What Does a Warrior Seek? (Courtesy of C3 Journey)

conanintro

Hello Everyone!

I am on vacation for the next few days and am going to be borrowing some other brilliant inspiration to help keep you motivated and engaged until I return.  Today’s post is courtesy of C3 Journey.  C3 Journey is led by a friend of mine, Jim Crumbley who is a former Marine and an all around great guy.  He didn’t write the post below but rest assured you can find plenty of his material on the website.  A link to that blog can be found on the left side of our webpage.

Hope you enjoy!

——————-

A warrior, once he reckons his calling and endures its initiation, seeks three things. First, a field a field of conflict. Thissphere must be worthy. It must own honor. It must merit the blood he will donate to it.

Second, a warrior seeks comrades. Brothers-in-arms, with whom he willingly undergoes the trial of death. Such men he recognizes at once and infallibly, by signs others cannot know.Spartan_Warrior_Agoge

Last, a warrior seeks a leader. A leader defines the cause for which the warrior offers sacrifice…The greatest commanders never issue orders. Rather, they compel by their own acts and virtue the emulation of those they command. The great champions throw back on you. They make you answer: Who am I? What do I seek? What is the meaning of my existence in this life?”

Whether or not we realize it, we are all in a fight. The idea of manhood has been under attack for years. What does it mean to be a man? Part of this attack on manhood seems to be the pacification (I could think of more colorful words) of men.

Don’t let your little boys play with toy guns. It might make them aggressive. Don’t let them play contact sports. They might get hurt. Don’t teach them to fight back when a bigger kid is bullying them. If they fight back they will get the idea that violence solves problems. Navy SEAL sniper, Chris Kyle, made the astute observation: “Contrary to what your mother told you, sometimes violence does solve problems.”

There is a warrior inside of most men that just wants to be released. Society and culture wants us to suppress that warrior but there is a war going on. It might be your marriage that is under attack. Will you fight for your marriage and do what it takes to love and protect your wife? There is a war for the hearts of our children. Who is going to be the primary influence in their lives?

tumblr_many1zzvv51qducpxo1_500For those of us who are Christians, we understand that we are in a spiritual battle. This war is not fought with human weapons or physical violence, but make no mistake, it is a real war. The Apostle Paul even used the analogy of a Roman soldier getting ready for a battle in Ephesians six. The picture is of the warrior taking the time to ready his kit and carefully put on each piece of armor before picking up his shield and sword and taking his place in the line of other warriors.

Every fighting man or woman has certain rituals that they go through to prepare themselves for the fight. They may have a certain way that they check their weapons and gear every time. For those of us who are Christ followers, reading the Bible and spending some time in prayer should be at the top of our list as we put on our spiritual armor.

Finding our comrades, our mates that we can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with is another thing that every warrior seeks. None of us are good enough or strong enough to fight this battle alone. The last thing that he says the fighting man seeks is a leader. Who are you following? Sure you might be leading others yourself, but who are you following? Who we follow defines us.

Can you think of anything else that defines a warrior?  When was the last time you had to fight for something?  What could you have done better or differently?

Until next time, make it a better day!

Andrew

Christianity is Not Risk Adverse

st_john_the_baptist_detail

One of the more disturbing things I often hear from men is how they believe being a Christian is safe, conservative and without adventure.  Don’t get me wrong I understand why they believe this to be true.  First, Christianity has been an acceptable form of religious practice in this country for over 200 years (although that is slowly starting to change).  Second, since the onset of World War I and especially since World War II, “The Church” has become very feminized and the Gospel’s masculine overtures have been tweaked and altered to appeal to women more than men.  There is an entire industry that is built on selling Christian self-help material but is 95% focused soley on helping women.  My point is not to bemoan the lack of self-help books for Christian men.  My point is that Jesus would not be impressed.  The true calling of Christ is one of danger, risk, adventure and heroism.

If you actually read the Bible you will discover a Jesus (and a group of his followers) that took great risk to preach the Gospel to the world.  That sense of risk is missing in our country but the sense of adventure and danger in Christ’s message is very real and should not be consider risk adverse.

