i read the whole New Testament in the shower!

(This was originally posted to renown on September 30th, 2009.)

 yeah, I read the whole New Testament of the Bible while I was in the shower! No, I don't have a waterproof Bible... well, sort of, I guess.

A few years ago I heard about The Bible Experience as it was about to be released. It caught my attention. It was going to be an "audio Bible", but not just ANY audio Bible. I had listened to those before and they should be illegal because the guy reading would put you to sleep while you were driving!

No, this was basically a Hollywood-quality MOVIE that you would listen to! (And it is produced by Hollywood producers.) It has all the sound effects, surrounding ambiance, the movie-like soundtrack, etc... Plus each actor plays his character throughout the entire "Story" of the Bible.

And the actors... let's just say they didn't do like the normal Christian movie producers do and get actors off the ABC Family Channel (worst actors in the world!) or get a big name star like Kirk Cameron :)

The best actors in the business came together to "reenact" the Bible! Big time award winners like = Denzel Washington, Cuba Gooding Jr., Forest Whitaker, Angela Bassett, Samuel L. Jackson, LL Cool J, Blair Underwood, and even my boy Kirk Franklin!

So, when the New Testament released I went out and bought it right away. It was AMAZING! I told everyone about it. The coolest thing is that it is SO REAL. It feels like your standing there on the hill listening to Jesus' sermon on the mount! It is so dramatic that you get a little scared when demons talk. In fact, riding in the car late one night listening to the gospels, Crystal made me turn it off because it got so intense!

Then last year I won the WHOLE BIBLE "Bible Experience" cds at Catalyst! That was awesome because at that time the whole thing was over $100. Plus the version they gave me also has the complete text & you can scroll/read along with it in your iPod as it is playing in your headphones! Pretty sweet. I love that it's the exact same version I read and use too - TNIV. So it's exactly the same text as what I read in the Bible.

And I am hard core about multi-tasking! I feel like I'm wasting away if I'm not always doing 2 things at once! So, the Bible Experience has been perfect for me. I can always be listening to Scripture... and not just listening... actually experiencing the Story!!!

For example, when we painted our living room 2 months ago I got to listen to the whole entire book of Isaiah in 1 day! (& Isaiah is a pretty long book!)

Driving home from ATL one time I blazed through Nehemiah, Esther, & Ezra... Awesome stories.

*And of course, as the title of this post suggests, I always listen to the Bible Experience in the shower! BUT I've never been strategic about it. I would just pop in a random cd & listen to whatever as I was waking up in the shower 1st thing in the morning.

**BUT, when we got back from vacation last month I decided to be very strategic. I just decided to go straight through the whole New Testament. I put a little Ridge sticky note on the mirror and wrote down where I left off each day. So I only listened to the Bible Experience while I was taking a shower and getting ready (brushing my teeth, etc...). I started on August 14th and finished the whole New Testament yesterday, September 29th!

So, around 1 & a half months is all it took to "read" the whole New Testament... and no extra time on my part... just while I was in the shower!

Now that's what I call a wise use of my time! The epitome of multi-tasking! I love it! And I love the intensity & "realness" of The Bible Experience.

In fact, check out a sneak peek of the experience for yourself below:

The best clip to get a feel for the whole thing is on the Bible Experience website HERE.

and if you want to see more here is a "making of the Bible Experience" video...

You can buy The Bible Experience by simply clicking HERE.

Tomorrow in the shower I am starting on the Old Testament. I wonder how long it will take me to go all the way through it? Probably a lot quicker than trying to hold a Bible and read it while in the shower!

the hyrax & the 30th

i love to read Proverbs every day. ever since freshman year of college i've read 1 chapter a day (corresponding to the day of the month). this habit has helped make an unwise guy like me a little less and less unwise through the years.

in college one of my best friends, Ethan, had the same habit so we would often talk about what we read that day. those were some great conversations. But every month when it came to the 30th one of us would ask the other - "Dude, do you know what a hyrax is?"

nope. no idea. never even heard of it. but apparently, hyraxes are one of 4 things Agur (the author) says are "small, yet extremely wise".

verse 26 tries to tell us why they're so wise and even describe them a little bit = "hyraxes are creatures of little power, yet they make their home in the crags..."

huh. life changing, eh?

but it really did bug us. for years. we asked people. looked it up. we kind of just always pictured a beaver.

but then Crystal and i went to Kenya last Fall. a place where we stayed the 1st 10 days was crawling with these little fury creatures.

there were tons of them running around everywhere and this is one of the pics i snapped of them.

i asked a guy one day - "what are these things?"

