Wednesday, December 28, 2011

this is going to be the best thing we've ever seen

exactly the way i feel & what i want to say to you, Crystal...

"We should get jerseys cause we make a good team
But yours would look better than mine, cause you're outta my league
And I know that it's so cliche to tell you that everyday
I spend with you is the new best day of my life
Everyone watching us just turns away with disgust
It's Jealously, they can see that we've got it going on

And I'm racking my brain for a new improved way
To let you know your more to me than what I know how to say
You're OK with the way this is going to be
This is going to be the best thing we've ever see

Maybe I'm just lucky cause it's hard to believe
Believe that somebody like you'd end up with someone like me
And I know that it's so cliche to talk about you this way
But I'll push all my inhibitions aside
It's so very obvious to everyone watching us
That we have got something real good going on

And I'm racking my brain for a new improved way
To let you know your more to me than what I know how to say
You're OK with the way this is going to be
This is going to be the best thing we've ever seen"

- thx old school relient K for putting words to what's in my heart
& thanks to my amazing wife for letting me experience something so amazing.

Friday, December 23, 2011

4 drawers in the dresser

yesterday i explained the Unexpected Christmas Store that Ridge did this month. it's been amazing. you can read that post HERE.

i've got my own thoughts from this experience of being able to bless others in our city, but below you can read it in the words of my great friend Spanky... who heads up our whole partnership with Piney Grove Elementary and this Unexpected Christmas Store. you can read it from his blog HERE or in full below...

"I walked into Piney Grove Elementary this morning to drop off some presents that a family had left Saturday at the Unexpected Christmas Store and was reminded what a difference Ridge Church is making in this community. I was bombarded with hugs and 'thank you's from the principal and the administration as I walked into the office, because of the ripple effect the Unexpected Christmas Store and Ridge Church's partnership has already had on these families.

When I left there this morning I was reminded of one the most heart breaking stories that
has come from the 14 families that were able to come shop at the Unexpected Christmas Store. This family came to the store Saturday morning with a life story that would break the
average person and leave them with no hope. As this single mom came in I could again see the heaviness on her face but could have never imagined what she was going through. We began her shopping experience by piling bags upon bags on a table and all around the floor for her and her 4 children. When I brought her into the room to look over everything and she was in absolute shock.

"This is ALL for us?!?!"
"Yes ma'am. We wanted to make sure we could take care of your wish list and give you a bunch of household items that you could use."

Hugs and tears flowed but more than that smiles and joy began to appear. When she was done looking through all of it I told her that we still wanted her to go shop and pick out some cool toys and things her children would love to open from her on Christmas morning. But before she finished her shopping I told her that we had one more big item for her. I showed her a very nice dresser that The Black Lion had donated to the store for this family. She did not notice what a nice piece it was at first, she noticed that it had 4 drawers. "God must have known that I needed this since it has 4 drawers. Now we have one drawer for each child!"
[insert realty-check-wow here]
This is when she began sharing her family's story with me. Her oldest son who is ten years old was diagnosed with Lymphoma cancer last year. This crushed her and this journey was crushing the whole family. The only option for saving her son was to try and have another child. She did get pregnant and had a wonderful little baby boy, who was there with her at the store. The doctors saved the stem cells from the baby's umbilical cord to use for the older son's cancer treatments. So with the cost of having another child, having to pay for cancer treatments and becoming a single mother of 4 the family began to lose everything. They gave up their house, car, and sold all they had--even furniture, and now live in an extended stay hotel. The mother told me that this entire Christmas break they are spending their time at a cancer hospital in NYC. That was the extent of their Christmas until the Unexpected Christmas Store. This mom was so happy when she left that she went and got her children and came back. This time when she walked in her face was full of hope.
Most of us could never imagine having to go through what this family is faced with and most of us would never imagine being as generous as the small group was that took this family's wish list and went above and beyond. 
I truly believe that when we realize how blessed we are and the responsibility that comes with those blessings we can change the world and make a lasting impact...maybe one family at a time.

Thank you Father for allowing us to be apart of this family's transition from being crushed by life to a season of HOPE. We don't always see the effect of our generosity but thank you for allowing us to see just a glimpse of the reward this day and allowing us the opportunity to give!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

the coolest christmas store ever

the last 2 weekends have been pretty awesome.

Ridge Church opened a STORE at our new facility. it was a Christmas store & only 14 families were the shoppers over the 2 weekends. Tons of Ridge volunteers were there to roll out a red carpet experience for these 14 families.

these weren't just 14 random families either, but through our partnership with Piney Grove Elementary we were able to invite the 14 families who are most in need at this school where 81% live below the poverty level!

each of these 14 families have incredible stories of need & through the generosity of the peeps of Ridge Church were able to be a huge blessing to these families. we're only blessed to be a blessing. and that's what we've been doing.

it has been AMAZING to watch Moms walk through this Unexpected Christmas Store and receive car loads of all the clothes and home products they need for their family + needs that they didn't have hope of receiving - a refrigerator, dresser, bunk beds, etc...

this has been amazing to be a part of. i'll share a couple specific stories in the next posts.
i'm pumped to be a part of a community of people (Ridge) that is literally blessing and changing our community.

Monday, December 19, 2011

need to feel like a better parent? just read this

My wife's grandmother from New York has had the privilege to stay at our house and hang out with Keira twice since she's been born. and in that time i've probably heard this story about a half dozen times.

just letting you know up front that this is a true story! i didn't make it up and i didn't just steal it from something i saw on Tosh.0 or Ridiculousness.

here you go:
back in the day when my father-in-law was a baby, his mom (my wife's grandmother) was driving through town and made a U-turn...
the back door of the car came open and the baby FELL OUT!!!
he straight up fell out onto the street on his head!
out of a moving car!

she got out of the car, threw him back in the back seat, and kept driving.

hard to top that one.

and he turned out just fine (you know, for the most part). she seems like she was a wonderful mother & of course this kind of thing wasn't the norm.
but hey, stuff happens. we're all going to make mistakes. i'm sure i'll make TONS. thousands. i'm trying not to, but i'm sure i will.

but when i make those mistakes i'm going to remind myself of this story and say to myself "at least i didn't eject my baby onto the street from a moving car."

hopefully i never top that one.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Santa blackmail

always one of my fav Santa cartoons

it takes a smart & audacious kid to blackmail Santa Claus. i wish i would've thought of it.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

my mom's in today's newspaper

the Charlotte Observer published an article today on my Mom and her wait for 2 new lungs. you can check it out HERE.

Monday, December 12, 2011

a random international, cross-cultural thought... globalism

(This was originally posted to renown on December 15, 2009.)

