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


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?)


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.

Sorry, I’ve Been Busy – Back to Barefoot Stuff

October 1, 2011

Sorry, but I’ve been really busy with my new site and have sort of neglected my barefoot blog.

In my quest to complete the AWAI online Accelerated Copywriter’s Program by the end of the year, as well as some additional training models, I’ve let my posting on barefootin’ slide for a few weeks.

For those of you that read this blog, you may remember that I have a goal to change my career path for next year.  I have always wanted to be able to respond when asked, “What do you do?” with the answer, “I’m a freelance copywriter.”

So that’s what I’ve been focusing my work on the last month or so, to the detriment of my other sites, including this one.  But this morning brought me back to it – I finished my shift (I work nights, generally from 9PM to 5AM), and during the night, had an opportunity to speak to some of the tenants and their guests about barefoot living.

To refresh your memory (and mine), I work as a “Courtesy Patrol” person – not a security guard, because as management as emphasized, we don’t ‘secure’ anything.  Basically, I Observe & Report for management of the property, a 200-unit apartment complex located in Claremont, CA near the Claremont colleges.  I walk through the complex, mostly on the street (an oval that runs around and through the apartments) and enforce the 24/7 parking by permit only rules.

If you park on our property, either as a resident or as a guest of one of the tenants, you must have a temporary parking permit or an authorized parking decal.  One gets the temp permit by calling the courtesy patrol person on the cell phone provided for that purpose.  All residents sign a form in their lease package that says they understand this rule… but it’s amazing how many people don’t read the things they sign or think the rule won’t apply to them.

Of course, after two warnings, one of 72 hours and a second and last one of 24 hours, when they have to pay the towing company $325.00 to get their vehicle back, they do become true believers.  I’ve officially been here in this job a year now, and no one has had to be reminded again once their car (or their friends’ car) has been towed.  But I digress.

After clocking in at 9:00 PM, I spoke briefly with the residents and their guests at the fireplace patio.  We have two large patio areas near the leasing office; one at the gated pool area and one by the outdoor fireplace, also near two BBQ set-ups.  After my second patrol round, I stopped and asked the tenants if they were planning to attend the October 15th “Fall Festival” meet and greet the apartment management was putting on; Taco Man catering the food, gifts and prizes for people who dress up (I know, it’s two weeks before Halloween), and candy for everyone.

When asked what costume I’d be wearing, I responded that my loincloth wouldn’t be back from the cleaners and my knife was still being sharpened at the cutlery shop, so coming as Tarzan this year was probably out.  But whatever I wore, I’d be barefoot.

This generated a couple of comments, among them, “Cool.”  and “Can I come barefoot too?”

I said of course, there’s no law against it.  And this then developed into conversations about wanting to go barefoot more often, where I’ve been barefoot, who let’s me shop barefoot and where I have to wear some kind of footwear, etc.

I explained that for the most part I tried to avoid places that would not let me shop or eat there barefoot, but for the few places I either had to go to or my wife insisted I attend with her, I kept a pair of flip-flops in the car.  I shared that Coco’s Bakery and Restaurant in Upland asked me to either get shod or leave (even though I’d eaten there barefoot a few times before).  I asked the shift manager who said this, “why?” and re responded with it’s a health code requirement.  My wife and I both – almost simultaneously – said, “No, it’s not.”  We explained there is no such provision in the health code for the entire state of California and while, it might be a company requirement, it was not a health department issue.

He back-pedaled and hemmed & hawed, but stood by his comment that I either put something on my feet or he would ask to leave the premises.  Not wanting to cause a scene, and because my wife really had her heart set on Eggs Benedict, I went out to the car and slipped on my flip-flops.  Needless to say, we will not be returning to that Coco’s for meals any time soon.

Just a couple of miles away, the Carrows Restaurant has never had a problem with my being barefoot.  The waitress one evening even called over the shift manager to check out my big toes – my wife got me a pedicure for our anniversary and I had the young lady who did my feet draw a palm tree on each big toe – they thought it was terrific and never once said or implied any disapproval of my being barefoot in their place.

