Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Friday, November 20, 2009

working on a Christmas card....artwork

bored enough to put up this art in the phases so you can see how it comes together.....














Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Week 3 photos





Wednesday, November 4, 2009

37,000 ft view

The moon looked amazing as we taxied to runway 18L tonight at DFW. Here I sit again, seat 4F, winging it home to El Paso after only arriving at DFW less than 24 hours ago.  I flew in last night, picked up the rental car, another story all on its own, and headed up the road to Lawton.  Three and a half hours later I checked into the hotel and crashed. It's been a whirlwind week for sure. 
I can't believe that only nine days ago my Ella was born.  It seems like time is already running at a break-neck pace.  By now most of you have seen some photos, but rest assured, they do not do justice to the miracle that she is.  Not intending to discourage anyone from pregnancy, but it really is a miracle.  It is amazing to me that you can witness the birth of a child and deny the existence of a higher being. It really is miraculous.  Two cells become four, four become eight and seemingly in the blink of an eye there is a living, breathing, crying, and completely dependent life. 
I woke up this morning, showered, grabbed a bite and headed to our Ft. Sill office.  I was out on the recruiting trail again…we've got more slots to fill… What's a bit ironic to me is that in the current economy, when so many folks are desperate for jobs, we have plenty, but can't seem to find the right folks.  In the last month I've been to job fairs across the country and we are still searching.  It was a potential success today…time will tell.  You know you can never really tell a lot from a one-page resume and 5 minute interview.  
As I sit here staring out into the darkness at the lights below I am provided with a unique perspective, and it has set my mind off.  I wonder how this all looks from the heavens.  I wonder what it looks like to God as He gazes down on his glorious creation.  I wonder the thoughts that flood his being.  Surely they must be way greater than mine.  I look down and see folks driving, the new Cowboy's stadium…"the house that Jerry built", and all the lights from all the houses.  I think about the people in them and wonder what's going on in their lives.  Are they enjoying a meal with family? Are they just getting home from work?  Are they celebrating a child's birthday? Are they watching CNN and wondering how yesterday's election returns will have any effect on their lives?  Are they debating investment choices in a tumultuous market? Are they stressed because they don't know how they will pay their light bill next week?  I wonder…
After the job fair wrapped up I ran back by the office to discuss eligible candidates and talk about the next steps in the hiring process, chatted with a friend, and jumped back in the rental, headed for DFW.  I was able to make it back in time to take the early flight home, saving the company $300 on the rental car, and me three hours of sitting in DFW, most likely paying for internet! 
But what does God think when He gazes down on His precious children, all of us.  Now, being a father, I have changed my perspective…again…shocker.  It occurs to me that possibly this is what God feels when He looks down at us.  I think that when God looks down at what He created He is utterly heartbroken. 
You see, when I look at my daughter, my precious princess, only days old, I wonder….will she ever, ever know just how much I love her?  Will she know I am committed to doing whatever it takes to provide for her? Will she understand the sacrifices that will be made on her behalf?  I do not want her to realize all these things because I want a "thank you" or a pat on the back, or anything in return….rather, I want her to know how unbelievably important she is to me and how remarkably proud I will be of her, and how her comfort and well being will be the driving force behind many of my actions.  I want her to know that she is loved beyond anything she can ever do and that this love and affection cannot be garnered or earned by anything she ever does or will do.
When God looks down upon us….does His heart break, yearning for us to just realize how loved we are? Does He cry over our misguided efforts to garner His grace?  People listen…God is in love with you…each of you. He was in love with you when he started this thing.  He was in love with you before you were a pre-cellular structure.  He was in love with you from the start.  He has promised to provide us with everything we will need.  He is committed to do whatever he has to in order to meet your needs.  He is made the ultimate sacrifice on your behalf.  He gave his Son for you…literally…that is not a fancy literary metaphor…it is history.  I think that when God looks down he desperately desires that one day we might all realize just how much He loves us and how crazy He is about YOU! 
Think on it………………
Peace

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Monday, October 26, 2009

More photos of Ella










Ella Grace

Here she is....beautiful and healthy.



Peace and love...

Saturday, October 17, 2009

fry-day

"you don't have to be part of the problem, I just need a second chance" - Gavin DeGraw...song at the moment...completely irrelevant to the text below

Why are children enamored with superheroes? We all were or maybe still are. I know when the new Batman came out last year I went...twice...it was awesome. What is it about the "hero" factor that gets us? It is the battle between good and evil, where, most of the time, good wins out? Is it the story of the underdog, the outcast, and the forgotten, who comes out on top? What is it.....

I submit that somewhere deep down we all want a hero. We all NEED a hero. We need something bigger than ourselves to gravitate towards. At the very least, when we are a part of a larger movement, we can often find places to hide when the blame pours down from above....

