Happy New Year!

Yes, I know New Year’s Day was last week, but today is the first Monday of the year, and that is close enough for me.

I don’t make New Year’s resolutions any more. Haven’t in several years. I just can’t seem to keep them more than a few weeks anyway. This year is no different, no resolutions, but I have decided to set some goals for various areas of my life. Your goals do not in any way have to start at the beginning of a new year, month or week. It just seems that this time of year I have a little more time to reflect on my life and purpose. I will be posting about each of my goals over the next few weeks. Some will be year specific and some may not be. All my goals will the based on the SMART goal philosophy. SMART goals have been proven to be more attainable. So what is a SMART goal? I won’t go into a full description as there are many online guides and many books on the subject, but here is a snap shot:

S – Specific
M – Measurable
A – Attainable
R – Relevant
T – Time Specific

A good first step in learning about SMART goals is checking out my good friend, Michael Hyatt’s blog posts on the subject.

My first goal is the most obvious, if you personally know me or you have seen my picture. 99.9% of everyone’s first impression of me has to be, “My God, he needs to lose weight!” And, 99.9% of you would be absolutely 100% right! Believe me, I have tried!

I was named the Fat Kid when I started first grade. My most vivid memory from grade school was the embarrassment of being served salads, fruit and water, while the rest of classmates were being served pizza, cookies and chocolate milk. (Thanks Mom! She meant well.) Since then I have been on most every diet out there. I have been prodded with needles, shocked and hypnotized. Some worked for a while, but I always failed for one reason or another. Now, in my fifties, I am known as the Fat Old Fart, when they are being kind. Today I am sick and tired of being sick, tired and fat. Thus my first SMART goal.

On December 31st 2015, I will be the healthiest I have been in years, weighing in at 210 pounds, having lost an average of 2 pounds per week through out the year, from the results of diet and exercise.

This goal is Specific as it states exactly what is expected. It is Measurable weekly by weighing in and Attainable by losing an easy 2 pound average each week. It is Relevant as it is suddenly and increasingly important to me as I get older, to improve my health. If I live to see grand-kids, I want them to know me as the crazy old man that visits all the time, chases them around the yard, teaches them to throw a ball, to hunt, and to fish; not the the old man in the wheel chair that they visit once or twice a year. It is Time specific in that is has a goal completion date.

I will post my results weekly. You, my readers, keep me accountable. Bust my balls if I fall behind in posting or my numbers are heading in the wrong direction.

In my next post I will give another goal which is also health related. It will probably sound a lot like this one.

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Manifesto of Twenty-five

I am thinking of running for President. It’s time for a Change. Here is my Manifesto of Twenty-five.

What do you think?

1. There will be no special bilingual programs in the schools. Will provide outside English training opportunities for preschool at cost. Your children may start public school when they can understand and speak English at their level.

2. All ballots will be in English.

3. All government business will be conducted in English.

4. Non-citizens will NOT have the right to vote no matter how long they are here.

5. Non-citizens will NEVER be able to hold political office.

6. Foreigners will not be a burden to the taxpayers. No welfare, no food stamps, no health care, or any other government assistance programs. Any who are a burden will be deported.

7. No one may receive government assistance without drug tests, of which failure/retests will be deducted from future benefits. 1st failed test will ban you for 1 month, second failure, 6 months, third, one year, fourth done. Anyone on welfare will join volunteer programs at 6 hours per day, to continue benefits. No additional benefits for family size. (Working taxpaying employees receive no more pay or benefits based on family size, why should anyone else?)

8. Foreigners can invest in this country, but it must be an amount at least equal to or greater than $5,000,000.

9. If foreigners come here and buy land, their options will be restricted. Certain parcels including waterfront property, properties above certain acreages, etc, are reserved for citizens naturally born into this country.

10. Foreigners may have NO protests; NO demonstrations, NO waving of a foreign flag, no political organizing, NO bad-mouthing our president or his policies. These will lead to deportation.

11. If you do come to this country illegally, you will be actively hunted and, when caught, sent to jail until your deportation can be arranged. All assets will be taken from you.

