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