Feb 12

Fifth Pocket and Scarred for Life

Pocket

Fifth Pocket and Scarred for Life

On most pairs of jeans there are five pockets.

Two located on the back, two in the front and then that little one that you usually find nestled inside the right front pocket. I never really understood what that little pocket was for but when I saw what she did, I was scarred for life.

Boys vs. Girls

Now most boys in the fourth grade think girls are gross and I’m sure the feeling is mutual. This may not be true for everyone, but when I was that age, this was a reality. When I say gross, it really means that boys don’t understand girls. They usually just dismiss them to continue doing boy stuff.

Many men never outgrow this stage of life.

There is hope though, because people write books on this topic.

Two Types of People

Anyways, I always say there are two types of people; people who pick their nose and people who lie about picking their nose. However, people who do it in public area mystery to me. It’s impossible to miss when someone is fully engaged in the act. It’s not a graceful task.

In my class there was a girl, lets call her Grace…

The Excavation

Every day, she rooted up in her nose hardcore. She must not have been able to breathe with the ferocity that she engaged her nostrils. Her face contorted in to what looked like excruciating pain. One eye always slammed shut and the other, so wide open, I’m sure she hit her brain with every twist, turn and jab of her finger.

After the extraction, she viewed her treasure for a few moments and then nonchalantly slid the nasal nugget into that tiny, fifth pocket on her jeans. You could tell she was putting it there because she dug her heels into the ground, jerked her head in reverse and lifted her hind end off the seat in sort of an instantaneous rigormortis. I’m sure it was to release the tension that it took to get that pocket open.

This went on for what seemed like an eternity. She kept going into her nasal cavities for further excavations like a miner looking for diamonds. For some reason, her actions kept my attention. I just kept watching, wondering if it would ever end.

Eventually the class broke for lunch with recess to follow. The usual, “boys rule, girls drool” type activity ensued and I was able to forget the distracting display that I witnessed in the classroom.

After Lunch

Upon returning to class, we had some sort of lesson that I don’t remember.

I probably don’t remember because as my eyes scanned the classroom, there was Grace…

She was trying to get two fingers at a time into the little pocket. This took some force and it was hard to miss with all the wiggling in her chair. She seemed to be paying attention to the teacher which meant, whatever she was doing was on auto-pilot. Once she got her fingertips in there, she removed them and instantly placed them in her mouth.

Once I realized what happened, my stomach turned, churned, twisted and I became several shades of green with nausea.

She was consuming her mornings work, that she had stored in the fifth pocket.

What was happening?

Why would she do that?

Did she not get enough food for lunch?

Concentrating on what the teacher was saying became impossible, because I couldn’t look away from Grace’s after lunch snack session. I don’t remember what my grades were like in this class but they couldn’t have been good.

To this day, I still have vivid flashbacks of this moment.

Research…

Come to find out, there is scientific evidence that what Grace did is beneficial to your health. I guess the bacteria found in your nose candy can boost your immune system. Read this article to find out > Booger Eating Study

How did they discover this?

Who are they doing this research on?

How in God’s green Earth do you get someone to apply for this?

Maybe Grace’s habit put her ahead of her time?

But no. Just, no.

I don’t know what you think, but I am convinced, this was not the intended use for that little pocket.

Tell me about a time you saw something that you can’t unsee.

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Feb 05

My Fear of the Dark

Dark

My Fear of the Dark

I’m not sure how it starts, this fear of the dark.

We all have some form of it, causing our minds to play tricks on us.

What lurks in the shadows of the basement?

What will I find if I open the closet?

Did anyone else hear that noise?

Why is it that we always turn on a light when we enter a room? More importantly, why is it when we turn off a light, we get goosebumps. Our neck, shoulders and ears tingle with a sixth sense as our fight or flight reflex kicks in. Then we run…

Or is this just me?

Safe Childhood

It’s hard to remember when or why I began to fear the dark. But, I do remember distinctly being afraid. My parents were selective about what we watched on television when we were young so it couldn’t have been a horror show. We never went on any camping trips so it couldn’t have been campfire ghost stories. The books we read were pretty safe so it couldn’t have been that either.

Maybe it was just a natural fear of the unknown. Not being able to see in the dark and allowing our imagination to run wild. The creative mind of a child is a wonderful thing but it can also be the worst enemy. I definitely let mine get out of control.

