My Favorite 2014 Albums

My top 11 albums in alphabetical (artist) order. 11 because I couldn’t shorten the list any further. It was a good year for music.


1. I Forget Where We Were – Ben Howard

Good, clean fun with dark delays and deeper lyrics.


2. Ghost Stories – Coldplay

I listened hesitantly but I quickly feel in love to this one.


3. When I Was Younger – Colony House

Really talented guys with a lot of heart. A fantastic album.

colony house

4. Ixora – Copeland



5. Neon Steeple – Crowder

I’m always a big fan of David Crowder but I love this bluegrass/synth combination.


6. Cope/Hope – Manchester Orchestra

I put both of these together because they’re great by themselves but absolutely mind-blowing when you listen to both back to back.


7. Calm Down, Everything Is Fine – Mike Mains & The Branches

Huge fan of Mike and the band. This release did not disappoint after a perfect debut release.


8. Ledges – Noah Gundersen

I can’t get enough of Noah’s honest lyrics.


9. 1969 – Taylor Swift

This album is a lot of fun. Taylor’s my girl.


10. Twin Forks – Twin Forks

Chris Carrabba is back and singing folk? You know I was in.


11. Talking is Hard – Walk The Moon

These guys are a party.



Honorable Mentions (Check them out, too!):

All Sons and Daughters – All Sons and Daughters

Nuey Lewis and the Hues: Greatest Hits – Ben Rector

The Wilderness Year – The Eager Seas

The Rooms of the House – La Dispute

Twenty Something – Noah Gundersen

Lions – William Fitzsimmons

Mind Over Matter – Young The Giant


Choose Unemployment!!

I highly recommend taking a leave from employment.

It’s like retirement, but without the financial security. But all jokes aside, seriously don’t quit. Please keep making money to support yourself and your family. But if you ever find yourself unemployed, I implore you to spend your free time, when you’re not searching for a job, how you’ve always wanted to.

I am really enjoying the few weeks I am having off. (I swear I’m not saying that until I believe it. I do mean it). I am enjoying my freedom to read, write, make music and spend time with my family. It’s been a lot of fun to be in McDonough, rediscovering my favorite parts.

This season of refreshing is long overdue and I am so thankful for how God is preparing me for this next, new season of life. I love that I get to step back and breathe in freedom during my last few months as a single person. Now, I hope you don’t too quickly assume I am not excited to terminate my stay in singledom. Of course I am excited to marry my sweet, Northern girl.

But back to the point. I know this love of freedom will not last. I get bored too easily. It’s a humorous, yet fortunate curse. I know my joyous nonchalance will fade into the mystified stupor of hopelessness if I don’t quickly find something to do (that preferably involves a paycheck).

Kathleen and I decided to move south and live in McDonough with the plan to be a part of everything God was doing there at Momentum and Queen Bee. After graduating, we realized that there was nothing holding us back from being where we wanted to be. So, I moved to set things up for us when we get married. But I am left without a lot of answers. I have a peace about where we are and where we’re going to be, but I am recognizing this for what it is: the biggest step of faith I’ve ever made. We’ve ever made.

I am reminded over and over that that is the greatest place to be, but that doesn’t make living by faith feel any less like anytime I almost fall off of a ladder. Sometimes, I worry that life is just an unending set of ladders that branch off and change directions. And I absolutely hate heights.

But enough of my nightmares.

I am excited at the fact that I don’t know. It’s crazy fun to be living by faith. I think one of the things that has helped me know that I am where I am supposed to be is how many people I’ve been able to talk to about it. I’ve heard both positive and negative reactions to our plans. And I do say “plans” only half seriously.

But I am so thankful for where we are. It’s all quite unorthodox, but so is the God we serve. And I can’t wait to see what He has for us

I wish I could Michael Scott this.

I hate goodbyes. So much. 

I think they make relationships feel some sense of being terminal and that’s frustrating to me. Granted, some relationships won’t last through any sort of change and that’s okay. I think that moving and growing up are two natural relationship testers. We are meant to lose touch with some people and to fight for other relationships. There are people I went to school with that I will make an effort to talk to constantly and other ones that I saw everyday that we may not ever speak again. And that’s okay. That’s part of it.

But even so, goodbyes feel weird to me. I think that for those relationships that you know will continue for however long, it feels terminal. Like it’s over. But it’s not like the relationships that we build are useless. It’s not like we should take them out and slaughter them in a dark barn when we’re done with them. They are used for positive (and sometimes equally negative) ways that help up grow and laugh. And I don’t think we should willing turn our backs so easily. Maybe time should let people slip away or maybe it’s just different parts of life. But it’s not like distance has ever stopped anyone from being near the people they love.

