Driving, a time for reflection…

4 11 2018

I am traveling today to complete an “active shooter instructor” training in Springfield, Mo. I flew into St. Louis, Mo this morning and had to rent a car and drive 3+ hours to get to Springfield. Driving for me, gives me time to “mull over” things that are bothering me, ponder my next business move, think about the things that I am grateful for, and to just generally, “unplug” and enjoy the day.

At some point, in some unknown city, I pulled off looking for DQ (so much for my diet this trip). Never found it, but I happened into the local Wally world to get a couple things that I would need over the next couple of days. While “taking a break” in the men’s room there was a guy who was leaving a rather stiff message to his ex-wife (or soon to be ex)

about her taking pics at his house to prove that he has a girlfriend. Odd place to be having that conversation with her voicemail, but, none the less. He had just hung up as I was washing my hands and I felt the strong urge to simply give him some advice that was very costly for me. I told him that as a mediator for divorces, the best advice I could give was to be the “bigger parent” and don’t engage with the other side. I could see that the attitude on his face changed just a little as he realized what I was getting at. Be the best parent for your child(ren) and she can’t fight with you if you don’t argue back. Eventually, she goes away. The judge will see things for what they are. Another guy chimed in and said, “Let her be stupid and crazy, but don’t fight”. I wished him luck and went back to the car for the remaining 70 or so miles of my trip.

I spent the last hour of the trip wondering if the advice that I gave him would help, simply because, been there, done that… There is LOTS of craziness that happens in our lives and if we as men, can’t help strangers, then what is our role in society? Women have the “Sisterhood”, what do we have? Advice from personal experience, very expensive, personal experience.

I felt good about the interaction. I never got his name and will never know how things eventually turn out, but I would hope that it opened his eyes just a little to see that the most important thing are his kids. I told him that the judge would see that you were the better parent, at least making the better attempt, and to document with video anything crazy that happened in the event you needed it. But overall, just don’t engage, regardless of what happens, simply don’t engage.

A very good friend (Michael Ray King) gave me that advice many years ago, and it worked so well, just as he said it would. At first, I tried it my way attempting to prove that I was right and she was wrong. That option was very expensive and accomplished nothing. Then I tried Mike’s advice to not engage, and eventually she went away. It has been years now, and I have only heard from her a few times and have no idea what she has wanted each time she has contacted me, because I don’t care and never responded.

Do something nice for others, help a friend or stranger in the next couple of days or week if you get the opportunity. Simply the feeling is worth the effort.

Be True To Yourself.

Everyday is a new “opportunity”…

24 08 2018

Greetings all;

Some of you know that I have enrolled in the “Public Administration” program at Flagler College. I started classes Monday this week (2 days a week for the next 5 semesters). I feel that I am a square peg in a “round hole”…

It has been a LONG, LONG time since I have “worked” for an agency or company, and the group attitude in my classes and thinking of the program is NOT one that I am used to. However, I am going to make the most of this opportunity and do my very best to “sand off the edges of my square peg, so that I fit better into the round hole”.

Maybe I have a 180 degree different viewpoint from those currently in the program and I don’t see things the same way. Because I have worked for myself and “built an empire” from the blood & sweat of my own 2 hands” for so many years, I see things differently.

If you are the person who sets the alarm in the morning and have to report somewhere by a specific time for work, I applaud you for your effort doing that day in and day out for all those years. That has never really been my “thing”. I will do it if the need arises, but by and large, I have tried to not sell my “time for money” and have gone from one project to another ensuring there was enough “profit” to skim off what I need to pay the bills in the process. To this point, it has not always worked for those around me, but it seems that it has been working for me. I have tried to not  just “tread water” but I have attempted to go above and beyond to build something for the future and work extra hard to provide for “the family” realizing that some day this horse will not be able to “run the track” and will need to take a break and “retire”…

I look at each day, as an opportunity to accomplish several things:

  1. To help someone who may need it
  2. To make the most of the time we are gifted
  3. To find joy and/or happiness for myself and my loved ones
  4. To make something or have a thoughtful conversation about a topic of interest
  5. To always be learning

I do not always accomplish each of these goals everyday, but most days I do. I am finding that when I want to get something done, I am constantly running into roadblocks that attempt to prevent me from attaining my goals. This leads to frustration most days. So I am learning to deal with my frustration in a healthy way.

Let’s call it ‘gasp’ maturing..

(for those who know me, insert your chuckle “here”).

Have a great day all!


It has been a while…

2 05 2018

Hello all;

It has been some time since I posted to this page. Not for not wanting too, simply because I have been REALLY busy. I have been attempting to finish my bachelors’ degree and had to take some “clean up” classes at DSC before moving schools for the Bachelors’ program. Why you would have to take a math class for “polygons” and figuring voting systems is absolutely ridiculous! Waste of time and money… and frankly, since I have not used that type of math to age 49 in my life, I doubt that I am EVER going to use it… I digress.

