Archive | January, 2015

Would YOU run into a burning building?

28 Jan

I wonder what you would do … If you passed by a burning building and KNEW there were children, or elderly people in there who could not get out if left to their own devices. If at all possible, I tell you I would. Life is too precious and I couldn’t live with myself if I just stood outside and listen to their screams.

What would YOU do??? (Take a moment and answer)

Okay, so most of us probably WOULD try to help them. We certainly wouldn’t stand by and watch them die without doing SOMETHING … RIGHT??? And, we CERTAINLY wouldn’t just post it to Facebook, or Tweet about it, or take time to call our friends and talk about it … RIGHT??

OKAY, then why is it when we have a friend … or a brother or sister in Christ … who is struggling with life and we seem to know certain details about that struggle, why in the WORLD would we just take time to talk to others about it … or post to social media about it … or just plain out gossip, many times about things we don’t really know about … WHY in the world would we do these things INSTEAD OF GOING TO THAT PERSON AND HELPING THEM???????? Why would we allow a brother or sister in Christ to potentially self-destruct without doing anything that could possibly help them?

And you read this and might be thinking: This doesn’t really happen. And, sadly, I can tell you with certainty that it does.

One Last Ride in a Golf Cart

17 Jan

Since Mom died six weeks ago, I have been like a kid trapped in the surf. Every time I think I can get back on my feet, another wave crashes in and takes my feet out from under me. Since mom’s death, several people at Ebenezer who mean the world to me have gone to join her in Heaven. Every time I catch my breath, it seems another takes place … So I am writing this from one of her favorite places: Garden City Beach. This weekend has been good for me to unplug and deal with some of the emotions I haven’t been able to process because of my obligations at Ebenezer.

I got a text last night from Stephanie McCabe (who just lost her father) and it reminded me of something I really got a kick out of as we dealt with some of the duties with the funeral home after mom’s funeral. It seems that in South Carolina, you cannot cremate a body until you have a death certificate. And the doctor at the hospice house where mom died is notorious for being slow with these. So, I will confess that we had the funeral with an empty urn (apparently that is not so unusual). Years ago, mom and dad picked out cemetery plots in the veteran’s memorial garden at the cemetery where she is now interred. However, a year or two ago, mom decided she would rather be cremated than embalmed and buried. SOOOO …. About a week after the funeral, Diana and I had to return to Easley to finish those arrangements.

It was a painless issue: We had to choose where her urn would be placed. We opted to trade the burial plots for a place at the mausoleum, a place where Dad’s wheelchair could easily roll up. We had to sign all kinds of paperwork (which is apparently standard with EVERYTHING when someone dies). After we were all done, the kind lady asked me “would you like to place your mom in her niche??”

“Ummm …. Yes?” I tentatively responded. “She is in there on the countertop!” the lady replied. It was all I could do not to bust out laughing … She was sitting on the countertop, in her urn. Her pretty urn that my sisters and I picked out. It was definitely one she would like. And she was sitting in there on the countertop!

My purpose is not to be flippant about death. It just sounded like I could get up and run into the next room, and there she would be, sitting on the countertop. Mom had such short legs, that would’ve been really funny to me. I contained my laughter, although I did smile. The lady went into the next room and brought the urn into the conference room where we had been signing papers.

She radioed down to have the niche opened, and when everything was ready, we went and got back onto the golf cart to ride back down to the mausoleum (where we had been a half-hour before to pick out the perfect spots for her and dad). There was one difference: I was holding mom’s urn!

We rode down to the mausoleum. It was sunny but cold. And I carefully held on to my mom. Those same hands I held tightly when I was a little boy were now held tightly once again, but this time my hands were tightly sealed around a large vase. One last time. We arrived at the mausoleum and I carefully walked around to our destination. I had never been the only pall bearer before that day. I gently placed mom’s urn into her niche. And it was over.

Now, I often think about those conversations we had in the hospital. Those talks at breakfast at her house in the last year. This weekend, I have seen places here at the beach and immediately flash to the last time I was there with mom. Almost every night of my life, around 7pm, I think about calling her. And then remember I don’t have the phone number for Heaven. Wow … I miss her.

I’ve waited a YEAR to write this

3 Jan

Yep, it was one year ago TODAY when my fitness journey really kicked into high gear. One year ago, today, I was 122 pounds heavier. I’m not going to write the details and specifics of that, because I already have here:

And here:

And here:

So, today I will write about how it has enabled me to make it through this year!! This past year was a year of great highs and the lowest lows. There have been times when I know if I still weighed 307 pounds (or close to it), the stress of life would’ve definitely put me on my knees and possibly in the hospital. It is amazing how God can prepare us for things to come, and there have been many times when the physical condition I was in at the time was the only thing keeping me going.

I’ve got to be honest with you: It feels really good to walk into a men’s clothing store and return large-sized shirts I got as Christmas gifts because they were too big. One of the biggest challenges I faced before was finding the clothes I liked in my sizes … NOW, ironically, the shirts that I like I can ALWAYS find in XXL, but cannot find them in MY NEW SIZE!! I guess Mick Jagger was right: You can’t always get what you want. But, I’ll stay this size, thanks!!

My goal now is to stay where I am. NOT to gain weight back now that I have reached my goal. MyFitnessPal is a big part of that plan. I have now set it into maintenance mode and STILL log calories. And I am STILL exercising and especially running. And Diana and I are still trying to eat as healthily as possible. And that is my plan!!

My mom was so proud of what I had done this year. She was worried about my health and over the years, we had many conversations about it. I will not only do this for ME and for MY FAMILY, because I want to be here with them as long as I possibly can, but I will do this for HER because I know it made her happy.

Hope you have a great year!! If I can help YOU kick your journey into high gear in 2015, please don’t hesitate to let me!!!!