XXXI: Endless Dreams


God made me fast. And when I run, I feel His pleasure.
-Chariots of Fire-

Dearest Reader,

Welcome to “XXXI”, the fourth installment of thought at FilingThePapers.com. After careful prayer, determination, outlining, and working with my wife; we’re thrilled that today we can bring you this exciting new chapter. Unlike “X”, “O”, and “XO”, “XXXI” is going to take a different path of insight and thought. Continue reading

#getyourpraiseon


Tonight was a blessing.

The training session was terrible. I’m so, so sick of being overweight. You have no idea.

Outside of that though; tonight was beautiful. Jo chatted with me this evening via WhatsApp, and her, myself, and Darco will be running in the 2015 GöteborgsVarvet Half Marathon in Gothenburg, Sweden. I’m pumped, Darco is stoked, and Jo is thrilled to see us after several years. It’ll be a fun trip at the end of next May. Turns out 64,000 people run in this half marathon (13.1 miles), so at least we won’t have anything focused on us.

Besides that, the true highlight was hanging out at a Bible Study/Church Planting session with a few families of the church that Darco and I have recently been attending. It was nice. We were around people and families that we had never really spent time around. We had conversations, dialogues, and yes…even laughed [a lot]. It was wonderful, I felt being in a house dreaming up new ideas of spiritual movements within the community. Darco met a woman who is a huge clean eating advocate, a connection that Darco needs and frequently lacks. It also helps us get a little closer to the church body, as we have struggled in past months to connect.

It felt good. For a split second or few, it felt like home.

-D-

XO: Filing [Part I]


I’m up past my bedtime, and I will regret it at around 10:00 AM CST tomorrow morning. This’ll take place right about the time I step into a classroom full of junior high students anxious to learn math…that’s probably a slight fib.

Realistically, I haven’t been sleeping well. Several nightmares, waking up jerking, scaring the cat, and being elbowed in the face by Darco. Last night I was to the point of earplugs while I was sleeping because of all the noise. When I say that I’m a light sleeper; that is probably the most modest way of determining my rest cycles.

With that random rant of rest aside, it doesn’t answer the question of why this is even being written.

I need to get lost in my words for the night. Darco knows that I’m up and chilling in the office while she sleeps. Tomorrow will be a bit rough, but currently I really just need to be able to type. Life is so big at the moment, that I’ve aged a few years since starting this site and realistically I’ve missed it.

I’m married, I’m back in the classroom, I own a soccer team. What? Tonight is one of those nights that it’s more of a starstruck realization of pondering how these turn of events even take place for the lowly sandwich artist of the past.

I was meeting with an engineering and architect firm about the property development for the Kansas City Shock a few weeks ago. One of the points that made was that I needed to be able to share a story. In this case, “What is the story of the Kansas City Shock?” As all of us know now, that’s a story full of entertainment in itself.

While I hold onto the belief that, that program is destined to become something greater then what I’ll even be able to comprehend; ideally I’d like to spend this piece revolving more on the overall aspect of this life, this love, and a deeper understanding of this existence.

In other words: this could be rather long, and a bit of recap for the past reader. I’m going to break this section into multiple parts; primarily for the sheer volume of words [I feel bad for you].

Let us begin… Continue reading

O: Deep Breath


Will someone please tell me how it is already April?

A letter greeted me at my apartment today; a reminder that my lease renewal is up at the end of this month. Fascinating considering that it feels like just yesterday I stepping into this place for the first time. Yes, I will be renewing it for another nine months. While I do find the constant commute to KC a bit annoying at times; being removed the ‘bulls-eye’ of business can at times be very refreshing.

It’s already Sunday, and I’m still awake. I took today and was productive; cleaning up for the past several weeks that I’ve been running all over the place. Kitchen, bathrooms, dining room, and living room were all addressed. I’m still needing to work on the office and bedroom. Got a brief run in, and then took some time at a U-8 Peeps Soccer game. I cooked my own lunch, and had some leftovers.

I lived life.

I looked at my budget and cringed, noted bills, and hung up my recent diploma from Subway. Lit a new candle, and drank some coffee. Had burgers with my girlfriend for dinner, and complained about weight, health, and fitness following.

I guess this is what is called ‘real life’.

Regardless of how you term the notion of what ‘real life’ is, it comes and grabs you whether you’re ready or not. It’s insane to think that just over a month from now the Kansas City Shock will be in full swing. Tickets are being sold, and some very…weighted…topics are on my desk.

