All posts by Travis Blythe

Dear Arizona – Month Eight (Family)

Dear Arizona,

Well dear, you are now eight months old. I can’t believe how much has changed since last month. This was such an exciting time for your mother and me, as we were able to celebrate your first Christmas with you. Although you will never remember it, it was truly one of the best Christmases I have ever had. (Don’t worry, dear ole dad took plenty of pictures to remember this!)

Before I start right in with telling you about how important I believe family is, I wanted to let you know about some of the things you accomplished this month. You had been eating solid foods, but your mother really stepped it up and you ate yogurt, bananas, chocolate pie (I know right?) and you started drinking water. Then you started talking more than just loud sounds and we will argue forever about if they were real words or not, but you are saying DaDa! I also get the occasional Daaaaaaad, sometimes you blurt out baba and nana but they are not really words, just sounds mostly. Still, it melts my heart when you say dada! Last but not least by any means, you started to crawl! It was so amazing to watch you crawl and I was there with you, of course capturing it all on video! Now that you are right at the 8-month mark, you are all over the place!

I titled this month “Family” for a reason. You see darling, I grew up in what I think was a very loving household. Now my dad was not always a big hugger type, but mom (grandma) was. This has rubbed off on me and I hug you and your brother a lot. I want our family to always be close. I want to celebrate holidays, birthdays, and special events. Yes they will be big deals! Along with that, we will be doing family activities as long as I am breathing. This will include adventures, sport activities, and doing things as a family. I believe this is important because because we get to bond, be close and enjoy each other. I want to avoid you or your brother sitting in your room on a computer or video game just ignoring the world. So when you grow up, when you get a family of your own, I hope you will understand and do the same with your family. I still have fond memories of all of the cool things we did and places we went. I want you to have those same memories.

With that said, this was your first Christmas in what I hope to be many in your lifetime. We did so much this year, not just because you entered our lives, but because we wanted to create memories for your brother with you and because it was just fun, cool stuff! Christmas is the ultimate time for family. So always remember that no matter what, we should always spend the holidays together no matter where we are living or how mad at each other we are. We are all we have, you, your brother, your mother, and me.

Your grandma (my mom) and I have had a Christmas tradition we created when she finally moved to Texas and I try to keep it every year. She loves looking at Christmas lights, so every year, we go drive around on Christmas Eve and look at lights and then go and eat. This year we had you and although you slept through the most of it, it was fun. We all crammed into the truck and went driving around Arlington. Then we went to downtown Fort Worth and saw the giant Christmas tree in Sundance Square. This year was special because we had both of your grandmothers with us.

We actually did a couple of new adventures, which may or may not become some of our family traditions, but they were fun. The first adventure was actually to head out to The Ballpark in Arlington, (yes the baseball stadium where the Texas Rangers play) and we saw more christmas lights. Your brother and I also went ice skating! It was a lot of fun and they also had man made snow we tried to take cool pictures in.

The next adventure we took was going on the Polar Express. Yes it is modeled after the movie (which we watched right before hand) and it was a ton of fun. You actually drank chocolate milk that Mrs. Clause brought us and you received your first ever Christmas Bell. By the way, the milk was special snow chocolate milk from the north pole made by Santa and his elves. After the train ride, we watched a show put on by Santa, Mrs. Clause, and his elves. I held you all night and you never stopped smiling!

The last adventure we took was to head out to Durango, CO and go skiing at Purgatory Ski Resort. We took a road trip from Dallas to Roswell, NM to pick up your brother and then we went to Durango the following day. Being 8-months old, it was quite a long trip for you in the car seat, but you as always, were just the best baby. Although you didn’t get to actually ski yet, we all did and we had so much fun. We made some memories we will never forget. These are the type of things I am trying to tell you to cherish and keep close to you for the rest of your life. We all laughed at each other, had fun and created memories I won’t forget.

Coming home you slept a lot and were such an angel, even though we stopped and did some funny things. We are a wacky family full of fun and spontaneous happenings. We stopped and took selfies in front of state road signs and we now have Colorado, New Mexico, and Texas added to the list. We also stopped in Amarillo, TX and saw Cadillac Ranch. It was not as cool as I remember, but we did get in more selfies and your brother managed to get his brand new white shoes full of mud.

