Friday, December 24, 2010

Weigh-In 66 and 67


Well, I'm down to one week left in the 210 in 2010 challenge and, as much as I hate to admit it, it's not looking good...

At the end of last week and then again this week the scale tells me the same thing

216.0

With the track record of the past month of so it just doesn't seem feasible to drop 6lbs in the next 7 days. That being said, I'm not gonna throw it ll out. I'm gonna stick to the plan because it's not just about this goal. It's about getting to a healthier life where I can enjoy the things that God has blessed me with.

Honestly, I want to be able to play with my kids and then, I want to be able to play with their kids one day.

So, whether or not I reach the 2010 goal, I am incredibly happy with how far I've come so far. And I'm looking forward to where I'm going from here.

Peace and good will to you. Merry Christmas!

Photo credit to Leah Gregg.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Weigh-In 65


No grand truths or profound insights this week (have there been any before?) just a reminder that there are people, perhaps in your town or city even, that are not looking forward to this day.

And I don't mean they have something difficult to do or they are tired or they have to go to a spouse's office party where they don't know most of the people.

I mean that they face slavery, cruelty, torture, and/or abuse today. They will face the very real choice between wanting to live or die today. In truth, that may be the only choice that is theirs today.

For about 27 million people in our world, today is one day closer to hell.

But you can help change that. Today, you can make a choice to do something about it. I'm asking that you make a choice today to help Love146 end child slavery and exploitation.

I'm asking that today be one day closer to the day where we don't have people in slavery any more. Will you help today?

You can learn more about the issue over here. And you can donate directly to Love146 right here.

Let's make today a great day....

Speaking of days, the number of days left in the year is ticking down. And I'm trying to get the number on the scale to do the same thing. This weekend I did manage to get it to

217.0

So, a little move back in the right direction. And with 3 more weigh-ins before 2010 ends, I gotta find a way to move it some more.

We shall see....

Photo credit to Clearly Ambiguous.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Weigh-In 64


I'm not a big fan of this time of year. I'm sure it's a culmination of things but the basic piece is that I just can't get excited about it.

Schedules and activities are everywhere and you are expected to be at or do everything. Nerves are thin and frayed. The concerns about finances and money seem amplified.

And depending on what sort of job/industry you are in, it can be the busy (or impossibly busy) season on top of everything else.

I don't want to sound like a Scrooge, but, to borrow a line from one of the greatest shows on TV, "I have an intense burning indifference!" (See the whole musical number here)

The oddest thing is that I love giving gifts and being generous (I think it is my Love Language) and I really do enjoy how happy my family is on and around Christmas.

I get the meaning behind Christmas - celebrating the wonderful and amazing gift that God gave to the world (that's all of us) in His son Jesus. And I am forever grateful for that and feel that it is worth celebrating. I just don't feel like that is what is happening.

I guess I'll chalk it up to some character flaw or idiosyncrasy.Everyone else seems to be just fine with it and happy as can be about it. So I'll just try and keep up...

I didn't weigh in on Friday like normal this past week. Everything has been off schedule, it seems, since right before Thanksgiving. So, I stepped up on the scale Sunday morning and it looked back at me with

218.0

Very disappointing to me. I'm down to the last 3 weeks of the year trying to hit the 210 in 2010 goal and everything that has been working to lose over 100lbs is suddenly not working for the last 8lbs. Very frustrating....

I will say that I have been a LOT hungrier the past couple of weeks but I have been doing a pretty good job of not indulging (with a small exception at the Chili Cook-Off Sunday night). I'm trying to figure out if that's a sign from my body that I'm not eating enough and I've slowed my metabolism down significantly.

I wish there was a dial or gauge somewhere that I could check to see what my "burn rate" is at any given time. That sure would help.

Peace to all of you. And good will to men (and women)...

Image credit to Topher208

Monday, November 29, 2010

Weigh-In 63



Happy (late) Thanksgiving to you! I hope you had a great holiday.

We shared the time with family, including 4 generations of aunts, uncles, and cousins on my Dad's side. It was great to reconnect with family and share some of the same old stories of when we were younger. It was also incredible to share the new stories about kids, and grand kids (not mine!), and people that weren't part of the family last year.

This brought me back to a theme I've been on before: Story.

We all have a story. Some of us might have more than one story. We might not even know all of our story. There could be parts of the story that happened before we were even around or happened without us ever knowing about it. Or we may have just forgotten about some parts of it (for good or bad reasons).

In the mood of sharing stories with everyone, I mentioned that my right leg is about 1/2 inch shorter than my left leg (I'm not sure why this was relevant but it fit the conversation at the time so bear with me...). I passed it off as just one of those things. But my Dad was right there and said "And tell them why that leg is shorter..."

I just kinda looked at him and shrugged my shoulders. At which point, my father bean to tell a story that I had no memory of (even though I was the main character and point of the story).

As only Dad can, he spun the story of a 4 year old at a playground at the State Park in my hometown. This strapping lad had gotten a "for real and official" Batman costume, complete with cape, for his birthday and could not bear to part with it.

So, the scene is set with this 4 year old in full Batman regalia (don't forget the cape) at the playground. Enter our antagonist: The slide. But not just any slide. This monument to evil rose almost 12 feet off the ground with a ladder to rival that of a firetruck. It had the magnetic effect on a 4 year old boy that the Sirens had on the sailors in the Odyssey.

Step by step, inch by inch, the young Batman protege moved closer and started up the ladder. While the parents were right by the slide, they were in no way prepared for the next moments.

Standing atop the slide, surveying the playground as if it were the mean streets of Gotham City itself, the young man was filled with the confidence and power that only a utility belt and cape could bestow. Puffing up his chest (because that's what heroes do), he then leaped out into space to fly through his domain!

Wait... What?!?! "Batman can't fly!" I can hear some of you saying out there. Turns out, neither can a 4 year old boy, with or without a cape. What he can do, however, is hurtle to the ground from 12 feet up and manage to break his fall (so to speak) by getting one leg under him before the ground met him.

I don't recall those events at all. I don't remember the trip to the ER or being at the hospital. I don't even have recollection of the Batman costume. I do not remember the things that my Dad does about the even or the aftermath (like how I was worried that I had disappointed the real Batman with my failure to fly - C'mon! I was 4 years old!).

But my father remembers it. He recalls every anxious and agonizing second of my short lived flight. He has a memory of me laying on the ground screaming out. He also remembers picking me up and carrying me. Getting me help. But that's not the thing he keeps in his heart when he thinks of me. He doesn't define me by a slight limp or a medical bill that would have been hard to pay back then. My identity in his eyes is a beloved and cherished son.

And I believe that is how our heavenly Father sees us. Not the agony, exasperation, disappointment, anxiety, and pain. But as His beloved children. He knows our whole story, even if we don't, and loves us in spite of, and because of, the limp.

On to the numbers....

I was away from the "official scale" while we were traveling so I didn't get to weigh in until Mon morning. And I dutifully stepped up on the scale to see

218.0

All that good food and sharing stories over dessert caught up with me this week and I added a pound back. It's gonna be tough hitting the 210 in 2010 goal. I've got 33 days to drop these 8lbs to hit 210 before the new year. And this is one of the worst seasons for maintaining dietary discipline...

But we'll see how it goes. I appreciate all the encouragement and support this community has been giving me. Thank you all so much.

Peace.

Photo credit to squeakymarmot.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Weigh-In 62


As most of you know, I'm a supporter of an organization called Love146. Their mission is, quite simply, "The abolition of child sex slavery and exploitation. Nothing less." it's a cause I can really get behind because I can think of very few things that are worse than the enslavement, terrorization, and breaking of a child. It is, well, inhuman.

