Thursday, May 28, 2009

Mid-Week NutriSystem Update

Okay, I am a pretty firm believer in only posting weight loss numbers once a week, but I thought I'd go ahead and post these.  I started NutriSystem on Saturday morning at 215 pounds.  This morning, after 5 days, I'm at 208 pounds.  7 pounds gone in 5 days sounds like a pretty good way to start.  I'm not hungry, I'm not MORE tired than usual.  I do think I probably should clean up my CPAP machine and start wearing that pain in the butt again.
Anyway, here's a few of random pictures that I think are funny:

Monday, May 25, 2009

It's Memorial Day, We're All Sick

Well, today is Memorial Day 2009 and we're all a coughing, hacking, sick mess over here.  Thanks Traci.  I love you anyway.

I am taking a break from Low Carb for a while because frankly, I wasn't losing weight, but gaining, and I just can't handle it anymore.  Desperate times call for desperate measures, so today I'm OFFICIALLY starting NutriSystem again.  The last time I did it I lost something like 40 pounds, so I'm going to give it one more go.  I began eating NS two days ago, and I've already lost 4 pounds, so I'm pretty optimistic that this will work.

Now don't get me wrong...Low Carb is a perfectly fine, healthy way to eat, and my decision is in no way a reflection on my Low Carb pals.  It's just that the definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over and expect different results.  So, I'm trying something different.  Like I said, desperate times...desperate measures.

And you may think I'm insane for starting on a holiday where eating is the centerpiece of the day.  Nope, that was intentional.  Part of my epic failures of the past have been "giving in" on holidays.  I figure I've got a ton of momentum right now since it's at the very beginning, and if I can make it through this holiday unscathed then it will set the benchmark for my future holiday eating patterns.

So today I weigh 211.8 and my goal is to get to 160 and re-evaluate from there.  So the march is on in the war against obesity.  It's a march of 52 pounds this go around.  If I reach my goal weight, then my total weight loss since coming to Sunnyside will be 70 pounds.  Epic.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

I Hate Being Fat, Round 2 **ding ding ding**

Okay, so the fight is on.  It's Low Carb in one corner, and NutriSystem in another.  I have fought for both sides and against both sides at different points in my life.  I have lost more than 40 pounds at different points using both systems, so both systems work.  I have kept the weight off and sustained each way of eating for about the same amounts of time.  In both cases, my health and bloodwork improved.

So here I am, back up to 215 pounds, desperate to do something to take the weight off.  I'm already hitting the gym 6 days a week (5 at a base minimum in the case of holiday weeks like the one coming up where the gym is closed on Memorial Day).  So the only thing left to do is adjust what goes in my mouth.  I have proven myself to be an absolute failure without a structured way of eating, so an absolute, hour by hour plan is a necessity for me.

I've been doing Low Carb now for 2 months and the total weight loss I've seen so far is a whopping 15 pound weight gain.  I know Low Carb works, so before you start to bash LC, just back off.  It's a healthy, proven way to not only lose weight, but control your health as well.  But, it's not working for me right now, and a change is in order.

So, I'm doing a four month experiment starting tomorrow, depending on when the Big Brown Box comes from UPS.  I am signed up for NutriSystem again.  My plan is to take it one month at a time.  If I lose weight in month 1, then I will continue on to month 2.  If I lose weight in month 2, then I will continue on to month 3, and so forth and so on.  I can cancel anytime (like I did last time), so the instant it stops working for me, I'm done.

Here's the deal: at this point, I don't care if it's something gimmicky, if I can't sustain it, if it's unhealthy, I don't care.  At this point, I HAVE to lose at least 60 pounds.  PERIOD.  I don't care how it happens as long as it's legal.  Can I sustain the strict calorie reduction of NutriSystem?  I don't know.  Can I sustain the strict carb reduction of Low Carb?  I don't know.  All I know is I have succeeded with both plans in the past in losing weight, and I failed to sustain both of them in the past.

I guess the point is that I need your prayers.  My back hurts from the extra strain placed on it by my belly.  My ego hurts from so many people at church commenting to me that I need to lose weight (YEAH, that REALLY happens EVERY week to me.  And believe it or not, most of the time the snide comment is accompanied by a nice humiliating pat on my stomach).  Step number one is to simply lose the weight.  Once I get there I'll figure out what to do next.  I can't deal with that far down the road right now.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

I was born and raised in the highlands of East Tennessee on the border with North Carolina, but I am a Scot just the same. My bloodlines go through Clan Donald on both sides of my family. Author and historian David R. Ross often discusses that there are remnants of the Scottish clan system still in place. I can attest to that because we are NOT a clan society in Clan Donald, but are truly still a clan (a family). We have tried with all our might to maintain our oral histories and traditions within Clan Donald, especially here in the Mid-South. I am a piper and have the opportunity to play (and teach) quite often. In fact, most every day I stand outside the church and pipe for my beloved Scotland even though I know she can’t hear me.

