Monday, April 22, 2013

One Year, One Month and 22 Days Later!

So, it has been quite a long time since I last posted to this blog.  Many things have changed in that time and some important things have stayed way to similar!  In the past year, I welcomed my 4th child, my son, Elijah Gabriel to the world...I said good-bye to my wife's grandfather who passed away...watched as Cassidy Grace worked her way through three levels of her Tang Soo Do Mi Guk Kwan class, breaking boards with both her hands and feet along the way...watched as Lily Anne made great strides in gymnastics and then decided to join her older sister in karate and has already earned two stripes on her white belt...I have also watched as Finnegan Michael has started to grow into quite the young man with a new "big boy" haircut, shaved like his daddy, and a very mature decision to take on the challenge of joining the swim team this summer.  My wife and I celebrated another anniversary and are poised to ring in a 13th year of marriage very soon!  All of these wonderfully emotional things have occurred and have been great blessings to my life. 

Unfortunately, the one constant that has not changed very much, is of course....MY WEIGHT! 

Interestingly enough, I am doing OK right now with this very frustrating situation.  It has taken one year, one month and 22 days to come to the realization that I will never accomplish my goals of losing weight and getting healthy if I constantly berate and condemn myself.  I am at a good mental place right now with the choices I am making to make my life more emotionally and physically healthy.  I have the support of my amazing wife and wonderful kids...I have a phenomenally patient therapist who genuinely cares about my situation and is always there to give me a positive message and sound advice...I have a loving family and great friends who support me and encourage me and I HAVE A PLAN! 

I finally have a long-term plan that will hopefully allow me to maintain a clear focus and drive to achieve my ultimate goals.  I am taking things day by day and not looking too far into the future and getting lost in the "what might be", but staying locked into the present and "what actually is"!  This new clarity is fueling a motivation in me to be better and to work harder, thus my return to this blog. 

I have decided that the blog will now be a place for me to write my thoughts, feelings and ideas and not a place where I feel like I need something to be grandiose or over-the-top with themes and motifs.  I am just going to be me and write what is important at the time I feel the need to write.  I hope that what I choose to write about will be interesting to others and maybe a little motivational, especially to those, who like me, just need a little bit of simple honesty to get through the rough patches.  To the followers of my blog, thank you for being great friends and supporters of me and my life and to the others that may stumble across this and find it interesting, thanks for taking the time to sit and read a spell...Life is just too pays to slow down and enjoy the little things that make it so great!   

Thursday, March 1, 2012

8 oz. of Inspiration

I have tried all kinds of diets in my day.  I have done no-carb, low-carb, bars, points, liquids, name it, I've tried it.  In all the different diet plans I have put to the test one thing always seemed to pop up...the miracle measurement of 8 oz.  8 oz. seems to be key in so many aspects of dieting.  8 servings of 8 oz. of water a day, 8 oz. measurements of veggies or rice with a meal, no more than 8 oz. of lean proteins in a day.  The ever popular 8 oz. seems to be everywhere.  When you check the back of the milk carton it tells you that a serving of the dairy goodness is approx. 8 oz.  Drink an 8 oz. serving of V8 and it replaces 2 servings of vegetables for your daily consumption.  8 oz., 1 cup, 1/2 a pound, however you want to look at it, we see this particular measurement in many forms and fashions day in and day out.  As a dieter, I have lived through many a time when 8 oz. meant a great deal to me and the plan I was trying to use as a system for improving my health.  About a week ago my entire view of the 8 oz. measurement changed and this new opinion has brought me a greater sense of inspiration than any diet plan could ever hope to achieve.

In February of 2011, my wife and I decided that it was time to begin trying to add one more amazing blessing to our family.  When we were dating and spoke of our potential family, we always saw the idea of having four children as the ideal number for our future.  We are so blessed each day by the three amazing kids we have now that adding the fourth seemed to be the right decision.  In the past, we have not had any difficulty in mastering the art of conceiving children.  It was the one thing that seemed to come easily for us.  This time around would not go has we planned.  It took nearly 8 months of trying and many frustrating negative results on various pregnancy tests  before on November 23rd my wife woke me with the news that she was finally pregnant.  Relief and happiness were the themes of the day and needless to say that Thanksgiving took on an additional sense of poignancy. 

