Friday, July 31, 2015

3 Weeks, Accountability and feeling loved

For me as I have lost a decent amount of weight and been a bit healthier, a work out partner has been key. A Fitbit has helped, posting my daily stats to Facebook has helped (because some have asked me why I haven't hit my daily goals), portion control has helped, learning to say no to foods that I LOVE has helped and learning to treat food like fuel instead of a replacement for comfort to drama of x, y and z but my main success has come because I know someone is going to be waiting for me at 5 AM to work out--and J has been waiting for me for almost 3 years. I think that is right--and mind you 4:30 in my book is still the previous night. Or knowing someone is going to be waiting for me at 5:30, 6 or 6:30 or a Facebook group that wants to hear how I am doing on my Couch to 5K program. Accountability is the key!! At least for me it is.

My regular accountability partner has been out of town for about 3 weeks due to vacation and work. The first day I didn't even get out of bed to work out and I was again reminded I need that daily motivation of knowing someone is waiting on me to show up. I knew I was in serious trouble especially with my personal upcoming events. So through the power of Facebook and Church I found another to endure long walks with me while I carried heavy weights. The company of A was great! The heat and humidity and the 30 pound cast iron plate strapped to my back sucked. Eventually you just get used to the weight but at times mentally it is always there.

My 5th Fitbit. I destroy them with ease.
Sweat stain from only half way through 10 miles today.

This 3 weeks with A as my workout partner has been interesting because:
  • Blood blisters the size of Texas. I am getting really good at taping my feet to prevent blisters. Leukotape and Benzoin tincture swabs have become my best friends due to my very soft, supple feet.
  • Multiple attempts by drivers to kill us with their cars. Eldorado is a deathtrap for those on foot.
  • Heat and humidity that only can be described as stupid hot. When you wake up at 5 AM it should NOT be 80 degrees outside. Bring on the winter.
  • A 40 pound backpack is flippin' heavy. These plates are going to make a huge difference in my training and I am glad to be done with the bulky bricks especially when you can put messages on them with a paint Sharpee.
  • There is a huge, HUGE difference in getting up at 4:30 AM and 5 AM. Seminary has nothing on my wake up time.  

Spend the time to watch this video and you will understand this - don't let life ring your bell (and it isn't the bell you would think it is). Don't personally ring your bell. Find a partner in all their available shapes and sizes and allow them to help you while you help them. Encourage your workout partner to break through their barriers all the time standing by their side. Challenge them to check something off their bucket list like doing a triathlon. Get out there and wear through a pair of shoes.

I have said this so many times but I am grateful for all the help I have gotten in the many ways I have received it. The past 11 months have been very unique and a significant portion of this trial will be over soon with what appears a decent resolve. I can't wait for that freedom! I have had more good friends step up to encourage and support my children and I, discovered new friends who also encouraged and supported my children and I, spent more time with family than I have in a long time, Skype'd more with family than I ever have before, spent time on my knees, spent time reading Good Books, opened my eyes to see Higher Help, realized I am nothing, realized I am something, looked at the past, looked at the potential for the future and seen that I am my own worst critic (and semi repented). If you have been part of that, been my workout partner at any time or both - I appreciate you.

J and B - you guys have been ridiculous good friends. Thanks for making sure my kids and I got to Nauvoo. That trip was definitely for us.
E and M - you married good guys. Thanks for including me in your family activities and feeding me. Cooking for one SUCKS!!! Thanks for trying to help fix things.
A - thanks for the 3 weeks of different workouts and conversation.
J and L - thanks for the listening ear and unconditional love when I have felt like a failure.
A, C (sometimes called I) and S - you too.
J - thanks for the advice and the lawyer. She is a freaking bulldog.
C and J - thanks for the learning opportunities to remind me what I want.

I know I could go on and on but I am bound to forget someone so I will just stop. I feel loved.

Upcoming personal events:
  • Goruck Light DFW September 12th to commemorate September 11th.
  • Tough Mudder October 2nd
  • 5K on November 7th
  • Goruck Tough DFW November 13th - this event actually has me more scared than the triathlon.
  • Olympic distance Triathlon in October 2016

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

BSA Executive Committee Decision

Alright, this is just some dude talking. I have no expertise. I only speaking for my heart and what limited stuff I know.

