Aaron

“We're all lonely for something we don't know we're lonely for. How else to explain the curious feeling that goes around feeling like missing somebody we've never even met?”

David Foster Wallace

 

 

            I have spent the past few days trying to think of what I would write about Aaron. He has so many friends that can see things a lot more eloquently than I ever could and I wanted to write something that would honor him in the way he deserved to be honored. After thinking and thinking I remembered that Aaron accepted me as I was and whatever I wrote would have been great to him.

 

            The main thought that comes to my head about Aaron is he was a “Good Dude” that cared about his family, friends, space (man did he love space), his dog, poetry, and did I mention his family? Seeing the way Aaron loved his wife and son always challenged me to try and love my wife better. He was amazing at loving them. It was amazing to watch how he spent his time visiting them when he could. I loved seeing the updates of pictures and quotes. Him lying on the couch with his silly dog. I could see that these moments were the ones that brought him the most joy. I am happy I could catch a glimpse of these moments of joy and love.

 

            I don’t remember how I started my friendship with Aaron. I think we started interacting after my interaction at a Starbucks where I encountered a woman trying to sell giraffe meat to someone or our favorite past time of making fun of our friend Blake. He had a wonderful sense of humor. When we became friends on Facebook it was all over. Anytime I would log on I would find a status he would write and make fun of it (not family posts) or egg him on. That is what our relationship consisted of. I remember Aaron taking some silly quiz that reveled who his true love was and it ended up being me. The conversation on that post had to be the funniest post in the world to anybody watching between Aaron and his true love. I had so much fun with Aaron on Facebook.

 

            I remember the day he messaged me telling me he was in Georgia visiting his family. It turned out where his family lived was where I grew up. I’m happy I got to share that with him. We tried to make plans to meet but I knew his time shouldn’t be filled with meeting me. His time should be spent doing what he did best, loving his family. We connected as well with both of our wives being nurses. I loved that we shared those things in common.

 

            Blake, Aaron, and I shared a love for movies. I remember us trying to plan a way for us to watch the same movie at the same time and tweet or write about it as we watched. Getting us all together to do something like that probably would have broken the internet. I can only imagine that our tweets would consist of how many dick jokes we could fit into 140 characters. That’s just the friendship we had.

 

            Our last conversation was over text. Aaron was hurting and I wanted to make sure he knew I cared. We spent 30 minutes talking about life and traveling. He had some great plans to see the world and I envied that because I have been stuck in a rut of staying in the same place because it is safe for me. During that conversation Aaron made me want to travel the world and get out of my rut. He was good at showcasing his awe of things to me that made me want to try new things. I’m thankful for that.

 

            Aaron was a good dude and I will miss him. I’m sad we never had a chance to meet but I know we knew each other exactly how God intended us to. I love Aaron and will miss him but I know one day we will meet in heaven and we will share more dick jokes while making fun of Blake. I know that’s the way he would want it. 

Top 10 Movies of 2015

Top 10 Movies of 2015
 

10) Sicario


This was such a good movie. The subject matter is something I have ever encountered before. The actors played all of the parts beautifully and is worth a watch. Not for the squeamish because of the violence. Worth watching because the story is amazing.

 

9) Spotlight

The Subject matter tackled by this movie is intriguing to start with. This movie investigates the Catholic Church and some of the sexual abuse scandals that has been brought against them. It handles this beautifully and the way this film brought the story of how the Spotlight team investigated and got this information out is amazing. I can't say enough about the cast and again is worth a watch if you are interested in this type of thing.


8) Straight Outta Compton

This is a great biopic. I don't think I would have enjoyed it as much if this movie didn't make you invest in the characters as much as it did. It's amazing that some of the cast are related to the people they are depicting and it makes you wonder how they felt portraying there real life blood relatives. If you are interested in the way NWA started out this movie is worth watching. They started something bigger than they were and how they reacted to this new found fame is amazing.




