#ThankfulThursday – End of July Version

This is last November 19th in Steamboat. I was getting chest-shots in November. I had to hike up, of course. I am thankful for Steamboat, snow and the ability to enjoy it.

This is last November 19th in Steamboat. I was getting chest-shots in November. I had to hike up, of course. I am thankful for Steamboat, snow and the ability to enjoy it.

First! Let’s get caught up on some happenings. As someone who has spent a ton of time volunteering, this trend in “volunteerism” or volunteer tourism is for sure interesting to me. Regardless of the intentions behind 20-somethings volunteering, it seems to be growing.

But I do understand the opposing side. Just last week I was doing a phone interview and just mentioned off-hand spending some time at orphanages in East Africa. The lady immediately said, “You should put that on your resume!” I had never even thought of it. So it is the chicken and the egg thing. Is this a trend because desperate unemployed college graduates needed something extra? Or did employers start looking for something to separate applicants? Probably putting too much thought into this.

On to the thankfulness!

  • Blueberries, Honey Nut Cheerios and Coffee. Always.
  • Understanding and supportive parents. And extended family. And friends.
  • My friend Daniel and his contagious passion for bouldering.
  • The humility from a 20-mile ride in a Colorado monsoon.
  • Lessons learned.
  • The hues of soybeans against wheat against bluebird skies.

If you haven’t seen, below are some links to some recent published writing projects. I hate to continually push this onto my beloved readers, but if you have made it this far into this post you either care about me or enjoy my writing. So, check out these links. If you don’t want to read them, click on them and leave your browser open for 60 seconds. Media organizations look at what people click on and how much time they spend on those pages. Since I will be unemployed starting tomorrow afternoon, extra clicks cannot hurt how previous and future employers view my writing. Sorry. I know. I am not proud of asking this.

http://tippingthescales.com/2014/07/i-dropped-out-of-law-school-before-starting/

http://www.mountainonline.com/mountain-biking-goes-evel-knievel-butte-montana/

Enjoy the Thursday and look for things to be thankful for!

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#AffirmationWednesday – Because there should be no limits on when or where to affirm

My friend Daniel and me got to spend some bro time this weekend. We ate meat, drank beer, climbed rocks and arm-wrestled. But this post is about another impactful person in my life.

My friend Daniel and me got to spend some bro time this weekend. We ate meat, drank beer, climbed rocks and arm-wrestled. But this post is about another impactful person in my life.

Editor’s top note: Here is some recent research that connects the environmental issues with human well-being. Interesting and pertinent stuff.

When I was in my final semester of graduate school, I was fully planning on doing AmeriCorps. My mind was all over the place with research, writing and trying to graduate combined with a ton of personal issues and thoughts. I applied for an AmeriCorps VISTA job in Steamboat Springs, Colo. I knew I wanted to help underserved youth.

The former executive director of where I served told me to apply to their other AmeriCorps program as well. I did and had an interview set up with the program manager, Lindsay Kohler. I wrote it down wrong on my calendar. Totally spaced it and missed it. I sent an email begging for mercy. I figured I had not only blown my chances at that job but also the original one. Lindsay responded and said it was no problem and rescheduled another interview. Despite multiple offers, I knew what I was going to do. Work with people who knew forgiveness and understanding.

Three things Lindsay has taught me:

  • Forgiveness and understanding. Obviously. But it went through the initial experience into multiple times this year when Lindsay moved from coworker to supervisor for me. Lindsay truly wants to help people and so she constantly looks past frustrations and difficulties to ideas of how to help. She is constantly looking for ways to putting others first. And this stems for her consistency in forgiveness and understanding.
  • Passion towards helping underserved youth. This is what Lindsay does and continues to do. She has been serving underserved youth in multiple capacities since being at Partners in Routt County. She worked in a middle school. She did grants and fundraising and marketing. And now she runs the program that puts AmeriCorps in middle and elementary schools. But do you know what the bottom-line, guiding factor is in all of Lindsay’s decisions and actions? Helping the kiddos. Always. How she and her mentor crew can help in the best way.
  • Running passion and dedication. I have consistently stated throughout my life I am more impressed with the people who run and train but never lead the pack than the people who do lead the pack. Lindsay is not a pack leader. But she is out there training through Steamboat winters anyway. Relentlessly. I watched Lindsay walk into the office day after day with snow and ice all over her after a mid-day run. And it was never about dreams of winning races. It was about the struggle. And the fulfillment of completing a challenging course. It was super inspiring.

There obviously is a ton more to Lindsay. But these are the three most prominent things I learned from her after two years of near daily contact. So, if anyone wants (or knows someone who wants) a fulfilling experience mentoring at-risk youth while being mentored by a passionate, dedicated supervisor (and friend), look into the AmeriCorps School-Based Mentoring program for Partners in Routt County in Steamboat Springs, Colo.

Two posts in two days – BIG TIME

One of the reasons to miss Steamboat. My old running path.

