From childhood abandonment, to a struggling young adulthood, to divorce, to alcoholism, to hitting rock bottom, this week's guest talks about the effects of hate, bitterness, and unforgiveness in his life. He also shows us the way he found out, how he was able to heal damaged relationships, break life-long cycles, and learn to be real, at peace, and debt free. All this and more in this week's Remarkable episode, the Dr Rick Chromey story!
Dr. Rick Chromey is a best-selling author, international speaker, cultural historian, professor, and pastor. His mission is to help people interpret history, navigate culture and explore faith to create trusted and transformative change in their lives and the lives of others. Rick is the founder/president of MANNA! Educational Services International, a faith-based nonprofit that serves churches, schools and organizations with inspirational "edu-trainment." He’s authored over a dozen books, including his most recent work titled "GenTech: An American Story of Technology, Change and Who We Really Are (2020)." Rick and his wife live in a small town outside of Boise, Idaho.
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Dr Rick Chromey | Healing Relationships, Breaking Cycles, & Being Real
Hello friends. Welcome to this week's episode of the Remarkable People Podcast, the Dr. Rick Chromey story!
This week is packed with excellent content. Rick was abandoned down the road in his life divorced. He had a bunch of hardships and things that he had to work through and face in his personal world.
And then in his family life. And in this episode of the podcast, we talk about the hate, the bitterness, the forgiveness, the grace. We talk about debt and becoming debt-free. We [00:01:00] talk about a whole bunch of topics that I know you're going to be able to connect with because it's real life. So Rick, he's an author.
He's a speaker, he's a pastor. He has a bunch of credentials. Like we all do. But the main thing is he has a life that he's willing to share with you and I right now, and we can take that information. Apply it and grow as people. He reminds us that life is about God and our relationships with other people.
And whether we have broken relationships with people or to keep them from breaking, or if we're broken ourselves, Dr. Rick helps us get on the journey to healing. So get your pen and paper out. And like our slogan says, don't just listen to this great country. But repeated each day for life, she can have a great life in this world and the attorney to come enjoy the podcast.
PART 3 EPISODE Dr Rick Chromey Healing Relationships Breaking Cycles and Being Real: Hey Rick, how are you today, brother? [00:02:00] Doing good. Doing good. There, David. How's things going for you? Good man. To our listeners, you're hearing us laugh. We just had like a 20 minute conversation cause I was getting everything ready and I was late.
So Rick, thank you so much for being here today. Thank you for being such a great remarkable guy. And at this time, if you could share your story with us, the highs, the lows, the in-betweens, we would love to hear it. And then at the end, we want to transition the conversation to where are you at today and where are you going?
So now that you shared with us, we can share with you and help you get there. Sounds good. All right. Sounds good. Yeah. Yeah. Well my story I'm actually a small town Montana. Back you know, back in the day when basically Montana was fairly is Norman Rockwell type of downtown areas. And it was just a beautiful place to grow up.
But you know, I, I grew up on the poor side of town. My dad was a trucker. My mom was stay at home mom and [00:03:00] we w I never saw that poverty as being a negative. It was just, it is what it is. But as I, as I grew up, I started to recognize, especially around fourth grade, when you start comparing yourself to your peers, I started to realize, oh, I'm kind of a poor kid, you know?
And by then we start putting everybody in boxes. We call those clicks now. But back then, it was just, you know, your, your peers, you know, you can get. Kickball further than somebody else. And you get put in a box, you can do math better than somebody else. You get put in a box. If you look better than somebody else, you get put in a box, you know, all these boxes start to emerge.
And I got put in my own box. I'm a short guy. So I, I always thought I'd have my growth spurt when I was in high school, but it, it just never happened. I've been five foot four and just got stuck there and, and that's okay. I've lived on the short side of life, but. The end thing is that I, I, I spent my entire growing up years, just trying to find out who I was.
And around age 12, I had an amazing moment where my [00:04:00] mom walked out. She actually abandoned the family. She fell into alcoholism and drug abuse. And it just really was a hard, hard time for us as kids. And it she walked out with another man and never looked back. And boy, I just spent the rest rest of my high school years, junior high and high school years as a very angry adolescent and Yeah.
And the other thing though, that was playing into this was I was a church kid. I grew up in the church. My, my grandparents were especially very, very religious and they kind of kept us in church during this whole time. And of course I went to live with my grandparents, so that meant I had to go to church religiously.
And it was so that kind of frames my story here because when I got to basically graduation in high school, I came to a crossroads, what I wanted to do with my life. And I had a full ride scholarship to a university in the area of theater. I actually, my dream when I was in high school was to be a [00:05:00] star in Hollywood to, to do movies and all that.
But my grandmother kept speaking into my life. She kept saying, I want you to go to. To religious school, to Bible college and get, and get a, get a degree. And I went, ah, grandma, really, but you know, I felt at that time in my life, why not? I'll just give it one year. And so I moved to Nebraska and long story short, I ended up getting becoming a pastor and a youth pastor in fact, and worked for a few years doing that.
And then again, things just started to shift and I became a I became a professor. I spent 15 years as a, as a professor, got my master's degree and eventually my doctorate and you know, I thought I was literally, you know, at the top of, of the, of, you know, just my, my trajectory in 2007 and I've really kind of short shortened, the, the timeline here, but my trajectory in 2007 was I was well on my way, my [00:06:00] career, everything was fitting in and to use your word, I was becoming a remarkable person.
I had the phone never stopped bringing back then for me. And I had opportunities. And then in 2007, I got my doctorate and I took a chance and took a job coming back. I was out out east and I wanted to get back to the west. And I took a job in Boise, Idaho with a, with another school to be their executive director.
And it just, it was a poor fit and long story short, it just kind of, it didn't last. And at the same time, the great recession hit and suddenly I am 45 years old. I am. It's over experienced by many people's accounts. I was overeducated and I couldn't get a job even at McDonald's and Walmart, because I even tried, they, they just said, you know, you're not going to stay around here.
You're you're just too gifted. You're Stu you're too qualified for other things. And I said, well, I need a job. You know people will say, just go out and get a [00:07:00] job. I got to tell you, I could go get a job. Most of the time the jobs came to me, Dave, but now I'm looking at this situation and I spent the next few years going.
I sent out hundreds of resumes. Hundreds of resumes and nothing ever happened out of them. I mean, there was a lot of times it was just crickets. A lot of times there was just you know, thank you very much, but we've, we've selected somebody else. And during this whole period, this whole period that is 40 years, you might say of, of growing out of adolescents into the college years, into my young adulthood, years into this trajectory of success.
And by then I had been a writer. I had written several books and, you know, again, everything I was speaking on stages all across America, even starting to speak around the world and things are just happening. And the recession hit and everything went south real quick. And by 2013 I was nearly broke. It was so bad.
I was going to food banks to, to get groceries for the week [00:08:00] for my family. And then, you know, on a night in October of 2013, I came home and had an argument with my wife and she walked. I thought she was just gone for the night and it turned out that she was, she was gone longer than that. I thought she was gone, well, maybe the weekend, maybe a week.
And it turned out to be two months. And, and then I hear from her and it's a divorce. And a few months later I was, I was literally a divorce man after 30 years of marriage. And I was like, holy cow and everything. And then in the church world where I was working at that time, I was still teaching and doing some things they have to understand.
I was even doing some pastoring and part-time pastoring to kind of get the way things by everything collapsed. That point. Most of my jobs went away because in the conservative parts of my churches, where I was working they couldn't handle a divorce. They couldn't handle a divorce professor of ministry.
So I was, I lost it. I lost [00:09:00] everything. And I know what it's like to be flat on your back with, with wondering, you know, will the next paycheck cover my rent enough? Will I have enough food to get me through to the next month? And I don't know how, except for by God's grace. I was able to get through that.
If I'm remarkable, it's only because of the faith that I had in, in God to help me bring me through that because I don't know how I would've done it otherwise, you know, people often say that it's just, it's a remarkable story and it is, but the bottom line is, is that I, I, I didn't do it on my own. It was just things that came out of the blue gifts that came out of the blue opportunities that came out of the blue.
