Goals and self worth….

Guys this is one of the most honest, brave and encouraging things I’ve read lately. Check it out!

Carly the free spirit fairy

I’m trying to find a good way to start this blog but I am just going to jump into it! I wanna talk about goals and self worth. I am first going to talk about self worth because if you don’t have that you won’t achieve goals.


I was one of those people who feared change but at the same time day dreamed about how great change would be. I didn’t like rocking my boat. I still struggle with it. I was happy to take care of my kids and home. If I needed to go to the doctor and my kids needed to go as well I took them and cared for them instead of going to the doctor too. I cooked whatever was cheap and convenient. I knew I was over weight but I rarely left the house so I thought it wasn’t a big deal. I started…

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It’s not loosing weight, it’s gaining fitness!

Ugh, I really don’t enjoy this. Honestly. I’m such a fat kid at heart, I mean I REALLY love to eat. I own a BBQ catering company and competition team for crying out loud. Have you seen my IG feed, bad for you food is kinda my thing you know?

Well, I’m making changes. Yup, I’ve done this before…YoYo dieter anyone? I am an Army Reservist so staying in shape is part of the job description. However I have let my part time Army commitment lead to a part time fitness mentality. When it is time for a PT test, or I need to attend an active duty school I go nuts exercising and severe dieting dropping the excess weight I tend to carry. Within a couple months I’d drop the weight, attend and pass the school and go home. Slowly the weight comes back, it always does.

A little about me to help you understand for those that don’t know me in everyday life. I’m a big guy. Always have been. Heck at around age 11 or 12 I was giving hand-me-down shoes to my 30 something old uncle (I outgrew everything before it was even broke in). By 8th grade I was 6 feet tall and 200 lbs. Awkward clumsy man-child.

Fast forward to about 10 days ago. I stand 6’3 and weighed in at 300 pounds. That is about 50 pounds over where I should be, putting BMI and body fat percentage in the obese to very obese range.

Obese. That is a nasty word. You know what it means? It is a way of politely saying: Not only are you fat, you are so really fat that it is seriously affecting your life. Now most people in the obese category would say ‘nah, it’s not that bad’ or maybe ‘I get around just fine, I don’t notice any problems’. Well whether we realize it or not carrying this much excess weight will eventually catch up with you. It may be when you are in your late 50’s and start to develop heart problems or god knows what, but sooner or later we all have to pay the piper.

You see being a Reservist and also having a Class A CDL I get all kinds of heath assessments throughout the year. Everything from simple blood pressure to tests showing my cholesterol and hormone levels I get to see. Mostly my numbers are very good. Surprising considering my BMI and Body Fat % numbers. I chalk that up to lucky genetics and have been content being in the shape I’m in.

That all has changed my friends. I don’t know exactly why, there are a lot of factors, but what matters most is the change. I want to be as healthy as possible for the rest of my life. In my 60’s I want to be out seeing the world with my wife, not limited by what I can and cannot do physically. That all is contingent on how I live my life now, what I do today to prepare for my future.

So what all changed? What is different this time than the previous roller coaster rides? I firmly believe it’s in the details my friends. Most importantly my ideology has changed, as the title of this blog suggests. I have the same initial goals as before, that is to loose around 50 pounds and get into what I call ‘Army Shape’ being able to easily pass my PT tests instead of struggling through them.

This time I will achieve my goals very differently. I have embraced a much more gradual time line, allowing me to start by making small simple changes that over time add up, morphing into an overall fitness lifestyle.

Two weeks ago I started with my diet, water being key. Each day I drink one gallon of water and yes that’s a lot and I pee every few minutes. I can’t stress enough how important this water intake is though. You will fill fuller, eating less throughout the day, and soon see the effects of properly hydrating your body. Food wise, I’m not counting carbs, calories or any other typical diet plan. Each day I strive to eat as clean as possible. It’s that simple. I will eventually get much more stringent on my diet, but for now I just apply common sense and self restraint to my meals.

The hard part: Exercise. I joined a local gym a week ago that is very close to my house. I’m no lunkhead power-lifter, but nor am I the yoga/spin/Pilates/bootybootcamp  type. I found a place that fit my workout goals/styles, this was very important. For the past week my routine has been very simple, remember we are easing into this stuff. I spend 20-30 minutes on the treadmill 4 days a week. I incline it all the way up and keep the speed at 3-.3.5, this keeps my heart rate up and is tolerable on my bad knee. After this I spend some time stretching and working on my core strength. After one more week of this I’ll add strength training.

