The first quarter of 2010 has brought many challenges into my life.  In February, Mandy and I added Shawn to our family.  I can’t tell you how quickly we attached to him.  We love him so much and though things have worked out as well as you could ever hope for, he still has brought new challenges into our lives.  In addition to Shawn, we now know that in November we’ll be expecting baby number two!  These new responsibilities pose many important questions:  How do we jump into parenting a one year old suddenly with a second child coming very soon?  When will Mandy and I ever be able to spend time together without babies screaming bloody murder?  How do we pay for all the added expenses?

The warmness of Spring has brought in the challenges of nature.  As a new homeowner, I now have the fun task of taking on weekly, weekend yardwork.  Lawnmoving, weeding, and trimming present new challenges that I watched my dad take on my as a son.  Now it’s my turn to be the dad and sweat it up on Saturday mornings to work on my farmers tan.

This year we’ve made the transition at work into shooting with more cinema style video cameras.  This has brought a whole set of challenges when it comes to our workflow and how we go about setting up and editing our video productions.  We now record sound separately from video and sync it up with our video in post.  Here’s an example of a video we recently made.

Challenges are a good thing.  They can make you a stronger, more capable person.  They can give you the experience to deal with future obstacles and difficulties that will come in the future.  You can challenge yourself when you see something in your life that you want to make better.  Earlier this year, I challenged myself to start reading at least one book, cover to cover, each month.  Not only have I learned a great deal through taking on this task, I’ve actually really enjoyed it and many times have read much more than I ever thought I could.  Challenges are usually looked at as a negative when you first take a look at them… but when you look back at them they usually bring out many positives to be proud of.


An Encounter


Last Thursday, I ran into my college professor, Kent Murray, at Publix.  It was an odd thing, to meet Mr. Murray in the frozen foods section.  He wasn’t supposed to be there… in fact, I had it set perfectly in my mind that I would never see Mr. Murray ever again in my entire life.

Mr. Murray was the know it all type… college professors should know most, but Mr. Murray really thought he knew it all.  This man was teaching in the rapidly changing world of video production but was totally stuck in the 70’s and 80’s.  He was known for asking his students questions where he could point out the wrong in their answer no matter what was they said.  This man was bad… bad news for students… bad news for me.

Running into Mr. Murray in the grocery store a solid year after graduation was also bad news for me.  We briefly made eye contact.  He was staring me down, practically asking me to say hello.  I walked over to the frozen pizzas.  He was now just feet away.  Side to side now, he stood at the glass door, peering at the hot pockets, keeping me in sight in the corner of his eye.

I opened the refrigerated door, pretending to decide on which DiGiorno pizza I wanted.  Then I heard his voice…

“Mr. Burns.”

I kept staring at the pizzas… Trying quickly to decide on the right words to say.

“Mr. Murray.  I thought that was you.  How are you?”

He seemed different.  Something about the way he was carrying himself and relaxation on his face.

“I’m doing well.” He said.  “You find yourself a job?”

“Oh yes sir.” I answered.  “Found a great job working full time as a video editor.”

He seemed pleased.

“Very good.” He said with a genuine quality that seemed foreign coming from him.  “I hope you continue to learn.”

He casually took a hot pocket box out of the freezer, let the door close itself and turned and walked away.  I stood there, with a frozen pizza in my hand, bewildered at what just happened.  He turned the corner at the end of the aisle disappearing from sight once again in my life.


Just in case it’s not obvious, this did not really happen. I’m starting to feel a need to start writing creatively again and forcing myself to write based on prompts.  The prompt asked me to write about what would happen if you ran into one of your old teachers.

New Gear


This week at work, we got lots of new toys.  Tonight I got to use some of them for the first time shooting b-roll at a small group.  Afterwards, I took the setup home and got some more practice using it around the house.  Here’s a quick cut of some shots with the family.

The smooth motion is provided by the Glidetrack

The Glidetrack is basically a portable dolly.  It allows you to mount the camera on a small track that glides really smoothly.  The second piece of gear is a handheld stabilizer.  It’s used when you need to shoot handheld, but keep a relatively stable shot.

The last piece, a follow focus, attaches to the stabilizer.  It is basically a focus knob that rests on the side of the setup.  It gives precise control over your focus while also giving your second hand more control over the stabilization of the camera.



I just finished up my fourth read of the year with Dave Cullen’s book that took ten years to assemble. It tells the entire story of Columbine in a readable way; all the way from the early stages of the the kids’ downfall all the way to the recent, newly-discovered facts about one of the memorable days in the 90’s.

It’s such a sad story on so many levels, from the killers’ surprised and deeply hurt parents, to the terrible instructions given to the kids/staff trapped inside the building, the handling of the investigation by the County officials, court rulings and suing, and the media’s presentation of the case. What you most likely think about Columbine is probably not accurate and the book does a great job of making the tragic story worth the read.