I am indeed 6 generations American, but I was a thousand a Scot before that.

I am a Scot, as were each of the thousands of generations of Sharps (MacIlherons) who came before me, and as will be the generations coming after me, starting with Emori.

Now, I am a proud American as well, and I won't speak to that today.  But I will say that I am very patriotic, ALWAYS stand at attention with my hand over my heart when the Star Spangled Banner is played, and sing it with all my heart.  I get a tear in my eye when I see a color guard fly Old Glory, and think of the men and women who sacrifice every day for my selfish freedom.  But I am also a Scot.

I have never been to Heaven, but I am a citizen of Heaven.  No one questions that.

I bring all this up because this weekend the Scottish Games season kicks off with the Gatlinburg Scottish Festival and Games.  It is a short opportunity for me to go be with my people and be myself without fear of being made fun of for who I am.  In fact, those without kilts on will be the outcasts.  The liberating freedom that comes with these games is incredible.  As chaplain of Clan Donald's MidSouth region, it also allows me to minister to people there as well.

2009 is also the year for Homecoming Scotland.  According to the official website iis "an events programme celebrating Scotland's great contributions to the world. In 2009 join us to celebrate the 250th anniversary of Robert Burns’birth, Scottish contributions to golf & whisky, plus our great minds and innovations and rich culture and heritage."

I could do without the whisky part altogether though.

Here are a few short videos that express how I feel about Scotland:

Flower of Scotland, the REAL Anthem for All Scots:

David Ross, Author and Historian on our kilt:

The Edinburgh Military Tatoo...Watch especially starting at 1:30.  If a tear doesn't come to your eye, well, then you're not a Scot and you'll never get it:

Here is the offical TV Ad for Homecoming Scotland:

And finally, an ancient form of music from dear Alba called "mouth music".  It is sung in the mother tongue of Scots Gaelic:

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Coffee! You Can Sleep When You're Dead!

Oh Vanilla Biscotti Folgers Coffee, wherefore art thou? Why has thou caused my coffee pot to explode, spreading your caffeinated goodness all over the office counter, leaving my handcrafted mug of happiness empty and wanting? Oh poorly made coffee maker, how you vex me!

Have you ever awakened to the sound of bagpipes, only to realize that you just woke up 5 minutes before you were supposed to be at work, and you have a 30 minute commute, your shirt is not ironed, and you really, REALLY need to shave, take a shower, and properly spike up the hair before going in?  No?  Well, that has been me for the past two weeks.  I'm just so exhausted that I flat sleep through two alarms, one of which is the aforementioned Great Highland Bagpipes.

I once saw a fellow piper notice someone asleep at one of his concerts and he promptly advised the person sitting next to Sleeping Beauty to check his pulse because the last person that slept through Scottish Bagpipes was actually dead.  Well I'm pretty sure I'm not dead, but I do feel like the undead this morning.  And there is still no coffee to speak of.

Apparently, if the cone shaped coffee filter folds in on itself during the initial stages of the brewing process, that causes the whole operation to go all 3 Mile Island on itself, ruining not only the lovely pot of caffeinated brew, but everything within a 10 foot radius of Mr. Coffee himself.  Who knew?

Anyway, I know this wasn't a very spiritual post, but right now I feel about as spiritual as the bottom side of a Dr. Scholls.  And no, I'm NOT gellin'.  I'll get back to you after the adrenaline has settled from my Top Gun meets Talladega trip into the office, and the caffeine has taken over from Vanilla Biscotti Office Coffee: The Sequel.

I'm off to mop the office.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

I am Throwing Myself Into a Volcano!!!

Well now, THAT got your attention, didn't it!  Metaphorically speaking, I AM indeed throwing myself into the volcano, as a living sacrifice, just like you see in the movies.  No, I haven't been captured by the natives and am being forced into the mouth of a gurgling, boiling cauldron of molten earth.  But I AM going to be a living sacrifice.

