Not everyone’s addictions are private . . .

Some people’s addictions show up right on their faces – or their midsections . . .

I stepped on the scale 9 years ago today, at the doctors office, because the bathroom scale I had at my house would no longer register my weight. The number was astronomical. At my heaviest, i weighed around 380 lbs. That’s roughly half the backstreet boys.

I don’t blame anyone or anything except myself. My son had some issues when he was first born, and my wife thinks I was depressed because of that – so that manifested itself in eating. I love to eat. I still love to eat – and that’s the problem. Addictions – any addiction, are an attempt to satisfy a longing and hunger and thirst that only Christ can. It’s looking to other means of coping or comfort when the reality is nothing of THIS earth will satisfy.

Over the course of about 10 months, i dropped about 160 pounds. It was EASY . . . ALL i had to do was eat healthy and exercise. (i kid about the easy part – just in case someone doesn’t REALLY know me). Here’s the kicker – studies show that once obese – one has to exercise an hour a day to MAINTAIN a healthy weight. So part of my story is dealing daily with the consequences of gluttony . . . I tell people that keeping it off is as hard, if not harder, than taking it off.

Some things that I did:
1. I started walking. I had a membership to a golf course in town, and would go out and play 18 holes most afternoons, in an hour and a half. That’s right. 18 holes. 1.5 hrs. and I’d walk . . . i would approach my shot – figure out which club i wanted to hit before I got to the ball. Take that club out and at the same time, sling the bag off my shoulder and set it down. Line up, swing, grab my bag, and put the club back. It was insane to watch . . . That helped me take most of the weight off. Things I do now have included running 5 miles a day, P90x, and my routine now involves all the cardio portions of P90x – plyo, yoga, kenpo, core, ab ripper.

2. I quit drinking diet coke. I’m convinced that nothing is more unhealthy for you than soda in general – but Diet Coke has to take the cake. It has a chemical called aspartame – and I don’t care what anyone says – aspartame is bad for you . . . i read studies that show that aspartame makes you crave carbohydrates. I cut diet coke out – completely. Before that, i could drink a pitcher at dinner – really. It’s gross to think about now . . . I drank nothing but water . . .

3. I watched every bit of what I ate. Mostly some kind of salad with chicken on it – and that was it. Yeah – I know. It’s not an exciting, inspirational diet. There’s no “eat anything you want and lose 160 pounds.” It was hard work.

There were no surgeries . . . there was no magic button . . . I didn’t eat the same sandwich from a restaurant everyday for a year . . . it was focus. It was relying on strength other than my own.

Here’s the problem – like any other sin – we think that if we only try harder – or put our minds to it – then we’ll lick it . . . it wasn’t until i started relying christ to overcome this addiction that i found success – any other time it was me trying to pull up the bootstraps, dig in, eat less, exercise more . . . and those things are great – but unless they’re grounded in the larger principle of recognizing WHY I got this way, and WHO is able to deliver – then it just becomes a relentless fight, and results in disappointment.

It remains a difficult fight. I wake up everyday with the reality that the struggle starts over. I continue to want to eat – because I love food – and it will be that way for the rest of my life – but as with any other addiction/sin – my hope is found in a deliverance that is not my own. Am I mentally whacked because of it? You bet. Do I fret daily that i’ll be huge again – all the time. I’ve got a very close friend that struggles with other chronic health issues – it’s beyond frustrating for him – and he’s going to have to fight, everyday, for the rest of his life to believe that Christ is his deliverer, and not his “intent to become better.” We’re still called to fight. We’re still called to discipline. We’re still called to good and healthy habits – but that calling has to be grounded first in faith that Christ can deliver you from WHATEVER it is . . .

Pat Metheny Orchestrion

I used to work at the Alabama Theatre – while attending Samford. It was one of the 4 venues that I worked live production around town. Sound, rigging, lighting, etc . . . Anyway – Pat Metheny did a show at the Alabama one night. I had never heard of him – but working the load in/out that day – i had the option of coming and seeing the show for free. I ended up showing up for the last 45 minutes, and sat entranced with his music and musicianship . . . this guy’s incredible – and here’s a spot about his newest project/tour.

Happy birthday to our #2





Our #2 turns 5 today. He was born here in Birmingham at Brookwood, and delivered by the best OB in Birmingham – before she moved to St Vincent’s (we followed her there for our #3).

Anyway – Drew turns 5 today.

These are a few pics that were taken at the beginning of the school year LAST year – apparently they were bringing the kids out into the hall – and standing them in front of the flowers, and saying “one, two, three ” . . . but whenever they got to “three” drew would strike a pose – and so we ended up with these instead of him standing still for the pic . . .

My NICU baby turns 9 today


I posted Drake’s story last year. I’m gonna post it again.