That gave me just a little bit of money to get by to just the next step, to the next month, to the next to the next part of whatever was happening in the end. Actually before you go on let's let's break. You went through a lot of material fast. Okay. Let's stop. Let's reverse a little bit and kind of [00:10:00] break down the steps.
Cause now we got a great path that we see the downturn, and then you're going to show us how you went up and the step stop and explore. Yeah. So how old were you when your mother left the 12th? And I was the oldest. I had a younger brother and a younger two younger sisters. One was a baby and we were raised by our grandparents from that.
And then that was the next question. What happened to your father? How did he handle the divorce when all this happened? Okay. Well, my dad being a trucker and my mom basically left him in a lot of debt and she, it was really tough for him to show you the grace and the religious faith of my grandparents.
These are the grandparents on my mom's side. They actually took my dad in as well and get any, because he had no money. He couldn't even afford his own rent. At that point, he, he owed so much money to other creditors and debtors, and he was working as hard as he [00:11:00] could that they gave him a place to stay at, are at their house.
And he stayed there for several years before he could go out on his own. But the thing about my dad is my mom abandoned me, but my dad actually abused me. And the abuse was. The verse that the abuse was, was emotional and it was, it was years of it, you know, where I was not good enough. And I was, I was well, my nickname back then was not Rick.
It was a number one, Dave. I was, I was the number one. I was the oldest son. So number one, go get me a beer number one to go go change the television channel, you know, cause that's what we were back then. We were, we were also the channel changers on the TV, but yeah. So it was a very strained relationship with my dad.
My mom was everything. And then when she left, I became very angry. By the way, I didn't through this whole period. I mentioned I was bitter as an adolescent, but all the way through. I was angry [00:12:00] really until about age 50, which was only about eight years ago now nine years ago that I really came to grips with who I was, why that anger was happening, what I was angry about.
And I finally did something and that's what we'll talk about at the end here. But you know, that's, that's, that's what basically my father now. So if I heard you correctly, so I assume if your dad was abusive to you guys, was that after your mom left or was URI abusive and now it's more of the reasons why your mom left.
It's possible. You know, I though the abuse occurred beforehand and you know, here's the thing about abuse. Most of us who've been abused. It's sometimes it becomes normal. When, when I look back, when I talk about emotional abuse, I thought being called the names that he called me, I thought that was just normal.
I like to joke that for years, I thought my name was Jesus Christ. You know, [00:13:00] because I always heard, you know, Jesus Christ do this. Jesus Christ do that. And he was, he was referring to me. So I thought, okay, that's an old bill Cosby joke. But the truth is that I felt that way. But more of the the hard abuse that I got from my dad was through the punishments.
He was a very hard Punisher. I spilled my milk and I got a month of, of detail in the yard. You know, I was sequestered to the yard to do yard work. My wheat, he used a bull whip on us and there were some other, other types of techniques I won't go into that were very harsh. And we would look at him today as being, you know, it's actually a bit.
And, you know, my dad and I, I won't give the end of the story here on that too much at this point. But my dad and I actually had to reconcile that part of the story before we could reconcile completely. Okay. Now, when you were, you, you just said that it was only in the last [00:14:00] few years, the bitterness and the anger you got rid of that, but with your younger sister and brother, you said one was actually a baby and an infant.
Yeah. Did you have to step in and help or did the grandparents kind of take it as parents? You could still have a relatively normal teenager. Yeah, well, that was the beautiful part about it. My, my grandparents were a functional family. I mean, it was we, and we, we only lived a block away from them anyway.
So we spent a lot of time over the grandparents. It was not uncommon even before my mother left for us to spend two or three nights over there a week. You know, in fact, we all had our own night we'd go over to the grandparents house, but occasionally mom and dad would want to do something and they would, you know, all of us kids would go over and stay the whole night.
We did a lot of things at my grandparents' house. So moving in with them was nothing unusual, but you know, as far as my baby sister goes she, her whole context is different because [00:15:00] she grew up and I like to remind her of this. She grew up in a family where she didn't know any of those things. You know, my dad was he hard on me afterwards, you know, you know, in the post divorce years for him.
Sure. But he started living his own life. And mostly what I got from my dad. I like to say I grew up with ADT. But for me, it was absent dad disorder. That's what it stood for. I had an absent dad, emotionally absent, physically absent. Most of the time, of course his trucking career did that. And you know, those are things that eventually we had to reconcile.
Okay. And then when you went from high school, And then you're transitioning through adulthood. How old were you when you met your wife? Well, my, my wife was, we were, we married at 20 years of age. She was really the, the, the first first woman that she just caught my attention and we've, we fell in love fast.[00:16:00]
And it was it was a, it wasn't a quick courtship, but let me, let me help you. And your listeners understand this about religious institutions in particular. And, and if any of your listeners ever gone to a Bible college or a classic Christian college or Christian university, it becomes its own type of bubble.
Dave, where you just have this you're inside, this, this it's almost a surreal moment and people have expectations of you, especially a religious type of expectations. And back then, you know, the, the expectation on our Bible college campus was if you've been dating for a year. It's time to get married. Now nobody wrote that rule out.
There was nothing on the wall, but almost every couple. And I can, I can think of everyone I can think of did it by their first anniversary of dating. They were they were getting married and that's kinda what happened with my, my first wife and I was, we, we got married after a year, a year [00:17:00] and a half, we dated for a year and then got married after a year and a half.
And you know, it was very quick. And in our case, I knew within, within probably a year and a half, because something was wrong in our marriage. I being when you're abandoned as a person and. And you're looking for love, and you're looking, you know, the Erik Erikson talks about this and his theory of psychosocial development.
He talks about how at every age of life, we have a crisis that we go through. He was the one that coined the word midlife crisis all day of having a midlife crisis. But his crises, if you understand them go all the way back to birth, you know, as babies, we have a crisis of, of just simply, you know, trust versus mistrust for toddlers it's, it's autonomy versus shame and doubt, he called it you know, all the way up to, you know, adolescents it's, it's basically identity versus identity confusion.
Well, in young adulthood, it's now intimacy versus isolation. And one of the things that Erik Erikson theorized, which [00:18:00] makes a lot of sense of my story was that if you go through a lot of these stages on the negative side, in other words, if you sense shame and doubt in your relationships, if you sense mistrust in your relationships, if you, if you don't have an initiative or you feel guilt all the way to you have identity confusion, And then you go into your young adulthood years.
It's very easy. The first person that you find that kind of looks sideways at you and says, they love you. It's easy to fall into that relationship then because they're, they're kind of fulfilling all those things. They trust you. They, they, they, they take away your, your guilt. You know, they forget, you know, all those things are there.
And the problem is for me was once I got into that with my, with my wife, my first wife, it was like, whoa, we we went through those through those early years. And after almost five years, we, we almost divorced at that point, but I had just started my career as a pastor. And she knew that as she divorced me at that point, that I was.
And I had, you know, I'd have to start all over again. [00:19:00] And I think she was kind and compassionate on that at that point and said, nah, I'm not going to do that to you. So we slowly became roommates over the 30 years. It was, it was not a relationship where I, you know, w we were friends. We were, we were good friends at times we were lovers at points, but for the most part in the 30 year marriage that we had and I can look back on it now with a lot of with a lot of happiness.
I see the happiness, I see the happy times that we had together and I love those times. And that, that I experienced in that, that 30 year marriage, but also looking back on it, I think it was one of the biggest mistakes I ever made in my life. I chose, I chose a person and that was not going to go or not be able to do the distance with me.
And she had her own demons for that matter. And I won't go into her story. It doesn't need to happen here, but those are the things that started to drive a wedge. And in those young adulthood years, they became very promptly. Yes. And [00:20:00] together, did you have children or no children? No. Yes. We've got two kids and a two beautiful kids.
We've got a daughter and a son. They both live here in the Boise area where I live and got good kids. Yeah. Yeah. Excellent. Yeah. And we have listeners from all over the world and some go to college. Some don't go to university, you know, some don't even know what we're talking about. Some know exactly what we're talking about, but especially in American Christian universities and colleges, there is that phenomenon where you come and you get your husband or wife.
