2015 Annual Review

December 11, 2015 — Leave a comment

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I started writing articles or blog posts in 2007. I wrote a post you can read here on the reasons why I started.

In 2007 I wrote an annual review and thought, wow even though I typically do one I didn’t realize that I hadn’t posted one online since. So I’ve decided to do so today.


It gives me an opportunity to look back and see all that happened in my life over the course of a year. It allows me to see what went well, where I was off-track, and what I can do moving forward.

In a nutshell, am I becoming the man I want to become and fulfilling my assignment on planet earth?

I’m not posting this review online to say, “Hey everyone look at what I did!” It is more of, “Hey would you celebrate with me at some cool things that happened in my life” and “Interesting… I think I’ll give this review thing a try.  I thought Ricky was more spot on, he’s more human than I thought.”

One other thing, it’s easy to read another’s review or someone else’s goals and compare.   I’ve had that same temptation as well.  When I do I lean into one of my favorite passages,

“Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.” Galatians 4:5-6 MSG


Here’s the 3 questions I’m going to tackle in this review. Once again I challenge you to do your own review and by all means make it more simple of need be.

  1. What went well this year?
  2. What didn’t go so well this year?
  3. What am I working toward?

Alright. Deep breath. Don’t be afraid. Let’s do this.

1. What went well this year?

FAMILY (I break this into two categories)

When I first started thinking about this I felt that negative vibe of, “You’re not a good husband OR a good father. You struggle.” Been there?  I started believing it until I reviewed my calendar and saw that we created so many memories together including:

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  • Perot Museum and Zoo day during Spring Break
  • Red Sox vs. Rangers game for Cale’s birthday
  • Water park during the summer
  • Field trip to the Ballpark in Arlington with Camden
  • Camden’s URL event in Arlington
  • Camden’s Spelling Bee event at school
  • Cale’s Christmas program
  • Assisted in coaching Cale with t-ball
  • Had lunch with both boys at school
  • Took two camping trips at various lakes
  • Experienced 4 San Antonio getaways to see my family
  • Thanksgiving vacation at a remote location followed by trip to Claremore, OK to be with Amy’s family
  • Amy and I became official Epic kids volunteers at church and also went through an ADHD class to help us be better parents

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  • Celebrated 13 years of marriage at Melting Pot
  • Getaway to Ouray, Colorado at Eagle’s Nest
  • Regular breakfast dates and monthly evening dates
  • Double dates with various couples

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As I turn my attention more towards my calling and work it falls under four main roles being: entrepreneur, coach, writer, and speaker.

  • Nearly 100 pastors were coached via 4 seasons of coaching huddles by our coaches within the Fit Pastors team. We gave away a ton of free passes for our online course Fit Pastors Academy. I led our team to produce another product in Fit Pastors Academy 2.0 and we also developed an automated coaching course to train others to help us with pastors.
  • We established an advisory board of directors and have brought on new team members to help with video, website, social media, and graphic design. After 2 years, my partner Shawn Reine has decided to focus primarily on his church plant and will remain a huddle coach.
  • We started a staff wellness program at The Oaks Fellowship and looking forward to where this will lead. I need to think through how this can be sustainable.
  • This fall our team spent many hours of strategic planning to revise our current systems, products, and coaching. I personally went through an online entrepreneurship course called StartUp Camp to learn better business and marketing skills. We must not just do well at the ministry side but the business side if we will be sustainable financially.  You can click here if you’d like to see our business plan.


  • I personally coached virtually nearly 25 pastors and leaders in their health. I also led a 6am pastor’s workout 4 times a week that was open-ended and recruited my first intern to help promote prevention amongst college students. I made road trips around various parts of north Texas meeting with pastors for encouragement.
  • I secured my NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine) certification and also went through CPR / AED training to stay fresh.



  • I’ve written 454 articles on my website since 2007 but only managed to write 15 of those this past year.  It was a far cry from what I wanted to do but with the heavy travel schedule I’m glad I was able to keep it going. I’ve received affirmation that I need to continue to sharpen my writing blade.
  • I’ve downplayed this for a really long time because of my hesitation and fear in not being able to write well, being rejected, afraid of criticism, and insecurity with my grammar and punctation.
    I’ve had five close friends and family in the past few months ask me when I am going to write a book. Yikes! I’ve had multiple confirmations and know the day will come, but for now I must put in my writing reps and get more consistent in writing articles on this site.


