Archive for Blog – Page 2

Why Is Working Out So Hard?

Why Is Working Out So Hard?

Laziness

Laziness

Because, simply put, laziness in comparison is so easy. It is easy and requires absolutely no motivation to lay on the couch like a slug and do nothing.  Trust me, there are days when that is all I want to do.  After getting up and doing things all day, there is nothing I want to do LESS than work out when I get home.  When I get home, the children are around, there is something else to do or something really cool on TV.  There is always something I need to do, so, it’s tough to do after I’ve been going and had other things on my mind all day.  And to get up and workout in the morning, I have to set my alarm clock and wake up before any one else does to get it done.  Who wants to get up at 5:30 AM to get up and workout?  That’s no fun at all.  It’s simply a lot easier to just lay in the bed and be lethargic than to get up and sweat and put yourself in pain.  I get it.  I’ve been there.  No one “enjoys” being in pain.  No one likes taking the hard road.  BUT, that is the road and what needs to happen in order to get results.  At The Citadel, we talk about one of Robert Frost’s poems “The Road Less Traveled” where he says in the last paragraph:

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

So, why is it, that we know what to do but we don’t do it?  The answer is, it’s much easier to follow the crowd and do what they’re doing.  That way, we are just like everyone else and don’t get ridiculed and we don’t put ourselves through pain.  We also don’t have to deal with the fear of failure or success.  We’re just, average but we feel ok about it.

Why Is Working Out So Hard? – The Solution?

Exercise Motivation

Exercise Motivation

It doesn’t have to be hard.  Working out can be fun.  But, there has to be the right motivation.  For me, having graduated from a Military College and seeing family and friends have problems with heart disease and cancer and being on medications for high cholesterol, blood pressure and just living sedentary lives, I knew that was not how I wanted to end up spending my life.  So, I decided to make a change, but how to make that change?  I didn’t really know what to do.  I knew from going to The Citadel that running would be good, but where is the motivation in that for a lazy person?  Without motivation, the chances that we will continue to be lazy are VERY high.  For me, as I said, my motivation was not getting ripped or looking good, but being healthy.  To get healthy, two things are required.  Everyone knows what those things are:  Eating Right and Exercise.  Most people know what to eat and that fast foods, fried foods, processed foods, etc. are not good for you.  Most people also know that working out and exercising is good for the body.  But, how do you take that head knowledge and turn it into heart knowledge?

In days gone by, our ancestors didn’t really have to worry about those things.  They were constantly working in the fields to grow the food they would eat.  They worked while getting food so, they were exercising while growing good food.  In fact, we see that when we go to Africa.  Working out and eating right is something they do for survival, not to just look good or stay off of medications.  So, you have to find your own motivation.

Why Is Working Out So Hard? – It Doesn’t Have To Be

For me, I knew a gym membership would have been wasted.  I was going to work about 7 or 7:30 AM so to get up early, get to the gym, get in cardio and weights and then shower and get to work just wasn’t going to happen.  To get off of work at 5:30 or 6 PM and then go to the gym and spend time away from my family when I knew they were home was just too much to ask.  Plus, I just wasn’t a gym person.

For me, the perfect answer was the Beachbody programs.  I can get up, workout at home, take a shower in my own shower, not have to worry about the gym fees and I can get up and get a quick workout in before everyone got up and get it done.  My program of choice when I started was P90X.  We now have so many other options like 21 Day Fix, Les Mills Body Combat, T25, P90X3, etc. and coupled with Shakeology, it’s a win win for everyone.  Workout at home with no equipment or minimal equipment, don’t worry about the gym and get a great meal in your body every day with shakeology.  We even have programs like 21 Day Fix that have portion control built into them so you not only eat right, you don’t eat too much.

Contact me and let me help you figure out the best Challenge Pack for you and we can also put you in an accountability group on Facebook so you can workout with buddies in the online gym.  I’m here to help you.  USE ME!!

Olympic Withdrawal

Olympic Withdrawal

Olympic Withdrawal

Olympic Withdrawal

If you’re like me, you remember the days of the Soviet Union and how we boycotted the Olympics held there and how they boycotted the Olympics held here.  You also hear every year of Olympians withdrawing from the competition for social reasons or because they want to concentrate on another event.  That’s what Shawn White did.  He wanted to concentrate on the half pipe so he dropped out of Slopestyle.  Maybe it was to concentrate on half pipe or maybe it was because he didn’t want to get injured or maybe it was because he wasn’t the clear favorite going in.  But, Brandon Davis had to sit home and watch because he pulled out the day before the competition, not in time for Davis to get to Sochi.  So, it’s just another story of these Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games.  In the end Shawn White didn’t even medal in half pipe so, it was kind of vindication in a way and didn’t hurt my feelings that he didn’t make the podium, even if he is “American”.  But I’m not here to talk about Olympic Boycots or individuals withdrawing.  I’m talking about MY withdrawal.

