tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-69983169685668680882016-11-03T15:20:39.541-05:00The Fisher of Stories“After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.” - Phillip PullmanTravis Sloathttps://plus.google.com/108052873780091338840noreply@blogger.comBlogger478125tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6998316968566868088.post-23169044302413670592016-11-03T15:20:00.003-05:002016-11-03T15:20:39.552-05:00A forced entryThese last few weeks I've been struggling with self-discipline.<br /><br />I'm not making good food choices at home, and I'm not making good food choices when I'm by myself in my truck, speeding off to whatever it is that has me away from home that night.<br /><br />My workouts are fantastic, and I'm seeing some muscle definition that wasn't there before, particularly in my upper arms and my outer thigh (my inner thighs have enough loose skin to start a whole new human).<br /><br />Speaking of whole new humans, The Missus and I are, at long last, pregnant. We heard the heartbeat just a couple of weeks ago, and of course I became very emotional and sobbed like a baby, because that's what I do in emotional situations.<br /><br />One of the things I have been struggling with is how I need to let our three children know that this fourth kid isn't a replacement for them. I don't want them to ever feel that way, but I have a very strong hunch that they already do (and will). I don't want to come right out and say the words, lest I am responsible for putting a thought there that they hadn't even considered.<br /><br />And so I bite my tongue and I continue to try and let them know they're loved in other ways.<br /><br />I probably won't ever publish this blog on any social network, so there's a good chance the only people that will see it will be those of you who are stalkers (HI!) and my children when they get old enough to find this thing (Keeli has already tried, unsuccessfully).<br /><br />Just in case one of the kids is here, maybe you need to see this. I love you. I love you more than you could ever imagine, and the reason why I can say this to you in the future is because that love will never go away. You see, that's the love a parent has for a child. You are my child. You are a Sloat. You are perfect for your mom and I because God brought us together. There is a verse in the Bible that talks about what God brings together, no man can separate. No one can ever get in the way of my love for you.<br /><br />I think a big part of self-discipline is forcing yourself to do what you don't want to do until it actually becomes something you can't wait to do. I used to be that way about writing. I finished up a piece today that took a few days to write, and it was almost exhausting to get through. I feel like I've let this little blog go, and the only writing I do is for the paper, or for tests to hand out. That surely can't be good.<br /><br />I told Alicia the other day that I had a pretty good book idea, and this is my official way of logging that, so in ten years when I haven't gotten around to writing it, and someone else comes out with a book about missionaries trying to reach the last people group who hasn't heard the gospel, I can safely say I had the idea first. I had a friend tell me once they believed ideas aren't just given to one person. That there's a huge pool to swim in, and sometimes people are in the same part of the pool at the same time, or someone will swim up to something you just passed. Might not make sense to you, but I wholeheartedly believe that's true.<br /><br />I need to write more. I need to discipline myself the way that I have with food and exercise. I need to force it until it becomes natural again. That's what this post is, a kick in the butt. Maybe it'll work, maybe it won't.<br /><br />If you're here as a stalker, I am truly sorry you sat through this garbled mess. If you're one of my kids, I'll say it again, I love you more than life itself, and no matter what happens, that love will never change.Travis Sloathttps://plus.google.com/108052873780091338840noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6998316968566868088.post-78465700872869082942016-10-09T16:54:00.005-05:002016-10-09T17:06:14.645-05:00My "Little Win" system, and being best friends with the TimekeeperIt's cheat day.<br /><br />I'm sitting here in my recliner, listening to the children fight about watercolor paints in the kitchen, and I just had to physically move a bag of Sour Patch Kids out of my reach so I would stop eating them long enough to type this thing out.<br /><br />Here's the funny thing: I never liked Sour Patch Kids until this recent weight loss kick/lifestyle change/diet/personal hell I've put myself through. Now though, now I eat Sour Patch Kids on Sundays like John the Baptist probably ate those locusts — in great amounts and wondering why they taste so good.<br /><br />My close friend and personal trainer, <a href="https://twitter.com/ChrisHPearson" target="_blank">Chris Pearson</a>, texted me the other day and asked me for a topic for his weekly fitness blog. I gave him three or four terrible ideas to give myself time to think of a good one, and then suggested he write about "<a href="http://reformedathletes.com/micro-goals-for-faster-fat-loss/" target="_blank">little wins</a>," which you can read just by clicking through that link. In fact, go do it now. I'll wait.<br /><br />I wanted to elaborate on his writing by giving you a laid-bare look at who I am.<br /><br /><b>I am someone who is currently celebrating a ton of little wins.</b><br /><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-rCyOyT2Rv5c/V_qmIr6PkGI/AAAAAAAADnY/lPlWGa2RhrY3zjsxGZTQb1ZKXxb98QtKgCLcB/s1600/CsvD5-MUMAAFIzy.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="400" src="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-rCyOyT2Rv5c/V_qmIr6PkGI/AAAAAAAADnY/lPlWGa2RhrY3zjsxGZTQb1ZKXxb98QtKgCLcB/s400/CsvD5-MUMAAFIzy.jpg" width="400" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">My driver license photographs from 2009 (bottom right), January 2016 (top right), and September (left). A total weight difference of approximately 130 pounds. &nbsp;</td></tr></tbody></table><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-95A-VCXX7Rs/V_qmJgunWRI/AAAAAAAADnc/dgRYXFAQ0r4vGz-Siq4HfxMgc9z40GZMQCLcB/s1600/IMG_3342.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="400" src="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-95A-VCXX7Rs/V_qmJgunWRI/AAAAAAAADnc/dgRYXFAQ0r4vGz-Siq4HfxMgc9z40GZMQCLcB/s400/IMG_3342.JPG" width="400" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Me at the beach in 2012 (350 pounds) and me in the gym two weeks ago (260 pounds). The bruise you see on my stomach is from an insulin shot to control my type-2 diabetes. Something I don't need anymore.&nbsp;</td></tr></tbody></table>Since June of this year, I've been on a tear. I've dropped 67 pounds, and I now weigh as much as I did when I graduated high school. I've accomplished this through a lot of little wins.<br /><div><br /></div><div>Essentially, my week is a gigantic scoreboard. My day is a slightly smaller scoreboard. And sometimes, depending on the level of temptation, each hour is a scoreboard. Each win and loss is meticulously counted, and some losses wind up being wins without realizing it at the time. A perfect example of that would be my last meal at Taco Bueno versus my "Fat Travis" meal at Bueno. &nbsp;</div><div><br /></div><div>Remember Chris from the blog I had you read a minute ago? Well, he wrote another one that got this whole thing started. <a href="http://reformedathletes.com/a-little-about-me-my-transformations-and-my-why/" target="_blank">You can find that here</a>. Go read it. I'll wait. Do you have a why?&nbsp;</div><div><br /></div><div>When I read what he wrote, I realized that I wanted to be able to get up and play with my kids as well. I wanted to chase them, to throw things at them, to be able to run and laugh and not fall down winded or with a sprained ankle because I was too fat to move. And so I started keeping score. I won a few. I won a few more. And now here I am, and I plan to keep more wins than losses on that scoreboard until I'm skinny.<br /><br /><b>But I am also someone who is dealing with more than enough little losses.&nbsp;</b></div><div><br /></div><div>Slowly, I've tried to carry each aspect of my daily life over and throw it onto its own scoreboard. Food battles. Marital battles. Student battles. Idiot driver battles. And finally, father battles.<br /><br />Two weeks ago I tweeted something.&nbsp;</div><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><div dir="ltr" lang="en">My biggest goals for this week are to not yell at my kids and to try and eat a little healthier for dinner. Both are challenges.</div>— Travis Sloat (@tstyles77) <a href="https://twitter.com/tstyles77/status/780398285026504704">September 26, 2016</a></blockquote>I lost the food battle that week. But I didn't lose the father battle. And I didn't lose it last week either. I made it two full weeks without yelling at my kids. And then this morning...<br /><br /><i>"She </i>gave<i>&nbsp;me that hairbrush and now she took it back."</i><br />"<i>I told him he could use it, I didn't give it to him."&nbsp;</i><br />"<i>You can ask mom, she gave it to me!"&nbsp;</i><br /><br />So I threw away a perfectly good hairbrush this morning. Then, as we were getting dressed for church, auditory evidence of an iPad kerfuffle drifted into our bedroom, and I marched into the living room in my underwear and blew my two week streak.<br /><br />"<i>I promised myself two weeks ago that I wasn't going to yell at you kids, and here I am, two weeks later, yelling, because you all can't figure out how to act like civilized children while we get ready for church!"&nbsp;</i><br /><i><br /></i>And then the words came out of my mouth before I could reign them in.<br /><br /><i>"You are </i>horrible<i>&nbsp;children! Think about that at church today!"&nbsp;</i><br /><i><br /></i>I walked back into the bedroom, furious at myself and them, and uttered an oath entirely inappropriate for any day of the week, and doubly so on Sunday.<br /><br />"GD kids," I said.<br /><br />I am a terrible father.<br /><br />I don't need your placating words, and I don't need your, "Oh it's okay, everyone gets mad and loses it sometimes." I really don't. I need to be coached.<br /><br /><b>This is not okay.&nbsp;</b><br /><b>This is not acceptable.&nbsp;</b><br /><b>This is not trying your hardest.&nbsp;</b><br /><b>This is not how we get little wins, this is how we ultimately wind up with huge losses.</b><br /><br />I know people who are amazing dads with little to no effort at all. I can think of at least three right now, one has one kid, the other two have two each, and both have a third on the way. They don't have to try. Being a dad comes as naturally to them as breathing, their love for their children exists in the minuscule space between oxygen molecules that utter the supporting words children need, that grant mercy, that give comfort.<br /><br />For whatever reason, I'm missing that. For me, being a good dad requires an intentional scoreboard. A scoreboard that gets reset frequently. Sometimes it's a week, sometimes it's a day, sometimes it's an hour. And I lose a lot.<br /><br />We sat in church this morning, and Randy led us in "Good, Good Father." I stood, trying to sing, trying to keep tears from spilling over my eyelids, making the lyrics both a prayer and a plea, "You're a good, good Father. It's who You are, it's who You are."&nbsp;<i>God I am so not a good father. I suck so much at it. I want to be good, help me be good.&nbsp;</i>"And I am loved by you, it's who I am, it's who I am." <i>God please help me show my kids they are loved by me. They need to know that, but I'm just so freaking bad at it."&nbsp;</i><br /><br />Then, Johnny got up to preach and the sermon was about God the Father, and qualities of God that are reflected in fatherhood. Fathers are protectors, they are proud of their kids, they want to give gifts to their kids. He used an illustration about a father and his adopted daughter attending an event, and the father sharing that the best memory he had was when they were standing in front of the judge at the finalization. Again, fighting back tears, I remembered both times I'd done that.<br /><br />Surely, in that moment, my kids knew that I loved them. But I've learned the hard way that every day with children isn't Finalization Day. So how are they seeing that I love them on days when it's exceptionally hard to show them that? Yeah I feed them, yeah they have a bed, and clothes. But we all know that's not what counts...not in the long run.<br /><br />I took an L this morning. It's there, and it's glaring at me. I need a win to cancel it out, and a win to get better than .500, and if I can do that, then the day is salvageable. Because the great thing about having a little win system is having the ability to set the clock however you need to. My new father battle clock started at 9 a.m. Tomorrow's food battle clock starts at midnight (somehow I finished that entire freaking bag of SPKs while writing this). Idiot drivers? Well, that one resets every single time I drive through Muskogee.<br /><br />In sports, they call that "cheating." But I happen to be best friends with the Timekeeper, so I'm just going to call it home field advantage. I'm going to call it being a good father. I'm going to call it being loved by You.<br /><br />It's who I am.<br /><br /><div style="text-align: center;"><b>***</b></div><div style="text-align: center;"><b><br /></b></div><div style="text-align: left;">If you are interested in having Chris help you, I've included links to his website, his Twitter, and his Facebook. He is currently taking clients, and having worked with him for a while now, I can say that his system works. The pictures above prove that. Not only that, but his motivation factor is a 10/10. Give my boy a call, he'll help you get a whole bunch of little wins.<br /><br /><a href="http://champion-fitness.com/" target="_blank">Champion Fitness</a><br /><a href="https://www.facebook.com/reformsandc" target="_blank">Reformed Strength and Conditioning&nbsp;</a></div><script async="" charset="utf-8" src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js"></script>Travis Sloathttps://plus.google.com/108052873780091338840noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6998316968566868088.post-53295721176627368582016-10-09T16:54:00.004-05:002016-10-09T16:58:41.296-05:00My "Little Win" system, and being best friends with the TimekeeperIt's cheat day.<br /><br />I'm sitting here in my recliner, listening to the children fight about watercolor paints in the kitchen, and I just had to physically move a bag of Sour Patch Kids out of my reach so I would stop eating them long enough to type this thing out.<br /><br />Here's the funny thing: I never liked Sour Patch Kids until this recent weight loss kick/lifestyle change/diet/personal hell I've put myself through. Now though, now I eat Sour Patch Kids on Sundays like John the Baptist probably ate those locusts — in great amounts and wondering why they taste so good.<br /><br />My close friend and personal trainer, <a href="https://twitter.com/ChrisHPearson" target="_blank">Chris Pearson</a>, texted me the other day and asked me for a topic for his weekly fitness blog. I gave him three or four terrible ideas to give myself time to think of a good one, and then suggested he write about "<a href="http://reformedathletes.com/micro-goals-for-faster-fat-loss/" target="_blank">little wins</a>," which you can read just by clicking through that link. In fact, go do it now. I'll wait.<br /><br />I wanted to elaborate on his writing by giving you a laid-bare look at who I am.<br /><br /><b>I am someone who is currently celebrating a ton of little wins.</b><br /><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-rCyOyT2Rv5c/V_qmIr6PkGI/AAAAAAAADnY/lPlWGa2RhrY3zjsxGZTQb1ZKXxb98QtKgCLcB/s1600/CsvD5-MUMAAFIzy.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="400" src="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-rCyOyT2Rv5c/V_qmIr6PkGI/AAAAAAAADnY/lPlWGa2RhrY3zjsxGZTQb1ZKXxb98QtKgCLcB/s400/CsvD5-MUMAAFIzy.jpg" width="400" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">My driver license photographs from 2009 (bottom right), January 2016 (top right), and September (left). A total weight difference of approximately 130 pounds. &nbsp;</td></tr></tbody></table><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-95A-VCXX7Rs/V_qmJgunWRI/AAAAAAAADnc/dgRYXFAQ0r4vGz-Siq4HfxMgc9z40GZMQCLcB/s1600/IMG_3342.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="400" src="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-95A-VCXX7Rs/V_qmJgunWRI/AAAAAAAADnc/dgRYXFAQ0r4vGz-Siq4HfxMgc9z40GZMQCLcB/s400/IMG_3342.JPG" width="400" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Me at the beach in 2012 (350 pounds) and me in the gym two weeks ago (260 pounds). The bruise you see on my stomach is from an insulin shot to control my type-2 diabetes. Something I don't need anymore.&nbsp;</td></tr></tbody></table>Since June of this year, I've been on a tear. I've dropped 67 pounds, and I now weigh as much as I did when I graduated high school. I've accomplished this through a lot of little wins.