Posts Tagged With: Goals

Budgeting… Our Goals


As with anything we do, we need to set some realistic and obtainable goals.  Not a comfortable goal. On the contrary, our goals and plans should always be a little more, a little harder, and a little higher than our present comfort level.  We should always strive to do ‘more’ than our current level or else we are just treading water and getting nowhere. That’s not a way to find success. That’s simply surviving.

One of the keys to success is to always be rising, gaining, and moving toward the end of our agenda. We have to set our eyes on the finish line, the pinnacle of what we want to achieve, and then be able to see, understand, and recognize the path to get to that line.  This is where we often mess up and stumble, leading to our failure in reaching the goals we set for ourselves.

In no way am I saying NOT to dream big. On the contrary… dream big; dream really big.  Write those dreams down, even the ones that everyone says are impossible.  Even the ones we think are impossible or not for us. We can’t run a race without knowing what kind of race we’re in, or where the finish line is, otherwise we’re just running wild with no direction. We have to know where we are going in order to know if we’re traveling in the right direction.

Once we’ve written our list of dreams, we now need to take a step back, remove the emotion from those dreams, and start setting realistic, obtainable goals.  We have to take the big dream and identify step A and step Z. Those are the two hardest steps to identify – A. What is it and where does it begin?  Z. What does it become and where does it end? We can’t set all the goals between A and Z without FIRST identifying those two components.  Those are the base to our equation for success. Equally, this same equation can be used for every area of our lives.

Who am I?   –  Who do I want to be?

What do I weigh?  – What do I want to weigh?

What can I do?  – What do I want to be able to do?

Where am I?  – Where do I want to be?

How much do I have? – How much do I want to have?

How do I feel? – How do I want to feel?

Where have I been? – Where do I want to go?

What position do I hold? – What position do I want to hold?


You see what I’m trying to convey?  We have to first identify the truth of our present state and then set the goal of the state we want to achieve. But, we can’t lie to ourselves or else the goals we set will unravel.  They won’t hold when the pressure comes, when temptation comes, when the truth reveals itself.  The number one failure to any goal we set for ourselves is self-deception and dishonesty. We lie to ourselves more than anyone else lies to us, or even the lies we tell to others.

One of the keys of success for making a change to any of our bad habits and behaviors, failures and weaknesses, including taking responsibility for who we are, is being able to recognize the truth about ourselves.  We have to accept that truth in order to make a decision to change it. In order to enter the race to achieve any particular goal in our life, we have to first understand where we are, who we are, and what state we are in – and then recognize the goal of where we want to go, what we want to do, and what we want to achieve.  It has to be done in honesty.

Goals are all about change; changing our present state, our present atmosphere, our present company, to a different state in order to achieve a different result. Change can’t happen without honesty. Change can’t happen without recognizing the truth. But once we face the truth, once we accept it, and we’ve recognized our A and Z components, NOW we are capable of setting our budget of goals.  As with any budget we can over budget or under budget.  If we over-budget, we set impossible and unrealistic goals, and are not going to be able to meet those goals and setting ourselves up to fail.  If we under-budget and set too easy of goals, then it won’t be a challenge and we’re not really changing anything; only running in a circle of what we already have. This is the cycle that many of us often fall into – and if you take an honest look at your past behaviors these are the type of goals that leads to those spherical habits – what’s often known as yo-yo diets or insanity – doing the same things over and over and over and yet expecting different results, so we keep making the same mistakes and we keep failing.  It’s why we can’t beat our addictions or overcome our weaknesses. It’s why we can’t change our lives or circumstances because we can’t change our environment, change who or what we hang out with, whom or what we allow in our lives, who or what we allow to influence us and speak into our lives.

I.e. – if we want to be successful and responsible, we have to stop hanging out with unsuccessful and irresponsible people, or making unsuccessful decisions. If we want to be healthy and fit, we can’t surround ourselves with lazy, unfit people or regularly visit the fast food restaurants, stock our fridges and pantry with junk food, or eat out all the time. If we want to be kind and generous, we can’t hang out with selfish and hateful people.  If we want to be happy and faithful, we have to stop hanging out with unhappy cheaters.  If we don’t want drama in our lives, we have to stop inviting it into our homes. We are what we do, what we eat, who we hang out with, and what we spend our time and money on.

