Installment 15: New Adventure, New Opportunity

August 31, 2019

Happy Saturday afternoon VFOT fans and followers. It’s the Saturday of Labor Day Weekend. We’ve got family coming to stay with us tomorrow, so I need to get a little ahead and hammer this blog out early, since I probably won’t have any alone time tomorrow afternoon.

I’ve had a bunch of early morning departures and travel during the past couple of weeks, so I haven’t been rigid in my pro-reading. I’m still working my way through Duckworth’s Grit. I’m persevering through this book on perseverance.

The Gospel of Matthew and Whitman remain the conclusion of my pro-reading.

Other Reading
I took 12 Strong on my trip, so I’m still hammering through that. Lethal Force and the Objectively Reasonable Officer is still in the rotation, and I’m getting a lot out of it. Ironically, I took delivery today of an equipment shipment from Crate Club and it contained Murphy’s Law by Jack Murphy (Murphy, Jack. (2019). Murphy’s Law. New York, NY: Threshold Editions.) I just cracked the 1st chapter, but this one seems pretty cool. The cover teaser reads, “My journey from Army Ranger and Green Beret to Investigative Journalist.” I’m looking forward to it.

Other Learning Opportunities
I instructed a couple of more sections of CRASE (Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events) last week and attended the Adjunct Faculty Orientation for my upcoming semester as a professor for another college leadership course.

Last Sunday, I left for what may be the greatest learning opportunity that I’ve seized lately. First thing in the morning, I took off on a 6 ½ hour road trip north, into the foothills of Maine, to attend the Origin Immersion Camp to train Jiu-Jitsu for 2 ½ days. It was amazing. I’m not going to describe it in too much detail here, because I did that in a separate blog on my jiu-jitsu page and you can find it here.IMG_0063

While I was away, I got word that I had been accepted into my Grad School program. So, I guess I’ll be starting school again in a couple of weeks.

The Saturday before my road trip, we had an amazing date night out at Rouge. C and I love it there and it was a beautiful night out.

The next morning, I left on my road trip. The drive was amazing, and I made time to stop and view the scenery in Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. When I arrived at Camp Laurel, on Echo Lake in Mt. Vernon, ME, I was overwhelmed. The Camp setting was unbelievable. It was gorgeous. Within this beautiful setting, I got to participate in 2 ½ days of world class jiu-jitsu training. I’m so grateful for this opportunity. In between training sessions, I got to swim, sunbathe, read, and indulge in a traditional Maine Lobster Bake. It was a memorable trip. I’m blessed.

This has been a pretty eventful couple of weeks, so that’s probably enough for now. Until next time…

Be Safe, Keep the Faith, Do Good Work, 1*

Installment 14: New Adventure, New Opportunity

No time to read….check out the video excerpt here…
Don’t forget to follow the links and check out the places we’ve visited

August 18, 2019

Happy Sunday afternoon VFOT fans and followers. August is half-over, and the summer is coming into the home stretch. The summer has remained busy and there’s still been a lot going on, so let’s get straight into it.

Professional reading is still Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, by Angela Duckworth (Duckworth, Angela. (2016). Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance. New York, NY: Simon and Shuster.) I’m well into it now but haven’t made as much progress as I’d have liked. I’ve had several days in the past couple of weeks that required me to be out the door earlier than usual, so my pro-reading suffered. I need to catch up. Although I’m not as far along as I’d like, I am really enjoying this book. The impact that perseverance has on outcomes is compelling. More to come on this when I finish it.

I completed the Old Testament and moved on to the Gospel of Matthew. Whitman continues to round out my daily reading.

Other Reading
Lethal Force and the Objectively Reasonable Officer is still on top of the secondary reading list. I also blew through Nighthawk by Clive Cussler as a recreational read (Cussler, Clive. (2017) Nighthawk. New York, NY: G.P. Putnam’s Sons.) When I finished that, I decided to re-visit 12 Strong: The Declassified True Story of the Horse Soldiers. (Stanton, Doug. (2017) 12 Strong: The Declassified True Story of the Horse Soldiers. New York, NY: Scribner.) I’ve read this one before, but it’s an amazing read, so I had no reservations about picking it up again. If you’re not familiar, 12 Strong is the true story of the United States Army Special Forces soldiers (Green Berets) who were first on the ground in Afghanistan, following the attacks of September 11, 2001 and details how they fought on horseback, alongside Afghani indigenous forces against the Taliban. It’s a fascinating military history. Highly recommended. If you don’t want to read it, check out the movie.

Other Learning Opportunities
I had a really good, personal development coaching session during the first week. That process is going very well, but it has taken me in a completely unanticipated direction.

On top of the coaching process, I had a couple of other good learning and teaching opportunities. The first was that I got to introduce the first Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events (CRASE) classes to the non-pubic safety City employees. That was well received.
The other opportunity was to cover a couple of youth classes and a fundamentals class at the dojo, because Professor Mark and Professor Connie were traveling. I’m always grateful for the opportunity to step up and grow as an instructor.

