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Category Archives: Living Longer

Resistance Training

I’m far from a fitness guru….but I have been going to the gym several times a week for the past 10-12 years. It’s hard to tell by looking at me, though! In fact, in a conversation with a friend a couple years back I mentioned that I regularly go to the gym. He looked at me kinda funny, laughed a little smirky laugh and said, “Really”?!! … It kinda hurt my feelings.

But, seriously, going to the gym is something I do enjoy. I read a lot of fitness articles, get a half dozen health and fitness emails and blogs a week. I’ve always been ‘health minded’, so to speak, and I still enjoy learning about health and fitness issues. There’s a lot of information, and a lot of opinions out there. Occasionally there is conflicting information but for the most part it’s pretty consistent.

A good, balanced workout plan should have some cardio exercise such as running, walking or biking. But along with the cardio, one of the things that all the fitness experts agree on, for all ages, is the need to include ‘resistance training’ into our workout regimen. “Resistance training can come in various forms, the most common being the use of free weights (barbells, dumbbells), universal weight machines, rubber exercise bands or even our own body weight. There are significant benefits of resistance training including bone, muscle and ligament strength, improved joint function, increased metabolism and improved cardiac function. If we’re serious at all about our own physical fitness it makes sense to include some resistance training.

I’m thinking that our spiritual health and well-being should also include a good dose of ‘resistance training’. If you think about it there’s hardly ever a time that we’re not enduring some kind of unpleasant situation in our life. It might be a relational challenge, financial situation, dealing with a problem child or family member or it might even be a physical ailment. Anytime you’re going up against any of these things….that’s resistance. And, just as physical resistance training helps to stabilize and grow our muscles, these things we go through go a long ways in strengthening our faith and our overall spiritual life. As hard as they might be, going through them,….in the long haul they’re very good for us. We’re being conformed into the image of Jesus….at least that’s what the Book says. And the trials of our lives are critical in that process.

So, if you’re going to the gym and getting your body in shape…be sure and add some resistance training. It’ll be good for you! And while you’re going through the fires in life….don’t forget…..resistance training is vital for your spiritual health, too!

Pass these on to your friends if you like ’em!

Check these out:

What If It’s Not to ‘Break’ You,….but to ‘Make’ You?

‘Betrayal’ – Nothing Easy About It!

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God Is My Co-Pilot! ……and therein lies the problem!

I started seeing that bumper-sticker when I was a kid, and I still see it every now and then….and it still makes me laugh. Oh, I get what they were trying to say and at a distance it sounds like a totally sensible and wholesome thing to do. I can relate to the whole “Co-Pilot” thing a little bit. In fact there was probably a time in my own life that I thought, Him being my co-pilot would be a very legitimate, and smart thing to do. I mean, if you haven’t had Him along at all….putting Him in the passenger seat would definitely be better than nothing at all. But when you think about it, it really doesn’t make much sense at all. In fact,….and especially if you’re thinking long-term, if He’s your Co-Pilot….it might just explain why things aren’t going so well!

I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say…..If you actually created the  Universe…by just ‘speaking it into being’, like He did, then you shouldn’t have to sit in the ‘second seat’ for anybody…..anytime! And seriously….right here’s where the problem exists. We think we can bring the Lord along with us, and into the situations and events in our lives and everything should be OK. But in all actuality….He should be the One piloting ‘this thing’ (your life!). You and I are really not qualified to run our own lives….and if we’re smart we’ve already figured that out. And, why would we?? He is the ‘Author and Finisher’ of our faith; He knows the beginning from the end; He’s the Alpha and Omega. And……..He knows so much more about us…and our lives than we do.

So, all I’m saying is, we need to change seats! Let’s let Him get in the Pilot seat where He belongs and let’s, you and I, just scoot on over and be content to ride ‘shotgun’!

If you liked this….you’ll like this one too!

*click on the highlighted link to read

“Go to God First”

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VIP #9 – Art Harris

I first met Art Harris in October of 1988, our last year on the ranch north of Allison, Texas. I had been taking care of 2500 head of cattle for Art’s cousin from Munday, Texas. Art came down that day that we gathered the cattle. We were busy weighing cattle all that day and I didn’t get to visit a lot with Art ……but enough to know that I liked him a lot. Art had grown up in Seymour, Texas and was one of the best athletes to ever graduate there. He played football and basketball where he was a standout in both sports. He’s still known, admired and idolized around those parts just simply as, Art Lynn.

