Overcoming Ghosts Of The Past With Release The Beast

Today’s the day. It’s no ordinary day. It is time to put my coaching credentials on the line. You see today is the first day of me starting my adventure of using the techniques taught in Release The Beast: Conquer Mental, Physical & Diet Challenges To Unleash The Champion Inside! to help me get towards 195 pounds. If I couldn’t’ meet my goal using one of the best tools in my arsenal, why should you?

I’m VERY confident in all the lessons I created inside Release The Beast.  I would not have bothered writing that book if I did not believe in them. When I didn’t meet my 2015 goal on January 1st 2016, I decided to slow things down and check myself.

You see that’s a problem with a lot of people today. We are presented with information overload and think we always know what’s best for ourselves. By refusing help, we tend to stay stuck for years without ever making progress.

That’s why I wanted to become an online fitness coach. I wanted to help lend a hand to others so they can overcome obstacles they are too blind to see. In order to help others, I first must get over one of my own hurdles…Getting down to 195 pounds.

This journey has been well documented on this blog these past couple of weeks (see here). I’m a guy that doesn’t care how much he weighs. The real purpose of getting down to 195 pounds was that it represented my goal to lose about 15 pounds of fat in 216.

Due to me not reaching that goal, it was time to use Release The Beast to make sure I truly did EVERYTHING I needed to do to finally complete my goal. So here I am, reading the book as if I was a brand new reader. I hope you find this helpful!

Set Up

Day One of my journey to begin reading Release The Beast started on Monday, January 11 2016. On that date, I opened up the Release The Beast Workbook, and followed the 30 Day Timeline mentioned. For Day One, it mentioned that I should read the first section.

Section One of the book is divided into three chapters: Past Workout Plans, Past Diet Plans, and The Effort. Each chapter has it’s own tasks that are clearly laid out in the book and workbook.

Past Workout Plans

Crossfit group doing deadlifts looking at youThis chapter really questioned everything about my past relationships with working out. It made me really analyze why I did what I did at the gym. Here’s my own personal self-evaluation:

Group Workouts

I stopped working in groups for the past couple of years. Despite my current gym offering all types of group classes, I haven’t attended one since I moved back to Virginia in 2013. Considering how expensive my gym membership is I probably need to take advantage of them.

The only time I fully participated in group training sessions was when I would attend yoga classes. Despite my awesome workout plans, I understand how beneficial it can be when working with a group.

Motivation

For the years of me doing strength training I used personal rep records as my source of inspiration. If I could squat 225 pounds for 8 reps, I would try to break that record by doing more reps or adding more weight. While doing Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 strength routine, I would always have my personal rep records written down. Each time I would go to the gym, I would have an idea of how many reps I would need to do to break my own records. This kept my workouts fun during my strength training years.

Workout Journals

I have used workout journals to keep track of my fitness routines for years. I would print the journals out on my way to they gym and keep them with me. I would take notes throughout the workout and then save them electronically at the end of the month.

Fitness Challenges

I set up personal challenges with some friends. Not all of them participated at first, but during the last years, I had one good friend start to take fitness seriously. That started a consistent friendly competition that drove us both to do better.

Quick Fix Workout Routines

I gave in on a few occasions and tried some “Get Ripped in Two Weeks” type of workout plans that had me do two-a-day weightlifting/cardio routines. I typically don’t do a lot of cardio; so simply by introducing them I expected to see a ripped body at the end. At the end of such routines, I normally would end up with very sore knees and no ripped look whatsoever.

Fear

There’s been a couple of exercises I’ve avoided out of me knowing I looked pathetic when doing them. The two biggest ones that come to mind are:

Glute Hamstring Raises

Rear Elevated Split Squats

Glute Hamstring Raises has always been a reality check for me throughout the years. I’m lucky if I can do two successfully. As I type that last sentence, I realized that I haven’t attempted the exercise in over four years! I’ll be sure to retackle this exercise sometime soon!

I’ve been doing rear elevated split squats for the past couple of weeks. I avoided them for years because of how uncomfortable they made me feel. I squat and deadlift regularly, so why should I do these?

The truth is that the split squat exposes all my lower body weaknesses. It targets my quadriceps and exposes my weak core area. Despite not using a lot of weight, this exercise truly humbles me. I’m not as afraid to be seen doing this as I was years ago.

