Thursday, January 23, 2014

Why Advocare?

I asked Camille to write why she feels like Advocare was for her and our family:

So I know I have had tons of posts talking about Advocare, a nutritional supplement company.  Many people have asked me about it and I wanted to share my experience with both the products and the company.  

We took Advocare products briefly in 2002 and loved them.  We knew they worked but just fell out of the habit of taking our vitamins.  Then Aaron did their 24 day challenge in 2012 and lost 18 pounds in 24 days.  It jump started a healthier way of life and gave him some help shedding some weight.  I decided to try the products this past April and told Aaron that the minute I was done with my challenge I was going back to my coffee.  Well, I had to eat my words.  Advocare’s energy drink, Spark, has truly transformed my days.  It has given me sustained energy without that afternoon slump that made me want to curl up and nap.  I had more energy for my kids and to get in that exercise that helped me keep off the 15 pounds I have lost since taking Advocare products. 

Then in June we adopted Asher.  Sweet, adorable, crying from reflux Asher.  :)  Spark became my best friend those first few sleepless months.  And since I have been taking their vitamin supplements, I can proudly say that I haven’t gotten sick once.  I always get a sinus infection or bronchitis every year.  This is the first year I haven’t been sick which is completely amazing since I am getting less sleep than ever before.  These products work and have honestly changed my life for the better.  The truth is I need these vitamins to fill in those nutritional gaps that we all have in our lives from our eating.  I am making better choices consistently while still enjoying my cheese dip and salsa.  :)

Now onto our experience with the company.  Advocare offers a unique opportunity to help you earn extra income.  Aaron and I had been praying about the possibility of using Advocare to supplement Aaron’s income.  As a stay at home mom of now three children, costs were rising and it was time to get creative.  As God would ordain it, when we adopted Asher we stayed with a family we had never met before who became life long friends.  Of all the professions this couple could be in, they were both full time Advocare distributors.  Aaron and I were completely blown away that the family God knit us together with were doing exactly what we had been praying about doing ourselves.  So our ten days living with them was spent asking all of our hard questions.  We saw them build their business with integrity, caring for people with the love of Jesus and having the financial freedom to be with their kids, one of whom has special needs.  We walked out of their house convinced that God was giving us Advocare as the vehicle to give us different choices in our lives, both for the present and our future.  The people we have met in this company are honest, hard working and caring.  We feel very fortunate to have locked arms with such a reputable company.  We are being blessed by being a part of both the business opportunity in Advocare and by taking these products that keep us healthy and full of energy for our family.  

Sunday, December 22, 2013

The night I decided to do something about my weight

This same time in 2010 I went to the doctor. It was a normal physical and blood work. I have always been a bit worried about getting diabetes because it runs in my family. When I weighed at my appointment, I weighed 238. I honestly didn’t care about that number until later that night. I glanced in the mirror on the way to the shower and for the first time in my life, I was upset about my weight. (I weighed 155 when I graduated from high school and 170 when I completed college) I walked out of the shower and told Camille I had to loose weight. She had just seen something about the 24 Day Challenge and since I already knew about Advocare, I read about what the 24 DC and ordered it. I needed change. I had to change. I had two kids and I wanted to be alive to see them grow old. 

Here are the 3 ways Advocare changed my life:
  1. I wanted to get the most out of the 24 DC so I learned how to eat. It was amazing to see how actually eating well and supplementing with the right supplements could effect my body. In the first 10 days I lost 8 lbs and 10 more in the last 14 days.
  2. I was drinking 3-6 cokes a day. I LOVED free refills. I was using coke as my main source of caffeine. I started drinking Spark instead. I drank one Spark a day and didn’t need more caffeine. Once child number 3 came into our world I started drinking 2 Sparks a day  :)
  3. I continued on products and continued to drop weight. I have lost a total of 39 pounds and I can honestly say that I will always be taking Advocare products. It isn’t just about weight loss but it is about general health. 

