March 14, 2023

Daniel Rodriguez Schlorff world turns upside down when his mother tragically dies

Daniel Rodriguez Schlorff had his career on track, a nice place to live, and all the trappings of a good life. Then, at 27, his mother tragically died in an auto accident, up ending every aspect of his life. The loss caused him to question everything about his existence and big changes came about. The loss of his mother altered him forever. His story truly is about all the wisdom that comes with loss. Today, Daniel has come to full acceptance and full self-forgiveness. He misses and loves his mom every day.

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Coach Maddox  0:03  
Hello, Daniel Rodriguez Schlorff Welcome to The Authentic Gay Man Podcast it's great to see you today.

Daniel Rodriguez Schlorff  0:10  
Great to be with you. Thank you.

Coach Maddox  0:12  
So for the listeners, I'll say that Daniel and I have known each other for probably about three or four years now. We met in the mankind project at in Indiana, at for the Rainbow Warrior retreat, and that Daniel was the director of

Daniel Rodriguez Schlorff  0:34  
Yeah. Well, thank you for promoting me to director but just a weekend coordinator. I just put everything together with a great guy named David bird who helped start the thing. Of course.

Coach Maddox  0:49  
I did give you a little bit of raised in I

Daniel Rodriguez Schlorff  0:51  
did director Wow.

Coach Maddox  0:54  
Hey, maybe that's previews of coming attractions. We never know, right?

Daniel Rodriguez Schlorff  0:59  
Hey, yeah. 

Coach Maddox  1:01  
Anything else you'd like to say?

Daniel Rodriguez Schlorff  1:03  
Well, other than it's a privilege to be here with you, Maddox. I've seen you thinking about the podcast. And now you have lots of episodes of something that you created on your own. So I'm just really proud of you. And really happy to be here today. Thank you, Daniel,

Coach Maddox  1:22  
so much. Thank you. And it is an honor and a pleasure to have you here as well. It's been kind of a long time coming. And here we are. But yeah, it's been actually, tomorrow makes the one year anniversary of the podcast and I have almost 60 episodes now are about 60.

Daniel Rodriguez Schlorff  1:39  
It's crazy to think about good for you. 

Coach Maddox  1:43  
It is crazy to think about how fast that can happen. And in this 12 months. Yesterday, I broke the 1000 followers mark on my Facebook page for the in the authentic gaming Facebook page, which was a pretty exciting milestone. I haven't even taken a chance to celebrate yet. But you know, and you are now part of that is as a guest on the podcast, you now are part of that because there wouldn't be a podcast without guests. Hmm. Well, let's jump right in. So my first question, oh, I'm sorry.

Daniel Rodriguez Schlorff  2:21  
No, that was it. I just said sure. Oh, I'm okay. I'm willing.

Coach Maddox  2:26  
You're we're willing, ready, willing and able? What does it mean to you? Or how would you define what it means to be an authentic gay man?

Daniel Rodriguez Schlorff  2:36  
Ah, authentic gay, man. That's an interesting question. So first of all, I identify as pansexual. Now, I first came out as gay. Back in 2004, I came out to myself in 2003 came out to public 2004. And before I thought, being gay in quotation marks, was like just being like, out and really militant. And like, you know, you see these videos of marriage equality rallies and people in from the 2004 era. And people being really vocal, and I was one of those people. In fact, that's how I came out to the world. My parents got phone calls from all these religious people we went to church with when they all saw me on the news being dragged out of the street by police in Chicago, because I was creating a human barricade. And then everyone was like, Oh, he must be gay. So it was like, at first I thought that was like living authentically in Yes, absolutely. Like going for equality and justice equity. Is is really, really important. But then there's the inner acceptance, and not needing to fight anymore. And I'm not saying like giving up the struggle for equality or anything but like, not needing to prove anything to oneself. I think regarding what I'm doing is okay, you know, because as a religious person growing up, I didn't think what I'm doing is okay, and that's one of the reasons I am so strong as in ministry, towards inclusion. You know, I've been in ministry now starting in the Church of the Nazarene since 2000. And it's, you know, 2023 as of this recording, and


seek out people in the LGBTQ plus community, not necessarily as church members, but just to kind of see where they might have hang ups, spiritually or religiously, where they might have been injured and abused. And, you know, so I want to be kind of comfort. In those situations, whether they accept themselves spiritually or not, there, there may be those, that negative self talk still coming from what they learned from a nun or a priest or a pastor or deacon or whatever. And, and so what I try to do is help them find new language of acceptance. If they value scripture, for example, then we talk about Scripture. And so I think being an authentic gay man, is is all about acceptance of oneself, to the point of having peace, having peace with oneself. Knowing that, and I realized I'm kind of ignoring the word man, which is really important also, but I think authenticity is the word. The operative word for me. In those three words, authentic? Absolutely. Absolutely. I

Coach Maddox  6:37  
agree, as well. And, you know, I think that if I

Daniel Rodriguez Schlorff  6:41  
had it to do over, I would have,

Coach Maddox  6:45  
I mean, things have changed since I started building this brand. And I've kind of, I've kind of updated where I can use GB tq. But GB TQ kind of felt awkward in the name, it felt a little bit weird. I thought about changing it, but I thought, I thought about changing it to queer. And I thought, okay, there's still some of our population that are put off by that term. So I decided to stick with the status quo. But yes, I guess when I say that, I really do mean it to be inclusive. The whole all the initials, GB tq. You know, we are men. Yeah. So this fall in one of those categories, especially now that our use of the word queer is kind of encompassing, that can mean a lot of different things, as I understand it, and it means different things to different people.

Daniel Rodriguez Schlorff  7:36  
Yeah. And I did used to call myself queer for about 10 years, I use the word queer, but it's because it was off putting to especially older generations, and it's because it didn't really let people were like, Oh, you're queer. That means you're gay. Okay. Got it. Where, you know, they didn't really understand. And so I use the the term pansexual to be more precise, more clear for other people, also, but like, when I first heard the word pansexual, I don't know. Several years ago, I was I immediately resonated with it, you know, and so, you know, I think authentic gay man. I think that's, that's great. And I, I feel included by it, too, just so you're aware.

