Charge Your Wave!!!

This morning Ella(4yrs.old), Emma Grace(7yrs.old), and I watched one of our favorite movies, Blue Crush.  For those of you who don’t know, it is a movie about a girl preparing for a surf competition, while balancing responsibilities of work, raising her sister, training, and a new romance(sounds cheesy I know, but we love it).  There are a few great lessons in this movie.  Toward the end of the movie things get intense as the girls are surfing the Pipeline in the competition.  Our hero, Ann Marie, is out in the water fighting to overcome a paralyzing fear lingering within her as a result of a past injury and near drowning.  As the three of us cuddled on the sofa under one blanket, the girls began to rattle off questions, a symptom of their nervousness.  Being a recreational surfer and by no means an expert, I attempted to answer their questions in an effort to calm them.  My explanations quickly led to a few of the important lessons in this movie.  This is how it went :

Emma Grace, definitely the drama queen of our three children, shifted to the dynamics of the relationships in the movie.  She asked,” Did she break up with her new boyfriend?  Why is her friend mad at her?”  I explained the new couple did not break up, but Ann Marie regained the focus she needed to achieve her dream by putting that boy on the shelf for a bit(and I may have added a little extra info for Emma Grace’s own benefit like…it’s best not to have boys around anyway because they pretty much mess up everything….just saying).  Just when I finished saying that, Aleck, who had disappeared so he didn’t have to watch a “girl” movie, popped his head around the corner like some kind of ninja meerkat, streaked across the living room in his PJs, and yelled, “Ohhhh she’s going to drown.  Yep.  She’s going to drown!”  I said, “See what I mean.  Boys will mess stuff up.”

Upon hearing Aleck, Ella began to ask what would happen if she drowned.  I answered, ” You’re not going to drown.  You’re sitting on the sofa eating cinnamon melts.  You need water to drown.”  For those of you who know Ella, you know she gets ticked if you don’t answer her questions seriously.  “Daddy, nooooo.  I told you noooo joking around.  Noooo tricking.  You promised.”  I had forgotten… I did make that promise on Friday when she asked me what we had for bedtime snack and I answered, ” Snake sandwiches, rat tail soup, or lizard tongue ice cream.”  She DID NOT think it was funny and made me promise to be Mr. Serious.  Anyway, I told her about water safety, buddy swimming, being with Amy or me, and respecting the power of water.  Aleck ran back through saying, “She hasn’t caught a wave yet!?”, then disappeared into his bedroom.

I’ll sum up the rest of the lessons, no tricking as Ella would say, and hopefully you can use them in your own lives this week.  If you surf, you know how special your time in the ocean can be.  There are so many surf analogies on life.  The wave is life.  Catching a wave is you making a decision with your life.  Your ride on the wave is your journey through life.  I won’t go any deeper into any of those.  Let’s keep it simple.  In Blue Crush, the hero is so afraid to charge a wave because of her past.  Her mind has paralyzed her.  Finally a Pro Surfer comes over and “slaps” her out of it, telling her to paddle her hardest, kick like crazy, and use all her heart to catch a wave.  Again, sounds cheesy right?  It isn’t really.   How many times in life do we just sit on our boards?  We’re too afraid to charge a wave or we’re waiting on the perfect wave.  Either way, we’re still just sitting.  That is why it’s important to have people in our lives that “slap” us out of our inaction.  Friends to push us and hold us accountable to our own dreams.  Family to love us, but yell at us to get off our butts, onto our feet, and into a wave.  If you are afraid, you have to overcome the fear.  If you’re waiting on the perfect wave…sllllaaaaapppp….there is NO PERFECT WAVE.   The ocean is tough…life is tough.  It will pound you, crush you, beat you up, swallow you, and spit you out.  Still, there is NO EXCUSE to sit!  As my girls cheered at the end of the movie when the hero caught a wave, I began to think about all the things they will surely face as they grow.  Through teary eyes I squeezed them tight and chanted with them, “Never give up!  Never give up!  Never give up!”  Now, as I look at pictures below from this summer’s beach trip, I realize how powerful the ocean is…how powerful life is.  I realize I won’t always be able to hold their hands and help them balance as I did while giving their first surfing lesson, but I also realize they were brave enough to get on the board in the first place.  And that’s all I can ask of them…to be brave.  It’s all I can ask of myself…to be brave.  Demand it of yourself.  Remember : Sitting on your board will never overcome fear, but charging a wave will.  Don’t be afraid to do what you KNOW you NEED to do.  Paddle your hardest, kick like crazy, and use all your heart….catch YOUR wave….and enjoy the ride 🙂










What’s in Your Hand?

