Introspection of My New Year’s Eve with Friends

When I was sitting in a stool at our kitchen island, about 11:00 p.m. New Years Eve, I contemplated how we spent that evening. We had just finished an evening that included playing a game of “Hand and Foot” and eating homemade chili, tortillas and quesadillas with two friends, a couple we have grown to know well.

We had a wonderful evening. We quit early, before midnight, because my wife was ill. She would not have been able to last till midnight. Our friends noticed, so they left in order to allow her to get her needed rest. They noticed this, because they are friends, not acquaintances, not companions, not peers or just fun people. They are authentic friends.

We said our goodbyes and our friends drove home.

Whole living includes friends with whom you are able to enjoy a meal, talk about dreams, share relaxing entertainment and laugh at each other (with each other). Then, even after spending so much time together, you still look forward to the time you are able to do it again.

Friends are unique treasures, not often found. There are plenty of acquaintances, companions, peers and fun people, but not many genuine friends. Friends are dependable, empathetic, and encouraging. They are able to challenge you and be truthful (even when being truthful is remedial). Because, friends truly want what is best for you, always.

Friends develop strong bonds with you. Friends are there for you, without an agenda or desire for reward. Friends find joy in your joy, and pain in your pain. Friends however, don’t let their friends campout in their pain or joy for too long. Friends help you move forward in healthy ways, not let us hang on to the past.

We have some friends, not many, because being a true friend cost…cost time, heart ache, resources and openness and transparency. Friendship exposes one’s heart, leaving it vulnerable. Yet, friendship has the greatest benefits and advantages for one’s total well-being. We are made for relationships, and the best relationships (outside of marital) are real friends.

Spending time with acquaintances, companions, peers or just fun people is enjoyable. But, spending time with real friends is soulful, empowering and life-giving.

Don’t be too quick to make “friends,” but make sure you find those treasures who are real friends. Life is far less than full without them.

A man of many companions may come to ruin,
but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
—Proverbs 18:24

Sorry I’ve Been Absent. Catching Up.

I have been working on reducing my tasks and responsibilities, in order to live better. I reduced my positions at multiple organizations. I focused on getting urgent tasks done so I could concentrate on significant and life altering tasks and roles. Years ago I read, Ordering Your Private World, by Gordon McDonald. I also read several Steven Covey books as well as some resource I cannot remember, that suggested dividing your life into your most important roles (I think 7 was suggested) and make sure you balance your life around those roles.

All this was helpful, but actually I found that when I am looking for a system to get me out of a system, I end up busy all over again.

So, I am just reducing to what is important. I am narrowing down what I want to do, to what I am able to do. This includes my roles, my tasks, and my hobbies. I am a husband, father, “family-member,” friend, pastor/director, and athlete (adventurer). My priorities are relationships (1st God, then all others), serving other people with God’s grace, and staying physically active and healthy.

IT IS OK TO SAY NO TO SOMETHING GOOD, EVEN GREAT!!! I have to tell myself that often.

I am able to say no, because always saying yes is really somewhat arrogant and prideful, thinking either I am the only one who is able, or that I am always the one who ought to do it. There is always someone else who is more than able to do all the tasks that are not related to my personal relationships. Someone else is more than able to be used by God to fulfill any role I serve in ministry. I have to make sure, I do not shirk off something he is calling me to, but more times than not, I jump before I make sure he is calling me, instead of seeing He just might be showing me something I just need to be aware of or help someone else heed the call to do it.

Here are just a few questions I ask myself…Is this something that directly affects my relationships, that I am able to do something about? Is this something that directly affects my calling? Is this something that is my responsibility, or am I able to delegate it more effectively? Do I have any Sabbath time or recreation time, and why not? Are there some urgent needs, that are keeping my from my priorities? How does it affect my roles or does it fall into one of my roles?

One of the effects of being overly busy, was I let my health get away from me. I gained 20 pounds and lost my ability to run or cycle any long distances. So, I began to focus on my health, as an urgent need. My attitude, abilities and mental status were affected.

