Thursday, August 28, 2014


By Travis Peck
     I have a few. In fact, some might say I have a few too many. My wife. My son. Music. TV. Sports. Beer. Passions are those things in life that bring us pure joy. Something you can talk about for hours and never grow tired. Often they are the things we dream about while we do the things required. I don’t know many people with a passion for accounting, but if you are out there, bless you.

     These passions normally manifest themselves at an early age and for that reason they remain with us forever. Sometimes they are seemingly naive dreams of becoming a spaceman or President of the United States. But before you dismiss these as childish fantasy, remember somebody had this dream and made it come true. There are astronauts and despite the low chance of becoming the ruler of the free world, somebody gets/has to do it!  

     Passion combined with drive is a force indeed. Taking something you love and focusing all your efforts to become successful in that particular area can bring great rewards. You always hear the phrase, “shoot for the stars” when referring to an ultimate goal. I feel that sometimes the stars are just the beginning for some. We can’t all be pop stars or world famous astrophysicists but we can excel at those things that bring us joy. In a perfect world we would all get paid for doing the things we love. For now I will settle for having the free time to engage in some of my favorites.

     Take a minute and think about what makes you happy. Is it running? Maybe cooking? Making short films? Gardening?

     One of the greatest things about passion is finding others who share an affinity for yours. Coming together for collaborations can build friendships and grow relationships. Sometimes the shared passion of art or music can create bonds that wouldn’t exist otherwise. People with opposing viewpoints on nearly everything else can find common ground in a nice toe-tapping beat or share in the beauty of a classical painting.  We should never give up on our passions. I feel that those things we most want are the things we are most willing to work harder for or consider them no work at all.

Picasso's - The Dream
     You might not be Picasso or Coltrane, Jordan or King but you can be passionate about many things and learn that sometimes life’s ‘extras’ are what life is really all about. Everyone starts somewhere and there are no limits on dreams. Bring passion into your everyday life and it will show. Hearing somebody talk about the things they love gets me motivated and excited.

     When somebody asks ‘What have you been up to lately?” Don’t say “Just working.” Tell them about the engine you are rebuilding or the new novel you started writing. Remind them and yourself that your passions are still alive and well.

     Some people say I have a knack for writing. It is a passion I have ignored for far too long. Maybe I should take my own advice and do a little bit more of this thing I love!

Monday, August 25, 2014

50% or at least half a smile.

By Travis Peck

     Finding the negatives in life is easy. Turn on the news. Lead stories of death and destruction, power struggles and money troubles. A window open 24 hours a day letting in all the worst the world has to offer. Appealing to those with the most fear while turning devastation into profit.

     There is a rule in the world of radio and television that states that politicians running against one another are allowed equal time on-air. This is meant to help keep the race fair and give both candidates a chance to express their viewpoints.  

     If only we could get equal time for positive and negative news!

     Despite what some might lead you to believe, there is truly good in the world. It is all around us every day and we often take it for granted. It can be in the simplest of gestures.

     Often we are enthralled by tragedies because they are not the norm. Day to day life is full of little wins and losses. Having the right amount of change at the drive-thru or having someone hold a door open for you, wins. Stepping in a puddle up to your ankle or getting pulled over, losses.

     At the end of an average day, a balanced day, we hopefully find ourselves with family and friends. Maybe we kick back with our favorite beverage or jam on the guitar. There are so many good things happening in the world I wish we could see the good in people on our televisions from time to time.
     Inspirational stories flood the internet and as an avid crier myself, even the slightest pull on the heartstrings can set off the water works. Works of kindness and people coming together for the greater good are what I try to focus on in my life. I’m what you might call upbeat. One of the keys to staying upbeat is relishing the good in people.

     I’ve lost people that I love. I know pain and struggle. My life is not picture perfect. Life is rarely an easy ride in a chariot of gold. Up and down, back and forth, good and bad. Find that middle ground and maybe lean just ever so slightly in the favor of happiness and positive energy.

     Take joy in the fact that you are here and have this day. Place your faith in the positive and give people 
the benefit of the doubt. If people know they can count on you to brighten their day, maybe next time you’re feeling less than perfect an uplifting word will come from an unexpected place.

     Don’t give up on humanity because television says so. Seek out positive stories and better yet, create your own by reaching out and building up those around you.

