This coming weekend I’ll be starting something new. I’m taking a leap of faith and leading two small groups for about 12 weeks straight.
Creative Minds: Saturday nights, from 8pm to 10pm, at Downtown Jeaux. This small group will be for anyone that enjoys creating things. Just a group of people, hanging out, discussing the process, and brainstorming on what to create next.
BBQ and Basketball: Sunday afternoons, at 5:30pm, at Gray Park or Houma Christian gym. This small group will be for anyone who enjoys food, pickup games, and hanging out with other like-minded people.
Here’s a pro-tip: if there’s something that you wish existed in the world, just create it. That’s how these small groups came to be. If someone else would’ve come up with these ideas for groups, I’d be the first one to sign up.
It’s similar to reverse engineering: how would my favorite artist make this song, or how would my favorite basketball player get past his defender, or how would my favorite writer talk about this topic for a story—and for a second, I’ll pretend like I’m them, imagining their process of creating this thing I want to exist—and before I realize it, it’s becoming a reality, but now I’m the one building it.
That’s an example of what will be discussed at the Creative Minds Small Group, and that’s why I made these groups, because I want them to exist in the world. I hope to see you there.
There’s a story I want to tell you. It’s actually a few stories. This blog post is important to me because it’s about other people. It’s about underdogs. These people have been overlooked for most of their life. But tonight, that all changed.
I was the first person there:
Just sat down at Downtown Jeaux. Jazz is playing in the background. Antonino is the DJ, scone baker and order taker. See y’all soon.
That simple message alone was good, but that was before experiencing the rest of the night. This is what happens when you put a dozen creative people together in one room.
Before everyone showed up, we put three tables together and planned for about 10 people, but once everyone arrived, we had to add another table to it, and a few people even sat in a booth next to us. The number of people that gave my group a chance is incredibly humbling. I was nervous about the outcome before it started, but I left there knowing that something big just happened.
Once everyone walked in—they were all right on time, some even early, all eager to get started—they ordered their coffee and scones, filled up the chairs, and we took turns introducing ourselves and how we were creative.
The coolest story from tonight is that my friend, Devin Wright, when it was his turn to introduce himself, said, “I’m not creative, I’m just here.” Well, before the night was over, he handed me his small notebook, and asked me to read what he wrote. The same guy that said he wasn’t creative wound up writing a short story, and he’ll be my next Guest Post on this site. That’s incredible. That’s a success story like no other: someone that walked into a room full of creators, shy and feeling like he didn’t belong there, ended up being the only one that left with a finished product.
After introducing ourselves, we decided to leave for 30 minutes and watch JP perform. He was only a few streets over. He knew the small group was coming watch him, but he thought the small group only consisted of a few guys. We walked in with a dozen people (about half as many as they already had in there), increasing the audience and giving JP the support he deserves. My Creative Minds Small Group, after learning each other’s names, went on a field trip to watch a fellow member perform spoken word. You would think this was planned. You couldn’t have scripted a better introduction if you tried.
When it was over, we all went back to Downtown Jeaux and stayed there until 11pm, two hours later than their usual closing time. The owner gave us permission to stay there as long as we needed, and that thought alone blows my mind. See, this small group was originally planned for Books-A-Million. It was the only place I could think of for a handful of people to talk about creating. It was also the only place I could think of that stayed open until 10pm. But a few days before starting my small group, I found Downtown Jeaux, told the owner about my idea, and this is the results. As you can see—between this and an art performance going on a few blocks over—things effortlessly fell into place.
When we settled back in at Downtown Jeaux, one guy performed a song: he went grab his bluetooth speaker, grabbed a handful of loose-leaf papers, turned on the music and words just started flowing. Behind me was someone crocheting. In front of me, there were three acoustic guitars, people singing, another guy rapping over the guitars, there were writers writing. On the right side of me, coffee was brewing. You can hear people laughing and just having a great night. This paragraph is what I had in mind for a small group: no structure, no rules, just let creativity happen—but even the thought of all of these things happening doesn’t compare to what actually went down. Inspiration was everywhere.
I made this small group on Saturdays at 8pm for a reason. That’s usually the time people are getting ready to go out and drink. I wanted somewhere’s healthy for me to be, without the alcohol, without the negativity. I wanted my Saturday nights to be booked up with people that inspire me. I didn’t want my Saturday nights to be a blur anymore. I made that decision when the location was still going to be Books-A-Million. God had other plans. My small group is now hosted at a coffee shop that’s right behind two popular bars. The people that are walking in those bars and won’t remember their night, are first passing by us and looking through the window, at a dozen people who are experiencing a night they’ll never forget.
Week 2 was a success. Ms. Denise read a poem, Stu read a poem with Leonce playing the guitar, Devin read something he had just wrote a few minutes prior, Antonio, our barista, read a poem he was working on while serving us coffee, all while Mr. Dwayne was drawing a portrait of our pastors. The atmosphere was definitely alive.
Another successful week for Creative Minds: lots of coffee, conversations, game-planning, and relationship building.
Group picture with Padraig Whetsell (guy in white shirt). He’s the artist that painted all of this.
My art is complete when I’m too nervous to continue.
Robin Williams, the genius.
This is the painting Padraig was working on when we walked in. My mind was blown.
