Christmas in Pennsylvania!

30 Dec
December 30, 2007

Wow, it’s been a crazy week.  Last Sunday, after the morning Christmas service (which I was preaching at), we hit the road for my in-laws in Glen Mills, PA.  Normally a twelve hour drive, we were desperately hoping to be there that night.  See, Christmas eve, the following night, my in-laws would be singing in the choir during the Christmas eve service.  Maybe this doesn’t seem like too big a deal, but only a few years ago Herb (my father in law) was diagnosed with throat cancer, they removed a tumor the size of a golf ball from his throat, he went through radiation, etc.  And while he was told he would most likely survive all of it, he might never speak again and he certainly wouldn’t be singing.  Well, less then a year ago he was finally pronounced cancer free and cured, and was finally strong enough to return to one of his great joys: singing!  So it was a big deal for us to try and make the service so we could finally see him in the choir again!

Well, we didn’t make it that night.  We ended up crashing in a hotel and then resuming obscenely early the next morning and making it in time for the Christmas festivities with all the relatives at 11AM!  Sheesh.  I was pooped.  The service that night was wonderful, the kids loved seeing their grandparents in the choir, and I think the grandparents loved seeing them in the congregation!  The next morning we had our breakfast, gave gifts and settled down to relax when we got the phone call.

Herb’s aunt Vera, who had never married or had kids, so who had always been like a second grandmother to Herb and his family, had passed away.  So Wednesday morning we were loading up the van and heading four hours west to Jonestown to settle her affairs, attend the viewings and funeral, and then finally return to Glen Mills Saturday night.  It’s been a draining week for everyone – everyone knew she would be going home to the Lord any time – but no one expected it on Christmas.

Anyway, it’s Sunday and everyone is just kind of resting finally.  It’s been a crazy holiday … and now we’re winding up for a twelve hour drive home in the morning.  By the time we get home, I’ll have driven over 1600 miles this week.  Wow!

Boothbay's Biggest Loser Challenge winner!

19 Dec
December 19, 2007

Wow!  What a final weigh in!  For those of you who don’t know, I’ve been leading a twelve week “Boothbay’s Biggest Loser” challenge here that just wrapped up this last Saturday.  Basically, I charged people $25 (I’m not trying to make $$$ of this; I’m trying to share what I learned through the Biggest Loser), which was split three ways:  to cover the cost of everyone getting a copy of the Biggest Loser Calorie Counter book (essential for any weight loss plan, check the link below), half of what remained would go to the individual with the greatest percentage weight loss ($275), and the other half would go to the team with the greatest combined percentage of weight loss.

Well, 30 people signed up (awesome!!!), and the results are in!  Tom Dewey, a local man who took the challenge to heart, managed to drop close to 65 lbs in just twelve weeks for a 19.5% weight loss which easily won him the title and the $275!  Absolutely amazing!!!  He pulled it off by counting calories, journaling his eating, switching to a healthy diet and regular exercise.  True Biggest Loser style weight loss!  No gimmicks in that!  Two women won the team prize; Karen and Cindy weighed in with a combined 11% (I might have the number off by a fraction or so; don’t have the results right in front of me) weight loss.  I was excited they took the prize because they were actually the other two people with the highest percentages of weight loss in the group!  Most exciting for me, though, was the fact that every single person who started the challenge weighed in lighter than when they began, many significantly so!

In January we’ll be starting another twelve week challenge (towards the end of the month, once the holidays settle down a bit).  It’s exciting because so many people have been wanting to get in on the next one!  There’s even a church in the neighboring community that plans on launching one as well (I’ll attend their first meeting to lay out the plan and answer questions, and their final weigh in, as well as be in regular contact with the group leaders through the challenge)!  Should be fun!

In other news, I’ve been enjoying speaking at different organizations in our great state of Maine!  Last week I was at Central Maine Power’s health conference; before that I was at the Dept. of Transportations’s health conference, and in a couple weeks I’ll be at the University of Maine.  On top of that I’ve been speaking at churches, working on my articles for the Journal of Student Ministries, and even bouncing around some ideas for church resources.  Hey, if I don’t stay enmeshed in weight loss and maintanance culture … I’ll forget to keep the weight off!  That, and it’s something I am completely passionate about now a days!