Dance Party For The Win! – Walk To Mt Doom Day 1 Reflection


Five miles a day is a lot!

I am now one day into my journey to Mt. Doom, with my friend Levi. Yesterday I successfully walked 5.34 miles. According to my Vivofit 2 that is a total of 11,796 steps. At the end of the day my thought was… that’s a lot of steps!

As I was racking up the steps today, I discovered a few things.

First, I realized that Sam never left Frodo’s side. If I am to journey with Levi as my Sam, we need to always be together. Now.. I don’t be literally. What I realized is that my milage tracker did not have us journeying together, but taking two different journeys. Depending on how many miles we each walked, one of us could be ahead of their other and not be together on the journey.

I figured out a fix. The journey to Mt Doom is 1779 miles. In order that we are journeying together, I double the total miles and subtract our combined miles to determine our location on the journey.

This does two things. 1. We will always be together on a journey and 2. We are now actually working together to get to Mt. Doom.

The second thing I discovered today is how much work it takes to get to five miles of walking. This is what has lead my to my post title. After dinner, I realize I had a little over 2,000 steps to reach my 5 mile/11,000 steps goal for the day. I did not see how I could possibly get these steps in. I had already took my walk for the day.

DANCE PARTY FOR THE WIN!

The beauty of my two young sons is how they love to have dance parties. I turned on some epic music (the Ultimate Toddler Playlist: https://open.spotify.com/user/1255864681/playlist/6wYvSZWkm2GtuRK5coPIgW) and we danced out hearts out!


I danced the rest of my steps with them and reached my goal of 5 miles. Thanks boys! You got me there!

It was a great first day! I reached my goal of over 11,000 steps and had a great walk with my boys for a couple miles! Now on to day two. It will be a work day. I’m interested to see how my work schedule impacts my walking distance. Only time will tell.



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5 Ways To Be Thankful

  
I don’t know if your year has been anything like mine, but this year has gone by incredibly fast. Whether you year has gone by quickly or slowly, the month of November is upon us. This means two different things.

First, it means you better begin planning for what you are going to be buying your family for Christmas. Second, it means it is the season of being thankful.

Each year, my wife and I sit down with our extended family to enjoy a Thanksgiving dinner. During this meal, we always take time to go around and have everyone share something that they are thankful for from the previous year. That time is honestly one of my favorite times year. 

It is so important to be a thankful person. So, I thought I would write this post to help us discover some ways they can be thankful during this season.

1. Realize you are called to be thankful

Before we can even think about what we should be thankful for, we have to realize that God calls us to be thankful people. Paul writes in Colossians 3:15, “The peace of Christ must control your hearts—a peace into which you were called in one body. And be thankful people.” Further Paul writes in Ephesians 5:20, “always give thanks to God the Father for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;” As Christians, we are called to give thanks for everything.

2. Look at everything in your life and think of why you are thankful for it

I’ll be honest, this one seems like an obvious one. The sad thing is that we sometimes overlook the obvious things in our lives that we can be thankful for. This point is to help us evaluate everything and give thanks for it. It can be as big as the fact thank you keep breathing and as simple as having a bar of soap for when you shower. 

3. Look to the past

Sometimes in life, you can’t totally understand where you are and who you are until you look at where you came from. Think through the last five to ten years and think about the kind of person you were back then and who you are now. How have you grown and what have you learned? Who are people who have had a major influence in your life in these past years? This simple process of looking to the past can help you realize different things that you might be thankful for.

4. Tell someone that you are thankful for them

As a natural reaction to number three, there are many people that have had an influence on you in your life. Being thankful for them is great, but it is even better if you actually tell them how thankful you are for what they have done in your life. Perhaps you are shy and don’t want to talk to someone face to face, write a card or send an email.

(Hand written thank you cards are great! They tell the person you are willing to take the time to write a note of thanks. It can mean a lot.)

5. Give back and be generous

Giving back is the natural response to living a thankful life. Once we begin to discover how much we have and have been blessed with, we might discover that we have much that we can bless others with. Generosity is so powerful. 

