Friday, December 30, 2011

Why We Make Resolutions!

Why We Make Resolutions

The week between Christmas and New Years is a dangerous time. We have opened gifts, spent time with family and have indulged our senses. Reality sets in in a few days; a new year, a time to start over, an opportunity to be a better you. I do not like resolutions! For me, resolutions last about a week and are temporary. I have made the same ones we all make: lose weight, read more, spend more time with family, strive for world peace, blah, blah, blah. I start out with the best of intentions but then the commitment to the change is over within a week and my old ways resurface.

Christmas 2010 was a great one. I spent time with family, saw people I hadn't seen in years, and ate way too much. When we arrived home I stepped onto the scale. On Jan, 2, 2011, Steve Mills weighed 209 pounds. In the past when I have decided to drop some pounds, I would start the following Monday. In between the decision and the start date, I would eat all of the things I knew I was going to miss. Not this time! I decided right there and then to lose weight. Why was this time different? Why would I stick to my commitment now when so many times in the past I would fail? This time, I was losing fat for me. No one else. Losing fat and getting healthy was what I needed to do for me. My motivation was internal. I determined this was not a change that would last one year but would continue for a lifetime. Along the journey, someone asked me how long I was going to change my eating habits and eat healthy. I replied until I die.

The reason we make resolutions is simple: we do it because we want to effect a change in our life. We resolve to act or live differently because we do not like the way things have been. Do you like who you are? Are you comfortable with how you are? Is there something you would change about yourself given the opportunity? The frustrating part is we try to change the external part of who we are because we do not like the internal in hopes that people will like or love us. Cant do it. We paint the exterior of the house in hopes that the interior will get cleaned and when people drive by they will comment on wonderful the house looks. When we can truly learn to love the internal aspect of who we are, then the exterior will take care of itself.

I have lost a total of 27 pounds this year. Several people have commented on my external appearance of weight loss. The only reason is that I changed the internal.

I'm not making any resolutions this year but am going to do my best to love God will all of my heart, soul and mind and love others as I love myself.

Keep Running!

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Truth about Rudolph

At Christmastime, when I was a child, I remember putting the Christmas album on the turntable and helping decorate the tree and the house.  One of my favorite songs was Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.  While listening to the song the other day, it struck me that no one liked Rudolph for who he was "The other reindeer never let Rudolph join in any reindeer games" and  "Rudolph with your nose so bright, won't you guide my sleigh tonight." are two very important phrases in the song..  Only when he was able to do something, was he liked. First though, a red light is very inefficient for lighting the way.  When deployed on a ship, at night, red lights are used to read because they do not illuminate and cause night blindness.  Second, if the red light were bright enough for Rudolph to actually light they way, the position of his nose would blind him and hinder his vision. 

Do you like people for who they are or for what they can do for you? The golden rule comes to mind: Do unto others as you have them do unto you.  No one really wants to be hated or abused or ignored.  Some may act that way, but truly deep down where our self esteem resides, we want to be loved and care for and accepted.  Here's a test: when you encounter someone who is rude, ask "What else is going on?"  Oh, trust me, when I come across someone who is treating me with rudeness, I want to retaliate, I want to strike back with the same attitude.  But maybe, just maybe they need some grace; I know I do!    Perhaps loving and liking people for who are they are and not what they can do for us is a lesson we can all use; not just Santa and the other reindeer. 

Keep Running,

Sunday, December 18, 2011

I caved

Tssssst. That is a sweet sound. While getting ready to board a flight, something red and white caught my eye. I stopped, looked and bought a coca-cola. Not diet mind you, this was the real thing: high fructose corn syrup and all. I hadn't had a soda for 34 days. That first taste was amazing. I almost apologized to the bottle for abandoning it and promised to never leave it again. Then, as I continued to drink, the sweet, sugary liquid began to settle in my tummy and I just didn't feel quite right. No pain, but certainly not 100%.

Just that morning, the weight scale read its lowest in years. I had lost a total of 27 pounds for the year. Why oh why would I sabotage all of my hard work? Weakness. Craving. Who knows, but what I do know is one failure will not define my determination to live healthy. One moment of giving in to a chemically induced drink that only tricks me into drinking more will not be my pattern of life.