I no longer have the rights to decide what I am to do.  I must go throughout this day according to someone else's plan for me.  I am standing on the lip of sulphuric mountain, and I am jumping in...voluntarily!  That's right, no one is pushing me in.  No one is standing there with a poison tipped spear or blowgun threatening that I'd better get in to appease the fiery bowl below.  Nope, I'm doing this of my own accord with no one around.

Why, you ask?  Because in that sacrifice is freedom; freedom to be who I am created to be.  Freedom to use all of my gifts to please my master; freedom to break out of the brittle mold the world tries to force me in, and grow beyond that false frame, that imitation of life.

Indeed I have orders from the Great God who Is.  He is indeed the God of fire, but it's not because he's an idol on a door frame shelf in some jungle hut.  No, it's because He created fire.  It's because He created water.  It's because He created EVERYTHING, including me.  It's because He is the creator, the Creative-One-Who-Provides-For-Me.  He is the One-Who-Loved-First; the One-Who-Loves-Anyway; the One-Who-Loves-Even-Me.  Perhaps you've heard of Him.

He's all powerful, yet all loving.  He's vengeful, jealous, and full of wrath for those who move against him, yet He's gentle and loving enough to make sure His children are always welcome in his arms.  He is the King of kings and Lord of lords.

Jesus Christ.

And I'm safer, more loved, more protected jumping in His volcano than anywhere else in the universe.  I choose today to let Him deal with my problems.  I choose to let Him worry about my perilous situation because He WILL save the day.  He WILL come to my rescue.  He WILL love me.  I know this because He already has, and I love Him for it.

What will you do with the gift Jesus has given YOU today?

"1Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. 2Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."
          -Romans 12:1-2

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

God is TRYING to Tell You Something!

Psalm 46

A Song of the Sons of Korah
 1-3 God is a safe place to hide, ready to help when we need him. 
   We stand fearless at the cliff-edge of doom, 
      courageous in seastorm and earthquake, 
   Before the rush and roar of oceans, 
      the tremors that shift mountains.

   Jacob-wrestling God fights for us, 
God-of-Angel-Armies protects us. 

4-6 River fountains splash joy, cooling God's city, 
      this sacred haunt of the Most High. 
   God lives here, the streets are safe, 
      God at your service from crack of dawn. 
   Godless nations rant and rave, kings and kingdoms threaten, 
      but Earth does anything he says. 

7 Jacob-wrestling God fights for us, 
God-of-Angel-Armies protects us. 

8-10 Attention, all! See the marvels of God
      He plants flowers and trees all over the earth, 
   Bans war from pole to pole, 
      breaks all the weapons across his knee. 
   "Step out of the traffic! Take a long, 
      loving look at me, your High God, 
      above politics, above everything." 

11 Jacob-wrestling God fights for us, 
God-of-Angel-Armies protects us.


Hey you...yeah, YOU.  I'm talking to you; the one staring at your screen just now.  Did you know that God is trying to take your mind off of all your junk right now?  Did you know that He WANTS to take care of all your problems?  Did you know that He doesn't want you to worry about ANYTHING?

How do I know this?  Do I have some special message from God?  My spiritual gift IS prophecy after all.  Well, yes, in fact I do have a special message from God.  It came directly from Him, and it is for YOU specifically.  You are reading this right now because this message is and always WAS intended for YOU to hear it right now at this very moment in time.

Go back and re-read Psalm 46 that I posted above.  It is taken from the paraphrase called "The Message".  Go re-read it in your favorite translation.  God has a message for you.

Did you see all those things He created?  He didn't do that for kicks.  He did that for YOU.  That incredible tree you saw today?  God made that for YOU.  Why?  Because He wants you to know He's here.  Yeah, right here, as in you see this screen you're staring at...yeah, there He is.  Turn to your see that...He's there too.

Listen, you're NOT alone, no matter what you think.  He's here.  He's there too...I know you looked.  Yeah, He's over there too.  He's everywhere.  The great thing is that He's there because He WANTS to be with you specifically.  He loves you!  He wants you to have an abundant life.  He wants you to think about Him and Him alone, and not for you to worry about other stuff.

Yeah, you've got responsibilities, and you should take care of them, but have Him on your mind when you do.  In fact, talk to Him as you take care of them, and He will take care of you.

The God of the universe has a message for you today, so that's not the issue.  The issue is: are you even listening?  So stop, re-read Psalm 46, and then STOP.  Hush and listen.  Let Him do the talking.

And then be amazed.