In Memory of Rhonda Lynn Rhodes, by Drew Rhodes
Nash’s Note: This is a story about addictions and losing the people you love. It’s also a story about redemption and finding God. A story about finding strength in the weakest moments of your life. Drew is a friend of my family, and I’m thankful and honored that he shared his testimony with me.
I have been debating doing this for some time now, out of fear of repercussions on a personal level, but I made a promise to the only one that walks with me, my Heavenly Father. I promised Him, that I would do anything in my power to bring Him glory and to possibly make a positive impact in other people’s lives. This will also serve as an apology I was never able to make, and a means to finally lay my loved ones to rest. Some things are just more important than others.
Twenty nine years ago, I lost this beautiful angel. She was not only my baby sister, she was my heart. She was 15 years old at the time of the incident that involved my mother’s hand gun. Not a single moment goes by since that terrible incident that I don’t think about her. A big part of my mother and I died that day.
I had always been there for my sister. I had practically played a part in raising her up to that point, but due to alcohol and drugs, this time, I wasn’t present. You see, addiction had been part of my life since a very early age. It started out as a means for coping through earlier childhood issues. Some say addiction is a choice, and they are correct. For me, what started out as a choice, became something greater. Besides a couple of rehabs and incidents with the law, there was nothing really too serious, but that would soon change. By age 16, I became a ward of the state, again, as a result of my choices. After rehab, it landed me in a Christian based half-way house/foster home. I had somewhat found peace in the Lord during that time, but that would be short-lived.
After the tragedy, I was placed with a choice: either go on the straight and narrow and use the death of my sister as a positive, or use it as a negative. I chose to turn away from the Lord and run to the only thing I had ever known, what I found comfort in, alcohol and drugs. From that point on, it would slowly engulf my life with shame, low self-esteem, self pity and guilt that would eventually take any part of a soul I had left.
At age 18, I got in trouble with the law once again, and was faced with a felony. I was fortunate to be offered a chance to join the military to clear my record, and as for a means of discipline, so I did. During those years, alcohol was my best friend. When I was in port, I ran to alcohol. After the military, I would soon be on my path to self destruction.
My mother, whom I loved very much, had also found comfort in addiction. You see, this was the second child she had lost due to circumstances that were beyond her control, but she felt as if it was. She had also sank herself into a state of depression, shame, anxiety — but more importantly, guilt. We weren’t able to comfort each other, because we were both self-medicating and it was difficult watching the other, slowly dying inside. It’s something I would not wish on my enemies, much less anyone else. She has since joined my baby sister in 2012. Her addiction and medical problems finally took its toll on her life, and I’m sure she welcomed it. She had finally arrived where she had longed to be, with my sister.
Addiction was not only my escape from reality, but became my whole identity. Failed relationships were a norm for me, due to not having any self-worth. I mean, how could I be any good for anyone, if I couldn’t protect my own? In and out of trouble with the law, was also a norm. I was not only dependent on drugs and alcohol, but I was dependent on my defects that they caused (guilt, low self-esteem, self pity.) I used these defects, as justification to use. I’m reminded of the saying, “It’s hard to let go of your demons, because they are the only thing that will comfort you when nothing else will.”
I was known by everyone, throughout my life as a drunken, dope-head, hopeless loser that had no life. And they were totally right. I never intentionally hurt anyone but myself, so I thought, but I now see that I had hurt everyone I had come in contact with in some sort of way, especially my mother.
It was not until I had reached that jumping off point that my life would change. That point where I felt I had nothing left to live for. It took falling to my hands and knees, praying as I cried to God, pleading with him to help me from doing, what I was seconds away from doing. Yeah, I had reached a breaking point, unlike many times before. I could not see another minute of living the way I was.
A sudden sense of peace and clarity came over me once I surrendered to him. The Lord had done something that I was never able to do on my own: he removed the obsession of alcohol and drugs. I feel what he performed in my life was nothing short of a miracle, and I owe him my life because of it. What I didn’t see at the time was that he was walking with me the entire time, even though I had turned away from him, time and time again.
This year has brought me a lot of much needed clarity. I now see that on the day I lost my sister and I felt like my life was falling apart, it was actually coming together. God had a plan of redemption for my life that he set in motion that day. A chain of events that would ultimately bring him glory.
