Monday, December 15, 2008

African Memories

I got a flat tire today at work. This was such a blessing! No, really, I drove from Augusta to Greenville last night and then on to Clemson for work this morning and the tire was not flat until I parked for work. Glory to the Lord!

But, a sweet sweet memory of Africa came after the flat. You see, one activity that African children participate in is "Roll the tire". Party because it's fun, and party because they don't have anything else to play with. They will take on old bike tire and a stick and hit/roll the tire and run along beside it.

After I got the flat today, I removed my tire and "ran along beside it" as I took it to the Wal-Mart tire and lube center!

As I rolled across the vast parking lot of Wally World, I also smelt the sweet smell of Africa today!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

What is your passion?

Passion=Life. To have no passions means to have no life, I believe. Passion is what gets you out of bed in the morning. Passion makes days worth living and nights worth sleeping. We should do crazy things for passion; we may even risk it all for passion. Have you ever done something and not known what the outcome was going to be? That's passionate.

Now, there are healthy and not-so-healthy passions. I heard a lady say just the other day, "I guess my hobby is shoes..." Essentially she was saying she was passionate about shoes. This lady obviously had some mixed up passions!

Make your Passions worth living for and talking about. I think some of the best Passions include: Christ and Relationships. Make those things strong and healthy. Live for them. Live for Christ and other people and see your world and your perspective Change!

Barack Obama and America...

So I know that I am a couple of weeks late, but wanted all of the dust to settle before I put my thoughts down on the most recent election and president-elect Senator Barack Obama.

First of all. The following is how I felt and thought after the election; if you like it you can take it and if not, that's okay too. Like my Mom always said...

"Opinions are like Butt-holes, everybody's got one, and crap comes out of 'em."

Now, to preface...I must admit...I did not vote for our President-Elect Obama. I'm a conservative Republican; more than anything I would say I voted based on the candidate and Party who chooses a Pro-Life stance. Therefore, as you already now know...I voted for Senator McCain. (and lost a $5-dollar foot-long from Subway on it!)

I, like many, were caught up in the political hoopla over the last few months. I had small debates with friends about who would be the better president, who wouldn't die in office, and who would lead America to a great future. What I failed to realize, however, until after the election, is how RACIST, America really is. And, had great confirmation at how crazy Americans really are.

Now, I have seen the movie Crash. (It is in my all-time top 25 list-See It!) And from this movie I garnered that everyone, no matter race, color, or creed has a little bit of racism in them. It could be suttle, it may not even be understood or comprehended, but I believe we all have it to an extent. (Seriously, it's not for the weak-hearted, but see Crash!) But the racism I saw on November the 5th runs deep and saddens me for the future of this supposedly "great country" that I live in.

For example, I worked all day on the 5th, and talked to many people about the previous night's election results. It was mainly regular lower to middle class white and black people and what I heard was appalling on both ends.

I heard a white man say, "I'm an American, but that man is not my President." He was stating this because of the color of Obama's skin.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!!!! Who do you think you are white man. Respect your Leader. This man is a human being just like you. This man has worked hard to make the best life for his family. And you know what makes America great sir!; if you don't like it, Leave. If you are so short-sighted that the color of a man's skin determines his worth, maybe it's you that does not belong in America: land of opportunity.

I also heard a black man say "we did it". Which makes me believe he voted for the President-Elect because of his skin color and maybe no other reason.

Again, ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!!!!!! Do you know his policies and what he stands for? Do you realize that a man's skin color does not determine his worth? Ask yourself what you could be doing for your country and not voting just to make a statement.


I also heard a woman say, as she laid her new pair of tennis shoes on the counter to purchase..."I can't wait to get that Barack-money, that Barack-money is going to spend."

Again, ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!!!! Ma'am, if you are waiting on a hand out from hard-working people, what are you teaching your children? What are you doing to better your life? Why are you stealing from others. Had this lady said this at a grocery store while she was buying her children food, that is one thing; but while she was buying high priced tennis shoes that she didn't need, ridiculous.



Why is it, that in a country where we thought racism was all but over, some white people will not respect a multi-racial president.

Why is it, that in a country where we thought racism was all but over, some black people only voted for a man who was multi-racial and for no other reason.

