2:47 am

might be my favorite hour of the day. just reminds you Jesus is the same yesterday today and tomorrow that His grace is unchanging 24/7.

just took a nap in my car and now about to go all out.. until my eyes get heavy and anchor the body to rest again.

5:52 quick reminder as I sit in the Tyson’s McDonald’s:

1) they blast the music so people can’t “fall asleep” here. There are a few who have overcome the boombap so I call that a boom…nap.

2) remember Daniel, you’re not alone. There are probably millions of people out there in the world studying and reading books and trusting in God’s providence at a mcdonald’s or maybe a Burger King.

3) that maxim “time is money” is a head scratcher. Do those who want more time want more money? Those with no time to spend with their kids means they don’t have any money to spend on their kids? Do people with a lot of time in their hands have a lot of money in their hands? Where you spend the most time, is that where you spend the most money? But what about those who don’t love money? They don’t love time? Hm.

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DisciPline

give us mercy, please. please.
Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?
“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
nor be weary when reproved by him.
For the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and chastises every son whom he receives.”
Hebrews 12:3-6 ESV
who’s ok?

weakened

2 Corinthians 12:10 (ESV)

10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

double socks, wrapped a Vcu dry-fit around my neck to use as a scarf, my suit jacket as a blanket, and dreaming of roasting marshamallows around a campfire.

your Word comforts me.

there’s a lot on my plate but i’d rather keep my eyes focused on Him.

mrs. under stood

whether, it’s writing S’ays or penning a new song
i will
still dot my Ice, and cross my T.ea, raise a glass of oolong
to make a toast, a drink for the ageless, i mean,
a drink for the ages, think with the sages
sip on a chard, swirl the barn with your sharp blade
that cuts the grass, a glass shard, a cold shower
after a hard day
why do i stay up more than my body can take it
if i were in the garden with eve and stood there naked would i be asleep
or close my eyes and fake it
a heart issue that’s what they say,
that’s what they keep telling me
a girl loses her dad overnight
and a boy says he hates his mom’s oversight
yelling three, two, one like if i don’t do what she wants
i’m grounded for seven weeks
why am i losing feeling in my wrists?
what happens when i lose my sight but the vision exists
a magazine in the hospital can be life-changing every page flip
bright smiles of cosmetic surgeons glisten words screaming for you to
listen support our business
money will buy you a new life if you can make its payments
but if i were you, if i were you?
that’s the thing if i tell them, they’ll
misunderstand until she meets her ideal match
and when he trips and falls on his knee and gets a concussion and asks her if his name is mary in the future
she’ll say yes and change her name to mrs. under stood

ex plain

I see that the former life is plain. Ex + plain = explain.

today I ran into a face I’ve not seen since I left my internship at S&L. I asked how she’s doing, etc., went through some generics/specifics.  One thing stuck out to me, one thing that I truly hope they will grow and understand some day.  she said ever since i left, college ministry isn’t the same.  they were “mourning” when I left. and I had to correct her. Like.. don’t exaggerate.  Mourning? No.. she said, “grieving” as if that one degree shift was an improvement.  No.  If I remember where I started, I can never take the credit.  All the times I texted student after student during the afternoons was out of concern for their lives.  No one can tell me I wasted time because I enjoyed every second of it. Because I know that when older people texted me when I was in college, I didn’t think they cared that much. Maybe now I’m eating my words.  Maybe now I’m choking on humble pie.  Maybe now I see how impactful the gospel is.  I’m transformed by its power.  So if you’re going to grieve my departure–it’s been seven months–do something about it.  Do something, like, text your neighbors who are in need of his Word.

My ex.. plain.

my new life in Christ is anything but that. Stay faithful: salt & light things up.

poority

a girl i have gotten to know pretty well, by God’s grace, over a span of two years shared with me, by God’s grace, that she’s attracted to guys who suffer and are innocent. so i went deep see thinking. it’s kind of like deep sea fishing, but instead of fish, it’s casting a line for thoughts. sometimes i’ll reel in understanding, sometimes i’ll catch wisdom. i thank God for revealing what is hidden in the darker waters of my world.  sometimes i’ll leave the ocean empty-handed. thankfully, not today.

i don’t want to be a man who complains and whines to people. venting, sure, who doesn’t? but if i reach out to someone and he or she rebukes me for thoughts i should not keep, i would be grateful. open rebuke to heal an open wound–i’ll take it. but when i’m suffering for Christ, i would hope that whatever i share–where i’m sleeping on the weekends, how many hours i’m up every week, my inabilities and insufficiencies and inadequacies–please, may they never sound like complaints! on the other side of complaints, may they never sound like i desire pity! i’ve endured and overcome a variety of afflictions–but a majority of them were self-inflicted. or were they? i can’t, and won’t doubt that God’s been by my side every step of my times of obedience and disobedience.

what is total depravity? why is man considered “totally” depraved? yes sin has affected all-us, even our thoughts and knowledge. that’s what the noetic effect is. we are incapable of understanding everything, yet God gives us clarity so we don’t lose our sanities. He gives us direction when we feel like we’re walking through clouds, not on them. total depravity is like.. stepping into a don john at 8 pm in the summer. no one hops into an immaculate port-a-potty! haha, it is utter devastation to all five of the senses. every fiber of all-us, our “total” being is taken aback by what happened in the don-john. close your eyes and breathe with your mouth open? nope, i’ve tried that. doesn’t work. (no one wipes off their mis-aimed piss after use.) what Jesus did on the cross was voluntary, voluntarily custodial.

why do we, I, take yourself so seriously? let’s try to take ourselves less seriously, and instead, take ministry seriously. take the gospel seriously, apply seriously the Word of life on your heart. you put face masks on your head to clean your pores, why not read Him during those 15 minutes?

blessed are the poor in spirit, blessed are the pure in heart. (matthew 5:3 & mt. 5:8)

 

prov3rb:5

“trust in the Lord and do not lean on your own understanding” #true

i dont want to be a hindrance to my friends, enemies, anyone.

everyone’s stumbling block needs to be “Christ crucified” and here i am nottttt trying to get in their way.  me?  obstacle?  no thanks, maybe another time*.  love is patient, love is kind, love is.. read the rest of 1 corinthians 13.  if the Word tells us not to lean on our own understanding, i’m guessing a lot of people do.  when they do, they fail, because the antithesis is to trust in the Lord.  okay.  that’s perpetual, not a case-by-case basis.

so let’s go!  whatever understanding i have of someone’s introspection means nothing.  tighten up, dp.  whatever detroit’s going through, i don’t understand.  trust in God.  whatever orlando’s going through, don’t try to understand!  trust in the Lord.  whatever virginia is thinking, trust in the King.  whatever maryland wants to do, cool.  trust in the Father.

throwing away any of my crutches that say “dp’s understanding” into the garbage.  no point.  always learning something new.  say deuces to the false prophets.

i love God, Jesus, and do me.  prov 3:6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. #true

*there is no other time

p.s. imperfections are imperfections for a reason, no one’s perfect

Shh

Shh-ouldn't have doubted. I leave emptier than I entered. Pd shut my system down for thinking outside of myself. Thank you for that, mentor.

Don't regret. Instead, just kill it.

Prayers are being answered. Dad said yes. This might or might not be my last chance but I am going to pray continually.

A HS student asked me about how he should rebuke someone. And I basically told him I needed that rebuke. Yes. Better is open rebuke than a clothed mouth.

I am broken but Jesus is victorious.

To infinity and beyond

Dear future Daniel,

You already are aware, or should I say, you will never-ever again be oblivious, of how perfect God's timing is, and two, to never cut the line. The latter is more of a troubler for you, but you've healed a lot since the 2000s. Taking shortcuts is the Achilles heel and cause of pain in your life, but that's because, for you, actions are "most hardest" to control versus not bringing your thoughts into life. Right?
For me any..