"Hyraxes" he said.

case closed. now i've seen them up close and in person.

here's the really funny part. They would always be crowded all along the little path where we would walk to go to breakfast. Usually they would scurry off out of our way when we would come walking by. but i guess they're so wise that they can sense FEAR. because my wife, Crystal, was definitely afraid of them. (in her defense, they did have these massive sharp teeth.)

one day i went out early and was coming back to our room to see what was taking Crystal so long to come to breakfast. halfway back to our room i heard Crystal shouting "Patrick! help me!"

These little hyraxes had her cornered on all sides and she just stood there frozen as they inched closer. there were like 30 of them! she was pretty much freaking out.

it was a fairly funny scene, but of course i tried not to laugh. i just jumped up there and started shouting like a crazy man and clapping really loud and they all ran away.

now every time the 30th rolls around and i read this Proverb it makes me laugh when i come to verse 26. i can see those hyraxes chasing Crystal around. haha... they are pretty wise creatures i guess.

Crystal still says they are dumb.



i had no idea how much i needed rest until i started resting. didn't know how tired i actually was from this past year...

i just fell asleep on the couch today at like 11am without even meaning to. i was out cold.

earlier today i saw Rob Bell tweet something that perfectly describes my sabbaths. & vacation for me is simply a LONG yearly sabbath:

"On the Sabbath- we ask the question: what feeds our soul? And then we do that."

right on. just feeding my soul for these 2 weeks.

i love love love the part of vacation & all sabbaths where we just sleep in until we wake up. whenever that is. i hope i can train myself to sleep in until at least noon 1 of these days.

today was simply an amazing day of rest. and there are still double digit days of rest to go.

Crystal and i were chilling out in the ocean air by the pool and i had my iPod shuffling. randomly hit a song i hadn't heard in years. a flash back to high school days. i don't even know how it got on this iPod. but that song was very appropriate for this afternoon as i just sat there looking at God's amazing creation all around and resting in Him as a form of worship:

"i REST in the shelter of your love & i REST in the WONDER of YOU."

that shelter is BIG and this WONDER is endless.

i let it repeat a few times as i just rested.


we are going on vacation!

no plans. nothing to do. just chillin at the beach with my awesome, beautiful wife.

won't be thinking about work for 12 days. just resting, relaxing, and recharging. so looking forward to it.

the beach is an amazing place for me. always fills me up with Wonder. i can just sit out there and worship. it's a place of spiritual renewal for me.

(P.S. - a big mean guy with big literal guns will be staying at our house the next 12 days.)

words are POWERFUL

i guess i've always known words are powerful - for good or for bad. to encourage or to pull down.

but over the past 2 years it's been more and more real to me.

but recently i have been blown away by some of the words spoken to me. the kind that completely catch you off guard. those unsolicited words about me spoken directly to me.

people looking me in the eyes and speaking their mind about me.

several people have spoken POWERFUL words to me recently. maybe 8 or 9 people in the past month. the kind of powerful words that can simultaneously bring me to tears and pump me up so that i can even feel the adrenaline. the kind of words that produce powerful emotion. the kind of powerful words that i'm still thinking about a week or 2 or 3 later.

those people have no idea the weight those words carry. words that let me know i'm not wasting my time. maybe i am worth something. my life matters. maybe... just maybe these crazy dreams and grand visions i have can be accomplished. words that let me know people believe in me more than i ever realized.

maybe you think great things about someone. maybe sometimes you have something powerful to say to them. but you don't.

maybe you think they are really gifted or maybe they have made a massive difference in your life. they have no way of knowing unless you tell them.

Your words are POWERFUL. Use them for good.

because i can feel the power when it's done for me... i desperately want to do the same for others.

what will our baby BE?

crazy stoked our 1st child will be here REALLY soon. in just a couple months.

one of the things i'm probably MOST excited about in the next couple months before it gets here is that Crystal and i are gonna write what we want our child to BECOME and always focus our parenting for the next 18 years on those things.

Just 5-8 simple words like "Generous" or "Revolutionary" and focus our parenting and the experiences we provide on helping our child become that type of person.

this was an awesome suggestion from a tool we give new parents at Ridge Church in an attempt to partner with them. really thankful for that.

so, here's our rough draft. it's just an initial brainstorm list. a lot of them probably bleed over into each other. really wanna narrow these to 5-8 or even less. and would like for them to all be summed up in 1 word. would LOVE any of your thoughts!

