Category Archives: Charity

Friends in Low Places

(**** Photo Credits all photos contained in this post are from Valken ****)

I have friends in low places as in Low Country Paintball in Ludowici, Georgia. After a few years of persistence from Jester Court Productions, I was finally able free up my schedule, pack up the trailer and make the trip to Low Country Paintball for a weekend of fun to check out the field. The game was “The Finale: Return of Krampus” and was the battle for Christmas. The best part of this weekend was the charity aspect. I mean, what better way to spend your weekend than on the paintball field shooting each other while helping raise toys for kids.

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When asked what I love about paintball, I always answer with “exploring new fields and making new friends”. The key to growing the sport is making the trip to explore different fields and to make new friends.

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We pulled in late Friday night, set-up camp right next to A-Train from Valken (who put together an amazing video recap), then started to walk around. We got in late so walking the field was out. We walked around to see what else was going on. Following the music, we finally arrived to the building where everyone was taking cover from the cooler temps. Walking thru the door we ran across Jami Hubbell, Mike Paxson, Damian Ryan and Rocky Cagnoni, amongst many other players there for one common cause… “To help save Christmas for as many families as we could”.

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Waking up Saturday morning to 29 degree weather and a light frost on the ground is not what this Florida boy is used to but I did it for the kids. With that being said, I hightailed it to my truck to turn on the heat and warm up a bit before getting ready to go out on my morning rounds. We had the traditional “Rules of the Game” followed by the introduction of both Kringle and Krampus and we then scattered to go spend the last bit of time we had until we all entered the field.

 

Saturday on the field we met with several hurdles and a group of worthy opponents who provided more than enough resistance to make the game interesting and make the game fun. Nobody likes an easy win but also nobody likes a cheater either. Saturday brought us a give and take with it seeming like Kringle wasn’t getting anywhere and that’s pretty much the truth. Krampus brought it to Kringle, and he brought it hard as we could tell based on our field position. Now don’t get me wrong I’m pleased with everything we did on the field but I would have loved to do more.

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On Sunday we woke up to even colder temps so once again I took up residence in my truck for a bit to warm up before getting ready for play.  Once the game started who cared about the colder temps as it heated up when we all started running our asses off. Battling back and forth, trying to gain every inch on the field with no luck, we had to rely on final battle. Final battle brought it all out for everyone and we left it all on the field.

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For the first time ever in all the scenario games I’ve played, once that final horn was blown, both members from both sides walked off the field side by side. There was no “Man that was a cheap shot” or whining. It was a lot of “Man that was a great shot” or “great game”.  This made for what I’d say is one of my best experiences ever on and off the field at an event and I look forward to the next time. We had it all that day…… The weather, sportsmanship, but most importantly the feeling of being able to help families in need while playing a game we love.

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Jingle Bikes for Kids 2013

With the holiday season upon us, I figured it was time to mention Jingle Bikes for Kids again. In 2012 we decided that we would rekindle a tradition in our family started by the wife’s father, which through the kindness of family and friends we were able to donate 12 bikes total. We were extremely happy with the way 2012 went so we decided to team up with Toys for Tots again for our 2013 bike drive. I know 12 bikes doesn’t seem like a lot but imagine being one of those 12 lucky kids who received a bike for the holidays and it makes it all worth it. This year we got off to a late start and are behind a bit but thru family and friends I feel as if we’ll have another strong year. The wife and I went a few weeks ago and put ours on layaway at Walmart and we’ll be bringing them home in a few weeks. The wife also did a blog post which seemed to spark a lot of interest do so I figured I’d write one as well to mention what we feel is a very worth wild cause. When going thru the holiday season this year remember even the smallest of gifts donated may seem inconsequential to you, but you may just make someone’s holiday the best it has been in a while. Please visit our Facebook page.

2013 Bike

Caroline Bike

Change is in the air

To say change is in the air right about now would be an understatement. As you can see one of many transformations has already started. The wife and I sat around last night discussing blogs over dinner and I decided it was time to change it up. The apparent cosmetic makeover is the first of many so stay tuned as I’m gearing up (no pun intended) to kick it into high gear. If you wondering what’s coming you’ll just have to wait and see as I have a list of ideas and working on even more as we speak.

 

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The wife and I have set out on a change that’ll affect both of our lives as well. We’re working on our training for our journey into becoming a “Big Couple” which I’m sure is going to a great experience. The wife and I have been trying to spend more time giving back to the community and we both agree this is one of the best ways.

BBBS                                                       (Source: http://www.bbbspc.org/ )

Yet another change came in the form of a change in attitude. Lately I’ve let the little things ruin my abilities to focus on the main objectives and trying to have a good time. Well I’m here to tell you I’m letting go of the negative and focusing on the positive. The negative has been running and ruining my life for far too long so it’s time to let go.