7) The Martian

Who would have thought another movie about bringing Matt Damon home from somewhere could be this good. Ridley Scott brings another space movie alive again and we should thank him for it. This movie will grab you and make YOU want to bring Damon home as well. Do yourself a favor and check it out if you can


6) The Visit

This movie is a return to form for M. Night Shaymalan. It felt like he knew this could have been his last movie and he went full throttle. It felt like he needed a movie with another twist that started his career. The found footage way of filming of this movie works as well. Well done M. Night!


5) Star Wars 7

Star Wars 7 was everything I wanted it to be. It had humor, great characters, and a fantastic story. Abrams did his best to make it as crowd pleasing as possible and it works out tremendously. This is something that could have backfired but it did not. This one will not be placed in the same category as Episodes 1-3. Thank goodness. 


4) Mad Max: Fury Road

I had to do a project on a dystopian film for a class I was taking this semester. I chose Mad Max because it was something familiar that I had seen recently and could remember being good. After watching Fury Road I could remember why. This movie brought out everything you could want in a Mad Max film, amazing chase scenes, action, and a little bit of a love story. I would recommend seeing this on a big tv with the volume turned up.


3) It Follows

Another horror movie makes the list this year and what a great one it is. I remember watching the trailer for this movie while I was alone in the house when it first came out. I was unable to do anything by myself until Mags came home. I don't think a movie trailer has done that to me before and I'm thankful it did. I love films that go bump in the night. These are the films Mags won't watch. I can promise you Mags won't be watching this anytime soon but you should.

2) Inside Out

I didn't think I would say the 2nd movie and most emotional movie on my list would be about emotions but it is. I loved this movie and it's been a long time since a Pixar movie has made me cry (Up anyone?). This was a fantastic view into a pre-teen's mind as well as some of the best fleshed out characters I have seen. I loved the message this film left the viewer with and that's it's ok to feel emotions, they might not make sense but emotions are good.


and finally my number one movie of the year is......

1) The End of the Tour

I want to make it very clear that I love David Foster Wallace. There is something about him that I have always latched on. He seems perfectly human in the best way possible. Able to articulate what I am thinking at all moments of the day. When I found out about this movie and who was playing each character I was very nervous. I didn't think the guy from "The Muppets" could portray DFW like the way I built him up in my mind. I was wrong thankfully. This movie is well acted and the story is amazing. This was the first movie that when I left the theater I got back up and bought another ticket to see it again right after I saw it. Mags hasn't seen it yet and I'm banking on you haven't either. When you get a chance you should totally see it. This movie is worth your time.


The Worst Movies I Saw In 2015

The Gallows

 I wanted this movie to be good. From the looks of the trailer it had tremendous potential. The potential didn't last and that's how you will feel about your time if you try to watch this movie.

Paper Towns

I'm not afraid to admit I enjoyed "The Fault in Our Stars." It was a pretty ok movie and I didn't feel like I was wasting my time when I watched it. This movie was a waste of time. I went with Mags and I told jokes through the whole thing. The Girl's eyebrows are worth watching tho. Check them out!

Fantastic 4

This movie had potential. A darker fantastic 4. I was looking forward to see what the director of "Chronicle" had to offer. He didn't offer anything to write home about.

Sinister 2

The first one was great. They had no idea what they were doing with the second one.

Minions

Don't take the time to meet Stuart, Kevin, and Bob. They were great in "Despicable Me 1 and 2." Not so much in "Minions." Mags and I saw this in an empty theater and I played on my phone the whole time.