Coach Maddox  8:28  
Awesome. Oh, so Daniel, because some of my listeners are maybe not as up to date and progressive. And then there's a segment of my listeners that are heterosexual. Uh, huh. Take just a moment for us in and define pansexual

Daniel Rodriguez Schlorff  8:46  
Yeah, so, so pansexual I mean, the, the turn of phrase is often hearts, not parts. Right. And, you know, I kind of pushed back on that because I like the parts a lot, too. If you know what I'm saying. Like so hearts, meaning whether a person is female or male or transgender, male, transgender, you know, gender non binary, gender non conforming, I've dated the whole thing. Continuum, and like, I've been heartbroken by a woman recently. I've been heartbroken by trans man. Recently, you know, I happen to be in a, a gay relationship right now. Hopefully that continues that and so when I'm dating a woman, it feels

different to be

in heterosexual space. Is or it just, you know, by virtue of us being different sexes? I'm inhabiting heterosexual space, right. So it feels different not as a betrayal of oneself. But it just feels different, like, people look at us. Oh, yeah, whatever. Yeah. Whereas when I'm in a restaurant playing footsie with the guy I'm seeing, for instance, then we may get side eyed and so there's, there's that too, I realize I have some privilege. And I own that. And I want to leverage that for good and not to hide or, or anything like that, you know?

Coach Maddox  10:54  
Yeah. I love that. I love that. So thank you for that definition. You know, there's so many terms now. And there's new ones coming in every day that even those of us in the community, sometimes it's our community, and I have a hard time keeping up with some of the the terms or or I don't know, it's maybe been a year or two. Now, when somebody explained to me what demisexual was, and I'd never heard that term prior to that. And when they explained it, I was like, Oh, I think that pretty much describes me. I don't think it's always described to me. Right? I think now, if there's not some kind of heart involvement, I, you know, my days of the, you know, the hookup are pretty much overwhelming. There's gotta be some connection. For me to there's got to be some heart involved before we get the part involved. I guess this one, I'm Ah,

Daniel Rodriguez Schlorff  11:48  
there you go. I like that. Maddox got his heart on.

Coach Maddox  11:55  
Yep, yep, exactly. So I love that. All right, well, let's get to the real reason we're here. And that's, you know, your own personal journey. I want to hear about your personal journey, your story. And of course, the question is, what has been the most challenging thing that you've endured or continue to endure in this lifetime? And we can really unpack that we can go there.

Daniel Rodriguez Schlorff  12:20  
Yeah. Yeah. By far the most challenging thing that has happened in my life is the death of my mother. Back in 2009, I just, you know, I was a children's and youth minister out in Wisconsin, and I was also an adjunct professor at two top tier schools in Wisconsin. Everything was going great. 2008 hit. So funding, the great recession. So funding for the church job and the adjunct positions, just evaporated. And I need to define new work. So I ended up in Connecticut, as a children's youth and families minister. And there, it was a larger congregation, but I didn't have the adjunct thing. But I felt like okay, I endured that challenge. Everything is great. My parents, my mother and father both visited me in my first sermon in this congregation in, in Connecticut, and you know, I thought I'd made it big because I had a washer and dryer in unit. And there was a gym in two pools in the complex where I was working, and I, I auditioned and got into choir at Yale. So like, everything was set up for me. There's that thing you just asked not to happen.

The notification

sound effect. Yeah. But good. And maybe that ding is is important, because that's exactly when everything changed. My father phoned me and it was a voice message that completely changed my life. He said your mother has been in a car accident. And then, you know, I was like, honestly praying and bargaining with God and I didn't know what to do. I didn't know what to think. And then I got the other call and he said, she's gone


suddenly, I was thrust into a new journey. And that included not being great as my as a minister anymore. More.

Coach Maddox  15:01  
Well, in all those things that you listed off a few minutes ago that, you know, was it making life really good, I have to imagine that most of that suddenly didn't really matter.

Daniel Rodriguez Schlorff  15:13  
Right? Right. When my mother died, I was I could not listen to the news. I could not watch TV, I could not listen to the radio, I didn't want anything. Because I was angry as hell that the world was going on. Like my entire world. And I'm not being facetious either. I was really mad, that there were news stories being covered, because like my entire world had ended. My mother was that important to me is that I should say, important to me. And she still is. And you know, we can talk a little about that later. But like, I, I read somewhere on the flight to Indiana, where I grew up for the funeral, was flying to Indiana for the funeral Memorial. That just because someone has died, doesn't mean we have to stop loving them. And that gave me a license to continue the love. And that was really, really important for me to hear at that time. And, you know, having been having worked in hospice for nine years, I've been able to pass that wisdom down to family members who are losing their loved ones to you know, it's it's not that you have to stop loving them. It's that the relationship will change.

It'll just look different now. Yes, that's okay.

Coach Maddox  16:54  
I agree completely. Yes. You don't have to stop loving them. My mom passed away in 2003. And I still on a regular basis. Talk to mom.

Daniel Rodriguez Schlorff  17:06  
There you go. That's right. She didn't talk back. But I talked to mom. Yeah. Mommy will until I die. Yeah.

And your mom is rooting for you, I'm sure. Oh, yes. And being an advocate for you where she can,

Coach Maddox  17:25  
I just told the boyfriend yesterday, I said, I so wished my mom could have met you, she would have loved you. Absolutely loved you. And I hope she's looking down. And you know, seeing now her biggest dream was for me to be with somebody that was good for me. And it just be happy. And I know that it would really, really be meaningful to her to know that. That is present in my life now.

Daniel Rodriguez Schlorff  17:59  
Absolutely. Yeah. Absolutely.

Coach Maddox  18:04  
Well, Daniel, I, I'd love to know more about, of course, it makes perfect sense that your world would have just been offended in that moment. But where did you go? Yeah. You know, this is a topic that has not come up. I've had a couple of people that have lost spouses. But the loss of a parent, the loss of a mother in particular, I don't recall coming up and not as the main topic. And I think this is important, because it happens sooner or later happens to all of us. Yeah. And how we navigate that, of course, would be different for each person. But as you unpack your story and and share how you navigated that, I know that it will, no doubt provide wonderful wisdom for anybody that has been through that recently, or is who in anticipation that's, that's coming soon? Yeah,

Daniel Rodriguez Schlorff  19:09  
yeah, sure.

I went through a period, which ended up being like 10 years of self discovery. I had to figure out who I was going to be in the world. And by the way, she was not just mom. She was not just a mother to me. And not that not to minimize what a mother is and does to anyone. But remember when I was talking about my parents hearing from all these Nazarene means that your son was on TV at a gay thing for gay marriage, right. My mother was very accepting of that.