Those who know me will say I’m an “all in or nothing” type of guy and it’s been apparent in my latest attempt at exercise I’ve been more of a nothing guy. Saying those two magical words “food and exercise” to me lately has had zero effect on me and actually caused a decrease in my drive to do so. Yes I’ll admit I have been running, but it’s been so rare that every time I go out it’s like starting over from square one. The biggest hold back for me is the planning. I’ve been told by others that I put too much time into planning. I’ve spent too much time trying to make everything perfect that I lose sight of the task at hand and lose a lot of valuable time. These changes will obviously be over time but one thing for certain is “Change is in the air”.

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What changes have you decided to make in your life? How did those changes affect you in your life?

Finding your Zen

While running this morning I found myself thinking about my next blog post and then it came to me “Find your Zen” would be perfect. The weirdest part is it came to me while I was running, there are so many times I struggle with what to write next and out of nowhere Zen appears. While everybody’s Zen is different the end result will be the same. The meaning of Zen for me is finding my happy place or activity that you love to do and removes any thoughts or cares, but allows you to live in the moment. As weird as this sound my Zen place would be playing paintball (minus the drama that’s sometimes associated with it). I’ll have to admit another Zen place of mine is yoga, while I don’t get to go often enough I do enjoy my visits to Hot Yoga 365 and the relaxation it brings to me both physically and mentally.

Paintball

Ask anyone what their Zen place is and I’m sure you’ll get a variety of answers. I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt the wife’s Zen place is running. She’s told me before that when she runs she tends to forget anything and everything and just enjoy the run. Her disconnect from anything and everything is what makes running her Zen place. I’ve had others tell me running, graphic design, yoga and even charity are their places of Zen. While there is no right or wrong everyone has their own idea of Zen and where it is.

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With this being said I challenge you, Think about it and consider what would be your Zen place. Then make it happen, your Zen place may just be enough to help you forget about this crazy world for a bit and enjoy life.

Where is your Zen place? Do you go there often enough?

New Year….. New Rules

With 2013 starting off on a positive note I’ve decided it’s time for some changes in my life. No longer will I allow others to dictate how I spend my time and I’ve decided to allow for more “me” time. This year will be filled with the things I love such as paintball, theme parks and plenty of fun times with friends. Last year I allowed my life to be dictated by others and this made for some pretty miserable times. With that being said I’m holding myself personally accountable for the following.

Family:

This year I’ll work on trying to deal with family in a better way. I’m fine with most of my immediate family; however there are a few that the relationship is strained between. I’ll do my part to try and rectify things, but it’s a two way street and I’m not going to put in 100% of the effort.

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Paintball:

2013 is the year of paintball for this guy and I’m committing to do at least three different scenario games. Whether they are at our local field, South Florida or even Georgia they are on my radar and I will pick at least 3. I missed out last year on a few events that I wished I had done, but time just didn’t allow for it. This year I won’t allow that to be a factor. I’ve made some good friends thru the sport and look forward to expanding and making even more friends who share this common interest in 2013.

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Fitness:

This year I’m committing myself to a fit life. No longer will I be a slave to the sweets and allow them to affect me physically or emotionally. This is important to me as it will help me pursue my paintball aspirations. I know last year I said I wanted to play at least one tournament and I think this will be my year to do so. In 2013 I’ll be devoting more time to a sport I truly love and fully support. For those I know who play as well I wish you the best of luck in your upcoming season.

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Relaxation:

I’m holding myself personally accountable for at least one fun day every two months. This could be a simple as a quiet day at the beach with my wife or visiting our favorite Theme park (Universal Studios) for some fun filled rides and excitement. Either way it’ll be about taking time away from work to spend with the wife, something we are both equally guilty of doing.

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Sleepy Blue

Charity:

With the year kicking into full gear already we’d like to spend more time doing charity work. This could literally be anything from helping out at Habitat for Humanity or even helping out with Toys for Tots. We’ll also be collecting bikes again for Jingle Bikes for Kids again. I was genuinely surprised at how few bikes they had to give out this past year.

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What changes have you vowed to make in your life for 2013? How do you plan to accomplish them?

New Year’s resolutions

With 2012 coming to an end I’ve started thinking about New Year’s resolutions and decided 2013 is going to the “Year of Mike”. Something I’ve tried in the past but failed miserably at due to letting others manipulate my schedule. The year seemed as if it flew by and now with 2013 approaching it’s time to set some resolutions.

Fitness:

In 2013 I plan on creating a workout routine and sticking to it, holding myself accountable with goals and rewards. With that being said I’ve decided my goal weight is going to be 200lbs. This will leave me with about 35lbs to lose over the year and I know I can do it if I stick to my guns and workout as I have in the past. This will also be the year of my first 5k race. I’m not sure when or where, but I will commit to and run one.

