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!
 

10/3/17 : 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!

9/26/17 : 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.  

9/19/17 : 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. 

9/18/17 : Blessed

I'm very blessed. Tonight, I'm exhausted from driving all over Denver, talking to a million people and having a blast with exciting teenagers and peers. 

But ultimately I just feel blessed. 

I've got a good family, brothers and sisters and in-laws and nephews and parents and grandparents who love me, a super hot wife that thinks a million more about other people than herself, and a good job doing things that make me happy for a reason I can stand behind. 

I also get to sleep in a nice cozy bed for a few hours before doing it all again tomorrow. 

9/17/17 : Thanks NFL... (for nothing)

Last week, Sam Bradford did what #1 overall picks in the NFL draft do: he looked amazing. Foolishly, I did what I do every season with every Minnesota sports team: I got excited.

This morning I received news that Sam Bradford was sitting today with a sore knee. This is the same knee in which he has torn his ACL... twice. The doctors couldn't tell from the MRI if it was torn again or not because of all the scar tissue. 

Long story short, the Vikings lost badly. 

In other NFL news, I have very good players on my fantasy teams that all decided to take a day off today. Not literally... they just sucked. So I lost in both my leagues. 

So all in all, today was a good day. But NONE of that had to do with the NFL at all. 

9/16/17 : I was wrong...

I remember being in college and thinking that once I graduated I was going to be on a concrete path leading to the rest of my life. I'd have direction, a firm idea of where I was going and how long until I get there, and not much flexibility to change that path. Most of you probably already know this, but...

I was wrong. 

I'm a few years out of college, and I've had the same job the whole time, but I still have no idea what God has planned for my future. I'm fairly certain I will have the same job for the next couple years as Morgan is in a grad program that lasts that long, but beyond that? Also, there seem to be so many doors that are open and worth exploring right now! I just keep praying that God will yank me into the right door and slam it shut behind me. 

My good friend Mollie Dupper says that sometimes God opens doors and shows us the light on the other side. Then when we step through He slams it shut behind us, shuts the lights off, and just whispers - Trust me!

Well that hasn't really happened to me yet, but I can tell you that I have no idea where I'm going to be, what I'm going to be doing, or what will be the focus of my energy 10 years from now. It stresses me out sometimes, but for the most part I'm at peace with it. The difference between being at peace and feeling stressed is usually whether or not I pray this prayer:

God, I trust You to lead me and guide me in life, and I'm committed to try my best to do what You have for me, TODAY. Move me when I don't wanna move myself so I don't miss opportunities to glorify You. 

Be blessed!

9/14/17 : 98%

A few years ago I took a leadership class with a young lady named Morgan and we took a personality test by Myers Briggs. It's pretty well known, and you end up with 4 letters that describe you and tell you all about yourself. My first letter was "E" for "Extroverted". It turns out I am 98% extroverted.

Today marked the first day of the first Preview Days of the year. We have some really fun prospective students visiting this weekend, and it's already been a blast. All day long I've been talking to people I know, people I don't know, current and prospective students, my wife, my boss, my friends, etc. Lots of talking and people. I never got tired. 

Now I'm home. Its almost midnight. There is no one around except my wife who allows me to be chill and "turn it off". I'm tired. 

So I'm going to sleep. I had to leave you with this video though. This is a compilation of great commercials. 


The "more more more" girl is Morgan when she wants a "vamped up Fall wardrobe". 

 

9/10/17 : Project Impact Photos

I wrote last week about Project Impact and how excited I was for that day this year. Unfortunately, I had to catch a 7 am flight out of Denver in Omaha, and wasn't able to participate in the community service. When I landed I could barely talk because of a cold I picked up earlier in the week, and my back was stuck in a bent over position because of a flag football game. I was so pumped about this worship event that we were opening up to the community, but it was all done on such short notice the pieces weren't all together yet. 

Needless to say, the event happened, and I was blessed. A church from Omaha came out to run AV production for us on our very meager budget, the band was put together from various musicians around Lincoln as well as past and present Union students, and despite my inabilities and illness, God blessed! Throughout that day I saw the entire body of Christ at work, from His hands to His feet, and His heart to His voice. 

Anyways, Tim Floyd (Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries of the Mid-America Union of SDA's) went to every event and took pictures all day, which he shared with me! Here are some of my favorites from Project Impact 2017. 

God is good!

9/9/17 : "Don't Forget About the Islands"

There is a lot going wrong in our world. In case for some reason you don't get on the internet or read newspapers or watch the news at all, I'm referring mainly to the hurricanes sweeping across the globe right now. This morning the first thing I read was a letter from Tim Duncan, one of the greatest (not to mention most humble and soft-spoken) power forwards in the history of the NBA. 

