I want to reflect on the year that just passed. I was recently with my good friend, Joe, who said to me, “I see so many people saying they’d wish 2016 would hurry up and end, because it’s been the worst year ever, but I disagree . . . this has been the best year of my life.” He couldn’t have said it any better. Sure, 2016 has been a horrible year for a lot of people, but not for me. This has been the best year of my life, for many different reasons, and I’d like to acknowledge those reasons here.
Anxiety has always been something I’ve struggled with. I would always take medicine for it, but it never felt like the proper solution. After a decade of trying to fix this, I stumbled upon two ways that basically cured this for me: I started going to Cross Church full-time, and I started being intentional about what I let into my life. Minimalism and an intense focus on thriving relationships has given me peace like I’ve never felt before—and they are now the foundation to everything in my life.
It started with a relationship that began at the end of 2015: I met a girl who would eventually become my girlfriend, and after dating for a few months, we decided to go our separate ways—but that breakup was much different than my previous ones. To fill that void, I knew what I had to do: I told myself that going to church for only an hour had to stop. I was hurting, and if I wanted anything fixed in my life, or if I wanted to grow with the church, it would never happen in only an hour. I decided that I would start trying to be the first one there (which never happened, there is always someone there before you), and I would stay the entire day. This little plan changed the entire trajectory of my life.
I knew that there was some incredible people at the church that I was missing out on—people that wanted to be in my life and wanted to know me better—but I would always leave before ever getting to know them. At the time, they all knew my name, but I vaguely remembered their faces. It was as if they knew that, when the time was right, we’d have a special friendship—they were just waiting on me to join them. I started admitting to them that I’m horrible with names, and I asked for their help. I did this with every person that engaged with me, and each Sunday, I would do it again and again, until eventually, their names became easy to remember. Now, I couldn’t imagine not knowing their names. I relate it to not knowing a sister’s name, or a cousin’s name: when someone is important to you, you’ll remember their name. It’s that simple.
All of these people that I became close with are on the Cross Church Reach Team: a team of people that lend a hand to make the church operate at 100%. Getting there early, before the first service, is what the reach team does. Some are in the cafe, some do the audio and visuals for the services, some work with the kids, some do parking, some smile and greet you at the door, etc. — I did parking and audio/visual. I would try to stay all day for each service, and I’d help out wherever I was needed. This gave me a sense of purpose like I’ve never felt before—and still to this day, getting there early for that Reach Team Meeting is something that I consider very important. I remember what life was like before this meeting, and before I started going to church early, and I don’t ever want my life to be like that again. Looking back at 2016, the weeks that were the hardest were the ones where I didn’t get to church early and serve, and when I didn’t focus on those relationships.
I kept getting invited to small groups for the church, but I never committed to any of them, until early in 2016, when my friend Chase started Testimony Tuesdays (where someone would agree to cook a meal for the group that week, and they would all play drums, guitars, sing, and when the time was right, someone would share a testimony about their life). This opened my eyes to how fun a small group could be. Soon after, I started going to a men’s breakfast small group, where a huge breakfast was served, and we’d take turns sharing our perspective on a topic.
One day, the leader of that group pulled me aside, and suggested that I lead my own group. He didn’t say much more than that, but that’s when the seed was planted. Over those next few weeks, my mind was racing with ideas: it went from me thinking I wasn’t good enough to lead a group, to me thinking I wouldn’t lead a group without someone else helping me, all the way up to me eventually leading two groups, all without needing a co-leader. I’ve written about these groups immensely over the last few months, but I’ll say this: leading a small group has been one of the most important moments in my life. It showed me that I’m good enough, it showed me that I’m a leader, it showed me that people care about my thoughts, it showed me that I have a church that believes in me—and it showed me that, instead of being scared and turning down an opportunity to grow, if you take chances in life, you won’t be disappointed. Those opportunities to grow are the moments that shape us into the person we dream of becoming.
2016 was the year that expanded me past being creative with just music. My music didn’t slow down either (I released two albums, tons of music videos, and I performed live more in one month than I did every other year combined), but it was my blog that really took off and became my main creative outlet. The amount of words I’m able to type in a day has become one of my biggest wins of last year. It’s now much easier and more natural for my thoughts to translate into paragraphs.