Past Diet Plans

When going down memory lane, I remember several diet plans. Like most inspiring bodybuilders, I ate every two-four hours. During the majority of my twenties I would have 2-3 solid meals with 2-3 protein shakes per day. I believed the articles telling me to just focus on getting in as much protein as possible. During most of my twenties, carbs were considered bad, so I only ate them around workout times.

Well…..that’s what I tried to do. The reality was that I was all over the map for years. The more strict the diet, the more vicious my eventual binge would become. It wasn’t until I started following Precision Nutrition’s style of eating that I started to get a better appreciation of food.

richard simmons fitness photo for 80'sMe and diet plans have been through lots of wars. Here’s a quick overview of my successes and failures:

Successes

  • Intermittent Fasting
    • 16 hours of fasting/ 8 hour eating window
    • Helped ended food timing obsession
    • Made eating enjoyable again and not forceful
  • Eating two-three solid meals a day
  • Focusing on total calories in a day
  • Eating 5+ servings of veggies a day
  • Cheat meals
  • Eating solid food 95% of the time
  • Being 90% compliant with my eating plan

 

Failures

  • Trying to eat 6+ meals a day
  • Focusing only on meal frequency (eating every 2-3 hours)
  • Taking too many supplements
  • Buying too many supplements
  • Cheat Days
  • Drinking too many protein super shakes a day instead of solid foods
    • Certain protein powders caused excess gas, cramps and bloating

 

Past Efforts

Guy exhausted from working out laying on the floor

This chapter pinpointed the great question…How Bad Did You Truly Want It! While going through this chapter, it brought up some solid points. Here are some of my own observations about my past efforts:

Going Through The Emotions

Too many times I would just show up without knowing the intimate details of the previous week’s effort. If I was going to improve, I needed to be aware of the previous week’s effort.

If my goal is to get better with each and every workout I should constantly be aware. All it takes is a couple of minutes of reflection. I can count months of me just showing up to the gym. Yes it’s good to show up, but there comes a point where I need to conquer that workout to reach that next level of greatness.

Tomorrow….

For myself, during the 2015 holidays I heard myself say “Tomorrow I will….” A LOT! That’s a BIG no-no. That showed a lack of effort to improve. Here are some of the tomorrows I said during the 2015 holidays:

  • I don’t eat like this during the rest of the year
  • I better finish off this ice cream because tomorrow I’m back on track and this shouldn’t be in our house.
  • Tomorrow I’m going to be my normal self; so today I’m going to be bad for one more day.
  • I ate too much junk food yesterday; I don’t feel good. I’ll skip the gym today and tomorrow I will try.
  • I’m not in the mood to shop healthy, let’s continue to be bad. Tomorrow we’ll be good.

 

It can be embarrassing to confront the sins of yesterday. Release The Beast does an excellent job of forcing you to confront your past. As a reader and author, it’s eye opening. I look forward in using my past to help craft the steps necessary to meet my goal of getting down to 195 pounds. Read the first chapters as well, and join me on this journey!

See ya next time!

How The 2015 Holidays Shattered My Progress But Not My Goals!

2016 is here! Are you still excited about all the possibilities of this year? I know I am. I mentioned in my 2015 recap exactly what 2015 meant to me. Now that 2016 is here, I expect to keep moving forward. I hope you do too.

In late 2015, I had decided to post a weekly progress report of me dropping down to 195 pounds every Friday. I started the weekly countdown around November 20th. My thinking was that it would keep me motivated during the holiday season which has always been the hardest time of the year for me to maintain and/or lose weight.

I had my ups and downs during the 2015 holiday season. Unfortunately I didn’t meet my goal of getting down to 195 in the year 2015. I got within five pounds of that goal several times during the year. If I had been dedicated I know I could have easily accomplished that goal.

Not Fully Dedicated To Sacrifice For Change

Like most folks I had gotten to comfortable with my body.  I had no consistent drive! I had a goal to get super lean again that I figured I would get to eventually. In my case, I was already around my ideal weight. For me to get towards my next level of leanness, I had to go outside of my comfort zone. It required a lot of sacrifice and change.

During most of 2015, I was just comfortable with staying in my comfort zone. I knew that to lose my 20 pounds of fat for the year would require a great deal of sacrifice. I’m a big boy, so I can admit that I didn’t give it my all throughout the year.

