Memory Box Monday: My Life in 66 Seconds

To try and squeeze your whole life into 66 seconds is a task. There are so many small pieces that I would have liked to include, but you have to pick the highlights. Actually, you have to pick the highlights of the highlights and hope it’s entertaining.

The challenge to make this video came from Elmify:

…and here is my response:

My wonderful wife was a great help with her suggestions, acting, and camera handling skills.  The bit on either side of the flashback is real. Don’t wrong my wife. She is a gypsy and if wronged, will hunt you down like a rabid animal. Have a nice day!

Memory Box Monday: Momma Sheila

As a teenager I was watched over by a second mother, the mighty Mrs. Sheila. The very mention of the name makes children sing, the youthful weary, and evil flee.  If Bob is the name above all mortal names, then Sheila is a very close second and I dare you to find anyone else that would tell you differently.

Mrs. Sheila was the neighborhood Mom. When everyone went somewhere to hang out, they ultimately ended up at Mrs. Sheila’s house. When someone needed a ride, Mrs. Sheila or her husband Paul (the man of the man, aka Bob Father) would always accommodate. Except for when the church had an activity, you could never, and I mean never, go over to their house and find it empty. It was a party all the time.

Parents never worried. Just saying, “I’ll be at Mrs. Sheila’s,” would immediately put them at ease. She is the ultimate mother hen and I mean that in a good way. If you had been entrusted in her care, she had the uncanny ability of knowing exactly what you where doing, where you were doing it, and who you were doing it with.  On one occasion I was on the road with Bob and the band playing a show in a small town in south Georgia. We were at least 2 to 3 hours from home. We played a show until midnight and at the last second, our accommodations were changed to a hotel in another town. As we fell into bed that night, the hotel room phone rang. I answered. It was Sheila. In disbelief I handed the phone to Bob and immediately started checking his personal effects for tracking devices.

Although she watched after all of us like a hawk, she was also more than accepting of our crazy ideas and actions. She was game as long as we didn’t tear the house apart and even that was ok sometimes. From kicking each other where men should not kick each other, to wrestling each other out of breathe, to rolling down the highway laying on skateboards at 45 mph Mrs. Shelia never so much a nagged (mostly). Well, let’s just say she never stopped us, and that’s alright by any teenager’s standard.

Mrs. Sheila thank you for letting us raid your house, and keep you up till the whee hours of the morning.  Thank you for providing a safe environment were kids could crash, have fun, and feel accepted and safe. You made every one of us feel loved and we always knew we had a second home with your family.  May God bless your generosity and patience. I hope that you always feel surrounded by love and security.

And Bob Father, thanks for keeping Mrs. Sheila from killing us. 🙂 You guys are awesome!


ON A SEPARATE NOTE: Memory Box Monday will be winding down for awhile as all of my memory box stuff is going into storage while we attempt to sell the house.  I might have one more week’s worth of material hanging around here somewhere. Thanks!

Memory BOB Monday

Bob. A simple name for an unassuming, incredible man.  One day Bob showed up in my life.  There was no big event, fanfare, or even an introduction.  One day I was without, and the next, Bob.

Oddly enough, Bob isn’t even his real name. He was given that name completely at random.  One day while sitting in Sunday School an older member of the youth group walked in, turned around, and said, “You look like a Bob. That’s your name now. Bob.”  In the blink of an eye Brian was changed to Bob, and Bob embraced it.  T-shirts, key chains, and name tags immediately and proudly displayed the name that is above all mortal names, Bob.  He has changed schools multiple times, has even moved to multiple states, and still the name remains.

I can’t imagine my life without him nor can a multitude of others. All the memories we have together could fill hundreds of memory boxes.  From streetluging at 1:00am, to making runs to Macon, Ga for Krispy Kreme, to playing guitar and singing in front of hundreds of people this man was always at my side.

Bob was a constant because Bob is a rock. He is the very essence of dependability. If characteristics were clothing, he’d have a knight’s armor of integrity with undergarments of loyalty (I realize that might sound a little gross).  Half the crazy ideas I conceived could not have happened without him.  While I was a floating mess, Bob was an anchor.

