Your Rose Garden

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I watched you for what seemed like hours as you tended your rose garden. I never understood why you would want to have so many roses and why you would want to spend so much time out there. You would always say you loved the way the dirt smelled. You would spend countless summer days bent over the garden, sweat dripping from your brow, pulling the weeds and pruning the roses. You would come inside sweaty, dirty, and looking exhausted but you always had a smile on your face.

I don’t get it I would say. You would reply, what’s their to get. It’s my time to do what I love and it’s my time I spend all alone with God. You should hear the conversations we would have. I would always reply I don’t know if I want to and we would laugh.

Even in the dark cold days of winter you would get bundled up and go outside to walk the path through your garden. Talking to them, touching their dead branches. Of course, I didn’t get that either. Why on earth? You would always say that they aren’t dead. There is life inside of them. They are like a lot of people in this world. Walking dead but there is life in them. It’s up to us to bring that life out. Waiting patiently, for today they may appear dead but with tomorrow there is always hope.

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You are like that. You had a natural beauty that I was instantly attracted to but it was your inner beauty that would light up my heart. You could walk into a dark room and it would be like someone turned on the lights. It is the type of person you are.

Until one day you were taken from me. A teenager was texting and driving and ran into you. Neither of you survived. God needed his angel back and I had to pay the price. At your funeral the pastor recited your favorite bible verse, Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Forget you God. If this is your plan then I don’t want any part of it. I looked out the back window and saw your rose garden. In my grief, I ran outside and I pulled and broke and cut every rose bush. I screamed and hollered your name. I screamed at God.

Out of breath, cut, scratched, and bleeding from the thorns, I dropped to my knees and let my tears water the lifeless dirt.

Summer turned to winter and, like the days , my heart grew darker and colder. I didn’t know how to live without you. I didn’t want to live without you. God should’ve taken me with you. My pain was too much to bear.

I looked out the window and saw the bare garden. I finally understood what you meant. Even if they appeared dead, at least they were still there. Now there was nothing but bare dirt. I grieved more as I recalled that day I destroyed what you loved.

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As seasons go, winter turned to spring. We had an early spring this year. I looked out the window and could not believe my eyes. Somehow in the very back of the garden, barely visible from where I stood, a rose bush had survived and now had two roses blooming.

I ran outside as fast as I could. I had to touch them to see if they were real. As I did, I could swear I caught a faint scent of you. Then in the spring breeze I could swear I heard your laughter. I immediately dropped to my knees and grabbed a handful of dirt. It smelled so full of life.

In that moment, I felt my heart start to beat again.

I went out and bought as many rose bushes as I could find. There had to be at least a hundred of them and I was going to fix what I destroyed. I was going to fix your rose garden.

I labored for hours that first day. I went to bed exhausted, sore and smelling like dirt but I would wake up refreshed, ready to start again. I realized I could not do it on my own.

I looked at my phone, hesitant to dial their number. I dialed anyway. I called the teenagers parents and they came over to help. I think all of us healed a little bit that day.

I watched every day as your garden came back to life. I spent hours out there talking to you. I slowly learned to talk to God again.

Summer rolled around and I was still in the garden. Sweat rolling off every inch of my body but it was okay. I stood up to take a break and I swear I felt your hand touch mine. I closed my eyes remembering what your touch felt like. I looked down at my hand but yours was not there. I started to lift it up when a beautiful butterfly landed in my palm. Then a sliver of light fell right on it, giving it its own spotlight. I smiled, then the butterfly fluttered toward my face and touched my cheek, as if giving me a kiss. Then it flew to a nearby rose and I did something I hadn’t done in a long time.

I said your name out loud. Kim?

Then a summer breeze picked up and I swear I heard it carry your laughter. Tears fell down my face but I smiled.

In your rose garden I found life again. I found you again. I found God again.

I miss you every minute of every day but it was right there and then that I knew I would never be alone.

