Random Thoughts: #TourDeDC2016

Last week I visited our nations capitol, Washington DC. I toured the Capitol, the White House, the Library of Congress, various museums, monuments, and the sacred grounds of Arlington National Cemetery.

Visiting these various locations prompted so many thoughts (some random, some deliberate) that it has taken me some time to process through them all. Here are some of the main takeaways.

America: Scarred but still Great

I knew there was a reason that I rejected the notion that America was never great. This statement has been a common refrain by many who reject the mantra of Donald Trump when he says “Make America Great Again”. They simply state that “America was never great.”

A simple tour of DC proves this to be false.

Washington

The Washington monument. Created to honor our very first President. A man who, when given the opportunity to expand power, chose to relinquish power back to the people. This principle, the idea that the government belongs to the people, is great.

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Abraham Lincoln. A man who fought for the idea that all men are created equal and managed to keep our nation intact as it sought to dissolve. This is great.

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This photo is front the entrance to the Holocaust Museum. A museum dedicated to remembering the millions of lives that were exterminated by the evil Nazi regime.

When confronted with evil in the world, the United States fought to destroy it.

And succeeded. This is great.

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Finally. Arlington National Cemetery. Countless rows of head stones with the names of honorable Americans. Many of whom died in combat securing the very freedom we have to proclaim that our country was never great.

The free air that we breathe is because of their sacrifice.

This is great.

Our Nation has its scars. A past full of things that caused deep pain and sorrow for many. But don’t you? What do you expect from a nation full of people that have pasts full of things that have caused deep pain and sorrow? We are scarred, but this does not fully eliminate the collective greatness of our Nation. Our scars do not define us. Just like your scars do not define you.

The Rest of DC:

  • DC was surprisingly quiet despite it being election season. I anticipated more but was actually pleasantly surprised.
  • Uber is the way to go when traveling around town
  • Clean city! As someone who understands custodial operations, I appreciated this aspect
  • Knocked off another MLB park while visiting. Enjoyed watching the Nationals play the Braves.

Thanks for stopping by!

– Brian

Random Thoughts 2015 – 2016

Wow. So much has happened in the last year. One thing that has not happened is much publishing of blogs. I have been writing consistently, just not publishing. I figured returning with some Random Thoughts from the last year would be a good start

Glacial River Meets Saltwater 08142010 f v2

Salt Water:

Election season is upon us (and has been for the better part of a year) and I can’t help but think that our current situation is like being thirsty and only having salt water to drink. An overwhelming majority of Americans say that the country is heading in the wrong direction, but the leading candidate promises to continue (if not double down on) the enforcement of policies that push us towards our current direction. The insurgent candidate is so loathed by the power brokers within his party that they are actively undermining his success, likely ensuring defeat. Both instances are strange indeed.

Note: drinking salt water when thirsty will kill you.

Pokemon Go:

I will admit. I  have been participating in the Pokemon Go craze. As if my generation needed another reason to look down at our phones. I suppose this craze is a little less selfish in nature but it also brings back nostalgic memories of the elementary school days when “gotta catch em all” meant going to Books A Million and buying packs of Pokemon cards hoping to catch a holigraphic Charizard. All I know is, many Pokemon hoarders wiser than I are making some decent profit on their stash of cards.

Titles and Tunes:

Here is what I have been reading and listening to lately –

  • Crisis of Character by Gary J. Byrne
  • Unconditional Love by John Joseph Powell
  • The Starfish and the Spider by Ori Brafman and Rod A. Beckstrom
  • The Greatest Salesman in the World by Og Mandino
  • Testify by NEEDTOBREATHE
  • Clear by NEEDTOBREATHE
  • Love Will Take You Places by Danny Gokey
  • Even When it Hurts by Hillsong

Enjoy!

– Brian

 

Random Thoughts: May 2015

May was a very challenging month. Painful to be quite honest.

Cancer sucks. A family member and a close family friend died due to cancer this month. These situations hit close to home, and maybe even more so as we approach the anniversary of my Mom’s passing in early June.

Life is fragile. I am humbled by this reality, but more than anything I am motivated by it. Motivated by the thought that it is simply not supposed to be like this.

Death was never part of the plan. Death breaks the Lord’s heart, and finally it has broken mine.

Alas, May was not all doom and gloom. Life goes on and I am still breathing so that means that the Lord has a plan for me that He is working out.

Also, I have read and listened to some great content this month. Check out the latest in Titles and Tunes.

Titles

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni

FiveDysfunctions

If you lead a team or are a member of a team, this is a MUST read. Easy to understand and implement while also being a very quick read. I knocked it out in a weekend and was able to go back and take some notes.

Spiritual-Leadership

Spiritual Leadership by J. Oswald Sanders

I have not yet completed this book, but I have covered enough ground to know that it is a worthwhile read if you are interested in the subject of Spiritual Leadership. I am impressed by how practical and easy to digest the content is. So often I have found books like this to be heavy and lacking in practical day to day application. I need actionable content. So if you are like me in that sense, then check it out.

