7.14.2015

BEING OUTSIDE - A thing of the past?


When I look back [I'm only 31] at my childhood I can legitimately say that 'growing up' isn't like it used to be.  No I didn't walk up hill both ways to school in the snow.  No I didn't have to wake up at the crack of dawn to milk the cows or feed the chickens.  I didn't have to to plow the field while it was still cool in the morning before school.  I didn't have those chores.

Those are the things that my dad had to do when he was growing up.

But when I do look back,  I find that life was simple.  No No, not simple like you all older than me, but simple compared to what kids growing up now have [don't confuse simple with lazy].

We've all seen the movies where the future is a bunch of lazy people sitting on chairs living life through a headset of virtual reality oblivious of what is really going on around them.  I'm not saying we are at that point but we are a bunch of lazy people oblivious of what is really happening around us, or even to us.

A goal that I set this year and have stuck to most out of all the goals set is this: 

"Spend ONE hour outside each day."   

This isn't adding up the time it takes when I walk from the car to the grocery store entrance.  This isn't counting the minutes from one building on campus to another.  All of the goals that I set this year were goals that required intentional behavior.  Intentionally being outside for one hour each day.  I have not been successful every day but I find myself longing to be outside.  

I am an outdoors type of guy anyway.  I like to hunt, fish, play sports, run, garden, and all of the similar activities.  It's refreshing to be outside.  It reminds me of my childhood.

We did not have the video game systems that I have now.  We had a Playstation.  We had two games that I remember: Tony Hawk's skateboarding game and Resident Evil.  Oh yeah, we did have a Snowboarding Sample game as well.  You could run one slope and get a score.  The next person ran the same slope and try to beat the score.  And over and over it went.  That's it.

My childhood was spent outside.

Bike riding, playing 500 in the streets, playing in the snow, hunting and fishing with my dad, baseball, football, and playing basketball on crappy goals at the school playground are some of the things that I remember most.

Now that I think about it, I remember getting hurt a lot or someone else get hurt a lot from some of those things but it was worth it.  Are we that tough any more?  

I remember popping a blood vessel in my leg because I attempted to ride my bike down a rain washout made path down a rugged hill and crashed my bike.  I remember playing tag and tried to climb a fence and cut open my leg and had to let my buddy's mom fix me up.  I remember my brother falling from a tree branch only to hit another one on the way down and bust his chin up pretty bad.  Another time, my brother dove face first into a fire hydrant playing 500.  I remember bruised wrists because we lowered the basketball goals to where a 6th grader could dunk.  We were flying high. Pump up the jam!

So, this year I set out a goal to be outside more often.  As this year progresses my goals have grown as well.  I look at my son and wish for him a childhood that involves a lot of the same things that mine did.  Of course I want him to have cool things [daddy likes the cool things and gadgets too] but I want him to have more memories than, "do you remember that one time Bob the Builder did that on his show?"  

I want him to learn hands on.  

He loves being outside.  He watches from the window when I mow.  He always wants to go to the playground.  He loves to run around, ride his truck, his bike and play with other toys outside.  He likes to sit around the fire pit.  

Honestly, his love for this stuff just started this year.  

As my goals have transformed throughout the year - some of my hopes for him have become clearer.

Because of this one goal of mine, he has been one to benefit.  We have been able to have ten times more Daddy and Son time.  Our garden, which used to consist of a 10' x 5' raised bed is now a 20' x 15' garden.  We also now have four flower beds instead of just two.  We've been on a couple "jogs" together and are learning how to  keep our balance on a bike [hopefully he won't have a crash like the many I had].  

[From the first picking]
Being outside does not have to be a thing of the past.  I am not going to get a "Father of the Year" award.  I know people that are doing ten times better than I am at finishing their Goals, being a parent and all that.  

What I do know is that I am intentional.  To complete any goal you need to be intentional.  To be a good daddy you need to be intentional.  To be a good husband you need to be intentional.  To be a good anything you need to be intentional.

Don't use "intentional" interchangeably with "good intentions".  "Good intentions" is something completely different.  That is motivation behind something but intentional is the execution of those good intentions; done on purpose.

