Yearly Archives:

2011

A text from the past

PART 2

Obviously all of you saw the post yesterday.

I’ll give a recap. A girl from my past got my number and texted me that I knew had bad intentions for the reason she wanted to reconnect. After screwing up prior relationships because I allowed girls with bad intentions into my life, I have become very defensive when I feel like one is knocking at the door. My defense mechanism is to do whatever I can to make the girl go away, and run in the other direction.

Today My Past texted me again. Its pretty amazing how God can work through things that we can sometimes see as insignificant. It’s amazing how he can quickly flip bad situations into good. Yes both the anonymous girl and I could have handled the whole situation better, but that’s the whole point! I could’ve handled it better  and so could she,  but at the end of the day God got the glory. An imperfect situation made perfect. Haha thats pretty amazing.

With a new year only hours away everyone is on the verge of a fresh start. Maybe you don’t know where to start. Read the text messages below and maybe they will help you. I guess a fresh start begins with realizing you are worth something, it starts with self respect.  To women that might be in this anonymous girls situation please read what she says carefully, it might help you find your starting line to 2012. Happy New Years.

A text from my past

*This post is not meant to demean or humiliate anyone, This post is written to show how sometimes you have to be blunt and up front with your past. Sometimes you have to tell it “No go away!” Sometimes you have to be downright rude.*

My past has many forms. But the most tempting form  comes in that of a woman. My Past takes this curvy shape because it knows this is the easiest way to lure me back from what I have escaped. Every now and then my past comes knocking and says, “Let me in Baron. All I wanna do is watch a movie.”  But lets be honest, My Past and I both know what ‘watch a movie’ means. The minute the lights go off and the movie begins to play, temptation once again sweeps me way. Clothes begin to fly, and My Past and I are doing everything but watching the movie like we planned. Once again I’ve failed. Once again I am back to the old me. Why did I let My Past through my front door again? I should have known better. I should have learned from last time. Next time I’ll do better. Maybe next time I’ll simply be mean to her, and tell her to go away. When will My past come knocking?

Sometimes your past comes back to haunt you. In my case today she texted me. I’ve grown a lot over the past 5 years and when I look back I thank God for all the traps that he saved me from, when in all reality I would have walked face first into them. I don’t regret many things about my past but one thing that I do regret is how I treated women. Today I got a text from a number that I didn’t have saved in my phone. Its weird when I gets texts from numbers that I don’t have saved because it almost always means that someone gave out my number (this makes me angry) , so whenever this happens I tend to be kind of a jerk especially if they don’t immediately let me know who it is.

Today an old college flame from my past got my number from someone and tried to reconnect. Keep in mind I responded to half of these texts thinking that a friend was messing with me or something. She never told me her name and I still don’t know who she is. The thing is, I’m a much different person than I was 5 years ago. I guess its only fitting that this happened right as a new year is on the horizon. The text conversation below is real, and  is from a girl I hooked up with my freshman year in college. But this post isn’t about this particular girl. The post is about what this girl represented and presented to me. This post is about My Past demons of my own creation and how I deal with them and why.  I’m not sure who she is (yes I know thats awful, but thats how I was). The thing I want to emphasize is that sometimes your past creeps up on you and unexpectedly knocks whispering through the crack in the door, “let me in….you know you wanna…I know the real you.”

“Wanna watch a movie?”

Sometimes you cant be nice to your past and invite it through the front door. You either open the door and let it in, or lock the deadbolt. I think the main thing I want to convey with this post is that being nice isn’t always ok, you’ll see that in the text messages below. I want to be a good husband and father in the future, and women are a huge temptation for me just like they are for other men. I haven’t always been a good guy, but I want to be a good guy now. I feel  the reason many people go back to their past is because they refuse to be mean to it, they refuse to simply tell it, “No I’ve changed, I’m not the same, and I’m not going back! Go Away”

I dont want to ‘watch a movie’ with you.

Today when my past came knocking I slammed my front door  in her face, before I could smell her perfume. I told her to go away. I was flat out mean, simply because I kew her intentions. Some people will see what I did as mean or rude,  but they dont know the temptation and beauty that My Past holds. They dont know how enticing her perfume is, and the curves of her body. They dont know how hard it is to just ‘watch a movie’ with her.

So I dont let her in. I even call her names if I have to. I just want her to stay away.

I’ve changed a ton since my freshman year in college, and refuse to go back to the Baron I use to be. This conversation was a healthy reminder of how I was, and how much I’ve changed. I guess with each new year you have to change, evolve, grow and mature. Theres no turning back. I guess my goal for this new year is simply to not give anyone a reason to send me a text assuming that I’m still a crappy person like I used to be. To other girls I’ve screwed over. Look…I am really really sorry, but understand I’m not the crappy person you knew, and this coming year I’ll be less crappy than I am now. Don’t come knocking because I wont let you in.

I really don’t want to ‘watch a movie’ with you.

It’s funny how when you tell you past that you’ve changed she grows angry. This is because you have seen her for what she is. You have spotted her intentions and removed her camouflage.  I’m still not sure who this girl is, but whoever you are I’d like to apologize for hurting you back when I was young and dumb. I’d be pissed if I were you also. With that being said, I don’t know who you are and lets keep it that way. I’m not the same person I was, and am not taking steps back Go away. To other women that maybe sympathize with this girl. I sympathize with her as well. Its because of me that she is acting like this. But, just because I sympathize with her doesn’t mean I have to let my guard down, or let her in my front door.  To the women that maybe are like this very girl here. Have respect for yourself, you deserve  better than a guy like I was. Let your past be your past, don’t take steps back. To the men that entertain girls like this. Stop it. Say no. Be a jerk if you have to. Be better than the guy I was. Move forward and never go back.

We all know how hard it is to just ‘watch a movie.’

Happy New Years,
baron

Rehab Update

20 WEEKS POST-OP

Ok so here’s the deal. It’s been 20 weeks since my ACL reconstruction and my knee is feeling fantastic.

I’ve progressed in my drills, and have been cleared to begin cutting. Today was the first day that I actually did explosive type cutting movements that really pertain to playing the position of running back. I was cleared to do my favorite drill today, the speed ladder. I have always loved training using the speed ladder ever since high school, because its great for footwork which is super important for a running back, but its also great cardio. Also the speed ladder effectively simulates real football movements.

I haven’t worn a brace wince the second week after surgery and will go through this entire rehab process without one so I don’t become dependent on one, and can play without one once I get back next year. No running back wants to wear a huge knee brace haha it just makes you look un-athletic! I wasn’t sure how my knee would feel once I started doing explosive cuts, but was really surprised today when it felt completely normal and just like my other knee.

This week in the weight room I’m finally cleared to do full squats which I am excited about because squats are my favorite lift, and will help me get my strength back. If I could give a percent as to where I am at right now, I’d say that I’m about at 80%. The next big step for me is to start jumping again, and I’ll start doing that this week. Just wanted to update everyone on where I’m at in my rehab! Here is a short video of some of the drills I did this morning. Oh and don’t ask me if I’ll play this season. The answer is still no.

O.R.C.B Follow Up

Hey guys and gals! Huge thanks to everyone that got involved with Operation Random Christmas Blessing over the past 13 days!

By people doing something as simple as hitting a button and following me on twitter, we were able to raise $1000 to donate to Phillip and Jenna Knight to help them bring their newly adopted daughter Emme home from Ethiopia. Over the past 13 days I have had some people that initially I thought were being Grinches and Scrooges ask some very interesting questions about Operation Random Christmas Blessing. To be honest some of the questions initially ticked me off, but the more I thought about them I realized that they were legit questions that I need to answer.

