Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas...

And a happy new year...

Saturday, December 24, 2011

There are pictures of the beauty and grace of Christmas all throughout this story.

Allow their story to change your perspective and soak up your prayers tomorrow morning.

Friday, December 23, 2011

"Being rooted is the most marvelous thing of all: how the same thing is both a standing still and a moving. It is like using the standing still as if it were a wing for the heart to fly upward because of its stability in the Good."

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

"Where there is no love, let us put love. And so, by your power, draw love out."

Monday, December 19, 2011

This guy would be the best teacher in the world.
Not because he makes sense, but because he cares.
He loves everything. He literally might actually love everything. I don't get it. I don't understand him. But I feel his care for the world.
We don't have to understand each other. As a matter of fact, there is no chance that, in this world, we ever will.
But we do have to care about each other.
He is curious about the world and excited about life. So much so, that I watched this entire video.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

"Christ's twofold coming:
The one when he comes day after day to stir our consciences.
The other when we will have to give an account of everything we have done.
He comes to us now in order that his future coming might find us prepared."

Friday, December 16, 2011

"Now I'm going to..."
What if I said that in my mind before everything I said and did for one day?
How would stating the facts change the facts?
Could I do it?
What would I learn about me?

I'll let you know how it goes.
I'll be trying on Christmas day.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

I like it when I can connect a season with a specific memory or feeling.
It makes me more aware and observant in the season to follow.
That happened this past fall.
So what will winter bring?
Like Flannery says, "everything that rises must converge."
As leaves fell, I saw the best in people rise. And I'm very glad that one day there will be an eternal convergence.

Lauren and I went to the botanical gardens in Atlanta a few weeks ago and witnessed the beginning and ending of life. We were cold and shivering, and the gardens seemed to shiver along with us. Here are a few of the warmer sights.

The world I'm in and the world in me is falling.
This is happening around you and me all the time.
That's the world we sit on.
However, there can be so much beauty in the breakdown.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

"What have you done in the past five years that you love?"
-Casey Giessen

Write them down.
Then use those things as a guide for the next five.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Cynicism has never fixed anything.

Monday, December 12, 2011

I watched football turn into the gospel last night.

Sports analysts said they had never seen anything like it.
They were using words like "magical" and "unexplainable" and "redefining."
"There has never been a player like this in the history of the game."
"In my thirty years of being involved with this league, I have never seen anything like it."
Talk of completion percentage and quarterback ratings turned into talk about character and "something bigger than football."
I watched ten or twelve different commentators reference their "loss of words" as they tried to piece together how Tim Tebow and the Broncos could possibly come back to win another game.
"That just shouldn't have been able to happen. Time was running out. He'd gone 3 for 16 in the first three quarters. He isn't an efficient passer."
The rigid professionalism was gone from their voices and mannerism. Their gigantic neckties loosened for a few minutes as they became just as human as you and me. The script was gone.

They "just don't get how it happened."

And that is the best part.
Everyone is just a part of something bigger.
We all run out of explanations at some point.
We all realize we are finite and susceptible to unknowns.
Tim Tebow and the Broncos are showing us that the numbers and facts don't matter.
Perfect form only goes so far when things can "just happen."
I don't know if they knew it, but ESPN stopped covering football and started covering humanity.
Boomer and the boys were throwing all the statistics and traditions to the wind and saying, "We believe."
"Maybe there is a different way to win."
We all (even the guys on TV wearing fancy suits) have to admit that there is an unknown force out there that can make anything happen.
Some of us are just still wondering what to call it when we see it.

Packers vs. Broncos Super Bowl?

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Pray for one thing for one person for the rest of this year.

Who is your person?
What do you want most for them?
What are the motivations of your prayer?

"Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy."

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Paddling back to the house.

Friday, December 9, 2011

If the Bible was my only guide, what would my career look like?

I haven't been thinking about this for very long, but here are a few requirements I have found so far:
-loose the bonds of wickedness
-undo the straps of the yoke (the law)
-let the oppressed free
-break every burden
-share with the hungry
-bring the homeless into your house
-clothe the naked
-don't run from your fellow humanity's needs
-don't point the finger
-don't speak wickedness
-pour yourself out for the hungry
-satisfy the desires of the afflicted
-call the Sabbath a holy delight
-don't seek your own pleasures
-don't talk idly
-work hard so you can give more away
-rescue those who are being taken away to death
-it is better to be poor and have integrity
-be skillful in your work
-a stingy man will be poor
-it is best to be neither poor or rich
-speak for those who are silent
-defend the rights of the poor
-there is nothing better than to eat, drink, and enjoy your work in honor of God
-God has already done the work
-dreams can bring vanity
-always pay what you promise
-never loan with interest
-whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all you have
-bring justice to the fatherless
-allow yourself to be sent by God
-stand as a signal of the glory of God
-wait well
-opportunities build upon each other
-if you live for the love of pleasures you will lose your family
-say, "The Lord has redeemed."
-bring good news
-publish peace and salvation
-do not hold back and you will be spread abroad
-God's plans are different and higher