I think we as humans have this desire bestowed upon us before birth. The amazing/frustrating part is that it takes us so long to figure this principle out. We have this undying urge to aspire....to be a part of something. A superhero to me represents this "thing" to a child. They are the good guys, they have special powers, they rescue people...everyone loves them. It’s natural that we'd chase after that. Isn't that what we all want somewhere down inside? We want to always be the good guy, we want to do things that other people can't, or at least better than everyone else, we want everyone to love us.

As children grow older they sometimes substitute other figures/ideals for their superheroes. There is still this NEED to be attached to some ideal or movement larger than us. For some its America, for some it’s a humanitarian cause, for some it’s an organization, and for others it’s a religion. From where I stand, I attribute this NEED to be my longing for intimacy with God. See, I feel like that is what is at the core of all of our desires, well, at least all our desires could be satisfied there.....but wow that's so hard to believe. So many times we don't realize that God has promised to provide for each and every one of our needs. Not, each and every, except those four....ALL! Again, I say, this is really hard to believe. But I think it is worth discussing because if we look in the mirror at all the things we have tried to replace intimacy with God with, the list is remarkable.

Perhaps it’s time we take a moment, take our pulse and see where our hearts are. Have we gotten caught up in the whirlwind of culture that has lead us to begin replacing our need for Him with short-term satisfaction in things that fade?

Are we trading long-term peace for momentary pleasure?

God, I need you, and we need you to remind us that we need you, and only you.

Peace.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

vacancy

My mind is blank...or is it so crowded, moving at such great speed that the blur seems to be a undefined space?

I am blessed.

I am ready.

I am unsure.

I am restless.

I am content.

Sometimes there are words, but no melody.  Other times there is a beautiful melody but no words.

I spent most of the day investigating Fire-fighter school.  Not sure at all where that's going.  Talked to some people, read some stuff, though alot about it.  Probably won't turn into anything, but it might turn into everything. 

Just felt like I should write something here tonight for the sake of writing. It is healthy. 

I am ready for my Ella Grace to be here...I want to rock her.  People mock me for being excited and say that I have no idea and that "everything is over, it will all change...." Screw'um.  They don't know me.  I am not naive enough to belive that it will be the same after, but am not afraid of the change that will come.  It may not be culturally acceptable for fathers to show how much they love their kids anymore, but I refuse to participate in that BS.  Everyone will know how much I love my children, and my wife.  This is my mission.




Its blurry, but that was my BB camera. 37 weeks.


A closing word to those who are wrestling....from R.W. "When you die, you wont regret your unfulfilled dreams...just your unattempted ones."

God,

Thank you for my family. Thank you for my Emmi, and my Ella.  Help me love them outloud to the world without being afraid of reprise.  You know my heart's desires.  I wait for you. 

Peace.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Higher than a kite

Literally...I am on an airplane somewhere between DFW and ELP.  Internet on airplanes is long overdue, and under-rated.  I love it.  It has been ages since I've had the courage to write on here, but I'm hoping that this will be the catalyst to writing new posts.

News flash....in case you weren't aware....I will be a new daddy in about three weeks!  Cannot wait to hold Ella Grace in my arms.  There will be many pictures posted.  It has been an incredible journey for the last 9 months...

I was thinking the other day, about different activities that I am involved in and things I do.  It occured to me a while back that I have a desire to be the best at something.  I want to be the best "something" that my friends know...I play golf a lot and I really enjoy it, but I am not the best golfer in my group.  I play raquetball with guys from work and rarely beat them.  I play music but I would hardly consider myself the best musician among people I know.  I graphically design things and see them come to life in various forms, but I am definitely not the best at this.  I don't know why I've been going over this in my head lately...but nonetheless I have.  I don't know if it is simply a human desire or something with some spiritual weight behind it, this striving to be the best.  I was driving the other day and going over all of this for about the millionth time in my head when I stopped and had a realization.

I will probably never be the best golfer, artist, musician, whatever....but I realized I have the opportunity to be the best at a few things.

I have the opportunity to be the best husband that Emily will ever have....
I have the opportunity to be the best father that Ella will ever have...
I have the opportunity to be the best sibling that my brother and sister have...
I have the opportunity to be the best oldest son that my parents have...

and the list could go on.  I think what I realized is that, as I have written about before, life is all about perspective.  We get the choice with every passing moment as to how we will look at our life.  Your perspective will dictate how you respond and react to your circumstances.   Narrow perspective leads to ultra-emotional, and sometimes irrational responses.  Broad, big picture perspective makes obstacles appear smaller, appear defeatable. 

I need to adjust my perspective daily to reflect God's big picture and realize that in my vapor of an existence I can be the best...I just have to choose to pursue it. 

Peace

Sunday, April 26, 2009

carnival ride

I am listening to a cd that I bought almost 4 years and 11 months ago. I am a musical fiend and somewhat of a snob. When I first heard Gavin DeGraw's "Chariot" album it was amazing. Tonight it still brings out the same emotion it did then. This album will forever be linked with a turning point in my life.

