Wednesday, December 19, 2012


Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”
Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’” Matthew 4:8-10

Satan, the Devil, rules the earth that we live on.  He offered this land to Jesus while He was present on Earth, but Jesus turned it down.  You want to know why?

Because Jesus rules another world. Jesus rules eternity. 

There has been an incredible amount of evil lately all across our great planet.  Whether it is mass killings of people because of what they look like, what they believe in, or who they decide to be with, EVIL has been much too prevalent. 

The shooting in Connecticut has proven once again that EVIL is real, and that the Devil is real. Being here in the Netherlands, I don't see continual news coverage and news paper articles calling for tighter gun control, or more tests to see who truly has something mentally wrong. I am not overwhelmed with the coverage. I am only overwhelmed with sadness, grief, and truth.

"The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist!" (The Usual Suspects)

The truth is... EVIL will not stop. No matter what we try to do as a society, EVIL is present.  We live in a world where the Devil is the owner. EVIL can happen at any moment at any time.   

As a society, we need to stop acting like there isn't a power that truly is looking to destroy the good in our world.  As a group we need to band together in times of crisis and sadness; we cannot begin to pull apart at  the seems.  When we bicker amongst each other, kill in cold blood, slander those we have elected to lead us, the Devil himself smiles.  

We are fighting a real battle with the creator of EVIL, and until we recognize this very fact, we will continue to point fingers and split apart as a human race.  Let's put our faith in Jesus Christ, and in the fact that he conquered this world to prepare a better place for those who go through such EVIL events.  What a truly sad story it would be if our God had taken this world and left eternity to Satan.    

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The FInal Chapter

My father's struggle has been well documented by myself and many others, but one final chapter is about to take place with the daily war with his feet.  In just under two weeks, my father will have his left leg amputated below the knee...

It's still difficult for me to wrap my head around.  For the past couple of years, Dad has been fighting continual bone infections in his left foot that leave him on I.V. anti-biotics.  These bone infections have slowly become more and more severe leaving the possibility of the infection reaching his blood stream and killing him in a matter of months.

With his life at stake, there was only one option... to take the leg.  As many of you know, I am playing basketball here in Holland and have officially seen my father for the last time with both of his legs.  Being away from him will be a significant struggle, as I will want hour by hour updates of his conditions and his long rehab recovery.  My father is my hero, and this just proves one more time that he is worthy of such a title.

He could have thrown in the towel on this one and just decided to roll the dice with these infections, but he knows if all goes right, this move will be better for him in the long run.  The road to recovery and normalcy will be a challenging journey, so that is why I am asking all friends, family, and strangers to pray for my mother and father.

Please circulate this to as many people as possible because I know how strong the power of prayer can be.  Thank you all for your concern and love through just another test in our lives.  We wouldn't be able to make it through without you!

