JMERLAU   68,115
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JMERLAU's Recent Blog Entries

Quick Update on my Wife being Hospitalized

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Hey Friends.....THANK YOU for those who are praying for my wife!!

I wanted to take a quick minute to tell you what's happening.

She got bit by SOMETHING?!?! We think it was a spider as she was doing a fitness walk in an unfamilar area last Thursday. We are now over a week into the battle and 4 days in the hospital for serious antibiotics. (it was not a brown recluse spider though)

She is doing better one day at a time and with any hope at all, today I will get to bring her home to finish recovery.

PLEASE keep praying - they are very much appreciated and very much FELT by all four of us! This is very trying to say the least!

So there ya have it...very quick but atleast you now know what you're praying for. :-)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

OLDERDANDRT 7/15/2012 7:13PM

    Oh, my! Since you say "not a brown recluse spider", I take it they are doing tests to try to identify the culprit! Prayers and well wishes for her, my friend! emoticon

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PIXIEMOM13 7/3/2012 1:33PM

    Wow, I'm going to echo John's comment... very scary, but happy to hear she's on the mend.

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MISSLISA1973 7/2/2012 11:19PM

    Oh my! I'm so sorry! This is the first I've heard of it. I am glad she is doing better and wish her - and your whole precious family - the best as she recovers!


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MAMADWARF 7/2/2012 11:16PM

    Praying for your hubs got. It by a brown recluse...long story short, he nearly lost his leg! Very scary!!! Hope she heals up quick...

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FREDANN 7/2/2012 10:03PM

    Praying for your family! Hope your wife gets better real soon!

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PAMNANGEL 7/2/2012 9:49PM

    Hope she feels better soon.

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JENN03275 7/2/2012 9:28PM

    Hope she is home with you real soon!!

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YOGATIME 7/2/2012 9:24PM

    Sending prayers your way!

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RUNNER12COM 7/2/2012 9:14PM

    Very scary, but I'm happy to read that she is on the mend.

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ANDREA0301 7/2/2012 12:00PM

    Prayers continuing! {{{HUGS}}}

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CRIS76 7/2/2012 10:50AM

    Praying for a quick recovery!

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PIXIEWIXIE 7/1/2012 6:57PM

    Ouch, so it wasn't cellulitis! Ah, poor Chelle. I hope she gets well very soon and that you all find some relief from your stress. Sending much love. emoticon

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SPARKLE1908 7/1/2012 6:53PM

    Praying for a speedy recovery for your wife...

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CATHRINE2010 7/1/2012 6:28PM

    Praying for your family. We are here for both of you. emoticon

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BOBBYD31 7/1/2012 6:23PM

    thanks for the up date, give her a big spark hug from all of us

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TEXASCATFOOD 7/1/2012 5:22PM

    Praying for all four of you. If those IV antibiotics work as well for your wife as they did for me, she should be better in several days. Hope she feels like a million bucks in no time.

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    Thank you for the update. It sounds like she is on her way to feeling better soon. Sending you both good thoughts.

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NANHBH 7/1/2012 4:56PM


Chelle is in my thoughts and prayers for a full recovery. This is so scary. Thank goodness is wasn't a brown recluse spider. Life is precious. Hope you and the girls are doing OK.

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JANETRIS 7/1/2012 4:55PM

    Thanks for the update. Prayers going your way.... emoticon

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TAYGRL 7/1/2012 4:45PM


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MANDYLOVE_76 7/1/2012 4:21PM

    HOpe she gets well soon!

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TEENY_BIKINI 7/1/2012 3:01PM

    Praying for a full recovery.


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LAURIE5658 7/1/2012 2:21PM

    You've got it, Jerome. Please know we are here for you.

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CHUBRUB3 7/1/2012 1:50PM

    Hugs and prayers for a full recovery.
Hope she is home with you all soon.

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MIAMIA7 7/1/2012 1:49PM

    You know we are all praying for her Jerome!

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EJRANVILLE 7/1/2012 12:54PM

    Praying for quick healing! So very scary. emoticon

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THEEASYKILL30 7/1/2012 12:43PM

    How very scary! My thoughts and prayers are with your family right now. I hope your wife recovers quickly.

