Diving Back Into the Word


It was November of 2014 and it was just another Sunday, or at least that’s how it started. I had Youth Group as usual and I was reading during Mass that night. The second reading for the 5pm Mass was from Proverbs 31 and as I usually do, I was in the rectory going through the readings to make sure I didn’t stumble over my words. I read over the words a couple of times and I felt good about the reading so I closed up the missalette and took my seat for Mass. The time came for me to read so I stood up, said a silent prayer to myself as I walked to the lectern, opened the Word, and began reading. Little did I know, everything was about to change. My heart filled with joy as the words left my lips. “Who can find a woman of worth? Far beyond jewels is her value,” were the words that escaped my mouth as my heart began to race. I had no clue what this feeling was. Was I about to pass out? Am I having a stroke? I don’t smell burning hair, am I having a heart attack? I read on and the feeling only intensified. The Holy Spirit was working through me, that was the only explanation I could think of. I was truly feeling God’s words and it helped me decide that Nicole was the woman I wanted to marry. I went to the jewelry store that night and bought the ring. I was ready.

That was the first time I truly felt the word of God. That was the first time I truly felt the power of God’s Word. Its not enough to just go to church on Sundays and listen to the priest or the pastor share the Word with the congregation. Yea, sometimes its an amazing sermon and you feel recharged and ready to take on the world or you felt it was sub-par and you got nothing from it. But there is so much more to being a follower of Christ than just going to church every Sunday and it starts with the Bible. The Word of God is powerful. The Word of God is life changing. The Word of God is hope.

When was the last time you opened the Bible and just started reading? I’m talking Bible Roulette style, just open the Bible to the first page that opens and start reading. When was the last time you dove into scripture for inspiration because you are stuck in a season of struggle and you don’t see a way out of it? Chances are, its been a while but that’s okay! Start now. Start today. Start tonight. Start at lunch. Open the Word while you are enjoying your morning cup of coffee. Open the Word before you check your emails in the morning. Start by reading one of the four Gospels. Start by reading one of the letters from Jesus’ apostles to the early church. The bottom line is just start. It may seem like a daunting task and it might confuse you and you may not understand what it is you are reading but that’s okay. Share those questions with others. Share those questions with your priest or pastor, your Bible study leader, your youth pastor, your husband, your wife, you mom or dad. Lean in and find answers. Just read and let God in. Just read and let God work through you. Just read and learn just how amazing and loving our God truly is.


Deep in the Heart of Texas

July 3, 2016, one of the happiest days of my life. I finally got to marry my best friend and we were able to share that special day with our closest friends and family. The week leading up to that day was filled with excitement and anticipation. All of our guests started coming into town and our wedding party began trickling in as well. The big day arrived and we did a thing. Mr. and Mrs. Michael Bush totally became a thing. I now have a wife. She now has a husband. Holy cow. It actually happened.

We decided that we want to call Texas home so we packed up our lives and two days after the wedding we drove from California to Texas. It was a 22 hour drive split between two days. We ran out of gas, had a blow out on our U-Haul trailer, and couldn’t go faster than 65 MPH. It was a long trip but we made it and we didn’t kill each other or get divorced.

The following weekend we headed out for our honeymoon. We finally shared our first plane ride together after almost four years of being together. We flew to California to pick up Nicole’s car to bring back to Texas but first, honeymoon in the mountains of Colorado. First, 9 hours to Colorado. We arrived but found our refrigerator in our cabin wasn’t working so our delicious steak we bought spoiled. Yay. We had lots of eggs and chili which wasn’t too bad but it definitely added to tthe h adventure. We left a day early because we needed to get back to Texas so we left early Tuesday evening and drove though the night. The drive was 14 hours. Straight. I suck at planning. Oops. We drove through the night, found all the deer in Colorado, hit a rabbit, and finally made it to Texas. 

Within the first two weeks of marriage we drove halfway across the country, twice. We drove through the night both times through miles of nothingness. We put our patience to the test and we came out on top. 

As Nicole and I have found since we started dating we can never do things easy. There is almost some type of an adventure to be had. We have dozens of stories for the kids and we have been married for less than a month. Needles to say I think we are going to have a wonderful marriage. 

Here’s to Texas, may the adventure continue and life be prosperous. Cheers!

