Archive for December, 2013

Auld Lang Syne
December 28, 2013

Well, with no exercise since 12/11/13 and this being the last Saturday of the year, I figured it’s time to step on the scale. Uncontrolled eating, no exercise, kind of avoided the scale like Miley avoids clothes. So I get on it this morning and to my surprise, it’s 259.2.  I am in such good position to hit 250 by Feb. first.

Not sure how it happened, but apparently, I can maintain my weight. Now if I can do that while being about 60 pounds lighter, then we have a bingo.

It’s been quite a year. I quit my job at the psych hospital, I got my Haniah as my first grandchild, Luke and Amanda have moved home, Ben graduated, Jo Jo and Josh have jobs they love, it’s a good year.

But it isn’t all good. I reflect on how the year was for me. I, all of a sudden, am dealing with my deceased dad and his relationship with me. I’ve found I can be very judgmental in spiritual things, not particularly an encourager, not exactly always loving, and sometimes I’ve been told I’m mean.

I have taken this all to the Lord and am determined, with His help to change all of that. I want to love on people who aren’t lovable. I want to encourage people who need encouraged. I want to help financially those in financial need. I want to be like Christ.

This is a lot of work, but I know I can change. I know I can be more like Him and less like me. I know I can hit my weight goal. I know I can’t quit on any of these things.

I am thankful for another year. I read the obituaries and many people younger than me have gone face to face with God. How awesome/scary is that? I look forward to this year. I’ll be 59 next year at this time. Crazy. And I’ll have been married 29 years. Large numbers, huge numbers. But I am looking forward to making them even larger, unless the Lord sees otherwise. Who knows? Maybe a grandpa again?

So my friends, Happy New year. I hope you’re Christmas was blessed. I hope and pray your 2014 is the best year ever. I am determined, no, I am sure I will be healthier at 60 than I was at 50.

Can’t wait.


Looking At The Rain
December 21, 2013

With Christmas and New Years Day approaching, it’s very easy to get distracted from your weight loss goal. My goodness, I mean cookies, different dishes, all sorts of things that make you forget that you have a goal.

The Christmas season is the best time of the year, but it could bring on a flood of emotions, some good, some bad. Memories of childhood, lost friends and relatives, a “simpler” time.  And we can use this as an excuse to delve into some “comfort foods”.

There’s a song by Gordon Lightfoot, old but new because I never heard it, called “Looking At The Rain”, a reminiscing song about times past. And it got me to thinking about how we reminisce about things that make us happy and sad. This time of year I think of when I was a young boy and the family would all be together and we’d have get togethers. My mom and dad were still alive and I was a young boy who didn’t know about the cares that my mom and dad may have had, or any world problems. Heck, we were in the middle of Viet Nam and the threat of nuclear annihilation was very real.

I miss my mother-in-law Nadine Bateman. She lived on the property we had in West Middlesex. Christmas Eve was when Santa would arrive at her house and my kids and Bonnie and I would “go down the lane” to her house after church and the kids would be opening up their presents. Oh, we would eat! She always had plenty of goodies. Good memories.

I got a realization this past month, well, since Thanksgiving. The old saying goes, “You can’t go home”. I never understood it. Of course you can go home. You can visit there, take vacations, trips, whatever, but you can go back home. But I’ve just understood that you can’t go “home”.

“Home” is the way things were. I can go back to my house I grew up in, but there won’t be uncles, parents, the player piano, the Italian cookies, the booze.  Ok, you can buy cookies and booze, but I think you get my drift.

Nadine isn’t here. My kids are grown. We can’t go down the lane. We don’t live there anymore. We may seek comfort foods to help deal with the losses, the reminders of good old days. The food won’t bring back those times.

But we have memories. Even though we can’t go back to those times, we always have to remember the times that brought joy, and the times that brought sorrow. These times are what make us what we are. Now we have to handle the past, and live for today. Today we are making memories for our children. Today will be our kids “good old days”.  It’s ok to look at the rain.  We can visit there.

But we can’t live there anymore.

