Keep Pushing Play

“If it is important enough to you, you will find a way.  If it is not, you will find an excuse”

It has been several months since I first posted about my weight loss journey.  Since then, I have received (very much appreciated) words of encouragement and congrats. I received a ton of requests from people wanting to know how I did it and where to start.  I will admit that I was not ready for that.  I know I said it my last post that if I could give any advice or answer any questions, feel free to ask.  People took that literally! ūüôā As it turns out, I did not know how to respond. Was not ready to be a “coach”.  I thought “I am still trying to coach myself, how can i help anybody”.  I guess I did not feel worthy of giving the advice seeing how I am the one that allowed myself to live such an unhealthy lifestyle to begin with.

I received another message today from someone I do not know that ran across my last post. I think a mutual friend sent them to my blog, but anyway.  Many of those who reached out are truly desperate for help, advice, just anything to get them started on the right path. I know I did not do any of it on my own.  I am not that strong nor have that kind of will power.  Just like in Pulp Fiction, I like to call it Divine Intervention. That being said, if I can help anyone by giving tips or advice…I suppose it is my responsibility to do so.

When it comes to losing weight and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, there is no easy or simple solution.  Everyone is different and what works for me may not work for you.  It is a long and tough process. The most important thing I could say is this : My previous entry was titled “My Journey”, and there is  a reason for that.  It is not something you do for the short-term.  It is a continual process and something you have to dedicate yourself to until it becomes a complete lifestyle change.  No offense to anyone out there selling weight loss supplements of any kind.  But it has been my experience that there is no special pill that can get you into shape and provide sustained results.  The only thing I have found to work is if you decide you want to change.  Find a program that works for you. Commit to that program and stick with it.

I know it sometimes seems like a mountain you just can’t climb. You try everything and wind up in the same place you started. I know….I have been there.  Most of you that know me know that I have battled with my weight for most of my life.  I have been fat, i have been skinny.  I have been fat again, I have been skinny again.  The cycle seemed to repeat itself.

{Side Note: Being an overweight kid is tough on so many different levels.  I don’t wish it on a snake. You become an easy target for bullies and it can absolutely crush your self-esteem and confidence. It is way too easy to get down and just stay in the cycle of bad habits.  Luckily I did play sports and was always able to not allow it to get too far out of control.  Still, it did not change the fact that we all want to be liked and respected by our peers, and not be a punch-line to fat jokes.}

It took me until my late 30’s to realize that the reason I would lose weight only to gain it back again was a two-headed monster, well 3 actually. The first is that I would never stick with it.  I would work out, run, and train really hard until I reached my goal.  Then I would just stop.  Return to all the bad habits I had before. The second reason is that I was/am addicted to food!  I didn’t eat it if it didn’t taste good.  We all know that if it tastes good, it is bad for you.  I didn’t know how to eat in moderation.  I thought I had to get absolutely full every time I sat down to eat.  I would tell myself that I would start working out tomorrow…or next week.  So, I was going to have one more good meal before I start.  That one more meal turned into every meal.  Naturally, the weight piled on.  The third I mentioned is that I just do not have a metabolism.  I know people (all of whom make me sick) who could go and eat a buffet for every meal, never work out and not gain a pound.  But hey, more power to them!

Once I came to terms with these facts, I knew that I could not just go on a diet.  I had to make a lifestyle change.  As I mentioned, I am addicted to food.  It is like any other addiction.  I still crave all the bad stuff I used to eat on a regular basis. I have the weak moments where I want a super-sized fast food meal, I would love to call Papa John and order my own large pizza.  Going overboard on the holidays. Having to order the biggest steak on the menu, etc.

I started small. Cutting back on food and just tried to do something active for a little while everyday. As I said before, it can be embarrassing for some of us to go and join a gym.  You have this picture in your mind that it is full of well in shape people when in reality there are more people there just trying to better themselves.. I was one of the embarrassed people.  So, I found a program that worked for me that I could do at home. I stopped putting it off until next week or next month and held myself accountable.  I stopped wishing and started doing.

It took about a year and a half just to lose the weight I needed to lose to be at a healthy weight.  Sure, it can be done faster, but I wanted to do it right and increase my chances of keeping it off without having a “relapse”.  It has now been well over two years and thankfully I am still keeping it off.  Is it easy?  No.  Struggle some days.  You are going to hit bumps in the road.  You are going to binge and cheat every now and then, but you trust the process and stay on task.You are going to hit plateaus.  Keep pushing play and doing what you do.  Make a little change, mix it up a little and it will kick-start your body back to where you are trying to be. Is it hard…you bet it is. It is worth it though.

You have to stop doubting and believe in yourself. Don’t be afraid to fail at it. Find a program that works for you and stick with it.  People ask me when the best time to work out is.  The best time to work out is when you will.  Whenever you can squeeze a workout in, get it in. Just move…everyday! Find an exercise program you like. Plain and simple, if you enjoy it, you’re more likely to stick with it. Move your body for at least 30 minutes every day, and you will be surprised at what happens.

You cannot have an all or nothing mindset. When it comes to eating, most people think that if they don’t eat perfectly, then their whole “diet” is ruined. But the truth is, this kind of thinking gets most of us into trouble and can send us into an eating frenzy. You don’t have to restrict yourself completely to lose weight. Find a healthy balance, and get right back on the horse if you fall off. One cookie, or even two won’t ruin all your good efforts you put in the rest of the day or week.  Same goes for working out. If life catches up to you and you cannot work-out that day….big deal.  As long as you jump back in, everything will work itself out.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle has been one of the most rewarding changes I have ever made.  Not only did it improve my health, it has done wonders for my self-esteem and confidence (although the confidence part is something I still continue to work on, each and every day). It may sound weird, but people seem nicer too. It has completely changed my outlook on everything.  Where i was once cynical and only looked for the negative, I now try and look for good in most situations.

