23

I am not much of a poet. But I wrote this for Heather because it’s our wedding anniversary this weekend. Gosh I love that lady.

Peaches
In heavy syrup
Nah, just kidding
That’s awkward

Five foot three
And three-quarters
Short hair
Don’t care

Lilac
Cherry Blossom
Succulent
Hufflepuff

Hummingbirds
Deer in our yard
Snakes in our shed
Mouse in our house (Eek!)

2 kids
Trae and Aiden
When did they grow up?
The best gifts from God

Tacos
Brisket
Brisket Tacos!
Spicy

Hockey
Football
UFC
I am blessed

The king returns
Han shot first
Jason Bourne
The nose plays 😉

Wonder Woman
Cosplay
Superhero
Is what you are

Beautiful
My darling
My favorite
Baby

Life with you
From that first day until now
Is the best life
Beyond my imagination

Hard times
Fun times
Some times
Messy

Every time
For all time
Without question
I choose you

Grateful
Thankful
Hopeful
Is how I feel when I see your face

The best part of my day
Healing power and resting place
I feel at home
In your arms

Happy anniversary
Half my life
Spent married to you
Literally

Best decision
Would do again
Would recommend
10/10

Happy anniversary my beautiful lady!

What Would You Do?

I have a question for you today:

If you could do anything in the world and all the bills were paid, what would you do?

This is such a tough question for me. I feel like there are so many things that I would or could do if I didn’t have to have a full-time job every day. There’s definitely not just one thing. Here’s a short list of some things I think I’d do.

I want to think that I would write more. Not for money, but for the love of writing whatever I wanted to write. I’m imagining that doing so would free up my words and that I actually would make money from them. But the fact that I wouldn’t have to make money from them is freeing.

I think I’d keep on writing code. I’ve been a developer since I was young. I can’t imagine that stopping now.

I also want to read more. Over the past few years I’ve started to pick up the habit of reading and I’ve been enjoying it. At first it was all non-fiction “get better at your life” kinds of books but lately it’s been more fiction. I will say the one problem I have with reading books is that when I read I get sleepy. So maybe I’d also take more naps?

I feel like I would (or could) make more time to exercise. During this “health year” I’ve gotten into a pretty good groove with exercising regularly and, while I haven’t fallen in love with it yet, I’m starting to appreciate some of the results I’m seeing. I generally like feeling better overall. I’d like to think that I’d at least continue the trend if not make it even a more important part of my life. Perhaps I shouldn’t be so optimistic about that, but I am.

I would spend time outside, particularly in the fall. I love the fall weather. As I sit here looking at my yard, I wish I would take better care of it. It’s had the feeling of fall in the air a bit lately … and I’m starting to see ads for pumpkin spice things, so I’m starting to think about being outside. Cool air, fires in the fire pit, roasting marshmallows.

I’d travel with my family to some places that we’ve always wanted to see. We’d take our time doing it too. “Let’s go see all the things in the two weeks I get off for vacation every year” would be a thing of the past. I’d love to buy an RV and just go travel everywhere. I love my family and want to spend as much time with them as possible. Getting out on the road with them, having adventures together, that sounds like an amazing thing to do.

I’d find some way to give back. It’s not all about me or even really at ALL about me. There are people that need so much help. How can I help?

I think of all the things I mentioned, traveling around the country with my family and writing more would top the list. But honestly, just having the time (and money) to do whatever God wants me to do whenever God wants me to do it, wherever He might want me to go is a huge deal. I think that’s what I’d most want to do.

What about you? What would you do?

Reach Your Goals

I’ve been thinking a lot about processes lately. The way things are done. Routines to help make things better for myself, my team, and others around me.

I love a good process. I can get lost in routine. I’ve learned that if I want to get anything done well, I need a habit to make it happen.

Eating healthy foods is one example. When I’m at home and I am surrounded my mostly healthy foods I make mostly healthy choices. I have set times when I eat and I know what I’m eating at those times. It’s a pretty well-oiled machine and it is part of what is helping me during my “Health Year.”

On the other hand, when I go to work in the office it’s a different story. For example, most of the days this week I went into the office. We had a virtual conference 2 of the days and a third day we had an All Staff event. Each of those days included lunch being brought in or going out to eat. Even when we don’t have events there are many times where there is just other food laying out for me to grab if I want it. None of which is really beneficial to me or fits my health goals.

Now, there is something to be said for my lack of impulse control. I can fully own that.

There is also something to be said for environment. If the environment you’re in doesn’t promote healthy eating then you’ll have a hard time staying on top of your desire to eat healthy foods. The environment you’re in matters.

