Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Quote by @ChrisBrogan

This is a picture of the PostIt note that was in @rickcaffeinated's work cubicle. I read this when I spoke at Rick's memorial service last night, and many people have asked about it. Be inspired! #LiveLikeRick

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Blogging again, in an attempt to #LiveLikeRick

It has been a long time since I actually "blogged a post" here, but after a recent life-shaking experience, here I am. Last Friday my pal, Rick Stilwell (@rickcaffeinated), passed away suddenly on his way to work. Rick and I worked together for the past three and a half years, which put me in a unique position of being swept into the story of this tragedy very early after the accident, but that's a different story for another time. This is the story about MY STORY and how I suspect it is now changed forever.

A little background: I met Rick in High School. We both were part of a fairly large circle of friends who all had "spiritual conversion" experience around the same time (often together at the same events.) Many of us were involved in the Trinity Baptist Church Youth Group, but also joined up for school and home bible studies, Contemporary Christian concerts, and other wacky antics. That said, Rick was not one of my closest friends back then. I had a couple of "best friends" in that group and didn't need more. Rick wasn't inside my inner circle. When I went away to college I quickly lost touch with all but my couple of "best friends" and that separation grew even greater after college, when I moved to Nashville. I underestimated how special that circle of friends was and later realized how we all pick up with each other right where we left off, regardless of the years that have passed. Some time after I moved back to SC I began blogging and, of course, reconnected with Rick there. Soon an extended circle of old and new friends were all connecting via our blogs. Eventually, FaceBook killed that for many of us, but by then Rick and I had become regular lunch buddies and Rick's enthusiasm for Social Media led me to envision my company needing to start a Social Media program. This led to the opportunity for Rick to come to work with me. 

Technically, Rick worked "for" me. He liked to introduce me to people as his "boss", because he knew how much I hated that. I always liked to say we worked together. However, when your employee is also your friend there needs to be a professional distance, or so I believed, and no possible accusation of favoritism. Perhaps that illusion kept me from realizing that over those three and a half years of working together and going to lunch together and other shared times Rick had silently moved into my inner circle. Something I've only realized in the past couple of days. But I'm only one of MANY people affected by Rick this way, probably be cause Rick didn't have an inner circle. All were welcomed by Rick. His interactions were all sincere and authentic. When the reporter for the State newspaper asked me how Rick was able to be so authentic online and offline, I didn't know how to answer that. But after some thought, I realized that it was was because Rick lived what he believed. Our encounters with Rick were blessed because he was overflowing with the Holy Spirit of God. 

In the aftermath of his death, the #LiveLikeRick Hashtag took off on Twitter and Instagram and elsewhere. People identifying with the desire to be more devoted spouses, parents and friends like Rick had demonstrated being. But how is that done? It's not an overnight change, or radical "conversion experience" that makes someone like that. Is a journey. Rick liked to say that our lives were our stories. We are in the midst of our "stories", but our stories can intersect and combine and when that happens new and better stories emerge. Social Media was a vehicle he used to connect his story with countless others. It was a natural extension for someone who was always positive and encouraging and genuine. 

So how am I going to #LiveLikeRick? I'm going to start by opening myself up to more authentic relationships   and no more "inner circles". I'm going to make more of an effort to preserve old friendships and make new ones and then combine them so we can ALL experience that kind of fellowship...Online and offline.

One of Rick's favorite verses was 1 John 1:3, which says:
We saw it, we heard it, and now we're telling you so you can experience it along with us, this experience of communion with the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ. Our motive for writing is simply this: We want you to enjoy this, too. Your joy will double our joy! (from The Message)

Saturday, June 30, 2012

2012 Tour de France Sweepstakes

This year the TDF Sweepstakes is different than in previous years. Unlike the last several years, there are no longer any daily code words, just one code word for the entire race.  The word for the TDF Nissan Ultimate Access Sweepstakes is "COLO". Thanks and good luck. Leave a comment below if you win anything,

An Anonymous Comment was left below that explains the new Sweepstakes rules well: there were 3 trips and an opportunity for 3 entries - each corresponding with a different race - now there is only one left, therefore, only one code word and one time entry.

3.MONTHLY SWEEPSTAKES PERIODS: There are three (3) Monthly Sweepstakes Periods in total. 

