Days Past

I have to admit something, I don’t throw this around lightly, but, I am a huge fan of NASA and space exploration. This is something that I have always been fascinated by. It is unbelievable that humans have created these crafts that launch us into the great unknown of space.

Generations before the first space race, people looked at the stars and wondered what was out there. Never in their wildest dreams could they ever imagine that one-day humans would walk on the moon.

I watched a documentary recently called “In The Shadow Of The Moon“. This was highlighting the many Apollo missions that were set to go to the moon. I saw these brave men step up to pursue something that had never been done, something that could ultimately cost them their lives. It would inevitably take the lives of 3 men before they even left the earth.

Before you go off and stop reading, this isn’t an article highlighting our achievements in the space race or since. In the documentary I watched I noticed something that rattled me, something that begged for attention.

I noticed that when these men took the assignment to change the world, they were seen as heroes, game changers, brave hearts. The people viewed them as men who were willing to put everything on the line for the sake of exploration.

The sake of exploration, something that I feel we’ve lost over the years. The men of Apollo 11 set out to be the first of our kind to step foot on an alien planet. To skip the details of their mission, they succeeded in landing on the moon and making “one small step for man, one giant leap mankind“.

It was an iconic day, something to be remembered, words that would echo throughout the world and ring in the ears of the people for decades. One thing I noticed from the footage is that the whole world was watching, for a couple of days everyone was tuned in to see the fuss about these Americans landing on the moon.

I saw people of all nationalities, all races, all languages, waving American flags and cheering on the brave men that were a world away. This shocked me to see, why? Well, I’m glad you asked. When was the last time you saw the world unite and cheer on one another?

Everyone was in the streets chanting and cheering as the astronauts were advancing toward the moon to forever change the face of the planet the left behind. It seemed that at that moment, everyone was on the same team.

I watched as this footage panned across the timeline of weeks and months, the astronauts returned as heroes, and started their worldwide parade of victory. When they interviewed people they would say “as a Frenchman how does this make you feel?” or “As someone who is from China how do you feel?”.

The answer was amazing, and something that I realized most likely would not be the case today. They would say “I just can’t believe we did it”. We. No “they” or “them” but We. For a moment we stood as one.

I think that back then people actually had pride in our nation. People actually welled up at the thought of being apart of such a place. I think today we lack that sense of pride, that even among the political drama, and the racial divide that can’t seemingly be broke, we have to realize it’s not about where we come from, what party we vote for on election day or the color of our skin.

I think what matters is that we start to believe again in the nation that our moms, dads, and grandparents were so proud of.

Lift off of Apollo 11

Strive For Creative Difference.

I started this year like I start every year, I sit down with my wife and write my goals down – I don’t do resolutions because they never stick – but after I have written them down, we share. One of my many goals for this year was to spend less time on social media, less time watching TV and more time reading or doing something creative.

I felt like I was in a rut – coming home after work every day and doing the same ole thing, changing clothes, eating dinner, and watching TV till it was time to go to bed. I felt like I was wasting precious time. So, it was time for a change.

Camille and I have been married for two and a half years now. I’m always trying to think of different ways to date her instead of the typical dinner and a movie. If that’s your thing, then good for you! But I wanted to try and change it up a bit and do something different. Camille is super artistic. She can paint, draw, stitch, and do just about anything you ask her to do creatively.

I on the other hand can do none of those things. It’s actually kind of sad how not artistic I am. But in the spirit of pursuing her love language of quality time, I suggested that we get some dinner and then paint together. For her, this was right in her wheel house. For me, not so much.

I did the good husband thing and went to get some more canvas, seeing as she didn’t have anymore. This meant taking a trip to Hobby Lobby, and let me tell you something – I will never go back there by myself. It was one of the weirdest experiences of my life. I felt so out of place, not to mention waiting in line for an absurdly long amount of time.

Hobby Lobby is beside the point and it’s buried deep in the depths of my memory never to be revisited. Back to the important thing here – I made the move to creatively date my wife. Despite my total lack of artistic and creative ability in the art department, I pushed on through a territory that was uncharted to me.