Thursday, December 8, 2011

"To love someone is not first of all to do things for them, but to reveal to them their beauty and value, to say to them through your attitude:
You are beautiful.
You are important.
I trust you.
You can trust yourself.
To love someone is to reveal to them their capacities for life; the light that is shining in them."

Monday, November 28, 2011

The sky was on fire and we were all driving right underneath it.

I almost missed another sunset last night.
This is obviously no iPhone camera but it at least scratches the surface of the view.
The city lights just couldn't keep up with the show that was going on just a few feet above them.

What if the stars were only revealed to us once every ten years?
What if total black was the norm of the night?
What if the same stars that drape over Athens and the Andes tonight just held back a little?
What if they were rare?

Can you imagine the world's reaction when they showed themselves?

It's always happening right above our heads.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

"God, thank you for all you have done for me."
I think this is a good thing to say.
It's Thanksgiving and the turkey is on the table and I'm just thanking God for blessing me.
I never want to stop saying that.

However, I also really want to stop saying it.

I listed out what I am thankful for.
They all had to do with me.
I am very thankful for myself.

My thankfulness is also a very illuminating look into my desires.
I am thanking him for all of the things I think about, which all have to do with me.
This can lead to some pretty selfish Thanksgivings.
Why don't I ever thank God for what he is doing for the other 7 billion people that he really cares about?
Why don't I rejoice in their victories?

There is a map of the world on my wall that I took from a National Geographic magazine.
Russia, Canada, China...they are quite large when compared to the amount of space that my home and heart takes up.
God is doing great things in many other places.
If all I am thankful for is what is happening to me then my Thanksgivings will always be too small and my rejoicing too reserved.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Latest design.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Paul and I went to hear some jazz at Churchill Grounds a couple weeks ago.
I scratched notes on a small piece of paper throughout.
Here are the ones I can read:

"You know I hear ya."
The players didn't start; they were just in.
Slow piano jam with closed eyes.
"Joel, you gotta remember that one, man," while pointing at his head.
Trumpet players laugh when song is finished.
Feel the ghosts and the notes.
They know they killed it.
Climbing a mountain.
I'm surrounded with freedom.
No patterns.
No cell phones.
Oriental guy taking pictures all night.
Carrot cake.
Cool hats rank the veterans.
An army of cool.
Light falling from candles on faces.
Why won't this culture die?
Loud curses in breaths solo breaks.
Kept playing when amp broke.
African drums strapped to floor.
All communication with no talking.
Players walk in off street blazing in right key.
Trumpet trio from bar stools in back blowing cold on my neck.
Couple sitting as close as possible.
She's in his lap.
Couple talking about breaking up.
Total silence during bass solo with a broken amp.
Wind blowing leaves outside in the yellow street.
Taking a swim.
Smell of alcohol.
Play to the room.
Play what you see.
Red walls, empty chairs, grooving souls.
Heads setting tempo...backward, forward, backward, forward.
God, we are all groaning.
What will they do next?
Question every listener must ask if they are being inspired.
Not playing for anyone but the foggy world behind their eyes.
Hands are an extension of the soul...crushing and smashing.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Relationship advice from John Mark McMillan:

"But love, it ain't like the chemicals, babe,
Cause the chemicals don't hang around.
Everybody's drilling for the fountain of youth,
But sometimes in these fountains they drown."

Are we building our relationships on the last kiss or the first one?

Monday, November 14, 2011

The old man is dead, but the bluebird still comes around. There he is right out this window looking in just to make sure it's really over. I wonder if he has done this every day since the man went higher than the sky. After all these years I figured that bird would have moved on. All the humans have. The feed isn't ever put out anymore and that workshop door hasn't done as much as made a creak to signal meal time. Well, it was a quick visit. He must have just swooped down to pay his respects. The old man is up beyond the birds now and has long forgotten them, but they are still down here remembering.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Perfect post for the perfect day.
Cheesy one-liner? Check.
I had to.

An old picture of Lauren that I just found.

Sunrise eyes.

Come on...are you serious?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

I'm singing "The River" by Garth Brooks in my head right now as I post these photos.

