Broken Heart + Open Eyes = God's Shopping Spree

*yesterday morning, katy received a phone call from our church, asking if she could take an 18-year old girl shopping for her first day of work. katy was told the time, location and girl's name and that the girl had a daughter... that was pretty much all the information she was given. katy gladly accepted the request and went about the rest of her day.

the following post wasn't written by me, but by my beautiful wife, katy. the words are from an email she sent our pastor, and they are words that truly break your heart and hopefully make you reevaluate your own life a bit. keep in mind, the following is taken from an informal email, not a doctoral dissertation, so enjoy the playful language that she uses to describe the less than playful situation."last night was amazing! i didnt drop her off until around 930 last night. you could tell she didnt want to leave and really enjoyed the company! first we went to wal-mart and found 3 really nice shirts that would work really well. however we couldnt find any pants to fit that skinny, skinny girl! so i was thinking, "hmmm...i have a pair of pants that are really nice that i dont wear often, so i felt she could really use those more than me". i asked her if she wanted to stop by my house real quick since it is close and she could just have those! so we did. i felt awful because she was afraid to walk in my house because it was "so nice" i was like, "girl, just come in"! (i didn't quite understand this yet and she didnt even walk in past the front door) so i went to get those pants and noticed i had like 5 shirts that i never wear that i was going to give to goodwill so i just grabbed those too and asked her if she wanted them also. she was almost in tears. "american eagle? express? gap? i have never even thought about buying things from there". it made me feel so yucky. i don't really know why, but i just felt stupid for getting things from there, you know!?

anyway, we went from there to ross to try to find her another pair of pants... nothing. then we went to marshalls to try to find pants... again, nothing! so we went next door to target and finally found some pants that really fit her well and worked perfect! she was so excited and almost in tears again! during our time together she kept asking if i was hungry. she was starving, she kept saying. so she asked if i could please take her to get something to eat. by this time we had spent all but 2 dollars i was given. all i could think is, "i really dont have the money to do this", but God just told me "Katy, shut up and take the girl to eat!!!"

she asked if we could go to her favorite place, HuHot... so there we went! it was a neat place. but more importantly, this is where our conversation went more in depth. it just really opened my eyes to a lot of things. she opened up to me about her aunt that passed away not too long ago, her dad being in jail, her lupus, her being raped, etc. she was telling me that its just been hard for her to believe in God when all of these bad things are happeneing to her. so we talked about that and i just tried my best to speak truth to her. she feels like she cant go to church because people will judge her. i told her that the people in our group have been through many things and it's so amazing to see where they are now. so i think she was encouraged by that.

she said that she wants to go to the wednesday night event, so i hope to be there too, for her. she also said that she will be at church sunday and hopes to see me there also. i want her plugged in. and accepted. i dont know how to tell you exactly how i felt last night. but i saw where she is living (with the boyfriend she shouldnt be with) and she isn't even sleeping on a bed. they don't have a bed!!!!! they are sleeping on a blanket on the floor. and she said that all she had to eat yesterday was a taco, and she was hurting so bad because of her lupus.

then we went to her moms, and her mom was in so much pain last night but is still keeping her daughter so she could go to work. and i was just thinking, "gah, who am i to complain about things?" i mean. she still has $220 to pay for july's rent, her utility bill and all of august rent, etc. and i complain because im having trouble paying one little bill or whatever it may be. i mean, i have a bed to sleep on, a pillow to lay my head down on, a clean house, a couch, food, a table and a husband that loves me like Christ calls him to. gosh, i'm tearing up again now just thinking about it. it just really broke my heart and opened my eyes. i gave her my phone number so she could call me if she needed anything. and for some reason, i was up at 4am this morning, so i texted her and told her to have a good first day of work! so, i dont know. i was just really blessed yesterday. i didnt know what to expect but God blew me away."

when katy told me all about this, it brought tears to both of our eyes. it's amazing how blessed you can feel when you provide for others...blessing them. but for me, it's also very frustrating. frustrating that everyday we all pass people in need, people who are hurting...but we just turn a blind eye, a deaf ear, and keep going about our day.

at the end of the day, what's really important? the very latest in cell phone technology? the top of the line upgrades on your new suv? who really needs that shopping spree?


