Greenville Mud Run and Some Life Lessons

Several weeks ago I had the privilege of torturing myself through a 3.5 mile and 35 obstacle US Marine style course called the Goodwill Mud Run.  It was a blast considering the cuts and pains, the fact that I was not in shape for it, and the mud in places I didn’t know mud could go.

As I look back on that experience I’m reminded of a few financial relationship principles we need to keep in mind:

Sometimes It Ain’t Pretty

The crazy thing for me about the mud run is the obstacles weren’t the hard part.  I was fine as long as we were on an obstacle.  I can push right through that sort of exertion.  It wasn’t the cuts and pains or even the mud that made it difficult for me (although I did get about a gallon of it in my mouth on the very first mud-hole).  Where I struggled the most was during the running from one obstacle to the next.

I hate running for the sake of running, so I just don’t do it enough.  There’s really only two things that effectively motivate me to run – Shawna (when she is running), and playing ball (usually basketball).  When it comes to the constant and steady pounding of the leg muscles for running long distance, I suck.

Needless to say running 3.5 miles with zero training before the event was not pretty for me.  It didn’t matter that I had mud in my bleeding cuts and every time I spit there was as much mud as saliva.  I felt like my lungs were refusing to absorb oxygen in protest of what I was putting my body through.  My chest had that awful cold feeling you get after running hard in cool weather for about four days after the event.  It was terrible.

Sometimes working through life’s challenges is going to be ugly and we’re going to have to do things we don’t like to do because it is necessary to reach the goal.

Finishing The Race Eventually is Better Than Not Finishing At All

The Mud Run is very much like a Marine training course.  They even have real Marines in uniform out there yelling at you all through the course.  I don’t know the background on the Mud Run, but I guess in the spirit of the Marine way you don’t run this race as individuals – you do it in teams.

My team was awesome.  I was not.  My friend organized the team and must have either thought I was in better shape or he wanted to get me in better shape – all at once.

I was the slowest runner on the team.  What little ground I was able to make up by going through the obstacles faster than my teammates was quickly lost by running so much slower than them from one obstacle to the next.  I tried my best to keep up but about halfway through I realized if I didn’t slow down to a pace I could sustain my legs might give out, I might hurl, or worse (my family has history of heart issues and I already have the cholesterol).

It didn’t feel good knowing that I couldn’t get there faster.  I could have pushed it and might have been fine, but I had reached a level of pain that was as far as I wanted to go.  It felt like as much as I could bear at the time.

Sometimes we need to push ourselves harder, but sometimes we need to accept that reaching a goal is going to take longer than we want it to.  It’s better to get there eventually than to not get there at all.

Finish The Race Together

My three teammates knew we had to finish the race together, and they were very good sportsman to me – the team anchor (not in the good sense – like I was an anchor they were having to drag 🙂 ).  They challenged me to push myself and they encouraged me to keep going.  That helped me more than they know.  If it wasn’t for them I might still be out there meandering my way through the course and asking myself “Why am I doing this?”.

Surprisingly enough my friend who invited me to be on the team asked me to do it again in the Spring.  That is either true muv (man-love) or he doesn’t know anyone else dumb enough to say yes.  I accepted the challenge and promised I will be in better shape for it next time (maybe a lighter anchor).

It matters that we have accountability in our lives.  It matters that we have support around us.  It matters for whatever goal is in front of you now and whatever the next goal is after that.

Work through the ugly stuff, make steady progress toward the eventual goal, and finish together.

Question:  Have you ever participated in a mud run or other race and had a similar experience as me?  Will you hold me accountable to getting in better shape for next time?

McRib Is Back

McRib Sandwich has Made It's Occasional Comeback!  This might be news to some, but the McRib sandwich has made it’s occasional comeback…for a limited time…just like every other time it makes a comeback.  It’s a great marketing tactic, using limited availability to create huge spikes in demand for a product that would perform mediocre on an ongoing basis.  For the true McRib sandwich fans it’s an opportunity they take advantage of as often as they can while they can.   This type of marketing is all around us.  “Act now while supplies last, for a limited time only.”