Now on to pharmaceuticals…. This is a touchy area, and I probably need to state that this is solely what I am doing in my personal journey. I in no way endorse you do anything without first talking to your doctor, that includes taking any pills be they over the counter or prescription. I am the kind of guy that believes in both working harder AND smarter. I will bust my but where I need to, but I will also do everything I can to give myself a hand up in the game. I went to my family practitioner and discussed my lifestyle goals with him. We went over some things and he provided me with a ‘diet pill’ Adipex.

Adipex (phentermine) is a stimulant similar to an amphetamine, it is also one hell of an appetite suppressant. This pill helps me to get used to eating better portions. It is highly controlled, I get a 30 day prescription after which I have to come back in to the doctor, be tested to show progress (weight loss, BMI/Body Fat reduction) If I have showed progress I get another month prescription. This process is repeated for three months after which your body should be used to eating correctly and you no longer get the prescription.

So far I love it, the amount of energy and focus I have throughout the day is incredible. I also notice the help in being less hungry (the drinking tons of water helps as well) Now this is no quick fix, you will only loose so much by calorie/fat reduction. You have to exercise, get good sleep and so on. I am also taking some over the counter multivitamin like stuff. I will post more about that later.

How about my results? I have been dieting for two weeks, exercising and on the pill for one week. I am down 4 pounds to 296 and I feel much better already! I will be updating this journey, blogging as I go along sharing what works for me, my failures and my successes. I encourage everyone to come along for the ride and do what they can to ensure their own health.

Cleaning out, and being thrown away

Spring is officially here! That means a lot of things; nicer weather, March Madness, baseball and bbq’s…I could go on and on. One of the bigger things that comes each Spring is the annual “Spring Cleaning”. I had a winter’s worth (and then some) of junk hoarded in my garage and this Saturday was devoted to cleaning it all up.

It seems I come from a long line of hoarders. My father had a complete bedroom downstairs at our house plus half of a two car garage filled with things from Modicon PLCs to hunting gear dating back to the 60’s. He claimed there was a use for all of it, but mostly it just took up space. Heck even my 82 year old grandfather still hoards to this day. Now he has a bit of an excuse. You see growing up in the depression you had to make do with what was laying around, there wasn’t any money to buy new stuff whens something broke. He has carried that attitude with him all his life, and to this day there isn’t much he can’t fix with the random stuff laying around his “Tool Shed”.

All of that to say, hoarding is in my genes. To avoid being the next episode you watch on TLC the wife and I have a policy that each spring I do a good throwing away. If I haven’t used it in the last 6 months or have direct plans to use it in the next few it gets tossed.

A few hours and two truck loads to the dump later (told you I had a lot of junk) I was done. My garage once again is usable and the intervention can be avoided, for another year anyhow. Its a great feeling, reclaiming the space all the junk was taking up, almost therapeutic.

This weekend, I found out a few friends had severed social media relations with my wife and I. Our years of friendship thrown out like the loads of junk I took to the dump. I wish I could say we had been involved in some sort of fight, or confrontation. It appears a certain number of my friends simply fear diversity.

My views, both religious and social have shifted recently from what the majority of my fellow southerners hold on to. I’ve been somewhat vocal on social media, sharing some but not all of these. I have been lucky that a few friends have engaged in meaningful dialog discussing these things with me, however it seems a few want no part in it and have severed any and all ties due to it.

I wish as a society we would be more open to differing views. The chance to talk with someone who sees the world differently than you do can be an opportunity for education, or the beginning of a fight. The choice is all yours to make.

Southern Comfort (food)

Thanks Elsa for this lovely weather….said no one EVER!!

You know the winter is bad when folks around my home of Birmingham Alabama are in an uproar about it! The one good thing that normally comes from freezing temps is me making soups and stews. After tons of requests for my recipe I thought I’d share how I make Brunswick Stew.