<br /><div><br /></div><div>Essentially, my week is a gigantic scoreboard. My day is a slightly smaller scoreboard. And sometimes, depending on the level of temptation, each hour is a scoreboard. Each win and loss is meticulously counted, and some losses wind up being wins without realizing it at the time. A perfect example of that would be my last meal at Taco Bueno versus my "Fat Travis" meal at Bueno. &nbsp;</div><div><br /></div><div>Remember Chris from the blog I had you read a minute ago? Well, he wrote another one that got this whole thing started. <a href="http://reformedathletes.com/a-little-about-me-my-transformations-and-my-why/" target="_blank">You can find that here</a>. Go read it. I'll wait. Do you have a why?&nbsp;</div><div><br /></div><div>When I read what he wrote, I realized that I wanted to be able to get up and play with my kids as well. I wanted to chase them, to throw things at them, to be able to run and laugh and not fall down winded or with a sprained ankle because I was too fat to move. And so I started keeping score. I won a few. I won a few more. And now here I am, and I plan to keep more wins than losses on that scoreboard until I'm skinny.<br /><br /><b>But I am also someone who is dealing with more than enough little losses.&nbsp;</b></div><div><br /></div><div>Slowly, I've tried to carry each aspect of my daily life over and throw it onto its own scoreboard. Food battles. Marital battles. Student battles. Idiot driver battles. And finally, father battles.<br /><br />Two weeks ago I tweeted something.&nbsp;</div><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><div dir="ltr" lang="en">My biggest goals for this week are to not yell at my kids and to try and eat a little healthier for dinner. Both are challenges.</div>— Travis Sloat (@tstyles77) <a href="https://twitter.com/tstyles77/status/780398285026504704">September 26, 2016</a></blockquote>I lost the food battle that week. But I didn't lose the father battle. And I didn't lose it last week either. I made it two full weeks without yelling at my kids. And then this morning...<br /><br /><i>"She </i>gave<i>&nbsp;me that hairbrush and now she took it back."</i><br />"<i>I told him he could use it, I didn't give it to him."&nbsp;</i><br />"<i>You can ask mom, she gave it to me!"&nbsp;</i><br /><br />So I threw away a perfectly good hairbrush this morning. Then, as we were getting dressed for church, auditory evidence of an iPad kerfuffle drifted into our bedroom, and I marched into the living room in my underwear and blew my two week streak.<br /><br />"<i>I promised myself two weeks ago that I wasn't going to yell at you kids, and here I am, two weeks later, yelling, because you all can't figure out how to act like civilized children while we get ready for church!"&nbsp;</i><br /><i><br /></i>And then the words came out of my mouth before I could reign them in.<br /><br /><i>"You are </i>horrible<i>&nbsp;children! Think about that at church today!"&nbsp;</i><br /><i><br /></i>I walked back into the bedroom, furious at myself and them, and uttered an oath entirely inappropriate for any day of the week, and doubly so on Sunday.<br /><br />"GD kids," I said.<br /><br />I am a terrible father.<br /><br />I don't need your placating words, and I don't need your, "Oh it's okay, everyone gets mad and loses it sometimes." I really don't. I need to be coached.<br /><br /><b>This is not okay.&nbsp;</b><br /><b>This is not acceptable.&nbsp;</b><br /><b>This is not trying your hardest.&nbsp;</b><br /><b>This is not how we get little wins, this is how we ultimately wind up with huge losses.</b><br /><br />I know people who are amazing dads with little to no effort at all. I can think of at least three right now, one has one kid, the other two have two each, and both have a third on the way. They don't have to try. Being a dad comes as naturally to them as breathing, their love for their children exists in the minuscule space between oxygen molecules that utter the supporting words children need, that grant mercy, that give comfort.<br /><br />For whatever reason, I'm missing that. For me, being a good dad requires an intentional scoreboard. A scoreboard that gets reset frequently. Sometimes it's a week, sometimes it's a day, sometimes it's an hour. And I lose a lot.<br /><br />We sat in church this morning, and Randy led us in "Good, Good Father." I stood, trying to sing, trying to keep tears from spilling over my eyelids, making the lyrics both a prayer and a plea, "You're a good, good Father. It's who You are, it's who You are."&nbsp;<i>God I am so not a good father. I suck so much at it. I want to be good, help me be good.&nbsp;</i>"And I am loved by you, it's who I am, it's who I am." <i>God please help me show my kids they are loved by me. They need to know that, but I'm just so freaking bad at it."&nbsp;</i><br /><br />Then, Johnny got up to preach and the sermon was about God the Father, and qualities of God that are reflected in fatherhood. Fathers are protectors, they are proud of their kids, they want to give gifts to their kids. He used an illustration about a father and his adopted daughter attending an event, and the father sharing that the best memory he had was when they were standing in front of the judge at the finalization. Again, fighting back tears, I remembered both times I'd done that.<br /><br />Surely, in that moment, my kids knew that I loved them. But I've learned the hard way that every day with children isn't Finalization Day. So how are they seeing that I love them on days when it's exceptionally hard to show them that? Yeah I feed them, yeah they have a bed, and clothes. But we all know that's not what counts...not in the long run.<br /><br />I took an L this morning. It's there, and it's glaring at me. I need a win to cancel it out, and a win to get better than .500, and if I can do that, then the day is salvageable. Because the great thing about having a little win system is having the ability to set the clock however you need to. My new father battle clock started at 9 a.m. Tomorrow's food battle clock starts at midnight (somehow I finished that entire freaking bag of SPKs while writing this). Idiot drivers? Well, that one resets every single time I drive through Muskogee.<br /><br />In sports, they call that "cheating." I'm just going to call it home field advantage. I'm going to call it being a good father. I'm going to call it being loved by You.<br /><br />It's who I am.<br /><br /><div style="text-align: center;"><b>***</b></div><div style="text-align: center;"><b><br /></b></div><div style="text-align: left;">If you are interested in having Chris help you, I've included links to his website, his Twitter, and his Facebook. He is currently taking clients, and having worked with him for a while now, I can say that his system works. The pictures about prove that. Not only that, but his motivation factor is a 10/10. Give my boy a call, he'll help you get a whole bunch of little wins.<br /><br /><a href="http://champion-fitness.com/" target="_blank">Champion Fitness</a><br /><a href="https://www.facebook.com/reformsandc" target="_blank">Reformed Strength and Conditioning&nbsp;</a></div><script async="" charset="utf-8" src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js"></script>Travis Sloathttps://plus.google.com/108052873780091338840noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6998316968566868088.post-73725098097811166732016-06-15T14:04:00.001-05:002016-06-15T14:04:02.601-05:00A big reminder about small-town kindness<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-8wQxiRC1tyg/V2Gjzgcw0SI/AAAAAAAADiM/IL7xfJ7CTFErzp9gyFoFHZYL43p3klANACLcB/s1600/12507453_420579148141036_2583110667313764421_n.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="180" src="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-8wQxiRC1tyg/V2Gjzgcw0SI/AAAAAAAADiM/IL7xfJ7CTFErzp9gyFoFHZYL43p3klANACLcB/s320/12507453_420579148141036_2583110667313764421_n.jpg" width="320" /></a></div><br />This week has been nuts, right?<br /><br />Tragedy stacked on senseless tragedy, and every single time I open Facebook or Twitter, I've been bombarded with what I'm supposed to think or do in the wake of these events.<br /><br />This is not a post about how bad of a week it's been for our nation. This is a post about how my hometown just keeps coming through in a pinch.<br /><br /><i>"Travis, if you talk about Okay one more time, we're quitting. It can't be that great."&nbsp;</i><br /><i><br /></i>Well, it is. And let me tell you why I got shown that again on Tuesday.<br /><br />First order of business on Tuesday morning was a doctors appointment. I seem to have picked up a bit of the swimmer's ear in Florida, and I have decided that since diet and exercise are not things I want to try, I'd ask the doctor for prescription methamphetamine and appetite suppressants to keep me from eating until October.<br /><br />When I walked in, I saw a familiar face, a good family friend who happens to be a nurse at my doc's office. She's very active in Okay, she's at most city council meetings, she's a volunteer firefighter, and she married into a family a love and respect a lot.<br /><br />She took my blood pressure, and I joked about how the walk from the lobby to the exam room was all uphill and that's why my pulse was 500, and then the conversation turned a shade more serious.<br /><br />You see, she worked a fatality accident earlier this week. You might have seen the story on the local news, but a pickup rolled over and pinned a guy who wound up dying. Alcohol was involved, and the whole thing was a mess. I'd call it a tragedy on a lesser scale, but that kind of depends on who you ask.<br /><br />I told this young woman that there is no way I could do what she does. I cannot comfort the dying, I cannot work with injured and scared people. I've often said that a writer can take the coward's way out in that regard - I can just step back and ask questions after everyone is taken care of. Don't get me wrong, the real journalists out there know what I just said is false. But I never considered myself to be a real journalist, just a writer.<br /><br />She looked at me and laughed, and said that she can do all her job requires except speaking to the families. Something her husband is good at, she said. I mentioned that it was funny how God pairs us up in life, and more laughter followed. Then she said something I'll never forget.<br /><br />"This girl, Travis, she stuck with me. I don't know what it was. I prayed with her as she was getting in the ambulance, and since then I've added her as a friend on Facebook."<br /><br />I think we all assume that emergency personnel have to create a distance between themselves and their jobs. They see so much, that it helps to have the dissonance there, otherwise they can easily be overwhelmed. I can understand that. Doctors, nurses, volunteer firefighter, EMS personnel, and law enforcement all have to deal with the worst. I find no fault in their removal from attachment.<br /><br />But this young woman, this young woman from Okay, Oklahoma, went above and beyond what her job required of her that night. It wasn't loading another injured body into an emergency vehicle, it was a held hand, a prayer, and a conscious effort to follow up. That struck me.<br /><br />I'm positive that emergency personnel make that kind of personal connection every day. But it makes me extraordinarily happy to know that we have that kind of person working in Okay.<br /><br />As I left the doctor's office, I went to my new favorite place in Muskogee, the QuikTrip. Walking in, I saw a student of mine, a future student of mine, and their father picking out soft drinks. I stopped by to say hello, and asked them how their summer was going, and jokingly told them they better be ready to write when they walk into my classroom in a couple of months. It was a great conversation.<br /><br />Then I saw another Okay alum putting the lids on her drink as well as her daughter's. As we met in line to pay for our items, I looked at the future student and asked, "When do I get you?"<br /><br />Mom spoke up. "Two years," she said. "And you better still be there."<br /><br />I gave her what has become my standard rhetoric when my loyalty to that town has been called into question.<br /><br />"I'll die there, or I'll retire there."<br /><br />She laughed, and as the cashier rang up her items, she looked at him and said, "Oh, and I'll get his too."<br /><br />I was floored. The sheer kindness of such a simple gesture left me stammering out, "You don't need to do that," and she laughed and told me to be quiet. I thanked her and left, smiling the entire way to my truck, out of the parking lot, and dang near the whole way home.<br /><br />Okay, Oklahoma. The school that's now infamous for the gun signs, and recently famous for the best state basketball run ever seen in the school's history. The town that raised my brothers and I, the cemetery where my father is buried. The town people can't wait to burn and leave. The home of the Mustangs and the church I found God in. The town that pops up on your iFunny app from time to time.<br /><br />The town I love, and the people I love.<br /><br />And I can't wait to invest the rest of my life there.Travis Sloathttps://plus.google.com/108052873780091338840noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6998316968566868088.post-24401877614587051012016-06-07T18:21:00.001-05:002016-06-07T18:21:56.582-05:00Red Flag of CourageMy family and I are, as you probably know after being inundated by social media posts all week, in Navarre Beach, Florida, on vacation.<br /><br />Things are great, thank you for asking. We've minimized the fighting, I've only had to beat one child since we've been here, and last night I had this for dinner, so yeah.<br /><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-HF916PypPFM/V1dQRCC-C7I/AAAAAAAADhg/3DJ1npKCwWc64OY6rh3xcd7gOQYQC4vxACLcB/s1600/13394201_1228747800468879_6777562500058402714_n.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="320" src="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-HF916PypPFM/V1dQRCC-C7I/AAAAAAAADhg/3DJ1npKCwWc64OY6rh3xcd7gOQYQC4vxACLcB/s320/13394201_1228747800468879_6777562500058402714_n.jpg" width="320" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">I can't even really describe it to you, other than using the words "I" and "came."&nbsp;</td></tr></tbody></table>There's really only been one problem.<br /><br />Red flags.<br /><br />Saturday when we pulled up, the water was fine. We didn't go near it, of course, because after I've driven fourteen hours through Alabama traffic, the last thing I want to do is drag children to the beach.<br /><br />As an aside, Alabama is the actual worst. Second only to Arizona in states I hate.<br /><br />Sunday we got up early and went to the beach. We didn't even eat breakfast, we just trunked up and went to the water.<br /><br />I don't know if you're familiar with the beach flag system in Florida, so I've included a pic.<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-nKceG8fxpqE/V1dQJq2iVbI/AAAAAAAADhY/pNYZpyZPjWM6EalcCkc3oNOvCSe9h2vLACKgB/s1600/beachflagsdestin.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="234" src="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-nKceG8fxpqE/V1dQJq2iVbI/AAAAAAAADhY/pNYZpyZPjWM6EalcCkc3oNOvCSe9h2vLACKgB/s320/beachflagsdestin.jpg" width="320" /></a></div><br />Sunday we had a yellow and a purple flag.<br /><br />"Screw harmful marine life," I said bravely to my family. "I'll punch a shark in the mouth."<br /><br />We had fun.<br /><br />Enter Tropical Storm Colin, which my family and I bravely soldiered through, as can be seen in the following life event on Facebook.<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-z_cZVH4b_DQ/V1dQJgLeZlI/AAAAAAAADhU/XEhh-pUcRvslAOz2bJo7QP9OPPTJTyBpgCKgB/s1600/Screen%2BShot%2B2016-06-07%2Bat%2B5.51.54%2BPM.png" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="320" src="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-z_cZVH4b_DQ/V1dQJgLeZlI/AAAAAAAADhU/XEhh-pUcRvslAOz2bJo7QP9OPPTJTyBpgCKgB/s320/Screen%2BShot%2B2016-06-07%2Bat%2B5.51.54%2BPM.png" width="311" /></a></div><br />Sprinkles aside, the storm gave us a red flag yesterday, and another red flag today, even though the weather was gorgeous.<br /><br />I don't like coming to the beach and not being able to get in the water. I'm a fish, with a natural born grace in the sea and a body full of flotation devices to keep me buoyant and right side up. I'm also fat, and there aren't a lot of forces in the world that can act upon me in such a way to knock me, as the expression goes, *ss over teakettle.<br /><br />So this afternoon I got in the water.<br /><br />"Screw the red flag," I said to my family. "Kids, stay out, daddy is going to do this alone."<br /><br />And I went in. Brazenly ignoring the fact that I was practically alone in the water, and ignoring the fact that most people gave a startled look as I walked by, as if they were thinking, "Wow, this guy...look at this guy."<br /><br />Things went well for about five minutes. I dipped, I dived, I twirled in the water like a fish, nay, a dolphin.<br /><br />Here's where I want to tell you about the beach reconstruction.<br /><br />You see, in Navarre, they've been reconstructing the beaches, which involves pumping copious amounts of sugary fine white sand from the ocean floor onto the existing beaches, extending them further into the Gulf. The thing is, when they bring up the sand, they also bring up seashells. Millions of seashells. I can't even adequately describe the amount of seashells on this beach.<br /><br />Large, small, medium sized and razor sharp seashells.<br /><br />Naturally, standing barefoot on the beach or in the water takes a bit of practice. A fine touch, if you will. Something I possess in the water.<br /><br />Something that failed me just as a monstrous "red flag" wave crashed over my body.<br /><br />Y'all remember the scorpion in Latvia, I'm sure. That was nothing. The football team making me their collective girlfriend? Child's play.