Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Nothing new under the sun


After a month of not posting I find myself trapped in a little bubble again. I find no motivation in my day to day activities.... I find it harder and harder to exercise and eat right.... it's like with no outlet, I just turn inward again, into that little fellow who doesn't want to be seen by anyone.

The other day I was talking to my wife via IM and I realized that I felt trapped, like I just wanted to crawl into a little ball and lay on the floor under my desk and cry. It's not like depression, I have been down that road before, depression is different. It's more debilitating, more wreck less, more.... dangerous. This feeling is different, it's like you have all these thoughts and wants and hopes and dreams, but you just can't get them out.

I found myself reading articles on blogger's block (think "writer's block"), which I believe does exist. It is an uncanny inability to talk about anything because your mind is wondering too much to focus on anything.

This morning, actually just moments ago, I decided I am just going to open blogger and type whatever comes to my mind. This outlet of ideas and thoughts is what I need. I can feel myself rising above the stress I had put myself in. I feel better already.

My friend and I have been discussing the state of America lately, from politics to economics, to foreign policy. We happen to have very similar ideas on the topic which help make the conversations flow peacefully. It is very easy to get down in times like these. Nothing seems stable. Every morning you wonder if your job will be there for you when you arrive, or if it's even worth going to if the whole thing is going to collapse as some experts say. I have come to a realization though, no matter what happens, you cannot give up.

Our country was founded by educated and wise men, who designed it to be a self checking and self realizing nation. We have the ability to protect our rights and repeal things like the patriot act and other such rights infringing laws. The was a great disparity amongst our forefathers about even having a "Bill of Rights" because they feared it would become a limited exclusive list of rights a citizen has, rather than a list of God-given rights every man should have. They feared that taking the focus off of the Federal Government and putting it on the people innately limited their rights. You see the federal government is not supposed to be this powerful "big brother" overlord like it is today, but I digress...

My point is we cannot give up. The bible says that God will not give us more than we can handle, and it also says that all things will work together for good, for those who love the Lord. If these thoughts don't apply to these times (and probably every "time" since "time" began), than what does? We cannot quit our jobs and pull all of our money out of the banks. We need to keep the cogs turning, keep the money flowing and moving. Without activity and productivity we have nothing. Obviously be wise with your money, don't stretch yourself too thin as we Americans are prone to do, but instead save, buy what you need. Be more economical in everything you do.

No matter how bad things seem, there is nothing new under the sun, we have to believe that and we have to act like we believe it as well.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Are you thirsty? Drink Water


The other day we went to a family get together. Actually it was a family reunion about 25 years in the making. I was fishing at the pond where it was located and I was watching Nicolas run around finding new things to do. Someone kinda chuckled at my little guy's endless energy and I said, "to Nicolas, idle time is wasted time."

I didn't quite understand the depth of what I said until later on. Idle time is wasted time... it's true. We should always be trying to "keep moving forward." (-Meet the Robinsons) I tend to relax a little too much, I try to do all that I can to clear my schedule so I can just take some time to sit. Why? What is so good about doing nothing? Now, I know we are supposed to rest, I mean that is what the whole "sabbath" thing is about in the bible, but why do nothing, when I can do something?

A few nights later I was talking with a friend about continuing to motivate myself on this whole, diet and exercise thing. I was talking about how I have been trying not to eat "bad stuff," and make good decisions. I'm not sure which one of us said it, but one of us (my friend, most likely) said, "why would we put anything in our bodies that doesn't help us?" It was like a light bulb went off in our heads, we looked at each other and realized that if it isn't helping us, then there is no purpose for it to be there. 

If you think of your body as a machine, like your car for instance... would you ever shovel mud into the gas tank? No, of course not, so why would we eat chemical laden fake foods which our bodies cannot digest? Would we let our car sit for weeks, months and even years, without as much as starting it up and taking it for a drive? Not if we want it to stay in good condition. So, why wouldn't we exercise and keep our bodies in the best shape we can? 

This mental attitude can go a long way in other facets of our lives as well, just think about your finances. If you ran a business, would you spend your money all "willy-nilly" everytime you had a little extra? No. Would you buy the newest and latest toys as soon as they come out? No. Then, why on God's green earth would you do it in your own personal financial life? Just use your money like you would your business. Run your finances like a business, because it is a business, your business. Of course you need to take the occassional vacation and of course you want to buy a toy every once in a while, but not if it affects your finances negatively in any way.

Now, we started talking about this all ties to sin. Sin is the lust of the flesh, the voice in your head that says go out to eat tonight, when truly there is food at home. Sin is the voice that says go ahead and eat that slice of cake, it's only one. Sin is anything which doesn't make you better. 

