Look, I posted. Before February!

•November 20, 2015 • Leave a Comment

If you know me, you know that I absolutely love Fall and Winter. Once the year turns to months that end in ‘ber’ I get happy as … well, happy as a Stephen in Christmas time. And any time after Halloween I am in full gear Christmas mode. Decorations at work are at maximum, Christmas is on my speaker at my desk, and things are all around pretty dang festive.

I mention these things to remind myself that this is my happy season. I seek to remind myself because today had a terrible start. How, do you say? Well, firstly, I left the house without my morning cider. This may not seem like a big deal to you, but being able to start the day with a thermos full of crisp delicious cold-pressed cider starts each of my Fall work days off with a cheery note. Also, it is flipping delicious.

If that had been it, however, you would not see me here complaining. No, that is reserved for the fact that I am still trying to calm myself because… I drove off our driveway this morning. Have you SEEN our driveway? Somehow in my sleepy, non-cider stupor, I was backing up and i thought I needed to adjust so I turned the wheel the other way and BAM! right off the driveway.

This was definitely one fo the scariest moments in my life. I got out of the car, and looked, and thanks to God’s providence I went off about six inches after the point where I would have completely grounded out. There was a narrow strip of grass among this massive group of holes and by turning the wheel exactly I was able to back out of it without screwing up my car or getting stuck there.

I am very appreciative to God in His infinite mercy, but WOW I feel stupid and DOUBLE WOW that was terrifying. All I could see in my head was having to get some kinda weird AAA call out there to somehow dislodge my car. All of this is a LOT more terrifying if you have seen our driveway.

In any case, today needs to improve fast. Now, to cup of coffee #1. An hour too early, because no cider. Meh.

PS. Yes I know I messed the mega season up. But I am giving myself permission to be ok with that, as long as I start posting on the regular starting now.

Entry #2 – What is the 2015 Mega Season?

•September 10, 2015 • Leave a Comment

This entry is the second of the 2015 Mega Season, for September 2nd.

What is MegaSeason 2015? MegaSeason 2015 is me celebrating Fall, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas within the umbrella of a four month long Christmas celebration. Like I do every year, I will break down why this is and give a remixed (as in, different) angle based on my thoughts right now.


When I was young, my parents did not have much money. What we did have was Christmas spirit in spades. So, every year on September 1st my dad would bring all the Christmas movies and music out of the closets and we would begin a four month celebration!

This left an indelible mark on me as I grew up, and stuck with me. I will always love Christmas more than the average bear, and I will always celebrate it longer than most of you, maybe all of you. It’s not commercialism for me, it’s family and memory and all the best parts of my childhood, seasons of magic and wonder.

Remix: This is so true. I will not release this. I need it. It is a part of me. And yet, as my parents get older I feel like I am desperately trying to cling to the magic of my childhood. I need to do a better job to Be Here Now. To grasp the magic of THIS Christmas, of THIS Mega Season, and stop trying to recapture a memory.

Not Just Christmas

Let me be super clear here. I am not ignoring Thanksgiving, let alone Halloween. Far from it! I celebrate Fall heavily, my favorite web site being Dinosaur Dracula (warning: some adult language) and it’s yearly Halloween Countdown. I also love Thanksgiving and everything it stands for.

But lets get serious. The two rock stars in the building are Halloween and Christmas. For me, Halloween means the changing of the seasons, cool breezes and leaves changing colors, that smell in the air and the other birds starting to sing, all the magic that tells me that Summer’s last remnants are gone for good. The smells, the atmosphere, the fun food and yes even the scary stuff, I love it all. When I was a kid we were not allowed to celebrate Halloween, but as an adult I absolutely love it.

That being said, I cannot let go of my September start to my Christmas season, so I have re-dubbed this entire block of celebrations MegaSeason 2015. I celebrate Christmas as I always have, in stages, which still gives plenty of time for the celebration of Fall (and Halloween).

Remix: Every year I love Halloween and Fall more! Do yourself a favor and check out http://www.dinosaurdracula.com and fall in love with the magic of the season. Matt is awesome and makes September and October truly magical.

Next: We break down the phases of the Mega Season!