Anyway. To the point. Two to be exact.

One. I am in love with someone's heart and persona and character. She is XY years old and I will not disclose anything else about her unless you want to know if she's Christian or beautiful because, that…my friend…is what she encapsulates inside and out. I am praying about this and the sloths are training me how to run.

Second. I am not going to guarantee myself anything regarding Ministry. This is God's church. I'm just a pawn. Heaven is my destiny the road is narrow, and I am just a car being operated by the Spirit.

Give Thanks

Not take thanks, but give thanks. 

Cheers to another three-night-stay at Honda  Accord Hotel.  5-star, one bedroom, non-smoking, all accommodations and essentials supplied by God.  

Concerning Ministry

Learning … a lot about what it means to truly love His people.  Wonder if Jesus asked Peter, four, no, 12, maybe even 349 times, “Do you love me?”  if Peter’s response would have stayed the same.  Dang.  This lifetime commitment to picking up the cross, what amazing grace I have received to even carry it another step!  I don’t deserve salvation, yet Jesus said, “It is finished.” 

Lord, I pray for my staff.  Please show them the importance of showing up.  Thank you for their hearts to serve, but may their hearts be in the right place.

Concerning Seminary

God help me get into the Master’s of Divinity program.  I don’t want to graduate with no degree.  But even if I don’t, may Your will be done.  God says, “You don’t need to get straight A’s if you’re busy living for me.”  Sure?  I’m not shooting for an idolatrous score.. It’s just that I didn’t even know what Reformed meant before enrollment.. 

Concerning Life

These past four months never highlighted a “honeymoon” phase.  I can’t even say “honeymoonish.”  Maybe the first day it was okay, but seriously, even now, I’m just…28 about to turn 29, living at Honda Accord Hotel, scraping by to survive, because   you’ll trying to budget.  I’m not ashamed of where I’m at in my faith. 

One or the other

Either my battery will die before my friend gets here or I’ll finish this post before my battery dies. Sitting in a booth at Yard House at SFM. I haven’t seen this guy since January(?), glad I can catch him before he leaves for Cali tomorrow. Good friend. All of my friends live so far away from here. I’m like home base for them. Boo hoo DP cry more.

One down at a time. One play at a time. Just trust the process and keep learning and asking questions. Remember where you started? 

Yeah. It’s one or the other. 

Trusting God with everything, from the next penny I make to the next person I encounter.  I love the students he’s placed in my life.  How I’m doing is up for God to judge.  All I know for certain is that Satan has finite resources.  Jesus already, and keeps, won. 

29 in September but remember age is nothing but a number. 

Good morning

Woke up to something I would complete a Zumba workout to. To the owner of the car parked next to mine, thank you for the wake up call! Got to include some sprints, jogs and push ups into my day! 

Now to church for early morning service. Then prepare, then meeting with JK. Go to Vienna for Elle (Pelican) and Juno’s wedding. Day’s far, far from over. Grind doesn’t stop. Believe in God, trust in His promises! 

“Health over wealth” but you already know, God over everything. Our hope is in Jesus Christ who’s (hurry up please), coming soon! 

11:38 p.m.

Tonight was interesting. 2 nights in a row sleeping in the batmobile. Woke up, brushed my teeth (had water in my Gatorade bottle), & headed to work. 

I really get what the meaning of “age is nothing but a number.”  It has little to do with dating or marriage.  It’s really nothing but a number, literally.  Today I realized God has me going through another trial in which, He’s definitely prepared me for these back seat long nap sessions.  It was the same joy I had in my heart when I was driving around RVA and working as a trashman, the same love in my heart I had when I was walking “with God” in the darkest alleyways and the same peace I had filming two or more hours of a game I had no idea how to play.  All glory to God and again, the humbling never stops, because well, “love never ends.” 
Our arrogance is a fire incapable of becoming fully extinguished. (I’m sure I could word that better.) Who cares. It’s a blog no one reads. Anyways. 

Today I got lunch with pastor Park at Yuraku. Got back, texted JeQuan Lewis and asked him if I could FaceTime him later and asked if he could talk to our students about faith and basketball. He said yes. Then I prepared.. then I picked up DY from school and we grabbed a bowl of pho. Not that good. (phosluscious.)  Then I dropped him off at swim practice, headed back to church, and then tried to take a power nap. Eh.  Didn’t work.  At 7. Dinner. At 7:25, I called Jequan Lewis and by God’s grace he answered!

He told the students God first.

6:36 am

Smart? Nah.

🤝

Really I have a staring problem. I’ll stare at a line on the page so hard but still not understand what it’s saying.

Honestly I am not an “on-paper” person. I look at my personal rap sheet and my resume which leads me to say, “While it does tell you what Daniel Park did and does, it will not reflect who Daniel Park is.”

9:33 Sundays

Am: Korean service ended 24 minutes ago. Seems like the senior pastor’s message and mine are the same. When I listen to the heart of the sermon it’s mysteriously aligned. Ok. I’m now in my education department office, where I spent the night, where I caught three hours of sleep, if you can even call it that. Of the three hours of freeze-to-death my shivering body beat my alarm clock set for 3:50 am in a race. Then I prepped for service until 7. Had a banana, hardboiled egg, and pb&j sandwich for breakfast. There’s a baby crying, a girl trying to get an adult’s attention, and praise team leading the EM service with “River of Life” upstairs. Peace and quiet with God is all heart. It has to be. Thank you Jesus.

Pm: we’ll see if I even make it. 

See ya (either on earth or in heaven).

Twenty 8 going onto twenty nah.. ine

Seldom do I post twice in one day, never in one evening, but when I do, the second time is when I’m relieving my lower back pain sitting against a powerjet inside of a hot tub. Fancy, no, but if you’re really judging, this is my idea of a vacation. 

So I’m sweating my sorrows and stress away, thinking about wow, how did I end up here (God)? I’m not really this contemplative haha (who am I kidding 🤣). 


But I was thinking about how I have so much work to get done in these next two weeks. The cycle doesn’t stop, is one thing I’m beginning to come to grips with. I thought there would be a moment of sliiiide and chiiiil. Nope. God is allergic to laziness. Find rest in me he’ll say. That’s what is so cool about being a slave unto righteousness. Because our sliiiide and chiiil is just that–we fail and fall short of God’s glory. No matter what we try to do, our finitude, our pathetic-ness, shouts, “WE NEED YOU.” 

And I have 19 years of journals in my room. Is that hoarding? Idk. But God.. still Your patience.. and Your love.. may I never, ever forget. 

Remember where you started? 

sharp, quick turn lessons 

My professor said something today worth typing into this box (hopefully) so that I’ll come back later to see if anything’s changed. Obviously, I would’ve jotted it down in my journal but tee bee ayche, it’s not meant to be kept.. private. 

Reading the end of 1 Timothy 6, Paul talks about how we aren’t going to take anything with us. Be content with what God gave you. Humans naturally, want more and we’re always comparing ourselves to xyz forgetting how quickly companies are producing the newest, greatest–thing.

Anyways, before I wander off, I wrote down what Dr. ABC said, based off Dr. John Frame’s tri-perspectival method. Financially…

  1. Tithe 10%. If you don’t practice now you’ll not do it later. Just do it. With a grateful and cheerful heart. 
  2. Give to charity, offering to church, etc. That’s not the same as tithing.
  3. Budget. Buy whatever else is needed. Don’t splurge. Don’t love money.