Monday, April 23, 2012

My Hero, My Father

My father's life hasn't been easy. When I was just two years old, my father was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma! We moved to Nebraska where he received a bone marrow transplant.  Even out there at such a young age, I saw what fighting was really like. In Nebraska, my father fought for his life, his wife, his son, his parents, and especially for God.
Yes... My father fought for God. You might ask how? How can a man fight cancer and fight for God. God had allowed this disease to engulf my father's life, but God had also given him strength, so it would be unsatisfactory for him to give in and let the cancer do its work. My father won the battle with cancer, but he now fights a different battle. This battle is against his own body.
After the bone marrow transplant, my father's cancer was cured. He returned to being a dentist and enjoying what he had worked for during his 33 years on Earth. But then he started to notice some changes with his body. He realized his body was no longer the same. Had the cancer returned? Was he just paranoid? Was this part of remission? All the thoughts came to mind, but there was only one answer.
He had acquired Graft vs. Host disease.  In other words, his sister's white blood cells did not recognize and accept his body, so they began to do what they do best... Fighting off foreign substances. This substance was now my dad's body.
I honestly can't put into words what this disease is like, but I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. My father can no longer produce tears, so he has spent 18 years dropping eye drops into his eyes every 45 minutes.  Next, he has no saliva... NONE! He carries around a bottle of water everywhere so he can keep his mouth as moist as possible.  Since saliva helps the teeth stay healthy, his teeth have begun to decay.  Ironic how a man known for fixing mouths can't do a thing about his own.  Thirdly, he has about 20% lung capacity.  The GVHD has attacked his breathing.  My father can't walk more than 50 yards withing being completely out of breath.  My father was an All Star athlete playing three sports in high school, continuing basketball for a year in college, then pursuing his dental dreams while hoisting many intramural trophies.  He was an athlete.  Now he sits in a wheelchair during long walking events like the airport, or any long walk he knows he can't handle. The last thing I will share will be what this disease has done to my father's feet. It will be hard to put into words, but I'll try.
His feet ankles and lower calves are destroyed past repair. The GVHD hit them hard.  First, they began getting more and more swollen until they started to blister.  After the blisters started, the swelling subsided but the blisters kept popping up.  He now can't wiggle his toes.  The blisters are so bad that his Achilles tendon is exposed through his "skin." His toenails are gone and painful bone chips form to try and close the wound since a scab never fully heals.  Every night for 18 years my father has spent two hours wrapping his feet to keep them moist and usable.  Without this grooming, his feet would have been unusable and would have needed to be amputated.  In total, my dad had spent a total of 545 days taking care of just his feet... That means if he started taking care of his feet today, he wouldn't get up for a year and a half.
But still, the words I have used don't do the condition justice.  I have watched my father fight through excruciating pain for years without one complaint. He fights to see me play another game. He fights because he vowed to be there for my mother. He fights because God wakes him up every morning. I have a responsibility to God and so do all of us.
Until the day God doesn't wake me up, I will fight to become a better person, better player, better son, and better man of God.  That is our duty. That is the duty my father displays. In 6,570 days, my father has never given up.  He could blame God for his lifelong situation. He could even take his own life and end all the suffering. Would you blame him?
If my father's life had revolved around sports, money, health, cars, clothes. appearance, or anything worldly, he would be dead.  His world revolved around God.  My dad has honored God with every single eye drop, every water bottle, and with every piece of gauze wrapped around his foot.  One day, maybe tomorrow or maybe 30 years from now, God will call my father home.  He will enter God's kingdom with no water bottle, no eye drops, a full breath, and twinkly toes. I have no doubt my father will run through those gates. God will have gained an amazing angel that day, but until then...

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Embarrassing Moments

A skill I have learned through the years is to laugh at myself, but with that being said, there were moments in my life where laughing was the last thing on my mind.  These stories are funny now; they weren't funny then! ENJOY...


            In 7th and 8th grade, I rode the MARTA train for 45 minutes to and from school every day.  The train in the mornings is usually full with business men and women going to work and people hurrying to catch their flight.  On this Friday morning, there seemed to be more people on the train than usual.
            I had a seat next to my friend, and there were two seats in front of me that were perpendicular.  Both of those seats were also occupied by friends.  The train was standing room only.  I had one guy's butt in my face and another gentleman standing right on my toe, but that wasn't the real problem.  The problem was my stomach was starting to hurt, but we were only two stops away from school.  I figured I could make it, I mean I had only had a waffle for breakfast.
            As we approached the stop before mine, I started feeling worse.  The doors opened... I tried to get up to get out of this cocoon of people but... BEEP BEEP BEEP... the doors closed.  "It's alright, I can make it three more minutes," I thought to myself.  All of a sudden, I catch a gallon of throw up right in my mouth.  This was no silent activity because my throat had made the noise of a clogged, bubbling toilet.  All three of my friends flung their eyes towards me so fast I could feel the breeze.
            With my cheeks bulging and my eyes watering I made a simple head shaking gesture and projectile vomited all over the MARTA train.  It was on me, my friends, this guy's butt, the ceiling, a briefcase... nothing was spared.  No one said a word! The next minute seemed like an hour.  These doors could not open fast enough.  But just as the doors were about to open I felt a tap on my shoulder.  A lady was holding ONE tissue out to me; I grabbed it dabbed my mouth and thought to myself, "One tissue... what did she want me to do with that?"
            BEEP BEEP BEEP... the doors open and I sprint off smelling like digested waffles and looking like I had just urinated on myself.  As a sprint up the stairs all I could hear was, "Ladies and gentleman... we are going to need everyone to evacuate the south bound train for sanitation reasons." I shut that thing down!

