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February 20, 2017

Another Page had Turned, A New Chapter has Begun.

Just wanted to give me friends and family an update. Felt like a blog post was more appropriate than a long Facebook status post. 

After 13 1/2 years of marriage Liz and I have decided to separate. Truth is, we separated for about a month or two earlier in 2016 to different rooms in the house and started separating our accounts even then. After long discussions and some change of heart we decided we didn't want to pursue that route and "moved back in" with each other right as the summer approached. We started seeing another counselor, our third, and put some serious effort back into our relationship, and we really meant to make it all work and thought we had both let issues, that we were both holding onto, go. We were doing fine, until we weren't. As some of you already know, none of this stuff just happens overnight. We went back into "separation mode" back in November and have been in separate rooms since. 

Very recently I moved out and currently live in a one bedroom apartment close to the house and close to our kid's school. Liz and I have a very amicable relationship and don't have a legal agreement or anything like that setting boundaries for time with our kids. We agree that we want to preserve the best part about us, and that's our kids. Breaking the news to them was the hardest conversation I have ever had. I feel pretty safe to say that Liz would say the same. I still see them every morning to wake them up, get them ready and get them to school, and they know they can see me and/or stay the night whenever they want. 

I have nothing, but deep respect and love for Liz. She's a wonderful woman and I have nothing but great things to say about her. But, we have lost connection, and it has led to a lot of hurt for both of us. We both agree that this is a necessary step for us in order to regain ourselves again and have joy. It has not been easy, but we are both moving forward together, as well as individually, as best as we can. I believe she knows that I'm always here to support her when I can, especially when it comes to our children. 

I know this probably isn't enough information for some of you, and I welcome your text or phone call and I'd be happy to connect with you about it all, but I just wanted to let y'all know the gist of the current situation between us. Thank you for your continued friendship over the years and thanks for taking the time to "click" and read this. So many of you have welcomed us into your families and homes and you mean very much to both of us. 

Peace to you,

Mike


September 16, 2016

Find Sanctuary: Mending your soul.


Duke Chapel (Durham, NC)

Whether it's a chapel space, a coffee shop or a yoga mat- find your sanctuary.
Tired, fighting a cold,
Head a little heavy,
It has been a long week,
Chores need to be done,
Finances are low,
Need more sleep,
But things need to get done.
I am here. 
Distracted,
Sitting,
Breathing,
Sipping,
Thinking,
Worrying,
Chest tightens,
My vessels constrict,
Why am I here? 
My eyelids are heavy,
I take a breathe.
My lungs fill,
My chest collapses. 
I took a look around 
and I settle in.
I am here. 
And here I rest. 

My yoga studio
The coffee house chatter is loud,
But I hear music.
The choirs of angels singing.
My shoulders relax.
I can feel each and every breath.
I am falling.
Falling in a trance. 
I come to you Father,
again and again.
You are my resting place,
My sleep.


August 5, 2015

Cigars and Blogs: Best of the Bull Edition.


2 Things:

1. New AshWednesdays Vid is up


2. Bull City Cigars got the "Best of the Bull" award for August given out by local blogger Katelyn Phillips.

Check out the feature here: Best of the Bull


August 4, 2015

Cigar Etiquette 101: Don't be THAT guy.


There are just certain things to know about what to do and what not to do in a cigar lounge. Someone has got to speak the truth, right? #AshWednesdays.

Stay Ashy Friends!


June 9, 2015

Church Ideas that Must Die


I copied and pasted this right from google images


This is an artile that I contributed in my church newsletter (I often write in the church newsletter. I find it's a great way to communicate ideas to my local context as well as establish myself a thought-leader). I just thought I should post it here. I don't usually do that, but I figured since I spent the time to write it then I should post it in other places as well. 

Smartphones iwhat n church. That’s I want.


I would love to see people snapping photos of churchy things and sharing them all over the World Wide Web. Hashtag the heck out of church (i.e. #JesusisRad or #Jesusismyhomeboy), choose whatever # you’d like.. Snap it, edit it, flip it, put a filter on it, tweet it, retweet it, post it, comment on it,  blog it, vlog it, review it, record it, check-in, pin it, do whatever you’d like but share, share, share! It’s 2015 people and this is the world we live in. We live in an iOS8 world, why do we need to preserve the Windows 95 experience for worship? We share everything else that is special, wonderful and important to us; so why can’t we do that in church?

Smartphones are distracting you might say. Really?!?! Are you telling me everyone is paying attention and not thinking of anything else in those pews? Is there nothing else to be distracted by in church? What if, just what if, the use of smartphones in the congregation enhanced the worship experience? Think it might be possible?