Once we face our truth, and recognize our A and Z, we need to set our budget – break down all the steps between A and Z (B-Y) into progressive, obtainable mini-goals.  First break them in half (B-M), then break those sections in half (C-G), then those in half (D & E), doing the same for the other side, and so on and so forth until you have a clear path filled with plans and goals that will help you reach success. If we don’t like any part of who we are, where we are, or what state we are in, then change it. Recognize our A and Z, make our goals, and then set a realistic budget to meet all the internal steps until we find success.

Here’s an example:

Face the Truth: Always dreamed of writing a novel, but after starting a dozen stories, never seem to finish them. Life always gets in the way, and nothing ever gets completed.

Dream: Finish a 50,000 word novel.

A – Start Writing Novel – “Once Upon a Time”.  Z – Complete Writing Novel – “The End”

B-M – Break the novel down into increments and chapters so that M= 25,000 words (half our novel) (averaging 2000 words per chapter for 12 chapters) and then set our budget to achieve a chapter a day, or a chapter a week.  Outline those chapters of what we want to achieve by that part of the story, and set our goals for each chapter.  Then, do the same for the other half of the novel, so that we have a complete outline of mini-goals we want to achieve from A to Z.

Then COMMIT to those obtainable, reachable goals we have set, create an atmosphere to fulfill those goals, budget the equipment and material we need to achieve them, and make the time and room to get them done. Without commitment, we WILL fail. Kismet, Murphy, life, God, the supernatural, and everything and everyone will present obstacles and temptations to get us off our goals, detour us from our path, lead us astray, or get us to give up.  Nothing good comes easy or without effort. We MUST have commitment or we have already failed.  Budget our goals. They’re important. We are important. Our dreams are important.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Categories: author T.L. Gray, Blog Post, Dream, Dreams, Fairy Tale, Faith, family, friends, Health & Fitness, Hope, Hurt, Independence, Life, memes, Muses, Musing, Philosophy, Relationships, respect, Spiritual, T.L. Gray, Writing | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment



Unless you make a shit ton of money, have a wealthy uncle or heritage, most of us have to live within a budget.  We have to take note of what is coming in and what is going out or else we’ll find ourselves reactive, chasing one problem after another, instead of being proactive to prevent more problems.  Remember this: Reactive = chaos. Proactive=control.  I think this is one of the issues that plague our country, and even the world, more than anything else – irresponsibility of not realizing what our true means are and living within those means, or making a plan to increase or decrease those means.

I’ve experienced just about every aspect and level of lifestyle. I’ve been so low and have tasted being homeless living in my car and rest stops for a time, to a one room shack with no electricity or running water, onto trailer parks with holes in the floor fighting rats for my space, expanding to several different levels of apartments, moving into suburban America with a 4-bedroom home and two car garage,  rental properties,  enjoying a condo on the beach, and a hacienda complete with guards, servants and two toilets in a single restroom. I’ve experienced true hunger and have also gorged on extravagance; both just as depraved, and neither the key to true, lasting happiness.

As with any other goal in our life, we must take an honest look of where we are, what he contribute, what we owe, where we want to go, and where we need to be in order to make the appropriate plans to get there. Go ahead and keep believing your dreams and fantasies are going to take care of all your needs and solve all your problems. Let me know how that turns out.  However, if you truly want to pull yourself up by your bootstraps and live a good, balanced life, then you need to start being honest with yourself and circumstances, and then set your budget.

All of life is about a budget. We not only need to budget our money, but our time, our affection, and our dreams.  The most detrimental thing that happens to me is when I allow others, bad decisions, and unexpected circumstances to rob me of my peace and balance in life.  All the success I’ve enjoyed throughout my life has resulted from when I made an honest assessment, developed a plan, and then activated that plan – EVERY SINGLE SUCCESS.  If I look back, the majority of my failures have resulted from times when I’ve lied to myself, reacted spontaneously without counting the costs, or allowed others and their needs to come before myself.

So, this week I’m going to talk about budgeting. So stay tuned.  Hopefully something in these blog posts will open your mind, click within your soul, and set you on a path to success. That’s what I’m hoping for myself. This is all part of my latest journey.  If you want to come along, buckle up – it’s going to be an awesome, yet bumpy, ride.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Categories: author T.L. Gray, Dreams, Faith, family, friends, Health & Fitness, Hope, Hurt, Independence, Inspirational, Instructional, Musing, Spiritual, Writing | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Moving Forward… Day 5

Moving Forward Day 5.jpg

Well, it’s day five and I’m still moving forward.  Not in leaps and bounds, but in tiny steps, but the most important thing is that I’m moving.

