Fun, Amazing, Etc.

This is the official blog of indie author / adventure writer Andy R. Bunch, author of the fantasy book, "Suffering Rancor." As always, I'll post funny or amazing things I find in my travels or from poking around online. This is a great place to kick back and relax a bit. You may note that I’m not too clean or too dirty. For more information on my book, go to Here are links to first two books and

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Thursday, December 19, 2013

My Take on Phil Robertson

Today's post is hard to write...

...mainly because I have a ton on my plate today and I didn't want to take time out to add to the clutter of commentary. However, I couldn't resist pushing the button to support the guy on facebook, so I expect to get flamed by people for being a bigot, etc. Rather than repeat my reasoning over and again, I'll jot down my thinking so I can refer concerned citizens here.

The first thing I did was try to find his "offensive" comments. I mainly found people griping about his comments and not what he actually said. As near as I can tell this was what kicked the hornets nest:

"It seems like, to me, a vagina — as a man — would be more desirable than a man's anus, that's just me," the reality star said.
"I'm just thinking: There's more there! She's got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I'm saying? But hey, sin: It's not logical, my man. It's just not logical."

"Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there," he explained when asked by GQ's Drew Magary what exactly he considered sinful, "bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men."

Read more:

Now I grabbed those from the NYDailyNews who were mildly biased against Phil in their reporting (in my opinion.) I rather prefer James  coverage of it in Time Entertainment (Link Here).

The first thing that I notice, and James eludes to the same thing, is that Phil didn't actually say anything overtly anti-gay. This is a huge to do about nothing. Phil expressed an opinion, which is something celebrities do ALL the time. He indicated strongly that it was a sin. Congratulations! If you're looking for a reason to hate him he said something was a sin. Read the bible folks--just about everything is a sin.

Phil stopped short of advocating one direction or the other about, "sin." He didn't say, "and all sinners should be killed." THAT would be hate speech. THAT would also make Phil a sinners because if you hate someone it's the same as murder. That's in the bible as I read it, and I bet that's how Phil views it too.

Phil also stopped short of saying, "I have no problem with that particular sin." And I think that's why he's being suspended.

The Daily News article included some odd statement, for example.
"Phil and his family claim to be Christian, but Phil's lies about an entire community fly in the face of what true Christians believe," GLAAD spokesman Wilson Cruz responded in a statement.

“What’s clear is that such hateful anti-gay comments are unacceptable to fans, viewers, and networks alike,”  Cruz said. “By taking quick action and removing Robertson from future filming, A&E has sent a strong message that discrimination is neither a Christian nor an American value.”

I found it interesting that there's an assumption all of a sudden that all Christians everywhere are okay with homosexuality. I asked a friend, "when did that become the norm?" She said, "I think it's when the pope made his comment about it."

I recall the popes comments, which were quoted on the Barbara Walters special last night. As I'm pressed for time let me paraphrase (I don't have time to look it up right now). Basically he said, "If a person is homosexual, and wants to learn about the love of Christ, we shouldn't deny them that."

That's a pretty big reversal of policy for the papacy. BUT he didn't say, "I'm cool with being gay. It's not a sin anymore."

So why is it, when the Pope says something that can be construed as pro-gay he's hailed as a hero, and when Phil says something that can be construed as anti-gay he's decried?

These two men's statements are not mutually exclusive. The fact that they are seen as polar opposites shows a fundamental misunderstanding of Christianity.

So let me state this again, just to be clear. Christians believe that Jesus died for our sins. "While you were yet sinners Christ reconciled the world." Man's opinion doesn't factor in here. The bible teaches that homosexuality is a sin. The bible teaches that hatred is a sin. If you don't receive Christ's blood over your sins, its bad for you. Despite what many religions teach, none of us gets to decide exactly how the forgiveness thing works. So I can point out someone's sin, but I can't determine what God is going to do about that. That's up to God.

Most of us don't walk around pointing out each others sins. Some do, and I can tell you it's not very effective. Christians are cautioned against judging others. "Judge not lest ye be judged." So what Phil did was say that he viewed men having sex with men as illogical and sinful. Is that judgmental? Not in my opinion. He wasn't passing judgement on a person, he was stating an opinion of an action. That's actually our right in America.

A&E's comment about suspending Phil was that discrimination was neither a Christian, nor an American ideal. Clearly A&E is struggling to understand the word discrimination, and Christianity, and American. I'm sure Phil will excuse their ignorance.

Well I've more to say, but I'm completely out of time. Let the angry emails begin.

Update: Here's a link to the Families Statement.

