Mobile Minutes: Self


I can firmly say the phone call I just received is a first for me. The dialogue when kind of like this:

Me: Why are you crying?
Darco: Because I’m anxious.
Me: Why are you anxious?
Darco: Because I’ve never gone out and spent money on clothes for myself.

So here’s the deal. Darco, as we’ve talked about before, grew up dirt poor. Moving from place to place due to her mother being evicted. It is a really sad story. When we met, Darco’s wardrobe consisted of work clothes, old athletic shorts, and t-shirts from high school.

That. Was. It.

When we got married we were super broke for several reasons. I still told her that when the day arrived, we would purchase a new set of clothes for her.

Praise God that day was today. With holes in her work shirts and shoes, today was the day to wipe the slate clean.

However, much to my surprise. Instead of being thrilled with a shopping spree, my wife was scared to spend any money. Crying from anxiety of getting something for herself.

This is my life…

-D-

Mobile Minutes: Morning of Mourning


I woke up to a very tragic text this morning. A young woman (24) was killed in a car accident last night.

Sadly, she was a competitor against me in speech/debate in high school, my prom date, and even my girlfriend for a period of time.

Not really how I expected my morning to start, but…without sounding too “church-y”, I would at least ask to keep her family in your prayers.

Death is never easy on anyone.

Let Tuesday begin…

-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: Trending


There are just those moments when you’re given the opportunity to spread your wings…
And in those moments you’re also allowed to see adversity that lies beyond the obvious…

This week has been an absolute challenge. It’s started with  surprise press releases, wound up with a surprise appearance and presentation at the Kauffman Foundation, and added with that was a few very late night meetings in the office.

Nothing was meant to be easy I suppose.

However, it was today that the frustrations of the sports world finally came to a head in my personal life. Per usual, as many things in this wonderful reality, it stemmed directly from the women’s soccer world, and frankly…I’m tired of the Kansas City Shock being chronically underestimated and overlooked.

Why was I at the Kauffman Foundation today? Because the Kansas City Shock was being presented again. Nearly a year after the first presentation. It was an absolute honor. What I thoroughly enjoy about the opportunity is that the Kansas City Shock has the opportunity to reach into the business sector of Kansas City. This way the program isn’t seen as just ‘some soccer team’, it’s a living breathing that is making a conscious effort to let the city know that. It’s something that was built into the original blueprint; the program isn’t just a program that stems from soccer on the field, but technology in the digital world, and a business mindset in the office. We’re trying to redefine women’s soccer, no matter the size of our program.

Realistically, I would have thought that people in the soccer world of Kansas City would have cared. A press release went out on it [I know, I reviewed it] to all media outlets within the community. Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ had the information posted everywhere as quick as we could get it out. I thought on our end we did everything we were supposed to do to get the information to as many people as we could.

Darco was sick, so I was alone at the Kauffman Foundation. There was no press, no media, no one within the soccer community of Kansas City. It was just another reminder of where we stand in the hierarchy of what others dictate as important. During the same time some mad man was ranting about the National Women’s Soccer League on Twitter, two teams had announced…or were going to announce…venue changes. Realistically, what I’ve learned about the majority of women’s soccer is that news really isn’t reported. News is staged and drama is strummed up in order to receive more ‘hits’ on the digital side of the industry.

That’s the game that is played, and because of how the Kansas City Shock is structured, we don’t belong in that game.
Ever.

Which also means that we don’t belong in that spotlight. Frankly, it’s recognizing that the Kansas City Star wants nothing to do with our program, but the Kansas City Business Journal covers our developments.

We’re not the rich kids.
We’re not the well behaved kids.
We’re not from the suburbs.
We don’t suck up.
We do tell people where to stick it.
We’re unapologetic.
We form our own identity.

Needless to say, when a women’s soccer program is speaking on the development of business, social media, software integration, and the sorts; I would assume from listening over the years of all the belly aching that the poor, pitiful charity organization referred to as women’s soccer, would embrace the concept that someone, anyone is being recognized as a real business. Stupidly, I assumed that people within the industry would be proud to see a program that’s trying to pave the way to a point where this industry may finally be taken seriously by the rest of the people that aren’t associated with the game [that's called the majority].

Nothing.
Silence.

It sickened me to watch people drop over dead for rumors of trades that were already done behind close doors, and the rants of a sports agent. I thought we did something great…I thought we did something today that grew the game. I thought we followed through with what we were supposed to do to grow the expectations and excitement of women’s soccer.

