30 thoughts for 30, pt. 5

My birthday sign

I made it.  I made it to 30.  I never really doubted it, but I am glad to make it.  I know this is a few days late, but I am finally posting my final post in the series.  This post will also serve as a birthday wrap up since I had a pretty exciting birthday    I had such a fun day.  I ran 3.15 miles on my birthday morning before I went with Leah and our friend Ryan to eat at a restaurant called Elizabeth’s  It is a new favorite, and all you need to know is that they have praline bacon.  Everything else is good, but that is the best reason to go.

Leah and I shared their praline bacon and Bananas Foster stuffed french toast

Leah and I shared their praline bacon and Bananas Foster stuffed french toast.

After breakfast, Leah and I had to go to work until five.  Fortunately at my job, we celebrate birthdays well.  We had homemade fried rice and gumbo, and we had mint puppy chow and banana nut muffins.  After work, we went with some friends to eat downtown before our concert.  Overall, the day was really long, but a lot of fun.  I am so thankful for all the birthday wishes, food, and fellowship.  Thanks to my mom for sending me baby pictures and putting some on Facebook.  Thanks to the Mrs. for making the day so special.


Here are my final six thoughts…

  1. I miss the innocence of my childhood. I miss playing with my action figures and toy cars.  I miss being oblivious to world crises.  Now it is so easy to be discouraged by events taking place.  I really do miss that innocence.
  2. Some days I want to be an adult, and some days I don’t.  I like getting the perks of being an adult, and having a job.  I don’t like paying bills or dealing with conflict.  Some days being an adult is a lot of fun, and some days it is really hard.  I am thankful for those adults that have taught me what it means to be an adult.  I have learned a lot lately in how to handle conflict and interpersonal relationships.  It has been some of the hardest lessons to learn, but it has also been some of the most rewarding.
  3. Laziness is bad news.  Laziness ruins days and causes stress.  Some days I am very motivated, and some days I only want to be in bed and eat terrible food.  I am still learning how to overcome laziness, but hopefully I can learn soon enough.  I don’t want to push things off until the last minute any more.
  4. I love the places I have traveled too.  In our time in New Orleans, I have gotten to travel to some fun places.  Last year on my birthday I was in Toronto, ON, CA. for a school trip.  I had a lot of fun there, and I will always remember the pizza party we had while we watched The Empire Strikes Back on the TV.   The next month The Mrs. and I visited Los Angeles on another school trip.  I have also visited Western Canada, Alaska, and Seattle on mission trips.  I traveled up the New England coast while in high school.  I love traveling, and  hope to continue to visit new places for the rest of my life.
  5. There are so many other places I want to go.  My first thought is the Grand Canyon.  I really want to go visit out there.  I also want to visit the British Isles.   There is so much history there.  I could list many other places, but there is only limited space available.
  6. The hard things are what matter.  A coworker recently asked me why I would run a half-marathon if it hurt so much.  I let them know that it was worth the pain.  After I said that, I began to think about that.  It is the hard things that help develop stronger relationships.  It is the hard things that help athletes reach new levels.

This wraps up this series of 30 thoughts at 30, and I hope you had as much fun reading these thoughts as I did writing about them.  I would love you hear your thoughts on any of these subjects.

Where do you want to travel?

Where is your favorite place you have visited?


30 thoughts for 30, pt. 4

Well this week had moved along smashingly.  I can’t believe that tomorrow is my birthday.  It seems like the Mrs. and I have some fun things planned for tomorrow.  I’m pretty excited.  Today I am going to share some thoughts about entertainment/culture.   I don’t really know where this came from in all honesty.  I don’t consider myself an expert on social media or entertainment.  Maybe it came from a recent discussion we had in a class on the role of entertainment.  Maybe it came from loving to watch tv shows and movies.  Maybe it cam because most of the world is tied to social media.  Who knows, but here goes nothing…

