Thursday, June 20, 2013


Things are always changing. That’s normal. But it seems like they’re changing quicker than they used to. We all thought our parent’s music was lame, and that we had the real deal. But the new generation is quite a bit edgier than the last one. There’s something else. I think our attention spans are shrinking.

It might have something to do with the culture. Everything is 24-7, on demand, right now. Fast this, fast that, i-phones, and Droid’s. The technology’s great, I admit it. I’m a junkie too. But even my not quite 3 year old is getting hooked on it.

He watches YouTube videos on DirectV, and even names the one he wants (and wants them now, thank you). He knows the remote does it, but he can’t quite figure it out. That makes him pretty mad.

He can turn on my iphone, slide the thumb over to open the home page, and even touches the icons to open an app but gets mad when I grab it before he calls someone overseas. I haven’t shown him how to use it; he’s just picked it up by observing us. I suppose it’s great that he can do these things, but it kind of worries me too.

I often see kids entertaining themselves with a game on their phone or DS. I guess that’s a good thing, and it does keep them occupied for a little while. But if a kid spends most of his or her time on it, that can’t be

With all this technology, I hope we’re not forgetting to teach kids that it takes hard work and persistence to get somewhere in life. Great DS and phone skills are cool, but they won’t help a kid learn how to answer tough questions in their first job interview.

These cultural changes aren’t limited to just kids either. A week ago, Kathy and I went out to eat at a restaurant, and sat down near another couple we didn’t know. They were sitting across from each other, like us, but they were both on their phones (presumably with someone else).

There was probably a good explanation for it. They both might have been doctors, or lawyers, each handling their own emergency. I hope so, because if the goal was to go out and have a nice meal and spend some time talking together, it wasn’t happening.

And the culture makes it so easy. You can watch your sports team up on the big screen in real time while you eat. If that isn’t quick enough, you can use an app on your phone to get updates with news and scores. You can even get alerts so your phone tells you when something “important” has happened.

On TV, the news has a box with more news within it, along with a scrolling bar with even more news at the bottom. Heck, even our gym is “conveniently 24-7” with members having their own keys so they can let themselves in whenever they want.

I guess I’m getting so used to this new way of doing things, that when a teenager goes out of their way to communicate with me verbally, it’s quite a surprise. The other day, one of our member’s sons came over and said hello, and asked me how I was doing! He’s all of 13 or 14.

He then asked me about my workout, and started comparing that to what he was doing! He was so polite and engaging, that I couldn’t help but be impressed. He had great communication skills, and a great work ethic in the gym, which I’m sure will translate to other areas in his life.

I remember thinking, that I hope my two year old will grow up to be that polite, and work that hard. That would be great. I’m going to try to do my part. Now if I can just keep my iphone away from him.

Feel free to contact me through Facebook at if you have any questions about the little picture, or comments about the big picture.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013


Last week, I had a couple people ask me when we were going to do our next Biggest Loser program (“18”). When I told them we’d probably do it in the fall, they were obviously disappointed, because they said they were hoping to get started now.

So I told them that even if Biggest Loser wasn’t until the fall, they could do it now. I’d give them all the materials the group gets. I’d feed them the workouts so they knew what to do each week, and we even spent some time talking about how to start tracking their food intake in a daily calorie log, online, or with one of the numerous phone apps available these days.

What they were looking for was some motivation and accountability. I told them they could weigh in each week, just like in the group. They could take beginning measurements, and if they were really serious, have someone take a couple pictures of them in some tight workout clothes (front and side view).

They could put a picture up on their mirror that would serve as amazing motivation. The truth hurts sometimes, and pictures as they say, “tell a thousand words.” Each month, they could take a new picture, and they’d be able to see the changes as they happen. Along with new measurements each month this would give them a chance to see their progress even if the scale wasn’t cooperating, which happens sometimes.

We also talked about letting other people know what they were doing so they’d have additional accountability. The more people you tell, the more pressure you have to get it done.