But we’re talking about processes here. When I go into work at the office it throws off the processes that I’ve carefully built over time and that are working so well for me. It’s easy for the routine I’ve set up for myself to get unbalanced. I’ll have a meeting when I’m supposed to be eating and that throws off my meal timing. Or I didn’t prepare my meals ahead of time so I am a lot more tempted to eat the things that aren’t good for me.

This is why it’s so important for me to have my meals timed right and to know in advance what I’m going to eat. If I prepare in advance and eat when I am supposed to then I make sure that I am satisfied and I don’t over indulge as often.

It’s the “going-to-the-supermarket-when-you’re-hungry” conundrum, right? You will almost always buy more than you planned on buying, and buy more not-good-for-you foods if you go to the grocery store when you’re hungry then when you’re not. There’s probably a study that proves that I would bet.

Anyway, back to processes. James Clear says in the book Atomic Habits that “you don’t rise to the level of your goals, you fall to the level of your systems.” So what you plan for, the processes you put in place, have everything to do with you being successful in meeting or exceeding your goals. It’s not the goals themselves, it’s the things behind the scenes that you put in place to help you achieve your goals that really matters.

Take a minute to think about your goals. Are you succeeding in meeting them? If so, it’s probably because you have a system in place that is helping you. Reaching a goal doesn’t happen on accident.

On the flip side, are you failing in meeting your goals? Take a look at the system (or lack thereof) you have in place. That system is probably letting you down somewhere.

At the end of the day, I know that I eat better and more healthy choices when I follow my plan of eating roughly the same things at the same time every day. It’s my system. When I get off that system things go south really quick.

The same is true for any goal or anything you want to accomplish. If you’re not succeeding in reaching your goals, get a better system or follow the system you already have in place. Give it time to do it’s job. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the results.

Advice to My Son as He Enters College

My son,

This coming week you will start college. How surreal is that?

Everybody always says it and I hate that it’s true but … where has the time gone?

It seems like just last month you were this little guy that I could literally hold with one arm.

I swear it was just a couple weeks ago that we were in our apartment in Macon and we were wrestling and tackling each other while playing football in our living room. “Look how close you are to that touchdown.” All you wanted to do was to see the replays.

I feel like it was just last week that you were getting into superheroes and Star Wars and we were having light saber battles and you would call that same dumb play in the college football video game and freaking score every time.

It was pretty much just yesterday in my mind that you were in your first play at CLT where you fell in love with acting. It was the catalyst that leads you to where you are today.

This is not just a letter of reminiscing, although I suppose you’ll forgive me for doing a little bit of that. This is a time to call you forward. This is another step in your journey to manhood. Further up and further in.

This is your next giant to slay. Your next lion to kill.

College is a time for you to really dig into who (and whose) you are and to figure out all the things life has to offer. It is a time for you to make decisions for yourself. For the most part, this is the time in your life where you will take the foundation that we’ve laid for you and start to build on it. When our ceiling becomes your floor. That doesn’t mean that you have to go out on your own or figure it all out by yourself. We’re still here for you and will, for as long as we can, continue to help you understand your world.

Let me start here.

I want you to know that I truly believe in you and what you’re doing. I know that you are called to do this. You are meant to be at this school, doing what you’re doing. Right here, right now. You’re meant to be an actor. I’ve seen God do too many things and work this out in too many ways for me to think it’s all just an accident. This is what you are meant to do and I am excited to see what you do with it.

All that being said, here are some things that I want to leave you with as you move forward into this next stage of your life. Hopefully you’ll find wisdom in some of these words.

Jesus first, Jesus always

First and foremost always rely on God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. Always, always, always.

This is a time of great exploration for you. That’s how it should be. But … don’t forget your foundation.

God created you, Jesus died for you, and the Holy Spirit lives in you to guide and direct you. You will know the right thing to do because God knows the right thing for you to do.

If you listen to Jesus and do what He says, you’re gonna be okay.

Take part in all the things

Avoid the “man I wish I would have’s”.

There are so many things going on in college. Maybe they will look a little different in this COVID-19 world, but I know your school is doing all it can to make your first year as “normal” as possible.

Know your limits, for sure. Realize when you need to pull back and re-energize. But also, lean in and participate in as much as you can. Go to the events, the ceremonies, and the get-togethers. You most likely won’t ever get the chance to do college like this ever again. You don’t want to look back later and wish you had done more.

It’s not what you know, it’s who you know

You know this eternal truth already.

