Sunday, November 22, 2009

We Win!!!

So most recently I returned from Ensenada Mexico where I was blessed to be a part of the race team that won the Pro Quad class for the 2nd consecutive year. I probably sound like a broken record but I continue to be amazed at the things I'm getting to experience. I remember reading about Team Matlock taking the win last year after several years of hardships and always coming up short. Never in a million years did I think that I would be standing in the winners circle when they crossed the finish line and thats exactly where I was. Well more off to the side really as I was filming the event, but I quickly made my way to the circle to join in the celebration. It was a crazy awesome experience and I'm so thankful to have had the opportunity.

The Matlock racing crew is basically just a family crazy about racing ATV's. Wayne and his wife Kristen brought their 8 week old son along for the entire week of Baja. That's dedication. I told Grandma Cathy that I was took me 24 years to get there! When I say family I mean family. Grandparents, moms, dads, wives and kids all turn up for the event and its truly a family affair. The night before the race we all settled in around a big table between a couple RV's for a feast that would rival many Thanksgiving dinners. I hardly slept a wink that night as I kept waking up wondering if it was time for the race to begin. I really think I get more sleep on Christmas eve than I did the night before Baja. Call me Crazy. The whole Baja experience was amazing and I'm already excited to head back next year.

Another neat deal, I got to share my story with a gal at Starbucks last night. I needed power for my computer so I asked if I could share her table next to the outlet. We visited a little and I found out she’s a multi media major. We had lots to talk about between photography, film and such and as I was telling her about what I’m doing down here she expressed that I’m living her dream. I chuckled and told her that I’m finally getting to live my dream but that it took eight years for me to get here. I shared my thoughts on spending your life doing something you love and I smiled inside as I felt like “this is what it’s about,” showing people and encouraging people to pursue that little thing in their heart that they’ve always longed for. Believer or not I believe that is placed there by God and it just takes time for HIM to develop that in us. In the mean time, we face hardships or get sidetracked with immediate gratification and for many people that dream gets lost. Thank God none of the rabbit trails I’ve chased in the last 8 years worked out. I know that I surely wouldn’t be where I am today.

There is a saying “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive and go do that. What the world needs is more people to come alive.”

People that are alive about what they do are contagious. It takes discipline, perseverance and the drive to not give up when things get tough. What I’ve found for me personally is that the victories I’m experiencing since moving here wouldn’t be near as sweet without the hardships I’ve faced over the last year and a half. I say hardships as if my life was a wreck. People certainly deal with harder situations than I’ve ever had to deal with but for me, my situation at home was so suffocating before I left that I felt like I had no hope for enjoying life. Life is called a journey for a reason. We walk through valleys and over mountains to stand at the peak and behold the glory of what we’ve persevered to get there. I tend to find that if I were on the mountaintop all the time, I would have less of a need for God’s presence. “Give me only my daily bread or else I will have too much and disown you.” (Prov. 30:8) God knows what we can handle, how much pressure we can take before we snap, and how much reward we can handle without squandering it. I believe if we ask Him to, he will take the reigns of our lives and only hand us control when we are ready for it. I feel like it's taken 8 years but God is starting to hand me the reigns....and I can't wait to see where we go next!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Go Chargers

So I'm a bit perturbed...I wrote a fantastic update and failed to save my draft so here is round 2...

My gracious aunt whom I rarely have the opportunity to visit offered to take me to a San Diego Chargers game this past weekend for my birthday. What an experience it was! Chargers fans are serious about tailgating. As our bus approached the stadium the air was teaming with the smell of bratwurst. Auntie Ina (I still have difficulty calling her Ina) spared no expense on this adventure and we found ourselves in line for some of the finest Qualcom cuisine moments after entering the stadium. Our seats were 6th row, corner of the end zone, the perfect vantage point to view my boy, Antonio Gates, mowing over the pesky Philadelphia eagles players. The game was an awesome time and our team won to boot! Thanks for an awesome birthday present Auntie Ina!

In other news, I'm still looking for work but I have a couple leads. I'm working with the church on possibly becoming a Jr youth intern. I've been volunteering with them on Wednesday's and Sundays as is and they were already working to hire for this position anyway. Additionally, Jake and Margaret connected me with the director at Project Walk who informed me that they are in need of a media/film/PR person. After discussing the possibility we both felt that I bring a lot to the table even if only part time but Tim and I are working to put that together. Both opportunities look promising, but I really need something to come together as an income is becoming VERY necessary. On that note, I got my health insurance taken care of and I'm on COBRA till 12/1 and then my new health care plan kicks in.

