XXXI: Released


It was tiny.
Dainty.
Quaint.
Dark.

It held one bathroom, two bedrooms, a living room, and a kitchen/dining area. There was one window that peered above the bed, it nearly two feet tall and it was the only source of sunlight in the entire building. The carpet was thin, and was anchored directly the concrete slab that had been poured. The kitchen had a fake plastic cover along the floor, there was a partially operating air conditioning window unit that also doubled as a heater in the winter. All the rooms were covered in artificial wood paneling easily from the ’70’s area.

It was tiny.
Dainty.
Quaint.
Dark.

I never slept well during the night in this small living compartment. Most night I would spend online in the second bedroom that had been turned into an ‘office’. I’d work on applications for high school teaching positions, and randomly Skype individuals who were also up at that time at night. At the same time my wife at the time would sleep in the bedroom. I’d crawl into bed around 3:00 AM, and try to sleep through the distractions until she got up for the day (usually around 6:00 AM), and then I’d sleep until noon or 1:00 PM in the afternoon. My life revolved around that small apartment. I didn’t see sunlight very often for the first six months, and frequently slept on the couch.

It’s startling to believe that, that experience was nearly four years ago. I remember the sheer joy I felt the day I left that apartment for good, packed up with MC and Jim, I was released from a prison that I had created for myself.

I’m not really sure why I’m reflecting on the memory, aside from the fact that some of the medicine I’m taking for this recent bug has caused me to be extremely restless for about thirty minutes after ingesting the pill (who knew). Darco is quietly sleeping in our bedroom as she’ll be getting up around 4:00 AM to get ready for work, and I’ll head back in after finishing this and get a good nights rest prior to heading back to work tomorrow. I still probably won’t enter the track again until Friday, just one day in the real world again is enough to drain me, I’ve learned this from previous experiences.

Something about being sick causes you to reflect. I contribute that to the drugs and the insane amount of free time that you find yourself having in the middle of the afternoon, sweat pouring off your face, and wondering if the world is still moving without you. It’s one of the first times in quite some time that I’ve taken time to just reflect and overall compartmentalize life as I know it. As I frequently joke with Darco, I’ve already lived three lifetimes already, so that’s a lot of memories that have to be sorted through, compared, and analyzed.

I’m peering out my living room window, watching the night pass, as I write this. I think back to quick engagements, steady faith, marriage, and everything that’s accumulated to the point that brings us to now. Darco and I had a very, very unique conversation today; tying back into “XXXI”, and some of the goals that we’re striving for. From cooking at home to other more extreme discussions, we’ve had several of them as of lately. We’ve grown weary and tired of the town that we’re currently living in, I’m pushing myself harder each day physically, and life is just changing. I’m noticing in the realm of, “I want to do this, this, and this…” no longer appropriately describes my existence.

My life is less cluttered and more structured:
-Faith
-Family
-Work
-Running

That’s it. I’m no longer interested in obtaining five million different ideas, concepts, or creations. I love my job, I love getting lost in cyberspace, and I love producing results. I’m growing more and more in love with the church that Darco and I attend, we’re part of a weekly church planting group that meets on Thursday nights, and I can’t express how much of a blessing they’ve already been. MC and Jim continue to churn through their own lives, while ensuring that we survive ours as well. Jim was recently offered a full time job at a local school district, and that in itself brought a lot of ease to the family. Some days I firmly believe that Darco is a bigger blessing to me compared to myself with her. I learn something new about her each and every day, and how she isn’t afraid to try new things. Just because an individual lived a sheltered life, doesn’t mean that they fear adventure.

Finally, there’s something about those shoes. A pair of shorts, a pair of shoes, my sunglasses, and I”m good to go. Whether it’s a few miles, a mile, a time trial, sprints, or whatever the case may be…I’m not even close to perfect, but nothing feels greater compared to moving in stride with my soul.

Faith, family, work, and running…they’re all connected to one another. Each is required to ensure that the other remains. Those are all four things I was drastically missing inside that small apartment four years ago. They are all four things that I’ll forever cherish close to my heart.