The following story in the book of Luke (Chapter 7) is a good example.  If you are not familiar with who John the Baptist was no worries we can do a quick recap.  John’s mother, Elizabeth, and Christ’s mother, Mary, were close friends (and possibly even related).  The first time that Mary came to Elizabeth after finding out she was pregnant, John jumped in her womb knowing that he was in the presence of the Messiah.  Now maybe you don’t believe that actually happened. It is okay.  Later John would eventually meet Jesus in person and baptize him in the Jordan river.  Prior to that John spent his time wandering the wilderness proclaiming that Christ was here.  Once Jesus came on the scene he made waves by healing the sick, giving sight to the blind and overall being a serious bad ass (yes I am telling you Jesus was a bad ass!)

My point is that heading into the story that unfolds below, John the Baptist had seen and heaerd the amazing things that Jesus had done.  We pick up the story in Chapter 7, verse 18 of Luke.

“John’s disciples told him about all these things. Calling two of them, he sent them to the Lord to ask, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?”

Now please keep in mind that John was currently in prison for preaching the Gospel and for calling out Herod for sleeping with Herod’s brother’s (Phillip) wife.  Which I think is totally cool. I mean the calling our part, not the prision part.  Ultimately John would be beheaded for following Christ (sounds safe to me!)  Clearly John was now having his doubts about Christ and even possibly having a crisis of faith over his imprisonment.  John might have simply been asking to determine for himself if all his work had been worthwhile.  However, a more realistic possibility was that John was putting out feelers to see if Christ was going to help get him out of the jam he was in.

When the men came to Jesus, they said, “John the Baptist sent us to you to ask, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?’”  At that very time Jesus cured many who had diseases, sicknesses and evil spirits, and gave sight to many who were blind. 

So he replied to the messengers, “Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor.  Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.”

What was Jesus saying here?  He was telling John some very sobering news.  In short he was saying that people were being delivered from disease, blindness, death, poverty but not everyone would be delivered, including John.  More importantly Jesus encouraged him that those who were not delievered but still believed would be blessed.

In short Jesus was saying, “Sorry John, I am not coming to rescue you.”

Wow.

Not exactly the picture of love and compassion The Church would try and fill our heads with.  Jesus gave John a very hard message but it was a message of truth.  He didn’t sugar coat it.  He didn’t “say it with love.”  He just laid it out there for everyone to hear.

What does that mean for us?

It means that as a follower of Christ our mission is to lay down our lives for others.  For most of us that won’t require actual death for the cause of Christ but for some of us it might.  It will require you to die to your own selfish desires and wishes.  It means sacrificing to love your wife and your kids.  To be there for them at all costs.  To be there for your friends and family.  It means making the right choices for the benefit of others that goes against our nature as men.  It means fighting for our marriages and families and sometimes even our careers.

I have been a follower of Christ for almost 14 years and never once have I thought being a Christian was easy, convienent or for the weak.  Being a man of God, a real man of God is the most difficult journey I have bothered to undertake.  You know what is easy?  Getting laid.  Smoking dope.  Drinking myself into oblivion.  Those are all easy things to do.  Living a life of accountability, discipline and living for others rather than myself – hardest thing ever.  Turning the other cheek isn’t something to be ashamed of.  Matter of fact there are going to be times as men when we may have to act with force to protect our families or way of life.

You think you are a bad ass?  Then I challenge you to follow Christ to test just how bad ass you are!

 

Get Moving…

 

First off I would like to thank Andrew for inviting me back to his blog. It was fun writing my first piece which you can check out here. Now of course you can never talk about diet without also talking about exercise. So let’s discuss why you – yes YOU – should put down the pork rinds and get your body in motion!

Are you tired all of the time? Do you get winded after climbing only a flight or two of steps? Does your exercise routine consist of you walking to the refrigerator and back to the sofa? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions you are in dangerous territory.  Modern Western conveniences have made it much too easy for us to be comfortable. We can sit in front of the television or computer mindlessly for hours on end and that is after 8 hours of sitting at a desk all day.

couchpotatoWhile electronics have done wonders to advance our ability to communicate swiftly with the entire world, we have also allowed them to do something else – make us a sedentary people. Our bodies were designed to move. In fact, if we don’t use our skeletal muscles we risk losing their function completely. A lack of physical activity makes us weaker while an increase in activity makes us stronger. That strength goes beyond mere physical strength. Exercise helps us to be more balanced individuals. We will explore that point later in this passage.

