From Fat to Finish Line the documentary

October 8th, 2016
I wrote this after I finally watched the documentary called “From Fat to Finish Line”. This is about 12 strangers coming together to run a Ragnar. These 12 people all had similar weight loss stories and fell in love with running as part of their journey.(as a side note, I was very very close to being one of the 12, timing just didn’t work out if I remember correctly)

Have you ever been ‘in’ a moment and hear John Hulsey say something like “we’re off like a prom dress” and you realize how much you miss something or somebody?!  

I finally allowed myself to watch the film. I needed to see it at this moment of my life. I’ve been down really since August 2nd, 2014. I spent the week before in Colorado climbing Mt. Columbia (one of the teeners) with my daughter, I was at the top of the world, literally. We were home 18 hours when I was knocked out for 4 minutes following a cycling accident while on a training ride. The 6 miles I ran Monday following that accident pushed a concussion into the massive category. Then life continued to happen, cancer attacked my family, all while attempting a comeback that kept turning into a setback. August 9th, 2015 I was on my way to our new home to set up my home gym when I was t-boned violently by a car turning left In front of me. The accident crushed two discs in my lower back. I’ve lived with massive chronic pain nearly every day since. Walking most days is a challenge, let alone the idea of running. 

All of that junk I just mentioned nearly broke my spirit in so many ways. Depression set in, old habits snuck back in, so many of the runners I trained with daily seemed to vanish, I could go on, but why? Then a friend was killed in a car accident at the end of July and that was a spiritual awakening for me. Then a surgeon suggested we try a rhizotomy on my back, that was a physical awakening. I had the second side of the rhizotomy done this week and I’m hopeful that I will see relief very soon. 

I’d almost given up that I’d ever run again. Running is part of me and part of my life. I’d almost resolved myself to accept that I’ve gained 30ish lbs of the 100lbs I lost. I’d forgotten how much fun running is and that runners are some of the best people in the world. I needed to see and hear so much of what was said in the film. So yeah, I totally needed it right at this time of my life.

Great film filled with motivation, inspiration and perspiration, not to mention great stories from real life kinda people. John, I miss you and I love ya my friend!  

“From Fat to Finish Line” gets twelve thumbs up!!  Available on Netflix and I recommend you see it. 

Let’s roll….

Let it Go

I wrote this on August 17, 2016 and I’ve decided to post it here as a reminder for myself. 

Can I keep it real? I struggle with this these days. 

It’s been over a year since my accident and I’m still very angry about it. I’m angry that I worry about my next step with my left leg, “is this the step that sends me deeper into darkness?” Angry that the guy who caused it doesn’t know or care what’s happened to me. Crazy as it is, I am the only one being hurt, with my holding one it this. I have begun taking steps to get to acceptance of my new normal, whatever that looks like. The quicker I get there, the better I’ll be…..correction. The quicker I get there the better the Merlau Four will be. #KeepItReal #BeMore #ReadySetGrow

2 year anniversary – cycling accident

August 2nd, 2016
As of 7:40am cst, time clocked the second anniversary of an event that changed my life. I certainly did not expect to fall off my bicycle, knock myself out and seemingly send myself into a tailspin that continues today. My wife and I are forever grateful for my guardian angel Adam and his wife Angela for taking care of stuff that day! 
I have not been back on my bicycle since the accident and there are any number of reasons for that. I will get back in the saddle as soon as my body allows that to happen. 

Who knew that mile 28 of a 60 mile ride would change the course of life so drastically? Another way to look at it is this one event didn’t change the course, but when I add the additional things that continued to happen the course of my life was changing. The bottom line is that I had a choice to become bitter or better because of it. I would love to tell you that I had made the right choice all along but that’s not the truth. The truth of the matter is I did get bitter, I did get angry, no I got very angry and mad at the world. That decision helped nothing and only made the healing process longer. I’ve turned that around. 

Things are looking up and 

             I am growing forward into the person God made me to be.

Climb it, go through it or work around it!

This is what I’ve been doing for the last 18 months.

Kicking and screaming at the struggle in front of my trying to get around it. In some cases, the screaming was quite literal. I will not stop fighting, because if I stop, all this (the weight loss, the mentoring, the life lessons, etc) all this would be for nothing if I let this stop me. If I let this stop me, each person who ever got inspired be me can quit and blame me. That ain’t happening friends, not on my watch anyway. I will not give up. I will run again. I will run marathons again. My “find the positive” in everything and everyone will return. 

Figure out a way to climb it, go through it or work around it, just NEVER GIVE UP. 

  

Happy 14th Gotcha Day Emily 

May 13th, 2015

You make me smile. You make me cry. You make me laugh out loud, a lot. You and Momma giggling like school girls makes me smile. Your a beautiful soul inside and out (I’m not afraid to go back to prison). 

