Nashville TN

trying to forgive…

The Door Of Forgiveness

i’m always torn about how i feel when it comes to my childhood. i didn’t have a bad childhood but it was no sunny spring day when i look back. i’ve dealt with situations in my life that have scarred me for what I believe will be an eternity. no matter how often i say “i’m over it.” out loud, the truth is “i’m not over it.” i’m broken. broken into a million little pieces and i simply don’t know where to start putting it all back together.

i believe people on the outside believe i’m perfect and that my life has been easier than most. but that’s only due to not revealing a stained past. a past i still relive in my mind weekly. it haunts me and for the longest time i dreamt of having that part of me surgically removed. i simply find it astonishing how our mind and body allow us to relive past events as though they happened yesterday simply through a rush of emotions.

my father was an alcoholic when i was young. he was a bartender, a carpenter and a man with a sharp tongue. he knew all the right things to say and all the right moves to make. my mother was always in the medical field and she had a heart bigger than this world could bear to hold. she wanted to take on everyone else’s burdens and solve everyone else’s problems. not too say that she wasn’t a good mother because that would be far from the truth, but there was room for improvement, like most mothers, i presume. i honestly don’t know where to go with this because my story is so intricate and i’d hate to paint the wrong picture and give you the wrong introduction to my life.

all i wanted to say today is that the hurt i feel is crippling to the person that i can be.
crippling to the person that i want to be.
and crippling to the person that i will be.

is there really a way to overcome so much pain, so much anger, so much hurt that you can live a productive life? a life that won’t allow you to continue taking steps back every time those painful memories come flooding back in, filling every crevice of your mind. i don’t know. is there a separate Bible chapter for dealing with this kind of hurt? does it get better with time or do you simply suppress it every time it resurfaces?

why is walking through ‘the door of forgiveness’ such a daunting task?

a new perspective…

Silence and Chaosmany people seem to tackle the first of the year with this notion that everything is somehow going to be different but I can’ t help but wonder what different looked like at the end of the year. what percentage of these people with their new year’s resolutions and big prompts to change, are really changing?

i’m not sure how to approach this year. i don’t really believe in new year’s resolutions but i believe in changing your tactic or even your perspective to attain new results. it doesn’t have to be a long list that needs to be accomplished in three-hundred and sixty-five days but simply a shift in thought. going forward with this journey called life it is my desire to be more aggressive in my decision-making. i’m methodical and i like to think about details and look at an issue all angles but in the past this process often snow balled into an abyss of procrastination that has often gotten me into trouble.

if we could cut all the crap for a moment.

i don’t know what i want out of the future. i know that i don’t want to continue waking up and thinking about what i should be doing with my life. i don’t want to wonder if i’ve missed out on something by not making the right decisions or chasing the right opportunities. i know that i don’t want to judge people based upon their looks, personal characteristics or ideas. it is my desire to love without condition, to be more Christ-like with every move of my finger but it seems like i’m always falling short. if i can be honest for a moment sometimes i feel like Christians have it the hardest and i know it’s a lie but that’s how i feel.  all i want to do is serve my God and yet, here are all the stumbling blocks positioned in the perfect places for me to fall.

why can’t we say no to sin easier than it says yes to us? why won’t God simply take away my desire to do wrong in my heart and in my mind? why can’t i just simply live to love Him and love people without all of the in-between?

sometimes i feel as though after all the scriptures and all the sermons and all the words, i still feel lost in my faith and for me that’s a scary feeling. after all, we as men are the stewards, right? leading the flock and sheltering the lost? but what am i to do when i’m the one who feels lost, when i’m the one who needs the shelter? maybe i should simply say i want to grow deeper in my faith and with that will come all the answers to all the other questions or maybe i’m back here in two-thousand sixteen telling you about another year without a new perspective.

what does the “new year” mean to you?
what changes are you making?

the broken parts…

Silence and Chaos, Abandon, Brokenness, Beauty, Tennessee, Christian Bloggers, Christianity,, Life, God, Photography, Moody photographyIf we were going to all agree on something–I think it would be safe to say that we are all human. We are all full of flaws and have things about ourselves that we wish we could fix, that we wish could be different, like someone else. We would agree that there are pieces of us that we don’t want other people to see, our broken parts, our battered and neglected pieces that keep us afraid from letting in the light.

We find comfort in darkness and we take pleasure in people only being able to see the bits and pieces that allow us to appear as though we have it all together. From those dark places we judge and criticize others for not appearing as cool as we’d like to portray ourselves. I’m guilty of this  daily but are you willing to admit that you’re guilty of this too? I’m not here to convict you only to help you become aware of just how human you really are.

I grew up in a Christian family and somewhat Christian environment and I say that with hesitation, because looking back I see that there were so many things taking place that God would never stand for. I’m wiser now and have obtained more knowledge as to what the love of God is–and how he wants us to live for HIM, and what that should look like from day to day. This portrait reminds me of all that brokenness I  harbor inside of me, all of the fragments, torn bits and pieces that I try to hide from you on a weekly basis. Those pieces that I’m trying to reveal through this blog and by taking baby steps in my daily life.