He was born at 6:01, on a Friday – June 15, 2001. This was after 30 hours of labor, 3 doctors, 5 nurses . . . and then she pushed for 3 hours. They were about ready to do a C-section when the doc saw the head.

He came out grey . . . and not breathing. Mandy’s uterus wasn’t clamping back down, and she was losing so much blood that they were going to transfuse her. They hit the red button on the wall, and my parents, and brothers and her parents, and sister watched from the waiting room as every doctor and nurse on the floor ran into the room. RAN into the room. Apparently that’s what the red button did. At some point, a nurse came and got me and sat me down in a chair because I was standing in between the bed my wife was on (watching the doctor literally kneeling with all her weight on top of my wife’s belly to get it to contract and stop bleeding) and my son on the little baby inspection bed, with nurses beating him with this suction cup hammer thingy, trying to get him to breathe – and all I could do was cry – not knowing which bed to go to.

So they whisk drake off in an incubator, and take him to the NICU at northside (in atlanta) which is where we were. and mandy finally stopped bleeding, and then the neonatologist came in to sit down with us and tell us that Drake is in the NICU, and they’re not sure what’s wrong, and he couldn’t tell me for sure that he was going to live (i asked him).

He then informed us that Drake couldn’t stay at Northside, because the NICU was full, and they were moving him across the street to Children’s hospital (scottish rite).

They moved Mandy to her recovery room – and they wheeled Drake into the room in the ambulance incubator. He had hoses and tubes and all sorts of stuff plugged up to him, and he had his eyes shut – a respirator in, and a feeding tube. Mandy stuck her arm out and put her hand on the glass, and called his name, and he opened his eyes and looked at her – but then had to be quickly rolled away because there’s only so much O2 on those rolling buggies.

He took the ambulance ride to the hospital. I stayed with Mandy. We had several friends come to visit. I remember Eric and Shea coming down. They had no idea the situation. Shea said “I told Eric that I just felt that we needed to come see you.” They wanted to buy our family dinner. No one wanted to eat. They were gracious and bought dinner anyway – and I’m pretty sure it sat in the bags . . . Sorry Eric and Shea. Our pastor (that we had known for a brief 4 months) came up from Newnan.

The next morning, I went over to see Drake, and he had already come off the respirator, which was great, and the nurse was feeding him from a bottle. The doctor said that things were going to be OK, and we could go home on Monday (this was saturday).

Mandy was having an extraordinary time recovering, what with all the blood loss, and the 30 hours labor.

I stayed with Drake. took some video. Took some pics.

The next morning, I called the doc to check-in – per his request, before going over to be with Drake. The doctor said “Mr. Sears, I’m having the lab re-do this test, because according to his bloodwork – called a CBC, his white count dropped from 13,000 to 3000, overnight. I’m sure it’s a mistake. Call me in 30 minutes.” I called in 30. He was now having them do a hand count, because he couldn’t believe it. “I’m not sure what’s wrong, but he’s going to be here for a while.” I lost control. I said “Doesn’t an infection mess with your white count?” the doctor said “yes, but it drops when the infection is winning.”

Mandy wanted to go over to see him, so she got in a wheelchair, and we rolled out of Northside hospital and across the street to scottish rite.

We weren’t able to hold him, and he was hooked up to machines, and this was Father’s Day – Sunday. Awesome Father’s day. We had to check out of the hospital the next morning, and we didn’t want to go back to Newnan without Drake

I went to the Ronald McDonald house – because I heard they had a room available. I can remember sitting in the little office with the lady that ran the place, and she asked me how long I thought I would need to stay, and through that gagging, choking tears thing, I told her I didn’t know, and that my baby was in the NICU at Scottish Rite, and they didn’t know what was wrong. I toured the house with her, and it was a nice house, and there lots of families there, having to stay for various reasons. We ended up not staying. With Mandy’s recovery issues – still major, there was no way she was in any shape to share a single bathroom with 10 other people . . .

So we checked into a hotel next to Scottish Rite. Her teacher friends took up a collection at the school, and somebody knew someone that worked for Marriot, so they dropped our rate to a ridiculously low rate. So we’d get up early every morning and go be with Drake, and watch the monitors, and the heartbeat, and the blood oxygen sensor, that would FREAK out every time drake would kick his foot. And we’d return every night and hit our knees, and thank god that drake lived another day – and acknowledge that even the best kids doctors in Atlanta didn’t know what was going on – but He did . . . and that was going to HAVE to be enough for us . . . And when I say “hit our knees” i mean it. We weren’t a praying couple until then. We had our own prayers – but not together, as a married couple. It changed that week. We’d pray, together, and out loud, and intentional, and heard each other’s hearts, and joined together to plead, and beg, and thank, and plead . . . We continue to this day.