**White People, please note: Obama is not a black man, he is multi-racial.
**Black People, please note: Obama is not a black man, he is multi-racial.

He is multi-racial, Dad being born in Kenya. Mom being born in America.

We seemed to have missed that fact throughout the election.
Don't get me wrong, I'm stoked to have a minority in office. I think it says a lot for America. I mean, I have half his nationality tattooed on my back!


You know the other group of people that are getting on my nerves right now as well: Christians!


Doesn't the Bible say that God is Sovereign? (Psalm 48:14)
Doesn't it say to respect the government? (1 Peter 2:13)
Doesn't it say to Pray for our Leaders? (1 Timothy 2:1-2)

Now is the time when Christians need to rally around our Leader and PRAY for him, not damn him!


So, is there hope for America. I don't know. I have long said that this country is overrated. And if you ask 95% of the world, they would probably agree. Where have our values gone? This great nation is under attack by so many things; why can't we concentrate on helping and sustaining people; why can't we concentrate on asking what we can do to help President-Elect Obama; why can't we be on our knees interceding on his behalf to a Sovereign God? Why do we still discriminate and hate our brothers for no apparent reason. No one is better than another. We are all "dirty tampons" in the sight of all-mighty God. (That was a misused analogy I heard this Sunday at NewSpring!!)

This country has an opportunity to be great again, I hope and pray that President-Elect Obama is the leader to take us there!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Weekend. Update. Justin

Wanted to fill everybody in on what is going on in the life of Justin here lately. Here are a few bullet points to let you know I'm alive and well!

Still loving New Spring Greenville. It is challenging me, stretching me, and growing me! You should try it too; services are at 9:15 and 11:15 on Sundays. Or check out the link for the online stuff.

Getting the finances under control for the first time, maybe ever, and so far, so good! Thanks to Joe Sangl for all the advice and tips-the Lord is really blessing!

Training for another Marathon! I will be running the Bi-Lo Marathon in Myrtle Beach, SC the weekend of February 14! I'm pumped, and it is great being back in the running game again.

Continuing to cycle and swim. Cycling is great, love the open road; swimming is coming along-it is one of the toughest things I have done!

Glad that the Hawks are back in action, as of today 2-0; do I smell an Eastern Conference Championship??

Greenville is better than ever; it always goes down smooth.

Hibbett is still under control, I can't lie, I enjoy work-I'm pretty sure that is a good thing.

Enjoying time with friends, old and new;

Chatting with an amazing young woman who is beautiful, intelligent, and challenging.
So, there's the little update!

Philippians 4:11

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Fame is what you make it.

I think it's most people's dream to be famous for something. People want to be known, revered, looked up to, etc. We see the Hollywood stars and dream of having that spotlight. If you are shaking your head no, you are a liar! We even throw ourselves "mini-fame" parties throughout the day...(I'm the world's worst). They go something like..."Hey, I rode 40 miles today" or "Yeah, just saw the homeless guy and the Lord told me to give him a couple bucks." I mean, who doesn't love to brag on themselves in hopes of getting more attention?

Personally, I have tried many, many times to reach the "fame" platform. I have gone to Los Angeles with the thought of not returning, I have applied for the Amazing Race, count 'em...3 times, auditioned for Leatherheads, among other things.

Sometimes I have mini-succeeded at this so called "fame". I have done the local TV news thing a few times (that's called a 'local celebrity'), have made the front page of the hometown newspaper, and have been awarded stuff that took me getting up in front of people to accept.

But...is that really fame? A better question may be...is that fame something I want to base my life around? Now, don't get me wrong, I don't believe that wanting to be on TV or striving to be a reality star is bad. Those opportunities would surely be incredible; but just last week I was playing golf with my Dad. We hadn't seen each other in some time and were having a blast together. Neither was playing particularly well, but that didn't matter. We were laughing, catching up, and having countless father-son moments. As he stood on the 9th Tee-box getting ready to hit I realized that to me, my Dad is the biggest celebrity I'd ever get to hang with. Now, cameras don't follow him around, he doesn't live in Beverly Hills, and he is not world famous-but he has done a lot better than that. He has raised and cared for his family, sacrificed to see me succeed, and has been there for me more times than I can remember. That's a hero, a celebrity, if you will, to me. That is someone that I craze to haves attention, someone I look up to, someone I want to be like.

