Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Inspirational Biblical Leadership

The Inspirational Centurion

Some months ago I was reading Luke 7 during lunch, and for the first time was awestruck by the Centurion in verses 1-10.  This is for several reasons:
  1. First of all, he was in all likelihood a manly man - a tough and accomplish enough soldier to lead 100 other soldiers.
  2. He was also a very important man (leader of 100 men, the Jewish elders went to Jesus on his behalf, he built the synagogue, etc).
  3. Despite his position and authority, he still cared for and valued his servant (sought Jesus' help for him).
  4. He had tremendous faith, as not only expressed by his actions but also reinforced by Jesus ("I have not found such great faith even in Israel.”).
  5. His faith was present despite not having seen or personally been with Jesus, to our knowledge (not a disciple, apostle, etc).
  6. Despite his strength, authority, and importance, he was incredibly humble before Jesus/God ("I do not deserve to have you come under my roof... I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you.").
Could it be said that this man is one of the best examples of what all men should strive to be?  Strong and authoritative, yet still caring to those below him in status, and possessing great faith and humility.  I know I do (strive to be like that).

The Wise Pharisee

The above heading seems like an oxymoron when you consider the roles and the reputation that the Pharisees had in the stories of the Bible.  I recently read a possible rare exception though in Acts 5:33-40, where a Pharisee named Gamaliel cleverly and logically persuaded the Sanhedrin to stop persecuting the apostles.  This is leadership at its finest - standing up for the right cause, and doing it effectively enough so that you persuade your audience to change course.

Book Review - Discipleship in the Home

 The leader/founder of the home group that we attend recommended this book for the men, when we were meeting weekly at Bob Evans at 6am (sick, I know).  It's a fairly short book, but long enough to be effective at relaying the author's ideas.  The basic premise behind it is to relay the deliberate and extensive effort by Mr. Friedman to determine which values and knowledge to teach and instill into his children, and how to actively attempt to accomplish it.  As a parent, it seems to me like it's easy to feel like I'm in survival mode and trying hard enough to take care of the kids, the "stuff", ourselves (if/when possible), and maybe encourage the kids to take some extra-curricular activities.  But this book helped to persuade me how effective it can be in determining which goals to help your children pursue and then being extensive and purposeful in planning their success, as much as possible anyway.

I don't agree with all of the specific items on his list of things to teach/train to his kids (some seemed geared to aggressively push the kids into a position of ministry), but I really like his simple yet brilliant idea of being intentional about being engaged in teaching/learning/guiding.  In addition to these useful ideas, I enjoyed (and am still enjoying) Appendix 2 of the book, which is the "Hidden in the Heart" Catechism.  Here he provides a list of 126 basic, essential theological and family-oriented questions to discuss with your kids to help them commit basic Christian premises to heart/memory.  I'm trying to periodically ask one or two at dinnertime, as a way to not only provide an interesting dinner table discussion, but also to help them grow spiritually/mentally.

This book wasn't the most exciting I've read, nor was it a theological revelation, but I think Mr. Friedeman's ideas have the ability to utilize your children's potential in a way that not much else can.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


There is a website that I really like called The Chive.  Admittedly, its primary purpose is mindless entertainment, with posts containing pictures associated with a particular theme.  It's a great site - the layout is simple and well organized, and the themed posts range from entertaining, comedic, occasionally informative, and even sometimes promoting good causes (raising money for them too). Unfortunately, there are also numerous posts centered around physical female features, which I mostly try to stay away from.

There is one peculiarity about it though that brings me to the point of this blog (no, it's not to promote their web site).  Their self-promotional slogan is to "Keep Calm and Chive On", or KCCO.  They sell various merchandise with this slogan (t-shirts, bumper stickers, etc), and people who frequent the site even call themselves "Chivers" and encourage each other to "Chive On".  It almost seems like the hard-core fans of this site get so engrossed in it that they not only seek to make it a "community", but I would venture to say it borders on becoming a religion.

