I Stole This Idea – Take Your Nest Best Step

December 8, 2011

(originally posted on my other weblog site, Chuck Pruitt’s Blog)

I subscribe to a weblog called the IF Life.  IF stands for “Intermittent Fasting.”  A cool concept, but not the focus of this post.  I am also into two other ideas of his, Two Meals a Day and BodyBurst Training.  But again, not the focus of this post.

The author, Mike O’Donnell, has an article he wrote and sent in his e-mail newsletter and also put on Facebook this morning.  I read through it rather quickly, as I often do, and then had a “WOW” moment; and went back to re-read it slowly and let the material sink in to my conscious.

I’ve nicknamed the idea “TYNBS” which stands for “Take Your Next Best Step.”  This is the main point of Mike’s simple motto; when you’ve done something that screws up your plans (in health, fitness, diet, training, or even your job, relationships or your lifestyle – don’t sit and whine about it.  Don’t be consumed with guilt.  Don’t even worry about it (okay, take three minutes to worry, then put it in your ‘worry box’ and forget about it).

Decide to TYNBS – Take Your Next Best Step.  As Mike explains, “It doesn’t really matter how you got there, only what you are going to do next.”  His point is this:  Okay, now what?  What are you going to do today?  What is the next best step for you to take now?  Don’t tell me that after Christmas (I really dislike calling this time of year the holidays) you plan to start a new exercise program.  I do not want to hear about the great diet you’re going to be engaged in as a new year’s resolution.  I want you (and especially me) to tell me what you’re going to do now – what’s your “Next Best Step?”

You know I recently posted an article following a small weight gain that I was going to “Quit Bread.”  I know I’m not perfect and may (probably will) slip up and fool myself into thinking, “well, it’s just this one time… I’m having a burger with some friends and I’ll get back on the wagon tomorrow.”  The goal now is to recognize the event if and when it happens and to not beat myself up over it.  I need to Take My Next Best Step.

This simple motto from Mike becomes a mantra.  Didn’t make the time to get the kettlebell swings in – take the next best step.  Disappointed my wife when I forgot to do something she had asked – take the next best step.  Let a day slide without studying my future means of self-employment as a freelance copywriter – take the next best step.  As with any of the areas discussed, including health, fitness, diet, finances, relationships, job or lifestyle, accept the mistake, quickly evaluate the situation, re-focus and determine what it is and “Take Your Next Best Step.”

This is what I’m going to do.  Mike tells us to “reflect and focus on what you want to do in life.  It won’t happen by chance.”  And like he suggests in his post, repeat this process … hourly … daily …monthly … for a lifetime.

You can, and I recommend you do, read his article here.  Then apply the motto to your own life.

~ Chuck


Forgiveness Is Possible

October 28, 2011

Forgiveness Is Possible

 I tried several ways to get in touch with an ‘old’ friend the last 10 days or so.

 I used Facebook.  I tried Linked-In.  I joined his blog site as a member.  I tried to connect by replying to a couple of posts he did on Twitter.

 I even tore though my old files attempting to locate my old personal telephone directory, and upon finding it, called his home number (hoping it had not been changed or disconnected or reassigned to another person) and left a voice mail with my name and cell number and prayed he might call back.

 From his posts on Twitter, web site and blog, I made comments, asked questions, and joined his blog. (InTheBeginningMinistries.blogspot.com)

 I knew that he had gone out of town for a week.  Both to a conference, to see family in Indiana, and to visit the Creation Museum in Ky.  But I had hopes he might call or respond via electronic media.

Tonight (10/27/11), he returned my call.

Getting the conversation started was hard.  Neither of us knew exactly where to begin.  I thanked him for calling me back; and he said part of it was due to his being a pastor now.

Bear in mind, among the posts he had done, one was regarding forgiveness.  And I took advantage of that post to let him know I was one seeking forgiveness (and reconciliation, if possible).  So when he called, part of the start to the conversation was that he felt my original apology from several years ago was either not enough or not meant sincerely… and he was struggling to overcome that feeling.

I immediately realized that one of the reasons we had drifted apart was my failure to follow-up and be sure he knew how sorry I was.  I won’t go into the details here, but I definitely did a wrong to him.  It caused him pain both personally and professionally, and probably led to his having to change jobs.

What he had to overcome and look at to forgive me was HUGE.  It wasn’t a small thing that you can then go back and say, “Oh, that’s okay… we’re friends and he’ll get over it.”  No, it was a cause of great discomfort to him (and as a result, probably his family) and caused me to lose my best friend.  The loss of this man’s trust has been an unbelievable blow to me.  (I still haven’t forgiven myself for this.)