She was proud of me.

Coach Maddox  20:00  
I think that's easier for moms. Not always. It's not across the board. There's no definitives. But true. I think oftentimes, mothers can warm up to the idea faster than fathers can.

Daniel Rodriguez Schlorff  20:16  
Yeah. That could be true. My mom

Coach Maddox  20:19  
was faster than my dad did.

Daniel Rodriguez Schlorff  20:22  
Compare. Yeah.

It's good. So she was supermom to me. But regarding this, the loss of a supermom, right. There was also the issue of what to do professionally because I was becoming less effective in my ministry. But not only that, but I was finding out that it meant less to me to do this. Like I was direct, it was a large church, about 450 people. And I was responsible for 120 children. Right. That's a lot of Sunday school teachers to recruit. That's a lot of youth group leaders to recruit. And so I was involved in all this nuts and bolts stuff that I was caring, less and less about. And that's what I was letting slip. And I really wanted to get into the personal ministry. And that's how I found chaplaincy, and eventually coaching. I

decided to

go for more Clinical Pastoral Education. And as total, I have four years of, or 1600 clinical hours as a Clinical Pastoral Education intern, which made me board eligible for certification.


I found my new calling, at least for that moment. And I'm still a chaplain, by the way, even though I'm, you know, passed, recently called to be the pastor of third Congregational Church, in Middletown. I'm also a psychiatric chaplain in Middletown, at one of the hospitals there,

Connecticut. So but it wasn't

just doing the self exploration of becoming a chaplain, there was a lot of self exploration there. It was like biting the bullet and going through mankind project. I'd known about it since 2003. When I started Divinity School in Chicago. I, Robert Moore, was one of my professors at Chicago Theological Seminary just across the street. And he told me, he told me himself, about mankind project, that there would be a group of guys who would love me, no matter what. And, to some degree, that's been true. I'm going to try and stay positive here. But you know, also people just being people sometimes. But my self exploration also included a place that I love, so much called Shalom mountain. It's in Livingston Manor, New York, where other comparable retreats are located. But this one really touched my heart and includes processes such as psychodrama that you might see in mankind project as well. And, and now I'm doing this six month training at Shalom mountain, I go next week, for my fourth week, fourth month to find out kind of how the sausage is made, so to speak, in the shalom process. And what else I didn't know I did a number of different professional development retreats that involve self exploration. And, you know, I don't think I was ready for pastoral ministry per se. Because of the process. I had to go through the murky stuff I had to wade through the characters and into the woods, you know, might talk about the forest that they had to go through to get to where they needed to grow.


I end up where I am now, which is a really happy place of acceptance and Again, it's it's human life. So it's never perfect, right? But I feel like I'm winning. And that's a good feeling.

That's a great feeling.

Coach Maddox  25:15  
I must agree completely. That's a great feeling. I want to circle back for a minute. And understand a little bit more. It you know, you said, your mom's passing, changed the trajectory of your life. And there was this point, when you realize that what you were doing was kind of not not doing it for you. It was not it didn't hold meaning anymore. What do you think shifted at it as a result of your, your mom's passing? What shifted inside of you, that caused you to just go off in a different direction? What you had been doing was going really great, great. Suddenly, just one yet?

Daniel Rodriguez Schlorff  26:04  
Yeah, what happened was,

it was an immediate effect. nothing mattered. It was the same thing as the news didn't matter to me. The couple of weeks following her death, her accident, just I saw things. Like, you know, they say don't sweat the small stuff, right? It was that I was so invested in all the small stuff in life, and making sure all the small stuff in my ministry was going really great, that I realized, I'm missing an element here. That's the personal element. I didn't get to, you know, even though I was a children's Youth and Family Minister, I didn't get a lot of contact with the children. Because I was doing the recruiting and thanking the teachers and everything. I did get a little thing every once in a while, where I could literally to children's chapel and, like, interact with them and be fun with them, or have fun with them. But so that's why I went to chaplaincy. Because it's all about the one on one. It's all about the, let me hold this space for you. In your darkest moment when you're in a hospital. Or you're 37 and you're having a hip replacement, and how alone and dark that must feel, or you're diabetic and you're losing your your foot or some toes, or you, you know, you're just coming out of sepsis. And what does that mean? That you could have died, you know, like answering these huge questions for people not answering them, that's really, really bad wording. Helping

them just by listening

by holding space for them. Just holding space for them is a help. Because they're helping themselves not because I'm helping them necessarily.

Coach Maddox  28:28  
I think when we have space for ourselves. When there's somebody that's willing to just hold that space, I think we almost always can come up with our own answers our own direction and path.

Daniel Rodriguez Schlorff  28:41  
That's right. It's finding the power within to change whatever. That's, you know, that's that's there.

Coach Maddox  28:50  
I I kind of think that I want to figure out a way to kind of expand on this a little bit more, because I'm feeling kind of a

Daniel Rodriguez Schlorff  29:02  

Coach Maddox  29:03  
emerge here that I think is probably present anytime there's great loss. And that is it makes us question our values. It makes us question everything. And I believe the older we are when we have that loss. I know that when my my mother died in 2003 I was too young. You know, I was probably in my mid 40s. And I didn't get that slap of mortality in my face. Oh my My brother. He's seven years older and he felt a little bit of that slap of mortality. My father passed in

Daniel Rodriguez Schlorff  29:49  

Coach Maddox  29:52  
By that time I was, you know, 55 and I definitely got that slap of Morton. Aleksey in my face that that moment when I realized, I'm not going to live forever, that moment when I realized how fast time was marching forward, and the question was, am I really spending my time doing the things that I want to do? Is this really what I want to do? With my time? It was this and like you said, immediate thing, man. He died. And poof, I'm just questioning so many aspects of my existence. And I and it was all like, trying to determine

Daniel Rodriguez Schlorff  30:37  
what was important. Yeah. Yes.

Coach Maddox  30:44  
Speak speak to that a little bit more that that what you determined was really important as

Daniel Rodriguez Schlorff  30:50  

That happened. Pretty much every day for me as a hospice chaplain. I was surrounding myself by death, right as a hospice chaplain, death or near death.

So as I sat with patients, who may have had regrets

about their life, like I didn't spend enough time with my children, and now they're not coming to see me as I'm dying. That's a huge regret.

Coach Maddox  31:27  
That's hard to come back from. Oh, yeah. You even comfort somebody that's in that space.

