Changing Habits

Ever since I have been married, I with my wonderful wife’s help have been trying to eat better. This has been a great struggle. I don’t ever remember a time in my life where I have wanted to change my mind about what I was doing. The first week went well, it was easy and it was really nice to see some immediate weight lost. The second week I did not quite have the same enthusiasm as I did at the start. I started craving, dreaming, about hamburgers and fries, pizza, bread. Sarah and I are following the 100 sugar- calorie diet by Jorge Cruise. Basically, anything with bread and sugar are cut out of the diet. I love bread, so that has probably been the toughest battle for me. Though it has been hard, I have found some benefits of my new eating habits.

  • I have way more energy; I used to think that you needed sugar to have energy. Since, I have started this diet, I have more energy than I have felt in a while.
  • I feel more focused. I have noticed more productivity in my work while I have been following this diet. I have been more focused and can concentrate better on what I am doing.
  • My pants are getting looser! What a great feeling. I am very close to my goal weight.
  • I can still eat steak and bacon! two of my favorites!

I know this diet is good for me; I know there will be days when I feel liking giving in. It is my desire to stick with it and think on the positives because I want to be to enjoy life for as long as God will allow me.

Short Story Part 1

Hey Everyone. I have decided that Wednesdays will be short-stories day! I will make up a short story every Wednesday, I might add some that are more than one part, who doesn’t love suspense?! Here we go.

Craving something to eat, Jack Lester was on a quest to find anything different then he had for the last week. His diet for the past week had consisted of bugs and small insects. Jack, having just freed himself was trying to make his way to the city. He knew the reason that He was captured, was because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. He had heard the two drug lords grand plan to use the coffee shop that he was a barista at, which the drug lords also owned. He wasn’t trying to listen, they were in the back of the shop, as he was cleaning the dirty dishes. They had not noticed him standing there. When they started talking. He tried to walk out of the room unnoticed, but he tripped on the floor mat. Unfortunate timing.

The drug lords, were unwilling to take the chance that he had not heard their discussion. They both caught up with him quickly. They were also mindful that there was a coffee shop, full of customers. They turned Jack around, as he was about to enter the main dining area. They blindfolded him, put him in the trunk of one of their cars; and then proceeded to drive to the forest. They didn’t want any blood on their hands, so they just figured they would take him to a remote part of the forest and leave him there to rot, hoping that an animal would come looking for a meal and be pleasantly surprised when they found Jack.

To be continued next Wednesday…

Book Review: Book Thief

I have recently finished reading The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak. I found the book to be very interesting and very engaging. For all of those who have not read it yet, I will be giving some of the plot away (spoiler alert), so if you plan on reading it and are like me, read this post after you have read the book or watched the movie (which I have yet to see).

The story was set in the German town of Molching. A girl giving up by her mother, taken in by a German family during World War II, a girl for a penchant for stealing books and other things, and a very interesting family dynamic and a best friend. A story of survival and lost. Friendship and courage are great themes that run throughout the book.

It took me a couple of chapters to get used to the writing style that was used in the Book Thief. It took time for me to adjust to the bold, additional information that was being given. Once I got used to it, which really did not take too long, I could not put the book down. Every spare moment I got I would read a few pages here and there. One of the reasons that I became so enamored with the book was that it was written from very unique perspective. I loved that the author used the grim reaper as the narrator of the story. I feel that it added depth and set the book apart from most other World War II fiction books. The story of a girl, who had lost her brother and whose mom gave her up was a very interesting story line to me. I really loved the two very different personalities that the author gave the family that took the young girl in. The man was this peaceful, pipe-smoking, accordion player. The woman was this irritable, fiery tempered lady who could be set off by the slightest thing. Yet as one comes to find out when they read the book, the woman really has a soft spot for the girl and her husband and the Jew that they hide in their basement.

I thought it was smart and clever on Zusak’s part to give away part of the plot early on because it was a heavy load. In a book where many of the main characters are killed, it softened the blow a little to know what was ahead. One of the most enjoyable parts of the book is the fact that Liesel (the main character) learned to read, with the help of her uncle reading the gravediggers handbook. 