This is a hard post for me. I tend to be someone that only puts himself out there when it is safe, when I know you won’t judge me or think I am crazy when I say I love a certain product. I genuinely love the Advocare products and I have been super impressed with them as a company. 

If you feel like your life needs to change like my life did, let me know.
Contact me and let’s talk.


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

10 Things I am thankful for

10 Things  I am thankful for in no particular order: 
  1. That my heart can still be moved. Many people I know are very mechanical in their faith and their lives. There are things that I wish I wasn’t as pessimistic about however I am still very moved by God’s love for me and I am moved daily my my kiddos. 
  2. That sports exist. I have never liked exercise but playing sports (basketball mainly) has provided me with better health.  I love playing on team which led me to love to coach. Parents are not always easy or helpful. My favorite thing is to be able to help kids develop good character. 
  3. I am thankful for what an amazing housewife and mom Camille is. It is an incredibly hard job and I don’t thank her enough. She really is incredible. 
  4. Music. It moves me and I love that. 
  5. Advocare. I really think Advocare saved my life. I have been able to loose weight and we are paying of debt that we took on over the last year. I will probably blog more about this in the future but for now I am thankful for the best nutritional supplements and an incredible opportunity. 
  6. Mission Athens Music: It has been a perfect outlet for me. Great friends and good music. The perfect combo. 
  7. Rosie Cotton. She is the best dog. If you have been around her you know she is a good dog. It will be a sad day for all when she is no longer with us. 
  8. My parents. The older my kids get the more I know how hard parenting is. I can’t imagine being a single mom or being a dad that doesn’t live with his son. Regardless of how it is done, parenting isn’t easy. 
  9. Athens. I would have never thought I would enjoy this city like I do. I also have enjoyed becoming more of an all around UGA fan. I mentioned this is my sermon, Men that put so much hope in boys playing a game, they need to grow up. Sports allow you to feel apart of something larger. The issue is: sports are small. 
  10. Snikerdoodle muffins. I mean I kinda hate them at the same time as love them! Camille started to make them recently and geez they are good. 

Happy Turkey day friends.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Life Change Pt 1

I want to past blog post to describe the first HUGE change in our lives. We now have 3 kiddos. This is a blog that Camille wrote to update everyone about our adoption.
This is part 1 of my 'Life Change' series I will be posting. There have been a handful of life changing events for me and us that I want to share with everyone. Some will be obvious like adoption and some a bit less obvious.
Here is a link to the original blog post with pictures:

Here is the post itself:
We skyped with Asher’s birth mom and birth dad on May 13 and felt an immediate connection to them.  We really liked them and loved their bravery in choosing both life for their baby boy but also choosing adoption knowing that they were not prepared to care for him.  We were chosen by the them on May 15 with June 10 being Asher’s due date.  We were overwhelmed and excited to see how quickly God was growing our family.  I need to say that we knew that his BM and BD (birth mom and birth dad) wanted a very open adoption.  This meant that we would continue to be in contact them past what Lifeline required, which is quarterly updates sent to Lifeline for birth parents to pick up.  We felt called to domestic adoption with the thought of loving a BM and being a part of God’s redemptive work in her life as well as the baby we adopted.  So while this road might not be for everyone we continued to take each step God put before us and He has led us into a beautiful relationship with Asher’s BM and BD.  

