Not as good as I remember it

Is there something from your past that doesn’t live up to it’s memory? For me, it’s typically music or movies. Pretty much any 90s song is now labeled as a “90s song” because it has a certain sound to it, right? But back then you’d think music couldn’t get any better. Let’s face it, a lot of songs from the 90s (and the 80s, if we’re being honest) are pretty cheesy. But we like them because they remind us of where we were when he heard them, or they just bring back good memories for us.

Over the Christmas holiday a few weeks ago I was awarded with choosing a movie to watch on the night we celebrated my birthday. I chose a movie I hadn’t seen in years but remembered loving it. The film stars an actor who was relatively new to Hollywood in the early 2000s, Owen Wilson. He plays Navy navigator Chris Burnett in Behind Enemy Lines.

It’s a great movie, especially if you enjoy war movies that involve a good guy and a bad guy, an underdog and a bully, an intense cat and mouse chase, and spoiler alert: it has a predictable ending. But watching it that night wasn’t as glorious as I remember when I first watched it. Now, part of that is because I rarely watch movies twice. Something about knowing what’s going to happen drains any desire I have to watch a movie more than once. There are exceptions, of course. In fact, I just watched Wonder Woman for the second time and was still entranced and captivated by the story, the editing, the slow motion effects they used, and the special effects. I also watched Enchanted twice over the holidays. It’s so good!

I guess there’s a level of predictability that I rather do without. So prequels? Nope. Hallmark movies? Nope. TV shows from the 90s? Boy Meets World, otherwise nope.

So anyway, back to Behind Enemy Lines. It’s a really good movie, it is. What stuck out the most in this holiday viewing, though, was the soundtrack. I don’t remember it having the characteristics of a 90s war/action movie but it does. Even some of the filming looked vintage late-90s.

All that to say, I wonder if my memory is similar to how Baz Luhrmann describes offering advice in the song “Everybody’s Free (to Wear Sunscreen),” it’s a way of…

…fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth.

I romanticize something in my past, and when I revisit it, it’s not quite as amazing as I remember. Hmm sounds like my dating life! And by that, I mean how every girl I’ve ever dated thinks of me!

Girl: I think I remember him being pretty great.

*Girl reconnects with Ben*

Girl: nope, still a dork.

Well, she’s not wrong. I’m pretty dorky but I like it that way. This is not turning into a dating blog, I forbid it! So it ends here. What things in your past do you have on a pedestal? Is there an experience you have where something you loved isn’t as great as you remembered? One thing is for sure no matter what, Baz is right… wear sunscreen!

-Out of the Wilderness

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Cheers to a new year!

I’m walking around in a robe, I’ve taken back-to-back baths in back-to-back days, and I have a cold. That can only mean one thing…

I’m back in Nashville after a busy, yet terrific, holiday vacation in Florida!

Like this cat, I’ve pretty much quarantined myself indoors to rest, recuperate, and catch up on Netflix. A couple of so-so movies? Done (Bright and Pottersville). Fuller House? Done. Riverdale? Working on it.

While I’ve been wasting away on the couch– not reaching my goal of 160 miles in 60 days, tissue within arms reach, cup of apple juice on the table tray, covered in 37 blankets– the thought dawned on me that I seem to get sick every time I come back from Florida. So is it that I’m allergic to Tennesseee, or do I just wear out my body in Florida because who else is going to beat my nieces at croquet, lose to my brothers football team on the beach, brag way too much on the driveway playing knock-out, or help build a gigantic sandcastle?

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So now I pay for it. But there’s something else I sometimes catch when I’m down visiting family in Tallahassee. Nostalgia. This trip I got a big dose when we dug up a few VHS tapes from the 80s and 90s. Long story short, we’ve been looking for a couple of specific events that were recorded but haven’t been seen in years. While we were looking through tapes one day, we found video of our entire family taking part in a live nativity scene. My dad was Joseph, Mary was one of my sisters, and my mom was a wise man. Not sure how those parts got divied up, but whatever. I was a shepherd, along with my oldest sister and my brother.

We also found video one of my sister’s high school track meets, and another tape had both sisters’ “after prom” party. If you’ve ever wondered how teenagers danced in the 90s, wonder no more.


I think one of those dancers would be reported for sexual harassment in today’s world, but I’m not saying who *cough, cough, white guy doing pelvic thrusts*

Since returning to Nashville, I’ve been going through VHS tapes I brought back with me. I’ve seen clips from my family that I haven’t seen in decades. It’s definitely put me in a nostalgic mood. I also am fortunate that my birthday is late December, so the past couple of days have included thoughts about what I want next year and my next year, to look like. Watching these old videos helps me to reflect on the almost 4 decades I’ve been on the planet, and what direction I want my life to go in the next 4 decades. Of course, I also stumbled across this: me playing the trumpet next to my best middle school friend, JR:


Dang, I wish I’d held on to that trumpet!

My goals for 2018 are pretty simple, but if I can accomplish them, that’ll be a big step in a great direction.

Give more. Serve more.

