O: Banana Pancakes


I told myself that I’d never do anything to any cheesy effects of Jack Johnson, John Mayer, or Train…

I went two for three.

I find it fascinating that this time last year I was wrapping up the first volume of FilingThePapers; the section well known as “X“. The primary focal point about the immediate recovery of divorce and moving on in my own life. With the adventure of Guatemala really making its mark of a year from the divorce; I started over with volume two, labeled “O” [Get it yet? X’s and O’s?…hehe…]. The second volume really emphasized growth, it wasn’t aimed so much at reflection as much as it was moving forward; most notably the theme tended to unintentionally revolve around the creation of the Kansas City Shock and seeing God’s hand do marvelous, inexpiable things with the program, including the kick-off of this sports team just a few weeks ago. I never really thought about where “O” would end. With “X” I had a game plan, a blue print, an idea of how to wrap it up. How do wrap the continuation of ones life? I think my girlfriend answered it without realizing it.

It’s been a crazy, crazy week. On Monday, after ten years of service, I stepped away from Subway for good. It wasn’t planned to be this prompt, but it was coming. There were several factors adding to the eventual moment that took place on Monday, some on my end some on my employers end. Insanely “Mobile Minutes: Equipment Check” really was a key for me. I went into Monday’s meeting knowing that there was a strong likelihood I’d leave without being employed with Subway. Because of that it really didn’t hurt when the truth came out of what was taking place. Now, in this process I did lose the company car and the ultrabook [laptop] because they were company property. I’ve been adjusting, but am already looking for own ultrabook because I like my eight year old laptop…but it is just that…eight years old. Thankfully, God has blessed me with a truck that won’t die. Seriously. It was over 268,000 miles on it and I witnessed my family [MC primarily] put each one of those miles on the truck. It’s been good to me, and in the worse case scenario, it gives me transportation. Now, if I need to go down south, to the city, or a business trip I’m further blessed with my girlfriends car in those instances until something else gets figured out. Unlike being jobless a few years ago, I do have money to get me through comfortably the next 90 days while I work on additional employment. I really, really wish there was a way for the Kansas City Shock to be my full time job, but currently it’s a new business and because of that, the money isn’t there yet. That’s alright, because also unlike last time, I know God has my back and He has something incredible in store for me. Some applications I’ve put in I’ve already started to hear back from [whether that employer knows it or not]. I will confess that I’m strongly aiming at the soccer market. Because of the Kansas City Shock, my calling, ministry, and life…that’s where I know I need to be. Now, we’ll just see how God wants to plan it out. It was kind of sad to see my supervisor off from Subway, she’s a God fearing woman who has known me most of those ten years. However, outside of her and a few others, there wasn’t much of a connection with that company so stepping away wasn’t too hard. As I explained to MC over lunch on Monday, Subway did exactly what it was supposed to do. It moved me from Point A [divorced, alone, stuck down south] to Point B [the city, a family, and a new life]. When you see what God has done with a job, and how short life is compared to eternity, it doesn’t sting as much [aside from the car being gone]. The staff with the Kansas City Shock knows that I’m gone from Subway, but I’m very, very fortunate that my earnings from Subway were not the direct ‘lifeline’ of finances for the Shock. This assists in knowing that, that program isn’t negatively affected by this transition and it continues to move smoothly.

Obviously in this process my girlfriend was caught off guard with me leaving the company. She’s working her tail off at Starbucks trying to move up the career ladder [and kicking butt in that process mind you], so it stemmed all sorts of questions of immediate panic that have calmed down. While many people didn’t know the exact circumstances with my job, she was aware, so while there was some direct panic; it wasn’t overly shocking. However, even Monday night I did find myself questioning what was going on with life and what to do next [I hadn’t started the resume/application process yet]. My girlfriend, knowing me so well, started sending me links to YouTube videos of hedgehogs [she wants one desperately], and then a random video of the song “Banana Pancakes” by Jack Johnson. Turns out, her not being a yuppy, she’d missed that song a few years ago. It was cute, light, and loving. It only makes sense that come Tuesday morning I wound up eating banana pancakes at the apartment with her [she made foster too…and it was excellent], and we started to talk about what our next move should be [several times over we’ve made the comments that it is us vs the world, the beginning of week helped solidify that]. I think really this is where the true insanity of the week started. The conversation, while not 100% accurate, went something like this:

D: So, now what?
Girlfriend: I don’t know, what do you think?
D: Not sure. Want to get engaged?
Girlfriend: Really?
D: Sure. Why not?
Girlfriend: I wonder if Kay’s has that ring I like in stock.
D: We could grab it today. Let’s go look.
Girlfriend: Let me call first.
[calls four different locations in the area]
Girlfriend: They don’t have it in stock, and it would require at least three days to get here.
D: Want to go see if there is one that you may love more that’s in stock?
Girlfriend: Are we seriously doing this?
D: Absolutely
Girlfriend: Alright. Let’s go!