 

Movies that Didn't Make the List but Deserve Watching

  • Mission Imposible: Rogue Nation
  • The Gift
  • Creed
  • Mockingjay Part 2
  • Steve Jobs
  • Black Mass
  • The Intern
  • The Kingsman
  • Furious 7
  • The Avengers: Age of Ultron

Movies I Still Need To See

  • Joy
  • The Remanent
  • The Hateful 8
  • Concussion

January Beacon

When I was writing down my ideas for my Beacon article for January in big bold letters I wrote “DO NOT WRITE ABOUT NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS!” I didn’t want to write about something that I knew every person in ministry would speak on or write about in the month of January. I mean I want to be unique and go against the grain! That’s why I’m a youth minster. To be different so I can connect with the kids. But I have found that when I say I won’t do something God ends up making me do it. So I am writing about New Year’s resolutions.

            I do not like New Year’s resolutions for a number of reasons. Mainly resolutions help to show me I am not what I should be. At the beginning of the year we get to see a number of Facebook posts letting our friends and family how we would like to change this year. The biggest post I tend to see at the beginning of the year is how everyone would like to be healthy and lose weight. That starts off great! We get our gym memberships, start going whenever the doors of the gym open, and spend time trying our best to eat right. I know in my own life I have had a number of gym memberships. As I have gotten older and my waist has gotten a little rounder I have started to make this resolution.

            The other resolution I try to make is to pin point one of my worst habits and try to break myself of it. This year I tried to not rely on my phone as much but towards the end of the year I end up back where I started, looking at my phone more than I should, and not engaging as fully as I would like to. I can find myself getting sucked into the games I have on it or figuring out lunch plans after church before I head home to get ready for Sunday night. I will be the first one to admit that it is something I need to work on.

So how does this translate into not liking resolutions? These among other things are things that I would like to change about me. The problem is I end up falling short and then getting discouraged about it. I’ll have that extra piece of cake or try to respond to that notification on my phone as quickly as possible. Let’s be honest it happens. A few slip-ups are to be expected but I often times start to feel bad and not feeling like I can live up to the resolution I set. Then I’m back where I started at the beginning of the year but now I have the guilt and the weight of not being able to accomplish what I set out to do. This usually happens in the middle of February. 

I end up being able to relate to Paul in Romans 7: 14-15 when he says,


We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin. I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.

While it might not be a sin to want to lose weight or be on your phone it is a struggle. I start to feel discouraged when I can’t will myself to change. I let that all pile up and then I forget the reason why I wanted to change in the first place and try to get as far away as I can from that resolution. It reminds me that I have no power to change myself. I have come to the realization that I am unable to do it.

BUT there is hope! The hope is someone who came to stand on my behalf. Someone who stood in my place when there was nothing I could do to change myself or change into the person I should be. That hope is Jesus.

“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5: 6-8

Just at the right time when I was powerless Christ died for me. God demonstrated his love for me in this: While I am still a sinner, he died for me. I have to let that sink in. When I look at where I have messed up or fallen short I am reminded of this. There was nothing that I could do to change myself and because of that Christ stood on my behalf. He stood before the Father and was able to atone for my sins because again I could not.

So what does this mean for resolutions? Should I not make any and hope for the best? I don’t think so. I think that I can still have the resolutions but let myself off the hook when I fall short or mess up. It’s hard to stay on the hook when someone has taken the hook away. When you are thinking about your own resolutions this year I hope that if you end up messing it up or falling short of that goal you know that it is ok. Don’t beat yourself up to much. There is great joy in knowing that at the end of the day everything is taken care of. In fact it makes me want to keep trying when I do fall short. 

Fix You!! (Not)

One of my favorite things to do when I’m driving, besides texting (just kidding), is to listen to sermons. I have a few people that I listen to on a regular basis that I enjoy, and usually, I end up learning something. The other day I was listening to Tullian Tchividjian. Tullian is an author of a few books that I would recommend, and I had a chance to hear him speak at the Mockingbird conference in New York City last year. In this particular talk, something he said stood out to me. He was teaching on Romans and what that would look like today. The thing he said that stood out to me was, “It’s amazing how much more you enjoy people when you stop trying to fix them.” I had to take a moment to let that sink in. I am a Fixer. I feel like, if I see a problem, I have to fix it, no matter what. If you don’t believe me you can ask my wife. Most of the time when I am trying to fix her problems, she yells at me that she didn’t need me to fix it, she just wanted me to listen!

