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January 31, 2010

The Break Up

It's not like you didn't see this coming. It's hard, given our past history together, but now it's time to go public and to make it official. You know too well, Big Sports, how we touched then went our separate ways. Why the break up now? I'll be missing the most sacred of your days. A ski trip planned on Super Bowl Sunday is one huge slap in the face on your most holy of holies.

I just don't feel the same as I use to. I don't care to watch many sports, especially pro sports. I'm not in the know because I'm just not that into you. I'm fascinated by your science, but the rest of the attraction is simply carnal. I don't love you. I hope we can still be friends.

It's a tragedy for me to see the dream is over. And I never will forget the day we met. We were tight from the beginning when momma lay my newborn head in a baseball glove. My spirit was nurtured by dads professional ties, not to mention the immense joy born of Steeler mania that pervaded the entire realm of my formative years. You kept straight the path of my youth. Anybody knew us; knew we were good together. So good together.

Then I left for college. Would our relationship survive? You stood firmly by my side when I had to abruptly break it off with Video Games. But little did either of us realize the less dramatic drift between us. Sure, we had our friends, but we couldn't manage to find time to invest in our relationship. I began to enjoy academics. I saw value in other pursuits and tutoring undergraduates paid the bills better than anything you could offer.

And now what can I say? Please. No. Put the brackets away before you embarrass yourself. I will resist far more subtle advances. I can't afford to flirt with fantasy football or well-informed men talking team records and stats.

Why the hard line? Well I guess this is growing up:

I'm supposed to treat patients and attend to administrative responsibilities over a 40 hour week. Then I'm supposed to review the literate and latest developments to stay on top of my profession. Maybe I'll even reflect on what I learn from the books and especially from patients.

I'm supposed to value and nurture my wife. She wouldn't stand between us if her love language was praise or things, but too bad for you, it's nothing but time. I'm also supposed to give myself away to four children when I sit at home and when I walk along the road, when I go to bed and when I get up.

I'm supposed to be an informed consumer and to vote on election day. I'm supposed to exercise and not just eat cereal all the time. I'm supposed to be a good, below-the-surface friend to a band of brothers. I'm supposed to mow the lawn and help with dishes and put new wiper blades on the car and fix the leaky toilet.

I'm supposed to hide the Word in my heart. I'm supposed to look for opportunities to study the Scriptures and lead in discussion and put my faith into action by serving my neighbor. When that's all said and done, I'm supposed to enjoy long periods of silent prayer and meditation, alone, listening to God. I'm supposed to schedule quiet time when it doesn't happen to happen, which is usually the case. I'm supposed to get 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night.

Do you understand, Big Sports? It's nothing personal. While there's life in my bones to play sports and other recreation activities, you'll find me doing over watching anything, unless there's a personal connection. It's not like I'm going to the movies all the time or out golfing all day or on ski trips. Oh, wait, that's right...

I'm sorry. Don't speak. It's all ending, we gotta stop pretending who we are.

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January 29, 2010

Mental Reps

Okay, this is a pretty big deal to me because no matter how I slice it, a professionally oriented blog is me really saying that I know something about something. And I really don't want writing to become a chore. I want to write because I like to, even if it's just for me, but I want to continue to like to. I don't know if that's now going to change.

Check out the new blog and give me some thoughts if you get the chance. I wrote some new things and also posted some from this blog that fit in there.

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January 25, 2010

Half Year in Review

So Luke is officially past midterms in home school kindergarten. What have we learned so far? We like it a lot. I'm gradually becoming more at peace with the fact that he's spending a few hours at home learning rather than away for 5 or 6 hours learning and "learning." It's so nice to have him home and he's doing well in pretty much every way, able to do everything and more that the curriculum says he should be able to do.

It's easy, actually. We feed him alpha bits and do water colors on old yellow paper. We watch Sesame Street, but only count to 7 and skip science because that's what's in the Bible. We keep him sheltered from all regular schoolers and don't really get out much in general.

No, but we do often wear our pajamas till noon.

It's a challenge with the other three kids. Sometimes it's hard for the teacher to concentrate, much less for the student. Sometimes everyone else wants in on home school. Sometimes everyone else wants to watch TV or set there crabbing or making the most ordinary old toy look like a blast. Everyone has to poop or needs a drink or a toy, and it kind of gets in the way of Luke sounding out "the man sold Ted a hat," and other literary wonders.

Overall, so far so good. I'm pretty sure that we'll roll with it into first grade.

Hat tip to the amazing mom, organizing all and doing most of the teaching so far. Wow.
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January 24, 2010

Spring Training

Family night out for the things that lurk after hours at GoWags. Good times on a rainy Sunday night.

There most definitely IS crying in baseball. I'm not saying nobody got hit with a batted ball in the back of the head.

Plyos for fun.

January 21, 2010

The Gospel of Not Running

I just don't get it. Why do so many equate "getting in shape" with jogging? Plodding along for 30 to 60 minutes...thump thump thump, three or more days per week?

Many come into the clinic, having sustained injuries from their most well intentioned health and fitness efforts. They begin jogging or attempt to increase their mileage when a nagging pain pops up. They push through it because no pain no gain, and they gain a significant injury.

