Right now, as a man, I can honestly and humbly say, I'm growing. It's happening slowly, but it's happening. 

Progress is being made in my life. Physically, Musically, Relationally, Spiritually, and even Professionally. I'm really not sure why I capitalized all those words, but it's true. I am getting into shape. Seeing a small amount of results makes me wonder how to keep going and also makes me more excited for the future.

Also, I am down to 250 pounds. As light as I've been since 2013. Honestly this is the first time I've gotten down to 250 WITHOUT the help of a juice fast since probably my days at Southeastern (2006). I don't really have accurate stats for all of that, but that wouldn't surprise me in the slightest. THAT, to me, is the biggest win of all. I'm not on a crash diet, or a fast. I'm not paying for shakes, or really even a program, and yet I'm making smarter choices, being more active, and watching what I put into my system. 

See this whole thing is in a way about fear. I fear dying young, a lot. I fear leaving my wife without a husband. Kori's dad died when she was 16 or so. He died suddenly in a car accident. And the crater it left in her family's life is astounding. There will forever be impacts from that, on my mother-in-law's life, obviously, but surprisingly my marriage. In many ways. Kori worries more about me than I do. It shows in how she drives, how she reacts if I don't respond to her texts in a reasonable amount of time. We always pray for protection at the beginning of a road trip or journey. I know for many Christians, prayers for safe travels are a commonplace habit, but when your wife holds your hand as you're driving at the start of a trip, and you see the memorial sticker to "Daddy" on her back window in the rear-view mirror, it just becomes something altogether different. She NEEDS to know that God is protecting us, protecting me. She would probably rather leave this earth than feel lost again after losing the man closest to her. 

That motivates me immensely. I CANNOT bear facing the possibility that my disgusting fat tendencies toward Pizza and Diet Coke would somehow make a hellish nightmare for my precious wife come true. That I would FAIL her as a husband and theoretically FAIL my as-yet-inconceived children as a father. 

I'm not afraid of death, per se. I know God's perfect love casts out fear in my life. But it's hard not to call what I feel towards failing my wife anything but fear. It is a drive, a deep passion and commitment to run with all my heart and soul away from the insipid tendency I have to give up, give in, relax, take a break, compromise, for the sake of the short term pleasure of diet coke with lime. Or some ice cream. **** ice cream. My life and legacy as a man is worth so much more than that. 

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I mentioned how a lot of it was fear, which is true in a way, but that's not the whole of it. In many ways it is about conquering myself. Conquering the enemy within. [cue Michael Jackson] Which I think is crucial to fully realizing growth in all other areas. 

If a man cannot get his own body in order, how can he expect to get his house in order? His job? His kids? Let alone his passions, his dreams? No it has to start with this. With my own self. 

My full name means Strong Cheerful Leader. And while I have often been considered cheerful, or jovial, to be more accurate (I'll take it), "Leader" has not been a word to often come up describing me, and "Strong" far less. And I aim to change that. It is almost my primary passion in life to live up to my name. And in doing so, I would then also be a great husband to my wife, and a great father to my future child. 

This also applies to whatever I put my hand to do with my time to make a living, (hopefully the things that bring me the most pleasure to do). I will no doubt be far better at whatever that ends up being, when I am in fact, a strong cheerful leader. 

These are the thoughts and musings I've been having recently about my life and where it's headed. So, when I see it feels good to be growing, it actually means more than I can even describe. I'm not gonna stop growing and getting better and loving better and being the absolute best version of who I was put on this planet to be.

Let's go.  

There’s two kinds of people in this world when you boil it all down. You got your talkers and you got your doers. Most people are just talkers, all they do is talk. But when all’s said and done, it’s the doers that change the world. And when they do that, they change us, and that’s why we never forget them.

So which one are you? Do you just talk about it, or do you stand up and do something about it? Because believe you me, all the rest of it’s just coffeehouse bullshit.
— Rocco, Boondock Saints II