Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Checklist

There is this thought, or idea about there being an ideal guy or a perfect girl for you. The question was possed to me, "is my expectation in a future spouse unreal? Is it crazy to wait for this person I imagine?" 

I don't have an answer. At least not a  yes or no type answer. It's more, well? Um... Maybe we should talk about what you are expecting and what you think ideal is? 

I am not a romantic. I live in more of a realistic world. Love is more than thinking romance is flowers, elaborate vacations, a picture of walking down the beach hand in hand. That's all amazing, I am not putting it down because I am a guy. Romance for me is more than coming home to my Stepford wife who's fixing my favorite meal and has my frosted mug ready to go. Whatever your thought of romance is just do yourself a favor and chuck it out the window. 

Romance is waking up early on your day off to drive your sagnificant other to work cause of the bad weather. It's picking up chocolate milk on your way home cause you know it's their favorite. It's staying out until 3 in the morning to see a movie primier even though you have to be at work at 8:30. Romance, love, expectations? It should always be based more in the little things. The little things show you are paying attention to your other half. You are aware of who they are as a person. You understand them cause you are spending time continually getting to know them.

The question though was about expectations. It was about waiting for this individual you have imagined. My reality with marriage is simple, it's amazing! I love being married. I love doing life with Ashley. I love how we both challenge each other, grow together, hurt together, and encourage each other. The other reality though is whomever you end up spending your life with will hurt you, they will disappoint you, they will put their personal needs and wants above yours. I don't believe in a checklist for a future spouse. What I do hold to, as a Christian, is they love God and love others. In their pursuit of God they learn how to more affectionately love and serve the person they are with and others around them.

Checklist in a future spouse:

1) love God

2) love others

3) be passionate in their pursuit of God

All else you learn to adapt to. You learn to walk through. You learn to embrace their flaws, their failures, and their love for you. 

Much love to you on this December day,


Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Only Constant Is Change

I remember when I first moved to Springfield 7 years ago. I moved for a girl. I had no money. I didn't own a car. I didn't have a job lined up. I had no idea how to take care of myself, I still don't. I had almost nothing. It was by far one of the stupidest things I have ever done. 

My first birthday spent here was awful. I had no family here. I fought constantly with my girlfriend. I didn't have friends that understood what was going on in my life. I felt lonely, angry, and distant. 

Growing up my birthday was always special. December 13th, the day us kids and my dad would go pick out our Christmas tree. I loved it. It was always a fun day. Playing hide and seek for hours in the cedar trees before looking for the tree. Upon finding the "perfect" tree taking turns cutting it down. My older siblings, dad, and myself carrying it home. Finding out upon getting home that the tree was twice as tall as it needed to be. Mom having hotchocolate for us when we came home. Sitting around the table, laughing, sharing, and loving life. I loved my birthday. I loved the togetherness of my family. I loved how every year it was special cause that's the day we would get our Christmas tree and kick-off The season. I loved how my whole family was always there. The presents were always great, but it was always the family aspect which meant something to me.

Now I was turning 20, knew only a few people, and felt very alone. I know now in hindsight I brought it upon myself. This birthday, this always special day, was nothing like it use to be. I don't really remember what was done for the day. I remember how I felt. I know the sadness and anger inside me was very real. I know part of me hated how I had put myself in this place. I received a card from my family. A happy birthday phone call. A few texts from friends back home. Nothing special though.

Fast forward another 7 years. I am still in Springfield. I stayed for a different girl, who has become the love of my life. I found work. I own a car. My birthdays are better. They are spent with my new family. My wife always makes it special in her own way. There is laughter, love, and a togetherness. I am content, happy, and feel so grateful for how God has worked in and through my life. How He has turned what was one of the stupidest decisions of my life into something great.

"The only constant in life is change." I have found this to be partially true. Life is always changing, always moving, always different than the way we remember it. In the change I have found a constant in Jesus Christ. I turn 27 tomorrow. We won't go out and get a Christmas tree. There may be some hotchocolate at some point. There will be family around me. Ashley and I will go see the premier of the Hobbit tonight. Another year will have been lived. Looking forward, into the year ahead, I know the best is yet to come. I am expectant and excited for where we may be next year at this time. I won't rush this moment though. I won't wish for something different. Live Loved, Live Loud, Live Forgiven.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013


im•pact: the striking of one body against another; collision

impacto: the effect or impression of one thing on another

impactus: to have a direct effect or impact on

Impact. A word. An aftermath. An alteration. A lifestyle. A purpose. A challenge. A choice.

I was thinking about how people live their lives. How they get up, go through the day, get home, and think, "what did I do today?". I know not everyone is like this, but there are those of us who do live as such. Our lives are merely normal daily events strung together into a week, a month, a year, 27 years. And then at some point it ends. We cease to be a living being here on earth. We cease to be what we were. And then it hits me, "in my 27 years did it matter? Did I matter? Did I live on purpose choosing to live a life unwasted?". 