So, thank your parents for allowing you to live this long! And next time you see Brad Pitt or George Clooney on the big screen, just remember that they didn't clean your throw-up out of your bed!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Weddings, Babies, Growing Up, and epiphanies

What a day! I had the privilege to see a couple of my good good friends get married! Angela Austin married Mr. Matt Geib today in a beautiful ceremony. It was an awesome production and I know that they will live a life of bliss, love, and happiness.

But amongst the open bar, great barbecue, good friends, and good times I had an epiphany. Today, not only did my two friends tie the knot, but I realized that MANY of my friends are getting engaged; and some already having children. It made me begin to think about my life. I have never been one to want to get married any time soon. (I am excited about the day when that comes; but I know it is not soon.) But, I began to think, "Am I missing the proverbial boat?" To which the short answer I have come up with is "NO!"

I have chosen a different path-neither is better than the other, just different. I can't wait to find the woman I will spend the rest of my life with. I don't think I will know it is her upon first meeting as some say they do, but how crazy it is going to be when I know. I have been in Love before, but I cannot imagine the love I will feel for this woman!

Back to the epiphany-so I realized today, once again, that my life needs to be lived out with purpose and on purpose. God has laid many desires on my heart, and has made me who I am to glorify Him. I have to focus, and do what He will have me to do, before marraige. That could be 3 months worth of stuff, or 10 years worth of stuff. There is a time for everything-I am a firm believer of that! When the time comes, I am definitely excited about doing what God would have US (My wife and I) to do as well!

A little mantra that I have been trying to live by (adapted from my High School Bible Teacher Chris McElmurray) is Bloom where you are planted and prepare for tomorrow. Whatever tomorrow may bring. If you are ready for tomorrow and ready for the unexpected, you can't lose!

When the time is right, whenever that is, I will be ready. But, for now I am excited about living life to the fullest as a non-married guy!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Kevin Blake Easler '86-'07

God is Enough.

2 Corinthians 12:9 states "My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness."


Tomorrow, October 6th marks one year since my cousin Kevin lost his life in a tragic drunk driving accident. It will be the last of the "firsts" for our family. It is hard to believe it has already been a year; I still feels like I will be seeing him at the next family get together, or can call him on the phone to check up and see how he is doing. But, for the remainder of my time on Earth, I won't get that chance, but am earnestly waiting for that day when we meet again in Heaven.

I have thought about Kevin so much over the past year. I often catch myself looking towards the Heavens and wondering how awesome, how much joy, and how much passion he is experiencing now. I have said it before, but know that Kevin is truly living for the first time-at the foot of the Savior.

So many times my emotions have been triggered and I find myself weeping; but, there was so much happiness, joy, and kindness in his short life I also cannot help but to think about that.

Kevin was the best, and there will never be another like him. The impact he had on so many was unbelievable...what a great man of God.

Kevin lived his life in the "dash". On a tombstone, the date of birth and death is always written. In Kevin's case it reads 1986-2007. I don't think the dates '86 or '07 have much meaning, but what does mean a lot is that "-". That "-" represents the 21 years of his life. In Kevin's life, or "-", he chose to follow Christ, love on people, and bring joy and love to all he came in contact with. Kev had an abundant "-"! What a great man of God.

From this tragedy, there are so many things to learn:

-Don't Drink in Drive, don't be buzzed in drive, just don't drive. You are a fool if you do.
-Live everyday to the glory of God.
-Everyday invest in others, establish relationships-that's what we are here for in the first place.
-Love: Love as Kevin did, unconditionally.

I want to close this post with a paper my 15 year old sister, Kayla, recently wrote about Kev. It is one, if not the greatest thing I have ever read and shows the kind of man Kev was...

Cuz, I love you. I think about you all the time. Thank you for living your life to the fullest.



The Swaying Hammock

I always knew that driving under the influence was bad, it can cause death, and destroy families; but I never knew that it would be my family. It was a normal day I went to school, did homework, watch TV, and even cleaned the house for my parents. I would have never guessed that later that night I would get the news that I received, my cousin Kevin died in a car accident.