Another one of my favorite aspects of the book was how her neighbor Rudy was totally in love with Liesel and kept on pestering her to kiss him. I was glad that after Rudy and his family was killed by a bomb, that Liesel finally gives him that kiss that he was seeking after for all that time. Rudy was a great friend, willing to do anything for Liesel, even willing to get whipped by Nazi officers.

It was a very moving book. I love how it captured a girl’s will to overcome impossible odds, breakdown barriers and hide her Jewish friend. She was a great main character, loved that she stole books to read and her passion for reading saved her life during the bombings that took out everyone else. I wish that at least her adopted father Papa, would have lived. He was such a great character showing love and kindness to Liesel, like she was his own child, calming all of her fears. Keeping a promise he made to an old war buddy, by hiding his Jewish son in the basement of his home, even though it made their home a very dangerous place to be.

Overall, it was one of the best books that I have read in a while. I would definitely recommend reading it.

Teams

Leading others is always a challenge. Leadership development is very necessary and orientation training for leading others is an essential part of leading a team. One of the areas that I found a need for further leadership development myself, is the area of leading others. At the last church I was at, they did not do an adequate job in teaching methods of volunteer training and development of volunteers.

I spent two days this past week at a volunteer training workshop. During those two days I saw a number of areas that I need to strengthen and improve in my volunteer training. To do effective ministry there has to be a strong team mentality and the volunteers need to know what is expected and required of them. One of the biggest take aways from those two days: one must identify what a win is for their team. Teams celebrate wins and all great teams know what a win looks like.

As I process what I learned this past week, one of my main areas of focus will be on deciding what a win looks like in my ministry. I am excited for the challenge and I am looking forward to becoming a better leader and giving my volunteers adequate training, the kind I wish I had gotten my first few years in ministry.

On Being a Newlywed

I have been married now for a little over two months and it has been greater than I could have ever imagined. My wife is my best friend. Here are a few things I have learned so far, I am learning more daily. I cannot recommend marriage enough. I love being married to my best friend!
● Your learn more about your spouse everyday. I have loved learning all of Sarah’s habits.
● Sharing the housework load is a great thing. I have found that I truly enjoy helping Sarah keeping our house clean and presentable. I love vacuuming and doing the dishes. She is even teaching me how to cook and it’s so fun.
● Going on trips to the grocery store is very exciting and also requires a lot more planning then when I was a bachelor and had a bad diet. We have been eating clean since we got married and it has been challenging and rewarding at the same time. I love picking out what k-cups we will be drinking for the next few weeks.
● I really enjoy comforting each other at night and talking about our days. There is nothing I love more than being with her, dissecting our days and planning the next one.
● Having a supportive wife is very empowering. I really feel like I can take on any challenge that comes my way because of the love and support that Sarah provides.
Those are some of my favorite things so far about marriage. What are some of your favorite things about marriage?

Rules and Regulations

As I have been contemplating a return to blogging. I have been on a hunt for articles that will help me write a better blog. I have discovered that there is a plethora of information out there. So many different ideas and concepts that people employ in their blogs. Some of articles have been quite helpful. http://www.problogger.net/archives/2006/02/18/post-length-how-long-should-a-blog-post-be/

This post was very informative and I am glad that I read it. I had always been curious as to what the optimal length of blog should be. I enjoy blogs that are just a little longer than a tweet. I enjoy blogs that have many words, and that take me a few minutes to read. My blog will probably be pretty concise as that is just who I am. I will probably on occasion will write a long diatribe about something that is on my mind, especially if I am moody. There is also a good chance, I might write a couple of short stories and throw them up here as well. That will be scary for me, but I am excited for the challenge of it. When I was younger I used to write stories, without any punctuation it was quite funny trying to read it once I had printed it out. I was obsessed with Jurassic Park, so many of my stories were based off dinosaurs and humans getting killed by them; it was quite entertaining.

Here’s to new horizons and adventures, and maybe even a story about a dinosaur killing a human.

Here I Go Again

So much to write about, So little time. That is what I have been thinking lately. I have dreamed of the day where I would blog more consistently.  I now realize that I just have to do it. I want to blog more consistently for a few reasons. 

  • To improve my writing
  • To challenge myself
  • To be more creative

As for the content of this blog; it will be a mix of my reflections on life, church, being a newlywed, plus some book reviews.

Here I go again.