Archive for November, 2013

We Wish You A Merry Christmas
November 26, 2013

I’ve been thinking about how excited I am for Christmas. I love everything about Christmas. Even the weather.

You know, I think the best thing living in western Pennsylvania is from Sept. 1 through Jan. 1.  But that’s just me. I love the weather. Winding down of summer (I don’t like HOT, don’t do well with hot and try to avoid hot), cooling off at night, then the cooling off of days.

Temperatures in the 70’s then 60’s then 50’s, putting on flannel shirts, sweat pants and sweat shirts. I love sitting by the fire in the evening, s’mores, hotdogs, hot chocolate. Then the colors.

This year, the main colors of the leaves seemed to be yellow and orange. Absolutely beautiful. Then the sun hitting them, like the burning bush, unbelievable color. Weeds turned yellow and blue and purple, the smell of the leaves, the taste of apple cider, the warmth of hot chocolate. Then on to November.

The weather can be nasty, like it is now. But it’s the anticipation of Thanksgiving, reflection of all that God has provided and what we are thankful for. Friends, shelter, food, and more food. The family all together this year, which hasn’t happened for a few years, so when it happens, it’s thankfulness for the blessing. Oh, and the food. The healthy eating takes a holiday. Thank you God for the food.

Then thoughts turn to Christmas.  I love Christmas. I become a little boy. “A Muppet Christmas Carol”, “Elf”, “It’s A Wonderful Life”, “Miracle on 34th Street”, “Polar Express”, and although inappropriate at times but it still cracks me up, “National Lampoons Christmas Vacation”.

Snow, walking hand in hand with the one you love with Christmas music playing while the snow is falling. (This happened while shopping at the Outlets in Grove City, snow falling, Christmas music playing, walking hand in hand with Bonnie. I thought we were in a movie.)

People complain that Christmas is “commercialized”, it’s “overdone”, it’s “too soon”. But don’t you wonder why the season is rushed?

This year, I particularly was anxious for Christmas to come because I’d been stressed. I began listening to Christmas music the first week of November. I asked myself, “What is the hurry?”

I couldn’t wait for the time when people were nice. They cared about each other. And I cared too. Peace on earth and good will to men. The things that normally bother you no longer bother you, well, at least as much. The neighbor that’s annoying is the one you clean off his windshield.

You help people in need. You give. You love. You express it more. The focus is more on Jesus.

I think Christmas is rushed each year because we all want to feel like this. Loving, caring, actually wanting to “get out of ourselves” and invest in other people. Christmas gives us a chance to do that.

Like the Chipmunks sang, “Christmas, Christmas time is near. Time for joy and time for cheer. We’ve been good but we can’t last. Hurry Christmas, hurry fast”.

In two days its Thanksgiving. Let me be the first to wish you a very Merry Christmas. Peace on earth and goodwill to men.

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Emotions
November 17, 2013

So as I do this weight loss journey, which apparently has become more of a “rest stop” as the weight remains the same (260-261.8) like forever, I’ve focused on why I eat.
I got the exercise pretty good. I’m focusing on why I eat.
I am so affected by emotions. Boredom, avoidance, angry, are all good reasons to eat. If I want to avoid a chore, I eat. If I am bored, which is rare, I eat. If I’m angry, I eat. (But I feel like the Hulk in “The Avengers” movie. They said they needed him to get angry. He says, “Oh, I’m always angry”. I must be too, because I eat a lot.
Growing up in an Italian home, it was quite common to eat out of guilt. “Oh, don’t you like my cooking?” “Only one piece of cake? I made it because I know you like it”. You get the picture.
I spent a lot of my childhood trying to please my dad. I was the youngest of five and he introduced me as his “generation gap”. Term of endearment I’m sure.
Everything I tried to please him didn’t work. Football? He says, “You’ll quit”, and I did because I didn’t want to play, but I figured he’d be happy.
He rarely came to my sporting events, never complimented me on good things I did, even when I lost weight earlier in life he said, “It’s probably all water”. Thank you Mr. Encouragement.
Everyone liked my dad. He was funny, and was a great harmonica player. But I could never please him, so I quit trying. It was very freeing, as I was just being me. A hippie, which I’m not sure now if it was just to tick him off that I grew my hair so long.
I think he tried hard with my siblings, but just got tired with me. I was tired of him also. He was a hard worker, working in the steel mill for over 35 years, always kept a garden, and was told he worked 3 jobs when I was a baby.
I think that’s why I was fat growing up. Food satisfied my emptiness inside. The longing for a relationship with my dad. A good excuse to eat. This is no lie, I would eat 8 (yes, eight) pieces of toast for breakfast at 10 a.m. and eat lunch at noon. Why? Because it was noon. You eat lunch at noon.
When I came to Christ at age 28, that void of needing a father was filled by God. It didn’t matter that my dad would mock me about my religion……or weight……or clothing…..or, well, you get it. It was still painful but it didn’t matter. I focused on Psalm 139, where God tells me “I’m fearfully and wonderfully made”. I still believe I am because He says so.
I see where I get some bitterness from and am still an emotional eater. But I am able to recognize my emotions, and sometimes I’m successful in abstaining, other times, bring on the buffet! But it’s a journey.
My dad passed away 9 years ago. I officiated his funeral. My family fought over who got the flowers. And you know what? I loved him.
But I couldn’t cry at his funeral. I just couldn’t. I just left and ate a lot of pasta.

