Category Archives: Mastering the Art of Living

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Do you know a parent who has one of THOSE kids?

Ugh! A parent walked over with her kid at the playground. My first thought was, “What’s my kid done now?”

But no. She walked him over to apologize in person to my kid. You see, her kid is on the autism spectrum, and she was helping him to learn social skills. It’s not even that he did anything bad like throwing sand or rocks (yeah, my kids have done that).

She was just teaching him how to do something better.

This interaction turned into a great conversation with her, and my wife and I made a new friend.

Not many parents have THOSE kids.

Many parents have THESE kids…

  • No idea what responsibility or consequences mean
  • Free allowance for nothing
  • Get whatever they want
  • Obese
  • Never venture outside unless forced

I feel bad for THOSE kids. The saving grace is that they’re kids, so there’s still time to unleash their greatness!

Here’s an example of two awesome kids I know…

Of course I have to mention one of my own. My oldest son of 13 years just turned one of his homeschool assignments into his first published book about salads for kids. It’s funny too- he even thanked The Rock in it for inspiring him.


Another impressive young kid is Clara Isabel Logsdon. I know this 8yo artist through her grandad Dan Miller. She completely illustrated a published book based on interactions between her and her grandmother Joanne Miller.


If there’s a kid that you have some influence over as a parent or some other reason, how about you do your best today and tomorrow and the next day to inspire them to awesomeness, even if it feels like torture to them right now.

Disclaimer- My kids are in no way perfect, nor am I. If you want to hear any stories or advice about mistakes they’ve made, things we do, or mistakes we’ve made as parents, just get in touch.

This message was written by a team of geeks, nerds, gamers, and Dr. David Powers. You can always find us at www.callsignredbeard.com. Thanks for reading!

In the words of Starship Troopers, “Would you like to know more?”

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Vitamix is Why You Should Pay for Quality

Years ago my wife bought a Vitamix blender at Costco for what I thought was an outrageous amount of money. As a matter of fact, she paid for it with her own blow money just so she could prove it was worth it.

Wow did she!

That blender has been the single biggest improvement in healthy eating for our family of 7 ever (5 kids!). We have so much fun with our veggie and fruit smoothies.

Disclaimer- Even though Tim Ferriss and Chris Young at Chef Steps explained over dinner one night how nature wants to kill us, including our spinach. A story for another time.

The other day I noticed a chipped blade. I worked up my angst and called Vitamix ready to fight over making them replace it. They sure messed up my prepped argument.

I barely got on the phone and explained my issue before she said, “Oh, that’s still under warranty. What’s your address? We’ll ship you out a new one immediately.”

Here it is, all nice and shiny…

And that is why you should save up and pay for quality the first time instead of paying over and over for a long list of broken whatevers.

It’s the same way with my business. I do keynotes, breakout training sessions, and coaching. Right now I’m coaching a small construction company that has been ‘buying’ (so to speak) low quality employees for years. It’s greatly affected morale, profit, and their checking account. I just discovered thousands in unpaid and late bills that slipped under the radar.

Buy quality the first time and it will pay off in the end.

I just noticed after I posted this pic that there’s a glob of smoothie on my shirt.

This message was written by a team of geeks, nerds, gamers, and Dr. David Powers. You can always find us at www.callsignredbeard.com. Thanks for reading!

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We’re No Longer on the Way to Being Homeless

I know many of you were around for the start of my 40 Days to Homeless series. For you and any new list members, I’d like to do an update.

To get the entire story, be sure to check out…
40 Days to Homeless
39 Days to Homeless
38 Days to Homeless

On the situation, I have some really good news and some really bad news in equal parts. On the bad news front, I don’t want to strangle you with the whole story here, so I published a more complete version on my blog. What you’ll read there is part of the reason I’m only going to give you the good news on this update.

The good news…We’re not going to be homeless!

I landed a huge client back in South Carolina that is financially worth it to move back there from Chattanooga TN. Not that I want to leave the mountains and rivers, but I feel it’ll be a big step for easing our ‘big family’ housing situation in TN. It’s hard to find room for a married couple and 5 kids in rental housing, but we’ve managed to already secure housing there at the beach.

Aside from the big new client, work is also picking up in other areas as well…

I just wrapped up a 2 week speaking tour in the New England area that included 5 lectures at the Connecticut EMS Expo. My 10yo went with me and joined me in some of my video reviews.

As I wrote this, I’m currently in Nashville TN doing corporate training for Delta Airlines and the TN Treasury Department. This left me with some free time during the day to shoot video for several reviews at area state parks and hiking trails.

