Thanks for the Love, Union.

Some Sunday in August 2010, I remember I finished staining a deck with the help of some family members, hopped in my light-blue Chevy Cavalier (it was a manual, so as far as I was concerned, a bona fide sports car), and drove the 6.5 hours to Lincoln, NE for my first week as a college student.

I got to Union College and the next 3 years are literally a blur in my memory. Some basketball games and practices here, banquets and ASB events there, music trips and rolls at Buell’s, with a quick trip to Australia for a year in 2012... Those were the fun, carefree, self-seeking, immature years. I was doing a LOT of growing, and I was lucky to be surrounded by so many loving peers and mentors who helped me navigate my way through all the mistakes and successes. 

If you know me, you might be asking, “He’s still fun, carefree, self-seeking, and immature... what’s changed?”

I could make a long list of pretty minor, mostly insignificant changes—like my haircut, income, and time spent eating DeLeons after midnight on a Tuesday—but I’ve narrowed the list of significant changes over the past 5 years down to 2 main things:

1) My faith in Jesus became my own.  

2) I met the most incredible and beautiful woman in the world, and married her.  

Growing up a pastors kid in a Protestant Christian, Seventh-Day Adventist home, I lived a religious life. I tried to be a “good Adventist”, a good person, but ultimately didn’t know Who I was worshiping or why I was worshiping. 

That changed while I was at Union, thanks to spiritual leaders who were good examples, not forceful, and who encouraged independent, critical thinking and diligent studying (the year in Australia was CRUCIAL to this change as well, but that’s another story altogether). 

As for Morgan Aubrey—she is the single greatest gift that God gave me during my experience at Union College. I’d double my student loans in a heartbeat if it was necessary to marry that girl. If it weren’t for my time as a student and the opportunity presented to work for the institution after I graduated, I can confidently say I would have missed out on that gift.

So, for that reason alone, words can’t express my gratitude to Union College. As I move forward into a new position with TekSystems tomorrow, I look back and I’m overwhelmed with all the wonderful memories I’ve made on that little campus. All I can say is— Thanks for the Love, Union. 

 

Aaaaaaaaaand here she is, the real reason you all scrolled through that sentimental, mushy cheese writing.  

She’s literally perfect. :) 

A [Very] Happy New Year!

Aaaaand just like that, 2017 is gone. 

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This past year will go down forever as one of my favorites, and I think the reason is pretty self-explanatory. Regardless, I will use a series of gifs and photos to explain most accurately what 2017 meant to me; the things I'm grateful for, the experiences had, and the ways things will never be the same. 

First of all, this is obvious:

June 4, 2017 - Morgan and I joined forces, for good and forever. #OneMoMorrison

June 4, 2017 - Morgan and I joined forces, for good and forever. #OneMoMorrison

2017 marks the start of an era where I always have someone to lean on; my very own Scottie Pippen.

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Family has been a huge blessing that I'm grateful for. Check it:

I'm thankful for my mother's love.

I'm thankful for my mother's love.

I'm thankful for my father's love (and his excessively generous genetic contribution).

I'm thankful for my father's love (and his excessively generous genetic contribution).

Like I said, family is dope. 

I'm still not done with this whole family growth thing either. I don't know that there will be another year that I have as many additions to what I call my family (due to the little shindig on June 4). The crazy thing is that we weren't even done growing after the wedding! 

My newest little dude Lincoln Jay Vliet was born August 14. He's pretty chill so far. Not much of a conversationalist,  but he cool doh.

I'm also grateful for God's protection this past year. Not just for me, but for my family, Morgan, and her family as well! We had a little scare with this little guy a few weeks after he was born. 

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We've been fortunate, though, that God has our back better than Tim Duncan has Durantula's.

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I loved 2017, but I don't want to ever do it again. I'm ready for new adventures! And I'm pumped to jump into whatever they may be with this little lady. 

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As you close out 2017, head into 2018, I wish you nothing but blessings and I hope it is 100% EPIC. 

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11/8/17 : Perspective

A few days ago a Baptist church was gunned down in Texas. I haven't spent much time reflecting on that; why it happened, how the families of the victims must feel, or even how to help. The main reason I haven't had much time is because I've been busy-- busy working, traveling, watching Netflix, watching the NBA, reading, or talking to my wife on the phone. 

Pretty lame excuses. 

While watching the NBA I came across this video:

I've reflected back to that statement a few times over the past few days. I typically just love to have fun, but the takeaway for me is that sometimes I just need to have some real conversations with people in order to keep my mind in tune with the things that matter. I need to make sure my perspective is always being widened beyond just what entertains me. 

Let's pray for the families of these victims over the next few weeks as that is when the shock will begin to wear off. They will need some comfort and peace more than ever. 