But we didn’t have the right name.
But we’re not in the right league.
But we don’t have the right ownership.
But we’re not rich enough.
But we’re not manipulative.
But we aren’t liars.
But we’re not the poster child for this industries expectations…

I was saddened heading over to the office afterwards. Know that one many was right several months ago, “No one gives a s%#! about you.” What’s more unfortunate is that, that isn’t even the case outside of our industry, that’s the story within the industry.

With all that said, this post is specifically me complaining because the hard working people of the Kansas City Shock [not myself, please believe that] fight every day to do something incredible, but the world of women’s soccer…doesn’t care. I’ll never understand why; I only know that it’s only going to get more convoluted as time elapses.

Finally, to pour salt on the wound. I’ll leave tonight with this blunt, joyful/disheartening reality.

…yet we still aren’t justified in the eyes of the ‘soccer demigods’ of Kansas City.

Going to bed tired, worn out, disheartened, and frustrated. I know that’s not where God wants me to be, but it’s hard to have faith in your purpose when you understand that redemption will never come to you and yours. You’re in a fight on your own.

-D-

XO: Vengeance


Alright, time for you to get ‘the list’ out. Yes, the list that no Christian ever possesses; the list of severity of a sin based on what the sin is. You know what I’m talking about.

Tonight, for sake of honesty, I’m getting mine out. My hidden list that completely goes against the concept of what Christianity teaches. Why? Because I’m one very messed up human who has some serious grudge issues.

My number one sin; the top of the top is…

REVENGE

Why? Because I’m full of it. This burning, lustful desire to ensure that none of the people that have turned their backs on me gets to vanish without knowing exactly who I am, and that they were completely wrong on who I was. It also reaches out to those who have hurt me, damaged trust, used me, or just plain left me to rot.

It’s incredible the unique description of this list; it includes at least three ‘men of God’ [preachers], and all sorts of other individuals. Is this list wrong? YES! INSANELY YES! However, painfully, it’s a burden that I bare, and a curse that I live with.

The horrible reality is that they’re all right.

I didn’t rise above. I didn’t become someone great. I didn’t become the humanitarian, and I failed a ‘missionary’. I’m a ruined, tainted Christian due to a Baptist-style divorce, and I’ve now successfully watched two church bodies lose pastors for absolutely insane, selfish reasons. I feel like again, I’ve completely failed my wife, and that I can’t even stand to look at myself in the mirror…I’ve gained that much weight. I wake up in the morning and I find myself apologizing in the shower. Telling God I’m sorry for being a mistake, I’m sorry for damaging so many plans, and tarnishing His kingdom. I can’t even express in words how much, as of late, I honestly feel like a failure.

My outlet is reverting back to stupid mindsets of uncontrollable anger, frustration, and sorrow. A student today said that I sound like I’m a loner, and unfortunately I couldn’t agree more. Most importantly I feel terrible for Darco, I have this undying fear that I’ve caused so much regret for her. That I’m never happy and it destroys her; even though it has nothing to do with her.

The harsh reality is that I can’t make anyone happy, I can’t do anything right, and I’m a joke of a Christian.

Sounds pretty pitiful right?

That’s because it is.

I would be a liar if I told you life was perfect, easy, and full of happiness. It’s hard, it’s dark, and it’s full of disappointment. Much of this is brought upon myself, and I have no excuse. I accept these realities, and openly choose not to pin anyone else for them.

I don’t understand God’s plan, I have no idea what to do, and I’m in a 24/7 state of confusion. These are all truths. I’m not asking for a miracle, I’m not praying for a ‘bright light’. I’m merely asking for peace for me and mine, and constant persuasion to hold onto hope. It feels like I’m slipping, that anger that I’ve worked on monitoring for years is flaring back up, and I don’t want my plague to affect anyone else.

I know God is here, I understand that He loves and forgives, but I also understand when anyone makes the statement starting with:

But God could never use someone like me…

-D-

Mobile Minutes: Trial By Fire


It’s been a rough day…

Like a really, really rough day. One of those days that’s so rough that you cling onto your wife, and you pray that things will just get better…somehow.

The Kansas City Shock is a ball of stress that for the moment I’d rather just not talk about.

What I would like to speak on is student loans.

Anyone who has kept up with this site knows that I have a daily battle that goes on with my student loans. Between MOHELA Cashloans, Chase Student Loans, University Accounting Servicing Loans, and Perkins Loans…there’s about $65,000 worth of student loans that are directly tied with Southwest Baptist University.

