Friday, April 30, 2010

Weigh In #33


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, 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 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 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 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


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.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Weigh In #32

"What's your story?", the slightly drunk, middle-aged guy asked.

The was almost 20 years ago. I was working a temporary job as a bouncer at a "college bar" and this guy seemed intrigued that a college student was working instead of partying with everyone else. I was a little interested in why someone in his 40's (or later) would be hanging out with a bunch of college students. I got my answer real quick when our conversation ended as abruptly as it started. That was because he turned on his heel and began following a blonde co-ed who had walked by. Following a few feet behind her he was running a steady stream of attempted pick-up lines. I never did see how all that turned out for him, but I have my suspicions...

But I have thought about his question many times over the years and again recently. The concept of "story" keeps popping up in many aspects of my life. I'm seeing it as I help the teens at our church prepare the theme and speeches for Youth Sunday coming up in May. I'm finding it in the writings of a friend who has entrusted me with reviewing and critiquing his unfinished manuscript. I'm hearing it in the excited conversations of friends who have been planning for upcoming weddings. I've been watching it in the life of my oldest daughter as she grows up right before my eyes...

I'm reminded of it in posts from Don Miller on his blog (which in turn reminds me of his book "A Million Miles in a Thousand Years" that I read and reviewed).

The main thrust of all of it is that we all have a story. That story has an author that is not us. The difference between the author in our lives and the author of a book is that we have been invited to be collaborators with our author.

God wants us to be involved in the story of our lives. He wants us to be involved in developing it, in including other characters, in making it mean something.

Most of all, I believe that God wants us to be involved in sharing our story.

What's the point in writing/having a story if you are just keeping it for yourself or hiding it away so no one ever knows about it? I've been thinking a lot about that particular part. I've been one to always encourage people to open up, to share, to get involved in their stories. But I haven't so much taken my own advice a lot of times. I definitely don't do a good job of sharing my story much - either in the telling of it or the living of it. I'm not entirely sure why but I have my suspicions...

This will probably be a theme I explore more on these pages because I just can't ignore how it keeps coming back to me time and again. Stay tuned...

On to the regularly scheduled program. Monday's are weigh in days and this one is no different. I checked the bathroom scale this morning and saw:


As always, I'm happy to see the numbers headed lower. That brings me to 70lbs all totaled so far. I have to say that I like saying that but I'm still a little amazed when I look at the total. I'm half expecting to find out that there is something wrong with the scale and I've been disillusioned this whole time.

I want to say thank you to the many, many people who have been encouraging and supportive of me during these many weeks. Your words, emails, messages, comments, and tweets mean a lot to me and help me immensely. I can't thank you enough.

And thanks for being a part of my story too....

Photo credit to Didi90.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Going Green

Well, I've reached one of those times in my life where things are coming together. That doesn't mean everything is easy, mind you...

In fact, I had to make a pretty tough decision in the past few weeks. I'm changing jobs as of 5/1/2010.

The place I'm going to be working didn't make the decision hard. It's the people I'm leaving that made it so tough. My current (until April 30) employer, Modus21, is great! The past 2+ years have been wonderful and the people I've been able to work with are some of the best you could hope for. I will definitely miss working side by side with such great folks.

My new gig is with a brand new company called GreenWizard. Our goal is to use technology to empower architects, engineers, contractors, and service providers to build green, eco-friendly buildings for less money and in less time. The green construction industry is really starting to get traction but it is still in the early stages. GreenWizard aims to help streamline the processes, bring together the players, and connect them with the partners and resources they need to meet their green, budget, and schedule goals.

I am incredibly excited about this new chapter in my professional life. I'm going to be working with a small group of people, many who I've know for several years, doing something I really love (designing and developing software and systems) that has a goal of benefiting more than just me or the company (Green is good for a lot of reasons).

If you are interested in finding out more about GreenWizard, please check the website, drop me a comment below, or ping me in one of many other ways (facebook, twitter, email)...

Thanks to all who have supported me in the past. I pray that you will continue on with me as I journey forward.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Weigh In #31

I've been noticing a lot more discussion around the web, facebook, and twitter about the fight against human trafficking and slavery. I'm very encouraged by the number of people I see that are being very outspoken on the matter and the number of people working with and contributing to organizations fighting the good fight.

Along with (which most of you know I try to support and promote), here are some other resources for information and activism in the fight against human trafficking:

These folks have been a wealth of information and motivation for me as I get more into supporting the fight.

But recently, one person has really hit home with me. Anne Jackson (aka Flowerdust), took a trip to Moldova and Russia to look into the darkness that is the sex slave trade there. With video and blog, she shines light into some of these dark places. Please take a moment and go read her post, The Sex Cafe, now...

This sort of thing is not happening only in far away places or cities you may not have heard of. It is happening in nearly every country (and, yes, it is here in the USA. A lot.) and that cafe in Moldova could just as easily be in your city.

