Saturday, December 31, 2011

Oh, Oh, Twenty Eleven

So, it's the start of a new year, and I must be completely honest, I couldn't be happier about it.  Twenty eleven hasn't been the best year for me and Kaylee.  While it has been a bit of a whirlwind of craziness there have been some really touching moments that have been nothing but pure joy.

Starting the year off
On January 1, we started the year with my granddad passing way.  It was completely unexpected and of course it wasn't how I thought I would be spending the first few hours of a new year.  Later that month, Kaylee had an immense pain in her side.  It was so intense we went to the emergency room, they did an ultrasound and determined she had a kidney stone.  I don't know if you've had one of these, but it's said to be worse pain than childbirth.  In childbirth your body dilates, and prepares to birth the child.  With kidney stones, there is no dilation and your body is pushing the stone through your ureter, which is as wide as a hair follicle.  In other words... OUCH!  We went to Dr. Kibbey (if you EVER need a urologist, he is the best in Amarillo) and he did a procedure and Kaylee was able to pass the stone.  We were really blessed to have Dr. Kibbey, he's the nicest man, and also the best at what he does.

Las Vegas
There was a Feeding America conference in Las Vegas, and my boss asked me to go.  He said it would also be fine if Kaylee went too.  So, we went, and I must say Vegas was so much fun.  This was my first conference for Feeding America, and everyone there was my colleague of counterpart, and I made a ton of connections.  In communications you cannot ever have enough contacts.  Of course, since Kaylee was there with me, the evenings were a blast too.  We had so much fun, going shopping, eating great food, and of course just people watching. Kaylee had fun too, to laid by the pool and went shopping while I was in meetings all day.  The neatest thing that happened were tickets to Beatles Love that we were given.  This is a Circ De Soleil production that is everything Beatles.  It's a live action play set to the music of  The Beatles.  I cannot tell you how amazing it is.  The tickets retail for around $100 each, and it is worth EVERY penny.  The imagery, costumes, story, sets, and actors are incredible.  There are no words spoken, but the story is all about love.  

July was big month
We started the month of with a much needed anniversary trip to Dallas.  We stayed in the coolest hotel in Frisco called the NYLO.  We had so much fun together, we did EVERYTHING we wanted to and just really enjoyed the time together.  We ate great food, explored, and I got to do one of my favorite things in the world; I got to go to Ikea.  Oh, you don't know how much I love that place.  I got to introduce it to Kaylee, who was less than impressed with it, but we found some fun things to add to our house.  Also in July we got to welcome our newest nephew (making it 4 nephews) Tucker Thomas Miesner to world.   Its was so special, because he's the first child for Marty and Teela.  He is just so special, and incredible all wrapped in a tiny little package.  Towards the end of the month, I was slated to go to Chicago for another Feeding America Conference.  This one was specifically for people who do what I do in their Food Banks.  I have never been to Chicago, and since we didn't know just when Tucker was going to be born we had not planned on Kaylee attending with me.  Let me just say, I love Chicago.  I had to ride the subway from the airport to the hotel, and it was on.  Of course, it would have been way better if Kaylee could have joined me.  The conference was a great resource for me.  I learned a ton and also was able to make even more connections. Just before I boarded the plane to head to Chicago, I received a text from my sister that my brother-in-law was being airlifted to hospital.  He had been a in a very bad ATV accident, and broke his C2 vertebrae on both sides.  Only God could keep him from being paralyzed.  He is recovering from this even today, and THANKFULLY he hasn't had any complications.

August through September
As soon as I got back from Chicago Kaylee and I had the pleasure to start looking into buying a house.  I'll be honest, this was a little bit of a crazy time.  Kaylee wanted an old home with character and trees, and I wanted a new newer home without having to remodel.  I am not the handiest man in the world and I didn't think I had what it took to do intensive remodeling.  So, we started, we looked at some she picked and we looked at some I picked.  We realized and appreciated each others tastes, but still felt like we wanted what we wanted.  In other words, neither was budging.  I could appreciate older homes with character, but I thought about how old is was and the maintenance required.  Kaylee could see my point in the newer homes, which the larger kitchens and master suites.  Newer homes don't have those extremely weird add-ons that many of the older homes have.  We literally saw the ugliest homes in Amarillo.  (Here's a tip people, if you are selling your home, clean it, put stuff away, and make sure your house doesn't stink!) We had seen like 45 houses and there was nothing we wanted to put an offer on, and we were just about to lie low for a little bit and wait for more houses to be put on the market, when Kaylee screamed, "I just found our house."  I replied, "WHAT???"   This perfect house on Harrison had just lowered the price into our price range, and we booked an appointment immediately.  We walked in and instantly we fell in love.  Of course, my mind started racing, "Ok, if we offer them this we can settle on this."  The house was the perfect mix of what Kaylee and I both wanted. It was built in 1928, had all hardwood floors, and had been completely remodeled.  We made an offer, and after some negotiating, we were able to buy the home of our dreams in our dream neighborhood.  Our Realtor was Hayley Johnson with Parkview Realty.  SHE was Phenomenal!  I highly recommend her.     ***Disclaimer*** It wasn't that easy.  The home was listed by Carol Burnett, and let me just tell you, if you ever see a home listed by her, go to the next one.  She lied about the new roof the owners just had put on.  She advertised and listed it as having a Class 4 roof.  A class 4 roof is made stronger and is more hail resistant.  It gives you a cheaper rate on your home insurance, and she just made it up and didn't tell us until the 11th hour of our ten day option period. She poorly represented the home owners, and just showed little class.  I would not recommend her.

