Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Turkey Day

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I'm standing on Times Square waiting in line to go into ESPN Zone! Figured I'd try this blog app out while I was waiting! Hope everyone is having a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Here it is again. Fall. Gotta love it....the air; the colder temperatures; the falling leaves... As I've mentioned before, I love this time of year. Now, if we could just get all this without all the rain then we'd be set.

I was looking through a bunch of old Facebook pictures the other day, which, naturally, got me thinking about the past (something that I probably do too much of), and how strange it is that people are in your life for a season before moving on with their lives. It's happened to me before, but it's still pretty weird when I realize it. For instance, there's this guy I'm friends with on Facebook that I haven't seen in years. I mean, years. Like I was 5 the last time I saw him. And apparently, he and I were best friends way back then. Now he's married, and I know next to nothing about him.

A more recent example is the Perry family. Cody and Christian were two of my best friends growing up. I remember playing Ninja Turtles with them, hanging out at church, and having sleep-overs all the time either in Ragley or Moss Bluff. We went to the same church; Cody and I had a crush on the same girl there. Mr. Ed and Mrs. Cathy were almost like second parents. I remember crying and crying when I found out that they were leaving to go to a different church in the same town. Now, all was not as I feared, of course. We kept in touch, and I was even in Mr. Ed's Sunday School class.

*Sidenote* - Mr. Ed, if you ever read this, thank you so much for that class and for all the times you let Jared and I invade your home. You challenged us, and cared about each one of us individually. You always wanted the best for all of us; even when you might have thought we were being morons. You gave and gave and gave; never asking for anything in return. You truly were an awesome man of God.

I'm starting to feel that way about high school and college friends as well. I know that some of them will always be there if I need them, no matter the length of time that passes like the Perry's, Kade, Ken, Ryne, Bill, Jimmy, Lyndsey, and David. I'm incredibly thankful for that. There's no way I deserve one friend of this caliber, yet I've just named 7 plus a family of 4.

And I can't help wondering if I've had as good of an impact on them as they have on me. Have I done as Mr. Ed did and cared, challenged, and gave of myself without asking for anything back? For the ones that I don't really talk to there anything that I could have done to change who they are now? I realize that I can't take responsibility for anyone's life but mine, yet it's still something that I think about every now and then....

Ahh well.....

I'm very excited for Friday! The OE group has decided that we're all going to dress up as Harry Potter characters! I'm going to be the one, the only.....SEVERUS SNAPE!!!

I have the cape, outfit, hair, and wand! It's going to be awesome!

Quote of the Post:
Poetry is the rhythmical creation of beauty in words. -Edgar Allen Poe

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Lonely Weekend. Good Weekend.

This has been great. The roommate is out of town. Katie is with her family. And I am here in the apartment alone. I think I might have possibly said 17 words out loud all day yesterday (mostly during the LSU game). Seriously, it's been great. Especially after the last few weeks...

I was lead teacher for one of the best group of 4th graders. Willis Lane Elementary came by our neck of the woods Wednesday for three days of Outdoor Education fun! Those kids were seriously awesome! I told them that at least three times over the course of their stay. Seldom have I seen a group of kids that big (139ish) and that young be so attentive and cooperative.

Campfires this week were epic. I had both of them (Monday and Thursday) with the one and only, David Huss. While we had the classic pair of Banana Bandana and Hidey Ho!, we also had two great Boom-chicka-boom contests, both of which I won! Harry Potter style - for the win!

I turn a quarter century old tomorrow. 25. It's pretty crazy. My birthday present from me to me is a brand new 32 gig iPod Touch! That also is pretty crazy. My old iPod kicked the bucket on Wednesday so I figured why not?

It's raining right now. And it's cold. I love it!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Rainy Weekend

I must admit, I do enjoy a dull, grey rainy day. Things cool down for awhile and most of the time you're forced indoors for a quiet afternoon in front of the TV snuggled up with your girl. It's been a weekend like that. Football and friends as well for most of the day Saturday.

MLIA. Enough said. Click on that only if you have a few hours to kill. Seriously. Oh and Sporcle.

I can't wait for the winter to get here. It will be a welcome reprieve from the heat. This weekend's rain almost made it feel that way here.

There goes another rumble of thunder. Man, I love falling asleep to the rain on the roof...

Monday, September 7, 2009

Where Stately Oaks...

I've been meaning to write something for quite some time now. Funny, that I've purposely been hiding in my room all night and am just now trying to blog something. Sigh. Ah well.

These last few days have sometimes seemed to be a roller coaster ride for me. I've been stressed out from creating a new Outdoor Education class from the ground up; from dealing with argumentative (and sometimes abrasive) people; and from not getting the quiet, solitary time that I've desperately been needing. So stress, stress, and more stress. Fortunately, the new class is almost finished, and tonight was a giant step in the right direction back to my mental sanity. As for the argumentatively abrasive people....well, here's hopin...