<br /><br />Guys I crap you not that wave rag dolled me into a shape I didn't know I could achieve. My feet touched the back of my head and then my head went straight into the largest bed of seashells ever collected by the Lord Himself under the waters of the Gulf of Mexico.<br /><br />As I bobbed upside down in the turbulent water with my feet looking like a cork with a perch attached to it, and the skin being flayed off my forehead like I belonged to Ramsay Bolton, it slowly occurred to me that this was it, this was how I was going to die.<br /><br />Alas, the Lord returned my buoyancy and grace at just the right moment, and I sucked in more seawater than a man should ever inhale just before my head broke the surface and I tasted sweet delicious oxygen...right as another wave tossed me to shore in much the same way I imagine Jonah was spat onto the beach in Nineveh.<br /><br />I stood up on shaky legs and shaky pride, and quickly assessed the situation.<br /><br />"No blood, no blood, ah crap, blood."<br /><br />I was bleeding from the head, and seawater was pouring out of my nose, and my finger hurt. I looked down, and my finger was bleeding. I was, in essence, shark bait.<br /><br />I walked slowly up the bank with people staring at me. Some of them even had snarky little smiles, as if they'd known all along what would happen to the fat white guy from Oklahoma who couldn't wait for a yellow or green flag.<br /><br />"Dude, you're bleeding. Are you okay?"<br /><br />"You get turned over?"<br /><br />My beautiful and ever-concerned wife sat in her beach chair, discussing our plans of being teachers in Florida with our condo neighbors as I walked up.<br /><br />Her voice cracking with the weight of her overwhelming concern, she collapsed into a fit of laughter as she surveyed my bloody forehead.<br /><br />"You get knocked over?"<br /><br />I nodded shamefully.<br /><br />Our neighbors joined in the laughter.<br /><br />If you need me, I'll be on the beach, waiting for that sweet, sweet green flag.<br /><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-5uKQSzg7Ayk/V1dU5sq6tLI/AAAAAAAADh0/CB4VScqxLy42kU6QhOr8CF1zVwpgLf45ACLcB/s1600/IMG_2142.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="320" src="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-5uKQSzg7Ayk/V1dU5sq6tLI/AAAAAAAADh0/CB4VScqxLy42kU6QhOr8CF1zVwpgLf45ACLcB/s320/IMG_2142.JPG" width="240" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">The Scorpion strikes again. That said, my back feels amazing.&nbsp;</td></tr></tbody></table><br />Travis Sloathttps://plus.google.com/108052873780091338840noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6998316968566868088.post-62606454051691751272016-05-17T18:55:00.000-05:002016-05-17T18:55:29.194-05:00The one where I finally find something Brian Sloat can't do<i>"Watch this."&nbsp;</i><br /><i>"What?"&nbsp;</i><br /><i>"Watch Travis here. He's going to learn something. He doesn't&nbsp;know it yet, but he's going to."</i><br /><i>"What's he going to learn?"&nbsp;</i><br /><i>"Shut up and listen, this will be good."&nbsp;</i><br /><i><br /></i>Let's be real for a second. As an adoptive parent, I have a problem. It's a problem that stems from my selfishness and pride, both of which can spiral out of control very quickly in my life.<br /><br />I don't need your kind words and panegyrical speeches about how awesome we are for adopting kids. I really don't. I still don't think we did an amazing thing, I think we did what any human being on earth would do, we saw some kids who needed a home, and we gave them one.<br /><br /><i>By the way, I'm getting all the stuff that makes me look like a douchebag out of the way early, so if you want to scroll a bit you can. I'll understand.&nbsp;</i><br /><br />For whatever reason, though I don't want your edification of our character, I <i>do </i>expect our children to be grateful.<br /><br />See the problem yet? Again, the offer to skip forward still stands.<br /><br />I feel like my wife and I (who I am absolutely not speaking for here) pulled these kids out of a situation where their lives could have taken a much different turn. Some of the birth family reads this blog regularly (Hi guys!) and I'm not out to skewer them about how the kids' lives would have turned out. For all I know, they might have changed their lives around and raised better children than I could ever dream of.<br /><br />So the kids should be grateful. No, I don't expect kissing of rings or regular shoe shines from them, but maybe stop the entitled behavior a bit, yeah?<br /><br />The other day Aven decided he didn't want to live here anymore. Said it was awful. He wished he lived somewhere else.<br /><br /><i>Guys, seriously, skip ahead.&nbsp;</i><br /><br />So I told him anytime he was ready to leave I'd help him pack. I was pissed. I was offended. I've also never parented an eight-year-old boy before, so cut me a little slack.<br /><br />Fast forward a couple of weeks. Aven had a real bad day at Drake's birthday party on Sunday. Drake got Legos, and Aven got pissed because he thinks he should have all the Legos in the house, and he threw a fit then gave everyone the silent treatment, and basically took all the attention away from Drake on his big day.<br /><br />For his behavior, he earned some alone time in his room, along with the promise that when the family left, he'd be getting his rear end lit up.<br /><br />For an explanation of why I was waiting until family left, see the following tweets:<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-GSmbNC0XyTc/VzuootGTuJI/AAAAAAAADgs/sGG-7plIYMslcYzHOtcZ8iv-AaldPdiPwCLcB/s1600/Screen%2BShot%2B2016-05-17%2Bat%2B6.26.09%2BPM.png" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="204" src="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-GSmbNC0XyTc/VzuootGTuJI/AAAAAAAADgs/sGG-7plIYMslcYzHOtcZ8iv-AaldPdiPwCLcB/s320/Screen%2BShot%2B2016-05-17%2Bat%2B6.26.09%2BPM.png" width="320" /></a></div><br />Well, eventually the party died down and I went into Aven's room with the paddle. I had planned on doing a bit of yelling, a bit of paddling, and ending in a lecture about his choices.<br /><br />I told him to sit down, and I explained what was about to happen. I told him that he had made some real bad choices today, and that he was now going to pay the consequences for his actions. I told him he had options when he got mad. I explained that one of those options was walking away. I explained that another option was some alone time in his room if he wanted. I made sure to reinforce that these were <i>his</i>&nbsp;choices, and no one could make them for him.<br /><br />I then told him he was to go apologize to his mom and his brother, and then he was coming back to get his spanking.<br /><br />He walked back in to the room, and I told him that he could get mad about the punishment, but my dad busted my butt and that's why he was getting his butt busted.<br /><br />And just like that, words stopped coming out of my mouth, because a very shocking thought crossed my brain.<br /><br /><i><u>Aven doesn't need Brian Sloat as a dad. Aven needs Travis Sloat as a dad.&nbsp;</u></i><br /><br />The revelation floored me, and I'm sure I seemed a sight to Aven as I stood there holding the paddle while being unable to communicate.<br /><br />I heard a voice in my head. It wasn't Brian Sloat. To tell you the truth, I absolutely know it was the Holy Spirit, giving me a direct order that I wasn't ready to accept.<br /><br /><i>"Pray with your son."&nbsp;</i><br /><br />Eventually I put the paddle down. I sat down on Aven's bed and I told him to stand in front of me. I looked at the wall for a while, then at the giant Superman on the wall. Then I looked at the dresser, the whole time trying to find words that adequately suited the situation, and that would affirm to my son that I had not gone completely bat-shit crazy.<br /><br />I finally looked him in the eye.<br /><br />"Aven, I love you so much."<br /><br />The tears fell. Through blurry eyes I watched as everything in his countenance changed, his features softened from anger to what could almost be called remorse, and then tears fell from his eyes too.<br /><br />"Dad, I'm sorry," he said. And then he hugged me.<br /><br />It was one of those classic father/son hugs you see in the movies. The whole tears staining the shirt, me gripping the back of his head like a man desperately trying to keep a hydroplaning car on the road type hug. If you had been in that room, you'd have cried, trust me. Nicholas Sparks in all his writing glory could not have manufactured a better hug than that one.<br /><br />And we cried.<br /><br />Eventually the crying stopped, and I looked at him again.<br /><br />"Son, if anything ever happened to you, I would never be the same. You are wanted. You are special. I love you so much, and I know it seems like I'm mean to you sometimes. I've never had a son before. I don't always know how to be a good dad."<br /><br />And then we prayed.<br /><br /><i>"God, help me have a better attitude, and help me not be jealous, and make better decisions, amen."&nbsp;</i><br /><i><br /></i><i>"God, I'm a bad father sometimes. Please help me realize that Aven needs me as a father. Please help me be a better dad. Thank you for showing me what mercy looks like. Thank you for Aven. Amen."&nbsp;</i><br /><br />May 15, 2016 will mark the second time ever that I have prayed with my son. The first was his salvation. I am an absolute idiot for not doing it more. I should be praying with all my kids. I'm going to try and make that happen.<br /><br />As for Aven, well, there will be more bad decisions. He's eight, after all, soon to be nine. He's got a whole lifetime of bad decisions ahead of him. Just like his dad.<br /><br />And I'll spank him again. It'll happen. Not for fun, not because it's what my dad did to me, but because I'm biblically bound to do that. I just need to remember that I'm also biblically bound to love my children as my Heavenly Father loves me.<br /><br />Alicia walked in the house yesterday and said, "I don't know what you said to him yesterday, but he's been amazing today."<br /><br />I guess sometimes sparing the rod is necessary. I guess ultimately, that's what Christ did on the cross. I deserved a beating, and instead I got told that I was loved, that I was special.<br /><br />I'm a horrible father. Nothing you can ever say to me will change my mind about that. But I love my kids, and Christ loves me, and that'll work just fine. And in the meantime, I'll be busy reminding myself that although Brian Sloat was a brilliant father, he doesn't need to be the one who parents Aven Sloat.<br /><br />That's my job. That's what I do. Travis Sloathttps://plus.google.com/108052873780091338840noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6998316968566868088.post-65377894089648993362016-04-07T09:54:00.000-05:002016-04-07T09:54:22.137-05:00Whole30: Day ThreeWell, Day Three sucked.<br /><br />Lack of preparedness, Alicia being sick, and intense cravings/mood swings almost put me over the wall. But, here I sit, Day Four, having gotten through Day Three without caving.<br /><br />Breakfast was the only meal I got a picture of because it was seriously the only meal worth photographing. I sautéed mushrooms and onions, then added GUESS WHAT?!?!?! Three fried eggs. That's right, more eggs.<br /><br />I did apply my homemade hot sauce liberally, and truth be told, it was a great breakfast.<br /><br /><div style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-yl8kz0hE0MU/VwZyoqEyREI/AAAAAAAADfY/fFVHaW1tr5U7mAIBGSBL9p5osuud4cV-A/s1600/IMG_1577.JPG" imageanchor="1"><img border="0" height="240" src="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-yl8kz0hE0MU/VwZyoqEyREI/AAAAAAAADfY/fFVHaW1tr5U7mAIBGSBL9p5osuud4cV-A/s320/IMG_1577.JPG" width="320" /></a></div><div style="text-align: center;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: left;">I also sliced up some tomatoes and sprinkled some pink salt on them. They were store-bought so they weren't great, but they added a nice contrast to the eggs.&nbsp;</div><div style="text-align: left;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: left;">Lunch was leftover lettuce tacos from the night before. Ugh. I just sort of powered through it. Lunch will be tough for me as long as I continue to eat leftovers, and I'll continue to eat leftovers because it's really difficult to get up and fix breakfast AND lunch. Maybe I should try this meal prep thing.&nbsp;</div><div style="text-align: left;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: left;">As an aside, I did make it through the mid-morning without a snack. However, I broke into my almonds at about 2 p.m. I have my seventh graders that hour, and we're working on research projects, and I could feel myself getting a little cranky.&nbsp;</div><div style="text-align: left;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: left;">I got home and ate five pickles. Five. They were tiny pickles, but I ate five, and drank pickle juice because that's allowed and don't judge me. I also ate an apple.&nbsp;</div><div style="text-align: left;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: left;">Dinner was a shitshow. Alicia had set out turkey and ground beef, and then got to feeling puny, and I was pissy because, no carbs, and so I had to think of something. My plan? Turkey burger patties with sautéed onions, garlic, and mushroom powder, then I made a sauce out of drippings, chicken stock, and almond milk. I also sautéed onions, mushrooms, zucchini, and asparagus for a side. My patties were undercooked, so that sucked, but three minutes in the microwave fixed it.&nbsp;</div><div style="text-align: left;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: left;">Alicia also brought home some raw almonds, and I tried my hand at roasting them. I popped them in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes, let them cool, then added a teaspoon of light evoo, salt, onion and garlic powder, and cayenne. I wound up eating them all as a bedtime snack.&nbsp;</div><div style="text-align: left;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: left;">As previously mentioned, today is Day Four, and we'll see how it goes. Hopefully supper will be a shade better this evening, and I'm really going to try to stay away from all the "snacks" that I'm indulging in, even though they're compliant, and even though Erica is telling me it's okay.&nbsp;</div>Travis Sloathttps://plus.google.com/108052873780091338840noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6998316968566868088.post-57817258958503748802016-04-06T10:48:00.002-05:002016-04-06T10:48:31.262-05:00Whole30: Day TwoDay Two of the Whole30 was not as bad as Day One.<div><br /></div><div>This was, I think, due partly to good planning. We made a grocery trip the night before (see yesterday's blog), and picked up some things for the day.&nbsp;</div><div><br /></div><div>One of the things I picked up was asparagus, because I freaking love asparagus, and I'd seen someone in our Facebook group talk about asparagus and eggs for breakfast. Since you basically eat eggs forty-two times a day on this plan, you have to think of ways to church them up. So I did.&nbsp;</div><div><br /></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-bNAr7P3k1Gk/VwUltBLmMxI/AAAAAAAADfA/PPmjVxe0WBIaKQQpyJtzOeUK21RBLGwXg/s1600/IMG_1563.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="240" src="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-bNAr7P3k1Gk/VwUltBLmMxI/AAAAAAAADfA/PPmjVxe0WBIaKQQpyJtzOeUK21RBLGwXg/s320/IMG_1563.JPG" width="320" /></a></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><br /></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;">That is roasted asparagus, topped with three over easy eggs fried lightly in clarified butter. I also added a few drops (half the bottle) of a really good hot sauce, which <a href="http://freefringes.yeahwrite.me/" target="_blank">Erica</a> then mentioned might not be compliant. So what did I do yesterday? I MADE MY OWN FREAKING HOT SAUCE.&nbsp;</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;"><br /></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;">That's right, jalapeños, dried Carolina Reapers, tomato paste, smoked paprika, apple cider vinegar, beef stock and a few other compliant spices. It'll peel the paint off your car, and it tastes pretty dang good if I say so myself.&nbsp;</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;"><br /></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;">Back to the meals though. I did get hungry about halfway between breakfast and lunch, and luckily I was prepared.&nbsp;</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;"><br /></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-5xqjGJzBDFs/VwUltLdtAVI/AAAAAAAADe8/mgKtOOBS-REsnmoxOBcVk6BFbpyX1cpMA/s1600/IMG_1566.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="240" src="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-5xqjGJzBDFs/VwUltLdtAVI/AAAAAAAADe8/mgKtOOBS-REsnmoxOBcVk6BFbpyX1cpMA/s320/IMG_1566.JPG" width="320" /></a></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;"><br /></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;">I doled out exactly twenty-eight almonds and ate them slowly, thinking about how good they'd be loaded up with sugar and syrup and all the things I would never put on almonds but that I want to put on them now.