October and on
In October I participated in a sleep study.  I had tonsillitis in 2008 and since that time I have had an awful time sleeping.  The study proved that I indeed had sleep apnea.  It's a condition where you stop breathing while sleeping.  It's very dangerous.  I mentioned it to my dentist, Eddy Sauer, and he just so happens, to specialize in treating it.  He did a CT scan of my head and it showed just how narrow my tonsils and uvula make my airway.  He suggested a mouth piece that will pull my lower jaw forward and open the airway (much like when giving CPR).  Another doctor suggested that I also take a look at getting my tonsils taken out.  I didn't want my tonsils out, it's a very traumatic surgery for adults.  Stacie Morgan is a friend of my sister's to I met with her (She's also an Ear Nose and Throat Doctor).  We set up surgery for December 14th.  It's a two week recovery.  Well, contrary to the horror stories I was told, it was not that bad.  I just felt like I had a sore throat for about two weeks.  Everything was going great, until on December 21st, Kaylee came home form work and as soon as she walked in the door, I knew something was wrong.  I said, "What's wrong."  She sheepishly replied, "I have pain in my back on my left side."  My mind started racing, and I  knew instantly is was another kidney stone.  She called Dr. Kibbey and he said, come now.  I was still on hydrocodone, and couldn't go with her.  He did s CT scan, and she indeed had a very big one.  Dr. Kibbey didn't think she could pass it and was afraid of it blocking and shutting off the kidney, he ordered a stint to be put in the next day.  That would be Dec. 22nd, a week after my surgery.  I was still on pain meds, and she was going to be put under anesthesia so neither of us could drive.  So, thank God, Kaylee's mom was in town and could drive us.  You know I see celebrities use car services all the time, and I have to say that it's really not as fun as it looks.  Kaylee did great, and Dr. Kibbey was pleased, but no one told us how uncomfortable the stint makes you.  We went home, and both Kaylee and I were exhausted and pretty much useless.  Luckily I felt good enough to get off pain meds, and was able to drive us the next day.  We had a great Christmas (as great as we could, Kaylee was in a lot of pain from the stint).  Then on Dec. 27th, just one day before two weeks from surgery, the scab on my surgery wounds came off and it started bleeding uncontrollably.  We called the Doctors office and they said to gargle with extremely  cold water for 10 minutes.  45 later it was still really bad, so we went to the ER.  Oh, the ER where all the fun is happening.  We were seen and they they admitted me for observation.  Now, I will tell you, our visit to BSA was not a good one.  No one looked at my throat the whole night.  The on-call doctor from Dr. Morgan's office didn't come see me either.  To make the situation worse, the on-call doctor did not tell Dr. Morgan that I was in the hospital and he was off the next day.  Thank God Kaylee went to work the next morning, because she works in the same office building as Dr. Morgan and went and said something to her nurse.  Needless to say Dr. Morgan was mortified that I was at the hospital and she didn't know.  She is the greatest Doctor.  She came up and said she was sorry, which she didn't need to do.  She  said, "Broc, you were spitting up cups of blood, and we only worry when it's buckets.  You didn't the right thing coming to the ER, but they should have let you go as soon as the bleeding stopped."  She checked my throat and said it looked good, and wrote the orders so we could leave.  We got home and we were pretty broken.  The past two weeks had been pretty tumultuous, but we were alive. So, Kaylee had her follow up appointment and Dr. Kibbey felt like he could blast the stone now, it was a lot more visible.  He ordered it to be done that, which was great for insurance reasons.  He blasted the stone and was very happy that it broke into 3 or 4 pieces, and said Kaylee could easily pass them.  He asked her to come the next day and have the stint removed.  We arrived, Kaylee was nervous, but it happened quickly and she felt better instantly.  She has been passed pieces!

