Saturday, June 15, 2024

OUR LARGEST ADVENTURE TRIP EVER IS OFF TO A [FAM]TASTIC START!!

   
75 participants from 18 families of Calvary Baptist Church of Clearwater arrived safely to camp in NC. It's our largest Adventure Trip ever! This is our 4th annual event with the Calvary families and it grows bigger & bigger each year. We are 10 miles outside of cell phone range so we will update sporadically throughout the week. Thanks for the prayers!!
 
 
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WE MADE IT TO NC!!! ...THE PAST 6 WEEKS HAVE BEEN CRAZY SO I'M THRILLED WE ARE BACK ON TRACK!

 
We just arrived to Brevard, NC and are about to kick off our 1st of 3 back-to-back-to-back Adventure Trips over the next 2 weeks. The past 6 weeks have been crazy with 2 hospitalizations for Dad, helping Laurie finish & move her into her condo, 5 days of sickness, moving a whole lot of stuff for the tree to be cut down, siliconing the storage container, & 7 days of reorganizing the backyard for an inspection by my new homeowner's insurance. All of those things needed to be done, but I wasn't planning on doing many of them until the fall. Unfortunately it put me waaaaay behind on getting ready for our summer trips... but Praise God and with very little sleep we pulled it all off, and God blessed us with safe travels to our amazing friend's house in Easley, SC on Wed. Jason & Heather Lazzaro put us up in the wonderful home for 3 nights where we got caught up on much sleep (thank you Jesus!!)... this morning we drove just over an hour from Easley, South Carolina to Brevard, North Carolina. Our campsite opens up at 12.30p today... we will be outside of cell phone service most of the time. Our first trip is going to be our largest Adventure Trip ever with 75 participants (the families of Calvary Baptist Church of Clearwater)... this is their 4th year in a row and it gets bigger each year!! Thank you for your prayers for safety & spiritual impact!!! It's go time!!! Thank you to everyone who has helped us get here and who supports this ministry and enables us to do what we do!!!!
 
 
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Monday, June 3, 2024

WHAT A RE"LEAF"!! ...7 TRUCK LOADS OF LEAVES REMOVED!

    
Over the past few months I along with our Young Guns and awesome volunteers worked together to remove about 7 truck loads of leaves from my yard / GTD Home Base. About a year ago I bought a Lawn Sweeper to pull behind the riding mower (or golf cart)... all I can say is that the Lawn Sweeper is one of my favorite inventions ever!! In about 2 hours I can sweep up as many leaves as it used to take me about 2 weeks to rake up!! Game! Changer! I had a build of leaves over the past 2 years that was killing my weeds/grass, but now we are all caught up on leaf removal... WHAT A RE"LEAF"!!!

 
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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

SEAL THE DEAL! ...SHOUT IT FROM THE ROOFTOP!!


We're getting a lot of work projects done, and it feels so good that I've got to shout it from the rooftop... literally ;) . I was recently able to use liquid flashing to seal the joints of the plywood decking on top of the storage container (we built the decking to insulate the exterior of the container). After that dried I applied Henry's Tropi-Cool silicone roof sealant to waterproof it as well as reflect 85-90% of the suns heat. It turned out perfect! Cool to the touch!Aaaaaaaaand just in time for the summer heat & rain! 
 
 

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

So muLch to celebrate!


After my big beautiful oak tree had to be cut down due to disease the 14 ft circumference stump was ground up into a whole lot of mulch. The young guns and I spent 2 days leveling the mulch mound, spreading it around, and making a huge pile for future use. The silver lining of cutting down the tree is that it freed up about 1000 sq ft of land to temporarily park GTD trailers... and hopefully become a future garden area.
 
 
 
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Saturday, May 25, 2024

DAD IS FEELING MUCH BETTER!