The drive that you have to live life to its fullest is amazing. Your leadership skills and ability to light up and command a room are incredible! Who knew that the scared toddler we met for the first time 14 years ago today would be so amazing?! Watching you blossom this year has been fun to witness. I know that our God has big plans and a great purpose for you Emily. Keep growing forward into that person he made you to be. 

Momma and I love you and are so Blessed that we are your parents. We are very proud of the young woman you are becoming.


HAPPY GOTCHA DAY Emily Rose

   
 

Did I Live, Love or Matter

April 12th, 2015

  

I love this quote and yes it goes hand in hand with 3 daily questions: did I love fully, did I live fully, did I make a difference. Three important questions that can help keep our attitude and behavior in check. 

I have a daily goal to LOVE fully, LIVE fully and make a DIFFERENCE in the life of another soul. Some days are better than others, that’s a given, but I keep trying.  Each day is a new chance, a new beginning to LIVE my life. 

If I am able to accomplish this daily goal even half the time, I’d like to think I could say, yes, I Loved and yes, I Lived.  Did I matter? Yes, I matter to God. That’s what matters.

Make it a great day!

Do More than EXIST

Do More than EXIST

March 30th, 2015

It’s been said that “to live is the rarest thing in the world most people just exist.”  I love this quote but I find it very sad. I guess your opinion of it depends on your definition of the word live.  In my opinion, waking up, going to work, coming home, and doing it over and over and over is not being alive.  

To me being alive is all about taking steps every day to make me myself a better person, to growing into that person that God created me to be, pushing the limits, having fun, laughing, helping other people, living in the moment and enjoying the moment, being loved and loving others, striving to find the purpose for my life, and setting an example for my family.  Living would require us to Reach, Stretch and Grow daily, God gives us these opportunities to do all of these on a daily basis. Have you seen them?  If you haven’t seen them, maybe your ‘center’ is off balance(you aren’t really the center, sorry but you’re not). They are all around us, these opportunities to grow and LIVE.


You see, I believe that we ‘get’ out of life what we ‘give’ in life. So I might suggest that if you fit into that “just exist” category that you need to give more. Giving more does not mean give more money. When I say ‘give’, I mean give more of yourself and your soul.

Give more energy into being fully alive. Give more energy into finding something positive in every moment of the day.  Give more energy to help others because helping them will lift you. You will figure it output if you open your mind and listen. The opportunity to wake up and live is there, if you want it.

God gave us potential, free thinking and He made us to thrive.  Stop the ‘existence’ and start ‘living’ to your potential. You were made for so much more.

 

  

5 Stages of Grief / Mad at the world

5 Stages of Grief / MAD at the world
March 25th, 2015

Let’s start with the basic question: What is Grief?  Grief is the human response to the loss of someone or something. The loss may involve a loved one, a job, a pet, or simply loss of a friendship. Anyone can experience grief and loss; however, everybody will handle grief differently. Grief itself, is a normal and natural response to loss. Grief can and does impact your body, thoughts, and emotions. It is important to acknowledge and allow the grief to happen because it promotes the healing process.  Healing is the ultimate end game of grief. We have to remember that just because we are healing doesn’t mean the loss never happened. Healing means that the damage caused by the loss no longer controls our lives.

These are the five stages of grief. I like to call them “the five stages of every situation of life.”

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I made this as a reminder to myself, but decided to share because maybe you needed to see this as a reminder as well. Many people do not even know this process exists and how necessary it really is.

Officially the five stages are:

  • Denial
  • Anger
  • Bargaining
  • Depression
  • Acceptance

These 5 stages are tools to help us frame and identify what we may be feeling. But they are not stops on some linear timeline in grief. Not everyone goes through all of them or in a prescribed order.

I’ve learned that these stages can be and are used in many situations in life. That’s why I called them the “five stages of every situation of life” process. If you look at these stages and think about your life, I bet you come up with times you have used this process to get through a tough time. The situation doesn’t have to be a death that you are grieving; it could be anything, literally.

I truly believe that these 5 stages are crucial to healthy living. Not healthy as far as nutrition and fitness are concerned, but healthy emotionally, mentally, spiritually. I’ve grown to believe we can get stuck and can’t move forward with life if we don’t process these stages.  I’ve seen it time and time and time again. It’s not always a death, but the process is the same regardless. I believe that this process works for just about anything.

In my case right now, my family has three members battling cancer. My oldest sister has four new tumors, two in her neck and two in her right lung. My Aunt, my last Aunt on my Momma’s side and really the matriarch of the family is battling with pancreatic cancer.  My cousin is dealing with several tumors specifically on his spine. I can’t deny any of this, I tried. This is fact, they are battling cancer and the prognosis isn’t great!  Yeah, it sucks beyond all comprehension to even write those words, but that’s a fact and I can’t change that. I honestly got mad just from writing those words.

