10 Years Later

A decade ago was a tough and defining time for me. I was still coping with the loss of my Big Daddy a month or so earlier, then I lost my Daddy too. I lost my two namesakes within 30 days. It was tough….real tough. 

Although it has been 10 years, not a day goes by that I don’t miss my Daddy.  I know that I shouldn’t mourn or miss those that go and be with the Lord (nor is it the Jedi way :).  The reality is that although he is in a far better place, it sucks for those of us left behind.

Daddy passed away 10 years ago today.  He was 54. 

I will never forget the feeling when I received that call. Even though I knew the call was inevitable, it still took with it a part of me that I am not sure I have ever recovered. I wasn’t ready. I remember leaving his house the night before and knowing that it was the last time, just had that feeling.

He was diagnosed with renal cancer early in the year, stage 4. With chemo not being historically effective on his type, his only option was a trial medicine. He fought the good fight, but there was just not much the doctors could do. 

I sometimes felt guilty because I thought “at least he is not hurting anymore”. He had been in bad health for at least the last year and a half of his life. He had complications from diabetes that forced him to lose a toe and become disabled to the point he was unable to work. It all had to have taken a toll on him because after all he had been through, I was tired for him. 

It hurt to see him that way. Our fathers are the rock we look up to. Strong men, who always have the answers and who you go to when you need advice. Seeing him so vulnerable was almost more than I could bear.

I do know he was tired and sick. He was tired of not feeling well. But he also wanted to live. He was a new grandfather or “Pops” and he was proud of my baby girl. He had a lot to live for. The last time he was well enough to get out and come over for dinner, he said something I will never forget. He didn’t eat much and wanted to go sit down because he just couldn’t get comfortable. I asked him if there was anything he needed. In the most sincere and honest way, he simply answered, “just more time, baby. Just more time”. 

I know there are a ton of people who have lost their father. My heart goes out to you all. They say time heals all wounds. It doesn’t. Some things time cannot fix. Though I didn’t show it outwardly, nor did I realize it….I was in a bad spot. It was a lonely place, even while surrounded by loved ones. 

I still remember distinctly my Father’s presence. He cast a big shadow, but was as tender and caring as they come. He was full of joy, funny and loved life. He worked hard and he played hard. It was always fun going out to his house to visit. He never seemed to be in a bad mood and even if he was, he didn’t show it. He wasn’t afraid to show affection and always told us he loved us. 

He taught me what it meant to be a man. He always wanted me and my brother to be better than him. I know what he meant, but at the same time I found it insulting. I thought he was pretty dang good and I didn’t need to be better. Just wanted to make him proud. Because I sure was proud of him. 

You lose your father as a young man and new father and you quickly learn how to be a man. I thought it was my duty to be the strong one and I admittedly did not grieve properly when he died. I tried putting it all in a box and in the top of the closet. I learned the hard way that it was not the way to handle loss. I didn’t know the void I felt was normal. I felt cheated. I felt like my kids were cheated.  Without a doubt, he would have loved and spoiled them like nobody’s business. I always imagined him playing with and aggravating the mess out of them just the way he did us. I know he is watching over them and would be so proud of them. Outside of selfishly wishing I could talk to him again, I most wish my kids could have known him. 

I went through a bad spot. So bad, I just needed to get away. A change of scenery. I thought it to be a good idea to take a job 16 hours away in Florida. Things did not work out in Florida. The only positive to it was that it led me down the path to healing. 

Losing my Daddy changed me. 

It took several years, but once I processed it all and grieved properly,  I never looked at anything the same again…. but in a good way. Things I once thought were unattainable, didn’t seem so far out of reach anymore.  Things I once looked down upon werent beneath me anymore. In my own way of grieving (moving far away), I found my peace and in my sadness I found courage to carry on. 

It has been 10 years since I lost my Daddy. I am thankful to be his son and for the 30 years I was blessed with him. Still, not a day goes by that I dont think of him. Never will be. However, I am not sad anymore. Just thankful. I am the man I am today because of my Daddy. I know that everything good I have inside of me, I got from him. I have a picture of him that I tap every day before leaving the house! It is my daily reminder to strive to be as good a man and father as he was.


The last 10 years have contained the most painful and most wonderful memories and moments of my life. Breath taking moments. Life changing moments. I may not understand everything, but it is not for me to understand and question. All I know is that I am proud to be my fathers son and to have his name. 

