Remember the Dash

Posted Feb 10th, 2015 in Memory of my Momma.



I read of a man who stood to speak

at the funeral of a friend.

He referred to the dates on her tombstone

from the beginning to the end.

He noted that first came the date of her birth

and spoke of the following date with tears,

but he said what mattered most of all

was the dash between those years.

For that dash represents all the time

that she spent alive on Earth….

and now only those who loved her

know what that little line is worth.

For it matters not, how much we owe;

the cars… the house… the cash.

What matters most is how we live and love

and how we spend our dash.

So think about this long and hard…

are there things you’d like to change?

For you never know how much time is left.

(You could be at dash “mid-range.”)

If we could just slow down enough

to consider what’s true and real,

and always try to understand the

way other people feel.

And be less quick to anger,

and show appreciation more

and love the people in our lives

like we’ve never loved before.

If we treat each other with respect,

and more often wear a smile…

remembering that this special dash

might only last a little while.

So, when your eulogy’s being read

with your life’s actions to rehash…

would you be proud of the things they say

about how you spent your dash?



A weight loss journey is NOT only about weight loss

February 4th, 2015
This started as a post for Instagram and ended up with this. I still posted in Instagram though.

This journey isn’t simply about losing a few pounds. That’s always the main objective when a ‘newbie’ starts out, it was for me when I started. I have grown to know that this is not actually true though.

This is a journey to CHANGE your life, forever. Changing your thought process, changing your problem solving skills, changing your view of the world around you, growing into the person God made you to be! I firmly believe that the process has to start from the inside out. If you are full of anxiety, depression, anger, sadness, whatever the emotion is holding you in bondage, your success will be limited. That bondage is holding you back in so many aspects of your life. Break free from the bondage to the life that you were made for, the life that God designed for you. Dealing with the psychology issues is painful, but worth it. Talking about them and learning tools to help look at things differently is necessary in many cases.

Now then, I know people lose weight without changing anything all the time. I also know that few of these stories have long term success. The same 20 pounds is lost and regained over and over. I believe there are no pills, powders or potions that provide long term success. If you want lasting success, open your mind and allow your heart to change. Everything will change and you will be amazed at what will happen.

(Please know this is my opinion and this has formed over a 5 year journey of my own. I’ve worked with and spoke to thousands along the way. My opinion and approach to weight loss have evolved into what it is today, and it is just that, my opinion. I’ve seen success using this “inside out” idea. My goal for anybody I work with is this, “healthy, inside and out”)


Conversation blew me away – POWERFUL stuff

January 26th, 2015

What you are about to read is an actual text conversation I had with a person I mentor.

I am sharing this(with permission of the other party) because this is POWERFUL stuff.  I am confident that somebody will read this and vision themselves in the exact same place in life.  Sometimes, just knowing that you aren’t the only person on the planet that feels like you do is all it takes to begin to change your life.

This person does have weight to lose, we’ve not really talked about that yet.  They are working on being healthy on the inside first.  I’ve learned that this will help the weight loss process greatly.  It is a process, all of it, but my goal for those I work with is to learn how to be healthy on the inside and out.  “Transformed Inside and Out”

Message I sent just to touch base in the morning.
Happy Saturday enjoy your family today

The response I got:
Thank you.  Having breakfast late but I actually got to have a natural nights sleep.  Haven’t had one in a very long time. I used to have to take a sleep aid now I am down to melatonin 3 MG. It feels great to be honest.  I have thousands of miles to go but baby steps is great.

I responded with:
Whoa. That’s a giant step forward. :-). Congrats.
One day
One step
One life season at a time.

I think Siri played a role in this message. This person understands the change. Understands they are starting over:
Thank you.  I don’t if for you it may  feel like you’re making an impact on my life, but having you there means more than you can imagine.  I cannot thank you enough. Thank you for helping me by leading me through the kindergarten journey I’m in.  I say that because I’m basically having to start life over.  And for you I’m grateful and much more blessed.  Enjoy your family as well.

Later in the day just going about my day I get the following message:
Pulled my treadmill out. Dusted it off. Taking a 30 min walk. I haven’t ran since HS. HATED IT. But now it’s like to one day attempt it.

I was blown away with the message and it made me smile. I couldn’t resist my smartalic response though. It’s what I do. Hehe:
Who is this??

