Monthly Archives: September 2013

New Eyes


I just completed 10 weeks of my fitness regimen and here’s my obligatory BEFORE/AFTER photo. 😉

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After dropping 10 pounds in the first few weeks, I’m now at the place in my training where I’m working on gaining muscle mass. This almost seems backwards in a world that spends so much time, energy and money on LOSING weight. So I’ve had to change my perspective of what it means to train, my overall definition of healthy living and recognize that my success, failure or whether or not I should feel satisfied, is not found in the constantly changing numbers on a glowing digital scale.

Take a look at my photo again real quick.

Understand that I didn’t put up this photo hoping people will say something like, “Hey, great job, Riis!” or “Wow, you look fantastic!”. No.  This photo is up because I want to point out a few of the obstacles that sometimes prevent us from celebrating every success… big and small. See, I wouldn’t look at this photo and see success. While others may see the result of commitment and determination, what I see is all the work (at least in my head) that still needs to be done. I feel the weight of where I want to be and the hard reality that I’m still not there. I want  you to understand that even after considering my progress, I’m still struggling with feelings of dissatisfaction. I wrestle with feeling like I messed up somewhere or that I’ve fallen behind or that I should have hit some ridiculous milestone…  and that I’m failing.

But I’ve got new eyes.

And these eyes show me that every morning I wake up is a victory. Whether I complete 2 push-ups or 200… it’s a victory. Spartacus workouts, 5k hikes, 45  minutes of hardcore cardio on a spinning bike… the fact that I’ve done any thing at all, is a victory. So when I’m tempted for some bizarre reason to pick up those old, negatively-tainted eyes, I look at a picture like this and remind myself that I’m one step closer than I was the day before. 🙂

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Categories: fitness, health, personal, photos, stories | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

All Gone


Monday was a difficult day. It was the kind of challenging day where no one would question you if you said, “You know what? I just want to check out for a while.” Yeah… like that. :-/

I will spare you the details and just say that after leaving my house at 6:30am, I didn’t get back home until after 7:00pm due to a series of unfortunate events. To let you know how OFF this is, I’m usually home from work before 5:00pm. This allows me to spend time with the kids before they go to bed each night. Well, yesterday was just not that kind of day. I got home and was thoroughly frustrated. I was able to keep those emotions in check enough to be pleasant with my children. I mean, it’s not their fault. But there are times when I fail miserably and my poor children get Cranky Dad instead of Playful Dad.

But yesterday when I got home… after rushing to the bathroom (I’d been holding it for nearly 3 hours)… after changing out of my work clothes… after making sure my wife got out of the house on her way to her weekly Bible study… after getting the kids into the shower… after it all… this beautiful little girl comes up to me, and with the sweetest, most heart-warming voice my ears have ever heard, asked me to read her a story.

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And just like that, it all fell away… the frustration, the stress, the anxiety, the exhaustion, the weariness… all gone. I sat there on the couch with this little angel of a girl tucked snuggly under my arm and read her a Berenstain Bears story to her absolute delight… and mine. ❤

Categories: family, personal, relationships, stories | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Grateful


I am deeply saddened when I hear about tragedies like the one recently at the Navy yard. I hear about people going on a rampages and shooting crowds of innocent people and my heart breaks. I’ll get into conversations with people about the How’s and Why’s behind such heinous acts and it’s always the same questions…

How on earth was he able to buy a gun??

Why didn’t people see the signs??

How did he get through the background check and gain access to the location??

Why didn’t the authorities respond sooner??

What really bothers me about this line of questioning is the assumption that only terrorists or schizophrenics are capable of harming others. But sometimes… sometimes it’s your neighbor… sometimes it’s the kid you used to babysit… sometimes it’s the guy you knew from basic training.

We’re completely caught by surprise when we learn about those who perpetrate such crimes and we immediately try to justify the behavior by attributing it to some mental illness or ties to a terrorist cell group.

“Oh, well no wonder… he had an abnormal fixation on the Middle East and Iraqi culture.”

“He had previous run-in with the law and he liked guns. So I can see how this would be something he would do.”

It’s almost as if our minds can’t seem to comprehend the fact that someone “normal” could do such a horrific thing. But honestly, what is normal? Most people I’ve met have experienced tragedy, are struggling with some type of distress or depression, or have been affected by some degree of trauma. So… WHO is normal?

Friends and family of a suspect will say things like, “I never saw this coming.” or “He was such a nice guy.” or “Something must have happened because he would never do such a thing.” The fact remains that he DID do such a thing. And you know what? I’m never surprised. I’ve come to the sobering conclusion (and this may be an unpopular opinion) that the only thing that restrains any of us is the hand of God. If it weren’t for the fact that He holds your mind, body and soul in His capable hands, you could be just as capable of this type of behavior.

And it makes me eternally grateful… every. single. day.

Categories: opinion, personal | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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