Day 221 – Staying Connected

2013.09.24 TuesdayHere is the truth:  Staying connected to friends is critical to the success of my life.  I’m not a rich man, compared to many, but I have friends and they a the gold in my heart.

While I can meet with many of my favorite people face-to-face, I connect with some via video or phone.  Dave in North Judson, Dan in Denver, and Mac, Rick and Dave here locally…each one challenges me and helps me grow.

Who are you talking to?  Who are the people in your life that move you to greatness?  Perhaps you should take a moment, pick up the phone and reconnect.  It can change your life.

Day 111 – Just Can’t Keep Up

Beautiful flowers keep blooming through all sorts of weather.
Beautiful flowers keep blooming through all sorts of weather.

Today was a day in which all the hard work, all the extra effort and all the emotion and stress of the past few weeks finally caught up with me.  I crashed.

I went to work at the normal time and did the normal work but before it was one o’clock, I could barely keep my eyes open.  I drank extra water.  I stretched my legs.  I spoke with colleagues.  Nothing helped.  Before I fell asleep at my desk, I decided to pack my things and head for the door.

Once home, I helped my daughter change the dead battery in her car and went to my neighbor’s home to check on things while they are away on vacation.  I sat on their back porch…and fell asleep.  My wife’s phone call an hour later is what woke me from my slumber.

It was then that I realized that I need a day, a week, a month.  I need a break.

When the patient called me at 10:00 pm last night to ask about their CPAP machine and how they need to change the settings, I determined that tomorrow would be my day to catch up.  Tomorrow would be my day to take some time and relax.  But then I remembered that I have a sleep study tomorrow night and I won’t get home again until 9:30 or 10:00 pm.

I guess my day will have to wait.

Day 60 – Monday, Monday, Monday

2013.04.22Some days are very productive.

This wasn’t one of those days.  But that doesn’t mean the day was bad.  It just wasn’t perfect.  In fact, when I think about it, the day was better than good.  The day was GREAT!

It started slow with our monthly meeting with our financial adviser who helped us learn about all the money we don’t have.  Next, I went to my first home visit where the patient decided he didn’t want a visit after all.  I suspected my day might be one of THOSE Mondays.

Thankfully, the day got better.  I had a great lunch with my friends/co-workers, got some good file work done and completed another home visit later in the evening.

At 7:30 I was on my way north and enjoying the fantastic weather.

Now I’m ready for bed.  But first, being true to my Journey, I willl drink three glasses of water, do 10 sit ups, 10 push ups and get in a good 15 minutes of meditation before I hit the hay.  That’s a good way to end a great day!

Day 56 – A Lost Soul

2013.04.18The hospital where I work is making some changes to the halls.  There is a new coat of paint and fresh colors in every direction.  They are also updating many of the signs.  As such, new directional signs and safety warnings are posted about.

But the signs aren’t all complete.  For example, this picture to the left.

Despite this sign’s intent, I am unaware of where I am and I have no idea where I’m going.  I do not feel reassured about my odds of surviving an emergency.

In the first 56 days of my Journey to 50, I’ve felt like this from time to time.  I’ve wanted to know where I am and where I’m going.  I need to know how to navigate my way out of the fat and fatigue that endangers my life.  I want to move from the emergency and into safe territory.

You can’t get to a better place if you don’t truly know from where you are starting.  And so, today I will re-evaluate my “starting place”.  I’m not going to look back to February because things have changed since then.  The landscape is different.  The Journey has taken me to a different place.  Instead, I’ll look at where I am today and where I need to go to be in the best mental, physical and spiritual place I can be.

Day 53 – Tax Day

2013.04.15Despite the fact that today is Tax Day, I’ve had a very good day.

At 4:30 this morning, I drove my wife to the airport for her business trip.

I was at work by 6:30 and had a very productive day.

I left the office by 3:00 and had very little traffic.

Once home, I boned the chicken I roasted last night and made a pork roast for tomorrow.

A glass of red wine with dinner and a Corona on the back porch as I watched the setting sun were a perfect way to end a perfect day.

Then my daughter came home and we finished her taxes with minutes to spare….The only tense part of my day.

Not too bad for 19 hours of fun.

Day 49 – Enjoying the Sky

2013.04.11I spend much of my life looking to the sky.  There is nothing that means more to me than a beautiful sunrise or sunset.  Cloud formations bring me to a stop.  Constellations get my attention.  Formations of geese, ducks or crane give me pause.

I love looking up.

But this can often result in awkward moments.  Like when I fall over a crack in the sidewalk because my eyes were gazing to the sky, instead of watching the journey of my feet.

That’s really what this Journey to 50 is about, right?  I can’t dream that my body will have a different shape.  I have to pay attention to each step along the way.  I have to concentrate on the path before me, rather than liking the idea and allowing my feet to wander where the prettiest sky might be.