And if you don't, if you leave college without your husband or wife, it's like, oh, what's wrong. What's wrong. It's like the panic, right. Is that what you saw happening around? There's a huge, and I was a Bible college professor, a Christian college professor for 15 years. So I, it with my students as well, but a lot of the girls will feel like if they don't get their Mrs degree they're they're, they're not, they're not, they're [00:21:00] stuck.
There's something wrong with them. In, in one, well, on all the colleges I was at even as a professor there was this mantra, this, this little you know, motto, ring by spring or your money back type of thing, you know for the girls. But there was pressure also on the guys to, to find to find a mate because the churches out there simply wouldn't hire a single guy.
You know, if you were a single pastor, it would be hard to find a job. So even within your ministry classes, there was a. Element of, you know, do your best to find a good woman here, because this is the type of they're here because they want to be a pastor's wife. Otherwise they wouldn't come to this college and you're here because you want to be a pastors.
Otherwise you wouldn't come to this pastor to this college, don't go out. And if you understand a little bit of the biblical language here, don't be unequally yoked. Even if that person out there is maybe a Christian, a very good, strong Christian don't, don't marry someone that may not be yoked with [00:22:00] you to do pastoral work.
And that was also one of the issues in my, in my marriage of 30 years. I thought I had married to someone who wanted to go into. As I did. And I found out after I got in and maybe some of your listeners can relate to this. I know it's very easy to, to think when you're courting that you're on the same page and you got everything working, right.
But you go into the, you go into marriage and all of a sudden you find out that the person you married doesn't want to do what you wanted to do all your life. And that's what happened. I grew up wanting to be a pastor, wanting to be a preacher, wanted to wanting to serve in the church world. And you know, my first wife, it was very clear, fairly early, that that was not what she wanted to do.
And, you know to her credit, to her credit, she continued to walk with me at least for the 30 years. And you know, before, before she called it and let's make that our first talking point. [00:23:00] It's there's a wisdom in obviously finding a spouse. And when you're in a Christian college or anywhere, anywhere you're at, you know, two you're better than one, you know, it's they strengthen each other.
They're there for each other. It's a good thing to be married. But when we rushed that process and that's like a life vow, that's like about a God, it's a vow to each other. It's a vow to yourself. It's about your family and friends, your children, our society today takes it so flippantly, but it's a huge deal.
And even if people aren't Christians, there's a lot of pressure to, you know, find somebody get married, have children. So they end up kind of rushing it to the people out there who are still single, you know, once we make that vow good, bad or ugly, Hey, they say we keep our vow unless there's a biblical reason.
To the men [00:24:00] out there to the women out there. What advice would you have for them if they're dating to really evaluate, is this the person that I'm supposed to marry? Yeah. Well, that's, that's so hard because you know, in my story again, it's very interesting. People say, well, didn't you have red flags.
Wasn't there, wasn't there some didn't you have something. I mean, you talk about within within a year and a half, I mentioned that I kind of knew that this was going the wrong direction here. And after five years of marriage, we were in counseling to, to save the marriage. You know, the truth is there were red flags.
She, she actually walked out or broke up with me three times. The first year we were together three times and every time it was more and more dramatic and every time for whatever reason, I just went back. I just, I let her come back. I mean, I moved on with my life. I [00:25:00] thought everything you know, I thought, okay, but something happened.
She wanted to get back. She wanted a relationship again. I said, okay. So I would come back three times. It happened when we went through marriage counseling with one of our professors and he was a very, very good wise professor. We did three months of marriage counseling before we got married and we got married on new year's Eve in 1983.
And about three weeks before that we had our final counseling session. And I'll never forget that that professor, he, he, he started by saying, I don't normally do this with couples that I can. I don't normally do this, but I'm going to recommend that you don't get married. He then went down and gave me a list, gave us a list of probably five different areas that were going to be issues in our marriage.
And he was right on every single one. But at that point I was thinking with the different heads, you might say, if I might be [00:26:00] crass in that way, because I wanted to get married, I wanted to experience marital bliss. I, I thought that for me, that, you know, that would solve my lust issues in my life. You know, I got married.
Marriaging to solve all of that. It did. It didn't. And so, you know, I, first of all, I would say to any couple, any couple that's doing or thinking about getting married, especially a Christian couple you know, not just especially any couple, if you really want to know if this relationship is a good one and it has standing power power to last the, the long run, get some counseling, you know, spend some time with somebody else other than your, your immediate friends who all say you're cute and you're going to be good together, or your parents who like the other one.
And that was another thing for me, that was a huge red flag that I didn't listen to. You know, my, my wife, my ex-wife's family, namely, her mother did not like me from the beginning. And she [00:27:00] was very clear about that. And I spent 30 years in a relationship that, wow. I struggled, I struggled with that because she was she was abusive in her own.
I mean, by the end, it was, it was really, really a difficult relationship for me. And I learned, yeah, this is your wife's mother, my wife's mother, my ex-wife and mother. Yeah. Big difference. Big difference. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, it was, and again, I, you know, I don't like to tell other people's story. I'll let them tell their stories, but, but she was really hard on me.
I don't think she wanted to like me from the beginning. Partly because at that time I still wanted to be a, an actor, you know, I still wanted to go out and do the Hollywood thing and, you know, that's kind of hard to. It's kind of hard to do that. If you, you know, your, your, your wife's folks want you to take care of their daughter and I still had these big dreams but I started to impress my, at least my [00:28:00] father-in-law at that time with the fact that I was going to school my family, we, we got our, we got, we, none of them ever went to college.
Well, my brother did a little bit, but for the most part, nobody went to college. I was the first to go to college, graduate from college. I was the first end to go on to masters. Master's work, graduate, get, get a master's degree, but that's what impressed my father-in-law. He recognized that I was a pretty smart guy who wasn't one.
I wanted to further myself with my education and I was always, I always had a good relationship with him, but with her, that was a red flag. And so that's the thing I also learned along this way. And I would encourage all couples to think about if you've got, if you, your relationships with the in-laws are key.
If they don't support you. Now, if one of them don't support you now, that's going to be something that's going to be in your marriage. The whole. And I got to tell you looking back, that's something I would never do again, you know I I've actually remarried. That'll be the end of my story here. [00:29:00] I've remarried.
And my, my mother-in-law my father-in-law my new mother-in-law and father-in-law, they're, they're fantastic people and they are totally, you know, my father-in-law now has passed away, but my mother-in-law, she lives with us. So, I mean, we have a great relationship and that was the first question I asked her.
I said, are you willing to let me love your daughter? And are you willing to love me? You know, even though you don't know me that well, are you willing to be open to that? And she said, absolutely. And away we went. Yeah. I think there's a lot of good wisdom and advice in that. And you know, hindsight's always 2020, but I think if we're really honest with ourselves and we're transparent and we're not letting fear make our decisions, we know in our heart, especially as a Christian, you have the holy spirit that dwells in you and you have an unction from the holy one, you know, all things and.
I knew that when I was in college, I just knew in my heart that the girl I loved [00:30:00] wasn't at least I wasn't supposed to marry her at that time. And I rushed it and it turned out 21 years later to be a disaster. Right. And same as you, the whole marriage was a struggle. And I can look back to my younger self and have so much advice.
You know, all the things I saw that I ignored or I pushed away. I'm like, no, no, no, it must be thinking of you. But one thing I want to ask you, your opinion of is where is the line between marriage jitters and the holy spirit trying to be like, don't do it. You know, where's that line because I don't even know, you know, I know good godly men.
Who've got married and from everything I knew, yes, this is the right. And they had no marriage jitters. So it was marriage jitters or something. Another lie from Satan to get us tricked into marrying the wrong person. What's your opinion on that topic? Marriage. Jitters. Yup. Well, on the marriage jitters in my first marriage, I was, I [00:31:00] was a hundred pounds.
I was 102. I had no qualms, no reservations, nothing, but it was her. And this is, again, this is one of those stories that when I look back on and go, wow, this, this was, this was, this was one of those red flags. But at that point it was too late. But I understood later that after the wedding that she had problems, even standing up to be walked down the aisle, she was literally that nervous about marrying me and I was going, wow, why didn't we stop it?
