Five Years Later

Five years ago today I decided to see how long I could go without drinking carbonated beverages. At the time, I had no real goal other than to see how long it would take before I finally gave in.

Well, it’s been five years later and I still haven’t caved. I do occasionally have dreams where I have a coke, but post-REM, I have no desire for one.

If you want a moral out of this, try this one on for size. You accomplish any goal one step at a time, one day at a time. You move mountains one handful of dirt at a time.

The deciding factor is how badly you want to change. If your desire for change outweighs your desire for comfort and for familiarity, you will change. If not, you won’t.

Not deeply profound, I know. Dr. Phil probably said it better. I’m here to testify that I’m living proof to what happens when you take that first step. If I can change, anyone can change.

All it takes is that proverbial first step.

Watch me dream about having a Dr. Pepper tonight.


Three Years, People!


I realized today that it has been THREE years since I last had a carbonated beverage. That works out to 1,095 days. That’s a long time for anybody but especially for me.

My life has changed quite a bit since that day on April 28, 2012. Back then, I was gainfully employed at Affinion Benefits Group, having worked there for five years. I had absolutely no idea that less than a month later, I’d be having that meeting with HR where they’d inform me that I was being downsized.

I haven’t always made the wisest choices concerning nutrition, but I count that as one of the best I’ve ever made. I don’t really miss carbonation, though every now and then I still get a craving for one of those Mexican cokes with cane sugar. And yes, I still dream about drinking cokes from time to time. Don’t ask me what the dreams mean or why I’m still having them. That question is above my pay grade.

A lot can happen in three years. According to statistics, the majority of you out there reading this will be looking for a job in another 2-3 years, as the average job stint is now slightly longer than 2 years. So get those resumes out and do all that fun stuff like spell-checking and proof-reading and updating.

I know this will probably sound like a Sunday School answer, but I have truly found that the only constant in a world where nothing is constant is Jesus. He’s still the same yesterday, today, and forever. He’s still as faithful to keep His promises today as He was way back in 2012.

I’m trying to do better about drinking more water. Some days I do well and others– well, not so much. I read somewhere that if you cut out all beverages and drink only water with meals, you eliminate 20 percent of your calories. That’s if you want to shed a few pounds.



My 1,700th Blog (Ta-da!)

I hit another milestone today with blog #1,700. It all started on July 25, 2010, almost five years ago, and has been a fun ride ever since then. I’m still surprised that people actually read these things. And I still don’t like the word “blog.” Here’s my very first blog if you want to see where it all started way back when.

I also figured out today that it’s been 1,059 days since my last carbonated beverage. I googled that bit of information, in case you’re wondering. And no, it’s not out of any kind of religious or moral beliefs. It’s mostly a health-conscious decision. No, I don’t miss them (even though I still dream about them from time to time).

I can look back and see a trajectory of grace in my life. I have done and said more than my share of really stupid stuff. I’ve gone through whole days and weeks of being in a not-so-healthy place, head-wise. Yet God still loves me as if I’d been perfect the whole time. That still amazes me.

I’m trying to be more health-conscious in my diet as well, cutting out breads and sugar (for the most part) and drinking more water. I’m down nine pounds so far and I feel better.

I’ve decided that not every one of these blogs will be Pulitzer-prize material. That’s okay. My aim isn’t perfect prose and I’m not trying to reach a million people. I just want to put me out there for someone to read and be able to relate to. Maybe even someone will find hope and healing in these (web)pages.

So for the 1,000th time, I say thanks to all of you both past and present who have read my posts. Although if you’ve quit reading them, you’re most likely not going to see this. Still I thank you anyway.

I hope to still be writing and blogging and posting my unique brand of zaniness five years from now.

God bless,

Still a ragamuffin trying to tell other ragamuffins where to find the Bread of Life


Two Years Later

mexican coke

I haven’t really thought much about it lately, but then I remembered tonight that it’s been over two years since I had my last carbonated beverage. Or my last Coke, as we call them down South.

My last of those was on April 28, 2012. At the time, I simply wanted to see how long I could go without one. I didn’t envision it going on this long, but somehow, I’ve managed to avoid those fizzy drinks.

I still have dreams where I catch myself drinking a Coke. The dreams seem so real, except for the part where I don’t realize I’m drinking a carbonated beverage until I’m halfway through. That part’s a little sketchy.

Maybe my next goal will be to give up gluten. Or at least bread. I confess I love me some bread, especially the rolls at O’Charleys, so I can’t imagine having the willpower to stay away from those.