There are two basic types of exercise: Cardiovascular exercise and weight bearing exercise. Both have their value to the human body. First, let’s discuss cardiovascular (CV) exercises. You’ve probably heard it before: running and all of that lame stuff is good for your heart. Now I hate the treadmill as much as the next girl but we need CV activity. You don’t need to spend an hour mindlessly running to nowhere on a treadmill. CV exercise can be walking around your neighborhood, chasing your kids around with a ball, or tennis with your friends. We are quickly becoming a people who would rather play virtual sports than go out and play REAL sports. That guy who was an All American football player in high school is still in there somewhere, right?

Cardio is beneficial for several reasons. After CV activity, our bodies release endorphins that make us feel good. So exercise improves our mood. Another tremendous benefit to cardiovascular exercise is well…it’s good for our cardiovascular system! (duh) When you perform aerobic activity you increase the oxygen supply to all parts of your body. These effects last well after the cardiovascular activity has ended. Studies show that people who perform 20 minutes of cardio 3 times a week have a higher oxygen carrying capacity than those who do not. The more oxygen our cells have, the better they are able to function and the less tired we feel. (This is where the idea of “blood doping” comes from. “Blood doping” simply means finding a way to increase your blood’s oxygen carrying capacity – a subject that may be perhaps discussed at a later date.) This increased oxygen and circulation is a big part of the reason why your chances of getting certain illnesses (Heart attack, stroke…you know…cardiovascular diseases)hd_cholesterol_illustration_02 is substantially decreased. One last point, gentlemen. Increased circulation also improves sexual health. In order to have and maintain an erection you need good circulation. When a man begins to have cardiovascular disease, a decline is sexual health and performance is not far behind.

Resistance training is just as important as cardiovascular training. Many people feel that if they do hours of endless cardio workouts they will lose weight.  That may be true for marathon runners but how many of us out there have the time and desire to be marathon runners? (Btw , have you ever compared a sprinter’s body to a distance runner’s body? Both have very little body fat but the sprinter has substantially more muscle. You don’t need to run marathons to be lean!) Resistance training is not about being “big.” Resistance training builds muscles and when we build muscle we do a few wonderful things. First, we INCREASE our metabolism in a way cardio training alone doesn’t do. When you perform weight bearing activity, you tear down your current muscle fibers and your body replaces that tiny muscle fiber with a bigger, harder to tear muscle fiber. This bigger muscle fiber requires more energy to be maintained. Your body has spent more time and energy repairing the muscle fiber and maintaining it thus more calories have been spent. Second, when we build muscle, we also increase our bone density. When he have denser bones, we are less likely to develop osteoporosis. Do not be tempted to think osteoporosis is a female problem. While it is true that incidences are higher in females, I have seen several older men with broken hips too.

The importance of physical activity cannot be stressed enough. Obesity is a real problem in industrialized nations and we Americans are leading the way. Our children are getting heavier and are developing Type II Diabetes at an alarming rate. We need our dads to take our kids out and teach them to be active again. Do yourself and your family a favor and GET MOVING!

Personal-TrainerNot sure where to start? Shop around your local gyms and talk to a few personal trainers and learn their qualifications. If you didn’t grow up in the gym the importance of working with a good personal trainer can’t be overstressed. He will help you get started and teach you how to prevent injury. Find an adult league for the sport you grew up playing. You’ll be surprised how many adult pick up leagues there may be in your area. Make it a point to take your family to the park every week. Whatever works for you and your family just do it. I’ll see you at the gym!

 Like Andrew says, until next time make it a better day!

Clairice Dale

Disclaimer – As always consult with your physician before starting any diet or exercise program. Remember, most research has been done on healthy males with no chronic health conditions. If you have a chronic health problem, always consult your physician before making changes in diet, exercise, or adding supplements.

