Behind The Times: What I Watched This Year When Not Out On Adventures

Adventures in waterfalls

I turned the screen off in shock.  My mind was spinning.  I had just finished the final episode of the latest season of Game of Thrones.  “Not his real name! He’s more than, but what! Oh my gosh!” -Immediately I felt the need to talk about my feelings, but no one wanted to talk to me.  I’d finished the show a year after everyone else.  That’s just how behind the times I am.

Yep, we are nerds!

I don’t like being behind the times.  I would rather be up on all the pop culture happenings.  I go to comic cons.  I am a pop culture nerd.  But I don’t always get what I want.  I would love to have the last say on what I watch, but well, I love my wife even more.  So when April asks to watch something or she refuses to watch Game of Thrones with me, I let her pick.  God is asking me to be a little behind on the times so I can love my wife better.  Anyway, I didn’t get to watch the show on time and it turns out it was a good thing.

Yes, I know that if you watch the show and are more behind than I was, you could easily figure out who I am talking about and realize that it is a spoiler.  That is why I won’t remind you that this is a shocking revelation about the identity of a lead character who has grown up thinking he’s a bastard but in truth he is the son of the true King.

But, here’s what I say to any worries about spoilers.  I managed to stay spoiler free with a show that’s been out for a year and if a guy who has been teaching, coaching, and sneaking in episodes when his wife wasn’t around managed to finish season seven, you can manage it too.  If you do take the time to finish the show, be prepared for some powerful truth.

This wasn’t the only truth I learned this past summer while I was catching up on the best that TV has to offer.  At my wife’s request, I dove head first into This Is Us.

Tuesday nights and Chicken Parm!

After watching most of season one in a week I was in tears.  In the episode Jack, the selfless husband teaches his wife how to love football.  Neither Jack, nor Rebecca wanted a marriage like their parents. They grew up in families where their parents weren’t on the same team.  I didn’t expect the episode to hit me the way it did, but I guess the truth is I want my wife to love football too so she isn’t just a mistress to my team during football season, but a teammate in heartbreak and joy.

Before the Buffs Blew it.

My tear-filled reaction was born out of the desire to have a wife who loves football, but it was more than that.  I want to make sure my marriage is a healthy team.  And sometimes I don’t know if we are a team because of her refusal to like football or to give Game of Thrones a try.  That’s one reason why I picked up one of April’s shows so that we could share our time together and be on the same team.

April’s first Bronco’s game!

I spent much of 2017 telling her I would not watch This Is Us.  It just didn’t interest me as it seemed like it was too dramatic.  But I am glad I did.  Yes, I know I’m behind the times and am about two years late to the party.  No, I have not cried during every episode (That’s April’s job), but yes I do think it is one of the best written shows on TV.  And I started watching it right when I needed to.  See, I am behind the times, but this is what happens when you’re a teacher, coach, uncle, friend, and most importantly a new husband.

It might seem a little lame that I used my first free summer in two years to catch up on TV, but sometimes watching a good TV show can be just as adventurous as going up to Rocky Mountain National Park and seeing Moose, which I did twice this past summer.

Last year, as I documented, I married April, which has been the best thing to happen to me, like ever, but I had to work all summer so we could pay for our wedding.  I also coached basketball if you remember. While I worked my butt off during the school year and summer, I let my story consumption slip.  I hardly read last year.  I didn’t want that to happen again this year.  This is me being back in control of how I spend my time.

Yes, the World Cup was included in on what I watched.

Books, movies, and tv shows we consume are teachers if we let them.  Recently I started asking God what he has for me in what I am watching or reading.  Since I started this practice, it has helped me be okay with how I consume movies, tv, and books.  But it has also made me weary.  Not everything I consume is good for me.  I can’t do horror and I hate stories that depict the world as hopeless, so when April has us watching The Handmaid’s Tale I have to chase it with episodes of Fuller House.

Union Station is full of Ghosts
Can you see the ghosts in the picture?

After teaching a summer school focused on the horror genre (why I can’t do horror right now), I started not sleeping well and started looking for something positive to fill my mind and Game of Thrones did not disappoint.  I finished episode seven of Game of Thrones in early July and I felt God telling me, what lies are you living in?  Am I like the character who has been living under a false identity his whole life thinking that he is less than he actually is?