One question was, “Why dont you just donate your money and quit trying to use this to publicize and promote yourself?” Of course that question ticked me off because that is the last thing I was trying to do with ORCB. The more I thought about it though, the more I realized that I do need to explain myself. The reason I didn’t just donate the money like I initially wanted to was because I wanted people to be made aware of the very real issue that is going on all over the world, and that is the fact that there are millions of orphaned children that need homes.

Another question I was asked was, “Why are you wasting all this money on helping one family pay for a plane flight? Why not donate to a cause where you can help a larger number of people?” Again, that question initially pissed me off until I thought about the reason why I was doing what I was doing. The answer to that question is one that I think sometimes people easily lose sight of. A lot of people want to change the world but aren’t willing to start with helping make a change an individual persons life. A lot of these ‘world changers’ walk by the homeless and hungry on a daily basis and ignore them, when maybe its those people that will eventually change the world. What if changing the world consists of changing the life of someone who eventually will? Change starts with individuals, just like a journey starts with a step, and a book starts with a word.  This is why I believe in investing in individual lives. But really I’m only doing what so many people have done for me, and that’s simply doing something to help someone else because I’m in the position to do so; a position I wouldn’t be in  if at some point people hadn’t done the same for me.

While O.R.C.B was going on I was able to get to know Beth Cupitt the founder of Give1Save1.com. I asked her if she would write a quick guest blog post for me explaining the need for adoption, which she agreed to! So here is Beth’s post about what she does and the individual lives that she is investing in.

Hey all you Baron Batch fans! I’m joining the ranks this month, too. Baron has given me his blog for the day so I can tell you a little about my blog (Thanks, Baron). Well, I run a little blog called Give1 Save1 and we’ve been working together over the last couple of weeks to raise funds for the Knight family’s adoption.

Give1 Save1 is a blog that raises funds for families adopting from Africa.  Did you know that your average African adoption costs about $30,000? All we ever ask is that if you stumble by, you donate $1. We figure that these families are being obedient to God’s calling for them and are traveling to the other side of the world to bring home their child, and we can support that financially to help them keep their eyes on their mission. I know it’s a recession and everything. I know we just wrapped up Christmas, but I bet you still have $1! The family of the week gets their PayPal button posted on the site for 7 days and all money goes straight to them.

Once every few months we select a charity to bless and that is exactly what we’re doing this week. This week all money donated is going directly to The Mercy House in Kenya. The Mercy House is a place for pregnant teenagers to live, be counseled, learn job skills, receive prenatal care, learn how to care for their infants, and the list goes on and on. They now have six girls in the house and are moms to 4 boys under 4 months of age! It’s a beautiful place that I would love for you to support. You can learn more about them at themercyhousekenya.org and find more ways to support them. And come by www.give1save1.com and subscribe to the mailing list. That way you get notified each Monday when a new adopting family or charity gets the donate button!

Yinz have a Merry Christmas

DIARY 40

I recently completed my 24th rotation around the sun.

Hooray for me! This past year has been quite an eventful one, and looking back has had enough stuff happen to fill up three. I’m getting acclimated to Pittsburgh pretty well and I love it here. The city has such an awesome energy to it. Pittsburgh isn’t flashy or ‘Hollywood’ with bright lights. It’s full of blue-collar middle class people that work hard for what they have and don’t complain. It’s full of my type of people.

It hasn’t been cold up here like all the Pittsburghers or Yinzers as they call themselves forewarned. The diabolical winter that the southern boy from Texas would have to fight to survive is hung over from the winter before, and hasn’t arrived on time. I know at this exact moment all the Yinzers that are reading this are thinking, “Yinz jus’ wait Baron, yinz gon’ freeze your tail off.” No I didn’t misspell that last sentence. That’s how a lot of people here talk. They call it Pittsburghese! It took me a few weeks to get use to the way some people speak up here, but once I could understand them I thought it was pretty dadgum cool. Sometimes I wish I could get away with speaking in Pittsburghese to fit in with everyone, but if I did it people would just call it Ebonics. Yeah it’s not fair I know. Maybe somewhere over the rainbow black people speak in Pittsburghese.  I don’t think I’ll ever know.

With that being said, I love it here and I love the people.

My ACL rehab has flown by.  The first month was hands down the hardest part of rehab, but after that it was a breeze. I guess going through my ankle injury has made this one seem like a cakewalk being that my ankle rehab was a two-year process and this is only 6 months. Since I’m on the back end of the rehab process, I will be fully released in about 2 more months.  I’ve started back cutting and doing actual football movements that pertain to the position that I play, and my knee feels pretty normal compared to my other one.  I feel like I’m getting my speed back, but I’m definitely out of shape when it comes to running but that will come with time.

Even though my knee is feeling great I need to clarify one thing. Lately tons of people have been asking me if I will come back and play this year because my knee is healing so fast. As tempting as it is to attempt my heroic end of the year comeback, being out of shape and all, I don’t think it would be wise. More importantly when you are placed on IR that means you are done for the season. So the answer is no, you will not see me this year. I know this is awful news for some, because so many of you wanted to see me come back for a playoff game and run down and cover a kickoff. I guess you’ll have to wait 8 more months. The good thing about that is 8 months will fly by!

I guess there really wasn’t a point or deep meaning to this post. Really I just wanted to update everyone and let all of you know that I am doing fantastic! I’m doing great. Not just great but greeaaaat, and I’m talkin’ Tony the Tiger great! Christmas is in 2 days, and I’ll be up here in Pittsburgh braving Mr. Diabolical Pittsburgh Winter that has not yet sobered up.  To all my family, friend’s, and awesome people that keep up with my blog, you guys are the best! Ya’ll have a Merry Christmas, and will someone back in Texas please eat some jalapeño poppers for me. Actually I was just informed it’s snowing back home in Texas. I guess the Mr. Diabolical Pittsburgh Winter stopped in Texas to eat jalapeño poppers and Mexican food. I envy him.

Blessings,
Baron

Brian’s Christmas Story

Dear Baron,

I was just recently introduced to your personal blogs from a friend who reads your messages and stories faithfully. After reading a few, I’ve almost become addicted myself. Your stories are very inspiring and encouraging. So much, that I know it encouraged my best friend to go out and show an act of kindness after reading one of your blogs.  You also motivated him enough to start to write and jot down some of his feelings he has been experiencing around this time of year. Christmas is a very special holiday for him and his family and it is because of his Gram and Pap. She passed away this year and this will be the first holiday without her. I know he is feeling a tremendous void but they all are very close and I pray they get through the holiday season okay with keeping his grandparents’ spirit alive!

We actually share this friend in common. He emailed you the other day about him and his coworkers buying gloves and scarves for those in need and distributing them out for Christmas. You recently wrote about him in your latest Christmas message, which made me think I’d like to share Brian’s story with you.

He sent me his family story of Christmas 1999, which made me feel great he thought to share this with me, and I think it’s one to be shared with all. I know it would make his Christmas and he’s someone I consider very near and dear to my heart. Could you share Brian’s story in one of your upcoming Shared Stories for me? I will continue to follow the significance of your messages and spread good deeds. Have a Happy Holiday Season and a blessed New Year Baron!

Brian’s Story:

It’s Christmas Eve 1999. Walking through the front door of *** Craigdell Road, I am instantly overcome with the all too familiar sights and sounds of Christmas Eve at Grams house.  After having already passed the simple white twinkling lights that covered the bushes and windows, for a second it dawns on you just how pretty “simple” can be. As I open the door, that brief moment of thought is suddenly interrupted by what seems to be a chorus of people singing a one-word song by the name of “BUDDDDYYYYY!” With of course a few harmonizing their version called “BRIIII!” At the conclusion of this “performance” I calmly wave hello to everyone and weave my way through the strategically placed chairs that act as a barrier to the living room. Once I complete this difficult 3-step journey, it is then that my attention is immediately drawn to the back wall of the room.