  1. Things don’t matter.  I really think most people agree with this statement.  I like having nice things, and I hope to have the nice house, 2.5 kids, with the backyard and dog and all that stuff, but it won’t complete me.  The best way I know to say this is, I don’t want things to define who I am and my relationships with people.  I want to invest in people and things that will last longer than me or anyone else.
  2. I have a love/hate relationship with technology.  I love what it can do for me, but I hate being tied to it.  We all have gadgets, and a lot of people continually get new gadgets, but I think we realize that they don’t really mean anything.  I want to invest my time in people and meaningful things instead of having cool things.  Of course I say this while writing from my laptop with my iPhone sitting beside me.  I realize some of these things we need today, but I don’t want to be tied to them.
  3. I’m amazed at how TV characters have shaped my life. I really don’t know where to even start with this.  I grew up watching TV.  I love movies, and I am still trying to write a post about one of my characters of all time, Rocky Balboa.  Recently, there have been a couple of characters that I have been drawn to more than others.  One of my favorite shows is Parks & Rec.  Ron Swanson is a character that is 110% man.  Nick Offerman, the actor, does a great job playing his character.  He is very dry, and in a lot of ways, though not all, I like his outlook on life and politics.  He is just a great character for a hilarious TV show.  The other character is not on TV anymore, but you might remember Michael Scott.  A lot of times I felt like the writers of the show tried to put him in the worst, most awkward situation possible.  He acted like a five year old, most of the time.  He was crass often, but always funny and ridiculous.  He was often in over his head at his job, but he always loved his co-workers, except for Toby of course.  I felt like I could identify with him in a lot of situations where he had no clue what he was doing.  That is how I felt a lot of times when I worked at the church.  I loved the kids I worked with at the church, but I often felt like I was in way over my head.  There have been others, but these stick out the most right now.
  4. I love Psych.  Speaking of good characters, my favorite show is Psych.  This show is so funny.  The dialogue is so funny and fast paced.  The creators are very interactive with the fans through social media.  One of my favorite parts of the show is the development of the relationship between the main character, Shawn, and his dad, Henry.  At the very beginning of the show, they have been recently reunited.  It is a rocky relationship for a long time, but over the course of the show, both characters grow a lot.  If you have not seen it, go watch it today, or come over to the apartment and we will watch a couple of episodes.
  5. ‘Man or Muppet’ is one of my favorite movie songs ever.  In all honesty, I was struggling for the last few thoughts, so I was looking around my apartment for inspiration and came across our DVD of the Muppets.  The Mrs. and I loved the new movie and our favorite part of the movie is the song.  It is so funny, and I was so glad it won an Oscar for best song.
  6. Social media might take over the world.  Like I said, I was struggling for the last few points, but I am just amazed at how much social media has grown.  Just think, 10 years ago it barely existed.  Now it is a huge industry.  People get paid to play on Facebook and Twitter.  I wonder where it goes from here…

That was fun.  Tomorrow I wrap this puppy up.  It will be sharing some random thoughts on life.  Thanks for reading.

What do you think of social media?

Do you have a favorite TV show?

30 thoughts at 30, pt. 3

We all have them.  Crazy family stories that you either tell whenever you get together, or those secrets sworn to be hidden forever.  I love my family.  It is the family that God gave to me.  I have been truly blessed with a wonderful family that loves one another and get along great…most of the time at least.  I know that there are people that have bad family situations, and the mention of family brings up bad feelings and memories.  I hope this post does not seem pretentious.  I hurt for those people.  I am blessed with the family, and now as a husband, I want to be family to those people. Without further adieu, here are my thoughts on family.

  1. I love my wife.   I don’t want that to sound cliche or cheesy.  I really do love her.  I know that the Lord put us together for a reason.  When we started running together, I really liked her.  As I got to know her, I began to love her.  Now after almost five years of marriage, I love her more than I did on our wedding day.  If you know her, you know that we have a lot of fun together and laugh a lot.  I could say a lot about her, but I am so thankful for her, and so glad that God chose to put her in my life.  He knew what he was doing.  Our goal is to be married 100 years and be old together.  Only 95 more to go!
  2. I wish I had more time with family. Most of my family is in north Alabama and Georgia.  Leah’s parents are in Alabama, as well.  When we still lived in Alabama, we were only a couple hours away from my parents and her parents.  Now it is a multi-day commitment to visit either set of family members.  With our schedules, we don’t get to see them as much as we did in the past.  I hate that.  I really do.  I wish I could keep up with every single one of my family members because I care for each one of them.  I wish I could minister to each family member, personally.  God called us to New Orleans for a reason.  Leah and I know that and see confirmation of that almost everyday.  That means that we are not able to be there all of the time.  I have learned that prayer is the only way I can care for them sometimes.  It has taught me that I can’t care for everyone, and I know that only God can.
  3. It still blows my mind that we could have kids one day.  Yeah.  I really don’t know what else to say about that, but I am excited and scared about this possibility one day.
  4. The role of the family is an important one in today’s world.  I know the topic of marriage and family is a big issue right now, and I don’t want to dive into that here.  I do want to say that I believe God created the marriage relationship in a very specific way for reason.  I pray that Christian families and churches would live out the gospel and show the world that God has a plan for the family.
  5. Family members that aren’t blood.  Since I moved away from home, I have met some interesting people.  Some of those people are extremely talented, funny, intelligent, and some are weird.  Most people I either met in passing or knew superficially.  Then there were those of whom I developed a strong relationship.  But still there have been only a few guys that became family.  One of them I met at college when I didn’t really know anyone else.  We bonded over Jesus and football.  Eventually I lived with him before I got married, and then he would come and eat supper with us at least two nights a week.  We ran together, and we had a connection that was only something the Lord could create.  We would start one conversation, and then two days later we could pick right back up without any problem.  When I left my church in Alabama, I could not leave my youth group to just anybody.  I recommended him, and almost refused to let anyone else have a chance. There are others of course, but I don’t have all day, people.  I am thankful for those family members that are not blood related.
  6. I am thankful for my family.  I know I have said this over and over today, but I am thankful.  They have helped shape me into the person I am today.  I pray for them, and I ask you to pray for yours as well.