So I had a project in one of my classes to create a “radio commercial” and I had a bit of creative genius.. Thought I would put it up on the YouTube for you to check out. ENJOY!

What is important to you in life?

9 02 2018

Today, through a random happenstance, I realized what is “really” important to me.

You see, before Michelle & I got married, I jokingly told her to “hang on, it was going to be a HELL of a ride”! I have proven to ring true on that promise…

Fast forward to today, February 9th, 2018. Most who know me, have heard me speak of a little town in Western N. Carolina named Sylva. We (really meaning me) have been looking for a little cabin/house that we could fix, and spend some time in the summer up there, relaxing, fishing, antiquing, and just enjoying life a little, away from the overwhelming summer heat.

I found, negotiated, and signed a purchase contract for a 3+ acre property (2 lots) at the top of a mountain, with a small 2 room log cabin. The cabin, was a little “rustic”… it needed some work, but nothing that I could not accomplish with a little dedication and time. We came up today 8+ hours driving to see the cabin in person. Although the cabin was certainly something that I very well could fix, it was on the side of the mountain. It had no power, no septic, no running water (was supposed to have a spring, but not that I could see. Problem was, there was only ONE, ONE flat spot on the property and it was where the jeep parked. Just wide enough for 2 vehicles, with just a little space to try to turn around (because you did NOT want to go off the edge of the mountain.

I am a “flatlander”, I have lived in Florida all my life and I am a little out of my element when it comes to hills, mountains, or elevated land. SOOOOOOO, I attempt to turn the jeep around and the snow had just melted, the area had recently gotten rain, the jeeps tires were not new, but not slick either, and the ground was a little muddy. (Do you see where this is going yet?) I was working on a “97 point turn” and the jeep hit a few rocks that pinned it between the steep edge of the mountain, and the mud, with about 4″ to spare. NOT QUITE turned around enough, and pinned in. Having a winch would have been helpful. Michelle WAS FREAKING OUT, almost hysterical! Thinking that I am going to drive, slip, slide, or inch my way way off the cliff.

Fortunately, I am smart enough, to know when I am in over my head. A call to the local towing company to send help. 45 minutes later a 4×4 jeep with a winch speeds up the hill, gets behind us and winches us back safely to the point that we could drive out of the property in one piece.

It was at that moment when the tow guy “Mike” was winching me out, that I realized that my wife, Michelle is the one piece of the puzzle that glues the craziness of my life together. I have done some stupid things in my life, but fortunately she is in the back of my mind with the thought of “here hold my beer” comes into my head. I love her with all my heart, and am VERY, VERY lucky that I found her. One of us has to be the level headed one.

After decompressing, having a little lunch, talking it out 3 or 4 times and letting it settle in that I am not really as smart as I like to believe, we have decided that I am going to narrow the search to something “in town”, a property that already has the septic, power, and running water, something that needs a little work, but not A LOT of work. Still somewhere in the same area, just not up the side of a mountain!

Total cost of today’s education? $189 for the tow company, $30 for lunch, and $65 in the wine shop for alcohol = $284. But as I told Michelle, it was cheaper than a funeral!

-Be safe, and remember nothing good happens after the phrase “here, hold my beer”!


Through a Track of Time…

16 08 2017

It is funny how things happen. Yesterday I posted about getting a new motorcycle. Today, facebook sent me a message to re-share a memory that I had posted 5 years ago. It was of me on the black Honda Shadow that I posted in yesterday’s post. TOTALLY not planned, but how weird.


Top: 2012 first day with bike Bottom: 5 years later, new bike same guy!

With the help of my OH-SO-AWESOME wife Michelle, she took a picture this morning of me in the exact same place, on the new bike that I was 5 years ago when the first picture was taken. I even tried to find the same shirt, which I think has been shredded and used for rags in one form or another. She even did a side-by-side setup…

The resemblance is striking. Even though I am just 5 years older, I have tried to start taking care of my health and have made a firm commitment to be “fit by 50” and losing the 50+ pounds that I have put on over the last 10 or 15 years. I may look the same, but in the last 5 years, I have learned SO MUCH… “Education is VERY expensive.”

LasVegasElvis1Stephen Woodin has a unique take on his unique life. He
is the father of 2 grown boys who have taken the "right
road". Steve is a professional trainer & mediator who 
specializes in eviction  and Family mediations. Along 
with his wife Michelle, he runs the Flagler Mediation Center 
to serve the citizens of Flagler County. He can be reached at (386) 206-2954.


Some things just make you “happy”!

15 08 2017

Call it self-centered, call it self-serving, put whatever label on it that you like. I don’t care… Life is a story that I feel a need to document.

Saturday, I purchased another motorcycle. 2 years ago, I sold my Honda Shadow 1100, it was rusted, it had LOTS of miles on it, but, IT RAN LIKE A TOP, and never, ever left me stranded. I rode in the 9/11 parade a couple of times and I regretted selling it the moment that I signed the title. Why did I sell that bike you ask, not sure really, it just seemed like the right thing to do at the time. I can tell you, it did NOT start with the statement, “Here, hold my beer”.