I’m not justifying using drugs and alcohol by any means, because it will definitely destroy your life as well as those around you, but if certain things had not happened, I may never have reached the point of spirituality that I now have. You see, we may not understand the things that He allows to happen at the time, or the trials he may throw at us, but we have to trust in him and have faith that he is doing these things in our best interest. We were made in his likeness for a reason.
For those of you, that may be struggling, just know you are never alone. Jesus loves you, and by his grace, you are forgiven. It’s time to start forgiving yourself. You do not have to carry that pain with you as long as I did. Fall to your knees, repent, empty your cup and surrender your will. He will never forsake us. By the grace of God, I am a recovered addict and I hope my story can benefit someone.
I'm Nash. I create things.
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Three things I’m thankful for.
May 21, 2019
- This new book I’m reading. About personal freedom. Loving every word.
- This coffee that I’m drinking. Injured my throat during basketball last night, and this coffee is helping that pain.
- The amount of projects and ideas I have in Ulysses. New ones keep popping up, so ones that I was excited about the day before, slowly fade down, but I know they’ll all be completed when it’s their time.
May 20, 2019
- All the pictures and videos that I was able to get for Sariyah’s birthday party yesterday. Captured so many great memories.
- My breakfast this morning at Panera Bread.
- The week ahead. It’s a beautiful Monday. There’s a lot of plans and free time to have a combination of focus and adventure.
May 19, 2019
- Church this morning. Went visit Celebration Church in The Woodlands. It was really nice.
- I’m thankful for the cupcake pancake at IHOP this morning.
- Today’s Sariyah’s birthday party. I’m currently watching her swim. Thankful to be here with her for her special day.
May 18, 2019
- We made it to Texas safe.
- The way Sariyah embraced me and hugged me when she saw me.
- That I woke up at 5 am and have been working on projects all morning, before anyone else wakes up.
May 17, 2019
- Tyler, The Creator’a new album, IGOR. Incredible sound.
- The meeting I had yesterday with a new friend, about building a website for them.
- Going out of town today for about two weeks. Adventure time.
May 16, 2019
- The new video project I have with Renee and Michelle for the “See You Later” song (from New Album). Excited to see what comes of the footage.
- The /engine project I’m currently working on with Jay. Building out something bigger than ourselves right now.
- The simplicity of coffee and pancakes in the morning. Breakfast can be that simple and that perfect.
May 15, 2019
- I’m thankful for this beautiful day. Sitting outside and working on a few projects from the iPad, with coffee, water, and classic rock real low in the background.
- I’m thankful for all the links I have on my site that are just one word, and I use those daily to direct people to different things. (/music, /create, /thanks, /help, etc.). So thankful that I can build these locations to send people to when discussing certain topics.
- My afternoon adventure with a friend, relaxing, coffee, and running errands together.
May 14, 2019
- Today makes exactly two months since I’ve been doing my daily thanks. Just three things each morning. Sounds easy, but doing it every day can get challenging at times. This milestone is what I’m most thankful for today.
- I’m thankful for all the conversations I had yesterday. With a lot of new people, and each one flowed effortlessly. All day, I was on fire and inspired from this.
- I did a lot of work on my new album last. I let it go for a few weeks so I could hear it with fresh ears again. I’m so thankful for how polished it’s becoming. Almost done.
May 13, 2019
- The new collaborations I have in the works. I’m branching out to new people, that are more successful than me, and sharing my work with them, offering an opportunity to collab. Each one has been excited to do so.
- The tools that I have to create. I’m thankful that whatever idea I have, I have the tools to build out that idea immediately.
- A new opportunity that presented itself yesterday that will change so many things in my life. I’m so thankful that speaking things into light allows change.
May 12, 2019
- My mom. So thankful for her being in my life. Excited to spend church with her today.
- The time I spent with Kennedy this morning. It’s fun picking and joking with each other.
- The film crew and the professional video they made for me. I just watched the finished version, and it came out great.
May 11, 2019
- My card finally came in.
- Spending the day with Brayden.
- The amount of videos that have been recorded lately with the GoPro. I look forward to editing them all down into something creative.