What is it that tricks you? Has someone told you you were never good enough; that you just didn't measure up? And now you try to fill that void with food, drinks, friends. You desperately seek acceptance from relationships that only hurt you. You seek laughter in t.v., movies, music. You seek love but only find disgust.

Oh, that first sound is amazing and that first drink is sweet and sugary, but soon, there is a feeling in your soul that doesn't seem quite right. Don't be defined by your failures. Seek friends that love you for who you are. There are many who like you for what you can do for them. Be nice and serve them with a genuine heart, but don't let them define your worth.

Keep Running,

Monday, December 5, 2011

Who am I?

A few months ago, I went to a leadership course.  One of my classmates gave a presentation and referenced the song "Who am I?" by Casting Crowns.  He asked the question about himself and those of us in the class.
Who am I?
I am a Christ-follower: I was called out of my despair and despondency and given a new lease on life.  My burden of sin and guilt was replaced with the holiness and grace of Christ.  
I am a United States Navy Chaplain: I have served our country for twenty years.  I have deployed to South Korea, the Mediterranean, the Persian Gulf and Iraq.  I have led others to Christ, I have baptized, I have served communion, I have been with people in their darkest hours and with them in their most joyful times.  I listen to them, I care for them, I love them.  I do my very best to not judge any realizing that, while Christ is my righteousness,  I am still a man who falls short of His glory and am no better than anyone else.
I am a husband: for 24 years I have held my beloveds hand and heart.  We have shared some great moments and some not so great moments.  While not always the husband I should have been or should be today, I love my wife with everything within me. If anyone were to attack her, I will defend her to the death.  I would gladly give my life in place of hers.  I will stand beside her, I will support her, I will love her not only until death do us part, but to infinity and beyond!
I am a daddy: I have a tremendous son.  A son who is the apple of my eye and the joy in my heart.  He is adopted; chosen if you will by the gracious Lord to be in my life.  An extra special miracle was turned into an extra special blessing when he entered my life.  We have laughed. We have cried. We have prayed.  We have worshipped Christ.  I am a father to a son who is a blessing to others.
I have a beautiful daughter. She brings light and joy to all she encounters.  We have played silly games, told jokes only we think are funny, and have spent many hours on the playground.  When she was born, I asked the doctor "what is it?" He replied sarcastically "A baby.".  "Yes, I know, but what kind of baby?"  "A girl baby.". A girl!  My heart exploded.  I am a father to a little girl.  She is married now, but she will always be the little girl who can convince me to eat ice cream before dinner, who can, with just a look, get her way and who will always bring a smile to my heart.
I am a father in law: There is only one man worthy to be my daughters husband and she found him.  His character runs deep and is a reflection of his Heavenly Father.  I always look forward to spending time with him.  My daughter chose well!
I am a brother: Each one of my siblings holds a special place in my heart.  
I am a son: My parents, Okies to the core, shaped me to be who I am. Without their influence, without their encouragement, without their challenges I would not be who I am today.  They were not perfect.  Neither was I.  In my most difficult period of life (when I was unable to walk for five years), they never let me use that as an excuse for not living life.  Certainly there were things I could not do, but they never told me about them.
Who am I? I am a man who desires to love God with all of his heart, soul and mind and love others as I love myself.  
That's who I am.  Who are you?
Keep Running!

Thursday, December 1, 2011


I'm not very good at basketball.  Not good at dribbling, cant shoot for anything (I'm left handed and right eyed) and my defense is somewhat lacking.  I play pickup ball on Tues and Thurs at lunchtime.  The other day, while I was open underneath the basket, my teammate passed to the ball to me.  I immediately elevated to my standard 6 inch vertical jump and attempted a shot.  Once the ball was stripped and the other team ran down the court, I told my teammate who threw the ball to me that if I am under the basket and open, it is only for show.  Today, my teammate faked throwing the ball to me and then decided to throw it to me.  If my nose had hands, I would have caught the ball.  Thankfully it only bounced off of my face and into the opponents hands.  No blood but I do have a red mark on my nose.  No, I am not very good at basketball, but I love the interaction with the people, I love the workout and love learning things about the folks with whom I play.  There are times in life when we aren't very good at it.  We could simply not play or give up and quit.  Or we could run up and down the court and play. Yes, you might get hit or have the ball stuffed but at least you are out there, playing, interacting.  You can sit back and watch others engage in life, or you can step up and get on the court and have some fun.
Keep Running,

