Archive for June, 2009

Church Camp Counselor

June 30, 2009

Over the years I have had the opportunity many times to go with the young people of my church to the district campgrounds for a week of camp.  I serve as a counselor to a cabin filled with boys from my church, and also from other churches.   For the last couple of years, I have been in “retirement” as my sons were old enough, and willing, and able, to serve in my place.  This year, their schedules did not allow them to be counselors, so I was called out of retirement to serve once again at summer camp.

It’s actually a lot of fun.  I have a tendency to forget my age and have a good time with the young people.  This years camp was extremely large in the number of campers; and some changes were made in speakers,  schedule,  equipment, and meals. 

It was a good camp.

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Advice to Fathers

June 18, 2009

I enjoy seeing young families out doing stuff together.  It brings back fond memories of my own years raising my boys.  My boys are young adults now, which doesn’t mean that I am completely finished as a father, but the job description definitely changes.

For you fathers whose children are still at home, I would like to give a little unsolicited advice.

PLAY

Take the time to play with your children.  Do age appropriate activities.  Have fun.  Do things with them that they enjoy.  Share your own interests with them.  (However, pay attention.  Play time is about them, not about you. )  You don’t have to spend a lot of money, but you do need to spend some time doing fun things with them.

SAY

Take the time to talk with your children about whatever they are willing to talk about.  This is true at all ages, but especially important during the teen years.  During the teen years, your child may be unwilling to talk most of the time.  On those occasions when they want to talk, you had better take the time to listen.  ( Even if it is late at night!) Shut off the TV.  Turn away from the computer.  When a teen wants to talk, it is important to listen.  These talks are not about you giving them a lecture,it is about you being willing to listen to what they have to say.  Then you can have your say.

PRAY

Included in this category are all of the spiritual aspects.  You should pray with your children regularly.  When they are young, you should read them Bible stories.  As they grow older, you should model an appropriate devotional life and encourage them to follow your example of prayer, Bible study, and church attendance.

STAY

Your love for your children should be unconditional.  That means that whatever they do, whatever success they achieve or whatever collosal mistakes they make, they should know that you love them.  You should tell them that regularly, and demonstrate it by your actions.  Be a presence in their lives.

Stay, also applies to your marriage.  Make it work.  Work on making it.  Divorce is devastating on children at any age.  Never give up.  Marriage is supposed to last for a lifetime, but it takes time and effort.  It is worth it. 

This is not a comprehensive list, but rather a list of essentials.  Fathers, your family needs you.  They need you to love them, care for them and be involved with them.  It is not just about providing the material needs.

They need you.

A Simple Weight Loss Plan

June 16, 2009

A few years ago, I went from 197 to 155.  I had never really thought of myself as overweight, but when I was diagnosed with high cholesterol, I needed to make some changes.  I did not want to immediately go on medication and thought that I would try diet and exercise first. 

The basic premise of weight loss is simple.  Burn more calories than you consume.  I already exercised a fair amount.  I utilize a cross training technique that employs aerobic and strength training.  So, I needed to make changes in my diet.    I looked over the list given to me by my doctor, of recommended and not recommended foods and decided to allow myself two “checks” in a day.  (Previously, I was consuming ten to fifteen “checks” in a day!)  A check is a food that contains something on the “not recommended list”.   I would increase the consumption of recommended foods.  I also decided to eat only twice a day, no snacks. 

This plan worked like a charm.  I lost weight and lowered my cholesterol.

Once I achieved my goal weight of 155 (which was what I weighed when I came home on leave after Marine Corps boot camp over twenty five years ago) I went back to three meals a day.  And snacks.  My weight crept back on a few pounds here and there until I found myself again at 187.  I recognized that a change was needed.  (The suits that I had tailered at 155 didn’t fit at 187!)  The problem was, I did not want to go back to two meals a day.  I tried adjusting what I eat, and managed to lose 10lbs but I was stuck in the mid 170s. 

Then a simple plan occurred to me.  I will continue to eat three meals a day, but there are some rules.

Breakfast is either oatmeal, or a heart healthy cereal… and not a large bowl.

One meal will be only fruit, or a small salad, and a glass of milk.

The third meal is a sensible, balanced,  meal.

There are a few rules.  No buffets until goal weight is achieved.  No snacks,  no sweets, except one miniature dark chocolate a day.

This is a diet.  When my goal weight is achieved then I can again eat normally.  The plan is to keep my weight between 155 and 160. ( I check my weight every morning.)  When I hit 160, I will diet until I hit 155 again.  I suspect that I will strive to stay within the desired range by adjusting the amounts that I eat so that I don’t have to diet. 

