I have six months to reshape my life. I can do this.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Tired of Scratching God's Hand

It was weird. Weird. I have a friend who just got a cat and the cat is a biter. "He is young and just wants me to play with him," the friend says. Biting cats and the owners who love them. Part of the magic and wonder that comes with the world of pets. But today I actually learned something in church and it connected strongly with this biting cat.

The vicar told a story about a father who gives in to his kids' nagging wishes to pick up a mangy kitten on the side of the road. He stops the car and goes to grab the cat. It is mangy, thin, unhealthy, hungry, scared and flea-infested. He goes to grab the mangy kitten and it absolutely scratches the fire out of his hand and goes crazy. The dad sort of wallops it around a bit and grabs it by the scruff of the neck and goes to toss it in the back seat with his kids. He warns them not to play with it because it is probably leprous. They take mangy cat home, clean it, love it and take care of it. They choose to keep it and it becomes another addition to the growing zoo of animals the father complains about. One day dad comes home and as he is reading the mail, he feels something rubbing up against his leg. It is the formerly mangy cat. Only now instead of arching its back and bearing its claws it shows its affection. It isn't the same cat. And yet it is. The father looks around, sees nobody looking, reaches down and strokes the cat. Now the cat is able to accept the love of the same hand that lifted it out of the pit not too long ago.

The vicar then said it. It ruined me. "God blessed me. He stuck his scarred and scratched and bloodied hand into my life and blessed me." I am tired of being mangy. I am tired of being flea infested and fighting the loving hand that wants to just take care of me. I pray, so deeply and desperately pray that I have finally learned to love that hand now. I don't want to be walloped anymore and tossed into safety against my will. I want to finally recognize the loving hand, the same hand that I fought so terribly against.

And finally, years after being lifted from the pit, I am a better me. Finally. I can recognize that the hand of God, the righteous right hand, leads my way, loves me completely and perfectly and relentlessly and lifts my weary head.

I looked at me and was just so disappointed in what I had become and who I was. So mangy. And now? Well, I would like to think I am fairly new. There is room enough in my life for the most important thing on earth for me now. God created the space.

And that is smooth.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Hot Fuzz

Wonderfully hysterical movie. I don't laugh at movies too often. I think the last two movies I remember laughing at were "Meet the Robinsons" (seriously the dinosaur killed me) and "For Your Consideration" (the Fred Willard throwaway line about blind prostitutes is the best line in any Chris Guest movie).

But I laughed out loud at least seven or eight times during this movie. Unheard of. I am sort of a comedy snob. I laugh at tv shows (The Office, Arrested Development, Extras) more than movies. They typically never make me laugh. But HOT FUZZ did. It was crazy funny. It starts off somewhat slow (not the action or the editing, but the funny), however after a visit to a old farmer's shed it absolutely picks up. The theater I saw it in actually broke into applause three seperate times due to the laughter.

If you are a guy, you HAVE to see this movie. Not sure how much ladies will like it, unless your humor is black and somewhat dry.

I know it has been a while since I posted anything but life gets busy. Get out and see this movie. You will dig it.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Get Back

So after taking two weeks off and taking twelve steps backwards, I tried to get back on track this past week.

Today was also the first day to weigh in with accountability. I actually had a guy there with me to weigh me. And I came in nine pounds down from last week. So I went from losing 105 pounds and then gaining twelve back and now the grand total is back over the 100 mark at 102.

It feels good to be back on track. I lost the most pounds I have lost since the first week. Here's why: when I went back to eating like a maniac for two weeks, I effectively reconditioned my body to eat waaaaay to much. So getting back to a healthier way to live meant making yet another dramatic difference in lifestyle. I also upped the intensity and length of my workouts on the treadmill. It all factors into dropping the weight I needed to drop.

Tomorrow I get to see my brother and some friends as we celebrate the heavenly homecoming of Ed Smith. Hallelujah. I learned long ago that God doesn't respect time like I think he should. God does what he does in his perfect time. I only see life through my view down here from the temporal. He lives in eternity. Trying to get me to understand eternity is probably like trying to teach a collie geometry. It is incapable of understanding because it is so far beyond the realm of what it knows and understands. So that is me. A stupid dog who eats too much when the food is put out there in front of him. But I do have a nice, shiny coat.