As my weight got closer to 195, articles stating how awesome it is to gain muscle and just bulk up would distract me. Those articles look so appealing to me. Being able to eat more calories. Not being restricted but just free to eat for growth.

The more my body shrank, the more I realized I did not have as much muscle as I had hoped to accomplished over the past couple of years. The image I saw in that mirror made me want to just stop dieting down and just build muscle. Those thoughts and distractions hampered my efforts to get to my next level of leanness.

What Do I Really Want?

UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 04: The Spice Girls attending the 1997 MTV Video Music Awards, NYC. 09/04/1997 (Photo by Vinnie Zuffante/Getty Images)During my Countdown to 195, I state that I really don’t care how much I weight. I care more about being healthy with a great looking body. It doesn’t have to be pro bodybuilder level, but good enough to get a couple glances when at the beach with my shirt off. That’s my current definition of my own perfect body. As Nate Miyaki states, it’s a body that looks good at the beach.

When I was around 200 pounds I looked in the mirror and saw that my perfect body still needed muscle. In order to build muscle, you need to be eating a surplus of calories. That is the complete opposite of what you do when you are trying to get as lean as possible. The longer you have been lifting weights, the harder it is for you to build SIGNIFICANT muscle and get lean at the same time. Sure it’s possible to build some muscle when on a restricted diet, but those gains will not be as easy as the person following a good surplus diet. The surplus is supplying the muscle with more nutrition than the restricted. It’s basic science and math!

With me knowing all this I am faced with a dilemma. Should I start a bulking diet or should I continue with getting down to 195 pounds?

Final Days of 2015

During the last weeks of the holiday season I became ill and stressed (see here). While ill, I did not try to eat according to my restricted meal plan due to all the holiday goodies at my disposal. On January 1st the scale told me that I weighed 217 pounds. One day later, the scale tapped me on the shoulder and whispered

“You’re now 220 pounds…..Mr. Fitness Author..ummm I’m sure that’s not muscle weight!”

I’m not the type of person to only rely on what the scale tells me. I believe that a mirror and measuring tape are better tools to measure your progress. When I used both of those tools, I did not like what I saw. The excess eating of carb/fat combinations made my body become extremely bloated. My waist was almost 37 inches around! That’s almost three inches more than it was two weeks ago!

MicVinny Presents…..The Decision

Lebron James makes The Decision to join Miami Heat in 2010Seeing those stats along with that reflection in the mirror made it easy to decide on what I should do. I decided to continue with my plan to go down to 195 lbs….but I was going to do it slightly different then I was before.

I’m going to treat myself as if I’m an actual client. I have decided that I will use the lessons from Release The Beast to show my Fan Club that I stand by what I wrote in that book. I seriously believe that everyone can have their dream body if they follow the lessons in that book.

For however long it takes, I will be utilizing Release The Beast Book, Workbook and Video Course to get down to 195 pounds. I’m hoping that others with fat loss goals come along with me for this journey.

Never feel like you are in this battle by yourself in 2016!

Why 2015 Was A Year That Changed My Life

I wasn’t sure how I wanted to end my last blog post of 2015. This blog has only been up since August 2015. Just a quarter of my year has been captured. Knowing that only a quarter of my 2015 had been captured made me realize that there’s so much more to my quest for my perfect body then what was written down.

Knowing how many years I’ve struggled to get towards my dream body, I guess it was time to write a letter to myself for 2016. I’m not a big fan of New Year’s Resolutions. What I am a fan of is year long planning with the goal of continuously improving your goals to eventually reach your dream.


Dear Michael,

Going into 2015 you had a fitness goal to do the following:

3/6/12 month Goals for Fitness
The Vision

  • Beach Body!!!
    • Consistent waist under 35 inches
    • Square Powerful chest
    • Arms greater than 15 inches
  • No bags under eyes from lack of sleep (7-10 hrs sleep a night)
  • No chronic joint pain (knees, back, spine, etc)
  • Have less than 20 lbs of fat on my body
  • No travel excuses for eating right
  • 175+ grams Protein, veggies, carb sources mainly from rice and potato sources.
  • Build Beach Body of dreams THEN get stronger with that physique
  • No more yo yo seasonal eating. Avoid the unhealthy relationship with wheat/fat/sugar/processed foods!! This has been my set back for years!