Wrong Room

            During my freshman year at Clemson, I lived in Stadium Suites.  Andre and I were roommates but each had our own bedroom to sleep in.  Along with the two bedrooms, as you first entered the dorm room, there were two sinks and a bathroom with a toilet and shower.  My mom had come up a few times to put a little rug down and a "manly" shower curtain so the place didn't look like a prison.
            One cold December morning after returning from an early 8 a.m. class, I pushed 3 on the elevator while listening to my ipod.  I was in a complete zone. The doors to the elevator opened, I got off, and some lady got on.  Still in a zone and bundled up in a huge coat over two sweatshirts I proceeded to my door.  As I placed the key in the lock, it wouldn't turn.  Thinking to myself, "Oh, Andre must have left the door unlocked." I checked the handle, and sure enough it was open.  I flung the door open and was in dismay, ALL OUR STUFF WAS GONE! The two bedroom doors were closed and couldn't believed our room had been robbed.  I bolted through Andre's door to see if the perpetrators had taken any other valuable items... But it wasn't Andre in the room.
            Sitting in front of me with his shirt off was a guy I had never seen before, and then it all clicked.  The lady getting on the elevator was going up; I was on the second floor; This wasn't my room, and this guy now looked just as confused as I did.  With a calm face and warm smile I simply said, "Wrong room."
            I'm sure this guy told this story all over campus about some idiot coming into his room to just leave with two simple words, "Wrong room!"

Which Table?

            It's dinner time in the Harcombe dinning hall and students have come from all over campus to graze with their friends.  I had gone through a few lines to get some food and spotted an open table, but it wasn't just one table, it was two! This is completely unheard of in the mosh pit some like to call the dinning hall.  I placed my tray on one of the tables and shouted to Andre, "Hey... You want to sit here?"  As Andre always does, he answers with a roll of the eyes "I don't care."
            "Of course you don't," I replied while throwing my hands in the air, but my right hand didn't quite get as high as I thought.  That's because it had just demolished a poor innocent bystander's tray with four plates of food pilled high, two soda drinks, cookies for desert, and silver ware.  That innocent bystander's tray was now all over the floor, and the grazing herd in Harcombe and turned to see what had interrupted their meal.  I also noticed out of the corner of my eye Andre on his knees laughing silently.  What a guy!
            The two of us stood their for what seemed like an eternity.  I finally broke the silence, "My bad."

These are just a few embarrassing stories of mine.  I have plenty more, but you guys get the point, I have had my fair share of embarrassing moments.

Monday, August 29, 2011

No Coincidence

I feel the need to share a story that happened to me recently back in Atlanta...

My family and I were filming for the ABC show about Tanner's Totes at Scottish Rite hospital.  I had just had the honor to deliver about 10 totes to preteens and teens going through some of the most horrific treatments a person could imagine.  As we began to wrap up the filming for the last day, my mother and I ran into a young man waiting in the lobby of the hospital.  He asked what our t-shirts meant and why there were camera crews following us around.  My mother began to explain exactly what Tanner's Totes was all about and how we began our organization.

I continued to shoot a few more scenes but couldn't get this young man out of my mind.  As I looked over at him talking with my mom, he fell to his knees, tears streaming down his face.  I was showered with anguish.  What was going on in this guy's heart?  Before I shot the last scene, my mother grabbed me.  She simply said, "Go get a girl tote, this guy needs one!"  I asked no questions but sprinted through the hospital to find where we had stored the other 20 totes we brought that day.  All I could think about was why this young man needed a girl tote.  He was too young to have a child, but I would soon find out the story that exemplifies why I started Tanner's Totes in the first place.

His sister had just graduated high school that summer and was at Auburn going through rush.  This guy and his father had helped move her in just three days earlier.  Her problems consisted of what outfit to wear for each rush day, how to decorate her dorm room, and who was in her classes? While moving stuff into her dorm, she had shown her brother and father some bruises that she could not explain.  Her father and brother laughed at her to simply brush of the fact that she probably bumped into a table.  The family left, and she began to feel more and more tired... Probably just worn out from rush.  It got to the point where she felt the need to go to the doctor where they did some blood work.

They immediately told her to call her family to come pick her up!

Now her problems consisted of what is wrong with me, how did this happen, and what does the next day hold?  Her brother got the call from his dad and rushed to meet them at the hospital immediately.  He had been attending the practice round for the PGA tournament and beat his father to the hospital by a solid 45 minuets.