A little background…

In the mid-to-late 70’s, I walked away from God.  I had suffered the loss of some close family members, gone through a divorce from my first wife, and was having major financial problems, and I needed something or someone to blame – you know it couldn’t be my fault or the choices and decisions I’d made.  No.  It must be God’s fault my life was turning to excrement.

And in a series of poor decisions, I managed to break and badly damage what had been an amazing friendship since the 8th grade.

Along with these other bad choices, I knew I desperately needed to escape both my situation and my location – so at the age of 26 I joined Uncle Sam’s Canoe Club (you probably know it better as the U.S. Navy).

 Look out San Diego(boot camp),Groton,CT(submarine school), Dam Neck, VA (A and C schools),Norfolk,VA(USS Henry L. Stimson – Gold crew), Charleston, SC (shore rotation training), King’s Bay, GA (Stimson’s home port), Norfolk, VA (again – USNS Bowditch – a retasked special survey vessel), and  Port Canaveral, FL (USNS Range Sentinel) – as well as Rota, Spain, Lisbon, Portugal, Andros Island, Bahamas, and a few other ports of call.  Yo-ho-yo-ho and a bottle of rum (no, I wasn’t drinking adult beverages, just singing pirate ditties).  A definite change of location(s).

 Then, one day at sea, God finally called me back to Jesus.

 Our ship, the USNS Bowditch, was going through some rough weather (unlike on the subs, we could simply go down a few hundred feet and ignore it).  Conversation turned to the ‘do you believe in God’ and then to “do you believe in Jesus?”  Usually I avoided these discussions, but for some reason (yeah, I know it was the Holy Spirit now too) this time I chimed in.

 I was asked why I believed in Jesus – and “because the Bible tells me so” was not going to be a sufficient response with this group.  In forming my answer, I fell back on my own personal experiences and while explaining my reasons for my faith (including ‘Lord, Liar, Lunatic’), realized I was beginning to practice apologetics (the defense of the faith).

 Suddenly, I’m back to reading the Word.  I’m starting to study again and find proofs to show why I believed in a living, caring, loving Father in heaven and what His Son means to me and wanting to share this with others.

 And others saw a change in me… a re-repentance, if you will.  I’d walked away from God and tried to do things my way and had screwed it up pretty good.  But Jesus called me back to Him and this time I knew He wasn’t promising me a life of ease and no conflict; He was simply saying that with Him, my burdens would never be too heavy and that He would carry me through when I couldn’t make it on my own.

 And that became sort of my reverse challenge to others when discussing God, Jesus and what it meant to be a Christian – I told people, “I’m sorry.  I don’t think you’re tough enough to be a Christian – it ain’t easy to walk that road; to change your worldview; you’ll probably just turn and run when the going gets too difficult (you know, like I did).”

But I also knew that God had forgiven me of my sins – all my sins – past, present and any I’d commit in the future — once and for always.

Which brings me back to the present and that returned phone call.

That we were able to go from a very rough start to our phone conversation to being able to say some of the things that needed to be said and wound up talking for 32 minutes (I know because I checked the timer on my cell phone).

I reached out over the last couple of weeks to try and reestablish a connection with someone who meant a great deal to me; who I loved like a brother.  And, praise God, he did respond.

Will this go any further than his forgiving me?  I don’t know.  I hope it does.  Can we rebuild some kind of a new friendship?  I certainly am praying it might be so.  Can I ever earn his full trust again?  Well, let’s take things as they say, one day at a time.

Forgiveness is possible.  And I thank Jesus for the example He was and what He preached about it.  And I thank my friend for forgiving me and his willingness to see where time and the Lord may take this new beginning.

I won’t embarrass him by naming names.  If he should read this post, he’ll know who I’m speaking to.


Mission Statements

October 8, 2011

Mission Statement.  Vision Statement.  Every organization is supposed to have one – or both.

All week long, a meeting that was held with and for the volunteers at my church a week ago tomorrow has been rattling around in my head and in my heart.

I work nights and after only a couple of hours of sleep this morning, my mind would not stop rerunning the meeting and its significance to me.  Since “it” would not let me relax and clear my mind, I decided I had better get up and write this post.

Pastor Jeff (Burr) led this meeting of volunteers with a focus on sharing his, and the senior staff at church, “vision” for the near and not-so-near future of Crossroads Community Church.  One of the things introduced was a new logo for all the things that will be generated from CCC.  It will also include our Mission Statement.

Pastor Jeff expounded on how many organizations, both Christian and secular, private and public, big and small – all have a Mission Statement.  A paragraph or even a page or two of what the vision, or goals, or “mission” of the company and its employees is all about.

