Jan 09

Something Told Me Not to Take a Lunch


Something Told Me Not to Take a Lunch

I bring my lunch to work at the hair school almost every day because Dave Ramsey. Also, I never have cash. None of my co-workers like to eat too early so I usually schedule myself in the 11:30 slot. On the one day I get an hour, I try to meet my amazing wife. I can never get enough of seeing her face.


Every other day it’s just too hard to leave the building, eat and feel like I get a restful break before getting back to work. Especially on Saturdays. Most of the time we are lucky to leave the clinic floor to scarf something down and get back to our projects. During lunch we worry that we probably shouldn’t have left.


This Saturday was different.


The Urge

As I was getting ready for work, I stared at my lunch bag and something told me not to make a lunch. It was strange, but a very clear urge not to take it.


Randomly having ten dollars in my wallet, I decided that I could probably just figure something out.


As the day progressed, I found myself heavily engaged in several projects that I didn’t feel comfortable leaving. My co-workers started the lunch rotation and before I knew it, it was after 1:00 p.m.


The Encounter

 Finally feeling like I could get away for a minute, I clocked out for lunch and went out the back door to the BBQ restaurant located adjacent to our building. While walking the few steps it took to get to the restaurant, two employees were standing outside on a break. One of them noticed me.


She shouted in excitement, “Hey, do you remember me?” Being terrible at names, I felt embarrassed; however, she looked familiar so I said yes. She mentioned that a few years ago, a particular student worked on her hair at the school. She also stated that she read the article about me in the Omaha World Herald. To this day, I am blown away by how many people have seen that article and I shared that with her.


I decided to eat in the restaurant instead of taking my food back with me so I could disconnect for a little bit. The woman from outside came over and sat across from me in my booth. She said, “I have to tell you something. Your story resonated with me and I felt like it was a God thing. When I read your article, I was in jail.”


Out of Control

 Her story unraveled in a tale of alcohol, attempted sobriety and the struggle that went along with it. For a period of time, she remained clean.  Feeling like she could handle a night out, she decided to go for it. Besides, she deserved it for doing so well.


The next morning, she woke up in a jail cell. Having no recollection of the previous night’s events, she thought she was probably picked up for disorderly conduct. She was shocked to find out that there were several charges against her, including assaulting an officer. It was at this low point, she decided something needed to change.


Feeling pretty low about herself and her situation, she found the OWH article about my story. She remembered me from the hair school and said that I was nice to her. After reading what I had done and comparing it to where I am now, she gained an immense sense of hope. It was because someone she actually met in person, went through a similar situation and made it out. My story gave her the feeling that she was not alone and that she could turn her life around.


Turn Around

Currently, she resides at Santa Monica House, which is a half-way house for women and has been sober for about a year.


She asked me to remind her what the title of my book was because, she wanted to read it. I told her the title, thanked her for sharing her story with me and she went back to work.


After finishing my meal, I ran back to work to grab a copy of Dishonor, signed it and then ran back to the restaurant and gave it to her.


She was very grateful and thanked me several times.


If I brought my lunch, went to lunch during my normal time slot, or went somewhere else this encounter would not have happened. Something told me, not to take my lunch that day.


God’s Timing

 I tell you this story for a couple reasons.


First, I can’t take any credit for what transpired. I fully believe that God orchestrated this event. I’m amazed by these “random” encounters and how moments in time seem to intersect.


Even when I feel like things are slowing down with the book and this ministry, something like this happens and I’m reminded that He is at work all the time. You never know how, when or what will happen but, He can use any moment in time to draw someone closer to Himself.


I know that this happened not just for the woman’s sake, but for mine as well.


Second, I want to say thank you everyone who has donated to this ministry. Because of you, I am able to send or give copies of Dishonor to inmates, people in recovery and anyone needing to be released from the guilt and shame of their past.


I don’t always make it public when I give away copies to people, but sometimes I just need to share these truly awesome events when God clearly shows up.


Side note, other than future updates about DishonorI will be using dilemmamike.com to continue sharing my other writing. Sharing humorous stories from my life. Thank you in advance to those who stick around for this next adventure.

Something Told Me Not to Take a Lunch (Click to Tweet)

If you have an incarcerated friend or family member and want me to send a copy of Dishonor to them, contact me through social media.

or email me at dilemmamike@gmail.com

Oct 17

God Showed Me Something Incredible


God Showed Me Something Incredible

Something happened recently that totally blew me away. There are circumstances and events in life that seem random.

But sometimes, what seems random is actually God at work. For example, I feel like God keeps showing up to let me know, He’s doing things in my life.

Here is the backstory

I’m in a lot of Facebook groups. Various groups that attract writers, dreamers and entrepreneurs. Many of these communities have had a direct impact on the success of my book Dishonor.