May 10, 2019
- Dinner and movie with a friend last night.
- A very important phone call yesterday. Changed my perspective on so many things.
- This weekend’s plans: game tonight, birthday party tomorrow, working cafe Sunday morning.
May 9, 2019
- I serve in the church cafe this Sunday with my friend Kennedy. Thankful for this opportunity, to serve and help, to be around community, and to spend time with my friend.
- A new day. Last night, my anxiety was really bad. After taking my medicine, I went to sleep knowing that when I woke up, a new day would heal me. And it did.
- I’m thankful for my mom messaging me yesterday, after lunch, letting me know she’s ok. I love her so much.
May 8, 2019
- Spending time with Janea last night.
- The conversation I had with my dad.
- The peace I have over a current situation.
May 7, 2019
- The amount of guest posts I have in the works. I’m thankful that so many people are sharing their stories with me and allowing me to share them with the world. Share your truth. It’s such an amazing thing.
- The hour long conversation I had with my friend Lindsey yesterday. She has so much wisdom. I should’ve been taking notes.
- I’m thankful for my job and the ability to help my clients. I want to keep getting better at it, and find new ways to grow, but I’m thankful for where I currently am. This is just the beginning.
May 6, 2019
- I’m thankful for yesterday. Two different churches. Lunch with friends. Shopping. Ice cream. Time at the park with my brother and the kids. Lots of sleep.
- My friend Matt is leaving. Today is his last day here before moving to Missouri. He’s been pivotal for me through this season of depression and redemption. He saw me at my lowest, and now he’s leaving with me at my highest. You meet people in life, and it doesn’t matter the amount of time you’ve known each other. You can make an impact in small windows of time. It’s so important to remember that.
- I’m thankful for Mondays. It gets a bad rap, but it’s a fresh start. Every week this happens. A blank canvas. Another week to be whatever version of yourself you want to be. I’m thankful for this opportunity. I’m expecting a big week.
May 5, 2019
- Yesterday had a couple moments that would’ve usually brought me to a dark place. This time though, I barely felt them. My coping skills have been upgraded to 2.0, and I’m thankful for that. Tough little moments dont’ affect me the way they used to.
- I’m thankful for the Rockets win last night. For how aggressive they were and how focused Chris Paul was when the ball was in his hands.
- My health has been fluctuating lately. Makes me thankful for the days when I feel healthier. I’m thankful for the days when my health is so good that I don’t even think about my health.
May 4, 2019
- My workout session this morning with a trainer. I feel sore but stronger. It’s a great feeling.
- Today’s rainy day. I love rainy days when I don’t have any plans. Just to relax at home and watch movies.
- Last night’s pizza party at the park and watching a movie with friends.
May 3, 2019
- I’m thankful for the openings and closings of relationships and seasons. One ended yesterday. Another one will end in a few days. Some new ones started a few days ago. It’s a healthy revolving door of memories. A constant flow of people and moments that transition in and out of my life. It’s a beautiful thing.
- It’s Friday. Another weekend is waiting for me, with new adventures and opportunities. I’m excited to see where these next few days take me. A combination of busy days and empty days filled with potential and space to do anything.
- I’m thankful for this new confidence that I have each day. Through each conversation I have with someone, and the way that I’m approaching situations and life as a whole, I feel a sense of purpose and vision that isn’t slowing down. I’m thankful for this clarity and understanding on the direction of my life.
May 2, 2019
- Counseling session this morning. There’s several things I need to update her on. Things that I’m excited about, and things I need help working through. That’s what it’s for. Another tool in the toolbox.
- Thursday church service tonight. It used to be called Deeper. Now it’s called First Thursday. I’ll always call it Deeper though, because that’s what it’s about. I look forward to going deeper into the word tonight.
- I released a new shirt last night. I’ve released a dozen shirts over the years, but this is the first one I’ve made for myself. “Be the light” is what the shirt says. And I’m excited to start wearing that on my chest.
May 1, 2019
- I’m thankful for a new month. A fresh start. A new perspective. Each month we get a “First”. I’m thankful for the opportunity to begin again.
- The conversation that I just had with a co-worker/mentor. Great advice and direction. Speaking out and letting people know my heart has brought me so far lately.
