Archive for the ‘Inspiration’ Category

New Year. New Job. Same Great Cause.

January 23rd, 2017

It’s been awhile since I’ve spoken to many of you, Dalia and I hope your 2017 is starting off great!

Some of you may have heard that I’ve taken my first full-time job at Calorie Cloud, a new startup looking to help severely malnourished kids by converting burned calories into the same life-saving packets that I rode across the country for.

How it works is people commit to getting active for 30 days (people like you), they track their activity, a sponsor then monetizes the active calories burned and we use that money to send life-saving packets to kids who need them most. Pretty cool concept.

WE WANT TO SPONSOR YOU!

Starting January 23rd, 2017 we are doing a “Friends and Family” challenge and inviting our friends to join TEAM MYSSE (that’s you).

We don’t need your money, we just need you to get active and give us those calories. (Don’t worry if you didn’t join day 1, you can still join at anytime and you’ll get credit for past activity.)

Dalia and I would be honored if you would join “Team Mysse”, get active and help end malnutrition.

My personal commitment for the next 30 days is to get active in some way every day of the challenge. (Look for posts on Instagram hashtags #TeamMysse #activeforgood).

Any activity counts, you don’t need to ride a bike cross country to help. Just walking around during the day can make a difference.

How to join:

From your phone:
1) Download the Calorie Cloud Tracker from the App store or Google Play.
2) Join challenge using event code: FAFC
3) Follow the prompts on screen to set up your account and pick “TEAM MYSSE”

or

From your computer:
1) Visit https://app.caloriecloud.org/ and join with event code: FAFC
2) Follow the prompts on screen and be sure to join “TEAM MYSSE”
3) Setup the tracker of choice (Fitbit, Garmin, Jawbone), or download the Calorie Cloud app and use your phone.

That’s it. Join TEAM MYSSE, get active for good this month and we will get these calories to kids who need them most.

Thank you for your continued friendship.

Lots of love from Dalia and Luke

Boxes Of Love

November 4th, 2015

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As the story goes I was riding my bicycle across the US in 2014 as Cycle Cause to benefit Stop SAM when I got to meet some remarkable kids in Whitefish Bay, WI.

We had taken a couple rest days when I had the privilege to speak at a couple local schools, telling a story of perseverance and answering questions about what it was like to ride so many miles.

I had first learned about Boxes Of Love from my friend Brett but had no idea how amazing this event truly was. In 5 years these remarkable kids have raised over $160,000 for some great causes.

Fast forward a year later and that little talk about perseverance has resulted in a great partnership for the 2015 BOL event. This year’s bake sale will benefit Stop SAM and our current drive to send more packets to South Sudan.

When I heard the great news about Stop SAM being selected I jumped on a plane to go speak to these amazing kids again. It was great to share stories from the Cycle Cause trip and also share some stats about the work being done in South Sudan. To say I’m inspired by these kids is an understatement.

So how can you help?
1. Go to GIVEBOXESOFLOVE.com and order some tasty cookies which make great holiday gifts.
2. Or you can just make a donation at the same link.

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One year later.

September 30th, 2015

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September 27th of last year I finished the ride of my life, 4170 miles across America to provide hope for malnourished kids living in South Sudan.

One year later I’m still coming to grips with all the change that has happened as a result. I set out with the simple goal of helping some starving kids but really had no idea the ripple effects this would send through all the areas of my life. Effects that are both positive and difficult.

For the first few months of being back it was hard to even think about the trip. I truly needed a break. Needed to take some steps back and reflect. I also needed to reestablish some sort of normal for my family, whatever that means.

Now one year later I’ve started writing (again). I want to tell the stories that never got told on Instagram and Facebook. The stories of heartache and triumph. The stories that my kids and grandkids will read some day.

What I’m saying is that their will be a Cycle Cause book coming soon, hopefully completed by the end of 2015.

The Cost of Inspiration.

January 19th, 2015

Today we celebrate a man who had some pretty strong beliefs, beliefs in his country, in God, in serving his fellow man. We celebrate his faith and unwavering sacrifice for others.

Martin Luther King Jr’s words and commitment are an inspiration to us all.

Near the end of 2013 when I was deciding if we should pursue the Cycle Cause trip I stumbled upon a clip of MLK speaking of moral courage. It was an edited soundbite from his sermon “But If Not”. Like many, I’ve always known him for his most famous speech “I have a dream” but I hadn’t really heard any of his other sermons up until that point. To say I’ve been inspired by this man would be an understatement.

