Wednesday, December 23, 2009

And another month passes

I watch the snow falling out the window as I type this, the kids are definitely getting a white Christmas.

A lot of time has passed, not an awful lot has happened. Other than learning by experience that lesson of not trying to overdo it at all. Ever since trying that dumb little jogging exercise I've not gone on any real long walks at all. Maybe a mile somewhere along the line. Maybe.

I think I've mentioned how my knees were giving me trouble a few years back, and wondered if I was headed for the same thing. I don't know if it's been the same or not, and fortunately it's been only my left knee. The odd thing is it really only hurting when it's been bent like when I'm sitting. If it's laid out it feels fine. I can remember back now to them hurting more if I've been sitting for awhile, so maybe it's a similar thing? What's funny is after I stand and have the knee straightened out for awhile it hardly bothers me at all. So right now, I just appreciate the fact it's slowly getting better.

Now, diet wise tehre's good news and bad news. The bad news is I'm not sticking to anything much of a real plan lately. While not really overdoing it anywhere, I'm not avoiding any bad foods at this time. But the good news is, as of todaqy I'm 8 days without soda. To me, that's a pretty big deal. Not even sure why I quit -- no real moment of truth kinda things happened, I just decided to quit... I definitely feel a difference in just that alone. The last time I did that, it wasn't long later until I began my most successful dieting ever.

Would be nice to repeat history eh?

Not sure how many months it will be til i'm back on (i like to think it would be days rather than months, but considering my track record....) but to the 2 or 3 of you who may still read this, have a great Christmas. All in all it's been a great year, I hope it has been for everyone else as well...

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Help me in my unbelief

2 nights ago I got the news that John Green, a college classmate, was found to have died in his home of carbon monoxide poisining. His wife Cheryl, also a classmate, was in critical condition but I understand she's made a strong recovery.

John and Cheryl have had a tremendous impact on a lot of lives. Even in college, their example and faith made a huge difference to so many people. John was the minister for many many years at the Christian Church in Clay Center Nebraska. Over the years I'd run into people who knew John and Cheryl through their ministry, and all I can say is that it's a tremendous loss for the church and the community. You could get a sense of the kind of person he was from the report that KHAS TV had on him.

I sat, very heavy hearted and stunned. All I could think about was how sad it was for John. In fact I almost started this off calling it sad news.

And then I stop myself and think... why does this leave me so heavy hearted? When I get right down to it I know I find myself feeling sad for John, and yet... the truth of the matter is he's got it an awful lot better right now than any of us. He's in a pretty awesome place and I know for sure he's not feeling too terrible at all about where he is. I do feel bad for Cheryl, I can't begin to imagine waking up and learning that the man she's been married to all these years is gone. They have 2 kids and a huge family known as the church there. And for all of them, I do feel terrible.

But I know that if I'm honest, deep down I know it's John I have been feeling bad for and that it's a very hard feeling to shake.

I then rationalize it all away by saying when we feel bad like this it's for our own loss. And maybe that would be true if I saw John on a regular basis. I always considered him a friend in college (how could you not? he was just that kind of guy) but since then I've only seen him in passing a few times. I have no plans of seeing him anytime soon. I hope this doesn't sound bad to say it, but there's not really a true personal loss here. That really probably isn't the best way to say things, but what I'm getting at is that there's not an ongoing relationship now and so if it's not been there it really isn't a loss from that side of things.

And so when I shake it down to its core, if I'm being honest, I feel sorrow for his sake. And it's that feeling that leaves me wondering about my own faith.

It's a strange mix of thoughts here. I can't find even a bit of a question in my mind about where John is at this moment. From the time I've known him it has been obvious that here's a guy who has lived out of his faith. I know... I just know... without question or doubt... that his faith has him in a wonderful place, finally getting to enjoy being with the same Jesus he has followed and preached about and walked with for all these years. It can't get any better than that.

But I guess that's the mix of thoughts. Because when I know that, and in my heart I celebrate that, but then I'm feeling sad for him, then it leaves me wondering just how much I really believe it. In the end I think I find myself maybe discovering that while I know in my mind there's a great amount of assurance and belief, but some of the sadness I feel makes me wonder if that faith isn't as much in the heart as it could be? I don't know that this is me knocking myself as maybe understanding a bit more about my own faith, and how there's still a huge amount of room to grow in it.

And I look forward to growing to the point where news like this doesn't trigger an instant sadness for someone but instead brings about an instant celebration for their sake.

It's at this time I think I really appreciate the honesty of a father who came across Jesus and had said "If you can do anything." Jesus called him on that "if" and I love what the father came back with, because I think it so greatly fits in with where I am right now. Maybe where a lot of us are?

"I do believe. Help me in my unbelief"

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

What am I, nuts???

Okay, so yes, it's been a couple weeks again since posting. Nothing new here, is there? Not that this is a shock or anything. Actually, some consistant posting would be the real shocker, wouldn't it? At least this time I can say I've just been stinking busy. Which is a good thing. Maybe. I think.

Since income in the self employed world can be very hit or miss, and in this economy sometimes I think too much miss and not enough hit, it really got to where I figured okay, I do need to get some form of regular income. So I've taken a job in the tech support call center over at Dish Networks... kind of a cool place really, and it makes a good combo of my enjoyment of all things technical and just that social aspect (even if it is talking to ticked off customers who can't get their remote to work on the night of the big game). It's enough to at least make sure the bills are paid on the slow months.

But this is Murphy's law in action. The very moment I start doing this evening job, I start getting slammed with work. Now it's all subcontract work for other companies, but that has its advantages as well. Yesterday though came this realization that I have to start setting some boundaries here. It starts with having to run out at 6:30 AM for an urgent early morning call to get there by 7. From there another call that ended up taking the rest of the day. Then off to work my night job right from that job.. finally getting home and realizing that i've been on such a dead run the past few days and with today looking booked solid as well, I needed to get some invoices out and take care of some things. Considering that my main computer has been DOA since crashing last week (note to self -- no more letting teenagers use the computer -- viruses come along happily when you do) there was some extra work to transfer my backed up financial files to this puter... and by the time I'm sending out the invoices it's 2 AM. Okay, so that adds up to working 25 out of the previous 31 hours.

When I get paid for it all, that will be a very nice thing... but there's a point where I have to say enough. So I was not too terribly disappointed when what was going to be a day long job had to be re-scheduled as a result of some equipment not being there. And I did end up turning down another job for today just because I needed to catch up on living. Not to mention a nap. I'm deeply looking forward to leaving in a little while, picking my kids up from school, spending some time with them, cooking supper for them and getting a wee bit of time with my wife before going back to work.

That said... I'll admit that right now being crazy busy is still a much better feeling than business being very slow and living on beans and rice, rice and beans.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Exercise in a different manner

I had figured on settling into a good walking routine when of course there was a nice big snowstorm here in Denver. We figure a good 16 inches. Of course this puts a crimp in the whole exercise routine, right?

Well in case I was of the mind to wimp out, we wake up Thursday morning to several inches of water throughout the basement. Actually nothing to do with the snow, surprisingly enough, but instead thanks to a nice little root in the sewer pipe and a toilet that decided to run for we're guessing at least an hour after being flushed, lots of water backed up through the floor drain. The water restoration company that came out pumped about 450 gallons of water out of the basement, and now we get the pleasure of 10 big fans blowing air against the drywall throughout the basement.

Because it's considered black water since it came through the sewer pipes (though fortunately very clean looking water) we were advised to get as much out of the basement as possible. So rather than a nice 2 mile walk somewhere, substitute that for dozens of trips up and down the stairs hauling stuff to the garage or patio. Fortunately not a lot of stuff is ruined or anything, though now we're just in wait and see mode to see what the insurance adjuster says, and whether they think they dried things out well enough to avoid future mold problems or if they need to cut out some drywall and dry things off. I have a feeling there's a lot more trips up and down the steps in the near future....

Thinking I'd rather go walking.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Wondering some things

Okay, so.... I got out a couple days ago and did day 1 of the training -- thought I'd follow the Couch to 5k plan that's out there a lot. And now.... let's just say my knees aren't happy with me.

It's not anything terrible. There's a very definite stiffness and soreness but it's not a debilitating can't walk kind of thing. But after 20 minutes (plus 5 minutes on each side of walking to warm up and cool down) I did shifts of 60 seconds running followed by 90 seconds walking. I felt okay, but it did feel like a lot of jolting around. And actually it didn't feel too bad until the next day.

So the questions come to mind here...

Was it too much? Just from my standpoint of no running at all, was that too much too quick? That's not all that much.

Am I just too heavy to even be thinking about this at this point? It's a lot of weight shifting around on these poor joints and a fair bit of impact.

Was it maybe the shoes? I wondered when I went out (so you'd think, duh! listen to yourself dummy) about the shoes I was wearing because they were a little older and maybe not the most even. I've noticed walking on old worn shoes can have an affect, so running could too.

Am I better off running? Or walking?

Truth be told, the pace I made with the run walk was not really any quicker than some of the walk paces I've done in the past.

Would I be better off just working on a brisk walk, say setting a goal of 15 minute miles?

Or, is it just normal stiffness and soreness setting in that happens when you haven't been running much at all as in my case?