Monthly Sweepstakes Period 1 – begins 9:00:00 AM (ET) on April 8, 2012 and ends 11:59:59 PM (ET) on May 1, 2012

 Monthly Sweepstakes Period 2 – begins 12:00:00 AM (ET) on May 2, 2012 and ends 11:59:59 PM (ET) on June 8, 2012

 Monthly Sweepstakes Period 3 – begins 12:00:00 AM (ET) on June 9, 2012 and ends 11:59:59 PM (ET) on August 6, 2012 4.

HOW TO ENTER: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. To enter the Sweepstakes during the Sweepstakes Period, visit (the “Website”), and follow the provided instructions to complete and thereafter submit the entry form, which includes your name, address, telephone number, email address, and date of birth. Next, confirm that you have read and accepted these Official Rules by clicking on the “Submit” button and you will automatically receive one (1) entry (“Entry”) into the applicable Monthly Prize Draw. Limit of one (1) Entry per person or email address per Monthly Sweepstakes Period for a limit of three (3) Entries per person or email address during the Sweepstakes Period. All Entries become the property of Sponsors, and will not be acknowledged. Your Entry must include the correct Codeword to be eligible. The Codeword will be announced during the first fifteen (15) minutes of a specific Cycling Broadcast. The date and time of the specific Cycling Broadcast will be announced on the Website. For a full schedule of NBC Sports cycling broadcasts, go to

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Scuba Diving

Our family recently completed PADI Open Water Diver training and certification. This consisted of some self-study, classroom instruction/testing, confined water dives (pool), and open water dives.  Since we did this in January, our open water dives were in Crystal River, Florida, where we snorkeled with manatees, completed two drift dives in Rainbow River, and two more dives in Weeki Wachi Springs. Grant and Blythe did a fantastic job mastering some very difficult skills.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Tour De France Sweepstakes Update 2011

UPDATED (7/10/11): If you are looking for Tour de France Sweepstakes info, welcome back. This year's sweepstakes has changed to IZOD Race for the Podium . If you know the current stage's code word beofre I get to update this blog, please post them in the comments and I will add them to the list below as soon as possible.

Here's a few tips and observations: The sweepstakes game has typically been time-sensitive, awarding prizes to the person who comes closest to spinning at a predefined (and ever changing) time. You can guess at words, or look at the past code words on this blog (They recycle them well. After all, there are only so many cycling words that make sense.) however, there is a limit to how many entries you can have per email address (technically "per Household"), so don't waist all you turns before the first Rest Day. For all my years of playing, I have only won once, but it was a sweet T-Shirt.

Thanks for checking in and leaving your comments.  If you need to purchase anything from Amazon or any other advertisers, I would appreciate it if you would click through from this site. Vive La Tour!

UPDATE: I've posted another article below for anyone who wants to track the Spot Clean Bottle contest too. Leave your sighting info in the comments. Thanks for the suggestion.

STAGE 1: breakaway
STAGE 2: aerodynamic
STAGE 3: sprint
STAGE 4: peloton
STAGE 5: lead out train
STAGE 6: watts
STAGE 7: speed
STAGE 8: cervelo
STAGE 9: pedal
REST DAY: echelon
STAGE 10: izod
STAGE 11: cadence
STAGE 12: domestique
STAGE 13: feed zone
STAGE 14: team director
STAGE 15: green jersey
REST DAY: podium
STAGE 16: descent
STAGE 17: polka dot jersey
STAGE 18: attack
STAGE 19: switchbacks
STAGE 20: time clock
STAGE 21: paris

THANKS for visiting again this Tour and thanks to those who helped submit code words! Come back next year for your missing code words.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Tour De France 2011- Spot Clean Bottle Mascot Contest

Adding this as at the suggestion of another follower. If you are playing the Spot Clean Bottle Mascot on the side of the road at the Tour de France, please leave a comment below. I will not update the list myself or be able to answer questions, so review the comments below for updates and if you post a sighting please be sure to specify the Stage or Date and exact answer for the contest (ie beginning of the intermediate Sprint, Slope of ______ mountain, Feed Zone, etc.) Thanks in advance for the contributions!

