Reflections on 2013, Preview of 2014


I have spent some time today reviewing my media (Facebook basically forces you to do it with the “Year in Review” feature) and journals from the last year and must conclude that 2013 was a good year for me. The previous years have been about healing and growth, but 2013 was a year of transition.
Consider the following-
My Dad retired after 26 years with his organization.
My sister returned from an overseas deployment.
I concluded my time at the University of Florida.
I left Publix after 8 years of employment.
I left the O’Connell Center after nearly 2 years of employment.
I moved from Gainesville to Orlando.
I started a career with a new Company.
A year of transition indeed.
I want to take a moment to honor a few people who truly blessed me in 2013:
Daniel:
I am glad that we have become good friends. I look up to you and respect you greatly. Thank you for your leadership of our church, and your investment in my life.
Matt:
Thank you for your friendship brother. I appreciate your transparency and how you were intentional about developing a strong bond with me this year.
Robert:
Blessed to know you man. Great roommate, better person, average basketball player.
BJamos and Fikcett. Nuff said, basketball when I come back to G-Ville soon.
Jack:
Dude, you’re awesome. Glad I got to meet you this year and develop a friendship. Excited to see what God is gonna do in your life.
P.S. Tower of Terror needs to happen again ASAP.
Chris:
Really looking forward to serving with you in ministry here in Orlando. Thank you for your leadership and your genuine love for people. It is evident to all those who know you.

Bryce:
Good call on the roommates thing. Proud of all of your hard work and drive through adversity this year. You are going to have a great 2014. 

I expect 2014 to be a challenging yet rewarding year as I settle into a new work location, assume control of new leadership responsibilities, and focus on developing relationships here in Orlando.
The Pastor of my new church (Yes, I will be joining this church very soon) encouraged the congregation to discover a word that will mark their year. This word will guide their focus for the following year. I have spent the last few days searching for my word and believe I have found it, but I am waiting for some confirmation on that.  Please pray for me in this matter.
I am so thankful for 2013 and am confident that 2014 will be a special year.
Here we go!
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Random Thoughts: Duck Dynasty, Knockout Game, Podcasts, Titles and Tunes.

My renewed commitment to blogging means the return of Random Thoughts, one of my favorite entries.

Phil Robertson caused quite a stir with his comments in a recent interview published in GQ magazine. A&E responded by suspending him indefinitely from the show.

I am not going to discuss his comments specifically or engage in any discussion of the merits of homosexuality in our culture. That will be saved for another time.

However, I will take a moment to discuss the response by all to this situation.

As soon as news of this broke, this is what I observed: Battle lines were drawn, sides were taken, and arrows were launched.

WHY?! Why are we so hyper-sensitive to this? Shouts of intolerance and bigotry filled the air, responded to by shouts about free speech and… intolerance.The irony of this is rich to me.

Put down your weapons, be mature, and address each other like civilized human beings. 

Moving on-

Is there anything more reprehensible than the so called “Knockout Game”?
If you don’t know what this is, I encourage you to do some research.
Anyway..so this is what some people do because they are bored?

 Targeting defenseless people and seeking to knock them unconscious is disgusting. This is the type of thing that society as a whole should denounce immediately. This kind of rampant lawlessness is completely contrary to the American ideal.

On to something much more positive

Podcasts are changing my life.

Laugh all you want at that statement, but I am urging you to nix the cynicism and consider this for a moment. Consider the free time that you have and how you spend it. Now consider your goals, hopes, and dreams for your life.

Okay, now how do you connect your free time with your goals, hopes, and dreams? By being disciplined and intentional with your efforts each and every day.

You may be wondering what Podcasts have to do with this, so here is the answer- Podcasts are a tool that can be used to connect your free time with the life you want to have (goals, hopes, dreams).

Do you want to be smarter? There are podcasts for that.
Want to lead better? Podcasts for that too.
Want better relationships? Podcasts for that.
Want to be more productive? Podcasts for that.

Tunes and Titles

This is the segment where I share my current favorite songs and books that I am reading, get it- Tunes and Titles. (I thought it was catchy).

