Living The Dream

I remember it as if it were yesterday,
Awkwardly attempting to connect,
Humor covering up the desire for respect.
Fear was met by boldness – objection.
Objecting to the norm of selfish intent,
Beauty flipped the script,
Gentleness overcame insinuations.

The Spirit within was awakened,
The Good had slept – dormant for years.
Focused on what’d been taken.
Freedom from the youthful days; childish replays.

And I suppose, even my foes,
Were growing weary of this prose.

Sappy pity it were that my choices had
Led to where I was,
And have led to where I am.

Yet, something changed that day…

That green eyes met blue.
Golden locks of hair – oh the way I look at you.

Prettiest heart I’d ever seen,
And I didn’t even know it all,
Until the Fall.

The past came to haunt me,
Evil’s accomplice, anxiety and shame, began taunting,
Lies of worthlessness and not being of measure,
The trickiest trickster began to hurt her.

Ominous clouds hung over the fairytale,
While mistrust hinted at the kingdom’s fall.

Then before my eyes – Jesus came to life.
Prayer led the way,
Forgiveness saved the day and made her braver,
Brothers cut off the chains and let to Freedom.
God restored our kingdom.

The prodigal son returned,
The Father reinstating his name to Prince;
He then pursued the princess and made her Queen.

And now I’ve seen the unseen,
I’ve held the Queen at night,
Eyes blurred with fright,
Felt the trembling in her bones.

At first I tried to fix it,
But learned I had to quit it.
Because all that she needed,
Was me, and I was there.
“I’m not going anywhere.”
Ever.
Our hearts are tethered.

Because I’ve decided.
And I did,
A man, not a kid.

Decided that you’re worth it.
Worth whatever it takes, whatever’s at stake.
Death to pride and death to shame,
Jesus gave me a new name,
Ignite the Flame.

Humility, the fuel we need.
Quality time, the faithful steed.

And thinking back to ‘glory days’,
What a phrase,
Just a phase.

I’d rather sing Christmas carols in May,
Keep your heart laughing,
Help you with the shopping,
Hold you until you know it’s fine,
Trust’s sleep, so divine.

And so there I laid, thinking of you,
The one that changed it all,
Endured the Fall and prayed through Winter,
Walked with me into Spring,
Now we can hear Summer sing.

Babe, it would seem,
I’m already living the dream.

With Love,
A Poem For My Love.

wedding-day

Writing/Blogging Advice

I’ve recently been approached by a few people to share my thoughts on how to get started as a writer – whether it be a blog, poetry, or writing as a guest columnist of sorts. I wasn’t sure I was the right person to ask, but then remembered I’ve been writing as a hobby just for fun, on behalf of church’s, and now I do some writing for my company as well. So – why the heck not get some writing tips from yours truly?

There are basically two keys to writing – reading lots and lots of books and then, writing. “Just do it.” For real though. (Might as well stop reading now and start journaling.)

Since high school I’ve probably read a couple hundred books “just for fun” – my friends called me a nerd and made fun of me as I walked across campus with a book open. I learned in college that it wasn’t helping me meet the ladies so I finally toned it down a smidgen. But you could still easily find me in Starbucks, reading the latest James Patterson novel or Francis Chan’s latest Biblical wisdom.

It’s my obsession with a good story. I’ve always envied my friend Jake’s charisma and ability to captivate a room of 20 or so people with a well-told childhood tale. He tells just the right amount of detail to place you in the same room as him, drops the punch-line at the right moment so that it makes you wonder if you’re going to end up peeing your pants, and oops – you already have! (Kidding…maybe…but seriously – you’ll never belly-laugh harder than when he starts telling stories!)

A good writer’s main aim is to tell a good story – to bring others into the story with them. You want them to feel your pain, to rise with you and overcome the dark times in life, to fight the treacherous dragon and rescue the beautiful princess, to confront the terrifying realities of prejudice, obscured rhetoric, and many other big-word, hot-button topics.

I write very conversationally. My readers should feel like they’re sitting in the room with me, or like I’ve granted them access inside my soul. I want the experience to be intimate and personal and I want them to walk away changed and confronted. I don’t want them to ever leave feeling the same. As a natural leader and former student of persuasion and rhetoric, I want to pull and shift the audience in a particular direction – while also leaving room for their own beliefs to be added to the conversation. Because after all, you’re not going to change the world with more confrontation, but we could all understand each other a little better if we spent more time in conversation. And part of conversation, is having your own ideas… (Turn the TV off and do some thinking for crying out loud!)

