Monday, October 24, 2011


Well I just wanted to let those know who are following this blog that I have not fallen off the wagon on my weight loss challenge. I weighed in last Friday at 261. I have loss 30 pounds in just over 5 weeks. (half way to my goal) Your math is correct that is an average of about 6 pounds a week. I know I dropped a lot the 1st week to kinda skew that number, but I have continually loss weight every weigh-in.

I have a before and after photo, after 30 days, that would literally shock the crap out of you, but unless your family you ain't seeing that. I am still working through the insanity workout DVD and I am over half way through the workouts. It is still C-R-A-Z-Y hard but my recovery time is so much quicker. I have also added a personal trainer in once a week. Her name is Kathi O'Connor and she kicks mine and Mathew McCabe's (our youth pastor) butt every Friday. She is a pocket full of butt kickin, and she is whipping us into shape.

I am not just working out, but I am also eating really healthy. Kathi says diet is 85% of the battle and I believe her! So far my diet has consisted of chicken, veggies, and lots and lots of salad. BTW I am not a salad fan, but I have kinda developed a tolerance for certain salads. Just a helpful tip that I have picked up is eat spinach leaf salad instead of your typical garden salad. A) it taste better and 2) it is super rich in nutrients. Another addition to my salad are almonds or walnuts. They have taken the place of my croutons. I LOVE croutons on my salad but they are normally high in bad carbs and high in sodium, so to get that crunch on my salad I add almonds, pecans, or walnuts. Anyway just a helpful tip for those that are looking for help.

Last thing I have been doing is adding 24 hours of what I like to call eating ecstasy. I usually start on lunch on Friday and have my last cheat meal on Saturday at lunch. This 24 hour period usually consists of a large Ledo's pizza (i wish it was Johnny's), a chicken Quesadilla from Baja Fresh, an Elevation burger with bacon, and my wife's pancakes. Not all at the same time of course but throughout that 24 hour period. Most fitness experts (Kathi included) say that is a healthy way to live your life, and since I am trying for lifestyle change and not a DIET, I thought I would start doing that now. I have tried this in the past, but usually what would happen would my "cheat day" turns into my "cheat week" and I end up killing my diet. This way if I keep the cheat day as a regular life style then getting back to eating healthy is easier to do.

Anyway just wanted to keep myself accountable within this blog and also encourage anyone who is hoping to start a healthy lifestyle change.

PS if you have any questions or suggestions please let me know. I can try and answer your questions as best I can. I actually have a degree in all the stuff.....go figure :/

I'm outty 5000


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Starting at left tackle #79

DISCLAIMER: If you consider yourself overweight or obese I in NO WAY mean to offend you when I write this blog. This is merely myself venting over my own personal struggles with how I look and how I feel. If you feel good in your own skin then praise God and I am happy for you!!

I don't think I have ever felt this disgusted with how I look and feel. Normally I have been fairly confident on how I looked, but right now I've gone too far. I was okay being a few pounds over weight, and I actually could suck my gut in at times and actually think, "hey I look skinny." but those days are long gone. Sucking the gut requires to much energy, and doesn't accomplish anything! I never wanted to get to this point. I never wanted to get to the point that I am writing a blog about my weight and my self image, but it's here.

I always imagined myself as that dad that their kids wanted to play sports with, because I was as good as their friends or better. Right now at age 3 my son could beat me at a lot of sports, because I am so out of shape. But I am hear to tell you that's all about to change! I have never been more determined to get healthy. I finally have reached that point that I can't make anymore excuses.

Just so you know I have been writing this blog for a couple weeks. I didn't really know what to say or if anyone would even care that I am writing this, but I don't care if you do or not. I am writing this blog for me. I am putting this on the World Wide Web, because it's accountability that will only help continue to fuel the fire.

So what I plan on doing for a little while with my blog is to keep you posted on how I am doing on the scale. Just so you know I want to loose 60-70 pounds. I know some of you are sitting there thinking, you don't have that much to lose. A) You are just being nice and B) at 291 pounds yes I do have a lot to lose.

Two weeks ago I tipped the scales at 291. I am 9 pounds away from being the ideal Offensive lineman weight in the NFL. Bad thing is I don't football anymore, and don't care too. That number scared me, because A) that's the fattest I have EVER been, and B) honestly I would have never guessed I weighed that much. It's almost as if I had talked myself into being okay with being overweight. When that number popped up my heart sunk. I felt defeated. I felt disgusted.

that's a terrible photoshop job, but you get the joke

Anyway the good news is this. That number woke me up. I could no longer hide the fact that I am obese, so that's why I am doing something about it.

