Archive for March, 2010

National Debt Reduction

March 10, 2010

I have an idea.

Personally, I think it is pretty good.

We have a huge national debt, with basically no repayment plan.  We just keep spending more money and racking up the debt and I don’t hear much talk about what we are going to do about it.

What if we tied political campaign contributions to debt relief contributions?

If you make a contribution to a political candidate, then, let’s say 50% of your contribution goes to the candidate’s campaign, and 50% goes to debt relief.

Furthermore, any candidate that leaves elected public service should surrender their remaining war chest funds to debt relief.

We really don’t need quite so much money spent on attack ads and telephone solicitation.

We sure could use some help paying off the debt our politicians have created.

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Success and Failure

March 9, 2010

It was time again yesterday for my long run.  Every two weeks I try to go for a run that lasts for over an hour.  I am working my way slowly to the ten-mile mark.  Two weeks ago I blogged about how I had been inspired to lose weight to make the run a little easier.  I dropped five pounds in the first few days and was feeling pretty good about my efforts.

Then I gained back seven. 

That’s right.  Yesterday when  I was going to go for my long run, I was actually heavier than two weeks ago.  It started so well.  I was motivated. I lost weight.  I was enjoying the sweet headiness of successful dieting.

Then I failed.  Never mind the details.  I could give a list of reasons and excuses, but it wouldn’t matter.  The scale does not lie. 

Apparently neither success or failure are permanent, at least when it comes to dieting.

On another successful note, I ran outside for the first time in months.  It was wonderful.  I felt great.  The added weight around my waist, and the added weight of extra clothing did not hinder my running experience.  It was an exhilarating run!  The gravel shoulder was soft, the air was cool and damp, the countryside was in transition from winter to spring.  definitely a successful run.

So again, both success and failure, depend on what we are focusing on, and neither one is permanent.

This is true not only in diet and exercise, but in life.  Only when we quit trying do we truly fail.  We might fail in some ways, but succeed in others.

Life is good.  We can be successful, at least in some ways and at some times.  We win some, we lose some.   Failure isn’t permanent, so don’t quit.  Live your life.  We can all win, if we are able to enjoy the journey.

By the way,  my weight was down four pounds this morning from yesterday’s weight.  Sweet success!!  At least for now.

Sitting In the Corner

March 8, 2010

Do you remember the Dennis the Menace comic strip?  When he was being punished he would be placed in the corner on his little rocking chair with his teddy bear for what would seem to be an eternity. 

My family appears to enjoy being punished by sitting in the corner. 

That’s where the computer is located.

We have one computer with internet access and it has sat in the corner of our dining room for as long as we have had it. 

That corner has become a coveted location, possibly even more sought after than the comfy chair.  Facebook, email, online games, they all clamor for our attention, and for now there is only one way to access all of those goodies.

It is sitting in the corner.

The new place to be.

It’s not punishment anymore!

Springtime!

March 4, 2010

The official start of spring is still a few weeks away, but it is finally starting to warm up here in Iowa.  The snow is melting, the sun is shining and the attitudes of people everywhere are starting to improve. 

I am wondering if today will be the first day on the motorcycle?  I am also thinking about breaking out the bicycle, and perhaps, running outside once more.  It has been months.  (Years ago, I ran outside all winter long, but I have had too many injuries over the years to my joints to risk running on snow and ice for no good reason. )

Winter is coming to an end.  I know that there may still be a snowflake or two, but clearly the end is drawing nigh.

It is a reminder to me of the changing seasons of our lives.  This time I am not thinking of our aging, so much as our temperament, and our experiences.  Our moods can go through stages; times when we are feeling somewhat bleak, but those will end.  Spring will come.  Things will change.  There may be circumstances that have produced stress.  There may be challenges and obstacles to overcome.  These too, will change. Situations will be resolved.  We can have hope that life will get better.  This is especially true for Christians, who believe that God is with them.  We  know that the winter seasons of life will be followed by spring. 

So hang in there folks, spring is coming; both outside…and inside.

Why Go Ice Fishing?

March 3, 2010

A couple of weeks ago I took our Royal Ranger group ice fishing.  It was the first time in a long time that I had gone out myself.  I thought that it would be a good activity to introduce our rangers to, since we are supposed to give them a variety of activities in which to participate. 

We caught one, teeny, tiny, little fish, which we looked at briefly, and tossed back into the water.

The next week, I went out with a couple of guys and tried my luck at a different spot. 

I, again, caught nothing.  They caught a fair number..of teeny, tiny little fish, that were tossed back into the water.

The other night, another guy asked me about going out again, at yet a different lake.  I am wondering if I will be able to fit it into my schedule.

Why go ice fishing?

First, it’s great to be outdoors, even in the cold, on the ice.  There is something about being out on a lake in winter that will take your breath away.

Oh wait, maybe that’s just the cold! 

 No, there is a stillness that is just different from other things.  It must be experienced to be appreciated, and not everyone will appreciate it.

Secondly, there is the camaraderie of a shared activity.  The old, hunting, gathering, er..fishing, thing.  There is not a lot to do while you wait for a bite, so you talk about this and that.

Third, it is about hope.  Hope that down there in the dark waters, there is a fish that is going to take your bait, so that you can have the thrill of pulling the fish out of the water, a successful catch! 

Even if it is teeny, tiny.

When the thrill is gone, or the hope has died, it is time to go home.

Until the next time.

Disengaged

March 2, 2010

The other night, Gloria was off at a ladies meeting, and I choose to do…nothing.

Well, actually, I sat quietly and let myself relax.  I thought about stuff.  I prayed about some things.  I had lots of work that I could do.  There were plenty of activities that could have occupied my time, but I just did…nothing. 

As a general rule my life is very, very busy.  I have more things to do than I can ever get done, so I try to prioritize and do what is most important according to my time and energy levels.  Normally, if I am not working on something, I am involved in recreational pursuits, or what I call active rest.  Active rest includes things like television, reading, listening to music, using the internet, and so forth.  These activities are relaxing, but not necessarily restful, and certainly not the same as quiet reflection.

Taking time to disengage gives one the opportunity to both relax and think.  Our busy lives do not seem to allow much time for casual reflection.  I know that it is a rare thing for me.  Perhaps it would do us some good to slow our lives down occasionally; to stop and smell the roses, and maybe even think about how good they smell.

Avatar

March 1, 2010

The movie Avatar finally came to our local theatre and my wife and I went to see it last Friday.  I thoroughly enjoyed the movie and will try to get to see it again when it is in a nearby IMAX.  I am sure that it will be highly entertaining.

It should be noted that it presents, in a very favorable light, a philosophical view called “deep ecology”.   This view suggests a very stong, living, connection between all things on the planet, especially living things.  It is a common feature of nature-based religions.  The native religion plays a major role in the movie, and so, even though the movie is obviously fictional, the similarities between the religion in the movie, and actually practiced religions, can result in an increased interest in nature based religions.

That is good news if you are seeking to promote nature based religions such as Daoism, Native American Spirituality, and Wicca.

Not so good, if you are seeking to promote Christianity.