So here’s to Bob. Bob, when I lost the lead role of Jesus Christ because I looked like a creepy, bobble-headed monkey hiding a knife behind my back, I’m glad it was to you.  When we opened for bands much better than ourselves and the home crowd yelled louder for us, I’m glad to have laughed beside you.  When I saw the supernatural, inexplicable, life changing power of almighty God do things that left me praising, crying, kneeling, or singing, I am forever thankful that I had a brother to worship, weep, crumble, and shout with me.

May God continue to bless your ministry.  As you now have the family I saw you pray and hope for, may you lead them with your steadfast integrity and enjoy every second of it.  I pray God gives you emotional and physical strength to continue being a fantastic pastor and may you continue to always hear His still, quiet voice. Finally, when the time comes, “Get to heaven half an hour before the devil knows your dead.”

Malta Baptist Church you are amazingly blessed to have this man as your pastor.  Stand with him because I know he stands with God.


Memory Box Monday: Elijah’s Note

There are only a couple of five year olds that I have known that surprised me with their ability to maintain an engaging conversation at such a young age.  Elijah was one of them.

I remember the first time I saw Elijah. He prayed for his dad Terry, a traveling evangelist at the time, before the sermon began.  Terry would say, “I preach,” and Elijah would respond, “and I pray.”  Elijah was three. “Cute trick,” my jaded, teenage self thought.  Oh teenage self, so young, so wrong.

The first time I actually met Elijah was on a long van ride to Helen, Ga.  Terry had become our youth leader and Elijah was riding with us on this occasion.  As we started down the road I said something to Elijah who was sitting next to me. I don’t remember the exchange exactly but it went something like…

Jason says something cute to pick on Elijah.
Elijah hits Jason with a verbal zinger from left field.
Jason’s mouth drops open and shoots attention to driver.
Driver, Terry, turns around momentarily with huge grin and says, “Guess you didn’t expect that from a 5 year old!”

The rest of the drive involved me getting to know this incredible kid.

This wonderful family continued to amaze me with their progeny. Emilie, their daughter, at the mature age of two constantly reminded me and my friends of how silly we were, and, in no uncertain terms, that we were to desist from any action that might cause her mental anguish. (“No Bob!”, “No Jason!”, “Jason, you so silly.”) From all I’ve gathered online in the past few days, it appears that Elijah and his sister haven’t lost their cheekiness and wit through the years.

I’m not sure when this note was written, but I suppose it wasn’t too long after I met Elijah. I like this note because it’s the unfiltered opinion of a child.  Also, it’s fun to see the valiant attempt at penmanship and correct grammar (still working on that myself). Most of all I love all the memories this note brings back of this extraordinary family.

Elijah: Thank you for teaching me that amazing inspiration and ideas can come from the most unassuming of places. I hope that you are never at a loss for wisdom and that you continue to be an encouragement to others.

Emilie:  Although so young at the time, thank you for the unending laughter you provided us on many trips.  Your curiosity and unfiltered, two year old dialogue kept us rolling.  May you continue to leave a trail of joy and laughter wherever you go.

Sandy: Thank you for lending all of us in the various youth groups your time, care, and family.  You are a great mother and have raised 3 fantastic individuals (I include Terry in that number).

Terry: You have shown me that God can accomplish what I ask at a level far above what I originally intended. You made a significant mark in my life and showed me how powerful and practical faith and prayer can be. Thank you for investing in me and being a teacher and a mentor.

Memory Box Monday: Fourth Grade Valentines

Today’s memory box Monday reaches all the way back to 4th grade.  I remember the smell of chalk, the hope of recess, and the terror of a paddling (mostly because if ever the day came that I got one at school, there was sure to be one waiting for me at home).

One of the year’s most anticipated days was always Valentines Day.  Everyone constructed their own Valentines Day mailbox from a paper bag and attached it to their desk or pinned it up in the back of the room.  At some time during the day, the teacher would allow everyone to walk around the room and pass out candy and cards.

Recalling those times, I really liked elementary school celebrations.  In the case of Valentines Day, the cards and candy meant very little to nothing romantically, but it was fulfilling to my 4th grade self to give fun trinkets to friends and it was always fun anticipating what I might receive.  Most of those little keepsakes have stayed with me and some, sadly, have been lost here and there.