I have wrestled for the past few weeks with what Tullian said, and I took some time to really think about it, and put myself in the shoes of the person being fixed. When someone takes the time to try and fix me, I tend to always pull away from that person. I don’t want to spend time with someone who is trying to fix me. The biggest problem with my being a Hixer is that it is so easy for me to see what others are doing wrong rather than for me to look at myself and see what I need to change. Jesus even said something about this in Matthew 7: 1-5; 1“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. 3 Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?” Jesus even wants us not to focus on what others are doing. He wants us to look at ourselves, before we take the time to “Hix” others. We have to leave the Hixing to Him.

As Youth Director, my role as a mentor is to help guide these young people, and help them identify the things inside of them that they want to change. So often adults approach young people thinking that as the youth are growing, they have problems that they need us to fix. Mentoring is not “fixing” but giving them the tools to learn how to change themselves, so that they can be all that God intends for them to be.

It’s amazing what God can do when you stop trying to fix others. I am looking forward to the new semester with our students because of this. I plan on mentoring them rather than fixing them; and having discussions in groups, rather than simply laying out a plan for them to follow, in order for them to be fixed; and to keep having a great time with our students. 

 

Failure

I read an interview a few months ago that Rolling Stone did with Louis C.K. and what he said about failure popped out at me.

Do you think you needed all those years and failures to become great?

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“Yeah, all the tools I have come from those years. There’s nothing elusive or ethereal about it; it’s very practical and directly related. I learned how to avoid a huge amount of pitfalls by walking into them and surviving. Then two things happen as you go along. The first thing that happened if your best gets better, but what matters is when your worst gets better. You can’t always be crackling with energy. Sometimes you have to go up there, and the thing didn’t happen, but you’ve got to put together an amazing show anyway, so your worst show has to be above everybody’s best – that’s what you really want. So your worst, that comes with time, that comes with experience.”–Louis C.K.

 

He goes on to say another amazing thing about failure.

“It’s understandable for people to want all of their favorite things to happen, but the crazy thing is to think that they can avoid all of the hard things. To want everything that you ever dreamed of, to the exclusion of anything hard, that feels common to me now in a way that is hurting people.  They’re ignoring how much good there is in being present for the hardest parts of your life. I wouldn’t trade those years for anything. I loved all that time; it was hard and I suffered. Times where you’re like, “ I think it’s over, and I’m in too deep to start anything else.” There are really scary moments in a showbiz career, but it’s so great that they got to happen. It’s a very unforgiving field; it doesn’t say goodbye nicely, and there is no one there to keep you going – it’s all you. But if you survived that time, that’s always there.”

 

I personally love what Louie says about failure in this interview and if you aren’t watching his show Louie on FX you need finish reading this, ask your grandmother if you can have her log in for her Netflix and give it a try. Some parts of the story really can get to you because for me it’s the things that I wish I could say but I don’t end up doing it.

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Louie gets failure and not in the way I wanted to start this article about how we all need to do a self-evaluation on our own failures to see where we can grow and learn from them.

Instead for me it’s looking at those failures and sitting with them most of my problems let’s say work related to a miscommunication that in the end turns the project into a Failure. My initial reaction usually is how can I fix this or after a long list of failures that keep coming up that they suck and I should get out of what I’m doing very quickly and quietly. I like to pretend that I take on failure well and see it as a silver lining when it happens but when you have been working on a project for months or you happen to make a special tweak to that one bit of video that you think really brings out something and it ends up not even being needed and the client isn’t happy and BOOM YOU FAILED!

