Thursday, March 31, 2011


Sorry, Dad. I know you hate when I tell stories about you, but I had to share this one.

Me: "While I was working, I got hit with a biscuit pan straight out of the oven. See my burn?

Dad: "Yeah. See mine?"

Me: "That's a cold sore."

Dad: "Same thing. A cold sore is like a burn from the inside."

Me: "You get those all the time. I must not have the cold sore gene."

Dad: "I didn't get my first one until I was about 20, and even then, it was small. Then, my second one was a little bigger. And my third one looked like someone shot me with a .38 at point blank range."

I don't care who you are. That's funny right there.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Open Letters: UT Edition.

I realize that almost every university in the country has issues with parking, but the University of Tennessee's parking situation is quite possibly the largest corporate screw over in existence.

The staff can pretty much park wherever they want, including most of the garages we're required to park in. That only worsens the ratio of roughly 2.8 students per parking spot UT currently boasts. That being said, at times, we students have to get pretty desperate when it comes to parking.

I was in one of those situations recently, and if you haven't already guessed, I received my first parking ticket. 34 minutes in a 30-minute parking zone. I was pretty pissed about it. It's not even the money that set me off; it wasn't even that much. What infuriates me is that I know how these people operate. I know they purposely leave their parking situation in shambles because it's making them truckloads of money. And, even more angering, I know they have no intention of ever fixing it. As long as they can continue building onto Neyland Stadium, they couldn't care less.

I decided all this anger ought to be used for something constructive, so I wrote them a letter. This is a completely over exaggerated version of what I wrote. Well, some of it is exaggerated...

Dear UT Parking and Transit Services,

Despite the fact that you very clearly have no intention of improving the atrocious parking conditions we, your paying students, face on a daily basis, I'm going to point out the flaws and pretend that you care.

First off, the Board of Appeals is a complete and total joke. Not only did it take them two days to respond to my half-page parking ticket appeal, but when they responded with a "copy" of the appeal, they didn't even reproduce the full document. This indicates to me that they didn't even consider the appeal, at least in its entirety. I'm sure there's some type of legal loophole I could exploit here, but I'll refrain for now and just keep all this on file for future reference.

Granted, I'm not contesting the citation, I have already paid the fee for my four-minute violation. So, rest assured, my horrendous criminal act has been set straight. Your staff is doing an excellent job of keeping their priorities in order. We're down to only three or four murders on campus a month, and if I remember right, there were less than twelve muggings in February! That's a record, right? But those parking violators, none of them get off free, do they? Nope. That's right, you keep spending all that money on ticket-happy, unarmed rent-a-cops. Why not just cut spending on legitimate campus security entirely? I mean, we don't NEED to light our streets at night. If they're worried, students can carry flashlights! Who cares, right? Keep up the great work, guys.

I hope whoever reads this is intelligent enough to comprehend (and possibly choke on) the sarcasm in that last paragraph. Honestly, do you take us for idiots? We know we're getting royally screwed. It's obvious you're not good with money, but the least you could do is give us a two-space per student ratio. What exactly do you do with our tuition money anyway? You're obviously not putting it towards the educational staff, and after Fulmer's recent debacle, I wonder if you're even putting it towards a quality athletics staff.

Ultimately, I realize nothing will change. No response is required because I know it will be some fill-in-the-blank, computer-generated document that you've probably used hundreds of times. I just to make known that the current Parking and Transit services are not even remotely close to sufficient. And your refusal to change anything about it is as crooked as the convicts and inmates who play football for you.

Have a nice day.

Sunday, March 27, 2011


Most people have heard of the Lord's Supper, the reenactment of that monumental, Biblical event.

Growing up in a Southern Baptist church, I've always been familiar with the concept of communion, but all my life, it's been another event, just something we did a couple Sundays a year. The meaning of the Lord's Supper had been lost on me until today. Whether it was out of immaturity or a lack of explanation that I never understood, I'm not certain. All I know is that, now, I get it.

I always wondered why that little cracker they give you was so brittle and hard, but today, when I felt it crumble between my teeth, I understood. The purpose of that insignificant piece of bread hit me like a train, and it almost brought tears to my eyes.

"And when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, 'Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.'" (1 Corinthians 11:24)

His body was broken for worthless, messed up me. The thought blows me away.

Then, of course, they follow the bread with the cup of grape juice. Drinking the lukewarm liquid, I realized how infinitely meaningful it was. The significance of the food in which I was partaking was beyond my human comprehension.

"After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, 'This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do you, as oft as you drink it, in remembrance of me.'" (1 Corinthians 11:25)

Such a powerful, humbling image painted with such ordinary things. Leave it to God to leave us with the most beautiful metaphor this world will ever know.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

New Shoes.

