Sunday, September 30, 2007

apple or donut

This morning at church our cafe area had some snacks. You could choose from apple slices or donuts. This was a great setting for some humor and of course, a life lesson.

I saw a lot of people walk up to the donuts, then see the apple slices and then eat a donut anyway. I also saw some walk up with the intent to get an apple slice and grab a donut instead. Then there was the ones who ate an apple slice followed by a donut.

People really struggled with this choice. I thought this was so funny for some reason. There was such a battle going on in a lot of people. I think the only ones who were not battling with what to choose were the people who had no intention of eating an apple slice. They went for a donut and did not waiver on their decision.

I also found it humorous to see the parents go to the table and attempt to give the child a healthy snack only to be followed by the look of "are you out of your stinkin' mind" and if that didn't work, the tantrum was on standby. I saw a parent eating an apple slice and handing their child a donut. I thought to myself - If that were me, I would've... Well, to be honest, I did the same thing.

The choice of apple or donut is one we make everyday. We choose health or junk. When we watch TV all day and spend no time with God we chose donut. When we allow our children to play video games or be on the computer all day, we fed them donuts. When we do nothing productive we did nothing healthy. Its days full of donuts and then we wonder why we are so incredibly unhealthy.

My point: Our kids and families follow our eating patterns. They eat what we feed them. We need to be feeding them healthy while we can and make sure we teach them how to eat healthy on their own. If you eat only donuts you will feel like junk.

We become what we feed ourselves. We begin to crave what we feed on.

what will they say?

This weekend was a mix of feelings. I attended a funeral of a very great man. He was a loving father, husband and friend. Most importantly he was a Christian. A child of God. There is no doubt where this man is now. He is in Heaven. Whether or not you believe in Heaven and hell, they still exist.

I heard all the wonderful things people were saying about him and I started thinking, what will people say about me when I am gone. Out of respect I am sure only nice things will be said at the funeral but what about afterwards. What will people say when my loved ones are not around. What will those who only knew me socially say. What will the people that I didn't always see eye to eye with say?

It challenged me to ask myself "what do I want people to say when I am gone?" "What values and beliefs to I want to make sure my girls continue to live out?"

Here is what I came up with. Whatever I want people to say - go be that person. Go live those qualities that I want people to use to describe me. If I want people to say I was a total jerk, go be a total jerk. If I want people to say I was an amazing person, go be an amazing person.

I need to be intentional about letting my girls know that I am not always going to be around. It is my job to equip them now for when I am gone. This may sound morbid but it is also reality.

My point: we will all be gone someday. Live the life that you want people to remember. People will remember you one way or the other, you might as well make it pleasant for them. Be intentional about sewing the qualities into your loved ones that will be beneficial to them when you are gone.

Be the friend a friend would want to have.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

RIP/Happily ever after

Life is weird. How are you supposed to feel when there is something joyous going on and something tragic happens.

This weekend I am going to a funeral of a great man and a wedding of a friend. I am so incredibly sad for the family of Daniel Plants. This is a great man, father, husband and friend. No matter what was going on in his life, no matter how hopeless things looked, he ALWAYS had a smile on his face. He was one of the most generous giving men I have ever known. He will be missed by everyone who had the pleasure of knowing him.

Then there is the joy that is accompanied by the newness of feelings of love and hope. A friend and previous youth is getting married this weekend. I am incredibly excited for the new season of life Nikki and Dustin are entering into.

Happy / sad... how to feel. Life truly is a roller coaster of emotions. How do you handle the trials and blessings of life? How do you handle it when they are at the same time?

My point: Life is extremely difficult at times and without faith in God, what or who do you turn to? It is ok to feel however you feel just don't get content there. Life will be forever different. It is your choice to make the most of it.

Please keep the family of Daniel Plants in your prayers.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

don't quit

Today, Konan spoke a great message today about "endure" and tied in his training and what went through his mind when he didn't think he could go any further.

I think we all experience times in our lives when we want to just throw in the towel and quit. What do you do when things get tough. Do you focus on why you started in the first place or do you just listen to yourself in the moment and quit.

One of the qualities I have always instilled in my daughter Shayna (and will in Hannah & Raegan) is not to quit. If you start it, finish it. I remember one specific time when Shayna was about 4yrs old, she and I were doing something we weren't supposed to be doing - but we were bored. We were walking up the down escalator (don't even act like you never did this) We got about 2/3 of the way up and Shayna got nailed in the shin by one of the steps and it began bleeding.