Like all things in life you had a curve ball thrown at you. The biggest distraction came around January 2015, when it was revealed that you would have to attend a specialized training class for a project. That project meant that you would have to spend at least 10 hours of day working in isolation. It took less than a month for you to realize that it was almost like a career death sentence.

You tried your best to deal with the situation but as the weeks kept coming along, you realized that it was a time for a change. Despite how much you loved the company you worked for, you were not in love with your actual job. You made a life-changing decision by giving up your six-figured job.

Introducing Entrepreneur Mike!

Entrepreneur mind with lightbulbThose next few months were exciting. You had a ton of business ideas. At first, you decided just to focus on your side e-commerce business. It became your new full-time job. Despite our best efforts, the business was just not profitable. I didn’t feel like a failure because the experience taught you a lot about yourself.

I started hanging out with people that had dreams of success just like us. Some were successful, others were still finding their way. The people who were doing better often designed businesses around their passions. It was at that point that I realized we should base our business around our biggest passion in life….fitness!

Fitness Goal Review

It was at this point in 2015, that I looked at my fitness goals for the year. I saw how close I was to achieving them back in February 2015, but got sidetracked by life. I thought I would still have plenty of time to achieve the goals, so I didn’t try as consistently. In late June, I attempted one quick fat loss experiment. I got down to 199 but it was just carbohydrate manipulation. The eating method I used to drop the weight wasn’t sustainable.

Who would listen to a person who couldn’t even accomplish his own 2015 fitness goals? I started to doubt myself again. Maybe we shouldn’t even think about going into the fitness industry.

As the negative thoughts piled up, I reviewed our past workout journals. I saw our past online diet journals. I saw all the weightlifting routines we had purchased over the years. I even glanced at our incredible 2010 physical transformation. Looking at all that evidence reminded me that…I WAS THE PERFECT PERSON to teach other’s about getting into shape!

Why Not Me?

31That’s when I thought about creating this blog site. Too many people see the final product of a fitness guru. Well, I wanted to be different. I wanted to share all my faults and doubts. I wanted people to see that I was human just like them. When you see that perfect picture of me, I want you to realize the amount of physical and mental work it took for me to look that way! Getting the perfect body you desire is not easy! That is what separates MicVinny from other fitness sites.

Even if it makes me look like a chump, I’m willing to share my journey. I could never ask you to do something that I’m not comfortable doing myself.

With that being said, as I approach 2016, I want you to remember who you are Michael. You’re the guy who took a big gamble on life. You decided not to be one of those individuals who always wondered “what if”. You are a #1 best-selling author! You are an online fitness coach! Nobody can take that away from you!

Use that knowledge and enthusiasm to spread your message to your Fan Club! Let your journey be the inspiration for others to Release The Beast!! Continue pushing towards your own fitness goals!

If you do all this you will be rewarded with success. I guarantee it!

Love,

Michael 2015

When Did TV Start Controlling Our Lives?

It happened to me again. It seems to happen more during the dark grey fall/winter months. One simple football game on TV turns into a whole day of me doing nothing. You see outside of my sugar addiction  I have another shameful addiction.

Like most Americans on Sundays I watch NFL football. Growing up in the Washington DC area. I’ve been a Washington Redskins fan for most of my life. I’ve been a fan through the good times and the bad times. Lately there’s been nothing but bad times. The owner is awful, and the name of the team is just downright offensive. Living in the DC metro area, you’re always exposed to the Redskins and Ravens as the local teams.

So ever Sunday, you’re guaranteed at least two local games plus one more national game. This past Sunday the Redskins played the Giants. Shockingly they won the game. Once that game was over I proceeded to watch other Netflix programs with my wife.

Once nighttime approached I went back to watching Sunday night football. I believe I watched at least 9 hours of TV this past Sunday. As I sat back and thought about all those hours of me sitting on the couch, I pondered…. when did TV actually start controlling our lives?

Golden Age of Television

To find that answer, you need to go all the way back to the golden age of television. The golden age is considered to have developed in around 1950 – 1960’s. That was the time period after World War Two, in which technology that was used for the war was now being applied for everyday usage. It’s really understandable to see how folks became obsessed with the visual box after listening to the radio for some many years. Like all new tools it’s just natural human curiosity that keeps their eyes glued to it (look at a small kid with a tablet).

A young boy and girl staring at a tablet and playing a game

Those early TVs started off in black and white. Eventually the TVs upgraded to color. Homes had families gathered around the TV during dinner. Who knew something as innocent as watching TV with your family would change our whole culture.