PLEASE CLICK THIS LINK TO READ HIS LETTER.

This gives me hope. Seeing athletes and celebrities put so much money AND effort into making the world a better place makes me believe it can be. 

In case you don't know much about Big Fundamental, he is a guaranteed Hall of Famer even though his career highlights are this boring. He wasn't fancy... he was just always good. 

8/28/17 : #HoustonStrong

Houston is the 5th largest city in the United States, with a metropolitan population of around 5 million. That city has been devastated by the hurricane and flooding that started this past Friday afternoon. Hundreds of thousands of people have been evacuated, losing everything and have essentially become homeless. 8 individuals lost their lives already, and there are still survivors stranded, waiting for help to come. 

I know that very few of us can just get up and go down to Houston to help, but if we do all we can do, then that is all we can do! So just keep your eyes open, and if you see a trustworthy GoFundMe and you can spare $20, every little bit will help. If you have no money to spare, no time, nothing to donate, then you can still do the greatest thing of all: pray. 

Here's a link to an article that is very helpful if you want to get started helping right away. Do what you can! (Edit: here's another one)

#helpforHouston

8/23/17 : The 2nd Most Fun Trade of the NBA Off-Season

Full disclosure: If you don't care about basketball, skip this.

Kyrie Irving is going to Boston in exchange for (primarily) Isaiah Thomas, as well as Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, and a 2018 first round pick, courtesy of the Brooklyn Nets. This video shows the 2 guards doing, against each other, what they each do best: scoring the basketball. 

Also, after watching this it made me realize how flippin' good Kyrie is, which somehow my memory was able to downplay a lot this off season. 

ALSO, they both suck at defense, which is why there is no defense in this compilation video. 

Here's my quick thoughts on the trade:

  • Kyrie is better than Isaiah Thomas, but not by a TON. They're similar players.
  • The Cavaliers are not ANY better defensively than they were last year, although Jae Crowder added to this trade helps. 
  • Next year's pick will hopefully be Michael Porter Jr. to the Cavs. 
  • If Lebron AND Thomas decide to leave next season then the Cavs future is screwed, but I don't think Isaiah will leave if Cleveland gives him the max, which I think they will. 
  • The Cavs won this trade this year. The Celtics won this trade next year, and the next. 
  • I can't wait to watch this match-up, literally every chance I get next year. 

This next year in the NBA is gonna be a blast. 

By the way, the most fun trade of the off-season was Jimmy Buckets to the Wolves for Lavine and Kris Dunn. Hands down. 

8/21/17 : The Eclipse Highlights

Today, Union hosted a sweet eclipse party. We were one of the very few universities in the United States that had a perfect view of the 100% eclipse in totality, right on our campus. I was very underwhelmed, even as the sun was almost completely covered. 

But when that mug went 100% eclipsed... I lost my mind. It was so cool. 

It was a super fun day, and it was especially fun to celebrate such a cool experience with the entire student body. All the teachers, staff, students, and families all gathered together to eat lunch and take part in the experience, and it was a great way to kick off the new year! I really believe in my heart that this year will continue to be special at Union College.

ANYWAYS, here are some of my favorite eclipse highlights from Twitter.

Sometimes, Twitter is awesome. 

8/19/17 : Racist or Ignorant?

Today I came across this photo on Facebook. 

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The picture and the comments following got my wheels turning and I couldn't help but post my thoughts, which I'll post next. My post may seem off-the-wall considering the image above, but I promise that they tied in with the direction the comments went! 


I've found that the word "racist" has often turned my ears off in my past. That word would make me instantly stop trying to hear what those crying it were trying to say. After all, I considered myself the furthest thing from a racist!

However, now I stop defending myself and try harder to hear what is actually attempting to be communicated. 

There may not be overt slavery today, but what I've heard since I started listening and what I've seen since I started looking is an entire community that has been and is still being oppressed, in a myriad of ways. And I've been shocked to see how I perpetuate it through my ignorance. 

I believe a huge percentage of accused racists are actually just ignorant. They're ignorant to the oppression others endure for reasons outside their control, and they're ignorant to their own privileges they did nothing to earn. 

But until we stop trying to defend ourselves against the "racist" accusation, we'll never get the blinders off our eyes to really see what is goin on TODAY. We'll just keep perpetuating "systemic racism" through our own ignorance.


So I guess in short, I'm trying to be less defensive and more sensitive to the cries of others. I'd appreciate you holding me to that!