Proverbs 11:25 states, “Generous persons will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.” Further Proverbs 22:9 says, “Happy are generous people, because they give some of their food to the poor.”

During this thanksgiving month, there are so many ways to be generous and give back. Start a donation box and slowly fill it with items that you no longer need and can donate to a local shelter or a family in need. Another thing you could do it volunteer at a local food bank or shelter with your family and give back out of your time. Finally, you could consider sponsoring a child from around the world that is in needs (World Vision and Nazarene Compassionate Ministries).

November is the month of thanksgiving. So, go out there and be thankful!

4 Steps to Fasting For Lent

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Happy season of Lent everyone! If you did not know, we are currently in the church season of lent right now and it is something practiced in many churches around the world. Lent takes place during the 40 days leading up to Easter morning. Traditionally, christians who take part in Lent will fast or give up (abstain from taking part in) something for the 40 days of Lent. This idea of Lent and fasting is what has brought me to the subject of this post today. I want to share my 4 steps to fasting for Lent.

I want to take a moment and quickly say I am definitely not the definitive answer to this topic. I am simply sharing my view of fasting for Lent. These 4 steps have been formed over a time of studying the scripture and taking part in Lent. Feel free to disagree with me. It is ok. Now that we have that out of the way, lets get started.

 

STEP 1: Decide on something to fast that is difficult to give up. It needs to be something that causes you a little bit of discomfort or pain when you do not have it in your daily routine anymore.

When you fast something difficult to give up and something that brings discomfort, you are able to experience a very very very very small fraction of the pain Jesus endured for you on the cross. In this pain and discomfort, the Easter story become tangible to you.

 

STEP 2: What you fast needs to be something part of your daily routine.

The practice of fasting is about centering yourself to God. When you fast something in your daily routine, you will reach a time when you hit a mental wall when you go to take part in your normal routine of something but quickly remember you are fasting. It is in this time, when you would normally partake in that food, hobby or practice that you should take time for prayer, reading scripture and listening to God in place of the time you would spend on the thing you’re fasting.

 

STEP 3: What you fast needs to be something that we greatly enjoy and that we are able to get back when lent is over.

This might seem like a strange step, but it is an important step. In the same way that you experience Easter in a tangible way through the pain of your fast, you also experience Easter in the joy of finishing your fast and getting your item of fasting back. Easter morning is all about the celebration of Jesus being risen from the grave. When you finish your fast there will be a sense of joy and celebration. In this joy, you are able to experience a very very very small amount of the joy the followers of Jesus felt upon see Jesus alive again.

 

STEP 4: When you fast, do not tell anyone about your fast.

This final step comes straight from scripture. Jesus says in Matthew 6:16-18,

“And when you fast, don’t put on a sad face like the hypocrites. They distort their faces so people will know they are fasting. I assure you that they have their reward. When you fast, brush your hair and wash your face. Then you won’t look like you are fasting to people, but only to your Father who is present in that secret place. Your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”

Simply put, fasting is all about you and God. No one else needs to be involved.

There you have it! My 4 steps to fasting for lent. Let me know what your thoughts are on fasting for lent in the comments below.

 

(Photo from: http://www.capuchinfranciscans.org/2014/02/27/pre-lent-reflectiona-historical-perspective/)

Is Giving Better Than Receiving?

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You might not know this about me, but I love Christmas time. The whole season fills me excitement and happiness. As an example of my Christmas loving spirit, my wife and I cannot usually wait until December to start listening to Christmas music. In our house this year, we were jamming to some good Christmas tunes back around Halloween time (Yes we are one of those families).

Christmas time is also the time of the year that we bust out all these different sayings and greetings. We say things like, “Seasons greetings,” “Tis the season to be jolly,” “Peace on earth” or “Bah humbug” (That one for all you individuals that don’t like Christmas). Then there is a phrase I hear all the time around Christmas: “Giving is better than receiving.”

I agree with this statement, but at the same time, what if we have got it wrong? In Luke 1:46-56, we find a passage that is a song or poem that Mary gives as praise to the Lord. What caused Mary to sing this song? Her song of praise comes right after her meeting with Elizabeth who says a blessing over her for being the mother of the Lord. Perhaps this was the inspiration of her song or it could have been a reflection on everything that had happened to her up until that point.