The last couple of weekends were family focused. As I stated in the last installment, that weekend my brother-in-law was visiting. We had a lot of fun with him. That Monday afternoon, he and C stopped by the Common to check out our annual Cones With a Cop event. That evening, we were at Tanglewood for an evening concert by Train and the Goo-Goo Dolls.img_9896

Last weekend, we hosted C’s cousin and his wife. We had a blast with them as well. Saturday was another visit to Balderdash Cellars, followed by dinner out at Flavours.

s. After that, it was a fun night filled with music and merriment at home. Sunday was a late start, followed by a beautiful hike with the dogs at Olivia’s Overlook. We followed up the hike with a late lunch at The Roasted Garlic.

Other than the weekend, we had a couple of good date nights. The first Wednesday was dinner at The Proprietor’s Lodge. Dessert there was DECADENT! 1355f73b-d7d3-4b83-b4ee-bdb164090003

This week, we head north for date night. We started with an early dinner at Coyote Flaco, then headed into Billsville for a performance at the Williamstown Theater Festival. The show was the Community Works production of an original musical, The Summer Soldier. It was amazing.img_9919

I managed to get a lot of jiu-jitsu in over the last 2 weeks and I’m grateful for that.img_9910

That’s probably enough for now. Until next time…

Be Safe, Keep the Faith, Do Good Work, 1*


Installment 13: New Adventure, New Opportunity

August 4, 2019  

Happy Sunday afternoon VFOT fans and followers. It’s the first weekend of August and the summer has been flying by. The last couple of weeks have been extremely busy and there’s a lot going on, so let’s get right to it.   

This is Installment 13 of this new project, which means that with this entry, I’ve been at this for ½ of a year. I guess that means that I’m in it now.   


My current pro-reading is Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, by Angela Duckworth (Duckworth, Angela. (2016). Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance. New York, NY: Simon and Shuster.)  This one was another recommendation from my bride. I’m about a third of the way through it, and I’m really enjoying it so far. Duckworth is a psychology professor and her area of focus and research is the value of what she calls “grit.” Grit, essentially is the combination of passion and perseverance. Her premise is that when it comes to success, grit is more important than raw talent. Through extensive research, she has found this to be the case in athletics, music, academics, and work. The book is fascinating and I’m looking forward to finishing it.   


Other Reading 

In my secondary reading, I’ve got a few books in the rotation. I’m still working my way through Lethal Force and the Objectively Reasonable Officer.  I also flew through The Trident, by Jason Redman with John R. Bruning. (Redman, Jason and Bruning, John, R. (2013). The Trident. New York, NY: Harper Collins.)  This was not an easy read, but I do recommend it. The Trident is not the typical “I was there and this is what I learned” military biography. Lt. Redman’s path was difficult, often as a result of his own actions and decisions. His journey of struggle, failure, and eventual redemption is a little frightening at times. However, in the end, he persevered and achieved great success. I think Professor Duckworth might find him and interesting study in grit. Like I said, this was tough, but still recommended.   img_9853

On top of those, I’ve got a new Clive Cussler novel going. Sometimes, I just need something a little more mindless and distracting.  

Other Learning Opportunities 

In other learning, I’m a few weeks into a new round of personal development and executive coaching. This is going really well. I’ve completed a priority map for the next several years and am working on some new habits around time management and maximizing effectiveness. I’m happy that I decided to do this again.  

The big news, however, is that I’ve applied to grad school. My lovely bride, C, is just finishing the course work for her EdD, and will be starting her dissertation in the fall. After some discussion and a lot of deliberation, she convinced me that I should look into the program as well. I submitted my application to the program last week and am waiting to see if I’m accepted. This is going to be a several year commitment, as I’ll only be taking one course at a time. If I’m accepted, I’m sure that you’ll be reading a lot about it here.   


Of course, there has been a lot of fun. Afterall, it’s summer in the Berkshires. After posting Installment 12, C and I actually went to the movies. It was a hot Sunday afternoon, so what better place to be then in a darkened, air-conditioned movie theater. We went to see the new Lion King. I liked it, but I feel bad for our cat, who had to participate in C’s reenactment of the “presentation of Simba” scene.   

Last week’s date night was spectacular. C suggested that instead of going out to eat like we normally do, that we grab picnic stuff and go for a hike. So, we hit the market, grabbed stuff for a light dinner, then headed to Kennedy Park. We hiked to the gazebo to eat, then continued on to the scenic overlook, then hiked out just in time for sunset. It was awesome.   

Last weekend, I spent Saturday evening and Sunday morning as the overnight staff at this year’s Youth Leadership Program kickoff retreat. Bright, young, future leaders with high energy are always good to recharge my batteries and sharpen the saw. It was a nice break.   

We’ve had a couple of great dinner dates with local friends in the past week. This weekend my brother-in-law is visiting, so we’re having fun with him. Yesterday, it was wine and spectacular views at Balderdash Cellars. Today it was a leisurely hike in Kennedy Park, followed by a nice drive up to North County and a late lunch at the Purple Pub. Tomorrow evening will be an outdoor concert at Tanglewood  

As I stated earlier, it’s been a busy couple of weeks and there’s been a lot going on, but that’s probably enough for now. So, until next time……  

Be Safe, Keep the Faith, Do Good Work, 1*