That’s the thing. He said – you know those people who want to get married, they’re like–date, date, date around, and then there’s the other class who won’t date at all, hoping Mr/Mrs. Right comes along? Same mentality for those who want to get rich. They’ll save, save, save. And the others will spend, spend, spend. One’s idolizing marriage, one’s idolizing getting rich. There’s so much more to that could be said. Let’s talk more about it. 
Insta: @dperent

pray it forward

14 if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 2 Chronicles 7:14

prayers substitute my thoughts. ideas become petitions. please answer these requests, God.  

remember these times

a night like tonight does its best kobe bryant impression and leaves me no choice but to regard it as one of the greatest memories to ever plant the brain. 

i will remember you as the fourth all-niter in two weeks.  some nail-biting finishes, others landslide embarrassments. 

it’s 5:21 a.m., i’m falling asleep but my thumbs are acting like brats on the loose right now, gliding across the keyboard under the glass screen.. every envious finger’s dream.. to ice skate.. lucky toes they think. 

but toes can’t shoot rock, paper, scissors.. 

ihop(e) 247

five days ago sunday, i woke up at 7:30 a.m., washed up, got ready by 8 something, stopped by the sunoco, purchased breath mints, gum, and a red bull, chugged it down in the car, and checked in to church just in time for pre-service prayer.

after service, we went to danji to dine with a couple of newcomers. interesting. we had to get back to church by 2 for our monthly staff meeting, which ended at 3:45, and time flapped by, because it was 4:45 and i was ordering off taco bell’s dollar menu. it was on the way to pastor daniel’s house, for our 5:00 pm cg leaders’ meeting.

with dinner, the night ended at 10. instead of going home i drove to centreville ihop, to finish up two papers. sense of urgency was at an all-time high, since the nearly-finished one was due on monday and the not-evens-started paper was due monday evening.

paper 1: done by a little after one. paper 2, i died. i ordered a chicken sandwich and five pitchers of coffee (it’s bottomless, chill).

i left for early morning service (5:30 AM). i got to the sanctuary, took my contacts off, closed my eyes, and listened.. to the korean that i barely understood. but the pastor preaching was crying.

he had announced the death of our emeritus pastor, reverend won sang lee, at 5:27 a.m., officially. i couldn’t believe it. i didn’t believe it.

i was mentally drained.

after service i laid on a couch for 30 minutes. i was assigned to bring the table from the well to centreville library by 7:00 a.m., for centreville morning outreach.

24 hours had passed. i then left back for church to finish paper #2. i did. it took too long. i couldn’t focus. it was a monday. i finished the paper yeah, met up paul for dinner at vit goel. we talked until i had to leave for class. i was so mentally drained that i missed two exits off 495. i had coffee, too.

i get to class 10 minutes late; during the first break i walked up to turn in my paper. everyone’s wondering why, because it’s due next week. sweet. turn the cheek of my humiliation. no worries. i turn it in anyway and ask him if he can revise it. he says sure, come any time you can.

i’m in bed by 10:30 p.m., on a monday.

fast forward, today’s friday, 1:40 a.m., and i’m at ihop again. tomorrow’s going to be a lonnnng day. look on the bright side.

ah, maze. ah, musing.

continuation of gratitude series..

dear __,

m, maybe, u’ll stumble upon this, ah, highly doubt you will, but you are the king of surprises, so if you do, congrats, and cheers; this entry’s dedicated to u, for my personal keepsake, because my middle name is Introspective, ok, back to u.

i know where to start, not how to start, so i’m in my car with the engine on, in my parking lot, but i could reverse or put it in drive. get it?

__, i’ve worked 38 jobs, and i know ive not had a more real, to-da-point, honest, boss. ive had really nice ones, but i think the kindest gesture could come from the tiniest splashes truth. youve told me to never trust you, so i didnt. youve told me to trust God, which ive been doing. even before i met you these two  rules applied.

__, im 28 but when i’m around you i feel like im 14, clueless and starry-eyed. both when the reproof kicks in and when youre uh, relieving stress in uh, hhhilarious ways. i hope, if ever i get a shadow, he’s as cool calm collected as i am. in two words, open-minded.

__, ___ ________ __ __ ____ _____ ____ ____ ____.  thank you, really, that’s grace collab’ing with mercy, then packing a punch to my gutt, like because i really need it.  the time i didnt edit 100percent, that time i dropped the rock by coming late to a somber gathering, the time i, the times i.

and to not toot my own horn, im glad you dont sit there and ? my work ethic, whew. ive matured a lot since 2012.75; not saying i deserve anyyyy opportunity, but im glad i bet on myself and followed through.  the toughest of times will be the easiest of times later because of your discipline, __.

theres a lot more to cover; save that for later.

i knew (going in) it wouldnt be easy

i still have three points to cover.  i still have two hundro pages to read.  hm, but.. my mind and heart’s friendly, endless (friendless?) game of ping-pong won’t let me concentrate.

neither player wants to let go of their paddles.  there’s only one way to put a stop to this madness.  vent.  forgive me in advance for the ambiguity.  i learned an extra-jumbo-size amount of lessons since 9.2.2015.

… unloading …

eeks, where do i begin.  i am not in this alone.  if i die tonight i’m with God.  if i stay alive tonight God’s with me.  what’s there to stay cooped up about then?

 

you know what actually?
my heart dropped the paddle.

game’s over.

Trust God! K.

Eh, I guess it’s time. 

Can’t believe I’m choosing right now and right here to type this out all out; can’t believe I’m not penning this in my journal; can’t believe a lot of things.

It’s okay to not be okay with what happened back in April.

My professor’s words are ringing the bells of my heart even eight hours after speaking with him about what occurred in my life late April.  I – honestly – didn’t have the light of day to process anything related to that event. For those who don’t know: I had to call off a wedding due to reasons I am able to identify, but I can’t fully blame.  Locking in a wedding date was unacceptable, and human of us in God’s view; actually, complaining about the results isn’t something I never had in my agenda. 

I should have been patient. Am I learning? I think so? Am I growing? I believe so? Am I stupid for doubting God’s timing for my life? Yes. 

So I failed because I lost faith.

I lost faith in a God who cares and loves and is good. Faith slipped on a banana peel and instead of picking up my prayer life I kneeled and sobbed about my unluckiness. The bounce back is crucial for any Christian’s life, we know the standard protocol: attend church service, reach out to the pastor, ask for guidance, read the Word, read the Word, pray to Jesus, and repent.

What I didn’t do (at all), is examine my own heart, not ask Christ to reveal what’s hiding beneath the dark clouds of my guilt and shame. 

So, back to the banana peel. What made me slip? What are my internal struggles? 

Love you Jesus

I love the students in our S&L College Ministry.

But more than them, I love Jesus.  Don’t forget this, Daniel Park.  Always love the Creator.  May He be the reason why you serve, and not the other way around.  It’s not that: “because you love the people, you will love God more.”

Never boast to others about how much you do for the ministry.  No shepherd should be out there, yelling, “Ha! Look at my flock! Look at how diligent I am!”

Please tell those  ministrians, servants, pastors, whoever, to calm down, to remember who called them to serve in the first place.  Certainly there are people using their talents and skills to glorify themselves and talking about how they would die for their callings.  Chill.  I do not doubt that you would, no, but I do question if your heart is still on fire for God (or something else now).

#Reset #prayforthem

 

Rumble, jumbled garbled ramblings

What’s absolute in this life besides Jesus?

Divorces sever marriage vows. Cancer can be conquered. Guarantees don’t fill voids, and friendships, on the contrary to popular belief, end.

Unfortunate yet true, nothing in this world lasts forever. That’s probably why people reject the notion of eternal life. How could there be? It’s a challenge trying to cling onto monogamy for adults – to believe that there’s a God out there who loves and care about me?! Wha?!

There is an unnumerable amount (approximately 1.2 trillion), thoughts ricocheting off the walls of my brain right now. Call it m-indigestion. Mind-full. Mindy, pronounced windy. I want to scream inside a pillow but that’ll wake up my parents and possibly neighbors. I want to go outside and take a walk but it’s 2 degrees and snowing.

