Archive - My blog RSS Feed

Instagram and #uthmin

We are seeing a current trend and fad these days, it’s called pictures! Ever seen one? Sure you have. We see them everywhere, and in my ministry we are seeing many of our students hanging out on Instagram. Social networking is big time, and when we talk about being involved and invested in their world – Instagram is part of that.

So… here’s a couple tips and tricks on how you can utilize Instagram for you student ministry.

1. Create a Instagram for you ministry! 
You can promote it, have multiple staff/ volunteers on it taking pictures at the same time. Like and comment on student photos. The whole time in doing this, you are promoting!

2. Utilize Hashtags –  Ask students to take pictures during your event, even carve out time to do it (we do an “Instagram Moment” during our service). Ask them to #yourname. Check up on the hashtag and see all the students posting pics.
*Note: Hashtag is more public, and easier for many people to see what is happening in one place. If they just tag you, then you are the only one seeing that. Make sense? if not, comment below, and I can explain further.

3. Call to action – Like is HUGE! Commenting is better. Take pictures before your events to build anticipation. Get a random box and put something in it… “What’s in the box? Show up tonight to find out!” That will create more anticipation that might help students to invite their friends and be excited about what you have going on.

4. Use Webstagram – – A website where you can sign in with your instagram info. Comment on pictures and keep an eye on what students are saying about your pics. It’s a useful tool to keep up to date with what is happening (also, the pictures will be bigger than a phone!)
*I’m so excited to use this. We have started doing an Instagram Moment and asking them to #hazardousmsm – As students are taking pictures, I’m going to try and Like or Comment as soon as they post pictures, as quick as possible. With this site, I can search for my #hazardousmsm and then refresh the page. Easily Liking and commenting faster with my laptop then typing on my phone.

5. Have Fun – nuff said.

Let me hear how you are using Instagram, anything I missed or need to explain further? I encourage you to meet students where they are at… hang out with them there. These days, it is online.

HDR Coali


Coali is eating some food, why not HDR the moment.

Tutorial: Textured (Grunge) Birdy Painting

You Love Bird Paintings? You love Abstract or Textured artwork? You have 2 ounces of creativity and want to try this out. Then here you go! As you can see from the picture, I’m going to walk you through the process of making this project for yourself. It is not difficult, it is fun, and enjoyable. So sit back and read on. Then make it happen. Share pictures of how your painting looks when you are completed.

**Disclaimer: This is my first stab at a tutorial, so bear with me & give me some feedback on how to make this better. As well as, comment below with any questions you might have on the process.

Gather up the supplies needed.

  • Canvas (primed or Gesso’d)
  • Brushes
  • Palette Knife
  • Paint Tray
  • Sponge (Optional)
  • Acrylic Paint (I used Soho, System 3, & Liquitex) *Bonus Water Clean Up with Acrylic
  • Modeling Paste (Create Texture) *I Used half of this jar on a 24in x 36in Painting. A Small size would work for you, depending on size.
  • Easel, or equivalent to hold your canvas

STEP 1: Grab Your Canvas
Beginning is always the best part. Tackling a new project. Grab your canvas and find a Spot. *That’s it with Step 1, let’s feel accomplished!

STEP 2: Add Texture
In my opinion, this is one of my favorite parts. Using a palette knife, spread the Modeling Paste all over the canvas. There is no order here. Slap it on there. Spread it like butter. Fling it on there. To get some of the streaks in my painting, I would use my large brush (shown in my supply picture) to fling Modeling Paste toward the canvas.

I encourage you to be expressive in this portion of the painting. You won’t and can’t mess anything up on the painting. This is a White substance going onto a white primed canvas. This is simply adding texture. Who says painting can’t be fun? Have fun with this step. Allow time to dry completely.

CAUTION: This Process is A LOT of fun, but it can also be the messiest part of this painting. Ensure you are in a location to handle mess.

STEP 3: Some Color Brings It To Life
We are now ready to start adding color. Don’t get nervous, because in painting, you can always paint over a color you don’t like.


Start with the primary color of your painting. In my case, it was this Greenish Color. To start safe, I began around the edges, slowly working around the whole painting. Don’t think of this as a wall, you know where you paint straight lines and crisp edges. Use some of that expression you used during the texture phase last step. Leave a little white in some areas, paint really thick in other areas.

To help lighten your paint, dip the tip of your brush in some water then grab some more paint. This will make more of a wash with your paint. Kind of like a stain, instead of a thick paint. Also, another helpful technique is using a spray bottle with water. Add the paint to the painting, then spray down the freshly added paint. This will allow for some drips, and thin the paint out. Move it all around. You will notice, this creates some variations of light and dark, all within your color palette.

Your painting is starting to come to life, and in your color of your choice. Allow to dry completely.

STEP 4: Darken Those Edges
Adding some Pop happens with contrast.

By painting all the edges a dark color will help bring the main content to life. It will aslo make this painting feel more professional and complete.

