Hello, I’m Michael.

Not ‘Mike’. I said ‘Michael’. I’m a serious type of guy. I’m told that I should smile more often. Thing is, I think I am. Who wouldn’t with the kind of life I have today?

I’m guilty of being in my head too much, always studying what’s going on around me, contemplating, taking in how people think and act. The brain and its design are my obsession.

My wife and kids refuse to watch one more 90’s movie with me. (I really thought they were enjoying themselves.) It’s how I escape for a minute. I mean this brain of mine just doesn’t like to shut down. I’ve watched ‘You’ve Got Mail’ and ‘Back to the Future’ at least 50 times. I’m a Trekkor, too. Makes my wife crazy and she said if I don’t stop dressing like I am stuck in the 90’s that I’ll be going solo. I’m a hopeless romantic. Dana (my wife) loves surprises, so I will always have this great date or surprise planned but I just can’t stand the suspense so I’ll tell her like hours before the surprise. It’s our thing. Or my thing. She just wishes I could finally make it all the way through and keep a secret.

I’m unapologetic about being tough on our children, pushing them to their potential, and I’m not cool with how parenting is today with the “participation awards” and keeping children comfortable. The best part of my life is I get to stand in the gap for absent fathers and grandfathers. I’ve walked four graduates down the aisle and love being there for the little ones that don’t have dads or grandfathers. We have five children, one son-in-law, a grandson and new granddaughter. We are a tight family. One of my daughters still isn’t talking to me. I’ve really made some mistakes but I’m never going to stop trying. Being there for others helps with the heartache.

They call me the ‘Addiction Expert’ around here. Not sure about that, and I’m not into titles, but I am sick of half-truths and theories that are hurting, even killing people.

Backpacking is another passion of mine. A cup of coffee by a tiny fire near a stream in the Trinity Alps is where I get my vision, my direction from God. I bring different people on our team with me most of the time, to challenge them, to create new memories. Some of their old ones aren’t so great.

I’ve always dreamed of being a pilot. Spent most of my early adult life in San Quentin, looking up to the sky, knowing I would be flying a plane some day. Today, I am a pilot. Recently, I flew over San Quentin and my heart sort of dropped. It’s been quite a journey.

I tried to surprise my wife with this epic flying date over San Francisco into Monterey for dinner. Had the whole Crossing the Jordan tribe and our kids keeping the secret but I couldn’t take it any longer and had to tell her. I know. I can’t help myself. I was also ‘missing’ quite a bit, so…any smart husband would explain.

I love serving our community. It’s at the core of all I do. Serving just equals freedom, period and I’ve lived in prisons long enough. I love seeing the joy of a child reunited with their mother or a man finally growing up and serving his family. I am passionate about the success of others and I am on fire for who we are as a family at Crossing the Jordan and all we have planned to do to impact those we have yet to meet.

My wife sometimes wants to ‘pretty up’ our story about who we used to be.  It’s interesting how even in that mess, in our darkest times, both of us were trying to help those around us. I think it’s the thread that wove us together. I can see we had a purpose before we even started our story. God uses our messes, our ugly truths, our vilest of secrets and deepest of pains to touch the most lost of souls.

I won’t hide the person I was. I had spent a third of my life in a prison cell by the time I met Dana, never understanding why I couldn’t stop. It’s strange to know inside every cell of your being that you were going to someday help set people free while you are still sitting in a cell with years to serve.  God can do whatever He wants and He has a habit of using the least likely to shake things up. That’s what faith is…believing in what you cannot see…yet. Now, here we are, and God’s timing is perfect.  Dana and I found each other and the rest is history.

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