Hello Joy Seekers!
I am excited to share with you that Finding Joy Beyond the Headlines is DONE! I
put the finishing touches on the manuscript last night and sent it to the publishing
company this morning. It has been reviewed, edited (a few times), and will now
begin the process of being placed between book covers over the next two months.
That keeps us on track for a Fall 2018 release date!
I want to thank everyone who has been invested in this project from the beginning. I
was sitting on a porch in the mountains of North Carolina last summer when God put
a mission in my heart to write down the ways He was working amidst the chaos of
our world. Specifically, the news headlines are pretty depressing. I hear it from viewers
all the time. They don't want the news as much as they used to because they don't
want to be reminded of all the terrible things that happened today. Awful headlines
can give us the impression that only awful things are happening. NOT TRUE! God
did something amazing today. It's our job to seek it out! That's what this book is for.
If you know someone who would be interested in this book, forward this email to them.
I'll add them to the email list! Also, check out the FJBTH social pages:
I know God is going to bless someone through this book. The process was long and
tiring, at times. But, the harvest will be worth it! I hope you're ready to find joy this fall!
"I believe GOOD news belongs IN the news!"
Psalm 112:7 (NLV)
"He will not be afraid of bad news. His heart is strong because he trusts in the Lord"
Easter is this weekend. That means churches will be packed on Sunday, even more than usual. Parking lot traffic will be a little heavier than last week. There will be long lines and jammed pews. That’s such a good thing!
I hope that the FJBTH book becomes a magnifying glass for God’s goodness in our world. It’s there but sometimes it’s harder to see through the muck and grime of the headlines. The first things we hear about are often the worst parts of our day. Yet, God planted a bit of uplifting content in our news feeds, too. Picture a diamond dropped into a pasture. There is plenty of stuff that will catch your eye first. But, that diamond is still there! That’s JOY.
The logo is one that I’m especially pleased with because it shows off exactly what stuff bogs us down during the day. I chose the shape of a TV set. Yes, it has antennae and looks like it was from 1974. I get that. But, it’s also instantly recognizable as a TV set. If I picked a flat screen LCD, 4K shape, it’d look like a rectangle. I wanted this to be obvious. Inside the TV frame are horrible headlines all written in gray. There are depressing things like flood, eviction, tornadoes, fire, abuse and many more. All these things are undesirable. All these things tend to get more media coverage than the encouraging content we all crave. In bright, BOLD red and black letters, I wrote the title, Finding Joy Beyond The Headlines. I like this. It will most likely be set against a white front cover. I’m still brainstorming the back cover.
I was able to emcee an event last Friday at Pasadena Community Church. The church hosted its final ‘Starlight’ musical performance after 65 years. I set up a table in the back of the church and promoted the book, with the help of my lovely wife, before and after the show. I got some nice feedback from people who gave us their contact information. I am looking forward to reaching out to them soon and adding to the growing list of people who want to be reminded of God’s love in this world by reading FJBTH. If you want to get for info on release dates and see pictures and videos of everyone in the book, send me your contact information in the CONTACT section of this site.
I also have social media accounts set up for FJBTH now. All handles are @FJBTHbook. Check out the book on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I’m not the savviest social media expert around but I’m going to try to keep those as current as possible. I will be working on dedicated book website soon.
I love the fact that you took the time to read this post. I am excited about what FJBTH can and will become. God directed me to write this, so I know it will succeed. God doesn’t call us to projects that fail when those projects are set up for His glory. Keep the prayers coming for this book project. It will be out in Fall 2018! It’s almost time to send it off to be published.
Find JOY today.
As you may have read, I am writing a book. God put it on my heart to remind the world that there is more going on than just those awful headlines that tend to get most of the attention.
Yes, there is a bit of an obligation to cover terrible events. Yes, some people want to hear about sad things going on in this world. But, in MY TRAVELS, I hear quite the opposite. So, this book is hopefully a long-form version of my daily On The Road segment -- a look at uplifting things done by incredible people that will hopefully make you smile. Check out this sneak peak at the book's introduction below. Happy reading.
It’s a world-class golf course and the anticipation is nearly over. Streamsong Black opens to the public on Friday, September 29. I had yesterday circled on my calendar for WEEKS. I got to play the course before it opened and I was like a fat kid at an all-you-can-eat candy buffet.
Was it worth the wait? Heck yeah. I experienced the Polk County resort’s third course on Monday along with other journalists and golf insiders from across the country. The opening of Streamsong Black, much like the audition Streamsong’s Red and Blue courses received a few years ago, was a homerun. The course is designed by world-renowned course architect Gil Hanse and his team. He has designed dozens of courses around the world including the course that played host to the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil.
The first thing that caught my attention was the view. From inside the sleek clubhouse, called The Bone Tavern, which is glass on all sides, you can see the spectacular layout that Hanse and his team built on old mining land owned by the Mosaic company. The landscape looks nothing like any other courses in Florida, aside from the neighboring Blue and Red runs on property.
