Avoiding Temptation

One of the surest things in life is that we will be subjected to temptation. Is it a sin to be tempted? Nope. But it is a gateway to getting in serious trouble with God and our fellow human beings. There are so many kinds of temptation but it really falls into three types: Lust of the eyes, Lust of the Flesh and Pride of Life.

May I present some examples?

Lust of the eyes is when you look at a red Ferrari and you say I want that even though it will bankrupt your family. Lust of the Flesh is intense craving for the chocolate at the Ferrari dealership. Pride of Life is boastfully driving around in that red car with a “you should be jealous of me” attitude. Those are highly exaggerated example – but it helps drive the point.

The good thing is, there are ways to avoid temptation, and here’s a few of them:

Avoid Situations

If you know you will be tempted, avoid it. In driving for example, give way to speeding vehicles and avoid hogging the lane if your speed is 10 mph less than everyone else. Keep 5-10 car lengths away from the car in front of you. You’ll encounter less reckless drivers this way.  If someone cuts you off, do not react in an offensive manner.

Distance

One of best ways to avoid temptation is to keep our distance. For example, if you tend to overeat chocolate, avoid going to the chocolate counter on the Ferrari dealership.

A Friend Indeed

The right friends can help you choose a good path in life. Friends that give you constructive criticism are real friends. Avoid “yes men (or women)” or those who kiss up to you because they want favors. Avoid friends or colleagues with bad habits so you don’t start emulating them.

Accountability

I remember a pastor ask me someone once to go with him to a ministry in a foreign country. He said he just need someone to be around him for accountability. I thought that was a good technique in walking the straight and narrow path.

Troubled People

Avoid contact with people that seems to like trouble. Avoid obnoxious people that are legends in their own mind. Don’t think you can change bad people into good people because good people almost always turn bad instead.

Remove Alluring Things

If you have an object that may tempt you, get rid of it. Don’t worry about its cost. Having a clear conscience is better.

Be A Coward

Being a coward is good when it comes to temptation. By not acting on a bad decision, we tend to preserve the status quo and avoided hurt feelings for ourselves and others.

Procrastinate

One of the ways to avoid impulsive buying or instant gratification is to sleep on a decision. Some people even use the “30-day” rule. If they want something, they wait 30 days. If they still need it (not “want” it), then they buy it.

Prayers

This is the most powerful of all. God promised us that “you will not be tempted beyond your ability” (1 Corinthians 10:13). One of our favorite prayers states “and lead us not into temptation”. Temptation will be around – but we can flee from it.

I hope and pray that this post will be of help to all of you.

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Elimination Round

I am sure you’ve heard of Bruce Lee. A famous quote from him: “It’s not the daily increase but daily decrease. Hack away at the unessential.” I couldn’t agree more especially with the constant bombardment by advertisers and big time media outlets about how we should upgrade to the next model because our previous widget is over three months old.

The process of elimination does not apply to material things only but that’s a good place to start. I have an example below of a cyclist with too many bicycles (I’m one of them – but still haven’t gotten the time to advertise my bike for sale).

So I put on my thinking cap and came up with a few. I’m sure some of you can come up with more, but hey – whatever you come up with should apply to your own life. I already have my own personal list of things I need to eliminate or decrease.

What can we eliminate?

Bad habits. I could name a few but why bother. I know some of us think we don’t have any but if you ask an honest loved one or friend, they’ll tell you the truth. Once you find out the truth about who you are from other’s perspective – set yourself free and change for the better.

Excess materials. I spend a little time reading comments in bicycle forums. Some people pride themselves in having 10 bicycles in their “stable”. They don’t ask me for money to buy their bicycles but I feel that 10 is too much. If only one person is riding it, why have 10? Does he drag the other 9 while riding to make the workout harder? How about me? I’ll sell at least one bike next month.

Overanalyzing. When we think about tasks or passions, sometimes we spend too much time overthinking that we become paralyzed into inaction. If there is a project, and plans and budget have been worked out in paper, the best thing to do is start. Worst thing is having too many plans, but zero execution.

Entertainment.  The fall of the Roman Empire was due to excessive entertainment. The Babylonian Empire got conquered when they were in a drunken party while the Persians drained the Euphrates River (which passes through Babylon) so their soldiers can walk underneath the fortress walls. Things you can take off: Watching Sports, Playing expensive sports, any high end this and high end that.

What do we get out of our elimination round?  In a word, time. Now we have time to do the things that really matter, like: following our passion, getting some side passive income, studying things we love, spending times with loved ones, reading, sleeping, exercising.  We will have a higher quality life and in the process, save or earn more money, maybe. We’ll have a clearer mind and a better perspective in life. We may end up helping people more. What’s not to like?

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Pig Out

This is going to be a short one I hope – because we’re talking about a very popular food choice. I don’t think we need introduction to pork meat. I liked to eat pork years ago but after learning about it from nutritionists (and Leviticus), I finally quit eating it. At one point, it was even advertised as “the other white meat” and so I thought it was as healthy as chicken breast without the skin.