Honestly, as an up-and-coming author, the hardest thing about writing is just getting started. You can say that you want to write a book or start a blog or express yourself more artistically until you’re blue in the face, but until you actually sit down and do the hard work of beginning, you’ll never make an impact.

As a perfectionist, it’s my fear of failure that’ll hold me back. It’s what has kept me from pursuing my dream of writing a book for so long. If I write it and no one publishes it, then what will have been the point? And I’ve decided that if I can’t do it for myself, then I shouldn’t do it for anyone. So I’m doing it for myself, because it is what I want to do. It’s what I NEED to do. It’s what I’ve needed to do since I was 16 years old.

You have to get beyond the desire to please others. You have to NEED to write. You have to have decided that your voice is worth hearing. And then you have to share it and hold nothing back. No one wants halfheartedness, just like no one wants someone who is “kind of a friend.” You’re either a writer or you’re not. The only person that gets to decide that is yourself. Don’t let “the world” and “publishers” and “circumstances” define you.

Honestly, you just have to get started. You just have to do it. Stop worrying so much about layouts and fonts and topics and just find creative ways to share what’s on your heart. Because in the end, that’s what matters the most.

Fire And Ice

You were hot, then you were cold.
Weren’t sure you remembered bold.
Something had taken a hold,
Of your life and sold,
Your joy to the thief of old.

Clock out, then clock in.
Pay bills then spending,
More time worrying than enjoying.

Anxious escapades,
Trying to find the shades.

Places to hide behind,
Fancy frames and stylish.
Fuel your grind,
And smile’ish.

Nothing felt real,
Not even “real.”

Spiritual facades or authentic prayers?
When they laid their hands on you,
Was it tried and true?
Or was it a man-made cure for the blues?

So where is this power the church speaks of?
Where are these angels watching above?
And when it comes to push-and-shove,
Will you catch any blessings in your glove?

Life is harder than it is easy,
Those inspirational quotes pure cheesy.
Promises of things to come, just a tease.
Nothing seems to set your heart at ease.

So you wonder through the desert for 40 years,
Fill your eyes with many tears.
Occasionally stop to hear the cheers,
Of the opponent’s love of your many fears.

Shame has made its home here,
“Freedom” makes your heart sneer.
If you were free, things would be clear.
Wouldn’t fight the ice you see in the mirror.

Asking God to send fire from heaven,
To melt your calloused bruises,
Provide answers for your excuses,
To wipe away the memories,
Of things that happened and shouldn’t be.

If God is love, then couldn’t He;
Come down now and rescue me?

And this is the cry of many hearts,
Debating worthless politics,
While evading what makes the soul tick.

All this hunger and all these dreams,
All this thirst for bountiful streams,
All this prayer for all these things,
All this comfort for all these stings.

So Lord, I placed myself in open;
Admit that I’m one of the you’s that’s coping;
Struggling as an adult to fully believe,
That you really want what’s best for me.

So Father God come and make yourself seen,
Clear our eyes and answer our screams.
Fulfill your promises and walk in my dreams,
Sew my heart back together at its torn seams.

Ice cold, but ready to be hot.
Flame once and ice I’m not.
So heavenly fire come and melt the ice,
I know that Jesus’ already paid the price.

It won’t be easy and it won’t be nice,
But I’m ready to win life’s game of Fire And Ice.

fire and ice

When Green Eyes Meet Blue

 

There I was stuck in the trenches,
Prematurely pulling out my stitches,
That bloody kind of messiness;
I’m broken now, sure of this.
I hid my face from the One that could save me.
Save another; don’t even bother.
A failure even to my father.
But were these statements true?
Of course not. (My father loves me.)
Paralyzed again by anxiety,
Faking my own piety.
Snuggled on the couch with my love,
Quietly searching my own soul while she looked onward,
What a sight it must have been.
Watching your man wrestle within.
Green eyes that searched for light,
Finding only grey and darkness tonight.
Beauty saw me for what I could be,
Never ceasing to love fearlessly.
Cloudy numbness gave way to tears,
Realizing love like this will weather my fears.
Projecting my perfect expectations onto others, onto me.
You’d wear yourself out to spend a night in my dreams.
Fiercely working,
Forever searching.
Running, but not a runner.
Fearful, but always cheerful.
Brewing, but not a brewery.
Wondering why God’s decided to choose me.
Prolonging His call and staying out of sight,
Hard to ignore, even in the night.
A dead heart still burning bright.
And there Love’s love still loved me.
She held my hand and prayed for me.
Asked God to set my heart free.
I’ve met Beauty, and her name’s Allie.
So green eyes met blue,
A weary heart, yet true.
Eagerly awaiting what God’s about to do.
Baby, I love you.

