Monday, December 28, 2015


It surrounds me. It’s the hum of the ceiling fan, steady and constant. It’s the vibration of the floor, fueled by the washing man in a room on the far side of the house. It’s the sway of the trees outside my window, the branches gently pushed back and forth by an otherwise imperceptible wind.

It is hundreds of mourners praying, the silence broken by the random murmured “amen” and “halleluia.” The seated bodies a contrast to the fevered workings of the hearts and souls. “Take him, Jesus, back to the house you have prepared for him,” the preacher pleaded. “Welcome back your blessed servant.” And the energy of the crowd flowed like a wave to the body still and calm.

Energy is alive and dynamic, bouncing wall to wall and floor to ceiling. It’s the voices stepping over each other to be heard, a cacophony of shrieks and remember-whens and joyful accusations, pointed barbs and witty retorts. Perhaps it’s too much, too loud, but it’s a defiant statement to the universe. There is life in this place and it will not be silenced. And the room remembers, the laughter lingering in the air long after the voices have faded.

Energy is the sunshine leaking through the curtains. Subtle at first, then undeniable. It pulls me to the window, to bathe in the warmth of the morning. And it propels me out into the day, to engage and experience and live.

So I do.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

"About That Old Time Religion..."

I'll start with the not-so-surprising fact that I consider myself agnostic.

  1. 1.
    a person who believes that nothing is known or can be known of the existence or nature of God or of anything beyond material phenomena; a person who claims neither faith nor disbelief in God.


I say this is a not-so-surprising fact in that my public postings here, on Facebook, and on Twitter, have all implied as much.

But I'm sharing it here, now, in absolute and direct terms.

I am agnostic. I believe that we can not know anything with certainty about the existence (or lack thereof) of any higher power.

Can god exist? Sure, that's possible. But "god" can just as likely be an alien from another galaxy who has created everything known to man as his own version of an Ant Farm.

Sound crazy? Not really. We have ZERO physical evidence of any god. He may be the god of the Bible, the god of the ancients, or the god of "just one of a billion intelligent creatures who have their own little Earth creations."

Sure, if pressed, I lean strongly towards atheism. But I can't prove the absence of a higher power any more than I can prove the existence of one, so I have to maintain integrity and admit that there is a possibility - tiny, remote, highly unlikely - that there is a god.

Now, all that said, I have been doing a lot of thinking lately about religion, spirituality, and the connectivity between beliefs and actions. And I have come to a few conclusions, which are interesting to me though not necessarily to anyone else. (Still, it's my blog, so here they are. Read, skim, or scroll as you desire.)

I realize that I have LONG ago moved away from religion. But the rational, empirical, fact-based response was not the reason I gave up religion. That approach came later.

The reason I gave up religion wasn't that I didn't believe. It was my disgust with all of the people who DO believe and yet lived their lives in such a way that their very faith seemed a lie.

What do I mean by that? I'll give a single example.

Preacher Joe is a self-professed man of faith. Yet he lives in a mansion, preaches hate and damnation, and ignores the plight of his fellow man living with poverty, hunger, and homelessness.

This man considers himself an example of the best religion can do, yet his actions show nothing but scorn for what the Bible calls God's greatest creation, the human being.

Nope. If that was religion, I knew early on that I wanted no part of it.

Fast forward to the last thirty years or so, where religion moved squarely into the political process. And more recently, fueled by the instantly accessible audience, the social media machine. Religion isn't about loving each other and caring for the weak amongst us. It's about attacking those who believe differently than you do. It's about creating and maintaining an Us vs. Them mindset. And it's about hypocrites and sinners proclaiming themselves above the judgement of others.

America, the great land built on religious freedom, is now a nation of hate and bigotry. Here's just one example:

We pretend we want "freedom of religion" in the public square, but we don't. We want "freedom of MY religion," and the Christian majority refuses to allow any encroachment on what they have long considered their domain. Here, an example of a Christian deciding that a non-Christian display in the same public space was unacceptable. Or here and here and here and here, multiple examples of minority religions being discriminated against.

And of course, there's the endless demand to allow religion in schools, but only when that religion is Christian. Native American cultures, minority religions, secularism... all are happily pushed aside because some believe that this country is a Christian Nation. We are not. The Constitution guarantees that.

There are countless other examples, but they all share a common trait. Christians do not respect the religious beliefs of others nor do they believe they deserve the same right to exist and be acknowledged in the public arena.