Last weekend our family went camping at Kerr Lake.  It was great to see family we have not seen in such a long time.  It was also great to spend time with Amy, Aleck, Emma Grace, and Ella.  It is very important for me to spend time with them because they teach me so much about life.  As you probably guessed, this weeks blog post was inspired by a simple event one evening with my children.

Ella sat on the sand digging in the bait bucket and letting worms crawl in, out, and between her fingers as if they were racing on an agility course.  Emma Grace and her cousin Hayley, long over the thrill of fishing, were making giant mud balls and throwing them in the water…and on our feet.  My older sister, Jenay, was trying her shot at casting and catching a fish.  She couldn’t get the line to cast out an inch past her toes and caused all of us to duck for our lives as a bobber and hook zipped past our heads…every try(yes I have it on video).  Amy and my younger sister, Annette, were packing up and eventually everyone started heading back to the campsite.  As I grabbed up all the fishing gear, I noticed Aleck standing on the edge of the water not following us.  I stood for a moment as the sun was setting and watched the little boy in his own little world, not even noticing we were all leaving.  I thought to myself, “Geez it’s as if I’m with the Ghost of Christmas Past in Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol, looking at myself as a young boy, wondering where time had gone.”  He was picking up rocks and throwing them in the water.  He seemed a little frustrated and then I figured out he was trying to skip them across the surface.  I put the fishing gear down and walked over to him.  “Aww cool.  Trying to skip rocks?” I asked.  “Yep.”  he answered.  I picked up a rock and zinged it across the lake’s glassy surface.  It skipped four times.  “Daaad!!!  That was awesome!  How did you do that?”  Aleck said.  And so being a proud Father, I taught him everything I know about skipping rocks… Arm position, foot position, trajectory, wind speed, wind resistance, and even how to deal with heckling(should it occur).  I taught him everything he possibly needed to know to become an expert rock skipper with enough knowledge to pass down to his own kids.  Aleck picked up a rock and threw it….one splash…he tried another…kerr plop… one splash…picked another and threw…kaaa plooosh…one splash…not one single skip.  I thought  “How in the world can this kid not skip a rock now?  Did his Aunt Jenay rub off on him some way? Did he catch her disease – inabilitytowalkandchewgumatthesametimeitis?”  I taught him everything I knew…I thought.  Then I watched him from the beginning.  I watched him pick up a rock without even looking down and throw it with perfect rock skipping mechanics.  And in that moment, I was inspired to share my new life lesson with you.

As Aleck readied his next throw, I stopped him, grabbed his hand and uncurled his clay coated little fingers holding the rock.  Just as I suspected, he held a lumpy, round, jaggedy edged rock.  “I’m so sorry Big A.”  I said. He looked up at me with a confused face.  “I forgot to tell you the most important step in rock skipping…choosing the right rock.” I said.  We went over how important it is to take the time to search out a smooth flat rock.  And with that,  Aleck became  one of Kerr Lake’s best… all-time champion…mac daddy… rock skippers.