  • I was a keynote speaker at 8 various venues including churches, leadership luncheons, staff sessions, and conferences. I also gave 7 promotional plugs for Fit Pastors at church planter events and denomination district councils.  After reading Essentialism I elected to cancel 6 engagements to rest and be with my family in the fall.
  • Although I enjoy these opportunities I’m at a season of life now that they no longer fill my ego bucket, but I now gauge them based on different criteria and more on return of investment with time, energy, and finances. I know this will be a huge part of my life in the years to come just not certain yet how much.


  • I had the opportunity to visit 10 different U.S. states. If you were to have asked me my excitement level last year knowing how much travel I was going to get to do I was stoked. I learned it isn’t nearly as glamorous as I thought with hotels, airports, fatigue, time away from family, getting out of routine, and so on.

Here’s some cities and the U.S. states I was able to visit:

  • Alamogordo, NM
  • Boulder County, CO
  • Phoenix, AZ
  • Sacramento, CA (twice)
  • San Diego, CA
  • Manassas, VA
  • Pittsburg, PA (twice)
  • Denver, CO
  • Hilton Head, SC
  • Green Bay, WI
  • Albuquerque, NM
  • Springfield, MO
  • Orlando, FL


Moving forward I next focus on my health and fitness.  I’m trying harder to look at this from a holistic view not separate it isn’t as easy as one thinks. I look at my spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical.


I was consistent in following a 2-year Bible reading plan, along with Amy, which I loved discussing with her throughout the year. I took 4 short solitude retreats to recharge and attended a Freedom Quest retreat with other men and experienced some personal breakthroughs.


  • I battled loneliness in spurts and realized that I must become more intentional at relationships because I’m an entrepreneur and don’t go to work place or work for a company.  I also noticed when I have sugar in my system and don’t get enough sleep it effects me in a monumental way.


  • I read 35 books in 2015. Now ask me how much of that information and knowledge I applied? I’m learning now that too much knowledge is too much knowledge. What good is a book if it is not applied right? I used to like to brag on how many books I’ve read now I’m looking at how many books I’ve read that how impacted my life and have shaped me to make changes.  I’m planning on cutting the amount back in 2016 dramatically.


I coach and teach that the body is a like a vehicle with 4 tires. In order to stay physically healthy you need to regularly put air in your rest, move, lift, and fuel tires. You also need to have a regular tune-up.


Here’s my notes from my annual health screening that I sent my health coach:


1.  HDL
2.  Cholesterol Ratio (not sure if it going up is good thing?)
3.  Trigs way down!!!!!
4.  Blood sugar down
5.  Body weight went up but due to muscle gain thus BMI down
6.  Blood pressure way better!


1.  LDL went up 😦
2.  Total Choles the same 😦
3.  Potassium & Bilirubin little high


  • I regularly ran throughout the year as a warm-up for my lift workouts. I put in a ton of laps and cycled in preparation to complete my first off-road sprint triathlon called the Dirty Rock. I participated in a obstacle endurance race called the Down & Dirty. I also participated in the Bolder Boulder 10K in Colorado. I experienced a PR mile at 6:49. I’d like to improve my overall running speed in 2016.

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  • I consistently strength trained the entire year more so than I’ve ever done. I followed multiple plans by Jim Stoppani and used this LIFT log to help me track my workouts and see progress little by little. I’m already creating a new 4-tire tracking tool for pastors to use that will be much like a dashboard.  I want to do better at tracking how many total workouts I do in 2016 and do more compound movements to get a bigger bank for my buck.

Some of my highlights in lifting this year:

  • Bench Press – Started the year at a max of 165 and built up to 205.
  • Incline Press – 4 sets of 140 was a PR
  • Tricep Pulldown – Started at 170 finished at 4 sets of 220.
  • Shoulder Press – Started year with 30 pound dumbbells ended with 55’s.


  • These days I try to eat healthier not for weight loss but for overall health and because I’ve inherited bad cholesterol and blood pressure genes. I have to watch how much animal products and dairy I consume. I could’ve done far better here. I need to continue to monitor my intake with the app Lose It and focus more on clean, whole, and unprocessed nutrition.