The initial reaction, as it is every year, is complete and total awe. No matter how many times you’ve seen it in the past, for a brief moment, you have no choice but to be taken back by the beauty and perfection of what you’re eyes are locked on.  The silver, mirrored, and crystal ornaments reflect the light of the room onto the surrounding walls behind it. The carefully placed strands of lights behind them illuminate just enough to make every strand of beads and ornament visible. By squinting just enough, the lights become a bit brighter and fuzzier transforming the tree into what seems like a 6-foot kaleidoscope.  As I refocus on the tree, I realize just how much of a process it must have been to place and replace each and every ornament for days and days till Gram reached what she felt was good enough. When it came to Christmas, what we viewed as perfect was what Gram considered average. Grams “perfect” tree was something that Macy’s storefront windows could only ever hope of having. Each and every Christmas, we were lucky enough to walk through the front door only to be greeted with her version of perfect. Impeccable has been the only word I’ve ever thought could even come close to describing my Grams tree to friends, but what I found year in and year out is that no word or picture could ever do it justice.

After I slipped out of my Xmas tree trance, I did what any other 15-year-old boy would do, I thought about how I could sabotage it (insert evil laugh here).  It was at this time that Gram became a mind reader of sorts. Almost simultaneous to my sabotage thoughts came an ear-piercing yell from deep in the pits of the kitchen.  The same woman that created such a beautiful and magical tree with her own two hands was now issuing violent wooden spoon threats to anyone stepping within feet of it. If Parker Brothers ever decided to make a version called CLUE: Grams Edition, the end result would almost always be GRAM, in the LIVING ROOM, with the WOODEN SPOON.  Wanting to enjoy a little more of the evening without being beaten into submission with a cooking utensil, I decided to once again do what any other 15-year-old boy would do. I ceased from tree sabotaging and instead rearranged the Merry Christmas blocks to say the first thing that popped into my head. . . . . Merry Shits seemed easy enough!

After a bit of time had passed it was now time to eat. Everyone took their turn circling the table piling their buns high with ham and what seemed to be an endless choice of deli cheeses. To this day I still believe that other than France, Grams house had the 2nd largest variety of cheese.  Having already snuck two or three deviled eggs earlier I decided that one more couldn’t hurt. Everyone sat scattered throughout the crowded living room alternating between couches, chairs and the occasional floor sitter. Olives were placed on our fingers, because well lets face it, putting olives on our fingers will never get old. Just as everyone was finishing up eating, the most dreaded time of Xmas eve was about to take place. Pappy needed to get up off the couch and into the dining room! Now what was no more than a 10-step walk to most people, for him was a journey that you would think required an evacuation plan designed by FEMA. After hurdling the giant 30lb dog that lay at his feet, then high stepping the legs of the 100lb woman beside him, and spinning around the wooden bench that laid in his path it was obvious he would not be defeated in his quest. He gave a piercing stare through the soul of one of his granddaughters eating the final bite of their cookie as if to almost move them with his mind. He then crossed into the archway of the dining room that gave me flashbacks of Jerome Bettis crossing the goal line. It was at this time that everyone let out a simultaneous sigh as if we just avoided a head on collision on the turnpike.

Once we all had finished up eating it was now time to open gifts. The old familiar routine of Christmas Eve was right on schedule once again. I was able to verify this because of the video of Christmas ’98 watching Christmas ’97 watching Christmas ’96 that was currently playing. It was at that time that I finally realized that re-gifting in this family was pretty much impossible.  There is not very much that has been undocumented throughout the years. I of all people know this too well (girls night out ring a bell?)  Anywayyyyy, with that being said, I choose Christmas Eve ’99 because this is a Christmas that I documented myself. Not with a camera, not with a camcorder, but in my own mind. We had all sat around opening gift after gift, laughing and carrying on. Some were busy trying on new slippers while others scratched away at lottery tickets hoping to be one of the lucky few to win $5. All wrapping paper had been collected into a giant black garbage bag that when full could be mistaken for a whale from SeaWorld. As I sat in the far back left corner of the living room, scratching feverishly at my lottery ticket, the whole room grew silent. As I peered up from my losing scratch off, I was immediately met with the glare of what seemed to be 1000 eyes. Accompanying a few of those sets of eyes were smiles. A sense of confusion, nervousness, and anticipation filled my body as I saw Pappy appear from the dining room holding one more present.

He slowly approached me and handed over the rectangular box with the semi smirk on his face that he often wore. I accepted the gift as my emotions changed from nervousness to excitement in the blink of an eye. I took off the small crate lid on a wooden box that I was sure he made himself. As I removed handfuls of paper shreds I gently reached down with both hands and removed what was inside. As I pulled it out of the box the few smiles in the room prior to that had multiplied, one of those smiles being Pappy’s. What was in the box was the final result of hours and hours of detailed and meticulous work. My Pappy had given me my “first car”. Much like Gramma’s Xmas trees, words could never do justice to the precision that was achieved in creating this wooden masterpiece. From the headlights to the wheels to the bumpers there was not a piece or part on this car that was not cut, trimmed, and sanded to perfection. The rounded edges of the hood and trunk flowed so smoothly. Various types of wood were used to contrast each other and give this 1930’s style convertible car the character Pappy envisioned. As I looked at my new car in awe I glanced up only to have my eyes meet Pappy’s. In that moment it was obvious that every day, hour, and minute spent in the confines of the dark and dusty garage had all become worth it to him. The semi smirk he was once holding had now turned into a full smile that couldn’t even be outdone by the lights on the tree.  He had seen, touched, and felt the car a hundred times before that night, but it was almost if he was seeing it for the first time. He knew that he had done well, and if my faced wasn’t confirmation enough, the ‘’ohhh’s” and “ahhh’s” of the room verified it.  It wasn’t a very long moment and shortly thereafter conversations began to carry on as usual. The box containing the car had been placed on the floor beside me as everyone gathered up their gifts into semi-organized piles. The night carried on as usual with many laughs, jokes, and wooden spoon threats.  Stories and moments can be pulled from each and every Christmas Eve that we’ve spent together. We all have specific events and times that stand out head and shoulders above the rest, and on that night, on that Christmas, I was given a moment that will last forever.  From: Pappy To: Brian

The car now resides in Freeport, New York, far from the production line and original birthplace at W.C. Pappy’s Wood Co. in New Kensington, PA.  It has moved around from shelf to shelf over time, getting the occasional dusting and wipe down “tune up”. It has never been the centerpiece of a room, nor has it ever drawn much attention to outside eyes. The amount of eyes that it has caught is probably similar in number to the miles on the car itself. What was once a light and bright new wooden car, has slowly turned darker in color. The deepening and aging of the wood serves as a reminder of the time that has passed since that Christmas Eve.  That “new car” smell of fresh cut and sanded wood no longer accompanies it, but everything else has held up over time.  With each passing glance, I am taken back to that Christmas Eve and can see the smooth fresh new car just as vivid as that night I pulled it from the box. As it sits on the shelf gathering dust, as most vintage garage kept cars do, it reminds me that much like the cars age and transform year after year, so must we.

Phyllis’s Story

I became a mother at 19. I put my dreams of military life on hold for a Marine I had pinned my hopes on. Early on there were a lot of red flags I ignored. When I was 6 months pregnant, he pushed me down and while he was hitting me all I could do was try to ball up and protect my stomach. And of course when it was all said and done, it was that whole “I’m sorry, I’ll never do it again” type stuff. Of course this went on for 4 more years.

I stayed with a man I thought loved me, who was the father to my children. I put up with so much in the 5 1/2 years we were together, his cheating, his emotional and physical abuse, everything because I wanted our relationship to work and because I valued family life above myself.