More Bad News for fans of Vaccines

Original story here:

Story at-a-glance

  • Hepatitis B vaccine was not effective in preventing asymptomatic occult HBV infection in babies, which may occur in up to 40 percent of babies born to hepatitis-B-positive mothers
  • Hepatitis B is a primarily blood-transmitted adult disease associated with risky lifestyle choices such as unprotected sex with multiple partners and intravenous drug use involving sharing needles —
  • Hepatitis B is not primarily a "children's disease" or one that is a common threat to newborn babies in the U.S.
  • Any protection offered by the hepatitis B vaccine may wane by the time a child reaches his or her teenage years -- the time when acquiring a hepatitis B infection may be more likely
  • More than 1,500 deaths have been reported in the U.S. following hepatitis B shots and at least 60 serious health problems or adverse unintended consequences have been associated with hepatitis B vaccination

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Reason Mom's Chicken Soup Really Works!

Sometimes Mom knows best.

Story at-a-glance

  • Bone broth contains valuable minerals in a form your body can easily absorb and use, including calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulfur chondroitin, glucosamine, and a variety of trace minerals
  • The gelatin found in bone broth is a hydrophilic colloid. It attracts and holds liquids, including digestive juices, thereby supporting proper digestion
  • Bone broth also inhibits infection caused by cold and flu viruses, for example, and fights inflammation, courtesy of anti-inflammatory amino acids such as arginine
  • Making your own bone broth is very cost effective, as you can make use of left over carcass bones that would otherwise be thrown away. And making your own broth is quite easy


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

I'm Deeply Humbled by This Post

Brought to you from by Sam Williamson. I Recommend his blog without any reservations.

The Danger of Natural Christian Leadership

December 16, 2013 — 7 Comments
I studied at the University of Michigan in the 1970’s (like, before indoor plumbing). I joined a campus ministry that emphasized community, the Holy Spirit, and outreach.
It was a great group. About one hundred and fifty of us “sacrificed”—believe me, it was a sacrifice—to live in the dorms all four years for the sake of outreach. SONY DSCWe roomed, did laundry, and shared meals alongside nonbelievers (of which there were two or three).
Our evangelism efforts focused on leaders. We felt that if we could bring the gospel to these natural leaders, they would invite friends and become leaders in our ministry.
So we purposely befriended student in the honors program, sports team’s leaders, those in pre-med and pre-law, and significant influencers in our dormitory houses.
I’m ashamed to admit, we called our strategy, Selective Evangelism.*   

What was the result?

Let’s put aside, if we can, the obvious Biblical flaws with our strategy (man looks on the outside while God looks on the inside). What culture did Selective Evangelismcreate?
The leaders we cultivated were innately disciplined; it takes self-will to excel at academics and sports. When these leaders joined us, they brought their native discipline to Christianity, and they created a culture of discipline.
This discipline helped thousands of students. They created personal schedules and ordered their lives with regular prayer times, better study habits, and personal integrity.
Prayer, grades, and morality improved across the board. Who could argue with that?
But it also created a culture of compliance, a peer pressure of willpower. Little by little, tips and techniques for personal discipline became rules and regulations for conduct.
And the culture of compliance birthed a society of secrecy. Our leaders were so good in their personal order that it was a little embarrassing for us to admit neglecting—for the seventeenth time this month—to take a prayer time.

What was our problem?

Our leaders were innately disciplined, and they taught others to be like themselves.
But many of the students were not innately disciplined. They worked at self-control, but they lacked the inborn gift. They grew weary, ashamed, and secretive. They despaired.
Reliance on natural discipline made our leaders unable to teach new-birth spiritualdiscipline that comes from grace. They naturally did “it”—why couldn’t everyone else?
Native gifts lead to self-sufficiency and independence from God. Oswald Chamber says, “God is not involved in our natural life as long as we continue to [live in] it.” Our leaders lived in their natural gifting and pressured others to imitate them.
But the students who lacked inborn discipline (though they may have been naturally loving or generous) needed spiritual rebirth, grace-based change, not external pressure.
Star athletes are often the worst coaches.

But wasn’t Paul naturally … ?