Asher came earlier than we expected and what was supposed to be quick trip to Alabama to meet his BM and BD turned into a call from our social worker saying, “they are inducing her tonight, so pack for 2 weeks and hit the road!”  We ran around town like crazy tying up loose ends and then made the drive to meet not only our BM and BD but also to meet our son!  God was so very evident in every detail of our 2 weeks in Alabama.  It began on our way there with our social worker from Lifeline calling us with a possible place for us to stay in Alabama before we could travel back home after Asher was born.  We had many possible places to stay but had been praying that we could find a place that had a kitchen and a place for Bella and Levi to come stay with us since we didn’t know how long we would have to stay in Alabama.  Well the Lord answered that prayer one hundred fold for us.  We met and stayed with Jeff and Teri Kerby who opened their basement (and home) to us and gave us a home to be in those first 2 weeks with Asher.  They loved us so well and have become life long friends.  There are so many ways they blessed us-- home cooked meals, holding a screaming Asher for me to eat them, having Levi and Bella running around their house with their precious kids, to just having real conversation about life and Jesus.  We were blown away by God’s graciousness to us through the Kerby’s obedience to the Lord to say “yes” to being a part of our adoption story.  We are so thankful for them.

We met Asher’s BM and BD the night before he was born.  It was so very natural.  It doesn’t seem possible but it was.  We spent time hanging out and then headed to bed for her to be induced the next morning.  We visited with them off and on during the day as she labored (with an epidural!) and it was so precious getting to know the brave hearts of this sweet couple.  We met their families and were able to see some baby pictures that gave us some insight into who Asher looks like.  And what a sweet story we can tell him one day-or better yet that his own BM and BD can tell him.  Our sweet BM invited us to be in the room when Asher was born (behind the door curtain).  It was important to her that we hear his first cry and see him as soon after he was born as possible.  Such a precious gift from a completely unselfish heart.  We had some sweet time with them before Asher was born where I was able to lay hands on her and pray for her before she endured the last part of labor.  It was such a blessing. After Asher was born, we had about an hour and half with our BM and BD where we marveled over Asher and I was personally terrified of his lung power (which after almost 12 weeks I was right to be wary of!).  We were able to give them notes we had written as well as a necklace for her.  We also were able to share the Gospel with them through the sharing of the meaning of Asher’s name as well as the meanings of Levi and Bella’s name.  Aaron and Asher’s BD gave Asher his first bath together and we just shared such sweet time with them.  By the way John is after John the Baptist and means “God is gracious” and Asher means “happy or blessed” and was given a blessing of a life of abundance.  I also need to add another way God showed up in the details.  Our labor and delivery nurse was a believer who cared for our BM with such dedication and love.  She embraced our story and ministered to all of us with the love of Jesus.  What a precious way to surround our BM during such an emotional experience.  We were in awe of how God lined up every single detail. 

They wanted a hospital placement which means we had total care of Asher the whole time he was in the hospital.  God was so gracious in providing a free room at the hospital for us.  The hospital staff were so amazing in caring for us and being sensitive to the special circumstances of our open adoption.  We saw our BM and BD before she was discharged and agreed to meet them one more time before we came back home to Georgia.  We then spent the next 10 days living life with the Kerby’s.  It was like a vacation for us and our kids.  Levi actually cried when we left because he didn’t want to leave his new friends!  I think all of us agreed that we loved having built in playmates for our kids and the withdrawals from that was hard for all of us!  What could have been a very uncomfortable situation for us staying in a hotel or in a guest room ended up being a precious time with God ordained friends and plenty of space for a family in the midst of transition.

We passed our interstate paperwork phase (ICPC) in two days which was huge!  We had been told it could take an additional 2 weeks after it was filed.  Instead it took 2 days!  God was again so faithful!  We met our BM and BD for a picnic the night before we left to come home.  They were able to meet Levi and Bella and see the love they had for their new little brother.  I was in awe of her maturity and heart at seeing another mom care for her son’s needs.  She shared what peace she had in her decision and how she was so excited for Asher to be with us.  It was a sweet, sweet time getting to know them more and seeing these two teen-agers selflessly change the course of their lives and their son-for the better.  We love them so much and honor them and their love for Asher.    We feel strongly that God has called us to love our BM and BD as much as He has called us to love Asher.  We text pictures and updates to them weekly.  I’m so excited to say that they are really taking hold of this opportunity to change their lives. We are so excited to cheer them on and love them as they start the rest of their lives.  We know that not everyone will be called to this kind of open adoption but we can say that it has been nothing but a blessing to us.  We have God placed love in us for them and know that we are all in this together-brought together by crazy love for a precious little boy knit together with a purpose by His Creator.  We are linked to them forever and count it a privilege to know them.
  We can’t express how grateful we are to have had so many people be a part of our adoption story.  God has been so faithful to meet us through every moment of this journey and we are excited to see what He has for us in the future!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