You definitely had a busy month eight. More than anything I want you to know how much you are loved by everyone in our family. You have a brother who adores you and loves spending time with you, three grandparents who can’t get enough of you, a mother who loves you more than life itself, and me. Arizona, you are my baby girl, there is nothing on the planet that I would not give to you and nowhere I would not go to make sure you safe. I want you to know that I love our family and I hope you do to as you get older. I hope you grow up to love the weird, quirkiness of our family and the adventures we take. Family is the most important thing to me, please stay close with your brother. I know there is a good age gap, but as you both get older, stay in each other lives. Don’t wake up one day and have it been 25 years and you have not seen your brother in several years or just once a year. Be a part of each others lives. Talk on the phone, video call each other, spend time with nieces and nephews, and spend Christmas or at least Christmas Eve together. Create your own traditions and make them your own, pass them down to your children.

Love Dad.

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Dear Arizona – Month Four (Laughter)

Dear Arizona,

Well girl you have made it this far, happy four month birthday. You have changed so much in the last four months, I can hardly believe my eyes. You are turning from a beautiful little baby to such a beautiful little girl. Everyday I’m amazed as I just stare at you. Your smile is so infectious and even when you are fussy, just a look at you and your smile and it’s hard not to fall even more in love with you.

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Month four is when you started laughing. When I say laughing, I mean a full fledged belly laugh. Your mom was holding and playing with you and you straight up laughed. It brought her to tears and the onion ninjas were attacking me. We captured some video and you are priceless. Here you are laughing your incredible laugh.

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A good laugh is sunshine in the house. — William Thackeray

Arizona, as you move forward in life, one thing I want you to know is that it’s okay to laugh. I want you to laugh, never stop laughing, and never let anyone take your laughter away. I firmly believe that smiling and laughing everyday improves your quality of life. You will come to see this as you get older, our family is full of life, love, and laughter. My goal is to make your brother and mother laugh everyday. You will soon find out your dear old dad is a silly, funny, goofy guy who plays jokes and tries to make you laugh a lot.

This is how I show love. Making those I love smile and laugh is a priority of mine. Life is entirely too short to be grumpy, miserable, or mean. I find joy in making others laugh and smile. I find joy in making you smile. I like to think your mother fell in love with me for my humor, because I’m so dorky I made her laugh…a lot.

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Laugh my friend, for laughter ignites a fire within the pit of your belly and awakens your being. —Stella & Blak

I want you to know that it’s okay to make others happy, it’s okay to be goofy, it’s okay to laugh. In fact I want you to not be afraid to talk to others. Say hi to strangers and smile at them as you pass them on the street, hold open doors for people and smile and say “hello” or “have a nice day” but also don’t get discouraged when they don’t say thank you or smile back. Just know you tried to make someone’s day just a little bit brighter.

There is an old saying I grew up with, it went something like this…”smile, it makes people wonder what you’re up to”. Live like that please. I want you to always sing, dance, and laugh and not be afraid to do any of them. I’ve never met anyone who doesn’t smile while they dance or sing. So dance like nobody’s watching, your brother and I do! (When you are older, ask your brother about dancing in downtown Dallas for a bachelorette party on a bicycle bar)

I leave you with this Z, laughter cures just about everything and I want you to live your life with this in mind:

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Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Continue to learn. Play with abandon. Choose with no regret. Laugh! Do what you love. Love as if this is all there is. — Mary Anne Radmacher-Hershey

Love Dad

Dear Arizona – Month Three (Explore & Adventure)

Dear Arizona,

I can’t believe it has been three months already. I have to tell you that you are the best baby on the planet! I am not just saying that because you are my child, but you have been so easy. You sleep, you smile, and you are rarely upset about anything. You are growing like a weed!

Some of the things your absolutely enjoy doing are taking a bath and telling your stories. I know you are not talking yet, but you sure are trying. It is amazing watching you grow everyday.

I labeled this month Explore and Adventure because I want you to continue seeing the world, long after we stop doing it with you. One of the biggest bonding times on my side of the family was when we traveled. When I was younger it was in a car but a when I turned 16, I traveled the country on my motorcycle. To date I have probably traveled over 30,000 miles on motorcycles. That thrill of adventure has never left me. I have spent most of my life traveling and seeing things. My favorite are the wacky roadside attractions.

Why am I telling you this? Well I want you to travel and seek our adventures of your own. When I met your mother, I learned she loved to travel just as much as I do and together we have the most fun I have ever had exploring and finding new things. You are just a mere 3-months old and you have been to two different states already.