Now, I’m not going to say that conversation is extremely accurate, but that was the overall gist of the moment. We got in her car and drove to the local mall and walked into Kay’s. Then the fun began. She started looking at rings, and of course the ladies at Kay were top-notch [as always], and then ‘it happened’. You know, she saw that ring and that was going to be the ring. No matter what. She sat there in Kay’s holding this ring, and just paused for a while thinking on whether or not this moment was really happening. It didn’t take that long before I heard, “We’ll take it!”

At the register, processing the paperwork, the lady asked if I would like to put the ring on her in the store. Naturally, I declined the offer and just had it boxed up and placed in the sack. Incredible, through all these ‘reckless’ moves, I did have a plan.

When I was little there was a spot next to the Missouri River that I loved going to. No docks, no houses, nothing, out in the country right next to the giant body of water [I even had senior pictures taken there]. It was my secret spot, even at the age of 25 I rarely took anyone to that location. It was a place, in Kansas, that meant the world to me and I could escape everything. In my girlfriends case she has a undying love of rivers and bodies of water; reasons of which I’ll never understand.

It only makes sense that we took a short five miles jog across the river to this secret spot. There was no candles, no cameras, in fact I was in running clothes and she was in mismatched work/comfort clothes. Honestly, we were a humorous mess that anyone could tell that the day before took an unknown toll on each of us. In that mess and near the body of water that both of us relate to so well, I got down on one knee and just asked her to marry me [not as easy as it sounds, because understand this…those who never have…you will get nervous]. Insanely the ring didn’t need to be resized at all and it was a perfect fit. Afterwards, we went and worked out [true story] and then surprised my mother at her house. Somewhere in the mix of this Facebook went nuts with a photo and congratulations galore [thank you all!], and we just entertainingly laughed the night away because we did something unpredictable. I can safely say at least 99% of the people who know us would not have seen that one coming, and that’s fine with both of us because through this whole crazy process we made sure that we were doing something that we orchestrated not dictated by anyone else. That is more liberating then even walking away from a job.

What’s next?

Well:

  • Restructuring FilingThePapers…again
  • Meeting with our pastor from MoVal tonight
  • Job applications and such
  • Kansas City Shock season is in full tilt
  • Engagement photos
  • Really…the list could go on and on…

For those of you who’ve just now discovered this page you should do some digging, and see what this was all about. For those of you who have been with me since day 1, thank you for the support, prayers, and for humoring me on my careless adventures.

 

That is one happy chica!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FilingThePapers isn’t going anywhere, I’m definitely not ending the site [it’s far too fun], and I’m already knee deep in the first draft of “X: Dare To Be Different”.

Let’s see what comes next!

-D-

Note: If anyone ever got confused, I would like to clarify that my girlfriend is indeed the same person that is referred to as Darco throughout these posts. What’s even more incredible is I’m marrying the same girl that I had the honor of leading to Christ one night in the parking lot of Starbucks.

Mobile Minutes: Sinking In


Like anyone else, the result or the aftershock of today’s events are finally starting to set in. I’ve been working on my resume, applications, and cover letters throughout the day. Figuring out my new ‘budget’, and making adjustments to the Kansas City Shock as needed.

I don’t feel worthless, or sad. There’s a ton of questions currently, but knowing how stressed MC and my girlfriend are about all of this…that in itself tends to bring upon a new level of stress. I don’t have the answers, I don’t really know what to do, I don’t even know what my resume should even look like. I mean, what tools and knowledge do I actually have?

Ugh…frustration is creeping in a bit tonight. Darco has been working on some tea, and groceries were purchased.

To be honest, out of all the things that came about from today, while sitting alone at Panera, with my personal belongings all boxed up next to me, I could only focus on one simple thought:

I will not repeat my mistakes. I will not be out of a home. I will have food to eat. I will survive.