&nbsp;</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;"><br /></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;">Lunch was leftovers from Day One, steak and mushrooms with hot sauce. It was freaking phenomenal and made me wish I had made more. One of the things I'm trying to do though is to make sure I'm eating smaller portions. Yeah, I'm pretty sure I can eat all I want on this plan, but that doesn't mean I need to abuse it.&nbsp;</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;"><br /></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;">I found a recipe for <a href="http://www.findingsilverpennies.com/2015/01/whole30-tacos.html" target="_blank">Whole30 tacos</a> online yesterday, and essentially begged Alicia to let me make them. Another short shopping trip after school, and I had the ingredients for the tacos, as well as the ingredients for the aforementioned hot sauce.&nbsp;</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;"><br /></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;">I mixed up my own taco seasoning, and I forgot the oregano listed in the recipe, and that sucked. It wasn't as good as the taco seasoning I buy in the pre-made packets, and I don't care who you are, it'll never be better and you won't convince me otherwise. But it was tasty, and it'll do.&nbsp;</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;"><br /></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-3Q20_hDCeXA/VwUltdM2e7I/AAAAAAAADfE/eOtqKofePY0BhoGqgLSGmTBpDyJo2utDQ/s1600/IMG_1572.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="240" src="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-3Q20_hDCeXA/VwUltdM2e7I/AAAAAAAADfE/eOtqKofePY0BhoGqgLSGmTBpDyJo2utDQ/s320/IMG_1572.JPG" width="320" /></a></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;"><br /></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;">Scooping that beautiful taco meat onto green and crunchy romaine lettuce instead of taco shells was probably the most depressed I've been on this whole plan, and it was just Day Two. I threw some fresh onion, tomato, and avocado on as well, and enough of my hot sauce to drown the sadness in my heart.&nbsp;</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;"><br /></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;">A lot of people get mad at me for being able to tell a difference in my body so quickly when I make a diet change. But the plain and simple truth is, my diet was SO TRULY TERRIBLE, that any changes I make get noticed very quickly.&nbsp;</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;"><br /></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;">As a result, the following things have happened: I've noticed my stomach is laying flatter in the mornings when I wake up, instead of being bloated; my skin is less oily; I'm colder, which means my blood sugar is dropping; and I feel like absolute shit.&nbsp;</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;"><br /></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;">Day Three will be interesting, I brought leftovers from last night's dinner, and Alicia set out turkey to eat tonight. I don't know exactly what we're going to do with it. In the meantime, I'm going to try to make it without a midmorning snack.&nbsp;</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;"><br /></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;"><strike>Day Three</strike></div>Travis Sloathttps://plus.google.com/108052873780091338840noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6998316968566868088.post-38662432284177599782016-04-05T10:51:00.000-05:002016-04-06T10:49:08.084-05:00Whole30: Day OneYesterday my wife and I began the Whole30 food program. I hate to think of it as a diet, it's more of an eating change.<br /><div><br /></div><div>The basic tenements of the program can be found <a href="http://whole30.com/" target="_blank">here</a>.&nbsp;</div><div><br /></div><div>We didn't really have the groceries on hand to begin the right way, but I have a couple of <a href="http://yeahwrite.me/" target="_blank">Yeah Write</a> buddies who are in on it, and I wanted to give them some support.&nbsp;</div><div><br /></div><div>I weighed on Sunday. I am 324 pounds. I have man tits. My gut is enormous. I'm currently taking three medications for diabetes (Metformin, Glyburide, and Invokana), a pill for blood pressure, and a pill for a fatty liver, as well as an antidepressant.</div><div><br /></div><div>Something has to give.&nbsp;</div><div><br /></div><div>So yesterday was Day One.&nbsp;</div><div><br /></div><div>I had two poached eggs for breakfast. That was it. That was a poor decision on my part, but it's what we had. For lunch, tuna. No seriously, that's it, tuna with pickles. I ate that meal in the teacher's lounge and wanted to cry afterwards.&nbsp;</div><div><br /></div><div>I was mean to students, moody, and determined to go get groceries for a better dinner. So when I left school, that's what I did.&nbsp;</div><div><br /></div><div>Dinner was sirloin steak, sliced thin with mushrooms, garlic, and a sauce made from beef stock, fish sauce, and oregano. My god it was amazing. I put the larger portion in a container for lunch today. That was a difficult thing to do.&nbsp;</div><div><br /></div><div>I also made clarified butter, which is something I've never done before. Something else I did was buy only myself dinner, and didn't get anything for my wife and kids. Alicia pointed this out to me when she got home, and because we've begun depriving our bodies of things it thinks it needs, she pointed that out to me in a rather angry fashion.&nbsp;</div><div><br /></div><div>I had a church league basketball game last night, and my performance was awful. Not that it has even been grand (not since high school), but I missed every shot I took and airballed a three. Embarrassing.&nbsp;</div><div><br /></div><div>Even tougher was coming home. I was starving (or so I thought), and I wound up eating plain salsa (Whole30 approved) and pistachios. I went to bed hungry, but (sorry for being personal) I got laid, and that helped a lot. It also helped that Villanova beat UNC in the National Championship game.&nbsp;</div><div><br /></div><div>Today is Day Two, or Day Twenty-Nine, depending on my mood. I'm going to try to post every single day, even if it's just words and no pictures. I've accidentally discovered that food photographs way better when it's healthy, and so I'd like to document that for you guys.&nbsp;</div><div><br /></div><div>I also don't plan on posting anything on public Facebook until the deed is done. Then I'll post the link to Day One, and people can follow it through.&nbsp;</div><div><br /></div><div>Well, let's do this thing.<br /><br /><a href="/2016/04/whole30-day-two.html" target="_blank">Day Two</a></div>Travis Sloathttps://plus.google.com/108052873780091338840noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6998316968566868088.post-52442109820300799132016-03-05T21:04:00.000-06:002016-03-05T21:04:45.649-06:00Bright lights, heartbreak, and it's really not that bad<div style="text-align: center;"><br /></div><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-Qb5gBqqtsdk/VtuTOUU-CqI/AAAAAAAADeY/N4clRip-vUU/s1600/image1.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="320" src="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-Qb5gBqqtsdk/VtuTOUU-CqI/AAAAAAAADeY/N4clRip-vUU/s320/image1.JPG" width="320" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;"><i>maybe, maybe, maybe<br />you'll find something that's&nbsp;enough to keep you<br />but if the bright lights don't receive you,<br />then turn yourself around and come on home.<br />-</i>&nbsp;Matchbox Twenty</td></tr></tbody></table><div><br /></div><b>Sixty hours ago I was throwing my backpack into my truck and headed to go get Nate.&nbsp;</b><div><br /></div><div>As we made the trip to the State Fairgrounds, I kept checking Facebook and seeing all the statuses about heading to Oklahoma City and how excited everyone was.&nbsp;</div><div><br /></div><div>I was excited too.&nbsp;</div><div><br /></div><div>The State Tournament. The Big House. And the Okay Mustangs.&nbsp;</div><div><br /></div><div>Those words aren't used together every year. Volleyball, maybe, but not basketball.&nbsp;</div><div><br /></div><div>Since no one bothered to tell us about the massive construction project on I-40 (shoutout to all you chumps), we got to the game just a few minutes before it started. Okay vs. Velma-Alma, two schools that, had you conducted a poll anywhere but there, no one would have heard of.&nbsp;</div><div><br /></div><div>Our boys made it look easy.&nbsp;</div><div><br /></div><div>That's not slighting the Comets, that's simply a testament to the shooting performance our boys gave. Shots were dropping like gas prices during an election year, and it was fun. After a certain point, it didn't even seem real anymore.&nbsp;</div><div><br /></div><div>I'll be perfectly honest with you and tell you I wasn't sure how they'd handle the big stage.&nbsp;</div><div><br /></div><div>Turns out they didn't need me to believe in them.&nbsp;</div><div><br /></div><div>A twenty-point win and a drive back to the hotel, where I swam in the pool and thought about the game. Where I thought about Chad, and how he was back where it started for him in 1998. About that time I played thirty seconds in a state tournament game and had one rebound and one turnover.&nbsp;</div><div><br /></div><div>I seriously think I told that story to whoever would listen. I was pulling hotel maids into the room and reenacting the rebound, making Hayden and Nate play defense every time I told it.&nbsp;</div><div><br /></div><div><b>Enter day two.&nbsp;</b></div><div><br /></div><div>A 10:30 a.m. game against the number three team in the state. A team that had also been up by twenty points in their first game.&nbsp;</div><div><br /></div><div>I was, yet again, worried, because that's what I do.&nbsp;</div><div><br /></div><div>Turns out they didn't need me to believe in them.&nbsp;</div><div><br /></div><div>The shooting performance they put on Friday made Thursday's show look like me trying to dip two McNuggets into a painfully small hot mustard packet.&nbsp;</div><div><br /></div><div>I honestly think at one point I made a three. And if I live long enough I'm sure that's how the story will go one day. Three-pointers were flying through the nets like a...well, listen, I've watched my two favorite teams lose today, so I'm at a loss for a simile.&nbsp;</div><div><br /></div><div>They got hot.&nbsp;</div><div><br /></div><div>They won by ten, but it was really by twenty.&nbsp;</div><div><br /></div><div>In the meantime, Fort Cobb-Broxton was busily winding their way through the bracket, making it look as though the OSSAA had mistakenly assigned a 5A team to the A tourney.&nbsp;</div><div><br /></div><div><b>And then today happened. Day three. The championship game.&nbsp;</b></div><div><br /></div><div>A Facebook post informed me earlier that Okay has been a school district for 97 years. In 97 years we've never once had a basketball team in a state championship game.&nbsp;</div><div><br /></div><div>But by God we did today.&nbsp;</div><div><br /></div><div>I was worried. I watched Fort Cobb play both nights and I was worried. I tried to contain what I felt but my celebrations were muted, my conversations heavy with the weight of my pessimism.&nbsp;</div><div><br /></div><div>Turns out, they didn't need me to believe in them.&nbsp;</div><div><br /></div><div>Our boys—Our Okay Mustangs—went out onto that floor and from the very first tip worked their butts off to bring home a gold ball for our town. They ran off screens, they dealt with bumps, they hustled for loose balls—all for us. All for Okay.&nbsp;</div><div><br /></div><div>Those shots that fell the first two games didn't fall today. And you know what? That's okay, and here's why.&nbsp;</div><div><br /></div><div>My children teach me things all the time. Just when I think I'm the smartest person in the family, one of them will innocently say something so full of wisdom that I know The Lord is trying to knock me over the head with a lesson.&nbsp;</div><div><br /></div><div>I pulled into the driveway this evening, emotionally exhausted, upset, and proud all at the same time.&nbsp;</div><div><br /></div><div>Aven, my eight-year-old, was playing in the yard and came up to the truck as I got out.&nbsp;</div><div><br /></div><div><i>"How was basketball?" he asked.&nbsp;</i></div><div><i><br /></i></div><div><i>"It was a lot of fun," I replied.&nbsp;</i></div><div><i><br /></i></div><div><i>"Did you win it all?"&nbsp;</i></div><div><i><br /></i></div><div><i>"No, son, we lost in the championship game."&nbsp;</i></div><div><i><br /></i></div><div><i>"Oh...well, that's really that bad though, right?"&nbsp;</i></div><div><br /></div><div>I looked up, and saw my beautiful wife, who I'd missed very much, coming outside to kiss me hello.&nbsp;</div><div><br /></div><div>In that moment, the entire weekend sped through my mind like a highlight reel on fast forward. The jump shots. The three-pointers. The conversations with people I'd grown up with. The celebrations. The hustle. The silver ball. The first second-place state tournament ever for our basketball program. The beautiful game of basketball that I love, played by young men that I love, coached by two men I admire and respect, administrated by a principal and superintendent that I think the world of. It all came over me, baptizing me in the sheer <i>fun</i>&nbsp;of the weekend.&nbsp;</div><div><br /></div><div>And I realized that my son is wiser than I am.&nbsp;</div><div><br /></div><div><i>"No, Aven, it's really not that bad."&nbsp;</i></div><div><div style="text-align: center;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: left;">Book the hotel rooms, Mustang fans. We'll be back next year. And I hope Fort Cobb-Broxton is there in the final, Goliath vs. Goliath, four or five moments away from another shot at a gold ball.&nbsp;</div><div style="text-align: left;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: left;">Thank you, boys. Thank you, Chad and Steve. Thank you to the fans, to the town that raised me, and the town that is letting me help raise their students.&nbsp;</div><div style="text-align: left;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: left;">November can't get here quick enough.&nbsp;</div><div style="text-align: left;"><br /></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-uKktBN8qm0g/VtrhBWYa_XI/AAAAAAAADeI/msK_L8ogm4c/s1600/img_pd_082800_f13oxq.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-uKktBN8qm0g/VtrhBWYa_XI/AAAAAAAADeI/msK_L8ogm4c/s1600/img_pd_082800_f13oxq.jpg" /></a></div><div style="text-align: left;"><br /></div></div>Travis Sloathttps://plus.google.com/108052873780091338840noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6998316968566868088.post-52670321787441196242016-03-05T07:44:00.000-06:002016-03-05T08:20:31.760-06:00On hope, and four or five moments<div style="text-align: center;"><br /></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-uKktBN8qm0g/VtrhBWYa_XI/AAAAAAAADeA/iFBuSLq2t7c/s1600/img_pd_082800_f13oxq.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-uKktBN8qm0g/VtrhBWYa_XI/AAAAAAAADeA/iFBuSLq2t7c/s1600/img_pd_082800_f13oxq.jpg" /></a></div><br /><div style="text-align: center;"><i><br /></i></div><div style="text-align: center;"><i><br /></i></div><div style="text-align: center;"><i>"The game can kill you with hope." </i>&nbsp;- Kevin Baker</div><div style="text-align: center;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: left;">Well, they've done it.&nbsp;</div><div style="text-align: left;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: left;">Yesterday, while battling to maintain a lead against the No. 3 ranked team in the state, the Okay Mustangs were suddenly up 20 points, and I'm still not entirely sure how it happened.&nbsp;</div><div style="text-align: left;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: left;">I mean, yeah, 70 points from Caleb and Darius Riggs probably did it, but still.&nbsp;</div><div style="text-align: left;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: left;">Remember yesterday when I said I wanted Goliath vs. Goliath? Well, I watched Fort Cobb's game with Seiling yesterday thinking that I was an idiot for writing it.&nbsp;</div><div style="text-align: left;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: left;">But I'm not. The whole season has been leading up to this point. Two teams, both Mustangs, across the state from each other, and each doing the kind of work it takes to be successful in this glorious game of basketball.&nbsp;</div><div style="text-align: left;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: left;">And now we're in the finals. School history has been made. We all got to see it. We all get to see it.&nbsp;</div><div style="text-align: left;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: left;">This small group of boys from a town no one has ever heard of have given hope to thousands of people.&nbsp;</div><div style="text-align: left;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: center;"><b><span style="font-size: large;">hope</span></b></div><div style="text-align: center;"><b><span style="font-size: large;"><br /></span></b></div><div style="text-align: center;"><b><span style="font-size: large;">noun — the feeling that what is wanted can be had.</span></b></div><div style="text-align: left;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: left;">It's such a simple word. One syllable and four letters with an ocean in between each one, and a gold ball waiting just after the "e."&nbsp;</div><div style="text-align: left;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: left;">You know, you're going to laugh, but I finally went to see Deadpool last night, and I think I can actually use part of a scene from that movie to teach something here.