So I'm back

Alright folks I think it is time to start blogging again. Life is crazy different since the last time I blogged. It has been two years since I have blogged and our lives look, feel and flat out are different. I am not sure why but I feel like I have stuff to say, I have no clue who will care to read but here it comes.

I will start with a 4 point rant. (old school slaten blog style)

1) Friends that are both loyal and honest are rare.
2) music is one of the most beautiful things in the world.
3) one of my favorite things to do with my kids is cuddle and watch movies
4) I want to go on a legit vacation with my bride one of these days again. no clue how or where but I want a good one and just the two of us.

Strap in here we go blog world, I am back.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

9 things for 9 years

9 years ago today 'me' became a 'we' and I thought I would share 9 things for 9 years:

  1. I still feel extremely lucky that she said yes.
  2. My failures in loving and honoring my bride have not defined our marriage, Grace has.
  3. She still makes me laugh harder and more regularly than anyone I know.
  4. I knew she would be a great mom but she has surpassed my expectations BY FAR!
  5. I still like to hold her hand.
  6. She is always the 1st person I want to talk to when something good or bad happens.
  7. She is an incredible friend to her friends!
  8. Somehow she is still my biggest fan.
  9. She is more beautiful today than day I met her.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

33 things in 33 years

1st thanks for all the birthday wishes on facebook, text message or phone call. I thought I would write a few things that I feel like I have learned in the past 33 years.

  1. my character is found only in Christ. In my life I haveI thought I had strong character because of what I could do. It was never true. The older I get the more immaturity I see in my life and my need for the character of Jesus to stand in front of me.
  2. I can grab a baseball across the seams correctly every time I pick one up. An I wasn’t a great ball player after 13:)
  3. I still suck at spelling
  4. Since I am dyslexic and ADD, having the internet read the bible to me has changed my life.
  5. Money can’t fix everything but money sure can make it more fun.
  6. All dads should wear a cup when wrestling with you kids.
  7. It’s always better to order a side of avocado than guac. They typically give you more.
  8. Sonic has the best Coke.
  9. HD tv is really that much better
  10. The minivan wins.
  11. If I could afford it I would have a massage every morning when I wake up.
  12. I love being a dad as much as I thought I would.
  13. I can learn a song pretty fast. I can lead most songs with a chord chart after hearing it a couple of times.
  14. I love live concerts.
  15. I still am thankful Camille said yes. Love her more than I show her. That’s sad.
  16. Always open your dates car door. Always let your date walk in front of you when you are in public. Unless your not proud to be with her. Instead of letting her walk in front of you, break up with her. If you don’t like someone enough to show her off as you walk in, get out. She deserves more.
  17. It is crazy hard not to let your failures define you.
  18. Most people that get incredible results, work incredibly hard.
  19. If you don’t learn how you work best you will end up wasting most of the time you are supposed to be “working”.
  20. I see things differently than most people. I look at broken things and tech things differently. It’s a blessing and a curse. It’s a curse when I get frustrated when folks don’t see things the same way I do. Again my character blows.
  21. I love espn.
  22. Not much makes me happier than laughing with my kids.
  23. My favorite dessert is banana pudding. Which my bride made me tonight.
  24. Friends can work together. I can work with my best friend because of Gospel conversations. They are hard but can make it possible.
  25. I really enjoy leading music with my friends. Over the past 10 years I have made some great friends and led some incredible music that made much of Jesus.
  26. Rural Pond and friends does excellent wedding music.
  27. I have a heart for our city. My friend Andy and I are coaching our boys again. Trying to plug into this community.
  28. When you move into a house you MUST know what to do if a water pipe breaks.
  29. Kids toys take up way to much space.
  30. Working with younger guys can be one of the most rewarding and frustrating things ever. I can’t imaging how Mike, Cyndi, Collins, Keith, Paul, David, Asa, Bubeck, and MANY more put up with my arrogance and immaturity.
  31. I am a late night person. I prefer to stay up much later than I do. BUT I have to wake up every morning because we have kidos. I miss sleeping in.
  32. I am trying to encourage my friends and verbalize my love for them.
  33. I don’t deserve for people to love me and say some of the stuff they have today. I have failed many of them and many others. If not for Jesus everyone would have been done with me a long time ago. Thank you to everyone for loving me.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Full Heart

