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Fat to Fit: The Awakening

My December 2010 post surgery plan was twofold:

  1. Let myself recover for as little time as possible so I could get active again
  2. Figure out a plan for getting & staying healthy

The first step came easy. The doctor had said no running for eight to ten weeks but that I could swim gently in the pool. I read between the lines and understood that he really meant:

Go for a couple of swims to make sure none of your organs fall out of your incisions and then start running again.

So a week after surgery I was on the treadmill at the Towson Y putting in miles. Slowly. I ignored the pain and stretching in my abdomen where the gallbladder had been. Yes, I know this makes me eligible for a Darwin award.

I spent the next two months getting back to running 12 to 15 miles a week. That was my fat runner typical mileage. Three to five miles three to five times a week. So I was back in fat runner shape by mid-winter 2011.

A New Perspective

The second step was going to take a little more work. I still needed a fresh perspective on my story.

In our work at Blue Ocean Ideas we are always looking for ways to help our clients see their story in a new light. Our clients walk in our offices with an already determined story about their business or organization. Sometimes it is a pretty boring story in their mind. They can’t see how they are influencing the world from their insider’s view.

It often takes a fresh perspective for them to feel the power of their story. And we frequently have the privilege of helping them discover a new way of looking at their story.

There is power in the story of individuals and organizations. Stories instigate change.

In my case I received a fresh perspective from a TV broadcast I watched while recovery at home in the lazy boy after surgery.

The Saturday after my surgery I was sitting in my dad chair watching TV when a rebroadcast of the 2010 Ironman World Championship came on. I’ve been fascinated by the Ironman since I was a kid. The sheer soul crushing endurance it seemed to take to complete an Ironman has always attracted me to watch.

I’ve also always loved the stories that go with various competitors: cancer survivors, obese people that became Ironman, the professionals that slave their entire lives for a chance to win. The human stories that showed up on screen that day were inspiring.

Lying in the lazy boy dad chair, overweight and recovering from an entirely preventable, self-induced condition, a switch flipped inside of me. I can’t tell you exactly what happened. But whatever it was I knew I wasn’t going to be the same.

I could never imagine I could compete in an Ironman. But I did know I didn’t have to be the same.

The awakening began.

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Fat to Fit: The Beginning

I was 260lbs on June 29, 2010. Here’s a pic from that date:

That was the high water mark. Ironically, my half marathon time was 2 hours at that point. That’s not blazing fast by any means but I think I discouraged some people I passed along the way (unintentionally as I ran past them). I was just a fat runner.

When I show people pics like this many say the same thing: I don’t remember you being THAT big. I don’t either. And I never felt that big.

But I was.

One of the many lessons I’ve learned over the years:

My feelings can be great indicators of what is going on inside of me. And in fact I’m trying to learn how to listen to them and experience them more.

But more often than not my feelings are lousy truth tellers.

So on June 29, 2010 I knew I had some work to do. And I slowly started doing the work. It started out pretty simply: I was in the habit of running 2 times a week 3 out of 4 weeks a month. So I started trying to run 4 times a week 4 weeks a month and I added swimming 2-3 times a week.

I began making progress. But the truth is over the next 9 months I made a LITTLE progress (maybe 10 lbs worth) but not much considering how far I had to go. The problem was I hadn’t done much to deal with my eating.

Another lesson learned:

There is no way for me to address losing weight without dealing with the quantity of food I eat. Period.

I was stuck in a belief that many are stuck in: if you workout enough you can eat what you want. At least for me, I know that food is very often the reward. So food is the reward for working out. I was stuck on this one big time. I’d used My Fitness Pal (which is a great tool) to track everything that I ate. Then I would add up the exercise calories burned and created an equation that worked, in theory anyways. But it didn’t make much of a difference.

I plodded along. I made VERY slow incremental change but it wasn’t much. I dropped from 260 to about 245 or so over 18 months. But I wasn’t changing much and I wasn’t changing quickly.

