Tomorrow is a very special day in the history of the Justin Graves Band. Actually if tomorrow had never happened there would be no Justin Graves Band! Thirteen years ago, on May 13, 2002, I made a commitment that would change my life forever. I said 'Yes!' to an amazing woman and pledged to be her husband. Yep, that's right! Michelle and I got married thirteen years ago tomorrow! 

I just wanted to write this post to let you know how amazing and faithful God is. Michelle and I have a wonderful life, but like everyone we have had our share of good times and hard times. We have seen the world together. We have felt the thrill of victory and the crushing blow of defeat. We have laughed until we cried and we have yelled until we cried. We have soared through the clouds with the feeling nothing can stop us, and we have hit rock bottom thinking there is no recovery. We have held one another when all we want to do is just curl up into a ball and disappear, and we have held each other knowing there is nothing that can stop us!

It blows me away to know that God has trusted me with a wonderful wife that loves, challenges, supports, teaches, cheers for, defends, and encourages me no matter what. I am truly bless to have Michelle in my life and I just wanted to take a moment here today to celebrate what God is doing in us and through us. These past thirteen years have been a whirlwind (in a good way), but I am so excited to see what God has in store for us in the future! 

Here are some pics of us through the years! Thanks for taking a trip down memory lane with me today! Hope you have a wonderful week and I want to encourage you to celebrate the special people God has put in your life! 


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AuthorJustin Graves

After spending a nearly 3 months in Los Angeles, we feel like we have gotten to know the area and culture very well! Here is a list of some of the things we learned while we were there.
In no particular order...

Avoid the 405 & 101 no matter what.
The El Capitan Theater is the BEST place to see a movie. EVER!
Even after living there for 3 months, it is still exciting to see the Hollywood sign...every time.
LA has the largest urban park in the country. Larger than Central Park in New York City!
Being Gluten Free is easy.
Despite what they say it is NOT always sunny in LA.
LA is one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world.
It takes AT LEAST an hour to go anywhere in LA. It doesn't matter if it is one mile or 10 miles.
There is always a line at In-n-Out, no matter what time of day or night.
There are a ton of free entertainment options in LA.
No matter where you are you can see the mountains.
Everyone drives a Prius or Tesla.
You rarely meet someone who is actually from LA.
Spiderman and Jack Sparrow are always hanging out on Hollywood Blvd.
It doesn't matter what the weather is like, it's always a good day to go to the beach!

So, those are a few things we discovered during our time in LA. If you have any you would like to add, feel free to leave a comment here or on our Facebook page! Thanks for hanging out with me today!  

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AuthorJustin Graves

For those of you who may be new to my blog my wife, Michelle, and our 9 year old daughter, Gabriella, have spent the last few months in the Los Angeles area. Gabi is an up and coming actor. She has an incredible talent and has felt God's call on her life to be His light in the entertainment industry. So we have been in LA since the middle of February to really get a feel for what life is like in Hollywood.

Being from Texas we had no idea what to expect. Of course we've heard the stereotypical view that if you are not “somebody” that nobody will give you the time of day. Or that everyone in Hollywood is “fake” or pretending to be something that they are not and if you can't help them advance their career they want nothing to do with you. However, we have had a drastically different experience. Stay tuned...

We travel for a living. We are always in a different place meeting new people. We love life on the road, but we always have home to look forward too. We love coming home to our family, our friends, our house, our dog, but out here in LA it is just the three of us. We are staying with a wonderful family that has blessed us beyond measure by letting us occupy two rooms in their house and hang out with them constantly, but there is something about having your family close, especially on special days like birthdays and holidays. So needless to say we were starting to get a little lonely, especially with Easter approaching.

This past weekend the whole world celebrated Easter. Everyone made plans with family and friends to celebrate the death and resurrection of our Savior, but we weren't sure what we were going to do. We had knocked around a few ideas, but nothing really landed, until Michelle got a message from a friend.

Debra lives in Hollywood and she was on the dance team in high school with Michelle. We have had the opportunity to hang out with her and her family a bit, and they have been kind enough to give us some good “insider” tips on what to do and where to go in LA.