One of the ways and keys to moving forward is making plans and small changes to fulfill those plans.  If you would have asked me last year what my plans were, they would be so different than the plans I’m making now.  Why is that?  Because of the people that are in my life now.

Since last year, I’ve met three people that I’ve fell madly in love with, and knowing them has filled my life, my heart and now my plans, but I’ll get into that more as I go through these plans that I’m making in my quest of moving forward.

Lighthouse Adventure.  As most of you already know, I’m on a quest to visit, picture, and explore all the lighthouses along the Florida coast from Amelia Island to Pensacola, including the keys.  I’ve already discovered, photo, or visited more than ten so far.  I’m constantly searching maps, books, and google maps searching and researching the lighthouses of Florida. It’s fun, it’s exciting, it’s educational, and it’s an adventure that makes me smile.

Writing. As you can see, I’ve picked up blogging on a regular basis again, but I haven’t given any time to writing.  But, as part of moving forward in my writing, I’m making a promise, a plan, to write at least one thing a week…whether a short story, or a chapter, or an article.  This doesn’t include blogging.  I plan to do that every week day.

Gaming.  I’ve been playing Xbox video games now for the last 4 years, starting with Assassin’s Creed, Red Dead Redemption, and then moving to Destiny, with splashes of GTAV, Halo, Call of Duty, and various new games here and there.  I’m not hard core, but I enjoy them.  Most of all I enjoy the company of my gamer friends.  My plan is make time to play, at least an hour a day during the week, and no more than a few hours on the weekend.

Side note: Well, my boys (two of the three people I’ve met this past year that I mentioned above), Anthony and Nathan, now play video games with me.  It’s a common ground activity for us, a way to spend quality time together, doing something we all enjoy, yet in the comfort of our own homes/rooms.  I love hanging out with these boys, they are two amazing teenagers, and I know they wouldn’t be the remarkable kids they are without the love and guidance of their father, Jon.  He’s a single dad and got a lot on his plate, but one of the things I admire most about him is the love he pours into these boys.  He’s not perfect by any means, struggles on many levels, but on the important things, I feel he’s doing a damned good job.   I also don’t think he gets enough credit for the effort he makes.  He lets his boys be themselves, but within defined guidelines.  He always tells them he loves them.  He’s always hugging them.  Most of all, in his busy world with all his responsibilities, he spends QUALITY time with them whether taking them fishing or surfing, or playing a vicious game of Monopoly or Poker.  He’s home with them after work, and then spends most weekends with them.  He makes them brush their teeth, do their chores, and pitch in with cooking, doing laundry, instead of doing everything for them.

Warning: Rant ahead.  It pisses me off sometimes when his selfish friends are always asking him to go do things that they want or need, that will take him away from time with his boys, when they have no similar responsibilities, or when they take advantage of him by asking him to do things to help themselves in the middle of THEIR crisis, instead of helping HIM. I’ve never heard any of them offer to take him and his boys on an adventure, go over and help him clean his house, cook him a meal to feed his boys, or ask him if he needs anything. He wouldn’t take their help if they offered it, but they never offer. They come to him with their relationship problems, stupid-ass choice, and dire straits, because he listens and he cares.  They take, take, and take… want, want, and want for themselves and what THEY need.  Where’s the giving?  Where’s the helping? Where’s the love? They’re selfish bastards. (And I don’t give a fuck if they get pissed at me for feeling this way. I’ve yet to see any of those fuckers do anything for that family but take. And there have been many opportunities for those fuckers to help. Fuck them!) Yet, Jon would do anything to help any of them if they needed it, and he helps them often (I’ve witnessed it), usually at the sacrifice of valuable time that he needs to keep on top of his own responsibilities. Fucking selfish bitches. Yet, when he needed something – none of those bitches were around. A real friend wouldn’t have to be told what he needs, they would see it. I don’t want to get to know any of them, and the one’s I have gotten to know so far, I’m not impressed. Yes, it’s important that Jon spends some time for himself, doing adult things, not forgetting he’s not just a father, but a man or a friend. But his friends should be more considerate of his responsibilities and not even ask him to do anything that would make meeting those responsibilities harder or more of a burden for him. Take the man out to eat, put gas in his truck, help him change a tire, buy him a beer, go surfing with him (even if it’s not your thing – do something HE loves, not just ask him to join in YOUR activities), take him to a movie, or play a game of poker (bring him a fat cigar too – he loves those). Oy veh! Okay – rant over, back to the regularly scheduled program.

