Sometimes we get stuck seeing things our way. Would you like to see some things through another set of eyes? Maybe it will make you think and stretch or maybe just chuckle or shed a tear. Here is my world through my eyes...

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Guest Blog: Octogenarian Inspiration

I learned something amazing recently.  I found out that my mother-in-law, who is in her ninth decade of life, has been going to the gym five days a week.  Our friend Gloria rents a room from her, and most weekday mornings they go to the gym together.  Since my mother-in-law has back trouble, she uses a walker.  Gloria loads the walker into the car, and when they get to the gym, she takes the walker out of the trunk for my mother-in-law so she can use it to make her way into the gym. Mom walks twenty minutes on the treadmill and rides fifteen minutes on the stationary bike.  She feels bad because she has to hold onto the treadmill while she's walking.  (I told her I hold onto the treadmill most of the time when I'm walking too, and I'm thirty years her junior!)

I was pondering what some of the other patrons must think when they see what trouble and effort it takes Mom to get into the gym in the first place, not to mention the energy she must expend to actually use the equipment.  I was imagining their inner dialogues might go something like this: "Well, if that lady can be here exercising day after day, I figure I can too!"   I expect that on days when they have had to drag themselves there--perhaps barely making it--seeing Mom and her perseverance must be a motivation for them to keep going, to not give up.

Apparently this is the case.  Mom related that the staff have told her that she is in inspiration to a lot of people who come there to exercise.  

I know Mom can't do all the things she once could.  Sometimes she feels like there's not much she can do any more.  But she's an inspiration to me for doing what she can.  And it appears she is an inspiration to others as well, most of whom she doesn't even know.
So the next time you feel too old or too young or too busy or too tired, or that you're just a little fish in a big pond and can't be much help or inspiration to anyone, think of my mother-in-law.  Just do what you can, be consistent, and do your best.  While you're helping yourself, you might even help someone else!


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

What I've been reading #10

Needless to say I've been enjoying reading as usual.  Yes, I do have plenty of other things to do with my time as well, but reading is of high value to me.  I am a person with dual interests--that is to say I am social but also enjoy solitary activities.  I enjoy reading, typically as a solitary activity.  Although my wife and I sometimes read a book out loud together, and include our youngest daughter at times as well.  Most of my reading is alone.  I often keep an eye on the books that my family members are reading and that is what led to three of the books that I have read in this bunch.  The first one was one that my wife chose for herself when I gave her a Kindle as a gift.  The next two came as a result of a book club my wife is in.  The last one was a determination to read something that had some action to it!  I enjoyed them all. 

The Help by Kathryn Stockett
I found this book to be quite interesting.  This was a book that was chosen for a reading group that Lisa is in and I thought it sounded interesting enough that I would read it too.  It tells of the sixties in the south where white families had black maids.  Of course during this time things were changing with the laws and with the ways that whites and blacks treated each other.  So this is a view of that interaction in a place where the tire was hitting the road daily.  It is hard to hide or pretend the way you feel about a different race when they are in your own home daily for hours at a time.  This story is very interesting to see how the groups played nice so to speak but they had very different ways of doing that based on how much social power they had.  Then of course there were the times when things were not so nice...  I recommend this book as a good read if you want to think about a controversial time in our history when things were not even as good as they are now in this regard.
The Walk by Richard Paul Evans
Richard Paul Evans has written a number of books that deal with important relationship issues without a bunch of rude, crude or offensive things in his books.  This book is interesting as the main action happened at the beginning and then the very end of the book.  The part in the middle seems much like a travel log and is a little stilted.  Of course since a man is the main character and it is somewhat like he is writing in his journal then it might be just what you would expect.  I would have liked to see a little more expression of his feelings.  However, to be honest he was trying to come to terms with his feelings after the death of his wife and that is what led to "The Walk".  I recognize that my review doesn't sound so positive but you will note that this book is a series and the book below is the second one in this obviously I enjoyed it and wanted to see what happened next.

