October 20, 2017

Legendary Grandparents – Heroes We Always Hope to Be (Poppi, Guy Allison)

The photograph below was taken at Poppi’s last Christmas this past year in 2013 with my sister, Allison. I thought the image depicted the warmth of a unforgettable hug.

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To honor my grandfather in addition to his previous dedication blog post, I also wanted to add this poem. I think the words for the piece speak for all us who have lost a loved one.

Poppi: The Moments Missed

I stare into open space before me in the Corpus Christi sunset skies.
Oh my, I think to myself, how quickly all time flies.
Then in the moment of unsettledness, I remember the warmth
And the gentleness expressed in your last words spoken by your side.

I think of the moments with you missed.
I think of my wedding day, the girl of mine, you never met
The love expressed through my forever wife kissed.

Two more graduations with degrees I continue to earn
The ceremonies you never made with recognition that
I will never stop to study and never stop to learn.

As a man of mature stature, tall, and farmer tanned with one good eye.
He and my blind Boston Terrier, King David, could play the pirate’s patch.
Poppi portrayed the wisdom of a Mister Miyagi and well-formed bonsai.

He served our country in the navy, raised five spirited girls,
Managed a business, adopted a son, ranched a farm,
And often complimented my great good looks and hansom curls.

Like my grandmother from the Cartee clan,
I continue to admire and wonder if I will ever be compared
To the Jesus example set and legend I met in this man.

Some knew him as a friend in his familiar name, Guy.
I knew the grandfather figure of silent strength called Poppi.
Without his presence in our lives, we still fail to say good bye.

He was the stone in our family foundations
As many continue lost in the journey
With no destination in the renewal of Christ inspirations.

The spark between us continues in my heart to electrify
In the angel around I know sitting still on my knees
As reality reminds me of your loss in the tears I cry.

In your honor, I will continually reach for my higher height.
Some doubt me. Some hate me. Some ridicule me.
Grandparents potentially speak beyond the dark with words of light.

After a long fight with demons and the suppression of cancer,
I asked for a miraculous healing for many nights of prayer,
But God planned differently in the spoken words he chose to answer.

I could not appear at your final burial where my heart aches.
My reality cannot accept the truth before me that you are gone.
The moment’s peace before ocean waves crumbles in the water breaks.

I stare into open space before me in the Corpus Christi sunset skies.
Oh my, I think to myself, how quickly all time flies.
Then in the moment of unsettledness, I remember the warmth
And the gentleness expressed in your last words spoken by your side.

August 24, 2014

The Florida Christian Writers Conference – My road trip to a Defining Moment.…

“There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.” –C.S. Lewis

I think we all experience moments in life where God affirms our existence in His Plan where our passions settle into exactly where He will have us. Since my career transition in early December, I have certainly felt thrown up in the air with pondered questions upon questions of where to go and what to think of who I am with my own career direction and ambitions.

While nothing in life is definite, God delivered in big ways two weeks ago. I spent a week with nationally recognized and published names from all over the country at The Florida Christian Writers Conference, many who offered their genuine insight to those of us seeking to become professional published authors, with the intention to make a living with the art of expression. I felt encouraged, affirmed, inspired, and captivated by the multiple narratives of God’s provisions in the lives of others.

In the past three months, I tried to remain obedient in the small tasks of waking up each day and responsibly carrying forward the responsibilities asked of me. I believed something big would prevail in the form of a defining moment. And while tedious at times, over the last three years, I pursued the dream of traditionally publishing a real book. And I believe I am close to where all the sweat, blood, and tears will soon pay off in perseverant ways for following God’s call in my life.

Defining moments in our relationships with God are not meant to be numerous. From lessons poured on me in the last three months, I believe those moments come after deliberate practices to be obedient in small steps towards the Big Picture ahead in our own stories where God will work out his divine provisions.

While the music here in this clip is a little mushier than what would be my first choice, I think this video gives a realistic depiction of what the Florida Christian Writers Conference entails as a whole. While you do not need to watch in its entirety, it gives a positive picture with some of the wonders I experienced just a week ago.