I am 16 Going On 26

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On the eve of my 26th year on this Earth I’ve decided its time to lend some perspective on my life thus far and see where it gets me. May 11, 1990, I came into this world and the adventure began. I remember being a kid before I hit double digits thinking I would never make it 10. As a freshman in high school I never thought I would see 16. At 16, I thought 18 was years away. At 18, 21 was so far off. Now here I am, a day shy of 26 and closer to 30 than 20 (thanks for the reminder, Nicole) and I can’t believe I’ve made it this far. In that time, I’ve learned a few things and done a lot of living. I’ve traveled the world, met interesting people, ate great food, enjoyed all the beer I can, and these are the 3 things I’ve learned.

1. Be at the right place, at the right time, in the right uniform

This point is very cliche and its something that is thrown around in the military all the time but it is very important and sound words of wisdom. No matter what you are doing, whether you are giving a key note speech at a large convention or your are showing up to the gym to work out with friends, being prepared is key. Most of the time, as long as you are dressed appropriately, on time, and at the right place, you can’t go wrong. Chances are you look like you know what’s going on so no one will pay you any mind. Oh, and if the occasion calls for a suit, you better suit up and wear the heck out of the suit. You can never go wrong with a well fitted suit.

2. You are going to fail

I was in scouts pretty much all my adolescent life and I fell short of getting my Eagle Scout because of merit badges. I failed. I did a year at Prep School and 3 at West Point and failed that as well. No matter who you are, you are going to fail at some point in your life. You could fail at something huge or something small. The fact of the matter is you will still fail. Failure is just a fact of life and it sucks. It comes with the territory and each failure comes with some sort of a valuable lesson.

3. When you get knocked down, get back up and ask for more

I’ve had my fair share of failures as I previously stated and each failure has hurt. But my failures do not define who I am as a person. When we fail, what matters is what comes next. Do you just throw in the towel or do you get back up and keep fighting? Failure is not the end. Getting knocked down a couple of pegs is not the end. Take a knee, get your barrings, rub some dirt on your wounds, and drive on. Resiliency is how you overcome a failure. How you bounce back says a lot more than your failure.

Life is truly an adventure. Like the wise and noble Ferris Bueller once said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose. Here’s to many more years. Cheers!

Star Wars: Guest Starring Jeffers Haile

Since today is such a momentous day, I figured I would share it with a friend of mine and fellow Star Wars nerd, Jeffers Haile (He’s the one dressed as Anakin, not C3P0). Take it away, big guy.

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Did you ever have that one thing in your childhood that just made you feel pure excitement and joy? Something that transported you to a different world, something that made you feel like anything was possible. For me that was and still is Star Wars. When you grow up loving something, you can always remember that first experience, the first movie and the way it made you feel, the impact it made and the impression it left on you. Problem is I don’t remember that moment, in fact, I don’t even remember which movie I saw first.
I am actually borderline happy and relieved I don’t remember how I felt about my first Star Wars movie. Reason being, I love Star Wars, as far back as I can remember I have loved Star Wars and the great thing is, I don’t have compare any future experiences to a defining first moment. I think it is all too common that we hold onto our first viewing or experience of something and we impossibly compare it to everything related to it in the future. Don’t believe me? That’s okay, to prove my point you can simply look to the most recent Star Wars movie, The Force Awakens. Granted I really enjoyed that movie, but do you know what I heard most about that movie when people complimented it? “It reminded me of the old movies.” In fact J.J. Abrams said multiple times they were going to try and make it feel more like the old trilogy. Part of their way of doing that was with the special effects, many little references, one liners, and general story lines that referred back to the original trilogy and tied in with The Force Awakens. For the record, I’m not complaining about these additions, I am simply making a point, that sometimes we compare or build things up with vague or even clear memories from our childhoods. Most of the time the things we compare these memories to stand no chance of meeting, let alone exceeding our expectations.

