Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Squirrles, writer's block and ADD

Squirrel Powers activate! Form of Shiny Object. Shape of the Letter A...A-Team.

Not many people will get the Wonder Twin's reference here will they? Yeah. And I'm not referring to that team in Minnesota either.

I've been trying all day to think about what to write.

Okay, that's a bit wrong, not really all day. Kinda some of the day maybe. Part of the day. Okay, I've been thinking about it off and on an on and off.

Was going to talk about boxing germs this morning. Well, this morning I was thinking about boxing some germs. Let me try that again. I was thinking this morning about writing about boxing some germs which would make no sense unless you were with me during my workout this morning. And that couldn't happen because I don't think all of the readers in Russia and Germany could fit into my garage. Not saying y'all are big. I mean, I'm of northern European decent and all. Well, Scotch-Irish (or is that a drink) or Scottish and Irish and German and English. Pretty much at war with myself really.

Let me try this again shall I?

I've been distracted all day. Well, not all day. The day itself started out pretty nice. Woke up early. And went a few rounds with my punching bag. I also realize I need to put weights on my heavy bag stand because I almost knocked it over this morning. I put in a good set of push ups and sit ups this morning as well.

Why am I saying all of this? When we get busy, get blocked have issues focusing, you gotta find something to get it all out. This past summer I've hardly hit the gym and it's not good. Though weight watchers has been pretty good in the losing weight part, I also want to get back to gaining muscle. But I'm starting with some fun cardio at home first because I pretty much can't get to the gym on time right now.

Picked up a jump rope this afternoon too. Not them weird weak plasticky things that make me think I should start singing "Cinderella dressed in yella." But one that's white, thick and has handles, like Rocky's. Inspired by Mr. Balboa, I'm going to start skipping rope here soon too. Not sure about practicing at a meat locker though any time soon.

This post has almost no point to it whatsoever save for the fact that even when I have writer's block and things are looking frazzled...trying hard to find something that will help me with my routine and exercising. I'll let you know how it turns out...hey! Look! A Squirrel!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Stupid Rhinos

I've never liked colds. They're all drippy and coughy and all that stuff. But in winter, you get them. They arrive during the holidays just like that family member that drives you nuts but you gotta allow in for Thanksgiving or Christmas anyway because, well, they're there already and it'd be mean to let the go but secretly you just want to put them in the oven with the turkey? Yeah. That's how I feel about colds.

Now, colds are colds and are expected in the winter time. You grumble about them but then you move forward anyway. A summer cold on the other hand is just plain mean. It's like a slap in the face reminding you that nothing's safe during the summer time. And the rhinovirus hits ya making sure you face the next summer with fear and trembling never knowing when it'll charge at you and lay you flat.

Now, some of this is my own fault. Yeah, it really is. Though I've been doing my best to stay healthy and fit (Shout to Weight Watchers...for Men 15lbs and counting) I've also been stretched then and haven't been getting much sleep or rest. Oh, rest, how I miss thee. And now that I've been stretched so thin, the rhinovirus with its mass army of neon green nose goblins and secret sore throat ninjas come attacking.

So, I'm laying low. Taking it easy. Trying to sleep all I can. Taking time for prayer for health and prayer for others. Taking time to just breathe (when my dose idn't sduffed dup) and taking vitamins.

What about you, how do you deal with a summer cold?

Friday, August 26, 2011

Gwen Stacy's Never Coming Back

In 1965 Gwen Stacy died. She was held captive by the Green Goblin on top of the Washington Bridge. During a fight between Spider-Man and the Green Goblin, Gwen was knocked off the top of the bridge. In his attempt to save her, Spider-Man slung one of his webs, catching her quickly. The abrupt stop snapped her neck. She died. Her death greatly affected Spider-Man, Mary Jane and so many others.

Over the years, Gwen Stacy clones have come and gone. In magical mythical cross overs and what if's she's appeared. In alternate realities she's been alive but soon after leaves. In effect, she is dead and is never coming back.

This is strange because many Marvel Universe characters always come back. The mutant Cypher with the passive power of translation was killed in 1989's epic saga The Fall of the Mutants. And he came back almost 20 years later.