I even gave them some first assignments. They were supposed to do a simple first workout (go for a walk), and then get back with me so we could do their initial weigh-in, body fat, basal metabolic rate calculation (tells them their minimum needed calories each day), % of water, and other measurements. It’s been over a week and I still haven’t heard back from them.

What makes this frustrating for me, is that they’d already overcome several of the biggest obstacles facing them. They’d recognized they needed to do something. They’d located someone with a program (me). They even took the next step of making contact to get things going. One of them even joined the center. We spent quite a bit of time talking about it.

But somewhere along the way, they ran into something that got them off track before they could even get started. Both of them had already told me that motivation was their biggest problem. I’d told them that even if they were in a Biggest Loser group, they still had to show up and get it done.

I have a lot of respect for them for coming in and sharing their problem with me. That took a lot of courage. And hopefully, something will change for them, and they’ll be able to get things going. But in the end, it always comes down to getting started and sticking with it. You’ve still got to do it.

Feel free to contact me through Facebook at if you have any questions about the little picture, or comments about the big picture.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013


It seems like we get almost immune to hearing the news these days. There’s so much coverage, from all over the world, and its 24-7, day after day, to the point where we can almost tune it out. Many times we do.

Another 50 people killed in roadside car bombs in Iraq; just another day over there. And there were over a dozen people dead gang related shootings up in Chicago. But down here, are we going to the game tonight? What are we having for supper? Somewhere along the way, we’ve become a calloused people.

Still, something caught my eye a little while ago. They found a woman, still alive after 17 days of being buried in rubble after an earthquake in Bangladesh. Oh, another one of those. It seems like we’re always hearing about earthquakes. But then I saw the death toll. At that time, it was over a thousand people!

This had happened several days ago. I didn’t even know they’d had an earthquake over there, and I’m a news junkie. I often catch several hours a day, between watching cable news while working out, working at the gym, or listening to the radio in the car.

Even as I was reading the story about the girl they’d found alive, something in me was horrified that I hadn’t been horrified. It had all somehow just slipped by me.

At that moment, I realized I needed to stop and offer up a prayer for… all those affected. And also for myself, that I’d be a little more aware of people that are hurting, whether they’re halfway around the world, or here in our own neighborhood. And I started paying attention.

We all hate to see people in trouble and suffering, especially if it’s someone we know, or are close to. It’s been about a week since the massive tornado that nearly wiped out an entire community near Oklahoma City. For a few days, the devastation dominated the news cycle to the point where that was all you saw on cable news.

A huge number of families lost everything, much like in the other natural disasters we’ve seen over the years, but this was particularly compelling due to the shear scope of things. But it was the people we didn’t hear from that surely had the more heart-wrenching stories.

These were people who had lost people. Perhaps the most horrific story was where all those children were crushed in the rubble of that grade school. We just can’t comprehend what that must be like, but we can all identify with the families who have lost loved ones.

And what do you do when something like that happens? I’m amazed at the human spirit that can somehow rise above things like that. Even in the worst of times, some are able to maintain their hope and the faith that “even though this is really bad, God will help us get through it.”

You’ve probably seen stories about parents who have suffered a tragic loss like in a school shooting, but then turned that grief into a foundation that helps others in the memory of their lost child. It helps bring meaning to their loss, and lets their loved one live on in another way.

Over the years, we’ve gotten pretty good at dealing with the little picture around us. In my world, that’s teaching people how to learn how to focus, get healthy, and protect themselves, all worthy things. But I’m starting to become aware that there’s something higher. God help us learn to be a little more aware of the big picture going on around us.

If you’d like to help the recovery effort in Oklahoma, there are easy ways to do it, like contributing to an organization like Samaritan’s Purse, Red Cross, or even the United Way. It just takes a minute to help groups who can be our hands and feet working down there and making a difference.

Feel free to contact me through Facebook at if you have any questions about the little picture, or comments about the big picture.