Monthly Archives: April 2008

Had to Share

The church office becomes a bit distracting. All of us employees have a habit of visiting each other’s offices to pester one another, ask their opinion on something, and generally make the office as personable as possible. My office is also located right at the main entrance, so I get heavy amounts of traffic in and out.

This is normally a good thing, but when I really need to finish up a message, I have to find a quiet, comfortable place. Sometimes I go find a spot in the family life center. Sometimes I go upstairs. Other times, I’ll come home and finish it up in “my chair.”

Today, Shari is gone, so Apple was super excited to see me walk in. Then, while I’m typing away, she decided she WAS going to take a nap in my lap while I work. I evidently had no say in the matter.

I took a 10-minute break to snap this picture in Photo Booth and share it with all of you. Enjoy.

Photobucket

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Outraged! Shocked! Chagrined!

From BreitBart:

Barack Obama has called an emergency press conference in an effort to clean up this whole Jeremiah Wright mess.

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (AP) – Democrat Barack Obama said Tuesday he was outraged and appalled by the latest comments from his former pastor, who asserted that criticism of his fiery sermons is an attack on the black church and the U.S. government was responsible for the creation of the AIDS virus.

I wonder if this outrage has anything to do with the way Hillary Clinton is rising in the polls and threatening to erase the lead Obama gained in the months prior to the whole Wright scandal.

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm…

“This is not an attack on Jeremiah Wright,” Wright told the Washington media Monday. “It has nothing to do with Senator Obama. It is an attack on the black church launched by people who know nothing about the African-American religious tradition.”

Obama told reporters Tuesday that Wright’s comments do not accurately portray the perspective of the black church.

How Obama separates the churches members from their leader, I have no idea.

If my church’s pastor (AKA “Daddy-o”) got up and proclaimed that African-Americans in the U.S. government created a sexually-transmitted disease in an attempt to wipe out every caucasian on the continent, and then followed it up by swearing in the pulpit whilst ranting and raving against America, I have a feeling that not only would we lose our African-American members, but also the vast majority of our white membership.

And, Barry…if Wright’s views don’t reflect those of the church (or vice versa), then why do they applaud wildly in the video documenting his attacks against the United States?

Lastly, are you really expecting us to believe that you had NO IDEA that Jeremiah Wright was such a radically-minded speaker during all of the years that you attended his church? Wright reportedly has a long and storied history of radicalism and hatred.

Man, I hate politics.

A New World

Abbey Road

Okay, I’m not old, but I remember popping in records onto the family record player and singing along with Bert and Ernie. We didn’t have a ton of records, exactly, but it was cool in retrospect.

Then there were the cassette tapes. They were limited (in retrospect), but they could hold soooo much music!

God this sounds antiquated, but I remember when my family brought home the first CD player. We set it up, arranged the speakers, and stood around in amazement. It wasn’t only the quality that was so incredible, but the fact that you could SKIP TO WHATEVER TRACK YOU WANTED! And it only took less than a second!

We thought it was so cool. It was such a huge change at the time.

So why is it that this whole digital music revolution doesn’t seem quite so…revolutionary?

The iTunes Store just surpassed Wal-Mart as the nation’s top music distributor. Sure, people are still downloading their stuff illegally, but more music is being bought online in digital-only form than is being bought in an actual, physical state. The days of impressive CD collections in those massive storage towers are quickly fading.

In one sense it’s cool: I have thousands of songs on a device that is smaller than a pack of cards. On the other hand, it makes me feel like we’re starting to miss something.

Records were COOL. Not just because of the pops and hisses that you’d hear before the song started up, but because the covers were HUGE! What a cool way to show off unique, original artwork. The music was the main experience, but would the legendary Abbey Road cover have become so iconic if it was only viewable on a 2-inch iPod screen instead of a massive record sliver?

Another issue: how many people are actually downloading ENTIRE albums of music, instead of just a song or two at a time? Shouldn’t listening to an artist’s music be an entire experience, rather than just a stop along the way of listening to your favorite 25 songs? I’ve actually been forcing myself to listen to a CD from start to finish rather than skipping around everywhere.

I’m not even going to delve into the illegal downloading issue. We could spend hours discussing what it means to the future of the music industry, but honestly, I’m tired of that discussion.

What is getting to me is that music distribution has changed so much, and I’m not really sure how I feel about it. Brad and I used to drive down the road flipping through our CD binders, trying to figure out what to listen to next. Now I drive down the road with my iPod plugged into the auxiliary port of my Element, figuring out if I want to listen to an entire album, a playlist, an audiobook, or a podcast (and they think texting while driving is dangerous).