Debra said she was having a few families over for Easter dinner and egg hunt for the kids and would love for us to join them. We were so honored and excited! Just being invited made our hearts happy, but knowing that Gabi would have some kids her age to hang out with was a total bonus!

We had no idea what to expect. We were going to Easter dinner in the Hollywood hills, with complete strangers. They all know each other, their kids go to school together and they have been friends forever, so how would we fit in? Well, right from the first “Hello!” we felt like we had all been friends for years. It was amazing! Everyone made us feel welcomed, loved and glad that we were there! It was so wonderful and I haven't even gotten to the craziest part yet! There we were, in a beautiful house in the Hollywood hills, overlooking the city of Los Angeles eating Easter dinner with some of the most important people in the entertainment business. People you would probably wouldn't ever know, but there were movie producers, television directors, acting coaches, film editors and more. I could name a million TV shows and movies that you know, and we were having dinner with the people who make them happen! As I looked around the homes we were in, I started asking questions about the art other decorations in the house. “That is one of only 3 in the world. The others are in the Smithsonian and Columbia Pictures home office.” “This is a piece given to me by (insert famous actor) when we wrapped shooting (insert major motion picture everyone knows).” Yeah, those were the kinds of conversations we were having, but not in a “Hey, I'm gonna show off!” kind of way, just a matter of fact, everyday life sort of way.

I couldn't tell you if any of them are Christ followers, but whenever anyone asked what we did and we told them that we lead worship for churches and write songs about Jesus, none of them flinched or walked away, or looked at us like we were crazy, they actually wanted to know more. Not the "typical" response you would expect from the Hollywood elite. We shared in conversations about music, life, film, and kids. We laughed and ate and felt so loved. It was a beautiful day!

Sure, we had an amazing time celebrating Easter with our new friends, but I wanted to tell you all of that to make this point. How many times do we as Christ followers see a visitor in our church, or new guy at our Bible study or a new family at the PTA meeting or on our kids sports team and never reach out? The families we had lunch with were a very close knit group. They could have kept to themselves and just tolerated us being there, but they didn't. They went out of their way to make us feel welcome, included and loved. It doesn't take much to shine the light of Christ. Just a simple “Hi there! My name is ­_____.” can go a long way. You don't have to be “BFFs” or tell each other your deepest fears, Jesus just asks us to be His light. Romans 15:7 tells us to “Accept each other with love, just as Christ has accepted you.” You don't have to agree on everything, you don't have to agree on anything, but simply being the light of Christ to someone can make the world a better place.

So, my challenge to you this week is to ask God to show you someone to whom you can be His light. Remember, it doesn't have to be a big grandiose gesture. Just a kind word and a smile go a long way!

I would love to here how it goes for you this week! Please come back and leave a comment here or on our Facebook page with your story! Thanks for hanging out with me today!

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AuthorJustin Graves

This weekend we celebrate the reason we work, plan, sweat, cry, rejoice, rehearse, stress out, sing, preach and love. Our Savior Has come and conquered death, set us free from our sins and gives us a hope and a future!

 
 

Whether you call it Easter, Resurrection Day, or something else, I want to encourage you to celebrate what Jesus has done for us! Enjoy His gift. Soak it in. But don't forget to share it!

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AuthorJustin Graves

Yep! Here is a great depiction of the Resurrection Story told with Legos! I pray that this will be a simple reminder of Jesus love and what He did for us on the cross. This video is a little longer than I usually share, but well worth it! Enjoy!

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AuthorJustin Graves

    Children are fascinating creatures. One minute they can be playing with their toys without a care in the world, then the next minute they can say something like:
"When I grow up I don't want to get married because I don't want to have to cook for somebody else."
Or like my friend, who shaves his head and has no hair, whose son asked:
"Dad, where are you?"
"In the front room. Why?"
"Oh, I heard the hair dryer and thought you were drying your hair."