To date, my support has been in the form of donations, fund raising, and encouragement. Not the biggest contributions to the mission and I know it is greatly appreciated by the Love146 folks and the people they help. But, this problem is too wide spread for a few dedicated people to tackle and end on their own. Knowing that, Love146 has now started the Love146 TaskForce Community.

The TaskForce Community is " A collection of volunteers committed to ending child sex slavery and exploitation." It provides a ton of resources to help anyone, and I mean anyone, get involved in helping bring an end to this global (and local) horror.

"Task Force 101" gives an excellent overview of the concept of the Task Force, where some existing Task Forces are and what they are doing, and additional links of interest. The key, of course, is to find one near you and get involved. The site has a way to search for a Task Force by location.

Being a relatively new community, it may be that you can't find a Task Force near you. No worries, you can step up and start one! Don't be too scared by this concept. A Task Force is simply:

If you feel like this is something that you can do, then get over to the Love146 TaskForce Community site and JOIN NOW!

This was the 62nd week of working towards my weight loss (and fundraising) goals. I felt like I worked harder this week than some of the more recent weeks with respect to running and tracking my diet. So it was a little disheartening to step up and see:

217.0

Just half a pound for all that work. But, time and again, I look back and see that there may be a few things that I've been dismissing that are making a difference. For example, on the weeks where the math (calories in vs calories out) should be working in my favor but the scale isn't showing it (little or no loss or even a gain in weight), I find that my sleep patterns, especially just the amount of sleep most nights, is pretty bad. This week I probably averaged a little over 4 hours per night. I think that messes with the normal function and equilibrium of my body and brain. My observation over the past year plus points to that anyway.

With the short week for Thanksgiving upon us, I'm hoping that means I can slow it down a little and get back into a regular sleep pattern where I get enough, or at least some more, sleep.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Top photo: credit to millicent_bystander.
Bottom image: credit to Love146 TaskForce site

Friday, November 12, 2010

Weigh-In 61


Spiritual gifts seem to be getting a lot of discussion time lately. My church is undertaking an effort to go online with a set of tools to help people identify and use their gifts and talents. I've seen several web sites and books that are designed for this purpose as well. I've also heard a couple of messages in the past few weeks from pastors covering the topic.

The one that stood out to me the most was from Jeff Henderson who is a campus pastor for NorthPoint in Atlanta (he's out at Buckhead usually). In a sermon series about understanding God's plan for our lives, Jeff talks about "God's thumbprints on our lives." I think that is a very interesting way of talking about the talents and abilities that God has created us with.

Just talking about someone's abilities or even "God given talents" doesn't personalize it like the idea of having individual and unique marks placed on us by the our creator. I have these thumbprints and fingerprints on me where God personally and individually held me and made me for a purpose. He intentionally gave me the abilities I have. I didn't get them by happenstance or the roll of some dice (was that a Dungeons & Dragons reference?).

I am who I am because I was created to be that way. Now, I may behave in a way other than in a way for which I was created. That is different than who I am and was create to be. But, when I look for God's thumbprints, I see the clues to who I am supposed to be and to what God's plan is for me. And, personally, I feel the love of from a parent and not the detachment of just "something created somewhere".

What are the "thumbprints" God has put on you and how are they clues to His plan for your life?

Speaking of who I am and who I am becoming, I weighed in this morning after running 3.5 miles. Really didn't think I would get to that distance when I started running a few months ago. Not the fastest guy on the block right now but faster will happen.

Anyway I stepped on the scale and saw

217.5

I'm closing in on the end of year goal (210lbs) so that we can maximize the contributions and pledges that you all have made. At present we have $420 in pledges/donations here. That gets matched for another $420. We have $315 from the Birthday Wish donations. And finally the $274 from the 80-60-40 campaign. That's $1429 that y'all have helped raise for Love146.

Awesome. Thank you for your support and encouragement. Now to bring it on home....

Photo credit to fazen.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Weigh-in 60


Well, this has been an interesting couple of weeks. I turned 40 two weeks ago. We had 6 sick people in the family in 3 days. We spent a day at the fair. My Mom got a new shoulder. My oldest got braces.

I hit the 100 lbs lost mark...

Yup. Stepped on to the scale this morning and saw

221.0

looking back at me.

Just thought I would let y'all know....

That still leaves 11lbs in the next 7 weeks to hit the 210 in 2010 goal. A wonderful friend gave me an incredible birthday gift of a donation to Love146 that put the total for this drive art $420. That means we have the matching funds for both donors and the current 210 in 2010 total is $840.00!

I love you guys and gals and how you have opened up your hearts to support Love146 and their efforts around the globe. You guys rock!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Weigh-In 59

Ugh.

The last 36 hours have been rough. First, my wife came down with some sort of stomach bug overnight and was pretty much laid up all day Thursday. I ran the kids around to some activities they had that evening. Once we got home, my middle daughter started complaining about her stomach hurting.

We got everyone to bed and then I started feeling pretty bad - aches, fever, shivering, stomach pain. Then is started...

We had 3 sick kids all needing help from mom and dad between 2:00 - 6:00am. Not pretty.

Needless to say, it makes for a rough morning to be sick and have to take care of the kids. Fortunately, my wife is feeling much better and the girls are too. Looks like it's just me still feeling bad.

But I did weigh in this morning (once I finally got up). The scale said...

223.0

That leaves me with 13lbs in the next 8 or so weeks to hit the 210 goal by the end of the year. Might be a whole lot easier if I stay sick for a few more days...

Photo credit to lynch.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Weigh-in 58


It's almost here.

I turn 40 years old next week. There. I said it. I'm not 39 again. I'm not "in the later part of my early 30's" or anything like that.

40. Hmmm, I guess it doesn't seem so bad after all. Considering there was a time I wondered if I would make it this far, I'd say it is pretty daggum good.

I am grateful for every one of those years and would like to ask you to help me make a birthday wish come true.

As those of you who know me or have read this blog before already know, I have been raising support for an organization called Love146. The vision of Love146 is, quite simply:

The abolition of child sex slavery and exploitation. Nothing less.

The mission of Love146 is also very simple:

Abolition and Restoration! We combat child sex slavery & exploitation with the unexpected and restore survivors with excellence.
(quotes from the official Love146 web site)

So, I close my eyes, blow out the candles, and make this birthday wish:

No one should be in bondage or in slavery, least of all children. When I look at my wonderful kids and think that there are boys and girls in the world TODAY that are in chains, being exploited, bought and sold, used and abused... I can't stand it. It breaks my heart and makes me angry.

But it doesn't have to be this way. Thanks to folks like the Love146 staff, people are becoming aware of the problem. And not just aware, but empowered to act. There is education, there is activism, and most importantly, there is action to find and free these children.

It doesn't stop there, either. Love146 has created programs (like the Round Home) to help restore love and life to the victims of sex slavery and exploitation.

It is my birthday wish that the abolition of slavery and the restoration of the victims is a reality in our lifetime. That the modern day slave trade is destroyed. That hearts and spirits are released from bondage along with bodies.

Please help if you can.

The weigh in....

All I can say is "ugh!" I didn't feel good about this week going in to it. Not really sure why. But I stepped on the scale this morning and...

224.0

Yup. Gained a pound this week. No idea how or why. I ran over 8 miles this week. I stayed under the 1650 calorie goal each day. Even on the days I ran.

I'll have to chalk it up to stress and lack of sleep this week. Life with a startup company, a family of 6, and an approaching 40th birthday can do that to you, I guess.

Onward to the future!

Photo credit to sergis blog

Friday, October 15, 2010

Weigh-In 57



You ever feel like you are right on the edge of something? You're looking over and seeing all of it laid out before you but you are still standing up there. Too far forward to just go back but not quite off the ledge yet.