it's been a while. probably not here for long but here for today. here we go.

Today I played music for the funeral of a friend of mine. We were not best friends BUT i feel like I knew Stewart Hay and that he knew me. I love his son Alastair Hay and his wife Lexis. I don't know his other 3 kids as well. I have led worship with Al, MANY times and Lexis provided the food for many of the retreat we did at FPC and I had many great talks with her on those retreats. One thing stood out about Stewart Hay: people he loved knew that he loved them. I want to be like that. I'm not like that.
I was very honored to play a small role in the funeral honoring his life today. And the Hay family is in my prayers. I remember the feeling of loosing my dad. It's HARD.(old post) I love you guys. I am thankful for the life of Stewart Hay.

I was able to have lunch before the funeral with one of my favorite people in the world, Les Saunders. Les is one of the many reasons that I am who I am today. He pushed me musically and was never afraid to tell me i was off or wrong. After lunch we set up our guitars and mics and played music. It had been 4 years since we had played together but it literally felt like yesterday we hung out and played together. we played well today. We sang well. it was good for my heart to play music with one of my great friends. If we have jobs in heaven and if I find my self making music, I want you in my band Les or I want to be in yours.

After the funeral I had to jet kind of fast in order to make it to Perimeter to lead worship for the Camp All American Staff. One of my roommates from college is a director of CAA and we were able to go have dinner before I led. Again Brent Curl(earlier post) is one of the people that has made me who I am today. He makes having real conversations easy, he always has. Thanks for being someone that lives out the Gospel as well as anyone I know.

Then I was able to see Andy Nelson, a former member at our church, now Youth Pastor in Boca FLA. I miss him and want him and his bride to move back to Athens one day. I am glad to call him friend.

My final thought of the day is this: It took a ton of people to love me and help me get where I am today. I failed A LOT along the way. I hurt people, I failed people, disappointed people and most of all didn't really know myself. Now at almost 33 I see that I have really needed people to love me through my immaturity and poor/irresponsible choices. Brent and Les (the full list is WAY to long) are a couple of the people that did that for me.

Tonight my heart is full because of great memories and people that helped me in the growing up and becoming a man.

"clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose."-coach taylor

Saturday, March 06, 2010

How I became a guy that leads people in musical worship of Jesus pt. 2:

If this is your first time reading this check out part 1 first.

That retreat I mentioned would easily be one of my most embarrassing moments EVER if there was video from the music I played. I probably only had 8 songs to play that weekend and I remember them asking me to play a couple of well known songs like “I’ve got the joy joy joy joy down in my heart”, “I am a C-H-R-I-S-T-I-A-N” or “MILK MILK MILK DRINK THE WORD WORD WORD” and I didn’t know any of them! I made up chords. Somehow they didn’t think I was a joke. No clue how. Regardless how bad the songs were the weekend was incredible. I was hooked on FPC and I think they were hooked on me. I interned there that summer, worked part time during my last year of school and after I graduated I went to work there full time. My last year of school was probably the most beneficial for me. I played a lot of guitar that year. I had a handful of folks that taught me nuggets of guitar and really helped me. Those folks were: Dad, Brent Curl, Bethany Sherrill Mason, Les Saunders and Kai Bassett. All of these people gave me some tools to make me the guitar player I am today. I started to put together a couple of pieces to my puzzle and to explain them I have to go back in time a bit.