Somehow, I was put into a drawing in which the prize was an awesome course called Tribe Writer’s. When I found out my name was selected as the recipient, I was so excited. It’s a course designed to help writers find their voice, establish a platform, expand their reach and get published. They added me to the accompanying Facebook group. It’s hard to explain what goes on in there if you’ve never experienced it, but it’s awesome. The members of the group will help to restore faith in humanity. I’m so grateful to Jeff Goins for creating the course and providing the opportunity for me to participate.

Even though I had been in the group for a couple years, this May I noticed group members were introducing themselves. Both new and more seasoned members were and sharing where they lived. A woman named Teresa mentioned that she lived in Ogallala, Nebraska. Being a Nebraska resident as well, I reached out to her.

After hearing about my testimony, she told me her son was in jail, waiting to be transferred to the Nebraska State Prison in Lincoln. He seemed like someone who would benefit from reading my book. I messaged her and asked if she would like me to send a copy of Dishonor to him. Because some generous individuals donated money to help me ship books to inmates, I told her all I needed was an address. She told me she would get it to me as soon as she had it.


Three months later…

Teresa let me know she’d heard from her son and provided me with his prisoner identification number, but no address. Still not having the address, I was not able to send a book to him right away. Another month passed and Teresa’s son was paroled and moved into a halfway house. She gave me her home address and I immediately shipped a book to her. After reading it herself, she planned on taking the copy directly to him.

Just recently, I received a message from Teresa: “Did you speak in North Platte around a year ago? My son thinks he saw you there with his halfway house group.”

Wait, what? 


My mind retraced the events…

My wife’s uncle Bobwho is a lawyer in North Platte, set up three speeches for me at the beginning of the year. The first talk was at his Kiwanis group. One of the gentlemen there was moved by my story. Bob told me after the speech that this man is involved with a halfway house in the same town.

He thought the guys there would benefit from hearing me talk, so he brought them to the local college that evening for my third appearance. After sharing my story, he purchased a copy of the book for the halfway house and wrote a check for one hundred dollars to ship books to other inmates.


Blown away…

Even though what happened next seems like a random coincidence, I believe it was God at work.

Teresa’s son was there that night and heard me share my testimony. I’m almost positive that he was in the front row.

I discussed the trouble I got into and how the guilt and shame of my actions was too much to bear. The end of my speech was about God’s redeeming work in my life and that in His eyes, my past was erased by the blood of Jesus.

It was this message, Teresa desired her son to know and that’s why she wanted him to read the book.

The crazy thing is when she told him about it, he said that he is currently reading the copy provided to him by the halfway house. This was provided the man who purchased a copy after my last speech.


God at Work

God is not restricted by time as we know it. He knew that Teresa would hear my story and would want her son to experience the same freedom that I discovered.

Even though we didn’t know all of this, God was working out His story in mine and theirs.

I just think it is so cool how God orchestrated this event in the way He did. Sometimes it’s difficult to see God’s plan in action. We wonder if what we are doing is effective or making a difference.

But that’s the beauty of God and faith, we don’t have to worry about it. God doesn’t need our help. He can use any situation to draw people to Himself. We only need to be who God created us to be. We only need to be faithful to God with the gifts and the time He’s given us.

And sometimes, He blesses us with a glimpse of His work in action, which helps to remind us that He’s got this!

God Showed Me Something Incredible (Click to Tweet)

If you have an incarcerated friend or family member and want me to send a copy of Dishonor to them, contact me through social media.

or email me at dilemmamike@gmail.com

If you are local and would like me to speak to your group, please contact me through any of the above links.

Bloggers and pod-casters, it would be an honor to share my story with your tribe.
BookIf you have read Dishonor and haven’t left a review on Amazon, it’s not too late. Here is the link to leave a review. Thank you in advance.

Sep 18

Dishonor Book One Year Later, Where Are We Now?


Sermon at Finding Life Church Omaha

Dishonor Book, One Year Later

It’s been a year since the launch of my book, Dishonor and I can’t believe how fast time has flown by. The year started out crazy and is finally slowing down.

So, what’s happened since Dishonor came out?

First, I would like to say that I feel blessed by everyone I’ve come in contact with over the past five years. This goes for both my friends-in-real-life and my internet friends. During the writing, publishing and launch of the book, I received an unbelievable amount of encouragement and support.

I’ve had the awesome opportunity to be either featured or interviewed on many podcasts. Each host graciously allowed me to speak about my story to their audience.

Elevating Beyond Podcast link. 

The Godd Show link.

In the same vein, Dishonor was featured on quite a few blog posts as well as me being able to guest post on a few.


Omaha World Herald Article

A reporter from the Omaha World Herald wrote an article about my book. I was blown away by how many people read the paper. Many of the clients that come to the Cosmetology school where I work, brought me copies of the article. When sharing my story with people, I was able to give those copies away.

Omaha World Herald link

The Nebraska Living Times newspaper also interviewed me about the book.

