Category Archives: About Me

Undiscovered Happiness

I have always been motivated to help others. There was a time when this consistently came at the expense of my own well-being. I would sacrifice sleep for workouts, coaching, and writing. I was hardly home. I burdened my wife with taking care of the kids and dragging them to basketball games where I was coaching. When I was home, I was often tired, distracted, or working. With all that, we were still a “happy” family… perhaps satisfied by knowing it could be worse. No love was lost. We made it work. We adjusted. We seemed normal. I was very fortunate. I always knew I was going to stop coaching high school basketball so that I could coach both of my sons’ teams. I had no idea at the time, but that was the game changer for my family. Before that, I didn’t know anything other than constant exhaustion. Exhaustion from giving myself to things I cared about outside my household. Once coaching high school basketball was out of the equation, I became more available to my family. It took almost a year get adjusted but over time I realized the redistribution of my time was not only better for me, it was better for my family. I know a year seems like a long time to adjust, but lots of dynamics had to change. My wife had to get used to entertaining my opinions and ideas about home life. I had to understand I couldn’t come in and take control of everything. I had to learn not to take dislike for my suggestions personally. Our boys had to get used to both mom & dad being around and all that came with that. There were lots of rough patches but I learned from the experiences. I now understand that I have a responsibility to myself and my family to stay attuned to how I deplete my time and energy. I also realize that rest to recharge has to become a higher priority as I mature. I am not completely cured, but do have a better understanding of what it takes to thrive in all my life pursuits.

Our insignificance is most significant. That is not intended to be received in a cold way. It’s meant to spark a desire to reevaluate how we are spending our time with an understanding that our absence will not stop others from living their lives. It’s intended to alleviate the fear of letting others down by adjusting how we prioritize our time and energy. It’s okay to leave work at work. It’s okay to set hard boundaries on evenings out with friends. It’s okay to miss a friend’s event because you have set that time aside for your family. It’s also okay to attend the event and shift the family time. Just don’t skip the family time, unless you see your friend’s event as a higher priority. Please notice what’s important here. Whatever you decide, let it be based on your priorities and NOT how anyone is going to feel about what you decide. That’s where it begins. Once you are able to start challenging your choices, then you will begin to understand that even greater things are possible. As you move into different challenges, circles, and experiences, you will likely find that others will want to follow your lead. Your life becomes an example of what can be accomplished by setting priorities and applying them to the precious minutes of our lives. -jp

HYPE4LIFE REFUELED

Every time someone asks “What is Hype4Life”, I find it difficult to put into words. Not because I don’t know the answer but because I worry if they are going to get it. Well this weekend I spent some time with my family at my sister’s house in GA for her birthday. During that time, I got a chance to listen to my dad talk about how he has been, and is currently, dealing with going blind. He talked about how it challenged his faith and how important it is to leave tomorrow’s worry for tomorrow, as to not let it interfere with today’s blessings because nothing about tomorrow is promised. Hearing him say that brought a smile to my face. See I often worry about how he is doing. I often get sad around him because a part of me still hurts for the fact he won’t be able to “see” my boys grow up. I often “worry” about those in the H4L circle who have come and gone. I often “worry” about how I am going to get others involved. I often “worry” about friends going through difficult situations. I often “worry” about my roles as father, husband, son, brother, family, motivator, mentor, and friend. What my dad said brought a smile to my face, not because I knew I would worry no longer, but because it reminded me that it’s okay not to! In fact, it’s best not to! MOST importantly to this blog, finding the right reasons and learning to live with less worry is HYPE4LIFE!