One day just right before the Marine Corps Ball, we got into a silly argument, which resulted in him kicking down our front door and him punching me repeatedly. I remember looking up and seeing our two young daughters watching. I remember feeling outside myself, because I softly asked him if he was done because our kids were watching. He stopped, I got up brushed my hair out of my face, smiled to our kids and walked to our bathroom. Where I cried. And thought he almost killed me. Choked me, hit me so hard I felt like passing out. When I walked out and to the front door where he was, he was of course sorry. And had nerve to ask me to go to the store to get the stuff to fix the front door. How could this man ask this of me? But of course, I went any way.

We officially married in 2005 only to divorce not even a year later. He married me for money because in the military you get more pay for dependents. When we were going through our divorce all I could think about was “wow” I put up with so much sacrificed everything for this man only for him to take away the one thing I wanted. A family. All the times he had put his hands on me I never once called the cops on him. All I could do was think of him and how it would ruin his life. He never once thought about our two daughters or me. This was the man I forgave when he lay next to me in our bed and told me how he thought about killing me and even had a place picked out to hide my body. I never told anyone, not even my mother. And still to this day, I haven’t told anyone the whole story.

For years I had accepted that he just didn’t love me anymore. And for years I accepted our daughters didn’t have a father because he chose to cut himself out of their lives too. After everything this man put me through I cried every day, prayed to God to please bring him back that I would change. I was convinced it was I who had the problems and that’s why he cheated and abused me.

It wasn’t until my son was born 2 years after our divorce that I realized something. I was in fact an amazing mother. I was an amazing woman. Here I was an Army veteran and living on my own with three kids now. Making it through life without him. And I was actually happy. Sure it was hard, but it was so nice to come home to a place I had made into a home for us which was safe and no longer had to live in fear of what would happen next.

Some may ask why I never left him, and it was simply because I valued him over myself. I didn’t have enough self worth to finally say enough. I wasn’t strong enough for my daughters to leave. But I am strong now. And I know now just how much I am worth. My kids deserve so much then what I would have given if our relationship never ended. I was scared I couldn’t provide the type of life style he had given the kids, but I have a beautiful home now and my girls have more then I ever thought I could give them. I am a survivor in some ways and I am a hero to two little girls who mean more to me then anyone else ever could.

I hope that from a little piece of my story women who are in a bad relationship will seek the help I was afraid to ask for. To value themselves more then just a punching bag for someone. If he tells you it will never happen again, trust and believe that 99% of the time it will, because then they start to make excuses and blame you for making them so mad. I’m grateful he walked away from our marriage. Because in the end, I know it saved my life.

 

If you would like to email Phyllis here is her email. Thanks for sharing you story Phyllis.
phyllis0705@gmail.com

Merry Christmas

Hey guys and gals! I just wanted to shoot everyone a quick little message letting you all know how much I appreciate you.

I added this part of my site so I can share with you my daily thoughts on certain things. Because you are subscribed to my site you should get a email notification. I thought this would be something cool, being that sometimes I go weeks without writing a full blog post. So if you want to get an email notifying you of some of my random thoughts every now and then, be sure to go and subscribe by putting in your email address in the sidebar.

Anyway the reason I’m writing this is to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and say thank you. Thank you for supporting me and praying for me. Thank you for keeping me accountable. Knowing that I am accountable to all of you definitely makes me think twice about certain situations. This Christmas will be different for me being that I’m not preparing for a college bowl game and will be far away from my family. It’s a blessing to be surrounded by great teammates that make being away from my family on the holidays easy.

I guess I’ll wrap this up. I pray that all of you have a Merry Christmas and my challenge to everyone is this. During this holiday season I dare you to do something randomly nice for someone you don’t know, just because. Someone emailed me the other day and told me that he had went to the dollar store and bought a bunch of gloves and scarves to hand out to the homeless who won’t have a warm place over the holidays. His story made my day, week, and rest of my year. We are blessed to bless. No one can do everything but we can all do something.

Merry Christmas

Blessings,
b

Shared Stories

Ok why did I add this to my site?

Why do I want to encourage everyone to share their story?  Well honestly because stories have tremendous power. Stories are what the greatest teachers in the history of the world  have used to teach since the beginning of time. People learn from stories at childhood. For a long time I was ashamed of mine. I didn’t acknowledge the power that my story held. For years I selfishly held onto my story failing to realize that the only reason God gave it to me was so I could share it with others that need to hear it. I’m not ashamed of my story anymore. Honestly my story is something that I hold dear and value tremendously, simply because its molded me into who I am. Maybe your reading this and thinking “Gosh I don’t have a story to tell.” Or maybe you’re thinking “I’m too ashamed of my story to tell it, and no one cares about it.”  I’ll be the first one to tell you that both of those thoughts are wrong. If you have never told your story I challenge you to do so. Maybe you don’t feel called to tell me, and thats totally ok! But, I challenge you to share your story with someone you think needs to hear it. Stories have power.

In the event that you’d like to share with me, I’d really love to hear from you. This is what you can do. Email me if you are interested in sharing, and keep in mind that we can keep everything anonymous if you’d like. My contact can be found under the “Contact Me” tab!  Shoot me an email, and in the title put “share my story.” Hopefully I hear from you soon! Oh and if you want to read my story I’d love to share it with you. You can read it here! You guys rock!

Blessings,
Baron

 

Operation Random Christmas Blessing

Someone recently asked me what I wanted for Christmas.

This was an especially weird question for me this year. I guess it was a weird question because now I’m in the position financially to buy myself anything that I really want as far as Christmas gifts go. Yeah when I was a broke college kid this was different. When I was in college yeah sure there were tons of things that broke college kids need or want that I’d ask for.

I have never been a person who likes receiving gifts though. I’m always kind of awkward about it simply because….well….I’m not sure why.

I have always loved giving things.

For as cheap as I can be, I love giving presents. The funny thing is I don’t like giving Christmas presents because I hate the idea that people just sit around and wait on a present, or feel entitled to get what they want. This really bugs me about Christmas I guess. Call me Scrooge if you want, because I’ll say, “bah-humbug” all day to that. I do however love giving gifts to random people when they aren’t expecting it. I think there is something so awesome about doing things for people that have no idea it was coming. With that being said this Christmas will be special.

My family has never been big on Christmas gifts. We were always content with simply being around each other. It’s weird because this is the first time in my life that I can actually buy all of my family members something for Christmas. Never in my life have I bought Christmas presents, not because I didn’t want to but because I couldn’t. I guess that’s why I always felt weird about receiving them. I made up my mind that this Christmas would be different. I made my mind up that this Christmas I would go all out with the presents. I decided that everyone I loved would get something awesome.

Over the past few days I have felt super guilty for some reason about doing this. I couldn’t figure out why this was. I couldn’t put my finger on it, and then today I realized the reason.  I guess the idea of buying material things for people that have everything that they need just was heavy on my heart, especially after being over seas doing mission work, and thinking about what the amount of money I would spend on all of my gifts could do for someone else that really needed it. I wanted to do something randomly good for someone else.

So I went online and began to add up the price of everything that I had put in my online shopping carts for all the people I was buying gifts for and wrote down the total. I remember looking at that and thinking “gees” there are people out there that could really use this way more than my family. So I decided that some how I would figure out a way to give that amount away to a random person that I didn’t know that needed it. The tricky part was figuring out who this would be, and how I would do it.

So today I had coffee with a friend and he and his wife are thinking about adopting a child. I started thinking hmmm, maybe I could find a way to give this money to a random couple that’s adopting. Being that adoption isn’t cheap, I realized that it was the perfect idea.  So I had no clue how I would go about finding a random couple that’s adopting to do this for. I remember as I walked home from the coffee shop I was at I said a little prayer, and this is what I said.

“God just please bring a family to me that needs a financial blessing so this all works out.”

I got home and got on my computer and began to check emails and Facebook. Low and behold I had been sent a message from a girl I went to high school with that I haven’t spoke with really since then. I began to read the message and it explained how God had put on her heart a family that is adopting a little girl named Emme from Ethiopia. I just smiled and thought, “God you are too good.”  So then and there I decided that this would be the family.

