Time to Get Real – July 3 Update

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Still taking a moment to consider.

A few things become clear.  I need to completely re-think what I’m doing.  I also need to be honest enough to say that I’ve been kidding myself for the last several months.  There was no plan, there was just some vague wandering around.  If the wandering was good, I’d drop a couple pounds.  When it was vague, I’d gain them back.  I need to know what I’m trying to do in order to succeed.

 

My job took me to Italy for a week.  We averaged close to 8 miles of walking per day most of the time so I thought I’d done pretty well.  In fact I gained 5 pounds.  That was not a happy weigh in.  I am still not officially weighing in (maybe next week) but the news was better today.  Down three pounds.  So at least trending the right way.

Just wanted to check in.

So let’s see how we do.

The Goal

My resolution remains :

I want to am going to be The Guy again.  The Guy weighed 175 pounds and looked good and felt good.  And his blood pressure was good and his blood tests were good.

 

The next milestone is getting back below 195.  I will get there and go on.

Official Weigh In Weight

199.4 pounds

Weight Change this week – 0.0 pounds

Total Weight Loss To Date – 0.0 pounds

Goal Weight and Total to Lose – 175/30

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So Whatcha Gonna Do?

I am on vacation this week.  With back to back pilgrimage and Vacation Bible School I am ready for some down time.

The question everyone is asking is, “So whatcha gonna do?”

It may not be sexy or exciting but the answer is:

NOTHING

Call it a “stay-cation” or just goofing off but I’m not planning on going anywhere (I do have a family funeral this week but that doesn’t count).  I’ve got my fill of travel for the moment and I just want to stay home.

At the same time I seem to genetically incapable of just “doing nothing”.  So I’ll be doing some reading, getting caught up on my various blogs, uploading pictures from my trip to Italy with the pilgrims, cooking dinner, puttering around the house and probably exploring some more of this still new place where I live.

Other than that, nothing.

Peace.

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An Open Letter to Bishop Daniel Martins

The Right Reverend Daniel Martins is the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Springfield.  At the current General Convention of The Episcopal Church he recently tweeted “ Never very impressed with the “official youth presence.” How do they get chosen?”,  followed by “Meant no offense re GCOYP. Just being honest about my experience over 5 GCs. Steady progressive orthodoxy; not much Jesus”.  GCOYP stands for the “General Convention Official Youth Presence” a group of teens selected in pairs from each province of our denomination to insure that the voice of young people are heard at the highest level. This is my response to him.

Greetings Bishop Martin,

I don’t believe we’ve ever met so let me introduce myself.  I am a 50-something year old cradle Episcopalian.  Over the last 25 years I have served as a youth minister at the congregation level (as a volunteer), at the diocesan level (as Diocesan Youth Missioner in the Diocese of Western New York for 13 years) and currently serve a congregation in the Diocese of Southern Virginia as the full time Director of Youth Formation.  During my time in diocesan ministry I served as the Provincial Youth Ministry Coordinator for Province II on two occasions.  In that position I worked with the GCOYPs at three of the last five General Conventions.

Let me begin by asking you a question.  Have you ever spent any time with the GCOYP, individually or as a group?  Before you make a judgement of them I would recommend it.  While from your position it may appear that there is a uniformity of theology to these groups I can assure you there is not.  Division on some the most hotly debated issues facing our denomination during this time period has been a real and very painful part of the GCOYP’s experience.  You will find a diversity of opinion, theology and personal piety in the groups.  I can assure you that Jesus has been held dear by all three of the groups with whom I worked.  I have no reason to believe that the current group is any different.

Having been through the selection process three times, I can assure you that ZERO time was spent applying any kind of theological filter to those selections.  Drawing from the available pool of applicants (which we always wished was larger) we considered leadership ability, involvement with their home parish and diocese plus personal abilities to work under pressure and with people with whom they may disagree.  I am proud of the three groups that I helped discern and was honored to walk along with them in their ministry.

As for the selection, it’s pretty simple.  At a certain point prior to General Convention the application period is opened.  Word of this application process is sent to all the provinces and dioceses.  Young people must discern their own call to be involved and submit the appropriate paperwork and recommendations.  Since I have left the provincial ministry at this point in my own journey I will note what happened during the three GCs where I was involved.  It may have changed somewhat since then.  The Provincial Youth Ministry Coordinators (PYMCs) along with the denominational staff person for youth ministry (Betsy Boyd and Bronwyn Clark Skov in my time) receive, review and ponder the applications.  They then gather for a time of prayerful discernment to select two young people from each province.  We worked very hard to get the best balance we could to represent the diversity of our denomination.  Were we perfect?  Certainly not.  But it was not through a lack of trying.  The greatest obstacle was small candidate pools when dioceses do not encourage their youth to put their names forward.