I find myself very torn right now. There's this part of me that thinks... it's just me finding a reason to cop out right away when my body complains afterwards. The other part says yeah but you don't want the kind of knee problems you had a couple years ago, why take a chance? So that first part of me counters that yeah, but maybe give it a chance again by doing one more session but wear the newer shoes and see how it feels. And that other part says I don't want to take a chance right now. Part A calls Part B a whiner, and Part C (the part that is typing) is seriously worried about being schizo.

I am going to target a 5k, but I do think that for now I'm backing down. Part B wins, don't take a chance. A 15 minute mile walk pace is pretty good exercise too, especially for 5k. And 10k isn't at all out of reach.

Or I could do the really, really gradual thing. start with a .1 k, bump it up .1k each week, and in a year I'm up to 5k.

By tomorrow I'll probably have totally rethought the whole thing and who knows, maybe by then I'll be talking myself into marathon training.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Ready to try 5K?

My daughter's school had a fundraising event yesterday, a 5K run/walk at a nearby park. Basically the whole student body as well as any other family that wishes to participate. I figured I had the time, so... why not eh? My wife started out at the front of the pack, decided to run a good share of it and did it in 41 minutes. Me, just more of a casual walk, and I was in the very back which slowed things, but still ended up at 55:43 which was alright. I know I could do less than 50 minutes if I gave it a good brisk pace the whole way.

But it was kind of funny because the day before, I did a walk around Washington Park, a bit more than 2 and a half miles, and all along I had been thinking, maybe it's time to start training for being able to run a 5k. Nice thing about a long walk like that is you get time to think. So it was like okay, I could start off doing a couple good walks more to just set a pace of sorts, and then start doing some run/walk things to work up. At that time I'd forgotten all about yesterday's event. So anyway, Emily gets home and hands me a shirt -- and I'm like this won't fit so she smiles and says something about motivation. Brat.

The funny thing is though that yesterday when it's all over with, there were enough of the kids who looked pretty wiped out (who also had just walked) and I'm feeling just fine... to the point where I'm thinking okay, if it's this easy, maybe I'm really ready?

And see, for me, that's a huge change in thinking from just a couple years ago. Granted, right around Christmas 2 years ago I started thinking in terms of working up to a 5k run, but I know there were just huge doubts. I'd been at this point where just running a few steps seemed all but impossible. The thought of ever running again just seemed impossible.

Now, I haven't lost any more weight since writing. In fact right now I'm sitting probably 10 pounds up from the lowest I'd gotten to. (Which leads me to the question, if I gain pounds and lose them again, do I get to count them twice?) But I've managed to keep walking at least somewhat regularly, and the part that's been striking is that there are times here and there where it starts feeling natural to break into a little bit of a jog. It's still not a very pretty sight I'm sure and my running form is probably nothing too great at all (far from it) but... it feels like jogging now. See, going back to when I started trying to do some running 2 years ago that was totally different -- I favored the one knee so terribly that it was just terribly awkward and not very natural feeling. And it really had to be forced. Now, I can do it and feel pretty good and feel like it's somewhat normal. Like I said, it's a far, far cry from where I'd like to be but it's feeling really possible now.

One of the things that's nice about the thought too is... maybe catching up a bit with Janice. Here she's gone out and done these half marathons, and here's me shuffling along... Frankly I don't think a half marathon would be un-doable if I'm walking it. But I know when we go out walking she's more prone to want to jog and I find myself envying her some on it and so now I'm like, okay, why just be envious, why not actually do something?

So... here goes. The trick now is to find a 5K in January around here -- okay, that's not much of a trick at all because there are 5k runs all the time around here, this town's 5k crazy... last night when I was picking up the kids from school a ton of people were making their way to Wash Park with running gear and costumes, some Halloween 5k I'm guessing as there were all the usual tents and stands and such -- it seems like there's always something like that.

And hey, maybe it gets me blogging more? After all, there's that progress. And what's cool about the school event is, I have an actual benchmark to compare to.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Catching Up

So here I get to Labor Day, and pretty much from Memorial Day to Labor Day I've been holding pretty steady, maybe gaining slightly, definitely not losing any more. I know what my biggest problem is -- junk food. If I'd stick to the basic meals I'd probably do okay.

The house is definitely feeling empty today. My wife's ex-husband's father passed away, so she's off to Iowa with her kids for the funeral. Kinda weird making meals for only the 5 of us. But it's a good day to get a lot of stuff done around the house, patching some nail holes and painting over them in the bathroom, cleaning up some rooms, rearranging the garage. I figure it'd be nice to have some things done up around the house for her to come back to.

The teaching thing didn't come through. It's kind of a bummer, but I know it all worked out really well for the school. It turned out the position that the guy who left to take wasn't what they made it out to be, so they hired him back to his old position. It's a good thing overall as I know they really liked him, and I think he realized how much he loved what he's doing, so for both sides it's a good conclusion. For me, I guess it's mixed feelings. I found myself looking forward to the prospects, and yet somehow I end up knowing that it's better this way? It does leave me wondering what to do next, as so far my business isn't taking off like I'd hoped and I do need to be bringing in some income. Maybe I'll drive a cab part time eh?

I am getting more opportunity for exercise, that's a good thing. Maybe I should say taking more opportunity, it's not been a matter of whether the opportunity has come along. I find that what helps is getting the application back on my phone (phone had to be replaced) that tracks the walks with GPS and it seems to add some incentive to get out more. The other thing that kind of helps (though it hurts in some ways) is that my daughter's school choir is doing a tour to St. Louis over Spring, so for fundraising they man a concession stand at the Bronco's games, and I've worked a couple of those. You definitely get your work in there, and that's the good part. At the same time, 7 straight hours on your feet takes its toll and it's a lot harder to get out the next day, so that's the one drawback.

Not much more to report, other than it's football season again! Woohoo!!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

A New Direction?

Okay, so how's this for something unexpected? Possibly teaching high school?

Okay, it's like way part time -- The technology coordinator at my daughter's school is taking a different job, and he taught a couple classes of web development, so they put out a thing that they are looking for someone to teach those classes.

So here I am, no teaching experience, no formal education at all in web development, no real professional experience other than i put together a few websites here and there, totally self taught... and here i am interviewing tomorrow for teaching the class.

What am I thinking????

Actually, I'd been thinking that a part time job would be a good idea for getting a pittance of steady income until work on my business becomes more steady. I was thinking something like delivering pizzas.

but teaching high school?

What am I thinking????

What's nice though is it's the very start of the day, i enjoy working with it all, and after talking with the tech guy it fits in with what I know... and hey, why not test the water and see what i think? yeah, i could be in totally over my head. or i might like it. If they're even considering me given my total lack of experience or education you'd think a person would need, they must need someone pretty desperately. I figure hey, i know a little, i have the flexibility, maybe i fit a need, why not eh?

What am I thinking???

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Another month goes by

I keep commenting on the long time between posts. So what do I do about it? Create more blogs. (Somewhere the definition of insanity fits in here...)

I started out with the blog for my college football site, something that has been even more horribly neglected than this blog. I feel kind of guilty, that site was kind of the beginning of my whole web persona, and I'm still quite proud of the site even though I haven't had (or devoted) the time to keep it up like I used to. I won't try to describe it if you haven't seen it, it's But it's been fun coming up with the concept and still getting a reasonable amount of visitors, even as neglected as it is. But hey, football season's around the corner, maybe it's time to get cracking.

And so as I neglected that site, I created another blog (this one) to neglect. But at least it's not as neglected as that one, so it's all good eh? This one kind of comes and goes, depending on my motivation and keeping up with diet and exercise and all that. But then again, it's been over a month since my last post. Sorry?

And so instead of getting better about keeping up this blog or the other one, what do I do? Create two more. Sheesh, what's up with that?

These two are for my business. Of course I really should think seriously about the wisdom of that because yeah, you can neglect a hobby website, or neglect a personal blog, but in the end what's the worst that can happen? Lose the 2 or 3 readers that still come to either one? Which is not to suggest that losing the readership of anyone of you who may happen to browse upon this thing is anything I would want... (and I'll stop now before I dig myself into a big hole).

But when it comes to business, it is something that will require some dilligence. There are some good marketing reasons for blogging for your business, but neglect can be something rather (or nearly) fatal. And I know that full well. And yet, I don't learn.

One, Simply Communicating is related to my business website. So that's the one where I at least try to act like an expert on communications and throw out some tips, ideas, and give a little bit of information about what's up with Barnabas Communications.

The other is the end result of a marketing idea I had. When I started Barnabas Communications we were in the depths of this recession (still are, last I checked). But something I really liked that I heard someone say, and later heard from Dave Ramsey as well... way back when the whole economy was falling apart I remember a manufacturer rep saying we refuse to participate in this recession. That statement resonated with me like you wouldn't believe. For me it's so easy to get into the excuse game, and when things aren't going so well (especially if you're working in sales) it's so easy to blame it on the economy. Back in April when I stepped out over the edge (and I'm still not sure whether I'm floating or falling fast) and started the business, that was a key thing to me. It's a silly, maybe stupid time, to start a business, but.. here i am anyway.

So then I thought, this is a theme I want to really push forward. There is a certain point where recession is a state of mind. Yes, there are huge outside forces (and massive government stupidity to boot) but in the end it all comes down to the confidence of the consumer. And to me it just made sense to say, to heck with the doom and gloom, this is going to happen, and it's going to go well! So to a certain extent, I really mean it.