I went to four weddings in 2016, three of which I served in. In March, I served in my friend Casey’s wedding in New Orleans. On Easter Sunday, my friend Chase’s wedding was right after our church service, in the Civic Center. In November, I served in my friend Kip’s wedding—and the weekend after, I served in my cousin Jarden’s wedding. I have so many special memories from these four weddings, and I can’t thank them enough for letting me be a part of it.
I went on my first cruise in 2016, thanks to my mom. She took the family on a week-long trip to Jamaica, Cozumel, and Caymans. This gave me a break away from my regular routine, it was my first trip out of the country, and it was great quality time with my family. A few months later, we flew to Atlanta, then drove to South Carolina, to watch my sister graduate from the Army’s basic training. We spent a lot of time traveling and enjoying each other’s company. I’m usually lucky if I get one vacation in a year, but to have two vacations, only a few months apart, is something I’m incredibly thankful for.
Because I don’t expect 2017 to slow down, and I plan on building on what 2016 gave me, I reduced the amount of income I need coming in, and I went part-time at AT&T. This will free me up for more time with my family, more time with the church, more time creating, and more time staying healthy and at peace. I look forward to playing a lot of basketball. I look forward to going on hiking trips and traveling, and whatever else I feel like doing.
I feel more alive than ever right now, and It’s because of everything I just mentioned: from every little detail that I chose to focus on, to the people I now have in my life. As a whole, I’m beyond thankful for 2016. I’ve gained peace, relationships, perspective, consistency, and tons of memories. For those that wished for 2016 to hurry up and end, I’m hoping for many more years just like it.
It’s Thursday. Slept great last night. Left early this morning to go to the coffee shop and read. Have a party to attend tonight. Tomorrow starts my vacation. A girl that I like gave me her number. I had someone pray over me this morning. I submitted my timesheet. I’m listening to Brain.fm: Atmospheric.
It’s Wednesday. Halfway point until my vacation. Yesterday, I spent a lot of time reading, went to a yoga cafe, planned my vacation with a friend, then went do Taco Tuesday with another friend. My plan today is to continue reading. I’m almost at 40% of this book already. Learning so much.
Last night I had restorative yoga, my first time. The instructor said something that stuck with me: “..attached to outcomes.” We put expectations on situations, inevitably setting ourselves up for disappointment. I’ll keep that in mind: don’t be attached to outcomes, because there’s no telling which direction these paths in life will take us. That’s my third time trying yoga, it’s been something new for me, but helpful in a lot of ways. I’ll spend the day reading this book. Added Kindle Highlights back to the website. I think I have enough quotes for now for them to shuffle through.
Making progress in this new book. Very insightful. Looking for a season of growth in many areas. I want to become a better reader. A better believer. And become more selfless. And I want my site reflect all of this even more. I’ve been creating based off of my selfishness and limited knowledge alone…I can only imagine the good I can do for this world if I learn more, believe more, and help more.
Good morning. I’ve been very intentional this morning with communication. Reaching out to people that I care about. Letting them know my heart and what I’m struggling with. These steps will only help the situation. I’m ready for growth.
Currently reading a book my pastor gave me. Taking notes. Eating a snowball. Brain.fm in the background to help me focus.
Just left church. On my way to the gym. I’ll be there for a few hours. Listening to Ross’s album to warm up to. Feeling like something big is about to happen. But I also have to stay still. Don’t act or react out of emotions. That’s what always gets me in trouble. Just be still. Let God work. A lot of new books to read. Vacation coming up. Time to be Let intentional with my time.
Articulate. Words. Fix them and put them together, all the letters are weapons, infiltrate. Rambles are scrambled. I hope they penetrate. Happy Birthday, waiting for them to open up the prison gates. Until then we just sit and wait. My mind constantly gets in the way. If I clear these clouded thoughts then I could do anything.
Kettle, tea, Turtle Beach: Stealth 600, Xbox One X, No Man’s Sky, Kindle Paperwhite. My weapons for the weekend. I didn’t get enough sleep. I’ll spend these off days catching up on that, and relaxing. Excited about all of this. Just had a great conversation with my friend. I believe big things are about to happen for us. Her music is so powerful, and I hope to help her get it out there. More than anything, I feel like we’re both about to grow. It’s a season of changes. I’m ready for it.