I know it sounds a bit vague but this theme encompasses my time, my money, my attitude, and my heart. So when opportunities arise to give or serve, whether it’s helping a neighbor, serving at church or in the community, I want to say yes when I’m able to.

As for me in this moment, I’m taking my robe, my apple juice, and I’m turning on Riverdale. Good day to you, and have a happy 2018!

-Out of the Wilderness

Fall, almost my favorite time of the year

The leaves here in Nashville are turning to bright yellows and vibrant reds as the temperature drops, signaling a season so many people love, fall.

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I love this part of year for the cool nights, the leaves changing, and knowing that Christmas is right around the corner.

What do I not love? The cold days, September allergies, and knowing that as far as temperature goes it’s going to get worse before it gets better.

I already can’t wait for summer 🙂

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-Out of the Wilderness

Top 3 Christmas songs of 2016

Lights coming off the house. Decorations packed and moved back to the attic. Not a machine open at Planet Fitness. That’s right, another Christmas season has come and gone. It’s already January 3rd, for Heaven’s sake! It goes too fast, right? It seems like just yesterday people were black Friday fighting in Wal-Mart and now when I walk in, they’re back to their normal 37 closed registers and two cashiers. Where does the time go, friends?

Well, besides the mayhem that often accompanies every black Friday, there’s a lot of great music that hits the radio on that day, as well. I’m not ashamed to say I listen to Christmas music year-round, but still, something about the listening to the holiday songs during the actual holiday season makes it even more enjoyable. So what were your favorite Christmas songs this year?

A handful stood out to me so I’ve ranked them in order for you. If you’ve not heard these yet, I hope you enjoy and add them to your list for next year!

3. Phil Wickham “The First Noel”

2. TobyMac “Bring On The Holidays”

1. Band of Merrymakers “Gather Round”

Happy 2017!

-Out of the Wilderness

 

The Reawakening: Part 4

me as 4th grader 2December in St. Petersburg, Florida. I was excited because not only was it Christmastime, my birthday was coming up, too. Some people say it’s possible to have too much of a good thing, but tell that to any 4th grader who has 2 rounds of presents coming in the same month and you’ll be laughed out of the building. Impossible. To understand the significance of what I’m about to tell you, you may have to use your imagination. It was the mid-80s so there were no smartphones. There were no GoPros. No Internet, no HD televisions. No tablets, no digital photo cameras. No Dash Cams. We didn’t have Wikipedia, we had actual encyclopedias. There were huge boxy televisions… with maybe 50 channels, maybe. Phones were plugged into the wall and were attached by a cord. Computers were not very common and definitely not essential to everyday living. It was a world very unlike the one we live in now. Most families had one video camera, if any. And it was a giant VHS camcorder that was so big the back half rested on your shoulder while your hand propped up the front. Parents used it to record Christmases, birthday parties, maybe a child’s sporting event, or having fun in the back yard. Or hilarious sledding accidents. Yes, what you’re about to see is my brother crashing, then sounding like a girl.

Footage on those VHS tapes was precious, special, and regarded as delicate because it only existed in one spot, on that tape.

So on this memorable birthday, I received a gift that would change my world forever. In fact, I can probably dedicate my entire professional existence to the present my grandparents Mom-Mom and Pop gave me that day. My very own PXL2000.

picture from eBay user indorin

picture from eBay user indorin

I know what you’re thinking: he was the baddest 4th grader in all of the states. I felt it.

So it shouldn’t be a surprise that since then, I’ve been making videos. Some of which are on the Internet… like this, this, or this. Also not surprising that I would seek work in a related field. That’s how I ended up at Country Music Television and volunteering as a camera operator at my church.

Because of the persistent notion that there’s more out there for me (what this reawakening is all about), I found it curious that I recently got an email about a job opening at church. It was exactly lined up with my skill set and seemed to be dropped in my lap. Could this be the next step I’m supposed to take? The next chapter of my life? I couldn’t dismiss the timing of this job possibility. So I was open to exploring it as an option, even responding with the intentions of later sending in my reel and resume for consideration. Full disclosure, though, I had one hesitation: I’ve never wanted to work for a church, and more clearly, I’ve wanted to never work for a church. The reason for such a decision is simple, and I suppose it’s become a sort of mantra for me: I will go to church because I want to, not because I have to. For me, my own life and my own journey, I don’t like the idea of getting paid to be at church. I envision it stealing the joy from my life. Turning it into a sense of duty instead of an act of worship and a recharging of my soul. I wholeheartedly support those that do work in churches, and I love that they can work in a place where they can also worship and serve.

So the more I think about this particular offer, I’m realizing that it’s pretty much the same thing I do now at CMT, just a different location. It might ultimately lead to some sort of dissatisfaction, although I would feel a stronger sense of fulfillment there. Evenso, I won’t pursue the job any further. I love volunteering at my church, and perhaps that’s exactly how I’m supposed to be connected there. Either way, there’s a take-away from this whole post… if you only remember one thing:

I was the baddest 4th grader in all the states.
me as 4th grader-Out of the Wilderness