10/23/17 : Some (completely unrelated) YouTube Videos

It's been a long time, but here are a couple YouTube videos that I found interesting and wanted to share. 

This is just my dude Caleb Haakenson doing his thing. He spent a year in Pohnpei and has really grown a lot as a videographer, and I'm jealous of his abilities and diligence documenting his year abroad.

My newest sister told me about this video yesterday and I found it super interesting. It almost sounded like one of those fake articles that you have to click a million times because each page is just like a couple sentences and a picture, but then I saw the YouTube video and it was full of legit quotes straight from source's mouths. It has definitely played a part in how I feel about some of the protests going on in the NFL. 

 

Our nation is definitely divided, but at least our leader is doing his best to bridge the gap:

Can't wait to see what's on my Twitter feed tomorrow! In the meantime, I'd love to hear your thoughts and I'm sure Caleb would love a thumbs-up on his video!

 

PS On this date 4 years ago I asked Morgan to be my girlfriend. She said yes and now we're married and it's awesome. 

10/11/17 : Feelin' Blessed!

There are so many things to look forward to right now!

This weekend I'm going up to MN for the alumni weekend at my Alma Mater, Maplewood Academy. I love that school, I love the town, I love the people, and most of all, I want to play in the alumni basketball game and make sure the high school team doesn't win. 

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Then next week I'll be spending in Florida with my wife (half for business, half for fun!). There's some guaranteed relaxation time in there at SOME point. Regardless, Imma get mine (rest, I mean). 

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At the same time, I'm working on some exciting new projects at Union College that actually make me enjoy getting up in the morning! I rock into the office like this daily. 

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That's all just October!! 

In case you were wondering, marriage is still the coolest thing in life. My wife is awesome, she's super hot, she's super smart, and she's nice to me. Four days ago she said, "I wonder which of us will get really sick first, to the point where the other person has to take of everything..."

She's super sick today. To which I say...

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Just kidding... it actually makes me feel horrible every time I hear her sniffle. So please, if you're reading this, shoot up a prayer for that lady because she has midterms and grad school has her feeling stressed. 

Did I mention the NBA starts in one week? 

The Greatest Dunk of All Time

The Greatest Dunk of All Time

10/5/17 : 5 Second Rule

A pastor came to Union College a few years ago and said he tries to live by the "5 Second Rule". I don't remember the pastor's name or I'd give him the credit for this concept. 

I was familiar with the 5 second rule (pertaining to how long food was good after dropping it on the floor) growing up, but I'd often stretch it to 10 or 15 seconds, depending on what food it was and how much I wanted to eat it. However, this was not the 5 second rule he was referring to. 

He was referring to a rule that if you receive an impulsive thought, if you ignore it for 5 seconds without action it will go away or your brain will come up with reasons not to do it. He uses it when listening to the Holy Spirit's promptings. If he gets a thought like, Give that guy a hug, or Ask that man when his birthday is, and doesn't act on it within 5 seconds, he won't do it. So he goes for it within the first 5 seconds.

This evening as I was driving back from a movie (I saw Blade Runner and it was alright...), I looked next to me at a red light and saw an interesting young woman. She looked like there was no way she was older than me, although it was hard to tell because it was dark out and she had a hood on cinched pretty tight around her face. Her old Oldsmobile was rattling pretty loud and I'm guessing the air conditioning wasn't working quite right because she had her windows cracked open in the rain with fog forming inside. In the backseat she had 2 car seats that looked like they were for an infant and a toddler. 

For some reason, I felt the impulse to ask her if she needs help with anything. Her window was open so she would be able to hear me just fine if I rolled mine down and said something.:

But I let 5 seconds pass.

By then I came up with at least a few good excuses: 1) She would think I was weird, 2) She'd be offended as if she is some charity case and her pride would be wounded or 3) The light could turn green any second. 

Maybe I missed an opportunity to do good for someone else, maybe not. I know that by not asking out on my gut feeling, I left room for only one of those outcomes. So as I drove away I made a decision to act more impulsively when it comes to helping people. Feel free to join me!
 

10/4/17 : The Minnesota Lynx

Most of my life I have felt like I cheer for a state that is cursed. My earliest sports memory was watching this play, in my cousin's house in Hutchinson, MN:

First miss in 123 attempts, and then we lost. Ever since then its just been a bunch of losing. In fact, I've said many times, "The state of MN has never, and WILL never win anything. We are cursed", to which I've been corrected. A few times a friend has reminded me... Our WNBA team has won a couple championships...

I am ashamed to say that it brought me no consolation. I would openly say, "That doesn't count." 

That will never happen again. The Lynx won their 3rd championship in 5 years in 2015, and then last year they lost a heartbreaker at home to the LA Sparks in Game 5. Throughout all this last season I've been tip-toeing the line of being a real fan or just a casual claimer, while they've been fighting for a chance at redemption. 