Kevin was twenty-one years old he played football, loved horses, and lived life to its fullest. He was a well rounded person, every one loved him. He was close to everyone in our family in a different way. He and I had a tight relationship. For example, when he came over he would always spend the next couple of nights and not go home. I remember every year after Christmas he would always stay with us; it was kind of like a tradition between all of us. We use to go and swing on the hammock for hours and just talk. I could always tell him everything that was going on and he would listen. He always knew the right thing to say, he was trustworthy, and he cared about what I had to say.

In May of last year, our cousin Caitlin graduated from a high school in Atlanta. Kevin and I swung on the hammock most of that day we talked for a long time and he listened to everything I had to say. When we said our goodbyes that day, I would have never guessed that it would be my last one. I had told him goodbye many times before. For example, one time he was not ready to leave yet so he stayed with us. On the way home the next day my brother Justin, Kevin, and I squeezed into the back seat. Justin slept in my lap, I lay on his back, and Kevin lay in my lap; it was a long three hours home. If I would have known that it was my last chance to tell him how much he meant to me I would have. In fact if I would have known what was coming up I probably would have never let him go.

In October on a Friday night around one A.M. Kevin was riding in a car with a drunk driver, the driver swerved off the road hit a telephone pole and it killed Kevin right there at the scene. My mom woke me up at around two and told me that Kevin was now in Heaven. At that moment I knew that our family would never be the same again. A lot of questions went through my head like why him, why our family. I remember it like it was yesterday going to his house that next day it was empty. The place that uses to be full of love and life was now empty. Our family that uses to be thrilled to see each other would have given anything not to be there that day. Our family was now broken, yet the only way through this storm was to cling to one another.

Since the accident, my life has changed. I have gotten a whole new outlook on life. Our family has grown in new ways, as we have tried to continue our lives without him there. I feel like in my own life, it opened up my eyes to see that my mistakes do not just affect me they affect everyone around me. The driver of the car drove drunk and he took another life. He still walks around and lives his life, but because of his mistake my cousin is now gone. I have also learned that going against the law is not the coolest thing, those laws were put there for a reason and we need to follow them; that way nothing like this will happened. The last thing I have learned is that life is short and we have no idea when it will be our time to go. Now, it is like I want to live my life to the fullest because I do not know when it will be my last and final day.

Kevin lived his life large, he knew who he was. At times he might have not known this but he had a huge impact on my life. He is gone now but not a day goes by that I do not think about his warm smile, and his huge loving hugs. I will always miss him but I know that I will get to hug him again some day. He may be gone now but I still feel like he is teaching me. He taught me as I grew up and now as I am still growing I know that he is still guiding me. He wants me to succeed and live my life to the fullest just like he was trying to do.

If I would have known what was going too happened on that October day I would have

done everything different; but the truth is we do not know what the future has in store for us.

The only thing we can do as humans is to fully and truly live our lives every day, never knowing

when it will be taken from us. I always knew that driving under the influence was bad, that it

can cause death; but what I did not know was that it can bring a family together. It has been a

hard year for my family and me, but one thing we have learned is that no matter what you have

to continue to live you life. Every time I walk by a hammock and the wind is blowing it still

moves, so no matter how hard our lives may get we have to continue to sway just like the

hammock.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Coach Mike Gold

Every once in a while people come into your life that you know will have a lasting impact on you and how you choose to live. I often hear people say, "so-and-so is like a father/mother to me...". Well, I have incredible parents, and no one will be able to take there place; but I do have people in my life who have helped to make me who I am today.

One of these people was my High School Basketball Coach...Coach Gold.

Now, I have to set the scene for you. Coach Gold is a legend. He's originally from New York so he has this deep New Yorker accent that you don't know whether to be intimidated by or just mock! He's confident, but humble; serious, but funny; God-fearing, but willing to push the envelope; and, and incredible teacher, but able to get his hands dirty right there with you. What a man.

When I first came to Augusta Christian and found out he was the Varsity Ball Coach, I wanted to do nothing more than impress him; had to get on the team! He would call me 4.0 because "JP, you make the team's g.p.a. look good!"