  • This was by far my worst tire. Because I’ve made a habit of getting up at 5am I struggle to get the 8-9 hours my body needs to function properly. I had attempts at taking naps but it didn’t happen.  My plan is to begin using an app again called Sleep Cycle to track my sleep patterns and go to bed earlier.
  • My Sabbaths were pitiful. They were all over the map and I honestly didn’t allow the Lord to “build the house”. How can I when I’m always on the job site? I’ve got to be more intentional.  After all it is one of the big 10’s!


  • 3-day backpacking adventure in the Lost Wilderness in CO
  • Got to fly first-class on one my trips (life goal)
  • Accepted God’s grace and gave grace with a childhood wound
  • Performed a wedding and got to baptize a friend
  • Met a legend in the faith Hulda Buntain
  • Stained my own fence
  • Bicycle ride with Leland and a run with my Dad
  • Hosted my sister Shara and her kids for a weekend


2. What didn’t go so well this year?


  • I set out with unsustainable goals at the beginning of the year and it has left me feeling more like a failure. I had high hopes but with the amount of travel and me being routine-oriented I flopped.
  • For example: I wanted to do a weekly devotional, schedule more one-on-one times with the kids, and plan a weekly activity. It was hit and miss to say the least. I must simplify and schedule better.


  • If I were to give myself a grade it would be an F. I often blame it on my season of life with small kids and travel. That’s lame and I know it. I had goals of building solid relationships with 4 other guys and 3 moved out of state thus I gave up. I need to get back on the saddle and be intentional and stay in touch better with family.

Note: You can have 5,000 Facebook “friends” and still feel lonely.  Nothing will ever compare to face-to-face spontaneous conversations with true friends.


  • I’m a pioneer by nature and a starter thus I have struggled at building a sustainable ministry.  I’ve always l loved the starting but stink at the finishing.
  • I coach too many people at once draining me and not providing adequate attention to each of them.  I need to coach fewer and relieve myself of feeling guilty if someone ask.
  • I’m needing another person to come alongside me in a manager role soon.


  • Honestly this wasn’t a priority this past year but I’m realizing more and more that when you speak it is only to a select group. When I coach it is usually one-on-one or to a small group. However, when I write it is endless in its reach thus writing will become one of my #1 priorities in 2016.  It also stands the test of time and when you put something in writing it is forever.


  • I’ve taken the hit emotionally, mentally, and physically this year. My pace was a 10K and I need it to be an ultra-marathon pace. I’ve got to power down earlier and get adequate sleep and apply my Sabbaths.

3. What am I working toward?


  • If I am going to accomplish the most important I’ve got to focus in on writing, revising and rebranding our products, and coach multiplication. I must do this with a slow and steady approach.  I just read this book that was perfect in helping me gear up for 2016.

Routines and habits.

  • I’m not looking at setting a ton of goals this year but building in daily routines with habits that will allow me to become who I long to be in every area of my life.


  • As I write and coach I can’t forget that I must take care of myself in my own health. I must continue to model the 4 tires I preach on with a focus on rest.


  • I failed out a hobby or some kind of stress relief this year and thus with my desire to fuel cleaner, keep track of my cholesterol, I am going to make attempts to learn to cook better.


As you can see I’m far from perfect and not an expert even in my own health. I’m still learning and growing and receiving grace from our heavenly father.

I hope that in my sharing you find encouragement in your journey and making improvements along the way.

Thank you for reading and I invite you to ask me along the way how I’m doing in these areas! Feel free to use this as your own template.

Bring on 2016!

Note: Thanks to  James Clear for inspiring me to write this review.



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I love me some Christmas crack.

I know you probably took that in multiple directions but it’s not what you think.  Every December Amy works her little magic in the kitchen lab and puts together this amazing sugary goodness with Chex, sugar, sugar, and more sugar.  For my sugar addiction it is the last thing on the planet I need.  But….. oh it is so delicious.

Do you feel my inner tension right there?  Do you struggle as well?

Yesterday I put out a poll in the Fit Pastors online community and asked,

“What is the #1 struggle you currently face in staying healthy?”

