06
Oct
10

Favorite College Memories (100-91)

And now we get into the double digits, aside from this first one…

100.  Working with Freshmen Leadership Council (2007-2008)
Well a long time ago, I was a Freshman Focus leader at the UK BCM…three years ago in fact, which is completely crazy when I think about it.  One of the more special parts of that experience, and there were many, is the chance to work with the Freshman Leadership Council and watch them grow throughout the year.  Somehow, someway, we were able to get work done as a group, even though combining me, Whitney Beil, Allen, Tiason, Bryant, Grace, Jordan, Ally, and Kelly was a dangerous idea.  Of course, the greatest challenge of them all was trying to get Kelly to shut up and pay attention.  Some things are lost causes.

99.  The Lonely Island (Winter 2009)
Every now and then, something so completely vulgar and ridiculous comes along and it captures everyone’s imagination.  For some reason, these things all seemed to happen during my senior year, and the emergance of The Lonely Island was no exception.  Whether it was j***ing in our pants, or getting on a boat, or listenting to Natalie Portman rap, The Lonely Island pushed the limits of ridiculousness and left strings of profantities wherever it went.  I will always remember that hellish winter (weather-wise) with the silliness of it all.

98.  AP US History is Fun? (February 2009)
So the second time we traveled down to Knoxville to watch the Cool Cats play the dirty Vols, we stayed at Mueller’s house for a little while before the game, or maybe it was after the game, none can remember…in any case, a riveting game broke out of asking each other US History questions off of AP flash cards.  Now there are very few people in this world who would enjoy this moment immensely, yet all of them seemed to be in the room that night.  For a good 45 minutes, I dominated American history and had a good old time with everyone.

97.  Robert Gives Out Ellen’s # for a Sandwich (February 2007)
So then the first time we went down to Knoxville, we were eating at Jersey Mike’s (a GREAT place to eat) and only recently most of us had first met Robert’s sister Ellen.  Well this had caused somewhat of a stir, and Kyle was on a quest to get her phone number much to Robert’s chagrin.  Fortunately, Robert was hungry that fateful night in Knoxville, and he made a bargain with Kyle to take the remaining part of his sandwich if he gave out her number.  Bobby rattled it off quickly, but Kyle was quick enough to catch it in time.  And so it was.  Kyle would call Ellen, Ellen would get mad at Robert, and I laughed.

96.  Picking Up Chicks on Man Night (April 2007)
Before the first MAN NIGHT, we promised as men to either kill bears or pick up chicks, or something like that (tragically I’m forgetting the classic line).  In any case, on the second MAN NIGHT after watching Grindhouse, we exited Fayette Mall’s Cinemark and found a nest of ducks right outside.  These little ducklings were lonely and needed some friends, so we were happy enough to oblige.  And so let it be remembered that in the end, we men “picked up chicks” on MAN Night. 

95.  Africa Food (May 2010)
Well back to Africa we go, and of course over the course of two weeks we’ve got to eat at some point.  That point came three times a day with some of the best (and worst) food I have ever had.  It should be noted that our host family fixed us chicken and fries most every night, and it was absolutely spectacular, even without ketchup.  There were some sad moments in food, most notably the extra spicy rice on hot days for lunch, and then there was the goat too, but we won’t talk about that.  Overall, the food was great as everything else was during those two weeks, and I didn’t choke on any steak there.

94.  First Impressions of Patterson 316 (August 2006)
After a year in Haggin Hell, I mean Hall, I finally got my wish and got into Patterson Hall for my sophomore year, this after a spirited battle with UK Housing that summer.  However, I got moved in late, so I was stuck with a single room.  And when I first saw my room, and it’s close comparison to the Chokey off of Matilda, I was incredibly stressed and saddened.  I’m serious, there was NO room.  It was ridiculous.  Equally as ridiculous was my thought that day that I would rather be back at Haggin than in this craphole.  So silly of me.  Without Patterson Hall, it’s possible many of my great friendships of college — and Calvary Baptist Church — would never have happened.

93.  Dance Party in Huntsville (March 2008)
Picture this:  you’re at a gas station in Huntsville, AL at 1:30 in the morning, and three minivans pull up to get gas.  All of a sudden, all three vans open and 20 college students spill out and start an impromptu dance part in the gas station parking lot.  Welcome to Lima Bean — Road Rules 2008.  Even though I was surly and tired and exhausted from driving, I was only too eager to join in on the fun in the parking lot.  There was a lot of dancing on that trip, granted not good dancing, but dancing nonetheless.

92.  The Settlers TIE + Chris Hughes’s Heartbreak (Spring 2009)
Two Settlers memories here in this spot…
–This will never happen again.  I’m sitting at 9 points, and I build a settlement to get to 10 to win the game.  But when I built my settlement, I broke the Longest Road of Evan Markert, which gave Longest Road to Leeper.  Leeper, at the time, had 8 points, and with LR now in his possession, was bumped up to 10.  That’s a tie folks.
–Chris Hughes was never good at Settlers, God bless his heart.  But there was this one game at the BCM where he was dominating and sitting at 9 points, poised for a victory.  But I had other ideas.  With an epic five point turn, I took the game in stunning fashion and broke the Pooh’s heart.  I’m sorry Chris Hughes.

