The beginning
Shady hillside in Okaloosa County, FL

The beginning

I was born at General Hospital in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. When I was almost four, my family moved to the small town where I have lived ever since. Early in my schooling, I was diagnosed with ADHD. I spent the next several years taking medication for this condition, which I still have. But my chilhood was nothing spectacular, and I thought that I had no troubles.

I also thought that I didn't need anything I didn't have. When someone asked me, while I was attending high school, whether I had been saved, I told him I'd never been lost. After I graduated, I drifted. I took some classes at one of the area community colleges. I looked into starting my own business. I discovered that something was missing from my life.

My girlfriend had dumped me, I had no job, and my life had no purpose. I was living a sad existence devoted to trying to please myself. And I wasn't happy, even when I got what I wanted. I was dying. I was realizing that I was lost and had been since I was able to make my own decisions. Over the fall months, Jesus slowly turned my heart toward Him.

One night, I told God I couldn't go on without Him. I gave my heart to Jesus.

I didn't do this at a revival or have a great emotional experience. I just sat in my bathroom alone with God and quietly settled that my life belonged to Him. I am alive today because I made that choice. If I had rejected God then, I would not have become what I am today. I would have gone further and further into destructive habits until I destroyed all of my purity and ultimately my life.

Because I accepted Jesus, I am alive today. What is more, I am a new man. I still have many selfish impulses, and I still struggle with the consequences of the things I've done, but I am not the same person I was in 1996 when I accepted Christ. I would not trust a man like what I was then with anything I valued. Today, I am a new creation. Jesus the Christ made the difference.

The journeys of a new creation

You can read more about these things in the appropriate sections (e.g., Business for my career path, Places for the overseas missions), but in brief, since I accepted Christ as my savior, I have been many places and had many experiences.

Around the time I finished my confirmation process, I told my mother that I was trying to figure out whether I should go into the mission field for a few years and then try to start my career, or if I should work for a few years and then start my mission service. This was not something my church imposed on me but something I felt I needed to do. My mother responded that I didn't have to choose between them, because there were opportunities available to do short-term missions. I was delighted.

I found a church nearby that was putting together a team to Costa Rica, and I joined their team. The team spent around a week in Santa Cruz, Costa Rica, helping to construct a parsonage, building relationships with the local people, and teaching a VBS for the kids.

When I came back from that trip, I started college. My second semester in, though, I caught pneumonia and missed so many classes that I couldn't finish the semester. And being out of the routine so long, I didn't go back the following term. Instead, I looked for work. I attended a job fair and impressed the manager of a shoe store that was starting a new branch in Mary Esther. I went to work for them for about eight months.

Over Christmas vacation in 1999, I went with a team to North Carolina to help with disaster recovery after Hurricane Floyd.

In 2000, a man in my church who was a great mentor to me nominated me for a scholarship at his service organization. After receiving the scholarship, I returned to college and earned my associate's degree, graduating in 2002. Before my diploma arrived in the mail (I opted not to attend a graduation ceremony, feeling that an AA is a good place to pause but not a significant milestone), I was on a plane bound for Poland. See more information about that trip in the Poland Section.

When I returned to the States in June, 2003, I thought I would spend a significant amount of time traveling and talking about my mission experience. But I got very few requests to speak and a blank spot on my resume, so when Hurricane Isabel hit the East Coast in September, I decided to go back to North Carolina to help. This time, while others did the disaster recovery, I helped one of the relief organizations (which had been helping since Floyd, and had started transitioning to relief work beyond disasters) build a database to coordinate volunteers and those in need.

In 2004, I was a housesitter for six mont hs, and then I worked for a consignment company building a database for them to track their auctions.

In mid-2005, I decided to go back to college for my BA, and I needed a new laptop for classes, since I'd left my old one with the pastor when I left Poland. So, I worked for a big box retailer as a cashier over the summer.

I planned to become a math teacher in the public school system, and the University of North Florida had one of the best mathematics programs around, so I went there. However, in my first semester, I took introduction to education and realized that teaching in the public schools wasn't going to be a career choice I could follow for very long.

But UNF also had a good journalism program, so I changed my major to Communications with a focus in Journalism. As the summer of 2006 approached, I decided that I didn't need to be in Jacksonville when there was another good school just down the road from my hometown, so I transferred to the University of West Florida.

I set up an internship at a local newspaper to occupy me during the summer and enrolled in classes for the fall term.

In the spring, I applied for a job at the university paper and was hired as a copy editor. I also spent time as a reporter for my reporting class, as well as the webmaster of the paper's online version.

But as graduation approached, I felt pulled in another direction. I started a Web design business to help churches improve their stewardship of online resources and worked at that for almost two years.

While a family illness and other circumstances prevented me from giving the business the attention I felt it deserved, the market wasn't showing the interest I'd hoped, and the economic downturn made improvement on that front unlikely, so in August of 2010, I closed my Web design business.

I was out of work for almost a year, and I'm sorry to say that apart from a two-week mission trip to Poland, I didn't accomplish much during this period beyond job hunting activities.

But in August of 2011, I was rehired by the retail store to help them with a remodel. I enjoyed that work and felt good, and when the remodel was over, they invited me to stay on as a sales associate. I enjoyed that work, too, but the store put me on variable shifts, which I was no longer able to cope with as I had been in my youth. I began to have trouble sleeping and maintaining a healthy weight, so I quit.

In March of 2012, I finished a long hard look at myself and decided that I'd been happiest, throughout my career, when I was teaching. As a Footwear Specialist, an instructor in Poland, a copy editor (teaching reporters), and as a sales associate teaching customers about electronics, I'd been teaching in most of my jobs, and it was the part of each job I liked the best. I enjoy helping people understand things. But I knew that I couldn't be happy with the combination of low pay, high stress, and low respect that sadly accompanies most school-system teaching positions.

So, I started my own company offering private instruction.

At the end of July, 2015, I decided (in part because of slow revenue from my instruction business) to start a campaign on Patreon.com, writing articles and making songs, videos, and other works of art.

A Traveling Companion

In late 2015, I met an intriguing woman. In June, 2016, I asked her to be my girlfriend, and she accepted me.

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This page was last updated on 2016.7.8b.