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LYRICCA 7/1/2012 12:06PM

    Sending good thoughts! Hope she is feeling better and that you get to bring her home today. :-)

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    Sending you lots of hugs and prayers - glad she is improving!

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EVLOBOS310 7/1/2012 10:29AM

    Positive thoughts and energy coming to both of you! emoticon

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BE-THE-CHANGE 7/1/2012 10:07AM

    Keeping all of you in my thoughts and prayers.

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_JODI404 7/1/2012 9:47AM

    Will definitely keep praying! emoticon emoticon

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PASKALINI 7/1/2012 9:36AM

    Keeping your family in my thoughts :) Hopefully you get to bring her home today!

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CALVIND 7/1/2012 9:36AM

    Thanks for the update. Praying the worst is over.

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GREENMOUSE 7/1/2012 9:32AM

    Continued prayer for you and your wife.

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MEGA_MILES 7/1/2012 9:24AM

    Hang in there. You'll get through this, as scary as it is. Prays continueing for your whole family. emoticon

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MRE1956 7/1/2012 9:15AM


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SPARKYWATSON 7/1/2012 9:13AM

    Hopefully the worst is over. Will continue with prayers.

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Revisiting my Journey - with a few pics

Friday, June 22, 2012

I was asked recently to complete a questionaire to which I was very happy to do. What I didn't expect was the journey it took me on as I worked through the questions and formulated my responses accordingly. This was honestly fairly tough to get through at times and took me several weeks to complete.(partly due to life in general though)

As I read and re-read and re-re-read this, I felt like this was worth sharing. This isn't an easy journey, the struggles are tough, but you can win. It is my hope that I can inspire ONE person by sharing this.

This has been edited by several people so I can't take credit for all the writing, but it is still my story. Thank you to my wife Chelle and to Bruce for the edits made.

Section 1 questions. What was your childhood like? When and how did you start gaining weight? Was it something you were aware of? How did it make you feel? How did it affect your life, relationships and goals/career? Did it alter your personality or outlook on life? How did people treat you? Please provide an example of how someone treated you/commented on your weight.

Answers - I grew up in a very small town in Kansas as the youngest of 5 children. My siblings were much older so they weren't really playmates. One of my favorite things to do was play “kick the can” for hours with kids in the neighborhood. I got very involved with Drum Corps/marching band in the 5th grade. I spent 18 years traveling nearly all summer nationwide with Drum Corps. This was a very demanding activity with long rehearsals outside in the heat. I was active and fit. I even taught this activity until the late 90’s, which kept my weight down. Looking back now, I wasn’t eating healthy; I was just active and working it off. I didn’t start gaining serious weight until I changed career paths and got a desk job. I became less active, still ate a poor diet, and my weight climbed slowly. I kept having to buy new pants. I didn’t like feeling myself getting out of control, but I didn’t have the will to do anything about it either. Then I lost my Mom in 2005. She was one of my best friends. I went into a deep depression, ate my way through it, and rapidly gained a lot of weight. I was probably 230 when she passed and quickly went to my top measured weight of 264. After that point, I just couldn't bear to look at the scale. I kept getting bigger, and my wife and I agree that I reached 275 at least. I felt embarrassed. I was tired and grumpy all the time. Gaining weight affected every aspect of my life. I had two young daughters who wanted me to wrestle on the floor or play in the back yard. I simply couldn’t do it. I wasn't giving my very loving and supportive wife the best a husband has to offer. I had no will to help with household chores or play with my children. Some days, I struggled to get out of bed. The only person that ever treated me poorly due to my size was me. I hated my new appearance and how I felt. I knew my health was poor. I knew I needed to make changes, but I had no will to do it. I beat myself up. It wasn’t until I hit bottom emotionally that my wife understood my self-imposed mental torture. On the outside, I was a happy, fun guy always pulling pranks at work. On the inside I wasn’t healthy or happy. I started walking twice a week for a month, but it wasn't enough to turn things around.

Section 2: Food Philosophy Questions - How did you view food (as comfort, solution to boredom etc)? How did this view affect you and your loved ones/family? Where did the eating habits stem from? How did you feel emotionally?

