Thursday, November 25, 2010


So today is Thanksgiving (well it’s technically Friday morning now and I should be sleeping, but it still counts), and I was just thinking about the crazy amount of things/people I have to be thankful for right now in my life and I thought I’d share some. I feel like I am more thankful now for some of the things I’ve had for a long time than I was previously just because I know how blessed I am now. So here goes…

I am extremely grateful for my family. My parents and brother and sister and sister in law are all just phenomenal and I love them. They have taught me so much and have been there for me through the roughest times in my life. Also, I am more thankful than ever for my extended family too. My grandparents are awesome. They care so much about me and would do anything for me and I appreciate them so much. And my aunts and uncles and cousins too are really great too.

Next is the group of friends from home. Even though I will go a long time without seeing them, whenever we get together, it’s like we were never gone. So much has happened since we graduated a short year and a half ago, but I still care about each of those friends and always will. I have had some of those friends since pre-school like Kurtis and we will always be best friends. And others that I’ve only known for a short time but am already becoming really good friends with like Q-bert.

Then there are all my friends at school. I am so thankful to have found such great people at this school; it really is a blessing. I always have fun with my roommates, who I have the strangest but funniest conversations with. The guys on the basketball team are all awesome and fun to hang out with. Bryce, Austin, and Steve always crack me up. People I sorta knew but am getting to know better this year like Addison and Ben Betscher. And new friends that are “basically number one at everything” like Chelsea. 

One thing I am so thankful for right now, possibly more than ever, is playing basketball. I knew last year that I missed playing and that I wanted to give it a try this year, but I had no idea how much I needed this! Playing this year has pushed me in so many ways. I think I have gotten tougher and fought through things that I wouldn’t have been able to do in the past. And I am having so much fun with this team. I love the guys on the team and I love playing a sport that I love all the time. There have been times that it has made me sooo angry, but every second of that and all the hard work I put in has been worth it. I’m so thankful that God has kept me healthy enough to play this year, and I pray that he continues to watch over me so I can keep playing!

There are plenty of other things I am thankful for right now, like MVNU, and all the different opportunities I have had, and other things that I’m probably just forgetting, but this is just the beginning of the list. I just wanted to let those people that I appreciate know that they are a blessing to me. So thank you all for being a part of my life! 


Hey folks, sorry it’s been so long. I’ve been crazy busy lately with basketball and classes and everything else, but I want to keep getting my thoughts on the page so they aren’t just stuck in my mind all the time. So here…

Sometimes in life, we think that we should do whatever we want to do all the time and get whatever we want if we can help it at all. However, I think this is not always best for us. There are times when it is truly best for what we desire to not happen. These times are important for us to realize life is not always fair and it can help us grow into the realization that pain is just a part of life no matter what we do to avoid it and we will just have to accept it eventually. Another reason these times are important is because sometimes we need to willingly give up one thing in order to attain something potentially better. Giving up a good thing for the best thing.

Usually the best things in life do not just fall into our laps. Often, we must work for these things. Things like love, dedication to anything, and relationships all take effort.

If someone is dedicated and passionate about a sport, they will work and work to get better at it so they can reach their full potential of the player or athlete that they want to become. Conditioning and working hours and hours in the offseason can get quite annoying after a while, but you won’t have the skills and toughness you need if you don’t discipline yourself to put in the work when it is hard.

In the same way, relationships and love take discipline and hard work. You may have convinced yourself that you are with the right person at the right time, but it may not really be that way. God may have other plans for you. I think we are good at convincing ourselves that we know what we are doing even though we may have no idea what we’re doing at all. I know that’s how I was. I’ve been in a relationship where I thought I knew it was best for me. When it ended, I was shocked that I could have been wrong, but now I know what happened was for the best. I have grown because of the situation so much and I am now thankful for the pain I had to experience and am a better person because of it. You just have to discipline yourself to know that whatever happens will work out for the best in the long run. God always has a plan. You have to discipline yourself to let the best thing happen instead of settling for something that will temporarily satisfy you.