Over the last 2 years, I have debated on, and came close to, buying another motorcycle. I have had more motorcycles that I can recall since I was 15. I remember certain ones like the first motorcycle was a Honda 125 enduro that my Pop gave me from the back of the RV that he purchased. My ticket to freedom! I remember the Yamaha Seca 400 that my father and I bought as an insurance total and rebuilt the front end, and I remember the Suzuki bandit that a Pinellas Co Sheriff gave me a speeding “warning” ticket on just 15 minutes after I bought it from the dealer! Yes, I was speeding, but in my defense, I was passing traffic to give it a little air… That very ticket is framed and hangs in my office that I look at regularly. But, on to the latest bike purchase. Fond, fond memories.

Yes, the new bike is a Honda Shadow 1100. This one is fancy, with a Corbin seat, chrome crash bars, foot boards, wind screen, and a fancy “ghost flame” paint job! Just 8500+/- original miles and she runs like a top. She is a 2002, but has been garage kept all of her life and I bought it from the original owner. It even has a set of speakers that you plug your phone into and you can listen to Pandora or Spotify so long as you have internet data working. Unless you look really close, you cannot tell that it is 15 years old. It was a steal of a deal, and drove to Tampa to pick it up. We trailered it from downtown Tampa to Ocala, and I drove it home from there. I forgot just how much fun riding in the rain without rain gear is. For not riding a bike of any kind in over 2 years, making my first trip home in the dark AND the rain was a bit of a challenge. BUT HEY, no risk, no reward!

Now, why am I telling you all of this, that you may not care about? 1. I have not written on this blog for a while, 2. I am going to get to my point here in just a minute 3. Just because I would like for you to share my joy… or not, it’s up to you.

I just forgot my point… OH YEAH, now I remember.

There are few things in life that make one truly happy, at least me anyway
1. The unconditional love of my wife
2. The feeling of skipping the check in line while boarding the cruise ship
3. The feeling you get when you land after a GREAT flight
4. The joy I feel when you are one with the road, riding with no helmet, tackling the curves of “the loop” during a muggy day, air thick & heavy after the rain, while listening to some GREAT music by Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Lynyrd Skynyrd (Think Sweet Home Alabama, TURN IT UP!)

I know, some of you are going to tell me that I should wear a helmet, and I will tell you that you only live once, and if I die while riding a motorcycle, or flying a plane, then please understand that I am OK with that! Believe me, I will go with a smile on my face and great hair… ALWAYS looks great for the rest of the day after riding with no helmet. NOTHING wrong with that.

See you on the “flip side!”

alex17thbdayStephen Woodin has a unique take on his unique life. He
is the father of 2 grown boys who have taken the "right
road". Steve is a professional trainer & mediator who 
specializes in eviction  and Family mediations. Along 
with his wife Michelle, he runs the Flagler Mediation Center 
to serve the citizens of Flagler County. He can be reached at (386) 206-2954.

My own mortality… (read through, it is actually funny)

31 01 2017

Urn1.jpgOver the holidays, by choice, I spent alone in thought about my life and current situation. I started thinking about my father and his death. How nobody other than me took care of remains and saw to it that his last wishes were followed.

Out of curiosity, I was looking at urns for keeping ashes. I found a place that had “scratch and dent” urns and urns that could not be sold (due to some defect in manufacturing) so they were free except for shipping. SO, I bought one… Not what I would have picked had all things been the same (price) but hey, it was free except for the $30 to ship it to me…

urn2After I ordered it, I got to thinking about how that is just so “me”. Warehouse sales, garage sales, discounted store merchandise, used items, free at the curb items, that has been my life. I LOVE it. If it is old, worn, not so perfect, or a little “beat up”, that is what defines me, so this urn (which only has a couple blemishes on the outside) is so perfect for a temporary place to put my remains… As you can see, I opened it, and have it on display next to my TV for now. I may re-box it and put it in the closet for storage at some point. BUT very fitting for me…

Not at all what most people would do, but as I said, I have been doing a lot of thinking and I want to be as prepared for the end as possible, not to be a burden on anyone, since at this point, I don’t believe that I can rely on anyone to make the “arrangements”. I love michelle, but I certainly don’t want her to worry about what to do when the time comes.

There comes a time in your life, some sooner than others, where you look back in your life and then look ahead and wonder how much urn3time you have left. I will only be 48 this year but if my grandfather or my father are any indication, I only have a good 20 maybe 25 years left! Not much time if you really think about it. Step back and think about this little detail for a second and you will realize how quick life can be. Month by month, year by year, ticking by quicker than you may believe.
Make everyday count, live with no regrets, and by all means by a scratch & dent casket if you can find one! Do you REALLY care what it looks like, you will be dead!!

Until then… enjoy the ride!


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