For example, a Chive picture that someone could submit to the site (and then they would post) might say "I got hit by a monster truck and am barely hanging on to life by a thread. But I KCCO'd!".  So let me get this straight - you survived your life threatening ordeal by... surfing a web site. You're alive today and happy because you (again) looked at many, many posts of various pictures.  Or, for the picture below - you thought you might fall and hurt yourself, but you concentrated on a website full of pictures, and that helped you to find the courage and physical skill you needed.  REALLY?!?

Now, I know that not everyone believes in God, and those people sometimes have to find inspiration and courage from somewhere, so why not pick a fun web site I guess.  But for me, and hopefully other Christians too, the obvious alternative (and significantly improved) acronym for life inspiration is to Keep Calm and Pray On.  At least then you're pursuing spiritual peace, inspiration, and possibly even heavenly assistance to get you through your day/ordeal.  Heck, even if you don't believe in God, isn't focusing on something spiritual still better than giving credit/glory to a website that posts random pictures?


Sunday, July 07, 2013

Book Review: A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engel

I remember reading this book as a kid (was it middle school or high school?), and really liking it back then. Recently though, Amanda read it for the first time. Since I needed some bathroom reading and it was sitting nearby (I know, TMI), I picked it up and started reading it again. Then I had a hard time putting it down.

This is one of those books that's a classic for good reason (in my opinion). It's both light hearted and serious, and has some odd and captivating characters. It's also an interesting twist on the battle of good vs. evil, and even time/space travel too. I could have sworn I recall it being longer though, and going further in depth about various scientific concepts (such as mitochondria), and more details about the Murray's home life (cooking dinner over bunsen burners). Perhaps I read one or more of the other books in this series as a kid though, and just don't remember specifically doing so.

In any event, it was a fun and fast read, and I'm glad to have done it again.

SNL = Sex Centered Comedy?

Last night Amanda and I watched SNL for the first time in years.  The latest episode I could find online was from March 9, 2013, hosted by Justin Timberlake.  The first skit was funny and revolved around him hosting the show for the 5th time.  From there though, all but one of the skits were centered around sex. 

Now I like sex as much as the next guy, and I think I'm pretty far from a prude.  I don't mind hearing a sex-related joke or watching a skit about it either.  But when the majority of the material you can come up with revolves around or involves explicit sexual content, isn't that a little ridiculous?  Here's a list of the skits and their topics:
  1. The Five Timers Club - solid and funny, including appearances from many beloved hosts and cast members
  2. Romantic Comedy - a mock movie trailer centered around a man's relationship with a transgendered woman (she had a shlong).
  3. Weekend Update - funny and mostly non-sexual, but featured an annoying flamboyantly gay character named Stefon about halfway through though.
  4. It's a Date - dating show where contestants compete for the bachelorette.  It centered around sex and ended with the contestants joking about having a fivesome.
  5. Tales of Sober Caligula - talked about orgies, sex with various animals, etc. 
  6. Maine Justice - mildly humorous, and surprisingly non-sexual.
  7. NuvaBling - spoof ad of the Nuva Ring contraceptive ring = birth control for glam girls.
  8. Moet & Chandon Ad - featured former porn starts selling perfume.  Funny, but primarily about sex again.
There you have it, 5.5 out of the 8 skits either talked about or were completely centered around sexual content, mostly explicit and/or perverse.  I can't help but wonder if that says something about our culture.  Is it really that focused on sexuality and I just don't realize it as being that depraved? 

Since this was the first time watching SNL in many moons, perhaps this episode was abnormal.  I'll probably give them the benefit of the doubt and try it again (at least one more time).  But I'm starting to miss Mad TV more and more.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Men Who are Meaninglessly Marked

Since moving to Ohio, I have asked about half a dozen guys with large and elaborate cross tattoos on their arms if there was any spiritual significance for their decor. For all of them, the answer was no. One just wanted a tattoo and liked the way it looked, another got it because his dad always wore a cross necklass around his neck, and yet another got it in honor of his brother who died, and on and on.