Patience is one area of discipline that can be extremely hard, but also necessary. There are certain things that we want in life that we think we are ready for. It could be a relationship or some sort of reward or anything. But when we think we are ready for it, we think we should have it now. Sometimes, those things don’t happen for a long time, but they happen when we truly are ready. I think God has a bit of a sense of humor when it comes to timing that we just don’t understand. But his timing is always right. 

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Healing is something that can be experienced in extremely different ways for different people. In chapel the other day, one of the guys on the baseball team shared about when he punched a window, which severed an artery and almost died from it. His dad, who is a pastor, was also there to share about how God performs miracles every day and this was an example of his son being healed by God. At the end of the service, the chaplain got up and talked about how this dad had gotten the healing he wanted, but that another dad on stage had not gotten the healing he wanted. The other dad was the guy who leads worship for our chapels. His four-year old son died relatively recently, yet he continues to worship God every day. 

I am not going to talk about the intangibles of physical healing because, honestly, I just don’t know enough about it to do so right now. However, something that is also very important is emotional and spiritual healing. What do we do when people we care about get hurt, and bad things happen to us? Some people get mad at God. Others suppress everything they are feeling and act like everything is fine. Some people feel like they need to know why this or that happened. Some people think they need to move on, even if they really just want to cry. And some people feel bad if they are angry or if they don’t have any answers.

First of all, it is okay to feel angry or to have no answers.
Secondly, when something like this happens, we need to take the time to take it in, accept it, and grieve for a bit. Jesus wept, which means he took in the emotion of what was going on and felt the pain of losing a friend.  Rob Bell says, “You have to let it hit you. You can’t avoid it. We can’t avoid our responses to things and think they will go away. We have to let it out or it will stay in there somewhere.”

From there, we have a choice. A choice of whether we are going to be bitter or accept what has happened and move on. The thing about bitterness, though, is that it can take over your thoughts if you allow it. The longer we hold onto something, the harder it is to let it go. Sometimes, we focus so much on what we don’t have that we start to lose out on what we still do have. 

We have to put our faith in Go that he will restore us and heal us.
Psalm 71:20 says, “Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up.”
Although any loss hurts, we will recover. God made us so that we can overcome anything this world can throw at us with his help. It may seem like you are have hit rock bottom and will never recover, but there is always hope with God.

There is a Jewish custom when a loved one dies that the family of the deceased observes a practice referred to as “sitting shiva.” During this ritual, families can sit and talk together or they can just sit in silence and grieve.

“God is sitting shiva with you, fully present, grieving your loss, but also restoring. And in that, we may find hope.” God cares about us enough that he hurts when we hurt. Therefore, he wants to heal us from the hurts that we have. We have to fully trust in him (which is no easy task) and then consciously allow him to work in and through us. We have to choose not to be bitter and to forgive those who hurt us. We have to understand that every bad thing we experience in life will absolutely benefit us at some point in our lives. Hurt leads to restoration. Pain leads to healing.

“He was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our sins. The punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds, we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Recently, I was at an event with some of my friends and we were all sitting around the campfire and everyone was sharing about themselves and opening up like I had never seen them before. I thought I knew the majority of them decently well, but I learned so much about each of them during this time. Toward the end, something happened that made me feel God and the amount of love and caring between friends that I was totally not expecting. It went like this:

Everybody had shared except for one guy who I had never heard open up at all. I wouldn’t have really been surprised if he didn’t say anything. Then, he started telling us about this stuff that had been going on for the past 4 or 5 years, but he didn’t ever want to tell anybody about it because he didn’t want to think about it or talk about it or basically acknowledge it. It wasn’t anything that was his fault or that he could do anything about, but just a situation where he was hurting. When he was done sharing, we started to pray for him because we care about him and wanted him to know that we are here for him and all. While we were praying, all the sudden I heard somebody who was crying really loud and I couldn’t figure out who it was or what was going on. I saw somebody trying to leave the little prayer circle and I realized it was the roommate and best friend of the guy we were praying for. We asked him what was wrong with him and he could only say, “I had no idea. I had no idea.” He was so hurt because his friend was hurting and had been for years, and they had been friends for so long but he had never known the truth. After a few minutes, when we were done praying for both of them, they embraced each other and the friend told him that he could tell him anything.

