Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Don't Try This At Home!

Quick story:
At last night's MANday night gathering at Providence Church (contact me for more information on this event), John Barber, Phil Breedlove and the rest of the man-food makers whipped up a humongous batch of fried catfish, with hush puppies, french fries and cole slaw to boot.  It was so good that I had seconds...along with some kind of brownie with nuts (had 3 of them and was called out for it by Phil).
Out of guilt, I decided to go for a longer run than usual to rid myself of the calories I had consumed the night before (an idea I got from Mike Smith, who consumed equivalent of a Slim Fast diet and ran before gorging himself at the fish fry. Much better idea than mine).  Over the weekend, I bought a water bottle to carry for these very types of runs and thought that as long as I had water, I'd be fine. Right? WRONG!!!
In all my years of military training in the southeastern United States, as well as Iraq and Kuwait, I have never been diagnosed with heat exhaustion; however, today I'm pretty sure a doctor would've slapped me with that tag before it was over.  Luckily, I made it back to my point of origin without throwing up what was left of the fish fry, or passing out on the side of the road. I didn't cry when it was over.... but I want to!
So, think twice before deciding to run (what felt to me like was) a half marathon in the middle of July the morning after consuming what was easily 2,000 calories of deep fried deliciousness.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


Well, this past weekend I made it back to Ft. Dix, NJ, where we all started the mobilization process. Now, we are demobilizing (demob), which basically means we are getting any medical, administrative and logistical issues cleared up before going on leave. As the Company Commander, I've got a few other things to do, but the process is moving along rather smoothly at this point. Rather than speculate on my return to Knoxville, I'll just say that I expect to be home no later than the 19th, but any day sooner is fine with me.
For those of you who might be interested in the "next chapter of my life" that I have mentioned several times in previous posts, I'll post another update in the near future. For now, I just want to get finished with the process and then begin starting the new adventure.
Take care,

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Global Planting Initiative

"If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it" (Luke 9:23-24, ESV).

Over the past year, through blog posts and some Facebook statuses, I referenced "starting the next chapter of my life." Although I have spent the past several months laying the foundation for that chapter, only a select group of people are aware of what it entails.
To make a long story short, much of my adult life has consisted of living out the stereotypical life of an American Christian. I've been actively involved in a church and served in a number of different capacities. Leslie and I have participated and led small group bible studies. I have read my Bible regularly and prayed on a daily basis. I've listened to Christian music and given money to several Christian organizations. Prior to this deployment, I even spent some time working for a local non-profit missions ministry.  In sum, I've been doing or trying to do all those things that are associated with Christianity in America. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with these things, but over time I began to wonder if there is more to my faith. Did Christ die for me so that I can attend a weekly worship service, hang out with other Christians, and do a few acts of service for other people? Did Jesus undergo the persecution and torture on the cross so that I could have a stable 8-5 job, live in a nice house and not have to suffer any of same things he endured for me? The more I began to actually pay attention to what God's Word said, the less I felt I was truly following Jesus.
When I actually began paying attention to the words in Scripture, I began to realize that I was still living for myself. I wanted a comfortable, easy, care-free life where I made a decent income and got to enjoy the "American Dream." I wasn't willing to sacrifice all that this world has to offer because I didn't want to deal with pain and suffering. Then I came across Christ's command in Luke 9:23-24 (which is mentioned in Matthew and Mark). If I am to be a committed follower of Christ, that means I have to take all those earthly, worldly desires and leave them behind. I have to die to all my fleshly wants and desires and exchange them for the pain and suffering of following Christ to the ends of the earth. Although suffering can mean different things, it certainly didn't mean enduring a few losing seasons of Vols football. It also didn't mean sacrificing a week at the beach so I can afford to screen in the back patio on our house. Following Christ means giving up everything you want from this world and living a life of compassion and service to those in need and spreading the good news of Jesus to unbelievers, both at home AND abroad.
Now that I have returned home from this deployment, I am starting a non-profit organization called Global Planting Initiative (GPI). The goal of GPI is help local churches fulfill the Great Commission through planting indigenous, reproducing churches among unreached people groups around the world. This pursuit is definitely a leap of faith for me and Leslie, but we are both confident that surrendering our lives to the cause of Christ is worth it. I hope that those of you reading this will please keep us in your prayers over the next several months. Moreover, if you would like to know more about GPI, please visit our website at www.globalplanting.org. I'm very excited about this new chapter and look forward to seeing how God will use the ministry to change the lives of people around the world.
Finally, if you are reading this, I challenge you to do the same thing I did. Sit down and actually read the words of Christ. Pay attention to what the Bible says about following Jesus and actually put them into practice. Doing so will change your life, just like it changed mine!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Company Command