What am I doing about it? Two weeks ago I also started INSANITY. The dvd workout series with the Hip Hop Abs guy Shaun T, and so far it's the worse thing I have ever done. I have never been more sore and more tired after a workout, but it is finally starting to feel good after I work out. I can actually see it paying off too. This past Friday I had my first weigh in and I weighed 275.5. I had dropped 15.5 pounds in about 10 days. WHOOOO!! Some people are saying man that weight is falling off of you easily, but there is nothing easy about what I am doing. Matter of fact it's quiet the opposite.

Anyway I plan on keeping up with my blog through this whole getting healthy thing, so come back and see how I am removing myself from the offensive line. I hope this blog might even inspire others that need get healthy too.

I'm outty 5000


Friday, May 13, 2011

Memories..Sweet memories

This is something I just don't talk about much. Never have really. My entire adult life I haven't spoken of my sister Angel much. I don't know why, but I just don't. It's that private section of my life I don't let people in. I don't know why I feel compelled to do so today, and to do it over a blog is weird, but writing thoughts down is therapeutic for me.

I got this a few years back for her. My dad has the same one on his forearm without the flowers.

Have you ever noticed that after someone has passed that person is put up on a pedestal, and 100's of stories are told about that person for several days or months later. Some probably true, but a lot are untrue or at least exaggerated. I think as humans as a way to grieve is to begin generalizing that person. We say things like, "they always did this...or always did that" but in fact they didn't. For instance, if I were to pass away today a lot of you might say, "John always played his guitar or was always into music" but in truth I have only played music for 11 yrs. Most of my life was spent on a basketball court. I think we do this to try and hold on to those memories of that person, so we connect them to some story or some activity. 

I don't think that is a bad thing at all, but for me when I lose someone in my life I try and remember how they laugh or how they smiled. I try and remember certain nuances that may have continually did. Even how they talked. For me this helps remember them more. I try and hold on to those for as long as I can.

Unfortunately with my sister Angel, I can not remember any of those things. I can't remember her laugh, smile or the way she talked. She was killed in a car accident in 1989, and since then I can only remember the stories others tell about her. I only have a few memories I can actually see in my minds eye. (great   dc talk song btw)

That thought saddens me and maybe that's why I don't talk of her much, because there is not a lot to say. I have talked with Sherra a few times about this. About how I can't recall those memories.  I wish there was a pill we could take to bring those memories back up. Some of my friends may read this and say, "John it's called LSD" but for real I wish I had those memories back!!

The stories that people tell of Angel make her out to be just that an angel. Stories like how funny she was. How when she walked in the room no one else mattered. How she had this grace about her that you couldn't explain. How strong of a christian she was. How Angel never and I mean never met a stranger.

You see I don't have those stories, but I do have these. She was an amazing sister. She loved me so much. She use to write me letters (snail mail) from college. She loved her family. I know she was a gifted basketball player, because she received a full scholarship to Baylor University. Not everyone can do that. I know she was beautiful. I know she had great style. She had great taste in cars. She drove a cherry red 1956 Chevrolet truck with a rattle snake head on the gear shift. How boss is that? She had great taste in music. (Van Halen was her favorite band.) She was tall. She was 6'3" with dark skin, dark hair, and green eyes. I know she loved the arts, because she painted and wrote poetry a lot. Angel was my kinda girl, and I would love to just chill with her and shoot the preverbal breeze with her.

Sometimes I wonder how my life would have been impacted by her life if she were still alive today. Would she married? Would she have kids? How would she have handled Baylor winning the women's NCAA championship in 2004? Would she like the music I write or would she say it needs to sound more like David Lee Roth? What would my son think of her? I know she has impacted my life so much through her death, but I will ask God when I stand before Him...WHY? 

My advice, hold, touch, laugh, cry, smile, kiss, and listen those you love so much that you never forget the little things.


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Friends are friends FOR-EV-ER

I love friends. I love having people in your life that know you for who you are. I love having people in your life that have your back no matter what! Other than my wife, Jody Pickett is my best friend. We are separated by a 1000 miles, but if I needed him tomorrow he would be on a plane in a heartbeat. I may not talk to him everyday, but as best friends you are not required to do that. Best friends are secure in their relationship with one another. A phone call everyday doesn't justify that relationship. It would be nice to talk to him more, but sometimes that just doesn't happen.

My staff and I recently watched the old movie Stand By Me, with River Phoenix, Will Wheaton, Corey Feldman, Jerry O'Connell, and Keifer Sutherland. If you haven't seen that movie stop what you are doing and go rent/buy that movie now. It will make you smile, laugh and cry.

