Sunday, September 30, 2007
Saturday, September 29, 2007
Last Saturday morning, I brought Macy & Mallory up on stage with me at Fusion. I started talking about Macy, telling the crowd what an awesome young girl she is. It is really easy for me to talk about Macy because she has so many admirable qualities. I told them that she was a little Amy Carmichael in the making. I have no doubt that Almighty God is going to do great things in and through Macy. Before I went on stage, I began to wonder what I would say about Mallory. She is such a cute and fun little thing, but I didn't have anything prepared to say. Then it hit me. As I was talking about Macy, I was saying so many really nice things and Mallory was listening and she just couldn't contain herself. She ran over to Macy and gave her the hugest hug. You see, Mallory loves her sissy so much that she doesn't even know what jealousy means. She heard Macy being praised and her first instinct was the opposite of mine - it was to celebrate her sister. I understood right then and there, on a stage in front of 2,000 people, that Mallory has been given a gift from God. She has the unique ability to love deeply. I can't tell you exactly what this will mean for little Mallory and her future, but I know that God has great plans for Mallory and anyone in her circle of influence will be greatly blessed by having Mallory in their life. Reflecting on this for the last week, I have felt compelled to ask God to keep developing this gift in Mallory. Those prayers have actually helped me to see where I need to grow and be more like my little Mallory so I can be more like Christ.
Friday, September 28, 2007
- Yesterday I went on a fundraising trip to Los Angeles. I wore black Crocs (and Brian still wore his brown tennis shoes).
- I brought three items with me while traveling - my PSP, video i Pod, and Searching For God Knows What by Donald Miller with an endorsement from faithful blog reader Dan on the back cover. I had left my backpack and semi cool gap bag at work - so I smushed these three items into my PSP bag. It is really small and convenient, but it looks kind of like a purse. So I strutted around LA with Brian and my man purse yesterday.
- I watched PTI in the airport and yelled aloud at the TV screen when Tony Kornheiser said that the Rockies 10 game winning streak (now 11 games) was no big deal.
Now if this isn't proof that my personality is back - then I just don't know what is...
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
The day before, Sunday morning, Robin and I walked into church and I felt pretty weird. We had already skipped "Big Church" and we were just going to our class. We were about to see some of our best friends, not to mention a ton of people who had just sacrificed lots of time and energy to volunteer the two nights before at Fusion. I should be ecstatic to see them, because the way they supported me was phenomenal, but I am not excited to see them. I really don't want to see anyone. I turned to Robin and said, "On no baby - there are so many humans here today. I don't want to see any humans." She chuckled because she knows exactly what is happening to me. We go to class and I have nothing to say. I am sick and have lost my voice, but that's not what I am talking about. I just have nothing to give.
I can't wait to write a post about Fusion - because it was such an amazing, God honoring event. So many incredible things happened that I want to tell you about. But that will come another day...
Lot's of people want to know how I feel after one of our events, but I'm not sure you really want to know. The truth is that I feel Depressed, Empty, and Broken. Every Mission Trip I have led or event I have planned and invested in has yielded these same feelings.
I am Depressed
I don't have my personality because a piece of me is gone. It's coming back, but its not here quite yet. Robin and I have been through this so many times before, but it's still difficult. These events take such a mental and physical toll that I get sick almost every time. Robin is amazing. She understands it because she has been through it herself. She keeps me going the week after the event. I am so thankful to have her. I don't know how Godly men make it without a women who loves Jesus with all her heart like Robin does. In fact, as I look around at the men that I know who really live for Christ - every single one of them has a wife that is sold out as well. I couldn't make it through the tough times with out Robin and her Godly strength. I love Robin!
The depression is hard to explain. Robin says it's kind of like an athlete who is at the end of their season. They have put so much into it and now it's over. I think she is right, but multiply it by 100 because with the event I am investing my very soul. I believe that Almighty God has called me to do this, so the investment goes so much deeper than mental and physical. I guess its just really difficult for me to go back to normal life immediately after the event. I want to see more change. I don't want life as it was before. I want to see more people wholehearted for Christ. So when the daily grind hits again, and people are able to return to life as normal - it hurts.
I am Empty
I don't have anything left to give. I want to give. I feel so selfish because so many give so selflessly to make Fusion happen and I owe so many so much. But I am done. I have nothing in the tank. I didn't even care to watch college football on Saturday - I'm just kind of existing. I'm tired, but its more than that. I'm sick, but its more than that. It's something spiritual. I should have nothing but joy over what God did at Fusion and that He let me play a small part, but I don't. My joy is gone, I am just empty.