The System

To conquer my fear, or at least to keep it at bay, I had a system.

For instance, if I had to go upstairs while everyone was downstairs, turning on the light was the first order of business. Doing whatever I needed to while basking in the glow of every incandescent bulb that I could switch on, was the easy part. To get back down, I would switch off each light until I got to the very last one.

As I put my finger on the cool plastic of the final switch, my heart beat out of my chest. My breaths began to fire in rapid succession as I leaned forward on the top step. This usually created a creaking noise which was a telltale sign that there had to be someone or something else up there with me…

Taking a deep breath, I channeled all of my inner strength to prepare for what came next. If I could get to the bottom of the stairs before the count of ten, I was sure to outrun whatever would come out of the darkness to suck me into the abyss, never to be seen again.

Ten seconds being the universal get-a-way time for everything of course.

With the flip of the switch, I became immediately engulfed in the pitch darkness which also activated the ten-second timer, as well as my anxiety. With every fiber of my being, and the grace of a Ninja assassin, in one leap I catapulted myself from the top stair, skipping every step down to the first landing in attack position.

In my mind that’s how it looked.

In reality I looked more like a drunk orangutan falling off a trapeze wire.

With nine more seconds to go, I flung myself down the rest of the steps to the first level. Splattering into the wall at the bottom of the stairs, similar to a bug hitting a windshield at seventy-five miles per hour.

With eight seconds to spare, I had escaped certain death once again.

Role Model

My youngest daughter is plagued by this irrational fear of the dark. As an adult having completely grown out of this phase, I get to be an example and show her that there is no reason to be afraid.

I know there is nothing in the dark, I know there is nothing in the dark…

Then why does my neck still prickle when I flip the switch?

Wait, did you hear that..?

Share your biggest fear in the comments below. Let me know if you have conquered it.

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Jan 29

An Arresting Adventure

Adventure

An Arresting Adventure

My wife and I dated for a very short period of time before we tied the knot.

During this courting period, we tried to spend as much time together as possible. It was an adventure for sure.

Yes, it was that kind of love that makes everyone sick.

You know, because we still liked each other.

When Lindsay watches old videos of our honeymoon, she says that we hardly knew each other. This may be true, but I feel like you don’t necessarily have to know each other well, to know that you’re right for each other.

However, I may have tested our relationship with some of the great choices I’ve made.

Checkered Past

Before I get into that, I must explain, I have a bit of a checkered past. Lindsay knew this about me but accepted me anyways. She was able to see past my history, to know that it wasn’t going to be my destiny.

Or should I say OUR destiny.

You see, I spent three years in the US Army’s prison at Ft. Leavenworth Kansas, and it had been about six or seven years since my release back into the free world.

Well, I had the great idea of driving down there since it was only a three hour drive from Omaha. We could have each others undivided attention and I was curious to see the prison again, from the outside. It was an over 150 year old historical building and Lindsay seemed to be interested in the trip.

Road Trip

So, we got in my Civic and jumped on the interstate in the direction of Kansas. I don’t remember much of our conversation on the way down there, because I was enamored by my future wife’s beauty. I’m sure, much of the trip was spent on trying to get her to like my kind of music in the role of driving DJ.

My six CD changer worked on overdrive, shuffling songs by some of my favorite bands. Depeche Mode, The Cure, The Smiths, New Order and Sisters of Mercy. An assortment of New Wave and Goth selections that prompted me to belt out lyrics.

If you’ve ever heard me sing, which you haven’t, you know that the fact that she is still with me is a miracle.

Today, when I ask her if she likes a particular song in these genres, she will reply, “It reminds me of you…”

This is wife for, I hate this song but I still love you.

Back to the trip…

As we got closer to the Army post, we encountered a billboard with the Monopoly, get-out-of-jail-free-guy on it that read, “Visit historic Leavenworth.” We both laughed. It seemed pretty comical especially since there are five prisons there.

Historic View

Adventure

Ft. Leavenworth Prison

Pulling into Ft. Leavenworth, we got out the map to find the confinement facility and were able to drive right up to it. It’s an ominous sight to say the least.

One thing for sure is that I never want to step foot inside ever again.

To the west of the prison I spied a parking lot that seemed like it would give us a great view, so I drove in and parked. We both got out of the car and stood staring at the ancient facility in awe. From our position, we couldn’t see any inmates, just brick walls, guard towers and the main structure known as the castle.