Did I mention before that you should be incorporating Yoga into your fitness routine?  If not, do it!  Yoga helped me tremendously with my generalized anxiety and taught me how to be in the moment. The more you stay in the present moment, the less you will experience stress and worry and the more confident you will feel.

If I can do this, each and every one of you can too. Just get out of your own way and don’t be afraid to try something new.  If you are looking to be ready for summer…it is not going to happen. Sustainable weight loss takes time, patience and commitment, and you must make changes to your overall lifestyle, not just what you are eating.  Try it for a month and see how much better you feel. I saw something that said, “In 2 weeks, you’ll feel it.  In 4 weeks, you’ll begin to see it. In 6 weeks, you will start to hear it”. I found this to be spot on.  For some, like myself, it took longer for people to notice because I was just so big.  But stick with it, keep pushing play and know that you are doing this for you…not anyone else.

I won‚Äôt tell you that there‚Äôs any one way to lose weight and get into shape, but I can tell you that I stopped hoping and wishing for it, and began to face my fears and just finally started. Whatever you‚Äôre afraid of, face it straight on. Move toward it, not away from it. The more you do this, the more you can build your confidence. This is how you learn to trust yourself. You will learn to see fear of falling back into old habits as the perfect tool to make you keep going….to keep pushing play!

-dp3

DAY 1

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1 YEAR

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1.5 YEARS

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TODAY

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My Journey

Everybody has gone through something that has changed them in a way that they could never go back to the person they once were”

I have had a ton of people ask me how I lost so much weight. ¬†Here it is…..

Here is a¬†before pic. ūüė¶

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It has been almost 2 years to the day since I started my personal journey to take better care of myself. I remember the day I finally decided that I had to do something. I had taken my two kids to Walmart to pick up a few things. I had not felt very well in a while. I remember being winded from just trying to keep up with the kiddos. As we walked by the pharmacy, I stopped and as shameful as it was…I took advantage of the blood pressure machine. Historically, my blood pressure had always been great. When the test was over and I saw the results…I was disappointed and disgusted with myself. Even the little machine indicated to me that I should see a doctor. I was flush, clammy, and just did not feel well. My oldest asked me if I was okay. I made up my mind right there to go and get checked out.

The following week, I went to the doctor. ¬†They did all the routine checks and all. ¬†The first thing that absolutely crushed me was when I stepped on the scale. ¬†It read 282 pounds. ¬†I have never ¬†been what you call “skinny”, but I had never been that big before. ¬†I then saw the doctor and was told that my blood pressure was really, really high. ¬†The doctor said that if my bottom number was two points higher, they would have to send me to the ER. ¬†I was appalled and disgusted with myself that I let myself get like that. They put me on blood pressure medicine and that just set off a chain reaction of depression combined with my generalized anxiety disorder. ¬†I thought to myself, I am only 38 years old….I can’t be walking around on BP medicine. So, after a few weeks of feeling sorry for myself, I finally told myself…enough. ¬†I knew I was not getting any younger and my family’s medical track record is not that good.

Due to years of wear and tear and what I like to think of as a half botched ankle reconstruction and ligament transplant surgery, I am technically 25% handicapped. ¬†I had always run for exercise, but after my last surgery the doctor said I could no longer run. ¬†He wasn’t lying. ¬†If you ever see me take off running, it looks like Fred Sanford trying to run…all gimpy and stuff. ¬†Hurts like whoa too! ¬†I guess that was my excuse for letting myself go and getting so out of shape over the last 5 years or more. ¬†That is all it was…an excuse. ¬†I knew better. ¬†I have been an “athlete” all my life and I knew I have always had like no metabolism at all. ¬†If I even look at a milkshake, my behind jiggles for a week! ¬†If I walk past a cheeseburger…5 pounds jumps all over me!

I had to do something.  My health was poor, it was like work chasing the kids around.  I could not afford another wardrobe.  Closet was full of clothes I could not squeeze into anymore.  I was ashamed to take pictures and embarrassed when I would see people I had not seen in a while.  I would see pictures of myself and it made me angry because I had so much weight on me.  I was so big that it looked as though I was squinting.  Nope, just too much weight in my face. I was tired. All the time. On that day, I made up my mind to make a change. I was tired of hiding in pictures, getting winded walking across a parking lot, skipping out on activities, feeling lazy and most of all being embarrassed of myself.

I was tired of the looks I thought I was getting from people I was tired of being “Big” D. I was tired of the fact I couldn’t shop normal size clothes anymore. I was tired of not having the energy to do anything but sit around and be sedentary.

I would be turning 40 in a little under 2 years. ¬†A friend had recently started working out hard and made the comment that he wanted to get in the best shape of his life by the time he was 40. ¬†I thought….that sounds good enough for me too, although I never verbalized it because I was scared I would fail. ¬†I thought about what I could do. ¬†It is kind of hard when you cannot run and it hurts to walk to participate in any sort of cardio workouts…or so I thought. ¬†I did realize that I could not continue eating the way that I was. ¬†If it didn’t taste good to me, I wasn’t going to eat it. Pizza, fast food, burgers, all the bad stuff was on my menu! I slowly started making changes to my diet….baby steps. ¬†I started out by just trying to leave a little food on my plate, as opposed to cleaning it off to the point the dishwasher wasn’t necessary.

I guess I doubted myself, because I did not have the desire to join a gym. Partly, because I was embarrassed about how I looked and how out of shape I was. I was afraid of getting discouraged by seeing people who were in shape and didn’t feel like I would stick with it, so no need in wasting the money. I needed something I could do in the privacy of my home. Where the only person responsible for failing would be me.

I remembered that I had purchased the P90X video series prior to one of my surgeries and did a few of the workouts. ¬†Never really brought it though. So, I find the DVD’s, blow the dust off them and watch the instructional video. ¬†I honestly thought I was going to die. ¬†No way I can do this.