I sit with coffee in my hand, or in silence in my car and sometimes I stare at the ceiling why I lie in bed and think of my life. I think of what it may look like to other people through my words, actions and behaviors and if that portrayal is true. And if I had to be honest, I’d say it probably doesn’t. Sometimes I want to break a plate on the ground, take a photo and post it to Instagram with the caption. “today, was a shitty day and i want a do over.” But I resist because cursing isn’t of my nature and my pastor says that bitter & sweet don’t come from the same place. But that doesn’t change the fact that the broken plate I didn’t photograph is still the way I felt.

I want to talk with God, you know, literally talk to God in a one on one setting. I want to inquire as to why I have so many broken parts? Why can’t I just be the person he wants me to be without the trial and error? How come I can’t refuse the urge to curse, be negative and cynical every time I feel overwhelmed? I want to know why I struggle with addiction? Why can’t my father and I have an authentic relationship? Why does my mother feel the need to lean on me for support when I feel as though I have nothing left to give? Why can’t marriage be like the Hallmark movies? Why are we so hard to satisfy as people? Why is good never good enough?

Maybe, you have some questions for God burning in your heart? I’d love to hear what they are and how are you currently dealing with the broken pieces of you?

The Well Coffee House (Nashville, TN)

The Well Coffee House is an awesome coffee shop located in the Green Hills area of Nashville, TN. Not only do they serve great coffee but every cup served assist in saving lives in the world around us. I can’ t give you the sum total of how Amazing this place is better than that of Rob Touchstone. Click Here. My wife and I love The Well’s ambiance. You would’ve never have guessed it was a Burger King with the beautiful construction done to it. The transformation has made for a place where the community can connect through coffee and the sharing of God’s Word.

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You can enjoy live music weekly at The Well featuring some of Nashville’s local talent. It’s also a great place to meet with friends for small groups or Bible study. The Green Hills area was definitely in need of a shop like The Well Coffee House and we’re glad they’re here. You can also grab pastries from The Foxy Baking Co. Score!20130317-105042.jpg

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The Well Coffee House

Sunday Tunes: Matt Kearney

What is there not to love about Mat Kearney’s music? It’s relate-able, it’s catchy and the man’s a fantastic story-teller. I’ve been a fan since a friend in high-school introduced me to him. When I heard the first songs Nothing Left to Lose, Crashing Down, Bullet, and What’s a Boy to Do. The rest is history and I’ve been an avid listener ever-since. Kearney originally from Eugene, Oregon now living in Nashville, TN found God during his partying days of college and realized there was no turning back to the depravity of yester-year. He began writing music with his friend Robert Marvin, who encouraged the move to Nashville, bringing us the indie-folk, hip-hop inspired genre that I’ve come to love today. I thoroughly enjoy the vivid imagery Mat creates using the least amount of words, proving the lyrics to be effective without stumbling over each other. Here’s an excerpt from Breathe In Breathe Out from the City of Black & White Album…

Breathe in
Breathe out
Tell me all of your doubts
Everybody bleeds this way
Just the same
Breathe in
Breathe out
Move on and break down
If everyone goes away
I will stay

If you are a fan of Mat Kearney, you might also enjoy some of my other favorite artists such as: Keane, The Fray, The Script & Jimmy Needham. Here are some song selections that I enjoy and I hope you do too.

All I have
Nothing Left to Lose
Breathe In Breathe Out
Ships in The Night
What’s a Boy to Do
Undeniable

Sunday Tunes: Natalie Grant

I grew up in a black Southern Baptist environment that gave me very little insight to the world of CCM. I knew of Michael W. Smith & Stephen Curtis Chapman to name a few, but Natalie Grant, I was totally in the dark. That was until I met my wife. And now I’m pretty sure that I’m a bigger fan than she is. She’s got such a power house voice that demands your attention.The thing I love the most about Grant’s music is the sincerity and authenticity behind the lyrics. There’s a handful of artists who can evoke emotion within me while listening to their music and Natalie is one of them. I can relate one of her songs to a moment in my life where I felt that way or I’ve thought that thought. I remember my wife putting in her Awaken album and I heard make me over, and the rest is history. All of her albums are what I call ‘listen through’ quality. That means you might have some favorites, but you can put the album in and just let it play because it’s that good. Here are some of my favorites! And if you enjoy these selections also check out some of my other favorite female CCM artists, Rachael Lampa, Nichole Nordeman & JJ Heller. Enjoy!

I will not be moved
Your Great Name: Song Story
Human
Our Hope Endures
Our Hope Endures: My Wife’s Cover
The Greatness of Our God
So Long

Sunday Tunes: Ben Rector

Today’s Sunday Tune selection is none other than Ben Rector. I say that as though you should know who he is and well you should. The man is a lyrical genius and his melodies in combo with his lyrics will leave you wanting more. I discovered the Tulsa, Oklahoma native while searching through Adele’s music on YouTube about three years ago and I have been a huge fan ever since. Rector’s writing feel good music for the whole family and suitable for any occasion. The artist is currently based in Nashville, TN and said to be touring with NeedtoBreathe this Spring.

I look to the day when the One Direction’s and Ke$has are put to the rest so the real talent like Ben can shine effortlessly. Today’s selection is When a heart breaks. My wife fell in love with this song because she said it described how she felt during her battle with Aplastic Anemia. If you want more info on the artist. Check it out here on Wikipedia and the website for tours, albums and more info.

My Ben Rector Faves
White Dress
Need You Tonight
Autumn