Saturday, August 10, 2013

State Champs

I was reading an email sent from Coach Kyle Richardson at NWHS and noticed the stamp at the bottom:

State Champions 2010, 1993, 1989

A couple of things struck me:
1- You don't win state every year. Some years you struggle for a winning record even, but you never give up. You fight to "win today" and get better. You keep grinding and working and developing so that tomorrow is a little bit better than and closer to what you want reality to be. You can't get "fat & happy" & complacent. Yesterdays victories don't mean anything today.
2- You can't be state champs if you don't "win today." You can't focus on what you have done in the past or what might be around the bend (it is good to plan etc, but you get my drift). You have to win the day in order to get better, to move on and to succeed. 

Our jobs, relationships and lives can be so up and down. Sometimes you are flying high and the next minute you are face down on the ground. I wear a band on my arm that says two things on it. On one part it says, "ALWAYS COMPETE" and on the other side it says, "WINFOREVER." Those are great reminders that we need to work hard to be all we can be as disciples, husbands, wives, teammates, friends, leaders... We should always compete to win the day in every way and then give the glory to the One who deserves it.


Wednesday, July 11, 2012


I was hanging out with my friend Joe yesterday. He is on staff with FCA but used to be a college baseball coach. He was a good college baseball coach. A couple of years ago he got fired from the school he had been at for almost 20 years.
So, we are hanging out and talking and he told me that he was going to be going to Atlanta for a big baseball tournament that the high school travel team he coaches was going to be playing in. I told him off the cuff that that might be fun because he would see some of his old coaching buddies who would be scouting players at the tournament. As we continued to talk I realized that it might not be fun for Joe to see some of his old coaching buddies and I asked him about that. Would it be hard to see them and know that they are still coaching and he is not. "Yeah," he said.
I knew exactly what he meant. It is hard to be let go, passed over, down-sized, etc. The crazy thing is that Joe and I both know he is right where God would have him, doing what God has gifted him to do. He would probably say that he is closer to God than he was a year ago, his family is in a better place and would agree with all these things. As I looked him in the eye though I could see that glimmer of, "Yeah" still lingering.
His pride still wanted to be coaching partly because he loves it, but partly because he just wanted to play out things on his own terms. This is a hard thing to swallow as a man. I got passed over for a store a year ago, another friend of mine got turned down for what he thought might be his dream job with the FBI and we all would say in our head, "God's will," but in our hearts we struggle, when we are honest, we still struggle some with it. There is a little pause there.
Jesus was good at really believing in his heart, "God's will." Joe and I started talking about Jesus and others in the Bible that were just faithful to whatever God had for them. They stayed right on His heels, trusted Him and very often set aside their pride and personal plan for whatever He had for them. They went where He wanted them to go, said what He told them to say and grew closer to Him because of it. I am grateful that I have a Savior that I can look to, that modeled how to listen to, follow and REALLY trust our Abba. I am also grateful that I have friends that I can sit in chairs at Starbuck's with or in the back booth of my restaurant and have real conversations with, pray with and just be truthful with. Those times help that little pause get shorter and shorter.


Thursday, July 5, 2012

He thinks we're just fishin'

I was hanging out with a friend today and he shared with me a really great personal story about God meeting him in a cool way when he was fishing recently. We talked a bit about the experience that he had and how he had been praying and was almost embarrassed to say that he had asked God to let him catch a fish (he had had a string of bad luck).
We agreed that scripture is clear that he shouldn't be and that it really does encourage us to simply keep our hearts and thoughts totally open to Him. I really think that that is when we are most close to Him. When we are willing to really just talk with Him. Not posture or pray as we think someone may want us to pray, but to open our hearts and then be willing to listen too.
We went on vacation recently and I did a lot of fishing with Ryan, throwing the football with Matthew and boogie boarding with Garrett while we were at the beach. I literally could have done those three things almost all day long. I had such a great time simply being with my boys. Doing what they liked to do with no time line or distractions (except maybe one of the other boys wanting to do one of the other things I listed above). It was simply fun to be with them.
Whether I was casting the line out into the ocean for Ryan, lofting the ball to Matthew as he ran a route or catching a wave with Garrett I felt really close to them. I got joy through their joy. God is no different. He gets joy through our joy. He longs to spend time with us, talk with us and be known by us. As John Eldredge once said, "The Bible can mostly be summed up as God simply saying, "Come closer.""
What I should be embarrassed about is wondering if my Abba would think that I am foolish for asking Him to help us catch a fish. He tells us to have faith like a child and to become like a child, so why am I so surprised that when I do that I often have such a real experience with Him?
I did the same thing as my friend when Ryan and I were fishing off the beach on our vacation. Ryan had not caught anything when we went out on the first day and after quite a while I just started to talk the Him as I was net casting for bait. Asking Him if Ryan could just catch one fish so we could celebrate together there on the beach. After talking to Him about that for a while when Ryan finally caught that little black tip shark it didn't feel like it was just the two of us celebrating the catch, but rather three of us.
My friend told me today that he thinks that we are often slow to pray because we are then admitting that we need God and can't do it on our own. I know that sometimes for me that is true. I also know that it is a lot more fun to catch a baby shark with your son when your Abba is there with you. It is easy to often think that we are simply "fishin" and that God is not involved in our lives, but that is simply not true. Life is meant to be far deeper and richer than that. I really do want to come closer and yes, He really wants us to as well.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


