The Old and The New Year

As we start a new year many will reflect on what happened over the last year.  Many will look at goals set and achieved and/or ones that are still being worked on.  It is also a great time to set goals that you will work towards in 2013.

I encourage you to not just do this once a year.  Try to do this throughout the year.  Everyday is a New Year. Many things may change and take you away from your original goals.  Evaluate if you need to get back on track towards that goal or if your new path is the best choice.  Sometimes things come up and your orignal goal may no longer be a priority.

As a trainer, I encourage all of my clients to set fitness goals when we start a program.  I like having them set tangible goals like running in a 5K, mud run, or some other kind of competition.  Goals of weight loss are great as well, but I feel if you are training for an event you will achieve the weight loss.  Afterall, most athletes don’t train for just weight loss.  They train to win.  Keeping weight off happens when they train hard and eat with proper nutrition.

So what does that mean for setting non-fitness goals?  As you are working towards your main goals many other great things may happen along the way.  So many unexpected achievements and events can occur that you have never even thought could happen.  Some may inspire new goals in your life.  Some will cause you to look at goals you have set and you may realize that it was not really a great goal to have.

Goals can be set for different parts of your life.  In all of these you may have things happen that you do not expect.  For example, a goal of mine for 2012 was to open a fitness facility.  I did so this past year with two great partners.  A lot has happened since that goal was achieved.  Many were unexpected things.

With the start of the gym came some trouble at home.  2012 was not all good.  I do not think any year is all good for anyone.  Life itself is a  roller coaster.  There were many miscommunications at home.  I was being selfish and I was in denial.  Starting a business without complete consent from my partner at home was the pinnacle of my selfishness.  It came to a head in July.

It was almost the end, but then something happened.  Through my friend and business partner, God stepped in.  Since that point I have started a better relationship at home with my wife and my daughter.  This was not a goal of 2012 when the year started.  Neither was starting a relationship with God.  These were things that happened while I was on the path towards other goals.  These were things that happened and caused me to evaluate the goals I had and helped me set new ones for this year.

I would like to share my goals for 2013 others.  I encourage you to set goals and make choices and not resolutions.  After they are set I encourage you to share them worth others.  This way you can be held accountable.  This is why I am sharing them with you.  I will revisit these goals every three months.  I ask if you all will keep me on task.

Goals for 2013.

  • listen for the Lord.
  • continue to strive toward being the best father and husband I can.
  • continue to grow United Strength Academy and take another space in the building we rent out.
  • get to a better financial standing.
  • inspire people to be better and love.
  • be patient with everything and everyone.
  • trust the Lord and grow closer to Him.
  • write a book (topic suggestions welcome)
  • Keep moving forward.

Please hold me accountable. I will do the same for you.

What are some of your goals? Please share below.

Thanks for following the blog for the last few months.

May God bless you everyday in 2013.

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.
Romans 8:37

What Christmas Means to Me

Merry Christmas everyone.  Christmas means many things to many people.  Your meaning of Christmas may change as you grow older.  Your view of Christmas may change as you grow or shrink spiritually.  Things may happen to you that change your meaning of Christmas.

As a young kid Christmas to me was a time to ask for a ton of stuff and maybe get it.  It was a time when you would make a list and maybe Santa would see it.  As I got older I started to realize more about the meaning.  I remember when my Mom would set up the nativity  I would hide the baby Jesus.  They would ask why I would hide Him and I would say “He isn’t here yet.”  I think the last time I hid Him I forgot where I put Him.  Oops!

But now Christmas means so much more.  That is why I wrote about what I did a few posts ago.  To me it is not about getting.  It is not about lists or who can out Christmas present someone.  If I never got another Christmas present it would not matter. I am grateful that they are given to me but I do not need them.  What I do need is what Christmas means to me.

LOVE!

Christmas is a time to show love.  It is a time to be with family.  It is a time to spend with people who you don’t always get to see.  It is a time to mend relationships.  It is a time to show love to people who you don’t even know.

The One who is all about love is the One who we celebrate this day.  The holiday is named Christmas and Jesus Christ is LOVE!   For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16 KJV)

The perfect gift.

A gift of love.

A gift of joy.

A gift of peace.

A gift of hope.

From His miraculous birth, throughout His miraculous life, to His violent death and glorious resurrection, Jesus gives us hope.  He is a gift for us all so that if we choose to believe, will have eternal life.

