Monday, April 6, 2015

M-Cubed for 4.6.2015

M-Cubed (Monday Morning Musings) for April Sixth, Two-Thousand Fifteen...a random smattering of thoughts that end up here on Monday morning.

- How was your Easter? We kicked the Easter bunny and his/her baskets to the curb this year and instead relied only on beautiful Easter dresses for our girls. We enjoyed a fantastic Easter breakfast (thanks to my wife) of ham (from her cousin's farm), her sinful cheesy potatoes and scrambled eggs. It's safe to say I didn't eat again until late afternoon! We took our traditional photo before church and headed off to the Easter service. I always love seeing the really little kids (under 5 years old) dressed up with their gorgeous dresses and suit/tie. Easter is certainly a huge "holiday" for me and how I believe. Without it, my faith is negated (in my opinion) and hollow/empty. Christmas is just the beginning...Easter provides the hope for me and everyone else.

- I had mentioned a book previously that I was reading called "A Case for Grace." After getting a whopping 10 hours of sleep on Saturday (compared to my daily 6), I laid around like a bum and was able to finish that book. Lee Strobel did a fantastic job with this book. He is a former agnostic who started out in journalism in Chicago years ago and is best known for his hugely popular investigative book "Case for Christ" where he uses science, personal accounts, history and facts to validate Christ. This book is a series of interviews he does with people who were either strung out on drugs (of the worst kind), given up to the streets as a kid in a foreign country, or an executioner in Cambodia...but all experienced true grace. One story actually flips the pattern on its head by beginning really good but plummets due to really bad choices...but then rebounds. It's a short 174 pages so if this guy can finish it, you can as well. I highly recommend it! After finishing it, I headed out for a sunny 6 miles in the country that gave me a few minutes to think about those stories and how I've experienced grace and/or how I can or should extend it to others. After my 6, I cooled down with this kettle bell. Often after a run, I can barely bend flexibility goes away the longer I run. I did a quick kettle bell and squat cool-down workout that restored that flexibility. We were shown this 4 minute workout in our Friday CrossFit class for warm-up so I thought I would try it. Worked perfectly! (Aren't the blue Brooks Pure Flows sweet? I just put my initial miles on them after racking up 410 miles on the last them!)

- April 4th on Saturday marked our 5 month point doing CrossFit. It went FAST. It was another good week at the gym and Friday was a great "cherry on top" of the week and the 5 months. Instead of the typical "WOD," we spent the hour on something called "CrossFit Total." This was our chance to hit our "1 rep max" on three different lifts then total the number. Many of our lifts on any given day are prescribed as percentages. In other words, we may be told to do 5 rounds of 3 reps of back squats at 85%. That 85% is 85% of our maximum weight...something different for everyone. To get the opportunity for "1 rep max" on lifts along the way is a great benchmark and serves as a way to show progress and keep you moving forward daily. CrossFit Total is comprised of the back squat (one of my favorites), the strict overhead press (harder than it looks!) and the dead lift. I had a great morning and set personal records in all 3 with the biggest jump being in the dead lift. My previous record was 265 pounds but I beat that by 60 pounds and hit 325 pounds. Overall, my total was 680 pounds. To put that in comparison, the beast of a lifter in my class hit 1115 pounds! His dead lift was a crazy 565 pounds and he is currently the top dead lifter in our gym. We also have a bunch of strong ladies in our gym that did what I did or even more. For me, though, I have shown tons of progress and couldn't be happier with the progress. Even better, my back wasn't sore in the slightest bit come Saturday morning...evidence I was actually doing those dead lifts CORRECTLY...something that wasn't necessarily true previously. Here is the less than 10 second video of me lifting the 325 pounds. Here is my friend, Dave, lifting his 565 pounds. Incredible!

- Signed up! My wife and I signed up for our first local CrossFit competition over Memorial Day weekend just outside nearby Pittburgh. Dubbed the "MetCon Games," we'll do 3 different workouts that day and they even feed us....a bonus! Looking forward to it! (info here about CrossFit SteelTown's MetCon Games)

- I'm sure (or maybe not) you heard about the Indiana debate going on this past week. It all centered around a law that supposedly gave business owners the right to turn away customers based on their belief structure, namely things like sexual orientation. That created a firestorm in social media, much like recent times that involved Chick-Fil-A and their public opinion/stance/belief on marriage. I'm not here to judge or offer my opinion on all of that. However, I did have to share some thoughts last Thursday as a response to a slew of hate online that while not directly at me, was using far too broad a brush to paint hate across the Christian landscape. It was the epitome of intolerance being shown by people who preach tolerance. Instead of engaging in debate and true "keyboard warrior" antics, I decided to write down some thoughts as objectively and factually as possible. Of course, those thoughts ruffled some feathers and as expected, a few folks showed themselves the door. Below is my post (sans comments and likes)...unsanitized and as originally posted.

- Friday night, I had the real privilege of attending a free screening of a new documentary called "Collecting Sgt. Dan." Dan Patron was killed on August 6, 2011 in southern Afghanistan (when I was there, actually) by a roadside bomb he was attempting to defuse. He was an EOD tech (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) in the Marine Corps. From Canton, OH, his brother decided to create this documentary to honor his brother. It's called "Collecting Sgt. Dan" because to tell the story, his brother headed to the east coast to find his brother's fellow Marines and "collect" the stories in order that he may tell his story. It was very well done and I recommend finding it on Amazon or iTunes where you can currently stream it via rental. Here is the website and trailer.

- About 6 days ago, I jotted down some random questions and among them, was asking them of myself. As we all begin another week, they are a good way to ground myself/yourself and if a change needs to happen, perhaps choose today to do it.

What will you choose today?
  • Lift up or beat down and discourage?
  • Smile or frown?
  • Meet people where they are or see only your standard?
  • Let them merge or cut them off?
  • Laugh at people or laugh with them?
  • Celebrate a new accomplishment of someone or remain ignorant?
  • Grow up or remain a child in words and actions?
  • Open the door for someone or walk in front of them, letting the door close in their face?
  • Tell your significant other/kids you love them or leave home in silence?
  • Betray the one you swore allegiance to or maintain your covenant?
  • Forgive or live behind the veil of bitterness?
  • Smoke/drink another or end your addiction today?
  • Text and drive...or drive?
  • Live in yesterday or live in today and never look back?
  • Be authentically you or hide behind makeup, clothing, image and stuff?
- As I say goodbye today, I'd like to share a quote from John "The Penguin" Bingham. You can replace the "running/walking" with anything here and make it your own. Have a great week, everyone!

"There's no reason to do any of it – to run, walk, or race – unless it brings joy into your life. You can find satisfaction in the act of moving your body from the first tentative steps. There's no need to postpone the joy until you've reached a dreamt up point of experience or skill. As a beginner, the time to find and embrace the joy is now."
– John Bingham, No Need for Speed: A Beginner's Guide to the Joy of Running

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