The Beginning, the Middle, the End

 

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I do not watch Nascar much any more but still find the speed, skill and determination fascinating. Daytona 500 is actually 500 miles. Driving 500 miles on an interstate can be taxing but speeding around a racetrack for 500 miles takes exceptional skill and perseverance.

I wrote this poem during the years of my Nascar fascination but it is still true today about many things in our lives.

You may be fast but not the fastest on the track

You may have started well, but feel the finish will be disappointing;

You may be a streak of speed, then fall behind for rain, black flag, or lack of power.

At the close of the race or the end of the day;

Your story will have all the above but the Master of the Race,

Will give the prize to the ones who persevered ‘till the end.

Not only one, not only two will get the prize;

But all who stayed and ran or drove or swam ‘til…..

They crossed the finish line;

‘Til the checkered flag waved high and long…

‘Til the crowd rose to its feet and applauded the faithful, the true, the strong of heart.

Life in itself is a race — there’s the beginning and the ending but there is something called the “middle miles”. These are miles that can be more challenging than he thrill and excitement of the beginning moments and the heart-pounding ending miles.

The middle miles require more patience, deeper perseverance and more focus on the vision. Whether it is a college student plodding thro’ lectures, exams and more lectures or the missionary in language school or an individual journeying through the waste land of weight loss, the middle miles require the same.

But the good news is that there is a path through the middle miles o the triumph of the end miles and the victory. There are no doubt more books, programs and websites about weight loss methods or advice or the magic pill then any other topic. However, there are simply a few really important things that really matter. Calorie deficit and whole food is a term that keeps popping up for me this time around.

I’ve been following Instagram posts of Carter Good, a fitness trainer who has lost 140 pounds. He suggests multiplying your goal weight by 11-13, depending on your level of activity. That gives the calories that will put you into a calorie deficit.

His next guidelines is 80% of your food intake should be whole food. Not raw food but whole food. Simple and sustainable are important to most because if a weight loss plan is simple and sustainable, it will be key to not only losing weight but to maintaining a healthy weight.

The excitement of the beginning miles of this journey; the perseverance through the middle miles and the triumph of the end miles.

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FB_IMG_1518742324384The saying to keep doing the same thing and expect different results are actions of a fool may be true in some respects and in some situations. However, sometimes you need to do the same thing with a different attitude, a clearer focus or a different goal in mind. Yes, you guessed it. The topic here is weight loss.

I am a professional, if the definition is determined by how many times you do it.  I have not had a weight issue all my life. It started in my late 30’s and because of bad habits I did not break and wrong mind beliefs it has continued through the years.

I’ve lost weight successfully with Weight Watchers in particular and on my own with no particular program but by limiting my calories and consistent workouts at the gym. But each time after losing 40-50 pounds, I burned out on the process or the special event I was losing weight for passed and it seemed unimportant.

So the obvious question is why try again with the spotty up and down history I have? I do not have a good answer for my reader except that I have a stubborn streak in me that will not let me permanently give up. I learned recently that it is important and necessary to success to have a specific “why”. I’ve started the journey but I’m still brainstorming for a “why” that will carry me the distance.

Many weight loss professionals say that weight loss happens mostly in the mind. Since I believe this whole-heartedly, I’m focused on mental changes and making sure my mind is on my side. Habits take time to develop and even though developed it is too easy to become disloyal to them.

February 20, I picked myself up and started once again on my weight loss journey. I know the beginning of this journey but not the ending and I do not need to know the ending because I am focusing on the first 28 pounds to lose.  Even though my nature is one that wants to arrive at the end of the journey IMMEDIATELY after beginning, nothing in our life works that way. So through the years I’ve attempted to temper that part of myself.

As of March 2, I am 6 pounds closer to that goal. Celebrating the achievement of a goal is vital to success. That is one truth that I will embrace on my journey today, tomorrow and the next day.

The Great Disconnect — Business vs Politics

FB_IMG_1480101636335A rolling thunder from the west; a lone buffalo roaming new unconquered territory and a new message motivated by business genius and political directness burst through the darkness of 8 years of lawlessness, loss of moral integrity and massive breaches in national security with hope for greatness again.