Today, I realized that I tend to forget what it's like to try and think like someone else, especially someone from completely different walks of life.

My friend and I were talking the other day, and he brought up some of his deep, personal issues. To be honest, I wasn't entirely prepared for him to open up to me. We're not childhood friends or anything. It was kind of a get-to-know-you-better thing. So, at least to me, it felt like odd timing for a discussion of this gravity to take place.

He told me about his quarreling family and about some of the mistakes he'd made in the past. He's not had the greatest life. And then he asked me if I went to church. I nodded, and offered to tell him about where I went. But he quickly stopped me, and lowering his head he muttered:

"If you don't mind, could you...could you pray for me?"

I told him I would, but he didn't realize that his words had really sunk in. I've always thought of prayer as something anyone can choose to do. Just because I go to church doesn't mean I have better reception with God or anything. I'm no one special, just an ordinary guy.

Often, we throw around the phrase "Walk a mile in their shoes." without even considering the meaning of those words. For such a common expression, it's difficult to truly achieve, and at times, I believe it can be impossible.

I may never fully grasp what my friend has gone through or where he's coming from. Truthfully, I hope I never do. But, I can pray for him, and I can do what not many people in his life have done. I can genuinely try to understand.

Thursday, March 24, 2011


I'm not a big television enthusiast. I don't sit on the edge of my seat during Survivor eliminations. I don't watch the Bachelor, curled up in my snuggie with a box of tissues. And I am undoubtedly the furthest thing from a Glee fan as you can get.

However, I have recently become hooked on a show on NBC called Secret Millionaire. If you've heard of it, awesome. If not, go look it up.

At first glance, it just looked like another attempt to make rich people seem nicer, a seemingly impossible task by today's standards. Watching just five minutes of E! will leave you wondering how much money a year the federal prisons are getting from celebrities posting bail. You may even be inclined to become a dealer. Or worse, you may come away with the uncontrollable urge to emphatically say "Winning!" at completely inappropriate times. But, I digress.

Each week, Secret Millionaire documents the journey of a millionaire, usually a successful business owner, into extremely poor areas in America. The millionaire is given a very small amount of money to live on, and they must take on the appearance (clothes, makeup, etc.) of a person in poverty. Throughout their stay, they travel (in a beater) from place to place, visiting charities, volunteering at shelters and soup kitchens, and supporting non-profit organizations. All the while, no one knows they're secretly a millionaire. Now, the title makes sense, right?

The best part comes last, of course. The millionaire dresses back up in their designer clothing, slides on their Rolex, and heads off in their Porche to revisit each of the places. And, as you've probably guessed already, they donate massive amounts of money to each one.

Ultimately, it's not the donation part that impressed me. What inspired me is seeing these powerful, wealthy people perform such unbelievable acts of kindness. You look in their eyes while they're being interviewed, and you see more than someone looking for publicity. They have no regrets, no ulterior motives. There's compassion and incredible heart inside of these people that you just don't see everyday.

It's people like them that remind me there's hope in this world.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


My recent posts have been kinda heavy, and I apologize for that. I'm not emo or anything, just tired. Today is different though. I'm still hurt, yes, but I'm not angry.

Lately, all I can think about is what my future holds. God isn't always clear on what His plan is for my life, and that's okay, because it's all the more reason for me to trust Him. I don't necessarily enjoy waiting on His timing. It's definitely not my ideal timing, but I know it's for the best.

I woke up for work at 4am today, and during my morning routine, I began to pray. I find that's the best way to be while conscious.

I prayed for friends and family, for God's blessing on them.

I prayed that I wouldn't fall asleep in the shower.

I prayed for clarity, guidance, and peace, things I lack at times.

I prayed that I wouldn't burn my hand on the fryer again.

I prayed for those in other countries, whether in a war or a tsunami.

I prayed for the people who aren't praying for me.

I prayed for healing.

God has a funny way of answering my prayers at just the right time, and today, He did just that. This day was one of the most stress-free, enjoyable days I've had in a long time, and I truly believe it was prayer that made all the difference. I know it seems like such a simple concept, but the next time life has got you down, don't turn to the world.

Turn to God. Pray about it.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Fed Up.

Someone has needed to say this for a very long time. I've taken the liberty, but just know that I don't get any joy from this. To be honest, it's actually a little sickening.

I don't like admitting I'm wrong. I utterly despise being on the losing side of an argument. Regardless of that fact, if I'm truly convicted about whatever I did, I'll eventually make it right. But when I don't feel like I've done anything wrong, when I feel no conviction whatsoever about the situation whether due to ignorance or out of disagreement with my supposed wrongdoing, I shouldn't have to apologize. I will not apologize.