Fast forward 3 months and my children and I were heading with my wife for her ultrasound appointment where we would learn the sex of our newest family member.  The 5 of us crowded in the little ultrasound room and stared in amazement as the form of our baby filled the monitor.  We saw all the features one expects to see in a healthy baby and as each new angle and description of what we were seeing came, the excitement and anticipation rose.  As we finally came to the moment of truth the technician waved here magic wand and pronounced that we were having a little boy.  What a moment of joy!  We were already blessed with two beautiful daughters and a handsome son and now the genders would be even.  The coolest part of it all was that when my wife and I discussed our future family, our ideal balance would have been two girls and two boys...who looks into their future and twenty years old and hopes for a specific family dynamic and then is blessed enough to actually see it come to fruition? 

As the session was wrapping up and we were trying mightily to control the three overexcited rug rats we had in the room the technician made one last observation.  She looked and the measurements of our little boy and told us that he was at the perfect size developmentally and appeared to be measuring about 8 oz.  WOW!  Now that is the first time in my life that I have ever looked at 8 oz. in such an inspiring way.  This little 8 oz. boy reached through my wife's womb, straight into my chest and grabbed my heart for eternity.  If that isn't inspiration or motivation enough to get things truly moving in my journey to a healthier life...nothing will ever be.  Thanks to my little 8 oz. buddy, my journey is back on track!

8 oz. of true inspiration!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Inspirational Series

I have decided that I am going to begin a series of posts to recognize people in my life that have inspired me by their dedication and determination to achieve a goal they set forth in their lives.  These people are extraordinary individuals that I have been privileged to share a part of my life with and who have affected and changed me in many ways.  As I continue to work towards overcoming my own challenges and obstacles in life, I look to them for motivation to know that one day I too can achieve my goal of a sustained healthy lifestyle.  The people that I choose to chronicle in these posts are not a complete and exhaustive list of the many people who have moved me in my lifetime, but they are a sample of the amazing individuals that I am blessed to know.  Many of them are former students that I have taught in school, driver's education or have coached on the tennis court and football field.  Nothing pleases me more than to see the young men and women who I have had the opportunity to work with go on to reach the goals they have set for themselves.  I may have made a slight impact on them, but they continue to make an immeasurable impact on my life.

Inspirational Post #1 - Joey P.

In the fall of 2004 I was beginning my 4th season as a JV football coach at Garner Magnet High School.  Practices had began as usual with many eager young men showing up with the hopes and dreams of wearing the Blue and Gold of the Trojan uniform.  The sun was hot and the practices were challenging, but these young men pushed themselves through each and every drill we threw at them.  Of course, as the days wore on, several of the boys realized that the rigors and expectations of the life of a football player at a very competitive 4A high school just was not for them and so attrition naturally happened.  We were not surprised by the few young men we lost, but we were impressed by those who stuck it out and made it through the entire week of "training camp" and were hanging on as the final cut-down day approached.  By far the most difficult aspect of being a high school coach occurs on those occasions when you have to make decisions about which athletes you will keep and which you will unfortunately have to let go.  When you have over 100 kids trying out for a team that can suit up a little over 70 players, decisions have to be made.  During my time coaching, I was honored and privileged to work under some of the most intelligent and caring coaches I know.  Each of them took a very serious and personal interest in the young men who worked so hard during those early practices and I can personally attest that on the day when cuts had to be made, it was something that they neither looked forward to nor took lightly. 

