Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas Chop

We continued the Griswald theme with the annual cutting down of the Erickson family Christmas tree. 

We dragged the kids through the woods until we found it. Anna Rose picked it out. Dave Dave took cover. 

I could tell it was big. But I didn't know how big until we got it in the house!

Fourteen feet, three inches. A new Erickson record. 

A little full. 

Lots of sap. 

There was a bird nest in the branches. We had to tie it to our post to keep it from falling. Our Christmas ornaments took up about a quarter of the available space. We used the balcony to put the star on top. And for as long as we live we will never forget this tree nor will we speak of it without laughing. 

Merry Christmas! May your coming year be sappy and full of joy. 

With love. 

Friday, December 13, 2013

Christmas Vacation Partay 2013 Style

It's the most highly anticipated party of the year! Christmas Vacation 2013 Style. Costume of the year goes to Brad Cox. Mr. Shirley even came with Jelly. I mean come on! It gets better every year.

Andy came as himself. I think.

Becky came as the house. You go Becky. Second Place is yours. She had this crazy long extension cord so as long as she retraced her steps she was cool. 

Ned tried to go as Rocky but he ended up looking more like Ruby Sue. 

Lia went as the cat, which is a perfect segue to our next photo: 

Uncle Lewis! Earlier that day Murf had doused himself with lighter fluid and set his jacket on fire in front of his kids! If that's not all out, I don't know what is. 

MURF! I love you man. There was a faint sent of burnt fabric and back hair emanating throughout the house all night. 

Every year we invite like two thousand people to this party and the same twenty show up. Nevertheless, next year will be the year this thing blows up. That's right. You're invited. I'm giving you a year's notice. Christmas Vacation Partay 2014 is going to be so huge we are going to have to rent out the jumbo-tron at BB&T Field. 

You heard it. Put it on your calendars, friends. The Sunday after Thanksgiving (unless Murf gets sick again and has to postpone it like he did this year) we will have the 23rd annual Christmas Vacation Party of the Century. 

This blog post will self-destruct in 10 seconds. 

Sunday, December 08, 2013

CLAY has left the building

Lia and I are pleased to announce that Clay has finally been released. I'm not sure what else to say. I'm so happy. I'm so tired. It feels a lot like what it feels like finishing a marathon. So thankful. So proud. So humbled. So exhausted. I want to celebrate. I want to go to bed. Big breath. Hi Ho Here We Go.(If you want a copy by Christmas, order soon!)

Clay the Ebook

There are so many of you to thank. Please know how thankful I am for each one of you. 

About the book, here are a few of the kind words some friends have shared on its behalf (plus some of Beth Williams amazing artwork).

Praise for Clay

Clay will seize your heart and your imagination while becoming your friend. Clay will awaken you to the amazing truth that there is something really special about you. Clay will convince you that becoming yourself is what living is all about.
Fil Anderson, author of Running on Empty

Clay powerfully captures a person's journey (particularly a teenager's pursuit) toward purpose and identity. It is real and engaging. I recommend it.
Ty Saltzgiver, Senior Vice President of Young Life

Ned uses the art of metaphor to mine the depths of our common experience. In the personification of Clay we find the fear, loneliness, hope, and longing of our fundamental pursuit of meaning and identity in life – this little story will linger in your soul long after you turn its last page because it is true, and true things stick.
Rick Lawrence, Executive Editor of GROUP Magazine, author of Sifted and Shrewd

I found the work to be wonderfully creative. Several times, I pulled aside to read portions to my family and comment to them how much I was enjoying Clay. The story kept me guessing, wondering how it would end. When I turned the final page and read the last line, I “sliced” a smile and closed the book, contented.
Marty Machowski, author of Long Story Short and the Gospel Story Bible.

For anyone feeling ordinary, here's a story that will redefine you. For anyone searching for purpose, here's a story that will redirect you. For anyone longing for more life, here's a story that will renew you. It's not the lyrical beauty of Erickson's prose or even the "page-turner" storyline that gripped my heart – it was the gradual realization that I am Clay. We are all clay.
Alan D. Wright, author of Free Yourself, Be Yourself and Lover of My Soul

Clay is a book that you will happily add to the list of classic reads that you enjoy returning to again and again. Ned has a truly sweet and pure way of raising our curiosity, drawing us in to Clay's beauty and it's winding path below the surface of things. It is the story of our calling, design and purpose. This book most definitely will awaken the sleeping child in many a reader. It did for me!
Michael R. Jordan,
Pastor of Worship and Creative Arts

Greenwood Community Church, Greenwood Village, CO

This book is simply a gift. Clay’s story is unique and familiar, gut-wrenching and buoyant. With its vibrant language, compelling narrative, and provocative questions of meaning and purpose, we find upon turning the final page that we, like Clay, have been transformed.
Dr. Joan F. Mitchell, Master Teacher and co-author of Bridging English

Clay is reminiscent of C.S. Lewis' Narnia – decorated with wonder, but founded on unshakeable truth.  As Clay embarks on his search for purpose, every reader will see bits of themselves in his adventure. If you've ever questioned your purpose in life, doubted your value to the world, or simply longed for something more, then Clay's journey towards "being made" will delight you, teach you, and inspire you. 
Greg Lisson, Director of Christian Life at the Wesleyan School, Norcross, GA

Is this book for you? 