Before every game he would take the opposing team's name, make an acrostic out of it, and preach the word using the acrostic as a tool. He taught us what it meant to be a family and to be accountable to others. Before and after every game, and during games you could hear the Lions chant..."1,2,3...FAMILY". But, a downside to the whole family atmosphere was that when one got in trouble, we all ran for it! We were always taking care of "Family Business" as Coach Gold dubbed it. He used Basketball as a tool to reach people for Christ and to improve Christians relationship with Christ. He would run us until we wanted to pass out, and then we would give glory to the Lord for giving us the opportunity to glorify Him through Basketball.

I would call him the greatest coach of all time. Likely, Coach Gold could Coach at the collegiate level, no questions asked. But, he still coaches in the Georgia Independent School Association-that's what the Lord has seemed to call him to.

At a time in my life where I was being shaped into the person I was going to become, Coach Gold was there to guide me-and my teammates-in the right direction.

So Coach, you have had a huge impact on my life. Thank you for being at the 7 am devotions, or the 6 am Saturday morning workouts. Thanks for giving your time, your knowledge and your life!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The N-A-U-G!

Last weekend I had the opportunity to go HOME...for the first time in a long time! Working retail hours has it's pros and cons; one of the cons being that I don't often get 2 days off in a row. But, last weekend at 5:30 on Friday I headed to the house! There is just something about being at home that is so good. I have time to "recharge my batteries" and get away from the responsibilities I have in Greenville.

The memories, the friends, the restaurants, the ball games, the church, the school...all the stuff I did for 18+ years kind of comes swarming back when I'm at home.

I got to see my sister Kayla play in a volleyball tournament at Augusta Prep-a gym and school that I spent a good deal of time at while I went to Augusta Christian.

I also had the awesome opportunity to hang with my old High School Basketball Coach-a legend-and I will blog about him later, so stay tuned!

I was able to spend time with my family and just kind of chill.

And, I was able to see good friends and high school buddies that I haven't seen in a while.

So, all-in-all, it was a remarkable trip home that did not last long enough. I love North Augusta because of the history I have there, my family, and the fact that I grew up there. But...I don't live there anymore. I've grown up, pay my own bills, drive my own car, have my own credit card, and...live in Greenville. I now call Greenville my home-actually I refer to it as "home for now". I don't know if I ever want to stay in one place for long enough to consider it a home as we define it in America, but Greenville is great for now.

My weekend trip was great in North Augusta, but...it's always nice laying your head on your own pillow at night!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

I just shaved my legs

...That's right-I just shaved my legs. I now have silky smooth legs to strut around. Why did I do it, you ask? Well, I actually have been contemplating it for a long while. It's kind of a code to being a cyclist. You ride bikes=You shave your legs. And you get picked on if you don't!

So, today was the US Pro Cycling Championship Event in Greenville and I'm not going to lie, maybe I got caught up in the moment. After seeing the likes of George Hincapie, Freddie Rodriguez, and the ohhh so cool Rock Racing Team, I got the itch. The itch to take it to another level-and shave the legs.

I actually have nice looking legs underneath all of that hair. Haha. Ladies, it took me about 45 minutes and I only cut myself once. How would you rate that for a first-timer?

So, here comes the ridicule, I can see it now. I'll be at work, or with friends...it'll take a minute, but then they will realize what I did-and probably just laugh. I wonder if this falls under the whole "taking risks/not asking questions" blog I just posted!!

Living Life and not asking questions!

I have made a decision. I want to live life, no questions asked... I want to live a life without thinking about the "what ifs"; I want a life filled with spontaneity, potential, and abundance. I'm pretty sure that fear has a lot to do with most people's (including my) decision to live a safe life. But what is fun about a safe life? Now, granted, it is a heck of a lot easier to say than to enact in everyday life-so maybe this is something that I need to strive more and more towards everyday?!

I want to be myself and not worry about what others think
I want to run that race and not care how slow I am
I want to ask that beautiful girl out, and not worry about being shot down!
I want to make moves...take that to mean whatever you want!
I want to do what God has intended for me, and not ask questions! (failed at this plenty of times)

The thing that saddens me most is that when I have lived in fear-what awesome things have I missed out on!