There's this tension between letting go and falling into the new and holding on and staying safe with the old. It's almost like defying gravity, even if for only a second, and being in between the bonds of physical law and the freedom of flight.

I find myself in this tension on a regular basis lately. Sometimes it's a good thing to be "grounded" and only see over the edge. Temptation to sin or compromise my character are like this. There is that "gravity defying" moment where you have a last chance to decide to stand or fall. Ideally, you have some guardrails that can keep you safe before you get to the edge, but I think we've all been there before.

Other times, looking over the edge is as far as you get when something new comes along. How many times have you felt the draw, the calling, to move to something new but stayed in your comfort zone. Happy with the old or scared of changing, we stand on the edge - unable to really resist the pull on our hearts but unwilling to give up what we have or what we know to be familiar.

I think that tension is present in all of us. We are called to help others, to love people in all of their messed up and broken nature. We are caught between that pull and the desire to stay simple, to not get tied up in other people's mess or drama.

But when we just stand on the edge and look over, we miss out. We miss out on the opportunity to be a blessing and to be blessed. Every time I have felt called to help someone, I've had this tension. And every time I've decided to stay safe and comfortable I've had some level of regret.

Now, not every time that I decided to get involved did things turn out all nice and pretty. But I don't think it was the wrong choice to try to help. At a minimum, I learned things about myself and others. And generally, the experience has been good for all involved (even though the good sometimes takes years to be seen).

So, think about that next time you find your self defying gravity on the edge of a situation or decision. Discern what is holding you back and what is calling you forward. Don't let comfort and familiarity dictate your decisions. You just might find something pleasantly surprising when you let go....

Now for this week's 210 in 2010 update:

Getting back to running has been great and looks to be paying dividends. I weighed this morning and saw

223.0

Good to see some of the old progress this week. Now to keep that pace as I have 13lbs to go in the 10 or so weeks left in the year...

Remember, we still need your help in raising funds for Love146. You can leave me a comment here, email me, hit me up on twitter or facebook, and now you can even help through a "birthday wish" thanks to the folks at causes.com. Thanks in advance for your support.

Photo credit to tuppus.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Weigh-in 56


I had breakfast this week with a good friend that I hadn't really connected with in over a month. When we get together, it's usually a good time. A couple of old boys shooting the breeze, talking about the families, moaning and groaning about work and all that.

We also usually carry the conversation into our spiritual lives as well. He and I have some of the same struggles and some of the same talents. We are also very different in several areas. But it makes for a good combination and some really good conversation.

In he context of our talking this week, I mentioned that I felt something I was missing was a tight knit band of men that would take an interest in each others lives and form a community of encouragement, support, and accountability.

He shared with me a ministry at Seacoast church here in Charleston that had the goal of establishing these communities for men. So next week I'm planning to attend my first Men's Wednesday at Seacoast. I'm really excited about it and am very interested to see what all it has in store.

I strongly encourage you to find a small group of people that you can be very open and honest with. A band of folks that you don't worry much about when it comes to judging, hurtful criticism, and back stabbing. Easier said than done, right?

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not saying you are out there looking for some perfect people to get in a club with. You need to find some people that are messed up (like you and me are). That are scared (like we are). That mess things up and screw up at times (like you and I do).

Then you gotta love 'em. And give them the grace and compassion and respect that we all want. It's hard to do. And it just might hurt at times. But when you get there... it is so worth it.

One key thing to note - you can't do this as a hobby or just when it's convenient or easy. You are going to need to put in the time (abide, if you will) and, yes, some effort as well. This is where I've been failing with respect to this. Time to make some changes....

Speaking of changes, let's get to the numbers and see what changed.

First of all, the donation number has changed. We're up another $50 over last week's $224. That brings our current number to $274 on the way to at least $420 (to get all the matching funds).

Now, I hear you asking (or at least I hear the 2 people that read this each week asking): "What about the weigh in number?" Well....

225.0

Slowly but surely moving down. That leaves 15lbs to go by Dec 31, 2010. I have to get moving at more than one pound per week to hit the goal. I've started running again with the Couch To 5K program again. It's tough getting back in the habit but I'm still committed to doing the Bridge Run (10K) next year...

As always, please help out where you can. Even a couple of dollars can go a long way in helping Love146 and the fight to end human trafficking and modern day slavery. To learn more about giving, you can check this out.

Abolition!


Photo credit to barto.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Weigh-in 55


I had to have some work done on my car this week. And not just an oil change either. In the month of September I've put about $1200 into maintenance, routine and otherwise, on the car.

The key thing for this week, and the biggest chunk of that total amount, was that the car would just about not run at times. For those of you in Charleston you'll understand when I say that I almost didn't make it up the Ravanel bridge from Mount Pleasant Monday afternoon. I was a real popular guy on that up-slope at 25 mph, let me tell you.

So, after that little automotive incident I decided I had to do something about it. Up until then, it had seemed like a minor annoyance that the car rode a little rougher than before and didn't really have the same pep when you hit the gas. But this isn't a high performance machine we're talking about here. It's a Buick Century. You know, an "Old Man Car" as my kids like to say.

So, I took it in to get an O2 sensor replaced. That was what I figured it needed since the last shop said the computer had a code come up for a bad one. And I had already had the transmission serviced so that couldn't be the issue.

Well, during the diagnostic, the guys at the garage (different from the previous shop - that's a whole nuther story) came back with more news than I wanted to hear. The catalytic converter (part of the exhaust system for you non-car folks) was damaged and had stuff clogging it up. That explained the loss of power (severe back pressure on the engine) for sure. The O2 sensor did need to be replaced, and they put a new one in, but the catalytic converter was definitely THE thing causing problems.

Left alone, that problem could have led to severe engine damage that would have, along with possibly stranding me somewhere, cost me a pretty penny or two.

So this week I got to thinking about how often people (meaning ME) get themselves into situations like this with areas of their lives. You know, things were real good at one point but over time there was a gradual decline in power/happiness/intimacy/security/etc. The slight change isn't really enough to notice from day to day so it basically goes un-noticed until it gets pointed out - by someone outside who sees the big difference and not the little changes or, like my car, some thing catastrophic (or almost) happens to wake you up.

Unlike cars, people's lives can't always make a stop at the garage and have the bad stuff patched up in a few hours. No, the things that are usually damaged with people are relationships. And trust me, those are very hard to fix and they typically take a while.

I've been called out a couple of times in the last few weeks (even in the comments on this blog) about how I've let a few relationships gradual decline. And here I'm thinking I can just pop in a new O2 sensor to make it better when, in reality, it's closer to an engine failure than I would like to think...

I don't have any magic I can use or any super profound words for you on this. I just keep going back to John 15 where Jesus talks about "Abiding".

I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me. You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name. This is my command: Love each other. (John 15:9-17, NLT)

That is, spend the time and put in the effort and the relationship will be rewarding. It is about the quantity of time and not just "quality time." You don't create long term, deep relationships an hour a week or with a couple of posts on Facebook.

Nobody said it would be easy. But it is worth it in the end....

The numbers for this week:

The scale stared back at me this morning with

226.0

It feels good to have some measurable movement downward again.

And with some new pledges this week the total for "210 in 2010" is now at $224. That kicks in the first set of matching funds so we are at an overall amount of $434.

Just gotta get another $196 in pledges to unlock the next $210 in matches to get us headed toward $1000 for Love146.org and their great work.

If you want to join the cause, drop me a line in the comments below, send me an email (address is at the top of the sidebar on the right), or find me on facebook or twitter.

Keep those engines running smooth until next time...


Thanks to the morgueFile for cool (and free) photos like the one up at the top...

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Fundraising Info



Ok, a rare mid-week post.