I am going to try to live a sin-less life, which as we know is impossible, it even seems impossible. However, if I try to live a life, which I base all my choices on what helps me, or makes me better, then I can at least get my mind around the idea. Of course this thinking could lead to selfish behavior, but not if you follow the spirit of the law and not the letter. 

Eat right, exercise, spend your money wisely, these are principals which are taught in the bible, and yet many of us, as christians, don't follow them. Even those who have no faith in God try to live by these thoughts because they are right and lead to a better life. So, the next time you have a decision, as small as it may be, choose based on what it is you need and how do you best fulfill it. 

Are you thirsty? Drink water. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Philippians 4:13

So, I managed to complete 3 full days of my fast. Not quite the five I set out to do, but I am still proud of my accomplishment. Day 2 was much more difficult than the first. I was hungry and tired all day. I noticed myself getting short with people, especially my son, and I knew then that 5 days was going to be difficult. I forced myself to go to bed early that night and good thing I did, I slept awful, and I was extremely tired the following day, day 3. I researched all of these symptoms and quickly discovered that they are defined side affects of fasting. After much soul searching and thinking I decided that it was time to end the fast and begin my new life as a well eating and motivated individual.

I finished the three day fast and was able to understand and reflect upon exactly how it could be a deeply spiritual and uplifting experience. It certainly has restored my faith in ways I didn't expect. I found myself engrossed in reading the Bible and understanding the stories within with a deeper respect and understanding for the faith these men had. On a side note, I highly recommend a version of the Bible called "The Message." It reads so easily and has given me a new understanding of sections which were choppy and messy to me before. I am coming from a KJV background though.

Here we are some number of days later, and I am finally getting around to posting. This is because last week was an incredibly busy week for me, and I finally have time to sit and reflect upon it.

Monday and Tuesday I went to the gym. This is something I have not done since April when I hurt my back. Having a herniated disc and dealing with the handicap it has given me is something I never understood when others told me about debilitating pain. I was, at times, in so much pain I could not move into a comfortable position, never mind sleep... I entered a deep pit of depression and the only thing that brought me joy... food. I ballooned way up to my highest weight ever the beginning of July. I returned from a week vacation at the Cape and I looked at myself and the pictures from this vacation and I felt sick. I felt like a complete and total failure. I was huge, like a big round ball with a beer in my hand. I looked awful. This is not the image I want my son to think of when he thinks of Dad. There is a parity here as well...

One of my closest friends has been diligently going to the gym for some time now and he is reaping the benefits of it for sure. During the Cape trip there were pictures of us playing boccie' (the best game ever...), with several weeks or maybe even months of lifting under his belt, he looked pretty ripped. At the very least, more cut and trim than he has ever looked. I however, only made him look thinner... I was at least twice his size and felt it, too.

I decided that day that things had to change. My lifestyle needed improvement and I needed to eat right. I began cutting portion size and cutting out late night snacking. I have quickly dropped about 25lbs of the depression weight I put on during the last few months. I feel good, and to no ones surprise my back is much looser and feels way better.

So, like I said, I haven't lifted since April and it feels good to do it again. I missed the gym, the feeling you get after your done, that swollen throbbing, it's fantastic. It is so psychological, you immediately examine yourself, your diet and activity level. I found myself refusing popcorn and chips today at work, a staple of my daily diet when my back was hurt.

I now have a goal, to live a healthy and active life. I want to be a motivated and powerful individual, and the only way I know I can do this is if I live the way I know I should, healthy. I need to be around for my son and hopefully someday for his kids. I don't want to be overweight with diabetes and in a wheel chair because I didn't make good decisions now while I can.

Max-OT

Monday, August 11, 2008

Fasting Day 1 - A Day of Change

Well, today marks my first day of fasting and so far, no sweat. Today is also a big day in the life of my wife. She has been attending cosmetology school for the past nine months and as of 2:00 this afternoon is done. This moment is one she has been looking forward to for quite some time. I don't know if she'll ever understand how proud of her I am. I love my wife, with every fiber of my soul and I am so glad she has found something she is interested in and she pursued it and completed the training to become what she wants to be.

I'm not the most open person in the world, as a matter of fact, I am probably one of the most closed people out there. I have a difficult time expressing how I feel. I think I am afraid of it, intimidated by it. I think it is the pure vulnerability of it. To completely expose myself, my true inner self, is something I don't think I have ever done, even alone. That's partially why the prospect of this blog is so interesting to me. I don't do things like this. I don't keep a journal, or log my thoughts, but I believe in order to change myself, I have to do this.