Fishing.  I plan to learn how to fish.  Not just because I want to know myself, nor for the fact that I live in Florida and with all the lakes, rivers, and ocean all around me, fishing is abundant.  I want to learn how to fish, because I know it’s a passion for Nathan, and I want to be able to share in that activity with him.  I’ve seen this kid’s face completely light up when it comes to fishing.  Seeing that love and excitement on his face, that’s worth it to learn.  So, I’ll be researching poles, equipment, bait, methods, patterns, etc.  That’s one of my new goals, and I’m excited about it.

Sailing.  I have also met this year a wonderful new friend, Jason, that can see the joy and excitement on my face when out on the water, and has offered to make that activity available to me.  This is one of those treasured friends that are rare to find. I’m glad I met him and I’m glad he’s my friend.  I’ve been sailing now a few times, and boating aboard a floating Christmas tree a couple times, and planning a huge trip later in 2017.  I love being on the water. I love being in nature. I can’t express how it soothes my soul. Nor can I truly express how grateful I am to the opportunity Jason is offering me, and not just me, but for those I love most too… like my best friend Jenna, and my boys, Anthony and Nathan.

I’ll have more plans as the new year unfolds, but right now I’m off to a good start. One thing I’m suspending for the time being is dating.  I’m open to get to know someone, but I still need some time to heal. My heart is mangled mess and I don’t think it would be a good idea to jump into a romantic relationship until my heart’s not hurting anymore. I don’t want a band-aid or a temporary distraction, I want real, deep, forever-kind of love.  I want romance and adventure.  So, I’ll wait because doing it right, being healed first, is important. Until then… I’m going to put all my focus on moving forward.  Healing is part of moving forward.  So, let’s take a new step today.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Categories: Faith, family, friends, gaming, Health & Fitness, Hope, Hurt, Independence, Inspirational, Musing, Relationships, Uncategorized, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

With My Whole Heart… Now

With My Whole Heart Now

I sometimes wonder how I make it through the day.  I don’t wonder as I’m going through the day, but in those quiet moments of reflection usually at the end of one or in the early mornings of a new one.  I try not to look too far ahead, because while some of those thoughts bring me great anticipation and excitement, others bring me moments of panic, worry and overwhelming anxiety.  I’ve been through too much to not fear the struggles that may lay ahead, because of the struggles I’ve already waded through, but I’ve also experienced some great adventures and anticipate with wonder.  The joy, the peace, or the real struggle is to try to stay as much in the present moment as possible.  This moment is more manageable. It is this moment where your decisions matter most. It’s in these moments that keep you on track of your goals and aspirations, or provide the detours that sends you on a different path.  At least that’s what I tell myself.

What’s in my present moment? What’s going on in my life and what can I do about it?

I’m currently working on a health & fitness program that includes a great workout regimen, a light diet plan, and building a lifestyle of active adventure.  So far, so good.  It’s a decision I have to make on a daily and weekly basis.  I can’t think or plan too far ahead, nor can I dwell on the past successes or mistakes.  I know what works for me, for my body, and for my mind.  My past success and failures help me make my current choices and also leads as a guide in my near-future decisions.  I give it my whole heart… now.

I’m currently in a romantic relationship that constantly makes me smile, makes me excited to get up in the morning, makes me feel at peace for my present, makes me feel loved, wanted and desired as I love, want and desire my man.  I don’t dwell on the relationships of the past. While those relationships sometimes pop up to remind me of both good and bad times, I don’t allow the memories to stay very long.  I also don’t try to plan and anticipate too far in the future.  Anticipation is the root to most of our disappointment. I’ve learned I can guarantee nothing. How can I make a promise that I have no power to actually fulfill? It doesn’t mean I don’t have a desire to see a life full of great moments, great love, and even greater adventure, because I do.  It’s one of my biggest hopes. However, I don’t PLAN it. I just appreciate what I have in this current block of time.  I reflect on how I feel and how the relationship affects me now.  I give it my whole heart… now.

I’m currently surrounded by a few great friends, and have recently made a few new friends.  I’m seeing the beauty of the human heart through some of the people that has come into my life the last few years.  For so long I saw the ugliness, judgement, and depravity of humanity, and many times my heart hurt and my mind fought to have hope.  There are beautiful, selfless, caring people in the world. I’ve had the pleasure to meet a few of them.  While I miss some of the friendships in the past, I’m learning to appreciate the friends in my present and open my heart to new friends.  I give it my whole heart… now.