Winter Skin
December 15, 2013

It’s cold up here (or down here if you’re in Canada) in western Pennsylvania. Colder than usual this time of year.  I love winter. I’ve taken some wonderful pictures of a “Winter Wonderland”. Pennsylvania is a great place to visit, year round. I know what you’re thinking, “Nice place to visit but I wouldn’t want to live there”.

I find that as the weather changes, we put on our “winter skin”, (a great Jars of Clay song) which basically are sweatshirts, hoodies, coats, gloves, hats, boots, etc. Looks like we’re a bunch of bank robbers most of the time, and with my bald head, a stocking hat is always in order. Tellers back up when I enter a bank. Note to self: Keep your hands out of your pockets when entering a bank.

Side note: I’m not sure how these guys with shaved heads can go outside without a hat. My sinuses run like Rosie O’Donnel to a buffet. God bless you guys that can go out hatless.

Since we cover up, it seems it’s easier to be a bit less self conscious. We figure, “well, we’re covered up, we’ll get back on it in a few months…….when winter breaks………in June!”  Bad trap to fall into. If you start to feel a bit lazy, I have a way to help keep you on track.

Mirrors. I’m not talking “smoke and mirrors” or the mirrors at the fun houses that make you look thin (or heavy and one foot tall), but the real mirrors in the house.

Mirrors don’t lie. Have you ever been in a hotel (hopefully you don’t have this at home, because if you do, I hope you’re built like Mario Lopez or Jennifer Aniston) and you get out of the shower and there is a full length mirror mocking you? It’s a totally unexpected terror.

You’re not expecting it, exposed, buck naked, so immediately, after I’m done screaming, I do what I always do: I suck my gut in (As if the gut is the only problem). But it’s too late. My eyes have been damned for what they saw, burned into my skull, etched into my brain FOREVER.  I think, “If I was laying on the beach they’d throw me back in the water”.

Looking at myself from above (you know,dropping your head and checking out your body), it’s not so bad. But mirrors don’t lie. Neither do store front windows.

I walk in the mall or the outlets and see my profile in the reflection of the windows and think, “When did Alfred Hitchcock get here?”. So I do what I always do. I suck my gut in. It’s a good reality check.

Have you ever been out with your spouse and friend and think that everyone around you points out how big you are? And you want to scream at them, “Yes, but you should have seen me six months ago. I was really big!”. Why do we do that, or am I the only one?

It shouldn’t matter, but we’re programmed that to be overweight is akin to hanging out with Charlie Manson and going to visit movie stars. It’s degrading, people think you’re weak, lazy, whatever. But even though we say we don’t care, we keep trying to let people know we’re “working on it”. “Oh yeah, I’ve lost 20 pounds (ok, like three months ago and have been stalled like ObamaCare).”  Yeah, working on it.

But as Paul McCartney said, “I got to admit it’s getting better. Just a little better all the time”. Focusing on the real issue, which is: I’m doing this for me. And I’m thinner than I was 9 months ago, so onward we go. This is a marathon, not a sprint. Some good days and some bad days. But each day is a blessing. Seriously, you know what?

I got this.

Weight: 259.0 (250’s are my new normal. Sweet)



Living In The Material World
December 12, 2013

So here it is, 3 a.m. and wide awake. I had not been feeling good, so decided to nap. Well, 3 hours later, and here we are. So let’s see what’s wandering around this little mind of mine.

I like getting older. I reflect more on why I am like I am or why I think like I think.

I think weight loss is one of those things that causes you to look at yourself differently. I find that when I am doing well, I look at myself in a whole different way. And when I am not doing well, I look at myself in an entirely different way. It shouldn’t be that way.

Our self perception is sometimes based on a number. Say, for example, turning 60. Some people see that as an age where you better start packing it in because you’re on the way out, not realizing, that if you live to be 80, you’ve still got 25% of your life left. That’s a large number.

Say you weigh 200 (I wish) and you see yourself as fat. You can become depressed and say, “what’s the point?”, instead of looking at the fact that you can do something about it. Setting achievable goals, slow and steady, yada, yada, yada, you get the picture. It’s just a number.

