About Me

Born in Columbus, OH. One of six children. I’m a new Dad, and created this site for my son, Atlas.
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4/13/21

Dear Atlas,

It’s me, your Dad.

For most of my life, I wanted to be really wealthy before I had a family. I grew up in a modest household, and we didn’t always have extra money to do the things I wanted to do: play football, buy DJ equipment, or play roller hockey. Boy, did I want to play roller hockey . . .

When I was twelve years old, I learned that the age limit for PADI certification was thirteen. As a result, I called every scuba certification place in town and requested packets of information. Sleek, shiny brochures came in the mail, with advertisements showing people learning how to scuba dive.

I was a dreamer when I was younger, Atlas. I had big dreams in my heart to take the world by force, see amazing sights, and live from the heart. These dreams were fueled by my subscription to National Geographic Kids, where Rick the Raccoon would take me on incredible journeys to exotic deserts and ocean reefs.

David Doubilet, a world-renowned underwater photographer, was my hero. I, too, wanted to take beautiful pictures of the universe beneath the waves.

Back then, I thought if I wanted something enough—and put enough bugs in my parents’ ears—I would somehow get it.

That wasn’t the case for scuba despite my parents’ best efforts to keep my interest alive. They bought me a wetsuit, buoyancy compensator, and professional mask and fins from somebody who sold them through a newspaper listing.

I think Mom and Dad spent 95 percent of the money in their bank account to buy me those things, Atlas.

Sadly, that’s where my scuba-diving dream stopped. Years passed, and I never got in the water to take my first breath.

As the years went by, I still found a desire to go beneath the waves. However, a fear of sharks came to mind, and I passed up several opportunities when I was in a time, place, or position to get certified.

Almost three years ago, I was working in the tech industry and had a really stable, cushy job. I traveled all over the world, ate the best meals, and saw a part of our world that many will never see, Silicon Valley, from the inside out.

Like the ocean, this world was unlike any other I had seen before. It was fast, fun, exciting, and full of change.

Yet, the entire time, I wasn’t happy. I was a part of the machine rather than the driver. And that never really sat well with your Dad.

I got fired, Atlas.

The cards didn’t stack in my favor (aided by my own hand), and I soon found myself being told by a teary-eyed boss that I no longer had a position at the company. I was to immediately hand over my laptop computer and exit the building.

It took everything in me to keep the tears inside as I took my final walk down that enormous marble staircase, stepping into the cold Portland air.

As I walked home, I saw one of the regular “friends” I had on the street: a homeless guy, crouched underneath the dryer vent of a hotel. The perfect place to stay warm on a cold winter night in Portland.

Reaching into my wallet, I gave him all the cash I had: a $20 bill. “Enjoy,” I said.

“Thank you, brother. God bless you,” he said.

God . . . I thought. It’s probably time you and I had a conversation . . .

That conversation with God never ended, Atlas.

During that season, I went through a rocky time. I didn’t know whether to get a job, start my own business again, or do something completely different—like go to Bali.

Your Great-Opa wrote a book about his life, Atlas. It’s an epic tale that is larger than life, a compilation of some of the greatest experiences one man could ever live through in a single lifetime. In Opa’s book, he wrote a tale of the day he encountered a fourteen-foot hammerhead shark. I found the island and planned to get into the very same waters.

I wanted to face my fears, Atlas. So, I did. I traveled around the world just to get in the water at Jefman Island and take a quarter-mile swim.

That day, I came alive. So much joy filled my heart once I completed the swim, I felt like I could conquer anything!

That year was a tough one for me, Atlas. I spent the rest of it living in Indonesia, went broke more than a few times, and crash-landed back in the states with $22 in my bank account.

At that time, I had very clear goals that I knew I needed to hit in order to survive. I was determined to find just one client who would pay me $2,500 a month.

Thirty days after landing in the states, I got that client. Next, I wanted to earn $5,000 a month—which I achieved six months later. After that, I wanted to earn $10,000 a month—which I achieved and have maintained to this day.

I tell you all of this because I want you to know that the path leading up to your birth hasn’t been an easy one. Nor was it followed by accident.

While your Mom and I have had our share of ups and downs, I can’t help but marvel at the supernatural provision that has surrounded us since we learned of your arrival.

When you get older, I hope you have dreams, too. I hope you are raised in a home where you can let these dreams come alive and find yourself as you grow through the process.

I hope you never feel alone, like a failure, or like you don’t have options—because you always do.

Love,

Dad

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