It was a busy month for sure. We traveled to Roswell, NM to visit your grandma (no she is not an alien) (yes that is another story when you are older). We then traveled to the Carlsbad Caverns and yes you went down in the caverns (I carried you!), we went to the Smokey the Bear Museum and learned the story behind him and forest fires. We hiked mountains in Albuquerque, NM and saw a rattlesnake. We went to the Billy the Kid Museum in the Lincoln State Park and saw lava at the Valley of Fires National Park. You also experienced Penny’s Diner!

Lincoln State Monument
Carlsbad Caverns
Valley of Fires National Park
Carlsbad Caverns National Park
Penny’s Diner

I hope you wanderlust like the sign in our living room says, I hope you love to see new things and obtain knowledge and the history behind everything. I hope you never stop exploring, never stop going on adventures, and never stop traveling.

Love Dad

Dear Arizona – Month Two (Hugs & Kisses)

Dear Arizona,

Two months and I can not begin to tell you how much you have changed my life. I will probably say this everytime I write a post about you this year, but everytime it will be true. I am still in awe of this little human I created with your mom and how you grow every day. I can’t stop hugging and kissing on you and when I am hugging you, I feel like I need to use my bear hug as a shield to protect you from everything.

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Wow…two months old and you are growing like crazy. It is hard to look back and imagine you being born at a mear 5lbs. It is the beginning of July and you already take after your mother and me. You love to be outside in the warm air and in the pool. You also love to be naked, which is probably par for the course because if it wasn’t for you kiddos, I would be too. Your mother and I love the sun also, we worship the sun in the summers and love the outdoors.

It’s been a busy month two for you, you ran with your mom in three (3) 5k races, finishing in 3rd place in one (age group), your grandparents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, and you were at your first Star Wars laser light show and orchestra. You even slept through the fireworks!

I titled this months words of wisdom “Hugs and Kisses” because I want you to know one thing; always believe it is okay to hug and kiss others, especially family and friends. I grew up in a fairly affectionate family. We hug a lot, I still kiss my mom when I say goodbye and I always tell my parents and your mom, your brother, and you, that I love you. I want you to know that it is okay to have your heart on your sleeve. Hug your friends and more than anything hug your family.

When I grew up in Michigan, friends didn’t hug each other all that much. It wasn’t until I moved to Texas where it was socially acceptable to hug your friends. Especially for men to hug, it makes some people uneasy, but I don’t care and if you are my friend, I will hug you. I want you to have a family of your own one day and I hop you hug and kiss your children. I hope you always know you were loved and that we show you as well as tell you. I hope you never outgrow hugging your dear old dad or never get too “cool” to do so. I remember in high school after my wrestling matches, I would always go up in the stands and hug my mom. When I got my first dirt bike, I ran and jump into a bear hug with my dad. I hope you do these things things as well.

We have a family of love, we hug, we kiss, we cuddle during movies, and we always let the others know how we feel, especially when leaving for the day for school or work. Just know it is okay and never be ashamed or embarrassed to tell us in front of others. I hope you always feel safe when hugging me or your mom and I hope as you become a mother yourself, you never stop hugging your own children.

Funny story I have to share, on the day you were born, I could not wait to hold you. In fact I knew all about the skin contact and how important it was to bond with your baby. When they asked me if I was ready, I was in the chair, with my shirt off (yes skin to skin is very important) ready to go!!

I love you Arizona,

Love Dad.

Dear Arizona – Month One (Singing)

Dear Arizona,

There is so much I want to tell you. So many things I can’t wait to do with you. I know I’m rushing things just a bit, but I can’t wait until you start talking and eventually singing. By the time you are old enough to read this, you will no doubtedly wonder why I feel this way. Well I can tell you this, singing in our family is essential to our everyday life.

As you grow older, you will soon discover how singing makes our family a happy family. Your dad loves to sing, in fact you can tell what kind of mood I am in just by the singing alone. I have been known to walk around the house just singing songs. I sing in the shower, in the car, and when I married your mother, my bachelor party was at a karaoke bar! (That’s where adults go to sing)

Your brother LOVES to sing. He sings every song that comes on the car and when we play music in the mornings, you will find him singing as well. One thing I hope you take from your brother is the love of all music and all types of singing.

Your mother has the most angelic voice I have ever heard. She sings you to sleep and just hearing her sing warms my head. Your mom loves to sing as well, she loves to karaoke and even though she thinks she sounds horrible, I love it. One reason I love her so much. When we drive in the car she harmonizes with me and we laugh a lot.