A few things I learned on this most recent paddle:
-Leave the music in your headphones low so you can still hear the paddles push the water.
-Hang the head end of your hammock a foot higher or your feet will be the only things falling asleep.
-It gets dark early this time of year...really early. Don't forget your flashlight next time.
-I'd rather have a sailboat than a speedboat. People on sailboats actually feel the water not just the waves.
-Islands are great camping spots for peace of mind. There are no big predators on them...right?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

We've heard people say that everything will work out for good.
Well, my friend Dean put it a different way the other day.

"The good will work you out."

What does it fully mean?
I'm still working on figuring that out.
But I like it.

Monday, November 7, 2011

"And I commend joy, for man has no good thing under the sun but to eat and drink and be joyful, for this will go with him in his toil through the days of his life that God has given him under the sun."

I guess it's pretty simple, really.
Eat. Drink. Be joyful.
I have been given a set amount of days and they are counting down.
These three things are all I can do with them.
These three things prove that every feeling, situation, outlook, response, and desire are just decisions.
Be joyful.
It will go with you.
You can take into every moment.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A Party Rockin Couple, Mario, Luigi, Wario, and Yoshi ran the town.

Life Lesson:
If your friends are going to get together for a Halloween party, you just have to go all out.
The thrift store will always come through for you.

Vests...unknown old lady.
Purple girl pants...dude who finally gave in and got some Levi's and cut off the swoop hairdo.

We Wopped and Wobbled so hard that it sent the Cuban Shuffle back to '01 where it belongs.
We represented Celine and LFO out of the land of karaoke and sent them into the realm of mythical memories where they deserve to be.
Yoshi, thanks for bringing the camera.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

So I looked down at my shoes today...

Watch your step.
"Sweet Legacy." I hope that's where my steps are taking me.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

"We need to quit...unless we are going to decide to be the best in the world."

Think about it.

Now, you get to define "best" and "world" however you want. And this isn't a competition or an ego trip. It's about commitment.
If you could be the best at five things, what would they be?

-Follower of Jesus (Once again, I know there's no such thing as a "best follower of Christ." I'm simply stating I want to give this every ounce of heart and effort.)

What could keep you and I from being the best:
-running out of resources (time and money)
-getting scared
-not being committed enough
-losing interest and settling
-focusing on the short term instead of long term
-just not having the talent

Here's the challenge...if you aren't willing to do what it takes to be the best in the world, just quit so you can refocus your resources where you are willing to do what it takes.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The best quote I've read in a long time:

"One purchases immortality through generosity; and, by giving the perishing things of the world, receives in exchange for these an eternal mansion in the heavens! Rush to this market, if you are wise, O rich man! If need be, sail around the whole world."

Sink this into me.

My generosity should be for those across the seas and across the table.
Do my friends think I'm generous?
I'm scared of the answer.

"God, teach me to rise by descending."

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

"Measure twice. Cut once."

There was a situation last night that would have needed some repair if I hadn't thought about this phrase. And it's always tougher to mend relationships than materials. Thanks for the advice. May I remember it more often.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Personalities perfectly pictured in pumpkin carving.

I want to be better at fully engaging in situations as I experience them.
That sounds weird and intense as I type it, but I just want to pay more attention.
I don't want things like seasons, holidays, good meals, and pumpkin patches to pass me by.
I guess I just mean that pumpkin carving and things of the like just help me.
They help me feel.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

"We should quit...unless we are going to become the best. What is the best? The most passionate."
"How are we going to reach people tonight?"
"All of this is pointless if we aren't telling people about Jesus."
"So be it if we 'lose opportunities.' If we aren't taking the gospel to people then we were never taking opportunities in the first place."
"What I once called physical blessings, I have seen become curses. I am no longer under the illusion."

Enthusiam comes from the two Greek words en and Theos.
Together they mean in God.
I sat across the living room from a couple of my best friends in the world today. They reminded me that as people who believe that Jesus is God and that he sacrificed himself for us, we should be the most passionate people in the world. I need those people to help me chase my passions.
What are my passions?
What am I chasing?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Rainy days can be beautiful.

By Lauren.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

"There are two ways to get enough: one is to continue to accumulate more and more. The other is to desire less."
-G.K. Chesterton

Monday, October 10, 2011

South Atlanta Bike Shop.
A non-profit that gets people rollin' in style.
And changes kids lives along the way.

The shop needed a paint job and a work bench.
I needed a refocus.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

"Bury us in wonder, Lord, and raise us to sing your praise. Through our lives and by our prayers your kingdom come!"

