Count your blessings!
Here’s just one for todayChristian musicians who glorify God by being the best at what they do. Phil Keaggy:
esterday, this blog received the Stylish Blogger Award from Heather P. of the delightful Soundoff blog. I am particularly delighted to receive this award from Heather because the theme of her blog is Looking for the Positive in ALL things! The few folks who have followed my blog for a long time may recognize the fact that this is a goal of mine. I don’t always achieve that goal, but I do think I’m making progress and I’m working toward it step by step and day by day.
Heather P., however, is an amazing woman with an incredibly positive outlook on life. I’ll tell you a little bit of her story and then you need to go check out her blog.
Heather’s husband was in an accident quite a few years ago. This accident left him a paraplegic. Heather is now wife and full-time care giver for her husband. Not many marriages can survive such a stressor, but not only has Heather continued to love and care for her husband in spite of the odds, she does so with a calm grace and positive attitude that boggles the mind. Now, go see for yourselfthen come back here to hear about the award.
As a recipient I am supposed to tell you 7 things about myself and then choose 7 recipients to pass the award on to.
I now pass along the Stylish Blogger Award to these blogs that I read frequently. They bring me inspiration, food for thought, and encouragement. I trust they will do the same for you:
lurpees! One of life’s simple, but wonderful, pleasures. I remember walking to the 7-11 from our house in New York on hot summer days and relishing the cold pleasure that only a Slurpee can be.
There’s an interesting tradition with Slurpees. If you stand back in a 7-11 on a hot summer day and just watch the people, you’ll be sure to notice it. When people fill their Slurpee cup, they tap the cup on the counter a few times to remove any excess air in the Slurpee. Then they fill it a bit more and tap it on the counter again. Sometimes they’ll shake the cup from side to side in between taps. When they have compressed as much as they possibly can into the cup, they get one of those domed caps, put it onto the Slurpee cup and fill the entire dome with the delightful icy treat. It’s a great tradition.
Wouldn’t it be great when things are going well in life if you could do that? If you could shake life a bit, tap it on the counter, put a dome on it and let that good stuff just keep filling up until it’s running over the top of the dome and you have to lick it off the side of the cup and the back of your hand before you go to the counter?
Today, as I walked to get some exercise I noticed my thoughts heading toward some of the unpleasant things in my life. I immediately attacked those thoughts. I have noticed that my mental attitude is like a screw. If I dwell on thoughts about myself and how other people aren’t treating me the way I want, my mental attitude spirals down. If I think about others and how I should be treating them, my attitude spirals up. It’s a sort of rightie-tightie, lefty-loosey equation. It happens every time.
So by the end of my walk I was focusing on those things God has blessed me with. And God gave me a spiritual Slurpee.
Luke 6:37 38
Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”
Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, it will be put into your lap. That sounds like the Slurpee tradition to me. So if I focus on how others are treating meif I judge themI will get a measly little tall mug of blessing (in Starbucks speak). If I focus on how I can benefit those around mehow I can be a good husband, how I can be a good father, how I can be a good friendI don’t just get a venti mug, I get a Big Gulp Slurpee cup, filled well, pressed down, shaken together, tapped on the counter, domed lid attached, running over the sides and down over my hand so much that I can’t lick it off. It actually ends up in my lap.
And then with a huge grin I head to the counter to pay for it, but Jesus has already covered it and is out in the truck yelling, “Come on, Richard! It’s time to head to the beach!
Wow!! It’s overwhelming. I gotta get me some more of that!
his is the day that the Lord has made
let us rejoice, and be glad in it!
Dr. Daniel Amen [web site] treats patients with severe behavioral issues stemming from a variety of brain malfunctions. Those issues range from severe depression to ADHD to belligerence and violent, anti-social behaviors. Dr. Amen’s primary targets in helping people with these issues are diet (feeding the brain the proper nutrients it needs to function) and exercise (making sure the brain gets the oxygen and other chemicals it needs to function). His success rate is astounding. Alas, he does not accept insurance and it is very expensive to seek care from him.
But... I have been eating right and exercising for three weeks now and cannot believe what it has done to my mental attitude and my ability to handle stressful situations. I can’t wait to see where this path leads.
od provided an incredibly gorgeous weekend for us. Saturday felt like a spring day, and Sunday continued the theme. And I continued my efforts to improve my health.
So Saturday morning I pulled out my bicycle and rode to the hospital to weigh in on their über accurate scale. The bike ride was great, although riding a bike shows me what seriously bad shape I’m in. The ride to the hospital is a very short one, but there are a few hills along the wayso I was huffing and puffing by the time I got there.
I went up to the floor where the scale is located and weighed in. Praise God! I have lost another 8.5 pounds since my last weigh-in. So I happily rode my bike back home and told my wife, “I've lost 8 pounds in one week!” She said, “No, you haven’t, you’ve lost eight pounds in four days. The last time you checked your weight was not last Saturday, but last Tuesday.”
She was right!
