Sunday, February 28, 2010
This afternoon I was just relaxing and hanging out with the Florida fam when I realized I had a missed call from one of my friends in Tennessee. I called him back to make sure everything was alright. So we talked and he finally told me he was calling to ask about another one of our friends to see if he was doing ok? He was concerned because they play in a band together and the other friend was skipping out on practices recently. So I told him that if I knew anything I would call him back.
So my interests were peaked and I decided to call the friend that my other friend was worried about(Ok I must apologize, Im sorry for the lack of names, just don't know that they would like me telling the world their story without their knowledge.) So I called really expecting no answer. I had played in a group with this guy before and I'd say were friends and we've had some great talks but I'm definitely not like best friends with the guy, so I could see him not answering my call if things were rough. But he answered. He answered right away actually and it caught me off guard to tell you the truth.
I asked how he was doing and I told him that our friend had called me concerned about him. He seemed pretty shocked or moved that our friend would call me concerned for him. So we started talking. And he just started telling me all the stuff thats weighing down on his soul. So I just sat there in the widow sill with the window open and the sun beaming on me listening to my friend tell me alot of stuff he just is struggle with and what is going on that is good in his life. It was great. It was an amazing conversation. I also found out that my friend had been baptized today. I'm so proud of him for that. So proud that he took that amazing step to publicly declare his faith. I just kept telling him how proud of him I was.
So yeah, I know this is all very vague and all, but this amazing conversation just opened me up to the thought what if we could just do that with everyone? Why can't we just stop and listen to our friends sometimes? Why can't we just STOP take a break and focus on what really matters. Talk with your friend, and see whats up. You can tell he's been down for 2 weeks, so talk to him about it. You're friends been really distant recently, talk to her about it. Why do we live in a society who doesn't want to confront pain? Why?
I just think the world and friendships would benefit so much if we just opened our eyes and our ears to the pain of this world. Yeah, again I know it sounds hippy-ish and whatever but really. Why can't we? Why are we incapable? Why has my friend been walking around in a depressed state for months and no one confront him on it? What is that? Where's the backbone in this society? Why are we incapable of seeing the pain, and looking to fix it? Actually, no not even the initiative of fixing it, just listening?
Donald Miller wrote in Blue Like Jazz:
We're called to hold our hands against the wounds of a broken world, to stop the bleeding.
We are so caught up in this world on a schedule of stuff that doesn't matter. So what if you are missing Lost right as your friend calls you and wants to talk? You're tivo-ing it anyway, so whats the big deal? haha(Now if it was Community, I completely understand. haha Not really haha) But really, we are called to help each other. We are to be in community(not a tv show reference again) Community/fellowship with the people around us. We need to reach out and just listen.
Thats all todays conversation took, me just listening to my friend and then telling him some things that I've struggled with and I've learned along the way. Just two guys just talking life. It was just so awesome, and honestly so simple. I think thats what gets me, it wasn't hard, but people make it out to be something so hard.
He kept telling me at the end of the conversation thank you for just talking to me man, thank you for listening, and I just kept telling him to stop thanking me because its not like I really did him a favor. Thats my job as his friend to be his friend. I don't feel I went the extra mile, I just felt I was being his friend. And I think that might just be part of the problem, either on my part or others. How do we view friendship and what it entails? Are we just friends to have a good time, and then talk when its convenient? Or is it the right thing to be there when a friend needs you? Why are so many friends afraid to call their other friends and just talk about what they are going through? Yeah, i think theres pride involved, but also I think theres an element of fear of weirding your friend out and putting a strain on the friendship.
Friends are there no matter what, so what needs to happen is this. Pick the right friends. Pick friends who you can call and just talk, but also be able to do the same for them. When they call be able to just listen.
There is so much power in just listening.
So pick good friends, and then just reach out to people. Let your friends know that you are there for them. Let them know that you are willing to be there for them no matter what. If you can do that, I think your friendships will be ok.
My challenge to myself and everyone reading this is this, Open your eyes to the pain. I look around and I see so much pain in the eyes of people. So much hurt, and it hurts me. I know that I can' take it on myself. I know I can't help everyone, I so wish I could, but I can't and no one person can. But we can help the people close to us, the people around us. All it may take is just the time and ears to listen. So open your eyes, open your ears to the pain. There is so much out there, theres been so much pain going around me so much lately its crazy. I don't know why everyone is going through hard times, but a great number of families around me are. And thats just in my life, I know everyone knows people who are hurting. So my challenge is just that you would follow the example of Christ and reach out. Reach out and love the ones we love. Be a friend to the fullest extent for them...
Reach out to those around you, and lend a loving hand, and an open ear.
Media Associated With This Post:
Song: Dark Days
Artist: The Used
Album: Shallow Believer
To play the song select it at the bottom of the page
Picture Highjacked From Google Images
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Music is something that is very important to many people. To quote Robin Williams in August Rush: "You know what music is? Harmonic connection between all living beings." Music is something that is so much more than some people allow it to be. Its not just background noise, just filler for the silence. There is something so pure, so intimate about music. Its hard for me to explain, but music fits in every phaze every emotion in life. Music also affects people. I did a research paper a couple years back on musical therapy. It has been proven that it does wonders in patients who have gone through the process of therapy with a counselor and the help of music. Music is just so powerful. It has the power to change our moods, to worsen or to better. It has the power to heal. It is very powerful. For some people music brings them to a place that they feel closest to God through worship. There is something very powerful and I would dare say spiritual about music.
So I thought It would be really cool if I dedicated a post to 14 songs that have really affected me in my life. Songs that have gone past the job of just a song. A song that has stories tied into the chords and melodies. Song that I feel flow through my veins when they play. A piece of me is attached to these songs. Songs that when they play I feel my whole body just finding this new place of euphoria, or comfort when I hear them. So here's the list. You may not agree, you may hate some of these songs. But thats ok, everyone is affected by a song differently, and not everyone's story is the same.
Roll To Me- Del Amitri
This song has to the be the first on my list. It is a song that entered my life when I was very young as really wasn't into music. When I was about 5 or 6 we lived in this little blue house in Madison, Tennessee. And my dad was working for a courier company called crosstown couriers. Every evening when my dad got home around 4 or 5 my dad would always bust through the front door and me and cooper would know exactly what time it was. Dance time. haha. My dad use to walk in walk straight to the stereo and put on the song "Roll To Me." And then he would pick us up and dance. Dance for all two or three minutes of the song. Wow. this is harder than I thought it would be to write about, wow already crying and on song 1. haha. Yeah, I know im a big baby. Anyway back to the story. We would just dance in our living room for that 2 and a half minutes everyday. I would never trade any of those dances for anything. Those moments are the essence of true happiness, true joy, and just the prime example of why my dad is so awesome. No matter if work sucked he would come in the house with a smile on his face and pick us up and start dancing. haha. How I miss those days, how I wish I could just go back to one of those moments right now sitting anxiously on the couch for my dad to get home and see his awesome smile and then him crank on the song. This song to me just means the world, it represents my love for my dad. The joy of dad and the love we share. Ok, time to wipe my tears and move on to the next song.
First Breath After Coma- Explosions in the Sky
This song has a funnier story attached to it. So I decided to join the chapel band at my school for my senior year at PVCS. I believe I had been playing in the youth band at church a little before that so I had played a little on stage before this wasnt my first time ever. But I started and we decided we want to start the year off big. So my teacher who was only there for the first 2 weeks of that year decided we should play the first 5 minutes of this song "First Breath After Coma." He would be playing one of the lead parts on guitar and I would play the other. So we practiced it over and over again. And we had it nailed the night before when we played it in a completely dark gym and just practicing it was awesome. Well the morning of came and I realized, Ive never played in front of any of these people before. Never! I've got my musician friends all sitting there critiquing me, and the whole high school just sitting there waiting for us to start. Needless to say I was freaking out... So we started. It started off pretty well, but then we got to one of the lead parts and I missed a note, "Oh crap," I thought and then I started shaking, really bad. And my knees went weak and then I started missing series of notes, I was playing looking at Mr. Cook and just struggling through the song, I knew it, the band knew it, and the like 12 people who knew music heard it. I thought I had completely screwed the whole song. But when it was over and I thought it was a disaster I heard the reaction and apparently for the kids who don't play music they liked it and didn't notice any mistakes. The kids that know music heard the missed note and a couple wrong notes picked, but said it was alright, actually they said it was a disaster. haha. But we made it through it, and that song was the first song I ever really screwed up on and lost it. But ever since then Ive been able to keep my cool when missing a note, it just takes that first song to really figure out how to compose yourselves when youve lost your cool. And this song was that song. haha.
