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.

 

Dream Big. Pray Harder.

Most of you don’t know but this past year has been a whirlwind of a year for our family. We’ve endured somethings that I never thought we’d have too. But no matter what came our way it wasn’t too big for God. He knew what we needed and when we needed it the most.

“Dream Big. Pray Harder” is my life motto. Since I read the Circle Maker by Mark Batterson, my prayer life has never been the same. “Bold prayers honor God, and God honors bold prayers. God isn’t offended by your biggest dreams or boldest prayers. He is offended by anything less. If your prayers aren’t impossible to you, they are insulting to God. Why? because they don’t require divine intervention.” is one of my favorite quotes from the book. God WANTS us to Dream Big but most importantly he wants us to Pray even Harder.

My Mom is one of the strongest people I know. She’s been through the ringer this year, but she never once stopped Dreaming Big or Praying Hard. When we were younger, Mom quit school and put her career on hold to be a full time mother. She was going to school to be a nurse. I still think that’s hilarious. My Mom, a nurse? HAHAHA  Never in a million years, But it all make sense now… the Lord was preparing her. Preparing her to be help others. Geenks (AKA as Mom) always dreamed of being a teacher. Her heart for helping little ones learn is like nothing I’ve ever seen. She’s traveled the World pouring into the lives of children everywhere.  View More: http://nickdrollette.pass.us/chooperchristmas In May of 2016 I am thrilled to announce that she will be graduating with her degree in Elementary eduction from Auburn University Montgomery. As a part of her work study she will be traveling to Costa Rica this summer to help develop an elementary science curriculum related to rain forest ecology. Fancy Huh? Most of you are well aware that traveling isn’t cheap and times can sometimes be tough. I wish I could fund her entire trip, but I can’t. I wanted to surprise her so I came up will a brilliant idea… I know, I’m the worlds BEST son. 2015-12-08_0004 My brilliant idea… the “Dream Big. Pray Harder.” t-shirt.  View More: http://nickdrollette.pass.us/egcchristmas All the profits from the sales of these t-shirts will go towards Mom’s trip to Costa Rica. The shirts are $25.00 and include complimentary shipping. Pre-Orders begin TODAY. We will be accepting pre-orders until December 17th. If you are interested in giving one as a gift for Christmas they will be ready and shipped just in time. We are currently working on our e-commerce site and hope to have that ready in the next upcoming week or so. Until then if you are interested in ordering a shirt you can email: evan@evanandcompany.com.  View More: http://nickdrollette.pass.us/egcchristmas  I couldn’t have pulled this surprise project off without the help of the talented team of folks that are behind it. A HUGE thank you to Nick Drollette, Tiffany Taylor and Cameron Norris. We’ve quietly been working on the this for several weeks and I am thrilled it’s finally finished and ready for the world to see.

You’re going to be one heck of a teacher. Those kiddos will be lucky to have you. I LOVE YOU MOM.

Evan’s Summer Camp Adventure

I know it’s December. It’s cold outside, well kind of. We do live in Alabama. The holidays are upon us so I thought what better way to remember the warm summer weather than a trip to Summer Camp. America, I Present…  2015-07-14_0001 This past June I took a trip down memory lane. Some of will know what I’m talking about, most of you won’t.  2015-08-02_0007 When I was younger I lived at Springville Camp. My Mom was the concessions and staff coordinator during Bro. Greg Kelley’s time as DYD. We grew up at camp. If my memory serves me correctly Mom started when I was about 8 0r 9? Actaully I don’t know, I could be completely wrong but who cares, that’s besides the point. No matter my age I LIVED for summer time. You couldn’t get me to camp soon enough.  2015-08-02_0010 2015-08-02_0013 Camp Springville holds many memories for me personally. I made tons of friendships and even developed a few crushes the 9 years we were there. Hey Tenly Sue, Hey!  2015-08-02_0008 2015-08-02_0004 I think one of my most favorite things about summer time was meeting and getting to know the staff. We stay in touch with a number of them still today (Thanks Facebook!). There a few that have made lasting impressions on my life, a few that a wasn’t too crazy about and a few that are no longer with us, but no matter where they are in life now, they were a part of mine once and I am forever grateful for that. From Lice check every Monday… 2015-08-02_0011 to late night waffle house runs, there was never a dull moment. 2015-08-02_0001 Oh, can we have a moment of silence for those sequin aprons? Yes America, I’m the responsible one. I sewed each and every sequin on those aprons by hand. The Springville Camp and Conference center kitchen ladies are gold. Some of the sweetest folks you’ll meet. I LOVED spending my summers with them.  2015-08-02_0002 2015-08-02_0003 Some of those staffers we see on a regular basis and are apart of our everyday life. Who would’ve thought?  2015-08-02_0016 2015-08-02_0014 2015-08-02_0009 Camp Memories are memories I will cherish forever. I don’t particularly miss the matching t-shirts and the scorching hot summer days but everything in-between…. what I would’t give somedays to go back to those times.  2015-08-02_0012 I hadn’t been back to Camp Springville since our last summer of 2008. So this past June, I figured it was time to take a field trip. I called Steve Mason (the camp director) and asked if we could come up and spend the day… without hesitation, he said “Come On”.