I don't know. I haven't finished yet. There is a fear within me though of living a life that was a waste. Where, when all is said and done, when people realize I have died, that they say to each other how much potentional I had and how I wasted it all. There is a fear that when I stand before my God that He won't say the words, "well done good and faithful servent." There is a fear that while I am living here I didn't make my life count. I didn't maximize my potentional. I wasted it all. I failed to be of any impact. 

I don't know how you approach life. I don't know how you feel at the end of the day. I don't know if any of it matters to you, whether your life being wasted matters or not. I am driven more than just by fear though. I want to leave an impression on others, not of myself, but of Jesus. There are those in my life who have made such a difference. I think about them, what they have done, how they have lived, how they have given up so much for others. I am so grateful for them. For my parents, for the leaders, for my friends, for my wife. I am thankful that they chose to live on purpose to help shift my life and the direction it could have gone. The direction it was going. I only pray that God gives me the strength and courage to live as such. To live an unwasted life. To live on purpose for a purpose. To have an impact.

Impact: Choosing to live on purpose with a purpose. 

Impact: choosing to leverage your life for a greater cause

Impact: an unwasted life

Impact: a choice

"Take the world, but give me Jesus; in His cross my trust shall be, till, with clearer, brighter, vision, face to face my Lord I see"
- Fanny Crosby 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

5 Simple Steps To Being Uncool At 17

There is always a need as a teenager to feel like you fit in. To belong to a group. To be that "cool" kid. Here are five simple steps to insure that you will be the most uncool kid around.

1. Drive any type of van

There is nothing that says "uncool" like a van. The bigger, older, uglier the colors, the better. For me it was a GMC, 12 passenger, black and yellow van.
       While everyone in my hometown was driving Mustangs, Jeeps, and trucks
 I was stuck driving a 12 passenger van that most churches didn't even own. Don't believe the hype from the Swagger Wagon commercial, it's not true when you are a 17 year old living in a town of 2,500 people.

2. Play the cello

People find out you are a teenager who plays the cello they respond in two ways. Either, "I always wanted to learn to play the cello" or, "the cello has such a beautiful sound". My point is, people  didn't learn to play the cello when they were 17. While you are performing one of the Bach Cello Suites at your recital, imagining yourself looking like a great rock artist
           Most people see you more like what you are, a classical cellist.

3. Dress like a homeschooler

I can spot a homeschool family almost anywhere. I was brought up in one. Most homeschool families have one thing in common, absolutely no sense what so ever about fashion. Our pant to shoe ratio is way off.
             Our Branson shirts scream it's the highlight of our life.
     And while we do our best to try and pull off the cool rocker look that we so desire 
          We end up looking more tragic than the cast of The Big Bang Theory.

4. Learn the J. R. R. Tolkien language of Elvish

At 17 it's all about being up on the latest in culture. Whether in music, literature, movies, fashion, etc. The reality is no one cares how much you know about The Lord Of The Rings though.
The back stories to all the intricate characters of this beloved series matters very little to anyone. Your strong desire to learn a language that know one else knows places you on the bottom of the social ladder. The sword you so want, the one Gandalf wields, places you in only one social group. An obnoxious LOTR fan. Don't dress like Legolas for the premier of The Return Of The King. People will stare. Learn to control your obsession in a moderation and try to understand that people aren't as into it as you are.

5. Have your mom be your wingman

Whether it be by choice or by circumstance, your mom as your wingman, is by far, the most uncool thing out there. You sit at the park in your 12 passenger van, cello in the backseat, the sound track to the LOTR blaring, talking to your latest crush and your mom shows up. "Hi I am Jasper's mom. Aren't you suppose to be in school right now?". Let's face it, that girl is never going to give you the time of day after that. Moms and cute girls don't mix. Whatever game you thought you had is crushed whenever she introduces herself. Game Over Man!

I was uncool at 17. Looking back though I thank my parents for instilling some very real truths into my life. They taught me individuality should be embraced. God given talent should be pursued. My outer image is far less important then my inward attitude. They taught me to pursue great art and learn from innovative thinkers and artist. To be me. God made me unquie for His glory. Embrace it. What we leave behind, as our story, is far more important then how cool we are at 17. Live on purpose with a mission at hand. I am thankful I was uncool at 17. It taught me what really matters in the end.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

A Scandal Of Life

I am sitting here wondering where to begin. My coffee is now lukewarm at best, and Bob Dylan is playing on the record player. I have always enjoyed his music. I think there use to be part of me that was hoping I would be able to connect to my parents through his music. Now I just listen to it cause I personally enjoy it. His ability to tell a story. His rambling of a harmonica. The slight whine in his voice. Bob and I, well somehow I feel like I understand him. I am rambling now though. The truth is I don't know where to begin.

Life for me is not as simple as, "here's the beginning, this is my story, enjoy the journey". It's complicated. It's messy. It's more gray than black and white. It's more uncomfortable than comforting. It's filled with seemingly more lows than highs. My life, in short, is a scandal. 

And so it begins. My ramblings. My thoughts. My life as it unfolds bit by bit. I choose to begin here. In the middle of it all. Maybe at some point the whole story will be known. Maybe in the future it will all make sense. For now though, let's start here and see where it takes us.