My name is Dennis. Some of you know me and some of you don’t. If you do know me, then you probably know a few things about me, like I’m from North Carolina and that I’ve lived in Nashville for 30 years. My dear parents and my brother’s family all have very deep roots in the Carolinas. My small town was too small for me so I headed to the city. I left in 1986 to attend Belmont University in Nashville. I’d like to say I never looked back, but truth be told, I look back often.
These days with my parents in their 70’s, I often think back to my family and how they’ve shaped my life. The small Southern Baptist church I grew up in introduced me to Jesus, who has changed my life for an eternity, as well as for my own children. Even though there were bumps in the road during those growing up years, I built a great network of friends that I have to this day. I love my extended family: aunts and uncles and cousins.
Life in Nashville
For my own family here in Nashville, I’m blessed to be married to my awesome wife, Danielle. We met on eHarmony in 2014 and have been married since April 2015. She is stepmother to my four amazing children, Aaron, Chris, Anna Rose, and Elise. Aaron just graduated from Western Governor’s University, Chris is studying to become a commercial pilot at Middle Tennessee State University, Anna Rose is finishing up her last year in middle school, and Elise is finishing up her last year in elementary school. All four are so unique and different from each other, but they all share a good sense of humor.
In Nashville, I have been one of the fortunate music business graduates from Belmont who has actually worked in the music business for most of my career. Except for a couple of left turns, the biggest one ending up in Tororo, Uganda for seven months, which changed my life forever. I’ll cover that experience in another blog someday. Currently, I’m working in my other “left turn” career at a mental health agency. I work with an awesome team of professionals who care for individuals who have been brought into the emergency psychiatric units for Davidson County. I never thought I’d be in this type of job, but this is where God has me for now, so I’m making the most of it.
So What’s the Point?
So what’s the focus of this blog anyway, you may be asking? In my late 40’s I started looking at my own mortality square in the eye. Getting physically fit became a priority. I headed to the gym, started researching nutrition, and made efforts to get into shape. Heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and strokes are prevalent in my family history, so my goal was to avoid those types of illnesses as I got older. Since turning 50 in 2013, my journey into health and fitness has had its highs and lows. In summer 2015, my wife and I made the decision to go vegetarian after watching the documentary “Forks Over Knives” as well as doing our own research on the healthiest diets. Meat causes joint inflammation and my joints were hollering at me. Surely, I was too young for so much joint pain. In just a couple of months, I lost 20 pounds and my cholesterol dropped 40 points. And I didn’t mention that my joint pain lessened by about 90%! That was exciting for sure. I watched what I ate more carefully, reduced my sugar intake, and stopped eating fast food. I was feeling great!!
No meat, you say?!
Then in October 2015, we made a trip to Africa. Our dear friends, at great monetary cost and sacrifice to them, fed us meat at every meal the whole time we were there. Danielle and I had made the decision early in our plant-based eating journey, that when visiting people at meal times we would eat whatever they put in front of us, so we ate the meat. Well, that completely derailed me and I was back on the meat wagon again. AND, I started eating fast food again, mainly because I’m a hamburger addict! But that is, yet again, a blog for another day. So since the Africa trip and my transition into a job that is 100% sedentary, I have gained the weight back over the course of a year.
New Year, New Opportunity
That brings us to today. A new year with new opportunities for growth. I decided to start this blog for a few reasons: 1) I need accountability! If I put my journey out there for others to read about, then I will need to put in the effort to get healthy and lose the weight. In the process, I will get healthier and begin a lifestyle change that will change the course of my life. 2) One of the desires of my heart is to see the lives of others changed in a positive way. I want people, first and foremost, to know Jesus. What a difference one man made on the face of this earth. When I go to Africa, I always want to see the hearts and lives of people; men, women, and children, to be affected with the good news of the gospel, to receive an education, and to learn how to become self-sufficient. 3), I want to see people get healthy. I’ve been there and I want to get back and go beyond where I’ve been. AND! I want to inspire all of you to take the journey with me.