I see MC and Jim every-so-often, but living apart [even thirteen miles] has proved to drastically limit our interaction time [and home cooking]. MoVal is churning along after a great Easter weekend last week, and Dur is getting ready for coaching courses in California later this month. Jo is back on Facebook, and my girlfriend talks to her rather frequently.

Snow has melted, proposals have been made, and marriages are on the eve. My monthly magazine from my alma mater greets me with the same news of budget moves, new hiring’s, and expectations for the future. I run when I get the chance, and as of late I’ve really fallen short of my own expectations. I’ve argued with my girlfriend, and as of this evening…came out the humbled loser. I still make mistakes and I dream of getting this website turned into book[s] when the time allows itself.

I try to listen to dub step music just to give life a different age; almost as my way of reaching out to my youth and breaking free of the grips of this new reality. However, even there the melodies and drops start to blend into the next and the next.

I’m not sure what I dream of anymore. A few nights ago I woke up from a dream, and it was disappointing. Very realistically I had become the President of the United States of America, and was able to give the opening address to open up the Summer Olympics [the US had obviously finally found a way to get the Games]. It was a new world, set in a distant times. Magnetic bullet trains, and vast vegetation surrounded my experiences. Phone calls, family, and all around joy brought about by the Games and personally because somehow…I was the President. Compared to the several, consecutive nightmares that have befallen me in the past, this was a nice change of pace. However, as goes with any good dream; sometimes waking up is the worst part. Outside of that though; I dream about the day’s events; meetings, soccer, business, Subway, traveling, cities, etc…

Life is calm. I’m not suggesting that this is a negative aspect, but it is a change of pace from the rapid past three years. I suppose I’m transitioning in a pattern, a cycle, maybe maturing? I wouldn’t safely suggest that idea at this point.

I do not necessarily see all of these adjustments in past weeks as a negative change, but due to the transition of life [and lack of writing] it’s something that has definitely caught my eye as needing to be penciled into the daily accounts of this individual life.

Surrounding suburbs entertain me, and specific greasy spoons in downtown entice me; marriages aren’t forbidden, and the hostility of what once was is nearly non-existent. I still don’t want a two-story house, but that’s because I hate stairs. The white picket fence could be alright; I guess.

Am I losing motivation? Ambition? Passion? I would hope not, but the fear does seep in from time-to-time. I hope I’m not losing my edge, or becoming too old to wear my hat backwards.

With thunderstorms in the forecast tomorrow, in my world the seasons officially change. Boston comes up next weekend; as I head out of town for a few days.

Perhaps I’m just meandering around, but…I hope that in my personal world; a bit of fresh air and some deep breaths can kick me back into high gear.

-D-

O: Second Year


I’ve logged over 200 miles today; I’m tired and I’ve resulted into doing two things that are usually not permitted in my life:

  • I’ve converted my comfy bed and pillows into my ‘office’
  • I’ve made the executive decision to forgo all social media aspects for the night [minus e-mail…if that counts]

Why?

I’m beat. Mentally, emotionally, and physically. I can’t handle the long drives nearly as well as I used to, and mentally I’m just fried today. Is that wrong?

Two hundred miles is good for only one element of life; thinking.

Call it reflection, or call it just mindless wandering, but anyone who has kept up with my journey since July of 2011 can admit that it’s been a ride.

You don’t get to make up stories like these; you don’t get to go from absolutely nothing to everything. That doesn’t happen in today’s world, right?

Dead. Wrong.

Has it been easy? Not a chance; while traveling through north central Missouri today I thought back to the horrible journey of breaking and entering to find food. Not the best moment of life, or the legal paperwork that was filed, and then filed again. However; the pains and frustrations are so small compared to the fruits of the excitement that I now live on a daily basis. Realistically; perhaps as I find myself partway through year two; it’s the reflection on those who have been instrumental towards the elements of my life. From running until I wanted to die [and then some], to random journey’s down south while in panic-mode, to writing and writing and writing, to the insane ideas that conjure up in my mind [throw a few sandwiches in there also], and there’s a list of people, organizations, businesses, and so much more to note, to thank, and to appreciate.

However, that would give notion towards the end of a book; which anyone who knows me, knows that isn’t even close to the truth [we’ve got a while on book two, as it has become much larger then anticipated].