2 things happened at the end of 2011 that were life changers.

The first was that after 15 years of borderline high blood pressure my doctor checked my blood pressure and it was very high. I don’t know the exact reading but whatever it was he wanted to take action immediately and prescribe something for it. He said there were two options; you lose weight or you take drugs. So I took drugs for a while.

It didn’t help.

The second thing that happened was a little more dramatic. After a routine family dinner out one Friday at Alonso’s I woke up during the night in the worst pain I’ve ever had. My abdomen had a sharp pain that had me curled up in bed moaning. After an hour or so of trying to endure the pain I went to the emergency room where they diagnosed a gallbladder attack and suggested I should have it removed. I scheduled the surgery for a few days later.

I went to  GBMC for a very routine outpatient surgery expecting to be done in an hour or so, recovered a few hours later, & home that night. 4 hours later I woke from surgery. Elise was next to my bed. She’d obviously been crying.

The surgery hadn’t gone as planned. The surgery was difficult because my liver was enlarged. I had organ damage because of my poor health.

The message from the doctor was simple: change and you’ll likely stop damaging your organs and live a normal long life or keep going the way you are going and see a drastically reduced lifespan.

I was 39. So I left the hospital after an overnight stay with one determination: my life had to change.

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2013 Race Schedule

Screen Shot 2013-01-02 at 10.47.32 PM2012 was a year of firsts for training and competing for me. Here’s a quick summary:

  • Bought a road bike in January and started riding every chance I could.
  • Ran the National 1/2 marathon in March.
  • Rode my first century in April (did 7 altogether last year).
  • Bought a mountain bike in May.
  • Joined The Adventures for the Cure team in May. One of the best decisions of the year. There isn’t another team like AFC.
  • Did the BRCC Skyline Drive Century in May.
  • Rode in the Diabolical Double in June.
  • Raced my first mountain bike race (or bike race of any kind) in July (Finished 22nd in my race…I was thrilled…and hooked).
  • Registered for the 2013 Ironman Lake Placid in July after being inspired by some friends that competed the 2012 event. There’s a story behind my registering…ask me when you see me and I’ll tell you.
  • Raced in my second mountain bike race in August (Finished 7th…I was even more thrilled…and more hooked).
  • Completed my first triathlon in September (Savageman). Note to self: when doing a triathlon it helps to train for the swim.
  • Finished my first endurance Mountain Bike Race (Ironcross) in October (actually it’s meant to be ridden on a cyclocross bike but I didn’t have one and love my mountain bike so I rode that).  Continued to be thrilled and hooked on mountain bike racing.
  • 2 days later finished my second BRCC Skyline Drive Century.
  • 5 days later and on my 41st birthday finished the Baltimore marathon in 3:59. I was delighted to break the 4 hour mark (My first marathon last year was almost 5 hours).
  • 2 Weeks later I finished the Marine Corp marathon in 3:49. I was shooting for 3:45 but it was a super windy day and considering I’d run another marathon 2 weeks prior I was happy.
  • Played ultimate 1-2 times a week.
  • Did crossfit 2x a week at Coppermine Crossfit with my friend & coach Kevin Lynch.

It was a busy year. You can see the 2012 monthly details here.

2012 was a gift. I was able to do more than I could have dreamed of at 40 years old without injury or setback. I don’t take that for granted. I started the year at 220 lbs. Ended at 180.