Do Not Have Expectations: No Disappointment Results but Only Joy

 

Our expectations often fall short of our hopes, leading to disappointment, but at the same time, we must give life a chance and people as well. Unfulfilled decisions are not the end of the journey. Our perseverance in patience often brings the best of results and blessings when our expectations go to God. A better process exists that might work for you: do not have any preconceived expectations. In other words, just go with the flow, conscious that God controls what we cannot often grasp. Wisdom comes with realization of this truth. If balance exists between hope and reality and when to experience joy, one must learn to not overstretch expectations no matter the circumstances, even when mental pictures suggest otherwise. Disappointment will more likely not occur. Better yet, joy arises because you never expected something too grandeur to occur. God brings large blessings upon our life when we do not expect him to act in human ways. We sometimes think we know how to play holy. Truth exposed, we have no clue. We should realistically let God play God while we play the role of an acknowledged sinner. Express your wishes to God. Speak your prayer requests into existence. When God answers your prayers, “let Jesus take the wheel” of your car and your life (Carrie Underwood Song).

In recent moments of my own indulgence, I encourage you not to learn this lesson the hard way by frankly doing something stupid and unproductive in your own better judgment. Again do not expect specific things. Sometimes in faith we take the risk of a plunge, hoping for the best, and following where God will have us. Never forget the personal vision for your life even when situations impede your momentum and progress. In silent confidence, press forward to do what we do with God in mind. I truly miss Bob Haggerty, someone who understood that these laid back principles in our lives should not be taken too seriously. That includes not taking ourselves too seriously.

Today our legacies depend on keeping our word. It is very important that you communicate clearly expectations for an individual so all parties know how to move forward alongside each other as a team. Friction is often the result of misunderstanding when painted pictures never come to creation, or taking things too seriously with expectations leads to unnecessary frustration. Sometimes patience brings the best of outcomes. If you can learn to enjoy the moment in the patience process of learning, in that very same moment you will learn to be content no matter what happens, perhaps without unrealistic expectations.

My Friend Jedd Medefind from The Christian Alliance for Orphans – Orphan Sunday Series, Part 3

Why is the CALL FOR THE ORPHAN great? Watch the following video to statistically understand the meaning of Orphan Sunday and Jedd Medefind’s work.

Orphan Sunday, occurring on November 4, 2012, is a national movement joined by churches all over the world though an organization known as The Christian Alliance for Orphans (CAFO). These three blog entries introduce three dear friends I met through this Alliance with brief information about their respective organizations. My last entry highlighted Dave Wood from Lifeline Children’s Services.

Connected through Greg Buzek, one day I received an email from Jedd Medefind, the previous Special Assistant to the President and Acting Director of the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, author of three books, and now active President of the Christian Alliance for Orphans (CAFO). I thought to myself, “Who is this guy that wants an Auburn Master’s degree graduate to do another free internship?” After our brief interview, I thought this guy must be crazy. When I prayed and meditated about the internship program, my role, and Jedd’s possible friendship, I realized this might be the opportunity for a lifetime moment to remember. And so my journey with the Christian Alliance for Orphans began! ….with a volunteer internship and a guy named Jedd.

I experienced dark times when I began the internship, possibly another reason why I accepted the chance to become a part of something special. I wanted to feel hope again in my relationship with God. While Jedd often remained busy with the approaching Summit 2011 conference in Louieville, Kentucky (an international celebration and reunion of fatherless advocates from around globe), he constantly made time to occasionally speak with me over the phone and write inspirational emails of encouragement. Even Elizabeth Wiebe, Director of Outreach for CAFO, continually mentioned that “we will make this work,” when I felt overwhelmed with both a full time job and this fully engaged internship, especially when tornadoes ripped my Alabama home state apart. Both Jedd and Elizabeth turned my valley into a mountaintop experience that continues to this very day as the Orphan Sunday State Coordinator for both Georgia and Alabama. They rejoice with me when I live with successful forward movement and empathize with me when down and discouraged, usually with a kind word to lend.

Jedd continues to serve as a powerful presence in my life with prayer, his leadership and communicative styles, and even his example as a devoted author, father, and husband. Like Dave Wood and Larry Bergeron, Jedd is just someone you want to be like, not because of his success but rather because of his humility in Christ. I truly believe God brought the Alliance together under the leadership of this man to eradicate the epidemic of the fatherless so that every child in this world will have an eventual healthy Christian-focused home. It is with Medefind-size faith that I believe and know in my heart this truth.

I have always had a soft spot for children, hence why I currently still work with youth in ministry. While I did not see it when my internship originally began, God brought us together for BIG FULFILLMENTS in Kingdom-building missions, promises, and mentalities. Mentioned as before in other blog entries, some believe ministry is a usual eight to five o’clock job, but in reality, the call to ministry is a twenty-four hour, fourth quarter drill to an eternal finish line. The salvation of others and saving orphans lies in each second of the day. I would say that sometimes Jedd more than likely exhausts himself in traveling, speaking, writing, and making appointments with individuals to serve an awesome God, but he just gets it: the simple truth that a relationship with God brings the greatest blessings and rewards anyone could ever experience in life. Humility plus good works equals explosion of God’s Love for us as believers.

