My 411 (June 5, 2008)

When I was writing my initial thoughts, I was sitting in an empty restaurant, completely bored out of my mind. We are now in what we consider our “busy season” of the restaurant business. We should be a lot busier than we currently are. I guess the weather these past couple of days (torrential rains and winds), the absurd gas prices continually escalating higher by the day, and the unrelenting drive of Hillary Clinton to be our first woman President of the United States (though recent news suggests that she has given up), has kept people from dinning out. There are worse things to complain about though. The New Kids on the Block are doing a reunion tour after a much needed/desired disbanding of the group several years ago. The thought of hearing a bunch of forty- year-old men singing songs like, “Please Don’t Go Girl” sends a signal to my cerebellum much like when the dentist drills my teeth for an hour. And, I guess there could be worse jobs out there as well. Selling knock off Gucci handbags isn’t the most popular of career advancements these days. For now anyway, I am a server at a restaurant. Though I am sure I could make a lot more money off welfare, I am convinced that things will get a lot better.

The Phillies are actually playing like they are a professional baseball team. In fact, they are ten games above 500 at this moment. Now, I never hold my breath when it comes to a Philadelphia team, but it seems as though, for the first time in almost 30 years, the city of Philadelphia is on track to enjoy a World Series. There are a few things we need to fix though – One being Ryan Howard and his batting average. I have no doubt that he can hit a homerun – it seems as though that is all he is capable of doing. Despite having 15 homeruns and 44 RBIs, Howard currently carries a .208, which in layman’s terms mean; he is not doing super well right now. He does however carry the most strikeouts of any batter (last year being 199) – he always has 84. I think people love Howard because he is young and has a lot of great talent. We can only hope he gets into a rhythm with the rest of the team and earns his 10 million dollars. If he was unable to hit another homerun this season (which I believe is unlikely), he will earn 666 thousand dollars per homerun. That is a lot of flipping money for only 15 homeruns. Despite Howard’s inability to get moving, the Phillies are on top, playing hard and winning games. The only explanation is that we have a lot of praying fans. That really is the only logical conclusion I can think of.

In other news, I have decided to take care of a little issue that has crept upon me over the past couple of years: My weight. I am not in a dangerous position with regards to health but I am in definite need of a weight adjustment. To date, I consider myself a good “2 Thanksgiving turkeys” overweight and that simply is not a good thing. What am I doing to lose the weight? I am doing a couple of things: Eating differently and taking Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) classes at Tiger Schulmann’s. I have read on several websites and blogs about how Tiger Schulmann’s is the “McDojo” of Karate but I have not experienced that aspect of their training or leadership. I have met two different people who can attest that the training I am receiving through this program is beneficial – both for health reasons and for self-defense. One woman lost a total of 90 lbs in two years. She broke out a picture of her and her husband – a before and after picture. There was no denying it was she. It wasn’t like those “Ultra Slim” commercials where you see the before and after pictures and wonder if it really is the same person or not. I was sitting with her. The other person I talked to has lost a total of 30 lbs in about 100 days. He went on a fixed meal diet and works out four days a week. He said he was always tired and could never keep up with his friends. He was picked on a lot at school too because he was overweight. That is not the case now. In fact, he was just in a tournament this past weekend and received a first place trophy for his age bracket and belt division. That being said, I could care less if people want to talk about Tiger Schulmann’s. If you go to the gym, you wait for 10 minutes to use a machine for 5 minutes and walk around and try and use another machine. When I show up, we come ready to get a great workout and learn how to protect ourselves along the way. The hour goes by fast. When I am ready to leave, my gi is soaked. I have currently lost 10 lbs within the span of about two weeks. I feel good about myself and know that if I continue to work hard, the results will continue to show. I am not doing this to earn a belt – I have a lot of them at home to hold my pants up. I am doing this so that when I am 30, I won’t have a heart attack while preaching. Life is short enough as it is. There is no need to rush the natural process of death. We need to take care of our bodies – it is the only one we have on this earth. For 99.00, you can take a month of classes at Tiger Schulmann’s. That might seem like a lot to someone but I figure you get what you pay for and, so far, I have gotten a lot more than what I have paid.

In other news, I am preparing to go to the Dominican Republic in August. Though for only a week, we are going to help out a great organization that is doing a lot for the Dominican people. It is a blessing to see how God is providing for this trip. With only 200.00 more to raise, and several family members who still desire to provide financial support, God has opened every door for me to go. Our plan is to do a few sports camps with the locals while sharing the Gospel with them throughout our stay. We will also work on a coffee plantation for a two days in 90 + degree heat. We will spend one day at the beach and then come home after the week’s work is complete. At first, I thought us going for only a week would be a waste of time. I almost decided that perhaps the best and most logical option would be to back out and forget the whole thing. As I was reading the Bible though, I stumbled across a verse that made me think and reconsider my position and thoughts about going. To paraphrase the verse, it said something like, “One throws the seed, one waters the plant, but God makes all things grow.” – I think Paul wrote that in 1 Corinthians but I don’t have a Bible handy to check on that reference. That being said, I figure I am going there to water what God has already been doing there or throw new need as God leads. God will do the growing though. I think that is a great reason to go.

Finally, my term is almost up. I have just a few more weeks before the summer vacation begins. Having only 4 more classes to finish, I am starting to get a little anxious with respects to what I am going to do and how God is going to lead. I have no doubt that He will lead. I guess the thought of actually graduating early May of 2009 is just really exciting for me. I have worked really hard to achieve good grades and hope that God will be honored by it. One thing I have learned the hard way is to accept God’s leading. Even though my future is not laid out how I would like it, I simply must stand back and say, “Okay God. I will obey.” When I have submitted my will to His, things have worked out a lot better than how I would have tried to work it out.

All right – I am done ranting. It is time to get a life and go to bed. God bless.

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