I wouldn’t use a straight black, as this can be very intense. Take a color from your palette and add Black to it. This will create a very rich color for using around the edges. Paint it on thick and let it dry.

TRICK: A cool way to get some more texture and look grunge is by using your palette knife to add paint to the border, the transition between the green and the edge of the painting.

STEP 5: More Color
Let’s focus on the  main area. This is where you will want to make the final color decisions. This main color green didn’t have enough life for me, so I added some more variations of green to it. I used a range of green that was lighter, and I used green that was just about blue. The blue didn’t work out to much, so I had to cover over that.

I used more variations in color here, like in Step 3. Wash on some more color. This will create some nice color texture to the already visual texture from the Modeling Paste. These textures should compliment each other.

TRICK: Use a Sponge near the dark edges. This will help to create a scattered effect, and not cover too much of the dark color. If you are not happy with it, go back over the dark areas once the color is dry.

STEP 6: Birdy Time
I bet you have been patiently waiting for this step. Once you color is nice and dry, you can easily paint a Wire by using a string. Stretch a string from left to right, tape it down, then paint with a small stiff brush your Wire for the birds to sit on. I used a paint color very similar to the dark color for the edges, that way the wire seems to blend into the edges.

Position the birds where you would like them. A trick is to trace out with a pencil where you want them to live. You can erase the pencil if you make a mistake. Trace out a silhouette of your birds. You can place as many or few as you would like. I choose 2, as to represent my wife and I. I plan to add more as we start to have children, to represent a family portrait.

Once traced out, start to paint the birds. I used a stiff brush to paint the edge of the birds, then filled in with the remaining paint. I used a dark color, similar to the edges and wire for consistency. The dark in the edges really bring to the life the birds as well as make the color pop.

STEP 7: Sign It & Hang it

My favorite part is signing and hanging a painting. To get an actual representation of where your painting will live on the wall. There is so much joy and satisfaction to sit and look back, while thinking… I painted that!?!

I hope you enjoy trying out your very own Birdy Painting. I hope this tutorial will help you out. Feel free to ask questions. Share some photos of your painting, because I would love to see how I was able to help you out.

Thanks for checking this out!

YOLO #9 – Told a joke and Liz laughed!

YOLO #9 - Told a joke and Liz laughed!
Posted by Instagrate to WordPress

Miracle League with Tristan Pack

tristan and jay
Joys in life come in different ways. A blessing from God doesn’t look the same in all cases. In fact, there are times in this life that we experience more happiness than we thought we would, or could experience in certain situations.

I must say, that last week, I helped out at the Miracle League of the Triangle. To sum up the whole experience, WOW! I had a Great time.

Tristan Pack! That guy! He’s an amazing student who teaches me about loving life and loving God everytime that we get to talk. A while back, his mom suggested I try to make it out to one of his baseball games. Being a guy who loves baseball, I thought I would just have to do that.

Liz and I parked the car and casually strolled into the stands. The facility was perfect for people with disabilities, everywhere you looked, stood, or sat was equipped for anyone. Upon waiting for the current game to end, and waiting for the players from the Braves, we sat and watched the current game.

I quickly noticed, the players set aside all obstacles they battle in life to take some time to enjoy, laugh, and smile while playing baseball. The buddies helping out are dancing around and helping to create a light atmosphere. Every player has their own warm up song, which shows the personality they possess. It is an awesome sight to see.

Tristan rolled up ready for the big game. He plays for the Braves, #7, left handed batter, and played right field, but prefers shortstop. We chatted and mentally prepped for the game, which meant he introduced me to everyone that he knows. Bryson is one of Tristan’s good friends, who gladly welcomed the conversation.

To my surprise, Tristan sang the national anthem. Our team batted first. Hit after Hit. We are making this happen. Tristan and I get ready to bat, swing! It’s a hit down first base line. I run with him to first and quickly make a run for second! Yeah, we got a double. During a Chicken Dance intermission, we were back into the game. The next batter hit it down third base line and we were able to score! Big time!

We played in the outfield, which had some action. Got the ball, and threw it in. Good times.

Everywhere Tristan needed to be, I was right there along with him. We shared in the smiles, high fives and excitement of the game. It was one of those memories that I wish to remember for a long long time.

You see, in this whole experience, I get filled with this whole emotion. One of great joy, joy exploding at the smiles, laughs, dancing, and happiness. But I also get a sadder emotion of why am I so lucky. I think about the life that I live, then compare to the life many of these players live out everyday. As I sit there in that sad state for a moment, I’m quickly pulled out of it by the joy side of things again. I get down to the part that God has made each of these players in His image as well. Many of them have a joy overflowing that I wish I had. They surely know how to have a good time.

Overall in my experience with Miracle League of the Triangle with Tristan Pack was amazing and challenging. Thank you for the opportunity and lesson on life. I’m proud of Tristan, his team, all the parents, and all of the players at Miracle League. Way to go!