Celebrate with Jedd, myself, and others from around world the cause of the fatherless on this Orphan Sunday, November 4th. We can and will make an eternal difference if we put aside differences and unite for orphaned children! Jedd understands that is about the fatherless and that this thing called life was never meant to be about just us and our personal selves. It is about Him!

Zambia’s Gift to the World from Christian Alliance for Orphans on Vimeo.
(This text was quoted directly from the Christian Alliance for Orphans website.)

In 33 unforgettable minutes, Zambia’s Gift to the World weaves the unlikely story of how Orphan Sunday began in a humble, hard-pressed church in Lusaka, Zambia…and today is impacting lives around the globe.

You’ll encounter vibrant African Christians and the children they’ve embraced…favorites like Steven Curtis Chapman and Francis Chan…as well as remarkable believers from around the world—all sharing of the beauty that rises when Christians reflect God’s heart for the fatherless.

Enjoy the film…and join us in praying that God will use it greatly to stir Christians across America and far beyond!

Zambia’s Gift to the World from Christian Alliance for Orphans on Vimeo.

My Friend Dave Wood from Lifeline Children’s Services – Orphan Sunday Series, Part 2

Orphan Sunday, occurring on November 4, 2012, is a national movement joined by churches all over the world though an organization known as The Christian Alliance for Orphans. These three upcoming blog entries introduce three dear friends I met through this Alliance with brief information about their respective organizations. My last entry highlighted Larry Bergeron of A Child’s Hope International.

I met Dave Wood, the Vice President and International Director of Lifeline Children’s Services, briefly at Summit 2011 in Louisville, Kentucky, and I think we had an instant connection through our comedian-like routines. While serious in both our advocacy efforts for the orphan, the joy of Christ is evident through both our hearts with our laughs and smiles to encourage those we are around. Many in the Lifeline alumni and staff network mistakenly think I look like Herbie Newell, the Executive Director of this adoption ministry, however after meditation and prayer, I really believe my heart and personality resembles that of Dave. I still imagine the day we work together in director-position nonprofit ministry peacemaker roles. Perhaps then we will really through the power of God provide a healthy home for every child in the world, all 147 million of them. It is in fact possible! Sometimes you just in fact have to believe in yourself and your eternal cause and vision!

Dave and I have that big faith that this dream of fate could really happen. We both write. You will notice one of my favorite pieces by Dave in this blog entry, entitled Lifeline. I believe the piece will touch your heart. We both like to laugh and goof off. We both live with an eternal mindset. I hope that as Dave reads this he does not mind my comparison, but he is indeed the kind of person you hope to emulate and be like.

Dave has long had it on his heart to publish a book. Well, I believe it is time we encourage and push him to get there. It is not a matter of whether his material is great enough. It certainly is that and more! I believe in the preaching of the Hip Hop preacher, Eric Thomas. Now is the fourth quarter. Publishing books and advocating for orphans is not easy. If it was, everyone would do it! Let’s pray, push, and press Dave to publish his book through accountability. That is indeed on my list of goals in 2013. So be looking out for one of my favorite people’s writing, Dave Wood! His is book is coming because I believe in his hard work, his real hard work. When you want to be successful as much as you want to breathe, then you will be successful. Eric Thomas informs us to “not talk about it but to be about it.”

LIFELINE!

