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Monday, April 22, 2013


I have been a journal keeper all my life.

I started my first journal in 1986 after I watched a segment on a TV about some dude that had thousands of pages of journals from decades or putting daily thoughts to paper. I thought that was a swell idea. I got a notebook and started writing.

The ramblings of 13 year old now seem pretty petty and goofy.

Actually it's funny because these rambling didn't change much for a lot of years.

Even today I go back and read some of the pages and find interesting incite into who and am and how I think. Today I am thankful for all the pages that I wrote, by hand, over all those years.

One thing that I always noticed about myself in, on again off again, memoirs is that I always seem to write a lot around my birthday. For some reason I seem to be more introspective around my birthday.

My constant search for answers always gets more frustrating when I celebrate another trip around the sun.

So here I go again.

I was born 40 years ago today.

Yep, the big 4 - 0.

I think this is a pretty important day and I think I know why. The search for meaning is getting more important now because life is now getting to be in the second half.

I think I know why a lot of men have a "mid-life crisis". When we are young we keep thinking "I can do that later" or "there is still time" and we think that way because it is true. We haven't reached the turn around point yet in our 20's and 30's. Gosh I have time to do...

As we get into our late 30's and early 40's we start to realize that the years that we always thought we had in front of us are now behind us. Our bodies start to give up on us, our kids grow older, the mounting failures start to become out legacy, the "someday I will" has become "I didn't..." and we start to give up the ship as we take on more and more water; to tired to keep bailing....

The idealistic life we led when we were young fades away. The promises we made to ourselves at kids start to get broken one by one. "I'll never get divorced...I'll never declare bankruptcy...I'll never..."

We break one promise then another until there are no more left and we lift our head up at 40 and wonder "What have I done?"

So here I am at 40. I went through that period of my life. I lost a business, I lost a house, I lost a marriage....

Been there, done that, got the t-shirt.

Was that my mid-life crisis?

Or perhaps I woke up one day a few years ago and realized that my ladder was on the wrong wall and I needed to make some major changes?

The last few years there have been some struggles. I own that. I take responsibility for that. I have grown from that.

When you til a field and replant it takes time to see the fruits of your labor.

I am seeing the fruits of my labor.

The life that had fallen apart in an instant is now growing again.

It's growing back BETTER than before.

Now I have a life filled with hope and promise. I have a wife that is every bit as loving and supportive as she is stunning and beautiful. I have friends that support me through thick and thin and I am making a difference in the lives of many people.

As I turn 40 years old I look inside of me as I always do around April 22nd. I see something different this time.

I see hope.

I see a bright future. I see a connection between where I am and where I want to be. In years past it's been a search for meaning. Now I see and feel the meaning.

I feel that I have purpose and I feel like there is a reason for me being here.

Am I complete? Am I done? Absolutely not.

Am I in my second half? Time wise maybe but today I truly believe that I now have more to do and give then I have done and given in the past.

The birthdays of regrets and wonder have turned around for me. Now it's all about grateful for what I have and being eager to go get what I want.

I have done a lot in my life. I know now that there is a lot more to do. I may be 40 but I feel like I'm 20 and I am a hell of a lot more mature and smarter. I know where I am going and more importantly I know where I have been .

You think I have done a lot in my first 40 years? Wait till you see what I do next...

I can and I will. Watch me.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Run away

I went for a run today.

It wasn't a long run. It wasn't even a fast run. It was just a run. Another day of running in a life filled with many days of running. I run to think, reflect and simply BE.

I've always been a runner and I have always loved to run. At times I have been pretty good at it. There are some fast times on my score sheet. There are lot's of memories of competitions, victories and defeats.

But that is not why I run.

Being a runner is more than the thrill of victory or the agony of defeat. Sometimes it's simply a time to be who I am.

I remember when my dad was sick and I went to visit him in New England. It was the middle of the winter but I headed out the door everyday for a run. It was a time to think and reflect. Those were some amazing runs.

I too remember going for a couple of the runs when I returned home for my dad's memorial service. It was another time to be and to reflect. So many memories about my dad involved me running. Those were also some amazing runs.

Running helped me to heal way back in 1999 when my cousin Becky died. For the first time in my life I experienced the loss of a loved one. The hurt was so deep but somehow going for a run everyday helped me to heal and become whole again. Often times those runs were on the verge of tears and slow as can be but that never mattered. I was running, I was free and I was me.

The runs weren't always sad or reflective.

When I lived in Colorado I remember running to the high point on the west side of town to get the best view of the mountains when the snow first fell in the fall. I couldn't be there but at least I could see the peaks. This brought joy and peace.

When my son was little I remember some slow and exhausting runs. It always felt good to get out there and run even on just a couple of hours of sleep.

