Tuesday, December 21, 2010

...and not a day goes by...

20 years ago today I made the most important decision of my life.

Now, I know many people who would say that about many different decisions that have been made. Who they would marry, where they would go to school or work, etc. But in my life, those decisions are dwarfed by another.

Today is my (Christian) birthday.

20 years ago I gave my life to Christ, and not a day goes by that is not influenced by that decision. Because every other important decision in my life is weighed against this one. My relationships succeed or fail based on this relationship. My path in life is authored by this path.

Looking back now, I understand that I knew next to nothing about what I was getting into, or what was really going on. But who does? Who has perfect, or even mature, knowledge of what they signed up for when they get married, or have kids? That's not the point. The point is that I knew enough to know that I was in no way a good person, there were consequences for my not being a good person, and Someone had paid my price for who I was. I remember the burden I had been carrying around, the guilt of all the things I had done that I knew weren't right.

And I remember the freedom when I came up out of that water. The pure exhilaration, the joy, the knowledge that those things didn't matter anymore, I was newborn!

I'm still a bad person, I guess I always will be. But I'm beginning to understand Grace, and freedom from sin, and the Love of God.

And I feel like not a day goes by that, if I walk with God, is not touched by Him to bring me closer. To who I could be. To who I should be. To Him.

Monday, December 20, 2010


So, we knew we were having another holiday baby. We even figured that she was coming early. But we didn't expect it to happen quite like this:

3am on Monday, November 29th, was just like any other 3am on a Monday. Or so we thought. We have a fire alarm that is hard-wired into our house's electrical system. It is also the loudest thing I have ever heard. I say this because, when it went off at 3am on Monday, November 29th, I distinctly remember it being the loudest thing I have ever heard. I'm pretty certain it could be heard from space.

I didn't know what was going on; whether it was the burglar alarm or fire alarm. I fully expected to find someone in my living room. Then I'm crawling all over the attic and through the house to find the fire. None could be found, so then I tried to figure out how to turn off the alarm. Everyone in the house is now awake. Daniel looked like he couldn't figure out what was going on. DJ was yelling at me to make it stop. I'm taking the speaker off of the wall to "cut the hard line" when I remember that I can start flipping breakers. Finally it goes off, but now I'm awake. I had to get up at 4am anyway, so I figure I'll just stay up (besides, Predator was on AMC). And then Kellie tells me that she's having contractions...

I decide that she can go back to sleep and they'll go away. I am wrong. Kellie calls me at work around 8:30 to tell me that the contractions are continuing. The fire alarm from space has woken even my unborn child up.

We had a healthy baby girl, Dakota Brooklyn, at 6:07pm that night!

But, in true Sapp fashion, there's one last humorous story from that day.

We had Dakota at home. We also had Daniel at home, and it was a great experience both times. But it didn't look like Kellie was progressing as it got closer to dinner. So I called a friend of mine to see if he could wrangle up some grub. He orders delivery pizza. As Kellie's labor speeds up, I start to have a bad feeling of coincidence. Sure enough, just after Kellie pushes out Dakota's head, the doorbell rings...

I read somewhere that some OBGYNs who don't like homebirth had bumper stickers made that said "Home delivery is for pizza, not babies" - now it's both at the same time!

By the way, isn't my baby girl precious?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

I just don't get it.

It's been an odd week.

First of all, let's start at the end of the week. As part of my training for the marathon, I have a 10-mile run first thing Saturday morning. That will be the furthest I have ever run (although, to be honest, every other week now is the furthest I've ever run). Then, in the afternoon I have a charity golf tournament.

I know, hard knock life, eh?

But I know I'll be exhausted.

I was supposed to go for a run on Tuesday night, but I looked at my wife and told her that I just didn't feel like I physically could run. One hour later I had a migraine. And it was a doozy. The only thing I have ever found that will cure my migraines is sleep. So I tried to sleep it off until it finally was gone about 4am. But it was one of those that has lingering affects for the next 24-36 hours. So I haven't been able to do much of anything as far as working out this week.

So tonight I decide to go for a run and it was NOT. GOOD. My legs hurt almost from the beginning, and continued to do so throughout. My hamstring was tight. My calves felt sore. My feet ached. I couldn't seem to get in any rhythm whatsoever. Thank goodness the music was good! But I've realized something as I've gotten physically active again.

I don't get a 2nd wind.
I never have.

I guess I don't have that part of my brain that triggers to release endorphins in the middle of exercise to keep me going. Which can make exercise, or martial arts (what I used to do), or running miserable.

Once again, I'm going to use running as an example for the rest of my life.

I can always find an excuse to quit. But I hate doing it. It's the weirdest thing; at any point in time I could tell you multiple reasons why I should stop running, or volunteering, or what's wrong with my job. But I can't quit. I will keep running long after it starts hurting, and long after I want to stop. It's almost like I have the gift of perseverance, but the implementation of that gift is torture.