Once selected the GCOYP members are gathered together and given extensive training in how denominational governance works, how to conduct themselves, what they are permitted (by canon) to do and what they may not do.  In my time I spoke to them about how to deal with the media, based on my previous career in the media.  Prayer is a consistent part of their time together as well.  One adult from each province serves as “staff” for the youth of that province.  We are there to support and assist them in any way possible.

One of the things the adults are clearly instructed NOT to do is to “put words into their mouths”.  Everything you hear those young people say are their ideas, their words.  Some of the adults will help them polish the delivery but we do not enter into forming the ideas.  That would directly contradict the function which the young people are called to fulfill.  They are to offer up a voice of our younger generation to the governing body of the church.  In my time serving with GCOYP I know that the adults were meticulous in that pursuit.

My experience with the three GCOYPs buoyed my faith in our denomination.  They humbled me with their faith.  They inspired me with their dedication.  They challenged me to think more deeply.  They blessed me with their friendship and trust.

I would like to urge you to find the time to meet and talk with this year’s GCOYP.  I know that will be difficult, perhaps even impossible, because of the busyness of both your schedule and theirs.  A meal might be an excellent opportunity for casual interaction with some or all of them.  Talk to them.  Ask them about themselves, their homes and their life in faith.  Ask them about Jesus.  Share with them your concerns for them and the church in general.  My prediction is that you will find them to be intelligent, thoughtful, faith filled and deeply invested in our church.  They will listen respectfully, and will question your with equal respect if they disagree.  I believe you will be impressed.  I’m betting you might even walk away thinking “I’d love to see one of our young people serving next time”.

May God bless your ministry and strengthen you during this busy time.

Peace

Jay Phillippi

Me with the Province II youth in Minneapolis

Me with the Province II youth in Minneapolis

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Time to Get Real – June 13 Update

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Just a short note.

I had said that I needed to fall back and reassess.  That’s done.  The other problem is that I am about to enter into my busiest time of the year at work.  A trip, followed by Vacation Bible School, then a week of vacation, another week long mission trip, a week off and a final week long trip.

It’s a challenge because I will have somewhat less control over my diet.  On the other hand I should be registering major activity levels.  So my goal will be to simply be smart about my eating.

I fly out to my first trip later today.  I wanted to get a new baseline weight for this, so I weighed myself this morning.  I’ll be honest and say I expected the worst.  Especially following a big dinner last night (hey, it was my 33rd wedding anniversary), I fully expected to have departed “one-derland” and broached the 200 pound mark.  Again.

It was better than I thought.  Not great, but not what I had feared.

So let’s see how we do.

The Goal

My resolution remains :

I want to am going to be The Guy again.  The Guy weighed 175 pounds and looked good and felt good.  And his blood pressure was good and his blood tests were good.

 

The next milestone is getting back below 195.  I will get there and go on.

Official Weigh In Weight

199.4 pounds

Weight Change this week – 0.0 pounds

Total Weight Loss To Date – 0.0 pounds

Goal Weight and Total to Lose – 175/30

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Time to Get Real – Week of June 5

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I talked about a re-set.

Beginning again.

And then I disappeared.  Again.

You had to wonder.  I know I did.  I wondered if I should just quit.  Just accept that my body had gotten older and that what I wanted to do wasn’t even possible any more.  I came very, very close to doing just that.  Then I shook it off and decided to climb back on that horse.

Then I had another thought: just doing the same things that haven’t worked so far hardly seems like the best option.  It’s time to re-consider what I’m doing.

At the same time I have a total collapse of my routine coming up.  In a week I am leaving for ten days in Italy.  Then I come back and jump immediately into Vacation Bible School.  Then a week of vacation, a week in the office, a week on a mission trip, then a week in the office and another week on a mission trip.  It’s a mess.  I won’t have control over my diet for at least half that time.  The upside is that I will be getting plenty of exercise.

So for the immediate future my goals change.  I’m going to work on food selection and portion size.  I will track my walking, under the circumstances I should be able to put up better numbers there.

Once the madness settles down, we’ll look at new routine.  I’m not done.  I’m not done.  I’m not done.