Sometimes I jump on these types of things too, and sometimes regret it, but I won’t be jumping on this one.  Here are 5 reasons I will not be taking advantage of the McRib limited time offer:

  1. I do not normally eat at McDonalds.
  2. I am not a fan of McRib.
  3. My arteries will be better off without McRib.
  4. The air quality will be better off if my stomach doesn’t have to digest a McRib.
  5. For about $12 more than the cost of McRib I can get a full rack of REAL quality ribs at a BBQ restaurant, and that sounds like a much better use of my eating out funds.
What about you?  Are you a raving fan of the McRib?


Top Posts From July 2011

The top 3 posts of July 2011 on this blog are:

#1 – Mark and Shawna Asbell Are Officially Debt Free – We still can’t hardly believe it, and in case you’re wondering about the party – we thought we’d wait until fall when hopefully things cool off a little…

#2 – Boomerangers – Nobody wants their kids to have to move back in when they’re grown, unless they’re strange, so I shared some possibly unwanted advice about what to do in that situation.

#3 – Boomerangers Part 2: The Way They Should GO – I’m still taking my chances on teaching my kids the way to GO no matter how painful it might seem.

Thank you for reading.

Poor Doo-Doo Bird

This is a previously posted story worth sharing again.  One major change from that time until now is I have an office building behind my house, so my work environment is safer…..

Previously posted 10/10/2007:

That’s right – the title is Doo-Doo bird. Not Doe-Doe bird. I’ll explain.

I work from home most of the time. I have a desk in my garage so when the weather isn’t too hot I can retreat to the garage for extra quietness and a change of scenery. Yesterday was a not so hot day so I was out there. Sometimes I like to turn on my fan, open the back door to the garage, and raise the motorized garage door high enough to create a breeze from the back door to the garage door (I like fresh air). Yesterday I had those doors open and for the second time I got a visit from a bird.

The first time this bird came I didn’t know it had come under the door, so when I unknowingly walked close the bird started flying around – freaked me out cause there was a freaking bird in my garage. It was flying around my head and freaking out too so that made both of us freaked out.

This time I noticed the bird perched on the other side of the garage on my toolbox. So I calmly got up from my desk and proceeded to the garage door opener to raise the door all the way and encourage the bird out the door. It didn’t work. The bird started flying around in circles freaking out as soon as the garage door started making noise.

To keep from getting the flapping bird all over me, like it did during the first encounter, I decided to just go inside until the bird found its way out. I waited until the bird circled past and tried to make a break through the door. The stupid bird managed to make it in the house with me in the half second I had the door open. I couldn’t believe it.

With a lot more room to fly around in the vaulted ceilings of our living and dining area I thought the bird would calm down and find its way out. No such luck. I opened all the doors leading out. The bird just kept making laps at ceiling level. Before I knew it the bird had b-lined it down the hallway and ended up in Devin’s room.

At this point I was mumbling cuss words to myself (I’m not perfect). As I made my way down the hall I grabbed a blanket and a pillow and closed all the other bedroom and bathroom doors. I was going to try and gently swat at the bird with the pillow and/or capture it with the blanket so that I could get it back outside.

When I got to Devin’s room the bird was making laps at ceiling level and stopping to take a rest on top of a shelf every few laps. I swatted and whistled trying to scare the bird out of the room (I was no longer afraid of the bird flapping all over me – I was ready to do whatever it took to get it out). About that time I noticed some dark splatter spots on the wall and realized the bird was dropping bombs on every few laps. Now I was pissed – no other word for it.

Any understanding and compassion I had for the bird up until this point flew out the window (the window the bird should have flown out of). Immediately I remembered that Devin and I now own a machine gun similar to this picture. My brother gave it to us because Devin loves to shoot it (under close supervision of course).

I ran back to the garage, grabbed the gun, ran back to Devin’s room, and proceeded to unload on this stupid doo-doo bird. It was hard to hit while it was flying but each hit stunned it so it was having to stop more often. I would wait until it stopped on the shelf and get a good solid direct hit or three on it (rapid fire machine gun) before it took off again. Finally the bird fell over I guess in shock from all the little BB’s. I scooped it up with a garbage can, took it outside, and threw it as far as I could. It spread its wings but didn’t fly. I don’t know if it ever got up – I was too busy cleaning up its crap.