Help me, Jesus.

 

 

It gets better?

When I was in middle school, the high schoolers stressed over college applications.

When I made it to high school, the older ones trembled out of exhilaration with concerns about the real world.

When I enrolled at VCU, the young professionals lamented over bills and made questionable purchases.

And now that I am 27, in the big leagues, in bed on a Sunday evening, I’m perplexed by it all. I’m trying to figure out if I mistakenly took their word for it.

If I could go back to 2000, I would ask Jordan on a date (and get rejected). I regret chickening out.

Hey, do you believe that a single flap of a butterfly’s wings could change the ocean’s current? It both frightens and inspires me to know that a moment in history – a spoken word or action taken – could change the course of another individual’s life.

Be careful of what you tell someone.

Make sure you think before you speak.

… that leads me to think that everything I’ve gone through, what I’m undergoing now, may have been the result of the nuanced, delicate flaps of people’s tongues and gestures.

I know that won’t make sense to others; too many men and women have advised me over the years. Who I am now is obviously a culmination of encouragement, discouragement, and narratives. Pair those with my personal experiences.

Well, the point is this: to try and not make sense of it. My future stays constantly uncertain. I get it. My destination is a censored bleep on a show more unpredictable than Jerry Springer. Roger that. Why bother to guess what happens next?

Regardless if it gets better or not — honestly — I don’t care. If that’s what I’m working hard for, fine, so be it.

I’m praying He sends me someone who truly understands this principle, one who loves and accepts me for me, has confidence in my insufficiencies, and believes truly that God is the end-all, be-all, in the long haul.  this, my friends, is what’s been on my heart as of late.

Proposing to someone with motives to benefit yourself is not only ill-advised, but detrimental to your spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical condition.

Especially if that person says, “Yes,” off impulse.

Remember Where You Started?

Don’t get too hooked on serving tables.

Aside from the social skills you’ll acquire, there’s not much more the restaurant industry can teach you. I’m not joking.

The quick cash, the networking, the free take-home meals: great?

Yea, no. The long hours, goodbye-weekend-nights, the late cuts, the baby’s aftertrash, the frustrating variance of tips, the unrewarding feeling of rolling silver, the two-table sections and a bar top, the neglectful host, the triple-sat-sorry-I-had-to combo, and the list goes on.

Since 2006 through 2015, I have served at 16 restaurants. You don’t believe me? Check my W2s.

Woo Lae Oak. Glory Days Bar and Grill. Silver Diner Tyson’s. Fireside Grill. Silver Diner Innsbrook. Bonchon. Cafe Chocolate. Willow Oaks Country Club. Seasons 52 Wine Bar and Grill. Korshi. Lemaire at the Jefferson Hotel. Sakura. Ichiban. Sushi King. Hayashi. The Boathouse.

Every restaurant, TBH, holds a warm place in my heart. I got fired from Fireside Grill because I told my manager I couldn’t work on Church Sundays. Bonchon had me painting their steroid-injected yet delicious wings in the back of the house for only a week and cut me off the rope … Not long after I obtained Johnny Vy’s (NFL Photographer) and Justin Hathaway’s (then NESN.com’s Digital Media) contact information through some of the chefs in the back of the house. The chefs were brothers of the mean owner-sister. Silver Diner Innsbrook was a tough steak but hey, I only got the job because Dhiraj and Nirmal (my former managers at the Silver Diner at Tyson’s), were running the show in RVA.

So yes, God provides every penny we need to survive. I’m going through some financial struggles right now, and perhaps you, reader, are too.  But hey, I write this with wishes to encourage you:  Jesus will steadfastly hook you, and me, up with exactly (down to the penny), we need. He knows our concerns and cares about us. Seriously. I think, what He needs from us is our hearts, as vulnerable as we are, to trust Him with allllllll of it.

For now, stay diligent with what He’s entrusted you with. It’s kind of like asking your boss for a raise. When He knows you’re ready to handle the more responsibilities, He will promote you and yep, that raise comes, too.

If you’re a student, grind hard and get out of college. I’ve learned to not fall in love with the result, but to fall in love with the process moving towards that result you want to achieve.

I assure you again and again: God got you.

Grab Yourself A Raincoat

She is here, but not here.  I’m parked in front of the Frontier terminal, which is more towards Sun Country’s entrance, right next to a sign that says, “Immediate Pick Up Only.”

The engine’s shut off and my headlights are turned down.  Am I rebellious or am I rebellious?

I love waiting, yes, I don’t always like waiting for certain types of personalities.

The ungrateful ones.

You’re far too kind 17

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God Philippians 4:6

I appreciate you.

There is no way I can put this into words, this level of gratitude I hold for you is inexpressible.

That’s why I think sometimes you’re hurt by me.

Because my actions are supposed to speak louder than words, but if I can’t even form the words to generate the energy to appropriately exhibit the feelings … of course that upsets you.

I specifically remember how heartbroken I was.

You sat in the passenger and immediately noticed my distress. Like … yo.

I’m supposed … You asked what was wrong. Nothing. Yeah, right. I just got booted from a full-time position at the Faison School for Autism. The tears were dried, bro. You guessed right. How the heck did you guess right.

I gave you the option. You may leave. That was an authentic suggestion. Leave me behind. Find someone else who has a job. You said no.

You said no to six more …

I’m going to sleep.

To whom it may concern

I am about to fill this blank space with a piece of my heart.  Therefore: this may, or may not, relate to what you are going through.  If it does speak to you, I would hope it is only through the power of Jesus, not mine.  If it does not, feel free to exit anytime.

I am uncertain how long this entry will take to finish.  It’s getting late, and I usually log in privy around this hour before my eyelids droop.

2015 has been one onerous year.  I assumed 2014 was both “rock bottom” and “people’s elbow” for me, but no, God had snuck in a surprise fart bomb in my life stocking.  Last year January, I was living with my parents, arguing with them constantly about my career outlook, watching Frozen, working at a hibachi restaurant, attending AA Meetings, moving out to room with a coworker in a basement, helping him translate with lawyers, dealing with his legal issues, applying to George Washington’s grad program to pursue a special education teaching degree, getting rejected, winning a contest on Baltimore Beatdown and getting selected to write for the staff, contacting Fairfax County Public Schools, going to the headquarters to retrieve my FCPS badge, getting fingerprinted, learning I was ineligible to intern due to a reckless driving misdemeanor charge on my record, getting denied a position to work on NFL.com’s editorial staff, moving to Richmond to seek job opportunities, losing 25 pounds, working Coach Shaka Smart’s summer basketball camp, sending my best friend Paden off to Oregon, somehow miraculously working for the Redskins’ team store, applying to job after job, sleeping on couches to beds in basements, landing a gig at The Boathouse, getting fired by them, paying a nonrefundable amount on an apartment lease, not ending up living there, moving in with a high school art teacher, special education educator and a football coach, piercing my cartilage again, volunteering for the VCU Men’s Basketball team for the third consecutive season, serving tables at Sushi King, eventually working at Godwin High School in Henrico County as a part time instructional assistant, meeting Belinda and Zane, serving more tables at Angela’s Japanese sushi place, Ichiban, balancing three jobs at once while volunteering as a coach for the Godwin Eagles freshman football team, almost getting fired for getting falsely accused of holding a female student’s hand, meeting Tyler Bradley, a music director at Community West Church, sleeping at his house for two weeks because his place was only five minutes from work, moving out of the serene Mechanicsville because it was 25 minutes away from work, relocating to a single house near Short Pump with Tyler and a seven-foot tall goofball named Jordan, filming all of the VCU Rams home games … and working at Sushi King during an unpaid winter break.