I am processing through these stages intentionally for my own well-being and for that of those around me. When I lost my Momma in 2005, I didn’t process through these stages. I didn’t do anything except eat and sleep and work until I found myself deeply, deeply depressed. It wasn’t until I was at rock bottom that I sought help. It’s interesting how at the very bottom of a very dark pit, we can begin to see clearly and begin to change. I did see a counselor, I spoke to my preacher at the time and various others to help me get through that loss and regain a functional life again.

As I deal with/struggle to understand all this, I have entered a new stage in this process, one step closer to acceptance. I don’t mind telling you that I am full of anger!!!!

  • I am mad at cancer.
  • I am mad that we still don’t have a cure.
  • I am mad at God for allowing Cancer to exist.
  • I am mad at what it’s does to families.
  • I am mad at what it does to the people who have it.
  • I am mad that children battle with this disease.
  • I am mad that I am helpless in this situation.
  • I am mad that I can’t fix this and make everybody better.
  • I could go on with this list

Yes, I am mad, but I’m working through it.  Being mad and full of anger is something I consider a waste of energy and not productive at all.  So, here I am compounding the issue with my own beliefs about anger.  I’m human, what can I say, I don’t get angry very often, but it happens. In this case, I’ll accept it as part of the process.

Please know I do not share this for a ‘Sympathy vote’, that’s not it at all. I share my journey as openly as possible with the hope of helping/inspiring another person. Maybe you needed to see that real people grieve. That real people get mad at the world. If that’s you, you are not alone, this is normal, just don’t get stuck there.

I will keep writing about this process as I work through all this ‘stuff’.  I’m certain I will be back to my happy happy happy self in no time.

Strong enough to Live It

February 28th, 2015

Sometimes I question situations I’m given. There are also times when I don’t give myself enough credit either.

I know it’s not about “me”, it’s about the service I’ve been called to do. I’ve come to believe that I am put in places or even placed in people’s lives because I’m strong enough to live it. Because I have an almighty powerful God with me, I can handle it. That is the only reason I can handle it, God being with me.

As Gandhi said, “be the change you want to see in the world.”  I want to see a world that is healthy inside and out. I am attempting to be that change. Being healthy is so much more than a persons weight. I want people to feel the value they have, because they do have value, no matter what season of life they are stuck in. Sometimes they can’t see that value though and need a little extra help to uncover it again. I believe I’ve been called to lift them up and help them take life back.  “Every day I wake up believing that my calling is to teach others how to take their lives back so they may help others.”

Being called into my passion is an amazing feeling and I don’t take that lightly. I rise by lifting others up and I’m thankful to God for allowing me to be the messenger.

So there ya have it. I’ve been given this life with an amazing wife and awesome daughters because I can live it. It took me a very long time to understand that, but I finally do….I think. So the next time you are in a tough situation or having a difficult time, try to step back from it and open your heart. Maybe you are being given an opportunity to help others grow into the person God made them to be.

#betheexample #bemore #findyourpassion #findyourstrong #talktome









Transformed Inside Out

February 18, 2015

Transformed Inside Out has become my way of thinking and my angle of “attack” when a soul is lead to ask me for help. There is so much I could say about this and the success we are having is remarkable and I’m honored to be a part of the process.

It’s said that weight loss is a mental challenge, to which I fully agree, the hardest part is between the ears. This is the hard truth that can hit hard as you work the process. Facing these issues that come up between the ears will either drive a person to success or drive them to give up. For example, sometimes a person doesn’t even realize that maybe we are an emotional eater. This can knock a person to their knees sometimes. I’ve seen people come to that fact, actually hear them say it, and watch them turn and walk away. Why? Because they aren’t willing to process it and find the triggers or understand how they got to that point. This is just one example of what might come up between the ears.

I’ll also throw out there an example that seems fairly common is a death of somebody close to you. I know I know, you’re thinking I’ve lost my mind at this point. I’m telling you that I’ve mentored more than one person who is still standing at the casket filled with loss, regret, pain, anger, frustration, feeling of being lost, not knowing how to move forward. These are only a few examples, but I’ve seen it. If I’m honest, I did it when I lost my Momma. Standing at the grave without any hope of moving past that is so overwhelming and almost tormenting to a soul. Does that affect a persons weight and life as a whole, you bet it does. The 5 stages of grief must be faced head on so you can gain acceptance and grow forward.

So yeah, I’ll absolutely say that it’s not always a foodie issue that causes weight issues. I had one person say to me “I’m sad because of my weight.” To that I said, “maybe your weight is higher because you are sad.” The cause of the sadness, the issue or whatever doesn’t matter, it’s all an issue on the inside of the soul that can hold every single aspect of your life in bondage.

I’m not a professional, but my experiences have taught me that something in their past is usually the root issue. If we are able to find that root issue and process it to the point of acceptance, we have much greater chance of success. Working through that issue, processing it all the way out to acceptance is a big part of being Transformed Inside out.

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