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A few things I've learned about the will of God as it applies to jobs from people smarter than me:

-If you read about David and Joseph in the Bible, you'll see that there was no magical reveal. They took advantage of the opportunities they had been given.
-God uses current opportunities to lead you to new opportunities. It connects!
-Therefore, be prepared to take full advantage of every opportunity.
-To hate your job is very American. Not many people have that luxury. Make sure you aren't being prideful.
-What is God's will for Zac's (insert your name here) career right now? Do what I am doing right now with my whole heart put into it. Colossians 3:23.
-God created me. His "thumbprint" is on me because of that creative process. Therefore, my desires and gifts point me towards what I should do like clues.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Youcef Nadarkhani is a Christian pastor in Iran who is being sentenced to death if he does not renounce his Christian faith.
I found out about this through reading one of my favorite blogs by a person I trust, and I feel the need to pass it on as well.

Go here to submit your appeal to his execution:

I'm in a stereotypical, American, overindulgent, coffee shop as I read about a man being persecuted for his faith.
Where are you?
Let's help.

If you don't know what to say...

"Your Excellency, the Ambassador of Iran,
I'm begging you from a place of comfort that you and I both enjoy. You and I sit in a state of freedom. We are allowed to love what we love and hate what we hate. I beg you to allow Pastor Nadarkhani what all three of us deserve. We are united, the three of us, in our humanity, and our humanity gives us the right to enjoy our freedom.
You can change things. I can change things. Pastor Nadarkhani can change things.
I am deeply concerned abou the latest developments in the case of Pastor Nadarkhani. I hope that the charges against him will be acquitted in accordance with Iranian and international law. Please pass this appeal as I pass an unconditional love to you and Pastor Nadarkhani.

Thank you so much for your time and consideration.
Zac Harrison"

Monday, October 3, 2011

"John Ferris invented the ferris wheel in 1946. His brother Teeter invented the totter."-Justin Warner

Ways to make the fair worth every penny (and nowadays we're talking a lot of pennies):

-Blast Ray Charles' "America The Beautiful" as you sit in traffic. It makes you, and the people around you, enjoy the 45 minutes of chaos upon entering the parking lot just a little bit more.
-Thank God for the miraculous parking space that has been left for you.
-Watch people. It's hilarious. Humans are insane. All of us.
-Only show your tickets if they ask. For five bucks a ride you are going to need every ticket you can keep.
-Embrace the funnel cake wholeheartedly. It tastes better when shared.
-Pay the dollar to see the tiny chicks and pigs. If you are not at the fair with a date, skip this. A bunch of dudes in a petting zoo is weird.
-Locate the camera before riding the Crazy Mouse. Time facial expressions accordingly.
-Ride the big swings. The small ones are just ok and cost the same.
-If you like pork and want to continue liking pork, don't go see the prize pigs.
-Remember, cotton candy costs 19 cents to make. Choose your purchases wisely. I'd hold out for the fried Oreos.
-There's something about the smell of the place that keeps you American. You need to go every few years. Yes, the rides are the same as the ones they've been dragging around since '85, but that's the magic of it all.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

-Shane Claiborne, Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, and Enuma Okoro

Buy this book.
Soak it up.
Share it.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

"God, do something about my friend who is looking for his connection to spirituality in all the wrong places? Do something about my impure thoughts and actions? Do something about those who go hungry? Do something about people who have no connection to family or community? God, do something about my career confusion? Do something about people losing their jobs? Do something about genocide? Do something about the salvation of that person I love?"

God's Response:
"I already did do something--I made you."

One of the best ways I've ever heard a prayer started is, "so let us pray, and let us become the answer to our prayers."

In no way am I trying to undermine the power and work of God in a life or moment. However, let's just think about how much he has already done and not use prayer as a substitute for action.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

"If" final stanza:

"If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings–nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much,
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And–which is more–you’ll be a Man, my son!"

Saturday, September 24, 2011

"If" stanza three:

"If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'"

Friday, September 23, 2011

"If" continued:

"If you can dream–and not make dreams your master,
If you can think–and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ‘em up with worn-out tools:"

Thursday, September 22, 2011

I need to have this rolling around in my head.
Let's go old school and memorize a stanza a day.

"If" by Rudyard Kipling

"If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you
But make allowance for their doubting too,
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:"

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat."
-Theodore Roosevelt

Sunday, September 11, 2011

2 Peter 3:9 laid it all out on the table for me in a new way today.
God's personal will for come to repentance.

Now, let's just assume something that is impossible to assume. Let's pretend I live 90 years. That seems like a pretty good run.
If I live 90 years I will die sometime in 2078.
According to 2 Peter, and I wholeheartedly believe him, before 2078 my main job is to come to repentance and help others do the same.