I first would like to address some LDS Scouters who FOR YEARS STILL have been talking about how the LDS Church is going to be leave the BSA for this reason or that reason and because of this myopic belief have delivered a less than stellar Scouting program - you are still accountable for your Scouting program until when/if the LDS Church leaves the Boy Scouts of America. Till then, zip it buddy. Spreading your Mormon gossip is shortsighted especially since I have been hearing the same garbage since I was in Scouts over 20 years ago. Until Tommy speaks, you have no clue what the Church is going to do.

I am sure in my 6 years of Scouting in a very large Council I have befriended a Scout or a Scout leader that is a homosexual. I don't think any less of them. I have met countless Scouts and Scout leaders through Wood Badge and District Round Tables. If I like you, I like you - it has nothing to do with your sexual orientation or even your belief that the BSA Executive Committee Decision is right or wrong. Whatever side of this you fall on, we can be civil. A difference of opinion isn't a bad thing.

The Executive Committee has put a ridiculous amount of stress on local units now putting them in the cross hairs of anyone who wants to sue because "their standards are different than mine".  As a statement on society as a whole - I continue to be mystified about how we continue to preach how we must be diverse but still can't seem to understand that some want all the same "blessings" others have. Life will never be fair. We should never withhold basic rights from anyone (and yes, we probably disagree on what are basic rights) but admittance into a program isn't a basic right whether it be because of sexual orientation or whatever other reason. Why would anyone want to be a part of an organization that they feel is trying to exclude them anyways? If I wanted to be a Priest I surely wouldn't expect them to change the rules for me just because I disagreed on this belief or that belief.

I also understand the side of loving something and not being included. Those who have been vocal about who they believe they are and being cut off surely can't be an enjoyable experience. I just don't know if there is a middle ground to make everyone happy. Is that even possible? I tend to think not. Just my very purblind thoughts.

Whether the LDS Church will leave the BSA is for the Church to decide. I no longer lead a local unit and work at the District level so I am more inclined to stay in the BSA but until I know what everyone is doing and why, I won't decide. I will keep my head down, help my Scouts in my local unit and continue to help boys with their Eagle Projects and do their Eagle Board of Reviews. After all, it is about the boys - helping them be better men.

This I also believe. There are good people on each side of this. From the Boy Scout Handbook 11th edition: [A Scout] respect the beliefs of others. From the Interfaith Worship Service class I taught at Wood Badge 107: [We should] create an environment where all feel free to worship and share the way they worship.
Let us all be civil.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Being Brave - What does it mean?

I was called brave by a friend recently for some recent physical "activities" I participate in. I am not sure that is what I would call it. My Mother would call it dumb, unnecessary and say to me "Are you sure that is the smart thing to do?" while shaking her head. As I have said in the past and I say again "New body, new challenges!"

I definitely don't feel brave. Sometimes I am scared inside. Scared mostly of the unknown.

There are plenty of times I am scared of things. Even things I have done in the past and am doing again. Physically this applies to Goruck in hot August that I am training for or Tough Mudder in October. Emotionally this means being a single parent/person again. Spiritually this means relying again MORE on the Lord than I have in the past (I know I should be doing this more and more every day but a control freak is a control freak. I will say I am better at this now than I have ever been in my life and I proud of that fact. I just have a ways to go.). There are plenty of times I have asked "Why?" to get an unclear answer to me. Plenty of times I have cried - even cried myself to sleep. Plenty of times I have entered an empty home to hate being there. Plenty of times I have wanted to roll over in bed and have someone to talk to or to cuddle with.

On to the more positive - I am learning to square my shoulders. To turn into the trial winds of life. Whispering under my breath "Well this sucks...." and keep going and dealing with it.

So my choice to be brave now is made through being calm. It is hard for me especially when I want to know things here and now. Part of this calmness comes from just being plain tired emotionally, spiritually and physically. Part of it comes from a blessing. Part of it comes from counsel from family and a couple friends. Hopefully I can continue this way.