So what does this have to do with Spiritual Musclehead? Well, it's Spiritual Sci-Fi Friday.

One of the interesting things about the Marvel Universe is that it has its own rules and ways of doing things. It operates certain set standards. In many ways, in order to understand the Marvel Universe and interpret it, you must use the Marvel Universe. In order to understand the importance of Gwen Stacy's death, you have to read comics in the Marvel Universe to understand the importance of it.

The same is true with another book called the Bible. Many people call it false, they say that it contradicts itself many times. And I will be honest, yes, if you just look at small areas, you see contradictions. But the same can be said of Wolverine where there are many, many contradictions. Take for example his claws. In the Captain America, Black Widow and Wolverine comic, Wolverine in the 1940's has no claws yet years later when Magento pulls out Wolverine's adamantium skeleton, he has bone claws. Total contradiction right? Yet reading the whole of the Marvel Universe, you understand the complexities that show why this happened and the reason behind it.

If you need to do this with the Marvel Universe, why can't it be done with the Bible. Even if you just see it as literature and not the inspired Word of God, you still have to use the in universe of the Bible to interpret the Bible. To do otherwise is unfaithful.

There is much more I could write about this, but that's for another Spiritual Sci-Fi Friday.

In the end, what's important is that we shouldn't discount something just because we think there are contradictions or problems in it. There are many problems with Gwen Stacy's death. Some have said that her abrupt death ended the Silver age of comics. Comics themselves were never again the same. They were allowed to deal with darker issues. Over the years, many people have asked, cried out, that they bring Gwen Stacy back. But to do so would break the rules of the Marvel Universe. She's never coming back.

The Bible is an in universe book made up of 66 smaller books and two divisions of Old and New or the Tahnak and the Gospels, History and Letters. To read one without being in Universe is to not fully understand it. Everything else is just fan fiction.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Magical mystery tour of gaurdians of the fridge

I think someone's been guarding my fridge or something. I mean, seriously, I just can't seem to get into it as of late. I mean, I open the fridge but then I don't see what I think I wanted to see or something like that and I shut the door. Then, I just walk away.

When I felt the urge to snack, I'd open the fridge. Not see anything I liked. Then checked the freezer. If I still didn't find anything I liked, I then checked the cupboards. If it turned up zilch back to the fridge and the frightening cycle begins.

Yet, it's almost as if I have some magical mystery guardians or something around the house or something. I'm just not getting past certain points. I just don't get it.

I can almost imagine some gigantic viking named Sven or something standing in my way like the angel did for Balaam. Or Gandalf standing in the way saying "You shall not pass!" Don't know what it is, but it's like I'm just not getting there or something.

And then, when I go to the store, it's like there's some gaurdian there as well, blocking me from buying these sweets or really really really good types of food. And if I do throw something in my cart, it's like woosh and it's out again. I can just imagine some mean looking guy with a sword and sash or something just walking around smacking the bad food from my cart and hand (He wasn't around yesterday when I bought the apple fritters. He and Sven went out for coffee or something I think, but hey, even magical mystery guardians need a coffee break here and there, I'm tough work for them, poor guys). I don't know if I have a name or not for the guy in the supermarket that's been stalking me lately but he doesn't look all too pretty.

Yeah, that's him.

Of course, it could also be the fact that I'm starting to get a hang of this whole points system from Weight Watchers (for men). It could be the fact that I'm starting to figure out how to eat right...or it could be Sven and Mr. Not-so-nice-eyes.

What about you? Do you have some magical mystery guardians??

Monday, August 22, 2011

Back to the routine

How's that song go? "It's the most wonderful time of the year..." yeah, that one. I know, I know, it's not Christmas but it is the start of the school year out here in South Dakota. And my son started kindergarten this year. I don't know who's happier and more excited--he or I?

What's really cool is the fact that he's totally into transformers now. Yeah. That's right. I'm raising my son right. I've introduced him to the awesome that is Optimus Prime and Bumblebee. And today, he told his teacher "I like Transformers because my Daddy introduced me to them." No lie and no prompting from me.

Not only is my son returning to school but so is my wife. After a few years hiatus from teaching, she is now returning to school to teach part time. This means that my two-year old is in day care (which I think we all needed to tell the truth).