That only gives the feeling of "plenty of time" or "I'll begin that later" to you and me if we do two things:
-If we are ignorant of the fact that time disappears like a vapor. It is going away as you read this and surf on with your next mouse click.
-If we have small dreams. How many people do you want to help bring to repentance?

"Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy."

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The heavens are a tent for the sun.

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Captain and Lady Luck will never change. They're stuck in the Savannah waves holding tight to each other and to life. They are glued to the groove of each others souls. All they say is, "I'll never leave." You can always find them there when it's storming. "Dark clouds are good for dancing," they say. It's the beat you feel. It moves the feet. Houses bow to the screaming winds and the trees run away with the sands in hand, but those two hang on. Up on the waves and out with the tide, they hold on. Those two have never seen the past or the future. They are only there and they dig it. All they choose is each other. Maybe that night of dancing on the dock to the silence under the stars sent them waltzing into the deepest waters. There's no edge on it anymore and that's why they don't change. They don't see the lines that tell them the end is near and so it never will for them. They'll just cross eternity again and again.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The dinner table.
Do families still eat at these? I'm sure some do.
I will be forever thankful for those nights of "you can't get up from the table until you finish your milk and eat your peas."
It was more than milk and peas that I was digesting.
I was taking in love, patience, care, devotion, sacrifice, and commitment.

How would Now look different if Back Then would have looked different?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Happy Birthday, Mike.

The stuff I said about comradeship...I meant every word.
Now let's throw the pigskin as fall sneaks in and play the tunes with passion.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

There is always more to learn.
What am I not seeing?

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

"Everything can be taken away from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms--to chose one's attitude in any set of circumstances."
-Victor Frankyl, Nazi concentration camp prisoner and writer of Man's Search for Meaning

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

I played some music at the funeral of a great man today.
I didn't know him but the preacher said this about him so he must have been great:
"He loved his wife. His cooking always made people come to the table. He used things to love people. He never used people to love things."
Quite the life recap.

Monday, August 29, 2011

What am I doing?
I often stand leaning on the shower wall soaking up the warmth and the thoughts that both seem to either swirl down the drain or dry up after I step back into preparing for the day ahead.
However, two thoughts rained down on me that I don't want to let run away today.

First Thought:
How much water I waste taking 7-30 minute showers is really just as wasteful as my dad has been telling me since I was in the 8th grade. For some reason I pictured how much water was really dumping out of the shower head and now that I'm twenty-three years old it has finally sunk in. It really is ridiculous to stand in the same place half-asleep (sometimes more than half) for thirty minutes. This is me admitting I have a problem.

Second Thought:
My "small" and "insignificant" disobediences create habits. Habits create default settings in the brain. Having disobedience as a default setting scares the life out of me when I picture myself in times of crisis. Cliche for the day...every decision matters.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

"The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved."-Jack Kerouac

These girls are mad.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Deuteronomy 15.
What do you think about this idea?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Lodging.

The Pool.

The Leaders.

The Sundance Kids.

The Reason.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Off we went to the land of big skies.
It's the kind of place where the wind carries holidays and memories on its back.
The views declare there own prayers as you mumble from your humble perspective.
The heavens are a tent for the sun.
The open plains give space for the perfect laughs to bounce on for miles.
The phrase, "Isn't that crazy!" isn't crazy anymore.
"Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy," is a prayer prayed out of fear as the mountains bury you and the rivers silence you.
Shadows run up the mountainside as the sun says goodnight.
Thank you, God, for meeting us and for Psalm 43:3.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Is God defined by love or is love defined by God?

Sunday, August 7, 2011

I'm leaving for the wild for a few days.
The updates will cease for a week or so, but will return with some mountainous inspiration.
Now off to the top of the world; or at least as close as I can afford to get.

Let's all do one thing to make this week remarkable.
Then we'll share the stories.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

"The West"
By Lauren NeSmith.

Friday, August 5, 2011

By Lauren NeSmith.
She's the hottest artist in Athens.
The script is German for the meeting of suspension, invisibility, and reality.
This is one of her most recent prints.
Limited edition.
She would never sell her stuff so I've stolen it to sell it for her so I can ask her out on dates.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

It has taken too long, but what was once a sketch is now finished.
Well, almost finished.
It needs a little wood filler here and there and some stain to finish it off, but I just had to set some stuff on it to see if it would hold.

Monday, August 1, 2011

A day of mercy.
In a previous post I stated that I would be praying one simple prayer all day on July 30th.
We'll the 30th has come and gone so...

