Judging- One of my Favorite Topics!

ALL the time we hear, “Don’t judge”.  Supposedly it’s even in the Bible.

HOGWASH!     FIDDLE-FADDLE!    POPPYCOCK!

I judge all the time.  So do you.  It is good and necessary.

I judge that it is prudent to wear a jacket today because it’s cold.  I judge that this movie is better than that movie.  I judge that a vegan diet is better than a high protein one.  I judge that this restaurant is excellent and that one is unfit to eat at (like an unnamed fast food restaurant- my daughter just started working there and shared a few things…).  I judge that this laptop is a better buy than that one.  I judge that I won’t buy from ____ because they support _____.     (Or I WILL buy from ___ because they support ____.)   I judge that I will have enough time today to do all my work AND still have time to go out to supper.   All day long we form judgments.

I used to think it was okay to judge “things” but not people.  Again hogwash!  We judge people all the time, also.  Again, this is not bad.   I judge this person to be (or not be) a suitable babysitter for my children.  I judge this political candidate more worthy of my vote than that one.  I judge this speaker worth listening to over that one.  I judge this author worth reading as compared to that author. (I suppose in a way that is judging their writing, not them.  But I might pick up a certain author’s book based on what I know about them, based on a judgment I have made of them.)  If I am an employer, I will judge this job applicant more suited for the job than that one.

Dictionary definition : judgment (www.dictionary.com)  the ability to judge, make a decision, or form an opinion objectively, authoritatively, and wisely, especially in matters affecting action; good sense; discretion

Now, if we are smart, we will make wise judgments, and gather as much information as possible to make good and sensible judgments, especially in more critical decisions (such as what diet is best, and who we will vote for as President, where we will live, what career path we shall take).

And we will base judgments on what we see and hear.  I (and you) will form very different judgments of a man dressed in an Armani suit with impeccable grooming as compared to one with stringy dreadlocks and a tattered T-shirt.  This doesn’t mean one person is BETTER than another.  But what people (we) say, how we act and dress DOES affect how people judge us.

Can we be wrong in our judgments?    Certainly.    Happens all the time (to varying degrees).  So if we find we are wrong, we adjust as we are able.  If I hire a babysitter I had judged to be good and find out she’s incompetent, I’ll hire someone else.  If I vote for a candidate who wins and turns out to be a “bad” president, I’m stuck with it (except for political activism to remedy that which I see/ judge to be wrong).  There’s no sin in being wrong.    Rash judgment is foolish and imprudent.  Sometimes we have little information with which we can make a judgment.   (Say you’re out with friends and on the spur of the moment go to the local theater with seven movies showing, none of which you really know anything about.  You can ask your friends, or the theater staff, you can look at the posters, but you really have limited information and time to make a good judgment of which movie to see.)    If that’s the case, do the best you can.  As I said, find out what you can, then make your judgment.

Back to the Bible.  When the Bible refers to not judging, what it means is not condemning.  To condemn is wrong.  To judge is good.   I cannot condemn another for their actions.  I can judge certain actions to be right or wrong.  If I think abortion is wrong (and I do), and I see a 13 yo girl get an abortion, I cannot condemn her.  She may have been forced into it by well-meaning parents or adults.  (Really the same for a 25 yo.   But I judge that a 13 yo pregnant may be less able to make good decisions, like not aborting, than a 25 yo.   But that judgment may be wrong sometimes, maybe the 25 yo is unable to make good choices.)  So judge, but don’t condemn.

One of the fruits of the Holy Spirit is “right judgment”.  This means the gift of being able to form good, accurate judgments.  So don’t tell me the Bible says not to judge.  (As I said, condemnation is different.)

There IS right and wrong.  You can say that is my opinion, so be it.  But there is right and wrong.  Everyone thinks so.  We may differ in WHAT we consider right and wrong, but it is there.   No one would condone child abuse, everyone would say that is wrong (except maybe a very very few).

And yes, I WILL tell you what I think is right and wrong, and try to convince you I am correct.  How fervently I do that depends on many things.  If it’s the movie, I really don’t care much so long as it’s not R-rated.  If you’re my 18 yo daughter, unwed and pregnant thinking about abortion, I will go to great lengths to convince you that is a wrong choice.   If you’re my husband and watching internet porn, I’d work real hard to get you to see the errors of your ways.   I won’t force my views on anyone, but I will share them, and share why I think they are right and why you could adopt them as your own.   Sometimes I think people get confused about sharing what’s right and wrong and “forcing” their views on someone.