The Goal

My resolution remains :

I want to am going to be The Guy again.  The Guy weighed 175 pounds and looked good and felt good.  And his blood pressure was good and his blood tests were good.

 

The next milestone is getting back below 195.  I will get there and go on.

Official Weigh In Weight

 pounds

Weight Change this week – pounds

Total Weight Loss To Date –  pounds

Goal Weight and Total to Lose – 175/30

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Creativity and Fear

Based on what I’ve read and heard over the years the single greatest obstacle to creativity is fear.

Not lack of talent, or lack of time or lack of inspiration.

Fear.

creativity-illo-2Certainly I have spent a great many years struggling with that.  persuasively convincing myself that I shouldn’t even try because I won’t be any good.  That I’ll embarrass myself.  That people will laugh.  Or perhaps worse, they will shake their head in pity.

I also know the counter argument, which says that I shouldn’t focus on what others think, that I should create simply for my own joy and fulfillment.  While I intellectually understand and agree two things fight against  the idea.  First, because my “core creative”, the impulse at the center of who I am in creativity, is a performer.  There are few places in the world where I am more at home, more filled with joy and contentment than on stage.  I like, no, I LOVE being up in front of an audience.  I LOVE the feeling of drawing them into a story, of lifting them then gently lowering, of igniting their laughter, their emotion, and their understanding.   So to suddenly tell me that the audience isn’t really important goes against my creative core.  I am not built to grind away quietly in a corner.  It isn’t who I am.

Who I am creates the other problem.  Many years ago I went through a standard end of year performance evaluation.  Item after item was ticked off with highest marks.  Except one.  “Sets goals unreasonably high, expects too much of himself”.

Guilty as charged.

I have love/hate relationship with this part of my life. It’s a great support for the fear in me.  “Why do something if I can’t do it to the standard I expect?”  In my life I have been around all kinds of wonderful Creatives.   I’ll probably never be as good as any of them at any of the things they do.  One of my life long creeds has been “Good enough isn’t”.  I don’t want to settle.  So I push.  That’s not necessarily a bad thing.  My desire to go for my best, to never settle for good enough has brought me a lot of success in my life.  The danger is sacrificing the good for the perfect.  When I become focused on trying to “perfect” something I get intimidated.  I can let “not perfect” equal “sucks”.  Then  I let the fear win and I just walk away.

I tend to overlook (because I don’t want to work that hard) that there is always a process to learning.  That practice and repetition are of immense value in growing.  It’s okay to suck at the beginning.  The goal is to not suck at the end, even if it’s still not perfect.

Maybe I’m reaching an age where things become a little clearer.  Maybe I’m just dense and it’s taken this long to sink in.  It’s not a binary system.  Not perfection or suckage.  It’s finding MY place on the spectrum, pushing to whatever my abilities level is.  In doing that I fulfill the potential that is within me.  I become more complete, more rounded, more whole along the way.  Maybe not every part of my creative life is for the moment of communion with the audience.  Maybe some of it is just for me.

That might be okay.

We’re on a journey to find out.

 

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Time to Get Real – Week of May 15

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I almost quit.

Over the last couple weeks it simply became so depressing that I seriously considered just walking away from this process and the series of posts.

I’m not sure there is a worse feeling than the one where everything FEELS good followed by not getting a good result on the scale.  My clothes seem to be fitting better.  I can almost move to the next hole on my belt.

Then I got a surprise.

Either no change or negative change.

Which is followed by some poor eating choices.  Sigh.  It’s a pattern I know all too well.

By this time I expected I would have dropped ten pounds.  That’s was not an overly aggressive or optimistic goal at all.  Ten pounds over a couple of months is very do-able.  Except it hasn’t been anything of the sort.

I’m frustrated.  I’m angry.

The computer caused break from posting would have given me a perfect out.  Just never post again.

But at the end of things, I refuse to give up.  Took a break, now it’s over.  We re-set and begin again.

The Goal

My resolution remains :

I want to am going to be The Guy again.  The Guy weighed 175 pounds and looked good and felt good.  And his blood pressure was good and his blood tests were good.

 

The next milestone is getting back below 195.  I will get there and go on.

Official Weigh In Weight

197.4 pounds

Weight Change this week – -0.0 pounds

Beginning weight – 197.4

Total Weight Loss To Date – 0.0 pounds

Goal Weight and Total to Lose – 175/23

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