I have so many random thoughts. I have them constantly. Seriously - the thoughts never stop. I don't write about a lot of them, but I think I am going to start more often.
That's really why I started this blog - not so much to always have these polished articles to dispense knowledge & ideas to the world [sarcasm], but as an outlet for me to think out loud! I'm going to start doing that more & this post is an example. They might make me look ignorant, but that's ok... it's my blog & I'm just thinking out loud. A lot of completely unprocessed, still-forming-in-my-brain-thoughts...

Here's my thought: If someone just wakes up 1 day and wants to go live in another country, THEY CAN'T.

isn't that weird?
Maybe it's not weird to you because that's just the world we've always known. Those geo-political boundaries are set in stone. But to me, it's really weird that if I just wanted to go live in another country... just for the heck of it... I couldn't. It wouldn't be that easy!
I would have to fill out all kinds of paperwork, make sure I have a passport and a visa if I'm staying forever... + probably a lot of other stuff I don't even know about. I couldn't just hop a plane & go. Why not?

*I haven't looked up all the rules or anything. I don't really know what the laws are going to & coming from all the other countries, so I admit, I am a little ignorant. But I figure that renown readers can probably tell me more about this than wikipedia, so go ahead and leave me a comment & explain all this if you want...

I guess it's all about keeping tabs on everyone? All our geo-political borders are so solid that countries don't want peeps from other nations slipping in unannounced. (And I am well aware that 9/11 changed the world, but these laws were the same even before that, right?)

To me it's just a weird world that we live in when we have to stay so divided. If I wanted to move to New Zealand tomorrow, or Egypt, or Germany, or Kazakstan, or Malawi, or Chile, or Indonesia, or Canada, or Mexico, or Kenya, or Ireland, or Poland, or anywhere else... I couldn't just "up & do it." That is SOOOO weird to me. What if I just wanted to move to Liberia, get an apartment, get a job, try the local restaurants, make some friends, and just live there for 5 years and then come back? not that simple.

Same with the U.S. When did it even start that if someone wanted to come live in America they couldn't just come move here? When did it become "illegal"? Maybe it has something to do with paying taxes? Or making sure we all get counted in a census? I don't know...

I just think it's weird in our world of 6 billion + that any person doesn't really have the freedom to live wherever they want.

Do YOU think it's weird too or am I just weird for thinking it?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

winners quit all the time

i read a book a couple years ago that full on lines up with my philosophy on everything.

i was born with (maybe inherited) an ALL or NOTHING personality. my natural bent with anything in life is to go all in or not go at all. so i like what Seth Godin had to say about Vince Lombardi's famous statement:

“Quitters never win and winners never quit.” 
– Vince Lombardi. 

but Seth says:
* “Bad advice. Winners quit all the time. They just quit the right stuff at the right time.”

To sum up this whole book and my philosophy as simply as i can = Don't Quit or else Don't Start.

so, be sure you're going all the way when you start or else you're just wasting precious time, energy, resources, etc... but if you do realize you need to quit then do it ASAP!

here are a couple awesome lines from Seth's great little book called The Dip:
“Extraordinary benefits accrue to the tiny minority of people who are able to push just a tiny bit longer than most. Extraordinary benefits also accrue to the tiny majority with the guts to quit early and refocus their efforts on something new. In both cases it’s about being the best in the world. About getting through the hard stuff and coming out the other side.”

Quit the wrong stuff.
Stick with the right stuff.
Have the guts to do one or the other.

Strategic quitting is the secret of successful organizations.”

“The stupid thing to do is to start, give it your best shot, waste a lot of time and money, and quit right in the middle of the Dip.”  

“If you’re going to quit, quit before you start.” 
* “Don’t play the game if you realize you can’t be the best in the world.”  

and i LOVED this part:
‘Never Quit’ = “What a spectacularly bad piece of advice. That ranks right up there with ‘Oh, that’s a funny dirty joke, let’s tell the teacher.’

Here is the advice that Lombardi and all these other peeps MEANT to give us = “never quit something with great long term potential just because you can’t deal with the stress of the moment.” Now that’s great advice!

“In order to get through the Dip [of the thing you're called to] you’ll need to quit everything else.”


it's all about focus.
it's the 3 sport star who quits 2 sports he loves for the sake of the one he loves most and can be the best at.
it's the organization who quits 8 things they're doing well for the sake of the 1 thing they can do BEST.
and example after endless example...

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

i may be old...

i hadn't heard this song in YEARS. several years. and then all of the sudden, when i woke up on Saturday (December 3rd) morning this song started blaring inside of my head. i have NOT been able to get it out since. for days it's been taunting me.

it's from one of my fav bands when i was a kid... those amazing artists from the glorious ska/punk revolution of the 90s... Five Iron Frenzy.

i guess these lyrics are just too fitting for me since Saturday. somewhat depressing to think about. at least they were writing about being old a long time ago and i just now got there. enjoy and imagine the punk/ska beating along in your head... sing along if you know it (yeah, right... like anyone would have ever heard this song... or admit to it if you have).

"I'm twenty-nine years old, still wearing the wallet chain, like I was twenty-eight. 
I'm wearing my Vans right now, so high school kids will think that I can skate. 
I've got a degree in science, yet shaking my fists in defiance.

Anyway, I'm not cliche, I hardly own any ties. 
I may be old, but at least I'm not like all those other old guys.

I'm watching MTV, for fashion tips, so I can say, that I saw it first. 
Backwards hat, tattoos, and goatee say I'm cool, just like Fred Durst. 
I pay almost all my bills, I sleep on a futon still.
Anyway, I'm not cliche, I might not even die. I may be old, but at least I'm not like all those other old guys."

Friday, December 2, 2011

let me go ahead & get this out of the way... again

'tis the season again. So, this is just your friendly reminder to please not write me a letter about writing "xmas" because you think i worship the devil and am in some kind of conspiracy to overthrow the world... just read this 1st.
merry xmas!
(This was originally posted on November 24th, 2009 HERE.)

OK, I thought it might be easier to just say this once and get it out of the way.

It is a lot easier and faster for me to write "xmas" than "Christmas". There, I said it and it's out of the way now.
So, when I am typing something quickly = a blog post, an email, a text, etc... I'm probably going to write "xmas" instead of "Christmas". (So don't be offended when you get an email or text from me with "xmas" in it.)

Lest you think I am some heartless atheist (or a devil worshipper) - it has NOTHING to do with "taking Christ out of Christmas" as lots of people say. It's not some "liberal" agenda to hijack this "Christian nation". It is simply 5 less letters to type. It's easier. That's all. I don't hate Jesus. In fact I love Jesus and am radically following Him as best as I know how.