As I said, I found my peace. Although I will miss him everyday and always want one more conversation, I have found that answering the questions my kids have and telling them stories about him give me that medium to have that talk with him…..and that is enough for me!

To quote Jimmy V, “My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another. He loved and believed in me”. 

Meet you on the other side, Pops!

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Checkers with my friend


“Son, it is not where you start, but where you end up that really matters.”

I first went to work for Richard Freudenberg at Fineberg Packing Company in May of 1994.  I was fresh out of high school and like most my age, I just wanted to do something to make some money.  Little did I know the journey that lie ahead of me.

When I first met Richard, I did not care too much for him.  Looking back, I think maybe it was because he was one of a kind and I had never met anyone like him before. Someone so comfortable with who they were and would tell you how it was whether it was what you wanted to hear or not. Sometimes, people are simply misunderstood in their genius. 

I worked for Richard for at least a year before I had any real interaction with him.  I would say hello or good morning if I saw him and it was usually met with the response of “What’s so good about it?”.  That rubbed a lot of people the wrong way, I kind of thought it was funny.  One summer afternoon, I was on my way home.  Traveling down 14 Highway, just as I did every other day.  All of a sudden, my truck broke down.  It didn’t just break down…it died.  I pulled over on the side of the road when I could coast no more.  I came to a stop in front of a house on Austin Peay.  I didn’t know who lived there. I needed a phone to call someone to come and get me. A familiar truck comes in from the pasture at this house and I think…no way.  Yep, it was Richard. As I look back, I know that was not a coincidence or happen by chance. It was a God thing. 

That was the first real conversation I had with him and he of course offered to help and take me home and call a “hook”.  Yes he made fun of me for not knowing that was farm slang for a tow truck.  I had someone on the way so I declined, but after talking with him in that setting, I didnt think he was as mean or bad as I initially thought.  I used to think he wore that cowboy hat to cover up his horns, as the song goes.  Turns out, there were no horns under there…he just liked you to think there were.

He asked me what I did at the packing house, and if I knew anything about hogs or cows.  I said no and became dubbed a “Tipton County city boy”.  He did tell me that in order to get ahead, you should always try and learn every aspect of any job you do.  Dont just be satisfied with what you are doing.  Ask questions and work hard, he said.  This was also my first glimpse into his generousity.  He helped me to get another means of transportation, because….”you can’t work if you aint got a ride”,  he said.

I did not go straight to college after high school.  I took his advice and took on positions in every department at the plant over time.  I learned the science behind how things went from the kill floor, processing and eventually into smoked meats.  It was not glamourous, but I did enjoy it most days. I would see him sporadically and he would always ask if I had learned anything new today.  Of course he always knew more!

I did eventually go to college, thanks to my wonderful wife having faith in me and pushing be to better myself.  I went in to tell Richard that I would have to quit.  He asked what I was going to do for money?  Again, he thought of things that I should have thought of.  He offered me a chance to stay on and work at night loading trucks.  It was a blessing and I am so thankful for that.  He also allowed me to work during the day as well on breaks, which helped me further learn the business.

I got to know him more on a personal level during this time as he was usually the last one around the plant or would pop in unexpectedly.  We would talk and he would tease me for being a college boy who thought I knew more that he did.  To be honest, I thought I did.  Time after time, he proved me wrong.  No matter how many arguments or debates we had, the old rascal was usually right.  He could give you a life lesson in a second and when he did, you would know it was the right advice.  He would always ask, “Have I ever told you wrong?”.  No, you didn’t buddy.

When I left college, I thought I was ready to go out on my own.  It didnt work out the way I wanted to and so I called the man that knew everybody, Richard Freudenberg.  I asked him could I bring him a resume and if he could help me find another job.  He told me to meet him at Picadilly.  I went thinking I would have lunch and give him my resume.

I was in a bad place at the time.  I was unemployed and had no idea what I was going to do or how I was going to make it.  I was uncertain of my place in the world. He grilled me about my ambitions and what I saw myself doing and what I was passionate about.  As we talked, all conversation points kept coming back to the meat industry.  For some reason, he saw me and he had a vision and I thought it was crazy.  He said he wanted me to come back and work for him and to learn the business from him and be his number 2.

