The Gym Playlist – Walk this Way

I mentioned I’d be tweaking my playlist as I determine the best order. This morning I decided that this song should be first. It’s 3.5 MPH, long stride song and better for a warmup than The Pretenders.

Although repetitive (those who know me well know I can’t stand things that are too repetitive) it’s familiar bass-line provides a good strong beat to get started. Released in 1975, this song got a lot of airplay through the 80’s when I was growing up. Even today I find that most kids know this song. Though the lyrics and the meaning behind the song are perhaps not the best influence for our daughters (funny how your perspective changes when you have daughters), no one can deny that part of our culture. Everybody’s looking for something…

Walk this Way

Today was a day I really would have preferred to stay in bed. I briefly thought about it but the good angel on my shoulder outweighed that bad one and I reminded myself of the goal.

My purpose in this journey is to be an accountability partner for my friend, to work right along side her and encourage her on her fitness journey, knowing full well that I will reap enormous benefits as well. I’ve got to keep my mind on the big picture even when I don’t like the little one.

As I put my Brook’s on today, it felt like one of the early days in my junior high track career where I hated the jog, but as I put the playlist on and the earbuds in, I was transformed. This brings me to the verse that I thought of as I cooled down from my workout. We can renew our physical bodies by making conscious choices, and we can do the same for our minds. As I mold my body to what I want it to be, I pray that can mold my mind to what God wants it to be. He provides a great way for us to do this by studying His word, the Bible.

Last night, at our weekly gathering of youth students (for which I am a mentor), we talked about when the Angel appeared to Mary to let her know that she would be having the baby Jesus – and she had never been with a man.  We talked about how she was completely obedient to God – a completely open vessel to do what God asked her to do.  Although I’m sure there were cultural implications of being with child out of wedlock  (and the kids did talk about how awkward it would have been for Mary to tell her parents…) Mary never hesitated in obedience to God.   She could have focused on the impact to her personally, but instead, she chose to focus on the bigger picture.   It’s important to keep the big picture in mind so that we don’t get caught in the minutia of life. I’ve said it before, and I’ll probably say it again – the story is so much bigger than me.   Praying for all of you today – that you would begin to see your part in His story as you work toward renewing your body, mind, and soul.

As we move forward in changing things in our lives, it’s always good to reflect from where we’ve come.  Below is a snapshot of my miles.   (Yes, I’ve also taken baseline weight and physical measurements in order to mark progress there as well, but I will not be sharing those just yet… ;-).

Progress to date:   7.5 miles in to a 1,000 mile journey.   That’s 7.5 miles further than I was at this time last week.

Blessings to you all, my friends as you have blessed me by being a part of my journey,

SB

Copyright 2018 Journey For Life – all rights reserved.

Photo cred: mad kitty media.com

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Taking me back

As I dive head first back into my lost world of fitness, my mind goes back 35 years to my first track season at A.E. O’Block Jr. High School in Plum Boro, PA.  35 years is a very long time, but somehow, it seems like yesterday.   

There are a few life secrets I can let you all in on – some of them are not a surprise…   the first is that I am not a natural born athlete.   In my young life, I was more interested in music, and started piano lessons at the age of 4.   Throughout elementary school, I cared little about sports, although I do remember with pride the day I caught the fly ball kicked by Dennis Haygood (the best kickball player in our 4th grade class), making the 3rd out of that inning.  The entire class cheered, and despite the fact that it was his out, a wide smile came across his face as he congratulated me for making an awesome play and invited me to play in his team in the next game.   

In 7th grade, my first year of junior high school, I decided I would join the track team.  Very few people ever got cut from the track team, and since there were many events to choose from, there were many opportunities to find a niche.   Good coaches will observe strengths and weaknesses and help their students get where they need to be.   Luckily, we had several good track coaches. 

My first year in track was ok – not stellar, but ok; probably not unlike most of the first-year track team students.   When the end-of-the-season award time came, I set my sights on a goal for the next year….   the coveted letter.   I didn’t letter in my first year – and, truthfully, few 7th graders did.   But somehow, the desire to receive a letter in the next year took a-hold of my heart and transformed my apathy for life into an ardent desire to achieve.  Little did I realize that transformation would carry far beyond the track through my entire life.