Iris- Goo Goo Dolls
*this video is taken from their live in Buffalo Dvd. It started raining I think just for this moment. For them to be singing such a an epic song in the rain. haha
Some of you may have saw this on the list and were like, Goo Goo Dolls are you kidding? No, Im dead serious and you know this is a great song. But this song to me represents just innocence. I got the cd "Dizzy Up The Girl" when I was probably 11 or 12. And I've listened to that album every year since. I love this album. It is hands down one of my favorite albums of all time. Definitely in my top 10. But this song, I don't know it is healing music. No matter how hard my day has been I can put this album on and turn this song on and literally scream the words in my car completely out of key but passionately ha. And it makes the day just so much better. It takes me back to being a kid, being just a kid without anything really big to worry about. Just reassures me too that I'll make it through whatever is going on. Its been the soundtrack through so many tough times and I've made it out of those, so why wouldn't I make it through this one? Just a great and amazing song.
The Taste of Ink- The Used
*The video is censored but the song does contain an F-word. Just forwarning, so yes that means you can't have the song tucker. haha
This song just takes me back to riding in the car with Braeden Scarborough and Stephen, Nathan, and Thomas. All of us screaming this words during the summer of 07. That was the year that "the homies," all the guys I just mentioned and I really started hanging out daily. So many awesome memories I have from hanging with those guys. Just listening to this song just makes me again think of a time where things that were maybe a little problematic really didn't matter. I had my friends and I loved them and thats all that really matter in my life. I would never trade any of the memories I share with those guys. I love each and everyone of you still even though I know you may not think that. I do, and would still drop everything for you guys in a second. Love you guys so much. This song is for "the homies."
*Found this awesome performance of the song live at the house of blues.
So earlier I talked about healing music, this song is the definition of healing music for me. Back at the beginning of this year I was going through a really tough time. I had just gone through a mutual breakup and trying to still remain friends, and I had just heard that my Papa's cancer was back, and it was bad. So those nights that I would drive up to hang out with my ex girlfriend, I would just sit there and think about this situation with her and my grandpa. And I just would listen to this cd over and over again, and it was just what I needed. It was the band aid, I needed at the time. Its funny, this album just meant so much to me. It got me through one of the hardest times in my life. Its like it was one of my best friends, I just want to give it a hug and thank it. haha. The album was a cure for the pain, and I thank you Needtobreathe for writing such beautiful and inspiring music. And I thank God that this album is the one I ran to, because it helped me to stay close to my God in a hard time.
Somewhere Out There- Our Lady Peace
So this is the start of it. This is where my personal quest for music began. I remember seeing the exact same video that I posted above this at my nanas house back when I was 12 I think it was in the summer of '02 so I was 11 at the time, and I saw this music video and loved it, i loved the song. So when we came back from California my dad one day took us to this place called used cd warehouse. To my knowledge this is one of the first times I really remember going to a record shop with my dad. I am sure he took us to other ones a bunch of times before this time, but this was the time that my eyes were open to what it really was. It wasn't like one of those stores in the mall that you just call a mom store or a dad store, this was a music store. And I could find music for pretty good prices to. So I found that Our Lady Peace's Gravity and a Matchbox 20's Mad Season and asked my dad if I could please get them. And my dad sampled them liked them and said ok. And that was the first time I remember buying a cd on my own. It wasn't one that my dad brought me home as a gift. I picked it out, and I found it without my dad. Not that thats like a major revolution, my dad and I still to this day have almost the same taste in music. He finds new stuff he likes through me and I find stuff I like through him. Its pretty awesome. But yea this was the first time I picked it out. It was my first cd that I remember buying because it was something that I personally liked and wanted for my collection. And yeah.. thanks dad see what youve created? Because of that day at that store, I know inhabit used cd stores all around nashville all the time looking for more albums to add to my collection. haha
Arms Open Wide- Hillsong United
This song is probably the newest edition to my list thats been growing as Ive grown. This song has a couple of things about it that make it special to me. The first thing about it, is I really think it is the first worship song that I allowed myself to get lost in while performing it. It is a hard thing to play worship and to worship. Its hard to forget that there are others in this room looking at you, but this song for some reason with all its power allowed me to just close my eyes and lose myself in the song. It is still my favorite worship song to play. It is just so powerful. The cries in the middle just give me goosebumps. Just crying out to God. And then declaring that "My Whole Life is Yours," and then at the end the part that I think always gets me is the declaration to God, "HAVE YOUR WAY. HAVE YOUR WAY!" Its just a wonderfully and beautifully written song that has so much emotion tied into it. The other thing about this song that I hold dear to my heart is when my brother Cooper was baptized my church decided to do something really different. Instead of going through the baptism service like normal, where we all sit in silence and cheer as loud as we can as the people who are publicly declaring their faith arise from the holy waters. Instead they did this really cool thing where the band played this song just as normal, not stripped, just loud and passionately as the baptisms were taking place behind them. I got to stand there and sing my favorite worship song while watching people get baptized. And then my brother walk into those waters. I don't know that I'll ever forget that. Seeing my brother just nod his head and be dunked in the water by pastor Pete. While singing "My Whole Life is Yours." It just was so moving. I was so proud of my brother, as many of you guys know my family means the absolute world to me. Seeing my brother make this decision was enough to move me, but being able to see it with this song just sort of made the moment extraordinary.
Never Too Late- Three Days Grace
*Video does contain some very dark imagery and deals with a very dark matter
This is going to be one of the hard songs to write about. Back when I was probably 14, I had a friend who came to me and told me she was cutting. I honestly didn't know how to handle this situation. I wasn't very close to this girl at this time but I knew her enough that I cared. She does reached out to me because she said she didn't feel like she had anyone she could talk to about it. So yeah, I had this friend who I feared every night when I went to bed wouldn't be there the next day. I just didn't know what to do. I had this knowledge of my friend doing something that scared both of us, and I couldn't tell anyone. That was a really hard summer/year for me. But when this album came out I bought and it instantly became one of my favorite albums. I couldn't stop listening to it. And I really think it was because I was going through everything that album was talking about. The whole album is about a friend of the lead singer coming to him and telling him she didn't want to live anymore. I just related so much with this album. And this song just kind of en-captured the whole ordeal I was going through in one. So I remember texting my friend the lyrics to this song. Every time I hear this song, from the opening chord I can't help but think of her and the hurt she was going through at that time. It was a hard time, but later on that year she reached out to one of her teachers and eventually told her mom. Its awesome. I'm so glad and happy for her. But this song will always take me back to those days, me on my bed with headphones on thinking and worrying about my friend. But its funny its not a bad thing when I hear this song. Its one of my favorite songs of all time, I don't get bad feelings when I hear it. It just was one of the first songs that I really just related with and allowed to be a part of my life.
There For You- Flyleaf
This song is very much like the song above. It just was another song that just en-captured everything that I felt in that situation with my friend who was hurting. But it also was just a cry I felt for more than just this friend but a couple of my friends who were going through a lot of hurt. I still listen to this song and just completely am interlaced in the song. I completely agree, her words are are those that I have wanted and said to so many of my friends. I love all of my friends and family so much and just want to be there for them in all of the hard times. I got to see Flyleaf at cornerstone two years ago. I had seen them once before at one of my first concerts, and they were great, and I did like them at the time, but this song hadn't really entered my life yet and really the lyrical content of their music hadn't really hit me. But when I saw them at Cornerstone, it was different. I was completely in love with the band and had such a deep connection with their music. I still remember just standing there when they played "There For You." That was the highlight of the show for me. To be able to stand there and sings these words along with the band. Just meant so much to me, and I'm so blessed and thankful that God allowed me to be able to do that.