12. Everyone will pay equal percentages of income tax. We will start with 15% of all gross earnings. Will be adjusted as needed to pay off debt, and adjusted down when debt is paid. No IRS forms, no IRS for individuals, no deductions, no refunds. Income from labor or investments will be treated as same income. No inheritance tax. Corporations will pay same taxes as individuals. Only right offs will be based on number of jobs created, and for new businesses opened in high poverty regions hiring locally.

13. Active Congressmen and Senators will get same benefits as the average full time employee from their own constituents. Upon defeat or retirement, they will receive 1/2 pay equal to number of years they served. Afterwards, they will be paid severance for life based on current minimum wage at 40 hours per week. Benefits will continue for life based on military benefits for new recruits.

14. Convicted felons will work until end of their sentence. All will work hard labor for eight hours per day, six days a week. They will be paid $1 per hour for purchase of personal items, books, paper, pencils, pens, soap, deodorant, etc. No smokes, soft drinks, candy, TV, radio, internet. Anyone refusing to work will entered into medical/drug testing programs for human trials. Basic education opportunities will be made available after hours. Advanced education, after hours, can be earned; or paid for by felon’s family.
 
15. Public school is a privilege, not a right. Any child refusing to follow rules, do work as assigned, etc.,  will be sent home. Parents will either home school or pay for private schools. No vouchers. No passing on based on age. Education advancement will be based on ability and desire.
 
16. All federal and or state funded colleges will honor bounding states as in state tuition.
 
17. After training and instruction, and high school graduation, any adult US citizen may purchase and own a gun(s) for hunting, collecting or personal protection.
 
18. No existing federal employees will lose jobs but will allow attrition to reduce that burden on tax payers. However they may be reassigned to other duties as needed.
 
19. Terrorists convicted of causing death will be executed immediately. Families of convicted terrorists will be deported immediately.

20. Anyone may become a citizen Of USA. Must learn to write and speak fluent English and take standardized citizenship tests, must seek and find employment or start own business, and must pay taxes. You may not marry into citizenship. Children of foreigners are not citizens by birth. If parents attain citizenship by child’s 18th birthday they will also be granted citizenship, or they may apply at that time.
 
21. Religious freedom is guaranteed. However, all respect will be given to the God of our founding fathers. He may be worshipped in all governmental proceedings, public schools, public gatherings. This is a Christian nation. Others may live here, but you will not participate in government as elected officials. If offended by any of this you are welcome not participate. If you do not want your children taught Christian values in public school, home school them.

22. This country will become energy independent. New commercial and government developments will be energy independent; solar, hydro, geothermal, etc. Tax incentives and grants will be given to companies and inventors developing products, solutions, etc that support this item. Solar powered charging stations will be added to interstate highway systems. Public transportation will be expanded. Carpooling will be expected and enforced where feasible. Any job that can be performed at home will be made available to those that choose to do so.

23. Population growth must be stabilized and reduced over time. Any additional children above two per family will incur additional tax burden for parents. Have as many kids as you want but be prepared to pay for them.

24. Major recycling programs will be required, to save our natural resources. We will use prison and welfare labor to sort and process.

25. Unused farmland will be reopened for organic crops and livestock. Again we will use prison and welfare labor to work these farms. Dependency on genetically enhanced food will be reduced at all costs.

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June Boom!

Just joined Alan Spicciati’s June Boom, over at The Pounds Off Playoff!  Time to kick up the dust a little.

  1. Exercise every day in June. I’ll walk least 30 minutes everyday.  
  2. Start something you’ve been putting off. I am starting a strength training program this month. I am going to start blogging here more often.
  3. Be publicly accountable. I will restart my weightloss blogging activity over at LifePost.net(been really slack there)!
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Vacation!

Vacation – from Merriam-Webster.com 

Main Entry: va·ca·tion
Pronunciation: \vā-ˈkā-shən\

1 : a respite or a time of respite from something
2 a : a scheduled period during which activity (as of a court or school) is suspended b : a period of exemption from work granted to an employee
3 : a period spent away from home or business in travel or recreation
4 : an act or an instance of vacating

1. We took a resprite from the grind.

2. School was out for the summer, and I had accrued 40 hours of time off from work.

3. We went 350 miles from home, to Myrtle Beach, SC,  to be exact.

4. We vacated the area.

Well, we used every verse of the official definition. I would like to add a few lines though, at least what I want from a vacation anyway. I am sure my wife and my kids would have very different ideas.