So here’s the deal. I want to allow all of you to get involved with this Christmas present as well! For the next 12 days until Christmas day I will pledge 25 cents for every new person that follows me on twitter, up until the cutoff amount that I was originally going to spend on my family and friends for Christmas.  And no I’m not going to tell you guys how much that amount was until after Christmas day, so it will kind of be like a Christmas present to all of you as well!  All I will say is that if we meet this goal it’s going to be a huge blessing to an awesome family that I have never met!

Please go read about the Knight Family and their story HERE!!!

Currently I have 14,375 people following me on twitter! So on your mark ,get set, go!!!

Operation Random Christmas Blessing (ORCB) starts now!

To my awesome friends and family that won’t be getting any presents from me, thank you. All of you have helped me realize that love is all you need. Thanks for loving me.

When Ripples Collide

I wrote the post below about 9 months ago on March 27th and it was read over 200,000 times on my blog.

This column quickly went viral, but that was never my intent; I was just telling a story the way it happened. This article was by far the most read I have ever written, but more importantly it was a huge reason why I kept writing in general. Recently I was made aware of a string of teen suicides in my hometown of Midland, Texas. It breaks my heart to hear about young people that saw no other way out. It breaks my heart to imagine thinking that death is an escape. To those families dealing with the loss of a loved one, I am persistently praying for you. Everyone has so much to live for, and everyones life is valuable and precious. I just wanted to repost this column in hopes that it will again create a ripple that touches someone I might not ever meet. That is my hope and prayer. If you are read this and feel like you have no one to talk to, you can always talk to me. Feel free to shoot me an email. This is a story of connectedness. This is a story simply told the way it happened.

When Ripples Collide   3-27-11

Let me start by saying I’m not sure how to convey this story in words. Words don’t do it justice but I’ll try.

Have you ever watched rain fall on a lake? Each raindrop creates its own ripple. When you combine the millions of raindrops and the millions of ripples that each singularly creates, you have a countless number of overlapping ripples that all have an effect on one another. The cool thing about this is that each raindrops ripple has an effect on the other ripples in the lake, even if it’s just in a small way. This is how people operate on a daily basis. We are individual raindrops in a huge lake. Of course each of us has our own ripple, but our lives are primarily made up of other peoples ripples crashing into our own. Many people like to think that our ripples crash randomly into each other without purpose or reason. Maybe that’s true, but then again maybe it’s not true at all. Perhaps I can help you decide. Maybe this story is the result of many ripples just coincidentally crashing into each other. Or maybe each ripple was ordered, measured, weighed, named, and timed perfectly to synchronize with the others to save a life.

The story I am about to tell shows what happens when ripples collide perfectly.

Ripple 1.)

Just about every day someone approaches me and tells me how much they enjoy my writing, this is always humbling because I was never a good writer while I was in school. It’s strange to now be a published writer and have zero writing experience or background. It’s even more insane to get a request to speak to a high school creative writing class! What do I say? “Hi, my name is Baron. I failed English, let me show you my writing skills?”  I’m not really sure how things got to this point where writing is such a huge part of who I am. Maybe it’s all a coincidence. Maybe everything is just random, and this is another one of my crazy hobbies that I have picked up; just like the time I watched the Karate Kid marathon and then researched bonsai trees and decided I needed one. Or maybe there is a reason, maybe there is an order, maybe there could possibly be a plan.

Maybe someone, somewhere, at some time, needed to read something that I would at some point write.

Would it be far-fetched to say that there is a reason you are standing where you are standing at this exact moment and reading these words at this exact time? Would it be far fetched to say that a small decision that you see as pointless or routine could save a life? Perhaps we are all far more connected than anyone can see or comprehend. Maybe one day you will save my life. It’s not as far-fetched as you may think.  Maybe everything is just a coincidence, but maybe its not.

Get on board, buckle up, and lets take a trip.

Ripple 2.)

Back in August I approached the Midland Reporter Telegram and the Lubbock Avalanche Journal about possibly writing a weekly column chronicling my senior year at Texas Tech. After talking with both papers I came to the decision that my column would run every Wednesday. Maybe the fact that we agreed on Wednesday was simply random. What if we would have decided on a Thursday? No biggie right? Would if be far-fetched to say that this would be a life or death decision?

Ripple 3.)

As the season progressed I continued to write every week. However, it became increasingly difficult to write my column especially after a loss. People said that I wasn’t focused and it was hurting the team. There were weeks I told myself that I was just going to quit writing. I rationalized my thinking by telling myself that I should probably just focus all my attention on football, and that writing was distracting me.  It probably wouldn’t have been a big deal if I had missed a week right? Every part of me wanted to quit writing my column. After the Oklahoma State loss I decided I was going to discontinue my column. A friend talked me into continuing my writing by saying “maybe someone needs to hear something you have to say Baron.”  I decided not to stop. I’m glad I didn’t.

This is where ripples collide.

Ripple 4.)

Last Monday I had all 4 of my wisdom teeth removed. It’s not as bad as everyone makes it out to be, so the next day I decided that I wanted to have a steak.  As I was strolling through the meat section of the supermarket directly violating the dentists orders to eat only soft foods, something happened that changed the way I will use the word random.

As I was checking out the price on ribeye steaks an older man came up to me with his hand extended and said, “Your Baron Batch and I just want to shake your hand and say thank you”.

I could tell by the look in his eyes that the handshake meant much more than I imagined. The look in his eyes was different than if he was just a regular Texas Tech fan. The man just continued to shake my hand while staring at me; it started to get awkward the amount of time his hand clung to mine. I thought to myself “gees this guy is acting like I saved his life or something.” Finally he let go of my hand but still didn’t speak a word. Of all the awkward Texas Tech fan moments I have experienced this one had been the most awkward for sure. I got nervous when he prefaced his conversation with “I don’t expect you to respond to what I’m about to tell you”

Ripple 5.)

Finally he released  his grasp and spoke words that I will never forget. This is what he said:

You saved my life. Five months ago I had given up, I was going to end it all.  It was a Wednesday (ripple 2). I felt like I had nothing else to live for. I had my pistol in my lap while I sat at my desk. I had set newspaper out around the floor so I wouldn’t make a mess for whoever found me. I was about to do it. Right before I pulled the trigger I looked down and saw a piece of newspaper that said, “The easiest thing in the world to do is quit.” I put the gun down and started to read more. It was a column that you had written. Your column saved me. Thank you.

I’m glad that he told me that he didn’t expect me to respond because I was speechless. I was in awe. I was stunned. Before I could even think of anything to say back to him he said, “I’m doing much better now. I feel like you just needed to know that you’re making a huge difference.” Then he walked away.

I’m not an emotional person at all but I almost cried in the meat section of the United Supermarket. At that exact moment all of those random coincidences swirled into one beautiful event that made perfect sense.

What if I had chose to have my column run on a Thursday instead of a Wednesday? It would have been a day late. What if I had given up writing my column simply because the season wasn’t going as I wanted? There are hundreds of ripples that if any had been changed would have NOT resulted in the perfect situation for that man to sit the gun down. What if my column had been printed on another page of the newspaper? I was in complete awe, and still am.

I was curious to find out what the exact column the man had read by what he described it said.

Ripple 6.)

This is why I am even more in awe. I went back and found out what column he had read and this is the paragraph he saw.

“The easiest thing in the world to do is quit on something. Quitting takes zero effort. Quitting can even be justified with excuses and legitimate reasons at times. When someone quits at something they can even lie to themselves by saying that what they quit on wasn’t that important. To those people with that mentality this is what I have to say. If it was important enough to start, it is important enough to finish. Don’t quit. Hold on, cling to what is yours until your fingers cramp; and once your fingers cramp switch hands.”