Years ago, I was in a three week detox diet. The two doctors that helped me in my diet conversion are both vegan. One of the doctors told me to avoid meat at all cost. If I had to eat meat, eat lamb. What about pork? absolutely not!

Why not pork?

I did some research and I was going to give you details but it will get too boring or sound like a scientific essay. I also did not want to gross you out. I promise you that if you do your own research about pork, you will get disgusted with it.

Here’s some quick explanations (I tried to make it to sound cleaner than the articles I’ve read):

Pigs harbor a bunch of parasites. Some of which are hard to kill even with high heat, spices or vinegar. Those parasites happen to live in humans too and it can go from pigs to human or human to pigs.

Hogs are drugged heavily. It’s used for growth and antibiotics. Some chemicals are given to give a nice color to the meat. There’s even a pig farm here in the U.S. that uses chemical supplements to the pig’s diet. That toxic chemical is banned in 160 other countries but not here.

Bacon and sausages does not look like their pork anymore, right? But they’re even worse because they have nitrates and nitrites added to preserve and add a pleasing color. Those additives increase greatly the risk for cancer.

Some pig farms are very crowded. They live in among other pigs and their body waste are not properly disposed. Some are even restricted to a very small space that they can hardly move and their job is to breed over and over. When they get slaughtered some of them die a slow death.

Pigs digest their food in about four hours. Cows in 24 hours. Pigs don’t sweat also. This means the toxins that they ingest stay in their body. Those toxins (along with parasites, bacteria and viruses) are passed on to the pork eater.

I hope I didn’t gross out any of you, dear readers. You don’t have to believe me. In fact, I hope that you do your own research because then you’ll get better informed. But one of my favorite health tips is: avoid eating pork totally. You’ll be healthier!

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Two-Week Crash Diet

Last Friday, I steeled myself to get ready for another brutal 30 minutes of intense workout with my personal trainer. To my surprise, he instead measured my weight and body fat and body fat and lean percentages. I gained muscles in the biceps and in the hip area but I also gained 5 lbs of body fat.

Then the abrupt punishment: I need to lose 10 lbs in two weeks, and also 2% of body fat. I gave you only the vaguest measurements so I don’t bore you with the specifics of my body measurements. That would be too embarrassing.  

For weeks now, I have noticed a bulge in my midsection. It’s probably from all the carbohydrate I’ve been eating lately. I made a mental note to do something about it but didn’t really set a deadline. When my trainer told me to lose weight, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise because excess body fat is never good unless I am in an Arctic expedition.

I was given a list of things to eat: oatmeal, veggies, fruits, almonds, fish, chicken.

I thought I should modify it to make things easier for me. Yesterday I cut off much of my carbo intake. I only ate the tops of two Hawaiian bread and two soft-boiled egg. I ate one orange for my fruit intake, a few cashew and peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  I figured if I ate a diet of 60% protein, 10% fat and 30% carbo, I would lose weight. The carbo should come mostly from fruits and veggies.

I felt so lethargic after that. It feels that my body is eating all of its calorie reserve and needed more. Then I saw a documentary by livingononedollar.com where four young guys went to Guatemala and tried poverty by subsisting on $1 each per day for food and firewood. I got hungrier.

Today I weighed myself. Surprise, surprise! I lost 3 pounds. I have 7 to go and it’s only the first 24 hours. But knowing from experience, the next days would be a seesaw of weight gain and loss. Unless I really discipline myself on my food intake.

The good thing here is I spent years working with a nutritionist so I know already which food I can turn off and which ones are necessary for weight loss. Knowledge is power really. But having knowledge and not applying it is just a waste. So the next two weeks will be a good test of my self control.

I’ll keep you updated. In the meantime, try not to offer me blueberry muffins, strawberry shortcake, lemon meringue pie or even two scoops of Mocha Almond Fudge ice cream.

This is making me hungry.

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Five, Five And Five

I’m writing this post on the Fifth day of the Fifth Month (Cinco de Mayo), and I just remembered that this blog is now Five Years old as of five days ago. Wow, I can’t believe how time flies but I tell you – when you’re busy months seem like days and before you know it, it’s almost Summer!

I have much to report but I’ll make it brief and count only the important ones. As you already know, I had a new granddaughter born 8+ months ago. She is a joy to our family. Our grandson was and still is one of the best grandson (or son) anyone could wish to have. Now I have a granddaughter too, named Addie. As stated in Proverbs 17: “Children’s children are the crown of old men” and I couldn’t describe it any better.

On Relationships:

Addie’s impact to my life (and my wife) has been indescribable. Since her birth I haven’t rode any of my bicycles, let alone sell one of them. My wife and I had been so busy assisting my daughter who gave birth early. They live quite a distance so it’s a relatively long drive. It’s way worth it because if you met her, she’s beyond adorable. She’s so amazing to me even though she can’t even talk yet.

On Health & Fitness:

I read somewhere that in the future we will take a workout pill instead of exercising. Isn’t that making all of us lazier than ever? I think the best exercise is done outdoors, but going to a gym is not a bad substitute. But a pill? I know we love shortcuts but some shortcuts lead to a more winding road. Did I mention I joined a gym about seven months ago?

