Archive for June, 2012

Gypsies, Hippies and the path of the Nomad

I’ve been called many things in my life.  Lion.  Mzungu.  Yovo.  Rastafarian.  Nomad.  Tall one.  Blondie.  And one of my favorites, the kid with the face.  There have been other names as well (many of them unfit for posting here) that describe me.  That reveal how others see me.  Or the person they think I should be. 

I’ve been called a Hippie because of my long hair.  A Rastafarian because I sported dreads.  Gypsy because some of the clothes that I wore (and sometimes still wear). 

We use words to describe who we are.  Who we were.  Who we want to be. 

Just a few weeks ago, I was asked to describe myself in only a single word.  It took me a couple of minutes to come up with something and my response:  Nomad. 

For the past couple years, I’ve been wandering to wherever God calls me next.  After I graduated it was over to Africa with Mercy Ships and the M/V Africa Mercy.  Then my adventures with AmeriCorps NCCC based out of Denver.  From there it was down to Ft. Campbell as a Wildfire Suppression Technician.  Now, my next journey will lead me back to AmeriCorps NCCC, but this time down to Vicksburg, MS as a Team Leader for FEMA Corps. 

They say that a Nomad is someone who moves from one place to another, rather than settling in one location.  This describes me perfectly.  I don’t want to settle, but to move when and where God calls me. 

My faith did not call me to remain still, but to move.  And with a joyful heart I look forwards to serving yet again.  Leading so that others may not only follow, but grow to become leaders themselves. 

Everything that has happened on my journey, all the joys and pains, I will take with me.  Everything that has brought me to this point, all that I have been called, all that I have seen, and done, I take with me.  I go forwards with confidence because I have embraced my past. 

So call me what you will. 

God Bless and PEACE

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Destiny, Fate and the Will of God

There is a question that rings in my ears.  It’s a question of control.  That defines who we are.  They say that fate defines who we are and that destiny reveals who we will become.  They say that our lives are already mapped out before us.  Is it our will or the will of God? 

As I watched the new Disney Pixar movie Brave over the weekend, I smiled.  The movie is more than a story about family and courage, but its a lesson in discovering who you are.  We have a choice to be defined by what others expect us to be or have the courage to find our own destiny. 

How do we, as Christians, respond to this?  Do we not believe that God will lead our feet?  Are we not seeking after the will of God?  Where does that leave fate and destiny?  Is it something different?  Or are they all the same? 

In the words of a children’s movie:  Are we brave enough to find our path within us?  Whatever that is, the will of God, fate or destiny.  All defined by God.  All a choice that we have to make. 

So, does it really matter?  As long as we are putting all our focus on God, it doesn’t really matter.  We follow our faith and our faith leads us to God. 

Just some thoughts…

God Bless and PEACE

Fun in the Surf

One of the greatest parts of the beach (imho) is the adventure of kayaking in the surf.  Years ago, we bought my dad two 8 foot sit-on-top ocean kayaks that we fell in love with.  A few years after that, he went out and acquired another two thinner, 10 foot sit-on-tops and a 16-foot tandem ‘banana boat’.  We have enjoyed the kayaks throughout the years and look forwards to riding the waves in each day.

 Many of us (like my father and brother) like to paddle out beyond the breaking point of the waves and relax before crashing into the shore.  I could easily fall asleep out in the rolling waves, bobbing up and down, until I would finally drift close enough to the shore.

 The trick about ridding the waves is timing.  You want to catch the wave right as it is breaking, riding it from either the top (crashing downwards) or from the bottom (as the waves crash around you).  Others may have differing opinions, but it is the beach, so I guess there is more than one way to skin a cat. 

 Unfortunately, none of us are really heavy enough to weigh down the back of the banana boat, so most of us end up flipping and crashing the tandem boat.  There have been some good runs as several of us have managed to ride the waves in together with some luck, skill and a bit of patience.

 Each of us has our own reasons for loving these boats.  Some of it is the thrill of the crashing waves.  The danger of flipping and injury.  The fellowship that comes with riding together.  The fun and laughter.  And a little bit of peer pressure is involved. 

 But it’s not all about the waves.  Some of us just enjoy the down time at the beach to relax and enjoy a good book. 

God Bless and PEACE

The Good Things in Life

Life has been crazy these past couple years.  Between my adventures in Africa and AmeriCorps, work up at Ft. Campbell as a Wildfire Suppression Technician and the opportunity to head out on another adventure with the inaugural class of AmeriCorps*NCCC FEMA Corps in the coming month, there has been little or no time to be able to sit back and relax. 

For the past couple days and the rest of the week, I have taken off from work and headed down to Edisto Island to spend time with family, including my one year old niece and nephew.  It has been great to be able to relax, ride the waves in on sit-on-top kayaks and play with the little ones. 

This is what life is about.  Our society tells us to seek out money, a relationship, a stable work environment, but no matter how much you have, you will never be able to buy happiness.  After we seek out and gain everything, we will still find ourselves empty of all that makes us happy. 

Watching my brother, sister, her in-laws and my grandparents enjoy themselves on the beach and playing with the little ones strengthens my faith in Gods love.  This is love and nobody can take this away. 

These are the good things in life that make it worth living.  Times like these are what gives me the strength to dive into the next adventure and journey wherever God calls me. 

Just some ramblings of a happy uncle.  Time to go play with children.

God Bless and PEACE

I Was Born in the Wrong Time

Renaissance Festivals are always interesting events to go to.  They bring an odd assortment of individuals.  You have the fantasy characters that show up in armor, with fairy wings, tails and an odd assortment of weapons.  Then you have the pirates that show up.  You get the people in full suits of armor, decked out with battle axes, swords and maces.  You find those that dress up as royalty, pheasants, men at arms and court jesters. 

 Hundreds of individuals search through vendors tent’s as they sell replica ad battle ready weapons, artwork and clothing of the era.  There is good food, interesting shows, entertainment and, as always, good times for all. 

 One of the largest crowd gathering specials is the armed combat.  Entertainers wield blades as they circle one another and put on a show.  Knights in shining armor ride against one another in the joust.  Swords flash and lances shatter, even though no blood is spilt on the grounds.

 While it is all fun and games, one of my favorite parts of the Ren. Fest. is the musicians.  Between guitars and violins, singing and dancing, the sound of music echos throughout the shaded paths that intertwined throughout the faire grounds. 

 It makes me believe that I may have been born in the wrong century.  Though I did not dress up for the Tennessee Renaissance last weekend, I enjoyed every moment of it. 

 God Bless and PEACE