It was one of those situations where a typical guy doesn’t want to look weak by opening up to his friends. Guys, for whatever reason, absolutely dread these sort of moments most of the time. Our pride makes us want to hold in all our struggles and everything that makes us hurt. Sometimes, it takes more strength to open up and admit that we don’t have it all together than to keep it all inside and do it on your own. When we let others in, we are making ourselves vulnerable. It is something that we never want to do because we want to be in control. The thing is though, that sometimes, we just need the help of our friends. We need to be able to admit that we want their help and that we need God’s help. The kind of love and caring that I saw from the friend of the person we were praying for was inspirational. I think those kind of moments are the most real, lasting moments we experience. Why is it, then, that we have such a hard time ever opening up to our friends? Is it because we don’t want to make things weird in our friendship? If so, maybe you should reevaluate your friendship. What is the point in being friends with somebody if you can’t actually be real with them and tell them what’s on your heart and what you need? Is it because we don’t actually trust the people we are talking to or do we just want everybody to be under the impression that we have it all together? If you want people to think you have it all together, good luck. Does anybody really think anybody has it completely together?

I challenge you, take yourself out of your comfort zone. Make yourself vulnerable to others. Be willing to open up. Support your friends. Show them that you really care. Be there.  Love.  It could completely change your friendships and relationships. I have so much more respect for both of those two guys now after that. And God was in every part of that situation. 

Monday, September 27, 2010

Life Update

So I don't really have anything deep and intellectual to talk about in this post. But I thought I would just give an update on my life as of late.

First of all, this past week and a half has easily been the most stressful of my college career to this point. I had all sorts of projects and tests and quizzes, all of which I felt very unprepared for. However, I worked really hard, and I think I actually ended up doing pretty well on most of the stuff I had to do. My Financial Management class is looking like it will be the death of me though. I had a project due today in that class where a partner and I had to write a 10 page paper and give a 15 minute presentation after compiling loads of data and calculating ratios. Basically, that is the main reason I had no weekend! Well, that and the photography project, marketing test, and journalism article. Isn't it lovely when prof's all make everything due the same day! :) Let's just say I am more than glad to be done with the past week and a half.

When classes started this semester, I was really worried that I was going to be in over my head with my newly picked up graphic design major. Within the last few weeks though, I think it was a good decision for me. I am excited to keep learning about those sorta things and putting it into practice. I'm still not sure if I have the artistic/creative ability that I need, like my brother has, but I am hoping it will come as I keep working with it... Really hoping!

Conditioning for basketball is going rather well, other than having shin splints, which hurt like crazy! We are in our 4th and final week of conditioning, and we start actual practice on Monday. I am very much looking forward to that! Despite the fact that conditioning has been quite difficult, I have actually had a good time with some of the stuff we have done. For instance, one day, we all went to Columbus and went through the SWAT team obstacle course, which was a challenge, but fun nonetheless. Also, I have enjoyed taking on the challenge with my teammates. We all get along really well together and always have a good time with each other. It will definitely be nice to actually work on things with a basketball. Sweet relief!
Photography project. My shoes in MVNU gym. 
Random: I recently saw a picture of my roommate with his girlfriend and my roommate in which my roommate was wearing a Dennis Rodman jersey. I commented on said picture sarcastically remarking that it is probably not a good sign that he has Rodman for a role model. She responded by saying that Rodman wasn't that good of a player either. To this, I refuted by providing statistical evidence of his dominant rebounding prowess. Then, I became further intrigued as to how good he really was and watched some highlights of him and was really impressed. His hustle is like none other I have ever seen. I think this year, I am going to try to emulate Sir Rodman in every way possible. Does anyone have some hair dye I can borrow??

My motivation for this season! 