&nbsp;</div><div style="text-align: left;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: left;">Colossus, a member of the X-Men, stops Deadpool from shooting someone by saying:</div><div style="text-align: left;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: left;"><i>"Wade! Four or five moments."</i></div><div style="text-align: left;"><i><br /></i></div><div style="text-align: left;"><i>"What?"&nbsp;</i></div><div style="text-align: left;"><i><br /></i></div><div style="text-align: left;"><i>"Four or five moments — That's all it takes to become a hero. Everyone thinks it's a full-time job. Wake up a hero. Brush your teeth a hero. Go to work a hero. Not true. Over a lifetime there are only four or five moments that really matter. Moments when you're offered a choice to make a sacrifice,&nbsp;conquer a flaw, save a friend..."&nbsp;</i></div><div style="text-align: left;"><i><br /></i></div><div style="text-align: left;">Now if you've seen the movie you know that quote immediately loses relevance not long after, but I think it maintains its relevance here today.&nbsp;</div><div style="text-align: left;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: left;">Okay Mustangs, go be a hero today. Live in the four or five moments of this game where you'll make a choice, play harder than you thought you could, or sacrifice a shot for a better one. Live in the moments where you'll be a hero.&nbsp;</div><div style="text-align: left;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: left;">Something I struggled with as a player and now as a coach is being told/telling kids to "leave it all on the floor." I understand the sentiment, but if you leave it all on the floor, where's "it" going to be for the next game?<br /><br />Today, there is no next game. Today is the one day I agree with "leave it all on the floor."&nbsp;</div><div style="text-align: left;"><i><br /></i></div><div style="text-align: left;">I'll be in the stands hoping. I'll be in the stands believing. Thousands of us will.&nbsp;</div><div style="text-align: left;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: left;">In the moment of hope, there is no doubt. There is no room for doubt. So hope breeds confidence, and confidence breeds happiness. You've made the town of Okay and your families very happy. You've already accomplished something enormous that will never be forgotten.<br /><br />Thank you for that.&nbsp;</div><div style="text-align: left;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: left;">Now finish the job.&nbsp;</div><div style="text-align: left;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: center;"><i>"hope is the thing with feathers</i></div><div style="text-align: center;"><i>that perches in the soul</i></div><div style="text-align: center;"><i>and sings the tune without the words</i></div><div style="text-align: center;"><i>and never stops at all."&nbsp;</i></div><div style="text-align: center;">- Emily Dickinson</div><div style="text-align: center;"><br /></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-b1AYHe_SsLY/VtrhFW-ccdI/AAAAAAAADeE/2gb6mcCEqJc/s1600/IMG_1316.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="320" src="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-b1AYHe_SsLY/VtrhFW-ccdI/AAAAAAAADeE/2gb6mcCEqJc/s320/IMG_1316.JPG" width="240" /></a></div>Travis Sloathttps://plus.google.com/108052873780091338840noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6998316968566868088.post-36049477447360162272016-03-04T07:33:00.000-06:002016-03-04T08:29:17.592-06:00You tell them we're coming...and we're bringing Okay with us<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><br /></div>It's just after 7 a.m.<br /><br />Light is slowly filtering through the blinds of our hotel room—a hotel room that Hayden booked 400 miles away from the stadium—and I've already been down to have breakfast, which was crap.<br /><br />I woke up excited.<br /><br />My roommates, Hayden and Nathan, are still snoring softly in the bed behind me, which they are sharing because I told them I'm a cuddler.<br /><br />I woke up excited because the Okay Mustangs made school history yesterday.<br /><br />Yesterday wasn't a great day for our state or our nation. You see, schools took yet another budget cut. A budget cut that will mean the end for some. There's some small school in Oklahoma that will have to close its doors thanks to the idiocy we're seeing at the state level.<br /><br />Hundreds of thousands of people were taken off Medicaid, something I don't quite understand, but expect to soon.<br /><br />Last night during the presidential debate, politics were eschewed for penis measuring, which, I suppose, is really the basis of all politics anyway.<br /><br />Yesterday wasn't a great day for our state or our nation.<br /><br />But it was a great day to be a Mustang.<br /><br />I wish I had a cool action shot to post here, a picture worth more than a thousand words, showing the hustle and effort our boys put forth into bringing home the first Okay State Playoff win in school history. I wish I had a picture of Darius shooting three pointers from the parking lot, or Paul Taylor checking into the game and in the first five seconds driving in for a layup. I wish I had a shot of Caleb or Austin shooting jump shots with the confidence that Donald Trump has in his hair, but I don't. I was busy in the stands updating my Facebook every three seconds for the folks back home.<br /><br />I'm told the boys' bus ride back to the hotel yesterday was silent. They weren't celebrating their win. They realized that although they made school history, all they really won was the chance to fight another day.<br /><br />Today. This day.<br /><br />Most probably haven't even woken up yet. They probably haven't gone downstairs to gorge themselves on homemade omelettes and all-you-can-eat bacon (I'm looking at you, Hayden). Some of them might be up though, thinking about the game, doing the mental preparation that is oh so important in this game, yet so often overlooked.<br /><br />Our opponent opposite the bracket found themselves in a close one yesterday. Everyone talked about how they hoped there would be an upset, and I joined in that conversation. But truthfully, I don't want an upset. I want 1 vs. 2 out there tomorrow. I don't want to see David and Goliath, because we all know how that goes, and sometimes Goliath wins anyway. I want to see Goliath vs. Goliath.<br /><br />But they aren't there yet. They have to win today.<br /><br />And you know what? Even if they don't, even if they lose today, one day they'll look back and say, "Remember that time we won a game at state? That hasn't been done since, has it? Remember how many points I scored? Remember how proud the town was?"<br /><br />You're damn right I'm proud. This town, this Okay town, is my life. I will empty all I am into it until it shines or until I die, and I'm even prouder to say that I don't stand alone in that objective.<br /><br />So go fight today, boys. Go win the chance to take on that other Goliath. You'll hear us in the stands, and if you don't, feel free to come over and remind us that we're not Okay.<br /><br />We're freaking great.<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-7_iZTu1vv4A/VtmND3muv8I/AAAAAAAADdo/TyPNs2fIJSU/s1600/img_pd_082800_f13oxq.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-7_iZTu1vv4A/VtmND3muv8I/AAAAAAAADdo/TyPNs2fIJSU/s1600/img_pd_082800_f13oxq.jpg" /></a></div><br />Travis Sloathttps://plus.google.com/108052873780091338840noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6998316968566868088.post-91585037301326779952016-01-24T14:12:00.000-06:002016-01-24T14:12:02.058-06:00Upon the burning of a scrub brush<i>snick. snick.</i><br /><i><br /></i><i>snick. snick.&nbsp;</i><br /><i><br /></i><i>I'd been told to throw the lighter in the trash, not to play with it because fire is bad. It couldn't be all bad though, right? Man had invented fire for a reason, and I was reasonably certain that arson wasn't even a thought at the time.&nbsp;</i><br /><i><br /></i><i>Civilized disobedience would have its way, and I sat huddled in my sandbox, every bit as focused as the lonesome caveman sitting inside his prehistoric domicile rubbing two sticks together ferociously as his lady friend got ready to go help some other dude with&nbsp;something he was calling the "wheel."&nbsp;</i><br /><i><br /></i><i>Did she </i>have<i>&nbsp;to&nbsp;wear </i>that<i>&nbsp;skirt? The leopard?&nbsp;</i><br /><i><br /></i><i>snick. snick.</i><br /><i><br /></i><i>The lighter wound up being less successful than two sticks.&nbsp;Minuscule promises of flame flew as the&nbsp;spark wheel struck the flint, but either the fluid chambers were empty or the elements had rendered it useless.&nbsp;</i><br /><i><br /></i><i>I found the lighter in the yard, and to this day I'm not sure how it got there. Might have been those idiot teenagers my parents were always griping about, smoking and being a bad influence on us "good kids." When I found it, I did the honest thing, I told mom about it, and had been given the above-mentioned instructions to throw it away.&nbsp;</i><br /><i><br /></i><i>snick. snick.&nbsp;</i><br /><i><br /></i><i>What did all fire need? Being an eight-year-old boy, I wasn't sure, but one thing I knew I needed was kindling. I didn't have to look far. Lying in the sandbox beside me was a scrub brush, bristling with dry fibers perfect for the ultimate starter fire.&nbsp;</i><br /><i><br /></i><i>snick. snick.&nbsp;</i><br /><i><br /></i><i>Sparks danced, but did not catch.</i><br /><i><br /></i><i>snick. snick.&nbsp;</i><br /><i><br /></i><i>snick. snick.&nbsp;</i><br /><i><br /></i><i>snick. snick.&nbsp;</i><br /><i><br /></i><i>I grew bored and eventually gave up,&nbsp;Promethean visions no longer dancing in my imagination. Back to an&nbsp;existence without fire.&nbsp;</i><br /><i><br /></i><i>...</i><br /><i><br /></i><i>When my dad walked in with a scrub brush burnt to the composite bristle holder, at&nbsp;first I didn't understand.&nbsp;</i><br /><i><br /></i><i>"I found this in the sandbox, Travis. Do you know anything about it?"&nbsp;</i><br /><i><br /></i><i>"No sir."&nbsp;</i><br /><i><br /></i><i>Then my mother sang like a canary.&nbsp;</i><br /><i><br /></i><i>"TRAVIS DID YOU THROW THAT LIGHTER AWAY?!"&nbsp;</i><br /><i><br /></i><i>"Yes ma'am." Because I had, eventually, thrown it away. And to be honest I had a hard time believing I had started the fire that claimed the life of this charred scrub brush.&nbsp;</i><br /><i><br /></i><i>"DID YOU KEEP PLAYING WITH IT?!?"&nbsp;</i><br /><i><br /></i><i>My silence damned me.&nbsp;</i><br /><i><br /></i><div style="text-align: center;"><i>***</i></div><div style="text-align: center;"><i><br /></i></div><div style="text-align: left;">Sometimes we forget things. I feel like I forget more things than most people, especially pertaining to my childhood. My childhood wasn't bad enough for me to forget it for any reason, I wasn't abused or molested or burned with cigarettes.&nbsp;</div><div style="text-align: left;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: left;">But every now and again I'll see something that will trigger a memory, much like the story I've just told you. Today that happened.&nbsp;</div><div style="text-align: left;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: left;">Let me introduce you to Exhibit A.&nbsp;</div><div style="text-align: left;"><br /></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-qyiO8wOL-Ok/VqUq1oniFpI/AAAAAAAADdA/iujSrYgcwcI/s1600/IMG_0943.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="320" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-qyiO8wOL-Ok/VqUq1oniFpI/AAAAAAAADdA/iujSrYgcwcI/s320/IMG_0943.JPG" width="240" /></a></div><div style="text-align: left;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: left;">Some of you may not know what you're looking at, but I did the moment I saw it. It's a cleaning brush that has had bristles burned off it. An inexperienced eye might not be able to see the tiny pigtails that indicate fire has been applied to the bristles, but I can attest, after having a cleaning brush waved around me as accusations and confessions flew, that's what has happened.&nbsp;</div><div style="text-align: left;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: left;">Someone in this house has been playing with fire.&nbsp;</div><div style="text-align: left;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: left;">Someone besides me.&nbsp;</div><div style="text-align: left;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: left;">And I'm not sure why, but when I saw it I laughed. Setting aside the potential danger of it all for a moment, I enjoyed remembering something about my childhood. About the seriousness in my father's voice as he told me how I would one day burn the house down and kill us all if I didn't obey he and my mom.&nbsp;</div><div style="text-align: left;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: left;">I could deliver that same speech to Aven—Aven if one day you read this I know it was you—but I don't think I'm going to. There's no telling when he did it, and honestly, I yell at him enough for things I can prove he did.&nbsp;</div><div style="text-align: left;"><br /></div><div style="text-align: left;">But I think I'm going to replace smoke detector batteries. You know, just to be safe.&nbsp;</div>Travis Sloathttps://plus.google.com/108052873780091338840noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6998316968566868088.post-36243387998171886252015-11-13T09:48:00.000-06:002015-11-13T09:49:09.347-06:00#Write30 Challenge (Day Twenty-One): My horoscope and if I think it fits meI'm not big on the horoscopes. I don't put too much stock in astrology, and I was raised to basically act like it doesn't exist.<br /><br />After thirty-three years of life though, I can finally look at one and not get the shakes and hear my mom's voice in the back of my head yelling that it's evil.<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-ZNmOvbrgHs0/VkYFCkMitSI/AAAAAAAADbk/AgLyvLRxTiM/s1600/6a01310fd96683970c017c3770cfb8970b.png" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="320" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-ZNmOvbrgHs0/VkYFCkMitSI/AAAAAAAADbk/AgLyvLRxTiM/s320/6a01310fd96683970c017c3770cfb8970b.png" width="310" /></a></div><br />I'm a Scorpio, I don't know if that makes me compatible with any of you guys, but if it does, hit me up, we'll do Scorpio stuff together and wage a war on Libras, because Libra sounds like liberal and we don't like liberals.<br /><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-n0B5XPFl4Qs/U8ENTTuVNHI/AAAAAAAAC6k/4DubIeAbKv0/s1600/IMG_2892.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="213" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-n0B5XPFl4Qs/U8ENTTuVNHI/AAAAAAAAC6k/4DubIeAbKv0/s320/IMG_2892.JPG" width="320" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Side not, this is when I was a Scorpio Scorpion, there's some irony there, I can appreciate that.&nbsp;</td></tr></tbody></table>That said, I'm playing along with this prompt if for no other reason than to complete my thirty days and get this challenge over with.<br /><br /><span style="background-color: white; color: white; font-family: &quot;arial&quot;; font-size: 16px;"><b style="background-color: black;">You should feel emotionally stable today, but you may feel a bit unsure of yourself when it comes to data. Someone is challenging your way of thinking and demanding that you take a step farther out on the fragile limb. You're happy on the part of the branch that's much thicker and more stable. Feel free to stay there if you don't feel comfortable taking a chance now.</b></span><br /><br />So there you have it, there's my horoscope for today. So does it fit me? Let's break it down.<br /><br /><i>I should feel emotionally stable today</i>&nbsp;— Well, I think I feel pretty stable most days, thanks to an antidepressant and a healthy mental exercise where I stand in front of a mirror and say, "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me."<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-NCyZR0puq1A/VkYFPE1Xz2I/AAAAAAAADbs/bOYOns5LWMQ/s1600/stuart_smalley_Daily-Affirmations-I-am-good-enough-I-am-smart-enough-and-doggone-it-people-like-me.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="179" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-NCyZR0puq1A/VkYFPE1Xz2I/AAAAAAAADbs/bOYOns5LWMQ/s320/stuart_smalley_Daily-Affirmations-I-am-good-enough-I-am-smart-enough-and-doggone-it-people-like-me.jpg" width="320" /></a></div><br /><i>I feel unsure about data </i>— Not true. I love Data. Data was one of my favorite characters on Star Trek.<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-LQcBJYKbYH0/VkYFZY-KrjI/AAAAAAAADb0/vmE1YtU4bJ4/s1600/data.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="244" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-LQcBJYKbYH0/VkYFZY-KrjI/AAAAAAAADb0/vmE1YtU4bJ4/s320/data.jpg" width="320" /></a></div><br /><i>Someone is challenging...step farther out on the fragile limb </i>— I don't feel like a lot of folks challenge the way I think, but if you do, I wish you'd say something. I have a particular person in my life right now who is trying to make me miserable, but I'm just gonna SHAKE IT OFF, SHAKE IT OFF, OOOOOOO OOOO OHHHH!<br /><br /><i>You're happy on the part of the branch that's thicker </i>— Uh...duh. I weigh 325 pounds. If I get out on a branch, it's gonna be a thick one. More supportive. Speaking of, I'm going to try to go deer hunting this next week, and we're going to see if I can't climb a tree. I'll let you know. Or not, depending on if the branch snaps.