I’m moving 7 hours away from Cincinnati (8 hours if you like to stop more than once) and that’s not far. About 500 miles south and it’s on the way to Florida. It’s not like it’s out of the question to see people. I just hate how goodbyes seems to close the book. They don’t, they just change the way people interact. 

As I spend my last weekend in NKY and Cincinnati, I’m puzzled at the loss I feel. I’m not a robot, but I wasn’t expecting this much emotion.

I’ve spent the last three years in Cincinnati and the last seven months down in NKY and it’s amazing how much my heart has grown for a place that isn’t Georgia. I’ve loved my time at CCU for what it was and my year and a half at Lakeside was such a blessing. It’s been so good to learn, grow and develop relationships up here in the North and neither Kathleen nor I expected to move so far away so quickly.

I’m sitting here reeling, if I’m honest. I’ve packed it all up and prepared everything to leave tomorrow. I’m sitting here taking in the past seven months with some of the coolest room mates and the past year and a half with such a wonderful church staff and some of the coolest students you’ll ever meet. I’m so proud to have seen so many of them grow over the past year or so and to have so many relationships flourish and to know that so many of those relationships won’t end here. 

But they will change. I’m sitting here mourning the fact that I won’t live 2 minutes from Lakeside and that students can’t come over and surprise me and that I won’t be sitting around during the week working with mentors and friends from day to day and getting to lead with them each week. I know that I am moving to get married and lead with other friends and mentors and I know those are going to be incredible things, but I wish I could take this, too.

That’s the hard part. Goodbyes do mean change.

See you later, Cincinnati

2014 has been a ride. Now, don’t shut this off. This isn’t a sappy recap of 2014. No one cares about my resolutions and what happened (or didn’t) with them. I want to talk about the future. 2015. I want to tell you about what I’m up to, because its been a while. Let’s chat.

However I must say, this year has been awesome. I have loved finishing up school and living in Northern Kentucky. My time at Lakeside has been such a blessing and I couldn’t imagine having been anywhere else for my internship and learning and growing at any other church. But my time there has come to an end as I graduate in December and look to the future. And after some searching, job hunting and prayer, Kathleen and I began to consider our next step.

We’ve decided to move back to my hometown, McDonough, GA. My heart has been back there at my home church, Momentum, the entire time I’ve been in the Cincinnati area. The Momentum team has been doing some really amazing things in the community and we desperately want to be a part of that. We decided that it was more important to us to get involved in a church that was partnering with the community and really seeking God’s direction than for me to get a ministry position for the sake of my degree or any other pressure. We just desperately want to be apart of what God is doing in McDonough and be near the people that we love there and that’s the real priority for us as a married couple. I realize that last phrase isn’t that important to the sentence but I’m really excited to marry her, y’all.

Kathleen and I have always wanted to be in Georgia. (It is the best state and I will fight anyone who disagrees). We’ve always talked about how we want to be in Georgia eventually and somewhere down the road we’ll get there. But we have no reason not to. Our hearts are in Georgia with my family and with all of the cool things that are going on there. We spend most of our breaks traveling to McDonough and being at Momentum. Why would we wait for later if God can use us in ministry there now? So, we’re coming home.

One of the biggest reasons for this move is that I am incredibly torn when it comes to vocational ministry. I don’t feel comfortable going to work at a church right off the bat simply because I don’t want to blindly step into a position without knowing how good of a fit it is. But more than that, my internship has really made me torn between worship and youth ministries. Ideally, I would love to be leading worship for youth because I love working with students and being an influence on their lives and I love leading worship and bands. However, that position in the full time sense is hard to come by but I can go to Momentum and get plugged in and serve in both capacities. We can be a part of that body and serve alongside those leaders. We are more concerned with listening to what God wants instead of being consumed by finding a job that uses our degree. Our first steps after graduation almost certainly won’t be what we do forever. I think we’re under a lot of pressure to use the education that we just spent four years and thousands of dollars earning right out of college, which is stupid. Of course I want to use my degree, but I know I have the rest of my life to do that. I am not bound by the degree on my diploma. I have options and the rest of my life to explore those options. I want us to be in a place we love, doing what we love. Which is serving together.” – Kathleen

So, I’m sure you have questions. We do, too.

Hopefully, this helps:

(Thanks for the idea, Zac Manor)


Where will you live? Are you going to live with your parents?

Originally, yes, with my parents. I’ll move back at the end of December and move in my old room. But I am actively looking for a place because I don’t want to be worrying about our housing when we are getting married.

Do I have a job lined up? Does Kat?