They got it tonight. 

Its the first WNBA game I've sat down and just watched all the way through, and I was thoroughly entertained. Lindsey Whalen (a native of my hometown Hutchinson, MN), Maya Moore (the WNBA's Kobe Bryant), Simeone Augustus and Sylvia Fowles (this season's MVP) are so fun to watch! Candace Parker is basically the LeBron James of the LA Sparks and they played hard the whole game. 

But MN won.

LA closed the gap to 3 with just 20 seconds remaining and clearly had momentum when Maya "Mo-Money" Moore hit a double clutch runner across the freethrow line. I lost my mind a little bit. 

If you're a hater on the WNBA, then you stupit for that. I'm all in. Lynx are my ladies, and I may be too late to fully appreciate the dynasty they built in their long careers. 

But it feels good to cheer for a winner for once. :) 

10/3/17 : Maybe not EVERY day...

I want to say that the internet was down at the academy in Auburn, WA, as well as the cell service at every coffee shop, restaurant, airport and even my house until this moment, as that would excuse me breaking my streak of consecutive blog posts. Unfortunately, I don't think that'd be believable. 

It has been a crazy few days though, and lately I've been realizing that blogging every single day may not be the most effective daily discipline at this stage of my life. If I blog daily, then some of it is just fluff and most people won't read it because it doesn't apply to them. Also, if it becomes just a job then you end up with a lot of posts that are meaningless and mindless, even to me. That just seems like a waste. And at this point in my life, I don't feel that I have the time to waste. 

Let me explain.

I don't work out exercise daily. I've talked about this. However, I have back problems and I may not be Pre-Subway Jared, but I can feel in my heart and lungs that they aren't keeping up with stairs and brisk walks like they used to. I can't play sports that I love anymore for an hour without being stiff and achy immediately after. I know the exercises that I need to do daily to help fix these issues, but the problem has been that I don't have the discipline.

Also, the reason I went to Seattle this past weekend was to do a concert and lead worship for The Current, and independent ministry that I started along with four close friends about 9 months ago. Our dream is to help inspire and train ministry leaders (primarily youth at the moment) while worshiping alongside them. It is something that God put on all our hearts individually and then beautifully tied us and our dreams together, and it is a ministry that we hope to be a part of for the rest of our lives! It is slow-going, but it is even slower because I haven't had the discipline to work on these ministry projects consistently. 

Last, and most important, my spiritual cup has been running low for a while now. This tends to happen when I am not spending personal time with Jesus. I've been talking about Him, preaching about Him, singing about Him, teaching about Him, and praying to Him, but when I don't just spend time learning and listening to Him, I end up running on empty. I need the daily discipline of spending time with my Creator, but I haven't had it in ages. 

I believe that through this project I've built up some of the discipline necessary to start tackling these things daily, so I'm going to break my "EVERY SINGLE DAY FOREVER" pledge. Since only one individual ever asked to be on my "List" of people I'd pay a dollar to for every missed day, this won't cost me much. 

I'm actually excited to blog about some of the daily disciplines I plan on undertaking! I've already set some impending ministry project deadlines for myself, and I'm on day 5 of 30 doing 100 push-ups daily. I'm weak, tired, and pretty much a constant failure, but I'm okay with it because in order to fail constantly that means I'm constantly trying, and eventually I have to encounter success, right? 

Prayers appreciated!

9/29/17 : Auburn Academy

Today, Mollie and Azriel and I did a chapel and vespers service at Auburn Academy in Washington. It was the second time Azriel and I have done music here, as we came out 5 years ago (although then we were representing Union, not The Current, our independent ministry). 

Last time we came with a couple other good friends, Chavez and Lindy, and we did a few of Richard Young's old favorites. I found a video from that actual vespers, as well as one that we did here, but was recorded at a later date. 

I cringe listening to myself back then, but then again I cringe now too, so... I guess I gotta get over myself. 

Blessings!

9/26/17 : Sports Sports (Politics?) Sports

D-Wade is gettin' back with Bron Bron! He gave 8 million of his remaining deal with the Bulls back to them so they could reach a buy-out the day training camp started, and then signed with the Cavaliers today for 2.4 million. This has been the most exciting off season in the NBA as long as I've been alive, BY FAR. A few months ago I said, The dominance of the Golden State Warriors is no good for the NBA. It's not competitive and people don't wanna watch and it just makes players want to form more superteams.

Well, I was wrong. This is incredible. SO MANY ALL-STARS SWITCHED TEAMS! It's like we are all just watching some teenager control the NBA like he's on MyGM mode, 2K18 style. The NBA is fun. 

Meanwhile, in the NFL...