Nebraska Living Times link

For the first time in my life, I preached a sermon. My home church invited me to tell my story. It was awesome to be able to share my testimony with the people that I worship with every Sunday.

My parent’s church invited me to speak as well. It was a little different telling my story in front of my parents. The pastor gave a copy of my book to everyone who attended that day.

I got to speak to a men’s group at nearby church, which was awesome! Everyone was so kind and welcoming. There was a police officer in the crowd which was interesting. He wanted to talk speak to me after I was finished. He had some questions about dealing with arresting people and dealing with the guilt of potentially ruining someone’s life. A different perspective that I never considered.

A local Christian school asked me to speak during their chapel services. There were three groups broken up by age. For the youngest group, I had my wife, who is a Children’s Ministry Director, tailor my speech to the younger crowd. Two copies of my book are now in the school library.


Letters From Students

A couple weeks later, I received a bunch of thank you letters from many of the students with some touching stories. Hopefully, my speech was memorable enough to deter some of the bad choices available to these kids, as they navigate life.

I was invited by Heartland Men of Faith, to speak at a prayer breakfast. A group of guys from the Open Door Mission also attended. Afterward, several of the men came up to me to share their personal struggles with me. It was at this time it clicked with me that sharing your brokenness with others, allows people who are struggling to know that they are not alone. It was at this event, that I was invited to speak at Victory Boxing Club.

Victory Boxing was started in Omaha by an formerly incarcerated man. After changing his life around, he decided to create a community center. Local youth can spend time learning to box, hang out and also hear a messages about Jesus. It was an honor to be invited.


KCRO Radio Interview

A pastor and local radio show host had me on his segment which was a pretty cool experience. We talked about his topic of the day and then I was able to discuss my testimony and book.

A youth group in Blair, NE requested me to come speak at their church. To date it is the largest crowd I’ve spoken to, at about 100 students and parents. The most touching moment was when a girl came up to me at the end. She told me, her father had been kicked out of the military some time ago. She knew it bothered him, but had a better understanding of how much after hearing me talk. I shared about my struggle with guilt from having a dishonorable discharge and how God’s forgiveness has set me free. I sent a copy of my book to her with the hope that her father might read it.

My wife’s uncle who is a lawyer and public defender had me come out to North Platte, NE where he lives and works. Bob has been a huge supporter of my book and I believe it’s because of his line of work. He sees people getting into trouble all the time and they need to know that, life is not over after being arrested. He set up three speaking engagements for me in one day.

The first was his Kiwanis club, which was a great group of people. They asked some pretty interesting questions after my speech.

The second was St. Pat’s High School. The students I spoke to were very attentive and also asked some great questions. A film crew came and I had the chance to be featured on the evening news.

The third was to drug court which is a program for adult drug offenders to have their record cleared after completing this program. The interesting part about this group was, as I was sharing my story, you could see in their eyes that they connected with what I was saying. It was different from the other talks. There was a mutual understanding because we had the same struggle and failures. It was awesome for God to use me and my mess to provide hope to them. For them to see that there is life after addiction and conviction.

At the Bookworm in Omaha, I attended a live book signing, because I have some copies on consignment there. An older couple came in with a copy for me to sign. They wanted to give it to their grandson, who struggles with addiction.

I also atteded a local author day at the Council Bluffs library, where I donated a copy to their inventory.

At the Millard library, I spoke to a small group of people about my story. One of the library employees ordered a copy for their inventory. A couple of the clients from my work came to hear me speak.

I feel so honored to have met many people, in person and on-line who have told me that my story made a difference in their lives.

It’s been so cool to reconnected with many of the people in in the book and from my past to let them know that I wrote our story. The last time I saw most of them, I was in pretty bad shape. Seeing pictures of some of them holding a copy of Dishonor makes me feel like I can impact them differently than our last time together.


Books to Inmates

There are copies of Dishonor that have been placed in a few libraries across the nation. However, I’m most excited about the copies that have been sent to many jails and prisons. Through the donations of some generous individuals, funds are available to ship books directly to incarcerated family members or friends.


Fresh Hope for Living Free

The most recent development is the opportunity to co-facilitate a ministry. It is a pilot program based off an organization called Fresh Hope. Originally designed to be a faith based, peer led, mental health support group. Because of its success, we are applying the same principals to helping recently released inmates not only stay out of jail or prison, but to thrive in spite of a conviction.

Fresh Hope for Living Free link

One last moment that I want to share with you. After being in contact with the Special Agent who arrested me in 1990, I met with him for coffee while on vacation. The last time I saw him, he was leaving the court room after testifying in my behalf. It was surreal sitting across the table with the man who hunted me down for almost a year. However, it is clear to both of us, that God used him to save my life. We had a great visit and will continue to stay in contact. He asked me to Skype in and be interviewed by some of his criminal justice students that he teaches.

