Friday, December 31, 2010

TEN TOP TENS FOR 2010: part 10


My final post in this series. My final post of the year. My final post to get you thinking about life and all its possibilities.

I don't know of anyone who doesn't want to make any positive changes in their life. And if someone says they don't have anything to change about themselves, they're delusional. Everyone changes in some way or another. We grow, we learn, we adapt. We become embittered, we become enlightened. We search for the best this life has to offer. Think about some thing or things you want/need to change in your life. Remember, you can't change anyone else. You can only change yourself. Do you have your change(s) in mind? Good. Now, let's talk logistics.

The top ten best times to make a positive change in your life:

10. Now.
9. Right now.
8. Do you know when "now" is?
7. This magic moment.
6. The time has come.
5. Isn't there something you should be doing besides reading this?
4. Wait ... you're still here?
3. Don't let this opportunity pass you by ... Oh, there it goes ... Well, catch it!
2. Why in the world are you still reading this?
1. It's always "now."

So, what are you waiting for? As my mama always said, "Don't put off today for tomorrow."

Peace, Love, and Now

Thursday, December 30, 2010

TEN TOP TENS FOR 2010: part 9

These are my top ten most memorable moments of 2010:

10. The Nashville flood (including baptizing the van in Jackson, concert in Glasgow, KY, and getting home)

9. Getting the honor of performing with Acappella Classic at Acafest

8. Visiting Bob Marley's home/museum

7. Learning about the murder of my good friend, Hal Moreland, the weekend before Christmas

6. Western Heights drum line winning drums at Konowa Marching Contest/Western Heights marching band getting straight superior ratings at OSSAA Marching Contest (first time to get an overall superior rating since 1999, first time to get superior ratings from all 3 judges since 1987)

5. Being on the Amazon River (as a matter of fact, the entire Brazil trip was unforgettable)

4. Steph's 30th birthday

3. Finding out we were expecting/Finding out we had to give our baby back to God before we even got
to hold it in our arms

2. Our first wedding anniversary

1. Sending Dad to his eternal home

What are some of your most memorable moments of 2010?

Peace, Love, and Memories

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

TEN TOP TENS FOR 2010: part 8

And I quote...

10. "These people better not get a divorce or I'm gonna be so mad!" - Zac George at a wedding we sang for after a 16 hour drive ... after a 3 1/2 week Brazilian tour ... after a really long summer ... before a long trip back home via Nashville ... on a bus that broke down in Nashville ... after the air conditioner broke down ... in August.

9. "If I can't whoop 'em, I don't want 'em." - Steph speaking of other people's children

8. "Lil' girl, you can take your attitude elsewhere 'cause I ain't the one you need to mess with today." - Me at school ... 'nuff said.

7. Courtney Fowler to her son: "Brock, would you bring me my house shoes, por favor?"
Brock, after running to get the shoes: "Por favor is back!"

6. "Everybody ought to love sweet potatoes!" - Papa J telling the story of how he tried to bribe Dad to keep him from tattling when they were kids

5. "Aaaaaand ... there's water coming into the van." - Anthony Lancaster as we baptized our van

4. Gabby: "Are you gonna wear those shoes with that dress?"
Steph: "Are you gonna wear that face with that dress?"

3. "I'ma pray for you ... a lot!" - Me

2. "Lots of laughin', lots of lovin', lots of exercise; that's what's gonna make life fun!" - Steph

1. "I love you, Son." - Dad

End quote. What are some of your favorites from 2010?

Peace, Love, and Good Quotes

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

TEN TOP TENS FOR 2010: part 7

I did Christmas movies the other day. Now, it's time for movies released in 2010. There were some great ones; many that I had to leave off my list because there were so many good ones. Here are my top ten:

10. Dear John
9. Shutter Island
8. Toy Story 3
7. Tangled
6. Letters To God
5. How To Train Your Dragon
4. Alice In Wonderland
3. Megamind
2. Inception
1. The Book Of Eli

Maybe you can hip me to some that I missed.

Peace, Love, and Good Movies

Monday, December 27, 2010

TEN TOP TENS OF 2010: part 6

Today's post is the top ten blogs I've read this year. Here goes:

10. Brandon Scott Thomas
9. Blake Bergstrom
8. Patrick Mead
7. Anthony Evans
6. Joshua Graves
5. Terry Rush
4. Mark Driscoll
3. Pete Wilson
2. Compassion International
1. Trey Morgan

Which blogs do you like to read?

Peace, Love, and Good Blogs

Sunday, December 26, 2010

TEN TOP TENS FOR 2010: part 5

Since it's Sunday I thought it would be appropriate to share my top ten worship songs for this year. All of these songs have helped me get through various situations over the course of the year, whether good or bad. I hope there's a song on this list that speaks to you in a very real way:

10. Glory And Honor - Acappella
9. Trading My Sorrows - Darrell Evans
8. Blessed Be Your Name - Matt Redman
7. Healer - Hillsong
6. Our God Is Greater - Chris Tomlin
5. Majesty (Here I Am) - Martin Smith; Stuart Garrard
4. God Holds The Future In His Hands - James Rowe; James Vaughan
3. Firm Foundation - Jamie Harvill; Nancy Gordon
2. All I Need Is You - Hillsong
1. Rejoice - Anthony Evans

Name some of your favorite worship songs.