So the players, coaches, and even some owners responded to Trump's comments Friday evening with varied forms of familiar silent protests during the National Anthem, and some fans seem to be pretty upset about it. 

It seems important to me to remember what is being protested, specifically.

It seems important to me to recognize that everyone has the freedom of speech: players, presidents, AND fans. It doesn't seem important to me to use my freedom of speech to tell others that they need to find a different, equally peaceful/non-violent way to protest.

It is important to me to pray, to listen, to understand, and to love.  

9/25/17 : Everyone Needs a Kanye

Today, all I want is someone to call me in the middle of the night to hype me like how Kanye hypes Mike Conley. 

I'm lookin' at you and Izaby, Paradise. 

9/24/17 : DWade and the NFL's Anthem Protests

9/23/17 : POTUS & Sports

So quite a bit happened today! I usually just see a lot of content and opinions about sports on my Twitter feed, but interestingly enough, today Donald Trump had a lot to say about my favorite sports!

He got things started last night with this comment at a rally in Alabama. 

I don't like curse words, and will probably always keep them off my blog, but this tweet pretty sums up how I feel. 

Then he kept things going this morning in the sports world, starting at 7:30am. 

The Warriors responded...

and so did many others, even some of the biggest names in sports. It's rare that Lebron or Kobe decide to make a statement about politics. But I guess if Trump was going to go out of his way to take a shot at an NBA player, it opened the door for athletes to take a shot back? At least that's how I would feel if I was in the NBA. 

This is the next thing he said, which isn't sports related, but it happened today and it makes me nervous! 

This doesn't have to do with the president (although who knows what he'll say on Twitter... maybe he'll comment on it next!), but it is BIG news for the NBA! The WOJ is a beast, btw. 

So yeah... the West is STACKED and the NBA is going to be INSANE this year.

Also, Sam Bradford flew to see some doctor about his knee yesterday and no one knows if he'll play tomorrow. 

I'm not sure which bit of news carries the most gravity and impact on my life today: is it the impending nuclear warfare, the incredibly stacked squads in the NBA, or Steph Curry hurting the president's feelings by not visiting the White House? They're all pretty big deals...

9/22/17 : Anomaly

This tweet was well timed for my life tonight. 

There have been several times when God has opened doors for me. Sometimes those doors are opportunities to do something I have always wanted, dreamt of and hoped for. Sometimes they are unexpected and point in a direction I never thought of. The interesting thing, in my experience, is that I am most calm and collected when looking through a doorway into something unexpected. Surprisingly, I get filled with anxiety when God opens a door for me into something that I've been praying for. 

Currently, I find myself momentarily filled with fear looking towards the future. God seems to be opening doors and bringing people into my life that want to empower me, stretch me outside my comfort zone, and support me 100%. This is daunting because I feel the pressure of high expectations (which I recognize are mostly self-imposed), and the discomfort of stepping outside my depth. 

"Perfect love casts out all fear." 

Any anxiety, discomfort, or fear is not of God, so if I've been praying for a door to open and it does, I CANNOT let the discomfort dictate my direction. I'm reminded of one of my favorite Proverbs:

"Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and He will establish your steps." 

I may have apprehension, fear, nervousness... but I choose today to welcome those feelings as promptings to get on my knees and lean on Jesus for strength and guidance, and to boldly walk forward through the doors that God opens until He stops opening them. 

Thanks bpolite4life. 

9/21/17 : Romans 8:11

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This realization SHOULD be life-changing. It is truly incredible what the implications of this statement are if I actually have the faith to believe it. The same Spirit that had the power to raise Jesus from the dead also lives in me?!

But it doesn't feel like it's life-changing right now. 

I need a revival in my heart. Sometimes, I get to a point where I'm going through the motions. I don't necessarily feel like this is a bad thing, because in a way, "going through the motions" is walking by faith and not by sight for me. Right now I'm in one of those phases.

That's why this verse is great news. If that Spirit can literally raise Jesus from the dead, then it DEFINITELY has the power to bring revival in my own life. So, I'm claiming it. 

Thanks for this promise, God. I'm pumped about it. 

 

9/19/17 : Every Day??

So, I have been blogging for about 83 days in a row now. I may have missed a couple here and there, but I set out to do a year of blogging every day. 

Here's the thing. I didn't realize that blogging is monotonous and I'd be annoyed with myself having to come up with things every day. I wish I had done something that makes me better, like eat a salad every day for a year, or do one more pushup every day for a year, or give someone else a dollar every day for a year. 

I was thinking the other day about how if a pastor sends a devotional thought every single day, people get used to not reading it, and they miss the days when there are gold nuggets for them. Just because the author is in the habit every day, doesn't mean the reader is too. Setting up a follower to create an unattainable habit isn't a recipe for success. 

So it is making me question why I'm doing this. It's mainly discipline I 'spose.