The Apostle Paul was naturally disciplined. He exceled at academics and morality. Did God choose him—just perhaps—because of God’s own strategic Selective Evangelism?
Not a chance.
In Philippians 3, Paul regales us with his former (and incredible) discipline and morality. Then in verse 7 he says, “But whatever gain I had, I count as a disadvantage.” (Disadvantage is often translated loss, but the original Greek meantdisadvantage.)
Paul is saying, “I used to be hyper disciplined and moral; and now I think all that natural gifting worked against me. It’s just dung.” What brought Paul to this unguarded self-disclosure? It’s called conversion.
In Romans 7, Paul claims that he studied all the commandments—one through nine—and he disciplined himself to obey every single one. And he felt great about himself. Then he read the tenth commandment, “Thou shalt not covet.” He says it slew him.
Paul realized that he coveted the praise of others; he coveted self-esteem; he coveted feeling good about himself. The driving force beneath his discipline was coveting.
He wasn’t disciplined because of innate goodness. He was disciplined because of self-centeredness. His discipline wasn’t grace-based; it was natural man, flesh-based.

But he says, “Be like me”

Paul says, “Whatever you have … heard and seen in me, practice these things” (Phil. 4:9). Isn’t he like we university leaders, teaching others to be just like us?
You betcha he us, but with one huge difference.
Paul says, “Be just like me and bury your natural flesh. Hold a public funeral. Invite your friends. I did.” Our native abilities are not spiritual, and they can only be made spiritual through sacrifice, a death. Through the death of our natural man.
Walking further into natural traits takes no miracle. The miracle occurs when new traits are born. The naturally direct become gracious, and people pleasers become direct; disciplined people let their hair down, and spontaneous people make a schedule up.

Let’s all become super-natural leaders

Not all native talents come from coveting. It is fine—good even—to bless others with our innate gifts. If you were born with perfect pitch, make beautiful music, but let’s not force others to write a symphony. Though perhaps we can help them harmonize.
Their best harmonies, though, will come when they find their own gifting, their abilities that bring life to others. They may be more loving or generous than us; let’s encourage and value those traits in them (and, who knows, maybe even learn from them!).
Finally, let’s teach gospel-changed hearts, how the cross made the naturally timid to be bold, and how grace made the naturally direct to be gracious.
Let’s Selectively Evangelize each other daily by selecting (and teaching) the inner-traits that God super-naturally birthed in our hearts.
* This ministry had really good people, Selective Evangelism was discontinued, BookCover_1500x2400and the organization publicly repented. That humility takes super-natural heart change.
Check out my new book, Is Sunday School Destroying Our Kids?, available in paperback or Kindle formats, at Amazon.

Monday, December 16, 2013

It's not ALL about the blade.

Okay, I'm still passionate about survival. Not because I'm a whack job (I am but that's a coincidence). It's because you're crazy if you live your life like nothing will ever go wrong. The largely misunderstood zombie Apocalypse has caught on so well because there newest generations are painfully aware that they lack skills due to the ease of life these days.

While some folks freak out that calculator and spell check will ruin our ability to think, it's a very real issue that most people can't start a fire without a lighter. So, I've decided my interest in all things survival is justified enough for me to take it out for a walk once in a while.

Most of the time I refer to some of the basics like having a knife of some sort easily accessible. Which gets right to the core problem I mentioned earlier. Society has decided at anyone who is armed in any fashion must intend to harm someone. How about the fact that most weapons are also tools, (and to be fair, most tools are actually weapons). There are literally hundreds of ways to kill someone that don't involve a tiny blade such as this. Your ability to harm someone with this knife is very low, your chances of surviving a life threatening situation with a knife like this is drastically higher than without it. Which, ironically, means the people who deny you the ability to carry such a thing are actually putting you at risk. Who's the monster now? Huh?

Well lets take a fast detour and think beyond the typical zombie scenario, to the more mundane fire, flood, mudslide, hurricane, tornado, earthquake, or NBA loss inspired riot. There's some other things you might want to do.

And while were talking about backups... here's a list of documents you might want to be able to grab and take with you at a moments notice.

Oh and have a thumb drive for each kid with their important info, and RECENT pictures, because kids do get snatched and the faster the missing kids posters go up the better. I asked my mom what my blood type was the other day (ashamed to admit I don't know what it is). She hung her head and said, "I don't know."

So I got curious and the next time I went to see my Doctor he said, "I'm sorry I don't know either. We don't check for that when we draw blood." I was shocked. Apparently the labs charge an arm and a leg for something I learned to do in high school biology. You actually have to go donate blood to the red cross if you want to find out for a price you can handle. But hey, go donate blood anyway, right?

Well that's about all you can handle for today. Hope you are having a very merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Good news for us traditional types!

Family meals are making a comeback and it can't happen soon enough.