In 2013 I want to build on my 2012 growth, stretch myself further, and see how hard I can push my body. Here’s my 2013 Schedule of events I’m planning on competing in:

  • Southern Cross | 2/16/13 | Dahlonega, GA | Mountain Bike: American Ultra Cross Series
  • Monster Cross | 02/24/13 | Chesterfield VA | Mountain Bike
  • Rock n Roll USA Marathon | 3/16/13 | Washington DC | Running
  • Cherry Blossom 10 Miler | 4/7/13 | Washington DC | Running
  • Cohutta 100 | 4/27/13 | Ducktown TN | Mountain Bike: National Ultra Endurance Series (NUE)
  • Wildcat 100 | 5/11/13 | New Paltz, NY | Mountain Bike: NUE Series
  • Mohican 100 | 6/1/13 | Loudonville, OH | Mountain Bike: NUE Series
  • Hilly Billy Roubaix | 6/23/13 | Mountain Bike: American Ultra Cross Series
  • Ironman Lake Placid | 7/28/13 | Lake Placid, NY | Ironman Triathlon
  • Hampshire 100 | 8/18/13 | Greenfiled, NH | Mountain Bike: NUE Series
  • Shenandoah 100 | 9/1/13 | Harrisonburg, VA | Mountain Bike: NUE Series
  • Fool’s Gold 100 | 9/8/13 | Dahlonega, GA | Mountain Bike: NUE Series
  • Three Peaks USA | 9/22/13 | Banner Elk, NC | Mountain Bike: American Ultra Cross Series
  • Iron Cross | 10/6/13 | Michaux, PA | Mountain Bike: American Ultra Cross Series
  • Baltimore Marathon | 10/12/13 | Baltimore MD Running
  • New York Marathon | 11/3/13 | New York NY Running (if I can get in)

I’m expecting it’s going to be a fun, hard, hungry, brutal. rewarding year.

Keep moving forward,


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2012 Motion Summary

I get this a lot: what happened to you? You were an overweight runner who looked like a future John Candy. What happened?

In a nutshell: I started really using my body and moving a lot. I rode a bike, ran, swam, played ultimate, rode a snowboard, etc. As often as I could I trained, raced, competed, lifted, and was able to get pretty fit.

When I started 2012 I wanted to cover 100 miles a week running, riding or swimming. I thought that was a reasonable goal and would help me continue to get more fit. At the end of the year I had covered over 7,000 miles in 572 hours. That’s 11 hours per week or about 1 1/2 hours a day on average. I started 2012 40 lbs lighter than I started 2011. I am starting 2013 another 40lbs lighter than I started 2012.

It was a good year for my body.

I just finished writing my tentative 2013 race schedule. I’ll publish a post with it tomorrow if you are interested. Needless to say I won’t be easing up much.

Keep moving forward.


p.s. Here’s the month by month summar of 2012 (click on the pic for a better view):

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Missing Maggie


Maggie Rittler

Missing Maggie

It’s not the phone call from your dad that you expect after relaxing for two weeks in Stone Harbor on the Jersey shore.

Maggie is on the way to the hospital in an ambulance, Timm found her unconscious in a bathroom at a movie theater.

In my mind there are a lot of reasons people pass out places so I wasn’t concerned.

The next call 45 minutes later was the take your breath away blow.

Maggie has died.

I had to ask my dad to repeat that phrase 3 times before my brain would comprehend the words. They simply didn’t compute in my mind. I had just seen Maggie’s last post on Facebook. She couldn’t be dead. That made no sense at all.

The Fit

Maggie came into our lives in 1989. My brother Timm had gone to Israel to study for a couple of years. While there he met Maggie. She was unexpected in our family. Looking back as you get older you realize that true love often comes in the most unusual places but at the time it seemed strange to me that my brother had found his future wife halfway around the world.

Maggie didn’t exactly fit the Rittler family mold. She was from New Jersey. Vegetarian at the time. She said “et” in sentences. She wasn’t a conservative. But for all of these differences (which were good for my family) she fit Timm.

Early Halloweens in our family I would grab a sheet, cut out two eye holes, and go trick or treating as a ghost. Minimum effort for maximum candy reward. Timm, on the other hand, would build a replica wooden airplane that he would fit in and wheel around Summer Hill wrapped in a scarf and donning a hat like the Red Baron. For him it was about the craft and creating.