Open My Eyes

today, i listened to God. he told me to see Him, and he'd help me find clarity. so...i did... i listened, i obeyed...well...kind of.

i went to friedrich park with the intent of a couple hour trail hike and encounter w/ God. what i got was nothing like i had planned. it was a 30-minute jog through trails, fallen trees, branches, twigs, leaves, etc.

see, within the first 500 yards i set my course, and God met me there. while looking at the trail map and plotting my way, God presented something to me... in the form of a 6-foot snake lying motionless on the path a couple feet in front of me. the only thing moving was it's tongue as i shrieked (yes, like a little girl), froze in my tracks and stared at what i had almost stepped on. did i mention that i am incredibly fearful of snakes? for some, it's rats, or bats, or taxes...for me, snakes. thanks God!

i took a few cautious steps back, never blinking or taking my eye off it...and watched as the snake inspected me, most likely senesed my fear (and possible soiled pants) and went upon it's way...slithering slowly back into the brush. i watched it for a good 5 minutes as i checked my pants and caught my breath. it was slowly scooting along...until a blue bird came along, landed in front of the snake and cawed at it in attack mode...at which the 6-foot brown & tan snake bolted for the nearest shelter...and it went fast! i stood there in amazement (and fear) that a blue bird was more intimidating than me, a 6-foot tall man (with a little girl shriek, nonetheless) had i not been so fearful still, i might have been insulted.

so, once the snake was out of sight, i went about my way. did i mention that the trails were filled with fallen trees, branches, twigs and leaves? all of those things can look like snakes with the correct mindset. so, just like that, a hike turned into a fast paced jog! while jogging, i assessed what had just happened. what was God telling me? about a mile into my jog, it hit me.

Trust God!

that's it...trust God. He will provide. i was too busy with the trail map in my hand, trying to plot my course to realize the dangers up ahead. i was too consumed with what i wanted for me, where i wanted to go, me, me, me, that i never asked God where He wanted me

i listened to the fact that He wanted me to hike with Him, but i stopped listening right there. and needless to say, He wasn't through instructing! i like to think that i trust Him, but still, i put my wants ahead of His. now, i'm not sure what else He wants for me to do, but I can guarantee you one thing, i won't have my face buried in a map next time He tries to lead me...

Open Your Eyes

this song was the last song played as greg, kyle and i pulled up to the chapel on my wedding day over a year ago. not sure why i remember such a practically useless piece of information, but i do...so there ya go! perhaps it's because i was about to experience such an eye opening event. in less than 2 hours from the playing of that song, my life would be changed forever...in the best way possible. once again, God showed His grace to me by allowing someone so amazing to come into my life at just the right time. any sooner, and i would have messed it up for sure!

God reveals Himself to me everyday too. every morning, He and i share a moment as i'm driving to work. it's a literal eye opening moment. God reveals His beauty, His spendor, His wonder to me as i'm traveling on the ramp from i-10e to loop 410e. as i arrive at the top of the 90 foot+ ramp and turn the corner...there He is, everyday, without fail, to welcome me to the day. i look out, over the city below, as far as the eye can see...and i'm amazed! everyday, i see something new, the rising sun peeks through the clouds in a different way, the storms can be seen off in the distance, the airplanes are circling a few miles away. the list could go on forever. He is there to greet me, everyday, without fail.

i always imagine this song from the perspective of Jesus. (i'm sure if Jesus were alive today, He'd be snow patrol fan!) i picture Him wanting to open our eyes. he's there, hanging on a cross for all of us...wanting us to look up and realize what exactly He's doing for us, and what He wants in return. it may seems strange and untrue, but He wants to be with all of us. and we all can.