Story at-a-glance

  • The Family Meal documentary explores how eating together as a family can boost your health, emotional well-being and family relationships
  • Children who eat meals with their families get better grades, eat healthier, are less likely to be obese, and have greater emotional well-being and resilience
  • Family meals also lead to increased family bonding and help you pass down traditional cooking methods and other family traditions to your children
  • The family dinner “trend” seems to be growing; one survey found most US families eat dinner together most nights of the week, and 34 percent eat together seven nights a week

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Super Saturday 2

This is the second installment in the Super Saturday Series. I'm trying to get back to my roots of amazing things and so I've got some crazy win videos and such coming your way each Saturday for the rest of the year. WOOT!

Bonus video:

Friday, December 13, 2013

Celebrate Good Times, COME ON!?!

Here's a philosophical post for you all. I think you'll like it.

In Matthew 19:14 Jesus said the Kingdom of Heaven is for children and you must be like a child to receive it (Matt 18:3). That's a weird one, I confess. I think at least some of it comes down to how we approach life. Are we filled with wonder? Are the things we don't know yet scary or is it a big adventure? Is life riddled with milestones and celebrations?

When I was a kid, I kept track of the half years. I was four and a half, five and a half, etc. Now I can't quite remember how old I am. I have to do the math when people ask me. I'm told that I will start tracking half years again when I turn 90. I'll proudly proclaim that I'm ninety and a half. The way I've lived, I should probably start that practice at 45.

Author Jack Canfield once pointed out, inside your heart is a little kid who must buy into your agenda or you can never hope to succeed. Learn to celebrate milestones or you'll quickly become two minded about your actions. (I'm paraphrasing).

The point is, that so many things in life that are good for us don't have a fast reward. Eat a cookie and it tastes good. Don't eat a cookie and you save some calories which helps you look and feel good--eventually. First you have to not eat the cookie again. In fact, every time you don't eat a cookie you still have to not eat that cookie. You don't get to bank the benefit of some positive actions for quite a while. Not just health, but financial decisions, and relationship decisions.

So how do we engage our childlike heart when we can't always reward every positive decision? A couple ways I can think of. 1) it not always torturous to make a good decision. I'm madly in love with my wife and it's pretty darn easy at this juncture to not hit on other women. I'm not concerned at all about getting caught, I'm simply not interested in anything that erodes my relationship. So I'm going to put forward the hypothesis that having your heart in the right place and keeping it there, plays a factor.

But as far as a quick technique to help your inner kid get behind drudgery, like TPS reports, or reading the next chapter in stats, or doing sit-ups. Break the project up into chunks and when you achieve each milestone celebrate your progress.

In fact, I'm going to propose that we start celebrating relatively small accomplishments in some small way, all of the time. As often as we need to. As often as we possibly can. The chances are that you haven't taken the time out to really celebrate something in weeks or even months. So try this. Tell me something you have done and let's celebrate it. I'll go first. This week, I crossed 66 things off my check list. That's pretty remarkable. So I'm taking 30 seconds off to close my eyes and listen to music, and feel rather satisfied with myself. Well I feel a lot better, how about you? Let me know what you're celebrating so I can be happy for you too.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Merry Christmas from an Amazing Violinist

Watch this kick butt video and enjoy the update below.


First, I want to promote my most recent ghosting gig. I'm very proud of this one. It's really more of a co-authorship as the story is true and told by the woman who lived it. I was lucky enough be the one who got to record it for her. "I Didn't Give up," by Zahara, check that out on Amazon or Kindle . (or Barns and Noble)

I'm still trying to get down to Silverton for the Arts Festival, but the weather is not cooperating.

So much going on, but not much of it is high visibility. On the home front, I'm absorbing a course in marketing. It's mind blowing. I'm stoked. I hope to come out of it a much better promoter for my own work and to help some of my friends and some worthy causes I support.

Please consider giving to the Narvel's as they spread God's love at Myrtle Beach.
I'm also very proud of the work Bill Harbeck is doing in a field that most people don't even want to talk about. Check it out here:

When I'm not studying for my new course, I'm planning Christmas activities or enjoying time with my new wife, but I am also excited to get back to some editing. I've just gotten the next installment from a client and I'm eager to dig into it.

What's coming up in the New Year? I've got another ghosting gig lined up and I'm looking forward to that. I'm also going to edit, revise, and generally get everything ready to publish my short story anthology by the end of February. If you want to read an example of the stories in there here's a link.

And here's a bonus video, 'cause I love yah!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Easy Exercise? Well no but easier perhaps.

