Friday, December 29, 2006

Different Age. Same Great God.

God never ceases to amaze me.

So a few weeks back I got a call from an older man named Bill who got my name and number from someone who worked the Walk to Emmaus weekend that I attended in October. (Just FYI in case you haven’t been following my Blog, the Walk to Emmaus was a three-day spiritual retreat that I attended back in October)

Bill attended the Walk in 1996 and he lives here in Atlanta. He is 67 years old, a former Marine who fought in Okinawa during WWII, and someone who only began his walk with Christ about ten years ago. He called because there are not that many people who have been on the Walk who actually live in Atlanta and he wanted to introduce himself and see if we could meet and chat about what God is up to in our lives.

Pretty cool I thought because one of my main prayers each day is that God will give me opportunities to be involved in the lives of others and this seemed like an obvious answer to that prayer.

Anyway, we met for dinner last week before Christmas and it was too interesting of an experience not to Blog about. After I very briefly shared with him how I got to where I am today I just sat back and listened to him tell his story. I did a little talking and a lot of listening. One of the things I have not had enough of is time spent with an older person who is a Christian. Most of the people that I share my faith with have tended to be people in my age range. It was very refreshing to chat with someone who is around 36 years older than me. And even though Bill has only been seriously pursuing God for ten years he had some great wisdom and just a lot of life experiences.

I felt this whole “respect my elders” vibe and I just wanted to listen to him and try to learn something. One of the biggest things that moved me was that he was very emotional about what God had done/is doing in his life. Honestly, there were at least four times during dinner when he began to cry. It was a very surreal experience for me. I couldn’t ever remember a time when I had been out at a restaurant with a significantly older person who was crying.

During my conversation with Bill I also became very thankful and grateful of the fact that I began my walk with Christ when I did. I am glad I was 27 instead of 57. Yeah, I know it probably could have been 17 but still. Our chat also reminded me that it is never too late to turn to God. And although I didn’t really feel comfortable asking him deep questions about regret and lost time in his life I could tell that he wishes he could turn back some time. Who doesn’t wish that when the whole relationship with God thing kicks in? I often wonder what the last ten years of my life would have looked like if my faith had been strong enough to handle being a freshman sitting in a dorm room at UGA.

I guess what I really liked about my time with Bill was that I made a potential new friend. And I don’t have too many friends above the age of 60 I might add.

I hope someone considers it a cool thing to have me as a friend when I am 60 years old.

And I hope McDonald’s still has that senior discount on coffee.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Wonder Years

A few notes from my trip to Clinton, Mississippi – the town I grew up in:

  • I spent my first 15 years in Mississippi and my most recent 15 years in Georgia (Yes, I’m almost 30. Shut it.) Clinton/everything else I saw in Mississippi seems to have taken a downward turn commerce wise in the last 15 years. A lot of the businesses that were there when I was growing up are closed. And there is not like newer more up to date businesses in their place either. I am talking about where there used to be a grocery store there is now a Big Lots. Ouch. Although there was a Starbucks by the interstate of course. So maybe it’s not all a downward turn.
  • The roads are still bad
  • The girls are still beautiful
  • I went to a candlelight service on Christmas Eve at the church I grew up in – First Baptist Church of Clinton. That was cool. I couldn’t resist walking the halls to see some of the old classrooms that I sat in when I was little and it was especially memorable to see one of the first playgrounds that I ever remember playing on still there in the same old spot. And I also saw the street by the church that I ran across after letting go of my mom’s hand one morning after church when I was real little. She said she blistered my backside for that. And she also said I never did it again.
  • I also drove by the old junior high school that I attended before we moved to Georgia. It is not in use anymore although the buildings are still there…I saw the classroom where I took my first algebra class and the band hall where I played my first note on a trumpet.
  • It was great to see some members of my family that I have not seen in several years. Especially the cousins that are a little closer to my age who I really remember spending the most time with when I was younger. One of my cousins is getting married this summer, one is at the University of Memphis getting a masters in Directing and one is married and living in Scotland getting his masters in theology from the University of Aberdeen. It was good to catch up with them.
  • Overall, everything I saw just seemed smaller and older. I love it how everything seems larger than life through a kid’s eyes.

It is funny to wonder where I would be today if I had stayed in Mississippi and my dad had NOT relocated to Georgia in the summer of 1992. I probably would have gone to Ole Miss or LSU. But the whole arts marketing thing. Who knows? I complain about Atlanta not supporting the arts I can’t imagine promoting theatre in Jackson, Mississippi.

Anyway, I hope everyone had a very merry Christmas. Warren, do you still have that same look on your face?

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Feliz Navidad

I am at Chris and Melissa's tomorrow and then I am having Christmas with the family on Saturday (I can't wait to watch my nieces and nephew open their presents). I will be traveling to Mississippi on Sunday with my parents for a few days to visit my mom's family there.