Friday, September 10, 2010


Love is such an interesting concept to me because it seems like everybody talks about it, but so many people don’t even know what they think it really means. I have basically given up on finding love in the way our culture describes it these days. I’m still trying to figure out exactly what I think love is, but this is where I am currently:
The idea that love is a feeling that can just come and go whenever just doesn’t make sense to me. Instead, I believe that love is a decision. It doesn’t just happen. I don’t believe in “falling in love.” People throw around the word love when they really like somebody, but where do you draw the line? What is the difference between when you really liked that person to now that you think you love them? Is it a feeling? I used to think so to an extent, but it can’t be, right?
 Love is a choice, an action, a sacrifice, how you treat people, caring about them even when you don’t like them. That is the biggest difference between what love actually is and the way people use it. People say after a breakup that they “just didn’t love each other anymore,” or that they “fell out of love.” If that is what love is all about then why on earth do so many people wanna fall in love? True love is not an easy thing. That is why so many marriages fail and why so many people hurt each other. They would rather believe that love is a feeling that can come and go than to accept the responsibility that they just are giving up because they are bored or tired of the circumstances they are in. Real love takes courage and dedication. 
As crazy as it sounds that we don’t have enough words in the English language, I actually think there needs to be a few more to better express this one word. Somebody could say that they love pizza and that they love Jesus in the same breath. How can that be? I think the love that people think they experience in dating relationships is more often than not just infatuation. 
True love is when you make sacrifices without being asked. It is when you do the little things not because you will get something out of it but because you truly want to make the other person happy and are willing to think of them before yourself.
True love is not just something you can turn on and off. I think you can only truly love a person if you love others as well. That is a way you can tell how much someone will be able to love, by how they treat others. Because how would you know how to love unless you had been practicing? And more importantly, how are you going to know how to love when it gets hard if you haven’t been loving even when it’s easy?
1 Corinthians 13 says it more perfectly than anything: 
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” If you think you have loved before, which most people probably would, think about that compared to these attributes... How well do you match up? This sort of love does not sound like a feeling to me. It doesn’t sound like something that comes and goes. This sounds so much more real to me. And best of all, it seems like something that will actually last... what a great concept! 