When we moved across the line into Oklahoma and we needed to find a bank I looked for Art…..and after I found him he would be our banker for the next 27 years. In that time we became very good friends. I’ve said often that Art was the last of the ‘old time’ bankers. That kind of banker that believed in you as a person and loaned money based on that premise. In fact, he actually loaned millions of dollars on exactly that! We bought a several houses (rental properties) over the years and just called Art after the fact. It was never a problem.

By 1997 Art had become a VP and loan officer and was heading up the branch in Sayre. We started Trinity Fellowship in a home and then moved to a small building on the south end of town. When we grew to about 35 people (on a good day) we started looking for another place. We landed on Walter Merrick’s property two miles east of town on I-40. The Merrick family was gracious to allow us to use the property with no rent from ’92 to ’97…..which was a good thing because we had no money

The property became available for purchase and there were some very interested people who had the means to buy it. But we felt that the Lord wanted us to have the property. After a lot of prayer we decided we should try to buy. I remember vividly sitting in Art’s office and telling him that we wanted to buy the property. Art said “Yes”, and the rest is history.

Why do I tell that story?? I tell it because Art Harris believed in us when there wasn’t much to believe in. In two years we had the property (100 acres on I-40) totally paid off. Art started coming to church with us along about that time and our friendship deepened even more.

A couple of years ago Art was diagnosed with cancer. It was a tough diagnosis with the doctors giving him 6 months to live. I was there at his house when he arrived from Oklahoma City after getting the discouraging news. We prayed and he vowed to fight it…which he did. There was a mixture of reports from the docs over the next year, some good …..some not. Three of us went to Dallas in December to watch the Texas state football finals games. Art tired easy and didn’t have a lot of energy but it was a great trip, nonetheless. It was only a few months later that he was promoted to heaven.

When I look back over the years since I’ve known Art it’s very obvious how much he’s helped the Taylor family……and the Trinity family, as well. There’s hundreds of stories out there just like mine….of people that Art believed in. and gave them a ‘leg up’.

He was my Friend! There’s no question about it for me…..Art Harris is definitely a VIP! …….and you wouldn’t have to look far to find a lot of other people who think so too!

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‘Nymphin’ on the Big Horn

At least that’s what us ‘professional’ fly-fishermen call it! Actually just kidding. I’m not a pro. Matter of fact, I probably don’t even qualify for ‘amateur’ fly-fisherman status. But I have been nymphin‘ on the Big Horn…..River, that is…..in south-central Montana, ’bout an hour and a half south of Billings. I was invited by my good friend, Ty Bean, from Hobbs New Mexico along with nine or ten other church leaders from Idaho, Washington, Texas, New Mexico….and me from Oklahoma. Some of these guys I know and a few of them I met when I got there. It’s an exceptional bunch of guys; strong leaders but ‘real’ people, humble, authentic and focused.

The Big Horn River is said to be one of the very best trout fishing spots in the world….and after fishing it for three long days, I believe it. We went out with professional guides. These men know their stuff and volunteer their time for these trips. Brian Carpenter, a true visionary, had a dream of bringing people like us in, giving them an opportunity to unwind, relax and recharge while doing some great fly-fishing and relationship building. He started The Refuge Foundation (click link FMI) a few years back and has a full schedule of guys coming in throughout the fishing season. It’s a top notch project.

I’d never fly-fished before. I learned a lot of stuff! ….Like how to cast, mend and strip the line. Then there’s fishing with ‘dry flies’, ‘streamers’ and ‘nymphs’. It’s quite a learning curve for a flatlander like me but it was truly a great time. I’m already looking forward to fly-fishing again sometime in the future.

Fly-fishing is kinda like a religion to these guys that do it all the time. I mean, there’s definite, clear cut, code of ethics about the whole thing. I learned some of that when I caught my first fish, a brown trout……about a 15 inch ‘er. All our fishing on the 13 mile trip down the Big Horn was ‘catch and release’. After taking a picture of me and my fish I just ‘chunked’ the trout back in the river. He made a good sized splash and on we went. Nobody said a word….but later Ty, in his extremely polite and gentle way explained to me that…..in trout fishing we don’t just ‘chunk’ the fish back out in the river. Nope….there’s a right way to do it. You just hold the fish underneath his belly and slowly lower him into the water being ever so gentle with him and then you just kinda wait until he slowly swims away. Hey, you live….you learn. But I’m guessing there’s a nice little brown trout out there somewhere on the Big Horn receiving counseling, and encouragement from some of his fish ‘brothers’ regarding his four foot belly flopper into the river.