<br /><br /><i>Feel free to stay there if you don't feel comfortable taking a chance now </i>— Thank you, horoscope. Thank you for giving me permission TO LIVE MY OWN EFFING LIFE. I think I will stay where I'm at, because it feels good. This branch is thick, it's leafy and deciduous*, it has a coffee pot and good books, and I can bring my Xbox up here and plug it in to the built in television with wi-fi. So yeah, thanks horoscope.com, but I'm good.<br /><br />*literally the only word I know in relation to trees, I think it means leafy.Travis Sloathttps://plus.google.com/108052873780091338840noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6998316968566868088.post-87217988045313940912015-11-11T19:52:00.000-06:002015-11-11T19:52:49.606-06:00An open letter to the Gentleman who befriended my daughter in a Rib Crib<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-EFKWQrlyKuQ/VkPusgBRcrI/AAAAAAAADbI/T9VcQkzX32c/s1600/IMG_0403.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="320" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-EFKWQrlyKuQ/VkPusgBRcrI/AAAAAAAADbI/T9VcQkzX32c/s320/IMG_0403.JPG" width="240" /></a></div><br />To the Gentleman who talked to my daughter at the Rib Crib:<br /><br />Thank you.<br /><br />I know my children are cute, but I often forget how cute until someone else tells me. When my daughter sat down next to you on the bench where patrons wait for tables, I honestly thought she'd get in your way. I was moving in to make sure she didn't bother you and I quickly realized that wouldn't be necessary. Instead, you turned to her and spoke to her like she was a grown up, and I don't know if you noticed, but she loves being talked to like a grown up.<br /><br />Thank you.<br /><br />In today's world, there's nothing simpler while waiting for a table than to pull out a cell phone and hop on Facebook or Twitter, or send a text to a friend. You showed my daughter that it's okay to meet new people, to joke with strangers as long as mom and dad are around, or to pass the time without a screen in your face. You held her attention by telling her stories and asking her questions about her favorite subject—her—and she giggled as she had to practically yell her answers back to you.<br /><br />Thank you.<br /><br />Because in a world where it's hard to trust new people, you showed us that there are still those out there who aren't evil. You complimented her purse and her blond hair. Your wife asked how our youngest child got his red hair, and my wife explained that it came from my side of the family. Truth be told, we adopted our children, and they don't take anything from our genes. We didn't want to bother you with that, besides, they aren't adopted to us, they're our kids.<br /><br />Thank you.<br /><br />Because I heard you tell her that I was a gentleman. All I did was get up when a woman walked in with a walker, and I really hope that anyone would have done the same. It's nice to be recognized for our actions once in a while though, and I want my daughter to look up to me, and I think what you told her will carry a lot of weight. Sometimes she needs to hear a stranger say her old man is all right.<br /><br />Thank you.<br /><br />Because you married a woman just as nice as you are. Because she asked us questions, told us how cute our kids are, and was just an all-around pleasant person to talk to. I'd love to hear the story about how you two met, and how you fell in love. I'm sure that she was attracted to your kindness and to your toughness. I'd like to know how many years you've had together. What you've been through. How many kids you have. I hope you two have many more years of visiting Rib Crib.<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-l_Dhutl7dTc/VkPwHU4zHPI/AAAAAAAADbU/uc1q6LQGpYQ/s1600/IMG_0405.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="320" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-l_Dhutl7dTc/VkPwHU4zHPI/AAAAAAAADbU/uc1q6LQGpYQ/s320/IMG_0405.JPG" width="240" /></a></div><br />Thank you.<br /><br />Because, somehow, we left the restaurant at the same time and you asked me, "Where's my little girl?" And then you stood and held the door open for my daughter and told her goodbye. You showed her you're a gentleman yourself, and you're also another person who was kind to her. If you knew the life she came from, you'd know how much that means to her.<br /><br />Thank you.<br /><br />Because on the way to the truck, my daughter looked at me and laughed, and talked about how you were from Boston, and how you kept saying your "cah was in the pahking lot." She said you told her your wife fought in the Civil War, and she thought that was hilarious. She said you were funny, and nice, and all the things young people are looking for in older people.<br /><br />So thank you, gentleman we met while waiting for a table at Rib Crib. I didn't get your name, I don't know where you live, and I wish I had a little more time to talk to you. Maybe one day I'll see you again and I'll get to thank you personally. Maybe I won't. And just in case I don't, I want the world to know how much your small gesture of kindness meant to me, the father of the little girl whose heart you won.<br /><br />Thank you.Travis Sloathttps://plus.google.com/108052873780091338840noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6998316968566868088.post-89112229212274435542015-11-10T10:00:00.000-06:002015-11-10T10:00:20.807-06:00#Write30 Challenge (Day Nineteen): Five fears I haveSome of you are going to get a kick out of these, and some of you are going to think I'm an idiot. I have some pretty irrational fears, and I don't usually like discussing them with people, lest they, you know, think I'm an idiot.<br /><br />Here we go though, in no particular order, five of my deepest fears.<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-4Lu1vtqc0gU/VkIThG_X6eI/AAAAAAAADaY/E-IjGihhzsg/s1600/giphy.gif" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="133" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-4Lu1vtqc0gU/VkIThG_X6eI/AAAAAAAADaY/E-IjGihhzsg/s320/giphy.gif" width="320" /></a></div><br /><b>One day I'll wake up and none of this will be real — </b>I've worked hard to get where I am today, and I've been extremely blessed by God to get here as well. I am scared to death that none of it is real. This life, my wife, kids, my job, my degree, my moderate level of success, my family...none of it exists, I'm in some sort of fugue state, or, even worse, I was mentally incapacitated many years ago, and I've created my environment. I won't go so far as to say I'm scared I'm in "The Matrix" or anything that unrealistic, but I am terrified that nothing I have is real.<br /><br /><b>That I'll outlive my wife, my kids, or my brothers — </b>No one wants to outlive their kids, I understand that. However, I'm petrified of outliving my wife or my brothers as well. I do not want to grieve the loss of any of these people. If something happened to Alicia, it would mean that I'd be responsible for not only me, but for three children. It would also mean that half of me—half of my identity, half of my sanity, half of my soul—would be missing. I have no idea how I'd cope. I watched my mom grieve for my dad, and I want no part of it. And in that same vein, I want to be the first to die of my brothers. I don't want to go through what my dad did, watching two of his brothers die before he did. When I really sit down and explore this, it boils down to selfishness, and I won't deny that I am a selfish person.<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-3DqlqcYemyY/VkIThMYoc5I/AAAAAAAADao/P62c3z8ZSY8/s1600/05167d6eb21dcd4431497d571bafe715f5c107-wm.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="320" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-3DqlqcYemyY/VkIThMYoc5I/AAAAAAAADao/P62c3z8ZSY8/s320/05167d6eb21dcd4431497d571bafe715f5c107-wm.jpg" width="222" /></a></div><br /><b>That I'll die in my sleep — </b>I don't want to die in my sleep. I want to go out guns blazing, or pushing a kid out of the way of a speeding bus, or saving one of my students from something evil. I want to give my life for someone else. I don't want to go peacefully in the night, and have my family discover my cold body the next morning. I want to see it coming. I want to stare into the gun barrel, the fire, or the headlights and make a final stand, say something incredibly cool, and go meet my Savior. Dying in my sleep sounds like such a cop out. I have no idea why this is a fear of mine. No idea. But it is.<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-wjPW9SGD4qY/VkIUXwMRrlI/AAAAAAAADa0/XMzlL8bsHd8/s1600/11141777_10153218939224837_7316272708667064190_n.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="320" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-wjPW9SGD4qY/VkIUXwMRrlI/AAAAAAAADa0/XMzlL8bsHd8/s320/11141777_10153218939224837_7316272708667064190_n.jpg" width="213" /></a></div><br /><b>I'm scared of raising children who will one day return to their biological parents — </b>When my children turn eighteen, they'll be legal adults who are allowed to live their own lives. Since we've adopted them, and since they have biological parents who are still alive, one day they'll be faced with a choice of whether or not they want to see them again, and then if that meeting goes well, they'll want to move in, or back to that town, or see them more and more. I'm so scared of sinking fifteen years of parenting and love into a child only to hear them say, "I'm moving out," and watch them walk away, knowing there is nothing I can do to stop them. This is something I pray about. This is something that sticks in the back of my head, and I'm sure Alicia thinks about it as well. It's one of the downsides to adopting, and there's nothing I can do about it. I think that's what bothers me the most, is that I'm not in control. I hate not being in control. Kids, if you're reading this before I get to show it to you, just know that I will never keep you from your bio parents, and I love you.<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-OPCXoEdg5NU/VkIThfyfksI/AAAAAAAADag/IOQ7jNB3hM4/s1600/Aj9MbyI.gif" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-OPCXoEdg5NU/VkIThfyfksI/AAAAAAAADag/IOQ7jNB3hM4/s1600/Aj9MbyI.gif" /></a></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><br /></div><b>Canned biscuits — </b>We've gone pretty deep in my psyche here, and I think I need to lighten the mood, so I'm giving you a genuine fear of mine that is genuinely ridiculous. I hate opening biscuits. I cannot press a spoon into the seam because the pop scares me. I'm scared to even peel the wrapping paper off of them because I think it's going to pop prematurely. When I peel the wrapper, I throw the can on the counter to pop it open, because then I'm in control of what happens. I also hate popping balloons, and will leave a room if too many of them are being popped. I hate things like that, they scare me, and I don't do being scared. It's why I don't do horror movies. Jump cuts make my heart skip.Travis Sloathttps://plus.google.com/108052873780091338840noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6998316968566868088.post-42673151529039847272015-11-09T12:55:00.001-06:002015-11-09T12:55:20.500-06:00#Write30 Challenge (Day Eighteen): My favorite color and whyMy favorite color is orange.<br /><br />I like it because it's bright, like my personality and my future.<br /><br />That's it for today, can't go too far with this one.<br /><br />Love you guys.Travis Sloathttps://plus.google.com/108052873780091338840noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6998316968566868088.post-90604460274433583612015-11-08T18:39:00.000-06:002015-11-08T18:39:39.448-06:00#Write30 Challenge (Day Seventeen): A quote I try to live byHappy Sunday evening to you people, I hope your weekend was pleasant.<br /><br />Mine certainly was, because I got to pull my baby out and wrap my big strong hands around him.<br /><br />I'm talking of course about Liam Beaston, my beautiful Desert Eagle .50.<br /><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-3lFhTZI7_8Y/Vj_oFVdg_ZI/AAAAAAAADaA/NjJRzFMOhZg/s1600/12208327_1100094616667532_7354135106592319298_n.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="320" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-3lFhTZI7_8Y/Vj_oFVdg_ZI/AAAAAAAADaA/NjJRzFMOhZg/s320/12208327_1100094616667532_7354135106592319298_n.jpg" width="320" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">He's gorgeous. Absolutely gorgeous and I love him.&nbsp;</td></tr></tbody></table><div>But tonight's assignment doesn't call for talking about my guns. Tonight's assignment is a quote that I try to live by.&nbsp;</div><div><br /></div><div>Go ahead and get ready to laugh, because everyone does when I tell them where the quote comes from.&nbsp;</div><div><br /></div><div>The quote is by Albus Dumbledore, wise and wizened old headmaster of that glorious fictional learning institution, Hogwarts.&nbsp;</div><div><br /></div><div>Let me know when you're done laughing.&nbsp;</div><div><br /></div><div>Finished? Okay, here we go. Here's the quote.&nbsp;</div><div><br /></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-J6mQhYkvfuc/Vj_ovD4ig8I/AAAAAAAADaI/vVL2dANrkQg/s1600/Youth-can-not-know-how__quotes-by-Albus-Dumbledore-30.png" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="320" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-J6mQhYkvfuc/Vj_ovD4ig8I/AAAAAAAADaI/vVL2dANrkQg/s320/Youth-can-not-know-how__quotes-by-Albus-Dumbledore-30.png" width="320" /></a></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><br /></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;">"Youth can not know how age thinks and feels, but old men are guilty if they forget what it is like to be young."&nbsp;</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;"><br /></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;">I gave my principal this quote sometime last week, and told him it was a crucial part of my educational philosophy. I never want to forget what it was like to be a teenager, how I felt when a teacher captured my attention, how I felt when I was given homework, how my life outside the school affected my behavior in it.&nbsp;</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;"><br /></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;">Just a few days after sharing this with Mark, I experienced a great deal of disappointment with some of my students. Mark talked me down off the ledge, so to speak, and I was grateful. After our talk, he looked at me and said, "Remember that quote you told me the other day? Don't forget what it was like to be a teenager."&nbsp;</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;"><br /></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;">I think it's easier as I get older to talk about how "kids these days" act. Old men have been doing this for centuries, millennia.&nbsp;</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;"><br /></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;">"Kids these days don't appreciate anything."&nbsp;</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;"><br /></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;">"Kids these days don't have any respect for anything."&nbsp;</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;"><br /></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;">"Kids these days need to be spanked more."&nbsp;</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;"><br /></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;">I will admit that sometimes I am guilty of speaking ill of "kids these days." But I was a kid once, and I was an idiot. I was disrespectful when I could get away with it, and you were too. I slacked off when the pressure wasn't on, and you did too. I let my parents down, I let my teachers down, and I may have let you down, if you're a reader who was involved in my formative years.&nbsp;</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;"><br /></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;">I cannot forget what it was like to be young, lest I be guilty of robbing my charges of their youth. I cannot expect my students and my children to think like me, or else I am guilty of adding yet again more weight to the already bursting-at-the-seams backpack of adolescence.&nbsp;</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;"><br /></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;">So that's it, there's my quote. Laugh if you want, I'll understand. Love you guys.&nbsp;</div>Travis Sloathttps://plus.google.com/108052873780091338840noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6998316968566868088.post-27918994070692778742015-11-07T20:37:00.001-06:002015-11-07T20:39:17.912-06:00#Write30 Challenge (Day Sixteen): Bullet your entire day<span style="color: #999999;">I'm not going to lie, this has probably been my favorite one so far. There's not much in the way of introducing this, so here you go, my day.