Super Smash Bros.

In the old days, families would gather around the table to play a nice game of Monopoly or Life—maybe even a card game. They would play games that educate you—helping you with spelling (Scrabble) or math (Dominos). But in our family, we gather around the coffee table, which is in front of the TV and we play Super Smash Bros for WiiU.

It was a Christmas present for me. But, the kids have grown to love playing 8 player smash, though we actually just use 6 slots. The fun is such that even our four year old, Jenny, can play. She actually won a game tonight when we were playing with just me, her, and Will. Jenny typically likes to pick the game board to play on—whether it is the boxing mat, the Mario Galaxy, or the Donkey Kong scaffolding. The other kids enjoy picking new characters to play with. Monica has become fond of the WiiFit trainer. At first, you wouldn’t think that the WiiFit trainer has much to offer, but Monica wins nearly every game. I have gotten to enjoy simply using Mario. The kids bounce around from character to character to suit their mood.

The game has actually become very enjoyable for the family, we can sit together and laugh and joke as we fight our characters against one another. Unfortunately, the kids are getting better and better—but with that, the enjoyment for everyone is increasing. There are few games that we can all sit around and play. But, Super Smash Bros. is one game that everyone enjoys and everyone can play each other. If you have a WiiU, it is definitely a must play game…for the whole family.

The Fire Place

There is just something about a fire in the fire place.

I remember growing up, before we had a gas fireplace—before I was old enough to chop wood. I remember watching my father build a fire on those cold winter days. Sometimes he would let me light it as I got older. Soon, I would learn to stoke the fire and go out in the cold garage to carry in more wood for the fire. Once we got older and installed a gas fire place, we had a fire in the fireplace often. Now, one of the joys that I have each day is sitting by the fire. Even here in El Paso, where winter is just about over and the rest of the United States is under inches, if not feet, of snow.

There is a peacefulness of the fire—a cozy warmth that can only come from the flame. I enjoy reading or writing by the fire. I gain a sense of focus when I am calmed by the fire. A good fire is much like tea—the best way to enjoy it is slowly and quietly. Tea goes well with a fire as well, by the way.

Beside a fire, I dream about being in a warm cabin away from civilization. I dream of being about to write with nothing else to hinder or distract me. I also dream of being quiet and still. I imagine looking out frost covered windows into a snowy night and being able to watch the birds as they play.

There truly is something about a fireplace that stirs me.

Pick of the Week: #Runchat

This week’s pick of the week is a “twitterchat” that occurs every Sunday night—alternating each week between 8pm EST and 10pm EST. Getting in on the chat is as easy as searching for the hashtag #runchat.

I’m not really sure of the history of the chat and I’m not exactly sure who is in charge. Most of the time David H., whose twitter handle is @runningbecause, typically writes the questions at scheduled times as the followers of the hashtag answer and converse over those topics. Interestingly enough, I will also see the #runchat hashtag throughout the week as members post running successes when they achieve them.

I thoroughly enjoy participating in the chats. Through this time, I have been able to meet several great people who are also runners. I have developed some supporters when I run and a quick place to go for feedback when I need it. It is a very encouraging and informative group. Sometimes, I could get the information provided from a book or website—but it is nice to know how it is working for real people. Many internet sites, magazines, or books seem to cater to the elite runners—or aspiring elites. This, of course, is not me; so who do I turn to? The group on the chat are not elites. Every now and then, you’ll hear from someone that is very experienced. Most of the time the people are just like me—running for health reasons and not necessarily winning every race…or even winning at all. Most of us are just happy to finish and to receive a medal.

I strongly recommend that runners spend some time on Sunday nights with your twitter open and following the #runchat. And, by all means, join in!

Book Review: Getting Things Done

Getting Things Done by David Allen is my go-to book for being productive. The principles the book contains are based on the natural process of truly accomplishing tasks. Allen’s book is based on two major objectives: “capturing all the things that need to get done” and “disciplining yourself to make front-end decisions about all of the “inputs” you let into your life.” (p3-4) These two objective were definitely achieved in the book and are invaluable as I live my life using this book on a daily basis.

The act of developing an on-going list of tasks and subtasks and calendaring these tasks out in order to get the major tasks done has been the most effective way for me to do my job and for me to feel comfortable that what I am turning in or presenting is the best product that I can produce. I use a computer program to schedule these tasks, but soon after reading this book, I did it manually. It is important to be able to break a project down into digestible pieces so that you can slow work on the larger project. This truth has been invaluable to me.

Another area that has made an impact is Allen’s weekly review. This is a key opportunity to take a look at all of the things in the inbox and figure out what you will do it these things over the next week. This technique has also been invaluable, as there were many times that I found time on Sunday mornings to come in and get a good read on the upcoming week.

If you are interested in getting things done, if you are overwhelmed by the amount of work that you have to do, or if you want to get ahead of your projects so you have time for yourself—Getting Things Done is the book for you. Read it and practice it!

What Do You Look Upon?

Walt Whitman once wrote:

“There was a child went forth every day,

And the first object he look’d upon,

that object he became,…”

 

What is the first thing we look upon?

It could be in the morning. Carving that time out of the day to spend in the word of God. Or starring at the sad news from the latest newsfeed.

It could be in times of crisis. The first thing we look at is the problem at hand, or we could look at the hand that is guiding us along.

It could be in our entertainment. Are we staring at immorality before us, constantly reducing our since of our revulsion—numbing us to the effects of sin around us.

What is the first thing we look upon? Those objects, are we becoming them?

When I read that passage, I first thought of Christ. The first thing we must look at—the one thing we must become is like Him! The Bible says;

    “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” (Ephesians 5:1-2 ESV)

If we are going to become something we must become like God. We do this by renewing our mind. The Bible also says:

    “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2 ESV)

What are you going to look upon? Are you going to stare at the world for answers? Or are you going to look upon Christ and become like Him?

 

(Photo: unsplash.com)

El Paso Half Marathon 2015

I had a wonderful time running the El Paso Half Marathon this year. Since I ran the full El Paso Marathon last year, this year was a completely different experience for me. While both races were memorable, I think this year’s race was much more enjoyable.

The weather was perfect. El Paso typically has good weather anyway—but this was a different kind of nice. The weather for the race every year, is somewhat of a toss-up. A couple of years ago, I understand that it was freezing. Last year was warm and sunny. This year was 50-60 degrees, cloudy with occasional light rain—just enough to keep me cool. Another benefit was that the sun was never in my eyes. To me, it was perfect weather for running.

The course was challenging. Sometimes, long races tend to err on the same of flat—so everyone will be happy and have good times. This race included some varying terrain from flat to hills. Around mile 6 there was a large hill to climb, but luckily on mile eight I was able to run back down it. The course also included wide streets and plenty of water stations. In fact, while I had planned to stop at every water station, I found that there were enough stations that later in the race I didn’t feel as if I needed them. The race began and ended at the newly built baseball stadium, which provided my family a nice place to watch me finish.

I finished the race at roughly 2 hours and 8 minutes. It was a good solid time for me, so that was an extra good feeling at the end of the day!

(Photo: I met this Minion out on the course about mile ten!)