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JP’s mom, 1o year old son, 7 year old son, and dad

My dad reminded me that there is a big difference between worry and showing you care! Hype4Life is about living a life that leads us away from worry because we commit to changing who we are! We commit to trying to do things for the right reasons! We commit to being available and sharing our lives with others in ways that fit us! We commit to being about what we believe in! For me, I want to talk about things less and do more! I want to save my opinions for the things and people that matter. I want to work to be available for my family and friends, that includes my Hype4Life fam! I want to stand firm on my belief that perception is not reality but instead perception is the reality someone else has created for me! Ladies and gents, I want that old thang back! I want to keep it simple, make it about people, and worry less about what’s ahead. Some decisions will seem very selfish and some will seem very selfless at times. That will depend on who you ask and when you ask them. I can’t worry about that. I can only do what I think is best. Easier said than done I know, but hey, most great things are! So what is it that you believe in? How do you know when you are living Hype4Life? -jp

What’s your Tell

Have you ever watched or played poker? Players try to deceive one another. Sometimes the deception can be revealed if the player has a “tell” – a twitch, mannerism, or change that shows deception. I recently realized I have a tell of the amount of goolosh I eat.

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I travel quite a bit this time of year. My time in the car often involves a meal and postgame snack. I start the season with the best of intentions and habits. Pack a lean sandwich, some fruit, carrots, maybe a protein shake. Unfortunately, bad habits, more goolosh starts to creep into the ride. Why, because it is so easy to grab that bag of chips while gasing-up the car. Because no prep time is needed on my part to grab something from Bojangles.

This brings me back to the tell. No, it is not the moving of the belt to a different hole. Not the need to inhale before putting on pants. The tell comes before all of that. For me, it was the crumbs in my car. The untidy. Bojangles fries have that delicious seasoned salt that goes everywhere. Floor mats, center console, seats. Carrot sticks, an apple, or protein shakes don’t leave the same type of mess.

When I open my car door, the state of my car is a play by play of my eating choices. A clean car means good choices. The crumbs are a forensic CSI goldmine of goolosh. They stand as a reminder that I need to clean it. I grab my vacuum and my bag of carrots and start anew.

What’s your tell?

-EZ

 

 

YOU TELL ME


Have you ever had a series of events happen that left you wondering how much was coincidence and how much was a little help from the man upstairs?  That’s what happened to me on Saturday morning. My 10 year old son, Jalen, is in the STEM club at his school. Some of the students and parents volunteered to get together Saturday morning to build a trebuchet to use for chunking pumpkins! I like to think of a trebuchet as an old school cannon ball launcher. Now let me start by saying I don’t ever really remember volunteering for this project. What I do remember is a comment from CA (my wife) on Thursday evening that pretty much sealed my fate. She casually says to me, “You are planning to go with Jalen Saturday morning right?” In that one “quest-ment” (a phrase spoken by your wife that should be a question but you know it’s really a statement) I knew she did NOT plan on going and unless I had the PERFECT excuse, Saturday morning was going to be daddy and son bonding time! Luckily I had already planned on going but I thought CA and Big Chris (our 7 year old son) could come too and we could make it a fun family outing. However, on Friday night things started to spin a different direction.

I get a call at about 4:30pm on Friday. A courtesy call from CA, making sure I am ok with her brother and his family coming to stay over. I tell her I don’t have any big plans so it’s all good. So about an hour later I pack up my things and slide by the office café to grab some water before heading home. However, on this day I am feeling a bit hungry so I decide to grab some Greek yogurt and I also decide to try the dehydrated kiwi fruit. Now that all is good, I hop in the car, sip on my water and munch on my snacks. When I get home, I am a little surprised because CA’s sister’s car is in the driveway but when I had spoken to CA on the phone, she had only mentioned her brother coming over. No big deal though. It happens from time to time. So I go inside, say hello to folks, and take a seat in the recliner. As I am sitting there playing on my phone, I hear CA and her sis chatting. In my happenstance eavesdropping I come to find out that in addition to hosting CA’s bro’s fam, we will also be babysitting for CA’s sis (@leslieraybooks). She tells CA her and her man candy are going out to dinner but she was probably really going to hustle her new book Run To Me! Got to watch the in-laws… sneaky they can be! 😉 It’s probably just coincidence but it wasn’t long after finding out I was going to be stuck in an overnight scene from “In-Law Children Daycare” that my stomach became highly upset with me. Seriously, I do think it was just coincidence. Really, I do. I don’t mind having the kiddos at the house… most of the time! In all seriousness, my stomach had started feeling a little unsettled on my drive home. I am thinking it was the dehydrated kiwi! Won’t be having those again! So I quickly stroll upstairs for an exclusive leave of absence from the house guests. From that point on my stomach was iffy at best and that had me stressing a little bit. It was getting late and I didn’t feel up to getting stuff packed for trebuchet day the next morning. I decided to chill the rest of the night and hope I felt better in the morning.