Clairice Dale is a Registered Nurse and a Bachelor of Science in Biology. She earned her degree in Biology from Adelphi University in Garden City, NY. After working in labs for two major companies she felt she was called to do more. She felt nursing was her calling as it was the perfect way to directly help people change their lives. She enrolled in the Associate Degree Nursing program at Wilson Community College and now works at busy rural hospital. She is passionate about health and health literacy and wants to help people get the information they need to make informed choices. She is originally from New Jersey but moved to North Carolina in 2007. She is still struggling to assimilate to the Southern lifestyle as evidenced by the fact that she refuses to accept fried chicken on biscuit as an acceptable breakfast food.

You can follow her on Twitter @HealthyNurse13 she may even send you pics of herself dressed like a nurse.  Kidding.

 

Don’t Say I Didn’t Tell You So! The Adrian Peterson Storm Clouds Are Gathering!

nfl_g_jfeltts_400

Don’t look now but it is quickly happening.  Adrian Peterson’s downfall from #1 Fantasy Stud in 2013 has begun. I mean no offense to Mr. Ellison but do you really want this guy trying to open up a hole for All-Day? Felton is a bruising fullback out of the old school hard nose fullback mold!  Go back and watch Peterson’s highlight clip from last year.  Most if not all of his yardage was due to an excellent block by Felton who more often than not easily reached the linebacker level to make key blocks to open huge wholes for AP.  Did I mention Felton has already missed the entire pre-season due to an emergency appendectomy?  I don’t even know what that is! (kidding) The point is he has already missed one month and by the time he is allowed to suit up on September 29th he will have missed almost two month with almost no game action since last January.  It’s INSANE!

Not enough for you huh?  Well look at this.  “It’s only pre-season!” you say.  Well, you sir are a fool.  That equates to a measly 6.8 yards per pass completed for Ponder who looks just as clueless this pre-season as he did last pre-season (and regular season).  A high level of inconsistency just won’t get it done for the Purple this year.  Still not convinced?  Look here.  He had a higher yard per completion average in 2011 (the Vikes were terrible) than he did in 2012 (the Vikes were only bad.)  Clearly AP’s luck cannot continue.  I am telling you this Felton business is a sign of things to come all season long for you AP Fantasy Fans.

Just wait until Cassel is out there tossing the Ole pigskin around with reckless abandon! (See 23 second mark) Just watch the man try to put on a baseball cap, that’s hard!

According to ESPN AP averaged nearly 7.25 yards per carry when Felton lined up in the backfield with him in 2012.  Yet when it was just AP alone back there he averaged only 3.8 YPC.  According to Ben Goessling, Felton “…worangepeanut1as a key piece of their strategy last year, and after having won just one division game on the road since 2009, they’ll have to try to claim two without him.”  They didn’t give a fullback $7.5 million dollars to score TD’s, he is supposed to be there to open holes for AP and at least for the first three games he won’t be.  You have to figure it will take at least until week 5 before Felton is into regular playing shape and who knows what will have happened to AP and the Vikings offense by that time.

I mean do you really want this man carrying the rock for your fantasy team?  The man talks total nonsense, orange peanut? What. The. Hell?

Hopefully you haven’t had your fantasy football draft yet or if you have you have terrible luck and didn’t get the first pick in the draft to select Adrian Peterson.  However if you are like this sad sack you probably already drafted him.  Note to self – not all tattoos are bad ass.

Yet there remains hope for you!  The season hasn’t started and you can still sell high on AP.  I would advise swinging a trade immediately to pick up the necessary pieces to complete your run to fantasy glory!  Do you need an upgrade at QB and WR?  You can probably get at least two solid players at those positions for All-Day.  You will be thanking me by Week 5 of the season. 

You know if you draft him as the top pick in the draft you are going to have to put him in the lineup every week, “just in case” as you watch your season going down the proverbial drain.  Avoid the chaos, the heart burn and the inhumanity! DON”T DRAFT ADRIAN PETERSON!!

CHICAGO - NOVEMBER 14:  Adrian Peterson #28 of the Minnesota Vikings relaxes during warm ups prior to an NFL game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field, November 14, 2010 in Chicago Illinois.  (Photo by Tom Dahlin/Getty Images)

 

 

Until tomorrow make it a better day!

