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…

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