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My stomach did feel a little better on Saturday morning. I was still hesitant to eat though. I had no idea what the facilities situation would be like at the school. My man Jalen doesn’t like to sleep, so he was downstairs waiting for me when I got up. We loaded up the car with our tools. As we are finishing up loading the car, Jalen hits me with “Oh yeah daddy. You need to take your lunch. They are providing lunch for the kids but not the parents.” Well great! Of course, time is not on our side and I need something for lunch quick like! So I turn to my golf grub. Almond butter and honey between a folded soft taco shell… times 3. Hey, I didn’t know how long I was going to be out there! Toss in a few Gatorades and waters… off we go! I am starting to feel a little better because we are set to head out and we are only few minutes late. Also, I had devised a plan to ease into the building activities so I could see how my stomach was going to hold up. The plan was to drop Jalen off, unload our tools, then slide up the road to get a green tea and bagel. Then come back to join in on the fun or sit on the sidelines if things didn’t settle well in tummy land. Great plan right! Well, it never saw the light of day. As I approach the end of our street, I realize I had forgotten the lunch box! Geesh! So back to the house we go! At this point I am still feeling ok because I think there is still time to execute my plan. So I grab the lunch box, jump back in the ride, and off we go again! However we don’t make it any further than the first time! Why? I forgot my phone! Geesh on swole! Back home we go again! By the time I find my phone, I realize I no longer have time for the plan. So I just grab some nuts, crackers, and granola bar and get my mind right to wing it. In the back of my mind I am hoping I can still slip away but even still it would probably be later than originally planned. Off we go again and this time we make it the entire way to the school. Mission accomplished!

When we pull up, I see everyone is huddled around Mr. Flack, the STEM teacher. Jalen and I hop out of the car and no sooner than we get to the group, I hear Mr. Flack closing his instructions speech… “Ok. That’s it. Are there any questions?” As confusion and panic begin to set in, I look at one of the other parents and say “Um. Yes. What are we doing?” Before she can answer, I see SEVERAL GROUPS of people quickly grabbing wood and taking off to different areas around the lot! I am beginning to realize my impression of what was going to happen is not the same as the reality of the situation! I THOUGHT there was going to be ONE large group working to build ONE trebuchet TOGETHER. I am QUICKY realizing that on THIS DAY, Jalen’s TEAM is going to build ITS OWN trebuchet! Ahh shigidy digidy shucksness!!! As I am looking around I notice ALL the other teams have 6 or 7 kids along with 4 or 5 adults. I turn to my man Jalen and ask “So who’s on your team?” As I am doing this, Mr. Flack rolls up and hears my question. Jalen starts naming off names and Flack is stuck on repeat… “Oh. He’s not coming. Oh. She’s not coming.” Then Jalen follows with “Oh. He was supposed to bring this. Oh. She was supposed to bring that.” When it’s all said and done we break the huddle realizing our team is only Jalen, 2 of his classmates, one older sister (middle school), and one kid’s mom! Yikes! Yikes! Yikes! I am not a building project expert. I don’t mind a project but I like to have a plan that includes THE MATERIALS NEEDED FOR THE PROJECT!!! All WE HAVE is four 12 foot 4x4s, a couple saws, a couple hammers, some nails, and a bunch of tools we don’t need! I find myself staring at the wood and asking the kids “How should we start?” It was their project so I wanted to get them involved but more importantly I needed a stall tactic. My next move was to get them to relocate the wood. Oddly enough, it still looked the same as I stared at it in a new location. Eventually, Flack comes over to our area and suggests we build a base. This gets the kids pumped. They measure. I cut. We lay out our base and I am back to stalling and staring at the wood, which does look a little better now at least. After several minutes of stare-stalling I realize I have to call in reinforcements!