And the best news of all…

My 12yo son has just published his first book. His book The Kids Guide to Salads began as a homeschool assignment and morphed from a family experiment into a full book complete with photography. You can order your own copy HERE on Amazon, but if you want an autographed copy, get in touch. He gets really excited and has been working on his signature.

As always, your help is much appreciated in spreading the word, so please feel free to pass this newsletter on to others.

Thanks!


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I Screwed Up by Asking for Help

I screwed up by asking for help.

I hate saying that.

After all, I’ve been teaching my Pre-TSD program to vets and public safety folks for years, and the first piece of advice I give them and their families is to ask for help early and often.

My family hit a weird rough patch recently, and I was determined I wouldn’t be too proud to ask for help. I even set up a Go Fund Me page.

Boy was it a mistake to seek help.

I don’t want to repeat the whole issue. You can read about it by scanning back the past few blog posts. Basically, without warning, we were refused housing and a lease renewal by a number of places because we have 5 kids. All this was happening as our current lease was expiring. Basically, we were headed straight toward homelessness.

Friends and family are weird in a situation like this.

You’ll have a few friends and family members who really care about you and will try to help, even if encouragement is all they can offer. Several of my friends even opened up to me about their own struggles so that we could pray and talk together. I appreciated this. But you’ll often have a larger number of friends and family who will smell blood in the water and see this as an opportunity to tear you apart. And they did.

Here’s a few things I learned during this struggle and my plea for help…

  • Many people’s reactions will go against standard teaching regarding stress and pre-suicide.
  • Don’t ask for help or at least be very careful who you ask for help from.
  • Everybody hurts, but not like the REM song where they eventually come together.
  • Luke 11:11 became very real to me- “If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent?”
  • Your closest friends and family will question every decision you ever made before offering any help.
  • Christians aren’t the only ones to step up and offer assistance (although we’d like to think so sometimes).
  • Only post regular updates and happy posts on the blogs and e-mails if you want people to read them.
  • People like you as long as you don’t need anything from them.

During this struggle, I started watching the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why. In retrospect I shouldn’t have. It made me consider things I shouldn’t be pondering. I guess what I’m saying is that this struggle and what happened because I asked for help are, in my 42 years of life, the lowest points of my entire existence. The things some of my friends said to me made me want to escape in any way possible from being hurt anymore.

Also during this time, a good friend of my dad’s, a guy that I’d known since I was in elementary school killed himself. The thing that I kept kicking around in my head was that there was just so much going wrong that he couldn’t take it anymore. I kept asking myself if I was near that point as well. Imagine someone you thought was a good friend saying things worse than this to you.

To be completely open and honest, it was thoughts of my kids that brought me back to a safe place. “Life insurance doesn’t pay out in a suicide” was my mantra. I knew doing something extreme and terminal would just put them in an even worse position.

I’m over it now, because the situation has been resolved and things are better. But this issue took me to a bad place that I know I’ll never forget. I’ve purged some people from my life that were toxic. I restructured some routines and tasks in my daily life. I’m getting closer to God. To quote from a Clive Cussler book I read recently, “Mistakes were made. They’re being addressed.”

With all that said, I’ll leave you with a quote from Brian Dixon-

“Your failure is not something to be embarrassed by. It’s a springboard to launch off from.”

This message was written by a team of geeks, nerds, gamers, and Dr. David Powers. You can always find us at www.callsignredbeard.com. Thanks for reading!

In the words of Starship Troopers, “Would you like to know more?”

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38 Days Until We’re Homeless in Chattanooga

In 38 days my family might be homeless in Chattanooga TN.

*For the whole story you can start the series HERE.

I got an e-mail today in response to this series that made me sick to my stomach. As soon as I read it, I messaged my buddy Ryan McRae, my best friend in the world.

I said, “Am I doing everything wrong? I just don’t want to be too ashamed or prideful to ask for help.”

His simple response was, “You’re doing fine and the right thing. And you’ll always have haters.”

Ryan made me feel better, like I’m not a total screw-up, and still have something to offer the world and my family.

Let me sum up what she said to me in an all day series of e-mails…

  • “You have accomplished nothing of value.”
  • “A little challenge and you’re freaking out?”
  • “You made your bed, not I, so lie in it.”
  • “I have more debt than you and I’m battling Lyme Disease, vocal cord dysfunction, Bartonella, IBS, GERD, and Optic Nerve Atrophy.”
  • “Life can be shitty at times.”
  • “No use pointing out birth control.”
  • “How about you spend the next 39 days reversing the decisions that put you in debt?”
  • “I filed for bankruptcy. You could do the same.”

Her words bothered me. Don’t think I’m not saying some of the same things and worse to myself anyway. You know what, though, I’m just gonna keep pushing on. I have to. Another thing Ryan taught me was that if I slow down too much or give it too much power, the Dark Passenger will show up and convince me I’m truly worthless.