5 : a time to refocus
6 : a period of relaxation
7 : a time for family and friends to re-create
8 : a time of solitude and listening for the whispers from the Father

 5. Refocus. That is a verb isn’t? That means I have to do something. I certainly had some free time. Did I refocus? I tried. I will say that things are a little less fuzzy, but still not in focus.

6. I did relax a little. There is just something about sitting in the sun, with your bare feet in the sand, and looking out over the surf that is relaxing beyond measure. Its almost impossible to concentrate on any single thought or idea for very long. Sweet nothingness.

7. I failed at this one too. No take that back, it wasn’t a total failure. We enjoyed the trip as a family and with good friends. We got to know one another a little better, we laughed, we fellowshipped and we played. But we did not make the close re-create connections I had hoped for. Maybe that was my fault, maybe not. I was also hoping to reconnect with my sister who only lives 30 minutes away from where we were staying. However, because of her crazy business and work schedule, and our pre-planned schedule of activities, we could not make it work out.

8. Solitude? Yeah right! Remember we were in Myrtle Beach, SC. During senior week no less. There were about 20 people in our group of family and friends. Just in our condo there was my wife and myself, my 4 teenagers, and 3 of their teen friends. I still need a couple of days with just myself, my Bible, and my laptop. I did listen for the voice of God. I am pretty sure I heard him in the surf. He’s not really happy with my life, our country, and how we taking care of his creation. We all have a lot of work to do!

All in all we had a pretty awesome vacation. We had safe travel, no one got sick or injured, we ate well(too well), we played hard, and we enjoyed ourselves. It feels good to be home, but I think a new home is in our future. Tomorrow we jump back in to “life”.

 

Photo above courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/people/curtis-and-eric/.

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Long row to hoe!

"Long Row to Hoe"We started our adoption over two years ago with a thought, lots of prayer, and much discussion. But today it is over. We now have a brand new bouncing baby 16 year old boy. We now feel we are complete. We had three kids of our own, a 19 year old daughter and 16 year old boy/girl twins. Its always said two’s company and three’s a crowd; but I must add the four’s a party!

We learned of our new son through our kids over four years ago. He was new to their school, coming to our area as a foster child. He and my son became instant friends. His new foster parents were also the natural parents of one of my wife’s best friends. He soon became a fixture in all our outings, a frequent guest in our home and we just naturally made him part of the family before we even entertained the idea of adoption.

One day, after he had been in our community for about two years our kids all came in from school upset by the fact that he was going to be moved to a different part of our state, pretty much against his will. Over the next few weeks we came to learn that he had previously told his case workers that if the opportunity arose to be adopted, that he would like that. However, that was before he came to love his foster parents and become intertwined in community, the school and sports. He very much wanted to stay where he was, and was at the age where he should have been able to make that decision. The “system” had other ideas. He even began making plans to hide from the “system”.

It was at this point we started talking about adoption, and as stated before, with much prayer and discussion, we decided as a family to make him an addition to our family, if we could qualify. I won’t go into details here all the hoops we had to jump through, nor all the trees we sacrificed for paper work, I will say it was not easy. Would I do it again? ABSOLUTELY!

Why should a known good, moral family, with a known financially stable home, not immediately be approved for the adoption of a child in need, especially when the child has already been legally cleared for adoption? The “system” is full of kids that need immediate, stable homes, someone to love them and to encourage them. There are families willing to take them in, but unable or unwilling to go through what we went through to complete the adoptions. I know the “system” was created to protect the children, but like most government industries it becomes a demon of its own. The longer the process takes, the longer demon can feed itself, and the bigger it gets, thus needing even more feeding.

It been a long row to hoe, but welcome home Son, welcome home!

Photo above courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/mhall209/.

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