A digital commonplace for a Regular Guy called Charlie Pharis

Month: April 2006 (page 1 of 2)

One Last Post…

…and then a change of focus and direction – perhaps! – come Monday!

Come Monday, it’ll be all right, come Monday…

Please bear with me for one more post about my ongoing workout/fitness saga. Pretty please?

Both of you loyal readers will remember that the last time I posted was ten days ago, and I talked about sending out a big ol’ load of big ol’ boy clothes to the thrift store folks. I had whittled down my closet contents to what I thought I could wear for a while yet. Well, that while wasn’t as long as I had anticipated!

I did something today I haven’t done in probably 24 years. I bought three polo shirts (the style, not the brand!).

In size L.

Not XXL, which has been my default size for more years than I can remember.

Not even XL, which has been my “transitional” size for a month or so.

L, as in Large. Grand. Grande.

Oh, I also bought two pairs of pants. Three waist sizes down from January.

I can’t really tell you how I felt as I tried those items on in the store this afternoon. There was a whole range of stuff that kept working its way through my mind. Let’s just say it has kind of highlighted some thoughts about change and goals and purpose and some other stuff that I’ve been ruminating on for a while now. Hopefully, that’s going to lead to some other significant life changes in the very near future.

Thanks for reading. Thanks for tolerating the personal fitness saga. Thanks for praying and encouraging.

See you Monday…

The Point of No Return…

WOW! This morning marks a milestone of sorts. Those bags contain the last of the “big boy” clothes, ready for pickup by the American Kidney Fund people.

One closet now has a lot of lonely wooden hangers clattering around in it. And somebody’s going get some great deals at a thrift store somewhere!

Easter Pilgrimage to The ‘Stone…

We had our “sunrise service” to kick off Easter Sunday yesterday. (I put “sunrise” in quotes, because by the time we get there at 7:00 a.m. the sun has been up for a long time. But I digress…)

Anyway, after our “sunrise” service, I bit the bullet and headed up to check out my buddy Gary Lamb’s Easter service at RidgeStone Church. Now Gary’s been my buddy for a long time, but I’ve never actually been to RidgeStone before yesterday.

I’ve gotta tell ya…I was very disappointed in what happened at RidgeStone’s Easter services.

See, I know all these folks who are dead-set against “contemporary,” “purpose-driven,” “seeker-friendly,” whatever-you-want-to-call-it churches, and they rant and rave against them all the time. And I know some of them have had Gary and RidgeStone in their sights for a while.

Well, first off, I pulled up at the theater where RidgeStone meets, and you know what? I was greeted by more than one friendly person. No, it didn’t appear to be that they were “putting on” the friendly routine. They seemed to be genuinely enthusiastic and welcoming! Go figure…

Some of those “critics” say that the leaders of some of these churches are egotistical, megalomaniacs, only interested in building their own kingdoms. That they are too aloof from the regular Joes and Janes of the world. Guess what? Gary – the lead pastor, the big kahuna, da man himself – was out and among the people as they gathered for the service. He was encouraging the volunteers, greeting folks and, in the words of somebody famous, walking slowly through the crowds. Go figure…

Then the service started and I knew, from listening to some of the “critics,” that there was going to be that “devil rock-n-roll,” that “satanic” music that appeals only to the baser instincts and desires of the flesh. Guess what? The band rocked, for sure. But guess what else? The music was pure worship and praise – glorifying God, lifting up Jesus, and building up the participants. Go figure…

Then it was time for Gary to preach. And I knew from some of the “critics,” that pastors like Gary water down the Gospel. They supposedly take a couple of isolated passages of Scripture and weave them together in some convoluted psycho-babble substitute for “real preaching.” (You know, verse-by-verse “expository” preaching. The kind of preaching Jesus did. But I digress…) Guess what? Gary could have been preaching at any evangelical church in the world. Heck, he could’ve gotten a lot of mileage out of his message at pastor’s conferences and other such gatherings. You know what he had the audacity to do? He talked about the Bible as an objective source of truth and reality! Wow! No watering down in that message! No apology for preaching the Bible, either. Go figure…

Well, I say all that to say this: I was disappointed in what they did at RidgeStone’s Easter service. Very disappointed.

See, at RidgeStone Church, Gary and his team are teaching people how to serve the Lord and other people with a sense of joy, purpose, and fulfillment. They are leading attendees into a powerful experience of God in worship. They are teaching the truth of the Bible unapologetically and boldly. They are doing their part to fulfill the Great Commission in Canton, Georgia.

But they aren’t teaching people how to flush after they use the facilities. That’s it…of all the stuff the “critics” say about churches like RidgeStone and pastors like Gary, what they’re missing is the lack of personal hygiene among some of the attendees. Amazing!

Thanks, Gary, Tim, and the whole RidgeStone team for making my Easter a powerful and positive day!

Your Attention, Please…

If you stopped by my little attempt at a blog around 10:19 p.m. tonight, from George Mason University, and your IP address is something like 129.174.226.#, and you were reading this post about pencils, please email me ASAP! Thanks a lot!

UPDATE: Better yet, stop by again, and leave a comment, instead of emailing.

Thank you very much!

The Downside – with an Upside…

A somewhat funny thing happened on the way to a funeral last night. To set this story up, you need to know a couple of things…

  • As chronicled on this blog, I’ve been hitting the YMCA six days a week since January.
  • I’ve had occasion to wear a suit exactly once since I started working out regularly.
  • That once was less than a month, and less than 10 pounds into the workout thing.
  • It has now been over three months, and 33+ pounds.

Now, here’s the funny thing.

Remember that Tom Hanks movie Big? Remember the last scene when Susan has taken Josh back home? Remember how big Josh morphs into little Josh right before Susan’s eyes? Remember that baggy suit look? Picture that look – but in reverse! Not little Charlie, but big Charlie with a baggy, saggy suit that literally is falling off! Funny, except when you realize you don’t have a suit to wear, and you need to have it on in less than 45 minutes!

I guess that’s the downside – if there is one – to getting healthy. The upside, of course, is you get to plan trips to places like this and this and maybe even this.


One of the highlights of every Easter is watching Cecil B. DeMille’s epic The Ten Commandments on TV. This year, if we have the stamina, we’ll get 20 commandments over 8+ hours, in six days! ABC has produced a Ten Commandments mini-series that will air tonight and tomorrow.

Will it be better than the 1956 original? Maybe more technically flashy (no Jell-O special effects in sight!), but they’ve gotta go a long way to beat Charlton Heston as Moses and Yul Brynner as Rameses! (Oh, and don’t forget Mr. DeMille himself as the Voice of God!)

Here, then, for your edification, are Ten Commandments for Watching The Ten Commandments.

*What Would Charlton Heston Do?

If You Would Have Told Me…

If you would have told me on December 17, 2005, when we signed up at the YMCA…

  • that I would still be sticking with it on April 3, 2006, and
  • that I would be really enjoying the experience, and
  • that I would be going to work out six days a week, and
  • that I would actually know my way around a workout facility, and
  • that I would have time – before almost anything else – to add working out into my daily schedule…

…I would have told you you were nuts!

And if you would have told me on January 2, 2006, when I really started doing the regular workout thing…

  • that I would be logging over an hour’s worth of cardio three days a week, and
  • that I’d be hitting the weights and a half-hour’s worth of cardio the other three days of the week, and
  • that my “out of the blue, just because you asked” long-term goal of losing 60 pounds by December 31 would actually be halfway done on April 3…

I would have told you you were waaaaay past nuts!

Well…let’s go a little nuts, shall we?