This past Saturday was the first weekend of LSU football for the 2009 season. Before you can groan and think, "Oh, here he goes again," just hear me out. Recently, my mom and I were talking about how much I changed when I went off to college. Thinking more about it, I know that she's right (she always is). I definitely learned a lot about myself and figured out what kind of person I wanted to be. So, I guess that this time of year allows me to reminisce on those times and recall the good, the bad, and the what ifs. For instance...

The Bad - Cramming for tests. Homework. Boring job. Other stuff.

What If - I had never gone to South Africa? I had never gone to Mexico? I had gone to Louisiana College instead? I had never gone to Sky Ranch? I had gotten any of the girls that I pathetically pined after? I had never set foot in the BCM?

The Good - Becoming the person that I am today (or at least starting on that road). South Africa. South Africa again. Mexico. Sky Ranch. Incredible friends that stuck with me all throughout my time at LSU (and still do). Getting on the front cover of USA Today (if you don't believe me then look in the Painted Posse album on my Facebook page). Learning what life is. Road trips to LSU away games with friends (Arizona State, Ole Miss, Florida, Auburn, and SEC Championship). Touch football games on the Parade Grounds. Late night poker games. Being involved in 3 good friends' weddings (at least). Rooming with one of my best friends. Late night Walmart runs with Kade (the best friend). Ski trips. Helping to found the Painted Posse and getting multiple newspaper and TV appearances with them. Learning about football and then arguing with my dad about whether football or drag racing was the better sport. Leaving high school behind. Leading a Freshman Family group that included my cousin, Michele. Saturday night in Death Valley with 92,000+ people. Cross campus games of Capture the Flag. Helping one of my good friends setup his proposal site with candles at the fountain in the quad. Going to Tiger Stadium hours and hours before the game to get front row seats. Hearing Mike the Tiger's roar. Getting a text from my mom anytime she's in Baton Rouge saying that she's in the Promised Land or bowing to Death Valley (which always brings a smile to my face)....

The list goes on and on...

I know this might be a little cheesy and cliche', but my time at LSU was one of the greatest times of my life.

So here's to another great season of Tiger football, full of ups and downs and fond memories. I love it.

Where stately oaks and broad magnolias shade inspiring halls
There stands our dear Old Alma Mater who to us recalls
Fond memories that waken in our hearts a tender glo
And make us happy for the love that we have come to know

All hail to thee our Alma Mater; molder of mankind
May greater glory, love unending be forever thine
Our worth in life will be thy worth; we pray to keep it true
And may thy spirit live in us; forever L-S-U!

- LSU Alma Mater

Saturday, July 11, 2009

When Did That Happen?

Time's flying here in Colorado. 20 days left for my stay here at Sky Ranch Ute Trail near Lake City in Colorado. I'm in a coffee shop here called Mean Jeans in Lake City listening to a little "American Girl" by Tom Petty while chuckling at seeing the "No ID; No Alcohol" sign next to the cash register. Outside is one of the semi-frequent 15 minute long rain showers that seem to be all the rage here. Oh and the side of a mountain. That's always cool.

It really has been fun here. Being one of the activities guys can be a little tiring but at least we are free from the obligations of planning and entertaining. Plus we get to do all kinds of manly things like chop wood, hunt bears, and get cool scars. I've already torn chunks of skin out of my right hand twice so far, pulled (or cut) about 16 splinters out of my hands and arms, and have suffered through a bunch of muscle cramps, sprains, and strains. At present, my middle finger on my right hand is missing a bit of skin and the muscle that is over my left shoulder blade is a dull ache at the moment.

At least the temperature is only in the double digits...

I played a lot of basketball this week with a really cool family. They were the Davis family from the DFW area (or thereabouts) and Mr. Brad and his four sons (Joshua, Caleb, Jonathan, and David) played four pretty intense games of full-court 5 on 5 basketball Monday night and last night. Joshua and Caleb are 16 and very good players. I was impressed and happy with myself for being able to keep up with them (ya know since I'm an old 24 year old). They were a very cool family who you could tell enjoyed being around each other and loved each other. I'm going to miss them.

My cousin Anna recently gave birth to her first child, Daniel. He's premature and very, very tiny.

I'm going to try to stop by on my way back from Ute Trail to see him. It's pretty awesome that Anna and Jason have a kid now. It's weird too though. It's always been The Parents and the Grandkids whenever we have family get-togethers. Recently, the Grandkids have added two spouses to the ranks. Now we have a first cousin once removed or something like that. Seems like we're growing up or something like that. Getting older. I mean, I'm getting excited about turning 25 this year so that my insurance payments will go down. When did that happen?

