Neil - Changes and Growth

Growing and Discerning...After the Heart of God

Monday, May 29, 2006



To laugh often and much' to win the respect of intelligent people and affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded."

- Ralph(Ralphy!) Waldo Emerson

A card my mom got me for graduation said this on's great. Of course, she signed it "Love, Mom, Dad, and Xena." Xena, for those of you who know, is our dog they have at home who is RETARDED!! Look at that stupid thing!! yes, I still love her

Sunday, May 28, 2006


Graduated this past weekend...again. Got my Master's Diploma in Christian Leadership from Trinity Seminary...had a GREAT weekend. My mom and Grandma were up here, i ate cheesecake factory, Had a "Texas-Style Barbeque with some nice Brisket that was AMAZING, and just basically had a pleasant time because it was over 70 and sunny the whole time! So, of course, I have to go to a pirate game today to cap it off...any nice weather day means I go to a pirate game! number 6 of the year for me...18 is the goal that i hit last year that i need to beat. Anyways, here's a few pics from the weekend, praise the Lord for the great weather and the great time we all had.

As you can tell, I'm easily distracted in both pictures

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Fortune Cookie

So Monday night, for the season finale of 24, I ordered some take=out I used to do when I was in college all of the time. So the 2 of them mix very well. Anyways, After eating my Sesame chicken, I reached into the bag and pulled out a fortune cookie. Then I looked at the fortune:

"You're intelligence is noticed by many people"

And I found myself saying...

"Yea! Ya know, I've always thought that!"

Then I realized I ALWAYS freaking say that. Really! I mean don't you ALWAYS think the fortunes will come true or are true? I can't lie, I've even went as far to put the fortune in my pocket and carry it around when it says "You'll find a new love" or some crap like that. And this is WITHOUT doing the ever-so-popular adding of the words "in bed" after the fortune!

So I raise this question...Why does Superstition always intrigue us? Why do we not step on cracks, put a dollar bill in our sock when we play a soccer game(yea i did this for a while), not walk under a ladder, break a mirror, or pick up a penny that isn't Heads up?

And Why do I always put myself in a position when I read a fortune cookie that makes it true??


have a great day!

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Accepting Grace and NYC!

As I've been told now at least 6 times from 6 different people, it's been a while since I've written on here! The last few weeks have been CRAZY...the Lord has taken to and from so many different places, physically and emotionally. So let me just update everybody what is going on in the life of Neil the Seal.

I have switched places of employment...after 7 months of working at Trilliant, circumstances needed me to be removed from there, so I have been working odd jobs in and around town the past couple weeks to make a few bucks. Of course....I didn't work as much as I should have. A tall drink of water by the name of Matthew Fletcher came to visit me last thursday, and we had the time of our lives. One thing I have been blessed with in my life is humor...the Lord gave me the ability to laugh in SO many different situations...

So Friday night, I took Fletcher on a date(he'd kill me if he knew I said that...he's a big guy) to show him Downtown Pittsburgh. We went to a pirate game, and then we went and walked around Point State Park, right in Downtown. We had a great time and had a great talk, mainly about Christians' roles in all arenas of the world today. We were then headed don't Carson street towards the South Side for a cup of coffee, and while looking for a place to park I clipped a curb with my back left tire and busted it. I started cracking up...literally. Here I was, with no money, planning on driving my car to New York City the next day, with a flat tire at 11:45 pm on a Friday around hundreds of people, and I was cracking up. What can I say, it was hilarious! Thankfully Fletcher, while he may not have cracked up, also found humor in it. So we changed the tire, and went home. The next day I dreaded the bill when I took my car to walmart, but hey - it's amazing how the Lord works in little ways! turns out I had paid 50 cents when I had the tires put on for a warranty, and the guy behind the counter pointed this out to me(he obviously didn't have to) and it only cost me $8 to get it changed! The Lord has provided for me financially more than I could ever explain over the past 4 or 5 months, and surrounded me with some great people who have blessed me and I can't even begin to tell you how thankful I am for that!

Anyways, SO....the next night, yes, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill. GREAT show. I've had tickets for this for about a decade so it was a great time. Fletcher and I found ourselves two-stepping to some of the fact I had a great conversation with a 39 year old woman who loved to dance, and me, being a "lord of the dance" myself could not turn her down. AFTER the concert, we drove to NYC...yes, at midnight. Within 30 seconds of going through the Holland tunnel, I had made a wrong turn and was on my way back through it again. THAT'S a great way to start a trip! Anyways we had a great time, and here are just a few pictures...we obviously saw everything, but going to a Yankee game and going to the top of the Empire state building, and seeing my good friend Marnie were some of the highlights of the trip...and there were MANY. We had the time of our lives and I am so grateful I had the opportunity to spend some time with a good friend.

Now to some more important stuff...I'm not going to get into incredible detail, but every day I find myself getting more and more upset(and it's NOT a good thing) because I have trouble accepting God's grace. We are supposed to accept it with open arms, and I DO, but I just feel SO undeserving SO many times it's just freaking Frustrating! I look at the MANY ways God has provided for me over the past month...and truth be told I probably wouldn't have made it far without this...and I just really can't understand why. And I know what I'm supposed to say...Just be thankful for what we get and know God will provide...but hat's not what I mean. I mean I have to fully grasp this idea that God really is going to provide for me always. For the first time in my life I was 100% relient on God, and I learned to be able to do this, and NOTHING but good came out of it. I accepted to be an assistant interim youth pastor this summer, and I'm excited about it. I really don't know what I'm going to do after that, and I LOVE That.

Because I know God will take me to a place where He wants me to be. I know this. AND I am SO excited that I DON'T know what I'll be doing and where I'll be!

I know I deserve nothing. I'm a human, and I deserve hell - bottom line. It's by grace I'm here, and by grace that I'm able to do anything...By grace I'm able to go to NYC with a grace I'm able to laugh at financial grace I'm able to be provided grace I'm able to love and be loved. Such great things. SO MANY great things, and I'm just going to continue to make the most out of every thing I've given, because I don't deserve ANY of it...I don't even deserve to feel pain, to suffer....I also see these things as blessings...And I'll leave you with a couple lines from one of my favorite Pat Green Songs(there are many of them)...

"I hear people talk about life all the time, all they remember are times so sad, don't you think that life would be awfully boring, if the good time were all that we had."

"sometimes I sleep with all the lights on, it helps me to appreciate the night"

Think about it...take something away(sadness, darkness) and the opposites(happiness, light) don't really exist.

Here's my final thought on grace...if you went to High school with me..."Neil's thought for the day" if you will =)

We get to live, and I don't mean we get to breath. I mean we get to live. How AMAZING is that. And ya know what, I'm having a great time living.

Love life. Live life.