I can see this as a problem if you like running. If that's your chosen sport or the one thing that you really enjoy, then yes, you should be disappointed when you can't do what you love. And you should make time and energy to incorporate corrective range of motion and strengthening exercises to get you back on track.

But this article is not for you. This one is dedicated to all those of you who think jogging is a safe way to correct the problem of being overweight; to those who think it's the most effective tool for getting in shape; to those who think it's a great way to increase athletecism...BUT HATE TO JOG...

Have I got news for you!

First, you are sorely mistaken. Second - you don't HAVE to jog. In fact, I would often advise you against it.

With distance running, the body will automatically seek the greatest "running economy" which necessarily translates into the least amount of muscle effort to maintain a given pace. Less muscle effort means lots of plodding along, pounding on the joints, sometimes hours at a time. Anything above "ideal" body weight magnifies ground reaction forces at least ten-fold, which is good for keeping PTs and orthopedic surgeons in business.

Or let's say you're feeling and seeing the effects of getting a little older, sitting at a computer or in the car all the time. Maybe your joints are tight and other areas not so tight. When you take a body with weak muscles and poor range of motion and apply extended periods of repetitive pounding over a small range of motion (as occurs with jogging), the new heights of pain you achieve is definitely not gain.

Distance running can actually be a detriment to peak performance. Which do you imagine correlates well with a 90 mph fastball - an explosive vertical leap or a high aerobic capacity? Has any young prospect ever jogged his or her way to 10 or 20 pounds of lean muscle gain? More evidence is beginning to show that concurrent endurance training mutes the bodies best adaptive response to strength and power training.

Train smart. If you don't believe that you can attain excellent fitness without jogging, I can convince/show you otherwise. I may have you do specefic stretching and resistance exercise, intervals on a bike and maximal sprints if your sport involves sprinting.

Condition your body to jog if you WANT to jog. But you don't have to.

January 19, 2010

and so it begins

So I went and registered Luke for Little League last night.

Ugh. I mean, yay. The dad is excited and eagerly anticipates the triumphs and bonding and teachable moments. The dad also takes another step toward selfless middle aged man. He knows what's in store.

Driving. Fund raisers. Concession stand and pushy parents. Some kids hyper competitive, others out on Neptune, all learning the hard way how to protect their face from the ball. Plus, I half-committed to assistant coaching when I can be there.

We didn't sign Luke up last year because I asked him if he wanted to play and he said "no." Okay, good enough. That and the fact that we had another newborn in the mix. But this year he's been asking to play catch and to pitch to him and take him to GoWags. It all seriously cuts into my computer and/or bike jumping over the garbage can sessions.

We did have fun today. I pitched to him like we usually do, then had him run real bases in the yard, much to his enjoyment. Well, his favorite thing was using his spikes to reinforce mud spots beside home plate, then coming around to slide in them.

Skill work for todays lesson included not carrying the bat when running bases and sometimes stopping at, say, second base or so. So far he's well ahead of where I was at six, when nobody could convince me that baseball is not played in jeans. For whatever reason, I remember all of it: my first teammates and coaches and how the White Sox went from worst to first in ALL of Mt. Pleasant T-ball.

It's vivid. Good times. I try to imagine what Luke is going through, and I hope it goes that way for him. Except for the jeans.

January 17, 2010

January 09, 2010


"Who wants to be a dad when you can be a cool uncle. Nobody ever rebelled against the cool uncle." -Michael Scott

Hezekia chapter 3 says "Do unto others before they do unto you, for blessed are those who pay it forward." Okay, so it's not in there and there is no book of Hezekia. While paying it forward may be the nobler deed, paying back feels awefully good too.

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This is how it goes down when I'm a one man band with greater than or equal to 4 kids. First I should mention that taking on more than my own usually only happens with kids who are potty trained and do take no for an answer. So I'm no hero. Secondly, those days are already resigned to serving and teaching and playing with my own, so why not bring a few more who actually want to come along for the ride?

So far that's mostly been Elijah, Liddy, Jonah, and Luke M. These kids are all great together. There are more voices to hear, personalities to weigh, and muddy shoes to clean. Meal times are a little hairy. But in many ways it's actually easier and more fun FOR me.

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"No - nobody here eats just sugar cereal for breakfast. Treats are fine, but good food first."

"But I think my mom would probably not want me to have peanutbutter toast AND Frosted Flakes for breakfast, so why don't you just give me the Frosted Flakes?"

"Uh, no. But eat your toast and uncle Bob WILL give you just a little."
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That's usually about the worst thing I have to deal with. Probably also why I have repeat customers.

Today we picked up some McDonalds on the way home. Then four went outside for 10 minutes, half the time it took to get everyone in winter gear. We all cleaned up and played a little before Maggs goes to nap. My 5 training partners and I went to the basement for a workout. We ran and punched, wrestled and romped. I call it a warm up.