Call me cruel or whatever – I don’t care. What would you do if a bird was flying around and CRAPPING IN YOUR HOUSE? 

Back In The Blogging Saddle

After much hesitation I have decided to re-open this blog to the public.  Near the end of 2008 I had been blogging regularly for about 2 years, but unfortunately I had started posting things I should have filtered through a brain cell and kept to myself – mostly about politics.  I didn’t want this to be one of ‘those’ blogs, so I took it completely offline with the goal of rethinking how I would do this.

Several months ago I started re-posting everything worth keeping from the old blog.  I’ve written a few new posts but until today I have kept the blog private so that no one could read it.  That is really dumb I know, but I didn’t want to be hasty with this again.  Ultimately I’ve decided that the stuff I want to write is not going to help anyone if I’m keeping it to myself, so here it is open for reading again.

I’m still undecided about whether or not I should come up with a relevant domain other than my name.  Maybe anyone who reads this can help with that.  In the meantime I guess with a domain like maybe I’ll keep the writing relevant to who I actually am.

Thanks for reading.  

Dalton Bombing

Many of you probably already heard about the bombing in Dalton, GA (where my parents and siblings live). If not, here’s a news snippet:

What you probably don’t know is my brother was among the first firefighters allowed in the place. I won’t go in to all the details as he told it, but I will share a pic – Matt is the one to the far right – that’s his buddy AJ in the flourescent vest and gym shorts. AJ obviously manned the truck gadgets on the safe end of the hose rather than going into the flames in that attire. We’re proud of these guys for the job they do.

Here’s a link to more pics of the scene:

Many prayers for the people and families affected by this tragedy.


Last week was vacation (8/2 – 8/10). Yeah baby! A week of mostly no phone calls, mostly no emails, and mostly no stress (we did still have the kids with us so there was still just a little bit of stress). It was very fun and relaxing. Here’s the highlights from the week:

Sunday – drove to Montgomery, AL (which is halfway to our destination) to stay the night before proceeding to Gulf Shores, AL. While there we went to Circuit City because we had noticed the Wii was on sale for $249 (which is the best I’ve seen it). We’ve been talking about getting one for our family for Christmas, and I had already put the money aside for it, so we did it (yes – we’re already shopping for Christmas, but the Wii probably won’t wait til Christmas befor we use it).

Monday – drove the rest of the way to Gulf Shores (more precisely Orange Beach, AL – just down the road from Gulf Shores). You might be asking why did we go there. The answer is we know some people who own a condo there and Shawna’s mom had been given a free week to stay there, so she let us take advantage of the free week with her – thanks GG (Grandma Grace). After we got there I took the kids straight to the ocean and after about 10 minutes they wanted to go straight to the pool, so we did.

Tuesday – slept in. Went to the pool and ocean again (ocean a bit longer this time and more than once, but still spent more time at the pool). Lost my sunglasses in the ocean. Bought some new ones for an outrageous $10 at ‘Surf Style’ (that was $5 too high for my taste because I can get sunglasses any weekend at the Jockey Lot for $5). Relaxation deluxe – all day long. Ate good. Had TCBY ice cream.

Wednesday – got up at 6am and walked the beach. I knew the tide would be low and wanted to find some sea shells for the kids because they hadbeen looking for them since we got there. I happened to find 3 pairs of sunglasses washing up with the seashells. One pair is Oakley and the other two aren’t bad either. They’re a little scratched but not too bad. Took the kids to the pool and ocean again. This time we stayed at the ocean for quite a while because I bought them some sand toys to play with. I built a sand castle and Devin immediately tore it down with the shovel I got him. Went to Lambart’s ( What an experience. They literally throw the rolls to you. Excellent food.