On this particular cut day, I had been discussing several of the players that were on the "bubble" with our Head JV Coach.  We were in agreement for the most part about the guys that would not be returning for the start of regular practice and were in the midst of finalizing the list when I noticed one name in particular that I was a little surprised to see on the list of potential cuts.  At the time I was coaching Linebackers and working with the special teams unit, specifically the kickers, punters and long snappers.  I had played center and long snapper in high school and so I used the knowledge I had to work with the guys who had potential to develop before they reached Varsity.  Joey ended up working with my Linebackers group during defensive drills and this young man was by no means a "blue chipper", but he was a kid who had shown up early to practice and stayed late each day asking questions and wanting to know what he needed to do to be better.  He never quit during the drills and willed himself to never finish last in any of the running or conditioning.  He was not a big kid and he needed a lot of work in the weight room to get his body to match his spirit, but what a spirit.  I had never met a kid who so desperately wanted to be a Trojan football player.  He wasn't the fastest or the most talented, but he had a heart the size of the stadium.  He took beating after beating and still kept coming.  He was an intelligent kid and learned quickly what he needed to do to make himself better.  He was respectful, attentive and humble...I liked him from the very beginning.  After practice one day, I was talking with some of the kids and Joey approached me with more questions about what he could do to improve.  Now in all honesty, as a linebacker, he was not going to make the cut, however I didn't want to say this to him, so I gave him some more advice.  He then asked me if at the next practice he could come and work with the punt snappers during special teams practice.  I inquired whether or not he had snapped before and he said that he had.  I told him sure and went away not expecting a whole lot.  The next day at practice when we broke into special teams groups, Joey came over and prepared to snap the ball.  His initial attempt did not go so well.  He bounced the ball short of the punter.  I wasn't impressed and almost sent him away, but he asked for a second chance.  I said OK and made a couple of suggestions about his technique.  His second attempt was vastly improved and each additional attempt got better and better,  There was something about the way he listened and put the suggestions into practice that I found intriguing.  The more he snapped the better he got.  I was very pleased.  We had one returning snapper from the previous year, but it never hurts to have two!  We continued to work on snapping during and after practice.  He was truly a machine.  He wanted to snap over and over until he got it just right.  He began running some of the drills in practice and was doing a great job, so on that day I looked at the cuts list, I was truly surprised to see him on it. I approached the head coach and asked him about the decision and he said he felt that Joey just wasn't ready to play for the team as a linebacker and that it had been a tough decision.  I respectfully asked him to reconsider based on the fact that Joey was really doing a great job long snapping.  I told him it wouldn't hurt to have an extra snapper on the roster in case of injury.  I guess my request was convincing enough that the coach decided to let Joey stay on the roster.  He even told him to thank me for pleading his me, I did not need the thanks...the boy had earned his spot in my opinion and I was glad to see him make the cut.  As the season wore on Joey worked tirelessly as a member of the scout defensive team helping prepare the staring offensive players for each game.  He also continued to improve as a linebacker and when given the opportunities he would do a good job in the game.  My favorite memory of that season came in the fourth quarter of a game we were winning late in the season.  I had put some of my subs in to close out the game and for fun, I called an inside blitz for Joey who was playing strong side linebacker.  It was fun to give the kids who worked so hard each week the opportunity to make plays when they got the chance in the games.  Boy did Joey make the most of his opportunity.  As the center hiked the ball, Joey burst through the line of scrimmage and attacked the opposing quarterback with a ferocity I had not seen in him at all that year.  He made a textbook move to shiver past the linemen and took the quarterback to the ground with force and determination.  I had never been more excited or proud of a player.  Here was a kid who was on the cusp of being cut and he had just made the most exciting play in football...a quarterback sack.  I think I jumped 10 feet in the air and literally picked him up when he came to the sidelines.  It was a great moment!

That season ended and Joey ended up playing tennis for me later in the year and he gave just as much effort on the tennis court as he had on the football field.  When the next season rolled around, there was no doubt that Joey was going to make the team...and he did as a starting offensive linemen.  I missed having him around during linebacker practice, but still got the opportunity to work with him as the starting long snapper for our special teams.  Joey went on to have a very successful career as an offensive lineman for the Varsity Football team and I actually left coaching football to take on the coaching responsibilities of our school's women's tennis program.  Joey did come back to play tennis for me during his senior year and when he graduated from high school he went on to pursue his academic career at NC State University.  We have remained close over the years and it was with great pride and excitement that I received some pretty incredible news concerning Joey.  You see, even though Joey graduated high school and went off to college, he never got rid of that desire to play football.  He had made the dream of playing for the Garner Trojans become a reality through his hard work and dedication and as he spent the first few years of his college life focused on his academics, he continued to stoke that fire to make another one of his lifelong dreams come true.  Joey continued practicing and developing his long snapping abilities and pushed himself to become truly the best he could be and then he took that hard work and dedication and put it to good use.  As the preparations for the 2011-12 NC State football season began, Joey took his big heart and limitless passion with him as he attended walk-on tryouts for the Wolfpack's long-snapper position.  He put that same focus and dedication into his tryouts just like I had seen him do so many days on that practice field during his Freshman year at GMHS.  As Joey was trying out for the NCSU football team, I was continuing to teach and coach tennis at GMHS alongside Joey's mother who is an amazing teacher in our theater arts department.  One day as I was working at school, Ms. P paid me a visit in my classroom to share some amazing news.  She looked me in the eyes and with much pride informed me that that little Freshman football player that I once stood up for and kept from being cut had just made the NCSU football team as a walk-on long snapper.  Tears filled my eyes and joy and pride filled my heart as I gave my friend a great big hug.  What an achievement.  Joey took a dream he had and did not settle until he reached his goal.  I was so excited as earlier in the year I went with my two little girls to the NCSU player meet and greet.  I walked around the stadium and waited in line to see the kid I knew so well.  I cried as I hugged him and told him how proud I was of his accomplishment and then got him to sign my hat and took several pictures together before he had to return to his responsibilities. 

