What’s In A Name?


Baby Jonathan – 1 Week

I’ve always grown up under the impression that names should mean something. For example my name, Stephen, means “The Crowned One”. While I don’t believe I have much future as king (except in my Clash of Clans kingdom, where I’m clearly the totes to my goats), I’ve always felt that my name reflected God’s deep love for me and the high expectations He has for me, expectations which I imagine my Clash of Clans kingdom is simultaneously causing me to fall alarmingly short of. My name is a reminder to me that God has a plan for me. A big plan. I like that.

There’s also a small chance it could foreshadow my death by stoning.

I’ve always liked that my name has a story and meaning behind it and it was something I wanted to give my children. I wanted to have a story behind their name that one day we could tell them. This is something Amanda and I quickly agreed on.

As our due date got closer the ridiculous list of things that needed to be done before the baby was born was quickly dwindling and the nursery was finally completed. Our baby was now ready to live in this world. All baby needed was a birthday and a name.

Since Amanda and I decided to find out only if our baby was human or not we knew that we had to eventually come up with two names, ideally before the baby was born. With only a month or so left we were driving home and the topic of names came up. We shared our short-lists and began whittling down the finalists. We agreed on our girl name almost immediately. The boy name was a bit trickier. We wanted the name to be simultaneously meaningful in its origin, but meaningful also to us personally.

We had a very short list of a few finalists but it was a story Amanda told me that her Nana had told her that tipped the scales. It hit me deep.

Nana is a prayer warrior. One of the things she has prayed for her grandkids is that they would have Jonathans in their lives, friends that would be positive influences. The Biblical story of Jonathan is one of the greatest stories of friendship ever told. To me that prayer is so simple yet so powerful.

Both Amanda and I have experienced the blessings of having Jonathans in our lives. They are the kinds of friendships that helped us survive high school, roomed with us in college, celebrated with us at our triumphs and cried with us during our tragedies. They’ve been with us for just about everything and have helped usher us through those dangerous adolescent years and into adulthood.

As I look back on my teenage years and see my twenties quickly turn over to thirties I can’t imagine how differently my life would have gone without these Jonathans in my life. How hard it would have been for me to go it alone! We want our son to be that kind of person to his friends, the kind of person we’ve been so fortunate to have in our lives. I’m sure Amanda and I will quickly learn how just how much a parent yearns to train up their children in the way they should go but whom their children choose as friends is so critically important.

I pray not only for wisdom that Amanda and I will not raise an axe murderer but also that God has friends prepared for Jonathan to be the blessing to him that our friends have been to us, and that Jonathan himself will strive to be that kind of friend and influence as well.

P90X – My Unexpected Journey

When I started P90X my goal was to get in shape and lose some weight. I felt those were good reasons, simple reasons. I didn’t really expect it to become everything that it did. The next four months of my life since that day 1 in January have been, in terms of my health, amazing and have changed far more in my life than just getting in shape and losing some weight (although those things did happen).

Part of me is embarrassed to write this because part of me wonders what things will be like in 12 months. Is this just a fad? Is this modern day Pogs for a 29 year old married man who couldn’t quite hack it in the gym? I’ll have you know I was pretty good at Pogs for about four months there.

That said I feel compelled to go on a limb and I wanted to share with you my experiences with P90X and, more importantly, about the health revolution my wife and I have been through since 2013 began. It is something that has been so critical in our lives as we try to become the best versions of ourselves we can be for each other and our future children. It may sound a bit dramatic but we’ve learned over the past couple years that nothing can be taken for granted and if you really want something sometimes you have to just go get it.

For me it began with my health.

P90X is broken into three phases, each encompassing thirty days of specific exercises. Towards the end I decided to extend the program into a fourth phase, something of my own making.

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My 10 Day Reboot – Days 9 – 10

There is a riddle in the book The Hobbit that goes like this:

This thing all things devours:
Birds, beasts, trees, flowers;
Gnaws iron, bites steel;
Grinds hard stones to meal;
Slays king, ruins town,
And beats high mountain down.

Day 9

The answer to the riddle is cheese whiz. Actually that is wrong. The answer to the riddle is time. Time is an interesting thing. I’ve had a lot of it over the past 10 days and I feel like this reboot has been both simultaneously quick and absolutely dragged on. Saturday morning of day 9 brought with it a feeling of tedium. I was starting to get tired of the early routine, the morning water, the cleaning of the fruits and vegetables, the juicer and, of course, drinking the juice. Ain’t nobody got time for all that.

I think part of it has to do with the fact that I can sense the end being so near that it’s like finishing a marathon (an analogy I use having no idea what finishing a marathon is actually like but what I imagine one must be thinking when they do finish one). You are so focused for the first 23 miles that you hardly think about the finish, only that you need to keep truckin’. That’s how I felt leading into day 9. I just needed to continue executing my plan. However, when you can see the finish so close you get this second wind of energy to pick up the pace a little bit and finish strong and quick.