There was a huge metal door at the west gate that was large enough to let vehicles inside the prison. As we stood there, a truck pulled up and the door began to slide open.

This struck me as interesting and so I grabbed my VHS-C camcorder out of the car and started to record the event. After the truck entered, I panned across the entire prison complex from one side to the other.

Dumb Tourists

All of a sudden, I heard a voice shouting in our direction, “Hey, you! Stop what you’re doing!”

Looking towards the voice, a soldier was moving quickly toward us with a hand-held radio in one hand, waving at us with the other. When he approached us he announced, “You are not supposed to record video of the prison.”

I told him that we were sorry, I didn’t know about this rule and that we would just be on our way.

He shot back with, “No, please do not move, I called the Military Police.”

This was not the adventure I planned.

As I looked over at Lindsay with sincere apology in my eyes, she looked back at me with sheer terror, having not moved an inch since we were approached.

We complied with the request and waited for the cops to show up.

Quick Thinking

In a moment of quick thinking and with a great deal of stealth, I rewound the VHS-C tape to the beginning, aimed the camcorder at the ground and began recording over the prison footage. The detaining soldier never noticed.

A military vehicle pulled into the parking lot and another soldier got out of the car. He had an armband covering his bicep with the two letters, MP boldly embroidered on it. He was intimidatingly polite while asking us some questions.

We played the innocent tourist role. While profusely apologizing for my ignorance of this no recording policy, my goal was to never reveal that I had spent time inside the prison. One could imagine the conspiracy of a former inmate, recording the opening and closing of the gate.

He seemed to buy it. However he told me, “I am going to have to confiscate the tape.” With having erased the recording, I gladly handed it over. The MP mentioned that if nothing was found on the tape, he would mail it back to me and so he needed my address…

Crap! Now they will surely find out I once lived behind those walls!

After writing down my address, he issued a proclamation that I had heard years before and never thought I would have to hear again, “You are free to go.”

The Ride Back

During the ride back to Omaha, our conversation was a little less energetic, what with escaping arrest and all.

Since my goal was not to have us intentionally get arrested, and she found me so irresistible, Lindsay forgave me for this little SNAFU.

Little did she know that marrying me would lead to a life of similar adventures.

Adventure

Another Adventure

Even More Adventures

Epilogue:

A couple of weeks later, I received a package from the Ft. Leavenworth Military Police.

Enclosed was the confiscated tape and no one ever showed up to question me any further.

Crisis averted.

Share in the comments, a time in which you tried to impress your significant other, that backfired…

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Jan 22

Crappy Day in the Library

Library

Crappy Day in the Library

Grade school had its challenges for most people, but for me, it was especially difficult. My level of awkwardness out-shown all of the other students.

It seemed as if there were only two or three kids at a time that were willing to associate themselves with me or call me their friend.

This was fine by me because I didn’t quite get most people anyway. Girls especially, were completely foreign to me. In fact, I can’t remember one even talking to me, much less coming within a ten-foot radius.

Nerd, dork, geek, spaz or Neo-Maxi-Zoom-Dweebie (shout out to the Breakfast Club) could be any of the labels used for my kind of individuality.

The Library

I remember, one particularly special day in the fourth or fifth grade. My class filed down to the school library.

As we entered through the door, we were greeted by the librarian. She was also the chief silence enforcer. As we passed by the counter where she stood, we were very careful to not even move the air, in fear that it would make a sound.

This was by far, the best part of school for me.

Ah, the library, my sanctuary. Where labels and awkwardness didn’t apply, because we were all on the same quest together in a thirst for knowledge.

It was a place where you can be anyone, do anything, dream the impossible dream, punch fear in the face, find courage strength or purpose, and yes, where fantasy and reality blur, with just a few quick flips of some pages in moments that last forever. You could be found, lost or disappear forever. Famous or infamous, but most of all limitless…

The sheer volume of books was always pleasantly overwhelming.

Favorite Section

I decided to head back to the science fiction section, because it was less crowded of course. Sliding my fingers across the spines of every book on the shelf, I stumbled across a Star Trek novel on the bottom shelf. This was probably my favorite TV show, so this book had to be good.