I stirred up some discussion over on facebook about the Love146.org cause and raising som funds for them as part of "210 in 2010". Many folks were asking about Love146 and how to donate or get involved. So I figured one place to put all the info might help.

Here goes:

The organization is Love146.org and you can find out all about them at http://Love146.org/

The quick scoop is that they are an organization dedicated to stopping human trafficking, getting victims out of slavery, and restoring their humanity once rescued.

Love146 is involved in main different areas of the abolition movement but one that really sets them apart is their dedication to the aftercare of victims. Their "Round Home" in the Philippines is a safe haven for survivors of child sexual exploitation and trafficking. It is"uniquely built and designed to facilitate the restoration and holistic health of every child entering its doors." (More info here)

As for how to get involved, it's pretty simple:

1) Let me know how much you wish to pledge/donate. This can be public or private - totally up to you. I won't be sharing names/info of the people pledging. Only the grand total of pledges. You can email me, send me a message on facebook, write or comment on my FB wall, @ or direct message me on twitter, or leave a comment on this blog.

2) Go to http://love146.org/donate/usa (this is for donating US dollars - to donate in other currencies go here) and make your donation directly to Love146.org before the end of the year.

There are a couple of optional steps:

3) Browse the online Love146 store and purchase some cool swag. This helps fund the cause and raise awareness - the cool factor is just a side benefit...

4) Become an abolitionist - visit http://love146.org/get-involved to find ways to get involved. You can also check out End Slavery Now to join the fight.

So there you are. If there is anything else you might like to know, please let me know and I'll do my best to help out.

See you on Friday...

Friday, September 24, 2010

Weigh-in 53 & 54


Encouragement. Accountability. Education.

These are some of the key things that come to mind when I think about a "community of believers." I use that phrase deliberately instead of saying "church" because, unfortunately, those two terms aren't always synonymous.

I attend a church where I often get education in the form of sermons or Bible study curriculum. I am finding that I am missing a good bit of the other two items I mentioned: regular encouragement in my faith and accountability.

I don't say this to lay a bunch of blame on this church or the folks attending or working there. Just about every church where I know people that attend have folks that say the same about those churches. I say this because I think there is A big hole left in the spiritual life of many people that their church just isn't filling.

I have had different "communities of believers" over the years. Most of the time these folks tied in with where I worked. That's mainly because my non-family time for most of the past 20 years has been spent working. It's a little sad, perhaps, but it's true.

I often got incredible encouragement from the folks in these small communities. We would have Bible studies but most of the time it was in the everyday interactions with each other that this really happened. Also because of these interactions we could feel comfortable sharing with and confronting each other when necessary.

That thought might scare some people but it is really a good thing. The people in my life that have had the most positive impact on me are those with whom I could share who I want to be. This allows them to help me through encouragement (there's that word again) and accountability. When they see me acting counter to what they know I want to be, they can offer insight and correction.

This comes from love and not from an authoritarian position or a "I'm better than you" kind of thing. It's a pretty rare thing, though, I'm finding...

Why am I writing about all this? With the switch to the small start-up company back in May I went to a schedule where I work at home or in a place like Starbucks most of the time. That tends to be somewhat isolating. Paired with a very small company, I don't have the same level of interactions that I used to have that helped build that community.

And I miss it. And I haven't found a good way to get it back...


On to the reason that most of you stopped by... the numbers.

We traveled last week so I didn't have access to my "official" scale for a weigh in. I did step on the scale this morning. The numbers were:

227.0

Half a pound in 2 weeks. 4lbs in about 6 weeks. Kinda discouraging compared to my earlier progress and my upcoming goal deadline (210 in 2010). Also a bummer when I feel like I've been doing well with the nutrition side of things (less than 1700 calories per day).

But, I've completely slipped off the running routine. I need to get back to regular exercise to make progress, I believe. Looking for tips and encouragement for running motivation.

We are up to $174 in pledges for Love146.org so far. Still trying to get to $210 and then to $420 to get the matching funds. Please give if you can. Every little bit helps and gets doubled.

Until next time...

Photo credit to slagheap.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Weigh in 52


Yeah, I can't count it would seem. I know last week was #50 but this week marks the one year mark from when I started this whole deal. So that makes this the 52nd weigh in...

One year. Wow. So fast and yet so slow. Big changes and little ones too.

An example of a big change is the 90+ pounds I've lost in that year. Another big change in these 12 months is the move from the "steady as she goes", 40 hour work week of a government contractor back to the fast-paced, change on a dime, way over 40 hour week life of a start-up technology company.

Perhaps one of the biggest changes for me is what I've learned about the plight of some 27 million people that are enslaved today. The fact that, yes indeed, there are people in our advanced, enlightened world today that are held in shackles of slavery. Women, children, and men that are being used and abused daily and denied basic God-given rights.

A year ago I didn't know anything about the human trafficking going on. I didn't know that it was happening right under our noses here in the US and many times in plain sight.

As the summer of 2009 came to a close, I didn't know a thing about Love146.org and their work for abolition and restoration.

I didn't know anything about End Slavery Now and their New Underground Railroad.

I hadn't talked with John or Aaron a year ago to know about their hearts for ending modern day slavery.

In general, I didn't know anything about human trafficking and I was definitely not trying to do anything about it.

Now, a year later, I don't think I've done a whole lot but I'm in the process of doing something. With help from friends and strangers, we've raised several hundred dollars for the cause. I know it doesn't sound like much and, on its own isn't going to change the world.

But, to borrow a phrase, no raindrop ever feels like it is responsible for the flood. That is, very big things are often made up of lots of very small things. And a couple hundred dollars can turn into a huge resource if we can multiply it by getting more people involved.

And that's where you can help with some big changes for the upcoming year. Please find a few dollars that you can part with to help fight slavery. I'll help get you started on the multiplying part too.

If you can give at all, just let me know how much you can pledge to give to Love146.org this year. When I get to $210 in total pledges, I've got someone who will match it and multiply the total to $420.

If I can raise a total of $420 in pledges to Love146.org, then another wonderful person will multiply it again so that the $420 in pledges totals $840 that will go to fight slavery and help restore those freed from it.

So, please think hard about what you can do to help "the least of these" that are enslaved and suffering today. Leave me a comment on the blog, email me, talk to me on twitter, or hit me on facebook to let me know you can help and how much you can pledge.

Onward and downward. I weighed in today, of course. I've been getting wrapped around the axle a bit about only losing about 2 lbs in a month. I got used to the progress and now the plateau is eating at me.

So, in an effort to cut down on Friday morning disappointment,  I had convinced myself that there wouldn't be much change this week. I stepped on the scale and saw

227.5

Wow! Wasn't expecting that. Dropping 2 pounds this week definitely exceeded my expectations. Here's hoping that the plateau is behind me now and it's back to heading down the hill again...

Photo credit to Scott Robinson.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Weigh in 50


You ever wonder why you feel a certain way about something? Or why certain things make you react a particular way?

I do, too.

For example, as I was leaving the neighborhood this morning, I stopped for the school bus that was picking up kids. It was sitting just inside the entrance to the neighborhood with it's sign out and red lights flashing. I pulled to a stop facing it in the pre-dawn light.

One little girl (2nd grade, maybe) was running towards it with a huge backpack on. I watched as she got to the bus and climbed on board. Then I sat looking at the bus.

And it sat there looking at me. Red lights flashing. Doors closed. Just sitting there. I was across an intersection from it waiting for the lights to go off and for it to go ahead. Just sitting there.

As the seconds tick by, I started wondering what was up with the bus. The red lights are flashing. The doors are closed. No kids in sight. What's up?

I think I hear something so I turn the radio down. Was that a horn blowing? Don't see any other cars around. Is it the bus? I peer through the gloom but can't make out the bus driver. Is he honking at me? Does he want me to go ahead? But the lights are still red....