I'm not saying that I persevere in everything I do. But in the things that I have trouble quitting, the process seems very difficult.

I wish that these things came easy, but they don't. I wish that I could catch a second wind, but it never comes. I wish that life wasn't hard, but that's life. I've just got to keep running.

Monday, October 11, 2010

No turning back now.

I am now officially signed up for my first marathon: March 5th, 2011!

And there's no refund policy, so I can't back out.

Apparently there is a phrase amongst marathoners: "PR or ER". Personal Record or the Emergency Room. I don't have a choice, it's going to be one or the other! I'm really excited now, though. I was starting to get a little aggravated with running all the time, and I think this was just the boost I needed to re-ignite the fire.

It's interesting, because I used this time of exercise I'm in as a spiritual example yesterday. I wouldn't be running like I am and training for a marathon if a good friend of mine hadn't talked me into it, and if I wasn't making relationships with the other people who are training. They are positive, encouraging, and seem genuinely interested in my success. We need that in our spiritual lives as well. If you aren't often around people who encourage you to live and love like God, then you're unlikely to persist for long. If they aren't interested in seeing you succeed and helping you to succeed, then you'll become depressed and quit. I know that sometimes in the Bible Belt we tend to look at church attendance as our "dues" as Christians, but there is a point behind it. Find a church that you can connect in, and the people will encourage you to be better, and you can encourage them. It is important.

On another note, I just realized that I had not announced to the world that we are expecting another young'un! And this time it's a girl! This is really late in coming; we are due middle of December. We are really excited!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Random thoughts...

and really, when are my thoughts not random?

First up, it has been forever and a day since my last post. But things have been stupid busy. Work especially. The past two weeks at work most especially.

Which makes me remember one thing: if a decision you make has a direct affect on me, and I express frustration at the situation but not you, and you de-friend me, I find that funny. Thank you for making something frustrating funny instead.

I have friends who are at Catalyst right now. I was pretty jealous this morning, and then it felt like God literally spoke to me and said "There's nothing for you there this year." Fair enough. Not that I wouldn't hear anything encouraging or challenging, but that I don't need to be there right now.

Jars of Clay's new album The Shelter is amazing. I still have an idea for a video to their song "Headphones" off of their last album The Long Fall Back to Earth. If you've never listened to THAT album, do yourself a favor and pick it up. It was the best album I heard that year by far, and I can still listen to it all the way through and smile.

About 6 weeks ago I did something I had all but sworn I would never do: I started training for a marathon. A good friend of mine has run several marathons and kept bugging me about trying it. The group he is leading was about to start training for our local (and awesome) marathon, so I decided to give it one shot. I won't say that I did well that first run/walk, but I got further than I thought I could. So now I'm in, and running 3 times a week. You have to know something: I used to HATE running. But it's been a fun way to get back into shape. Thanks to that and cutting back on calories (I entered a weight loss competition at work, just to get motivated), I've lost over 11lbs in the last 6 weeks! I'm not doing so well on the weight loss this week, though... did I mention it's been crazy at work?

I need to make a super-awesome playlist for a 5K. I have one upcoming, which will be my first 5K (even though I usually run that far on my mid-week runs), but I need to craft an entire playlist for awesomeness purposes.

Hey, maybe I can get sponsored by Nike someday... sorry, I just lol'ed at myself!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

A little pinch

I don't usually post political thoughts on my blog because they can be very polarizing. I did have a post about the last Presidential election, but I took it down shortly after the election. It was just my thoughts and I didn't want it to get in the way of other things I had to say.

I'm noticing a loose parallel, though. You may not feel that this is true, and you might even vehemently disagree with me. But just think about it.

(Disclaimer: I'm writing this quickly and from memory, so if you see any errors please put them in the comments and I will try to fix them later - sorry)

Greece is a country in dire trouble. They have spent themselves into such a hole that the country is in danger of becoming insolvent. So they have asked for help from the European Union and the World Bank. In order to get this help, they are going to have to make some drastic cuts - otherwise other countries would simply be giving Greece more money to continue spending at an unsustainable rate. Kind of like giving someone who is about to go bankrupt money to pay their credit card bills without watching them cut up the credit card.

Some of the most drastic cuts are to government workers. Now, on average (and this is true for many countries) a government worker makes more money and has better benefits than a private industry worker. For instance, there are some government workers in Greece who are paid monthly, but they are paid 14 monthly paychecks a year. So the Greek government tells them that their pay will be cut to 12 monthly paychecks a year (you know, monthly meaning once a month and all). So what do the workers do? They riot and burn down a bank with three people still inside!

Now, no one wants to even go any amount of time without a raise, much less be told that you can keep your job, but only for less money. But murdering people over it?

Now to switch storylines.