So it was no surprise that Maggie would be the same. She was about the craft and creating. Her craft was most often words but could be so many things. Their home has been a project in craft & creating from the start. Each room uniquely crafted by Timm & decorated by Maggie.

But written words were where she excelled. At the viewings, on facebook and at the memorial service the most consistent words I heard were “I received this note from Maggie…”

The Unexpected Maggie

The first week after Maggie died was a blur. You don’t expect a sudden death. You don’t realize how many things need to be done. At least for Elise and I it was a gift. To do something felt good. It gave breaks from sadness that we needed while grieving.

At the funeral home, the funeral director gently asked questions about arrangements and plans. I was struck by one question in particular. He said sometimes when younger people die you will list “unexpectedly” on the death notice at the beginning to note that it was sudden. He asked “Would you like to put unexpectedly at the top of the death notice?” This stuck with me.

Maggie was full of unexpected things in our lives. To me the most unexpected thing was her ability to create unique relationships with each person she encountered.

Before Timm and I were both married our future wives were thrown together as roomates in my parents house at Deep Creek lake. They were quick friends and partners navigating life in our family. Their relationship grew over the years into a deep friendship. One of Elise’s favorite things about our frequent time at the lake was time with Maggie. Maggie was ever a deep encourager to Elise as she was to so many.

For my older boys, Caleb & Josh, Aunt Maggie was a  champion and a friend. When they were both very young Maggie suggested, in that way that she did that left you no choice but to comply, that they refer to her as “Tall & Beautiful Aunt Maggie.” They happily complied and the title was soon shortened to TBA (Tall & Beautiful Aunt).

For Seth and Riley, and many others, Aunt Maggie was a moment maker. Maggie would create unique experiences. Most notable was the annual ginger bread house party that Maggie hosted for our kids and the other cousins at Christmas every year. Seth could hardly stand sitting through church on ginger bread house Sunday. If you know Seth you know the supreme importance of food in his life. Aunt Maggie’s ginger bread party was like a national holiday in his mind. A day to be preserved above all others.

And for me I’ve been given two sister in laws that I love. One on each side of our family. For me they aren’t sister in laws. Just sisters.

Maggie and I shared one particular trait that I treasured: we both created our own unconventional, non-conforming way through life. Over the years Elise and I learned not to be surprised by anything Maggie did. Maggie had a kaleidoscope like way about her. If you knew her for any length of time you saw her change and grow into different areas and interests. I loved that about her.

Even in faith we shared a slant. Profoundly influenced by Jesus but unwilling to simply be religious. Maggie inspired people to take chances, risks & challenge their views. It wasn’t enough to have an answer. Maggie was a thinker & passionate about her faith.

Maggie’s relationships were unexpected, deep & wide. As the week after her death unfolded more and more of these relationships made it so obvious that Maggie loved people.

The Champion

There is the champion that is the victor. The winner. The conqueror. This champion is a noun. Maggie wouldn’t fit as this champion in a competitive sense.

But Maggie was a different kind of champion. This is the champion that fights for a cause, fights for people, fights for those who can’t fight for themselves. This champion is a verb.

In Maggie’s life you could so easily see this champion through her children. Maggie loved everything about Ellin, Emmett & Henry. And while so many of us fear our children not fitting in, Maggie feared that her children would feel like they have to fit in. She encouraged them to be their own people. As musicians, artists, fighters, poets, readers, soldiers. She embraced them for who they were.

And Maggie was the champion of my brother. Timm, the cabinetmaker,  couldn’t build something that Maggie didn’t value and love. Maggie loved Timm and what he created. She followed him to woodworking conferences enthused about their artisan life.

What more does anyone want for their brother, son or father than an adoring wife?

Not the end

In the first few hours following Maggie’s death we were in shock. Wandering around Stone Harbor after dinner that Friday night we called friends & family. We shopped aimlessly; stunned. Not really doing anything. Waiting for more news. In my fantasy mind I was expecting a third phone call from my dad that would go something like this: “There was a mistake in the confusion. Maggie is ok.” That call didn’t come.

