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Christmas 2020


We found out that our son does not want to visit with us for Christmas because he is worried about either catching or giving either of us the covid19 virus. That made Katy sad but I can understand how my son feels. No one wants to catch the bug and get sick nor do they want to be the reason someone got sick. I have heard of people who have been super careful and caught the bug anyway. They did not go out in public in big gatherings of people and wore a mask when they did go outside to get gas or groceries or go to work. That thought is a bit disconcerting when you think about it. Our hopes were for all 4 of us to be together for Christmas. I have to work on Christmas day but that is a Friday which means we could celebrate together on Saturday or Sunday. Thanks to the pandemic it will only be Katy, Kristina and I. Maybe we will have some eggnog and sing Christmas carols. LOL. Our daughter Kristina aka Koalie could care less about Christmas so she probably wont be singing Christmas carols anytime soon.

I have to work this weekend so I spent yesterday getting some stuff done. I got my hair cut and then I spent some time burning cardboard in a new burn barrel I just purchased. I had to go get a gas can from Sunoco. That stupid thing cost $19.32. I had a friend come over from accross the street to help me clean up the yard which was full of doggie land mines. Then we tore apart the card board and fed it into the barrel. I doused the cardboard with gasoline and used a fire place lighter to get it going. I managed to singe some hair on my right arm as I pulled it out of the way of the big whomp and flames. LOL. I am glad that I was not standing right over that thing when it ignited. I might have lost some eyebrows or more. Once that was done we strung up some solar powered christmas lights on the front yard fence. I will be surprised if those things actually work though. The solar panels will probably need to charge for a day or two.

I cannot believe that the end of 2020 is near. Back in March our government shut us down. Businesses were closed, schools were closed and all forms of indoor and outdoor entertainment. They did that in order to slow down the tide of Covid19. Go home, stay home was the mantra that they delivered via every form of media. For those of us that were essential workers and did not get furloughed that was all you could do. Go to work, get groceries and gas. That is about it. No movie theaters, no bars, no bowling, no nothing. All you can do is sit at home and stare at the TV or social media. As the year wore on things were slowly allowed to open up. Some movie theaters are open but practicing social distancing. Most of the Fall TV line up has been severely delayed or shows have been canceled. We were disappointed that Yellowstone with Kevin Costner was canceled. Movie producers, actors and writers were put on hold as we wade through the pandemic and all that has to offer. Everyone is waiting on the new Top Gun movie with Tom Cruise. That was supposed to be released this last summer. Now we get to wait until 2021 for it to be released. I am not sure if we will have to watch it on cable tv or if we will be able to go see it on the big screen.

I know there are a lot of conspiracy theories going on about the pandemic. No matter what, it IS a serious thing to consider. Loved ones have lost their lives to this virus. Any way you cut it this pandemic has affected everyone in one way or the other. Families and friends have lost those who are near and dear to our hearts. We can only hope that the vaccine that was rushed to production will slow the tide of lost lives sooner than later. First responders are getting the vaccine and then other folks will eventually get it. I am not so sure I want to take it. What are the side affects, if any?

Life is precious. One day we are here and the next thing you know we are gone. I believe that the bible says that life is like a vapor. Keep your loved ones close and let them know how much they mean to you. Do not wait to let someone know that they are loved and appreciated until they are gone. By then it is too late. Forgive one another and figure out how to get past squabbles of the past. They are not worth it.

My hope and prayer is that you find a way to enjoy the Christmas holidays and bring in the new year safely with loved ones. Be safe and protect one another as you travel this holiday season. May 2021 be a new year and hopefully we can get our lives back to the normal that it was before March of 2020.

Happy Holidays to one and all !

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How To Change Your Online Life In 5 Minutes! | Heartstone Journey

How To Change Your Online Life In 5 Minutes! | Heartstone Journey.

I thought this article was worth sharing.

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Guest post from Chookooloonks – You have evidence to suggest otherwise

I found this article  You have evidence to suggest otherwise on G+ and I loved it so much I want to share it with you, my readers.

I think you will enjoy it as much as I did.