Then, you know, why go through all this heartache? You know, why go through 30 years with that ends in in basically a whimper, you know, why do all that? And you know, again, she is a, she's a wonderful person. Today. She's she's a good person. I believe in many ways. I'm not going to say anything bad about my ex-wife.
I, you know, I don't love her anymore, but she is, she is the mother of my [00:32:00] children. And for that, I love her and appreciate her, her, and that way she takes, she does good things. She's a counselor, herself and therapist, and does good. But if we saw each other today, there'd be no attraction. There's no, there's just, I just, you know, there's no attraction in any way.
Not, not emotionally, not physically, not spiritually. There's nothing there. And I don't know when I try to look at that, I try to analyze why was that because of my journey with her, or is it because that I've just become more open? My eyes have been open to the type of woman that really I missed out on.
And I'd say that missed out on only because I'm married now to my heart. And soulmate, how am I? Goodness. Linda's just the opposite. We met on eHarmony, by the way. Just an incredible thing. My, my profile and the harmony was, if you don't know what a Proverbs 31 woman is, keep moving, keep scrolling, you know [00:33:00] if you don't want to be a pastor's wife, keep scrolling, you know, if you don't want to get married, keep scrolling.
I was, I was on E harmony because I wanted to get married. I wanted to be in a relationship. I wanted to find. Soulmate and I was just about ready to get off. And I also tell singles this or people who've come through divorce and in a kind of, it's easy to do bounce back relationships. And I had a couple of those as well.
You know, it w it would have been very easy for me. There was one woman I almost married and I came to my census. I recognize no, this is that you talked about the holy spirit. That was when the, I felt the holy spirit gone. No, this is not the right one. And I just felt this gentle you know, since boys, if you will a whisper and it just said, wait, the right one's coming.
And when, when Linda came into my life, everything fit and it is true. You can find that type of happiness. Now, I think in time, we might've been able to rekindle whatever little [00:34:00] happiness we could have enjoyed in my former. But in the end, she made the decision to leave. And I tried to reconcile even up to the last day, I tried to reconcile that relationship.
She didn't want anything to do with it. And when the divorce came, I gave it a year. And then I said, you know what? I want to find somebody else. You know? And I spent a year living year and a half living alone. And it was, it was in that I, my, my whole life changed with Linda now, what are some, okay, let's do this.
Let's finish your story from, okay. Pick up where you left off and let's bring you up to present day because I have so many questions just on this one, topic alone. And you know, I hate to say this, but globally. There's a 50 plus percent divorce rate. Even within the church, quote unquote, then you have military families because of stress and that it conditions they're put under it's like 80% in special forces is almost 90 [00:35:00] plus percent.
So this is a worthy topic for 100% sure. But let's bring from where you left off and your. To today. And anything else you missed, you want to add? Let's keep your story going. Right. All right. So let me, let me give you the, the, the second story. I that's kind of happening here that as I was working through all these years, my career, my marriage, my kids, my education, all those things I was doing, there was a second story that was building.
I call it the divine story of my. It was the upper story that was working. And in my late twenties, I came to realize something that, you know, I grew up in a church that was very very conservative. It was very legalistic. And I did a lot of the, a bit, a lot of the spiritual things in order to to be, to be right with God.
You might say, according to what my church taught that's pink. Hang one second. Just to make sure we're on the same page. [00:36:00] Some people use the term legalistic by the dictionary definition, and some people means they're just micromanaging you basically with all these rules. So were they actually saying you cannot be saved from hell and go to heaven without following our rules?
Or were they just adding a bunch of rules to show you. They were just, they would look at it as biblical rules, you know, but it was things like certain ways, certain ways you had to behave certain things you had to do, you know? And I just did them all. I was that good little church kid, you know, you have to go to church.
So I went to church, you know, you have to sing in church. So I would sing. You have to be active in your church. You have to serve in church. I would serve in church. You have to be baptized. So I got baptized. I did all those things. And by the time I got into my well, I was in graduate school. I took a class called doctrine of grace, and it was basically a study of the book of Romans where, and this is the same book by the way that Martin Luther read back in the day where that, that sparked the reformation [00:37:00] movement.
He, he studied the book of Romans and had this, you know, he got struck by lightning as well. I didn't have that experience, but, you know, he came to, he came to seek God in a different way, saw God through grace, more than works because the church that, you know, the Catholic church at that time was very legalistic and works righteousness or being right before God.
And I had the same type of moment at age 28, where I came to realize that, wow, you know, I, I don't know if I have an actual relationship with God. I don't think I have. I mean, I've gone to church all my life, but I've gone to Bible college. I've got a degree, I'm a youth pastor, but I, you know, I had somebody asked me if you died tonight, do you know if you'd be in heaven?
I, I actually had to be honest with my son and say, you know what? I don't know. And I was sharing these types of concerns with my professor and, and he, he kept coming back to my baptism. He kept asking me about my Baptist. And he said, why did you get [00:38:00] baptized in the first place? I said, well, I got baptized because my grandma wanted me to get baptized.
I got baptized to get the preacher off my back. I got baptized in our church. You had that, and you couldn't take the communion or the Lord's supper or the Eucharist as some call it without, without being baptized for. So I did all those things see to just to be right with people, to make other people happy.
And he said, have you ever been actually immersed into Jesus Christ? And this is where it gets Ron real for me, at least in my story, I had to say, you know what? No. So I went home and my wife immersed me in the baptistry on a Saturday night, in 1991. And like March 22nd, I even remember the date of 1991 immerse me in the Jesus Christ.
And I came up out of the water that time and everything changed, Dave. Okay. Now I know other people might disagree with the baptismal theology and all that stuff, but for me it changed my life. I never, from that day, doubted that I was. That [00:39:00] I didn't know if I was going to go to heaven from that day on, everything changed.
So now here's what happens over the next several years. Remember I hated my mother. I actually, I despised her. She called about six months after she left us. She was down in Houston, Texas at the time it was Easter Sunday. She calls and to tell us how much she loves us. And I got on the phone and I was the last one on the phone.
And I said, mama, I'm just going to tell you something. I'm going to hate you to the day you die. I don't want anything to do with you click. And I spent years in that hate that bitterness, that resentment. And I just wanted to hurt her as much as she hurt me. You know, she left a huge wound in my heart because she, she was the one that protected me from my day.
And, you know, when I got into my twenties and my thirties, especially after I got baptized, I realized, wow, you know what? I can't hate my mom, but I, so I thought what I do is the opposite. I would just say mom, because she [00:40:00] kept saying, I love you, Rick. And I'd say, okay, well let's mom, let's get real. I'll do the Christian thing here.
I will. I will show my love for you in taking care of you. I will do things for you. I will help you. I will give you gifts and things like that, but you will never hear from me on this side of the dirt, the words I love you. So just, just realize that's never going to happen. I thought that would be the end of it.
But as I grew through my. Through my life. And at age 50, after really pretty much a lot of this happened during and after those final moments of my marriage, as it was ending and starting up again, I did some recovery work. I did some rehabilitation of the soul. You might say I got involved with with a program called celebrate recovery at a local church.
And it was to work with my hurts habits and hangups. And I had a lot of hurts habits and hangups to deal with. And I went in there and started doing the hard [00:41:00] work. I did two 12 to what they called step studies or the 12 steps of re rehab recovery work. And one of those steps is simply this. You have to make amends, you have to ask for forgiveness and you have to forgive.
And I realized there was one person by that time, my dad and I had already reconciled, but my mom, we were. On the phone we'd have congenial conversations, but she had never yet heard those words. And so I thought, okay, mother's day 2014. I call my mom and I say, mom, I'm going to give you the mother's day gift you've always wanted.
Here it is. I love you. And I want you to know, honestly, I love you and I'm sorry for all the hurt I put you through. I'm sorry for the unforgiveness in my heart. I'm sorry that I wasn't open to how your life changed as [00:42:00] well. And I just, I let it all out. I asked her to forgive me and she asked me to forgive her.
