Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Yeah, I know it's been a while

I'm guessing you can tell how busy we are since we haven't posted in like 3 weeks, but what are you gonna do? So I had another full band concert at The Nest here in Rome last Friday and I thought it went really well. We had a great turnout considering the weather and the fact it's football night for anyone with kids in high school or even those who just like to go. We had a great set of songs and desptie not being able to practice much, I was pleased overall with our performance. It's fun getting to play different types of music and performing in that type of setting. I mean, my calling and passion in life is leading worship and I will never prefer performance over that, but it's fun to do every once in a while. However, it takes up a lot of time and energy to put something like that together so I am probably not going to do it again for a while. At some point, I'll be able to get some videos from our July performance up on here and on Facebook so those who missed out will have a chance to check it out.

Big news for us this week by the way! Haha, no we aren't pregnant, for all those who are probably thinking that. But we did pay off a credit card and are on our way to paying off the other. Dave Ramsey is a smart fellow. The feeling of small accomplishments and success can go a long way when trying to become debt free. We paid for a lot of things with our wedding and honeymoon ourselves so we finally got the rest of that stuff paid off. Once we get the other card paid off, we'll be able to hit our student loans hard. Alas, I cannot wait for the day when we do not have to make anymore payments for our Berry College education, which come this May, will include 2 Bachelor's degrees and a Masters degree (for Brittany). It's money well spent, but it will be even better when we don't have to spend anymore. We have needs (that really means wants, but sounds better) that we need to meet and it will be nice to afford them.

With all of this busyness of late, I think my wife and I could really use a vacation. I don't think we'll get one until next summer, but it would be so amazing to be able to get away for a week. I wish I was one of those people who has a good friend or relative with a beach house or cabin or something or works for a cruise liner and can hook us up. Unfornuately, I was not blessed in that particular way, which is okay, but it would be nice sometimes. I know Brittany will be glad to be done with Grad School and this school year and actually have a summer to spend not doing school work and be able to travel a little. Our budgetary constraints will not allow us to venture very far for very long, but should hopefully provide at least one great trip, maybe two :)

As I write I'm listening to some Dave Barnes right now, good stuff. What is your favorite artist and/or song right now?

Friday, September 4, 2009

Grumblings and Observations

So, here are some recent observations I've made that I feel the need to comment on. Let's start in the pop culture realm. I find it really sad that the two biggest influences on children/teenagers via movies and books right now include a series about vampires and one about magic. Now, for those of you who really enjoy Harry Potter and Twilight, I'm not condemning anyone or saying that it is completely wrong to watch them or to let your children read/watch them, that's not my point. I just think that there should be some better content out there. I remember growing up and watching shows like Saved By the Bell, Family Matters, Full House, all shows that have some good moral lessons and a sense of family that is important. Sure there are some cheesy moments, but it is at least clean and wholesome. I grew up watching tons of Disney movies and things like that as well. Now, there just seems to be so much garbage in movies and TV that it is playing a huge role in shaping the minds of our country's young people. Don't even get me started with the internet and cell phones, haha.

I am also not the type of person to spend too much time discussing politics, but I find it really concerning that our country is in one of the worst states it has ever been, and our new president is about to head on his second vacation. I'm all for family fun, but I just have to think that there is a lot of work that could be done right now, or at least our leader should be giving off the impression that he is working tirelessly to come up with solutions and get this country back on its feet. Not to mention all the time he has spent on Sportscenter and talking about sports or at ballgames. Again, I know that is a hard position, but in my opinion, it just seems that he has spent so much time marketing himself and getting on TV, that in the meantime, our country continues to dive more and more into the ground and a lot of people are really hurting because of it. I thank God every day that my wife and I have jobs, a roof over a head, and food to eat. God has truly blessed us, although we are in no way "rich". I work with clients every day that really want to work, but are really struggling to find it and it breaks my heart. I know God is in control and that allows me to have hope, but at the same time it is scary to think where will be in 3 or 4 years. Well, I hope the President has a nice vacation.