Answers - My view of food has been through just about every cycle imaginable. My mom prepared delicious but not necessarily healthy food. She did try to get me to eat fruits and veggies, but wasn't strict so I ate what I wanted. When I got out on my own, I viewed food as a convenience, grabbing whatever would be easiest to grab and sitting in front of the TV watching sports with my wife or at friends' houses. Meals always seemed to consist of simple party snack foods, nothing remotely healthy. Not sure I ever used food as a solution, but I would certainly eat when I was bored. No one in my family did anything different so there weren't positive influences, and societal influences didn't help. But I only blame myself for the habits I developed. Initially when I started gaining weight, I used my desk job as a lame excuse for weight gain. Sure, sitting all day didn't help. But I made no effort to offset it by being active. It eventually caught up to me. I had struggled a little with depression, but fell into a deep depression after my mom died, which made me even less active and more drawn to comfort food. I realize now I was addicted to food.

Section 3: Eating habits Questions - How much did you eat for all meals, snacks, etc? How did it escalate? Where did you usually eat and how often? Were you at all concerned? How did your weight hold you back in work, society or relationships? Did it affect your goals in life?

Answers - I'd always eaten until I was completely full or beyond full most of the time. From a calorie perspective, I honestly have no idea how many I used to eat on a daily basis. I didn’t track them, I didn’t read labels, I didn’t care to be informed before. We ate lots of fast food, and when we did eat at home, I would eat seconds and sometimes thirds. I remember when I was probably 10 years old, I had a paper route and would stop every day for the next 5 or 6 years on my route to get TWO Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups a day. That addiction carried on for years, and caught up with me when I got the desk job and lost my mother. Food was my solace. I wasn't concerned by my health, and nearly always had a snack in my hand. My weight never held me back in my work that I can remember. But it was affecting what I could and couldn't do with my family. It affected my mood, making me grouchy all the time. Having a very short temper negatively affected my wife and daughters.

Before daily intake
Mock rundown of what you ate for:

Breakfast: (items varied, but here are some of my favorites)
Sonic Breakfast burritos a lot, tater tots and large drink
Sonic Pancake on a stick
Dr Pepper
Honey buns(with the white icing)
Lunch: (some of my favorites)
Entire small pizza
Chinese food (lots of it) -- Chicken and Rice, The greasiest messiest, yummy fat filled Chicken fingers I'd ever eaten. I would get the meal with 6 fingers, 2 cups of brown rice and an eggroll. THEN I would cover the whole mess with sweet and sour sauce.
McDonalds – Quarter Pounder with Cheese, Super-size Fries
Burger King – Whopper, onion rings, large Dr. Pepper, tacos
Anything Mexican

Dinner: (some of my favorites)
Same as lunch, unfortunately!

Dr Pepper all day
Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups all day
Cookie dough

Section 4: The turning point Questions - Emotionally and physically, what was the most painful part of being overweight? When was the moment or time you realized you had to lose weight? How did it effect you emotionally? What motivated your decision? How did you take steps towards that goal? What were your family and friends’ response?

Answers - The most painful part of being overweight was physical. My legs hurt, my back hurt and I had/have neck problems due to my weight. Emotionally it hurt when I looked in the mirror because I didn’t like what I saw. I knew for a very long time that I needed to make changes, but made only meager attempts, never fully committing myself to changing and taking back my life back. My motivation was and still is my wife and daughters. They deserve a happy, healthy, fun, loving husband and father. On December 28th, 2009 I made the decision to become the man that they deserved and the man I deserved to be. When I made the decision, I changed everything I was doing. I told my wife and daughters I was going to start trying to lose weight. My wife was VERY supportive and began cooking healthy meals at home. We started looking at food labels. We stopped buying so much processed food and learned how to eat healthfully. Taking steps toward the goal wasn’t hard. Once I finally made up my mind, I went for it with everything I had. I knew it would be work, but I was and still am willing to do the work. I didn’t tell many people initially; just my family and some co-workers. When people started seeing the weight loss, questions started coming, about how I was making it happen. The support was always there among my friends. When I hit the 80+ lost mark, people were surprised to hear I’d had no surgery. I'd always tell them, “Why would I do that when I can work it off and be healthier for it?” I had acquaintances whom I hadn’t seen in a while that I had to re-introduce myself to because my transformation was so drastic!