Tomorrow we are changing the subject once more, and I have no idea why I am talking about this subject.  Tomorrow I am talking about entertainment and culture.  I must be crazy, right?

Do you have any good family stories?

What should Leah and I do for our 5th anniversary?

30 thoughts at 30, pt. 2

I suppose I have been running for most of my life.  I think I started running not long after I started walking.  As I grew older, I began to play sports, which involve running.  I loved football the most, but I’m not very big.  In seventh grade, I went out for the track team, and I made it.  Of course by the  nature of our team, everyone made it.  I ran sprints because a mile was too long.  I was towards the back of the pack when we ran, but I loved it.  I finally got to travel to my first away meet towards the end of that year, and I was hooked.  In tenth grade, I quit football to run cross-country because that was where my friend were.  That is when I began running longer distances such as three, four, and five miles.  Lo and behold, my team one the state championship my first year, and I was hooked once more.  After high school, I didn’t run as much until a friend of mine told me about a friend who needed a running partner.  She happened to be really cute and fun.  Once again I was running again, and loving it for the time we spent together.  One morning on a run, I proposed and she laughed hysterically.  Eventually she said yes and we got married.  After we got married, I found a couple of other friends that wanted to run and we ran our first race a few months later.  Then we moved to New Orleans.  Throughout the past few years, I have tried to run consistently.  Finally something clicked, and last May I decided I would begin running.  I still don’t know exactly why it happened, but it happened this time.  I ran all summer and the Mrs. joined me.  In August we began training for our first half marathon.  In October we finished it.  I was hooked once again.  I love running.  I want others to love it as much as I do.  I am thankful to Jesus that he has given me the ability.  I want to run to please him.  Here are some thoughts on running…

  1. Running is a good friend I hope to keep for a lifetime.  The Mrs. and I often  go run at Audubon Park on Saturdays.  I love seeing the old men running.  You know the ones.  They are barely moving, knees barely bending but moving.  I always say that is my goal.  I want to be one of those guys one day.  I want to run for a lifetime.
  2. Running has brought many special moments in my life.  As previously mentioned, I have had some great running experiences in my life.  I cherish the friendships I made while running in high school and after.
  3. Running is simple.  You just go out the door and move faster than a walk.  One reason I love running so much is that anyone can do it.  You don’t need fancy, expensive shoes or technical gear, though I always encourage new runners to get fitted for shoes.  Running itself does not cost money.
  4. Running is complex.  I am learning more and more about running, and some of those fancy, expensive shoes do some neat things.  There is a ridiculous amount of gear that one can use now.  There are books and coaches that will teach you proper form.  There is the debate over how much should one stretch.  Is minimal or barefoot running better than traditional running shoes?  Some say yes, some say not really.  I say all this because, as complicated as it can seem, running is still putting one foot in front of the other.  The runner that has all the technical gear is no more of a runner than a new runner that knows nothing about the gear or technicalities.
  5. The encouragement from races is hard to duplicate.  I had heard people talk about all the encouragement from running big races.  When I ran the half marathon, I became emotional several times.  It was overwhelming that all of these people were out to accomplish this goal of crossing the finish line.  The first place person and the last place person were going for the same thing.  There is just a unity that brings these runners together.  Numerous obstacles were overcome by so many runners.  I wish I knew how to duplicate that atmosphere in other places.
  6. I want people to love running.  I said this before, but I do want people to love running.  I know not everyone will love it like I do, but I appreciate how it has shaped my life.  I want to be an encourager to new runners, and I want them to see how it can change their life.  I love running with new runners so that I can tell them about how good running has been for me.