91.  Rob Bell’s Sermon at Mars Hill (August 2009)
At the end of this epic trip to Michigan was Rob Bell’s church at Mars Hill in Grand Rapids.  And it was awesome.  At that point, and still so to a degree, I was enveloped by simplicity in worship and in my faith, and I was wanting to see how Robby’s church, well known for its understated manner, ran things.  But his sermon on viewing the Bible as a story in its entirety was outstanding and wonderful.  I’ve listened to it several more times throughout the past year, and I definitely recommend it (August 15th, 2009 at Mars Hill Bible Church).

That’s all for tonight, but next time we’ll see these plus more…

–Journalism and sports broadcasting get KO’d
–We see the coming of the Glory of the Lord
–McAdams for the Win!
–Doing the Booty Dance with Freshman Focus

09
Sep
10

Favorite College Memories (105-101)

So let’s continue…

105.  Writing Notes at Fall Retreat (Fall 2006)
So I have always been one for encouragement, so when on my first BCM Fall Retreat an activity was writing notes of encouragement to put in a paper sack for EVERYONE on the trip, I was all over it.  Many of those magical hours were spent writing little love notes on colorful pieces of paper that were really pretty.  It was also a great way to get to know some more names of folks who had just recently come to the BCM and were on the Retreat.  Like this one guy that I met that weekend, some O’Daniel guy who was really loud and crazy…

104.  Vanderbilt basketball road game (February 2007)
So Kentucky basketball used to be very bad, but not so bad that it caused me to run scissors through my head a la the days of Billy Gillispie.  That actually never happened, but what did was a road trip with Robert, Eric Ringer and Brent White to Nashville to watch Tubby’s Cats dominate the Dores for the whole game but lose in the end.  It was a sad day for us all, but a great experience watching the Cats play in a theater, more or less.

103.  The Fountains (August 2008)
Shortly before our senior year began, a lot of us took a little trip downtown to play in the fountains in downtown Lexington.  It was a marvelous time full of hope and wonder, and it produced many epic pictures as a result.  You can check out Facebook for the details.  In any case, there were some (cough, Robert, cough) who decided not to go because they don’t like water.  Well they missed out on the glory.  And there was something about Chris Hughes making fun of Amanda Tyree’s ghetto tank, but I digress…

102.  Mother Nature Drops a Snow Bomb (March 2008)
Shortly before Spring Break during my junior year, Mother Nature decided to drop six inches of awesome snow right on Lexington.  And it was wonderful!  I remember driving out to Toyota On Nicholasville (where price sells cars) that Friday afternoon to pick up the minivans for Road Rules, and it began to snow on the way.  And so it began, and for the next 24 hours, nothing could stand against the white death.  Even Calvary’s Spring Break trip was delayed because of the mess.  But I love snow, so it makes a memory for me.

101.  Road Trip To Murray (January 2009)
Well Peggy Ray went to Costa Rica for a semester, so we all decided to crash a party for her (we were invited ps) in good old Western Kentucky.  It was a tremendous group of people, and it resulted in many fine moments, from Peggy and Ellen singing “Womanizer,” to Chris Hughes and Gabe stealing Robert’s car to go buy alcohol in Tennessee, to Settlers of Catan, to the porn in the bathroom, to “if this is porn, kill me now,” to ping pong in the basement, and to everything else that happened…

That’s all for tonight.  School comes early tomorrow.

26
Aug
10

Favorite College Memories (115-106)

Well I’m knee deep in the ________ of teaching, so free time is found few and far between for me during the week.  Yet here we are on a Wednesday night, and I have done as much as I want to do on this lovely evening, so I believe I will push the countdown along a little bit more…

115.  Bulls-Eye Washers (August 2007)
Every now and then, a quote comes along that captures the imagination of us all.  We were playing Bulls-Eye Washers down at Council Retreat my junior year, and Kyle Craft Jenkins began to show off a style of what would evolve into the Cannon.  After a particularly good shot, KCJ rattled off a great maxim for life:  “Bullseye or bust.  That’s how I date my women.”  Wiser words have never been spoken.

114.  Olympics at Council Retreat (August 2008)
And then came the next year at Council Retreat, when our attention shifted from bullseyes to Olympic gold medals and the 2008 Beijing Olympics.  After a full day of planning, meeting, and praying, the 2008 Council, a particularly crazy group of people, gathered together to watch some Olympic action.  I myself became captivated with men’s volleyball, but Michael Phelps stole the show with all his gold.  Also it led to some sort of olympic game at Retreat…I cannot recall, but I do remember stuffing bananas into our mouths through pantyhose.  Spiritual development.