LOVE!

That is what Christmas means to me.  God’s love for the world.  Please celebrate that this Christmas.

Please celebrate that everyday.

Joy to the world, the Lord has come!

In All These Things

Thank you all who responded to my last post.  I post these things because they are my thoughts and feelings.  They do not reflect any of the thoughts or feeling of any business or church I run or attend.  They come from me and the reason I share them is to help and get help.  I truly believe we are not in this world alone and we all need to seek counsel.  I know my last post may have seemed a bit extreme to some, especially family and friends whom I know, but I am sure I am not the only one with the dilemma.  Also, people should be aware that there are others who do not see things the way they do and no one should pass judgment.  I know that is easier said then done.  We all judge.

After a few days of seeking the counsel of people with various views I have come to a conclusion.  Before I get to that let me just say I think we should always research things we do. We should challenge customs and traditions if we feel they do not line up with what is being taught.  Don’t just go blindly into a tradition without research unless you are comfortable.  I will warn you if you seek, you will find.  What you find you may not like.  After you find again seek council.

So I researched and found.  I found more than I wanted to.  What I found I did not like.  Then I thought, and asked, and prayed, and have come to this.  The reasons why traditions use to happen do matter, but how they are now used matter more.  The Santa of today was not the Santa of the past.  There is a bad history with Santa but he has changed.  People can change and so can tradition.  Although Santa is highly commercialized, it is not the object that is bad, it is how we use the object.  A knife in and of itself is not bad, but when a knife is used to cause harm it is the action and not the object that is bad.

It all comes down to how we do the traditions in my own house.  Just because the world puts Santa as the figure-head of Christmas does not mean we have to.  He and other things are a part of Christmas so they will be accepted as current traditions.  The purpose of the holiday for me is to celebrate the Birth of Jesus Christ.  No matter the original intention of the holiday, that is Who it will be about for me and what I want to pass on.  Christmas is now a time to love and enjoy family and friends.  Whatever that day was used for in the ancient past does not matter.  It is now a day of caring, giving, hope, joy, and compassion.  In all these things there is Jesus.

Santa will come.  We will have holiday fun and Christmas spirit.  My daughter will experience the fun of the season, but the Reason to celebrate will be held as the highest priority.

Thank you all for your help.

Merry Christmas!!!!!

In the words of Tiny Tim “God bless us.  Everyone!”

Christmas Dilemma

It has always been strange to me.  I always wondered why it was ok?  I always wondered why they could lie to us?  We are told, from the day we are born, not to lie.  Then the people who tell us this, lie to us as long as they can about one thing we know of.  One thing we all find out.

Why is it ok?

I am faced with a dilemma.  Do I do the same thing?  Do I lie to my daughter?  Do I tell her the same lie every year around this time?  Do I make it worse by adding another lie to it?  Do I move that little doll around and tell her it moved on its own?  Then I must keep lying because I will need to keep moving it.  I will have to tell her to be good because it is watching her and will report back to the bigger lie.

Yes I am talking about Santa and the Elf on the Shelf.  I remember when I was a kid and found out there wasn’t a Santa. Not when my parents told me, but when I actually found out.  Confession time: I SNOOPED FOR MY PRESENTS!  Sorry Mom and Dad.  I found my Nintendo in the basement.  It was the Nintendo given to me a few days later by Santa.

“Why did Santa drop off my presents and leave them in the basement?” I asked myself.  I didn’t really ask that.  I asked myself “why was I lied to and told not to lie?”  Then I started to play along in the fear that if they knew I knew, then the Christmas presents would stop.  I liked getting gifts.  It didn’t matter if Santa was real.  My Nintendo was real.  My bike was real.  My drums were real.

So why do we still lie about this guy in a red suit?  I understand people want to keep Christmas magical and have fun with their children.  I understand that it is a tradition.  I understand that Santa is a symbol of giving.  But I do not understand why Santa is in more places at Christmas than the person the holiday is named for.  I do not like that I see a giant inflatable Santa on the way home from work and do not see anything about the real Gift given to us.  And while Santa is a symbol of giving, he also is a symbol of taking.  We teach kids to make lists of all these things that they want Santa to bring.  They are taught to rely on a man in a red suit and not the One that this holiday is supposed to celebrate.