-D-

XXXI: Arkansas


I’m still recovering after a blitz of a three day journey. From departing northwest Missouri, to running through the beautiful mountainous area of Arkansas, to a quick peek at the progress in Joplin, Missouri three years after their tornado; it was nice to get out, get active, and in the end it was still nice to get home.

As goes travel journals, all of them are linked, connected, and everything else in between for your viewing pleasure.

-D-

Mobile Minutes: Arkansas Part VI


Way too early…
Darco & I packed the blender just for this morning. I actually brought ingredients down for my morning protein smoothie.

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Not. Kidding.

After the smoothie, we checked out, visited the family, ate waffles, and left around 1:00 PM.

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Pack mule needs to eat.

Upon returning to Missouri, MC, Jim, and Darco talked. I fell asleep in the back for several hours. Two nights on hard beds and one race later and my body was spent.

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Ambient noise...

Once we arrived home. Darco & I crashed for a few hours before getting up, dressed, and ready for the opening of a new club in Kansas City.
One stop at Minskey’s Pizza later, and we were off to the club.

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So, so close...

However, as it turns out, VIP or not…you must be 21+ to enter. Darco is 20 for two more weeks. At 11:00 PM we left the city, not seeing the inside of ONE% Kansas City, and finally ending our trip in bed.

Currently, wife is asleep next to me, the dark one is asleep at my feet, and I’m shutting down myself.

Sleep…
Bed…
Home…

-D-

Mobile Minutes: Arkansas Part III


Made it…
But first.
A quick distraction at lunch. We were eating in Joplin, Missouri and I hijacked the road trip to show MC and Jim the area that was destroyed by the tornado a few years ago. I was there the day after, and Darco came a year later on a mission trip. I have two photos I’d like to share with you:

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Joplin High School: 2011

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Joplin High School: 2014

Absolutely massive new high school. It’s mind blowing to think that I once had a job interview with that school. It was so encouraging to see the ongoing progress for this city that has gone through so much.

Big thanks to Kansas City Bravery Clothing for an epic tank.

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Yes, thinking about the sun can burn my skin.

Darco and I grabbed our race packets down in Fayetteville (including a complimentary pint glass from a local brewery), and headed back to the family reunion.

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She's a cutie...

About an hour later I was in the back patio watching a fire, thinking about the race tomorrow.

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Now…after some quick grapes, it’s time for bed. Running comes early tomorrow.

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-D-

Mobile Minutes: Arkansas Part I


It’s that time of night. Running around cleaning and packing.

Darco & I are off to Arkansas with MC & Jim for the rest of the week. This is due to a family reunion…and a race at the same time. We’re taking the Mazda3 with us, it’s been thoroughly cleaned, along with some epic comfortable clothes.

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New floor mats!

I’m falling asleep, so…on the road tomorrow!

-D-

XO: @godsnotfat


Thank you divorce!
Not something I’d ever think to say in real life, but in this case…true.
When my ex-wife departed it kick started a sensation in me that I had hidden in a closet for years. A dark secret that I was fearful of letting anyone, even my parents, know about.

I love running.

One mile, two miles, five miles, more? It’s the pace, the muscles, the tempo, the fluid movements of the body working in harmony for one purpose; to run.

Soccer took its toll, I gained weight and backed off running a lot. Moving into the city didn’t help as I hate running with traffic.

However, over the past few months I’ve stopped at MC and Jim’s house after work, throw some shorts on, and take off through the cornfields. I just really like to run, it’s a hobby that’s desirable to me.

A few weeks ago Darco and I even did back-to-back 5K races in Missouri and Kansas (she broke her personal record). That, mixed with a supply box from ALO drink, got us thinking on a new family project:

God’s Not Fat.

The context is simple.

Faith, fitness, and food: Living the way God designed.

Through our personal journeys, along with others, we are striving to show Christians that God expects us to take care of what He’s given us. From Darco and her gluten free meals, to myself on the open road, we just want to be real people working on a well known topic.

I’m excited, Darco is also, for this new adventure. Follow God’s Not Fat on WordPress, Twitter, and Instagram.