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This is where I feel like the man upstairs looked down on me and said “I got ya JP!” Normally I would be hesitant to bother folks on short notice BUT let’s not forget that one brother-in-law was staying over and we had JUST babysat for the other, so the way I see it, they owe me. Well that’s how I rationalized it in my head anyway. I place the call to the wife… “Tell him to bring this. Yep. Bring that too. Of course we need to pool net that goes to the pool we bought from the neighbor and never used!” CA then places a call to her sis to recruit the other brother-in-law. He’s in and he’s packing steel! You know it! He has a steel rod that we can use for the trebuchet axle! Now we are getting somewhere! In addition to my reinforcements, our team mom has taken off to get her husband and some miscellaneous item for counter weights. Things are headed in the right direction but I am still a little worried. I am not sure if we can pull this off with what we have. Plus the other teams are way ahead, so I am worried about the time as well. Even still, we keep grinding! I try to keep the kids focused until the reinforcements arrive. Oh what a battle that is!

When the reinforcements arrived it didn’t take long for us to make progress. Matter fact, we are straight trebuchet ballin’ son! Hours have passed though. Thank goodness I ate those snacks! When I kept forgetting stuff at home maybe that was God’s way of telling me “Nah son. You need to grab some grub. You have a long day ahead of you!” I know this is a somewhat trivial situation to talk about God’s work, but that’s part of the point. I think things like this probably happen to most of us and we may not think about it that way. Perception is a powerful thing, especially when it comes to our faith. How we look at things impacts how we feel about things and that impacts our motivations and inspirations. Things like this encourage me to try and slow down enough to appreciate as many of life’s experiences as I can. In this case, when it was all said and done, we ended up building quite the trebuchet. We had no choice but to stick to a very simple design and we ended up being one of the first teams finished! Not only that, we placed second in the contest for longest pumpkin chunking! We couldn’t get our launch angle quite right and ended up just 6 inches out of first place! The coolest thing was my man Jalen loved it! Honestly, I think we all had a blast. One brother-in-law left wanting to start STEM projects at his son’s school. The other started doing research on building a more proper trebuchet. I was left wondering how we could get a better release (that’s just what basketball guys worry about) and counter weight for more distance. It was a great reminder of how cool science and technology is going to be for my son and how fun it is going to be for me to be a part of it!

That was just the beginning of a busy Saturday. Jalen and I were out there from 8am to 2:30pm. Afterwards we were supposed to have lunch for my mother-in-law’s birthday then slide to a friend’s pumpkin carving contest. We ended up bailing on the pumpkin carving contest because we started the birthday lunch late. The cousins ended up spending more time together. I got to play some football with my boys, nephew, and niece. It was a full and exhausting day but I think it worked out at least close to the way it was intended. As the saying goes… as long as you owe me I will never be broke. Thank goodness my in-laws are good at owing me or at least that’s what I tell myself! 😉 -jp

ZONE BUSTERS

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In this context “Zone Busters” are events that happen in our lives that get us out of our happy/joyous/life is good zone. It could be anything. For the parents out there, our kiddos actions/behaviors are always high on the list. For the wives out there, it’s probably about 75% of whatever your husband does! For the husbands out there, once or twice a year MAYBE something the wife does gets you out of your zone! 🙂 For me, one of my biggest zone busters is when my own indecisiveness! It seems to come on in spurts. Usually I have a pretty clear idea of what I should do but there are times when it seems to take forever to figure things out. For example, my youngest son and I are having some challenges with football. On the one hand, I know it’s just football but on the other hand, he is doing some things that are wrong from a heart perspective and that’s hard for me to swallow. He probably doesn’t realize it since he is only 7 but I feel like it’s my responsibility to do some things to help him understand. However, I don’t want to embarrass him or turn him away from football or other sports. At this moment in time it feels like a very slippery slope so I am trying to work my way through it. When it’s all said and done, I doubt I will ever know if I got it right but I can be satisfied with taking my time and thinking it through in hopes of the right outcome. My point, yes believe it or not, I do have one. 😉 My point is even though I can’t control the outcome, I can trust my process. Even though it’s not fun for me and it takes me out of my zone, I know it will give me a good shot at getting it right. Trust and lean on the things/people in your lives that give you the best shot at getting it right even if they take you out of your zone from time to time. If you continue to work at it you will eventually become more resilient to the outside shots against your zone and really only find yourself affected by penetration into the heart of the zone. Yes that is a basketball analogy but it’s also a perfect parallel to our lives! Keep your Grind Proper and stay Hype4Life fam! -jp