Don't have an hour or even twenty minutes to exercise each day? You might not need it. This routine of 12 exercises is a complete workout based on the latest fitness research—and it only takes 7 minutes.P
As with other short, but highly efficient exercises, this routine is based on interval training, where you're combining intense activity with brief recovery periods. We've seen interval training touted before as the most efficient type of exercise. You could do it with cycling, but this workout is an alternative guide and you can do it basically anywhere with almost no equipment.P
The routine was posted in the May-June issue of the American College of Sports Medicine's Health & Fitness Journal and highlighted by The New York Times. In this program:P
The exercises should be performed in rapid succession, allowing 30 seconds for each [with a 10-second rest between exercises], while, throughout, the intensity hovers at about an 8 on a discomfort scale of 1 to 10, [director of exercise physiology at the Human Performance Institute] Mr. Jordan says. Those seven minutes should be, in a word, unpleasant. The upside is, after seven minutes, you’re done.P
As you can see from the chart at the top of this post, all you need is your own body weight and a chair to get "maximum results with minimal investment." However, this was designed for people with pretty sedentary lives, so if you're starting out somewhat in shape, you should probably do this a few times in a row. Hit the link to read more.P

Monday, December 9, 2013

For fans of "Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead"

If you don't get and read Joe's newsletter you need to. This is chalk full of good stuff like this.

G’Day Holiday-Shopping Rebooters,

The one thing I reckon we all have in common this time of year isstress. What do I fix for dinner that everyone will love? What should I give my parents? My friends? How am I going to afford this? Do I have enough time to bake 200 cookies?

The anxiety builds and builds until you find yourself turning to old comforts – sugar, alcohol, carbs – to cope. Don’t let that happen this year. I asked our Reboot experts to share their best tips for coping with the stress of the holiday season:

Dr. Adrian Rawlinson, a Sports Medicine Doctor says:

1.) Get high on exercise.
Exercise reduces levels of the body’s stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol, helping you achieve that “runner’s high”. It also stimulates the production of endorphins, the body’s natural painkillers and mood elevator that provide stimulation and calm, to counter depression and dissipate stress.

2.) Stay on track.
As you lose weight and get closer to your ideal goal through diet and exercise, your strength and endurance increase and your self-image improves which helps to give you a sense of pride and self-confidence that help you succeed in many tasks both at work and at home (and holiday shopping).

Read more of Adrian’s exercise tips.

Stacy Kennedy, an Integrative Nutritionist/Dietician says:

3.) Hydrate with herbs.
Choose a calming herbal tea over cappuccino. Excessive caffeinecan ramp up heart rate and contribute to feeling stressed and jittery. Herbal tea like ginger and lemon or chamomile help warm you up and keep you hydrated and may exert calming effects.

4.) Go for greens.
Magnesium rich foods like kale, swiss chard, collards and mustard greens can all help to regulate the stress hormone, cortisol. Try our Green Citrus JuiceCranberry Citrus Juice or Cranberry n Collards Salad, and of course Joe’s Mean Green.

Read more of Stacy’s nutrition tips.

Dr. Carrie Diulus, a Spinal Surgeon says:

5.) Give yourself the gift of health.
Keeping healthy habits throughout the holidays not only helps you cope better with stress, it leaves you feeling better into the New Year. Make the commitment to yourself this year to keep up the healthy habits you have developed or start some new ones. There is no better gift you can give yourself.

6.) Don’t break your budget.
The holidays can be expensive; meals, presents, new clothes, etc. and it all can add up fast. Set realistic boundaries for yourself. Get creative to cut costs if you need to. Homemade gifts, like thisHomemade Maple Cinnamon Chia Almond Butter, can be more meaningful than expensive store bought purchases.

Read more of Carrie’s gift-giving tips.

Dr. Russell Kennedy, a Wellness Psychologist says:

7.) Let it out and vent.
We all need someone to hear us out when we are stressed. Reaching out to a close friend or family member to ‘just hear’ you out can help you deal with your stress levels. The process of formulating an explanation of your stress, delivering it to someone else, and having that formulation received by another is a great way to calibrate your emotions around your stress.

8.) Take a mindful moment.
Meditation trains the mind in a way that can help quiet your inner experience. With just a few minutes of diaphragmatic breathing a day, one can receive some necessary respite from your environmental stressors. Over time, a meditation practice can have profound positive effects on your health.

Read more of Russell’s behavioral tips.

Juice on stress-free Rebooters!

Joe and the Reboot Team

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Okay back to awesomeness!

I really love this compilation of people doing amazing things. It's been too long since I posted anything like this.

Don't forget to come on by the Main Event East and get a signed copy of Zahara's inspiring life story. This is a ghost writing project that I'm really proud of. So come on by. 1pm to 4pm.