Daniel Rodriguez Schlorff  31:34  
Yeah. Exactly.

Exactly. So finding out at the end of your life, that you messed everything up. And in fact, fractured your relationships with your children or something. That's a big, I mean, you talk about heaven and hell, that's living in hell. There. That's a punishment. That's, that's hell on earth. Hell on Earth, that's what I mean. Yep, absolutely. Earth. Yes, hell on earth. And then, you know, people said, you know, I shouldn't have been an accountant. I wanted to be a choral conductor, or, or something artsy, but my parents didn't let me and I stayed on this course. And I made good money. And that wasn't enough to feel fulfilled in life. Right. And that's, that was a big theme. There were a handful of people over my nine years, or two hands full. Who squeezed everything out of life.


people were sometimes surrounded by their loved ones at the end of life. But even some people who were never married, were filled with gratitude. For all the things they got to do, and a lot of times that's, that was the most elderly patients who saw all of their loved ones, all their family, all of their friends, all of their neighbors die. But still, they have this gratitude. So I learned by watching people who are dying, how to really embrace life, how to really major in the most important things, and minor in the less important things,

Coach Maddox  33:41  
you know, I'm thinking there is a book somewhere in there, you know, all the time, that's in those years, all the people that you sat with, as they shared those regrets. That would be a very powerful thing to help lead

Daniel Rodriguez Schlorff  34:00  
people to

Coach Maddox  34:01  
pay a little more attention to what they're doing while they still can change what they're doing. You know, I find myself projecting myself out to the day of my death frequently. I will, something will be going on in my life. And I'm having like a moment, you know, I'm triggered, I'm really upset about something. And I will are unhappy about something and I'll stop and I'll ask myself, if you were on your deathbed right now about to take your last breath. Would this be what you would care about? And the answer is almost always no. It's not what I would be caring about. It's not what I'd be thinking about. Right? Yeah, the the moments that we make the biggest hubbub about are are most often not the things that we'll be remembering when we're taking that last breath and I I think it's I string myself out there frequently to just remind myself of what is important to you. What do you want to remember in those last breaths? What is it? What is it that you want to be focused on and grateful for? What is it that you don't want to feel? Intense? regret about? That last breath can be a huge guidepost in our lives, I think.

Daniel Rodriguez Schlorff  35:25  
Absolutely. And you know, I think when who was the Buddha or something, talking about not dwelling in the past and not, you know, dwelling on the future. But living in the present moment? I don't know. The Dalai Lama, I don't know. But something Buddhist for sure. But I think you're right, in that our very last breaths. If we think about what's important from that moment, from that perspective, from that vantage point, it can be instructive in living this present

moment, absolutely. Yeah. So you're right.

Coach Maddox  36:19  
It's to me, it's a tool, and I use that tool frequently. Permission to ask what may be a little bit of a tough question.

Daniel Rodriguez Schlorff  36:28  

Coach Maddox  36:32  
At the time of your mom's passing, yeah. Looking back on the time that you did get to spend with her. Right. Did you have any regrets?

Daniel Rodriguez Schlorff  36:44  

you know, I immediately went to gosh, you know, I just saw her a week and a half before I just texted with her, I think that day,

before her accident. My regret was, you know,

my mom and dad were in a hotel room for part of the day. For the few days, they were here for a few days in succession. And I just regretted not squeezing every moment out of the time with her that I had. But you know, of course, that's magical thinking, of course, I can't know that. That would be my last set of interactions with her. And that's

part of

you know, Jonathan Larson, popularizing that phrase, no day, but today, right in rent, that is the musical. And I love that because I'm. So some of the words were like, Forget regret, or life is yours to miss, like, think about that. You know, and so I had to let go, I had to forgive myself for


going into the hotel room and crawling into the bed and snuggling with her when she was, you know what I mean? I had to let that go. And that was hard.

Coach Maddox  38:34  
But how long would you say that process was Daniel that that letting go and forgiving yourself? How long did that take before you felt free of

Daniel Rodriguez Schlorff  38:44  
that? Well, if

Coach Maddox  38:48  
I still have it showed up.

Daniel Rodriguez Schlorff  38:51  
Yeah. Great. I still, I still feel a little of that. Well, it would have been nice if, but I think it took a year or so. It wasn't the whole 10 year process of self exploration for sure. But I would say a good year or so. I was blaming myself for not fully showing her my appreciation or fully appreciating her when she was here.

Yeah, it's hard to come back from that in it.

Coach Maddox  39:29  
Yeah, would have feelings you know?

Daniel Rodriguez Schlorff  39:31  
Yeah, exactly. The shoulda coulda woulda, yeah. And, and as I like to say the Okay, so, the itty bitty shitty committee in your head,

Coach Maddox  39:40  
like criticizing you. Right? Yeah. Yeah. How has that experience played a role in your relationship with your father?

Daniel Rodriguez Schlorff  39:57  
My mother's death, somehow I brought my father and I back together. Because remember when I said that my mother was a strong supporter of me, when I first came out, well, my father was not. But I talk with my father now, like I call him, like, once a week, and we're talking.


I was speaking with kind of a psychological slash psychic person. Not

to. I don't know,

some people have a judgement about that. I don't. Yeah, okay. Yeah. So we were talking together, and she was like,

what's with this,

making your father pay? thing? You know, and I just sat back and I'm like,

Whoa, I'm being a little vindictive bitch.

Coach Maddox  41:07  
Yeah. And be like, how far in were you How long had it been since your mom's passing? When that happened?

Daniel Rodriguez Schlorff  41:15  
Like 12 years? Well, I mean, the 12 years that we had that conversation, but as we were looking back, I could see that, you know, and so that conversation in the last, so it's been 13 years now, in the last year or so. I've even ramped up more my interactions with my father. And, of course, it's not perfect. But, you know, I can't talk politics or to a certain extent religion with him


Coach Maddox  41:52  
And that's okay. Yeah, there are ways to connect and relate.

Daniel Rodriguez Schlorff  41:57  
There are many other ways to connect and relate. Absolutely.

Yes. So how did

Coach Maddox  42:04  
the loss of mom and regret that you felt? How did that affect your other relationships?

Daniel Rodriguez Schlorff  42:21  

I'm hesitating, because it's not as simple as that relationship affecting other relationships. It's also my mother's death, like suddenly changing other relationships to like my relationship with my brother, we were buddies until my mom died. And so losing my mom was not just losing my mom, it was losing my brother, too. And then strengthening my relationship with my father has further strained my relationship with my brother. Where you love? Yeah, yeah. Yeah. And, you know, I am not here to

say some form of competition.

