Project Sunken Treasure

You probably didn’t notice or care. But this site has been down since August 22nd. That’s 8 weeks to the day.  That was a rough day as I woke up to 8 inches of water in my basement.
I learned a few lessons that day. Here are a few of them.

1. Don’t store your computer tower on the floor.
2. Don’t put your hard drive in the lowest bay in your computer tower.
3. Your backups of your computer files should not be on the computer next to your tower.  (I wasn’t quite at the 3 – 2 – 1 backup rule.)
4. You’d be surprised how much junk you store in your basement that you don’t need.
5. Throwing away your stuff is emotional. (It was my junk!)
6. Thank God for insurance.

So despite that major setback in life, things have been crazy busy and the world drives on.

Project Sunken Treasure is the complete restore of my website from cached pages on the web. The hard drive was toast. Completely underwater.  A company wanted $1800 to try and recover files from it. But now my site is back live on a new linode server! I’ll be working to push out new updates and more content as often as my busy life will allow me to. Click the icons to the right or at the top or bottom of my page to interact and follow me on all my various platforms.

Here are some of the things I’ve been up to and some upcoming things.

1. Benjamin is now almost 9 months old!
2. I attended WOCS in April – May and appointed to Warrant Officer in the Army.
3. I traveled to Brazil in South America for the first time for a week of work.
4. My refrigerator quit working.
5. I’ve been busy packing and cleaning getting ready to put my house on the market in November.
6. I’m moving to Georgia for 9 months of Active Duty school for my Warrant Officer MOS job early next year.
7. I’ve still got 2 trips tentatively on the calendar and I’m looking forward to the holidays as well.
8. LetterboxD is an amazing social network for movie nerds and tracking all your movies you’ve watched. Connect with me over there!

As far as my list of goals for the year, I’m about where I expected to be. I’m behind on the reading and writing ones, but making good progress on the career and physical health ones.
Having 4 kids and planning a house move means I really spend all my free time just doing logistics. Food, daycare, school, work, projects, travel, etc are always on my mind. The two most useful tools I have are Google Calendar and You Need a Budget (YNAB) budgeting tool.  Click here for a discount! They are both very useful for making sure things get done on time and not breaking the bank.

And finally, here are some photo dumps from my phone. Mostly of my kids because honestly that’s all you probably really wanted to see anyways. 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Later,
Derek

Meet Benjamin Joshua!

On Friday January 27th, 2017 at 12:32am, My 4th child was born. Benjamin Joshua Creason. He is a pretty cool little kid and he is doing well. Both him and mom are back at home and settling  in nicely. Here are a few pics.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As many people know, I like to keep the names of my children a secret until they are born. This is usually for a few different reasons. Mostly its just fun and adds to the excitement.  For our 4th child, we chose to honor some soldiers with the naming  of our son. Here is the meaning behind his name.

Benjamin.  Benjamin’s 1st name was in honor of a fallen soldier named Seargent First Class (SFC) Benjamin Wise. SFC Benjamin Wise died January 15, 2012 from injuries sustained in combat days earlier. You can read a pretty in depth expose’ on him and his family and watch a 4 part video here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/local/2014/01/18/one-family-two-sacrifices/


I asked a friend of mine who knew Ben personally and had deployed with him to tell me what he meant to him.

“Ben was what I would call, the personification of the quiet professional. He was my team leader in the scout platoon way back when, and he never really yelled much. At times I wondered if shit hit the fan if he’d be any good, but he was, much more than others. When he decided to go SF (Special Forces), he didn’t make a big deal out of it like most others, he just did it. If people saw him working out or rucking afterwards and asked him why, he just said he was training for selection. He didn’t lie about, but he never boasted about. He was one of the smartest people I know. He got 18d (Special Forces Medical Sergeant) which is retarded hard, and his language was Mandarin Chinese, the hardest language to qualify for. Even when I saw him in passing up in Washington, he remembered everything about me. He genuinely cared about people. I’ve had leaders and friends I’ve looked up to, and every single one has failed me. But he never did, and he is still my role model as a leader, soldier, and father. End state: smart, empathetic, quite professional, good God fearing man.” – SFC Joshua King

My Response to Josh was that he “Sounds like an awesome guy. Everything we could hope and strive to be as leaders ourselves. I’m bummed I never had the opportunity to meet him.” Josh agreed as well and stated, “Yah, if I ever had a boy, he’s what I would want him to grow up to be. Doesn’t necessarily have to be in the military, just have that work ethic and personality.”