Now, I'm not trying to be judgemental, or imply that these men shouldn't have gotten these tattoos unless they believed in the faith that the symbol stands for. I'm glad at least a couple of them had some kind of personal or emotional purpose behind them. But I just found it interesting that all of these men are marked physically, but not at all spiritually. Which is more important? Hopefully the answer is obvious in that God cares about what's in our hearts and minds, and not about the ink on our shoulders.

Thankfully, I met a gentleman in the hot yoga class that I took on Saturday with a large cross on his back that actually had spiritual significance behind it. He was a Christian and said a Bible verse in Isaiah (I don't recall which specific verse) is what inspired him to get the tattoo. I shook his hand, gave him the brief story of my informal survey, and thanked him for not being one of the many men who are meaninglessly marked.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Creation Museum Critique

A couple weeks ago (Saturday 5/25) we went to The Creation Museum with a group of people from work and their families.  The tickets are normally pretty expensive, at $30 and $16 for adults and children respectively.  Thankfully, the group discount reduced these prices to $20 and $12.  Clara is younger than 5, so she was free. 

My first observation about the experience was that the displays and overall production was pretty top notch.  The place was clean and well maintained.  The layout flowed pretty well, and so did the traffic of the crowds.  Speaking of crowds, I was surprised by how many people were there.  It wasn't Disney World crowded, but still obviously well attended.

I also noticed that the Bible was quoted all over the place.  As a Christian I certainly don't mind this, but it gave the feeling that it was more Bible-centered than science centered.

The kids generally enjoyed the museum too, but at ages 8, 6, and 4 years old, they have pretty small attention spans for this kind of information.  This also made it tougher for me to read all of the displays and take enough time to understand all of the points that were being made.  Of the points and ideas I did get to see/read though, there were several in support the literal view of creation that I thought were made well, including:
  • There are many assumptions made by evolutionists when interpreting the external physical appearance of skeletal fossil remains.  
  • There are current examples of caverns, trenches, and canyons that have been formed rapidly (from geothermal, volcanic or other extreme forces).  Therefore, it's possible that other similar geographic formations could have been used to create many/all of the others that it's assumed were created by an alternate long, slow method that (such as by water flowing over millions of years).
  • There is a big difference between Darwin's natural selection (which the museum creator(s) agree with) vs. evolution (which they do not).  
Two things that I would have liked to see more support for though were:
  • A family tree from Adam and Eve to Jesus (an ex-co-worker of mine once made one himself), to help demonstrate how all human kind could have been the offspring of these two individuals.
  • More convincing evidence or a better explanation of how so many cultures and appearances of people could branch from either Adam and Eve or Noah and his family.  For example, if they could show a few actual examples of several families that have drastically changed in appearance (skin color, eye shape, etc) over several generations.  They had one room that gave "The Tower of Babel" as the primary cause of the planetary variation in language and appearance.  But it still seemed pretty weak.
By the time we left, we had been there for several hours and still hadn't seen numerous exhibits, including one with dinosoars, another with insects, and also a planetareum. They still have plans to install an extensive zipline attraction (with numerous platforms and routes) too.  Overall, I had enjoyed the visit and was surprisingly impressed.    The food that we ate there for lunch was decent and acceptably priced too.  The non-group prices still seem high to me, but get a group of 15 or more people together and check it out!

Our group, before touring the museum.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Not Acting My Age?

I had a funny and slightly awkward moment yesterday at work.

My friend/workout partner Chris turned 26 today, and another co-worker joked that he's almost 30.  Chris said that he didn't even want to think about that (turning 30).  I then commented that "oddly enough, turning 30 was worse for me than turning 40".  Everyone, including my boss, chuckled for a second then paused and said "wait, what"?  They couldn't believe that I am past 40 (I'll be 42 in July).  Chris made me show him my license.

Part of me thinks this is great because I must look young.  And part of me wonders if it could just mean that I act and/or dress too immature for my age.

Saturday, May 04, 2013

An Oddly Dreaded Question

Amanda and I have started participating in a small group from our church. It meets on Sunday evenings, but today's meeting consisted of dinner and fellowship (hanging out), instead of the normal Bible study/worship/prayer time.