The summer following that track season, I set out to improve what I could control – my endurance.  (Life Lesson: control what you can control; don’t dwell on what you cannot change).  I started to run on the streets of my neighborhood.  I got up early every single morning of the summer and forced myself to run 2 or more miles.   I’ve got to tell you that I hated it… at first.   Literally hated it, but I told myself that I had made a commitment to myself and I was going to see it through, so every day, I got up and put my shoes on and went for a jog.    (If I were honest, there were times in this 2 miles that I stopped running and just walked… I’d look at the mailboxes as I passed and say to myself, “I’ll start running at the next mailbox” and that mailbox would come and go and I was still walking….    this is the reason why I need a playlist to keep the beat for my feet when I’m running now…)

Something interesting began to happen…. After a few weeks, I found that I really enjoyed my morning run.  I began to look at the process of improving differently – yes, still with the end goal in mind, but focusing on the transformation that was happening.   I was “getting it”.  I remember on one particular morning, I ran past the school track, and came across a friend who was running on the track.  As I continued toward my “finish mark”, I was getting tired, and he was running along side me.  I said, “I’m done, I can’t make it.”   He grabbed a-hold of my arm and pulled me – he could run much faster than I could – he forced me to keep running til I crossed the finish line.   I continued running through the entire summer and into the next school year… and into the next track season.  My endurance had also paid off, and I discovered that, although never a sprinter, I had endurance to run the 880 and/or the mile events, depending on where the coach needed someone.   

It was during this season that I discovered the high jump event as well.  What fun that was!  The Fosbury Flop (more on this later).   Turns out I was pretty good at this event… though not quite good enough to beat Kelly Gress.   

Some action shots below:

Kelly was very good at this event – but she was also a little heavier than I was. For certain track/field events, contestants are broken into weight categories.   At the time, my weight was right on the border between Lightweight and Middleweight.   Kelly was a solid Middleweight, so I decided it was in my best interest to compete as a Lightweight.    For me, that meant an absurd fixation on keeping my weight on the Lightweight side.   

I might add that, at that time, I really didn’t have a lot of excess weight on me, so in order to stay below the threshold considered Lightweight, I had to do absurd things with my body to try to loose as much of my water weight before weigh-in’s as possible.   This included things like starving myself, sleeping and running in a garbage bag /  sauna suit, which became a normal part of my life.  I wasn’t even above spitting in a cup during the school day before the track meet (I learned this from the wrestling team for whom I was a statistician the year before).   Because several of my teachers were also track coaches, I would often get out of their class to run laps around the track (in my sauna suit).  Immediately after weigh-in, after they marked a giant “L” on my hand to show I had made weight, I would have some quick energy (usually a tablespoon or two of honey, a Twix bar, and an apple) before competing.   After the meet, I would go home and eat (probably everything in sight) and then start again the next day for the next meet.    Looking back at it now, I can understand why my mother was concerned that this might lead to destructive behavior, but I had a goal in mind, and I wasn’t going to allow anything to get in my way to achieve it. 

Kelly is the left most circle. I’m the right

I did receive a letter that year.  But more importantly, I had captured the respect of my coaches.  I can clearly remember Ms. Thompson’s words as she handed my letter to me, complimenting me for my determination and persistence.   As much as I had wanted that letter, I realized that having their respect meant so much more to me than I ever dreamed.  I was glad to have made them proud and to have heard them say, “Well done!”  

Here’s why I share this with you today…   as you’re going through life, look for the people who are turning themselves inside out to prove something to someone, even if it’s just themselves.   Tell them that you’ve noticed.  Tell them that they’re doing a good job.   When they feel like they can’t make it and are ready to give up, grab a-hold of their arm and run along side them until they reach the finish line.   You may be changing the trajectory of their life. After all, at the end of it all, who doesn’t want to hear the words, “well done, good and faithful servant”?

Be a blessing to someone today.

You are all blessings to me.

Blessings,

SB

Copyright 2018 Journey-For-Life   All rights reserved.  

The Gym Playlist – Everlong

My gym workout requires music – particularly my treadmill.  I use the beat of my gym playlist to pace my step, and I measure the beat not in BPM (beats per minute) as I would with my metronome, but in MPH. 

When I pulled up my playlist up on iTunes Monday, I found that my Gym playlist had been adulterated somehow, and there was only one song in the playlist.   Foo Fighters Everlong.   Good enough beat, I played it over and over again while I completed my first 2 miles.  For my leg length, this song is a 4.0 MPH song– a light jog for me.

I hadn’t really studied the words before, but here they arefrom AZLYRICS.com – and, as a bonus, a blurb about the meaning of the song (soI don’t have to analyze it myself).   AsI read the words, I sense the struggle in David Grohl’s mind as he looksforward to new relationships while sad about past ones.   It’s a struggle that probably most of us have felt at one time or another, but one that makes me sad – especially when I see people going through it.  My heart aches to heal the hurt in the world.  I know that is not always possible, so for now, I will focus on my commitment to be-there for those in my close circle – to let them know they are loved, and helpthem gain courage to continue when life kicks them in the teeth.

Blessings,

SB

Copyright 2018 Journey-For-Life.  All rights reserved.