Don’t get me wrong: I love the convenience (and the coolness) of having my entire music library so accessible. But sometimes I just feel like something is missing.

What do you guys think?

Muchos Gracias!

I feel compelled to thank all the well-wishers who said a prayer and/or followed up on me concerning the surgery. Everything seems to have gone very well. I’m healing up well, but something life-altering happened Friday that I felt compelled to share.

The doc prescribed me Percocet, which I wasn’t exactly thrilled about. I’m not a fan of any kind of medication, to be honest, but I knew it would probably be a good idea to take it. If the doctor says, “You’re going to be hurting,” then you’re probably going to be hurting. Simple.

Unfortunately, a side effect of Percocet that I never heard about seems to be the hiccups. I’m not talking about a “hic” every ten minutes or so. I’m talking about *HIC-CUUUUP* every few seconds for five straight hours. Sound annoying?

Saturday morning, it felt like someone had been pounding on my sternum with a hammer for five hours straight, as opposed to me hiccuping for five hours straight. I switched meds. All better.

Anyways, thank you again! Love all of you.

Side note: my dad randomly decides to hop on a tractor in dress shirts while at work. Proof:

His Job?

Surgery Recap

My surgery was a total success, as far as I can tell. The only problem is that this Percacet makes me feel loopy and gives me the hiccups. At least it takes care of the pain.

The base of my neck before the surgery:

Lump

Me, acting like a goofball before surgery. Shari and the mother were evidently getting a little irritated by the stupid jokes I kept making.

Sexy Attire

That’s my head under the covering on the right half of the picture. That’s my incision that you can barely make out through the picture on the left.

And here is my 2-inch tumor.

My Tumor

The aftermath:

Surgery Scar 1

Surgery Scar 2

Lincoln Stanley: Houston Astro

This is one of my favorite family pictures I’ve ever taken. I tried a slightly different style of editing in Lightroom that an acquaintance shared with a group of people, and messed around with the sliders until I came up with this…

Linkstro

The kid loves being an Astro.

Darron & Chasity

Finally finished up this set. Shari and I (predictably) laughed up a storm, had a blast, and got a dirty look from a laundromat patron with Darron and Chas. We love you guys! For real.

There will be more with Chasity and Darron after their wedding in June. I’m unbelievably honored and pumped up about it. Can’t wait!

066

A Surreal Kiss

Darron & Chasity: Preview

Shari and I had an awesome, awesome, awesome time shooting engagement shots for Darron and Chasity today. I was going to pull one of those up-til-4 a.m. nights where I edited until I fell over half-dead, but I’m so hockin’ exhausted that I can’t stay up.

THEREFORE, here are two preview shots from the set. Chas & Darron…love you guys!

Who’s Leading Me?

Nachos

When I was about 9-years-old, my friend Josh asked me to go with him and his dad to a basketball game at Centenary College in Shreveport, Louisiana. I had never been to a college game of any sort, and I was a huge basketball fan, so I got pretty excited.

We arrived early, got the tickets, walked to our seats, and stared googly-eyed at the players as they warmed up. The funny thing about looking back at this particular memory is that this wasn’t exactly a Duke vs. North Carolina rivalry game with a loaded arena of rabid, crazy fans. The “Gold Dome” was packed at about 5% capacity. There might have been 800 people there.

But this was college basketball! These guys might as well have been Michael Jordan as far as I was concerned.

Shortly before tipoff, it came over me. I was starving. I’m not sure if I would’ve been starving if I hadn’t taken a 10-second gander at the concession stand on the way in, but now I wanted some nachos, and I wanted them badly. I had a craving that couldn’t be satiated by 10 basketball players whose talent levels were somewhere between okay and decent.

So I did it. I ran to the concession stand, picked up my nachos, and ran back down to our seats. I was a jittery, awkward little kid (not much has changed except for my height), so I wanted to spend as little time as possible without the company of my friend and/or his dad. I needed familiar faces.

I picked up that first nacho, dipped it in the extra cheese, and…

…started gasping wildly. The cheese, unbeknownst to me, was jalapeno flavored. I’m picky today, but you should’ve known me as a kid. I was the pickiest person alive (a role now filled by my eldest nephew), and jalapenos were not on my accepted foods list.

I had to take the nachos back to the stand and get it swapped for something a little less flame inducing, and I had to go…alone.

I took my nachos, walked down the front row of the bleaches, turned, and began my rapid ascent back up the stairs. About 3/4 of the way up, I lost my balance, tripped, and fell face-first into the box of nachos. SPLAT!