113.  Road Trip to Northern Kentucky (January 2009)
And then came the winter break of my senior year, a lovely time with some great trips.  One such trip was to Northern Kentucky to hang out at the Lindsay Bell residence to play Settlers, gossip with Whitney Beil, and see all of what Northern Kentucky had to offer thanks to my tour guides Kelly and Charlsie.  I got to see NKU and that was exciting and all.  And then I went back to UK and did nothing productive at all my final semester of college.

112.  Kings Island + Pirates 3 = Crazy Day (May 2007)
I’ll just go through all that happened, as I can remember.  Me, KCJ, Alyssa, Amanda, Kelsey, and Robert go to Kings Island.  My contact falls out on the trip up there and is lost forever.  Wallace cuts a tire right as we get off the interstate and change a tire out front of the main gate.  Half the rides are closed.  Amanda loses her cell phone (I think).  Girls get sick.  We change our tire at Wal-Mart.  A classic Robert-Kelsey moment on the way back (his story to tell, and he will tell it and has many times).  We eat at Applebee’s in Lexington.  We see Pirates 3.  Jack Sparrow wins.  I leave for camp three days later.  The end.

111.  Super Bowl Party 2008 (January 2008)
Once upon a time the New England Patriots were undefeated.  They were really good.  Like the best football team in history good.  But then came the Super Bowl, and only the magic of the Thurman’s house and the Calvary Super Bowl Party could take a heavy underdog like the New York Giants and turn them into Super Bowl champions, thanks in part to Amanda Tyree’s cousin David (not really, but how many Tyrees are there in the world?  it’s a legitimate point).

110.  Mission Trip to Indiana (September 2009)
Mission trips have played a HUGE role in my five years of college, and an often overlooked one came in Columbus, Indiana during the early days of my sophomore year.  A BCM group saddled up to Columbus and did some flood recovery action.  It was a blast to hang out with other BCM groups from Morehead and…..can’t remember the other one, maybe Georgetown, but the day was spent under a trailer ripping out insulation with Dawn Bailey and one Chris Leeper.  The only negative?  I missed a football game where the CLAW was introduced.  What a moment.

109.  Killer Pong Rankings (Fall 2006)
So I am a bit of a dork, and one ways I exceled in this area came during my sophomore year when I devised a devilish formula for Killer Pong rankings.  All of a sudden, the phrase “is this a ranked game” and conservative play flooded the BCM’s multipurpose room, but I have never seen more enthusiasm for the GREAT game of killer pong than that period of time.  Also, it was during this time when the old trusty U-Shot came to fruition.  And I made Tom May cry time after time after time when I stuffed it down his throat.

108.  Easter Egg, Red Robin, Blue Steel (or whatever it was called) (March 2008)
Ah, Freshman Focus.  There are no words for the worth this event brought me for two years during my time at UK.  And then there was the Freshman Road Rules trip to the great American South, and with it came a glimpse into the domestic bliss that is driving a minivan around with seven screaming little kids, err, freshmen.  And the personalities that the different vans brought made the trip so memorable.  My Easter Egg, Whitney’s Red Robin, and Allen’s……..something.

107.  Charleston Apartment Kids (March 2009)
More mission trip highlights, these coming from Charleston, South Carolina with Calvary’s trip my senior year.  In one of the wackiest trips of my college career, a real highlight came with the kids we played with in our host apartment complex.  The chillins were willing basketball players, and we were willing to show them that there was hoops talent from the Bluegrass in the days before John Wall.  My favorite child was Nathaniel, a real winner in my book.  So Nathaniel, if you are reading, good form my friend.

106.  Interviewing Tom Leach (February 2006)
So way back in the day, I was a journalism major.  Yes, it’s true.  And one of the things I had to do for Buck Ryan’s Journalism 101 was interview a professional from my “dream job.”  I got the chance to interview Tom Leach, UK’s football and basketball radio play-by-play guy.  What an exhilarating experience it was on that cold February morning.  Even though I was on my way to officially saying sianara to journalism, talking to one of my heroes, as you would figure, is always pretty cool.

That’s it for tonight.  No honorable mention, but a preview of the next ten events…

As the countdown continues, we’ll see Mother Nature drops a blizzard right before Spring Break, an avalanche of debauchary from a piece of land surrounded by water which seems terribly alone, and picking up some chicks on Man Night… 

29
Jul
10

Memories 125-116

And so the countdown continues…here are ten more of my favorite college memories…

125.  The Office Takes Over (Winter 2008)
Robert spoke of how The Office was an awesome TV show, perhaps even better than Arrested Development, and that we should start watching it immediately.  Well I was a bit suspicious, and furthermore we would have to wait four more months for new episodes due to the Writers’ Strike.  So we navigated our way through Seasons 1-3, and it was well worth our time.  The Office continues to be one of my favorite television shows, and watching it with my friends became a common occurance during my last two years in Lexington.  Idiot, idiot, idiot…

124.  Hannah and I Watch Heroes (Winter 2009)
While I became addicted to the fun adventures of Dunder Mifflin, I furthermore fell addicted to a little show called Heroes.  During Winter Break of my senior year, me and Hannah rolled through Season One of the show, which I believe is the best season of television ever created.  Immediately I became enthralled with the wonder and majesty of Bennet and his horned-rimmed glasses, while Hannah fell prey to the charm of Nathan Petrelli.  But now Heroes is dead.  Oh well.