At all times I maintained a high level of appreciation and joyfulness.  Jesus provided a light beneath my feet whenever walking the paths.  I did not ever once doubt God’s providence would end.  I know my purpose. That is to serve God and keep Him first at all times.

That was 2014.

You’re far too kind 16

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God Philippians 4:6

Thank You, God.

You never forget, even when I feel like You’re long gone.

Yesterday, I came to a fork in the life-road. A fork I am shamefully far too fond of.

The cliche that goes, “Everything happens for a reason,” to me, personally, has become, “Trust in God’s plan.”

Seriously.

I knew what You put me through 365 days ago prepared me for yesterday. Similar incident happened 730 nights ago. My stomach sank. Life knocked the wind out of me. Again?

Mentally I couldn’t have been more prepared. I appreciate the tribulations, God. Physically, I could handle the long walks. Emotionally, my heart overflowing with joy was capable of extenuating the once-unbearable aching.

I immediately reached out to you. My friend, you may never know how eye-opening your extension was.

Who am I to say never, though?

Your pure, clean act of kindness will some day carry you to heights undetectable even by the world’s strongest telescope. Nothing man-made could ever see what you did for me in humble secrecy.

I will thank God for your kindred spirit. I will.

You’re far too kind 15

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God Philippians 4:6

The Gratitude Spree

continues…

You certainly are not neglected. You certainly should have made this list a year ago. But timing is everything, and there’s a reason you are on here now, as opposed to 2014’s gratitude-igans.

Listen. You are worth more than diamonds. God loves you. What you went through last year … that was tough. Everyone deals with adversity at some point in their lives, but you held it down. …

Mental toughness is an exaggerated understatement when discussing your mind’s fortitude. Meeting me was not a blessing in disguise–trust me, it’s probably the other way around. I said you should attend church at least once; you kept your promise, and topped it off by going thrice more.

To God be all the glory, make sure you never forget that. I am prayerfully rooting for your future endeavors to pan out the way you envision them to. Thanks for letting me sleep in your basement. I hope that your reconciliation with The Father will set your heart ablaze to work for the Kingdom rather than yourself. God’s providence is inexplicable, and due to my faith in Him, I am forever joyful for you and the many more characters I will encounter in the coming years.

You’re far too kind 14

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God Philippians 4:6

The Gratitude Spree

continues…

We met two summers ago, at Coach Smart’s basketball camps in Richmond, Va. I did not, I repeat, did NOT think that we would be this close. Distance is nothing but a number, a measurement, but man, friendship-wise, we would connect on all levels inside a skyscraper.

You realized I did not know many of the musicians you mentioned, and that, was sad, but thankfully you did not pass judgment.

Anyways, being transparent about your past history had much impact on my emotional development. Last week when you shared with me your experiences, I could not believe the amount of space I had left for complaints. I rarely complain (that sounds like a joke), but there’s no ‘gotcha!’ anywhere in sight.

Thanks for the rides, taking me back and forth around LA. Thanks for introducing me to your friends–they were…cool. Hah, seriously!

I hope that you will someday work as the head coach of San Diego State’s basketball team. That is a prayer, and yes, God will direct your steps. Make sure you prioritize reading the Word, for God’s whispers and answers and challenges will light your path.

Your trials, ups-and-downs, will later serve a huge, HUGE, role in the shaping of the future church, as long as your faith doesn’t dwindle, God will use your testimony in unimaginable ways. Don’t let up hope and strive for your goals … with a humble heart and transformational motives.

I appreciate you for providing me a bed (your bed), last weekend. MULA was not a success, but again, I met great people there.

Thanks _____ _______, keep in touch. Stay healthy!

You’re far too kind 13

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God Philippians 4:6

I have gone AWOL … and I apologize for that.

Over the past few weeks, no, months, God has stuffed my already-jam packed basket with more gratitude. So without further ado. …

The Gratitude Spree

We met in middle school.

Until you arrived I was the new kid in the sanctuary. Regardless, your godlike basketball skills launched your fame to the apex while I loitered around the foot of the pyramid. You befriended me first, maybe because we went to the same school–who knows why–but I appreciate that you cherished our friendship.

I still recall you breaking my ankles at will. I think I might be over-thanking you for making me the laughingstock of pick-up basketball exhibitions but on second thought, without you I guess I would not have built my tolerance for failure and defensive hustle.

You left back for California, slept over my house in high school to attend a conference in D.C., and since then, what, 2005? I haven’t had a chance to reach out. That all changed when I dropped by LA last week, to compete against 499 other emcees for a chance to hoist a TeamBackPack trophy. … eh. I’m not saying that the auditions were fixed, but … eh.

Thanks for the food, man. Thanks for the rides, too. I never asked for anything. I wanted to stop by NFL Network in Culver City and was shocked to find out you only lived four minutes away from the NFL headquarters. More than the materialistic things, I think you really hit the bull’s eye when you told me you were quitting your job to pursue your lifelong passion. I hope the best for you. A future as a computer programmer sounds awesome. You inspired me to chase after a passion, which is to someday work with people with all ages. Well, more than that, serving the Great Commission holds most–if not all–my heart.

So thanks, guy, for taking me to around, showing me the beach, and most importantly, leading me closer to God. That’s big time!

Until later, my friend. Keep well.

You’re far too kind 12

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God Philippians 4:6

Who knows exactly when we met, as long as our first encounter budded into a friendship burgeoning with laughter and watered by tears. For those moments that we shared I am humbly grateful.

It’s ice raining in Richmond and my thoughts are frozen.

What are you doing? How is it in Oregon?

We don’t talk as often as I’d like, no … but I know.

So why are you on this list? Please. You turned out to be one of my closest friends in RVA over a two-year span. This radical pairing launched in early 2013, when we both worked our first Zero Gravity Basketball event and ha, boy am I glad that you recruited me for the job.

I am thankful for the times that you housed me. You entrusted me with your apartment key for a few days while you left to stay at your parents’. You’ve entrusted me to walk in and out of your place with no splintering doubt that I was holding a malicious intentions. You confided in me with things not often told to people. I learned much more from you than you did from me, believe it or not. Staying at your place last summer initiated me to shave off 20 pounds. From staying at your place last summer, your $60 voucher for City Diner fed me for a week and a half.

I sincerely enjoyed taking those random walks downtown, even the time we were caught by the police slipping out of the Governor’s gates. We were innocent but our photographic head shots were taken anyway.

You’re a good juggler; you’re easily entertained. I wish you the super best, brother, hope our ends meet in the future. Study hard and stay strong, mentally, over there. If you ever do decide to return, make sure you come back a better person.

You’re far too kind 11

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God

Philippians 4:6

It’s hard to type right now. My partially-torn heart received a good jerk tonight.

The VCU Rams dropped their third game in less than a two-week span — this evening falling to the La Salle Explorers in double overtime. I am not worried about the record, but I would be lying if I told you that I am not concerned about the team morale. We will get better; I believe in our head coach, coaching staff, players … and nobody — nobody should be — is closing the door on our squad’s chances of making a deep run in the NCAA Tournament come March.

Tonight I walked into the locker room and there you were, alone, with your head down. You must have been praying. Or thinking about your grandmother. I wonder what God, or she, was telling you. I stood close by and prayed, too. I could feel your aura — of pain and brokenness, of uncertainty. You weren’t your jaunty self, the combustible personality influential enough to set a forest ablaze wasn’t present.

— to be continued

Romans 12:15

15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.

You’re far too kind 10

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God

Philippians 4:6

The first time was the worst time. From that point on you improved as a poet, as a friend, as a listener. When was it — the fall semester of 2012 — when I persuaded myself to perform at a Slam Poetry Open Mic at the Shafer Street Playhouse. After registering and picking our names out of the hat (I was 10th out of 13), I forcibly sat in the cushioned seats and waited with the rest of the artists.

