Monday, October 31, 2022


It was one of our largest retreats ever, and it turned out phenomenally! We had all types of hurdles this month (short staffed, parents' health, personal exhaustion, unexpected rain that caused major delays, lost a driver which meant we couldn't take one of our trucks & one of our trailers with tons of gear to take up, last minute cancellations, & more hurdles). BUT, we had some amazing volunteers that stepped up like you couldn't believe including 1 volunteer (who wants no recognition) who put in over 60 hours last week to fill in the gaps, and another family that adopted this trip like a family service project, and my amazing sister who cared for our parents and her son to give me every minute possible to run around like a crazy man to prepare for this event. I knew it would turn out great because that's what God does on these events, but I also knew it was going to be an excruciating journey for me personally to get everything done... sort of like (in a very incomparable way) the example Jesus set by personally traveling the harsh road of the cross to make it to Golgotha for the great benefit of the many... the lesson there is that many times in leadership (and parenting) someone has to bear the brunt of the suffering (carrying the load of harsh, demanding, exhausting, excruciating, & stressful responsibilities) so that a great event can take place... whether it's preparing for a wedding, a Sunday church service, a Christmas play, a mission trip, a concert, a family reunion, or any big event there is usual one person who has to "take one for the team" so that the event takes place. There's no escaping it. It's the inescapable part of planning any group event. There are so many moving parts and so many things that can go wrong, and someone has to carry that load more than anyone else. It's a pressure cooker even if for Jesus. He sweat blood in agonizing prayer leading up to the greatest group event in the history of mankind - and He is Jesus! Or how about the Apostle Paul who said, "Besides everything else [beatings, persecution, dangers, hunger, no sleep, & much more], I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches." Leading anything is inherently stress inducing. I is just a man trying to plan God-awesome adventures. This was an excruciating week on top of a couple excruciating years, but still we press on. All that to say that our fantastic hard working volunteers, staff, and our amazing God took an agonizing journey of preparation and turned it into a phenomenal unforgettable weekend of celebration & joy. It was all worth it! All the "blood, sweat, and tears" was worth it! Families bonded together deeply. People grew closer to Jesus. Kids had some of the best days of their life without thinking they needed to take drugs, get drunk, have sex, or need technology. People made new friends. Some people told me it was a life changing weekend. And countless other moments of great value took place. Today we wake up very tired and somewhat worn out, but it's a good tired and a good worn out... the kind that comes with the great satisfaction of knowing God used every inch of the harsh journey for something of great value. We had a phenomenal retreat - ALL GLORY TO GOD and all kudos to all the hard workers! And thank you to all our supporters that make these events possible! More pics & vids to come including a 100 ft slip'n slide!!! And now there is no time to rest... right back to grind of life and this current journey. Back to work!

Tuesday, October 18, 2022


We are thrilled to announce that our Annual Banquet has a new venue at the Pinellas Park Performing Arts Center (practically right in our own backyard)! Our former venue no longer allows easy access to outside catering and there was no way that we were going to part ways with Carrabba's Italian Grill who we have partnered with for 15 years. We love that Chicken Marsala way too much!!
To make this switch we had to push back our Annual Banquet two weeks to Nov 29th (that falls on a Tuesday night).
I'm personally thrilled about the location of our new venue because I love the great city of Pinellas Park! I got saved at First Baptist of Pinellas Park. I went to Middle School in Pinellas Park. My Dad worked for 22 years for the City of Pinellas Park. My Sister lives in Pinellas Park. I've lived in Pinellas Park for 16 years. I bought my first home 4 years ago in Pinellas Park. And GTD is headquartered in Pinellas Park! Pinellas Park has been vital part of my life, my family's life, and the life of GTD. It's only fitting that we hold our most important event of the year in Pinellas Park! It's like everything has come full circle. 
We hope you will join us at our fun, festive, & delicious Annual Banquet scheduled for Nov 29th at the Pinellas Park Performing Arts Center catered by Carrabba's as we celebrate 26 years of ministry and raise funds to run into our 27th year!!