Traci took Dad to the ER on Thursday night after he had a very rough few days of poor sleep, increased pain, increased exhaustion, and just overall feeling miserable. All his symptoms were pretty generic & somewhat regular so we thought he was just having a bad week from a lack of sleep. Dad hates going to the ER so when he said he thought he should go to the ER we knew this was more than just a bad week. Traci stayed with him in the ER till about 1am when they admitted Dad because tests showed he had fluid build up around the heart (called pericardial effusion) which makes it difficult for the heart to function. They believe it was a side effect from the 4 stents he recently had placed around the heart to open up the blood flow of arteries. Yesterday they removed the fluid around his heart, and instantly Dad was feeling much much much better!! We aren't sure how long he will be in Morton Plant Hospital (Clearwater), but he is doing good and they are taking great care of him. He has already made 10 new best friends and handed out about 25 Tomato Man pens hahaha!! Several staff, nurses, & doctors remember Dad from the past few years and are still using the pens he gave them from before hahaha! I got to visit Dad last night, and he wants to thank everyone for their love & prayers (we all do!!!). Thank you family & friends!!

Huge thanks to my "Sista" Traci for taking great care of our Dad!! I was sick fighting a pre-summer cold for about 5 days and was self isolating in my bedroom to keep from getting my Dad sick... then I got a text from my new homeowner's insurance that they are sending someone out to do an exterior inspection of my house & yard, and I've got all kinds of building material and GTD kayaks & equipment scattered everywhere from all of our work projects and from having to move everything to accommodate the crane, trucks, & trailers when the big oak tree in the backyard had to be cut down last month. I've been working the past 3 days majorly "tidying up", and have about 2 more days worth of work. It's looking good & coming together PTL. I needed to get all of this done anyways before hurricane season and before leaving to run our summer Adventure Trips in North Carolina. That's my status report from the past 10 days LOL!
 
 
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Thursday, May 16, 2024

CAN'T HAVE ENOUGH STORAGE SPACE FOR DAD!

One of our many current projects is building Dad some bigger closet & storage space. We are having a blast constructing this 6 ft x 4 ft (9 ft tall) walk in storage area with leftover wood siding from last year's projects. So far so good!
 
  
  
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Tuesday, May 14, 2024

IT'S SOOOOOO GOOD TO BE BACK IN CHURCH REGULARLY AFTER 4 YEARS!!

  
For the first time in my life I missed in-person church on a regular basis... to the tune of about 4 years!!! I'm astounded & shocked to even say that. COVID kicked off the first year of absences in 2020, and the ongoing caregiving demands, resulting exhaustion, & mere survival continued this dreaded streak throughout all of 2021, 2022, & 2023. The last 5 years (2019, 20, 21, 22, 23) nearly killed me, and this essential piece that was no longer there called church (community worship, fellowship, the inspired teaching of God's Word, volunteering & serving as part of the Body of Christ) was one of the main culprits of this near death experience. Praise God for the ministry I work in (GTD) that enabled me to do regular events with churches so that I could get the taste of church every few weeks during this time as well as the online church services I was able to attend virtually. There is no comparison to or replacement of in-person church participation, but even still the GTD events & online church services were vital parts of surviving this awful churchless phase of my life. I'm currently in the 9th month of my TAKEback ATTACK to take back everything (& more) in Jesus name that the thief came to kill, steal, & destroy in my life  (John 10:10) over the past 5 years, and getting back into church is one of several things on the top of my take back list. This may sound a little strange, but I needed to pick a church where I didn't know anyone. I'm still recovering & healing, and my cup was pretty empty so I didn't want to go somewhere that I may be prone to start volunteering right away or "just jump right back in where I left off". The other things I needed from a new church was an emphasis on praise & worship, and if possible, something close to home to remove any excuse for not going. So I picked this thriving church 5 minutes from my house called Generation Church. I've been going off & on since January, and have finally broken through to some regular consistency (PTL!). Aaaaaaaaand oh how wonderful it has been!! Worshipping God with others and hearing regular sermons bathed in prayer & based on God's Word has been refreshing, renewing, & reviving. I don't know if this will become my home church in time, but I do know that it is the church that God is using to bring me back home during this time. I always wondered what life would be like without a healthy Christ-centered church, and now I know... it's a dreadful low, low, low quality of life.
 
 
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Monday, May 13, 2024

SIDEWINDER WAS DARN NEAR PERFECT!!

  
The weather was perfect! The water was perfect! The people were perfect! Everything from start to finish was perfectly on-time! Our island time was perfect! Our devotions were based on James 4:2 > We have not because we ask not. About 75% of our participants were first timers! Everyone had a blast! I can't think of a single thing that went "wrong"! We loved every minute of it! Thank You Jesus!! Here's a quick group pic on the water... you can see all the pics from our aqua adventure on the link below. Can't wait for our next adventure!!
  