There are other things I would like to say, but that would not be fair to my other lists now would it?  Maybe I will do a follow up on things I have learned from running one day. Ooh that is a good idea!  Look for that coming soon.

Now I want to go for a run.  See you outside.

Tomorrow we shift gears once again and I will talk about family, and what it means to me.

What are your thoughts on running?

Any fun memories or exciting moments?

30 thoughts at 30 pt. 1

I turn thirty this week.  It’s pretty exciting I guess.  I thought it would be fun to have a post about being thirty, and so here are thirty thoughts.  These are random thoughts divided into 5 categories.  Each day this week I will post six things, so on Friday, my thirtieth thought will be posted.  First up are some thoughts on faith.  I was raised in a Christian family, and when I was twelve I became a follower of Jesus.  My faith means a lot to me, and I have learned a lot since my college years.  I don’t write about it a lot because I don’t have these deep theological thoughts.  In all honesty, it is pretty intimidating putting these thoughts in writing.  I am learning, however, that my faith is very real and very practical.  With that said, here goes…


  1. God’s grace make less and less sense to me, but I am more and more grateful for it. The older I get the more I realize how God’s grace is applied in my life.  It is not a license to do what I want, but something that makes me more like Jesus.
  2. The gospel can shape our lives not just our eternity.  A lot of times, people think about salvation being for life after death, but it shapes our life everyday.  I am very thankful for a current mentor I have in my life because he leads his family in this way.  We talk about how it effects everything we do whether it is spending money or relating to other people.  Sometimes it is a tough conversation, but things worth doing are sometimes hard.  The gospel also reminds us that life is not about us.  It is about Jesus.
  3. I usually underestimate how great God is.  When I teach about characters in the Old Testament, one of the principles I always mention is the fact that they could look at their forefathers and see that God came through for them.  Because he came through for the forefathers, he would come through for them.  I like knowing that God will come through even if it looks differently than I think. Living in New Orleans has been really tough at times, but I can always look back and see his guidance.
  4. I’m thankful for the mentors in my life.  Since the end of high school, I have had people in my life that have taken the time and poured into me.  A lot of times it was through taking me to lunch or inviting me to visit someone in the hospital.  I will always cherish those times.  I want to be the person that gets to pour into people.  Without the lessons I have learned from these men and women, I don’t know where I would be, so thank you, Kirk, Josh, Chris, Eddy, Sherry, Mark, Dusty, Adam, Leah, Josh, Ben, Chad, and JB.  There are others, but you know who you are.
  5. I want to follow the rules. Despite all my talk about the gospel and having faith in Jesus, I still want to do things on my own.  I want to be good enough on my own.  That is why I need Jesus because I can never be good enough.  Following rules is not bad, but it should not be our goal.  I am learning this principle, but it is not easy.
  6. The role of church and state is a sticky situation. This last point is definitely different than the other points.  I am taking a church history class, and the roles of the church and government have been a touchy subject for a long time.  For a long time, the two were inseparable.  I think we need to consider the connection between the two very carefully.  As Christians, do we want to make our mark on the world by legislating moralism?  As a country, do we want government that can control our moralism?  Believe me, I may be missing the point on all of these things.  I am the furthest thing from an expert on either subject.  As a Christian, though, my mark should be made on the number of lives I impact with the gospel, and as a citizen, I want the government to be there to protect me but not involved in every part of my life.

Tomorrow we lighten the mood, and I talk about one of my oldest friends…running.