While I’ve stumbled a bit…I still have maintained my weight.  Over the past few months of 2012, my size slowly increased.  A pound was added here, an inch there.  But for the past 6 weeks, I’ve lost and maintained my weight!  I am moving more and eating less and pretty soon, my Journey will be headed in the right direction!

Day 45 – Starting….NOW!

2013.04.07Okay, I’ll be honest.  My Journey to 50 has fallen off the track just a bit.  I’m eight weeks into this process of changing my life and I’m just as fat as I was 45 days ago.  In fact, I’m actually one pound heavier.  Weighing in after vacation, I’m now at 211 pounds.

Oh, sure, I’ve grown as a person.  I’ve learned more about art and positivity.  I’ve read books and taken nature walks.  I’ve experienced life and all its many wonderful colors and flavors.

But vacation ended yesterday.  TODAY it is back to the real world.  NOW…and I mean NOW!  everything changes.  NOW I start moving.  NOW I start exercising.  NOW I start eating like a rabbit six days a week and enjoying life’s bounty on the seventh.  NOW I’m on my complete journey.  Mind, Spirit, Soul AND Body.  I’m going to move until I sweat.  I’m going to do Yoga, Power 90 and Kickboxing (well, maybe not all three at the same time).  NOW is the time to start.


Day 43 – Quite Woods Walking

Turtles line up in the sun, trying to warm themselves in the picture-perfect day.
Turtles line up in the sun, trying to warm themselves in the picture-perfect day.

I was left to myself on my last full day in Houston.  The boys slept in late and then walked to Waffle House to eat their lunch.  When they returned, they played some games in the hotel lobby and then I dropped them off to spend the rest of the day with their friends.

I decided it was my last chance to enjoy the beauty of Texas and so I found Memorial Park.

Several years of severe drought has devastated what must have been a magnificent park.  The forest floor is littered with fallen trees, now dead and cut into sections.  Towering pines stand withering and bare and will join their brothers on the forest floor in months to come.  It was shocking to see the impact of the weather dry conditions over time.

The bright spot in the journey was the one butterfly that allowed me to capture it’s beauty.  I’ve seen many butterflies around the Houston area, both in and out of the parks I’ve visited.  This blaze of color was the first to sit still long enough to get it’s image captured for posterity.

I’ve been reading the book, Positivity during my vacation.  It’s primary premise is that a person who flourishes will have a positive to negative ratio of 3:1 or greater.  On a day when I was challenged by loneliness, home-sickness, frustration at the Houston traffic, and sadness concerning the terrible destroyed forest, the butterfly reminded me to stop looking at the forest but to examine the trees.  Or in this case, the bugs on the trees.

It turned out to be a very good day!

Day 37 – My Traveling Buddies

2013.03.30Elliott and Ben will be with me for the next eight days as we travel to Texas and back.

We’re going to see things.  We’re going to do things.  We’re going to make the most of every moment; even if that means taking a nap in the middle of the day.

Spring break.  Senior year.  Finding friends.  Having fun.  Making the most of the journey.  Talking about girls, computers, video games.

I imagine I’ll cherish these moments with my youngest son and I hope he cherishes them, too.

A once in a lifetime trip.

Day 32 – Will It Ever End?

One last Winter Blast!
One last Winter Blast!

It is hard to imagine that we must endure another round of winter weather but it is true.  The snow blew in yesterday afternoon and it seems that winter will never loosen its grip.  I know in my head that spring is coming but my ice-cold fingers don’t believe it.

I am excited to think that I will soon be able to walk sidewalks that are ice-free.  I will soon have my spade and rake out preparing the earth for our waiting seeds.  I will soon experience the warm sun on my pale skin.

It isn’t happening today, but soon…very soon.

Day 30 – Another Day, Another Shoot

2013.03.23This was a fun day.  Long, but fun.

Up early (3:00 am), I delivered my son to the high school for his show choir performance.  He had to be on the bus, ready to travel at 4:00 am.

After a quick drive there and back, I took a short nap and ran my lines for later in the day.

My day was filled with another film shoot on location in Greenfield.  This was my fourth film in the last year and the second movie in which I’m the lead character.  I did a great job on a couple scenes but struggled with a few.  I’m excited to see the final product.

In my life-time, I’ve been an artist, a musician, a farmer, a fast-food worker, a paralegal and a researcher.  This newest venture doesn’t pay my electric bill but it does expand my creative opportunities.

I have 11 months remaining in my Journey to 50 and have been successful in my first 30 days in several ways.  I’ve found new ways of expression, new focus and increased joy in the presence of my family and friends.  It’s been a good year so far and I’m excited about what tomorrow brings!

Day 29 – Smart People

2013.03.22I’ve had a great privilege of working with really smart people.  It makes going to work every day a joy.