On top of that, I thought one of the best things I could do for businesses in a tight economy is to give away some advice. In the end I think it helps establish myself as someone they can depend on, so why not. And I thought at first calling it something along the lines of a recession buster, but that didn't really resonate well, so I scrapped that. But the whole thing about refusing to participate in the recession kept coming back to me, and in the end it became something along the lines of hey, we don't want to participate, and we have some ideas that can help you not participate... and thus Unparticipate was born. And now there's not just the business website, but the Unparticipate website. Now it's mostly about offering this guide we put together. But with it, I started thinking that what would be cool is to make it interactive, get ideas from other industries and such. So... the best way (I thought) is to put up a blog. Put out ideas here and there. Ask for ideas. Publish the best ideas I get. And so.... the Unparticipate Blog.

And oh, yeah. I became a twit. Or whatever the term is. You know, a tweeter that tweets. A twitterer. (Those who know me best say, stick to the original, it fits). I don't know if anyone is out there in twitter world that would ever really benefit from the ideas and tweets, but, it's one more way to get the word out there about Barnabas. So, hey, who knows eh?

So now with 4 blogs to my name, a twitter account, and of course the facebook (works great for keeping up with old friends, even if it does mean seeing old embarassing pictures from college days)... I gotta wonder when I ever get time to actually do any real work.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

...and what a year

This weekend Janiece and I celebrate our first anniversary. It's hard to imagine it's been a year already, but... it's been a really, really good year.

Because of her, there's been this amazing difference in my outlook on life. Life just seems... good. That seems terribly understated. But it's just that when the world around us is in turmoil, it doesn't matter, life is good. She brings a calm and a joy to life. She has made this a really, really amazing year.

There was a point where I wasn't really sure what was ahead, and yet, it was like God was saying just you wait, I've got something really really good for you. And he came through in a big way.

Definitely cause for celebration.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

19.49 miles

Wednesday nights is our 'Band of Brothers' mens group, and I've typically tried riding my bike out for those except on occaisions where the weather would get in the way. They moved it now to where it's meeting at a coffee shop, although that coffee shop is in the opposite direction from me. But that's okay. The nice thing is I can get there almost exclusively by trail, though that trail does end up going a couple miles longer. In the end, according to mapmyrun, it turned out to be a total ride there and back of 19.49 miles. It felt good being able to say I did it. It feels even better to be able to sit here this morning and not feel dead to the world for it all.

There are some guys from church going this weekend to hike up a 14er, and it looked pretty intriguing. It was stated as 'strenuous hiking' requiring proper hiking boots and hiking pole etc. (14er is the term they use around here for mountain peaks 14,000 feet or higher). 13.5 miles. It's the kind of thing where I find myself wondering if I'd be up to THAT kind of hike. Enough other things are going on that it's really not an option anyway, but... it does leave me wondering....

Friday, June 26, 2009

Celebration in the face of sad news

Two big stories in the news lately come to mind. Obviously, the death of Michael Jackson, and the other one that sticks out to me is the Governor of South Carolina and his recent affair.

I think the thing that stands out to me is the way the world points its finger in judgment. And I find myself doing the same thing, so I guess I'm no better than the rest of the world now, am I?

And that very fact makes me stop and realize... I'm no better than either of these two people either, you know?

The truth is, maybe they're not all that different than you or I, despite having high positions and fame. They're still people. They have things about them that are good, and... flaws. We just happen to notice them more when they're so much in the public eye. And really, we want to drag them 'down to our level' not that I really think there is any level to drag them down to (or up to for that matter).

But because they've been blessed with the talents, abilities, skills, and opportunities to be in the public eye, we also know all about their flaws. And we judge them viciously.

I don't know, really, about whether Michael Jackson ever did the things he's accused of. So I won't try to speculate whether he did. I can't help but think that when it's all said and done he didn't know how to cope with all the stuff that comes with the level of fame he achieved. Who knows what kind of affect it had to be a star at childhood to the point that, maybe he never really got to be a kid.

I guess it really doesn't matter right now. There's a circus going on right now but when it's all said and done, some kids lost their father. There are people who lost a family member, others who lost a good friend. The fact he was famous doesn't change anything, the pain of losing someone close is just as real for them as it is for us. It's incredibly sobering to see it all. So much of the commentary I hear lately is about how there was so much potential and ability and yet the tragedy of it all is how this is a man who in the end was mocked so much.

But that's not so different than real life for everyone else, is it? Loss like that is difficult because it's final. There's no chance now to change things. Michael was working on making a comeback, but it won't happen. That's how it always seems to happen for us because we think there can be that comeback, that those things that are flawed can be improved, but then something happens and it can't be.

And the other story is the whole deal with Governor Sanford taking off for awhile, where his affair with this other lady all comes to light. And again, we see the humanity, how the reality of life is pretty much the same whether you're famous, whether you've got power, or you're just an ordinary person.

I hear the venom from people on both sides of the aisle. I see the world shaking their heads at this guy. I hear people on the radio saying they can't imagine how someone could do such a thing. There's contempt because this was a guy who was all about family values and look what he did. And yet... if you get down and examine the lives of all the critics (including you and I), how many of these critics have their own secrets and sins that just haven't been brought to light? Who are any of us to compare and criticize?

None of us can really understand why he did what he did. I mean, how can a man with such power (some considered him a potential candidate for President) throw it all away by doing something so stupid? But have we ever considered that if a guy in his position does what he does despite all of the risk, there have to be some powerful emotions and factors at play that we cannot begin to imagine?

This is in no way trying to justify anything that either of these men may have done. I just know that... I know how it feels to have screwed up, I know how it is to feel the weight of peoples' judgment, much of it earned.

And I know what the grace of God means to me. Something that's taken a long time to really begin to appreciate.

Maybe that's what this is about in the end. The weight of the world's judgment comes down on these two figures, but to me it just shows that here are a couple of men who, despite their talents and fame and power, we see their flaws. We see men who know pain, whose failures are there for the world to see. We can go on and on about how they should have done things differently, that there's no real excuse for things that were done, and we'd probably be right.

And yet, the failures and the flaws are there. Just like they are there for you and I.

And maybe in the end, these stories are something to celebrate. Because they point out something about the reality of the human condition, and that is, that it is deeply flawed. Our sins and our weaknesses bring us all short, whether we are ordinary people living ordinary lives, or lives of power and prestige. And no, the fact that everyone fails and has flaws is not the part that is to be celebrated.

The celebration is that our fate, our end does not have to be determined by the mistakes we make, no matter how terrible. God saw those flaws, those weaknesses, those sins that are part of us. And instead of pointing the finger like we're so prone to doing, he did something about it. He sent his son.

What incredible hope! THAT is the celebration... because at least for me these things remind me of my own sin... and remind me of the incredible Grace God has given me. And all of a sudden... life is good.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Bike to Work Day

Wednesday is Bike to Work day in Denver. I'm kinda liking the idea, it's intriguing I must say.

When I got my bike, I had this image of commuting by now. Back then it was about 15 mile trip in to work, and there was one day I dropped my work truck off and had hauled my bike out and rode it back. But that was pretty much it for the bike to work thing. Okay, a lot of that has to do with when things changed with my job to where I was no longer on salary but straight commission, and pretty much prior to deciding to do the work from home thing.

You know... biking to work is pretty easily done when you work at home. "Yeah, I'm all Green, I bike to work." All I gotta do is go down the drive way and back up.

Pathetic huh?

That all kinda falls hand in hand with this whole plateau I'm on right now, come to think of it. I don't know if the changes at work and going self employed have a part in it all or what. It's an interesting thought if I wanted to dig a little deeper. But I don't.

Although.... all day Wednesday I'll be about 4 miles from here installing a new phone system. I could bike there. And let me tell you, it's an easy ride. ALLLLLL downhill. Coming back... different story. Yikes!!! Good thing buses in this town all have bike carriers on them eh?

A bike's not really a great service vehicle. But you know what I want to do for a service vehicle? I'm dead serious here: Smart Car! I have test driven the things and even at my size... they're awesome. But the biggest thing about them to me, and the total appeal is the billboard value of the things. Imagine having one of those things wrapped with a well designed logo and all that. Those puppies get attention. Okay, they're not great for carrying a ladder (though it could be kinda cool looking)... though I am taking a good look into those fold up ladders, because if they would work.... it might be a great way to go. Not as green as a bike, I know, but still not too bad. And definitely not as sweat-causing!

I am excited about doing this installation. This is the first big deal for Barnabas Communications. I've done a lot of little odd jobs here and there but not making great money... kinda the thing where I was about ready to fire the sales guy (a little scary to do when you're a one man operation). But then this was something that got referred to me, and it turned into something much bigger than I expected, and now I'm in the middle of the project and I'm pretty psyched about it. It's kind of fun, you know?

Actually, building this business is fun. Coming up with the plans and concepts and structure of it all... I've even got my logo! Right now I'm back and forth between running like a chicken with my head cut off at times trying to make sure I've got everything covered on the job I'm doing, and then stopping, stepping back, and saying okay, how does this need to happen and what do I need to do to make this go? And I think that I've had times I've been so terrified and really doubting if I could do it because after all, I wasn't exactly selling a ton of stuff where I was before now, was I? And yet, here I am now getting to do the kinds of things that I've always believed should be done, and putting it all into motion now, and it's exciting.