Reality escape

Most of us look at our lives as uninteresting. We don’t see the daily excitement that you see when you watch your favorite sitcom on the TV. All the daily emotions that we go through with our jobs, school, home, situations, family, and life gets erased when we sit down and watch a TV program. Heck what’s even sadder is the fact that we have something called reality TV that is still not reality. It allows us to falsely believe in these ideal situations that are all staged to make those people in the camera seem so much better than our lives. It makes us want to escape reality and live someone else’s reality.

You have the shows in which people travel all around the world for excitement. They go visit a country and learn all about the history or they might just go around the world to eat different types of food. There are so many different shows on TV that is easy to believe that your life is not interesting by itself. As we watch these TV shows we really need to ask ourselves, “are we living our lives to its full potential?”

Comfort zone

When we watch TV, we normally watch it from a very comfortable position. That’s the reason it’s so easy to over watch TV programs because we make it so comfortable for ourselves to watch it. Most families’ family rooms and/or living rooms are designed around the TV.

The most expensive piece of furniture in your living/family room was designed to make your TV viewing as comfortable as possible. Not necessary to make it easy to talk to your family members. No it was all about that 50 + inch screen TV and/or surround system that “needs” to be placed in that room.Guy eating ice cream in a blue snuggie

Remember the Snuggie?

Snuggies whole premise was to keep you on the couch covered up so you could be snug as a bug in a rug without having to be inconvenienced.

No Need To Move

How many people remember what life was like before the remote control? It’s pretty hilarious when you see a person physically walk to the TV to turn the channel up and down. The expressions on people’s faces are priceless! How dare you get up when we have this magical box in our hands that makes sitting down even easier!

Remote controls changed the game in becoming even lazier. All you need is your favorite beverage and/or snack by your side and you were good to go with a remote control. This is how TV forced us to become prisoners of our couches.

TV and Fitness

TV watching and fitness have a love/hate relationship. In the late 80’s to early 90’s workout videos tapes became extremely popular. You just popped it in your VCR, and you were good to go!

In modern times we have several online websites that allow you to view workouts right on your TV or electronic device. Despite this advance in technology, few people take advantage of it. What’s more interesting, a video on doing squats or seeing a video of Key & Peele making fun of 80’s fitness videos?

Luckily someone had a great idea to bring the TV watching experience inside the gym. They figured that whatever equipment was near the TV, would get used the most. Why not try to give them some exercise while watching their favorite programs?

Just like a bee to honey that is exactly what you see at every commercial gym in the world. If you want to see where the TV zombies are, go find the TVs at the gym and you will see them staring at the box. How sad is it that gyms have to put TVs in them to get people to work out? Seriously think about it…the only reason a lot of folks are at the gym is so they can watch TV as they “exercise”. They are not there to legitimately exercise. They are just there to watch TV with exercise as a byproduct.

Again, when did we start letting TV control our lives?

I’m Guilty Too

Whenever I spend more than four hours a day watching TV I always feel guilty myself. I know those could have been hours I could have been productive. I may have been talking down on the TVs at the gym but the truth is it’s better to be moving while watching TV than just sitting on your backside like I do most Sundays.

I’m a big believer in whatever you spend the majority of your time doing shows exactly what you prioritize in your life. If you were to count up all the hours you spent watching TV vs. working out that shows you where your current values are.

When people say they don’t have enough time to work out the first thing they should look at is their TV watching habits. If looking to add more time for fitness in your schedule, TV watching is the easiest to cut out. If you really feel that you still need to watch all those programs you can still watch them while walking on a treadmill. It’s not ideal but at least you’re moving vs. sitting still and not being productive.

Just remember…. You own the TV; the TV should not own you!

4 Obvious Things I’m Thankful For in 2015!

A whole year goes by and it still takes one particular holiday to make us slow down and reminisce about all the blessings we have in our lives. All around the world there are holidays meant to celebrate the humble human experience. In America, the closest holiday I can think of that expresses how grateful we are to be alive is Thanksgiving Day.

On our quests to become perfectly healthy specimens, we forget about the small daily appreciations that we should be telling ourselves each day. There’s nobody alive on this planet that should not have some sort of thing to be thankful for on a daily basis. I wanted to share some of the things I’m thankful for in 2015.

