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When my blog was revamped, one of my goals was to write toward health a bit. It’s been a while! I’m not into six pack abs or huge biceps necessarily (though I certainly do not begrudge them). But I’m very into being healthy, fit, and feeling spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically well. If you read the “Aboutsection of my blog (HERE) you’ll understand why. In addition, I was diagnosed with Bi-Polar II in 2004 (you can read my blog series on it HERE). Since 2009, I’ve been determined to control and/or conquer that diagnosis more naturally than chemically.

Recently, I came across a little device that tapped into the competitor in me that has been a game-changer: The Pedometer.  My dear friend, and assistant, Denise Wiggins, had an extra one and gave it to me. She set it to my height, weight, step-length, and the like, and I have been using it now for about four weeks.


Iphone shot of my pedometer

According to the studies, 10,000 steps“active.” 12, 500 steps“highly active.” Below 5,000 = sedentary.”

The first day I tested myself just to see what I might average without doing anything special. I logged a whopping 750ish steps. But that was a study day where I’m glued to the chair. The next day was a more typical day in the office. Still I logged only 1500ish steps. Unacceptable. So game on!

In the last four weeks my goal has been to get 12,500 steps per day at least six days a week. That’s the competitor in me.  However, if I nailed 10,000 steps and was just too fatigued or too busy to go further, I’d settle for the 10,000. Either way, my goal now is to land 12,500 steps three days per week, and no less than 10,000 steps six days a week.

Know this. It is tough to get 10,000 steps per day!  I workout every morning and jog or skip in place and around the garage between sets of lifting weights. I can usually log 3,000 to 5,000 steps in that hour. But it typically takes me until near bed time to hit my 10,000-12,500 step goal. During the day, I get up from my desk about every hour to hour-and-a-half and move my whole body (running in place, skipping, arms going up and down, side to side, and so forth) to get my steps and my heart rate up. This goes on all day. But again, it has been worth it, and even refreshing.

Before the pedometer, I considered myself fairly active due to working out in the mornings—jumping rope, plyometrics, kettlebell-swinging, weightlifting, and the like. But I would sit the rest of the day almost all day.  I learned from research that I was negating the positives of exercise due to my sitting at a desk all day. The pedometer has changed that in the last four weeks. I have noticed an amazing difference in my energy, my joints, and even my sleep. In fact, even as a mostly fit person, I lost a belt-size (in the first two weeks even)!  Crazy. In addition, the 10,000-12,500 steps (with full body movement) has been so effective that I no longer do cardio work. I just lift weights. Once a week, however, I will play with the kids in a way that makes me sprint and run, but that’s about it.

I highly recommend the pedometer. The key is to MOVE your body throughout the day, your whole body, and not just casually pace a room (though that is better than nothing). It gets your heartrate going too. Get outside, walk, and stretch and move your arms all around (not just a runner’s motion). Have meetings while you walk. Don’t have enough space and/or don’t want anyone watching you? Get in a stairwell and skip or run in place while moving your arms up and down, sideways, and so forth. Use an empty bathroom or bathroom stall (yes, I’m serious), or an empty office or conference room, and get moving and pedometer-ing there!

Be sure you get a higher quality pedometer because many of them are pure junk and misread your steps. Also, you MUST set the pedometer up according to the directions! My pedometer is accurate within about 10 – 12 steps. There is no brand name on my pedometer or I would recommend it to you.  A site that claims to list the top ten best pedometers can be found HERE. If you have a Consumer Reports subscription, you can check out their recommendations HERE.

To make the pedometer challenge more fun, compete with a friend about who can log the most steps per day or week (I have this friendly competition every now and then with Denise, but also with my kids).

Looking out for you!

Do you or have you ever used a pedometer? How was your experience? How did you use it? Any pedometer brand you recommend? 


That’s only one of the seven truths from a DVD series I recently did on marriage entitled, 7 Truths that will Change Your Marriage Marathon. 

This makes a great study for churches, groups, married couples, engaged couples, and even dating couples. It comes with DVDs, and His/Her Study guides.

In fact, I just learned that a church in Washington state used 7 Truths as part of their “Marriage University.” When the study was over, everyone in the group ordered a set!

For more information (or to order), go HERE.

