What I am thankful for…

The holiday season is officially upon us with Thanksgiving knocking on the door. I really hate that Thanksgiving gets shunned at times due to everyone’s hurry to get to Christmas. Seems like even before Halloween is done, stores are putting up Christmas decorations and what not all over the place. Black Friday sales start getting advertised November 1 and they now start in the early afternoon on Thanksgiving day. It just seems to me that other than having a day off from work, Thanksgiving means very little these days and that is really a shame. If you stop and think about it, Thanksgiving should be at the top of the list of everyone’s favorite holiday because each and every one of us has something to be thankful for. I’d like to share my list with you, no not my list to Santa, he just laughs at me now. The list I am talking about it what I am Thankful for each and every day.

Number one on my list is I am so very thankful for my lord and savior Jesus Christ. Not only did he give his life to forgive all my sins but, he has blessed me in so many ways with his grace that I have lost count. I don’t deserve his grace nor his love but I am eternally thankful to have both. Now I know in this day and time that it isn’t PC to proclaim that you are a Christian but you know what? I don’t care. You don’t have to believe as I do and I don’t think less of you if you do. Your choice is your choice as my choice is mine. I think it is way past time that we all remember that. If you don’t like what I am saying, you are free to leave MY blog. Didn’t mean to get off on that tangent but, it is something I believe in and you know me, I have no filter!

I am thankful for my incredible family. I was raised by parents that taught me right from wrong and personal responsibility. They taught me my Christian values, taught me the importance of family and what it means to have unconditional love. My father is and will always be my hero. He taught me the importance of always providing for you family and being there when it counted. He missed many of sporting and school events but there was never a day in our life that we did not have food on the table or worried about having roof over our head. He taught us to that our word meant everything and to be strong even when you think you couldn’t. He is our rock, plain and simple.

We lost Mom in March of this year and there is a hole in our hearts that will not ever be filled because of it. Mom gave each of our hearts. Her love for her children and grandchildren cannot be measured. She loved us at our best and she loved us at our worst. She was there for all the good time as well as all the bad times. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t thank God for making this woman my mother. I truly believe I would not have made it in this world if God had not chosen her to be my mother. I can come up with a million eloquent words about her but none of them will describe just how beautiful a soul my mother is and was. I know she is looking down on all of us, smiling as she shows off her grandkids to my grandparents. I miss her every single day but I am so thankful to have had her for 53 years. Some are not as fortunate.

I am thankful for my brother, sister and all my beautiful nieces. I hope they know how much I love each and everyone of them. Life may keep us apart but they are all in my thoughts and prayers daily. I am so blessed to have them in my life. I have two Aunts that are second moms and God knows, I need them. They are my angels on earth. I can’t express how much they mean to me and what impact they both have made on my life. I am thankful for all my cousins, on both sides of the family. Many of you were my first friends and heroes in  my life. We may not see each other but know that you are very much loved and appreciated by me.

I am thankful for my hardheaded, funny, athletic, smart and handsome son. I am honored to be his dad. You are my greatest accomplishment, bar none. I will never be able to live up to the man that you may see in me but I promise I will always strive to be. You make me proud every day just being you.

I am most thankful for my beautiful and loving wife Anna. Life is not life without you. I have said it on numerous occasions and it still stands true today, YOU SAVED ME. I was a miserable person who was just sleep walking through life with a young son that deserved so much better than I had to offer. You came in, filled our hearts with love and became an instant, everyday mother to a 15 year old boy who desperately needed one.  You are the very best part of me and I am beyond grateful to have found you. 50 years it took but it was so worth the wait. I not only got you but, your wonderful family as a package deal. They accepted Ethan and I with open arms and made us part of their clan. We are both very lucky.

