Thursday, August 30, 2012

Travel Bug

Since I've been back in the United States, I haven't had much going on. I haven't written a whole lot lately because of that. I've been working mostly, with only a few outings. I definitely haven't traveled much. Hopefully in a year or two I will be able to afford to travel some. But lately I have been able to do some geocaching and I recently bought several travel bugs.

For those who are reading my blog for the first time, let me explain briefly what geocaching is. In short, it is like a modern day treasure hunt. The first step is to get a GPS and then go online to the geocaching website to get coordinates for one of the millions or billions of caches out there. Plug the coordinates in and find the prize. Sometimes it is a box or container that has small items for trade; other times it is just a tiny container with a piece of paper to write your username on. Within this game there are special pieces that are trackable, the two most popular are "geocoins" and "travel bugs." My personal favorite is the travel bug. It is a tag that a player attaches to an item and it travels from cache to cache. That is logged along with the find on the geocaching website.

I dropped off one of the travel bugs of mine this past Saturday when I went to Pinnacle Mountain to meet up with a friend I hadn't seen in about 12-13 years. That travel bug, "Who's your llama," has a mission to raise awareness of world hunger and poverty and ways that individuals can help. I look forward to hearing stories and seeing photos of where it goes. But it also gave me the idea for a new blog, or at least something I can do and blog more here.

I am thinking about getting some kind of item that isn't as small as the other two I have out there. This one will be a stuffed animal of some kind or at least something large enough to easily take a picture with. It will be similar to an assignment I had when I was in elementary or middle school. In that assignment we had to take the stuffed animal for a week and write journals about what we did during that week with it and show pictures. With the travel bug, users will be asked to share a small piece of their story on the geocaching website and be able to submit longer narratives and photos for possible inclusion in the blog. Even if I am not traveling, I can still read about it and maybe share that here.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


Some days of the diet are better than others. Yesterday I went over my recommended calorie intake, but today I was actually under my limit and walked for an hour and 15 minutes. After watching my calories so closely today and then putting in that time for exercise, it got me to thinking about Paul.

Paul often used sports analogies when he wrote. One verse I remember in that regard is about running a race, keeping your eyes on the finish and not being disqualified. Today as I walked, I kept pushing myself to go further and to keep up a steady pace. I would set goals and when I reached those goals I would set another one ahead of me. All of those small goals still had the ultimate goal of making it all the way to the highway before turning around. And after I got there I made goals to keep my pace up and average at least 4 miles per hour overall; I also wanted to see how far I could get before my mom picked me up in the car on her way back from town. I ended up making it all the way back home, a little over 4.5 miles and hour and fifteen minutes later.

Then, since I was still below my calorie limit for the day and had exercised, I allowed myself to have some of my favorite type of ice cream. It wasn't very good. After all that hard work, my favorite kind of ice cream didn't matter much. I knew that I couldn't have much of it and just knowing that I think made it not nearly as enjoyable.

So back to the bible. A spiritual diet is probably a good idea too. Pursuing the relationship with God, through Christ -- reading my bible, praying, spending time in fellowship with other believers -- while avoiding the things that aren't good for me, that is. Sometimes things aren't inherently bad in moderation but there is a point we have to stop. Similar to not eating too much and exercising. So in addition to my health diet, I want to go on a spiritual one. Two diets at once. It will be well worth it.

And here are my goals to look forward to:

1) I will physically look better.
2) If our bodies are the temple for the Holy Spirit, I need to take better care of it.
3) If I start now, maybe the doctor won't make me go on a strict diet
4) I want to do a lot of outdoor adventures that I physically can't do right now. I want to get in shape and build endurance.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Writing Prompt: Religious Beliefs

I haven't had a whole lot to write about lately and have been running out of ideas. So if you have any crazy, off-the -wall question or prompt, feel free to comment and maybe I will use your idea to write something true or do a little bit of creative writing. For this post, I have chosen the following prompt: What are your religious beliefs? Have they changed, or have they always stayed the same?

So first, what are my religious beliefs? I believe that we are all sinners. None of us are righteous in God's sight. "Oh, I am a pretty good person," I guess I could say, but that would be speaking in human terms. "There is none righteous, no not even one (Romans 3:10); All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6)" 

I believe every person has eternal life. I believe we have the free will to choose where we will spend our life when we pass from this world, but we can't get to one of those locations without help. Because of our sin, we are bound for one location, similar to a criminal on trial is bound for jail if he cannot pay for his fine. But God loved us so much that he was willing to pay the fine, the cost, of sin for us. I believe that he sent his son Jesus, who lived a perfect life, to die for our sins, my sins, on the cross. Thats it. He died in my place and my faith is in him. Nothing I do can add to or take away from that. Jesus is the only way to heaven."For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith -- and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God -- not by works, so that no one can boast (Ephesians 2:8-9)"

I believed all of what I just mentioned even when I was younger, but I didn't really put my faith in Christ until many years later, when I was about 17 or 18 years old. I guess it kind of clicked when the preacher delivered a message about a drowning person having to grab hold of a flotation device for it to do any good. Another example is actually wearing a parachute when being warned a plane is going to crash.

