Happy Halloween

Captain America, Rainbow Dash, and Chip have a message: from the Casey household to yours, we wish you had a safe and enjoyable Halloween. We hope you got lots of candy. And we hope you didn't eat all that candy in one sitting.


Head Trip

In the category of too much free time... This is the work of an actor, digital displays, and a couple of robots.

Mind blown.


Skinnier than I used to be

In case you haven't been following along over the past couple of months, I'm on a journey to get healthy again and reclaim the man I used to be. But there is a problem I have with losing weight. Perhaps some of you have experience this as well.

I see myself in the mirror every day. And, as far as I can observe, I don't look any different. Every morning when I wake up and jump out of the shower, standing in front of the mirror as I brush my teeth, I look at the same figure I've always known. I still appear to be just as chunky as I don't want to be. I still have my gut. I still have the jowls.

Yet, I am shedding pounds. Slowly the weight is coming off. How do I know?

1. The Belt.
This one.

That's four holes less than where I started. That's four holes skinnier than I used to be. One more hole left in this belt. After that, I'll either need to punch new holes or get a new belt.

2. The Scale.

When I started my weight loss adventure, I weighed 216 pounds. 211 when I started tracking my weight on a daily basis.

I love this. In previous attempts to lose weight, 200 pounds was an invisible barrier that I couldn't pass no matter how health I ate or how much I exercised. I've now smashed that wall. I am still not where I want to be, but I am 24 pounds skinnier than I used to be.

3. The Pants.

I'll spare you pictures of this one. But my favorite jeans - ones that were a loose fit when I got them - now fit like wide leg cut jeans. A couple of other jeans (a relaxed fit and a straight leg) both fit more like skinny jeans. Now they fit like they're supposed to.

I'm skinnier in my jeans than I used to be.

4. The Appetite.

Funny thing. I just can't eat as much as I used to ingest. I get fuller faster.

My stomach thinks I'm skinnier than I used to be.

5. The Kids.

Even if I'm not able to visibly notice the difference, my kids can. Christian points it out to me. He has been one of my biggest motivators over the past couple months. Zu thinks I'm losing weight, but "just a little." And JJ, well, he just smiles and laughs at me.

The kids know I'm skinnier than I used to be.

24 pounds down and 42 to go. Anyone else working toward a skinnier and healthier version of themselves?


The definition of "progressive"

In an interview with 106 and Park, Lecrae gave the best description I've ever heard about what it means to be progressive. When asked about being a progressive artist, he said:

"Progression is just understanding that humanity is capable of so much. We've grown. We were riding on horses and chariots and now we're flying in planes. Understanding that's just what's inside of us. So, there's no need to regress. There's no need to just stay ignorant or ill-informed and continue to perpetuate cycles of ignorance in culture. Let's progress as people and let's continue expand who God has created us to be and be that to the fullest."

Please, can we stop using the word 'progressive' as an insult? Actually, can we stop insulting people just because they don't agree with us? Wait... can we just stop insulting people?



When I attended summer camp in fifth grade, I was the only kid from my church to attend. I was surrounded by strangers. Two of the kids in my cabin were not only from the same church, they were also best friends. Best friends who spoke a language that only the two of them knew. They had spent their childhood inventing a conlang - a fictional language. They had spent enough time with this fake language that they not only had a word for everyday objects, but they had it fully developed to the point that they could hold conversations exclusively in the tongue of their own invention.

Much like fantasy and scifi legends had done before them.

The art of the invented language is one that is the product of someone with far too much free time. And I wish I had that much free time.



Last Sunday, this was the morning view from my patio. This is fall in Cd'A.

Photo credit: me
Source: Instagram


Identity Part 2: Who Am I

As I've been on my quest to regain my health, identity has been a recurring theme in my inner dialogues. I've spent much time pondering my identity, because if one thing is clear, I'm not who I was. I've mentioned many of these self-identifications introducing myself to the Start Experiment groups I joined, in stories I've told to pastors at my church, in my quick introduction in my small group, and in my attempts to refine the "about me" section that used to reside in the top right-hand corner of this blog.

I am a geek dad and a professional nerd. I am a pop-culture junkie driven to understand the intersection between faith and pop-culture. I am a joyful noise kind of singer (with an emphasis on noise), a sloppy and undisciplined guitarist, and a funky white boy with no sense of rhythm. I'm a former actor who still loves the theater, a former architecture student who still loves drafting and design, and a former graphic artist who has lost his touch. I have an artist's heart with very little artistic talent. I am a pessimistic optimist or an optimistic pessimist. I love being around people as much as I love being alone. I am somehow both shy and outgoing. I am a walking contradiction. I have a self-deprecating sense of humor. I'm chubby but skinnier than I used to be. I am a broken and deeply wounded man on a long and arduous path to healing. I am relearning what it means to be healthy. I aim for the high road but often miss it.

