"…and now I’m a personal trainer!"

Hosted by Stickam.comLast night I sat down and watched “The Biggest Loser: Where Are They Now?” (while eating my traditional bowl of ice cream). It was a special episode of the popular show dedicated to catching up with past contestants to see how well they’ve done at keeping the weight off (or not). I would have been more inspired if I wasn’t so preoccupied with my Moose Tracks ice cream.

As they showed one after another of the show’s previous participants, I was astounded at how many of them have not only lost the weight, kept the weight off, but have since changed their occupation to be a personal trainer so that they might guide, challenge, and encourage others to follow in thier weight-loss footsteps. In succession, I watched each one in a gym classroom, wearing a headset microphone, urging others to shed the pounds they had put on. If they weren’t found leading a class in a gym, they were working one-on-one with a client who had hired them to be their personal coach.

While living in Nyack, New York I remember walking to work one day and coming across an injured bird. Its wing had apparently been hurt somehow and it could no longer fly. I suppose some might have thought “Oh, what a shame” and walked on by. I felt compelled however to pick up the bird, put it in a shoebox and drive it to the local animal doctor. The doctor welcomed the bird, assured me that the wing was mendable, and thanked me for bringing it in. I left with somewhat of a sense of thankfulness that I was able to do something for that bird, even though I’d likely never see it again.

While I left the hospital and drove home, my imagination led me to think about the conversation that bird might have with other birds once he was well and flying again. He’d say to his bird friends, “Yeah, I was in rough shape and it looked like I had no hope of flying again, but then this guy picked me up and took me to this other guy who healed me. And that’s why I’m here today and able to fly with you guys.”

As a child of God and follower of Christ, my deep desire is to help others find the help only found in the healing love of Jesus. And not because I’m something special, but because there was a day when someone told me about the Man who can heal my wounds and make me well. And if I don’t pass that on, then it discredits not only the ones who introduced me to Jesus, but also discredits His work in my life as well.

So, while I was watching that follow-up show last night and thinking, “Gee whiz, another one saying ‘…and now I’m a personal trainer.” I couldn’t help but understand the desire they must have to not let the help and hope they received end with them. I know all about the drive to pass on what they had received. God’s Word puts it this way in Matthew 10:8:
“…freely you have recieved, freely give.”

So, in a spiritual sense, I have to respond to the love of Christ in my own life by saying, in a spiritual sense, “…and now I’m a personal trainer.”

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Ish

You’re heard it before. “Be there around 9ish.” or “I’ll be done around noonish.”

“…ish”

I heard this morning of someone referring to a friend of theirs as connected to a certain faith, but added “ish” to the end.

I thought to myself, “I hope that I never give a reason for anyone to attach “ish” to my beliefs, based on what they see in my life. It seems that if “ish” is appropriate, than you just might have one foot in and one foot out of what you say you believe.

As for me, I want to be all in, and completely devoid of the “ish”.

"Daddy, don’t smell me!"

My wife is quickly becoming an authority on how to get stuff cheap or even free. Her latest arrival was a small cologne sample for me. With a great deal of gratitude (since my last bottle was tanked), I sprayed on some of the new stuff this morning after my shower and bounced down the steps to the kitchen. True to tradition, I went around the breakfast table, giving a peck to the top of the head of each of my kids. When I got to Hudson, he said, “Daddy, don’t smell me!” Clearly he had caught a whiff of my new cologne and that smell was NOT okay with him. But it didn’t stop there. He continued, every time I got close to him. “Daddy, go upstairs! Don’t smell me!” If you know about my son Hudson, you know that “Don’t smell me” is his way of saying, “You smell!” And “Daddy, go upstairs!” is his way of saying “Daddy, go upstairs!”

Unblogged.

As a blogger, there are times when you’ve just got to put something down. This seems an awful lot like going against my conviction that I only post when there’s something to post about. I’ve been ill for over 4 weeks now, and while I suppose I’m the best I’ve been during that time, I am still not entirely better. But with the flu most recently in my rearview, I’m perfectly content to just have a cough and congestion.

Lately we’ve been thinking more and more about Christmas; talking about a tree, watching kids make their lists, and waiting for Thanksgiving Day when 98.1FM turns to all Christmas music all the time, until the New Year. I love Christmas music.

Since we’ve been married, we’ve bought a real Christmas tree each year. But this year we’re on the hunt for a nice quality prelit tree. I know, its not the same and some might argue that going “fake” is nothing but lame but when we moved to our new house, we discovered that the best spot for our Christmas tree is flanked with two vents in the floor. So warm, dry air blew onto our real Christmas tree and dried it out in no time, despite my best watering/feeding efforts. It didn’t take long and needles were jumping off that tree just by looking at it. Sad. What I’ll miss most is the smell. And the sap on my hands that never wears off. What I WON’T miss is the 1,000 laps around the tree, stringing lights. Even moving at such a slow, methodical pace I’d still get dizzy and fall down.

And I won’t miss barking at my kids to “Would you just WAIT!” when they’d ask if they can start putting ornaments on the tree yet. Everybody knows that you put the lights on and then the ornaments. That is of course, unless you’re also going with the silver pearls motif…again.
Only AFTER the lights were strung would we unleash the kids to start the ornament hangings. But with a prelit tree, that wait will theoretically be much shorter.