Today was a great opportunity to set around the table with a dozen brilliant scientists, statisticians, and researchers.  We discussed a new research study, the details of the science, and the action that will need to take place to make it a reality.

The meeting only lasted 55 minutes but it set a fantastic tone for the next two-and-a-half years of research.

I’ve never been known as a bright man.  It’s true.

Funny? Yes.  Sincere?  Usually.  Loving and honest?  Always.  A man of science?  Never.  But surrounded by these men and women of studies and science, these amazing people of knowledge and training, gives me a sense of pride.

The journey through this next year will require diet changes, increased activity, renewed spirit and energy and an effort to surround myself with brilliant people.  Perhaps a little of their smartness will rub off on me.

Hey, a guy can dream, can’t he?

Day 26 – Oh, To Be Young Again

2013.03.19My son and his singing group were honored tonight by the school board.  They received a gold at the state choral ensemble competition and they earned the praise.  It really was quite an accomplishment, especially since this was their first year as a group.

My son’s outfit was the perfect choice for the award.  It was also appropriate for the Madrigal singing group, of which he is a part.  He loved the outfit and even said that he was sad to have to turn it in.  You could tell, it fit his youthful mindset and his inner personality.

But watching him strut around in the velour robe and high-top boots reminded me of something I’ve forgotten over the years:  Sometimes it’s good to swagger.

After all, we were born to be Kings and Queens.

But somewhere along the way, life becomes burdensome, our memories become hazy, and our royal demeanor diminishes.

Over the decades we allow mortgages, car loans, countless hours of work, home repairs, and medical bills to distract us from our true calling.  We carry responsibilities that are too heavy and mundane and in the process, our shoulders sag under the weight.

But in truth, we were made to live larger.  We were designed to rule our lives, rather than allowing our lives to rule us.

Unfortunately, we’ve forgotten to wear the cape.  We’ve failed to lace up the gauntlets.  We no longer think to tighten the belt another notch and move forward with purpose.  We’ve forgotten that we are royalty; rulers of our own land and throne.  We have abdicated our position to the cares of this world and the search for riches and treasure.  We have failed to pursue the grand adventure that awaits us all.  We’ve forgotten that we must throw off the shackles that bind us and rush forth as one with authority and power.

After watching my son tonight, I desired nothing more than to lay aside my burdens and walk with pride and purpose, as is my royal privilege.  And, by Jove, I intend to do so!

Now, where did I put my crown and sword?

Day 25 – Image Problems

2013.03.18My dog seems to have a problem with her image.  She’s been spending a little more time with her head in a corner.

Perhaps it has something to do with her recent weight gain or her non-stop licking.  Either way, I feel for her.

There are days when I’m not too proud of myself and wish I could join her in the 90 degree space.

For instance, I started my day with a healthy breakfast of Schwan’s chicken pot pie.  In the interest of full disclosure, I should report that I had two pot pies.

I know…I know…corner of shame.

But one just isn’t big enough and two are just right.  Who would have guessed that they totaled to 1300 calories!?

But the rest of the day I was pretty good and even though I’m 25 days into my year, this was only the second time that I was over my calorie target.  So it might be better to leave the dog in the corner by herself and go for a walk, with my head held high!


Day 23 – Staying Connected

2013.03.16Our friendship is long-standing.  In fact, my friendship with Dave is one of the longest-standing friendships of my life.

We first met in Seminary (circa 1988) and have been tried and true friends ever since.

Distance has always been a barrier.  Dave’s lived in norther Indiana for the past decade.  We’ve lived in the Indy area longer than that.  To get together, we have to commit a significant amount of time if we ever want to get together.  At one point we tried meeting half way.  Unfortunately, it still required half a day just to meet for breakfast.

But we’ve found that technology provides the answer.  For the past 6 weeks, we’ve connected on Saturday mornings, for an hour or more, via Google Hang Out.  In those 60-90 minute sessions we cover everything from the state of the church, the state of the family, computer technology and life dreams.

These weekly video chats are powerful.  They lift my spirit.  They support my immune system.  They encourage my soul.  They energize me for the day.  In a year in which I hope to grow as a person, reach beyond my day-to-day mundane life, become better…These discussions help in in that journey.  These connection points are just the boost I need to face another day, take another step and stay on the path that leads to my end goal.

These 365 days are not just about my intake of food and my output of energy.  They are about my spirit, my heart, my true self.

I’m so thankful that Dave helps me along that exposition.

Day 18 – Better…Getting Better

2013.03.11Today was a pretty good day.  I woke up sick and decided to stay home from work.  My voice is barely back, my head hurts and I’m still coughing but staying home helped.

My kids were all home for dinner and it was a great meal and every ate well.

We had a lot of fun playing Perudo and everyone had a good night.

The day started rough but ended strong.  I stayed under my target calorie count by nearly 400 calories.  Each day takes me closer to my goal.

Now if I can just go one day without blowing my nose, I’d be happy.