Never Let You Go- Third Eye Blind
*A little riske', Like everything by Third Eye Blind haha
Third Eye Blind is one of my favorite bands of all time. And the reason for that? My dad. haha. This song takes me back to working with my dad when I was probably 10 years old. We use to drive our red Ford Aerostar all around nashville to small buisnesses and day cares doing book drops. And between all the drops we would listen to 107.5 and the pop stations and listen to all the top 40 songs and eat sunflower seeds. This was the soundtrack of that summer. This song and puddle of mudd's blurry, Sugar Rays's When I Come Around and linkin park's In the End. All were released at the same time and we would listen to them every time they came on. This song "Never Let You Go" though was the one we loved the most and would sing along with every time. My dad eventually went out and bought the album, Blue. Blue is an amazing album, still listen to it today. But I can't help but think of the awesome times sitting in the van with my dad listening to radio with the windows down. And stopping and eating Jersey Mikes. Those were the days.
Writing On The Walls- underOATH
I don't really have some sort of really deep story for this song. But it is a pivotal album in my life. This album, this song is the reason I started getting into one of the genres I love today. Hardcore. I was always the kid who listened to nashville's rock station "the buzz" and like alot of the "corporate rock" which I still love today, bands like Chevelle, Breaking Benjamin, and Three Days Grace. But I remember watching music videos on Fuse and at first me and cooper made fun of this song, but the more and more we watched it, the more we liked it. Cooper will claim he always liked it, and he very well may have. But cooper bought this album one day before we were going on a trip, and when he purchased it I just didn't feel comfortable with him owning such a heavy album so I gave him like 20 bucks for the cd so he could buy the book he wanted to buy. So I took the cd on the trip with me and listened to it alot on that trip and really fell in love with the album. "Defining the Great Line." Is still one of my favorite albums of all time. But it was the album that introduced me to this new world of Christian Metal/hardcore, and we haven't turned back since.
This song is one song that I guarantee most of you have not heard. Its a 42 second song on an album from a band my dad was in named Uthanda. Now this song of course does not do them justice, they actually pretty good. But this song is my favorite because its just my dad having fun, he is the one doing the talking/singing. But the best part comes at the very end, where you can hear my dads infectious laughter. Its just a little song that just makes me love my father, and lets me know its ok to have fun.
Yesterday- The Beatles
Now The Beatles in general cover what I am talking about, but this is one of my favorite Beatles songs and fits the memory very well. When I was growing up my dad would always play the Beatles. I distinctly remember days in the log cabin we had in Pegram and in our Blue House in Madison and even our house in Ashland City on Peter Pond Rd, my dad would just play the old Beatles albums and that was the soundtrack to our household. These albums by The Beatles to me just represent peace, love, and fun times with my family. Yeah that sounds pretty hippy-ish but its true. Their albums just mean so much to me, just hearing them just takes me back to being a kid and loving their songs, and my dad singing them.
Jesus Freak- DC Talk
Now I know this sounds ridiculous but this may be the most influential song on my life. This song actually is the reason I am a christian today. I grew up in a Christian home and I always knew who God was but never really understood what He was or What He had to do with me. When I was probably 11 I went to church with my friend Nathan. And they had this thing they did on big nights where they would turn off all the lights and do this thing called blacklight puppets. The name pretty much describes it. They would turn on this blacklight start blaring some really loud music and make the puppets dance to the music. That night I heard this song Jesus Freak for the very first time. I remember hearing that song, and just being completely in love with it. It was the heaviest thing had heard when I was 11 besides my dads band uthanda. So I went home that night and asked my dad if he had ever heard of this band dc talk, and he went downstairs to his extensive cd collection and found the album Jesus Freak and let me have it and or let me borrow it and I still have it today. haha. This band was just so influential to me. I loved their music, still do. haha. But I just remember that song really set the seed made me want to come back to church, and I believe it was the night that I heard the song Jesus Freak with the blacklight puppets that I went home after hearing a pretty good message,( or at least it must have for me to have somewhat understood the concept of Jesus) and then I went home and asked my parents about asking God into my life before I went to bed. And that night I asked Jesus to come into my life. That night was the reason I stand for God today, the reason I am who I am. All because of a stupid puppet show and an amazing song. Pretty awesome. haha.
So now you how music has been deeply rooted in my life. Music captures moments and brings them back to you when you're older and past those moments.
In the movie, August Rush looks at Robin Williams character and says,"It's like someone's calling out to me, and only some of us can hear it." But my favorite thing is what Robin Williams says in reply, "Only Some of Us Are Listening." I think that one line alone speaks so much wisdom. Are you listening? Are you allowing music to affect you in the way it has for so many people? If not, give it a try and see how wonderful it truly is. I know music truly has affected and benefitted my life, and I think it truly shows in the 14 songs that I showed you. Don't be afraid to let it impact your life.
Media Associated With This Post:
Song: Roll To Me
Artist: Del Amitri
Artist: Goo Goo Dolls
Album: Dizzy Up The Girl
To play either of the songs select them at the bottom of the page
All videos are embeded from Youtube.com.
All pictures taken by Tanner Pemelton
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
So tonight I am going to do another post dedicated to one of the people who have really impacted my life. And the person I will be writing about today is, Bryan Kirkpatrick.
Bryan Kirkpatrick enter my life at the end of my 6th grade year. I was 12 years old and about to start middle school at Pleasant View Christian School. My family had just left the church I had been attending for years and starting going to this church, Crosspoint Community Church. Actually my parents were one of the founding members/families involved with starting the church with Pete. So during that summer my mother told me she signed me up for camp. I was just kind of in shock. Camp? what camp? She told me she signed me up for the high school retreat with the youth group that just started at Crosspoint. I'm not going to lie, I was scared to death.
All my childhood I was afraid of teenagers. I don't know why, they just intimidated me. So when I heard I was going on a trip with a bunch of teenagers who I didn't know for a whole 3 to 5 days I was horrified. I still remember riding in the car up to the church offices to be dropped off. I just remember wondering what was going on. So i stepped out of the car and got my stuff out and tried to look all cool being that I was 12 and everyone else was older. haha. So my mom gave me a kiss and left and then I was there. All alone. haha. First off the bat I recognized 1 familiar face. Brett Mcrenolds. I had met him at a church picnic a couple months before and thought he was a cool guy and saw him around school every now and then. That was really the only face I knew so I kind of gravitated towards him. And then I met Bryan. Bryan was the Youth Pastor of this group of probably 20 kids, maybe more. He was really cool and really nice, the kind of guy that you know would just be really easy to get along with. So there I was with these kids and this pretty decent youth pastor, and we were headed for Falls Creek Falls.
That trip really was just a great point in my life. It was a trip where I was forced to open up, and get to know kids my age or older. And it also made me grow real tight with some people that turned out to be very influential in my life later. One of those being Brett Mcrenolds. So that trip was my first dose of Bryan. I was introduced to him, really liked him and then I heard him speak and I really loved him. And then throughout the course of the trip he made time to just sit and talk with me and it was awesome. I could tell this guy really wanted to invest in us.
From that point on my relationship with Bryan only started growing. I started bringing my friend Nathan to church with me, well more or less I rode with him to wednesday night church at the clubhouse in Bellvue. We were two shy guys who wore hats all the time. ha But Bryan was always there to greet us and get us involved. I don't think there was ever a time that he didn't come over and talk with us and make us feel more than welcome. With the growing church and growing youth group we then moved to a store front in the dying Bellvue mall.