123.  Marley and Me on the Plane (May 2010)
There will be many more Africa memories later in the countdown, but our first comes from the passage aboard South African Airways.  One of the movie options was Marley & Me, which of course is a movie about a yellow lab which gets old and dies.  Hate on me all you want, but these stories touch my heart like little else does, and I did indeed shed a tear or two before touchdown in Africa.  I likewise watched it on the way back to America.  Forevermore, Africa will be associated with yellow labs.

122.  Epic Golf Battles in Scottsville (Summer 2006)
Back in the day, I played many an exciting round at Scottsville Country Club with my friends, and after my freshman year, the summer was filled with golfing joy.  There were many exciting match play and best ball battles up at the Country Club that summer, and I played some of the best golf of my life during that time.  The highlight came in a 15-hole best ball battle between three teams which was settled by my nearly hole-out from the fairway on 6 to win some good money.  Good times.

121.  Dodgeball at Council Retreat (August 2006)
BCM Council was an up-and-down roller coaster ride throughout my three years of BCM Leadership, but I wouldn’t trade a minute of it away.  Perhaps the first great moment came at Council Retreat my sophomore year when we broke out plush footballs and played some dodgeball in the basement of the Laurel Lake dorms.  Everyone came out alright, which was somewhat of a surprise because the action was fairly intense.

120.  Epic Basketball Game with Florida #1 (February 2007)
Once upon a time, Florida was really, really good in basketball, thanks to such players as Taurean Green, Al Horford, and the evil Joakim Noah.  They were so good that the Gators rose to #1 in the country, only to come to Rupp Arena to play Tubby’s final team.  Florida led most of the game, only by a slim margin, and even though the Gators escaped a crazy final rally led by Ramel Bradley (throw it up), it was a game for the ages.  Watching it with Alyssa, Amanda, Kyle, and the one and only Jordan Johnson only made the experience better.

119.  Family Road Trip to Arkansas (Christmas 2007)
So what’s more redneck that Arkansas?  How about 11 Kentuckians climbing aboard a church van and heading to Arkansas for a wedding?  There was nothing better than the Osbornes, the Bomars, and Nana and Poohpa traveling to Arkansas for our third cousin’s wedding.  Osborne-Bomar vacations have always been memorable, from 1996 Gulf Shores to 2002 Nags Head, and now 2007 Arkansas.  It wasn’t really a vacation mind you, but it resulted in eating at Cracker Barrel twice in a three-day span, which is always just cause for celebration.

118.  Golfing with Rasor at the Meadows (June 2008)
Golf has already made its mark here in the countdown, but it returns here with a trip to the Meadows Golf Course in Powell County with Josh Rasor.  With my new driver in hand, I attacked the course with reckless abandon, and well it could with a barn in the middle of the eighth fairway.  As much as I could try to hit the barn, I failed many times.  We also rode around in a convertible golf cart, making the experience all the more rich.  We even avoided crazy high schoolers playing obnoxiously slow.  It was a day to remember.

117.  Chris Hughes’s Outrage at the Calvary Christmas Party (December 2008)
If there’s one thing that I’ve learned from the last five years, it’s that Robert Kahne isn’t the best with directions.  One day, he gave Chris Hughes, Gabe, and Evan wrong directions to get to the Thurman’s house; instead of heading out Tates Creek, the three found themselves at Dunbar High School.  When the trip finally arrived, Chris Hughes launched into a hilarious diatribe against Robert and his ability to lead them in the right direction.  I love my friends’ ability to make me laugh at my and their ridiculousness.

116.  “Holy Grail Mother F*****” (February 2007)
In maybe the most random conversation of all time, me, Kyle, and Robert found ourselves engrossed with an amazing guy named Daniel.  I cannot remember much of what Daniel had to say that night, but he had trinkets with him to reward us for sticking in conversation with him for about two hours.  He gave me an incredibly small version of the Holy Grail, of which Daniel declared it to be the “Holy Grail Mother F*****.”  Sounds about right to me.

The random Honorable Mention of the Day comes from my Junior Year, when we fit 24 people into the YAK to watch American Gladiators, you know, the new one with Wolf.  It was a glorious moment in architechtual history for the floor of the YAK’s living room to hold so many people.  Only during our fabled dance parties would the YAK’s floor hold so many folks.  A wonderful time in history it was.

