Evan’s Favorite Things: 2017

Most of you probably know by now, but I LOVE giving to others. It just makes my heart feel all warm and fuzzy. Who doesn’t love to see others smiles? With it officially being Christmas Eve! The wait is finally over– My 2017 Favorite Things are here. We took a year office, but I’m back with some of the BEST  products yet.

Oh, and just so we’re clear, these really are my most FAVORITE THINGS. It’s not just a random bunch of goodies I’ve selected and labeled “Favorite Things”. I couldn’t live without some of these products. Ok, maybe I could, but you know what I mean.

Up first is my ALL TIME FAVORITE Candle. This Archipelago “Positano” candle  retails for $19.50 and is sold locally at Candle Cabin in Montgomery or you can purchase online directly from their site.  If you know me, you know I am a candle snob. Just ask my roommates. The White Nectarine, Persimmon, Pomegranate key notes are just some of my favorite scents together. This is one of the only candles I burn at home and at my office. I have been know to buy an entire case at a time. I promise you want the disappointed.

Most of you are probably familiar with the movie “Wonder” starring Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson, but the book is even better. I cried and cried like a baby. My friend introduced me to this book about 2 years ago or so and I couldn’t put it down. If you don’t fall in love with Auggie something is wrong with you and you should probably see a doctor. Wonder tells the story about boy with facial differences who enters fifth grade, attending a mainstream elementary school for the first time. Every parent should read this with their kiddos. You will be encouraged by the message of hope that is in the book.  Yes, there is hope, always hope, and YOU can overcome what seems like insurmountable challenges. It’s ok to be different and remember to always “choose kind”.

My grandmother recently asked me “Why does your iPhone have a little knob on it?”,  I told her it was the best little knob there ever was. If you haven’t heard of a PopSocket, you’re probably living under a rock– Everyone has one. Originally they were indeed to be used with different iPhone Plus models, but more recently have almost become a fashion accessory.  They certainly make life easier when having a little mini iPad as a phone (iPhone 7 Plus)  They come in an array of colors, patterns and styles. They also have a car mount that the pop socket just slides down into for hands free driving. This little lifesaver retails for only $10.00.

Probably my ALL TIME FAVORITE THING OF FAVORITE THINGS. This product is so GOOD my hair stylist started carrying it in her salon. Mister Pompadour is one of the most under rated mens hair product lines out on the market. I don’t leave home with using these products. From the Peppermint Shampoo and Conditioner to the texture powder and beeswax sculpting putty,  if you are in need of a gift for the fella in your life look no further, this is it. Guys, you have to try this product. The set retails for $70.00.

Raise your hand if you turn your pillow over 100 times through the middle of the night so you can lay our head on the cold side?!? I know I do, and if you do too then this is the pillow for you. The Malouf  Carbon Cool pillow retails for $239.00 and is worth every penny. It’s made of graphite-infused memory foam which helps“creates a pathway that naturally moves heat away from the body” causing the pillow to remain cool at all times. I take it with me everywhere. I don’t travel without it.

To enter Evan’s Favorite Things it’s simple. Subscribe to my blog (on the right hand side of the blog homepage under the “Video” section), make sure you click the confirmation email or it doesn’t count. Once you’ve done that pop back on over here and leave a comment in the post. You might even win extra points if you post on Instagram and Facebook and use the hashtags #evangcooper #evansfavoritethings. We will announce the winners on January 1, 2018.

Merry Christmas and Happy Subscribing.

Photos: Aubrie Moates | Balloons: Kreative Moments | Wardrobe: Old Navy | Shoes: Fry Company 

 

Farewell Sister Brisco

23 years, that’s how long Sister Brisco has been a part of my life. She’s known me since diapers. Literally. And I can honestly say, she’s had a HUGE part in molding me into the person I am today.

Saundra Brisco (Sis. B) has been in children’s ministry for 50 years. She stared in ministry when she was just 16 years old. This past Sunday, we celebrated her 23 years of ministry at my home church, Montgomery First. I think I speak for a lot of people when I say, I didn’t think this day would ever come— Sis. Brisco is retiring. Of course, you can’t leave us until we throw you one over the top Farewell reception complete with over a thousand balloons, bagel bites and a slit walking clown.

As a child I remember Saturday morning Easter egg hunts, parents night out, spring break trips to Butts Mills Farm and even Kids Camp. I remember the first solo she gave me in a baseball themed program. I thought I was hot stuff in my white and red baseball tee. I even remember the time she had me dress up like a toy soldier and glued fake side burns on my cheeks for Christmas. Ouch! We’ve made lots of memories through out the years, Too many to count. But through those memories have come a lot of teachable moments.

If there is one thing that I would have to classify as ‘The Biggest Thing Sister Brisco Has Taught Me” it would be: How to Love People. I’ve had the privilege of serving under her ministry, working side by side with her week after week. We’ve even traveled the world together and I can honestly say she’s the same person in Montgomery, Alabama as she was in South Africa, Ecuador and Guatemala. Her heart for kids is something special. I can vividly remember standing outside a elementary school in South Africa in 2009, dusty dirt roads, kids running around who haven’t eaten in days, showered in probably weeks, but it didn’t matter. She saw someone who needed love, and that’s what she gave them. Wether it was a hug, prayer or even a smile– She could’ve cared less about what their background was, the color of their skin or how well dressed they where or what they smelled like. She once  said to me “Evan, Happiness comes when we learn to love others.” Talk about ah-ha moment, in the middle of Africa at that. I’ll never forget it. Today I find myself loving on those who are in need, who may be different from others and it’s credited to her and the values she spoke into me at an early age.