We were at the mall for a good amount of time and had many great memories in that building. Including bryan smashing a bunch of fruit during one of his teachings, playing halo 2 all night in the huge space in the mall, and the introduction of Jad Duncan. But back then we only knew him as the "Word" guy, because he always said Word. haha This is where I think I started to really start to grow close to Bryan. I always knew Bryan but wasn't very very close to him. Me and nathan started hanging out with this kid named Thomas. Thomas was this crazy kid who we thought was awesome and funny which he was and we just started hanging out. Thomas was also friends with Braeden and Stephen, so inadvertently we all started hanging out and growing close, forming "The homies."(one day I'll write a post on "the homies.") Well our group of boys especially was very close to Bryan. I don't know if it was because bryan just wanted to keep a close eye on us cause he knew we'd be the ones to do something stupid? haha Actually I believe it's because he just related to us more. He enjoyed cutting up and doing the stupid stuff we did, like putting icy/hot on places of your boy where it should not go. I still remember that pain and the mass exodus of boys running from our bunk room to the bathroom screaming and crying and standing in the showers praying to God that it would somehow take away the pain, and bryan just standing in the door way laughing and telling us, "I told you." haha But the part I remember most was the laughter.
Bryan has a laugh that is just so infectious. He laughs with his whole being. I'm smiling now thinking about it, how he'll laugh and sometimes he'll hold his chest or his belly. And always for some reason would put his hands in front of his mouth when he laughed hard. To hide it or something, to this day its a mystery to me. haha. But the sound of Bryan laughing was enough to make me laugh, or just make me feel good. Bryan loved to laugh and cut up with us and pull pranks on the girls and all the guys or leaders. He loved to have a good time. He also had his times where he was a totally D-bag but where not here to focus on that. haha just kidding.
But other than his infectious laugh Bryan had this connection with you that was just so genuine. I really don't think words can justify it. When I was talking with Bryan about stuff that I had going on I knew he was listening, and I knew he cared, and I knew he loved me. I remember Bryan as gay as it sounds was one of the first people I would tell them that I love them every time I saw or talked to them. Id hang up the phone saying I love ya man bye. And hed always respond, I love you too buddy. And I knew he meant it. There never was a question amongst all of us if Bryan loved us or not. We always knew that. And that meant so much to us, to have that sort of father figure away from home(not that I needed that at all, me and my dad have an amazing relationship.), but he was this guy who you could trust and just have fun with. And I thank him for being that.
Another awesome thing was he inspired me to do so much. He pushed me to do things I was not comfortable with but he knew it would be good for me. One thing he pushed me to was to start taking on more of a leadership role in our group of kids. He would always refer to us guys as student leaders. And would always push us to be the ones to talk to the new kids and take them in. He also pushed me spiritually. There were so many nights and trips that I walked away from truly awestruck and paved the way for alot of change in my life. I'll never forget the candle light service we had in Panama City, Florida. We all had a candle and all sat in a circle and we all one by one stood up in front of the whole group and spoke on things that were hindering out walks that we wanted to change in our lives. And we lit our candles to represent a new start. It was awesome. There were so many cool and memorable things that I witnessed and participated in with Bryan that really did open me up to God. I don't know that I could say that I would be at the point in my life that I am today spiritually without the wonderful help and guidance.
And lastly as Ive kind of stated before, the best part about Bryan is, He was and is my friend. Like I said I never had doubt of his love for me. I knew he would always be there if I needed him. He say things I didn't want to hear sometimes but knew it was beneficial. He would tell me like it is and I admire him for that. He also was just an amazing example of Christ in my life. Yeah, there may have been some flaws in some eyes with Bryan, but that doesn't take away the image we had of him. He was an amazing example of a man who loved unceasingly, and would do anything for us, and truly wanted us to follow the teachings of Jesus. He may have been a cop, but that doesnt mean he was a hard human being. Heck, Ive seen that man cry more than I should say, all over the one thing he holds most precious and dear to him. His daughter Morgan. I won't go into the details of it, but Morgan was a miracle baby. And every time Bryan spoke about her he truly was reduced to tears. I can't tell you how much that visual still gives me the chills and honestly makes me want to cry thinking about it now. He would stand on stage and be talking about miracles or taking on something impossible and making it possible and he'd mention morgan and then he'd stop. Look up at the ceiling and take a big deep breathe in and struggled with the next couple of sentences that he spoke about her and then you'd see the tears in his eyes and them coming down his face and when he was done you'd always hear him release one of those awesome laughs and call himself a big baby.
I truly thank God for placing Bryan Kirkpatrick in my life. He truly is one of the monumental figures in my life. He has helped to shape me into the boy and man that I am becoming. I am so glad that he was there for me from the very beginning when I started going to Falls Creek Falls to when he baptized me. I can not say with words just how glad I am that Bryan was the one to baptize me. Water is blurring my vision now just thinking about it. Bryan I love you so much, and am so thankful for having you in my life. I love you just as much today as I did 2-3 years ago. Yeah, times change, new jobs, people get older, but the people who have affected you and really changed you always stay close to your heart. And Bryan you'll always be one of those people. You were always there for me and I know that your there for me now. I love you so much man, and thank you for being my youth pastor, and my friend.
Oh, and another tad bit of information, the reason I chose the song "stars" is because no joke bryan use to play it non stop for like 2 or 3 years straight. You couldn't walk into the church without hearing that song. haha He loved it. haha, Or at least it seemed like he did, he may have just inadvertently been playing it over and over again for 3 years.
Media Associated With This Post:
Album: Nothing is Sound
To play the song, select the song at the bottom of the page.
All pictures highjacked from Bryan Kirkpatricks facebook.
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
This morning I woke up and had my mind set on knocking out the rest of my schoolwork for the the week today. First thing I noticed was a note on the kitchen counter from Mrs. Kim saying she would be in meetings all day and the house was all mine today. So I went upstairs did my devotion then sat at my computer fully ready to start work on my last 2 assignments. My assignments was to write 2 newsstories for the newspaper. So I needed to contact some people at Austin Peay to get information for my story. I called and the somewhat patient operator told me that both people I needed to speak with would be out till friday... My assignment is due wednesday... So I emailed my teacher and asked her if I could write on a different story. So I had to wait for the reply. I knew she is a busy woman and wouldnt respond ASAP. So I decided to go for a bike ride.
I just grabbed the house key lying on the counter, and got out one of the bikes from the garage. I had originally planned to just go for a short bike ride and then come back and eat lunch at the house. So I started out on my bike ride. I rode to the entrance of the community and drove out of it and just kept going. It was a beautiful day. I kept to riding and looking at all the beautiful Florida scenery. And then I hit the highway, and there was a side walk that ran parallel with it. So I was enjoying myself and just kept going. I rode my bike all the way to some railroad tracks where I pulled over and took some pictures. And then I just hopped back on and kept going.
It was just such a beautiful day and I was really enjoying the ride so I just kept going. I passed by the Mcdonalds that I pass every day in my car going wherever. I passed an electrical tower. I saw beautiful landscape. And all while passing by them on a bike going my own pace while the wind blew in my face. I then realized where I was. I was pretty far from the house. haha A good 2 miles. So i realized I was hungry and knew there was a Moes Southwest Grill just about another mile down the road, so I just kept going. And then I ate lunch, And then got back on the bike and headed back home. And then I got home and realized I wanted to go to the boys school and watch their play rehearsal. So what did I do? I jumped back on the bike and road it to the kids school. haha.
I know this story sounds ridiculous but you got to understand this one thing. I realized just know kind of typing my story out, that bike ride was exactly what I needed. I think its something we all need every now and then. A little spontaneity. Something a little crazy. I think we all get wrapped up in our everyday lives, our work, our friends, our family, that we don't realize sometimes that we're dying for something outside of what we always do. For me, as much as I love it, that bike ride was something different from going to mckays and checkers. haha Don't get me wrong, if I did those two things everyday for the rest of my life I'd die a happy man. haha But really. How many of us need to get away? How many of us need to take that leap of faith, and just do that thing you've wanted to do? I hate to say it but a lot of us do. How many of us just need to put down the clicker to the tv and just go to the park with your kids? Or take your sister to the parthenon instead of just sitting on facebook? How many of us just need to step outside of what is familiar and just dare to try something new? A lot of us.
