...But fools despise wisdom and discipline.

This year for Lent I have chosen to read a Proverb each day. Due to my busy schedule, I am being flexible about the actual time I complete this goal daily.
I appropriately began by reading Proverbs 1 this morning.

Proverbs 1:1 says,

"The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel: for attaining wisdom and discipline; for understanding words of insight; for acquiring a disciplined and prudent life..."

What a way to start things off! This verse begins with an explanation of what these proverbs are for, and finishes with giving us a challenge. I challenge you to add something (or as most people will take something away) during this season of Lent. I pray it will give you strength as you daily prepare for the Resurrection and the joy that comes with that story in the coming weeks.


Some Musings on Johnny Cash

There's no way you could have known, but I have been on a Johnny Cash kick as of late. His music has been a favorite of mine for the past few years. Maybe it's because I grew up listening to Nashville's 95.5 FM and country music was just part of growing up in Nashville. Or maybe it's the fact that my dad would pick up his guitar and play every now and then around the house. I know that part of it does have to do with the fact that he and I sing in the same vocal register (notwithstanding his gravelly tone) which makes it incredibly easy for me to sing along to his tunes.

I recently finished a book by Dave Urbanski called The Man Comes Around: The Spiritual Journey of Johnny Cash. It is a collection of stories that unearth the highly spiritual nature of Cash's life and how he earnestly strived after God's will for his life. Cash only became more devoted as the years passed and the vices of his early life took their toll on his earthly body.

I honestly had no clue how devoted Cash was to God. The media machine projects him as a rebel, a murderer, and a loner. And I know that Cash perpetuated this image for some part of his musical career, but the fact is that he came to a point in his life where he laid all the drugs and alcohol down and committed himself to God's purpose. Did he fall back into his addiction later on in his life? Yes, as we sometimes fall back into our sin - but it was his commitment to Christ in all things (despite his folly) that struck me.

Do I have the drugs to lay down like Cash did? No. Do I have the alcohol to lay down? No. Well, then what do I have to lay down? Do I have to lay down my pride? Yes, daily actually. And my pride is directly connected to my decision to own up to my mistakes.

When I mess up, it is often hard for me to own up to my mistakes so I can ask for forgiveness - You can ask my wife. I can be stubborn as a mule at times when it comes to taking ownership of my errors in order to have them forgiven. It is only in this humble place that I am able to start fresh and learn how I can handle that situation in the future.

I point these things out to encourage. I hope that this will help to remind us that we all are not required to be perfect, but rather we are made perfect in God's love.

Late in his life, Cash had some of his best recordings found in the American Recordings sessions with Rick Rubin. I have to be honest. I did not get to hear these sessions until after his passing in 2003. I missed out on all the hype and critical acclaim that came with the recordings. I learned from reading Urbanski's book that Cash said he wouldn't sing a song unless he felt the song was right for him. He took so many songs and then (with Rubin's help) converted them into spiritual songs which may or may not have been his intent - songs like "Hurt" by Trent Reznor which can be a depressing listen until you hear Cash's version. He converts a song of depression and drugs into a song of honest hope. That's a God-given gift. It's as if Cash put a spiritual layer over this song to convert it to something more powerful than it could have ever been in the secular realm.

Give the song a listen here.

Cash was a faced with death several times throughout his life. He was in a near-fatal car crash while on tour in the 50's and plagued his body with "uppers" and "downers" as well. He was stricken with double pneumonia twice and diagnosed with autonomic neuropathy. He had plenty of reasons to give up, quit, or end his own life. He had plenty of excuses.

I challenge you to drop your excuse for whatever it is that is holding you back from reaching your God-given potential. If there's one thing I have learned from The Man In Black it's to never give up.


Curried Chickpeas and Kale

What better way to vault myself back into the blogosphere than by posting one of my favorite recipes? Sadly, this is not my own creation. It can be found in this wonderful book: 100 Best Vegetarian Recipes by Carol Gelles

For those friends of mine that seek an excellent addition to your weekly dinner standards, say hello to your new meal rotation.

Curried Chickpeas and Kale

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups chopped onions
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon cumin
6 cups chopped kale
1 1/2 tablespoons curry powder
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
3 cups cooked chickpeas (cooked from dry; or canned, drained)
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste

1. Heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions, garlic, and cumin; cook stirring, until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the kale; cook, stirring until softened, about 2 minutes more.

2. Stir in the curry powder and coriander. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Add the chickpeas, tomatoes, and salt; return to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 25 minutes.



It somehow doesn't feel real. I have been working towards this for a very long time and finally it has come to fruition. I have finished my Student Teaching. Now the job hunt begins. My resume is updated and more exciting than ever because it has a degree, an actual degree on it instead of "in progress" next to it.

Here's to celebration and the completion of goals.
Thanks to those of you that have taught me along the way, your input in my life is invaluable.
Thanks also to my wife, for her love and support is limitless.

And thanks to my heavenly father for providing us with the resources to complete this journey.


Two Hands

I can count how many days I have left in the classroom on two hands - 10!
Who's excited?

Friday is my bday #26. That night is the Run for Mercy pasta party where we will carb up before...
The Country Music Marathon on this Saturday and I'm getting a little nervous about it (which technically means I am really pumped about it). 13.1 miles.

I am running for young girls with life-challenging issues such as self-harm and eating disorders that these girls may be broken free from the chains that are holding them. What are running for?


No Mo' Moe Man

My time is running out. Tick tock tick tock tick...

Tonight is my last night at Moe's in Brentwood. I have worked there since February 2005 with only six months off which I spent at Asurion. When I lock that door tonight my life will change forever. And no I am not being dramatic. My life has been comfortable in the classroom in a desk, but now I will transition to the other side; the educator. I am thankful for the time that it has taken me to get to this point in my educational career.
I would not be the man I am, and likewise gained the knowledge I have acquired, if I had taken another route. There was a weak moment in my life where I thought I was destined to pursue another career. I suffered through many semesters in the Music program, but came into my present situation only because of those experiences. God truly does guide our paths. Mine has come full circle, as all things do, and has thus made me a grateful child of God.

I begin my Student Teaching on Monday.

Am I nervous? ...ish. Yeah, nervous-ish. I was more nervous when I found out where I my placement was going to be, but now I am more comfortable with the idea of this being my last semester. And who wouldn't be comfortable with that? I mean, it has taken me long enough to finish college. I should be excited (and I am).

I won't have to work any more weekends. Nights. Open to close shifts. Be anybody's manager. Fry chips. Roll those wonderful burritos. Call people in to cover for someone. Have a separate set of work clothes. Count the money and be held accountable for other adults' attitudes. But don't get me wrong. I have enjoyed my job these past few years...I am only more excited about moving into the classroom. And if I didn't feel that way, I would be in big trouble.

My responsibility will be the students in my classroom, and that is something I am confident I can handle with integrity.