Today had me thinking about the ‘cost of inspiration’. Specifically what it costs the person doing the inspiration and also what it ‘should’ cost the person who is inspired.

In an age of hyper access to information it’s pretty easy to become just be a ‘consumer of inspiration’, our feeds littered with quotes, stories, inspiring people. By consumer I mean someone who just takes the ‘warm and fuzzy’ feeling of being inspired and then moves on unchanged, or unchanging. This was me for many years.

Martin Luther King Jr. ultimately paid a high price for his beliefs. I often wonder how many of us would actually die for something, go to jail to help someone else, sacrifice the comfort and safety of our families with the hopes that someone else might suffer less. He once said “If you have never found something so precious to you that you would die for it then you aren’t fit to live”. He also said “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, what are you doing for others?” Powerful words that ultimately drove me to chase a dream of helping malnourished kids last year and teaching my two sons about service.

In 2014, for the first time in my life I choose not to just ‘consume inspiration’ but actually do something with it. As I reflect this morning I look at how much last year’s decision cost me and my family, a cost that has weighed heavily of late as we are essentially starting over. If you had told me that I would be married with two kids and at age 38 find myself broke, unemployed, and living with my parents I don’t think I would have believed you.

But the bigger question is, would I have still gone?

The answer to that question is something I struggle with, especially lately, but ultimately my answer is yes, yes I would still go. The way I see it, it’s just not fair to be heavily inspired by a man like MLK, someone who gave his life to inspire so many, and then not do something with it.

People tell me all the time what an inspiration our trip was to them, how our journey has been amazing to watch. I think I would rather hear about what our trip has inspired others TO DO. Heck, I don’t even need to hear about it as long as people DO something.

I hope the actions of my life have somehow lived up the MLK’s vision of helping others. His vision of standing up for what’s right. His vision for taking a risk for someone else. His teachings of trusting God above all else. It’s the least I can do when inspired by someone, it’s the payment.

Our cost should be pushing that vision forward.

2014 – adventure to remember.

January 2nd, 2015

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I don’t think the full scope of what we did in 2014 has set in yet…but it’s starting to. As I write stories from the road and review photos I’m reminded of just how amazing 2014 really was. I’m happy to home but part of me misses the road, the adventure, the riding every day.

Back in California now I’m wondering what comes next, in life, my career, the next adventure. After spending 2014 out on the edge It’s hard to go backwards and just settle for bland. Whatever is next I know my faith will carry me and my family will be their to support. Bring on 2015!

Motivated by the next generation.

January 2nd, 2015

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I’ve spent most of my adult life weighing at least 300 pounds.

Six years ago I peaked out at 340 pounds. This was at about the same time my second son was born. A doctor had told me that I wouldn’t live to see my kids grow up if I didn’t do something about my weight.

Continue Reading >

Celebrating moral courage

January 20th, 2014

As we take time to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr today I can’t help but reflect on the impact he has had on my own life, especially this last year.

We’ve all heard his “I have a dream” speech and know that he fought for justice at one of the darkest times in American history. What I hadn’t experienced before was the pastoral side of Martin Luther King Jr.

This past year I read a great collection of Martin Luther King Jr sermons and was deeply moved by his faith. For him life wasn’t just about civil rights, it was about doing what God had called him to do.

He followed this calling even when his life was being threatened daily, his family threatened, his house bombed, things that we can’t even begin to comprehend. And ultimately he gave his life for that calling. Who lives like that today?

In my 37 years on earth and 17 years of working I can say honestly I’ve never felt “called” to do what I was doing…until now. I have these moments when I realize that everything that has happened up until now is in fact for this moment. The calling to help starving kids is simply too loud for me to ignore.

This transition to work on Stop SAM has been rough over the last three months, December literally brought me to my knees. It was the words from Martin Luther King Jr in a clip talking about “moral courage” that got me through.

Though things go wrong, and things get hard I’m going on anyways. I’m standing up for starving children who have no voice. I’m standing up and presenting hope to a world that we can in fact make a difference. I’m doing the thing I must do. I’m doing what God has called me to do.

I celebrate Martin Luther King for his commitment to civil rights and all of humanity, for the love he shared despite unbelievable hardships. I celebrate him for the great example he set at living a Christian life. Well done good and faithful servant.