I know its easy for me to say being that I am the guy whose in Florida who as of today rode his bike everywhere, but JUMP. Go for it. Do something new, do that thing you've always wanted to do. Create a memory! I had such a great time today and it was just so out of my norm that I look back on today and smile, and I hope that I will continue to look back on today and smile when I tell my friends, "Yeah, one time I just rode my bike for like 5 miles for no reason at all." haha Go. Make a memory! This life is too short to just fill it with doing exactly what you do all the time.
That bike ride to me kind of represented also my trip down here. I left what was comfortable and normal to do something I didn't know what to expect. I had fear of the trip, but also some excitement. And just like the bike ride, I am so glad that I took that leap and that I decided to come and stay here for this amount of time that I am here in Florida. I feel like I have learned so much already. And I know that there is much more to learn. So I'm going to keep hopping on my bike and see where it takes me.
I hope that you have the courage to step outside of your comfort zone, and create a memory. Hop on that bike and enjoy the scenery.
Media Associated With This Post:
Song: Meant To Live
Album: The Beautiful Letdown
To play this song select the song at the bottom of the page..
Pictures Taken By Tanner Pemelton
Monday, February 22, 2010
As most of you know I am a huge movie buff. I love movies. I love the art of film making, the craft of shots, the emotions portrayed through actors, and the story delivered. I am just completely captivated by film. I sat down tonight with Josh and Nathan and watched one of my favorite movies of all time.
If any of you are friends with my friend nathan you would know that he is a very huge J.J Abrams fan. J.J. Abrams is the creator of the movie Cloverfield, and the show Lost. He is completely obsessed and in love with J.J Abrams. At first I thought he might just be a little obsessed or something but then I realized, M. Night Shyamalan is my J.J. Abrams. I love M. Night Shyamalan films so much(With the exception to his latest, THE HAPPENING, which was honestly not one I loved). He is truly a hero of mine. He has taken the art of film and made something exceptional. He completely writes, produces, and directs all of his films. Thats why they don't come around but once every two or three years. Shyamalan pours his all into his movies and with his first 5 films it truly shows. They are all beautiful pieces of art. You can take stills from his movies and hang them on a wall, he has such an eye for framing his shots. But truthfully the thing about him I love most is his writing. He writes such beautiful pieces of art. The lines in his movies are truly beautiful. Yeah, you can stop laughing now. haha Im not talking about, "I see dead people." I'm referring to lines like, "And she is led by love. The world moves for love. It kneels before it in awe"
That line is just so beautiful. I couldn't help but just keep playing that over and over. I love that line so much. I find it to be true in our lives today.
"And She is led by love."
In the movie the lead character Ivy Walker, is a blind woman whose fiance' has been greatly injured and needs medical attention fast. The only things holding her back is she lives in a secluded community that no one can walk outside of for fear of what is in the woods that surrounds them. She has to leave her safety, everything that she knows she has to leave, she risks it all for the man she loves. His recovery is all that matters to her, not her safety, not rules of her community, not her fear. Her love is what guides her, it is what moves her, what keeps her going. How awesome is that? Who doesnt want that for their life? Who doesn't want to have a fiance' who would risk it all for you, who would lay their life down just for you? That is love. That is true love. A person who would risk it all just for your survival.
"The World Moves for Love."
How true is this? The world moves for love? Is that true? Part of me wants to say no. No way. We live in a world that is full of evil, like the evil I talked about in last nights post. Theres no way that this world moves for love. But then I realize those evils are what hold this world in motion. Its what holds us back. The world moves forward with love. The world moves for love. How did we move forward from the evil of 9/11? By uniting and showing love to the ones who lost loves ones, by uniting and becoming one as a country. Love moved us forward. Some of you may know a little about the foundation, "To Write Love On Her Arms." That foundation started with one girl. One girl who was stuck, she was being held back by evil. Rape. Addiction. Cutting. Alcoholism. so many things held her back. What got her out of this rut? What moved her forward? Love. A group of people came to her and said, you need help let us take you to a rehab center. She was turned away from the detox center because of having so much cocaine and alcohol in her system so she was held in a house with friends who LOVED on her for 4 days. Love moved to her healing. The world moves forward for love.
"It Kneels Before It In Awe."
How beautiful is this image? It kneels before it in awe. The world kneels before love in awe. We all fall to our knees before love in awe when love is true. Lucius Hunt, the hurt fiance', is completely enamored and in awe of the woman he loves. He is shy and can not say the words that he constantly is thinking. But Ivy Walker speaks for him at times, but in the film their is a scene where Ivy is just out front with Lucius and asks, "When were married will you dance with me?" This is the first time they have ever even spoke of their friendship going to the level of being married. She just blatantly puts it out there, "When we are married, will you dance with me? I find dancing very agreeable...." She looks at him as he is completely shocked by what she has just said and she continues to say,"Why can you not say what is in your head" I love that she asks that, but my favorite part of this scene is lucius reply.
"Why can you not stop saying what is in yours? Why must you lead, when I want to lead? If I want to dance I will ask you to dance. If I want to speak I will open my mouth and speak. Everyone is forever plaguing me to speak further. Why? What good is it to tell you you are in my every thought from the time I wake? What good can come from my saying that I sometimes cannot think clearly or do my work properly? What gain can rise of my telling you the only time I feel fear as others do is when I think of you in harm? That is why I am on this porch, Ivy Walker. I fear for your safety before all others......." He pauses and then looks at her, and the says, "And yes, I will dance with you on our wedding night."
This man is completely in love with this woman. He would give his all for her just to keep her safe, just as she does for him. The world kneels before love in awe.
Yeah, I know this is some of you may look at me and be like, "really? You got that from the village? I hate that movie. The ending sucked." To you I would just say, go watch it again. Watch it and don't watch it through the concept that this movie will scare me and make me jump. Because it is not a horror film filled with cheap thrills. It isn't a moronic film filled with death, every death has a cause. A reason to it. Every death affects the story.But at the heart of this movie is a romance. It is a movie about a couple who would face anything for each other. I don't know why but that just is just an inspiring thing to watch and hope for in the future. Someone that you can care and love for like that. Someone you would face anything and everything for no matter what it is. Guys that is what you should look for and ask yourself when you find someone that you think is the one. "woud I face the anything and everything to keep this woman safe? To keep us together?" And same goes for you girls, and if its a no, haha I think you should move on. haha.
I know all of you by now probably think I am a hippie, always talking about love, but guess what I'm going to keep talking about it. Because one thing I notice that Jesus Christ taught on over and over again, was love. So I think I might just keep carrying on that tradition. haha.
Sunday, February 21, 2010
Yesterdays post happened to be a more about the irresponsible times in a guys life. I think its appropriate that tonights be about when a guy should be a man though. I promise I did not plan this at all, just sometimes life hits you and your smacked with an ugly situation that puts you right in perspective.
Tonight I learned of an evil that one of my friends has endured that nobody deserves. I will not go into any details or describe who this person is, and if anyone was to ask me about it, I promise you I won't tell you. I just had to say that to let you know how I came to come on this topic tonight. Sometimes evil shows it face amongst us. And the other night it definitely did.
I really don't even know how to even start this but to start from the beginning.
Boys, women are gifts. They are wonderful beautiful gifts that God gave us to treat well and with the utmost respect.
In the beginning was Adam in a garden and God. Even though man was in perfect unison with his creator his God, he still felt empty. Something was missing, and thats when God gave us the greatest gift I think He has ever given us, woman. Yeah, some of you may be laughing at that sentence right now, but really you think about it. You wouldnt be here without the gift of woman. None of us would, it would still just be adam and God talking in a garden. But there is also more taken in affect to the reason we are here such as the first sin. But you get my point, without woman there is no you, there is no me.
God gave us this gift as a gift of companionship. He gave Adam, eve, so that he would have a companion to continue life with, so that he would never be alone.
So how do you think that Adam treated Eve?
With just a little bit of care?
No way, he treated her with the upmost care he had ever given anything. This person, this gift, this woman was his life partner, the one thing that with God could make him whole. He treated her as if she was the last drip of water on earth. As if she was the only piece of precious gold on this earth. She was the wildest wild flower, she was the shiniest ruby, she was a gift.