I never imagined me telling my story over the years would turn into this. I never expected for God to use my messy past this way. It is crazy to think that your deepest, darkest moments in life can be taken by God and turned into a light for others to find their way to Him. It has been an honor to serve this way.

Truth be told, I still struggle with issues from my past. Sharing my history and seeing God work makes it easier. I know, that I no longer have to be defined by my past. Please know, that no matter what you have experienced or suffered through, God can use your mess for His message and your story for His glory. With being rooted in His truth and His promises, you will experience healing and freedom along the way.


I never thought telling my story would lead to this. (Click to Tweet)

If you have an incarcerated friend or family member and want me to send a copy of Dishonor to them, contact me through social media.

or email me at dilemmamike@gmail.com

If you are local and would like me to speak to your group, please contact me through any of the above links.

Bloggers and pod-casters, it would be an honor to share my story with your tribe.
BookIf you have read Dishonor and haven’t left a review on Amazon, it’s not too late. Here is the link to leave a review. Thank you in advance.

Aug 30

My Book Dishonor is Available Now


Dishonor: One Soldier’s Journey from Desertion to Redemption

Dishonor Book is Available Now!

It’s finally here!

Dishonor: One Soldier’s Journey from Desertion to Redemption is now available to purchase on Amazon!

I wrote this book to reach as many people as possible with the message of grace and forgiveness. Using my own personal story of how God used my time in an Army prison to get my attention. Everyone needs to hear that you do not have to be defined by your past. Guilt and shame can be removed through the redeeming power of Christ.

My Goal: It would be awesome to sell 500 books. If we hit Amazon bestseller status, the potential to expand the reach of this message is much greater.

I decided to have a physical book available because, I would ultimately like to get it into prisons. Digital formats aren’t available in confinement. Thank you to everyone buying a copy! You will be making it possible for me to get future copies to inmates and treatment centers.

If you enjoyed reading Dishonor, please consider giving it an honest review on Amazon! This will help others in their decison to purchase a copy.

For those of you who may not have it within your budget to purchase the book, I understand completely. Please consider telling your friends about Dishonor. I’m honored and eternally grateful for your encouragement and continued support.

If you are a blogger or podcaster, I would love to talk to you about my story.

Tonight at 7:30 CT there will be a Facebook book launch party. One of the giveaways include, free signed copies of my book. I will be giving away other books and Hope Brideges coffee.

Click here to join us!  >>Launch Party<<

Launch day reflections…

These past three years have been very difficult for my family. Dragging everyone through my past has not been easy. My wife and children have been extremely gracious with me. This whole process has taken a lot of time away from us. I know the next few days will be pretty crazy. I don’t know what we have in store for us in regards to the future of this book. Hopefully, some normalcy (if there is such a thing) will resume.

To ensure the book’s success, I followed all the advice given to me. I blogged, used every form of social media, I was interviewed on blogs, podcasts, and the local newspaper. I enlisted the help of all of you to help me spread the message about the launch.

You guys have been amazing!

It’s pretty exciting to see the buildup turn into momentum!

I need to remember that it’s not about me. It’s not about my story, book sales, Amazon rankings or traditional publishing. Having all of these things happen would be nice. What I need to remember is, that what matters most is people finding Jesus. If it weren’t for Him redeeming our mess, none of us would have a message.

Please pray along with me:

  • For the people that read this story.

  • That the message of God’s grace and forgiveness, finds it’s way into the hearts, minds and souls of people who need to hear it.

  • I may be content with whatever the outcome of this launch and that I keep my focus on God and His will for me and my family.

  • Pray that this book is used to glorify God and not myself.

Thank you!

Dishonor Book is Available Now! (Click to Tweet)

To purchase a copy of Dishonor: One Soldier’s Journey from Desertion to Redemption click on this link. >>Amazon<<

Aug 22

Book Launch in One Week



Book Launch in One Week

Hello again!

I have been extremely busy with preparing for the release of Dishonor: One Soldier’s Journey from Desertion to Redemption. 

I can’t believe that we are just one week away from book launch!

It is my honor to personally thank everyone, for all the support that I have received along this journey. It’s amazing to see everyone rally around the launch of the book. It is surreal that the day is almost here.

The Goal: It would be awesome to sell 500 books on the official release date – August 30th. If we hit Amazon bestseller status, the potential to expand the reach of this message is much greater.

Having a physical book available will help to get it into prisons, where digital formats aren’t available. In prison, I discovered the true meaning of God’s grace and forgiveness. I’m hopeful that my book ends up in the hands of someone dealing with the same feelings of guilt and shame that I experienced. Learning that God loves you, no matter what, is the best feeling I can think of.

As we get closer to August 30th, I want to thank you in advance for:

    • sharing our posts along the journey

    • inviting your friends to this Facebook group > (OFFICIAL GROUP) < There are currently 750 members in the group!

    • reading the early reader copy, located in the above group, to write a review on Amazon.