Donald Trump threw his hat in the ring with a baker’s dozen other hopefuls. He took his message to the people and started a new understandable dialogue with Americans of all cultures and varying walks of life. The people got it while life-time politicians flopped; flailed and misinterpreted his message, motivation and abilities.

Americans fell in line with this non-political business leader who promised to reduce the burden of Obamacare health insurance; add jobs and create a safer America by putting terrorist countries on notice. His message was the same on the campaign trail, in rallies nationwide and finally paid out on election night in a historical win.

America has been crumbling piece by piece; brick by brick over the last 8 years as a man tore away at our moral fabric, ripped down fences of protection from foreign governments and put America up for sale to the highest bidder.

Donald Trump came from behind, defied all odds of continual sabotage, illegal votes and coercion to win the election by an electoral college landslide and probably popular vote were the true truth be known.  Trump ran his campaign on the Republican ticket. Trump won election night as a Republican defeating the Democrat nominee. But Trump is first a business man looking out for the financial good of the American people not scratching the backs or smoothing feathers of disgruntled high-need Congress lifers.

Then this real estate mogul and billionaire business man stepped onto the political stage not only as a newcomer but as a game changer on every front that mattered to the American people. That’s when the political dialogue changed from undercutting nuances and double talk to a straight forward business sense conversation. And that is when the political news media anchor and all his or her commentators disconnected from a new way of doing business.

The political dialogue has operated with certain players, specific measures and data counters to give a perfect analysis of Washington D.C. and what comes and goes. All these have been honed to a perfect science which is accurate and unfailing. That is until Donald Trump.

President Trump understands the political playing field but chooses not to make his critical decisions to grow American jobs, relax burdensome regulations and drawback federal funding money from the throne of political stature but rather from firm business reasoning.

Armchair political pundits, political couch enthusiasts and the political news anchor criticize, blame and acclaim the “wrong of Trump” because suddenly the dialogue has changed and their pat conclusions no longer apply but they refuse to grow up, understand and give credit to a new way of doing business in the Trump era. The issues are not landlocked in Washington D.C. so the politicians like Congress lifers can manipulate the facts, screw reasoning to a point the American on the street is left in political blackout.

President Trump is bypassing the sludge in the Washington D.C. swamp and signed executive orders that make life better for the American people immediately. He is a business man in word, thought and deed for one sole purpose – so the burdens of the American people are lighter.

The corrupt demagogue of politics is duly frightened by a President who will not be bought by big business, unions or Congress cheats who have been too long in the halls of their infallible office. Americans are now at the top of the food chain and the pandering and back scratching of lifers in Congress are being set aside. Angered, they are lashing out at every move President Trump makes to make life better for the American people. But we have a President who is unshaken by these power plays.

Once again, here is where the political commentators and armchair pundits are totally off balance with what is happening in America. They cannot do their normal cajoling, make observant political posts on Facebook because the game has changed. They want to talk politics. But it’s not politics now. It is America being run like a business rather than a political pun. The dialogue now is, that jobs are returning to America; large company conglomerates are investing in American businesses because we are no longer up for auction to the highest bidder. America is first, for our President; our borders are more important than other country’s borders; law and order is the new face on our streets.

American politics inside the beltway have become dark, divisive and entangled in greed and payouts. American politics are supposed to be about taking care of the American people, their rights, their concerns and equal fairness for all but not more rights or more fairness for some. Republicans, Democrats and Independents alike have become self-serving, protagonists and internally constipated.

The status quo in political arenas is predictable, measurable, proven and reliable except for the American people. The language has to change and the reporting must start reflecting the strides President Trump is taking to give back to the American people their country.

Let’s talk business not politics right now. The American worker is on the front page now not the tongue in cheek political sideways chatter that is stuck in swamp stench.

The Beginning is not the Ending

How many times we hear someone say, “I’m not even going to start because I know I can’t complete it.” Weight loss is one of the things that I’ve said, I’ll never get to my goal weight so why start?” As I’ve seen my daughter’s incredible weight loss success, even though it was a slow uphill struggle, I’ve dared believe maybe I should start again.

So I got to thinking of the philosophy I’ve recently bought into……I cant see a favorable ending so why have a beginning?  It is false for one thing and it is extremely faithless in myself for the other thing.

