Archive for the Uncategorized Category

Challenger ready…

Posted in Uncategorized on 08 October 2014 by Micheal


Waves away the dust in his face and shines the dim flashlight into the darkness.

“Good lord.  It’s been awhile,” he says, gingerly walking into the space, brushing aside cobwebs as he goes.  “Who knew the Internet could collect so much dust and cobwebs in a year and a half?”


BAH!  It’s actually been nearly a year and a half since my last post.  That’s not acceptable.  NaNoWriMo is coming up in a few weeks.  The 30 Character Challenge probably is, too.  I should really do some house cleaning.  This place is a mess.

Every now and again I like to take up some sort of challenge to try to spark my creativity.  So when I got the email from Jeff Goins talking about a blogging challenge, I thought “hmm…I have a blog.  I could use a challenge.  I’ll do it!”   I then proceeded to wait until the last minute to fully sign up and read the first challenge.  Heck, the thing started today and I hadn’t seen the first challenge until about twenty minutes ago.  It’s going to be a long twenty one days.

So what’s the first challenge?  Update the About Me page.  Jeff gave some great advice on what should be included and I reviewed what I had.  Overall, I think it had all the basic points he outlined, but I wasn’t happy with the structure.  I’m still not, but, hey, the challenge is about improving, right?  So have a look around and let me know in the comments what you like and don’t like, or what I should add/remove*.

Thanks for stopping by!



*am I the only IT guy who writes “add/remove” and automatically wants to add “programs” after it?  I am, aren’t I?

Donations and giveaways…

Posted in Uncategorized on 04 June 2013 by Micheal

“I could die.”

“You’re not going to die.”

“But I could.  I haven’t been on a bike in a decade.”

“Yeah, you’re probably going to die.”

That was the conversation I had back in 2008 before doing my first MS150 ride.  For those unfamiliar, the MS150 is 150 mile bicycle ride that starts in Proctor, MN, just outside of Duluth, on a Saturday in June and ends the next evening somewhere in the Twin Cities metro area, usually at the top of what feels like a small mountain.  The ride raises awareness of MS and proceeds go to benefit the MS Society of MN.  This year’s ride is this Saturday and Sunday, 8-9 June, 2013 and will be my sixth year riding.

I’m still not sure I won’t die.  🙂

In years past, I have bombarded my friends and family with constant Facebook messages pleading for donations for weeks or months before the event.  I’m not doing that this year.  I decided to do something just a little different.  First, on 14 June, I’m going to draw names of two donors, each of whom will receive a Target gift card as a thank you for supporting me and, more importantly, the cause.  Secondly, I’m giving you the opportunity to decide something personal; whether or not I shave before the event.

You see, over the winter I generally let my beard grow out and I think I’ve let it go for a bit longer than I generally do.  As a result, it’s gotten rather long.  Not quite Duck Dynasty long, but certainly longer than I’m used to.  Normally I would shave it down to a goatee prior to this ride, but I’ve gotten so many comments on it that I’m going to leave it up to y’all.  Make a donation and leave the comment “Shave it” or “Keep it.”  Whichever has the most money attached to it by 0700 (7 AM) on Friday, 7 June, is what I’ll do.

You can donate at:

Thanks in advance for your support!





How many more

Posted in Uncategorized on 12 July 2012 by Micheal

Have you ever seen Schindler’s List?  There’s a scene, near the end, where he’s lamenting not doing more and starts talking about how many more he could have saved if he’d had more money or wasted less money.  He starts referencing  his possessions and musing aloud in a rushed, increasingly panicked voice about how he could have saved more by sacrificing the things he had and becoming very animated as another character tries to calm him and get him to look at how many he had saved and what impact that would have.  In a movie full of powerful imagery, it is the scene that stands out for me, nearly twenty years later.  I may not remember it perfectly, but I remember the emotion with which it was acted and that it brought to me.  It was the point where the audience and the character came to the realization of just how huge the numerous small things he’d done really were, and you felt the pain in him at the realization that his own desires had hindered him from doing even more.

There are days when I know I have not done enough, if I’ve even done anything, and my soul reenacts this scene with all that I possess, my Empire of Dirt, and I feel paralyzed.  I think of all the things I could do to save my corner of the world, but I can’t take action.  I can’t move.  I can’t think.  I can’t create.  I can’t act.  How many more could I have saved?  How many lives is this worth?

This is where I am now.  It’s not surprising, considering July often brings a depression paralysis for me, being the month that contains the day I lost my mom, the day I lost my cousin, and the day where I’m reminded I’m one year closer to my own death.  I am often scattered, sullen, easily distracted, and prone to random outbursts of sadness during this time of year.

This year feels different.  There’s something not quite right, but I can’t quite figure it out.

I can’t help but feel that it’s because I’m not doing what I should be doing.  Not only because I’m unsure of how to get there, but because the paralysis keeps me from doing the little things that I know to do.  I can’t walk down the path because my foot is frozen over it and I can’t take that first step.