Perhaps this is the medicine that I needed tonight. Truthfully, I’ve had knots in my stomach all day. The stress from the Kansas City Shock and what I put on myself has been unreal. While I dare not say tonight is a night of doing nothing [the amount of e-mails I have to work on is unreal], but taking the initiative to reflect on positive thought in order to maintain balance of my mind [so I don’t lose it], and continue to remind myself to remain humble, passionate, and grateful.

Mind spinning yet? Neither is mine; it’s 9:30 PM CST; I dropped my luggage in the apartment, put on some cartoons, and just started typing. I tend of Amy Jo Martin in exact moments like this; Ms. Martin explained a study [that her staff forced her to do] called Ready, Set, Pause. The problem was that she was moving too often, too quickly, and wasn’t able to catch her breath. Complete overload. Her crew required her to take eight minutes out of her day [literally penned into her schedule] and just relax; throw on some music, and take a deep breath.

While I’m chalking this up to Ready, Set, Pause; I do see the evening in similar light. I firmly believe that it is a temptation to dwell on the past. How many of us during our youth years tried the one-up trick of, “Oh you think your life was bad? Well mine was…” Maybe no one else, but I’m as guilty as sin with the notion. How Jo, throughout college, didn’t kill me is beyond my mental capability. However, as I’ve grown older there has come the concept of reflection vs dwelling:

Reflection runs a mindset of focusing on the thought provoking ideas, and insight from the events of an individuals life. Wisdom, joy, and emotions are frequently stirred for the individual. A case in myself would be, humorously, listening to “As Long As You Love Me” by Justin Bieber. Hearing the song spurns the idea of a night time drive in a black Ford Fusion; all while driving down Santa Monica Boulevard. My emotion? Joy. Happiness. Meeting new friends, traveling, and enjoying a bit of freedom. That’s reflection upon my life; taking a moment to contemplate the events that I’ve partaken in.

Dwelling tends to be a dangerous slope that once started; can result in negative attitudes and a selfish desire to make every idea and concept in the world about ones self. Using myself again, a good example would be December of 2007; during Christmas Eve. I was on Facebook chat with Jo; I had known her for a month at this point, and I was pointing out every doom-and-gloom element of my life. I’m poor, my parents divorced, my girlfriend dumped me, I’m always made fun up, blah…blah…blah…Who did that benefit? Definitely not Jo; looking back I feel very bad for the moment. I can tell that it was focused on the subconscious benefit of myself. By talking poorly of myself, I was able to amplify my ‘importance’ in the conversation, pulling pity, and in turn recognizing that the conversation was solely about me. Dwelling on the past can quickly be brought in contact with selfishness.

At this point I’ve been looking at cat pictures, and fighting with Pandora on good music selection, but I think these musing prove the point. Perhaps if nowhere else, my own life; growing means recognizing what is safe, and what is ill advised.

My only hope is that as the days, weeks, months, and years progress that the memories found in my reflections may be ones that can be viewed, smiled, and remembered in their truth form.

Now…where are those e-mails…

-D- 

Mobile Minutes: Jo


It had been a surprisingly long duration since I had spoken to Jo. As you know she’s back in Sweden, and has been for some time. I grew concerned over the past several weeks and started to pester her, hoping for a response.

What I got, I wasn’t really ready for.

I few mornings ago, while I was still sick; she contacted me through my Skype program on my phone. She started talking about needing to talk to me, just needing something, and was trying to line up a time for me to actual be awake to communicate with her [seven hour time difference]. Finally, while coming back from my trip down south, I was able to chat with her a bit.

That’s when I learned that her cousin just passed away [close to her], her boyfriend left her [no comment], and she was completely alone, isolated, and really; without hope.

We talked for several hours, including me inquiring about why she hadn’t contacted me before. Here’s one of my closest friends, who had gone through who knows what with me and back again, and she’s just broken to pieces in a place that I can’t reach her except through digital communication.

I told my girlfriend about this [note: she is very, very full aware of the friendship I have with Jo, and very aware of the trials we have been through], and her concern was the same as mine; a hurting friend that we couldn’t reach.

Jo has been working on an e-mail for me, outlining everything that’s taken place over the past several weeks. I’m curious on the events and how they transpired.

I talked to Jo today while at work; she had just returned home from her coworkers funeral. She posed me a simple question, “What’s the meaning of this life?”

Simply; almost automatically I just replied with, “To praise God”.

This took us down a road that Jo and I hadn’t been on too often; Christianity.