Ripple 7.)

I wrote that column on October 18th after a loss to Oklahoma State in mid October. There are a few reasons why I find it mind blowing that was the column that the man had read.

Ripple 8.)

I wasn’t going to write a column that week. After the Oklahoma State loss I had decided I wasn’t going to write anymore. The reason I wrote about not quitting in my column that week was because I really wanted to quit and never write again. Good thing I didn’t quit.

Ripple 9.)

The other is reason that its mind blowing that was the column that the man read is because of the date it was actually written. When I went back and looked on my blog history, the date I posted that was October 18th. So why is that date important?

Let me tell you why, and I’m getting chills as I write this. October 18th was the date I broke my ankle my freshman year. The reason this date is important to me is because if I wouldn’t have been injured I would have never redshirted, and in result would have only played at Texas Tech for 4 years instead of 5; meaning that this past season for me wouldn’t have existed, and neither would the column I wrote.

Ripple 10.)

In all reality the only reason any of you are reading this right now is simply because I was at the wrong place at the wrong time on October 18th 2006 around 3:30pm  and broke my ankle my freshman year. Or maybe the reason you are reading this is because I was at the perfect place at the perfect time and broke my ankle so that our ripples would collide.

This will be my 25thcolumn and I never would have imagined that it would have morphed into what it has. I never thought I would be known as a writer or be approached to write books. I mean seriously, I was the kid who hated English class and still don’t really enjoy reading.I had to share that story with everyone simply because its blown my mind for the past few days. Maybe it’s all just one humongous coincidence and series of random events that I somehow constructed into a story. Maybe its all luck and chance, maybe you stumbled on this article randomly surfing the web.

Maybe nothing we do matters at all………but…….

what if everything does?

God Bless.

New Zealanders I see you!

Growing up I never went on vacations or traveled.

Hmmm…. Maybe that’s why all I want to do is travel now. If I could take my camera and travel year round I would…..eventually I will. I’ve decided that once a year I’m going to take a vacation to a place that I’ve always wanted to go and see. With that being said I’m interested to hear some of your ideal vacation spots. Actually let me rephrase that. I’m going to go on an overseas adventure once a year, an epic journey. I mean vacation sounds so boring and ‘typical’. When I take a trip it’s going to be the complete opposite of typical.

What are some of your ideal adventure spots? For me I have always wanted to go to New Zealand, maybe it’s the Lord Of The Rings nerd in me, anyways that’s beside the point. I guess it’s always been one of those places that I’ve seen pictures of and always wished I could see in person, plus I’m an out doorsy type person, and I think New Zealand and I would get along great!

Ok now that you know my ideal adventure spot I’m going to go into complete creeper mode. So look over to the right side of my site and you will see a little map that’s lit up. That map tracks my site hits wherever they come from on the globe! Pretty cool right? Of course it is! But more importantly it allows me to creep on people.

I seee you……

But really it’s pretty cool to be able to connect with people from all over the globe through something as simple at my blog! So I immediately noticed when New Zealand lit up on my page view map and got pretty excited, being that it’s where I’m looking at to take this year’s trip. So hey New Zealanders! Can you do me a huge favor? Go to my contact page and shoot me an email or comment on this post, and please pretty pretty please let me know what the best things are to do and see when I come! Also if you are a fellow world traveler like me feel free to message me your suggestions for this years adventure! I’d love to hear ‘em. And for whoever reads my blog in New Zealand and is like hmmm… is he talking to me? Yes I am talking to you haha! Oh and for all the other awesome people that read this in other countries please hit me up because I’d love to visit at some point!

Rehab update

So right now I’m about at 80-90 percent running straight ahead.

The good thing is that after I’m done running I have little to no swelling or discomfort in my knee. In the next 2 weeks my goal is to reach 100 percent, and then I will start cutting. One of the biggest things I’m focusing on now is getting my running form back to normal as I increase my strength in my leg. Today was the first time that I was able to run without a very distinct limp because one leg is weaker. I’m blessed to be able to work with a great training staff, and they are a huge reason why my rehab is coming along so great. Here is a short video of a small part of this morning’s workout.

My Proclamation as a man

DIARY 39

I’ve wanted to write a post on manhood for a while, but have held off mainly because I didn’t want to be a hypocrite.

There’s been childish things that I have failed to lay aside for quite some time, and up until the recent months couldn’t pry myself from. I typically don’t write for specific groups of people, but this post in a way is specifically to males. I’m not going to act like I know everything about manhood because I don’t. In all honesty I’m learning. I’m trying to improve every day. I do think that being a man is a decision, its one that has taken me almost 24 years to make.  It’s a choice that some males never make. I think its something that takes work and never really stops. I think its something that can be said easily, but isn’t always easy to do. I think that manhood is lacking in this world, simply because it’s not seen, practiced, and in many ways valued like it should be. I think many males think manhood always comes with age, and in many cases it does. Boys grow up, and experiences mature us. But, with that being said, there are still 30-year-old males that still play with Legos. There are plenty of adults that don’t understand responsibility. There are plenty of grown children roaming.

I think there comes a time for every male when a decision to grow up and be a man is made, a moment of realization…

A proclamation if you will.

This is mine.

 

Last week while I was shopping, I saw a teenage kid.

He was visibly upset, and threw a temper tantrum fit.

He threw his arms up high, as he yelled loudly at his mom.

My blood began to boil, so I fought to keep my calm.

As I listened in carefully, to the childish display.

I heard their conversation; it seemed familiar in a way.

As his voice rose high, he gestured with his hands.

He said, “Momma chill out,  cause you’ll never understand.”

“Get off my back, cause I’m not a little kid.”

“I know what I’m doing, and I’ll make my own decisions.”

His words were sharp and cutting, just like broken kitchen dishes.

Then he said the words, all boys think they understand.

“Don’t tell me what to do mom, cause I’m a grown ass man.”

The look on his mothers face, was something that I wont forget.

The look was pure heartbreak; it was wrapped and packaged by her kid.

I simply shook my head, but before I walked away.

I gazed into the distance, and a flashback began to play.

 

I’m talking with my uncle; I’m 17 years of age.

Mom recently had passed, and overflowing was my rage.

Rage that no one understood, or at least that’s how I felt.

I wanted to trade my cards in; just re-deal what had been dealt.

But that’s not how life works; it was a hard idea for me to swallow.

I was growing up emotionally, but my actions never followed.

I remember when my uncle, tried to tell me what to do.

I thought I was a man, so I let my words go loose.

I let them leave my lips, like a long awaited kiss.

I knew them to be true, so I knew they wouldn’t miss.

I wanted them to hurt, and be piercing and precise.

I wanted to get my point across, slice like a cutting knife.

So I loudly spoke these words, as I gestured with my hands.

“Don’t tell me what to do, cause  I’m a grown ass man.”

 

Now I’m walking to my class, I’m 19 and I’m in college.

I think I know it all, because Life has scarred me with her knowledge.

I’ve conquered grown man things; and have a championship belt to prove it.

It’s strapped across my prideful heart, so I’ll never ever lose it.

I wear it very proudly, if you ask I’d let you see.

I proclaim myself a man, but my actions don’t agree.

I walk in the classroom late, and I have my headphones in.

I can see the professor’s frustration, but I don’t care I simply grin.

I stroll right past her, as I calmly take my seat.

I remove my headphones, and she says these words to me.

“I’m glad you took your time, and you decided to show up.”

“Did you know that punctuality is a sign that you’re grown up?”

I simply roll my eyes, aggravated by her words.

And inside my childish mind, these are the thoughts that soon occurred  .

“Where does this stupid teacher even get the nerve? ”

“I don’t give a damn what the hell she thinks is grown. ”

“She could never fathom what my life was like at home.”