When employed most of them aren’t too bad, the exception is MOHELA (348.68) and Chase (498.86); yes, those are per month totals. The unfortunate part is when you’re not employed suddenly those two, along with the others, becomes a daunting nightmare to figure out. I’ve worked on forbearance forms with MOHELA, I’ve spent hours talking to representatives from Chase, and have even spoken to individuals about the others listed above. Do you know what I’ve learned?

It’s not just students that don’t understand loans, it’s the loan companies that don’t understand loans. I’ve been given three different representatives at MOHELA to assist me in working with these loans, and I’ve been given three different answers with apologies tied to each one for incorrect assistance from past representatives. Yes, this is a true story.

I’ve spent this afternoon with Darco trying to figure out how we’re going to get out of the hole that these student loans have created. MC has already chipped in for a saving grace moment at least once today [and I'm sure there'll be a tongue lashing later...that I'm dreading]. You know the worst part is knowing that with continual interest it’s likely that I’ll be in my 50′s by the time these are paid off; if I’m fortunate [and I haven't defaulted on them].

So, I’m just going to call a spade a spade and list out some prayer requests:

  • Kansas City Shock: That’ll it’ll become a financially feasible project that’ll greatly affect the entire area.
  • Darco: That she’ll get her promotion in September, and start loving what she’ll be learning in the coffee world.
  • #TakeTheCity: That I’ll get the job that I just applied for within this city’s chamber of commerce
  • Teaching: That if that job application fails that there’ll be plenty of openings for substitute teaching within the multitude of districts that I’ve applied in.
  • #Project813: That it works.

Today I am down, I’m just wiped out, I feel like I’m failing Darco as a husband; even Kohl’s rejected my application [even Kohl's!], and I grow fearful of repeating problems that I’ve made in the past. I have this awful fear that people are talking about my downfall and shortcomings behind my back, and that they feel sorry for Darco for marrying a man with such a troubled, sad past.

Unfortunately not every post on this site is a happy one.

-D-

Mobile Minutes: All Nighter


I wish I could just wrap my arms around Darco, and not let her go.

Last night she was working on her final for her college course, and she had a very important presentation today at Starbucks. It was her assessment for promotion. Something that she’s been working tirelessly on; seriously.

I went to bed at midnight and slept horribly, but she never came in to say goodbye. I thought she just didn’t want to disturb me. Well, as it turns out, she slept on the couch in the living room last night. Although it isn’t popular with many, we’ve chosen not to live together until we were married. Yes, it’s a Christian thing, just like the fact we haven’t had sex prior to saying “I do”. Most nights she heads home between midnight and 1:00 AM and is back the next morning. There’s nothing easy about this stance, but it’s Biblical and something we hold very dear to us [though some days we hate it]. Continue reading

Where Do We Go From Here?


“X” was so last year…
“O” is past its prime…

*tap, tap, tap…*

It’s literally taken me days to figure out how to even begin this mantra of collective thought. The fact of life is that the Kansas City Shock has ended its first season; it ended at 6-3 with a trip to the playoffs in Dayton, Ohio. We did lose in the first round to the eventual Midwest Division champion out of the St. Louis area.

It’s incredible to know that this summer has been a complete blur and that the soccer season has come to an end. Now the echoing question that sits in my head, “Now what?”

The nasty reality is that these past two weeks have been absolutely devastating to my personal life. This summer I’ve recorded a grand total of dodging bankruptcy three separate times; not something I’m proud of, but something very real. Losing my job in June wasn’t ideal, though it still isn’t something I regret. The amount of personal financing that I placed into the Kansas City Shock has wiped me clean and then some. My firm belief is that it was needed to ensure that this business, more importantly, this ministry continued to run its course, and amazingly it isn’t even close to being over yet.

With that said though; this is where the challenges lay ahead. In a few short weeks Darco and I are getting married; we’ve already started merging our accounts together, including banking, credit cards, student loans, and the similar. We’re already tackling several different obstacles…all of which are mine. This is the baggage that people talk about I’m certain. It’s caused for some tension and sacrifice within our soon-to-be family and our business. There comes a point to where I cannot financially give, give, and give to ensure the stability of a program without doing damage to my own family. The reality is that one of the hard choices, but correct choices, is knowing that family is my priority. That means employment, wages, and ensuring that they [she] is taken are of.

So, that dramatic paragraph brings us to the simple question: Where Do We Go From Here?