Jo, from all accounts that I’m aware of, became a Christian when she moved to the States for college. A few mutual friends of ours guided her down that path. However, similar to myself; over the years we faded away from the truth, went into other styles of living, and overall; just lost touch with God. Add in a Swedish culture that itself tends to float more towards an atheistic/agnostic viewpoint and Jo is spiritually starving.

I spoke of myself and my girlfriend; the challenges we have, the changes we’ve made in our lives as individuals. The 180 degree turn around that my girlfriend made with her life, and the struggles that I faced and still face to this day. I was open and honest; brutally honest. Afterwards Jo just simply replied with, “I wish I could have that” [in reference to a romantic relationship that was built around a partnership striving towards the goal of praising God and not ones self]. She then got offline for the day.

My heart hurts tonight. I hate having such a close friend in such pain, being so confused, and no one there. As my girlfriend put it, “She just needs hugged”, to which I completely agree.

I understand the history of this site, and some things being stated on this site towards Jo and out friendship. I challenge you, all of you, to put your pride aside and try to understand her loneliness, isolation, and fear.

Can you too see the opening door?

-D-

O: 900 Squares


It’s been running through my mind quite a bit frequently; I suppose you could say this another one of my big steps in restoring my life [turns out that like an old car, one never fully restores a life; only when ones life ends has it been truly restored, but I digress], and the concept of moving into an apartment is quite the daunting task. Financially, physically, and emotionally:

  • Financially: For those keeping score, this would be an additional $455 to add to the monthly calculator. Interestingly enough, as I learn, this is about as cheap as it gets around this area. There is a bit of me that is concerned about that monthly fee, but instantly that small amount of wiped away with the simple thought of, “I can afford it”. I’ve ran the numbers with my girlfriend several times, balancing the budget, looking at bills, and if I am self disciplined [go ahead, laugh] not only is it doable, but it is doable and then some. Truly, tell me this; why should a man who has been given everything in a year be worried about affording this? Reality is; I’m blessed to even have the opportunity to go out on my own, without a roommate, relative, or anything else deemed awkward in my mind. He’ll make it work; He always does [and He expects me to be smart with what He has given me].
  • Physically: In the most literal idea; I don’t have much. Aside from the dresser that I’ve had since the mobile home park in ’93, most of my possessions can fit in the back of my truck. I consider myself fortunate to be of this way. Obviously it makes relocating very, very easy. Furthermore, I do not have an issue with getting rid of things I do not need [I hesitate in saying “throw away” because there tends to be better options, sometimes]. I’ll have to figure out new running ideas since I’ll be in an actual city, where people will actually hit you on the road. Along those lines though, I’m closer to food, groceries, affordability, and even the elusive gym that I’ve heard much about. I think it’ll be fascinating to see a layout of a location that is the same size as my parents house, and myself lacking nearly 90% of the materials that they have to fill up that square footage. I’m definitely not saying that I have to find the ‘stuff’ to do it, because ‘stuff’ tends to eventually drive me insane [I hate dusting]. It’s a wonderful mystery to imagine what things and stories will be hauled up the stairs [I’m on the second floor, per request].
  • Emotional: Windows. Carpet. HVAC. All things unfamiliar with my past experience in an apartment. Primarily the windows. This one has two windows and a sliding glass door that goes out onto a small balcony. Light will be plentiful at night as I face the west in this building. To so many these don’t mean much, but personally I cannot express to you how much I want that light. My girlfriend, MC, Jo, K8, everyone will all hint towards the idea that of everything that I didn’t handle well at the apartment down south [where this site was started], it was the lack of natural light. I hated waking up in a bedroom, pitch black, only to find out it was 2:00 PM. It just dragged you down deeper and deeper into depression; this fear of falling into a dark pit that you’d never recover from. There is light in this space, the walls are painted a bright color, not artificial wood paneling. Even without all of my own personal touches throughout the place, it already looks 180 degree different then the previous space. It has hope, it has growth, it has faith.

I’m sure, like any other person, this is a common step in life. Going out, on your own, your first place to call your own [or at least your first bills to deal with on your own]. I’m moving into a city of 75,000 people; no one knows how that is going to bode for myself…or the city. Coffee will be running through this apartment 24/7, and I’m actually going to have a room specifically for an office.

This time around I have no reason or excuse to complain. Simply put, with this step, I’m just blessed. Simply blessed to even have the opportunity. God has been so, so good to me. My never ending, sinful soul didn’t and doesn’t deserve an ounce of faith, but He still loves me; I still am embraced in His grace.

Moving day is next Saturday!

-D-