Peace, Love, and Worship

Saturday, December 25, 2010

TEN TOP TENS FOR 2010: part 4

Christmas Day - the biggest movie box office day of the year! How many blockbusters have been released on Christmas Day? Surely there's a count somewhere, but that's not what this post is about. This post is about great movies about Christmas, involving Christmas, set at Christmastime, etc. Let's spend a little time at the movies, shall we? This is my top ten Christmas movie list (this one was tough because there are so many great Christmas movies, so please add to this list):

10. Home Alone 
8. Elf
6. Scrooged (and all the other movies based on A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens)



Name some other great Christmas movies.

Peace, Love, and Merry Christmas ... at the movies

Friday, December 24, 2010

TEN TOP TENS FOR 2010: part 3

Today's list is all about traditions - Christmas traditions. Every family has Christmas traditions; some more than others. Here are ten Christmas traditions my family (Brannon, King, Fowler, Hackett, etc.) keeps:

10. Holiday travel
9. Christmas music on the car radio
8. Opening new pajamas on Christmas Eve
7. Day-after-Christmas shopping
6. Football!
5. Baking Christmas goodies
4. Decorating the tree
3. Caroling in nursing homes, schools, stores, and other places that need Christmas cheer
2. Spending quality time with family/friends
1. Jesus: the real Reason for the season

Feel free to share some of your Christmas traditions.

Peace, Love, and Merry Christmas

Thursday, December 23, 2010

TEN TOP TENS FOR 2010: part 2

Today's top ten list is dedicated to sports - the ten greatest team/school mascots. Some are serious, some are funny, all are the real deal. This ought to be fun! Here we go:

8. Muleshoe High School Mules (note: Why are they the Mules?)
7. Mustang High School Broncos (note: Why are they not the Mustangs?)
4. Stanford University Cardinal (note: Cardinal is singular)
1. Montgomery Biscuits

Gimme some more good ones!

Peace, Love, and Great Sports

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

TEN TOP TENS FOR 2010: part 1

I love top ten lists so I want to share ten top ten lists on the last ten days of 2010. Some of the lists may be funny (although ... probably not very funny), some may be more serious, and some may be just plain ridiculous. Hope you will add to them if you have something to add.

For the first list, here's my top ten list of books I've read this year (in no particular order):

10. Stuff Christians Like - Jonathan Acuff
9. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader - C.S. Lewis
8. The Haunted Mesa - Louis L'Amour
7. Good Book - David Plotz
6. Total Money Makeover - Dave Ramsey
5. Don't Make A Black Woman Take Off Her Earrings - Tyler Perry as Madea
4. Plan B - Pete Wilson
3. Love And Respect - Emerson Eggerichs
2. More Than Enough - Dave Ramsey
1. Ecclesiastes - King Solomon

Your turn to share your favorite books of 2010!

Peace, Love, and Good Reading

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

THE SING-OFF: AND THE WINNER IS...

I guess I didn't come right out and say it, but I knew from the first episode who would win season 2 of NBC's The Sing-Off. If you read my post an the first week of the show, you might have guessed who I wanted to win, too. So, I'll give my congrats now and give my take on the show a little later.

Congratulations to COMMITTED from Huntsville, AL! I've been a fan of theirs from the first downbeat I heard them sing. Their harmonies blend naturally and all of them sing great leads. They are all musically advanced and sensitive to each other, as well as to the song they're singing. Kudos to these six young men. I wish them all the best!

Tell me what you thought about the show.

Peace, Love, and Good Music

Friday, December 17, 2010

THE SING-OFF: SEASON 2 (part 2)

I'm gonna keep this one short, sweet, and to the point.

If you haven't been watching The Sing-Off, you've been missing out on some great music! This week's shows have been outstanding, to say the very least. It started out on Monday with six remaining groups and is now down to four (not three as it was originally intended). Although one of my favorite groups - Groove For Thought - was eliminated on Monday, the four who remain - The Backbeats, Street Corner Symphony, Committed, and Jerry Lawson & Talk of the Town - gave stellar performances on Wednesday. So stellar, in fact, that the judges couldn't bring themselves to cut either of them.

So, now it's up to you, America. Choose this day (or at least by Monday) whom you like the most and vote at http://www.nbc.com/sing-off/. As for me, I think I'm gonna have to vote for everyone (except The Backbeats; they've never been a favorite of mine. Don't get it twisted, though. They are quite talented and their rendition of "Landslide" by Fleetwood Mac was outstanding. I just haven't quite bought into them yet.)

For a different point of view, check out judge Ben Folds' comments here!

Peace, Love, and Good Music

Sunday, December 12, 2010

THE SING-OFF: SEASON 2

It's back with a vengeance! NBC's hit a cappella competition, The Sing-Off, has returned for it's second season and the competitors are even more fierce than the first season. The ten competing groups are all outstanding. I'm glad I'm not a judge because I would not like to send any of them home. However, if there is no one willing to to send them home the show might drag on forever, and (almost) all good things are only good in moderation.

So, I'll give you a brief opinion of the groups each week. Hopefully, these few posts will encourage you to take interest and share your opinions of the show. I have no affiliation with the show, but I do love a cappella music and am a proponent of seeing it flourish on a national level.

1. ELEVENTH HOUR - the sole high school group on the show. These kids have great energy, lots of personality, and the determination to not be looked down on because of their youth. Fun to hear and see that kind of focus from a young generation that generally has very little interest in anything besides video games, computers, and being self-absorbed. Unfortunately, they didn't make it past the second show, but I do think they have great things in store for their future if they stay with it.