I showed up in El Paso late one night in May of 2004. The next 12 weeks changed my life. Interning at Casas por Cristo opened a door in my life that God had been standing outside of for a while, but I had never opened it. Over twelve weeks He took my heart and did some major stuff. At the end of it I sat on an airplane weeping, not crying, but sobbing as I watched the mountains shrink out of view. I knew then what was next for me. God called me and I answered. God did not simply call me to Casas, but to Himself. Casas was simply a vehicle, a stepping stone...a piece of the puzzle.

Tomorrow will be the beginning of a week that will be full of "lasts". On Thursday I will complete this chapter of God's story in my life. After six long months of gut wrenching tension I embraced where I believe God is leading me. I feel like this season has drawn to a close. I came here with a game plan and have executed it. I am proud of everything this organization is and everyone I have had the honor of serving alongside.

People have told me I'm crazy to walk away now and have said things like..."Don't you think God would open another door if He is closing this one?" All I can say is that when God told Abraham to get up and go, He didn't give him a map. I am certainly not half the man who is half the man that Abraham was...but I believe with my whole heart that God can see the road and is leading the way. It is simply our job to follow the lantern.

So where do we go from here? I am praying and waiting. I know that this will be one of the biggest "growth" experiences I have ever been through...God will open the right doors...I just have to be ready to walk through them.

God,
Make me ready, and give me peace.

Peace

Monday, February 23, 2009

bunked

Real quick. Today was a good day. I havn't had coffee in a week and have not had signifcant heartburn.

I am back in Del Rio tonight. We have a luncheon tomorrow for pastors and city leaders here. After that Mikell and I are headed to Phoenix to speak to youth pastors about the impact that short term missions can have on young people. It's gonna be a long week with a lot of miles.

I am laying in a bunk bed in the first baptist church here in D.R.and I miss my emmy. I don't like being away from her. Also, my bed is way more comfortable.

Dad came to visit last weekend and it was awesome. I hit every fairway on the back nine at Butterfield...it was a good back nine. I love my dad. He is a hero of mine.

God is working on me. Not sure yet why or what exactly but I am sure.

That's probably enough fragmented madness for now.

God,
Thanks for my family and for my friends. Thank you for putting people around me who love enough to straighten me out when I need it. Thank you for friends that in the midst of my complaining and anger can just say to me "let me pray for you"...and then do it. Keep working on me...I want what you've got for me. Take care of my emmy until I get home.

Peace

Monday, February 9, 2009

I need a tums

For starters, I drank too much coffee today. Recently coffee has been giving me heartburn, and it's irritating. I like coffee, especially when its cold in my office in the morning, but the 2 cups during the afternoon meeting today did not sit well. Also, is it possible for stress to make someone physically sick?

So we are expanding to Del Rio in June. Exciting I know. There is a ton of work to do, but I'm sure it will get done. I feel like this is the right move for Casas right now. God has opened doors and closed others and while the timing is not what we'd planned...His is always better.

Tomorrow will be a hard day. But its nothing that me and God can't handle.

God,
I continue to pray for peace. I trust you completely. You are in the mist...even when I struggle to see my path you are there, bringing light when it is needed. Thank you for seasons of uncertainty...it brings me nearer to you. This prayer is scary and difficult but it is my heart.

Peace

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

mostly cloudy

It is only because of cloudy days that we are able to fully appreciate the full beauty of the sunshine. And so it is with God. The difficult and uncertain seasons only exist to sweeten the beauty and glory that God has in store for us.

I'm pretty sure that its in Romans where Paul says..."Our present suffering could not compare with the great glory that will be revealed within us." Although I'm pretty sure I butchered that...you get the point. This verse has come up time after time in my life and its late, so I can't remember the exact reference. We have to trust that God's path leads to greater things than we can see.

In this time of uncertainty and uneasiness...we must seek God's peace. We have to lean fully on Him and He will make the path straight.

God,
Thanks for cloudy days, or months, or years. God help me to become rivited on you now...not in one area of life but in all aspects. Your game plan is way better and the team you area assembling will be the best. God thanks for friends.

Peace

Monday, February 2, 2009

I've never been to Vegas

Just a quick note tonight. Here are the top 10 songs off the ipod today...(in no particular order)...

1. Amen Omen - Ben Harper
2. Put your records on - Corrine Bailey Rae
3. Funk 49 - The Eagles
4. Misery Business - Paramore
5. Oh my sweet Carolina - Ryan Adams
6. Where we belong - Hillsong
7. Anything Goes - Randy Houser
8. Waiting on a Woman - Brad Paisley
9. Careful - Guster
10. Crash and Burn - Sheryl Crow

All highly recommended.

God is good.

Peace

Thursday, January 29, 2009

pull

Have you ever felt like God was working on your heart but you weren't sure what was going on? There is an unnerving uneasiness about it. It's as if the things which once would illicet emotion and the tugging of heart strings no longer do. What do you do in that place? What does it mean?

What do you do when you feel like God has begun moving your heart but you have no idea why or where?

Hopefully trust will abound with peace following not too far behind.

Peace