Next time the preacher is preaching, whip out that phone. Maybe there’s something sweet in the sermon that you love and think some of your friends might think too. What if you’re kneeling at the altar with that host in your palm and before consuming it you look over and someone else is doing the same but focusing their camera phone taking a picture of it first? Would that be so bad? Would it really? It’s a beautiful, mysterious and often transcendent moment. Why wouldn’t someone want to not share that? Some of us are more introverted than others, I get that, but social media has shown us that even those people like to share, post, and blog.

What do you think? Think there are other ideas that need to die that impede progress in areas of faith and/or church?

Peace be with you!

Follow me on Twitter and/or Instagram @Metromonk



May 13, 2015

AshWednesdays: It's About Cigars.



Some people don't know this about me, but I have recently been sustaining a video series called "Ash Wednesdays." It's all about the cigars. 

Posted here is the latest video. 

It is a fascinating culture. I would love your comments. Heck, reach out and let's grab a stick and enjoy that together.

Peace be with you. 

Thanks for stopping by. 

April 27, 2015

The Great Equalizer


A Cigar.

You ever smoke a cigar? I meet a lot of folks whom tell me that they enjoy a stick on occasion. And I get that. It's a special occasion and some folks treat themselves to the largest tobacco stick they can get their hands on, makes sense right? Right.

That said, I am a cigar smoker. Not the occasional smoker either, but "humo frecuentemente." As in, I enjoy sticks on the regular. And, while I am at it, let me take a few lines to say that smoking cigars IS NOT the same as smoking cigarettes. Not all smoking is created equal. Cigarettes are much worse than cigars as far as "junk"goes. They are cut with so much other fillers, impurities and other chemical garbage. Cigarettes taste different too. I have no intention on alienating cigarette smokers out there, but someone has to call a spade a spade. The two, cigars and cigarettes, are like comparing apples to oranges. Scratch that, because neither are healthy. Let's try that again. Maybe the comparison is more closely compared to bourbon and King Cobra (you know, the 40 oz. malt liquor drink). The bourbon, like the cigar, represents pure goodness, but not exactly healthy for you. The cigarettes would be like King Cobra, it's the king of junk liquor. End of my rant. Let's move on.

Smoking cigars.

If you "humo frecuentemente" like me, than you have probably enjoyed some time at a local cigar lounge with others, because you know that smoking is best optimized while smoking with others.

I have yet to be ceased of amazement while visiting a local cigar shop/lounge, because the same thing happens everywhere, all the time.

It goes like this, I grab a cigar, sit in the lounge, light it up and enjoy, and then I just sit and wait, listen and engage. It doesn't matter who you are or what you do. It doesn't matter if you're black or white, brown or yellow. It doesn't matter if you're right or left, red or blue. It doesn't matter your politics, your religion or if you're rich or poor. You could be male or could be female, old or young. You could be an experienced aficiando or you may not be. All of it does not matter. What does matter is that you have a stick. If you have that, you're are part of the circle.

I've visited many cigar shops and lit up plenty of sticks around many a bonfire. I don't know why it is so, but it's the greatest equalizer. I have heard so many life stories and made some great friends along the way and all because we smoke cigars together. It's the only thing I know that cuts the socio-religio-politico-economic barriers like it does. Not even religion brings brings completely random people together like the cigar world does. The only communities that I can think of that might pull off something close would be beer drinkers or pot smokers.

It's a crazy bunch that meet to sit and smoke cigars. And sure, there are lots of disagreements that occur, but at the end of it all, it's all good, because...well...cigars. It mellows all of it. We disagree, but then we'll be back, because...well...cigars. It's the great equalizer. Maybe it's a better mediator. Maybe it's both. Whatever it is it just works. It works every single time.

I love all the "Brothers and Sisters of the Leaf." The whole thing isn't anything about being addicted to smoking. It's a community thing. It's a crew thing. It's about similar interests, It's about a time to lounge. It's about the conversations. Maybe it's an escape for some or it's a place of work for another, but whichever it is, it is always a treat.

Ironically, the whole cigar culture thing is smitten with an image. That's real and maybe it looks a little too pretentious to some. But really though, no one is going to cast anyone out due to the size (or lack thereof) of ones bank account. It's about what's in your hand, not your wallet.

It's just like what Digital Underground said, "All around the world, the same song."

Please leave comments and thoughts below. 

See more of, what I call, "The Cigar Hustle" at Youtube. I host a series called "Ash Wednesdays."




Maybe you'd now like to order some really good cigars. The tobacco is premium and it's so good. So go ahead and take a-looksie at www.bullcitycigars.com

Connect with me on more social media platforms @metromonk. 

Peace be with you!.



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