It's a movie about young friends and how those friends can come in your life for a certain time frame, and life happens, and they can just become faces in the crowd. In the movie Will Wheaton and River Phoenix are best friends, and at the end of the movie Will Wheaton's older version (played by Richard Dreyfus) says he has never had friends like he did when he was 12 yrs old.

I had three of the best friends growing up as a kid, Matt Cook, Josh McKaskle, and Aaron Hawley. These guys were with me through some of the best and worst times of my life. All the funniest and coolest sleep overs involved these three guys. All the Nintendo games we set new high scores on and beat the final bad guy (except for Ninja Gaiden) all involved these guys. All the delirious state, Coke induced, Twinkie dosed late nights all involved these guys. When my grandfather and sister passed away with in 5 months of each other, these guys were there for me. These guys were just part of the family. My sister still calls them all Josh Gist, Aaron Gist, and Matt Gist. They were my brothers.

Oh Ninja Gaiden how I want to beat you!!

As we grew up and our lives took different directions, we lost contact with each other. Josh is an electrician in Louisiana, has a son, and is about to re-marry. He and I have had a couple a "bump ins" in the past year or so, but things are just not the same. Our  conversations are always pleasant, but it seems like light years from when we were younger. Matt joined the Navy out of High School. He moved to Delaware and is now married with 2 beautiful baby girls. The last I spoke to him was on Myspace.... HAHAHAHA....and he seems to be doing great! Aaron is a high school choir director at the High School Friday Night Lights is based on. He and I talk a good bit still, and see each other over the holidays. He and I have stayed the closest throughout the years.

I really wish I could have stayed close to those guys. I wish we could all still hang out together and be "kids" again. But....that's what happens in life. Sadly, people come and go in our lives, so take a moment now to just thank God for the people in your life. Be sure to spend more time with them and be sure to tell them how much you care, because you may look up one day and they maybe gone.


Friday, February 25, 2011

10 things I've learned so far....

10 things I have learned so far....

1) I really miss my family and friends.
Sherra and I have made some great friendships so far since being in Maryland, and I know these friendships will be for a lifetime, but I say that to say this, there is no place like home. As cheesy and cliché as it sounds, it is so true. I miss the smell of my parent’s house, the surreal peacefulness that comes from just walking outside on my parent’s patio. I miss the amazing naps on my grandmother’s couch on a Sunday afternoon. I miss the nieces and nephews. I miss the laughter from friends, and the great conversations from people you have known your whole life. I miss the love that my friends give, even though they know my baggage. Oh my gosh I miss the FOOD!!! Yep, I even miss the pooper mill. If you have never moved away trust me, there is NO place like home.


Let's be real here people. This city is amazing!!! I mean my family is not just living in the hub of the good ole US of A, but the entire world. Foreign diplomacy is a way of life in this city. I went to downtown DC Tuesday night and it was the coolest thing ever.  I got to walk through Chinatown and I felt like Kurt Russell in Big Trouble Little China.

I mean there is everything here: sports (Redskins, Wizards, Capitals, Nationals, DC United) tourism (Smithsonian, Monuments, Battlefields) recreation (biking, hiking, skiing, snowboarding) and even more. There is never a boring weekend if you don't want it to be. Just going for a walk can be breath taking. Note to friends and family....MOVE HERE!!

3) The people here are not that rude....
All we heard from everyone in the south is that NE people are so rude. Right, they are at times, but so are people in the south. I mean have you ever been to the Customer Service line at the West Monroe Wal-Mart or the Burger King at the end of Thomas Rd. WOW!!! Most of the people I have encountered have been nice and at times down right southern acting. I mean don't get me wrong I have almost had a come to Jesus meeting with a 5 foot Spanish speaking gentleman at the Safeway, but other than that it's been great. I just think rude people are everywhere, and some places just may have more than others.

4) Louisiana REALLY does have the worst weather
The weather has been amazing. Now I know we moved in the dead of winter, but at least it has been very consistent. I mean it's winter it should be COLD, and trust me it is sooooo stinking cold here…..really cold. But at least it STAYS cold. With it staying cold at least your body has a chance to adjust. Honestly, the worst part of the cold weather is that it takes us twice as long to get the kids ready to go somewhere.
In LA on the other hand, it maybe 80 one afternoon and that night be in the 20's. That is nuts people!! We have NO seasons but summer. The people here keep telling me that it gets really hot and humid here in the summer. I just laugh at them when they say that, Humid...hahahahaha (see I did it again). I tell them all the time, just go to LA.....oh around mid July.....and then you will see hot and humid. They have no idea.