My point is I don't think I express love and support for my wife enough. She knows I love her and would give my life for her without hesitation, but it's different to know it and to hear it, or feel it. I think this is one of the weak points of our relationship, my inability to express and even understand my feelings. This is something that I have vowed to change, and I have become much better than I once was, but it is a work in progress... so is life.

I love you and am so proud of you, baby. You're an inspiration to me, and the pride of our little family. I look up to you in every way, and I want you to know that.

Today I listened to a sermon, which is something I am going to try to do everyday this week, and it was about Jesus healing the blind and the sick. One of the gentlemen preaching is afflicted with Parkinson's Disease, a disease Michael J. fox has made famous. To hear a man, who is suffering everyday, with a degenerative disease, made me really think about my life and my struggles. I am a fortunate man, one with good health, good friends, and a beautiful family. As I was taking a walk, thinking about the suffering that people are going through, people I know, and people who I don't know, I can't help but thank God for all of my blessings. Perhaps, the spirit of the fast is setting in before the hunger....

Sunday, August 10, 2008

This week should go by FAST!

I am going to attempt to fast for 5 days this week. This is something I have done before and I am looking forward to doing it again. There are several reasons I am going to do this, but primary to gain a central understanding of the emotional, spiritual, and physical cleansing of a fast. Fasting is mentioned several times in the bible, but the one which strikes me as most powerful is the fast Jesus does just before he is tested by Satan.

"Next Jesus was taken into the wild by the Spirit for the Test. The Devil was ready to give it. Jesus prepared for the Test by fasting forty days and forty nights." (Matthew 4)

Jesus prepared for this test with a fast? That is so fascinating. He prepares for a great spiritual battle by becoming physically weak? It just isn't logical. Yet, we are taught that his ways are not our ways, and his thoughts are not our thoughts.

"I don't think the way you think. The way you work isn't the way I work." (Isaiah 55)

Jesus doesn't need the food of man to battle Satan, he needs the food of God. Matthew 5:6 says, "You're blessed when you have worked up a good appetite for God. He's the food and drink in the best meal you'll ever eat." So I want to be filled by God... to renew my spirit.

The second reason I'm going to fast is, I want to cleanse my body physically. I have been trying to lose weight since my vacation a few weeks ago. I have done well, but I feel like I need to cleanse and purge all of the garbage from my system and fasting is a proven and inexpensive way to do this. I believe that this physical purge will also help with the spiritual purpose stated above.

My last reason is for weight lose. When I dieted a few years ago and lost a total of 60 lbs, I started with a 2 day fast. This makes me feel like I have a fresh start on eating well and not putting junk into my body. I want to change life by becoming more active and eating better and I believe this will help with that.

I encourage those reading this to try fasting as well, it can be a deeply spiritual and emotional experience. It's a cleansing that is healthy, and is a well documented means of renewing and refreshing the physical body and the soul.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Social Obligations

Aren't social obligations an interesting thing? I mean, when you have to invite a certain person, because they're family... or when you have to go somewhere because it's a family gathering. It's like we have a certain amount of God given freedom, but yet there are certain circumstances where this freedom is trumped and we have to do this.

If God has given us free will, and we are supposed to do what makes us happy, and man's law does not dictate to us social codes and rules, why is there in-born laws and rites of social interactions? I guess that culture and society dictate them to us, but doesn't ones happiness and personal needs take precedence over such dogma? Logically yes, but socially, no. Of course I speak in generalizations, for there are always those who go against family/social guidelines and live quite happily doing so, but even they feel the pressure of these rules.

I have a friend who is desperately seeking joy and fulfillment. He is currently away from his family, at school. This family does not support his decision to stay in school and pursue what drives him as a human being. He is passionate about his studies, and this is after years of finding emotional and spiritual dead ends in what would appear to his family as success. I think this person should be honored and supported by his loved ones, but instead many of his closest family members treat him with a reprimanding nature. Telling him to quit what he is doing and go back to the higher paying, "more successful" job he was once pursuing. This is awful. He has my full support to do what he feels will make him happy, and I express that to him often. He is one of those who toils with this issue of social dogma, and still continues to succeed.

There are other situations that dictate social acceptability as well. Weddings, for example, are often a source of conflict. Do we invite Aunt so-and-so, but not Uncle what's-his-name? Well, if we invite one how do we exclude the other? Cousin dum-dum invited us to his wedding, so we have to invite him to ours. It is this medieval thinking that is fascinating to me.