Section 5: Losing the weight Questions - How did you start losing the weight (specific diet and exercise routines)? What helped you lose the weight (diet system, support network, mantra etc..)? How long did it take to start losing weight? How long did it take to lose over 100 pounds? What were some of the difficulties you had? Did you plateau? Who/what was your support system? Is there a certain motto that stuck out for you?

Answers - When I started my journey, I joined after hearing about it from a friend at work and I cut my calories to around 1200-1400 a day. I fully believe saved my life. I started tracking everything I ate. I started eating much less and much healthier. Their nutrition database is massive for tracking food and it’s very easy to use. The people of SparkPeople support each other via forums and that is an incredible source of focus, accountability and inspiration. I started walking a lot. I would get out of bed at 4:30am to go for a 3 mile walk every single morning. I took 15-20 minute breaks at work to go for walks. These walks were in the tunnels under downtown Dallas near my office. Then when I got home I would walk another 3 miles. I did the work I knew was necessary. I walked 3-7 miles a day for most of January 2010. By the end of January I had already lost 20 pounds. That was already 1/3 of what I wanted to lose for the entire year. Having that success was a great motivator. I pushed myself even harder in my workouts. Then I got an elliptical and started using it every day and increased my time as I progressed. I continued my daily work-break walks. In May 2010 I ran my first race, The Warrior Dash. What a rush, I was hooked on running. I ran my first official 5k in July of 2010 and never looked back. Also in the Summer of 2010, I added HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workouts to my schedule. These I did in my makeshift home gym I had set up in my garage. My wife joined me for these workouts as she was in the process of losing over 65 pounds herself. These workouts validated how far I had come. I was stronger and energized and healthy for the first time in at least15 years. It took me 349 days to lose 100 pounds, and I had an 8 week break of no workouts due to surgery. I can honestly say I didn’t really have many difficulties during the weight loss phase. I was working so hard and was so focused, it just happened for me. I probably plateaued at about 95 pounds lost, but mostly because of the surgery I had. I developed a sports hernia and had to have that repaired, after I ran my first 10k. I have run over two 5k’s, 6 or 7 10k’s, 3-15k’s, 7 half marathons and 1 full marathon. My personal success factors are as follows. 1. You MUST know what/how much you are eating (track it) 2. Shut up and Sweat (work it off) 3. Do it every single day. It’s really that simple. I still follow these three success factors today as they STILL WORK.

After daily intake
Mock rundown of what you now eat for:

[Note: Below is food tracked on a recent, typical day]

Shakeology shake
Green Leaf lettuce that I cut myself (about 1 cup)
Green Pepper, yellow pepper and onion (about 2 table spoons each)
2 tables spoons of Kraft Light Catalina dressing
3 ounces of grilled chicken breast
¼ cup brown rice
Baked Alaskan Cod fish (about 2 ounces)
Mediterranean Couscous (about ¼ cup)
Steamed corn
One piece of whole wheat bread
Great Value Sweet & Salty Peanut Chewy Granola Bar
8-10 baby carrots raw
3-4 fresh strawberries
Few bites of fresh pineapple
(please include serving sizes)

Section 6: New food outlook Questions - How do you now view food and health? How has your new lifestyle changed you? Do you feel better about yourself? Has your weight loss affected other goals or your relationships? What’s the best part of being healthier, slimmer? Do people treat you differently? What advice do you have for people struggling with their weight?