In case you're curious "X" is actually the abbreviation for "Christ". Therefore xmas instead of Christmas. It's not "taking Christ out of Christmas", it's simply abbreviating.
* "X" is the 1st Greek letter in "Christ" (Xristou). That's why "X" is the abbreviation for Christ.
And that's why I hope you can understand that I'm not a devil worshiper just because I write "xmas".

And actually I think it's interesting in light of this topic that the ancient Hebrew scribes used to write YHWH to abbreviate God's Name because they wanted to revere His holy name and didn't think themselves worthy to even write all the letters - Yahweh... (we think).
[i wonder what they would think of us... actually writing the WHOLE name out. Would they think us irreverant or blasphemous? or even part of a conspiracy to overthrow the world?]

So, again, just to clarify = I'm going to write "xmas" instead of "Christmas", but not because I hate God, just because it's faster.

What about YOU? Do you write "xmas" or "Christmas"?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Unexpected Christmas Store!

check out what we (Ridge) are up to this Christmas!

Do For One from Ridge Church on Vimeo.

pretty awesome & i can't wait for the next couple weekends of blessing these families! let me know if you want to help in some way.

Monday, November 28, 2011

all i want for Christmas (& my birthday)

Since 2008 i've joined up with Advent Conspiracy and leveraged my birthday & Christmas to provide clean water to villages who don't have it. the only presents i asked for was water for them & now we've been a part of building 3 wells in 3 different villages!
you can read my explanation of it HERE or just search "Advent Conspiracy" on my blog.

i'll probably do Advent Conspiracy or something like it for my birthday and Christmas the rest of my life. i have everything i'll ever need so no need to ask for presents.

BUT this year i'm doing something different.  
"In lieu of" presents for me, i would simply love donations for my Mom's DOUBLE LUNG TRANSPLANT. you can read more about that HERE, but simply put - my Mom is about to have a Double Lung Transplant that will cost over $1 Million! her part to pay will be around $100,000 so we need all the help we can get!

if you were thinking of buying me a gift for my birthday at the end of the week (December 3rd) or for Christmas PLEASE just take that money you would have spent and donate it to my Mom's transplant!

you can donate by by contacting me OR click HERE. from my Mom's page on the National Foundation for Transplants you can click "Donate Today" and then fill out the info, but BE SURE to click the bubble that says "My gift is in honor of the following NFT patient's fundraising campaign" and then write EDITH MITCHELL in the blank.

that's my b-day & Christmas wish. thanks!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

personal spiritual momentum

(This was originally posted to renown on November 17, 2009.)

Yesterday was Catalyst One Day in Baltimore. Actually it was like the 5th Catalyst One Day this year with Andy Stanley and Craig Groeschel all around the country. I actually mentioned it before the 1st one here. It's basically 2 awesome talks from Andy, 2 awesome talks from Craig and then a Q&A time with both of them.
I didn't get to go in Baltimore yesterday, but I did listen to the entire conference audio from the one at North Point in ATL. It was awesome!

I just want to share a few things I walked away with from one of Craig Groeschel's talks at Catlayst One Day '09 = Creating and Sustaining Personal Spiritual Momentum

I felt like the talk was directly for me. I'm one of the peeps Craig talked about who = "So often (and with pure motives because we love Jesus) we try to do MORE than we were designed to do!"
*And stemming from that reality check this next "nifty" statement was the biggest thing I needed to hear. It's my main takeaway...

"Do today what I can do today to enable me to do tomorrow what I can't do today."

Man, I so need to hear that on a regular basis. I am a futurist and can see the end goal & just wanna get there all in 1 day. It's like my wife - when she gets in "cleaning/house work mode" she wants to do a whole year's worth of stuff in 1 Saturday... and I'm like, "baby, we can only do 1 thing at a time..." I need to take my own advice sometimes.

So what can I do today (if I can't do it all)? Craig gave us all 4 suggestions:
1.   Do something to defeat my dark side

2.   Create Artificial Ministry Deadlines - this is a biggie for me, bkuz my dark side is working too much... I have to work hard to not let myself work all the time! Craig sharing his practices were so freeing for me... to hear that he makes himself stop working on a talk after a certain day. It's just done... no matter what.

3.   Delegate what someone else can do - ***And "delegate authority not responsibility!"
"Delegating responsibility creates followers, but delegating authority creates leaders."
"You will not create or retain great leaders by telling them what to do/delegating responsibility."

4.   Do something only you can do - like take time off, be a husband to my wife, and remain broken before God.

**This was awesome stuff for me! I hope it was beneficial for some of you leaders out there too!

How do YOU create & sustain personal spiritual momentum?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

i'm thankful for... (off the top of my head)

today (and every day) i'm thankful for...

a God Who is the greatest Thing in the universe & loves me and has invited me into the greatest mission and story imaginable.

an amazing wife who i don't deserve but who sticks by me no matter what & who is more beautiful than i ever imagined a girl being. the perfect mate. ("you complete me... kitchen matey")

a brand new baby daughter who has completely captured everything inside of me and has introduced me to new joys and spaces in my heart that i never even knew existed!

a Mom & Dad who are the greatest parents in the world. God knew what i needed when He hooked me up to be raised by them.

1 grandmother who is still alive and gets to meet her 1st great granddaughter tomorrow.

some really awesome friends who are almost like family in many ways - who care so much about me and love on me, cheer for me, stick with me

blessings and blessings like crazy. Somebody backed up the blessing truck and has been dumping them on me for 28 years.

the responsibility to BE a blessing with the blessings i've been given. the joy of blessing others.

this amazing creation all around me that overwhelms me with awe every time i look up... created for no other reason than for us to say "wow, that's beautiful. Whoever made that is pretty awesome."

some pretty darn cool in-laws who are now grandparents that love us like crazy.

limbs and sight and hearing and a voice (that can't sing well at all)

the ability to run, jump, play after a doctor said 8 years ago that i wouldn't do that stuff again

a job that i LOVE. it's a privilege to be a part of a movement that's so much bigger than me or anyone else and the fact that i get to do something i love every single day and actually get paid to do it. doesn't seem fair.

sabbath - when i get to take a break from that work i love. that act of just being/resting

all the really cool accents in the world

the Gospels

generous people

the team of people i get to work with. they are awesome. so much better than working with a team of people that aren't awesome.