Hot Legs
November 11, 2013

Those of you that know me (and those of you that know me from the blogs) find out I’m a pretty transparent kind of guy. A “what you see is what you get” kind of fella.

Well, I’m mostly an idiot, trying to preach, trying to lose weight, trying to be a good pastor/father/husband/grandfather, etc. I tell my congregation that I expose myself more than a stripper at a club. So let’s hear how stupid I am.

Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, has been telling me to use the elliptical instead of the treadmill because it’s a better workout and you burn more calories in the same amount of time. I’ve always had a problem with the elliptical, and here’s why.

I find it very painful. It burns the upper part of my legs, my muscles ache, it’s tiring, and I don’t enjoy it. I understand it is better for my knees, but I just don’t like the pain I go through.

So two days ago, Luke, my eldest son, and I go to Planet Fitness. I see him going to town on the elliptical and think, “What the heck, I’ll give it another shot”. I figured I’d go twenty minutes.

After one minute my legs were burning pretty badly, upper thigh area, and said, “Well, if you go fifteen, that’s not bad”. At the two minute mark, my upper legs were burning badly. I said, “I’ll go ten, but I don’t know how Bonnie, my wife, or any human being can go that long on the elliptical.”

So I’m going as fast as I can, and at three minutes, I say, “I’m going to do 5 minutes. I can’t take the burning”. I begin the self degrading, “sissy, girlie girl, wimp, little boy”, and I look over and Luke is going at it like it’s his job. I hated him for a moment.

I get a text message on my phone while I’m at the 3:45 mark, and tell myself, “Screw this, I’m quitting at 4 minutes”. I actually prayed, “God, help me get to 4 minutes”.

So I slowly climb down from the elliptical, and read the text message. It’s from Luke, 6 or 7 machines down from me. The text reads, and I quote, “You can move forward on it too it may be easier :)”

I’m doing it backwards.

That’s great if I’m a defensive back in the NFL, but he kindly pointed out to me that it would go a lot easier if I did the machine right. Now, realize, I’m too old to be embarrassed by the stupid things I do. Maybe not too old, just that there’s so many of them that I’m getting used to them.

So I go 20 minutes FORWARD on the elliptical. I burn 30 less calories than if I did 30 minutes on the treadmill. So, needless to say, I am excited to get back on the elliptical……..as soon as my legs heal.

Never Let Go
November 2, 2013

I’m getting this revelation that God, the Creator of all things, is crazy about me. Really, He is. He’s crazy about you too, but I’m talking me here as it’s my blog.

There is a song called “Never Let Go” by David Crowder, and it’s about God never letting go of us. I realize that as I drift away at times following useless things, that I am never let go by God. He doesn’t let me drift too far. He keeps calling me back. What a peace that gives me. He has me and will never let go.

I’ve learned to turn this journey into that also. I may go days, weeks, even a month without doing my best in exercise and watching what I eat, but I will always be back. I’ll never let go of trying to be healthy.

I don’t know if you go through down periods of either:

a) Being lazy

b) Being too tired

c) Not caring

d) All of the above

But then we come back, don’t we? We need to. We know what to do, so we do it. Do we have to do it? YES, YES, YES! We have to because it’s what we’re called to do. Just like my pursuit of Christ, I HAVE to do it because I need it. It’s what I’m called to do. It’s best for me. We HAVE to eat right and exercise most of the time because we need it. It’s best for us.

Sometimes I’m just a baby. I want things how I want them. My mother-in-law always used to say, “I want what I want when I want it”. And that’s the truth. It’s truth in regards to dieting and it’s true in my walk with Christ. Realizing that I can’t always get what I want is a good thing. It’ll save my life.

Life isn’t always lollipops and rainbows. But it’s good. Because we aim for perfection. Or at least better. We will do this thing called life. And we will do it healthy. Never let go of your dreams. Never let go of your goals, weight wise or in any area of life. God never let’s go. If God is for us, who can be against us?

Weight: 260.2