-D-

Mobile Minutes: Let It Rain


Apartment is clean.
Dishes washed.
Candle lit.
Chai tea at the couch.
Rain falling outside.

I am relaxed.

Today was my final day of work for the month with Subway, so I planned my stores carefully [there were only two left, and that’s because they were closed yesterday for the holiday]. One had been a troubling store in past months, definitely a ‘project’ store in several ways. However, much had happened in recent weeks and when I stepped in today…it looked like a Subway. It looked normal, clean, friendly…I mean my jaw was on the ground. I was so, so pleased with what I had found. It just really started the mood of tranquility for the rest of the month.

After work Darco and I headed up north to visit her grandmothers grave site; a place that we had visited this time last year when we were still getting to know one another [and her family]. At the same time there was a Tornado Warning to the west and a Severe Thunderstorm Warning to the north, and in my world; that’s relaxing. A nap at the apartment ensued and when I awoke; it was time to clean. Darco started with the kitchen and worked her way to the first bathroom, I took on the bedroom, second bathroom, and office. By then she was out since she has to open her store at 4:30 AM tomorrow. Now, I’m just chilling in the living room, enjoying the rain, smelling the candle [it’s one of those crackling candles] and catching up on some Kansas City Shock stuff.

I found out about an hour ago that the main commentator for Sporting Kansas City, Cal Williams, actually gave the Kansas City Shock a shout out for their 3-0 win over the Des Moines Menace on Sunday [Sporting was playing the men’s side of that program tonight]. Overall the sensation is still surreal. Obviously there is a lot of work that still needs to be done [this weekend was most definitely a dry run of the sorts], but for as stressful as it is, man what a ride this is! Glory to God in the highest; most definitely, it never gets old giving Him the praise for this insane adventure.

Finally paperwork has been submitted for the month; the rain is getting heavier, the glass of tea is still full [turns out Darco gets her Starbucks discount at Teavana stores], and for the first time in a very long time…I’m out of stress. I know what needs to be done, but I’m not stressed but very relaxed. So I’m going to clean up FilingThePapers [it’s cluttered, again], get some new spreadsheets ready to go for work[s], but first I’ll show you some fun photos over the past couple days:

Alright, if I had a photo already that I'm clinging to dearly it's this one. The one with her hands up? That's Aliesha Cassie, our player from Scotland. She scored on Sunday [as a defender] against Des Moines. The store of her journey with the Kansas City Shock is unreal. She's the first person to ever contact me about playing for the Kansas City Shock. How long ago? Try June of last year. That's before we had coaches, players, home field, budget, staff, tryouts, etc...I told her she'd have to try out like everyone else. She did. She tried out in December, I hadn't spoken to any coaches much about our conversations [she has an amazing story of dedication and strength]. She made it onto our roster on the first tryout, then became the face of the organization with a small photo shoot with Weber Creative, and is now our captain. I mean...this is one of those players that I look at and am just amazed at the story of progression from the moment I received an email from her last year to this day. Mind blowing. And yes...she's an incredible player as well.

Alright, if I had a photo already that I’m clinging to dearly it’s this one. The one with her hands up? That’s Aliesha Cassie, our player from Scotland. She scored on Sunday [as a defender] against Des Moines. The store of her journey with the Kansas City Shock is unreal. She’s the first person to ever contact me about playing for the Kansas City Shock. How long ago? Try June of last year. That’s before we had coaches, players, home field, budget, staff, tryouts, etc…I told her she’d have to try out like everyone else. She did. She tried out in December, I hadn’t spoken to any coaches much about our conversations [she has an amazing story of dedication and strength]. She made it onto our roster on the first tryout, then became the face of the organization with a small photo shoot with Weber Creative, and is now our captain. I mean…this is one of those players that I look at and am just amazed at the story of progression from the moment I received an email from her last year to this day. Mind blowing. And yes…she’s an incredible player as well.

Remember that time I posted a review about "Blanc Burgers and Bottles" [search--> O: Blanc]? The conversation with the owner, Ernesto, never stopped from there. He's a huge soccer fan, and loves grassroots development [much like his business]. Well, we had lunch a few weeks back to discuss business. He came up with a unique idea; have the team over to his place every Monday night after home games to regroup, relax, and enjoy ourselves. I was taken back! This guy owns one of the more successful restaurants in Kansas City and is inviting our program out to eat? Just amazed me. Last night was our first time there. Obviously amazing service, but the menu was catered just for us as well. I try to keep my pride in check [seriously, I try], but something about that moment just really brought about this joy in me of recognizing that the Kansas City Shock is a real, living deal.