2 cars that run. are you kidding me? how freaking rich are we?

a house and neighborhood and neighbors that are all really nice.

a God who is bringing this revolution that we and all of creation longs for.

the unstoppable vision birthed in my soul to launch a movement that will change the world & the vision that keeps coming and coming for how to create the beginnings

bloomin' onion sauce

the Psalms


Ridge Church - my church, this community of people on mission together in Charlotte.


a space like renown where i can flesh out my thoughts and try to make sense of what's inside my head

the BEAUTIFUL game


wise people

good stories

teams of amazing volunteers that i get to serve on mission with



passionate people

music (except country)



great t-shirts

the oceans



different cultures



the ability to express worship

things that are funny


the ability to learn

revolutionaries - past & present

hugs from my wife


comfy chairs

the technology for double lung transplants

the ability to pass through a day without it passing me by


...and the fact that it always wins

renown, the only thing that really matters. the only renown that can satisfy. the only true unending fame.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

2 new lungs for my mom

There are people in life who never have many health problems. They live their whole lives without cancer or life-altering (or ending) diseases. they occasionally get sick, but nothing to speak of.

There are others who aren't so fortunate. Their lives are so affected by sickness and disease that those of us in the 1st category can't really imagine.

My Mom falls into the 2nd category. Since i have been alive she has been affected by pretty serious (and uncommon) lung diseases. i guess i didn't know much different as a kid because that's just the way it was.
Plus i don't think i have ever once heard my Mom complain. she just goes on living life and enjoying life to the fullest. which is awesome and i have crazy respect for her.

My Mom has been an awesome Mom too. She was full of love for me and helped raise me to be what i am today (which some may debate whether that's good or bad, but she only gets credit for the good). Her focus was always on being an awesome and loving Mom, not on being sick... so i guess i just always saw her as an awesome Mom.

i was probably at the end of high school or starting college before i realized that her lung diseases took an extra severe toll on her life. she was in the hospital a lot. i learned later that the specialist doctors were saying she shouldn't have been alive this long. (and that was 10 years ago.)
i'm thankful that God has been so good because i can't imagine life without my Mom.

but i can remember praying constantly from the time i was 3-4 years old that God would heal my Mom. that He would heal her disease so she could live a "normal" life. i prayed every single day before i think i even understood what it was to pray to God. (or maybe i understood even better back then than i do today?)

as i got older i can remember starting to pray for a miracle. a miraculous, supernatural healing because that's what the expert doctors said it would require. They said there was nothing they could ever do to make her better. her lungs were at something like a 20% capacity. they basically started saying she was on "borrowed time."

so i would pray that God would heal her. miraculously. That He would override nature & make her well. let her enjoy life without these diseases that make it almost impossible for her to breathe.
i think it's what all of us would want for someone we love. Especially for your Mom who has poured so much love and influence into you.

the idea of lung transplants had come up before but double lung transplants weren't even opitions back then. they weren't possible. the technology hadn't been developed yet.
but a few years ago they did start doing double lung transplants.
my Mom became a candidate.
she's gone through years and years of prep and tests, etc...

Back in the summer she and my Dad packed up and moved to Durham, NC to live next to Duke hospital to do months of pre-therapy to prepare for the double lung transplant.
3 weeks ago she was put on the double lung TRANSPLANT LIST.

wow. what a journey. for her a crazy journey that i'm sure she could tell you tons of stories about.

but the journey from my perspective:
from a little kid praying that God would do a miracle to heal my Mom... i never dreamed that science and medicine developing to this point would be the avenue God could use to heal my mom.
she can actually get NEW LUNGS. that's crazy to me!

on Monday we got the call that 2 lungs were on the way to Duke for my Mom! Crystal and i hustled to Duke hospital as fast as we could to see my Mom. it turned out the lungs weren't good for my Mom, so she's back to waiting now.
but literally any day she could get the call again and go in for this amazing transplant. just waiting now...

it's still in God's hands like it was the 1st day i ever prayed for a miracle 25 years ago.

*if you would like to donate to my Mom's transplant you can leave a comment and i will contact you or you can click HERE to donate to her campaign through the National Foundation for Transplants. (the double lung transplant costs over $1 million and her expenses will be $100,000.) You can also ask to join the "2 lungs for Edith" fan page on Facebook.

i'm crazy thankful for my Mom. i'm thankful i've experienced her love and joy and positive outlook on life.

Monday, November 21, 2011

she's amazing

Keira is so amazing.
yesterday i just sat and held her for about 3 hours. i didn't do anything else. just looked at her. talked to her. watched her. it probably sounds boring and unproductive to you. unproductive? maybe. boring? nope. just the opposite. I LOVE THIS!
(i want to start video blogging all this a little more again...)

she is so WIDE EYED with wonder. all the time. i love that.

her eyes are so full of life and expectation. & i have this strong feeling inside of me of not wanting her to be disappointed. i want life to live up to those expectations.

she's always looking around everywhere at everything so interested. she's seeing and experiencing everything for the 1st time! it's crazy. and i'm getting to watch her see and experience everything for the 1st time. i look forward to doing that for years and years.

she's turning her head on a swivel. if she could turn it around backwards to look back there she definitely would.
i want her to explore that curiosity so bad - so i turn her around to help her see what's behind her.

it seems like she will have a lot to say when she is able to talk. i can just see it in her eyes.

she looks up into my eyes these days. and when she does, my heart does something it's never done before. it feels like it's never felt. 

and then she just falls asleep on my chest. and i just look at her. sometimes her arms and hands are draped around me.
and i just watch.

she's amazing. even her little fingers are amazing. yesterday i teared up just looking at her fingers. i know, i know, i'm a sap. but i couldn't help it.

she's just so amazing.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

what do YOU call people when they sell you out?

(This was originally posted to renown on November 16, 2009 under the title "Friend, do what you came to do.")

wow. I read those words this morning and the floored me. I haven't gotten them out of my mind all day. (I've probably read them many times before, but for some reason today they grabbed me...)

I've been reading through the gospels over and over and over for a while. I was about to finish Matthew again this morning when I got knocked over by that phrase Jesus said.
It was when Judas came with his posse to betray Jesus. He says "W'sup Rabbi" & then kisses Him to greet Him and also point Him out. Then Jesus said it...
"FRIEND... do what you came to do."

Are you kidding me? FRIEND? Obviously Jesus knew what He was doing there. 1) because... well, He's Jesus & 2) because He straight up says "do what you came to do." so He know Judas is selling Him out.