And this, for the few of you who held on through this long blog entry, is at the heart of where I believe Christianity in this nation has failed so miserably. You cannot require someone to share your beliefs. And in this nation, you cannot require them to pretend to do so to participate in the secular business of government.

Long before my scientific mind understood that ancient religion was merely story-telling, my heart understood that the people of this country were wielding religion like a weapon.

And then, as now, I want none of it.

Monday, December 14, 2015

I'm not okay.

I'm having a tough time right now. Instead of feeling the holiday spirit, I'm feeling the weight of obligations, expectations, and loss.

It's not a good place to me. Each day, the pressure and stress seem to pile on, and soon enough I'll snap.

And that's not good at all.

But I don't need to struggle with this by myself. I have access to professional help and I'd be a fool to not take advantage of that.

This morning, I made an appointment to see a therapist next week. He is the same person I talked with last summer when I was going through a similar difficult time, and I think that seeing him again will help me clear my head.

There is no shame in knowing that you need help and being smart enough to get it.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

The 50 Project - Fitness

Hard to believe, but it was ten years ago that I first started blogging at "Falling Into Forty." I wanted to work on all aspects of my life and the blog was the perfect place to capture it all. 

Now, I'm looking ahead to my next big milestone - Turning 50!

The first component is the most basic, my health and fitness. I would be very happy to be at my goal weight by my 50th birthday, and that only happens with consistent exercise, healthy eating, and moderation with the treats and alcohol. 

I won't be perfect, but I can certainly be better. And today was a great start at the new gym.

It was a challenge to get out of a warm, comfy bed and get to the gym. I'm glad I did it. But my real challenge today will be to make better nutrition choices.

I can do this. I can do this. I can do this.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Thinking Out Loud...

"There are more good people out there than bad" is the lie I keep telling myself so I won't just give up on humanity completely.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

"15 Things To Do" - A blog entry from Katherine Fritz

I'm proud of my own writing, mostly. But I also know that the world is full of talented, honest, gifted others sharing amazing words of their own. And when I read something that touches my heart, I want to stand on the rooftops and shout about it to the whole world.

But really, what's the point of that? No one can hear me up on the roof, and even if they could, they probably aren't ready to write down a URL and they won't remember it because so many of them are weirdly long and...

Oh. I digress.

Here's the good stuff. Click the link and enjoy:
Fifteen Things for When the World is Shitty and Terrifying

And here's just a snippet:
4. Think of a song you love, preferably by a non-super-famous musician. Even if you already own it, download it again. Think about how that 99 cents is actually telling that musician that their work has value.

 And here's another:
Take a deep breath of gratitude for the people out there who actually do make the world a better place. Challenge yourself to be that person, in whatever small way you can manage right now.

The whole thing is pretty fantastic, so click over and read it. And surprise yourself by actually doing one of the things on the list.

Hey, it's a start, right?

It's Not You, Facebook. It's Me.

For the last ten days, I've been (mostly) logged off of Facebook. I have checked back in a few times, read a post or two, felt instant anger or disgust, and quickly logged back off.

I have written and rewritten the next paragraph half a dozen times, but it always comes out wrong. So I'm going to go with short and sweet, instead.

I'm out. I've had more than enough of the nonsense. Being on Facebook doesn't make me a better person, so I'm choosing to walk away while I still feel like myself.

From now on, the only place I'll be posting anything on Facebook is on my Runner12 page. I'll stick to sharing updates on my fitness journey.

Over the next month or so, I'll make the time to unfriend everyone and lock down my privacy settings. I can't deactivate my account, since it is required to host the Runner12 page. And I'm still active in a few secret/private groups that matter to me. But I won't be posting on Facebook, updating the wall, or checking in on the newsfeed.

Instead, I'll continue to share photos (and enjoy those of others) here on Instagram. And I'll post worthwhile links here on Twitter.

But Facebook? Nope. We're done.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Sixty Hours Later...

And I have no regrets about stepping away from social media this weekend.

Now if I can only figure out how to get what I want from it without dealing with the worst of it. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Thinking Out Loud...

Veterans defend our freedom of the press, but what good does that do if we all ignore our own responsibility to be aware, informed, and educated?
We know more about red cups than we do about death threats against students at Mizzou. We know more about a drug addicted athlete than we do about combat veterans and TBIs. And we know more about "real housewives" than we do about homeless children.
Our Veterans serve to secure and defend our rights. Let's make an effort to exercise those rights in a way that honors that service.