So on a sleepless night after finishing Game of Thrones, God told me, Brendan you are my son.  You are my child.  A son of the King, just like John Snow.  Do not worry, I have an amazing adventure planed for you.

These men are teaching me how to be a young king.

A couple of weeks later April and I were watching season two of This Is Us.  We were balling our eyes out as Jack loved his family perfectly.  I heard God say, not in an audible voice, but it was still clear, “My love is perfect and it sets you free.  I have given you a teammate who loves you and even if she doesn’t like football or she hasn’t agreed to watch the best show on television, she is with you in all your heartbreak and all your joys.”

I might have been behind the times on the TV shows, but I would say that I watched them right on time.  The messages I learned from these shows are helping me live free and connect with the love God has for me.

So this year, 2018, I watched plenty of TV, and I am not ashamed I did.  God used each well written show to speak his loving truth into my life.  Here are five shows you might like and what I learned from them (Honorable Mention: Lost in Space and Longmire):

Yes, I read the book first.
  1. The Haunting of Hill House scared the heck out of me, but reminded me that we are all broken and in need of healing.
  2. A Series of Unfortunate Events made me laugh and hit me with the fact that kids are strong and smart and I should empower my students to live to their fullest poential.
  3. The Walking Dead made my heart race and taught me that when the world goes to hell I can choose to love those around me like Rick did.
  4. Better Call Saul was so beautiful and tragic.  You can be good at heart, but if you break when the world is against you and don’t let love heal you, you might go bad.
  5. Stranger Things season two won me over with heart and horror.  Never bet against kids and don’t adopt baby alien creatures even if they are cute.
Doctor Who didn’t make the watchlist this year.  April is mad at the show, so I am waiting for her to get back into the TARDIS and travel with me.
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First world problems

What To Do When It Snows

Out My Back Yard

I woke up to the sound of my phone, church had been canceled.  My parents are flying back from Tulsa today, and if their flight get’s canceled it will be due to an act of God.  So, can you say God canceled Church?

It's Cold Out!

After I made a couple phone calls to let the rest of the people at The Neighborhood Church know it was okay to stay at home and worship at home, I decided to figure out what to do with my snowy day.

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I decided to attend Lifechurch.tv online and read a devotional, the same devotional I quoted when I wrote about my worst Valentine’s ever.  Here is what Sarah Young has for us today,

“Be still in the Light of My Presence, while I communicate Love to you.  There is no force in the universe as powerful as My Love.  You are constantly aware of limitations: your own and others’.  But there is no limit to My love; it fills all space, time and eternity.”

Snow Art

God’s love seems to be as big as the snow storm that is howling outside.  His love, according to Craig Groeschel, is also big enough to forgive our sins.  If I have been forgiven, then I need to forgive as well.

Snow days are a great reminder of forgiveness.  When the snow covers the ground in a fresh white layer, it always reminds me that God can cover up my dirtiness and brokenness.

Today seems to be a great day to be still and know that God loves me and has forgiven me.

It’s also a great day to take a couple of pictures.

Let It Snow

I tried to use the snow-blower, but it is still broken.

The Snow-Blower

So I had to shovel.

Lamp Post To Narnia

Winter-Wonder-Land

Little Windy

Through The Trees

I hope you all enjoyed the pictures, and if you are here in Denver, stay safe, and be still and know that God loves you and will forgive you.

The First Snow

I spent the last two weeks pounding away on my computer.  It’s getting a little old and the delete key isn’t working all the time, but for now, it is helping me get through grad school.  Funny enough, two weeks ago, when I was celebrating Hobbit Day, I did something very stupid.

Acting on little, to no sleep, I decided to go check out the new iPhone 5, it had just been released that day.  As I had expected, the Apple store was packed with people trying to upgrade their phones.  I didn’t really want a new phone, just wanted to look at it.

The iPhone 5 is sleek and remarkably light weight.  It was very compelling, but what really caught my eye was the new Macbook Pro.  My old Macbook only has 80 gigs and the battery has a life of about 30 minutes, though it still works.

Now, let me explain myself a little bit.  On Friday September 21st, I was still feeling the after-effects of completing my first masters level class the day before.  I’d been up since 5:30, already hard to work on the reading for my next class.