How do I think I'm doing with this goal?  Pretty good.  

Go do life on purpose!


5.26.2015

Reading: Exercising the Mind


My wife and I were talking the other day about homework.  When I was in high school, I rarely took school work home.  I found a way to get most everything done at school.  She said that she always had homework.  My lack of homework may have been due to the necessity of getting it done quickly because sports took up many afternoons and evenings.  Rarely did I enjoy the school work.  I enjoyed the benefits and rewards of having completed all of the assignments.  Most of all, my playing sports never was in question when it came to midterms and quarter grades.  I had teammates who weren't sure if their grades were going to be good enough to meet the sports requirements each quarter. There were many benefits of having high grades: respect from teachers, scholarships, sports privileges and others but few outweigh the benefit that it had inwardly.  I was unaware of it then but studying was beneficial for the mental health which affects the physical health.

This is another follow up to my Original Goals List for 2015.  The first goal was to GIVE MORE and the second is to READ MORE.  More specifically, read one book each month of 2015.  Admittedly, I am struggling and falling behind on this one.  Finding time to read is difficult.

That is my excuse.

I find time if I want to go to the movies.  I find time if one of my favorite TV shows are one.  I find time to do many different things; those things are more fun than reading.

I never was a huge fan of reading.  Playing the Nintendo, Sega Genesis, Sega Dreamcast or Playstation [original] was always more fun than reading.  Gameboy always suited me better on car rides than a book.  Riding my bike was much more of an adventure than sitting in my room with a book.  You would find me outside, playing video games, at a friends house or watching TV but never reading a book.  For whatever reason, I don't have many memories of reading a book because I wanted to.  Black Beauty was a book I remember reading as a child.  Goosebumps at school.  The 'Choose your Own Adventure' books were fun but always read at school during reading class.  

Now that I am older, I still struggle with just sitting down and reading a book.  Magazines are easy to read due to shorter articles.  It isn't that I don't read books as I have a need to stay current, relevant, be inspired and so forth in my profession.  I have to study and become more knowledgeable like any other who wants to be solid in their career.  I've taken a bit of that approach in order to complete my list.  Some of the books on my list will aid me with my job and some will be for 'pleasure'.  

"Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body" - Joseph Addison

In order to do fulfill my goal of reading one book each month I had to be prepared.  I needed to have a list of books to read for each month.  I took to social media for that.  I asked my friends if they could suggest some books for me to read throughout this year.  Here is the list that we, they, configured.

1.  Jesus + Nothing = Everything [[[January]]] -- page 141 of 209
2.  Sustainable Youth Ministry [[[February]]] -- page 51 of 204
3.  Unbroken [[[March]]] -- page 1 of 528
4.  Churchless [[[April]]] -- page 38 of 191
5.  The Explicit Gospel [[[May]]] -- page 150 of 224
6.  Circle Maker [[[June]]]
7.  Think Orange [[[July]]]
8.  Lead Small [[[August]]]
9.  Killer Angels [[[September]]]
10.  Sticky Faith [[[October]]]
11.  Love Does [[[November]]]
12.  The Tipping Point [[[December]]]

**EXTRA READING**

The Hobbit
The Two Towers
Multiply - Francis Chan
They Smell Like Sheep
Developing the Leader Within You
Becoming a Person of Influence
Growing True Disciples

As you can tell, I have some work to do.  If I look at it statistically as we look at almost everything else in our lives, I am only 16% towards my goal.  That means that I have only read 16% of the pages out of 5 books for January through May.  

That's not good!  

To find results is what I'm doing here.  Academically, a 16% would require a big fat F on my report card. With any review, you find where you are going wrong and fix it.  I find that I have not put the time and energy necessary into this particular goal. 

These are some benefits, from my own brainstorming session, that I believe reading does for a person.  

stimulates the brain - requires discipline - challenges self - makes hard things easier - ignites creativity - promotes imagination - inspires - educates

These are scientifically proven benefits, collected from here, which are from daily habits of reading. 

enhances the sense - enables life long learning - allows for better skill retention - improves creativity - better verbal abilities - increases one's store of knowledge - higher test scores - reduces stress levels - improves critical thinking - staves off dementia - dementia settles in at a slower rate - better reasoning - confidence builder - more white matter - increases brain flexibility - improved memory - builds relationship between parents and children - better listening skills - an easier time concentrating - alleviates mental health disorders

After reading that list, why wouldn't we all read daily?   