And He still calls him friend. I couldn't help but think HOW DIFFERENT Jesus' response is compared to His followers' response when people wrong them. how different Jesus' response is from my response when peeps betray me, wrong me, sell me out, etc... I'm usually not calling them friend.
I think it's obvious that we don't follow Jesus in this kind of love because I grabbed a commentary on Matthew that happened to be nearby. It's a famous NT commentary from a famous commentator that most peeps would know if I said his name... He wrote for pages on this passage but NEVER ONCE said anything about how awesomely loving and kind and gracious it was for Jesus to call Judas "friend". He only talked about how those were the last words Judas heard Jesus say and how those words will ring in his ears while he's burning for an eternity in hell. hmmm... shows where we are as Christians I guess if that's our reaction.

but I just say -*What radical grace and love! I've been overwhelmed by it all day. What if I lived this way? What if ALL of us followers of Jesus lived this way? the way Jesus lived... what a novel idea.

Not to mention just across the page Jesus washed Judas' feet the night before he betrayed Him. Wrote a research paper on that one time and was also overwhelmed by Jesus' unconditional love for someone we would want to hate.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

worst parent i've ever seen

This is the most disturbing video i have ever seen.

This is the worst parenting i have ever heard of in my life. what a POOR POOR kid. my heart BREAKS for him. i want to call social services!

we're figuring out our parenting philosophy with Keira and we don't have it all figured out but we will be the EXACT OPPOSITE of this parent!
(you can see our parenting philosophy on this subject HERE)

just watch this video and i hope it makes you as angry as it makes me.

i will be just the opposite of this horrible dad. Keira will LOVE the Yankees. she will HATE the Red Sox. Because the Red Sox is a horrible organization. they suck. they don't deserve to exist on earth. & because that's what Jesus would do. there is no other option.

we will make sure we parent better than that guy.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

not a whole lot

not a whole lot of processed thoughts in my brain tonight... so how bout a political video.

i basically know jack about politics. i'm not one to talk about this kind of stuff because i basically get my news from The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Twitter, and Daniel Tosh on Tosh.0
so i've never even heard of this guy below, but i think this is pretty hilarious. i'm sure if i've seen this then everyone else in America must have seen it by now.

not a political expert, but guessing this guy won't make it.

Monday, November 14, 2011


Jim Collins told a great story about something his mentor, Peter Drucker, said to him when he was young and trying to make it in life.
i think it's something we all need to hear. (i only wish you could hear Collins' imitation of Drucker's German accent. uncanny.)

"You spend a lot of time worrying if you will survive.
BAH. You probably will.

You spend a lot of time worrying if you will be successful. 
BAH. You probably will be successful too.

Why don't you go out and make yourself useful."

so, maybe you didn't even need that. but i definitely needed to hear it. hit me right where i'm at.

too much worrying and not enough of us making ourselves useful.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

another reason why i blog

yesterday i posted again about why i write/blog. you can read that HERE.

but i guess there's a secondary reason why i write too. here's an example:

i was at Catlayst 2011 last month. hung out with lots of old friends and met lots of new ones. at one break i was walking up the stairs from my seat and this guy jumped out into my path and was like:
"hey, is your name Patrick?"
"do you write a blog called renown?"
"man, your blog is so impacting. wow. I read it all the time. SO great to meet you." as he shakes my hand.

Richie and i got to talk for a while. he sounds like a phenomenal leader. campus pastor at a really big church up in Chicago. sounds like he killing it up there, but he's crazy humble and nice. i would be proud if Richie is representative of the normal demographic of renown readers.

and i can't even explain how humbling it is in that moment to hear that something you've written has impacted someone in such a positive way. crazy humbling and eggs me on a bit to keep writing.

so, shout out to Richie, btw! God bless in your new position, bro.

that's just 1 tiny example. since i started renown and have been writing for a few years now i've heard back from tons of readers whose lives have changed and the world is becoming a different place = children have been sponsored, people have reconciled with their families, their pastors, their churches, & people have told me their lives have been impacted in so many different ways.

this isn't the only reason i write, but really encouraging. all for 1 renown.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

writing again...

i felt like i didn't write for a really long time. i guess technically i went about 2 weeks without writing here. but it felt like months and months. i felt like my soul was drying up when i wasn't writing. 
now that i've been writing again - i feel alive again. it's amazing how much i NEED to do this for my own good.

i have a few hundred partially written "articles" stacked up just waiting to pour out onto this blog. i've got to get them out of me and onto "paper". below is what i wrote HERE back on August 19 about WHY I WRITE.

tomorrow i'll actually post about another reason why i write.

so why start a blog and write stuff pretty much every day?
great question & i'm glad you asked.

there are many answers to that question but the main reason is that I HAVE TO.

if i didn't write i think i would explode.
there just aren't enough people in the world to talk the things in my head out with. and i've gotta talk things out... or write things out.
writing is the way i have to process all these thoughts, ideas, wrestlings, learnings, etc... in my brain.
i've got to have an outlet for it all. renown is that outlet. i can write about whatever i want or need to write about on renown.
This helps me grow. it's part of my development. writing makes me a better me. writing helps me make sense of me, of God, of the world, of what's next, etc...
i know i'm not a great writer. i never claimed to be and have never really attempted to be. i just write. i just crank it out. get it out of my brain and down on paper
really, this blog is just for me. the fact that other people choose to read it is just an extra bonus i guess.
although ultimately, this blog is not for me. as the name implies, it's for a RENOWN bigger than mine. but not necessarily just that people read it and are pointed toward that renown. although it's awesome when that happens, it's secondary. Primarily, just the fact that i have a place to write helps me become who i think God is trying to mold me into for His renown.
so i don't think i'll ever stop writing. unless i stop having ideas and thoughts and wrestling with stuff. and i hope that's not until after i'm dead.
so i blog because... well, because i am. i think; therefore i blog.

i got this phrase from Tony Morgan but it's from my heart 100%. seriously. i blog because i think stuff. (& i'm no expert, but i'm guessing Tony somewhat adapted it from Descartes or someone like that in the age of Reason or Rationalism or the Enlightenment ?)

"I process what I believe and figure out who I am while I write. I think; therefore I blog." - Tony Morgan
What is YOUR outlet or avenue for processing all that stuff in YOUR brain?

Friday, November 11, 2011

a Good to Great TO DO list

Below is a TO DO List Jim Collins gave each of us at Catalyst '11. it is awesome if we follow it.  These won't make a lot of sense without reading my previous 4 posts or hearing Collins' talk.

1  Go HERE and run the Good to Great diagnostic on you, your team, and your organization. This is a vital evaluation process.

Answer these Questions = how many seats do you have on your bus and what is your plan to have 100% of those seats filled with the right people in 1 year?

WHO will you allow to mentor me? Build a personal board of directors.

4  Get your personal HEDGEHOG right before it's too late. (a Good to Great principle = the coming together of your passion, design, and how you can make a difference.)