Olympic Withdrawal – I’m sad

I sure am glad baseball season is here.  For nearly every night for 2 weeks, our family was sitting watching the prime time Olympic coverage.  If we couldn’t watch it live, we taped it and watched it the next day.  We went skiing with Melanie’s family during the second weekend and even in our Mountain Lodge, we would sit and talk and watch the Olympics.  There is something very special about the Olympics.  I am not exactly sure what it is.  In the old days, they were all amateur athletes.  Then, as Countries started allowing professionals to play, it took some of the mystique out of it for some of us.  For instance, do you remember the “Miracle on Ice” in 1980?  It was basically a bunch of College guys beating a bunch of professional hockey players and we didn’t stand a chance.  But we won.  Or in the Summer Olympics in 1996 when Kerri Strug twisted her ankle on the vault but had to go do it again and stick the landing to win the team gold…and she did?  It’s moments like those that capture our imagination and make our hearts skip a beat.  So, now that baseball season is here, we’re at the park 4 or 5 days a week and I have something to occupy my time so I don’t miss it so badly.

Olympic Withdrawal – The Great Athletes

I have never pretended to be an Olympic caliber athlete.  I have done a lot of the sports they show on TV though.  I’ve tried to ski moguls (bumps), I’ve tried to jump little jumps and actually pulled off double daffies and mule kicks when I was younger.  I “attempted” a 360 once.  ONCE.  I’ve skied slalom.  I’ve attempted to ice skate.  I’ve sledded down a hill.  The thing I love about the Olympics though, whether it’s Winter or Summer, is these Athletes have put so much time into perfecting their sport that something that is incredibly hard for me turns into something beautiful and graceful or fast and furious for them.  To watch the Olympics is truly to watch Athletes at the very top of their games perform at the very highest level.  The competition is fierce, but the comradery the athletes show toward one another is heart warming.  There are also the stories they show throughout the competition about how the athletes had to overcome injury, heartache, family loss, and other tragedies in order to get to the Olympics, along with the countless hours and hours of practice they put in.  I would guess the amount of hours practicing to competing varies with different sports, but there is no doubt that hundreds and thousands of hours are put into practicing for 3 to 5 minute competitions.  It is amazing to me to think that the hockey players can skate backwards as fast as they can skate forward, while holding a stick and knocking a puck around or to watch the grace and power of the figure skaters or to watch the skiers busting it down a hill at 90 mph with their skis bouncing around like paper on their feet making micro-adjustments just to stay on the course.  It’s just amazing to me.

Olympic Withdrawal – But the Olympics will be back SOON!!

The 2016 Summer Olympics will be held in Rio and they are just a mere 887 days to go from today.  You can see the countdown and see the official site here.  The 2018 Winter Olympics will be held in South Korea and you can see the site here.

So, like Frosty the Snowman, they will be back again some day.  But to me, the saddest words of the Olympics were when the IOC Head got up to the podium and said….”I declare the 22nd Olympic Winter Games closed. In accordance with tradition, I call upon the youth of the world to assemble four years from now in PyeongChang to celebrate with us the 23rd Olympic Winter Games.”

So, tomorrow, I am going to get up and do something!!  You will likely never be an Olympic Caliber Athlete, but you can be the best you can be.  Just get up and get moving and don’t let life pass you by.  You can do it!!  Contact me and let me help you lose weight and get in shape and be the best you that you can be.

21 Day Fix – The Beginning

21 Day Fix – The Beginning

Jay and Autumn

Jay and Autumn

I had the opportunity to workout with Autumn Calabrese in California this past September.  I had no idea this workout was even on the boards until they introduced Autumn to us at Beachbody’s Leadership event.  When they introduced it, I was a bit skeptical until I heard her interview with Carl Daikeler on stage.  It was AMAZING and I just sat there with my mouth open thinking….what a concept.  Here is the basic thought process.  We all know it takes about 21 Days to form a habit.  Hence, “21 Day Fix”.  Some people may have a hard time committing to a program that will take 90 Days, like P90 or P90X or even Insanity with 60 Days, but, 3 weeks isn’t so bad.  The Ultimate Reset is a great product also that incorporates good clean eating with good foods and supplements that Reset the body and it is also 3 weeks.  Each phase is 1 week.  Similarly, 21 Day Fix has enough workouts to keep you interested in 1 week phases and it is a manageable, doable chunk of time.  Brilliant.

The other really cool aspect of 21 Day Fix is the eating plan.  When I heard Autumn talking about the program, the main thing she talked about was the eating plan.  If you’ve been around the fitness industry for any amount of time, you have heard people say things like “Abs are made in the kitchen” or “I ruined my workout today with what I ate” or some such things.  It’s very true.  Working out is just one part of the equation.  If you want your machine to run properly, you have to put good fuel in it.  Otherwise, it will get sluggish and not perform the way you want.  Autumn said she was out with a friend one day for lunch and they both ordered what appeared to be a very healthy salad.  She watched as her friend devoured the entire thing while she only ate 1/3 of hers.  She took the other 2/3 of it home with her and it hit her.  THAT is why her friend was having problems.  She was ordering a “healthy salad” but eating WAY too much and then dousing it with heavy calorie laden dressing.  So, the concept of 21 Day Fix was born at lunch that day.

21 Day Fix – Portion Control

The most intriguing thing to me about the 21 Day Fix Program is the portion control.  Most people THINK they have a good idea of how much to eat, but the truth is, we overeat, even on good stuff.  Most people don’t have a CLUE what a cup of cereal looks like.  A cup isn’t as much as you think.  And, most people eat until they are full instead of satisfied.  Studies have shown that it takes about 20 minutes for the stomach to get the signals to the brain that it is time to stop eating.  That is why it is so easy to overeat.  First, we have no idea about how MUCH to eat and when we eat until we feel full, we have eaten for 20 minutes too long.  It’s CRAZY when you think about it.  That’s also why buffets are dangerous.  I don’t know about you, but I can get a lot of food in my belly in 20 minutes.  Then, the body uses what it needs and stores the rest.  It’s a “recipe for disaster”.