This lesson is applicable to so many areas of our lives.  What simple, yet extremely important, step are we forgetting, lacking knowledge of, or ignoring when trying to achieve a desire, goal, or task?  I see it in the exercise world every single day.  You can research, perform, and stick to a perfectly designed training program, and never achieve desired results.  Why? Usually because a person does not take the time to choose the “right rock”(a plan that matches an individualized nutritional pattern to the training program).  This means they are skipping an extremely important step in trying to achieve their goal.  On the flip side, how many ads and/or testimonies do you hear about diets, pills, powders, and surgeries in an effort to accomplish fat loss….WITHOUT EXERCISE.  Exercise is a pretty important step.  To be honest, these are the people who typically don’t even want to get out of their chairs to look for a rock.  In our personal lives, how often do we overlook a critical step?  In a relationship you’re trying to save, the missing step or “right rock” may be finally TRULY forgiving someone.  It may be forgiving yourself.  It may be saying “I love you”.  It may mean actually loving yourself for the first time in a long time.  It may be the cessation of enabling another.  It may be saying no.  It may be fixing your schedule…your life…so you’re not moving through each and every day like a tornado.  It may be accepting someone just the way they are instead of trying to change them into who you want them to be.  The missing step or “right rock” may be spending more time with your child or children and figuring out who they are, what they need, what they like, and what they fear instead of allowing an “expert” or someone else to tell you.  In a tragedy you’re trying to accept and get over it may be a simple prayer that brings you comfort.  The missing step or “right rock” in dealing with anxiety, death, fear, or exhaustion may be shutting down your mind and your mouth so you can hear God’s whisper filled with comfort, peace, strength, and direction.


My point is : You may be somewhere in your life right now where you think you’re doing everything you need to do…and it just isn’t working.  You’re throwing rock after rock after rock after rock…and only getting one splash.  I’m telling you to stop…uncurl your fingers…and make sure you are holding the right rock.  That’s all.  Pretty simple right?  I can tell you I plan on doing this myself, in my own life, and I know it will be painful, confusing, and frustrating, but when I remember and hear in my mind the joy and laughter coming from my son as he put all the steps together to create a magical moment, I know…I know with all my heart… it is and will be worth uncurling my own fingers. 🙂




Coffee with a Punch!

As I entered the gas station near my house at 5am, I was looking forward to my routine hot cup of coffee.  It started out as a normal morning, but as I walked in I felt a man right on my heels, looking me up and down.  I poured my coffee and secured the lid.  Again, I felt the man just staring at me.  I decided to make eye contact and wish him a good morning.  When I did, I was staring into the thickest pair of eyeglasses I had ever seen.  “Good morning.”, I said.  The man shifted his eyes from me to his coffee cup.  He was dumping powdered creamer in his cup annnnnd all over the counter.  I bet he used half of the container.  I felt like we were both in a cloud of creamer dust trying to talk to each other.  Without looking up he asked, “You workout?”  I answered, “Yes Sir.”  He turned as if he were a cowboy about to pull a six shooter on me, and pointed to his stomach.  “I’m 77 years old and I walk 7 miles a day.  You don’t think that’s enough?”, he asked still pointing to his stomach.  Being a goal oriented Strength Coach, I of course asked, “Enough for what?”  At this point, he was still pointing to his stomach and stirring the paste in his coffee cup.  He stopped stirring and excitingly said, “Punch me in the stomach.  Go ahead!  Punch!”  And soooooooo…..I did.  Well, not really a punch because I envisioned security cameras in the store recording a young man knocking out an elderly man.  This snowballed into visions of myself in handcuffs on WLOS and/or Entertainment Tonight.  So in a flash, I karate chopped the gentleman’s stomach, fully expecting to feel my fingers go through his stomach, across his vertebrae, into his spinal canal, thus severing the spinal cord, annnnnd paralyzing a man who was probably a War Hero.  Instead his stomach stopped my hand, jammed my fingers, and yes, caused me to make some sort of audible cry for help.  I’m not really sure what it was because I may have blacked out as well…a little.  Then I said, “Yes Sir…7 miles is enough.”  The elderly man smiled and winked at me through the twelve sheets of glass that made up his eyeglasses.  I paid for my coffee and drove to Underdog.

So what lesson did my fight with the old man at the gas station inspire me to share with you?  Take a self-defense class?  Don’t mess with old people?  Don’t make eye contact with people at 5am?  Stop drinking coffee?  Not at all.  My message to you is : BE EXCITED!