And I actually told her, I forgive you it's over. But on that day, the weight came off. And not soon after that, that's when I met Linda things started to change. And I mean, from there everything went up and, you know, I, at one point, Dave, I was. Over a hundred thousand dollars in debt, credit card, debt, student loan, debt, everything.
I was, I was flattened my back, broke flat broke today. I live in a house that is mortgage-free. I bought with cash. I, I, I've always known how to manage money. I've always learned how to use money, but I never had money, but suddenly some money started to come my way. So special blessings. And I started to be able to take the money and use it, make the money work for me.
I always say there's two types of people in life for people and rich people, poor people work for their money, rich people, their money [00:43:00] works for them. And that's where I've come in my lap. I'm at the point now where money now works for me. I don't work for my money so I can run a nonprofit, travel all over the world.
I can train and equip and speak and do podcasts with guys like Dave. You know, I can do these things without charging. Because God. And secondly, just using, using the gifts that he's given me and the blessings and being wise. So that's kinda my story. I'm now been married happily for seven years. Two lovely Linda.
We have several grandchildren my dad and I reconciled my mother by the way, passed away only a year after we reconciled. But my father is still alive and that's my story. And it's all about grace, really? In the end. It's all about grace. It's about freedom. It's about being liberated from, from your past and such.
Anyway, let's go from there. What do you want to talk about? [00:44:00] So let's talk about your father. Talk about what led up to your forgiving, your father and how did that go down? Right. Well, for him and I, we were a strange four years. I'm talking probably 20, 25 years. And I was living in Kentucky at the time, working at the university there not university of Kentucky at Kentucky Christian university.
And my my dad called me up. He lived in Minnesota and he called me up and said he wanted to come visit. I went okay. This is going to be interesting. We've had no relationship with this man for years. My kids did not even really know him other than maybe a couple of times where they met him when we traveled through the area.
But he wanted to come visit and I said, dad how long you want to stay? And he said maybe two weeks I went, wow. Okay. That's a, that was a little bit of time. And he did. He came out and I don't know if he spent the full two weeks or not, but he partly because I was a little nervous. I think he [00:45:00] backed off to maybe 10 days, but he came out and the first couple days were a little interesting, but I just said, you know what, I'm just going to keep giving grace and forgiveness here and we'll see where it leads.
And by the end we just, we started to melt away the years and I challenged him on some of the things that, that happened when I was a kid, some of the things he remembered, some of the things he didn't. And at that point, I had to do what Jesus did from the cross. When he just said, father, forgive them for sometimes they don't know what they're doing or what, in this case, what he had done.
I just said, I forgive you. And we reconciled. And to this day, to this day he, now he's proud of me, talks about how proud he is of the work that I do, but we never end a conversation without saying, I love you. And usually he's the one to initiate it. He'll say, I love you son, as a dad. I love you. And we'll hang up the phone.
I love my daddy just celebrated 80 years last summer. And the whole family got together to surprise him and spend some time with them and celebrate that, [00:46:00] that anniversary of his, of his birth. But boy yeah, that's how that was reconciled. And it's been a good 10, 15 years since that happened. Well so many of us walk around with the wounds and scars and pain, and we don't even realize.
Like it, because we just medicate ourselves in so many ways and numb things up. So for the listeners out there now who are in pain and have bitterness and anger and they're carrying it, they're physically ill at times, or energy's low they're dragged through their day. They can't find joy because they're carrying this pain, whether they realize it or not, what are some steps you would recommend they take to get started in the process of.
Well, again, I can only speak out of my own experience. First of all, I think there's something to be said for time time healing, all wounds. I think time does that. [00:47:00] It does heal your wounds, but it doesn't always, you know, the problem with a wound is the process is you get, you get hurt, right? You get wounded.
And then, you know, I have a, I have a scar on my leg here from a wound that I got when I was a kid, tore my leg, open something fierce. I slid playing baseball, slid over the top of a bottom of a pop bottle. And it just literally tore up my leg and I didn't get stitches in it. Cause we were too poor to get stitches.
They just butterflied it together. And, and I, you know, I eventually, after weeks, weeks at it, it finally healed up. But for a long time, there was a scab there and you know how it is when you pick a scab, it starts to bleed again. And, but eventually it healed. And I always say that you want to know what healing is, you know what.
It's when you no longer remember the story, it's it. Except through a story. You remember that scar through the story, the scar becomes a story. You know, it's like my divorce from [00:48:00] my first wife, you know, it's, it's just a good story. Now. It doesn't hurt me anymore. And I don't think anything. I do hurts her.
It's I think she was listening in on this sheet. Agree with, with everything I'm saying, she may have a different perspective and that's fine, but, but she would agree with the general elements of the story. That's when the healing has happened. The problem is for a lot of us, is that if it's still fresh, We're still bleeding and we need to find some way to butterfly it up.
We need some temporary, band-aids some things. And, and this is where we get into addictive type of medicating ourselves. For some of us, we will use alcohol to medicate ourselves, others, drugs. Some people use pornography, you know, some people go shopping, you know, some people buy, you know, buy something or, or whatever, you know, or some people in men, a lot of us will just work harder.
You know, we'll just go to work. We'll just, we'll just expend. We'll just sweat more that that will solve it all. And we never deal with the fact of the [00:49:00] wound. And what happens is we just keep picking at it. It never completely heals because we keep picking at it because it's still. And maybe it hurts a little bit less, but we pick at it, it starts to bleed more.
Now it hurts again. And we just, and that's what happens. We medicate ourselves and, and we, and then we come down from the medication then we're we pick out again, oh, it's hurting them. We medicate ourselves, it's a cycle. And for some, it becomes an addictive cycle. So if you're in that where you are years removed and you're still struggling with this, my recommendation is a recovery group.
You know, whatever your addiction is, you know, maybe you need to go to recovery group. I recommend highly, even if you're not a Christian, but you want to have a, a real interesting journey of, of understanding is something like celebrate recovery. It is Christian based. It's Christ based. The higher power is not just, you know, whatever you want it to be.
The higher power is Jesus. If you can maybe accept that, but they've the [00:50:00] first step. To recovery. We all learn this as, as addicts, as people with hang ups and hurts. The first step to recovery is getting out of the denial. It's getting it's, it's saying, you know what? My life is unmanageable. I can't do it anymore.
I got to give it to somebody else. And for me, that was when I felt my first, okay, I can do this, but it's not I doing this. It was in my case, it was Jesus working through me. So that's where it all starts. Yeah. And I'd like to add into that, like what you said about these groups. There's a great stigma and taboo, especially in many circles, not just Christian circles that, oh, you need counseling.
You're weak. What's wrong with you or, oh, that's not right. Or in every so judgemental. I got a degree when I went through. It was basically a counseling program, a counseling degree with a focus in executive leadership. I didn't [00:51:00] feel like getting an MBA because not arrogant, but I already knew it. I didn't want a piece of paper prove something in my case.
So I got a counseling degree, the focus in executive leadership. And through that, there was a couple of the classes I took where you had to go to different groups. So alcoholics anonymous, narcotics anonymous, you know, different groups you'd go to. And so many of those I just heard for, you know, 40 years, how terrible they were and how ineffective they were.
That's not true. Number one, like alcoholics anonymous and the 12 steps. They changed the verbiage, but it was centered on God. And they, I think like you said, they call it the higher power now. So I believe there's one God, one creator of all, and all truth comes from. But don't throw the baby out with the bath water, right?
Like in that group, they took you through the 12 steps. You get to the point of forgiveness and [00:52:00] love and freedom. And when you're going through this, it's can be tied back to the Bible. It can be tied back to doctrinal steps. So if you're listening to this podcast now, and you're hearing Rick say, go visit a group, don't shut that down.
Now, are there some quack jobs and some bad groups? Yes. But there's also a lot of good ones that can bring you much value. So try different groups. You find one that fits your personality and your character and who you are and where you're trying to be and immerse yourself in it and focus on God. But don't be pigheaded and stubborn.
I think it was Einstein. I'm going to butcher this quote, but basically he said, Whatever logic and thinking, it took you to your point in life. That's broken. It's going to take a lot better logic to get you out of that. So if your whole life, you believe these programs had no value, maybe you should look into that.
