Greater

Today I had to stop.

I woke up to the news of the Las Vegas shooting. Last week my heart was heavy for Puerto Rico. On a closer to home note, I was in a car accident over the weekend that left me shaken to the core. There seems like so little one can do while sitting at a desk, or watching from a screen at home. It's times like these we want to rush in and help to aid the situation. I've been struggling with the overwhelming sense of helplessness in the middle of all this chaos. What can we do? How can we help? I was reminded yesterday of a simple yet very hard lesson surrounding one word.

Love.

On TV it's preached. In referencing our administration and the U.S. as a whole, it's encouraged. But what does it mean? What does it truly mean to love – to share it, spread it, and ultimately live it?

This discussion comes down to one simple fact: In order to love, you must first realize that you are loved.

In order to love, you must first realize that you are loved. Click To Tweet

I can't help think of the ultimate example of love... For me, as a Christian, that example is Jesus Christ. I realize not everyone believes the way I do, so feel free to adjust accordingly. But Christ was the ultimate example of showing compassion and love.

We see so many celebrities and news outlets saying, "we need more love," or "love is all we need," which is true. However, how are we able to love our neighbor, our friends, or those who bring harm to us, if we ourselves aren't sure how to be loved? You could google "how to be loved" like I did. It will bring you to a wikihow page with 9 simple steps. Or we can look inside ourselves and realize we are all truly broken people. Once we realize this, it's easier to give grace and lend compassion to our fellow man. None of us are perfect and we are all in desperate need of love.

Today as we go about the news cycle and uncover new details about these tragedies; let's not forget that we ourselves are broken. Let's show compassion and love to those around us with the realization they are broken and in just as much need of love as we are.


Voting in 2016

On this election eve, I felt the need to address something that I've been thinking about for almost a year now. We see celebrities, politicians, our peers all say "go vote," "it's your civic duty," or "your opinion doesn't matter if you don't vote."

The reality is voting is your right and only that. It's not a duty, it's not a moral obligation – it's a right. If you feel conflicted whether because of religious or personal beliefs, no one should make you feel inferior for not participating in a voluntary act.

This election has been so heated and the American people are more conflicted than ever. We need educated voters to step up and vote. We need young people who believe in the democratic process to vote. We don't need those who are simply voting for "the lesser of two evils." Am I out of line for saying this? Does this go against everything America stands for? I don't believe so. Look at the Evangelical community, they didn't even turn out to vote in mass until the 1970's.

If you are at odds between the two candidates, it's ok, take a deep breath with me – it's going to be ok.

Personally, I feel there is a clear choice in this election. I was conflicted at first, but then I took a big look at a few key points that were important to me. This allowed me to go in, vote, and feel confident about my candidate. You might feel the same way but still be in the dark. It's ok. For those of you that are passionate about either candidate and are educated on the issues - VOTE. This is your time to represent your country and candidate using your right given to you by the United States of America.

I leave you with one of my favorite Roosevelt quotes:

A vote is like a rifle: its usefulness depends upon the character of the user.
- Theodore Roosevelt


Make America Great Again?

This weekend was a bit of a mess. I attended two political events that couldn't have been more opposite of each other. If you just landed here via social media, welcome, the next few minutes I'm going to detail my experiences at two different events for GOP frontrunners. I decided on a whim to attend Donald Trump and Marco Rubio rallies. Their campaigns announced last Thursday they were coming into town, so I took this as an opportunity to see them both live. Were they actually going to discuss this issues? Do they carry themselves the same way as they do in the media? Is Trump really that orange? All these things were going through my head.

My first stop on Saturday morning was Donald Trump. His event took place at XNA and was set to begin at 12PM. I arrived at 10AM only to realize they had already started filling the third overflow parking and had almost 2,000+ people inside the airport hangar where his event was set to take place.

Donald-Trump-1
Trump supporters waiting in line for a shuttle.

The crowd was diverse. It was nothing like I expected it to be. I would estimate about one-third high school/college kids, while the other two-thirds were families and adults. This was interesting to me that his campaign is no respecter of age/race/status, it was a very good mix.

Donald-Trump-3

Once inside I found my friend Tevin and begin to realize the extreme production value of this event. I have never seen something so well put together in the last minute. From media relations, crowd control, A/V – it was all excellent.

By the time 11A rolled around there were countless announcements, an endorsement from Mike Huckabee's daughter, the Pledge of Allegiance led by two Veterans, the singing of the Nation Anthem, prayer by a local pastor, and Tiny Dancer by Elton John played about 20+ times.

At 11:15A Trump's plane was in full view of the hangar to make its landing at XNA. At 11:37A his plane made a dramatic takeoff to the left side of the hangar while what felt like Hans Zimmer played in the background. About 15 minutes later his plane landed (for a second time) and taxied to the front of the hangar. Chris Christie and Donald Trump made their entrance and it was nothing short of fanfare by all.

Trump did best what Trump does best – Immediately started attacking Rubio. Trump is a MASTER marketer and it showed in the production of his campaign, and with everything that came out of his mouth. Every breath is calculated. If you think for one second he's a blabbering idiot who doesn't have a plan – you are very wrong. I went into this event with an open mind. I was genuinely excited to see what all they hype was about. I came out of that hangar feeling like I was in a scene from Welcome to Mooseport instead of feeling confident about the GOP frontrunner. Street vendors lined the side of the road as I made my way back to my car. It took a few minutes to realize what all had just taken place. Everyone in that hangar was convinced Trump is right for America. If his Presidency is anything like his campaign rallies...we're in for a long four years.


Fast forward to that evening. After spending the afternoon getting my tires aligned at BMW, I made my way to Emmanuel Baptist Church where Marco Rubio's rally was set to be held. The demographic was very similar to Trumps. A great mix of high school/college plus a large pool of 45+. Rubio was introduced by Governor Asa Hutchinson, here's a clip from their entrance:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tij6VXy1Okk&feature=youtu.be

Rubio was poised for a 10P rally and spoke relentlessly on key issues. He didn't belittle Trump, but he did disqualify his attempt at becoming the President of the United States. He spoke on issues of immigration, the important of preparing for future generations, and his heart on veteran affairs. There was even a point in the even where a protester started chanting "Trump, Trump!" Officials escorted the guy out of the room but not before Rubio said, "Don't worry, I'll cut his taxes too." It was refreshing to be in a room of positive energy. A stark contrast to Trump's event.

With all of that said, Marco Rubio has my vote. I had him picked from the very beginning. I'll leave you with his closing remarks of the evening that I found to be very inspirational. No matter who you vote for, you need to go vote. Regardless if you agree with me or not, show up and vote or your voice will not matter for the next four years.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-GTcqa0Jtm0&feature=youtu.be