Purpose

I’m a big believer in the ideal that we each have a purpose in life. I think there is a God-designed narrative out there for all of us where we can have the greatest possible impact on this world. It might be something you discover during your teen years or you might be an immature 30-year-old attorney who is still trying to figure out what he wants to do when he “grows up.”

I’ve been trying to discover my purpose for most of the past decade. I’ve desperately hoped for the indisputable answer written across the sky that points me in the right direction. However, God doesn’t seem to work like that. If the answer is quick and obvious, you’ll learn nothing from the journey.

I just wish the journey wasn’t so long.

Of course, there have been months and years during the past decade when I pushed these types of questions to the side because of exams, busy times at work, and episodes of “Flavor of Love.” However, I’ve thought about these issues every single day for the past two years.

This is a challenging issue because stepping into your purpose usually takes a lot of hard work and I don’t have much free time to be running some kind of side hustle.  Additionally, this also gets tricky because I have a number of different passions, including music, fashion, and Chipotle, but I don’t think any of them are my purpose (unless there is a burrito tester job out there).

Unfortunately, I can’t say that I’ve finally discovered my purpose. However, I am getting closer. I’ve recently realized that there are two things in life that bring me the most joy (other than Chihuahuas, gummy bears, and baseball):

  • making people laugh; and
  • standing on a stage with a microphone.

I would have said the exact same thing ten years ago. However, those feelings have been buried by the stresses and to-do lists of life. Thankfully, our church gives me an opportunity to MC services sometimes, where I have an opportunity to (1) stand on a stage, (2) hold a microphone, and (3) tell cheesy jokes. Doing those things illuminates a spark within me that is unlike anything else I’ve experienced. It just feels right. 

Thus, I need to do it more.  I want to do it more.

Oh, back to that whole fear thing.

For the past two years, I’ve wanted to try stand-up comedy. I’m a pretty outgoing guy, but the thought of bombing in some sketchy nightclub is paralyzing. Well, it’s time to get over that mess. I want to try it. I need to try it.

I’m going to try it.

This year.

That’s partially why I’ve been posting lots of random, and hopefully humorous, Facebook status updates in recent weeks:

Old

Toxic

Taco Bell

Ninja Turtles

Target

I love to laugh at life, both the beauty and the awkwardness. And it’s time to sign up for some comedy classes and talk about the wonders of life on stage. Again, I’m terrified about that idea, but now the three of you who are reading this can help keep me accountable.

Thanks.

The Miracle

I’ve learned a lot of important things during our pregnancy.

First, I’ve discovered that it is really hard for me to eat healthy when my wife has constant cravings for chocolate and Mexican food.

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Second, I’ve learned that pregnant women love pillows. I think we had nine pillows in our bed at one point. Thankfully, that number is now down to three. However, one is an enormous anaconda-esque pillow called a Snoogle that takes over the entire bed. I’ve heard rumors that it will be hanging around even after Austin and Madison make their debuts. I’ve spent most nights during the past 8+ years hanging over the edge of the bed, while Amanda takes up the other 90%.  This Snoogle doesn’t help.  Pray for me.

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Okay, back to the important stuff. More than anything else, seeing two little babies develop over the past few months has taught me how incredibly beautiful and majestic life truly is.

I found out that we were having a baby on July 19, 2013.  I instantly fell in love. Amanda was 6-7 weeks along and the baby was the size of a poppy seed. I said so many prayers and shed so many tears of joy for that little thing. I desperately prayed for his or her health, development, and future. More importantly, I prayed that he or she would never go to law school. I dreamt about t-ball games, watching a little toddler chase around our divalicious dog, playing with Legos, teaching my kid about Star Wars, and going to Nationals games together.

Then, a week or two later, we thought the baby was gone. I woke up one Saturday morning to find Amanda in tears. We were stressed, terrified, and worried. I know a lot of people out there have been in similar situations. I’ve never felt so helpless.

So Amanda went to go see the doctor and we held our breath.

She called me at work that day. She told me I needed to sit down.  I expected the worst.  I braced for bad news. A million negative thoughts flashed through my mind in a single moment.

She told me we were having twins.