Then the lights go off and the bus pulls slowly forward. I start moving and passing the bus. I glance up and see the bus driver is very animated. He's pointing at me and, as far as I can tell, yelling at me.

What?!?! I didn't do anything wrong. The lights were flashing! Why are you yelling at me? You are the one in the wrong Mr Bus Driver!

So, for the next few minutes of my drive, I kept going over why I was right. Then I started wondering "Why does this bother me so much?" Seriously, why was I so worried about whether I was right or not?

I mean, it really bothered me to think that some person that I don't even know accused me of not doing something he thought I should have done. What is that? It doesn't make any sense when I looked at it like that.

I still don't really know the root cause of the feeling (am I really that neurotic?) but I do know it happens more often than I admit or am even aware of at the time.

Ultimately, it is an identity issue, I believe. Craving the approval of other people that much reveals the struggle to really believe that I am the person God says I am instead of the person that other people, or even I, say that I am.

I'm believing a lie. I don't like that. And I don't have to accept it.

If all I am is what the lies say I am then why in the world did the King and Savior of all die on a cross for me? If Jesus chose to pay for my sins, then I must be more than what the world tells me.

I'm not saying that I am, in any way, worth the price paid for me. But that price was paid. Christ chose to die for me. And I'm thinking that fact, in and of itself, gives a whole lot more validity to my identity from God than from the world.

I just want to go through each day remembering and believing that. But I struggle with it a lot.

Any body got any words of advice or encouragement on this topic?

On to the numbers.... I went to the scales this morning with the thought of no changes for 3 weeks on my mind. So I stepped up and the scale showed me:

229.5

A pound and a half for the week. I'll take it!

And, a small reminder, I'm still looking for some partners to pledge donations to Love146.org so we can get the matching funds. The current pledge amount still stands at $155. If we get to $210, we get $210 in matching funds. If we get all the way to $420, we get the $210 PLUS another $210 in matching funds. That would double the pledges to $840...

So, if you can spare a few dollars, Love146.org can really put them to good use.

Photo credit to Shermeee.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Weigh In 47, 48, and 49...

The passage of time never ceases to amaze, and sometimes surprise, me.

In what seems like the blink of an eye, it has been 3 weeks since I posted on here. I feel like I was writing the post for Week #46 just yesterday.

On the other hand, 3 weeks ago seems like such a long time with respect to work. After pulling a very long week (near 100 hours including the weekend) and delivering several new things/features, it seems like it was ages ago that it all happened.

Throw in extended travel up and down the East Coast for 8 days and I'm all out of sorts when it comes to keeping track of time.

Whew! But what does that actually mean in the end? Well, for me it means that I can easily get "too busy" to keep track of everything in my life. Now, many of those things that I can't keep track of in the busy times are not important or critical and it's OK to let them drop or slide.

But what I notice about myself is that I get into a rationalization pattern where I can excuse just about anything (that I do or don't get done) based on how busy I am. Because, in the justification center of my brain, Busy = Important.

To be honest, that is not always, or even often, true. Going back to the discussion on "abiding" (See John 15:1 - 17), many times the most important things to do are the ones that aren't considered "urgent" by everyone else. I've learned (the hard way) over several years that people, in general, will typically take everything you have to give and then come back to get more. So if you are prioritizing your life and activities on what other people want, you will always be too busy for other important things.

I'm not sure who the wise person was that originally said it, but I like the quote: "Saying Yes to one thing is saying No to something else." If you say Yes to everything that comes your way with no regard to what is actually important, you will have no margin to say Yes to things that come to you later. Your dance card will be filled up by the time the main show starts. And you'll be left wondering why you can't get/have/do this other stuff.

Trust me and don't ask me how I know....

On to the part that I'm finding most people skip to anyway... :-)

I actually weighed in the morning of Aug 13 (Week #47) and the number was

231.0

Because of travel, I wasn't home to use my "official" scale for Week #48, so no number there. I will say that I kinda fell off the wagon between the Week #47 weigh in and this week so my guess is that the number would not have been one I liked for the missed week....

But, getting back on track this week, I weighed in this morning. I was very nervous to look down and see the number on the scale's display:

231.0

I felt a mix of relief and disappointment. Relief because I didn't gain weight after my "week off". Disappointment because that means, in the end, I lost 1lb in 3 weeks. That's going to be hard to overcome as I try to knock of 21 more pounds by the end of the year. Which, by the way is only 4 months from now leaving me with at least 5lbs a month. Not impossible but not easy either.

I plan to be back on track with info on fund raising, Love146.org, and #FreedomFriday next week.

See you then...

Photo credit to beggs.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Weigh In 46


I love being a dad.

I can't think of any part of it I would want to give up. My kids mean so much to me, it blows my mind to think about it sometimes. The thought of something bad happening to them literally wrecks me at times.

And that's why my heart breaks when I think about the millions of people, children and adults, who face a living hell everyday called slavery.

Slavery of any kind is unconscionable but the thought of women, men, girls, and boys being held captive and used for sex goes even further. There is something about sex slavery that makes me incredibly angry and sad all at the same time.

The thought of what one of my little girls would be going through if, God forbid, something like that ever happened... It makes me wonder about the people that are enslaved today.

A recent post on the Ms. Magazine blog gives a list of "10 Things Men and Boys Can Do to Stop Human Trafficking." There are some interesting things that the author has to say about language, pornography, strip clubs, and general behavior among men. But I think the best thing in this article is item #10 in the list: Raise sons and mentor boys to challenge oppression.

This carries over to daughters as well. Oppression is wrong regardless of gender. Unfortunately, our culture today still carries over several "Old Boy" mentalities that, perhaps inadvertently, help contribute to an environment where women can be demeaned or lessened.

As the father of 3 daughters and now a son, I take my job seriously as the leader, protector, and mentor of them. I want them to grow up to challenge oppression. To not accept it as status quo. But not only in its overt appearances. I want to them to understand it, and not accept it, even in the subtle forms.

Sometimes I do a better job at it than others. And I feel like I'm getting better each time....

Now for the numbers:

This week's weigh-in showed me:

232.0

Not a bad week's work... 22lbs to go to hit the next goal.

And, about that goal, we are still at $155 in pledges right now. We need to get to $210 to unlock the 1st bundle of matching funds. We need to get to $420 to open up the other $210 in matching funds.

If you can give any amount (even a single dollar) to support Love146.org, please let me know. Leave a comment here or email me at the address at the top of the sidebar. You can find me in twitter as well (@scbubba).

Thanks in advance for your support.

Photo credit to kwanie.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Weigh In #45

Have you ever thought about your vocabulary? You know, the number and type of words you use to communicate regularly...

What about the vocabulary of your actions? What are the things you do saying?

I have thought about these two things a few times. You know, what am I saying? What am I doing? How are those things communicating to other people and what am I saying about myself?

But I have never thought about the vocabulary of my appetites. In fact, I never really thought about what my appetites are until I started listening to a new series of sermons from North Point Community Church in Atlanta (aka Andy Stanley's church).

Aside from the appetites that we all know, the one for food and drink, I have begun to realize the appetites that are or have been in my life. There have been appetites for achievement, social acceptance, money, companionship, food, more food, and the list goes on.

At different times in my life, those appetites have tried to, and sometimes succeeded, rule me. And mainly this is because I didn't understand that appetites have something to say. A vocabulary. Theirs is a one word vocabulary...

More.

Think about it. Think about an appetite or desire you have. Something that you find yourself involved with, preoccupied with, or controlled by. When you feed that appetite, even gorge it and fill it to the gills, does it go away? Maybe for a short time, but it comes back soon enough saying that one word...

More.