  • 3200 SE 164th Ave
  • Vancouver, Washington 98683

Friday, December 6, 2013

Controversy! Heroes and Human's

As an American I know very little about the situation in South Africa and what created apartheid. For as long as I've been alive most of the world has denounced the overt racism of it, and rightly so, but I've been curious about it all today. Mainly because of the coverage Mandela is getting. They are treating him like a saint, which is what we do when someone dies, but since he was a national figure it gets really over-blown. Was he really the saint the media is making him out to be? Why was he in prison for 27 years? So I did some digging.

Mandela was a leader in the ANC a communist group or perhaps a group that supported cold war USSR (not always the same thing). The ANC was linked to around 200 bombings that killed or maimed hundreds of people from during the 1980's. Some would argue that they were justified since they were fighting for equality but I think killing random civilians is terrorism regardless of your ideology.

How closely was Mandela associated with the violence of the terrorism? Well he was on the US and UK terrorist watch list for two decades (under multiple administrations of both parties). In 1985 Mandela was offered a release from prison if he'd renounce the violent tactics of the ANC and work to bring a peaceful solution. He turned it down. You could argue that he didn't believe in it was possible to have peace without equality or whatever, but none the less he turned down an opportunity to work for peace.

According to an article in AllVoice " In his book,” Long Walk to Freedom”, Nobel Peace Laureate, Nelson Mandela writes that as a leading member of the ANC’s executive committee, he had “personally signed off” the ANC’s acts of terrorism even while in prison."

So what is the situation in South Africa? It's predominately black. Most of whom are Zulu. The Zulu were united under a series of charismatic leaders in the mid 1800's and have not retained much if any of their agrarian culture from before. While most African tribes farmed (with the exception of some hunter gatherer tribes) the Zulu lived off raiding for generations. I'm not saying that someone born a Zulu is prone to violence I'm saying if someone wishes to return to a cultural authenticity they would have a hard time finding a peaceful culture to return to. South Africa has suffered a lot of black on black violence under apartheid and since Manela's release from prison it's suffered an uptake in black on white violence.

There's a huge cultural difference between farming (black or white) and the Zulu culture and these issues don't go away quickly or easily. Mandela may have made huge strides in ending a vial form of racism and reuniting the people of South Africa, but the area is a tinderbox still and Mandela never spoke out against the terrorism of the ANC. Nor did his government do much to investigate the "random" torture/murders of Boer farmers that happened about 66 times a month.

So what are you saying Andy? Are you taking some sort of racist angle on this or something? Not at all. I don't know if Mandela was a great man or an evil man. I really don't know. I'm going to take the radical track and say he was probably both. Why do I need to tarnish this triumphant moment for a hero in the battle of racism? Because I don't like it when we paint over the bad and pretend someone was perfect. I think its important to report accurately that great deeds are done by flawed people.

Destiny and the Will to Change

Warning! Religious content.

There are some pretty weird verses in the bible that indicate that we are predestined to be saved. I've even heard it preached on recently. To be honest, these verses challenge me. I don't really like the concept, but the good news is it doesn't matter. If you have made a decision to accept salvation then it doesn't matter if you were predetermined to do so or not.

Romans 8:29-30

New American Standard Bible (NASB)
29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; 30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.

The reason I bring this up is because of another verse entirely. I wish I could bring you a grand conclusion all wrapped up with a bow and ready to go, but we're going to have to settle for a discussion of an interesting concept and you can make up your own mind about it.

The verse I'm on about is John 3: 17-21.

17 “Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Those who believe in him are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God.19 And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. 20 For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed. 21 But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God.”[j]

But here's why. Lately I've been pretty challenged by myself. Well I challenge myself all the time, but I'm getting push back. This happens when I have a place of hardness. Hardness forms like a scar, where an injury has healed imperfectly. God offers to heal us, perfectly, so my wounds are places I'm choosing not to receive that healing.

There's an intimate connection between our intimate connection with God and his healing of us. Places we don't receive healing are places we don't allow God to enter. Hard places can clump together and become a trend that impacts our entire lives. It sounds odd because we all have unhealed places that we don't feel the impact of but others seem to be a huge interruption of our lives.

Let's dial this back a second, from the life and death issue of salvation. What I'm talking about personally is just times in which I could have a much better attitude. There's times when I'm grumpy, or angry, etc. and I know better. In fact, I'm trying to become a more positive person. I've been trying for years and had many successes. Sometimes I can here the quiet voice of God pointing out that I'm about to head down a spiral of stink'n think'n and to my own horror I ignore Him and do it anyway. Because of my unhealed places I often chose to be a mean, angry person when I know that's not who I really am. I'd rather stay stuck in it than receive the healing God offers.

