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January 20, 2014

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Unity Blog

This page holds the latest blog posts in my 12 week gym challenge and my goal of finding cosmic spirit unity. So I will write about Christianity and religion, politics, news, history, sentimental fluff, in other words the thought fireflies flitting around in my mind. I haved named it the Unity Blog

Let's Begin ---- Jan 22 ---- Jan 27

  ---- Jan 31
Current Post   ---- Feb 4

Walk in Dark; Run in Light -- the final statement on the Unity Blog

February 5-6

Normal driving conditions in cold temps, slightly below zero as we got back to the gym today. The blog is about my experience, but the real phenomenon in the family is Nancy. She tells me she graduated high school weighing 100 pounds soaking wet. I threw in the soaking wet part, I am sure graduation in Fort Dodge was a heavenly Iowa day just like in the Music Man. We did have impressive thunder storms the night of my graduation, so some of us could have been soaking wet. I don't believe the word athlete and Nancy have often been placed in the same sentence. She has made tremendous strides not in appearance, she has always appeared slim, but in strength and flexibility. Her discipline and adherence to proper form are amazing. She now has shoulders; this is her most bragged about feature. Nancy's stated goal was to be able to easily put her carry-on in the overhead bin, and to be able to run to her next connection's gate without having a heart attack. I suspect her true motivation is when we are out together people will think she is a trophy wife. Nancy is younger than I, not the fifteen years younger it may appear to others. As I sweat away with my white hair resembling a matted sheep dog, anyone watching her hopping around on the gym floor would think she is fifteen years younger. The fact that my trophy wife still hangs out with me is really the most impressive thing about our partnership in fitness.

I can look at this period in the challenge as if it were a glass of West Virginia water. It could be good, it is better than it was, I might take a shower with it, probably not ready to drink it. Weight loss is slow, muscle tone is gaining, cardio health is outstanding. If I compare to where I was in 2011 it is all good. If I think about where I need to be to win this challenge; I need to really pick it up. It will all come down to the waist, the length of tape required to touch from belly button left to belly button right. It has to go around not the shortest distance between two points. Today, I did abdominal sets, then the stair stepper for 15 minutes and elliptical for 40 minutes. I would have gone longer but Nancy had to get back to her office. I could not have done those things before. I did them today only stretching myself a little. I still must do more to keep up with the challenge, someone is somewhere. I could live at the gym at least when the weather allowed, but then I wouldn't be able to lighten your day with this tomfoolery.

I will finish today with an exercise in unity. I heard this report on NPR this morning. It represents an opportunity. We as Americans can have a future of financial security and abundance, but we need to unite in seeking pragmatic solutions. The parties seek only winning elections, the money people who control our elections seek only their security and abundance. If we inform ourselves with truthful data, demand solutions, and do not respond to emotional appeals to our prejudices, we could change America for the better. America could provide our children and grand children a future that would seem an American utopia to our founders. Read and listen, the possibility to have fiscal responsibility in our nation is within reach. NPR Link: Reining in Health Care Costs Key to Trimming Deficit -- It is similar to my fitness: staying focused on the goal, being honest with the data, renewing my commitment, and plugging away. I suspect most people in a discussion of politics can not rise above prejudice and emotional bumper sticker responses. Please, listen a second time, be thoughtful, listen not as a partisan, but as an American who wants a strong nation for our posterity. Reining in Health Care Costs Key to Trimming Deficit

Don't you see the possibility of a great future? I do.

Feb 7 - Feb 11

Week end to Wednesday it can fly by; Alex came home from St Louis, Erik was over from Monmouth. Balancing my time to get slide presentations ready for church, hitting the gym, having dinner with Alex, Erik, and Laura. Tuesday I had my weekly trainer appointment, but Nancy wanted to go later. I went back and did an hour on elliptical in addition to my morning hour with trainer. Cardio wise doing good, also can do sit up, leg lifts, type exercises with much more vigor, weight loss not so much I think the hibernation instinct is still strong, winter is not over and my body does not want to risk losing its stored fat.