I can't say meaning, I don't know. I don't know what's going on with that. But there's a complex history there between me and my brother. He's He's openly gay now. But he wasn't for many years. He let he let me bear the brunt of the coming out process. And he slowly came out and revealed that this guy that he'd been bringing around to my mom's memorial service, and other family functions was not just a buddy.

But, you know, now in all this time when you bear the brunt, did you know that he was gay?

Yeah. I knew before I came to self acceptance, even. I talked to him about it. And he took me to my first gay bar. Again, we were buddies. Like he was there for me during that time.

Coach Maddox  44:15  
Do you have any idea what about your mom's passing? altered your relationship with him?

Daniel Rodriguez Schlorff  44:22  
It was more about Well, here's that word again. competition with like, guess competition with accomplishments, competition with


relationships like N He pulled some people away from me too. I noticed my people on Facebook Messenger commenting like, whoa, you like you're not keeping tabs of your brother. I know this stuff about you. Brother and you don't what kind of brother? Are you? Um, as if it were my fault that you know what I mean? And so, and like they unfriend me? Well, they did. Like they, they, I can't make full sense of what's going on with my brother. And other people make judgments about me like, What kind of Minister are you? People say, wow,

you know it, will he not talk to you? He will not. And he did he just cut it off all at once. Yeah, he stopped

responding to me. And I've emailed him. I've texted him. And I can tell I have an iPhone. So I can tell he's read some of my messages. I can I know that he's read my emails, conciliatory emails, because he's talking to other family members about it. And they're talking to me about it.

And are they able to give you any insight at all?

They don't understand what's happening. I had to explain some things to my father. You know, and this is like getting into family drama. And I did not expect to go here. So thanks a lot, Maddox. But um, well, I

Coach Maddox  46:21  
mean, it's part of the story is how this this great loss this, this biggest challenge in your life, it has had ripple effects out into every area of your life. And this is part of it. And I I didn't ask the question to get into the drama aspect,

Daniel Rodriguez Schlorff  46:39  
right? No, no, I gotcha. I gotcha.

Coach Maddox  46:41  
You know, to definitely identify how how a loss like that can permeate everything.

Daniel Rodriguez Schlorff  46:50  
Oh, yes. That's That's exactly it. It permeates everything. And

and I live

with not regret because I've done my part with my brother. I've reached out several times, offered him happy birthday. Happy Thanksgiving. Happy New Year's.

Merry Christmas. And

it's, it's like talking to a brick wall as they say, right. But I also had that same emotional cut off with my grandmother when I came out. Like she was the biggest supporter of me. Right. And

I was dead to her when I came out. Wow, that's,

Coach Maddox  47:46  
that's not necessarily the definition of unconditional love.

Daniel Rodriguez Schlorff  47:51  
Right. Well, you know, I think, having lived on that side of evangelicalism, here's a little insight that I bring.

She may have still

loved me, you know, and that is a what if, but she may still have loved me. But she loves God more. And she was convinced, I believe when she was living that God wanted her. She probably thought God wanted her to show me tough love. You know, so there was that competing interest? And that's what I don't like about religion. And I, you know, though a pastor and a chaplain, I don't consider myself very religious.

Coach Maddox  48:46  
It is what is wrong with

Daniel Rodriguez Schlorff  48:49  
religion? Right? Like you think

God wants you to cut off your grandson or your son or your, you know, whatever, because they come out, like, because, and you want to please that God. It makes sense to me that they put God first and others second. That includes me. That includes anyone who's not God for them. Right? And so that's the compromise that has to be made. And that's the discord. That's the cognitive dissonance they're living in. Well,

Coach Maddox  49:33  
it also feels very black and white to me. I don't know you know, Mary Kay Ash, founder of the Mary Kay cosmetic line, her her foundation that she built her entire empire on was God first family second. And then I don't know what was third now business third, I think was what it was or, you know, livelihood. heard. But that could be interpreted really, really wrong. It could be interpreted where it's an either or, I got to either pick God or pick my family, my, my, my gay son or my gay grandson, which is absurd. It's there or it's an and

Daniel Rodriguez Schlorff  50:24  
that's right. Yeah. And there's a lot of oh, we have the answer in evangelicalism. There's a lot of black and white. I don't know very much gray area in evangelicalism. No, what you're pointing to is absolutely, right. Yeah, there's a there's a rhyme that is sung to jingle bells that I heard when I was a Nazarene. In the Church of the Nazarene. I'm going to spare you my singing. I like to sing, but I'm not going to sing for you here. Otherwise, I'm gonna have to charge you. But I'm the rhyme goes JOYJ Oh, why this must surely mean, Jesus first, and yourself last, and others in between? Well, that's that's kind of the thought of, you know, put yourself last. Jesus first. And, you know, as you're saying, family second.

Others in between? Wow,

wow. That's that's the mentality.

Coach Maddox  51:35  
That's messed up. That's well, with so much of our population, that whole put yourself last.

Yeah, if you did that on an airplane, we'd all be dead.

Daniel Rodriguez Schlorff  51:46  
Everything about that statement is problematic. Yes. Like, there's not one thing that I'm like, yep. That's, that's right. Yeah, no,

Coach Maddox  51:53  
I agree. And, and you will never convince me in a million years that that would have been what Jesus would have taught.

Daniel Rodriguez Schlorff  52:00  

Precisely. Yeah. I mean, you've heard these accounts of you may have heard these accounts of a Semitic man, like Hindus have this. This account from like, 200, Common Era, where a Semitic man was in the Himalayas, and learning from


the Buddhists in Tibet and then going back to his people and teaching them some of the teachings of Buddhism. And that was those were passed down along generations and written down in 200, Common Era, as I said before, I believe that's gotta be Jesus. I believe Jesus was probably, you know, we say he's Jewish. And he was. I think he was a little Buddhist, too. If you look at how other his writings are, I think he was a little Buddhist, too. And I think that points us


acceptance of other faith traditions, not exclusion of other faith traditions. And so I hope, you know, those Christians who are listening to meet oh my gosh, but pastor is saying, Robert,

absolutely. We can

learn from other faith traditions, too.