by Dave Wood on Monday, September 5, 2011 at 12:28am •

Oh darkness lies entrenched within my heart
Fears, like ocean waves flood over my soul
Drowning in the abyss of a sea that is all mine
These black storms have left me without hope
I’m a sinking ship that is listing and all alone
So desperate this very moment for a lifeline
But in this churning flood there is not a lifeline
Only sorrow upon sorrows drowning my heart
The rising sea billows have washed over any hope
Speechless and unattended I am a mortified soul
And though I hear the cries of others I am alone
A vanquished life with nothing left that is mine
I do remember a time when things were mine
There was no thought and no need of a lifeline
I sometimes felt lonely but never really alone
There wasn’t yet a broken and battered heart
The future was still unknown to my naive soul
Back then my tomorrow’s were filled with hope
Skies were clear and a bright magnificent hope
As if a postcard that said the world was mine
The warmth of the sun was peace to my soul
The gentle breeze upon my sails a steady lifeline
Calm waters brought comfort and gave me heart
Too taken to realize I was enjoying this bliss alone
Then one day an unexpected storm cloud rose up alone
This tempest would only grow overtaking all my hope
A fierce head wind pushing against my anchored heart
Waves of thunder burst threatening all that is mine
An ominous beast and not even a compass for a lifeline
Lightning strikes illuminating the hidden dread in my soul
The ship that carried me has now abandoned my soul
Broken into pieces an orphan castaway that is all alone
Longing through tears to be thrown a life saving lifeline
Looking for a brilliant lighthouse to point the way home
All that I ever dreamed for was a family that was mine
To be rescued from this storm and save my dying heart
Oh what my sad soul would give for such an abiding hope
No longer alone and fully loved by parents that are mine
A family is my only lifeline and the sole desire of my heart

Sestina Poem
Copyright © 2011 Dave Wood

I am fired up, pumped up, and motivated to know Dave and his family. He changes lives through his written words, his speaking, his traveling, and his role in ministry. There is something extremely satisfying about living for others, instead of living for retirement. Dave just gets that idea. Dave works at a ministry headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama known as Lifeline Children’s Services where I believe he will complete his journey in faith perhaps until the day he dies. Dave lives for others and has often dedicated his valuable time to point me in a positive direction through mutual discussion and belief in each other. I believe in Lifeline! I believe in Dave! And I believe together one day we just might live with a fourth quarter mentality to push all barriers to publish our books and save orphans. Now is the time to change lives of the youth we work with, and while in different ministries with different purposes, Dave continues to change the lives of thousands. Admire him. Know him. And support his ministry!

Listen and learn, readers, through this video! My hat is off to Dave and his lifetime of lifeline desires and ministries!

 

I WILL FIND you on my KNEES – First Day! New Transition!

“All I can is that John and I wanted more than anything to follow God’s will for us and our family. We had a holy fear of acting outside God’s will, so we agreed to pray that He would show us what that was.” – Kelly Rosati in her book, Wait No More (John is her husband).

I started my new job at the Southern Territorial Headquarters today, and I find myself refreshed by other like-minded people who tick like I do, focused on Jesus as believers in a collective group for Kingdom-building mindsets. After orientation, I found a card from someone in my office with the mention that she would be praying for me this week as I transition into this new career. I have long dreamed of a job that I do not beat myself up and over to drag out of bed to get by, simply for a paycheck. I feel awakened and encouraged to do this job and rise as I encourage others with a meaningful purpose for something bigger than myself. As many say, knock on wood, I may have found something in that passion area of public relations where I campaign and market for a cause I believe in. I find it mind-boggling (“Am I really here in Mid-Town Atlanta?”), a little nerve-racking (new job, new city, and knowing no one), and exciting (“Wow, this could potentially become something amazing!). All the thoughts combine mutually for a few hours of lost sleep and doubts creeping into my mind.

The decision to be and move to Atlanta is now made, and I am not looking back! I am a new creation with a new opportunity with individuals that obviously believe in my abilities to lead, create, and build the face of a reputable organization to the southern youth of America. In the midst of hardship and economic uncertainty, this generation could use more Jesus in any capacity. And I am glad to bring that message of hope to anyone through creative communications.

I keep thinking, “How did I get here?” I prayed to God, sometimes loudly stuck in the stagnancy of survival and routine with a Thank-God-Its-Friday job rather than Thank-God-Its-Monday job. With this phrase, I mean I want to be so excited to get back into the office I cannot hold or hide my excitement for what I love doing. I admit that I need to spend more time with God in His Presence, praying in thankfulness, reading the Word, and believing in the requests I make like this new position, PRAYERS ANSWERED!

Another analytic wonder is the blessings shown to me in a new full time opportunity of epic proportions and another part time opportunity possibly coming behind it. What further astounds me is the support and belief of my family. My father and mother have done everything, and I mean EVERYTHING to transition, to believe, to push, to inspire, and to encourage me with this move to a new city with a new career direction. While we have sometimes not always seen each other eye to eye on my own mental adversities, I owe my success with this new adventure to them just as much as I do God. Thank you, Mom and Dad!