Now, between adam to men of today what has changed?
Well on the topic of man, nothing really. We have more things but nothing about the makeup of man has changed. As boys we enjoy playing rough in the dirt, the dirt that Adam was formed from*(Wild At Heart by John Eldredge first taught me that principle). We still are in need of God for completion. And we still long for a woman to make us whole. We long for a woman to complete us physically, mentally, and emotionally. We are designed to be with a companion, a woman for the rest of our lives. So nothing has changed innately since then, so wheres the disconnect?
Women today are treated so poorly, it honestly makes me sick. I know way TOO many women/ young women who have been faced with evil by men. And thats just in MY life, I know there are millions of girls who have faced the same evils all over the world. Rape and Molestation happens every day. EVERY DAY. Every day a woman is raped or violated. What has happened?! This precious ruby, sunflower, gift has been shattered! What is going on?! Why is evil walking among the living this way?
I just read a statistic that says 2/3 women raped or molested are done so by people they knew and loved. And only 6% of all rapists, will spend a day in jail for their crime. Why? Because our women, our gifts, Gods children, feel it is wrong to tell the authorities about what happened to them. Their whole innocence as a whole has been stolen, their whole emotional being is in a state of shattered glass, and they live in fear. In fear that the man who would not stop, who did this evil, would return and hurt them again. What the hell is this?! Why are we taking this precious fragile gift, and dropping it from the rooftops and watching them shatter? why? What kind of man are you becoming?
Men, we live in an evil world today. We live in a time where stuff like this happens as I said earlier, everyday. We live in a world where women are portrayed on our televisions, computers, media of all types, they are portrayed as a piece of gum. You enjoy it until you get what you want from it then you throw it away. This is a bit of a stretch from Eden wouldn't you say? Men we have to protect our girls. We have to stand up for what is right. Too many of us are treating our gifts wrongly and we can not just stand by and let this happen. We can't! It is our jobs to see to it that this earth and all that it, look at the Creation Mandate. The pact we have with God to protect the land God gave us, To worship Him, and to protect our families and the people we care about. Men, our women are being beaten and raped, by boys, not men, boys. Boys who never learned what it meant to treat a woman as she is in her true state. A gift. Boys who are so screwed up by a sick society that they can do something so vile, so wrong as to lay a violent or perverted hand on a woman. These are the people who we are to protect women from.
So Men, not boys. Men. I urge you to start treating all women like the true gifts they are. Every woman, wether she is pretty or plain, is a gift. Not one woman is not a gift. Every one of them deserves to be treated as a princess. Someone you would do anything for, you would risk your life for, you would protect.
And honestly, sitting here right now with my friends current situation, all I want to do is act out violently against the person that wronged my friend. No woman deserves rape, no woman should have to endure such an evil, and no man/boy should ever get away with such a horrific and evil action. But I'm not going to act out violently, I am going to see that friend knows she is loved, that she has been wronged, and that she needs help. That she can not just keep this a hidden secret that she lives with. I am going to see to it, that every process that needs to be completed will be completed, but I also going to be there for my friend, and let her know that she is a the wildest wildflower, she is the purest gold, she is the precious ruby, she is a gift. As every woman should be treated.
All women, are gifts.
Stand up for those who are unable to fight for themselves men. Set the example.
Treat women as princesses.
I loved this song and thought it had to be included with this post. So I picked a video that yea, maybe low quality but the imagery and lyrics go hand in hand.
Media Associated With This Post:
Song: So I Thought
Song: There For You
To play either of these songs select either one of them at the bottom of the page
video from youtube, reference to John Eldredge's Wild at Heart
Pictures taken from Google Images
Saturday, February 20, 2010
So today was just one of those great days to just be alive. I woke up took a shower and walked out of the bathroom to find a note from mrs. kim on the ground that said, "Going to Lifeway book store when I get back wake up cooper." So we all ate lunch when she got back from picking up josh and then went to lifeway christian bookstore. We drove there windows down and listening to everything from the old funk song, "Give it to me, baby" to the Colbie Collait song that I love but always forget the title. haha. The wind just blowing in our hair listening to pop and just enjoying being alive together. We then came home and plotted out our plans for the rest of the day. We knew we'd have to wait for nathan to get back from work before doing anything. We decided since it was coopers last day to go to the beach to watch the sunset. Yes, I said that, its not gay for a bunch of boys to go to the beach to watch the sunset. haha.
The rest of the family was going to the county fair to help support some friends who were auctioning off a pig. So just us boys got in my car and started our journey to the beach. We drove windows down and radio blaring. And in that moment, I just realized, boys need to just be boys sometimes. We need to just be together listening to music, that may be a little profain, or a little heavy and we all just sing along. Just being in the car all singing along with Andy Sandberg and Justin Timberlake talking about giving their bodies as a gift in a box was awesome. Just being in that moment I am so thankful for. I know that sounds so weird, or so wrong, but its so true. I wouldn't trade that for anything. Just all of us laughing along and singing along with the lonely island and Flight of the Conchords. It realized theres nothing wrong with this. Sometimes we just need to have these moments where we can just be boys. Boys listening to stupid music. Boys watching dumb movies. Boys just being together doing stuff that yea may be risky or questionable, but in our lives it is memorable.
I am so thankful for those times in my life where I was with my friends and we just were boys. As most of you who remember all that we did in high school at PVCS. Me and my friends mainly plotted doing stupid things in class while skipping class in the boys bathroom. haha All those times where I was hanging with braeden and we just did stupid stupid things. I wouldn't trade that for the world. Like the time I was at the gyro shop in bellvue and braeden told me to put salt on my arm and hold an ice cube to it because it was a chemical burn. Yeah, that was stupid, really stupid actually, but I can't help but smile. That is a memory of mine that I cherish. That moment of just being with my friends and all of us doing that and just enjoying each others scars. haha. Theres also the time that I just sat in a room with a bunch of my friends and watched superbad instead of doing small group together. Yeah, it was a filthy movie, and I probably wouldn't recommend it to you in the presence of a female, but that time that I saw it was such a memory. Just being in a room laughing with my guy friends at terrible drawings depicted in the movie, and all the ridiculous profanities. I wouldnt trade those memories for anything! Have I said that enough yet? haha.
I did read the book Wild at Heart. Actually just the first half of it. And that book made me really made me realize its ok to be a guy. A guy who loves being outside or wrestling around. But I'd venture to expand on that and just say its ok to just be a guy and watch some violent movies together. Or to sit outside and smoke cigars every once in a while with your friends and just talk life.( that is if your of age of course haha). Its ok to be a boy. Its ok, to just let loose and forget all the manners and just enjoy the company of your friends.
Tonight was just one of those nights for me. Even though we didn't do anything illegal or really anything crazy. We just enjoyed being boys. Talking about extreme "what if's." Every guy knows what I'm talking about. Conversations like, "what if a serial killer was on this street and killed us?" and then we laugh and look at cooper and say "What if cooper? haha" Also just going to dinner and just talking about stuff that we love, movies, music, girls. And walking on the beach and just laughing at the stupidest crap, like nathan randomly running towards a blow up shark and screaming oh no! or something like that, we didn't quite understand what he was doing, but we laughed. haha.
I guess my point is, to all my guys who are reading this, its ok to be a boy! Its ok, to just let loose and enjoy each others company. Just enjoy being a guy with your other guy friends. Watch dumb movies, make each other laugh, jump into the pool with your clothes on. Make a memory! now don't do anything stupid or get yourself hurt just because you read this, haha I don't need parents calling me. So for their sake I'll say "be careful" haha, but really make a memory.
It's ok to just be a boy.
Media Associated With This Post:
Song: Hiphopapotamus vs. Rhymenocerous
Artist: Flight of the Conchords
Album: Flight of the Conchords
To play the song, select the song at the bottom of the page.
Pictures all taken by myself at Clearwater Beach.