Call it whatever you will, but there was finally something inside of me that pushed me to start. I would think of my family and how they deserved better. Just try. So, I started. It sucked. I was in worse shape than I thought. Now don’t get it wrong, P90x is an extreme workout and is stupid hard. But I could not even hardly get through the warm ups without having to pause the video. Oh, and don’t even mention the 18 minute ab workout that you are supposed to do every other day! The good thing about this program is that it seems like Tony Horton knew when you were ready to quit. There is always a pause where you are encouraged to just do your best and it will come over time. ¬†I decided up front to not use a scale to track my weight. ¬†I can remember trying to lose weight before and getting all caught up in the numbers. ¬†I would get excited about losing weight only to find it to be water weight and then get discouraged when it didnt read the way I wanted it to. ¬†The scale has always been a hindrance to me in my journey. ¬†I knew I was going to have to go back to the doctor every 3 months for blood work, so I decided to wait until then to check my progress.

That first month….ugly. I am not even going to lie about it. ¬†There were a ton of days that I just didn’t have it in me to work out. ¬†I was tired, my body was weary! I allowed myself waaay too many “cheat days”, where I didn’t work out and didn’t eat very “healthy”. ¬†It did not take long to see, that approach was not going to work out very well. ¬†For every day I was achieving results, I had two days in which I wasted them. The program is designed where you alternate resistance training and cardio plus one day dedicated to yoga for an hour and a half. Um, yeah….I was not doing the cardio nor the yoga. As a result, I could not really tell that I had been working out at all.

So, I made a deal with myself, only one cheat day per week and to at least try and complete each workout¬†every single day. Even the yoga, which turned out to be a game changer. Once I started doing the yoga, my body stopped hurting in places that were once in constant pain. ¬†It made a lot of the exercises in the program easier. I became more flexible than I had been in ages. ¬†Yoga also taught me how to de-stress, decompress and get out of my own head. I highly recommend incorporating yoga into your exercise routine. ¬†I know it seems silly to many, it did for me at first too. ¬†But it if you just give it a try it will improve your core strength, flexibility, and make you more durable in anything athletic. ¬†Yes, it will be weird and it is going to be uncomfortable at first….but trust me, it is good for you!

Second month…still ugly. ¬†I did stick with my plan of at least attempting to finish the workout¬†every day. ¬† I could not always finish a workout, but at least I was doing something. ¬†These videos are about an hour long each. ¬†Some days I could get farther than others, but I was not quitting. That was the key, because lord knows there were more days than not that I just wanted to stop. ¬†I had to train myself that if I got tired or spent, learn to press pause and rest…not quit. ¬†That second month took everything I had, but you know what…at the end my pants were starting to be just a tad loose.

Third month….not as ugly. ¬†Found my grove and accepted my limitations. ¬†Built on it from there. ¬†Now, there are still a couple workouts that to this day make me want to vomit! But it took until this point to realize that it was working. ¬†This is where people¬†started visually noticing a change, albeit small. ¬†That is where the motivation really kicks in. ¬†You can think and know you are seeing results all day, but when others start to notice it gives you a sense of accomplishment. ¬†Although I did not set out to do any of this for anyone but myself and my own well being, everyone enjoys a compliment!

I successfully completed my first round of P90x. ¬†I knew that I had lost weight and inches, but still refused to get on a scale. ¬†Numbers did not matter, ¬†I was going for strong, not skinny. ¬†It was time for my blood work, so I did go to the doctor for my check up. ¬†After 3 months, I had lost a whopping 20 pounds. ¬†You could not really tell it, but as they say…numbers dont lie.

This is when it got fun. I had completed the program to the best of my ability. ¬†It would have been easy just to stop there. ¬†I challenged myself to go another round because I wanted to get to a point where I could finish all the workouts without stopping…even the stupid ab workout. ¬†Before I started the second round, I actually took the time to read the diet guide that accompanied the workouts. ¬†That made a ton of difference. ¬†It is amazing the results you can achieve just by eating the right things¬†or just eating normal foods but in the¬†right portions. ¬†Oh, and drink water people! ¬†Coke…bad!

Seeing the fruits of your labor is addictive. ¬†With each month that went by, I was seeing more and more results. ¬†My clothes were getting too big. ¬†My face was beginning to resemble “myself” again. ¬†It was not hurting as bad to walk. ¬†I had the will power to fight off those bad cravings and to make sure that I just showed up and worked out at least 6 days per week. ¬†What had seemed impossible to finish when I started, was now my warm ups. I did not look in the mirror in disgust anymore. Of course, I am positive I had help from the good Lord above because there is no way I could have done this on my own. ¬†There were many days I had to say Philippians 4:13 to myself before I started. ¬†My family has been awesome and understanding like nobody’s business. ¬†Being healthy is important to me now. ¬†I have been on the other side and I did not like it. I did not like the person I was.

Fast forward to today.  I have completed 5 rounds of P90X as well as the 22 Minute Hard Corps program.  I was able to stick with it and achieve my goals of completing the workouts without stopping.  I am mindful of what I put in my body and have rarely eaten fast food or pizza.  I drink a lot of water and read labels.  I started out wearing a size 42 pant and XXL shirts.  I am proud to say that now I wear a 36 loosely and a Large shirt.  I feel great and have more energy than I have had since college.

I am proof that you don’t have to spend the money to join a gym and stand in line waiting for a machine. Not knocking a gym in any way. ¬†They are awesome too. I was just in such as bad spot that I was too ashamed to go to the gym. I do it all from the comfort of my home. ¬†Held myself accountable. The only person I would have had to blame would have been myself. ¬†I learned to just show up and keep pushing play. ¬†Will I ever have the perfect body…no. ¬†I spent way too long abusing myself for that. ¬†I just try each day to be the best version of me that I can.