In honor of this lady’s e-mails, I’ll mention a series of short stories I wrote about a husband living a truly crappy life where nothing goes right. It’s called The Diary of a Crappy Husband. I’m in that kind of mood right now.


The best way you can help me is by spreading the word. Please forward this e-mail on to everyone you know. I need as many people as possible to know about this in case they can help us or know someone else who can.

Thank you in advance for your help!

Please connect with me if you have any questions.

A GoFundMe page has been set up HERE.

Here’s a link to resources where most of my business is conducted.


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39 Days Until We’re Homeless in Chattanooga

In 39 days my family might be homeless in Chattanooga TN.

For the whole story you can start the series HERE.

Since the first e-mail yesterday, I’ve been getting some questions. I’ll answer them here, because I’m sure many of you are wondering the same things.

“What about your business?”

It’s a fair question. It’s a polite way of asking if I’ve just been sitting on my ass all day or if I should try a different job. But that’s okay. I don’t mind telling you what’s going on.

Business is going well. I’m actually leaving tomorrow for an assignment out of town that’s one of my highest paying yet. Successes like that give me hope. I need it, because I’m almost out.

It’s the mountain of debt and other circumstances that are killing us.

  • I lost a $35K a year client, and I’m still feeling that impact. That forced us to put almost 2 years of apartment rent on credit cards.
  • My 2mo baby has kidney problems, specifically hydronephritis.
  • I just got two letters from different agencies telling me that property taxes were screwed up in 2015 and 2016. Together those two letters are asking for over $10K, payable within 30 days.

Then there’s still the whole getting kicked out of our apartment because I have too many kids thing.

There’s a lot of other stuff going on too. I’ll elaborate more as this series goes on.

Here’s one way you can help. Support me with your shopping!  Here’s a link to resources where most of my business is conducted.

One of my income sources I want to tell you about is a horror book written by my mom and published through Amazon. You can find it right HERE. Buy a copy. Buy a thousand. It’d make me and my mom really happy.

I’ll be sending out quite a few e-mails in the coming days that will give more info and show different ways you can help. I’m going to be hustling like I’ve never hustled before.

The best way you can help me is by spreading the word. Please forward this e-mail on to everyone you know. I need as many people as possible to know about this in case they can help us or know someone else who can.

Thank you in advance for your help!

Please connect with me if you have any questions.

A GoFundMe page has been set up HERE.

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This message was written by a team of geeks, nerds, gamers, and Dr. David Powers. You can always find us at www.callsignredbeard.com. Thanks for reading!

In the words of Starship Troopers, “Would you like to know more?”

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40 Days Until We’re Homeless in Chattanooga

In 40 days my family might be homeless in Chattanooga TN.

Me, my wife, and our five kids make a family of seven, with kids ranging from 12yo down to 2  months. We’re getting kicked out of our 3 bedroom apartment because we go over the 2-person-per-bedroom rule, even though one of the kids is just an infant. That also means we can’t rent another 3 bedroom place and local 4 bedroom houses are out of our budget.

I don’t know what we’re going to do.

Basically, I need to make a year’s worth of income in the next 40 days to pay down debt and afford a place.

I need your help.

I’m not asking for a handout. I’m just asking you to support my business, buy any of the stuff I’m selling to downsize, and tell everyone you know who might be able to help in some way.

I’ll be making a lot of posts in the coming days that will give more info and show different ways you can help. I’m going to be hustling like I’ve never hustled before.

The best way you can help me is by spreading the word. Please forward this e-mail on to everyone you know. I need as many people as possible to know about this in case they can help us or know someone else who can.

Thank you in advance for your help!

Please connect with me if you have any questions.

Here’s a link to resources where most of my business is conducted.

A GoFundMe page has been set up HERE.

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This message was written by a team of geeks, nerds, gamers, and Dr. David Powers. You can always find us at www.callsignredbeard.com. Thanks for reading!

In the words of Starship Troopers, “Would you like to know more?”

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Resources for My 40 Days to Homeless Thread

If you’re following my 40 Days to Homeless e-mail thread, below are the resources I mentioned.

If you didn’t get here from that thread, please check out my GoFundMe page to get an idea of what’s going on.

Thanks!

Ebay is where me and the kids will be selling a lot of our toys, comic collections, and other stuff.

Most of my book collections will be sold on Amazon.

I sell a lot of digital products on Gumroad and Fiverr.

My written works in print and for Kindle are sold on Amazon.

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This message was written by a team of geeks, nerds, gamers, and Dr. David Powers. You can always find us at www.callsignredbeard.com. Thanks for reading!