21 Day Fix – The Portion Control Fix

21 Day Fix Containers

21 Day Fix Containers

The cool thing about 21 Day Fix is they help you by taking the portion control part of the program and truly putting it in “control”.  You no longer eat according to your desires and wanting to feel satisfied.  Instead, along with the program, you get some nifty little plastic containers.  When I saw them I couldn’t believe how small they are, but it is really a novel idea.  Based on your caloric need, which you calculate, you get a certain number of plastic containers of each type of food to eat.  So, you may get to eat 2 or 3 blue containers, 2 or 3 orange containers, etc.  If the food fits in the containers, you eat it.  If not, you save it until later.  Again, it takes all the guess work out of wondering what 8 ounces of meat or a cup of cereal looks like.  Over the 21 Days of the program, you not only realize you won’t starve eating less, but you get it set in your mind what that amount of food really looks like.  HOW COOL IS THAT???  Anyway, as you can tell, I’m pretty fired up about 21 Day Fix and what it is going to do to revolutionize not only my eating habits, but those that I love.  We are going to be better educated as coaches and friends and be able to help so many more people.

I’ll write more about the workouts as I proceed through them.  So far, I’ve done 2 of the workouts and in the next few days, I’ll tell you what I think of them, but I’m telling you, so far, it’s absolutely amazing how I feel doing them.  I definitely break a sweat and I can’t wait to do more of them.  They are quick, 3o minute workouts but really seem to do the job.

So, coupled with Shakeology, portion control, and working out….how can you go wrong.  Also, Beachbody has a 30 Day Money Back Guarantee on the Program.  Do yourself a favor and just do it.  You won’t be sorry!!

Contact Me to learn more or Click – 21 Day Fix – to order the Challenge Pack.  Let me know when you’ve ordered it so I can get you in a Facebook Accountability Group with others doing the program.  Your world is about to change!!

Southern Snow

Southern Snow

Getting In Shape

Getting in Shape

I’m guilty.  This past week when I heard we were going to get some freezing precipitation, I got a bit excited.  Then, I heard it was likely going to be in the form of snow and I got VERY excited.  We average only about 1/2 inch of snowfall per year here in Columbia, South Carolina.  The upstate gets a bit more and the low country/coastal areas get less.  But, when we get enough snow where it actually sticks and we can throw snowballs, it’s not “rare” but it is not typical either.  It is more of an event than anything else around here.  The weather stations start breaking in with hourly forecasts.  The TVs and Radios are abuzz with school and Government offices closings.  Schools in some cases run on 2 hour delays and all of this in anticipation of a snowflake flying without even seeing one.  It’s really quite interesting.

It’s also interesting how our Northern friends react to our snowfalls down here.  I have told a lot of our friends that I don’t want to move up North.  In fact, I’m about as far North and as far West as I want to live.  I have told them, you don’t have to shovel sunshine.  Well, last week, as I said, we did get a bit of snow.  It was supposed to start snowing around noon on Tuesday, January 28.  However, it didn’t actually start until later in the evening on Wednesday.  Because of the forecast, the schools were closed.  Then, a lot of the parents said, “See, I told you we could have had school.”  But, if they had opened and the snow had started as forecast, we could have ended up like Atlanta.  They were going to close schools early but with all of the traffic on the Interstates from people leaving work early and going home, the roadways literally became parking lots as overpasses and roads began to accumulate ice.  We don’t have ice moving equipment down here.  We have salt trucks and some plows that fit on the front of trucks, but we only use them once or twice a year.  It’s just not something we do.

Snow Angel

Snow Angel

Anyway, we awoke Wednesday morning to about 2-1/2 to 3 inches of white fluffy powder on the ground.  Of course, we made snow angels and went and found a hill near our house and used the top of a turtle sandbox lid to slide down the hill.  I’m just excited that at 48 and 50 years old, we are still young at heart and in good enough shape, thanks to Beachbody Products, to play with our kids like that.  We posted pictures on Facebook and then, we heard from our Northern Friends saying things like “That’s not snow, that’s a dusting.  If you want to see snow, come up here” and other such things.  Well, like I said, it’s not something we get every year here.

When I was 7 years old in 1973, we got 16 inches at one time.  It is the largest recorded snowfall here.  I remember playing in it and building snowmen and thinking it was as normal as it could be.  But, it was so much snow they literally brought in the Army National Guard to help and I remember seeing the helicopters flying around assisting people.  But, being 7 years old, it was normal to me.  Odd isn’t it to think now that it was a once in a lifetime event and I will likely never see that much snowfall here again in my life.  It’s kind of sad when you think about it.

Southern Snow – What you have to do….

Bread Sold Out

Bread Sold Out

At the first mention of potential snow, the first thing you have to do is go the grocery store and buy a loaf of bread or two and a gallon of milk or two.  Nobody I’ve talked to knows why, but it’s just something that you have to do.  You also have to make sure you’re stocked up on vanilla extract and sugar for “snowcreme”.

You have to fill the bathtub with water in case you lose power.  (This was very important when you depended on well water with an electric pump, but why people still do this when they are on commercial water is beyond me.)  When Hugo hit, we flushed commodes with water from our neighbor’s pool.  TMI?