I nearly fell on the floor.  Then I laughed.

Halloween Shirt

Since that time, we’ve had 5-6 ultrasound appointments and have felt so many priceless kicks coming from inside Amanda’s womb. It is amazing to see their little hearts beating on the ultrasound machine. I am in awe when I see the complicated intricacies of their bodies and all their little organs hard at work. I’m amazed that those same little body parts will be cranking for the next 90+ years. I am stunned that all of it started with two little poppy seeds that developed and grew on their own. The masterpiece of life was imprinted on each of them from the very beginning. It is remarkable, and humbling, that we get to see it all unfold. Although I suck at math and science, witnessing these repeated miracles makes me wish I was a doctor or scientist so I could comprehend them even more. Alas, WebMD is a decent substitute and doesn’t cost me $100,000 and seven years of medical school.

In short, I hope to teach these kids so many important things. However, they helped teach me the most important lesson of all:

You can never eat too much Chipotle.

Worthless

If you are anything like me, there are days, if not weeks, months, or years, where you feel worthless, hopeless, and insignificant.  You’ve screwed up, a lot, and you believe that you have nothing important to say, do, or contribute.  You missed your chance.

Wrong.

How do I know?

Well, as my wife says, I know everything.  If that doesn’t convince you, check out these two pictures:

Patriots Logo

Napoleon Block

Why do I care about a Patriots logo and a name plate with a mostly-legible “Napoleon” on it?  Don’t worry, I’ll tell you.

These objects are handmade.  Each was carved from a piece of wood and painted by hand.

By my brother.

My brother has been in jail for three years.  He’s 17.

He’s done some terrible things and has made some bad decisions.  Despite all that, he is still capable of making something beautiful.

You are too.  Regardless of your flaws, mistakes, and despair.

Never let anyone, especially yourself, tell you differently.  

Awkward White Guy Rap – Britney Spears

We all have a Fountain of Youth, a Moby Dick, or a Holy Grail that seems unattainable, uncatchable, and unreachable.  It might be those last five pounds you just can’t shed, running a six-minute mile, or beating the fiftieth level of Candy Crush.

For me, it was performing a Britney Spears song.

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No longer.

Due to the help of one amazing singer (Jen!), a spirited violinist and his flashy blue violin (Jackie!), and two uber-cool brothers (Dave and Phil!) who make up one-half of an amazing band (The Unlikely Hero!), I found my Holy Grail this past weekend.

Thanks for watching!

A special thanks to Jen, Jackie, Dave, and Phil for making this video possible!  Huge thanks to Paul A. for letting us use his camera and for Capital City Church for letting us jam in the office to film this silly video.  Finally, thanks to Britney Spears for the inspiration.

Seriously, watch The Unlikely Hero video linked above.  They are so good.

Oh, and this video helps explain my Facebook post from Thursday:

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Think Fast

There are few things in this world that I love more than gummy bears, Oreos, and Sour Patch Kids. To be honest, I’m not sure if I love anything more than those delectable sweets.  Other than burritos.

However, I’m giving up all that sugary goodness.  Not for a lifetime, but for three weeks (which feels like a lifetime).  I’m giving up all sweets, sodas, and alcohol during those 21 days.  Not because I think those things are bad, but because I need to refocus.

There is a lot of noise in my life.  Some of it is good, some of it is bad, most of it is distracting.  Life is too busy and there are too many things competing for my attention. Despite my good intentions, a lot of my days are wasted.  Those days quickly turn into weeks, months, and years.

I need to prioritize.  I need to refocus.

I need to fast.

I’m not sure of all the theological underpinnings behind a fast, but it’s a pretty simple idea. I think about gummy bears, Oreos, Sour Patch Kids, Coke Zero, and Coronas approximately 217 times a week.  Instead of hitting up the vending machine or searching for Amanda’s secret stash of junk food when I get a craving for high fructose corn syrup, I’ll say a prayer.  It won’t be anything fancy or impressive, but just a quick prayer of thanksgiving. A quick prayer asking God to help me love people more. A quick prayer that the Metro won’t be single-tracking during my commute home.