On Readership

I seldom check the readership on the blog anymore but I think on the average there are 100 visitors every month. I had several hundreds before only to realize that most of them were bots sent from rogue countries sent to maybe infect the site with virus. Lesson learned: Always protect your online accounts, change your passwords regularly, add a few layers of anti-spam, anti-virus, anti- whatever.

On Future Plans

What’s next for this Blog? I have two grandkids now so I intend to transfer the contents of this blog to an e-book within two years. Sell it on Amazon or any other e-book seller websites. I just want to make sure that the contents are available to my grandkids (and yours) in the future.

If you have young children or grandchildren and you like what I wrote, You will still have access to these but there will be a small price depending on how much it cost to do e-book conversion. But first I have to write a total of 300 posts and I’m at 219 right now.

I really appreciate you reading this blog.

 

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Trending Now

What’s popular these days?

One day I read an article that coffee is bad for us. Then a week or so later, a few articles come out that states drinking coffee moderately is actually good for our health.

A doctor once told a distant relative:  Avoid eating any rice at all. Yet I found out that there is such a thing as a “rice diet”, where you basically eat any kind of food as long as its made from rice.

In the 70s, bell bottomed pants were the rage, only to disappear in the 80s. Sometime after that, it reappeared again sometime before 2017. Baggy pants for men, remember those days? Then changed to regular fit pants to skinny pants. Baggy pants will come back soon, just wait.

From approximately 1998 thru 2006, Real estate was considered the best U.S. investment. It seemed like residential units will never go down in value. But like any cycle, it went sour and a multitude of people got crushed by the economic downturn. Real estate picked up again around 2012 and I think it’s close to another peak right now.

Want one more?

Hydration is very important to exercise and health, right? I’ve seen a few people even go to the extent of carrying a gallon of water everywhere they go. Is it healthful to drink a gallon a day? Maybe. But then back in the 80s, bicyclists trained on their racing bikes for 80 miles without drinking a drop of water. I think that’s tougher than drinking a gallon a day, right?

wash, rinse, repeat.

Trends come and go and sometimes we are attracted to the latest and greatest. It’s fine if it’s minor like the color of your next car (the most popular car colors are silver, black and white). The only thing that will affect you in the future is the resale value of the car down the road and maybe getting tired of the color eventually (the other colors will have less value after a few years).

Sometimes we are faced with too many choices. It seems that with improving technology we are offered a plethora of choices for almost everything. It’s essential that we get rid of the riffraff (distractions) to get to the right choice.

My solution to this constant dilemma of making the right choices is research and just plain thinking. When I have a task that’s challenging, I sometimes spend hours just thinking how I could find the best solution. I even use a pad of paper, different color pens, my favorite pencil and a calculator sometimes to arrive at a good decision. This system works for me.

But all that systematic problem solving pales in comparison to what I usually do these last few decades: I pray for guidance. I really can’t tell how the guidance will arrive but it does. I’ve received some guidance that I ignored, and I paid a big price one time. I think the solution is to pray also that I do not miss the guidance when it shown to me.

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The Home Gym

I admit that in the past, I would rather not join a gym if I had to pay a monthly membership. We had free gyms in the navy – even on ships so I didn’t see the point of paying for something I could use for free. Fast forward to a few years after retirement. Now I live over an hour (with light traffic) from the nearest military gym.

Solution: my wife and I joined a gym for 9.95 a month but it’s only 2 miles away.

Do I really need to join a gym? Yes, and that’s only because I would get better organized with my schedule if I had to go to a certain place to do something. Kinda like we go to a workplace because the environment provides us with the ready resources and the skilled coworkers that make us productive than working from home.

We can do our own Home Gym. First we buy the most expensive weight set and gym equipment. A recycled rubber floor mat to absorb the shock and put on loud music on speakers. The we can wear the latest perspiration wicking clothing and a big floor or ceiling fan. Presto – a home gym. That was a joke, by the way!

By home gym, I mean the minimalist way. We can use our body weight for the exercise – like sit ups, planks, push ups and the famous burpees. With dumbbells or kettlebells, we can do arm, bicep, tricep, back and shoulder as well and squat exercises. With barbells, we can do more weight training. With a sturdy bar, we can do pull ups or chin ups. I mean, we can do so many things limited only by our imagination.

Just within our (and your) neigborhood, we can jog, sprint short distances or do distance running without ever seeing a treadmill. Don’t forget the fun of riding bicycles.

Our objective is to avoid sitting down watching TV while eating three times the recommended calorie intake. We know that as we look back decades from now, we will never regret that we didn’t watch enough TV.

The regular gym has so many advantages though. First the equipment – some of them are more expensive than 10 years worth of gym membership. Second, the variety of equipment – I mean there’s just a lot of equipment to use to vary the workout. Third, there are trainers available – if we are so inclined – to teach and monitor if we’re doing the right exercises.

For minimalist, a home gym can still provide the basic exercises needed to stay fit. But if we want advanced fitness (tailored to our needs), nothing beats a regular gym.

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