The workout today was a few warm up reps, then really only 7 sets. Basically I lift/exercise with relatively heavy weight for high reps, to the point of exhaustion. I sit or lay for a minute to gather myself before about 6 or 7 minutes of "rest." "Rest" being fetching milk and changing diapers, administering justice and rounding up loose edges.

"Oh, I don't know if you can do that."

That's how I play it with the formal exercise stuff. I hound no one. They see me kind of suffering under the weights, breathing hard and listening to music. It's never long until they approach.

"Mmmm. I don't know...okay, I guess you can try it. Do you think you can jump for 3 minutes without stopping?"

There is jumping on the mini trampoline and stationary biking and timed sprints around the basement and hanging on the barbell rack. Fifty minutes later everyone is played out and ready to chill. The rest of the entire day is pretty easy after the workout.

I've learned that with E. and Lidds, EVERYTHING is a lesson in worldview. When I don't know for sure, I tell them that, then make up possibilities that are at least consistant with what they know.
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"I Want It Now is singing about feeling miserable when you're rude and greedy."

"Megaladon maybe only ate fish that were already dead."

"Well, both of those things could be considered pretty zany."

"Optimus Prime probably didn't worry too much about the next leader."

"Malice means like when you WANT to purposely hurt someone."
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Only after a ten minute string of becauses did the malice conversation end, at the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

We play, eat, talk, sing, and chill. Just like when uncle Mark and Ed and Bill invested so much time and energy in me with backpacking and fishing and hockey games. We stayed up late on New Years, tearing, throwing, then cleaning up confetti and playing video games and board games we created ourselves. Pet Shop was Monopoly with all things animal, catching frogs with a net still qualified as fishing, and seeing the Pittsburgh Spirit lose in the Civic Arena was always a trip.

Those memories are why I'm just doing what comes natural. They're why everyone got a new net during our last trip to Bass Pro. Angie said that if someone saw a minority walking through the East Mall with 7 kids chasing and netting each others head, they would probably call human services. But I get away with it not because I'm white, but because the kids are screaming in joy. And the white dude is smiling.

Behold, the seed that fell on good soil, in the very process of making a crop a hundred, sixty, or thirty times what was sown.

That statement seems a little braggy until you remember that there's nothing the soil did to be "good." It all comes from a loving and merciful God above, raining down cycles of two way blessing.

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January 07, 2010

Sermon On the Mount

I'm going to do this. I'm going to memorize the sermon on the mount; the book of Matthew, Chapters 5-7. It may take the entire year; I don't care. I think of all the random tidbits and useless lyrics that will continue to enter my mind; and the volume of Matthew 5 - 7 is nothing.

If granted the days, I will do this. I make a good legalist, so why not put that to good use? I've read through the entire Bible at least three times since I started reading it in 1998. That's no big deal. Two of those times, I've attempted to slow down and not "just get through it." One of those times I've went along highlighting scholarly study notes dealing with context and history, translation and meaning.

I'm excited about this. I want to own the sermon on the mount. I want it to permeate my thoughts and have it leap from the edge of my actions. I want to see God.

Why? Because it will be really cool to step up in front of the congregation or a big crowd at the boardwalk and belt it out and impress everyone. They'll all be saying, "look how awesome that guy is."

No. I'm doing this because the sermon on the mount is deep and practical. Because it's often held as containing the central tenets of the faith. Because it contains the kinds of statements that turn things of this world upside down and backwards and at the same time reveal great truth.

Because catching a real living example, even just a glimpse, of these teachings lived out always makes a huge impact on me. I mean, I hear THIS SONG inspired by the sermon on the mount and for a few hours I'm left operating only about half in this world. I watched tHIS Metallica movie/video, and sat there stunned. Really Metallica, "blessed are the merciful?" The sermon on the mount kicks more ass than even those guitar riffs. Well, not really. But if wise sayings and hard truths that inspire you and challenge your very being and usher peace and love and holiness from heaven to earth could kick ass, then the sermon on the mount is definitely ass kicking time.

The clear directive to do this came from a dash of prayer, a 2-sentence blurb in Relevant magazine, and this essay I came across a while ago (portion copied below).

So if not the whole bible, perhaps I could know the New Testament and come to understand the foundations of the Christian faith. And if the New Testament is too much to fathom, then maybe I could know the gospel stories of Jesus. And if not the gospels, then how about Matthew? And if not Matthew, then surely the sermon on the mount could be known. And if not the sermon, then at least the beatitudes. And if not the beatitudes, then I would like to know the first beatitude.

I would like to know what Jesus meant when he said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.”

I would like to know poverty of Spirit, for poverty is all I am left with. I would like the courage to be made poor before the shattering depth of the Creator and alongside the unthinkable breadth of humanity. Spiritual poverty is all I ask for now, and it is more than I can handle.

After this post, it won't be brought up on my end. I need to do this not as any church or group thing. Surely, hopefully, this commitment will pervade my words and deeds in the clinic and at home and at the blog, but you won't hear it brought up directly in this context again.

So yes, as the world continues moving forward in exponentially greater leaps and bounds, I will be devoting some significant portion of time trying to memorize and understand something a Gallilean carpenter said a couple thousand years ago. I can't think of much better.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

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