Good. 

This year I have been reflecting on the simpler things. As a overthinker, I can start with a simple idea and next thing you know I’m trying to solve the hunger issues of post apocalyptic war zones in the far off future. 
But more and more this year, I feel like I’m being reminded of the basics. The fundamentals. 

All of us remember the basics. 

1+1= 2

I before E

Yellow and blue make green. 

And a big one: do until others as you would have done until you. 

Wait? What?

That’s pretty profound, yet it’s one of the first, most basic, simple principals we learn as a child. Where did we forget that? 

When did we decide that we, as Christians, as humans, decide that we could treat others like they are not just as important as ourselves to Christ, to family, to the community?

When did we stop wanting to be treated good, and start treating others bad? 

Good. Such a nice word. So simple. 

Simple is good. 

A few weeks ago I had a “sit down and listen” moment with God. Life was overwhelming at the moment. My dad had been in the hospital for weeks, I was home sick with strep throat, I was missing work, I was stressed about money, my house was a mess, and to top it off I woke up to the crash of all the shelves and rods in my closet falling down. But as I went downstairs, grumpily mumbling I was over the day that had just started, I flung open the fridge and there it was! Staring me in the face was the word simple. It was in a carton of orange juice. I stared at it for a few moments before I pulled it out and poured myself a glass. As I savored nature’s goodness, I felt peace start to wash over me. It was good.

Good. Even songs are being written using that as the primary descriptive word. Of all the ways to describe, exalt, and glorify God. We are using simple words like good. Maybe it’s because we all need to focus on how simple it is. He loves us. He is good. He’s a good good Father. We just need to let Him handle or overwhelming days. And remind us that life in Him is simply good.

2016 has taught me so far

1. Dieting is a fad. It takes a lifestyle change and commitment.

2. Parents need their children as much as children need their parents.

3. Friendship is not always defined by time hanging out, loyalty is more important.

4. Friendly faces can also betray you.

5. Broken hearts heal.

6. New friends are birth from odd circumstances.

7. Blue velvet can make a beautiful sofa.

8. Your body tells you your age.

9. It’s not about being the lead singer. Harmonies can make or break a song.

10. Creating is reviving. It heals wounded souls and I think God made it that way.

11. You’re never too old to try new things.

12. Never turn down a free beach trip.

13. Budgets are hard.

14. Divine appointments are out there, be open to them. 

15. Young people just want to be heard and respected for where they are in life.

16. The media is a horrible weapon used to devide people. 

17. Heroes come in all shapes, sizes and positions.

18. I can still do a pretty awesome heal stretch. 

19. You can’t please everyone. Stop trying.

20. Overthinking is a disease. 

Beautiful chaos.


This year, for Easter, I was privileged enough to get to create the above picture for my church. It was one part of several pieces that fit together to make a complete atmosphere and feeling for the day. And as cool as it was to stand back and see everyone enjoy the art, and the colors and the pictures, it was even cooler when God spoke to me through art. 

I remember working several nights and weekends to make it all work together. With the help of fellow artist, carpenters and just friends. It was tiring. But amazing. 

As Crystal and I slung our paint brushes, we laughed and talked and listened to worship. Below us on pallets, canvas and reclaimed wood walls, a colorful display was birthed. But it was also messy. We had paint everywhere. In our hair (well her’s, I’m bald). My shoes were now designer and our arms were speckled!  It was crazy. The colors and movement, there was no one place to look. Not one place to rest. Constant movement, explosion, colors blending, muddled together. It was chaos.

It was beautiful. 

Like life. There were splatters that hadn’t gone the way we wanted. There were runs. There were puddles. But after it dried, something beautiful happened. As we placed the white cross on the chaos, it calmed your eye. It brought your attention to the center, there was now a focal point. 

And that’s when I started hearing and feeling God speak. He spoke a few words here, and showed me things as I slept. And reminded me of His love over the next few days. I let it muster. I chewed on it. I let it grow and play out before my eyes. 

Life is messy. It sucks sometimes. It hurts. It’s deadly. It’s overwhelming. And for someone like me, I question everything and regret every moment that’s not picture perfect. And my mind races and I can’t focus and I can’t breath and then BAM. 

I see a big white cross. And I’m reminded that this messed up, beautiful, torturous, fulfilling, hard, loving, chaotic life is just the messy backdrop to what God is doing. He’s the focal point. He’s the eye calming, peaceful, perfect cross in the middle of my splatter painted mess. 

And it’s beautiful. 

SOAK

Most who read this will know that my church has a worship service called SOAK. It’s all praise and worship and prayer.

Tonight’s was amazing!!!!

I have always been one that shares way too much information. I think that it’s part of being an over thinker. I over process and over share my thoughts and concerns. And right now, for the past few months actually, I have been going through some really tough, soul searching time. I’m mad. I’m hurt. I’m overwhelmed. Unfulfilled. And exhausted. And tonight at Soak, I told God I wasn’t going to get prayed for. But He had other plans. 

He sent someone to me. And the messenger said exactly what I needed. Nothing profound, but proof that God was listening to little ole me. 

It was great. 

Sometimes you just know He’s listening

I wrote a blog post last week that never shared. It was about a time in my life that I was going through. I was scared and alone and broken. It wasn’t that long ago. But through it all I know I was not alone. And tonight, as I sit here and over think and over question where I am, who I am and what I’m doing I know He who created my heart, hears me.