Mary’s outlook on her situation has always been amazing to me. It is easy to read the Christmas story and picture Mary as this happy mother-to-be that is enjoying her pregnancy. What we quickly forget is how she was probably looked down upon by those in her village. She was the girl who couldn’t wait for the wedding night and got pregnant.  We also, never hear anything about Mary’s parents. Did they believe Mary or perhaps they were disappointed in her like the rest of her village. I have always imagined that perhaps these things were the reasons Mary went to visit Elizabeth. She wanted a break from all the stress and tension of her home and village.

It is with this background that we can being to understand Mary’s song a little better. She is singing a song of Joy because of what God is doing and has done in her already. She is singing because of what she has received from God.

The season of Advent is a season of preparation. It is a season where we prepare our hearts for the coming of Jesus into the world. Christmas and Advent are not about gifts under a tree or a red suited man breaking into your house and steals our cookies, though those are fun things that we’ve made part of our Christmas season. Christmas and Advent are about the joy we receive as Jesus comes into our world and into our own lives. When we begin to focus on this, there is an undeniable joy that comes with Jesus’ presence in our lives. It is this same joy that lead Mary to sing her song of praise. It is this same joy that caused Elizabeth’s baby to jump for joy in her womb as Mary greeted Elizabeth. It is this joy that can transform our lives and calls us to tell others about this joy and invite them into the Advent season of Jesus’ transforming presence.

The giving of the knowledge of Jesus’ love and joy to others is an amazing experience but nothing can beat receiving Jesus’ grace and forgiveness into our own life’s. With all the gifts you buy this year, giving might be better than receiving, but Jesus came with the first of his unending joy and made receiving better than then giving.

What do you think about this idea? Share your comments below and never forget to share this with people you know and get the conversation going.

7 Features You’ll Love About iOS 7

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I am a lover of technology and I am always a fan on innovation and improvements. Apple’s iOS 7 was released just a little bit ago, and I have had some time to fiddle around with it and I wanted to make a list of seven features that I love and hope you would love about the new iOS 7.

1. Spotlight Easier To Open

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The spotlight search is now easier to get to. Whenever you are on your home screen or any page of your home screens, you simply swipe down from the middle of the screen and spotlight appears. This makes it even more easy to look up a contact or start up any app really quickly. Now you can keep your apps super organized into folders and still get to them with ease.

2. Control Center (My Controls Are Right At My Fingertips)

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I am sure that many people were looking forward to some amazing new features coming in iOS7, but I will honestly admit that I was looking forward to the quick access to my brightness controls the most. iOS7 comes with a new feature called “control center.” From anywhere, you can swipe up from the bottom of the iPhone or iPad and a pane will slide up with all sorts of controls. One being the brightness controls, but also many other great functions.

3. Folders Are Bigger!

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You might be asking yourself, “How do you improve a folder?” The answer to that question is simple. You make it bigger! Now you can hold so many more apps in each folder. So get to organizing!

4. Swipe At Notification Center Launches App

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A simple addition to the new iOS is in the notifications that pop-up on your lock screen. When one shows up, you can swipe left to right across the notification and your iPhone or iPad opens to the app associated to the notification. This is one addition that makes your iPhone and iPad work better for your productivity.

5. Improved Multi-tasking 

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Multi-Tasking has been greatly improved on iOS7. When you double-click your home screen your list of open apps will appear. In iOS7 you are now shown a window of how the app looked when you left it. This makes it easier to quickly recognize what app you are wanting to access.

Another feature added to multi-tasking is the swipe to close function. If you want to completely close down an app you just swipe up on the window preview of the app.

6. built in level

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The title of this feature explains it all. It is nothing too revolutionary. It is a simple tool that is nice to have built in.

7. your background changes the whole feel to your phone

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The last feature that I love about iOS7 the simple way that your wallpaper can dramatically change the look of your whole iPhone or iPad. This becomes an even better feature for people who want their phone theme to match their iPhone case.

So, those are some of my new favorite of iOS 7.  Let me know what your favorite new feature is in a comment below.