Joey is such an inspiration to me.  His hard work and dedication led him to reach his dream.  His commitment over the years and his desire to succeed opened doors for him and he took advantage of his opportunity.  What a wonderful role model.  It appears that I am now the student and Joey is the teacher.  Congratulations Joey....and thanks for the inspiration.


Monday, January 30, 2012

A Letter to Me....

I got this letter from an old friend who I haven't seen lately and it inspired me to get back to writing.  I have decided to post it as the relaunch of my blogging effort!

Dear Joey,

I was so excited when I saw you the other day, it seems like forever since we have had a chance to talk and catch up.  I wish we could have had more time so I thought I would drop you an old fashioned letter to take the opportunity to do just that...catch up.  Life appears to be treating you well.  Your wife is beautiful and your three kids are so adorable.  Just watching them play together and have so much fun made me feel young again.  I was glad to hear that you are still teaching and coaching.  Those are such rewarding endeavors and give you the great opportunity to work and help young people.  I know it can be a trying profession, but stick with are doing so much good by simply being a positive role model for those kids.  I saw on Facebook that your boys tennis team won the conference championship last season and that your girls had another strong season as well.  Way to go!  I know tennis is something that you truly love and that you have devoted so much time to those programs.  Seeing that hard work pay off must be encouraging.  Like I said life appears to be great.  I did want to take a moment to check about how the weight loss was going.  I knew you were hoping to get into a consistent pattern of working out and eating right...just didn't know how that was progressing.  I know you can do it if you really put your full effort into it...that sounds a little corny and cliche, but it is true.  Look at what you have accomplished when you have been focused.  You went to ECU on a full scholarship.  You have been named tennis Coach of the Year 7 times.  You earned your Masters in Education and your National Board Certification.  You run a successful Driver's Ed program and have  been a finalist for Teacher of the Year at your school.  You have an amazing family, house and are a dedicated Christian.  You can do anything you set your mind to....when you are focused.  My prayer for you is to stay focused.  Trust yourself and the people around you.  They love you and are there for you.  You are not alone and you don't have to face this challenge in that way.  I will be here for you and will strive to encourage you to do your very best.  You can WIN...I BELIEVE IN YOU!  So, now is the time to go out and take care of this once and for all.  You have the knowledge and skills, you just need the will and desire to stick to the path.  The journey will me long and difficult, but that is what makes it so important.  Take care of yourself and push onward and upward.  I love you my friend and I can't wait to see you again!

Lovingly Yours,


Funny how life is...just when you think that you have everything figured out and all the pieces in place to make a change, you realize that the only piece of the puzzle that is YOU!  Here's to taking another first step...I have to life depends on it!

Thursday, August 11, 2011


Throughout the past week at tennis practice, I have been running with the girls.  Each day I require them to do conditioning drills before and after practice.  Even when the temperatures reach the 100s, they give their all and complete the challenges I lay before them.  They push themselves to finish and make themselves better.  Since I have been completing the running with them, I have taken on a much greater respect for what I make them do each day.  They really are amazing girls and I am so proud to be their coach.  My legs are sore, but I am getting more motivated each time they ask..."Coach, aren't you going to run with us?"  Who could say no...