Darco and I have taken some time to review our options, make notes, and see the direction that we’re going to aim for. As I’ve stated several times over, she’s looking at promotion in Starbucks starting next month. This likely will set up a move in September to the Kansas City area, and an elevation in her pay. Now, that brings up the question of where I’m going on the side of employment. The immediate direction is heading back into the classroom as a substitute teacher. With so many school districts in the area, my hope is that I can be occupied throughout the week. This also gives me the flexibility to ensure that I can maintain optimum standards on the Kansas City Shock, since it is indeed a year-round program. Now, that’s saying that these schools are available to get me in the classroom.

We’re giving it a go in August; at least eight districts are available as of this moment. If substitute teaching isn’t available though, and the funds aren’t there, then I’ll need to go towards other employment. This is financially smart and keeps family as the top priority, but most likely it’ll require the Kansas City Shock is placed on the back burner.

At that point, and this is where Darco and I were at tonight, we’re stuck at a unique spiritual…block. One of the things that I most thoroughly enjoy about Darco is the fact that she sees the Kansas City Shock as a move from God, that it is our responsibility to treat it as a ministry because…well…it is. How do you maintain a ministry that requires 24/7 care, but at the same time ensure that your family is taken care of? That’s the responsibility of the husband, it’s never about fun, I’ve read enough marriage books that never define the role of the husband as fun, but more so as a role of sacrifice. I can’t say I thoroughly agree, but I don’t necessarily know anything different. The Kansas City Shock isn’t putting food on the table, and it isn’t ensuring that bills are paid. It’s a great idea, I see God’s handiwork all around it, but the pressure from outside forces is unbearable. When I have to live a style of reckless faith; that’s enjoyable. It’s when the voices from the people around me, the books of theology, and the overall stature of the culture I live in begin to breathe down my neck that I’m uncomfortable. I don’t know what to do. I can 100% say that I’ve never worked as hard as I have for the past 18 months, and the only monetary result from the adventure is making sure my student loans do not default. That’s it. My family sees no value in it, I see no resources from it, and the only thing I clutch to dearly is knowing that it is positively affecting an individuals life.

It’s after midnight now, and I still don’t have answers. I don’ t know the next move, and I know that Darco is deep in prayer as well. Why love a passion so strong that your only option for survival is to step away? I fought for a year trying to convince people that this was a job, that this is my work, that this is my ministry, and now I return back with…a few spare coins, an empty coffee cup, and a broken heart.

This doesn’t even include the arguments within the league, this doesn’t include the errors I made within the Kansas City Shock program, and this doesn’t include the plan for a 2014 season. There’s not enough time tonight to even think about those topics.

Childishly, I just want to be able to wake up, go to work on this project, and just enjoy what I naturally am comfortable doing; building and developing, helping and assisting, demonstrating and growing not just a sport, but a reality that the average man can build something great that has God’s grace laced within it, and people of all backgrounds will have no choice but to see His glory, and not myself. That’s what I want, that’s what I dream.

Reality unfortunately tells me something completely different.

This is when adults lose their imagination.

-D-

O: Blessed In Poverty


Before I start the story of my morning experience I want to make one thing very, very clear:

LePeep is the most overpriced, overrated breakfast joint that I’ve ever had the misfortune of dining at.

I had a meeting this morning at 7:30 AM CST an hour south of where I currently live, at the noted LePeep restaurant above. This was a large meeting, it was a business meeting, there was potential money on the table with the Kansas City Shock and I wanted to be sure I had everything perfect. Last night I had rehearsed, scheduled, printed, and outlined several key points of the meeting today. I wasn’t sure the overall direction of the meeting, but when moments like this come across, you always want to be ready. Right? Right.

I arrived at LePeep seven minutes ahead of time. Here’s what I knew about the individual I was meeting with:

  • Young
  • Business Owner
  • Involved in the startup community
  • Soccer fan
  • Ginger

Several things were in my favor from the get-go. Not once did I believe that this was going to be a walk in the park, but it appeared as if several key items were lining up. After the agonizing, stomach dropping seven minutes had passed in comes a young man driving a Tesla…yes…a Tesla. Quietly he parked, reversed, realigned, and parked again. He stepped out of the car in the standard Johnson County polo and plaid golf shorts [too much?], asked if I was indeed who I was and walked into the restaurant.

Red Flag #1: No smile.

Upon being seated we were giving coffee in a ridiculous fancy looking environment [recall that my 'eat out breakfast' joints have consisted of IHOP, McDonald's, and on special occasions Shoney's]. I took a look at the menu, couldn’t figure out half the garbage on the menu and politely ordered bacon and eggs.

While this was going on he was across the table, looking down, thinking, and then comes about the first question:

So, what is the Kansas City Shock?

Red Flag #2: This meeting had been booked for several weeks. I did my research on his business; he obviously did none on mine.

