conscience and the "voice of God." My conscience definitely says things to me...if I say something mean and am walking away, it tells me to turn around and apologize....or if I'm sitting in a room alone, I might get the inclination to pray or to go out or something. But that's okay. I have a longing - a longing that is promised to me...a longing for God. All humans are given a longing in my opinion for something. Many of us fulfill that with other things, but I think we are supposed to long for God and God alone. Just because I don't hear God's voice doesnt mean that I'm doing anything wrong, or that it doesnt exist. Our pastor Geoff said he believes some people can hear God sometimes, and some people can't. That works for me, if that makes sense. I thought maybe there was something wrong with me - either my faith wasn't good enough, or i wasn't really a Christian at times, because I couldn't "hear" God telling me what to do - but that doesn't mean he isn't showing me the things I should be doing.

anyways thats just me done. I've also thought alot about the idea of being happy. I always felt selfish praying for myself, or even sometimes just being happy. But the more I read, the more I realize, in the words of Jonathan Edwards -

God is glorified not only by His glory's being seen, but by its being rejoiced in.

It makes sense - God is most glorified with us when we are most satisfied in him. And when we are happy, and joyful, we ARE satisfied in him...or at least we should be. God wants us to be Basically it's nice! I can strive to be happy, and joyful, in order to glorify God. what a great life.

Go bears - next week the playoffs begin, and I'm not gonna lie. I'm pumped. Probably to the point of it being unhealthy. But so be it.

This is a picture of me on a happy day, one of the MANY I've had - Paul and fletcher, the guys on the left(I would call each a "brotha from anotha motha[brother from another mother]") had girls sign their I had to show them up and let them sign my chest...this was 3 years ago I think. Gotta love it. Have a great day, I'm done rambling....for now...muahahaha

and I know i Look mexican in the cowboy hat....I love the big guy

Thursday, January 05, 2006

And I've been singing alot of Jeremy Camp lately...its a good CD...but he's no Paul Simon.


Why is it when somebody asks you "how are you doing today?" and you say, "Fine thanks, how are you?" 90% of the time THEY DON'T ANSWER - and you are left to walk away, thinking to yourself, "What Just happened?"

I think they should have a TV show called "Johnny Monkey." And the lead detective is a monkey. That way, everytime the criminal could say "I'm not gettin' caught by no monkey."

But then he would. I don't think I'd ever get tired of that.

"If you be my bodyguard...I can be your long lost pal. I can call you betty. And Betty when you call me you can CALL ME ALLLL!!!! Cal me Al!"

- Paul Simon - if you havent heard this song, listen to is goofy and will brighten up the darkest day. If you've seen the video, its the one with Chevy Chase. Thanks Mandi - this is a shout for you!

In this Pic - You've heard the expression "ace in the whole." - Mandi had three ladies! she sent me packin' In the words of Pepper Brooks from Dodgeball, I thought to myself, "I'm shocked!"

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Orange Bowl and Knife-throwing

Alright...after staying up until 1 am watching the Orange Bowl, and hearing that the 12 remaining miners in a west virginia mine were found alive...I went to bed at piece. I wake up to learn that only one is alive. Im not pointing any fingers, but I can't imagine the emotions that the family members of the victims went through. GEEZ! Somebody has to think before saying things sometimes ya know - but in the words of the governor..."we were hoping for 12 miracles, and we got 1." Be thankful for that I guess.

You ever feel as if you can sleep for 20 hours straight? I've felt that way for 4 months. And i don't stay up til 4 am anymore...well...usually. Man I feel like such an idiot sometimes...I do the stupidest things. I know they're stupid, do them anyways, then feel bad about it afterwards. Anyways, enough whining and randomness.

I'm trying to learn God's will for my life ....surprise we all are. In Matthew 6:25-34:

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life...But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."

What this is saying is almost too simple. God provided people, you and me, with food, clothing and shelter - and did the same for the animals (not clothing obviously) and our lives are much more important than any of this Matthew why worry about the future? real easy to say, not easy to do, I know. But I started thinking about patience, and what a great thing patience can be. And realized how bad it can be if we aren't patient and try to fulfill our needs now - whether it be physical, emotional, or relationship needs, immediately. Satan and God say the same things - "Don't worry about tomorrow." Satan says it, then says "fulfill your needs now." God says it, and says "Trust me." in order to do this, we must be patience. Happiness is temporary; joy is long-term. Which is more important? Think about all the times we sin simply because we aren't patient...