The next thing you have to do is put bowls out on the car, on the deck, on the trampoline, wherever, to catch snow so you can make “snowcreme” with the snow you collect using the vanilla extract and sugar.  It’s not as good as Shakeology, but it’s pretty stinkin’ good and we only get to have it about every other year.  I think our last decent snowfall was 2011.  So, we enjoy it when we get the chance.

Then, after you are all prepared, you look out the window every 5 minutes to see if it’s snowing yet and then sigh and sulk when it isn’t.

Southern Snowfall – Enjoy it while it lasts

Frosty the Snowman Melts

Frosty the Snowman Melts

When it snowed last week, a friend of mine hit me on Facebook and said, “So much for shoveling sunshine, eh?”  I said, I ain’t shovelin’ NOTHIN’.  All I have to do is wait until tomorrow and the sun will take care of it for me.  Well, it stayed cold and we actually had snow in shady spots for 3 or 4 days, but in the trafficked areas, it was gone the next day.  It did just what we wanted it to do.  It snowed and made things pretty for a day or two, and then it was gone and we have the memories and the pictures.  So, yes, it was fun and exciting, but now it’s gone.  If it happened every other day, it wouldn’t be as good.  It’s kind of like eating clean.  When you do have a day where you indulge, it’s better because you don’t eat that stuff every day.

But…is it over?  They are actually forecasting freezing rain, sleet, snow next Tuesday and Wednesday here so, I’m going to go buy some bread and milk Monday.  We have plenty of sugar and vanilla extract and I’m not worried about our water situation.  Chances are it will be just a cold rain, but, you never know.  Stranger things have happened!!

Yes, I love the snow.  In fact, we’re going skiing next week.  That’s the beauty of living here.  We get snow now and again and if we want to see more, we can drive about 3 hours and go have fun!!

West Africa Trip Update

West Africa Trip Update

Walking in the Village

Walking in the Village

Carson and I are back from our trip to Mali, West Africa this past couple of weeks.  Although we were a bit wary of going where we were, we felt relatively safe.  Mali is in the Top 10 Countries for Christian Persecution.  We have to be very careful while we are there and follow the advice of our translators and hosts perfectly and I won’t say much about where we go and what we do on here.  I do not want to endanger anyone but at the same time, I want to tell you about our trip and let you know what happened while we were there.

As I said, we never felt endangered while we were there and the people there were as friendly as ever.  We do know that terrorism is still very much alive and well in this part of the world.  We also know there are supposedly sleeper cells in downtown Bamako but that the majority of the unrest/terrorism is confined to the North.  The terrorists were trying to get to Bamako but were held off in the town of Mopti by the Malian Army and French Army before they reached the capital city.  There is still violence and a lot of unrest, especially in the North as this New York Times Article talks about.  I said all that to say this.  We know we were not perfectly safe doing what we were doing, but we kept a low profile and didn’t draw attention to ourselves.  We followed the advice of the State Department and our friends in the Country.

So we arrived in the Country and spent the night in the Capital City of Bamako.  Then, we went out to the bush to meet with the villagers.  The purpose of the trip was to help encourage the believers in the village where we have made 26 trips and to also teach the gospel and Bible Stories.  Every time we go, I get more encouragement than they do.  But, on this trip, it had been 2 years since we’ve gone since the Miliary Coup d’Etat in March of 2012.

West Africa Trip Update – Discouragement

African Bush Road

African Bush Road

When we got to the village, we found out that the believers had not been meeting together on a regular basis.  Some of them had gone to the gold mines to search for gold.  Some of the believers were in the village and we did get to spend a lot of time with them.  It took awhile for us to figure out what was going on with the believers.  Finally we were able to get to the bottom of some of the issues they had been having.  Food is scarce because of the rainfall they experienced and there is still alienation of believers from the other villagers.  There are two mosques in our village and they do the calls to prayer on a loud speaker which is very surreal cutting through the animal noises.  The people we tell the Bible Stories and teach the Gospel to say things like “I know what you are telling me is truth but I’m not ready to follow the Jesus Road yet.  If I did, I would be shunned from my family”.  We have several of the children that hang around us that have told us they want to be believers in Jesus but their parents have told them they would beat them if they did.  Some of them have even told their children to stay away from us.  In the villages, they have taken African Traditionalism and wrapped it in Islam so there is a mixture of what they believe.  They put festishes on trees and around the children’s waists and wrists to ward off evil spirits and then, sometimes, they pray the Islam prayers in Arabic that they do not even understand.  It’s a hard community with people working hard in the fields and having a community of pride and honor.  They do not want to do anything that brings shame on them or their family.  We had one man tell us that he wouldn’t care if his children were believers in America or Bamako, but in the village, it would bring shame on him and his family.

West Africa Trip Update – Encouragement

After several days of teaching the believers in the village and encouraging them and going to some of the surrounding villages and telling stories and making our greetings, we felt as though we were not making any headway into the people’s hearts.  Then, on the last night, our former Pastor, Brad Bessent, told a story and then preached a bit because, in his words, this may be his last trip to Mali into our village.  So, the man who said his son could not be a believer came with his wife and sat in and listened.  After we finished the teaching time that night, the young boy’s parents came up to us and gave permission for their son to be a believer and said they also wanted to know more.  You can see Brad’s website at www.churchunleashedglobal.com.  He is now working to help churches and other belivers do what we’ve done with reaching an unreached people group somewhere in the world.  He can hook you up on a mission trip if you want to go.