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Vacation:

In 2012 once again I’ve failed to take all my vacation time, time which my company gives to me and if I don’t use it I’ll lose it. I’ve determined vacation is going to be a key ingredient in making my resolutions a success. Vacation will also allow me more time to be spent doing the hobbies which I love to do. Hobbies that help maintain my sanity as well as reducing stress.

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Charity is another area where I was lacking, but I feel 2013 will be a great year for us and doing as much charity work as our schedules will allow us to. This is going to be the year we spend growing Jingle Bikes for Kids.

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Family:

Family time seemed to be at a minimum for 2012. I’m hoping to spend more time doing family “functions” or “activities”. Family activities this year seemed to be at a minimum due to work schedules. Vacation time and working normal hours should allow for this to happen.

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Blogging:

I know I haven’t been blogging long, but I plan to be more active with my blog in 2013. This past year if I’ve only learned one thing about blogging is to post often. I’ve been thinking about this one for a bit and I’ll be attempting to expand my blog over the next year and create a more structured approach. I’ll be incorporating several items and features which over time should take me to where I’d like it to be.

What goals have you set your sites on for 2013? How do you plan on reaching and maintaining them?

The final countdown

With Dec 25th just around the corner we’re finding our schedules packed with all kinds of fun events. December 10th is the cutoff for our first annual Bike collection for Jingle Bikes for Kids and we have had a pretty good run for the first year. All in all we collected a total of eleven bikes to donate to “Toys for Tots” to help make some kids holiday a little bit brighter. For those who don’t know the story behind Jingle Bikes for Kids follow this link and you’ll understand why this was such a special project for us. This project started small as just Nanci and I buying two bikes and ended up with eleven bikes thanks to the kindness of those who were touched by our idea. For those who are interested in getting involved next year like and follow our facebook page.

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Restoring my Faith

It’s no secret that as of late my faith in people has been in question. Well yesterday changed that one tiny bit. I happen to be working out in the garage and noticed a man walking by with a shopping cart and a sweater and blanket over him. Now I have heard people in the past complain and say things like “He’s lowering my property value” or “I wonder what will end up missing tonight” but what I’m thinking is “I wonder that happened”. Wondering what circumstances caused him to lose everything (except for what he has in his shopping cart which he now calls home). Over the past few months I’ve seen him, whether it’s been on walks with my wife at the park or just passing by the house. Every time I just sit there and wonder where he’ll sleep that night. Well yesterday I witnessed something that is slowly restoring my faith in people in general. Some random car passing by stopped in my neighbor’s driveway and proceeded to chase this homeless guy down the street. The first thing through my mind was “Great I wonder what they are going to accuse him of?” After finally catching up to him she taps him on the shoulder, startled by the touch he jumps but turns around. She proceeds to hand him a couple of dollars. They look at each other, exchange smiles and then proceed to go their separate ways. In my entire time of passing this man I don’t believe I had ever seen him smile, but yesterday I did for the first time. After seeing that I won’t lie I actually shed a tear and did so again when I shared the story with my wife. It’s hard to imagine that one random act of kindness can change someone, but it can and will.

What’s the most random thing you’ve done for a stranger? What would you want for someone to do for you if you were in their shoes?

Random thoughts running thru my mind

I’ve decided to devote today to random thoughts that have been running thru my mind lately. With a million things going thru my head right now I’ll limit it to just a few.

1: Will we ever win the lottery? This one goes thru my mind all the time as I have a dream to build and run my own paintball field. The sad part is I have the location picked out, the store and fields designed in my mind. The only thing stopping me from doing this is the money. Another thing I’d do is donate part of it…… we have a few charities in mind and would definitely spread it around.

2: The wife and I have a special project in mind for the holidays and hope it will become a tradition for many. This one has been at the top of my mind as the holiday season grows closer. I can’t give any details yet but look for a special blog dedicated to it.

3: Will Tampa Bay Damage win World Cup? I know this one may seem silly but I feel for the guys now. They’ve referred to themselves as “Prelim All Stars” as they do great in the Prelims and then seem to fall apart on the day that matters. I wish them the best of luck and would love to see the last set of the season give them the big win.

4: Will I finally find balance between work and home? Those who know me think I’m a work-a-holic and it’s true for the most part. Even when I’m home I’m guilty of thinking about work. I know it’s sad but that’s why I’m trying to create more to do outside of work.

5: Will our family ever be complete? As I sit and play with our niece I wonder one day if we’ll ever have our own. I feel as if I already know the answer to that one but one I’m not quite ready to let go of it yet.

6: will my blog ever take off? I’ve been wondering this as of late. I’m impatient by default and expect things to magically happen overnight. I know deep down it will happen but the impatient side of me wished it would happen overnight. Realistically I’m happy with my progress and plan to continue regardless.

What random thoughts go thru your mind? Have you shared them with anyone lately?