I can honestly say that I am in the best shape of my life. ¬†I can do things at 40 that I couldn’t do when I was 20. ¬†It starts with baby steps and just do the best that you can do every time. ¬†When you are home and in your house, you dont have to impress anyone but yourself. ¬†If you are a little tired one day and cant complete a workout, so what. ¬†Get it next time. ¬† That is what I love about Beachbody products. ¬†It allows you to get into awesome physical condition and it holds you accountable to you. I used to mope around and get all down about being “loose in the cage”. ¬†I am not loose in the cage anymore. ¬†For the first time, I can see definition¬†I never thought¬†I could get¬†and even though you may not be able to tell it, I have a strong core and may even have abs under there somewhere!

I say all that to say this…if I can do it, anyone can do it. ¬†Is it easy…nope! ¬†It is hard and takes every thing you got. My journey into this more healthy lifestyle not only changed my outward appearance, but my inner self as well. ¬†Before, I was very cynical and harbored a lot of fat aggression. ¬†There were a lot of factors that led to me being so overweight and out of shape. ¬†I was in a bad place and this journey helped me find peace. ¬†I have said things that have offended a lot of people. ¬†If you are reading this and were one of those. I am truly sorry. I can honestly say that I am not the same person I was in any way that I was 2+ years ago.

If my journey can be an inspiration to even just one person out there….awesome. ¬†Please feel free to reach out and I will be happy to give you any advice or tips I have picked up along the way. ¬†I used every excuse in the book to not take care of myself. Now, I can not imagine any other lifestyle. ¬†I started my journey at 282 pounds and as of today I weigh 188 pounds. ¬†It has taken me nearly 2 years to get here, but the journey has been so worth it. ¬†I can wear clothes that I haven’t been able to wear in forever. I now look forward to being active. In the end, I am not trying to see how much weight I can lose, I am just trying to get healthy and stay healthy. ¬†Remember, strong…not skinny. Everything else that comes with it is a bonus.

Dramatic change is possible, y’all. Just be willing to take small steps every day, keep your mind open and attack it with humility and honesty. ¬†Once you start seeing results, it gives you the confidence and conviction and most of all faith that real change can happen.

No one particular¬†thing made me how I am today.¬†There is no¬†magic pills, wraps, gym memberships, meals, vitamins, apps, surgery, diets, workouts, waist trainers, books, hypnosis, shakes, powders or any¬†other “snake oil”¬†that will just do it for you. ¬†It is all about¬†finding your own way and using the tools that work for you. ¬†The hardest part is learning to make¬†healthy choices for your body. In the last 2 years, I’ve made some huge¬†life choices and extreme lifestyle changes, and I wouldn’t change it for the world. I still have a long way to go on this journey, and¬†thanks to my family and an incredible support system, I am not giving up. I will see it through.

Here is an “after photo”

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I have had a ton of people ask me how I lost so much weight. ¬†Here it is and like I said y’all…If I can do it anyone can. ¬†It starts with you and I would be happy to answer any questions or give any advice that may help. ¬†Thanks for reading!

Another Season in the Books

Our 5-6 year old T-Ball Season came to a close over the weekend at the District tournament in Munford. We had a blast! Our little guys far exceeded any expectation, finished 2-2, and were in the top 6 of the 12 teams that entered. It is crazy how in just a couple weeks the kids came  together and played as a team. Beyond proud of every one of them.
I want to preface this next part by saying that it has been over a year since i have said anything about the ballfields, etc, in hoping that maybe, just maybe something would change.
After spending the weekend in Munford at their ballpark, I must say that I am embarrassed and ashamed of the place we call a baseball complex. Of course there are much nicer venues than the one at Munford, but I must tip my hat to them. It is a very nice facility, everything is right there. You can turn a complete circle and watch 4 different ball games. Awesome concessions. and an actual pressbox. Any of you that have ever attended know what I am talking about. There is no telling how much money they turned over this weekend.
My question is this…when did Covington lose its status as the standard for the rest of the county? It seems as if everyone but Covington evolved…Atoka built a new complex, Munford built a new complex. We are the county seat for crying out loud, Why do we not act like it? Whether the city runs a league or not, pride alone should drive a city to want to offer the absolute best facilities for the children of the community to recreate.
Absolutely no disrespect to the good people of Munford and Atoka. I tip my hat to those towns on what they have built. But, I do not live in Munford nor Atoka, I live in Covington.
Not only does Munford/Atoka have nicer ball parks than we do, they have a movie theater, a splash park and have a much cleaner appearance. What do we have to offer…..WalMart? Even Ripley has a money making machine in their waterpark. How much money is not spent in our community because we do not offer things similar in nature. It would be nice to know that going to a waterpark and movie theater was also generating money for the community. Instead we have to go to neighboring communities. Why can’t we have ordinances in place that require businesses and establishments along the highway to maintain a certain level of appearance?
People are saying let the city take it over. I am not 100% convinced that is the answer. There has been a rumor for years that the city was going to build a new baseball complex, but it has never happened. Building a new complex is not something that is going to happen quickly. Even if we do build one, it will take time. There has to be a good bit of money spent to improve the sad state of the current field while the others are being built, if we ever get to that point. If we keep putting a band-aid on it and doing the bare minimum, there will be no need to build a new complex because the kids will either have stopped participating or gone to play for another league or team, be it a local travel team or a neighboring city.
Those of you that have been going to these all-star tournaments for years, I dont know how you do it. I saw more grown men (Coaches) acting like fools in one place that I ever have. These are kids and you ruin it for them when you try and live out your sports dreams thru them. You yell and curse at umpires and many coaches talked to their players like you wouldn’t talk to your worst enemy. I am all about getting onto a kid constructively and coaching them up, but to belittle them is absurd. Coaches getting into verbal fights on social media over youth baseball. Never seen anything like it. Grow up….it is just a game. You are teaching the kids to act a fool and throw their gloves in disgust because they do not get their way. Maybe it is a Dixie Youth thing and maybe it is time to try something different. There are a lot of baseball leagues out there.
Can somebody help me understand why Covington can not have nice things too?