 I’m writing again.  I have so many manuscripts I could work on, but I’m taking it one day at a time.  If I think of all that needs to be done, all that I’ve left behind, all that I’ve let slip away, or all that I want to do, then I will get too overwhelmed and run back into hiding. I don’t have the luxury to write full-time at this time in my life, and have to make time in my daily schedule for what I could do now.  It has to be a priority.  I have a wonderful job that I really enjoy that allows me to take care of my basic necessities, supports my independence.  It’s a job that ends at a certain time of day so that I am free to pursue those other goals in my life in the other 16 hours. I give it my whole heart… now.

So between my goals of health, fitness and living an adventurous lifestyle, enjoying a beautiful romance, surrounded by awesome friends, working at a good job, and fulfilling a great dream, my day is pretty full.  I don’t have the energy or the time to waste dwelling on a past I can’t change or worrying about a future I can’t control.  Today… I’m happy, I’m living in the moment, I’m in love, I am loved, and I’m excited. I give it my whole heart… now.

Till next time,

Princess of the Present

Categories: author T.L. Gray, Blog Post, Dream, family, friends, Health & Fitness, Hope, Independence, Inspirational, Instructional, Life, love, Philosophy, relationship, Relationships, Romantic, Writing | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gettin’ Real

Gettin Real


For those of you who know me and follow this blog regularly, the bluntness and openness in which I’m going to express this morning will come not come as a shock to you.  But those who don’t normally follow my posts – well, you’re in for a treat today.  I’m gettin’ real.

To start with, I want to celebrate a success.  I’ve recently started a new workout routine called “4 for the Core” (*see post below) recommended by Army Drill Sergeant T. Emilio Solano.  Today, I was able to reach my goal of holding the four core positions for the full minute required.  I did it!  It hurt like hell, my body was shaking, but I did it.  In the middle of the last position, feeling so proud of myself for my accomplishment, I started balling my eyes out.  Not because I reached another goal, but because I reached another goal.

I’ve come so far in the last two years, but not just on a physical plane.  Actually, the physical is only a reflection of all the inner changes I’ve went through.  The biggest of these changes have been my self-esteem.  Please don’t misunderstand me.  I’ve never had low self-esteem – as far as believing I was less than anyone else.  I’ve actually held quite a lot of pride and belief in myself.  However, there was a very long period in my life where I became numb and just didn’t love myself.  I didn’t know how to love myself and I sure as hell didn’t know how to let anyone else love me either. While I believed I was capable of doing anything in this world, no matter how intellectually or physically challenging it posed, I wasn’t afraid to face those challenges.  But, to put myself out there and let someone love me – scared the hell out of me.  It scared me so much I hid from the world… behind a fat body.  I noticed the heavier I became the less the world saw me.   The less the world saw me, the less I could disappoint it. I didn’t do this consciously, but I can look back over the past 20 years and see how I disappeared, step by step by miserable step until I lost Me completely.

That’s not an exaggeration.  Those who know me now, would have never recognized me just a few short years ago.  Those who knew me a few years ago often don’t recognize me when I’m standing next to them.  This happened the other day in the grocery store.  I stood behind a woman I went to church with for nearly 15 years. She glanced at me, but had no recognition in her eyes.  I smiled and was glad she didn’t know me.  In truth, she’s never known me.

For nearly 20 years, I asked God and everyone around me – “Who am I and what am I supposed to do?”  I could never answer those questions and they tormented me.  I have over 40 journals FILLED with tear-stained pleas begging the answer to those two simple questions… to only be met with silence.  I answered the silence with becoming what everyone else wanted me to be  – what my husband wanted, what my church wanted, what my friends wanted, what my children wanted, what my boss wanted.  I convinced myself being the best at these things defined my worth.  It worked… to a point.  Everyone valued me for what I was or could be for them.  Opposition only happened when I began to make the decisions for myself and they proved to be contrary to the beliefs others had for me. In becoming myself I lost everything.  I wasn’t loved for me – I wasn’t loved at all.

I have learned to love me – to love the woman I truly am.  As I grow in that love, I’m transforming – literally.  My body is changing. The woman I’ve seen in my dreams, I’ve caught her a few times looking back at me in the mirror.  She wasn’t there before – always hidden behind a mask of professionalism, the cloak of religion, and the façade of middle-class piety.  Guess what?  She’s fucking beautiful, and sexy, and smart.  I see her – all of her… all her scars, all her fears, all her love, all her hopes… and she’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. She’s taught me to see the beautiful people in others.