My phone says a name….but they haven’t had the will to do anything, let alone walk on the treadmill

They responded with the following:
You have taught me in this little time that I can be my worst or best version of myself.  Shedding of the worst version little by little!  Can’t wait to meet that version I’ve only dreamed of.  Now heading towards here and this time with guidance and positive crave!

By this time my mind was blown to pieces. When somebody I mentor begins to “get it”, it makes me proud for them. Proud they are understanding what has to happen to truly change their life.  My response was this:
Wow I love this stuff!!!

It’s like you’ve been in a dark Forrest. Wandering. Not caring. Nobody cares. Now you can see a tiny tiny little light in the distance. It’s way out there, but you finally believe you can reach it.

About 2 hours later I got another message, more of a small novel.
I must share with my amazing mentor and blessing of a friend

WARNING – it’s long

30 with incline
40 no incline with little more speed
7 slow walk-cool down
Thoughts in my head during my walk were: you only have one life live it for yourself! No one can live my life for me BUT ME AND ONLY ME!

I’ve had the honor and blessing of raising three beautiful children to which two are now in their own,  and one that I have left to continue raising.  I used to look at my children leaving as a sadness but lately I’ve been rethinking that perspective, and I need to look at it more as a success. They didn’t leave me , they went out to find their own path that was a hardest thing to realize and learn to accept and more so appreciate!   as I was working out on the treadmill looking over at my daughters Navy graduation picture I realized I was part of her success in a little way, I raised her to be brave I raised her to be responsible, I raised her to speak her mind, I raised her to have goals and reach for them now its my turn I did the best I could and she is successful in what she does and I need to look at that and know my part in it!  I miss her she’s no longer here she isn’t dead she’s just in another state and I need to look at that with more appreciation. She’s happy fulfilling her own dreams.

The other thing that was on my mind was my mother.  In 2012 I lost her. losing her was like losing a part of me, I lost my my soul I lost my brick wall had been holding me up throughout my life. Losing mom was like someone took the ground out from under me. In just the way that I was living my life after her death; was not something my mom would have wanted for me.   I am mom with daughters, I know I would never ever want that for my children.  I know that they won’t forget me when my time comes.   I’ll still be a part of their heart and I would never want them in the dark and the heavy gloom, despair and the negativity of in the pit I allowed myself to enter AND KEEP FALLING AND FADING INTO.    So, now it’s time for me to live for me.  I will still be a mom, I will still be a wife, I will still be a sister, a friend but right now the focus is healing my soul repairing my heart and looking forward .  I am reclaiming my life, my reason for existing.  I can’t keep walking the same path expecting a different outcome or destination Definitely not a better one.  I have to change my route, I have to walk in a different path one  of discomfort, a path of the unknown, a path of real challenges not just physical but mental and emotional , and right now I feel like I’m ready to take that on. I’m not afraid of what I look like right now, I’m not concerned of what people think when they see me.  I don’t care because I don’t live their lives and they don’t mine.  I have to live this for myself! You only get one life.  Do what you were meant to do with it and that’s exactly my goal from here on out.

Time to come out of the dark!
My Other story is still full of hurt and a little anger maybe this is enough for now.  Sorry to bombard you with the long winded thoughts.

I shed also a few tears when thinking of mom.  Don’t know where that came from.
Will I be sore tomorrow and the next day.  Heck yes but it’s my reminder that today is the first day of the REST of MY life!  I just may roll out the red carpet when it arrives.  😄

Oh my goodness!!  I am blown away.  We have not yet spoke on the phone for any length of time, which is something I prefer to do early in a relationship like this.  I like to be able to hear their voice and get a feel for what’s going on in their lives. This person and I have texted a lot with one very short call.  I knew. I knew what was going on in their head when we first made contact.  The growth that has already taken place is remarkable. This was my response.
wow wow wow

I’ve read this novel several times, tears every time!!

The outlook on your kids is spot on!  You should be proud, very proud. You have every right to be proud because they are a product of YOU.

It’s ok to shed a tear for your Mom. You still miss her, and always will. My momma died nearly 10 years ago, I still shed tears because I miss her now and then.  That’s healthy to do. Let it out. Holding that in is what got you in the darkest pit of despair.

THIS is your time!  Time to kick and claw and fight out of that pit and shine like never before. Will you fail once in a while, yes, we all do. The difference is you will have tools to deal with that failure!

I could not be more proud of you. I wish I could hug your neck right now. And btw. In times like this you need to let this stuff out, feel free to text me. Ask if I’m available. Nothing like purging feelings and anger Huh?

