I can walk out of my house on a Fall Saturday morning and see a yard full of fallen leaves and think, “crap, I’ll be blowing leaves half a day.”

My friend Morris can see the same leaves on the same day and his reaction would be something like, “God, what a beautiful and splendid display of nature and the change of seasons and your control over the seasons and all things. Thank you for giving me the good health and a beautiful day to blow leaves and to enjoy being outside.” 

I want to be more like Morris. 


Nothing I’m about to say has been fact-checked and verified. But I think I’m right. 

For some reason today I was thinking about marathon runners. Not sure why. I hate to run and don’t understand the psyche of people who do. Especially marathon runners.  That’s a lot of miles. My back hurts driving 26.2 miles. I almost omitted the .2, but that’s quite possibly the hardest stretch. 

I was wondering how many people enter marathons with a goal of winning? Or finishing in the top 10. Maybe 5%? 1%? Surely it’s a small number of people who really think they can finish in first place. So why do the other 95% or more even bother? Why enter a race if there’s no chance of winning? 

I believe their goal is to just finish. Finishing, even crawling to the finish line, would count as a victory. The last person who hobbles across the 26.2 mile mark probably feels like a winner, because he didn’t quit. He finished what he started. 

There’s a life lesson. 

27 Minutes 

So, counting the ways I’ve tried to control my weight over the past 10 years:

  • Adkins diet
  • Myfitnesspal app
  • P90X
  • Ideal Protein
  • Anytime Fitness membership
  • A running program with Will
  • Aquatic center membership
  • Daily sit ups and push ups 
  • Ketone diet
  • Transcendental meditation…surely I jest 

So that’s one for every year since I turned 40. And I’m probably forgetting some. 

I found that they all had one flaw. 


I’d lose weight on a diet. The more expensive, the more dedicated I’d be. But then at some point, there’s an end. I reached my goal and then my goal would be to maintain. Keep it steady. 

Then I’d remember how much I missed the taste of my homemade macaroni and cheese or ice cream, whatever. 

P90X? I did that for a while, but did you know it takes 90 minutes? 

It got too hot to run. And I hate to run. 

Anytime Fitness was great for a couple of years, but to be honest there were times I didn’t feel like being there, so I didn’t push myself. I always went alone, but even if I’d gone with a buddy who encouraged me I’d just tell him to shut his pie hole. 

So I’ve identified the problem and it’s me. 

I may have found a solution. 9 Rounds kickboxing. Nine 3 minute rounds and I’m done. No appointments necessary. No set class times. I walk in, I walk out, sometimes crawl out, soaked in sweat and grateful that I survived without a coronary episode. 

So why does it work for me? Because if I show up(and this is the point in the process that I could get in my own way), I’m going to get a great workout. There’s a personal trainer there to guarantee it. A person who’s paying attention and won’t let me mail it in and cross it off my to do list. Someone who barks at me if I slack up. I hate these people for 27 minutes-until I ring that bell at the end and walk out alive feeling better than on the way in. 

It’s a formula that works. If I get through the front door. 

Ignore Meet Consequence 

I knew the power steering had a leak. A couple of times over the last year the steering was tight so I added fluid and drove on. As long as I had $5 I could keep buying fluid. No problem. I’m a bandaid kinda guy. 

But when my alternator went out, there’s no bandaid for it and the doctor wanted $500 for the transplant. Ugh. 

So I took it to Jeff at Nisstech and by the way, can you check the power steering fluid? He calls me later. About your power steering fluid. It’s definitely leaking …onto your alternator. It’s what took out the alternator by leaking on to the electrical components. Ca-ching. Another $500 to replace the pump. 
By ignoring one problem I effectively created another one. 

Ignore meet Consequence. 

Our Christian walk is no different. There are things that we tolerate that we should eliminate. But we don’t. We rationalize. And rationalization is the devil’s tool that keeps us from God’s best or worse, we eventually get bit. Playing with the snake may be exciting, but when you’re shocked and you ask why he bit you, he’ll say, because I’m a snake. That’s what I do. 

George and Merle Can’t Be Pleased

I’m not a country music fan, but I have to think that George Jones and Merle Haggard are happy that they’re in a box and sound-proofed by 6ft of dirt. Country music lyrics are just so stupid these days.

I recently thought that country music reached a new low when Will and I heard, “she put the her in hurt.” We laughed til it hurt. Ok, full disclosure. We were only listening to country music because in the Cheraw, SC area a normal, non-satellite radio can only pick up 3 FM stations and guess what? They’re all country stations. Surprise.