After dinner, the men were out on the back porch, when one of them asked what has become a dreaded question for me - "What do you like to do in your spare time?"

The only answers I could come up with was exercising (3-5 times per week), Christian pursuits (reading the Bible, going to church, etc), and practicing drums once in a while. That seems pretty lame though, so after that I had to pause and continue the answer with what I would like to do in my spare time, but don't have enough resources (time and/or money) to pursue. This includes:
  • Practicing martial arts (not enough $$)
  • Fixing up/improving my car (again, $$)
  • Playing video games ($$)
  • Inventions and/or Electronics projects (time and dedication)
  • Practicing piano (time, and $$ for a piano/keyboard)
In hindsight, I currently also like to spend time reading, writing (journal, blog, website) and spending time with my kids.

But all of the additional above activities require time, and (more importantly) money, and we still haven't fully recovered financially from me being unemployed and us relocating to Ohio. Also, the rent we're paying at this house is higher than a normal mortgage would be, but we're still in mortgage purgatory since short selling our house in California, and will be for at least another year and a half. 

Life is good, and I don't intend to sound like a whiner.  But I would definitely like to be able to spend more resources on myself and pursuing my numerous personal interests, and I don't intend to give up the idea of being able to one day either.  But for now, I guess that's the sacrifice of having a full time job and a family.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

It's A Sad World After All

In case you haven't seen or heard about this news article, a man recently sued Disney World for being stuck on the "It's a Small World" ride for, get this, 30 minutes.

Granted, he is handicapped (in a wheel chair), so life is harder as a whole for him.  And also, he only won $8,000, which doesn't seem like too obscene of an amount.  And additionaly, the ride didn't have any way for him to get off of it when it was stuck, but everyone else (not in a wheelchair) did have a way off.  So maybe it wasn't really too bad of a judgement.  I've certainly heard of worse.

But then again, I was stuck on that ride before too, for at least 30 minutes, if not longer.  And the amount of time that people have to wait just to get on that ride on a normal Disney day can be more than an hour.  Did I mention that that stupid freaking song plays over and over the whole time when you're waiting AND when on the ride?  Over and over.  And over.  Again.  *It's a small world after all...*  AAAAAaaaaggggghhhhh!!  I never thought of suing them though, I was just annoyed and thought that I have no desire to ever get on that ride again - EVER.  I'm sure I'll swallow those words for my kids some day though, if we finally decide to waste thousands of dollars to take them there, and if they want to experience the unjustified hype.

As a final thought though, if a lawsuit and negative press is what it takes to get them to get their act together with that pathetic excuse for a ride, then maybe it's for the best in the long run.  Maybe the experience won't be as bad if/when one day I'm persuaded to *take my kids there after all * (singing the song).

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Grandma L. is Gone

I got a call last Sunday (3/3/13) from my family in Florida saying that my dad's mom had been transferred to a hospice and was not expected to last very long.  Then on Tuesday I received messages that her health was declining rapidly.  So I made arrangements to take the earliest flight I could to go back home, to Orlando.

The trip to get there had several challenges and setbacks though.  After missing my first flight (I-71 and I-75 traffic was stop and go), then missing the connecting flight after I was rerouted (the plane was stuck on the CVG tarmac due to weather conditions), I finally made it to Sarasota on Wednesday morning.  I was then able to borrow my sister-in-law's car to get to the hospice in Orlando.

The next 5-6 days were a weird and emotional roller coaster of an experience.  Aside from spending time with my family (siblings, cousin, aunt and uncle), and wonderful one-on-one time with my mom (who I stayed with), I mostly just sat next to a hospice bed that held a shell of the woman who was my grandmother.

Grandma Nettie (short for Antoinette) was always spunky and lively.  The above picture was taken in November 2011, when my family was in Florida for Thanksgiving.  Whenever we visited her, she would delight in serving food and bustling about between the kitchen and dining room.  She wasn't much of a listener, but she had fascinating stories about herself and of our family's history.