And what about the Jewish kids?  Does Santa not like them?  Since they do not celebrate Christmas, Santa will not bring them toys. Are they on the naughty list?  Would they be on the naughty list of the One this holiday is about?  We are all on the naughty list.  But He was born to bring us forgiveness.  So why wouldn’t Santa go to their house?


I’m not saying that if you do the Santa thing you are bad.  I am saying I am confused.  I need help.  I think there can be a balance but it should not be 50/50.  Jesus should be the reason for Christmas that I teach my daughter.  If not for His birth we would not have Christmas.  If not for His death we would not be saved.

I just pray that she and other children learn the real meaning of Jesus as our gift and not what they will get from Santa.  I just pray that they thank God for loving us so much the He gave us His only son.

The perfect Gift.

Luke 2:7 King James Version (KJV)

And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

God Bless

Merry Christmas

I’m Starting At Home And Not Ending There

I can’t begin to pretend to know how the people in Connecticut feel after the devastation from Friday December 14, 2012. I have a young child of my own and I do not even want to imagine how they feel. I do know it breaks my heart. I hope the majority of people agree. This is such a terrible event that I hope never gets duplicated or done worse.

As Newtown, CT mourns, we try to put together reasons why this happens. What causes a person to take so many innocent lives? What is in a person’s head as they make this decision?

Some want to blame the gun laws. Some will blame violent video games. Others will blame movies, television, and the internet. I hear some saying the world is messed up and blame society. Is it guns, violent games, websites, movies, and television?

These things are prevalent in the world. I am 33 and these things were a controversy when I was a kid. They still are now. Violent acts by a single person went on then too. Was it all of these things causing the violence? Is it the negative images and access to guns that cause people to commit such disgusting acts?

While I agree guns do kill people, and video games and violent programs may warp a person’s mind, the answer is not that simple.   It may not be what we have.  The answer may be where we lack. There is a great lack of positive influence in young lives. Positive behaviors to model may not 100% prevent these heinous acts, but they will go a long way to helping.

Where does it start? Where will society be rebuilt? Where do we start?

We start in the home. We start with parents that are engaged in a child’s life. “But it is hard because we need to make money to keep our house and our cars and our stuff.” Yes I agree. I am a husband and a father. I know how hard it is. But I also know that if I work all of the time, and do not give time to my daughter, the work is for nothing. I also know that if times get tough with my wife I cannot run from them. I made a covenant before God to be with my wife. I believe some people forget that covenant and give up. I know it is not easy. Some married couples should not stay together if there is abuse of any nature going on but it just seems like so many give up so easily. “For better or worse, sickness and health” actually should mean what they mean.

Divorce is very harmful to a child. A child needs both parents in their lives. Not just to go to games and events, but to be fully committed to them. Parents need to be the example.  Parents need to care.  Parents may need help!
“If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. … We need not wait to see what others do.” Ghandi

Just staying together is half the solution. As a man I know I can’t just be present, I have to be engaged. I have to be supportive. I have to provide discipline. I have to love unconditionally. I have to protect her. I have to provide for her. I have to lead by example.

Too many men are casual parents. They either work, work, work, or play, play, play. Life as a husband and parent is all about themselves and not family. They are just boys and not men. A job, a car, a house, a wife, and kids do not make you a man. Families need husbands, fathers, MEN.

I know in some families a father has left. This is may not even have been a decision made by both husband and wife. The parents may have never been married. In these situations there still needs to be a man. There still needs to be a positive role model. This is for boys and girls.

I am reading a book called “Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters” by Meg Meeker MD given to me by my friend Dan Huff. It has some startling facts but the biggest thing I am getting out of it is I have to be fully committed to my daughter. When you are committed, kids are less likely to try drugs, smoke, drink, engage in sexual activity, and are less rebellious among other things. Making yourself an example of how you want them to be is a must. You are a teacher. You are a trainer. You are a parent.

One other important thing that is lacking in families is God. Many families may go to church or temple, but still don’t know God. They don’t have an anchor in faith. They don’t live a life with moral values and they let society shape their thoughts and actions. Society is trying to take God out of everything. Even out of our homes. I do not think prayer needs to be in school but it needs to be done. We should not just pray when things go bad but also when they are good. Reading the word of God is a must, but following it is an absolute.