It’s going to be a long month.

“Whoever saves a life, saves the world entire.”

…Like My Dad Before Me, and His Before Him

Posted in Uncategorized on 11 February 2012 by Micheal

Note: I’ve struggled with how to write this in a way that would not offend women who might be in a similar situation.  The thing is that I can’t account for how a woman will feel about this topic and I imagine I would be more offensive by trying.  As a man, I can only speak to how I feel, from the male perspective.  I would love to hear the perspective of anyone who reads this.

A few days ago a beautiful little girl I know turned seven years old.  I couldn’t be there to celebrate it with her and that tore me up inside.  What really destroyed me, however, was that a woman who I thought understood my attachment to this little girl told me in no uncertain terms that she did not, dismissing my feelings in a way that left me, in a word, shattered.  The implication was that I could not be attached to this child in a father/daughter sort of way simply because her and I don’t share genes.  That somehow her biological father was better equipped to feel this way toward her because he contributed to her creation and I was being “silly” (my impression, not her word).

I’ve spent the last week meditating on this, praying about it, trying to put into words my feelings on this particular variety of bull pucky and I keep coming back to one question; how does any man bond with any child this way?

A friend of mine once told me that clan membership in Scotland is passed down from the mother.  The reasoning for this is simple; until the modern age, determining the maternal line of a child was easily verifiable (someone probably saw the child come out) but determining the paternal line was always based primarily on the word and virtue of the mother.  As such, it made sense that if a clan is going to accept a child, it should be the mother’s clan.

So the clan raised the child, right?  No, of course not.  The child’s father would accept the child as his own and love them and raise them as such.  A biological connection was, and still is, not as necessary as an emotional and psychological bond.  That bond is a vow, spoken or unspoken, to provide for, care for, love and protect that child with no expectations, a devotion of your life to put the child ahead of you, their needs above yours.  This is what it means to be a daddy and once that bond is created, no circumstance can end it in the heart of the man.

I didn’t ask to be a dad.  In fact, the responsibility terrified me.  It took me most of my adult life to get to a point where I was comfortable taking responsibility for myself, so I couldn’t imagine taking responsibility for someone else.  Then it changed.  Then a little girl called me “daddy” and changed my heart.  Suddenly everything changed.  I started thinking differently about everything.  I started looking at things differently.  I found myself concerned with how the media affects her.  I found myself wanting to make certain that she had questions answered properly.  I found myself wanting to make certain that she always knew she was loved because of who she is.  I may not have had a part in her conception, but I was ready to take responsibility for the person she would become.

Being a dad isn’t about biology.  I have said for years and will say to my dying day that any man can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a dad.  This is a choice, and not one to be undertaken lightly.  When a child wants to start calling you “daddy”, that’s not something to allow frivolously.  It’s never something to do to get into the pants of the child’s mother or to make yourself feel good.  It carries a great deal of responsibility because that child has decided that you are someone special, that regardless of whether or not you contributed to their genetic makeup by inseminating an egg or carried them for nine months or nursed them from your bosom, you are someone important, someone they love and trust with their heart.  If you are the type of person who would take that lightly or use it for personal gain or transitory pleasure, then you are not a dad.  A man does not “play daddy”.  To do so is not only insulting to every man who has ever been called that, but risks hurting an innocent child and it is said that he who would harm a child would do better to tie a millstone to his neck and drown.  Any good person who has ever inadvertently hurt a child knows that the reason for this is because you will spend the rest of your life feeling like that millstone is weighing down your heart.  No, a man never “plays daddy” and to accuse a man of such is beyond hurtful and is dismissive of the ability of a man to feel deeply for someone and have the desire to care for someone for a lifetime.  There is a particular variety of boys (I won’t call them men) who will shirk responsibility for their children.  They will take off and run around with other women, possibly creating more children for whom they will not be a dad.  I despise the term “deadbeat dad” because such a thing can’t exist.  They are simply deadbeats.  The worst of these use the lack of easy confirmation of their contribution to the creation of a child to justify shirking their responsibility.  These are boys who will say, in so many words or not, “how do I even know it’s mine?” simultaneously disrespecting the child and the mother by saying that the child is not worthy of their love if they aren’t blood related and questioning the morality of the mother on multiple levels.  These people should never be called “dad” by anyone, ever.  Boys play with other people’s hearts.  Men commit their hearts to others.

Let me make something very clear.  I am a bastard.  Not in the “I’m going screw people over for my own gain” sense, but in the sense that my mother was not married to my biological father when I was conceived.  In fact, she never was.  He has a family with two children to whom I believe he has been a wonderful dad.  If you ever call him my dad, however, I will gently correct you the first time and will be less gentle in subsequent corrections of your error.  Why?  Because it’s an insult to the man to stepped up and created that bond with me.  The man who raised me and never treated me any differently than my brother, his biological son.  It’s an insult to his dad, who helped raise three girls who had no genetic connection to him.  In thirty six and a half years, my biological father has never been a dad to me, and that’s okay.  I have my dad and I love him very much.   He gave me a lot more than I could ever repay and can only hope to pass it along to someone else someday.

