Monday, January 28, 2008

Struggling with Disease

Saturday was a hard day. I still can't believe that racquetball may no longer be an option for physical activity. Will my wrists get better? Good enough to play again? I hate to hold on to all the equipment if I'll never be able to use it. Seeing it lay around unused is just depressing. On the other hand, what if my wrists and shoulders do improve?

On top of that, this weekend made me think ahead to summer. Am I still going to be able to play golf? I don't play much, but to be forced into no-play-at-all doesn't seem fair. I was once a good player and I still enjoy the game.

I think I'm willing to give up everything for Christ. (I realize this is a fast transition from sports to spirituality.) I'm willing to sacrifice in order to become the Christian man I'm supposed to be. Do I really have to give up everything? Or is the willingness sufficient? Psalms 103 says: He will satisfy my desires with good things so that my youth is renewed.

I want/desire to be physically fit. I want to play racquetball and golf and hike in the mountains and run and jump and play basketball. When will my youth be renewed? Only in Heaven?

While walking this morning (an activity I can still do and love to do with my dogs) I asked God to heal me. I haven't ever asked that before. I'm not exactly sure why. Maybe I'm afraid he won't answer. What will that mean? Psalm 103 again: He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. What if I claim that promise and he doesn't heal me? For a while I wondered if I deserved to be healed. I haven't exactly been a model Christian - come to think about it, I don't even know what that means. I guess I haven't been the Christian I want to be. That being true, how can I presume to ask for healing?

I know diseases aren't just physical. God is healing me of other diseases: pride, envy, discontent. But as Paul says in Philippians: I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty [of course I'm hoping that God will show me what it's like to have the plenty of millions of dollars]. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation.

Do I have to be content with arthritis? Should I ask only once to be healed? Or am I supposed to ask every day for the rest of my life? If a Christ-like person can ask for healing, and have that prayer answered, surely my dad would have been healed decades ago. God didn't heal him, why would he answer me?

So maybe part of this process simplification, this elimination of excess is advance restitution. "See God? I got rid of all this stuff. Now you can give me better stuff."

What's the Latest Number?

I wish I could give you the exact number of items, but several things have changed since my last count, and I haven't taken the time to figure up the new total.
  • I lost a fork (What? How is that possible?)
  • I've moved my racquetball bag and stuff to the guest room, which I'm calling "Item Purgatory" - not quite gone, but not quite here.
  • Although my r-ball stuff went with the bag (gloves, balls, goggles), I took out the shoes. They're in really good condition since they've never been worn outside. I also took out the Sport TX (a physical therapy instrument) that Kenny gave me a long time ago, which I'll be returning to him soon.
  • I have a new truck, which came with another sandbag and some sort of tie-down strap.
  • Looking through my medicine cabinet I noticed some things I hadn't counted. I have a beard trimmer - which is on the list - in a stand - which is not on the list - which also includes a comb and a brush to clean the trimmer - both of which have never been used - and a tube of lubricating oil. (Is it proper to use that many hyphens in one sentence?)
  • Knowing that I'm going to sell my old truck, do I take it off the list now? or wait until I actually sell it? The ad goes in the paper tomorrow. I hope it sells by the weekend.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

I'm starting to hate arthritis

I've never enjoyed arthritis, not in the 18 or so months since I was diagnosed. But now I really don't like this. Today I went to the gym to play racquetball - not so much play as just hit the ball around for a while. I couldn't do it. Even the weakest forehand shot made my wrist hurt. When I decided to simplify my life I thought I was only eliminating things and stuff. I guess that part of the simplification process is eliminating activities. I hate to do it, but I think I'm going to sell my racquetball stuff - racquets, balls, goggles, everything. I guess that'll make my list shorter.

I've also decided that I know for sure which item is going next: my scale.