It seems like the theme of this year so far has been The Acknowledgement and Acceptance of Getting Older, Part 1. Family is getting bigger. Parents are getting doctor bills. Having to worry about payments and insurance. Moving. Moving again. Savings account. Life insurance. Being in the position of having been out of college for two years. Making cross country trips solo and booking a hotel solo. Weird and different. But good. Real good.

Ah well at least I still like stupid pictures....

Quite hilarious...

Thursday, June 25, 2009


For those of you that haven't heard by now, on Sunday I'm going to be heading to the great state of Colorado to help out at Sky Ranch's Ute Trail camp. For the next 5-6 weeks it will be mountains, high ropes, kayaking, mountain rain storms, sleeping under the stars, mountains, and way cooler temperatures than those here in Texas. It's going to be awesome!

Oh and here's a new one....


I hope that
All is well

Would that I
Could touch your face
Though Orion refuses
To allow me

Gemini laughs
In derision
At my longing
Andromeda sighs

I pray Draco
Leaves you be

And someday soon
That Ursa
Bears you swiftly
Back to me

Though Aries
And the Archer
Fight to keep
Their Queen from me

Let Leo guard
Your bed

And very soon
The Scales will tip
And we will be
Restored again

Darkest night
Lies before the dawn
Which soon breaks
Into daylight

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Funny Class Moment

So here at Sky Ranch, I teach a class entitled "Expeditions." During this class, we take the kids on a hike to talk about the carbon cycle, walking them through how carbon can move from one organism to another. For the section where I talk about carbon moving around in the Animal Kingdom, mostly through animals eating each other, I get the kids to act out different animals that are going to eat or be eaten by another animal.

A few weeks ago, I got a kid and told him to be a raccoon. Not knowing what to do or what noise to make, he finally gave a feeble "rawr." (Think the sound you make when you pretend to be a monster)

I gave him an exaggerated confused look and simply said, "Um, raccoons don't rawr."

Cue enthusiastic laughter from my raccoon demonstrator, the other kids, the adults, and myself.

Good times....good times...

Saturday, May 2, 2009

The Necklace

I recently re-found an old necklace that I had bought years ago; probably at a tourist spot in Colorado. The leather of my South African necklace is starting to fray, so I decided to take the elephant cross pendant off it. The necklace already had a pretty cool arrowhead pendant on it; so I added the elephant cross and a Sky Ranch Sky symbol to it. After doing all this, I realized that these three pieces tell about four things that make up a big part of who I am.

First, the elephant hair cross. The cross is a representation of my being a follower (to the best of my feeble ability) of Jesus Christ. I believe He lived a perfect life, and willingly died for my sins, rising again to sit at the right hand of the Father.

The cross is made of elephant hair which is a constant reminder of my time in South Africa. Those were two trips that changed my life completely. They were times when I can vividly remember God reaching down and speaking to my soul and spirit. They were incredible times of learning and being stretched.

The Sky symbol is representative of my time at Sky Ranch. The lessons in patience, tolerance, humility, confidence.

The arrowhead is representative of my Native American heritage. I believe I have Crow, Creek, Cherokee, and Apache blood in me. Sadly, I have no documentation (yet) to prove this conclusively.

That's just a short little bit about my necklace.

Two weeks ago I was sitting with a group of students when one of the boys said he knew something about me that I didn't tell them. Upon being asked, the boy said that I believed in God. I asked how he knew that, to which he replied, "You have a cross on your necklace." To my embarrassment looking back, I remember changing the subject by giving him a curt "Yep." Now I realize that that had the potential to be a great chance to talk to him about God. I didn't take it. I was embarrassed to talk about my Lord and Savior with a 5th grader.

This past week I was sitting with a different group of students (8th graders this time) and one of the girls asked me point blank if I was a Christian. At this point, I remembered my conversation with the 5th graders, and in an instant knew that I wouldn't repeat my previous mistake. So I engaged the conversation and actually talked it out with them.

It felt good to be able to have the chance to redeem myself like that. I don't know if that was God giving me an extra shot at it (though why couldn't He?). I took the chance and it was great to rise up the way I should have done in the first place.

Monday, March 30, 2009


I was driving the long, straight roads of central Oklahoma last Friday night on my way to see Katie. Usually on those long road trips, I'll set the iPod to play a sermon from Matt Chandler, Tommy Nelson, or Mark Driscoll. For whatever reason, during the last 45 minutes-ish of the trip, I decided to flip over the actual music stored on my iPod, finding release first in the words of Dan Haseltine and Jars of Clay in (one of the best songs ever, in my opinion) World's Apart:

I look before the empty cross
Forgetting what my life has cost
And wipe away the crimson stains
And dull the nails that still remain
More and more I need You now
I owe You more each passing hour....
...Take the selfish, take the weak
And all the things I cannot hide
Take the beauty, take my tears
The sin-soaked heart and make it Yours

I absolutely love that song, mostly because it's something that I wish that I could say every day. Moving on from there, Kevin Max filled the speakers with The Old Rugged Cross:

So I'll cherish the old rugged cross (old rugged cross)
Till my trophies at last I'll lay down
I will cling to the old rugged cross
And exchange it someday for a crown

It was at this point that I was vividly reminded of a gentleman in my church growing up named Don Buffington. Mr. Don used to stand proudly in the upper-right corner of the church choir for as many Sundays as I can remember. Mr. Don was the man who would always add that second small repeat at the end of the line of whatever hymn was being sung (represented in the above parenthesis). Always and without fail.