To my classmates who drudged through some and all of the 13 years of small private school agony by my side, thank you for all the little things you did to make the ride more bearable.  I wish you all the best, pray that you are living a full and fruitful life, and hope that you are loved by someone close each day of the year.

In case you are wondering who gave the above Valentines:

Thanks again guys! (I just found a third grade Valentine envelope, but perhaps later.)

Memory Box Monday: Fingerpaint Fun

This wonderful piece of art was bestowed upon me by the one I would lovingly one day call my adopted little sister.  No, my parents didn’t adopt her, but Callie adopted me.

Callie was a little girl I met at church who wasn’t much taller than my waist and if you would have seen me at sixteen, that wasn’t very tall.  We had seen each other only a couple of times when she greeted me with this masterpiece.  It was an act of pure kindness.  I praised her for her artistic skill and in the weeks to follow found that I was to be the owner of an entire gallery of similar works.  For several years after that and until I permanently left for college, I was constantly loved by this little girl and her incredible parents, Mike and Natalie.

Out of all the  photos and art that have been hung on the walls of my dorm or set on the top of a desk, this one always seems to make the collection.

Callie, wherever you are, thank you for your selflessness.  Thank you for the unfiltered love you showed a skinny, nerdy teenager who was still trying to figure himself out.  I wish you happiness and a fulfilling life, and may you continue to bring sunshine to the soul of everyone you meet.

Memory Box Monday: The Extraordinary Uses of Polish Vodka

“What’s she screaming about this time?” This was a common thought I had every time I heard my sister’s voice bounce around our domicile at the Grady Johnson Trailer Park (and Luxury Resort) in Statesboro, Ga.

“What is it?” I responded.

“I cut myself shaving,” she responded.

I got up and walked halfway to her room where she met me in the kitchen.  She had gashed herself enough that a small stream of blood was running down her leg.  We quickly thought through our selection of first aid supplies.

“Do we have any peroxide?” she asked.

“Nope.” I said.

“What about cotton balls?”


This exchange continued for band-aids, gauze, tape, and rubbing alcohol.  “Alcohol?” I thought to myself.

“Wait, I’ve got something that might…,” I broke off mid-sentence and ran back to my room.

In college I did some overseas traveling.  On the first of those adventures I went to Poland and made some wonderful friends that I’ll never forget.  I kept in contact writing letters all through college and sent over stuff from the US from time to time.  One of my friends, Natalia, had returned the favor on several occasions and once sent over a small bottle of 40% Polish vodka.

“I know it’s not the real stuff, but I think it might work.”  How could it not.  I surmised rubbing alcohol had far more of the real thing in it anyway, so what could a mere 40% distilled do.

I doused a paper towel, bent over, stretched out my hand and …..

[Insert High-Pitched Scream Here]

Thanks for vodka Natalia (it was definitely worth every penny), and thanks for the memory Sis.

Memory Box Monday: Dryer Sheet to Soften the Heart

I’ve got a box full of wonderful memories.  Over the years people have written me emails of encouragement, leaflets of love, and, in this case, dryer sheets of sunshine.

In my first year of college, I had trouble reaching out and making friends but people from home sent me stacks of letters and pick-me-ups.  If the correspondence came in an email, it was immediately printed. I posted those articles all over the walls of my dorm room.  I literally surrounded myself with encouragement, and kept every last scrap of paper.

Even after that first year of school, I continued to hold on to any note people gave me.  From time to time I add to the bundle myself.  Tickets to a play from an anniversary, my wife’s engagement ring receipt, and scraps of clothing from an old uniform have all found their way into that box.

Most of the pieces in this box bring a smile to my face.  A few are more serious in nature but remind me of great lessons.

I don’t dive into that box enough, so I’ve decided to institute Memory Box Monday.  I will randomly choose a piece from my box and display it.

This first piece was given to me by my wife, before we started dating, and her friend. I do not remember what the circumstance was but I can tell you without a doubt that it was the first note I ever received on a dryer sheet.  In case you were wondering, yes, it still has a slight scent after about 10 years.

If any Memory Box Monday post happens to involve a note that you sent me, please leave a comment to fill in the context of my fading memory.  If you have a note or memory you would like to share, send it to me and I’ll make it apart of the segment.