Now, don't get me wrong, I have taken risks, chances, and lived plenty of times before...I just want to be more deliberate about doing it!

I will keep you updated on how this new philosophy of life goes! video

Friday, August 29, 2008

Love is a Decision

What a statement! And I am slowly and surely finding the meaning of it. I have heard two different schools of thought on this statement, though.

First, you have the Alan Jacksons of the world that speak of "Livin' on Love...."
You also have the Beatles of the world that state "All you need is love..."

I've also heard that it takes a lot more than just love to make a relationship work. And I have to agree.

I bought a shirt about 3 weeks ago and on the front it says "Love is a Decision". It's by Jedidiah, they have awesome clothes and have an awesome message. Definitely check out the website. Little did I know though, that I would be seeing this decision right before my eyes today in a situation that directly involved myself.

To Love someone-wow, that's so strong-to love someone you have to disregard feeling; you have to throw away looks; you have to submit; you have to decide. It is a huge huge decision. I can't help but thank of the women that I have told "I Love you" too, only to break up months later. Did I truly love them them? Did I love them for a time and then it simply ended?

I believe to truly love someone, you are obviously going to be attracted to them, you are obviously going to have strong feelings for them, you are hopefully going to treat them right; but more than anything you have to make the firm decision to love them for the rest of your life. Breathe. You have to decide to Love when finances are tough; you must decide to love when the job sucks; you must decide to love when looks have faded away and you are both pushing each other around in wheel chairs; you must decide to love when the in-laws are getting on the nerves; (it's about to get deep)....You must decide to love when a job requires you to move to an unknown territory away from family and friends; you must decide to love when your child is born with an incurable disease; you must decide to love when your child is taken away from you through a tragic event; you must decide to love when your secretary whispers sweet nothings into your ear at work; you must decide to love when the divorce papers are all but signed.

Bottom Line: Love is a Decision.

Kids (Am I still a kid?) these days are getting married so young. I wonder if they have decided to love. Maybe it comes easier for some than others. Be mindful of your feelings, they will betray you (quote straight out of Star Wars!). Be grounded in the decision to love.

In 1 Corinthians 13, the Bible talks about Love and all of its glory. It is a beautiful passage that ends by saying that out of Faith, Hope, and Love...The greatest of these is Love.


Protect your Heart; Love with everything that you have. Treat people right. And Decide To LOVE.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Hope

Today I heard one of best Sermons I've ever heard in my entire life. Actually, it was the third time I had heard the exact same message! Mr. Louie Giglio presented a message on HOPE-When Life Hurts the Most.

Sometimes we don't have answers to the hard times in life; sometimes all we can do is cling to the cross of Jesus Christ.

I'm posting the link to the messsage. If you are going through a hard time, have experienced loss, or just feeling down in the dumps, please click and listen-it'll change your life!!

HOPE-When Life Hurst The Most

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The World is FILLED with awesome people

Today I was thinking about what I wanted to post on the blog and something happened at work today that I had to write about. Now, some of this story is an assumption, but I think I assumed right!

Two men came in the store today looking for a pair of shoes for one of the men. One man was wearing a Southern Wesleyan University Safety Patrol Uniform and the other was wearing regular street clothes and old, old tattered shoes. The Safety Patrol Officer was extremely nice to the other gentleman. They began their search for shoes at the shoe wall after I measured the man's foot. It didn't take long for me to figure out that the Safety Patrol Officer, probably in his mid-20s was going to buy a pair of shoes for the other gentleman. After ease-dropping on their conversation, I figured out that the gentleman with the tattered shoes went to SWU and had a severe stuttering problem.

The assumption: This incredible mid-20 year-old saw a need in a SWU student, and met that need by buying him a pair of shoes. Now, I'm sure that the Safety Patrol Officer doesn't make a whole lot of bank working as an officer at a private college and gladly told his friend "to get whatever he wanted". The two guys walked out with a pair of shoes and 2 packs of socks for the student.

So...I want to say thank you to the Safety Officer for caring about people. For giving when he didn't have to, and for loving on people. You sir, are a true hero! Thank God for people like you!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Life To Do List!