Monday, October 17, 2022


We are on Day 17 of Dad not being able to walk. Please keep him in your prayers. During Hurricane Ian his power went out so he went outside to start his generator when he tripped over some sandbags and injured his already fragile knees. Since then his legs and feet ballooned up with swelling and he has been in severe pain. He is staying at my Sister's house and has been laying on a recliner for over 2 weeks. Moving him is a pretty big challenge so he uses a portable urinal to minimize trips to the bathroom (he is on lasix). We have taken him to the ER, to doctor's appointments, and to get a CT scan. His doctor thinks he will be able to get a knee replacement in the next 4 weeks. That's a short time in the surgery scheduling world, but an agonizingly long time in the enduring pain & immobility world. It's all complicated by his kidney disease and heart disease because he is so limited on the types of pain medicine he is able to take and some meds like a cortisone shot would actually cause a couple month delay for the surgery. On top of the current knee issues he still has his other health challenges that I just mentioned that still require regular doctor's appointments and daily attention. So except for going to the bathroom or doctor's appointments he stays in a very comfortable recliner at Traci & Dave's house all day & night. He probably averages 20 hours a day in the recliner and we all take turns caring for him (helping him eat, drink, take his meds, empty his urinals, scheduling doctors appointments, change his clothes, shave him, move him to his rolling walker, showers, etc, etc). Traci & Dave did an amazing job while Carson & I were in TN. Now we are back and have been able to help for the past week. Laurie is a big help as usual, and his neighbors Tom & Cindy continue to be incredibly helpful. Mom is in a fantastic longterm memory facility called Seasons that is taking great care of her, except she continues to fall out of her wheelchair every few days and sometimes it requires her to go to the ER. Seasons isn't a skilled nursing facility so nursing isn't their specialty, but they pour out tons of love, enthusiasm, and nonstop activities for the residents so Mom's mental & emotional needs are being well cared for. In fact, to our pleasant surprise she loves it there... especially since they give her ice cream almost daily haha. We went about 2 months when we didn't have a medical crisis, and it was a very welcome reprieve as my Sister and I hit rock bottom back around May. We are beyond exhausted much of the time. I was very surprised how resilient I was during that 2 month reprieve. I thought it would take me years to recover. To my surprise I was bouncing back to more of my normal self and energy level in a matter of days. I'm very thankful to God for that. The amount of things and correspondence that I'm way behind on is very discouraging. Thankfully, to God's glory, we are still able to run group adventures at a very high caliber. But then after each event is done the wheels usually fall off for the rest of my life responsibilities (except for those 2 glorious months of no crisis in Aug & Sept haha!). We pretty much stay in a constant race... running from urgent need to the next urgent need. Now we will have to fit taking care of our Dad's house into the equation. I'm at my Sister's house for a week taking care of Dad while Traci, Dave, & Carson have a rare and overly deserved family vacation. As I mentioned they carried the whole load while I was in TN for a week running an event. We are tag teaming this. Laurie has rotated over to my house to take care of the animals and house sit for me. And Dad's neighbors are keeping an eye on his house. A total team effort. The only very big thing falling through the cracks now is visits to our Mom. Anyways, there are many things that we greatly appreciate your prayers for. My sincerest apologies to people I'm way behind on with text messages, phone calls, etc, etc. We are currently on our next family adventure :) 

Sunday, October 9, 2022


Not many things illustrates FAITH and TOTAL COMMITMENT better than walking to the edge and rappelling down a 7-story drop on Starr Mountain! As I once learned, "A one word definition of faith is RISK." The "unseeable" part of trust will always require you to risk something in order to take a step of faith. Faith is the assurance of what we do not see (Hebrews 11:1). Thankfully our anchor in our faith (God) as well as in our rappel (a strong tree) are trustworthy. ...Plus it's just a whole lot of THRILL!! Our hats are off for the leaders & college students from Southeastern University (Countryside Christian Church satellite campus) who just went to the edge and took a big step of faith on our 5-day Adventure Trip in TN. We love you guys!!