I was outside my store today and happened to look up and see our flag blowing in the wind. I remember when I first got the store and I loved seeing the flag flying high and blowing around up there. I was disappointed because my second thought was that I maybe ought to think about getting a smaller flag next time to save money.
My mind immediately then went to a talk that a friend of mine gave at our fall plan share. He talked to us about the importance of why we do what we do. He said that it was important to not forget why you came to work for CFA and to think about why you were going to operate your store in 2012. I felt guilty as I walked in the store because by allowing myself to think about getting a smaller flag I was really copping out on doing some harder work that concerns profit at our store.
I didn't come to CFA to not rise to a challenge, to not grow and to put temporary band-aids on things. I want to make a difference in the lives of others, be a faithful steward of what I have been entrusted with and carry the baton of CFA as far and as I possibly can. I plan on taking some time over the next week or so and making a little list of "Why's". Why are you going to do what you do this year?

Thursday, December 15, 2011


I know that there are all kinds of thoughts, stats and quotes out there that try and quantify the importance of hugs. I can never remember how many you are supposed to have a day or during the week, but I learned a valuable lesson about hugs on Thursday.
Karon has worked for me for almost 4 years. She has some challenges and OCD is one of them. She does detailed cleaning a couple of times a week at the store for us and always asks the same questions, in the same order, etc. She stands at the register waiting for exactly 9:30 to clock in every time she works. I really like Karon and have tried to make sure that we always have a place for her at our store. Sometimes that can be a bit challenging because of her issues, but it has proven worth it.
Back to the hug.
December 1st was my birthday and after Karon was done at precisely 11AM, she clocked out and came back to the office to talk with me. She explained she needed a day off in December and we chatted for a minute.  Then there was an slight awkward pause and she just reached up and wrapped her arms around my neck and as she was doing this she wished me a happy birthday. She didn't just let go either. She held on for a second and really hugged on me like she meant it. I was caught way off guard by this because with Karon having OCD things are usually very routine and quite predictable.
I hope that I never forget the feeling that I had in that moment when Karon hugged me. Everything melted away. I felt cared for and genuinely loved. It was unbelievably genuine.
It reminded me of the value of a hug, a kind word or a simple gesture. During this season I hope to take that hug that Karon gave me and pass it on to others in unexpected and fun ways that will encourage them and let them know that they are loved, not just by me but by the baby in Bethlehem.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Frat House Weekend

When the boys were smaller and Suzanne would head out of town for a weekend we would call it Frat House Weekend and the boys would usually just wear their diapers and we would eat and do whatever we wanted. They would sleep in the bed with me and we would watch Disney until late at night.

Suzanne has headed to Atlanta for the weekend to visit her family and took Garrett with her. Ryan, Matthew and I stayed here because Ryan has hist first 5k tomorrow and they both have baseball. Even thought I really miss Suzanne when she is gone these are good times alone with the boys.

I don't always do a good job of slowing down and staying in the moment with them like I did when they were younger. Sometimes I get frustrated at stupid things or think that other things are more important and usually they are not. Two things made me really want to relish these times alone with them more today.

One was when I thought about my friend Theresa. She has a son in the Marines and he is stationed in Japan. She doesn't get to talk to him very often at all. Wednesday she got to Skype with him for a while before he was deployed to help with the disaster. He is doing a great thing, but I thought about what it would be like to only be able to Skype with one of the boys for a few minutes a month and suddenly the fact that Ryan helped himself to an ice bag at the store didn't seem like a big deal at all.

The other thing was that my dad stopped by today on his way back to Greensboro and we hung out for a little bit. When he was leaving I told him thanks for stopping and he told me he was glad he did. That just hit me different for some reason. My dad was glad to see me. That felt good. I need to make sure that my boys know that I am glad to be with them and enjoy their company. They need to know that they are the apple of my eye. I didn't know that I needed that today, but I did and I am 38.

So, if you happen to hear a little more noise coming from 1062 Sharon Lee Ave the rest of this weekend it is just me enjoying being with my boys. I hope you get a chance to do the same with yours.


Wednesday, March 9, 2011


With three boys in my house there is rarely a quiet moment and much of the noise in our house is actually laughter. I love to hear them laugh, and nothing warms my heart like hearing Suzanne laugh when we watch a show together or I do something silly. Today I got to thinking about how much God loves to hear us laugh too. To know that our hearts are full and we are enjoying the life that he has given to us. Often laughter can be the best medicine.

When we went to our annual Chick-fil-A operators seminar this year we were entertained for the second year in a row by Tim Hawkins. He wrote a song about Chick-fil-A a couple of years ago and is absolutely hilarious. Follow the link below if you want a good laugh and want to make God smile! Don't forget to enjoy your day and laugh along the way!