Tag Archives: farmlife

Seasons

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Fall

I realized this week that our second winter on the farm in Illinois is quickly approaching and I am looking forward to it! Living most of my life in California, I never experienced the changing seasons or the beauty of fall in the countryside.  When I lived in Brooklyn and Manhattan I would just get on a plane and head back home to California for a week each month when it got cold.

I never dreamed that I would be living on a farm with chickens, honey bees, ducks, dogs and acres of corn and beans. The chicken breasts I bought in the grocery store always came wrapped in plastic. I’ve learned that they do not start that way.  

It has been a period of learning.  I have learned about another way of life and I have also learned a lot about myself.

My life has been a series of small changes that have taken place very slowly because I was afraid of change. God wanted to heal my stone heart, but I resisted it along the way.  Looking back I have to laugh at myself because all of this could have been much easier.

 I took the long way.   How many of you resist change?  I did for so long because I wanted to hold on to some vague idea I had about myself.  I was a slave to ideas and thoughts that kept me in various states of the same place in life.

Today, I want to work on everything in my life that I feel could change for the better.  I want to do it all at once, but I know that I have to work on one thing at a time.  Trying to move fast or working on too many problems at once will just lead to failure. Do you try to accomplish so much at one time that you end up getting nothing finished?

I think about where I am now in life and I feel this is where I should be at this time.  It is another learning stage where I will be until I have grown and am ready for the next stage.  Have you ever thought about the stages we go through and what purpose they serve?

Growing up we had a small lawn that took me at most a half an hour to mow.  When I was older I just hired a gardener like everyone else.  Mowing the grass on the farm takes me four to six hours and at some point it in the seasons it may even need to be done twice a week. There are days that can be so hot that I’m drenched in sweat or it can be so cold that I have to cover every part of my body to stay warm.  I enjoy mowing, it gives me time to think about everything.  It is a little like hitting a heavy bag with music blaring.  The rest of the world does not matter.  I am concentrating on a simple task, from start to finish.  Do you have anything in your life like that?

Living in Los Angeles I used to wake up at 4am so I could hike with Phoenix (my dog) every morning.  It was a perfect time when the city was quiet and dark.  I loved being up in the hills of the park when it was dark.  Here there are no hills but there is plenty of open space and lots of stars to see. I had to change things up after we adopted Henry (our other dog) so that I had more time in the morning. 3am is my new time to hit the road with the two dogs.  I am often asked how I do it at that time.  It is easy because it is my regular schedule.  I am committed to take out my dogs for a walk every morning no matter what.  Do you value your commitments?  Will you keep them even when it is hard or the weather is bad?

There is an added benefit with the early walks.  I get to see a lot of wildlife that most people never get to see.  I have seen coyotes, skunks, a bobcat, lots of raccoons, owls, a bald eagle, and many deer.   I get to learn about the land and what it supports.  I also add a few miles of cardio to my day.

Our lives are not straight lines to our destinations.  Life isn’t one long season, but more like the weather in the midwest, with seasons of growth, harvest and some cold hard winters and other lighter winters.  I have enjoyed the beautiful colors of fall this month and I am looking forward to this coming second winter.  Then, a new spring where everything comes back alive.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

1 To everything

, there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

6 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

7 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

8 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

Ezekiel 11:19

19 I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.

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Freedom is not Free

 

 

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Freedom

Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness… often attributed incorrectly to the Constitution, they are the famous words found in the Declaration of Independence.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

You are free to choose how you spend your time, where you live, what you read, the words you speak, and the future you work towards.  There are no hordes of barbarians at your gates, no wild beasts hunting you, you don’t have to spend your days gathering and hunting for your meals.  If you believe you are being held down by some force, then you are – you will be holding yourself back.

So where is your time spent?  This is where the small steps and freedom of choice come into play daily our lives. Will you watch a tv drama, a sports game, or go to the gym?  We can spend our time on distractions or we can better ourselves and those around us. Exercise will make you feel better physically and mentally.  If you feel better, those around you will notice and be inspired.  Lead by example.  Will you spend an hour on Facebook or pick up a book and feed your mind?

Liberty, wrote Thomas Jefferson, is “unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others.”  We are all given the right to do as we choose, as long as it does not infringe on others.   

Many people confuse unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as the right to be cared for and have our needs met for us.  Our needs being met is not something we are owed by being born.  We have the freedom to choose how we meet them through our decisions and how we spend our time.