    • supporting the Thunderclap campaign

  • attending the Facebook launch party  (CLICK HERE TO JOIN THE PARTY) There will be some awesome giveaways, to include some signed copies of Dishonor

  • buying the book ON LAUNCH DAY, August 30

For those of you who may not have it within your budget to purchase the book, please consider telling your friends about Dishonor on launch day. I am honored and eternally grateful for your encouragement and continued support as we launch this book.

If you are a blogger or podcaster, I would love to talk to you about my story.


Join the group!

Click here > (OFFICIAL GROUP) < to join the official launch group for the book! Thank you!

Book Launch in One Week (Click to Tweet)

Jul 11

New Book Launch Date Aug 30


New Book Launch Date August 30


The new book launch date is August 30th.

Hello everyone!

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted on the blog. I’ve been pretty busy trying to get the book finished. It’s been a challenging process.

There is so much that goes into publishing a book. This is my first time and so I’m still learing how it all works.

The reason I have to move the launch date, is because the book is just not ready.

The edits are at the tail end and the next stop is the formatter.

I just don’t want to rush the process.

The good news is that it looks like there will be a pre-sale option and as soon as I get a concrete date I will let you know.

I don’t anticipate any more issues and so August 30th will be a go for launch,

Your help in spreading the word is greatly appreciated.

My Goal: It would be awesome to sell 500 books on the official release date – August 30th. If we hit Amazon bestseller status, the potential to expand the reach of this message is much greater.

I decided to have a physical book available because I would ultimately like to get it into prisons where digital formats aren’t available.

If you are a blogger or podcaster, I would love to talk to you about my story.

As we get closer to August 30th, I want to thank you in advance for sharing our posts along the journey, inviting your friends to this group, reading the book in PDF format to review on Amazon later, supporting the Thunderclap campaign, attending the Facebook launch party (OFFICIAL LAUNCH GROUP) and most importantly, buying the book on August 30 (launch day).

For those of you who may not have it within your budget to purchase the book, please consider telling your friends about Dishonor on launch day. I am honored and eternally grateful for your encouragement and continued support as we launch this book.

Mostly I want to thank you for your patience!


Before you leave.

Click here > (OFFICIAL LAUNCH GROUP) < to join the official launch group for the book! Thank you!

New Book Launch Date Aug 30 (Click to Tweet)


May 09

Book Cover & Launch Group


Dishonor Book Cover

Book Cover & Launch Group



Before you go any further.

Click here > (OFFICIAL LAUNCH GROUP) < to join the official launch group for the book! Thank you!

It is so exciting to be able to release the cover of my first book, “Dishonor, One soldier’s journey from desertion to redemption.” There were four designs to choose from, but there was one clear winner.

The design that I originally thought would be the cover, was the least favorite. It is a picture of Ft. Leavenworth and everyone said it looks like a history book.


Dishonor Book Cover USDB

Go figure.

My wife came up with the concept of using an image of dog tags. Of course, this was a much better idea.


Dishonor Book Cover Tags 2


Dishonor Book Cover Tags 1

When I submitted our ideas to Deb Toth, she delivered a couple based on what we wanted to see. She also created an artistic version of my wife’s idea. This design ended up being the most popular choice.

Not only is it simple and creative, it has design elements that completely match my story.

The dog tag is the identity of a soldier. It has my name, prison number, my religious affiliation and blood type. These represent my human condition, and my past as well as the labels and identity that I chose for myself either through action or decision.

The red and white back ground is the same as the U.S. Cavalry flag which was my military occupation. But it also represents the blood of Christ which washes us clean, or white as snow. As well as my new identity.

I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect representation of what will be printed on the pages between the covers.

Even more exciting news!

We have created a Facebook group for the offical book launch which is scheduled for August 1st.

 David Mike’s Official Book Launch Group < Click here to join and keep up to date on the release.

This group was created to help reach as many people as possible with the message of grace and forgiveness. Using my own personal story of how God used my time in an Army prison to get my attention. Everyone needs to hear that you do not have to be defined by your past and that guilt and shame can be removed through the redeeming power of Christ.

My Goal: It would be awesome to sell 500 books on the official release date, August 1st. If we hit Amazon bestseller status, the potential to expand the reach of this message is much greater. I decided to have a physical book available because I would ultimately like to get it into prisons where digital formats aren’t available.

If you are a blogger or podcaster, I would love to talk to you about my story.

As we get closer to August 1st, I want to thank you in advance for sharing our posts along the journey, inviting your friends to this group, reading the book in PDF format to review it on Amazon later, supporting the Thunderclap campaign, attending the Facebook launch party, and most importantly, buying the book on August 30 (launch day).

For those of you who may not have it within your budget to purchase the book, please just consider telling your friends about Dishonor on launch day.

I am honored and eternally grateful for all your encouragement and your continued support as we build this community.