I know that it is motivating for me to see that a little bit of reading, even the smallest bit daily, is positive for my health.  That's what this is all about right?  Mental and Physical Health all play together.  What good would it be to have one and not the other?  We have the opportunity to help both forms of health by taking simple steps in the right direction.  

I challenge you to  be intentional in both your physical and mental health.

WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING RIGHT NOW?


5.15.2015

GIVING is making you stronger!


Why give? It's healthy!

This is another follow up from my goals list for 2015.  It's an explanation or a "where am I now" with the goals that I set at the beginning of the year.  If you don't remember my goals, you can find them here on a previous post.

The first of my goals is to give 10% more than I did last year.  That's not a crazy goal.  To give more is something I think many of us would like to be able to do.  Money doesn't always seem to be there though does it?  It's there probably more than you realize.  I remember a time that my wife and I were looking to rent a house and the monthly rent was a bit more than we could afford and the very generous potential landlord said to me, 'It's not hard for money to come around, you set the price that you can afford'.  We were blown away by that.  Someone that didn't worry about money?!

I work in the ministry, it's no secret that most of those who work in the ministry don't make a ton of money.  It's also no secret that much of the population live like it is better to receive than to give.

That old saying, it's better to give than receive has flip flopped and is a distant memory from today.  I am encouraged however when I see others paying it forward.

Why give?  Isn't this a health site?  To answer the second question, it is but there is something very healthy about giving.  It doesn't have to do with the tax write-off of giving.  It doesn't even have to have anything to do with the church.  Giving is good for the person, mind, and entire body.

Don't just take my word for it.  Take this article for instance.  Take this article too!  And another.  Actually, Google came up with result after result when I typed in "health benefits of giving" to the search bar.  There must be something to this giving thing and the direct relation to physical and mental health.

I went through a study called '40 Day Spiritual Journey to a more Generous Life' a few years back.  It's primary approach is obvious through the title.  It used the Bible as the focus throughout the topic of giving.  While many feel that the church is all about money, that's not true.  The church does need money to pay the bills, aid and support missionaries, aid the community and the likes of that.  I raise the question as to why we believe, church goer or not, our wallets are the only things that are called to give of?  Why is it that we view those that need our help only in a financial manner?

I do believe in tithing and strive to give 10% more financially this year than last but I also hope to give much more of myself to those in need as well.

What does your community need?  Think about that?  What is it that your community could stand to benefit from?  Is it trash clean-up at the park?  Maybe it is volunteering at the soup kitchen, animal shelter, helping the elderly with yard work, visiting the nursing homes, sharing your skills for a project, writing grants for non-profits, making blankets for abused women shelters [so many kids go through those].  This is a never-ending list!

To be honest, if most of us were to consider how much time was spent serving someone else other than our family and friends last year, it wouldn't take much to give 10% more than last year.  The art of serving other people exited the building several years ago but it's time to give back.

If the idea of giving simply to help another out doesn't work for you, think of the health benefits anyways.  I know that is selfish to view it that way but if you are helping someone out selfishly or not - follow through.

I particularly like that the studies show that giving offers:
  • better managed stress
  • longer life expectancy
  • better outlook of others
  • stronger marriage
  • better mental health
  • more success
  • a little more happiness at work
Whatever it is that will push you to give more this year, do it!  Your relationships, mental & physical health, success and life will benefit from it as well!

HOW DO YOU PLAN TO GIVE MORE THIS YEAR?

HOW CAN YOU INCLUDE YOUR FAMILY ON GIVING MORE THIS YEAR?

5.12.2015

Setting Goals and sticking to them!