West Africa Trip Update – Just Go Spread the Gospel

Dirty Feet

Dirty Feet

I’ll end by saying that this was my sixth trip to Mali over the last 6 years.  I want badly to go back.  I was very concerned on my first trip that I wasn’t qualified or able to share the Gospel with these people.  But, I realized when I got there, that these people don’t know anything.  They can’t read or write.  As the Bible says

Romans 10:14-15

New Living Translation (NLT)

14 But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? 15 And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!”

If you want to know more or potentially go with us in the future, please Contact Me.  I would love to talk to you about what we are doing and share with you how you can help.  If you can’t go, but would like to help, you can give.  Contact Me and I will tell you how.  We are still paying off a credit card we put the plane tickets on for this trip so anything you can do will be a big help.  Pray about going, but if you can’t, pray about giving.

Two Workouts – Super Saturday – 1/14

Two Workouts – Super Saturday

We just had one of our best Super Saturday‘s yet.  We met up at our church at our normal meeting location.  We then had a meet and greet as Melanie had some Shakeology tastings and Recovery Drink tastings for people as they came in.  Then, we got started with some success stories from people who had lost some weight as well as people who had achieved new levels of leadership by becoming brand new Beachbody Diamonds.  It was an amazing time for me and others as we shared our stories of how we found Beachbody and how we had reached the levels we have.

We then watched a video from Beachbody Corporate about upcoming programs and incentive trips as well as motivation to keep moving forward to reach more people with our mission to end the trend of obesity.  I shudder to think where I would be were it not for Beachbody and finding P90X and then becoming a Coach to help others.  Then, to be able to turn this into a business is just absolutely AMAZING.  I love it.

P90X3

P90X3

After a quick question and answer session, we moved the chairs to the side and had a workout.  I had planned to do just one workout from P90X3.  The workout I had planned was Isometrix.  Most people who were there did the workout with us.  It was absolutely amazing.  It was basically the static moves from Yoga without the flow of the vinyasas.  The workout was 30 minutes long and all of us were sweating like crazy in less than 10 minutes.  I would challenge anyone to do that workout and say it is easy.  Everything is done in a very small place but the moves will make you know you worked out in a hurry.

When that workout ended, a few people had to leave, but we decided we would do another workout from P90X3.  On the same disk with Isometrix is a workout called Dynamix.  It is still very doable and very modifiable but instead of just getting into poses and holding them, you actually move.  There is stretching and moving along with some ab work in the routine that I absolutely love.  I loved doing two workouts at one Super Saturday.  Too much fun.

Neopolitan Shakeology Packets

Neopolitan Shakeology Packets

The other thing I’m excited about is Strawberry Shakeology coming in.  It will be available Monday the 13th of January.  They will also have packets of Shakeology that include Vanilla, Chocolate and Stawberry.  It’s like Neopolitan Ice Cream but healthy.  I can’t wait to order mine.  There is nothing like being able to mix and match chocolate, vanilla and strawberry and if you want, you can come up with your own recipes.  I can imagine a banana split shakeology, can’t you?

Anyway, we will be having another Super Saturday in April of this year.  I want you to be there.  Just come out, get some good information and hang out with other people who have a mission to go and change the lives of people all over the world.  I’m absolutely loving what we are doing with Beachbody and the fact that I get to be a part of it just blows my mind.

Are you up to the Challenge?  Do you want to change your life?  Come hang out with us.  Help others while you help yourself!!  Contact me for more information!!

P90X3 Challenge Pack – http://www.teambeachbody.com/shop/-/shopping/BCPX3205?referringRepId=2620

Focus T25 Challene Pack – http://www.teambeachbody.com/shop/-/shopping/BCPT25205?referringRepId=2620

 

A New Year is Coming!!

A New Year is Coming!!

A New Year is Coming!!

A New Year is Coming!!

I was sitting here watching TV this morning wondering what the day had in store for me and on a couple of different channels they are running year-end recap shows.  One was running political quotes, both good and bad.  One was doing sports good plays and bad plays.  I even saw one of good TV shows and bad TV shows.  That made me think about some of the things that have happened in my life in the past year.  As the movie title goes, there was the good, the bad and the ugly.  I won’t recap everything that happened to me here because you likely aren’t that interested in my life.  You are more interested in yours.  Isn’t that the way it is though?  Many times in our minds we think “OK, enough about you, let’s talk about me!”

So, what was it about your life in the past year?  There are several things I would change if I could.  I think we all can say that.  But, overall, it was a very good year for me and our family.  The main thing for me is we were all relatively healthy.  A few stitches for me.  Some stomach bugs and fevers here and there and a couple of concussions for Carson in football, but otherwise, we were healthy.  When I hear about so many other families that have chronic illnesses or other diseases, it makes me very thankful and grateful.  I am also very grateful and thankful that our family is still together.  Our oldest son is a Senior in High School and I’m not sure how much longer we will be taking family vacations without girlfriends, fiancees, wives, kids, etc.  I just love it every single time we are able to get together as a family still, from the 18 yr old to the 6 yr old.

Our son is in the process of taking SAT and ACT tests to get ready for College and have a couple of different Colleges he is looking at possibly attending.  We are very blessed that he has options.  I just hope his test scores are good enough to get a scholarship since he was homeschooled.  We’ll see as they come in.

A New Year Is Coming!! – What Is In Store Next?