Eating has been one of those appetites that kept yelling at me, "More! More!" for most of my life. It still yells at me now but its voice is small and muffled and more easily ignored.

There are 2 things that I go back to in getting this appetite under control: focus on a future me and dependence on a loving God.

I looked ahead and said, what is the future that I want for me and my family? Who do I want to be? This isn't the "I'm going off to college and need to figure out what I want to be when I grow up" kind of question. This is deeper and has a lot less to do with what I do and everything to do with who I am. I decided that being a strong and healthy man would allow me to be the best husband, father, and leader for my family that I could be. I focused on those goals more than I focus on the near term, and fleeting, satisfaction of giving in to the cries of "More!"...

But I couldn't do it by just steeling my resolve and saying "No more!" It's not that easy. In fighting with the appetites I've learned that my resolve can be easily undermined or worn down. This time, I turned to God as I always should have. I am leaning on Him for strength, for resolve, for encouragement. And, most of all, for a clear vision of the man I am supposed to be. Who better than my creator, and the creator of everything, to have the correct and clear vision of my future.

So, instead of yelling back at the appetites when they scream "More!" or asking God to kill my desires. I know ask God to give me the strength to stand firm and for another glimpse at the future me.

It has made all the difference...

And this week, the difference is:

234.5

A little better than last week. A little slower than the pace I had been on. A little more towards the future.

By the way, I'm still working on raising money for Love146.org as a part of "210 in 2010" and could really use your support. Even $1 helps as we move closer to unlocking the matching funds. If you can help, leave a comment, email me (seekingafter@scbubba.otherinbox.com), or hit me on facebook or twitter.


Photo credit to rich115.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Weigh In 44


This week we instituted "Daddy Date Night" with my 3 daughters. I got to see "Eclipse" and then "Despicable Me" twice. It was great to spend not just the "quality" time with them but also the "quantity" time.

There is a definite difference in the two types of time with people. For years, I bought into the idea that time spent on relationships could be optimized for efficiency. I did it consciously at work once I moved into formal management roles. I did it, albeit less often, sub-consciously with non-work relationships.

I lumped "relationships" in the same bucket as any other work or project items. They were all just a list of tasks to be accomplished. As efficiently as possible...

It took a little while after my oldest kids got to the age where they were interacting more and more before I realized that this "quality" vs "quantity" idea didn't really work. I noticed, with a lot of help from my beautiful wife, that they weren't really as interested in what we were doing as much as they were in the fact that we were together.

You have to put in the time. You can't just show up for the important things. All of the in between times are where the real importance is.

So, thinking over the week and the time with the girls I was reminded of chapter 15 of the gospel of John. In that part of the Bible, Jesus tells a parable about the vine and the branch (think about growing grapes).
I am the true grapevine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch of mine that doesn't produce fruit, and he prunes the branches that do bear fruit so they will produce even more. You have already been pruned and purified by the message I have given you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.   "Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:1-6, NLT)

In essence, this says to me that our relationship with Christ, and therefore God, has more to do with "quantity" instead of "quality" time. That is, if we will stay focused on Jesus in our day-to-day, we will become more like Him. And that really is the goal, I think - becoming more Christ-like.

Accomplishments and efficiency are things that we came up with in our Western cultures. They don't seem to have so much importance in the teachings of Jesus. And that says a lot right there.

So, I'm renewing my efforts to be relationship focused instead of solely task focused. I'd like to ask you, if you know me, to help hold me accountable on this.

Speaking of accountability, there is a weigh in to discuss. Friday morning, the scale showed me:

236.0

No change this week. A little disappointing on one hand but still better than gaining anything. I'm still looking for more donors/pledges to get us to the matching funds. We're still at $155 this week. When we get to $210 we'll unlock the first $210 in matching funds. Then we'll need another $210 in pledges to open up another $210 matching.

Can you help us raise funds for Love146.org to help in the fight against human trafficking and modern day slavery?

Photo credit to lyng883.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Weigh in 43


14 years ago today.

I got up and went to work like any weekday. I talked with my coworkers about plans for the weekend and plans to maybe go out on Thursday night. Nothing out of the ordinary for a bunch of young 20-something professionals.

14 years ago today.

One of my friends at work told me that a mutual friend was playing on a women's soccer team in Virginia Beach. She told me that they wanted a coach and was wondering if I might be interested. I agreed to head across the water to watch them play that evening.

14 years ago today.

They won there game. Maybe 5 to nothing. The details of the game don't stand out as much as the events after the game do.

14 years ago today.

That night, I was introduced to the lady that became my best friend and then my loving wife and the wonderful mother of four amazing kids.

And it has been such a great journey ever since. I love you, Kim.

14 years ago today.

And time for a weigh in update too. 14 year ago I was at 233lbs. Today I weighed in at

236.0

Hard to believe I'm getting close to my college days...

One step closer.

Photo credit to Bahugala.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Weigh In 42

Human Trafficking and sex slavery has been moving more and more into the mainstream lately. I'm seeing more outlets run stories on the topics and I'm seeing them show up in more places on-line. But nothing really brought as much attention as Ashton Kutcher's very public comment on the subject (see picture on the left above).

Kaka (of Brazilian soccer fame) joined the fight as well - that's him on the right in the picture up there. And now John Burger (aka @AbolitionistJB) has asked for people to join the campaign and pledge to support it. You can see the details over at Change.org on John's pledge page.

So I'm asking you to help out. Go to John's page, or over to his blog, and put your support behind this campaign. Make a sign, take a picture, and post it. I'll have one up soon.

On to this week's update. I checked in with the (now) trusty bathroom scale and it said to me:

238.0

So, a little progress from last Friday. I blame the holiday weekend and my wife's BLT dip... :-)

Remember, there is a bigger goal than just weight loss here. I need your help to raise money for Love146.org. Every dollar that you pledge in support of 210 in 2010 will a) go directly to Love146.org (100% of it) and b) be doubled by the wonderful benefactors who have put up $420 in matching funds for the cause.

So let me know what you can pledge to help out Love146.org in the fight against human slavery and their work to restore those freed from bondage.

Photo borrowed from AbolitionistJB.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Weigh In 41


I haven't talked to much about the new gig since I started. I've been working for GreenWizard for 2 months now and I'm loving it. It's amazing how much different a technology startup is from just about anything else out there.

There are several differences between this startup and my previous one. But the biggest one I've noticed has been, well, me. I'm 10 years older, have 4 kids, and almost feel like a completely different person. Back in 2000, we had been married 2 years (almost to the day) when I started work. Our oldest child was 1 month old (almost to the day). I had just come out of 6 years in the DoD contracting world.

It was a whole lot of changes all at once. It was tough. Stressful. Painful at times. And working around 100 hours a week (no exaggeration) just piled onto all of that.

Now, don't get me wrong, there is a lot of work at GreenWizard. We aren't pulling the old "banker's hours" by any means. But it is different. 12 years of marriage is way different than 2 years. Being parents for almost 10 years is a different ballgame from 1 month. And having almost 20 years experience in my profession is a lot different than about 7 years.

But when it comes right down to it, the biggest singular difference in this startup experience for me isn't really based on all that. As I've shared before, I have always struggled with identity. Specifically, I have based my sense of worth on how valuable I can be to other people. The quantity and quality of my work for my employer. The financial care for my family. The leadership for my coworkers and teams. Basically, meeting the expectations (real or perceived) of all the people around me...

In the past several years I've learned where my true identity comes from. It is not that I perform activities to create my identity. Jesus Christ has given me my identity and now my activities flow from that. (sentiment borrowed from Andy Stanley)

What does that mean? It means that Christ loves me. Loved me before I knew Him. Loves me more than I can know. And loves me not because I deserve it or did anything for it but loves me because of who He is.