Speaking of traveling together, boy have we done our fair share together. From Kids Crusades, field trips and overseas adventure we’ve been side by side. I LOVE telling people about the time Sis. B decided to wear white pants on our 16 hour flight back to the states from South Africa and spilled diet coke on them 45 minutes in our flight—she had a bing brown stain for hours. Or the time we were in the Canary Islands and she didn’t like the tuna casserole the sweet church ladies offered her, so she pretended to eat it and threw it in the bushes. They saw her plate was empty so, they brought her more. You know what she did next, she threw it in the bushes again, and they brought her, yet another round. We laughed for hours. I could go on and on with stories, life lessons and memories we’ve shared but I’ll save those for my trip to visit you at the beach.

Sunday night I overhead people saying “It’s bitter sweet. We hate to see her go.”, but I say it’s all sweet and no bitter. We’ve laughed together, cried together even hooted and hollered. We’ve done life together but For now, I suppose two inadequate words will have to do: Thank you. Thank you for accepting me, loving me, teaching me, laughing with me, and most importantly praying for me. Thank You for being an inspiration not only to me, but those in our church, our city, our state and even the world. I won’t say “Goodbye”, I’ll just say “Until we meet again.”. I Love You Sister Brisco.

Pizza, Instagram, Comparison and what I’ve learned

This past weekend I packed my bags and went to hang out with my long time friend Brandon and his family—  They live Niceville, Fl.  The change of scenery was just what I needed.  Who knew there was such a place.  Ok, Ok! I know what you’re thinking because I thought it too… “Are the people of Niceville really nice?” I mean, they not mean. LOL

During my 4-day adventure, we spent a lot of time eating— Pizza, Hibachi, seafood, and even Chick Fil A. I’m stuffed thinking about it. By the way, If you’re in the area, you have to try the buffalo chicken pizza from Domonics. SO YUMMY! We even threw in some Alabama football too (he’s a HUGE fan). Y’all know I could care less, but I watched with a smile. You’re welcome, Brandon. But I think what I loved most about my time there was our conversations. It’s always fun to catch up and reminisce on old times, but it’s also fun to meet new people.

Greyson, Brandon and Amy

While in Niceville, almost as soon as I arrived, I met this sweet gal that attends their church. The following day we met again and it was as if we had been friends for years. Ok, not years, but months. Haha. She introduced me to her group of friends, but it was the way she introduced me that made me stop and think. “This is Evan. He has 5,000 followers on Instagram and a Youtube Channel.”  At first I laughed, thought it was comical and cute, but the more I thought about it, I couldn’t help but think, “is this what our world has come too?” Living in what people call the “Millennial Generation (myself included), we too often define our lives by the number of followers we have or the amount of likes we get.

Social Media has created this idea that “it’s okay to pretend to be okay.” We post only the pretty stuff.  The stuff that makes us look good. The stuff that makes people think we’re living a perfect life, but the reality of it is, we aren’t. We’re humans. We struggle. We hurt and most days we don’t have it all together.

As most of you know, over the last few years, I have been through some pretty rough patches in life. I never in a million years thought I would see the day my parents called it quits on their marriage. It hurt and it hurt deep. I’m known as the funny guy, the guy who makes people laugh, the life of the party if you will. It was during the darkest hours of my life, I lied to people. I pretended to happy, but deep inside I was hurting. I needed someone to talk to, but instead, I turned to the internet where I pretended to be ok.

During that time period of my life, one of the most important things I learned was that “Comparison is the Enemy of Self-Worth”. I realized that I was too worried about what others thought of me. I used social media (“Likes” and “Followers”) to validate who I was. I was more focused on my image being tarnished.  I learned the hard way that comparing myself to others and their accomplishments made me feel inferior. I let the disease comparison burry itself in me.  It destroyed who I was— my self-worth and my confidence.

Comparison will eat you alive if you let it, yet so many of us do. We compare our success, talents, job titles, relationships, looks and even our cars and house.  Genesis 1:27 says, “God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”  No one can take this away from us. We were created in the image of God and that alone is something to be proud of. Be who God created you to be.

 

It’s Not Ok to Pretend to be Ok

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For those of you that know me personally, you know that the last several months to a year of my life have been pretty hectic on a personal level. Depending on the day, it’s sometimes hard express my feelings to those around me. Not because I am afraid of what people will say, but because we live in a world where it’s not cool to not be ok. The sad truth is today’s generation is only about showing the “good stuff”— They don’t want people to know they don’t have it all together. It’s ok to hurt. It’s ok to be stressed out. But it’s not ok to Pretend to be Ok.

In dealing with hurt, pain and a lot of unanswered questions the last year of my life, there are 3 things I’ve learned and I want to share with you.

  1.  It’s Ok to Not Understand—Trust Me this is something I know all to well. There will be somethings in life that will not come with an answer. There will always be things that we aren’t going to understand but it’s ok to not understand. My grandmother told me recently “It’s ok to not understand, sometimes that the first step to becoming ok”. It’s not wrong to admit you don’t understand.
  2.  Cry— It’s not just for babies. There is nothing wrong with crying. End of story. Let it out!
  3. Stress— It’s a part of life. If you don’t get stressed you should probably see a doctor. I’m not saying it’s ok for stress to consume your every thought and every move, but it’s gonna happen. I think one of the biggest things I’ve learned recently is that stress will only last as long as you allow it to. Don’t let stress control you.

Remember, It’s Not Ok to Pretend to be Ok.

-EGC