Lastly, I am proud to say I am part of a church that "gets it". I feel like the church in North America has become so consumed with consuming. What I mean by that, is I see a lot of Wal-mart in today's church. Do you know what I mean? People show up on Sunday morning and the fill up on things for the next week and pick and choose what to receive. Not only that, but so many churches seem to use all of their efforts and resources to try and fill more seats, or build more buildings, start more programs that are designed for the people inside. However, what is being done down the street in the community? What kind of impact are they having globally? Why do people feel that the church is there for them? It's not, the church is meant to look like Jesus, act like Jesus, point others to Jesus, take Jesus to others and so on. I'm not saying Sunday School or Bible Study isn't important, not at all. Jesus didn't make the Great Commission optional, or just for those who feel "called" to do it. It doesn't work that way. Everyone saved by the grace of Jesus Christ is called to impact the world locally and globally. Not everyone has to spend a week in Africa, but should be investing, praying, sending, going if they can. Or just realize that missions can mean working in your community. Again, I'm not perfect and don't have it all figured out and this paragraph is just as much for me as anyone. Until we realize that all Christians are on the same team, division and lack of sharing the good news will continue. We tell others to live like Jesus, but I don't remember Jesus ever spending all his time inside the doors of church filling up on things. No, He lived out among the lost. Jesus spent time with murderers, adulterers, thieves......sinners. If that's the case, why aren't we spending time with sinners. Hear me, it is not the Pastor's job to preach the gospel, it is the responsibility and should be the joy of every believer. I fail in this every day, but I long so much for my life to be an imitation of our King Jesus. It does no good to invite someone to church and have them listen to the Pastor if you aren't willing to invest in their life and to live Jesus out in their life. I'll leave you all with one of my favorite quotes: "Preach the gospel every day, and when necessary, use words."

Hayes Party of Two

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Ahhh, the Sweetness of September

I know we haven't blogged in a while, but I was waiting until today for this very post. September is my favorite sports month of the year and I am pumped. Go ahead call me a boy, I know my wife will, haha. But seriously, what could be better than baseball pennant chases and the beginning of the College Football season. Oh yeah, NFL starts too which is a lot more entertaining than it used to be, mainly because the Falcons are relevant again and a contender to make the playoffs again. It's no secret I love Braves baseball and UGA football. I don't deny it nor try to get around it. It's just engrained in who I am.

Let's start with the Braves. They have been the epitome of inconsistency this season, but now find themselves only 3 games out of the Wild Card hunt and a solid chance at making the postseason for the first time since 2005. Those of you who have been long time Braves fans remember the days where we just expected the Braves to make the playoffs and contend for a World Series. Yes, I wish we would have won more than 1, but what can you do. The Braves have a bright future with a lot of young talent coming in so hopefully we'll see this time put together a long stretch of playoff runs and a couple championships throughout the next decade or two. Go Braves!

I will always be a Dawg and will bleed red and black, as will my kids, and their kids and their kids, just as my Dad before me. A lot people don't understand. UGA has the toughest schedule in all of college football this season including quite possibly their toughest season opener in years against #9 Oklahoma State. Georgia starts the preseason at #13, although I think preseason rankings are stupid. We lost our starting QB and RB to the first round of the NFL draft, but make no mistake, this team is loaded with talent. Unfortunately, our arch rival and defending champs of whose name I won't mention, are loaded even more and are the unanimous favorites it seems to win it all this year, and honestly, they should be. A lot of people consider this a rebuilding year, but elite programs like UGA don't rebuild, they reload and I expect at least a 9 win season this year against a touch schedule and a good bowl game. I think it's unreasonable to think we'll win the SEC East and get to Atlanta for the SEC Championship, but a win against UF could do that however difficult it may be. Either way, I cannot wait for this Saturday's game and for the rest of the season.

Last year the Falcons led by rookie QB sensation Matt Ryan made the playoffs, but lost to eventual NFC Champs the Arizona Cardinals. This year, they have added the greatest Tight End of all time in Tony Gonzalez and are expecting big things as well they should be. The schedule is much tougher this year, but I like their chances to win the division and contend for a spot in the Super Bowl. This organization is well run by owner Arthur Blank, GM Thomas Dimitroff and Head Coach Mike Smith. The defense is the glaring weak spot right now. The offense will score points in bunches, but the defense will need to step it up and maybe even add some pieces if the Falcons are to make any noise this season. One thing is for sure, the Dirty Birds are practically guaranteed to have back to back winning seasons for the first time in team history, which is one of the saddest things I've ever heard, the fact they've never done it before. The most interesting game this season by far is the game against Philadelphia in Atlanta when Michael Vick makes his return to Atlanta. Talk about excitement.

Well, in all likelihood my wife won't be over-approving of my decision to fill our family blog with sports talk, but a man has to do what a man has to do, or something like that. I love her so much and I appreciate the fact she allows me to watch sports, probably a lot more than I should, and that she doesn't think any less of me. It doesn't rule my life and I don't allow a win or a loss by these teams to determine my attitude or demeanor, although there were times when that wasn't true.

I'll leave you all with this. We've been doing Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover and are well on our way to being debt free. Obviously it will still take us several more years to pay off our student loans of course, but it was worth it for two top notch Berry College educations. Well, actually three since Brittany will have a Masters as well. I can't wait until the day we get a letter saying we no longer have a financial obligation to Berry. There will be some crazy celebration going on that day for sure. God bless and please leave us some comments and let us know what you think of our blog. Any things you want to read from us.

Hayes Party of Two