So what does this all mean? Structure!!! Yippee!! This is what someone like me with ADHLAS (Attention Deficit...Hey! Look! A Squirrel!) so needs and to tell the truth craves. I'm so happy to have structure back again. I even was able to hit the gym early this morning for the first time since...well, since summer started. And so now I'm working on getting back in the routine.

It also means that I'm starting to get back in the routine of watching LifeChurch.TV podcasts while I'm on the stationary bike. It means getting back into having that quiet time in my mornings with Bible and coffee.

I so need tell the truth, I'm shocked my Straterra kept me together this long without that much structure.

What about you? With the school kicking in, with things getting back into a routine, are you looking forward to it or dreading it?

Friday, August 19, 2011

I ambassador

One of my favorite episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation is the two parter "Unification." This is the episode where rumor has it Spock (yes, THE pSock) has defected to the Romulans. Picard and Data go in a covert operation to find out if this is true.

It's odd what memories you have concerning your childhood. When we heard that this episode was coming up, we threw a party. My dad, step-mom, Trekkies and us little nerdlings all came together to watch these episodes. Why? Because Spock was coming back! And he wasn't just coming back as any ol' Spock, he was now Ambassador Spock. Ambassador for the United Federation of Planets. Ambassador for his home planet of Vulcan.

And what was it Spock wanted to do? Something amazing! He wanted to unite the Romulans and the Vulcans. They were once one but they separated and went their different directions a millennium ago. He came in peace to bring peace by preaching a message of this peace.

Now what does this have to do with anything? Good question. A lot. Did you know that if you're a Christian, you're also an ambassador?

We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:20-21

That puts us on the same level as Spock. It's a completely new name. And I know Spock's been called a number of them over the years, good and bad. And with most of them, Spock's not impressed. But as an ambassador, there's nothing more that he would want to do. He knows who he is regardless of what may come.

I've blogged (is that verb now?) over and over again, knowing who you are is one of the healthiest things you can do for yourself. Spock knew with assurance that as an ambassador, he was a representative who came to bring peace to two warring peoples.

There's another person like that as well. A man named Paul who called himself an ambassador in chains because he was constantly arrested. He too knew who he was and what he was called.

So, what's your name?

What're you called?

We can go through life fleeting from one thing to the next. We can get our britches in a twist when we do that, you know. If we're just running back and forth trying to figure it out, then we're like a star ship tossed in the eddies of space.

Do you want to be an ambassador? Do you want to be someone who brings this message of peace--a peace with God and with others? This is one of the greatest new names you might ever receive.

What is your name?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

I am...precious in His sight

What's your name?

No, not the one your parent's gave you, but the one your friends gave you. The one your enemies gave you. The one those cheerleaders who never actually let you into your group and teased the snot out of you gave you. Yeah. That name. The name you get called when you and your friends are hanging out--"Knothead" "Numbn...ts" "Fartknocker." What about the names your enemies have given you--"Skank" (that word that rhymes with "witch"), "Jerk" "Weirdo."

Those are the names that stick with us from childhood to junior high to high school. These are the names that hit us at the wrong moments when we hear a compliment or someone trying to be supportive. Even though they are being nice and kind, even though they are trying to be encouraging, you still, in the back of your mind hear those words.

Oh, those blasted frakin' awful words that hurt like sticks and stones. Names will hurt us. They hurt us worse than them sticks and stones which break our bones. And even when we're rubber and they're glue, the names still stick to us and not to you.

And then, when we look in the mirror first thing in the morning, we feel sorry for the mirror. Even our reflection's muttering things under their breathe. We see every blackhead, every zit, every gray hair, every bag under our eyes. We see the cylon underneath our skin and we don't like it at all (okay, that might be reserved for a Spiritual Sci-Fi Friday. Ask a fellow a geek for help on that's from the rebooted BSG).

How many times have we said to the mirror in our bathrooms first thing in the morning "Mirror, Mirror, on the wall, who's the fairest of them all." And we hope, we dream, we pray that it's us and the mirror responds with a snap and a head twist "Sure ain't you honey."