There really wasn’t any more news. Maggie’s death is still unexplained and unexplainable. In moments like this all the cliche things that people say when people die suddenly make sense. In all other contexts they seem trite and silly.

It’s been a month since i received that phone call. And our family moves on with a hole in it. I’m sure the hole will heal over time. But for now it’s just something missing that hurts.

Emmett shared profound thoughts with Maggie’s childhood friend Ginger:

I don’t understand all of this but I don’t think I need to right now.

I do occasionally get a glimpse of joy in all of this. Henry has begun sharing more and more conversations that I’m sure would have been quiet whispers between he and Maggie. Emmet, while stoic at times, has stepped up as a young man called by duty to help and be with his father, brother and sister. Ellin, the young woman, cares for those around her as her mother would: with confidence and grace.

And Timm grieves. In his own way. In his own time. I’m reminded of the scene in the gladiator when Maximus talks to his friend about his wife and son: “they will not return to me but someday I will go to be with them, but not yet.” This pain, while as real as it can be, is temporary. Someday he will be with his Maggie again.

And as for Maggie herself:

Even in death Maggie was the master of the unexpected.

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Race Report: Cranky Monkey #2 (Marine Corp Base Quantico)

The Lead Up

Cranky Monkey #2 was my 3rd lifetime mountain bike race. My first race was 6 weeks ago at the Fair Hill Classic in Elkton, MD. Fair Hill was my first race on a bike of any kind so I didn’t know what to expect and I was happy to survive, gain the experience of a race, and finish 22nd in my age group. It was loads of fun. At some point in the first 5 miles I was flying through the wood thinking: “this is nuts and I can’t believe I get to have this much fun on a bike.”

My second race was the first in the Cranky Monkey Series at Schaeffer Farms in Germantown, MD. I had been putting more work in on the MTB and learning to sustain a higher heart rate for a longer period of time. It paid off and I had a pretty good day for my second race. 7th in my age group and I stayed in zone 4 for over an hour of the almost 2 hour effort.

Cranky Monkey Quantico

Cranky Monkey #2: Quantico

So I had a little bit of experience going into my third race.

I watched the 35+ Cat 2 race get started and fellow AFCer Shane Welck grab 2nd position in his race at the start. Shane stayed in 2nd the whole race and put up a great time on the course!

Since my first race I’ve tried to get off to a good start so that I have decent position going into the single track. At Fair Hill I was about 30 back and moved up 10 spots during the race. At the first Cranky Monkey race I got into the woods about 7 back, lost a few spots during the first lap and then was able to retake them during the second.

For Quantico yesterday, I got off to a good start and was 5th getting into the woods. I turned to look after a mile or so and there was no one close behind the lead group (which I was the straggler in).

The course at Quantico felt much tougher than Fair Hill or Shaeffer farms. Lots of short, steep uphills sections follows by steep downhills with twists and turns. While there weren’t too many tough obstacles I felt like I had to be really careful not to wipe out.

My legs felt good even though I hadn’t rested much prior to race day. I’ve been training for Savage Man 1/2 Ironman September 16th and a couple of fall marathons so I’ve been putting in some miles riding & running. I also did a Crossfit workout Tuesday that left my calves sore all week. Fortunately this morning they felt good again.

A few miles in I see Shane flying the other way when the trails passed each other and he yelled some encouragement over to me. I pedal a bit faster and am trying hard to keep up with the top 4 guys.

5-6 miles into the race I realize I’ve been pushing really hard trying to keep up with the top 4 and I’m starting to pay for it. I dial it back and let a couple of guys pass me on one of the tougher climbs. I’m not a great climber so I figure I’ll take it easy on a couple of the climbs and catch them on the twisty parts or downhill where I think I can make up some ground. The plan works and by the end of the first lap I’m sitting either 5th or 6th.

I finish the 1st lap in 56 minutes which I know is a decent time based on what I saw from the 12 hours of Cranky Monkey on Strava.

