Don’t Hesitate, Encourage – Thoughts On Robin Williams

robin williams

At first I wasn’t sure how to write about the passing of Robin Williams…. one more devastating loss (aren’t they all?) to suicide. I simply didn’t have the words till now. As a kid I remember thoroughly enjoying him on he Mork & Mindy show. I have loved him in almost all of his movies, especially Good Will Hunting and What Dreams May Come.

Yet, he is gone. By his own hand. As many have said, “He brought the world to laughter but today he brought the world to tears.”

Suicide is a nightmare. On my old blog I wrote about my friend of 23 years (someone I dated for a little while at the beginning of our friendship) Michael committed suicide in January of 2013. I was devastated for a while after finding out. I will never forget that morning and talking with my dear friend Amira. Today I still weep for Michael, time heals and brings perspective yet there is something about suicide that always wants to haunt and question.

The suicide of a friend/loved one is one of the worst “What if?” mind-scrambles there ever was/is/could be…

The Blank Sheet

Untitled design

Catharsis: purification or purgation of the emotions (as pity and fear) primarily through art: a purification or purgation that brings about spiritual renewal or release from tension: elimination of a complex by bringing it to consciousness and affording it expression (source; emphasis mine)

Kathy’s post brought back an amazing string of memories.  She wrote about helping families in need provide back to school supplies for their children. Instantly I was reminded of grade school and my writing tablets; the excitement I felt when I looked at a blank sheet of paper.

As a little kid, I loved loved loved getting new paper. I do remember crying when I first learned to write. I was incredibly afraid of the teacher, Mrs. Warren, would punish me severely if I didn’t get it just right. Of course she didn’t, and I can remember her telling me I would be alright, that I was doing a good job… and that I needed to stop crying because I had work to do. I am smiling over that last part as I type this. Mrs. Warren made time to encourage, but she was also about getting it done too. In short order, I grew to love the process of writing. Whenever I would receive a brand new stack of paper, and pens/pencils, I felt like the luckiest kid in the world.

Chased, Caught

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This post was published on Dr. Kathy’s blog back in June. She wrote this as an introduction:

Today I’ve invited Randy Thomas to blog for me. He begins with a beautiful illustration from friends and contrasts their father-son relationship with his own. You may be able to relate to Randy’s sadness and grief. But, keep reading, because Randy writes about God becoming his new Father and that changes everything. Everything. He writes about the chase and I love how it ends. I wonder if you’re familiar with it. Read to find out. – Kathy

Four-year-old Isaac, with a flash of his bright eyes and curly blond hair, could pretty much convince you to do just about anything. That boy is a handful and all you can do is smile as you pull him off the next piece of furniture.

The staff were all gathered together for lunch one day when Isaac came by the office, along with his mother and sister, to visit his dad. After the meal was over, Isaac ran around the conference table taunting his father, “Catch me Daddy!” Every time he passed one of the guys that had gathered around for lunch, we would growl and try to hook him with our arms. He giggled that 4-year-old sunshine of a giggle, eluding our scary traps as he playfully derided us, “I passed you!”

“Lately, he likes to be chased and get caught,” his dad later explained to me.

Exciting New Book Projects (Updates and Personal Announcement)

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Lately I have helped other friends with their books and that has sparked a new personal book project! I have been so excited it has been hard to sleep the past couple of nights. :)

If you are someone I am connected with on social media, you might have seen various posts lately about how I have the honor of working with Dr. Kathy Koch as she writes her new book “Screens And Teens: Connecting With Our Kids In A Wireless World.” So far I have done background research and given feedback on what she is writing as she writes it.

So fun.

This comes on the heels of doing the same type of content/writing feedback for another friend’s memoir, Jennifer Allison (aka The Rambunctious Kid.)

Seriously, I am loving these kind of projects.  While I haven’t been a part of his writing process, I am of course very excited for Alan Chambers who has worked very hard on his new book that is due out next year.

Of Blogging, Art & Armadillos

newart

Lately it has been really hard to get my own blogging done during the week because of my client workload being heavy (a good thing), starting to do videos again, and making sure I take time at night to paint/draw (life-giving to me.) However, I do post to social media quite regularly so I will post some of the recent art updates and the armadillo video from this morning below :)

Repost: “A Profound Moment – Reflecting On The Exodus Closing Announcement”

exodus logoThis post from my old blog has been brought to my attention several times within the past couple of weeks so I thought I would repost it for the record. I have only slightly edited it for information (ongoing) that is no longer relevant. For those that don’t know, or didn’t read this on my old blog, the particular night referenced below is one of the most powerful experiences I have had. This post was originally written July 8th, 2013.