If I were to tell my 18 yo pregnant daughter with no job or financial resources that if she has an abortion, she can’t live here anymore, even that is not forcing my beliefs on her.  She is free to make her own choice, is she chooses abortion, she also chooses not to live at home anymore.   I’m not “kicking her out”.   (By the way, I’d never do that.  I’d never give a person in that situation that kind of ultimatum.  Like I said, I’d try mightily to convince her abortion is wrong, but if she chose it anyway, I’d still love her and try to help in any way I could.)

Again, I could be wrong in my judgments.  But I’m going to live my life based on what I think is right, knowing I’m not perfect and may err sometimes.  I try to be open to new ideas, and I am more than willing to revise my judgments.  Sometimes I learn something new, or have certain experiences that lead me to rethink something.  That is good, wise.

A key when talking with people is knowing what terms mean, knowing what the other person means by certain words.   THINK about what you say.  So when you say (or hear), “Don’t judge,” does the speaker really mean, “Don’t condemn?”  I think usually that is the case.

So, go about your day today, and your week this week thinking about judgment.  Call people on it, if they say, “Don’t judge.”  Ask them if they really mean, “Don’t condemn?”   Teach them that judgment is good.

The Olympics and Committment

More on commitment.    I’ve been watching the Olympics.  The athletes that make it there are committed.  100%.  You won’t get there without 100%.  You might get somewhere, but not to the top.

I’m thinking about my commitment to superb eating (not just “following a diet”) but eating 98% of what is good for me.  I committed to that goal, but not 100%.   I am more committed than I have been.

Yet I allow things to get in the way.  I’ve been doing baking with my grand daughter (to take things to county fair and enter them).  So we’ve had cookies and bars around.  Not things good for me to eat.  Still, if I was 100% committed, I know I could avoid them.

I think part of the key (only part) is to plan ahead.  So I’ll be going TO the county fair this week.  Fair food.  Not good for me to eat.  So I go when I’m not hungry,  I bring a snack with me (like nuts or an apple), I make sure to drink plenty of water.

I think often we fail to plan.  And often that is the same as planning to fail.  We’re not going to get to where we want to be without a plan.  If we have 100% commitment we are highly likely to achieve our goal.  Be good for me today to spend some time reflecting on why I am not (yet) 100% committed…

Long or Short

Do you prefer long or short blog posts?  I like short ones, ones I can read in a minute or two.   There are some really good long ones out there, but if it takes me more than five minutes to read, that’s too long.   What’s your preference?  (This one today is REALLY short!)

My Bar

Okay, I said I’d share my bar.  The current one I have is to become cancer free by building excellent health and letting my body handle it from there.  Here’s an article I wrote years back.

Fighting Cancer

How many people do you know battling cancer?  Fighting cancer?  They have the attitude, “I’m gonna beat this!”

I have cancer.  I used to think that way.  Then I thought about it all some more.  You see, the cancer cells in my body are part of ME.  Maybe a disordered, skewed, mutated, part, but still part of me.  So what happens when I HATE that?  Am I not hating me?  There are other things about me that one could consider skewed, imperfect, out of balance.  (Just imagine a peri-menopausal woman on a PMS say after a quart of chocolate fudge ice cream!)  So do I hate that, do I hate that part of me?

Hate is a very strong, powerful emotion.  A negative emotion.  I can honestly say that I don’t LIKE those parts of me, I don’t LIKE my cancer.  I wish they weren’t there.  But I’m not going to HATE it.   I’m not going to lug around that heavy negative burden.   I will work towards improving myself and my health, in all areas.  But I’m also going to choose to LOVE all of me, even the parts I don’t “like”.

When I came to this conclusion, I thought about what I was doing.  I was working on all kinds of health building things- diet, exercise, all kinds of alternatives.  All with the idea of killing the cancer.  How WONDERFUL!  Then I realized I didn’t want to hate anymore.  Sure, I want my cancer to go away, but now I think more in terms of everything coming back into perfect harmony, or what is no longer needed dissipating, just melting away, disappearing.  I can DO exactly the same health building things, but my attitude, my intention is different.  It is no longer negatively focused on killing, it is focused on harmony, bringing things to what they were designed to be.  While that may seem like a small thing, it isn’t.  It’s a HUGE difference.

