The Things I am Learning Volunteering

Check out my newest article over on

The Things I am Learning Volunteering

I’d love your comments and your own stories of service.

Please like and share it if you are feeling the message.


Show Me the Munny

On Friday September 21st, 2018 BAIT, a multi-category premium retailer in Denver, Colorado hosted urban collectible toy designer kidrobot‘s annual Show Me The Munny art exhibition.

The exhibition featured various artist rendered creations of kidrobot‘s famed Munny “do-it-yourself” vinyl toys. Seventeen artists displayed their works and auctioned the pieces off to the highest bidders.

Here are thirteen of the pieces on display:


An out of production Monsta Munny was one of the center pieces of the show. Markers and stencils were set out around the display and event-goers were able to leave their own creative mark on the event.


Beers were handed out to those twenty-one and older. Munnys, in their freshly redesigned package, were on display for sale all throughout the store.

It was a hip and intimate event and a wonderful sharing of culture.

BAIT is located on 1926 Blake St. Suite 100 and sits catty-corner of the south end of Coors Field in the heart of downtown. They feature an awesome case of collectible and rare unique toys in a huge case at the entry of the store.


BAIT features high end clothing, shoes and toys, and collaborates with a variety of brands and anime companies such as Dungeons And Dragons, Bruce Lee, and Marvel Comics.

My favorite shirt of the Marvel collabs.
The back side.

kidrobot is a premium creator and dealer of limited edition art toys, apparel, and accessories. They are based out of Boulder Colorado, but their toys and gear can be found at various shops and online all over the world.

Edited by Kodid Laraque-Two Elk

Me & Darth in the dark side of the event.

If you enjoyed this article please check out more amazing content at: 5280Geek

And my other creative works:

 @MovingOnUpwards (on Instagram)

@MovingOnUpwards (on Twitter)


Illusions and the Reluctant Messiah

by John Andreula

Edited by Kodid Laraque-Two Elk

Just yesterday I completed reading the novel Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah by Richard Bach. It was an unusual but compelling story that makes for a fast fulfilling read.

A fellow wanderer, who has been a confidant in my recent personal journeys, as well as a partner in my learnings, shared a story with me from the early part of the book. It was the story of an underwater village of creatures. One of the creatures refused to accept things as they were in its world.

I cannot do the story justice here trying to reiterate it, but I took the meaning of the tale he told me to mean the world you surround yourself with may react negatively if you share your plans for change. However, if you decide to change anyway, the new world you find yourself surrounded by will not only embrace you, but they may find value in you in ways you could not possibly imagine.

Needless to say I was hooked. I had to read the book this amazing story came from.

I personally have been on a journey of self-discovery for the better part of the past year. I’ve dealt with some growing pains and a lot of uncertainty. I’ve had people tell me to not do things I’ve decided to do out of positions of fear and contentment. I’ve embraced and challenged fear and I will piss on contentment for my remaining days on this planet.

Contentment has been one of the most destructive forces in my life up until this point. It has caused me to waste away for countless hours at jobs I did not realize I didn’t value or like until after I had moved on. Contentment has caused me to embrace habits that had no benefit in my own personal growth or happiness. In fact many of those habits have caused detriment to my personal emotional and physical well-being.

Illusions: The adventures of a Reluctant Messiah really spoke to this new found vision I had for what I’d like my life to be.

The book Illusions is the story of an airplane pilot told in first person. The pilot’s name is Richard, which is the same as the first name of the author, Richard Bach. By the end of the book it seems that the author is trying to give the literal impression that it is a somewhat true story about his own life.

Richard is a protagonist who drifts aimlessly from town to town offering flights in his small plane for three dollars a person. Aside from gas and parts to keep his plane flying, he has little to no semblance of responsibility in his life.

Richard seems to be running from the real world and genuine lasting connections with other people.

One day he is approached by another pilot who seems to be of a similar lifestyle. His name is Donald Shimoda. Immediately Richard notices an oddness in Donald, how he does things, and his outlook on life in general. Certain eccentricities lead both Richard and the reader to understand Donald is special early on in the story.

Despite his reservations about this unusual new acquaintance, Richard grows fond of the strange antagonist. Donald steps into a mentorship role with Richard and begins to try to reach him in very strange ways.

Donald reveals himself to be a healer/miracle-worker/messiah who has decided he wasn’t interested in being a messiah any longer. Donald reveals that he is not the only one on Earth with these abilities. He also reveals that “on Earth” is just one of the many illusions perpetuated by our modern existence.

Donald believes god, “Is” in the book, is satisfied with him doing what he wants to do with his life. He believes he should just do whatever makes him happy, unlike the way Jesus lived his life for the good of his fellow man.

As the book progresses Richard and Donald’s relationship, as well as Donald’s teachings, do also. Donald’s insights go from ideas to physical manifestations of miracles that are nothing short of amazing. The two eventually walk on water and swim in the earth. Donald walks through a wall and creates material objects out of nothing.

As these amazing things are happening, Donald is teaching Richard how to become one of the world’s masters and messiahs. Richard continues to struggle with his own reluctance to accept the illusions of our so-called reality. Additionally, he struggles with his fear of crowds, and most likely people in general. He must overcome both of these issues to level up and become a master himself.