I wasn't even thinking about teaching her a lesson about quitting, I was worried that I was going to get in trouble for injuring my child. I said "Shayna, just sit down and we can go to the bottom." She said "no daddy, I want to finish, I can do it". I said ok, then let's get moving. She pushed through the pain and the trickle of blood and hit her destination, the top!!!

We got to the top and I found a napkin and began wiping her shin. She was so excited, and said "Daddy, I didn't quit", I was so proud of her. I made such a big deal about that and I still to this day remind her of that experience.

My point: If you start something, finish it. Don't quit just because it gets a little hard. Don't lose sight of the goal. Don't talk yourself into thinking it is no big deal. Quitting is a big deal. It says A LOT about you. What does it say? Well, I will let you figure that out...

It is easy to justify or talk yourself into thinking it doesn't matter or no one is going to be affected but someone is ALWAYS affected... YOU!!!

Last week I told you about Konan. He completed an IronMan triathlon. He really inspired me and many others.

Here is a video about his experience.

like me?

Last week I asked if you would want your children, if you have any, to grow up to be like you. I can only imagine most of your first responses. At first you probably thought "of course I want them to be like me" but then you probably started of all the bad habits and not so good things you do (of course I am speaking from experience).

I think most of the "yes" answers were "mostly yes". They probably began with "yes I want them to be like me except for ___________ (fill in the blank) "

Then there were those of you who are not very happy about how you are living your life. I can only speculate on why there were 3 people who would not like their kids to grow to be like them. It actually made me very sad to see that.

As I believe some of the "yes" answers are only because you would feel bad about yourself if you put "no", I also believe that the people who put "no" are probably only a few decisions from changing their lives for the good.

I know there is good in all of us and I believe those who put "no" can make some changes and let their children see those positive changes. Think about the message that would send to your kids. I wasn't living my life right but I made significant changes. That would be a HUGE statement.

My point: some of the people who answered "yes" are loopy liars, some are living in a dream world, some are absolutely genuine. The "no" answers are honest but maybe a little too hard on themselves. You can change. When you answered "no" what qualities do you not want them to have - change them. If they are not good for your kids, they are not good for you.

I have 2 beautiful daughters who are looking to me for guidance (that still blows my mind). Of course I mess up, but they see me make good too.

Do what's right because it's right

Thursday, September 20, 2007

4 years

Here is a picture of me and Deni on our wedding day. I still have a hard time believing I got someone that hot.
4 years ago I married an amazing woman. It is hard to believe that it has been that long and yet it seems longer too... go figure. There are times that it seems like the days FLY by but then there are the stressful times that seem to drag and drag. We have been through a lot in our 4 years and I can honestly say it has been worth it.

My point: Time goes by so fast. Enjoy it. Life is too short to gripe and moan over every little petty thing. Embrace the good times and face the hard ones head on - TOGETHER. Either way, the day will pass and tomorrow will be better. If you say that everyday, you will eventually be right.

I am writing this around 8:00pm. So as I reflect back on our wedding day I am now remembering what we were doing right about now... Good guess (wink, wink)

Sunday, September 16, 2007

worst way to die

Last week the poll question was "the worst way to die". Burn to death and drown were neck and neck. Burning ended up getting one more vote than drowning.

My thoughts: once you are on fire you would lose feeling after it burnt through the first 3 layers of skin. Your thoughts when burning would be along the lines of "holy &*%$, I am on fire". I agree that this would be an awful way to die but I am not convinced it would be the worst way to die.

Although I am not speaking from experience because I have never drowned but I think if you were drowning you would still be able to think and you would still have feeling in your body. I am sure you would be panicking and thinking something along the lines of "holy &*%$, I can't breath" but you wouldn't be in pain. You may actually have time to have your family and friends come to mind and of course that would make you sad. I agree that this would be an awful way to die but I am not convinced that it would be the worst way to die.

Can you even imagine being beaten with a sock full of nickels? What goes through your head when you are being beaten with underwear and money? I can't even begin to comprehend the thoughts that would go through my mind. I am sure it would be "holy something" but I can't even put words to what that would be like. The pain would be so spread out all over your body you wouldn't know what part to hold and nurse. That would be awful.

Not only would this be a brutal awful way to die but it would also be humiliating. On your headstone it would read "here lies the only person in history that died by being beaten with a sock full of nickels". Can you imagine the humiliation of your family and friends. Think of your poor kids when they go to school and tell about their parents. "My mom works for the bank and my dad was beat to death with a sock full of nickels." The teacher would send your kid to the principal's office for being a sarcastic jerk. But they would be telling the truth. Your spouse would be known as "there she is"... I think you get the picture.