I believe when you find God on your knees, God explodes blessings and favor into your life. Now please understand I do not just mean the routine legalistic bedside manner prayer. “God, please do this. Please be with this person. Please help me to sleep well. Please help me to be promoted. Please help me to pass this test even thought I never studied.”…..I mean when you really get down on your knees and say, “Okay, I am not sure where you have me or how you will have me, but here I am. Here are my true passions. Please place me appropriately where you will call me to obey you in line with these passions.” When you seek God with sincerity, He will answer your prayers with that same sincerity.

Like Kari Job says in the following song, I will find you on my knees! When you truly want something in change for God’s Kingdom, find it on your knees. Ask. And like me currently in shock, God will call you by name! I guarantee it! My life serves as living proof.

The Call From the Orphan – God’s Heart! Why Do Churches Hesitate to Rise Up?

I once heard Chris Hodges, Senior Pastor of Church of the Highlands, ask his 15,000 member congregation, “Do you know why some people are gay? I think I figured this paradigm out.” We all sat on the edge of our seats with the expectation of some Scripture revelation, the secret this long debated question about to be answered. Hodges continued, “I think it is because they are lazy.” The building audience erupted into laughter at his proclamation. He asserted that a relationship with the same sex was much easier than one with the opposite gender. I must agree that my guy friends and I never fight! I really cannot remember the last time I fought with a guy, seriously. I admit that a relationship with a significant female other is real hard work. I understand Hodges’ logic on some unusual levels. After his awkward moment of humor, Hodges began his Sunday sermon.

Does this same statement apply to churches that ignore the cause of the fatherless (in addition to the widow, the poor, the diseased, the underprivileged, and so on)? Are church leaders and passive congregational members lazy? Most will claim that the temptation to fall into complacency in Pop Culture Christianity is easy. How many people genuinely volunteer and serve in capacities outside of a Saturday Southern football tailgate? In my opinion with where I worked in the past two years (not the Salvation Army headquarters), most settle for each night’s schedule of sitcoms and sporting events on ESPN. Many don’t do anything outside of family and watching television for the local community and international relief. Even my own family is guilty of this epidemic on several accords. We conduct ourselves according to convenience.

I serve as the current Christian Alliance for Orphans State Coordinator for Orphan Sunday. I am responsible year round for gearing and managing events, seminars, discussion panels, and anything related to the cause of the fatherless, even radio interviews. We specifically focus on Orphan Sunday, November 4, with a concentration for a national and international movement where thousands come together for one day to stand for the orphan. The Christian Alliance for Orphans stands as a joint coalition of over one hundred organizations who commit themselves to save every orphan for the sole sake of God’s Glory. We were after all adopted by our Heavenly Father!

Recently I approached several churches in the Greater Birmingham metropolitan about participating on Orphan Sunday, November 4th. Between last year (2011) and this year (2012) with this annual celebration in advocacy for the orphan, I definitely received more “No’s” than “Yes’s,” sometimes even with simple requests for orphan-focused prayers, still to receive another “No.”  I even had ministers commit to events this year with their given word without following through, some things I worked hard on through my own free time through volunteering, only with nowhere to implement my hard work.  A great example of someone who fights for the orphan is Jon Walden, Executive Director and on air personality for Revocation Radio, a nonprofit radio station who plays Christian music that honors God, healthy for the ears of youthful listeners (as opposed to the cussing of gangster rap or any other colorful music).  Jon is interviewing five individuals over the air with leaders from five different orphan-related organizations. Walden remains busy with public appearances, youth rallies, a family, and his own mission with his nonprofit ventures. He makes the extra effort for the sake of ministry, not excusing the assistance with his own busyness with life responsibilities. Many could learn from his diligence for all the causes he stands for simply for the sake of Christ. Nothing more else motivates him so. Jon Walden rises to the challenge, and I wonder if other nonchalant ministerial leaders will do the same.

Another example to emulate as a country is Rwanda who seeks to eradicate orphanages, YES, THERE WILL BE NO MORE FATHERLESS in the next twenty years within this country! I mean no disrespect to this country or any other African country, but in the eyes of western politics, this is a third world entity. Countries with much more economical means stand still while those less fortunate pave the way for something many should have initiated a long time ago! Leaders in Rwanda have risen together as The Church to train citizens within their country to raise orphans. Rwanda does not ship their troubles to other countries. Internally they seek to improve as a country within their own borders. Nothing wrong exists with international adoption; however I am inspired when a country heals an epidemic for the fatherless at home, for example our failing foster care systems, which we still have yet to remedy in the United States.