The band had our big break and got our first single played on the radio.
A family member was miraculously healed.
My car started working again.
I beat my record 5k pace.
And I found five dollars.

Actually none of those things happened.
So did my day of prayer work?
Was God more on my side because I was trying to be more on his?
Nothing really even changed, right?
Except I think I may have changed...a little.

Two moments where I saw something that I normally would have missed (isn't that all a miracle really is?):
The first happened when I was sitting under the umbrella on the dock in the rain with my grandparents after a swim. The bathing suits were on and our towels were wrapped around us so we wouldn't get wet. It was then that I thought to say the prayer again. In a way I've never felt before, I realized how frighteningly similar we all are. We are all so deeply connected in our need for mercy. My grandmother, myself, the family across the cove; we all sit in the exact same condition when you look at us in light of the prayer, "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy."
The second was on the backroad drive home that night. I was thinking about how crazy it's going to be to have kids. I'm going to have a kid someday? Most likely. Insane. Then I thought of the prayer again. I thought about how it applies to my not-yet-existing-on-the-planet kids. They need mercy like I have needed mercy. Then I started doing something I don't do enough. I started begging. I started begging for God to have mercy on my kids. They need you, God.

After the conversation in my head I looked over at Lauren staring out the truck window into the black and thought, "This prayer needs to stick around a while. Maybe I'l keep this thing going for more than one day." So it has stuck around and I hope it never leaves.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

"Nobody believes your excuses except for you."
-that person you wanted to invest in
-that book you wanted to write
-that weight you wanted to lose
-that habit you wanted to break
-that hobby you wanted to take up
-that waste of time you wanted to give up
-that relationship you wanted to fix
-that group you wanted to join
-that career you wanted to change
-that trip you wanted to go on
-that time you wanted to get out of bed

Moments of commitment and inspiration are rare. Use them to fuel you into action.

What really matters to you right now?
What will matter to you in five years?
One hundred?

Friday, July 29, 2011

"Embrace relational uncertainty. It's called romance.
Embrace spiritual uncertainty. It's called mystery.
Embrace occupational uncertainty. It's called destiny.
Embrace emotional uncertainty. It's called joy.
Embrace intellectual uncertainty. It's called revelation."
-Mark Batterson

You never know.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

"To try to keep love just for us is to kill it slowly. We are not made just for each other; we are called to a ministry of love to everyone we meet and in all we do."

Monday, July 25, 2011

We're trying to not eat out on dates for a month.
A few things we've learned:
-Goat cheese can cost a fortune if you don't watch out.
-Tortillas are more that just convenient handles. Buy the good kind and toast them in butter.
-Limes are key.
-Like Mom says, cleaning as you go makes it all easier.
-Always listen to Old Blue Eyes while cooking.
-Cooking together is more than just preparing food. We highly recommend it.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Things I was taught about "The Old Man and The Sea":

A man is not made for defeat.
A man does not depend on luck.
A man bears pain and hardship without complaint.
A man does not boast.
A man finds inspiration from others.
A man always goes down swinging.
A man's legacy comes from maintaining his integrity.

What if your "catch" doesn't bring you your long awaited success?
What if your purpose is to exhaust yourself for the sake of integrity?
What if your status, control, comfort, pocket, or reputation never grows?
Is integrity worth it?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Connect the physical and mental.

Maybe this will help me:
Face to the ground-"You are God and I am not."
On knees with arms lifted-"You are God and I am in awe."
Standing with hands raised-"You are God and I stand in hope."
Dancing-"You are God and I am foolish."

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

I realized something about a guy named Job that I read about today that I thought was interesting.
His initial response to difficulty wasn't the internal prayer. It was the external posture.
Maybe our physical actions do carry weight when we come before God.
It makes sense really. We are physical beings so our physical responses are always going to say something about what is going on on the inside.
Now, the phrase we've heard for years about "God looking at the heart" still remains ultimately true.
However, what if our hearts response and our physical response are more connected and synced that we think?

For example, Wambach's header to beat Brazil didn't result in reflective pondering. There were five of us in a living room raising the roof like it was 2002.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Another thought on fear:
"The alternative to fear is boredom."
"To be obsessed with the destination is to remove the focus from where you are."

Monday, July 18, 2011

John 4:18 says, "There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear."

Why do we love?
So we can be fearless.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Pick a day within the next month (for me it will be July 30th).
Pray the prayer, "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy," throughout the entire day.
The only goal of the day is to encounter God.