My point: none of these options would be pleasant but hands down being beaten with a sock full of nickels would be the absolute worst way to die. Kudos to those of you who voted the right way.

Thank you to those of you who participated in my stupid poll...


I love watching movies and videos that are really inspiring. They just seem to tug at your heart and make you laugh or cry but they end up making you feel really inspired to do something good or try something really hard. They make you look at yourself and see that even though there may not be anything that stands out as out of the ordinary or amazing about yourself, somehow there is something in you that can be.

There are some great videos on youtube about a kid named Patrick Henry. He was born blind and not able to walk but is able to be in the marching band because of the sacrifice of his dad. Then there is "team Hoyt". Father and son team that does triathlons. The amazing part of that story is that the son is paralyzed and the father pulls him along the entire way. Watch either one of these stories and see if you are inspired.

One story that you won't find on youtube is one that is a little closer to home. It is my friend Konan. He has been training for the IronMan triathlon for about 8 months. The race was yesterday and he finished it. The inspiring part is that he wanted it so bad that nothing was going to get in his way. He would wake up at 4am and get his training in before work. His dedication was amazing. He wanted it so bad and he sacrificed a great deal to accomplish his life long goal. He sacrificed a lot but he did not sacrifice family, friends and his call to be a Pastor.

Other than his dedication, the part that truly inspired me is how he refused to take away from his family to accomplish his dream. He still had quality time with his wife and kids. He still worked his full time job and was as dedicated to his friends as always. When I would hear people talk about how tired they are or how busy they were, I would think of Konan and how he was able to "make" time for what was important to him.

We all "make" time for what is important to us. His accomplishment of IronMan makes my marathon training look like little league but nonetheless, I find myself getting out of bed earlier because I know even when I get up at 6, he has 2 hours of cardio in by then. When I feel like I can't run any more, I think of him swimming 2 miles and biking 112 miles then running. He truly inspired me and I am proud to call him my friend.

My point: allow yourself to be inspired. Look at what you want to accomplish before you leave this earth and set your mind to accomplishing your dreams and goals. Fill your minds and heart with stories and people that inspire you to push beyond yourself.

It is easy to get in the mode of doing nothing but if you will allow yourself to be inspired, you may just inspire someone else. Be an inspiration.

Konan, thanks for the inspiration and thanks for being my iron friend.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

look at me

We had an opportunity to golf yesterday. It was a scramble format which means we play the best hit ball. 4 people hit and wherever the best ball lands, everyone hits from there. Even if I hit mine into the water (which I did about 4 times that day), I get to hit from the middle of the fairway, because someone on my team hit it there.

Even though I never really expect to play my ball, it sure does feel good when we do. For that brief moment in time it is like screaming "LOOK AT ME!!!" (of course I did this too...). Our team wasn't that good, we all had at least a couple shots that we actually yelled "LOOK AT ME!!!". It was all in fun and we knew it was all good hearted.

That got me thinking about those people who are always struggling with stuff. There would be a problem if they didn't have a problem. You know the type. The people who you know if you mess up and ask the "how ya doing?" question, you are gonna get everything from "no one likes me", "my corns hurt", "my dog's anal sacks are full"... there is going to be a totally negative answer. You actually want to rip your own arm off and beat yourself with it while you bleed to death.

I think this is a very obvious cry to "look at me". They are not getting attention and are to insecure to let people see who they really are. They are miserable people and they make others miserable too. Then they wonder why they don't have any real friends.

Me and a friend of mine saw this guy just blatantly interrupting every conversation and turned it to himself. It was frustrating and obvious so we made a game of it. We started counting every time he did it. We would just say a number out loud and the whole group heard us but had no idea what we were doing. Someone would say I had pizza for dinner and this guy would break in and tell how he knows the best place to get pizza. Or another guy had a bad knee and this guy knew a guy who had two bad knees. This guy was just screaming "look at me" but everyone else was just SCREAMING!!!

My point: take some time to listen and genuinely be interested in someone other than yourself. Quite honestly, no one thinks you are all that interesting anyway. People are not laughing with you, they are laughing AT you. Keep quiet long enough and allow the focus to be on someone else for once. Stop looking at yourself and look at others.

You may think you want others to look at you but you really need to look at your self. Be honest enough to deal with your insecurities.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

blog nazi

I am known to a few people as the "blog nazi". I have an deal/wager/agreement with a couple people. We have to blog a certain amount of times a week or we have to buy the other lunch. Let's just say "I have some lunches coming my way!". Believe me, I will collect and I will eat very well, not just soup either.