I love Kansas City sports teams!  Chiefs & Royals all the way!  I have been a fan all of my life.  Watching the Royals last year was really awesome for me.  Do you think that the Chiefs or the Royals start each year thinking and believing that they will only go so far?  Take any professional sports team and ask them at the beginning of the year and they all believe that they have what it takes to make it to the top.  Take any profession and ask each employee and most will say that they have what it takes to make their company better or make them more money.  It's all because of goals.  The Royals want the World Series Championship.  The Chiefs want the Super Bowl Championship.  The Patriots want their quarterback back.  Whatever it is that people want - it starts with goals.

I am a "Goals" person.  Each year I write out a list of goals and hope that I have the discipline to stick to it.  One of the hardest goals that I had set for myself, and failed to complete, was to reach 1000 miles running/jogging/walking in one year.  I got to the 750's.  It was close but didn't get the medal that they'd give every runner at the end of a marathon, (or half).  I'll admit, it was a bit of a pipe dream, impractical, unrealistic but it got me moving.
This year, I believe I set difficult goals to achieve for myself though they are attainable goals.  Here is a list of my goals from the beginning of the year.

_________________________
2015 Goals:
1.  Give 10% more than last year
2.  Read one book each month [outside of my Bible Study]
3.  Spend one hour outside each day as possible
4.  Limit TV time to 1 hour each day
5.  500 miles [run/walk]
6.  Get Healthier!
_________________________

I'm going to do some follow up posts in evaluating how I'm doing on each of my six goals so far and throughout the year.  It's important to do this after you've set goals for yourself.  How will you know if you ever achieved what you set out to do?  

My goals are specific.  I don't want to be cookie cutter.  The only cookie cutter goal is #6 but if I do #'s 1-5, #6 is bound to happen.  Too general of goals makes it very easy to back out.  The general "decisions" takes any decisive approach out of making goals.  "Make more money" is subjective; will you be happy if you make $1 more than you did the previous year?  

Goals are important in life.  They are used as motivation to keep moving; to push forward further than you thought you could.  Will there be times that I fail? Absolutely.  Will there be time that I succeed? Absolutely.  

They say life is a marathon and not a sprint; I say life is meant to be lived and  not to wait for tomorrow to live.  This doesn't mean to be stupid for the sake of stupidity. It means to live life in the present because life is happening all around you!  

Goals are meant to better oneself.  They give a person something to strive for and the moment a person gets an inch closer to completing a goal, it's encouraging and the goal is made real.  

This is real life.


WHAT GOALS DID YOU MAKE THIS YEAR?  

HOW ARE YOU ACHIEVING THESE GOALS?

Comment your answers below!


3.09.2015

Fat Shaming and Fairy Tales

I recently read an article about a guy named Sean.  He was having a good time dancing and abruptly stopped having fun when he noticed people laughing and making fun of him.

"Good time" turns to "most embarrassing moment ever" quickly. 

It was a 'fat shaming' experience.  The guy is big.  He was simply having fun and someone took a picture of the guy posting it online publicly shaming him for being fat.

I enjoy a good time.  I enjoy being stupid, silly and crazy.  What I don't enjoy is being made fun of while I do it...or ever.  There is a HUGE difference between making fun of someone being crazy and having fun with someone who is being crazy.  You can laugh along and be crazy too OR you can laugh at them and poke fun of them.  Big difference in how it is received emotionally.  

The latter is not acceptable.  Actually, in the world that we live in, it seems that it may actually be acceptable for many people to shame, bully, and take advantage of others.  Why is it that way?! 

I've been encouraged by seeing the response of others that don't know this guy that was 'fat shamed'.  They've stepped up and decided to throw a dance party for the guy.  Starting with a women's group [props for you guys...er girls...for doing that]!  Famous people, organizations, and others have decided to take a stand for this guy.  My fear is that this generosity will end with one guy.  

I am stoked for this guy that he may have new confidence in life.  What could have been, and probably still is in his mind, one of the most embarrassing moments has been turned into the craziest ride of his life.  People have given over $30,000 so that this guy can have a dance party!  How crazy is that?!  I have a feeling that this dance party that he is going to have is going to be C-R-A-Z-Y!

And then reality will hit.