Then this morning I was driving my daughter, Keely’s car and I heard, “You’re holy, holy, holy, holy.” I smiled with pride because my teenage daughter had her radio tuned to a Christian radio station. Yes, her momma and I have done well.

Then I heard, “I don’t need the stars ’cause you shine for me, Like fire in my veins, you’re my ecstasy,You’re my ecstasy.”

Do what?

I looked at the radio and it was a country station. Did I misunderstand what he was saying? I would have sworn he said someone is holy. I Shazamed it and yep, that’s what he said. But holy to him is an acronym for “High on loving you”.

The lyrics go on to say, “You’re the healing hands where it used to hurt, You’re my saving grace, you’re my kind of church.”

Dude, this is so sad. 85% of relationships fail and those that result in marriage are doomed at a 50% rate. You’re betting your life on odds that aren’t great.

There’s only One who is holy. Better to trust Him with your life.

Good Deeds

Someone said that a good deed never goes unpunished. An exclusive term like “never” may be too strong, but it’s definitely true at times. I recently fell in love with the #10 at Firehouse Subs, the beef brisket and cheddar with Sweet Baby Rays bbq sauce. I love it so much that I downloaded the app so I could get rewards points. I’ll be going frequently. Today is double points day and since I had to run an errand in Monroe on my lunch break, I planned to go a bit out of my way for a #10.

Good deeds got in the way.

First, Sandra hears that I’m going to Monroe and asks me to return some library books. Ok, easy enough. I do that, knock out my own errand and then as I’m about to take a right towards Firehouse my mother calls. She forgot to pay her county water bill and if not paid today, she’s hit with a late fee. No problem. I’m close by and will pay it, I say as I look at the time slipping away. I walk into the county office to pay it and I’m told that they only take cash and checks, no debit cards. I’ve heard of cash and checks. I think I saw them recently on the Antique Roadshow. Has the County of Union not gotten the memo that we’re in the 21st century? I can use my iPhone, open an app and see my wife driving down the road 600 miles away, but I can’t use a debit card in Union County. Anyway, I ask the nice clerk how much the late fee is because I’m thinking my mom will just have to eat it. The water bill is $15 and the late fee is $10. Ugh…

So I head out the door and trek across the street and down the hill to Wells Fargo to withdraw the cash. I go back to the county office, pay the bill and look at the time. My mom’s not eating a late fee and I’m not eating a #10 for lunch.

There’s still hope for dinner. So if anyone calls me, texts me, Skypes me, FB messages me or hollers at me from the living room, my good deeds are done for the day!

Less Horrible

Will and I were playing bocci ball. We don’t know the real rules so we say that if my closest ball is closer to the target than his closest ball, I get a point. Then if his second closest ball is closer than my second closest ball, he gets a point. In that case, it’s 1-1. And so forth. 

It only took a few minutes to realize that many times the second closest ball could score on a horrible toss. So we made a rule. For any ball to score it has to be within 10 feet. If we throw all 4 balls and no one is within 10 feet, no one scores. 

Sure, his less horrible throw could be closer than my less horrible toss, but why reward less horrible? 

There’s a life lesson. 


So as the day dawns on the 9th anniversary of my 40th birthday, I reflect on how God has blessed me. And I’ve been reminded all day through Facebook, texts and phone calls that a few more people care for me than just those wonderful people under my roof(they’ve been good to me, also). 

It’s really a noteworthy thing. Something to not take for granted. Forty-nine years is enough time to tick off a lot of people or others to decide that they really don’t like you or maybe that their spouse doesn’t like you. And I’m sure that all of this has happened to me, but to survive 49 years and still have more than a handful of people take the time to acknowledge me is humbling and gratifying. Then those who went out of their way in time and money to show their love is overwhelming. 

Thank you all. Got to go. Joel is on his way to take me out to eat. See what I mean. 

Turn It Off

It was epic. I did an amazing thing today. Something that I bet many people don’t do anymore. I wanted to take a nap-no that’s not the epic event, but my phone kept vibrating. 

So I turned it off. And it was…weird. 

Am I the only person whose smartphone has become an extra appendage that goes everywhere I go? In our hyper-connected, updated to the millisecond, what and who’s trending now world, cutting the cord felt strange. 