For a long time I didn't buy into this line of thinking. I didn't feel like I deserved it and basically wouldn't accept that I could be loved like that. Effectively, I was putting myself in charge of the situation and dictating the terms of my relationship with God. How selfish and delusional of me....

But, like I said, it's not up to me. I'm loved by God. Period. It's not up to me. It's not up to what you think of me. It's not based on the value I provide to an employer, my family, my neighborhood. Nope.

What I do and the "value" I provide should flow from the identity that God has given me.

In other words, I am not accepted and loved because I do great things. Instead, I can do great things because I am accepted and loved by Jesus.

Whew! That sure does take the pressure off... :-)

Now, on to the weekly weigh in. After my son's trampoline act on the scale, I managed to find the calibration on it and get it set properly again. So, I stepped up Friday morning and....

238.4

That's a few more pounds towards the new goal of 210. And it moves me closer to unlocking the donations for Love146.org. And it means I still need your help to raise the money to get the matching funds. Every little bit helps. We are at $155 of the $420 needed. If you can help out, please let me know via email (seekingafter@scbubba.otherinbox.com), twitter (@scbubba), facebook, or in the comments below.

Thanks in advance for any  help you can provide.

Photo credit to trazomfreak.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Weigh In 40


This is the 40th post in my weigh in series that stated back in September '09. It's also the first post of the "phase" in my quest to, quite literally, make less of me.

As I work towards reaching 210lbs by the end of 2010, I am making a plea for your help. This little community here has an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of some people in need and help move closer to ending the atrocity of human slavery.

Through the generosity of a couple of wonderful people, we have the means to get to $1,000 in funds donated to Love146.org, an organization on the front lines of the fight against human trafficking. In the first 40 weeks, we raised $280. Between now and the end of 2010, these two friends have each pledged $210 towards the goal. The caveat is that we, the community here, need to raise matching funds.

That is, if we raise $210, then we can get $210 in matching funds for a total of $420. If we can raise another $210, then we can get the second round of funds for another $420. That would be a total of $840 being donated to Love146.org.

I know it doesn't seem like a lot compared to the numbers that show up in the fight against slavery today. You might ask, "Can $1000 help in a fight against the enslavement of 27 million people worldwide?" or you could be saying to yourself "Is it possible for a couple of people to make a difference against a criminal industry that generates $32 billion a year?".

The answer to both of those questions is "Yes!" But it is very hard alone. Love146.org can use $1000 and multiply the effect through their networks and existing programs. They can use any resources we can give to work on prevention and aftercare. That is, how to stop people from being bought and sold as well as how to restore their lives through love.

So here's where we are so far. The current total raised so far in 210 in 2010 for Love146.org is $155. So we are on our way. But we still need your help...

If you are interested in contributing to the cause, no amount is too little, then please contact me via a comment on this blog, email me at seekingafter@scbubba.otherinbox.com, or contact me on twitter (@scbubba) or facebook.

On the weigh-in front, I've had a technical difficulty. My wife caught my 18 month old son using the bathroom scale as a trampoline and now the numbers are not quite right. So, until I can resolve the issue (fix or replace the scale) I'll call this week even with last week at:

241.0

So, let's get going on our little part to end slavery now....

Photo credit to annais.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Weigh In #39


Well, today was the day. I weighed in this morning and the scale showed me:

241.0

That makes a grand total of 80lbs - my original goal. Woo Hoo!!!

But it's not a destination, it's just a waypoint. As a friend reminded me:
I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. (Philippians 3:12 NLT)
 I'm still "in beta" so to speak. Just like I'm not done in my pursuit to be the person God created me to be, I'm not done working on my physical health.

Now I'm on my way to reaching 210lbs by the end of the year (210 in 2010). And while it's time to make the donations that were pledged as part of this goal, it is also time to start collecting pledges for the matching funds already pledged for Love146.org.

If possible, please help us raise money to fight human trafficking and help restore those already rescued and freed from bondage. Just let me know if you would like to pledge. Any amount is fine in this cause. Every little bit helps get to $210 and $420 so that we can double it for Love146.org.

Thanks for all the support so far along the way. I look forward to this next challenge.

Photo credit to The Library of Congress

Friday, June 11, 2010

Weigh In #38


Wow. Half of 2010 is pretty much gone by now. So that makes it June and June this year brings us the World Cup! And, aside from the US having some potential this time around (fingers crossed), it is so amazing to see the level of play that the national teams bring. Watching these guys play can be mesmerizing, thrilling, exciting, jaw-dropping, and heart-stopping.

It's no wonder that this is The World's Game....

On the flip side, there is a dark side to an event such as the World Cup. The Olympics and other multi-week events like this tend to have the same kind of ting going on. I'm talking about human trafficking and the sex trade.

Here is a quote from a Time magazine article earlier this year (read the full article):
Despite more than a dozen international conventions banning slavery in the past 150 years, there are more slaves today than at any point in human history. Slaves are those forced to perform services for no pay beyond subsistence and for the profit of others who hold them through fraud and violence. While most are held in debt bondage in the poorest regions of South Asia, some are trafficked in the midst of thriving development. Such is the case here in Africa's wealthiest country, the host of this year's World Cup. 

Now, I know that most of you are not anywhere near South Africa and probably aren't going over for the World Cup. But that doesn't mean you can't get involved. The trade in human lives isn't just something that happens "over there" or is being handled by "them." It is happening all over the place and is only being addressed when "we" step in.

Here are a couple of ways that you can get involved:


Please consider helping out or getting involved. At least in some way...

In my quest to make life a little better for myself and others, I'm still raising money for Love146.org by losing weight. And since it's Friday, I weighed in this morning. The bathroom scale was happy to let me know that my weight this morning was

242.0

One more pound down and only one away from my "80-60-40" goal. And only one pound away from the start of "210 in 2010". If you would like to help sponsor me (all the money goes to Love146.org), please let me know (email, facebook, twitter, or comment on this blog).

Thanks in advance.

Photo credit to BossTweed.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Weigh In #37


A little Freedom Friday post (a little late) for you this time.

The picture above (courtesy of Rob Morris @ROBLOVE146 co-founder of Love146.org) is of the Love146 Round Home. Dr Gundelina Valazco (the Director of Aftercare for Love146.org) describes the Round Home concept:
My idea of a safehome is where we nurse the bird’s broken wing.  If we do well with our nursing, then the bird should be able to fly again and out of the safehome, and soar to the heights it was meant to reach. If it casts a glance at the safehome again, then it should be from above, among the clouds of its achievements.
 Love146 established the Round Home as a way to provide restoration and healing to girls freed from sexual slavery. Go over to the Love146 Round Home page to find out more about the amazing work being done there and some awesome pictures and video of the Round Home.

In my quest to help raise money for Love146.org and make a better life too, I weighed in on Friday morning. I'm getting really close to the original goal of 80lbs. This week's weigh-in was:

243.0

One more pound down. Two more to go. Then it's on to 210. Any help is greatly appreciated....

Peace.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Weigh In #37


It's been a very busy week and I've pretty much been late to/for everything so far.... So why should the blog be any different, I guess?

Not a whole lot to report on due to the lack of free time. I've been running and keeping up with my nutrition. Working a lot. (startups rule!) And being slack about keeping current on the human trafficking stories and events.

A couple of quick hits:

Go over to End Slavery Now and get on the map!

Join me in supporting Love146.org with "210 in 2010".

Now, for the progress report. Friday morning's weigh-in was:

244.0

Getting closer to knocking out the original goal of 241lbs. And moving on to the new goal of 210lbs.

Please consider helping Love146.org this year and lending support. Feel free to contact me via email, on facebook, via twitter, or by leaving a comment on this (or any) post on the blog.