So what does it mean to you to be brave?
Whatever it is, be it.

Friday, July 17, 2015


I have never cared much about LDS Church history other than cool stories about Porter Rockwall until I was invited to attend Nauvoo with our youth group. As with what seems to be normal life right now, I was unsure about whether my kids would be allowed to come with me but a wise man allowed them to come with me and experience this trip. I am eternally grateful they were allowed to come and especially those who offered prayers in our behalf.

Like most of life's current experiences I tried to find something other away from this trip other than just a vacation. Here is what I learned:
  • A Ward is a family - good, bad and ugly. Mostly good though. Had a great time with an adopted family. My daughter really needed the time with this family more than I as she has struggled with some girls in the ward as she is being judge for "who her dad is" with the current drama. She is a handful but she is my handful and I love her!!
  • I would have been killed by the mob. I am a smart mouth, emotional loud mouth. I wouldn't have been patient as I was chased by the mob. I would have been killed. Yet currently my family is being attacked by an emotional and spiritual type of mob. I am being patient and following counsel I have been given to be calm.
  • My kids are ridiculous. They amaze me. It was great to go into the Temple with my kids and baptize them - two of which had not done baptisms in the Temple. My daughter was obvious very touched as she would not let me go after she was done. I have lived in that moment a lot since I have come home from Nauvoo. A lot. Anyone that doesn't believe I love my kids just doesn't know me.
  • The Temple and Church have been a hard place for me to be recently. My belief in eternal families and eternal companions has been a bit shaken as of late - I haven't had the best of luck. Our Church and its members preach this belief A LOT. Because of this new perspective/pain, I have a new compassion for single members, single parents and kids of single parents/non traditional homes when they hear things an might get the impression that they are less because they are not "traditional". John 14:2 talks about many houses and one of the things I take from this is that not one of Father's children are going to experience a cookie cutter life like the person next to them. There is a room/house for all of us - single, married, divorce, divorced more than once, broken, fixed, white, blue, brown, male, female, kids, adult,.....whatever. Whatever we are, there is a room/house for us. When we stop comparing ourselves to others and accept who we are and where we are in life, we win. I am almost there. I was especially touched when one of the Sister missionaries giving us a tour talked about the only thing we can do perfectly in this life is trying. Ain't that the truth?!? I am trying!!
  • There are always opportunities to serve. Look for them. Simple is usually the best.
  • I was reminded again I am not forgotten about by Him.
I am glad I went. I wouldn't trade this trip for any amount of money. I laughed a lot, I got away from where I am in life for a few days and had an opportunity to just relax and catch my breath.

Kids and I in front of the Christus.
CE and I in front of the Kansas City Temple.

CE, ST and I making the Temple look good!!
Nauvoo Temple!

Nauvoo Temple with a great sunset.
Photobombed by Bishop.
Our Nauvoo Brick!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Make everything a learning experience

This has been an interesting week. Very interesting. I don't want to elaborate here or now but I have tried to figure out what I can learn from this challenging experience. I will be honest, I don't have a lot of answers but I do have some. And I am grateful for the answers I have. So this is what I have learned:
  • Friends, especially mine, are crazy ridiculous awesome. From friends who treat me like family, their in-laws who treat me like I am their son, crazy awesome baked goods that remind me of home, supportive biological family who offered to drive up to support me and just listening ears all over the place.
  • Patience. I think I will stop praying for it. I got hammered with something difficult to deal with and for the first time in a long time, there was peace. I was still concerned and still slightly frustrated but there was still peace. I have not slept well but I am still trying to keep my spirit and emotions in super-check to make sure I can do what is best. I have often wondered how mental tough I am. This week I think I have confirmed I am a bit more mentally tough than I thought. I still have moments and I will still get knocked down but I will get back up. I may stay down to catch my breath.
  • Blessings. I wish my Dad could have been here to give me a blessing but I had two awesome substitutes to help give me a blessing. I knew what the blessing was going to tell me but I asked for one any way. I was told exactly what I needed to know and exactly what I already knew. Not too often have I known what was going to be said. I am glad I received one and I hope that the people the blessing mentioned receive the help they need.
  • This is going to sound weird but I am grateful for honesty. There hasn't been a lot recently and some things have been said that I am not sure where they came from but I am very sure the truth will prevail. It stinks that some think these lies are the truth especially about my family. Soon it will be squashed. 
  • I love my kids. A lot.
I have a lot to be grateful for even though I feel like I am in fire. One of my sisters said I am running a marathon...... Oh man is she right. Hopefully soon I will feel like I am only running a 5K.