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Getting started on a healthy living journey – Letting go of the junk

Just the week I was driving to work and listening to one of the radio personalities on His Radio. I have been listening to His Radio for quite some time, probably 10 to 12 years. Leslie and Rob are the folks that handle the morning show and I listen to them every morning on my way to work. One of the things I like about their show is that they talk about real life issues. Some of the stuff is funny and silly but some of the stuff is “rubber meets the road” type of stuff.

On this particular occasion Leslie was talking to Rob about her “healthier living” journey. She told him and the listeners about how she has been saving clothes in her closet that are way too small and has been hanging on to them in the hopes that she will eventually be able to wear them again. At some point Leslie realized that hanging on to those clothes became a dark cloud that was hanging over her head. She realized that by hanging on to the clothes that she was placing an unreasonable expectation on herself. By doing that she was constantly beating herself up for not being able to wear the clothes. Leslie decided to keep one or two outfits as a reminder of the goal she has for herself but she got rid of the other clothes. I believe she said that she decided to get some new clothes that will fit her now with the understanding that this is where she is at today.

One of the most powerful things that she said, was that she needed to get to the place where she could accept herself ,and love herself for who she is today. Rob Dempsey is the co host on the morning show on His Radio, and in the last several years his healthy living journey included losing a ton of weight and getting into better physical shape. I believe that Rob understood what Leslie was saying ,right along with a lot of the listening audience that morning.

In my last blog post I listed some “sanity saving” tips for getting started on a “Healthy living” journey. One of the tips was to “Never compare yourself to others. You are on your own unique life journey with your own unique life issues.” One of the things that Rob said in his response to Leslie, was that his focus was not on losing weight. His goal was to live healthier ,and as he went down that “healthier living” road, he also lost a ton of weight. I believe that where we place our focus mentally is key. We have to find a way to love ourselves where we are at today. Once we can do that then we can make plans to better ourselves. If we keep comparing ourselves to other people ,who may be thinner, or in better shape ,then we are going to focus on the wrong thing. If we allow our emotions to be controlled by a number on a scale then we are in for an emotional roller coaster that will result in a poor self image, low self confidence and situational depression.

Yes, we all want to look good and feel good about how we look on the outside. The important thing to remember is that who you are is way more than what is on the outside. Our bodies are a temporary shell that houses our heart, mind and spirit. Our soul, spirit and mind defines who we are. Once we are able to recognize these things, it will become easier to focus on the right things, and then we can get on with the healthier living journey.

Please understand that God loves you no matter what you weigh. God gave you the body you are in, and we are responsible for being a good steward of that body. I truly believe that there is as much of a spiritual aspect to our healthy living journey, as there is mental and physical. Sometimes we need to call upon God for the strength that we need, to move forward in our own unique life journey. One of my favorite Bible scriptures is Phillipians 4:13. I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.

If there is something that you are hanging on to that is keeping you from your healthy living journey, please let it go. Let it go so you can move forward and make the necessary steps to start your healthy living journey. Find people that you can surround yourself with that can be your cheering squad. People who will love you and accept you for who you are and encourage you to take those next steps.

Just remember, you cannot eat an elephant all at once. You have to eat it one bite at a time. The same goes with your healthy living journey, you have to take it one step at a time. Before you know it you will see some positive results and that will give you the courage to keep on keeping on that journey.

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Growing older is not for sissies

I spoke with my sister in law Lisa the other day, and we both share several things in common. We both love Katy, and we are on a healthy living journey. Lisa and I were chatting about high blood pressure, healthy eating, weight loss and exercise. We both agreed that it is a lot of work and takes a lot of determination. Lisa said something that made me laugh. Lisa told me that getting older is not for sissies. I laughed when she said that, and I have to admit that she is right. Getting older is certainly not for sissies.

As if growing older normally, without any health issues were not bad enough, just imagine growing older with health issues such as high blood pressure , diabetes and other health issues that can hinder your weight loss journey to healthy living.

If you watch the news long enough, you will come to realize how fat and obese, a majority of Americans have become. We live in the land of plenty, and for some of us, that is evident on our waist lines. As I look back ,I realize that I did not become obese overnight. On several occasions ,I have come to the point where I realized that I needed to do something, anything, to stop the numbers on the scale from getting any higher.