As I told you before, your dear ole dad is a songbird. For me it started when I was young, I’ve always loved to sing. In high school I was in choir and I had the lead role in the musical “Grease”. I think I sound good and I’ve been singing karaoke since my college years!

One of my favorite things to do is sing to you. You may not remember it right now, but I sing you to sleep most nights, I make up songs and sing classics. One of my favorite songs to sing to you is “Sweet Child O Mine” by Guns N Roses. While I do love the original version, I sing to you a slower version, much like this video. The lyrics just fit perfectly with our family. In fact when I first started singing to you, I would cry just looking at you out of sheer happiness and being overwhelmed that you actually came into our lives.

Here is a version I really like:

Here is another version I also dig!

I know this is a long letter, but most of all I want to tell you, if you love to sing, then sing. It doesn’t matter if you sound good or not, express your joy in the world through song. Some people will say they whistle while they work, well I do both, but singing out loud while doing anything is fun and makes me feel good. Don’t listen to anyone who tries to take that fire or passion away from you. And if you don’t like to sing, well that’s okay too.

Happy one month old birthday sweetheart, I love you.

Love Dad.

Dear Arizona – Hello; from Dad

Dear Arizona,

As the time grows closer for you to enter this world, I often think whether or not I will be a good father. I hope I am the man you need and I can live up to the idea I have in my mind of what a father should be. I hold myself up to a high standard and I hope that I live up to the expectations I have set for myself. While I know there is a sediment that most new dads want to live up to the standard their fathers set before them, in this new day and age, I want to exceed that standard and I know I will simply because we are totally different people. Our family hugs, we kiss, we cuddle, and we tell each other often how much we love each other. You are coming into my life and you have no idea how you are about to change my entire world.

I bet you are wondering what this letter is about or even why I am writing it. I have decided to write you something for your entire life. It may be just a note here or there or it might be a full blow letter. Maybe a life lesson or two or the background and history of our family.

So here is my first entry and I just wanted to say hello. Hello my beautiful daughter, this is dad. I am going to be your biggest fan, supporter, and champion you will ever have. You will never wonder if or how much I love you. You are my miracle, my greatest creation and the best thing I have ever done. I will protect you and I will never hurt you. I hope one day you will tell your children how awesome I was/am and as the saying goes, you will definitely be daddy’s girl.

I can’t wait to meet you, to kiss you, hug you, and sing to you every day. Hello Arizona, this is dad, I love you.

Dad

Why 2016 is shaping up to be the best year yet!

When one door closes…

Has anyone ever said to you, “everything happens for a reason”? Sometimes you want to immediately throat punch those people, well because at times that is the worst thing to hear, ever! I feel like my life has been “Reason” after another.  Sometimes the reason becomes crystal clear, granted it may not show itself for an unknown time, but when it does, you thank your lucky stars for that fork in the road.

Well it’s March 2016 and already this year been a twisting, winding road. I went from making a grand gesture to get something I thought was what I wanted, to realizing that everything I have ever wanted was right here in front of my nose the whole time.  Once I realized that everything I have ever truly wanted was in front of my face, I grabbed it with my hands and put it in a vice grip.

From Hot Chocolate runs, Valentines Day undie runs, to traveling to Arizona to run a Spartan Race, the adventures alone so far could fill a jar of lifetime worth of memories. Everyday I fall more and more for this woman and strangely enough, she feels the same way. Our wanderlusting has begun and the next chapter is just starting!

So, as I am preparing to embark on our next great adventure, Spring break in another country (okay so Puerto Rico is technically a US territory) I don’t think I have ever been this excited. I get to travel with someone who has totally captivated my heart and my spirit.

Why is this going to be the best year ever? Well, I have finally found someone who actually wants to be with me, shares just about every interest with me and actually wants to run with me, race with me, and adventure with me!

Stay tuned for our crazy adventures!

