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Just one of many…

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Arm full of puppies. Magic has her head on my shoulder. Legend is looking down for food. They have both passed away, along with my brown hair. photo from rob akers.

 

Hey Y’all,

 

Preloading the next story time. My wife and I have been married since 2002. When we met, she had no idea what a life as a military spouse would be like. In fact, it was her first marriage so she had no idea of what being a spouse would really be like either. She had her preconceived ideas and unfortunately for her, she choose poorly. I made it my mission in life to shatter all the dreamy thoughts of what her life would be like. Fortunately, she stayed with me until I got the wheels put on.

 

 

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Donetta and the guy she let get away. She prefers her men short, fat and gray…ha ha. photo from rob akers

 

As the years went on, the deployments occurred and the reunions happened, she loved to hear the stories of all the nonsense that went on while we were “Over There.” I started to write in 2008, partly because I was dealing with a touch of anxiety. I never intended to write about my experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan but she encouraged me to write them down so the kids would know what it was like.

 

I did write them and you are reading them as they were first composed. The problem is that I wasn’t planning on sharing them with the world. But as I was also learning to write and I wanted to write a novel, I needed to have an author’s platform. Meaning a blog. And after a year or two of writing for it, writing these stories and writing my novel, I was beginning to figure out that I was spending a lot of time writing stuff that no one would ever read.

 

So that is when I started to combine the story time and the blog. Knocking out two birds with one stone. So here we are a lot of years later. I am still working on the number one novel (ugh!) and now I am on Facebook (not as bad as I feared) and I am combining story time and social media. I might not be better, but I am more efficient.

 

I wrote all that to say this. Way back when I wrote all these stories, I really never intended that they would be seen by anyone other than my kids. My stories are about real people. I write about people that I know and that know me. I have never asked anyone for their permission to write about them and I have never asked anyone if I can share their stories. If I ever write anything that is less than flattering, I am sorry but I promise that I always portray myself as accurately and honestly and unflatteringly as possible, warts and all.

 

Finally, these are not their stories or their version of that time in life or their perspective of any event. It is written exclusively from my memories during a turbulent period of my life therefore if anything I wrote in 2012 is not accurate, the blame lies with Donetta. Ha ha!

 

 

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Without Donetta, this family wouldn’t exist and none of these stories would ever be written. photo from rob akers

Until next time, keep on rockin

 

https://robakers.wordpress.com/2013/03/28/heroes-all/

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If the tent is rockin…

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This is from the site Twisted Sifter and their 15 ominous Photos of Dust Storms. They said this is Al Asad in 2007. The guy you don’t want to be is the guy on the bottom right of the picture. Walking to the bathroom tent totally unaware that he is about to be stuck. It really is amazing how something this big can sneak up on you. photo from yahoo.

 

Hey Y’all,

 

This episode of the trip down memory lane is one of the longest days. Not because something happened, but because nothing happened. Literally nothing.

 

In the US, we tend to live in our little bubble and only whine when the internet doesn’t connect fast enough, the hot water isn’t hot enough or the traffic is thicker than usual. I know all about first world problems and like you, I tolerate them poorly.

 

But imaging for a minute, you are a sheep herder, like David of Abraham from the Bible. You spend the majority of your life out in the openness of the wilderness guiding the sheep from watering hole to watering hole. Then one day a dust storm hits and there you are. Out in the open with no tent to dive into. If you do have a tent, you don’t have air conditioning or a sleeping bag to crawl into. Your only choice is to hunker down and wait. I am going to say the suck factor is relatively high.

 

This is a story about riding out the storm called a Haboob.

 

Until next time, keep on rockin!

When you gotta go…

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Just a trash can and not even close to being ready. photo from yahoo

Hey Y’all,

 

Another story for another day. This hopefully is proof that you all will know that I am giving you the cold, wet, nasty, waste that was our lives in 2003. Well, my actual memories have been repressed so other than still being able to feel the liquid envelope my entire posterior. The overflowing liquid splashing in all directions including running down the underside of my legs. Sitting there in the most humbling positions, all I could do was shake my head in a mixture of disgust and disbelief.

 

 

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MMM, chili dogs are tasty. It is getting there but still not ready. photo from yahoo.

 

 

My advice to anyone who ever reads these words is this. “Don’t try this at home!”

 

 

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Now we are talking. Filled to the brim. This is my kind of port-a-potty. photo from yahoo

 

 

Hope you enjoy the story. I forgot to mention in today’s storytime that I never got my tent building merit badge. There were giving those out when I was cleaning myself.

