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Sep 9

My Story, Day 9

Posted on Friday, September 9, 2011 in Uncategorized

When I thought about writing about me, and my life, for two weeks I couldn’t imagine what I would write.  As my last post has arrived I feel I’ve run out of time, not run out of things to say.

So I chose three pictures that tell a story about who I am and who I am becoming.


The first picture is my favorite picture of just me.  Really, I could not imagine a picture that better captures my love for fun and willingness to take on challenges.

I’m “butt-surfing” a waterfall, Big Smokey to be specific.


For more than twenty years I have taken teens to places emotionally, spiritually and literally that challenged them. 

While I’ve done that for them, God has done the same for me. 

I have had many opportunities for be emotionally challenged and spiritually stretched.  I’ve met many teens and parents that I admired for their resilience and admired their courage.  I’ve also met a person or two who scared me, repulsed me or sent me looking for a colleague to help me see good in someone that I couldn’t see. 

I’m not proud of that, but it’s true.


The second picture tells a story too. 

My dad and I learned to ski when I was in high school.  Off and on we skied together, but then after I moved away, I stopped skiing. 

Fortunately, I worked at TreeHouse who gives us a chance to go someplace — I could not afford — to emotionally refresh  and spiritually regroup.  On one particular trip I agreed to ski all-day on the “green” [beginner] runs with our guest speaker.  He was so grateful that he paid for my first snowboarding lesson and rental.

That first and second day were the two worst days I ever spent in a healthy body.  I was bruised and battered.  I BLEW UP on the mountains of Breckenridge Colorado.  I was a reckless mess, and I was the best snowboarder in our class.

I loved snowboarding, despite all the mishaps.  That was a decade ago and I’ve never put on a pair of skis since.


The last picture was taken before I met most of you.  It was taken during the early eighties while on a rock climbing trip to Devil’s Lake, WI with my friend, and later “best man”, David Villringer.  I might look very courageous and confident on that climb, but it’s only by God’s grace and David’s patient belaying that I look composed.

Throughout my life I have had many people who belayed me through life challenges. 

When I was a child it was my parents, sister, grandparents, great grandparents, uncle and aunt, Mark, Keith, Michael, Kenny, Bill, Joyce, Susan and Gerry, the only person I ever fist-fought twice. 

As a young teen my belayer list expanded to include Arnie and Murph.  As an older teen Steve, David, Paul & Murph were the core of the “team”.  John, Tim, Robert, Dan, and — ta-da, enter a couple GFs — Fawn, Lynda, and Silvia belayed me through my ups and downs. 

When God blessed me with Amy — hubba-hubba — he added Shannon & Josh, my wonderful in-laws, Ron & Rose, and Amy’s great sibs, their spouses, and wonderful nieces and nephews who are now having their own kids! 

Kristie, my sis, had my nephew Ed, then met Rob, married and blessed us with Tyler & Shayna too.

Knowing I already missed someone — and for that I’m deeply sorry — I’ll make the contemporary list short.

Wayne Thyren was my supervisor from 1990-2011.  I will always be indebted to him for his patient, gracious and godly direction.

Steve & Murph stuck around; their wives Joan & Mary belay me too.  Scott & Pam, Swen & Michelle, Tonya, ‘ric’, Greg and Angi too.  You have all carried my baggage and given me plenty of ropes without hanging my annoying neck by them.

God richly blessed me with thousands who love and support me.  You belay me through my ups and downs.

Thank you!  I love you all! <3

Years ago a TreeHouse teen name Kris called me the “richest man I know” because of the many people who love me.  Having made this list of belayers, I think he’s right.

That’s “My Story” & I’m sticking by it! 

Except for where I forgot to mention YOU by name and you feel hurt. 

Tell me and I’ll add your name!  =D

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