Is that safe to say Rick and I, I think you're you're spot on there. Or [00:53:00] Einstein was spot on there with, with that thought. I would only add that don't go by what you feel either the first time you go. A lot of, a lot of my friends, including myself. The first time I went to celebrate recovery, I wanted to run the entire.
Hour two hours. I was there. I didn't want to talk. I didn't want to, I, you know, I just, I felt embarrassed. I felt shame. I felt guilt. I felt you know, why am I here? But, you know, in many ways I was, and I felt forced to be there in my case. I started out initially being forced to go, because my ex-wife said I needed to go and do this.
And I said, okay, I'll do it. She, in fact with her, she, she wanted me to go as a way of saving the marriage. So I wanted to save the marriage. So I went to, I went to celebrate recovery. I also did personal counseling at the time. And you know, both of those were not things that I would choose to do. And that's the problem.
You know, sometimes we have to be forced into doing it, but I always tell people to [00:54:00] go to something like celebrate recovery or AA or whatever it might be. Give it at least three visits before you make a determination. You know, I actually say the same thing about. You know, a lot of people say, I don't like going to church.
I went to church and that Johnny, did you give it three times? Give it three times before you form an opinion, you know, because everybody can have a bad day. You can have a group that has a bad night. There are plenty of bad nights at celebrate recovery, but I got to tell you, there are a whole lot more good nights.
And I went for six years to celebrate recovery. And the last few, couple of years were more or less off and on, you know, maybe once or twice a month. But every Friday night for the first three or four years, I was at celebrate recovery. And I went through two 12 step studies with them and each one was totally different.
Each one opened up a new path of forgiveness, a new path of grace, a new path of understanding life changed in a different way. And all I can say is for me, it radically transformed my. Starting [00:55:00] with my heart. It gave me a better understanding of people. I look at people today as, as, as well, Jesus talked about the people in his culture, as, as people who are, are hurt and harassed, you know, sheep without a shepherd, he called them, you know, that's what a lot of us are were, were harassed.
People were hurting people. We're, we're, we're looking for some shepherd to give us the golden answer. Well, there is, there are answers out there and a lot of it is within a journey of the soul and you just have to take time to experience it. Yeah, well, well said, and very true. Now let's shift gears a little bit.
Another topic we discussed was finances, and you went from struggling pretty much your whole life to being in a hundred thousand dollars in debt, and then you turned it around and now you're debt free. You're not Dave Ramsey here, but talk about that. What did you do that our listeners can do right now to start on [00:56:00] that debt-free path?
Because the servant is slave to the lender. Yeah. Well, let me give you, yeah, let me, let me start by saying that. If you think that I somehow got a great job where I'm making hundreds of thousands of dollars, you'd be mistaken. No, no, no, no. I wasn't the borrower servant to the lender. I misquoted that.
But what I'm saying is whether you live in a trailer or whether you live in a mansion, there is something said in peace and joy in being free. So how did you turn your life around? What did you. Right. And that's what I was, that was what I was trying to speak to, is that a lot of people think that when I say I'm debt free, that somehow I made a lot of money and I was able to to you know, work these debts off that way.
But the reality is it came through some blessings that I did not expect. And I've always had a pretty good mind with, with money. I've always had a pretty good understanding of how money works. [00:57:00] I I've recognized that, you know, you've got to have some of the retirement savings and things like that, but by 2013 I was flat broke.
In fact, we cashed in my only retirement fund that I had paid the penalties because we had to get my daughter through college and we paid someone for college bills. And if we didn't do her college, so we went to her college bill, but I think a lot of that also went to our own bills. But I didn't have anything, you know, nothing.
But when I what happened was, I, I, I did have about $2,000 a month coming in through a couple odd jobs I was doing. And I just slowly started to, I did two things. First of all, I believe it was important to give. And so I've always been giving through this whole process. I've always given at least 10% of, of, of my income to various.
Sometimes I give some of it to my church. I give some of it to, to other types of organizations that are doing good work, but 10% gets given away. And then I [00:58:00] took another 10% and I just started to save it. In my case, was I, I went down to a financial advisor and said, listen, I've got this bunch of money.
It wasn't a lot of money at the time. Maybe like $200 a month. I said, I'll tell you what, what can we do. And first thing we did was we, we shored up my, my short term life insurance got some term insurance so that if I did die, at least they could, I, they wouldn't go into debt putting me in the ground.
I did that, but I married Linda and after we got married, you know, she had a real good, healthy salary and we were able to buy a house. Now, this is where my story turns, because I got to tell you real estate is probably the place where you're going to make more money than any other thing. I've made all my money.
Even, even when, even before I got divorced in 2013, I owned three, four houses. The first house we ever owned was a trailer house. We got that house [00:59:00] and I always tell people, whenever you buy something, improve it. Find ways to improve it, think about how you can make this even better. We bought we bought a mobile home, moved it into a lot of land, and I think I paid $13,000 for that mobile home.
I sold it for $20,000 two years later. That's unheard of, but we made, we made that mobile home so attractive that people wanted it when we moved up to Bellingham, Washington. Oh. And then I lived in Mount Vernon, the seizure wooly area for, so there you go. Yeah. So, you know, Bellingham, well, we live right there off of lake watt com.
We bought a house up there in the sticks outside of Bellingham, along lake watt com. And when I walked in to look at that house, it had been sitting on the market for 11 months and it just, the pictures were, were lousy pictures of it. When I walked in there, it was empty. Evidently they had renters in it.
And I, what I've learned is don't take the first couple houses that you see. Be a [01:00:00] shopper. Think about what you can do to make that house pay off for you. I found this house and when the, when the realtor and I went through it, I kept saying, what's wrong with this house? And he kept saying, I don't know, we'll have somebody inspected, but there was nothing wrong with it.
Except for the fact that the renters, the renters that they had in there didn't want to move. So whenever they had somebody to come look at the house, they made it smelly. They did all sorts of things just to make, they make the house on sellable. So nobody wanted, and after our house is on the market for so long, a lot of people think, well, there must be something wrong with it.
We're not even gonna look at it. And that normally is the case, but. Yeah. That's why I say be careful, you don't always have to have to buy a house. It just went on the market. Look for those houses that have been maybe on the market for a year, you know? Cause there, there may be something wrong with them, but maybe just something that's really easily fixed.
I walked into there. I couldn't find anything wrong with this house. Dave and long story short was when we bought it, we paid like, I think we paid like 2 60, 2 and 60,000 [01:01:00] for we weren't in it a year. And my wife's job at the university there once. And we had to move. And the the realtor told me after we had, we bought it, he said, you know, I think I could turn this house around right now and sell it to you and make 20 grand profit.
I said, well, hold on to that thought, because that's exactly what happened. You know, we weren't a year into it. I went and we, we, we put on the block and we put it up for like, at that time it was running. I think it was worth maybe $300,000. At that point, it put like 60 or $40,000 worth of equity on it.
Just in the year we had it, we sold it for like 3 0 5. We took that money, bought a house in Meridian, Idaho, because we moved to Boise and my wife had a better job here and moved here, bought that. That house we put on. Let's see, we bought that for 303 and S our, excuse me, two 10 and sold it for 3 0 5.
So we made almost a hundred thousand dollars profit on that. And then we thought, well, my mother-in-law wanted to move in with [01:02:00] me and move in with us. She was getting up in years or Linda's dad had died, passed away, and she was wanting to move in with us. And so we thought, why don't we move on? Get a house together and down here where I live in my neck of the woods.
Now it's the hottest property anywhere, but two years ago, this is another thing. If you're going to buy a house, don't buy a house in the summertime. Don't buy a house in the spring, buy a house in the late fall. Early winter we bought, we actually signed on this house in December and we moved in January.
It was cold. It was, it was hard move and all that stuff. But we did it during those times because this house went up in October and they had it priced at I dunno, what was it? $425,000. And my, my top button was, was 400. I was looking at any house over 400, but I've seen this house come up for sale. And I thought, man, I just looks like it has all the buttons for us.