It is in this time that we met this young man.  I won't give his name due to confidentiality, but I was appalled at this story.  This is why I started Tanner's Totes.  So girls like his sister would have something to help them get through a tough time.  Her battle will be a long road with countless bumps along the way, but it was no coincidence WE were there that day.  God put us in the same hospital.  Timing is often overlooked.  If we had not had ABC do the show, I would have never met this man.  If we had gone out the back door, showed up an hour earlier, or if he had received the call a day before, or his sister admitted to another hospital, we would never had met.  There are thousands of IF's, but we were there together that day.  Our fates had been intertwined since the day I was born.  It's crazy to think about, but God gives us people in our lives at the perfect moments.  I was there to help this family, but more importantly, the family was there to help me.

I still keep in touch with this young man.  His sister has Leukemia.  She will fight this disease the rest of her life.  I am confident she will win that battle because of the loving brother she has that is with her every step of the way.  God's road maps are elaborate sometimes; other times, his road maps are subtle, but no matter what the map looks like, it is God's ink on the page.

Please pray for this family and thousands of families in the same situation!  

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Hand Holding

A momentous and special event, an American pastime, a sign of love and affection, and I am NOT a fan... hand holding.  You see couples everywhere showing their love for one another with the unionization of their hands and fingers.  You are forced to walk around them on the sidewalk since public Red Rover is not socially acceptable. They are lost in their own little world, but let's be honest, when you look at the guy holding hands with his girlfriend, his eyes scream relentlessly for help. Let me explain why I am not a fan of this epic event couples share together.

First, I am a tall guy and seem to date smaller women.  While my arm is hanging by my side, two things either happen when the hand holding commences.  One, I have to bend down in order to reach her hand, or two, she must raise her arm to an uncomfortable position making me look like the older brother leading his younger sister around a busy baseball stadium.

Second, I never know whether to interlock fingers or just hold hands.  There is no instructional manual for this type of thing, but at the same time, as a man, the woman expects me to take the lead in this sort of situation.  Thanks society.  I feel like the holding of hands with no interlocking fingers is possibly acceptable for the first few hand holding scenarios, but after that, all hand holding options are in play.  Women seem to enjoy the interlocking fingers.  Well then here comes one of your friends that you know from high school, and you must begin the uninterlocking of the fingers.  It's like a Chinese puzzle figuring out which fingers leave first and which ones straggle behind.  There needs to be a couples class for this sort of thing.

Third, sweaty palms are nothing to be excited about.  It is only natural for precipitation to form on the palms of individuals that have been holding hands for a period of time.  This is how God made nature.  With sweaty palms comes clammy skin.  Also unavoidable but also not fun to be around.

I know girls love the art of hand holding and respect that there are also men out there that enjoy the same thing.  Maybe one day I will slowly begin to enjoy holding the hand of another, but I honestly do not see that time anywhere close around the corner.  Until that day comes though, I will continue to be a trooper and persevere through my hand holding fears for the comfort of the women.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

First Post Dedicated to Andre Young

This is my first ever post and first ever thought of even blogging.  I can honestly thank Andre Young for this.  Therefore, it is only fitting for me to talk a little about him on my first post.  This is no "man crush" blog, but rather one friend showing his great appreciation for another friend.
Andre and I were once huge rivals.  He played for the Georgia Blazers while I played for the Georgia Stars on the AAU circuit.  Let's just say we weren't the biggest fans of each other.  We were able to beat them twice out of three games, but each time Andre lit us up.  I always found it spectacular that a guy of his stature could control the court like he did.
A few months after our third game against each other, I twisted my ankle at the Peach Jam in the quarterfinals. I went to the hospital and was told that I could no longer play the rest of the summer.  Crushed would be an understatement for how I was feeling.  Our team had ended up winning the game that night and were in the semifinals the next morning.  In a boot and crutches, I made my way to the gym to help the Stars in anyway I could.  The Georgia Blazers were playing the game right before ours.  They ended up losing and walked off the court in disgust.  I remember catching Andre's eye, and he made his way over to me.  He simply asked, "How is it?" I told him what had happened, and he replied with, "Well I hope you get better man."
I was stunned. A guy who barely knew me felt the need to check on how I was doing.  That is the type of guy Andre is.  I never would have imagined that our friendship would grow to this level after that day.  He has helped me through so many things in my life whether it be school, basketball, women, family, or faith.  We talk about anything, and I know my college experience would be a whole lot different without a guy like him to help me out.  This is just a beginning to a life-long relationship, but I thank God every day for a friend that I know always has my back.  We are looking forward to one last year together here at Clemson, but whether we continue to play on the same team after college or not, I know we will keep in touch and have a bond that will span any distance we may be apart. Life without true friendship is a life not truly lived. Big ups Papi Dre! Let's have another great year!