Once again, click on this link, to join the Official Dishonor Book Launch Group

Book Cover & Launch Group (Click to Tweet)


May 02

Bike vs Boy



Bike vs Boy

Walking to and from school was always an adventure. My family lived in a military housing neighborhood that was quite a distance from the school. In order to get to there, we had to walk through our area as well as another entire neighborhood. If I were to go back to that house now, I’m sure I would find that the distance was not as far as I thought it was. The world always seemed much bigger when I was little.

Around ten or eleven years old, I was allowed to ride my bike to school. It was a game changer. I could leave the house a little later and still get to school on time. All the younger kids had to leave earlier and I could just lounge around for a while. It was almost like being an adult, kind of like drinking coffee or getting chest hairs. I drink coffee, but still waiting on the chest hairs. Plus, riding to school on a bike made me feel like Evel Knievel, minus all the broken bones.

Once I mounted up, I was ready to blow past all of the walkers at lightning speed. Of course, if you were really cool, you made sure to attach a playing card with a clothes hanger to the front and back wheels. The card hitting the spokes of the wheel made a sound that was much like that of a motorcycle. Or so I thought. Regardless, my bike making that sound as I weaved in and out of the other students on the way to school was pretty awesome. I never looked back, because to look into the eyes and see the envy of all the kids who weren’t allowed to ride to school, just wasn’t in good taste.

Once I left the neighborhood, there was a legendary steep hill, nicknamed suicide hill. No one knows the real story behind it but, I’m sure it was because of all the kids it had maimed and killed over the years from riding their bikes up and down it. Truthfully, it wasn’t so much the hill part but more the depth of the valley between the two peaks. Once you pointed your front wheel down towards the bottom, there was no turning back. You had to gain a lot of momentum to make it all the way up the other side, so I would hunker down into the most aerodynamic position and begin the descent.

The wind, created by the incredulous speed, blew my hair straight back and I’m sure the skin on my cheeks was in danger of being ripped off by g-forces, as I topped speeds of Mach 3.5. There had to be a stream of light behind me that was the only proof that I had even been there.

Once I reached the valley floor, the ascent began. Of course no matter how fast I blazed down, it only seemed to be enough to get me half-way up the other side. As the momentum wore off, I had to change positions to standing up on the pedals. There was some scientific reasoning to standing while pedaling and swaying the bike back and forth to make it up the hill. Because I was going so slow, the playing card sound went from Harley, to wind-chime. It was a surprise to me that they were even still there. They should have spontaneously combusted as I broke the sound barrier coming down the hill. Never-the-less, the sound was less cool as I struggled to make it up the peak on the other side.

Eventually, I made it. Stopping for a moment, I looked across the valley with pride and saw what I had conquered. Even then, I didn’t look down at all the kids who were scaling the sheer face of the hill on foot, but instead thought to myself so long suckers. Taking off toward my school, with not a person in sight, the rest of the trip was pretty smooth sailing for the most part.

As I navigated my way through the second military housing neighborhood, I noticed that each driveway was paved with asphalt. The sidewalks were cement and so when the driveways were re-paved, there was a considerable amount of blacktop overlapping the sidewalk. This made the driveways into very large speed-bumps, or ramps….

Depending on how much build-up of asphalt, you could pop a pretty good wheelie. For all you non-bikers out there, this is riding your bike with the back wheel touching the ground, and the front wheel in the air. And if you were going fast enough, you just might be able to jump over the driveway completely.

As I spied one particularly large “ramp” I decided to gun it at full speed, hoping to become airborne and clear the driveway. The first wheel made an impact and lifted straight up as planned. Not planned, was the second wheel hitting and also going straight up. Just like in one of those hot wheels loops, I flew up, around and upside-down. Even though it only took a few seconds, the whole ordeal seemed to go in slow motion.

What I can’t explain is how, even though I was in slow motion, I still somehow was able to become physically entangled into the bicycle. I was contorted in to some sort of bike and human pretzel, as gravity took over and I plummeted to the ground. Regardless of the fact that I was half flesh and half metal, elbows and knees seemed to be the only thing that touched the cement.

Laying there motionless, trying to process what just happened, I heard a car pull up to rubber-neck the crash scene. With the contents of my back pack strewn about, my arms and legs scraped, bruised and bleeding, the driver took one at me and said, “You dropped a pencil.” I could hear him laughing to himself, as he drove away.

After finally deciding it was safe to move, I unraveled myself from the bike and checked to see if any of my injuries were serious. Nope, just my ego, and there was no way that I could go to school in this condition. Because I was bleeding, I thought it would be smart to go back home to my mommy and get some Band-Aids for my boo-boos.

The worst part about this whole ordeal, was limping past all of the kids that were headed to school.

Also having to push my bike back home, in what’s known as the walk of shame.

Share a story about a time you got into a fight with your bike.

Bike vs Boy  (Click to Tweet)

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Humorous Life Lessons

Apr 11

Book Update


Book Update

Book Update

It’s so crazy that we are in the final stages of the book and so I thought I would give you an update.