So where can we move from here? After you have failed? I have a few ideas but I would like to get traffic and engagement from the two people who commented on my last posts telling me to write for these days. I’m working on it. Let’s see what you got and “BLOG IT OUT”

My Name is Andy and I Suffer From Depression

After watching the video below and reading this post by my friends over at Mockingbird that you can find here:  http://bit.ly/17QfhpL  I felt relieved and felt like I should write this. I will preface it by saying this isn’t a stand, this isn’t a call to arms, or a look at me! Have pity on me but something I felt compelled to write.

 

My name is Andy and I suffer from depression. It’s hard to write about it because it goes against everything that I feel like I should. Like Kevin in his talk I would rather talk about the easy stuff, the stuff that doesn’t hurt, the good news that everyone wants to hear. I have spent the past 2 years and some change sharing the good stuff for other people. Making their news heard so that they can sell a product or let others know about their business in a way that was informative and helped to bring them website hits and grow. I don’t say this to say that I regret that or I am not good at it. God has gifted me in the area that helps to share news with people and I am so happy that I get to be apart of it. It’s a wonderful gift and one that I don’t take for granted for one moment.

What brings me to come out and talk about my depression and that I have it is the courage that Kevin Breel at the age of 19 is open and honest enough to share with us about. I felt something swell up in my chest when he said,

“ There’s the life that everyone sees, and then, there’s the life that only I see.”

The only thing I would add to make this my own is the life that my wife sees as well. The side of me that does not know why I feel they way I do and would like to craw into a hole for a bit to be sad, to not know what I am upset about.

I feel a need to hide my depression. That it is something that I should be ashamed about and not be open and honest with people about because it isn’t something that anyone can physically see. Shit! There are starving people in Africa who haven’t eaten in days and I’m depressed and feel hopeless. Who am I to write about something like this? It’s my pain and struggle that along with others who feel like me, look like me, and go around not sharing it believe that we aren’t worthy of sharing this. Who wants to read that I am struggling to get out of bed because I’m sad and can’t explain it? I know that is something that I feel is shameful. It’s in the books that I read telling me that I need to overcome and live the best life I can live! This is something that will go away if I push through and stay on course that I will “Hustle Hard” and be able to pull myself out of this water by myself. The problem I’m faced with is the harder I try to improve myself, the harder I try to say to myself “This is nothing, no one should know this is going on with you because it isn’t real” is like drowning. Not in depression like the commercials would lead you to believe but real life drowning. The one they train you to look for in lifeguarding school. The person who believes that if they kick hard enough and long enough they will be able to keep afloat because they are relying on everything inside of them to carry them through the deep end.

I can’t do that anymore. I’m drowning and needed help. I am blessed enough to have a wife who is a lifeguard and could see that to call my parents and her own and say “Andy needs help and I can’t help him.”

So what does that look like for me? It looks like me walking through this not alone but with others as well. To have many honest and hard conversations with friends and family about how I feel. Not that I understand why I feel this way but to not hide behind clever quotes and funny pictures shared through my social networks but to have honest conversations with those around me to deal with this illness I have. This road isn’t easy and I am not a martyr because this is what I am dealing with it. Depression sucks for me but it may not be what you are dealing with and that is ok. The one thing I would wish for anyone is to not look at the pain or struggles that you are dealing with and say “It’s not so bad! Look at so and so! They are dealing with so much and my problems are not as bad!” The truth is your problems are hard as well. They suck and you are doing your best to swim out of the deep end you are in and I won’t pretend that I am in your shoes. That sucks and I’m sorry.

The only answer I have is to talk about it. Bring it to light with someone you trust and love. No matter what it is. If it is something that is bringing you pain or hurt don’t take the burden on yourself. It isn’t yours to go at it alone. We all need someone to help. It isn’t weak like I was lead to believe. It is something that is needed. We can’t go at this alone.

I don’t know if I will write anything more about this or if it is something that I will keep writing about but I hope that it sparks a conversation with someone you know today and that you don’t minimize anything that you are going through. It sucks to be going through that and I am sorry you are going through it. Own it and don’t move on until you’re ready. We aren’t in a sprint to win at life. The one truth we can hold on to is we are going to die. It can be sad or happy but the truth is you aren’t going to live forever. Don’t race through everything but join me in this slow death march called life. Where we can walk together and not alone but can rely on each other for support when we are down or to hold someone up when they need it. I hope to see you marching with me.