2. ON THE ROCKS - 15 dudes from the University of Oregon (the college of which Acappella's own Zachary Wilson is a huge fan). These guys are a ton of fun to watch. I'm interested to see them get more serious and sensitive. They remind me a lot of the Beelzebubs from Season 1.

3. GROOVE FOR THOUGHT - our resident jazz ensemble. These guys have a warm sound, a great blend, and fantastic ears for tight harmonies. I guess it helps that the majority of them are music teachers. I really dig this group.

4. PITCH SLAPPED - the mixed ensemble from Berklee College of Music in Boston. They have a good look and a great energy, but their sound was a bit forced and not quite balanced from top to bottom. I expected to see them go a lot farther based on their pre-performance vignette, but they were eliminated the first night. I do, however, wish them all the success they can handle!

5. JERRY LAWSON & TALK OF THE TOWN - our resident a cappella legends. Jerry Lawson, formerly of The Persuasions, has teamed up with a group of veteran music-makers to create an unparallelled representation of our a cappella roots. The music these gentlemen make is the type of music on which I was raised. They remind me of a lot of the old church singing groups I listened to (and sometimes had the honor to sing with) as a kid. Mr. Lawson has a humility about him that reminds me a lot of my dad. This group is very special to my heart.

6. THE WHIFFENPOOFS - America's first collegiate a cappella ensemble. This group of Yale seniors have a rich choral sound that is quite lovely. They are quirky, fun, and surprisingly enjoyable to watch. Unfortunately, their stiffness and lack of versatility has cost them a spot on the show. They were eliminated on the second night, but I trust their tradition won't be eliminated for a very long time.

7. MEN OF NOTE - some young, talented singers. These guys are ambitious and energetic, to say the least. The unfortunate part is that their energy became nervous energy on the competition stage and they got a little ahead of themselves. This caused them to be a little rigid and not quite relaxed enough to continue in the competition. They were eliminated the first night. I believe, however, that they are not finished singing!

8. STREET CORNER SYMPHONY - our Nashville connection. I'm a little partial to these guys because they are from Nashville and a couple of them have some connection with Acappella Ministries. Jon and Mark McLemore are two of the six southern cats who just rip it up with righteous harmonies, fantastic leads, and rock-solid time. I'm hoping to see them for the remainder of the show!

9. THE BACKBEATS - our resident conglomoration. This group of twenty-somethings is a mash-up of several different groups from southern California (some of them were on season 1) who have come together to create a very solid ensemble. Their strongest element, in my opinion, is the emotional connection they make with their audience. They really know how to dive into the heart of a song. I'm wondering how this will affect them in more up-tempo music. Can't wait to find out.

10 . COMMITTED - quite possibly the next Take 6. This group of youngsters are from the same college as the members of one of my favorite groups ever, Take 6. There must be something in the water there because these kids are crazy good! Their arrangements are ridiculous, their blend is unreal, their soloists are just dumb, and their overall cohesiveness is out of this world!! As much as I love some of the other groups, these guys are my run-away favorites. I don't know if they can be beaten. I guess we'll find out soon. By the way, Committed is primarily a ministry-oriented group, which makes me dig them even more!

So, there ya have it. That's what I think about season 2 of The Sing-Off so far.

What do you think?

Peace, Love, and Good Music

Monday, November 15, 2010

LIFE LESSONS FROM DAD (Post # 300)

One month ago today Dad left this world to receive his reward. It's been a very difficult month, but it's given me more reason to reflect on the many things he taught me; Dad was such a great teacher (and the fact that I don't always get it right does not reflect the fact that he was such a great teacher). So, for my monumental 300th post, and in memory of Dad, I want to share my top ten list of the most important things he taught me. As was his custom, I'm going to back up every lesson with Scripture. I hope you get as much wisdom and insight from Dad as I have.

What else should I add to this list?

Peace, Love, and Dark Chocolate

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

LIFE IS LONG ENOUGH (by Max Lucado)

All the days planned for me were written in your book before I was one day old.

Psalm 139:16

No person lives one day more  or less than God intends. "All the days planned for me were written in your book before I was one day old."

But her days here were so few ...

His life was so brief ...

To us it seems that way. We speak of a short life, but compared to eternity, who has a long one? A person's days on earth may appear as a drop in the ocean. Your and mine may seem like a thimbleful. But compared to the Pacific of eternity, even the years of Methuselah filled no more than a glass. ...

In God's plan every life is long enough and every death is timely. And though you and I might wish for a longer life, God knows better.

Traveling Light

Peace, Love, and Dark Chocolate

Sunday, October 31, 2010

COPING MECHANISMS

One of the worst parts of this past few weeks is figuring out how to cope. I am blessed beyond blessed to have a wife and daughter who have been so supportive and caring as I grieve for Dad. Now it's my turn to be supportive and caring while we grieve for the baby. I feel honored to say I provide some sense of strength and comfort for my family, but it's really not me providing that. It's God working through me. Either way, I'm trying to figure out the best ways to get through a time like this.

So far, I have come up with reading (especially Scripture), prayer, talking with family and friends who have been through the same types of situations, listening to uplifting & comforting music, reading, prayer, spending time with good friends who come to visit, singing (which is tougher to do when your heart is mangled like mine), reading, prayer, watching good movies, writing, and reading ... and prayer. I'm seriously considering training for a marathon, too. Otherwise, that's all I got.

What coping mechanisms do you suggest?