Help to fight back! Check out the people above and see how you can get involved. Or visit Or pledge here to support I'm donating $1.00 per pound I lose until the end of October 2011. Some other folks have been generous enough to also pledge (either set amounts or per pound). You can see the current total of pledges over on the right hand side of this page.

It may feel like one person can't fight something this big. But when we join together, how in the world can it stand against us?

So this week I've added to the total pledge amount by dropping a few more pounds. The scale on Monday morning stared back at me with this number:


After 6 months I get just as excited about how the numbers for pledges are going up as I am about my weight going down. It's kinda crazy how having a focus beyond yourself can be so motivational and invigorating.

The desire to be a part of something is ingrained deep within us, I believe, and is a part of the image of God that we each carry. God has a purpose for the individual and for the corporate Church as well. We are individuals and members at the same time.

So come on and be a part of all this... God knows we need you.

Photo credit to procsilas.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Weigh In #30

30 weeks.

That's how long I've been at this drive to lose weight. It's half way through the initial time line I set (80lbs in 60 weeks before I turn 40 years old: 80-60-40). And I'm feeling good. Not just about how I've done on this journey so far, but physically I feel really good.

I also added in the Couch-to-5K (#c25k) training program that has me out running/walking for about 30 minutes each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning. It's been good to have an exercise goal to go along with the diet stuff. I haven't joined the ranks for the "I Love To Run!" folks yet, but I'm starting to see how such a tribe might exist... But I've got a ways to go. I'm repeating the Week 3 workouts this week because I didn't feel like I was ready to move on to the more demanding Week 4 runs yet. Slow and steady, right?

So, here at the half-way mark, how am I doing against my 80lb goal? Well, I weighed in this morning and saw this:


Another pound ticked off the list. Bringing the total up to 65lbs lost since I started back in September. With 30 weeks to go, I've toyed with changing the goal. 240lbs isn't the final goal Im shooting for. It's simply the waypoint I wanted to hit by the time I'm 40 years old. My target after that is somewhere below 220lbs. I'm not sure exactly where yet.

I'm looking for some help in determining what my "goal weight" really ought to be. Of course there is the BMI calculation but that seems like a pretty arbitrary way to do it (especially if you read something like this...).

So, for the mean time, I'm focused on 240. After that, who knows...

Photo credit to C.W. Cohenour.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Weigh In #29

I hope everyone had a great Easter. And I mean more than just chocolate bunnies and marshmallow peeps...

Every Easter Sunday, our church releases a whole bunch of Painted Lady butterflies between services. Each Sunday school class gets a few caterpillars in the weeks leading up to Easter. Everyone gets to watch them grow and then enter the cocoons. A few days before Easter, the butterflies emerge and are ready to fly.

It's a wonderful lesson, and reminder, about resurrection and new life. I love that kids of all ages get so excited about it. I love that we have a risen Savior to celebrate this way.

The other tradition of Easter wasn't such a thrill for me yesterday. Baskets full of sweet, tasty temptations were all through the house. I succumbed to the siren call of the Sour Patch Kids that my youngest daughter was sharing with everyone. Dang the sweet and sour awesomeness that comes in several fruity flavors! Curse you, Cadbury....

But I did keep it within the realm of reasonableness. So, with some trepidation, I stepped on the scale this morning and saw:


Not too shabby.

I'm sure the Couch-to-5K program has been helping as well. Doing the 3 runs per week doesn't seem like a lot but it is definitely kicking my body into ravenous mode on the mornings I go. I'm finding that I typically eat a couple hundred more calories on the days I run. It's usually pretty close to the 250 - 300 calories the run itself burns up, so I don't think it's a big problem.

Week 3 on the program tried to lay the smack down on me. This week's runs double the length of time from last week's. It doesn't seem like much at 3 minutes, but I can't recall the last time I deliberately ran for 3 minutes straight. How sad is that...

But I am encouraged by the progress I'm making. The pace was faster today so I went farther in a shorter time (Week 3 is 28 minutes vs the previous week's 30 minute workouts). I'll make the call after this Friday's run about moving on to Week 4 or repeating Week 3 workouts.

As always, there are many opportunities to help people out so why not find out about some while you are here? I'm trying to raise money for and their efforts to help end human trafficking and provide a way back to life for those freed from slavery. There are at least 3 things you can do on this page to help.

  1. Text to Give: type your SMS-enabled mobile phone number in the box in the right sidebar to quickly donate $5 directly to

  2. Donate to Love click the DONATE button over on the right side to give money in any amount you chose to

  3. Sponsor my efforts: I, and a few faithful friends, are donating money based on the weight loss I've been attacking these past 6 months. Sponsorship can be anything from a one time gift to an amount per pound. You can see what we have pledged so far over on the right sidebar as well. Just leave a comment, email me, or find me on Twitter (@scbubba) and let me know that you are interested in giving.

Thanks for all the prayers and support.

Photo credit to Winjer.