For some reason, I tend to remember his addition for this song as being a long drawn out almost mournful addition. He did it for just about any hymn we sang such as When We All Get to Heaven:

When we all get to heaven
What a day of rejoicing that will be (that will be)
When we all see Jesus
We'll sing and shout the victory (shout the victory)

Mr. Don went Home some years back, but for just a few, short minutes Friday night, I could hear him singing along with the old hymns. And it was a great feeling and remembering.

The last song that moved through the car was Delirious?'s version of My Glorious:

God is bigger than the air I breathe
The world we'll leave
God will save the day and all will say
My Glorious!

I don't know exactly what was going on in my heart, head, and spirit that night. Maybe it was the sermons and the memory of a family friend long gone. Probably it was just all God, moving in me. For whatever reason, by the song's end, I was in tears. Had been in tears for a minute or two.

It just felt good to worship my Savior...

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Feel This (Part 2)

Previously on Josh's Blog....

I don't want to lose that kid inside, and there are days where I have a hard time seeing his smile.

Because we all should know by now that the world is cruel. Heartless. Cold. Uncaring.

And I hate that.

And the beauty you have now is brighter than before...

Beauty. It's incredible how much beauty there is that we take for granted. How much warmth; how much integrity; how much faith. Beauty that is unsoiled by the perverted hands of the so-called "experts." Brighter than before... redemption.

Let go...let go and believe.

Believe. Redemption. Believe in redemption. Redemption of belief. I'll take either one. Just something to help me remember that there are people in this world who care. People who know that what they do matters, and aren't afraid to do something. People who don't charge anything for a smile. Who laugh because you do and cry because you need to.

Whatever happened to being free enough to cry and show that you're dying on the inside? To remove the mask and let people know who you really are. To not hide.

Where are those people?

Let go...

Let go...


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Feel This

Okay, I admit it. Katie and I have been watching the TV series One Tree Hill since Christmas. We're on the third season (possibly fourth by now, I'm not too sure). One of the songs in the series, entitled "Feel This" sort of grabbed my attention.

What if I told you, you're tears haven't been ignored...

Sometimes I remember some of the things that I've cried over and hope to God that that's true. Looking back, I know that a lot that was petty/silly/insignificant, but at the time I hoped it was true. My mom told me once when I was little that God caught every tear that I cried and stored them up in heaven. Somehow, remembering that helped....

....And everything that was taken, can be restored?
What if I told you, that innocence is yours

And the beauty you have now, is brighter than before?

Everything that was taken? Child-like innocence, faith, and hope? Sometimes it seems like those things are so far away from who I've become. Sometimes it feels the opposite and there's adult knowledge, skepticism, and despair. I don't want to lose that kid inside, and there are days where I have a hard time seeing his smile. shop's closing....

To be continued....

Friday, February 20, 2009

Nerd Moment

So I was watching The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King the other night, and I was once again reminded of my love for movies like that. It makes me wish, in some childish part of my brain, that I could be out on a battlefield in Middle-earth. Either riding with the Rohirrim, or standing on the walls of Minas Tirith would be cool. Probably the Rohirrim though, if I had a choice. Eomer, is one of the coolest but vastly underrated characters in the series. I mean, come on, the man has a helmet topped off with what looks like a horse’s tail. Just awesome. Oh, and Aragorn’s Elvish knife that was given to him in Lothlorien is pretty flippin’ sweet too. Just saying…

I know, I know, I just wrote in a major nerd moment. But c’mon, I just finished reading The Silmarrilion, which is basically Tolkien telling how Middle-earth began and was formed. It gives a lot of history for the later LOTR trilogy, which adds just another layer of depth to the already rich story. By the way, if you have no idea what or who I’m talking about, then go get the aforementioned books or movies, and read/watch them.

The night sky around here has been incredible. For the last two weeks, we’ve had pretty much clear skies at night, and the stars have been so bright. I’ve caught myself staring up into the vast darkness, staring up at Orion’s Belt, Ursa Major, and unknown other constellations hanging silently in the expanse.

I felt so tiny. So very tiny…

So insignificant…

So helpless…

Psalm 8:4 – What is man that you are mindful of him?....