But I really wanted and needed a nap. Thirty minutes later, I quickly turned it back on. 

And the world didn’t fall apart. 

A Family Flash Mob 

I love fire. 

Even the single flame of a candle works for me. Just ask my daughters because I keep stealing theirs. 

But I really love campfires. 

Last night Will and I got a late start to one and the most surprising thing happened. An impromptu family gathering broke out. 

It was like a family flash mob. But no dancing(I’m probably misusing that expression because I’m not hip and relevant).  

It was cool. One by one they marched out the back door like ants.  I built it and they came. I’m not modern, but I do know my 80’s movies. 

Everyone loves a campfire. And I loved the rare, spontaneous time that we all shared. Trying to plan family time with 2 teenagers is like herding cats. 

Occasionally the girls popped up their heads from their snap chat machines to answer Will’s random questions. 

What’s the weirdest thing in life you can think of?

Which do you like best fire or rain? 

Will’s favorite times of life are when we are all together and he was making sure his sisters were engaged. 

For me, I like fire and rain. I’ll take whatever elements necessary to spend more times like these with the family. 


But We Should 

It was after work and I was doing one of my favorite things. Nothing. Just kicked back in the recliner. 

Will saddles up beside me and I’m reminded of one of the things that I least like to do. Running. 

Tonight would be the 3rd run this week. 

“Will, I could talk myself out of running tonight.” 

Pure hyperbole. I didn’t need to do any talking. 

“Yeah, we don’t have to run,” Will said. 

Shazam! He’s so easy to get along with. 

Then he adds, “But we should.”


I’m blessed to have a couple of good friends, Joel and Arthur, who hold me accountable(to the degree that I allow them. I do know how to not answer my phone and respond to texts) and now it looks like I have another accountability partner. 

It’s a good thing. I need it. And Will is much harder to ignore. 

You Don’t Own It Anymore 

The doorbell rang. Not an unheard of event but it was 10:30pm. 

My instinctive reaction was to do a quick headcount. The last I checked all my kids and Sandra were at home. 

It’s too late for the Girl Scouts to sell cookies. 

I threw on some clothes and went downstairs to open the door. Uh oh. 

It was a deputy sheriff. What did one of my kids do? Certainly nothing. What did I do? I began to ponder the statute of limitations…

It never crossed my mind to question what my wife did. She’s an angel. 

Turns out that we were all in the clear. A couple of months earlier I donated our old van to the kidney foundation and it was found vandalized and abandoned. I was still the registered owner. Better check again. I let that sucker go with paperwork to prove it. 

But how often do we let things go that still come knocking on our doors? Bitter memories, hurt feelings, personal offenses? We have to slam the door, lock it and declare that we’re over it and move on. Forgive whoever hurt us and decide that they can’t control us anymore. 

God signed the paperwork that declares we don’t own these burdens any longer. 


Start To Be Great

I mentioned in a previous post that Will and I started a jogging routine and we got off to a slow start. Our goal was 5 runs in a week. Well, yesterday marked our 5th run. In 2 weeks. 

Yeah, it took twice as long to accomplish the goal, but I’m still happy because we started and stuck with it. It’s 5 more than we had 2 weeks ago. It’s 5 more than people who are still sitting on the couch binging on Netflix.

Oh, that was me. Was me.

Joe Sabah said that you don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great. We’re on our way.

At our current pace we’ll have 120 runs in a year. I’ll take that. Will says we can aim higher.

I love that boy.

And I’m loving this yogurt!



I’d Like To Thank…

For my recent major achievement I’d like to thank a few people. First, Arthur for his expert and precise diagnosis. Next, Steve in this video. I guess YouTube, too. And as far as that goes, Al Gore for inventing the internet to host YouTube and Amazon Prime where I purchased and got free 2 day shipping on the object of my major accomplishment. 

Finally, and most importantly, there’s God who gave me the courage to try. 

It is truly amazing. 

I replaced the heating element on my old dryer.  Arthur commented that the Dennis he knew 10 years ago would have bought a new dryer. Maybe. Or at least waited on Arthur to fix it. 

But this Dennis is tired of being scared and entirely dependent upon others. Just because I didn’t learn how to do DIY stuff growing up doesn’t mean I have to be incompetent my whole life. 

Zig Ziglar said that we can be our most creative and powerful as we grow older. 

It’s a choice. 

Oh, yes. Thanks also to the mailman for delivering the package. 


