"But music was his life, it was not his livelihood, and it made him feel so happy and it made him feel so good. And he sang from his heart and he sang from his soul. He did not know how well he sang; it just made him whole." - Harry Chapin - chorus of "Mr. Tanner."

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

I've been watching the video streaming of General Conference . . .

The link to the General Conference website is here. You can locate the link to the live video streaming there.

Ken has text messaged me several times this morning. He may get to the floor as a voting delegate this evening.

Ever forward . . . ><>

Monday, April 28, 2008

45 pounds down as of today . . .

I guess spending over half of Saturday digging and planting out new plants, then preaching four times in worship yesterday morning, then singing and playing guitar with some of our 1st Church Guitar guys at the Atria Retirement Center for an hour yesterday afternoon took more out of me than I thought.

On the scales this morning, I saw that I have lost 45 pounds since Fat Tuesday (2/5/08).

And there is a special joy this morning. The first number in my weight, for the first time in about 3 years, is a new number . . . one less than what it was.

I am feeling very good this morning . . .

I love water . . .

My wife called me "Skinny" this morning.

I think that it will be safe to have one Diet Dr. Pepper today to celebrate.

Thank you again for the support many of you send my way. I would not have lost this much weight without it, along with your prayers.

And . . . I thank God!

I appreciate you all.

Ever forward . . . ><>

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

For all you H2O drinkers out there . . .

Nalgene to Phase Out Production of Consumer Bottles Containing BPA . . .

Water is a wonderful gift from God. We can't live without it.

Water is also, as I am learning, a key to losing weight. 128 ounces a day is the goal I was told to aim for. That's four 32 oz. bottles of water a day.

Most of us who drink lots of water and love the outdoors know about Nalgene water bottles. Bulletproof, crushproof, they don't leak, and they come in the color of your choice. However, the clear hard plastic version contains a chemical called BPA, which may leach out of the plastic into the water you drink, with possible medical harm.

So, in a proactive move . . . Nalgene is phasing out BPA from their water bottle line. REI, Wal-Mart and other retailers around the country have voluntarily removed the BPA bottles . . . the clear plastic ones with the number "7" in the triangle on the bottom of the bottle.

I'm an REI member, and just received an email from one of their on-line customer service people that the Nalgene bottles I purchased at REI can either be exchanged, or they will give me a refund.

I can really appreciate and applaud businesses who don't hide problems, but are proactive in addressing them out of a concern for the safety of their customers. I enjoy doing business with companies whose core values are ones I share and appreciate.

Ever forward . . . ><>

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

42 pounds down as of today . . .

Several emailed me for a weight loss report.

Down to almost 42 pounds lost.

I have a health advisor, and she called me today. One of her questions was "What is your goal for how much weight you will lose in May?"

I told her the truth . . . a specific weight loss amount is not my goal in this at all.

My goal . . . is to lose enough weight, and get into good enough shape . . . to take a 4-day hike into the Grand Canyon. It all depends on my additional weight loss positivily affecting my sleep apnea. Can't travel far right now unless I have electricity for the good ol' CPAP machine.

In the past, when I reached a weight goal . . . I would celebrate by pigging out on a cheat meal. I don't do cheat meals anymore. They are too destructive to recover from. That's a path I have decided to no longer go down.

I do appreciate the positive remarks and support. It is a BIG help to me!

Ever forward . . . ><>

Friday, April 18, 2008

A long time favorite quote of mine . . .

Going to speak to a professional when you believe you may have an emotional, physical, relational or spiritual problem of some sorts . . .

IS ALWAYS A SIGN OF STRENGTH!!!!!!!!

Another great quote:

We were not made to live through life alone!

Ever forward . . . ><>

Thursday, April 17, 2008

My new favorite quote . . .

When you are down to nothing, God is up to something! - Len Sweet

The value of Christian encouragement . . .

I'm about half-way through Leonard Sweet's book, 11 Indispendible Relationships You Can't Be Without. I think Sweet and Philip Yancey are our two great contemporary theologians of our time. I've got several more books, written by both, to read through this summer.

Sweet makes some neat comments about the value of encouragement. My focus in losing 41 pounds since Fat Tuesday has been . . . well . . . me! It has all been about me. What I can eat, what I can't eat, what I can wear, what I can't wear. But along the way, I have really been encouraged by the positive and supportive comments of many people here at the church, who are urging me on to better health.

I mean, I really do appreciate the encouragement, especially when I was considering chucking it all and going to get the really big chicken fried steak.