- All the projects that I’m working on. To have so many things I’m working on at one time keeps me excited and focused on the future. So thankful for this.
April 30, 2019
- Community. If I have one thing to be thankful for this month, it’s community.
- The amount of work and creating I’m able to do on just an iPad. The month of April really shows me this.
- The way that I’m memorizing all the worship songs that I listen to daily. The songs are becoming part of my identity.
April 29, 2019
- Water and black coffee. No sugars. No sodas. No creamer. When you fall in love with just water, and just coffee, with nothing added, drinking becomes so much easier. It’s very accessible. I love that it’s all I drink most days.
- The phone call I just had with a friend. We talked a lot about speaking voices and being motivated and my packing skills and how I pack each morning for an adventure.
- The counter in my kitchen. Huge open space with nothing on it. It’s been my new favorite place to setup. My iPad is opened ready to type, my bag is next to it, opened up, making sure I have everything for the day. Water and coffee is on the right side of it. It then becomes my standing desk. To create and plan.
April 28, 2019
- The group of friends that came with me today to visit House of Prayer. Two churches on Sunday morning, and now with a group of friends joining me, is such a great feeling.
- All the familiar faces I saw at HOP that came and said hello. I’m so thankful that I’ll be able to build new relationship with these people.
- I didn’t sleep but an hour last night, because of a recording session, but I feel full of energy today, and I feel inspired and on fire. Amazing day.
April 27, 2019
- My trip to Franklinton today. A visit to my past. I lived here once, and haven’t been back since. Going take pictures and videos of places I spent time at.
- My group text with my two childhood friends. We never see each other, but we seem to still text back and forth every day. Through the debates, and fun arguments about sports and movies, I know there’s love there.
- My morning routine of, as soon as my eyes open, I tell Siri to play worship music. And I listen for an hour or so. It changes the atmosphere of my morning.
April 26, 2019
- The conversation I had with my friend last night. It wasn’t planned. She called. I stopped by. We talked. I was able to pour into her life the way she usually does for me. The student has become the teacher.
- My plans for this weekend. Lately, all weekends have been an adventure, and this one is no different. Traveling, videos, Avengers, two churches.
- The mentors that I have in my life. As I watched a video on RightNow Media this morning, I was reminded of the older and wiser people I have in my life that I’m so thankful for: Mrs. Tracy, Mr. Bill, and Mr. Joe are the three that come to mind.
April 25, 2019
- Being back home after a few days out of town. As much fun as I have traveling, it’s always nice to get back to my normal routine.
- The Houston Rockets advanced to the second round last night. I’m thankful that Chris Paul is having another shot in the playoffs. At the root of it, I’m thankful that I enjoy watching his games so much.
- I’m thankful for seasons changing. They come and go. Moods shift. What brings contentment now, won’t work the next time. I’m thankful that with each season, I’m given new tools and perspective.
April 24, 2019
- New Orleans. People travel from around the world to see a place that is right next to me. There’s so much beauty and culture here.
- A camera. Allowing me to capture the world as I see it, and share my perspective in creative ways.
- My church and the community it’s given me on a daily basis. I’ve learned how important it is not to do life alone.
April 23, 2019
- Hanging out with Kameron yesterday, learning about his tech and toys, and him handing over his Canon camera for me to capture more stories.
- Being able to play basketball at U.N.O yesterday. No matter the city I’m in, I want to be intentional about finding a way to play basketball.
- Cody Carnes song, Nothing Else. “I’m sorry, when I’ve just gone through the motions. […] I’m sorry, when I’ve come with my agenda. I’m sorry, when I forgot that you’re enough.”
April 22, 2019
- Yesterday as a whole. Church service. Breakfast with a friend. Amazing time with my family. All the pictures. So many memories. So much joy.
- Last night’s play that I attended called, “My Redeemer Lives.” It was creative, collaborative, intense, and beautiful.
- Today is travel day for my job, for a week-long leadership conference. I’m thankful for these opportunities I’ve been given.
April 21, 2019
- Rae Lynn for letting me borrow Bob Goff’s book, Everybody Always.
- Janea for mentioning Bob Goff enough times that when I walked into Rae Lynn’s house, I saw the book and knew I needed it.