We All Need This

The world is coming to an end.

The air is polluted

The oceans are contaminated

The animals are going extinct

The economy is collapsing

Education is shot

Police are corrupt

Intelligence is shunned

Ignorance is rewarded

The people are depressed in anger

We can’t live with each other and we cant live with ourselves

Everyone is medicated

We pass each other on the streets, and if we do speak it is meaningless

More people want 15 seconds of fame than a lifetime of meaning and purpose

Because….what is popular is more important than what is right.

Ratings are more important than truth

Our government builds twice as many prisons as schools

It is easier to find a Big Mac than an apple

And if you do find that apple, it has been genetically processed and modified

Presidents lie, politicians trick us

Race is still an issue

So is religion

If you disagree with me, I will hurt you….or worse, argue you to death.

92% of songs on the radio are about sex

Kids dont play tag…they play twerk videos

The average person watches 5 hours of TV a day and there is more sex and violence on the screen than ever before

Technology has given us everything we could ever want and at the same time…stolen everything we really need

Pride is at an all time high

Humility is at an all time low

Everybody knows everything, everybody is going somewhere…ignoring someone….blaming somebody

Not many human beings left anymore

Lot of human doings..plenty of human lingerings in the past…not many human beings

Money is still the root of all evil

Yet we tell our kids…dont get that degree, the jobs dont pay enough,

Good deeds are only done if there is a profit margin

Videos of the misfortune of others go viral

We laugh and share them with our friends so they can laugh with us

Our role models today….60 years ago would have been an example of what not to be

Companies invest millions of dollars in specialists to make little girls feel like they need makeup to be beautiful

Permanently lowering their self esteem, because they will never be pretty enough to meet those impossible standards

Corporations tell us buy, buy buy

Get this, get that…you must keep up…you must fit in

This will make you happy, but…..it never does for long

So, what can we do in the face of all this madness and chaos…what is the solution?

We can love

Not the love you hear in your favorite song on the radio

I mean true love, boundless love

Love each other from the moment we wake up until the moment we go to bed

Perform an act of kindness because that is contagious

We can be mindful during every interaction

Planting seeds of goodness

Showing more compassion than usual

We can forgive, because in 300 years will that grudge you hold really have been worth it

Instead of trying to change others, we should change ourselves

Change our hearts

We have been sold lies, brainwashed

Deceived by the leaders we trust, to exhibit to our brother and sisters: anger, hatred, cruelty

But once we truly love

We can meet anger with sympathy

Hatred with compassion

Cruelty with kindness

Love is the most powerful weapon on the face of the earth

Robert ¬†Kennedy once said “Few have the power to bend history, but if each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total of all those acts will be written the history of a generation”

So, if the world is coming to an end….

The path to a new beginning starts within you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s Really Going On?

I don’t know about any of you, but watching the news and even Sportscenter lately has been depressing. Killing, mob beatings, domestic violence, child abuse, etc. it is not like any of this is new, I guess the media coverage and the sports world have brought all these issues to a whole new light.

People hear the stories of domestic abuse and child abuse, but until you see visual evidence on TV, you don’t realize how vicious and violent people can be.

I agree with the stance the NFL is taking on domestic violence. The only way you get to some people is to take away their livelihood.

I as most of you watched as the tragedy and drama of Ferguson, Missouri played out. If there was any injustice, I hope that justice prevails.

I watched the mob of punks carry out a random act of violence in a random Kroger parking lot. I watched the video of Ray Rice punching his wife in the face, knocking her out cold. Again, with these circumstances I just pray that justice prevails.

We have a terrorist group that hates Americans with every fiber of their being, threatening death on America, especially Christians. I am not one to bad mouth the President, because he is my President. I was disappointed at how he made the peace and prosperity for Muslims seem so much more important than the peace and prosperity of Christians in his speech the other night.

We have all heard the saying “When in Rome, you do as the Romans do”. Why does it seem to be, “When in America, do not do as they do, instead just find some unpatriotic lawyer to sue and make the Americans do as you do”. All it takes is one kid in a school of 900 to protest the Pledge of Allegiance and just like that, it is taken out of school. Same with prayer.

We all keep waiting for things to get better in this world. They don’t. Just gets worse. It is novel to feel safe anymore because you just never know. Just once, I want to see good win. I want to see Americans stand up for ourselves and say no more. Display the principles our country was founded upon, not bastardize them to be convenient for the current society.

Our country has to change. People say that the change needs to be instituted in the home. There is no home anymore! Kids are not held to be responsible for their actions. It is obvious the home is not producing productive members of society. Therefore I believe it is up to the local governments to step in and implement changes. That may not be popular among those of you who want less government, but clearly the other options are only enabling things to get worse.

People hate change, but want change at the same time.  It all depends on how it will affect them personally as to whether or not they are willing to fight for that change.  There are not many people at all out there anymore that are selfless and want to do things for the greater good. To actually help institute the change they want to see in the world.  To stand up and fight against the very things they scream from the mountaintop is wrong with our country.

I believe that we are called to give, without thought of reward, help, without the need for a pat on the back and stand up for what is right, no matter the cost.

People like to say¬†how there is not a liberal or conservative bone in their body and are against one or the other with every fiber of their being. ¬†Let it mess with their personal agendas or business interests and things change pretty dern quick. ¬†They give you all the classic cop outs of ¬†“Well. I grew up with him”, “He is a friend of mine”, “His sibling is a friend of mine”, “We go to church together”, etc…..etc. ¬†When the truth of the matter is that they may be scared of who they will offend because they are in deep with the very people whose ideals are at the root of the decay of our society. ¬†People are afraid to stand up for their convictions because they may lose the “benefits” that come along with being in cahoots with those whose morals and ideals do not exactly line up with theirs.