“Everlong”

Hello
I’ve waited here for you
Everlong
Tonight
I throw myself into
And out of the red
Out of her head she sang

Come down
And waste away with me
Down with me
Slow how
You wanted it to be
I’m over my head
Out of her head she sang

And I wonder
When I sing along with you
If everything could ever feel this real forever
If anything could ever be this good again
The only thing I’ll ever ask of you
You gotta promise not to stop when I say when she sang

Breathe out
So I can breathe you in
Hold you in
And now
I know you’ve always been
Out of your head
Out of my head I sang

And I wonder
When I sing along with you
If everything could ever feel this real forever
If anything could ever be this good again
The only thing I’ll ever ask of you
You gotta promise not to stop when I say when she sang

[Whisper:]
So, Dad would take the Sundays off.
And that’s the only time he could ever get any rest.
And so, because we were loud on Sundays, he’d make us hold his constructionboots over our head, ’til we’d sleep.
And they were really heavy boots and I used to say, “Dad, come on,please.”
And like start crying, ’cause they’re too heavy.

And I wonder
If everything could ever feel this real forever
If anything could ever be this good again
The only thing I’ll ever ask of you
You’ve got to promise not to stop when I say when

Writer(s): DAVID GROHL 

Dave Grohl wrote this song during a difficult period in his lifewhen he just got divorced. Besides, the Foo Fighters was on a brink of split-upwith two other members contemplating to quit the band. This ballad was bornwhen he returned home to Virginia for Christmas 1996 and wrote down the lyrics about falling in love with a new woman.

The “whisper” during the instrumental break of this song comprises three overlaid voices: Dave Grohl reading out of an instruction manual, the second is a love letter, and the last one is a story about one of the studio technician’s father.

David Letterman liked this song very much and when he returned tohis show after the heart surgery, he invited the band to perform on the 21st ofFebruary 2000. They needed to break the tour in order to do so, but made theappearance. When Letterman did his final show on the 20th of May 2015, FooFighters played this song to close it out.

The music video forthis song features Dave Grohl as a superhero who has giant hands. MichelGondry, the director of the video, used to have dreams where his hand grew togiant size. Taylor Hawkins plays drums in the video, although Dave Grohl playsthem on the album version of the song because Hawkins wasn’t in the band at thetime.

This song was used in the TV show “Friends” at the endof the episode “The One With Chandler And Monica’s Wedding” rightafter Monica and Chandler were married. This version wasn’t played by The FooFighters, but by a string quartet.

The first step

In a new journey, or even the return to an old journey, the first step is often the hardest…

stepping out in my new/old Brook’s that I got on clearance several years ago. When I started my Journey For Life several years ago, it was a fundraiser for the LIFE conference my kids were going to. As I began to run i knew I’d need a good pair of running shoes, so I took my friend, Patrick Miller to the stunning shoe store. Patrick is an amazing runner and all around sweet kid and was happy to pick out a pair of shoes for my journey. He taught me things about running shoes I never knew were important. We selected several pair of shoes and I put the first ones on. They were soooooo comfortable…. I knew I loved them. But they were hot pink. I asked if they came in any other color, but they didn’t have any others in stock. So I bought my first pair of $150 running shoes ever. I even went back for a second pair. Then I watched for sales and bought two pair on clearance on line. Patrick wears his shoes out quickly because he puts so many miles on them. It will take me longer… but the first step is behind me! the good thing about them being so bright is that cars will see them if I run on the road. For now, I am content to run on my treadmill.

I’m 2 whole miles in. From my house, had I run on the road, I would be at one end of my road by now… here’s to 998 more miles.

If you look close, you will see the logo says, “run happy”. That I shall.

Be blessed, my friends, be blessed

Copyright 2018 journey for life all rights reserved.

Sojourners.. The Journey Begins… again

This morning, December 3, 2018,  I embark on a journey.  It’s a journey that many of us have made, some multiple times, like me.  My trip is a journey toward heath and fitness, I’m making this trip alongside my dear friend, who was encouraged by her doctor to lose X lbs.   I pledge to lose X right along with her, not only as a show of support to her, but as a friend, an encourager, and advocate, and fellow sojourner.

We were supposed to start this journey a few months ago, and she may have, but I was literally lazy and failed…   ah, the failures..   The good thing about failing is that it gives you opportunity to reflect, make changes as appropriate, dust yourself off, and begin again.

I’m confident in my goals… as I’ve achieved them before  😉    In all honesty, needing to work really hard to achieve a lofty goal is a thrill for me.   When I want to be, I can be very dogged, with a “stick-to-it-ive-ness” that would make even the toughest of coaches proud.

The journey of 1000 miles…   (or the second 1000) begins with the first step.

Here’s to the next 1,000.   I’ll keep you all posted!

Much love and blessings to you all!

SB

Copyright 2018 – Journey-For-Life.  All Rights Reserved.