Answers - My view of food and health has done a 180. My current view and motto of food is: ‘I eat to fuel my body, not fill my body’. Food is critical to our survival obviously and we MUST have a relationship with food. I now have a relationship that I can trust. Today we eat at home most of the time and I have one serving only. Leftovers are put away for another day. Do I still indulge? Absolutely. The difference is that I recognize those times as an exception and not the rule. I know how to move past it. I also know that my health is my responsibility, and that I have to work at it. Good health doesn’t just ‘happen’ for most people. We all have to manage our relationships with food on a daily basis. I still struggle some days. It's been an emotional journey.
It’s one thing for me to be ‘skinny’ but it’s an entirely different thing for me to be healthy inside and out. My lifestyle has changed me into a much happier, much more energetic, more positive person. The lifestyle change has affected my entire family. My wife has lost 70ish pounds herself by doing the same things I have: Eating right and working out. Our daughters are much more aware of junk food and fitness as well. We visit health food stores and farmers markets as a family, something we never did in the past. My confidence is sky high and I feel great about myself. My weight loss has driven me to be passionate to help others realize the same feeling of success and happiness. My relationships are better across the board, simply due to my internal happiness. There are so many things that are so much better since my transformation it’s difficult to pick one, but it's probably giving my wife and daughters deserved a better husband and father. I can play with my daughters, run, ride bikes, etc…They have a hard time keeping up with me! That’s awesome. I have the energy to help my wife with household chores. I can’t say that I get treated differently by my friends and family, but I have gained a whole new set of friends. Runners! I have joined the Dallas Running Club and it has been a huge source of joy to hang out and run races once a month. I have also made friends all over the country via SparkPeople.

My advice to others who are struggling with weight loss, in addition to my personal success factors above, is to ‘stay the course’. You might be struggling, you might be losing very slowly, but stay the course, keep working hard, keep eating the right foods, you'll get results. Never give up. This is an emotional journey as much as it is a physical journey. Take note of the emotions and your relationship with food. Knowing how you treat food is crucial for your success.

Link to my video about my journey:

and a few before and after pic

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LOTSOFBUTTER 7/10/2012 2:18PM


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DOTTIESPLACE 7/5/2012 12:03AM

    Great story! So inspiring! Thanks for sharing,

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MANIKLODE 7/3/2012 10:12AM

    You ARE indeed a source of inspiration. I started running because of you! I'd never in a million years think that I could run myself, but when I saw your 100-pounds-lost video. I decided to give it a go. And wouldn't you know it? I started enjoying it! Who knew? So keep the inspiration coming. IT'S WORKING!!! And thanks a million for being willing to share.

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JUSTMYSELF333 6/30/2012 1:27PM

  Congrats on your weight loss. I really like your "Shut up & Sweat" shirt.

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MISSLISA1973 6/27/2012 6:59AM

    This is fantastic. There are so many things we learn about ourselves along the way. There are bumps and bruises, as well as goals and milestones reached. It is a very emotional journey. And very personal. One area where I tend to struggle is thinking my experience should look like someone else's. It is hard not to compare myself sometimes, but I am learning to realize my story is MY story both in how I got here and in how I am getting out. Thanks for sharing your story. It is encouraging to see how your life is better for being healthier.

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SHARJOPAUL 6/25/2012 10:57AM

    WOW! Great change. Congratulations.

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OLDERDANDRT 6/25/2012 8:31AM

    Great going, my friend! It took a lot of courage for you to start your journey and to follow through. I'm so glad you did! Besides all the goodness for yourself and your family, you've become such a wonderful inspiration to sooooo many!!! Thank you for taking charge of your life in such a big way and sharing it with the world! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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JANETRIS 6/24/2012 11:50AM

    Powerful blog. I love the true joy in your face in the last pic....priceless! emoticon

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~INDYGIRL 6/24/2012 6:50AM

    Woohoo! What a story!

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HEALTHIERKEN 6/23/2012 11:03AM

    What a great story. You've set the success bar very high : )

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MSANITAL 6/23/2012 7:56AM

    You have come a long way your determined and it shows. you have inspired so many people and me included.. Thank you so much for being part of my journey and Spark.. I have learned so much from you.. Thank you..

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BE-THE-CHANGE 6/23/2012 7:12AM

    Great blog - you are definitely inspiring!

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RUNNER12COM 6/22/2012 8:58PM

    No surprise to me, you continue to motivate and inspire with your words, your actions, and your willingness to share with others.

You are awesome.

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KARL1266 6/22/2012 6:54PM

    Great blog! Thank you for sharing this. Your story is inspiring. I hope you don't mind, but I am going to take this same questionnaire for myself. Just so I can see where I've been and how far I've come. But mostly to reinforce something you said...that saved your life. I, too, truly believe that about myself.