I'm sick of being blamed for the sins and the shortcomings of others, for being considered guilty by association. I'm sick of others feeling they have the authority to "test" me, to deem my actions (and my inactions) right or wrong. Arguing my innocence against stubborn perceptions is exhausting. It's like arguing with a Stairmaster.

You can attempt to provide a mock psychoanalysis of my mind. You can try to prove that I'm in the wrong. You can cut my friends down, cut me down. Better yet, you can pick me apart piece by agonizing piece. But unless I feel in my heart of hearts that God Himself disapproves of my actions, I will not succumb to the will of my critics.

And I will not, under any circumstances, apologize.

Sunday, March 20, 2011


Earlier this week, my mom, brother, and I headed up to North Carolina to see our family. As usual, we enjoyed our visit. I got to spend time with my grandparents and, of course, see all my hilarious little cousins. As I've said many times before, I absolutely love my family, wouldn't trade them for anything in the world.

While we were up there, my uncle was having some health problems and had to be admitted into the hospital. It wasn't anything life-threatening, he's stable now, and my whole family is simply thankful to God for once again watching out for us. When we went to see him, he was being his usual funny self, and it made me feel a little more at peace about it. Regardless that the situation was well-controlled, it reminded me of how difficult it is to see someone you care about in pain.

You want to be with them. But sometimes, it's better not to be.

Actually, my mom's going through the same thing right now. That's also part of what brought this up. Her aunt has been diagnosed with a terminal cancer. They recently sent her home because there's no longer anything they can do for her, and although my mother loves her aunt very much, she's not been to see her. She's not even sure if she will go to see her.

And you know what? I don't blame her.

All my life, I've watched my father struggle with back problems, so I know firsthand how it feels to be the one standing at the bedside. I've come to terms with that powerless feeling, knowing that all the good vibes, crossed-fingers, and hoping you do, won't change anything. I've stood there awkwardly, time after time, considering how worthless my presence really is. I know how it feels to pray so much for someone that, sometimes, it's the only prayer you pray at night. 

I know how it feels to be perfectly fine and hurt anyway. I know how it feels to hurt with someone.

So, I know. I know how it feels to simply suppress the thoughts. You curse every second that you had to spend with that person while they were hurting because every second is now a lifetime in your memories. God knows, I don't want anymore memories of people in pain, no one does.

Maybe it's a selfish way of thinking. Frankly, I don't care. 

Some people are okay with it. It doesn't bother them as much, and that's just who they are. Sometimes, it's necessary to go, to be there because sometimes you just need them, pain and all. But ultimately, no one, no human being should have to go through life with those reflections of suffering in their loved one's eyes. It's just not fair.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Mother of the Year.

So, as much as I hate writing two blogs in a row about my job, it's happening.

Work is usually fast-paced around noon since that's when everyone is breaking for lunch, but occasionally, we get a few minutes of down time to clean up and restock. Today, we had one of those breaks and quickly took advantage of it, but our break was cut short by a very vocal customer.

You see, we have an overhead speaker that allows our kitchen crew to get a jump start on whatever is being ordered in the drive-thru. The speaker works exceptionally well. At times, it works too well. This was one of those times:

Drive-Thru Attendant:  "It's a great day at Chick-fil-A! How may I serve you?"

Vocal Customer:  (over the loud speaker) "Hi! Yes, I would like...WOULD YOU TWO SHUTUP?!?"

Attendant:  "Ma'am?"

Customer:  "I'm sorry. Yes, I would like two #3 combos and a #1 with no pickle."

Attendant:  "Alright, is there anything else I can get you?"

Customer:  "Um...I think we'll also get a...YOU KNOW WHAT? YOU'LL GET NOTHING!"

Attendant:  (stifling a laugh)

Customer:  "SIT YOUR BUTT DOWN!"

I didn't get the rest of the conversation. I was laughing too hard.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Eat Mor Chikin.

So, I got a job at Chick-fil-A. Hooray for employment! I think...

It's actually pretty hard work, definitely not for the faint of heart. I never imagined how much work could go into making chicken, but takes a great deal of manpower. Don't get me wrong, I love my job. It's, as my dad calls it, controlled chaos, which is awesome for a guy like me who's so OCD he wants to alphabetize the letters in OCD to read CDO. It keeps me on edge, but focused.

Not to mention, I have an amazing support system working with me every step of the way. I've made friends with almost all of the guys back in the kitchen with me. I've heard each of their stories, learned about their strengths and weaknesses, and even hung out with a couple of them. They're great guys, great people.

It's amazing how working with someone teaches you so much about who they are.

