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. that really fame? A better question may 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