Monday, April 18, 2011

The Scratch

I've been on sort of a mission lately. I've been somewhat convicted to try and help someone in need. I guess this comes from some failures I've had in the past when someone needed help on the side of the road and I drove on past without stopping or even slowing down. I rationalized away in my head why I shouldn't stop, but the guilt still remained. I was haunted by Matthew 25:31-46. That's the story that Jesus tells about the sheep and the goats. I won't go into that now, but you should read it. No, really. Go read it. Anyway, back to my mission. I've felt the need to quit finding reasons not to help someone in need. I have to get over the fact that I might be a little late or have to go slightly out of my way. Or heaven forbid, I might get dirty or something. So that brings me to this morning. I was on my way work listening to the radio, planning out my day in my head and fretting over what was shaping up to be a very busy day. As I exited off the interstate I saw a girl on the side of the road trying to change a flat tire. She was just past the exit ramp where I got off and I zoomed past her on my way to work. I got to the bottom of the ramp thinking, well I'm pretty much too far gone now to help her, but someone really should. Poor girl. Then I thought, that's it, here's my opportunity. So I pulled over at the light, got on the paved shoulder and backed all the way up the off ramp hoping I wasn't going to get ass-ended by an 18 wheeler heading for the truck stop with the showers and the over zealous Subway workers. But thankfully I made it all the way up only to stop and see the poor girl trying to jack her car up in flip flops and sweat pants while her little girl watched on from the back seat. I got out and ran across the ramp and asked her if she needed any help. She told me she absolutely did. I began to jack her car up to get the blown out tire off. It was a good thing I got there when I did. There was NO WAY she could have gotten the lug nuts off that tire. I had to physically jump up and down on the tire iron to get the nuts off. Within a few minutes I had the old blown out tire off and the donut in its place. The whole time the girl kind of paced around nervously telling me that her daughter was going to be so late for school and she was so glad that I stopped to help her. I kept getting this feeling from her that she was grateful for the help and yet embarrassed that she was in that position. The car was pretty run down and full of stuff. The trunk was full of clothes and odds and ends. She kept telling me that her car was a mess because she had a lot of stuff to take to Goodwill. I just kept smiling and telling her that I was glad I could help. With the donut on and the shredded tire in the trunk I left the grateful girl and her daughter to head on to school feeling pretty good about the deed I had done. As I rode to work I looked down and realized that my knuckle was bleeding. As I used the jack to raise the car up I scratched it on the concrete below. All morning long I would look down at my little scratch and smile knowing that I got my "war wound" because of the good deed that I had done. And then it dawned on me. What does Jesus feel like every time he looks down at his pierced hands that were nailed to the cross? Does he run his fingers over the jagged scars and smile sweetly to himself at the ultimate deed that he did for you and me? Does he feel that warmth inside knowing that he laid his life down for us so that we can spend eternity with him? The answer is yes. Why else would he have been willing to make such a sacrifice? He was on a mission to help someone. As I pace back and forth in my life, nervously telling Him that I'm a little bit messy but trying to get things cleaned up, he smiles and says he doesn't mind stopping to help. He was on a mission to save me. He was on a mission to save you. And he didn't mind getting a little scratched up in the process. It makes what little I do all the more worth it.

Sunday, March 6, 2011


The other day my wife mentioned to me that there was a cancer walk coming up in the near future and that I should go and be a part of it. It seems that the cancer walk starts off with the first lap being completed by survivors of cancer. My first reaction to her comments were, "Why should I be a part of that?" I say that not because I don't think it's a worthy cause or an important way to celebrate and start a cancer walk, but because I don't think of myself as a "Cancer Survivor." I guess I should. Currently I am cancer free and don't have to really think about it for another five months. But did I really survive anything? I look back at my journey over the past year and a half and count my blessings that what I've been through has done more for making me a better person than making me feel like I've survived some traumatic event. I quickly think about my friends Ashley and Wayne Salter and the struggle they face with Ashley's stage 4 breast cancer. I think about my friend Randy and what he and his family have gone through with his daughter and their fight with cancer. I see and hear stories of chemotherapy, hair loss, vomiting, weakness, bone marrow transplants, plane rides to places like Texas and Arkansas, and yes, even about death. What did I do? I swallowed a pill and sat in my room for a week watching movies and putting jigsaw puzzles together. I ate comforting food from my friends and family that was brought to my door on a tray by my wonderful wife. I sat in a machine that looked at my body to see if there was any cancer left. I went to doctors appointments from Newnan to Emory, all with pretty great results and outcomes. Honestly, I feel a little weird thinking of myself as a survivor. There are so many other families facing greater struggles and tragedies that to me seem to be the real survivors. I just thank God that for the time being that my burden has been pretty light, and He's done most of the lifting. And I will continue to pray for those that are still in the fight of their lives to be called "Survivor."