This is more or less my mother’s recipe, not a traditional Brunswick Stew, but it taste great and is simple to make. The ingredients are as follows:

1 whole chicken (or 4-5 large chicken breasts if you want to use all white meat)

I large can of chicken broth (approximately 48 ounces)

36 oz ketchup

1lb bag of frozen yellow corn

1 can of lima beans

2 large potatoes

1 large videlia onion

1 table-spoon garlic salt

1 table-spoon black pepper

2 table-spoons liquid smoke

1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce

1 stick of butter

Chop/dice onion and potatoes, combine in large pot with yellow corn. Add in the garlic salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, Liquid Smoke and chicken broth. Simmer on medium heat for 30 minutes it should look something like this:
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While the veggies are simmering boil your chicken in a separate pot. Once the chicken has been boiled, remove it and shred it. Add the shredded chicken to pot of veggies.

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Now its time to add in your lima beans, ketchup and butter.

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Now this is where the work comes in! Time to simmer and stir! The stew needs to simmer for about 2 hours. Durring this time you are going to need to stir pretty often to avoid the stew sticking to the bottom of the pot. What we are doing is cooking down the stew, allowing the broth to thicken and the flavors to mingle. When you are done it should look something like this:
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Hopefully you’ve enjoyed this, I’ve been meaning to start blogging more and this seemed like a great way to jump back in!


After a year of trying I finally have access to my blog again! I hope to be posting more frequently, also hitting on some new subjects. I haven’t blogged in over 6 years, A LOT has changed in my life and I hope to share it with this online community. We’ve moved, had more children, made major changes in our lives religiously and politically; however one thing has remained the same. I’m still the neighborhood redneck!

Guest Writter

I’d like to share with you a blog my wife posted on her Myspace page. It really touched my heart and I asked if she would mind me re-posting it. The pregnancy experience has been a wild ride and I’d like to share her perspective on it:

I am getting really close to my due date and I cant believe how fast the time has flown by. It seems like yesterday I was so sick (I still throw up every morning but I am not as sick as I was) I was having my first little back cramps which are nothing compared to my back pains now lol! I remember lying in bed every night with my shirt up to see if the baby would move! I remember the first time I saw him actually move. The movement is almost constant now but it was so exciting. I remember sitting at my desk at work and feeling him kick for the first time. I remember how I thought my test was negative because the pink line was so light! If you had told me last Christmas that I would be having a little boy next Christmas I would have laughed at you! Its funny how much a person can change in such a short amount of time. I remember when I first got my baby bump how exciting that was! Now I wish I could get off the couch without a struggle lol!
  My thoughts went from maternity clothes, to what is it?, to registry, to showers, to making a home for my baby, to wanting my family and friends close because it could come any day now! I am at the point where I am just waiting. I go into the nursery a million times a day and refold the same silly blankets and bibs. I can’t believe my life will change again in a matter of days. I think about how scary the birth is gonna be. I almost don’t think about it because it freaks me out. At the same time I want to see my son so bad I would go into labor right now if I could. The night he dropped It scared me because I totally felt it and thought I needed to go to the hospital then. But I can breathe now and I have to say that even though I have been uncomfortable for about 9 months I will miss being pregnant so much and If we can afford another in a few years I would totally do this again!
  I also think about the financial strain it could put on us. Everyone says if you wait till you can afford them you will never have them. Well we will just leave it up to God to provide for us and do the best we can. I cannot wait to see him.I think about the fact that this isn’t just any baby this is a piece of me and Matt. Which means that this baby is made and full of love. This baby is a mixture of the past 9 years. Every memory and special moment that we have shared are all apart of him. Which tells me that this isn’t just any baby but the most special baby in the whole world! I hope he knows how much his parents love each other and how much they love him. We have definitely had some hard times but they were so easy to get through because we had each other and this pregnancy has totally brought us closer and brought our already strong relationship to a higher level!
  I am so excited that he will have some little friends his age! Whose parents are very special friends of mine! I hope I can give him what I did not have and teach him right! I want to open doors in his life that where nailed shut for me. I just pray that God will give me the knowledge to do as much right as I can. To all of my pregnant friends enjoy this happy time. This has been the best year of my life. I can’t wait to be a new mom!

Idiot Of The Day

Ok, Now I am convinced this country is doomed. I was browsing the news websites today and found this jewel

In Ocala Florida a 10 year old girl was arrested and charged with a felony crime.

What did she do you ask?

The little girl had brought her lunch to school. Part of her lunch was a piece of steak, and therefore she had brought a steak knife. She didn’t threaten anyone with it, she did not use it in any inappropriate way.