Yet at one time I didn’t think I could live without my carbonation, especially those Diet Mountain Dews in the morning. Now I don’t even miss them. Plus, I drink more water, which is always a plus. I guess I’d say to you that you can do more than you think you can, especially when it comes to restraint.

I’d say just go for 24 hours and then see what happens. You might just surprise yourself.



Things I Love 42: Two Turn-Tables and a Microphone

island hammock

“If it were up to me…” and then the words pound, desperate and hard, “I’d write this story differently.”…

“Just that maybe… maybe you don’t want to change the story, because you don’t know what a different ending holds.”

The words I choked out that dying, ending day, echo. Pierce. There’s a reason I am not writing the story and God is. He knows how it all works out, where it all leads, what it all means.

I don’t” (Ann Voskamp, ).

“Can God be counted on? Count blessings and find out how many of His bridges have already held” (Ann VoskampOne Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are).

I know you’ve got a certain Beck song stuck in your head. My work here is done.

Not really. There’s still that matter of the list of things I love, which will continue at #1.241. Now wasn’t that absolutely the best segway ever?

1,301) Two healthy and working knees.

1.302) A nightly bowl of Cocoa Pebbles cereal.

1,303) How I can rejoice even in the midst of suffering, knowing God will produce the best out of the worst circumstances.

1.304) My I Am Second bracelet that I forget that I’m wearing until someone else reminds me by telling me how much they like it,

1,305) Amish-made Sweet Potato Butter.

1,306) The slow blinks of a sleepy cat.

1,307) Pulpy orange juice.

1,308) When my technology works like it’s supposed to.

1,309) Having gone 15 months without any carbonated beverages.

1,310) Being able to watch Friends on TBS, Nick @ Nite, and TVLand.

1,311) Kairos Night of Worship tomorrow at 7 pm.

1.312) Writing my 1,087th blog.

1,313) My hole-y green Kairos Impact t-shirt.

1,314) Finally jumping off of a diving board into the deep end of a pool (and blogging about it later).

1,315) The Tom Cat 2 app on my iPhone.

1,316) The little Jack Russell chihuahua mix named Hallelujah that I met at Centennial Park last Saturday.

1,317) My vintage California raisins beach towel.

1,318) Reading a blog I wrote two years ago and finding that God used it to speak to my own life.

1,319) How my friend Katie is one of the best encouragers and team players in sand volleyball history.

1,320) Visiting normal reality for 5 minutes then going back to my own happy little world.

1,321) WordPress, the best site for blogging.

1,322) Talking with my sister using FaceTime.

1,323) The moment when I realize how much more patient I am than I was last year thanks to the grace of God.

1,324) My 22-year old friend Tricia who is one of the most joyful Christians I know.

1,325) Swimming for the first time in over a year last Saturday.

1,326) The term “food porn.”

1,327) Finding lost pens and loose change in the couch cushions.

1,328) Knowing that without the book of Ruth, the Bible would be rather Ruth-less.

1,329) The visual of you grimacing at that last joke.

1,330) Not hearing The Macarena at any point today.

Coming soon to a theater near you, the next James Bond movie. Coming eventually to an electronic device near you, Things I Love 43.

26 Pounds Later

As of my last doctor’s appointment, I’ve lost 26 pounds. Then I went on vacation and gained 20 back.

Actually, I think I’m still fairly close to my pre-vacation weight. Why am I telling you this?

Because all it took for me was giving up carbonated beverages and committing to a regular exercise regimen.

It will be 6 months tomorrow since I’ve had my last soda. Or as we in the south call all soft drinks, a coke. I do crave the taste from time to time, but I don’t miss them (and I feel way better).

I’ve been alternating jogging and bike riding lately at least 4 times a week. Regardless of whether my stomach is as flat as I want it to be, I feel better and I’m in better shape physically than I’ve been in for a long, long time.

It didn’t take a major overhaul of my lifestyle. All it took was changing one habit at a time.

I think that goes for the spiritual life as well. You don’t have to immediately adapt the monastic lifestyle where you’re up at 4 am to pray for 4 hours. You don’t have to start by memorizing the entire Gospel of John. You just have to start somewhere.

I do believe that discipline in one area bleeds into disciplines in other areas. What I mean is that if you’re disciplined when it comes to physical things, it’s much easier to develop spiritual disciplines. It’s all interconnected.

I don’t say these things to say “Look at me and how awesome I am,” but for you to see that if I can do it, so can you. So can anybody.