Andrew

@ACSloss

@BetterMenNow

Leave A Legacy

“The things you do for yourself are gone when you are gone,

but the things you do for others remains as your legacy”

– Kalu Kalu

There is no greater accomplishment for men than to leave a positive impression on younger generations after our time on this earth has ended.  The definition of legacy is: something handed down from an ancestor, predecessor or someone in the past.  I have had a number of guy friends who have recently become fathers and even more current fathers who will soon be new fathers all over again.  It got me thinking again about the importance of family and leaving a positive example for your kids and your grandkids to not only follow but to improve upon.

I actually started to write a blog related to that topic and then realized it was sounding an awful lot like one I wrote back in July for a different blog.  For the few of you who have already read what follows I do apologize but I think it is a pretty good piece and I have a bunch of new followers that perhaps haven’t seen it.  I promise something fresh for tomorrow and Wednesday!

—————————————-

A few weekends ago Sharlay and I were in upstate New York attending the funeral for her cousin Tyrone Fields who passed away at the way too early age of 48. Tyrone had been diagnosed with cancer and despite receiving treatments it kept coming back. Eventually there was just nothing more the doctors could do. I know everyone (including my wife and I) were hoping for a miraculous healing. Unfortunately, despite a ton of prayers, that never transpired.

To say I didn’t know Tyrone well is to say I didn’t know him at all. The first and only time I met him was about four weeks before he passed away. He was in good spirits and it was clear even from the short time we were there how much he loved his cousin Sharlay. It was truly an honor to meet Tyrone in-spite of the circumstances and it is a day I will never forget.

 At the time of his passing, Tyrone was a minister in training at Friendship Baptist Church in Liberty, NY under the mentoring of Pastor Harry Brown, Jr. From all accounts Tyrone loved serving God and was passionate about seeing the lost come back to Christ.

 This had not always been the case and from what Sharlay and the family have shared, Tyrone made a lot of poor decisions when he was younger. The details of those decisions I am not privy to nor are they important. The bottom line is we all make mistakes, many of those we end up regretting and some have significant consequences to us and to others. It is how we learn and grow from them that define us.

 Tyrone did not let his past decisions determine his future. Tyrone eventually found his way back to God and turned away from the things he had engaged in as a young man. Regardless of how you might feel about God, Jesus or Christianity, there is no doubt that God touched Tyrone’s life in a very meaningful way. Tyrone became resolute to leave a positive legacy for his many children (and especially his sons) and the rest of his family and friends. He had an unwavering commitment to bring the Gospel to the same men he used to run with. He was determined to turn young men, who were following the same path he followed, away from that lifestyle. He purposed in his life to live for the God he served and to let everyone around him know the power of God and His ability to change any life from bad to good. He didn’t hide from his past but rather used it to his advantage to reach men who might normally be out of reach.

 His funeral was truly a celebration of his life and all the positive things he accomplished. Everyone loved Tyrone. My wife claimed it was the most fun she ever had at a funeral. It was hard to argue the point. As hard as Tyrone might have lived as a young man, he loved his family, friends and God even harder. That was something that was clearly evident at his funeral. People spoke about how he had personally changed their lives for the better. Whether it was helping them find a job, get into school or simply encouraging them through difficult times, Tyrone was a powerfully positive force in people’s lives. What an amazing legacy to leave behind. His legacy is a shining city on a hill and a torch to light the way for future generations of his family.

Tyrone left an enduring legacy. His life is a testimony to the power of God and the ability of anyone to turn their life around. It will be important that his family carries on his legacy so that Tyrone’s efforts are not in vain.

 We can never be certain how long we have on this earth to impart such a legacy. Tyrone only had 48 years. Thankfully he turned his life around before he ran out of time. The resonating effects of that decision were powerfully evident at his funeral.

I can only hope that when I die I have left a legacy that will be celebrated like Tyrone’s was. It certainly gave me pause to reflect on my own life and the legacy I have created in my 37 years on this earth. I hope that this blog might also make you stop and bildeconsider your own.

 This blog is dedicated to the memory of, Gary Tyrone Fields (B. June 1965 D. June 2013) a man after God’s own heart.

Until tomorrow, make it a better day!

Andrew