</span><br /><span style="color: #999999;"><span style="color: white;"><br /></span></span><br /><div><ul class="ul1" style="font-family: Helvetica; font-size: 12px;"><li class="li1" style="color: #454545; font-family: '.SF UI Text'; font-size: 17px; line-height: normal; margin: 0px;"><span class="s1" style="color: #999999; font-family: &quot;.sfuitext-regular&quot;; font-size: 17pt;">Woke up at 6:45. Way too early. Time change has me twisted</span></li><li class="li1" style="color: #454545; font-family: '.SF UI Text'; font-size: 17px; line-height: normal; margin: 0px;"><span class="s1" style="color: #999999; font-family: &quot;.sfuitext-regular&quot;; font-size: 17pt;">Pooped</span></li><li class="li1" style="color: #454545; font-family: '.SF UI Text'; font-size: 17px; line-height: normal; margin: 0px;"><span class="s1" style="color: #999999; font-family: &quot;.sfuitext-regular&quot;; font-size: 17pt;">Fixed toilet for children. Told wife we needed new innards for toilet</span></li><li class="li1" style="color: #454545; font-family: '.SF UI Text'; font-size: 17px; line-height: normal; margin: 0px;"><span class="s1" style="color: #999999; font-family: &quot;.sfuitext-regular&quot;; font-size: 17pt;">Put a customized shotgun on three gun sale sites</span></li><li class="li1" style="color: #454545; font-family: '.SF UI Text'; font-size: 17px; line-height: normal; margin: 0px;"><span class="s1" style="color: #999999; font-family: &quot;.sfuitext-regular&quot;; font-size: 17pt;">Got ready for Keeli's soccer game. Still haven't had coffee</span></li><li class="li1" style="color: #454545; font-family: '.SF UI Text'; font-size: 17px; line-height: normal; margin: 0px;"><span class="s1" style="color: #999999; font-family: &quot;.sfuitext-regular&quot;; font-size: 17pt;">Got told my shotgun had a "redneck paint job"</span></li><li class="li1" style="color: #454545; font-family: '.SF UI Text'; font-size: 17px; line-height: normal; margin: 0px;"><span class="s1" style="color: #999999; font-family: &quot;.sfuitext-regular&quot;; font-size: 17pt;">Aven found fourteen eggs in the coop</span></li><li class="li1" style="color: #454545; font-family: '.SF UI Text'; font-size: 17px; line-height: normal; margin: 0px;"><span class="s1" style="color: #999999; font-family: &quot;.sfuitext-regular&quot;; font-size: 17pt;">Tried to get Siri to remind me to bullet every fifteen minutes, prompting my daughter to ask what bulleting meant</span></li><li class="li1" style="color: #454545; font-family: '.SF UI Text'; font-size: 17px; line-height: normal; margin: 0px;"><span class="s1" style="color: #999999; font-family: &quot;.sfuitext-regular&quot;; font-size: 17pt;">Watched Akeeli and Drake do the "Watch me whip, watch me waddle" dance</span></li><li class="li1" style="color: #454545; font-family: '.SF UI Text'; font-size: 17px; line-height: normal; margin: 0px;"><span class="s1" style="color: #999999; font-family: &quot;.sfuitext-regular&quot;; font-size: 17pt;">Took meds at 8 a.m., one bottle was empty, and I made a behind the back toss into the trash can with it while no one was watching, I've still got it</span></li><li class="li1" style="color: #454545; font-family: '.SF UI Text'; font-size: 17px; line-height: normal; margin: 0px;"><span class="s1" style="color: #999999; font-family: &quot;.sfuitext-regular&quot;; font-size: 17pt;">Got breakfast at McDonald's</span></li><li class="li1" style="color: #454545; font-family: '.SF UI Text'; font-size: 17px; line-height: normal; margin: 0px;"><span class="s1" style="color: #999999; font-family: &quot;.sfuitext-regular&quot;; font-size: 17pt;">Went to soccer game. Ugh&nbsp;</span></li></ul><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-vf970HldYeM/Vj60oVrR-dI/AAAAAAAADZw/86fLLzgBp10/s1600/IMG_0371.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><span style="color: #999999;"><img border="0" height="320" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-vf970HldYeM/Vj60oVrR-dI/AAAAAAAADZw/86fLLzgBp10/s320/IMG_0371.JPG" width="240" /></span></a></div><ul class="ul1" style="font-family: Helvetica; font-size: 12px;"><li class="li1" style="color: #454545; font-family: '.SF UI Text'; font-size: 17px; line-height: normal; margin: 0px;"><span class="s1" style="color: #999999; font-family: &quot;.sfuitext-regular&quot;; font-size: 17pt;">During halftime of the game, came across this quote: "If actions speak louder than words, then writing speaks louder than both - for writing is the action by which words are manifested." - Jake Weidmann</span></li><li class="li1" style="color: #454545; font-family: '.SF UI Text'; font-size: 17px; line-height: normal; margin: 0px;"><span class="s1" style="color: #999999; font-family: &quot;.sfuitext-regular&quot;; font-size: 17pt;">Left soccer game. Only lost by one point.&nbsp;</span></li><li class="li1" style="color: #454545; font-family: '.SF UI Text'; font-size: 17px; line-height: normal; margin: 0px;"><span class="s1" style="color: #999999; font-family: &quot;.sfuitext-regular&quot;; font-size: 17pt;">Went to the hardware store, got stuff for a new chicken feeder. Also got bones for the dogs&nbsp;</span></li><li class="li1" style="color: #454545; font-family: '.SF UI Text'; font-size: 17px; line-height: normal; margin: 0px;"><span class="s1" style="color: #999999; font-family: &quot;.sfuitext-regular&quot;; font-size: 17pt;">Came home and Aven and I successfully built a new chicken feeder, first try, I'm still blown away. First thing Aven and I have done in a while that we haven't fought about.&nbsp;</span></li></ul><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-xAdDdR4SaOQ/Vj6znBUXMgI/AAAAAAAADZg/hDD0l5Bj4o8/s1600/12188970_1099479990062328_415531560162141760_n.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><span style="color: #999999;"><img border="0" height="240" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-xAdDdR4SaOQ/Vj6znBUXMgI/AAAAAAAADZg/hDD0l5Bj4o8/s320/12188970_1099479990062328_415531560162141760_n.jpg" width="320" /></span></a></div><ul class="ul1" style="font-family: Helvetica; font-size: 12px;"><li class="li1" style="color: #454545; font-family: '.SF UI Text'; font-size: 17px; line-height: normal; margin: 0px;"><span class="s1" style="color: #999999; font-family: &quot;.sfuitext-regular&quot;; font-size: 17pt;">While I was building the coop, I had a hater on Instagram throw some shade and try to start some beef. I sat for a while deciding on how to verbally eviscerate her, then deleted and blocked her from all social networks (probably the thing I'm most proud of today)</span></li><li class="li1" style="color: #454545; font-family: '.SF UI Text'; font-size: 17px; line-height: normal; margin: 0px;"><span class="s1" style="color: #999999; font-family: &quot;.sfuitext-regular&quot;; font-size: 17pt;">Rested for a minute then showered&nbsp;</span></li><li class="li1" style="color: #454545; font-family: '.SF UI Text'; font-size: 17px; line-height: normal; margin: 0px;"><span class="s1" style="color: #999999; font-family: &quot;.sfuitext-regular&quot;; font-size: 17pt;">Got out of the shower, dressed, then Drake decided to hit me with some sort of fabric whip thing, so I chased him down and hit him back. He learned a valuable lesson.&nbsp;</span></li><li class="li1" style="color: #454545; font-family: '.SF UI Text'; font-size: 17px; line-height: normal; margin: 0px;"><span class="s1" style="color: #999999; font-family: &quot;.sfuitext-regular&quot;; font-size: 17pt;">Left the house to go to my brother's, had a fight with Alicia on the way about guns and money</span></li><li class="li1" style="color: #454545; font-family: '.SF UI Text'; font-size: 17px; line-height: normal; margin: 0px;"><span style="color: #999999;"><span style="font-family: &quot;.sfuitext-regular&quot;; font-size: 17pt;">Got to my brother's house early.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;.sfuitext-regular&quot;; font-size: 17pt;">&nbsp;</span></span></li><li class="li1" style="color: #454545; font-family: '.SF UI Text'; font-size: 17px; line-height: normal; margin: 0px;"><span class="s1" style="color: #999999; font-family: &quot;.sfuitext-regular&quot;; font-size: 17pt;">Poured my grandfather and I a couple fingers of Jameson</span></li><li class="li1" style="color: #454545; font-family: '.SF UI Text'; font-size: 17px; line-height: normal; margin: 0px;"><span class="s1" style="color: #999999; font-family: &quot;.sfuitext-regular&quot;; font-size: 17pt;">Griped about eating for the next two hours</span></li><li class="li1" style="color: #454545; font-family: '.SF UI Text'; font-size: 17px; line-height: normal; margin: 0px;"><span class="s1" style="color: #999999; font-family: &quot;.sfuitext-regular&quot;; font-size: 17pt;">Texted Kinman for a while, and I was thankful for that</span></li><li class="li1" style="color: #454545; font-family: '.SF UI Text'; font-size: 17px; line-height: normal; margin: 0px;"><span class="s1" style="color: #999999; font-family: &quot;.sfuitext-regular&quot;; font-size: 17pt;">Family finally all arrived and I got to eat!&nbsp;</span></li><li class="li1" style="color: #454545; font-family: '.SF UI Text'; font-size: 17px; line-height: normal; margin: 0px;"><span class="s1" style="color: #999999; font-family: &quot;.sfuitext-regular&quot;; font-size: 17pt;">Played catch up with a cousin I haven't seen in a couple of years</span></li><li class="li1" style="color: #454545; font-family: '.SF UI Text'; font-size: 17px; line-height: normal; margin: 0px;"><span class="s1" style="color: #999999; font-family: &quot;.sfuitext-regular&quot;; font-size: 17pt;">Watched OSU beat the brakes off TCU</span></li><li class="li1" style="color: #454545; font-family: '.SF UI Text'; font-size: 17px; line-height: normal; margin: 0px;"><span class="s1" style="color: #999999; font-family: &quot;.sfuitext-regular&quot;; font-size: 17pt;">Watched mom set up "Minute to win it" games on the deck</span></li><li class="li1" style="color: #454545; font-family: '.SF UI Text'; font-size: 17px; line-height: normal; margin: 0px;"><span class="s1" style="color: #999999; font-family: &quot;.sfuitext-regular&quot;; font-size: 17pt;">Watched a few family members play with a cutie on my lap</span></li></ul><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-PBLB3z0Zu0M/Vj60KTPKmlI/AAAAAAAADZo/aDCF4iFlfpU/s1600/IMG_0380.JPG" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><span style="color: #999999;"><img border="0" height="320" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-PBLB3z0Zu0M/Vj60KTPKmlI/AAAAAAAADZo/aDCF4iFlfpU/s320/IMG_0380.JPG" width="240" /></span></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;"><span style="color: #999999;">Miss Hensley Grace</span></td></tr></tbody></table><ul class="ul1" style="font-family: Helvetica; font-size: 12px;"><li class="li1" style="color: #454545; font-family: '.SF UI Text'; font-size: 17px; line-height: normal; margin: 0px;"><span class="s1" style="color: #999999; font-family: &quot;.sfuitext-regular&quot;; font-size: 17pt;">Participated in the games, only won one, you stacked pencils on the back of your hand then caught them, proud to say I've still got it</span></li><li class="li1" style="color: #454545; font-family: '.SF UI Text'; font-size: 17px; line-height: normal; margin: 0px;"><span class="s1" style="color: #999999; font-family: &quot;.sfuitext-regular&quot;; font-size: 17pt;">Left too early, but had to get home and study my lesson for tomorrow</span></li><li class="li1" style="color: #454545; font-family: '.SF UI Text'; font-size: 17px; line-height: normal; margin: 0px;"><span class="s1" style="color: #999999; font-family: &quot;.sfuitext-regular&quot;; font-size: 17pt;">Got home</span></li><li class="li1" style="color: #454545; font-family: '.SF UI Text'; font-size: 17px; line-height: normal; margin: 0px;"><span class="s1" style="color: #999999; font-family: &quot;.sfuitext-regular&quot;; font-size: 17pt;">Studied for my lesson and watched a gun deal fall through, so I changed clothes</span></li><li class="li1" style="color: #454545; font-family: '.SF UI Text'; font-size: 17px; line-height: normal; margin: 0px;"><span class="s1" style="color: #999999; font-family: &quot;.sfuitext-regular&quot;; font-size: 17pt;">Found the ASL video for Adele's "Hello" which led me to watch that video no less than twenty times</span></li></ul><div><div style="text-align: center;"><span style="color: #999999;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="281" mozallowfullscreen="" src="https://player.vimeo.com/video/144355064" webkitallowfullscreen="" width="500"></iframe> </span></div><div style="text-align: center;"><span style="color: #999999;"><a href="https://vimeo.com/144355064">Hello - Adele ASL Interpretation</a> from <a href="https://vimeo.com/user45428919">Molly Lou Bartholomew</a> on <a href="https://vimeo.com/">Vimeo</a>.</span></div></div><ul class="ul1" style="font-family: Helvetica; font-size: 12px;"><li class="li1" style="color: #454545; font-family: '.SF UI Text'; font-size: 17px; line-height: normal; margin: 0px;"><span class="s1" style="color: #999999; font-family: &quot;.sfuitext-regular&quot;; font-size: 17pt;">Finally picked up my laptop and blogged</span></li><li class="li1" style="color: #454545; font-family: '.SF UI Text'; font-size: 17px; line-height: normal; margin: 0px;"><span class="s1" style="color: #999999; font-family: &quot;.sfuitext-regular&quot;; font-size: 17pt;">Told the kids goodnight whilst blogging, you're taking time from them now, feel good about yourself?&nbsp;</span></li></ul></div>Travis Sloathttps://plus.google.com/108052873780091338840noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6998316968566868088.post-16701381047076686762015-11-06T20:57:00.000-06:002015-11-06T20:57:09.340-06:00#Write30 Challenge (Day Fifteen): Three pet peevesI have a lot of pet peeves.<br /><br />Listing three of them is going to be tough, but here we go.<br /><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-prbYSxETgIg/Vj1ecjqPYeI/AAAAAAAADY0/y6LIIT3ypDI/s1600/iStock-Road-Rage1.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="196" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-prbYSxETgIg/Vj1ecjqPYeI/AAAAAAAADY0/y6LIIT3ypDI/s320/iStock-Road-Rage1.jpg" width="320" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">I have a touch of the road rage. But only for idiots.</td></tr></tbody></table>1. Slow drivers — As you can tell from <a href="/2012/09/road-rage-against-grandparents.html" target="_blank">this blog</a> about me having road rage against my grandparents, I can't stand those who drive under the speed limit. There's something about following someone driving 55 in a 65 that makes me want to follow them home, beat them with a garden rake, find their kitten/puppy, take that kitten/puppy and throw it into a ceiling fan. I'd apologize afterwards of course, and buy them a new kitten/puppy, and maybe put a band-aid on their raked face, but the damage would already be done I guess. I feel like I've said a lot of things here so we're just going to move on.<br /><br /><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-tOCNY1X1SNs/Vj1h6yEwGXI/AAAAAAAADZA/JPFJxhMQSFQ/s1600/42462-show-66126.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="192" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-tOCNY1X1SNs/Vj1h6yEwGXI/AAAAAAAADZA/JPFJxhMQSFQ/s320/42462-show-66126.jpg" width="320" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">I hate this band more than I hate the University of North Carolina.</td></tr></tbody></table>2. Listening to anything by Rascal Flatts — Look, I don't care if God Blessed the Broken Road, What Hurts the Most is that you're actually listening to this crap. My Wish when I hear one of their songs is that shortly after Here Comes the Goodbye, or I'll Riot and then I'm Movin' On. I know that Life is a Highway, but I Won't Let Go of my desire to Rewind every single song I've ever heard of theirs and pretend like it never entered my ears. If you like Rascal Flatts, you're basically a Winner at a Losin' Game and Me and My Gang will bite you on the throat and I Won't Let Go, so Just Let it Hurt. I Like the Sound of That.<br /><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-QUx74kVqZYM/Vj1npEjyWCI/AAAAAAAADZQ/SlPp_yOpmWY/s1600/toiletpaper.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="224" src="http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-QUx74kVqZYM/Vj1npEjyWCI/AAAAAAAADZQ/SlPp_yOpmWY/s320/toiletpaper.jpg" width="320" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">This has to be the worst sight in the world outside of catching your wife in the arms of Edward from Twilight.</td></tr></tbody></table>3. Running out of toilet paper — Okay, this has happened like twice in the last two days. I finish up in the restroom, finish reading your Facebook or Twitter posts, reach for the toilet paper, and boom goes the dynamite, it's not there. Open the cabinet, nothing. Look around the entire bathroom, nothing. Just sitting there, unclean and sad, wishing I had a soft animal or a power washer. Trust me, it's a little humiliating to yell at your three year old to bring you a roll from their bathroom.<br /><br />So there you have it, my three pet peeves. Tomorrow I get to bullet point my entire day, and since tomorrow is the Sloat Family Thanksgiving Dinner, it should be a heck of a time. Love you guys.Travis Sloathttps://plus.google.com/108052873780091338840noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6998316968566868088.post-9940397985590728712015-11-05T10:11:00.003-06:002015-11-05T10:12:09.601-06:00#Write30 Challenge (Day Fourteen): My life in seven yearsLook at us, we're almost halfway through this thing.<br /><br />Today's prompt might be tough for you to read, but it's not tough for me to write, so don't worry.<br /><br />Here's the thing. Sloat men have a bad habit of dying by their 40th birthday. Here's a list:<br /><br />Uncle dead at nine.<br />Uncle dead at twenty.<br />Grandpa dead at forty.<br />Father dead at forty.<br /><br />In seven years I'll be 39.<br /><br />Maybe I'll live that long, maybe I won't. Family history says no, but God does big things.<br /><br />In seven years, Alicia and I will have been married for almost twenty years. Akeeli will be seventeen, Aven will be fifteen, and Drake will be ten. Maybe there's a fourth Sloat child by that point, who knows?