SIDEWINDER 2024 Photo Album:
https://goingthedistance.smugmug.com/2024/2024-Day-Trip-SIDEWINDER-Paddleboarding-Trek
 
 
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Sunday, May 12, 2024

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!!!


Happy Mother's Day to all you hard working, big hearted, selfless, care-for-your-family, protect-your-family, ain't-nobody-gonna-mess-with-my-family, fun-loving, down-on-my-knees-praying-for-my-family, Mama Bears out there!!! You deserve more than a day to honor all that you do... you deserve at least a month!!

I have been blessed with THE BEST MOM EVER, and I hope you feel the same way about your Mom!! One of the things I love most about VegetariANN (Mom) is how much fun she is, and how much she loves to laugh! I know she is having so much fun in Heaven, and I can imagine her laughing right now in the freedom & the joy-filled presence of Jesus!! Happy Mother's Day Mom!!! You did a GREAT job!!!
 
 
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Wednesday, May 8, 2024

WHO CARES??? BORA-CARE(S)!! ...GOODBYE CHRISTMAS WRAPPING PAPER!!

   
Some of you already know that I'm on a termite prevention mission. I own a 1955 wood framed bungalow so termite prevention is essential. About 4 years ago I started renovating my livingroom, dining room, & kitchen by removing all the drywall. Then my parents' health went from really bad to way worse almost overnight. I put renovating on the back burner. It was around Christmas time so I covered all my exposed walls & insulation with Christmas wrapping paper. It stayed like that for a few years (so it was Christmas year round!) Honestly, there were many many times where it looked like I would never get to finish the renovations. For a few years I could see outside through all the exposed cracks & seams in the construction. Heating & cooling the house were very inefficient and small ants & insects became my new unwelcomed roommates. Several months ago I started taking back my life in Jesus name as I watch God "restore the years that the locust have eaten". Part of my TAKEback ATTACK is finishing what I started. Recently we removed all the wrapping paper and old insulation so I could start chipping away at the renovations. One of my missions is to remove all the drywall in my house and treat the wood with Bora Care (made from a naturally occurring mineral) that soaks into the wood and kills termites & many other things when they try eating the wood. The amazing thing is that Bora Care never fizzles... it soaks in and stays in the wood forever! It's a "one-and-done" treatment FOREVER!! (I love this product!!!) In fact, many insurance companies & building codes are requiring new wood construction homes to be treated with Bora Care. I also added a mold prevention and insect prevention to the project (Score!) so I'm excited about the future of this home! I treated all the areas which were once covered with wrapping paper and for a few days it looked like I lived in a log cabin! Now I'm preparing to thicken my walls to about 10 inches wide and air-seal & insulate each renovated area... turning an inefficient home into a very efficient home. It has been a loooong time coming, but progress is being made at the place that is not only my home, but also the headquarters of my ministry. Thank You Jesus for restoring time! What is impossible for man is possible with God =) 
 
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Monday, May 6, 2024

SIDEWINDER IS SOLD OUT!!


Our PADDLEBOARDING event on May 11th is officially SOLD OUT!
 
It's not uncommon to have a cancelation or two in the week leading up to the trip so if you're still interested in this trip then you may want to sign up on our waiting list. If so, click on the link below.
 
SIDEWINDER link:
https://gtdbullhorn.blogspot.com/p/sidewinder-s-u-p-trek-2.html?m=1
  
Going The Distance Adventure Ministry
God-awesome adventures since 1996!
 
 
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Saturday, May 4, 2024

JOIN US IN NC JULY 24-28 FOR OUR 29th ANNUAL SLAMMED ADVENTURE TRIP!!!

  
One of the most frequent questions I get is, "When is this year's SLAMMED???" Well I'm happy to share the great news >>> We have nailed down the date & location, and the website & registration pages are ready to go!!
 
Join us JuLY 24-28, 2024 in beautiful Brevard, North Carolina for my favorite GTD event >>> our annual SLAMMED Adventure Trip!!
 