There is just a great peace in knowing that even when words fail me, He listening. Even when tears fall, He’s catching them. Even when questions and faith and doubt and life is overwhelming, He’s there. Below are exerts of a few songs that speak my heart tonight

When the music fades

All is stripped away

And I simply come

Longing just to bring

Something that’s of worth

That will bless Your heart

I’ll bring You more than a song

For a song in itself

Is not what You have required

You search much deeper within

Through the way things appear

You’re looking into my heart

Listen to our hearts

Oh Lord please

Hear our spirits sing

Oh God, hear us sing

Listen to the song of praise that flows 

From those you have redeemed

We can use the words we know to tell You what an awesome God you are

But words are not enough

To tell you of our love so listen to our hearts. 

Just remember

Just remember

Someone is on your side (Our side)

Our side

Someone else is not

While we’re seeing our side (Our side)

Our side

Maybe we forgot, they are not alone

No one is alone

Someone is on your side

No one is alone

Strays

Strays

Growing up in a blended family you learn to love. Love God, love yourself, love others. We were no different. We spent time at the humane society. We visited nursing homes visiting strangers. We never passed an animal on the streets that we didn’t slow down and assess the situation. 
But it didn’t stop there. My parents took in humans. I have 5 siblings that I grew up with, but I have several that we acquired along the way. Some stayed with us short term and others long term. Some are still part of our lives and always will be. This is one of my favorite things I inherited from my parents. Love. 
As I have grown I have seen this trait blossom. I am so thankful for learning to love others. Regardless of their outer appearance, or financial status, or beliefs, I can love them for who they are to me. My parents instilled so many things into me growing up, but the greatest of these is love.
And I take this very seriously. I love my friends. There are people in my life, that my heart cannot tell the difference between them and biological family. 

I love my youth kids. 5 years into running a small group and I have so many kids that I cherish!!

I love my coworkers. Some more than others. But they are family that I spend 40 hours a week with.

I love people. One of the reason I excel in customer service and in my job is that I love hearing others lives. My smile genuine and so are my tears. 
Who have you shown love to today? 

What’s strays are out there for you to show compassion to? 

It can start with a smile. 

It can start with a listening ear.

And you might be surprised by how it can end. 

Go love.  

Growing Up Blended part 1

Growing Up Blended

God answers prayers
I look back now and all I see is a great life. It’s like when you’ve been staring at one spot in a painting for so long but then step back and see the big picture. Each pigment, brush stroke and even blemishes make up a great master piece. That’s what my blended life is like. A master piece.
For whatever reason or reasons my biological parents got a divorce when I was 3. My dad became a single parent of 4. We were never hungry, never naked, and never died. Our birthdays were not neglected, and Christmas fun. I have so much I could share about the 5 years he was our only caregiver, but that’s another story. 
I will talk about how he made sure we never missed church. I could tell you every bible story in the old testiment by the age of 5. One time the pastor’s wife was vacuuming the stage and my dad walked us in there, sat us down and prayed when she unplugged the Hoover. All that said to make this point, we prayed. We prayed over our pizza we had delivered. We prayer at church like every 15 seconds. And we prayed before bed. In fact for 5 years we prayed the same thing before bed every night.
“Now I lay me down to sleep,

I pray the Lord my soul to keep,

If I should die before I wake,

I pray the Lord my soul to take.

And Jesus can we please have a go cart and new mom.

Thank you,

Amen”
So God was hearing that prayer every night, from 4 children, for 5 years. If you’re curious, that is 7300 prayers He heard over a five year period.

 As you know, we went to church every time the doors were open. And we prayed. We had a routine. Sundays we got up, to church, had lunch, played outside and then went back to church for the night services. One Sunday morning as we were all getting ready for church our dad told us that we were going somewhere special for lunch. We asked tons of questions but he was being very vague. So we just went the the flow. 
After church we loaded up in our Isuzu Trooper and drove to this special lunch. We pulled up to the big 2 story antique house. Think of a southern home and that’s it. Big porch with a veranda. We walked up and this beautiful woman can out in a purple flower print dress with a lace square collar. My dad introduced her to us as his friend Sharon. She had two kids, Tracy and Craig. We all went inside and I was amazed at the house! It was the first time I had seen hardwood floors, French doors and a brass pinned runner that climbed the stairs. 
“I wish I lived here,” I said as I bolted up the stairs to explore this old house.
We all gathered around the big oval dinning table and feasted on homemade fried chicken, fried squash, green beans and potato salad. This was so new to us. We lived with a bachelor. He made sure we were never hungry, but we had dominoes on speed dial and knew the name of every delivery guy they had. We all got to know each other and in my 8 year old mind it was my dad’s friend, who cooked well and lived in a mansion. 
Over the next few weeks and months we saw a lot of Sharon, Tracy and Craig. We went there, they came to our house. We went to her church, they came to our church. It was fun. And then I learned how good God is and that He answered prayers.
It was a Thursday evening, near the end of the summer. The sun was setting and we were outside playing waiting on Daddy to come home. We saw his silver Trooper pull in the drive way and climb the hill. Right behind him was Sharon’s white Oldsmobile. 
As he got out of the SUV and called us over. He and Sharon met us at the back to show us something. He opened the back hatch and there was a red, single seat go- cart!!! We all squealed with excitement. He and my older brothers Andy and Randy pulled the cart out and put it on the ground. We all took turns driving it around the yard for a test drive. And they he and Sharon called us over. 
“Do you guys like the go-cart,” they asked.
“Of course!”

“Yes!”

“thank you” we all rang out.
Then my daddy said, “well you know how you always prayed for a go-cart, you finally got it. And you’re getting a new mom too!”
Excited is not a big enough word for how we felt or acted. 7300 prayers answered right before our eyes.
It wasn’t a long engagement. On October 24 we got married. I say we because we ALL had to stand on stage and take vows to honor and love and cherish each other as a real family. Mom, brother and sister and them us. And it was all caught on tape for them to remind us every time there was a sibling squabble. 
I’ll share more about the rest of that blended master piece in part 2. But I have always loved how we started out.