That may work in a marathon but time doesn’t quite work that way. These next 48 hours are going to take 48 hours whether I will them to go faster or not. I can’t really make my final 10 juices and drink them down and say I’m done. There’s a specific schedule to these things that cannot be interrupted. One must persevere.

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My 10 Day Reboot – Days 6-8

Sorry this post is a few days late. I figured a daily blog for the final half was probably a little excessive, so I’ve broken down the second half into two blogs. Blogging really helped me through the first few days but now that my body seems to have adjusted to this new diet the days don’t seem quite so daunting or long. It’s amazing how the body adapts. I’m hoping that filling it with complete nutrients I’m really allowing it to focus on other issues than just digestion and I’m getting healthier in ways I can’t even see.

When I first started this reboot each day felt like stepping out on a high dive a little farther. The first day or two I still felt close enough to the beginning that I could turn back but after a few days, in case I felt like I was truly starving or something. The idea of going longer than a few days without “normal” food is a little hard for the mind to wrap itself around. Around day 5 I reached a tipping point and I walked off the edge of the high dive. That’s when I really knew I was in this for good. No turning back.

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My 10 Day Reboot – Day 5

I’ve made it to the halfway point and I still live. I’ve got to say, it feels good to have made it this far. The first couple of days definitely felt pretty long but now time seems to be speeding up and the days don’t drag and the weight of how many more days I need to get through doesn’t seem nearly so daunting.

It also feels good to look back and see that I have definitely completed five days and look forward and see just five left. I can do this whole thing again. I am starting to think about how I am going to come off this fast and what changes I want to make so I don’t fall back into bad habits. I plan on heading right into another phase of P90X as soon as I finish. Combined with an even better diet I’m excited to continue to push my limits. Eat Clean, Train Dirty as they say.

I am still fighting that temptation to dwell on what I will be eating when I am done because seriously, food is everywhere. I had a Truman Show moment driving into work today. As I sat in my car at a light I found myself looking at all the fast food places that are on every corner and all the cars surrounding me. I thought to myself how any one of these people could whenever they wanted just drive up to any of these places and get whatever they want and not think anything of it. I just glanced at my bag full of my mason jars filled with my afternoon and dinner juices. If only they knew that this nearly 30 guy in an old Jeep couldn’t do any of that… crazy.

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Is your food really ORGANIC or does it contain GMOs?

Here is some great information that is especially helpful when shopping for produce. I had no idea the numbers were broken down that way.

Juicing With Jennifer

As I embark on this new nutritional journey I want to share the information I find most important.  Juicing is a healthy way to eat and diet, however here is what you may not know about the fruits and vegetables you are buying (I certainly didn’t)!

You know those stickers that come on your fruits and vegetables?  They have a purpose. Pay close attention to the numbers they are full of useful information.

Watermelon 4032If it is four digits beginning with a 3 or 4, this means that the produce was grown conventionally or “traditionally” being sprayed with chemical, weed killer and pesticides.

If it is a 5 digit number beginning with an 8, it is Genetically Modified (GM).  This means the produce’s genes were genetically altered to produce bigger, faster growing, or better looking produces. Needless to say, this process is detrimental to the produce, and very dangerous to your health.However, do…

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My 10 Day Reboot – Day 4

I’ve made a huge mistake.

Roots and Fruits

Roots and Fruits

Due to what I thought was going to be a really busy day and wanting to sleep in for an extra thirty minutes this morning I chose last night to prepare my juices for today in advance. My thought was to leave them in the fridge overnight to chill and they would be nice and cold and ready for me in the morning when I headed to work. I’m pretty sure Jesus did say, after all, that preparation was second only to godliness…

Maybe that’s wrong. Maybe it was Tupac who said that.

At any rate, I had my four juices made and chilling in the fridge by the time I went to bed last night and by the time I got to my first two juices this morning they were delicious. Perhaps a little more pulpy than usual but delicious none the less.

My lunch juice, however, was a monster juice that goes by the title V28. V28 is a great juice. It’s not the best tasting by any means but as far as nutritional value, filling factor and size of beverage made it is hard to beat. I try to have it at least every other day.

V28 – 3 Red Beets, 2 Carrots, 2 Celery, 4 Plum Tomatoes, 4 cups Parsley, 1 Apple, 12 Radishes

By the time I was able to step away from my work I had about five minutes to drink my 32oz beverage. I’ve become quite adept at pouring juice over ice and then just sucking down 16-20oz at a time. Not quite the enjoyment factor I’m looking for but you gotta do what you gotta do am I right? Such was the case today and I poured my V28 and downed half of it in a couple quick gulps. Almost immediately I wanted to wretch. That’s never happened before.

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