What was done still remains.  He will still be a large man that will still have to struggle with people giving him looks or shaming him, less publicly I'm sure.  I don't know if he wants to lose weight. He might not want too.  He possibly could have a clean and clear bill of health from his doctors and not see the health benefits of losing weight.  That's for him to decide - not you, me, fat shaming picture taker or anyone else.  I'll be honest though.  I always have this fear, this gut feeling, when it comes to stories like this.  Maybe it's just my cynicism but outside of the dance parties and 15 minutes of fame - what have we done to change his or anyone else's future for the better.  Is this another one-hit wonder of generosity or are we going to help him and others in the same boat.

Let's empower people with the tools to make themselves better.  We can't do the work for them but why not lead them to the door and let them choose to walk in or walk away.  Let's be grand and great in gesture sure, but let's also follow up with something more tangible than a pumpkin carriage and glass slippers.  Let the rich and famous come riding in as the knight in shining armor coming to rescue the poor peasant person unable to defend themselves but let's also equip both sides with knowledge and tools that promote self-confidence and respect.  

I was watching a new show called "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" on Netflix.  Kimmy was kidnapped and put into a cult when she was younger and was rescued as an adult and is trying to live in New York City.  She found a roommate but she tried to keep her past out of conversations. He, the roommate, said something to her that was spot on:

"People love hearing terrible details of news stories. One, it's titillating like a horror movie. Two, it makes them feel like a good person because they care about a stranger. Three, it makes people feel safe that it didn't happen to them."


Seriously, how true are those things?  Can I tell you something?  Of course I can, we can put anything on the internet for a while longer still.

I keep a portable scanner radio in my house so that I can know what is going on when sirens are going off.  I can hear what the firemen are telling the home base.  I can listen to the police as they report to command.  I like to know those things and partly because I'm nosy.  Some of it is due to the excitement of it all and another part because it lets me know that I'm safe.  It became real to me though one night when it was my friend's house that the firemen were responding too.  The fire was in their garage and burnt the thing to the ground.  It didn't touch their house but they lost a lot due to the fire.

I wanted to be there for them.  We offered to help out any way we could.  

Did I do that for any of the other many, many fires that have come across that scanner?  No I didn't.  I had a relationship with them and so I wanted the best for them.  Yes, the grand gesture of offering help to them was there immediately but that could only last so long.  That initial fight or flight response would wear off.  Eventually, the fire is out and as time gets in between the date of the fire and the present - things go back to the way they were.  The fire is second thought just like when reality will again hit Sean.

This needs to be more than a bunch of people jumping on the bandwagon to help one guy.  Let's help and equip this guy to then go and change the lives of others. 

While this is a great story of others coming to the aid of someone that was put out, I want for it to be more than that.  This is not the only story that has left me wanting more for the person shamed or in need.  Life is more than being in the news for a little bit, a visit to the Ellen show and a Twitter trend.  While those things are probably pretty fun - I can't get that second picture of him out of my head.  He's standing there with his hands on his hips and his head hung in shame and embarrassment.  I've been there.  That's not fun and you hold onto that despite what you say.

I can't say that I know the answer.  I'd be lying if I said I did.  To be honest, at this point in the conversation - it's not about the Sean and the Fat Shaming any more.  He may not want his life to be any different.  He may have a great life but what has been sold to all of us is that he was shamed and needs rescuing.  

What we need to realize is that this is about us having an opportunity to take a stand for someone else AND equip them in the process. 

I give praise to the organization that sent out the dance party invite to Sean and for all of the people who have supported him publicly and with their own money.  I don't know very many men that wouldn't want to attend a dance party with 1700+ women and be the only guy?!  

My challenge is this:

When the lights go out, the clock strikes twelve, and the party is over - I challenge you to have changed his life and not just have given him a vacation.  









1.09.2015

No Healthy U selection but I choose Healthy Me selection.

I was not selected for Healthy U here in Sedalia.

As I posted before, it was a long shot for me to be a part of it.  I was happy that I was one of the 25 granted interviews before the final selection.  In all honesty though, when I saw the size of the first four or five selected I leaned over to my wife and said, "I don't think I'm big enough for the competition".  Let me add that the comment was not a dig at any of the contestants' size but a matter of disappointment.  I do wish that there was more variance in size of people picked.  I might not be the biggest and I might be healthier than some but I am not where I need or could be.  