I haven't been back to Mississippi in several years so I am looking forward to seeing some family members that I have not seen in awhile. I need to go and spend some time with them since it has been so long since I have seen them and since I might be moving sometime this next year.

I wish everyone safe travels and a very Merry Christmas.

God bless us everyone!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Home Alone

So this afternoon I was flippin the TV back and forth between The Lord of the Rings marathon on TNT and Home Alone on TBS. What a coincidence that Home Alone is on today because it’s something that I have been thinking about lately.

Quick side note before we begin - I have NEVER lived alone in my entire life.

My roommate is currently courting a young lass and the result for me has been more and more time to myself. I know. Boo freakin Hoo. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for it and I am so happy for him/them. But the periodic evenings alone & phone calls in the other room have given me time to think about the whole “never lived by myself” thing.

Recently I think I have started to get a small taste of what Kevin (Played by the incomparable Macaulay Culkin) felt like during those few days of aloneness.

Growing up, all the way through college, and through the present day (almost seven years after college) I have always had a roommate. I can’t decide if that is weird or normal. I haven’t taken a poll or anything. Sure there have been stretches of time alone for various reasons (trips, house-sitting, etc.) but not long stretches of time with no end in sight.

My conclusion?

I am actually glad that I am having some nights alone right now because I came to the realization a few weeks back that there is a strong chance (pending the upcoming conference, God working behind the scenes, etc.) that I might move to South America and live by myself. For the first time EVER.

Why such a big jump at one time I ask myself? Why can’t I like move to Smyrna and live by myself there first to warm up. Why have my first experience of living alone be in another country and culture where I might know five people total. I mean, talk about OTP.

I can’t decide whether this scares me or excites me even more about the prospect of moving. But it is certainly interesting to think about. I am just going to chalk it up to God preparing me for whatever situation He is sending me into.

T-minus three weeks until that conference mentioned above by the way…

Friday, December 15, 2006

No Alarm Morning

I had a funny conversation with a friend tonight about a "no alarm morning". You know...those mornings when you do not have to set an alarm of any kind. It came up because I so do NOT have a "no alarm morning" tomorrow. I have to be up at 5:30 a.m. to head to the theatre and get Scrooge to our final Christmas Carol promotional appearance by 7 a.m.

My friend mentioned that tomorrow is a "no alarm morning" for her. Not only did it make me jealous but it reminded me how much I love those mornings and how few and far between those mornings have been for me lately.

Since I volunteer early on Sunday mornings and there is that whole job thing Monday - Friday, Saturdays are really my only shot at "no alarm mornings" these days.

I hate that tomorrow is not one.

Monday, December 11, 2006


So one of the books I read recently was a book by Andy Stanley called Visioneering – God’s Blueprint for developing and maintaining vision. It was recommended to me that I read this book while I am in the “dreaming” phase.

Here is an excerpt from the intro…
“If I were to ask you to describe how you picture your life in ten years, chances are you could paint a fairly clear picture. No doubt you could outline a financial profile. You could describe what you hope to achieve relationally. You have some idea of where you want to be professionally. In other words, you would be able to look beyond what is and paint a picture of what could be – and in some cases what should be – true of your life. That’s vision.

A clear vision, along with the courage to follow through, dramatically increases your chances of coming to the end of your life, looking back with a deep abiding satisfaction, and thinking, I did it. I succeeded. I finished well. My life counted.

Without a clear vision, odds are you will come to the end of your life and wonder. Wonder what you could have done – what you should have done. And like so many, you may wonder if your life really mattered at all.”

Do you stare up at the ceiling at night and wonder about this sometimes like I do? I confess that I am having difficulty painting a picture of what my life will be ten years from now. Honestly, I am having a hard time painting a picture of what my life will be ONE year from now…

I tried to think about what vision I have had for my life over the last almost seven years since college. And I really think my vision was to become the best arts marketer possible. It was definitely a career-focused vision though. I wanted to tackle the arts industry and climb the ladder of success. And on a certain level that is happening. I have only had two jobs in my twenties and I feel like I have been successful in both. And God has blessed me with an unbelievable mentor who has groomed me, positioned me and shaped me into the business person that I am today. I feel like I could be very successful continuing in this industry with God’s blessing of course.

Now. I have no idea. I think the vision I dream about now has something to do with helping kids on the streets of South America who start out in life without ANY opportunity for success. Kids who have no one to fight for them. Kids who have the odds stacked against them. How? Again, no idea. But it is comforting in Andy’s book to read that you usually realize the “what” part of a vision before you realize the “how.” That’s nice. I got time on that “how” part.

I am glad that I read this book during my three month "waiting period" prior to my SAMS conference in January because the book actually addresses the wait time.