And the thing that amazes me is that as I talk to people about what the business is all about, I can tell they like it. They really seem to believe I've got something good. And I find myself asking, why couldn't I get people to agree with me when telling them about what I'm doing working for other places? And I think the reality of it has come home... people have always agreed with me, and I just didn't know it. That ultimately, in the end, I didn't totally buy into the company or the product or something like that. But now, I've been able to take some new ideas, and implement them. No longer is there the "we can't afford to do it that way" or "that will never work." I know it WILL work, and I'm finding myself amazingly passionate and even articulate about it when describing the concept to people... and they believe in it!

My wife has been amazing about it all. When I knew things were about to change at the other company and I'd no longer have a regular income, I started putting down my ideas on paper. When it happened, we sat down and talked it over. I knew relying on that position for a regular income wasn't going to work. I also knew that in this economy, doing a job search would take some time and income would dry up a little while. And I also knew that what I wanted to do wasn't being done by anyone else, and as we looked at the numbers we realized it was a very viable possibility. I'll admit that for a few weeks when the income was just a trickle, there are those times of thinking, is this really the way to go? It's a challenge when you're not producing the kind of income you were and everyone has to cut back to beans and rice for awhile to get by, and as a guy, that's the kind of thing that's real easy to get down on oneself about. But Janiece has been incredibly supportive, maybe even a bigger believer than even myself. And while I know this one job is not IT, it's the ice breaker I was looking for and I know it's the beginning of something very successful. And that's exciting.

The only thing I'm wondering though is... how professional would it look for a really big guy (see the last post to see what I think about how big) to show up to work on the phones wearing bike shorts.

Kinda makes you shudder huh?

Maybe the 'up and down the driveway' thing is enough to suffice for bike to work week.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Unexpected Motivation

I'd mentioned the stuff about sleep in the past. Lately the whole sleep thing seems to be okay but even after manipulating mattresses around, I find myself waking up with back soreness, it's as though the different slopes in the bed are enough to create some strain. So it leads to a conclusion, gotta get a new bed. Well, that's well and good except that budget can be pretty tight while you're trying to get a new business to take off. But sometimes when it bugs you enough you start thinking okay maybe it's time to break that resolve of not using credit.

I find myself wondering if the back thing is another of those chicken or the egg things. I tend to wear the outside of my heels down, and all of my shoes are in that condition right now, and when that happens I know my back starts getting sore. So... is it my bed creating the problem, or is it my shoes? One creating the problem and the other just making it worse... At least shoes don't cost as much as a bed, that's one good place to start.

Of course, it's silly to even ask either of those questions. The real thing is....


Okay, so anyway, the other morning I woke up about 5 and after a little tossing and turning it became clear... I'm not going to fall back asleep. Okay, good time to get out and ride my bike or something. So I set out, and after a mile and a half or so it's like ow, my back's fussing too much, time to turn it around and head home. But then, part way through the day, I'm realizing hey... my back isn't hurting. What's up with that? The only thing I can think of is, bike ride. I realized that by the time I got home it wasn't hurting. Hmmmmmm..... So, next morning, I went out and did the same thing, and my back's feeling fine then. I don't know if maybe the bike riding is stretching it all out some? So now I'm getting out each morning for a short bike ride. So in some ways the back thing is good for me cuz it's getting me back to being out more regularly.

I know I find myself getting caught up in all the stuff of life and it makes an easy excuse to not get so involved in exercise. Too little time, you know? So this whole thing is a good wake up call.

That and, did I mention, I'M TOO STINKING FAT!!!

I'm a real fan of Dave Ramsey and his approach on finances. The one thing though that he says about getting yourself out of all the financial ick you create in your life is a lot like what they say about addictions and such, that you never really do anything about stuff until you get just too sick and tired of the circumstances. Then you develop what Dave calls "Gazelle Intensity."

So maybe I'm getting too sick and tired of the fact that I'M TOO STINKING FAT!!! and maybe that's the beginning of my Gazelle Intensity.

Although......... What doesn't help is something like Friday night. My wife and I decided we needed a date night. Some time back we had bid at a silent auction on gift certificates to this place that's not as well known yet, and won the bid. This was a good time to use that. It's this little place called Bistro One. It's one of those places that, as I looked it up to see what their menu was and all it just seemed... too trendy? One of those places that really focuses on having a modern and fancy decor, but I wasn't sure how I'd like it.

We walk in, and it's sort of an Art Deco, black and white decor but it just seems noisy or something. And I wasn't sure how I was going to like it all to be honest.

But then the food arrives. And Oh. My. Gosh. Very, very few times in my life have I ever found myself so surprised and amazed at just how good the food is. For an appetizer we got a cheese plate. They had 5 different cheeses with sauces and such. Like Gouda cheese with tiny chopped up strawberries. I never would have thought the taste combinations would be so good but it was all amazing. Then we got Ribeye steaks and they were simply amazing. They just melted in your mouth and the taste was astonishing. And I think I've had some pretty great steaks in my life, but this was incredible. The steaks alone were enough to satisfy your hunger, and my wife is not a big eater at all, but there was just something about the experience that we had to get desert, and even the desert was incredible. Service was top notch, food was incredible... this is a place that's still just getting started out, it's not even 2 years, and I know restaraunts like that are struggling a bit more in this economy, but I sure hope this one can continue to make it because it's just... too good to fail.

Probably not the kind of thing that helps a diet be successful, though truth be told lately it's been more like, "what diet?"

So I suppose it's good to wake up this morning and be sore and so aware of the fact that I'M TOO STINKING FAT!!! because it helps offset the feeling you get when eating such an amazing meal Friday that leaves you thinking, do I really need to be on a diet?

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Weddings and diets

Quick trips to weddings don't always make a good mix for diets. Everything is sandwiches, sandwiches, cake, more sandwiches and chips. And more sandwiches. It's not just the stuff at the wedding but on the trip as well.

That said, it doesn't have to be a disaster. I'm hoping I ate in moderation enough to not have it be said disaster. There was some GREAT barbeque at the rehearsal dinner. And enough things that you can pick things out that are not as bad for you.

It was good getting back home though. For just long enough. We took off Monday morning for the 7 hour drive and left sunday noon to come back. It was enough to touch base with folks and see the home town, see how much things have changed (and how little overall they've changed) and it made for a nice trip.

The wedding was nice as well. I think it was kinda a big deal in the family, as I grew up with 3 brothers, so we didn't have any of the girl's side of the wedding to be part of. Ame (was supposed to be Amie but my brother was a basketcase when they asked what her name was to be and he misspelled it) is the oldest of all the kids between us (if you don't count my stepkids anyway) so it's the first wedding for any of us.

And having watched this, I'm realizing that with 3 daughters and 2 stepdaughters... the future costs ahead of us are terrifying. So I think we're creating a policy -- we pay for the justice of the peace and we'll buy airfare to anywhere they want to elope. Nice and easy. I like it that way.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Wonder what a difference a year makes....

We leave this morning to go to my niece's wedding back in Nebraska. Last time I was in Nebraska I was about 40 pounds heavier. So I'm wondering how noticable it will be, mainly because I've been at this level for so long now that that's what I see.

I'm not expecting much notice though. Mainly because it's been a year since everyone's seen the kids, and they've all grown so much that that's sure to be what gets their notice.

It will be good to go back for a little while. And it will be good to come home again.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The value of sleep

Sleep seems to be one of those chicken or the egg kinda things when it comes to weight loss. As I get it, weight loss comes more easily when you sleep well, but.. I think too it's like sleep comes more easily when it comes to weight loss.

My wife has noticed that I'm having a harder time getting up in the mornings lately. I always wondered about how much the whole motivation thing played in this all, where i'm still on this plateau, so it's like it doesn't come quite as natural to jump out of bed to go on these killer walks (even though the weather's SOOOO much better for it now). But I'm thinking there's more to it lately because I find myself waking up tired more often than I have for a bit.

That has had me a bit concerned, because one thing I've fought through much of my life has been sleep apnea. Essentially that's where you quit breathing while sleeping. There's a longer explanation of it, but anyway I finally went in a few years back and had a sleep study done (which i foolishly avoided for too many years because of the cost) and I can't tell you how tremendous the difference is now since I've done something about it, but lately I know i started to wonder if that was flaring up again or something.

But... I think i figured it out. Thanks to some back pain... lately when I'm laying down i've found that when I turn just so there's a real twinge in my back. And when it's like that, you start noticing things like how uneven the bed is. Or I'll put it this way, I think i've created a divot in the bed. Put it another way... i'm too darn big for it. So when you're laying uneven like that, it has it's effects. And I think that what's happening is while I'm sleeping my body's trying to balance itself against this chasm and so i'm not really resting.

Another point of motivation?

Sunday, May 31, 2009

A New Sure Fire Diet Aid!

I think I figured out a great way to deal with the temptation to eat.

Our house is about 50 years old, and along the basement ceiling is about a 20 foot section of drainpipe from the kitchen sink that goes towards the sewer stack. That's where the 50 year old part comes in because over time, that drainpipe has had all sorts of opportunity to corrode, to the point that it was leaking pretty good. This weekend was finally time to change it.

Now... I'm not especially adept at plumbing. There's a reason I'm not in that business! But somehow we managed to cut out the old pipe and get it replaced, and so far (knock on wood) no leaks in the new piping (the much lighter, much easier, black plastic pipe they use now).