LOVE - start with knowing he/she is LOVED by me, by Crystal.
then be overwhelmed with the amazing love of God. then pour out love to
. no matter who it is = friend, family, all ethnicities, all
lifestyles, the OUTCAST, an ENEMY. live their life with the belief that LOVE WINS.

REVOLUTIONARY - radical. never satisfied with the status quo or the normal way that everyone else lives. a world changer. never worry about trying to "fit in" to an apathetic culture, but not be afraid to shake it up.

GENEROUS - i would really love our child to be a person who will GIVE, GIVE, GIVE all their lives. and if they give away too much [oxymoron]... oh well.

STORIES - i would love for our child to - from the very beginning - live a life worth telling stories about. to just GO FOR IT. go for the adventure. go have the experience. don't be timid. don't be SAFE. take RISKS. have some stories to tell.

POSITIVE - this will be a really fun challenge with the balance of power in our house with 1 eternal optimist & 1 "realist" [spelled "p-e-s-s-i-m-i-s-t"] :) haha, this will be fun. we'll see if it makes the final list. i would love our child to always believe the best... about every situation, every person, etc...

TRUST GOD - trust God no matter what. unwavering faith in a God who loves them more than they can imagine. live a life based on that radical trust.

JOY - unashamed and unbridled JOY in God. a radical pursuit of JOY in God's glory with a reckless abandon. + just a straight up enjoyment of life. it's just too short to not enjoy it. that would be silly. why do you think we're here? All about FUN all the time!

LIVE IT - authentic. just be. live. live what you believe because what you live IS what you believe. don't just talk about it, because talk is cheap. anybody can do that. live it.

THANKFUL - it's a destructive thing to not be thankful even for 1 minute. this child will have so much to be thankful for from its 1st minute on earth on... it will never catch up. it can spend a lifetime being thankful and never be thankful enough.

DREAMER - Dream BIG. not small. big vision. big goals. have a freedom to dream big and not listen to "naysayers".

RESPECTFUL - to us as parents starting out... to everyone though really.

UNIQUE - you be you. be who you are. whoever that is. i don't care. be the way God made you. Find your IDENTITY only ever and always in who God says you are in HIM.

WELCOMING - of all people all the time.

HUMBLE - this is a biggie and a toughie. i would love to help my child eradicate pride from its life. maybe it can help me. i want them to be Open Minded and never so arrogant that they think they have it figured out. i hope they never one time in life think they are "better than" anyone.

CORAGEOUS - do the right thing even if no one else is. don't back down on what you believe in. Risk! don't be afraid to FAIL. it's ok, just try it again.

SELFLESS - it's a great big world out there. lots of countries. lots of people. lots of needs. you are just one person. life is obviously NOT about you. how could we ever think that for even 1 second?

WISE - if they could somehow learn to make wise choices early on... wow.

PASSIONATE - i can't figure out another reason to wake up in the morning unless i'm passionate about something. i guess i really don't care what they end up being into - what the pursue, what activities they're involved in, what career they choose, etc.... just do whatever it is with PASSION!

RENOWN SPREADER - grow up to be a supporting cast member to the 1 renown that matters. have a desperate desire to be used by God. whatever that might look like for him/her individually.

BLESSING - we are BLESSED to be a blessing! we are so blessed & it is for no other reason than the grace of God that we are not a family living under a bridge with no food. only grace and the fact that we are blessed. so, if the reason we've been blessed so much is clearly to BE a blessing to others... why would we ever go through a day without being a BLESSING?

well, it's just a start, but we obviously have some trimming of the list to do.

my Dad did that

do you remember growing up how you were really proud of stuff your dad did and you let everyone know it?

for me, i can remember being really proud of the fact that my dad started his own car dealership. And every time i would be with someone and we would pass Wilgrove Auto Mart on Albemarle road i would say something like "my dad did that." or "my dad started that/runs that/ owns that." Then when it moved out to Independence Blvd/HWY 74 i would pass it all the time with people and still say "my dad did that. that's my dad's place." i remember the proud feeling.