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Sometimes It’s More Than A Game

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What a great first weekend of college football. The Buckeyes looked like they might be better than last years team. You know, the team that had a record number of NFL draft picks.  It is early. We will see how how the rest of the season goes.
It was great to see the upsets. Houston beating Oklahoma. Texas A&M beating UCLA in overtime. Wisconsin beating LSU. Clemson almost losing to Auburn. Tennessee almost losing to Appalachian State. South Alabama beating Mississippi State. Western Michigan upsetting Northwestern. Richmond upsetting Virginia.

Texas upset Notre Dame on Sunday night. Texas was my first choice of schools to go to but out of state tuition was/is too expensive so I became a Buckeye instead.

Most of the SEC struggling to win or lost. Seven SEC teams losing in week 1.

Alabama  losing. Oh yeah, that was just a dream. They looked unbeatable , but they said that two years ago also.

All these great games, close games, upsets, etc…..

But sometimes it’s more than a game.

James Conner, star running back for Pittsburgh, coming back from Hodgkins Lymphona cancer.  He broke Tony Dorsett’s records that had stood for 38 years. He was invincible…until he wasn’t. He played in the first game in 2015 then was out the rest of the year battling for his life. You can read his story in his own words here :  http://www.theplayerstribune.com/james-conner-pittsburgh-college-football-cancer/

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photo credit : James Conner

Travis Rudolph, Florida State wide receiver,  was visiting a school and saw a boy eating alone. He sat down and joined him for lunch. The boy, Bo Paske, has autism and often eats lunch by himself. Travis says he didn’t think it was that big of a deal. We are all the same and one man can make a difference. You can read the full article here: http://mobile.nytimes.com/2016/09/02/us/photo-of-fsu-football-star-sitting-with-boy-eating-alone-at-florida-school-charms-internet.htmlnyskyz.com.

photo credit : Michael Halligan, Associated Press.

 

Sarah Hill, the wife of Weber State’s head coach Jay.  She was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma. Weber State football players, coaches, family and friends shaved their heads in support.  At the end of each practice they chant How strong are we? Strong like Sara. You can read the story here : http://www.sltrib.com/sports/4275503-155/weber-state-football-wildcats-rally-around

(Leah Hogsten  |  The Salt Lake Tribune)  Sara Hill hugs her daughter Allie, 5, after she and her husband, Weber State football coach Jay Hill, talked about her battle with Hodgkins lymphoma and how the Wildcat family has rallied around her and her husband at Stewart Stadium, Wednesday, August 24, 2016. Weber State football players, coaches and family and friends shaved their heads in support of her chemotherapy treatments.
photo credit Leah Hogsten , Salt Lake Tribune

 

The one that really brought a tear to my eye is Nebraska. On July 23rd, they lost their senior punter Sam Foltz in a car accident. Michigan State punter Mike Sadler also passed away in the accident. On Nebraska’s first punt of the game they only sent out 10 players, the punter didn’t go out. They took a delay of game which the opposing team, Fresno State, respectfully declined. Tell me you don’t get goose bumps watching this video. http://www.ncaa.com/news/football/article/2016-09-03/nebraska-football-honors-sam-foltz-lines-10-men-first-punt?cid=ncaafbsocial_fb_sf35087046

 

Lions by Skillet – 

Cheer You On by Jordan Feliz – 

We March On by Hillary Scott and The Scott Family – 

Beyond Me by TobyMac – 

It’s Alright by Stephen Marley – 

Artists Stand Up To Cancer – 

 

 

I’m an introvert

CAM00011I’m an introvert. I don’t talk much. As long as I can remember I have never talked that much. I think there are many things that have lead to this. I don’t like the sound of my voice. I remember being in a group of friends and telling a joke and no one laughed, then 5 minutes later someone else would say the same joke and everyone would laugh. I remember as I became older talking to a group of people and talking about a tragic world event and getting the response “yeah that was bad”. Then 30 minutes later a new person would enter the group and talk about the same subject and now it turns into an hour debate. Maybe I just don’t think I have anything important to say. So I learned to be quiet.

