Where I Was!

I don’t spend much time thinking about upcoming anniversaries. I don’t plan how I will spend my time reminiscing. I am caught off guard with most anniversaries. I find myself not thinking about things until I see my Facebook feed blow up with friends telling where they were when, or what impact it had on them. This has been especially true this year. It seems that I have been too busy to think about upcoming events, or to take time to look at my calendar long enough to realize something is coming. So I want to take a moment to reminisce about two of the most life-changing event of my life.

9-11 Twin Towers

I remember exactly where I was when news came of a plane hitting one of the twin towers. I was working on finishing a particularly irritating siding job where I had to run 8-1/2 foot pieces of beaded porch panel on the fronth entry way on a house we had already been paid to do. My business partner Dustin called me to tell me he thought the U.S. was under attack. He was a bit of a conspiracy nut, so I honestly didn’t put much stock in what he said until one of the other guys working on the house came out completely freaked out and told me that both towers had been hit. It was definitely not an accident. I quickly jumped in my truck and drove to the house Dustin was working on and we sat inside the house completely mesmerized by what we were seeing. We watched as the Twin Towers burned and a third plane crashed into the Pentagon. A fourth had crashed in Pensylvania, apparently on it’s way to Washington D.C., which we would learn later was brought down by it’s heroic passengers. We watched as people jumped from insane heights rather than burn alive. We watched the towers buckle under the pressure and the smoke cloud fill the air. We watched panick strike our nation. We watched and watched and watched as our nation was being forever changed.

A couple days after 9-11 we were standing outside of our church’s coffee shop looking up into a clear night sky realizing there was not a single plane flying overhead. We were talking about how none of us had ever known a time when there were no planes flying overhead. That’s when it hit me, I needed to go to NYC and help. I didn’t know how and I didn’t know where to start, all I knew was that I needed to go. I quickly talked to a friend and within ten minutes we had a plan. The next day I was getting ready to leave when I got a call from my friend and he told me he wasn’t going to be able to go. He said he couldn’t get the time off work. It took the wind out of my sail and I gave up on the idea, knowing in my heart I was suppose to go. Fast forward about four years later to another moment that was life-changing.

Hurricane Katrina

I was home for the summer after finishing my first year at Bible School. I was actually on my way back from Michigan to Oklahoma. I had made a stop at my parents for a few days when I started to see the images flash across the TV screen. Images of people desperate for help. People lost, hurt, and dying. People who were in the most serious situation of their lives and were powerless to do anything about it. After spending a day praying about it I found myself once again with an overwhelming desire to go help. Much the same as the 9-11 feeling, I knew I was suppose to go. The more I thought about it the more determined I was. I had been hearing that nobody can get in and that there was no way I could help. I had people close to me tell me to wait. I knew my window of opportunity was small and if I was going to act it had to be now.

That night I decided to go. I knew I was suppose to go, but didn’t know how it could possibly happen. There was no social media feeding me with the latest updates. I began to check online for churches connected to the Bible School I was attending and found one in Gulfport, MS. I tried to call, but all the lines were down. The next morning, Saturday September 3, 2005, I packed up and started heading south from my parents home in Alexandria, IN. On the I stopped to see my brother. After some conversations and a quick planning session he ended up in the truck with me. We drove all night and ended up pulling into Gulfport, MS at 6am on September 4, 2005. Through half a day of searching we ended up finding the church I had researched and they put us to work. We spent the next 2-1/2 days tarping roofs and helping wherever we could. Tuesday morning we headed north so my brother could catch a bus heading to Indianapolis and I headed back to Tulsa with a completely changed perspective. Something was birthed in me that would forever change the course of my life.

A Life of Serving

As the experience of these two events started taking root in my heart, Right Side Up Ministries was born. The mission statement “Helping turn lives right side up by turning the world upside down” came from my time spent in Gulfport, MS. 9-11 opened my heart to help others in disaster and Hurricane Katrina opened my mind to the possibilities. God took it from there and our ministry was born. My wife and I now spend a good portion of our year working to help churches help communities in disaster. We have taken our knowledge that we’ve built through numerous disaster situations and freely given it to churches willing to let us help. We have written disaster response curriculum and have worked with churches teaming them on how best to respond. It isn’t an easy life, but it is a life well worth living.

Has God ever put something on your heart and you missed it? Did you regret missing it? If so, what steps have you taken to ensure you don’t miss it again?

First Snow!

With remnants of yesterdays first snow still on the ground I am reminded of a time when this sight had a much more significant impact in my life. It seems like ages ago, but there was a time when the first snow would bring feelings and emotions that can only be understood by fellow resort goers. The first snow always marked the beginning of a new snowboard season and incredible outdoor adventures. Each new flake brought a magical essence capable of erasing sadness and loneliness. Each new flake was able to erase the memories of last years winter, no matter how good or bad it was, and replace it with an excited expectation that would convince the most skeptical realist that this was going to be the best year ever! Now, years later and not a ski resort in sight, the first snow always brings a flood of memories of years gone by. It still brings an excited expectation. It still convinces me that this winter is going to be the best winter ever! Continue reading “First Snow!”

Kid President- A Voice for a Generation!

I absolutely love Kid President. I think the kid is amazing. I once read that he has a very rare disease that makes his bones extremely brittle, kind of like the Samuel L. Jackson character in “Unbreakable”. He has been known to unexpectedly break bones doing normal kid stuff, like dancing, which he loves to do. The amazing thing is that with this he continues to do what he does, be a kid. And he does it with a great spirit, doing a fantastic job at it. This short video is called “Letter To A Person On Their First Day Here”. It is an awesome letter to his nephew Miles, giving him some advise about what life has in store for him as he grows up. The reason I wanted to share this is because I think it follows a bit of what I said in my last blog post about living a “BIG” life. Continue reading “Kid President- A Voice for a Generation!”

Things to Do- Go Big!

I used to write. I used to write a lot. The truth is, I’ve wanted to be a writer for most of my adult life. Recently I watched a movie that reminded me of how much I wanted to be a writer. For years it was what I worked toward. I remember having conversations long into the night with friends about what life would be like when we finally reached our dreams. We talked about how incredible it would be to live the life that we each had orchestrated in our minds that was feeding on our never ending supply of what could be. We were all idealists back then. We saw the world through the eyes of possibility that was unhindered by reality. A perfect world where poverty didn’t kill innocent children while just a few feet away overweight celebrities tugged at our heart strings to get us to send in our money. Continue reading “Things to Do- Go Big!”

2012 Anti-Resolution FAIL!

Last year around this time I posted “Running, Giving, and an Anti-Resolution!” where I listed 12 goals for 2012. Here is a little recap of those twelve goals and how I did with them.

12 Goals for 2012 Recap!

  1. Become a better husband and leader
  2. Run 1200 miles in honor of the year 2012
  3. Run Chicago Marathon
  4. Shed 20 pounds in preparation for the Chicago Marathon
  5. Write the biggest offering check I have ever written
  6. Increase the 30% giving ratio (We didn’t increase, but we did maintain!)
  7. Obtain a 501c3 tax exempt status for Right Side Up Ministries
  8. Expand Right Side Up Ministries
  9. Build on to the Purpose Driven Running concept
  10. Design my own website
  11. Travel to ten new states I haven’t been to before
  12. Become a better communicator, and an all around better guy!

Continue reading “2012 Anti-Resolution FAIL!”