Remember that time I posted a review about “Blanc Burgers and Bottles“? The conversation with the owner, Ernesto, never stopped from there. He’s a huge soccer fan, and loves grassroots development [much like his business]. Well, we had lunch a few weeks back to discuss business. He came up with a unique idea; have the team over to his place every Monday night after home games to regroup, relax, and enjoy ourselves. I was taken back! This guy owns one of the more successful restaurants in Kansas City and is inviting our program out to eat? Just amazed me. Last night was our first time there. Obviously amazing service, but the menu was catered just for us as well. I try to keep my pride in check [seriously, I try], but something about that moment just really brought about this joy in me of recognizing that the Kansas City Shock is a real, living deal.

And finally, for those of you who are curious about statistics and all of that. Here’s the skinny:

After Two Games:
Kansas City Shock:
Goals Scored: 5
Goals Scored On: 0
Current Record: 2-0
League Standing: 1st [out of 80+]

God is good guys, trust me. God is good.

-D-

O: Jim’s Factory


I once heard a story, about a boy who got into more trouble then he knew what to do with. He fought with his brother, avoided his mother, and watched his father in the garage. As years past the boy sat in class, mastered his skills, but rarely interacted in the rooms. He knew the pot dealers, held his own parties, and even found a way to charge admission with his brother. He was a gear head, a grease monkey, always trying out a new idea. Unfortunately, like every other soul in the world that wishes to move on he too had to find employment.

At 16 years of age he started sweeping paper. Just scraps, pieces of paper cut from massive machines, something his father had worked on. Tireless, without complaint, he made his money, swept his scraps, and kept working day to day. As he grew older, the company of paper continued to expand and he increased his involvement within the company. He worked as a die cutter, a pressman, and even in the glue room occasionally. He joined the Teamsters Union, not fully getting what the point of that was, and made friends with those who came and went with this company, but he always stayed. Sure, there were other job openings, new beginnings around each corner. From church cleaning to box packing; there was something always available, but he always stayed with the company. In recent years, with economic woes, he took the hits, watched his friends leave, but kept his family his priority. He continued to work. In the building with no air conditioning, the building that smashed his fingers, and even caused him to fall off a stage onto the concrete floor, he always worked. He took his friends fishing once a year for several years, just a weekend on the lake. As the years passed, one by one those friends disappeared, but even without them or even the fishing, he kept working.

Thirty years and more passed, his loyalty never waved. His wife laid in the bed with cancer, and he made it a priority to work in the factory, drive sixty miles south to the hospital, stay with her all day, and head back to work the next day, for months. His family came first, and he stayed with the company to ensure it.

As age came, so did changed, the company switched ownership, new clients came in, and the presses kept running. Every so often there’d be a hiccup in the financials for the plant and paychecks were hit, but that never stopped him from working. 8 hours, 10 hours, even 12 hour shifts ranging from five to six to seven days a week; he never stopped working, always followed orders, and would get up no matter what hour of the day it was.

33 years since the boy brushed the papers along the floor and he still stands there today. He’s a pressman, running one of the massive machines in the plant. He’ll do it for 19 more days.

It was announced last week that June 7th, 2013 would be the last day the company existed. Many clients outsourced to the state of New York from the new owners of a couple years. Everyone would be let go, pensions are practically gone, 401k’s are non-existent and retirement is out of the question. Severance packages would exist, but that massive box at Leonard Road and Easton-Saxton will not make a noise again once that day passes.

With 30+ years of experience, technical school training, but no college degree, where will he go? What will he do to ensure his family stays number one?