The course was damp at the start from rain during the night before but was in pretty good shape for lap #1. It was slippery but not awful. Starting lap 2 the rain was starting again and although it felt good and kept it cooler the course was getting sloppy.

I wear a camelback and I’ve been drinking regularly. It’s warm but not nearly as hot as Shaeffer Farms was 2 weeks ago. I take the time on the gravel road at the start of the lap to down my favorite gel (Cliff Turbo Shot Expresso).

So at the start of the second lap I’m feeling hydrated and fueled. My legs feel good and I think I’ve managed to keep my heart rate in a good place. I couldn’t see any of the riders in front or or behind me. I’m alone in the woods feeling good.

At mile 10 (2 miles into the 2nd lap) I decide to pick up the pace. I can’t see anyone in front of me but I’m thinking they can’t be that far in front. So I start pushing hard and digging deep. I’m feeling great and I even glimpse someone up in front of me. In my short riding history I have developed at least one pattern: I almost always finish the 2nd half of a ride faster than the first.

So I’m feeling good. I’m fantasizing about the third spot on the podium as if I would be getting a bronze in the Olympics. That’s never a good sign.

Right around mile 12 I’m screaming down a hill and hit a sharp corner. I think I hit a root or something but I hear my tire scrape on something that sounds bad. I round another corner and start up a hill and I can tell something is wrong. My rear wheel is slipping on everything. I’m losing air. I’m running tubeless so I think whatever I hit on the downhill corner caused my tire to burp out some air on the sidewall & break the seal.

I ride for another 1/2 mile hoping that somehow it’s in my head but it’s not. Every root or rock I go over I can feel my wheel banging on it. We hit a short gravel section so I stop to pump up the tire. Another lesson learned: my pump is great for normal rides but I need to bring some CO2 for races so I can fill up quickly if I need to.

It takes me a minute or so total to get pumped up. During that time 3 people pass me. Only one is in my class. The other two were the leaders of the clydesdales. I jump back on the bike and with my minute of rest I’m feeling good like I might even be able to still catch some guys. I catch the 3 that pass me and I think I’m back in it.

Unfortunately a few miles later I realize that I’m still losing air. I stop for another fill up. This time I take a little more time and pump up to a higher pressure. I’m getting passed by quite a few people but I’m still holding out some hope that I can get in the top 10. Unfortunately when I unscrew the pump from the valve I unscrew the valve core as well. I lose all of the air I just pump in. I start over.

I get pumped up again and take off. I’m at mile 15 of 17 now. Just hoping to enjoy the last couple miles at this point. Catch a few people and roll along.

Another mile into it and I’m losing air again. I give. I spend the last mile limping along standing up to take pressure off the rear wheel and roll into the finish a sluggish 16th place and at 2:10. My second lap took 70 minutes.

I see Shane at the finish and I congratulate him on his ride. He had a great one and I’m excited to see him on the podium for AFC. We get our bikes washed off and down some pizza.

It wasn’t what I wanted to have happen but a bad day racing is still a great day on the bike. I love riding.

Keep moving forward,


p.s. Here’s the sad Super Fly after the ride:

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Friday Morning Gold

I’ve got a work crush on Steven Pressfield. His books on work are spot on and inspiring. Not inspiring like the inspirational speaker that you heard last month at the networking breakfast and then forgot about the next day.

Inspiring like they will shape your life if you pay attention to them.

His books on war are epic. A friend that I cycle with a couple of times a week told me recently that epic is overused for everything. This isn’t overusing the word epic. Steven’s bestselling book on war, Gates of Fire, is taught to our soldiers at West Point & in Annapolis.

When I find someone I respect I find that they surround themselves with high caliber people. So when I saw a post from Shawn Coyle on Steven’s blog I knew it would be good. I don’t know who Shawn Coyle is but I like him already.