I’m sure everything will be coming up roses.  I can’t wait to see what God has in store for us this year.  Most people make New Year’s Resolutions to help them get back on track for where they want to be.  Most of those will include losing weight or breaking bad habits.  In order to break a bad habit, you really need to replace it with a good habit.  That includes eating.  NOBODY loves eating more than I do and the holidays kill me.  Thanksgiving, New Years, Christmas are all good food times for me.  I also tend to get lazy and not workout during that time.  It’s just crazy why I do that to myself.  I don’t have an answer to that question either.  It’s just something that I know I will struggle with the rest of my life and I know that so, I just do the best I can do and deal with it.

This year will bring a lot of changes around our house.  The oldest son will go off to College after spending another summer as a McCall Camp Counselor.  My Mom will likely be needing more care in the future so not sure what is going to happen there.   I am planning one trip for sure to West Africa in January with our 16 yr old son and may be going back again in February.  We also have a ski trip planned for the family in February.  I’m loving being retired and doing Real Estate for fun.  For fun means I pick and choose who I deal with and the clients I take on.  It’s a lot of fun.  I also have the opportunity now to do some project managment and engineering on a part time basis.

A New Year Is Coming!! – Get Ready!!

I am going to be sitting down in the next couple of days and making a list.  The list is going to be my goals for next year.  They are going to be spiritual, physical, emotional, financial, and every other area of my life I want to tackle.  I remember hearing someone say one time that if you don’t have a written down goal, you don’t have a goal.  So, I’m going to be setting my goals.  The other thing I am going to do is work on my dream board.  I’m going to get a board and put pictures and written down goals I want to accomplish this year.  Most people go through life with no goals at all and they just let life happen to them.  It’s time to get intentional and make things happen.

I found that working on my physical goals helps me in all other areas of my life.  When I workout, other things fall into place.  It’s a mindset we have to get into and breaking that blood/brain barrier as Tony Horton calls it is key.  We have so many great programs now to help you and with the release of P90X3 now, I’m stoked about what the future is going to hold for all of us.  CONTACT ME if you want more information on it but it’s going to ROCK!!!

Don’t let 2014 go by without being where you want to be and intentionally accomplishing some things!!

 

I Love Christmas!

I Love Christmas!

I Love Christmas!!

I Love Christmas!!

There are old cliches that people use for the Christmas season about why they love it so much.  Those include, but are not necessarily limited to, love, joy, peace, harmony, world peace, etc.  Those aren’t the reasons I love Christmas though.  Part of the reason I love Christmas reside only in my memories of being a kid.  I grew up in a family that was very close, physically and emotionally.  My Aunts on my Mother’s side lived very close to us.  One Aunt lived literally across the field and down the dirt road and my other Aunt lived only about a mile away and they were always at our house.  During the holidays, this closeness was aplified exponentially.  We would gather up at our house with the wood burning stove, Mama would cook, and we would watch Christmas specials on TV while putting up the artificial Christmas Tree loaded down with icicles.  The lights on the tree were colored lights and blinked in “random but repeating” patterns.  I remember laying under the tree and looking up through it at the ornaments, including an oversized Washington Redskins ornament my Aunt who lived near D.C. gave me when I was very young.  There was just something special about that time of year.

Our house wasn’t overly decorated.  We had a tree and a few odds and ends and that was it.  We definitely didn’t go overboard but it was the feeling of the season.  I also remember laying in the floor and playing board games and card games like rummy.  I also remember sitting on the couch one Christmas and one of my Aunts and I went through a 2 lb bag of M&Ms in one sitting…just eating and giggling.  Of course Santa would make an appearance at our house and brought practical gifts like a machete, .410 double barrelled shotgun, Space 1999 ships and stuff but he also always brought me a fireworks assortment that contained REAL bottle rockets, firecrackers, snakes, sparklers, whistlers, cone fountains, roman candles, etc.  I would put on a show every Christmas night for our family, before chasing people around with the roman candles and firecrackers.  Thankfully, nobody ever got hurt.  It was just part of the tradition.

I Love Christmas!! – The Food

Most people equate Thanksgiving to food.  For me it was Christmas.  Mama always made pies and cakes.  There was more sweet stuff than anyone could wish or hope for.  The big thing this time of year is making fun of fruit cakes, but my Mama’s fruit cake was dense and moist and just amazing.  She also made German Chocolate, Coconut, Pineapple Upside Down, and other cakes.  Then, there were the pies.  Pumpkin, Chocolate, Lemon, Coconut, Pecan, etc. were just some of what she would whip up.  Our relatives and friends would also bring desserts over.  It was absolutely amazing.

The one thing that we always did that I looked forward to was cooking hogs.  When I was young, we raised our own hogs over at my Dad’s best friend’s house.  We would kill, clean and cook them with wood every year.  We would end up cooking a couple of days before Christmas.  We typically cooked 4 to 7 hogs, depending on who we were cooking for, and it was so much fun.  The kids would run around playing “Cops and Robbers” and “Ain’t no boogers out tonight” while the hogs were cooking.  There was one year when Daddy and Mr. LaVonne decided to cook for the entire area and make some money.  We cooked in three shifts and cooked somewhere around 30 hogs that year.  We only did that once though.  They decided it was too much work.  After I grew up and went to college, we stopped raising hogs and just bought them and stopped cooking for the entire neighborhood.  I only missed one year not cooking hogs with Daddy because of work and that was the year he died of Pancreatic Cancer.  I made a promise to myself that work would never again interfere with family and things that I held important and dear.  Life is way too short not to do the things that we need to do with our families.  So, our Christmas food consists of all those great desserts along with Barbeque (vinegar based of course), slaw, fruit salad, yams, etc.  Turkey is for Thanksgiving not Christmas.