I am a child of God.

That last one is difficult for me. I believe it and I try to live it. But when it comes to defining who I am, God's child is toward the end of my list. I'm more likely to point out my flaws than I am to point toward God. I'm much like Jeremiah when he first met God - not really sure how to describe himself. Who am I? I am nothing.

I should know better. My faith is such an important part of my life. Yet, I let too many other things cloud my identity. Please, tell me I'm not alone.


Identity Part 1: Who Are You

"Who are you?"
"I'm Nic."
"No, that's your name. Who are you?"
"I'm a data analyst."
"No, that's your job. Who are you?"
"I'm a dad."
"No that's your duty. Who are you?"
"I'm a pop culture junkie."
"That's how you use your free time. Who are you?"
"I'm nothing."
"Who told you that? Your identity is in me. Your esteem should be found in me. You are my child worth more than you could conceive."

I can imagine a conversation like this between God and Jeremiah. God keeps asking "Who are you?"

Of course Jeremiah doesn't have the correct answer. "I'm Jeremiah. I'm just a kid from Anathoth. I'm Hilkiah's son. I'm timid."

He doesn't know his identity. God has to tell him.

"Before I formed you in the womb I knew and approved of you, and before you were born I separated and set you apart" (v.5 Amp)
"Do not say, 'I am only a child.' You must go..." (v.7 NIV)
"Don't be afraid of anyone, because I am with you to protect you" (v.8 NCV)
"You will pull up and tear down, destroy and overthrow, build up and plant." (v.10 NCV)
"Today I have made you strong like a fortified city that cannot be captured, like an iron pillar or a bronze wall." (v.18 NLT)
"They will fight against you, but they will not overcome you." (v.19 NASB)
"I am with you and will rescue you." (v.19 NIV)

When Jeremiah declared his weakness, God gave him a claim to strength. When Jeremiah admitted doubt and fear, God gave him confidence. Jeremiah saw anxiety, God showed him security. When Jeremiah said "this is how I see me," God said "this is how I see you." God gave His vision to Jeremiah. God gave Jeremiah value and identity.

What answer do we provide when asked, "Who are you?" Where do we find our identity? Where do we find our self worth? Is it in our jobs (or lack of employment)? Is it in our family? Our habits or hobbies? Why is it that we allow petty things to define us? Whose vision of us do we trust?


This guy

This guy is:
a) my new hero
b) the coolest dad ever
c) Batman
d) all of the above



In Ashville, NC, you'll find this subterranean grotto at The Omni Grove Park Inn.

Photo credit: Omni Resorts
Source: Huffington Post


When normal is big

A kid walked by me today carrying a regular sized can of Monster energy drink. I've never seen this kid before, but as he approached me he smiled as if I was a good friend of his.

He held up the can of Monster. In a voice that was somehow both raspy and squeaky, he asked me, "Have you ever seen one this big?" His question was clearly one of awe and wonder.

I didn't have an adequate response so I just flashed an awkward grin as the following thoughts raced through my cranium.

How do you follow up a question like that?
Yes, I have seen Monsters that big.
That's their standard size.
They make them bigger.
The kid is stoned.
He is higher than Snoop Dogg Lion at a hemp convention.
What - in the name of all that is good and holy - did I just witness?

The moment my face was out of the kid's line of sight my half-smile was replaced with an expression of extreme stupification.

When did normal become big? And when was that cause to be amazed?



If you haven't seen Jimmy Fallon's #Hashtag sketch with Justin Timberlake, watch it now. It made me feel just a wee bit sheepish. Although, I'm not as bad as some people I know.

And I won't mention the Start Experiment - people who've turned hashtags into an art form.



Mont Blanc is the highest mountain in the Alps. It forms the border between Italy and France. Picture from a trail on the Italian side.

Photo credit: Laurel Robbins
Source: Monkeys and Mountains


Elsewhere in the interwebs...

Hello friends, I'm guest posting on April Best's blog today. You should go read it.

And if you're coming here from Careless in the Care of God, welcome. Stay a while. Look around. The swimming pool is in the library. I hope you enjoy yourselves and I sincerely hope you come back for more.


I had a plan...

I had this fantastic plan to spend the month of October counting down a month's worth of my all time favorite horror movies.

Pitch Black.
The Ring.

And on and on and on. 31 of them.

But then this whole shut down thing happened. Whatever is happening in Congress is far scarier than anything Hollywood can imagine.

So instead of indulging in my favorite fearsome films, or dwelling on the incompetence of our elected officials, I'm going to watch Men In Black 3 while folding laundry. Like a boss.