09 December 2019

I walked on fire Saturday. It was amazing.

This weekend I went on a men only spiritual retreat with a friend. There were 32 of us there, the youngest, Emerus, was six, the oldest was probably in his 60s. We did sweat lodge, we Om’d, we sang, we beat drums and danced, we prayed, we meditated, and we walked on fire. Yes, even Emerus.

It was an amazing experience of empowerment, of losing myself in the focus of my Creator and walking across a path of burning coals, coming out on the other side changed, but not burned. In the moments before I took that walk, I watched six-year-old Emerus raise his hands high and set his feet on that path and come out victorious. It was inspiring. I wept. I sang a hymn & said a prayer and followed him across those burning coals. Victorious.

Since walking on fire I want to talk about a principle of health that can help us in our everyday lives, one that helped at Thanksgiving, and will help at Christmas. One that helped me walk on that path of fire and come out unscathed.

Stop, Challenge, Choose.

This principle can be used in two ways.

  1. As a whole – When faced with a temptation, be it pastry, smoking, or what to do with your time, use it. 
    • It’s Christmas, presents are unwrapped, family is visiting, turkey, pie, ham, mashed potatoes, pie, stuffing, pie, rolls, pie, cranberry sauce, pie… Before you take the second piece, Stop. Pay attention to how you feel. Pay attention to your body. Are you content with what you’ve had? Is your body satisfied? Yes, you may want another piece. But does that meet your goals?
    • Challenge yourself. What if I put off having that cigarette for 30 more minutes? And when I get to the end of that 30 minutes, what if I put it off for another 30?
    • Choose what is best for you. Choose what will make you feel better, not the quick path to the dark side that is six hours of video games when the leaves need to be raked up, the gutter needs to be rehung, and the trash needs taken out.  
  2. Individually.  
    1. Stop and take a moment for yourself. Find a quiet area, relax and get comfortable, and sit in a comfortable chair or position.
      Close your eyes, just breathe. Breathe in through your nose, hold it for a few seconds. Feel your body lift as it fills with life. Notice your chest expanding to take it all in. Notice the oxygen flooding into your body, your lungs. Notice it as you exhale, as your chest settles, as the air leaves through your mouth. Focus on your breathing. If your mind wanders, that’s fine. Just recognize the stray thought, dismiss it, and return to your breathing.
      Once you are connected in the moment, let your awareness open up to your surroundings. Notice the air conditioning, the thrum of local machinery, footsteps in the hall or on the stairs. Slowly open your eyes and take another breath, ending the exercise.
      Take a moment to consider how you are feeling. Hopefully better than what you did before, with that moment of break from stress.
    2. Challenge yourself. While the fire burned that cord of wood, it was so intense we stood about 20 feet back and were still warmed by it. The coals from that fire were raked into a pathway that I was being challenged to walk across. Not to gain status, not to win an award, or prove to my friend that I could do it. It was a personal challenge that I had to undertake. It was for me, crossing that path of fire, that I can do the things that I set out to do, be it complete a project, get my degree, or maintain a healthy weight.
      One of the brothers in this group spoke of a time when his son was preparing to go away to college. He was fretting over the idea of leaving home, of facing the unknown. His father said to him, “Didn’t you walk on fire?” And that was it. The boy dropped all anxiety, because he knew he could do it. He was stronger than fire, he was stronger than life. Challenge yourself, and come out victorious.
    3. Choose life. Choose health and the things that will get you there. Choose to make your health a priority. These things don’t come all at once, but by our daily choices. “By small and simple things are great things brought to pass,”(Alma 37:6). We choose daily. Hundreds, if not thousands, of choices. Each of those small choices builds up to who we are in the end. Choices of food, of how we react to our spouse and children, of how we handle the stresses of life, of what we’re going to do with our time. 

Stop and find your path. Challenge yourself to take the one that will enable you to grow and become who you have the potential of being. Choose that path and walk it daily. And if you slip up, if you fall off, challenge yourself to get up, to get back on the path, and choose to continue. Walk your fire and be victorious.


06 December 2019

Cartoons have changed a lot since i was a kid

When I was a kid, I watched a lot of cartoons. Transformers, GI Joe, He-Man & She-Ra, Thundercats. Those were my favorties.

They were adventure stories, full of cringe-worthy campy comedy, lots of explosions, powers, fast moving action, and no death. None. And if there was a death, it was impactful. Like, we all felt it. In fact, the only one I can actually think of is Optimus, during the Transformers: The Movie, and that was heart wrenching. 

Death never happened to the NPCs, like cobra soldiers in GI Joe. In fact, the Joes were decidedly terrible shots until the invention of B.A.T. soldiers, but they were robots, so it was okay. Like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, when the Foot soldiers were robots, so it was okay for the turtles to destroy them. 

Today cartoons are much different. On advice from a friend, I began to watch Disney's Star Wars: Rebels. It is very different. People die all the time. Well, let me correct: Storm Troopers die all the time. All. The. Time.

I was very surprised. Cobra and Joe soldiers were amazingly adept at ejecting or leaping from their vehicles at the last possible second before their vehicle exploded, and that put them out of the fight. They apparently didn't carry side arms. The war was attrition of motorcade.

So far I've seen 3 episodes of Rebels, and there's probably 20+ Storm Troopers that die in each one.

Just an observation.


03 December 2019

MVC - Practicing Futility in Application Development

Ugh. So i'ts been 2 weeks that I've been reading like crazy all these tutorials that don't tell me what I really want to know, don't make it easy to understand, and aren't helpful. I've read through three different tutorials, and maybe it's just because I do it different and am resistant to change that I can't find what I want to do, and am stuck trying to figure out how to do it all the new way because that's the way they designed it.

What the hell are you talking about? You may be asking.

Web programming.

HTML was easy. C# with ASP was easy. Make a web form. Great, totally got that down.
But now, to do it better, I have to learn MVC. Model/View/Controller. Really, it's a lot of what I was doing in ASP, view on one page, codebehind on another. CodeBehind pulls data from a database and feeds it to the View.

But now there's another step, and another whole concept on how to do stuff, and very poor documentation on how to update your brain.

I have a simple way of doing things. My brother-in-law wrote a small function that pulls data from a database and saves it to a dataset. It works in windows apps, it works in CodeBehind on web pages. Works. Works great. And I want to continue to use it, because I can use SQL queries and stored procedures to pull the data I need.

But to my understanding (albeit only 2 weeks worth) of MVC, they want me to have a mapped database that I pull data from to my model. But when I try, it breaks all my stored procedures. Great. Then let me pull the data to a dataset. I can. Now map it to the model. No. Why? Don't know, no one can tell me.


Just had to get that out. Back to it. Due in 5 hours.


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