Cullen takes you deep into the stories of the victims, survivors, parents and the minds of Eric and Dylan. Cullen draws from many resources such as journal entries, police reports, interviews, and the Basement Tapes. It’s amazing how different the story of Columbine truly played out compared to what we all watched on TV for all those weeks. It was truly a miracle that only 13 lives were taken that day because it had the capability to reach deaths into the thousands.

If you’re looking for a good read that will bring out compassion in your heart, go check out Columbine.



Every once in a while, it’s good to take a break and do something different with your weeknight. Mandy has been wanting to build a fire in the backyard for weeks — and for weeks I’ve been too tired, too cold, or too lazy to get up from my chair and give my girl this little thing she wants.  Tonight, we did it.

It was so refreshing to put Shawn to bed, get out the camping chairs, start a fire and then talk alone with the love of my life (plus Hatch). There’s just something about a fire that makes simple company more meaningful. The light that shines from the embers on your face, the crackles you hear that pop up as the fire burns hotter, the warmth on the front half of your body contrasting with the cold on your back all add up to a supremely soothing environment.

When we walked outside, my mind was on what I thought were bigger things — our finances, the much needed landscaping in our freshly dug backyard, and various other stresses of life… quickly my thoughts shifted towards how blessed I am… what I wonderful girl I’m married to, and how life should be made up of more moments like these.



It’s 1:45am on a Sunday morning and I have to wake up at 6:00am to go play guitar at church. I should be fast asleep getting rested for my early morning but I can’t sleep.  Partly because of the two cups of coffee I drank while reading tonight and partly because of what I was reading.

This book is one that I’d recommend to anyone who calls themself a Christian, and I say “calls themself” because of the following. The Bible is clear in that we should welcome looking into and checking out our salvation. 2 Corinthians 3:15 in the Message sums it up clearly.

Test yourselves to make sure you are solid in the faith. Don’t drift along taking everything for granted. Give yourselves regular checkups. You need firsthand evidence, not mere hearsay, that Jesus Christ is in you. Test it out. If you fail the test, do something about it.

The main theme of the book asks the question, Are we truly in love with Christ? Most Christians immediately think, yes. This book does an excellent job of looking deeper into that question and begging the question, Are you a Christian or are you a lukewarm Christian? and even further, Is there such a thing as a lukewarm Christian?

Just know, I’m not recommending a book that just makes you feel guilty and doubt your salvation. Quite the opposite! This is a book that makes you want to get re-saved! I’m inspired to follow my God in a way that I haven’t. God truly wants my best and all of it and when I take an honest look at my life and the way I spend my time and energy, God is not at the top.

There are many books like these that you can read to give you a quick spiritual inspiration that lasts just a few weeks only to fade away, but I’m challenging myself to make this more than just a inspirational read. If you want more of God the answer isn’t to find yourself another book or sermon to listen to, it’s to ask God for more and then give more!

Snow Day


Everybody loves a good snow day!  Today, we were given the day off from work due to the snow.  About 11:30, the snow started falling.  Shawn didn’t know whether to be excited or to be scared.  Hatch loved every second of it.  Here’s a few snapshots of Shawn’s first snow day.

Click on photo to enlarge.

For just over a year, Mandy and I have been working with Georgia’s Division of Family and Children Services and Alabama’s Department of Human Resources to get this little guy into our house.  After a year of paperwork being misplaced, details being lost, and two caseworkers working through the courts, we brought him home today.

Adoption has always been something we’ve wanted to do and today we are in the first real stage of the process.  Thanks to all the people who have been praying for us and we ask that you continue to do so!  Shawn is a happy, friendly kid who always has a smile on his face and looks like he’ll transition quickly and smoothly.  Thankfully, he had amazing foster parents who loved and spoiled him just like we will.

Here’s a few pictures from us arriving at my parents’ house.

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Update – Here are some photos from his Welcome/Birthday Party.

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A Cleanse


You ever go through a stage where you just want everything in your life to be clean?  I’m certainly in one of those stages in my life right now and not just physical cleanliness like the cleanliness of a room;  I’m also cleaning up the way I organize my computer files at work, tossing out the clothes I don’t wear often and even thinking about the the cleanliness of the food I’m putting into my body.

Recently, our church participated in a 21 day fast and over the course of it I learned how refreshing it was just to eat natural, healthy, wholesome foods.  After three weeks of no grease, fats, or sweets, you’d be surprised how sensitive your mouth becomes to all the garbage that’s in just about all the foods we eat.  I watched a documentary that added fuel to the fire and that I’d recommend everybody to watch.  Here’s the trailer below.

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This cleanse has all the typical makings that new year’s resolutions bring that usually fade quickly. Hopefully I can break the trend of previous attempts of removing the clutter in all the areas of my life.



This is the look of disappointment…

A look from a man who’s already a legend in his profession.  A man who some say betrayed his legacy for one last shot at a championship.  A man who defied the odds and at 40 years old had one of the best seasons of his career.  A man who led his team all the way to its conference championship game only to make a mistake that would cost his team their season.