Sometimes I ran a lot. One week a few years back I decided to run 100 miles in a single week. I had to run 18 miles on a Sunday but I did it. I also remember a few years back when I run 4 miles per day for an entire year. Those miles weren't pretty but I accomplished something that was a challenging and meant something to me.

Running has always helped me to grow.

Running has, for good or for bad, defined me.

It does pain me to know that I am not fast like I used to be. I have accepted that however. I know am more appreciative of running in general and what it does for me just when I do it and not just when I am fast.

The memories of the races won are there and can never be taken from me.

The memory of the school record in the mile that stood for 18 years; it's still there.

The time that I led my team to a state title and the other time I led my team to a state title; parts of me that will never be taken away.

Crossing the finish line to hear the words, "Rick Copley YOU ARE AN IRONMAN". Words, visions and memories that can never be taken away.

Running has done a lot for me. Running has helped to mold and define me. All the runs and memories have a place in my heart and in my soul. That's pretty cool but at the end of the day, when all is quite and the reflection begins... do you know what I am most thankful for?

Tomorrow I can get up and run again and create another memory from a run....

Sunday, April 7, 2013


It's kinda hard to admit this now but it's the truth. Indeed it was a long, LONG time ago but still it was the same me in the same skin.

When I was young I fantasized about burning down churches. Maybe not CHURCHES, at least the church that I went to.

For the most part I was a relatively happy kid. I felt lonely and abandoned but I dealt with it and I learned to be a alone and find things to do. I loved being outside, watching TV, playing with friends, hanging out at my grandparents and doing models. I was an active and happy kid.

There was a dark side, however.

When my mom re-married when I was 9 she had another baby. At some point my new step-father made us go to church.

I hated it with a passion. Maybe it was my dislike for him or for the situation or my new brother or..I don't know. I just hated church.

I remember where the church was in downtown Niantic, Connecticut. I acted up. I squirmed around. It was apparent I wasn't happy. It was always the low point in my week.

That is when I dreamt about burning the church down.

We would sit in the pews and pray and sing. I remember saying to myself  "OK, God I believe now can I go home now?"...isn't it funny what a 10 year old boy thinks about in church.

Then is got dark and scary.

As my mind wandered I started to wonder what it would be like if I ripped the pages out of the bibles and the song books, crumpled them up, put them in a pile then set fire to them.

Yes, this 10 year old boy fantasized about burning down the church.

At some point we stopped going to church. i'm not sure why but thankfully we did.

I never acted on these crazy thoughts but truly me and church didn't get along.

For many, many years the only time I set foot in a church was at wedding and couple of times around the holidays.

In college I was trying to impress some girl so I went to church a couple of times and even went to a bible study once or twice. NOTHING even stuck. I was a non-believer and it appeared like I would always be that way.

Every once in a while someone would give me a bible and try to get me to do something. (Read it? I'm not sure why people gave me bibles...) I was with my first wife for 10 years and I don't think we stepped into a church more than 3 times.

Now the question has to be...why did I go to church today?

In 2010 my life fell apart in so many ways. My marriage ended and for the first time in many years I was single, broke, lonely and pretty confused. If ever I needed I big change in my life it was then.

A few months before my divorce I has left my job at the YMCA. I was in need of a place to do a fitness program. My good friend Jim Beyer introduced me to the people at Trinity Evangelical Free church in Eustis. They showed my their gymnasium and told me I could us it. Awesome. I had a place to hold my classes!

Now here is the REALLY cool part. Did they tell me I had to be a believer  Nope. Did they tell me I had to go to church? Nope. They just said, "Try to come to service every once in a while to see what it was like".

I can do that.

My wife and I actually went a couple of times and this time I didn't want to light fires and I actually felt pretty good about it.

Then my world came crumbing down.

At this point in my life I knew that there was something that I needed. I needed a place that I could go to explore whatever faith might be to me.

I started going to church along every Sunday at Trinity.

Though a failed relationship, through the death on my father, and through the courtship of Teresa I went to church.

Nobody ever judged me. Nobody every made me feel bad because I was in the back or because I didn't sing along or because my hands weren't in the air. The people at Trinity accepted me for being me.

I liked that.

On November 19th, 2011 I was fortunate enough to have my Pastor at MY CHURCH marry me to the girl of my dreams. I am proud to this very day to say that I got married at Trinity Church in Eustis by Pastor Dave.

I went to church today. I didn't go last week or the week before. I probably go twice a month on average. Not person there said anything to me. They also have never said anything to me about not going to bible study and group and my lack of volunteer work.

Truth is that is what I need from a church.

