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resolved

January 8, 2011 Leave a comment

Happy (week after) New Year!

I’m not much on resolutions. I don’t do well with the “I’m never (always) going to (insert thing here) for the rest of my life starting today.” I’ve found that I am not remotely disciplined enough to keep to those kinds of things. I wish I were in some ways because there are some things in me that could stand that kind of once and for all treatment. But alas.

All that being said, the newness of a new year feels like a good environment to think about directions I’ve taken and directions I want to pursue in the days ahead. So here’s the list. At least for now. The odds are good that I’ve forgotten something vital, but it’s a start.

1. Chase Jesus to be more like him. There’s never going to be a list like this that doesn’t have this on it because I’m pretty sure (read: “certain”) that I will have a long way to go for the rest of my life. God knows I sure do at this point.

2. Love more and better and louder. I want to love people more. Family, friends, neighbors, colleagues, students, and everybody else. But I want to do it in ways that demonstrate that love loudly and leave no room for doubt. I’m not good at it – it’s not a natural thing for me. But as #1 happens, I’m trusting that this will follow.

3. Get healthier. This isn’t a “go to the gym every day and lose 100 lbs by summer kind of thing”, I just want to undo the damage that has been done by five years of school life. Eat better, sleep more, get out on my bike. I’m never going to be “little”, but I want to feel and be better as I am.

4. Enjoy what I’m doing. I love teaching. I love being around and interacting with students. I even like the prep work that goes into making class happen. In fact, there isn’t much about academic life that I don’t like. But I sure do catch myself griping about it a lot. And I hate that. So I’m going to focus on enjoying it and making sure those around me know how I really feel about this life I’m chasing.

5. Do what I enjoy. It drives me crazy that lately I haven’t found (made) time to do the stuff I love – photography, music, reading, writing,  movies, hanging out with people, and on and on (not even sure I remember how to play golf anymore). It boils down to going for it when the mood strikes and not finding something else that needs to be done. Yet another area that requires intention. See a pattern yet?

6. Matter. One of the real traps of academia is spending all of your time talking about everything but not really doing anything. I kind of there. And I hate it. I have always made time to coach the boys in whatever they were doing (whether I knew anything about it or not) and I love that. But there are other Kingdom kinds of things that I want to be a part of and ideas that have been spinning for years that need action. None of it’s happening right now. But it’s coming.

That’s plenty for one lifetime. If you’re the praying sort, when you think of me it would be great if you’d remember some of this. If you make a list, I’ll do the same for you. Who knows how far any of it will go, but desire is the first step, right?

Categories: creativity, else, health, Jesus, life

two-wheeled worldview

October 4, 2010 Leave a comment

Last spring, I bought a bicycle and tried to get serious about riding. After a season of fits and starts, I had a “breakthrough” about a month ago that has led to me getting out and riding quite a bit. While I’m nowhere near the level of some of my hardcore friends who ride for hours at a time, I’m up to about 12 miles a trip and really starting to enjoy how it feels to cover the miles and overcome the obstacles that present themselves on the road.

As I was on my ride yesterday morning (and loving the 45 degree weather), I found myself thinking about how different the perspective is when you are traveling under your own power. I don’t know if it’s being exposed to everything around you or the work required to get somewhere, but, for me, things are different on my bike. While not earth-shattering in any form, the differences seem significant to me.

1. You see things differently: I was riding down a road that I drive almost every day, but the (much) slower pace revealed some things about the familiar setting. I found 2 or 3 spots that I want to come back to with my camera to shoot. There is a lot more time to notice and anticipate hills and potential troubles ahead. I’ve seen snakes, massive caterpillars and grasshoppers, and some great sunrises.

2. You hear things: When I was just riding a loop around the neighborhood, I wore headphones. Now that I’m out on the open road, I leave them off so I can hear traffic and rabid dogs coming after me. But I hear a lot more than that. Just a mile or so south of my house is almost rural. There’s a rooster that I hear every morning and a couple of donkeys that I’ve never seen, but hear all the time. Yesterday I was riding along a stretch of road bordered by tall grass and kept hearing small animals or birds running away as I passed.

3. You hear yourself: I don’t just mean the gasping for air and popping knees (although I hear plenty of both), but thoughts, prayers, and even random songs (Radiohead’s “Creep” was on constant rotation yesterday). My time on the bike has turned into meditation, revelation, even inspiration. I don’t live a life with a lot of quiet hours, but if I’m going to ride, I don’t have a choice.

4. You hear God: The heavens really do declare the glory of the Lord. The rocks (and birds and trees and horses) cry out. All of the sights and sounds and thoughts point back to the One who is waiting out there every morning.

When I bought the bike to start riding, the point was exercise. What I’m learning is that there is so much more out there than the burned calories and that’s what keeps me pedaling.

Categories: cycling, else, health, Jesus

Oklahoma needs to get fruitier

September 15, 2010 Leave a comment

Last week, the CDC published a report that listed Oklahoma as last in the nation for fruit consumption. According to the MMWR, Oklahoma has the lowest percentage of population that consumes the recommended number of fruit servings per day (2). Two. As in a glass of orange juice and a banana with your cereal – you’re done for the day. At 18.1%, not only are we last in consumption, we are the only state below 22% and are 14 percentage points below the national average (32.5%). Whether ironic or telling, the thing that struck me most about the report on newsok.com was the advertisement that accompanied it (see image). Although it should be noted that fruit is actually presented in the ad.

It’s not surprising that the land of chocolate-covered bacon, deep-fried coke,  and donut burgers as well as city-wide diets sponsored by fast food companies would be averse to knocking back an apple every now and then, but with 1/3 of our state obese and 2/3 overweight (included yours truly), it might be time to reassess our collective position on fruit.

Since seeing the article last week, out household has embarked on a radical initiative to move ourselves into the fruit-consuming minority. We are fast becoming a fruity family. On occasion, some members have even exceeded the number of daily servings recommended by the USDA. Our strategy?

1. Buy fruit.

2. Eat it.

Bold steps? Yes. But quite tasty.

I know not every household in OK has access to good fruit or the ability to pay for it on a regular basis, but most do.  If you’re reading this, odds are you are one of the able ones.

Won’t you join us?

Categories: health, Oklahoma, Oklahoma City