So... since February 20, when I decided to get serious about my exercise and diet, I have lost 28.5 pounds. And now I have set up some goals for the rest of the year. My goals are pretty high and will require serious focus and commitment to reachbut I plan on meeting them.
Saturday afternoon, my son and I went for a walk around the neighborhooda color purple walk. (I took my camera along with me to capture the evidence of God’s love for us in the beauty he has surrounded us with.) After having pushed myself so much on the bike ride that morning, the walk was a bit more difficult than normal. But it was enjoyable and my son and I had a good time together.
If I meet my goals, I will weigh less this coming August than I have at any point in my life since college. If I continue to meet my goals for the rest of the year, I will make my high school weight by Christmas.
Did I say, “if”? If that implied that I will be trying, but will hang onto an excuse just in case. That inference was not intended.
As the ever-wise Yoda said, “Try? Try not! Only do... or do not. There is no ‘try!’”
I took this early morning picture of my office building in Washington, DC, (technically in Rosslyn, Virginia) while I was out getting some exercise as the sun rose over the city’s horizon. I love the warm colors in this phototaken during sub-freezing temperatures. I believe the temperature when I left the building that morning was 27 degrees Fahrenheit. The walk was invigorating; the sights were sublime.
These are the remaining four photos from yesterday’s Color Purple walk. Today’s walk will be in the area around my office. I did not bring my camera with me to work today, so there will not be any photos from today’s exercise and color purple expedition. But still I will be looking.
In an effort to keep working toward being a better person, I have decided to focus my daily exercise walks on finding the color purple. Those of you who have followed this blog for a while most likely know how I’m using the term the color purple. I am using it in the sense that it was used in the movie by that name. Essentially, it means noticing the wonderful blessings God has placed all around us instead of walking ignorantly past.
Here they arephotos from my first Color Purple Walk. I took all of these photos while walking a single loop around my neighborhood. I will post the remaining photos from today’s walk tomorrow. It’s not difficult to find the color purple in our neighborhoodliving here is a bit of a color purple moment in itself.
The remainder of the day’s Color Purple pictures will be posted tomorrow.
ccountability is a very important thing! And I need to make sure I’m at least holding myself accountable. But maybe you can hold me accountable too. Today is Step 1.
Two weeks ago I began to turn my focus toward improving health and improving myself. I wrote about it on March 3rd [The old fat guy in the mirror]. Along the way I have buckled down, gotten back to the basics.
I’ve called my parents once and chatted with them on instant message twice since March 3. I’ve looked for ways to pay attention to my family and we are planning some special times together. I’ve reached out to tell true friends how much I love and appreciate them. And I have quit using elevators in my office building. I walk the stairs now. I’m eating appropriate foods in appropriate amounts (I think). And I am taking long walks around the neighborhood every daywith the family when they want to go and by myself at other times. I even pulled out my bike and rode for about 45 minutes this past Saturday.
Results: Today I weighed in at the doctor’s office and I have lost 20 pounds in the past two weeks! Praise God!
My next goal is another 20 pounds in the next month. By April... another 20 pounds of weight loss. Pray with meand I’ll keep working at it.
Of late, eternal Condor years
So shake the very Heaven on high
With tumult as they thunder by,
I have no time for idle cares
Through gazing on the unquiet sky.
And when an hour with calmer wings
Its down upon my spirit flings
That little time with lyre and rhyme
To while awayforbidden things!
My heart would feel to be a crime
Unless it trembled with the strings.
Edgar Allan Poe
The picture in this blog header is a portrait of a wonderful young lady I work with. Sophia was born and raised in Ethiopia. At 17 years of age she moved to Greece for 3 years and then moved to the United States 20 years ago. She’s a fascinating person to talk to.
’m not quite sure how it happened, but I suddenly realized this year that I am old. Or, perhaps, I’m about to become old.
It’s now March. Back in January I began grappling with a thought that I have not been able to put into words. Not because this thought is so difficult to express. Not because it’s a particularly profound thought. But simply because I hated hearing it. I hated admitting it. I hated realizing that half a century has passed me by and I have done far too little flower smelling.
Well... it’s far past time to wake up and smell the coffee. (I may be old, but I can still stick a coffee metaphor in just about anything I write!)
This year I will turn 50 years old. By the age of 30, Jesus had turned the world upside down. Well, perhaps comparing myself to Jesus isn’t wise in this current context. But Justin Beiber is around 12 years old and he has more fans and more enemies than I can imagine.
So... it’s time to buckle down. It’s time to stop hoping for what may happen in the future. As a long-forgotten Redskins coach used to say, “The future is now!”
I am beginning a new thing this year. I’m getting more exercise, eating better, focusing more consistently on tasks at hand, loving more friends, rejecting false friends, calling my parents more, paying attention to my family more, stopping to notice the color purple more, regretting my shortcomings less. And I’m laughing more, crying more, and speaking up when it is needed more. And I’m holding my tongue more when that is needed.
Not a New Year’s resolution. A return to basics. A tune-up. A swift kick in the pants. A poke in the eye with a sharp stick. Whatever it takes.