Andy talks about how “This sense of “time is awasting” is the very thing that compels people to move out too soon. The assumption is, since we aren’t moving on, nothing’s going on.”

He also says that three things happen during this wait time:

The vision matures in us – time allows us to distinguish between ideas and visions worth throwing the weight of our life behind.

We mature in preparation for the vision – the tendency is to assume that since I know what I am to do, I’m ready to do it. But the two don’t always coincide.

God is at work behind the scenes preparing the way – God’s vision for your life is much bigger than you. You don’t know what God is up to behind the scenes of your life. It is no accident you are where you are.

When I stare up at the ceiling at night I think I just want God to be proud of me. I know He loves me and I love Him but I want Him to smile when someone mentions my name in Heaven.

I would love for Him to bring out the photo album and be like “Check Curt out. That’s my kid. Look at him go.”

Thursday, December 07, 2006

The # 1 question people ask me…

…is surprisingly not, “Has anybody ever told you that you look like Dale Jr.?”

It is something like…

“So Curt, dating anybody these days?”
“Who you dating these days?”
“Are you seeing anybody?”

Or one of my personal favorites…
“So Curt, who is the flavor of the week?”

Or that one I hear in my head sometimes…
“Wow Curt, almost 30 and you are STILL single? What is wrong with you? Loser.”

Anyway, I guess it is normal for single people to get asked this question. Especially as we get older. Makes sense. Come to think of it though - It is usually non-single people who ask me this. Single people rarely ask. It’s like the non-single people have to look out for us single folks and check up on us from time to time to see if we are making any progress towards the blissful land of non-singleness.

Ready for my standard response?
“You know, nobody right now. It’s funny, I just haven’t been thinking much about that lately. I don’t really worry about it. If it happens, it happens.”

Or my NEW favorite response...
“Nobody right now. I don’t really have much desire to pursue a relationship right now given the fact that I might be moving within a year. I mean…God is really going to have to hit me over the head with a relationship to knock me off the course of this missionary thing.”

Did you hear that God? Did you read my Blog today? You really better throw a relationship my way IF YOU WANT ME TO STAY IN THE USA?

What was that? I can’t play the “I’m going to move and become a missionary” card in order to get you to give me a relationship faster? Oh, ok.

All kidding aside. Most days I seriously go through the whole day without the thought of being in a relationship even crossing my mind. Don’t get me wrong…(And Warren can attest to this) I still love girls (especially Carrie Underwood right now) and if God blesses me with a relationship…Rock on. But the ironic thing is that somehow through the course of not really thinking about girls/relationships as much, I have actually begun to love girls even more.

It’s funny how girls become the most beautiful creatures in the world when you actually stop looking at them and turn your eyes towards God. I would have never believed this true unless I had tried it. It’s as if God gave me some new kind of Acuvue contact lenses and then when I turned back and looked I was like “Wow. Dude. Nice job.” And I really love it how after God made the entire creation, the ultimate picture of perfection, it wasn’t complete until she showed up.

To put it simply - God has just turned down the volume in this area of my life. It just doesn’t stress me out as much as it used to. He fulfills me. He sustains me. He has given me more peace, joy and contentment that I have ever felt in my entire life.

As someone reminded me of recently…you just need to focus your eyes on God and run after Him as fast as you can. Then one day you might look beside you and see someone running with you towards that same goal.

I like the sound of that. Stay classy San Diego.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Here comes the big parade

Very cool experience this past Saturday as I took Scrooge to appear in the annual Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Holiday Parade. This was our third year to have Scrooge in the parade. The first year I actually dressed up and walked the route with Scrooge and passed out candy. (I had never had so many kids get mad at me before in my life because you can’t physically give candy to every kid…and they don’t like that too much) Last year I rode in the car because I was having knee problems and this year I paid someone to dress up and pass out flyers down the parade route while Scrooge road in a 1976 Rolls Royce. (One thing I have really learned during my years so far in the working world – sometimes it’s just better to pay someone else to do something.)

And I have been in plenty of parades over the years doing the whole marching band thing but it is a totally different experience walking by yourself down a parade route. More eyes and way more surreal. Anyway, the weather was outstanding and here are a few photos to mark the occasion…

Scrooge and the Georgia cheerleaders...GO DAWGS!

Scrooge and Hairy...

Continuing the Cheerleader about the Falcons Cheerleaders?

It's not every day you get your picture made with a llama...

Scrooge says Bah HumBug to Santa...

Scrooge with a Panda and a Hillary Clinton "Big Head" - the other side of her sign read "I wan't to be President again"

Ok. So I had to try and get one artistic shot in there. I love the symmetry of this one...I wanted him right in the middle of that Publix turkey balloon...

Oh, and by the way. Children's Healthcare decided to ban passing out candy this year. They said it makes kids fat.