#getyourpraiseon


In college I had an odd friend. She was a student athlete from Sweden who knew little to no English. I had zero friends and she was new to the campus, so we struck up an odd friendship that has lasted for a decade now.

She was a soccer player; a keeper specifically. Turns out she was good, really good.

She graduated around the time women’s soccer as a professional sport started to blossom in the United States. Where she was from they had a professional league with multiple tiers (Tier 1 being the highest). She played after college back home, but I wasn’t sure how serious she was about the game (college can burn you out rapidly).

Today, via Snapchat, she showed me a black keeper jersey. It said “Jitex” on it. From the years of covering the sport I knew what this meant…

Jitex is a soccer team…

Jitex is tier 1 in Sweden’s domestic league…

That jersey was Jo’s new jersey…

Jo signed with Jitex…

Jo is now a professional soccer player…

Jo made it…

I’m so happy that God blessed her with this insane opportunity. Even through dark times He never ceases to amaze!

-D-

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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-

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-

X: Reflecting on Past Dreams


I sat here for most of the night, and part of the New Year feeling like I needed to post something along this thought of the new year, and the passing of the old year. However, I wasn’t quite sure what to write.

Do we reflect on the past?

Dream of the future?

Speak of the present?

List out of the resolutions?

Perhaps just giving out a few thoughts. After all, last week just about ended me because of how busy I was, and it would probably at least get your up-to-date on the mindset and thoughts running through this crusty, cobweb filled head.

2011 Is Out: What will be seen as one of the most dramatic years of my life, personally, is now officially gone. 2011 will be remembered [and hopefully forgotten] with some of these moments:

  • Disaster all around. Not too often will I speak of natural disasters, because frankly, it is part of my daily life. However, in 2011 I witnessed a city so close to what was  home at the time, just get completely destroyed. In the following days I would be traveling west to bring goods and water to them. Heartbreaking doesn’t even do justice. We lost friends.
  • No Classroom: The beginning of 2011 was focused on the thought of getting a teaching job within the state [or area states]. After 93 applications, four interviews, I was offered a teaching position in a school that graduated 13 kids a year. After signing on the x [see what I did right there?], I reluctantly backed out of the contract. I don’t believe I’ll ever teach.
  • $5 Footlong: After seven years, I once again entered the sandwich making field. This time locating myself in a Subway inside of a mall. It was painful, frustrating, and paid pretty well given the location. It was a job, it was responsibility, and it helped with the bills, weight loss, and brought me to my current job.
  • Fat: Starting in January of 2011 it was decided that I was fat. A gym membership was obtained at the local YMCA, new running shoes were bought, and for many different reasons; I started running. A year later, I’m now 50 pounds lighter, sitting at a balmy 225 pounds. Lately, due to work and…life…I haven’t been running as much, but I have learned how to tell myself, “No, you do not need to go back for seconds.”
  • Relocating: I started in the southern portion of the state, dying to get back to the northwest area, get back to home. Amazingly, I’m typing this in a small town of 1300 people in the northwest. I’m safe.
  • Divorce: The original, soul reason for the creation of this site. My wife of one year called it quits, split, and left. My heart was shattered, world broken, and I had no idea what to do. Pieces picked up, God carrying me, we started life over. More of that journey can be found here.

High Expectations of 2012: With the upcoming year, a new outlook on life, and a bit of insanity running in the blood; the standards have been set stupidly high for 2012. I expect nothing but amazement, change, and earth changing moments in ’12.

  • Traveling: Besides my standard job, I aim to travel much more for leisure in this year. Hopeful trips to Washington, D.C; Baltimore; Sweden; and Guatemala all highlight the traveling list of 2012.
  • Relocation: MC and Jim have been blessings, allowing me to live with them while I put pieces back together. However, with the increase pay potential, and some bills coming to an end. Probably the biggest goal of 2012, in the beginning, is to relocate to my own apartment [something I’ve actually never had].
  • Speed: Along with weight loss, we’re now kicking off into my second phase of this master plan. This does include a speed time of the 1600 meter run, flexibility, and a little more weight loss.
  • Bills: It would be wonderful if I can officially get financially calmed down in 2012 and get loans taken care of, credit cards addressed, and just get caught up from such a turbulent 2011.
  • Dating: Yes, you’re reading that right. This of course if God says yes. For the most part, with a few scars being the exception, I think I’m ready. Time is on my side, I’m in no rush, and my standards are getting lowered this time. Therefore, she’s going to have to be mind blowing. I’ll leave this one to God.
  • God: If there is one area that took a serious, serious hit over the past years, it is my faith. However, as of late, God has saved me from so many problems in my life. I owe Him my life, literally. As 2012 grows in time, I want my soul to continue to grow.

2011 was a year or trials and temptations, broken hearts and shattered worlds. 2012 will be a time of redemption and revolution.