Granted, there's a couple people that I've run into that slowly detract from that brotherly, family-friendly image we're taught to uphold at Chick-fil-A. I'm sure I'd probably get fired for complaining about a coworker normally, but since no one I work with is very tech-savvy and since I don't get paid to care, I'm going to anyway.

For these first couple weeks, we've had trainers vicariously running the restaurant through us and take over when things got too rough. Every one of us "noobs" has shared a heated exchange with at least one of the trainers. Because, occasionally, one or two of their egos would swell to the size of a Goodyear blimp. But overall, we grew to appreciate their tough love. Of course, showing them up and pointing out whenever they screwed something up was just icing on the cake.

However, a few of my coworkers and I noticed a particular team member of ours was adapting all to well and even copying the trainers' style. Not the being amazing at everything part, just the pompous, profanity-inducing, order-barking part. Regardless of how long he'd been working at a station or whether he genuinely even had a clue as to what was going on, he felt it was necessary to give us his opinion of our work. Despite the fact that I assured him we were very, very disinterested in what he had to say, he has yet to accept the fact that he's no more skilled than the rest of us.

We tried tuning him out, but you see, the problem is that this particular coworker's mouth has the ability to project sounds at the decibel level of a bullhorn. Not only that, but when he gives an order, he insists it's completed immediately. If it's not, he repeats himself. Over and over and over again.

Several of my friends got a little hot under the collar and said a few things that would probably make Truett Cathy roll over in his grave. And I may have told him where I intended to shove the next fillet if he didn't shut his mouth...but nevertheless, we got through the day.

This, of course, shouldn't discourage you from coming to Chick-fil-A. The smackdown going on in the kitchen will not interrupt your wait times at all. Think of it as getting dinner AND a free show!

Monday, March 7, 2011

We will be your love.

Sometimes, I wonder what the world would be like if there weren't sides to be chosen, no state of constant conflict among people of differing views. What if everyone, at the minimum, were in a state of neutrality with one another?

There's a misconception that maturity is equivalent to integrity, which is a total load. Yes, growth is a part of life, but this metaphorical line in the sand that everyone has to eventually step to the left or right of isn't some inevitable occurance in adulthood. It's just an excuse to mask your own selfishness.

When people or things aren't going your way, the first response shouldn't be to force them down your funnel of ideals. Compromise is important. Obviously, I'm not condoning compromising your morals and ethics, but you have to accept the fact that there will be differences of opinion from time to time.

Everyone is different. People who are compatible, are compatible, and vice versa. And just because someone isn't what you would deem friend material doesn't make them deserving of mistreatment. I'm personally not a fan of the whole "coexist" campaign (because I feel that all people need to know Christ), but I do believe in respecting one another.

This whole message is mostly directed at Christians, but just imagine what it'd be like if all people were to embrace this mindset. You don't have to always agree with everyone, you don't have to be BFF with each person you come into contact with, but for all that is good in this broken world, try to love people. Ultimately, that's what it all comes down to. Could you imagine if Jesus shunned everyone that thought differently than He did, or worse, that did things He didn't approve of?

We weren't meant to participate in a lifelong struggle to gain the upper hand over those who think differently than we do, and we weren't meant to condemn people for their actions. We're all humans, we're all flawed, so who are we to pass judgment on our own?

No, that's not what we're meant for. We're meant to obey and glorify our Creator, to lead others to Him.

We're meant to show the world His love.

Editor's Note: In case you didn't catch the reference, this post was inspired by the song, "Won't you be my love?" by MercyMe. If you choose to listen to it, I hope it blesses you as much as it has blessed me.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


When you're in a situation that makes you uncomfortable, or just any crappy situation in general, isn't it natural to avoid that situation entirely? I'm gonna go out on a limb here, and say it is. And isn't it, then, natural to refrain from revisiting said situation over and over again?

The answer is also yes, in case there was any doubt. We're two for two.

So, please explain to me why putting yourself into that situation over and over again isn't utterly stupid? Generally, getting burned once is enough to stop an intelligent person from sticking their hand in a fire. But if there's a legitimate reason for this, I would be glad to hear you out.

I'm just as guilty of it as the next guy or gal, but eventually, someone needed to say it. Crap doesn't happen spontaneously. Well, it does sometimes, but it happens a heck of a lot less when you're not throwing the door open and inviting it in.

Basically, crap is an opportunist.

It's a bit ranty, but it's the truth. Don't whine about how you're so sick of people letting you down when you're the one letting those same people back into your life every week. Stop repeatedly friending and unfriending your frienemies on Facebook, or even worse, changing your relationship status multiple times a day depending on your current mood with your boo. Eventually, people are going to stop sympathizing with you and start criticizing you, especially people like me who don't score high in the patience area.

Make your choice, use that backbone God gave you, and stand your ground.