Archive for the ‘Life Experiences’ Category

A New Ride

April 15, 2010

Since last summer, I have been doing triathlon training.  That means that twice a week I do a combination swim, bike, and run.  It has been going fairly well, and it has helped to lower my cholesterol to acceptable levels.

The bicycle that I have been using is a Schwinn Traveler, manufactured, I think, in the seventies.  I bought it at a garage sale for five dollars, six or seven years ago.  It works fine as far as I am concerned.

A friend of mine, who works at the gym, is an avid bicycle rider.  He has been telling me from the beginning that I needed a better bike.  I would laugh and tell him that mine worked fine, he could look for one for me, but it would have to be in my budget, which was very low.

Yesterday, as I am doing my weight routine, he comes in with a name and a number for me to call.  He thinks that he has found a bike for me.  It is listed for forty dollars, which is within my budget.  I called the man,and went to look at the bike.  As I am looking at the bike, the man tells me that he had bought it at a garage sale and that he just didn’t like it.  He must have thought that I was hesitating, because he offered to take thirty dollars for it.

Sold.

The bike is a Trekker 520.  I brought it back to show my friend from the gym, who informed me that I do not realize how good a bike I have just bought. He has helped people look for things before, but this is the best deal he’s found for someone.  I laughingly asked him how many pastors he has previously helped.  

He is right about me not yet truly appreciating the quality of the bike.  I don’t know very much about them.  He had to tell me how to put air in the tires.  (They are not standard tubes or nozzles.)  I will take it for a ride a little later this morning.  

I thank God that I have been blessed with a great bike for my new ride.

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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.

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.

Not In A Hurry

February 25, 2010

I was at the gym yesterday.  (I do go more than once a week, you know.)  There was a young mother there, pushing her baby around the track in a stroller.  In an attempt at humor, I commented to her that I wish my laps around the track were as easy as his, as I pointed at her baby.  Of course, I was remembering my run from Monday that had been particularly difficult. 

Later, I thought about what I had said, and have decided that I didn’t mean it.  There may come a time when my ability to run around the track comes to an end.  I may someday be reduced to walking.  There may come a time, should Jesus tarry, and I live long enough, when I will be only able to go around the track being pushed in a wheelchair. 

I am definitely not in a hurry for that!

One of the reasons that I excercise is to be able to continue to enjoy a healthy, active  lifestyle.  I am hoping to continue in that pattern for as long as possible.   I am aging, and will try to accept the natural changes of life, but everything that I have read and heard, tells me that the bodies God gave us can continue to do quite well, if we take care of them.

I will do what I can to take care of mine.

Shoveling Snow or Cutting Grass?

February 11, 2010

I sometimes wonder which is worse, shoveling snow or cutting grass?  They are both chores that need to be done in their proper seasons.  There are quite a few differences of course.  Shoveling snow is done in the cold.  Cutting grass is done in the heat.  Shoveling snow can vary greatly depending on how much, and what kind of snow.  Cutting the grass can vary, but is more consistent.  Shoveling snow needs to be done within twenty-four hours of snowfall, which can be very inconvenient.  Cutting grass can be scheduled, as long as it isn’t raining.  Shoveling can be done any time, day or night.  Cutting the grass,  should be done during daylight, and not too early!

I have lived in Iowa for nineteen years now.  The winters are more mild than those in Minnesota where I grew up.  In past years, my comparison of these two chores has resulted in favor of shoveling snow being the preferred chores, primarily because it does not have to be so frequent.

This year I’m not so sure.  Maybe it is because I’m getting older.  Maybe it’s just been a year with a lot of snow.  Maybe it’s because other people volunteer to cut the grass at church, but I have the privilege of shoveling the snow.

I am re-evaluating my comparison of these two chores.

What do you think?

Oh, by the way, they are predicting more snow this weekend!

1st Date

January 28, 2010

Twenty four years ago today, Gloria and I had our first date.  Here’s my side of the story.

Gloria worked at the deli at NCBC.  I had returned to the college for the spring semester after serving four years in the Marine Corps.  I was home on terminal leave, which means that I had saved leave that I was using at the end of my enlistment.  This allowed me to be at North Central for the start of the spring semester even though technically I was still in the service.  The first couple of days, I wore my dress uniform to attend classes.  I wanted people to know that I was a Marine.

I would stop in at the deli for a coffee between classes.  Gloria was a beautiful young lady with light blue eyes, a wonderful smile, and happy, easy-going way about her.  I would watch her interact with the customers, between sips of my coffee and I was impressed, and attracted.