Saturday, October 8, 2022


Looks like we are on the fast "track" to a full day of adventure! Wake-up temps were in the low 40's. Everyone was packed up and in the vans by 7am. With backpacks full of gear, buckets full of lunch, hearts full of Jesus, & minds full of anticipation we pause for a group picture as we cross over the railroad tracks and begin our one mile hike up to our rock climbing & rappelling spot on Starr Mountain in Etowah, TN. We love this group from Southeastern University!! They literally "rocked" it all day long!

Tuesday, October 4, 2022


We are near the Ocoee River in Tennessee on a 5 day Adventure Trip with 20 college students (& their leaders) from Southeastern University. They attend a satellite campus at Countryside Christian Center in Clearwater. It's only Day 2 and we've already made a month's worth of God-awesome memories! This is a picture from our paddleboarding trek on Lake Ocoee surrounded by beautiful mountains as the fall leaves begin to change. This is the first ever GTD Adventure Trip in October in Tennessee, aaaaaaaaand we are loving the amazing weather!! We love this group! They are soooooo much fun!! Our morning devotions and nightly impact points have been very special and authentic. God is already at work! We look forward to all He has in store for us this week!!

Monday, October 3, 2022


Only $49/person!

Sunday, October 2, 2022


Our bioluminescence trip last weekend was a blast! It was our 10th biolum trek in a month, and we were blessed with a fun group of people. Unfortunately there was a reverse storm surge in our area from Hurricane Ian which sucked much of the water out of Tampa Bay and eventually replaced it with cooler water which means there may be no more bioluminescent waters till next summer. We definitely soaked it up over the past month, and now we will transition to sunset paddles, full moon paddles, and dark paddles. Bring on the beautiful Florida autumn season!


Like so many, I'm so saddened to see the catastrophic devastation from Hurricane Ian. So many people lost everything. So many lives shattered. Immediate and unanticipated loss of this magnitude is shocking and sobering at the same time. It should especially be sobering for the county I live in. This is a screenshot of the official 11pm forecasted track of Hurricane Ian just 36 hours before it ravished the Ft Meyers area. The red dot is the location of my house. The surrounding area is where my immediate family lives, many of my friends live, and my ministry is based. The realization that Ian was forecasted to directly hit my community, my "business", my family, my house, and my life should have the same impact on me/us as a near death experience. I've had about 10 near death experiences in my lifetime, and each one made me better. The potential blessing of a near death experience is that it can subtly and profoundly open our eyes to the gift and fragility of life... that we aren't promised a tomorrow... that the wealth & security that we live in is only one storm away from being gone... that in very important ways we aren't as big and strong and indispensable as we think we are... that everyday is an undeserved, unmerited, perishable gift... that the only immovable storm-proof foundation to build our storm-vulnerable lives on is Jesus. Our area walked away virtually unscathed. But it could have been us. It was forecasted to be us. Jim Cantore was here! Pinellas County could have been annihilated. That should profoundly change me/us for the better. Like a near death experience it should change me/us in many good ways. In the days and weeks ahead we (GTD) plan(s) to be involved in the disaster relief efforts like we were in Biloxi, Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina, and like we were in Polk County, Florida in 2004 after 3 hurricanes ripped of hundreds, if not thousands, of rooftops over a 6-week period. A lot of people need a lot of help. We are going to help, especially knowing that could have been us.

Saturday, October 1, 2022

Keep Dad (Jerry) In Your Prayers

Dad had a rough day yesterday & today. Excruciating knee pain (from longterm bone-on-bone arthritis, old torn ligaments, & more) that he tweaked again while trying to start his generator when the power went out. He said his pain level was a 15 on a scale of 1-10. He was unable to walk and sometimes unable to move. Traci (my number 1 Sista) and I tag-teamed it today. I took him to the ER at the VA Hospital this morning (they ended up only accepting life threatening conditions and sending us over to their clinic), and Traci took him to the Morton Plant Hospital ER the rest of the day, afternoon, and evening. He is in an immobilizer soft cast taking some pretty heavy duty pain meds and is hopeful to get a knee replacement later this month that other medical conditions have caused him to have to delay it getting done for the past couple of years. He is feeling a little better tonight. Please keep him in your prayers :)