Thankfully, I do not feel like I am stifled or limited by these type of rules as some are, but I feel them sometimes, as we all do. For some, it rules their lives, and that is sad. Society and the rules that it puts on us are fabulously interesting and great to contemplate and analyze. It's like there are society's rules and the family's rules, and somewhere they derive from each other or in spite of each other.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

10 Skills You Need to Succeed at Almost Anything

This article I found this morning, and it seems to go right along with the current theme in my life... success.
10 Skills You Need to Succeed at Almost Anything - Stepcase Lifehack
Blogged with the Flock Browser

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A fresh start... life and baseball

I am in the process of attempting a fresh start program with my life. This fresh start will contain a number of things that I want to change in my life, and I believe that with God's help I can do these things and see almost immediate results.

1.) Start Dieting - Reason: To live a healthier and longer life - I have created a new profile on Traineo and I am logging in everyday to record my diet, exercise, sleep, and other random facts about my general well being. This constant monitoring on a semi-public forum, I believe will help keep me on the straight and narrow. The trick is to log in even if I have a bad day.

2.) Read the Bible Daily - Reason: to be more spiritually grounded and to explore my faith - I am currently starting a 365 day bible reading plan, which incorporates only reading about 15-30 minutes a day, and helps me to refresh and renew my mind spiritually.

3.) Blog several times per week - Reason: to provide a public and private outlet for my thoughts - I have never had a dairy or journal of any sort in my life, and I have always felt inept at conveying my emotions and thoughts. Perhaps the constant exercise in this, via blogging, will help these skills as well as allow me to stimulate thought in general. I have read in several articles recently that those who blog often tend to be more successful as they are more in tune with their wants and needs.

4.) Exercise at least 3 times per week - Reason: to live a more active life and to live longer - I have struggled with my self-esteem and weight for years. This has been a major factor in my life for as long as I can remember. I have gone through periods of time where I exercised often and felt great about myself, and I have been the other way as well. This time, I am making exercise a constant part of my life. From walking with my family, to hitting the gym and rehabbing my back, I will exercise often and make it a part of my life style.

5.) Focus hard on completing school - Reason: to complete my degree and improve my sense of self-worth - I have been in college for over 10 years now and have often found excuses to sputter to a stop in every academic venture I have attempted, including my current one. I am reapplying myself to school and I am going to excel as I did when I began this venture a few years ago.

I have realized that like so many other people, I stand in my own way. I do it a lot. I tend to start these great adventures and attempt these wonderful changes, with no real chance of succeeding because I have never allowed myself to just do it. I am changing my mindset, as well as everything else. I spoke of passion a few days ago and how one cannot live without it. Well, my passion right now, it to improve my life, in every facet. I am going to be more responsible and a better example to those around me. Instead of finding the easy route and trying to gain the most out of every situation, I will look at what the best decision is and try to evaluate everything I do against my beliefs and morals.

I have a friend who recently got into some legal trouble, and it is more or less a break of bad luck (honestly, it is). This person is a good friend with a good heart and I know he will prevail from this struggle. The reason I mention it is because it has made me realize that any of us could get caught for doing something we're not supposed to. We're all playing a great big lottery, that we don't want to win. Life hits us with unfair situations sometimes, and life can also raise us up for no apparent reason as well. I mean when things are going good, they seem to just keep on rolling along. When life is bad, well they say "the hits just keep on coming."

Think of this in the scenerio of baseball. How many times does a team go on a winning streak and follow it with a losing streak. They always say, "He's red hot right now," or "He's in a big slump." Not many players or teams are just consistent every day. For example just after the all-star break the Yankees were on an incredible winning streak, taking their first 8 games without a sweat. It was like no matter what the other team did, the Yankees would win. Here it is just a few days later, and they cannot beat the worst team in their division, losing the last 4 out of 4. This anomoly happens all the time in sports, and it a microscosm of life. Sometimes it's easy to win games, and sometimes you cannot win them even when the winning run is 127 feet, 3 3/8 inches (the distance from second base to home) from the plate. All we can do is just keep on pitching.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

passion (repost from Vox)

Can someone live without passion? I'm not talking about sexual passion, although I'm sure that applies here too. I am referring to what people call "being passionate." Obviously it is physically possible to live without this feeling, but is it a life worth living? How do I know if I have it? If I don't then how do I find my passion? If I do, then why do I not feel fulfilled?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Just a Thought (repost from Vox)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

We're all 1's and 0's... (repost from Vox)

Friday, March 28, 2008

Magical thoughts... (repost from Vox)