Coach Maddox  53:46  
Absolutely. I believe that any any group that were in any room Orient, the more diverse it can be, the better off we all are. Yeah, and I mean, diversity in every way. I, I make it a point to build diversity into my life. I'm always surrounding myself by a variety of ages, from different backgrounds and cultures, different people with different colored skin, people from different religions. I think we all gain from that. There's How could there possibly be anything bad about that I learned something from every person I come in contact with. But having them all be as different as they could possibly be is fascinating to me. I'm an entertainer, I'm, I host parties all the time. And and I literally, like, invite people from just different different people. Somebody asked me the other day, oh, you know, what are your party's like? And I said, Well, there's usually people in their 20s and people in their 70s Uh huh. And from every color of skin you can imagine

Daniel Rodriguez Schlorff  55:00  
Um, I think the

Coach Maddox  55:03  
more I can bring different people together and let them see how fabulous it is to be with other different people. Yeah, is the is a good thing.

Daniel Rodriguez Schlorff  55:13  
And I think because of the inherently creative space, diversity brings, I think you see creative people such as yourself, inviting that creativity and strength into their life through having friends from many different walks of life. Absolutely. diversity brings strength and creativity. No doubt,

Coach Maddox  55:39  
the end, it just brings interest it brings. Yeah, I don't know how to word it any better than that. So I want to circle back for a minute. And

Daniel Rodriguez Schlorff  55:51  
I want to know what to ask.

Coach Maddox  55:57  
What was it that enabled you to come full circle because I get I'm and and this may not be accurate. But energetically, I'm sensing that there was a time and a place where you came full circle with mom's passing with my president, not that you don't completely miss her. We don't ever stop doing that. But you've come full circle where you have healed and life is back on an even keel and she's ever present in your life. But that most powerful challenging struggle that you went through is is behind you. Is that accurate? At least to some degree?

Daniel Rodriguez Schlorff  56:41  
is more or less behind me? Yes. And I carry with me, well will always probably carry with me that void of not having her physically present. Yes. And I just happen to get that void at the age of 29. Rather than like, I don't know, when people's parents die in their 90s. Maybe they're in their 70s. And they, for the first time experienced that void. And they may be a little more prepared for it at that time. But as a 29 year old.

You weren't prolonging a little bit. Yeah, not even

a little bit didn't even cross my mind. Any. I, even when I was praying in bargaining about my mother being in an accident, I wasn't like drawing the conclusion. Oh, yeah, she must have died. I was like, Oh, I hope she's okay. Physically, and she can still walk.

You know, and like,

it didn't even hit me. And so your mind

that she could pass? Right?

Right. I mean, she was as invincible as I was, in my mind

Coach Maddox  57:56  
as a 29 year old. So what do you think it was that brought you full circle? What was the thing that carried you back around?

Daniel Rodriguez Schlorff  58:09  
I think there was a confluence of things. One of the most valuable resources that I have is journaling.


meditation has also been very helpful in calming my mind

in taming what do they call it? The

tiger? Elephant, the elephant? Yeah. So there are those conventional


that everyone has access to I mean, if you have a loose leaf piece of paper and just just journaling a little, if you if you have 20 minutes of silence or three minutes of silence, whatever. meditate a little

Coach Maddox  59:05  
or your feelings out on paper you have Yeah, consciousness.

Daniel Rodriguez Schlorff  59:10  
But you know, in journaling, in meditating, you're owning your stuff. You're owning your stuff and and so I think mankind project to a certain extent helps me certainly deal with my relationship with my father, and also with the loss of my mother. Shallow mountains helped me with the same things and you know, going through coaching training as a health coach than a life coach than a personal trainer to will less to a lesser extent the personal trainer formation, but like just befriending nutrition, befriending my body and Understanding how my body reacts to certain things. And you know, I don't like it when I talk about certain things and, you know, whatever. Just being okay with my body and inhabiting the space. Now, that was really important as well. So it was a confluence of factors that helped me come to a place finally, of I accept that my mother is gone. I don't like it one bit, not one bit. But I've come to a place of acceptance, I can say. And that's a part of grief still.

And Elisabeth Kubler Ross would agree Oh,

Coach Maddox  1:00:50  
absolutely. It's one of the stages. Absolutely. Yeah. So Daniel, what, what is the piece of wisdom that you'd like to share? For anybody that has experienced?

Daniel Rodriguez Schlorff  1:01:06  
Loss? Or

Coach Maddox  1:01:09  
is experiencing regret as a result of that loss?

Daniel Rodriguez Schlorff  1:01:13  
What wisdom do I have?

That's a really good question. I would say. Just be honest with yourself,

about what you really feel about what you really


Observing some family members of patients who have passed, they go right into busy mode. Like, oh, I need to plan the memorial service, or I need to get the burial plot that they didn't have these things planned.

Coach Maddox  1:01:50  
That's that's a self defense mechanism. Yeah,

Daniel Rodriguez Schlorff  1:01:53  
that's right. That's right. And they never get to grief, it's their their

Coach Maddox  1:01:57  
way of avoiding the pain.

Daniel Rodriguez Schlorff  1:02:01  

Coach Maddox  1:02:02  
And that has its place, you know, I've come to realize that those safety, defense mechanisms have their place, there is times there are times when our, our spirit, our being is not prepared to go there. And so the ability to distract ourselves and avoid can actually be healthy on the front end. Until we are in a place where we're more ready to address what's going down. But more often than not, those self defense mechanisms get strung out too long until and we stay in it for too long, until it begins to do the opposite of what it was intended to do.

Daniel Rodriguez Schlorff  1:02:50  
Yeah. Right.

So going back to Robert Moore, and even Isaiah, in the Hebrew Bible, you know, Robert Moore, or Bob, as we call them, Bob, would say you got to go through the tomb to get to the womb, you know,

kind of like that. And

Coach Maddox  1:03:16  
I've heard the only way. The only way to the other side of it is through it. Right.

Daniel Rodriguez Schlorff  1:03:24  
And in Isaiah 43, two, I just looked it up. So it wasn't like in my, but I had this verse member that I just didn't know where it was, but I just looked it up and it says, Isaiah 43, two, when you pass through the waters, I will be with you. And when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned, the flames will not set you ablaze. And whether we're talking about God, of like the Hebrew Bible, or of the Christian New Testament, or of the God of your understanding, or that which is greater.

You know, think about that.

Think about that, being plugged in, through prayer, journaling, meditation.

