Time to Change – Still Here…Somewhere

weight-loss-3

No, I haven’t quit.

Nor have I died.

I moved.

This creates a variety of challenges for the whole weight loss process, but it created HUGE issues for the weight loss blogger.

Like ten days without internet access.

Like not having any idea which box the scale is in.

So NEXT week this series of posts will return to its usual weird version of “normal”.  Warm weather means more exercise options.  I’m hoping for good things.

Onward.

My resolution remains:

This guy – 2009

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. (New photo of The Guy)

Watch my activity at my Fitbit page  Step total this week 31,009, average 5,119.  The goal is 70,000/10,000.

The next milestone is getting back below 200.  I will get there and go on.

Official Weigh In Weight

203.2 pounds

Weight Change this week: -1.2 pounds

Total Weight Loss To Date: -2.2 pounds

Goal Weight and Total to Lose – 175/25

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The Lunch That Conquered Defeat

(A repost of some of my earlier blogging on other sites.  I am occasionally re-posting ones that I think are interesting.  Originally posted December 17, 2008)

When I woke up this morning I knew it wasn’t any better.

lunch_bagMy lady wife has been asking me for days if something was wrong and I kept telling her no, I was fine. I knew that wasn’t true but I couldn’t put my finger on what the problem was either. So there was no good answer.

I felt sad. I felt tired. Mentally, physically and especially spiritually. I felt defeated.

Yes, there, at last, was the word I’d searched for.

Defeated.

Defeated in my life. Defeated in my ministry. Defeated in my marriage (through my failings no one else’s). Defeated in my career.

I work hard. I do good work. But it just wasn’t enough.

I wasn’t living anything close to the dreams I’d had. I wasn’t providing what I wanted to provide for my family. I wasn’t producing what I thought I should be able to produce in my work and ministry.

Defeated. Not incompetent just not competent enough. Not untalented just not talented enough. Not unintelligent just not intelligent enough.

I stopped by my rector’s office to follow up on some work and we chatted. I admitted that I was deeply into a bout of the (pardon the language) “I just don’t give a shit anymores”. Nice that I can say that to my rector. No other words would quite carry the emotional content as well. I just didn’t give a shit anymore.

Why bother? I’ve been the guy who says “Good enough, isn’t”. I’ve been the guy who said “The company has given us all the tools we need. If we can’t perform under these circumstances they ought to fire us”. I’ve been that idealistic, eyes shining as they gaze at the glorious future idiot. And what did it get me? Fired from my last job because I wouldn’t play those stupid office politics and focused on doing my job.

And my rector said, “Can I buy you lunch?”

So we went to lunch. And he never told me that I was wrong. In fact, he told me that I had a right to feel that way. Then he told me that I wasn’t seeing the whole picture.

We talked about a bunch of stuff and I remembered that I’ve done a lot of things of which I’m justifiably (I think) proud. I’ve made tough decisions and put myself second to care for my family. There’s not one of those decisions, looking back, that I regret. They were right. Then and now.

There are plenty of folks who would look at my life and see a steady stream of success. I’ve had jobs where I’ve made an honest to God difference in people’s lives. And yes people like me, they really, really like me. Some of them even respect me and pay attention to what I say.

I’ve made sacrifices. I’ve put my career on hold several times to make sure my family was OK. My life isn’t perfect but it’s still pretty darn good. The bad parts can still be worked on even at my “advanced age” (He really said that to me. Terrible thing to have a rector younger than yourself).

An hour, two chicken fajitas and some refried beans later and I no longer felt defeated. It’s at least the second time my rector has gotten me turned around when things seemed pretty dark. There are still things to work on but at least it’s not quite so dark in my heart anymore

He’s pretty sharp, my rector.

(The Rev. Eric Williams is no longer my rector.  Happily he is still my friend.  Everyone needs more friends like this)

Peace

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The Creativity Project – Metal

In my ongoing attempt to keep the creative side of me flowing (which was the original purpose of this blog), I’ve decided to take on a weekly photo challenge.  It sounded like fun, so I’m giving it a try.  Photos on the blog are reduced to ensure faster loading.  So they actually look BETTER than they do here!