Peace, Love, and Dark Chocolate

Thursday, October 28, 2010

REJOICE AND BE GLAD

B. C. Brannon, 91, of Borger, died Friday Oct. 15, 2010, in Amarillo.

Funeral services were held at 2 p.m. Wed. Oct. 20, 2010, at the Church of Christ at Borger. Burial was in the “Garden of Love” at Westlawn Cemetery under the direction of Minton/Chatwell Funeral Directors of Borger.

B. C. was born April 30, 1919, in Dodd City, to Isaac and Lizzie Brannon. He was the minister at Jim Hall St. Church of Christ. He was a retired airplane assembly mechanic. He was a longtime Borger resident. He was preceded in death by his parents, sons Ronald Williams, Earnest Earl, and James Henry, first wife Vera, and second wife Shirley.

He married Jonell Wilson Nov. 26, 1994, in Plainview.

He is survived by his wife Jonell of Borger, sons, Bobby Ray Brannon and Robert Brannon, both of Portland, OR, and Robin Charles Brannon of Edmond, OK; 12 stepchildren, brother L. J. Brannon of Childress, sisters, Verdele Jackson of Gainesville, TX and Adele Bates of Bonham, TX, 11 grandchildren, 36 step grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren.

To send condolences, sign the online guestbook at http://www.mintonchatwell.com/.

I have decided that October is my new least favorite month. Not only did we lose Dad, but we also found out today that we lost our baby. We are hurting, but we know that God is faithful and just - His ways are far higher than our ways, and His thoughts are far higher than our thoughts. His knows exactly what we need and what is best for us. He also knows how to comfort us in our time of greatest need.

Rejoice, Family, and be glad that Dad doesn't have to suffer anymore - ever again! - and that Baby never has to deal with this world, but gets to party with Dad, Mama, Ron, Ernie, Gram, and all the rest of those who have gone on before. Great is their reward!

Shalom

Sunday, September 19, 2010

WHAT I DID ON MY SUMMER VACATION: Part 3

We left Searcy the third time and headed back to Tennessee. It was a grewat opportunity to spend some quality time with the in-laws ... except for the fact that we were in preparation for ACAFEST, so I didn't get much face time with the fam for a little while. However, the end result was memorable and meaningful for me as well as the rest of the Aca-fellas. We were blessed to perform with Acappella Classic!


It was, to say the least, a fantastic experience. I learn so much every time I get a chance to sing with Acappella alumni. I feel like I grow as a musician and as a Christian when I'm around those guys. So, if you are an Acappella alumni and you're reading this, thank you for giving yourselves to God and His work. You are an inspiration to me!

After ACAFEST, we traveled to Houston and Lufkin, TX for a couple of concerts at a couple of amazing churches. I hope to write more about them later, but I really need to move forward before winter gets here!

Next up, Brasil!!!

Peace, Love, and Dark Chocolate

Friday, September 17, 2010

I LOVE YOU, MAMA


Shalom

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

WHAT I DID ON MY SUMMER VACATION: Part 2

Arkansas: The Natural State. I spent quite a bit of time in Arkansas this summer - more than usual, anyway. It was for a good reason, though. Acappella got to sing as part of Uplift at Harding University in Searcy, AR. Uplift is a three-week event in which three different groups of campers converge on the Harding campus for a week at a time to learn more about Jesus, grow in their faith, and fellowship with other high school and junior high kids from all over the place. Since we were allowed to perform all three weeks, we got to travel back and forth three times from Oklahoma.

We had just returned from Tennessee visiting my in-laws for Gabby's birthday (can you believe she's twelve now?!?!) and Gab decided to stay there with the fam while Steph and I spent the next three weeks in OK. Zac and Lacey George invited Steph and me to their parents' house in Arkansas for a couple days before the first Uplift concert. We got to spend some great bonding time with the George family, and I got to do something I hadn't done in about five years. I GOT TO PLAY DRUMS!!!
(here's a sample)

Anyway, we ended up doing the Uplift concerts and they were tons of fun! Maybe I'll get to talk about them in depth sometime. Until then, I guess you'll have to settle for boring stories about our boring travels. It's always boring!

Peace, Love, and Dark Chocolate

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

WHAT I DID ON MY SUMMER VACATION: Part 1

To say it's been a busy summer would likely contend for the "Most Understated Phrase of the Year" award.

It's been so busy, I haven't blogged for about three months.
It's been so busy, I haven't read any blogs for possibly more than three months.
It's been so busy, I forgot how to blog! (Okay, maybe that's a slight exaggeration.)

Either way, I've had a remarkable summer, to say the least. It all started with a trip to Kentucky that went horribly awry.

It was the first weekend of May. The Aca-fellas and I were scheduled to perform at a youth rally in Glasgow, KY that Saturday, then near Gulfport, MS the next day. As we drove toward Glasgow that Friday evening, the weather started getting pretty rough (cue the "Gilligan's Island" theme). Our plan was to drive to Jackson, TN, spend the night there, and go the final five-or-so hours to Glasgow the following morning. Well, we made it to Jackson, but not without some near misses.

As we got into Arkansas, we turned on the radio to hear whether we should be concerned about the weather or not. As it turned out, we should have been concerned. The weather man was talking about a tornado touching down and causing quite a bit of damage about an hour ahead of us. We decided to keep going. We figured if the tornado had already hit, it wouldn't come back there. A little while later, we found out there was a tornado touching down about an hour behind us. That's when we got a little nervous. We were surrounded by tornados!