 

 

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I almost called this story, “Never play with fire inside the tent and other stories from our six month long camping trip.” photo from yahoo

 

Until next time, keep on rockin!

 

https://robakers.wordpress.com/2013/03/18/when-in-tabuk-be-a-tabukian/

I wonder if it still exists…

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I dont know if this was the golden arches that were seen from the ramp. photo from yahoo

 

Hey Y’all,

 

Sitting in Memphis tonight wondering if Tabuk still exists. According to the internet, it still does. I guess that I can cross that off my list of unanswered questions. 99.9% of the world has never heard the name, Tabuk but for about a thousand Americans, it was a two month long bad dream.

 

My good friend, Chris W. summed it up best when he described his first impressions of the butt crack of the world that the Pentagon decided to deploy us. “I didn’t know what to expect, but I never expected this.”

 

That comment makes me laugh as hard now as it did then because it was so true. Which always reminds me when I talk to survivalists and how they think they are going to thrive when the zombie apocalypse. They think they know what to expect, or maybe they think how “cool” it will be, or maybe it will be like something you see in a movie. I hope it never happens but if it does, the probably most common thought will be something along the lines like what Chris said and it will be like nothing any of us expected.

 

But, back to Tabuk. It was impossible to describe other than to say it was hardcore rehab. It didnt matter what your vice was back in the world. It did not exist and could not be found in Tabuk. Of course, there were the few exceptions but that is another story for another day.

 

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Just in case you didn’t believe me. Tabuk really does exist on modern maps. photo from yahoo

 

Next up is one of the worst experiences in human history. Until then, keep on rockin!

 

https://robakers.wordpress.com/2013/03/15/tabukan-introduction/

 

 

Going back to the Future…

Hey Y’all,

 

Welcome to our new Facebook friends and welcome back to our old blog friends. I am going to start a new (or old) series taking us back to why this site was started. Today is 7 March, 2019 and exactly 16 years ago, I wrote a post about how the Iraq war started for me and about 200 other friends. Our experiences all vary slightly, but in a very real sense we shared the same life. But our first experience of war was not the nations first experience of war. That war began on 11 Sept 2001. And today, 7 March 2019, that war is still going.

 

Maybe not as intense or involving as many Americans, but it is still going all the same. I have friends who deployed in 2003 and who still serve in the military. And in the very near future, their children will be eligible to serve with them in the very same war. Eternal War, Perpetual War or Constant War is not good or healthy for you and me. It doesn’t matter if you served or not. It is a thorn in the side of freedom and a drag on the nation.

 

I started writing these posts for my children so that they would know who Dad was before they were born. They are still not old enough to fully comprehend what I am writing but all of you are. I have lost touch with so many of you through the years, mostly my fault and many of you have asked what happened. Well life happened. No worries. But for four years of my life, 2003-2007, this is what I was doing. For many of my friends, they continued doing things like I write about as recently as six months ago. I am not a hero or anything more than a quitter. I walked away from the service in 2007.

 

They are the real heroes because they could have left with me but they didn’t. They stayed in, they served their country with honor and dignity. They deployed time after time. Month after month. Year after year. And they still do it today. I have been out thirteen years and they are still fighting for us. I have about two years worth of stories that I am going to start re-blogging. In a few months, if you are still reading, please know that you are only about a third of the way through my war experiences. And you are only about a tenth of the way through their war experiences. Perpetual War lasts for a long time, almost like forever.

 

So please excuse me if I laugh when a Republican tells us that we need to start another war. Please excuse me when I cry when a Democrat tells me that we need to send in a peace keeping force. Please excuse me when I don’t vote how you think I would or how I don’t get worked up over whatever the topic of the day is or how the best time of my day is when I don’t watch the news. I only did four years of war and I have been out of the Perpetual War business for thirteen years and I am still tired…

 

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That guy does look tired, maybe his son’s soccer team is losing a playoff game. Photo from Tom Statig Photography

 

 

Wow, I had no idea all that was inside me but its out now. I promise that I will try to not be as political next time. Also, I read this post and I really think my writing has greatly improved. I hope you enjoy the journey.

 

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This guy looks much happier. I choose to be him. photo from rob akers.

 

 

 

https://robakers.wordpress.com/2013/03/07/it-is-0036-estdo-you-know-exactly-where-you-were-ten-years-ago-this-very-second/

WHY NOW…?