Week fifteen was “Artistic – Metal”.  Find your inspiration in metal, shiny, rusty, whatever.

Another week where lots of standard images occurred to me and I even shot some of them.  In the end, none of them felt like I was doing anything interesting.  I have no idea why I turned to my guitar but it seemed like an interesting challenge.  The real challenge turned out finding an interesting view.  I ended up shooting super macro, which put the front of my lens just millimeters away from the tuner.  You can see all kinds of dust on the guitar head even though I thought I had dusted it thoroughly.  At this magnification, EVERYTHING stands out!  I’m really happy with this shot.  Spent a lot of time trying to get the focus point where I wanted it.  One of the shortcomings of my camera is that there is no manual focus capability.  So you sometimes have to play games, even shift the framing of the shot to get what you want in focus.  The tuner is much more central in the original image.  I moved with the crop.

 

When I cropped the shot down a little I suddenly had an image that left me with the “Did I shoot that?” feeling.  Always the best.  ISO 200, f6.4 @ 1/20.

Next week’s challenge is Portrait – Motion.  Portraits are usually static, so the challenge is to include motion.

This is part of a year-long photographic challenge.  Dogwood Photography came up with this interesting challenge (HERE) where you have to come up with a photo a week in one of three categories – Portrait, Landscape or Artistic Impression.  Each week has one with a slightly different challenge.

For the folks who are interested in technical type things:

My primary camera is a Fujifilm Finepix S1000fd.  It is a 10.0 Megapixel CCD, sensor size is 1/2.3″.  I shoot in the Fine JPEG 3648 x 2736 format and usually in the “Chrome” setting.

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The Creativity Project – Texture

In my ongoing attempt to keep the creative side of me flowing (which was the original purpose of this blog), I’ve decided to take on a weekly photo challenge.  It sounded like fun, so I’m giving it a try.  Photos on the blog are reduced to ensure faster loading.  So they actually look BETTER than they do here!

Week eighteen was “Artistic – Texture”.  Can I make you “feel” the texture through the photo?

 

Have to admit, this is a long time favorite subject of mine.  No idea why, but I am fascinated with capturing the visual texture of stone, wood, cloth, whatever.  The problem became, what can I do that is going to be interesting and new?  I found two images that jumped out at me.  This was from a wall in an alley I wandered down:

 

It was a grab shot, so I didn’t spend much time setting it up.  The result is that the full photo (this is cropped about 50%) has a section that goes out of focus slightly, which spoils the effect for me.  You can still see some of it along the top and bottom on the right side.  But I still liked the effect.  I want to run my fingertips over it and pick at the cracks.

I was much happier with this one.  The downside is that it’s a very familiar subject.  Beautiful tree bark (no, I have no idea what kind of tree.  Big, old with lots of leaves in Byrd Park, Richmond).  The lighting was right to give shadow and highlight.  Different patterns within the bark.  Even a few tiny bugs if you look for them.

TextureProject

 

ISO 200, f6.4 at 1/70

Next week’s challenge is Portrait – Messy.  That may be a problem, so I’m thinking about it.  May have to push that one down the road.  Still haven’t gotten my panoramic in, maybe I’ll focus on that.

This is part of a year-long photographic challenge.  Dogwood Photography came up with this interesting challenge (HERE) where you have to come up with a photo a week in one of three categories – Portrait, Landscape or Artistic Impression.  Each week has one with a slightly different challenge.

For the folks who are interested in technical type things:

My primary camera is a Fujifilm Finepix S1000fd.  It is a 10.0 Megapixel CCD, sensor size is 1/2.3″.  I shoot in the Fine JPEG 3648 x 2736 format and usually in the “Chrome” setting.