I think about a classmate of mine from high school.  She died recently of cancer.  Every time I got an email or read her caringbrdige journal, it was full of negatives: I hate this cancer. I’m gonna beat it.  I’m at war and I’m gonnna win.

I wanted to scream!  Fighting takes a GREAT deal of mental and physical time and energy.  Time and energy that could be much better spent towards working for peace and harmony, love.  (HA!  I sound like a 1960s hippie.  But there IS something to that!)

Accept reality, then put your efforts towards making it what YOU want it to be.  We all have a great deal more control over reality than we think we do.   MUCH more.  And if we can focus on the good, the positive, MORE of that will come our way.

So, whether it’s cancer or anything else, let me encourage you to stop fighting.  I went last summer to something called Enlightened Warrior training Camp.  Awesome experience.  But I had some trepidation going into it.  I don’t want to be in a war, I don’t want to fight.  AND I discovered that being a warrior, the kind we were at camp, isn’t about fighting.  It’s about doing the very best you can, putting forth 100% towards your goals.  It’s not about cutting down someone (or something) else.  It’s about achieving YOUR goals.  Again, a difference between that and “fighting”.

Inner peace is most important.  It’s hard to have inner peace if you’re busy fighting battles non-stop.

Think about it.  Maybe change your view a little (or a lot).  Your life (and happiness) may depend on it.

 

Set the Bar High

I was going to title this You Can Do More Than You Think.

That’s not true.  If you don’t think you can, chances are highly likely you never will do it.  I hear that saying a lot.  More accurate to say: If you change your thinking, you can do more than you previously thought.

I did the marathon.  If I thought to myself (and kept repeating), “I can’t do this.  It’s too hard,”   I never would have done it.   I KNEW I could do it.  I will admit to tiny bits of doubt now and then, but I quickly and easily dismissed those thoughts.

Change your thinking.  S t r e t c h.  Set the bar higher than you have in the past.  Believe you can do it.

How?  Educate yourself. You can’t do something you don’t know.  So learn what you need to know.

Let’s use the marathon as an example.  I’ve never “run”.  I’m not big into physical fitness (I do, out of necessity for good health, try to stay fit by daily walking, but I’m not into training or workouts or gyms).   Someone (that is Someone with a  capital “S”) put the notion of doing a marathon in my head.   At 57.  With cancer.  And a tracheotomy. And unable to speak.  Sure. No problem.

So I started looking around, found some support groups on the net.  One fellow posted (just in passing- yeah, sure, that again was the Someone who inspired him to post) that Hawaii has a very walker-friendly marathon.  Now THAT sounded good (both Hawaii and walker-friendly).

I learned more about marathons, the Honolulu Marathon, walking a marathon, etc.  It didn’t take me long to decided to do this.  As it got closer, I hired (on-line) a coach.  Her assistance was invaluable.

My bar was set high, but I knew I could do it.  I knew what, I knew how, I trained for it.  Easy?  NO!  Possible.  YOU BET!

See my photo on the sidebar: Mile 23, thumbs up, smiling. AND that’s after about 9+ hours of walking.

Set your bar high, then plunge into it.  (And if you have kids, set the bar high for them as well.)

And back to yesterday’s post.  Guess what?  If you knock the bar over, set it again.  How many high jumpers NEVER knock down the bar?  Happens all the time.  Get up, try again.

Set the bar high.   (Within the next few posts, I’ll share my next “bar” with you.)  What is yours?  What new one will you set for yourself?

Have an awesome day!

 

 

It’s Okay to Fail

There is nothing wrong with failing.  It’s not getting back up that will stop you dead in your tracks.   Didn’t someone once say Edison discovered 10,000 ways NOT to make a light bulb?

I recently had a mom who will be starting homeschooling ask em about curriculum.  She’s stressed over choosing the right one, that if she doesn’t get the perfect books for her children, she will fail them.  Here is my reply:

E, you WILL fail them, sooner or later, in something. You’re human. You will look back and think “I should have done ____ or not done _____.”   It will happen.
All anyone can do is their best at the time and place they are at. In 20 years you will be at a different place and make different choices based on your experiences. That doesn’t mean you failed your older kids. It means you have learned and grown and discovered something else might be better (in ANY part of parenting).