...on a seemingly unrelated note...

i really hate it that the days are getting shorter.=

for me it really stinks to wake up and it still be dark outside. the summer was awesome because at least there would be some light outside when i woke up.

but i guess i can look on the "bright side" - at least i get to see the sun come up every single morning. and that daily sun rise the past few weeks is pretty amazing.

it's better than any art you've ever seen or more beautiful than anything you've imagined.

and i just stop and smile and think  

"my Dad did that."

Nyaga is TOP of his class!

Nyaga is our child in Kenya that we have sponsored for over 4 years now through Compassion International. He was 5 years old when we sponsored him and he just turned 10 a little over 1 week ago! He is the man. Some of you may know him as Peter (Nyaga Baithumbi) and i've written about him a lot - HEREHereHERE, and HERE are a few...

Crystal and i had the awesome privilege of visiting Nyaga last Fall and hanging out at his house and in his village with his family (no parents). We had A LOT of fun together.

We always receive his report card after every year of school. He actually had to repeat 1st grade and then he's always done just OK since then. i can imagine it's extremely hard without even a parent to help you out with anything. He does have an older brother that he lives with, but he has his own wife and is taking care of 5 other children.

In our letters to Nyaga we always encourage him to work hard in school and to simply do his best. Last year he finished the best in his class he ever had -->

Term 1 = 14 out of 21 students

Term 2 = 8 out of 21 students

Term 3 = 10 out of 21 students

Crystal and i were talking to the Compassion staff when we were in Nyaga's village. we have always said that we want to sponsor Nyaga all the way through the University program, so we were asking how a student is selected for it?

Obviously there are several factors like work ethic, etc... but the student MUST be at least in the top 6 or 7 in his class to even be accepted into a University in Kenya!

We talked about Nyaga's grades and the staff lady mentioned that he is working hard and improving so much. that semester that he finished 8th in his class was a great step and puts him really near the cut off.

That day Nyaga and Crystal and i talked about school a lot. We encouraged him over and over to study really hard every day, to go to the tutoring that Compassion provides on Saturdays, and to keep improving in school... because it matters for your future.

i asked Nyaga what he wanted to be when he grew up and he replied - "President of Kenya... because i want to help Kenyans."

wow. lump in my throat. talk about HOPE. and having a dream from the bottom of poverty.

We told him to go for it. to work as hard as he can to walk toward that goal. getting better and better in school was a great way to move toward that goal... or at least the goal of having more influence to help people.

we just received Nyaga's report card from this year of school that just finished... HE IS #1 IN HIS CLASS!

Term 1 = 1st out of 40

Term 2 = 2nd out of 40

Term 3 = 1st out of 40

THAT is what i'm talking about!

we wrote him a letter write away (+ a birthday card and a birthday gift) and told him we know how hard he must have worked and how proud we were of that!

i know he's not my own kid but i can't even tell you how proud this makes me feel. i really can't help but tear up every time i think about it. unbridled joy wells up in my heart.

i definitely am not taking any credit but i can't help but think that the visit and encouragement Crystal and i gave mattered. because that's a big jump - from middle of the class to top of the class.

at the end of his letter we just received, he wrote "When can you come visit my home again?" Soon, i hope... Soon.

i hope 1 day we can go visit and help him move into his University.

and then the last words of his letter are "I will always pray for you."

c'mon Nyaga, can't i make it through 1 letter without crying?

skinny cows & fat cows

i've been reworking a lot of stuff with our budget recently. This past week Crystal and i were having a conversation about some of that budget stuff, what things were going to look like after the baby comes & she's not working, etc...

we had a lot of time to talk sitting in the parking lot that was 485.

i was explaining why i was putting such large chunks each month into the "Crystal's not working anymore fund" and said that basically we have "a lot of extra" now that we don't need... but soon we won't have any of that extra and will need to spend a lot more.

so, i'm setting aside extra we have in these times of "plenty" to prepare for the time of... less plenty. setting aside what we don't need now for when we will need it.

it's like Joseph's story really. There's a story in the Bible about how he interpreted Pharaoh's dreams about the 7 skinny cows and the 7 fat cows = basically there would be 7 years of plenty and then 7 years of famine.

So Joseph, being the wise guy that he was, saved up a lot during the 7 years of plenty so that they still had plenty in the 7 years of famine. great plan.

and then i said to Crystal... "except, it's like we'll be saving up for 7 months of plenty for the famine that will be the next 18 years."