More information at a later date!

-D-

XO: Questioning Leadership


There are just some things in life that take place of which nothing can compare you for. I guess I’m supposed to say that, that is ‘part of life’, but sometimes life makes no sense.

Sometimes family can be the catalyst, and recently that’s been a serious issue. By serious please know that I’m not talking about bickering, gossip, and the other trivial garbage that takes place within DNA strands, but serious problems.

Last year, the week that Darco and I got married, my mother-in-law was evicted from her home. Resulting in Darco, myself, MC, and Jim cleaning up a house that she vacated [and a cat she abandoned]. She moved up north with family, and I had assumed that, that was how life was going to move. This, of course, was after she wound in the hospital last February due to not being able to move CO2 out of her body at a quick enough pace. Understand that Darco is her only daughter, and the only family member that’ll stick their neck for her.

thought this was the pattern life would be in, and we could focus on each other and move forward. Until earlier this week, along with all the stupid stuff I spoke of earlier, I received a distraught phone call from my wife. She explained to me that my mother-in-law had been kicked out of the house she was staying in, and was now planning on living in her Jeep in the city.

I. Am. Not. Making. This. Up.

This individual is diabetic, and also needs a breathing machine at night. She can’t stay with us because she can’t physically get up all of our stairs. We learned yesterday that she’d been lying about where her disability checks were going [to a random scam artist via Facebook]. My wife is a complete disaster; I mean an emotional mess, it’s sickening and saddening. As the husband, as the leader of the household…I have no idea what to do.

Unfortunately I come from a position where there’s little sympathy for people who purposefully make these decisions, and refuse to be assisted by anyone else. It’s along the lines of someone standing on the side of the highway with a sign reading, “anything helps”; I’ve witnessed people offer to buy food, a meal, etc…but many just want money. This is a terrible example of the same thing that’s going on with our family.

As you could imagine; the level of stress from this constant drama is unbelievable. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what to say. I’m supposed to lead, and I’m clueless. We’re not made of money, and we’re barely making it on our own at this point. I’ve been in a position without a life [see page one], I’ve stolen food from motels for meals before, but I tried my hardest to get back on my feet and I was in my early twenties; not my late forties.

It’s also frustrating to see this take place leading up to Mother’s Day. I’ve seen my wife get lied to over, and over, and over again by the same person. She has a heart for people that few, if any, will ever be able to reach in size. Because of that, every time her eyes are opened to the truth, her heart is broken all over again. I’m supposed to protect her from that, but does mean I protect her from her own mother? I don’t know the answer. I know that I’ve had to deal with anger and bitterness as of late because I hate seeing people take advantage of others, but I’m not sure where I’m supposed to step in. What’s my position? What’s my authority? Any? I don’t know.

I know that as always, though not always my favorite, prayer is the best tool we have. In times like this, it’s about the only tool we have.

I confess: I’m growing weary of life’s struggles.

-D-

XO: Running Weekend


I’m trying to keep my eyelids open as I type this…there may be typing with the eyes shut. Excuse the typos.

I have dirt on my hands and legs, something weird is throbbing in my right foot, and I have a rather epic sunburn.

Running season is here.

Today Darco and I finished our second 5K race of the 2014 year with a trail run through the timber along the Kansas River. We were not prepared for the trail [no pavement, literal trail], so needless to say we were rather ‘punk’d’ by today’s events. However, we survived for another day. Overall the weekend was a blur, fast, and tiring. Though I don’t believe that either of us regrets it. When life throws you a curve ball; family tends to be about the only thing that you have to rely on. This is the case as of late; we’re both trying to figure out ‘what is next’ after the collapse of the soccer team, some changes in her plan of action for work, and just life as a whole.

I tell you the truth; predicting your life events is just as worthless as predicting the weather. We’re definitely ‘minimizing’ life a bit. With the running going on; diet [what we eat, not starving ourselves...there's a difference] is vital, so that kicks out eating at restaurants. In turn that saves money, and allows us to work on repairing our expenses. It just requires a little extra self discipline.