I am thankful for my wonderful friends, new and old that are in my life. There are simply too many of you to attempt to name you all. Facebook has allowed us to keep up with each other over the years and it has been a pleasure to catch up with all of you. You have all been an important part of my life, some of you are from my high school days, some from college and some I have met in my adult/work life. You have all had an impact in my life in some form or fashion. I know we may not see or speak to each other everyday but, I hope that when you do think of or hear from me, it brings a smile to your face. I know it does mine.

I am thankful for my job that allows me to provide for my family and spend time with some amazing people on a daily basis. My co workers are simply the best. I consider all of you a friend and honored to know you. Thank you for making most days at work enjoyable!

We all have so much to be thankful for these days and I hope, like me you enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday before you jump head first into the Christmas season. We all have so much to be thankful for and Thanksgiving is the time to reflect on all your blessings. No matter how bad you think you have it, we all need to remember that to some, our life is their dream. If you you are reading this now, I want you to know that I am thankful for you as well. Whether we are great friends or you simply stumbled across my blog, you are appreciated and loved.

From my family to yours, Happy Thanksgiving!! facebook_1574790981445

 

 

Laying the foundation

Greenville St. Joseph Fighting Irish, the high school that I graduated from, way back in the stone age of 1983. just won their third straight state football championship. Led by two soon to be NCAA Division 1 foot ball players, winning one championship in tough and to have won it three times in a row is a remarkable accomplishment. I along with many other alumni are very proud of our school and this team of hardworking coaches and young men. It is a great time to be a Fighting Irish these days but, there was a group of young men, way back when that I would like to think, was the foundation on which this success was built on. This team was he first to compete in the first ever state playoff championship by winning the district and also winning a conference championship along the way. This was the 1981-82 Fighting Irish team that I was honored to be a part of:

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Led by Head Coach Preston Harris, an amazingly talented group of senior student athletes and a few juniors sprinkled in for good measure, there were high expectations for this team. The year before, the Fighting Irish went 5-4, the first winning season this bunch has seen in many moons. So coming in to the 81-82 season, the Irish had the experience, the coaches and athletes in place to make this a special team and season. I was a back up offensive lineman, linebacker and kicker on this team. Two of my junior classmates, Johnny Walker (Wide Receiver) and Paul Andrzejewski (Nose Guard) were starters along with a 12 super seniors, led by Quarterback Jimmy Lang and Running Back/Linebacker Wade Love. A Strong fast offense and a mean stingy defense, this team had all the ingredients for a special season. We went 7-3, losing out in the first round of the playoffs to end the season.

I can’t remember every game but there are few that standout. The first game of the season against our rival, the Riverside Bulldogs was a blowout on our part and felt so good to beat them in to submission. A game in Gould, Arkansas where is was so cold that I got kicked in the hand on the very first play and it stung the rest of the game. We went into halftime 6-6 and after little pep talk from Coach Harris (I remember this talks fondly…NOT) we ended up winning 42-6. We beat the brakes off a good O’bannon high school to clinch the very first district title but I don’t remember much more than that about this game. There was one game that stood out to me that season though, J.Z. George.

J.Z. George was the beast of our conference. The years before they just whipped us up and down the field, led by their QB Willie Totten. Yes, the Willie Totten that threw all those TD’s to Jerry Rice in college. He graduated in 1981 so this was a new era for them but make no mistake about it, the conference championship went through J.Z. George. The Monday before that game, Coach Harris came to up and told me that I was going to be starting at Left Tackle. I looked at him, waiting for the punchline. I was an ok lineman but I wasn’t at starter by no means. I really did not like playing the position and much preferred to play defense but, here he was, announcing I would be starting instead of senior Mike Crowson. Mike (Crow as we called him) was bigger than me an was a much, much better O-Lineman than I was. I never knew what has happened for coach to make the change and I did not ask. I had a lot of respect for Crow, even though I don’t think he cared for me too much back in those days. J.Z. George had this huge defensive tackle, #72, and he was a beast from the word GO! This guy was all of 6’3″ 270 lbs and here I am at 5’11 170 lbs. Coach Glenn Roebuck teased me about how I was soon to have a #72 tattoo across my forehead. We had to go play at their place and we all figured it was going to be a defensive battle as it was #1 vs #2 defense in the conference. I have to state this before I go on, we had a really, REALLY good defense that year.