- Bob Goff for writing this book. I only read the first chapter so far, but he might be my favorite author now. “It’s given me comfort knowing we’re all rough drafts of the people we’re still becoming.”
April 20, 2019
- Elevation Worship’s new album, Paradoxology. It’s been on repeat for the past two days. It’s been my soundtrack.
- My time spent with Sariyah and Skiler yesterday. Just walking around the Houston Science Museum. Such a beautiful memory.
- My April photoblog. Slowly finishing up all the details of this month’s photoblog to release in a few days, and I’m seeing how many special moments I’ve had lately.
April 19, 2019
- These lyrics: “Can’t go back to the beginning. Can’t control what tomorrow will bring. But I know here in the middle, is the place where you promise to be.”
- GPS technology, allowing me to go on adventures without needing a paper map.
- My conversation with Ms. Robin last night. I’m learning how important it is to let people older and wiser than me speak into my life.
April 18, 2019
- My coffee meeting with JP yesterday. Iron sharpens iron. He’s someone that always pours life and wisdom into me each time we have a conversation.
- My road trip to Houston today. It’s gonna be a great weekend.
- Maple Bacon Eclairs at Mr. Ronnie’s Donuts. They currently have my heart.
April 17, 2019
- This new song I created yesterday for my brother, called Your Sobriety.
- This morning’s meeting with Chase and the two hour conversation we had about life and the upcoming projects.
- Hanging out with my friend Abigail and getting to know her better.
April 16, 2019
- My mom is coming with me to church on Easter Sunday. I’m excited to spend that time with her on a special day.
- My jacket still smells like smoke from the barn fire we had a few weeks ago, even after washing it. My first thought was upset that I couldn’t get the smell out yet, but then I realized, as I’m sitting in the office, that it brings back an amazing memory. It brings me right back to that moment with my friends.
- My MACV-1 boots. I wear them daily: for work, to church, to the beach, to climb trees, and whatever else life throws at me.
April 15, 2019
- Yesterday not going as planned, but yet turning out better than the plans could’ve ever been.
- The weekend as a whole. The most refreshing and fulfilling weekend in a long time.
- I should be finished with The Wave of Life video by tomorrow. I’ve been working on it nonstop for three days now.
April 14, 2019
- Today makes exactly one month that I’ve been making this daily list. So thankful for this project and everything it’s changed in my life.
- Spent yesterday on the beach with friends. It was perfect in so many ways.
- The music video we shot for The Wave of Life, a song from my new album.
April 13, 2019
- NBA Playoffs start today. I’ve been looking forward to this day for a long time.
- This Biloxi vacation with friends.
- Getting to spend time with my Aunt Monica and cousin Jarden the other day.
April 12, 2019
- Selima’s gift, prayer, and voice memo to me yesterday. It was beautiful.
- David’s group and dinner last night.
- My conversation with a friend by the water.
April 11, 2019
- My brother graduates drug court today. I’m so thankful for the steps he’s taken to better himself. His growth in these last two years is mind-blowing.
- His wisdom, guidance and love for everyone around him. At times, it’s easy to forget that he’s younger than me. Sometimes it feels like he’s my big brother.
- His family: Rachel, Ashton, Bentley and Petal. They are such a blessing in my life. I’m beyond thankful for each one of them.
April 10, 2019
- Rekindled friendships. The universe will bring back those who are meant to be around.
- Kristal’s recording sessions last night. She’s adding another layer to an already layered album.
- The conversations I had with my Aunt Cherri and my Nanny. Those two phone calls brought us that much closer.
April 9, 2019
- The dinner my brother cooked for us last night. Shrimp spaghetti with tortellini pasta.
- Austin Kleon’s new book, Keep Going.
- My Website. No matter the season, good or bad, I have an outlet to document my thoughts and ideas.
April 8, 2019
- Sitting and laying by the water for hours, just hanging out with my sister.
- Two new pastors poured into my life yesterday. From Ireland and House of Prayer.
- Getting to help a friend with a memorial video last night.
April 7, 2019
- My glasses that allow me to see. The world would be much different without them.
- My GR1 backpack. It’s with me every day, packed with basketball gear, an extra pair of clothes, GoPro, medicine, iPad, and more. Always ready for an adventure.