As each 5lbs benchmark is achieved, I will allow myself one treat.

I don’t like to diet.  I like to eat, but I also want to fit my suits. 

I have been on this plan for a little over a week.  This morning I weighed 169.  Fourteen pounds to go.

a little help…

June 10, 2009

A little help please…

I have a trailer that I park in an area that I cannot quite get it into with the vehicle.  Then, there is a small hill that makes it impossible for me to get the trailer positioned right without a little help.  My son, or my neighbor are usually the ones asked for a little help with this task. 

I have occasionally been stuck in snowdrifts.  Have you ever tried to push a vehicle out of a drift by yourself?  It takes a little help, and the more help the better. 

I am looking for a canopy for my camper.  They come with brackets and are about twenty feet long.  Clearly, one person is not going to carry one of these by themselves.  I will need a little help.

These are just a few examples of times when we need a little help with something that we are trying to accomplish.   We all recognize our physical limitations.  I consider myself to be reasonably independent, but there are things that I cannot do by myself.  It is not just physical activities.  Sometimes the problem is that I don’t have the right knowledge. Sometimes the job requires connections.  Sometimes we need someone to bounce ideas off.  The list can go on and on.  There are many tasks, and many reasons why we might need a little help.  

The point is…don’t be afraid to ask for help.  If we only do those things that we can do by ourselves, we severely limit what we will accomplish in life. 

Furthermore,  it is good to work together.  There is a comaraderie in a shared task, even if it is simply stopping for a moment to help push a stranger’s car out of a snowbank. 

Knowing when you need help is not a sign of weakness, it is a sign of honesty and recognizing our limitations.  Refusing to ask for help, when help is needed; is simply pride, stubborness, and foolishness.  As long as we are willing to give help, as well as receive help, it is a good thing.

Clint Eastwood in one of his movies said ” A man’s got to know his limitations.”

The Beatles sang a song in the sixties with this line, “I’ll get by with a little help from my friends.” 

I believe those thoughts belong together.

Come, Grow and Go

June 6, 2009

Come!   This refers to two things.  First it is an invitation to come to Jesus.  Our first step is to enter into a personal relationship with God through our faith in Jesus as the Christ.  It is also a refererence to come together as the people of God.  By that I mean, come to church.  We are not meant to live in isolation, but as part of a community of faith.

Grow!  I believe that as Christians we should seek to grow in knowledge, godliness, and ability.  God will continue his work in us, but he desires our cooperation.

Go!  I believe that we are to go to work for the kingdom of God.  I do not mean that we should all quit our jobs.  I mean that we are to be his witnesses whenever possible.   We are to contribute to the work of God in this world.  There is something for us all to do.

Wrongful Deaths

June 2, 2009

“We are at war, and the other side is winning!” 

I first heard this line used years ago by an individual who was attempting to justify the bombing of an abortion clinic.  I have not yet seen anything in print about the rationale that  has been given by Scott Roeder, who is the man accused of murdering abortion doctor, George Tiller, Sunday morning, but I imagine it will be something along the lines of “life for life”. 

Whether it was Scott Roeder, or someone else: who made that individual judge, jury and executioner?

It wasn’t God.

It wasn’t the courts.

It wasn’t society.

It wasn’t me.

“Desperate times call for desperate measures.”

Abortion opponents had a degree of hope during the Bush administration.  The current administration is decidedly different.  It would appear that extremists might again resort to violent measures.  This is the first act of violent opposition that I have heard about in recent years.  I sincerely hope that it is not indicative of things to come.  Acts of violence will not help the cause of the pro life movement. 

“Two wrongs don’t make a right.”

I believe this would be an appropriate quote for this event.  I am supportive of the pro life movement.  I believe that abortion is the taking of a human life.  I also realize that there are people who believe differently.  The difference is not in the sanctity of human life, but in the understanding of when that life begins.  This is a religious, scientific, and philosophical debate that should be carried on in churches, classrooms, papers, etc.  This debate should be carried on with words, not with guns.

The sanctity of human life applied to Dr. Tiller also.  He should not have been murdered.  This is made even more horrifying because it took place in a church.  What memories have been created for all the people who witnessed this tragedy?  What about the children that were present?  My heart goes out to the the family, friends, and all who witnessed, or have been affected by,  the murder of Dr. Tiller.

Both of these men believed they were doing the right thing.  Both of these men (I suspect) thought that they were serving God in their actions.

I believe that both of these men were wrong.