That is the only goal.
No plans, or learning, or revelation, or change, or growth, or studying, or fixing, or agendas.
For in the end, if those are the reasons for our longing for God, then even our commitment to Him is self-centered, is it not?

Friday, July 15, 2011

Recent discovery:

Don't spend money on possessions.
Spend it on experiences.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Fake it til you make it.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

"Psychiatrists posit that we're born with only two innate fears: the fear of falling and the fear of loud noises. That means every other fear is learned. And more importantly, that means every other fear can be unlearned." -Batterson

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A few things I've learned about writing so far:
(Many of these ideas were taken from Lamott, Hemingway, Faulkner, and Steinbeck)

-How would I describe it if I had never heard someone describe it before?
-Watch what happens today. What gave me excitement and why? Make the reader see it too and make him have the same feeling you had.
-Always try something that has never been done before or that others have tried and failed.
-Because there have been such great writers in the past, writers today are driven far out beyond where he can go. Out to where no one can help him.
-Only the human heart in conflict with itself seems worth writing about. The basis of all things is to be afraid.
-You own what happened to you.
-We rarely stop and pay attention. An author makes you stop and pay attention and that is a great gift.
-The reason you remember something is because it was meaningful to you. Find out why.
-Write what you see in a one inch picture frame. One memory, one scene, one exchange.
-Take out everything you possibly can.
-Start with your childhood and write down everything you remember. Kindergarten, lunch table, smells, old pictures, Boy Scouts, holidays, birthday candles, Grandparents, houses...fill up a book of memories.
-Pay attention to the way great writers write.
-It's not like you don't have a choice, because you do--you can either write or kill yourself.
-Don't be tidy. Tidiness suggests that something is as good as it's going to get. Be naked and immediate.
-Use up lots of paper. Just scribble away.
-Write about the little things that everyone identifies with but thinks no one else notices.
-Sit down to write at same time every day.
-Keep a stack of your ten favorite books by your bed for inspiration.

Monday, July 11, 2011

"Sometimes God won't intervene until something is humanly impossible."
Don't let all of your prayers be focused on asking God to reduce the odds.
Maybe the odds stacking up is exactly what He is waiting on.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

"How much happier would you be, how much more of you would there be, if the hammer of a higher God could smash your small cosmos?"

One of the greatest tragedies in life is to have a god that gets smaller as each day passes by.
Practicality will draw you further and further into yourself until one day you look around and see wood on all sides and hear dirt settling in on top.
I hope God will keep me fearful because the best of all things is to be afraid.
That way I won't be living just because I woke up, but I'll have to run.
It is when we are afraid that we are most desperate, and when we are most desperate we are most alive.

I never want someone to say, "He used to be desperate."

Saturday, July 9, 2011

The problem with the question, "what is God's will for my life?" is the "my life" part.
What is "my life" really?

The question should be, "what is God's will?" and my little life should fit into that.
The funny thing is it's a good bit easier to find clarity with this question.

Friday, July 8, 2011

One of the best decisions I've ever made:

Meeting regularly with a mentor.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Preach yourself the gospel every day.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

It all comes down to this.

The key to turning ideas into actions...simplicity.
I need to break things down.
Here's a break down that helps me.

All I have to serve God with on this planet:
-my mind
-my mouth
-my eyes
-my hands

Am I?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


Monday, July 4, 2011

Death...just a "sudden clearing of the eyes."

Sunday, July 3, 2011

I have nothing to fall back on.
This is obvious and I am so thankful.

Christ's courage is all that is actually mine.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

"Most successful young people don't look inside themselves and then plan a life. They look outside and find a problem, which summons their life."-David Brooks
Pilate was merciful till it became risky.

I'm so close to being just like him.

Friday, July 1, 2011

"Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point."
-C.S. Lewis

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Goal for the summer:

Allow beautiful things to blow the whole structure of the world out of my mind. Sunsets and sunrises, laughter and bird chirping, rock n' roll and fireworks, her smile and night swimming...these things are what really make sense. They should dethrone bills to be paid and ladder climbing.

Comfort and prosperity are the easiest ways for numbness to knit my soul to the world.

Monday, June 27, 2011

If you're looking for the answer to a problem to be your fulfillment then you'll never receive the answer. You can't see right when you're in that mental state.

If you look for God to be your fulfillment in the midst of the problem then you'll find what you were looking for. He wants to be what He was meant to be...the answer. Then the answer may come along as it was meant to be...a blessing.
Whether it's a vital soulmate, a new girlfriend, a reconnection after years, or the fifth conversation of the are a few things I've learned about talking on the phone.