You are a very conscientious mother, Ellie. You try (and succeed) in being a good mom. Your kids will be fine. And if they don’t get every little tidbit they need form you at the very moment they need it, so be it. They’ll figure it out later. You’re not perfect, never will be. Yes, try. Yes, do your research. Yes, work hard. Make your best decision. Then just keep going. Revise as/if necessary. (Again, applies to all aspects of parenting.)

In all areas of our life, sooner or later, we will fail.  Don’t use the word failure.  Consider it an “opportunity to learn something”.  Pick up the pieces, get back up and move on.  And probably, when you consider it, the more you fail, the more you are DOING.  Life is not for sitting around watching (see my earlier post on the Greatest Adventure).

So, while you certainly don’t need it from me, I hereby give you permission to fail, make mistakes, blow it, be imperfect.  But do get back up.

Have a great day!

 

Do You Take the Time?

Often when someone does something nice for us, we say thank you.   That’s good and proper.  Have you ever thought about taking a  few extra minutes once in a while to go beyond a sincere but quick thank you?  Maybe write a person a handwritten note sharing what they mean to you, how much you appreciated the compliment they gave you or helped you with ____?  Maybe make a batch of cookies and send some their way?

Our world tends to be fast and instant, yet most of us really savor little things others might do for us.  Think about this: if you picked up your mail and there was a handwritten note from a friend, wouldn’t you be excited, and open that first?  Wouldn’t that just make your day?   Or if a bouquet of flowers (even handpicked wild ones) was at your desk when you arrived at work?  An ecard is nice, but a regular store bought card with a note (even a card you make yourself on the computer shows you care enough to take the time to make one) would be a treat for the recipient, I’ll bet.

Next time you’re out shopping (or maybe garage sale-ing?), pick up a box or two of generic blank greeting cards.  Keep them handy and send one off now and then.  You’ll make someone smile.

 

It takes a bit of time to go the extra mile.  But think about it, it’s not a mile, it’s a few short steps.  Go for it!  (I know about miles- being a marathoner. An extra mile is a LOT.  A few short steps I could have done.)

My Thoughts on Good Health

I have done lots of research on how to achieve good health.  I’ve come to some conclusions.  There are three basics, think of it as a three legged stool.  There is absolutely no way around the basics.  If you want to have lasting good health, you’ve got to do the basics.

What are they?

1. Diet. You’ve got to eat a good diet.  Personally I believe the vegan diet is best.  Fine with me if you disagree, but pretty much everyone would say that a good diet does NOT include lots of sugar, processed foods, fast foods, high fat meats.  So nix the pop, 12 cups of coffee daily, and quick stop at McD’s for supper because you’re running late.    My thinking is that if you are healthy, really healthy (and I don’t think most people are), you can get by with maybe 80-90% good eating.  If you’re sick or ill, that has to be upped to 98-99%.   I’m not saying no one can ever have anything unhealthy, it just has to be infrequent, and more infrequent if you’re sick.  (By sick I don’t mean that the MD has diagnosed you with some disease.  It could be that, but I mean general not feeling well, not having energy and enthusiasm, getting lots of colds, that kind of thing.)

2. Exercise. Ain’t no way around this folks.   For your body to be healthy it has to move.  I’m not a distributor for this or that program.  Do what works for you.  But my “prescription” for exercise is anything that makes you sweat (lightly or more) for an hour a day, 5-6 days/ week.  (I don’t get hung up on doing it all at once.  I usually do treadmill walking, and often do some in the morning and some later on.)  You just have to move.  Chasing toddlers may count, but you have to build up a sweat and do it an hour a day.  Same with things like housework.

3. Mental state.  You’ve got to have a positive attitude, find the good in things, let negatives roll off your back.  I have come to realize it is not how much stress you have in your life as how well you deal with it.   I don’t fight cancer (fighting is very negative and consumes much energy)- my focus is on building good health.  If I have good/ near perfect health, the cancer will take care of itself.  Mental state includes “being right with God”.  If your spiritual life is not in order, nothing else will be.    Far and away I think this leg of the stool is the most important.  More and more science is discovering how much our thoughts directly affect our physical bodies (brain chemistry and more).  Amazing things.