I feel real good because I’ve hit a weight I haven’t seen since I started My Walk to 199.  It’s 257.6. Dang. I like it. But say for example, I get crazy over Christmas, and go back to 265 or so. How would I feel about me? Disappointed? Embarrassed? Ashamed? Fat, dumb, and happy?

My weight or age shouldn’t determine how I view me. I find that if I am happy with me, then all the numbers don’t matter.  I cannot change how other people view me. I can only change my own self perception.  Hard to believe, but some people don’t like me. I know, I can’t believe it either.

But I can’t let other people’s thoughts or opinions affect me. My weight loss is not so other people will like me. It’s because I need to do this for me. I want to do this for me.

I’m liking My Walk To 199. I’m learning so much about me.

No matter what your issue: getting drunk, getting high, smoking, whatever, it comes down to how you feel about you. If I like me, I have no need to get drunk. If I like me, I have no need to get high. If I like me, I have no need to smoke. If I like me, I have no need to over eat. If I like me, I want to take care of me. For me.

I used to say, “I don’t care” if people didn’t like me, or didn’t like what I did, or how I felt. But that’s not true. I think we all care. What I really mean is not that “I don’t care”, but more so of “It doesn’t matter”. It doesn’t matter if people don’t care for me for how I am. Of course I think deep down we all want to be liked. To a point.

I have come to the realization that my dad didn’t really like me. He’s passed away now, but even when he was alive, it didn’t matter. When I was younger, I tried to please him. I played football, not because I wanted to, but because he wanted me to. And even then, it wasn’t good enough.

I used my dad as my excuse for my beginning to drink at 13, get high at 17, or any other negative behavior. I was such a victim. I used to think, “If I do such and such, he’d like me better” or some other nonsense.  When he didn’t, I’d think, “well screw it then”. But I think that’s a good thing to learn.

When you’re younger, you change who you are to be liked. “If I was skinnier, if I was more sexually active, if I was a blonde, brunette, whatever”, changing who you are for someone, anyone else. I know people who are in their fifties that still feel that way. Pleasing people and being miserable inside. We risk our lives to be liked. Think about it, WE RISK OUR LIVES.

We drink and drive. We run risks of pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. We increase our risk of cancer, diabetes, and heart attack, with drunkenness, eating disorders, or getting high. Crazy, isn’t it?

As I said, I like getting older. Hopefully I am wiser, but I know one thing. I’m like Popeye, “I yam what I yam”. I’m fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139). And I like it.   Can you say that about yourself? I hope so.

Killing Me Softly
December 7, 2013


Yesterday was one of those days. Ok, not exactly YESTERDAY, but let’s say from 6 p.m. Thursday through 3 p.m. Friday I ate eight donuts. Now, not the real large donuts, but medium size. Why? Well I’ll give you the rationale, then tell you the truth.

Rationale: With donuts in the house, other people will eat them and they’re trying to lose weight too. I am helping them.

Rationale: They’re small donuts. Not much weight in them, they’re glazed, they don’t weigh much.

Rationale: I’m supposed to eat every two hours because I’m diabetic, so a donut or two every two hours is good for me.

Truth: I’m lazy.

I’d been hungry most of the day, and, admittedly, it was an easy fix. Can’t say it was I had a “craving” for sweets. Can’t say, I “longed” for donuts. I can say that I was hungry, and was too lazy to cook anything. So, a donut sufficed. Well, really, they’re small donuts, so two at a sitting would “take the edge off”.

I’m pathetic. Truly. I look back at that and think, “whats up with that?”. Lazy. Not in the zone. Backslid diet wise. Call it whatever. A bad day.

A wonderful elderly woman at my church, Betty, told Bonnie that I’m trying to kill myself. Am I? Do I have a deep desire to just give in and do whatever I want? Of course I do. And so do you.

We all do. It’s called a sin nature. We desire the things of the flesh and even though we know better, we continue to dive into activities that are not healthy for us. It used to be drugs and alcohol. For some people it’s porn. For others it’s stealing. For someone else it’s holding grudges. To another, it’s slander. Or to some it’s smoking. Or drugs and alcohol.

If I gave into my eating desires, I’d be “Sprinting to 300” instead of “Walking to 199”. We may stumble, but we are not defeated. You know what the kicker was with this whole donut incident? The thing that aggravated my wife, my kids, and church people?