I'm often tempted to feel twice as bad afterword, because I saw it coming. These episodes are a symptom of a larger issue, the hardness beneath them. It's not so much the darkness of my deeds as it is that I still love the darkness. Does this resonate with anyone?

I want to officially drive a post into the ground and declare a change of heart. I want to overcome all my hard places, no matter how much I've clung to the comfort of them. I want to be a more positive person even if it means giving up my grudges, negative personal images, feelings of martyrdom, and so on. There's no coping mechanism in my life that's more important to me than getting better, mainly because I'm tired of having places in my life where intimacy with God is shunned.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

WebMD shilling for the man?

Story at-a-glance

  • WebMD has received a $4.8 million government contract to educate doctors about the Affordable Care Act. Lack of transparency has raised questions about potential conflicts of interest
  • WebMD has positioned itself as a primary source of independent and science-backed health information yet is financially dependent on pharmaceutical companies, and now the US government
  • In 2010, WebMD was found to have created a depression screening test in which 100 percent of quiz-takers ended up having a “high likelihood of major depression,” and were asked to discuss available drug treatment
  • Global expenditure for prescription drugs is estimated to hit $1 trillion next year, and as high as $1.2 trillion in 2017
  • The main driver of increased drug sales is increased access to medical care across the world. In the US, the Affordable Care Act will likely lead to major spending increases

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Inspiration Post from an Inspired Mentor of Mine

If you've never checked out Craig Ballantyne's Early to Rise website you owe it to yourself to check into it. Here's a link to his latest product, but look all around the site. It's great.

Personal Note to Give You Hope

By Craig Ballantyne
He was my hero. I was just a 5 year old kid when this "Superman" came to town. And to this day his story still brings a tear to my eye. 

What he achieved, against the obstacles he overcame, makes almost everything we struggle with seem so inconsequential in comparison. 

His story below, but first, I have three questions for you

The answers determine your future. 

What are your real limits? 

What beliefs do you have about yourself? 

What limits are you setting on yourself because you are thinking too small? 

Most people put up walls in their minds, blocking them from success. 

But my childhood hero, Terry Fox, refused to do this. 

In his early 20's, Terry, stricken with cancer that had already claimed his right leg, set out on a cross-Canada marathon of hope. 

The year was 1980. I was only 5 years old at the time, but it left an impact on me that still drives me to this day. 

Terry began his marathon of hope long before fundraising runs became popular. His goal was to run across Canada, raising money for cancer research. And he started with just himself and a buddy in a van. 

He ran through snow and ice in Quebec, where he was nearly - and literally - run off the road by drivers that were angry at him for being there. No one understood what he was doing. To them, he was just some dumb kid risking death running on the side of a highway. 

He ran those first few weeks of his marathon of hope - with no hope from anyone else. Even his buddy, the van driver, doubted the mission. 

Yet Terry ran a marathon each and every single day - on one leg. 

On one leg! 

Circumstances didn't stop Terry. He believed. Terry's mind had expanded to create a vision. In his vision, people would take notice of his run, pay attention to his cause, and they would support cancer research to help fund and find a cure for the disease that would ultimately take his life far too soon. 

Terry was eventually rewarded. As he crossed into Ontario, Canada's most populous province, word had spread. Major media outlets began to pick up on this marathon of hope by an ambitious, yet doomed youngster. 

By the time he reached Canada's political and metropolitan capitals, Ottawa and Toronto, he was being met in the streets by thousands of well-wishers. 

I still remember the day he came to Stratford. It was July 20th, my father's 41st birthday. A big deal was made for our family to go and line Ontario Street, the main road running through our town of 27,000 people, to see this young man on a mission.

Thousands of people were there to get hope of their own. To expand their minds about what was possible. 

Terry was the original sports apparel slogan. He was the first to turn Impossible to I'm Possible. He truly Just Did It. Terry was all about the positive side of life, loving every minute despite the hardships he battled. 

Doesn't he inspire you to be stronger against yours? 

Imagine Terry's troubles for a moment. 

Imagine running a marathon a day on one leg, in 1980, with a poorly made prosthetic limb, without fancy footwear, or good nutrition (because he was doing this on a tiny budget), or proper recovery (because he was sleeping in a van down by the river after each marathon)! 

There was no quit in Terry. He embraced the pain. It drove him every day. 

"Maybe that's why I've made it as far as I have - 2,521 miles. If I ran to a doctor every time I got a little cyst or abrasion I'd still be in Nova Scotia. Or else I'd never have started. I've seen people in so much pain. The little bit of pain I'm going through is nothing. They can't shut it off, and I can't shut down every time I feel a little sore." - Terry Fox 

How do you react to pain, to struggle, to setbacks? 