So the next question, have my beliefs changed? Well, not really. God continues to speak to me in new ways and tells me new things when I allow him. Thats the thing though, I need to pray more and I need to read my bible more. And I am working on that, along with a previously mentioned diet. I am thankful for a bible app I found that has a bible in a year reading plan and audio to go with it. So I get to listen to it in my car on my way to work each morning.

Faith is a journey. And as Paul wrote, I want to run a good race and not be disqualified. I don't know exactly where God will lead me or take me, but I trust that he will do what is best for me, even if I don't realize or think it is at the time.

U.S. Life

"This land is your land, this land is my land,/ From California, to the New York Island. / From the Redwood Forest to the Gulf Stream waters, / This land was made for you and me. // As I went walking that ribbon of highway..."

Ok, you should get the point by now. That is a patriotic song here in the United States. This is a big country and there are highways from coast to coast. But sidewalks is another story, especially in the smaller towns. The downtown area usually has them, but the rest of the city/town is road. If you're lucky there is a shoulder.

The point is, we have to drive everwhere. When I was in Spain I walked everywhere. When I first got there I walked 3 miles to church and then another three to get back to the appartment. I had to walk once or twice per week a half-mile to the grocery story and a half-mile back. I had to walk about a mile to and from the bus station each day. So I got a lot more exercise. Between eating a lot less and walking a lot more I ended up losing between 15-20 pounds while I was in Spain. I had gained it back in less than a month after getting back to the United States and adding some extra weight on top.

I had to make the decision the other day to put myself on a light diet before the doctor makes me go on a strict diet. So we will see how it goes!

Monday, August 6, 2012


Wow, it seems I have taken a hiatus from blogging lately. I don't even remember the last time I wrote a blog, but I think it was late June or early July. It has been quite a summer since then.

Of course, I am still loving my job at Heifer. I hope I am able to get hired as a regular employee. Since starting in late June, I have stayed busy both at work and at home. That is part of the reason I haven't blogged a whole lot; but at the same time, life is a little more routine now that I am back in the United States... Get up at 6:20 a.m., leave the house around 7 a.m., get to work about 7:45 a.m., leave work about 5 p.m., get home at about 6 p.m. and go to bed around 9:30-10 p.m. That is quite a difference from life when I was in Spain -- going to bed at 2 or 3 a.m. Although, some of my eating schedule habits are about the same. I eat lunch around 2 p.m. and have had dinner as late as 9 p.m.

I haven't spent a lot of time on Facebook either. So I want to take a minute to shout out to all of my friends in Spain (hopefully at least one or two are reading this). I hope all is well there.

So what else have I done? Other than write a completely random blog post at the beginning of August? Unfortunately I have gained back all the weight, plus some that I had lost in Spain. I've been camping and kayaking. I've been to the lake a few times. I even got to go fishing once. I think I have finally found a church to attend regularly in Sheridan -- First Landmark Baptist. Hmmm, life is pretty average right now. I don't expect much excitement for the next several months, although 2013 will be here before I know it.

Uuf, parece que no he escrito un blog hace mucho tiempo. No recuerdo la ultima vez escribi, pero creo que era en el fin de junio o el principio de julio. He tenido un verano lleno desde entonce.

Claro, todavía encanto mi trabajo con Heifer. Espero que pueda trabajar allí como empleado normal. Después de empezar de trabajar con ellos en el fin de junio, he estado muy ocupado, ambos en el trabajo y en casa. Por eso no he escrito mucho. Pero al mismo tiempo la vida no es tan loca ahora, es vida diaria y rutina. Me despierto a las 6:20, salgo de la casa a las 7, llego al trabajo a las 7:45... Salgo del trabajo a las 18h, llego a la casa a las 19h, y me acuesto a las 21:30-22:00h. Es una vida bastante diferente que la vida en España cuando no me acueste hasta las 3. Aunque, algunos hábitos de comer son los mismos. Almuerzo a las 14h y aveces ceno a las 21h.

No he pasado mucho tiempo en Facebook tampoco. Así que quiero pasar unos momentos para decir hola a todos mis amigos en España y Europa (espero que alguien allí esta leyendo esta mensaje). Espero que todo va bien allí.

Bueno, que mas he hecho? Más que escribir un blog completamente al alzar al primer de agosto? Lamentablemente,  he ganado todo el peso de nuevo he había perdido mientras vivía en España, mas algunos pesos mas. Fui de kayak/piragüismo y acampar. He ido al lago para nadar unas veces y también una vez para pescar. Creo que por fin he encontrado una iglesia local aquí en Sheridan, First Landmark Baptist. La vida es mas o menos mediana por ahora y probable sera durante unos meses, aunque 2013 estará aquí pronto.