Topics

Stop

Hey you. Yeah, you, reading this article. Stop it.

I want to quickly start this off by saying, “yeah maybe writing this isn’t the best idea,” because not everyone will agree with me, and frankly, I don’t want you to. The world needs differing opinions on things, it’s how solutions are built. But I want to say, off the bat, that I know what comments I’m opening myself up to by writing an “opinion piece” like this. So buckle up.

You are currently reading this from a link you clicked on via twitter or facebook and by doing that, you’re about to get some cold, wet, opinion from yours truly. It’s not like you’re not used to opinion. You, the reader of this post, are very inundated with political statements and opinions and “fake news” every second and frankly, we all need to stop. We need to take a step back and think about what we’re doing, what we’re contributing to our society.

Before the election, before the BLM movement, before the NFL anthem protests, before the Kardashians were a “thing,” there was no social media. What people tend to forget is that there was a world revolving before CNN, before ESPN, before facebook and 24-hour news cycles. The world existed almost exactly how it exists today, we just weren’t aware of it. There have always been hurricanes, earthquakes, racism, hatred, white supremacy, terrible, awful things that have always existed. Today’s world seems so much darker than ever before because we finally have the means to see it. Remember the Bible? That book that Christians read and follow? There’s a passage about a man named Noah who lived in the same world we do, only, it was so much worse, that God decided to wipe out all of literally everything because he was ashamed of what He’d created. Save for Noah, and his family, who God used to save the animals and repopulate the earth. Now, yes, because of sin and the horrible bi-product that it creates, humanity quickly rebounded to it’s terrible self, but to my original point, we’ve always existed in a broken world. Whether you believe in that or not is up to you, but regardless, my point remains true. The world is a broken place.

That being said, there is so much hate amongst one another. It might not be intentional. It might not be for political gain. But honestly what good are we bringing to our society by posting rant after rant about this talking head or that football player or that president or that political group? What example are we showing to our peers, friends, family, kids, parents, literally anyone by posting the latest link about “what the president did now” with whatever attached opinion you might have. Posting opinions will not change anyone’s mind. Unless you’re a troll and want to get a rise out of people, there’s no point. My posting of this article in the grand scheme of things also has no point, but my goal here isn’t to make a statement about one side or another, it’s for the general population reading this to say, please think before you speak. My mom always told me that God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason. Why post something, why engage in a comment war, why bother poking the metaphorical bear when in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t really matter?

My point is this: take a step back. Look at your friends, family, those around you, those who read your words, those who see your influence, in reality, and on social media. Take what you say and put it through a filter. I try my very hardest to refrain from posting political things because all it does these days is breed more arguments. Our climate is so easily offended about every little thing, and it’s maddening. I’m not saying to stop posting opinions completely. Like I said in the beginning, arguments can lead to solutions and compromise. But for the general overall health of our culture, please please think about what you say before you say it. You can live a better life by posting about your kids day at school or your funny pet instead of the latest garbage that comes out of a politicians mouth. We can all rally around causes like helping fellow humans in need after hurricanes. Spreading love is more important than arguing. So please, listen to me or not. All I’m saying is that the generations after yours, mine, and the ones after mine, are all absorbing our thoughts, whether we like it or not. So stop, take a step back, breathe, and say something nice.

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Thoughts, Topics

H A P P Y

Happy is a fun word.
It’s a state of mind, an ongoing feeling.
When I’m feeling happy and describing that as my mood, I can’t help but feel like “happy” is a giant smile that doesn’t go away, the kind that Buddy the Elf would be jealous of.
I admit, I’m very guilty of hiding my emotions. I’ve fallen victim, especially recently, of feeling down and not taking the time to enjoy life and others around me. That is going to change. It shouldn’t be a natural instinct for us as individuals to live in sadness. We have so much to look forward to in life and have so much around us that blesses us daily. So let’s talk about happy.
-Happy is being giddy for no reason
-Happy is not being able to stay still for five seconds because there’s so much you want to do with your energy
-Happy is having amazing friends and family around you
-Happy is being content in who you are, what you believe in, and what you’re doing with your life
-Happy is that one song that you could listen to a billion times
-Happy is that memory that you wish you could live over and over again
-Happy is a hug
-Happy is getting home after a long day and just relaxing and doing absolutely nothing
-Happy is not caring what song you’re dancing/singing to in the car/shower/karaoke stage
-Happy is having fun every waking minute of life
I’ve challenged myself to be happier from now on. Not that I wasn’t happy before or am not happy now, but to go through each moment striving to find the joy in life, to smile more, and to have fun. It’s not just a word, it’s a feeling, a transferrable mood, a fun time.