By God's grace, we made it to a small motel in Jackson. It was raining pretty hard and steadily. The tornado sirens were going off ... all night long. People who know me know I don't sleep all that well on a regular basis. Heavy rain and sirens certainly didn't help matters much. The next morning we loaded up the van and started out of the parking lot. That's about as far as we got. We didn't realize how high the water in the parking lot was until we were wading through it from the van that had just been baptized (It was waist-deep.).  
video

After some phone calls and frustrations (and a ride on the back of a tow-truck ... inside the van), Wes got us up and running in a rental van. We made it to Glasgow about 30 minutes before we were to sing. Some of the guys had wet clothes. Some had really wet clothes. Either way, we got through the concert and loaded out when we found out that we wouldn't be going to Mississippi after all. A massive flood had struck Nashville - we had just driven through there a few hours before and were supposed to drive through there again - and we were stranded. Thanks to the kindness of Dale and Brenda Clark, we were put up for the night, worshiped with the Impact Church in Glasgow the next morning, and got on the road in the Clark's family vehicle on a northwestern route through Louisville, KY and St. Louis, MO on our way home. We made it home around 3:00 AM.

Looking back, it was only by the grace of God we made it anywhere that weekend. Interestingly enough, that was just the beginning of summer break!

How was your summer?

Next, more adventures in Arkansas.

Peace, Love, and Dark Chocolate

Friday, June 18, 2010

THIS MIGHT HURT...

I have been thinking about idolatry quite a bit lately and I'm noticing more and more what an idolater I am. I pray that God will help me overcome my idols and worship only Him. Check out this clip. You'll understand what I'm talking about.



Whom/what are you worshipping?

Peace, Love, and Dark Chocolate

Monday, May 24, 2010

I KNOW A YALE GRAD

Just a quick word of congratulations to my buddy, Eric Barry, who just graduated from Yale with a Master's degree in vocal performance. Eric and I went to little ol' WTAMU together and I had the privilege of singing with him on more than one occaision. Eric's a great guy and I wish him all the success he could ever hope for!

Congrats, Buddy! I'm proud of you!

Peace, Love, and Dark Chocolate

Sunday, May 23, 2010

WE ARE HOPEFUL

Most everyone is hopeful for something.
Some hope for health, some for wealth;
Some for family, some for sanity;
Some for life, some for death;

Some for love.

I'm hopeful for a new job. Not that I don't love my current job(s), but I'm in need of something more stable and consistent (mainly for my sanity). I have a great opportunity to work at a great place. The interview happens Monday at 1:00. I'm hopeful that it works out in a way that I can provide for my family by doing something I love to do.

There are some, however, who have no hope. One of my very favorite quotes is from Dr. Brent McCall who says, "The most dangerous man in the world is the man with no hope." I am hopeful that I will never be that man. If you are that man, I am praying for you to find hope. If you know that man, pray for him and help him find hope.

For what are you hopeful?

Peace, Love, and Dark Chocolate

Friday, May 21, 2010

AND I QUOTE...

"I appeal to you, dear brothers and sisters, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, to live in harmony with each other. Let there be no divisions in the church. Rather, be of one mind, united in thought and purpose."
1 Corinthians 1:10 - NLT

Peace, Love, and Dark Chocolate


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

PARENT-TEACHERS

Parents are teachers by default. We teach our children how to walk and talk, how to work and play, how to give and take. We also teach them our habits (good and bad), fears (healthy and unhealthy), and much of the intricacies that make us who we are. I don't know how many times I've heard the phrase, "You are your father's son," or "You are your mother's daughter." What we do as examples sticks a lot more than we realize sometimes. And sometimes we influence our kids in ways we didn't consider.

For example, the parent who won't allow their teenager to go on the school trip because they will be flying and the parent is afraid of flying. In the teen's mind, "Flying should be an awesome experience, but I won't know that until I'm out of this house." Then, once that teen is out of the house and on their own, they develop an intense fear of flying because they don't know what to expect and it just seems crazy that a machine that big can get up in the air and stay there and what if it crashes and we're all gonna die and...

On the other hand, we do teach our children good things. Let's say the same parents have always been very frugal and responsible with money, saving what needs to be saved, spending only what needs to be spent, investing enough to make the money work for them instead of them working for the money, and giving enough away to make a huge difference. The teen has always seen money treated this way and learns by watching Mom and Dad to follow suit. As a result, the teen grows up to be a responsible and generous adult who teaches his children to handle money the same way.

So, now it's time to take stock of the example we set.

What are you teaching your children?

Peace, Love, and Dark Chocolate

Thursday, May 13, 2010

I'VE BEEN BUSY

It's been a while since I've posted. I had some other stuff in the works, but I ended up scrapping it for the time being.
I've been busy.
I've been VERY busy.
I've been working ... A LOT!
I've been spending time with my beautiful girls.
I've been working on some Dave Ramsey personal finance stuff so I can take care of those beautiful girls (and myself) like I'm supposed to.
I've been working on life, trying to live the way I'm supposed to live.
I'm still working on it. I may never finish working on it.
I'll keep trying, though, because that's all I can do.

What have you been doing?

Peace, Love, and Dark Chocolate

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

TAKIN' CARE OF BUSINESS

I've not been posting much lately. I could blame it on a number of reasons, but the bottom line is that I've just not been as diligent with my blog as I have been with other facets of my life.

That's probably a really good thing!

I finished re-reading The Richest Man In Babylon yesterday and it's got me all motivated. If you haven't read that classic gem on finances, I implore you to go get it and read it right away! Proverbs spends a ton of time talking about gaining wisdom. There is a whole lot of wisdom to be gained from this book.