So that was our year.  Began sad, and ended crazy.  We have learned a lot about each other.  I must say, even though we went through the valley of a shadow of doubt, God is faithful.  It's interesting, when you go through a traumatic experience, it humbles you and gives you a great perspective.  You NEVER know what someone's back story is, so you cannot judge there current story.  Here's to 2012, and our trip the New York in February.       

Friday, November 11, 2011

Amplifying the noise

I have had the great pleasure to interview some of the clients who receive food from the High Plains Food Bank.  It was an idea I had.  I see the disconnect all the time when I am speaking to people about what I do.  They just cannot fathom people in America being hungry.  The problem was, there was no face on hunger.  So I started tell everyone that I wanted to talk to our clients and let them be the face of hunger.  If you can see it, sometimes it makes it easier for you to understand.

I got a call from one our agencies, Loaves and Fishes in McLean Texas.  It's about 70 west of Amarillo on I-40.  I met Vonnie, the Executive Director, who's one of the most amazing people I have ever met.  Then she introduced me to Penny, her client.  Penny's smile lit up the room, and I instantly connected with her.  She's amazing.  We sat down and she started to tell me her story.  I fought back tears the entire time.  She's been through more than any person should ever have to go through, and what her hard times have done to her was make her closer to God.

Needless to say, I didn't know what was going to happen when I put the video together. Penny, is great, but I just wanted to tell her story.  I wish I could say I knew I was making something that was going to change someone's life, but I didn't see it, all I could see was telling a story, Penny's.

I uploaded the video and the people of McLean started to see it.  I got a call from Vonnie today, Penny's story has inspired local pastors to show the video of Penny to their congregations and have Penny talk about her life. One of the people I work with said, "You have not only given hunger a face and name, but also a voice."

Who can you give a voice to?  Penny had been screaming, and not one heard.  All she needed was a microphone.  I have thought about that, when I started this project, I never thought that was the goal.  It has made me look around to find other's that need someone to amplify their noise.  I think you should too.

Here's the video about Penny.


Monday, October 10, 2011

I said what?

So I was teaching a lesson to the 5th and 6th graders I work with at my church.  This group is a group of preteen leaders.  They are the most amazing kids you'll ever meet and I feel very fortunate to get to be a part of this team.  

Yesterday, I was teaching them a lesson about Baptism and the importance of having their quiet times.  I had everything prepared, and I started in my lesson, when all the sudden I had a thought.  Now, I said I had a thought, it really wasn't me, it was really God.  I was talking about how The Word is a lamp to your feet and how it also shapes you.  Needless to say, they weren't getting it.  Crickets......... 

Quickly, I thought, and thought and thought (it seemed like an eternity, which was about 10 seconds in the real world).  Ah ha... "So let's say you have the thought that your parents are crazy."  They perked up, I mean at that age, you do think your parents are crazy.  It is a real emotion you have, but one you never thought anyone else had.  I loved watching them feel like it was okay to think that. Then I said, "But then you read in The Bible, Honor you father and mother is the only commandment with a promise.  Do you know what that promise is?"  Collectively, they all said no... very enthusiastically.  I went to the 10 commandments, and read it: "Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the LORD your God is giving you."

They were less than stunned.  They didn't get it.  I said, "So, if you want to live a long life, honor your parents."  Then, in that very moment, the lights came on.  I felt compelled to say, "The Word just shaped your belief."

Then, as only the innocence of a child can bring, one of the boys from the group asked a question: "Mr. Broc, what if your parents tell you to clean your room, and you do it, but you still think their crazy?"  ( l loved this, because it proves my theory, kids want to know their boundaries)  "Well, you're being fake.  And the Word is clear, that God doesn't just see the outward, but he sees the the intentions and inner thoughts." He smiled, "Oh, okay, I just wanted to make sure."  More shaping.  

It then shaped me.  

Monday, September 19, 2011

Reading through Journals...

I went through my old journal the other day. July 13, 2010, the most exciting time in my life, ( I had just gotten married 10 days before) I found myself missing something. My wife was and is perfect, so that wasn't the issue. In fact, I had been experiencing quite a mixed bag of emotions that past year. One year before, to the day, I had been laid off. Getting laid off is not pleasant by anyone's standard, but getting laid off from the place you call your church home is even worse.