While hosting events is not necessary with commitments, fighting and caring for the orphan worldwide is not an option. In fact, God commands it through His Biblical Word. For those of us who lack initiative, reference the following Scriptures:

Isaiah 1:17 (NIV)

“Learn to do right; seek justice.
Defend the oppressed.
Take up the cause of the fatherless;
plead the case of the widow.”

James 1:27 (NIV)

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”

Exodus 22:22-24 (NIV)

“Do not take advantage of the widow or the fatherless. If you do and they cry out to me, I will certainly hear their cry. My anger will be aroused, and I will kill you with the sword; your wives will become widows and your children fatherless.”

John 14:18 (NIV)

“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.”

Psalm 82:3 (NIV)

“Defend the weak and the fatherless;
uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.”

I think the question remains worthwhile to consider: Are leaders in ministry too lazy to fight for the cause of the orphan? The blessing and burden to carry the cause cannot fall solely on those who actually rise to acknowledge the world’s fatherless. The rise for change is not easy. Anything for the sake of Christ will never be easy. But leaders like Jon Walden step up to play for eternal reasons often beyond those who live more on earth than in heaven with human indulgence. I grow tired of fighting without the support of local church leaders. I challenge the next time a door opens for church leaders to rise, instead of offering lame excuses for why this conflicts with a year round sermon scheduled series, year after year ignoring our call to solve the problems of this world. If Rwanda can, I am confident any United States congregation can as well. It is time to stop the laziness and to work hard for God’s Glory. Together we can and together we will fight for the fatherless and end the orphan epidemic. It is not impossible! It is very doable! And if you make the decision to lead and take a stand, God will honor our hard work for His Heavenly Heart.

Personally seek to feel the CALL of the ORPHAN through this video about Orphan Sunday, 2012! We are adopted! God never abandoned us! And we should never abandon them, the fatherless!

Orphan Sunday 2012 from Christian Alliance for Orphans on Vimeo.

Do we overcomplicate things in our lives? Or know someone who does? Best Strategy: Simplify!

While these comics are funny, they illustrate why many of us need to simplify things. My own life examples below demonstrate how over-complicating matters make life all the more frustrating and perhaps even comical as well.

This past week I took on a carpentry project with my father. He originally claimed that the chore was a simple three screws to seal a crack between roof tiles and a gutter affected by recent storms in Alabama. Three screws turned into a four day project and several hours to screw in almost every gutter half way around the house and replace gutter guards that appear more difficult to snap on than opening a beer without a twist off cap. All I did was hold the ladder for ten hours until dark on two days after my normal nine hour day at the online college where I work. And the odd coincidence remains that my father seeks to sell the house once I move out in a month to go to Atlanta for a new job. I am not entirely convinced our new buyers will climb to the mountain tops of our roofs to admire our gutter handiwork.

My grandfather brings similar habits to the table where my father inherited his own time management skills. A fifteen minute project turns between five to six hours when errands to home depot require the right tools to buy. My grandfather has Zoysiagrass that requires meticulous attention to keep healthy in extreme heat. While visiting both he and my grandmother this past summer, he hired a staff member at the Smithfield’s Golf Course to pull out ALL the weeds and Fescue grass in his yard without the appropriate spray that kills those types of grass within a week, in addition with a request for me to volunteer on this pointless pursuit of grass ecstasy. To measure the struggle here was that the more weeds and Fescue grass covered the yard far more so than Zoysia. The yard was impossible to save according to the grass management technician of the country club hired by my grandfather to uproot each weed without “hurting the good grass.”

On another occasion, my grandfather decided he wanted to pressure water spray a small section of his driveway which discolored the concrete from the rest of the pavement. That small mistake turned into a two day project pressure water spraying two driveways, sidewalks, and then sealing the concrete with mops….yes, mops! Please do not ask! Of course, what was planned and promised as a chill restful weekend turned into a sweat shop in one hundred degree weather for both me and my father.

While I am grateful to assist my father and grandfather for all they have done for me, I believe they often complicate simple tasks just to stay busy for the sake of busy. When individuals retire, they suddenly possess time for projects that when working full time probably would never become necessary, as they often are, not necessary for such perfectionist ways. As many managers in my workplace state, “Work smarter, not harder!”

Another example in my own life to illustrate the observations expressed here. Working two jobs while studying for finals in graduate school filled every minute of every day with a rare possibility of reaching more than six hours of sleep by chance. I did not have time to procrastinate, goof off, or do busy work for the sake to consume time. While I applied myself as best I could, my goal was to get a ninety in each class, which was an A and essentially the same thing as a hundred. And I graduated with a balanced life and a 4.0 GPA from graduate school. The approach proved effective with the best of results. Another almost daily example includes my books and blog entries. I write and then proofread over time, but a message presented at 90-95% perfection is better than that message never being shown to the world.