I am working on that. I have some leads, but would love any help you can offer. Kathleen does not have anything lined up but has a psych degree and is excited to find something in Atlanta.

When will Kat move down?

Mid-March after we get married.

How does Kat feel about GA?

I am uprooting from my life in one place for another place in which my heart has already taken root. The last three years, I’ve felt torn between two places that I love dearly and I feel like I’m cheating on Cincinnati a little bit. I am way more proud of being from Cincinnati than any person probably ought to be, but I can’t help it. Skyline Chili is probably what’s running through my veins instead of blood. However, I never pictured myself living here forever — it’s just not something I’ve ever wanted. The South is romantic to me, and Georgia just makes sense right now. My heart’s desire is to be open to what the Lord has for me, and right now, this is what I think we are supposed to be doing. Georgia always seemed like some lofty dream we would have to work toward because living there would be too good to be true, but here we are. It’s going to be hard, but it’s an adventure and I like those.” – Kathleen

Will I eventually get a ministry job?

I will have a worship degree and would love to use it but I don’t know God’s plans and I don’t want to try to make them for Him.

Is Buckner’s a factor in this move?

Yes. It is. Fried chicken and peach cobbler make most of my decisions.

Are we scared? 

Yes, it’s a big move. But it’s been bathed in prayer and we can’t imagine a better place to start our life together and be in this season.


In all of this, we are seeking God. We are both extremely sad to be leaving Cincinnati but are excited for what He has for us in McDonough. We’d love to talk to you about what we’re up to but hopefully this gives you some insight. Thanks for reading about our lives!



Growth is painful.

To me, it’s more than a fact. For now, it’s a reminder. I know… that it’s pretty obvious that learning can be a painful experience, but it’s hard to remember when you’re focused on the tension of being in the center of it all. I think that’s been a big part of my life for the past three or so years.

Cincinnati has been good to me. I’ll never forget that and I’ll never stop loving her for the gifts that she’s given me. I really feel that she has given me a safe place to grow up and be out on my own. Even so, it’s been an incredible time of strife and contention in my heart.

It’s so difficult to deal with the resentment of growth. There’s a reason that we resist change and any chance to develop ourselves: it’s painful and feels unnecessary. It’s incredible how strenuous it is to swallow the massive amounts of pride it takes to grow. To realize that there can be so much more in ourselves. But it is so necessary to swallow all of that. How can we remain the same? How freeing is it to look back critically at ourselves from years ago and see the pride and the ignorance and be able to sigh in relief at the current self that you are? The tension we feel is good. The tension of a critical eye can be so good as it creates so much more in ourselves. To be able to feel the past growth and be relieved that we’ve changed is so freeing.

But the humbling process of growth is so painful. 

There is so much tension in our lives before we begin to change, too. I am feeling that incredibly heavy handedly now. I know something big is coming. It’s time to find a full time position and I’m getting married in 6 months. The tension and pull to be a more self aware person is powerful. The tension is the brief glimpse that there is so much beyond my own selfishness and my own zip code. That I’m going to be living with someone. That I will be coexisting with someone and working to be more through cooperation and living in the light of her grace, but also meeting her half way. That love will be in such a tight physical place and so much harder, and will be able to mean more since I won’t be able to escape. Also, I’ll be forging my own way in my ministry. I’ll be working without any safety net, but with me being forced to God leading. What better way to do it?

However, These past few weeks have been weeks of fear and of resentment at the pain of growth and it hasn’t been working for me. It’s time to embrace the tension. I will become better by understanding that it’s time to let go of my need to control everything and to let go of the parts of myself that need to be shed. To let go of myself. I have to make room for more of Christ in me. 


Honest Songs

I spent the majority of the last 6 months in a creative slump. I thought that my final semester in school would be some brilliant goldmine of emotional clarity and somehow I would be able to look into myself and rip out these honest chunks of my humanity and build something that would help someone forge into their own soul.

But I spent it blocked. I had gold dust in a world that was paved in the stuff.

Finally, in desperation, I pulled something out for my composition project; about 6 weeks too late.

This is what I got:

I reach nostalgia on the road, 

But does a feeling alone mean I’m home?

I put the car in drive,

And asked the question why,

Does everything we do have to rhyme?

Sometimes, I think I like to hold onto my girl,

To show my love, I work 9-5.

I work myself to death,

I’m fighting for each breath,

Is my job the worst thing I could lose?

If life is a manuscript,

And my words are the pages,

Then what chaos ensues,

When we don’t know the ending?

I’m recording it on Thursday.

It’s not neat, it’s not perfect. But I think it rips me apart and I think it’s an honest chunk of my heart.

And those are the songs I hope to write.