Monday, April 09, 2007


I feel like I lost my dad twice. I lost him when my folks got divorced. Once he lost custody (after an emotional court battle) he just checked out. In essence he told my mom, "You want them so badly? You got em. I am done." And he checked out. From that point (when I was six) until I was about twenty six, my dad and I were pals. Don't get me wrong, it is great to have that dynamic with your father as long as he continues to be your dad.

After a really weird teenage period, I left to pursue education in college and go into the ministry. Dad never really understood why I did that and certainly did not approve of that choice. But by that time he had sort of lost all dad standing he might have had. But he was never proud of me for what I was doing. Even though he went to church and taught the occasional Sunday School lesson, he missed a lot of what church really is. And he eventually told people I was a bouncer at a strip club when they asked what I was doing out of college. I know they all knew that was a joke. But deep down, that joke came from a place of disapproval and shame and embarrassment. I am not sure if it was how he felt about himself or me or God or what. I didn't really care at the time.

Then when I was about 26, we went to Denver together to visit my grandma, his mom, one last time. We had a long drive together and we got to really talk some things out. Basically I figured out that my dad was really a screwed up guy from way back. It helped me gain some perspective on who he was and what he had become. It certainly didn't excuse him for what he did. But it did give me some new perspective. I came to a point where I forgave him. And he understood me. And then we started having weekly grown-up, mature, father and son talks. I would ask his advice. He would ask mine. I got to enjoy a relationship with my dad for a short period of time that even both of my brothers missed out on.

After a few years of building a relationship, he died suddenly of a massive heart attack while driving. My dad smoked unfiltered cigarettes for over forty years. He was a heavy drinker for the last fifteen or so. And the Smith men are not known as being the healthiest of folks. My grandpa Smitty died in his 50's of kidney failure well before any of his grandsons were born. This is one of the reasons that I am dead set on losing weight. My clock is ticking. I want to squeeze all I can out of life. I am 32 and single. If I get married and start a family, I want more than ten or fifteen or twenty years with them. I want to grow old with my wife. I want to see my grandchildren born. I want to meet my youngest child's wife when he gets married. To do that, I need to get healthy.

I am feeling somewhat thoughtful tonight. A friend from a previous church passed away in his late forties over the weekend. It makes me pause. He was healthy, at least he always seemed that way to me. And he died of a massive heart attack. So, now I am forcing myself to drop another 100 or so pounds, to get down to a weight that will help me prolong my life.

For those of you who pray, lift one or two up for Paula and Josh who lost Ed, their father and husband. For those who are more comfortable lifting a glass (I have all types who read this, regardless of the lack of comments...jerks), lift one for Ed. And lift a diet soda for Todd L. Smith, my friend and yes, my dad too.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Oh Man

What a good week or two away from the diet. I went to Chicago on a mission trip with some of my youth here and we had a great week. And I ate and ate and ate. I also neglected to work out each day. And I didn't drink enough water at all.

Needless to say I gained. And I gained. En toto I gained about 12 pounds. But you know what? I don't care! I really enjoyed the trip and the bonus was being able to experience it through what I ate. I started again today and retabulated my weekly weight loss goals to fit accordingly with where I am headed.

Also, dave mac sent me the best non-dave blog link. Check out this weblog written by agnostics who church hop and then write a sort of report about their experience, sort of a post-modern Siskel and Ebert for the post-Christian culture we live in. But their ratings system is a little more complex than the infamous thumbs system popularized on the S&E show.

Here is the web addy: http://churchhop.blogspot.com Those of you who work at a church, this is valuable insight into how effective you are reaching the masses, as it were. And no that is not a fat joke since I gained weight these past two weeks. You should be ashamed for thinking that. It is so very hurtful. I cried a single tear.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Chicago Break

I took a two week break from dieting so I could take a group of teenagers to Chicago. It is hard to diet on the road and I didn't want to subject healthy teenagers with high metabolisms to my stupid diet. So I ate. I also enjoyed good fellowship as we experienced Chicago's great food together.

I also probably gained about ten pounds, give or take. I didn't exercise much at all. I ate way too much. I did not get as much water as I needed. And I am okay with that.

I understand that the setbacks are not devastating. I work through them and just add a little more time. Besides, I figure five months on a diet and two weeks off is a fair trade. Starting Wednesday, we go for another five months. Hopefully I can drop some more weight and nudge myself ever closer to the ideal weight which awaits me.

So, that is a brief update in the world of dieting Craig.