A week of prioritizing my various demands. This week I have to get ready to present the message on Sunday as Pastor Brad is in Atlanta achieving higher education goals. An assessor controversy has been thrown in my lap. County does not want to replace an appraiser position causing conflict with some small township assessors. I am being urged to comment respond, email, got to meeting. One would think that the assessor position is my real job, but it pays so little for the work required, I think it falls into the volunteer category. This week the gym (the being selfish part) and message for Sunday are the most important. All the other things I do not have much control over, but must put some time to. Message is has the title A Conversation. Conversation with the church family, praying in conversation with God. Finding the God led path, not the Steve made path.

Anyway this means not much of a post today, catching up later this week.

Facts and science over emotional appeals, applies to food and budgets.

MSG & Umami almost the same; science vs public reputation --

Feb 12

Today I tried to get the weight loss part trending, I went to the gym did more abdominal sets and ground through an hour on the elliptical. When visits and exercise sessions are too frequent your body has lower energy to the drive the machine. Still churned out some sweat and a 1000 plus calories, if display numbers really mean anything. I limited my food consumption but still weighed 220.2; need to break that barrier. A NFL coach trying to get lineman down to weight in preseason told them if they weren't hungry, then they were not losing weight. OK, I suppose it means I need my own version of Hunger Games going on today. I had broken this last year and let it slip away, so I have tread this path before. Anyone who has spent as much time running in place as I have over the past eighteen months should not be overly concerned about retreading the same path. Some people, my son Alex and my wife, would suggest serious weight lifting to build more upper body. I have been working in some weight exercises, but I naturally or developed from all those hay bales decades ago have good upper body build. Lose the middle fat, tone the muscles, but putting on the big body? A beach body when you are in the senior circuit is not going to be one in eye candy demand. I think strength, tone, and slimmer is the goal, although to walk on the floor impressing the gym gorillas. Delusions do drive people, but when any description is always amended with the phrase for his age; the reality does take it down several notches.

I need to get back to Sunday's message, I have decided to hold a Conversation with the congregation. I hope to demonstrate an approach to seeking God, and God's will for our lives. My approach is as in a conversation. I approach God not to listen to a lecture or as someone shouting to God. You the mortal and flawed being unleashing a screed, how foolish. I have a dialogue with a teacher fully into the Socratic method, one where the student must formulate and prase the questions, then evaluate what is known, what is knowable. I have managed to get myself involved in another controversy. It is with Peoria County's Supervisor of Assessments and my role as Township Assessor. I am fine with being in disagreement or in discussion with others, if we can inform ourselves of what each other needs, expects, or can produce. These conflicts usually bubble from misunderstandings and people not willing to openly state what they really want or think. As the person willing to be open and public, wrath usually descends on me. Even though, the wrath is really directed to those who try to stay silent, work and agitate beneath the surface. What is most pressing on my thoughts this morning after yesterday afternoon's meeting? It is having my Christianity assailed. Dealing with this is emotional for me; it will be a part of my conservation today, inevitably filtering into Sunday's message (conversation.) On to other things, if not better uses of my time. Finding unity and priority for my life that was the goal of these, sort of daily, dribbling of thoughts on the page.

Have a great day, or if not so great survive until tomorrow.

Sparow Hawk -- Hawk Feast

I was looking out this morning wondering what was falling on the ground from the trees. It was feathers as this hawk devoured its prey. I feed the birds, sometimes as the lure for the sparrow hawk. Life and death inextricably linked.

Feb 13

I accomplished little on the projects before me, I did not make it to the gym. This morning I weighed exactly the same as yesterday, down to the the 2 tenths. I could use the needed break of one day. Nancy is home again and we will go to the gym this evening. After the gym we will go out for Valentine's Day. Exactly the perfect Valentine entertainment for every couple. It will be bittersweet as our local Hick'ry Stick restaurant will be closing after this week end. We will have dinner there tonight for the last time. The hawk came back just before noon looking for lunch, I took another photo, the hawk was closer this time. I will take time to upload it later, but I need to move on with the service slides and my message.

I have struggled with writing the message for Sunday. I want to be conversational, I do not write in my conversational voice. Grunts and stammers are not a part of flowing prose. I will try to put it all together that would be mind, body, spirit, vision, soul, inspiration, and experience. I do have many life events old and recent jumping up demanding I consider putting them in. I have made the scripture slides and the liturgists will read those, so the most important message will be heard. I can remember I am only incidental, so moving on.

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