My Country

US Troops

I don’t care what your political party affiliation is if you live in the United States. You can be a Democrat, Republican or Independent but at the end of the day you’re still an American. It’s amazing how we love to use one particular word to separate and divide our country, when at the end of the day we all are Americans. We have so many freedoms in this country that it’s hard to grasp just how good we have it until we go overseas and experience the lifestyle of other cultures.

I’m not going to get too political on this blog, because it’s not the place for it. But I do ask that you at least pay attention to what’s going on in the world. There are countries:
• At war
• Living in constant terror
• With no electricity
• With no drinking water
• With daily genocides
• Constantly having bombs dropped on them
• etc.

All that is happening every minute of every day throughout this planet. Meanwhile, I’m in a country where more people know about Patti LaBelle’s pies at Walmart going viral than the reality of what’s been going on in Syria. Heck, there’s a former reality TV star running for PRESIDENT! How crazy is that!

We Americans can act and behave as stupidly as we want because of the protection we feel inside our own country. That’s something to truly to be thankful for. Other countries do not allow their people to voice their opinions, yet here we got so many choices. For better or worse, being an American is truly something I’m thankful for.

Grocery stores

Gluten free grocery store aisleThe simple task of going to the grocery store to buy groceries for Thanksgiving is a blessing. The fact that I have an abundant supply of food staples within a 3-mile radius of my house is just mind blowing! We have a system set up that keeps an eye on all the foods we consume is something to be thankful for. No longer are we playing Russian roulette with what goes in our mouths. There is the FDA that ensures our food is not a health risk. (NOTE: The FDA is another debate for another day….BUT the fact that we can argue it’s choices proves we have something to be thankful for!)

Most countries don’t have food regulations as vast as the USA. Simply having a choice when we go to the grocery store is a blessing in itself. Really think about that next time you complain about your diet. You have a choice between the organic, gluten-free cupcakes or triple washed, locally grown baby spinach in a microwavable bag. Could you serious look in the eyes of a starving kid in Africa and not feel ridiculous?

That choice at your grocery store is something to truly be thankful for. The fact that you can lose or gain weight and still have such a variety of foods to eat is something to give thanks for this Thanksgiving. Take time and let that one really sink into your mind!

My Health

I’m fortunate enough to have a very healthy lifestyle. For the entire 2015, I had not had one major accident health wise. This is the one of the few years in which my knees have been healthy the entire year. My chondromalacia patella did not flare up once this year. That is truly something to be thankful for because I know how in my past there had been months in which I had been in consistent pain.

Despite my only weekly workout routines, I have no severe injuries to report. I’ve been blessed with only one lower back pain flare up this year, which disappeared after two weeks. I was still able to work around the injury. That’s a blessing!

All of my routine doctor appointments have come up with positive results. I have not been majorly sick this entire year. There has been no flu, no colds; just minor sniffles here and there. This is definitely a blessed year for my health.

My Career Change

Man jumping from one ledge to another. Taking a "leap of faith"

I am truly thankful for the new direction my life has taken. I’m in a unique situation in which I can control my destiny. I decided to take the plunge from the corporate 9 to 5, to pursue something I’m truly passionate about. That passion has led to this website being built. That passion has led to me coming up with the idea to create a book. That book idea turned into Release The Beast.

The book Release The Beast turned into Michael V Moore becoming known as a bestselling author. Not just a bestselling author but also a #1 bestseller author! A year ago I would have never imagined myself as an author. All of these paths are due to one career decision that has led to you actually looking at this blog post right now. It’s amazing how one small leap of faith has this ripple effect on my life as well as other people’s lives.


 

So as this Thanksgiving comes by I really want you to take a step back and get outside your own skin. Actually observe your environment and think about your reality. Give thanks for all the life blessings that you take for granted. There’s so much in this world that we take for granted. Do yourself a favor and just give thanks this Thanksgiving.

It can be one minute of silence. It can be five minutes of silence. Just make sure you treat the reason you are alive right now as a reason to feel thankful. You’re fortunate enough to have been able to open up your eyes on this day. There are others who never got the opportunity to open their eyes this morning when they expected to wake up. They will never have that opportunity to take that final breath with their loved ones by their sides. They will never see another sunset rise up again. When was the last time you actually looked at the sunset? Use that as your launch pad for something to be thankful for on this upcoming holiday.

Take care!