 

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“What Rob is on Facebook!? photo from yahoo

 

 

Hey Y’all,

 

Some of you might know and others wont until you read this but last Thursday, I created a major tremor in my little side of the world when I suddenly joined Facebook.  My phone started blowing up with texts telling me that I had been hacked. When I told them it was intentional, several of my friends were very worried that there was a sudden change of relationship status or another life-altering event.

 

The purpose of this article will be to begin to set the record straight and to answer the many questions that have been flowing in since Thursday.

 

QUESTION #1. Is there a relationship problem between me and my wife?

Answer. Nope. We are as right as rain. Donetta is my bestest friend ever and we are as solid as a rock.

 

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She actually said “If you embarrass me, then I will slap you so hard that Google will never find you.” photo from yahoo

 

QUESTION #2. Have you been reported to Facebook yet? Does Facebook know about what kind of commentator you are? Are you worried that you are going to Facebook jail?

Answer. Nope. Why would I be afraid of a all intrusive, all knowing, corrupted mega-corporation that has demonstrated the ability to hack into ever facet of my life?  What could possibly go wrong?

 

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“Yes Janet. Ms serious if your nasty.” photo from yahoo

 

QUESTION #3. Where have you been the last 30 years?

Answer. I replied to this friend saying “Sending smoke signals.” So, I guess that smoke signals aren’t exactly the best way to communicate anymore. It worked in 1718, I thought it would still work in 2018. That’s on me.

 

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No comment but so true. photo from yahoo

 

QUESTION #4. You have lived your life on the philosophy of not mixing your worlds. Facebook is the ultimate blender. Your worlds will never be separate again. How are you going to handle this?

Answer. I don’t know. If I am honest, it is slightly uncomfortable but I need to shake it up a little. I really have tried my entire life to be the same person in every group. This leads to me being slightly lame in some audiences and slightly inappropriate in other groups. Depending on which side of the world you fall into, get ready for more.

 

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Naps make everything better. photo from yahoo

 

QUESTION #5. Why did I sign up now and not ten years ago when all the cool kids were doing Facebook?

Answer. I can’t give the exact reason of why because I am learning about how to operate Facebook so I can use it for some other projects I have concurrently ongoing. I didn’t want to experiment on those sites so I am using my personal site to learn how to do things on Facebook. That partly explains why I’m doing this post on the blog. I want to figure out how to link all this together.

 

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I was the coolest kid in high school. photo from yahoo

I have always thought that I was better off mentally by limiting my exposure to social media. I still believe that and while I am going to be relatively active on Facebook for a while, I will have personal limits on how active I check in with Facebook. I guess I am saying that if you hit me up on Facebook, I will reply just maybe not immediately.

 

QUESTION #6. This will be the last question. What is going on that is making me sign up on Facebook?

Answer. I’m not saying yet. But will announce it in the next few weeks. Kind of cool. Or at least I hope it will be.

 

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If you know me, then you know it is true. photo from yahoo

 

So there you go. I would like to invite anyone who has been with me on the blog to reach out to me on Facebook. It is very possible that we are already friends on Facebook though. Every time, I log onto Facebook, they have at least a hundred people that I know out there in the world. Ironically, I don’t recognize their faces but Facebook says I know them. I don’t want to be rude, so I have asked to be their friend. As of right now, I have 147,926 friends on Facebook. That’s only after four days. If I would have known that I was a real social monster, I would have done this years ago.

 

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Im looking to pack the funeral home. How else will we put the fun in funeral? photo form yahoo

 

Until next time, keep on rockin!

 

Rehash of 2018 and whats next

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There really isn’t a logo for the J-Dudes (My term not theirs) so I found this online. photo from yahoo

 

Hey Ya’ll,

 

There is no doubt that I feel hard off the social media train. I lost my blog dog status and turned into “That Guy.” Very sorry about that, I totally understand that all of you needed to move on with life. No one likes to be in a one-sided relationship. Of course, I will not make any promises about the future, but the good news is that I can’t give you less than zero. It is all uphill from here.

 

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Oh Waaaahhhh! Cry me a river, its not like any of you called to check on me. photo from yahoo.

 

 

This past year I was involved in a fairly intensive leadership class that focused on turning men into better leaders within the family, the church and their world. There was a group of seven of us with two group leaders and we were required to read twelve books and do a special project each month. In November 2017, on a Sunday morning while the preacher was talking, I was thinking that had fallen into a rut in life and was thinking about a challenge to take me to the next level in life. After services, one of the group leaders, Matt Y, asked if he could call me and talk about this leadership group called Joshua’s Men. Before he could finish telling me about the upcoming year, I said yes. He laughed and told me that this was serious and that I probably should talk with my wife about it. I told him just to put me on the list.