-I spent 4 summers working at a summer camp in Servilleville(sp?) Tennessee growing up. One of my friends (Mark Miller)was a few years older and he was getting a degree in classical guitar and he would lead all of the music for the camp. I remember singing one night out by the camp fire. I remember something stirring inside of me during our singing that summer.

-my forth year of school there was a tour that came through Berry called “road to one day” I had no idea what it was I just knew I liked singing. To set the stage I was between a girl I had once dated and a girl I had a bit of an awkward friendship with. I started to shake because of the weirdness and somehow forgot they were there. At one point I opened my eyes to realize that I was standing on my tip toes with both hands reaching to the sky. I immediately sat down and asked my self “what in the crap are you doing?” As I wrestled with this for a minute I finally decided they didn’t matter this was a genuine expression of what my heart wanted to say.

-Shane Barnards record “rocks cry out” has a live section of worship songs. I still love that section. I remember listening to it and saying this is how I want to lead worship. To me it was more than just leading his songs and walking off stage. His songs all blended together and basically told a story. That is what I wanted to do. I wanted to tell a story that connected to the deepest parts of people. So what better story to tell than the story of Jesus.

I was not and still am not the best guitarist but even from from my camp days I have always felt something inside me towards music and how it connects me to God.

What’s next ? me realizing I don’t suck any more.

hope this might be helpful for someone out there.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

How I became a guy that leads people in musical worship of Jesus pt. 1:

So, I have been thinking about a blog post I have been wanting to write concerning my job and this is the first one.

I come from a long line of men that played guitar. My grandfather played in many bands and toured with a band (playing upright bass) that toured with Johnny Cash and was jam buddies with Buddy Holly. My dad was also a great musician. Dad learned guitar from my grandmother and became a great musician. He played saxophone as well and played electric bass for Jerry Lee Lewis.  Dad also played music in the church at some point. Dad could really play the guitar!

Somehow I wasn’t destined to follow in the family footsteps musically, at least that’s what most of my life said. I learned how to play a G chord my third year of college when  I was 20. I would hold a G chord and play songs. Strumming came naturally but I didn’t pursue the guitar. The next year (in June) I heard a song called ‘I will not forget you’ and I said to one of my roommates, “that would be fun to play”. He said it was only four chords and that I could play it. I was hooked after that. I sat in front of the TV and went from G-D-Em-C over and over again. Most of the time I wasn’t even strumming. I was now about to turn 22 and decided to learn to play acoustic guitar.

I had a pretty big issue that summer.  I sucked at playing guitar. I was confident in strumming but it started to be bad. I was living with my grandfather and working at camp all-american. The guitar just wasn’t happening. I couldn’t even play ‘Light The Fire’. Sitting by the pond behind my grandfather’s house I had a come to Jesus meeting with Jesus (these usually don’t go well). I said “God if I am not better in a month I am quitting. You have 4 weeks to make me at least be able to play ‘light the fire’ well. If you deliver I promise I will make much of you with this instrument.” A few of things you need to know here: 1) I have never tested God like this 2) I wouldn’t recommend it 3) I am physically pained by not keeping promises 4) I am not uber spiritual 5) I have no clue why God delivered, but he did. After four weeks I was able to play ‘light the fire’.

In the next month I was a completely different guitar player!  In October I led music for BSU at Truett McConnell. I knew three songs well. That night was the 1st time I closed my eyes and played guitar. I remember finishing that song and thinking “THAT JUST HAPPENED”. It was a big day for me. The next Feb. I led a retreat for FPC Marietta and after that retreat I started to pursue figuring out what it meant to lead people in musical worship.

More of my story to come but this was the start of my journey of becoming someone that leads God’s people in musical worship.