Blydawg Travels – Arizona Adventure

Out with the old, in with the new…

Every year we make these new year resolutions, sometimes we set goals that are totally unattainable, unrealistic, or that are just plain mainstream ideas. In 2015, I said I wanted to “Love Harder” and I feel like to an extent I did, I gave my heart away a couple of times and let myself get the feels.  Well that year ended with a dud, but fortune favors the bold, and fortune favored me when I was asked to get out of town and go on an adventure to Arizona. The main purpose of this adventure was to go on a Spartan Race, but we ended up creating an epic adventure, creating memories to last  lifetime.

symbolsSo our adventure begins with a flight into Phoenix, AZ.  Once we landed, we were starving so we called my old college buddy and good friend Kevin and we had breakfast at The Original Breakfast House.  OMG! All I can say is that this is a must stop! I had this French Toast/Chicken Fried Chicken dish and WOW!! Not to mention the cinnamon danish it was pretty awesome too!

After stuffing our faces, it was time to explore, we had a rental car and we did get to town rather early in the day, so we thought…what the heck, let’s go see London Bridge in Lake Havasu, AZ.  So off we went.

circle-lightbulbBut First! We had this bright idea…since we are so close to  the border of California and Arizona, why not go see Blythe, CA? Why not indeed!

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With a full tank of gas, cooler in hand, we headed that way. As you can see we found it, and we were also able to start our state sign collection together! It is with a huge sigh and disappointment I must admit that the metropolis of Blythe, CA is pretty disappointing.  If you blink you might miss the entire town.  I stopped at the PD station and they were closed. I couldn’t even show them my drivers license and try an get a PD patch. Oh well, maybe next time.

After our brief stop in Blythe, CA and our state sign pics, we took off for the London Bridge!

London Bridges falling down…

For years I have thought this would be a cool place to visit. Never really having the time or having been in that area, I was not sure this was ever going to happen.  However, with my new co-pilot in tow, we said “Let’s do it!” and off we went!

What a cool place! The bridge is a cool piece of history and it is unbelievable that someone took it apart half way across the world and reassembled here in the USA.  This bridge has been a part of Lake Havasu since October 10, 1971.

Lake Havasu was fun, we arrived to the bridge just in time to watch the sunset and get some awesome pictures. From there we were going to hit up the LH Harley Davidson store, but they closed before we got there…bummer, I guess I will have to get my poker chip another time.

After the sunset we ended up getting our carbs on over at Angelina’s Italian Restaurant.  Not a bad place to grab some grub. We had just spaghetti and meatballs but it sure hit the spot! After our meal we hot the trail back to Phoenix for the race the next day.

We are SPARTA!

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Sedona!

After Running the Spartan Race, we had a whole day to kill since our flight was not until late Sunday night. So why not head up to Sedona, AZ and hike! So we took off and headed up to Cathedral Rock. Hiked to the top and watched the sunset!

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We were told about this awesome burger place called the Haunted Hamburger in Jerome, AZ. So we headed up into the mountains in search of this place.

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So the rumor is that the restaurant is haunted from before it was a restaurant. Apparently the ghosts like “hammers” and some patron photos have captured a female ghost lurking in the background.  Did we see a ghost? No we did not, but I did have a great big bacon burger. The location was awesome and this is definitely worthy of a burger review!

Another adventure in the books, the first one with my new co-pilot Mother & Poet and I have to say this was one of the best times I have had. We were silly, goofy, and saw some really cool sights. By far one of the best race weekends I have ever had!

Letter to my next Girlfriend

Dear Next Girlfriend,

Prelude:

It took me awhile to start writing this, but this post has been on my mind since I had my “Say Anything” moment back in January. I crashed and burned hard. In typical fashion after that happens I start analyzing everything and I do mean everything. From every conversation we have had and arguments to the fun times. I start evaluating what I did wrong and what could I have done better. This process is crazy because I am like a computer processor and I think about what was said in the way of why I am no longer needed or why this person just decided one day that they no longer wanted me in their life. So without further ado…

Dear Next Girlfriend,

I have a confession to make right off the bat, I wear my heart on my sleeve.  I know, this may seem crazy but it is true. If you capture my attention and my heart I won’t be afraid to tell you. More than likely though, it will not be some random moment, it will be some epic grand gesture when I tell you about my love. More than likely I will be head over heels for you and you will never know it. I tend to jump in with both feet and reckless abandon.

So that brings me to my first point.  I am a hopeless romantic in every sense of the word. Even though I detest that hallmark holiday they call valentines day, I typically love to go overboard just because I want to spoil my person. I will constantly be looking at you with a smirk on my face, I will tell you how beautiful I think you are, how amazing you are and how glad I am to have you around. This isn’t just a bunch of flub, but I am honest to God sincere.  I am also a very affectionate person, so I will kiss your neck, grab your butt as I walk by and hug a lot. I won’t apologize for this. So if all of that is too much then I am more than likely not your person.