Saturday, September 4, 2010


I am convinced there is too much pain in the world. So much of it is cause by us and those around us. Other times, though, pain is inevitable. In many senses, pain is necessary. Because what would happiness and contentment and peace look like if there was no pain? Everything would be the same. It would all get boring. That being said, it doesn’t make pain any easier to swallow when it happens to us. But such is life... 
(Warning: This is a story I usually don’t tell people because (1. I am sorta shy, and (2. it’s not exactly dinner conversation material if ya know what I’m sayin’ ... but):  
One night in late-December of my sophomore year of high school, I noticed that my poop didn’t exactly look like it usually did... It was blood red... and didn’t look like poop at all... just like blood... which I assumed was not necessarily a good thing. For whatever reason (probably just my own stupidity), I convinced myself it was no big deal because I had a basketball game the next day and I wanted to play (sometimes I’m way too competitive for my own good... yeah this might have been one of those times: Whoops!). I was hoping that this strange phenomenon would just go away and order would be restored in my bowel ASAP so I could continue playing basketball as I wanted. However, this did not happen. I felt horrible the next day and blood continued coming out of me instead of staying in (never a good thing). I began to get weaker and would get tired just by walking up a few steps. Despite all of this and the fact that my stomach kept hurting and I continually had to go to the bathroom, I played in the game that next night (and scored 20 points while internally bleeding!). After the game I immediately felt exponentially worse and thought, “hey it might be a good idea to tell somebody (parents, doctors, Red Cross?) that something ain’t quite right.” So I told my parents, and apparently this sorta thing didn’t exactly happen to everybody (who woulda known, right?). We went to the doctors and they didn’t know what was wrong with me so I went to Children’s Hospital and they didn’t know what was wrong with me. They put me through all sorts of tests, each one was terrible--moreso because of the “prep” than the actual test, in most cases. The first time this all happened, I bled for ten days straight before it stopped. I lost A LOT of blood though. My hemoglobin level (which is normally around 13 or 14) was down to 6.4 I believe. I could hardly get out of bed through the later days. To put it simply, it was not a fun time for me. But then, when it stopped, I thought everything was fixed and I would never have to worry about it again... I was wrong. It kept coming back randomly. (I think I missed about 15 games due to this in my high school career which is almost an entire season!) The first time was the worst it has ever been. The length and severity have gotten better. But every time it happens, even if it only happens for a day, I get exhausted and can go from being in pretty good shape for basketball to basically having to start from scratch again. For the longest time, doctors would tell me there was really nothing they could do to stop it or prevent it, and that I had something that was extremely rare. Basically, what they told me was causing all this was that the veins in my colon (which I previously didn’t even know existed) were bigger than they were supposed to be. Apparently that meant that when food was going down my pipes, there was a chance the food could slice my vein open and that is why this all happened. I’m not sure how many people in the world have what I have, but I don’t even know to this day if it even has a name. I was referred to some specialists in Boston, Massachusetts and went there to get checked out and they did basically an experimental procedure on me to see if it would help at all. It seems like that procedure has helped because my bleeding has not happened as often or been as bad since the first procedure. They then did the procedure a second time right before I came to college last year. I wish I could say I don’t have to deal with all of this craziness anymore, but it still sneaks back up occasionally. 
This experience has taught me so much about life in general and pain and how to deal with the pain we encounter in our lives. First of all, I let this condition be an excuse as to why I wasn’t going to do things or why I “couldn’t” do things. I decided not to play basketball at MVNU last year because I didn’t want to have to deal with that again. But also, I thought I would be okay with not playing. I don’t necessarily regret not playing last year, but I decided that I don’t care what I have to go through this year, I love basketball too much not to at least give it a try. So I am determined to overcome this condition. I have found out that it can’t control what I do. It can’t hold me down. I am going to fight through it because I am stronger than that. 
One of the things that I had to realize in this battle I went through, and am still going through, is that everything happens for a reason. Sometimes it is so hard for me to believe that, but I know that this whole experience has made me a stronger person, and I needed that. I know that God has a plan for me and that there are things I am going to go through that may not be fun, but each one of those painful things are preparing me for who God wants me to be. 
The thing about pain is that most of the time, it gets us down so much not because it is that overpowering, but it gets us down because we let it get us down. If we tell ourselves that we can’t do anything to stop the pain, then we won’t be able to. What we have to do is understand that we have the ability to overcome pretty much anything, and it is up to us how much pain controls us and how much we overcome the obstacles keeping us from our desired goals. 

The Basics

So, I am writing a blog (...duh?) and I’m not sure if anyone will care to read it or not, but I feel like it may be strangely fun so I’m gonna do it anyway. :) 
I guess a good place to start is a little introduction of who I am and all: 
My name is Zach (obviously). I am 19 years old and am a sophomore at Mount Vernon Nazarene University. After much indecision, I have decided to double major in Marketing and Graphic Design (more to come about this later). I am playing basketball for the Naz this year, which I am quite excited about (also, more to come about this later). I am generally a pretty shy/quiet person until I get to know people... sometimes I wish I was more outgoing, but it is what it is I guess. I am from Lancaster, Ohio where I went to Fairfield Christian Academy for the majority of my academic career (2nd through 12th grade). I love sports and movies and music and my family and friends and art and God and all the amazing stuff he puts around me like the sky
I can’t say that I have had the toughest life growing up. I have a great family who has always supported me and awesome friends. I am extremely grateful for the people God has placed in my life and just for the life I have been fortunate enough to have. However, I have also gone through a great deal of things I would not wish upon anyone else (my next post will talk about that).
There are a lot of things that I don’t know or understand in this world... like most things related to science, and there are a lot of other things that I think I know but I really don’t. I hate when people pretend to know everything so I am going to preface everything I will say from here on out by saying now that most of this is going to be my opinion or others’ opinions that I just agree with for the most part. So with that said, I hope you (and if you is just my mother, that is fine with me) enjoy my thoughts and sometimes crazy ideas.