I had no grid for this. I had never been let go from a job. I had never even had a bad review from a job. It was devastating. BUT! As only God can, he positioned a very amazing girl with a very amazing family in my life. Needless to say, I learned who my friends were, and more importantly who wasn't. I, luckily, had positioned myself into a great group of volunteers in the church, so I had great support from them! I worked with great people, but they never called to see how I was doing, and neither did anyone from the church. Mostly I feel like no one knew what to say, so no one said anything. (sidenote: if you know someone who is laid off, call them.... a lot.)

So, let me paint a sort of picture for you, because I was in quite a myriad of emotions. First, I had been laid off. Second, I was in love with a girl who I knew was going to be my wife. It truly was the BEST and WORST of times rolled into a soft corn taco that I had to get up July 14, 2009 and eat.

The manna season.
I found a job... in retail. I worked and ate it's manna. I got engaged. Mixture. I felt like I was wondering in Egypt, and right in the middle of blessings all at the same time. I began to love my job in retail. I remember telling God that I didn't want to do this forever, BUT if this is what He wanted then I was okay with it. (although I am not sure I would have made it forever). The best part, I was around unsaved people again. I loved that a lot. If you ever get around too many saved people it will make you go crazy. The unsaved are so precious and so loving, and so amazing and as you can imagine, working in a church doesn't put you into contact with them very much.

I learned a lot about myself. I also learned a lot about God, and just how much His love makes you open. I got mad at the church (the one I got let go from not the body). I was determined not to become hardhearted..... so I quickly forgave them. I understood this was a business decision, they couldn't pay their bills so of course they had to cut overhead. I moved on. Although I stayed at the church (even today) I separated myself from some people. It's amazing what freedom comes from not having to play politics, and power games. (sidenote: I know that sounds bitter, but the truth is, I have never talked with anyone who has worked in a church and that stuff didn't exist or anyone who worked in an organization for that matter).

I interviewed for job after job and thought surely this is the one. But sadly I didn't get them. I would walk into every interview and know this was the perfect job for me; only to find out through a letter that I hadn't been chosen. I got married, July 3 2010, and what a lovely day that was. It was the cornerstone of a season of change. Marriage did me good. I had a built in cheerleader.

So back to that journal entry on July 13 2010: "today I heard the Lord tell me He's preparing a place for me in a job. He's putting the things together . He gave me the impression that it was going to be the perfect place for me. That I would get a lot of satisfaction from it, and such. I like that confidence, so for now, I will continue to eat the manna. I choose to be grateful today. The Lord has provided greatly and I am thankful. I am happy where I am at today."

Wow, looking back, what a great testimony the Lord brought forward. The next month I landed the perfect job for me. One that fulfills me. One that let's me do the work of the church, but in the world. One that lets me use my gifts. I never thought that getting laid off would be a considered a blessing but God has a way of turning everything around for good. I choose to remember that today.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Think globally, shop locally, and pull up a chair, this might take a minute.

I stirred up quite a crazy debate today. I said one thing about local businesses, and I was quickly flooded with opinions from both sides of debates. I think this is something that needs to be discussed. I love local businesses, in fact, I come from a long line of personal business owners. In my short life have worked with many local businesses and enjoyed them.

All that being said, I have noticed a trend in Amarillo and I don't think that it's a very good marketing trend. I have affectionately called it "banking on local." This trend consists of local companies only differentiating themselves from the chains only by being local. I'm not impressed. People of Amarillo are a lot more creative than that, and if they aren't, there's another empty storefront.

Local companies must think globally, and be ingenious. Creative niches are how to get the job done. I have friends that own The Ground Cafe in Amarillo. This little coffee shop on the ground floor of the Chase Tower in downtown Amarillo has created such a buzz you'd think they were the original coffee shop in Amarillo. There are other local coffee shops, and yes there is Starbucks. They compete and very successfully I might add, because they know who they are, and they put themselves in the right place. They sell good coffee and they sell it at a smart price. I talked to them about this how microcosm of local versus out-of-towners, and this is what they said, "We wouldn't be here is Starbucks wasn't in town." They carved their place because a national chain brought relevance to their shop. They built The Ground Cafe about 8-9 years after Starbucks had been in town. There attitude to their customers is, "We don't want our customers to feel bad if they go to Starbucks, WE go to Starbucks." They don't see the national chain as competition, but a vehicle where by they can be seen and heard because they created a place in Amarillo. They are local, and they are good, and they compete because they are good at what they do (and they are the nicest people I know).

So, Amarillo business owners, I get it, you're local. I hear a loud and clear.... BUT, if you think that's enough, I think you're sadly mistaken.