For many officers in the Army, the apex of their career is when they assume command of a company. As a Platoon Leader, we get our first taste of being in charge of Soldiers; however, as a company commander, we are in charge of a lot more Soldiers and responsible for thousands (sometimes millions) of dollars worth of equipment.
Today, I was informed that I have been selected to take command of the original company I was in when this deployment first started. The current company commander has reached the end of his career and is essentially being told by the Army that it's time to retire. So, I've been chosen to take his place. As a result, I have about 48-72 hours to packet all of my belongings and fly to another Province in another Regional Command, where I will spend the next two weeks inventorying every piece of equipment that belongs to the company and take ownership of it. I will also charge of all the personnel and be responsible for ensuring they make it back home to their friends and family.
The good news is that I'm going to link back up with all the people I was originally supposed to deploy with. The bad news is that I'm now having to take on way more responsibility than I want at this point. If you're not familiar with the term "Shamming", look it up. That was supposed to be my MO for the next year, but now I have to actually do some work and finish out this deployment as best I can.
Please pray for safe travels over the next few days and a smooth transition into my new position. I'd like to think I might do something productive while down there, but we'll have to wait and see! All you C Co guys reading this, looking forward to the reunion!!!
Take care,

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Final Stretch

Well, I finally made it back to Orgun-E last Thursday and am getting settled back into my normal routine. It took 10 days to make it from Knoxville to my "home away from home", which is about 6 days longer than it should have been. Although I enjoyed more time away from work, not having much cold weather gear during a snowstorm made things a little uncomfortable.
Several of you have asked when I'll be back home for good. I wish I had a confirmed answer, but the movement back to the States is still up in the air at this point. I'm hoping to be back in the States in about 3 months and then back in Knoxville no later than mid-May. As soon as I get more information, I'll definitely pass it along. For now, just pray I make it through this final stretch in the deployment. Can't wait to begin the next chapter of my life!

Thursday, December 22, 2011


Having missed Halloween (which isn't that big a deal for me), Veteran's Day (again, not that big a deal), Thanksgiving and Ellie's second birthday (yep, these are some biggies), it's no surprise that I won't be home for Christmas (pretty HUGE holiday for my family). However, I'm happy to announce that I will be leaving tomorrow to begin making my way home for R&R.
Although it's going to take roughly a week for me to touch down in K-town, I'm pretty excited about the prospect of going home and seeing family and friends. Although I have a tendency to become impatient with the "hurry up and wait" mentality of the Army, it's going to be nice to not have to work this next week and then have 15 days to just focus on being a husband, father, son, brother and friend. It stinks that I won't be home to enjoy this time of year with many of you; however, I take comfort in knowing that it won't be much longer until I'm holding my baby girl and beautiful wife!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

My Baby Girl Turns 2

The song "I'd Do Anything (A Soldier's Lament)" by the John Butler Trio speaks EXACTLY to what I'm going through right now. Butler is singing from the point of view of a Soldier who's serving in Afghanistan, trying to keep himself together despite being in the throws of war and away from his most important possession, his family. There's even a verse where he says:

It's a little girl's birthday, and yes we are apart -
Ain't gonna make a big deal out of it, but it breaks my heart.

I bring this up because today is Ellie's second birthday. Right now, this day doesn't quite resonate with her the way it will when she's older. Nonetheless, it's a special day for her and I'm not there to help celebrate. I am very grateful for all the family and friends who are helping Leslie celebrate our baby girl's birthday; however, I still cannot shake the fact that I won't be not there. These are the times when it's difficult to accept the fact that I made the decision to go on this deployment. There is nothing in the world (aside from my relationship with Christ) more important than my family. I just hope and pray that this is the last time I miss any more of her special days.

I love you, EB!