5  Once you have your Hedgehog, set your 20 mile march and stick to it! (Collins set weekly time goals.) What is your organization's 20 mile march?

Fire at least 6 new bullets by the end of the year. Navigate uncertainty with bullets.

Turn off electronic gadgets at least 2 days every 2 weeks. now that is a biggie! (it's impossible to "be present" with your iPhone in hand.) we need to be focused and gadgets rob us of our focs.

STOP Doing List. "True disciplined action is not what we choose to do, but what we choose not to do." *maybe you find it kind of ironic to have an item on your to do list that says "have a stop doing list" ? maybe humorous, but vital.

Double your reach to people half your age ALWAYS  by changing your practices without changing your values.

10  Set a BHAG that makes you really useful. (big hairy audacious goal)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

creativity, innovation, & pioneering

i'm prepping to launch something. i'm going to pioneer something. it's a big grand vision. it could go splendidly awesome or it could be a complete bust. i have no idea.

so i perk up and pay special attention when gurus and experts like Jim Collins talk about STARTING something and about pioneering and innovation. (i perk up and listen when YOU talk about it too... promise.)

2 days ago i wrote about Collins' analogy for empirical creativity = fire bullets! and keep firing bullets until you hit the target. THEN shoot the cannon ball.

because if you fire the cannon ball 1st... *how many cannon balls can i fire with limited gun powder? (and that gun powder represents 100 different things)
SO, we need to test what we pioneer very carefully.

and fascinating thoughts around the whole idea of pioneering that i'd heard Jim say before...
*"Pioneering innovation is extremely important for society, but lethal for the innovator."

very encouraging words for someone prepping to do what i'm prepping to do. (psych. as the kids used to say.)

so being the pioneer on something is GOOD, but rarely works. the innovator dies off. but the thing may continue.

the thing is, i'm actually cool with that. i don't need my name on it. i'm gonna die off anyway. i'm more concerned that the mission continues.
which is good because 64% of pioneers "die" outright. i.e. - they don't see their innovation come through - although it does come through. (for example = the things Apple has "pioneered" failed for them. they were a bust. although that thing may be a success. the things Apple is successful with - they did not outright pioneer. interesting, eh?)

and we are ALL innovators. we are all creative. we create. we have ideas. some of us are even pioneers with that creativity.

BEFORE you try to argue with me and say you're not creative = think back to when you were 5 years old... we were all creatives when we were 5 years old! i promise you were. we were constantly creating when we were 5. it was natural.

somewhere along the way that maybe died off for you. it was suppressed by "the system" or by you personally. and now you're just disciplined but not creative.

back when we were 5 we were all creative but none of us were disciplined.

"Marrying creativity to discipline makes creativity come alive!"
- Jim Collins

and that is 1 of the greatest secrets i've ever heard. MARRY them. that's key. it's the only way. (i've got pages and pages of thoughts on this i just can't wait to drop out here.) What if SPACE for CREATING were built right into your 20 mile march? (wow is what.)
basically we need to marry the 5 year old US and the 25 or 35 or 45 year old US. disciplined in our creativity and creatively disciplined.

then there will be more innovation. more PROBLEMS being solved. the world will keep changing. there will be more PIONEERS.

and i promise - if the thing/mission you pioneer is WORTH DOING and IT succeeds, but you don't - it's ok. 

if it's worth doing then just do it.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

straight butta

"straight butta" is what we used to call something back in the day that was just amazing. it was so smooth and "pimp" that only the phrase "straight butta" would suffice to describe it's awesomeness.

so this stuff below from Jim Collins' talk at Catalyst '11 a few weeks ago is straight butta. my last couple (and the next) blogs have been thoughts from that talk and these thoughts below are the random ones that don't really fit into a topic.
so the topic for these thougths is "straight butta" - because that's what they are.

ya feel me?

The signature of mediocrity is Chronic Inconsistency!
This is true when you look at areas of your life or organizations across the world. Chronic inconsistency (or i would be witty and say consistent inconsistency) can be found in the mediocre leaders and organizations everywhere you look.

Collins says that VALUES are what can remain consistent. only VALUES endure. therefore, the bottom line from his 1st book (which is really a SEQUEL to Good to Great), Built to Last, is "Preserve the Core AND Stimulate Progress."

*which is what missional churches and contextualizing "missionaries" have been trying to do for hundreds of years.

The KEY is understanding the difference between practices and values. Change 1, never the other.
never changing values but ever changing practices can make something enduring and great!
wow - that feels like a direct address to churches & missional people. it feels as though it applies to us twice as much as business organizations. unfortunately, we're pretty bad at it.

Collins once asked the famed Peter Drucker (who happened to be Collins' mentor) which of his 26 books he was most proud of? - Drucker answered, "The next one." [i love that]

Andy Stanley interviewed Collins (again) at the end of his talk. he mainly talked about the difference between RIGOROUS and RUTHLESS cultures. especially as it relates to people in the seats on the bus (in our orgs) / firing people who don't need to be on our bus/ moving people who are in the wrong seat.
A rigorous culture is all about service to the cause. We make big RIGOROUS decisions for the sake of the cause - the sake of the mission. we should ask the question "what REALLY is compassion in this situation?" many times, firing is the most compassionate (yet hardest) thing we could do.
because if someone is failing in a seat, they're not in their Hedgehog (a Good to Great idea) - so helping them is getting them out of that seat. fast.

well, i wrote a lot more random thoughts into this "straight butta" article, BUT they just developed into blogs all by themselves. so, tomorrow i'll share some more "straight butta" Collins had to share on CREATIVITY.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

3 traits in great leaders

those 3 traits of great leaders (according to Jim Collins) are:

you can catch up on the 1st trait in yesterday's post HERE. + you have to read that 1st post to understand the framework story used to show these 3 traits = the 2 teams and their leaders racing to the South Pole.