I am Broken
The event helps me realize that I have absolutely nothing to offer. All my efforts and all of my plans are completely worthless unless God shows up. And if God shows up - nothing else matters. And the amazing thing is that God shows up every single time. He doesn't do it because of me or anyone else. He does it because of Him. He is just that good. He is just that worthy of our worship. I am broken, not because I have done something wrong. It's because I can do nothing right - apart from Christ. And the fact that Christ would use me - is just too much to handle. It breaks me. I can't believe it. I don't let myself believe it. Why would He use me? I don't know. I don't deserve it. I am broken.
It is an amazing thing to be a child of God. I don't fully understand the emotions that I go through after these events, but I embrace them. I know that they only last a few days. This post has actually taken me a few days to write and I think I'm already starting to get my personality back. I hope I haven't scared you. While these emotions are very raw and real, there is always a faith that supersedes them. I wish I could fully describe the union with Christ that I feel on the other side of the depression, emptiness, and brokenness. He is so good!
I just flat out love Jesus!
Friday, September 14, 2007
However (written with Stephen A Smith punctuation), this game was supposed to be different. I was driving on my birthday to Baton Rouge, Louisiana to watch the second ranked LSU Tigers play #7 Virginia Tech. The seven hour drive was going to be worth it because my nephew TC is a freshman quarterback on the team, plus his Mom - my sissy, would be at the game. To top it off, I was taking the trip with a great friend of mine - Steve Hayes. Seven hours in the car with Hayes is priceless because he is one of the funniest and Godliest guys I know - so I was pretty excited when Saturday morning hit and it was time to make the trek to Tiger Country.
The car ride was as expected with a mixture of humor, prayer, and Tiger talk. We had 11 Diet Mountain Dews in a cooler which kept the stops at a minimum. We pulled into Baton Rouge about four hours before game time and walked a mile or so to Tiger Stadium. I don't think I could ever do justice to the sights I saw. Now keep in mind that I have been to games at the greatest stadiums in the land. I've been to The Big House, Touchdown Jesus, Aggie Land, Folsom Field, The Coliseum, the Rose Bowl, The Orange Bowl, The Super Dome, the place where people are made of Corn, Sooner land, Floyd Casey Stadium (seeing if anyone is reading this list) and on and on... I have never seen anything quite like this...
First of all, these people know how to tailgate. There was food for miles and evidently more than 25,000 people kept on tailgating during the game with no intention of ever entering the stadium. They set up couches, BBQ pits, TV's with satellites, sound systems, and other amenities. And when we approached the P Mac (Pistol Pete Maravich Center), we were able to get up high and get a birds eye view of the more than 125,000 people hanging out a few hours before kick off. As we were on our perch, one of the cool things we saw was the way that the band gets the crowd into a frenzy. I have never quite understood the purpose of cheering before the game outside of the stadium when your team and the opposing team is inside the stadium warming up and cannot even hear you. But these folks have it down. The band marches down this curvey hill that leads to the football stadium playing a rhythmic drumline. The beat of the drums is motivating and even I am being caught up in it. I found myself yelling "Geaux Tigers" to no one in particular as my heart is beating louder and faster. Steve points out to me that from our view, which seemed to cover miles, you could not see one blade of grass or concrete - it was all purple and gold - wow! This was insane. Then the band held in formation for what seemed like 25 minutes hammering the same beat over and over. Every once in a while they would bob there heads in unison. I realized that they were faking us out. We were all waiting for them to bust out the famous tune, "Hold That Tiger," and they were stringing us along. No one was talking to anyone else, everyone was fixated on the band. All 125,000 plus were waiting...
The it happened - the band members heads popped up and they turned together to face the crowd and hit it - "Baaah Bah Bah Baah!" and everyone yelled "Geaux Tigers." I say yelled, it was more like an eruption. Here we were 2 hours now before kick off and the place was going bonkers. There was no way we could keep this up. Yes we - I am totally in it now!
The entire crowd then makes a mad dash to the gates to get inside and watch the Tigers warm up. It takes a few minutes to knife through the crowd, but Steve and I eventually make it to our seats. My sister Kristy is there and I am so pumped to get to experience this with her! She quickly points out #17 and my eyes become fixated on watching TC. Every little thing that he did made me giddy. He must have thrown 95 passes during warm ups and completed every single one. He was absolute money. And he was doing it in front of 92,600 admiring fans. What a rush! Watching him complete 45 yards passes to future NFL stars like Early Doucet and Brandon Lafell was well worth the trip. Happy Birthday Me! My expectations were met - I needed no more. Of course the other 92,599 didn't exactly feel the same - so the game had to go on. And wow did it ever.