Monday, November 9, 2015

"His Name Was TyShawn."

This little boy was murdered and it appears it was gang-related. His father is a known gang member. Allegedly, at some point, his mother was running in that life, too. So they are to blame because this boy's exposure to gangs resulted in his death, right? That's obvious, right?
But here's the other side of it.
Sitting in my safe house, on my safe street, in my safe neighborhood, it's easy to say, "people need to just say no to gangs."
But try saying that when your whole neighborhood is gang-infested. Try saying that when there is nowhere to escape to. Try saying that when the gangs are at your door, threatening you and your family if you won't run with them.
It's easy to tell someone, "just say no," but just saying no in the real world can get you killed. You won't run with a gang, you are either with their rival gang or worse, you are a narc siding with the cops and ratting people out.
What choice would you make? Be honest. If you grow up in that life, and everyone you know is in that life, how can you even understand that there is something else possible?
It pisses me off that kids grow up and live like that. And it pisses me off that those of us who are removed from it have zero fucking idea what it means to be confronted with that and have no safe choices.
And I haven't a damn clue what to do to change any of it.
And my heart breaks because an innocent nine-year-old boy was executed.
And worse, in a week, we won't even remember his name.

Monday, November 2, 2015

"Asking For A Friend"

How much wrong
Can one man do?
How much hurt
Can he live through?

Asking for a friend.

How far down
Can one man fall?
Before he finally
Loses it all?

Asking for a friend.

I'm asking for a friend.
Someone you don't know.
A man close to the end.
Falling as fast as he can go.

It's crazy, no one knows.
An alarm he'll never send.
All that pain that never shows.
I'm asking for a friend. 

What would you do,
What would you say,
If you found out
How he hurt today?

Asking for a friend.

Could you join him
In the dark?
Be his light?
Be the spark?

Asking for a friend.

Would you take his hand
And hold him tight?
Tell him that
He'll be alright?

Asking for a friend.

Yeah, I'm asking for a friend.

Me, Today.

I'm feeling this now more than ever, and that can't be a good thing.

Thinking Out Loud...

What if you write something so personal, so honest, that you don't dare let anyone read it?

Friday, October 30, 2015

I Believe...

Good people will find each other, given time and technology. Enjoy it when they do.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

What If Today...

What if today, when you think about someone in your life that is kind and caring, you reached out to say, "I appreciate the person you are"?

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

What If Today...

What if today you spent less time worrying about yesterday or planning for tomorrow and more time experiencing life here and now?

Monday, August 31, 2015

100 Days of Happy 2015 (31-40)

100 Days of Happy 2015 (31-40)

Is it just me, or does it seem like this summer is flying by? It's already been another ten days!

Exchanging funny faces via text messages, because 

there's nothing he won't do to make me laugh and 


#100HappyDays Day31

My training continues to pay off with dropped pounds,

faster miles, and longer distances. 

#100HappyDays Day32

I'm enjoying all of the back to school photos. Moms 

and Dads and Grandparents, thanks for sharing your

proud moments with me. 


When people in my social circle say "I've got your

back," they mean it. That matters. And it makes a 


#100HappyDays Day34

Thirty-seven days ago I weighed 235lbs. Today I'm

at 218.6. Working my plan and seeing results makes

me feel great! 

#100HappyDays Day35

Yes I did enjoy a Turkey Burger and a BBQ Chicken 

Sandwich. Because I earned them. 


Hello, unexpected Kiwi prezzie! Thanks to the McCafferty

Clan for thinking of me. I LOVE this candy!

#100HappyDays Day37

It's a big world, and it's nice to see the moon and 

remember that it still manages to shine down on all 

of my friends around the globe. 

#100HappyDays Day38

It's a lazy new-music-morning watching the sun peek 

its way in through the curtains. 


Sunday Fun Day with great friends. Bring on the 

sunshine and pool time. 

#100HappyDays Day40

Friday, August 28, 2015

It's Fan Boy Friday! Meet "The Hellcat."

As if Fridays weren't already wonderful enough, they are now even better for me because they give me the opportunity to celebrate another wonderful person in my life.

Today, it's all about The Hellcat.

Yep. Seriously.

This lovely lady is The Hellcat.

She's also known as Lorrie Bamford. And today, she's the object of my Fan Boy Friday attention.

She first crashed into entered my life back in May 2012, when we crossed paths through the From Fat To Finish Line documentary and the group of friends and fans on Facebook. She was an early supporter of the film and all of the runners, and she and I bonded over our shared sense of (inappropriate) humor.