I do not know the home lives of these people who cause such destruction. I do know that these things do not happen that often, but they happen often enough. I do know that crime and drug use are still a problem. I do know that our jails a filled a lot more than our churches. I do know that there are bad people who need love. I do know that there are mentally ill children and adults that need help and love.  Is it too late? No!

I have been reading reports and in many of these terrible killing sprees, the killer has a history of mental illness.  In these cases some of the parents feel helpless before this occurs.  Many do not have the money to get proper treatment.  Some moms or dads run away from the problem or ignore them all together.  I read one article saying that an official told a parent there was nothing they can do to help unless the child commits a crime.  Is it too late by that point?  These kids and adults have committed the worst crime then kill themselves.  Too late for help.  We need to help these parents with their kids that have mental illness.  We can’t ignore them.  We have to be Jesus to the least of these.  These children may be disturbed mentally and some might say they are not under their own control.  They need Jesus.

Matthew 5:1-13 They came to the other side of the sea, to the country of the Gerasenes. And when Jesus had stepped out of the boat, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit. He lived among the tombs. And no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain, for he had often been bound with shackles and chains, but he wrenched the chains apart, and he broke the shackles in pieces. No one had the strength to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always crying out and cutting himself with stones. And when he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and fell down before him. And crying out with a loud voice, he said, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure you by God, do not torment me.” For he was saying to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!” And Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” He replied, “My name is Legion, for we are many.” And he begged him earnestly not to send them out of the country. Now a great herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside, and they begged him, saying, “Send us to the pigs; let us enter them.” So he gave them permission. And the unclean spirits came out and entered the pigs; and the herd, numbering about two thousand, rushed down the steep bank into the sea and drowned in the sea.

If you think the world is broken then lets fix it. Let’s get in the trenches and change the world. If we are to make the world better for the next generation we need to start with the next generation. I challenge parents to step up. Myself included. I challenge people who see kids heading down the wrong path to do their best to intervene. Talk to them. Hang with them. Take them to church. Take them to a youth group. Read them scripture. Most of all, show compassion.  Show compassion for the parents.  Help them if you see they have a child that is having problems.  We need communities to be a compassionate communities and not just when things go haywire.  We need it before the killing spree starts.  If you see a kid as weird and they look crazy there may be more to the situation.  We are not supposed to be mental health care providers, but we need to take care of others in need.

Start in your own house.

I vow to be an example of what I want for my daughter. I vow to be faithful to God so she may see what that looks like and what it means. I vow to do for others what they can not do for themselves. I vow to do my best to do as Jesus does for the least of these. When I see a kid that needs help I will help them. Jesus says to take care of widows and orphans. Just because there is  a mom and dad at home does not mean you are not an orphan.

If you are aware of the needs of kids in this situation and do nothing it is a shame. I encourage you to reach out to them. Make them aware of programs you know of like youth groups. Bring them to church. Get the parent help.  Do something.

If you know and do nothing it is even worse than not knowing. It is like knowing you’ve sinned and have repented and know what you are supposed to do but still continue to do the same sin.  2 Peter 2:21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.

Again my heart breaks for these children and these families.  I know Jesus welcomed them.  As it says in Mark 10:16  And He took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.

Jesus is our hope.

I encourage you to be engaged with your family.  Help those who need help.  Take responsibility for society.  Instead of complaining about it begin to change the world.  Get others to take up this cause.  There is strength in numbers.  Even Jesus sent his disciples out two at a time.  And lastly, structure your family around a solid faith in the Lord.  Live a life following Jesus and getting to know Him and not just know about Him.

God Bless

May your faith grow stronger to live a stronger life.

Lord, please be with the families and the entire community in Newtown Connecticut.
May they mourn, grieve and heal.
May we all be forever changed for the greater good to do what is right by them.
Lord give us wisdom, strength, and courage to change the world as it is a crazy place.
We are living in the world but we are not of this world. 
Lord I pray that your son Jesus welcomed these children and all of those who come to the kingdom. 
Lord please let these families know you are there as the rest of us grieve for the loss of lives.
I know your heart breaks Lord.  Again I ask for wisdom, courage, and strength to do my part in this mess.  I pray to continue to follow and know Jesus and live a life that will not accept these actions here on this earth.

Lord thank you for my life and every breath I take for your glory.  I pray that every email, blog, video created through me is for Your glory and Your works to help change this world we live in so we may all one day be with You in the Kingdom of Heaven.

