XXXI: Bell Ringing & Tardies

I am blessed.

I’m just over a week into being an official teacher inside the school I’m currently with. It’s been a whirlwind of a month; from teacher orientation, room design and construction (literally), to the very first day of school. It’s easily a thought that I’ve processed on multiple days, but have concluded that the battery life in my keyboard wouldn’t last long enough for me to type out all of my thoughts in relation to this amazing experience.

Truly, the best way to sum it up is to say that I’m blessed. Continue reading

Mobile Minutes: #Sike15 Part III

What day is it,
And in what hour?
The clock never felt so alive.

I’ve completely lost track of time down in southern Missouri. I’ve given up on tracking the days and instead I’ll just go with the flow.

The group had a unique opportunity on Tuesday. Down the road is a city called Poplar Bluff. Here one can find a halfway-house situation for women recovering from addiction (addiction to drugs and alcohol is a serious pandemic in the area). We have several female youth with us, and they were beyond thrilled to be able to work with this home called “Recycling Grace”. A few ladies were kind enough to share their stories, and a few hugs, with the group.

At “Recycling Grace” the organization has been allotted several rental properties throughout the community. Our crews main task was to work with paint scrapers and wire brushes on the porch of one of the rental properties.


The. Amount. Of. Paint.

To show you how skiddish some people are, we had started on the porch of this duplex when this woman, in nothing but a towel, steps outside in broad daylight fearing she’s being robbed by us (paint scrapers near windows do that I suppose).

I’m still amazed at how easy it is to pack up, grab a passport, and disappear to another country as a missionary, when in so many ways, the same problems plague our own communities.

We’re mulching again tomorrow. The heat hasn’t stopped us yet.


Mobile Minutes: #Sike15 Part IV

It’s not even 6:00AM on Friday morning, and I’m staring at the ceiling. Like all good things, this trip is drawing to an end.

Last night was one of the more humorous events of the entire week. Armed with a snow-cone machine and some giant, neon poster boards, we took the crew to the local baseball complex.


Simple. Give away free snow-cones.

Darco, armed with syrup pumps (funny how God uses barista training), started dishing out the cones. The rest of us vanished into the streets and parking lots letting people know about the opportunity (note: growing out the beard has one drawback…a grown man with a beard, telling kids about free snow-cones at a park…borderline creepy).

In total we served up 250 snow-cones, made several new friends through the kids showing up, and were thoroughly blessed by cooler weather and a nice southern breeze. This was a nice change up from the 102℉ we witnessed while throwing mulch on Wednesday. Interesting factoid though, our group was able to successfully disperse all mulch to all playgrounds throughout the school district. With no heat sickness, and no injuries with the pitchforks being used. That’s rather impressive in my book. Personally, I get so much joy doing physical labor as a service. I’m thinking that’s because I’ve been going that route on missions for years.

It’s 6:00AM, time to shower, eat, pack, and hit the road.

Next stop, home.


XXXI: Chaos Theory

Humans are officially one of the biggest, hottest messes to exist this side of the galaxy. This is what I’ve come to believe over the past week; namely taking cue from my own social existence.

It amazes me how drawn we are to conflict and chaos. Life can be peachy, we could be in a ‘honeymoon’ phase of reality, yet we’re not satisfied until we find a problem that needs a solution. Does anyone else understand what I’m referring to? Continue reading

XXXI: Addict

Once upon a time, when I was much younger, naive, and frankly…dumb, I got involved in an event in high school that resulted in a threat of suspension. Another student had posted on their locker (this is circa 2004) a lengthy explanation of why they did not agree with our government being involved in Iraq. Continue reading

XXXI: Placed On IR

There is one part of my body that I can’t stand having ‘medical’ issues with, that’s my mouth. Dentist, orthodontist, etc…if it involves numbing shots, gas, and surgical saws I’m beyond not game for any of that adventure.

The second part of my body would be anything to derails me from being able to run. Dating back to April of this year I’ve been battling a longing, nasty, chronic Achilles injury. It’s annoying and it’s keeping me from being able to give it my all. I’ve iced it, I’ve taped it, and all sorts of other remedies, but sadly the pain isn’t getting any better (thankfully it isn’t getting any worse). Today I was able to visit with my orthopedic surgeon (the closest thing I’ve had to a family doctor in my lifetime), and he examined my Achilles.

Pretty straight forward, no rupture, but he did diagnose it as Achilles Tendonitis. It is one of the most common injuries in runners, especially in those pile up the mileage too quickly. This was the exact case in April when I busted out a 10K run way too early. So, now I’m paying the price…and it’s a rather nasty one at that.

No running.
No inclines.
No jogging.
No squats.
No calf raises.
No leg presses.
No Turkey Trot.

As Dr. Smith put it, “you are now on the IR list” for at least until Christmas. He wants me to back way off on the use of my left foot (he threatened with a boot), and give it time to fully recover. If I don’t I run a serious risk of a full rupture that results in surgery. So, for now I’m stuck in the gym for the next six weeks enjoying some core work, upper body, and plenty of elliptical time. It isn’t ideal by any means, but if there was a time during the year that I’d enjoy having this happen, it’d definitely be in the depths of a dead winter.

Here’s praying that some desired time off my feet will result in better results heading into 2015.


XXXI: Running Fuel

What gets you around the track? To lift the weights? The go the distance?


Not just the physical food context, but the mental drive to overcome the shortcomings that our mind places before us.

What is your fuel?

I try to envision the future, I try to dream of the impossible, and keep my feet moving one step at a time. However, eventually I grow tired and I begin to reach for hidden cheats, the known pieces of life that can drive anyone beyond the pain threshold.

Anger, bitterness, hate.

Using negativity to fuel the drive to overcome will merely place your name among those who have failed to ascend above God, Himself.

I still hate. I’ve covered it up, masked it the best I could, but it still sits there. Knowing that I’ll explore that dark world when the miles begin to add. Broken promises, bad relationships, failed marriages, and manipulated moments…I’m still a broken man that struggles with hatred. It’s not just the context of being frustrated, it’s the dark area of the soul where you swear by things unknown that you will rise over those who ridiculed, yelled, and walked away.

Only God could accept a man still struggling with hatred. Only God would allow a man to run, knowing each mile he’ll have the option of fuel.

Will destiny, faith, and humility ever guide my way? Am I too broken to get past what’s been destroyed? Will the hatred ever go away?

I don’t know, I really don’t. Darco knows my demons, and demonstrates patience each time they’re brought up. I can only pray that this is an assistant coach training an athlete to become self disciplined in the soul, as he is to be on the track.