So something dawned on me this afternoon, the beginning is not the ending …. no it isn’t.  It may be a simple truth but it is still truth.  The beginning is just that and nothing more.  The beginning is feeble, little steps forward but it is forward strides not backward.

There can be no ending without a beginning so no matter how feeble the beginning is, an ending is not possible without a beginning.  My focus now is all my energies will go to  a strong beginning.

The ending is something that will take care of itself. The ending will be another story.  Believe in yourself right now.

Unfulfilled Expectations on Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is the day generally thought of for good friends, lovers, married couples and all the stages of relationships in between. The dozen roses that walks through the front office door on Valentine’s Day makes every girl’s heart skip a beat hoping they are from a boyfriend, a husband or maybe a secret admirer.

Then hearts sink and smiles fade as the roses pass desk after office and finally land on the conference table from a grateful client.

Unfulfilled expectations and tears of sadness are often bed fellows because we want those roses, that card or a special dinner for ourselves.  I’ve listened to moans of dislike for the day because one does not have a girl/boyfriend or sweetheart as if that is all that love is about.

I was married 29 years ago on Valentine’s Day. Five years later the marriage unfortunately ended. That was the beginning of many tears of grief, sadness and sometimes anger. I had lost something that I so wanted to be successful and endure for years to come with the fruits of four children to complete the union.

It was not to be.

In subsequent years, the tears flowed freely every Valentines’s Day. Every year I sank deeper in depression, sadness, sorrow and despair.  I would hide away with my tear-stained cheeks from society, church and whoever else.

Then one year, my Heavenly Father and Comforter of my soul said my grief must be replaced with joy and gratefulness. This does not happen instantly but it was time  for the first step. Even though it is easier to remain self-absorb and weep, I decided to give the other side of the coin a shot that year. If it did not work, next year I would continue my downward spiral.

The idea was to turn my gaze outward rather than inward. I decided to make a plan for the day before it arrived so that I would not be defeated before I started. Here was my plan:

  1.  I called my cousin, Paul Moffat, whom I’d not talked to for some time. He was always jovial and uplifting.
  2. Next I made 3 little corsage arrangements for some of my lady friends and delivered them later that day.

Insignificant you say? Oh no, because those were my first fragile steps forward. My focus all day was to give to others and it turned out to be amazingly different. I ended the day with a peace I had not experienced on previous Valentine days.

I have continued this habit in varying degrees and with a variety of things which always focuses on others. I still grieve from time to time but Valentine’s Day now is about doing for others rather than wallowing in a lost dream.

Yesterday on Valentine’s Day, even 29 years later, I had to rein in my thoughts and my emotions to love and care for others:

  1. Flowers went to my daughter and son-in-law
  2. A stuffed turtle with favorite snacks went to my grandson
  3. Plasma from my blood was given  so others can have a better quality of life
  4. I wished various people a Happy Valentine’s Day.

Every step taken in a forward and upward direction is significant and makes an eternal difference.

Thro’ The Open Door

Door-1“O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God:  how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!”

At age 11 I felt God’s call on me to be a missionary.  It was a wonderful experience even at that tender age.  Many years passed and roadblock after roadblock was thrown in my way. It seemed that I would never be permitted to follow God’s calling. But I remained faithful and hopeful that one day God would open the door I was to walk through.

I finally decided that perhaps my place in God’s Kingdom was to make a lot of money and help support missionaries.  In essence, I was questioning the wisdom of God but not for long.  My Heavenly Father let me pursue my earthly interests for a time then one day a still small voice said, “Sharon, I don’t want your money I want you.”  It is difficult for us to understand God’s wisdom for we see the here and now only rather than the perfect timing of an all-knowing Heavenly Father.

God’s wisdom is displayed in the flashy peacock and the grossly ugly hippo sliding in the mud.  We can identify God’s wisdom in the peace of a quiet lake or in the trembling of a volcanic mountain.  Scientists do not understand because  God’s wisdom is appalling.  God bestows His wisdom upon mankind as the reward  for holding on to faith in the dark; walking forward in the fog and listening to God rather than complaining that His timeline does not line up with ours.

In 1982, at age 30 God’s plan unfolded and I found myself on my way to work in a mission in Costa Rica. I was overwhelmed with peace and joy as I stepped confidently thro’ that open door.