Sometimes in life I really do wish that soccer was the only stress that I experience. I’m sure everyone else would agree to have that one item to stress them out, but for everything else to run smoothly. I’ve been thinking over the past several days about this post, and the anger that comes with it. I was informed last Tuesday that Jim’s plant; Climax Packaging [St. Joseph Packaging] is closing on June 7th, 2013 for good; leaving Jim without a job. It has been eating at me for days, even causing a lack of sleep in several instances. I’ll brag on him in this post [because he’d never do it himself], he is one of the hardest working blue collar individuals I’ve ever met. When I first met him [when I was 5] he had a black beard, cut-off black t-shirt, overalls, and carried his lunch in what used to be a tool box. He was one terrifying dude, and to this day that unspoken respect still stands in my mind at a level I didn’t even know existed. He tied my shoes before my first ‘competitive’ mile, made my breakfast nearly every school day for six years, and was the person who took me to every single recreational soccer game as a kid [MC had to work on Saturday’s at that time, so don’t judge her]. Rather quiet, he unintentionally made  a impact on my life of what a God fearing leader looks like. They don’t always have to be loud with words, because their actions easily make up for them.

The story of Jim and the company, which is very real, translates directly into my approach of soccer. Jim is quiet, from the inner section of St. Joseph, Missouri, wasn’t born with a lot of money, never had a lot of money, never complained about not having a lot of money. He sacrificed so much to put up with a high school brat, while his wife…who he loves unconditionally…was dealing with her body trying to fight cancer; three years before being diagnosed. Those hours he worked, noted above? He worked second jobs throughout the seasons to cover expenses and try to latch onto dreams of a better future for him and MC. He never gave up, was never intimidated by the white collar world, rich jerks, or anything else of the sorts. He is Phil from Duck Dynasty in ways that appear frightening.

I’ve felt gut wrenching awful since hearing about the plant closing. A few days later he was moving my girlfriends car to get his motorcycle out, and the car slipped off the jack and wound up denting the radiator. He called me, explaining what had happened and he’d find a way to buy a new radiator for her. I mean…that poor man felt terrible. After already being crushed with my divorce [he took it worse then MC did], he’s careful with my current relationship [he has no reason to, she love him]. So, I tried to calm him down, she tried to calm him down, MC finally got him calmed down and my heart broke that much more. The world of this man, outside of his family, was spinning out of control and it wasn’t his fault. I mean, he stopped smoking cold turkey just because MC asked him too before they got married. He has his flaws, like all of us, but I’ve never met a human to give so much, sacrifice so much, and believe so much in people…period. He knows very little about soccer, but he loves the Kansas City Shock. He talks about, which just about puts me in tears every time, because I know I’m making him proud.

The Kansas City Shock is in many ways a gift to Kansas City, that was the idea, but it was also a gift to my parents. They’ve watched this thing, they’ve seen the errors, misfortunes, and heartache, but they still believed in me. I work hard, and I lose sleep, because I learned from the best. I learned that you work hard, complain little, and try to help as many people around you as humanly possible. Jim’s behaviors and lessons are dotted throughout this program. Everyone is welcome, he’d never turn someone away. Sleep is lost getting work done, because Jim would do the same thing. The program, unlike so many other soccer programs, isn’t catered to the rich, soccer elite of the area [there, I finally said it]. It’s designed for the hard working, back breaking people who believe that they’re never noticed. They’re like Jim, getting tossed around, but trying to better their lives and those around them. Many of our players would relate well with Jim.

I guess I’m proud to say that I’ve cried through the typing of this entire thing tonight. I could barely keep myself together at MC’s and his house tonight. Why? Because it hurts. Because this guy gave me so much, and the one time, the one time he needs help; I can’t do anything. I can’t save the plant, I can’t buy the company, and I can’t even find him a job. If there is anyone that deserves vacation it is him and MC. I’m not overly sure how to do it, but I’ve got to give back to him. He deserves the attention, recognition, and the peace. Is it alright to say that I just want to help? That one day I just want to present a massive check to my parents and say, “Enjoy the relaxation. It’s taken care of?” Doesn’t Jim deserve to breathe a little easier? Laugh a little more? Actually go fishing again?

I thought this piece would go in the direction of anger; lashing out at the stupid company that outsourced the jobs in Jim’s plant, closing the place down. I am still angry about that; especially on the business side of things. However, thinking back to all of it; I made sure that I was free tonight after work to relax at my parents house. No matter how old I am, or bad mood I’m in, I know I’m safe there. I know that Jim will reheat his coffee, he’ll sit in his chair, and Scamper [his cat] will hop up on him and go to sleep [affectionately referred to as ‘sweep-sweep time’]. That’s comfort, that’s home, and I don’t want the stupidity of someone else put any of that at risk.

I just want Jim to be happy, happy, happy.

-D-

O: Unspeakable


I’m just in awe.

I mean…mind being blown doesn’t even describe.