Plan B

Will’s 10th birthday party is today. He woke up this morning looked outside at the rain and mentioned halfheartedly that they’ll have to go with plan B. 

Plan A is outdoor games. B is indoor. 

I told him that if he makes plan B just as awesome and exciting as plan A then it’s a win/win.

Sometimes God gives me the best things to say. 

I bet He’d like to see me practice them. 

But it’s true. First, have a plan. So many people don’t. Then have a backup. And make the fallback as desirable as plan A. 

So you may shoot for the stars and miss, but you could land on the moon. And with your next attempt at the stars you’ll have a much closer launching point. 

That’s better than going nowhere and complaining about the rain. 

Let’s Do Lunch

This was the Bible app’s verse of the day yesterday. We’ve all seen it or heard it a million times, but this time it struck me differently. 

Jesus is saying He wants to hang out with me.

And He’s not just offering a lame invitation like we all do: “Hey, we should do lunch sometime.”  Which never happens. 

Nope. Jesus doesn’t operate like that. Not at all. 

He got dressed, walked to my house and He’s knocking at my door. He’s waiting on me. 


I bet He pays the bill, too. Oh, He already did. 

Slow Starts Are Still A Start

Will and I started a jogging routine 7 days ago. Our goals are to run 5 days out of 7 for at least 30 minutes. After the 5th run we reward ourselves with TCBY.

Today made our 2nd run. In a week.

I’ll have my AARP discount by the time we get to TCBY.

I’m not worried about our slow start. I’m thankful that we had a 2nd run. I’m living for the line and not the dot on the line. This will be a long term commitment and a year from now after we’ve filled up our TCBY rewards card 7 times, the slow start of our first week will be long forgotten.

And there will always be weeks that we can only get 2 or 3 runs in, but as long as we remain focused on our goals, we will be better off in the long run. Pun not intended, but it’s a good one.

Five years down the road we will still have hundreds of runs checked off the list even if we miss the mark a lot. Or we could do nothing.

Zig Ziglar said that overweight people choose to be overweight. Eating isn’t accidental. It’s a choice. It’s the same with exercise. You choose to stay on the couch or you choose to go for a run.

These choices shape your life. Pun intended.

Spread Joy 

I took the rare opportunity to bring Will to his Tao Kwon Do class today. It really shouldn’t be rare, but I allow life to happen when I could easily plan and schedule to bring him more often.

That’s a lesson to me. If no one else gets anything from these posts, I do. 

But not my point today. 

This young boy, about 5 years old was testing for a belt. He knew his stuff. You could tell he worked hard in his practice. He got the belt. And his smile lit up the room. As Zig Ziglar said, some people light up a room when they leave it.

This little fella was all joy. He ran to his mother(he may have floated) and gave her a big hug and his older brother a high 5. 

And his joy brought me joy. 

That’s the lesson today. 

God’s Math

There’s some things I can’t think about. I just have to do. Without thinking. 

Like obey God about tithing. Which I have in the past struggled. 

Because I thought about it. 

And I reasoned that the math didn’t work out to tithe and pay all the bills and keep the kids in mac-n-cheese. So I rationalized not tithing. Surely God wants my kids to eat. 

But I was always stressed out, worried and fearful. 

I finally decided that I’d see how it would go doing things God’s way. 

Thank God for Elevation’s Smart Giving texting. As soon as a check comes in, the tithe gets texted right out. I can’t allow myself to think about it. I don’t trust me. 

I trust Him. 

The other day I got a small check and for a nanosecond I considered not tithing then and just catching it up on the next big check. But God said to me that whoever is faithful in the small things can be trusted with bigger things. 
So while things are still tight, I’m tithing, getting all the bills paid and the kids aren’t starving. And most of all, I’m way less stressed and worried. How? 

God’s math. God’s peace. 

I’d Like To Be…

I’d like to be someone who always thinks and assumes the best of others. 

I’d like to be someone who never says a bad word about another person. 

I’d like to be someone who wakes up each day with excitement and joy (especially Mondays) 

I’d like to be like a young George Bailey who knows what he wants to do tomorrow, next week, next year and the year after that. 

I’d like to be more caring and empathetic. 

I’d like to have Brad Pitt hair. 

I’d like to be someone who doesn’t struggle with bitterness. 

I’d like to be more patient. 

I’d like to be more generous. 

I guess to sum it up, I’d like to be more like Jesus. I don’t really care about the hair.