 

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I Have Dream of Killing my Dad with a Baseball bat and He is screaming and crying for help. My review of the new Front Bottoms Album “The Talon of the Hawk”

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I think the best way to describe this review is this may be my first album review so if the album doesn’t sale please let The Front Bottoms know I tried my hardest to make this make people want to buy their album but with Kanye West killing the game with his projections of his new single on side of buildings is something in the future maybe we could connect on (With Kanye) and I can try to see if I can pull some projectors out of my hinny to help with promotions. Kanye, his money, and his baby Mama are helping to push that. Might I suggest trying to get involved with one of the teen mom girls and trying to get on to that show. I feel like we could see a blossom in popularity in this area, you could call it the unexplored area of marketing. Just get on 16 and pregnant and you are golden Front Bottoms.

So after that rant I feel like I should give you something to take away from this and why you should give this release a try if you are looking for something new or haven’t heard of The Front Bottoms but I have time warp you for a moment so can get the authenticity of where I am coming from to help to convince you to give “Talon of the Hawk” a shot.

The journey of The Front Bottoms started with an end of the list top 90 or 10 of the albums David Stringer talked about. I try my best to listen to Dave but when we are together I end up crying because when you are bold brothers you either cry or just bask in the glory of what gold brings to your world or you leave with no emotions. So in saying that Dave said this was an album that would not leave his cd player (I found it weird he had a cd player but I went with it.) I’m glad through the tears that I was able to take on their first official release because it was something that I needed in that time of my life. We all have those albums. I still tear up a bit when I hear “Jude Law and the Semester abroad” music connects with us and it’s a nice cry I’m willing to accept. When Mags is feeling sad I turn on “The Beers” and scream out

“ I will remember that summer as the summer I was taking steroids and I like you”

Now have a taken steroids?  Not yet but it’s a running joke that connects us and I wouldn’t change it. If Mags was looking for a man with muscles I wouldn’t have been married for almost 2 and a half years. I just can’t find out where I can find the steroids. Long story but the police always seem to get involved. It’s a pretty big bummer.

So now what I am sure you want to hear “Why should I waste my hard earned money to buy this new release? What does it have that I can’t find in the newest Justin Bieber single or and album from All Get Out when they get a chance to release new material?” I could give you a whole list of why you should do something thing but I am finding that when I tell people what to do they could give a rats butthole about it and because I told them to check it out they won’t but here are the reason’s I like it and if you think you could like it I would say check it out.

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1.     The Front Bottoms have grown and I hate that. I want my bands to release the same album with different lyrics so I can pretend they haven’t grown and I can live with innovation but I prefer no growth to come at all.

2.     It’s a great album. The boys have grown and some of the stand out tracks to me that are worth spotifying just to give them a chance. are “ Twin Size Mattress”,  “Swear to God the Devil Made me do it”, and “Funny You Should Ask” These are just a blueprint. I think you should give the whole album a shot but these are my stand out tracks.

So that’s my pitch and review. I think that this is an album of growth in a way that doesn’t go to far from where they started. I could be wrong but it’s not like what happened with Taking Back Sunday and all of the dreams they crushed when they released "Make for Damn Sure" came with that release.

If you liked the first album I would like to say you would enjoy this album but I want you to come to your own conclusion with it.

Have you had a chance to listen to it? What did you think? I love to get in giant fight on twitter so please tweet me at @hilibofas.

I hope this at least sparks your interests in the release and if fails to take a moment to check out the Video for "Twin Size Mattress" below

The Front Bottoms will be heading out on tour to spread the good news of the "Talon of The Hawk" and you can check out the tour dates below and you can grab tickets here:  http://on.fb.me/13CulTS