I’m not perfect.  None of us are.  Entering the dating world has brought up other questions – What do I like, what do I want, what do I find attractive, what turns me off?  What about me do men find attractive?  What can I improve?  I’m learning the answer to all these questions.  Reading online profiles has me shaking my head and sometimes laughing out loud, because it’s made me realize I’m in a really good position because most people don’t know the answers to their questions.  They don’t really have a clue what they want and what they like and hide behind their masks. When you don’t wear a mask anymore, you can tell when others do or don’t.  Most often their expectations are unrealistic.  (*see my upcoming post about The New Bachelorette – Dating over 40 Update), or they’ve convinced themselves of the good-sounding lie instead of the hard naked truth.

So, I celebrate my accomplishment.  It’s one of several I’ve made this past week, this past month, this past year, and this past season of my life.  I’ve still got a long way to go, baby… but I’m doing it. I’m living, loving, and learning.  I can’t tolerate imitation any more.  Only the real deal is good enough for me, because I’m bein’ real, getting’ real, and livin’ real.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray


Categories: Blog Post, Health & Fitness, Musing, Writing | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

Triumphant Changes

Triumphant Change

Woo-hoo!!! 90 lbs, BABY!!!!! I’ve hit the 90 lb loss mark since January 2013!!!!!!

No pills, no pre-packaged meals, no counting, no shakes or gym membership, no personal trainer or chef.

But before you think it was an easy, quick fix, let me reassure you – it was ANYTHING but easy.

The FIRST step: Changed my mindset. I quit telling myself I NEEDED all those things listed above in order to get healthy, because those are just excuses. Yes, I had physical problems, mostly due to my poor health and obesity.  But to change it for good – to change the outside – I had to change my mindset that it wasn’t just something I needed to do, but what I had to do, what I deserved. I deserved to be happy. I deserved to be healthy. I deserved to be sexy and beautiful.

The NEXT step: Changed my lifestyle. I quit sitting around all day. I started walking, scheduling outdoor activities, parking at the end of the parking lot – not the closest spot, started walking up stairs instead of elevators, started hiking, participating in 5k runs, and started exercising. YES it hurt… ALL of it hurt, but I didn’t try to master it all at once, I just simply made it a necessary part of my lifestyle. I also didn’t depend or count on anyone else to do it with me… because this journey wasn’t their journey – this was mine.

The LAST step: Changed my eating habits. I learned to moderate the portions and types of foods I consumed. I didn’t follow a strict diet plan, just a principal… eat in moderation and as natural as possible. I can have ANYTHING (other than to what I am allergic) I want – as long I balance it out, eat an appropriate portion, and don’t feed my emotions. I learned to enjoy my food. I learned to cook gourmet food, to love plating, and to appreciate natural fruits, vegetables, and lean meats. I smile now when I go to eat, instead of looking at food as my enemy. It wasn’t the food, but how I consumed it.

I’m sure I’ll lose more weight, but my journey isn’t just about the weight… it’s about the freedom that comes from living a healthier lifestyle. I wish I could snap my fingers and be able to share this same type of success with everyone who struggles with their weight, but I can’t. This is something that you have to want and do for yourself.  The goal isn’t to lose weight, but gain a life of healthy happiness because you love yourself and believe you deserve to be healthy and happy.

I also want to add… I didn’t do this alone. I have a couple of friends who loved me, encouraged me, and were there with me every step of my journey. They didn’t run beside me, but they were there through all the tears and triumphs. They loved me – and that love pushed me forward. They know who they are (because both of them HATE any kind of attention), so I don’t have to mention them here – but I love them more than I can ever express.

Till next time,

~The 90lb lighter T.L. Gray

Categories: Blog Post, Health & Fitness, Inspirational, Musing, Spiritual, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Never, Never, Never Give Up!

Never Give Up Bracelet

That’s easy to say, but so hard to do. It’s actually the hardest thing I’ve ever done, and the thing I struggle with most every day.  It’s easy to give up, but it’s not in my character to do so.

I know I’m a fool when it comes to a lot of things.  I hope when there is no evidence of hope. I love when there is no evidence of love. I believe when I’ve been given nothing to believe in.  So, yes – that is the definition of a fool.  Even my nickname growing up was a synonym for ‘fool’ – a Sap; I’m a stubborn fool.