Thursday – took Devin to the National Naval Aviation Museum. Another wonderful experience. There are so many planes on display. Devin loved getting in the cockpits of several different types of planes. We also saw a pretty cool Imax movie. Hopefully we’ll have the opportunity to go do that again when Devin is older so he can learn more about the planes and their history.

Friday – The girls went shopping which left Devin and I without transportation and with little interest in going to the pool or the beach by ourselves. So we made an adventure out of it and walked down the beach about a mile to the nearest souvenir shop where I bought Devin a snorkel and goggles. Then we walked back. That was as close as I got to a workout all week so I’ll have to pick up the slack now that we’re home.

Saturday – Pretty much all day was spent at the beach. Someone in our building pulled the fire alarm so the fire trucks came. That was interesting. But we spent most of the day playing in the sand and enjoying the ocean that we rarely get to see. It was nice and relaxing but at the same time I was already starting to dread the packing up and driving home.

Sunday – We drove all the way back home in one day. We stopped probably 5 times in the first 5 hours (3 hours of it was actual driving time) to get souvenirs, get snacks, pee, etc etc, then stopped to eat at Cracker Barrel. Then after we ate we drove 5 hours straight without stopping. Home sweet home.

What a wonderful vacation. We really enjoyed the gulf coast of Alabama. It’s really quite nice for family vacationing and we’ll most likely do it again. I’m sure there are so many details I’m not thinking of at the moment but I don’t want to delay posting something about our vacation any longer. When I think of more stuff I’ll write about it.

I’ll upload a bunch of pics for the next post. 

Melted Vinyl Siding

Have you ever lit your grill and left it burning on high for a while to get good and hot before you start cooking on it?

When I grill I normally don’t let it heat up for too long before I turn it back down. A few weeks ago I fired up the grill and left it on high and then got distracted by something and let it burn on high for too long – and too close to the house.

I didn’t think anything of it because I was a few feet away from the side of the house and it had never melted the siding before. But I had never left the grill on high for so long before. When I went back outside I noticed the siding bowing out from the house.

Needless to say I was ticked – at myself.

Lucky me I can’t just buy one or two sheets of siding to fix the ones that are messed up. I have to buy a whole box. I’m putting that off for now. I’ve got some other priorities around the house to spend money on before that.

Don’t burn the grill too close to the house! 

Holler Ain’t Necessarily Redneck

If you’ve lived in the south for more than 2 minutes you’ve heard somebody say the word ‘holler’.

“Holler at-im tu git ovur hier” (modern translation – Holler at him to get over here).
“Holler at dem yungins” (Holler at those young ones – aka children)
“Quit hollerin at me”…..

See -you’ve heard it.

I personally don’t use that word unless I’m being silly and intentionally speaking more southern than I normally do (I’m 100% southern but non-southerners can at least understand my normal speech).

So I was writing an email to one of my cousins who lives in Florida. He’s on the Asbell side of the family, of which mostly resides around the Cairo and Thomasville areas of south Georgia, therefore he understands redneck. So at the end of my email I started to type ‘Holler back soon’ to throw a bit of southern lingo in to the message. I fully expected to see the red underline under ‘holler’ as though there was a spelling error. Didn’t happen. I was curious and decided to check to see if holler is considered a proper word, and it is. That sparked an interest in me to check other ‘southern’ or ‘redneck’ terms.

Southerners ain’t so stupid after all (it says ain’t isn’t a standard word, but they still defined it). You folks from over yonder just ain’t as cultured as you thought you were. If you’d listen more closely you wouldn’t get hollered at. 

Matt’s Married!!!

If you know my brother Matt you might have thought it would never happen.  Well, believe it or not he is married.  It all went down a couple of weeks ago.  I got to be the best man, and I had the best speech at the reception. 
View pictures here.  There are really pictures from the whole week leading up to the wedding, so there are plenty of pictures of our kids, family, and fun stuff other than the wedding.  My sister took a lot of the pictures but Skyler took several of them too.  You can tell which pictures Skyler took because they’re all from a 3ft tall point of view – but they’re actually pretty good. 
Congratulations to Matthew & Kristen Asbell.  May they be blessed with many years of happiness.