In New Jersey, the new Governor is in a massive political fight. New Jersey doesn't have enough money for it's budget. Cuts are being made. One proposed cut was for a one year salary freeze for teachers and freezing aid to schools. Now, any cuts will be met with resistance. And proposing cuts to teachers and education seems like a move only a crazy man would make. But the budget is $2.2 billion short. And the pension fund is $90 billion behind. Something has to change.

Where is the parallel? We have people (who are understandably upset over not getting a raise, possibly losing their jobs, and seeing benefit cuts) jokingly asking God to kill Gov. Christie. Really?

No one wants their job to be the one that is targeted for reduction. But if money is to be saved, it has to be someone's. My concern is that the root issue in both Greece and New Jersey is that we have groups of people who are used to their jobs being protected at any cost. But the cost may simply be too high right now.

I have had to cut employee's hours before because of money issues. I have seen layoffs before. Believe me, those decisions are not easy. But sometimes they are necessary. Teachers in New Jersey get (on average) a 4% raise every year and pay NONE of their own health costs. Are they underpaid? Almost certainly. Do they need to face cuts anyway? Yes.

Let me demonstrate a different attitude for you. There were looming layoffs at a job once. No one knew whose job was going to be eliminated. I saw one lady offer to be laid off instead of the employees who worked for her. I saw a man offer to switch jobs so that his position could be eliminated, but someone wouldn't have to lose a job. Everyone was willing to evaluate their responsibilities to reduce cost so that no one else would go home jobless.

No one used death threats or burned the building down.

Monday, May 10, 2010

What kind of week has it been...


I told my boss the other day that I wouldn't be so stressed out if I only had to deal with one emergency at a time. But life doesn't happen that way, does it?

Almost every workday in the last two weeks has felt like an episode of 24: either an emergency or the consequences of an emergency must be juggled and dealt with as quickly as possible before the situation spirals out of control. But it's not like I could simply drop what I was doing to deal with the new emergency, because I was still resolving the last emergency. All while trying to do the job tasks that have to be done everyday. And training someone, because one of our office has been out very sick the entire time. There would be a point every day where I would simply stare at my desk trying to triage all the tasks that I had to take care of immediately.

It's almost funny now, because the story doesn't end there. All week I fought insomnia. On one particular day, a truck driver decided to call my cellphone at 2:45 in the morning because he couldn't find our facility. Why he didn't call his dispatcher, I don't know. It took everything I had not to tell him off! He said "All they gave me is an address." I wanted to tell him to buy a map. Anyway, I never got back to sleep. So I decided to work a half day, go home at lunch, catch a nap, and live to fight another day. Quite literally 5 minutes before I was planning on leaving someone walked into my office with a huge problem that I needed to handle. I just shook my head.

Days like these offer my worst temptation for questioning God. I'm tired, harried, and using every ounce of mental effort I own to just keep my head above water. I want to ask why God couldn't space things out just a bit; after all, some days I'm really not busy at all. Is it too much to ask for one fire to fight at a time?

I managed to sneak away for just a couple minutes to grab lunch before jumping back into the fray. And that's when I got a phone call. One of my best friends called just too say that he had been praying for me but wanted to know if he could pray for something in particular. That's why I don't believe in coincidences. That timing is just too perfect. I think I was at the end of my rope. I was really ready to just let God have it when He extended a hand.

I told my friend a few days later that he saved my week. It's not like my week got any better. He just helped me with some perspective. And the realization that someone else is praying for you is powerful.

I would encourage you to pray for your friends. Pray often. And occasionally let them know about it. It can't hurt. Drop them a card, send a text, call them and tell them that you are thinking about them and prayed to God for them today. Isn't that what family is all about?

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Wow - I didn't realize it had been this long since I posted anything! Life (or in my case, PS3 and Xbox 360) get in the way, don't they? I'll post new thoughts later; for now, here is my video of the year, which you've probably already seen:

Saturday, January 9, 2010


My birthday is Monday.
I will be 31.
I probably won't do anything of consequence that day.

I just found out that January 11th (my birthday) is also Human Trafficking Awareness Day.
I used to be a title abstractor. That meant that I traveled to courthouses and researched property for companies that were refinancing homes. Usually it was pretty easy, but if I had to research a farm or something difficult, where the title did not get out of family for generations, the search could easily stretch back into the 1800s. I remember that a co-worker once brought a copy of a deed into the office. He had found it in Lowndes County, Georgia while looking at a property. Included in the deed was a "negro woman" with here children. I was shocked. I was holding in my hands a copy of a legal document detailing the sale of human beings just as coldly as the land that was included.

This problem is just as real today.

Please don't be naive or turn a blind eye and deaf ear to the fact that humans are bought and sold every day in this world, and possibly much closer to home than you think. And this slavery often takes the form of sexual slavery, in which human beings (often VERY young girls) are abducted and then sold to brothels.

You can help.

You may have seen or heard about International Justice Mission on tv.
Please visit their website and see how you can help fight this injustice that plagues our world.
I can't think of a better way to celebrate my birthday than to fight for other's freedom.