Posts Tagged With: health

Strong Resolve

I only have one new year’s resolution… to cultivate healthy relationships.

We are relational by nature and we do ourselves a disservice to think “likes” “hearts” or “follows” will ever replace conversation and spending time with one another. So in 2014, the priority is making sure my family and friends know they are loved demonstratively.


Categories: personal, relationships | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Join The Rebellion

Sometimes when I’m uploading pictures or typing out a conversation I’ve had with someone in my family, I wonder if people think I’m being pushy or overdoing it by constantly posting about my wife and kids and how much I love them. I wonder if maybe I should reduce the frequency of my shared observations so as not to put people off.

And then…Join The Rebellion (smaller)

I watch the news where it seems a majority (if not all) of the content is focused on domestic and community violence, betrayal and corruption, political posturing to the detriment of citizens, sexual exploitation of celebrities and children, public humiliation of people in relationships gone bad, and Sports.

And then…

I notice TV shows that are supposedly geared toward children but include gratuitous hyper-realized violence, subtle sexual undertones, or is simply a platform for blatant product promotion.

And then…

I look around at the adjunct education we may or may not be aware that our children are receiving at school: how to obtain drugs and alcohol while still underage, how to be (or at least appear) sexually active without your parents finding out, the pros and cons of bullying, and what it means to aspire to popularity at any cost.

And then…

I go to work and witness firsthand the long-term, sometimes irreparable effects of neglect and trauma on men, women and children… emotional repression, developmental delays, self-medication and isolation.


That’s when I realize that in spite of my endless stream of Instagram photos, flirtatious banter with my wife, or anything else I may share with my friends, family and the world… I could never match the sheer volume of negative elements that come together to form a fortified barrier against unified families and healthy relationships.


That’s when I realize that, while I may not be able make any significant dents alone, there CAN be success and strength if others join in and celebrate their passionate marriages, delightfully entertaining children and rewarding occupations. So join the rebellion and help me flood the world with stories of LOVE, VICTORY, and the pursuit of HEALTH.

Categories: commentary, opinion, personal | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

New Eyes

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


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. 🙂

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

A Convenient Poverty

Let me start off by saying that this is NOT what I was planning on posting about today. I have plenty of photos of my darling children and beautiful wife that are just waiting to be included in a new Photoblog! But that will come later. Instead, I want to process my thoughts… just a little bit.

What about?

Well, have you seen the news stories about Ben Affleck taking a poverty vow? Apparently, he’s teamed up with Live Below The Line in order to bring awareness to the plight of those who live in extreme poverty. This is all fine and dandy. I think bringing awareness to poverty and raising money toward the cause is fantastic.

My question is this…

While it’s great to have celebrities on board to help spread the word, how realistic is it for a celebrity (or any wealthy person) to truly understand those who suffer through extreme poverty when, after the 5 days are over, they know that they can and will return to a life of affluence? I truly believe that there is a different mentality involved when you don’t know where your next meal will come from today, tomorrow or next month. I think it’s easier to commit to eating very little (or even not at all) for 5 days when I know that when those days are over I’ll be able to have a hearty (and dare I say borderline gluttonous) meal.

This is no knock to Ben. I think it’s admirable. I just don’t see how the poverty vow can have any lasting impact on wealthy participants. It’s the mental and emotional exhaustion that I think is understandably absent from this 5-day challenge. I think your mind goes to a different place when you’re thinking, “I don’t know IF I’ll eat today”, as opposed to, “I don’t know WHAT I’ll eat today”. At the beginning of day one, I’d simply be thinking about how to get through the next 5 days, not the rest of my life.


Categories: commentary, current events, opinion, personal | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

August Love In April

On April 2nd, after 21 hours of labor and a quick dash to the hospital, my amazing wife bypassed all paperwork, walked into an unusually empty maternity ward at around 3:45am, and had a full staff of nurses at her disposal.

By the time they got her into bed, she was already fully dilated and her water broke. The staff at Torrance Memorial sprang into action… 4 nurses and one awesome Doctor Rodriguez made quick work of transforming the labor room into a delivery room in less than 2 minutes.

With her mother rubbing her arm, and her fabulous doula reassuringly holding her hand, one contraction and two pushes was all it took for little August Elijah to make his appearance in the world!

“So happy to finally meet you!”

No matter how many times I bear witness, it never ceases to be a miracle before my eyes.

“Do you realize it’s 4am??”

Born on 04/02 at 4:02am. 8lbs, 2oz and 19.75 inches long… and we’re done!

“Don’t worry. I got this.”

Categories: family, personal, stories | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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