God has been doing some amazing things in the meantime as I wait for these work scenarios to pan out. As many of you may know, I sent out a support letter and I've been very blessed by the response. I've received a few checks and am told I have a few more on the way. Another cool deal is that my college football coach forwarded my letter on to another coach whom I've seen only a handful of times since my freshman year. He wrote me and said that he was excited to see me going for something that I love and that he and his wife wanted to support me in it! What an awesome example of Gods provision, and yet another reminder that I am right where I'm suppose to be. Money seems to always be an area that I've had to give to God. Maybe its because I'm an anal retentive accounting major but throughout college and countless other experiences, God always seems to wait until the last minute to provide. Call it a test of patience which seems to be the other area God is always working on in me.

That brings us to today. I got up this morning with a bit of a pit in my stomach as I rolled out to the compound to go ride. My last session didn't go so well as I was having trouble seeing the ramp through the plume cloud of dust and managed to over jump the landing on my first hit. I bent my lower a-arms and cut my chin open upon impact. (Yes Mom and Linda, I was wearing my mouth piece...teeth are ok) Thankfully the bike is fine, it was just frustrating because things were going so well. Today I managed to solve the dust problem by laying carpet out on the runway and was able to put in the best session of my life. I rode for about an hour, threw some new, bigger tricks than I ever have before and didn't want to quit riding. I don't have any photos of the bigger tricks, but I hope to get someone out to film very soon.

I guess that's all for now. In theory I'm suppose to take off for the Baja 1000 tomorrow and hang out with the team that won it all last year. I'm so excited for the opportunity because experiencing Baja has been on my list of to do's for a long long time. I'll be taking a LOT of photos with my new camera (thanks Farg Daddy) and be sure and post them here. I'll leave you with a photo of my playground :)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Where to begin

Based upon recent events and so much excitement I think I'm gong to spread this update out between a couple posts. The biggest news is that I finally began riding!!! I rode for about 20 minutes on Tuesday which was just enough to get comfortable on the ramp and go through my bag of tricks. Wednesday I went back out and put in the best session yet and I'm SO ready to get back out there tomorrow. I cannot explain the relief/joy that I feel now that I'm riding and riding well. The landing here is so smooth that my bone stock quad doesn't even bottom out at all. I'm so excited to ride again tomorrow.

Other good news, my dad sprung for a new camera to replace the old one. I got a two year warranty for this one should I decide to tussle with my quad again. Thanks Farg Daddy!!!
So be on the lookout for some new photos in the coming days. I'll try to talk someone into taking some ride shots of me in the coming days so you can see what I'm actually doing here.

In other news, I may be traveling with the gang to the Baja 1000 next week. Wes Miller, the owner of the company I'm working with, was a member of the winning team last year for the Pro Quad class and he is out to defend his title. It looks like I'll be joining the team next Wednesday and hopefully aiding Harlen Foley of with coverage of the event. I continue to be amazed at the opportunities that God is dumping in my lap. I've wanted to attend Baja for as long as I can remember. I've never really been sure if I wanted to race it or just attend, but at the very least experience all that Baja has to offer and it looks like I'm going to have that opportunity.

The last "news" that many of you may already be familiar with is that I sent out a letter explaining what I'm doing down here and how you can support me in this adventure which is turning in to a ministry of sorts. I won't go into the details here but I highlighted in the letter my desire to maintain my freedom to jump at opportunities like the trip to Vegas and now Baja, in order to show these guys that I'm serious about working with them, as well as create opportunities to share my faith. If you believe in what I'm doing and would like me to send you a copy of the support letter please email me at God continues to show his faithfulness as I received a card from a dear friend in college containing a check and gift cards to KFC and Subway. Her words were "How better to help than fill your tummy!" God Bless!!!

More to come but I'll leave you with a few photos I rescued off the memory card of my smashed camera. They are in no particular order and I'm having trouble formatting this stinking with it! :)

A camp at Ocotillo. I've always wanted to be in one of those "wagon train esque" camps and I finally got my chance! Though this isn't it.

The unique terrain of Ocotillo Wells.

The outcome of our late night excursion.

Never have I met a more resourceful group of individuals...using a soldering iron and plastic shavings they successfully "welded" a cracked fuel tank...and it didn't leak a drop!!!

Lastly, I received a care package in the mail from a friend/
sponsor at Shift Racing. Some clean new threads, a couple ball caps and enough stickers to vandalize the city of LA.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Friends and Family in So Cal

The other day I had a little bout of discouragement as I climbed into bed after arriving home from Vegas as I was unsure what the coming days would bring. To this point, I've had one event lead to the next without much time to sit and worry about the next step. I couldn't really put my finger on it but something just kinda had me down.