So, I downloaded MyFitnessPal and started tracking my calories. I read several articles on Clean Eating. I downloaded a schedule for preparing to run the Cowtown 1/2 Marathon. I blocked off time each day to take care of these efforts. I do not schedule appointments or find reasons not to do each of these tasks. I faithfully track my calories and stay within the projected calorie count MyFitnessPal set for me. I faithfully run the scheduled distances, 4 times per week, early in the morning. I pay attention to ingredients and seek to eat clean. I have lost over 10 lbs to date and have increased my pace where I am running right at 10 min/mile for 7+ miles. My BP is down. My weight is down. My heart rate is slower. My attitude has changed and I am mentally clearer.

I am working on my relationships…1st with my wife, with my children, with my grandchildren and with the rest of my family. I am taking time to get with my friends. I am spending more time doing the tasks that will directly affect my ministry. And I am making sure I have time to be an adventurer in the areas I enjoy the most…running, cycling, sailing and vacationing with my wife.

I will keep you posted. Oh, and by the way, my new Altra Torin running shoes are the best!!! And my Oboz Hiking boots really did their job and are holding up well as I use them for Backpacking and going to Honduras.

Narrow to Most Enjoyed, Cycling, Outdoor, Travel


I have discovered, being an adventure/risk-taker junkie, that I often find myself strung out, because I have so many things going on, or I am trying to do so many things I enjoy. Whole-living isn’t filling every moment with an adventurous, risky, adrenaline-rush causing, or satisfaction-promising event, hobby, or effort. Whole-living begins with relationships, which also sustains whole-living. Whole-living does include those activities that you “MOST” enjoy, not all the activities you enjoy. Narrowing down what you do to the “MOST” enjoyed will give you down time and spiritual renewal time, much needed for whole-living.

Sometimes we fill our lives with too many activities, events, efforts, or other enterprises that take our time, energy and focus. Balance. Moderation. Two words often used, but seldom heeded. Maybe it’s actually, Priorities–Relationships (God primary), Enjoyment (as opposed to exhaustion), Renewal (spiritual, mental, physical, emotional). And the time for Relationships to be built, enjoyment to be had, and renewal to take place, making up your whole-life.

I have recently narrowed (this is an ongoing process) down the activities and hobbies that filled my life–flying (private pilot) scuba (dive master), sailing, traveling, cycling, fishing, kayaking, backpacking, RVing, running, Triathlon competing, cruising, and brewing beer. On tope of all this, I taught school, planted a church and directed a nonprofit benevolent organization that operates in Honduras, Mexico and the U.S. Here is where I am so far: I sold don’t fly (sold my plane and am not directly associated with any flying organization) my tri-bike, sold our RV trailer, sold my scuba equipment, did not buy the sailboat, resigned from teaching and cutback on the type of travel we will do.

My focus: cycling (running during off-season), backpacking & kayaking. We will travel twice per year. I will focus on the church plant and nonprofit, combining the two after December.

Narrow down, focus on the activities you most enjoy and that your spouse (others you have relationships with) most enjoy as well. My wife enjoys cycling, traveling, traveling and the church plant as well as the nonprofit. That still gives both of us time for individual activities we are able to enjoy.

Here is my bike. I ride a 2013 Defy 1 with an Ultegra gear set. I have a TomTom MultiSport Cardio with a bike mount. I upgraded the seat with a Cobb Plus. Since I have narrowed down, I have been able to focus, get back on my bike and ride. I rode over 100 miles this week and will continue to ride, building up to be able to ride the 100 K at HHH in Wichita Falls in August. I joined USA Cycling and will ride officially as a Category 5 male racer. I am looking forward to this. My wife and I will be together, she will ride a shorter distance, and we will be with her sister and brother-in-law. We enjoy being with them, building life-long, meaningful relationships while we all enjoy riding together and the whole experience.

This week we will be at Concan, TX staying at Neal’s Lodges on the Rio Frio with family. Again, taking time to build relationships, with an outdoor experience, getting away from the daily pressures and obligations, to rest, recoup, and enjoy. I will be taking my bike!! I will enjoy riding the cool river on an inner tube. I will enjoy a few games of 42 (dominoes). I will enjoy good food, late nights of great conversations, and being with my family.

Narrow down, build relationships, find whole-living.