After all these years I am thankful that I found a church I can call mine. Trinity Church is MY CHURCH...

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Our Love Story

It's a story alright.

Most people don't know our story. Even the people that do know how story don't know the whole story. What is really interesting about this story is that it is not boy meets girl, fall in love...happy ever after.'s a story.

When I look back on everything I really see divine intervention  I'm not a religious guy. I go to church I am not a faithful and true believer....or at least I never was. Looking back I see that we were brought together for a reason. A REASON. We were brought together to save each other...

From my perspective it's hard to tell the story in an abstract way with places and dates. It was more about history, insecurities, needs and a will to win on my part. We didn't have a first date or a pick up line or a first time this or that. It all happened in a weird roundabout way that, looking back, seemed so hard yet now all events fit together like a perfectly assembled piece a machinery.

It all started in 2008. I didn't know Teresa then. As a matter of fact by this time she was divorced and in a long term relationship with a guy named Brent. I had been married for 8 years to Charlene. The details of end of my married are really not important. 2008 is important because this is where is began.

We tried to save a failing marriage but could not. In June of 2010 we finally gave up. I moved and began the process of re-building a life that was shattered.

I never could have imagined then how hard it would be.

By the fall of that year I thought was was getting better. A heart that had been hurting for love for some long was active again and I was, after 10 years with Charlene, learning to live without her.

Indeed I had fallen in love and fallen in love hard. I don't know why I did that but I did. Looking back it was what I thought I needed but it was the wrong. I needed to heal and grow from a broken marriage. I followed my heart and got burned.

My father passed away in and then a couple of weeks later the girl I fell for left me. It was a hard time for me.

I found myself 37 years old, alone, sad and totally broken. My dad had been my rock for so many years. Now he was gone and to add injury to injury I go hurt and I couldn't run or bike.

My son was with his mom for Christmas that year so I found myself alone and miserable over the holiday.

I joined and tried dating. After my divorce dating was fun and easy. Now it was nightmare. I didn't want to be alone and I didn't want to date around. I really needed someone....

Its funny because I found what I needed as soon as I stopped looking.

I remember going out a couple of times with a real nice lady. Then one day I got a message from her that basically said, thanks but no thanks. It was the straw that broke the camels back. I was done with dating. I needed a break.

Actually I needed a friend. Enter Autumn.

I didn't date Autumn. She because a friend who I could talk to and confide in. She was the person that would help me clear out all the hurt in my heart and learn to move on again. It's funny because I didn't know for a long time but this girl had a plan for me right from the start.

We went out to dinner one night and, as she later recalled to me, all she could think about was how I would be perfect with her best friend Teresa. She just needed a way to get us together....

There were a couple of challenges for this to happen. The biggest challenge of course was that Teresa was with someone else. Autumn knew the truth though. Teresa was desperately unhappy and she needed someone to save her.

There was something Autumn didn't know.

Secretly Teresa had a crush on me. She had this crazy notion that I wouldn't want to be with her. I know..totally nuts.

So a group of us went out together one night and it was very apparent that there were serious sparks there.

Everybody could tell there was some chemistry between us. I was ready to love and be loved again. I needed her and she needed me. Soon after her relationship with the other guy ended and we started hanging out together so see if there was fire behind the sparks.

We decided to drive to Charleston, South Carolina to do a race called the Rugged Maniac. It was her first mud run and we had an absolutely blast. During the 6 hour drive home we really go to know each other panted the seeds for out love story.

A few weeks later we decided to spend a weekend away. I asked her what her favorite place was and she said St. Augustine. Before we headed out of town I made a trip to a store so that I could do something on the trip that she NEVER expected...

17 days into our relationship I got down on one knee next to a bench, next to Castillo de San Marcos, in front of the girl of my dreams and I asked her to marry me.

To this day I make fun of her because it took her about an hour to answer...OK, I'm sure it was like 10 seconds but it seemed like an hour. The shock wore off and she said yes.

The next day on top of the light house we decided the weekend before Thanksgiving, November 19th, 2011 we would marry.

After we got married we decided that we needed to get serious about our lives and our futures. That is we we became distributors for Advocare. Together we have been building a business and a legacy each and every day. TOGETHER is the optimal word...

Until I met Teresa I never imagined that such a beautiful girl would enter my life. She appeared just when I needed her and just when I was about to give up hope. She has helped me to find myself and to grow and become more. I was there for her when she needed me and she has grown and become more as well.

I am so proud of her and I am so proud to be with her.

Our story is about a broken road. Our story is about finding answers to unasked questions. Our story is about becoming more and learning to grow.

With all that we have become I know there is so much more to do. I know that we will grow more and we will become GREATER each and every day. The journey...has just begun.