SFC Benjamin Wise had earned the following awards and medals.

His awards and decorations include the Bronze star Medal, the NATO Medal, three Army Commendation Medals , three Army Good Conduct Medals, the National Defense Service Medal, four Iraq Campaign Medals, three Afghan Campaign Medals, Global War on Terror Service Medal, two Overseas Service Ribbons, three Non-commissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbons, Army Service Ribbon, Special Forces Tab, Combat Infantryman Badge, Expert Infantryman Badge and the Parachutist Badge. He was posthumously awarded the Silver Star Medal, Purple Heart and Meritorious Service Medal.

Benjamin’s first name is in honor of a great fallen warrior. An American Soldier, through and through.

Benjamin’s middle name is Joshua. This is in honor of my best friend Sergeant First Class Joshua King. I have known Josh since we were both in kindergarten. We grew up together, although most often far apart by many states. We always stayed in touch through the years and visit each other often when we are in the same town for a few minutes at a time. I got the opportunity to be his best man at his wedding. During my toast to him and Luana, I got to explain a little bit of how Josh’s leadership has been an example to me. Now I can expound on it some more here.

My friend Josh joined the Army right after high school. He is still in and serving proudly. He has deployed 3 times to Iraq and is prepping for his 4th deployment. He has also been a Drill Sergeant and earned his Sapper tab. He recently was promoted to Sergeant First Class (E-7). While I was off at college earning my undergrad, he was working his way up through the infantry gaining experience in Iraq.

Josh is a super fun and easy going guy. He’s a no nonsense get the job done kind of guy who loves to be silly and crack jokes along the way. He embodies two aspects of character that I strive for. Bravery and the Never Quit mentality. If you ask Josh, he would probably deny having these traits. He would just say that he’s doing his job and embracing the suck. Josh continues to go when called for deployments. He is an 11B which is an InfantryMan. For those of you who don’t know, the Infantry have the hardest job in the Army. They get to do what other people don’t want to do or wish that they could do. He’s gone to Iraq 3 times. He’s fought in many battles. He’s lost fellow soldiers.

Josh has also completed some very tough schools in the Army. He became a Drill Sergeant and passed Drill Sergeant school. He passed Sapper school. He has attempted others schools such as Ranger school and Selection (Special Forces) and not quite achieved those goals he has for himself. This aspect is where I have learned much from him. I have had many conversations with him after he failed a high speed school such as Ranger school. I asked him, “How do you deal with failure? Especially when you wanted it so bad and trained so hard for it? Josh’s answer was simple. He said, “You give yourself a day or two to completely mope around, feel sorry for yourself, be sad, be mad, whatever. Then you get up the next day, and get back at it.” The mindset was simple. Experience setback, even major life or career setback,  get over it, and get back up and go again. I have watched Josh experience this a few times for a school that he really wants. It has been devastating to him at times. But I also saw him get back up and go to work the next day and do his best to achieve the next tasks that are given to him. That is the essence of the never quit mindset I spoke of. To get back up each day and start again. No matter how good or bad the previous day was.

Josh is also the bravest guy I know. None of my other friends joined the infantry and did 3 tours in Iraq. Josh would just say he was doing his job and got to shoot cool weapons. But it takes some courage inside of you to volunteer for a dangerous job like that and then to go out and do it over and over again. His willingness to serve and his ability to go do a very difficult job was one of the reasons that 8 years later, I went and enlisted in the Army myself. I hope to honor his bravery by doing the best that I can and learning to exhibit a never quit attitude during the hardships I face in the military. He is an excellent Non-Commissioned-Officer (NCO) and a leader as well a great friend to get to know.