One of my favorite Star Wars movie experiences was skipping a day of high school when I was 15 with my two best friends. We lived in a small town in Washington State, the biggest thing it had was a diner and a small grocery store. We had to take a ride on the city transit to the nearest actual city if we wanted to have any kind of real Star Wars experience. A twenty minute bus ride later and we were transported to our fantastic day of pure Star Wars bliss (with full consent from our awesome parents of course, you can’t hold your kids back from these moments folks). After buying overpriced concessions and most likely sneaking in candy, we waited in full anticipation for the last Star Wars movie of the prequel. That’s right, Revenge of the Sith is part of one of my most memorable Star Wars moments of my life (cue fanboy outrage). To be honest Revenge of the Sith is actually one of my favorite Star Wars movies. I know what most of you are thinking…”Either, wow this guy calls himself a fan?” Or, “Let’s kick his ass.” Both are valid thoughts to be running through your minds. The debate on why I like Revenge of the Sith as a Star Wars movie is an argument for another time and place, besides hear me out on this one. This was a day that I got to spend with my two best friends, both of which I am still best friends with to this day. The memory sticks in my mind because it occurred before life got complicated, before real relationships, preparing for college, getting married, having kids, simply put, before life happened. Before all that a memory was made, one where it was just us, watching one of our favorite franchises (which we thought at the time, would be it’s last movie ever made) and truly being kids for one more day. For those two hours we were engulfed into a different world together, three best friends making a memory that would last a lifetime. I don’t care what my actual first Star Wars movie viewing experience was, to be honest it doesn’t matter to me. I have this memory. The one where we skip school, have a lot of laughs together, and get to reminisce about what happened afterwards. Of course I thought the movie was good, I still stand by that, however it was the experience and the company, that made the memory stand the test of time.

I think we put a lot of pressure on our experiences when comparing them to similar ones of our past. Sometimes we forget why we loved certain things to begin with, we always compare them to that first memory that we inadvertently put on a pedestal. We usually forget that rarely were these special memories and moments of franchises or movies spent alone. It’s not always about what we are watching, but who were with when we are enjoying them. The digital release of the Force Awakens has arrived and I implore you to watch it with someone you care about. Things like Star Wars weren’t meant to be watched alone. They were meant to be shared and made into everlasting memories.

My name is Jeffers Haile I am an avid lover of all things Star Wars (duh), soccer, working out, and video games. If you enjoyed my writing on Michael’s blog and would like to read more of my work, please visit my own blog which is about the entertaining ups and downs of dating a nurse (who just so happens to be my girlfriend). hailejeffersblog.com

In A Galaxy Far, Far Away

File Apr 01, 14 14 37The year was 1997, I was a mere boy of 7 years of age and I had no clue what my dad was about to get me into. We arrived at the movie theater down the street to watch a movie called “The Empire Strikes Back.” This was the time when computers emitted a cacophony of sounds during the boot-up process and the internet was not a common commodity in the house so I couldn’t just Google this movie I was about to watch. I went into this knowing absolutely nothing other than a title. We bought some popcorn, sat in our seats, and waited for the movie to begin. Darkness. The Fox fanfare begins. Lucasfilm centered on the screen. Silence. Some words come on screen so I read them out loud because 7 year old Michael couldn’t read in his head yet. Then with a loud boom, that to this day still makes my heart skip a beat, the opening crawl begins and the Star Wars theme song fills the theater. HOLY CRAP THIS IS AWESOME!! For the next 2 hours and 4 minutes, my eyes were glued to the screen and I was hooked. My life forever changed that day.

Flash forward 19 years and here we are, Episode VII is finally in digital release and will hit store shelves next week. Disney has marketed the life out of the beloved franchise and I couldn’t be more okay with it. From books to television, toys to board games, costumes to my favorite thing ever, First Order Storm Trooper onesies, Disney covered all the bases with this one and its glorious. Star Wars is a franchise that truly transcends both time and space. It has something for everyone to enjoy. There is adventure, self-discovery, love, thrill, and Darth Vader. From its initial release in May of 1977 to today, fans both young and old can sit down and have a debate about the serious matters in life such as who really shot first or was Jar Jar really that terrible? Simple matters, yes, but all the same ever so important in the grand scheme of things because we all know that Han really shot first and Jar Jar was truly responsible for the rise of the Empire when he decided to put forth a motion in the Senate to give the Chancellor emergency powers during the Clone Wars.

As most of you well know, I love Star Wars. I love Star Wars so much that I saw Episode VII in theaters 7 times. Within 24 hours of its release in theaters, I watched it 3 times. Yes, I have a problem but I am perfectly fine with it because I’m a nerd and that’s just what we do. Trust me, there are some people that watched it way more than I did. That just goes to show how much this franchise means to people. It brings people together and unites them under the giant nerd flag that is Star Wars.