Do you see the obstacles? Or the opportunities? 

Do you count the problems? Or do you focus on creating 2 solutions for each? 

The former is limited thinking. The latter is the attitude you must take. 

You need to be like Terry and believe that anything - and everything - is possible for you. 

You need to expand your mind about what you and your body can achieve. You must blow up your self-imposed limits. You must expand your vision. 

Pause for some self-reflection. 

Ask yourself... 

What are your limits? 

Who puts up those walls and fences that define your limits? 

Can you knock them down and expand your vision? 

Of course you can. 

Because it is you that laid the walls, brick by brick. It is you that controls the beliefs in your mind. It is you that creates your vision, it is you that chooses to be positive or negative. 

Yes, I understand that what we believe is often seeded by others, for better or for worse, and often for the latter. 

But it's only because we never reflect, we never sit back and think, "Wait a darn minute, who says I can only do ABC? I know that I can go all the way to XYZ." 

You must think bigger. 

You must make little bets. 

You must take bigger steps. 

Suddenly you'll see that your own marathon of hope is possible, as it was for Terry. 

In a made-for-TV-movie about Terry, there comes a moment where he leaves the hostile reception of Quebec and crosses into Ontario. His face lights up at the border. He knows that this is where his vision will come to life. He is gaining momentum. He knows the tide is turning. I can only imagine that his mind expanded again on that day. 

Sadly, that was the last border that Terry would cross on his own. 

After making it through southern Ontario, where over a third of Canada's population resides, raising millions of dollars and cementing a legacy that remains today, Terry received the news that he and all his supporters feared. 

His cancer had returned. 

After 143 days and over 3,339 miles, from Newfoundland, where he had begun by sticking his toe in the Atlantic, his marathon of hope came to a tragic end. On September 1st, 1980, Terry was forced to stop running outside of Thunder Bay, Ontario. The cancer had returned, this time to his lungs. 

Terry passed away on June 28, 1981 at the age 22. 

Terry would never get the chance to dip his toe in the Pacific, the dream ending for his marathon of hope. But what he did was bigger than the ocean itself. His impact was greater than anything that Terry could have imagined. 

Terry said, "Even if I don't finish, we need others to continue. It's got to keep going without me." 

And so it has. 

Each September, thousands of Terry Fox runs take place in communities all over North America. The Terry Fox Foundation has raised over $600 million for cancer research since 1980. His legend will never die. In fact, it only grows and expands each year. 

Rare are stories about men or women as innocent and inspiring as Terry's. 

But there is a little - or a lot - of Terry's fighting spirit in all of us. 

We need to see that courage in ourselves more often, each and every single day in what we do. We need to believe in what we're fighting for. We need to stand up for ourselves, for what is right for us. We need to have a vision. 

We need to know, as Terry knew, that we are capable of so much more. 

Terry epitomized big thinking. His mind expanded beyond easy possibilities. He communicated a vision that others could - and would - get behind. And all that from a young man that just as easily could have holed up and hidden behind a wall of his own making. 

"I'm not a dreamer, and I'm not saying this will initiate any kind of definitive answer or cure to cancer, but I believe in miracles. I have to." - Terry Fox 

So what are your limits again? 

What are the self-limiting beliefs that keep you in shackles? 

Are you ready to expand your vision? 

Are you willing to believe in miracles? You have to. 

Dream bigger. Knock down the walls. What was laid brick by brick over the last twenty, thirty or forty years of your life can be smashed away. 

Believe in yourself. 

Take stock of your talents, your support, your goals, your dreams. 

If you want to transform, then take your dreams and expand them. 

Get the five pillars of transformation in place: Planning, Accountability, Social Support, an Incentive, and The Deadline. 

Terry had those all. He started with very little support, but it grew. It was all powered by the massive incentive he had, the deadline that spurred him, and the biggest dream that our country of Canada may ever have seen. 

Terry showed what is possible when you believe. 

Now it's up for you to believe in what is possible for yourself. 

Terry not only ran to find a cure, but to give you hope, to show you that you can achieve great things, at any age, under any circumstance. 

Please take his message to heart, no matter if you're trying to lose fat, change a bad habit, overcome an addiction, or bring your family closer together. 

You can do it. I believe in you. And Terry would have believed in you, too. 

Expand your mind. Spread your vision. Think bigger. Take action. And never, ever, EVER give up on what is important to you. 

Dip your toe in the ocean of possibility, and head out on that road. 

We are behind you all the way.