We won the toss and chose to get our offense on the field first. So, here I am, my first game starting in high school, lined up against this monster and the first pay was dive play to the right. I handled big boy pretty well that first play, or so I thought. The next play was an option the the left . I remember seeing Jimmy run UNDER me. This guy had literally picked me up and threw me like I was a rag doll. I quickly figured out that if the play was going away from him, big boy could care less but, if it was coming to his side, it was Katy Bar the Door!! After he tossed me higher on the very next play, I knew I was going to be a long day not only for me, but for our entire team if this was going to be the norm for the night. I have only told one person what I am about to share with you now. After that first series, I went up to Coach Harris and told him, “Coach, I am being straight up honest with you, I cannot block #72. He is throwing me around like I don’t even exist. If we want to win this game, you need to put Crow in. I know in my heart that he can block this guy.” Coach took my advice, put Crow in and the rest as they say is history. We defeated J.Z. George 7-6 on their turf to win our very first Delta Hills Conference Championship.!! There were other great games that season, but this one is the one that most memorable for me.

We may not have won the State title that year but we did win 2 championships and laid the foundation for years to come. I am proud to have contributed to that great team but more proud to call all of those guys my friends.

Again, I am very proud of this current bunch of Fighting Irish that are blazing their own trails and making their own memories. I am also proud to be a part of the history of Greenville St Joe and to have been a part of that great team in 81-82. We were champions too and damn good ones I might add!

Making Memories

Well, it has been a minute since I have written anything on my little page but, here  I am, at it again. I guess I just haven’t had anything of substance to talk about but lately, something has been weighing on my mind. Usually when that happens, the only way I can resolve it is to write about it. I can get what I want to say out in the open, share it with you, my friends, family, what few followers I have on this site and can let it go. This is one of those times.

This past weekend, my family and I attended the Mississippi State/Alabama game in Starkville, MS. Now, I knew, along with just about everyone else in the country, that this game was going to a long, brutal one for the Bulldogs and their faithful fans. Alabama, year end and year out, has one of the best teams in the country.  Mississippi State on the other hand, well….let’s just be nice and say they are having a down year. Truthfully though, even on an up year, the wins against Alabama are few and far between for the Bulldogs. Knowing what was in store for the game, I decided just to make the best of it and enjoy a beautiful fall day in the Magnolia State.

My son, Ethan, is now attending Mississippi State which has always been his dream school. He even wanted to play football for the Bulldogs at one time but, decided he had had enough football after high school and hung up his cleats. We got him an apartment, he is living the college lifestyle and I could not be more happy for him. He is only gone Monday thru Friday though, as he comes home every weekend to see his girlfriend Abby. She is a sweet girl who keeps him in check and seems to enjoy hanging out with us. Saturday morning, My wife Anna, Abby and myself headed east to Starkville and Ethan’s pad (he spent all week cleaning it up I am sure).

We arrived in at his apartment and after the initial shock Anna and Abby had over the state of his apartment, we got in our Uber and headed to Davis Wade Stadium, home of the Bulldogs We arrived about 10 minutes before kickoff and as you know, that is no where near soon enough to be trying to get to your seats on game day. By the time we sat down, the Bulldogs were already down 14-0. As I said, we knew this was going to be a long day. I has arranged for us to have our picture taken on the field with Bully, the Mississippi State mascot. Down 21-0 did not damper our spirits as you can see:

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The game ended as expected, a 38-7 whipping at the hands of the tide. After the game, Ethan wanted to show us his campus. As we walked along the sidewalks of this beautiful place, my mind wandered to thoughts of my mother, Mom passed away in March of this year and not a day goes by when I don’t think of her. But this day, I could feel her presence as we walked around, as if she were walking step by step with us. My mind filled with memories of days spent with my mom. Game days, weekend vacations, holidays, etc…all great times spent with the woman who has been my heart for as long as I can remember. Ethan would show us where he went to class, where he hung out between classes and most importantly, to him anyway, where the gym was. He was taking pride in showing his family around and I could tell he was really enjoying it too. I imagine my mom enjoyed it to as I know she was smiling and beaming with pride over her grandson. I know she would be so proud of him today. It was at that moment that it dawned on me that we were making memories right then and there. Years from now, Ethan will look back on this day and not think about the thrashing that the Bulldogs had taken, he will remember fondly of showing his family around and how much fun we had that day. I hope it will be a great memory for him.

The more I think about it, the more I come to realize that my wife and son won’t remember how much money I made, how much I spent on them or what I material stuff I gave them, They will remember days like Saturday. us doing something together that you look upon when you are having a bad day or a solitude moment. We only have a short time here in this lifetime so we need to make as many great memories as we can. I am guilty of putting too much emphasis on work. I put off trips, adventures and activities due to my job, it is how I am wired. When the Good Lord decides (hopefully) that he is ready for me, what memories have I left for my family?  I don’t want it to be, “Well, dad worked all the time so, that is how I remember him” or “My husband never missed a day of work”. I owe them better than that and so do you.

I am going to make a conscious effort to spend more time making memories and less time worried about making money. Don’t get me wrong, providing for your family is very important but, if you don’t spend time making memories with your loved ones, will money be all they associate you with? I don’t want it to be that way for my family. You have to have a balance and as they say, “All work and no fun makes Ricky a cranky a-hole!!” So this weekend, I am going to work until 1:30 on Saturday, then go get my family and head east to Starkville once again to not only see the Bulldogs play and maybe win a football game but, to make more memories like this:

 

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5 months…..

Well, 5 months have passed in 2018 and for me 38.6 pounds have gone with it. I had a goal of losing 8 pounds a month this year and I fell a bit short in the month of May. I hit that wall and just could not seem to break through this time. In fact, I fluctuated all month from 221 to 217 up until the last day where somehow, 2 pounds dropped off. Mind you, I am not complaining in the least. I have lost almost 40 pounds this year, I feel better than I have in 3 years, my clothes fit much better and I am just a happier person overall. I have developed a bit of an obsession with that damn scale though and I have decided to make a change this month, a drastic one at that.

I am not sure you will find this method in anywhere but, for the month of June, I am going to be “Scale Free” I weighed in on June 3 and 215 pounds and I will not step on that scale again until July 3. I became to concerned about what that scale read and it would ruin my entire mind set when it just wasn’t moving. Never mind that I am putting on more muscle due to the fact I am working our 5-6 times a week. Clothes fitting better, so what?? Scale says I am not working hard enough! I was letting the scale get in my head and it had really gotten bad. So bad that I was weighing myself multiple times a day. If the scale wasn’t moving, I was eating too much, right?? WRONG!! That just slowed my metabolism down even more. I had forgotten everything I had learned and already shared with you about the healthy lifestyle. I had become more concerned with the number on the scale that what I was feeling and what my clothes, wife and friends were telling me. All the “you look great” compliments fell on deaf ears because the scale was the only thing that I was measuring myself on. I can be a bit OCD at times, especially when I focus my attention on a big time goal, like becoming a healthier version of me. I have to make a drastic change to break this vicious cycle so, I am banning myself from the scale. My wife agreed with me, she told me I am now in the habit of eating right and going to the gym has now become part of my daily routine. All that scale is doing is messing with your mind. So begone scale!!!!

As I promised when I started this, we did take a picture at month end and added it to our journal. I don’t show this to brag but, to hold myself accountable to anyone that may find motivation from this blog. I hope it shows you that if you are determined and stay focused on your goal, you can achieve anything. Not much if a change from April to May other than maybe a little more muscle!