My dad always says your perspective changes 180 degrees after a good night's sleep. I'm confident that did the trick for me as I awoke Friday the 6th with an excitement for the day and weekend to come. I'm still not entirely sure why I was bumbed out but I'm chalking it up to the mere 4 hours of sleep I got the last night in Vegas.

I spent Friday morning cleaning up the bikes from the show and making countless phone calls to insurance companies as I'm continuing to fight the good fight to ensure I'm adequately covered. Friday afternoon I had the privilege of driving a mere 45 minutes down the road to visit my long time friend Jake French.

For those of you who don't know Jake, he and his family were a Godsend in my life in the 8th grade. My first few years at Dufur were a challenge to say the least as I was an outsider moving in from Portland and most of the class had been together since kindergarten. I just had a tough time fitting in and never really found anybody that I clicked with. Then along came Jake; the new kid that rode dirt bikes, loved hunting and fishing and seemingly every other crazy thing I did. "Jake is fast, Seth is slow" became our mantra and will forever echo through the halls of the Dufur Middle least in our minds.

Back to today. Jake was tragically injured in an unfortunate accident last December and has spent the last 11 months rehabilitating himself with the end goal of learning to walk. Please take a second to look at this video of what Jake has been through, where he's at and his long term goals.

Today Jake has been blessed with that opportunity to visit Project Walk and begin what we hope and pray is a journey to recovery. If you know Jake you know his zest for life is extraordinary. He continues to amaze therapists and doctors wherever he goes, both with his determination to succeed, as well as his outlook on life considering the circumstances. I was blessed to get to spend Friday and Saturday with Jake and his mom Margaret. It was truly a joy to walk through the doors of Project Walk and see two familiar faces. The quote of the evening echoing our table was "I can't believe we're all in California!"

Saturday we had the opportunity to attend a Freestyle Motocross demo and suffice to say, Jake makes friends fast. :) All in all it was a great day of entertainment and hanging with great friends from back home.

Today's events include a BBQ and birthday party for BC's son. I'm heading back south to meet up with Jake and we're going to cruise up to San Juan Capistrano for a BBQ and soccer game. Thanks again to all for your prayer and support. Each day is something new, and something different. I think I'm going to be able to start riding this week as well so I'll let you all know how that goes.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Vegas Baby

Once upon a time, I conquered the back flip on a trampoline. Some years later I witnessed my first motorcycle back flip and was truly amazed. Today I watched Caleb Moore pull back flip after back flip on an ATV and only one word came to mind; burly. What’s more is after a few attempts he started throwing flip variations. For those non-motocross readers, a variation means pulling an additional trick while in the midst of a back flip.

This is the adventure of a lifetime. I find myself saying that at least 10 times a day. This week’s excursion has been a trip to Las Vegas for the Kicker Big Air Bash at the Palms Hotel and Casino. I can’t believe I almost passed on this opportunity. The riders I’m with are part of the freestyle show and I came along for the experience as well as an opportunity to get some footage. I’d love to post some photos from the trip but if you read my last post you know why I haven’t.

Setup and practice are over with and I’ve now retreated to the sixth floor of the Palms Place Hotel, in quite possibly the most luxurious pool/lounge area I’ve ever witnessed. I am truly blessed and at the same time amazed at how out of place I am.

Three weeks ago I was “stuck” in a place I did not wish to be. Dufur was good to me for many years and will ALWAYS be home. I’m so thankful for all of the people that have poured into my life and encouraged me in my pursuit of this dream, I just felt it was weighing me down. I have no doubt that my 17 months there after graduating was a necessary season that God allowed both for personal growth and to deepen my faith. By no means do I have it figured out, but I can honestly say that the difficulties and hardships of the past year are beginning to pay off. I’m not where I want to be in terms of status (that sounds bad but it's the best fit) comfort or any number of other factors, but I’m certainly in the location and with the people that can help me reach most of those goals.

This has been the most eye opening experience of my life. I understand what so many have said about living in a bubble. Its safe to say my bubble has burst and I’m catching up on all the things I never saw or experienced before hand. Not that I’m doing things I shouldn't (that's for you mom) but mostly that I’m seeing what the real world is like for the first time. It's quite the experience.

I guess that’s all for now. Its nearing show time so I had better resume my post with my trusty video camera, ever ready to capture whatever chaos the night may bring. It's sure to be exciting and if I can figure out how, I’ll post some video from the event on here.