That's our view of ourselves.

But then we're hear God's view of us

But now this is what the Lord says--"He who created you...He who formed you...Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine...for I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior." Isaiah 43:1 & 3

He has a different name for you. He has a name beyond names--you are precious in his sight. You are beautiful to him. You are His.

Now, will you take his hand? Will you allow him to call you precious?

Monday, August 15, 2011

I am...forgiven

What do you call yourself?

What's your name?

They say that a rose by any other name would still smell as sweet. But if you call it a stink weed would it still have the same idea of smelling sweet?

So many times, we call ourselves by what we've done and what we do. But there are other times where we see ourselves by what we wish we hadn't done. Is that a bit too philosophical and out there? Probably. Sorry.

What's I'm trying to say is that when it comes to being healthy--physically, emotionally and spiritually--we need to also look at forgiveness.

It's so hard to forgive I think. It's hard for our bodies sometimes to forgive us for putting it through a hard workout. It's hard sometimes to forgive others when they've put us through hard times. It's hard sometimes for us to forgive ourselves because of our own body image. erg.. again.. philosophical.

Let me try this again...

you ever just want to beat somebody upside the head with a baseball bat because of what they said to you? yeah. That feeling. It'd be great to do that sometimes I think. But we can't. It wouldn't be too good to do something like that. And it's even harder to forgive them. And you know what, somewhere out there there's someone who wants to do the exact same thing to you because of something you might have said or done did to them.

Now, take a step back, put down the baseball bat and think this through. Do you want to be called forgiven? Forgiven from what you've done to others, forgiven for what you'd like to do with the baseball bat? No, seriously, put down the bat.

Forgiveness is a two way street. God is willing to forgive us but sometimes we need to be willing to forgive God. Sounds weird. I know. But it's true. Sometimes you might just want to take that baseball bat to God, huh? Put it down.

We also need to forgive others for what they've done to us. And we need to seek forgiveness from those we might have hurt and who want to take a baseball bat to us.

So, why is it healthy to forgive? Dude, so much to say that is too long for a blog post, that's for sure. But in short, a lack of forgiveness just builds up in us. And when it gets too big, we just want to act out that frustration on something, someone. And this can come out through a workout, through going at it on a heavy bag, to wanting to (put it down) get a baseball bat.

Forgiving does something to us. It helps us to let it go. To not let someone or something have control over us. And to tell the truth, if you don't forgive, that anger can really build up in you.

What is your name? Who do you need to forgive? Who do you need to ask forgiveness from?

Trust me, just starting down that road will lead to a better healthy life physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Driving through the Empire


This is the final line of dialogue from The Empire Strikes Back. Now, I must warn you that there might be spoilers here if you haven't seen The Empire Strikes Back. And if you actually haven't seen the movie, go grab the nearest geek and asked to borrow his/her pre-1997 DVD of it. Or just wait until September when Lucas re-re-releases them on BluRay. You know that every fanboy and fangirl will buy their overpriced copy...and yes, I will too probably.

Sorry, back to what I was writing...yes, "ouch." These four letter pretty much sum up the entire movie. From the pain of war to seeing Lando wearing clothes straight out of Hahn's closet. Seriously, check it out in the final scenes, he's wearing Hahn Solo's outfit. Creepy.

The whole movie is about pain. The pain of losing, the pain of the past, the pain of getting your hand chopped off by a lightsaber while dangling very precariously off a ledge. The Empire Strikes Back is all about pain, loss and struggle. And it is all summed up in the word "ouch."

Now, many who saw Empire back in the day were struck at just how hopeless the ending of the movie seemed. Hahn was frozen in carbenite, Lando took off in the Millennium Falcon, and the Rebels were scattered all over the galaxy.

Yet, during this time of trial and struggle, Luke had Yoda walking him through his training as a Jedi. He had a teacher who taught him how to focus, how to concentrate, how to fight and how to escape. This training is what Luke leaned upon when he fought Darth Vader, whom he learned (*spoiler*) was his father.

Now, I'm not comparing Jesus to Yoda what soever. But, in order for Luke to be healthy, he needed a trainer, a teacher to walk with him (and sometimes on Luke's back hitting him) to endure and to understand and to learn. During a time of temptation, Yoda talked Luke through it.