How do you feel now, emotionally?  Physically won’t kick in seriously until Monday. :-).

End of text

There were a few more messages, mostly showing their gratitude for the guidance I provide, which aren’t crucial to my point of this blog.

My point of this blog is to show that the emotions we harbor or ‘tuck’ away DO hold you in bondage. They do hold you back in nearly every corner of your life.  That bondage will drag you deeper and deeper into a pit of despair.  That pit will grow deeper and you begin to think you can never get out.  I know, because I was in that pit after my own Momma passed.

Knowing there is somebody at the top of that pit who has dropped a rope to help you out is often enough to begin the process of healing.  Releasing that emotion does wonders for the soul.  Releasing the emotions(you name the kind of emotion) doesn’t mean you forgot them or don’t care, it means you can face the emotions in a healthy manner.  Learning and figuring out tools to deal with LIFE or look at life from a different angle is very helpful.

I’m not a trained professional, I use my personal experiences and that of a thousand people I talk to on this journey to help lift others up.  Not to mention that I have a ‘personal board of directors’ who pray for the folks who ask for help.  My PBOD know nothing about those who come for help, they just pray that God work through me and begin the healing process.  I believe that God is doing the work, He’s just using me as the messenger.

Healthy inside and out, that’s the goal. 

How is that New Years resolution going?

January 24th, 2015

It’s been said that the most common New Years resolution is to lose weight. To me, this is awesome news. We are the largest country in the world in every single form, how sad is that?! YET, of all the people who make that resolution, only 8% will actually follow through!! That means that 92% fail, give up or whatever, seriously?!?!

Do you want to know why most of that 92% of people fail? It’s because they don’t understand the change required for success. Going on a diet doesn’t work people. Buying a bottle of pills doesn’t work either. Are we seriously that shallow to think its that simple? Oh sure, don’t get me wrong. You can go drop 15-20 pounds quickly with a crash diet or bottle of pills. How many people keep that weight off with lasting success?

Let’s start with taking an honest inventory of ourselves. How did you get into the situation you are in? It didn’t happen overnight did it? What are the underlying issues that are causing you to overeat or causing you to just flat out not care? Self inventory can be hard, but this is something I believe to be crucial for long term success. There are solutions to the underlying issues, you simply have to be willing to work in them. Willing to work on YOU because you are worth it.

Weight loss is not rocket science at all. It’s not all that difficult, it’s hard work, but the principle isn’t rocket science. Eat better/move more/do it every day! That is the basic principle for weight loss, right. It’s as clear as that really. Here is what I’ve grown to believe is the absolute key ingredient that so many miss. You have to CHANGE in order to have lasting success. You have to break up with old habits. They are serving no valued purpose in your life so CHANGE them. They must go away, not for a week, not until you drop x number of pounds. Nope, you have to put them away forever. You must Change the habits. CHANGE is the key ingredient here.


Your Story Matters

January 16th, 2015

Goooooood morning friends. I had a thought I wanted to share.

Your “story” matters. Whatever it is. Good. Bad. Ugly, it all matters!

Your story is part of you and you should “own” it. Sure, it’s easy to own good stuff. I suggest we forgive ourselves and love ourselves enough to “own” the bad and ugly as well. Somewhere, someday you will share that story and change the life of another person.

Make it a great day!!

I am an ultra-marathoner and TODAY is the day I start over

January 15th, 2015


I am an ultra-marathoner and today is the day I start over.

Let me explain. I ran two marathons and an ultra marathon, several half marathons and and a few others in the first four months of 2014……THEN it started…..

I was injured in a cycling accident on August 2nd causing a massive concussion.  That took 12 weeks for recovery.  I started training again after 12 week of nothing and started the climb back to my peek fitness.  Then in November I had a freak issue with my back that has had me down since then.

6 months……..almost 6 full months of not being active was NOT my idea of a good time. 🙂


I got out the door for a test run to see how my back would hold up.  I’m pleased to report that my back had very minimal pain.  My legs were screaming at me because every muscle hurt.  I think I heard my lungs calling me things they shouldn’t say as they had forgotten what we were doing.  Then there was my heart, about to pound out of the cage that keeps it contained. It felt like I did when I first started running.  YEP – today’s run sucked, but oh man it was so good!  But you know what, it was a run and that’s all that mattered to me.