"so that" (stuck on it)

(This was originally posted to renown on September 16, 2009. And i'm happy to say - i'm STILL stuck on it.)

read this 3 weeks ago in my new fav morning "nature" spot I've been
chillin' with God at every morning these last several weeks. I've been
reading & PRAYING this following passage every morning since. I'm
gonna memorize it and pray it all the time. Check it:

"May God be gracious to us and bless us

and make His face shine on us— SO THAT Your ways may be known on earth,

your salvation among all nations.

May the peoples praise You, God;

may all the peoples praise You.

May the nations be glad and sing for joy,

for You rule the peoples with equity

and guide the nations of the earth.

May the peoples praise you, God;

may all the peoples praise You.

The land yields its harvest;

God, our God, blesses us.

May God bless us still,

SO THAT all the ends of the earth will fear Him." (Psalm 67)

this is my prayer & song to God. That is my heart's passion!

is the only reason I want to be blessed. This is the only reason God
gives blessings to me & to my wife and to us as a family = SO THAT
we will take those blessings and use them for His renown!

fame & renown in all the earth is the only reason we've been
blessed with a pimp house and 2 cars and jobs and food on our table and
iPhones and health and minds and speech and sight and abilities...

the only reason I've been blessed with this computer to write this blog
and the fingers that are typing it. It's the reason I've been blessed
with the breath I am taking right now. "SO THAT" all the peoples & nations & ends of the earth will know & fear & be in AWE of God's renown.

I would be an idiot to not recognize that's what all these blessings
are for. I'd be an idiot to think they're just blessings for the sake of
making me richer or something...

This should remind us all of the beginning of the Story (Genesis 12) when God said His whole purpose for blessing a "people" was so that they would BE A BLESSING to the rest of the peoples! and the whole Story shows how all those blessings are SO THAT His renown would spread throughout the world!

is still the story we're in = God is making His Name famous in all the
world & He's blessing us "so that" we'll be a part of that
renown-spreading story!

i think; therefore i blog

so why start a blog and write stuff pretty much every day?

great question & i'm glad you asked.

there are many answers to that question but the main reason is that I HAVE TO.

if i didn't write i think i would explode.

there just aren't enough people in the world to talk the things in my head out with. and i've gotta talk things out... or write things out.

writing is the way i have to process all these thoughts, ideas, wrestlings, learnings, etc... in my brain.

i've got to have an outlet for it all. renown is that outlet. i can write about whatever i want or need to write about on renown.

This helps me grow. it's part of my development. writing makes me a better me. writing helps me make sense of me, of God, of the world, of what's next, etc...

i know i'm not a great writer. i never claimed to be and have never really attempted to be. i just write. i just crank it out. get it out of my brain and down on paper

really, this blog is just for me. the fact that other people choose to read it is just an extra bonus i guess.

although ultimately, this blog is not for me. as the name implies, it's for a RENOWN bigger than mine. but not necessarily just that people read it and are pointed toward that renown. although it's awesome when that happens, it's secondary. Primarily, just the fact that i have a place to write helps me become who i think God is trying to mold me into for His renown.

so i don't think i'll ever stop writing. unless i stop having ideas and thoughts and wrestling with stuff. and i hope that's not until after i'm dead.

so i blog because... well, because i am. i think; therefore i blog.

i got this phrase from Tony Morgan but it's from my heart 100%. seriously. i blog because i think stuff. (& i'm no expert, but i'm guessing Tony somewhat adapted it from Descartes or someone like that in the age of Reason or Rationalism or the Enlightenment ?)

"I process what I believe and figure out who I am while I write. I think; therefore I blog." - Tony Morgan

slowly we change

i admit that i do like my showers. the nice HOT water beating down on my back... it's one of my fav parts of the day.

& i like a nice hard water pressure in the shower too.

in Africa however, there is no such thing as water pressure period... much less a hard water pressure. at least not in my experiences there. in fact, here was our shower at one of the places Crystal and i stayed on our most recent time in Africa:

yeah, you're seeing it right. the shower was a bucket of water. so i was thankful when there was an actual shower where we stayed. but the water pressure was equal to tears falling from your eyes. not very hard.

and i'm cool with that. i got used to simply always being dirty... never truly clean. it was all good.

i guess i even got used to the lack of water pressure because i can remember the 1st shower after we returned home last October. the water pressure in our shower is just the way i like it. but that 1st shower! - i think i remember saying "OWW" out loud. it actually HURT it was so hard.

i had been used to barely a drizzle. and now i was being pelted with streams of water at what felt like 100mph.

and just yesterday (around 9 months later) i started complaining in my head that the water pressure in our shower is too WEAK!

i immediately started chuckling. whoa. what a big change. a change that happened slowly over time. our water pressure didn't change. i changed i guess.

it's amazing to me how MUCH we can gradually change over time. for good or for bad.