I Love Christmas! – The Decorations

As I said, we didn’t do much decorating at our house growing up.  We had a tree and some odds and ends but our little artificial tree that was loaded down with blinking lights and icicles was aMAZing.    Just staring up into that tree was incredible.  Now, Melanie decorates everything.  We have our own tradition of going camping the weekend of Thanksgiving and staying out in the swamp while the house gets an overhaul.  When we get home, Melanie has turned the house into a winter wonderland of a real Christmas Tree (which we buy before we leave and put in the stand for her), snowmen, nutcrackers, lights everywhere and when we walk into the house after camping all weekend, we just stand slackjawed at everything she has accomplished while we were gone.  We love going to the lights at the zoo and looking at all the houses decorated in our area and taking in some of the local Christmas concerts.  This year we went to The Citadel for their Christmas Candlelight service.  It was very cool seeing everything decorated and lit up.

I Love Christmas!! – The Reason for the Season

Christmas Nativity

Christmas Nativity

With everything I mentioned about Christmas, we can’t forget the reason for the Season.  It’s a Christmas Tree, not a Holiday Tree.  There are a lot of people out there who want to take Christ out of the season.  They typically don’t have a problem with the concept of an abstract “God”, but there is major problem when Jesus is brought into it.  The nativity scene drives some people absolutely bonkers.  I don’t understand why that is.  But, Jesus himself said he would be the breath of life to some and the stench of death to others.   It really should be no surprise that people want to take down the Nativity.  It seems we have bought into the lie that we have Freedom FROM Religion instead of Freedom OF Religion.  We need to get back to our roots and take to heart what Jesus said.  A lot of people want to bash Christians and that is to be expected.  They had the Saviour executed for saying the things He did.  I don’t know why we expect it to be smooth sailing for those of us who believe in Him and do our best to follow His teachings.  We seem to want to have all of the good stuff but not have to put in the work to have it and not to have to fight for what we believe in.  But, as the Grinch found out, regardless of what they try to take away as far as the Christmas Symbols we have adopted in our faith, they will never be able to stop Christmas from coming because, ….

He puzzled and puzzed till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. Maybe Christmas, he thought… doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps… means a little bit more!

 

 

 

Camping for Dummies

Camping for Dummies

Luke Camping

Luke Camping

I have told you before in other posts, I grew up on a farm.  I had the privilege of going to West Point for a bit and we did some outdoor overnight activities that I don’t think you could consider camping.  We did sleep outside in shelter-halves in the rain and froze but I don’t think it’s camping.  I had grown up hunting and fishing and had done things like that also but I really had no idea how to go camping.

A few years ago, the boys were pretty young and my daughter was what I would consider to be still a toddler.  I had a friend ask me if I wanted to go camping with them.  I actually owned a tent at the time I had bought at a good price a couple of years back with the intention of starting to camp with the boys but didn’t really know where to start.  So, I agreed to go with them.  The location we went to, and still go to every year, is at the top part of Lake Marion in South Carolina.  I had no idea people were allowed to camp alongside the banks of the river out there but they do.  The tradition also started that the camping weekend was the weekend after Thanksgiving.  So, we loaded up the truck that Friday morning and headed to the swamp.  When we got down there, we got on our friend’s boat (we had to make a couple of trips) and went over to our camping spot.  We got the tents and the “kitchen” all set up and then a friend went and cut some firewood.  We don’t cut live trees but find dead wood from trees that have fallen in the past.  We take a chainsaw to cut it up but, could likely find enough small stuff if we just wanted to feed the fire more often.  So, our time there is spent doing a little fishing, letting the kids shoot BB guns at targets they hang in trees (supervised of course) and just watching the fire burn.  It is a good time to turn off my mind and just relax for awhile.

It was actually pretty easy.  After that trip, I decided we were going to make that our family tradition and the kids loved it.  I invested in a coleman stove and some little propane tanks (which are useful if we ever lose power), a gas lantern, a little table and some odds and ends.

Camping for Dummies – Just do it!!

Boys Camping

Boys Camping

A few years ago, I saw a friend post on Facebook about camping.  I told him I would love to learn how to camp.  He laughed and told me, all you have to do is go set up a tent, build a fire, and you’re camping.  I thought to myself, he may be right.  It probably is just that easy.

Here is what I’d recommend if you’ve never been camping.  Go with someone who has equipment and has gone before.  They will be able to show you the ropes.  There is nothing better than going camping with friends and just hanging out in the woods and enjoying life.  Just to relax and watch a fire burn does something to recharge my batteries that nothing else can.  The kids also look forward to it.  My now 18 yr old son said it’s one of his favorite times of the year.  We all look forward to it so much and my 6 yr old loves it too.

Camping for Dummies – Starting alone

If you have never been camping and have no idea where to start, my suggestion is to get a tent and a sleeping bag, flashlights and some fold out chairs.  Really and truly, that is all you need.  You can take food with you to eat that you don’t have to cook or eat and you don’t have to build a fire.  Start in your backyard and go from there.  For us, we have a “kitchen” area with a gas stove where we cook eggs, bacon, sausage, etc. for breakfast, chicken and rice for supper and my buddy cooks grits, chili, hot dogs, etc. on a fire grate from the fire we build.  I also have a gas lantern for light.  We cut firewood from dead trees in the woods.  I don’t take heaters for the tent or cots or cushions.  We just sleep on the tent floor in sleeping bags.  You can go as rough or as convenient as you like.