If something is clearly broke, you fix it. ¬†You don’t allow it to continue out of fear of loss of a friend, business partner, anything. ¬†That is called putting your faith in man instead of God. ¬†Not only that, the younger generation sees this and thinks it is okay to do so. ¬†Sound familiar. ¬†It should. ¬†It is what has gotten the city and country in the shape it is in now. ¬†Who you know, how deep their pockets are and at what it costs for someone to betray what they believe in. ¬†We have become a country of people with no backbone that accepts that wrong is not wrong if enough people are in favor of it. ¬†We may hurt someones feelings if we disagree with them. We are homophobes, bigots and racists if we speak out against certain social issues. Yet, abortion is not murder or wrong and the average working American only gets to keep about 40 cents on every dollar we earn. ¬†Anybody with the spine to stand against popular opinion is crucified by the media and shunned socially if we express ourselves honestly.

Just keep all of this in mind when you all  go out to vote in November.  Things have not always been this way. I am not voicing support of anyone.  God gave us free will to make our own choices.  All I am suggesting is that you use the information that you will be flooded with and trust in what is right, not what is popular or what everyone else is doing.

 

Be Love. Be Kind.

“Truth and love are often discussed in our world, but seldom practiced.

From politicians to salesman, people conveniently ignore or conceal facts and use words to enhance positions or sell products. Perjury is common and integrity and credibility are endangered species. Words, twisted in meaning and torn in context, have become mere tools for ego building.

And what about love? Our world is filled with its words, through song, cards, etc. Real love however, is scarce. Selfless giving, caring, sharing, and even dying. We yearn to love and be loved, but see so few living examples of real love in the world today. Plentiful are those who lie, cheat, steal, grasp, and hoard at the highest level just to watch out for number one.”

I read this today and it really hit home. I know I can be harsh and cynical, but it is only because I rely on my passion for my strength.

I know some of the things I have written have been unpopular, but I believe in them and stand by them. I know some now look at me and consider me the bad guy. I am not a bad guy, I just want what is best for the future of our city. If I do not succeed in my endeavor, that is ok. I never lose, I either win or I learn.

I love you guys, we don’t say it enough. But I do

Instead, we allow things as simple as our political affiliations to drive a wedge between us and ruin lifelong friendships. We don’t stand up for what is right because of who we may offend or out of fear we may not get to be in the cool club anymore. It is not a sin to have a mind of your own.

Rick Warren said “our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense.”

You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.

Be Love. ¬†Be Kind. The course of our lives can change in the blink of an eye. ¬†Things that we do not expect to happen, occur on a random Tuesday afternoon. ¬†They can happen to any of us. ¬†I know, I have been there…as I am sure many of you know. Life is too short y’all.

The Truth Will Set You Free, but First it Will Piss You Off!

The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off!

Harsh statement, but it is spot on. The more you get involved in something, you find out things you did not want to believe. The fact they are true makes you angry and offers you two options: It gives you every reason to give up or quit or gives you the desire and resolve to stay the course and keep fighting for the greater good.

Secrets are not for free, not now…not ever. ¬†Remember that before you embark on something you know to be wrong. ¬†Corruption absolutely makes my blood boil. ¬†No matter the scenario. ¬†We all see it and notice the obvious signs of it. ¬†Those who get involved in it probably never meant to, but once you¬†are on the take…it is over. ¬†Starts small and snowballs into something big. ¬†What I find so comical is that when people are accused of being on the take, they actually fight as if they are innocent. ¬†I would say that 9 times out of 10, you will never get accused of something if you are not in some way, shape, or form involved in what you are being accused of.

That is why term limits should be imposed¬†on¬†everything from non-profit civic organizations to the Senate. ¬†People get in and get on the take and it becomes who they are. ¬†The kickbacks and other stuff they get for being on the take becomes part of their lifestyle and they cannot let go of it. ¬†The usual suspects of corruption are those of governments. ¬†The sad part is the people that it winds up affecting. ¬†Tell me anything that is right about what has happened in Memphis in the last week. ¬†Hurt the fire and police departments to avoid a property tax hike. ¬†I don’t know who would not be willing to pay more property taxes to ensure safety. ¬†That whole situation is just asinine.

You do not cut the pay or touch the pensions of police and firefighters/paramedics…you just don’t. ¬†It is wrong on every level. ¬†The same way it is wrong on how teachers are compensated so poorly and constantly seem to be struggling against some sort of obstacle. ¬†Have you seen the type of kids they have to put up with today? ¬†Educators deserve a raise and full authority to treat every child as if it were his or her own. ¬†If that means someone needs an eraser thrown at them, then so be it.

When did our country become so backward? The terrorist in the Benghazi attacks and the terrorist in the Boston Marathon bombings are receiving better healthcare than our veterans at VA hospitals.  We release known terrorists in a trade, essentially breaking our own cardinal rule of never negotiating with terrorists.  We bring lawsuits against our own soldiers for mistreating people that murdered nearly 3000 people in the 9/11 attacks.  Shut down Guantanamo for the mistreatment of these individuals who had rather see Americans dead above all else, because their civil rights were violated.  Give me a break.  If you are in any way involved in terrorist activity against the United States of America then you have no civil rights anymore.  Go watch the TV show 24, that is how you deal with terrorists.

It is depressing to hear my President say that our country’s future rests on the children of illegal immigrants that are entering our country. ¬†It is sad. ¬†Are the current children of our country not deserving of this type of hope. ¬†If we would put the same amount of resource into helping our own than taking care of the people of other countries, imagine how much better off we would be. ¬†Nope, instead we cut the pensions of people that spent their lives running in and out of burning buildings and catching the criminals. ¬†Doesn’t make much sense does it?