(because i know there are thousands...)

anything like this ever happen to you?

Impasse (love & racism)

(This was originally posted to renown on August 1, 2009. it's still just as powerful over 2 years later. even with no words. art can be that way... powerful without words.)


i guess the cheapskate in me is going to have to break down and do something about this.

unfortunately decent shoes cost half a fortune.

the bean & belle

i can't even begin to express how STOKED i am about the big, huge, EPIC Grand Opening of "The Bean & Belle" tomorrow!

i predict that this children's art studio will be dank, dope, exquisite, righteous, and (add your own stereotypical adjective here) _________  all at the same time.

this is YOUR special invitation to be there at the Grand Opening & Open House tomorrow anytime between 10am-5pm. you really don't want to miss this. (And if you're there at 10 you might even get to meet the Mayor!)

it's right in the heart of downtown Waxhaw. click HERE for the website (where you can also find directions to the B&B).

and if you come you might even find out more about the mystery room!

but whether you make it to the big day tomorrow or not, if you have children you seriously need to SIGN THEM UP. we're all created as artists. we were created to be creative. that's just who we are. i'm thankful my mom took me to art class after art class as a child and awakened my creativity.

and art is one of the most awesome ways to express the beauty that surrounds us in this life and point toward things that are more revolutionary... to point toward a world that will be even more beautiful than this.

as awesome as this art studio is, to me, the fruition of the vision is even more beautiful. our awesome friend, Jen Williams had this vision long ago for the B&B - a flippin awesome children's art studio. & tomorrow is when it "comes to pass". that's a beautiful thing. a dream birthed in her heart is now born. i can resonate with that 100%

proud and excited for her. she's like my "blood sister-in-law" or "sister-in-blood" as she might call it. could basically count these B&B founders like family. privileged to have even a peak into their journey.

look out Waxhaw (& beyond) this is the era of THE BEAN AND BELLE.

if you don't make it to the Bean and Belle you're missing out. so, i'll see you there.

$8 hot dog

(This was originally posted to renown November 12, 2009.) 

We're getting ready to kick off Advent Conspiracy... You'll be hearing A LOT more about it... just like I wrote a lot about it last year.

One of the founders is this guy Chris Seay. He's the man. And this video is awesome. I remember how it affected me the 1st time I saw it... and I met Chris right after that. He really lives what he's talking about...

what did you think?

hard lesson in pursuing a vision

i know there are TONS of lessons to learn in pursuing a vision. and i want to learn them. i prefer learning the hard lessons from others who have been there & done that.

one thing that i know is hard for
visionaries to understand is when everybody else isn't as pumped up
about your vision as you are? how could they not be, right?

i read something recently that i think is a valuable lesson for me and anybody else pursuing a vision. John Maxwell wrote about a time he asked someone to follow him into this new vision and they didn't want to go. didn't feel like they should. he was really bummed. then his wife said this:

“Your problem is that you
want to take everybody with you. But not everyone is going to go on the
journey. Let it go.”

thanks for the advice Mrs. Maxwell. well said.

not everyone will, should, and/or CAN take the journey. and i'm ok with that.

the pressure to improve

it's crazy what you can learn about rigorous organizational culture and teamwork from the beautiful game. (see HERE for an example)

i grew up playing competitive club soccer since i was maybe 7 years old. the culture of that club was inherently RIGOROUS and there was CONSTANT and INTENSE pressure to improve. not forced from a coach, but organically and inherently present.

and not just pressure to improve so that you don't ride the bench, but pressure just to STAY ON THE TEAM period.

my club team played all year long growing up. a couple seasons and several tournaments throughout the year and each season we would add 3-5 top players to our team from other clubs in the region. SO THAT our team would keep getting better and better all the time.

basically 3-5 top players would come in to the team each season which meant the BOTTOM 3-5 had to go. they lost their spot. they were no longer a part of the team.

for the good of the team, the bottom 3-5 players are getting dropped every time you turn around.

so, yeah, i was looking over my shoulder A LOT. trying to make sure i did whatever it took to not be in that bottom 3-5.

