Friday, October 30, 2009

Weigh In #7

I've been thinking about a lot this week. The concept of people, adults and children, being in slavery and being bought and sold like they aren't human has been breaking my heart. So, I spent some time poking around the site to see what's going on and to look for some good news in this fight. What I was reminded of was that there are two main aims of Abolition and Restoration. It's not just enough to set the captives free... They need help to recover from what they have been through. To heal and begin life again, or for the first time in some cases.

I've been lifted, to a degree, by the many stories on the blog. On the blog, the staff and volunteers post stories about rescue, restoration, and recovery. They also post stories about the tragedies of human trafficking and the sex trade. As much as my heart breaks to know that people are living through these atrocities, I am stirred by the fact that others are fighting for them and helping. This mission of abolition and restoration keeps taking me to the work of Jesus. He has freed us from the slavery of sin and death and, even now, is working to restore us, to bring us back home.

My family has pledged to donate to as part of ThisMustChange. But I am feeling like there must be more that we can do... More to come on this I'm sure.

As for the donations, I'm afraid I can't add anything to the total this week myself. I stepped in the scales this morning and did not like what I saw:

296... Again....

I don't know if this is because of a birthday weekend last week, a lack of sleep throughout this week, or something else. But I'm not going to lose heart here. I'm traveling a lot this next week and that can make things tough. But it also might open up opportunities for working out as the hotels have nice fitness rooms. Tune in next week to find out (Probably be a Saturday post as I will not be at home where the scale is this coming Friday)

Photo credit to kovik

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Book Review: Deadly Viper Character Assassins

I had heard a lot about something called Deadly Viper out in the twitterverse and on several blogs. I even went to the website a few times. But I wasn't quite sure what they were getting at...

But something clicked with me about what these guys are doing and I went over to Amazon and ordered a copy of the small book.

The authors describe the book as
[A] self-defense course for protecting your most priceless possession: your character... [Deadly Viper] unmasks the identities of your opponents and equips you, your family, and your congregation with the leadership skills to beat them. If your integrity as a leader is flawless, here's how to keep it that way. If your character and reputation have taken a hit, here's a route to hope and redemption.

Deadly Viper Character Assassins will help you achieve a lifestyle of integrity and grace.

And that was what hooked me. Having held, and often screwed up, several leadership positions in the last 20 years, the curiousity of understanding what "assassins" were out there and the hope for redemption and grace were strong. So I began reading...

At first I thought I might have made a mistake and wandered into a running joke the two authors were having. There was plenty of kitschy "Kung Fu" references and stuff about being ninjas and the wisdom of Master Po (from an old, and good, TV show not the Kung Fu Panda). But after the first couple of pages, it made sense.

Foster and Wilhite were going deep with their martial arts metaphor. And it works. Your integrity and character are under assault all the time. There are the full frontal assaults that most leaders can see and deal with. The authors are more concerned here with the ninja-like assassins that use sleathy, guile, cunning, skill, and ruthlessness to score a kill on your character. So this little book is about identifying yoru enemies, knowing them and how they attack, and training yourself to fight, and defeat, these character killers.

I'll give you the quick list of the 7 character assassins but you will need to read the book for a deep understanding of your enemies and how best to fight them:

  1. The Assassin of Character Creep - Character begins to die by a thousand small cuts that weaken you enough for the assassin to deliver the coup de grace...
  2. The Assassin of Zi Qi Qi Ren - Zi Qi Qi Ren is a Chinese word that literally means "self-deception while deceiving others"...
  3. The Assassin of Amped Emotions - In the moments of everyday life, he waits for you to blow your top, lose your cool, or go postal. Then he strikes...
  4. The Assassin of the Headless Sprinting Chicken - If you are too busy and tired, you have little defense against the attacks...
  5. The Assassin of Boom Chicka Wah Wah - Stupid decisions are made when thinking is done without the brain...
  6. The Bling Bling Assassin - While you chase for "enough" this assassin can cut you down...
  7. The High and Mighty Assassin - Over confidence and arrogance can do this assassin's job for him...

Each assassin gets a chapter that goes into detail about how they attack, what weaknesses they try to find or expose in your character, how to prepare for the attacks and how to recover if you have already been attacked. At the end of each chapter is a 2 page Q&A with a "master" in the assassin's area. Some of the masters include Duane Chapman (Dog the bounty hunter), Rabbi David Wolpe, Marcus Buckingham, and Joe Ritchie.

What really brings the book together and focuses the point are the first and last chapters of the book. These chapters do not deal directly with any of the assassins. Instead they deal with the real lives of the authors and the people that they know, interact with, work with, and share life with. Basically, they are showing why this is important by using themselves as examples. The last chapter also introduces an organization that caught my attention: People of the Second Chance.
1. People of the Second Chance are individuals who are fast to forgive. In a culture that believes in revenge and payback, we rebel with grace.