As to the diet aid: I may have to keep around a small piece of that old pipe. 50 years of gunk and ick and... well, we could use more explicit language here... is built up in these pipes to the point there was just a very small hole through them. Gross is a word that does not come even close to doing it justice. Between the smell and the look and all of that... just the general ook of it all (if that's a word)... we'll just say my appetite was not very powerful. That's why I need to keep a piece of it, because if temptation strikes all I have to do is look at it and I'm quite un-hungry.

If anyone else needs help fighting temptation, I may put pieces up for sale. Let me know...-

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Good weekend

Okay, so I finally decided to step on the scale for the first time in a few weeks. It's been that kind of time where, I've not done great the past few weeks, though not awfully either. I've kept up the exercise for the most part, in fact I think that's improving. But I know i've not been super faithful diet wise.

Soooo.... 356. 3 pounds up, but honestly I wasn't sure if i was 5 or 15, so 3's not bad, hey?

Yesterday I wondered if I overdid it. Well, not on the exercise bit itself, I went out on a 3 mile walk around noon. I did decide to mix in some jogs, basically 30 seconds of jogging, 2:30 walking for about 2 and a half of those 3. It felt pretty good, didn't feel like i overdid it at all, and felt pretty good later in the day.

It was the later part, and not really overdoing it. My daughter's high school choir is fundraising for next year's choir trip and the school's traditionally raised funds by working concessions at Invesco field. Now that will mean REALLY working come Bronco's games, but last night was just a Lacrosse game. Very small crowd really, and the work wasn't too hard. But it was the getting there at 3 and leaving at 11 and being on my feet the entire time, that as i'm shuffling slowly to the car i'm thinking to myself... maybe that run earlier wasn't such a good idea.

This morning I woke up with a sore ankle, though through the day it was getting better. We went out tonight to Bear Creek Lake which is a pretty neat park, and walked around. It was about 2 miles total but very leisurely. It all went well except for Kaylee (daughter #2) who took her bike along and went riding. As we get back, no one has seen Kaylee.... so as we start looking around the lady at the park entry station waves me down and asks if I've got a daughter named Kaylee... turns out she ended up at the golf course several miles away and someone there thoguht of having her call the entry station to see if anyone was looking for her. (along the same trail that went through the park). So there's the one side that is, good for her for getting a good ride in... but, that part about turning around after a couple of miles and going back musta slipped out the other ear.

All that said, I feel good. And am a little encouraged about the scale thing, though I'd much rather be under 350. (Granted, I'd much rather be under 250).

Time to dig through the plateau though....

Thursday, May 14, 2009

If I can't keep up with this blog....

How do I expect to stay current with another?

My track record on blogs isn't so great. I've got primarily this one, another one that hasn't been posted in since January (I do a website called Heavyweight Football Champs and I blog about my opinions about the whole college football national championship thing, something i've not really blogged about much lately as it's not been on the top of my mind with all other things of life going on...) So now, I'm starting a new blog. What am I thinking??? This one's for my new business, so it will be more about business communications and phone systems and all that fun stuff.

It's fun, and slightly terrifying, getting this whole thing started. The fun thing is that I'm seeing some passions come out, I'm seeing these visions of what I want to see in the business and how it is so very different than similar types of businesses (aka the competition). But the terrifying part... well, one of course is the whole thing about whether it will actually make any money, the other is always wondering if i'm up to the challenge.

And yet... somehow I just know i am.

Went out last night bike riding... about 14 miles total, which was really good. My cellphone GPS program has a little elevation screen that shows the elevation along the way. There is one spot where there is a line almost straight up... if you compare that to the speed graph (showing how fast you were going at different parts)... that line straight up would coincide to the line straight down where i walked this.... really nasty hill. Someday.... I'll be making that hill just fine!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Kittens, scraps, plateaus and new beginnings.

Not sure what all those have to do with... well, with anything? Not to mention this blog, although, this blog is just about life, and... okay, let's be really really honest here. It has been a long long time since I posted anything at all and I'm totally clueless what to post even now but I'm trying to get back into the discipline, so... I'm just going with what's going on with life lately.

so, kittens and scraps... life around here lately has been consumed with 5 little furballs all with extreme cases of A.D.D. They're fun, they're maddening but too cute to get too ticked off at. I'm thinking life will seem very different soon though as they're almost old enough to find new homes. 3 of the 5 already have homes waiting for them, and while i know the kids are really hoping to keep one if not both of the remaining, we're defnitely going to be more than willing to let the others find homes as well. That becomes more true as they tear into my wife's fabric stash and leave scraps all over, or as they leave little gifts everywhere except the litter box. all that said... they're definitely fun to watch.

Plateaus... Was chatting with my daughter's doctor during a visit a couple weeks ago and she'd known I'd been doing this whole dieting thing, so she asked about how I'd done so far and all that, so she asked if I was at a plateau right now. i thought that was an odd question, but the truth is i've been fluctuating up and down about 5 pounds or so for awhile now. so, how'd she know? did i look like it? did someone tell her? I think she could tell I was wondering that by the look on my face and she said that just the point i'm at, the amount i've lost, the amount of time i've been at it, that it seems a pretty typical place for a plateau.

great. i don't want to be typical right now!!!!

i'm wondering in some ways if the blog and the plateau are a bit related? actually that is a thought that came up as i started this post because i used the word discipline. So I've fallen out of the discipline of writing in this, at the same time i've fallen off some of the disciplines otherwise... things that make you go hmmmm, huh?

I make a lot of excuses right now, for both. Most of the excuses center around life being rather busy lately, and around that new beginnings part. Which I'll get into here in a moment. But here it is May, and when there's a total of 10 kids between us things can get crazy. I'm sad right now for having missed my stepdaughter's college graduation just because it coincided with other school activities that required my attendance. But this is one of those times when life gets crazy. But you know the amazing thing? It's great! It's hard to explain, cuz it's mind boggling at times to the point where people wonder how we do it... but... it's life, and life is something that is very, very good. I'm relishing in having all of this going on. Even if it is sometimes exhausting, there's something at the end of the day where i'm left thinking... this is what it's all about.

ahhh, so... new beginnings. Part of the reason for being so busy also has to do with launching out now with my own business. Barnabas Communications! For me it's not a new name, I've somewhat launched it before doing some different things over the past few years. All of that has always been testing the water with one foot while keeping the other foot in other pools or seeking out other pools. But now, I'm diving in. It's scary and exciting all at the same time.

Put simply, i've spent too long being part of an industry where you have to really hype up the high tech aspects of what you do when in the end it still just ends up for the vast majority of customers pretty ordinary. And yet, having been involved enough in both the marketing AND the technology/service side of things, I know all the stuff we promise is there and can be pretty extraoridary. The problem is that we don't put the emphasis into making it extraordinary, we just put the emphasis into selling it.

So I've spent a lot of time on... how do you make it extraordinary? Over the past few months as the economy has tightened, the company I worked for had to do some cutting back in December, and I survived the cut. As things slowed down more, I ended up thinking, what if there's another cut? NO ONE in this industry is hiring right now, in fact... not many people at all are hiring. But the amazing thing in those thoughts became... that it didn't turn into fear or panic, and there was this understanding that it was in fact maybe an opportunity waiting to happen. And recently the time came when we talked at work about changing to more of an independent contractor at work. And in the end, that opened the door to the opportunity. And thus, Barnabas Communications LLC is a reality. I still do a lot of work for my former company which gives me a chance to develop the business.

Right now I've got the framework put together and the basic concepts. I have the website, It's what I figure to be a temporary one, because there's a constant evolution in how I think it should be put together, but this is a good start. I think anyway....

So yeah, life has gotten busy. And yet... exciting.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Maybe the dog likes me?

So tonight my daughter and I took the dog out for a walk. Now I've always figured the dog just tolerates me, being one of many who have invaded his home lately. I mean, there's me, my 5 kids... not to mention the rabbit and the kitten who now has 5 of her own kittens.... and I suppose it's something about greyhounds because they're not like labs or retrievers that jump all over you and such. Greyhounds are definitely more stoic. Or maybe melancholy. They whimper a lot when they want something. So I think it's been that my idea of a dog has always been the kind that is super affectionate and all that, and here's this bony skinny musclebound thing that seems rather aloof a lot, so yeah, a guy wonders. Okay, he does wag his tail a lot when I come in the door, although I'd swear half the time he's looking at me like, okay, you're here, so... where's Janiece???

Now when it's walk time that's a different story. He's all up and down and excited then. It used to be that all I had to do was just reach for the leash and he's hopping up and down ready to go. Now it's even to the point where I just need to grab a little plastic bag (for carrying his poop of course) and he hears that plastic rattle and he's barrelling through the house.

So what I find interesting though is tonight my daughter walks with us, and she takes the dog and runs up ahead a bit... but he'll only go so far. Once she's ahead by 50 feet or so suddenly he's running sideways looking back at me. At 75 feet he's dragging her back towards me. At his size, he can do that you know. And I'm like... heyyyyyy, he wants to be with me.

Okay, my wife would explain that greyhounds are pack animals and so he understands the order of things, so he prefers to stay closer to the leader of the pack. And since she's not with us, that would be me. Of course, one has to wonder, am I really the leader? All the times they're all asking for money from me and getting it (if i happen to have it)... who's the real leader? And of course we just have to go back to the poop carrying thing... if someone's bagging up and carrying someone else's poop, WHO is the real leader here anyway?

It seems I've had this discussion of sorts already. Of course that's been awhile. Of course (with added over the previous of course, of course)... I could have written about all this in my last post and it STILL would have been a long time ago... oops?