     By nature life is complicated but it doesn’t have to be negative.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

If I don’t wave while I’m running, don’t be offended.

By Travis Peck

     I’m not ashamed of my body. In fact I have mowed my lawn shirtless numerous times. (Early morning or late night with the perfect lighting and very few spectators.) My build is what some people might call stocky, others might say beefy and yet others Sasquatchian. Over the last ten years I have dabbled in the world of amateur running. Always paying, never paid.

     At first it was a couple 5Ks here and there and then something amazing happened in Dallas, TX, my first ever Warrior Dash. A short 3.2 mile adventure race that takes you over fire, into mud pits and often up and down hills of rock, gravel or grass. It was before they were making millions and I was in just good enough shape to complete the course without serious injury. A few buddies and I made a weekend of the event and had a blast. It wasn’t about times just finishing was accomplishment enough. I have done five Warrior Dashes over the last 8 years and as it turns out the more running you do beforehand the better.  

     My longest (voluntary) sanctioned race was the 10K Tulsa Run just a few years back. I committed to the training schedule and the weekend before the race I logged an eight mile run. It was great weather and my legs and mind were ready. Again, times are somewhat irrelevant. Let’s just put it this way, I wasn’t first and I was far from last. I did get that sense of accomplishment but never felt the “runner’s high” and honestly after the race I don’t think I ran for months. For all the non-runners out there you should be made aware that within the running community they have a division for people of my “size and stature” it is called the Clydesdales. According to race officials this gives “heavier runners a chance to win medals.” Gee thanks. (Insert best Mr. Ed sound here.)

     All of that just to tell you this; if you see me running and I don’t wave please do not be offended. I sometimes run at the lake, sometimes around the high school and on a rare occasion at the college nature trail. I often wear my headphones with loud music and if I am on a straightaway I sometimes even close my eyes. These are not excuses for not waving just some factors that contribute to my antisocial running behavior. Running for me is not fun, it is work. My goal is to complete the task as quickly as possible. Not trying to set world records just ready to be not running.

     So, if you honk your horn as you drive by or you wave and I don’t even look your way, it is nothing personal. Just know that I am trying to survive. Note the drenched shirt, the dripping sweat from the elbows and the labored breathing. These are just a few elements that reveal my fitness level and my less than pro status.
As of yesterday I began training for this year’s Tulsa Run (Oct. 25). 10 weeks of forcing myself out the door. 10 weeks of doing an extra few loads of laundry. 10 weeks of soreness. 10 weeks of eating better. 10 weeks of ignoring each and every one of you wonderful people. (At least for a few minutes a day.) 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Risk Day Wednesday

What risk should I take today?

I feel like today I might go out on a limb. Maybe try something different. A workout, a food, some polish dance hall music? Not sure what it will be but I shall not only look for opportunities but seek out something strange and fun.

Between the Warrior Dash last weekend and Preston and I doing parkour yesterday at the Owasso funtastic island, I am really pumped about losing weight and being as fit as I can possibly be. It seems like the higher level of fitness the more extreme the exercises can become and eventually lead to some risking yet fun times.

Not jumping off any buildings just yet and not dunking a basketball, but I’m 29 for just under seven more months, lets see what 30 can look like.

I think it is time to become somewhat obsessed with working out again and the diet will fall into place. Tonight I enjoyed some carrots and watermelon instead of Skittles and chips, seems like a step in the right direction.

Have a great Wednesday people and take a risk today!

Break the routine,
don’t be a machine,
get out on the town,
and shut the place down!


Monday, June 4, 2012

Bogging and Blogging: Writer and Warrior

I took a week(maybe more) off from writing. I thought I would try to prove that a tree falling with no one around still makes a sound. Turns out it does, but it is not as loud. A couple people mentioned they enjoyed my blog posts and I hate to disappoint. So away we go!

Something interesting I heard recently was that people who want to be famous and live life through the arts are thin-skinned. In other words if you are an actor or singer it is your vulnerability that allows you to convey a message and the same vulnerability opens you up to criticism.