Well, have you ever wondered if there was something more to life? Have you wondered what it was? Or wondered how to get it? Clay has. Wonderings like that curl around his mind like question marks and keep him up at night. That is, they do until the day a boy bumps up the road.

This is a story about what happens on the journey toward meaning and purpose. What happens to Clay will surprise you, shock you. It may even reshape how you see things, including yourself.

Go to for more!

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Bet Part Deux

February 2008, our vet Eric Taylor (aka give Clark Griswald a run for his money) at the Reynolda Veterinary Hospital told us that he had just received this promo from this company for getting your dog genetically tested. He didn't know if it worked and was wondering if we would let Winnie be his guinea pig.

Um Yes!

For a trip down memory lane here is what happened: Bet, and The Results Are In

Well, fast forward almost six years and here arrives mutt number two! What do you think we did? We got her genetically tested that's what! Believe it or not, and personally I don't believe it, we were told that we are the only people from Eric's office who have gotten the test done.

That's crazy.

So here is the deal. We are having a Dog Breed Contest Extravaganza. Do you think you know what kinds of dog Summer is? Take a look at these pics, come and visit her, do some research, and

Submit your votes here on this blog, on facebook, or by email by December 26 when we will make the big reveal! A prize will be awarded (likely a signed copy of Clay which will be officially launched by the end of the weekend). Whoop!

There it is! Good luck! And happy guessing!

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Video Promo

Award winning artist and filmmaker Steve Childs was kind enough to shoot me trying to recite the entire prologue to Clay. I stumbled through it, and Steve (because he's Steve) made it look good.

But then I woke up at 2:30 in the morning after reciting the prologue in my sleep, and I was like, "Man, I can recite this thing in my sleep." So I called Steve up and asked if he'd film me one more time. He said, Sure if it's right now. So I ran over (this was on that flurry day we had last week). (His studio is just down the street from my office.) (Lots of parentheses today.) And he filmed me. Boom.

Thank you Steve! You are the man.

and check out…

OH! and

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

First Ever Interview

Over the years I have interviewed a lot of people. Last month, it was my turn! Lesha Sabio interviewed me for the Twin City Track Club's monthly newsletter. Woo-hoo. Thanks Lesha! 

Saturday, November 16, 2013


A little post surgery humor with my nerve blocked arm. (All went well with the surgery.)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


I expected this. I expected that Anna Rose would fall in love. I expected her to be a great dog owner. Here's a snippet from the 10 minutes of Anna Rose First Grade Share and Teach footage I was able to score yesterday.

But this. I didn't expect this.

I didn't expect that Ned would fall in love.

The heart is a crazy thing. It is limitless in its capacity. And it grows when you let it. To be honest, I didn't know I had any more love in me. But then I met this dog. And I have fallen in love with her. I'm so full I could burst. But now I realize that there is no fear in a heart bursting because there will always be room in a heart willing to grow.

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Summer Has Arrived

Anna Rose has been asking for a puppy for...well, longer than I can remember. The answer's been No. This has been a daily occurrence...well, for longer than I can remember.

Then came that fateful, that beautiful fateful day last spring at Stone Mountain. It was one of those magical family days when everyone is happy. A no tears Saturday. Hallelujah. Praise the Lord. A day that happens every once in a while.

It was then we blurted out the fateful words, "If mommy and daddy do not have another child, we'll get a puppy." Anna Rose heard us. She latched on to it. I'm pretty sure she prayed against mommy's womb. Long story short, Lia and I are not having any more children.

Anna Rose went on the offensive. The answer was No. She redoubled her offensive. The answer became Not Yet. I told her (and Lia by this time) that under no circumstances would I allow them to adopt a puppy until I was finished with my book.

One baby at a time.

Last week, the book was finished. And I allowed myself for the first time to look at the rescue puppy website.

Wouldn't you know it - there she was, Summer, like she had been waiting for us.