In the words of Starship Troopers, “Would you like to know more?”

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I Look Like a Big Hairy Chicken in the Bod Pod Egg

Check me out in the Bod Pod! I look like a big bearded chicken.

David-Powers-Bod Pod-2

I first read about the Bod Pod device in Tim Ferriss’ book 4 Hour Body. He praised it as one of the most accurate body fat measurement devices around. I’d done the caliper thing before, but always wanted to try the pod. When I found out that Coastal Carolina University, a local school, had one I immediately made an appointment. After doing so, you’ll never see me playing with the calipers again. The test was crazy cheap considering what the device cost. It was only $35 and less than an hour, and I was done.

For the skinny (pun intended) on what a Bod Pod does, here’s the verbiage from the COSMED website

“The BOD POD Gold Standard Body Composition Tracking System is an air displacement plethysmograph which uses whole-body densitometry to determine body composition (fat and fat-free mass) in adults and children, and can accommodate a wide range of populations. A full test requires only about 5 minutes, and provides highly accurate, safe, comfortable, and fast test results.”

Basically, it tests your mass and density using air instead of water or calipers.

Before I show you my results, let’s first look at some photos.

First, this happened. I think Stacey, lab coordinator extraordinaire accidentally hit the Matrix button. Oops!

Matrix-pod-Bod PodOnce we left that ‘verse and came back she made another wrong turn.

Mork-Mindy-pod-Bod Pod

Finally, we made it back to reality.

David-Powers-Bod Pod

Before I show you my results, I’m going to admit that they’re not at all flattering. I’m okay with that. Not happy, but okay. I’m big on transparency and group accountability in fitness and nutrition. I know so many obese people that stay that way because they hide everything they do.

I’ve been on a big tear lately to lose some weight. I hit my highpoint of piggishness at 252 pounds last year. I carried it well, but I felt like crap. Just kind of heavy and clunky all the time. Now I’m thirty pounds lighter. I feel much better, but I’ve not hit my happy point yet, as you’ll see from the results.

Bod Pod-results-March 2015-001

That’s right. 28.9% body fat. It’s high, and it’s all my fault. I own that. Most of it is pasta and burgers and Mountain Dew.

In case you’re wondering why it’s worth it to know stats like this, I’ll tell you what it means to me. The last time I measured my fat, it was with calipers, and I came in at 24%. With the error variability potential with calipers I’m going to just say that I’m still at the same level, even though I’m 30 pounds lighter. Knowing these stats now means that I need to radically change my workout and weight loss profile. Essentially, I’ve burned off nearly 30 pounds of muscle with my calorie restriction diet. I knew I was doing that some but not this bad. My original plan was to burn down to 200 pounds and then beef back up to a muscular but way less obese 220 pounds. I’m going to alter my plan now to focus exclusively on fat-burning and lean muscle building in my workouts and eat foods that support the same. Calorie restriction with moderate exercise gave me a jumpstart, but now it’s time to change.

Here’s an interesting fact about the Bod Pod. Hair holds air and can therefore alter the results slightly. The mere fierceness of my beard likely swayed the results somewhat. Not enough to make me a lot less porky, but it’s still pretty cool to know that my beard has its own presence.

Thanks to Dr. Darden for the use of the lab. Thanks again for coaching my son’s baseball team last year as well. Folks, keep your eyes peeled for the name Darden in a few years. The Dr’s son is an amazing baseball player and will likely be making headlines at some point.

Thanks to Mrs. Stacey Beam for administering the test and scoring me an awesome parking spot on campus. Thanks also for not making fun of me too much for being fat.

As an added bonus I also got the chance to see the always wonderful and supermodel beautiful Sara Wise, who works at the school. Guys, I won’t post a pic of her because she is already taken.

This message was written by a team of geeks, nerds, gamers, and Dr. David Powers. You can always find us at www.callsignredbeard.com. Thanks for reading!

In the words of Starship Troopers, “Would you like to know more?”

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David-Powers-Bod Pod-3


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Baby Number 5 is Here!

I know you’ve gotten accustomed to a new blog post each week, and I wanted to apologize for not having a new one this week. In lieu of a new post, I’ll show you a picture of my excuse for being so busy today.

Sherlock Watson Powers was born last week. Even though he’s our fifth child, each one takes a little getting used to. What I’m finding more difficult than I expected is staying up all night as a 42-year-old.

Next week…the first week of each month I profile a new resource or addition to the required reading list.

This message was written by a team of geeks, nerds, gamers, and Dr. David Powers. You can always find us at www.callsignredbeard.com. Thanks for reading!

In the words of Starship Troopers, “Would you like to know more?”

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