Let the games begin.

-D-

X: 2012 Road Trips [So Far…]


Mark your calenders.

I’m hitting the road [and air].

A good chunk of my life I’ve spent wondering, contemplating the idea of traveling outside of this world of corn [truthfully, I have a few times]. However, one thing or another kept coming up, preventing me from just…going. You know, like college, marriage, divorce, all those things tend to get in the way I suppose.

So, as the ’12 comes upon us; I’ve started to decide that this year will indeed be the year of the traveler [not like I didn’t get practice last week]. In honor of this attempted adventure, I’ve compiled a list [JUST. FOR. YOU!] of some of the hot spots of my life in 2012.

  • January: Maryland. One of the coolest kids I ever met in college [and one of the first] is getting married. I’m super stoked. Her and her boyfriend of the time [now fiance] drove all the way from Maryland to my wedding last year. Frankly, I have no excuse. So, at the end of the month I’ll be flying out. I’m getting ready to purchase the plane tickets, and I’m rather stoked about it.
  • March: Sweden. Yes, this would count as a MAJOR trip. However, after giving it some serious thought. I do believe it can be rationalized very easily. A little moment about work here; current the $2 National Customer Appreciation Promotion is kicking the snot out of me. Very stressful. I’ve also got two stores coming online this month [one this week]. January I’m heading back out to Kansas. February [drum roll please] is $5 Any Footlong [nation wide], and that creates a whole new world of pain. Meaning that by the end of March, I’m going to be up for my first real vacation. What’s a better place to go, then Sweden? Obviously the reason would be to hang with Jo for a few days. Amazingly, airline tickets are not nearly as expensive for that trip as I had imagined [not having to worry about room and board helps as well].
  • April: Washington D.C. This one may sound rather odd. As you’re aware, I’m a runner. It’s what I do, and love to do, and slowly am getting better and better at it. Well, amazingly, through my writing with soccer groups; I came across a Twitter follower that has this specialist gym in Washington and would like to take a look at my feet, to see if a few bad habits can be corrected. It’ll be a very short trip, but awesome none-the-less. Give it up for Impact Fitness DC!
  • July: Rochester, New York. Yes, the other side of the state from the cool city garbage. Out in Rochester is the Western New York Flash, a Women’s Professional Soccer team [WPS], and a friend of mine is playing for them this year! I would be a fool not to go hang with her and watch some mad ball skills. On top of that, there is a easily rationalization for this; it’ll be my birthday.

That’s all I’ve got so far, but that’s plenty to think about. Especially when you factor in the idea of moving into my own place, and if…if a mission trip opportunity comes up…yeah…we’ll see where that goes.

What is important is this; I’m branching out, stretching my wings, and I’m ready to go see something different then the past 24 years. That’s the kind of change I need.

-D-

P.S. Want to see what a fun year of weight loss looks like? Check it out here.

#getyourpraiseon


This household [and small town] has unknowingly been on pins and needles as of late.

Let’s talk about Jo:

A quick recap: best friend, college soccer player, graduated in ’10, super smart, from Sweden, still plays soccer

Why is this important?

Part of the deal-o with Jo is the fact that she has played an important, and eventful part of myself growing up in life [not to mention also being in the middle of my divorce…eh…]. A lot of that friendship stemmed over soccer, her playing it, me reporting on it, and both of us enjoying the game.

Well, as all of us are aware [because of my over-nauseating skills of giving out too much information]; soccer still plays a huge roll in my life [and hopefully a bigger one in the future].

What hasn’t been spoken up much is how it continues to mold Jo on a day-to-day basis. Some of you, who were paying close attention, caught a glimpse at a letter I sent to the United States Soccer Federation discussion the sanctions and development of a women’s professional soccer league in the United States. However, Jo kept playing soccer in Sweden when she moved back.

Then she got a phone call. A team just south of where she lives wanted her to tryout for their program. The catch: this is the big-league. Damallsvenskan is a big deal in Sweden, and is pulling more players from the United States to play there. Well, Jo was ‘called up’ to try out for a Damallsvenskan team [meaning she would get paid to play soccer, major league if you will…], so between 3:00am CST and 10:00pm Swedish Time, Jo and I have been watching and waiting to see what the next move is going to be with this mysterious team.

She had her first call, she practiced for a week.

They called her back.

She practiced for a week.

She sent me a text a few minutes ago stating that the coach asked her to come back to practice with them again on Tuesday of next week. Understand that Jo is a goalkeeper. That’s a specific position, and they tend not to get rotated with the rest of the players on the field; it’s hard to get in.

Now we’re sitting here, seven time zones apart, wondering what the next move is going to be.

This much in my own mind makes sense: when she gets offered the contract and signs to play, you better believe I’ll be there for her first game. Yes, I’d give up Sporting KC Season Ticket’s for that.

-D-