I was inspired by my cuz Caitlin Pitts to write out my life "To Do" List. It is definitely a personal thing, and I originally thought that I should keep it to myself; but, by telling the world, maybe you can hold me accountable to my list! And, you will get to know the desires and loves that I have!

Sometimes I have thought that a "To Do" list for my life was selfish-but, the Lord has created me who I am for a reason, and put desires in my heart for a reason, so as long as I am glorifying Him-I've got nothing to lose!

The fun thing about writing this stuff down is that everyday I can ask myself..."what have I done to achieve 'so-and-so'?" We all have plenty of time during the day, it's just a matter of prioritizing that time for what is important to us! It is definitely a work in progress, too.


(In no particular order)

-Hike the Appalachian Trail (entire thing)
-Win a race
-Participate in the Kona IronMan
-Run the Boston Marathon
-Be on a reality show-preferably the Amazing Race
-Marry the girl of my dreams
-Adopt from Africa
-Have Dreadlocks
-Meet Dikembe Mutombo
-For somebody to say, "we need 1 million dollars for such and such" and be able to write the check on the spot.
-See the Tour De France in person
-Have a friend in Sherry
-Go to Uganda
-6 pack
-Speak in front of 10,000 + people
-Get a Doctorate
-Meet Lance Armstrong
-Become fluent in another language
-Build my own house
-Visit Hawaii
-Tour Europe
-Visit Australia
-Get a least 2 more tattoos
-Write a book
-Skydive
-Bungee Jump
-Scuba Dive
-Learn to Surf
-Cycle in the Alps and Pyrenees
-Own a business
-Run, instead of Jog


...to be continued...

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Family

Man I love my family. I don't know what I would do without them. Now, when I say family I'm talking about my extended family, not just the 'rents-though I love them too. I'm talking Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, Grandparents...amazing. Thanks to a few divorces, I have a pretty big family. Growing up with 8 Grandparents ain't too bad! Essentially, I am my family. They have helped shape me into who I am today. My parents nurtured me, taught me, and loved me; and in turn, I want to be like them when I grow old-it's like a cycle. I can always count on my family too. Some a lot more than others, but the bond I have with them is undeniable and unbelievable.
There are still some family problems; there always is (you can pick your friends, not your family!) Namely, my biological Mom. Not having ever had a relationship with her is tough to deal with sometimes. Am I better for it, you bet. Patti Pitts my quote, unquote "step mom" is one of the greatest things to ever happen to me.

After being in Africa for a month last year, I saw firsthand how not having a family affects you and your life. There's not much direction, not much promise. It's tough. Seeing young children care for their YOUNGER siblings will sober anybody up.


I thank God for my family.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

New Spring Church

This weekend has been great; off from work, a couple of bike rides, a little cleaning and a little sleeping, eating, and church!

I started to attend New Spring in Greenville about 3 weeks ago and am loving it. The messages are powerful, relevant, and speak right to me every week. New Spring Greenville is a "satellite" campus from New Spring Church in Anderson; I'm used to the whole "watch your preacher on a screen" thing though after attending Catalyst Church in downtown Greenville-which has since shut down-with Andy Stanley.

Currently, Perry Noble-pastor, is doing a series entitled "You Asked For It". He is preaching 6 sermons on questions the congregation has asked him to preach on, including: What is sexual sin? Can I lose my salvation? What is God's will? Is it okay to drink alcohol? Are we living in the end times? and Is it okay to be a part of popular culture and still be a Christian? All relavent questions that need sound Biblical answers.

Some of his sermons have already stirred up a little controversy, but as far as my 8-years worth of Christian schooling tells me...his sermons are Biblically based and sound. Can't argue with the Word of the Lord. Usually, those who do are directly doing what they are trying to justify!!

A quote that he said at the beginning of this series 3 weeks ago was that Oprah has the biggest church in America because she is answering the questions that people are asking; why is the church not answering these same questions. Why isn't the church "giving the people what they want" per say...directions and answers to life. WE as Christians have the cheat sheet, the answer book, if you will. Our only job on earth is to share that; that's why we are here.