It was not what I imagined myself doing, again it was not the glamorous job we all dream of, but I did enjoy working in that place! I don’t know what would have happened to me if Richard had not extended that offer to me that day.  I do know that at the time, it gave me hope.  He gave me a purpose and hope when I desperately needed purpose and hope.  I guess you could say, he saved me.

About 2 years later, my Daddy died.  The first person that showed up in my driveway was Richard.  He brought food and his condolences and did his best to comfort me.  That is when I began to see him as a friend and not just a boss. When you lose your father as a young man, you don’t realize all that you have not yet learned.  Without a doubt, my Daddy showed me what it meant to be a man…but we still had lots to do.  I am thankful that Richard was there to pick up and continue to teach me life lessons and make me an even better man.  I am thankful because not everyone is that lucky.

For the better part of the next decade, I worked with Richard side by side.  It was the most difficult and most rewarding time in my life.  He taught me the ins and outs of the meat business.  What to do in good times and what to do in bad times.  Not just in business, but in life as well.  He was there for the birth of my children and I never had to worry about them wanting or needing for anything, nor did I.  Richard took care of me as if I was one of his own.  He gave me everything I needed to succeed and it was up to me to do the right thing.  He would let me make mistakes, just so he could say I told you so and to further solidify that he was always right! ūüôā

We had good times, we had bad times.  We fought and we laughed.  There was nothing like taking a ride with him, only to get on the interstate and my man pulls out his phone book and starts thumbing thru it at 60 mph.  He would swerve and i would grab the wheel to make sure we didnt wreck and take a cussing for it. 

My fondest memories are of us playing checkers.  He would beat me like a drum….until I got good!  After that, checker sessions would go on for hours because he was so competitive that he would not stop playing until he won.  Looking back, the time I worked for Richard….I wouldnt trade it for anything in the world.  He wasn’t for everybody, but he was my friend. 

I went thru another dark time in my life and decided I needed to take a job in Florida.  He advised against it and I know I caught him off guard.  I know it hurt him, because well…he told me so later on.  Still, he called me while I was down there to check on me and my family and just to talk.  He could have easily turned his back on me, but didnt.  As most of you know, the Florida thing did not work out.  He did not rub it in my face, but explained how we all sometimes have to make our own mistakes.  He always kept me in mind if a job opened he thought I would be interested in even though I told him I had found a good thing.

I didnt talk to Richard as much as I should have after I moved back.  I think I was ashamed for leaving him and I felt like that after all he had done for me, I had failed him.  There really are moments that take your breath away.  Just like it did when my daddy passed, my friend texted me last Sunday and said Richard had passed.  Took my breath. I never got by to see Richard in the last few years.  Always one of those things on the to do list.  I will regret that forever.  The funeral was hard and I so miss my friend.  All I have left is a cowboy hat that he gave me.  I think he gave it to me so he could make fun of me, if I am being honest.

There is not enough time and paper for me to list everything Richard taught me. He taught me patience. If I was anxious or upset about something, he would always say “Let not your heart be troubled” and then we would talk it out. He taught me not to worry about anything until something happened. He taught me the value of your word and family. To always ask how someone is doing. Seriously, the list could go on for days. 

The most valuable lesson I think I learned was from watching the way he lived and treated people. He gave with no thought of reward and never wanted credit for anything. He would donate to causes and tell them he didn’t want to be recognized for it.  I once asked him why, and he just said “that is not why I did it and that is not what it is all about.”

I can still hear him cussing me out when I needed it and his laugh.  You could always tell by how he said your name when he called whether or not you were about to take a butt chewing. I would often wonder why he was so hard on me even when I was doing something right. He just never wanted me to be content. 

I would wonder how he could be right so much and how he seemed to win every argument. Turns out our mentors have a way of knowing what is best for us and sees the flaws in us that we can’t. 

I will miss being wrong and taking a good butt chewing when I need it. 

All I have is a hat. 

I dont think I will ever see a checker board, ride down 14 Highway, hear How Great Thou Art, Goodnight Irene, Swing Low Sweet Chariot, or even see cattle without thinking about Richard.

Richard was a great man and I will always be thankful for him. He will forever be missed. 

“Note ye, a prince and a great man has fallen.”


It is my witness….


 

 

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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