The major difference between Black, Red and Blue is that Black stands alone. Red and Blue are intertwined and sight lines from both courses provide directives for shots on the hole you’re currently playing. On Black, Hanse had to be a little creative to provide dynamic shot points for players. The most notable of these features is the rusting, metal windmill that is perched behind the punch bowl green on No. 9.
The hole isn’t a long one – driveable for longer hitters – but the flag is totally hidden from view from the tee. I got an idea for where I would need to play my approach by looking at a diagram on the tee that displayed the pin placement up ahead. The windmill in the distance is the target line for the tee ball. A well-placed shot would give the player a chance to flip a wedge into the hidden green. I, unfortunately, sprayed my shot right. I had to play a 135-yard wedge into the punchbowl from some loose, sandy, native terrain. It’s all there is on edges of fairways. You won’t find traditional “rough” on Black. The only way to know where your second shot has landed is to climb the hill in front of the green and look down into the putting surface.
It was a very fun hole. I enjoyed it more than any other on the course. Admittedly, it’s the designer’s favorite hole as well.
Black’s style is described as “minimalistic” and plays as a par-73 thanks to five par-5s. The lengths vary widely on each, which gives players plenty of scoring opportunities. The back nine features dual green complexes on hole 13 and an infinity green on 17. The round concludes with a closing par-3.
The practice facility, dubbed The Roundabout, offers several putting areas and a full-length range. The Gauntlet awaits players on the practice green. The resort describes the 2-acre putting green as a “challenge” for all players. The Streamsong Resort now offers “non-traditional ways” to play, including 6-hole, 9-hole and 12-hole options.
On the food side, I was very impressed. The Bone Tavern has a 32-seat bar and served up a pretty great bunch for players. I ate a potato and sausage hash that was hidden under perfectly scrambled eggs. The menu is a big draw. I ate with the clubhouse designers... GREAT guys from Tampa. They did a wonderful job. The wood is burnt Japanese cedar. Who knew there was such a thing...
I walked the course. All players will be required to walk for the first few months. It was very hot but for anyone who has played either Blue or Red, you know that central Florida heat is a factor during your round. There is no shade because there are no trees on the courses.
Regardless, I will be back to Black.
I had a mini-debate on Twitter today over the motives behind donating to Hurricane Harvey. If you can donate, please do. It will help the hundreds of thousands of displaced people who had their lives torn apart by one of the biggest storms to ever hit the United States. It was simply devastating. There is no other way to say it.
That said, if you’re donating, don’t announce it. There is no reason to brag on your donations. It’s unnecessary. It’s reeks of self-promotion. It’s also unbiblical.
I brought up the first four verses of Matthew chapter six in our online discussion.
Matthew 6:1-4 (NIV)
1 “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. 2 “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
That’s my stance on publicly announcing what a great thing you’ve done for others.
Now, celebrities using their platform to urge others to vote? I’m good with that. Just don’t do it to gain public praise. What Houston Texans star J.J. Watt has done, raising $11+ million in relief efforts, is fantastic. He’s using his platform as a pro athlete to stand up and serve as a bullhorn to the country, pleading for help for his city. Now, if he was bragging about all the amazing sums of money HE donated, I’d have more of a problem with that.
One of the guys I was discussing this with suggested that Matthew 7 would apply here, too. I couldn’t agree more.
The motives with which we broadcast our comings and goings online are important. In this age where our lives' highlight reels, a.k.a. social media, play such a huge part in the way we view each other, it’s vital that we choose to showcase ourselves in a way that promotes God, not ourselves.
If you can afford to donate, please do. There are people who need the help. Just don’t go bragging about how great you are for doing so.
Guess what? I’m writing a book.
I never thought I would get the opportunity to add ‘author’ to my bio but I’m determined to do it. I got the feeling I needed to write this book while on vacation in the mountains of North Carolina this summer. Over the Fourth of July holiday, my wedding anniversary by the way, I explained to a few new friendly neighbors what I did for a living. I got the expected line of comments and questioning:
“Isn’t it hard working in the media?”
“Do you have to report on murders and stuff?”
“I would hate that job.”
I already knew what the perception of local and national news/media outlets were from my every day encounters with interviewees. People don’t really like news. They don’t consume it because they think it’s depressing. It’s a grim, bleak outlook thanks to a number of factors.
I, then, was given the chance to explain to these new friendly neighbors how I fit into the media world.
I get to do the two-minutes of happy news each day that uplifts your spirit and reminds you that there is good stuff going on in the world besides those murders, robberies, natural disasters and Presidential tweets you’re bombarded with each night. The world is far brighter than it’s made out to be in the newspaper, TV and online.
I hope that my daily human interest segment On The Road is a breath of fresh air in a world full of smoggy media pollution. Now, not all media and news coverage is awful and dreary. Many stories are encouraging. I wanted to write about my slice of journalistic responsibility and how my faith compass has helped guide me to present stories in a Godly manner.
I am still working on a title. I think the words On The Road will feature prominently somehow. I am feverishly working on this book every day and hope to complete it by the end of 2017.
Life seems dark and hopeless if you only plug in to a dark and hopeless source. If you choose the bright, shining, uplifting one instead, you’ll find that life can be more exciting than you ever imagined. Hopefully, my two minutes each day is a reminder of that.