A BMW bike that Padraig is selling. I’ve been eying it for the past month.
Art After Dark.
Downtown Jeaux, Tommy and Lori were cooking sliders outside.
Even though I couldn’t make it Saturday night, Creative Minds was still a success. It’s a good feeling to know that if you build something, and if you give it a strong enough foundation, and even if you’re not there for the night, nothing changes. The momentum didn’t drop at all. I’m so proud of these guys.
Five weeks in and I’m still stunned by the amount of energy I’m getting from this group. I thought it would’ve died down by now, but instead, it continues to increase. There was also a festival tonight, which helped. There was also another field trip: we walked a few blocks to watch JP perform again (the video of this is at the bottom).
I went into week 6 knowing that I wanted a nicely edited video to show off my small group. Three iPhones and an iPad created this video: one iPhone 6s recorded the audio from the guitars, my iPhone 7 recorded most of the video footage, my friend’s iPhone 6s recorded a few extra scenes from outside of the building, and my iPad Pro did all of the editing. My point is, you don’t need a fancy camera and expensive setup to create. Use whatever tools you have at your disposal. Have fun. This is Creative Minds.
This is Week 7 of Creative Minds. A two hour small group. The first hour is hanging out, and the second hour is sharing something creative that you worked on. This week, Denise shared a poem, Chrissy sang a song, Devin read a story, so did Fred and Toni. And after everyone else, I read a spoken word.
Last night was amazing! Monday night, at The Writious Ones small group, we talked about a Group Fusion for Saturday night with Creative Minds. It was great music and good fellowship! After Creative Minds, we took the Fusion to Voice of the Wetlands. It was two small groups in one night. Lots of fun!
My Spoken Word:
This is an open letter to my small group: channeling Boy Once Blind, with no music, just making words rhyme. Two months ago, I never would’ve thought we’d be here. Now look at me, a leader. New friends, new family, new people that love me, and don’t judge me, and trust me, and give me confidence to keep rising above what was once steep. Flights of stares, and nights with nightmares, and moments of loneliness when no one else was there. Above all, I’m just excited that you care.
Lens flares and scene changes, and life changes in the context of small groups. It’s amazing, where a higher power came in, and brought people into my life that would’ve otherwise never been there. I went from isolated to populated, I went from selfish to selfless, I went from heart burning and melting to helping the helpless. My entire life did a 180 when I created Creative Minds. It opened my eyes and made me realize that I am enough.
All that self-doubt and insecurities that surrounded me, vanished. See, I was an introvert, or so I thought, but God had other plans for me. Now, I’m outspoken, thought-provoked, still broken, but that brokenness gives me character. You see, that brokenness is a conversation piece for your accountability partners to carry you. There’s challenges ahead, that’ll continue to make me strong, but the best part about it: I’m no longer doing it alone.
After Party: Voice of the Wetlands
This weekend flew by for me, but not without leaving me with many great memories: I performed a song, listened to a spoken word artist that tours for a living, had another fun day at the park, and each one of these memories were surrounded with some of my favorite people. Thanks to those who keep attending the small groups.
These two small groups have changed my life. I’ll write more about why when the semester is over (about 4-5 more weeks), but for now, I just want to thank everyone who came out this weekend. Each one of you are incredible, and every personality is a blast to hang out with.
Before ranting about Creative Minds, the main thing you need to know is December 10th. Mark your calendar. It’s the big day to celebrate everything I’m about to discuss.
Table of Contents
I just went through 12 weeks of leading a small group at Cross Church. That might not sound like much to you, but it meant everything to me. For a church to believe in me enough to lead a group of people on a weekly basis, that’s not something I take for granted.
I can remember many months ago, when my friend, Chad, the person in charge of small groups at Cross Church, suggested that I lead a group. I brushed the idea off, knowing that I’m not a leader. Besides, I’m too shy, and too scared to do something that ambitious. A week went by, and I agreed under one condition: someone co-lead with me. But as the semester approached, I gained enough confidence to not need that co-leader, and I wound up leading two small groups instead of just one: “Creative Minds” and “BBQ and Basketball”. I can never thank Cross Church enough for showing me how possible it is to be a leader.
The coolest part about leading these two groups was how many people showed up every week. Each Saturday night (or Sunday afternoon), over twenty people would stop by: to sing, play instruments, draw, cook food, play basketball, and so much more. I was in awe as I’d look around. I might create a lot, but I don’t take many chances. I rather be strategic. I took a chance on leading though, and my life will never be the same because of it. People believed in me enough to show up consistently every week. It blew my mind. And now, these relationships and these moments, every single one of them, will be something I remember for the rest of my life.
December 10th (not this Saturday, but next), we’ll have one last Creative Minds to celebrate the life-changes that happened in those 12 weeks. As much as it’s about me, it’s even more about the people that opened up their hearts during this semester. I’ve gotten to know some amazing friends because of these groups. We lean on each other now, and we’ve all grown so much. These groups weren’t just about creating and basketball, that was just the excuse that brought us together.
If you came to any of these events, or if you’ve considered coming to one of these events—or, if you simply just know one of us in the group, and you’ve seen our growth over these last few months—we’d love it if you’d join us. It’s nothing formal, just a bunch of friends hanging out, playing guitars, and drinking coffee: celebrating Creative Minds.
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.