It was a great week and one I won’t soon forget. The friendships are strengthened and I got home re-charged. My guides, Dan, John and Larry were THE very best! Great guys, expert fish finders and best of all…..kingdom men! I’ve never had an experience quite like ‘nymphin’ on the Big Horn!

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VIP #7 – Rick Hudson

I first met Rick Hudson in the office of the Sayre, Oklahoma City Manager, Jack McKennon. Jack had invited me down to meet the newly hired Prison Warden. Jack, being a part of out Trinity Family, knew that we’d been praying for several years about the new prison here. We had also been praying that the upper-level management personnel would be born-again believers. So to me it was a big deal to meet up with the new warden.

I remember vividly that meeting that day. After we did our introductions, handshakes, etc., I told Rick, ‘I’ve been praying for you for three years.” After I left the office that day I wished that I hadn’t said that to him. I thought….that’ll probably scare him off…..but it didn’t. It wasn’t long after Rick moved here that his entire family began to come to church with us. Rick’s family consisted of his wife, Jan; two daughters, Kealan and Taylor, and a son, Cooper.

Rick made it possible for us to take a team into the prison and pray over the entire facility. It’s a great story….but it’s for another time. Rick and I quickly became the best of friends. I had a Friday afternoon small group consisting of Jack, the City Manager, a retired executive banker of one of largest banks in Oklahoma, a young man who secured oil leases, a farmer……and Rick. Rick would often stay after our meetings and we’d have some great talks. I remember one day our meeting subject was prayer; Rick stayed after the meeting that day and said, “Andy, I want you to teach me how to pray.”. I encouraged him to start coming to our regular Wednesday morning prayer time, which he did. In fact, he hardly ever missed after that day. I remember telling him that this prayer thing is more “caught”, than “taught”. And he caught it! A month or two after that conversation I asked him to pray at one of our small group meetings and he prayed as if he’d been doing it for years……and it was ‘real’, not just a bunch of words.

We spent a lot of time together and I really got to know Rick. HIs job as Warden, of the largest prison in the state up to that point, was not ‘just a job’ to Rick. He put his whole heart and soul into it, always believing he could make a difference in the lives of the, better than 1500, inmates in the North Fork Correctional Facility. Some of the first inmates to arrive were from Wisconsin. And there was one of them who was infamous for causing trouble. He’d been locked up most of his adult life and had caused problems in every facility he’d been in, including inciting riots. We’d pray for this guy every week….because Rick believed that he was salvageable and ‘worth it’! He cared about the future of this lifelong troublemaker. 

In my whole life I’ve never seen anyone in a leadership position that received as much respect, honor and loyalty as Rick did from his employees. They all knew that he was deeply concerned about them, and he would often invite me to meet with him and someone who was going through a rough time. Simply put….his employees loved him and they knew that they could trust him.

Rick left us about 14 years ago as a result of a brain tumor and it left a huge ‘gap’ for all of us here…….me especially. It’s hard for me, even today, to write through the tears. I do take solace in the assurance that I’ll see him again soon. I just don’t ‘get it’ sometimes…..how those who have such a knack of making the world a better place have to go so soon. But again, I take comfort in knowing that the Father has it all well in hand.

Rick Hudson…..I wish you could have known him like I did. You’d totally agree that he was a VIP; and not just with me…..He was a VIP with every person who ever came in contact with him!

Rick & Kids

**If you enjoyed this post…..you’ll surely like this one too: “Party at the Prison”  (click on red print)

PS-There’s a lot of my regular blog readers that knew Rick. I know that your comments and feedback would be treasured by Jan, Kealan, Taylor and Coop.

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Zombie Update – Day 12

If you didn’t read my blog day before yesterday…..this one won’t make much sense. I’ve been dealing with an eye problem for, now, twelve days. Hence the blog title…..I look like a Zombie!! It came on, totally out of the blue, first in my right eye then in a few days….both eyes. I’ve never in all my years had anything quite like it. Started on antibiotic drops early on but it just kept getting worse. Then started taking an oral antibiotic…..still kept getting worse. No way to go to the doc through the weekend….then Labor Day. So the earliest I could get to the doc was on Tuesday. Met with my regular doc Tuesday morning and then with an eye specialist later that day.

The eye specialist identified it immediately as a virus (no idea where/how I got it). She said she hadn’t seen one like this in a long time….and this was one of the worst she’d ever seen. She said the virus had ‘set up camp’ in my eyes and under my upper eyelids. It had developed a ‘membrane’, kinda like a film over my entire eyeball and under my eyelids, as well. She put some deadening drops in my eyes, cut the membrane on one side and peeled it off like you’d peel a sheet back off a bed. It was a little painful but I was ready for anything to get a little relief. I could immediately see better. I could only see with a great deal of blurriness for the few days before.