Nice. Hey,

Coach Maddox  1:04:24  
faith is a big thing for me. And I don't mean faith in a religion I mean, faith in, in God, faith in the universe, whatever, you know, faith in a higher power, faith in the the perfection of life and the way it unfolds. Right.

Daniel Rodriguez Schlorff  1:04:44  
Yeah. And it doesn't have to have anything to do with deeply held religious beliefs, right. Faith is about that, like the traditional form of

Coach Maddox  1:04:53  
trust. Ultimate faith to me is the the trust that things are working out the way they need to work out the way they were meant to work out, maybe not the way I want them to work out. But the way they need to work out, I have come to

my father was in when he was 74 by bypasses, on one surgery, five bypasses. And the whole family's around him just before he went off to surgery. And everybody's praying that he's going to pull through pain, probably that he's going to live all this. And that didn't feel okay to me. Everybody got up and left the room when they wheeled him away. And my mom and I were standing there. And I said to my mom, I didn't pray that dad would be okay. And she said what? And I said that would be selfish and arrogant of me. I don't know what's best for him. God knows what's best for him. So I just prayed that God would take care of my dad and whatever the to look like and whatever. Wow, that's

Daniel Rodriguez Schlorff  1:06:03  
beautiful. And that's what that's what Jesus meant by Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. That's part of the Lord's Prayer. And people don't even know that. But so that was a lot of wisdom from from a younger man. Yes,

Coach Maddox  1:06:20  
I was younger at the time. Yes. Because my father would be in his 90s now and he was seven dvn. So he already be it'd be right about actually getting close to 100. So that was almost 30 years ago.

Daniel Rodriguez Schlorff  1:06:35  
Yeah. Wow. Wow,

Coach Maddox  1:06:37  
I was a younger man, then. Yeah. And I don't know where that even came from. But my mom was like, wow, that's, that's beautiful. She got it, you know, to pray that he would be okay. Is Us being selfish? What if that's not what's best for him? And now the way I word that is, I just hold consciousness for it to unfold for their highest and greatest good. That's beautiful. That's where it gets kind of placed in greatest good. Yeah. And that just feels

Daniel Rodriguez Schlorff  1:07:11  
just right to me just feels right to me. Yeah. And it's authentic. To you. It is,

Coach Maddox  1:07:21  
that is me. speaking my truth. As much as I know, it would be hard to lose somebody that I care about.

Daniel Rodriguez Schlorff  1:07:30  

Coach Maddox  1:07:32  
have to trust, I have to have faith and have trust that the universe has this miraculous way of just taking care of itself when we get the puck out of the way. You know, I find the more that I can get out of the way and let life to unfold organically and naturally without me trying to orchestrate everything, the better it is.

Daniel Rodriguez Schlorff  1:07:57  
Right? The better.

Yeah, that's all very beautiful. Thank you for sharing that.

Coach Maddox  1:08:05  
Thank you. Thank you for sharing all you've shared. You know, I relate and, and I didn't of course, lose my mom in the tragic way. Well, she died from complications to Alzheimer's. And it was its own set of tragedy, but it wasn't an instantaneous. Here today. Gone Tomorrow. Tragedy. My heart goes out to you, Daniel, because for most of us, gay boys, the loss of our mother is

Daniel Rodriguez Schlorff  1:08:37  
Oh, yeah. It's pretty big. Yeah.

Coach Maddox  1:08:42  
My mom before Alzheimer's took my mom, she was my best friend.

Daniel Rodriguez Schlorff  1:08:46  
Yeah. She has my best friend. So

Coach Maddox  1:08:52  
thank you so much for sharing that very real story. And, like you, and just being being vulnerable and, and bringing such a tender subject to the conversation. Yeah, it's conversation that we don't often have. We don't often talk about things like this, we tend to get get in a circle of gay men. And this is the last place we'll go. Right? I'll start off and in my one of my intentions with this podcast was to start to normalize conversations that we tend to shy away from, whether it be the loss of our mom, or conversations about sex. And I don't mean the locker room conversations. I'm talking about the more real authentic conversations about sex. We do the locker room stuff really well. That's right. And that's the least healthy part of it. I'm not Pooh poohing it has its place. But there's this whole other realm of sex that could be really healthy, meaningful, powerful. conversations that we could be having. And we're afraid to do that. I've started to initiate those. I'm definitely initiating those conversations with my my partner. Yeah, we talk about things that I've never been able to get any other partner to talk about. Yeah. Talk about emotional intimacy. We talk about sex, we talk about grief and loss. And, and we go deep. It's very frequent that both of us will in conversation will end up in

Daniel Rodriguez Schlorff  1:10:29  
tears. Yeah.

And that's great. You're able to go deep rather than the shallowness of the locker room conversation. Yes. Yes. You've even heard politicians dismissing their abhorrent behavior with oh, it was just locker room conversation. Like, like, that gives us license to do whatever, say whatever. And, but this is definitely a

Coach Maddox  1:10:56  
thing, isn't it? Yeah. A little bit.

Daniel Rodriguez Schlorff  1:10:59  
A little bit. Yeah.

Coach Maddox  1:11:00  
Part of the part of the

Daniel Rodriguez Schlorff  1:11:01  
patriarch. Yeah. And you've certainly provided a space to go deep. So thank you. Thank you,

Coach Maddox  1:11:08  
thank you for your willingness to go there. Because it's, you know, in a public space like this, it can be, it can be challenging. Yeah. So I'm glad that you felt safe enough to do that. So let's move on to some rapid fire questions.

Daniel Rodriguez Schlorff  1:11:25  
All right. Ready? Let's go. What has been

Coach Maddox  1:11:31  
the most joyful part of being a gay man? And I'm going to qualify that and say, you know, as we discussed at the beginning of the episode, let's like that gay mean, encompassing all that we

Daniel Rodriguez Schlorff  1:11:45  
are, right. The most joyful part. I think community,

LGBTQ plus community is I've met some of the best people in the world. In the LGBTQ plus community, like you at Rainbow Warrior gathering. Thank you. Yeah, that was LGBTQ plus community. And and I wouldn't have met you had had we not had that ability to gather as a group around shared experience.

Coach Maddox  1:12:32  
That was a real beginning for me. I even though I have been out for over 40 years, right? It's 42 soon.