7 TruthsIf or when you have completed the study, would you leave your comments below? Will you share with us, 1) Your favorite Truth (the one that was most eye-opening or helpful), 2) how the series impacted you, your relationship, or marriage, and how it might do the same for others? Thank you so much! 






When life smacks you…

January 29, 2014

UntitledIn his book, Telling the Truth: The Gospel as Tragedy, Comedy, & Fairy Tale, Frederick Bueckner tells the story of a crazy Monk holding a stick in his hand before an eager searcher of Truth and asks “What have I got in my hand”? The Truth-seeker says, “It’s a stick.”  The Monk hits the man over his head with the stick and says, “no, that’s what it is.”

It’s one thing to be taught wisdom. But the crash-course of growth in wisdom mostly comes through pain. God has hard-wired reality for it to hit us over the head, so to speak, when we go against His order of things relationally, sexually, emotionally, even physically. It’s more of a boomerang effect, like hitting a wall with a stick and it bouncing back and smacking you in the forehead.

For example, we’ll know what God’s divine order and boundaries are for our lives but decide, “No, it’s my life. Life is the way I choose to live it—at least in this area.”

Then, BAM!

“No,” reality says, “THAT’s your life, if you go against God’s order and boundaries for you—even in that area.”

Hopefully, you learn. Then repent. And you grow in wisdom.

cartoon-person-reading-a-bookI received this question today through email: “Any advice for a person just starting seminary?”

I thought my response might make for a helpful post. I am a graduate of Southern Seminary, Louisville, KY, 2003. I’m not sure how many of you out there are considering seminary but maybe it will be an encouragement to you either way. Enjoy!

1) Don’t let the study of God replace the God of the study. Make sure your intimacy with Him (solitude, meditation on Scripture, prayer, and going places and doing that which stirs your affections and wonder in Christ) is first and foremost. Everything must flow from there. If you cheat yourself of this time while in seminary, you will cheat yourself of this time in future ministry.

2) If/when you get married, your wife comes next. Period. Not study. Not ministry. Your girl. Take the D in the class, not the D in your marriage. If you cheat her of time with you in seminary, you will cheat her of time with you in future ministry.

3) Get involved in a local church that needs you. Don’t go where all the other students are going. Get involved in a local church that you can serve–whether that means teaching a class, creating a curriculum, or sweeping floors and cleaning bathrooms.

Most of all, get into the grit of ministry where you can experience how to deal with people (conflict, complacency, hurt feelings, wrong beliefs, betrayal, frustration, and just people who generally dislike you for no apparent reason–i.e., leadership). Seminary does not and cannot teach you how to deal with people in church world.

4) Take care of your health. Get rest. Eat right. Exercise. Make them non-negotiable now. Those will be the first to go due to the academic load you’ll be under. If you rob yourself of these while in seminary, you’ll rob yourself of these in future ministry.

5) Be sure you make time to laugh, have some fun, and play. If you cheat yourself of this while in seminary… (you get the drill). And you will quickly become irrelevant, not to mention dour and harsh with your people in future ministry.

6) Share the gospel. This is another one of the firsts to go. You may even have to schedule this into your calendar. Get out of the library, out of your dom room, and meet unbelievers out and about. Do not lose touch with, or lose your heart for, those without Jesus. Take some risks while you’re at it!

7) Make deep, abiding friendships with a few that will last you the rest of your life. Not cheating yourself of deep, abiding friendships while in seminary, will grant you the gift of trusted brothers-in-arms to lean on in the toughest times of future ministry. This is the number one mistake I made in seminary: I didn’t make an effort to make these kind of relationships. Instead, I lived with this motto: “I am not here to make friends. I am here to study and learn.” I was a fool. I regret it.

Any other former seminarians want to add anything?

A gift two times over: One, the adoption of our girls, Marni Veronika and Jubilee Larissa, from an orphanage in Ukraine a tad over a year ago; and two, our dear and incredibly talented friend, Austin Abbott, who was waiting at our home with other friends and family to capture the girls homecoming on film. Thank you, Austin, for this wonderful gift to our family this Christmas!

And thank you, family and friends, for taking the time to watch this six minute film and enjoy this gift with us. If you want the back story, details, struggles, joys, tears, and miracles of God as we experienced it during our adoption journey, click HERE

(To view more of Austin’s work go HERE.)