This past Sunday was the most miserable day that I can remember. There was just no way to get away from the discomfort. I could only sleep when my need for it rose above the uncomfortable factor. I really do appreciate the prayers! I know it helped. My eyes are still red and somewhat swollen but I think I’m on the mend. Still lookin’ a little Zombie-like but I’m sure a lot better than I was a day or two ago. Thanks again!

Here’s a pic from Sunday…..my worst day!

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$$$ – Being a “Thousandaire” Might Just Be Better Than Being a “Millionaire”!

It goes against logic, I know. But after 60 + years of observation….I think it’s true. Now, for starters, I haven’t yet had the experience of being a millionaire….but I’ve been a ‘thousandaire’ for years. Don’t get me wrong; I’ve dropped below the qualification limit a few times down through the years…..especially during my illustrious rodeo career. But for the most part I’ve be a steady thousandaire.

I’ve noticed the last few years as I’ve gotten older that I don’t need as much ‘stuff’ as I use to think I needed. All those things that we ‘needed’ and thought would make us happier……didn’t! I think it’s part of actually growing up and maturing and learning in part, what’s really important in life.

I’ve observed throughout my lifetime those who had lots of money. Even had friends growing up whose parents were very well off. There’s nothing at all wrong with that. In fact it’s to be commended in most cases. It’s America; we can do just about whatever we want to do. And for those who really find their niche and do well financially, it’s a very good thing. I did notice that some of the rich kids didn’t try near as hard at sports than some of the less fortunate.They had enough athletic ability, alright,…..but the ‘try factor’ was lacking. It really showed up during my rodeo career. It’s a broad statement,….and not always true, but the rich kids weren’t nearly as gritty as those who had nothing to fall back on. 

The human spirit is an amazing thing. We’re created to conquer and to succeed. Everybody loves the story of those who overcame extreme odds to succeed in life. It’s a very good thing to ‘have’ to get up and go to work and put in a good day…every day. It’s good to learn to manage our finances and resources and to live within our means. We can do a lot more than we think we can….but if it’s always been done for us….we’ll never know.If we never have to really ‘try’, we might just not ever do it.

I recently told a friend that, “This time next year I’ll have 9 grandkids”. He jokingly said, “You’ll never be able to afford Christmas”...to which I replied, “I’ve never been able to afford Christmas yet!”(We raised 5 of our own!) But, you know what?? We’ve had great Christmases for, going on now, 39 years! We have somehow survived….just being ‘thousandaires’!

Paul said it in the Bible. “I’ve been hungry and I’ve been full; I’ve been rich and I’ve been poor. I’ve learned to be content in whatever state I’m in”. He’d found the ‘secret’ to true happiness and contentment. His ‘joy’ was in the Lord!

I’m only a thousandaire but if family and friends and relationship with the Father were measured in money……I’d be millionaire many times over!! I’m really, really rich in the things that matter most to me!

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‘Ol Mile Marker #62 – Well, That Sure Didn’t Take Long!

When they were telling us all that stuff about how fast life goes by….I was listening. But I had no idea it would happen this fast! I didn’t think I was ever gonna turn 21….Now I can barely remember when I was. It is amazing, looking back, how fast the years do go zooming by. So, here I am clipping along at 62, ….with 70 in sight. And, as it appears….no slowing up!

There’s a good number of milestones along the way, as I see it. It’s kind of a big deal when we hit 13 and become teenagers. Then, of course, 16’s the next one….when we start driving; that was a big deal. Next stop, 21….we can ‘legally’ go to the bar then! After that it’s 30 then 40. You know, “Life begins at 40”.….Makes me kinda wonder what was over at 39! Yep, 40 seems like a big one. It’s kinda like saying, “Adios” to the young life and “Hello” to middle-age. Then it’s 50…and the time between 40 and 50 went by in no time at all for me. I enjoyed my 50th birthday. The Perry’s (Daryle & Carrie) totally surprised me with a party at their place with about a hundred friends and family there. It’s one of the most memorable of my whole life. I tell everyone when they’re approaching 50, ’cause there’s usually some kind of thing to commemorate it, to really enjoy it….’cause when you turn 51….nobody cares!! lol

Then it’s the Big ‘6’ ‘0’!! Survived that one without much hoopla. And the 60 thing….it wasn’t painful at all. After all, 60’s the new 40, you know?! Well, that was two years ago. So here I am at the ‘ol #62 mile marker today and wondering how I got here so fast. I’m guessing 65 will arrive at my place in record time, and without much warning as well!