Go out and be the best YOU, you can be!!!!20180603_183809_1528069101749

Is it really worth it?

This has been one helluva month for me as far as weight loss goes. I started the month off at 221 and as of today, 24 days past, I am down to a whopping 217. Granted we had a mini vacation last week to visit family in Texas so that may have put the brakes on a bit but DAMN!! Getting up at 4:30 every morning to go exercise, counting every calorie to make sure I an within my limits and being strong when offered all kinds of goodies gets me a 4 pound reduction. It is times like this when I question whether all this effort is worth it. All the sacrifice, will power and consistency, is it worth doing all of that just to lose fat??? The answer, as it always should be, is a resounding YES!!

Getting healthy is much more that what the scale says. Don’t let that little piece of machinery deter you from the ultimate goal, becoming a healthier version of you. Am I frustrated for hitting a wall in my weight loss? Of course I am but, should I be? Do my clothes fit better? Do I have more energy? Do I have more stamina? Do I sleep better than before? Is my confidence at a healthy level? The answer to all of these questions is yes. I am way better over all than I was 5 months ago. I can see the changes in my body and others can too. Does it really have to mean failure if I don’t lose the weight I have told myself I should lose? No, it doesn’t. It is ok to be frustrated and you can use that as a motivational tool to make you push harder but, don’t ever use that frustration as an excuse to quit. You will always regret the decision to quit much more than the decision to keep moving forward.

So, I will continue to get up at 4:30, continue to exercise just as hard, if not harder than before. I will continue to eat the right foods but not jump off a cliff if I slip up. Most importantly, I will not quit trying to become the healthiest version of myself that I can be. They great things about goals is, they are always changing. Never be satisfied for average. You were made to be spectacular!!

Go be the best YOU, you can be  today!

I cheated and my wife knows….

Yes, I admit it, I have cheated. I just could not help myself, the temptation was just too strong and I gave in to my primal urges. Sad thing is, my wife witnessed the entire thing and smiled at me the entire time. I had a fully loaded, fajita taco salad!!

I have been stuck at or around 220 pounds for the past 11 days. I just can’t seem to break the threshold. I hit a plateau earlier and finally got thru it so maybe this is round two of that. The body can be stubborn and once it get adjusted to what you are doing, it will make the necessary changes to hold you steady. I read that sometimes, a cheat meal will jump-start your metabolism again so, last night I cheated and OMG was it good!!! I did not hit the fried bowl it cam in but I did have plenty of chips and salsa!! Afterwards, I felt guilty for doing such a thing but, my wife reminded me that it is ok to cheat sometimes, as long as you don’t make it a habit.

I woke up this morning fully expecting to be up in weight, at least 2 maybe even 3 pounds. So, I cautiously stepped on the scale and waited…….220! Dang it!!! Oh well, at least I got to have a taco salad!!

Go out and be the best YOU, you can be today!!

Just get up…

People look at me like I have lost my mind when I tell them I get up at 4:30 AM 5 days a week to go to the gym. “No way I would do that!” or “You Crazy!” or even “Man that is commitment.” For me, it was the only feasible time that I could get to the gym on a daily basis. It was rough at first but, once I got used it, 4:30 isn’t so bad. I get to the gym, can get to the weights I want without delay and I get in a good hour work out in, every morning, 5 days a week.

The hardest part about getting up is leaving my wife in bed. My happy place is lying beside her in bed, sometimes cuddling till we both fall asleep. There is no place I would rather be in this world than right there with her. Yet, I still get up every morning, leaving her side to go work on being a healthier version of myself, I want to be around as long as I can to enjoy every moment with my wife as well as my son.  We aren’t promised anything in this life but, I can do my part to live a healthy productive life while I am here.

So, you can come up with every excuse to why you can’t go to the gym, why you can’t go walk your neighborhood or why you can’t make better food choices. You can blame genetics, hormones or thyroid. Or, you can just GET UP.

Go be the best YOU, you can be today!