Sweet writes the following about encouraging someone (pp. 108-109):

-When you encourage someone, you stiffen his or her spine.
-When you encourage your spouse, the reception is rewarding.
-When you encourage you children, they blossom and bloom.
-When you encourage your antagonist, you aim not to deliever arguments that compel assent so much as arguments that further discussion, dialogue, and relationship.
-Encouragment is fertilizer, delivering nutrients we need to grow for the long haul.

What would happen if each of us would take just one-day-a-week to offer a word or gesture of encouragement to everyone that we meet?

Well, considering the limits we all have on spiritual, emotional, realtional and physical strength, offering that much encouragement might be more than most of us can handle. . .

But . . . what if . . . we tried . . . over time we might must be able to do it . . . and the number of lives affected in a positive way would be astounding I am sure!!!

I think God might like this plan. Because offering encourgement to everyone we meet one-day-a-week . . . is really to treat eveyone as they really are . . . a child of God!

So . . . who are your encouragers? And . . . who are you encouraging?

Ever forward . . . ><>

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Quick weight report . . .

41 pounds as of this morning!

For those of you with anything sounding like or similar to diabetes . . .

Diet drinks with anything but Splenda are going to keep you from losing weight with any speed, or cause your weight loss to plateau for long periods before being jump-started again.

In other words . . . (and in my opinion) . . . Nutri-Sweet is evil . . . especially if you have pancreas related problems.

OK . . . that was my 2 cents worth. Now . . . I've got to finally give up Diet Dr. Pepper!

But there is hope! Pepsi One and Diet Coke have versions with Splenda. And, of course, Diet Rite has always been an option . . . and it has been available for years.

All is well . . . until some study comes out that Splenda is bad for us.

I turn it all over to God's capable and loving hands!

Ever forward . . . ><>

Thursday, April 10, 2008

From my friend Jim Peterson . . .

In our Thursday Iron Men's Bible Study / Breakfast this morning, we talked about Ephesians 4: 26-27 . . . Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, and do not give the devil a foothold. (NIV)

Jim Peterson, one of my fishing buddies and good friends, emailed us the following after our time together this morning.

"The Law of the Garbage Truck"

I hopped in a taxi and we took off for the airport. We were driving in the right lane when suddenly a black car jumped out of a parking space right in front of us. My taxi driver slammed on his breaks, skidded, and missed the other car by just inches! The driver of the other car whipped his head around and started yelling at us. My taxi driver just smiled and waved at the guy. And I mean he was really friendly.

So I asked, "Why did you just do that? This guy almost ruined your car and sent us to the hospital!"

This is when my taxi driver taught me what I now call, "The Law of the Garbage Truck." He explained that many people are like garbage trucks.


They run around full of garbage, full of frustration, full of anger, and full of disappointment. As their garbage piles up, they need a place to dump it and sometimes they'll dump it on you. Don't take it personally. Just smile, wave, wish them well, and move on. Don't take their garbage and spread it to other people at work, at home, or on the streets.

Something we might all consider putting into practice in our lives.

Every forward . . . ><>

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Taking a short break from blogging . . .

Things are getting pretty busy around here, and will be getting even busier as our Central Texas Annual Conference prepares to host the 2008 General Conference sessions of the UMC in Fort Worth in a few weeks.

Plus . . . I have an awful lot of reading to catch up on . . .

And . . . I am helping to write a song for a contest our preschool ministry has entered . . .

Plus . . . I have an awful lot of reading to catch up on . . .

And . . . I am going to go fishing . . .

Plus . . . I have an awful lot of reading to catch up on . . .

And . . . I am going to Houston to see my friend Joe and his wife Riva . . .

Plus . . . I have an awful lot of reading to catch up on . . .

And . . . I need to get to work on my flower beds at home . . .

Plus . . . I have a really awful lot of reading to catch up on (I have almost 20 books on the coffee table here in my office ) . . .

So . . . it will be awhile before any new blogs appear . . . unless I am really moved to make commentary on something I read, see and hear about . . . or personally experience.

Please check out Mark Winter's blog, Steve Heyduck's blog, Doodlebugmom and others listed in my different links catagories. They are good people, and most are far better writers than I am.

I'm just better looking!

Ever forward . . . ><>

Sunday, April 6, 2008

38 pounds lost as of this morning . . .

But I am nursing two very sore calves from walking 10,000+ steps two days in a row.

The 10,288 steps yesterday was a little over 5 miles. The 10,oo8 steps the day before was a little less than 5 miles.

Guess I will add Ibuprofen to my supplements list.

Feeling good!

Ever forward . . . ><>

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Something I found helpful today . . .

- Good advice on what to strive for, as written by John Mason, from the book An Enemy Called Average .