When I get into a relationship I want to know everything about you. Some of the best relationships I have had the other person was the same way. I want to know all the things, from your favorite flower to your favorite book or poem. The more I know, the more I know how to spoil you, how to make you smile and show you how I feel without words. So when I inquire about your shoe size don’t freak out! In return I hope you want to know all about me, my past, my present and my future. Just know I am very guarded about some things in my life and I am not a perfect person. I have secrets, if you ever know about them, then you are one of a handful of people that actually do. Not everyone gets the privilege of knowing the deep dark parts of me. So if you get there, just know you have reached a place which few have and thus what I am trying to stress here is how important to me you must be.

When I let you in, embrace it, understand how special you are and know you have obviously broken down the walls, I have all the feels and you are important to me. With that being said, just know you will become my best friend, I will tell you everything, I will not be able to wait to talk to you to tell you about my day good or bad.  You will know about my business, my problems and I may ask for your advice on solutions. When I get down, depressed or just not feeling it and like a failure, I will hope you actually help me get out of my funk and not use it against me or as an excuse to break up with me. You may not know every detail in my head of why I chose to do certain things in certain ways, but know this, just about everything I do is very calculated and done with purpose. Hell I make lists for my lists, so if you think I am ignoring a problem or not facing it, just ask me.

One thing you need to know if you are going to be my girlfriend is that you need to have thick skin around me. I grew up being teased by my own family about just about everything. I am unfortunately the same way. I joke and have sarcasm like you would not believe. But please know this, if I am teasing you or picking on you…I FREAKING LIKE YOU! Don’t get all mad or pout, dish it back out to me! And for the love of God, don’t hold a grudge for something I said, if I genuinely hurt your feelings, then tell me, I am not an A-hole, I will apologize, because if you are worth it then a great relationship is much more important than who is right or wrong and pride.

Yes I am a sexual creature, I love sex, intimacy and kissing. I also send out a lot of sexual innuendos…pretty much anytime I can. So be prepared, if that turns you off, then I may not be the guy for you.

Speaking of joking and having a good time, you need to know that I am rarely serious. I joke around and live with a very carefree attitude. You might not find that attractive, but I love to travel, experience new things,

I am not into just hooking up, I want substance, I usually only date if I can see some kind of a future.  Granted there are probably exceptions to this rule, but for the most part, I am looking for long term and someone I can see a future with.

I also have a list of criteria that you must pass:

  1. you must love motorcycles
  2. you must love to travel on motorcycles
  3. not get mad when I want to run or workout
  4. know that I love running races, particularly OCR races
  5. must love to adventure
    1. hiking
    2. scuba diving
    3. downhill skiing
    4. dirt bikes or 4-wheeling
    5. rock climbing
    6. generally being active
  6. must want to have a family
    1. yes I want to be a dad, I understand most people I meet usually have children already, I still want my own, just know this.
    2. by saying all of that, I am not saying I need a biological child, I would love to adopt as well.

So by now you are probably thinking I am an odd duck or some anomaly, I can’t possibly be real right? Well I am a God Damn UNICORN! Yes I said it and let me explain further. Besides all of the above mentioned things, I also can do the following:

I clean, I can do laundry to include folding, I can iron clothes, I’m basically handy and above all…I love to cook! Boom I just blew your mind! I know you are asking, why is this even important? Well let me tell you why, because this will explain my need to fix things around the house, make the quality of living better, fold and do your laundry, wash dishes by hand and clean your place.  I’m a helper, I know you can do it, but sometimes if life gets hard, complicated and you fall behind, I am more than happy to help out. That is my nature, it is what I do. If this annoys or aggravates you, then I am sorry in advance.  I have a habit of finding or looking for things that need to be fixed and fixing them or finding ways to make your life just a little bit easier. So just let me or at least let me know if you don’t like my ideas and why, because I am ALWAYS right and I need a good convincing every once and a while.

So I am going to leave you with this little nugget. I am not from Texas originally, I lived in Michigan for 22-years but I have now lived in Texas for almost 23-years. I pretty much consider myself a Texan and more than that, I love living here. I love everything about this state, I am proud to live here and frankly, I don’t ever want to leave.  I got my parents to retire here and life is good.  With that being said, you need to know one thing, if you ever hear me say that I would actually move away from this state, just know that is a pretty serious statement. I mean, like for realz, don’t just take that lightly. You must be a pretty special person for me to say those words, many have tried and failed.