A LOT has changed since my time away. But if there was one thing that hadn’t changed, it was C-7. My home away from home. Oh the stories that room could tell if walls could talk.  View More: http://nickdrollette.pass.us/campcooper Campers sill hang their lake drenched clothes out to dry. View More: http://nickdrollette.pass.us/campcooper The pavilion hill is tougher than ever, View More: http://nickdrollette.pass.us/campcooper and the Team Spirit is still alive and well. View More: http://nickdrollette.pass.us/campcooper View More: http://nickdrollette.pass.us/campcooper View More: http://nickdrollette.pass.us/campcooper  I went to Summer Camp with the intentions of trying some of the activities that 1), I was too afraid to try as a 12 year old or 2.) weren’t there when we were. I still have yet to find the “amphitheater”. View More: http://nickdrollette.pass.us/campcooper The river front was booming. TONS of new activities and I was ready to tackle them all. View More: http://nickdrollette.pass.us/campcooper View More: http://nickdrollette.pass.us/campcooper Clearly I wasn’t a fan of the lifejacket or the water activities in general… View More: http://nickdrollette.pass.us/campcooper View More: http://nickdrollette.pass.us/campcooper but I was a beast on the rock wall. Well kind of. It’s actually a lot harder than it looks, but I haven’t been working on those bulging biceps for nothing. View More: http://nickdrollette.pass.us/campcooper View More: http://nickdrollette.pass.us/campcooper View More: http://nickdrollette.pass.us/campcooper View More: http://nickdrollette.pass.us/campcooper and most importantly it IS possible to spend the day at summer camp and look fashionable.  View More: http://nickdrollette.pass.us/campcooper As if the picture weren’t enough… you know this post wouldn’t be complete without a video of my adventurous day. Enjoy! 

Evan’s summer camp adventure from Luke Lindgren on Vimeo.

A HUGE thank you to my “Production Team” for braving the heat and spending the day with me. I couldn’t have done it without you.  2015-12-07_0001

 

Humbled

Yesterday, I did something that I typically wouldn’t do. Something that most would’ve considered out ordinary for me. I left my blog camera’s at home and told very few people what my plans for Wednesday afternoon actually were.

Why?

Because I wanted to do this for myself. Most of you are probably thinking I spent my day at the spa or shoe shopping but I didn’t. I volunteered at a local nursing home. I didn’t do it for publicity. I didn’t do it because a family member is a resident. I did it because I saw a need.  2015-12-02_0002 Mrs. Alberta Woodson has been volunteering at 6 different nursing homes and rehab facilities in our city for years. Residents look forward to seeing her walk through the doors each year for their annual Christmas Party. She leaves not detail untouched. Showering each resident with gift after gift. They don’t get just a candy cane– Mrs. Woodson does it up right. Wether it’s 40 patients or 200 they all go back to their rooms with an arm full of goodies.  Lotion, shampoo, socks, fruit baskets, cologne and they even get a few new clothes.

I’ll be honest with you though, I was unsure of what I was getting into. I hate hospitals and nursing homes. I don’t know what it is but it just freaks me out.  But I left South Haven nursing home yesterday  afternoon a better person that I walked in.

2015-12-02_0001 Thanksgiving has come and gone but the spirt of the holiday keeps on giving. I stepped outside to grab some extra cookies out of the car and when I walked back in I will forever remember the minute I stepped foot in the cafeteria. Nurses, volunteers and residents were gathered around  a boom box singing an old hymn. You couldn’t wiped the smile from my face. It was something I’ll hold in my heart forever.

Thankfulness is a choice and when we choose to be thankful our emotions have no reason but to be exude joy. It can be the smallest act of kindness, but when it’s given out of gratitude it’s bigger than we imagine.

As American’s we sometimes get so caught up in our bubble that we forget about everyday life around us. Wednesday was a day that I needed. A day that took me back to reality and made me realize a life isn’t so bad after all.

Thank You Mrs. Alberta Woodson has a servants heart and obeying the call that was placed on your life years ago. I was honored to be a part and look forward to Monday.