Next time, we shall see ten more memories as we come closer to the #100 mark.  Some things to look forward to include going “bullseye or bust,” three fabled minivans on their tour through the South, and my brush with Kentucky basketball greatness.

25
Jul
10

Favorite College Memories (135-126)

And so it begins.  Many moons ago, I decided to rank my TOP 100 college memories from my time in Lexington (August 2005 to May 2010).  Like many of my ambitious projects, it seemed that this one would fall prey to the demands of my busy and hectic life…well not really, I’m just lazy.  But lo and behold, we have ourselves the completion of this project.  What I didn’t know is that coming up with just 100 memories was indeed impossible.  In fact, I came up with 134 and I had to include them all.  There were many more memories that were bypassed, and perhaps I will share those later in the countdown.  The fact is that I LOVED my five years in Lexington, and I get so much joy reminiscing through the most random of memories.  And there are certainly many to go around for quite some time.  But for now we must begin the Countdown, which will surely take us some time to complete, but hopefully that’s more entertainment and positive reminiscing for you, my friends.  And so we begin.

135 — Twilight at Midnight (Fall 2008)
I have never read the Twilight “books” (and I use the term loosely), but for some reason I knew I needed to go see the first Twilight movie at its midnight premiere with several of my friends and every adolescent girl in Lexington.  And so it happened:  Edward sparkled, Bella brooded, and Jacob rocked his skinny arms and long hair like a champ.  I have seen probably 15 movies at their midnight premiere, but none were as ridiculous at the Twilight experience.

134 — Economics Grad School Class (July 2009)
My first experience with the MIC program came with an economics class in the Summer of 2009, a three week class which effectively kept me in Lexington for the entire summer.  To say, however, that the class was worth the stay would be an understatement.  Never has there been an easier class, and with field trips to the JIF Factory, Old Kentucky Chocolates, the Herald-Leader, and a McDonalds, it was quite enjoyable too.

133 — Ice Storm from Hell (January 2009)
UK is not one to cancel classes, but when a ice storm from hell comes and introduces itself to Lexington, pretty much everything shuts down.  And so it was in late January 2009.  I distinctly remember walking to Subway on Woodland with Kyle from the JJJK in the time when TNT had already been canceled, and it took about an hour to get there and back.  Then Kentucky went and lost to Ole Miss, Billy Clyde called it a bad question, and I walked home wet and frozen to the YAK.  Horrible, but memorable.

132 — Getting Lost in Michigan (August 2009)
I like Rob Bell, and I wanted to see his church in action in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  So one weekend, me, Robert, Kelly, Ashlyn, and Mueller took a trip to see what was up, and unfortunately my usually dependable navigation skills failed miserably on this day.  In the midst of our despair, somebody filmed a video of the madness.  You can check out the carnage here.  But we found Grand Rapids and heard an epic sermon and then came back to Kentucky.

131 — Stacked Small Group at Focus 2008 (September 2008)
Oh BCM Fall Focus.  The state BCM conference went from being a terror at Crestwood Baptist near Louisville to being a two-day camp spectacular at Jonathan Creek, and for the last year, my small group was incredibly, and I mean incredibly, stacked.  My friend Forrest from Cumberland, several Acts 1:8 vets, and the incomparable Kyle Craft Jenkins made our group very interesting and exciting during discussion times.  Apparently it was really bad for others, but a good weekend, no an excellent weekend, for us.

130 — Gettysburg (July 2006/April 2009)
My American history desires were satisfied to a trip to Gettysburg during the summer after my freshman year.  Of course, Gettysburg is also known for that one Sunday afternoon when me, Robert, Gabe, and Chris Hughes (perhaps there were others too) which settled down for the four-hour viewing of the movie.  Chris slept through 3/4 of it, but he led the laughs during the officer’s salute — “YESSIR.  YAWWWWWWW!”  The YAW was when the officer slapped his horse, ps.

129 — The Rake and Roll (November 2005) 
Once again, we go back in time for this selection from my first semester in college.  The BCM (BSU at the time) used to do this missions thing where they went out to the community and raked yards of elderly people.  The house we went to was on Versailles Road and we had a good old time on a crisp Saturday morning.  Then we went to Cici’s and watched UK’s football team get drilled by Georgia.  Also, the house we helped at was demolished this spring.  So much for my memory.

128 — Appalachia:  “Connection” to the Land (Spring 2008)
During my junior year, I got a wild hair and took Introduction to Appalachian Studies, and it was a wonderful experience.  Ally Smith, Zach Salchi, Sarah Scott, and I bonded over our TA Lori, the epicness of Ron Eller, and the overall joy that comes from Appalachia and the “connection to the Land” that we felt from the class.  I went on to take Appalachian History the next year, another wonderful class but it lacked the fun that my friends provided it a year earlier.

127 — Winning a UK Basketball at Cedar Point (May 2008)
I have always been a decent shooter of the basketball, and I put my skills to the test during our second visit to Cedar Point.  At a basketball shooting game, my skills came through in the clutch and I won myself a pretty UK basketball.  Matt Scoggins also won the prize, but Robert’s attempt didn’t do as well…check it out here.