I know I need to lose weight, and I'm working on that. I've used the scale to measure my progress, but I think maybe it's become a hindrance, or at least a distraction. I know what I need to do to lose weight: eat less, exercise more. I'm doing that. If I really want to weigh, I can do that at the gym

One other list issue: I have to add my new truck. So now I have two trucks instead of just one. However it's only temporary. I'm going to sell my 1989 Ford Ranger. If you know anyone who wants a good truck - that needs some TLC - get a hold of me. I'm selling it for $750 and the ad comes out Tuesday.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Three Weeks into 2008

I haven't updated in a while, and one of my non-resolution/goals was to write more often. There are some good things to report.

1. I haven't had any fast food or pop yet this year.
2. I have lost some weight, although not very much yet.
2a. I have clarified some of my physical limitations from the arthritis. I intended to walk every morning; I can't do that. Twice last week I was so tired that went to bed at 6:00pm, slept through the night. Fatigue just sets in sooner than it used to. I'm sure part of that is also age. So now I walk 3-4 days per week.
2b. I had intended to attend Spinning classes every night they are offered at Gold's Gym. Can't do that either. I attend 3-4 classes per week, which is already helping my cardio.

There are also some negative things happening. Maybe negative is too negative a word. They're definitely uncomfortable. Just this last week I had put $1000 into my 1989 Ford Ranger, which is not worth that much, but it's not like I can just quit driving. Long story short, I just bought a new(er) truck, a 1995 Ford Ranger. I don't have the money to afford a new(er) car. But I have to trust that God knows what's going on and will take care of this also.

I also came home one day to find water covering the floor of my garage. It was just a day or two after it had snowed a lot, and my first thought was that the water was from the snow that had melted off the truck. I realized it wasn't I stepped out the back door of the garage and saw a fountain flowing from the backflow prevention valve. Stupid, stupid, stupid. I never got around to having my sprinkler system blown out. The valve and frozen and exploded.

Actually, it was more an issue of pride than of forgetfulness. The local nursery who has taken care of my irrigation needs since I moved here charged me for something I didn't think they should have. I argued, they relented, I vowed not to use them anymore - to punish them. That kind of attitude, that revenge-plotting attitude, rarely works out. More often than not, it backfires, which it did in this case. Now instead of complaining about a $60 charge that I didn't want to pay, I'll be paying a several hundred dollar repair charge for something I only need because I'm stupid and proud.

As far as my list of things - I haven't gotten rid of anything else. I am continually looking for ways to simplify, and I've targeted a few items. Just don't tell those particular items they might be leaving; I don't want them to feel bad.

Friday, January 11, 2008

One Week Down, 51 To Go

I’m one week in to 2008 and already the list needs some adjustment. I had been looking through the first aid kit I keep in the bathroom, checking to see if anything needed refilled, and had left the kit on the bathroom counter. Later, while looking through my medicine cabinet I saw some tweezers and a small round mirror, both of which are on my list. I remembered that the tweezers came from the first aid kit. For the longest time I had been wondering what came out of that empty pocket … duh, the tweezers.

So now both the tweezers and the mirror are in the first aid kit and off the list.

Two down, fifty-two to go.

However, I also realized I need to add something. On my list is 6 Christmas cds (Harry Connick, Jr., two Amy Grant cds, Mariah Carey, Nat King Cole and a Celtic Christmas). As I was looking through the drawer, I remembered I had more cds that were not on the list. I had used some gift certificates to buy the latest from Mercy Me, and the latest from Switchfoot, Oh, Gravity. Plus, I have a Stellar Kart cd that I won from The Effect Radio.

Three up, fifty-five to go.

Lastly, I was doing dishes this weekend when I realized that somehow I’ve lost a fork I should have four. I only have three. How is it possible to lose a fork? I have no idea.

I can understand losing a sock, or a book – things that leave the house.

But a fork? I’m not in the habit of taking my forks for country drives, or skydiving.

So now the question is: Do I replace it? If Yes, where do I buy one fork? Maybe a thrift store.