“She could never overcome, what I had to battle through.”

“Forget her stupid class, and her stupid point of views.”

As the TA begins to hand out the lesson plan.

I murmur words I know better than the back of my own hand.

“This professor here …she can never ever understand!”

“She can’t tell me what to do, cause  I’m a grown ass man.”

 

I’m 21 years old now; I’m dating an amazing girl.

I only give her half of me; she gives me her whole world.

I could have a circus act, with my skill of juggling women.

My conscience tells me not to, but I neglect to ever listen.

Frequent pleading dialogue, God and I would always have .

He simply begged for me to honor the relationships I had .

I said I’d never cheat, because I was better than my father.

But without the proper training, the strongest man will drown in water.

Looking back its clear now, that I was my fathers bullet.

Hitting someone’s heart that never really did deserve it.

A father’s failure, passed down to his unsuspecting son.

Similar to how a fatal bullet, can be tracked back to its gun.

I argue with my conscience, justifying the work of my own guilty hands.

I continuously lie, as I declare to be a man.

Eventually I think I learned, from my own past mistake.

I told myself that in the future, I’d know what it would take.

I told myself the words I knew, like the back of my own hand.

“You know what your doing now, cause you’re a grown ass man.”

 

I’m 23 years old now, on the doorstep of 24.

I consider myself a man now, but the truth is I’m unsure.

I turn my keys left, as I put my car in park.

I walk into the supermarket, and grab a plastic cart.

I hear a loud commotion as I stroll down isle 10.

I realize very quickly, it’s coming from a teenage kid.

I stand in awe as I look and see, a boy screaming at his mom.

My blood begins to boil, so I fight to keep my calm.

As I listen in carefully to the childish display.

I hear their conversation; it seems familiar in a way.

With his voice raised high, he gestures with his hands.

He says, “Momma chill out, cause you’ll never understand.”

“Get off my back, cause I’m not a little kid.”

“I know what I’m doing, and I’ll make my own decisions.”

His words were sharp and cutting, just like broken kitchen dishes.

Then he says the words, that all boys think they understand.

“Don’t tell me what to do mom, cause I’m a grown ass man.”

 

As I stand in the supermarket, my flashback now complete.

I see the teenage boy is an epitome of me.

I finally understand something that I never did.

I finally understand that it takes a man to spot a kid.

 

I’m never big on birthdays, 24 might be a little different.

I went to the supermarket, and didn’t mean to get a present.

A present so great, that it will stick with me a lifetime.

A present so essential, that it will serve me as my lifeline.

It’s something that I’ve said before, but couldn’t understand.

I’ve graduated from a boy now.

I proclamate myself a man.

the mythical comeback

DIARY 38

Since tearing my ACL I’ve had a flood of emails, letters, and calls showing support from people telling me that they are praying for me and rooting for me. I want to thank all of those people; you have no idea what all of your support means.

Interestingly enough, I’ve had just as many fellow athletes with the same and different injuries from other teams contact me asking me about how I’m keeping such a positive outlook throughout this whole injury process, as well as people in general going through rough spots in life inquiring how I’ve kept my head up.

I guess athlete or not we all have our injuries.

I’ve wanted to write a post on injuries for quite some time now, but for some reason have held off. It only seems fitting that now is the time.

It’s always been interesting to me to see how people respond to adversity differently. Some handle it better than others. Some crumble. Some grow stronger. Specifically it’s always been interesting to me to see how athletes deal with serious injuries differently. I’ve seen certain athletes quit and never come back. I’ve seen some that come back and are never close to what they were before the injury. I’ve seen some come back from injury stronger than they were before and become better players.

The really interesting thing is that you can have 2 athletes with the exact same injury go to the same surgeon and have the same operation performed. One athlete comes back better from the injury and the other never comes back and plays. This has always caught my attention. Why does this happen? One thing that I’ve learned is that rarely is it the physical limitations on an athlete after recovering from an injury, but the mental side of things that defines the end result.

Many times the physical is just an illusion. It’s something that we make up in our minds to justify our doubt.

So if recovering from injury isn’t necessarily physical but mental, then it’s something that can be taught. Recovery is something that can be learned. Healing is something that can be perfected.  Overcoming is a skill, and should be practiced as such.

My ACL injury wasn’t my first serious injury that I’ve dealt with since I’ve been playing football. This hasn’t been my first season ending injury and I’ll say with confidence that I’ve endured or played through just about every injury imaginable from broken bones, torn ligaments, bruised ribs, turf toe, pulled muscles, dislocated fingers and other joints, sprains, migraines, illness and the list goes on and will continue to grow. By no means is football a merciful profession. It’s brutal and unforgiving, and I am reminded of that every single morning when I wake up.

By no means am I bragging about all of my previous injuries because God knows what my body feels like. Nor am I saying that there is something special about me. What I will say is that healing doesn’t just happen. Recovery doesn’t all of a sudden show up. Overcoming a trial is never a mistake. There is a process.

IMG_1018We all have a backpack that we carry. Some are heavy, some are light, and some are in between. People’s backpacks are made of different things. Some are stitched together and made of past successes and triumphs. Some are sewn together and made out of their relationships and family. Some are woven intricately by our past failures and trials.

Our backpack is the motivation that we carry throughout life.

What we put inside this backpack over the course of our life is what’s important and dictates the weight. The weight of the backpack determines our strength. And our strength defines wether we are strong enough to push on when trials emerge. Motivation alone isn’t enough.

At the beginning of the rehab process all athletes are motivated to overcome the current adversity at hand. However, not all do.  Everyone likes to say they are highly motivated. But what does that really mean? That you know where you eventually want to be, and what drives you to get there? That’s a nice thought, but motivation can be deceiving without realizing that strength is the foundation that motivation is built on. Trials and injuries eat at our foundation like termites. They test our strength and fortitude, because Trials know that no matter how highly motivated someone is, if they lose their foundation everything else will crumble.

My backpack is heavy, but because of this my back is strong. The backpack I carry hasn’t always been its current weight. It’s worn out and has seen many journeys and adventures, but it’s durable. My bag is made from thick layers of my hopes, dreams, and goals that have been stitched and bound together by time. My bag deceivingly has more room on the inside than the outside shows, and I add to it often as I can.

Inside this worn out bag lies the most valuable things that I own. Inside this bag I carry a priceless treasure.

Inside this bag I carry all my past trials, failures, shortcomings, and injuries that have happened throughout my life. I never put trophies, victories or achievements in this bag because those things have no weight to them, and added weight means added strength.

As I journey though life I pass fellow travelers that get stuck at certain trials, and cant seem to overcome them because they lack the strength and become stranded. They wander searching for an alternate route, but sometimes there isn’t a way around. There is no shortcut. Sometimes you have to go through.  Some people embrace this, and some simply shut down at the very thought of the idea.

This is what separates the athletes that come back better from injuries and the ones that never do.  It’s the content of our backpacks that allow us to push through, not what they are made of. It’s not our motivation that allows us to conquer our trials; it’s our strength that we have consistently developed by adding our trails to our backpack.

Many athletes fall in love with the thought of the end result of overcoming an injury, but don’t like the idea of the process that it will take to do so. It’s easy to only desire and marvel at the thought of the whole ‘comeback’ idea.  It’s like loving the thought of heaven but hating your life. But if every trial and injury is a prequel to a sequel, a predecessor to a future obstacle, then in all reality there is no such thing as a ‘comeback’. There is only a process. There is only an ongoing journey.

There is only your road, your trials, your feet, and your backpack.

It’s what we do with out past experiences and trials that dictate how we deal with our future ones. Its not enough to just ‘get through’ them. The important thing is storing them for when the next trial or injury arrives, so you can easily dump out your bag and remember the process, because the process is what’s important.

Don’t call it a comeback. Call it part of your journey, a chapter to your story.