So TODAY is DAY ONE……again.  🙂

I am very humbled by today’s run and I my heart is full of gratitude because I have the ability to run.

I have a long road ahead to get back to my peek fitness level, I welcome that challenge with open arms!!



Do You BELIEVE in Yourself?

January 13th, 2015

One of my favorite things in life is serving others. As you may know, one of the ways I serve is as a mentor to others who want to their life back. I love helping, guiding, planning, talking with and sometimes talking off the edge of the cliff.  This journey is about total transformation and will completely transform your life if you’ll do some work.

I can get a pretty good feel for where a person is at in “life” during our first phone call, and the work begins.

One of the people I’m mentoring right now wasn’t in a great place when we spoke.  I asked them, ‘Do you believe in yourself’.  I got a half hearted made up not real answer.  I knew it and they knew it as well.  That conversation happened on November 14, 2014.  We have talked alot since then and deal with the issues they were facing… forward to January 13, 2015.

I asked the same question in an email. When I got the response I just smiled and thought to myself, ‘this person is going to make it’.  They have grown and it’s so much fun to watch this process work!! IT WORKS if you’ll DO THE WORK!  (Side note, in that time, they’ve lost nearly 20 pounds and I’ve only begun the physical training in the last 2 weeks.)

I wanted to share this response, I believe this is encouraging to all of us.  Coming from the place of our first phone call to this response, WOW!  I’m so proud of them.

“I’ve always wondered when you would ask me this again. Do I believe in myself?

A month ago it was hard question, now I can say I do. I know I’m gonna have struggles everyone does. The weight loss is coming I know it is and I can’t expect it to happen over night.  I have a goal I want to hit before my son’s birthday and I will hit it.

I never thought I’d have the confidence I have now back. I’m gaining my flexibility back and strength back in my ankles and my shoulders I haven’t had in a long time. I love waking up in the morning knowing once I get my son off to school I can start my day and workout.

Yes I believe in myself if I didn’t I wouldn’t have the confidence in myself I do now.”

THAT…is reason enough to smile I think.2015/01/img_1095.jpg

Live What You Are

Doing my personal development tonight and read this:

Don’t just advocate and argue for what you value. Live it. Don’t just wish for and talk about your dreams. Live them. Devote each individual moment of your life to what you sincerely care about. You are overflowing with amazing possibilities. Today, and every day, live what you are. -Ralph Marston

Well that couldn’t have hit the nail in the head any better. I do try to live my passion every day. I spoke to my church this morning sharing my story and how I’ve been transformed from the inside out. I don’t mind saying I broke down several times. I’ve told the story many times without the tears. Today, the passion was evident in my emotions. I will keep doing what I do for people who need it. Need someone as a mentor to help them transform their own lives. So, I agree with Mr Marston when he said “today and every day, live what you are.”

I will live what I am. I am a man who has a passion for helping people take their life back!


Word of the year for 2015

Happy New Year everybody and good riddance to 2014. I don’t mean to sound negative with that statement, I’m just ready to move forward again. Having 6 months of injuries nearly sucked the life out of me. :-). All is well again and things are looking up!

I don’t do resolutions. They don’t work anyway. When I started this journey I set goals. Those goals were a bunch of races, those don’t define me either.

Last year I chose a word of the year and everything I did was done with that word in mind. It was a cool journey actually. 2014 the word was COURAGE.

2015 will be the year of STRENGTH for me. I will apply this to everything I do this year. I’m excited to see where this might go.


Yes, if you’ve wondered I chose these two words in succession on purpose. Because I had the COURAGE to start, I’ll have the STRENGTH to finish.

The Emotions of Change

Repost of this blog originally written in 2011.

The Emotions of Change

By: Jerome Merlau, DailySpark Blogger 
12/27/2011 10:00 PM   :  56 comments   :  10,157 Views
See More: weight loss, emotional health, men’s health,

Honestly, I never expected so many changes when I decided to take my life back.  Oh sure, I expected to get skinner, but that is where my thought process stopped.  I am not sure I expected or even understood the “healthier” aspect of it all yet.  I’d set out to lose some weight and wouldn’t you know that I lost a ton of baggage as well.  Who knew there were emotions involved with this journey, NOT ME!