This is similar to the idea of having to fail to succeed. If we aren’t willing to sacrifice for ourselves, how can we ever expect to reach the dreams we pursue? Constantly wondering what might have been is no way to go through life. If you would have told me in high school that before I was thirty I would have a wife, a child, two cars, a house and a career I might have laughed in your face. Again, if you told me I would run the Tulsa run and rack up half a dozen 5ks, the laughter would have been from the belly and with much gusto.

It’s like when I ask my son about trying food. “How do you know you don’t like it if you never try it?” I think the same goes for many aspects of our lives. Who knew running could be fun?

This past weekend I ran an adventure race called the Warrior Dash. It took place in Morris, Ok. (Two miles south of the middle of nowhere) Down a back county road a wild day of mud and muck awaited us.

14 obstacles and 3.33 miles No problem, I’ve been running, I’m ready. As the fire shot from the pyro-cannons and the shot sounded the race was a go. The first mile was a breeze, a nice run through mowed down tall grass, small sticks trees and rocks sticking up from under the laid down grass but nothing debilitating. I guesstimate about 9min. Obstacle one marked the beginning of the toughness.

A simple walk through shin deep water and a climb up and over a ten foot wall ladder of 2X4s. Now my shoes weigh an extra three pounds and the trail turned into rocks and hills. Huffing and puffing, just like the big bad wolf, I made it a while before the legs simply stopped. The obstacles were a welcome sight, halting the running for even a brief moment.

Finally a sign reading: 2.5 Miles. As we rounded a bend the hill ahead was walking only, no way anyone was running. After crawling under barbed wire crawling over a balance beam and ducking under swinging tires the last three obstacles were almost back to back.

A short jog to the tallest cargo net, down the other side and off to the fire jump, two piles of burning logs and coals. Into the mud and water of the final barbed wire topped obstacle. Finish line, and done!
Talk about work. I was tired and worn out. But without caring about my time I felt like I had really accomplished something. Turns out it was just under an hour, 55 min of a 5k from hell.

I risked my wellbeing to accomplish something that helped my wellbeing. A mental victory over fitness and weight loss and a physical victory over the course and my own body.

As proud as I was of myself, nothing prepared me for the pride I felt as my wife decided on the spot to take on the challenge. I saw how strong she can be when she needs to be and how a tough woman is sexy! (Being covered in mud and water didn’t hurt.)

We stood together in our accomplishment and what a fun shared experience. An added bonus was our son was there and got to see that his mom and dad are pretty cool so far.
I know that life is full of shared experiences and nothing bonds people better than overcoming difficult challenges. Sure, a fun yet grueling race might sound silly but we will have that memory forever. There are bigger struggles behind us and might be others ahead but it is great to know that when met with a challenge we won’t back down.

It seems that being content is another way of saying you give up. I don’t want to give up. My life plan is not yet fully realized and in time maybe pieces of the past will grown into something bigger and better. Building on the past and taking risks might be difficult but nothing is impossible.

Bring on the next race and bring on the world.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Happy 9th Anniversary wifey!

Greatest 9 years so far, bring on the future.

Happy 9th Anniversary to my wife!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

John Mayer made me do it.

(In honor of the new CD release, here is something I wrote a few months back.)

I think John Mayer is responsible for my entire relationship. Judge if you will, but before you do, listen to a live set and tell me you don’t think he is talented if not brilliant. It was 2001 and Napster was still illegal and we used the hell out of it. The first week of college was a contest between the four roommates to see who could download the most songs/movies and graphic pictures as possible. (Congrats go to Randy Clark, sorry to put you on blast but I was just so darn proud of you.) Within the first week of dating, Jessica brought over a burned CD of live John Mayer songs and said she thought I might enjoy. We sat in separate chairs holding hands in no way touching inappropriately and started listening. I was already a huge fan of singer songwriters and admittedly struggled at first with Mayer’s breathy tone but enjoyed the lyrics and the guitar. By the end of the CD we were engaged. (Don’t take that the wrong way, sickos.)

It became a regular staple in the truck CD player (before Ipods. Well, before I had an Ipod) and in the dorm. We knew all the words and couldn’t wait to see him in concert. Our first out of town trip together was to Kansas City to see John Mayer and Guster. We made it a group outing and hopped in my best friends Durango without tickets and headed to KC. Mayer hadn’t hit the national spotlight just yet and you could tell by the semi-small crowd gathered in the City Market. City Market is a lovely outdoor venue in the heart of KC surrounded by restaurants and shops and as the name says is a huge farmers market. We arrived on site and began looking for free tickets. A radio station was set up out front and as it turns out if you are a fifteen year old girl with jean shorts and a tank top with any degree of glitter, you get a much better response from obese radio disc jockeys. Sure we failed, but worse case scenario, we stand outside or in one of the bars and get to hear the concert right? Not us my friend.