There you were, standing on the stage with a come-at-me-bro demeanor, a magnitude powerful enough to keep an 8.6 from quaking. When they called my number … let’s just say that my hands would never get that clammy quarterbacking a flag football championship game.

You recited a poem about a job you once had at Bojangles! and I will never forget the punch.

Bam! and my man went slam on the counter. Girl left her hat, would you give it to her?

I didn’t approach you that eye-opening evening, however I won’t forget the time I walked by you, sitting on the bench outside of Cabell Library, in your ugly, brown vest, and your fedora. … God, that fedora. Instant connection, fedoras were my thing.

I introduced myself to you and to my surprise, you said you remembered my performance. Your constructive criticism made me realize that I was more sensitive than I could handle. I wasn’t in this poetry thing to showcase my lyricism. Yes a message was conveyed, but the TRUE reason why I even took this leap …

was to strengthen my vocals. I someday wish to coach. I someday want to analyze a sport. I want to touch lives and through this cathartic, stress-relieving hobby, I knew that I could accomplish this personal goal by standing in front of 10s, 100s, 1,000s of listeners in a dark, crowded room.

You opened up to me and we developed a bond that exists to this day. We don’t talk much, no, but I know you’re out there in North Carolina grinding your buttocks off. I know that your sharpening your talents. We’ll connect later down the road, God-willing, and that lunch bro-date, or wedding, or possibly on a vacation with our wives and children, will be simply glorious.

Some may recognize these nights as an open mic night, but no, those late nights in the studio, or at Emilio’s, or at Addis, or at Kenn Tico’s, or at Aurora, or at VCU, or at your house, or on my balcony until sunrise, were moments that I will forever appreciate and remember.

Your friendship.

You’re far too kind IIIIIIIII

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God

Philippians 4:6

I guess?

Appreciating an ex is a daunting task, especially if you two broke up on harsh terms. Literally? Yet you spoiled me with love, rotted me with confidence and — ah yes eureka — I know why my heart is eternally grateful for your existence.

Without your prayers and your company, I would, I swear, never have drop-kicked an addiction that I battled for a decade.

You sit there … for how many hours … with nine other guys that … are how old … and lose everything that you work for?

That’s right; those were the words you duct taped, no, stitched my heart with. You were not the first person to persuade me to quit, obviously, but you were the only one to word the phrase in such a mind-blowing way only my stubbornness could grasp. You made my favorite game sound like the most trivial, stupidest  on Earth, which is why I discontinued. …

Anywho.

Thanks for the memories. Thanks for your time. Thanks for making me lunch every morning. Thanks for sharing with me your deepest convictions. Thanks for allowing me help you fight your urges. Thanks for your nakedness. Thanks for your mindfulness. Thanks for your gentleness.

Hope your current antipathy for me will blow over someday. If it does not, I have no complaints.

You’re far too kind IIIIIIII

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God

Philippians 4:6

This incident occurred recently and as fortuitous as this may seem for some of you, I kid you not – everything I type in this empty box happened.

I paid my friend a visit at Daddio’s Grill one evening, a restaurant and bar located four minutes from my home. I sat next to you and your friend, and we engaged in a conversation about my career goals.

You listened to me tell you everything and vice versa. For the first time in my life I learned about Mr. Jim Lampley and (this is pathetic) Coach Dean Smith. You assumed, at first, that I was yanking your chain. I was doing the exact opposite, I had no idea.

To your disbelief and disappointment I — future sportswriter — had no clue who these iconic figures were. I told you about my passion, the level of fervor and intense love for the game of football. You heard me out, which I appreciated so much, that I even unveiled the truth about my 12 diaries in my shoebox that I’ve kept since 1998.

Shockingly you then reveal that your sister is married to Mr. Donald Davis, a nationally-recognized storyteller. This point I’m either dreaming or God is at work. Always the latter.

When God works everything starts to feel surreal. You instructed me to dial 411, directory services, to figure out your sister’s phone number in Ocracoke, North Carolina. Lo and behold, her number and home address was sent to me via text, and I … went numb.

You suggested that I call and speak with Mr. Davis, to share with him my aspirations.

I called the next day. I spoke with your sister (Donald was packing his luggage for his next trip), and the gratitude that consumed me made me realize that anybody. …

everybody. … is capable of achieving great things, as long as they #NeverQuit.

For as long as I live — I hope to keep your boler (I traded my fedora for your hat). I wish you the best. …

And tonight, I learn that I was literally the first-and-only person to retrieve your sister’s house phone number. Your transparency, your strong suit, is honestly the main reason I followed through and dialed her number.

Nervous wreck or not, we will all survive.

You’re far too kind IIIIIII

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God

Philippians 4:6

God’s message is crystal clear. While driving on Interstate 95 South towards Richmond, I merged into the far left lane and pulled up behind this license plate:  

PHIL 4-6. Yes, another friendly reminder from the Father.

I immediately thought of one person, who’ll remain anonymous, to write about before hitting the sack. We met eight months ago. You were bright, giddy, approachable. While we waited for the basketball camp coaches to arrive at the Stu, we started chatting. …

Eventually, you listened to my testimony, of how God helped me land a Game Day Internship alongside the Redskins’ writing staff, and how my passion pushed me to combat the frustrations during times of hopelessness. I told you that, with prayer and faith, anything is plausible. There is a reason why some situations are pitch-black and others aren’t — and difficult or not, there is a time for everything — God will never dangle gifts and dreams above His children’s heads out of mockery, but He blesses us if those desires are according to His will.

Ever since we met, I have wanted to do more to glorify God. Ever since you asked me for my insight, I’ve done my best to provide words of encouragement and wisdom. Only God speaks through me, all I can do is provide the truth. I’m excited you can relate to my life experiences. Remember though, that I am not legally qualified to counsel anybody and that I am expendable. But you keep me posted — seeking mentorship and advice — and that’s a rarity nowadays to maintain a balanced and healthy relationship. From Day 1 I perceived you as a hardworking, God-fearing man. You still are. Although we are four years apart, you are extremely shrewd and self-motivated and highly mature for your age.

You shared your deepest concerns with me. I will not specify, but for that transparency I am eternally grateful. We communicate on a weekly basis, I hope this is a lifelong engagement. I recall promising you to stay in RVA so we could grow closer.

I am still here, still praying.

You’re far too kind IIIIII

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God

Philippians 4:6

So uh, there’s no other way to word this. When I think of how much you’ve helped, I bawl my eyes out.  Your companionship means a lot to me.

We met at Cafe Chocolate, I served your table — you were with a bunch of Marylanders. That night I was feeling free-spirited. I introduced myself. One thing led to another, and the conversation that tipped the cup over to become the stream we’re canoeing on until this day was on the topic of poetry (others call it rap).

And rap and God was a combination potent enough to ignite a friendship that I hope will last until we’re pushing each other’s wheelchairs. After we exchanged numbers, we collaborated, goofed off, recorded, goofed off some more. All the red wine-induced freestyles in your car and deeeeeeep talks on your front porch steps.

One takes for a reason.

When I needed direction, you were there. Your mom also lent a hand, her guidance, coupled with your support, is the sole reason I got this far.

Early Summer 2014

After getting through the first wave of interviews for GWU’s grad program, the staff deemed that rejecting me was for the best. A last-minute decision due to my lack of classroom experience altered the course of history.

Pause for dramatic effect.

Dr. O referred me to Dr. H and she told me I could gain my “classroom experience” during the summer months at a middle school program in Herndon. I went in to get my badges and yes, due to a misdemeanor charge — reckless speeding ticket — I was ineligible to work in Fairfax County for a year. I could either (A) work at a restaurant for a year in Fairfax County or (B) move to Richmond.