You know, “To serve the best customers in the world,” or “to make more money that God while making the customer feel good about giving us all his disposable income” (okay, it might not read exactly like that one).  But the point is there is usually a lot of flowery phrases that at the end of orientation are all but forgotten and “let’s move on to the next item on your training list.”

Oh, it will be posted on the bulletin board for all to see, right next to the notice regarding minimum wage, who your union rep might be, this year’s holiday schedule, and the next planned sexual harassment training course – no problem; I know how to do that without any special training.

If you were to go around and ask the employee, or even in most cases the management, what their mission state is, most would give you a blank stare, or at best a Reader’s Digest version of said statement.  Ask them what it means to them, and you would probably be back to the blank stare.

Pastor Jeff further explained that when coming up with the condensed, brief Mission Statement for Crossroads Community Church, he felt at first that it cheated us somehow by not being longer and more involved – oh, did I mention that the mission statement for Crossroadsis only four words?  That’s right, four words:  Celebrate.  Connect.  Serve.  Share.  Now that’s a mouthful of vocabulary, ain’t it?

It’s like Pastor Jeff had read “Orwell’s Rules for Writers.”

(1)  If it’s possible to cut out a word, cut it out;  (2) Never use a long word where a short one will do;  (3) Never use a passive when you can use an active (word);  (4) Avoid foreign and technical words;  (5) Never use a metaphor that you’ve seen it print; and (6) Break any of these rules to avoid something outlandish.

You’ll notice it this post that I’m not doing a real good job of following Orwell’s rules.  But that’s a post for another time.

“The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.”  ~ Thomas Jefferson

I like that.  Haven’t learned to apply it as well as I could, but as you can see from our Mission Statement, Pastor Jeff nailed it.

There are volumes of words and meaning summed up in each of those four words.

Celebrate.  This is mostly the Sunday worship experience.  It includes the usual standard church-formatted procedures:  greetings, prayer, “celebrating” in song and worship, a message by the pastor sharing what God has laid on his heart to bring to the congregation (in this we at Crossroads are truly blessed – from our current senior pastor (Jeff Burr), to the pastor ‘emeritus’ (Jeff’s father and previous senior pastor, Dan Burr), to guest pastors like Bob Orr and Steve Hays.)  Wow, that’s a lot of parentheses [ ( ) ] !!

Celebrate is not only a Sunday morning and/or Wednesday evening thing; it is an all week long frame of mind, hopefully dominating your thoughts and processes throughout the week as you further seek to be in celebration with God, your family and friends, your co-workers, and people you don’t even know but who see something “different” in you.

What?  Monday through Saturday others don’t know or can’t tell you’re a ‘Christian’?  They don’t see you in celebration?  You’re not singing songs about Jesus along with the CD player in your car?  We need to talk.

Which brings us to the second word in our Mission Statement:

Connect. Connecting is about much more than just being with others at church and asking, “How are you?” or “How was your week?”, and then not really paying attention to the answer, especially if the response is just a quick, “Oh, I’m doing good,” or “Hey, great, how about you?”

Connecting at church should help you know more about each other, more than a surface patina of shared intent (here to worship, tocelebrate), or just catching up on what each other has been doing since last Sunday’s get together.  Connecting is that act (remember, active, not passive) of really being in rapport with and wanting to be available to help, to serve (but that’s another Mission Statement word we’ll get to shortly), to know what’s happening in someone else’s life and not only being concerned with your own.

Connect also means to be reaching out to others beyond your church’s walls.  When was the last time you asked a friend to come attend church and worship with you?  Do you have friends at work that might be offended if you asked them to stop by a check out this awesome church you get to attend?  Take a risk – ask anyway.  You might be surprised to find out they’ve been wondering about where youcelebrate.

Pretty amazing, huh?  All that, and we’re only half way through the four word Mission Statement.  And what we’ve discussed so far does not even come close to covering all that Pastor Jeff shared about these two words.  And if you think about it, with an open mind and a prayerful heart, you would probably come up with dozens more reasons and explanations of what Celebrate and Connect mean to you.

Serve is the third word in our Mission Statement.  It also has many obvious and nuanced meanings.  It is, of course, serving our master and savior Jesus Christ.  At the heart of the matter, this is my ultimate purpose, to be here to serve my God, to be an ‘Ambassador for Christ’ as Greg Koukl of Stand to Reason says, to be available as told in 1 Peter 3:15 (look it up if you don’t remember), although that is also part of the 4th word in the Mission Statement.