We found a major flaw in the hand-stamp-gate-pass set up for the show. All we had to do was walk in the front of a bar that had access to the inside of the City Market square, rub a stamp on our hand from somebody already in the concert area and walk back out and around. This worked to perfection.

I am aware that at this point in the story we have stolen illegal music online and failed to pay for a concert ticket, sorry John. It was completely worth the little work it took to beat the system. As the sun faded away, a muggy evening broke way to a cool breezy night of all the songs we had grown to love. In an added bonus they were shooting the live segments for the “Your Body is a Wonderland” music video. We walked away life long fans. For all of those artists out there that think that pirated music is hurting your pocket books I should let it be known that we have purchased each and every John Mayer album and DVD since, not to mention T-shirts and concert tickets to 6 more shows over these last 8 years of our marriage. One special concert was the central focus of our brief honeymoon to Chicago in June of 2003.

After having an enormous wedding (300+ people, and we knew most of them) and both still enrolled in college we knew we couldn’t do something to big and elaborate. It was then that I started looking for a concert we could attend within reach of Tulsa, OK. Neither of us had ever been to Chicago and a short 12 hour drive seemed perfect. As soon as I purchased the tickets I began researching online about contacts surrounding John and his team. Between his website and management page I found a wonderful woman who emailed me back. I asked a simple question would it be possible for us to meet Mr. Mayer. I explained we were driving up for our honeymoon and would love to meet the man behind the music. Weeks passed and she replied with ‘keep following up with me’ and so I did. A week before the show she emailed me saying there would be two fan passes waiting for us at the gate with our will call tickets and please enjoy the show. Proof that if you don’t ask you will never receive. We arrived in Chicago and made a few great stops. Uno’s pizza, Shed’s Aquarium and the Sears Tower were among the wonderful city highlights.

On the day of the concert we arrived early at the Tweeter Center and as promised our passes were at will call. Before the show we joined a small group of fans for a meet and greet.(those damn girls in short shorts and glitter again.) We brought along our copy of “Any Given Thursday” his first concert DVD and he signed it, we took a picture and got to chat for just a brief moment. He wished us luck on marriage and was very friendly. We were both excited for the show and headed to our seats. Luckily we saw him before the show because upon finding our seats we realized they were perfectly placed behind a concrete pillar. The music made it worth it and the awesome older couple beside us buying us beer didn’t hurt either.

As his music matured and grew so did our relationship. We made trips to Dallas and saw him in our own back yard at OKC and Tulsa. We joined the fan club and have had front ten-row tickets at most shows. As an Oklahoma boy, Garth Brooks is the only artist that takes up more space on my Ipod. When Preston was born we introduced him to John’s music almost immediately after returning home (possibly in the car on the way home from the hospital). It was only natural that seven short years later we would plan a trip to see John back in the same place it all started, Kansas City. This time we paid for all four tickets (my little sister is a huge fan also) and loaded up for a road trip for Preston’s first concert. (I remember my first concert, Boys 2 Men with Brandy opening, terrible audio, amazing performance, I was ten.)

Times had changed and John wasn’t playing a small outdoor venue in front of 1500 people, instead he was headlining to a sold out crowd at the Sprint Center in downtown KC. Our seats were perfect. Far enough back for comfortable audio levels and straight back from the stage. Preston stood on the back of the chair in front of me for most of the show and sang along to the ones he knew. Jessica and I couldn’t stop smiling at our little creation enjoying music we dated to, got married to and vacationed to. It was a fun experience that brought us full circle on our journey of Mayer. I am sure we will enjoy many more concerts and albums but this will always be our first concert as a family. We await the next album and tour, come out and join us, but only if you love guitars, melodies and musical mastery.

-- I wrote this a while back and now we have to wait no longer. His new album came out yesterday and we have been enjoying it via itunes. (Paid for them all ever since, promise!)