Friday, February 19, 2010
So as I stated in my last post, I am going to be randomly writing about some people in my life who have been a blessing to me in my life. I wanted to just do them at varied times throughout the year, but I had a good long talk with my friend Amanda today so I had her on my mind today and thought it be appropriate to write about her as my post today.
I first met Amanda... wow I dont know 4 or 5 years ago. It was on our 2nd charge trip to Panama City, Florida. She was new to the youth group but I remember that being my first experience with Amanda. She was definitely a trip, I didn't know how to take her. She was this crazy person who could eat more than any other person I know, but more on that later. haha. She also was just a really cool person who was pretty approachable. So of course being friends with Braeden we got to know her pretty well over the next two months. Braeden always was the one to introduce us to new people, he just never had that fearful bone that most of us have. But this isn't about braeden. haha
So I knew Amanda but never was really close to her. Then Amanda started leading a small group with Jonathan Wells. Me and nathan and steven got put in their group. And that is where I started to see and understand Amanda. It was always funny because she was always the one to just be blunt and in your face about stuff. It was awesome. One of my favorite or least favorite memories I have of that group, depending on how you see it, was the time Amanda full on attacked me. haha.
So the weekend before this wednesday night that we were meeting, Bear( a leader at charge) had held a huge airsoft war for a whole night. So sitting in the room that wednesday night we found a bunch of small plastic bb's lying around everywhere. So being that I was pretty well associated with Amanda and knew I could mess with her, I started throwing the little bb's at her and trying to get them stuck in her hair. Now at this point I had no idea that Amanda was having a terrible night. Her dad had been in a truck accident that night, so she was on edge. So I started throwing the bb's at her and she told me to stop once, which as most people know for me means yea go ahead do it again, cuz i love pushing peoples buttons sometimes. Sorry but its true. haha. So I threw another one at her, BIG MISTAKE. She jumped up, grabbed a plastic knife from nowhere and held it against my neck and calmly said, "Tanner, you need to stop now, Ive been having a terrible night." Needless to say I stopped. haha. I apologized later and found out about the whole truck accident thing, and she apologized too and we were good.
Maybe a year or so later Charge went on a youth trip to Gatlinburg. I would say that trip is the reason me and Amanda are as close as we are today. For some reason we had a lot of great conversations on that trip. Amanda had alot going on in her life and as did I and we just talked and really just grew close through those talks. Another thing that bonded us together was the fact that Charge had shifted completely at this point. My old youth leader Brian Kirkpatrick retired his position as Youth Pastor and George my youth pastor now took position. Most actually more accurately all of my friends left when brian left. Brian was very close to all of my group of guys, so my friends couldn't really accept charge without bryan. I understood it, but I had cooper there still who had all his friends going so I wasn't just going to quit the youth group. So I continued to go, but I had nobody. So on that trip, having nobody to hang with it really opened up room for me to sit and talk with this leader that I thought I knew very well and started to really grow close to this leader.
Needless to say over the next year or two after that trip we've been pretty close ever since. Amanda has always been my friend that I could go to about church stuff, when I didn't agree with it, or I just wanted to be cynical about. haha. Many fun conversations while running media together. But I wouldn't say thats the best part of Amanda, even though yes, we do connect when it comes to cynicism. haha
One of my favorite things about Amanda is how blunt she is. Amanda has always been the friend I have who isn't afraid to just tell it as it is. Amanda has truthfully smacked me several times with just getting me back into reality, or making me see things how they really are. I don't know how many times I've been talking to Amanda and she just stop give me a look and be like no friend, thats not right. Or you need to do this. haha I wouldn't say shes bossy at all, so don't get that impression at all.
Amanda I would definitely say is one of my close friends.She has been a great leader/mentor and friend. I am also so grateful for all the times she has just been there for me. Everything from just phone calls to dr. visits in her kitchen. She has gone way above and beyond that which I would consider normal for a friendship. As I talked to her about today about I definitely would consider and look at Amanda like an older sister. I know its weird that I keep saying my friends are like my brothers and sisters but its true. I am very close to the people I hold dear. As I mentioned in my post about my "brothers" from charge I really do look at them like my brothers, same applies here with Anya as I stated last night and with Amanda. But yea thats a little bit off topic, but its true, I view them as my siblings, I hope thats not too weird. haha
Probably my favorite thing about amanda though is her relationship with God. I won't go into full detail on that, but she has an amazing relationship with God. Ive never heard anyone tell me about their arguments with God and how they'll spend days just fighting Him and what they think He is telling them to do, until I met Amanda. That may sound like its not a healthy relationship, but it totally is. I learned through her that word relationship when it comes to God. In a normal relationship its not always good, sometimes you have to argue, or be upset. And Id say in her relationship with God, she has one of the healthiest and genuine relationships with her Savior. It truly is inspiring to me, and has definitely made me respect her, but also made me realize things in my walk with God that I am so grateful to her for.
I thank God that He has put Amanda in my life. She has been there in the tough times and the good times. She has been a great friend, and a great leader. She's been gentle at times, and blunt at times as well. But overall she has been my friend, and for that I am so thankful for her. Thank you for being my friend Amanda. I love you. Through all the hard times I know youre going to be just fine, God has a big plan for you whether you agree with Him or not. haha Just keep being the great person you are, that I love and respect immensely. Thanks friend.
Media Associated With This Post:
Song: The Middle
Artist: Jimmy Eat World
Album: Jimmy Eat World
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All pictures highjacked from facebook.
Thursday, February 18, 2010
So, I decided that I'm going to start on occasion writing about certain prominent people in my life and how they have affected me. The first person I will be writing about is Anya Harden aka. Smanya.
I first met anya around I want to say 8 years ago? I probably am wrong and Im sure Anya will be the first to tell me I'm wrong. haha. All I know is I was young, and so was she. She was probably in first or second grade at the time. Her mom, my 2nd 2nd mom(confusing I know, but you got to understand how my mother system works. My first mom is my birthmother, Diana aka mommy. For my second mom I have a tie. It is shared between Mrs. Kim Graves (mommy number 2 aka Florida Mommy) and Mrs. Lorrie Harden( Mommy number 2 aka Tennessee mom who isnt my real mom. haha anyways I have gone way too far on this tangent.) Ok, back to where I was originally going, Anya's mom met my mom through my moms class And God Made Woman. And they just hit it off and have been friends ever since. So needless to say I have been around Anya for quite sometime now.
I will say that we have most definitely grown much, much, closer over the past 2 or 3 years. My family started attending what we call our "Dysfunctional Small Group," at the Hardens house every other weekend. So with all the time spent there and then all the time spent with youth group, we know each other quite well I'd say. haha. Actually thats an understatement.
I would really consider Anya just another one of my siblings. She hates it when I say that but its true. She really has become another member of my family. And I'd say we treat each other like siblings. The nickname "smanya" comes merely from me saying it and realizing she hated it, so... it stuck. haha. I say anything remotely sexist, she will full on punch me in the arm. And man... does that girl pack a punch. haha. But my relationship with Anya isn't all about us just picking on each other. That's what makes Anya a special friend.
I've watched Anya go through the some very tough situations. I watched her grow up before my eyes, and really its weird to look back and look at the friend I have now and realize its the same 2nd grader I knew 8 years ago. Ive watched her go through so much, Ive hurt for her so many times and I've been happy for her just as many times. It truly is amazing.
Anya has had the difficult spot of being a girl amongst guys. She's grown up around a bunch of us stupid boys. It was always Anya and the boys. Anya, cooper, lane, tanner, and the rest of the boys. She's always been one of the boys. But over the past few years I've watched her start to depart from the role of "one of the boys" or "Tomboy" and really start to transfer into a woman. Its even weird for me to say that now, but its true. The same girl who I remember just always been fascinated with the snakes, and karate is turning into a woman. Don't get me wrong, she still loves both, but with a different finesse to it.
Even though Anya is the same age as cooper and I see her as a sister, she has done alot for me. One of the things I love most about anya is how blunt she is. She has always just been straight up with me and just says whatever is bothering her. There have been so many times where she has just called me out on something and it really has made me think, and or change things. But I of course probably wouldn't tell her that, before now. haha. She has pushed me to do things, that I honestly was not comfortable with but I'm so glad she did.