I wrote quite a bit to get my thoughts out only to think no one wants to read these either and trash them.  I would write poems, short stories, etc. with the thought that I should write a book someday. I remember being 5 years old and wanting to write a book when I got older. I also wanted to play professional baseball. I always loved music, almost all of it whether it be country, rock or pop. I didn’t really get into christian music until 2004, when I met my future wife. I have always been a lyrics type of guy though, songs that I could understand and connect to the lyrics and music rather than the beat. I could work out or run to a slow song just as well as a fast song. To me it’s all about taking my mind somewhere else.

As I have grown in my faith over the last two years one thing that has kept coming to mind  is Matthew 28:19 “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations..”   How can I, an introvert, make disciples?? That very day I started to read my devotional for that day and it said when Jesus began teaching, He did not spread the Good News by word alone. The blind received sight, the lame walked, and the dead were raised- all to communicate  beyond words what the Good News meant.  I took this as a sign that I can make disciples by more than the spoken word, which I always felt needed to be done. I can spread the word through my writing. At that time I also heard God say quit throwing away everything I give you to write.

I listened. And I started to write, and write.  Within a few weeks I had 15 songs that I had written. I had an amazing singer and now I needed to get someone to write music. It would come in God’s time. More on this at a later time.

Where am I going with this? I am not a music critic but my experience has taught me I know music. Every season of the Voice and American Idol I always can pick 2-3 out of the top 3. This year I picked Jax to win American Idol, with Clark 2nd and Nick 3rd when they went to top 24.  So I got the order wrong but still had top 3. On the Voice when they got to final 20 I picked Sawyer to win, Meaghan 2nd and Joshua 3rd, and that’s how they finished. In past seasons I have picked Cassadee Pope, I liked her from Hey Monday, and Danielle Bradbery to win but I do have to admit I did not pick Tessanne Chin to win, I had her at 4th that year. Any music companies out there want to hire someone to find new talent?

What do I hope to accomplish by writing this? I pray that through my story some non-believers will turn into believers. I pray that my songs and Lily Messer’s voice will touch some lives and make a difference in them. I pray that you will open your heart, your mind, and your ears to different music and listen to the songs I choose. I will have songs most people know, songs you’ve never heard, some old songs and some new songs. I hope that the music will connect with you like it has me. I hope to get some lesser known bands more of a fan base. One thing I have never understood about the music business is why some bands/singers became huge and others that are just as good never make it out of the coffee shops.

If you are a non-believer I pray you stick with my story, that some of the songs will speak to you and something will  change inside you. Trust me, I will have a lot of songs on here that are not Christian. I believe God has given these artists a talent to be heard also.

Enough writing for today. There are 5 songs that I want to showcase today to get started.

Dear Daughter by Halestorm- I have been a big fan of Halestorm since their first cd. I have 4 daughters so this song lyrically hit me and Lzzy Hale voice, what can I say.  

Fix Me by Icon For Hire- Even though they don’t want to be classified as a Christian band , the lyrics to this song very well could be. Positive lyrics with a beautiful voice.  

In My Room by Thousand Foot Krutch-  the entire tone of this song is beautiful.  

I Tried by We Are Harlot- I originally had another song here that I wanted to introduce but as God would have it, I needed it for a future post. This song is about trying, but sometimes it just doesn’t work. 

Hey Sally  by Aranda – this song connected with me the first time I heard it. No matter how much you mess up, I pray someone will always have faith in you and be there to help you through it all.  New cd Not The Same out in 2015. 

Lastly my church Westerville Christian Church is trying to raise $35k by June 15th,  2015  to send a container of food to a village in Zimbabwe that we sponsor. We did this 2.5 years ago and that container is now empty. If you would like to donate go to http://www.westerville-christian.org

Our first single should be out on itunes in next few weeks. Will update you when I know more. We are trying to raise 2K to get 5 song ep done. If you would like to donate pm me for details. For every $10 donation we will send you the cd when it is done.

Thank you for your support.