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Stale Fuel

I own a 1999 Yamaha 350 Big Bear Quad. I took it out riding for the last time this season about a month ago. While on a trail, the engine ran rough and at times stalled; not a good thing when you are on a steep trail. Then, at one point the battery died. I had to use the pull start to get going again. I discovered that my fuel was stale and old and the battery had no juice left. My quad has been designed and engineered to ride on trails, go over obstacles and through mud. When the fuel is stale and old, the engine will not have the power to do those things. When the fuel is no good, the quad will stall and sputter; sometimes in the most difficult and dangerous places.

Our bodies have been designed and engineered to take us places. When we put stale fuel in our body, when we eat chemicals in place of real food, we will stall and sputter. Wonder why you have aches and pains? Wonder why you're body is tired all the time? Fuel! The old saying "You are what you eat" is true. Being fit and in shape is 80% food and 20% exercise. Yes, I am on a soapbox, no I have not always and even now do not eat healthy all the time. Yes, these words are difficult to hear, no, I will not stop. 11 years ago I weighed 246 pounds. I lost 66 pounds. Earlier this year I began to creep back up. On Jan 2, I tipped the scales at 209. Enough! Time to take care of this once and for all. Exercise and nutrition were key for me. Successes include losing 24 pounds so far, no soda for over a month and getting off of Lipitor and lowering my cholesterol. Failures are many and setbacks are at every corner. However, I will not allow those to define me. I have committed to eating well so that I can enjoy life, so that as I grow older, I will not need medicine to get me going or stop me up.

Spiritually, do you experience anxiety more than peace, frustration more than patience? The answer is simple: FUEL! I heard a pastor say once "If you want more faith, then you need more Jesus in your life. Dr. Phil and Oprah or Matthew, Mark, Luke and John? Perhaps the reason you struggle, sputter and fail is due to stale fuel in your life. Have you found yourself out of fuel in a difficult and dangerous place? Temptation, traps and turmoil? The Word of God is living, breathing and full of life; never stale and never out of power.
Keep Running,

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Why I run.

I remember in Kindergarten running around like a crazy man.  Yelling, screaming having a great time.  I then remember going to the doctor and being told I had some disease (Leggs-Perthes) in my hips.  I was admitted to the hospital and my legs were put in traction.  5 years old.  I could no longer walk.  The hospital bed contained me for two weeks.  It was there I learned to whistle.  Apparently I pushed the call button too many times.  Unfortunately, the only whistle I knew was the cat-call; probably taught to me by my brothers.  So, when a nurse would walk by, I would whistle a cat-call.  She would come in and I would ask for ice cream.  Never mind that it was only 6 am. A cast from navel to my feet was the next treatment.  I think that lasted for 6 weeks.  Then, a wheelchair.  A wheelchair.  That lasted for the next 5 years.  Not until the middle of 4th grade was I able to get up and use those legs to run around and act crazy.  Not until I was ten years old was I able to ride a bike, go out for a pass, play hide and seek effectively (hiding is tough when you're in a wheelchair) run from my siblings, or simply run because I could. What a glorious day.  I remember the day my dad came home from work and knelt at one end of the hallway.  I got up out of my chair and walked towards him; into his arms.

Why do I run?  Because I can.  Running is a gift.  When we lose something valuable we have feeling of regret.  We wish we would have had more time with a loved one or not taken a friendship or relationship for granted.  I have been told by some doctors to not run.  And I quote "Your running days are over."  Never!  My running days have just began.  I had lost my ability to run.  I value every moment I can walk, every time I can run and every opportunity to run around like a crazy man.
Keep Running!

Friday, November 25, 2011

A Challenge

I have thought about starting a blog for quite some time.  I will share stories, successes, failures and encouragement.  I hope this will be a place where we can spur each other in this journey we call life.  
More to come.
Keep Running,