(side note: towards the end of the song, there's a repetitive and explosive instrumental section...i imagine this is the moment that we say "yes, God, i'm yours. i'm giving my life to you. thank you for all you've given me, and i'm sorry i've been away for so long!" what a glorious moment! whenever i'm driving in the car and this part of the song is playing, i get very greg coplen-esque... katy and ryan know what i'm talking about. whenever greg would come to a rocking part of a song, he'd practically lose control of his legs behind the piano...they'd be pounding the floor at the beat of the song like he was running a marathon. the difference is, he is great at that...and i can't hold a rhythm to save my life! katy and ryan are very good at reminding me of that as i'm driving...but i rock it just the same!)

so, here's the point. God has called us all...not just some, all. to be willing to give up everything we have to follow Him. all our comforts, all our selfish desires. are you willing? will you open your eyes?

all this feels strange and untrue
and i won't waste a minute without you

my bones ache, my skin feels cold
and i'm getting so tired and so old

the anger swells in my guts
and i won't feel these slices and cuts
i want so much to open your eyes
'cos i need you to look into mine

tell me that you'll open your eyes
tell me that you'll open your eyes
tell me that you'll open your eyes
tell me that you'll open your eyes

get up, get out, get away from these liars
'cos they don't get your soul or your fire
take my hand, knot your fingers through mine
and we'll walk from this dark room for the last time

every minute from this minute now
we can do what we like anywhere
i want so much to open your eyes
'cos i need you to look into mine

tell me that you'll open your eyes
tell me that you'll open your eyes
tell me that you'll open your eyes
tell me that you'll open your eyes
tell me that you'll open your eyes
tell me that you'll open your eyes
tell me that you'll open your eyes
tell me that you'll open your eyes

all this feels strange and untrue
and i won't waste a minute without you



i love hurricanes. don't get me wrong, i don't wish bodily harm or death upon anyone...i just love the force of nature that is a hurricane. ever since i can remember, i've been fascinated with storms: hurricanes, tornados, floods, etc. i think perhaps its the amazingly powerful (and often destructive) force that reminds us that ultimately, we are not in control. we may be in control of certain things...smaller things, like what we're going to watch tonight on television, or what sandwich we're gunna eat at subway...but that pales in comparison to the controlling power of nature, and the very real effects it has on all of us. for some, it drives us away...for others, it brings us closer together.

quite often, it's all a matter of mindset. look at hurricane katrina for example. many seem to look at that event completely as a disaster...without seeing the good that came from it. the millions of dollars donated to charities, thousands of people who donated their time to help at shelters, open their homes to others, prayers for hope, etc.

perhaps we need more 'large' reminders to help us remember that it doesn't really matter if we get the turkey breast and ham or the meatball sub. what does matter is the effect that the large controlling force has on us. i pray that His force brings us all closer together.


I Miss You

so, katy comes home today after being gone for a week. she's been helping lead a camp at the university of mary hardin-baylor. (super summer) luckily, i've had duncan to keep me in line. now, i know a week may not seem like a long time, but it's really felt even longer. see, since we started dating, we've never gone more than two days without being around each other...and seeing as we're married, obviously we enjoy each others company.

so, when she told me that she was going to lead on a week long camp, i was excited for her...and curious as to how i would spend my time alone. at first, it was nice...peace and quiet around the house. by the 3rd day i was trying to convince myself that peace and quiet was a good thing. around days 4 and 5, i was really beginning to realize just how important she is to me (not that i had ever really forgotten). this time apart hasn't been all bad though...i have figured out how to fix this problem come next years camp...go and lead with her!

to see you when i wake up, is a gift i didn't think could be real

to know that you feel the same, as i do, is a three-fold utopian dream

you do something to me

that i can't explain

so would i be out of line, if i said

i miss you.

i see your picture, i smell your skin on, the empty pillow next to mine

you have only been gone ten days, but already i am wasting away

i know i'll see you again

whether far or soon

but i need you to know, that i care

and i miss you


Smiling's My Favorite

so, it's wednesday, and everyone could use a smile to get through the rest of the week! what better way to put a smile on your face than with will ferrell dressed in yellow tights and pointy shoes! besides that, i have no idea why, but i wanted to post this...so, enjoy. consider it Christmas in july... i hope smiling's your favorite too!