Now she couldn't speak at all though.  She did periodically make groaning noises, but I had no idea if she was trying to talk, if she was expressing a high level of pain, or if it was all just involuntary.  She opened her eyes once or twice, primarily after the attendants (I guess they were nurses?) turned her over to make her comfortable.  But her eyes were completely glossed over, like her conscience was enveloped in a thick grey fog.

Several people told me that she (and others in her state) can still hear and process everything around her.  I don't disbelieve them, but I couldn't observe anything to indicate that this was true.  I'm not someone who is often at a loss for words, but I had a difficult time figuring out what to say to someone in her state, especially when there's no response or indication of her hearing me.  There's no encouragement to give her about getting better, and the normal topics of everyday life (weather, food, politics, etc) seem completely pointless.  I finally determined that the only topics that really mattered is (a) telling her I love her, (b) thanking her for who she was to me and my family, (c) thanking her for how she influenced my life (directly and indirectly), (d) talking about the life that I think is to come for her, including a request to give my dad a big hug for me, and (e) Jesus.  Through the duration of my time there I talked to her numerous times, including reading her the Bible for a bit.

She finally passed away on Saturday afternoon (3/9).  Although several other family members were there at the hospice (my mom, my aunt, myself), somehow at that moment my brother Steven was the only person in the room with her.  Her memorial is scheduled for this Tuesday (due to scheduling complications at the church she requested), but at this point I don't think I can afford either the travel costs or the additional time off of work.

She will be missed by us all though.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Is Development of Determination Detrimental?

Amanda and I watched Zero Dark Thirty a couple weeks ago (2/15), which was a great movie.  I was struck by one particular characteristic of both the main character and the NAVY SEALs.  All of these people have the type of personalities that completely refuse to quit, who are ruthless in their pursuit of a goal, who absolutely do not allow anything short of death to discourage them or dissuade them from conquering their foes or accomplishing their mission.

I've had moments in my life where I felt some small semblance of this, but the tenacity and ruthless persistence that it takes to be a SEAL is a whole nutha level (or 3).  I can't help but wonder though if people are just born with that quality and/or if it's a result of experiences they encountered in their lives.

Recently, I was watching the preview video for UFC157, which featured Ronda Rousey vs. Liz Carmouche as the main event.  Ronda told a story about breaking her toe in Judo class when she was young.  She walked over to her mom crying about it, but her mom (who was a Judo Olympian) didn't want to hear it, saying "You still have nine more.  Come to me when you break nine and only have one left."  Then she made her run laps around the gym with her broken toe.

I don't know if Ronda would have naturally been a good fighter on her own, but there is no doubt that her mom had a significant impact on her mental and physical development as a fighter.  And while her parenting style may be a bit extreme, it left me to ponder further not only whether determination and perseverance are innate or inspired, but also what effect I could have in the development of my kids' character.

I want to figure out what the best way to pursue this is though - to be a dad who is loving and encouraging, while also doing what I think should be a better job of instilling strength, toughness, courage, and determination in my children.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Valentine's Day 2013

While not perfect, this was a pretty successful Valentine's Day.  

I can't help but tilt my head sideways a bit when reading my own words though.  Why "successful", instead of "romantic" or something like that?  To me, the idea of this holiday is to do my best to make Amanda happy - to be romantic and "woo" her.  Ideally, every day would be like that (or perhaps once a month)?  But heck, with life and kids, and work, and stress, and busy-ness, I'll use Valentine's day as motivation to make it at least one day a year.  So this year:

We solidified babysitters for a dinner date to a Thai restaurant called The Banana Leaf (although Amanda picked the restaurant and made the reservation).  

Then I surprised her by putting a dozen red heart balloons (seen in the picture below) in her minivan the night before.  So they were there when she went to take Clara to pre-school.

Next, I bought a dozen red roses to bring home after work (also seen in the picture).

I also bought her an anklet, which I gave to her at dinner.