Still, NEVER go shopping when you are super tired.  Or you might walk out with a 2,000 dollar computer that you can’t afford.  That’s just what I did.

Fortunately Apple has a gracious return policy, which is what I took advantage of after I went to the gym and thought things over.

Now back to the present.

I spent all day yesterday typing away on my old computer, being very careful not to make any mistakes, as the delete key is being very tricky.  Kind of funny that I was able to delete my big mistake when I bought a new computer, but my old computer wont let me delete the wrong words I type.  Anyway, around 4:00 pm yesterday, I turned in my second big paper, which interestingly enough focused on the importance of sleep and how it correlates to learning.

I should have talked about sleep and how it can stop you from buying expensive Apple products.  But that wouldn’t have been scholarly, just realistic.

If you can’t tell I’ve learned I need more sleep!  So I decided to take this morning off, which was very nice.  When I woke up around 9 am, I was surprised.  A fresh coat of snow on the ground.

I love snow, especially the kind that only sticks on the grass.  So in celebration of the first snow I am going to share the pictures of my yard with a fresh dusting on it.

I think it’s awesome that it snowed today.  It reminded me that sometimes we make mistakes, but we can’t do anything bad enough that God will not take it back.  He covers over our sin and makes our lives as white as the fresh snow on my lawn this morning.

I hope you enjoy the pictures of the first snow in Denver. And remember, it’s not bad to sleep in every once and a while.

Coming Up Roses

I’ve been doing  yard work again.  I don’t have much of a green thumb, more like a brown thumb.  I tend to pull more weeds than plant bushes.  Despite my lack of talent in the field of botany something really cool happened this last week.

To explain what happened I need to back up my story a little bit.

You’ve Got Mail! No, wait, it’s just junk.

For the last couple of years a nasty weed has been growing near the mailbox.  Oh, you guys know what a mailbox is, you know the box at the end of your driveway that magically receives junk and the occasional birthday card from your grandma that always has the two dollar bill tucked inside.

Anyway, this “weed” never really looked like a weed.  Last summer it bloomed a beautiful white flower, but it also took over wherever it grew.  (It also made it hard to back out of our driveway)  So I decided to transplant this “weed,” still thinking it was a normal plant, to a more advantageous location.  But when I started to dig it up I realized the job wouldn’t be worth it.  What I thought was one plant was five or six different weeds.  This monster was growing crazy and choking out everything around it.

After talking to my dad, we decided to rip this weed out.  We dug and dug, for about ten minutes, making no progress.  Then my dad had a brilliant idea.  “Why don’t we rip the roots out with my truck,” he said.  “Heck yes!” I replied.  Two hours later, after a lot of grunting and other man stuff, we’d pulled the monster out.  The roots looked more like alien tentacles.

That’s the kind of weeding I like to do.  Honestly I didn’t expect anything good to come from it.  But then yesterday I went over to the mailbox for the first time in a couple weeks, really I only check my mail on my computer, and was shocked at what I saw.  The bush, which had been growing resolutely between the monster weed, had always been deprived of its nutrients because of the weed.  But now everything had changed.  A perfect yellow rose had bloomed.

Because I took out the weed the rose bush is now blossoming amazingly!

It made me think about how God works in our lives.  Sometimes he takes things away from us.  Sometimes those things are bad like weeds.  Sometimes those weeds even look good, but in fact they are choking out something that God wants to nurture in our lives.

So I have a question, what do you think God wants you to give up or get rid of so that you can experience an amazing blossom?

As we live spiritually we need to trust God.  He has a plan for us, even if that means letting go of things we think we need.  Let God help you produce roses, let him work in your life.

Good Friday: The Meaning of The Cross

The journey to the top of Calvary must have been difficult.  Jesus was exhausted as he carried the weapon of his demise all the way up Calvary.  He’d been beaten.  He’d been mocked.  Yet he endured the pain of that brutal cross.

For me.  For you.  For the sins of the world.

Since the first good Friday, the cross has become more than a tool for execution.  For me it is a reminder of forgiveness, how much I’m loved, and the tool used to redeem my brokenness.  To others the cross is just art, something to look at.  But as you can see from the pictures I took during my recent trip to Guatemala, even when the cross is represented artistically, it can still mean something.

Today, Good Friday, the day we celebrate Christ’s death on the cross, what does that cross mean to you?