5) I don't speak your language
Funny story: My family and I went and got Wendy's a few nights back, and the guy handing out food was not originally from our country. He comes to the US, doesn't speak our language that great...hmmm...not great is an understatement...more like not at all. I could get on a soap box here for a while, but I won't. The only thing I say to that is if you are coming to America...great movie btw

....and you barely speak our language, please don't go into CUSTOMER SERVICE!!!! Please. Okay, so anyway this guy hands me our food. He smiles and nods and then proceeds to try and get out an English sentence, but it come out like this, "sadfjasdio sdfihs n[kdbjiwe[i vnmdbnvjdnv." Yep I had NO clue what he said. I look at Sherra and she just laughs and said, "I think he tried to say have a nice day." So i begin pulling out...twss...and he begins screaming at me, NUGGETS...NUGGETS...twss...I slammed on my brakes, roll my window down, turn back, and he is hanging out of the window saying "sdlka ih fuw890q[dfjk dsdfs[wsr." Again, I have NO clue what he is saying. Sherra some how picks something out of his very poor attempt at our language, and she says, "John your nuggets are not in the bag....twss." Well now I am blocking the exit and I am missing my nuggets....twss. I have to pull forward and park the car. Get out of the car walk inside...totally defeating purpose of the DRIVE THRU process to get my food. I hear this guy in the back saying Sweet and Sour...Sweet and Sour. I just shook my head at the lady handing me my food and she just smiled.

6) twss = that's what she said

7) Townhomes stink
Not literally unless Ivey just pooped, but it stinks having to go up stairs. We have 4 stories in our townhome and I struggle going from basement to top floor without having stop and take a break. It is so funny because Ivey will go up a couple flights of stairs and he will stop, bend over, and say "whew". He has picked that up from me and Sherra doing that after we go up the stairs. hahahaha

8) I'm officially out of shape
See above paragraph and pic below. I look tired and its because it's hard work building Frosty!!

9) My job is amazing
To be able to do what you are called to do is pure joy. It feels so amazing not to dread going to bed at night because you have to go into work the next morning. If you’re not doing what you love...get to it. Whatever you need to get there, do it: Get in school, get a loan for your own business, whatever...just step out there. You'll be glad you did!!

10) I want some Johnny's NOW!!!
We have found 1 place here that makes good pizza, but man I could for real tear up a Sweep the Kitchen from Johnny's!! Man, I love that place.

11) No Chinese Buffets here!!
What?!!??!?!?! I know right....I haven't found one that serves buffet all the time. This is just a crime and they don't even know it. Maybe I should open one??? hmmm.....nah.

I know I said 10 things I've learned, but I thought if you read this you should get a bonus!

Anyway that is what I have learned living in the DC area the last 2 months.....Peace, I'm outty 5000

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

I'm going to give you to the count of 10

Preface: I in NO way claim to be an expert at what I am about to disclose!!

I've been working on a new song. I started working on this song last week sometime, and I feel like it's going to be a pretty good song. I am really excited to hear it played with a full band, and see how it is received by my team.

Wait....sorry I have gotten ahead of myself here. It might be beneficial for you to know how I write songs before this blog makes sense.

Song writing for me is truly organic. It rarely happens in a 10 minute sit down. I will usually stew over the song for weeks and even months. Probably because I usually think the song sounds like a big ol' pile of poopy. Poopy...that is a strange looking word when you type it out. I'm not even sure I spelled it correctly. Anyway, I digress. Song writing usually starts by me playing around on my guitar and I figure out this "cool" guitar lick (lick meaning riff or hook) that I like. After that I begin piecing other parts of the song around that "cool" (I keep putting cool into "" because cool is very relative in music) lick. This "cool" guitar part might end up just being a very small portion of the song, but that guitar part was the light in my bulb. Once the majority of the song is written I then begin humming a melody (that usually sounds like all my other melodies I've written) over those chords I just came up with. Finally, I begin piecing lyrics into that song, and hopefully by the end of the song I have something worth showing to someone.

......This new song was just the opposite for me. \sə-ˈren-dər\to give up completely or agree to forgo especially in favor of another

I have always been intrigued with the concept of TOTAL surrender to the Lord. What does that look like in today's world and I have ever witnessed someone totally sold out for Christ. (Like an Apostle Paul)
If I had seen someone like this, would I stare at them in wonder or would I be uncomfortable around them? Would they make me feel awkward, because they are a "Jesus Freak"? It's just something I've often thought about.