I’ve been searching for words for this post most of the day. The home opener for the Kansas City Shock is May 25th, 2013 at Kansas City Kansas Community College. There have been several bumps along the way, especially as of late, but in the past week…God is just doing something…amazing. Something only He can do. The nice part about my life is being able to sit back and knowingly not be able to take credit for what is taking place. From sponsors, to airfare for players, to practice fields, to things that I never even dreamed up…this week has been incredible. Unbelievable I even had someone tell me, “We’d like to work with you, because we believe God is doing great things in your program.” I mean…wow…mission field? Found!

As I stare out the window this evening, watching the lightning flash all around it is the most comforting feeling in the world to know you’re exactly where God wants you to be. There’s no denying, no describing it, you just know…and it never gets old. I think God almost enjoys thinking, “Alright, he is waking up. What can I do today that’ll just blow him away?” I’m pretty sure that’s how He works, and He gets a kick out of it too.

The Kansas City Shock is rocking and it’s been a blast. Honestly, today was one of those days that I even forgot the concept of how or why this website was ever created. Unfortunately, that realization was short lived this evening. My girlfriend is known to wander throughout the Facebook world [no, none of us are safe], and had looked up my ex-wife. Now, due to the restraining order from a few years ago, I stay out of it and away from any of it. That, and really, I don’t care. However, as my girlfriend said tonight, “I was just curious on getting an idea of who you were before we met” [she’s curious like that]. Repeatedly I had asked her to stay off my ex-wife’s Facebook page, but I quickly learned that if she wasn’t sharing information with me [that I didn’t want to know], other people around me were doing so instead.

She beat everyone else to the punch tonight. There we were, heading to dinner after church, she had brought up the Facebook page. That turned into an argument, she left it alone, and then she started crying. Now, my girlfriend, as special as she is…is not a crier. That’s not her style, so this had me confused.

She had a seizure. I just feel really, really bad for her.

That was the only phrase that could come out of her mouth while traveling down the interstate. My ex-wife’s mother has had a neurological disorder for some time, resulting in seizures and even a few strokes…at a very young age. I’m speculating, but it sounds as if that neurological issue has been passed down. My girlfriend went on to explain that it happened in the school lunchroom where she taught. From the education background, I can’t imagine how fearful that must have been for everyone.

The car was quite while I mulled over this information, trying to think about my reaction to this news, and that’s when I blurted it out:

I. Don’t. Care.

Harsh words, and sadly I meant them. I didn’t care. The anger and bitterness from years past came flaming back into life as I went on a small fit asking if she cared that I was homeless, if she cared that I was broke, broken, and worthless, if she cared that I was absolutely nothing. Frankly, they were the childish rants expected from a bitter individual [though not necessarily Christ-based]. We remained silent until pulling into IHOP. Hoping to drown the thoughts in the most awful tasting iced coffee I’ve ever had, my girlfriend and I talked about every other topic under the sun…myself trying to ignore the knowledge that I had gained in the past hour.

Finally, after the evening was over, working some business angels and watching the storm roll in; I just sat, quietly. Trying to understand my stance, my anger, and bitterness. How could I rationalize it? Why would I rationalize it? I have the right to be angry right? I have the right to harshly and unfairly think “that’s what you get”, right? With the falling rain I was remembered of the phrase that started it all.

Dare to be different. Shock the world.

If I allowed myself the pleasure of enjoying the heartfelt struggles of those who passed me by to my own demise, how is that being different from our societies standards? How is that different from our cultural norms? It isn’t, and if it isn’t different from the standards of the world then it isn’t within the realm of what God expects from me as a loving, Christ-centered, individual. Jesus, no matter the person, would never act in such brash, boastful ways. What would dare make me think I was better then Christ?

I claim it as human pride, a serious error on my behalf, but I’m still upset about being hung out to dry. I’m upset with being abandoned and condemned. It’s a hard pill to swallow. However, that doesn’t allow me to view a hurting person in any different light then compassion that is expected.

So, though this information and these thoughts go in places that I’ll never understand; it’s worth noting that while I’m still conflicted with bitterness. My heart still aches for her, her family, and yes…her husband. I can’t imagine the fear, the heartache, and the unknown that they all must be encountering. I’m not sure if God counts it, but while I still struggle, somewhere in the rolling thunder tonight I’m still praying for my ex-wife’s recovery and healing.