126 — B’Dubs after Cedar Point (May 2007, 2008)
Well one of our great traditions in Sandusky became a trip to B’Dubs after a day of glory and glee.  I enjoyed my boneless wings with mild sauce and ranch dressing while guzzling my lemonade and showing everyone else up at trivia.  Sadly, the next year when we took 325643 people, a trip to B’Dubs was impossible due to a Cavaliers playoff game going on, and the fact that we brought 325643 people.  Applebee’s was good though.

Well that’s all for now.  I believe I will briefly include a great HONORABLE MENTION every time I run through the countdown.  And tonight’s…

–Kyle Craft Jenkins does a ridiculous impression of a well-known worship leader at a well-known Baptist church in Lexington, and Chris Hughes nearly dies from laughter.  Perhaps the most comedic duo from my time in Lexington was the KCJ + Pooh Bear combo.

Previews from the next segmentGolf in both Scottsville and Eastern Kentucky, a random encounter at Tolly Ho, and another classic Chris Hughes moment.

16
Jun
10

Waiting

I’ve never been very patient.  I may appear to have a cool exterior and take things as they come most of the time, but I have always been terrible at containing my cool under the surface.  Whenever God plays the “wait and see” game with me, that’s when I get most insecure in my faith and in my life.  I just want to see the answers now and worry about the destruction I leave behind once I see where I’m going.

Of course, these little moments of impatience have come within the stable foundation of knowing literally “where” I was going to be and what I was going to be doing.  For the last five summers, I knew that the next year would take me back to Lexington and my life in and around UK.  But of course, heading into the fall of 2009, I had a good feeling that this past year would be my last in Lexington.  And so thus the plan was set:  complete the MIC program, look for a teaching job somewhere in Kentucky, and go from there.

I have had a bizarre last six months.  Let me go through some of the timeline of what my proposed plans for the fall of 2010 and potentially beyond have been…

Early December:  Still on par for starting teaching in 2010, but undergo a rough first week at Woodford County
Mid-December:  Talk to my friend Luke about possibly doing some ministry next summer and maybe beyond
Christmas:  Feel God is leading me to do ministry, somewhere, instead of going straight into teaching
Late December:  Investigate Mission Arlington in Dallas about possible internships
January:  Find Touching Miami With Love in, where else, Miami about possible and promising internship for summer and the following year
February:  Discover Street Reach in Memphis on a snow day in Lexingtonas a better opportunity
March:  Completing applications and stuff for Street Reach, and visit Memphis to check the ministry out…we’re in “all systems go” for spending the next year in Memphis

Then things got crazy…
Late April:  Memphis opportunity falls through due to application issue, triggering bonzai research into other opportunities
Finals Week:  Narrow possible options to two — intentional community experience in Chapel Hill, NC or Urban Promise in Wilmington, DE…after interviews, I decide on Urban Promise
May:  Africa, and as I type, I realize there’s no words to describe the wonder of it all, but basically I feel on the beaches of Senegal God calling me to the classroom immediately, reversing all feelings I had from the previous five months…additionally, a visit to a small, Christian school births dreams of teaching history in Senegal for a year
Late May:  Weigh the costs of possibly returning in August to Senegal versus returning the Kentucky high school classroom, and decide on the latter…I decline an invitation to Urban Promise and focus my energies on the job hunt

And here we are on June 16th, my 23rd and a half birthday.  Two months ago, I was headed to Memphis.  One month ago, I was headed to Wilmington.  Today, I have absolutely no idea.  All I know is that I’m playing golf tomorrow morning and eating dinner with a friend tomorrow night in Bowling Green.  I have applied to what will be 14 schools by Friday, and I haven’t heard back about an interview yet, even though I feel an interview invitation will come within the next two weeks…hopefully…

But here’s the heart of the matter.  I’ve been reading the blogs and looking at the pictures and hearing the stories of some of my peers who have abandoned the traditional college to career path and have struck up adventures of their own, be it Teach For America or foreign missions or some other fascinating tale.  Meanwhile, it seems my immediate destiny is a classroom in Kentucky, which of course brings its own unique challenges but it’s not the adventure I craved.  If Memphis had not fallen through, I would be there right now, irregardless of what I felt in Africa.  I feel that’s a fact.  I have to think that God crumpled that opportunity up so that my heart would be softened for the educational bombshell He dropped on me while in the small village of Guereo.  And even in Guereo, if we didn’t have the chance to visit and spend time in the schools, even before the mighty revelation that BCS (the Christian Hogwarts of Senegal) became three days before our exit, I feel I would be heading to Wilmington on Monday.  Indeed, Wilmington did offer me the chance to work in an inner-city missions environment for a year, if not longer, but by that time I felt God leading me back to where I was waaaaaaaaaaaay back in December:  to teach, here, in the Bluegrass.