You have the opportunity to get to know some pretty awesome people who want to get to know you. Your professors, others in the departments you’re a part of, and people that you meet in organizations around campus. These are people who want to help you and are willing to work with you. Take advantage of that.

Be there when the doors open and leave when they close. Go to your professors office hours and get to know them personally. Get as much information as you can from as many people as you can.

This will only help you in the future.

Be curious

Ask questions. Better yet … ask hard questions. Be inquisitive. Learn all you can about the subjects you’re learning about … especially as it relates to acting. Even in the subjects that don’t relate directly to acting find a way to make them relate. That will help keep you interested and motivated to learn.

Take the time to learn how to learn and then learn all you can.

Take it seriously.

This whole college thing is a really big deal.

You’re paying for this education. This education is supposed to prepare you for your future. This isn’t a game.

Work harder than you’ve ever worked before. Give this your utmost attention and effort. You won’t ever regret the things that you work hard for.

This will not be easy but it’s completely worth it. Give it everything you’ve got.

Have fun!

Because it can’t be all work all the time, right?

You’re in that wonderful time where you’re like half adult-ing and half kid-ing. You have responsibilities that you have to own, but you don’t really have that many responsibilities.

Enjoy your time. Make new friends and explore your world. College might be a lot of hard work but you can have fun while working hard. Find that balance.

I love you, son.

I hope that me saying that isn’t embarrassing for you.

I love you and I’m proud of you. I’m proud of the man you are becoming.

College will test you. It’s supposed to. Like I said, it’s a lion for you to slay. Remember, gold is purified in the fire.

You’re a smart dude and you’ll figure this all out. I want you to know that I’m here for when you have questions (and you will have questions). Just because you’re going to college doesn’t mean that I’m done being your dad.

I love you champ,

Dad

To anyone else reading this, here’s my shameless plug: If you’re hiring actors, give my son a call. He’s the guy you want.

Seek God in Everything

I wanted to share just one thought for this week. Here it is:

Seek God in everything.

If there is one thing I’ve learned over the course of my life it is that God is way better at this whole life thing than I am. He knows what’s happened, what’s currently happening, and what’s going to happen. He knows what’s best for me even when (especially when) I don’t.

So often I try to go it on my own. I make the mistake of thinking that I know better than God does. After all, it’s my life, right? That, or I simply don’t think to ask Him what I should be doing and instead rely on my own thoughts or intuition to take me to the next place in my life.

That’s usually when things turn out wrong.

Thinking that we know our way in this life better than the One who created us in the first place is laughable.

Yet we do it all the time, don’t we? I know I do.

This is a lesson I’m still learning.

Maybe think of it this way. If you had a way to know what the best choices for you in life were going to be, wouldn’t you use that way every time? If you had a person in your life that always knew the right thing to do in any situation, wouldn’t you seek them out before you made any decision ever?

I think I would.

And yet I often make the mistake of thinking that I know what’s best for me or I know the right thing to do. I trust myself to make decisions that I shouldn’t be making.

Now, don’t get me wrong, God is no fortune teller. He isn’t just someone you pay to read your palm or tell you the future. He is not a Magic Eight Ball.

Yes, He knows the future and holds it in His hand. The big difference here is that God actually cares for you. He cares about your wellbeing and He wants what’s best for you. No fortune teller or device can ever say that.

God sees way further down the path of your life than you ever could. He also cares way more for you and your future than anyone (including you) ever would. He wants what is best for you and loves you with a love that won’t let go.

So put your future (and your decisions) in the hands of the One who created the universe. Ask Him what’s best for you. Seek Him in all you do. From small to big, in every area of your life, ask Him what you should do and He will direct your path.

Is Jesus a Person or a Transaction?

Sometimes it’s really hard for me to remember that what Jesus wants most from me is me. It’s even harder to remember that what I need most from Jesus is Jesus and not what he can do for me.

For too long I’ve tried to use Jesus as a transaction. “Hey Jesus, will you do (insert thing) for me?”. Make sure our money lasts all month long, let my kids get in this or that show, help me be a better husband or father.

There is nothing wrong with that, by the way. Jesus wants you to turn to Him and ask him to help you in your life.

But Jesus is not a transaction.

I need a relationship with Him way more than I need Him to do things for me. I need to sit with Him and let Him lead me the way He wants to lead me instead of me just spouting off all the things I need or want.

Jesus saved me and that’s enough. If He never did another thing for me then that would still be enough. He’s there for me and wants to help me in my life. But He wants me and my heart way more than anything I can do for Him.

Can I say the same in return?