So I can blame it on being busy. Or blame it on a period where my ankle was acting like it were sprained for no understandable reason... Or blame it on being sheepish because I just haven't been exercising and have still been wishy washy about the diet.... all of these things probably add up together to not writing. So I've likely lost my two readers now in this long period of silence... okay, so I'll just have to be good at writing and somewhere along the line over the next 6 months or so maybe I can pick up another reader?

By the way, the Biggest Loser group started up again last night. I impressed everyone by riding my bike there. It was a pretty short ride so it's not that impressive, but... i'll take the pats on the back all the same. Much smaller group this time around, only 6 people last night. But I think it's going to be better because it will be more of an accountability group than anything, not so much about having speakers and such. So I think that will be maybe better for everyone. We'll get into more discussion, about things like what's working, what's not, etc.

So my weigh in was 363.3. Which is a few higher than my last weigh in, but not a lot. Morning weigh ins have been about the same, still hovering around the 353 mark. The past week or so I've been more dilligent about the diet. Part of that is because I'm finally getting a physical set up and monday morning i went in to get my blood drawn for labs and all, so I wanted to do my best about the blood sugar levels.

Anyway, that's my update for now... if i say something like i won't take 3 weeks to write again that's usually a sign it'll be 3 weeks, so... i'll just leave it where it is for now. Wherever that is.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Gadgets and progress

So, first to report some progress. 352.6. Finally broke the 353 mark I got to, ummm.... 3 weeks ago?

So the good news is, it took me only a week to melt off the 6 pounds I regained. I could look at it as the bad news being that at that pace, that would have been 18 pounds lost by now instead of right back where I was. So instead of 353, right now I could be a svelte 335.

But, right now I'm going to be happy to be back where I was and back on track. I'd rather celebrate the progress than mourn where I could be instead. So let's just look at it this way: I'm lighter than I've been for a few years. And feeling maybe even better than I've felt for many years before that. So that's where I leave that. So the whole thing of lost time, lost weeks, regained pounds, that's all in the past now.

I've been having fun with the discovery of GPS capability on my phone. I can track my workouts now. I've talked at length in the past about, or or (all the same, just geared towards different forms of exercise)... so what i've done in painstaking detail til now has been to sit down and draw the map out of where I walked so it could log my statistics. Which is okay... it wasn't that long ago you had to count steps and estimate, or go drive along the route to estimate how far you've gone. So to sit at a website for a few minutes and map it out is pretty cool.

Now this is nothing new for a lot of people, a couple years ago I remember my brother talking about doing this with his I-Pod... but since I've just discovered I can do it on my Blackberry I'm pretty psyched.... I can now have my phone track where I walked, at what speed, all of that. It uploads it to its own site, and is very easy then to move the data over to Okay, the only thing cooler is if had an interface with this particular cell where it would register there right way. Maybe some day. =)

But the other thing I found is that I can do an RSS feed on this site to my walks, so it automatically registers on here. So in the past I've listed some of the workouts and such, well now... it will do it for me automatically, to the left here. So, if you don't see any new entries under map my walk, you know i'm being lazy again.

hmmmm..... maybe all this technology isn't so great after all... if i'm sluffing you know. might have to rethink this one eh?

Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Chicken or the Egg?

Okay, so... is it the chicken or the egg?

Is it the exercise or the diet?

I'm finding that since I've been working on getting back on track, that I've been more faithful in the exercise area than the diet area, and it would appear to me that right now exercise trumps diet, yes?

Or... maybe. The past few days I've had some cheats, some maybe significant, when it comes to the diet (yes, the 2 cherry pies at mcdonald's again, oops?)... but as a whole the diet has been still a big improvement over the 2 weeks before that.

But essentially i've been going on 2 to 3 mile walks each day. So, faithful on the exercise, semi-faithful on the diet, and the net result is I'm back to 356, or 3 pounds re-lost.

But then my head argues, wait a minute!!! About 5 years ago when I lost 80 pounds on the Atkins diet, I accomplished that with virtually no exercise.

Ahhhh, you may say, but you were 5 years younger then as well. The weight does not seem to come off quite so easily on diet alone this time around.

Well, the truth is that both are pretty vital, I'm finding. It's when I was both faithful on the diet AND exercising regularly that the weight has come off the fastest. And while I'm encouraged by having re-lost the weight, I still need to get better at the diet, for one good reason... blood sugar. I'm about to get a physical exam scheduled, it's been about a year and a half since I had one, and I've drug my feet on it for one reason... my blood sugar was higher than normal and the doctor said I'm borderline diabetic, if i had a second reading in a row like that that's technically a diagnosis of diabetes. That's not really a diagnosis I want to be hung with. I know, if I AM actually diabetic, then I should know about it and go accordingly, right? But I also know that with type 2 diabetes, it's often the kind of thing that can be controlled or reversed by getting good control of blood sugar. So having that under control, well I don't know if that will prevent me from being diagnosed as diabetic or not because I don't know what all goes into such a diagnosis... but even if I am diagnosed as such it's a lot better off if blood sugar is under control. So.... chicken or egg or whatever, the exercise is important, but... i have to stay away from those mcdonalds pies!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Taking a Break + 6 pounds = Big Mistake

My last post I'd mentioned taking a small break. Part of my not posting since is... well the break didn't exactly end. At least not until recently. Sort of....

Something like this isn't something you can really take a small break from, at least that's what I'm finding. Because you allow something you don't normally allow... and that ends up adding to something else... and before long I'm getting the quarter pounder with cheese in a combo WITH the two pies for a buck... and all the while thinking what's up with this but still eating it all the same.

Part of that break has been getting away from the regular exercise. Doing the 6 mile walk the one day might have been overdoing it? Okay it wasn't because it wasn't that difficult to do and I don't think it took that much out of me, but.... maybe it did some because it was hard to get back into that routine. But then when I look at my log on map my run and saw so much of February filled with decent workouts and March... sooooo little.

My first steps to getting back on track have been getting back into the regular exercise pattern and then more consciously getting back on track food wise. I'm finding that the exercise part is getting to be pretty crucial, or at least a good 3 mile walk can cover a multitude of sins. Or a multitude of bad food choices anyway.

But i can't just rest on that, because the fact remains blood sugar is something I still have to watch out for. Exercise alone won't keep that under control.

So, to those 2 or 3 of you who read this, prayers are always appreciated. I'm getting back on track. Besides, the biggest loser group starts up after Easter, and I definitely want to be able to start that up at least a few pounds lighter than when it finished up. So I have to do something about these added 6.

Does that make it 199 pounds now instead of 193, since I have to lose those 6 a second time?

Sunday, March 8, 2009

A break

I'm not sure if a break is a good thing or not when it comes to this whole weight loss thing. I'm sure a lot of diets are lost to breaks.

But I think that with all the buildup to the weigh in and maybe overdoing it on some of it before then, it just got to a point where it was like, for a couple days I didn't even want to think diet. I mean, I don't think I've fallen off the wagon and i've stuck to the basics for the most part. okay, the ice cream cone doesn't count, right? After all, I did have it with a diet coke.

Okay, so this is totally off the subject. Completely. It's a simple thing, happens every day, happens all the time... but still totally cool. My daughter's cat had her kittens today... and really she's barely a cat, still more or less a kitten herself. But the part that I think is really cool is here you have this kitten who has kittens, and she totally knows what to do. I know, silly little thing. But it's sometimes those simple, silly things that really speak out. I think it's because I work with someone who's convinced about the whole evolution thing, that all of this that is around us was totally random. But to me, it's like... how can something like instinct, knowing what to do to take care of your kittens and all just out of nowhere, how can that be random? Just one of those silly little things that shows the amazing design of all of this.

Anyway, gotta go get supper out of the oven... and break's over now...

Monday, March 2, 2009

3rd Biggest Loser

It's kind of sad that this was the final weigh in in the Biggest Loser group. Honestly, I did not expect to be as disappointed about it being over as I am at the moment. It takes me a long time to warm up to new people, so being among a group of people I did not know at all made me wonder how well I'd like doing this group when it started.

I know I mentioned this a number of times but I'm not sure I said exactly what it was. There was a piece in our bulletin at church about another church that was doing a Biggest Loser fundraiser. The timing of it was pretty good so I decided to join. There was an entry fee, with it designed to raise funds for the parent teacher association for the school that's part of the church. So I went to it knowing absolutely no one and feeling a bit like a fish out of water. But it's a really nice group of people and there are a number of people who made me feel pretty welcome.

I've mentioned this a lot, but the biggest thing to me is the whole sense of accountability that came from doing this group. Having the weigh in each week, even though the numbers were never divulged publically other than to say who did the best each week, really did a lot to help keep me on track. So I've really gotten to enjoy doing this.

Soooooo.... out of 22 people, there was a total weight loss of something like 160 pounds. That's a whole person! Okay, that's less than a half of this particular person, but... by normal standards that's still a whole person. So that in and of itself is really good to see.

Now one thing I will say is I don't like the scale there. I got on the scale at home tonight before leaving at, with clothes I was at 353... I got on a few times to make sure it wasn't lying to me because that just surprised me since that's what I weighed in at this morning. So then I get on the scale there tonight... and it starts out registering 357.3.. then 357.7, 357.5... then bam, 359, and there it stays. Grumble grumble grumble.... So at first I'm thinking hey, that's no fair, it's 6 pounds heavier than my scale at home. But you know, I remember commenting that I thought the original weigh in was high, so... if it was 6 pounds too heavy now it probably was 6 pounds too heavy then. So the reality is, even if i didn't like the scale, it's the same scale as the first weigh in, so it's all still pretty even.