Let’s Get It – Season 2

This anxiety in my chest,

Just trying to catch my breath.

Why am I such a mess?

Wanna get my life in check,

But there I was bouncing checks.

Figured that one out but have other problems,

Might take a couple seminars to solve them.

Am I a puzzle that needs put together?

Or should I be tanned like leather?

And there I was running,

Tripping and stumbling,

Feet pound the pavement,

While fists punch the air;

I gotta get out of there.

So I listen to music,

Think that’ll do it.

Run faster, run harder.

Last longer, get stronger.

Trying to channel the artist’s energy

Into me.

So I listen to that anthem-rap;

DJ Khaled, Thi’sl and other trap.

Problem is, I was born to create;

Their music’s great and sure I relate;

But none of it demonstrates

What’s on my dinner-plate.

So here I am writing,

Breathing, conniving;

Sitting here crying.

Wrestling with identity,

Wish I had a friend in me,

But view myself a frenemy.

One step forward,

Then sprinting back.

Can’t stay on track,

What do I lack?

Beauty’s mine,

Her love’s divine;

Patient and shimmering;

Her eyes are glimmering.

Family loves me deep,

So why can’t I sleep?

I’ve seen myself come alive;

I know what it’s like;

But I’ve yet to arrive;

Barely put in drive.

Yet here I am;

I’m standing.

Stare-down with the man in the mirror,

Calling him out to face his fear,

Praying for a whisper in his ear;

Missing the prophetic gift;

Heart’s been adrift.

Can’t stand the reflection,

My vanity, a misdirection.

So Jesus come back,

Don’t turn my soul black.

Heal my broken back,

Stitch my heart in-tact.

Keep me on these tracks.

Help my unbelief,

Because I believe in you.

But I don’t believe in myself,

Yet you’re in me and I’m in you.

Holy Spirit’s available for everything I do.

And help me with these emotions,

Turbulent like the oceans;

Dark waters and still deeps;

Crashing waves and breaking seas;

Some days it’s crushing me.

Give me the strength to face it;

Give me the perseverance to chase it;

Let’s Get It – Season 2.

We’ve got some believing to do.

stormy_seas_by_bkhook-d60s7o9

 

 

I’m Justin, Here I Stand

Heart’s in a panic;

Beating quickly;

Thump, thump; they’re voting Trump.

Don’t get political;

Turns hypocritical.

Temper your opinions;

You are just a minion.

 

No confidence,

Lack competence.
And these are the lies,

That catch me by surprise.

 

Because really, if you knew me.

You’d see the mirage right through me.

 

Bravery and intellect,

Inquisitive, that is correct.

I’m smart and unapologetic;

Communicate without the rhetoric.

 

More passionate than Romeo;

Come to me and your troubles go;

A counselor to and fro;

Not afraid to go deep;

It’s in the shallow-end, I’d likely sink.

 

So what causes me to come and drink?

These lies from the bitter sink.

 

A broken mirror I see into,

Wondering what to do.

How to become the better me,

Because me isn’t enough,

But he’d be – he’d be tough.

 

Through and through, a winner.

Respectable, with accolades,

A house with lots of shade,

Married and pretty great;

Crises averted and problems dissolved,

Justin – Evolved.

 

But I am what I am,

Sam I am.

 

An overcomer,

Not a bummer.

 

Strong and relational,

Rarely confrontational.

 

Come to think of it,

I like who I am.

I’ll write my name in this sand;

I’m Justin, here I stand.

 

#BeatKU – A Wildcat Poem

Roses are red,

Violets are blue,

No one really likes KU.

 

Their arrogance

Isn’t happenstance.

 

So full of it, they’re bound to leak.

Perhaps that explains the big, yellow beak.

An outlet for when their head pops,

When the Hometown Heroes 3’s drop.
Welcome to the Wildcat Land,

Purple, black, silver brand.

Have you seen our band?
If not, you’re in for a surprise!

After all, that was The Enterprise!
Pride comes before the fall,

That excessive dunk Trump’d them all.
Faithful to our colors we shall ever be,

At least we’re conservative and free.

 

Keep your quidditch and your liberals,

Stay in Lawrence with its fake hills.

 

Keep your Crimson and your Blue,

But first, travel through the Flint Hills so K-State can beat KU.