One of the reasons to miss Steamboat. My old running path. Love the emphasis on “very.”

*Editor’s top note: Have you heard of cellulose? It is in a lot of our food AND all of our paper. If you are one of those granola, weird-o, hippees who care about what goes in their food, read this article. I am going to throw away all shredded cheese in my aunt and uncle’s house as soon as I get home.

Hello, again. Yesterday’s post led my Memaw to call me three times at work and ask my psychiatric nurse practitioner aunt to be on suicide watch. Additionally, it left my mother crying in front of the computer screen. Not my intentions. It also led to a lot of outpouring of support and relation from a lot of people. My intentions. There is a power in the relation from vulnerability. The older I get the more I am affirmed we have to be open and vulnerable with each other. It breaks down enormous walls and leads to connection, compassion, understanding and love. How resplendent.

So to appease the concerned readers and help with perspective, I am using my blogging power to declare every Thursday from this point forward Thankful Thursday. #ThankfulThursday if you will. Because despite potential criticism I am a sucker for lame hashtags and alliteration. On this Thursday, here is what I am grateful for:

  • The ability to ride my bike to and from work.
  • Coffee and blueberries every morning.
  • Being able to work in a climate controlled office stocked with snacks and beverages.
  • The people who love and support me.
  • Sunshine. I have been on the Front Range for almost a month and only once have I walked outside in the morn to clouds. I was SO offended the Sun let me down. Perspective.
  • Connection.

What are you thankful for today? It is imperative to think about.

The State of the Nathan Address: A Lack of Running and Loving

This is Boulder. It is where I work for three more weeks. Then I will be unemployed. Hit me up if you are anyone else wants a slightly above-average writer with a big heart.

This is Boulder. It is where I work for three more weeks. Then I will be unemployed. Hit me up if you or anyone else you know wants a slightly above-average writer with a big heart.

Editor’s top note: If you do not what is going on with the current influx of refugee children entering the good ol’ U.S. of A., you need to. This is a serious issue and will only keep getting worse if nothing is done. Here is a good article explaining it (please, please, please read and educate yourself on the issue): Go here! On to regularly scheduled programming.

Hello. Once again it has been over a half a year. And honestly, there hasn’t been a ton of depth to share. There are two reasons for this post. The first is because of a conversation I had a few weekends ago. I was in Jefferson City, Mo. celebrating a good friend’s wedding. Sunday morning I had a conversation with a mother of someone I grew up geographically close to and went to high school with. Her daughter is a Facebook friend of mine. We really haven’t talked since high school but she was forwarding my posts to her mother. Her mom thanked me at a brunch the morning after the wedding. No “where have you been?” or “I miss your posts.” Just a thank you.

The second reason is the state of my life. Let me tell you, I have slipped in virtually every aspect of my life the past half year or so. The roles I have messed up in no order (to my knowledge) are: employee, friend, Christ follower, son, brother, significant other, roommate, renter, athlete, blogger and probably others. All of this came together last night and led to a big low. And so before I continue, this is a fair warning, I am getting ready to go into a pity-fest. If you want, skip to the end. I definitely would.

Two years of trying to live a life as an AmeriCorps volunteer and have fun in a ski town has left me fatigued and broke. I now commute by bike 40 miles round trip everyday because I cannot afford gas or a closer place to live (Front Rangers, hit me up for a hike, bike or java!). I also cannot run so it is serving as my cross training. Financially speaking, I have made some horrible decisions.

OK. Gross. I cannot go on. Long story, short, I am in a weird place. With no one to blame but myself. But things have changed. First, apologies! I will not name names but those who have been wronged will know.

I am sorry for not responding to emails. Or phone calls. I have wronged people by not showing up or being responsive. I have squelched other’s love. I have refused to allow others to love me. I have stopped communicating. I have created strife instead of simply listening and being there for others. I have stopped taking care of myself spiritually and it has bled into other aspects of my life. And so it goes.

This is not a “everyone feel sorry for Nathan” piece or a “God is good and awesome piece.” Because, well, I don’t really know who God is right now. I haven’t spent enough time with God. But that is changing now. And hopefully it will bleed love into lives around me. It will.

If you are still with me and have gotten through the (slightly pathetic) monologue, here is the take away. I have grasped onto a lot out of fear. I have not reached out to others because of fear I have already hurt them and they don’t want to connect anymore. And last night as I was trying desperately to reconnect with the Universe, I realized fear and grasping onto seemingly safe and familiar things in our lives leads to selfishness, oppression, dysfunction and a shallow, meaningless life. Maybe others already know this. I just learned it. Now it is time to do something about it.

Editor’s bottom note: Life is gorgeous and things are really great. Everything will work out. and like a close friend told me last night, I have much to be grateful for. I just need to look outside myself and into those blessings. They are everywhere. Relationships, forests, cities, apple orchards, mountains, deserts, everywhere. I hope you take time to find yours today. I will for sure. I need to more.