If you’re a youngster reading this I’d encourage you to ‘get ahold’!! It’s all gonna happen pretty fast. The Bible even says, “Life is a vapor”. I can totally relate. So, what’s a feller to do?? Well, to each his own but for me….I’m gonna keep my body movin’, I’m gonna try to worry less and laugh more. I’m gonna love and enjoy my wife more than ever. I’m gonna keep on enjoyin’ watching my kids become great parents themselves. I’m gonna keep on doing the one thing I know I’m good at…..being a Grandpa! I’m gonna see my Mom & Dad as often as possible! I’m gonna keep on enjoyin’ my friends! I’m gonna keep on helpin’ anyone who cares, …..to know God as a Father.

And, I’ve took a look out there; I can see out there a ways….65, 70, 80 ……….It all looks good from here!

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Drug Court

It was a major blessing today when I went to the Beckham County Court House to celebrate one of our favorite little girls graduating from Drug Court. Katie Crowdis is just like family to us. We’ve know her since she was 8 or 9 years old. Her dad, Dennis, is a very good friend of mine. And like a lot of us…Katie made some choices down through the years that weren’t very beneficial to her. But over the past couple of years she’s turned it around dramatically….due in large part to support and encouragement from family, friends, mentors, peers….and the Lord. Katie has two beautiful little kids, one a 4th grader…the other a 2nd grader. She’s a great little mom and is really gaining ground in reclaiming back her life. We are extremely proud of her! Today was a big day!

It was my first time to experience the nuts and bolts of Drug Court and all I can say is that I’m extremely impressed. I think it’s a great program. I don’t know a lot about all the details but my understanding is that Drug Court is their last chance to ‘get it together’ before going to prison. They’re held to a high degree of accountability but there’s no messing around….if you don’t comply….there’s consequences.

In all there were about 40-50 participants there today. I knew maybe a dozen of them. The atmosphere was very positive and the support among the group for one another was overtly obvious. About 5 of the others who were moving a level up in the program, stepped up and read a letter they had written to the Drug Court Team. The letters were all sincere and heartfelt. One was particularly touching to me. Barbara T. talked about her previous disdain for God and how she blamed Him for her situation. But she continued in her letter how that she pressed in with Lorna Pennington, the Drug Court Coordinator, about the Lord….and how Lorna encouraged her to develop a relationship with the Father. She did that and everything changed! *(as it always does!) I can’t remember hearing a better testimony and I found myself blotting some tears.

I’ll bet the Drug Court Program is doing good in every county in Oklahoma….but I can’t imagine a better team anywhere than the one we have here in Beckham County! Props to Judge Michelle Roper, Drug Court Coordinator Lorna Pennington, Eric Easter….and probably a few more that I’m not aware of…for your supporting, encouraging and affirming,  Y’all are doing a stellar job! Thank You!

Everybody wants to make a difference with their life and work and y’all are gettin’ it done! Y’all really are The Dream Team!!

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Keep Your Eyes On The Road!

Well, it’s just good advice….especially when you’re driving. I’ve got a habit of ‘gawking’, as Julie calls it! I don’t want to miss anything on a road trip. I’ve been known to ride the rumble strips quite a bit and have nearly ran off the road a few times. I know, it’s a bad habit. I’m working on it! (Seems like I say that a lot!)

But keeping your eyes on the road is not just good advice for us while we’re driving….it’s good advice to adhere to while we’re on the ‘road of life’, too! It’s awful easy to keep looking back at the past. There’s lots of people out there who spend most of their time looking back at the past. And most of the time it’s dwelling on mistakes, wrong decisions, hurts and regrets. Don’t get me wrong, I think glancing back at some of these things can be productive….as long as we can learn from our mistakes, correct whatever needs to be corrected and move on. But living in the past is not a good thing, especially if you’re gazing at the negative things. It makes for a discouraging, depressing life.

When we’re anchored in a relationship with the Father we’re able to be encouraged in that….wherever we are in life….it can get better. I think we should at least consider that our best days are in front of us. Looking ahead has some profound benefits (Especially if you’re driving a car!!). But it has some extremely encouraging benefits in life as well. Looking ahead gives us something to ‘live for’. It gives our life meaning. It keeps us growing and evolving into our true identity. 

Experience is a great teacher. We should realize that and make the best of our ‘snafus’. We should approach our life like we do when we’re on a road trip down the interstate. Check the rear-view mirror occasionally, don’t be gawking…..and by all means…..Keep your eyes on the road!

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