It’s Been a LONG Time!
Well, it looks like I haven’t written anything here since April 10, 2013! That’s 4 years, 3 months and 11 days ago today. It’s crazy to think about because honestly blogging is something I really enjoy and I generally create time for if I can. A lot has happened in that time, so I guess I need to catch you up on some history. There is nothing worse than reading someone’s older posts and thinking: “Wait a second… what happened here?” This is a personal blog after all and with that comes a few small details of my life occasionally that are generally there to help you better understand my thought process. So… without any unnecessary drama, I’ll briefly fill you in on the history of this blog and last 4 years.
My blogs – A brief History
I started blogging on WordPress.com in mid-2006 as Brad Trnavsky Sales and Management Blogger. This blog started out as a way for me to share some ideas and just connect with others and learn. It didn’t stay that way for long though. I saw some fairly rapid success on that blog, met some great people there, and ultimately it lead to the Sales Management 2.0 blog (You can find some of the archives of both of these blogs in the Business tab of this site) and eventually a podcast and social network under the same name. The social network was a lot of work that despite being cool and fun didn’t provide many benefits financially or socially that I was not already getting in other places. After about 2 years I decided to focus on my core brand and shut it down to focus on blogging, podcasting, and doing some coaching and consulting. I met some great guys during this time many of whom I’m still friends with today. Honestly, a bit of the reason I relaunched this blog is to go back to those roots and start sharing some thoughts on leadership, management, sales, marketing, etc. and hopefully reconnect with some old friends.
My blogging didn’t stop there though. In April of 2011, I got the bug to get competitive again and I started obstacle and endurance racing. I started another blog called Running for 365 Days because I wanted to learn and share information with others. For me, blogging and learning go hand in hand because I do a tremendous amount of research when I write. This blog was basically a workout journal but I also shared products I liked, recipes, and other information related to running, fitness, and Paleo eating. I really enjoyed writing this blog and made some great friends and connections. Unfortunately, my career got a little crazy and it was unsustainable for me to continue writing every day so I ended up pausing that project in January of 2013. Fortunately, the archives of this blog are still available under the Fitness tab on this blog as well.
In the Summer of 2012, I started Just My Life in Words as a fun place to share random things and blog about whatever I wanted to say without the confines of a more topical blog. I had a lot of fun with this, but by April of 2013 things were just too crazy in my career and personal life to continue blogging. With the intention of returning to blogging again at some point, I consolidated my sites and set up re-directs for my other blogs to pull all of my content to Just My Life in Words where it would be easier to keep up on autopilot.
So… What happened? Why did I stop?
Ok, enough about the history of the blog… What the heck have I been doing for 4 years? Well, it’s tricky to talk about without hurting anyone’s feelings or “oversharing” so I’m going to give the highlights. I said earlier there was some “drama” in my life that made blogging difficult and that is very true. It all started with my (now Ex) wife having what she calls an “emotional affair” (Is that actually a thing?) with two different people in two years. This really hurt me deeply on many levels. I’m sure I didn’t respond in the best possible way at the moment because I was upset, but I tried diligently to fix things with her. I spent a lot of time in prayer, focusing on self-improvement, and reading things I thought would help me to get over it. I’m not sure I ever truly got over it though. I was, however, able to forgive her and move forward eventually.
About this same time, I also started a new job at DeVry University so the combination of emotional drama and a new job positioned me in a tough spot to do anything extra. That meant that running, blogging, coaching, and consulting all fell by the wayside while I focused on my marriage and career. In June of 2013 I found out my new job (a little over a year) at DeVry was going away because they were shutting down three locations in my state and mine was one of them. I was offered an opportunity to work at the Seattle location or take a severance.
We moved to Texas
I have always believed that God makes you take some small test of faith before he blesses you. I also believe that everything that happens to you happens for a reason even if it isn’t evident to you at the moment. With that in mind, I prayed a few days and decided that my best option was to take the severance and trust that the job I was supposed to have would somehow find me. The DAY AFTER I told DeVry I was going to take that severance I got a random call from a head hunter about a job in Texas. He asked me if that was someplace I was interested in going, and I told him it was. I also said that it was funny he called because my Dad was in Texas right now looking at houses and seriously considering moving there. He laughs and asked, “Where?” I told him somewhere in the Piney Woods. His answer shocked me when he laughed and said, “That’s funny because of this job is in the Piney Woods!” Knowing nothing else I scheduled a phone interview later that day and two weeks later I was in Texas house hunting with my (ex) wife. I worked nearly a year at Vista College before I decided I needed to spend more time with my family and made a radical change in careers to teaching and coaching (football, Basketball, and Track).