Just as the road to obesity is a journey that takes time, the road to healthy living is a journey that takes time. I have been on the journey now for a little over 2 years. I know that I have had some success because my waist line is shrinking and my clothes fit differently. Thanks to changing my eating habits, and increasing my level of exercise I feel much better. I have more flexibility and more energy than I have had in many years. I am at a place in my life where I am tired of being fat , but now I am doing something about it.   

For those of you that are on the same journey to healthy living ,here are a couple of tips to help with your sanity.

  • you should never compare yourself to others. You are on your own unique life journey with your own unique issues.
  • do the best you can do TODAY with what you have to work with.
  • plan your journey and decide what changes you need to make
  • talk to your doctor BEFORE you make any changes in diet and exercise
  • if you have health issues be sure to address those with your doctor.
  • remember to make changes one step at a time. Do not try to make all the changes at once and overwhelm yourself.
  • set realistic goals, that you know you can achieve. Setting goals that are not possible will only cause disappointment.
  • learn how to eat healthy food and change how you look at food. Food is fuel for your body.
  • figure out if you are an emotional eater. If you are, work on fixing that.
  • Stop eating foods that are bad for you and cause you to gain weight. Educate yourself
  • drink a minimum of (8) 8 oz glasses of water —> start at one glass per day and work your way up from there
  • exercise your body daily. Get up, move around, walk, swim, do something. Anything is much better than nothing.
  • surround yourself with supportive people who can help you be accountable and be an encouragement

In my following blog posts I plan on talking about my “healthy living” sanity tips, and I hope that what I write with regards to my journey ,will encourage someone else. Above all, please understand that any of this takes self determination, and the willingness to change. Healthy living and losing weight takes real work, and no it is not for sissies either. I figure that if I can affect change in my life and see benefits then other people can do the same.

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Living with hypertension

Every day that we wake up is a gift from God. I am sitting here next to the open windows listening to the birds sing and enjoying a cool breeze coming through the windows. I spent a few moments this morning picking up different items that our furry children have knocked off the desk and other furniture. My wife’s birthday presents which are her newest furry children, have turned our house into their playground. Kittens are like babies in that they are full of energy and nothing escapes their adventuresome spirit.

In the last couple of years I have reckoned the fact that I need to live a healthier lifestyle. Like most Americans I have been living through the consequences of obesity. I went from being a very healthy male to a middle aged obese man. How did I get there? I got there by going from a very active lifestyle in my youth, to a mostly sedentary lifestyle. I ate what I wanted and got very little exercise. One day I woke up and realized that I have not seen very many older people that are severely obese. You could say that was my wake up call. I realized that if I want to live much longer that I needed to make some radical changes in my life style. It meant that I needed to eat less, eat healthier and get regular exercise.

One of the consequences of being obese is high blood pressure. I have been managing high blood pressure for almost a decade. One thing that is important to take note of is this. Hypertension can cause heart attack and stroke. One or both of those can be life ending events. The longer that hypertension goes without being treated increases your chances of having either one of those. Over the years I have gotten familiar with how I feel when my blood pressure gets out of whack. When my blood pressure starts to climb I feel nervous inside. I feel anxious and I start to get light headed and sometimes dizzy. I hate it when episodes of high blood pressure make me feel that way. My tendency has been to ride out the storm until it passes. Denial sets in and I do not want to admit that the episodes are a sign of what is to come.

Yesterday I had another episode. I thought that I was going to have to ask my daughter to drive me to a local health clinic. Instead of driving myself or calling an ambulance, I rode out the storm. I sat here at my desk with my blood pressure monitor and waited until the pressure went down slowly. Instead of going to the doctors office I decided to tough it out and go to work. I ignored the fact that I needed professional medical help. You would think that after living with hypertension for almost a decade that I would know the warning signs and know how to react intelligently. Instead, I went to work and decided to ride out the storm on my own. That lasted for about 2.5 hours and then I told my employer that I needed to go to see a doctor. Back in February of this year my co workers go to watch me get carted off in an ambulance. During that episode my heart was throwing PVC’s and making me feel really strange. PVC’s are premature ventricular contractions where the heart is not pumping the blood in a steady rhythm. I have been having PVC’s for several years but did not realize what it was. I would be driving down the road or doing whatever and I would get this nervous fluttering sensation in my chest. There would not be any pain associated with the event so I always opted to ride out the storm. Back in February the episode lasted for hours and put me in a place where I could no longer ignore the symptoms.