it makes you feel the pressure. big time.

if you don't stay out of the bottom 3-5 you are done. for the sake of winning games. for the sake of being the best.

for the sake of the mission.

that was a rigorous culture.

it forced me (and everyone) to work HARDER to constantly IMPROVE!

organizations are like this too. some more than others. i think it's a good thing. it's a good pressure. the organization will naturally get BETTER and BETTER this way as each individual improves.

if a central midfielder is not improving while the rest of the team is... we can always go find another (better) central midfielder. same with a position in an organization. if you're not constantly improving you will eventually be passed up by someone better.

and it's a teamwork thing ultimately. if you're not improving and being the best YOU that you can be then you're letting your whole team down. just like that central midfielder who's not improving... the rest of the team knows it. they have to compensate for him. he is letting them down.

if you're not giving it your all and constantly improving - you're ultimately not a team player.

words women use (repost)

(I originally posted this to renown on September 15, 2009.)

Last month (August 09) Crystal and I were on vacation and ate at Hyman's Seafood in Charleston. While eating my boiled peanuts & waiting on my 3 different fish I picked up this card & read it. It was called "Words Women Use."

This is the word women use to end an argument when they are right and you need to shut up.

5 Minutes
If she is getting dressed, this is half an hour. 5 minutes is only 5 minutes if you have just been given 5 more minutes to watch the game before helping around the house.

This is the calm before the storm. This means "something," and you should be on your toes. Arguments that begin with "Nothing" usually end in "Fine".

Go Ahead
This is a dare, not permission. Don't do it. [She might even say "Go ahead, baby" to make the deception even greater!]

Loud Sigh
This is not actually a word, but a non-verbal statement often misunderstood by men. A "loud sigh" means she thinks you are an idiot and wonders why she is wasting her time standing here and arguing with you over "Nothing".

That's OK
This is one of the most dangerous statements that a woman can make to a man. "That's OK" means that she wants to think long and hard before deciding when you will pay for your mistake.

A woman is thanking you. Don't question it or faint. Just say you're welcome.


If you liked this list of "women words", but want something with some actually good content check out 2 of Perry Noble's recent posts. Long lists about leaders & staffs, but I thought they were great. Stoked about this guy coming to talk to us @ N*Rich this year! Pretty cool.
Here's his 2 posts = 16 Signs that a Leader has lost his mind
& 18 Signs that a Staff has lost its mind

happy anniversary - 6 years!

happy 6 year anniversary to my amazingly beautiful and loving wife, Crystal. she's as perfect as it gets. not sure how i'm so blessed to have a wife like her.

the last 6 years have been awesome. some days i can't believe it's even been that long.

today it's raining and storming pretty fierce. August 5th 6 years ago it was crazy hot. i can still remember that day like it was yesterday. i can remember tearing up when the most beautiful bride of all time stepped out of that limo and i saw her for the 1st time.

i can't imagine living my life with anyone else. Crystal, you're my best friend. thanks for being so good to me.
it's only gonna get better. happy anniversary.

"The Bachelorette" & "The Bachelor" are FAILURES

i know some people may not like this post, but seriously, could there be a worse idea than the TV shows "The Bachelor" and "The Bachelorette"?

oh yeah, just when we think we're out of the woods and the madness is over... "The Bachelor Pad" cranks up next week. awesome. i guess that is a way worse idea. maybe.

is it even possible to cause love and finding a mate even MORE unnatural and messed up than how they do it on "The Bachelor/Bachelorette"?

On The Bachelorette, a whole bunch of dudes fall in love with 1 girl - ALL AT THE SAME TIME. and the already very unnatural process is actually rushed because it's a competition with all the other guys... and they all live in the same house... and then they put it on TV for all of us to watch and be entertained by.

and this girl, Ashley, gives her heart away to multiple guys... at the SAME time. how do you not get confused? (i guess that Chris Harrison guy takes notes for her.) and then you have a deadline to pick 1 of them to marry. while breaking the rest of their hearts (and pieces of her own i might add). it seems to me that starting a relationship/marriage this way is a set up for disaster. i'll go a step further... it's obvious that it's a set up for disaster.