The title of the book is Dishonor. We are still trying to nail down the tag line / sub-title. How to encapsulate the entire story in one small line is a bit of a challenge.

Here are some of the ideas so far:

  1. A soldier’s journey of desertion, confinement, and redemption.
  2. A soldier’s story from desertion to redemption.
  3. One soldier’s story from desertion and confinement to release and redemption.
  4. One soldier’s story from desertion to redemption.

Feel free to comment below which one you like or if you think it should be worded differently.


My editor will be sending me the manuscript sometime this week for me to approve all the edits. This surely is a grueling job for her, since this is my first attempt at writing.

I believe that the book will go back and forth a few times between us unless it is just perfect the first time.

Book Cover

There are four book covers created by Deb Toth, who did such an amazing job. I will be revealing which one will be the winner #soon. There was a preliminary focus group that I sent them to. It has been fun seeing which cover people thought would make the most sense.

My goal, as with any author, is to have it jump out at you and say “Pick me, pick me!”

Of course, my wife’s design idea is more popular than mine, go figure.


One of the exciting parts of having blogged the rough draft is that many people have read the book before it is published. This allows me to ask for endorsements from people that know the story already. I am excited about the input I am receiving and the fact that some of you are willing to attach your name to my story. Thank you in advance to all who have said yes to this.


It seems like the direction we are heading is the self-publishing route. This is still new to me so I am learning as I go. But basically in order to be picked up by a traditional publisher, there are a lot of hoops and hurdles. At this time no one has swooped down to pull me up from anonymity. This is fine by me, after having read a post by writer Jeff Goins just this morning. (Read it here)

There will be electronic formats for those who digest books using technology. There will also be a physical copy printed because, most inmates don’t have access to technology. I wanted to make those who find themselves in this situation can get their hands on a copy.


Last year I attended a conference in Nashville called Launch Out. Sitting in the audience, I watched people speak about the things they were starting or actively doing. It was amazing community of people who came together to engage with each other and support one another. This year the conference is in three locations and it looks like I will be applying to speak in St. Louis. At the same time, I will be launching the book. As I type those words, fear grips me.

So, we will see how that goes. I definitely don’t want to rush it.


I have no idea where all this will lead. It has been at the forefront of my mind to not let this whole thing get ahead of me. In my church life group and also church leadership meetings, I have asked for prayer that I stay focused on the fact that this is not about me. All I want from this whole experience is for, people that need to hear the message of grace, forgiveness and redemption in Christ, to be reached. Even if just one.

In the end, I may have done the things mentioned in the book, but God has clearly made it possible for me to share the story. Too many things have just, “come together” for me to be the driving force.


Your support has been amazing and I appreciate every form of connection you have made with me to letting me know you are right beside me in this journey.

If you haven’t already, please consider subscribing by email. Down the road, if a traditional publisher decides to look at taking this book on, they want to see a large email list. If you are on a computer, there is a banner at the very top of the screen. If you are on mobile, you probably closed the pop-up. It will reappear, if you come back later. Again, thank you in advance.


As Dishonor gets closer to publication, I ask that you continue to pray for people to be reached. For God to use my mess for His message. For the broken to be healed. And for those struggling with the guilt and shame of their past to be released from this bondage, the same way I was. Through recognizing that God’s forgiveness has already been extended, you only need to accept it.

Ephesians 1:7 NLT

He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins.

Book Update (Click to Tweet)

If this is your first time hearing about my true life story and would like to start at the beginning, click the title below.

The Fort Leavenworth Story

Apr 04

Surviving the First Year of Marriage


Surviving the First Year of Marriage

Surviving the First Year of Marriage

They say that the first year of marriage is the hardest. If you can make it through, it’s all downhill from there. This statement might be true, because we definitely had some issues during our first year.

It probably didn’t help that we only knew each other for about five minutes before we tied the knot. This is an exaggeration, but not really. We were engaged for about six months.

After the honeymoon was over, we quickly discovered that we are both first born children, which means we both think we are right even when one of us is wrong.

Because we’d only known each other for a short period of time, there were so many things that we didn’t realize about each other and these quickly manifested themselves as stumbling blocks that we both tripped over. Simple things that most couples do together, were challenges in the beginning.


We had the stereotypical scenarios that everyone faces.

Deciding which way the toilet paper is supposed to hang.

Over the top is the correct way of course.

Or the right way to squeeze toothpaste out of the tube.

Always from the bottom up, leaving no drop of toothpaste behind.

Then there was the Toth vs. Mike argument, in which both of us would say,

“Well, that may be the way YOUR family does it, but MY family does it this way.”