On the morning of the 28th, which was my official end of active service (EAS), I concocted a plan.  I would mention to Gloria, while I was buying my coffee that it was my last day in the Marine Corps.  I figured that a natural response would be to ask what I was doing to celebrate, and that then I could ask her out to celebrate my EAS.

It went exactly according to plan… except that I lost my nerve.  I told her that it was my last day, she asked me what I was doing to celebrate, I said that I wasn’t doing anything.

I drank my coffee and left.

I went upstairs where I gave myself, first a chewing out, and then a pep talk,  “What if she’s the one?”  “You coward, get down there and ask her out!” and so on…

I finally worked up the nerve and calmly went downstairs.  She was surprised to see me again, (I usually only bought coffee once a morning).  I said something like “I was thinking about it, and you’re right, I should do something to celebrate.  Since I really don’t know many people here yet, since I am newly back to school, perhaps you would go out with me?”

She was so surprised that I would ask her out, that she replied yes without thinking too much about it.  After all, it was her idea.  Her friends later reminded her that she had agreed to a date with a man she barely new, except that he was a student, and a sergeant in the Marines.  The student part, sure, but the Marine?  It gave her something to think about through the afternoon.

The date went well, and the rest is history.  We often laugh about our relationship starting with manipulation, but it’s worked out well.

Daily Report

January 12, 2010

One of my sons is currently working part-time at a group home.  As part of his job he is required to write down what the clients did during his shift.  He noticed that every day, it was pretty much the same. 

That got him thinking about his own life.  How each day was pretty much the same.  He decided to make a few changes so that his own “daily report” would show a little more variety.

What a great idea! 

What are we doing in our lives to add a little variety?  Are we doing the same thing day after day, or are we changing it up, just a bit?  It takes a little more thought and planning to try something new, but the added experiences can enrich our lives.  (Keep it legal, moral and reasonable safe of course!)

Successful Hunt

January 5, 2010

I am not an avid hunter, but I do like to hunt deer.  It is very exciting to see the deer in the woods when you hunt.  I am not that quiet in the woods, and my reflexes are not that quick, so I have resorted to hunting from tree stands.  I use a muzzle loader, not a bow, because I want to have greater range than a bow affords.  I hunt during the second season because I am on break from the college, and it lasts for three weeks, so I am more likely to be successful, because I will most likely have more opportunities to go out.

It is a common experience for me to go out, and see nothing.  I also, occasionally see deer, but do not have a shot.  (I don’t take shots that I don’t feel pretty good about making.)  There have been many seasons that I did not get a deer.

Not this season.

On my second outing of this year, I had an opportunity to hunt at a new location.  I was not able to go out to my usual spot, because of weather and time conditions, so I asked a friend from church about hunting at his place.  He was not planning on going out that night and agree to let me hunt from one of his stands. 

I arrived at about 2:00, got my gear together, and he led me on a five-minute or so hike through the woods, to a stand between a pond and a fence-line.  As he walked off, I settled in to wait.  I did not have to wait long.  within thirty minutes a doe appeared from my left, coming down the fence-line toward me.  There were two fawns following her.  I must admit that I did have a twinge of conscience over shooting Bambi’s mother, but it was quickly suppressed by the thought of venison steak.  As it turns out, while I was waiting for a good shot on the doe, a medium-sized buck came into view after the fawns.  I immediately focused entirely on him, waited for him to come into a good range, with a clear shot, and fired. 

He ran off down the trail, jumped the fence and died just a few feet off the trail that I had followed coming into the stand.  When I got to where he lay in the snow, I looked at my watch.  It was only 3:00. 

I wonder if I can hunt there again next year?

A Long Goodbye

December 30, 2009

A member of my congregation passed away Monday night.  He was a great guy, and will be missed by his friends and family.  He had contracted cancer a few years ago and managed to beat it the first time around.  When it came back, it didn’t turn out so well. 

One thing about his illness and death is that you could see it coming.  Of course, in the beginning, there was hope that he would again succeed in returning to health, but as time went on and the treatments did not seem to help, it became obvious that unless God worked a miracle, that he would be passing on. 

During this time, many, many friends and family members came to see him, wish him well, express their love and appreciation….and to say goodbye.

He lived to share Christmas with his family, and some say that he held on long enough for the Bears to beat the Vikings.  He has gone to be with the Lord now, and he will be greatly missed.