Mardi Gras Marathon Recap

Mardi Gras Half Recap.
For my first half marathon training I essentially started training seven months out.  Of course that was because I had not been running at all.  When I completed the half in October, I strongly considered running the full marathon, but I soon realized what a time commitment the training would be.  I started running again after Thanksgiving with hopes of running the half and finishing faster, but there was one big problem.  This was right in the middle of school finishing up, the holidays, friends leaving, us moving and much traveling.  So I was behind when January came around.  The Mrs. and I decided on a plan of slowly increasing our mileage as we got closer to the race.  We ran between two and five miles a couple of times a week, and we did long runs on the weekends.  This ended up be a good and bad strategy, but more on that later. We knew this plan would not allow us to PR, but we wanted to run for fun.
This was our biggest race to date and the first with an expo.  We had a great time with friends on Friday night, and then we went back on Saturday by ourselves.  Since Brooks was the main sponsor, they had a great setup in the store and I absolutely loved their Cavalcade of Curiosities.  We got to hear Kara Goucher speak on Saturday afternoon, and that was a lot of fun.
Finally race morning came.  We woke up around 4:45, and ate some breakfast.  About an hour later, our ride arrived, and we were off.  Because the start and finish line are in different parts of the city, our driver dropped us off, and we walked to the starting line.  We found our corral and waited.  And waited.  And waited.  From the time the race officially began and our corral left, we waited another 45 minutes, but eventually we got started.  The Mrs. and I really like to start races together, and since we were in such a big group of people, we stayed together for about the first two miles.
After that, I sped up a little bit, and ran the next six miles at a pretty good pace.  When I got to mile eight, I could tell that my training lacking.  I was starting to feel tired, so I walked a couple of blocks.  By that time we were back downtown, and I could hear bagpipes.  There is something about running between tall buildings to the sound of bagpipes that motivates me, and so I picked up my pace again.  When we made it to the French Quarter, Brooks had a huge blow-up arch over the road.  It was a guitar player and his legs were the arch.  It was hilarious.  That was the last time I enjoyed any part of the race other than the finish line.  As we neared Cafe Du Monde, the smells of the restaurants and the French Market were too much to take.  I started feeling sick.  At mile ten, we turned on the historic Esplanade Ave.  It is a beautiful street, but a terrible road.  It was so uneven and broken up, that I was worried I might fall in to a hole and never be heard from again.  The last three miles for me were pretty miserable, but it was during these miles that learned how emotional running can be.  I think I went through the gamut of emotions as I ran along this road.   At one point I swore never to run again.  I wanted to cry. I was mad at the road. Then I saw the finish.  I saw a family wearing all crimson, so with all I had I gave them a hearty Roll Tide, and sprinted to the finish line. I was ecstatic to see the finish line.
In the chute, I was greeted by some of the nicest people I have ever met.  They just kept handing me things.  Chocolate milk, water, Gatorade, protein bars, pretzels, bananas, blankets, and of course a shiny medal on a necklace of beads were there waiting on me.  Some people wanted to take my picture.  I felt so sick the whole time.  I just wanted to sit down, but there was no where to go.  Finally I found a spot at the end of the chute to sit and wait on the Mrs.
She called me when she finished and I went to her so we could have our picture made, and then we tried to find a way to leave.  We had made previous arrangements with a friend to pick us up so we could go eat.  We called him and started making our way to him slowly.  We both felt too sick to go eat, so we asked our friend to take us home.  I was so worried we would be sick all day, but after a shower and a nap we both were starving and everything was right in the world.
Interestingly, as I look back on our training plan for this race, the lack of miles definitely contributed our lack of preparedness, but I think it kept our legs fresher.  My legs felt just fine the next day at work.  It just felt like a tough workout the day before.  The worst part was my foot began hurting.  I have only ran twice since the race, but it is finally feeling better.
Overall, I loved the race and hope to do my first full marathon next year.  Any tips?

The Week Before the Race

On Sunday, Feb. 24, me and the Mrs. will run our biggest race, by far.  We are running the Mardi Gras Half-Marathon, which is around 20,000 runners strong.  This is absolutely crazy to us, because it has happened so fast.  For my half-marathon, I literally started from scratch in May.  I ran all summer to get my mileage up to where I could begin training for the half in August.  I have to confess running last summer and fall is one of my favorite things I have done in my life.  Maybe I will write more about it later.

I say all of that to say that every part of the preparation was organized and planned out.  For this race, however, I did not think I would run it until the beginning of the year, but I did not find out I would run until last week.  I had been running, but not with a training plan.  So now we are to the week before the race, and I the longest I have run is eight miles.  Tomorrow morning I am planning on running ten.

As excited about my first half as I was, I might be a little more excited to run this one because it means my first race was not a one and done situation.  Sometimes I think the second one is harder than the first.  I am also excited to see what it is like to run a race this big. And finally, I get to run parts of the city I have not run yet which is a goal for the year.

Have you run a half-marathon, or multiple half-marathons?

Which one was harder?