Both SFC Benjamin Wise and SFC Joshua King are great men who love God, their families, and their brother’s in arms. They exhibit extremely high class character traits that I hope and strive to achieve in my personal life. In naming my son after them, I hope to honor them and remind myself to teach my son how to embody those character traits as he grows into a man.

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. -John 15:13

Later,
Derek

Soldier Suicides

Today I had the displeasure of attending another funeral of a soldier in my unit that committed suicide. That’s the 2nd one in less than a year. Honestly, it’s an awful experience. If I never have to watch another mother bawl her eyes out for her child that is gone while hearing taps, I’d be ok with that. Sadly, I’m afraid it won’t be the last time I will have to go through this. As hard as it is for me and my fellow soldiers who were his friends, I can’t imagine what sorrow and pain the family is going through. I pray they will find comfort in this awful season of their lives.

There are not many answers. Mostly there are questions.
What signs did I miss?
What could I have done differently?
How did I not see this coming?
What can I do to prevent the next one?
Why is suicide so prevalent in the military?

Like I said, I don’t have the answers. However, I have a few suggestions.

  • Pray for your soldiers.
  • Be involved in their lives.
  • Ask them how they are doing. Then Ask them How they are REALLY doing and then be prepared to listen for as long as needed.
  • Offer to walk beside them through whatever demons or difficulties they are facing.
  • Confront them directly but gently in love if you feel or notice that something is not right.
  • Don’t just send them links to resources. Walk with them hand in hand to counseling, therapy, a chaplain or preacher.

If you know a soldier who is struggling through some rough times in their life, please check on them.

If you are alone and feeling suicidal, please know that there are people out there who care about you and love you. You have friends, family, co-workers, even total strangers that love and care for you. Your life is precious. Please don’t be afraid to call and ask for help. There is no shame in admitting you are human and that sometimes life really really sucks and you don’t know how to go own. There are no problems that can’t be overcome with teamwork. Please reach out to someone. Call me and I will be glad to help in any way I can. Call one of these numbers if you feel like anybody you know personally can’t understand. Sometimes talking to a total stranger can help the healing begin.
1-800-273-TALK
1-800-784-2433

Every life is precious and I pray for anyone who may be struggling with suicidal thoughts. Please know that we love and care about you. I hope we can make progress as a human race in dealing with this issue of suicide.

-Derek

PT Test

A new fiscal year in the guard and that means it’s time for a pt test at drill this weekend.

Success! I passed. I’m proud of myself for never having failed one in my almost 5 years in the army. Although for some reason I always get nervous about them. This one I was a bit more nervous about since Caroline was just born 3 weeks ago and my training for the test took a serious hit due to taking care of a newborn.

But I got over 75% in each category for a score of 236. I’m happy with that.

On a side note, I don’t understand how some of these kids continue to fail. You know the test is coming and you know what is required to pass. Just google it! Do the math and put in some effort for a month or two before the test. It’s not rocket science. I’m old and body parts hurt, but I can still pass them.

Ok rant over.
Bring on the holiday food.

Derek

Back to Civilian Life…

So I’m back from 9 months of training with the army. If you want to know what it was like, go join the army. Or just ask me sometime and I’ll be glad to tell you some stories.
So I am back home and adjusting to my civilian life. This includes, but is not limited to the following: not exercising every morning at 5am, having 2 kids now, going back to work, going to army drill once a month, driving my car again, working on the house and other projects in my free time, and trying to limit my intake of caffeine among many other things.
So if I haven’t said hi or got a chance to hang out with you yet, give me a few more days or better yet call me. I’d be glad to do whatever. I’m still playing catch-up on my life.
Thats all for now. Later.

Derek