Don’t get me wrong…I do very much want to teach in the fall.  The wild rush of adrenaline that I got when I visited ACS for the first time in quite a while a couple weeks past confirmed that feeling.  But I do very much want a spectacular story and a spectacular life experience, and I question whether this teaching in Kentucky deal at 23 years old will provide that.  I so desperately wish to not live that “normal” life, to travel down that “normal” path.  I so desperately wanted to sell myself out for Christ for a year or two or five in the form of a “cool” or transformative experience before teaching, but God said, “uhhhhhhh, no.”  And I’m still not sure how I feel about that, especially during this slow-going in the 270 as I churn out teaching application after teaching application and drives literally thousands of miles across the state dropping off resumes and meeting principals, all with the hope that I will get a call soon for an interview which could perhaps turn into a job.

And so I wait.  I wait to see which door God is going to open, and I wonder about just why I am here at home this summer rather than chasing the daylight of Christ’s glory in Memphis, Wilmington, or Senegal.  Without the safety net of Lexington which has been present for the better part of five years, this waiting business is an incredible and challenging test of faith.  Not being sure what is happening next drives me up the wall.  Maybe someday I will realize that these last six months prove that their are no certainties in life, only God holding my little hand as I stumble blindly through the transition from college to adulthood.

31
May
10

Top Ten Songs — The Best of The Best

My time as a permanent Lexington resident ends tomorrow.  From August 18th, 2005 to June 1, 2010, I have enjoyed a lifetime full of memories, the vast majority of them being amazing and a small sliver being terrible but we don’t talk about that here.  In any case, I would not trade my first (perhaps there will be a second someday) tenure in Lexington for anything else in the world.  I have grown exponentially — mentally, emotionally, and spiritually (by all means not physically) — since coming to Lexington, and I leave thankful for those experiences.

But of course, what would it be without the music?  From the beginning to the very end, my Vintage CDs have done their job in framing the memories in my mind…just like Five For Fighting says in the song “Slice” – “our melodies are memories.”  That’s what the Vintage CDs are all about, and from CDs 22 to 58, the melodies are the memories of Lexington.

And here are the ten best…

10) “Hello” – Sugarbomb (23.18)
Check it out:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qer498uC0jc
Well in the great scheme of things, my music from my freshman year failed to stack up against the other four years in Lexington.  However, we have an exception here with this selection from Sugarbomb, which perfectly captures the difficult first months of my UK experience.  There weren’t many days that passed which I didn’t wish for a one-way ticket back to Scottsville and my comfortable bubble, but I survived in the end.  This song, perhaps more than any other, reminds me of a time when I faced incredible adversity and overcame it to create some wonderful memories.  That situation may indeed play itself out once more, but I’m ready for the challenge.

9) “My Life Would S**K Without You” – Kelly Clarkson (50.20)
Check it out:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cRM70Jw7F4M
In a pick that Squire would approve wholeheartedly, Kelly Clarkson marks the first of two American Idol veterans to make my final countdown.  Already a fan of Kelly, the inaugural American Idol made a splash around the turn of my senior year with this fast-paced, fun song which allows us all to realize how appreciative we are of the folks who make up our lives.  For me, this came at a time when I decided to give Lexington another year rather than going forward with Teach For America (which ultimately said no to me, but I said no first…hah!), and I am very happy I did so.  So when you find yourself mad at your best friend, or frustrated with your family, remember the wise words of Kelly Clarkson, who would say that my life would s**k without you, or him, or them, or whoever.

8) “Until You” – Dave Barnes (37.15)
Check it out:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tNB_McG-1mA
Well then there’s Dave Barnes, who exploded onto the scene with perhaps the greatest concert I’ve ever attended.  It came late in the glory days of my sophomore year with the company of Chris Hughes and Amanda Tyree (Masthay), and it was for Dave Barnes, Matt Wertz, and a little-known piano wizard named Jon McLaughlin (my how things change).  In any case, when old Dave began playing this selection, I knew immediately that I had myself a Vintage song and one of my favorite songs of all time.  It is this song that best represents the halfway point of my undergraduate career, and it is for that reason, along with the fact it’s a beautiful song, that we place “Until You” in the final countdown of Lexington Vintage songs.

7) “Home” – Daughtry (38.20)
Check It Out:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7bnX-6sJZBw
Now I know what you think about Daughtry, and I know that I want to tell you how wrong you are about his musical genius, but consider that for a guy who loves the concept of “home” and the journey getting thereto, this song was just a incredible slice of musical genius.  Add the fact that this song appeared during my time at PassportKids!, which represented a time that I yearned to return to my friends and campus ministry more than anything in the world, and you can start to see how much magic this song can create.  But of course, it still holds a special place in my heart, thanks to the now well-known phrase around Lexington and surrounding areas – “Pulling a Daughtry.”  Sometimes, it’s just time to go home.