Everyone has something about themselves they want to make better. For me, two things: finances and punctuality. I've already started working on both issues.

Do you have anything you want to make better about your life?

Peace, Love, and Dark Chocolate

Monday, April 19, 2010

GREATEST MARRIAGE ADVICE EVER

When Steph and I got married, my dad gave us the greatest marriage advice ever:

"Be good to each other."
Dad was always known for making things easy to understand.

If we're being good to each other, we have no time or room to be un-good to each other. Now, don't you wish you had thought of that?!

What's the greatest marriage advice you've heard?

Peace, Love, and Dark Chocolate

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

COMFORTED OR COMFORTABLE?

This question has been rattling around in my mind for quite some time now:
Are we supposed to be comforted or comfortable?
Think about this question for a moment. When was the last time you went through something difficult? Loss of a loved one? Financial woes? Bad grade? Betrayal? If you prayed, did you pray for God to comfort you in your time of need, or did you pray for God to make you comfortable?

I know I tend to ask God to make me comfortable. When the money is tight I ask for him to put a job in my hands instead of asking him to help me be a better steward of the money and resources he has given me.
When I'm stressed out about not having enough time to get everything done I ask for him to give me a vacation instead of asking him to help me manage my precious time better.

See where I'm going with this? I would much rather be comfortable than comforted. That's on me, though. I cannot be entitled and spoiled and expect God to bless that type of attitude. Instead, I'm called to be like Jesus, who, even though he was God, thought nothing of himself, but served those around him (Phil. 2). If I learn to serve like Jesus did, and love like he does, then I won't ever think to ask to be comfortable because I'm busy being comforted by the "peace of God, which transcends all understanding" (Phil. 4:7).

So, what do you want to be - comforted or comfortable?

Peace, Love, and Dark Chocolate

Thursday, April 08, 2010

PROVERBS: WEEK 1

As I've been reading and studying Proverbs this week, I've noticed a distinctly unmissable message: Wisdom is the key! So far, Solomon, the person attributed with the majority of the authorship of Proverbs, has hammered on the topic of wisdom for eight chapters straight, with no sign of letting up any time soon.

Besides his admonition for the reader - to whom he speaks as a father to his son - to gain wisdom, he specifies some key areas in which to gain this wisdom. In chapter 2, he encourages wisdom pertaining to the importance of avoiding "the immoral woman." He returns to the topic in chapter 5, and again in chapter 7. If someone spends the majority of three chapters (out of eight) coming back to the same topic, I would think that that author is resolved to get his point across. Maybe he has personal experience and is trying his best to warn anyone who will listen to not follow his example. We are talking about Solomon, the wise king with 700 wives and 300 girlfriends. He probably knows a thing or two about this subject!

Solomon also speaks adamantly against the love (or worship) of money. He makes quick mention of it in Prov. 3:9-10, along with a few other places, but then spends all of chapter 6 expounding on the subject. I might add that the end of chapter 6 is a segue back into the immoral woman issue.

It seems to me that Solomon really wants us to spend time working on our hearts - weeding out the junk that blinds us from the wonders God has in store for those who live holy lives. This is huge! We have a great opportunity to example the way of life to which we've been called. It starts with seeking wisdom, getting our hearts in check, promoting fidelity in our marriages, and stewarding our finances in a way that pleases God.

There's more to the story. We'll dig deeper into it as the days and weeks go by. Your thoughts?

Peace, Love, and Dark Chocolate

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

OH, JOHNNY!

I've recently come to realize that I love Johnny Depp's movies. He is among my top five favorite actors (don't ask me to name my top five right now ... it changes too much). I just thought I'd mention that.

Any actor/actress you're really into right now?

Peace, Love, and Dark Chocolate

Sunday, April 04, 2010

I WANT (ANSWERS)

Everybody has dreams. Some folk don't share their dreams, some don't realize them, some don't even acknowledge them. Regardless, everyone dreams about something. Everyone wants something. For one it may be financial success, for another a happy home, for yet another a great adventure. Everyone wants something.

A while back, I posted this about what we want, but I never gave my answer for the proposed question. The time has come for me to answer my own question. (The question, for those of you who didn't read the other post, is this: What do you want?)

I want to love and serve my family the way they deserve to be loved and served.
I want to be a great example for my child(ren).
I want to be out of debt.
I want to sell our house in Tennessee.
I want to provide for my family.
I want to be financially stable.
I want to serve God without hesitation, reservation, or contemplation.
I want to go where ever He sends me and never question that decision.
I want to live regret-free.
I want to live excuse-free.
I want to not cringe when I hear my wife or my daughter start a statement with "I want..."
I want to have undeniable peace in my soul.
I want to wake up each morning, kiss my wife, hug my daughter, and thank God no matter what the day holds.
I want to be content.
I want to be free.
I want to go to heaven ... now!

The trip about this whole thing is that I can have everything I want and then some. As long as I seek the kingdom of God first, everything else will come along in its appointed time. So, I guess I should say that I want to worship God. Everything else is just details.

Peace, Love, and Dark Chocolate

ALIVE!

ROAD. DARK. STARS. SHADOWS. FOUR. SANDALS. Robes. Quiet. Suspense. Grove. Trees. Alone. Questions. Anguish. “Father!” Sweat. God. Man. God-Man. Prostrate. Blood. “NO!” “Yes.” Angels. Comfort.