When most leaders are unsure or in a time of chaos - they don't know what to do so they just do what others are doing/have done in the past. that's our natural response as average and even good leaders.

great leaders figure out how to marry their creativity with empirical data = combine their creativity with what is PROVEN to work (not just what others are doing/have done). make sense?

they work hard to figure out what WORKS. maybe it's not the most popular method... in fact it's probably not or else we wouldn't be in the time of chaos or season of being unsure.

i would prefer to call this CREATIVE PRAGMATISM. Jim's phrase sounds smarter, but mine makes more sense to me.
it's the realization that i am NOT smart enough to outsmart this, but there are people with empirical, practical evidence.

and then you make your move based on this empirical, creative pragmatism.
and looking in from the outside - the moves these leaders make may appear to be rash, crazy, BOLD decisions... but they are simply creative decisions based on the empirical evidence of what works.

and i LOVE Collins' analogy around this - it is EXTREMELY relevant to me in this moment of my life. he said it's like a ship back in the day at war on the open seas with another ship.
they can straight up fire a couple cannon balls to blow up the other ship -- but if their aim is off just a few degrees... and they miss... well, they're out of gun powder. you only have enough "powder" to fire a few cannon balls.
so, the better way is to fire bullets. test shots. get the right trajectory and then fire the cannon ball with all that gun powder you still have left.

try with a little. and again. and again. then you hit the mark... THEN go big. that's empirical creativity.

in an uncertain world you really do have to be prepared for what you can't predict.
These great leaders are always sitting around wondering "what if" -- while channeling that energy into being PRODUCTIVE!
(most of us do just the opposite = paranoia & "what if" wondering paralyzes us and we do nothing.)

the team who actually made it to the South Pole put out 10 mile wide black markers at every depot stop! and you better believe they didn't miss a single one. THAT is productive paranoia.
(the other team just put a flag on top of the depot itself. they all died.)
some famous guy, CEO of a company - can't even remember who, but he had an awesome quote = "We predicted 11 of the last 3 recessions." = again, THAT is productive paranoia. that company was OK in every single recession. they're still doing fine. (wish i could remember who it was?)

they were being (some might say) OVERLY paranoid. but it was productive paranoia, so they put plans in place and they have been OK in every single recession.

so, the GREAT leaders have Fanatic Discipline, Empirical Creativity, and Productive Paranoia

i have a lot to still be developed in me. how are YOU doing with these 3 in YOUR leadership?

tomorrow i'll post more leadership takeaways from Collins & on Thursday i'll post the 10 point TO DO list he gave all of us!

Monday, November 7, 2011

20 mile march'n it again...

One of my last posts before Keira was born was this below - my thoughts from Jim Collins' awesome talk at Catalyst 2011. i was going to post the rest of my thoughts on it the next week, but Keira had other plans. that was about 3 weeks ago now! so i'm reposting the 1st one below and i'll follow up with the rest tomorrow.

diving back into my 20 mile marches myself, so this is good for me to dive back into & keep writing tomorrow...

when it comes to greatness there are 3 inherent traits that set GREAT leaders apart from the others...
& These are according to Jim Collins' STELLAR talk at Catalyst '11 last week. (and probably from his newest book Greatness is a Choice)

i'll just give you those big 3 traits straight up & then explain what he was talking about as we go:

The story and framework he chose to build this talk around was a study of the 2 teams who were in a race to make it to the South Pole back in the early 1900s. the leader whose team made it exemplified each of these 3 traits. the leader whose team all DIED did not.
each leader and each team faced the SAME environment and the SAME circumstances... one made it and one DIED. these 3 traits made the difference... and they make the difference in a long line of Great vs. Good leaders and Great vs. Good organizations.
Here is a little more context and discussion around these 3:
Jim told a (made up) story as a GREAT example of this trait. Let's say there are 2 guys who are going to walk from the California coast all the way across the country to the East coast of Maine. that's a long walk. they both set out on the same day.
The 1st guy sets a pace for himself of 20 miles per day. he is committed to his 20 mile march. he is fanatically disciplined about it. the 1st day he walks 20 miles. the 2nd day he walks 20 miles. the 3rd day he completes 20 miles and is tempted to keep going... he feels good, the sun is still up, he can probably walk 40. but nope. he sticks to the 20 mile march. he hits Colorado and there is snow all over the ground and he wakes up early and wants to sleep in inside his tent... but he does his 20 mile march. no matter what. fanatic discipline.
he makes it to Maine.
The other guy just gets after it. he walks 40 miles the 1st day. then blazes ahead for 57 miles on the 2nd day! he's dead tired on the 3rd day so he just sleeps in and lays around all day knowing that he can make up the ground later. he hits the snow in Colorado exhausted and takes a 3 week break to let the weather clear up. he hits the trail again and does 60 miles, but can barely walk the next day. he never makes it to Maine.
the team who made it to the South Pole had a 20 mile march and their leader made them stick to it no matter what.
THAT is fanatic discipline.
and that is what i need. 
for those of you familiar with Good to Great, this is a repackaging of the FLYWHEEL principle.
my main takeaway = i desperately need to KNOW what my 20 mile march is. i'm going to spend the time and the hard effort to land on the right 20 mile march for every area of my life and then i'm going to freaking hit it every single time... no matter what!
we'll talk about the other 2 traits in the coming days, but for now - anybody know their 20 mile march?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

mixing it in

my introduction into daddy world has been an awesome 2 week ride. it's been fun updating all of you via writing about our experiences with Keira + the pics and videos.
i wanted to say thanks for all of your congrats and support through the numerous social media outlets.

i fully plan to keep writing about this new world of parenting, our amazing daughter, and plan on frequent video blogs starring Keira...


i'll also get back to some "normal" posts too. starting this week. probably sprinkled in with the posts about Keira.

looking forward to it all...

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Keria's intro to the world (video)

i thought i would take a minute to introduce my brand new beautiful daughter to the world...

i hope you enjoyed that. she is not even 2 weeks old. the tiniest thing i have ever seen. amazingly beautiful.
and i love her more than i ever thought i could.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

what will our baby BECOME? (repost)

(This was originally written and posted to renown on August 25, 2011. Now that Keira is born we're starting to put the plan into action.)

crazy stoked our 1st child will be here REALLY soon. in just a couple months.

one of the things i'm probably MOST excited about in the next couple months before it gets here is that Crystal and i are gonna write what we want our child to BECOME and always focus our parenting for the next 18 years on those things.
Just 5-8 simple words like "Generous" or "Revolutionary" and focus our parenting and the experiences we provide on helping our child become that type of person.

this was an awesome suggestion from a tool we give new parents at Ridge Church in an attempt to partner with them. really thankful for that.

so, here's our rough draft. it's just an initial brainstorm list. a lot of them probably bleed over into each other. really wanna narrow these to 5-8 or even less. and would like for them to all be summed up in 1 word. would LOVE any of your thoughts!

LOVE - start with knowing he/she is LOVED by me, by Crystal. then be overwhelmed with the amazing love of God. then pour out love to ALL. no matter who it is = friend, family, all ethnicities, all lifestyles, the OUTCAST, an ENEMY. live their life with the belief that LOVE WINS.

REVOLUTIONARY - radical. never satisfied with the status quo or the normal way that everyone else lives. a world changer. never worry about trying to "fit in" to an apathetic culture, but not be afraid to shake it up.