Spoiler alert, the story ends with the natural progression of any messiah tale, with a death. Of course that death is just the final example of one of our material world’s illusions.

One of the themes in the book is the concept of manifesting what one wants from the world. It is about letting go of preconceived notions of what one wants and needs in order to accomplish goals and creation. Letting go of those conceptions inevitably leads to success and happiness.

The author also touches on both the gold and platinum rules of how to treat people. He ends up stating that treating others how you want to be treated or how they want to be treated is not as important as doing what you want to do in life. I don’t think I have ever seen this concept in writing previously. It was very anachronistic.

I was genuinely moved by Richard Bach’s novel, but despite the verbose review, I have trouble summing up exactly how the book made me feel and what I think about it.

I will definitely recommend the book to anyone with an open mind, or anyone looking at expanding how they view themselves and the world we live in in general. However, I would be wary of recommending this book to anyone with devout or unrelenting religious beliefs and viewpoints. I believe they will not only find little value and entertainment in the story, but they may actually be offended by the contents of the book, and possibly even the recommendation.

If you enjoyed this piece please check out my other creative works: (on Instagram) @movingonupwards (on Twitter)


The Earth Remembers

Written by John Andreula

It’s a tight window, this duration of time. Three thousand or so years since the expanse of civilization. The Earth remembers the time before; the quiet time near forgotten. She longs for a period of silence and rest and peace.


The Earth wishes for growth without sentience, terrain lacking so-called intelligent fauna, so she can breathe without the obnoxious noxious. She wants to see for days without haze.


We suffocate her now. We take and take. Junk, that’s all we produce and consume. We waste away…all of these beautiful resources.


The Earth will inevitably decide when the clock strikes twelve. If not her, then the sun or his brothers, the other stars, or from his cousins the comets as they make a break for it. A smashing crash then a coming to Jesus or at least a coming to the terms of the last will and testament.


Reflect light and always do what’s right.

If you enjoyed this piece please check out my other creative works: (on Instagram) @movingonupwards (on Twitter)

Losing Weight and How it Improved my Life

Written by John Andreula

Edited by Kodid Laraque-Two Elk

I would like to share the story of my weight loss journey in hopes that it may inspire others to do the same. You too, can gain control of your physical being and become the person you’ve always wanted to be.

It will not be easy, but it is definitely not as hard as you think, either.

Fire Jump 2 (2)

I will end with the ten reasons why losing weight made my life better. I hope you enjoy the story and the list. Please feel free to comment and share this. I will make myself available if you need any tips or resources. If just need someone to kick your ass in gear or if you’re game for a workout sometime I’ll be there. Seriously…

During the winter of 2010 I had a devastating knee injury while snowboarding in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. The resulting knee surgery and subsequent rehabilitation changed my life.

Just after the surgery

To heal properly and to regain the strength and motion in my knee I had to commit to adjusting my diet and incorporating regular physical fitness into my daily routine.

I knew I had to. Aside from wanting to regain regular use of my knee, I knew that I never see obese elderly people. It may sound harsh, but it’s a fact. Look around.

Prior to that time I had no discipline in the kitchen and I did not exercise. I had always eaten whatever I wanted with no thought of the consequences. On top of that, the only physical exertion I really got was in social situations.

When I weighed in after my injury I weighed 210 lbs. I was always a husky kid. I had told myself I had thick bones. I always thought I wore it well. Interesting feelings are aroused now when I look back at pictures of myself from those days.

@Spring Lake beach (2)

I was given a second chance. I had to become a changed man if I was to have any hope of returning to snowboarding, let alone walking without pain. I committed to my physical therapy exercises religiously, without regard to the discomfort or inconvenience.

With the help of my supportive wife and family I made healthier choices during my meals. I ate better, more natural, wholesome foods. Additionally, I watched my portions more closely. I severely limited my sweet and junk food intake.

Edible Arrangements from Mom
Edible Arrangement Sent from my Mom after surgery

Eventually I would get the all-clear from my physical therapist, Kristen Carpenter, and my arthroscopic surgeon, Joanne Halbrecht. I was now started down a path of physical improvement, but I was far from where I would end up today.

The next New Years came and I chose what I believe to be the most important resolution and nutrition decision I would ever make. I quit drinking soda cold turkey. I would no longer drink Mountain Dew, Dr. Pepper, Surge, orange soda, grape soda, or cola. I would say no to all of it.

If you’re sitting there with a Coke in your hand, or in your body, this may sound difficult, but it really wasn’t. Like you do now, and like smokers do when they think about their smoking habit, I knew the soda was bad for me. I decided my will-power and my desire to improve myself was stronger than whatever physical, mental, or emotional addiction I had to soda.

I may have had three to five sodas since then. They’ve all been organic or natural sodas, but I don’t even really have the taste for them anymore. I definitely no longer crave or want one when I see them in supermarkets or at BBQs.

My brother-in-law, Jeremie, helped me continue to look closer at my diet. We went through a period where I logged my food and beverage intake. I had to be brutally honest with everything I was putting in my body. When I drank a coffee I marked the coffee, as well as the half and half and the teaspoon of raw sugar.