Here's the contest link: Spot Clean Bottle!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Camping on Lake Murray

Last weekend Grant and I went camping on Lake Murray with his Scout Troop.  The boys worked on Water Sports and Canoeing merit badges as well as other advancement requirements.  The weather was questionable going into the weekend, but turned out to be great where we were.  To top it off we had delicious BBQ Chicken for dinner Saturday night.  Here are some of the pics I took:

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Backpacking the Linville Gorge Loop

Last weekend my friend, Tom Sliker, and I completed a 22 mile backpacking trip around the Linville Gorge Loop.  This hike was written up in Backpacker Magazine last year, much to the chagrin of those who frequent the Gorge.  It was rugged terrain, described as appropriate only for the "fit & adventurous".  I figure 1 out of 2 ain't bad.  However, about halfway into the trip I felt much less adventurous.  This time of year was a good time to go, as the wildflowers were in bloom, the weather was comfortable and there wasn't too bad of a crowd.  Linville is near Morganton, NC (which is kind of between Boone and Hickory). I used to go rock climbing here in my younger days, scaling routes on NC's Table Rock and in the Gorge, but this was my first backpacking trip here.  Here's the play-by play:

Day 1: (6 miles)
We started Friday morning parking at Wolf Pit Road Trail head (near the southeast end of the gorge.) We climbed the trail to Shortoff Mountain for our first glimpse into the Gorge.  from here we hiked along or around the East rim for about 6 miles.  The upper rim was spectacular and, although difficult, well worth the effort.  Water was much more available than we had been led to believe, but possibly because of rain earlier in the week. We camped in an area called the Chimneys under a huge overhanging rock.  I was able to use some knot-tying/rock-climbing skills to suspend my Hennessey Hammock under the rock overhang in the absence of trees.  Because this campsite was along the rim of the gorge, it was too windy to safely have a campfire, but we enjoyed incredible views as the sun set. 

Day 2: (10 miles)
We packed and left camp around 8:30am and headed toward the Table Rock parking area.  This is NC's Table Rock in case you're confused.  There are clean privies here and garbage cans, so it was a nice resting spot. From here we began our descent into the gorge via the Little Table Rock trail, which was brutal for about an hour, but then became almost boring, once it connected to the Spence Ridge Trail.  It finally emerged at the Linville River, with one-sided, split-log bridges across.  This is a rocky river, laden with enormous boulders.  Some fishermen were in the river, but apparently without any luck. 

We hiked South along the river the rest of the day.  This section of the trail was poorly maintained, with lots of fallen trees to climb over, rocky footing, up and down sections, and many more hikers than the previous day (probably because it was Saturday).  We were hoping to camp at Daffodil Flats, an old homestead campsite, but it was occupied when we arrived, so we proceeded downstream for about another 45 minutes.  We actually passed a couple of other options electing NOT to camp on a sandy riverbank nor at a site where previous "campers" had left dozens of cans of uneaten food (potential critter bait).  we found a respectable site near the end of the river trail.  It needed some clean-up too, but it was nice and we rested well.

Day 3: (6 miles)
Sunday we awoke, ate breakfast and headed out later than planned (around 9am).  We quickly hit a turn in the trail that begins to circumnavigate some private farm land on the valley floor.  Although it was supposed to be marked with blue blazes, it was almost vertical and the blazes disappeared quickly.  At one point we missed a turn and found ourselves lost for about 15 minutes.  We were less than 50 yards away from the trail, but the terrain was so rugged it took us a while just to get back on trail.  With course corrected we headed around the Gorge and back towards the Linville River.  This loop trail "fords" the river (which was actually one of the things that drew us to this hike.)  Conditions were safe enough and we took turns crossing.  NOTE: always unbuckle your pack and try to use a walking stick when crossing a river.  This river was slightly higher than knee deep at the deepest point and the current was gentle.  After taking a break to dry off and snack we began the climb back out of the gorge, via the Mountains to Sea Trail.  We gradually made our way back to the car at Wolf Pitt Road and headed. home.

If you are interested in a shorter trip, I recommend parking at the Table Rock parking area and camping nearby.  There are many great day hikes available from that area, but I suggest climbing the back side of Table Rock (via trails), and hiking out to the Chimneys, Rock Peak, or even Shortoff Mountain.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Moving Day

I have not been blogging much over the past six months due to a very busy home building project. We were scheduled to move in Monday of this week, but due to the snow storm we got delayed until tomorrow. We have been extremely blessed to be able to live with my parents while between homes and I think we will always remember that special chapter of our lives. However, we're also excited to finally move into our dream home and begin this new chapter. Come see us.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Happy Snow Day

We were scheduled to move into our new house today, but had to postpone thanks to THIS guy.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

While passing through Greenville...

Paul "Ferdlings" Reaves demonstrates how to do "girl pushups" ... almost. Keep working at it, Paul.