Miles to Go by Richard Paul Evans (Sequel to The Walk)
Alan, the main character, is not a particularly religious fellow.  He doesn't believe much of religion and as a result he is struggling with not just his wife's death but the fact of what happened with his more recent problems.  But then he has an interesting experience where in a vision/dream his wife tells him something that quickly comes to pass.  She told him something he was supposed to do as part of his life.  Alan is a good thinker and now he is starting to realize some things about life that he hadn't recognized before.  So this walk that seemed to be to help him work out his grief has instead turned into something that is going to educate and expand his ways of thinking.  And not only that, apparently some people are in his way specifically so he can help them too and others are there to help him and sometimes both.  This book was more enjoyable to me than the first.  To see Alan growing and finding purpose in life that seemed to have lost any purpose with the death of his wife.  Now I'm anxious for the next book to come out.

Thunder of Heaven by Tim LaHaye and Craig Parshall

If you read my blog regularly or at least the ones Entitled "What I've been reading" you will note that this is a second book in a series about the times approaching the end of the world.  If you would like to read my review of the first book in this series click here.   Joshua the main character again finds himself in hot water with the leaders of nations as he continues to develop defensive weapons on the cutting edge of science.  As the US government becomes increasingly corrupt and becoming more concerned with politics and winning elections instead of protecting the citizens, he gets involved and again saves the country from another devastating nuclear blow.  However this time some people are still killed despite his best efforts.  Joshua's wife has gotten increasingly involved in the activities of he and other patriots that are trying to save the country despite the governments lack of interest.  Ultimately Joshua finds himself in Israel as Islamic countries gather to annihilate Israel and Bible prophecies are fulfilled in fantastic but realistic enough ways to seem possible.  I enjoyed this book almost as much as the first one.  I only say almost because the first 50 pages or so seemed a little slow to me but then things took off like a rocket and the book ended with me wanting the next one in the series (which of course isn't out yet).  So now I find myself in a couple more series waiting for the authors to write more. 

Well as you can see I have been enjoying reading a lot.  It is nice to have so many books available in our day and age to read and enjoy, not to mention to learn from.  Keep on reading!

"I have always imagined that paradise will be a kind of library."
— Jorge Luis Borges (who was a librarian, author, professor in Argentina)
Jorge Borges

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Christmas music 2011 #1: Matthew West

I was surprised to find a really great Christmas album from an artist I was only minimally familiar with.  I had run across one of his songs a while back that I included with one of my Manly Man Trainings that you can view by clicking here.  From that little exposure I knew he was a Christian song writer and singer but I didn't really pay any more attention than that one song. 

For me Christmas music time starts early and I start looking around for good new Christmas Music coming out around the end of September.  Matthew West's album: The Heart of Christmas, was one of the early entries, so I listened and was impressed and I downloaded the album.  I have listened to it quite a bit this season and am more impressed the more I listen. 

Matthew West was really excited about baseball when he was a child.  He played baseball through High School where he hoped to get a baseball scholarship to a university.  Instead he ended up with a music scholarship to Millikin University in Illinois.  After graduation he put out three independent albums before signing a contract with a studio to produce future albums.  Also after graduation he was offered a deal to write songs and he has written some songs for famous singers. 

In 2002 he forgot his keys and was locked out of his house.  In his effort to break into his house he ended up cutting his left arm severely and blacked out.  He awoke to Spanish speaking construction workers praying over him.  He was taken to the hospital and told his chances were slim that he would regain full use of his arm.  However, he did indeed regain full use and continues playing the guitar and singing. 

In 2007 Matthew started having some difficulties with his voice that soon required surgery to repair.  Once again his career was threatened and it was unknown if he would be able to get back to singing.  Following the surgery he was prescribed a two month period of no speaking.  Fortunately he was able to recover and resume his singing career.  During that time a documentary was made of his situation entitled "Nothing to Say".  Not surprisingly his next album was called, "Something to Say".

Matthew West has been married going on ten years and has two daughters.  Being a family man and a person who has gone through difficulties in life may give him good perspective as he continues to write and sing that are able to touch people and change their lives. 

His Christmas album: The Heart of Christmas, came out this year and has a few traditional songs done well.  The real strength of the album is the Christmas songs he has written that will be new ones that we will enjoy years into the future.  Below I have put the videos from three of them.  Enjoy!

Day After Christmas by Matthew West

Give This Christmas Away by Matthew West
One Last Christmas by Matthew West

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...