Making the Bed

The first time we made our bed, everything was going fine until it came to the sheets. My wife started tucking the sheets under the mattress. I stared in disbelief and asked, “Are you not doing hospital corners!?!” She replied, “What are those?” Having been in the military, of course I knew the proper way to tuck in the sheets so that that you could bounce a quarter off of them. As I proceeded to show her the right way to make a bed, she said go for it. It was then that I noticed that the top sheet was on the wrong way. My mother taught me to have the decorative side down. That way, when you turned down the sheets, you could see the decoration instead of it being hidden. She watched, and let me do my thing. I still make the bed to this day.

This may be where the phrase, lay in the bed you made, came from.

Grocery Shopping

During our first trip to the grocery store, it seemed like every item that we needed became a discussion. Which spaghetti sauce was the right kind or which items you can buy generic and which ones you never substitute. We had to come to an agreement on every item that we put into the cart. Then when we got up to the checkout lane, something strange happened. My wife just started putting random stuff up there. Now, having bagged groceries before, I knew that there was an order to how everything was supposed to go down the line. So, I took over organizing the items. Once again, she stepped back and let me.

It seemed like a trend was developing here…


The first time my wife did the laundry, I recoiled in horror when my clothes had wrinkles. Didn’t she know that some of the items needed to be taken out of the dryer after five minutes and then hung up to dry, so they would be wrinkle free? Looked like I was going to have to show her how to do that as well. When it comes to which clothes need to be placed in the dryer and which clothes need to be hung out to dry, my wife stated that I am, “Way too frickin’ picky.”

Guess whose job it is to do our laundry? Yep.

Don’t get me wrong, my wife does so much! More than I could possibly list. But, if I had an issue with the way she did something, it quickly became my new job.

My wife is smart.

Conflict Resolution

Trying to listen to and understand each other in the first year takes some serious intentionality. If a new couple has this part figured out, the rest is smooth sailing. We are not perfect but we have a pretty good handle on this now. Not so much at first. Here are some methods that I tried out in the beginning.

The Kicker

We won’t talk about the time I got so frustrated, I walked over to the (EMPTY) car seat, that was sitting near the door, kicked it and broke my toe. I don’t even remember the circumstances but, man was that dumb. Hind sight is 20/20.

The Silent Treatment

On one occasion, in which I can’t recall what I did wrong, my wife refused to talk to me. She avoided conversation altogether and would walk away from me when I approached her. Not sure how to go about rectifying the situation, I had the great idea of playing a song on the stereo. It was the Sound of Silence by Simon and Garfunkel. It was so ridiculous that she couldn’t help but laugh and it seemed to break the ice. If this doesn’t work for you, I apologize in advance. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

It was a lot less painful than the car seat incident.

Just Get Out

While driving in the car probably after a grocery trip, we got into a heated discussion about something. In my frustration and being done with the conversation, I stopped the car in the middle of the road, got out and started walking away. My wife, equally as done with the conversation, switched seats and drove home to our apartment. So I kept walking headed in the direction of the apartment complex. The distance was further than I expected, but I finally got close to the apartment. Then there was the creek, with no way to get across. So, I had to turn around and walk back the way I came. It was just then that it started to rain. When I made it back to where I got out of the car, my wife pulled up. I was gone so long, that she started to worry and came back to find me. Thank goodness!


Eventually, I wondered if the problems we were having, had something to do with me. There was no way that it was my wife, for she is perfect in every way. It seemed as if there had to be a better way to go about this marriage thing. I heard Dave Ramsey say, “If you want to be smart, you do what smart people do.” So I thought, if I want to stay married I should do what successfully married people do.

The best place for me to get that information was from books. So, I began to read marriage books. As I read, I realized that what we experienced was typical and that smarter people than me had it all figured out. I didn’t think we needed any counseling, but more of just a guidebook or a game plan.

Like I mentioned before, we are no where near perfect (Facebook lies) but I feel like researching the experts took us to a different level. If you want to start somewhere, reading a book is a great place.

Out of all of the marriage books I read, here are my top three recommendations.

Love and Respect – Dr. Emerson Eggerichs

     This book talks about the difference between a woman needing to feel loved and a man needing to feel respected. It is an eye opener in how different we are from each other and how to sort through that. It also discusses the “crazy cycle” which you need to hear about.

For Men Only and For Women Only – Shaunti and Jeff Feldhahn

     These are actually two books, but they go together. They are loosely based on the previous book, but the authors use polled research from real people to get answers that are game changers. I suggest each couple read both of them. I have been recommending these books, non-stop since I first picked them up years ago. But after you read them, please resist the urge to say, “Remember what it said in the book?” You are going to want to and it doesn’t go over well. Speaking for a friend.

Confessions of A Terrible Husband  – Nick Pavlidis

     Lessons learned from a lumpy couch. Nick is very transparent on his marital shortcomings and what he did to make the necessary changes to turn things around for himself, his wife and his children. It is a funny book and a quick read. And Nick is a great guy.

What challenges did you face in the first year of marriage?

Share in the comments below.

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