Comebacks don’t exist, only the process.

When you arrive at your trial, dump out your backpack and speak to it and say, “This is my motivation. I know where I want to go and I know the process.”  Then point down at all your previous trials you have stored up and dumped in front of your current one and tell it “This is what I have already overcome, this is what I’m made of. I know I’m strong enough.”

Then walk through your trial, and enjoy the process.

After you have overcome that trial only turn back briefly enough to grab it by the neck and throw it in your bag, adding weight to your backpack and strengthening your back. Don’t marvel at what you have overcome because there is another trial quickly approaching…. one that is bigger…one that will require more strength.

Every current trial is a prequel to a sequel. There is no comeback. There is only the process.

I’m thankful that God has showed me this because without realizing this I would be another marauded traveler, lost and looking for a shortcut; just another injured athlete that simply stares past the beauty of the process, locking my eyes on the mythical ‘comeback’ that doesn’t exist.

To all my fellow injured life travelers and athletes, this is what I will tell you.

Your backpack might currently be empty or lack weight. I encourage you to begin to stock it. Think back on all of the things you have already overcome and neatly pack them away, adding weight and strengthening your back. Don’t fix your eyes on the comeback losing sight of the process, because the process is the only thing that is real in this world.

There will come a time when you can slide the straps of your backpack off of your shoulders, and never have to bear its weight again.

For me that time will be when I meet God face to face. There will be no need to dump out my backpack at his feet, because he will already know what it holds, and just how heavy it is.  When that time comes I’ll rest, but until then I’ll simply enjoy the process and journey ahead.

There are only words, only sentences and paragraphs, only chapters, only trials that make your story unique, and the process of writing your book.  I will never be able to read my own book, but I’ll know every word by heart…

simply because I enjoyed the process of its creation.

blessings,
Baron

Cleats back on

As a football player you never know when the last time you take your cleats off will be.

Having dealt with previous injuries I know that many times players overlook how much of a blessing it is to go out and do what we get to do on a daily basis. Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in the work ahead or the upcoming practice, and not appreciate the little things like being able to put on and take off cleats.

As a reminder to myself, every time I take off my cleats I say a quick prayer and thank God for allowing me to put them on in the first place. I think it’s easy to get caught up in task at hand. It’s easy to focus on  work and forget how blessed we are to be able to walk out the front door again. For me my cleats are a reminder of the little things. They remind me of the little blessings that occur each and every day. August 11th of 2011 around 4:30pm was the last time I took my cleats off. Today I got to put my cleats back on.

 

Quest for 300

First off I want to give Jo Anne Gaugler a shout out for all the support!

I met your husband at the bowling alley and he told me how much you enjoy my blog, so I figured you definitely deserve a shout out! Thanks for the support. Today my quest for 300 resumed being that I was cleared to bowl! Bowling is something that I love doing and tonight I had the chance to hit the lanes with some of my teammates and it was a blast! I bowled much better than I assumed I would have being that I haven’t been able to because of my injury but the knee felt great and just like it did before the injury. Also, today I upgraded from jogging on the grass to sprinting at about 70 percent. In a few weeks I’ll be at about 100 percent as far as running straight line and after that I’ll start cutting! It feels so good to be able to progress with my rehab and felt so good to open up and really run today.

Also I’ll be posting much more frequently because now that I have my own site it’s much easier to do it from my phone! Actually right now I’m laying in bed typing out this post before I go to sleep, pretty cool if ya ask me. Well I’m out peeps! I can’t wait to share the new post I’m working on discussing injuries. Alright……I’m out!!

 

Thankful

DIARY 37

This time of year I always do a Thanksgiving post.

Last week I was able to go home for 5 days because we had our bye week. It was great getting to go back home to Texas and especially to Lubbock where I have so many good friends. Being back in Texas mad me appreciate the people I have in my life now more than ever. I spent most of my week back in Texas seeing old friends and visiting my favorite spots to eat and hang out. I ate several times at my favorite food spot called Thai Thai and had a massive farewell dinner with my old team doctor and his family who I am extremely close with. We grilled everything that is worth grilling, steak and jalapeño poppers! Delicious! West Texas said good-bye in stunning fashion with an amazing sunset, and for the first time in months I just slowed down long enough just to watch the sun go down. It was a great week back home. I never realized how much I missed Texas until I left and went back. With that being said, after a week away from the Burgh I was excited to get back to work.

This week it was back to work, back to rehab and back to football activities. This week I have graduated from running on the underwater treadmill and have started running strides at about 50 percent on the grass. Gosh I’m thankful for that!

Today is the first thanksgiving in a long time that I haven’t spent with family. Its kind of weird being so far away but luckily I have great teammates, and it’s just like one big family. Later today I’ll go over to one of my teammates house and grub, but before I do I want to write a quick post like I do every year.

This past year has been a crazy one and a lot has transpired for me since this time last year. The past year has been full of change and I’ve grown up and am at the point in my life where I’ve quit being a boy and would call myself a man.  The first person that introduced me to manhood was Uncle Sam. Just kidding…..well…kind of. But in all reality when I look back at what I was like a year ago and what I’m like now it really puts in perspective the things that I’m thankful for.

In no way am I knocking Thanksgiving because it’s one of my favorite holidays, but it always amuses me that on one day out of the year people want to be super thankful for things in their life, while the other 364 days out of the year they spend complaining. In no way does that previous statement exclude me either. I’ll be the first to admit that I complain about stupid things sometimes and don’t acknowledge things that I should be thankful for. However, over the past year I have realized that I tend to thank God more and more for the things that in the past I would have complained about. I’m thankful that God constantly allows me to hit spiritual growth spurts that come in the form of trials.

I am thankful that I tore my ACL. I am thankful that I am getting to sit back and observe life in the NFL and acclimate.  I’m thankful that this year has humbled me. I’m thankful that many pitfalls that other rookies experience I am protected from and get to learn from them. I’m thankful for my teammates that are willing to teach me how to be a professional and are simply just good people. I’m thankful that even though I’m injured and missing my rookie year, I’m working for the best organization in the world, with the best fans anyone could ask for. I’m thankful for my current relationships, and I’m thankful that I now understand that relationships take work. I’m thankful that I’m willing to work. I’m thankful for the people that find me interesting enough to come read my blog, and I’m thankful for the influence and platform that God has given me. I’m thankful for the people that keep me accountable and tell me the things I really don’t want to hear but need to. I’m thankful that I’m in the position to help my family and other people. I’m thankful for my trials. I am thankful for my triumphs. I am thankful for the lessons learned in between.

A friend asked me once “What if tomorrow you only had the things that you thanked God for today? What would you have?”

I guess in today’s world of instant gratification it’s easy to complain. It’s easy to complain about the government, the economy, the justice system, the educational system, and the list can go on and on.  I mean literally right now thousands of people in America are camping out complaining that they cant find jobs, instead of looking for jobs.

Call me crazy…..

But what if…. just what if…

All the complaints turned into thank you’s. What if all you had tomorrow were the things that you were thankful for today? What would you have?

Happy thanksgiving and God bless.

Leaving on a jet plane

My trip back home to Texas was amazing!!

Currently I’m sitting in a plane in Austin about to take off to Baltimore where I tragically have a 5 hour layover. Ughh I can thank the fog that delayed all flights into and out of Lubbock this morning. A baby is screaming right now. I have to go. Here’s a pic. I’m leaving on a jet plane. Texas I don’t know when I’ll be back again. Oh….and thank you west Texas for the killer farewell sunset yesterday. Your are appreciated. A more detailed summary of my trip is coming.

Brian’s Song

Here is a song that my brother Brian, who is a musician out of Austin Texas wrote and performed while I filmed a while back.

I forgot that I still had this until just now and figured I might as well share it with all of you! Im going to urge him to make videos of more of his music!!!