Mr. Baseball

i officially have a new favorite baseball player...josh hamilton of the texas rangers. he hit 28 home runs in the home run derby tonight...in the first round alone. that was 20 more than any other player. oh, did i mention that a few years ago he was kicked out of baseball for drug and alcohol addiction? that's right, he spent 3 years completely away from the game. that is, unless you count him going to the batting cage, dropping in some tokens and smacking dimpled yellow balls off a mechanical metal arm baseball...and if you do, i have a whole jar of quarters...so, i'm a baseball player too.

josh hamilton was forced out of the game he loved because addiction overcame him. while away, he took a serious trip to rehab...and also welcomed Jesus into his life. you can hardly hear a sound bite or read a quote from hamilton without him thanking God. immedately after his historic 28 homers in the first round, hamilton said, "it's amazing over the past few years what God's done in my life, and how quickly he's done it."
one of the espn announcers said this of hamilton's performance, "i'm sort of an aficionado of this home run derby, and i think that was clearly the greatest home run derby performance ever, coupled with the amazing story of a cocaine and heroin addict who found religion, had a dream and came here to yankee stadium. it's a bad night to be an athiest!"

needless to say, i don't think i'm the only person who was blown away by both josh's performance and story. anytime a non-yankee player can bring the crown to its feet and get his name chanted by 60,000 screaming fans in yankee stadium, you know it's something special. that performace has a special place on my dvr...save until i erase!

3 Nails

freedom... what does it mean if it isn't focused on God...at all times? not just when everyone is looking...but especially when no one is giving a glancing eye. freedom builds character...builds vision...builds you. who you are...what you decide effects your eternity...not just little irrelevent snaps in time. focus on the greatness of you. the bigger picture. the joy, the pain, and all the in between. it's all real, it's all who you are. i pray for strength in the hard times, the times when no one is around to form accountability. those times really build who we are and what we really stand for. people can be fake, dirty facades of expectations...but it's who we are when no one is around that really builds us. build from the inside-out. the core, the soul, the heart... they break while the glue of those expectations hold the exterior together...but eventually that glue ages, the mold cracks, and the real us comes blasting thru. God, let the in-and-out of me be a mirror image...a carbon-copy, one in the same. break my heart, open my eyes fully, to help me understand why i do what i do...help me remember grace, love, 3 nails. help me be free...

*i wrote this last night at summer nights (a sunday night worship service for our church ministry) while caught in a worship moment with God. while it was written from my perspective solely for myself, i hope that others feel the same way. thank you God for this intimate time with you.


Beautiful Day

remember when we were younger, and we had big hopes and dreams for life? we were going to own our very own business....become a famous musician...build our dream house...get married...play ball in the big leagues...move to hollywood and become a famous actor..travel the world, etc.

well, what happened? why am i not seeing friends winning oscars? why am i not receiving postcards from egypt? why am i not buying your music off itunes? why am i not throwing no-hitters for the la dodgers? were our goals too far out of reach...or did we get lazy, distracted, afraid of failure?

this song reminds me of those times...those goals...those dreams. now, some may be too far out of reach...but it also reminds me to keep dreaming...keep setting goals...keep vision. to let the colors come out after the flood...

the heart is a bloom

shoots up through the stony ground

there's no room

no space to rent in this town

you're out of luck

and the reason that you had to care

the traffic is stuck

and you're not moving anywhere

you thought you'd found a friend

to take you out of this place

someone you could lend a hand

in return for grace

it's a beautiful day

sky falls, you feel like

it's a beautiful day

don't let it get away

you're on the road

but you've got no destination

you're in the mud

in the maze of her imagination

you love this town

even if that doesn't ring true

you've been all over

and it's been all over you

it's a beautiful day

don't let it get away

it's a beautiful day

touch me

take me to that other place

teach me

i know i'm not a hopeless case

see the world in green and blue

see china right in front of you

see the canyons broken by cloud

see the tuna fleets clearing the sea out

see the bedouin fires at night

see the oil fields at first light

and see the bird with a leaf in her mouth

after the flood all the colors came out

it was a beautiful day

Don't let it get away

beautiful day

touch me

take me to that other place

reach me

i know i'm not a hopeless case

what you don't have you don't need it now

what you don't know you can feel it somehow

what you don't have you don't need it now

don't need it now

was a beautiful day


Battle Between Grace and Pride

do you ever lay in bed at night and feel lonely? do you ever wish someone was there with you? someone to hold you, someone to comfort you? someone to share life with you?

do you think God ever feels that way about you? do you think He ever says, "where have you been? i miss you. i'm lonely without you." do you ever think God just wants to hangout with you and share life with you...but for some reason, you don't think to call Him?