I could tell how excited Camille was to show me everything there is to know about painting. I was happy just to see her eyes light up. I stared at the blank canvas for a long time before actually picking up a brush. I started doing the only thing I knew how – I painted the canvas solid black and then let it dry.

I glanced over and saw that Camille had started a long time ago while I was deep in thought about what to do. She had already picked up 3 different colors and started to blend and stipple them together. I watched in amazement of how easy and effortless it was for her.

I asked her what her favorite thing about painting was and she said, “I think I love to paint because its relaxing, but it also takes some critical thinking to figure out what colors you need, and what colors make what. It’s nice that it’s the only thing I have to think about.” I loved that. Even though it was relaxing for her, it was still something that was challenging – even though it didn’t look that way in the slightest.

I finally got the courage to add something to my canvas and began throwing paint around. Camille would lean over and ask if I wanted a tip, and she would coach me through it. I appreciated that, for I was lost in a world unfamiliar to me. This lead me down a path of thought I was altogether familiar and not, all at the same time.

When we step out of our comfort zone to learn something new it can often times be hard and well, frankly, uncomfortable. I believe though that when we do step out of that comfort we begin to stretch and grow. Think about the purpose of a rubber band. If a rubber band isn’t stretching it is not doing it’s job.

I feel the same is true for us. If we don’t begin to step out of our comfort zone more, then we wont grow. I think that is why I don’t make resolutions. I believe it’s easy for us to miss one day of a resolution and say, “Well maybe next year!” Goals, on the other hand, are all about growing and adding on to a long term achievement – not a quick fix.

I think this year should be a year of less. Less social media, TV and wasted time. Because when we commit to less time wasted on things that don’t matter, we commit to more time to achieve our goals and to stretch and grow.

I love what God revealed to me through this. We were created by the creator, so we are naturally given the need to create. In short, you were created to create. Step out of your comfort zone and begin to stretch yourself this year. Don’t wait to be a better version of yourself. Pursue it now!

I’m going to drop my goals here, and if you are like me and you are goal-driven, leave a comment in the box below and tell me what your goal is for this year!

Also, here is the painting that I did last night. It changed form and subject many times over until it essentially became… a lamp? You Tell me.

Lamp or is it? – Nate Melugin

Goals for 2019:

  • Less social media, TV
  • Continue to read more – study topics other than what I feel comfortable with
  • Continue eating well and working out
  • Be a better husband
  • Be a better pastor and friend

New Year, Better You.

New Year… New Me?


Welcome to my first post! I’m excited to start this new journey. I’ve always been passionate about writing but I haven’t ever been willing to put myself out there with it. I decided it was time to stop hiding it and just go for it.

You always hear people say, “new year, new me,” but do they really mean it? I’m not trying to discourage or put anyone down by posing that question. I just mean: do we really have to become someone new in the new year? Why cant we just expand on the progress we made the previous year? You lost weight in 2018 – GOOD! Keep going. You read more books in 2018 – GOOD! Keep reading.

There are so many examples that I could use, but I think you get the point. Instead of trying to start over and be someone you think you should become, why not spend that time becoming the person you want to become?

There is a huge difference in those two statements. One of them is founded upon other people’s highlight reel on social media or otherwise. The other is founded on you seeing yourself in God’s eyes and building upon His already perfect blueprint: you and everything you were uniquely created to be.

The issue with social media is that it is in fact a highlight reel: people are getting engaged, married, having kids, losing weight, graduating college, getting new jobs, etc. Suddenly, the goals you have achieved this year seem minuscule and irrelevant. We don’t see the things that go on behind the scenes, the hurt, the insecurity, the struggle. So we compare ourselves to something that holds an unrealistic expectation, when in reality we never should.

My point is this. Put your head down and just do you. I know it is way easier said than done, but it’s possible. You can be who you want to be. You don’t have to worry about what society thinks you should do or be. That’s up to you! Do you, and just love people along the way. Cheer others on as they strive to be better and never be a stumbling block to someone trying to do so.

I’ll leave you with this. I heard a pastor say once that there is a good reason that the rearview mirror on your car is smaller than the windshield – you have to see where you are going more than where you’ve been. While it’s important to know where you’ve been, it’s more important to see where you can go.