Richmond, from July through October, was an insane ride. Emotionally, mentally, physically, stretched all boundaries. I had contacted everyone to build my network. VCU shooting guard Jordan Burgess’s mother, a principal in Chesterfield, fed me valuable insight. Mr. Earl Mason. Dr. Colleen Thoma. Jill. Jamaal. Becky. Justin. Dr. Kim Hanneman. Corey. Etc.

I applied to Henrico County Public Schools. There was a part-time instructional assistant position available, so I submitted all of me. I applied to Faison School For Autism. I’ve applied to 290 jobs after graduating in 2013, two more cover letters was a laughing matter at this point.

I took the job at Godwin High School. I love the students. I worked in the Exceptional Education department and since November, I have been in love being in this field. All because you suggested that I should become a Special Education teacher. I feel as if I’m at home when I clock in. I deployed all the undying patience, and compassion for others I had stored within to good use on a daily basis. The opportunity to perpetually exercise my all-natural personality, what a blessing.

Yesterday, Faison School For Autism called me and extended the full-time position. I took it.

Your words that one night meant a lot to me. Goes to show how, with an open-mind, all things are possible if you have faith in Him.

I live by His grace and am grateful … to have such congenial friends. You’re one of them.

You’re far too kind IIIII

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God

Philippians 4:6

You can never have a surfeit of love. Love is (supposed to be) unconditional, an act of forgiveness without justification and an expression more meaningful than mere words. One of the most perplexing concepts to grasp, love is simply fascinating.

Sometimes your glib responses meant the world to me. Never did I impugn your decisions. The imbroglios you put me through, the tribulations were worthier than a diamond ring I never purchased. I didn’t propose, maybe I should have. No regrets–my mentors were right–timing is everything.

Were you marriage material? Ya.

Absolutely. Were you my Joe Montana? I’m not sure. Your impact on my life still rings today.

Do you care? I bet $1 million that you don’t.

That’s why I am thankful for you. Your father loathed me. Your mother, condemning as she was, thought I was a clown. I owe them more gratitude. Their resentment towards me only bolstered my personality, self-awareness. They were implacable, that sparked my motivation.

I’m more grateful for your parents. You went out to explore the world and returned with scarred hands and bruised heart.

I still remember the night that you matured. You came over to seek reconciliation, two years after the mess, with a case of Budweiser and left my apartment with your life changed. I won’t reveal to the public what happened, that’s between us, but you know what?

You broke my heart twice–not once–and drew me closer to God.

That’s why.

You’re far too kind IIII

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God

Philippians 4:6

Summer 2005

We met at a church retreat. You towered over us, puberty-challenged, basketball-loving teens with your six-foot-two frame, and that guaranteed you friends. (That and your personality, of course.)  

Correct me if I’m wrong. You’ve partook in all of my life’s pivotal moments. When I scheduled the NFL Films internship interview, you were there. When NFL.com called to conduct a phone interview, you sat next to me. When VCU Basketball brought me in, we chatted online. When I entered my first serious relationship, you were there to hear me out. I’ve still never been able to win you a Co-Ed FF Championship (next season), but you always believed in my washed-up arm–that it would lead a team full of youngsters to the Promised.

I’ve flirted and danced with retirement more than Brett Favre did. (Remember how much of a vexation that was?) But that didn’t stop you from inviting me to play. As much as I wavered back and forth, not just with football–girls, gambling, and other issues–I am grateful that you were there. I apologize for the times I neglected your caveats, I wish I heeded them all, but hey.

The one thing I will never forget is the time you shared your concerns with me. Normally, you were absorbing my gloom, providing constructive criticism. You opened up to me about your family members. I’ll keep it at that.

Your time is the best gift.

You’re far too kind III

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God

Philippians 4:6

Summer 2011

Brashness, in moderation, is a wonderful gift. When applied at the right time, lives change.

Your abrasive tone, condescending voice, full of pep, worked wonders one humid day in Harrisonburg, Va. I sat in my car, drenched in viscous sweat, nervous like the first time I lost. … control. Ten hours ago I was driving from Northern Virginia to visit a buddy of mine at James Madison University. Twenty minutes ago I had your phone number in my VCU inbox:

daniel…
a— p—– here….you can call me at 301-xxx-xxxx

That’s all you wrote. The first letter of my name wasn’t even capitalized. I dialed and you answered. I had a few questions to ask you about my career path. My behemoth dreams to someday work for the worldwide leader in sports alongside you and your staff were overtly naive. How did you start? What must I do?

Do you have any internships under your belt? No? You better go get them. Journalism doesn’t fall on your lap, son!

At least you called me “son.” You spanked me over the phone, the exact opposite of what I expected. Thank you for not babying me. Journalism does not fall on one’s lap, you were correct. What was I thinking; how dare my inexperienced a– ask if there were any immediate openings at 980?

I heeded your insight. I did exactly what you advised me to do. During the summer of 2012, I applied for two internships at VCU. Fortuitously or not, I ended up landing a spot with The Blacksheep Journal and The Commonwealth Times as a satire writer and a sports features writer, respectively. I conducted interviews and reached out to VCU’s student-athletes. One pole vaulter. The founder of the university’s first-ever club football team. A volleyball team captain, Annett Farkas. She made the issue’s front cover, but after picking up the paper she texted me later, saying how much she loathed the feature.

Funny thing is, I emailed her my final draft before sending the piece to my editor(s). Farkas thoroughly enjoyed the rough draft. But after my editors tweaked the narrative and published the piece for circulation, they had altered too much material. My mentor at the time, who you’ll read about soon in these You’re Far Too Kind series, recommended me not to “burn bridges with him.” I obeyed.

She, my adviser, assured me everything would be fine. So I held my tongue and the lead sports editor decided not to assign me with another project until I reached out to the chief-editor if I could interview the pole vaulter.

Moreover, I am still on the path and humbly walking the steps that you told me to take.

Taking the high road made all the difference.

You’re far too kind II

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God

Philippians 4:6

Gratitude is a bottomless pit. Not everyone dives in. I did.

I currently work with the 16th-ranked VCU Men’s Basketball team under Head Coach Shaka Smart in Richmond, Va. Many of you do not know how this journey started, or how this internship transpired into something greater than I could ever imagine.

October 2012

One more, just one more internship, God.

With seven months left I begged God for an opportunity. Anything, literally, would have decorated my jejune resume. At the time I was a sports journalist for The Commonwealth Times and authoring articles on the side for The Blacksheep Journal, a satirical publication. … basically I was doomed. One night, while perusing my VCU inbox, I noticed that the womens’ basketball team sent out a school-wide notice seeking student-managers. I applied.

The head manager replied and invited me to a team practice. Due to a scheduling conflict I could not attend. I was anxious when he didn’t respond to my correspondence. I continued to pray. After apologizing to him, I received an email from the head manager of the mens’ team a week later and set up an interview.

My God, the Rams basketball team? Final Four 2011?

We met at Jimmy John’s. When you asked about my experiences with basketball, I told the truth. I hustle when I play, but no, sorry. My basketball IQ is low; my dreams to start for an NFL team under center were shot down back in 2002 when the optometrist broke the news to my parents of my tearing retina. You were seeking a videographer. An iPhone camera, the only device I handled and filmed with up until this point.

We spoke about our respective high schools. I graduated from WSHS, you went to CHS. Shared a laugh about how I went to your school’s senior prom. You reached out your hand; I was hired.

God knew the internship I needed.

God blessed me, and I know He blesses you. I recorded all of our squad’s home games, practices and workouts. God blessed me with a summer job, serving alongside other managers and graduate assistants for our head coach’s summer basketball camp. I will forever be indebted to you extending your time and hand. Without you emailing back, where would I have ended up?