~ let’s all be happy 🙂 ~

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Poetry, Topics

Ladder

A Slam Poem

Christmas time
The time of year to hang up lights
Everyone trying to show the neighborhood that they’re the best!
Be the best at Christmas, hang up those lights, decorate that yard!

Candy canes, inflatables, and so many lights!
Lights, lights lights! Hang up all the lights!
But oh, you’re too short to reach the roof
Fear of failure creeps upon you, you can’t let the neighbors win
You must hang those lights, no matter the cost

Walking swiftly to the garage, a ladder is spotted in the corner
“OH JOY” you yell; the ladder will save your Christmas yet
Bring it outside, step up swiftly and start hanging those lights
Progress is made, your house looks great!

But alas!
The ladder isn’t happy…
OH LADDER, NO, NOT NOW
The ladder shakes and bends
You struggle to find balance, but it’s too late
The lights are almost done, but the ladder won’t hold any longer

Down, down, down you fall
Off the ladder and into the bushes below
THUMP

You look up sadly
Anger, hate, wrath, all the feelings being felt
Only the ladder is to blame for this
“I trusted you” you scream
The ladder sits in silence, not caring

The neighbors win, Christmas is lost
The lights were never finished, you could’t get back up
Falling off the ladder was too much, it was over
All because of the ladder

Silly, dumb, strange ladder

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Poetry, Topics

Lego

Short, plastic and sometimes square
Some with beards and some with hair
Multi-colored and hard in mold
Perfect size for a child to hold

Legos are fun and never boring
When you play with them, you wont be snoring
But caution you who leave them out
They cause much pain without a doubt

Though cute by trade, and loads of fun
A lego left out by someone dumb
Can be a problem, and I can prove it
When you step on one, your cool, you will lose it

Sharp pain and agony is the feeling you’ll obtain
Cause the stupid lego will make you feel insane
You’ll scream and yell and throw it away
Some dummy left it out, and they’ll have to pay

But alas, you’re to hurt to even go after
The person who left the toy out and robbed you of laughter
“IT’S NOT FAIR” you scream as you sit in the floor
And weep oh so bitterly at the pain you have to endure

The lesson here is very simple and short
Put away your Legos and be a good sport
So when someone like me steps on one and gets hurt
You won’t be the one getting sued in high court

So put away your toys and do not leave them out
If you do, there will be pain, that’s a fact, there is no doubt
So heed my warning and make my advice last
Or like me, you’ll step on a stupid Lego and end up in a cast

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Thoughts, Topics

Belize 2014: A Portrait of Joy

What is joy? Some might say it’s happiness to the extreme, like opening a Christmas present or getting engaged. I think that definition is wrong. Sure, you can call those scenarios happy occasions, but I wouldn’t qualify them as joy. Here’s joy to me: witnessing God at work. Pure joy is found and attained at the pinnacle of a relationship through Christ, and I saw that joy happen in Belize.
Going to Belize was always a goal for me. My dad and sister both had visited the country twice before on mission trips before I got the chance to go, and I’d had several friends go on the trip as well and come back raving about the fun they’d had and the lives they’d seen changed. Finally I got the chance to go last year and I was scared.

One of my struggles in life has always been anxiety, especially before a trip like this. I’d never been out of the country before, let alone somewhere that hot for that long (one week) before. But the day before the trip I felt this overwhelming peace. No fear, no upset stomach, just peace. God taught me that trip to no longer be afraid of the unknown and to embrace new things as an opportunity for growth and strengthening of my faith. Leading into this years trip, I couldn’t be more excited to get back to the country and share the Gospel.

Here’s where the joy happens. Joy comes in children.
The minute you step off the bus in San Roman, one of the villages, you are instantly surrounded, no, swarmed, by kids. These kids are everything. They hug you, they tackle you, they beatbox with you, they give you stickers and friendship bracelets, they make you laugh, and they make you cry because you just want to never leave them because they’re so happy to have you visit and spend time with them. That is joy. They live in what we would call poverty but they don’t care. They’d rather spend whatever money they have to give you a small present than live in a cushy house with air-conditioning and hi-def TV’s. They listen to every word you say and treasure whatever you do with them. Last year, I befriended two sisters, Viviana and Denalia. I taught them a secret handshake at the end of the trip and told them that when I came back next year, they had to do it with me. I left that year thinking I’d be stunned if they would be able to remember that after a whole year. I ended up stunned. The first thing they asked me when I saw them this year was, “MISTER SCOTT!!! LET’S DO OUR HANDSHAKE!!!” The fact that you can make an impact even as small as a handshake brings you to tears because these kids are so special. They are God’s creation just like us. Having the chance to go and teach them praise songs and Bible stories leaves much more than a small impact on them, it has the power to change their lives. That is joy.