A country, a state, a city and its leaders taking care of it’s own people instead of seeking personal gain…wouldn’t that be a site.

 

The Big Lie: Travel Baseball

Very interesting insight!

Mark Moore

bigstockphoto_Baseball_2688855In the summer of 2011, my son, Penn, attended a Baseball Factory showcase in Lebanon, Tennessee. ¬†It was attended by around 75 high school players, and their goal was to be chosen for a larger showcase event in Atlanta ‚Äď one that would be attended by college coaches and professional scouts.

The cost was minimal ‚Äď $99 ‚Äď and only involved about 2 hours. ¬†It was the usual stuff ‚Äď ground balls, fly balls, arm strength, speed in the 60 yard dash, hitting, and so on. ¬†It was more evaluation than anything, and since Penn would need to do these type events in the years ahead for college exposure, I wanted him to do it now, the summer after his freshman year in high school, to gain experience and knowledge of what these type events involved.

After the showcase ended, we went home and returned our focus to summer baseball.

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Life Lessons I Learned From…

Star Wars.

I know it seems silly to most that a late 30 year old still references lessons learned from being a Star Wars geek my whole life.  However, as a child not raised in church, The Force was the closest thing to a religion for me.

Although I was not raised in church, I was exposed to the Word at an early age.  By the grace and blessings of God, what little I was exposed to stuck with me and through some life experiences, I always knew that God was there, watching over me.

As ridiculous as it seems, I learned a lot of life lessons from Star Wars.  Lessons that I know now, I would have learned regardless through my salvation and spiritual maturity.  Even so, I still find the lessons I learned by watching Star Wars applicable in everyday life.  Allow me to expound:

On people who challenge my walk as a Christian:
‚ÄúI find your lack of faith disturbing.‚ÄĚ – Darth Vader

On choosing who to associate with:
‚ÄúWho‚Äôs the more foolish; the fool, or the fool who follows him?‚ÄĚ – Obi-Wan Kenobi

On trying to do my will instead of ¬†God’s:
‚ÄúThat‚Ķ is why you fail.‚ÄĚ – Master Yoda

On being prepared and rushing into things:
Ready are you? What know you of ready? For eight hundred years have I trained Jedi. My own counsel will I keep on who is to be trained. A Jedi must have the deepest commitment, the most serious mind. This one, a long time have I watched. All his life has he looked away‚Ķ to the future, to the horizon. Never his mind on where he was. ¬†On what he was doing.‚ÄĚ ¬†– Master Yoda

On politics and government:
‚ÄúYou will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. ‚ĶWe must be cautious.‚ÄĚ ¬†– Obi-Wan Kenobi
“What if the democracy we thought we were serving no longer exists, and the Republic has become the very evil we’ve been fighting to destroy?” – Queen Amidala
“The day we stop believing democracy can work is the day we lose it.”

On being proud of who I am and of my name:
‚Äú‚ĶYou‚Äôve failed, your highness. I am a Jedi, like¬†my father before me.‚ÄĚ ¬†– Luke Skywalker

On determination:
‚ÄúNo! Try not. Do‚Ķ or do not. There is no try.‚ÄĚ ¬†– Master Yoda
“I wasn’t strong enough, but I promise I won’t fail again.” – Luke Skywalker

On the passing of loved ones and loss:
Death is a natural part of life. Rejoice for those around you who transform into the Force. Mourn them do not. Miss them do not. Attachment leads to jealousy. The shadow of greed that is. Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose.” ¬†– Master Yoda
“The fear of loss is a path to the Dark Side.”¬†– Master Yoda

On standing for something that is bigger than me:
‚ÄúYou can‚Äôt win, Darth. Strike me down, and I will become more powerful than you could possibly imagine.‚ÄĚ ¬†– Obi-Wan Kenobi

On doing the right thing no matter how unpopular :
“Fear is the path to the Dark Side. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering.” – Master Yoda
‚ÄúI sense great fear in you, Skywalker. You have hate‚Ķ you have anger‚Ķ but you don‚Äôt use them.‚ÄĚ – Count Dooku

On recognizing peoples true intentions:
“Only a Sith Lord deals in absolutes.” ¬†– Obi-Wan Kenobi
“To truly understand something, one must study all its aspects…not just the dogmatic narrow view of the Jedi” –¬†Emperor Palpatine

On how things could be if we obeyed Jesus’ commandment to love one another:
“The force is an energy field created by all living things, it surrounds us, it penetrates us, it binds the galaxy together.” ¬†– Master Yoda

On staying true to my faith:  
“Anger, fear, aggression… the dark side are they. Once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny.” ¬†– Master Yoda
“Many of the truths we cling to depend greatly upon our own point of view.” – ¬†Obi-Wan Kenobi

On not putting too much faith in myself:
“Your overconfidence is your weakness” – Luke Skywalker
“Your arrogance blinds you”¬†– Emperor Palpatine
“I want more‚Ķ and I know I shouldn’t.” ¬†– Anakin Skywalker
“All mentors have a way of seeing more of our faults than we would like. It’s the only way we grow.” – Queen Amidala

On dealing with people and society:
“There is no civility, only politics.” – Chancellor Palpatine
“All who gain power are afraid to lose it, even the Jedi.” ¬†– Chancellor Palpatine
“Wars not make one great.” – Master Yoda
“The ability to speak does not make you intelligent.” – Qui-Gon Jinn

On Life in general:
“Your eyes can deceive you, don’t trust them.”
“Truly wonderful, the mind of a child is.”
“Pass on what you have learned.”
“Your insight serves you well.”
“Search your feelings”
“Let go of your hate.”
“Don’t center on your anxieties.”
“Keep your concentration here and now, where it belongs.”
“Now, be brave and don’t look back.”
“Do not assume anything. Clear, your mind must be.”
“To be angry is to be human.”
“I know I’m better than this.”
“Much to learn, you still have.”
“Concentrate on the moment.”
“Compassion, which I would define as unconditional love, is essential‚Ķ”
“Trust your instincts”
“Sometimes we must do what is requested of us.”
“You will know when you are calm, at peace, passive.”
“In a dark place we find ourselves‚Ķ a little more knowledge might light our way.”
“Do what must be done.”
“Sometimes there are things no one can fix.”