Here’s a link to a video of the night as well –
Photography & Video Credit – CJ Barone

Laughter – Enjoy Laughter

So many times I find myself running from one thing to another. I get pulled to do this and need to help out with that. Don’t get me wrong, I love helping people out, but sometimes it is a little daunting going from thing to thing and trying to spend time with your family. In the hustle and bustle of life, there are seasons of busy and then super busy. You feel me?

To get through the super busy times, I have found that Laughing is Amazing! Finding ways to laugh and joke have helped to minimize, if not relieve stress in my life. Are you allowing laughter to enter in to your life? Haha… (just thought of some of the things that are making me laugh right now)

Enjoying life has been high on my priority when it comes to time with my family, which right now is my wife and I. We have been laughing and spending some great time together using some simple tools, but are Hilarious!

Here’s 2 Laughing Ideas:

1. Photo Booth (Mac) -If you have a Mac, Open Up Photo Booth – it will surely put a smile on your face. There are different effects that make your face look funny, stretch, Alien, chipmunk, etc. The possibilities are endless. Take a family photo or 20! Try it out. I Dare you to try it! Grab your pet and enjoy the fun with them.

Now if you really want to take it to the next level, open it up and lip sing a song with an effect on. It will surely Make you smile, if not roll on the floor laughing. If it doesn’t, then I’m sorry – you might need to utilize it multiple times and break down some barriers.

Another cool thing about this, it gives you memory keepsake to recall later. Post on facebook or online and let others enjoy the great memories too.

2. Camera Sutra (iPhone App – $1) – Here’s a very similar solution, but it is more mobile than the first idea. I would say the price of $1 is worth the ongoing laughter you can enjoy as a family. When you are out on the road, snap some great memories. If you are at the zoo, make that polar bear have a Big nose. Or if you are chilling around on a date night with your spouse, break it out and have some memories to last.

My wife is heading out of town for the weekend, and I used both of these ideas to document some going away photos. I printed them out, stapled the pages together and Viola, a homemade book for her to take on her journey. She will laugh and smile when she sees crazy pictures of me, cat, and dog.

Haha… I thought I would share some of the pictures. You might be thinking Jay, you are stupid or crazy (well yes), but also I have laughed some good laughs recently and I hope you do as well!

Try it out and let me see some links of pictures you have taken. Begin Laughing… hahaha

*Clicking Image will scroll through faster.

Dirty Dog Did What?

Dogs are Awesome! They are so loving! Man’s best friend. They are loyal and friendly. But then they did WHAT? That thing that makes you wonder about what were they thinking. How could they even go there? Do that?

You see the other day, I had an interesting scenario. Sunday, it was a beautiful day to take a walk. Not too sunny, but still pretty. The geese out by the lake. People laughing in the distance, children playing, and a father teaching his son how to fish. Bicycles zooming by and many dogs were enjoying the fresh air with their owner.

Coali was like every other dog that day. Liz, Coali, and I loaded up in the car. It was time to enjoy a walk around Shelly Lake, in Raleigh. We parked and began our adventure. After a brief stop by the geese, we had to feed them you know (I aimed for the ducks), we continued along with our stroll.

A path off the main trail caught my attention. I thought it would be a grand idea to take the adventure before us. While keeping on this narrow way, Coali caught a smell. The kind where she NEEDS to sniff it up. She ventured past some jagger bushes. Then the inevitable happened.

“Coali, What Are You Doing?” I exclaimed. To see that she was rolling around on the ground. My first thought was a dog poop. Then I saw something, eww a dead snake maybe. Thinking to myself, ‘Coali, you are gross.’ Then before my eyes, I saw what was even worse, a decaying body of a fish. There were bugs all over it and left a horrendous smell.

The walk back to the car, car ride, and getting her into the shower was not a pleasant experience. By far one the worst stenches I could ever imagine, but it was real. Eww. Coali, what were you thinking.

After some time to cool down, it made me think about it. What do I do now? Do I show love to my dog? Do I take her on a walk again? Will we ever go back to the dreaded Shelly Lake?

Of course I will. I will love her and take care of her.

When it comes to ministry, we invest so much time into students (or your ministry). We build up so much care, love, & compassion. Then one day, you observe the student make a crazy decision. They go in a direction that is like… “NO, what are you doing?” as you think to yourself.

In this moment, you have a chance to offer Hope, Love, and give them a sense that you still support them. I feel that when people go down a path that is unhealthy for them, that the church or people involved in their lives turn their back on them. When in reality it is a time when they need someone more than ever. We have the opportunity to be the HOPE for someone when they are in a HOPELESS situation.

In thinking about all of this, I am trying to be observant to the people in my ministry and life that I might need to step in a little more to help show them HOPE, instead of standing back and showing them a cold shoulder.

I’m grateful to have a dog that is willing to teach me lessons.

What do you think about this? Agree? Disagree? How do you show HOPE and LOVE, even when it is difficult?

Page 1 of 1012345»...Last »