So, focus on those 3 things.  AND they are all basically free.  You’ve got to eat anyway, and my opinion is healthy food is not expensive, compared to junk food or eating out.  I am one day going to do a one week experiment and demonstrate how one can eat healthy (vegan) on $1/day.  (I think I can make it on $1/day, we’ll see.)  But a bag of apples cost less than a bag of Doritos and will fill you up better and has loads more nutrition in it.  You can buy lots of organic, freshly made foods, or high priced natural foods, but you don’t “have to” to eat well.  Exercise can be free.  Walking costs nothing (except shoes and most of us have shoes).  You can join a gym or buy fancy equipment, but not necessary.   Mental state?  No cost there.  A good Bible and easy chair is fine for your daily prayer and meditation.

So, what about fish oil, this/that supplement, barley greens, herbs, mangosteen juice, etc. etc. etc.?  I think there are products out there that can be useful in helping to achieve good health.  But you are absolutely wasting your money if you aren’t doing the basics.    All those are “extras”.  There’s no “magic pill” that will solve your problem/ build good health if you aren’t covering the basics.    No way around it.

And honestly, doing the basics is NOT generally very easy.  McD’s sure looks good as I drive by and am hungry because I didn’t plan ahead.  I have been exercising regularly for almost a decade and still can’t say I “like” to do it.  Many other ways I’d rather spend my time.  Mental state/ prayer life?  Sometimes hard to choose to make time to pray/ meditate (and it is a choice).  Sometimes we’re around negative people and need to get away from that to stay upbeat.

So, maybe time to take a look at your life.  Are you building good health?  If not, believe me, it will catch up to you sooner or later.  Sure, genes and environment play a part, not as much as you might think.   I once heard it explained very well this way: it’s like we all start out life as an airplane.  Some of us are sleek Concordes, some of us are vintage WWII bi-planes.  The Concorde will be able to go farther and faster and longer, than the bi-plane.   But all the health building things you do change the headwinds or keep your machine running smoothly.     Eating at McD’s gives you a nasty headwind.  Eating a healthy meal will give you a tailwind boost.  So, you’re stuck with your plane, can’t change that, but you can change how well it operates, how well you take care of it, and what kinds of headwinds and tailwinds you encounter.

To your health!

What’s My Purpose?

I was thinking about this blog today and its purpose.  Our family motto for a long time has been GTH & BYB.  Stand for get to Heaven and Bring Your Brother.  It means that all we do should be directed towards a greater good, ours or someone else.  Every action, every decision, every word we speak will either help someone or hurt someone.  Mostly in very small ways, but the small things add up.  Anyway, it’s a motto that has guided us for decades.

So my blog is really about helping people.  Eventually it will have some of my book stuff on it, but even my book is about helping people.  (It’s not a self-help book or anything, it’s inspirational fiction.  One line book summary: Two tortured hurting souls – one a successful businessman, the other an eleven year-old homeless genius- are unexpectedly thrown together and discover bonding, healing, and a father/son love.  It can help people in that the characters show how to overcome some severe hardships in life and end up thriving.  Role models.)

Anyway, what kinds of things would you like to see here, see me address?  Some of you already know me and my style, know what kinds of things I write about (I’m referring here to “life issues”, not fiction.)

Have an AWESOME day, folks!  Know that God loves you.

The marathon- Committment

I’ve been thinking about commitment.  I currently have a commitment to walk an hour a day 5-6 days/ week, simply to maintain physical fitness.  I accomplish this with excellent consistency.  But some days it is quite challenging, hard to “get it in”.  I am committed to this and it gets done.

Yet less than a year ago, I was training to do a marathon.  I was committed to that goal.  I was committed to the training schedule my coach had laid out for me.

I look back now at that training schedule.  It had days with 10 miles (common), some 15 miles, even a few at 20 miles.  That means I was to cover that many miles, continuously, in that day.  As I said, my goal was to walk the marathon, not run it.  And not just to finish it, but to enjoy at least some of it along the way.   When you walk a marathon, your training is similar to if you run it.  It just takes you MUCH longer because you’re awaking the miles, not running them.    It was a LOT of hours, a lot of walking.   I truly wonder now how I did it.

Thinking about it, I was committed.  That was what allowed me to crank out all those miles.  I am no longer committed to doing a marathon, I don’t need to walk that many miles to stay fit.

But it was commitment that got me to the finish line.

Are there things in your life you want?  Maybe weight loss?  Increased prayer life?  Improved diet?   Maybe something else?  Examine your commitment to that goal.  How high is the commitment?  Do you need to crank it up a notch?    (And of course your goal is written down in a concrete form with a finish date, right?)

What do you need to increase your committment to?