2. People of the Second Chance receive second chances in their own life. When we have experienced personal, professional, or relational failure, we refuse to be defined by our mistakes. We learn, we grow, and we have the courage to move on.

3. People of the Second Chance serve in places where people need second chances. We advocate for the vulnerable and fight for equality for the poor, the prisoner, and the voiceless.

These three values can be simply summed up by:

Give, Receive & Be the Second Chance.

It's the best way to fight the assasins...

If you are in a leadership position, have left a leadership position (voluntarily or otherwise), or think you will be a leader of people one day, go read this book.

(And, No, I didn't get this book free from anybody. I bought it myself. So there, FTC...)

Friday, October 23, 2009

Weigh In #6

I issued a bit of a challenge to myself last week. I got below 300 (albeit just barely) and stated that I wouldn't just accept that goal as a stopping (or even a pausing) point. That was last Friday. Two things happened that day that I thought might have an impact on that claim.

The first was that I found a whole pint of Ben & Jerry's Phish Food ice cream in the freezer while getting something out for the kids. Phish Food is, by far, my favorite ice cream in the world! The chocolate ice cream, the caramel, the fudge fish pieces. Oh my.... I couldn't resist. I scooped out a bowl for myself and enjoyed the decadence. And then I wallowed in the guilt.

But thanks to the daily plate journal at, I was able to adjust for all the extra from the ice cream and keep my daily calories almost reasonable for the day. The knowledge of where I was for the day and how much was in the ice cream kept me from doing what I had in the past. Namely, justify going overboard for the rest of the day because I had already "wasted the day" by having the dessert. I suddenly felt a little less guilty.

The second thing I learned last Friday was that a chicken salad sandwich on sour dough bread (with no cheese) from Atlanta Bread Co has only about 400 calories. I love those sandwiches and finding out that I could easily work one in as a meal was a great find... Of course, since I've had 3 of them this week, I might try to find some other options for the next few weeks.

Anyway, I weighed in this morning. Working from 299.4 last Friday, I had visions of Phat Phish as I walked to the scale. I stepped up and waited for the display....



And that means more money pledged to from me and those wonderful souls who have agreed to pledge as well. You can see the current pledge total over on the right side bar. You can also donate straight to using the "Donate" button there as well. I pray that you will consider helping the fight against the human trafficking going on in our cities today.

Until next week.....

Photo credit to jimmers

Friday, October 16, 2009

Weigh In #5

Week #5 has come to an end and it's time for another Friday weigh in. Last week I made it to just over 303. I have been holding out hope all week that I would break through the 300lbs mark this week. And the verdict is.......


Whew! There was a time (like 2 months ago) where I didn't know if I would see the bottom side of 300. And now I'm not only through it, I'm on my way to leaving it behind. I gotta admit, I feel good about this result today but I'm not going to accept it as a place to stay and hang out. God willing, I'll be writing on here within the next 12 months about going through the 250 barrier. Hopefully even beyond that too. Thanks for your continued support and prayers...

Last week we picked up a new pledge for donations to as a part of This Must Change. I am so happy that friends and family are seeing how they can be a part of this effort to abolish slavery in our time. The idea that people are buying and selling other people in this day and age and in these United States just cuts me all the way to the bone. Thankfully, there are people like the wonderful folks at and like Zach Hunter (just ordered his book "Lose Your Cool" so I can review it here later) that are leading the charge in putting a stop to human trafficking and helping the enslaved.

Please consider helping out with this cause. You can leave me a comment here on the blog, talk to me on twitter (@scbubba) or email me at the address at the top of the blog sidebar if you want to make a pledge of support. You can also donate directly to by clicking the "Donate" button on the right side over there. You don't even have to do anything with this blog but please, oh please, do SOMETHING... Thanks

Friday, October 9, 2009

Weigh In #4

It's Friday again, and that means time for another 80-60-40 progress check. It seems to have gotten easier to get through the week now. I've gotten used to making better (mostly) food choices and we, as a family, are eating out less and less. What is still difficult to do regularly is to get out and exercise. I definitely did not exercise enough this week. I think I might have gone walking once all week. I gotta get better at that, now.

So, last week I got to the 305 mark. I have to say that I was really hopeful that I would break through the 300 barrier this week. I know it's just a psychological thing, but I feel like it is important somehow.

Well, I didn't make it under 300 but I did make progress: 303.2. That's almost 2lbs this pst week. Right on target and I'll take it...

That progress also means progress towards our goals for and the people that they are helping. As I said last week, I now have a partner in pledging money to the work that is doing. But I'm still looking for more people to help out. As a part of, I am pledging $1 per pound lost until (at least) Nov 16th. If you would like to help, please consider making a pledge of support (money or otherwise) in the comments section below. You don't have to lose any weight (other than a couple of dollars from your wallet perhaps) and it can be any amount. Shoot, you don't even have to go through me. Go ahead and click the "Donate" button over on the right side there and make a donation directly to today!