However her dumb as last year’s bird nest teacher felt the need to call the cops and have her arrested for bringing a weapon to school.

I’m really starting to think terrorist aren’t are biggest concern; let’s worry about the damage we are doing to ourselves. How do we let idiots like this teach our youth?

I hope they sue the ever loving crap out of that school system.

Gun Free Zone Strikes Again

The ‘Nuge, gotta love him. I’m talking about Ted Nugent the guitar playing, gun carrying voice of the Americana I feel is slipping away. I found this article by him today, while it strikes on a lot of the same things that the last article I posted does, it also take a different angle on it. Pay attention to where he talks about how we have lost the sense of self defense. We have become so dependent as a society, God have mercy on us.

Teditorial: Gun Free Zones Strike Again
Here we go again. Someone tell me why, with nearly 3000 articles written worldwide within 48 hours following the tragic slaughter at the Omaha, Nebraska Westroads Mall this week, that not a single one of them mentioned the most important fact of all. Thousands of “professional” writers converging on such an event, sharing their sleuthing in the world’s most respected publications and electronic media, yet not a single one of them saw it meaningful in their “reporting” of the crime to mention all the “no guns allowed” signs throughout the mall? Got agenda? Sig heil!

Even though Nebraska recently got a small piece of their Second Amendment back by finally allowing law abiding citizens their “God given right” to keep and bear arms, it is truly anti-American and downright bizzarro that private property and business owners can deny (as in “infringe”) this “inalienable” right bestowed upon free men by our Creator. This of course is the liberal dream known as “gun free zones.” As in Columbine, VA Tech, Luby’s cafeteria in Killeen, Texas, and at every other location where the wanton slaughter of unarmed, helpless victims is a virtual guarantee.

Except of course at the Salt Lake City mall last year where an armed off duty cop properly defied that mall’s “gun free” policy, who, virtually indistinguishable for all practical purposes from an armed law abiding citizen, was able to thwart a mass shooting about to unfold, were it not for a good guy with a gun. How dense must someone be to hide from this information and fact? Denial runs deep in a growing population of “we the sheeple.” For shame.

When did a nation of rugged individuals turn into helpless whiners, crying and running in fear from danger and evil? When did we abandon our natural instinct to counterpunch and attack evil, overpowering it and neutralizing it into submission? When were we forced to dial 9-1-1, losing and wasting precious, decisive time, instead of doing the right thing and stopping bad guys ourselves? When did we trade in independence for dependency? When did we decide that we can’t handle tough situations ourselves, and we need to call big brother while we cower and hide like little, helpless children? Pathetic.

Everyday in this country, according to the Department of Justice and every study ever conducted, armed, law abiding citizens stop dangerous, violent confrontations from escalating into death and tragedy, simply by having a gun handy to provide real “equality” on the mean streets of America. Dedicated cops across America will be the first ones to tell you that they not only can’t possibly be there to protect us, but that they also have no legal requirement to do so. By the time the police show up, many innocents will likely perish at the hands of evil while good people hang around hoping and praying. Does anyone still not know this reality? Is it possible to still hide from this life and death truth? If you have no soul, apparently so.

I would highly recommend that we finally learn from all these senseless tragedies. Get real. Get rid of politicians who support gunfree slaughter zones. Get rid of Gunfree zones. Get a gun, learn to use it, and do the right thing. Bad guys should be shot dead, not Christmas shoppers.

Communicate directly with Ted Nugent at tednugent.com.

When violence looms and every second counts, recall that the police are only minutes away!

I found this article online today. I had planned on writing on this subject at some point in time, but the author of this paper (Mark Harmon) does a good enough job that I thought I’d just post his letter instead.

M.D. Harmon

December 14, 2007

Has anyone ever wondered why people with guns who have kissed sanity good-bye never take out their uncontrollable rage on the nearest police station?

Nor do they drive off to the nearest Army base, shooting range or hunting club to vent their murderous frustration.

It should only take a moment’s thought to understand why: Those places have people who have relatively easy access to weapons themselves.

It’s one thing to be homicidal and suicidal, but it’s quite another to consider that one’s murderous intent could be brought to an untimely halt through the immediate application of superior firepower.

However, there are places that draw these people like magnets, and they, too, are easy to locate: They are the places where the possession of firearms is forbidden, and that fact is widely advertised.

Some of these places even go so far as to publicly display their vulnerability to mass murder through the posting of signs that say “No Guns Permitted” or “Gun-Free Zone.”

