For this edition of 1,000 Awakenings, we are going old school. As in back to high school.
Mike Riley was one of my main running mates during those four years at Dilce Combs. We were on the academic team together, his mom was cool as shit (and thus his house was an option to stop in for brief reprieves), he had a hot car (a 1988 Dodge Shadow) and for whatever other reasons, we attracted one another.
My most vivid memories of being with Mike was him driving his Shadow way too fast on our way back from Hazard (I always envisioned us flipping as we went around the curve where the Campbells and Alexander’s live). Whether it was going to get Rax before academic practice or later in the night, we were always in a hurry.
At night our favorite game was to throw bottles at road signs as we sped by. To the best of my memory, and sitting in the passenger seat even, I never hit one sign. Mike, from the drivers seat , would grab bottles with his left hand, reach out the driver side window and then toss the bottles back across the car and directly into the road sign. Hitting them damn near every time!
It was from moments like this that Mike Riley subsequently awakened…
Through starting the Artemes project and getting on Facebook I have reconnected with Mike. It’s incredible to see where he is residing in this moment. I am so happy for him.
What does it mean to you to live an awakened life?
To be aware of my “why”, and not just going through life hoping to stumble upon a purpose. To be intentional, purposeful, and deliberate.
What put you on the path of awakening?
Coming to know Jesus Christ, and understanding His will for my life.
What’s one piece of advice you’d give to someone about deepening their connection to themselves and their spirituality?
Stop trying to make things complicated. We place barriers on ourselves far more than others. Our relationship with our Savior is just that, its OUR relationship. Don’t allow someone else to dictate whether you deserve or are worthy of such a connection. When we strip everything else away–societal views, popular opinion, others favor/disfavor, we are left with ourselves and our Maker.
If you could wave a magic wand and everyone on planet earth would wake up with one quality or ability, what would that be?
To see and love themselves and others as Christ does.
What’s the biggest difference in yourself from your pre-awakened state and your current awakened state?
It’s not about me….its about serving a greater mission than myself and my needs.
What would constitute a perfect day to you? Can you describe it for us?
As cheesy as it may sound, just being here and being present and being in God’s will. Spending time with my family and friends, serving others, being involved in a greater good. Knowing that at the end of the day, I did not hold anything back, and loving and living life to its fullest.
Do you have a favorite book you can recommend to readers?
The Bible is always #1 on the must read list. But other books that helped transform my views are “Radical” by David Platt and the “Ragamuffin Gospel” by Brennan Manning. I warn folks though, don’t read Radical unless you are ready to be changed and pushed completely out of your comfort zone.
What’s the best way for folks to connect with you? Include website and/or social handles or any other ways of connecting.
and LinkedIn are great ways to communicate.
Tell us a little about yourself …
I currently live in Harrodsburg, KY with my wife of 18 years, Amy, and my 15 year old daughter Addison (and one very spoiled dog, Alf). I currently work with the Bluegrass Area Development District as the Program Development Manager within the Workforce Services Division. Prior to working for the ADD, I spent 15 years working with the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Before state government, I served as the Director of Victim Services with the Kentucky Office of Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
I love sports, and try to stay actively involved in youth sports in my community. For the last 6 years, I have overseen the Mercer County Youth Softball League for girls, and I am currently coach middle school boys at King Middle School in Mercer County.
My wife and I both share a passion for Christian service. During the course of our marriage, we have had blessing to serve in several churches in a variety of positions, including youth pastors and other leadership roles. Currently, my wife is the Worship Leader at Salvisa Baptist Church in Mercer County, and I teach an adult Sunday School class. I also do pulpit supply locally, filling in for other pastors when they are out or churches are without a pastor. I have lived in Mercer County since 1999, having moved here from the mountains of Eastern Kentucky (Perry County).