Today, the sermon told that God's Will was a lot easier to know and follow than we make it out to be. We have the infallible, inerrant Word of God at our fingertips. When I Listen to the Word of God, and I Walk in the Ways of God, I will Discover the Will of God. (stole that from the bulletin outline-but I thought it was awesome.)

I can't tell how many times I have prayed, "Lord, show me your will" or "Show, me just the next small step, so that I may follow you" all the while, not being faithful to Listen to the Word of God or Walk in the Ways of God. I have it backwards-as I usually do! Why should God reveal more to me when I haven't been faithful following Him in the first place.

Thank you Perry for allowing God to speak and use you as His messenger. And thanks for getting me pumped up about church for the first time in along time.

Next week's message-"Is drinking alcohol okay?" I can't wait!!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Here it goes, here it goes again....

Note, the OKGo reference in the title of this post.

Since I have started blogging again, there is a lot of stuff that I have thought about writing down and putting in cyberspace; but what do you choose? Something spiritual to encourage others? Something about yourself so that others who will read will go "whoa, he's cool!" ?? Or, just nonsense to make people laugh and pass the time? I'll probably do all three.

HIBBETT SPORTS

I just got done with week 3 of the management experience of Hibbett Sports. It's gone great so far. I love the store and the clientele. My staff is also great. They are definitely good people. Hey, as long as they show up on time and don't steal....I'm good with that! Haha. Naw, seriously...they've been great with the transition from their old manager to me and have treated me great. I hope that I am doing the same to them. So, three weeks in and ____ to go. I've already got my mind set, we'll see what the LORD has in store. More or less-I want to strive to do what HE wants.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

I got a bike on Christmas morning...

You probably know that I love cycling. I have actually posted about it a couple of times before: here and here. I found cycling later and life; I was introduced to it by Miss Ashley Austin, to which I clowned her for liking such a crazy sport-But, quickly saw where she was coming from.

The peloton, team cars, world-wide media attention, all sucked me in. I actually began cycling myself. My first purchase was an old Specialized Allez off EBay. Not the best bike in the world by any means, but it would do. I loved that thing and literally rode it until it died-not that I rode and rode and rode it, but it was so old it finally just died.

I wanted a nice new or slightly used bike for the longest and have really been "dreaming" of one for years. Sad-I know, but I had my mind set on it and knew it had to happen eventually.

Seven months ago I even had the all Carbon Specialized Tarmac Elite on lay-a-way, but had to take it off when I moved back to Greenville.
So, I had to start over. Maybe it wasn't in the cards for me to eevveerr get a bike. But, finally...this past Tuesday, I made the purchase of my dreams. I bought the awesome Felt F-75 and couldn't be happier.



I am very thankful that the Lord provided a way for me to make this purchase. I'm like a kid on Christmas morning; I love it.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

It's been 6 months, here's the year update...

Yes, the blog of Justin Pitts' still does exist! After a 6-month hiatus, I am going to try my hand at this again. I have no good excuse, there has been plenty of time to write and jot things down, but you know how it goes...Also, I think I wear my "emotions" on my sleeve a lot of times and have been thinking about keeping my personal life to myself, but I like to talk and tell to much. So, for those interested, here we go again.

The last 6-months have been a crazy crazy time in my life. It has actually been the craziest-for lack of a better term-year of my life. So many life-changing things have taken place it is hard to believe. I quit my dream job, I moved back to Greenville, I slept on a couch for 5 months, I went jobless for 3 months, I lost two grandparents, and separated from my girlfriend; and a lot in between those big events.

Life is hard to make sense of most of the time I think. In fact, I had a conversation today with a man named PJ who works at The Great Escape Bike Shop about this very thing. We started to touch on religion and I shared with him that I was glad there was more to life than just this earth. What if this was all there was. You attempt to achieve the "American Dream" and then you die-what a sad existence. Thank you Lord for showing us mercy and creating life eternal with you for those who choose it.

There has been a lot of positive things that have happened this year as well: I endured the couch and now have an apartment with a long-time friend, I made it through the job hunt and how have the cool opportunity to be the manager at Hibbett Sports in Central, SC; and there is some other cool stuff going on as well.

The last year was scripted different than I could ever imagine but everything happens for a reason. Sometime you know it, and other times you don't.