Yes, I love Christmas. I love all the traditions. One of which is the showing of “A Christmas Story” movie. Christmas lends itself to great movies and to me, that one is just about the best. Everyone remembers where they were when they first heard the words “Fa Rah-Rah, Rah-Rah…Rah Rah, Rah, Rah!” And even if you’ve never seen the movie, you’ve probably been told, “You’ll shoot your eye out!” And no joke, put some dark rim glasses on my oldest son and he’s instantly Ralphie. I’m thinking about getting him some pink bunny pajamas for Christmas.

But I suppose as cliche’ as it is, I’d have to say that my all-time favorite movie will always be “It’s a Wondeful Life”. I can quote the movie word for word, from Sam Wainwright’s “Hee-haw” to Clarence’s “Your mouth’s not bleeding either, George” to George’s (to Mr. Potter), “Why, in the whole vast configuration of things, I’d say you were nothing but a scurvy little spider!” And I still get choked up when Mary and George, after looking all over town for each other, finally meet back at home, her running up the stairs, and him running down when they meet on the landing in a flurry of hugs and kisses, just before their world is about to change in the crowded livingroom downstairs. Yes, in my book “It’s a Wonderful Life” takes the cake as the best movie ever.

So, here I am, sitting mid-November at the cusp of a wonderful Christmas season, ready to welcome family to town, ready to crank up the radio–blaring Christmas hits, ready to check off (a few of) the things on my kids’ lists, ready to get that Christmas-time feeling, and most of all ready to usher in the season when the world (and time itself) was forever altered by the birth of a baby in a quiet manger where no one noticed. I’m ready.

Worship for One.

As I’m (hopefully) wrapping up the flu thing, I’m at home alone on a Sunday morning; quite the peculiar situation for me. So, I’ve been worshipping the Lord today in various ways. Here’s one song I really enjoyed expressing to the Lord this morning.

For the love of the flu

Having the flu is a terrible thing. As I type, I’m sitting up in bed on day 3; the day I’ve done the most sitting up yet. This afternoon I realized that I haven’t been out of my house since Thursday morning, nor out of my bedroom for the previous 24 hours. It’s weird when parts of your house seem foreign and unfamiliar.

But I must confess that a deep and priceless blessing has come from all this. I have been reminded just how profoundly and sincerely I am loved by my wife and kids. Anyone who knows me already knows that I already knew I had the best wife in the world (no offense to all the other wives out there). With tenderness, patience, compassion, and sacrifice, she has done above and beyond all she can do to bring me comfort through this illness. Running to the store to grab whatever the latest need is, bringing me a small stockpile of movies, and keeping the medication coming right on schedule. What a woman.

Each of my kids as well have in their own individual way shared their concern and sorrow at my sickness. With apologies as simple as “I’m sorry you’re sick, Daddy.” to lots of tears being cried from concern for my health, to one amazing scene I keep playing in my mind. Yesterday while at school, my oldest son was given a brownie by a friend at lunchtime. But instead of eating the brownie (which he loves), he decided to instead save it and bring it home to me as a get well gift.

That is how a 9-year-old boy expresses love in the deepest way he can: brownie forfeiture.

So, while this flu is still the flu, and has come after 4 weeks (and counting) of sinus infection, I lay in this bed with a box of tissues to the left of me, a glass of OJ to the right of me, feeling pretty much like the most loved guy on earth.

What do we have against having a point?

While the past few episodes have been less than, I have in the past enjoyed “The Office” and I’d have to put the character “Dwight Shrute” among my favorites. The actor that plays Dwight is Rainn Wilson, and a few weeks ago I learned about a side project that he has undertaken. In an effort to get a widespread dialogue about religion/G(g)od/spirituality/life’s big questions going, he created a website called “Soul Pancake”. I must admit that at first I was excited and quickly became enthralled by this seemingly vast wonderland of cerebral and intellectual interplay, all under the umbrella of spiritual matters. I certainly didn’t expect it to be a “Christian” site, but I do enjoy interacting with those of other beliefs; even though who oppose my beliefs. I guess I consider it a learning experience.

I scanned the pages upon pages of questions, ranging from “Who is God?” to issues of homosexuality, tolerance, origins, evil, Jesus, and a myriad of other questions–all within a forum where anyone can say anything with one simple rule guiding them: “Speak your mind–but don’t hit below the belt” as the site instructs. With excitement I dove in head first.

I read countless questions and discussion starters thoughtfully. I posted comments on many of them, and found others…well…either pointless or simply uninteresting. If I didn’t have anything intellegent to contribute, I wouldn’t contribute anything.

While I certainly admire the endeavor Mr. Wilson has taken on, my nagging question is “What’s the point?” Don’t get me wrong. I appreciate the opportunity to read, understand, and respond to those of differing views than mine. I really do. But after a fair portion of time given to the site, I have come back to a conviction that this site has only served to fortify. That is: When everyone is right, no one is right. In other words, there simply isn’t a reconciliation between truth and opposites. The opposing views “There is a God.” and “There isn’t a God.” can’t by definition be true simultaneously. To think for a second that we can lull ourselves into a world where we’re all right, and yet not be completely delusional is a mistake of catastrophic proportions.

And the merry-go-round that the site seems to be brings me to the question, “What do we have against having a point?” The Soul Pancake site is a site worthy of a visit (to those mature and inclined), but its not a good destination if you’re looking for a destination at all. There are no landing strips, no conclusions, no solidity to stand on. Its a sea of opinion where all are respected, all are valid, all are true, and therefore all are ultimately pointless.