Podcasts

 The N Commandments – Northpoint Community Church

Andy Stanley explains what Jesus said we are NOT to do. Hence the N Commandments. (Think: Worry Not, Sin Not, Doubt Not, etc)

Awesome series, check it out.

Relat(able) – Passion City Church

Relationships. Everyone wants to have great relationships, but are we Relatable? Louie Giglio is currently working through this series on relationships and its good stuff.

Tunes

 My Top 5 Tunes as of Today

  1. What Would I Do Without You – Drew Holcomb & the Neighbors
  2. American Beauty – Drew Holcomb & the Neighbors
  3. Difference Maker – NEEDTOBREATHE
  4. Brother – NEEDTOBREATHE
  5. Beneath the Waters (I Will Rise) – Hillsong Live

I went to a concert and was introduced to Drew Holcomb & the Neighbors for the first time. Needless to say, I am a fan. Check out the tunes!

 

 

 

Random Thoughts: April 2015

April has been a great month!

We are 1/3 of the way through 2015 and that is staggering to consider. It seems that this part of the year is really when life starts to pick up the pace heading into summer. (Although, summer in Florida is loosely defined as April-October).

I am really excited about some of the content I read/heard this month. Here is the latest in Titles and Tunes.

Titles

Chasing Daylight

I highlighted this book last month as a Title that I had just started. I finished it this month and my sentiment remains the same: GO and READ IT!

I am passionate about time and living a fully engaged life. Chasing Daylight focuses on this topic and offers a good mix of the philosophical and practical perspective on focused living. Living with intensity and purpose, particularly in pursuit of the mission of Jesus Christ.

It is a must read for anyone that does not want to waste their lives.

Good to Great (Audio Book)

Have you ever wondered what separates the best organizations from the rest of the marketplace? Good to Great drills down and finds the answer.

I own the hard copy of this book and will likely read it at some point, but the audio book was good for my time on the road this month. If you don’t have time to devote to reading, then I would recommend audio books. They are a good option if you are on the road a lot or you can combine them with a daily workout routine.

I recommend Good to Great for anyone that is a Leadership/Business nerd like me. My favorite concept from the book was the Hedgehog Concept. I don’t want to bore you with the details, so check out this video of Jim Collins explaining the Hedgehog Concept.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JUrdbmNBpyY

Podcasts

North Point Community Church

Time of Your Life by Andy Stanley

This was a video series that I watched with Rightnow Media, but I am counting it as a podcast. Regardless, you can find the resource here: http://northpoint.org/messages/time-of-your-life/

Once again, this message is on Time. You should watch/listen to this, my words cannot do it justice.

Tunes

My Top 5 Tunes as of Today

  1. Don’t It – Billy Currington (I was raised on Country music so it never really leaves me!)
  2. Because He Lives – Matt Maher
  3. Riptide – Vance Joy (Catchy tune!)
  4. Come as You Are – Crowder
  5. No Turning Back – Brandon Heath

Travels

#TourDeBama

#TourDeFLA

#TourDeGA

I went on vacation this month for about a week, and it was much needed. I traveled through Florida and Alabama visiting family and friends. I even made a short trip into Georgia. I visited some new places but also places I would consider home. Small towns where I lived, and small towns where my family came from and has lived for over a century. At the end of the day, it was the people that made the difference for me.

This is not so much a Random Thought as it is a life principle:

People Matter Most.

I hope you feel the same way.

Here are some truly Random Thoughts before I head into May!

  • I was glad that UK did not go undefeated
  • However, the evil empire won a National Title = bummer
  • The Masters remains one of the best events in all of Sports
  • Gator Football is going to be rebuilding for the next 2 years
  • Apple is the greatest Company of our generation, take some time to appreciate that

Thanks for stopping by!

The Greatest Game Ever Played

As I navigated 18 holes of golf this weekend with my Dad, I found myself thinking about how the game of golf uniquely reflects life. Most athletes would say that sports in general reflect life, and they are right in saying so. Adversity, perseverance, teamwork, dedication etc are inherent in all sports but I believe that golf most precisely reflects life. Consider the following principles:

  • Individual Sport

Golf is an individual sport. We have tried to make teams, but golf in its purest form is about you. Your swing, your decisions, your shot, resulting in your score. People can teach you everything about the game, but at the end of the day YOU must execute.

Life is a lot like this. Your time, your decisions, your habits, your relationships, resulting in your life. Not unlike golf, you can get a bad break here or there. Heck, you can get a string of bad breaks. It happens. However, it is your response to those bad breaks that will define your life. People can teach you how to live, but it is up to you to decide.

At the end of your life, the Lord will hold you accountable for how you lived. Be sure to live well.

  • Great Challenge = Great Opportunity

If you have ever attempted a round of golf, then you know how hard it is. You must use a small club to hit an even smaller ball, to a relatively small target, hundreds of yards away, guarded by just about any natural barrier imaginable. For some reason, this challenge keeps me coming back. I have played the sport for 20+ years and I keep coming back.

And therein we find the principle: Great challenge = Great opportunity.

All it takes is one incredible shot to redeem a round. The routine shots in golf are not the ones that you remember; it’s the shots that you achieve against all odds.

The long par 5 you reach in two.