A very dear woman, one I love even more than my mother, gave me a silver bracelet with the following inscribed words of encouragement: You can do it. Have no fear. Live Life. Love Life, Honestly, Strong, It’s already in you. Love is power. Have Courage. Never, never, never, never, never, never, never, never give up. You can do anything. Believe. Love Yourself. Achieve.  Be Yourself. Be Brave. Leap and the net will appear. Love Life.

I wear this bracelet quite often to remind me to never give up on my dreams.  No matter if anyone else believes in me, I have to believe in myself. A harsh truth when it comes to our dreams is that often no one else truly believes in us, and most often those who are closest to us are our biggest obstacles.  We don’t give up what is important to strangers or people who don’t care about us.  No, we’d fight hard against those enemies.  But, those we love and admire most often are the ones we allow to steal our dreams from us, usually bit piece by bit piece. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t believe these people purposefully become an obstacle for us, or that we consciously allow them to detour us.  But they are the birds that come and eat the seeds we plant before they’re able to take root.

Never, Never, Never Give Up!

As Journey says, “Don’t stop believing…” Surround yourself with people who believe in you.  Most of all, believe in yourself.  And – never, never, never, never, never, never, never give up!  As Lucy Spraggan says, “I know what you’re scared of. I can feel it too. You’re not scared of climbing mountains. You’re scared you can’t make them move. ”  Jesus says, “For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.”  Believe it, or don’t believe it.  It’s up to you. I choose to believe.  Yes, I’m scared, but I’m a stubborn fool who doesn’t know how to give up.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Categories: Blog Post, Inspirational, Musing, Spiritual, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Make It Happen

Make it Happen


One of my New Year’s resolutions this year pertained to a lot of hiking, enjoying the outdoors, and experiencing more of the things I love.  I’m happy to report I’m doing a really great job keeping those promises.

Being outdoors does something for me I can’t really explain.  When I’m in the woods I can step outside the four walls that close around me all the time.  On an emotional level, I’m able to disconnect from fears that pressure me. I can think more clearly among the birds, the trees, and the glorious sunshine. The wind speaks to me.  The colors paint me beautiful pictures.  The songs of nature sing me beautiful lullabies.  I feel human, a part of the earth, and connected with the universe when I’m in the woods.  I feel I belong – not alone, not unwanted, not unloved.

We all dream about doing things.  We probably suggest to ourselves a dozen times a day wonderful ideas of amazing adventures, yet we either talk ourselves out of those dreams and settle for a more practical solution, or just forget about them altogether.  I’m a pro.  For most of my life, I didn’t fight for the opportunities to do these things for myself.  I allowed the practical to rule the day.  Not anymore.

I have a journal I received at Christmas that has the words “Make It Happen” stamped across the front.  This is my outdoor adventure journal, where I fill it with tokens, receipts, pamphlets, passes, and reminders of the excursions I take.  I know as I fill this journal, I’m not just filling dreams on a page, I’m LIVING these adventures.  I’m making it happen.

I know how easy we can allow the practicality and hardships of life to steal these dreams from us.  But, I can’t express how much we need to protect them and do what we can to make them happen.  Life isn’t made up of those great moments, because great moments are far and few between.  What makes our lives worthwhile are what we decide to do in the simple every day moments. Don’t throw those little dreams away.  Instead, make them happen.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Categories: Blog Post, Health & Fitness, Inspirational, Musing, Spiritual, Writing | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Detours, Assessments, and Adjustments of Goals and Dreams


I can’t express how important it is to keep our goals and dreams in front of us.  Life has a way of coming in and disrupting our plans, getting our feet off our chosen paths, and throwing in twists, turns, roadblocks, detours, and obstacles.  That’s normal.  Being human means being able to adapt and adjust to the situations and circumstances that come at us.  But if we are ever to fulfill our dreams and goals, we must continually be reminded of them, keep them posted in front of us, keep them shining like the North Star to be used as our guiding point and our compass. We need to constantly remind ourselves what we want to achieve, accomplish and experience in this life, assess our actions, adjust our options, and make necessary decisions.

Yes, we can and will experience all those unexpected and unplanned things, and many of them will be wonderful, will enrich our lives, and will change our directions.  Sometimes, its okay to shift and adapt – we become better for it.  The key is to be in control of those changes so that we don’t lose the goals and dreams we set for ourselves.  This is the only way to not to be filled with a lot of regret because of forgotten, lost, and unfulfilled dreams.