Tunes –

  1.  Bring the Rain – MercyMe
  2. Chances – Five for Fighting 
  3. Dum Dum – Tedashii feat Lecrae
  4. I Hold On – Dierks Bentley 
  5. You Revive Me – Christy Nockels 

Titles –

  1. Mere Christianity – C.S. Lewis
  2. David and Goliath – Malcolm Gladwell 
  3. Reviving Work Ethic – Eric Chester

That is all for now! Less than two weeks left in 2013. Be safe, Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays!

Letter to Mom


 Today would have been my Mother’s 56th birthday. In honor of that I’d like to share a letter I wrote to her a while back. I wrote this in November of 2010 when we discovered Mom was terminally ill. It was my heart then and it is my heart now. I celebrate the life she lead and am so thankful for her time here with us.
11/14/10

Mom,

I love you. I don’t know how this is going to come out, or how long it will be, but I trust that it will be good. I have so many thoughts, I cant possibly write them down fast enough, but I will try.

You are my Mom. Nobody can ever take your place or love me like you have. Certainly you were appointed by God to hold this position. You are a great Mom. And even when you are gone, your presence and impact will be felt daily. You will be missed deeply because you loved with such great depth. That time has not yet come, so I am writing this to tell you how much you mean to me, how much of an impact you have had on me, just to tell you everything. So here it goes.

You carried me for 9 months. I know you and dad were glad to have a boy. (I have seen the pictures, lots of smiles). Thank you for caring for me even before I was born. I was born healthy on August 1st and I imagine you were the first person to really hold me. I obviously don’t remember it but I have seen the photos. You and dad were so happy. I am glad and blessed to have great and loving parents. Thank you for that. So I was born, but even before then, our relationship was set. Mother and son, is any bond stronger? Maybe, but I haven’t felt it yet. I mean, your blood flows through me, how cool is that? As I said, I was born and the next few years went by smoothly (as far as I know). But in those years you still cared for me. I was your only son and you and dad had to change my diapers, put me to bed, heal my wounds, pick me up when I fell down and all of the other things parents do. You were always there. I said my first words, learned how to walk. At times, I was a pain, but your love never ceased. I’ve seen the photos and I know I was your little boy. I cherish that knowledge.

We moved to Brunswick and this is when I started to have some memories of life and our time together. BOATS!!! I would always say that when we crossed that one bridge. It makes me smile just writing this. And I was at small strides with all of my girlfriends and my picky eating habits. And we lived in oak grove at 4195 Harbor Point Drive. That was a good house. I remember stepping on a frog outside and I was so upset about that. I was a sensitive and caring boy. I still am. I got those traits from you.

Moving forward we went on to Tallahassee. So many memories. You and dad sacrificed a lot for us. You worked at Gilchrist and were able to be home in my developmental years. I didn’t realize the value of that at the time, but now I see it. It was nice having you around. Especially when I got poison ivy that one time, what a terrible experience!!! All of those Saturdays we spent in the yard and on the golf course. You and dad both have a great work ethic and you both showed us how to work hard. I cherish those times now. I miss them. Most importantly, during this time, we were active in the church. You and dad were engaged in the church and taught us a lot. Eventually I accepted Christ, which was good. I want to make this point emphatically- You and dad were a great success as parents because your example brought both of your children to Christ. And for that, I thank you. That changes everything for me. You always protected me. This sometimes led to a conflict with dad, but that’s okay. It happens. We all learned a lot through all of that.

Moving forward, I became an adolescent and teen. I am sure I gave you attitude many times and I apologize for that. You were always quick to forgive. We never had tension for long. During this time we had numerous great talks. They usually happened on long walks. That habit has stuck with me, I still love walks. Our walks were the best. We always meshed so well. We certainly think a lot alike. Very similar in many ways. In a strange way, you are my mother but also a great friend.

Then high school started and I was growing into a young man. Your girl had left for college. This time must have been tough because the family was seemingly moving apart. But like always, you held us together. The glue and mortar of this family that kept us together. You were there for everything. My successes and failures and struggles. Always available and willing to listen. Those years really flew by. They were great  and I will never forget them. The last two years were particularly fun because it was just me and you. That’s not to say that it was fun without dad, but those years were unique and incredibly valuable to me.