Most tasks we do can always be better done. In thirty years, I truly try my best to not waste time because time is my most precious resource, limited in abundance. Things in life are already difficult without making them more difficult than they need to be. Next time you take on a gargantuan project consider if it is worth the time you sacrifice to do the things you really enjoy. Sometimes as I discovered with the recent experienced examples, time becomes wasted with only a result of exhaustion with other more important items left unattended without making the most of time available. As I move to a new city and job opportunity, I really am trying to remain cognizant of making the most of my time to become as successful as possible getting the job done as necessary without overextending myself with unnecessary extras. That is the nature of today’s society and technology. Unless retired, Millennials lack the time to rise professionally when consumed with the tediousness of pursuing busy just to be busy.

Do not overcomplicate things in life. Simplify and do what needs to be done. Pursue your best in the areas of your life that really matter….family, friends, relationships, heart, and dreams!

I highly respect Joyce Meyer and her words of advice through her writing and inspirational talks to Christians like myself who seek to simplify life. I believe you will find the following two video talks insightful on how to simplify daily life and the responsibilities we each have.

 

NOW IS THE TIME TO RISE! GREATNESS IS UPON YOU! ….my own rise in down times.

Ephesians 5:13-14 (NIV)

But everything
exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes
a light. This is why it is said:

“Wake up, sleeper,
rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”

Have you ever sat in your cubicle wondering to God, “When will my time come to rise and fulfill my passions’? The battle of everyday survival floats around bills paid and the suppression of dreams. With the unwise decisions of leaders in this country, opportunity for young professionals appears dwindling! …the truth is it is!

I applied for at least four hundred jobs before something of true dreamlike essences patiently prevailed. I skimmed all over the country for hope where my day-to-day existence became more than routine. It became dreamlike. Eventually the monsoon rolled where the hard work snowballed. Each day brought a new surprise and phone call from a prospective life-changing moment. I am also almost complete with a three hundred page manuscript of my first major memoir, each chapter edited seven-ten times, a two year project in the making.

I faced the largest challenges and adversity when I felt no motion in my life, no momentum towards a given goal in my mind. I incline to feel the least motivated in life when I see no growth, no movement forward. At this moment in my life I never measure life monetarily as a single Christian but instead through growth to reach a level of leadership unprecedented by all before me. It is those who are most motivated who continue to do what they need to, even when they do not feel that motivation emotionally, or simply “just don’t feel like it.”

I cannot describe the sudden drive in my life or where it came from. However when I tasted a sweet notion of success and saw God’s work in my life, I wanted it all the more. I realized that many individuals, including me, wait to rise up. We can wait forever for things to look up, to feel better, or to achieve the dream constantly on our heart. NOW IS THE TIME TO RISE! We fail more than we succeed, but with each failure we step closer to success. As I tasted success with a recent life victory, then the failures faded into the background. We cannot forget the sweet tastes that come with a new job, an upper level graduation day, our firstborn child, our wedding day, or in my case, a first major book contract. Those successes push us to yearn for more, but not for ourselves, but rather for God’s Glory.

LATER IS NOT THE TIME! NOW IS! When you doubt where to start, just go! When I cannot think of a blog entry or chapter to write, the best strategy begins with just starting. Eventually while maybe not at first, meaningful words flow.

If you are like me, I am tired of sitting on the sidelines. NOW IS THE TIME TO RISE! ….not tomorrow but today, starting with simple progression through small steps. We bring world change one small step at a time until the snowball launches down the ski slope. On the 400th job application, we get that interview offer we want. And then we feel the rise and crave to rise in the moment this very day.

Through Christ, we are truly risen! With our personal resurrection, we already live in the light through salvation. Now with each blessed day, rise with me! Rise together! Rise up! Now is the time to rise! And with Christ, it is up to you! Do not procrastinate. Do not quit. Do not put the project down. Rise to become more and reach your fullest potential! …for that is the only place where God truly will have us!

Believe inspirational speaker, Eric Thomas, when you realize GREATNESS IS UPON YOU! This video WILL FIRE YOU UP! He coincidentally happens to be speaking to the Auburn football team. WAR EAGLE!