Take a few moments today and remember your dreams, write down your goals, repeat them to yourself.  Take an assessment, look at your North Star,  and then determine if you need a readjustment to get you back on your chosen path or  if you need to select a new one.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray


Here is an updated status report and reminder to myself concerning my 2014 resolutions:

  1. No more grieving. (I’ve had a moment or two, but for the most part, I’ve been smiling, hopeful and looking forward to the future. I’m happy.  I’m really happy.)
  2. Fitness: Run a 5k (no walking), lose 50 more lbs, and get more fit(I’ve scheduled (5) five runs and will start back running/jogging on Monday – needed to heal from a sprain and sickness.  Joined three fitness challenges (Get Healthy West Georgia, Times-Georgian – Get Fit, and the 30-Day Arm Challenge), started a hula-hoop, sit-up, stair, and salsa-dancing routine.  So far I’ve officially lost 4.5 lbs  – 45.5 more to go.)
  3. Go on a real romantic date. (Still working on this one.  Got close – actually planned one. Maybe soon I will make it a reality. It’s still early, and I’ve got plenty of time.)
  4. Take a vacation to one of my dream spots . (Making plans for a road trip in a smokin’ hot Mustang convertible with a girlfriend in late June: Chicago to GreenBay and throughout parts of the Great Lakes.)
  5. Finish one of my novels (completed and edited). (Started editing Hunter & Chase and wrote my first Character Blog post. Need to refocus and get busy.)
  6. Sign and promote at least (5) five new authors with North Star. (Got several queries and submissions to weed through.)
  7. Save at least ¼ of the money I need to move to the PNW. ($200 in the pot.)
  8. Climb and descend the 605 steps at Amicalola Falls. (YES… DONE, DONE, DONE!!!!)
  9. Hike at least 50 miles of the Appalachian Trial (not at the same time.) (7.5 miles completed, 42.5  miles left to go.)
  10. Go White Water Rafting (Tentative trip planned in late July. Maybe I can combine this with the date.)
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Self-Motivator or Procrastinator

Self-Motivator or Procrastinator


Which are you?  The differences in lifestyles, happiness, success, ideals, and friendships are affected depending on which type of personality you possess and exude.  I use both possess and exude because I’ve learned someone could possess one, yet overcome it and exude the opposite.

What is a self motivator?  It’s pretty much just like the word describes as one who motivates themselves.  It’s great when other people, things, and circumstances are used to motivate us, because we all need it sometimes.  But the best motivation will come from that inner cheerleader, the voice we listen to most often, the thing inside we call – drive.

We can’t depend on outside forces to keep up steadily moving forward. This is where most of us fail when trying to reach or maintain a goal.  We go strong as long as our motivation for the action or behavioral change is there to push us forward.  But as soon as that outside motivation gets old or dissolves, so does our resolve – and thus the reason we fail and fall back into old habits.  We do this because we return to listening to our regular motivator – the same inner voice that got us where we are in the first place.

This idea reminds me of an Einstein quote:  “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over, yet expecting a different result.”  We have to change our mindset, our inner motivator, or we won’t stick to the changes in our lives.  It’s human nature to be habitual, fall into a routine, build our own little comfortable boxes, but it’s not beneficial for success.  I’d even venture to say that it’s detrimental to real living – placing the human soul in the realm of existence, but without life – a  modern-day zombie.  I’ve been a zombie. I know plenty of zombies.   I refuse to be a member of the walking dead.

What is procrastination?  It’s  pretty much putting off what needs to be done for another day or another time, postponing the inevitable.  I recently went through a season of procrastination, mostly so that I could heal.  The pain of the major life changes I experienced was often too much for me to handle at once, and as a way to cope, I’d ignore what needed to be faced.  It didn’t make the situation go away, it just gave me a little more time to deal with it.

But that time is over now, and I can no longer put off the goals, dreams, ideals, and expectations I have for my life.  I’ve dried my tears and I’m plowing ahead.  I can’t afford to procrastinate any longer.  While it served to allow me time to heal, I also saw the direct effect it  had on my goals and dreams – it kills them, drowns them, and bogs them down.

Life is meant to be lived.  We only get one.  Quit waiting for something to happen, quit procrastinating, quit hanging out with other procrastinators, change your environment, make things happen, move, do, dream, but most all – learn to love yourself and become your biggest motivator.  If you believe in you, then you can do anything.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

Categories: Blog Post, Inspirational, Instructional, Musing | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

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