Have...
Have peace enough to pass all understanding.
Have hope enough to keep your heart looking forward.
Have strength enough to battle obstacles and overcome them.
Have commitment enough to not give up too soon.
Have faith enough to please God.
Have fun enough to enjoy every aspect of life.
Have patience enough to let faith complete its work in you.
Have love enough to give to those who deserve it the least but need it the most.
Have focus enough to say no to many good ideas.
Have forgiveness enough to never let the sun go down on your wrath.
Have honesty enough to never have to remember what you said.
Have character enough to do in the light what you would do in the dark.
Have gratitude enough to say "thank you" for the small things.
Have purpose enough to know why not just how.
Have perseverance enough to run the entire race that is set out before you.
Have wisdom enough to fear God and obey Him.
Have responsibility enough to be the most dependable person you know.
Have confidence enough to know that you and God make a majority.
Have kindness enough to share what you have and who you are with others.
Have mercy enough to forgive and forget.
Have devotion enough to do the right things on a daily basis.
Have courage enough to face and fight any opposition to what you know is right.
Have optimism enough to know that God's plans are blessed.
Have trust enough to know that God will direct your steps.
Have expectancy enough to be on the lookout for miracles every day.
Have enthusiasm enough to show that God is in you.
Have obedience enough to do what is right without thinking twice.
Have direction enough to know when and where to go.
Have knowledge enough to have your mind continually renewed.
Have credibility enough to cause others to want to work together with you.
Have generosity enough to give before being asked.
Have compassion enough to be moved by the needs of others.
Have loyalty enough to be committed to others.
Have dependence enough to know that you need God.

Without God, I would wander aimlessly. Instead, striving ever closer to God . . . I wander as part of an adventure, making a joyful noise along the way!

Thanks be to God!

Ever forward . . . ><>

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

For those who saw it Sunday, and for those who have asked . . .

I've done a lot of soul-searching lately about guitars and guitar playing. Conversations with Floyd, Joe, and Sean came down to my understanding that I was trying to go down the wrong road.

So . . . I have reduced the number of guitars I have by about half, but did feel led to get the guitar I played in worship this past Sunday, a Takamine EF381C 12-string.

When I first learned to play, it was on a 12-string. When I played in the band years ago, I played a 12-string. I guess my "inner adolescent" has been wanting a 12-string for a long time. I thought he wanted a Strat, Tele, or ES-335.

Guess I was wrong. Is that a man thing . . . when your heart tells you something . . . but it isn't what your head wants to hear . . . so you interpret what your head wants to hear as what you thought your heart said . . . ??

Yep, I need to stay in counseling for just a little while longer!!!!

It is a wonderful guitar, very loud and clear without an amp. It will be great for all sorts of events and venues. It gets introduced to the 1st Church Guitar guys this Thursday.

Funny, the roads you are led down when you finally stop and listen to that still, small voice in your head / heart. I don't listen very well. I need to work more on that.

But then . . . that's a new journey as well . . . and that's OK with me. I am looking for some new journeys.

Ever forward . . . ><>

6,837 steps equals . . .

3.28 miles . . . the length of my walk last night in our nearby park. According to the timer on the pedometer, that was a walk of 61 mintues, with 484 calories burned.

As of this morning . . . I have lost 36 pounds. I am 9 pounds away from the first digit in my weight decreasing by one number.

And last night . . . I actually ate cauliflower. With cheese sauce, it isn't that bad.

Ever forward . . . ><>

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

10,000 steps a day . . . are you kidding me???

Ordered an Omron Pedometer through Amazon.com. One of our church members, whose advice about health I listen very carefully to, advised me it was about the best unit you can get for the price.

So . . . I am dieting (lower carb, nothing white except caulifower) . . .

So . . . I am exercising (walking when I can in the evening and hiking w/ backpack on Saturday mornings) . . .

And now I have this gnawing thought in my mind, "Just how many steps do I take a day? And . . . is that number enough??"

Then I found out that the goal for the number of steps it takes, with dieting, to achieve optimal health results . . . is 10,000 steps a day.

Let's see, figuring the length of my stride is several inches less than 3 feet . . . divide the number of feet in a mile by my stride length . . . divide 10,000 by that number, and . . .

Hmmmm . . . my goal for optimal health by diet and walking . . . is to walk slightly less than 6 miles a day (regular daily walking at work + walking for exercise).

A year ago, I would have been scared by all this. Today . . . it's the start of a new adventure.

I'm through with a boring physical, emotional, mental and spiritual life. It's time for a challenge.

Ever forward . . . ><>