When going through our own Empire Strikes Back, we have our teacher, savior and friend, Jesus, walking with us through it. He is talking with us through tough and dark times. We have one who is greater than Yoda, who died for us so that we might have life. And he teaches us what it means to be a follower of Jesus.

Remember this, yes, Empire Strikes Back is bleak, but there is The Return of the Jedi. We need to drive through the hurts, the pains, the struggles of our own life, of our own Empire in order to make it to The Return of the Jedi. Jesus will walk you through this and bring you safely to the other side.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me. Psalm 23:4

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

I overcomer

What's your name?

What're you called?

What do you call yourself? Honestly, I've been called it all. Fat. Lazy. Stupid. Behemoth. Big Guy. Fatso. And that's when I was in elementary school. Some by schoolmates but some by my teachers. And I believed them too.

Later on in my life I was called other names. Stubborn. Persistent. Self Determined. Tenacious. Driven. These sounded cooler to me so I believed them too.

But none of these are the names which I like being called. There is only one name I like being called and that is one of Christian.

I have overcome a lot in the last few years. I've overcome weighing over 400lbs. I've overcome a stint in the hospital due to a bad interaction with high blood pressure meds. I've struggled through dyslexia and other learning disabilities. I've worked hard through seminary learning Hebrew and Greek. I've overcome health issues. But I still had my old names. I had what other people called me. And then I was given a new name--Over-comer.

So many things seem to get in our way when trying to do our best. So many things get in our way that keep us from being healthy--physically, emotionally and spiritually. And they seem like they'll always be in the way, stopping us from coming before God.

And then I hear these words

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. Romans 8:37

What're you called now? Is it getting in your way of, well, everything? Do you feel beaten up like that guy up there? Do you feel pushed around by things in this life?

You can be a conqueror over it all. You can be an overcomer. Heck, you can be more than an over-comer. Now what's standing in your way?

Do you want to be an overcomer? What do you need to work past? What can Jesus help you work past to be more than a conqueror, more than an overcomer?

Saturday, August 6, 2011

from a beetle to a warrior

I recently got my 5 year-old son interested in Transformers. And boy is he now interested in them. He has Transformers underwear (to which he proclaimed in church one fine morning: "I'm wearing underwear that has daddy's toys on them!), a Transformer backpack, a Transformers lunch box and a Transformers folder for school. He has Transformers PJs and Transformer toys. I've also introduced him to The Hub's Transformers Prime. His favorite character? Bumblebee.

And then I think I blew his mind.

I showed him the old Transformers cartoon show from the 80's. His first question: "Where's Bumblebee?" I pointed to the old VW beetle Bumblebee "There he is." I said as a proud parent. My son's first response: "No he's not." He couldn't understand that this Bumblebee was different than the one he knew. This weird, small, talking un-cool-car Bumblebee was, well, Bumblebee.

Things have changed in the last 25 years. The Old Bumblebee was a wisecracking friend of Spike who was faithful and true but also a VeeDub Bug. He also lacked confidence and his first response was to always whisk Spike and the other humans off to safety.

The new Bumblebee is different. He can't talk (his voice processing unit malfunctioned and Ratchet can't fix him with the primitive tools we have on Earth.) Only his friends and fellow fighters can understand him.

He's also a warrior and a scout. He's a fighter. He's a tough-kick-but-take-name's-later fighter. He is confident and is willing to head into battle even when he's had his knees broke. To tell the truth, I wouldn't want to be on the business end of him any day. No way. No how.

One thing Bumblebee now and Bumblebee then do have in common is that they are faithful and loyal. He is loyal to his friends, he faithful to Optimus Prime.

To be honest, Bumblebee has grown up. He is now a warrior. He is truly a relfection on what it means to be a dude now a days. Strong, loyal, faithful to friends, willing to fight but is only understood by those who know him and fight beside him. Other than that, he's alone.

It's hard to be a guy today. We're supposed to be strong yet sensitive, rugged yet metro, work hard yet be supportive, a nice guy but also a bad boy. We're supposed to be neutered warriors without anyone to fight.