My days Monday through Friday tend to be rather routine now; I’ll head to work. Stay there until 4:00 or 5:00. Stop at Jim and MC’s house to go run [country running is a must for me], and then I’ll head home around 7:30 or 8:00 at night. Between all of that is a cup of coffee, a lot of water, a few meals, and coconut water to hydrate. I’m 100% with this life. Basic focus points allow us to take care of requirements, while still focusing on dedication to a better self.

We work, we train, we get paid, we pay bills, and we repeat. Frankly, it’s just going to be that way for a while. There’s no point in adding debt to life when we have a unique opportunity to extinguish so much of it over the upcoming summer months.

It’s nice to have someone to fight the spending habits with. The truth is Darco is terrified of spending money if it doesn’t have to deal with bills, fuel, or food. I know there’s probably a huge majority reading this thinking, “Hey, that’s what I spend my money on too.”

I’m learning, painfully, that as much as we’d wish; we can’t run through life spraying, praying, and hoping God cleans up all of our problems and we never face consequences. Divorces, failures, out of breath 5K races can all be pulled back to mistakes made. More importantly is how we recover from the mistakes. Do we continue to be reckless, thinking, “Oh, God’s got it…”, or do we make adjustments to realize, “God expects me to be responsible with what I’ve been given”? At the moment, I’m learning the second one. Let’s face facts; since this website started God has blessed me with some pretty awesome people, travels, and adventures. It’s been a riot to be a part of His glorious plan, but He also expects me to be responsible. Something that I’m not a big fan of, but am learning [through running] that is a necessity for life.

Example: Looking at my training schedule this week I’m looking to hit between 20-25 miles worth of running. There’s no coach, there’s no gym, there’s no command. It’s just myself, my shoes, and the open road. No one is holding my feet to the fire; I do it because I know it’s required to become better at what I enjoy; running races. Life in general is no different; we have to practice self-discipline in order to have a better enjoyment of the life God’s given us.

I thought that I would hate this realization; knowing that I have to slow down, take inventory, get my house in order, and restructure life. A lot has changed and I haven’t taken the time to adjust to those changes. Part of it was denial, and part of it was just refusing to face hard questions. Nobody enjoys failure or rejection, but it will make one stronger later in life.

As for now, I’m off to bed. Cool analytic nerd stuff for work this week, training picks back up on Tuesday, and another beautiful week that God has given.

Oh…and here’s a fun shot from our ‘haul’ over the races this weekend:

All sorts of fun goodies from this weekend; including pretzels!

-D-

Mobile Minutes: @ALOdrink #ALOVE Action


Darco and I are running in 5K’s tomorrow and Sunday throughout Missouri and Kansas; naturally I’m having a problem falling asleep.

Cool story for today:

At one point I made note of this small event where my mug was featured on Facebook by a company named ALO drink. What I didn’t know at the time was that, that was just the beginning.

Last month I found this flyer posted on Facebook by the same company:

That is my face that wound up on their flyer. The true power of a "#selfie".

That is my face that wound up on their flyer. The true power of a “#selfie”.

As you can see; again my ugly mug is in full view. This was the ALO drink #ALOVE contest that’s currently running on Facebook and Twitter. Because they used my photo they felt it necessary to contact me, just to say thanks. However, it quickly turned into learning that they were shipping me a case of all of their products. All seventeen products. I enjoy ALO drink because it’s high in potassium, it’s GMO-free, and it is great at re-hydrating you after a long run or workout. It keeps me from cramping up, and trust me that’s a good thing. It’s a product that I’d openly endorse.

My phone rang tonight and it was Jim; notifying me that a 21 pound box had shown up at their doorstep today. Tonight I stopped by to pick it up, and wouldn’t you know it…it was a sampler pack of beverages from the guys at ALO drink.

The bag matches my eyes so well.

The bag matches my eyes so well.

I’m pretty pumped; not just because I have coconut water running out of my ears [something that never happens], but because it’s been a fun relationship that’s been established with this company out of California.

Yes, this is also all part of a new project that’s currently under construction within our household as well.

You can follow ALO drink on Twitter as well as Facebook.

-D-