My initial weigh in was 385.7. So 26.7 pounds is the total weight loss. That put me at 6.9% of my total weight. So I found out someone was already leading at 7.2%... okay, so if i take that 357.7 that it was setting at right before jumping up to 359, then I'd be at 7.3%... I SHOULD BE LEADING THIS!!! (So this is where I have to remind myself everyone else had to deal with the same scale...) In the end, another guy does even better tough, he's at 7.9%. So I console myself by saying these two who were ahead of me were so much smaller they didn't have to lose nearly as much weight to do the percentage. That and if i'd have done this for the full 7 weeks instead of starting late, I'D HAVE WON!!!

Okay, so does anyone sense an overly competitive thing going on in me here? My gosh, I'm obsessing over the little fluctuations of a stupid little scale!!!

But the truth be told, what the two people who placed ahead of me did, in my mind, was an even greater achievement than mine. I mean I feel darn good about losing 26.7 pounds in 6 weeks. But you know, when you're 185 pounds overweight, losing 26.7 pounds is really a lot easier than losing 10 or 15 pounds when you're not nearly as overweight. Those last 30 pounds or so can be the very toughest to get rid of, so for them, I really do take my hat off.

At the end was a good bit of news... They asked if anyone would be up to doing this again after Easter. I really, really, really hope they do. This thing has helped me focus that much better on what I'm doing.

And hey, if i'm starting out at 350 instead of 386, 26.7 pounds is an even higher percentage so... maybe I can pull it off then eh? In the meantime I'll be secretly sabotaging any skinny peoples' attempts to join the group. =)


On the morning of the big weigh in... I hit the 40 pound mark. 40 exact. 353. 153 to go.

Okay, so last night I went out and paid some pennance. We had some friends over for desert and I had a small piece of peach cobbler and a very small serving of ice cream... they were definitely small enough that there wasn't anything to be overly concerned with, but I figured with the final weigh in being today for the Biggest Loser group, I'm not taking any chances.

So, off on the longest walk I've taken yet. I did it at what I thought was a pretty brisk pace, although map my run tells me it was just 3.2 mph. Some of that was, i picked a route with some pretty good hill climbs, about 300 feet for the biggest one. I'm sure I was moving fairly slow towards the top of the hill.

In fact I looked up the route for Bolder Boulder that I'd heard there can be some tough hills, and that was looking like a piece of cake compared to this walk. Did I talk about goals yet for the Bolder Boulder? Right now I'm thinking 1:40 would be a good standard to shoot for.

Wow, I just looked at my training log on I did just under 23 miles in walks this past week. Hmmm... think i'm taking this weigh in a bit serously? I sure hope the intensity can continue once this is over... I thought maybe this blog would create the kind of accountability that might help, but so far it's not like i've got this massive audience. I think Mike Weaver's going public with his weight loss efforts was brilliant for that very reason. I don't think i'm getting quite the attention, though i'm definitely thankful for even the 2 regular readers... Maybe you two can keep me accountable enough to keep me going strong.

I just know this... this morning starting out the day there was a definite feel of... anything is possible. That's a pretty cool feeling.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

February comes and goes

Sad news today. And yesterday to a lesser degree. I read that Paul Harvey passed away. I always enjoyed listening to his news reports... there's a major part of Americana gone with him. And then yesterday was the last day teh Rocky Mountain News was printed. I remember doing an internship in Holyoke, Colorado 25 years ago and being so enamored with the size of the comic section in the Rocky. It's kinda sad to see it go.

Okay, so, time for an end of month report. I'm typing this without my contacts so, if i'm making big typos I can't see, so forgive me in advance.

This morning I weighed in at 355.0. My measurements were 59.5 chest, 59.5 waist and 51.5 hips. So if I remember right (I did just go back and read last month's numbers a few minutes ago, so if I'm wrong it's... um... yeah, my contacts are out, that's the ticket! (Better that than admitting to bad short term memory). Anyway, I was 59.5 on the chest, 60 waist, 54 in the hips, so right now it looks like it's the hips that are doing the best. I was at 367.6, so in February I lost 12.6 pounds. And, that puts me at 38 pounds overall, almost 20 percent of my goal.

I'm really happy with how things have been the last couple weeks. I've done well at avoiding any kind of binges or serious falls off the wagon. Granted, on South Beach, y ou have more flexibility in foods than Atkins, they encourage adding more carbs into your diet. This is far less restrictive than when I was on Atkins, for example I have oatmeal most mornings (whole grain, not the instant stuff -- more fiber and lower glycemic index) and some breads, some whole wheat pasta, stuff like that. And with the intensified exersise the past couple weeks, it's all going really, really well.

Walking for the month, I did just over 41 miles. I've been tracking it at, so that's why I'm not reporting it here so much now like i was doing earlier. I think there's a widget I can put on here that shows my progress from that site, so I'll have to look into that. I only did 8 miles on the bike... mostly just very cold weekends. Now, of that 41 miles, 30 of it came in the past two weeks. So I'm very pleased with all of that.

Two more days until the final weigh in at the Biggest Loser group. Now I'm finding I'm a couple pounds heavier by the end of the day than i am at the beginning, and so adding on 3 pounds for clothes, right now I'm figuring I'd weigh in at 360, which is 8 pounds down from the last weigh in. And of course it depends on progress the next 2 days too... i'd love to nail the 10 pound mark for the week! That would feel like a good sense of accomplishment. But even still, right now that all puts me at 26 pounds down if i'm where i think according to their scale... not bad for 6 weeks.

If I can keep at that pace i'm going to be pushing 300 by the Bolder Boulder... yikes! Or even if I look at the overall pace of 38 pounds in 3 months (including Christmas)... another 3 months like that and i'm at 317. Still very very nice.... this is getting really encouraging, seeing signs of being a bit thinner, feeling a LOT thinner...

Here's to a great March!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Up-Scale.... or is that down-scale?

So just out of curiosity, I got on my wife's scale. Now when I started this whole thing, I had gone out to get a new scale because I was too heavy for hers -- 350 pound limit. In fact the new scale I got wouldn't work to begin, and it had a 380 pound capacity. Sooooooo.... it weighed me in at 356.4. It works!!!! I can use that scale. Which is good because mine took enough of a beating that it's getting kinda incoherent. Well, maybe coherent but way off at times. I mean I'd love to believe it when it weighs in at 335. It was constantly hitting the 340's, so the past week or so it's been really hard to know where I fit in... and so to have this one work and to work so nicely (and other weighins have been rather consistent) is a pretty awesome feeling.

So that puts me in at more than 36 pounds lost!!! Woohoooo.

My brother, who's been getting back into running the past couple years, is going to do the Bolder Boulder on Memorial Day. It's a 10K run, and he's been trying to talk me into doing it. My first reaction was, no way, i'm not getting into running. I'm not ready for that. I think once I get closer to 300 maybe, but I don't want to risk my knee right now. But... as I look through the site they have a lot of different groups or waves, and some of the last waves are set aside for walkers who plan to take 2 hours or more... now I know I can do that, in fact I'm sure I could make it in less than 1:45. I just did a 4 mile walk tonight in 68 minutes, so add half to that. The nice thing is I felt I could easily keep going, so this is a good thing.

All things considered, I could have a 10 pound week... that would make for a nice final weigh in at the Biggest Loser group. I'm really kinda disappointed though that it's ending. There's a nice group of people, but maybe the biggest thing to it is the accountability, there's a group there to weigh in around, and even though the weigh ins aren't public, it's like it's a real guage to how I'm doing. The accountability of a group like that is huge.

Guess that's something to keep in mind, especially if and when I plateau, is to find a group that continues to meet.

So, 36 down, shooting for 40 soon and very soon....

Monday, February 23, 2009

An Awesome Weekend

Okay, so it's Monday night, so I'll get down to details here right away before getting into the weekend. At weigh in I lost 1.7 pounds for the week. I really had no idea what to expect, the scale at home is wonky and then today I had a service call for work that went well into the day, so lunch was rather late, and by that time I was starved. Now I think i did pretty good, it was a grilled chicken salad at Carl Jr's, but with a mongo diet coke. As late as that was, and not really any time to ummm.... process it all? I didn't know how I'd do, so I was pretty pleased.

So there's one week to go, and I know I'm in the running. In fact I'm finding myself pretty ready to go all out this next week. Nothing stupid I don't think, just good sensible eating and good sensible exercise. Maybe the one thing I think I'll do differently though is, I'm kicking diet soda at least for the week. I'm hooked on the stuff, big time, but I think for the next week I'm going to make a big effort to go heavy on the water drinking, which I know I should do anyway, and cut out the other stuff. Okay, maybe a coffee in the morning or a glass of milk, but none of the other stuff.

I'm kinda guessing my weight to be 363 right now, which would be right at 30. My hope is that by next Monday night I can use my wife's scale, which goes to 350. Not that I expect to lose 13 by then, but I'm thinking it will actually go up to 355, and if i can get that to register, I'd be just thrilled with that.

Okay, so... the weekend. It got off to an pretty incredible start. Friday night our church was having a men's retreat down by Colorado Springs, it was a pretty nice little retreat center. Beautiful country! And there was a lot of hurrying to get out the door, but as I got home before taking right off again, there was a letter from my son Josh, the one in Basic Training.