This trip is regularly $250/person, but we run one public SLAMMED event each year at a greatly reduced cost, and this is it! This year's trip is only $85/person!!! That's for a 5-day adventure!!!
 
This trip includes tent camping at a fantastic group campsite, daily devotions, nightly campfires, waterfall sliding, cliff jumping, hiking, lake swimming, team sports, group games, possible rock climbing, possible paddleboarding, tons of fellowship, an outdoor movie, and the option to go white water rafting on the French Broad River (add $65pp for rafting)!! Now that has all the ingredients for what we call a God-awesome time!!
 
I would wish the trip upon everyone!!
 
For more details and to register for this event click on the following link:
https://gtdbullhorn.blogspot.com/p/slammed-nc.html?m=1
 
Aaaaaaaaaand as always, our deepest love & appreciation for all of our generous donors, supporters, & volunteers that make events like this possible!! You! Are! Simply! AMAZING!!!!
 
Going The Distance Adventure Ministry
God-awesome adventures since 1996!
 
 
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Friday, May 3, 2024

ONLY 4 SPOTS LEFT FOR NEXT WEEK'S SIDEWINDER PADDLEBOARDING TREK!!

   
Our next FREE event is PADDLEBOARDING on May 11th!!! LUNCH INCLUDED!!
 
Join us on Saturday May 11th for our annual SIDEWINDER Stand-Up Paddleboarding Day Trip to a nearby island in St Petersburg, Florida. 
 
We can take 24 paddleboarders, but only 4 spots are left so register asap to reserve your spot!
 
  
We hope you can join us! 
   
A HUGE THANK YOU to all of our phenomenal supporters that have enabled GTD to get some pretty awesome gear (including new paddleboards) over the last few years and expand our list of activities!! You guys ROCK!
 
Going The Distance Adventure Ministry
God-awesome adventures since 1996!
 
 
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Wednesday, May 1, 2024

GTD INTERVIEW AIRS TODAY & TMW... OR WATCH IT RIGHT NOW ON YOUTUBE!

  
Our 20 minute interview on the Bay Focus program we recorded last week is airing today (Wed - May 1st) at 11:30 a.m. and again tomorrow (Thur - May 2nd) at 7:00 p.m. on CTN/WCLF TV 22.
 
Or you can watch it right now on the Bay Focus YouTube Channel at the following link:
https://youtu.be/tVnaeCHZUts
  
**NOTE: GTD is the 2nd interview on the Bay Focus program and starts at 8 minutes & 18 seconds into the show.
  
A huge thank you to the host who has become a dear friend to me & GTD - Darlene Greenlee!! She always makes the show a whole lot of fun full of substance!
 
Aaaaaaaaand a very special thank you to "Bracelets & Jewelry By Haven" (my 9 year old little buddy - Haven Zeitler) for her custom made GTD THRIVE bracelet that I'm wearing on the show!!
  
I hope you enjoy!
  
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Tuesday, April 30, 2024

JERRY TOMATOSEED ROLLS UP ON IGNITE WITH HIS POSSE!

 

 
  
One of the biggest highlights of IGNITE last week was Traci being able to bring Dad up after his dialysis treatment! It wasn't long before The Tomato Man had a golf cart, a driver, a new best friend, a megaphone, and access to his new favorite song - "Homegrown Tomatoes" sung by John Denver. Just like Johnny Appleseed introducing America to apple trees, Dad is like Jerry Tomatoseed introducing the world to vine ripe delicious red tomatoes AND his new favorite song hahahaha!!
 
 
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U CAN CHOP US, BUT U CAN'T STOP US...

 
U CAN CHOP US, BUT U CAN'T STOP US... THE WINDS & CHOP COULD NOT STOP US!
  
Over the weekend we had a blast with the youth & youth leaders from the Seminole Campus of Calvary Baptist Church of Clearwater! It was a beautiful sunshiny day, but very windy & choppy... we almost had to cancel our quest to paddle across the channel to Archies Island, but since their youth leaders brought a boat we were able to formulate a gameplan to safely paddle to the island. The winds & the chop only added to the adventure! We all had a God-awesome time overcoming the obstacles and seizing the challenge!! Our devotions were out of the book of James. We had fun with the water blasters and squishy balls, and enjoyed lunch on the island. We love this church, their youth, and their leaders, and can't wait for our next adventure together!! Special thanks to our Staff and newest Junior Volunteers for helping make this event a wonderful success!!
 