HR Management

why is it that when we were young and we played a game, the rules generally told us what we could do... but for some reason, as we got older, the rules changed? suddenly, all the restrictions were brought to the forefront. we're informed of all the dont's, and it's assumed that everything left unsaid is the way the job gets done. doesn't it seem that things would be easier if we were just told what to do and how to do it? not only would job requirements and productivity seem much more clear cut, but perhaps it would also take the sting out of the "no's" that we seem to hear all the time. can we still put a positive spin on the game of life?


"When nothing seems to help, I go and look at a stonecutter hammering away at his rock perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred and first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not that blow that did it, but all that had gone before.” -Jacob August Riis

i love this quote…not only because it’s written on the corridor leading to the spurs locker room in about 30 different languages, but because it’s such a true statement. you can look at something you’re working on and choose to see no results, or you can continue on with your work, knowing that all the time you’ve already put in will eventually reap a reward. how often do we forget that? we get so focused on wanting immediate results that we lose sight of the vision…of what the completed work will be. let persistence be your vision, your hammer to split your rock.


National Severance

sometimes even the good ones falter.

it's a sign of the times when even a well-run, well-respected organization has to downsize, make cutbacks, layoffs, closing, etc. news broke yesterday that starbucks is closing 600 of their stores nationwide. what does that say about the state of our economy? $4 gas has become the norm, kicking the $4 cup of coffee to the curb...something's gotta give.

600 stores, that's a lot of newly unemployed people. add them to all the laid off auto-workers, over 900 soon-to-be released american airlines fight attendants and countless home builders, realtors and mortgage brokers flooding the unemployment lines and monster.com websites... that's a lot of people looking for very few available jobs.

so, what does that mean for everyone else? perhaps we'll appreciate our jobs just a little bit more... or maybe we're excited because this may help curb senseless spending in our country... perhaps an increase in national credit card debt... a renewed look at the homeless situation in our nation, etc.

regardless of any other of your own personal concerns, it does leave many people wondering and thinking, "i hope my starbucks isn't on that list"!


Tiger Woods, Uniting The World?

i read a very interesting article today (although not very original...i read a simular article about a year ago with the same concept) about tiger woods, the most dominant pro golfer on tour, and arugbly the most dominant athlete in all of professional sports. tiger's fame and popularity has eclipsed practially everyone's expectations. (click here for the article)
here's an example: last month, when tiger and 'that other guy' were in an 18-hole playoff on a monday for the u.s. open, my sister and katy were texting me with updates every few minutes while i was at work! that's right; my sister and katy; 2 women who have never even played a single hole of golf, were watching the entire 18-hole playoff on the edge of their couch, informing me of every stroke gained or lossed, every painful grimace on tiger's face, every amazing shot executed and pretty much everything else in between. moral: tiger woods is the man!

anyway, back to the article... it's about how tiger should break away from the pga tour and start his own tour. think about it... what's not to love? practially every player on tour already likes the guy. after all, since his arrival, sponsorships, prize money and endoursments have skyrocketed...and you know even the mediocre players are feeling some of the ripple. plus, if he can take the game to a truly global market and make even more money, why not? he already has his name on practically everything else: video games, sports drinks, a building at the nike corporate campus in oregon, why not his own tour?!

the amazing thing is, he could probably pull this off. do you think derek jeter could start his own baseball league and have even moderate success? how about joe montana and football? not even michael jordan in his prime could have defected from the nba and tried to start his own league... it would have been career suicide (even more than playing AA baseball for the birmingham barons).

nothing seems to be impossible for tiger. after all, he hobbled around and won the u.s. open with a broken leg and a torn ligament in his left knee. impossible doesn't seem to even be in tiger's vocabulary.