So do you have what it takes to be my next girlfriend? Well you know all about me and my odd quirks, so come on and say hello!

Things I Think – Thursday – Everything Happens for a Reason

My Pleasure My New Friend

At the end of January I made a trip out to Phoenix, AZ. While I would love to tell you that my sole intention was to run the Battlefrog AZ race and test my injuries. Frankly, that would be a lie. I went out there to have a “Say Anything” moment and tell someone my true feelings that I would regret if I never did. Well I said what I had to say and to no avail, I left AZ a changed man in more ways than one.

When I arrived to the Battlefrog, I had a heavy heart and I felt like I had been kicked in the head all night. Besides going through my personal issues, I was sick and instead of getting better after I arrived, I was progressively getting worse. Having a horrible case of bronchitis, nursing an injury and basically feeling like a worthless piece of crap, I toed the line and set off on my AZ adventure.

Do you know that phrase “everything happens for a reason?” Sometimes I wonder what that reason usually is. On this day I actually found a couple of reasons for why things turned out the way they did. So while this trip seemed to be a burnout in the desert, it actually turned into a life altering experience that brought joy to my heart and made me realize why I started doing these races to begin with.

Just exactly at the 1-mile mark of this race, I ran into a fellow runner as we both were coming off an obstacle and our watches both beeped the first mile was over. We struck up a conversation and he asked me if I minded if he ran with me. I usually run alone or I am racing others and we never speak during a race, but today was not about racing, truth be told, I was just there to play on the obstacles and get out of the house and try and have fun.

So this is where my life will be forever changed. I don’t consider myself to be this great “Elite” type of runner, in fact, I am just happy most days to hold my own in the “Masters” division.  While talking with my new running buddy Jamie, he told me this was his first race ever. I mean seriously, this was his first race ever, not first Battlefrog or OCR, this was his first race of any kind by way of running…EVER! I remember telling him he picked one hell of a race to start running. He told me he had initially signed up with a group of guys who wanted to prove to themselves that they could complete this race.  Unfortunately for him, everyone bailed on him. He was faced with not going or going and running alone.  So of course he did what anyone would do, he set off by himself.

During the next 5-miles together I learned a lot about my new friend. He is a Youth Pastor for starters, which is why this adventure we had made a huge impact on my life. You see, when we started running, walking and talking, I told him I wasn’t going fast but if he wanted to hang with me, I would show him all the tricks to beat the obstacles. So that is exactly what we did. I showed him feet techniques for the rope climbs, monkey bar techniques, Tip of the spear and more.  This was honestly the best part of the race for me. I am a coach at heart and having someone who wants to learn and try without question was a great experience. We didn’t exactly get everything as planned, but it was a blast trying!

During our Walkabout as I like to call it, we spoke about a lot of things, mostly me and my personal relationships and what was bothering me. He posed one question to me and try as I might to answer that question, in the end he simply said he still had not heard the answer. That made me think even harder about everything.  For miles we talked about life, we played like kids on obstacles and we finished the race. While I also listened to his story of bad luck and relationship woes, he left me by saying he was praying that I would clearly know which direction to go.

In the end, while he thinks I was a blessing from God, he told me God sent me to guide him and help him on this day. He told me I was a great coach and motivator and he didn’t understand why God wanted him to run alone, but now he does. I don’t see it that way, I see it as he saved me.  He showed me why I got in this sport to begin with. Why I love this sport of OCR so much, the people you meet, having fun on the obstacles and helping others. For me this was not an OCR but an adventure. I fell in love with everything all over again, just like I did with my first race in 2010.

Thank you my friend, when I was feeling doom and gloom, you actually made me see some light and helped me understand the path I was on. When I returned home, I returned to a friend who was waiting with open arms to start my healing process. Someone who despite my flaws and this odyssey I went on, understood and was there to comfort me.

I am now on a new path, a path with no ending in sight. I am not sure if God is leading the way as Jamie would say, but I’m pretty happy none the less.

Footnote: I heard from Jamie a few weeks later and his text was simple:

“I am going to talk about you in chapel today and tell them how you were a blessing to me on the obstacle course. Hope things are going well”

Thank you my friend, you showed me what I was not seeing because my judgement was cloudy and in the end I found happiness where I wasn’t really looking!