You stated that you hoped your journey will inspire one person. Consider me inspired. My journey has been very difficult at times. But seeing yours tells me it's ok. I don't have to be feeling the way I do all the time (that I'm not losing the weight fast enough). I knew this was going to be a long journey and a hard journey. I just expected better results.

Thank you again.

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DEE797 6/22/2012 6:34PM

    Awesome blog. Thanks so much for sharing it with us. emoticon

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WRITEMANN1 6/22/2012 6:01PM

    Great blog!!!!

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KEEP_GOING247 6/22/2012 6:00PM

    Wow! emoticon emoticon You are an inspiration!! and how do you make a shakeology shake?

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PURPLE180 6/22/2012 5:59PM

    Awesome job and awesome blog...truly an inspiration. (((HIGH FIVE))) emoticon

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DEEJACKSON 6/22/2012 4:43PM


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DRC Bloomin 4 mile race report - with pics

Monday, June 04, 2012

June 2nd, 2012
White Rock Lake, Dallas TX
Dallas Running Club
Bloomin 4 Mile

I don't run many shorter distances but I was really looking forward to this run!

I was up at 4:45am ( I know, I slept in, slacker! :-) ) to start getting ready and get my body to move and groove a little. I started the day on my PVC roller, I love what that thing does for me. I went through my normal stretches to get my low back, hammies, quads and calves somewhat functional(some days it takes more than others). I then made my energy drinks and got dressed.

My buddy David picked me up at 6am and we were off to my favorite lake in Dallas. It was a beautiful morning and the lake was like glass, simply beautiful to say the least. We got our bibs and then started on a little warm up walk. Lynette was working the tabe with our bibs on it and it's always good to see her. I was even happier to see that she was empty handed and had NOTHING for me this time, LOL! (there is a story there, but it'll wait) I Love getting to races early enough to actually get some blood moving really well in my legs, it felt great. We walked about a mile and a half out and ran part way back. On the walk out, my friends Mimi and Kevin came by so they walked and talked with us for a while.

We ran a little way back to the starting line, hit the porta pots and found another friend or two. Sometimes I think that's why I run, to see my friends, LOL! Always good to see Shelly and her son Alex at races too!

I honestly didn't have any expectations for this race. My hammies have been really tight and I sometimes have trouble getting them to loosen up. We all shared some good laughs before we headed to the starting line.

It' TIME....time to line up~! Typically I start in the back, it always makes me feel good to get to pass a few other runners. Today however, we lined up about 5 feet from the start line, what was I thinking?! There we were, Lynette, David and I up there with the faster runners.

And we're off - literally off and running faster than I typically would, but I felt good.

mile 1 was a 7:54 pace on my garmin. I ran with Lynette for about .75 miles and it was faster than the pace shows on my garmin, I realized i couldn't keep that up so I slowed, or so I thought and watched the speed demon run off into the distance....bye Lynette. :-)

mile 2 was the same at 7:54 pace. I was just holding steady for this mile trying hard to stay relaxed and focusing on my breathing.

mile 3 was 8:15. Mile 3 was slower because I had to run up that dawg gone hill that I hate at the lake. It's this only part of the lake I don't care for, coming off the bridge that bounces with every step to face this hill, it's almost depressing really. lol.

mile 4 was 8:04. Again I was simply trying to relax and push to the end. I could have been faster this mile, but I did stop at the water station to get a few sips of water.

I shocked myself honestly! I have NO CLUE I could ever run this fast for four miles. I felt good when I finished and had a great sense of accomplishment! My official time was 32:33 earning me 11th place in my age group. I literally laughed out loud when I found out where I placed. I laughed because I am alway right in the middle, and yes, this race was no different. I ran my best race to date and yet I was 11th out of 24 men. HA. That's OK though, I beat myself! Last year my time was 35:01 for the same race on the same course, I WIN!

Ofcourse there were some pictures taken:
Me and my buddy David pre race

There is my friend Shelly

And Lynette

Me and David post race

and just because I'm a goofball!

and a nice shot of the lake

Great day
Great Run!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DFWRACES 6/7/2012 7:30AM

  Hi Jerome...Good race! Here is video of you running the race (yellow shirt bib 342). You should pass the camera at video time 14:43:

(You need to copy the entire Youtube link above. I'm not sure why it broke apart into 3 lines.)