Viv and Den, 2013

Viv and Den, 2013

Viv and Den, 2014

Viv and Den, 2014

 

Joy comes in smaller, private moments.
During a prayer walking session the first day of the trip in the village of Silkgrass, my two partners (Shelby Ferguson and Caroline Jones) and I got invited into a high-rise house. Inside, two women sat on a couch doing something I can’t remember and 3-4 kids roamed the floor playing and screaming like kids do. Caroline started sharing the One-Verse Evangelism with one of the women and I sat back and watched. I then noticed another lady in the kitchen stripping chicken meat for a stew. I went in the kitchen to ask her about the stew and that led into another gospel conversation. With God’s words in my mouth, she heard what I had to say and was led to accept Jesus as her Savior. As we left the house I was super excited to tell the girls about what had happened when Shelby turned to me with a smile and said, “We just led that woman to Christ,” to which I replied, “No way same here!” It’s situations like that where God works flawlessly through us, His servants, to further the kingdom. Our prayer group experienced joy in that moment from how God used us to serve and share the Gospel. Moments like that only come when we give ourselves completely to Him and let His words speak through us. The joy came from seeing sinners become sisters in Christ. It’s the most fulfilling experience imaginable.

Shelby, myself, and Caroline

Joy comes in the unexpected moments
A different day of prayer walking with Madison Hari and Meghan Garrison took us to the village of Red Bank. It was there that I did something I don’t normally do: cry. In another small house, the two girls were speaking with a Catholic woman about her faith and how Jesus had blessed her with salvation, but was struggling to keep her daughter in church while also planning for her departure to a University for school. It was in that moment when we prayed with her “Belize-style,” where everyone prays out loud at once, creating beautiful noise for Christ. After the prayer though, she started thanking us for coming and sharing the Gospel in the village and how encouraging it was to see us sharing our faith with others in the country that needed it. She told us it was nice and thanked us for being bold and doing what she was scared to do herself. That was when I lost it. To hear those words after a devotion the night before from one of my oldest friends (not in age, just in friendship length) Amanda Vickers about the “why” of coming on this mission trip, solidified my faith and calling. Boiling it all down, it brought me to tears hearing thanks and encouragement from another believer about my “why” for going on the trip. To me, Belize was a chance to be bold in my faith, get out of my comfort zone, and share my faith with others that needed it. Hearing that encouragement reaffirmed how God was working in the country of Belize and in my own life. That brought me joy. Enough joy to the point where I cried.

Meghan, myself, and Madison

Joy comes in the shared experiences.
When you grow up with a sibling, you fight a lot. You tease each other, you butt heads, and you play ridiculous games that leave you with countless inside jokes. The relationship that forms is a best friendship, and Belize brought out the best in my relationship with my sister Paige. I’ve seen her do great things for God before, but Belize is an amplification of that. She is so calm yet so strong and bold in the way she walked in the village praying with people and sharing the Gospel. She loved on the adults and the kids of the villages and held nothing back when it came to sharing her faith. It’s incredibly precious as the older brother to watch someone that close to me make such a positive impact on so many lives and share those experiences together. Although I didn’t get to prayer walk with her directly, I know that she made an impact because of what other people in her groups would tell me. God shined through her this week and it’s why she has gone four years to Belize. She, like me, has grown to love the people and culture so much that it matters to her to come back and share God’s love with them over and over. Seeing that love brings joy not only to the people of Belize, but everyone in our group myself included.
Other shared experiences were the group interactions we all shared. Whether it was having jam sessions of worship songs in the vans, inside someones home, or at worship service, we all lifted our voices to God and it couldn’t have sounded more beautiful. Joy was experienced be each and every person involved.

Paige and I

Joy doesn’t have to be limited to just Belize. Joy can be found wherever God is present. Belize though will always hold a special place in my heart because of the joy I found there. The children, the prayer walks, the singing, the testimonies, the Bible stories, the evangelism, the meals, everything that happens is all a testimony to the Holy Spirit working through everyone in our group to bond in a common purpose: make the joy of Jesus Christ known to the country of Belize. This trip is one that I won’t ever forget and I hope I’m blessed to go on more in the future. Until the next time, my mission continues to be the same: spreading joy. And I found some of that joy in Belize.