It pushes all the buttons, but I don't know. We'll we'll, we'll see, we want it, but we [01:03:00] wanted to pay all cash together. We were going to be able to pay all cash for this house. If we kept it at 400,000 and. Lo and behold, they dropped it to 3 99, 9. We came in, swooped in, bought it, picked it up and it was sold.
And now this house is worth. We, we bought it for three nights, basically 400,000. Now this house is worth and we only been at two years close to $700,000. I have no mortgage. I just, I just talked with my financial advisor today and he says, you are now set. So you could retire at 65. You can do a reverse mortgage on this house, which basically means the house is going to pay for us.
We're going to reverse it and you can live the rest of your life comfortably and not have to worry about money ever. And I've also saved up IRAs. I've also, you know, with my wife's IRAs and everything and sweater, little spills, social security, we get we're we're. No, [01:04:00] I am now living the dream. I'm able to speak and write.
I have a lousy lousy pay. If you will. Most people would say it's lousy pay, but it's all my little non-profit can afford to give me. But I, I literally can travel all over the world, serving and working, and sharing and doing this work because I'm debt free. So there's, there's a lot, you can do debt free, but I have never had a salary.
The most I ever made in my life one time was $65,000 a year. The rest of the time, my salaries have all been between 20 and $35,000. So I mean, I haven't made a lot of money. Yes. And for the people all over the world, even in America, that the hard thing with talking about numbers is $400,000 in one area could be a mansion, right?
$400,000 in another. It could be a 440 square foot dump, right? [01:05:00] So the concept of numbers, we need to wipe that from our head and the way God, you mentioned tithing earlier, God doesn't need money, but he wants us to recognize him and be grateful and thankful for what he gives us by giving 10% to charity, to the church and to, and then others, you know, Thai there's a 10% offerings is everything above and beyond that.
But when it comes to property, it doesn't matter if your in Uganda, it doesn't matter if you're in. Well, I mean, Mary is based on, I guess, your social, is it a communist country where the government owns everything or America, which we're still thankfully under a Republic. But basically what Rick is saying is he saw our opportunity.
He invited. He turned it, he reinvested, he turned it and that goes back to biblical the talents. You know, the, the story, one guy, everybody was given the talent. One made nothing who, one made three, one may five on may 10. [01:06:00] And the more you do with it, the more you're blessed in return. So whether you can afford a million dollar home or whether it's a $50,000.
Start where you can and keep moving up. I think that's the last thing. Would you agree? Yeah. And that's exactly the lesson. What I've learned in my financial journey is to be content at wherever I'm at. I was content in that 14 by 70 trailer. Back in the day, I learned to be content in a two bedroom house.
I learned to be condemned in a three bedroom house with one bath. I learned to be content in a four bedroom house with two bats. You know, I've learned to be content and that's been part of it. But here's the other thing is I've had, I've been, I've had wonderful opportunities in my life to, to have several millionaire friends.
And whenever I'm hanging around my millionaire friends, I usually have a moment where I ask them, give me an insight on how I can better improve my, [01:07:00] my financial standing or dues. I had one guy, one guy said to me, he says everything. Do it in real estate. He says, if you're going to invest, why put money into a stock market, which goes up and down like crazy and may at best give you 10% return when you can put it in real estate, which it can go up and down too, but tends to have a trajectory of going up.
And his, his rule was this every five years move every five years move starting from the time you buy your first house, just plan. You're going to be there five years and then you're going to move. And you're going to, you're going to improve that house enough. And in five years you should have enough equity so that when you sell it, you can get a little bit bigger house and you just keep selling and selling and selling, moving and selling till you get it.
Another millionaire told me, and this was back when, before I even understood a lot about money, but he said, whatever, you do pay cash, everything you do pay cash. And then the second thing he said that. With paying [01:08:00] cash is w I came with a car cause I said, well, what about a car? I mean, I can't afford to, I have to go payments on a car.
Cause there's no way I could afford a car. He says, I think Ramsey talks about this. He says, by what you you'll save up, buy a car with cash, run it, save up again, you know, and just buy a bigger car, keep trading and in type of thing, I think that's the Ramsey approach. But he told me, he says, I buy a car and I run it until it dies.
I thought, okay. He says a lot of people, they run it for a few years and then they turn it in and they get another car and they get another car payment. He says, get away from car payments. If you save your car payments, if you gotta, if you can save those, then eventually you can buy your own car and you can run your car till it dies.
And I have done that with all my cards. They all, literally I take care of them. I do everything to take care of them, but I run up, I get 250, 300,000 miles out of my cars. You know, I don't have any problems running around in a, in an old beat up pickup. Yeah. I actually, [01:09:00] I I'm laughing for those of you watching this.
If you are watching the video cast and people watching the podcast, a lot of my friends pick on me because I drive old vehicles. Now I have a nice classic truck. Now it's a nice old Ford and people are okay. Ooh, I love that, but it's really not worth anything. It's just beautiful. And I love it. Yeah. But my other car is, you know, it's something you'd expect a poor teenage kid to drive, but I don't care.
It gets me from point a to point B. It does its job. It keeps rain off my head and I can use the money for a nice car. I've had nice cars, thankfully brand new off the lot. But why waste that money when I can use it for other things and travel and have fun and give it to my friends and family and, you know, let them have a better life.
Oh yeah. We get to really reflect on our, our values, beliefs, our goals, like what are we really trying to [01:10:00] accomplish by buying $120,000 car? Yeah. There's also ways different ways to look at being rich. You know, I, my, my favorite movies is it's a wonderful life. You know, that classic Christmas film where he says he listened.
He says a man, the richest man in town is because he has all these friends. My rich. My, my, my richness has come from traveling. I have seen every state in America. I've been to Canada and Mexico. I've been over to five different five different trips to Africa seen South Africa, Tanzania, twice.
You've gone to Cote davar, the, the, the ivory coast of Africa. I've seen all of those. I've been in Moldova. You're talking, we're talking about Ukraine right now and everything I've been in Moldova. I know what Eastern Europe looks like. And I can tell you, we had many Ukrainians in our training seminars there in Moldova.
I mean, I know, I know, kind of just, just from that experience, what they're [01:11:00] like, I've been to Sweden, my wife's family, Linda she's from Sweden. So we went to Sweden, been to Italy, you know, all these places and I've done it all on somebody else's dime almost all of them. There've been a couple of trips where I paid for myself, but almost all of them, other people have given to me to get.
You know, because they've entrusted me to take the message that you know, the training that I do to other parts of the world, you know, I do have to give one more little thought in here and then we'll, we'll, we'll let you kind of take it wherever you want to go, but that's my story, but there's other one, one of the other thing that I didn't mention in my financial story that really set us free, because if you're thinking about it, this guy hasn't made more than 20,000, $24,000 a year, 30,000, and he had a hundred thousand dollars in debt how's that work, and that didn't make any sense.
How'd you get out of that? Well, being faithful. And I think there's a, there's a Bible verse, something that I think Jesus actually said it where he said, if you're faithful with little things, he'll, he'll give you more things and bigger things. And for [01:12:00] me, I was just based on the little things and all of a sudden bigger things started to come.
And those bigger things came in. Surprise gifts. I had a, we had a couple family members situations where we got surprised inheritances, including one that completely wiped away. All of our debt. It just wiped it away. We did not see that one coming. I thought that Linda and I, we would just slowly knock off her debt.
And we were doing really well. We were knocking our debt off. We were getting close. I went into, you know, if you're in deep credit card, debt, get ahold of one of these car companies that allow you to consolidate the debt and they will work on your part to build a knock that debt off really quickly. I was like, well man, $20,000, $25,000 in credit card damage.
And, and I was able to pay it all off for about $12,000. You know, they, they negotiated those things down for me. There are companies out there that, and organizations that will work for you on that behalf. Take advantage of that. Don't live with that debt because I'll tell you right [01:13:00] now, I don't owe a man.
Any person a thing. I have, I mean, I have money in my pocket, you know, all the money that, that comes in to my, to my house, to our house. Basically we can turn it around and we invest a lot of it. Again, we turn it back, but I have to give at least some props to God, blessing us with a couple of inheritances that were significant enough to cover that debt.