Star Wars is a timeless franchise and will always have a special place in my heart. It will always be that thing that inspired me to do well in grade school so I could get awards and pick out any Star Wars toy I wanted. It will always be the thing Nicole will judge me for but that’s okay because she is secretly a Star Wars nerd as well. It will always mean so much to so many people. Star Wars will always be an adventure.
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100 Days Out

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 As of today, Nicole and I are 100 days out from the big day. We are 100 days away from the day I was hoping we would get to the moment she and I started talking. We are 100 days away from becoming Mr. and Mrs. Bush. Holy crap, I’m getting married in 100 days!

In case you haven’t noticed I’m just a little bit excited. Actually, I’m super excited and just flat out ready to marry my best friend and take over the world.

If you haven’t already read our story, you should definitely check it out here so you get the low down on how I proposed to this amazing woman. Nicole is in full on wedding planning mode and let me tell you, its kind of intense. In the words of the illustrious President Francis J. Underwood in regards to Claire Underwood, “I don’t know whether to be proud or terrified.” She has so much on her plate and she just keeps coming back for seconds and won’t settle for anything less than perfection. Every detail is perfect. Every flower needs to be just right. Every sequin evenly spaced from the rest. This girl is planning her own wedding and making most of the decorations herself along with the invitations which I have yet to see but from what I hear are going to be the classiest things since James Bond in a tailored white tuxedo jacket playing high stakes poker while sipping on a vodka martini that’s shaken, not stirred. I’m exhausted just thinking about it but I have to give credit where credit is due because putting up with me and planning a wedding at the same time is like having two full time jobs and learning theoretical physics all at once. I require a lot of personal attention. I’m kind of special. I have accepted this. I seriously love this woman.

Unlike Nicole, I suck at planning things. I suck at making decisions. Maybe that’s why we compliment each other so well? She plans and I just fly through life by the seat of my pants. She helps me be more organized while I help her be more okay with the unknown. Whatever it is, it works and you can see our different personalities during the wedding planning process. For example, I still don’t know what I’m going to wear or what my groomsmen are going to wear. I have to remind myself every morning that its pants first then shoes. I struggle dressing myself but now I have to dress not only myself but six other dudes. Woof. One simple decision and I can’t even get that right. Its definitely a good thing she loves me otherwise we wouldn’t be having this conversation right now.

100 days. I better start getting my life together time now.


We Finally Had A Proper Date

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It only took us 3 years to finally make it happen but it happened and it was magical. Nicole and I have been in a long distance relationship since we started dating. Long distance relationships are hard. Very hard. But if you are willing to put in the work and endure being away from your significant other for extended periods of time then they are totally worth it and they are absolutely amazing. When we did have dates, they consisted of FaceTime conversations or ooVoo dates where we would stare at each other while we did homework or rant and rave about life and what happened during our day. When we got to see each other in the flesh, it usually consisted of us always being around people and never getting to spend time alone with each other. All I wanted to do was be super cheesy and show up to her house, pick her up, take her out for a fun night, then bring her back home, kiss her good night, then go on my way like some what normal couples do on their dates.

I finally got take her on a proper date and it was glorious.

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Nicole is living here in California until our wedding so she can have access to all the things she needs to get done for our big day, which is 101 days away (…crap. I need to workout more to look good in my suit). With her being her, I carpe-ed that diem and took her out on a date. I got off work Friday afternoon, rode my bike through the hell of Southern California rush hour Friday afternoon traffic and made it to grandma’s house to pick up the princess for our date. We went to this awesome place called Hopscotch Tavern in downtown Fullerton and it was amazing. We had a beer, ate each other’s meals, talked wedding stuff, and fell in love all over again. There is just something special about finally being able to be alone. No parents, no grandparents, no tiny human cousins, no sister, no brothers, no dogs. Just Nicole, myself, amazing food, great beer, and a crisp Friday evening dedicated to the two of us. We finished our food, paid our bill, then walked out of the restaurant hand in hand. Seriously, I don’t know how it happens but I fall for this girl more and more and my stomach was so filled with butterflies holding her hand. I felt like a kid in middle school taking the hottest girl in the class ice skating and she holds my hand while we skate around during couples skate with “Kiss Me” playing on the rink speakers. It was the perfect night.

I brought her home and we fell asleep on the couch watching “Everybody Loves Raymond.” I had to ride home because I had a busy Saturday ahead of me so we had to get up and part ways. She walked me outside and we made out on the porch like a couple of teenagers. It was great 🙂 Its the little things in life.