Somewhat calmly I went into the monologue of our program, #project813, and partnerships that are being established. I noted that we were not in Johnson County primarily, but wanted to focus on other areas of Kansas City. That’s when the first real pain set in:

I’m not going anywhere that far to watch soccer, sorry but that’s too far for me.

Red Flag #3: Anyone that’s concerned on distance is already in question in my book.

I went on to inform him about how we’re financed, what we do in our field of work, and what we’re looking for. He, of course, started his conversation on his business [computer programming] and clients. He stopped and asked:

Do you know what a client is? I didn’t think so. I work in high tech, it’s a difficult field to understand for many.

Red Flag #4: Attempting to talk over me with the knowledge of binary habits, coding, and application development is going to do very little to impress me. Besides, I know what a client [and a host] is.

Within the first five minutes of this meeting I could see that he wasn’t interested in anything that I had to offer. Now, a quick background on him [vaguely], he started a startup tech company from the ground up. Struggled greatly to meet bills, payroll, etc…but eventually sold the company for $128 million at age 23. Turned around and started a new company, of which he complained that his old company won’t even give a glimpse at to work with. He begins to inform me of the $100,000 per month they loose in revenue while looking for clients and how our modest budget looks trivial to him. He asked about marketing and sponsorship, and I informed him of where we go in that direction with each company. It was through this conversation that he drops a bomb on me [pardon the quoted language]:

Sorry, but you’re a man on an island. No one is coming to help because no one gives a %#@^ about what you’re doing.

Red Flag #5: [See Quote Above]

At this point I’ve gnawed through my bacon, and got the eggs out of their greasy plate and onto my fork. This was becoming uncomfortable and I wanted out. What had become so evident, and was so sad, was that an individual with that much money simply didn’t have the time of day to even dream of what the future held. He was my age and had no imagination. I’m talking about monumental moves with #project813 with him, and he doesn’t care. It doesn’t fit his desires, it doesn’t work in his business model, it doesn’t transcribe to success in his world. Everything was about him. This isn’t me complaining, this is me stating that I bow to no one except God, and it wasn’t going to start this morning.

With the coffee gone and the plates cleaned, with a smirk he stated:

Well, since I can’t help you; I can at least grab your meal, right?

I didn’t hesitate.

While at the register he asked how we had been connected together, and I gave him the individual who knew us mutually. A person that couldn’t stop talking about this man standing next to me with words of gratitude and hope. He had worked for him in the past, but after the first company sold, he went a different direction. That’s when, from the business side, I heard the most painful thing of the morning:

Who’s that? I don’t recognize that name, mustn’t have been important.

Red Flag #6: If you do not take the time to learn the names and the people that you work with, or work for you, your ethics are in question.

By the time I had gotten back into the car I was shaking because I was so angry. Furious. I wasn’t mad at God, but I was so, so angry at what money can do to an individual. One of the most frustrating things in life has to be when stereotypes are proven true. Rich, youthful guy who attempts to trump the world with his knowledge on one topic and deems those in the shoes he was once in…dirty.

It took me about forty-five minutes to calm down while driving home. The downside of the meeting puts serious pressure on me within our organization, but the bigger picture was much more saddening. I drove back north, feeling very beaten, and stopped by to chat with Jim and MC about the results of today. The pain was seen in their eyes as well; two hard working, industrial oriented people who give everything to come home with so little, just witnessed what the power of wealth can do to an individual.

I know that I’ve complained several times about being broke, not sure about resources, and even trying to make payments day-by-day. Nothing along those lines has changed, but do you know what I saw today that was most fearful? Out of the greasy eggs, plaid shorts, and silent Tesla?

I saw the potential of what I could become if I was given that kind of wealth. I’ve told Darco before that one of the several reasons that I’ll probably never be financially successful is because God knows that I’ll abuse that gift. Power is a dangerous, dangerous object.

I don’t need LePeep to make my day start on a solid note; I’ll continue to enjoy my Taco John’s and random food trucks. I’ll consider the local sports bar’s wings at .49 after 9:00 PM CST with Darco as a great date. I’ll forever love my second story, three window apartment with a non-operational garbage disposal and broken dishwasher. My rusty truck of 278,000 miles will forever be my favorite, and I’m grateful that Darco’s dented, scratched Pontiac gets such great gas mileage.

I’ll go to bed frustrated, but grateful in the same. Because I know that God can do great things when I’m blessed with poverty.

As for the Kansas City Shock?

God’s got it, and that’s all I need to know.

-D-