 

I knew two of the guys in the group fairly well and two others vaguely. The other three were new names and faces. The first month was a weekend retreat which was pretty intense. Not physically or even mentally but emotionally. Our group formed quickly and we were off. During the year, the toughest challenge for me was a three day fast but there never was an easy challenge. We had to do a fifteen-minute speech, a couple of interviews with our spouses or with people we had never met, we kept a budget for a month, develop a vision for life, write encouragement letters and a couple more that I have repressed. Ha ha.

 

I am in a much better place today than I was this time last year. Being in a relatively intense study with other highly motivated men was invigorating and I highly suggest everyone seek out a group like this to join.

 

It was directly because of this group that I started iOverflight with two other friends. My goals for iOverflight are different than my business partners and while I am not ready to talk about them right now. I promise that my goals are stupid big and will surely fail if I am not blessed by God. Because it is God’s will not mine that I go down the road. I only know one way and that is at max forward speed, recklessly flying into the unknown. ROCK ON!

 

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Gratuitous product placement. Check them out at iOverflight.com photo from iOverflight.

 

 

On the writing front, I totally ditched “The Book of Lot” because it sucked. It was easy, select all…delete.

I started writing “The Book of Judas” in January, getting in sporadic hours during the year.  Right now, I think I have a solid story line and about 80,000 words. I am going to get a good edit and run through and maybe there will be something there. If nothing else, I love the title. So at least that is something.

 

This past Spring, my daughter played high school softball. It was fun for me. I don’t think she liked it and there is a real chance that she has retired from volleyball and softball. She changed schools this fall and is doing amazing. She is so much like I was in high school except that she is nice, mostly listens in class, never skips, hasn’t gone to see the Principal and she has all A’s. She really is blowing up right now and I couldn’t be prouder.

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I think this is more of a tackle than a hug. I like the form, head up and wrapped up. photo from rob akers

My son started playing Middle School sports this Fall starting with soccer and now basketball. It is tough to compete as a 6th grader when your playing 8th graders but he is holding his own. He is nothing like me except that he gets in trouble with the teachers and the Principal, he doesn’t like to listen in class, his grades leave lots of room for improvement, and if he could skip class he would in a heartbeat and not feel an ounce of guilt. Unlike me, he is a great kid and like his sister, he is blowing up and I couldn’t be prouder. Of course, it is my Mom’s fault because she wished that I would have a son just like me.

 

All things being equal, I have never been more blessed. I lay in bed every night and wonder what I did to get a fantastic life. But my heart breaks when I think of what Haitian Rob would have been like living in a world where there was no hope. We got to fix that.

 

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I can’t fix this. But God can. Time to get to work. photo from yahoo

 

Until next time, keep on rockin!

 

This isnt all the books. I am missing two but you get the idea.

 

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Great Book. Written with a loving heart. photo from rob akers

 

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Easy to read with simple explanations. Why do we make money so complicated? Of course, the things that are important should be easy to understand and hard to do. Good read. photo from rob akers

 

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I have a tough time being constantly reminded how good a leader the author is and that I should be like him without concrete examples of what makes him a better leader then I am. Maybe one thing is that he actually has written a book. photo from rob akers

 

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Another book written with a loving heart. Good book but I think I remember it being tough to read. photo from rob akers

 

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Not a leadership book but it taught me more about leadership than Maxwell and Scroggins combined. Hard to read because it is so intellectually deep (consider the reader here) but it is still very impactful to me. Yes! photo from rob akers

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As I read this book, I couldnt get past Bill Hybels constantly bringing up how he was approaching women to share the Gospel with them. I kept thinking about where is his wife was and what my wife would think if I “witnessed” only to women. Probably on the not cool side of the equation. I mentioned this to one of the guys in the group when he asked what I thought of the book. He asked if I knew about Bill and his issues. I dont have a clue because Im not the guy that is connected like that. Apparently Bill has been accused of inappropriate conduct around women. After reading the book, I am not surprised at all. photo from rob akers

 

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The others didnt care for this book, and it had its issues. But overall, if you want to learn how to speak in public. It is a good place to go. photo from yahoo

 

 

Most motivational book I read all year. But I would debate that it was more God and less Andy. photo from yahoo 

 

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First book I read this year. That is the best thing I have to say about it. If you read it and got 20% good stuff out of it. Then you are a better person than me. photo from yahoo

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