Comment edited on: 6/7/2012 7:35:51 AM

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MISSLISA1973 6/7/2012 2:07AM


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BE-THE-CHANGE 6/5/2012 6:42PM


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OLDERDANDRT 6/5/2012 4:30PM

    emoticon emoticon

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MSANITAL 6/5/2012 1:41PM

    Way to go JMAN you rock.. you got to concider doing the boilermaker next year.. maybe I will even join ya..

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EDGEOFSANITY 6/5/2012 8:54AM

    Awesome race! Always nice to hang out with you =) So I have a month to find a match for that yellow, huh?

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    WOOHOO!!! that's a great improvement!

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BACKTOME10 6/5/2012 7:57AM

    Way to go!!!! Nice pics too....

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SUZIEMAH1 6/5/2012 7:18AM

    Awesome...congrats on beating your previous time... emoticon

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PDQ1203 6/5/2012 4:22AM


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DONNAJEAN2277 6/4/2012 11:59PM

    Awesome job!

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CHUBRUB3 6/4/2012 11:19PM

    YOu did great! Awesome!
My race is coming up, and I have been training, hope I am training enough.
thanks for sharing.

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CMA444 6/4/2012 10:34PM

    Thanks for the review of the race! Wish I could have been there. I'm going to attempt some running on Wednesday (since it is National Running Day) and ease my way back in. I am going to be a pace leader again for the DRC in the half marathon training program starting at the end of July. Any other races in your future?

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Gotcha Day Letter to Emily 5-13-2012

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Posted to my personal blog but wanted to share

11 years ago today, we were in China on one of the most important mission of our lives.

We were on a mission to bring you home! Very excited, very scared, very nervous, but we were there and ready for our family to start growing. Little did we know all the changes that would really begin that day.

We were blessed with an amazing little girl that day. She was scared, unsure what was happening and very curious about everything going on around her. This little girl is growing up so fast, too fast really. She is growing into a beautiful young lady, very talented, athletic, artistic, gifted and overall an amazing person.

Watching you grow, and having the opportunity to guide you is a honor!

Remembering a time when you were still a small toddler, walking out of our bedroom with my shorts pulled up under your armpits, we all laughed so hard. SO SWEET! I could go on and on with the memories, but I won't.

Seeing your friendships develop over time, knowing that you are picking friends who are of great character, not just popular is rather amazing. Knowing that your character is growing and shaping into an amazing young woman, wow, how amazing, what an honor to watch and be a part.

I am looking forward to seeing where this journey called life takes you. I believe there are amazing things in store for you. God has given you amazing talents, I pray daily that those talents are used for the benefit of yourself and others. I pray that you will embrace the love of Jesus in your heart and hold that dear to your forever.

I am very proud of you Emily.

This picture was taken the day we got home and is STILL one of my favorite pictures of you.

This is a recent picture. You were amazing the day we brought you home and you're even more amazing today.

I love you and I'm proud to be your Daddy!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MISSLISA1973 6/27/2012 7:10AM

    How fantastic to see the love you and your family share.

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DEE797 6/22/2012 6:37PM

    Another beautiful blog. They both brought tears to my eyes.

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    Thanks for the happy tears,Jerome! God is absolutely amazing when He guides people(and when they listen to Him) thru life. Look at the beautiful girls He picked JUST FOR YOU!!

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    How lucky your little girl is to be so purposely loved. Beautiful letter.

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BMCKEOW1 5/21/2012 2:49PM

    That is so sweet. I actually teared up. You two look so happy together.

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CHUBRUB3 5/17/2012 6:10PM

    Happy Name Day Emily!
You have every reason to be proud of your daughter, just as she has every reason to be proud of you.

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ANDREA0301 5/17/2012 11:54AM

    Thanks so much for sharing this part of your life with us. Emily truly is an amazing young woman and the fact that you are her dad is no small part of her success. Here's to another 11+ amazing years with your dear daughter and lovely family!

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JANETRIS 5/17/2012 10:12AM

    What a story! You both look so happy in the pic! That was a beautiful letter you wrote to your dear daughter. You both must feel so blessed!