And finally, I wrote her a poem (below).  The only problem was that I didn't have time to purchase a card to write the poem in.  So I had to improvise and let her read it on my smart phone.
To have this time together now
Is really quite divine
A rare night out with you my love
My only Valentine

To gaze into your moonlit eyes
Upon a midnight clear
Is on the list of things that I
Hold wonderful and dear

Across a table candelit
A rare treat to behold
Touching feet discreetly now
Aware of what's foretold

Finally we are all alone
Away from normalcy
Drag each other further down
Beneath the blanket sea

Then up above sensory heights
Until we reach the shore
Hold you in my arms so tight
Beyond forever more.

Then back to life we go again
Pursuing happiness
Running hand in hand through this
Suburban wilderness

I love you wife.
Happy Valentine’s Day

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Unsolicited Marriage Advice

I originally started compiling these ideas/suggestions for my brother, who is newly married.  I was going to include some or all of them in the "best man toast/speech" at his wedding, but it was just too long and probably too preachy.  But what are big brothers for, if not to give unsolicited advice?  So for Steve or whoever else cares, here are my observations and suggestions from my 12 years (so far) of marriage experience.

The first year of marriage in all likelihood will have more challenges than you anticipated. In fact, it very well may suck. With any big change in your life, there's a recalibrating process to go through. An adjustment to the changes of what is now considered “normal”.  Amanda and I dated for 5 ½ years before we tied the knot. I was plenty mature at 29 years old too.  We were (and still are), more compatible than most other couples I know.  We grew up only about a mile away from each other, had similar senses of humor, moral values, on and on.  Needless to say, we get along great!  But even with all of these factors being in our favor, that first year of marriage was really difficult!  Many other couples I've talked to (although not all) have echoed this same experience too.

When you encounter disputes, be the first to step up and reconcile. Even though it stings your pride (sometimes a lot), think of it like a game, and the first one to apologize and/or humbly start communicating wins. Because really you do.

Give each other grace. Remember that nobody is perfect except for Jesus, and your spouse isn't Him.

When there are ongoing issues or deficiencies that I think exist in the relationship with my spouse, I have found that the problems I am experiencing often directly mirror my relationship with God.  I'll use the most common challenges I've heard from other married people as examples:
  • Problem: My wife is lazy. She doesn't exercise or take care of her body enough.
    Spiritual Parallell:  Well, how much time do you spend on your relationship with God? On taking care of your spirit?  Work on fixing that first.  Combine that with praying for your spouse and see what happens.
  • Problem: My wife isn't interested enough in intimacy.  In fact, most of the time she could care less about it.
    Spiritual Parallell:  How intimate/available are you to God?  Do you pursue Him?  Do you let Him into your heart/spirit/mind?  Think about what this looks like spiritually and try to correct it.  Then combine that with prayer for your spouse and see if it helps your marriage.
  • Problem:  My husband doesn't give me the attention or affection I want, I NEED.
    Spiritual Parallel:  But how much affection or attention are you giving to God?  Are you "dating" Him by spending time alone with Him?  Are you pursuing, praising, and appreciating Him like you want your husband to do with/to yourself?  Start there and also pray for your husband, then see what God does in your marriage.
To summarize this idea, when I focus on improving my relationship with God (based on the issues I have with my spouse), I'm amazed at how God helps to solve the problems in my marriage for me.  So first fix this (point to yourself) and this (point between yourself and to the sky), before you try to fix each other (which will never work anyway).

Periodically ask your spouse, or at least yourself this question – are you everything your spouse desires?  On another level, are you everything your spouse fantasizes about?  This might not be terribly relevant at first, but the longer you're married the more you'll have to fight against complacency (especially with the addition of kids and life's stresses), and the more important these questions become.

And finally, be resolved that divorce is not an option.  Our culture tells us that it is, but I disagree.  Unless there is abuse involved, don't dare even mention "the d word", ever.  If the thought even crosses your mind, rebuke it and instead focus your thoughts on creative ways to reconcile and rebuild.  If necessary, seek counseling from someone you can both agree on (it may take many tries to find the "right" counselor).  You can also try asking for mediation, prayer, or whatever else you have to do to make it work.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

When it's Better to Adopt an Inaccurate Theology

I recently started a Bible study/prayer group at my job (like at my previous job too).