 
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Monday, April 29, 2024

Just brought Dad back from the hospital...

  
Just brought Dad back from the hospital... today he had a heart catherization and 4 stents placed in arteries with 80-90% blockages. This is related to the "heart attack" symptoms he was feeling a couple of months ago when we went to the ER. The Tomato Man is back home and resting now. (His picture was very unflattering so I gave him a "face-lift").
 
 
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Friday, April 26, 2024

MAKE LIKE A TREE, AND LEAVE! ...WHERE DID MY HUGE OAK TREE GO???


Unfortunately I had to have my big beautiful oak tree in the backyard cut down because it had an unstoppable disease. This tree was one of the top 3 reasons I bought the house... the trunk measured over 14 ft in circumference... I had plans to run a zipline from it and a bunch of other fun ideas. 
  
One thing that complicated using the tree for fun (and complicated cutting it down) was that there were power lines going along 2 sides of the tree. In recent months huge limbs started breaking off and hitting the power lines. 
  
So I had to say goodbye to Ole Oakley. But the tradeoff is that I just gained about 1200 square feet of usable space that I couldn't use before (Score for me & GTD!!)... plus 2 or 3 winters worth of firewood! I would have rather kept the tree, but the new usable space is a nice silver lining! 
  
And now that I've got less shade & more sunshine I see a garden in my future... and maybe a workshop... and maybe a new spot for my gym equipment... or maybe a spot for the GTD trailers... or maybe a spot for a few bounce houses hahaha! The options are almost unlimited! 
  
We tried to get some large slabs of the tree for live edge tables & counter tops, but we were told by the arborist that this was a Water Oak and they don't cure well and keep cracking & checking... plus it has to dry for 1 year per inch of thickness so 2-3 years before I could do anything with it. So not getting any slabs is okay because I sure don't need anymore projects on my to-do list that I can't ever get around to LOL!
  
Cut down sections of the main trunk were weighing in at over 8000 lbs!!
  
Big thanks to BAM'S TREE SERVICE for making quick work of this job. They are sending out the stump grinder next. 
  
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Thursday, April 25, 2024

LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION!!


I had a blast yesterday recording a 15 minute interview about GTD on the set of CTN's TV show Bay Focus with host Darlene Greenlee! GTD has been extremely blessed to be a regular guest on Bay Focus for the past 20+ years, and EVERYTIME it's so much fun full of a whole lot of belly laughs before, after, & sometimes during the show.
 
The Bay Focus program we recorded yesterday will air next week on Wednesday, May 1st at 11:30 a.m. and again on Thursday, May 2nd at 7:00 p.m. on CTN/WCLF TV 22.

They also post the show the following week on their Bay Focus social media. We will post the YouTube link of the show when it has been uploaded.

Thank you so much Darlene!!!!
 
 
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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

IT ONLY TAKES A SPARK TO GET A FIRE GOING!

 
One of the best parts of IGNITE is the campfire time combined with worship! SPECIAL THANKS TO MARK & MELISSA ROUTMAN FOR LEADING OUR CAMPFIRE WORSHIP!! In fact, Mark got the whole campfire ablaze!
 
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Monday, April 22, 2024

WE WERE ALL FIRED UP AT IGNITE 2024!!

   
Wowwww, God blessed us with an incredible time on our IGNITE Camping Retreat over the weekend!! Our entire crew of around 50 people (some not pictured here) had a God-awesome time on this jam-packed 48-hour camping adventure. More pics & stories on the way!!
 
 
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Thursday, April 18, 2024

ALL PACKED UP & READY TO ROLL!

  
ALL PACKED UP & READY TO ROLL! ...IGNITE KICKS OFF TMW AFTERNOON!!

We haven't had a chance to build all the shelving in our new trailer (from last year) so we are still using "Ole Grey". We take off tomorrow morning to head to Word of Life in Hudson for our annual IGNITE Camping Retreat... we have about 50 people looking forward to a God-awesome weekend!! Can't wait!!! Yip! Yip! 
 
 
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