- My little sister’s text message last night, asking if she can come to church with me.
April 6, 2019
- Altina, Cameron, Kristal, Aaron, Matt, Charles, and Brandon spending the night in the studio with me last night. Magic was definitely made.
- I’m not just showing my talents anymore. I’m getting better at showing my heart. Becoming more vulnerable, and turning my weaknesses into strengths.
- All the voice memos I’ve received from people that have lost someone. There’s power in their words.
April 5, 2019
- Last night’s worship team.
- I wrote and recorded my new favorite song last night in less than an hour, right before church. I’m thankful for that speed of inspiration and execution.
- Mrs. Renee’s prayer for me. It was so simple and powerful. “Rest.”
April 4, 2019
- Tonight’s Cross Church service. Been looking forward to it all week.
- FaceTime calls with my sister Skiler and my godchild Sariyah. Even though they moved away, these video calls are now bringing us closer than ever.
- What Pastor Brandon said this morning: “He’s not letting his problems shape his view of God. He’s letting God shape his view of his problems.”
April 3, 2019
- My health. It’s easy to take it for granted. It usually takes a sickness or an injury for me to remember how blessed I am to live such a healthy physical life.
- The amount of people collaborating with me on my new album. So many gifts and testimony’s collectively on one project.
- Amanda Lindsey Cook’s album, “House on a Hill”.
April 2, 2019
- Today’s my friend Kip’s birthday. I’m thankful that he’s been in my life for almost 30 years and our closeness has never wavered. He’s family.
- My friend Matt. A brand new friendship, but feels like I’ve been knowing him for years. Perfect bond for the perfect time in my life.
- My dad’s phone calls. Every time he calls, we have a very fulfilling conversation. It’s something I look forward to so much.
April 1, 2019
- Playing one on one basketball with Pastor Brandon yesterday. First one to score wins.
- Sitting by the fire for hours with Matt and Janea last night.
- Starting the new month with excitement, peace and vision.
March 31, 2019
- The conversation I had with Mr. Kip about my Uncle Larry who passed away.
- Writing my monthly recaps each month, allowing me to reflect.
- My friend Jason, who always finds ways to be a motivator in my creative and personal life.
March 30, 2019
- All night studio session and pizza party with friends.
- My friend Janea is back home.
- Going to Nola today for a crawfish boil cook-off.
March 29, 2019
- The current peace that I’ve been having each day.
- Finished the intro to my album last night.
- Getting to spend yesterday filming and working in new office.
March 28, 2019
- How well my new album is coming together.
- My counseling session this morning.
- All the photos I captured during March.
March 27, 2019
- Last night’s beef stew and getting to try out the Walk-In Tub at Peter’s. Felt like a jacuzzi.
- Worship music.
- My new workstation in my office.
March 26, 2019
- Last night’s small group, dinner, and message at Mr. Ray’s house.
- My friend Dodi.
- The words I heard last night, “God, don’t let my pain go to waste.”
March 25, 2019
- Krista coming over to record on my new song
- Dinner with my brother. He cooked a chicken spaghetti
- Playing basketball at the Wellness center
March 24, 2019
- My conversation with Chase last night
- The peace that I have this morning
- My new office space to create
March 23, 2019
- My iPhone camera
- My SOAP guide to read/study the Bible
- My little brother’s birthday party today
March 22, 2019
- My Bible
- My friend Brittney’s wisdom and help
- Last night’s Bible Study Small Group
March 21, 2019
- Last night’s worship team at Vision Christian Center in Bourg. It was intense.
- Last night’s full moon
- Hanging out with Krista at the park under the moon, performing her acoustic songs
March 20, 2019
- My godchild, Sariyah
- The film crew from yesterday
- My GR1 backpack
March 19, 2019
- My ability to play basketball
- My iPad Pro
- Ulysses, my writing app
March 18, 2019
- The marina park on the side of my house
- The fan next to my bed
- The amount of water I get to drink
March 17, 2019
- My mom
- Mrs. Heather
- My creativity
March 16, 2019
- My sister, Skiler
- My sister, Nevaeh
- My brother, Brayden
March 15, 2019
- My house
- My blog
- My brother, Nick
March 14, 2019
- My job
- My car
- My church
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