We weren’t doing it as an exercise in counting calories as much as just practicing being conscious of what and how much I was in fact eating. This did two things. One, I had a baseline to see how I was doing day to day comparatively. Two, it made me cognizant of the places I could continue to reduce and eliminate unnecessary foods, drinks, and snacks.

Through all these changes and some moderate exercise I lost twenty pounds! I was now weighing in at 190. On a five foot five frame I still was fat. I just still didn’t really know it yet.


Even in denial of how heavy I was and how fat I looked, I still felt a yearning and determination to make something physically better of myself.

Jeremie and I decided to ramp up my fitness. He was studying to become a personal trainer and I was no longer hungry for unfulfilling processed foods; I was hungry for fitness. Jeremie presented me with the opportunity to participate in a body transformation challenge.

The challenge was put on by the National Council for Certified Personal Trainers. The competition took place over twelve weeks. Progress needed to be documented by weigh-ins and photographs posted online to contestants’ social media pages.

J Body Transformation Begin
Transformation week 1; 2014

I was in good shape at the outset of the competition, but we really dialed in my exercise regimen to achieve some amazing results. We kicked the volume up to ten. We incorporated long distance runs and races, as well as high intensity interval training.

Jeremie din’t take any bullshit or excuses. He would kick my ass in the workouts and he wouldn’t accept me dogging and lagging behind on the runs. I will never forget the time, energy, and effort he invested into me and my journey.

Slimmer and firmer parts of me became a cut, clearly defined physique. I shed almost all the excess weight around my midsection. The weekly pictures gradually showed a sizable difference in my form, until the final photos told the whole story of my transformation.

J Transform Results
End of transformation comparison; 2014

Unfortunately, we did not win the competition. There were competitors who had a much larger fitness deficit to make up and were able to show significantly more results by the end of the twelve weeks. I was happy and impressed by the winners’ transformations.

Even without winning any prizes I felt that anyone who committed to and completed the twelve week transformation were undoubtedly winners. I could tell from the looks on the faces of the entrants, as well as from the looks of their bodies seen in the succession of photos posted.

I personally dropped another eighteen pounds during the transformation and ended the contest at 172 pounds. I was in the best shape of my life. I loved how I looked. I loved how I felt. I loved what I could do. I had become a person I could truly love and not just learn to live with.

Fast forward to today. I still weigh in regularly. I’ve gotten my weight as low as 162 pounds when I’m in a heavy exercise routine or training for a race. Right now I am close to 170, as I have had to sacrifice workout time in favor of writing, reading books, and spending time with the family.

For the past two years, I have regularly attended a Kung Fu class. The first forty to sixty minutes of which is high intensity interval training. I attend two to three classes per week.

dragon boat 2018 3 (2)

I have done so many sit-ups in that class that I am rocking a sick six pack. I keep threatening my wife that I am going to post a pic on Instagram. I’ll probably use this article as an excuse.

This year I ran a 10k in under fifty minutes. When I was cleared by my P.T. all those years ago to resume regular exercise I could not even run a half mile without having to walk part of it.

bb 2018 1 (2)

I have even set a rule for myself that every time I enter a particular room in my house I have to do ten pull-ups or ten chin-ups. When I started this journey one of my original fitness goals was to just do ten pull-ups. Back then I could only do one pull-up if I jumped into it.

Now I batch my trips into that room, so I don’t owe myself too many reps. Still, it helps when I am spread too thin to commit to a workout every day. It helps me get a bit of a pump.

The whole journey was all about sacrificing the short-term satisfactions for the long term gains. It has been about determination, and creating a positive outlook through positive changes.

It was all in establishing discipline in my unruly life. I have a tattoo (seen in the photos above) stating that I am out of control. It is a constant reminder of the person I used to be and where I came from.

I have achieved control over my body and many of my worst impulses.

Circa 2008
Circa 2018

I have gotten rid of all my fat man clothing. I remember thinking it was the best worst problem to have at the time.

I remember looking in the mirror and thinking I’ll never get rid of these love handles or all these chins. Now they’re almost all gone.

If you’re thinking about starting the journey yourself just remind yourself, there’s no good reason not to.

Thanks for reading this. I hope to be able to one day provide similarly substantial results with the work I am doing on my emotional and social IQ’s.

Ten reasons why losing weight has made my life significantly better:

  1. Overall health improved and less susceptibility to injury.
  2. More confidence and self-esteem.
  3. Improved athletic ability and capacity.
  4. Better stamina and staying power.
  5. Look better; naked and in clothes.
  6. Fit through tighter spaces.
  7. Better in bed.
  8. Can pull myself up if I had to to save my life.
  9. Someone else can pull me up if they need to save my life.
  10. Fixing my outside has allowed me to see the need to and start fixing myself on the inside.

Don’t forget to hit the like button and follow the blog to be informed of all our future releases.

Feel free to leave a comment if this piece speaks to you or if you have any value of your own to add.

Jer & Pappa Finish
Winning, even when I’m not the winner! 2016