A new grocery store opened up near where I work. Darco and I went exploring this past weekend to see what fresh, organic options we could find.

…we came home with a pound of chocolate covered espresso beans…

Naturally a photo of our find was required, and then that grocery chain sent it out on their Instagram feed.



I’m still laughing. Who knew eating healthy would be so entertaining?


XXXI: Time Travel

The weeks are beginning to blur together. Occasionally I’m beginning to hear, “Don’t burn yourself out”, and there have been a few days in the past two weeks that Darco and I have seen each other awake for a total of two hours in one day.

I suppose this is what it means to be working in your 20’s. The scary part that I’m beginning to notice is that when you’re in a job that you love, and I mean love, you tend to get so wrapped up in it that it can consume your day (and night). Insanely, this applies to myself and Darco. In her case it’s all about Starbucks. The kid lives, breathes, and owns* Starbucks. She’s currently an Assistant Store Manager, but we just learned her meeting in March will determine if she’s ready to move to a full time store manager position. I love hearing stories about her day, and how so many store managers throughout her district ask about her, and how in some cases she’s even becoming the model ‘trainee’ when working towards running one’s own store. I’ll never tell my students, but in many ways she’s the exact example of why people can be very successful even without wasting…spending time in college. Continue reading

XXXI: Keeping Up

Wake up.

I have thirty minutes on the clock.
Grab my pants, where’s the shirt for today? Socks? Got ‘em.
Start the shower, will the water warm up any faster?
Wake up, let’s do this.
Don’t stand under the water, you’ll waste time.
Get dry. Remember pants and shirt on first, socks last, otherwise you’ll be tempted to stay seated on the bed.
Contacts? Those’ll be last, let’s get the water boiling. 5 tablespoons of coffee, cup is clean.
That cat has got to stop messing with my shoe strings while I’m trying to tie them.
Pour the water, set the timer for six minutes. Do I have my lunch ready? Where’s the bowl for breakfast?
Thank goodness that granola was made.
Grab the coat. Shut off the bedroom light. Section one cleared.
Contacts in. Shut the bathroom light. Section two cleared.
Coffee is ready. We need more sugar. Is that almond milk still good?
Bag? Check.
Coat? Check.
Keys? Check.
Phone? Check.
Cereal? Yep, with coffee.
House lights are turned off. Section three cleared.

Almost word-for-word these are the thoughts that stream through my mind Monday through Friday each week. It’s quite literally non-stop fun waking up and getting ready without running into any problems. That being said, by the time it is all said and done, Saturday is the first time that I decide to try to breathe. I’ll claim the card of just getting older, but this past week absolutely exhausted me and pushed me to a level of stress that I hadn’t witnessed in some time. It was a blend of work related stuff, and stuff outside of work. I added to my load this week by starting a college course through the University of Phoenix. It’s my first class that could be counted as a Master’s level class, but so far it hasn’t proven to be much more than reading and discussing theories of classroom organization. That shouldn’t come as much of a shock, but I’m still happy that I’m able to take the class (and thanks to Darco’s job, we were able to pay for it upfront in full). The passing completion of that class will result in my teaching license being reinstated, something that I can wholeheartedly say I’m dying to achieve. Even without an actual classroom, I feel so inadequate roaming the halls of the school being asked by students if I’m something that I’m not. The downside of course is the additional amount of time being consumed to ensure that I do complete the class…correctly.

From there, there’s an added element of my body. While I am losing weight (again), my legs aren’t doing everything that I’d like them to be doing. Most notably problems in my knees and still in my Achilles. I’m praying for an opportunity to try a spine and joint center in the city that specializes in working with runners. If it’s not my shoes that are causing this, I’ll be very curious as to what they end up finding. I’m still running and training, but my workload on my feet is very, very light. It’s not worth making problems worse just because I’m stubborn.

Outside of work and running is church (not always in that order). Darco and I continue to spend time at a ‘home church’ on Thursday nights, soon to be changing to Sunday nights, and personally it isn’t easy. There are so many things I’ve developed horrible habits of being uncomfortable with and they’re all coming out at once. I’m not keen on physical touch, aside from Darco, from anyone. I still struggle working with very small children, and pregnancy still makes me extremely uncomfortable. This is just honesty coming out, not acknowledging that any of it is necessarily bad. I suppose the reality is that I need to grow up and be like everyone else. Eventually I have to accept the idea of the same job for 20+ years, I have to accept the average family size, the mortgages, and everything that comes along with it. Truthfully, I’m still denying it as if it were some form of plague. Perhaps it’s just the sinful nature of my soul, but I still have zero desire to follow through with all this notions that people point out as joyful and wonderful. I suppose I’m still selfish, but there isn’t even a stirring in my soul of, “Oh, this will be so fun.” I’m still thinking of running, work, and honestly…just being married.