Be excited about the things you have…the things you do…and the people you interact with in your life.  And yes, even be excited about your exercise program.  We all know attitude is a huge factor in your adherence to a specific nutritional pattern and exercise program.  I don’t even want to go that deep though.  I just want to tell you to be excited about what you’re doing for your health.  Be excited you’re doing something so positive for yourself.  Be excited you are extending the years you get to share yourself and your gifts with us, the world.  If you have children, do not complain about the way you “have to” eat or that you “have to” go exercise.  Let them hear your excitement about working out and eating healthy foods.  This will set up positive pathways and habits in their own minds.  I’m not saying you have to go around town demanding people punch you in the stomach, but you can certainly talk about what you’re doing, ask others to join you, and give someone an encouraging wink.  You never know….Your excitement about your own life may make all the difference in the world to another.  Lastly, if you happen to run into an elderly man wearing thick glasses, with what looks like mud in his coffee cup, and he asks you if you think walking 7 miles a day is enough for a 77 year old…look down at the ground and simply say, “Sounds good to me sir.”   Then turn…and calmly walk away my friend…just waaaallllk away. 🙂


Your Best???

Two days ago, I had the opportunity to spend the afternoon working with the Carolina Day School Varsity Girls Tennis Team.  All the girls did a great job!  After explaining what I do as a Strength Coach, we had a great workout filled with drills addressing the needs and demands of their sport.  During the cool-down and stretching, I talked to the girls about never quitting and giving their best.  As I drove home that evening, I started thinking about my talk.  Never quitting is an easy concept to grasp I thought.  Then I asked myself out loud, “What is giving your best?  What does that even mean?”  We hear it all the time.  You’ve probably heard it since you were little, especially if you played sports.  I use the saying in motivational talks and even demand it of myself.  What does it mean though?  After driving and working out in my mind what giving my best means to me, I started to think about how I could make a connection with people when teaching this concept.  This is what I came up with:

I think a good way to set the foundation for what it means to give your best is to ask yourself one simple question : “What would the “best” me look like?”  …. Not only in appearance, but in every way.  If you could imagine the ideal you, how would you look…speak…act…feel…perform?  Create a clear picture in your mind of “this version” of you.  The next step is to want to be this person.  You must desire to be the “best you” if you are to actually become it.  Believe you can be that person.  Finally, you must have a constant awareness of your desire to be your best.  It is this awareness that will absolutely make you give your best in everything you face.  Sounds simple right?  This is why it isn’t :

1.  People compare… DO NOT do this when it comes to evaluating whether you’ve given your best or not.  Your bests are different from other’s bests.  One person’s best may be to run an Ironman Triathlon…another’s best may be to run around the block.  One person’s best may be leading a Fortune 500 company every day…another’s best may be to get their child fed breakfast and to school on time…once a week.  Your best is between YOU and YOU.

2. People confuse giving your best with being perfect.  I have been guilty of this myself.  They ARE NOT the same.  You do not have to be perfect.  This has been a huge lesson for me just this year.  Accepting God’s Grace and Mercy makes this a lot easier to get through.  You can’t beat yourself up for not being perfect.  You’re not made to be perfect.  Giving your best becomes possible when you realize you don’t have to be perfect.  The realization unleashes you in a way.

There are certainly many more reasons giving your best becomes so complicated(past circumstances, fear, upbringing, expectations, etc.), but for the purpose of this article I will stop with the above two reasons.  Please avoid them.

To sum it all up : 1. Define your own “bests”.  2. Desire to give and be your best.  3. Believe in yourself  4. ALWAYS REMEMBER  what giving and being your best means to YOU  ***5. Remind yourself each morning when you wake up, that you are committed to doing whatever it takes…in anything you face in order to be the Best You.

Finally, a big thank you to the CDS Girls Tennis Team for allowing me to work with them and just as importantly, for inspiring this weeks Blog post 🙂







Just a Thought…Going Home & Dreams

Searching for a different video, I just stumbled upon this one from a couple of years ago.  I was visiting my parents(on the coast where I grew up).  I was about 2 weeks out in a contest prep which explains some of the emotion I felt that day, but not all of it.  I apologize if it doesn’t flow that great.  I truly flipped on the camera and just started talking about my thoughts.  I will be writing more on one of my favorite subjects(and will explain in more detail and expand on what you see in the video) :  Potential…Please feel free to comment honestly, as I think it will lead to great and valuable conversation…Thanks!!!


Though the old wooden barn where friends and I built our weight room was lost in a hurricane a couple of years ago, walking into a second barn and seeing my old equipment triggered these memories and thoughts….