Saturday, February 19, 2011

My Psalm

Last Sunday our sermon was on the 23 Psalm. During the sermon our preacher challenged us to write our own Psalm about our life and our relationship with God. I spent the next week thinking about what I would write and reading several different Psalms from the Bible. After mulling over it all week I finally decided to break down and write it out. Then I had a crazy idea. Why don't I actually update my blog? It's only been 4 months. Maybe this will get me back into the habit. Maybe. Well anyway, here goes.

Oh God, You are my source of strength, comfort and guidance.
You've heard my groans, my pleas and my cries.
You've been my rock to lean on, my inspiration when I've felt empty and a friend when I've felt alone.
You've rejoiced in my victories, shared in my praises and delighted in my spiritual growth.
You have loved me and led me like the loving Heavenly Father that you are.
You provide guidance, direction, discipline and refuge.
No matter how far away from You I've felt, You're always near me.
When I've tried to hide my face from You, You've searched for me.
When I've been ashamed of what I've done or become, You've bathed me in forgiveness and warmth and called me son.
Oh, God, You are my God. The Great Provider, Healer and Ultimate Comfort.
May I always long to seek Your ways in all I do.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

It'll Be Okay

I'm here to tell you that it'll be okay. Trust me, it'll be okay. What? you ask. What will be okay? Everything. Whatever you have on your mind right now, or whatever is weighing heavy on your heart, it'll be okay. Whatever you might be worrying about right now, or have been worrying about for the past year, it'll be okay. I'm reminded daily by the people that I am friends with on Facebook that they are worried about some aspect of their life. People are struggling with job loss, loneliness, broken homes, health problems. But no matter what, it will be okay. Why do I know this? Because I know that God is in control of my life and the lives of everyone on earth. And while what you may be going through right now might be the worst thing you've ever had to face or deal with or be put through, it too will be okay because God has a plan for your life. Does that plan mean that you'll never be sad, or scared or hurt? Nope. Does that mean that those things that are making you sad, or scared or hurt can be used for God's glory? Yep, exactly. We don't know why things happen the way they do. God does. We don't realize just how perfectly things work out in our lives until we take a few minutes and a few deep breaths and look back on our lives and the unexpected turns that we've taken. I know that I could have never gotten to where I am right now in my relationship with my wife, my kids, my friends, my work, or my God without those hiccups, stumbles and twists in my life that I had absolutely no control over. This past year has forced me to face my worry and doubt head on. Never before has God's written word been so true. Read Matthew 6:25-34. Read it two or three times. I'm not going to tell what it says. I want you to find a bible and read it. And once you're done reading it, I want you to say to yourself, "It'll be okay." Insert whatever you're up against and say it. And trust me, the first time you say it, you probably won't believe yourself. But don't worry, the more you say it, the more you'll begin to believe it. And then some day you'll look back on whatever it was and realize just how okay you've become.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

How It All Got Started

I asked for some questions to answer or story requests on my blog the other day. The first one I got was to tell about my engagement to Lori. I think she does a fabulous job telling this story so I won't completely rip her off. But I will tell you what was going on in my head leading up to the big night. At the time I was working a summer intern with the GDOT. The job site I was on was at the new interchange at what was soon to be the Mall of Georgia in Buford. For the past few months Lori and I had been wandering through malls, holding hands, being completely silly and looking at rings. When she found the "one" she tried it on, ooohed and aaaahed and then returned it to the glass case. That's when I had to start my planning. First off, how in the hell was I going to afford this thing? I wanted to spare no expense for my soon-to-be bride so I just had to have THAT ring. In my feeble mind I knew that the answer would be like so many other people's (that is until the economy recently crashed)....just put it on my credit card! Yeah, that was it, that would be perfect. I could put it on my card now and begin paying it off and would be done in no time. I mean really, I was approaching graduation from Georgia Tech, so I was bound to get offered a job right out of college making a zillion dollars or something like that. What was a couple of thousand dollars, right?

