Spartan Up This Weekend!

So freaking pumped for this weekend’s Spartan Race in Atlanta.  Best part is, I get to do it with my sister Carden and officially, as of about 10 min ago, my girlfriend Dani – way to go girl!  Truth is, I never really intended to do one of these races – and then I got inspired one day.  In August 2014, I was listening to Barbell Shrugged’s episode #147, I was deeply inspired by listening to a 52 year old man known as Tony – The Fridge.  This man straps a 93 pound fridge on his back and runs ultra marathons raising awareness and money for cancer, which has deeply impacted his life and his family.  When asked, “why do you strap a fridge on your back – isn’t that inconvenient?” he answers something like “of course it’s inconvenient! do you think cancer is convenient???”  That resonated with me, and I’ll tell you why below – quick poll:  would you rather watch 1hr of really inspiring stuff or 1 hr of Vampire Diaries – if your answer is Vampire Diaries, leave immediately.  If it’s inspiring stuff, I strongly suggest you watch this…

One of the biggest takeaways I got from Tony The Fridge, is that he claims to be a normal guy – he just has super human resilience.  I believe we can all manifest this power through practice and enough healthy stubbornness.  So that’s what I’m going to do with my sister Carden this Saturday.  We’re going to complete a Spartan Race together.  Quick history lesson – Carden has FSHD, a rare type of muscular dystrophy that sabotages her muscles and limits her mobility, and it neither has a cure nor any real treatment at the moment.  The thing about Carden is, she doesn’t let any of it stop her – she is the most resilient person I know for this and possibly the bravest person I know too.  So this Saturday we’re teaming up to run the Spartan Race together to flip a giant bird in the face of FSHD.  She will do the parts she can, and I will help her through the bulk of it.  Will it be convenient?  Of course not, but neither is her living with FSHD and it won’t stop us from completing our task at hand.

Time to Spartan Up!

 

The Gathering Restaurant hosts an *ICONIC* evening

What an iconic evening!  The Gathering Industries have teamed up with Atlanta Mission to launch their first joint project: The Gathering Restaurant – a 501c3 restaurant that exists to reemploy and provide new direction to the Atlanta Mission’s community of program participants.  Let’s just say, these two organizations have a big mission… and last night, they backed it up and did it BIG… like green Lambo BIG.

“Is it worth it? let me work it…”

Last night’s fundraiser/press party reminded me of an episode of HBO’s show How To Make it in America and simultaneously supported a fantastic cause – creating new, inspiring work possibilities for those who are ready to take that next step in getting their lives back from addiction.  For more on this, refer to my previous post: Introducing: The Gathering Restaurant.  And if you didn’t get the “How To Make it in America” reference, just know the show is awesome and the parties were often upscale and awesome too.

After experiencing the evening, enjoying the conversations, and speaking with co-founder chefs, Lake Dawson and Alex Reethof, I better understood the vibe they are creating for The Gathering Restaurant.  This concept is not going to be an Applebee’s or a Houston’s people – The Gathering Restaurant is shaping up to be one of Atlanta’s finest dining experiences, and it just so happens that its true north is relentlessly supporting the revitalization of homeless Atlanta Mission patrons.  Here’s how I’d describe the vibe last night…

The Vibe:

  • Upbeat, yet not too loud, smooth, eclectic, disco/club playing female dj
  • Upscale furniture, nice art on the walls, perfect room temp, early evening lighting
  • The Food: 10 Atlanta based chefs/restaurants serving specialty or devours
  • Oh my goodness, the food was amazing – had to repeat it…
  • Radio Emcee keeping the event lively
  • Professional photographers keeping the event flashy
  • Crowd size of between 200-300 people total
  • It was pretty glamorous, not gonna lie – I walked out feeling very Mark Wahlberg

During one point, the founders made a short presentation thanking the guests, staff, and benefactors for their support and asked them graciously for their participation in the silent auctions and at the pledge tables – it was in fact a fundraiser.  Yet I would say the pinnacle of the evening was a short, inspirational speech made by a woman who completed the Atlanta Mission’s program several years ago and has since regained her life, career, and sobriety.  She was nearly brought to tears, sharing how far she has come since her darkest days of addiction, and seeing such a dazzling event in support of helping others like her former self.  She had a ton of courage to stand up in front of a large audience and share her story like that – and I realized, in that moment, that’s the caliber of people The Gathering Restaurant plans on hiring, those that are courageous enough to restrain their addictions and get through the effective treatment programs.

This was the first of many entertaining nights ahead for The Gathering Restaurant.  They have many next steps to take and I look forward to keeping a finger on the pulse of this great concept.  Next steps include finding the right space to plant roots and everything that goes along with that.  We’ll keep you posted.

So Did I Give?

I certainly did, even as an underemployed student, because I give to causes I believe in and I can vouch for the integrity and spiritual fortitude of the people starting this non-profit.  Their vision is clear, they have joint support with Atlanta Mission, and they’re certain to gain momentum through their partnership together.  If you support fine dining and transforming the lives of God’s people, consider giving to The Gathering Restaurant today and let’s start building new relationships and making employment possible for those who have demonstrated a readiness to take the next step in their healing transition.

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Becoming a Valuable Asset to the World

Here it is, 1:09pm on a Tuesday and I’m picking Jamaican curry lamb out of my teeth from the cafe next door.  Why?  Well for one, where else am I going to get delicious plantains in this city? More importantly though, I’m in downtown Atlanta at the new Iron Yard campus and it’s a great place to grab a quick bite.  Two weeks ago to the day I was accepted to their Front End Engineering program, a 12 week bootcamp to learn all things HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.  As far as software development and coding, I’m greener than a can of peas of St. Patrick’s Day and I’m here to blog about my journey from “zero to hero.”

Why am I even a part of this program? Call it a mid-20’s-life crisis, call it a career security blanket, the answer is: I’m not certain.  One thing I do know is I love the internet, what it represents for information exchange and making our world smaller, and I want to be a part of its continued future growth.  I also want to be able to bring my ideas to life!  There have been so many conversations with friends over ahem “coffee” that went something like this… “What would it be like if we made this?”  or “What if this app did less of this and more of this?”  or “Man I wish I could order a burrito easier…”  The point is, I’ve always surrounded my mind with thoughts of “what-if” yet have found that it rarely gets put into action.  It’s primarily because I feel like a child who can see the possibility of a K’NEX roller coaster – but doesn’t have the K’NEX roller coaster pieces to build it with! That’s where the Iron Yard experience comes in.

Look at how happy this child is! He had the tools to create his vision.

When the Campus Coordinator, Kyle Van Pelt, did the preliminary interviews he asked me point-blank – why do you want to be here?  And in that moment I told him the answer that I’m holding onto and will continue to hold onto.  I told Kyle, “I want to be a valuable asset to the world and bring my BIG ideas to life.”  And so far, we’ve been doing just that.  After only 6.5 days into the program we’ve built two webpages, pushed nearly 100 commits to GitHub, used the terminal more times than in the previous 26 years, constructed with HTML and CSS, and started a blog.  And we don’t even have those small initial heat bubbles showing at the bottom of this pot to boil.

This water is about to boil. It’s a metaphor for personal development, don’t you see?

I’m excited for my personal growth during this time, not just as a web/software engineer, but also as a man growing up into the person he’s always wanted to be.  Thanks for listening, tune in to see future posts.