1) Tell stories. Give details. The "what did you do today?" question can either be the beginning of boredom or the source of sharing life with the other person. Lean towards story telling, not the rundown of the schedule.
2) Plan ahead. Whether it's business or pleasure, respect the person's quality of time by thinking through the topics of discussion in your head before you call.
3) Ask good questions. "What's up?" is ok. "How are you feeling now that your project is finished?" shows that you remember what's going on in their life and that you don't always just think about your own.
4) You can call them back. There are times when you have to take a call. However, there aren't as many as you might think. Respect the person you set up lunch with, ran into at the mall, and, for heaven's sake, the cashier by calling what's-his-name back in ten minutes when you can actually focus on one conversation at a time.
5) Texts are efficient and cowardly. They are great for sharing information letting your girlfriend or wife know you're thinking about her as you run in and out of meetings or jump on the plane. However, never try to get a girlfriend or wife by using a text.
6) Send them pictures of things you know they would be interested in. Cameras are on phones now. Use them. Wisely. Tip to remember...Your girlfriend wants to know you're thinking about her. Your bros...not so much.
7) Tone is everything. "Hello" can say anything from "you're an inconvenience right now" to "yo dude you're the man" to "make it quick or I'm going to get mad for no reason" to "hey baby girl I'm your biggest fan." Know what you're sayin'.
8) Sometimes the phone won't cut it. They can't see you and you can't see them. Humans were meant to relate face to face. You know what conversations just need to be over a meal or on a front porch.

Monday, June 20, 2011

"A person's name is to him or her the sweetest and most important sound in any language." -Dale Carnegie

We've told ourselves that it's acceptable to never remember the names of people we've just met. I've done it for a long time so I totally get it. However here's what I've realized..."I'm terrible at names," just means, "I'm totally focused on what I'm going to say next so I'm not paying attention to you at all."

Now if the key to being a charismatic person is making others feel important then this is a habit I will be dropping.
Find a method that works for you and join me.
My name is Zac, by the way. Good to meet you.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

I you're like me and you love the summer, then you love swimming pools.

However, swimming pools are strange.
They prove how primal all sophisticated humans still really are.
We have the mentality of water buffaloes.
We either wallow around in liquid with twenty people with very little clothing on...or, even better, we sit in a circle with very little clothing on while watching people wallowing in liquid with very little clothing on.

Right now I'm looking at people in a swimming pool imagining how hilarious this scene would be without any water in the pool.

But the pool is full so can-opener or swan dive?

Friday, June 17, 2011

"The hardest one to write is the first one. And it doesn't even have to be good. It just has to be done."
A wise friend said that to me on Wednesday.

And with that I will tell you something that scares me.

I will finish my first book by my 24th birthday.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

"All victories are in the mind."

I recently read a great book on leadership.
No steps to success.
No marketing strategies.
Just an intriguing story.
It was actually a kid's sci-fi book called Ender's Game about a boy trying to save Earth from invading aliens.

One take away...observe the game before you play.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Saturday, June 11, 2011

"It is the empty tin that rattles most. Be honest. Be loyal. Be kind. Remember that the hardest thing to acquire is the faculty of being unselfish. As a quality it is one of the finest attributes of manliness. Oh, and love the sea, the ringing beach, and the open downs."
-Sir Frederick Treves.

Friday, June 10, 2011

The future.
What is in it and what is not?

Here are two different sources saying the same thing beautifully.

"My bones are straining under the weight of the life I'm not living. Why didn't I treat every time like it was my last time? My greatest regret is how much I believed in the future." -Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

"The Present is the point at which time touches eternity. In a word, the Future is, of all things, the least like eternity. It is the most completely temporal part of time--for the Past is frozen and no longer flows, and the Present is all lit up with eternal rays. We (forces of evil) want a whole race perpetually in pursuit of the rainbow's end, never honest, nor kind, nor happy now, but always using as a mere fuel wherewith to heap the altar of the future every real gift which is offered them in the Present." -The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis

So what should I do?
Well, asking that question is a good start. However, I must only ask once and then I must just begin. For even asking a good question for too long becomes a vain pursuit.
Just live.

Today I will.

Friday, June 3, 2011

The Law of Undulation.

You and I move in waves.
Actually, all of life is characterized by continual waves of change because to exist in time means to change.
Change is the only constant.
We have to embrace the waves.

So yeah, peaks and troughs are inevitable.
But you can't live outside the pool.
The only way you can be truly alive is to stop trying to build your dreams and to start living them.

And there are plenty of ways to get in the pool.
The stairs just aren't one of them.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Note to self:
Sunsets keep everything in perspective. Notice them.

Taken by Kyle DeLoach.