Camping for Dummies – Just Do It!

The main thing is to just do it.  Every time we go I think of something else we can get that helps us out.  For instance, this past trip, I bought plastic egg carriers and put 2 dozen eggs in it so they wouldn’t get broken.  My buddy also has a carrier for bread to keep it from getting smooshed.  You can learn as you go and upgrade to make it what you want, but getting out in the woods and unplugging from society and our high tech devices for just a little while is so good for us.  Our kids are not learning the art of communication, unless it is followed by an emoticon so, it is necessary to get them out away from things and let them open up and talk.  Camping with your kids, while you can still influence them?  Priceless.

Talk To Someone

Talk To Someone

Bigs

Bigs

I really don’t know what to write about how I am feeling about all of this.  My best answer to someone when they ask me, “How are you doing?”, is “I’m working through the process.”  I’m about to head to a funeral of a great friend.  Christopher J. Bigelow (‘Bigs’) was a friend and fellow football coach with me this fall for our Homeschool Football Team. Bigs was the Offensive Coordinator and I was the the Defensive Coordinator.  Every game we would stand on the sidelines and I’d look at him and tell him if we would just score more points, we would win.  Of course, he would look back at me and tell me if I would keep the other team from scoring, we would win.  We had a great relationship.

We rode to football games together, ate together, watched films from previous games together and talked on the phone nearly every day we weren’t at practice.  I always saw the giddy, funloving side of Bigs.  I had no idea he was hiding a secret and the secret he was hiding ended up exposing itself in a horrific way.

Talk To Someone – Now

I knew Bigs had been deployed.  I knew he had been in some places in Iraq that he didn’t like talking about.  I knew he had been  on medicine for depression and PTSD.  I knew people in the past had accused him of having anger issues.  Heck, I’ve had people in my past accuse me of having anger issues.  It seems that is the default nowadays.  If we get mad, people say we have anger issues and suggest anger management.  They even made a movie about it.  It was a comedy but it is now a part of our culture.

Again, I didn’t see that side of Bigs.  His Mother told me he hid it well, even from his own family.  When he went into the states of depression, he would withdraw from people because that is not the person he wanted to be.  I knew his relationships with people, including his girlfriend, were sometimes rocky but like everyone else, it would go through a rough patch and then would get better.  I didn’t see his problems as any different than those that any of us have gone through in the past.

Bigs

Bigs

I had breakfast with a friend who is also an Army Chaplain last Friday morning.  He said something that made a lot of sense to me.  I’m still putting it together and formulating it but splicing together my thoughts and his has made me start thinking about things in a different way.  Basically he said, some people are like tennis balls and some are like eggs.  If you drop a tennis ball, it bounces back and is no worse for the wear.  If you drop an egg, you have a mess and it doesn’t bounce back.  I was telling Bigs’ Mother about that conversation last night and she basically told me I had no idea how many times he had bounced back.  He had worked through issues his entire life, went into the military, got deployed, saw and was involved in some things that didn’t help that situation and then had a hard time with life after he got home.

Talk to Someone – For THEIR Sake

Like I said, I’m working through the process.  I’m not sure what all of the steps are, but I’m going through it.  Everything from shock, sadness, anger, acceptance, etc and everything inbetween.  Some days are better than others.  As his girlfriend’s son told me last night, “This is not the best day”.  And there will be good days and bad days I’m sure.

The thing that made me mad was when my son broke down and started crying Saturday night.  My thoughts went from sadness to madness because I was thinking “How DARE you be that selfish and do that to my son and the other boys on the football team that loved you and adored you and saw you as a brother??!!”  I don’t understand or know how someone can get to that state.  I’ve been sad and depressed before but I obviously have not lost all hope.  I imagine if you are reading this, you haven’t either.  I don’t understand PTSD and I don’t understand depression to the point where I want to end my life.  But, I do know this.  I didn’t know Bigs.  I knew him, but I didn’t know him.  We always talked about fun stuff and football and there was always a smile on his face.  We didn’t get into the deep stuff in his life.  It wasn’t because I didn’t want to.  It’s because I didn’t know it was there.  BUT, I didn’t ask either.

We are so used to asking someone how they are doing and when they respond “Fine” we let it go.  I was told a little while back that FINE meant Frustrated, Insecure, Neurotic and Emotional.  We need to have deeper relationships with people and not let it go at FINE.

Talk To Someone – There Is Hope

PTSD

PTSD

You cannot do this alone.  You need to talk to someone who can help you.  Find someone who knows Jesus Christ.  Get to know Him.  There is hope there.  If all we do is lean on our own understanding, we will be disappointed every time.  We can’t reason it out.  Life makes no sense sometimes.  Life is hard.  Life is scary.  Find someone you can trust to talk to and most of all, lean on Jesus.

Jeremiah 29:11
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

If you need help and you are reading this, if nothing else, reach out to me.  BUT…find someone you can talk to.  Ending your life is not an acceptable solution.  It may relieve pain for you, but the collateral damage it does to everyone around you is not worth it.  TALK TO SOMEONE!!