Last week, we talked about several different things, but one of the guys (a Catholic) stated that he thinks prayer is absolutely necessary to get things done.  To put it another way, he believes that the things you are praying about would not otherwise happen without your prayer.

While I am a firm believer in the power of prayer and the importance of it in many regards, I think it's a bit ridiculous to think that God cannot accomplish anything without our prayer.  Some obvious examples of this being incorrect are the stories in the Bible.  In the overwhelming majority of these stories, no prayer is mentioned at all.  It's just God taking action based on His own will.  My wife mentioned a great point too, that good things also still happen to atheists too (who obviously don't pray) - they get jobs, they find love, they stay healthy, etc.

However, upon further consideration of his approach, I thought that if we are to err in our perspective on prayer, it is FAR and BEYOND better to err on the side of over-praying.  In fact, if all Christians adopted that same attitude - that without prayer nothing will happen - then how much more praying would they/we be doing?  If anything, I think it's quite accurate to say that although the Bible says to "pray continually", very few people take the time to pray even on a daily basis.

So while I may disagree theologically with my co-worker, I am going to try to adopt and promote his philosophy anyway.  Shouldn't we all?

Friday, January 25, 2013

The "Ideal" Amount of Exercise

My co-worker Joe was recently talking about his high blood pressure.  I asked him whether he exercises, to which he jokingly replied "yeah, to and from my car".

He then mentioned that he read somewhere that walking 20 minutes a day is significantly beneficial for health, and that he has a friend who started doing this daily, and lost a significant amount of weight as a result.

I thought that it's interesting if doctors are recommending just 20 minutes a day of walking now.  Not too long ago I remember reading that 60 minutes a day of aerobic activity is ideal, then more recently reading a recommendation of 30 minutes a day.  For a while, I was utilizing the 15-minute workouts that Men's Health frequently posts on their website.  They also often promote a book called "Big Book of 15-Minute Workouts".  I'm guessing that doctors and trainers are realizing that the loftier the goal is, the less likely that people are going to be to meet it, especially lazy and obese Americans.

So what is the ideal and/or sufficient amount of exercise that we should strive to get then?  Is it 60, 30, or 15 minutes or aerobic?  What about strength/weights?  Or should you just walk for 20?  Obviously, more activity is better.  And a combination of strength & aerobic training is also ideal.  However, if you are having a hard time finding an exercise routine or it keeps stalling out, then instead of getting overwhelmed with high expectations and lofty goals, just start with the simple idea that the ideal amount of exercise to get is this: 

more than you are getting right now.  

That's it.  Just start with whatever you can possibly fit in to your schedule and make it happen.  Then do a little more.  Then perhaps a bit more.  But to start, just focus on doing more than you're currently doing.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

The Game of Hands (a Dream)

I had a weird dream last night (1/8/2013)

I was in a car with a friend (he was driving I think).  We pulled up to a fairly large cinder block building that we were planning on going into for some reason.  From inside the car we could see a few guys hanging out in front of the building, by the door.  My friend pointed out one of them and said "See that guy right there.  He's a royal dick."

I went inside (I don't think my friend did though).  I was hanging out there and the dick guy was giving me the eye.  No, not the "I'm gay" eye, but the one that is testing your will, seeing if you're a threat or not, and seeing if he can intimidate you to make you turn away.

Then someone suggested we play cards, so then we all sat down to play.  The dick guy was sitting across from me and was the dealer.  He said "I know a good game.  The game of hands."  In a second or two I realized that he was talking about fighting, especially since he was just holding the cards randomly (not like he was going to actually play with them).  I also knew that he was talking about fighting with me, since he was still giving me "the eye".

In a flash I began pondering options, including (a) punch him first and make it count, (b) play it cool and see what happens, (c) avoid a conflict at all costs, or ...?

I woke up undecided.
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