I don't, I don't know, you know, it's going to be different things for different people, but for me, you know, that's how it happened. All right. Then let's do this from your birth through where you are today. Is there anything we missed in your story or any other like closing thoughts that you want to put in that section of this episode?
No, I guess my journey has been a journey of grace. It's been a journey of forgiveness, but it's been a [01:14:00] journey about becoming who I really am. I think the greatest compliment that I get these days from people, you might call it a remarkable compliment, but I think it's the most remarkable compliment is that when someone looks at you and I've heard it a few times in my life, they just say, you know what?
You're so real. You're just a real person to me. I think that makes God smile more than anything else somebody else can say to you. I mean, we get a lot of compliments in life. Oh, you're so beautiful. And know, you're so talented. Oh, you're you're this or that. But I think when someone says to you, you know, you're real, you're the real deal.
I think that is what sets a person free to. I mean, when you feel, when you are real, nothing else matters, you know, it doesn't matter what you look like. It doesn't matter. It doesn't matter what you do anymore. All that matters is that you're real. That's why one of my favorite stories, as well as the Belmont teen rabbit, you know, a story of a little boy [01:15:00] it's classic with good moral value.
Yeah. What's real real. Isn't how you're made real. Isn't having fancy things that make you do stuff real. Isn't the dance. It isn't, it, isn't all these things that we tend to look to in life real is when someone loves you for a long, long time loves you. And that's what I have found that authenticity authenticity of my life has come out of two things.
First of all, having a relationship with Jesus Christ. That's totally real that grace, I have to, you know, if, if you don't maybe don't have a religious bone in your body, that's fine. But for me, that's really the starting spot of my Liberty, my freedom, my grace, the second thing was, and I was willing to go the whole length with my first.
It just didn't work out Dave, but God was faithful to me. He knew what I needed and he provided the person and Linda and Linda now has, has become, like I said, my soulmate. She is she's. She, she [01:16:00] is Jesus in the flesh for me in so many ways. And I am just so fortunate to have both a human relationship and a divine relationship working in tandem.
And no, I'm not perfect. I still mess up. I still I still have faults and failures. They they're, they're still there, but every day I just have learned to be content. Love. God love people. Hey man. That's Bible love. God. Love it. Love thy neighbor as thyself. Yeah. So let's do this. And where is Rick today and where are you?
Well, I'm a writer. I'm a, actually a cultural historian. That's what I do now for a living as I I interpret history for people. I COVID kind of shifted me a bit. I, I started studying American history and became fascinated with all the stories that you don't hear today. And so I've been I help people interpret history.
I also, for years have helped people [01:17:00] navigate culture and understand what's going on in the wider cultural ship. My doctoral work was in the leadership and the emerging culture. So I help people, organizations, churches, schools, you know, just understand, Hey, we know there's been this shift and I'm dealing with a lot of schools right now because they're.
Wow. You know, things have changed and these kids have changed and we don't know, and I'm going to, okay. Let's, let's see if we can figure this out, but I also help people explore faith, you know? I'm just, yes, I'm a Christian. And, and I have my bias, in fact I'll admit I'm close minded. You know, people say you're, you're intolerant you, Christians are intolerant.
So yeah, I am, I'll admit it. You know, Jesus said he is the way the truth and the life that's about as intolerant as you come. I either have to believe that, or I have to say, well, he is either a lunatic or a liar. He's Lord. That was CS Lewis. You know? And so for me, I thought, well, I can't see any lion coming from [01:18:00] Jesus.
He's not alluded tick. I mean, a lot of things he says actually are fairly sane and reasonable. So maybe as we said, he is, and for me, I just help people explore faith. Maybe it's not within the Christian tradition, maybe it is, but I just want to help people understand and. That's awesome. Now, is there anything we can do to help you?
You've sat here and you've shared your life with us and a lot of wisdom that we can take and start applying to our lives. Is there anything we can do to help you, or if someone wanted to reach out and learn more or just connect with you, what's the best way somebody can reach you? I would love one of the things I do every single day.
I have a it's called the manna morning man, a minute morning, man. It goes out. It's an email that goes out Monday through Friday. Maybe we can put a link in that in your in your show notes on this one, but it is a Monday through Friday morning email that's inspirational in nature. It is faith based.
There are Bible verses there. There's usually a little section that tells you if you want to read through the [01:19:00] Bible in a year, it gets a little bit of devotional read through the Bible through the year type of stuff, but it also has a, you know, on this day, You know what happened on this day in history and as a, it has inspirational elements.
I'm also a photographer. So it has a lot of my photography and these are free. A lot of people like to download them and use them for, for backgrounds and stuff like that. Every man was free. That if you don't know what manna is, manna was the food that God gave the Israelites in the desert. As they came out of Egypt, they were hungry.
They needed food. He gave them quail and he gave him the stuff called manna, which probably was something similar to rice Krispies, but just white stuff on the ground. And I named my organization manna educational services international for a reason it's because that man was free. It was manna. That was, it was surprised.
And it was a gift from. It's a divine it's divinely curious. We say, and my trainings, if you, if you want to get involved, you know, by all means, you'll sign up for my newsletter, where you get that every day. [01:20:00] Hire me. I'd love to come to your church, your school, your business, your organization. I keynote all the time.
I do keynotes for all sorts of groups. Next week, I'm speaking for some teenagers who are science nerds, you know I just, I just do all sorts of things. My latest book is a Gentek the American story of technology change in who we really are. I, I challenge our conventions. Technology are our generational frames, a boomer and X-er and millennial all that, and look at it through the lens of technology.
So I'm always thinking new thoughts and writing new things and putting them out there. So yeah, you can start by Rick cromey.com is a great place to start. My faith-based work firstname.lastname@example.org. Either of those are great places to start with me, but yeah, if nothing else get on my newsletter list we have over 800 subscribers.
And right now we have our open rate is about 30%, which is astounding. If you know anything about email marketing [01:21:00] Businesses like what I do. They're lucky. If you can get 10% to open, we have 30%. And I think the reason for that is people find it useful. It is something that it's, it's entertaining. It's insightful.
It's inspirational. It's a great way to start your day. We call it morning, Joe for the soul. So you know, come along nice. And yes, we will definitely put links in the show notes. So whether you're listening or reading this on the website, you can just click and go. Well, Rick, I really appreciate your time today.
Is there anything else that we missed in your story past, present, or future that you want to end the show with? Or any other closing thoughts for our. I think just want to kick back to the idea of being real. When I talk on technology and things like that, a lot of people are, are really concerned about the robots and the artificial intelligence and all the, the, the plastic, the drones, and all those things, you know, the way the world is changing.
And there's one thing I always say, [01:22:00] robots can't do. Robots will never be able to emote. They will never be able to remote. That's the, that's the humanist that we have that will, oh, that humanist will always be our edge over the robots. So just be real, be who you are designed to be and be the best at what you do.
That's about all I have to say about it. Hey man, man. Well, I think it's, that's great wisdom. I think. Thank you for being here today. Like our slogan says ladies and gentlemen, don't just listen to great content, whether it's with the remarkable people, podcasts or anything in life, but do it. Repeat the good each day for life.
That way you can have a great life in this world and an attorney to come. So I'm David pastor alone. This words Dr. Rick Cromey and I have truly appreciate you being here today, Rick. Thank you so much. My friend, [01:23:00] it's been a pleasure, Dave, and I finally learned how to say your last name. Oh, you want to shoot it Smith, right?
Yeah. I thought it looked like a pizza. So I was going to say David pizza Lowney or something like that. No, man. It's I grew up getting teased all the time. It's Pasqualoni so we got it. But Rick, thanks for being here today, ladies and gentlemen, reach out to Rick and I, if you have any questions and if you can, if you want to help.
Go ahead. And like the episode, like the podcast, leave us a five star review. If you can't leave us a five star review, shoot me an email and tell me why that we can improve, you know, as iron sharpens iron. So the man accountants of his friend. So we love you. Thanks for being here today and we'll catch you in the next episode.