Monday, September 17, 2012

Rachel Turns 21!

21 years ago today God blessed us with Rachel.  Full of life, a gentle spirit, kind, beautiful inside and out, truly joyful.  You have never given us a moments disappointment.  I love you very much.  Happy Birthday my sweet girl!

PS: The friend is Devon Diaz.  He's alright (dad speak).  =)

Thursday, September 13, 2012

This Journey's Not My Own

A little over four months ago I began a concerted effort to improve my wellness.  Most of my adult life I've struggled with my weight.  There have been highs and lows, seasons where I would diet and lose weight, but inevitably I'd gain it all back and then some.  Frankly, it's never bothered me enough to work on it all that seriously.

But in April that changed.   I boarded a flight from Tallahassee to Atlanta, and as is often the case, it was one of those small regional jets.  Fine by me since the flight is well under an hour.  But this time was different.  I grabbed my seat belt, extended it as far as possible, but to save me, I couldn't buckle it. [sigh] Are you kidding me??  How did I let this happen?  While I was trying to decide what in the world I was going to do, the sweet little old lady next to me leaned over and said, "I think you can ask for an extension."  Really; did you just say that to me right now??  I thanked her just the same,  inhaled and with much effort, finally buckled my belt.  Thankfully it was a short flight, because I was miserable, not to mention embarrassed.

I decided that day to do something about it.  In the last four months I've lost over 40 pounds, and I'm feeling great.  I pay very close attention to what and when I eat.  

Lake Ella                                                                    Photo:Mine
Usually four to five days a week I head over to Lake Ella, a public park near our home to walk.  The wide sidewalk  around the lake is 6/10 of a mile.  Most days I manage to walk/jog 3-5 miles.  Admittedly many days my head is down, I'm out of breath, and just hoping I can make it to the next 'crack' in the sidewalk.  They can't be more than 10' apart, but honestly, sometimes making it 10 more feet is all I can manage to imagine.

Then a funny thing happened one day.  Someone passed me.  Now that's not really all that unusual, but this time it wasn't one of those models wearing the newest spandex outfit practicing for the next marathon.  Rather someone older, larger, and more female than me.   I watched her run by, and about 30 seconds later my competitive juices kicked in.  Without knowing it, she had just entered a race where I was the only other racer.  I raised my head, picked up my pace, stopped feeling sorry for myself and worked to catch her.  As I passed her I realized that without her even knowing it, she had inspired me to be better.  Just the fact that she was out there working, perhaps on the same issues that had plagued me for years, pushed me to try a little bit harder.

I've been thinking about this ever since.  We were not meant to go through this life alone.  After all, no sooner had God created man, He created a helper for him.  This time I have some people helping me along, and it's making all the difference.  No shots, pills or plans.  Just "eat less and move more," as my friend Mark likes to say.

This Sunday my church begins what has become an annual highlight we call Pathways.  This year it's called Pathways Personified.  A 40 day journey we take together.  We read a daily devotional, written by our community for our community, Pastors lead the conversation each Sunday, and those that choose to, meet locally in growth groups during the week to take the conversation deeper.  Pathways has become very meaningful, just knowing my community is on the same page, meeting together, learning together, living out one of our values, "doing life together."

This journey's not my own, and I'm really glad.  To my Tallahassee friends, if you don't have a church home why not check out mine?  We meet Sundays on Mahan Drive across from Costco at 9:30, 11 or 7.  We have great coffee, music and conversation every week.  Come experience this place we call ELEMENT3 or E3 for short. You don't need a denomination, membership or specific attire.  Just come as you are.  Come Sunday, pick up a devotional and join us in the journey.  You and I weren't meant to do life alone, and we don't have to.

And, if you'd enjoy a good walk, you can find me most evenings at Lake Ella.  Come walk with me, we won't race, I promise.