…and my personal favorite:
“Feel, don’t think”, trust your instincts and intuition!

I think we could all benefit from knowledge of the force! We should all…Be Love. ¬†Be Kind. ¬†Life is too short, y’all!

Now, go watch a Star Wars marathon and May the Force be with each and every one of you!

 

 

 

 

The Kids and Me

Anyone that has more that one child knows how rare quality one on one time is with each child. ¬†When you are at home and needing to do something with one of them, naturally the other wants to be involved too. ¬†I never have the heart to tell them no, so it winds up being a family affair! ¬†Like every other parent, I love my children more than anything in this world and wouldn’ t trade them for all the tea in China, no matter how tempting that may be sometimes! ūüôā ¬†I would lay down my life for them if it meant they would never have to feel an ounce of sadness.

Last night was one of those rare occasions I had to spend some one on one time with my Coco.  She had her closing ceremonies for Dixie Youth Softball and momma and Sebo, after watching her get her trophy, had to leave a little early to beat the impending weather.  Shoutout to Derrick Smith and the Dixie Girls for the ceremony, by the way!

This was really the first time I have had to watch her deal with sincere disappointment and dejection. ¬†We all knew she was not going to make All-Stars. ¬†She is just not that interested in the game that much yet, but she will get there. ¬†After the ceremony was over, they were all dismissed from the field, but the all-stars were asked to stick around. ¬†All kids come off the field and no Coco. ¬†I thought, ¬†well maybe she doesn’t understand that she did not make all-stars and should not be out there.

I mozy¬†out onto the field to find her and she was obviously disappointed. ¬†As a parent, there is nothing more heart-breaking than that look of sadness on your child’s face. ¬†I told her how proud I was of the way she played this year and I was as upbeat as possible. ¬†She said, “but I only got one trophy, daddy”. ¬†I told her that it was okay and to be proud of herself, still thinking she was dejected by¬†not making all-stars. ¬†The more I talked to her standing on the first base line, the more evident it became to me that it was not about all-stars. ¬†She kept looking back and eyeballing the Big trophy as she called it. ¬†You know, the one awarded to the league champions. ¬†She wanted THAT trophy! ¬†She was under the impression that each child on that team got to carry home one of those big trophies!

Once we determined that was the issue, I explained to her how that was not for the kids on team but the sponsor. ¬†I was able to get a smile and laugh out of her and all was well. ¬†We make it to the car before it started to rain to hard. ¬†She was still a little dejected, so I told her she could ride up front with me! (Don’t tell anyone!) ¬†That made her day and sparked a wonderful conversation for the ride home.

(I love both my children equally, I do. ¬†But that is my baby girl. ¬†I still read her stories every night and I still brush her hair every night. ¬†It is easy to tell my boy to “be tough” and “shake it off”, because we are boys, that is what we do.)

Anyway, as you can imagine, getting out of the softball complex was an absolute nightmare! ¬†It was jam-packed and as usual everyone is in a hurry to get out of there. ¬†It gave Coco and me some one on one time and I must say we had a good conversation. ¬†She is at that age where you can talk to them like people, if they are in the right mood!!! ¬†Any of you that know Coco, knows that patience is not a virtue that possesses. ¬†It is well documented that I drive in jam-packed traffic everyday. ¬†It has taught me patience and also some tricks to how to keep the flow going. ¬†As the car in front of me would move up a car length, she would be all over me to “GO DADDY”. ¬†It took a while, but we turned it into what we call a “Speak Life” conversation as I explained to her that everyone there was trying to get home too. ¬†As I would let people out that were blocked in she would huff when we started. ¬†I asked her if we were stuck trying to get out would she want someone to let us out. ¬†After about 5 minutes, she actually saw where people in front of us would let others out too…thus creating the zipper effect and reducing the log jam. ¬†Before long I was not the one waving to people that they could cut in front of us as she had taken over that responsibility herself! ¬†I like to think it was a lesson taught in being courteous to others and that if you lead by example others will follow!

It wound up taking a good 30 minutes to exit the softball complex, which wasnt too bad considering the amount of people and the weather. ¬†It gave us time to talk, just me and my girl. ¬†The whole trophy thing came up again and I told her to be proud of the girls that earned the two trophies and not to be mad or bitter or anything like that. ¬†That we would work hard and since she has now grasped the concept of the game that maybe she would make it next year. ¬†She was more receptive than I thought she would be. ¬†She talked about a whole lot in our wait. ¬†Kids have tons of questions! ¬†Hard questions too! ¬†They don’t forget a whole lot either. ¬†Every question has another question. ¬†But I wouldn’t have traded it for anything.

It seems like it was just a moment ago that I brought her home from the hospital that December morning and I can still hear that nurse telling me “You know why God gave you this baby? ¬†So you would always have flowers in December”. ¬†I know that my days are numbered of her letting me read to her and brush her hair and her wanting to sit in my lap. ¬†I am guilty of losing sight of that sometimes and I get mad at myself because I so am not ready for it to end. ¬†I am not ready for my kids not to be dependent on me. ¬†I will go ahead and give all of you fair warning that the little Senior days they have at the church….I will probably be inconsolable. ¬†Shout out to all of you that manage to keep it together.

Last night was a reminder of just how fast they grow and how important we are to them.  It once again reminded me that above all things in life, I love being Daddy the most.