 

 

 

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Poetry, Topics

Soap

I took a shower yesterday
To wash all of the dirt away
When suddenly I felt some pain
And my good mood went down the drain

I’ll try to describe the hurt i felt
I really thought my face would melt
It stung and burnt so yes I cried
The pain so real, I thought I’d died

Surprised I was to feel such hurt
I’m usually careful when scrubbing dirt
And that is why I was surprised
When the stupid soap got in my eyes

The pain! Oh soap you have betrayed me!
I didn’t know that you did hate me!
We used to be friends, the best of buds
But now I loathe all of your suds

I hate you soap, you’re no longer fun
The rebellion against you has begun
So sit on the shelf, your life is through
This shower is over. Goodbye. Adieu

 

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Lists, Topics

Things That Should Be In The Winter Olympics

Okay so the Olympics are in full swing now, but they don’t seem to be as exciting as in years past. I think the main reason for this is because the world is Putin up with Russia and there’s a little bit of tension around the safety of the location. But I think that the Olympics are also suffering from a lack of exciting games and sports. So I’ve compiled a list (YES ANOTHER LIST GET OVER IT) of activities that should’ve been included in the Winter Olympics.

#1 Ice Fishing
Imagine the thrill of getting to watch men and women sit on a chair and try to catch exotic fish for a medal! You could spend hours analyzing the type of bait they would use, the model of the fishing pole, even put in underwater cameras that show any aquatic activity! Or just imagine the conversations between the sportscasters, “Oh wait I think he has a bite…nope just twitching…wait is he asleep???” The winners would obviously be the one who actually
a. caught a fish
b. had a fish that weighed more than the other fish that were also caught by other competitors.
Or you could go simply off of quantity of fish caught.

#2 Ice Sculpting
WHY hasn’t this been included yet? As much as we love our beaches and sand castles, wouldn’t it be riveting TV to see men and women going crazy carving up huge blocks of ice? I tend to think of the show Cake Boss on the Food Network in this instance. People of all ages watch Cake Boss to see who is the best at making the most amazing and decorated cake out of literally nothing. Why can’t the Olympics do the same thing with ice? Just give the contestants a 500 pound block of the stuff and tell them to make the most creative thing they can in 2 hours. That would be incredible! Ice flying everywhere, blow-torches being used to melt it down faster, and the immense pressure to get it exactly right would be must-see TV. The winner would be the country with the most cohesive and creative sculpture of course, and the judges would need to be experts on art and the fineness of what constitutes a good sculpture.

#3 Snow Angel Contest
I see this as the equivalent to the Summer Olympics’ long jump event. If there is still an event where you get a medal based on how far you can jump after a running start, something that most if not all humans are able to do, than it shouldn’t be “medal worthy.” But it is, so let’s give snow angel enthusiasts a chance! It’s simple, whoever can make the most complete snow angels in two minutes wins. There will be judges to make sure the angels are actually “done right” and from there, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place will be decided.

#4 Snowball Making/ Snowman Making
First snowball making. If Buddy the elf were in fact a real person, he’d be the undisputed champion. Like snow angels, whoever can make the most well-crafted snowballs (in 5 minutes though) wins the competition. The key is speed and compactness for the snowballs. Think of the drama if one country used an illegal glove that makes snow easier to grip and form! There’s so many different techniques to use in snowball making too, so analysis of “formation and completion” of the snowball making process is endless. This could be entertainment at its best.
For snowman building, the same concept exists, you have 4 minutes to create a snowman in the most elaborate and creative way you can think. No accessories can be used, only the snow. Shapes of snowmen don’t have to be circles, you can be as creative as you want (examples include: squares, hexagons, rhombus[rhombi? rhombuses?], triangles, JUST BE CREATIVE).

#5 Downhill Sled Racing (singles and doubles)
This is my solution to bobsled and luge. Both are boring and dangerous so why not eliminate both and replace them with downhill sledding? This is WAY more fun to watch and it’s essentially a race with every other country that puts a team or individual forward. It’s no different from sledding down a hill with your friends, except the Olympic race hill will be larger and have more obstacles to dodge (you know, snowmen, trees, ramps to jump off of, snowball catapults). I’m thinking a downhill ski competition-length hill so there’s drama between who can get the gold medal. It’s every childhood dream put on a huge stage for the world to see.

Each and every one of these events are easy to implement and will be a welcomed addition to the Winter Olympics by anyone who cares to watch. Every activity is fun and exciting and will invite audiences from every age to tune in. What do you think? I do believe we should be Putin these ideas forward to the Olympic Committee. Let’s do it.

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