More career changes and drama
I taught and coached (Football, Basketball, and Track) for three years, expecting things to get better (It did for my relationship with my girls). What I didn’t expect was, somehow, my sudden increased presence in the home had made things far worse. A tension I thought was gone had returned full force. Eventually, I started noticing a weird vibe with my ex and another guy. I just wasn’t comfortable with their relationship. I approached her about it, but she insisted there was nothing to worry about. Trying to trust her I “ignored it” to some extent but kept a careful eye on that situation. We had several other conversations, but she insisted nothing was going on. In the winter of 15/16 though, my neighbour told me there was a guy coming to my house every day after I left for work and that they were pretty sure what was going on based off careful observation and conversation. I confronted her and calmly said “look, I know what’s going on, I’ve been through a lot, and I don’t know if I can get over this. If I can’t this is what I want/need.” She vowed to try to fix things again, but there was not a substantial change in behaviour that I could see. I knew in a few weeks it was over and started mentally preparing for what was to come. We basically lived like roommates for MONTHS before she took a long vacation with the girls and finally moved out. We filed for divorce, and somewhere in the middle of all that I started powerlifting as a way to reduce my stress and ended up losing about 50 pounds that I firmly believe were gained primarily, because of stress and unhappiness. Through the divorce process, I was blessed by getting custody of my beautiful girls and we really had a blast all summer just playing and doing fun stuff together. It was a tough period in my life, but surprisingly I was truly happy for the first time in a very long time.
A fresh start
I really didn’t take all that long to start casually “dating”. I think this is at least partly because I had already been processing what was happening for about 6 months and by this point was just happy to be moving on with life. I really wasn’t looking for a serious girlfriend (I found one though). What I wanted was a break from day-to-day life and an opportunity to get out by myself and do something fun like catch a movie or go mini golfing with another adult. In mid-July, I met a girl I really liked and by August she was really the only person I wanted to see. We went on a joint family vacation (separate hotel rooms because we are good kids) in August and I (accidentally) got my first taste of what a BIG family could be like (really kind of fun). I had a bit of an unexpected mental gear shift on that trip and started asking myself if this was a girl I could spend forever with (not that I told her that yet).
Football season was pretty rough as a single dad, but Shawna was really good to me and took care of my girls every Thursday and Friday night all season long. This was a blessing because I’d only known her about 6 weeks and I wasn’t getting home from work until close to 10 pm for Thursday games and about 1 AM after Friday games. She really impressed me during this time with her faith in God, a strong sense of morals, honesty, loyalty, and willingness to help me. I was also fairly certain she is one of the most beautiful people I’d ever met.
I got Married (again)
By mid-fall, we were seriously talking about marriage but keeping it on the down low because of a number of issues. We considered eloping for a while because we were in love and thought that would be fun, (we are both rule followers) but eventually decided against it (sadly we are rule followers) because we knew with 5 kids there was a lot for them to process and our parents would want to be involved as well.
In February of 17 though we got married and it was beautiful. Truly beautiful in a way I can’t accurately describe. Not because we spent a lot of money (we didn’t) or because of the venue (a barn). It was just beautiful to me. The pastor was fantastic and this ceremony affected me in a very different way than my first marriage. Shawna was beautiful and she surprised me by walking down the aisle singing to me. It was honestly one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen (I love her voice) and I tear up a little now just thinking about it. We had a lot of well thought out symbolism that included our kids in what I think were some fairly unique ways and I surprised everyone with a small butterfly release at the end (Shawna and I both have a thing for butterflies and they are symbolic as well).
The girls and I moved in with Shawna and her 3 kids the next week. It was a bit rough at first, but we all slowly adjusted (honestly, we are still adjusting to some degree). After 3 or 4 months of living like that, we decided our house was way too small and we opted to look for a different place to live. In a rush, we placed offers on a few places and nearly bought two, but I’m glad we didn’t because God truly blessed us with the home we eventually found.
We bought a new house
Shawna saw an estate sale around the corner from where she works and called me at work to tell me I needed to go to this address as soon as I got off. I agreed to, and I saw what I thought was a weird house that was full of REALLY cool stuff. There were a lot of things that looked like they came right out of my great grandmother’s house, and we bought several items that day. Shawna told me the house had gone on the market THAT DAY and told me the price. I said, “We need to make an offer.” Fortunately, she was already on that page. We placed a full price offer that was accepted later that weekend. It was still a rough process though because now that I was married again I had decided that I needed to get a regular job and transitioned back to “normal” work at a full-service marketing and advertising agency. I did this because I would have a more family friendly schedule and get paid a bit more with a substantially better long-term upside. It was tough, but Shawna and I with a great deal of patience and a lot of prayer and help from God pushed the deal forward and we ended up with a beautiful home that we are now in the middle of renovating for less cost than the house we were living in. That’s right we got more space for less money. How often does that happen? I feel truly blessed by our home.
Life is good
Things are settling down a little now. We have a house that fits, I have a fantastic job, kids all seem to be doing great, and Shawna and I are on a healthy eating path. Life is good and with that comes the free time I need to be a bit of a writer again… so here I am. I’ll be writing about some of the things I did before but as I’ve grown in my faith I’ve decided I need to let that come out here a bit more than I have, so you will see a bit more of my personal life and my thoughts on faith, love, and parenting, as well as the business, leadership, and fitness content I have done in the past. I hope this helps and that you now have a good sense of what’s been going on and why
I write some of what I write. Hopefully, I didn’t offend anyone too deeply here or share something that hurts anyone in my personal life, but sometimes you just have to put things out there. I make no excuses or apologies for what’s happened none of it can be undone. I am exactly where God wants me now doing exactly what I feel lead to do, and when I do that, good things happen. I hope you enjoy my little corner of the internet.