And if isn't the organization or cause that you want to support, then please find someone to help out. You can find other organizations over at Or you can find someone in your neighborhood that may need help. The bottom line is that God has blessed you. And not because you have earned it somehow. He has blessed you so that you may then become a blessing to someone else. So go become that blessing in someone's life today. Fight the apathy and selfishness that we see all around us. Break through the bitterness that keeps people separated. Help someone else today because This Must Change!

If you want to get involved here, or if you are doing something to help others, please leave a comment and share with us how you are blessing others. It i always encouraging to see a community come together like that.

Photo credit to bjearwicke.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Book Review: Green by Ted Dekker

I've read quite a few Sci-fi and Fantasy novels over the past 25+ years. I've read good ones, bad ones, and great ones. I've read stand alone novels and books that are part of extended series. All in all, I would estimate that I have read over 500 books in the science fiction and fantasy genre. So when I say that I like a book of that type, you know that I'm not just impressed with something shiny....

And I'm saying that I really liked "Green" by Ted Dekker. I liked it as a stand alone novel but I really enjoyed it as part of the Circle series. At least, I think I do. See, I haven't read any of the other books in the Circle series yet (Black, Red, and White). But Green, the 4th (and supposedly last) book published in the series, is written in such a way that you can either start the series with it, or end the series with it.

Dekker has really made a circle with the Circle series. Which is why Green is called "Book 0. The Beginning and the End."

In Green, Dekker opens up the scene on Earth 2000 years in the future. He shows us the people of Earth given a second chance after an apocalypse wiped everything out in our present day. Things are different in this future. Culture is primitive and somewhat medieval. There is no real technology and very little science there. But the biggest difference is that the forces of Good and Evil, the things that in our day are in the spirit world, have very physical manifestation on this future Earth.

I won't delve into all of the details about these manifestations. Or about time travel, angels and demons, or the end of the world. But I will tell you that Dekker is an amazing story teller and writer. The worlds (current Earth and future Earth) that he has imagined and illustrated with his words are incredible. I could hardly put the book down. Even staying up until after 2:00am one night reading "just one more chapter."

Once I finally did finish "Green", I was lucky enough to find a single volume that combined Black, Red, and White in their entirety (thank you Lifeway!) and I'm reading deeper into the Circle.

Whether you start the Circle with Green or finish it there, I recommend getting it....

Per the recent FTC ruling, I am required to tell you that I received a free copy of this book from Thomas Nelson in return for publishing my review.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Weigh In #3

Here it is, the end of the 3rd week of my 80-60-40 and campaign. That means that this morning is a weekly weigh in. I've already gotten to the point where I'm nervous when I get out of bed on Friday mornings. Mainly because I'm thinking how disappointed I'll be if I have gained weight or stayed steady. But there is also that expectation that I may have lost over and above the 1 - 2lbs I'm targeting each week. But I go step up on the scales each Friday...

Before I get to this week's weight, I want to urge you to learn more about and to please prayfully consider helping support their work to free people enslaved in human trafficking and help them get new lives. Click on the picture below to watch a short video that tells the story of (including where the name came from). It is very powerful:

As you may know by now, I am pledging to donate $1 per pound that I lose. This week I had one partner join me and pledge some money as well. If we can get just a few more folks to pledge something, anything, we can snowball this into a significant donation to help support the work of Remember, I'll do the work and you'll get the credit... So just call me, email me, facebook me, or @ me on Twitter to let me know what you want to pledge.

Now, on to the scales...

Last Friday when I loked down at the readout on the scales I saw 310.1lbs. That was a lose of 2 pounds for that week. I stepped up this morning hoping for something like that to happen this week. When I looked down I saw 305.0! That's 5 more pounds this week bring my total so far to 16lbs! Talk about feeling giddy.... I had to keep quiet because there were a house full of sleeping people that, while probably happy for me, would have been quite grumpy to be awake a 6:00am...

This week was harder than previous ones. I'm not sure exactly why but some of it was probably because there were a few days where I didn't plan for meals as well and was caught at work and hungry. I now have a couple of boxes of granola and fruit bars in my desk drawer along with some dried cranberries and raisins. Those can help me get through those times when otherwise I might grab a sugary snack or a soda.

My wife and kids have been a big help too. Their support has been awesome! And to see how, in just these 3 weeks, my kids are starting to think about the choices they make for food (sometimes) is very encouraging. I have also been lifted by the support and encouragement I have gotten from folks that I didn't even know read this blog. I've been stopped by folks in the hall at work and at church by people that say "Great job." or "I'm proud of you." because they see what's happening here.

The support from my friends that connect with me online has been wonderful as well. Emails, messages in facebook, and the replies and DMs in twitter really make my day.

To all of you I want to say a very heartfelt "Thank You" for supporting and encouraging me.

I look forward to hearing from you. See you next Friday!