#57. Getting Older

Old_man

Yesterday morning I woke up and couldn’t feel my right arm. From the shoulder down, I felt nothing but a slightly numb tingling sensation. After laying there in bed for several minutes, waiting for it to come back to life and thinking about how I almost always sleep with my arm over my head or stretched out under me and how I should really stop doing it for just this reason, I headed in to the bathroom to begin the daily routine, but as I reached up into the medicine cabinet to get my contacts, unexpected and definitely unwelcome pain shot through my arm. Evidently the previous night’s sleeping position also caused some minor injury, but nearly 36 hours later, it’s not much better.

Are you old? It’s an easy answer if you can’t even remember being young. I’m pretty sure I’m in that middle area right now. The only pain I ever had growing up that lasted more than 24 hours was after doing slide steps during the first week of basketball each year. Now I’m beginning to notice aches and pains from everyday activities or inactivity like sleeping.

Perhaps we are just less aware when we are young. I’ve found myself incredibly attentive to weather conditions the older I’ve gotten. Forget about temperature. It barely got over 100 degrees today. Bring on 115. But humidity… now there’s a nuisance. Humidity is Public Enemy Number One in my book. If you think Hell is going to be hot, you’re right, but it’s also going to be humid, and I mean absolutely stifling. People in Hell will be in a constant state of perspiration. Here in the physical world, it can only reach 100% relative humidity. That’s all the moisture the air is capable of holding at a given temperature, but in Hell, in the spiritual world, it’s gonna be closer to 200%. I can totally understand why Rob Bell is trying to prove there is no Hell. He understands what the humiditary implications are, but we can’t just pretend it doesn’t exist! Listen to me Rob. I know how much you hate humidity. I hate it too, but Jesus died for our sins, so we can live in Heaven forever where it’s nice and dry. Not so dry that you get nose bleeds and have to use skin lotion, but comfortably dry.

How old are you?

 

#56. Christian vs. Christ Follower – Theological Thursday

Bible_belt_buckle

You may or may not have noticed, but in many of my profiles, I describe myself first and foremost as a Christ Follower. There has been some controversy around this and I’ve read several articles on both sides of the fence, but I do this simply because I believe the core of my identity is found in Jesus Christ. He died for my sins and rose from the grave justifying me and giving me right standing before God, and I try to live my life in such a way that reflects that incredible gift of grace.

But many people get hung up on the terminology of Christian vs Christ Follower. Are they the same thing? Maybe. Maybe not. If a person believes in Christ, that He was and is the son of God, that He died for their sins and rose again. And if that belief stirs up affection and desire to be obedient to His commands, to love Him because He first loved us, then that person is a Christian or whatever label they choose to describe the relationship.

The reason I choose to use the term Christ Follower is for only one reason: To make people think. Sure it probably means the exact same thing as Christian, at least by my definition, but here in Dallas, smack dab in the middle of the Bible Belt, everyone is a Christian. Heck, Fort Worth could probably pass as that belt buckle in the picture, which would make Dallas that first belt loop you slide the extra part of the belt through. Meaning the Bible Belt is literally two layers thick here in Dallas. (Dang, I knew it was bad, but I had no idea, until I followed the analogy all the way through.) Here in Texas you don’t ask what religion you are or what denomination. It’s just assumed that you believe in God. The polite question is “Where do you go to church?”

Anyway, a good friend of mine introduced me to the idea of using the phrase Christ Follower, and even if it only makes someone stop for half a second to think about what that actually means, or to spark a follow-up question, I think it’s worth it.

Question for Texans:

            Where do you go to church? And what do you call yourself?

Question for everyone else:

            What do you believe in?

 

#55. Caloric Counting

Myfitnesspal

My former friend, Blake, recently made me aware of a free app for iPhone that he just started using. MyFitnessPal is a great way to keep track of your calorie intake, and after gaining almost seven pounds in about two weeks, thanks to some great cooking up in Minnesota and an endless buffet of food on a cruise ship, I was staring at a scale that displayed numbers I’ve never seen before and thought it might be time to take drastic measures to reverse those effects. (Dang! That may be the single longest sentence I’ve ever written.) This app is great. (Huh, I realized I said “great” but didn’t believe it enough to exclaim it, so maybe the app is just “pretty good”.) It has an website where you can also update your daily diary. It has an expansive catalog of searchable foods and beverages with pre-entered nutrition facts. It has a bar code scanner to automatically import data. And if you can’t find what you are looking for, just add it yourself for you own future use and everyone else.

So with all of these great features, the next question you’re probably asking is, “Why is Blake your former friend?” First off, that’s a great question! Secondly, he wasn’t aware we were no longer friends, so this post is putting him on notice. And thirdly, he’s a pretty cool guy, but based on my current weight, goal weight and activity level, MyFitnessPal recommends only 1,670 calories per day, until I reach my objective. So we’ll probably still hang out, but we won’t be friends for about 15 weeks, or until I give up.

So aside from losing friends, this is a great app! For the first four days, its been sort of a fun game and my wife appreciates me being more caloricly conscientious. I’m not sure how long it will last, but like I always say… “Baby Steps!” (I actually don’t say that very often, but I plan to start.)

Have you ever counted calories?

How long did you stick with it?

