I Realized Why I Do This:

Why I write this blog. Why I (somewhat ashamedly) check and post to Facebook way more often than I probably should. Why I find myself constantly thinking of clever things to say on the Internet that will generate comments, thoughts, and (hopefully) laughs.Why I am the way I am.

To some extent, I chose my current self. I made decisions and life changes and statements that have made me the person I am today. I didn't get thrown naked into a river and ended up where it swept me.

I did have a paddle. I did have a boat.

I made those decisions both consciously and subconsciously, but they've led me here, no doubt.

And I am happy with who I am. It's easy to be me, honestly. I find it to be the easiest way to be, in fact. A lot of people would describe me as a guy who is pretty extreme about things, and I am happy with that. I like the extremes, both literally and figuratively. Physically and emotionally.

Anyway, all of that is to say that I understand why I am the way that I am, and why I do the things that I do. Why I made all those decisions that have led me to this point.

So here it is:

I desperately and wholeheartedly want to be known.

I want to be known. Known by you. The nameless reader. I want you to see me on the street and wave, because you know me.

I want you to know that:

I love the Grateful Dead.

My favorite drink is a vodka tonic.

I don't like dark beer.

I love Jesus, but not for the same reasons most people love him.

When I die, I want people to say things about me that will be accurate, not just blanket statements like "He was a great guy."

When I am down (which isn't often), I want people to know exactly what to say to me to cheer me up.

I want you to know what the look on my face is like when standing knee deep in the White River.

Guys, I've got nothing to hide. I literally write everything on here, vulnerability be damned. I want you to know what the real dude is like, behind the beard. Because I am good, and confident in it.

I want to be known by you, but my secondary hope is that I inspire you to allow yourself to be known by others as well.

What would our world look like if we all allowed ourselves to be fully known by all?

Would we continue to dabble in the things we hide from everyone?

What would be the point?

If everybody knew you deeply, and knew exactly what to say to you in your darkest moments - what issues would you really have?

I submit that it is not the life issues that are tough to deal with themselves, it is dealing with people while dealing with the tough life issues that makes things hard. But what if you had a perfect friend who knew you completely who was always there to say and do everything in such a complete and perfect way, so that it made everything okay?

Isn't there always something specific that someone could say or do that would make everything a little better? You might not always know what it is, but you feel like someone holds the keys to that, do you? Don't we? Why do we talk to people on darkened porches amidst beer and cigarettes, late at night, heads hung low, looking like shit, dealing with some major issue?

I think it's because we want that epiphany. We have a deep hope that our friend can and will say that one perfect thing that will lead to a major breakthrough for us, out of and through the darkness. We believe that stuff can and will happen.

But we must allow ourselves to be known.

Life & Lemons

The idea that you can make lemonade when life hands you lemons is total bullshit.In order to make lemonade, life has to also hand you water and hopefully sugar or some other kind of sweetener. And some kind of container to put it all in. You can't just make lemonade out of lemons only.

And furthermore, what's so bad about lemons? Why do you have to improvise at all? You've got lemons. Be happy with them. They are fruit.

Also. I need to clear something up.

A few days ago I wrote a post about bricks and hearts and people dying and sadness and all that. My friend Lauren disagreed and reminded me about the mercy of God on his kids, and how, essentially, he won't let you drag around a sack of bricks forever, constantly tugging at your heartstrings and bumming you out.

I think you're right Lauren. I shouldn't let things bum me out, especially before anything happens. Especially when I can't really do anything about it anyway.

Life is good, and I love every single second of it.

And I am not complaining.

Life didn't hand me lemons, it handed me glory.

Things are good.

Micaiah and I rearranged our bedroom yesterday in such a way that everything feels new in our house. The light is different, the feel is fresh. It's really weird that we've had our bed on the same wall for three years and it just seemed like the only way to set it up. But now we've moved it to another wall and it feels like an entirely new house. Strange.I like it though. It feels good.

Why does it feel good to have feelings of newness and new stuff?

Why is it so natural to get bored with the same stuff over time and inevitably want newness around you?

Regardless, it seems as though it is impossible to escape. No matter how much you want everything to remain the same, and enjoy everything to the same level that you did when you first got it, or just never get tired of anything or want anything new, you do. You will.

So the trick is to figure out new ways to look at the same old crap. Move your bed and suddenly you just moved into a new house. Use a different coffee mug. Rearrange your fridge. Wear a different hat. If you can get re-excited about the old stuff you once loved, to the point that it has unlimited potential to bring you satisfaction, you will never have to spend your money on anything new again (almost).

You have a limited amount of money, and you will never have any more than what you have at that moment, but you waste your money on bullshit and you never do anything that you really want to do.

Do the things that you like to do. Enjoy your life and the shit that you already have. Forget about the name brand clothes, the name brand food, and the name brand appliances. Life is enjoyed and experienced to the fullest through actions. So instead of buying stuff, do stuff.

When you are old are you going to tell your grandkids that you used to own a cashmere sweater, or that you've been to Iceland?

Beloved, These Are Perilous Times

Listening to Derek Webb again lately, although I still do not have his newest tunes. I am rocking She Must And Shall Go Free like it was brand new.He breaks me heart sometimes with his cutting voice. He just sounds like he is telling the truth, he is very open and readable.

Anyway, he (and Jesus) inspire me to do more, be better, live fuller, and change myself.

I have never read anything by John Piper, mostly because his writing is way inaccessible for me. I generally like Don Millers casual style more, but regardless, I know what Piper stands on and I agree with him (as far as I know). He is all about the thing called Christian Hedonism, which sounds bad, but I rather disagree. It's the idea that we can best glorify God by being fully happy in our everyday lives and experiences. He is most happy when we are truly happy. It makes sense too, especially if you have kids.

So with that in mind I am happy to say that for the last several years I have organized my life in an effort to be extremely happy with where I am and what I am doing. I'll not waste my time being discontented with this difficult world.

So what do I do?

I drive with the windows down

I sing, I jump, I laugh

I travel

I photograph

I love my wife

I love my kid

I wear Chacos

I sit on the porch

I do all these things on purpose. I don't accidentally find myself traveling somewhere awesome and think "Hey, this is great, who would have thought?" I know it will be good, I know I will like it, so I do it.

So here are my two questions:

1. What do you want to do?

2. Why aren't you doing it more?

The first question is very important, because you have to evaluate what you really want most, but the second question is the most crucial, because a lot of people probably know what they want to do, but most people never do any of it. I would bet that the answer to the second question, for most people, is money.

Well guess what.

You are never going to have enough money. No one ever has enough money, so just enjoy your life and forget about being on a tight budget. Have you ever gone hungry before? Ever died of starvation? No. You haven't. And you're not going to.