GENEROUS - i would really love our child to be a person who will GIVE, GIVE, GIVE all their lives. and if they give away too much [oxymoron]... oh well.

STORIES - i would love for our child to - from the very beginning - live a life worth telling stories about. to just GO FOR IT. go for the adventure. go have the experience. don't be timid. don't be SAFE. take RISKS. have some stories to tell.

POSITIVE - this will be a really fun challenge with the balance of power in our house with 1 eternal optimist & 1 "realist" [spelled "p-e-s-s-i-m-i-s-t"] :) haha, this will be fun. we'll see if it makes the final list. i would love our child to always believe the best... about every situation, every person, etc...

TRUST GOD - trust God no matter what. unwavering faith in a God who loves them more than they can imagine. live a life based on that radical trust.

JOY - unashamed and unbridled JOY in God. a radical pursuit of JOY in God's glory with a reckless abandon. + just a straight up enjoyment of life. it's just too short to not enjoy it. that would be silly. why do you think we're here? All about FUN all the time!

LIVE IT - authentic. just be. live. live what you believe because what you live IS what you believe. don't just talk about it, because talk is cheap. anybody can do that. live it.

THANKFUL - it's a destructive thing to not be thankful even for 1 minute. this child will have so much to be thankful for from its 1st minute on earth on... it will never catch up. it can spend a lifetime being thankful and never be thankful enough.

DREAMER - Dream BIG. not small. big vision. big goals. have a freedom to dream big and not listen to "naysayers".

RESPECTFUL - to us as parents starting out... to everyone though really.

UNIQUE - you be you. be who you are. whoever that is. i don't care. be the way God made you. Find your IDENTITY only ever and always in who God says you are in HIM.

WELCOMING - of all people all the time.

HUMBLE - this is a biggie and a toughie. i would love to help my child eradicate pride from its life. maybe it can help me. i want them to be Open Minded and never so arrogant that they think they have it figured out. i hope they never one time in life think they are "better than" anyone.

CORAGEOUS - do the right thing even if no one else is. don't back down on what you believe in. Risk! don't be afraid to FAIL. it's ok, just try it again.

SELFLESS - it's a great big world out there. lots of countries. lots of people. lots of needs. you are just one person. life is obviously NOT about you. how could we ever think that for even 1 second?

WISE - if they could somehow learn to make wise choices early on... wow.

PASSIONATE - i can't figure out another reason to wake up in the morning unless i'm passionate about something. i guess i really don't care what they end up being into - what the pursue, what activities they're involved in, what career they choose, etc.... just do whatever it is with PASSION!

RENOWN SPREADER - grow up to be a supporting cast member to the 1 renown that matters. have a desperate desire to be used by God. whatever that might look like for him/her individually.

BLESSING - we are BLESSED to be a blessing! we are so blessed & it is for no other reason than the grace of God that we are not a family living under a bridge with no food. only grace and the fact that we are blessed. so, if the reason we've been blessed so much is clearly to BE a blessing to others... why would we ever go through a day without being a BLESSING?

well, it's just a start, but we obviously have some trimming of the list to do.

Monday, October 24, 2011

the birth story

1:37 AM = "my water just broke!"

NOT the words you want to hear in the middle of the night on a Monday morning.

you see, Keira was due on 11/8 (but she was born on 10/17). i had big plans for last week - beginning on Monday (a few hours after 1:37) i was going to get so many things out of the way so i would be good to go when she decided to come. haha... nope.

and i had only gone to sleep around midnight... i knew it was a long day ahead on an hour and a half of sleep. 

oh yeah - and i was on crutches. i had a jacked up ankle that until that moment i couldn't walk on. got over that really fast and started hopping around because it was GO time. even manned up and drove Crystal to the hospital! (i put the car in park at each stop light, but i definitely didn't wanna be the husband whose wife had to drive her own self to the hospital!)

the water breaking itself was pretty nasty. totally covered our huge bed... dripped all on the carpet and then i heard it when she got to the bathroom floor - sounded like somebody dumped out a 5 gallon bucket of water on the floor! crazy.

it was pretty cool that we had just packed our "GO" bag for the hospital, walked through a list of what else we needed, hooked up the car seat, etc...
+ i had just been to "Daddy Boot Camp" on Saturday. good timing.

we got to the hospital around 3AM and were greeted by some amazing nurses! they were all Crystal's friends that she works with and they were awesome. cheering with big smiles on their faces as we walked in.
[and throughout the whole experience, our nurses were AMAZING! they went overboard and i seriously felt at home instead of in a hospital. EXTREMELY impressed.]

we got hooked up with the VIP room. cool view. decent bed for me.

about 5AM we were finally trying to get some sleep when a Doctor & 2 Nurses came busting into our room... turned on all the lights flipped Crystal over and slapped an oxygen mask on her face while pushing all kinds of buttons and talking amongst themselves.
when i sat up sleepily and tried to ask what was wrong nobody answered me... not a cool moment.

turns out our baby's heartbeat was simply really low for a little bit. they all came sprinting down the hallway. it turned out to be all good of course.

after lunch it all started happening so fast. we went for a walk. Crystal's contractions started getting pretty bad. then all the sudden around 3pm she was pushing.

i donned my "Baby Daddy" shirt, our Doctor came over from the office just to deliver Keira (very cool), and i think i counted about 12 nurses in the room and asked if we were having a party? they were all so excited. 12 women shouting "C'mon Crystal! good job Crystal!" with every push.

Crystal is a hero and pushed for 15 minutes and Keira Brielle Mitchell was born! it was the craziest thing ever watching it all go down. i know now why they call it a miracle.

of course, we never found out the gender ahead of time so i got to make the call as she was born.
"It's a...
it was awesome to be the 1st to announce Keira's gender to the world.
everybody was cheering. i cut the cord which was very cool. (way more spongy and harder to cut than i was expecting.)

Crystal and i just got to hold her for a while right after. I was just so amazed. She was so beautiful (even with the weird white vernix stuff all over her). she was so real finally.
i fell in love at 1st sight.

it was really cool that Crystal's parents and my parents got to come to the hospital and hang out with Keira that 1st night. both grandparents for the 1st time. (so, Keira probably won't be spoiled, right?)

it was really a perfect day. it was an amazing experience. i'm thankful that we have tons of pictures and video from the experience to save those memories. 

i would be up for doing it again... some day.
but of course this one was our 1st. very special. Crystal was amazing. i was so proud of her and thankful for her. PROUD that she is my wife.
our daughter is amazing. we are just soaking in every single second with her.