I finally got to take Nicole on a proper date. I’m ready for a life time of proper dates with this woman.

A Thinner Version of Myself

After my sentence at West Point ended, I went home and became the lazy person I always wanted to be. For six years, I worked out almost every day and ate generally well. When I took off the uniform, I also got rid of my routine and became lazy, which was amazing. I ate what I wanted and didn’t work out as much. That lasted for about six months at which point I tipped the scales at 230 pounds. I weighted 230 freaking pounds. I never thought it was possible for me to weigh that much. I guess that’s what happens when fast food runs at 2300 a couple times a week catches up to you. Needless to say, I needed to change my lifestyle because 230 pounds was not the place I wanted to be.

I’m going to pat myself on the back for this because I’m feeling proud that I have come this far but I know that I have so much more work to do to get back into shape. This morning, I weighed in at 189.2 pounds. From November of 2014 to today, I went from 230 pounds to 189.2 pounds. I’m finally starting to feel good again and it’s all because I stopped being lazy and became a bit more active in my lifestyle.

Next stop: 180 pounds. Here’s to the next goal, cheers!

The Best Version of Myself

Its been a while since I have posted on my blog and I figured the best thing to get me back into writing was to talk about something that I hold near and dear to my heart: my faith. Now before everyone gets up in arms about me forcing religion down your throats let me first say that this post is not about that. This is about how my faith has led me to become the best version of myself and it has a lot to do with all the wonderful blessings I have had in my life.

I joined the Army in January of 2008 and shipped off to Basic Training in July of 2008. For six years I wore that uniform with pride and for six years I drifted along a path that I thought was right for me. That ride came to a sudden stop when I failed out of West Point and hit rock bottom. My future and the path I had been working towards suddenly ended and I had no clue what to do with my life. I took some time to drive from New York back to California to think and figure out what comes next. I stopped in Kansas and took a detour to Texas with Nicole for a bit then continued on my way to California. I stopped in Colorado for a bit, took my truck off-roading a bit, then finished up the trip home. When I got home, I felt this calling to do something. I needed to fill the void that was missing from my soul and my faith suddenly filled that hole.

As soon as I got home, I went straight to my old high school youth group and picked up being a youth leader like I was in high school. It almost felt like I had never left. All the leaders were new but Pete, the Youth Minister for my parish, was still around and was thrilled to welcome me back. When I was in youth group during high school, I would say my faith was lukewarm to say the least. I went to church, attended youth group, but that was about it. When I came back to youth group, I was inspired and ready to go. I met a guy named Ronnie LaGro who was just brought on as the assistant youth minister and he changed everything for me. He taught me its okay to be fired up and energetic about my faith. He showed its okay to have a beer and still share the Gospel with others. He lit the fire in my heart and fueled the passion in my soul to learn more about what it means to be Catholic.

Today, my faith plays a major role in my life. It is another one of my identities. I am a computer geek, a tech nerd, a gym rat, and a Catholic.

Turn Signals and Cruise Control

I am a very big proponent of the use of cruise control and turn signals. Cruise control allows you to just hit the button and cruise as well as improve your gas mileage and the turn signals just show you aren’t interested in being rear ended or sideswiped by someone.

During my morning commute, I always use my cruise control because it is relaxing and makes the drive a little bit better. It allows me to maintain my speed and just cruise right along. It becomes very useful when going up hills because the computer makes sure my truck maintains the speed I set it at. I also don’t become that person who doesn’t pay attention to their speed when going up the hill then speeding down the hill. Too many times do I find myself coming up on a hill and there is someone in front of me, not using their cruise control nor paying attention to their speed, slowing down as they climb the hill. I have to turn off my cruise control, hover of the brake, and sometimes even hit the brake. Since I drive a truck, I try to do everything I can to improve my gas mileage and that includes not hitting my brake when I don’t have to or shouldn’t have to, such as in the case of a driver not paying much attention to anything at all as they climb a hill. It takes a second to press a button or toggle a switch that will enable you to set a comfortable cruising pace and not be that guy that causes the traffic jam at the base of the hill. Think about it.

Turn signals. That should just be a given. I know what I want to do and I want to show the world what I’m going to do as well. I can’t read a person’s mind that they want to switch lanes in front of me all of a sudden or they want to turn in front of me as I’m going through the intersection. Little details such as switching on your blinker can be the difference between a good day and a horrible day. Just some food for thought.