Photo courtesy of emlyn.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Weigh In #36


Those of you who have been keeping or (or recently catching up) know that the goal I set in September '09 is rapidly coming to an end. It looks like I may have set the bar too low. By the grace of God, instead of taking me until the end of October '10 (60 weeks) to lose 80lbs it looks like I'll probably reach that goal closer to 40 weeks (In June '10 sometime). So, it's time to set a new goal.

A friend of mine, and probably the greatest sailor I know, came up with an idea I really like: Get to 210lbs by the end of 2010. He even came up with a great tag line for it:

210 in 2010 (Two Ten in Twenty Ten)

And of course, I'm still committed to raising funds and awareness for fighting human trafficking. I'll be doing the same fund raising that I have been doing so far until I hit 241lbs (My original 80-60-40 goal). Once I get there, the game is going to change and that's where I'm going to need your help...

Two amazing people (and good friends) have thrown down the gauntlet. They have each pledged $210 towards the cause - but with 2 conditions:
  1. I have to get to 210lbs before Dec 31, 2010.
  2. I have to raise matching funds for each pledge.

I'll be taking care of the first part (losing the weight) but I need help with the second part.
If I can get $210 in pledges, then the first $210 in matching funds will be unlocked. If I can get another $210 in pledges, then the second $210 in matching funds will be committed. That means at least $840 in donations going to Love146.org in addition to what we've raised so far.

So I ask you, my readers and friends, can you help fight against modern day slavery? Any pledge/donation is worthwhile - nothing is too small or too large. If we can get $420 in pledges, we can double it!

You can pledge a fixed amount, an amount per pound (31 to meet the goal), or any sort of arrangement. Just let me know how you would like to be involved: email me at seekingafter@scbubba.otherinbox.com, message me on facebook, holler at me on twitter (@scbubba), or leave me a comment on this blog (any post will work).

So, in my quest to get smaller while supporting something bigger, I weighed in this morning:

245.0

So please help Love146.org with any amount you can and let me know what you can pledge towards 210 in 2010.

God bless you.
(I'll have another Freedom Friday post next week.)

Photo credit to Filipe Samora.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Weigh In #35


I'm a little (OK, a lot) late with Friday's post. Crazy week and weekend but we all made it through! So, stick with me for a little Freedom Friday on a Monday.

Thanks to @27millionslaves on twitter (also known as End Slavery Now), I found their awesome calendar of Anti-Trafficking Events. This calendar has a day-by-day listing of various events that the anti-trafficking community has going on around the world. I was amazed to see all the events on the calendar. I was also a little saddened to see that there were not more on there. But we can help get more events in more places...

Best estimates say that there are more than 27 million people in the bonds of slavery TODAY! That number includes people in just about every country in the world - and, yes, the US is in there too. So there are opportunities in abundance to help fight this global scourge. And the folks at End Slavery Now have stepped up to help us do just that.

Along with the calendar, they have the "New Underground Railroad". The railroad is a way to help people and organizations connect. You can choose what role you can play or search for the type of person or organization you are looking to connect with. It's a great idea for bringing people together for this cause.

Another cool part of the site is the "Take Action" section. In this part of the site you can get tips on what you can do in your every day walk of life to help with the fight. One side of the page has a place to choose a profession or activity that describes yourself. You can then see general suggestions for how to help. The left side of the page is a list of actions you may be interested in and ways to engage.

All in all, End Slavery Now is a great, and growing, site that can help anyone get plugged-in and active in the new abolitionist movement. Go check it out and help end slavery in our lifetime.

On to the weekly info. As I'm getting closer and closer to my original goal of 80lbs I keep thinking about what the next goal should be. Getting to 240lbs was never the stopping point - it was a waypoint. I'm not sure where the end number is yet but I'm going to keep on plugging. So, on Friday I got on the bathroom scale and saw

247.0

Still moving. A few more dollars for Love146.org. Definitely feeling better each day...

Friday, May 7, 2010

Weigh In #34


I'm continuing the "Freedom Friday" theme again this week. A couple of weeks ago, I pointed to a fellow named John Burger who works as an abolitionist. He is dedicated to, and working for, the freedom of enslaved people.

John linked to an incredible story about a 61 year old woman in Nepal who has created and runs a "safe house" for those rescued and freed from the sex trafficking going on in her country. The woman, Anuradha Koirala, has an amazing story and, more to the point, and incredible heart for the victims of the sex trade in her community. Go on over to John's site and read more about her or go see what CNN has to say about this amazing woman.

Also, please jump over to John's site and find out ways that you can help fight human trafficking.

On the local front, today was a weigh in day. So I stepped on the scale and saw

249.0

Ever closer to the goal. And a few more dollars into the donation bucket for Love146.org.

Check back next week for another Freedom Friday post.

Photo credit to geishaboy500.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Weigh In #33


Freedom.

It's a word that is on the lips or in the minds of a lot of people, especially here in the US. We are a country founded on freedom. We fought, many times, for independence. We talk about of freedoms, our liberties, our rights. It's kind of a big deal...

But there are millions of people that will wake up today who do not have the word freedom in their vocabulary. It is not a word that they will say today. It is not a thought in their minds today. It is not even a hope in their hearts today. To them, freedom just does not exist.

Of all these things, it is the death of hope that is the worst. You see, when a person is enslaved and dragged into human trafficking and exploitation one of the key things that the slave masters do is kill the idea and hope of freedom in the persons heart. They do this to people through physical, mental, and emotional abuse. It is a tragic and horrific story each time.

So, I'm moving my regular postings back to Fridays with a purpose. Aside from tracking my progress and the like, I also want to expand on some stories in and around the world of human trafficking and those fight to abolish it and end the nightmare. Along those lines I give you the first in a (hopefully) long line of "Freedom Friday" posts.

Since I've become a fan and supporter of Love146.org, I'll start with a snippet of the story about how they got their name and began their work. The full story can be found here.
We found ourselves standing shoulder to shoulder with predators in a small room, looking at little girls through a pane of glass. All of the girls wore red dresses with a number pinned to their dress for identification. They sat, blankly watching cartoons on TV. They were vacant, shells of what a child should be. There was no light in their eyes, no life left. Their light had been taken from them. These children...raped each night... seven, ten, fifteen times every night. They were so young. Thirteen, eleven… it was hard to tell. Sorrow covered their faces with nothingness. Except one girl. One girl who wouldn’t watch the cartoons. Her number was 146. She was looking beyond the glass. She was staring out at us, with a piercing gaze. There was still fight left in her eyes. There was still life left in this girl...

...Some time later, there was a raid on this brothel and children were rescued. But the girl who wore #146 was no longer there. We do not know what happened to her, but we will never forget her. She changed the course of all of our lives.


From there, the co-founders of Love146.org created an organization and a movement to free people from the bonds of slavery and to restore in them hope and love. It is an amazing story that is still being written. You can become a part of the story too. You can use the "Donate" in the sidebar on the right or you can go to the Love146.org site and see the many different ways they have to allow you to help out.

And there is always the option to sponsor me in my "This Must Change" challenge. As I have been losing weight, I have challenged myself and others to donate to Love146.org based on the amount I lose. With today's weigh in, I am at a total of 71lbs lost. With the help of very generous partners, they have increased the total amount raised so far to $262.00 (that number may have gone up depending on when you are reading this so you can check the counter in the right side bar for the most up to date amount). I encourage you to do what you can to help wipe out human trafficking and end slavery in our time.

With this move to Fridays, I weighed in this morning. Since Monday's weigh in, I have lost 1 more pound which brings me down to

250.0

I'm hoping to get below the 250 mark this week. And that puts me into only single digits remaining to reach my initial goal of 241lbs. But I'm way ahead of schedule and am setting a new goal soon.

Photo credit to ClearlyAmbiguous.