My goal is to keep my Kindle out, reading, throughout the whole weekend. Even if it’s just small passages every few minutes. I want to build better reading habits. I have a lot of books waiting for me to read, so now’s the time to start. Fridays have become my planning days. As I map out the weekend, and the week ahead, I’ll be focused on actionable tasks that move a lot of projects along. Barely slept last night. Was conscious most of the night, with podcasts playing in the background. It’s 4 am, fixing coffee, and playing No Man’s Sky.
Just wrote 785 words about all these things going on in my mind, in a new blog post. My longest in awhile. I feel like weight has been lifted. Something so simple, a post, and gathering thoughts, bringing clarity, makes a world of difference. Just finished running the bridge nearby. Exhausted. Now time to shower and relax.
The potential is there. I see what I need to do. I see what’s holding me back. I’m clinging on to deadweight. That deadweight doesn’t define me, but its attachment to my identity causes me to forget that. We lose ourselves in all of these things. Forgetting what makes us, us. I feel myself rising again. I feel my purpose and energy resurfacing. These things won’t keep me down. I have too much to live for. This is bigger than me. I’m ready for it.
Brain.fm is a life changer for me. Currently listening to Relax/Destress. This app is worth every penny. It’s already Thursday. A week away from vacation.
Home from work. Big night ahead of me. Doubt I’ll get much sleep tonight. Hot tea. A good lunch. Yoga tonight. Spent my lunch hour in No Man’s Sky. The rain was so relaxing, I didn’t want to leave. Just shared something vary transparent and vulnerable. Bringing it to the light is important to me. It’s my way of working through it. Paperwork everywhere. Busy day at work. Scheduling appointments. Staying busy. The update to No Man’s Sky is here. This will keep me busy for the week. A lot of moving parts right now. I hope to go sit at the cafe and journal and clear my mind. I need to process everything that’s happening.
Good morning. The canvas is now live. Look above. “Share your thoughts here.” That’s a box for you to always write to me, and if you have a blog post or something you want to live on my site, that’s your space to create. This is something me and Jay have been working on for almost a year now, brainstorming on. To make the site a place for everyone to share something. It’s a contact form/idea box/or whatever else you want it to be. Let’s go.
Basketball. Studio sessions. Big meeting in the morning. Lots of things happening.
Just had an hour long conversation with someone who plays the flute. She’s REALLY good. Hoping to get her on the new album.
Hoping this area will become a scratchpad, a journal, and what I’m up to now. It’ll be the one place to scribble thoughts down and figure things out as I go through my day.
Let me tell you a story. This is a story about where I see myself a year from now. These are my short-term goals and dreams. I’ll be living in a shipping container, almost directly in between the two places I’ll be at every day (three places if you count the container). The land that this container will be on is my childhood property where I grew up on a trailer. That’s where I’ll live. In one direction, 15 minutes away is the basketball gym (Wellness Center) that I’ll spend my afternoons at. The other direction has my office where I work during the day. I’ll travel to each one of these by bike, a Honda Grom to be specific. Church would count as the fourth place I’ll travel to, which is very close to where the container will be. This will be my life a year from now. I’m currently taking every step I need to make this a reality.
A lot has changed in the last few weeks. Changes aren’t always easy, they test you and shake up your foundation. Consider them setbacks. Your stability starts to change a bit, and you have to rethink what’s concrete and what’s meant to not be there anymore. Yesterday, I had a lot of conversations with people about certain things that I’m dealing with. I was able to receive so much help and comfort. I received books to read, advice on what to do next. The amount of people that had my back was refreshing.
Been spending the last few days recording and building out ideas for a new album. Working on understanding the concept of where I want to take this next one. I want it to have a bigger sound than usual.
Coffee, honey bun, office work. It’s gonna be a good week.
At the park. Getting a workout. Filling the activity rings on the Watch. Sweat every day. Lost 10 pounds in a week by doing this. Trying to stay sharp with my mind and my body. It’s keeping me focused on the big picture.
Currently in a studio session. It’s getting good.
Today, I took leaps of faith and spoke out on things that were holding me back. Bringing it to light changes things. Words have power. Community has power. So much power today. Thank you.
Church service. Coffee serving. Done in the cafe. Time to pray. Processing thoughts. Communicating. Process of elimination. Removing the toxins.