Daniel Rodriguez Schlorff  1:12:44  
I never really

Coach Maddox  1:12:45  
felt part of my own community and I shied away a lot of times from being in groups of gay men, I didn't feel safe. But in the last three to four years, I have made great efforts and great breakthroughs. And, you know, hosting a podcast was a big, big portion of that, and I have never been able to be vulnerable in the presence of another gay man or a group of gay men. And now I am and the warrior weekend played a gigantic role in that that was around just around the time this really started to transition where I could really be part of my community and be more open and feel like I I belonged. And you're right, I have to agree. That is one of the joyful things because especially over this last year with the podcast, I have met some of the most incredible human beings and all of them. JB TQ man just met some of the most incredible human beings from all over the world. Didn't see that coming.

Daniel Rodriguez Schlorff  1:13:55  
Right? It was it's been the most

Coach Maddox  1:14:02  
shocking and exciting. Surprise, huh. So I love I love your answer. So what stands in your way of having more and better relationships with other LGBTQ men?

Daniel Rodriguez Schlorff  1:14:21  
I think

community objectification like it's like, a rule almost, that gay men whether they're in a relationship or not, get to hook up with each other, like with their friends and whatever, and sometimes they feel uncomfortable. In some spaces of Stranger strangers that are GPGPU like, Okay, I'm, I know I'm being objectified. Okay.

Coach Maddox  1:15:00  
sort of an objectified year kind of meaning that that sexualize you're being treated like a piece of meat? In other words,

Daniel Rodriguez Schlorff  1:15:07  
yeah. Welcome to the meat market kind of thing. Yeah. Yeah. And that's not my favorite aspect at all. And it it shuts down, shuts me down from fully engaging in people, like if the first thing out of their mouth is they want to put something in their mouth. You know what I'm saying? Yeah. Like, that's not relationship building for me. No, no, it's


The locker room talk, you're talking about the shallow.

Coach Maddox  1:15:39  
It is, and it's very, it's very prominent in our community. And I think it is because there's a certain level of safety that goes along with that. If we stay up in the shallow end of the pool, we don't have to worry about drowning.

Daniel Rodriguez Schlorff  1:15:53  
That's 100% Yeah. You know, and

Coach Maddox  1:15:58  
there are such a high percentage. I believe that

Daniel Rodriguez Schlorff  1:16:03  
the depth scares them.

Coach Maddox  1:16:07  
Yeah, vulnerability scares them. emotional intimacy. I say all the time. emotional intimacy is a double edged sword. It's something that we we secretly crave and at the same time scares the absolute

Daniel Rodriguez Schlorff  1:16:20  
shit out of us. Yeah, yeah. Well,

Coach Maddox  1:16:24  
I love that answer, too. I mean, you're you're saying that what stands in your way is oftentimes the objective

Daniel Rodriguez Schlorff  1:16:36  
certification of others.

Yeah. Well, objectivity would be nice. It's the objectification. Oh, that's

Coach Maddox  1:16:44  
what I meant. I knew that right when I said it was like, yeah, it sound right.

Daniel Rodriguez Schlorff  1:16:50  
Now there's, what's the word? Yeah. There's another word like that, that people mess up compliment and compliment compliment with an eye a compliment with any kind of a pet peeve of mine. But anyway, that's another subject. Yes.

Coach Maddox  1:17:03  
They mean two different things. All right. Final question. Yeah. Many years from now. You're a ghost at your own funeral. Huh? And you're up above the room looking down and everybody that's there. And there is like a whole section that is built with all of your GB TQ friends? Yeah,

Daniel Rodriguez Schlorff  1:17:27  
I'm smiling. Yeah. What do you hope they'll say about you.

I hope

they will say that Daniel, freed me

to be both queer and spiritual.

That I didn't have to throw away my religion, or spirituality, just because this other reality of me exists, that I got to keep or rebuild or build for the first time. They're their faith, because somehow I inspired them to do that. That's what I hope they say. And as you say that is that stirring some feelings and some emotion inside of you? I'm an empath. And I knew I was feeling something. Yeah, yeah. It's going to speak to that. Some tenderness, some goosebumps, some, like, knowing that's my mission. Right. We're strong on that. And MKP. Knowing our mission, our life mission, and that's certainly a big part of my

mission. Yeah. Beautiful.

Coach Maddox  1:18:49  
Beautiful, beautiful. Well, Wow. What an awesome conversation. Yeah,

Daniel Rodriguez Schlorff  1:18:56  
I knew it would be. Yes,

Coach Maddox  1:18:58  
I did, too. And thank you so much for your contribution. I know that I have certainly enjoyed this. And I know the listeners will, as well. So thank you for your time and your energy, your expertise and your openness D all the above. And one thing that I want to leave you with and that is

Daniel Rodriguez Schlorff  1:19:20  
you are definitely

Coach Maddox  1:19:22  
an authentic, GBT Q man and and thank you for that. Yeah, thank you for for showing up as that authentic man.

Daniel Rodriguez Schlorff  1:19:33  
Awesome. Thank you for that world. Your world needs more. Yeah. Thank you

Transcribed by

Daniel Rodriguez Schlorff (he/him)Profile Photo

Daniel Rodriguez Schlorff (he/him)

Hello! I'm the incoming pastor of Third Congregational Church of Middletown, CT and also a Better Up "Care Coach" on the side.

My undergraduate education comes from Olivet Nazarene University, where I majored in Philosophy and Religion and minored in Greek, Vocal Performance, and Biblical Studies. I also began my ministerial career in March 2000, becoming ordained locally in the Church of the Nazarene.

My theological education comes from the University of Chicago Divinity School and Meadville/Lombard.

I took a few years off studying to teach at Carthage College and the University of Wisconsin—Parkside, both in Kenosha, WI.

Next, I did a second master’s degree at Hartford Seminary in Religious Studies, bridging the major traditions of world philosophies and religions with chaplaincy. After completing a 1,600 clinical hour fellowship as a chaplain, I started down the path of being a professional healthcare chaplain. I then completed the Doctor of Ministry degree in Pastoral Care and Counseling at Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, CA.

In 2015, I started a church in New Haven, pastoring it until 2021 when it was ready to minister to the community without the “training wheels” I had offered it. I then ended up back in healthcare chaplaincy, taking a part-time position as Chaplain at Connecticut Valley Hospital.

Aside from ministry/coaching, I sing in a chorus, play the double bass in an orchestra, and love on my dog (a Boxer mix). I became certified as a health coach and life coach (Health Coach Institute) and personal trainer (ISSA).