I am glad that I finally took myself to Healthfirst and saw one of my favorite doctors. We have been going to Healthfirst in Charleston for over 12 years. They are a faith based healthcare facility that I would recommend to anyone. One of the things that I love about them is that they are very professional and at the same time care about their patients. Most of the time they get you in and out of there within 15 to 20 minutes. I have been to some doctors offices where you show up at the appointed time and it can be upwards of an hour before you actually see the doctor. That has never happened to me at Healthfirst. My doctor listened to my concerns and then ordered an EKG, blood work and an echocardiogram for my heart. The good news is that my heart is in good condition. We just have to get the hypertension under control. My doctor told me that the Maxide that I was taking was no longer working for me. Over the years I have changed and the benefits of the drug were no longer benefits. Now I am under orders to take it easy for a couple of days, and start taking new medicine. I am hopeful that the new meds will help me to get the hypertension under control. My goal is to put the episodes behind me and that they do not happen as frequently. My doctor told me that my heart is greatly benefiting from the cardio level exercise at the gym. He told me I was doing a good job and to keep it up.

I am thankful for life this morning and that I feel better. I am going to take it easy and enjoy a day away from the office. I plan on going to my happy place and reading a book I started weeks ago. I plan on soaking up everything around me and appreciating it. I plan on slowing down so that I can appreciate those things that I take for granted. One other thing that kills people and causes hypertension is stress. We live such busy task oriented lives that we do not recognize the symptoms of stress. We like to call stress multitasking. Maybe we would be better off by taking on less tasks. One of the drawbacks of living in a digital age, is that we are distracted by so many things. Our attention is divided so much, that we are losing the ability to focus on a single task. Our goals are important to us and we get consumed with the details of trying to make those goals a reality. I am not saying that goals are bad. What I am saying is that we need to find balance with our goals, and not kill ourselves trying to reach them.

My hope for you dear reader is that you will learn from my mistakes. I want to encourage you to slow down and reduce your stress levels. Be good to yourself and get regular exercise and eat healthier. Be sure to get plenty of rest as well. Find the time to enjoy life in whatever way that you can. Reach out to those that you love and let them know how important they are to you. If you do these simple things you will experience a fuller more abundant and healthier life.

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Open Source Weight Loss Week 4: Always be training

I read this article and loved it immediately.  As most of you know I have been on a “healthy living” journey for the last two years that includes eating healthier and getting more exercise.  The goal is to ultimately become healthier, lose weight and increase the quality and longevity of my life.  Join me in reading  Open Source Weight Loss Week 4: Always be training


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Bringing our faith and behavior together

For those of you that know me I have always struggled with weight loss.  My wife and I are on a new journey together.  We are attending a new life group at Coastal Community church, which is a 12 week Bod4God weight loss program.  I posted the following entry to my Myfitnesspal blog this morning and I thought I would share it with my friends here.

There are a LOT of nice gems in the Bod4God book.  One of them that I love is how we are to bring our faith and behavior together.  We confess Lord Jesus with our mouths.  We confess that we desire to be obedient to his word.  We confess that we want to die to ourselves and carry our cross daily.  There are days when the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.  Those are the moments when we need to cry out to God and ask him for his power and strength to bring our behavior into submission to our faith and his will for our lives.  

We know that eating garbage is turning our temple of God into garbage.  We know that it grieves the holy spiriit within us, when we do that.  God gave us our bodies so that we can be his glorious children.  We are to serve him and use the gifts within us to bring glory and honor to his kingdom.  

My prayer today for all of us that struggle with bringing our faith and behavior into perfect alignment is this.  