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Actions Speak Louder than Words...

I am not a doer.......

I love to talk, discuss, intellectualize and rationalize lots of things in my life.  I spend large amounts of time discussing and planning my next big thing and then feel very satisfied with the idea, yet never move on to making things happen.  Don't get me wrong...I work hard and take care of responsibilities at home and work, but I don't make things happen in my life when it comes to my hopes and dreams.  I need to change that!  I want to  be a doer...I want to make my hopes become realities and my ideas take on some semblance of substance.  If I can start making myself be more proactive then I can begin to enjoy/reap the benefits of all of my wonderful plans and ideas.

So, with this being said, I am in the process of making some things happen.  First, I am organizing a family meal night with my in-laws so that we can spend more quality time together and focus our hearts and minds around good fellowship and God's Word.  Second, I am reconnecting with some treasured friends.  These are guys who meant a great deal to me growing up and played a significant role in my life.  We live just a few miles from each other and sometimes go months without talking.  We are now planning on meeting at least once a month to play tennis, enjoy a meal or just hang out.  Finally, I am rearranging my schedule for my after school commitments to be a more effective teacher and faculty member at my school.  I am creating a study hall for my tennis players and opening up myself to be more available to help students in need.  I hope that by starting with a few important decisions and creating an environment of doing and not just talking, I will be able to continue to build my confidence and self-respect, which will lead to a more fulfilling,successful and healthy lifestyle.

Now it is time to back up my words with my actions!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Perspective and Redirection!

The past two weeks have been filled with heartache and joy!  Two weeks ago, I spent most of my time each day helping my family deal with the loss of my wife's grandmother.  We took a few trips up and down the highway to attend services and spend much needed time with family.  Last week, I went on an annual beach trip with my wife's family.  It was a great time to get away and spend some focused quality time with my family.  Getting to be with my wife, kids and my in-laws after the previous week's emotional roller coaster was such a blessing.  Relaxing at the beach, sharing stories, laughter and sweet fellowship really healed many things in my heart.

I also had the opportunity to spend some time on our way home with my Mom, Step dad, Twin Brother and various other members of my family.  I especially enjoyed the time I got to spend fishing on my Mom's dock with my twin brother.  It is in those special alone times that I am reminded how much I love and miss him.  Our connection is so very special and it hurts more than I realize not seeing him more often.  While we fished, something that our MeMaw taught us to do many years ago, we had some time to talk with each other about what is important in life.  It was during this talk that I came to some conclusions and decisions about my life. 

  1. My life is great....I have an amazing family, wonderful friends and abundance from God that is truly remarkable.
  2. I love myself...yes, there are many things about myself that I hope to improve and make even better, but genuinely, I love who I am.  I spend entirely too much time focusing on the negative aspects of myself and not enough time appreciating the person I am.
  3. I care way too much about money...I waste so much time worried about finances and how good of a job I am doing as a provider for my family that I make myself either worried and/or frustrated to a point where I am not happy about anything. 
  4. I am a hard worker....I dedicate myself to the many jobs I do and I try to be the best I possibly can be.
  5. I focus entirely too much on weight loss and not enough time on being brother helped me regain perspective about what I really want to accomplish in my physical life, I want to be healthy.  I always talk about how I want to avoid the "fad diets" and the "quick fixes", yet I basically create my own diets and quick fixes by pushing to have immediate and mind-blowing results each time I plan a new weight loss goal.  I need to focus on slow and steady and look for real results that last.
It is with these new realizations that I have decided to redirect my focus.  I will continue to work on my summer challenge and use my BodyMedia armband, but I am going to approach it more scientifically.  I want to really look at the information that I receive from my armband and track the times that I am truly working achieve my goals and not just talking a good talk.  Hopefully, by doing some real analysis, I can make the needed to changes to reach my goals....whenever that may be. 

I do have one small victory to report....I made it through the past two weeks of crazy schedules and beach vacation and did not gain any weight.  The simple fact that I was able to be out of my comfort zone and controlled environment and not go crazy with putting in the pounds was pleasing to see today.  One thing I need to take advantage of and work on this week is getting to the gym.

So, next Monday I will post my BodyMedia stats for the week and will include something to work on and a victory.