Both shows are a COMPLETE AND UTTER FAILURE! i'm not talking about how much money they've made, or how many people watch every week, or how many tweets go flying around, or how many people's DVRs are filled up with 5 HOURS worth of Bachelorette crap this past weekend (oh, mine definitely was) - between the 2 hour "guys tell all" ridiculousness, & then the actual show, & then the "after the final rose" thing. Which by the way is the 1st time in like 5 months that the engaged couple can even be together? REALLY? yeah, this all seems like the perfect way to start a relationship.

i'm saying that it's obvious that these shows are a COMPLETE AND UTTER FAILURE because no one is actually finding love, happiness, or a mate!
i haven't done the actual research on this... i just asked my wife. i don't feel like wasting time googling the actual numbers. but, from talking to Crystal it sounds like ONE COUPLE... let me repeat that 1 couple picked each other & actually ended up together and are still together out of 20 or 30something seasons. i'm not a math wiz, but that's a pretty low percentage.

the only other success is that guy Jason (who looks like Landon Donovan) who actually picked the dark headed chick who helped host Dick Clark's NYE deal, but then he dropped her for the blonde one from Michigan (Mindie or Molly or something?). and i think they're still married and together.

wow. so 2 out of maybe 30something. i would say that's pretty much a guarantee that you're not going to find your mate on this show. just sayin.

hopefully the shows producers would say the same and admit out loud that it's just a money making, entertainment/cultural obsession. i guess more power to them then. this is America. the bastion of capitalism. just go make money however you can. whatever the people flock to. forget the ethics of it. it's all about the benjamins.

i'm just thankful it's over and i hope no one actually has to watch that ridiculously stupid "Bachelor Pad" show. i'd rather take a beating with a brick stick. (ok, that's me being sarcastic... sort of.)

i guess i'm done venting now. anything YOU want to say about it?

random thoughts (past, present, & future)

just a quick random brain dump. never tried writing like this before. no specific article here... just random thoughts leaking out of my brain with no focus or direction:

Crystal's ear - praising God big time for my wife's hearing being back. she basically went deaf in her right ear a few weeks ago, but it's all good now. we've got some tests and charts i'll post that are amazing. all props to God, the awesome Healer. i plan to write a full article later as a celebration & have some kind of "ebeneezer" as a reminder.

Mom's lungs - my Mom and Dad moved to Durham on Saturday to prep for my Mom's double lung transplant. i've been praying for God to heal my Mom since before i can remember knowing what praying even was. I'll be writing more about this, but now she just needs to make it through "prehab", the right 2 lungs, and about $100K.

the beautiful game - it's back almost in full swing. most seasons are starting in the next 2 weeks. i am giddy (whatever that means). have had nothing to watch all summer besides international stuff and friendlies. Newcastle kicks off in 2 weeks against Arsenal. Go Magpies!

Joey Barton - speaking of my boys on Tyneside, the internet has gone crazy with all their talk. the latest storm today and over the weekend was all about our bad boy Joey Barton and his TWEETS. who would have ever dreamed that his Twitter account could get our best player shipped out on a free transfer! i hope Ashley sells the team to someone else fast... or maybe Bud Selig could take them over like he did the LA Dodgers?

an old/new friend - my boy Ben Schettler stayed at my house this weekend. it had been many years since we hung out. i wish i could explain the significance of our rendezvous and the whole context of our past worlds... not in a random thought dump though. Ben's a great guy and i hope we hang out and talk many more times. was good to hear him say he doesn't think i'm a heretic by the time he left.

soccer training - my latest effort to break my body back into shape is training with a local high school soccer team. these kids are in the best shape of their lives and i'm in my worst. something will have to give.

big vision getting bigger (& smaller) - the big crazy vision i have for God's renown in Africa has only continued to get bigger these past months since we returned home from Kenya. but there's also a smaller, initial side to this big vision that i'll unveil some time very soon. hopefully, it will be revolutionary... but only the beginning.

6 years! - Crystal and i celebrate our 6th anniversary on Friday. can't remember what i was doing 6 years ago today? i think my boys were just starting to roll in for the week of wedding festivities. those were "simpler times" but these times are great. i love my wife more than i ever have... and i never thought that was possible. she is amazing.

our baby - & last but not least our baby is at 26 weeks now - kicking & flipping & even hearing what we say to it. Crystal's bump has definitely popped and it's awesome to feel this child 'o mine kick. not long until i get to hold this baby. i am nothing but excited. (Ok, a little freaked still too.)

i'm out to a meeting with an awesome friend and leader to talk dreams and vision & then it's soccer practice in the heat. wow, been a long time since i went to "soccer practice".