I have had moments of total surrender. There have been moments where I felt as if nothing in my life mattered more to me than my relationship with Jesus Christ, these brief moments where I longed to help the poor and the broken, where I was more concerned about reaching the lost than watching LOST. But on the flip side, I also I have had many moments of a complete rebellion. I have had moments where I have spit in the face of God to satisfy my own selfish pride and gratification. Or AKA my PRIDIFICATION

Sorry I had to do it.
This new song came from all these thoughts about surrender. I wrote these lyrics down and began praying them in my life last week. It was really for my prayer time, and I had no thought of making these words a song. This has rarely happened to me in the song writing process, and it feels much more real for me. Here is just a small section of the song. Maybe you can use these lyrics to begin praying in your own life.

I lay my crowns at Your feet,
I place my trust in You I seek
Lord have Your way
Lord have Your way

Mend my heart so it beats
For Your Spirit my soul to keep
Lord have Your way
Lord have Your way

There is nothing to fear
Because You are here
I have nothing to fear
Because Your love is near

     Lord have Your way in me
     Take my life and let it be
     A lot like You
     And less like me
     Lord have Your way

     Lord have Your way in me
     Fill my cup and let them see
     Through Your grace I am free
     Lord have Your way in me

Anyway that's just a verse and a chorus of what God is doing in my life. I leave you with this final thought. Let's all make total surrender our prayer as Christ followers. Think about it total surrender means to forgo who we are as selfish creatures in favor of being more like the Father. WOW just imagine.

I'm outty 5000

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Hmmm..I never took you for a blogger.

This is my first blog, and this will basically be an infomercial about me.

I want to let you know right out of the gate I am very complex, but yet very simple person to get to know. My wife will attest that I have many moments where I am more of a woman than she is, so hence the complexity. For example, I LOVE fashion. I love everything about fashion. I love that it can be what you make it to be. I have a friend, who recently said, you can be inspired by the scenes of your personal world to help create your fashion. That is why I love fashion. My only advice is, stay relevant, but more importantly just put something on and WEAR it like YOU would wear it, and forget what other people say about what you have on.

Also, I love being creative. My outlet is music, acting, and poetry, but I love creativity in its simplest form. I love playing with my 2 year old son and watching him create scenarios with his toys. I love watching those wheels of his start turning with Buzz Lightyear in one hand and Woody in the other. Usually what happens is Buzz flies around the room and Woody will ride on his back, but it's so cool to see him think about what adventure Buzz and Woody are going to do next.

I can remember at a very young age this same creativeness being harvested in my life. I was one of those kids that if He-Man was on TV, I was dressing and acting like He-Man.
(yes I did find a pair of grassy underwear to look like He-man)

If football was on the TV, I was in my football attire acting out each play in front of my very annoyed father. I remember at that age I loved acting and playing the parts of other people.

With this creativeness running wild like Will Ferrell in Talledaga Nights, it is hard to turn that off. I am always thinking about music and the arts, and how I can get better at those things. This at times makes me a complex person to talk to and to understand.

Now the simple side of my life is much easier to understand. I live by a code. It is a simple code that all men should live by. It doesn't take much to live by this code, and I think most women would appreciate you more if you lived by this code. I call it the John Wayne code AKA the Duke code.

The premise behind this code is very simple; men always ask yourselves before doing something, "Would John Wayne do this?" Kind of like WWJD, but not. Now I understand that if you stuck to exactly how John Wayne lived his life you would end up being a beer guzzling, chain smoker, and I personally do not promote that life style. What I am getting at is that you should live like a man's man. For example, men if you’re thinking about going to the tanning bed...don't. If you feel like you need to get a probably shouldn't. If you’re a single guy thinking about purchasing a dog, and the qualities you’re looking for in that dog are small enough to fit in my man purse, you probably should just be lonely. If you feel like waxing your chest hair off...don't. Now, there are exceptions to the last one. If you look like Chewbacca or if your chest looks like Tina Turner is pitching a tent on it, then you’re good.


Also, if you’re an Olympic swimmer then I understand, but unless you fall into those categories then just leave it.

You see this code is very simple, and yes I myself break the code all the time. (See paragraph about fashion and I am now a blogger) But what this code does for me as a man is it set boundaries for social do's and don’ts. You will never hear a woman say man that guy is just too much man for me. Most women are looking for that provider in their life. She is looking for that stable concrete figure that will not get rattled when the rubber meets the road. When my wife said "I do" she wanted a man to continue to show up, not some self proclaimed metro sexual who gets a "Mani" and a "Pedi" more than she does. I'm just saying.

So, this is kind of me in a nutshell. Most of my blogs will be useless and funny, but some of them will not be a total waste of you time. I'm outty 5000