One down, fifty-four to go, which is right where I started.

Oh well, win some add some, lose some subtract some.

And speaking of subtracting, I hope to be subtracting some weight in the next 12 weeks. Saturday, Gold’s Gym kicked off their “12 Week Challenge.” I registered, weighed-in, and let them take a photo of my fat self, with my shirt off no less. It’s the before picture. At the end of twelve weeks there will be an after picture, and hopefully the two pics will look really really different. The person determined to have made the biggest physical change (through a judging process) wins a trip for two to Hawaii. Which brings up another dilemma. When I win (which I will), who will I take? I’m not in a relationship, or dating. Heck, I don’t even flirt anymore. I’m sure that someone will be willing to spend 7 days and 6 nights in Hawaii with me. Of course it should go without saying, I won’t be bringing back any souvenirs.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

American Dream

There's a song by Switchfoot called "American Dream." It might be my new theme song.

When success is equated with excess
The ambition for excess wrecks us
As top of the mind becomes the bottom line
When success is equated with excess

If you're time ain't been nothing for money
I start to feel really bad for you, honey
Maybe honey, put your money where your mouth's been running
If you're time ain't been nothing for money

I want out of this machine
It doesn't feel like freedom
This ain't my American dream
I want to live and die for bigger things
I'm tired of fighting for just me
This ain't my American dream

When success is equated with excess
When we're fighting for the Beamer, the Lexus
As the heart and soul breath in the company goals
Where success is equated with excess

'Cause baby's always talking 'bout a ring
And talk has always been the cheapest thing
Is it true would you do what I want you to do
If I show up with the right amount of bling?

Like a puppet on a monetary string
Maybe we've been caught singing
Red, white, blue, and green
But that ain't my American dream
That ain't my American dream

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Some Goals - NOT Resolutions - For 2008

I've decided there are some things I want to do in 2008, but they are NOT resolutions. I would call them goals.

According to the dictionary, a resolution is: determining upon an action or course of action.

A goal is: the result or achievement toward which effort is directed; aim; end.

Clearly there is a major difference between the two.*

So here are some of my goals for 2008.

1. I am going to study the book of Philippians for the entire year. I have always liked this book, mostly because it contains some of my favorite verses, also because it was Gramma McNaught's favorite book, and because I like the tone of it. I like the way Paul talks in it.
Here's my plan:
For the month of January, I'm going to read the whole book every day. It takes about 12 minutes to read it. I'm not going to look for anything in particular; I'm just going to read. Starting in February, I'm going to start memorizing the book.
During the rest of the year, I'll study it using different Bible studies.

2. I am going to walk 1000 miles during 2008. That sounds like a lot, but it's only 20 miles per week. On school days I can walk 3 miles before school. During the weekends, 6 miles per day. My dogs love going for walks in the morning. No matter the time, no matter the weather, they're ready.

3. Gold's Gym (I'm a member there) is having their annual 12 week challenge. Weigh-in is this Saturday. I'm going to register this year to see how much closer I can get to achieving a healthy weight during those 12 weeks. I'm not going to be one of those who works out 3 hours a day; I don't have the time or the energy. But I do have time, energy and commitment to work out 30 minutes per day.

4. I'm also going to start attending the Spinning classes again. I love that workout. Sixty minutes on a bike, listening to music, sweating. It's a great way to spend an hour.

5. I'm going to take more photographs this year. I took a lot in 2007, but lately I haven't felt very creative, so I haven't hardly picked up the camera. I'm going to change that.

6. Lastly, I'm going to write more. I've been writing on my flickr photo site, short stories to go with the photos. Some are directly related to the photo, some have nothing to do with the pic at all. I'll continue writing there. I'll write here on this blog (probably not everyday, but hopefully at least once a week). And I'll write stuff that no one will ever see except me.

*(If you can explain the difference, please do because I'm not really sure what it is.)