We all have them. EXCUSES! Reasons why we can't accomplish something.
Reason why we can't:
Have extra time
Improve our skills
Better our situation
And many more...
This series exists to hopefully help you and I both stop making excuses. For today's post, I present an amazing athlete by the name Adam Bender. A malignant tumor was discovered in his thigh and by age one doctors had to amputate his leg. Unwilling to ever sit in a wheelchair, Adam has not only managed to continue life in upright position, he is excelling in all kinds of sports. Below is a clip from his most recent baseball season and as you will see, nothing slows this young man down. For more about Adam CLICK HERE for the ESPN article. Enjoy and STOP making excuses!
We live in trifling and uncertain times. I tend to highlight the more concerning topics fairly often. So in effort to be fair and balanced, it seems appropriate for me to present another series that highlights people, events, accomplishments, and the rays of light God gives us for encouragement sake.
This week I have fifty-five year old, homeless man Billy Ray Harris who mistakenly became the recipient of a woman's very expensive engagement ring. She had put the ring in her coin purse but forgot about it when dumping it's contents into Billy's cup. He had no idea it was there until he counted his contributions at the end of the day. Figuring it was a fake, he took it to a jeweler to have it appraised. That's when he realized someone must have made a mistake. The jeweler offered him $4000 on the spot for it and he refused.
Billy admits to considering the temptation especially in his circumstances of poverty but instead he held onto it hoping to run back into the owner. Sure enough, realizing the mistake she'd made Sarah Darling did indeed return to him in hopes that she would be able to reclaim her sentimental prize. He handed her the ring, much to her delight and felt so compelled to express thanks that she gave him every dollar she had. But it didn't stop there. Her soon to be husband, Bill Krejci set up a donation page and set a goal to raise $1000 dollars for their good Samaritan. As you will see by following THIS LINK, he reached that goal and then some.
I submit that we actually have three heroes in this story. Billy Harris may be the focal point but I think the grateful couple really came through as well.
My eldest son Michael has presented me with a daddy challenge when it comes to organized sports. It never occurred to me that my offspring might not take to such activities in the same way I did, which was very competitively and aggressively. What I may have lacked in talent could usually be masked by this inner desire to never quit and die trying. I sort of thought that was an innate part of being part of the male species but he has proven me wrong. Mackenzie has that kind of hunger but Michael is more cerebral and wants to understand why aggression is useful before he even considers harnessing it. So in other words, he is much smarter than me.
Thankfully he has improved season by season in soccer. He has decided football isn't for him and is now participating in Karate. I had always believed that individual sports might be an area where he would excel but hadn't ever had the opportunity to test the theory. So we started with the Red Tiger program in Denton about 9 weeks ago. The first half of the semester was spent learning the five white belt moves. Michael had trouble with a few moves, especially getting his leg up high when doing a round house or side kick. But for the most part he understood the mechanics and was getting a good workout each week.
Then sparring started. I was worried because he is my non-aggressive kid and let's face it, sparring is a nice word for fighting with pads on. So I coached him like it was a video game (something he excels at) and we talked about various strategies that would give him an advantage against his competitors. Everything from making the first move to putting together combinations that would close the gap between him and the opposing fighter quickly so he could land a scoring strike. I knew if he would listen to me that it had the potential for a good result. But I had no idea just how effective our plan would be. His first sparring practice he won 5 out of 5 matches.
The next week he excitedly asked me to help him come up with a few more strategies to add to his already effective arsenal. I thought it was a good idea since some of his competitors might be picking up on his methods and adjusting to them. So we hatched a few other options so that he could change things up as needed. He officially ended this semester with 20 wins and 1 loss and even took home the first place trophy at the tournament. I really could not be more proud and I certainly believe we've found his niche. Karate for as physically demanding as it may be is a very cerebral sport. It requires you to analyze your opponent and always be looking for a weakness or point-scoring opening. All of which Michael is well suited to take on.
There is something very rewarding beyond trophies and ribbons when your child finds a place and activity to plug their God-given abilities into. I highly recommend you take the time and let your children find their niche as well!
And by horse I actually mean bike. And by bike I mean my Motobecane Record road bike not the BMX variety I might have piloted as a child. This is the steed that has taken me across several MS150 finish lines and 30 to 50 mile workouts over the last decade. But I will admit both me and the bike had to shake off some dust due to prolonged periods of neglect. I am, despite having lost 30 pounds last Fall, back to my squishy state and poor cardio fitness level. I haven't gained all 30 back but close to 20 which is just sad really.
So I decided to load the bike into the minivan and the entire family went to the in-laws for a swim. The plan was to ride home which I originally calculated to be around 8 miles distance. That kind of distance is nothing to brag about when most cyclists do a minimum of 30 per workout but closer to 60 if they have the time. But I figured between the extreme summer heat and my conditioning this would be a good way to break my body in slowly. So I took off and kept a pretty decent pace getting out of Bridalwood with an average MPH of 18. I figured this should only take me about 30 minutes to get to the house so I left a little bit ahead of my wife hoping to arrive at the house about the same time.
Overall the ride was a good one. It was good enough that I will excitedly look for another opportunity in the near future to venture out again. But I underestimated three factors that ultimately made this first trek out a bit more miserable than it needed to be. (1) The heat. This was around 4:30PM which is when the hottest part of the day is finally giving way to some cooler temps but in Dallas that can take hours. It was like riding through warm butter. It was stifling and made me constantly have to gulp water down, which in turn filled my stomach too fast and created a bit of nausea. (2) The hills. All cyclists have their love/hate relationship with hills. When we are in top form, we love to conquer them and imagine we've just won king of the hill in the Tour De France. When we are in squishy form, like I am, they are the bane of our existence. This ride home had two really tough hills that almost brought me to my knees. (3) The distance. Thankfully I didn't underestimate this one too bad. But I did end up travelling 10 miles instead of 8. Despite all these factors and a five minute roadside break to catch my breath the total ride time was 40 minutes.
The endorphin's soon took over and I caught the bug to start working out again. Let's see if I can't get back down to fighting weight again.
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I have been in a slump for a while now. I've barely managed to make any Youtube videos and even this blog has suffered from less frequent posting. I've been going about my day in an almost depressing manner waiting for something or someone to inspire me. Its not a constant state of sadness or anything...its just a gnawing ache in the soul that things are not completely good, or as they should be. And I am not talking about the knowledge or understanding that this world is fallen. I am talking about what is for me, these occasional time periods where I feel sidelined by God.
This morning, after what seems like months of this, I had clarity on what was wrong and how to fix it. God very clearly communicated with me that I had my priorities out of whack a bit and how I have made something in my life into an idol. That sounds very pagan and evil of me, doesn't it? Perhaps those labels do fit in some fashion but all one has to do in order to have an idol is to elevate said item beyond its proper importance. You can make an idol out of your family, out of your job, out of success, and out of your wife. All of those things are wonderful but if you value your job over your family you've made the job an idol.
Perhaps the strangest thing about these times for me is that I recognize when I am in them but have almost zero motivation to do anything about it. I am sure I could have reached this point of clarity weeks ago if I had done some soul searching and actively pursued resolution. But like a pig wallowing in his mud, I made excuses about why I needed to lay there a little longer. "Oink. Oink."
Thanks be to God for helping me turn the corner this morning. I challenge you to get out of your slump if you're in one and STAY out of them if you're not!