That question is pointless–I am still with the team, two years later.

You’re far too kind

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God

Philippians 4:6

This simple, yet at times incomprehensible, Bible verse is the sole purpose for why I am writing my You’re Far Too Kind series. Every night, around this hour, I will express my gratitude for the individual (who will remain anonymous), and specify the reasons why I am thankful that he or she is, or was, in my life.

Summer of 2012

I entered your office with spirits of hopelessness, uninvited like an annoying tagalong. That was me, a soldier on the edge of a diving board elevated over a whirlpool of insecurity, incompetency and beat-less dreams.

My grade point average was handcuffed to a past of heartbreaks and hedonism. My ambition to someday write for the National Football League was dwindling faster than the embers of a dying campfire in the middle of winter. Promises to graduate in 2010 were overdue; the once audible, vivacious cheering markedly grew faint from the stands. I was losing the game. My parents were losing their voices.

I asked you to reassess my outlook. How many more semesters? Am I to officially quit school?

You reviewed my transcript, a palette of hideous colors no painter at any level would dare attempt to hold in their left palm. But you did. You logged into your eServices and pulled up your records. Your annals were a carbon copy of mine.

“Daniel, you can do it too.”

Really? You are transparent, incisive and inspirational.

“I was in college for seven years.”

Sharing with me these documents with the sparking my ambition by allowing me to review your struggles (possibly worse than mine), during your formative years at VCU. After three years of falling victim to complacency, you capped off your undergraduate studies with a 4.0 GPA for eight consecutive semesters. You pitched to me that unchaining myself from laziness would require courage and ambition. Courage to combat the distractions, ambition to keep me hungry.

Click

Walk-ins were welcome. Thank you.

Week 2 Predictions: Panthers, Lions or Bears and 49ers? Marquee matchups

I went 9-7 last week. That was spellbinding – considering I was 1-5 before the Jets sealed the deal to ignite my win streak.

Without introduction, my Week 2 Picks:

STEELERS 06 — 26 RAVENS
The emotional week has taken its toll on the Ravens and it will show in tonight’s performance. A loss would exacerbate the negative attention surrounding a team that has been dealing with adversity since the start of the offseason. But a loss could, however, provides a spark in the locker room and the Ravens punish their next opponent, the Cleveland Browns.
Prediction: STEELERS 27 Ravens 17

DOLPHINS AT BILLS

Both AFC East teams are coming off impressive wins. The Bills de-clawed the Bears while the Dolphins confiscated the Patriots’ weapons. Neither want to play each other coming off of that high, but the Bills will make sure that the salty waters they send the Dolphins to will be saltier after they win. #MIAvsBUF

Dolphins 17 BILLS 23

JAGUARS AT REDSKINS

The Jacksonville Jaguars must not lose to the Redskins if they want to save face. I’m thinking that Washington gets swept by every team in the AFC South, so there’s a lot on the Jags’ plate. Robert Griffin III wants to prove that he still has that rookie magic — he doesn’t.

JAGUARS 20 Redskins 19

COWBOYS AT TITANS

The ‘Boys hot-air balloons were deflated last week against a 49ers team that didn’t have much air about them heading into Dallas. The Titans terrified me so bad that I had nightmares all week.

Cowboys 18 TITANS 24

CARDINALS AT GIANTS

The Cardinals won’t force the ball to Larry Fitz. The Giants are unstable and I’m almost going to convince myself that they’re going to finish 9-7 after going 3-6. Man. I can’t. …

CARDINALS 30 Giants 17

PATRIOTS AT VIKINGS

Mike Zimmer, when with the Bengals, sacked Tom Brady four times last year. Matt Cassel has waited for this day since he warmed the bench for his superstar quarterback. The reason that the Vikings don’t win this game is because they fall into a funk late in the second half. Tom Brady doesn’t down two in a row, not this early in the night.

PATRIOTS 38 Vikings 28

SAINTS AT BROWNS

The Saints and Drew Brees are pissed. Anger doesn’t help and the Browns abscond their own city with a last-second touchdown. The heavy favorite to win the NFC South make their climb even more challenging. But they thrive off of that “against the world” mentality, anyway.

Saints 21 BROWNS 27

FALCONS AT BENGALS 

This game makes my stomach hurt. The Falcons pulled a rabbit out of a hat last week, so did the Bengals. This is a toss up for two teams that were gimmicks seven days ago. Home team wins.

Falcons 27 BENGALS 30

LIONS AT PANTHERS

The Lions have a better backfield than Carolina’s.

LIONS 30 Panthers 17

RAMS AT BUCCANEERS

The Rams and Buccaneers will play two-hand-touch today.

Rams 14 BUCS 17 (OT) 

SEAHAWKS AT CHARGERS 

The Chargers aren’t ready to handle their first win, says the Seahawks.

SEAHAWKS 31 Chargers 18

TEXANS AT RAIDERS

Texans know better not to go to Oakland and win. The Raiders have the talent to take their visitors and toss them into the Pacific.

Texans 21 RAIDERS 28

JETS AT PACKERS

The Packers are flustered and cannot stomach two losses back-to-back. Sorry, Jets fans.

Jets 19 PACKERS 31

CHIEFS AT BRONCOS

Game is in Denver and the Chiefs don’t have the firepower to stop Julius Thomas, whereas the Broncos have the defense to stop Jamaal Charles and Dwayne Bowe.

Chiefs 17 BRONCOS 38

BEARS AT 49ERS 

Best game of the week? Maybe, depending on your preference. Personally I like Panther meat and Lion meat.

Bears 14 49ERS 21

EAGLES AT COLTS

Eagles win their second game in a row. Colts go 0-2 and sit behind the Jaguars’ big heads in the passenger seat. Titan driving.

EAGLES 28 Colts 24

Life of Unluckiest Fantasy Football Owner — Season 2, Episode 1: The Nightmare Continues

Good afternoon all,

Welcome to the Life of the Unluckiest Fantasy Football Owner series. I am your humble, tearful host, Daniel P. Here we will rejoice, cry, exchange advice and (hopefully) win together.

I promised myself that I would draft wisely and cut down on the mistakes I made managing my team last fall.

If I learned anything from 2013, I didn’t. OK, OK, greed is evil.

I am in a Fantasy League with five other Baltimore Beatdown writers and six staff members of The Purple Reign Show. No money is involved (thank God), and the epic battles will be for our souls.(Just kidding.)

I drafted a phenomenal team. Listen to it here.

I selected Eddie Lacy and took his handcuff James Starks late in the draft. I predicted and bet a Chipotle meal against my friend that Robert Griffin III will not compete in all 16 games this season. That explains why I took Kirk Cousins; Captain Kirk has the weapons to flourish if Griffin III goes down.

Tom Brady had to be scooped and runningbacks Toby Gerhart’s (JAC) and Andre Ellington’s (ARI) upside were too glorious for me to see them on someone else’s roster.

Rollouts

I wish God blessed me with the gift of predicting the future. I mean, prophesying is that, kind of, right?Wes Welker is suspended for four games. Boom. Marvin Jones is out for a “few weeks.”

Eddie Lacy suffered a concussion last night in the Packers‘ loss. It’s happening again. Marlon Brown isn’t a surefire start for now, or is he? Andre Ellington, Tom Brady and Sammy Watkins all have either a “P” or a “Q” next to their names as if they need improvement with their “please”s and “thank you”s.

Oh, that’s right, Jordan Reed, my Redskins‘ tight end. Reed is listed as probable for the game against a Texans defense swearing to clown and watt the hell out of Griffin III and Co.

(Swearinger, Clowney, and Watt if that flew over your head.)

Welp, what’s there to say? Yahoo, ESPN, NFL, CBS, XYZ.

Fantasy Football will always be the source of my gloom.