But we not only serve God, we serve one another.  We serve fellow Christians, make ourselves available to our friends and co-workers, seek to be of service to anyone who needs our help, our support, our friendship – and we strive to do all this without thought of reward or enumeration.  Humbly.  Sometimes even sacrificially.  But to serve has no greater calling in the kingdom of God.

And finally, we discussed the fourth and last word of our Mission Statement.  Share.  This is again part of 1 Peter 3:15 (But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord.  Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,…) Sharing is not only a command, a recommendation, it is the underlying premise of being a Christian, of seeking to fulfill the Great Commission, of wanting to tell everybody about the hope that is within you.

It’s not only about sharing with your friends and neighbors, but with the people at work, the stranger on the street (okay, I know that one’s hard), about mission work, both locally and world-wide.  “If you ain’t sharin’ then you ain’t carin’” is how my grandma would have expressed it.

So there you have it.  I just had to get up and put this to pen (or, if truth be told, to word processor).  Maybe now I lay back down and go to sleep.  I’ll only get about three hours if I’m lucky, then I have to (want to) get up and shave and shower and get ready for the 6PM southern gospel quartet concert Bonnie and I are going to (“Don’t you just love that gospel music?)

CELEBRATE.  CONNECT.  SERVE.  SHARE.

I hope (and pray) I’ve done justice to what Pastor Jeff had to say at the volunteer meeting; but this is what I got out of it and what it meant to me.


Greatest Speech Ever?

September 15, 2011

While doing some homework on a copywriting class (learn more at http://www.thecopywriterguy.wordpress.com), I took a break for a cup of tea and checked my google+ stream – and came across this YouTube video post by Leo Babauta:

http://youtu.be/WibmcsEGLKo 

Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

~ Barefoot Chuck


Be Water, My Friend

September 4, 2011

A short video clip from Bruce Lee –

http://youtu.be/USlnfTGlhXc 

It’s very short, but very insightful…

~ barefoot chuck

 


Things That Make You Go… Hmmm – Barefoot Edition

July 14, 2011

Found this gem on the website of Barefoot Canada that talks about some of the things people say about barefooting that makes you wonder where their thinking process is at:

http://barefootcanada.org/feet-and-society/things-that-make-you-go-hmm-the-barefoot-edition/ 

These thoughts really do make one go… Hmmm?

Check this article out,

~ barefoot chuck

 


It’s Official – I’m Training for a Sprint Triathlon

July 14, 2011

It’s official! 

I am going to be training for a sprint triathlon – actually, a reverse sprint triathlon.

Instead of the standard Swim-Bike-Run format, the Tinsel Triathlon this coming December 11, 2011, puts the order of events as Run-Bike-Swim.  The distances are a 5-Kilometer RUN, 12-mile BIKE, and a 150-meter SWIM (in a heated pool).

The biggest obstacle will be whether or not I can rehab and strengthen a right knee that has seen much abuse, including major surgery way back in 1973.  Since then, I was able to make it through Navy boot camp in 1979; however, in the last several years, I have failed to take proper care of the knee (and the rest of my bodily shell as well).

So, in order to get the body back into a state of health, fitness and superior conditioning, I chose as a goal to complete a short-distance triathlon.  Regular training for the events, general exercises for improved fitness, strength, and flexibility, and a diet that is low-fat, high-raw, (mostly) vegan will make up the bulk of the next 21 weeks.

I have access to a pool at my apartment complex (20 yards only, but one has to start somewhere), my bike is a Trek 7.2 Hybrid (part mountain bike/part commuter/part street bike), and I own a pair of running shoes (don’t know if I’ll be allowed to run the race barefoot – so I’ll probably prepare to race in the same shoes for running and cycling (not cycling shoes, cleats or toe straps).  As a minimalist in training, I want to also take advantage of the opportunity to prove (to myself mostly) I can complete the race with minimal, basic equipment.  Besides, my budget does not allow for bringing in any new, more modern gear.  Hence, I’ll be doing this, as they say, old school.

I will be six days past my 59th birthday on race day; my goal is not to win the race, or my age group… it is to (1) finish the race, (2) complete it in a ‘respectable’ time, and, most of all, (3) to have fun doing it.

I am calling on several disciplines to help me out:  a modified 80-10-10 diet per Dr. Doug Graham, basic yoga movements, simple body-weight exercises, a couple of kettlebells, and the ‘tools of trade’ so-to-speak, a pool, a bicycle, and a pair of running shoes.

This blog is now going to be a training log / record for myself as well as a place to put down my feelings, insights, and comments as I progress over the next 21 weeks.

~ barefoot chuck