-D-

 

 

Mobile Minutes: Coffee Encounters


It’s always enjoyable knowing that nothing but strange things tend to take place at coffee shops.

Tonight was no different.

While making repairs to my laptop [it was due up for some spring cleaning] Dur and I saw a women walk in wearing a Minnesota Women’s Soccer shirt.

Now, the Starbucks up here is a snare of Kansas City Shock if you don’t know what you’re looking for. Darco mans the register, that’s the first hit. Likely afterwards you’re going to get me in the corner, and if you make it past me it’s only a matter of time before Dur gets you. That’s just how the store works up here in the north. We didn’t plan it, but we all three spend so much time there it only makes sense.

Anyways…

So, this woman walks into the store and Darco nails her; seeing the soccer logos on the shirt. That starts the chain reaction of sports, soccer, and the Kansas City Shock. Eventually the young woman sits next to Dur and myself and we start asking the ’20 question’ game. Through this process a question kept brewing in my head, she was new to the area, went through some fascinating troubling times, and was recreating herself [sound familiar]? That’s when she made note of the softball team at the church she’s going to, which gave way to the question I was begging to ask; church involvement.

“Oh, I go to Missouri Valley. It’s a really small church.”

Missouri Valley = MoVal

Somehow, someway, shameful to myself I’ve missed this woman over the past month. We spent some time sharing our stories of getting to MoVal, love for soccer, her unique love for cultures and travel, and some humor in between. The whole time I’m in disbelief that we’d been at the same church [of 70 people] and completely missed one another.

The story itself is absolutely fascinating, and made for some good laughs. However, personally it really helped as well. I was really, really dialed into MoVal today. I felt comfortable, directed, and alive. It was a great realization to be back ‘home’ after this weeks spiritual findings. More importantly, I had complained to my girlfriend earlier this weekend that I couldn’t hear God, He was silent. Since those moments; it feels like my ears have just now been unclogged. The passion of the people, the messages that I’ve received, the questions, the meetings, everything in the past 48 hours continues to show me that this is God’s plan, it’s His program, and He’s going to do amazing things. I’m just humbled to be able to be a part of it.

It was such a blessing to meet random people, and make random connections [especially if they can understand why soccer fans must have scarves] in His name. The coffee tasted that much better tonight.

This week appears to be daunting; it’s hard not to be fearful. However, God is going to do something amazing. It’s going to be big, insane, and awesome. I haven’t felt this alive in watching Him do His thing in months.

Let the sparks fly.

-D-

O: Loveland


Once upon a time there was a town named Loveland, Colorado.

Alright, it’s true, it’s still there.

In 2002, I along with seventy some odd other teenagers descended on the town as a ‘youth mission team’.

Note: I cannot express to you the irony of the phrase ‘youth mission trips’

In our duration in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains we hosted ‘backyard Bible clubs’ during the day and ‘block parties’ during the night (insane amount of Baptist-speak in that statement).

One specific night; probably a Thursday, we were hosting one of the larger neighborhood parties. The cotton candy machine was running, snow cones were everywhere, and the stage was set for an eventful, warm, Colorado evening.

Then the clouds started to gather. Off to the south, along the foothills of the mountains a storm was gathering. You couldn’t see the lightning, but you could hear the rumbles of thunder. The storm grew in size, gaining speed and strength. While this was going on, a group of wiser [more mature] people from the trip were in a corner of the lot praying. I kid you not, for all the teenage hormones, and crushing that I did that week I never forgot this moment…

With lightning now dancing across the sky, the wind picking up, and the thunder coming in over the voices of the people it looked like the show was going to be called for the night. Then suddenly, as the sun started to fade behind the thunderhead, the clouds shifted drastically to the east…and not a drop of water fell on that event.

Of all the random trips, and events that I witnessed in high school, this moment stayed with me to this very day. Now I know why. Even when all seems lost, we’re backed into a corner, and the very light…the hope…that we’re desperately holding onto looks to be fading away…

That’s when the impossible happens.

That’s where hope comes alive.

I tell this story, as I did to my girlfriend in the car tonight, because it illustrates the point that I was able to humbly realize last night. Things are hard right now, really hard, but even today when I ran across one of our players…that joy, that excitement, that hope just solidified my rationalization for what we’re doing. This is my mission field, and this is where my hope shall lie, and this is where my God shall dwell.

-D-