Government was never intended to take care of our needs – that is what we are intended to use our freedom to accomplish.  That and so much more! The beauty of life in our day is that meeting needs is just the beginning, the limit is the limit of your dreams and your hard work.

Very few people living in the United States understand this concept. Many people would prefer for the government to be our surrogate parents, taking care of us from the cradle to the grave.  That has become a big pattern of this world.  Paul writes in Romans that as Christians we are not to be conformed to the patterns of our world, but instead we should renew our minds, take care of our bodies, and seek God’s will.  Are you renewing your mind? Taking care of your Body?  Is your goal, as Paul instructs, to find and follow God’s will for your life?

ROMANS 12
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Fitness & Faith

 

 

Moving from Los Angeles was exciting and scary all at the same time.  I knew I could always train people while I wrote on the side.  I had no idea if I could still sell anything I wrote, being so far away from Hollywood and all the producers.  

I love the martial arts and I love strength training.  In Los Angeles,

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Old School Boxing

I worked for Justin Fortune, a former boxer who fought Lennox Lewis the heavyweight champion who knocked out Mike Tyson.

Justin is a world class trainer who excels at strength and conditioning.  He is very sought after by elite athletes in combat sports. He trains Manny Pacquiao before his fights. I learned a lot from Justin and from all the top-ranked talent that came into his gym. Justin would pass off clients to me that he was too busy to train.  He gave me fighters and actors who I ended up training for a long time.  

One time Justin passed off a young kid named Santiago who was training for a film role.  He was not understanding the proper form for punches or the footwork, but he was willing to put in the time each day to get better. As I watched his boxing and physique improve over time, I also noticed his demeanor and confidence change.  Seeing someone change in front of my eyes was great.

My ministry as a Christian is helping those around me achieve their goals through physical health.  Ministry is about each of us helping those that we can, in ways that we are best equipped to do so.  I started training people in our basement and outside. My approach is simple, I teach each person like I am teaching a professional.  I explain it, show them, and if they choose to listen I show them some more. If they just want to get in a workout and aren’t interested in learning proper technique, I back off on technique.  Usually, after a time, they will also want to improve their form. I introduce them to a strength and conditioning program that is based on the programs we used for conditioning fighters in Los Angeles.  Each person can go at their own speed and level.

After the big move, I wanted to start training people again in the Midwest.  I knew it would take some time to build up clientele.   Not long after moving, I was sent this link to a video about a gym named Rock Steady Boxing that teaches boxing for Parkinson’s patients. You can see an improvement in the quality of life after a few weeks in every patient who trains.  I called them and tried to get into one of their weekend training programs, but they were booked until late in the year 2016. I added my name to a waiting list and received an email in March of 2016 that someone had canceled and they could fit me in that month if I was available – which I was.  

The three days I trained at Rock Steady Boxing were life changing for me because I was taught about the disease by leading doctors, researchers and professors in the field, and I worked with actual Parkinson’s patients.  One of the men in my group, Daniel, had just been diagnosed with Parkinson’s.  I could see that it was weighing heavy on him.  Daniel was a pastor in the south who wanted to learn the Rock Steady Boxing program to help others while he helped himself.  Daniel had no boxing or training experience, so we partnered up and I helped him as much as I could.  I showed him how to hold focus mitts and to throw punches.

I worked with many patients over the next few days and I saw the same thing in every one of their eyes.  I saw hope!  It was the first time since they were diagnosed with Parkinson’s that they could do something to help themselves.  A way to improve their health and fight back.  I watched and trained them as they joked and laughed. I was excited to find a way to branch out my ministry – this was something I could do and be proud of doing!

I started training my first Parkinson’s patient just over three months ago, and the changes have been amazing.  He is stronger and his balance and coordination are off the charts now.  I have him doing complicated footwork drill and he can keep up. The bonus is that I train his wife at the same time and she has also seen some amazing gains.  Rock Steady Boxing gym always trains the spouse or caregiver alongside the patient, and they are referred to as “the cornerman.”

In my regular early morning fitness boxing classes, I recently gained another mature adult in my class, and I can see she is also making gains.  When we get older we tend to think there is not much we can do. Wrong!  There is much more that can be done, you just have to approach it in new ways.

Many people, believers, and non forget about their health or put it on the backburner.  They forget that we must all take care of our bodies. God calls us to take care of the bodies he has given us so that we are strong enough to do his work.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Or do you not know that your body, is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
Rock Steady Boxing:

http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/boxing-program-trains-patients-to-beat-parkinsons/