Broken Tears

For weeks, maybe months, or perhaps since forever, I don’t really know, nary a tear has fallen from my eye.  The steel part of my heart would tell you it’s because my tears are broken – or that they’ve become so hardened that they forgot how to feel – or that I probably come by that trait naturally.  My mother is one of the toughest people I’ve ever met.  I can only recall seeing a tear on her face one time – the morning that my father died.   It’s probably not that surprising that I don’t often cry.

All of that came to an unexpected and abrupt end this afternoon during lunch with a new-found friend who wanted to know more about the book, Masquerade.  His own story was one of redemption and grace, from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and he was looking for guidance on how to publish his story.   Humbly, he sat across the table from me at the local Panera bread, describing how he had been delivered from alcoholism by a loving Savior.

As we talked about the moment in time when he heard the inaudible yet unmistakable voice of God say to him, “you’re going to die and I’m going to let you if you don’t get yourself straightened around”,  I could feel my eyes well up with tears.  He recounted wondering why God had chosen Him and not others whom he had known who had died of their addictions; whatever the reason, there he was, naked in humility, exposing his weakness, reaffirming the notion that when we are weakest, God is strongest.  He enumerated how many times along his journey he faltered and failed, and how every single time, God was there to pick him up and make him new again…. and how sometimes, despite the fact that he’s walked with Jesus for a long time, he still makes mistakes and needs to seek forgiveness regularly.

Because of my own sin and weakness, my heart was grieved, and tears flowed from the tear ducts that I had long thought a desert.  He actually asked me if I was OK.

I think there are two dangerous thoughts when it comes to redemption.  One tells us that since we now walk with Jesus, we should be perfect.  After all, He makes all things new, and He does ask us to put away our sinful ways now that we are new creatures in Him.  Perhaps there are others along this life journey with me, however, who might agree with me that there will be times when we fail, even when we’ve walked with Jesus for a long time.  Somehow, we expect that when we’ve walked with Jesus for a long time and have grown in our faith, that we won’t fall back into our sin habits.

I wholeheartedly believe that, just as God knows us and knows our strengths and weaknesses, so does the Devil.  He knows that my new friend is predisposed to struggle with alcohol, while I may be predisposed to struggle in other ways.   He will look for opportunities to cause us to fail, or to question our faith.  My friends, there is a fierce battle going on for your soul – no matter how long or short a time you’ve been a Christian, no matter how strong you believe your faith is.  There will be times when you will fail.  It is important to remember that when this happens, God still loves you.

The other dangerous thought we have when it comes to redemption is to think that, because we may have failed, even after we know Jesus, that we cannot correct our path.  The truth is that God loves us, and will continue to give us opportunities to come back to Him.  We have to be the ones to make the decision, and we have to be the ones to call in God for help in time of trouble.

Our conversation turned to hearing God’s voice.  My new friend talked about the moment in time when he heard the inaudible yet unmistakable voice of God.  I, too, have heard that voice, and I’ve known others who have as well.   Inexplicably, not everyone hears this voice, perhaps because the other voices in their lives are too loud, or perhaps their hearts have been hardened too much.  Unquestionably, however, there are people whose ears are tuned to hear the voice of God.

Meeting a new friend who is along this journey-for-life was good for me. It gave me renewed perspective that God makes all things new; and he specializes in taking our completely wrecked lives and making them beautiful again – and that process can  take a long time, and follow a sometimes crooked path.

Keep seeking, my friends.  Keep trekking the journey.

Blessings to you,

SB

Copyright 2018. Journey-For-Life – All rights reserved.

Angel Dove

Sweet dreams, my beloved

angel dove 2

In the twilight hours of life’s long Day,

as you prepare for Sleep,

pondering the days’ regrets

the thoughts you’d like to keep

The hours, they pass so quickly

And the mind, it soon forgets

Decisions past and present

Sing a haunting, sweet duet

Sweet dreams, my beloved,

From the Angel Dove

As you pass from this world to the next

Into His arms of Love

The sunrise, so beautiful,

gives way to one more day

On borrowed time the clouds give rise

To storms that come our way

The melancholy descant

Serenades a weeping soul

A philharmonic tribute

like classic rock and roll

Sweet dreams, my beloved,

From the Angel Dove

As you pass from this world to the next

Into His arms of Love

And aft the storm subsides

a breath sent down from Heaven

the rainbow to remind us

His love, forgiveness given

a love yet unrequited

Birthed in innocence above

Leaves its farewell cloaked in insolence

Brought by the Angel Dove

Sweet dreams, my beloved,

From the Angel Dove

As you pass from this world to the next

Into His arms of Love

The evening shows no mercy

As we bid our last adieu

The music starts the coda

As you listen for your cue

You wonder what could have been

In fate mates deepest soul

Sweet dreams, my beloved,

From the Angel Dove

Sweet dreams, my beloved,

From your Angel Dove

As you pass from this world to the next

Into His arms of Love

Blessings,

SB

Copyright 2018. All right reserved Journey For Life