Those brief moments of prayer and reflection throughout the day will hopefully lead to a substantial attitude shift.  Instead of merely trying to squeeze God into a tiny compartment, my hope is that I emerge from these three weeks of sweet sacrifice with a faith that permeates every aspect of my life.

But, on the day, the hour, the minute the fast ends, I will be yelling, “SHOW ME THE GUMMY!”

Think Fast

The Pregnancy Song

This baby stuff is starting to get serious.  We have cribs and car seats now.  Oh, and less than two months until the big arrival of Austin and Madison.

The Pregnancy SongGame on.

I have a lot of feelings about being a dad.  Most of them are good.  However, there is definitely some fear and anxiety too.  Although I’ve written a number of blog posts about this whole parenthood thing, I thought the best way I could express myself is by putting my thoughts into a song.

Fear

“We have nothing to fear but fear itself.”

Oh, and the insane raccoon in the garage.

Tuesday night started off like any other weekday evening.  I got home from work around 7:30pm.  My wife and I ate dinner, watched TV (“New Girl” is back!), and then we begrudgingly continued the month-long cleanathon at our house.  Like Indiana Jones and Lara Croft exploring a forgotten temple, we’ve been digging through disheveled closets over the past few weeks to purge old junk and organize less-old junk to make room for two babies and all their fly gear.  That really just means that we’ve moving lots of stuff to the garage.

However, with the boxes in the garage starting to resemble Mount Doon, it was time to tackle that unforgiving and unorganized beast.  I went to move a few boxes and heard a rustling noise that no one ever wants to hear inside your house.  It was coming from our garbage can.  Our garage was soon filled with the noises of an animal thumping and jumping (but hopefully not humping) inside of our trash can. Here’s the deal.  I’m some sort of strange metro/hipster/preppy/sporty guy, not a brawny, brave, or tough guy.  Thus, I was really freaked me out.

Fear

I would reach for the trash can, squeal, and quickly dart away to safety inside our new SUV.  I did that awkward dance for fifteen terror-filled minutes.  I know that because there is a video.  It’s mostly dark, grainy, and filled with awkward screams.

My favorite Facebook comment about this adventure…
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I was paralyzed by fear.

Fear of the unknown.

I’ve seen foxes, raccoon, deer, and mice chilling in our neighborhood.  I love it.  I’ve stood and watched those animals gleefully running around our street.  I’ve also watched one raccoon trip out on rabies or LSD, so I watched him from afar.  When I can see the animals in front of me, in the open and in the daylight, there is no fear. And no definitely no squeals.  

Fending off the animal invasion with a broom and can.
Fear

But when that exact same animal was hanging out inside my garage and I wasn’t sure what it was, where it was, or how it would respond to seeing a chunkier version of Tom Brady, I was terrified.  I kept envisioning a flying raccoon soaring through the air towards my face as he left a trail of rabies mouth foam in his wake.  I was afraid. Fearful to move.  Fearful to act.  So I just stood there and did nothing. 

Life outside of my raccoon-infested garage is the exact same way.  I’m unsatisfied with some very important areas of my life.  I’m bored.  I’m frustrated.  Yet, I desperately cling to the very things that weigh me down because they are familiar.  I keep cruising along, aware of my own dissatisfaction, but too fearful to do anything about it.  Because, you know, some terrible stuff could happen if I got a little crazy, took a chance, and chased my passions.  

I’m tired of it.  I’m not getting any younger and I’m repeatedly finding myself thinking, “well, maybe you missed your chance.”  That terrifies me.  I’m sick of those thoughts.  I’m sick of feeling blah.  I’m sick of giving up.  I’m sick of being trapped by my fear of the unknown.  I’m sick of not taking any risks because I repeatedly envision the worst-case scenario.  I’m sick of trudging down the path of inertia as my dreams and visions slowly become a memory.  I’m sick of complaining about stuff, but then doing nothing about it.  That’s not the life I want to live and I don’t think God wants to see anyone squander their hopes and passions because they drown in their own fear and laziness.  

I’m fearful of the unknown, fearful of screwing up, fearful of ninja raccoons, and fearful of falling flat on my face.  But I’m more fearful of never trying.

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