Here’s some Friday gold for you:

Find the labor that will give your life meaning.  You may never have a million dollar beach house, but you won’t have a hard time looking in a mirror and you’ll certainly sleep better. And who knows that beach house may be in the offing too. Just don’t work for the beach house.  Work to contribute that thing you were put on this earth to leave behind. (Shawn Coyle on Steven Pressfields blog)

A friend of mine asked me about a research study on work done recently that indicated that working more than 40 hours a week caused you to be inefficient. He was looking for an opinion on whether I thought that was true or not.

My answer was that I would redefine work. A job is what you do to make money. Work is the lasting contribution that you will leave after you are gone. If you start concerning yourself with your work you will stop concerning yourself with hours.

Are you working or do you just have a job?

Keep moving forward,


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40 in 40: Lesson #38

Route 40

40 in 40: #38

I grew up in the bowels of American Evangelical Christianity.

My parents are devout Christians, my grandparents were devout Christians, my great grandparents were devout Christians. My Aunts and Uncles, with a few exceptions, are devout Christians.

You get the picture.

I heard the message of Christianity all the time. It sounded something like this:

  • Believe the right things
  • Be good and do good things
  • Get into heaven

At some point as an adult I realized something that seemed scandalous to me: the Christianity that I was taught growing up was not the message that Jesus himself taught.

For someone who called himself a Christian this was earth shattering. Wasn’t Jesus the guy who created Christianity?

Lesson #38

Jesus didn’t come to start a religion. Jesus came to free people from things that enslave them.

Jesus himself described why he had come by quoting a passage from the Psalms:

The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.

If you study Jesus you will see this everywhere. In almost every story.

Jesus came to free people who were bound. He came to care for the oppressed and poor. He came to bring healing. He came to bring God’s favor to man.

This way of life provides unbelievable freedom. This way provides hope for everyone: rich, poor, successful, failures, addicts, downtrodden, people on top of the world and the destitute.

Jesus message is freedom and hope.

I’ve met lots of people who have trouble with Christianity. I’ve never met anyone who had trouble with Jesus message.

Keep moving forward,


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40 in 40: Lesson #37

Route 40

40 in 40: #37

I left work at 1pm yesterday. Grabbed Josh, rushed home, threw some clothes in a bag, jumped in the car, and headed to Blacksburg. My friend Tim Hartin had gotten us tickets for last nights Virginia Tech/North Carolina game.

So Josh and I road tripped for 5 hours, jumped out of the car, put on our warm clothes, and walked with Caleb over to the stadium. We watched an awesome game.

It was a blast. But the game was only the beginning.

After the game we cruised around a bit, I dropped them off on campus, and went to Taco Hell (aka taco bell) for a cup of coffee and and an hour or so of working.

I picked them up at 12:30 and we hit Ihop at 1am with 5 of Caleb’s friends until around 2:30. Then we crashed at a friends house on couches. I slept for a few hours and then was up and now I’m in Starbucks pounding out some work while I wait for them to wake up.

I lost some sleep last night, was up WAY later than I normally am, ate about 1500 calories more than I normally would (or should), and slept on a well used (that’s an understatement) couch that was about 2 feet shorter than I am.

And it was worth every second.

Lesson #37

The meaningful things in life will cost us something, but are always worth the cost.

My oldest two sons and I will remember yesterday for a long time. We’ll make some jokes about some of the things that happened for a while. Caleb’s friends will remember our time together.

We got a chance to BE together.

I can’t do that very often. If I did I’d weigh 500lbs and be exhausted all the time. Oh and I’d be out of work.

But a few times a year I can give up sleep, take some time off work, and break my normal comfortable habits in the name of spending time with people that I love.

And every time I do a little more is added to my relationship bank.

And as a result I now have another shared experience with my kids, I know 5 more of my oldest sons friends, I’ve gotten another road trip in with a son that needs my time and attention.

These are meaningful things. They cost me something. But they are worth the cost.

Keep moving forward,


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