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The Creativity Project – Urbanscape

In my ongoing attempt to keep the creative side of me flowing (which was the original purpose of this blog), I’ve decided to take on a weekly photo challenge.  It sounded like fun, so I’m giving it a try.  Photos on the blog are reduced to ensure faster loading.  So they actually look BETTER than they do here!

Week seventeen was “Landscape – Urbanscape”.  This week we were challenged to go into an urban area to shoot.  It felt a little like cheating because I’d been doing this for a while now.  I truly enjoy living in a less urban area, but I love having easy access to a city the size of Richmond.

Looking for something that spoke of the city while avoiding the cliche skyline photos turned into a more difficult challenge than I had expected.  I wandered the streets looking at colors and repeated lines and images, but didn’t see anything that grabbed me.  One of the great things about digital photography is I can just snap away, virtually endlessly, and then sift the results at home.  On one side street this grabbed me as a particularly urban image:

 

Power meters

 

It was set just below street level and I could either square the image up or not get the full effect of the 30 meters.  Because of the angle, I was stuck with the two on the right.  So it didn’t quite appeal to me.

So I kept wandering and shooting.  What I found was this:

Urbanscapew

There is something quintessentially urban about watching the world go by a storefront window.  It’s kind of the reverse of Edward Hopper’s iconic Nighthawks painting.  In his, it is night and you are looking in through the window, here I’m inside (with some ice cream) looking out at the day.  I loved the colors, plus the feeling that something is about to happen just beyond the frame.

ISO 200, f7.1 at 1/400

Next week’s challenge is Artistic – Texture.  Take a photo where you can almost feel the texture shown.  I have loved doing that kind of photography for years, so I’ve been looking forward to that week.

This is part of a year-long photographic challenge.  Dogwood Photography came up with this interesting challenge (HERE) where you have to come up with a photo a week in one of three categories – Portrait, Landscape or Artistic Impression.  Each week has one with a slightly different challenge.

For the folks who are interested in technical type things:

My primary camera is a Fujifilm Finepix S1000fd.  It is a 10.0 Megapixel CCD, sensor size is 1/2.3″.  I shoot in the Fine JPEG 3648 x 2736 format and usually in the “Chrome” setting.

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Time to Change – The Unexpected Win

weight-loss-3

 

Clearly, I have no idea what I’m doing.

Which seems to work for me, lol.

Didn’t pay a lot of attention to how much I ate.  Did watch what I ate a little more.  No particular exercise, just kept active.  I managed to forget my Fitbit most of the week, but I’m certain I did not exceed my workday norms of about 6,000 to 8,000 steps.

And had a pretty good week.  Plus something of an epiphany, which I will talk about next week.

What jumped out at me this week was an article in the New York Times entitled “After ‘The Biggest Loser’ ,Their Bodies Fought to Regain Weight“.  It was a stunning revelation.  Contrary to the expectations of the experts, metabolism stays depressed after dramatic weight losses.  Meaning that you have to eat even less than normal to maintain a normal weight after you’ve dropped a lot of weight.

In other words, dramatic dieting is setting us all up to fail.

I was a big fan of “TBL” for several years.  But the longer I watched the more the entire process they use struck me as counterproductive.  I don’t’ believe in fad diets (no carbs, no protein, all protein, whatever) and I don’t believe in the meal replacement diets, where they ship you the food you’re to eat each week.  None of these teach you a diet that can be maintained long term.

We need to eat differently.  In a balanced, healthy fashion.  We need to get regular exercise.  We need to be happy to lose weight slowly, a pound or two maximum per week.  Then when we arrive at a healthy weight we will be able to maintain it for the rest of our lives.  Not nailed into place, never to fluctuate.  But never putting significant amounts of that weight back on.  My goal is 175 pounds.  My hope is that I will never go above 180-185 once I get there.

 

But clearly, the days of seeing how far below my caloric daily goals I can go are over.  Daily eating that isn’t balanced with all the necessary food groups isn’t on anymore.  Solid eating, steady exercise, slow but steady.  To get to my goal is going to take me about 30-35 weeks (allowing for a little regression now and then).  That’s about 8 months.  The new year.