Now please don’t get bent out of shape, I love Star Wars just as much as I love Star Trek. The galaxy is big enough for both. How awesome would it be if someone were to combine both worlds into a movie!

Anyway, while thumbing through the book, something terrible began to happen. A sharp pain hit me in the gut and some terrible churning in my stomach notified me that I had to “pass gas.” We weren’t allowed to say fart in our household.

Silent but Deadly

No… Not in the library… Usually, you could hear a pin drop.

What would happen if I let this thing fly loose in here?

The echo alone would make papers ruffle, magazines slide off the rack and knock books out of their Dewey decimal aligned positions on the shelves. It could be similar to a nuclear aftershock.

This would all point back to the kid back in the science fiction section, forever immortalizing me, as the boy who blew up the library.

Unluckily, it slipped out uncontrollably…

Luckily, it was somewhat silent…

No one would ever be the wiser.

The Smell

As I started back into the book, a smell worse than raw sewage began to permeate my nostrils.

Was that coming from me?

It was… I had to make an escape.

If this gas were visible, I’m sure that a huge green mushroom cloud would be hitting the ceiling above my head at this moment.

Looking to the left and to the right to see which way I should go, I noticed a girl from my class headed right towards me. I froze, staring at the books in front of me.

Just like a Romulan space ship, I tried to summon my cloak of invisibility in hopes that she would pass by me without noticing anything.

Or if I used the Force, I could convince her that, “This is not the direction you want to go…”

As she got closer to me, the smell got worse.

Collateral Damage

When the girl started to pass by me and hit the cloud of stench, her innocent smile changed to something akin to being hit in the face with a two-by-four or being sprayed in the face by a skunk, or both.

She emitted a shriek and then a very loud, “Eeeeeewwwww!”

As she tried to get as far away from me as possible; her stride had a wobble in it. She resembled someone making a bathroom trip in the middle of the night after taking Nyquil.

I thought to myself, I hope she makes it. Should somebody call 911?

I HAD to get out of the library.

Surprise

Needing to replace the novel I was holding, I squatted quickly to put it on the bottom shelf where I found it, only to be met with a cold slimy sensation on my rear end. Immediately, I jumped back up to my feet after realizing that I in fact, did not pass gas.

I crapped my pants and it was diarrhea.

Before anyone else walked by, or the girl who had been accosted by my stench came to from her toxic stupor, I shuffled over to the librarian, asked for a bathroom pass and made my exit.

Once in the bathroom and securely in a stall, I surveyed the damage.

Yep, there was no saving the underwear. After stripping down I disposed of the carnage. May God have mercy on the soul who had to take out the garbage that day.

Maybe the janitorial staff had a HAZMAT suit in their supply closet.

Using toilet paper I tried to clean up my pants from the back-blast as best as I could. It was suspect if they would survive once I got home.

Mommy

My next move was to get to the main office and call my mom. Informing her of the natural disaster I had caused, I let her know that she needed to come get me right away. She assured me that she was on her way and would be there as soon as possible.

What I really needed was her to lock on to my signal and transport me home.

Beam me up, Mommy…

It was already the end of the day. School let out and the mass exodus of the student body began. Because this was the day and age of no cell phones, my mother assumed that I would be coming out.

I assumed that she would be coming in…

Standing against the wall near the office, I watched as every last student exited the building. They strangely circumvented me, as the fumes I was still radiating, created a protective barrier for me.

Eventually, I figured out that my family had to be waiting for me in the parking lot. So I made my way out to our Volkswagen Bug. Normally while riding in the car, my siblings and I fought over backseat real estate.

Today, I had all the space I needed, as my siblings slid to the other side of the car. They clung to each other for their own protection.

As far as going back to the library…

So much for labels and awkwardness not applying. At this point, I was never going to show my face or step foot in that place again.

It seemed that, now would probably be a great time to run away to Star Fleet, to boldly go where no man has gone before.

Share your embarrassing moment in the comments below.

Come on, I know you have a story.

They don’t make those hilarious movie scenes from pure imagination.

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Jan 09

Something Told Me Not to Take a Lunch

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.

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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.

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Oct 17

God Showed Me Something Incredible

God

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!

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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.

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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?

Book

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Facebook
Twitter
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

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

Launch

Dishonor

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.

STOP!

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

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New Book Launch Date August 30

Attention!

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!

STOP!

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)