 

#54. First World Problems

Starbucks-coffee-cups-sizes-tall-grande-venti-trenta

Everyone has heard of Third World Problems. Things like famine, malaria, lack of running or even clean water for that matter, no sanitation or sewer systems, high infant mortality rate, dial-up internet access, the list goes on and on. The idea for this post came from a comment a friend of mine made in response to the following tweets:

Not happy my @Starbucks closed while I was on vacation. It was only half a mi away. Now the 3 closest are all 3 mi. #ConvenienceFail

And…

As @foursquare #mayor of that @Starbucks for a few months, my constituents & I should have been consulted prior to closing. #DemocracyFail

These are real life First World Problems. My friend Nathan was absolutely correct, but until he cleverly hashtagged #1stWorldProblems, I’d never considered the humor possibilities those three words could represent. Apparently other people are well ahead of the curve, and while I haven’t vetted and certainly don’t endorse any of the material, I do like hyperlinks. You might find some funny stuff here or here. My own list consists of:

  1. Re-syncing the surround sound when switching between Cable TV and the Blu-ray player.
  2. Having to deal with two remotes.
  3. Suffering through several days of showers and hand washing with 85 degree water when our Hot Water Heater thermostat wasn’t working.
  4. Forgetting my ID badge or iPhone at home and having to commute the entire 6 minutes back to my apartment from my office. (That’s not really a First World Problem, I just like to gloat about my short commute.)
  5. Having a refrigerator, freezer and pantry full of food but nothing good to eat.
  6. Taking 10 minutes to decide whether to get a Large or X-Large free Michael Young t-shirt at the Rangers baseball game, because you’re not sure if the 100% cotton will shrink too much or not enough.
  7. Being in between t-shirt sizes.

What are your First World Problems?

 

#53. Winky Face

Winky_face

This past weekend, we somehow stumbled across a previously unknown, but possibly debilitating disability for yours truly. We were having lovely conversation over our celebratory anniversary dinner at Maggiano’s (Absolutely delicious by the way, but chalk full of more calories than you could possibly guess. Some of you might not even be able to count that high.) when all of a sudden a fellow patron sitting behind me winked at my bride. This may or may not have been in response to the minor production I was putting on in order to properly photograph our free dessert. Regardless, it was inappropriate and slightly embarrassing after the ensuing conversation outed my own dismal winking capabilities.

Winking is a significant contributor to the non-verbal communication tool belt for many people. Apparently it’s an asset I employ quite sparingly, which is probably a good thing for most of the people in my life and allows them to never ask the question, “Why are you blinking all weird at me like that?”

So putting the discomfort of my handicap aside, I thought I might compile a short list of things to communicate using a wink.

  1. I’m not paying attention to my own wife, and your husband is looking ridiculous. I sympathize with you.
  2. I have something in my eye.
  3. My contact is really dry.
  4. I’m tired and my eye is twitching.
  5. I have a nerve condition, and my eyelid spasms involuntarily.
  6. One blink for yes. Two blinks for no.

This is certainly not a comprehensive list. I googled winking, and evidently there is a large portion of the population that uses this gesture to express innocent flirtation and emotional intimacy, but the above list is the uses I’m most familiar with.

Why do you wink?

 

#52. Four Day Work Week

Eagle

I got back from a ten day vacation on Monday, resulting in the always anticipated but often elusive four day work week!

But today, this afternoon, after a glorious first feasting at Freebirds World Burrito with my wife, the unexpected happened. After cruising along all week with the weekend on the horizon, getting bigger and bigger by the second, the clock came to a grinding halt. At 1 P.M. time decelerated to a glacial crawl, and each nano-second since then has been more slothful than the last. However, it is Friday, and the end of the work day has finally snuck up on me. I think it was hiding just outside of my cubicle the entire time. I’m not sure why I didn’t think to look for it there.

So thank you finding me and saving me End of the Work Day. No spreadsheet or Word document will ever defeat you. No email or meeting request will ever be sent or accepted as long as you are at my side. You are my hero.

How long was your afternoon?

 

#51. Don’t Just Write About It

Penpaper

While I try to be as honest as possible on this blog, I sometimes find that I am writing in an effort to reinforce or convince myself of certain things. I’ve mentioned how easy it is to be bold, to talk a big game behind the anonymity of the interwebs, but there are people close to me that read this, who I hope have the courage to call me out when need be.

Jon Acuff wrote a post yesterday basically talking about missed opportunities to invest in people. He talked about the surface-ality of our relationships and how that is the exact opposite of what Jesus did. Jesus didn’t overlook individuals in order to speak to the multitudes. Sure, he would occasionally preach to a group of five thousand and hundreds of people followed him, but he spent the majority of his ministry years teaching and living with twelve young men that made more disciples and carried his gospel message to the ends of the earth.

So I need to make sure I don’t just write about my faith but that I live it. I need to constantly remind myself to focus on other people and not become so self-absorbed that my wants, my job, my feelings, my time becomes the all-consuming and singular concentration in life. What’s going on in the lives of my family, friends and co-workers? How can I better see strangers like cashiers, waiters and baristas through a gospel lens, viewing them as people and not just an obstacle between me and whatever I’m paying for? In the end History will likely be impacted much more by what you did rather than what you thought, wrote or said.

What are you investing in?