In the movie Courageous, the lead character at one point asks his group of men when they knew they were men.  I watched as they went around the table and only one of them gave a solid answer; he knew he was a man when his father told him he was the man of the house whilst he was away.  I thought about it for a few seconds and knew what my answer was;

On a day in late November of 2010 a beautiful little five year old girl called me daddy and I committed to fill that role to the best of my abilities for her for the rest of my days.  That was the day something changed deep in my heart.  That was the day I put aside childish things and became a man.  That was the day I became a dad, like my dad before me and his before him.   That is something that lives in my heart and kills me every day I am apart from that amazing little girl who changed my life forever.

My Christmas list…

Posted in Uncategorized on 19 December 2011 by Micheal

It’s that time of year when people are wondering what to get one another for Christmas.  Usually I don’t make lists, but this year I felt like it was important.  For those of you in panic mode knowing that there are five short shopping days before Christmas, here you go:


  1. Peace on Earth/Good will toward man.  I know, I know.  “Micheal, that’s far too much to ask.  There’s no way we can give you peace on Earth or good will toward man.”  Bullshit.  You don’t need to solve the Middle East problems or stop warring factions in Africa.  But I’ll bet you that you’re on the outs with someone.  I’ll bet you had an argument about something or they did something to hurt you.  Maybe your neighbor keeps letting his dog crap on your lawn.  Maybe you never got over your best friend sleeping with your boyfriend when you were sixteen.  These things eat away at you and affect the way you interact with others.  Take a bold step and forgive.  You don’t have to tell them you forgive them, but do it in your heart.  Send them a card.  Buy them a drink.    Remember that what you do resonates through the world.  Every act you take in your life affects someone else’s life, which in turn affects someone else’s
  2. Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless.  I’m not saying that you should invite a homeless person to stay with you for the holidays.  I am betting, however, that you have a ton of clothes that you haven’t worn in a year.  Go donate them somewhere.  If you don’t have any place in your area, let me know and I’ll gladly take them to one of the dozens of collection facilities in my area.  Volunteer at a soup kitchen.  Chances are one of your local churches is running something to give a good meal to the less fortunate in your neighborhood.  Or, the next time you’re at the grocery store, consider buying generic/store brand food where you wouldn’t have before and use the difference to buy extra for your local food bank.  If you’re feeling really giving, contact my friend and brother in Christ Pete Couper at  Breakthrough Ministries and help out in his mission to “Lead the homeless home.”
  3. Help me heal and comfort the sick.  This is where I get a little bit personal.  Most people who know me know that I do several charity events every year.  I walk in the Crohn’s/Colitis walk for my mom and aunt, the Race for the Cure and The 3 Day for the Cure for dear friends who have lost loved ones to Cancer, and ride in the MS150 in honor of friends who suffer.  These charities provide support in the search for cures for these diseases, financial and emotional support to those who suffer from them, and education and awareness on preventing, detecting, and dealing with them.  Each year I raise thousands of dollars for these charities because they are causes I believe in.   You can donate to the MS150 on my behalf here (edit 12/12/12: I haven’t registered for 2013 yet, so the donation link is defunct)  I have not yet registered for the other events yet, though I will be in the near future, so if you would like to donate, please contact me at galen_of_avalon at hotmail dot com (address broken up to avoid spam bots) and we’ll work something out.  Remember that these donations are tax deductible, so if you’re thinking ahead to tax time…
  4. Support me on my path.  This site is about my journey from the man I am to the man I want to be, the man I feel called to be.  I’ll detail this elsewhere on this site, but the basic issue is that my outward self does not reflect my inward self in the way it should and I aim to rectify that.  Unfortunately, there’s a lot of clean up work involved in doing so, and a lot of building.  I am always satisfied with kind words, patience, and acceptance, but, to be honest, I won’t be above asking for your financial support.  In the coming weeks, I’ll be opening a Cafe Press store and putting up a donation link.  If you feel like giving to me, you can contact me at the email in point 3, but know that there is no possession I need, nothing I can hold in my hand that will make me happy, but building up an emergency fund, paying off debt and funding educational expenses, whilst covering the overhead of participating in the charity events I do (bicycle maintenance, walking shoes, etc.) are gifts that would mean infinitely more and will enable me to do more of what I need to do.   Make no mistake, I’m happy to do this on my own and would rather see you focus on the other points of this post.

Christmas is never about how much you give.  It’s not even about what you give.  It’s about giving from the heart, whether that’s a homemade sweater to keep a loved one warm, or an inexpensive soup cup set that reminds the recipient of the warmth of the love with which it was given (most treasured gift I ever got).  No one needs a big screen TV or a portable gaming system.  They need to know that they are loved and matter to someone, somewhere in the world.  Remember this on Christmas and the other 364 days of the year.