One example of this that I will share happened in Wheelwright KY about 2 years ago. We were on a missions trip with our youth group, and a large number of volunteers from our church. I want to say there was at least 60 to 70 volunteers there. So on the last night of this amazing trip, Ryan Bult asked if me and anya would play a song to lead the whole group in worship. Anya immediately said yes, and I just kind of looked at them blank faced. haha. "sure." In my head I was screaming, "NO!!!!" haha But good ole Anya just put us out there, so I wasn't going to say no. So we started learning the song 20 minutes before we were going to play it. I was freaking out. I couldnt remember my parts rehearsing it, I had to keep playing it, over and over again. I was really shaky when it came time to play. We followed a really great song preformed by Ted "muscles" Moxley, which Ive got to say, is a REALLY hard act to follow. So I walked up to the front, set down my chair and looked at the audience. "what am I doing?" I then looked at Anya and she just gave me the look Ive seen a million times. She looks at me blankfaced and opens her eyes real big and raising her eyebrows. So, I knew that was my cue to start. So I started playing. And then a few seconds in I was locked in. Hearing all of those people, adults and kids, singing "From The Inside Out" was so moving. I couldve stayed in that moment for the rest of my life. It was just amazing, we were all in worship together at this amazing place. We finished the song and we sat down and I was so happy that Anya pushed me to do that. That was one of the best experiences of my life. Even thinking about it now gets me so excited. It was just such a moving moment. Another small thing that I am so happy she forced me to do, was watch the movie ONCE. It such an amazing movie, that she told me to see over and over again and then she forced me to watch it and I loved it.
Yeah, me and Anya may have our differences. Music is one thing. Actually it really isn't we have a lot of music we have in common, we just like to pick on each others music. Ive had an agenda against Radiohead long before I knew Anya liked them. I think they make some great music, but their fans and the lead singer just make me so mad I can't stand them. So I of course always pick on Anya for liking them. And she will pick on my music, well... actually i don't know if she picks as much as makes fun of me singing along with them, when everyone in the world who has ever driven with me knows, Im pretty tone deaf. haha. So she calls me out on it. haha. So yea we bash heads on music sometimes, but thats part of the fun.
Through all of the times Ive had with her, I cherish those moments that Anya calls me out on me for being stupid. I am so blessed to have this wonderful person in my life. She truly is a woman who is seeking God first. She is definitely a unique girl, and I can not wait to see the guy who will come along and swipe her off her feet. But hey, if the you, the reader, are that guy, know that you're going to have to go through all of anya's brothers to qualify. haha. Not really. I can not wait to see what God has instore for her. She has done so much for me and has such a loving heart. I know He has huge plans for her. I thank God that He has brought her into my life. I know I don't say it often, but love ya anya, and thank you for being my wonderful friend.
Media Associated With This Post:
Song: Falling Slowly
Artist: Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova
Album: Once Soundtrack.
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All pictures highjacked from Anya's facebook
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Last night as I was finishing up my last entry I was writing and listening to the sounds of south park. Yes, some of you may somehow find that hypocritical. But hey, I'm a nineteen year old boy who enjoys stupid gross boy humor every now and then, and im going to be honest. Im not going to tell you i was writing and listening to michael w. smith on my itunes and watching the pink haired lady on tbn. haha. So yeah, i finished writing and then sat down and the credits for one episode of south park starting rolling. But I could see in the top right corner of the screen that another episode was coming on, so I just kept in on that channel and sat down to watch the next episode.
Right as the credits ended they showed a commercial for the upcoming episode, it looked to be quite blasphemes. Cooper looked at me and said, "this is gonna be one of THOSE episodes." So we both sat there, cooper finger on the clicker ready to change it whenever we needed to. The episode started off with the kids sitting in church making fun of hymns singing perverted lines in the melodies of the hymns. Im not gonna lie it was bad but I chuckled a little. They then proceeded to start poking fun at some little things in christianity. Making a couple little jokes here and there about traditions. Cooper went to change it, but I was fascinated by some of the things they were saying so I told him to keep it. I wanted to see just how the world views us. I know some people just get offended, I don't. I want to know exactly what the world is saying about us. So we kept watching.
The episode continued and it showed the kids sitting in there pew. They stopped joking around and poking fun at the hymns and started paying attention to the sermon. The pastor was standing at the front of the room at his podium and starting talking of hell. And how everyone was going to hell if they didnt confess and blah blah blah, basically the fire and brimstone messages we hear in churches today. Well ok, yea parts of it were definitely the south park version of the sermon, but you knew exactly what they were talking about and poking fun at.
After the pastor finished his sermon it focused on the reaction of the audience leaving. And all the kids were freaking out, telling there parents they were going to stay longer and go to sunday school because they didnt want to go to hell. So they went to sunday school. In sunday school they learned about communion and some other stuff, like that they needed to be baptized to go to heaven and they needed to confess ever sin all the time or their souls would be impure and they would be cast down to hell. Yes, this was poking fun at catholics maybe more than conventional churches, but it still is relevant hang with me. haha
So Kyle who is jewish goes home after all of the activities of church and talks with his family. He looked at his dad and told him about the day and was asking him what if were wrong dad? If were wrong we go to hell, and if they're wrong whatever. Kyles dad just looked at him and said what is faith out of fear? Why believe just out of the fear of hell.
I was blown away. I honestly was moved by a south park episode. haha yea I just said that. haha How many churches in America use the scare tactic of hell to gain believers? Kyles dad even addressed that in the episode saying how churches use it as a scare tactic to scare people into believing. Its so true! How many churches do this?! How many churches use hell as a device to scare people into belief? How could South Park actually hit on this and it be so true?
I think its awesome that South Park hit on this. I really do. Christians need to be smacked in the face. How could we have come to this? Scaring people into the belief of the most loving, graceful being I know? How screwed up is that? I know ive said it before, but how far are we getting from the message of Christ when we are getting people to believe in God not because of how wonderful He is, or the fact that hes the Creator or anything, but out of fear. Fear of eternal damnation. Is that a legitimate fear? No pun intended here but, Hell yea it is. It definitely is a legitimate fear, but should that be our way of hooking our new christians in?
Now I will say that I do think many people have been saved because of these fire and brimstone messages. So it has served its purpose I am sure. But to me, it just... i don't know, it gets me. I can't help but sit and here and be like is that really the way we have to present God to non believers? As this wrathful God who will send you to eternal damnation if you don't believe in Him? I don't know bout other people, but I would struggle greatly with that. Why would I want anything to do with this God? Why? He doesnt seem to be this nice guy? Yes, hes giving me eternal life with Him, but He also sounds pretty bossy and demanding coming from these preachers perspective on Him. I honestly don't know how I would view it if I was a non-believer going into a church today giving a fire and brimstone message. I just can't help but think that I'd be turned off. Thinking it was hokey christians trying to get more people to join them for their sunday afternoon socials at the park. Really. That may seem harsh, but most of you that know me, I don't think you'd put it past me to say that if I wasn't a christian.
I just found it to be completely fascinating that South Park, the show that is criticized so much for its outrageous humor, which at times is funny, at times completely perverse, and at times completely blasphemes. But this time, I don't know that I would write it off as blaspheme. I would write it off as a poke in a christians eye, and we deserved it. How many people have we turned off from christianity because people view us just like South Park did, a scare tactic? How many more will be have turn away because of those messages? That I can not answer. But I do know that the episode of South Park I watched last night, really did open my eyes a little. Made me realize that we are at fault for some of the things non-believers pin against us.
I can only speak for myself, but I know in my life, I am going to try and present God as the wonderful graceful Creator that He is first. And then hell later. I believe that in finding a new friend or relationship I would want to fall in love with that person first, not be told the consequences of not falling in love with them first. So that is how I will present Him to others, and hopefully do it correctly. If I fail, keep watching South Park. I'm sure they'll run an episode against me If im wrong. haha.
Media Associated With This Post:
Song: And Evening WIth El Diablo
Album: Wonder Whats Next
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