6) “In Your City” – Phil Wickham (58.20)
Check It Out:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nWvZELmlMyE
It was not my expectation that a song from this past semester, the semester of student teaching, would make such a huge impact on my life and in the rankings.  And yet, Phil Wickham was not listening to my expectations, as he rolls in without what I consider the most beautiful song I have ever heard in my life.  The combination of the lyrics and the music itself form an absolutely incredible song that attempts to capture the magnificence of Christ, much better than any other song I can recall.  Please, if you listen to one song here on this countdown, listen to this one.  It is nearly perfect, but in this countdown itself, there are five better.

5) “Pull Me Out” – Bebo Norman (48.18)
Check It Out:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K3YwDjbVq9Q
And in the pits of despair that became my first semester of my senior year, I latched on to Bebo Norman’s single which asked the Lord to “pull me out” of the dark and difficult situations.  And while it reminds me distinctly of observing at Bryan Station High School (a dark place in its own right), I appreciate this song for reminding me of a semester where a combination of terrible accidents and my mistakes did not break me because of my faith in Christ.  And then I got to see Bebo in concert at the end of the semester, a fitting end I do believe.  This song, along with the previous Phil Wickham selection, is a must-listen…as are the remaining for in the countdown…

4) “By Your Side” – Tenth Avenue North (51.19)
Check It Out:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J95rAr0gOFU
Before it was a slightly overplayed worship song, it was (and still is my friends) a dynamic and powerful reminder of how Christ will never leave our side, despite our failures and faults.  And yes, it was out of the darkness that was the fall of 2008 that we saw songs such as these come to such a position in the spring of 2009 in the twilight of my undergraduate days.  And of course, any song that reminds me of Thursday morning Bible study with the adjoining trips to Chick-Fil-A will always hold a special place in my heart.  Tenth Avenue North had three songs which captured my imagination during my trip to Senegal, so expect to see the North represented in strong fashion for some time to come.

3) “Welcome Home” – Brian Littrell (36.18)
Check It Out:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSqywOCc_MM
Well we have several things going on here that helped make this song one of my favorites ever.  First of all, we’ve got the whole “going home” theme.  Next, we’ve got Brian Littrell who, as you well know, is a Backstreet Boy.  From that, we’ve got a Backstreet Boy singing about Jesus.  And finally, we have a Spring Break mission trip to New Orleans, which marked the first mission trip I experienced and forever captured moments like stickers, KCJ and the “coming of the glory of the Lord,” Robin Prichard on Bourbon Street, and “it’s about damn time.”  All of that comes together to make this song one of my favorite songs from my sophomore year, and it’s strong ties to good memories helped it survive the test of time.

2) “Sea Of Faces” – Kutless (43.17)
Check It Out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NpKxToWWErY&feature=related
About one year later, for my mission trip with the freshies on the first BCM Road Rules experience, there came the song by Kutless which exploded into a beautiful and moving expression about the personal nature of our faith amidst the anonymity of the world, as we can become lost in the “sea of faces.”  But this song best captured the second semester of my junior year.  Honestly, there’s not much more to say about the song – most of the beauty from this selection cannot be translated into words.  It’s just in the sounds of the song.  But then, it could be a lack of words to save some for the greatest song of my time in Lexington…

1) “Marvelous Light” – Charlie Hall (35.21)
Check It Out:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OAQJKZJB-kE&a=22CluDRx2jk&playnext_from=ML
Really, there shouldn’t have been any drama here at all.  If you couldn’t have guessed this one, then there’s something seriously wrong with your knowledge of what I love in this world (don’t worry, we all have faults).  This is probably the only song on ALL of the CDs I have created in which I cannot specifically point to one time period or event…which of course is failure because that’s what the Vintage CDs are all about.  But let’s be honest – this song is too great to be confined in a single compartmentalized time period.  Around the turn of my sophomore year, at 608, the worship band played two songs back to back – Mighty To Save and Marvelous Light.  I recognized at that point the glory of both of those songs, and while I still appreciate the former song, ML exploded to become not only my favorite worship song, but my favorite song in general.  I absolutely love the concept of God as light.  John 1: 4-5 says that “in Him was life, and that life was the light of men.  The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.”  The light does indeed shine in the darkness, and throughout the toughest times of my life in Lexington, God gave me this song to fall back into His hands and His glory.  I challenge you to listen to this song and imagine yourself running, or even better, falling through a vortex of light toward the unimaginable glory of Christ on His throne.  By doing so, we run out of darkness and out of shame.  It’s been a wonderful image, and it has carried me for five years and surely beyond.  There have been countless of times when ML popped up in a worship service much to my surprise, for when those drums get rolling to signify the coming of the Marvelous Light, my heart does indeed skip a few beats.  What a wonderful feeling it is.  I hope and pray that you indeed have a song or a place or a moment that allows you to feel God so close to you, as He always is.  Perhaps you also can have your own Marvelous Light.  It’s quite the rush.