Footsteps. Torches. Voices. Romans. Surprise. Swords. Kiss. Confusion. Betrayal. Fearful. Run! Bound. Wrists. Marching.

Courtyard. Priests. Lamps. Sanhedrin. Caiaphas. Sneer. Silk. Arrogance. Beard. Plotting. Barefoot. Rope. Calm. Shove. Kick. Annas. Indignant. Messiah? Trial. Nazarene. Confident. Question. Answer. Punch!

Peter. “Me?” Rooster. Thrice. Guilt.

Proceedings. Court. Rejection. Prosecute. Weary. Pale. Witnesses. Liars. Inconsistent. Silence. Stares. “Blasphemer!” Anger. Waiting. Bruised. Dirty. Fatigued. Guards. Spit. Blindfold. Mocking. Blows. Fire. Twilight.

Sunrise. Golden. Jerusalem. Temple. Passover. Lambs. Lamb. Worshipers. Priests. Messiah. Hearing. Fraud. Prisoner. Waiting. Standing. Shifting. Strategy. “Pilate!” Trap. Murmurs. Exit.

Stirring. Parade. Crowd. Swell. Romans. Pilate. Toga. Annoyed. Nervous. Officers. Tunics. Spears. Silence. “Charge?” “Blasphemy.” Indifference. Ignore. (Wife. Dream.) Worry. Interview. Lips. Pain. Determined. “King?” “Heaven.” “Truth.” “Truth?” Sarcasm. (Fear.) “Innocent!” Roar. Voices. “Galilean!” “Galilee?” “Herod!”

9:00 A.M. Marchers. Palace. Herod. Fox. Schemer. Paunchy. Crown. Cape. Scepter. Hall. Elegance. Silence. Manipulate. Useless. Vexed. Revile. Taunt. “King?” Robe. Theatrical. Cynical. Hateful. “Pilate!”

Marching. Uproar. Prisoner. Hushed. Pilate. “Innocent!” Bedlam. “Barabbas!” Riot. Despair. Christ. Bare. Rings. Wall. Back. Whip. Slash. Scourge. Tear. Bone. Moan. Flesh. Rhythm. Silence. Whip! Silence. Whip! Silence. Whip! Thorns. Stinging. Blind. Laughter. Jeering. Scepter. Slap. Governor. Distraught. (Almost.) Eyes. Jesus. Decision. Power. Freedom? Threats. Looks. Yelling. Weak. Basin. Water. Swayed. Compromise. Blood. Guilt.

Soldiers. Thieves. Crosspiece. Shoulder. Heavy. Beam. Heavy. Sun. Stagger. Incline. Houses. Shops. Faces. Mourners. Murmurs. Pilgrims. Women. Tumble. Cobblestone. Exhaustion. Gasping. Simon. Pathetic. Golgotha.

Skull. Calvary. Crosses. Execution. Death. Noon. Tears. Observers. Wails. Wine. Nude. Bruised. Swollen. Crossbeam. Sign. Ground. Nails. Pound. Pound. Pound. Pierced. Contorted. Thirst. Terrible. Grace. Writhing. Raised. Mounted. Hung. Suspended. Spasms. Heaving. Sarcasm. Sponge. Tears. Taunts. Forgiveness. Dice. Gambling. Darkness.

Absurdity.

Death. Life.

Pain. Peace.

Condemn. Promise.

Nowhere. Somewhere.

Him. Us.

“Father!” Robbers. Paradise. Wailing. Weeping. Stunned. “Mother.” Compassion. Darkness. “My God!” Afraid. Scapegoat. Wilderness. Vinegar. “Father.” Silence. Sigh. Death. Relief.

Earthquake. Cemetery. Tombs. Bodies. Mystery. Curtain. Spear. Blood. Water. Spices. Linen. Tomb. Fear. Waiting. Despair. Stone. Mary. Running. Maybe? Peter. John. Belief. Enlightenment. Truth. Mankind. Alive. Alive. Alive!

From No Wonder They Call Him the Savior
Copyright (Thomas Nelson, 2005) Max Lucado

Peace. Love. Dark Chocolate

Saturday, April 03, 2010

AROUND THE SUN

Today marks another trip around the sun for the most beautiful woman in my world! If you get a chance, take a moment to show her some love in my comment section (or you could go to her blog, but she hasn't been blogging all that much lately, so maybe here would be better? I dunno...).

If you hadn't noticed, I'm madly in love with this woman! She is absolutely gorgeous, totally intelligent, and completely sold out to Jesus! There is no other woman on the planet as amazing as my Roo-Baby ... and I don't care if I'm biased (it's my blog. I can be biased if I want to be!), I'm just speaking the truth!

Happy Birthday, Sweet Baby. I love you now!












Peace, Love, and Dark Chocolate

Thursday, April 01, 2010

WORDS OF WISDOM

The Purpose of Proverbs

 
1 These are the proverbs of Solomon, David’s son, king of Israel.
2 Their purpose is to teach people wisdom and discipline,
to help them understand the insights of the wise.
3 Their purpose is to teach people to live disciplined and successful lives,
to help them do what is right, just, and fair.
4 These proverbs will give insight to the simple,
knowledge and discernment to the young.
Prov. 1:1-4 (NLT)

I have been reading a chapter of Proverbs each day for the past month. I'm going to keep doing this throughout the year in addition to the rest of my reading, whatever that may be. I'm going to read from a different translation each month to keep things kinda fresh and new for me. So, I figure it might be good to share some of the things I learn from my daily readings. This will hold me accountable and give me some insight from other people (if anyone makes comments) about the Word of God and how it applies to our lives. I hope you'll join me on this journey.