Entry #1 – The 2015 Mega Season

•September 10, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Well, friends, it is time for the 2015 Mega Season (Fall/Halloween/Thanksgiving/Christmas) and I am so excited! This is the first post , for September 1st, of the Mega Season, and I just have a few things to say.

July and August passed quicker than I could have hoped, and now I face Fall with an eager heart. This summer wasn’t even that bad, and for that I am so very thankful. I only swam once this summer, but that is ok. I am glad to see it go. Bye, Felicia!

So, I didn’t get to take a Summer vacation this year, what a bummer. Unfortunately, I got several sinus infections early in the year and so burned up all my vacation time. I won’t even get to take my Christmas vacation this year. True sad story. However, I will still maximum appreciate everything that is to come this Mega Season. LET’S GO!

Next: Mega-Season Explanation 2015 (remix)

Entries #18-28 – Eleven Seasonal Thoughts

•September 29, 2014 • Leave a Comment

This mega-post is going to be a bit of a conceit, because I am going to count both thoughts of the season and thoughts had during the season, which pretty much means whatever eleven things I want. Ahem. In any case, we catch back up again today and I feel good about it.

#18 – Post ideas

So, I am cheating even further and using this area to talk about ideas I have for future posts, as an insurance that I don’t forget. I want to talk to you about the new golden age of TV, the East Memphis Campus Launch (I think that will be my other post later today), Hallelujah Nights (a Halloween nostalgia post from church as a kid/teenager), the intricate dance of proper perspective, and others. I will do this.

#19 – Mornings Don’t Lie (Summer’s power is gone)

I know that it is warm this week. There will be some people (you know them, I know them) saying things like “What happened to fall?” or “where is your fall now?” to them, I only smile, because I wake up in the morning and know the truth. I drive home at night and know the truth.

Case in point, the other day it was 87 for a high. I left work, and in my heart lamented the warmth of a summer reaching back from beyond the grave. But then, the sun set, and as it did the gentle caress of Fall’s breeze returned. Friends, Fall is here. Stay strong on the warm days, for they will give way to cool nights. And soon, even the days themselves will hold no threat of sweat or discomfort. Sweater weather is on the way. Hallelujah!

#20 – Fantastic Fall Food Festivities

Friends, this is a banner year for seasonal food items. So many brands are doing a ‘Halloween’ version or a ‘Autumn’ version, and we need to get out there and snatch them up! I have been slacking in this regard, but this week I will hit up Target and Wal-Mart and THERE WILL BE BLOOD (colored things, most likely).

I again encourage you to embrace the season. I am a Christmas FIEND but this is the time to wrap yourself in the fall and truly wring every bit of festivity out of it! LETS DO THIS WITH FOOD. Text/IG/Snap me you and your Halloween/Autumnal food!

#21 – Bonfire

I have not been to a bonfire yet this year. Let us make this happen. Or lets at least get a fire pit going COME ON PEOPLE before it goes from cool > cold > freezing. I am still down for a bonfire in Winter but Fall bonfires are magical and irrevocably linked to my childhood.

#22 – Poem

as the crackling fire burns
and the wheel of time it turns
let us rejoice for fall is here
and all our hearts are full of cheer

soon enough will come the day
when all the leaves are gone away
and chilling wind will come to claim
a frosty winter of great fame

yet in the meantime we are glad
and joyful times are by all had
as autumn leaves begin to fall
majestic smells fill every hall

so if you are at all like me
these things your favorite to see
then let us grasp this season stronger
and pray it lasts us ever longer

a roaring flame, a peaceful smell,
a calling bird heard in the dell
and long remembered memories
as orange and red falls from the trees

#23 – 28 – Some random thoughts

Allow me to cheat once again, and just take these last six entries to just throw a thoughtstream at you. This is just me talking to you, do with it what you will. Go outside on one of these fall nights. Go out, just you, and stand there under the stars in the cool air. Really take a moment and breathe it in. Look up at the infinite majesty that God has painted across the universe. Think of both a) how small you are in the bigger picture, but more importantly B) how important you are to God in the bigger picture. He made all that, but loves you the most. Wow.