Two addition sermons:

The Three Dimensions of a Complete Life
The Drum Major Instinct

Saying goodbye to a 13 year friend

December 14th, 2013

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As I was sitting in my office today of 13 years I actually got a little emotional about the thought of moving out in January. I know it’s just office space, and maybe I’m being overly sentimental, but I’ve had so many great memories here. Read More >

Riding bikes, saving lives.

September 27th, 2013

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I just returned from a great trip to Atlanta. The main purpose was to meet up with my partner at StopSAM, Mike Levison. We spent some great time together discussing, goals, dreams, future plans and campaigns.

We also got to visit the MANA Nutrition factory in Fitzgerald, something I’ve been trying to do for the three years that I’ve been involved in the fight against Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM).

I wanted to see for myself how RUTF was made and deliver in person the donations from my recent birthday bike ride and BBQ. Special thanks to those who gave to the birthday campaign; because of you, we were able to raise over $2,000 – that’s 40 lifesaving treatments. Our bike riding together really did save lives.

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I also had a fun time with my dad who tagged along and organized all the travel (thanks, Dad). We visited five of Atlanta’s top BBQ joints, comparing their various meats and techniques. Maybe someday we will have a BBQ place that good in Orange County. Sigh. We also spent a few hours at the Georgia Aquarium, which I learned is the largest in the world. They actually have whale sharks in a tank, which is unbelievable to see.

Thank you, Atlanta, for a great trip. We’ll miss your smoked ribs, the Waffle House peach waffles and that famous Southern Hospitality. We won’t, however, miss your traffic, which I’m pretty sure is worse than LA. But I’ll be back soon.

Now back to work on changing the world and planning a big bike ride.

The biggest announcement of my career

September 18th, 2013

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As I get up in age, turning 37 tomorrow, I’m amazed at the number of years I’ve been doing certain things. Seventeen years in business, married for over 15, I’ve had my office in Orange for over 13 years, which doesn’t even feel possible. Time really does move quickly.

As I reflect on where I’m at in my life, it has all boiled down to two questions: “Are you truly doing your life’s work? And if not, why are you wasting time?”

I’ve been studying many historical figures who have made an important impact on our world. What I’ve noticed they all have in common is their sense of urgency and purpose. They didn’t have big vision only to let it sit dormant while they did other things.

The fight against Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) is something I’m very passionate about and have been involved in for a few years now through MANA Nutrition, Good Spread and more recently co-founding STOP SAM. I also love speaking, sharing my stories about life and the positive impact cycling has had on my life (I’ve now lost over 100lbs riding).

For a couple of years, I’ve had this internal pull towards something else, a big idea, something that will inspire and help others. Now, I’ve tried to kill this idea a couple times but about four months ago, the big idea came roaring back. However this time, I decided to tell my wife about it, knowing she would say no, it would be up to her to kill it.

So I shared with my wife Dalia that day…

“I want to raise awareness for STOP SAM by riding my bike across  America and speaking. And I want you and the boys to follow me in an RV and be a part of this. I think the trip will take about six months.”

Her response…

“Oh my gosh, that’s amazing! Let’s do it!”

Wait, what?!??!

No, no, you were suppose to say no, so I didn’t have to do this.

She later went on to say, “When Ayden, #theViking, was born, I felt like I wanted to get involved with a child-related cause. And when you got involved with MANA, I thought, “This is it.” But I didn’t feel like I ever found my role until now. My role is to take my husband on this trip.”

It took me over a week to even figure out what just happened. So now the announcement….

In May of 2014, because of my wife’s faith, and because it’s my passion, I will get on my bike and ride 4,000 miles to New York City along the northern route of the US, a journey that is expected to take three months. My wife and two boys will be coming along in an RV. We will be documenting our journey and sharing the story of SAM with anyone who will listen. Once we hit the east coast, we will spend about three months driving back across the US, sharing what we did and raising money and awareness for StopSAM.org.

How can you help?

  • You can help me celebrate my birthday by donating to the birthday campaign. 
  • You can go check out Stop SAM and participate in our upcoming #PBJForGood campaign.
  • We will be launching the ride brand “Cycle Cause” very soon. Stay tuned for details.
  • If you know someone I should meet please make the introduction.

What I’ve learned: When your wife say’s she wants to go on an adventure, you take her on an adventure. When you see a way to follow your passion, you do it without delay. It’s about showing my two boys what life is really about.

I’ll continue to service some clients as we start pursuing this dream. We have so much to figure out, sponsorships, homeschooling, routes, etc. But I’ve never been so clear in my life. This is the beginning of my life’s work. That work starts now.

photo by Nicole Caldwell