Today, it's all about wisdom. The purpose of the Proverbs is to help the reader acquire wisdom. It gives constant encouragement for the reader to seek wisdom (Prov. 1:2). It speaks to us like a dad speaking to his son (Prov. 1:8-19). It calls out to us from the streets like a person trying to help their loved one find his way back home (Prov. 1:20-33).

The majority of the book was written by the wisest man in the world (besides Jesus, of course); he should know what he's talking about. The whole book is common sense stuff that we tend to forget.

So, today's thought is simple: seek wisdom in every way you possibly can. Don't wait. Start now!

Peace, Love, and Wisdom (and Dark Chocolate)
  

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

AND I QUOTE...

"Every other day, I’ll rev that sucker up to twelve miles an hour and do three five-minute intervals. Running at that speed for that duration doesn’t come naturally to anyone-it’s hideous, absolutely horrible. But by pushing past the pain, you become progressively tougher. You prove to yourself that pain is just that, pain. You can walk away from it afterward knowing that you surpassed a barrier that makes most humans curl into the fetal position and weep for Jesus."
- UFC fighter Forrest Griffin
via Daniel Wright, Biggest Loser Season 8













Peace, Love, and Dark Chocolate

Monday, March 29, 2010

TREASURE

I treasure my family.
I'm madly in love with my beautiful wife.
I'm amazed by my wonderful daughter.
I'm inspired by my hero of a dad.
I'm strengthened by my fabulous mom.
I'm given hope by my super siblings.
I'm encouraged by my incredible in-laws.
I'm entertained by my fantastic friends.
I'm unequivocally loved by my heavenly Father.

What more could I ever need?



Peace, Love, and Dark Chocolate

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I FORGOT WHAT I WAS GOING TO WRITE ABOUT


At one point today I had a really interesting topic to write about. Over the course of my busy day, though, I forgot what it was. I cannot, for the life of me, remember what I was going to write about. Sure, I might remember later on. It may take a few days, and I may forget that I had been thinking of it in the first place, but I'll probably get it back someday.

I mentioned it to my wife and she said, "You were gonna write about cuddling me."

Guess I have some cuddling to do. :) G'nite!

Don't you hate it when you forget what you were going to say?





Peace, Love, and Dark Chocolate

Monday, March 22, 2010

AND I QUOTE...


"Time is a great teacher, but unfortunately it kills all its pupils."

- Louis Hector Berlioz
19th century French composer



















 
Don't let your teacher get away from you without learning something great!

Peace, Love, and Dark Chocolate 

Sunday, March 21, 2010

AND WE'RE BACK!

I now deem Spring Break officially over! We had a great trip to Tennessee to visit friends and family, and to rehearse with the boys in preparation for our new and improved concert program, which debuts in less than a week. I hope to see some of you at an upcoming concert. Here's a short list of dates:

March

Tulsa, Oklahoma
Date: Saturday, March 27th, 2010
Time: 2:00 p.m. - 4:00p.m.
Location: Tulsa Fairgrounds (Central Park)
Event: Free Concert as a part of the Tulsa Workshop.
Contact: Shane Coffman (918) 520-6959

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 
Date: Sunday, March 28th, 2010
Time: 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Location: Oklahoma City Ford Center
Event: We will be performing the National Anthem at the Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Portland Trail Blazers NBA game (how cool is that?!)

April

North Richland Hills, Texas
Date: Saturday, April 10th, 2010
Time: 6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Location: Legacy Church of Christ
Event: Private concert for Oklahoma Christian University's North Texas Alumni Dinner Auction.

North Richland Hills, Texas
Date: Sunday, April 11th, 2010
Time: 5:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
Location: Legacy Church of Christ
Event: Free Concert
Contact: http://www.legacycoc.org/ or call (817) 485-6749

Albuquerque, New Mexico
Date: Friday, April 16th, 2010
Time: 7:00 p.m. - 9:00p.m.
Location: Riverside Church of Christ
Event: Free Concert
Contact: Kent Hall (505) 898-2627 or www.klajhall@aol.com
Amarillo, Texas
Date: Saturday, April 17th, 2010
Time: 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Location: Central Church of Christ
Event: Concert - Tickets $10.00 adults, $7.00 children under 10 Groups of 10 or more $7.00 each.
Contact: (806) 373-4389 or http://www.amarillocentral.org/

Garland, Texas
Date: Sunday, April 25th, 2010
Time: 6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Location: Saturn Road Church of Christ
Event: Free Concert
Contact: (972) 271-2444 or http://www.saturnroad.org/
May

Glasgow, Kentucky
Date: Saturday, May 1st, 2010
Time: 3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Location: Plaza Theater
Event: Free Concert for the IMPACT Youth Rally
Contact: Refuge Church of Christ (207) 678-4366
Picayune, Mississippi
Date: Sunday, May 2nd, 2010
Time: 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Location: First Baptist Church of Picayune
Event: Free Concert
Contact: Josh Spears (601) 337-0236

Kalamazoo, Michigan
Date: Friday, May 21st, 2010
Time: 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Location: TBA

Cincinnati, Ohio
Date: Saturday, May 22nd, 2010
Time: 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Location: Cincinnati Christian University
Event: Concert festival


Which concert will you attend?

Peace, Love, and Dark Chocolate