I lost three pounds! I thought, “wow, I’m onto a secret. An all donut diet”. Of course that’s not true. It will catch up with me eventually, like every sin does. But God’s grace keeps me. There’s a quote that George Steinbrenner kept in his office and I’ll paraphrase it.

“I’ve been hit. I’ve been wounded. I’ve fallen down. So I will rest. I will rise. I will fight again”. Something like that. So that’s what life is all about. How cool if we never screwed up! But realistically, that’s what we do. We mess up. But with Christ, He is able to keep us from stumbling.

But we’ll stumble at times. And even though this was a bad stumble, the times between stumbles are becoming longer and longer. That’s progress. So we move forward.

Seriously, I don’t want to kill myself. There are too many people out there who have never had the pleasure of meeting me yet. People that I haven’t had a chance to irritate yet. People I haven’t had a chance to encourage.  Let’s do this.

Weight: 260.8

Cold Turkey
December 1, 2013

Well, I survived Thanksgiving without too much damage. I am 260.2 pounds, up about a pound. I’ll take that.

I was thinking about how my blogs have been infrequent as I think I have a boring life compared to people I know. I don’t travel much, don’t entertain much, and am a pretty average guy. Oh don’t get me wrong, I love my life. At 58, I’m very happy. But I don’t want to blog just to blog. I will try to blog every Saturday night. (Please hold the applause……or the groans). Also, notice the titles are of songs, at least songs I’m old enough to remember. If you aren’t familiar with them, look them up on YouTube.

I’ve found my identity is wrapped up in several things. Being a man, my identity is wrapped up in what I do. People say, “Tell me about you” and I respond, “Well, I’m a preacher”. Well, that’s what I do, but what am I? If we can get our identity, we can defeat this weight thing. I think we continually search for ourselves. Where or who the heck am I?

I’m a member of the Independent party, so am I Independent? I’m a Yankees fan in baseball, and Br owns, and Michigan Wolverine fan in football, but is that who I am? I had to bring up the sports, because sports causes us to lose who we are. When our team wins, we feel like winners. When we lose, we feel like losers. Winning and losing has little to do with who I am. Although, as you can tell by my football teams, I’m glad I’m a Yankees fan. Winning feels better.

We associate with sports teams. We claim “We’re better than your team”. “We won the World Series”. I’ll be honest. I’ve never played a professional sport, thus, I have never received any compensation from the New York Yankees.

I’m a husband, father, and grandfather. Is that who I am? That’s part of me. I’m a son, although my dad’s dead, but still a son to my Father in heaven. I’m a nephew, a cousin, a father-in-law, uncle and great uncle. Is that me? I’m diabetic. Is that my title?

I don’t know. I think we get a perverted view of ourselves, which causes us to fall into bad ways. We see our flaws and failures and either beat ourselves up (and overeat or over drink) or just get angry and cover it with cockiness saying, “Hey, nobody is perfect. Do you see what THAT GUY is doing?”

I find that my self esteem cannot be wrapped up with anything to do with me. I’m told “You’re a nice guy”, but deep down, I know what a rotten fellow I am. I’ve learned not to sugarcoat who I am.

We all have failures. We all make mistakes. We all have “issues”. But it’s who God says I am that matters. Not my wife, my friends, my enemies, my betrayers. It’s what God says.

I’ve noticed that I do much better when I focus on God than on me. I can be such a horrible person with hatred or anger building up inside. Yet, when I come to my senses and repent, He accepts me. Just like I am. Jesus died for me when I was yet a sinner. I must be worth something.

Psalm 139 tells me I’m fearfully and wonderfully made. I never feel fearfully or wonderfully made. But He says I am. My focus has to be on God and who He says I am. I’m worth dying for. How crazy is that?

So I remember this, and find I eat less, exercise more and for the right reason. Not to be accepted by anyone, or even God. But because He has placed a desire in me to succeed. To live a healthy life. To help other people. To be what He made me. To be who I am.

Who am I? I’m Joe and everything that goes along with it. And God is OK with that.