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OLDERDANDRT 5/17/2012 8:43AM

    This is so sweet! She's is blossoming into quite a lovely young lady! Congrats on a beautiful daughter!

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CALVIND 5/16/2012 4:52PM

    thanks for sharing. It is nice to see the love a father has for his daughter.

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JEREMY723 5/16/2012 10:50AM

    What a wonderful letter and story. Thanks for sharing with all of us!

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MANIKLODE 5/16/2012 10:43AM

    What a beautiful hommage to pay to your daughter! You brought tears to my eyes! Very toucching! emoticon

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THINGETTINOUT 5/16/2012 10:39AM

    What a beautiful testimony to you and your daughter my friend. She is an amazing young lady.

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1CRAZYDOG 5/16/2012 10:12AM

    emoticon Tears of joy. You have a wonderful, beautiful daughter. Adoption, especially international adoption is such a process but it is THE MORST worthwhile thing DH and I have done in our lives as well.

DS -- going to be 20 on Aug. 10. He came home to us on Feb. 23, 1993. We are so proud of him! He is going to be finishing up basic training in the army on 25 May then onto advanced training then graduation on 6 July. Brings tears to my eyes to see how much he's accomplished in his short lifetime.

DD -- 16 (going on 26 -- you'll see that happen with your DD, too, as she gets into the older teen years!) and came to us on Aug. 29, 1995. What a joy, what a beauty, what intelligence.

Both were adopted from Korea and we celebrate their Gotcha Days to this day!

HUGS to you and your precious DD.

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SPIDERGIRL6 5/16/2012 10:07AM

  Wow, that is very touching. I am presently waiting to adopt kids. Your blog caught my attention because of it. I hope to have the same chance as you did to be able to adopt a lovely little girl. It is to be noted that we are adopting in the province and not overseas, but it is still a big challenge. :)

have a good day and thanks for sharing your experience.

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ABSOLUTZER0 5/16/2012 10:05AM

    Thanks for sharing, bro! You have quite the young lady there. She is already changing the world. I can't wait to see the impact she continues to have on those around her and beyond.

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Gotcha Day letter to Sydney

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

This was originally posted on my personal external blog, but wanted to share.

7 years ago God gave us you
Your eyes so bright
Your smile so sweet
I'm so very thankful that God gave us you!

Sydney - it's hard to believe that it's been 7 years already. It seems like only yesterday that we arrived in Nanning China to meet face to face for the very first time. Those oh so curious big beautiful eyes will, I will never forget them.

Your first words when we met I think were JieJie as you looked at Emily. You already knew she was your older sister, simply melted my heart to hear you say that. Very close behind that, you met your best friend in the world, LieLie. Aunt Lori had looked long and hard for the PERFECT animal to give you and she hit the nail on the head. You took one look at this sheep we had sitting on the bed and you were fast friends. You said, 'LieLie' and gave her a hug. This picture was taken shortly after that I think.

You are a blessing in SO many ways. Each day is a new adventure and the joy you bring our home is amazing. Hearing you laugh at one of your favorite TV shows, sitting on your comfy place in your room reading and even watching your personality blossom are all Blessings and I'm grateful for the opportunity to watch you grow.

You are a loyal, loving, caring, giving person who often thinks of others first, I pray you always keep THAT attitude and never let that go.

You are amazing Sydney Faith and I love you with every fiber in my heart.

I am SO very thankful that God gave us YOU!

This picture was taken on New Years Eve 2011.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MISSLISA1973 6/27/2012 7:09AM

    What a sweet blessing to have in your life. The difference you have made in her life by getting healthy is immeasurable.

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DEE797 6/22/2012 6:36PM

    I loved reading this blog. Your lil girl is beautiful.

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    Loved reading this blog,too! What a pretty little girl-and doesn't time fly? These little girls that you brought home are SO incredibly blessed to have loving parents and you and your wife , Iknow, are super blessed to have them in your hearts!

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ABSOLUTZER0 5/16/2012 10:08AM

    While I was there I was able to witness the awesomeness that Sydney possesses. She is fun to be around and a true blessing to all those that encounter her. She has a positive aura that is very contagious. What a special person she is!

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