An hour long conversation with a friend just changed my entire weekend. It’s amazing how that works. Find people that can speak life into you. I needed that. I needed that reminder. I’m excited about the rest of this weekend and where this friendship will lead us. So thankful.
It’s a changing of the seasons. I’m looking around me and creating new outlets for my energy. Running daily. Yoga yesterday. New cafes to write. An Xbox One X to play games again. Recording a new album with auto-tune this weekend. Things just feel fresh around me. Heartbreak combined with seasons changing. I’ll be getting my street bike soon. Life is just transforming constantly. I’m ready for it. Listening to Bon Iver album. Been waiting awhile for this one. It’s been a roller coaster week. So many ups and downs. At least it’s Friday. Lots to do this weekend.
I’ll be doing yoga tonight. This should be interesting. Keep switching things up and trying new things in life. Hope it goes well.
One of my biggest challenges this month is to consistently run every day. We’re on day 8 and I haven’t missed a day yet. This streak is really exciting.
There’s a couple books I’m currently reading. One is how to be more selfless. I create so many things, but a lot of the times, they’re created by me, for me. I want to change that, and use my talents to help others more. And in my personal life, I want to be there for others more. I have work to do.
I ran home for lunch. 15 minutes there. 15 minutes back. It’s my little life hack to fill my activity rings on the Apple Watch. That way when I leave work for the day, I’m done. Plus it changes things up and breaks my day into another layer. I get back from lunch feeling exhausted from the run, but refreshed with energy to finish the day off strong.
Good morning. Thursday already. Currently watching No Man’s Sky trailer and drinking coffee. Planning day out, and organizing all of my notes from yesterday. One more day until the weekend. Much needed. New music is on the way. New podcast. More Xbox gaming. A have a lot of catching up to do.
I have plans soon, to expand the shop section of my site. It’s been in the works for awhile now, but is finally about to happen. Real, leather, physical products. A family business. Stay tuned for that, and so much more. So many plans are finally falling into place. It’s exiting to see.
A journal of thoughts. These are the words from my heart. Working the cursor, it blinks back, inertia through dark. Immersive with wordplay, as I’m hurting, converting urgency into what I purposely want. How’s that working? Off and on. I prefer when it’s off. Uphill climbing. The incline, it hurts when I walk. I’ll figure it out.
Today was full of layers. It’s complicated. Things happened that I’ve been waiting for for a long time. I’m excited about what it’ll do for my future. I’m excited about what was seen. All I want is an opportunity to succeed, and today helps with that. I have a chance to truly make an impact now. One day at a time. Stay focused. Be myself. Stay hungry. Do the best that I can do. I have a book I need to read. It’s important for my future. I have a new album I need to make. I don’t have a single word for it yet. But I have the perspective for it. I know which direction I want to take. And that’s all I need. Give me the direction, the rest happens instantly.
Big day. Hoping for many changes to happen after this morning’s meeting. A lot of traveling coming up. Good morning. One thing ends, another one begins. Life is in cycles. Feeling much better. I’ve been productive all day, and my mood is back positive. I think it all changed when I decided to run home for lunch instead of drive. Tomorrow will be a big day. But tonight, No Man’s Sky.
These last two days have been a test for me. With patience and my anxiety. I failed that test. But today is a new day. Monday blues. A lot on my mind today. A lot to process. A lot of planning. Big week for work and creative projects. Last night, there was a lot of changes made that’ll set me up for the future. Excited and nervous about those changes. My heart is big. And sometimes that gets me in trouble. Because I overcommit and care about things way more than I should. That’s the gift and curse of being an artist. I’m pressing into those emotions and expecting big things out of it.
Church. Gym. Basketball.
Got an Xbox One X last night. Let it download games overnight. Now I’ll spend the day playing. I’ll still have to go run sometime today, to continue my streak of August: fill all three rings on Apple Watch.
Good morning. Building journal into the site so it’s always updated here. Plan on doing a quick journal every morning. Running on fumes from lack of sleep last night. Too much coffee and watching Big Little Lies. TGIF. Listening to Freddie Gibbs - Bandana. Almost time for lunch. Productive weekend ahead. Keep evolving. Spent the last two months trying to not create and just relax. This month though, I’ll be focused on building as much as possible. Explore. Observe. Obsess. Create.
It’s August already. I have a lot planned for this month. I have a feeling this could be a big month for me if I put all my skills and habits into practice.