I am super stoked for the contestants, or students as they call them, that were selected and hope that the 13 others [from the 25 that I was a part of] do not stop their attempts at being healthy.

Healthy U is an awesome program and the results were there as the class of 2014 showed how much they have lost have gained in the one year paired up with a personal trainer and nutritionist.  It was pretty cool to see the transformations.

So here I am, still doing this journey on my own.  I believe I have found a way to have a 'personal trainer' without paying the cost of a training sessions.  The gym that I belong to is Total Fitness and they have crossfit classes.  I have done them before but the classes weren't working with my schedule.  They now work with my schedule!  I just have to get up early to go to them.

I also have a treadmill and stationary bike at home.  I'd like to get a kettlebell and some other free weights but those will have to come when I have some extra dough.

Be on the lookout for a before shot.  My hope is that in one year from now when they have the next Healthy U program - that I don't need to be there but will have lost the body percentage necessary to have won this year's competition.  

If nothing else, maybe I could win a door prize next year.

12.01.2014

Turkey Dinners, Thanks, and Black Thursday

Not one.

Not two.

But Three.  

Three Thanksgiving meals that I took part in and the question I had for myself was, "how was I going to recover from them?".  

The answer:  All at the same time.

I didn't stuff myself.  I ate comfortably and felt comfortable afterwards but it so happened that all three meals took place within a day and a half.  

Wednesday Lunch. Wednesday Dinner. Thursday Lunch.  That leaves only one opportunity to recover and regroup from the delicious food instead of three different days and recovery times.  ha.

You would think that after three Turkey Dinners in 24 hours that I'd be rolling around everywhere but that wasn't the case.  To be honest, my favorite part of Thanksgiving is the leftovers.  

I love sandwiches and cold turkey leftovers as a sandwich is awesome.  

I believe that I handled myself during the holiday eating pretty well.  

I even had enough energy to go out and brave all of the crazies at Walmart.  

I was almost trampled when they gave the go ahead for shoppers to start grabbing things.  People were nuts.  In all seriousness though, who advertises something at a great price and then only gets less then 20 items for the whole store.  

Sedalia is not huge, but come on man!  

I know many are doing the 30 days of Thankfulness, but I will do just one publicly.

I am thankful for my wife, my son, and the opportunities that I have had in my life to be where I am at.  I am thankful for my work.  I am thankful for those that I work with and those that I have in my life.  Life is not perfect but I am thankful for the blessings that I have and hope that I am always aware of those blessings!

Healthy U update:  Anticipation is killing me.  Jan. 8th can't get here soon enough.  I understand it might not mean much for those just reading about the program from here but it'd definitely be a blessing.  I think the reason why so many people choose not to get healthy is that they don't know where to start or have the resources readily available.  




11.14.2014

I am 1 of 25 for Healthy U 2015

Recently, I posted about the Healthy U program where I live.

After filling out a very in depth application, I submitted it.  That was that and the rest was out of my hands, at least for the initial selection process.

On Tuesday night, I was out finishing up my deer stand for the upcoming season [way late in making that happen], and I received a phone call.  My service was sketchy but I made out the voice-mail that  I was one of the 25 selected for personal interviews.  I quickly called them back and between bad reception in the middle of the field and a constant beep from a failing phone battery - we made an appointment for the personal interview.


(picture from Healthy U Facebook)

For me, being in front of people isn't anything out of the norm.  It is common for a minister when he has job interviews to have formal and informal meetings and interviews with multiple people.  This was three women though.  It's not as easy as you'd think.  It reminded me of the time that I first got my driver's license.  I took my driving test with the 'driving grader/instructor' [not sure of official title] in the passenger seat and then a rookie on the job learning sitting in the back seat.

Overall, I believe the interview went well from my perspective.  I do believe that I have a few things that are up against me.  These are by my own thinking and were not said in the interview.

One, I'm not overly overweight.  I am over weight and could lose 40-50 lbs and by all BMI and body figuring formulas, I am obese.  Two, I've been successful on my own and so I can see how that may interfere with the thinking, 'he doesn't need this as much'.

This may all be in my head too.

I'm super pumped though and hope I am selected as one of the twelve!