8/18/17 : White Coat Ceremony

First of all, I missed a day again. If you want to know why, read my blog from last Friday as it still applies to yesterday. I just straight crashed on the couch last night WAY earlier than I usually go to bed. I'm starting off the day with some much needed rest though!

Yesterday was the last day of Morgan's new student orientation into the doctoral program of Occupational Therapy at Creighton University. I'm so excited for her, but I know she's super nervous about it all, especially certain classes like neuro-anatomy. 

On the last day, they do the Ceremony of Professionalism... which most other places just call a white coat ceremony I think? There were about 350 other new students starting either Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, or Pharmacy, and they each had their names read as they put on a fancy little white coat. 

The OT's were first, and Morgan was in the second row, so it started off with a bang, and then I played some games on my phone or made jokes with her dad for an hour. Shockingly, only like 5 students got any kind of cheer or applause from their families in the audience... people were WAY too serious. I guess that's why they call it a professionalism ceremony? 

Anyways, here are some photos. The clearer ones are from Dave (Morgan's dad) on his Samsung,  which I'm sure he'd be happy for me to share with you. The others were very kindly taken for us by a friend I ran into randomly that was on the other side of the auditorium from us. Thanks Chelsea!

I'm proud of my wife! She's gonna make an awesome OT in 3 years, so watch out. 

8/17/17 : A Home

I remember the first time I prepared to live "on my own". It was a few weeks before college, and my mom took me to Target to try to help me get the right things to make my dorm room feel cozy. She tried convincing me that pillows and comforters that matched my dishtowels would be a good idea. So I went red and black with everything to match the Union College Warriors, the basketball team I hoped to soon be playing for. 

I'm thinking back to then because it was pretty much exactly 7 years ago that I was moving into the dorms, exploring my freedom, and going out on my home. It was also pretty much the last time I truly lived in my own "home". Ever since then I have lived in a shared, strangely decorated dorm room (because I wouldn't let me mom help for real), I spent a year in Australia, then I moved back, new dorm room with less stuff in it, then an empty dorm room while student teaching before going back and finishing up at Union in an apartment with my buddy Curt. 

The next couple years I spent living with a combination of Curt, his brother Dan, their cousin Jake, my cousin Zach, and Jake's brother Brett. It was a blast! I love all of those guys, and they were amazing roommates. However, as you can imagine, rooming with 2-3 college guys lends itself more towards a living space than it does a home. 

Now here I am, a couple months into marriage, and my wife knows how to make a home. I remember going furniture shopping with her the first time and it was TOUGH. I didn't understand why little knick-knacks were important for decorating. I couldn't tell the difference between all the different gray upholstered chairs. Now, when I look around the different rooms in our house, everything makes sense. She is extremely particular about each item and where it goes, how its positioned, and while I used to think I cared, I've learned that the only thing I really care about is that she feels supported to do her thing. 

Because its amazing. Whether she wants the white, fluffy pillows or blush dresser drawers with crystal knobs, I don't care because when I come home, I instantly relax. She has made our house into a home.

Maybe the difference is ambiguous to you, or your definition of the terms house and home are different from mine. If so, let me explain. When I used to live in an apartment with my dudes, I didn't necessarily look forward to spending time there. I mainly just looked forward to my bed after long travels and many different hotels, and a routine filled with familiarity. NOW, I literally can't wait to go home after work. I enjoy waking up and in every single room there are several places that I am comfortable sitting, working, reading, watching tv, drinking coffee, and playing keyboard! I constantly want to have people over to host and entertain them, because I want them to experience the same carefree relaxation in a cozy environment that I get to experience daily. I used to only want to have people over if my roommates weren't using the tv. 

Since I work at a university I have been watching freshmen moving in all week, carrying mini-fridges up stairs after shopping at Target for various necessities. I think back to when I left my childhood home and I praise God for all the experiences I've had ever since... but I am especially grateful for Him giving me a super sexy roommate and our very own home. 

8/15/17 : 50 Days of Blogging

I missed a couple days here and there, but golly jang wabbit, 50 days in a row is, like, the best I've ever done! I'm very happy about this!

However, I'm a little sad because it feels like 50 is a big number, and then I realize that a full year is 315 more days. I have no idea what I'm going to be blogging about all those days, buuuuuuuut I have a feeling there will be quite a few more NBA gifs that tell my story of marriage, a few rants here and there, a bunch of my favorite rockin' jams, some super professional-grade pictures taken on my iPhone, and if we're all lucky there will be some posts about what I'm doing with the lottery I win. 

50 first days were a Slam Dunk.        #amirite

50 first days were a Slam Dunk.        #amirite