(At this point I am going to insert a little public service announcement. Credit Cards are Evil. Borrowing money is Bad. And this is true for two reasons. One, the bible clearly tells people how to handle their money and it says in Proverbs 22:7 "The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender." Secondly, the credit card companies are not charitable organizations. They are in business to make money, and lots of it. How do they do that? By suckering people in to thinking that they can have whatever they want right now with no worries. What's 20% interest among friends, right?)

So anyway, back to my story of the purchase. I had one little problem. My credit limit wasn't high enough. Looking back on my life, that was one of those times when God whispered in my ear to tell me that mine wasn't the best idea, but did I listen? Nope, I just brushed Him away and kept on going. In order to get around this little obstacle I called my god-mother, who at the time, just so happened to be the president of a bank that I happened to have a credit card with. In no time, I had all the credit I could ever ask for. Now it was time to seal the deal. I asked the guys I was working for if I could take a long lunch so I could go pick something up. The agreed and off I went. I bought the ring, put in the little black box and hid it so nothing could happen to it. At this point I kind of felt like Frodo Baggins with my "Precious" ring that seemed to call to me to constantly. I knew I could not let this ring stay anywhere but on Lori's finger and I had to make this happen NOW! So I decided that Thursday was going to be the day. And, I was going to ask her to marry me at the same place where we first met, Zesto in Atlanta. I called Lori that evening and convinced her that we needed to meet to have desert. We agreed to meet at the Varsity since it was about half way from my parent's house in Duluth and her parent's house in Fayetteville. Once we got there I convinced her that Zesto would be better than a chocolate shake from the Varsity, so we got in one car and headed off. Once we ordered I made sure we sat in the exact same same spot where we met. I told Lori I had to run to the bathroom real quick. I ran in and unwrapped the ring that had been burning a freakin' hole in my pocket all night. I was a nervous wreck because I had taken it out of the little black box and wrapped it in tissue paper so it wouldn't be too conspicuous in my pocket. I slipped it on my little finger and closed my hand into a sweaty fist so I wouldn't show it or drop it when I went back out. I was gone for what seemed like an eternity. I went back to our stools, took Lori's hand and recounted the first time we met when I blurted out "Would you marry me?" because she knew who Dale Earnhardt was. At this point I held up the ring for her and asked her if she really would marry me this time. Her eyes lit up, then slightly teared up. She grabbed me and kept saying, "Oh, baby. Oh, baby" I think she eventually said yes once the shock wore off.

(Here is another little side note. I never saw the goofy man that looked like the ugly mountain jugs that had distracted Lori during this whole time. I was too focused on not throwing up my Arctic Swirl because of my nerves)

We immediately left Zesto and headed to Fayetteville to show the ring off to her mom. And the rest is history.

Monday, September 27, 2010

And The Winner Is.....

A few weeks ago I did a contest on this here blog to see who could guess the outcome of my doctors appointment I had last Friday at Emory. It was a huge success since I had four people brave and bold enough to log in an entry. Well, I'm here to announce the winner.

And the winner is......ME! Well not really, my wife and Bethany pretty much tied, but since I'm the one who found out that I'm pretty much cancer free for now, that, by default, makes me the biggest winner of all. And if you want to get really technical, my wife pretty much nailed exactly what happened. But, since she does not drink coffee and is totally kicking ass on her new diet, I am going to hold another contest to see who gets the Starbucks gift card.

Actually, it is just me being lazy. I really like to blog, but I have been struggling with inspiration. I would love to write about something that you people of the blog-o-sphere would want to know or hear about. Ask me a question, request a favorite story, or just give an encouraging word and I'll pick the most thought provoking request as my winner. And maybe I'll throw in an additional gift card that will be a surprise to the winner, but don't worry, It'll be a good one. Thanks for hanging in there with me and helping me through a dry spell.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Don't Forget To Vote

There's only one week and counting until I go to the doctor. Only me and three other people have logged in a vote for my Starbucks gift card give away. Just tell me what you think the doctor will say and when my follow up visit will actually happen. This will be judged like The Price Is Right, the closest without going over will win. So far, I am in the lead, because it's my damn card. If you want to walk away with it though, tell me what you think will happen. I will accept guesses until 9:00 am on Friday, September 24th. Thanks for playing.