Fortunately someone else was driving, so that gave me the chance to read... which I'm really glad because it would have been hard to drive. He started out saying he knew I had ears and eyes and could tell there were areas he'd fallen away in his faith, but... to make a long letter short, he rediscovered his faith. He talked about what it meant when I said I was proud of him, and he wants to make me proud even more.

The thing is... there's nothing else he has to do to do that. Just him being the man he is makes me proud. I hope and pray I do a good job communicating that. He needs to know.

Then the retreat was pretty good as well. It was just good to get away a bit, connect with other men from the church, and we had some pretty good messages. Jim Weidman, formerly known as the Family Night guy with Focus On The Family, spoke. I thought it was pretty cool to get a guy who was already somewhat known to speak to a small group of 40 guys. I thought he was really good, and really stirred up a lot of thoughts about how to grow as a man, a husband, and a father.... The fellowship was great, and it's amazing how good a group of 40 guys can sound singing praises together. Okay, we were also blessed by having a great worship leader...

I'm quite happy right now with the church family I'm a part of. I never thought I'd say that about a church that wasn't from my 'non' denomination. But there's a good group of believers, some great leadership, and just this body of people that have created a good church home.

God does great things...

Monday, February 16, 2009

Congratulations to Mike Weaver

I wrote earlier about Mike Weaver from Big Daddy Weave. He's lost 23 pounds since starting the beginning of the year. Way to go Mike!


It's been 4 weeks now (this is the 5th meeting for me) for the Biggest Loser fundraiser thingie. I lost 6.7 this past week, which feels pretty good. Okay, I know that if I weighed like from Wednesday to Wednesday, it would have been maybe more like 3 or 4, and there would have been more last week. But... that's 17 pounds since the start. A bit less than 4.4 percent of my total weight, which is what they're basing the winner on. There are 6 of us at 4% or more, so I'm in the running baby!!!

Now, I started a week late, so I have to lose in 6 weeks what everyone else has 7 to do, but that's encouraging to be right on track with everyone else being a week behind. Now there are a couple of people there who... well.... let's just say I think I have to lose nearly 3 times as many points to keep up since it's on percentage. They might be the ones that will be the bigger challenge. But, when I think about it, it's not really an unfair thing, because frankly, if you're only 10% overweight it's a lot harder to lose 5% of your weight than if you're 50%. So realistically, it does say a lot about how well they are doing. And I have to say, there's one or two of those that, i'm not totally sure they HAVE 10 pounds more to lose... even 5 will be a challenge.

So the way I figure it, I need to be at 7% or better to win this thing... that means probably 10 more pounds in 2 weeks. It can be a challenge... but you know, I sure wouldn't mind being at 355 by the end of the month now, would I?

Tonight was kind of a tough one to sit through though because I'm developing some strong opinions about some stuff as to dieting and nutrition. Tonight they talked about some recipes and all these recipes that were being pressed by these books as being healthy and weight loss friendly.... looked downright deadly!!! And I have to realize some diets work well for some people and others maybe better for others. So much of the group is going by weight watchers and other such diets that follow the line that you keep calories down and especially keep fat down. But then, healthy foods are considered those foods with a lot of starches and stuff that I'm becoming more and more convinced are a lot of the reason for the high rates of obesity we're looking at these days.

I'm finding more and more evidence as I read about how our bodies process different elements of our foods, that we NEED the fats that so many of the diets are saying are the first things to go. The mantra is that fat has more calories per gram than other things like carbs. But what that doesn't take into account is that fats are the last things processed by the body, that fats are typically spread through the body more to be utilized by muscles well before they are broken down, that fats play a critical role in telling the body we've had enough (and thus reducing the cravings)... while rices and pastas are being pushed as being so healthy and yet the way the body processes them, for those of us that are severely obese and especially those of us more susceptible to blood sugar issues, that's one of the worst things you can do for yourself.

It's like I ranted and raved about some in the past, it's kind of hard to stand up and say ummm, excuse me, i have no degree in all this but... you're wrong about all this.

The thing is, I know it's not all wrong. I think typically the more severely overweight a person is, the more the low fat low calorie diet is going to hurt them, and particularly it will be harder to follow the diet. For someone who has maybe 15 pounds to lose, maybe a more typical diet is more appropriate?

I know I've come a ways since I was convinced low carb was the only way to go. I'm not in the camp that all carbs are bad. But I do believe very strongly that for someone like myself, very simple carbs such as processed breads, sugars, and high starch foods do more harm than good. But at the same time, something rich in a lot of vegetables, fruits, and moderate portions of meats and cheeses and such is a stronger way to go.

Maybe I've just read too much propoganda. But I've just found it to be true for myself that the more that I'll eat of breads, pastas, sugars, the more likely I am to crave more of it. And since I've been letting off those things, I've been very well satisfied, felt like I managed to eat a very well balanced diet, and it hasn't been really difficult at all. It's not that hard passing on stuff, and I've had a lot of opportunities to have that tested.

Maybe the simplest way to go without getting all complicated is Dr. Gott's diet: No flour, no sugar. Pretty simple.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Checking In

It's been almost 2 weeks since I posted. The typical death knell of any blog I suppose. Part of it is being busy, part of it finding the mapping and logging tools on But I think it's been going good.

Okay, so, progress.... This morning I weighed in at 365.8. And it's been a good weekend, good week actually. I was down a half pound at the biggest loser weigh in, part of that being Sunday last week wasn't great. It wasn't bad, I didn't go overboard or anything. We had some lasagna for lunch, but with whole grain noodles, but it might have been a bit much still. Then a soft shell taco, whole grain again, but i think the two together were enough extra, that it probably undid some progress, especially being the day before weighin.

On the exercise front, I didn't really get out any this past week. I can probably make excuses about weather and being busy, but I just didn't get out. But I think I did well enough on the diet that it hasn't really hurt. I'm expecting to be down by at least 5 for tomorrow's weigh in. Maybe closer to the 8 or 9. Everyone's kinda bogged down lately in the group, sounds like it's a pretty normal thing for progress to slow way down at this point. So I feel pretty good about having good progress right now. If I don't make some huge mistake tomorrow.

And... Valentine's Day can be amazingly sweet when you have someone special....

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Breaking Even

Well, I wondered about how I'd do at the Superbowl, and another Biggest Loser group meeting comes and goes.... sooooo????

Okay, so, Superbowl first. What a game!!! (no, that's not me being evasive, I really meant it). Okay, I'm not sure I'd rank it as one of the best SuperBowls ever. As I heard people talk about the game ESPN called the 'greatest game ever,' the 1959 championship game, it was said that enough of the game itself was rather sloppy and not so well played, but the finish and drama still were pretty big. I think that's how I felt about this game... both teams just made some dumb mistakes along the way and it wasn't the best played of all games, but the finish still made it pretty great. I'd have loved to have seen Arizona come back, just for Kurt Warner.

All I can say is, the clean shaven look doesn't work for Kurt.

Anyway, the important stuff.... Superbowl food! Actually, I think I did pretty well. Buffalo wings aren't too taboo, probably the worst I did was some beanie weenies, just cuz there's likely a bit of sugar in the sauce. I did really well staying away from the brownies and breads and chips that for me can be pretty lethal. All in all I felt I did pretty good, not too terrible in volume though maybe not the best either. But it definitely didn't feel like I sabotaged myself.

I do wonder how many diets go to die at the superbowl. You know, you get a lot of new years resolution folks who start off good for the first few weeks, and then it all falls apart then. Sometimes there's just something about once you crack, it's so easy to crack again and soon. I know that's been the case for me in the past when I've been on again off again about things, I'd be great a few days and then totally blow it for one day, and it's like once that resolve cracks even for a short bit, it's so hard to find it again. But I felt good, and felt on track still when it was all said and done Sunday.

Last night was weigh in again, and... I'm up 2 tenths. Which probably didn't surprise me too much. I do believe I made real progress the past week, but it's like the timing of it all just didn't work out as well for having a good loss at the weigh in. But it wasn't discouraging.

I did manage to do a 2 mile walk right after work. it was a good, very brisk walk, I managed to do a 16 minute pace per mile through 1 3/4 miles, and then slowed it down the last quarter. When I was younger, a 4 mph pace was pretty easy for me, being a bit long legged. I'm walking as fast as I can without breaking into a jog now, and making a full mile in right at 16 minutes. I hope to get that to 15 soon. Part of the slower pace at the very end was right at the 3/4 mark on the second mile I did break into a brief jog, about 100 paces. I do think that's where I'm seeing some real progress as a result of the more regular exercise is that I am finding myself able to jog a little. In the past if i had to jog even a few steps it was like a major effort to do so. My right knee seems to be weaker than my other and probably is feeling the effects more of the weight, and it would be a real forced hobble. Yesterday I could go fairly steady. That doesn't mean I'm going to start getting into running right now. I have a long way to go weight wise before even thinking about that much would be wise, if for no other reason than that knee. Even though I think all the walking and biking has strengthened it quite a bit compared to even a month ago, the worst thing i could do right now is tweak the knee and have that interfere with the exercise bit.

Sales is sucking for me lately at work... I may be getting into doing some cold calling now and that could be a good way to work in a lot more walking without taking time away from family and stuff. We'll see how that goes.....