That’s the goal.  Next week, we talk about this neat new concept a reader introduced me to, a PLAN.

Onward.

My resolution remains:

This guy – 2009

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. (New photo of The Guy)

Watch my activity at my Fitbit page  Step total this week 31,009, average 5,119.  The goal is 70,000/10,000.

The next milestone is getting back below 200.  I will get there and go on.

Official Weigh In Weight

203.2 pounds

Weight Change this week: -1.2 pounds

Total Weight Loss To Date: -2.2 pounds

Goal Weight and Total to Lose – 175/25

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Filed under personal, Weight Loss

Creativity and Faith

I’m not sure I have spent as much time on anything in my life as I have on the time topics in the title.  Once upon a time, the Christian church was one of the great supporters of artistic creation.  Today, I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that one of the great stumbling blocks facing the future of the institutional church is that it has largely turned away from creativity.

Some, I know, will instantly say that the sooner the institutional church dies, the better the faith (and the world) will be.  While I am often a vocal critic of the institution, its politics and inertia inspired blindness, I’m not quite ready to give up on it just yet.  We are called together in our life in faith.  When two or more are gathered together in one place, there had better be some kind of structure.  Otherwise, nothing gets done.

Some will also raise the cry that there’s plenty of creativity in the church, right now.  To that I’m afraid I have to say while there are pockets of creativity, I’m not seeing the creative being celebrated in large swathes of my faith.  Creativity does not thrive in places where absolute fidelity to tradition, history and “how it’s always been done” is paramount.

I love classic church architecture, far more than most of the modern church design I’ve seen.  There is a church not far from where I used to live that I thought was a warehouse for years, till they finally got the sign up on the highway side of the building.  Once buildings were built to symbolize the glory of God.  Today they could easily be movie theaters or warehouses.  There is lots of fine church music that has been around for years.  Too often it is treated like a museum piece, to be carefully preserved just the way it has always been.  There is some fine modern music as well, but there’s plenty that isn’t.  Being old doesn’t make something good, but neither does being new.

The classic example (one of many) can be found in my own tradition.  As Episcopalians, we are part of the Anglican tradition.  We are largely defined by our Book of Common Prayer.  It provides the pattern of our life in faith and worship.  And it is real easy for us to treat that book like Holy Writ, never to be changed, never to be interpreted in any way other than the way it was by our predecessors.  If we are not careful we will be permanently turned towards the past.  And there is now new creativity there.

Creativity is a matter of weaving together what has gone before with what is available now.  It’s not easy.  Being creative never is.  It’s trial and error.  It’s an ongoing process.  That makes people uncomfortable.  But that’s an important part of creativity as well.

Let me give you an example of what I see as a great  creative response to worship space.  It combines the traditional and the new.  If you ever get the chance to visit or worship at Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral.  It draws on the architecture of a fourth-century basilica with some amazing modern touches.

philadelphia-cathedral-600-587x0

The basic form is classic church architecture but without traditional pews.  This allows all kinds of unusual options for worship.  Note the raised chancel area in the back of the photo.  The curved benches can serve as choir or for a variety of other uses.  Note the high-tech lighting that creates an almost starfield effect.  I’ve been in some fabulous churches and cathedrals.  None have affected me the way this one did.

Here’s a slightly different view, note the rectangular box on the right.  That’s a baptismal font.  One that the person being baptized can kneel in the water.  Next to it, and if memory serves, with the water able to flow from the traditional basin font into the larger font.  Again, the intersection of the ancient and the new.

CATHEDRALEVENTPHOTOS20102011a027_lg

 

Imagine if we took the same approach to our music, our worship, our liturgy, our teaching, and preaching.  Creativity is a gift of God.  Might be nice if we shared it with Him occasionally.

Just a thought.

 

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Filed under Creativity, Episcopal, Faith, Uncategorized