We need a battle to fight. And if we don't have a good solid reason to fight a battle, then we fight for no reason.

I choose to fight. I choose to fight for God. To be a prayer warrior. To stand firm against hatred, lack of grace, abuse, pain and otherwise un-niceness. And I want to teach my son to do the same.

How can you be a warrior fighting the good fight?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

My ears a painin'

So, I got this wicked bad earache/infection going on here. Massive pain in the ear. This last Friday, my wife (oh so loving and wise beyond her years) said I should probably go get it checked out sooner rather than later. I was busy on Friday. I had to get a ton of work done and visits in. Plus I had a sermon to finish and a funeral meditation to get done. I didn't have time to do that. And so I pressed onward figuring that if I just put some of those Wal-Mart earache drops in my ear and pop some Tylenol, I'll be just fine.

Yeah, so not the case. Saturday it started hurting and that ringing sound started playing where you want to make sure that the phone is ringing and not your ear and you're wrong, it is your ear. Yeah. That. Then Sunday it started hurting worse. Monday around 4am I was cursing the day I was born, folded in the fetal position, rocking back and forth trying hard to find my happy place. Okay, so I wasn't really doing that, but I was up with a heating pad watching late night TV in a ton of pain. I almost drove my self to the ER.

As soon as the doctor's office opened up, I called up to make an appointment. I was seen later on in the afternoon and given a bunch of stuff including the wonderful concoction of Tylenol 3.

This got me to thinking--How many times do we ignore our own pain, our own physical pain (just play through the pain), our own emotional pain (spreading the peanut butter over the pie, sealing away the cracks of pain [a line from Mall Cop]) and our own spiritual pain (God can't love me for what I've done).

Honestly, we do it way too often. We ignore the pain hoping it goes away. We ignore it or try to cover it up hoping that we can maybe get over it. Other times it becomes the excuse we use to avoid others, including God.

What pain are you going through right now. Get it checked out. What pain do you have with God? Lay your pain at the feet of Jesus. Give him your worries, anxieties and pains. He's big enough. He can take it.

And what did I learn from all of this? Listen to my wife next time.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Get your dent on

Weight is something I've struggled with all my life. Since I was a kid I've been called fat, overweight and, well, some very nasty words as well. I wore size husky in everything. Looking back on those pictures of me as a kid, I wasn't fat at all. I was big. I was tall and big for my age. People thought I was two or three years older than I really was. One teacher thought I was lying to her when I said I was never held back a grade or three.

For as long as I can remember, I've always been trying to put a dent in my weight. In high school, I looked at going into the Navy. No offense to the Navy or the rest of our armed services, but not the best for one's sense of self worth when you're told the only way you'll ever be accepted in life is to be thinner.

In college, I dropped down to my healthiest weight yet. But according to all the charts, I was still considered obese. Of course, according to the charts, to be what they want me to be I'd have to be skin and bones.

In Seminary, I struggled with a lot of school work, etc and gained way too much weight. In 2004, I started to put a dent into it. By 2010, I'd lost 100lbs (or more. When I was at my heaviest, no one had a scale that would weigh me outside of a zoo.) In December of 2010, I was up 15 pounds. In February, I was up 20. In May, I was up 30 and rising.

I decided it was time to put a dent in it again. Step by step. Minute by minute. And today, I've lost 5lbs since I started.

One of the things that's been helpful for me has been encouragement from friends and family. It's also been coming back to listening to or reading God's word. I know, I know, so cliche, but honestly, this blog is called Spiritual Musclehead (or as I like to say, come for the zombies, stay for Jesus).

We're so fearfully and wonderfully made. Our physical health affects our emotional/mental and spiritual health. Our emotional/mental health affects our spiritual and physical health and our spiritual health does the same.

And so I trudge on. Sometimes I really don't want to eat that apple. But with zero points for an apple vs a candy bar, well, I'm gonna be stingy and go for that. I don't always want to take that time to read or to pray but I know it's needed for my own health and journey. Other times, I so look forward to it all. I so look forward to eating something good and healthy (I know, scary , huh?).

It's amazing what God can truly do.

What are you doing to keep healthy physically, emotionally and spiritually?