I remember being about 20 pounds into my journey and my boss asked me if I had lost some weight.  It shocked me initially that anybody had noticed.  Then I was filled with pride that someone had noticed.  I used that one very quick two minute conversation as motivation to keep going.  Like a lot of people, my weight loss started at my face and worked its way down.   My wife noticed some emotional changes already as I instantly became more pleasant to be around.  I was really pushing myself more than I had in years to be active, and it brought me joy.  By the end of the first four weeks, I was obsessed with fitness and was walking at least twice a day, typically more.  

The first four months of my journey was amazing. I remember the day in March that I called my dad and told him I’d found something I hadn’t seen for a number of years.  He asked me what that was and my response was, “my feet.”  I could look down and see my feet!  I could sit on my stool, bend over and tie my shoes with my foot flat on the floor!  No longer did I have to struggle to pull my leg up and cross it over my other knee.  No longer did I have to tie my shoe strings on the side because that’s the best I could do. I could tie my shoes right in the middle and I was proud of that! There were frustrating moments too.  I remember one trip to buy new pants.  I had lost about 55 pounds at this point and had not purchased any new clothes.  I looked like a vagabond my clothes were so baggy. I was wearing 38-40 and thought that I should now fit into 34s.  The 34s were still just a little tight. I look at the store clerk and said, “WHY can’t I fit into these 34s yet?  I’m so upset that these don’t fit, you just don’t understand.”  Then I apologized and explained my situation.  I remember my wife explaining to me that most of the weight I had lost was above the beltline. The weight loss hadn’t made it to my waist yet.  I left the store wearing my 38-40s and frustrated.  I had set myself up to buy 34s and didn’t want to settle for 36s.  Yep, I was still wearing baggy pants. 

Remember that song, ”Pants on the Ground”?  Well, I wasn’t far from that. 

When we set out to change our lives, sometimes we STILL have blinders on to reality and that’s OK. I would recommend that we at least have our eyes WIDE open and accept that changes are going to create emotions, as they come into our lives.  Your relationships with your spouse, your children, your co-workers, will change.

Sometimes the emotions of this journey will hit you at a moment when you aren’t expecting it. Below is an excerpt of a blog I wrote over a year ago, but I still remember this day like it was yesterday.  I was on a run in July 2010, when this happened:

…As I got near to the house I was close to 3.5 so I kept running toward the park across the street from my house. I quit running at 3.57 and kept walking as a cool-down period.

This is when the emotions hit me out of the blue. You see, this park I was walking around is where my journey started in December 2009. I started by doing nothing but walking(I’ve said that before) and this park is where I walked nearly EVERY morning for several months, around and around the ‘island’ as I called it. I’ve not walked around this park since I was probably about 230lbs, a completely different man than I am today. It was the strangest thing that I was having “flashbacks” and sort of watching my fat self huff and puff up on the sidewalk as I walked in the street today, seeing myself struggle to keep the walking speed at a rate that would do any good to burn calories. Today I was using this as a nice slow cool down period after running fairly hard for 3.57 miles, I found myself fighting tears this morning, it was the strangest thing, very surreal to experience the whole thing really. Even now as I write this, my eyes fill with tears as I am completely amazed at what has taken place.

Tears filled my eyes as I sat and wrote it all down as soon as I walked in the door after that run.  Like I said, sometimes the emotions will catch you when you least expect it.  That day was amazing for me and I pray that I never forget it.  I also hope that YOU have your moments.  If you are just beginning your journey, maybe this blog will give you a very small window into what you’re about to go through.  If you’re already knee deep, hip deep or arm pit deep into your journey, maybe this blog will bring back a few memories for you.  Yes, this journey you are in has emotions and physical changes so get ready for them.  As a man, sometimes I didn’t face those emotions and deal with them as I should.  I would caution the men who read this to get ready to deal with some unexpected emotions.  Learn from the emotions as they come, confront them, accept them and move forward.  If we push them away, throw them to the side, have we really changed?  Will we do the same things in the future if we don’t understand what is happening on the journey?  I venture to say that if we don’t deal with them, we’ll go right back to where we came from.

I finished that blog with the following paragraph and I’d like to close with that same paragraph today.

I felt it necessary to purge these emotions and share this story to encourage those who might be struggling, those who might want to give up, those who have no/little support to NOT GIVE UP! I didn’t like “watching” myself this morning in those flashbacks, I wasn’t healthy, it was scary. DON’T GIVE UP. DON’T EVER GO BACK.”

Did you experience any emotional change when you started out on your weight-loss journey?