One of my not-so-secret magic moments is watching leaves fall from a tree. That moment when they surrender and float so gracefully down. That smell in the air. There is a serenity that goes with it, that I do not want to gild with a preachy moment. I will wait until the next paragraph for that. Big piles of leaves in my parents back yard. Running through them. Staying outside in the dark sitting in a chair, just… absorbing all the magic of fall.

Everything has a season. This is my favorite time of year, my megaseason, but let me get sermon-ey on you for a moment. Sometimes we have changed color and we have fulfilled our purpose in the past season, but we do not want to let go and fall to the ground so that our next season can begin. The cycle must occur, the hour has come, the sky is dark and the wind is cold, summer has left. We cannot try to hold on to the past season at the expense of the new one.

Apple cider. It’s that time of year! This deserves its own post, AND IT WILL GET IT, but I am going to mention it here. If you see Apple cider somewhere, NOT apple juice but real apple cider, you let me know! My current sources are Fresh Market and Kroger. I need to check out Whole Foods as well. Let a brother know if you find some amazing cider! Apple cider is my favorite drink of the fall. I need it! Also, Honeycrisp apples are in season I think. Dang those things are absolutely legendary.

Friends, let’s buy candy for the trick-or-treaters this year. Come on now. I remember trick-or- treating and it was the BEST when the people gave a darn. Smile at those kids, compliment their costumes, give them candy! If you are the decorating kind of person, put a little effort in! Kids love that stuff, and Halloween is about the kid in all of us. And food. And candy. Delicious candy.. mmm. Oh and another note. That leftover candy after Halloween. Don’t keep it all, because you will eat it. Srsly.

A final thought for this post… smile at people today. Encourage them. Fall is a magical time, and we make it more so.


Entries # 9-16 – Eight Reasons I Love Fall

•September 16, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Once again I have fallen massively behind, but wait! Yes, that is correct this is me actually blogging instead of disappearing until Thanksgiving with an apology post. I have decided to catch it up in this one post, and if I can do some bonus makeup posts I will. So, eight reasons why (this year, already) I am in love with Autumn all over again.

Reason #1: The weather! This could be every single reason right here, repeated over and over. I was right! I totally called a cool down in September way back in July and many disbelieved me. What do they have to say now? Standing outside at night has not felt this good since I was a young child. Amazing.

I have been driving to work with my windows down, that smell is in the air that signals the change of seasons, and I feel a certain festiveness in my heart. Yes!

Reason #2: Football is back! Yes! I cannot tell you how exciting it is to come out of the long miserable drought and be able to turn on the TV on Sunday afternoon and see RedZONE blasting out at you for seven hours. Ahhhhhh, refreshing.

Speaking of Football, we need to get some watch parties going soon, friends. Come on now! Football is more fun with snacks, friends, and yelling.

Reason #3: Fantasy Football is back! I can’t even tell you how bad I am at drafting in fantasy football. And yet, somehow I manage to do fairly well. Not great, but fairly well. I tell you what, I have fun though! I am 1-1 in both my leagues, so not a bad start.

Reason #4: Dinosaur Dracula’s Halloween Countdown! If you like Halloween, Nostalgia, and discovering hidden gems on the Internet, you need to go check it out. (warning: adult language) This site will get you in the Autumnal spirit, i guarantee!

Reason #5: The soft caress of autumn’s promise. I know, sounds ridiculous. But I went outside a couple nights ago, and the breeze was cool and carried with it the unmistakable scent of changing seasons. Summer’s reign is ending truly, and Fall comes with all the promise and magic of it’s splendor.

Reason #6: Fire pits! We have not done one yet but I am SO READY. Fire pits and hanging outside with friends are major parts of a well-grasped Autumn for me.

Reason #7: Leaves. They change color. They fall. They remind us that there is beauty not only in the sprouting of life but also in its change. That time and its relentless grind brings not only challenges but also majesty.

Reason #8: Are you kidding me? Come on… DOUBLE DIGITS TILL CHRISTMAS!! Oh you are so not ready for me to crank this up. It’s coming!

Entry #8 – A Passing Shadow

•September 9, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Friends, as we enter this mega season of warmth, love, thanksgiving, and hope, I would speak to you a truth. We may not agree on everything, we may not agree on hardly anything, but what I am about to tell you is not opinion, it is fact. If you act on this truth, I promise it will not only enhance your life, but it will bless others and you could transform a life.