In Jesus precious name I pray. Amen

Pain is Pain

Pain is Pain.
What you are going through hurts.
Others may see it as small, but it is big to you.
Others may say “you don’t know pain.”
But it hurts so much.
Others may say “that guy has it worse than you. Why are you crying?”
But that guy may not know your pain.
Pain is Pain.
A mother sends her child off to school hoping she taught him how to treat people.
She sends him off hoping he will grow to be a man making good choices.
She knows she can’t watch over him all the time but just hopes she did her job.
Pain is Pain.
One night he doesn’t come home till after curfew.
She worries the entire time.
Calls the police for help.
He is ok but was not where he was supposed to be.
There is worry. There is frustration. There is pain.
Pain is Pain.
A young boy struggles to find his way in life.
Not sure of his purpose he tries everything.
Looking to belong he falls in with a dangerous crowd.
He experiments with things to take the pain of not being accepted away.
His parents love him but he still feels this pain.
He wants to escape.
Pain is Pain.
A women diagnosed with cancer isn’t ready for that news.
She has to tell her family and prepare for chemo and radiation.
She stays strong and has the support of her family but still has fear.
She still has doubts. She questions why?
“Why me? Why anyone? Why cancer?”
Chemo and radiation knock out her energy still she stays strong but it hurts.
She is a warrior but,
Pain is Pain.
A house blown away by a hurricane.
A family left sleeping in a shelter.
No more toys.
No more tv.
No more beds.
They are thankful for their lives but losing a house they have had for 15 years hurts.
Pain Is Pain
A man struggles to do what is right.
He wants so much for his family.
He goes trying to help others and follows his passion.
He knows that things will turn around but still feels, at times, he is letting the ones he truly loves down.
It pains him to have a hard time providing.
At times he fears losing them.
Pain is Pain.
A woman that is a wife, a mother, an artist, a worker struggles to find her identity.
One minute she is happy the next she doesn’t know.
She wants to please everyone and herself.
How does she find balance?
How does she find herself?
It hurts!
Pain is Pain.
A child born to this world for us.
He grows up to teach many.
He knows what his destiny is and faces it head on.
He dies a bloody, torturous death, taking all of our sins with Him.
He felt all of our pain.
Pain is Pain.
Pain is your pain. It hurts.
It feels like it will last forever.
It will not.
The best way out may be through.
Faith is Faith
Faith is tried during moments of pain.
Questions are asked to God of “Why? How Could You? When will it stop?”
But Jesus hears you and feels your pain. He felt it all. He is proof of it being temporary.
He overcame His pain and will help you overcome yours.


1 John 5:4-5
For everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world except the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

This world has pain. Jesus overcame the world.  Believe in Him.

God Bless

The Exercise That Can Change Your Life

Some of you may already know this, but I am a personal trainer.  I help people get in shape.  More than that, I like to help people believe they are worth being in shape.  There are many exercises that we use to get our bodies stronger.  The Turkish Get Up is a great exercise for this reason.  If performed correctly it will build overall strength.  There is a key aspect of the exercise that will make or break your Turkish Get Up.  It also may make or break your life.

There are many factors that go in to doing this exercise correctly.  A lot can go wrong, especially when you start using heavier weights. The most important part of the exercise is your head position.  If you look down you will be off-balance.  You will struggle with the execution of the exercise.  You might eventually fall.

I see this happen in many lives.  People go through life with their heads down.  They can’t see where they are going.  They don’t see God. They fall down!  Many stay down!

Try this.  If you are not ready for the Turkish get up just get a pole, or a bat, or a broom stick.  Balance it in your hand and look at the bottom.  Then try to balance it and look up at the top.  I bet when you look up it will balance a lot better.

Now go through the rest of your life with your head up.  Look all the way up.  If you start falling off balance, look up!  If you start falling down, look up!  If you want to have solid footing, look up!

God wants to help you when you fall.  He wants to prevent you from falling.

As it says in
Proverbs 3:5-8 (NKJV)
Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.
Do not be wise in your own eyes;
Fear the Lord and depart from evil.
It will be health to your flesh,
And strength to your bones.

Look up for God to give you strength, balance, wisdom, and all that you need.  Praise Him always.  He will keep you on the right path.  You will never fall completely down.

Just look up and TITL

God Bless