I spoke with the tenants and their guests (turned out to be her sister and brother-in-law) some about barefooting, and they asked for more info.  No problem.  I provided them with three basic sites to start with:  PrimalFootAlliance dot org, Barefooters dot org, and of course, my own site, barefootchuck at wordpress dot com.  I also gave them my email address (barefootpilgrim13@gmail.com) and said if they had any other questions I might be able to answer or help with, if they did not catch me as I was making rounds throughout the night at work, to go ahead and email me.

So we’ll see each other again, and especially at the Fall Festival; although I will be barefoot, I still don’t know what I’ll be costumed as – but rest assured, with my physique, it ain’t gonna be Tarzan.

Asked and Answered

August 7, 2011

Asked of me again:  “What diet do you follow?”

Response:  I practice a personal eating plan that is low-fat, high-raw, (mostly) vegan… but I’m not dogmatic about it; I will still occasionally eat meat, fish and eggs – I just limit them much more than I used to and I’ve seen a loss of over 20 pounds in the last few months.

It works for me – weight loss, better energy, more go and less fatigue – and that’s what is important; find an eating plan that works for you.

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

10 Quotes to Inspire Cycling

June 30, 2011

10 Quotes to Inspire Cycling –

There’s lots of talk about all the benefits that come from cycling, and in the aftermath of an oil spill that’s proven just why we need to cut our dependence on oil, choosing two wheels instead of four is an even hotter topic than usual.

Now if you haven’t made cycling a part of your everyday lifestyle there’s no time to start like the present, and to get you stoked for your next ride, here are some excellent bike quotes:

01)  “Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race.” – H.G. Wells

02)  “Think of bicycles as rideable art that can just about save the world.”  Grant Petersen

03)   “For instance, the bicycle is the most efficient machine ever created:  Converting calories into gas, a bicycle gets the equivalent of three thousand miles per gallon.”  – Bill Strickland, The Quotable Cyclist  

04)  “The bicycle is just as good company as most husbands and, when it gets old and shabby, a woman can dispose of it and get a new one without shocking the entire community.”  – Ann Strong

05)  “Melancholy is incompatible with bicycling.”  – James E. Starrs

06)  “Life is like riding a bicycle – in order to keep your balance, you must keep moving.”  – Albert Einstein

07)  “Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride.” – John F. Kennedy

08)  “When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bicycle and go out for a spin down the road, without thought on anything but the ride you are taking.” – Arthur Conan Doyle

09)  “Let me tell you what I think of bicycling. I think it has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. It gives women a feeling of freedom and self-reliance. I stand and rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a wheel…the picture of free, untrammelled womanhood.” – Susan B. Anthony

10)  “Bicycling is a big part of the future. It has to be. There’s something wrong with a society that drives a car to workout in a gym.” – Bill Nye the Science Guy


From a post in 08/2010 in ElephantJournal.com


The Invitation

June 30, 2011

It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living.

I want to know what you ache for,

and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s desire.

It doesn’t interest me how old you are.

I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love,

for your dreams, for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon.

I want to know if you have touched the center of your sorrow,

if you have been opened by life’s betrayals, or have become

shriveled and closed for the fear of future pain.

I want to know if you can sit with pain, mine or your own,

without moving to hide it, fade it, or fix it.

I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own,

if you can dance with wildness and let ecstasy fill you to the tips

of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful,

to be realistic, or to remember the limitations of human beings.

It doesn’t interest me if the story you’re telling me is true.

I want to know if you disappoint another to be true to yourself,

if you can bear the accusations of betrayal and not betray your own soul.

I want to know if you can be faithful and therefore be trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see beauty, even when it is not pretty

every day, and if you can source your life from its presence.

I want to know if you can live with failure, yours or mine, and still

stand on the edge of the lake and shout to the silver moon “Yes!”

It doesn’t interest me to know where you live or

how much money you have.

I want to know if you can get up after a night of grief and despair,

weary and bruised to the bone, and do what needs to be done for

the children.

It doesn’t interest me to know who you are now or how

you came to be here.

I want to know if you will stand in the center of the fire with me

and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom you have studied.

I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away.

I want to know if you can be alone with yourself,

and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.

(by  Oriah Mountain Dreamer)