PROGRESS NOT PERFECTION

heather

When asked if I would write a blog about my weight loss journey, I wasn’t sure what I would write about so I thought about it. I have 38 years of battles with weight loss to talk about. Surely, I can find something to discuss.

As far back as I can remember I have been larger than every other person in my age group. I don’t ever recall “fitting in.” I didn’t play sports, run track or anything that I had to be physical at. I just went to school and did what I was told. I didn’t have anything that I was really good at other than losing and gaining weight. I can remember my grandpa trying to bribe me to lose weight. He would give me $20-50 if I would lose 20-50 lbs. I never would lose the weight before the cutoff so I never got the money. However, I did get my very first lesson of what having a carrot dangling in front of you but not being able to get it, feels like. And so goes the next 30 years of my life chasing that carrot.

I have been up and down the scales my entire life. It wasn’t until 2 years ago that I made a conscious decision to change and put a stop to all of the toxins that I allow into my life. Some of you may know that I am a recovering alcoholic. My sobriety date is May 29, 2013. I have a sponsor who also has a sponsor and I go to meetings regularly. I apply what I learn in meetings to my everyday life. Yes, this means that I apply them to my food choices as well. I was talking to JP this morning (after he kicked my tail in personal training) that I have decided to cut out processed sugars. Such as cake, ice cream and candy. I’m 3 days in and so far so good. It is a day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute and second by second effort. Being honest with myself is very important for my recovery. I am powerless over alcohol and I am powerless over sugar. I can replace the word “alcohol” with any other word that I am powerless over and for some reason it changes it in my head.

My journey is just that…..my journey. I can’t tell people what to do and they can’t tell me what to do when it comes to food. All I can do is share my experience, strength, and hope with those who will listen. Food will always be there and I won’t always make the best choice. However, I can have a daily reprieve and do better the next day. I try not to be hard on myself when I do choose badly. I work out really hard and I have made so much progress but it’s just that….progress NOT perfection.

Still In The Game

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What is the game?  The game of life.  Over a year ago I found out I have arthritis in my knees.  That was a game changer.  I was running 3 times a week, boxing or IT 3 times a week and then bam.  One day my right knee swole up and I couldn’t bend it or walk on it let alone run.  Couple days went by and it did not get any better.  So I went to Cary Orthopaedics and that is where the doc told me I have arthritis in my knee and would require a knee replacement but to wait until I was 60+.  My next question what am I going to do until then?  Answer – I can give you a cortisone shot.  I declined the shot.

Man I was not happy.  Weeks went by and I was contemplating having my knee replaced.  Dude I work with  told me he was getting shots in his knee to help with pain.  So I started looking around and  I got lucky and just happened to find Flexogenix.  They offer non-surgical options for knee pain.  Scheduled an appointment and boom I was on board.

I am getting shots in both knees and they last anywhere from 6-months to a year.  The injections contain lubricating and cushioning gel called Hyaluronic acid.

I may not be able to run 3 times a week but I still put in work on the weights and box now and then.  I am just glad to still be in that game, that game of life.  Talk about being HYPE!!!  I do miss basketball and long runs but now it is about quality of life.  Just getting to sleep without pain in my knee was a biggie.

I am sure I will have to have my knee replaced someday but until then I am going to enjoy my real knee as long as I can.  Keep grinding and stay hype4life cuz sometimes life is not easy.  Stay in the game as long as you can.  I plan on being here for a long time.

-Rozay