NOTE: I screw up so much in my life and write about things such as what I have just wrote about and feel bad, because I know that I screw up alot with things related to what I write every day of my life. I sin - I have, and I will again. it sucks - but I want to make sure people realize that I know I screw these things up alot, just like everybody else. Im a human, it happens. I'm trying to figure out what I'm supposed to do by reading and learning...only then can I begin to do it.

Look at these pictures - Look at that guy - you think i didnt say a cuss word or two after somebody decided to pour a "liquid" on me at 4 am while I was sleeping on a tuesday night my Jr. year?

The second picture down here is me chasing the you know what that did it! was pretty funny AFTER the fact, yes...but I DEFINITELY flipped out in a way I probably am not supposed to - and EVERY one of you would have done the same thing! I was so freaking mad...I walked calmly down the stairs, walked into the kitchen, calmly opened a drawer, and I calmly yet vigorously threw a knife at him - no kidding. Basically, what I am saying is yes...lots of the time...I SUCK. And what's worse, some punk had the nerve to take pictures of the whole ordeal.
But think about what I could have avoided had I been matter how hard it would be...

Read the key verse again from the above passage from Matthew 6:

"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well"

When I hear this, I think of all the times I don't put the kingdom first - and I'm sad because I don't feel worthy to ask for anything - but I still ask for it because i know I have to - and I will continue to do so. again, I must learn to be allow myself to be loved....and to accept grace. THEN i can learn patience. I know I will be provided with what I need...and in the mean time, when I get mad, I have a drawer full of knives to throw.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Fellows, Crap Happens, Atlanta

Just a picture of the fellows - we went to Sears to get this picture taken for Christmas. WOW - yea...the lady behind the counter probably hates us...they thought we were a cult or something. Plus Aaron Andrew and I took all the props and started making ridiculous noises with them, and started saying all kinds of stuff that probably wasn't appropriate. Let's just say we weren't very professional. BUT, we had a great time, had a great time at our xmas party, and let the girls decide which picture to accept because they didn't seem to like any of them. I have more to write about "Blue Like Jazz" - I'm done with it - but I am too lazy to type it all up right now.

A couple thoughts I've had lately...

Have you ever tried to discipline yourself? - Let's say you do something wrong, you sin. This happened to me recently, and I confessed, but still felt uneasy. So I punished myself (i.e. made promises to God) - I don't know if this is what we're supposed to do though, ya know? It's almost as if I'm saying "God can't fix me, so I'll try to fix myself." - but I don't know if that is the case. I just don't feel that I need to do certain things. PLUS, the promise I made would actually help me not fall into the same temptation - okay, I've concluded its okay then under these circumstances!

When flying home from my trip to The dirty south - I got stuck in Atlanta - I always get stuck in Atlanta. No matter what I'm doing or where I'm going, I always seem to end up in Atlanta! It's the 5th time I've been there in 12 months, passing through it or flying through it or whatever. But I was talking on the phone and getting apologies - because i was stuck at the airport for countless hours, put in a hotel for 3 hours, etc. but I didn't feel any type of anger about it - I was saying to myself "I'm getting what I deserve" - I actually found it kind of amusing. The two times that I KNOW I've sinned in the past few weeks (other than unconscious sins such as things we think, etc. I'm talking about actualy actions) Something weird has happened that has made me laugh - the first time was my winshield getting cracked - the next day at 7am actually - and this time the whole airport debocle. YES, I know it may be cooincidence as many people w/ differents types of faith believe - but I LOVE that these things happened, because it keeps me realizing what do and not to do, and who is really in charge of my life. I know some people believe different things, but I ask for these sort of things to happen to keep me in check sadly enough...and I am thankful for them (as long as they aren't too bad...because I know I deserve much worse sometimes!) Crap happens sometimes for good reasons. Deal with it.

I am currently praying for 2 things -

the acceptance of Love, because I don't think I've been doing this succesfully and am not even really confident that I am able to,

and encouraging others - I find sometimes sarcasm and other things get in the way of what I truly want to do, which is encourage people - I know a part of a marriage that is VERY important is being with someone that enourages you, and that you encourage, so that you can grow together. I want to keep becoming that man.

So...The gyms are all much more crowded now. EVERYBODY wants to keep those resolutions. I'm sure 75% of the people on here made some sort of resolution to work out more or eat better. I for one plan to eat more often...yes...but I am going to cut back on the sweets. And I am still planning on running my half-marathon in April, and the hardcore training begins February 1. Anybody want to join me?