I shrieked like a little girl the moment that I realized that my eyes were on fire, seared by a jalapeno inferno! I couldn’t open my eyes. I just crawled onto my hands and knees and said, “Help!” in a frantic, subdued tone of voice befitting a terrified, socially inept 9-year-old whose vision was clouded by a sea of yellow.

It must’ve been a pathetic sight to behold, because in a matter of milliseconds, I heard an unfamiliar voice say, “Here, grab my hand. Follow me, fella.”

I didn’t know what to do, but I knew that I couldn’t just sit there. I couldn’t scream Josh’s name either; all that would do was attract more attention to me, which was the last thing I wanted. I’m sure it would’ve been hilarious to most people. I had to trust this guy.

Luckily, he led me straight to the men’s restroom, where I was able to wash the nacho sauce out of my eyes and slowly regain my dignity. He stood several feet away, near the door, and waited patiently until I was finished. He never laughed at me, never poked fun at me, and never expressed any emotion besides concern and compassion.

He asked me if I was okay, so I nodded and thanked him. He just smiled and walked away. I didn’t know his name. I never saw him again.

I was lucky that day. First of all, I was lucky that someone offered to help me find my way to the restroom. Secondly, I was lucky that he knew exactly where to go, and he wasted no time in getting me there.

In an instant, my young little life changed drastically. One second, I was a happy kid with nachos at his first college basketball game. The next, I was a blind, terrified little boy who was totally dependent upon the strangers surrounding him.

Fortunes can change on a dime. Mishaps are going to occur, no matter how carefully you live your life. I was fortunate to have a stranger there to guide me; a Good Samaritan, if you will. But how much better would it have been if my friend or his dad would’ve been the ones who saw me stumble and fall? I wouldn’t have been petrified, hoping that a stranger wasn’t a lunatic kidnapper; I would’ve felt safe in the knowledge that I was in capable, trusted hands.

We all need someone to lead us in life whenever we make a misstep. Better yet, we need leaders in our lives who can PREVENT us from making missteps.

I’m fortunate to have good influences that I can rely on in times of indecision, as well as times of misfortune. My dad is the primary mentor in my life, and he just happens to double as my pastor. If I need advice, whether spiritual, financial, ethical, doctrinal, or anything else, I know I can rely on him for wisdom and guidance.

But he’s not the only one I could ask. I can’t think of a member of my family who doesn’t have experience in a particular area of life in which I’m going to need some help at some point. If I need organizational advice, I ask my wife. If I need advice concerning real estate, I’ll likely call my father-in-law. If I need a really funny parody song made up on the fly, I’ll call my brother.

The point is that we all need someone to set us in the right direction. The problem is that people seem to show a decisive lack of wisdom in deciding who to turn to for advice.

The people you choose to lead you should be good people…godly people. They should preferably be older, more seasoned, with a prayer life. Sound advice from someone with God-given wisdom is more valuable than the advice of Oprah. You’ll just have to trust me on that one.

But the people you depend on MUST have the proper perspectives in life. They shouldn’t be someone full of arrogance, thinking they know the right way, but everyone who came before them was (and is) an antiquated relic.

Matthew 15:14 (NIV): “…If a blind man leads a blind man, they will both fall into a pit.”

Make absolutely, 100% sure that the person you’ve placed in a position of authority in your life is someone who’s been directed there by God. Pray for God to give you stable, sensible advisors. Where you end up in 5, 10, or 25 years from now could rely on it.

Don’t depend solely upon yourself. When you fall flat on your face, or when you don’t have any idea as to what direction you need to take in your life…you need someone leading you. If you don’t, you might find yourself in the dark…alone.

with nachos in your eyes.

Tiger Woods: FAIL!

Tiger Fail

I don’t pay uber-close attention to the golf season, but The Masters just ended yesterday, and I always try to keep up with it. It’s one of the biggest events in modern sports, and definitely the most prominent in golf.

So when Tiger Woods began talking up a 2008 Grand Slam to the media early this year, people took note and watched his every move (even more so than usual) this year at the first major.

For the non-golf fans out there, there are dozens of tournaments per year, but only four “Majors.” First it’s The Masters, then the U.S. Open, the Open Championship (also known as the British Open), and the PGA Championship. If you win all four in one year, it’s called the “Grand Slam.” Tiger won all four in a row, but not in the same year, resulting in what a ton of snarky journalists refer to as the “Tiger Slam.”

So when Tiger just couldn’t make it happen and ended 3 strokes behind the eventual winner, Trevor Immelman, the rest of the year, it could be argued, just got a little bit boring.

So Tiger had this to say: “I learned my lesson there with the press. I’m not going to say anything.”

Well, everyone will still expect it eventually, Tigro.