The bunker shot you hole out to save par.

The punch shot through a small gap in the trees (I have failed at this shot a few times and have the scar to prove it).

You face many great challenges in each round, but those challenges are an opportunity for greatness. You will never hit the miraculous shot if you don’t take a chance.

Life is a lot like this.

You are faced with great challenges, but those are great opportunities! Go after them with everything you have so you can at least say you gave it your best shot. Who knows, perhaps you will pull off the miraculous.

I think the Lord calls us to live like this. A life of full engagement, viewing challenges as opportunities, and impossible situations as faith expanding experiences.

  • Every Shot is Unique

Variables, variables. So many variables. Wind direction and speed, lie, grass length, distance, pin location, green speed, humidity, temperature, etc.

I think this is one of the reasons golf is so challenging.

Every shot is unique.

Life is a lot like this.

Every day is unique.

Full of variables as well. Relationships, challenges, frustrations, experiences, lessons, opportunities.

I often lose sight of this, usually around Monday when I am wishing my days away to get back to my weekend. I hope for an “easy week” so I can get to my weekend.

I sacrifice 5 days in order to relax for 2.

Something about that math just doesn’t add up for me. And it shouldn’t, because life doesn’t work like that.

I think about when the Psalmist says “Show me, LORD, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is.”

I ask myself this: Given the reality that my life is fleeting, how then should I live each day?

Golf has been called the Greatest Game Ever Played, a gentlemen’s sport they tell me.

Now I don’t know about all of that, but what I do know is that this game has taught me a great deal about life.

Here is the one difference though: I will play many rounds of golf, but I only get ONE shot at life.

Better make it count.

– B

Random Thoughts: March 2015

March is almost in the books and it has been a good one. Here is the latest in Titles and Tunes.

Titles

Chasing Daylight by Erwin McManus

Must Read!

Must Read!

I heard Erwin speak at a Better Man conference a short time ago and was blown away. I immediately purchased a few of his books and have not been disappointed at all. I am not exaggerating when I say that this is one of the best books I have ever read on the topic of intentional living as a follower of Christ. It is easy to read, easy to understand, and delivers a punch straight to your heart.

Tunes

My top 5 Tunes as of Today –

New York to California – Mat Kearney
Without a doubt one of the sweetest songs I have heard in a long time.

My Only Answer – Austin Adamec
Glad to see Austin be successful. He led worship with CRU @ UF for a number of years and I always thought he was very talented.

Overwhelmed – Big Daddy Weave

Live Like That – Sidewalk Prophets
Talk about intentional living!

Throwback Tune – Chances – Five for Fighting

Social Media

This will likely be a topic for an entire blog at some point… but does anyone else think that social media has gone too far in some cases? I walk around every day and constantly see this

Look up!

Look up!

Here’s the thing – I observe this as a guilty man. I spend too much time on my phone. Heck, I will post this very blog to various social media outlets. But how much is too much? Just some food for thought. (Stay tuned because I will be writing another blog on this.)

Sports

I love the Spring sports lineup, and here’s why:

March Madness (although I didn’t even complete a bracket this year, weird)

Major League Baseball/Fantasy Baseball (Go Cardinals)

Fantasy Basketball playoffs (I am locked into a heck of a battle right now)

The Masters (Will Bubba repeat?)

Monday

It has become a popular thing to beat up on Monday as the representative of the beginning of our work week. I guess I just can’t relate. It seems to me that wishing your days away is just like wasting your days away. I have lived long enough to know that each day is unique and special. Enjoy each day.

Enjoy the remainder of your March!

-Brian

Random Thoughts: February 2015

Needless to say, it has been a while since I have written. I am glad to be back and all of this time has allowed me to compile quite a few Random Thoughts. For the sake of time and space, I will keep it to the month of February.

Here is the latest in Titles and Tunes:

Titles 

The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

Why we do what we do in life and business

Why we do what we do in life and business.

If you are…

1) a nerd

2) a leader

or

3) a nerdy leader

then this book is for you. Duhigg investigates the science behind habits and how to change them. I have found it to be a very quick read, while remaining engaging and insightful.

Psalms

Psalms

Yes, the Psalms. As in Biblical Psalms. The last few years I have read the Bible cover to cover in some capacity but this year i elected to read the Psalms each month. So far I am two months in and have made a few observations.

1) I miss A LOT when I read Scripture (or anything for that matter)

2) Due to #1, it seems that going over something again helps me discover something I missed. What a concept right?

3) The Psalms are rich. But also raw. I love how David and the other Psalmists are so open about their doubts, fears, and concerns. Lately, Psalm 34 has been hitting home for me. Check it out.

Tunes

My top 5 tunes as of today:

1) Multiplied by NEEDTOBREATHE

2) Follow You by Ben Rector

3) How Can it Be by Lauren Daigle

4) Overwhelmed by Big Daddy Weave

5) Thunderstruck by AC/DC (Admittedly, this song is an outlier. But it is on my run playlist and I kick it up when this tune comes on.)

BONUS 

Top Podcasts of 2015:

1) North Point Community Church

2) Your Move with Andy Stanley

3) The Drive – First Baptist Orlando