An Old Poem Published – Libby’s Goodbye

I wrote this poem as a “Good-Bye” to a girl who at one time rocked my world for a very short period where our time together seemed like time standing still. Unfortunately with circumstances beyond my control, it just did not work out. Libby had a good heart and saw the best in me, past my faults, a quality many in today’s society lack the ability to do. This poem will be included in my soon-to-be-contract-signed book, Charismania.

This poem also reminds me of another girl I recently pursued. While less traumatic than Libby, many of the details correlate on many just the same as before. I guess we travel through some repetitive seasons once in 2007 and now in 2012 with another girl.

Libby’s Goodbye

When things don’t exactly go your way,
Asking God to let them do so is often what people pray.
The other night I got an email with one phrase that tore my heart.
My hopes in something anew were torn apart.
I had a sunset evening to express myself,
But because of fear, I put my strong feelings on the shelf.
All the signs led to interest N. B. would say,
And my heart is incomplete at the end of the day.
I didn’t get a chance, and that was my own fault.
Every time I see you, the baby inside me does a summersault.
Your presence in the same room as myself makes me feel alive.
The burst within my heart feels like the explosion of a beehive.
With thoughts of your Grace and my regrets, I lie awake at night.
In your soul and spirit for life, I see the Lord’s light.
An extra perk is that I notice you are a gorgeous sight.
On Folly Beach staring at the ocean, wishing you were there felt so right.
Returning into a place and town that I have come to love,
God sent some unsettling news from above:
“I’m dating a young man that I’m completely head over heels for.”
On my heart slammed a knife and a door.
Jets will continue to fly, and eagles will continue to soar.
I yearn to get to know you more.
Jealousy to be with you is a root of many sins,
But once more, I am only one of many men.
Through a thousand thorn bushes my heart will go,
Through hundreds of hills and mountains of snow,
I must learn to have faith in God and trust in Him I know.
Because of you if you are even aware, in Him I continue to grow.
Told that dating or a relationship would not happen for awhile,
I thought I had more time to sprint my mile.
The lesson: Don’t hesitate to act!
I’m extremely sorrowful because of that life lesson and fact.
At this point in time, there is nothing that I wouldn’t do
If I knew that it would create happiness within you.
To hold your hand in a Hero movie and make a memorable first kiss,
This is an adventure that for right now I must miss.
Whether dreams come true or a friendship becomes a fable,
My feelings are now known. They are on the table.
Who knows what will happen with the story?
But I don’t care as long as I give God the glory.
Through all my being, moments, and strife,
God is my refuge. He is the center of my life.
No matter what happens…I will always be here.
I may wallow in self-pity or shed one of many a tear.
For my heart is hurting to now be by your side.
Sometimes one must not be selfish and therefore in himself hide.
I am cocky, confident, and I have much pride.
I will do my best to not let that stand in the way of your story and lifelong ride.
I have recently learned that the center of any relationship is communication.
Openness, sincerity, and honesty can make a friendship and inspiration.
Thirty seconds with you creates inside of me a lovely, spine tingling sensation,
But our lack of communication has generated a broken  heart
For the possibility of a close relation.
Someone else stole the dance,
And I didn’t even get a fair chance.
Reluctant to give me your time,
I was cut off long before I ever wrote this rhyme.
Perhaps you were fearful of the God-filled passion that lives within me,
But honestly, my heart and that passion was something
With which you took no time to analyze and see.
I want to be your friend.
As a true friend, I am there until the very end.
Does your boyfriend have that passion to live?
Does he have the will to unconditionally give?
Does he have direction and know what he wants?
Does he aimlessly search through life as a routine and have no crazy stunts?
Without a shadow of a doubt, does he care for you with all his being?
When he looks into your eyes, does he honestly know what he is seeing?
I must learn to leave you be and just let go
Because being with you is something that will probably never happen;
This I now know.
I drew this picture of what you described to me
Before you hooked up and him you were with.
If I gave it to someone else,
It would not be for that other and in itself become a myth.
My talent for art in this piece I hope that you like.
Back to the beach soon I might soon go to reflect and hike.
Your uniqueness makes desires for one to become a better man
Through which God reveals himself and his intimate individual plan.
Staring at the specs of stars and the visibly white moon,
I hope to see God’s blessing even more in your life very soon.
With you, I would love to just hang out,
But this may be all I can give
Because of the hurt you have caused without a doubt.
Although for me this may be crappy and sound somewhat sappy,
I will do my best to serve you and do whatever makes you happy.

JLC iii, 2/23/2007