<br /><br />I'll have been a teacher at Okay Public Schools for eight years. I hope to have at least written one novel, maybe a trilogy, those seem to be pretty successful.<br /><br />I want to have gotten the Teacher of the Year award from my school, the state, and be working on National Teacher of the Year.<br /><br />My seventh grade class will be graduating in seven years. I want them to come up to me on their graduation day and tell me that I made some sort of impact. Anything.<br /><br />Hopefully I'll have a few years of being a head coach under my belt, and I want to be leading a team to a state tournament. Then I want to win it. I want the ring I never got in high school.<br /><br />I really want to lose some weight. I do. I'd like to lose 150 pounds in the next seven years, and I know that's completely reasonable, and I'm in charge of my own journey, and all I have to do is put my mind to it, and blah, blah, blah. I just have to buckle down and do it. That's it. That's like, twenty-one pounds a year. Totally doable.<br /><br />I don't necessarily want a "better" life in 2022, I just want to be a better person. I happen to like my life right now, and don't want a whole lot to change, except internally. I want to be Travis 2.0. I want to be closer to my children, closer to my wife, and closer to my God.<br /><br />That's me in seven years. Love you guys.Travis Sloathttps://plus.google.com/108052873780091338840noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6998316968566868088.post-75715137785876465412015-11-04T11:38:00.000-06:002015-11-04T11:38:45.009-06:00#Write30 Challenge (Day Thirteen): My commute to and from work/schoolSome of these prompts are nuts, others are nuts and I can still write about them. This prompt is one of the latter.<br /><br />I love my drive to school in the morning. And since school is my work, I'm killing two prompts with one pen here, or however that works in literary terms.<br /><br />There are two ways for me to get to school. I call one the low road, and one the high road. The low road is officially about thirteen seconds shorter than the high road, and on days where that thirteen seconds matters (there <i>are</i>&nbsp;those days, trust me), I take the low road. It's boring. They're building a new bridge on it, and there are lots of big trucks doing irresponsible things and tearing the road up, so it's gotten a bit more exciting recently, but I still hate it.<br /><br />The high road though, man. It's better. It's way better. You see, on the high road, I get to cross Fort Gibson Dam.<br /><br />Some of you may not know what that is, and that's okay. It's just a big concrete wall keeping water out of one side, and keeping it in on the other. There are gates that let the water out...you know what a dam is.<br /><br />Here's why I love it though.<br /><br />To me, it's the perfect meshing together of man's work and God's creation. The power of water and the strength of steel and concrete. The antiseptic and practical look of retention, and the beauty of tree-laden "mountains" surrounding it.<br /><br />Right now, the leaves are turning. So when I drive on to the dam, I'm given a panoramic view of a cacophony of color, birds of prey (dead or living), and the thrill of driving across something that, if it broke, thousands would be crushed under the weight of the water.<br /><br />I took a video the other day to blog about in a different context, but I think it works here. It's of the best part of my drive — the part where I drive from darkness into light.<br /><br />No, it's not that dramatic. But I love it. About halfway across the dam, you drive out of the shadow of a mountain, and the world lights up around you. I squint—I always squint—and smile as I feel the sudden rush of warm light on my face. Little things happen. The interior equipment in my truck, the radio, the gauges, light up a little brighter automatically. Stark contrasts are formed.<br /><br />It's beautiful. But, I'll let you determine that for yourself.<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><object width="320" height="266" class="BLOG_video_class" id="BLOG_video-ec5716078d1b95ee" classid="clsid:D27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000" codebase="http://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=6,0,40,0"><param name="movie" value="https://www.youtube.com/get_player"><param name="bgcolor" value="#FFFFFF"><param name="allowfullscreen" value="true"><param name="flashvars" value="flvurl=https://redirector.googlevideo.com/videoplayback?id%3Dec5716078d1b95ee%26itag%3D5%26source%3Dblogger%26requiressl%3Dyes%26app%3Dblogger%26cmo%3Dsecure_transport%3Dyes%26cmo%3Dsensitive_content%3Dyes%26ip%3D0.0.0.0%26ipbits%3D0%26expire%3D1480614533%26sparams%3Dip,ipbits,expire,id,itag,source,requiressl%26signature%3D81B51770DD11A63998EB1C7B42AAD3DE7DCA55A2.66F5D460A28A4F74DC334DE65B887F0B3E8ECAB3%26key%3Dck2&amp;iurl=http://video.google.com/ThumbnailServer2?app%3Dblogger%26contentid%3Dec5716078d1b95ee%26offsetms%3D5000%26itag%3Dw160%26sigh%3DiVOfHobG6PQ_3hAWEHf8XqkEB-w&amp;autoplay=0&amp;ps=blogger"><embed src="https://www.youtube.com/get_player" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="320" height="266" bgcolor="#FFFFFF" flashvars="flvurl=https://redirector.googlevideo.com/videoplayback?id%3Dec5716078d1b95ee%26itag%3D5%26source%3Dblogger%26requiressl%3Dyes%26app%3Dblogger%26cmo%3Dsecure_transport%3Dyes%26cmo%3Dsensitive_content%3Dyes%26ip%3D0.0.0.0%26ipbits%3D0%26expire%3D1480614533%26sparams%3Dip,ipbits,expire,id,itag,source,requiressl%26signature%3D81B51770DD11A63998EB1C7B42AAD3DE7DCA55A2.66F5D460A28A4F74DC334DE65B887F0B3E8ECAB3%26key%3Dck2&iurl=http://video.google.com/ThumbnailServer2?app%3Dblogger%26contentid%3Dec5716078d1b95ee%26offsetms%3D5000%26itag%3Dw160%26sigh%3DiVOfHobG6PQ_3hAWEHf8XqkEB-w&autoplay=0&ps=blogger" allowFullScreen="true" /></object></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><br /></div>There you have it. Might be nothing to you, but it's something to me. In fact, it's the reason why I add thirteen seconds to my drive every morning.<br /><br />Love you guys.Travis Sloathttps://plus.google.com/108052873780091338840noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6998316968566868088.post-88991386886273776812015-11-03T09:37:00.000-06:002015-11-03T09:37:06.960-06:00#Write30 Challenge (Day Twelve): Two words/phrases that make me laughMany of you have figured this out already, but in case you haven't, I like to make people laugh.<br /><br />I had the sweetest post on my Facebook Sunday. A woman posted a picture where I'm in a group of people, and everyone in the group was laughing. It never really occurred to me how much I enjoyed making people laugh until I saw that picture. Maybe it's a ministry. Maybe Tim Hawkins should snatch me up on his next tour.<br /><br />Naturally, if I like to make people laugh, then I love to laugh myself. I love listening to stand-up comedy, funny podcasts, and watching comedians on Netflix. I prefer sit-coms over dramas, and I like being around funny people.<br /><br />That said, half of today's prompt is difficult for me.<br /><br />You see, I have a favorite phrase that makes me laugh all the time. That phrase is:<br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-EOHM_3z6QrY/VjjIX8kLMVI/AAAAAAAADYY/AkMFsYQggPI/s1600/ptb.gif" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-EOHM_3z6QrY/VjjIX8kLMVI/AAAAAAAADYY/AkMFsYQggPI/s1600/ptb.gif" /></a></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><br /></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;">"Pump the brakes" will make me laugh about 99 times out of 100.&nbsp;</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;"><br /></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;">But the second phrase that makes me laugh, that's a thinker. So that's what I did. I thought about it.&nbsp;</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;"><br /></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;">And after thinking about it for nigh an hour, I've come to the conclusion that I don't have a second phrase that makes me laugh every time I hear it. What I do have though, is a thinker.&nbsp;</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;"><br /></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: left;">The following is a quote from Philip K. Dick, and it's from his book, VALIS. This quote is one of my favorites, and in fact, I rocked it as my desktop background on my computer for a while.&nbsp;</div><blockquote class="tr_bq"><h1 class="quoteText" style="color: #181818; font-family: Georgia, 'Times New Roman', serif; font-size: 14px; font-weight: normal; margin: 0px 0px 15px; padding: 0px;">“There exists, for everyone, a sentence - a series of words - that has the power to destroy you. Another sentence exists, another series of words, that could heal you. If you're lucky you will get the second, but you can be certain of getting the first.”</h1></blockquote>That quote rocks my world. Every single time I read it, I'm stuck wondering what my sentences are. &nbsp;They have to exist, so what are they? I don't think I've been destroyed by a sentence, but hearing, "Your dad has died," was pretty rough.<br /><br />What are your sentences? Have you gotten them yet?<br /><br />Love you guys.Travis Sloathttps://plus.google.com/108052873780091338840noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6998316968566868088.post-32609471909440071282015-11-02T08:48:00.000-06:002015-11-02T08:48:01.049-06:00#Write30 Challenge (Day Eleven): My current relationshipI really kind of gave this one away the other day when I blogged about someone who fascinates me, which is my wife.<br /><br />So figured I'd talk to you this morning about another relationship I'm in. One that I am very passionate about. One that I think about constantly, catching myself thinking about it at random times during the day, especially closer to 5 p.m.<br /><br />It's a give/take relationship, one where I take and the other party gives. And boy do they give. They just keep giving, and giving, and just when I think they can't give anymore, I find myself again being the recipient of their creamy, gooey love.<br /><br />The relationship I'm talking about?<br /><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-7yBqjWvyIUs/VjdzFsWLn2I/AAAAAAAADX8/z2avFYEdHew/s1600/54f92afa26cab_-_velveeta-cheese.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="114" src="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-7yBqjWvyIUs/VjdzFsWLn2I/AAAAAAAADX8/z2avFYEdHew/s320/54f92afa26cab_-_velveeta-cheese.jpg" width="320" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">There is no pleasure, no rapture, no exquisite sin so sweet as Velveeta cheese.</td></tr></tbody></table>That's right. Velveeta cheese. I love it so much.&nbsp;<div><br /></div><div>I only eat it one way, really, and that's mixed with Ro-tel and a little bit of milk, then spread over tortilla chips with taco meat of some kind slathered on top like a hat on a gorgeous woman.&nbsp;</div><div><br /></div><div>I had a Twitter argument once with a gal who <i>insisted</i>&nbsp;I could make a better cheese sauce with flour and butter and cheddar and some chiles. I gave it a shot, knowing in the back of my mind that I was cheating on Velveeta, praying she didn't find out, and I put that nasty cheese sauce on my chips, took one bite, threw it out, and ran to my kitchen confessing my sins to Velveeta and swearing on my life I'd never cheat on her again.&nbsp;</div><div><br /></div><div>Look, I know it's not cheese, per se. I know that if a couple of the molecules were mixed around it would technically be plastic and not a food product. I know that eventually, when diabetes takes my leg, and then my other leg, that I'll have to put the blame on someone, and that someone will probably be...NEVER VELVEETA.&nbsp;</div><div><br /></div><div>My relationship with Velveeta started when I was a kid. I can fondly remember "nacho nights" at the Sloat home, wherein my mom (bless her less than three) would melt down the Velveeta, mix in the Ro-tel, and set out a few scraps of lettuce under the guise that it would make the dish "better for you."&nbsp;</div><div><br /></div><div>I've carried that love until now, and I plan to carry it for the next ten or so years, until my "cheese"-engorged heart beats its sallow, soggy last beat and I'm carried into heaven in a river of unnatural yellow goo on a nacho chip boat whilst taco meat trees shake their fruits gently into the river.&nbsp;</div><div><br /></div><div>Excuse me guys I just drooled on myself.&nbsp;</div><div><br /></div><div>Now it's time for me to tell you about an imposter in this relationship.&nbsp;</div><div><br /></div><div>An evil succubus doing her best to destroy the relationship between so many and the Yellow Gold.&nbsp;</div><div><br /></div><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-pq1ihi5ritQ/Vjd2x5nBCYI/AAAAAAAADYI/FbExczhjSXU/s1600/6520.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-pq1ihi5ritQ/Vjd2x5nBCYI/AAAAAAAADYI/FbExczhjSXU/s1600/6520.jpg" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Not the actual product, they make a block cheese too.</td></tr></tbody></table>That's right, the So-Cheezy.&nbsp;<div><br /></div><div>Like I said in the caption, they make a block-style cheese just like Velveeta, and it is terrible. Just awful stuff, grainy, doesn't melt the same, an imposter all the way around. Don't you dare buy So-Cheezy and tell me, "It's the same stuff." That's worse than setting a kiwi in front of me. I might hit you.&nbsp;</div><div><br /></div><div>There's only one Yellow Gold. There's only one Velveeta. And she has my heart.&nbsp;</div><div><br /></div><div>Love you guys.<br /><div><br /></div><div><br /></div></div>Travis Sloathttps://plus.google.com/108052873780091338840noreply@blogger.com0tag:blogger.com,1999:blog-6998316968566868088.post-48082226159357059602015-11-01T13:48:00.001-06:002015-11-01T13:48:42.389-06:00#Write30 Challenge (Day Ten): A fruit I dislike and whyBefore we get started, yeah I skipped yesterday, big deal, let's just call this thing what it is, an "I'll write when I feel like it but don't judge me if I miss a day" challenge.<br /><br />Today's topic is a fruit I dislike and why, and it's an easy one with a blanket answer.<br /><br />I hate any fruit with fuzz on it.<br /><br />Peaches, kiwis, and anything else that might exist where you have to shave it before you eat it.<br /><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-TOETT6Qs0hs/VjZsXTc1O6I/AAAAAAAADXs/NcLzGBQIc0g/s1600/kiwi_peach_6858.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="228" src="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-TOETT6Qs0hs/VjZsXTc1O6I/AAAAAAAADXs/NcLzGBQIc0g/s320/kiwi_peach_6858.jpg" width="320" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Hair has a place. That place is not on fruit.</td></tr></tbody></table>Don't think the double-entendre is lost on me, in fact I have a funny story about that.<br /><br />Several years ago, I was in Sunday School class when the mayor of Muskogee walked up to me and asked me if I liked peaches.<br /><br />"Travis, do you like peaches?"<br /><br />"No Bob, I don't."<br /><br />"Why not?"<br /><br />"Bob I don't eat anything with hair on it."<br /><br /><table align="center" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" class="tr-caption-container" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto; text-align: center;"><tbody><tr><td style="text-align: center;"><a href="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-1W7OQVANloE/VjZqScrbQhI/AAAAAAAADXg/ar2rYF9__1I/s1600/kevin_hart_blink.gif" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: auto; margin-right: auto;"><img border="0" height="180" src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-1W7OQVANloE/VjZqScrbQhI/AAAAAAAADXg/ar2rYF9__1I/s320/kevin_hart_blink.gif" width="320" /></a></td></tr><tr><td class="tr-caption" style="text-align: center;">Pretty much Mayor Bob, if Mayor Bob was black. And short.&nbsp;</td></tr></tbody></table>I'd like to tell you that this is the most awkward thing I've ever said in church, but if you've known me for more than five minutes, you'd know that's a lie.&nbsp;<div><br /></div><div>Back to the fruit though, it's a sensation thing. If I want a piece of fruit, I want something smooth and easy to eat. I can't do bananas because the texture makes me gag. I'll eat every banana Laffy Taffy you ever set in front of me though.&nbsp;</div><div><br /></div><div>Kiwis are definitely worse than peaches. I'd eat a peach if someone cut it up and did the dirty work for me, but if you set a kiwi in front of me we'll just stop talking. I won't even say bye, I'm just going to walk away and say, "Hey Siri, delete **** from my contacts." If you aren't in my contacts, I'm going to find one of your friends, ask them for your number so I can apologize later, then block your number. I hate kiwi that much.&nbsp;</div><div><br /></div><div>Fruits I do like? Well, apples, oranges, watermelons, grapes, melons of all kinds (heh), berries, and tomatoes, because I'm that guy that will tell you tomatoes are really fruit even though everyone knows that already and no one cares.&nbsp;</div><div><br /></div><div>Also, I quick aside, I turned 33 today, <i>and</i>&nbsp;I started No-Shave November, <i>and</i>&nbsp;my birthday is technically 25 hours long* which is awesome. Just don't get me fruit as a present. Love you guys.&nbsp;</div><div><br /></div><div>*I have no idea if the math is right and I don't care</div>Travis Sloathttps://plus.google.com/108052873780091338840noreply@blogger.com0