The first time you got cancer that was tough. But again, it was me and you. I was there through it all. I don’t know why God made it that way, but maybe one day I will. Time went on and I continued to grow and mature. We moved to Gainesville and I was a college boy. You and dad let me know often how you were proud of me. That meant a lot. Thank you for that. There was conflict, but you were always there, at the center, to resolve it.

Then I moved out on my own. And I know this time was tough. Just watching your son grow. Not long ago I could rest in the palm of your hand, now my palms were as big as your hands. Time flies. Your cancer returned and it was tough. Your strength amazes me.

So here we are now, in the midst of a great trial and you have endured so much pain. I hope and pray that it stops soon.  I just don’t want you to suffer. But I cant see my life without you, you were always there. I always assumed you would be there. For everything. It hurts to think about my future without you in it. We just have to accept the fact that you may not be there. I have been upset and angry. Why you? You are the sweetest woman in the world. (Job 38 answers that)

As I think about it, I know that you will be there. As I said,  your blood runs through me. The things you taught me will live on. I hope to love like you do My children will know about you, I promise

I  cant help but reflect and ponder the love story that is responsible for my existence. That of course is the story of Steve Amos and Bev Jordan. Dad said he knew exactly the moment he realized he was going to marry you. Winston Churchill once said that a family begins when a boy falls in love with a girl. So, our family began at that moment.

I just cant fathom how dad feels now. His best friend, life, battle buddy in this world, is now leaving him. I know it is taking a tremendous toll on him. I will do my best to take care of him in your absence.

Then there is Chelsea. Your first born. She was a cute little girl for sure. I know she was difficult at times, but I believe she is on the right path. I know you are worried about her. I trust that she will make wise decisions. She has matured in many ways. Besides, Dad and I will keep her focused.

You will leave behind quite a legacy. A legacy of love and strength. Everyone who knows you acknowledges your strength. It is truly remarkable. You are a loving mother, wife, daughter, friend and person.

Moving forward it will be tough. But as Christians, we must have joy at all times. (Philippians 4:4)

And we know you will be in the presence of the Lord. You will be home. (Revelation 21:4)

I cant even fathom what it will be like.

That’s all I guess. I know I will see you again. For me it wont be goodbye, just see you later.

– Brian

His Promises

A short while back a dear friend asked me a couple of very challenging questions:
How did you trust God even when you knew your Mom may not live? How did you trust Him when what you were praying for and hoping for wasn’t happening?

I went back to that time and reflected on my experience: praying for healing and ultimately watching my Mom succumb to cancer. It was awful. Anyone who has experienced loss knows this. We hope and pray for physical healing and comfort, but so often it doesn’t happen.

So what was my response?  I trusted His promises.
You see, Jesus makes some pretty serious promises to us.
Consider the following:

Trouble and Triumph
In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
John 16:33b
Eternal Presence
And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
Matthew 28:20b
Destination
And if I go and prepare a place for you,
I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.
John 14:3

Jesus promises that we will face troubles in this world. We will endure pain, hardship, and loss. However… in the midst of these trials, we will have His presence and the knowledge that He is preparing a place for us.

Don’t miss this though: it is not enough to trust His promises. We miss the point if we focus on the promises and hold them above the One delivering the promises. The truth is, I trust in His promises because I trust in Him.

So where does that leave us? I pray it brings you joy and peace, but not complacency. Our trust in Him and His promises needs to be made known to others.

Committed.

It has been a while since I have posted here. Nearly 5 months it looks like. I love to write but for some reason I have not carved out time to do so, but that has changed recently.

Unfortunately, as soon as it changed, my primary computer was stolen in a troubling event (more on that later).

I am committed to writing. This will be evident in the coming weeks, months, and (hopefully) years. This blog will be my outlet for the content that I wish to share.

I encourage you to post feedback comments or engage in conversation with me if you feel lead to do so.

Thank you,

B