On June 19th 2013, during the opening night of the Exodus Freedom Conference, I sat on the front row. Leslie was to my right and  Kathy and the Exodus board to my left. All of us were providing each other, and Alan, support as we knew that Alan was making one of the most important keynote speeches of his life. He announced that Exodus is closing.

It was excruciating. The tension, the excitement, the knowledge of what was about to be said … my heart was racing and the tears came and went … to come back again. I had known that night was coming for a while, but there is a difference between knowing and experiencing.

It was quite the profound experience.

Of Pickles, Healthy Habits & Potato Sack Fashion (Health & Fitness Update)

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I think I can make this "bunched up potato sack" look a thing... #needsnewclothes

I think I can make this “bunched up potato sack” look a thing… #needsnewclothes

Yay health!

The Weight Loss Part

As of today I weighed in for Weight Watchers (WW) at 223.8The rundown:

  • May 14, 2013: Was at 270 … total net loss to date, 46.2 pounds
  • On May 17, 2014 (Rejoined WW after stopping for three months) I weighed 238.2. Since rejoining I have lost 14.4 pounds

This week I haven’t done anything different from the past week. Still sticking to plan and the new workout routine. However, the other day I had a couple of whole dill pickles with lunch and actually noticed I got bloated (from all the sodium). I have heard skinny people say, many times, that they can really tell when they take in a lot of sodium and I just thought that was silly. Nope, it’s a real thing and my diet has progressed to the point of really noticing it (in a big way). I guess when I used to live in a constant bloated kind of state it wasn’t that noticeable. That’s kind of scary now to think about.So glad to be on the healthier side of things now. Maybe I will go with just a few dill pickle “chips” instead of a whole one. :)

The Fitness Part
I have noticed that my going to the gym five times a week has definitely become habituated because I honestly haven’t struggled with wanting to go in a long time. Plus, I don’t even think about it that much except as a positive thing I get to do and not something I *have* to do. It has become a natural default in my life. One that I even defend and protect as a very important part of my day (early morning.)

And… oh my gosh… Bruce Pitcher’s story on ABC’s Extreme Weight Loss this past Monday night was simply amazing. Cried most of the way through it. His amazing health journey coupled with his personal story … wow … very inspiring and my heart goes out to him.

Wrap-up
Nothing huge to report this week but this is about where I am at with all of it. As always, thanks for your support, encouragement, and prayers. And, again, as usual, if you are also on a health/fitness improvement journey I would love to hear from you. Those of you who have spoken up before (publicly, privately) are in my prayers as you come to mind.

We have to do this for ourselves in order for it to work and stick. However, if we do it together it is nothing but good!

“Exodus International To Close…” – One Year After The Announcement

exodus logoOne year ago today was one of the most adrenaline filled/stressed-out days of my life. I knew that Alan Chambers was going to announce that we were closing Exodus that June 19th night. It was an incredible moment. One I will not forget. I am very proud of, and love, Alan for his intellect, bravery, and compassion.

I was the guy to hit publish on the press release and distributed it online while Alan was speaking. Definitely a personally catalytic moment in time.

Today I am not writing this to re-argue about the rightness of our decision. I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that it was the correct decision to make. I am confident the Lord had orchestrated the entire situation; that He lead the staff, Alan, and the Board to that conclusion. I have a peace in my heart and simply know it was the right decision. I remain convinced it was for the best on many levels. I also stopped trying to convince others who disagree to agree with me. It is what it is. I’ve moved on and I hope others will too.

“LifeFlow” – The Journey Behind The Painting

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Martha and Mary

38 Now as they were traveling along, He entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word. 40 But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.” 41 But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; 42 but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

Luke 10:38-42

Late February, maybe early March, I went to the art store. I had created a few paintings over the holidays and absolutely loved the refuge/communion that activity provided. While creating them I kept thinking, “This is a life-giving and affirming activity. This is a major part of who God created me to be.” However, as I stood looking at the blank canvasses in the art store, I was focusing on the smaller canvasses. It occurred to me to not “settle” for limiting my artistic vision.

So, I just went all hog-wild and chose a 3×4 foot canvas!

Buying this giant of a canvas literally made my stomach nervously rumble as I took it up to the counter to purchase.

What Is a Healthy Response To Harshly Judgmental People?

angry

The other day I saw a former friend ranting online. I judged him :) to be being super-duper mean-spirited and judgmental! At one point in our past friendship, he was all smiles and flattery. Now, I have been told he is telling people I am a false witness leading people to hell. I’ve never responded to him publicly and don’t plan to.

My initial response to him, in my heart and with a trusted friend, was FAR from a mature response. Eventually, I calmed down and asked God to give me wisdom for the situation. He reminded me of various things He has taught me over the years as well as a few new insights. I have discovered that I can apply the following to any situation regarding people I perceive to be harshly judgmental.