Virginia Tech was proud of its “gun-free” status, and boasted about how safe a place it was once it posted signs forbidding firearms on campus.

Thirty-two people died there last April as the cost of that exercise in hubris and futility.

Other places where firearms are typically banned are stores, including shopping malls, government buildings, including schools, and places of worship.

We saw in the Columbine shootings how effective gun bans are for schools.

And in Omaha last week, eight people died in a shopping mall before the shooter, cornered by police, killed himself.

In Ogden, Utah, last February, a man killed five people in a mall before an armed off-duty police officer pinned him down until help could arrive.

And just this past weekend, a disturbed youth who had posted violent diatribes against Christians on an Internet site killed two students at a Colorado missionary center.

He later showed up at a church that had an association with the missionary group carrying multiple weapons and 1,000 rounds of ammunition.

But because of the earlier shootings, the church had activated its voluntary security force, composed of members who had licenses to carry concealed weapons and the training to use them.

The gunman killed two teenage girls in the church parking lot and wounded their father before he entered the church.

But once he got inside, he was confronted by one of the church’s volunteer guards, Jeanne Assam, a former police officer armed with a pistol.

As witnesses described it, she advanced on the shooter yelling “Surrender,” and when he raised his weapon, fired several shots, bringing him to the ground. Police reported that the badly wounded gunman then shot himself to death.

Assam, dubbed “Dirty Harriet” by one writer, was credited by the church’s pastor with having saved 50 to 100 lives.

It’s almost enough to make a fair-minded, thoughtful person conclude that armed, law-abiding citizens might have saved countless more lives at places like those listed above.

But not in the view of the confiscation crowd. They point at the weapons the gunmen used and say that banning them would halt such shootings.

Problem is, there’s precious little evidence to support that view, and much to disprove it.

Different parts of this country display disparities in rates of serious crimes. But that crime rate has been falling steadily for almost 20 years. While many factors undoubtedly contribute to that trend, including tougher sentencing laws, the ability of people to defend themselves also counts.

The 40 states (including Maine) where concealed-carry permits are readily available to law-abiding people report on average a 22 percent lower violent crime rate, a 30 percent lower murder rate, a 46 percent lower robbery rate and a 12 percent lower aggravated assault rate than the 10 states where the possession of firearms by honest citizens is greatly restricted.

As University of Tennessee law professor Glenn Reynolds (who blogs as “Instapundit”) noted after the VT murders last spring, “People don’t stop killers. People with guns do.”

He wrote, “Though press accounts downplayed it, the 2002 shooting at Appalachian Law School was stopped when a student retrieved a gun from his car and confronted the shooter. Likewise, Pearl, Miss., school shooter Luke Woodham was stopped when the school’s vice principal took a .45 from his truck and ran to the scene.”

Police, he notes, can’t be everywhere, and when they do arrive, it’s usually too late for at least some victims.

However, “one group of people is, by definition, always on the scene: the victims. (But) if they’re armed, they may wind up not being victims at all.”

As the U.S. Supreme Court ponders whether the Second Amendment protects our right of self-defense with firearms, the actual case is being proved by people like Jeanne Assam.

M.D. Harmon is an editorial writer. He can be contacted at:


Elvis is Leaving the Building

Elvis is leaving the building!

Things are progressing rather quickly these days. Seems like Thanksgiving was just last week, but guess what, Christmas is just 10 days from now. Very busy time of the year with all the shopping and trying to see family and so on.

But there is something else going on in our life right now. Something that will literally change life as we know it, a baby is coming. Ya! That’s right for those that don’t know it we are pregnant with our first child, a baby boy (Reese) that will be here very, very soon. Carly had a doctor’s appointment today and was told that the baby has/is in the process of dropping. Looks like the little fella is starting to head out! We just may have ourselves a Christmas baby.

Gotta be honest with you, its a little scary knowing that in a week or so we will have a kid. Not just a kid, but OUR child, my son, our first born. Wow! I’m just so excited, nervous, anxious, proud and a whole bunch of other feelings wrapped up into one.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what it means to be a father, about what a responsibility it is. I’ve been digging through my life and trying to decide if the things I find are qualities I want my child to see in his father. I’ve come up with things I need to change in my life, some things I need to continue in doing, and some that I need to be more diligent in doing.