Here is this truth, which I have bought with all my years so far on this earth: Listen, Love, Speak

All of these are predicated upon the deeper truth, which is that people are hurting. People you know, people you don’t know, people you think you know… they are hurting. They are fighting their own battles. God never intended us to fight our own battles, but we have become so inward-focused that we do not see the pain of those around us. And even when we do see, we find reasons not to collapse our comfort zone to extend a hand to them.

I beg you, I plead with you, this must stop. We are the Church! If you never listen to another word I say, listen to me today.

Listen to what people are saying. We speak all the time to people, asking things like “How are you?” “How’s it going?” and the truth of the matter is that we don’t really want to know. It has become a rhetorical question, which robs us of the connection that we all need. I am not saying that you have to have a sit down session with every single person, but we need to start caring about people.

Let me challenge you. Find someone that you have a feeling might be going through something or that you see a look on their face of pain, of something that strikes you as sorrow or loss or whatever… and reach out to them. Just the fact that you care enough to talk to them and really listen could change their day if not their lives.

And this refers exponentially to those you call your friends. We are intended to do life together. What use is a friendship that only celebrates the good times? We all need to do a better job of asking the right questions and truly listening for answers. And if someone is hurting, going through something, be a real friend and be there for them. You really do not know the impact that you could have by doing this.

Bear each others burdens. It isn’t easy and it isn’t comfortable, but we can enable each other to overcome the struggles of life and reach the heights that God has called us to by actually being there for each other.

Love people. One of the things I love the most about our church is that we reach out to the poor, that we feed the hungry and clothe the needy, that we truly are the church. What I would say to you today is that we need to do a better job of loving the people around us in our spheres, in our day-to-day lives.

Give each other grace. Extend mercy. Forgive wrongs. Laugh when they laugh, cry when they cry. Hug them. Love them without condition, without strings or pretense. People need love. This world has gotten so small with technology and communication, but people have never felt so alone.

LOVE more. Unconditionally. When in doubt, reach out to someone you think needs love. If you don’t think they ‘need’ it, give it to them anyway. There is no excuse for people who have been loved as Christ has loved us to be so stingy with it.

Speak to hearts and lives. This is just as important as the other two. If you see someone hurting, don’t just hug them and listen to them, encourage them. Tell them what the Word says, yes, absolutely, but also make it personal. Let them know that YOU care about them, that YOU love them, that YOU are there for them.

So many people are desperately starved for connection. We can be that to them. Don’t let someone else do it, YOU  do it. One of the most terrible and savage killers of the human soul is Depression. It festers in a life without authentic connection, and we CAN help. When you grab someone and tell them that you love them and they are awesome and that you are there for them, no matter what, and then you PROVE that with your actions, that makes a difference! It makes a difference, I promise it does.

And not just Depression, there are a host of other things people are dealing with that are sapping away their energy and their drive and their heart to pursue life and everything they can be. We can help them!

I know that many of you are already strong in these areas, I am just saying we can all do better. We must do better. We are the Church.

Let us Listen, let us Love, let us Speak encouragement to the broken. Only God can heal, but we are called to represent Him on this earth. It is on us, my friends.

It is on us…

Entry #7 – The End of Summer’s Reign

•September 9, 2014 • Leave a Comment

This is going to be short and sweet, because I am super behind on posts. I am super behind on posts because of crazy work stuff.  For me, Fall started September 1st so I have just been waiting on the weather to catch up. On the forecast are some 70s for highs and 50s for lows, and I could not be happier!

The first night of cool air is so very magical. It is transcendental. It washes away summer in one caress, and promises a season of enchantment to come. It does not matter if it warms up again for a few days… at this point, Summer has already lost. I am strongly considering breaking out the Fire pit!

I have spoken at length about the special ‘feel’ of a Fall night, and I predict this weekend we will have a few of them. Revel in it with me, friends. Let us greet Fall’s soft arrival with open arms and hearts.

I am going to see Alton Brown at the Orpheum later this Fall, and I am strongly considering going to see Penn & Teller as well. If I am going to do that, though, I need to get on it quickly!

I am also considering going to the Cooper Young Festival, as I have never been. Anyone want to fill me in on it?

Do you have any Fall plans yet?