Dear Jesus, please forgive us for being slothful stewards of the temple you have given us.  I ask that you will put a burning desire within each of us to take small steps each day to live out our faith in obedience to your word.  Help us to love one another and not to judge one another.  Help us to encourage each other and to be examples one to another.  Help us to lift each other up when one of us is weak or struggling.  We believe that your word is true.  We believe that we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength.  Help us to be the kingdom kids that you want us to be.  We ask you these things in your most precious and holy name.  Amen 

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Bod4God Week 4

I joined a Bod4God weight loss life group at church.  Katy and I joined Coastal Community Church in West Ashley in October of 2011.  It was time for me to end a season at the previous church and move on.  So, I finally let go of the emotional struggle of it all, and made the decision.  Katy was more enthusiastic about the change than I was.  I followed her and I believe that over time I will get more comfortable in this new church.  There are quite a few differences in this new church home compared to our last one.  The biggest difference is the number of people there.  On most Sunday mornings we were lucky to have 45 people in attendance during the one service.  At Coastal there are hundreds of folks that attend one of three services.  We have gotten comfortable with going to the 6 pm service.  There are less people and they have dinner afterwards.  I know Katy likes that because it relieves her of the burden to fix supper on Sunday night. 

Coastal Community has what they call life groups.  These life groups are designed for smaller groups of people to get together and focus on a specific topic and to live life together.  The groups promote focusing on Christ and living a more Christ like life and working towards serving each other.  The church believes that one of its primary functions is to equip the saints for ministry.  Ministry is doing whatever it takes to be more Christ like ourselves and to reach the community that we live in for Christ. 

With that in mind, I looked at the list of scheduled life groups and I joined the Bod4God group and the Mens fellowship group.  I have enjoyed both of these groups thus far and I am still getting to know the people in the groups.  The Bod4God life group is helping me to get more focused with regards to losing weight and getting healthier.  Over the last year and a half I have been getting more exercise and I saw myself lose 45 lbs and three inches in my waist.  I also watched myself go on a roller coaster ride of losing weight and gaining it back.  I have gained 30 of the 45 lbs I lost back.  Before I joined the Bod4God life group I was looking at what I was doing as just maintaining my current weight. 

One of the things that I like about the Bod4God life group is that it is helping me to focus on some important aspects of healthy living.  I am receiving good information about what I need to eat and what I need to stay way from.  I am learning about portion control and not to be an emotional eater.  I am learning that I need to drink a LOT more water than I am used to.  I am learning that I should reduce the amount of diet sodas I drink.  I am learning that I need to eat more fruits and vegetables and less processed foods. 

Week four has us focusing on the “members” of our body and how we are to dedicate those members to God.  I am learning that there is nothing accidental about living healthier.  You have to break old habits and replace them with new and healthier habits.  I am learning to take baby steps each week.  I am being told what to do and to pick a couple of things to change and then do it.  I think that my biggest struggles are listed below.

Staying out of fast food restaurants as much as possible

I need to drink more water.  I am doing some better in this area.

I need to eat smaller portions

I need to stop snacking and eating bad things late at night.

I need to think about what I am about to eat  BEFORE I stick it in my mouth

Katy and I need to buy healthier foods at the store and not have unhealthy things in our home. 

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My Happy Place

Today is the last day of my four day weekend.  In some ways I am sad, but in other ways I am looking forward to the familiar routine of going to work.  This morning I got out of bed and headed over to Planet Fitness, to meet my friend Teddy for a 70 min work out.  Teddy does his thing and I do mine.  We do not necessarily work out “together”, but we have healthy living in common, and we have decided to encourage one another to show up.  I am so thankful to have someone that will help me, by motivating me and being an encouragement. 

When we moved to West Ashley, we did not know much about this part of Charleston.  One day I decided I needed some “me time”, and I decided to explore our neighborhood.  That included driving to the end of Wappoo Rd just to see what is there.  That is where I discovered “My Happy Place”.  I discovered that this place was called “My Happy Place”, because of my check in on FourSquare.  For those of you that might not know, FourSquare is a location based GPS app, that you can install on your iPad or iPhone, that allows you to share your travels with others.  As I checked in there, I looked around and understood why someone named it that.


It is good to have a peaceful place to go, where you can by by yourself, or with a loved one.  Katy and I often get lunch, and then drive over to this location, and sit by the water and enjoy the sights and sounds of nature.  It is good to listen to the water lapping up against the rocks, and to visit with the occasional seagull or blackbird that comes close to the vehicle, looking for a free hand out. I have found that it is important to find a “Happy Place” where you can find peace and solitude and become one with nature.  Life is too full of tasks and goals that consume all of our time.  

Where is your Happy Place?  Where do you go to enjoy “me time”?  Do you go there by yourself or do you share it with a loved one? 

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