Tag Archives: pastor burden


Beginning a Journey to Fitness and Health

Kristi: I'm hurting.  My shoulders, my glutes (can't be how you spell it) and my legs are begging me to take a stationary vacation in our big brown chair.  Jason had the brilliant idea of checking out Exygon last night.  We're at the point where we can no longer ignore the fluffy factor.


Jason: I remembered yesterday that I am allergic to physical activity.  I got on a stationary bike , and immediately I began to perspire.  This cannot be natural.  After a vigorous 5 or 6 minute stint my legs were aching and my pulse was elevated.  The part about my legs aching can be invalidated on the basis that pain is subjective, but the heart rate was being measured. The screen on the bike actually gave me a warning that my heart rate was too high.  I agreed.

I walked into the gym with lots of resolve and enthusiasm about getting healthy, and looking good, and living longer, but as I laboriously burned the calories on the bike I started to wonder why I had come into this tortuous place.

K: And the mirrors.  Would somebody explain to me how the wall to wall twelve foot mirrors are supposed to be a draw?  There's only one thing worse than staring at an underperforming, dripping wet with perspiration- while wearing ill-fitting work-out clothes, version of myself.   -That would be that same image displayed in every cardinal direction.

J: I think that's just the problem.  We've been looking at our selves too long and saying, "We have to do something about this!"  It's easy to say, but hard to do.

I think there has been a motivation deficit.  I find myself on a motivational high in the evenings.  I've always been an evening person when it comes to creative thoughts, making plans and resolving to do great things. The problem is, I can't find the same resolve when my alarm clock goes off in the morning.

The activity I'm best at early in the morning is hitting the snooze button on the alarm without opening my eyes.  I don't think there is an Olympic event for that yet, but when there is, I'll represent our country with pride.

So here's what I'm working on:  How do you transfer the resolve and enthusiasm for the good you want to do, into the time that you have for doing it?

K: ..............Four minutes have passed.........six minutes...........I'm not sure where to go with this. My bigger question is what do you do when your enthusiasm lies in a good book or in a cone with Dutch chocolate ice cream on top; NOT in exercise? Do I want to exercise, or are my pants telling me I need to?

Mornings are my productive time.  I get more done from 7:00 -10:00 AM than I do the rest of the day combined, but saying I do it enthusiastically would be a lie.  I robotically pick up the strewn couch pillows from the floor as do I make my way to the garage to let Griffin out.  I return to the kitchen at approximately the same time every morning to clear the counter of any remnants from last night's kitchen visitors. I unload the dishwasher and take out the trash.  These things are more completed by habit than by passion or energy.  Are my automated steps determined by a deep desire to clean the kitchen or to see it clean? Do I like picking up pillows (for the umpteenth time by Tuesday morning) or do I like walking through a room with things in their place? In my house cleaning, I've got habit and a desired outcome, and it works.

The greatest success, I'm thinking, comes from having at least two of three of the following


*Repeated effort/try-try again/habit

*A goal or desired outcome in mind, or a point of reference to move away from (like love-handles)

I've got one of three ingredients for physical transformation. I'm thinking I found a goal yesterday.  I'd like to look a little better in at least one of the mirrors at Exygon.

photo (3)J: I think I'm on board with that.  We'll see where this takes us.  Two are better than one.  Maybe I can stick with a good routine for more than 2 weeks if I have someone in the routine with me.  Maybe, I too, will like what I see in the mirror better.  A shared passion and a common goal might be just the key I've been looking for to get into those good habits we've been talking about.

An Exercise Prayer:

Hear {our} prayer for mercy as {we} call to you for help, as {we} lift up our hands toward your Most Holy Place. Psalm 28:2



We are about to depart on a journey of a thousand miles. It is literally 1,062 miles from our driveway to our destination in Colorado. I'm bracing myself for this trip. Being in the car with the family for as many hours as it takes to make this trek can turn into a toxic situation. The kids get bored and whiney, I get tired and cranky, and Kristi gets caught in the crossfire. Over the years we have learned a few relationship preserving techniques for arriving at our destination with our sanity intact.

Reading a Book Together

Vacation travel has much improved with iPods and installed DVD players. Many miles are spent in peace and semi-silence while the kids are engrossed in a movie they have already seen or by listening to music.  Sometimes this is a welcome break if there has been bickering.  But we have found that a reading a book aloud captures our children's attention just as well.  I usually read to the family while Jason is driving, and everybody else listens.  The kids take a couple of turns reading, too.  I feel they learn and are even stretched as they get involved in a plot they might not have chosen had they only been reading for their own pleasure. I have been shocked at how well they listen; from Hayden who is fifteen to Rylie who is six.  The teacher in me also stops ever so often to check for understanding, to make predictions or just to discuss what we think about what just happened in the story.

Some of our reads have included The Bridge to Terabithia, The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and The Great Gilly Hopkins

Travel Dehydration

I'm goal oriented when it comes to traveling. For some odd reason I find great satisfaction in getting to the end of a trip as quickly as possible. This is more true for the return trip than it is for our departure.  A few years ago I started a practice while on the road that has served to feed my sick desire to arrive ahead of schedule. I call it travel dehydration. Stopping to use the bathroom adds unwanted hours to an already long trip. I've found that when the sodas and juices and water are limited, the only time we have to stop is for gas and food.  The fewer times we have to stop, the faster we get to our goal.