It could always be worse.

I  am still a pretty big guy so I am sure I bounce like a rubber ball.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Worst. Day. Of. My. Life.

Today was probably the worst day of my life as a father. Yet I was calm. The Lord blessed me with friends to care for me and give me a blessing. Soon this will be better. I hope till then the Lord watches out for my kids.

Quote - Ralph Marston

Your burdens feel heavy because they are. They weigh you down and hold you back, but there is a better alternative.
You can choose to transform the weight of those burdens into positive energy. And you can draw upon that positive energy to move yourself forward.
The burdens you carry are creatures of the past that have survived to push against you in the present. Take a deep, fresh breath of the air that is right now, and fill yourself with resolve to take good, useful energy from those burdens.
Think of what you've done in the past to put yourself in the presence of your burdens. Now think of how you can use your energy and your actions to move yourself toward freedom.
You have worked your way to this point, and you can now work your way far beyond it. Imagine what is possible, choose from it whatever you desire, and begin right away to take the actions that will get you there.
Stop seeing your burdens as holding you back and start seeing them for what they can be. Take energy and inspiration from them, and choose to live life on your own positive, fulfilling terms.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Wedding Advice

Today I am going to a wedding reception of a friend - we went to help clean up Katrina together. We got the nicknames Laman and Lemuel on the trip.........

So here are my three pieces of advice that I gave them in their card:
  • Talk to each other (about FLIPPIN' everything).
  • Hug each other.
  • Tell each other how much you love each other (and why).
This probably isn't reliable advice coming from me.....

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Don't Give Up - Marathon Style

While competing in the marathon in Mexico City, Akhwari cramped up due to the high altitude of the city. He had not trained at such an altitude back in his country. At the 19 kilometer point during the 42 km race, there was jockeying for position between some runners and he was hit. He fell badly wounding his knee and dislocated that joint plus his shoulder hit hard against the pavement. He however continued running, finishing last among the 57 competitors who completed the race (75 had started). The winner of the marathon, Mamo Wolde of Ethiopia, finished in 2:20:26. Akhwari finished in 3:25:27, when there were only a few thousand people left in the stadium, and the sun had set. A television crew was sent out from the medal ceremony when word was received that there was one more runner about to finish.

As he finally crossed the finish line a cheer came from the small crowd. When interviewed later and asked why he continued running, he said, "My country did not send me 5,000 miles to start the race; they sent me 5,000 miles to finish the race."

DFQ - Don't freaking quit. Put your head down and just keep moving.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Men Are Not Evil*

Today I spent an hour helping prepare for Cub Camp. I was the only dude for miles. Not a single woman said 2 words to me. I tried to say something to two of them but I got stares back at me. I got some very weird looks from these women. So let me be blunt - just because I came to help with a "craft" doesn't make me a weirdo (I like to help Scouts hence I came), doesn't mean I am going to attack you and doesn't mean I am gonna hurt your kids. I have never felt so socially removed from a group -- I guess it is for the best anyways.

They were also more concerned about bad mouthing their husbands within their own little "social groups". I don't have friends who bad mouth their spouses. It is one of the things on my checklists of requirements for friends. No matter how bad things are, if you have problems in your marriage keep it in your marriage unless you are seeking counseling.  Men are not idiots because they are men and women are not weak because they are women.

So women, stop doing it.
So men, stop doing it and don't do it.

I am not a bad dude. And yes I am learning to sew.

*This post isn't imply that women are evil either.