Then, came the realization that websites do not always get updated as frequently as you would like them, too. We were looking at this website on a Saturday evening, after the day's adoption fair was over. I mean, who wouldn't adopt this puppy?

So now it was my turn to pray.

And now, Summer is coming home today!

I know, crazy, right? Though, I'm developing this theory called "Simplification via Complication Theory." It works like this: Life gets simpler when it's complicated. Like my friend who totaled his car. He's got a million things he could do today, but guess what he's doing? Buying a car. Or my friend who just had surgery. Her life was crazy, but guess what she's doing today? Reading a book. So I'm thinking the same thing might work for us. You know what I got on the agenda today? For the first time this fall, Nothing. It's puppy time. No time for anything else. Simplification by Complication at its best.

Hi Ho Here We Go!

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

leaves and children - a Sisyphean Task

Some of my best memories from growing up have to do with raking leaves with my dad. 

I don't remember dad getting as frustrated as I was getting. But going back and seeing these pictures brings it all back to what matters. 

Bigger piles tomorrow kids...

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Halloween 2013

It was another successful Halloween.

After two or three years of being a puppy, Anna Rose this year was a cat. Lia and I crashed her Halloween party at school and turns out several of her friends were cats, too. Hmmm coincidence? I think not.

As for Dave Dave, by the end of October 31, he had donned not one, not two, but three dinosaur costumes

- none of which we had purchased for this particular holiday. Go figure. His greatest accomplishment by far was his first successful pumpkin carving (with parental help). He went for scary and I think he got it.

Dave Dave, you put the pump in pumpkin. That's all I gots to say.

Lia put on a gray wig and my old duck tape man costume. She scared the poo out of me when I walked in on her getting ready. I guess you could say I was unprepared.

I was a cowboy. My friend Hannaha wrote "Andy" on my sole. Alls I gots to say about that is that it really felt like a snake was in my boot. As good as these cowboy boots look, they sure don't wear so well. By evening's end I was really walking like a cowboy.

The experience taught me the importance of figuring in good footwear to every costume ensemble.

Happy Halloween everyone!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Thanks Trevor

I was searching images, looking for inspiration for the cover of Clay, and stumbled upon it. This photo over the Georgia night sky was taken this year by Trevor Mork. I showed it to Robert Milam who is doing the cover for me, and he loved it, too. Then came the tracking the photographer down. A few emails and a bit of Facebook stalking later, Trevor agreed to let me use it. Thanks Trevor. What a talent.

Robert is still working on the touch up and text layout…so far it's inspiring!

Stay tuned.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Feeling My Age

I have been feeling like an old man lately. I guess it's inevitable. I'm growing old. I used to think thirty-nine was really old. Lately, I've been feeling like it is.

There was Windy Gap. I'll tell you, "sleeping" in a cabin with fifteen junior and senior high schoolers for a weekend will make you feel old. I think I might have mentioned it out loud a few times because my friend Jay, a senior, gave me a pep talk while we rocked in chairs out under the stars into the wee hours Saturday night. Thanks Jay. I needed that.

Actually, the old feeling happened earlier this summer. I injured my achilles tendon trying to run faster than I should have. Injuries happen. They happen to anyone. Of any age. But then I read the Mayo Clinic description…

Achilles tendinitis most commonly occurs in runners who have suddenly increased the intensity or duration of their runs. It's also common in middle-aged people who play sports, such as tennis or basketball, only on the weekends.

Middle-aged men!

It took two months to get back running again, and I think the spring in my step might have got up and gone for good.

Then, I went to the doctor and next thing you know they are sending me to get an MRI and these two young twenty-something nurses are telling me it's going to be OK and let me tell you, Ned and MRI's are not OK. Somehow I made it. Lots of prayer. And one breath at a time.

Oh, the MRI was for this tumor in my arm that we hope is a shwarmanoma (sp?) or something. Supposedly even though mine is the size of a goose egg shwarmanomas are harmless. They're biopsying it sometime this fall to make sure it is harmless. If it's not, well then we will have a whole lot more to write about concerning this. Harmless or not, it needs to come out. And I'll be writing about it either way. Oh, guess what. Shwarmanomas happen in guys aged 30-50. Middle-age. Go figure.

Then, this week I got laid up with something called an "ileus." I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. Today, I'm just having explosive diarrhea. I've never been more happy to have semi-working intestines.

All this health talk. I really am getting old.

Paul wrote that outwardly he was wasting away, but inwardly he was being renewed every day. That's my new hope. The last few months I've gotten in touch with my humanity. My frailty. Even my mortality. And I'll be honest, it's not easy. It's humiliating to not be able to do things that you used to be able to do. But there is also this new comfort with my limitations that I'm also starting to enjoy.