Fear. I’ve been trying to fully comprehend and handle fear. Understand the death, destruction, second coming, and everything in between doesn’t bother me. There really is very little out there in this world that I fear. I’ve just about failed at everything I’ve been a part of, so the world isn’t nearly as scary now. With that said, there’s still one thing that burns in my heart as an absolute terror. I’m terrified that my wife will leave me. I’m scared that one disagreement, one argument, one forgotten date, failed objective (cooking, cleaning, etc…) will result in her packing up and never returning. Does Darco ever act like that? Absolutely not, but when dealing with stress from the week, it just eats at me. I think back to false promises, storybook thoughts, and tragic endings. My mind reverts back to a time of chaos and isolation. Thunderstorms, softball, and crying myself to sleep. I still remember it all like a permanent scar. Darco knows this, and she always reminds me that it’ll never happen. Frankly, I don’t see how people can be divorced, be left, and then just play it off as if nothing tragic happened in their life. It’s my fear, my terror, it’s what keeps me up at night. If I’m not perfect, if I don’t fix every problem, my wife will leave me. If I screw up the financials and miss a bill, my wife will leave me. If I get onto her about sleeping too long, or something along those lines, my wife will leave me. I’ve concluded, through the stupidity in my head, that this will forever be the curse that I’ll have to live with.

There’s a lot on my plate in the mornings, several thoughts streaming through my mind. The weeks are long, but most of the time they’re fun, I just wish I was a better person.


XXXI: Being the last American runner

I’ve been staring at this screen throughout the past week, trying to formulate thought while also motivating myself to type something up. It’s been a challenge because I know what I’ve wanted to type about, but for some reason the topic continues to bring up a ‘brick wall’ or ‘writers block’. I’m not overly sure why, but I’m going to try the age of trick of writing until the block clears itself up. For the record, ‘writers block’ is truly one of the few things that I’ve come to absolutely despise as a human. The reason why FilingThePapers has been ¬†quiet is due to this recent struggle.

Not that any of you are too worried about it, but I figured I’d at least clue you in on the random array of thoughts and ideas that cross my mental cortex.

As for the topic…

For around six months now I’ve been trying to culminate my passion of running into words, and in all honesty there’s a bit of a business itch that I’ve been wanting to scratch. Nothing insane or huge, but something that I’ve come to really enjoy over the past year. Truth is, I like designing clothes. Again, nothing serious, but your standard t-shirts and sweatshirts. It’s very simple and basic, but it’s something that I’ve found joy in. I suppose my overall goal is taking my passion of running and sharing it to the world in form of articles of clothing for anyone and everyone to enjoy.

Looking at the running world, along with any specific sports culture, the clothing that’s primarily made is made for runners who are doing just that…running. However, what you don’t see a lot of is clothes that promote the joy, but are designed for everyday attire. Let’s be real; there’s nothing more comfortable in this world compared to sweats, a hoodie, and perhaps your favorite, tight stitched, high thread count t-shirt (some of you will vouch for leggings as well for comfort, but please note…I’m a dude…). It’s the casual wear that I’ve really wanted to experiment with. There’s nothing wrong with being able to wear your passion, even when you’re not necessarily partaking in the passion at the given time.

This is kind of the origins of the “Last American Runner”. It’s a personal journey, but I don’t think it’s just an individual’s story. I believe that for whatever the reason is, people throughout our culture desire to be great at something, anything, but they don’t necessarily know how to take the first step. So many times, especially in the world of running, we view specific people who are trained, groomed, and designed to be great at a specific event. However, that only makes up maybe 5% of our population (complete guess)? The rest of us are just trying to move by the means of our own motivation, and hoping to catch glimpses of anything that could be inspiration. In many ways that’s what I want “Last American Runner” to be. Sure, the forefront is all about the running, but the backstory is more about helping people find their inspiration to live and motivation to succeed.

How does one do that? I’m not really sure. I’m not famous (though in some places I am infamous), I’m not really an athlete, and I don’t necessarily ooze success. I’m in many ways just your average Joe. My prayer is that recognizing that identity can be the catalyst for “Last American Runner”. A brand, a thought, an organization that is very truly for the people, by the people. No strings attached.

I’m not an advocate of New Year’s Resolutions, I think they are truly one of the biggest wastes of our lives. We set ourselves up for failure by lying to ourselves and not recognizing the truth of our real, inherent identity. I want “Last American Runner” to inspire others to accept themselves, and just try at succeeding in their own world. That could be in the form of running, health, and other aspects upfront, or it could be deeper acceptances of self-image, self-discipline, and personal identity. I’m not really sure because everyone will have their own story. I plan to continue to use Facebook, Twitter, and the blog to move content, but I’m also recognizing that I have to start with just one person in order to move this idea…I have to start with me.

Eventually, someday, when the planets align I’ll be able to start the prints for the shirts. Praise God I’ve had training on Adobe products, and someone was kind enough to give me a iMac because both elements have been key to some design. I have a few base sketches/designs I’ve made, and I’d like to share them with those who have rocked with me over the past 3 1/2 years here at FilingThePapers.

So…I guess, enjoy?

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