Good Snacks

Jason is the only fan of travel dehydration. The trip coming home is shorter in hours, but the dehydration suffered causes irritability, then finally resignation resulting in sleep. Thankfully he doesn't enforce this cruel practice while traveling to our Colorado destination.  I'm also thankful that he gladly drives both ways. I like to have an ice-chest full of drinks and little snacks.  Whoever gets the back seat to themself, also has the duty of serving as snack attendant. I for one tend to get cranky on an empty stomach.  The snacks nourish and help the time to pass too.   I keep a small trash bag so that we can clean as we go.  Sometimes that works. 

Breaking Up the Trip

One thing that Kristi and I look forward to on these long trips is the great food we will find along the way.  Since we have made this trip to Colorado together over 17 times, we have become familiar with the best eating spots.  But even when we are going places we have never been before, I find it worthwhile to research and plan out our culinary experiences ahead of time. Anticipating great food helps us to break our trip into manageable sized pieces.

Knowing that a 24 oz. ribeye awaits me at the Big Texan in Amarillo helps me stay focused on my westward destination. I'm already anticipating a cup of perfectly made espresso in Rotan, NM at Enchanted Grounds. We have even timed our arrival in Colorado to coincide with the all you can eat stark night at our resort. These stops along the way make the entire vacation seem a little more spectacular.


What travel techniques help you survive in the car on vacation?

What are your best memories of being on the road?

How do you pass the time with the kids?



Jason is a great husband.  And after seventeen years of marriage we see eye to eye on most things.  This does not apply to decorative pillows.  Our living room and bedroom are adorned with pillows.  I see great purpose in them.   Jason despises them saying they’re not comfortable.  I think they bring color and beauty to the room.  Jason argues that they’re in the way; that they have no purpose.  When he wants to sit on the couch or go to bed, he throws them with disdain.

I despise Kristi’s decorative pillows.  They serve no purpose but to impede my comfort while reclining on my own couch.  When I am tired enough to try to use one as a pillow, I’m reminded how uncomfortable they are.  The fabric is either rough, or crackly, or the pillow is an odd shape.  They frustrate me.

Some decorative pillows are just dangerous.  I’ve seen pillows covered with pheasant feathers.   Feathers are supposed to be inside the pillow, not on it.  You can lay your head down to rest and come up with a quill stuck in your ear!

They come with sequins, too.  Can you imagine the comfort that comes from laying your cheek down on a bed of sequins!

Most have this little zipper whose pull tab always seems to be poking out.  You can’t have a pillow fight with zipper tabs sticking out everywhere.

You can’t have a pillow fight at all with these decorative pillows!

I don’t want to fight about pillows.  I don’t even want to fight with pillows.  But if we were fighting, I would want to be able to have a pillow fight!


But I argue that beauty is not always comfortable.

Comfortable is not always good.  Jason picked out the couches.  People have commented on how difficult it is to get up once having sunk into the thick cushions.  And though I want our guests and Jason to be comfortable I suspect that if the pillows weren't there, Jason might not ever get up.

Comfort invites you to stay.  Beauty invites you to go.  After sitting within the comfort of the couches, there is a silent urging from the pillows to move along in renewed strength; that is unless you've chunked them onto the floor.

As a Christian I often get comfortable in my walk, and I like it.  I will remove any obstacle that stands between me and my comfort.  I think of times that I have not wanted to approach people in pain.  Those who have faced tragedy.  It can be uncomfortable not knowing what to say.

I remember anxiously approaching one lady who had lost her four year old son.  Without words I held her hand and we cried together in a crowd of people.  That beauty has stayed with me.

There are other times I know I should invite someone to church or share what God has done in my life, but it can be awkward—similar to laying your head on a pillow with pheasant feathers.  It's easiest to cast those things which bring discomfort aside.  Choosing not to deal with those things that make us uncomfortable often cause us to miss out on beauty intended.

I remember a few times where I was faithful to have that awkward conversation with someone upon the prompting of the spirit.  There are times I have walked into a hospital room or a funeral home anxious and uncomfortable but willing.  It is in those times that God displays his beauty.  It is in abandoning comfort that beauty soothes my soul.  And as comfort from a couch quickly evaporates when my feet hit the floor, beauty often remains in my sight traveling down to the depths of my heart.  Beauty is worth it.

In spite of hating her decorative pillows, this is one area that I have come to have a deep appreciation for Kristi.  Can you imagine what the house would look like if the decorating were up to me?

Let me draw you a mental picture: One big cushy couch in the middle of the room.  One 80” TV on the wall.  One large wire spool picked up from the side of the road to set my feet on and to hold my bag of potato chips.  No art.  No decorations.  No pillows.  No Beauty.

I’m getting sad just thinking about it.  I think I can put up with a few snazzy pillows

This is just one area where we have found compromise.  There is an artfulness to compromise in relationships.  Neither one of us has to give up our preferences.  I still have my cushy couch.  She has her pretty pillows.  The house has beauty and functionality.

“And the two shall become one flesh.”

Life is full of that delicate balance between comfort and aesthetics.  Between conviction and convenience.  Between action and hesitation.


One of the keys to an artful life is finding that compromise, that balance, between what we know and what we feel.  Finding that place of agreement with what we want and what we need.  Arriving at the spot where form and function meet.

Do you find compromise easy or difficulty?

How do you arrive at that Just Right spot in your decisions?

Are you more for functionality or style?

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