Over the next 7 days, he was seen by a cardiologist, a hematologist, a neurologist, an infectious disease doctor, several neonatologists really every kind of -ologist. Literally. No one could tell us what was wrong. We got to know the nurses well. There were lots of babies in that room, with lots of problems. It takes an unbelievable soul to work in that environment. They liked Drake, because they believed he was going home soon – and they don’t get many that do go home “soon” or at all . . .

I can remember one night – probably day 5 or 6. We had left the hospital pretty late that night, and ended up sitting at a red light for over 10 minutes because something had malfunctioned. Neither of us said a word. I didn’t react. At the time – nothing was worth reacting over. Nothing seemed important – even sitting at a red light at 12:30 in the morning.

we took him home the next Friday. He was actually circumcised on the 8th day – which was cool. The entire day preceding (Thursday) they took him off all of the monitors and wires and tubes. I FREAKED out. My response was “how am I supposed to know if he’s ok!?!” One of the nurses looked at me and said “Look at him. Does he look ok?”

He was discharged with a low, but climbing white count, and we were told that if he runs even the slightest fever, we were to bypass any other doctor or hospital and get him back to Scottish Rite as fast as possible. He was sent home with a follow-up appointment with the hematologist the next Tuesday. We went in. They drew blood. Tested it. Results came back. Doctor said “He’s completely normal.” I think we were actually shocked. I remember looking at the doctor and saying “What do we do now?” He replied “Treat him like a normal baby.”

By the way – i asked how we could keep him from getting sick, and the doctor said “just wash your hands.” hence the hand washing problem that I have.

Anyway – he’s 9 today. And buck-wild.

Hysterical Email

Emails to a music minister could be good copy for a book. But every once in a while – I get something encouraging, and in this case – really funny. My choir members will get a kick out of it . . . I DO have permission from the author of this email to post this – although I’ve removed his name.

As a point of clarification – I mentioned last week in choir that tenors were “man-made” but basses were “God-made,” in that – as a guy – you can generally not stretch your range lower – whatever your “low” note ends up being after puberty is it – but you can stretch your range higher . . . hence “man-made” and “God-made.”

The rest is pretty funny . . .

Jason,

I’m the new “man-made” tenor old guy often sporting a puzzled look on my face. I survived my second practice last night and actually was encouraged. I was convinced after the first practice that you all were freaks, beginning with the “scales that were surely sung at drug induced speed.” Then I was convinced of it when the tenors auto-tuned their voices while singing the bottom notes…really, really high. I mean, I’d never seen notes that low on the treble clef…and it was like normal to them and they really sounded good.

Anyway, last night was less freakish, although the pace of practice I’m convinced points to steroid use. And how will this all come together? The more I pondered, I realized I need patience as the Spirit leads because the results I’ve experienced as a member of the audience are surely a Christ induced high…

All of that to ask…
The music for Feb. 21…Is it available on cd so I can practice reading the new found tenor notes? (the lost chords-found!) I do better and hopefully contribute more when I’m well practiced…words and notes…strategically placed in conjunction with each other-funny how that works…I have no problem firing up the ‘ol eight track at home…I don’t think one practice before the 21st will do it for me.

What is the mode of dress when the choir sings? You are probably thinking that only a tenor would ask a wardrobe question? Just looking in my closet and see no white shirt…

While I’m serious about the questions (and my worthiness to sing with you all-with your freakish talents), my Awesome God blessed me with a sense of humor, so please I hope you understand and forgive my above comments.

Seeking the Harmony of His Will,

“new guy in choir”

I only teach 4 piano students . . .

And they all work harder than any piano students I know. I’m the toughest teacher I know – I was taught how to teach by the toughest teacher I know. My students arrive for piano lessons at 7AM – before school starts. They have to practice more, and have to do things that regular piano lessons wouldn’t require. They’ve got to WANT to learn piano to take from me – which is why i only teach 4 students.

Anyway – this guy is unbelievable. He’s been taking from me for 3.5 years (started in the 1st grade) – and he’s now in the 4th grade. He has an ability that i don’t if i’ve ever seen before. His technique is near flawless, his rhythm is near perfect, and he’s only just starting his piano career. I took this video this morning – he’s only been working on this piece for 3 weeks.

http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=9349162&server=vimeo.com&show_title=1&show_byline=1&show_portrait=0&color=&fullscreen=1

P.M. from Jasonsears Music on Vimeo.

#3 turns 3!



Happy birthday to Drennen. We made the name up (or stole it from a church family’s last name) because #3 was a glorious surprise and we were out of “Dr” names with Drake and Drew. (we didn’t like Drip, or Dreyfus, or Dremel) So happy birthday to michael drennen . . . you’re crazier than numbers 1 and 2 combined!