In late 2013, I learned that her young brother was going to be graduating from Marine Corps Boot Camp here in San Diego, and it was the perfect opportunity to meet her (and many of her crazy fun family members). They came out in January 2014 and we had an amazing time. She brought along her husband and a couple of wild sisters, and it was a non-stop party of laughs and fun!

Lorrie and her equally amazing husband, Reg.

"But, John," you're saying, "you know lots of people and lots of people come stay at your house. What is so special about this person that she deserves Fan Boy Friday status?!"

A fair question. And here's the answer. Lorrie is one of those ladies that wrangles every bit of fun, joy, and excitement out of life. She laughs... loudly and often. She says inappropriate things to strangers. She blunders and stumbles and somehow makes it all work out just fine. And she drags all of the rest of along with her and makes our lives a delightful cross between a reality show, a comedy act, and (occasionally) a police drama.

Describing her in one sentence is actually pretty easy: 

"That lady lives life out loud!"

But she is so much more than just that. She is also a quitter and she's proud of it. So proud, in fact, that she is also an American Lung Association Lung Champion. Yep, she quit smoking. And then she decided that she would be a mentor and supporter of anyone else who made the decision to quit, too.

And there's more. She has a ridiculously big heart, which comes in handy when someone like me constantly finds people in need. No matter how many times I share a story and ask, "anyone think they can help so-and-so?", the answer is always the same. "What can I do and what do you need?"

I absolutely adore this woman. And I am so proud of the way she sets goals and works like a fiend until she reaches them that I have invited myself along to be there for one of her biggest challenges.

On April 24, 2016, I will have the honor of running the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon and crossing the finish line with Lorrie. She is training now to run the full 26.2 miles, and I can think of no better way to celebrate her accomplishment than to get to run it right alongside her.

Lorrie "Hellcat" Bamford, hear me when I say this. I am a fan. I adore your heart, your spirit, your passion, and your full-on, take-no-prisoners, go-for-it attitude. Thank you for your friendship and for making my life better just for having you in my corner.

And hey, having a Hawt Hubby doesn't hurt, right?

What If Today...

What if today you forgive yourself for something you did in the past? What if you make amends if possible, vow to do better, and let it go?

Monday, August 24, 2015

Revel Canyon City Marathon Training - Five Weeks Done, Eleven Weeks To Go

It's been two weeks since I shared an update on my marathon training, so here's the good and the bad.

The results so far are good. As of Saturday, the end of Week 5, I had dropped nearly sixteen pounds.

And my weight dropped from 235 to 219.2.

While the results were good and I'm happy with them, I know they could have been better. And I say that knowing full well that I was inconsistent over the last two weeks. I ran every scheduled mile during Week 4 but I missed three training runs in Week 5. That hurt my overall performance numbers for the Five Week Total:

Worse than missing a run, though, I also made some poor eating choices over the last week. I let my laziness bleed over from the exercise to the nutrition, and that also had a negative affect on my results.

Am I happy with the additional weight loss? Sure, of course I am. But I'm also honest and know that I can't expect results from work I didn't do.

So going into Week 6, I know what to do. Commit to the training plan and make good food choices. It's as basic as it gets.

And I can do this.

100 Days of Happy 2015 (21-30)

Another ten days of Happy have already come and gone, and this challenge is really making me stop and focus on all of the great things that cross my path each day. Good stuff, indeed.

Not too hot. Not too cold. I love this town. 

#NoFilter #NoBadDays 

#100HappyDays Day21

I'm a fan of a fun super hero film, and seeing this 

"coming soon" list makes me very happy! 


2.4 miles and eight minutes door-to-door. No complaints 

from this guy on the daily office commute.

#100HappyDays Day23

It's a treat to be spontaneous and see a summer action 

film with my favorite movie date. 


After a long run, it's nice to come home to a bacon, 

egg, and cheese sandwich for breakfast! 


Dinner at the neighborhood pizza place with friends is a 

great way to wind down the weekend. 


I watched this video and this guy's new glasses allowed

him to see colors for the first time. It reminds me of the 

simple things I take for granted.

#100HappyDays Day27

It's always nice to hear that people respect you, especially 

when you disagree on something that is important to them. 

#100HappyDays Day28

Staying in bed just a little longer makes for a much 

needed lazy start to the day. 

#100HappyDays Day29

Dog is my co-pilot. #OneDayDogTaxi
#100HappyDays Day30