LSU completely dominated in every facet even gaining 600 yards on what was thought of as the best defense in the nation. In fact, the LSU defense put on such a show that they just went ahead and assumed the title of best defense in the nation. I could go on about the game, because it was really fun to watch - but what really got me was the fans. They kept on going all game long. They have cheers that they do in unison that rival anything I have ever seen the Aggies do, but it happens with such a sense of spontaneity that causes you to join in. I acted like a complete fool for 3 1/2 hours with the rest of the 92,600 and loved every minute of it!
I can't wait to go back!
Tuesday, September 04, 2007
Fifteen years ago, Monday morning’s would have been horrible. I would have gone to school/work and some wise guy would have made a crack about my beloved Wolverines losing to who??? But today, I am absolutely content with my college football life. And I was actually able to enjoy App States big upset in the Big House. Here is why - I have discovered a profound truth over the last few years that I would like to share with you. When choosing your favorite college football team it is absolutely necessary that you diversify your portfolio. Case in point: the 2007 Michigan Wolverines. There was a time when the Wolverines were my favorite team and I lived and died with their success and failures. That time has passed…
I’ve had several events shape this conviction beginning with my Dad’s profession. Since Dad was a coach, we naturally had a few loyalties. We had Michigan, my birth place, Dad’s first college coaching job, and my first football love. We had the Colorado Buffaloes, where pops coached for fifteen years - during that time I think I really did bleed black and gold. We had Mizzou, his alma matter. We had his assistant coaches that went on to be head coaches at other schools. I had brothers go off to college and give me a sense of loyalty to schools like Ft Lewis, Washburn, and North Carolina – all three of those thanks to Mike. My nephew TC is a freshman on the LSU football team. Then of course, I had my own collegiate experience where I became a Baylor Bear for life.
This enormous puzzle would confuse most people, but I have embraced this schizophrenia and even created an approach that I believe I have perfected into a science. Today was not horrible, it was actually quite pleasant. When I walked in the office this morning and the guys began to gather to discuss the weekends events, I had a sense of superiority come over me as I awaited their question. And the question came, how was your weekend? Of course I knew that the question had nothing to do with family, church, or actual newsworthy events. They were asking about my portfolio. So I replied proudly, “4-2. Buffs won, LSU won, Baylor lost, Michigan lost, Oregon won and Rutgers won.”
“Rutgers?” someone questioned? “Yes, I decided last fall to add them to my portfolio because my brother said they were good. Besides I needed an East Coast team anyway.”
You see when choosing your portfolio you have several things to consider. First, your childhood loyalties, thus CU & Michigan. Then your alma matter, go Bears! Next you can add any additional family ties. This gets tricky for McCartney’s. Of course LSU rises to the top because of TC, but it is also bolstered by the assistant coach clause. Any coach that at one time coached under my Dad is a candidate to become one of my teams. We’ve had several assistant coaches through the years to choose from. I could add UCLA, Washington, Penn State and probably other’s I’m not thinking of. Don’t forget to add any of your spouse’s loyalties in here. Now you look at your region and add those teams – it’s always good to be a fan of the home town team (SMU). Finally, you get to add some wild cards, Oregon because we did a PK event there and I liked Eugene and Rutgers for the aforementioned reason. Now is where it gets tricky, the trimming of the portfolio. Here are a few rules to reflect on.
- It is illegal to choose more than one team per conference (unless they are in different divisions). Because of this I must choose between UCLA, Washington, and Oregon - only one of these has made OU cry - so I choose the Ducks. (By the way - Conference loyalty is way over rated, get with the new millennium!) Penn State was also eliminated because of this rule.
- You may not choose teams that are rivals.
- You may not choose teams from Florida.
- You should consider including teams from the major regions: West Coast, East Coast, Midwest.
- You can’t choose teams that your Dad decided not to coach, when everyone else thought he was going to go and coach them – sorry SMU.
I hope this helps you to better enjoy your fall.
Monday, September 03, 2007
2. Chocolate - not the food, but the song... by Snow Patrol. It has become as regular as a 7 Eleven cup of Fusion coffee in my daily routine.
3. College Football - I am so glad it has finally arrived. I could watch every night and the preacher helped my case yesterday by saying that Ecclesiastes shows us that everything is sacred... sorry Dan.
4. Facebook - I have taken the plunge and am in it full on. I am amazed at how much I get out of a computer software program. Love it.
5. My Three Girls - We have experienced a lot over the last three months - trips to DC, Disney and Colorado - all dazzelous (word made up by my daughters), but just being together is so much fun. The three day weekend has been just what the doctor ordered.