    Kids can make you laugh, cry and confuse you all at the same time. But to see how they trust completely and love unconditionally makes me think about my relationship with God.  My daughter has no doubt that I will protect her and love her no matter what.  She knows that I always want what is best for her.  Even when I have to discipline her she knows that I still love her.

     So why do I hold back when it comes to my relationship with God?  I can't tell you how many times I have felt God saying "It's OK I've got you!" and still I try to do it on my own.  Jesus tells us in Matthew 18:3 that we should all have the faith of a child, to trust and know that no matter what our Heavenly Father always wants what is best for us and will love us no matter what.  Sure, we may not always understand why things happen the way they do or how things will work out in the end, but we can always know that He will be right beside us through it all.

    Gabi never has to wonder if her daddy loves her or will be there for her. I pray that I can RE-learn to have unconditional trust and faith in God, just like a child.

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AuthorJustin Graves

So, the last 2 weeks Michelle and I have been separated. Don't worry, not in a “our marriage is in trouble” kind of way, but in a “Following God's call” kind of way. You see, God is doing some big things with our sweet Gabi girl. He has given her a very special gift that we as parents have seen since she was born. People are drawn to her, she has a huge imagination and has an incredibly creative mind. So, Michelle and Gabi have been in Los Angeles the last two weeks following God's call on Gabi's life to be an actor, while I have been back at home in San Antonio. They have been going on auditions for commercials and T.V. shows and getting to know the industry in LA while I have had gigs and commitments I had to fulfill here in San Antonio before I could fly out and join them. If I have learned anything these last two weeks, it is that I am better when I am with my girls.

Our family dynamic is very different than most. We typically spend all day, every day together. We work together, we play together, we eat every meal together, we are ALWAYS together and we love it! Don't get me wrong it's not all happy, blissful, sweetness. Yes, there are days that I have wished I had a “regular” 9-5 job where I could escape from the chaos of the house, but these last two weeks, being alone, eating alone, sleeping alone, and working alone have shown me that I wouldn't trade my life for the world.

Sometimes it's easy to look at someone else's life and wish it was yours. To think “God, I why didn't you give me THAT life? I would be so much happier!”, but I want to encourage you to embrace the life God has given you. Will your life always be just like you hoped and dreamed? Probably not, but you can live every moment trusting that God is holding onto you tight and that He will continue to guide you!

So, as I step off the plane this morning in LA I will grab my girls, hold them tight and thank God for the incredible life that He has given me. A life full of ups and downs, laughing and crying, fulfillment and struggle. A life that, even in my wildest dreams, I never could have imagined.

I just wanted to give you a little peek into my brain and let you know what goes on in there sometimes! Thanks for hanging out with me today.

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AuthorJustin Graves
CategoriesMy Life, Family

Road Trip!

If there is one way to really get to know a person, it is being stuck in a car with them for hours on end. Some of my favorite memories are from road trips I have been on. Our family LOVES road trips, and it's a good thing because that is what we do for a living! We have criss-crossed the country driving parts of Historic Route 66, the entire length of I-35 from Laredo to North Dakota, through the Smokey Mountains of Tennessee and Kentucky and just in the first two months of 2015 we have driven the entire expanse of I-10! So you can bet that we have seen some fun, interesting and very weird stuff along the way. On our most recent trip from San Antonio to Los Angeles we hadn't even made it 2 hours out of town when we saw a cow wandering around ON the highway and then a few miles down the road a large grass fire! We called 911 to report the fire and when the operator answered they asked, “Are you calling about the cow or the fire?” What a question! We are still laughing about that one!

We always try to make every trip an adventure. We have seen where George Washington lived, been to a working soybean farm, toured factories, nearly run out of gas, eaten at some “interesting” places, and seen everything from the flat nothingness of the central plains to the majestic beauty of the mountains that reach to the sky. Sometimes we plan our adventures and sometimes they just happen, either way I am honored that God has called us to this crazy life and grateful that we get to do it as a family!

I would love to hear some of your favorite road trip stories! Please leave a comment here or on our Facebook page and share your favorite memory! Thanks for hanging out with me today!

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AuthorJustin Graves