I appreciate the accountability in my life. I knew there would be times when I wouldn't feel like blogging but I wanted to be sure I kept in the habit of it. I think it is important to line up accountability when you want something. Things get done when you know someone is going to ask about it. It is a lot more motivating than if no one cares/notices.

I have some friends who have tried all the diets but when they actually started going to the weight watchers meetings the weight started coming off. Look at all the "groups" there are for addicts or support. We need people to help us through this life.

Big problems come when you start isolating yourself. You get in a mood and then little by little you start withdrawing then before you know it, you feel like no one cares or notices. You have convinced yourself that you don't matter or are unimportant. Isolation is used for punishment in prisons but some people choose to do it to themselves. WHY?

Maybe they don't want the accountability. Maybe they are to insecure to take constructive criticism or feedback. They don't want to hear what they could do better or different so they just don't ask and avoid people who will tell them.

My point: without accountability it is easy to slip into bad habits and isolation. When you are alone your mind can go into areas it shouldn't go. You begin to focus on thoughts you shouldn't have. You need someone who loves you enough to tell you the truth and hold you accountable.

I would like to thank those of you who help me stay accountable. I would also like to thank those who are not blogging and have to buy me lunch...

Saturday, September 8, 2007

wise or wuss?

I am going to run a marathon in October. If I keep telling myself and others enough, I may just believe it...

I began running when I was in the military. I remember I got dumped by my girlfriend back home and I didn't know how to handle it, so I put on my basketball shoes (they were the only tennis shoes I had) and just went running. I eventually got some running shoes and would run the races on base.

Recently I guess I was looking for a challenge and someone suggested a marathon. I said "yes" before I realized what went into the training and how far 26.2 miles really is. Oh well, I said I was going to do it so I better start training. I started off slowly and built my miles up in increments. Last week I ran 20 miles and felt really good about it. I thought "I could run this marathon today". What a difference a week makes...

I was scheduled to run 12 miles but my friend Andy was going to run 18 so I said I would run with him. We got about 9 miles into the run and I felt like total garbage. I was having to work way to hard to maintain a slow pace. My breathing was totally out of whack. I was a mess. After 12 miles, I had to stop. I was dizzy, had stomach cramps and cold sweats. I felt like a total wuss!!!

I was only supposed to run 12 miles so I was able to feel good about doing at least that but I didn't do what I set out to do. I had to listen to my body. It was screaming "something is wrong!" I wanted to press through and keep going but I knew that would do more harm than good. Mentally I was beating myself up but even as I sit here and write this (9:30pm), I still feel like crud. I may be catching something, I hope not but who knows.

My point: you have to know your limitations. I felt like a complete wuss but I would have felt worse if I would've kept going and hurt myself and then not have been able to compete later. I had a goal and it killed me to not reach it but I had to look at the bigger picture. Did I want to finish today or in October? Use wisdom even when it feels like you may be using "wuss-dom".

I needed to listen to my body and rest so I can run another day...

Thursday, September 6, 2007

healthy or unhealthy

I think it is only natural to have good days and some not so good days (and some absolutely horrible ones). When we are having a not so good day or a flat out rotten day we are less tolerant of others. I think it is natural but that doesn't make it right.

There are times when someone can cut me off and it is no big deal. Then there are other times when I may be having some personal struggles and being cut off only fans the flame. Or when the line is moving slow it is easy to think that the person in front of you is an idiot. But when you are having a good day it is easier to think the person in front must need special assistance and it doesn't bother you.

I try to guard myself when I am not in a great mood. I actually try harder to make sure I don't affect or infect others with my mood. I may be screaming at you in my head but I purposely don't say anything that would make you feel attacked for no reason.

My point: it isn't other people's problems that you are having a tough day. It is inconsiderate and selfish to always ask them to always understand that you are just having a bad day. Look at yourself and see if you are having more bad days than good days. If you are bold enough, ask other people how they view you... be careful and don't attack them for their honesty.

I heard a great quote that I may talk about at a later time. It says "healthy people will tell you when they are upset, unhealthy people will show you."

Are you healthy?

Sunday, September 2, 2007

day off

I always love a good day off. The extended weekends are great. As I think about what I am going to do on my day off, I can't help but to start thinking about what I am going to have to do when I go back to work. Work will be piled up even higher and my day off may actually turn into the calm before the storm.

I could easily take my day off and think about everything I have to do later but I need to just take the day and be off. I will have to keep myself from thinking about work and what I will be doing and who I have to meet with and all the details that have to be worked out.

My point: when you are off, be off. Don't rob the people you love the time that is supposed to be for them. Don't rob yourself from the rest that you probably need. It is not good to work all the time.

What did you do on your day off...