One pastor friend wrote,

“Food fixation – it’s like Christmas music & decor trigger something in my brain saying it’s time to pig out on junk food.”

So many more wrote about their struggles with portion distortion, better known as portion control.  A few years ago I stumbled upon an eye-opening book by Brian Wansink called “Mindless Eating”.  Ever heard of it?  You can download my  Book Notes – Mindless Eating if you’d like.

In the book Brian talks about what causes portion distortion.  He writes,

“History repeated itself 20 years later with the mid-level casual dining restaurants. As their popularity and rivalry increased in the 1990s, so did their attempts to create perceptions of value. They too began trying to differentiate themselves by offering more and more food for less and less money.”

That’s it!  I’m not eating out anymore!  Just kidding but that isn’t cool.  I remember around the time I was reading this book I also read some articles that talked about how our grandparents generation used smaller plates therefore ate less.  Think about it.  Just the size of a slice of pizza in the past ten years has tripled!

Brian offers a few suggestions on how to downsize our consumptions.

Here’s a few:

  1. A shopper can buy smaller sizes
  2. Create his or her own single portion servings by subdividing the bargain-size bag into smaller ones.
  3. A restaurant diner can split the fries, order two appetizers instead of an entrée, or have half the dinner packed to go.
  4. A home diner can replace large tableware with smaller plates, bowls, and glasses and can use smaller serving bowls and serving spoons, while also keeping the large packages or containers off the table and out of sight.

This morning during my early morning routine I quickly wrote down ten simple ways to avoid eating like Santa during the holidays.  Here they are:

  1. Remind yourself of your WHY (reason you want to lose weight or be healthier)
  2. Say a simple prayer for the Holy Spirit to give you the fruit of self-control
  3. Envision ahead of time you making healthy choices at a holiday party
  4. Give yourself a budget ahead of time using an app like Lose It
  5. Know thyself and don’t partake of one cookie if it will awaken your sugar monster
  6. Be an influencer and lead the charge helping others which will help you be stronger
  7. Go public on Facebook and write how in a humorous way how you avoided the tempations
  8. Ask yourself “Do I really want to be the average American that gains 1-2 pounds during the holidays?”
  9. Self-report to a friend by taking a picture of your healthy choice and text them
  10. Read this commentary by Brian Wansink to create awareness and get you mentally prepared

This was a good quote from the online community from yesterday’s question that hopefully will encourage you today.

“Right now, the holiday season with all kinds of foods everywhere, weird schedules, being firm that the “season” is not permission to lose all aspects of self-discipline. Every event does not have to be a food celebration.”

How about you?  What can you do as the month of December moves forward to enjoy the holidays, yet use wisdom with portion control?  What are some simple tips you’d like to pass along to other readers?

Comment. I’d love to hear from you!



Why is that a really big deal? I don’t have time to say everything in my heart right now but I will say this.

Each one of those 43 pastors has a name, a heart, a wife, children, staff, and churches that they are leading.

Can you imagine if each of them get healthier? Lose weight? Gain confidence? Energy? Extends their longevity in ministry?  Continue Reading…

Three years ago at my Ironman in Idaho I struggled on the last 13 miles of the run to finish. Amy was wearing a shirt “Iron Baby on Board” that day when Ainsley was just in her womb. All I could think about was making my unborn daughter proud of her Daddy. She was truly my inspiration that day!


Fast forward to last Sunday, I did my first off-road triathlon since that day 3 years ago.  She was still an inspiration but I got to thank her in person outside the womb by putting my medal around her neck!

Listen I’m loving and so proud of the “VP Boys” as I call them, but having a little girl has been a joy that only those of you Dads can know.

Ainsley’s name means “ones own meadow”.  She’s already at 2 1/2 years a determined little girl and I’m blessed that I get to raise her up!  Hope to keep making her proud!


Just wanted to encourage you today as you continue to move forward in your health journey.  Some of you are FULL THROTTLE hitting workouts, others are dialing it in on your nutrition using Lose It, others have taken a million steps for bragging rights on your Fit Bit, and others are still swamped with summer ministry and haven’t had an opportunity to really get into a rhythm yet. It’s all good we all have our own journey in this. Continue Reading…