The Ketogenic Diet and My Problems With Aging.

meI’m Fat! There I said it. Sadly, not for the first time. But I want you to really understand what I’m saying. I’m not overweight. I’m not portly. I’m not big boned. I’m Michelin Man, fat. Obese. No, Morbidly Obese. It’s the kind of fat, that makes it easy for me to be self deprecating, and use it as a part of public speaking as a great source of humor.

Here’s the deal. It works. I’m funny. I can make a crowd chuckle, giggle, and roar with laughter. I love that. It feeds me. I truly enjoy making people happy. You can get people to swallow a great deal of truth while their mouths are open laughing. And I love sharing truth with people.

While it works, it’s easy. It may even be the shallowest form of humor. Very little thinking or creativity needs to be put in to one’s humor when you’re using self deprecating abuse as your method and target.

Because I love to make people laugh, and hear their laughter, I’ve been able to avoid the actual fact that I’m unhealthy. I just bury it in the back of my mind and go on. I can make jokes about buying larger clothing, breaking chairs, or causing fear in the eyes of the person who has to sit next to me on an airplane. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been able to joke about getting a bus seat all to myself. People will laugh. I will cry a little in private. Then swallow it with a cheeseburger, and go on.

Two years ago, things got serious. I was having trouble breathing when I walked any distance. My chest hurt. I didn’t know what was wrong, until I had a heart attack. I’d had a small stroke in January of 2017, but didn’t tell anyone. I was raising money to become a missionary, and didn’t want anything to stop me. For a while, my wife had to do everything because I couldn’t think straight, or write. I am so grateful for her.

Then in late August, or early September, I had a heart attack. I was taken by ambulance to the hospital. It was kind of embarrassing. I had two strokes, small ones, but real, in the hospital. I remember them both quite profoundly.

After about a week, I went home. Things were somewhat better. I was now on all kinds of medications and I had to carry a spray in my pocket in case of heart issues. But I carried on.

In November, my wife and I took a trip down to Edinburgh for our anniversary. For those who don’t know, “The Royal Mile” is one of Edinburgh’s more famous shopping and tourist areas. Walking back up the Mile, my heart began to hurt like it hadn’t since my attack. I used my spray several times, but I was scared. Eventually, we made it back to our bus stop and went to our hotel. The short version is, I ruined the anniversary. My wife was so scared. And to be honest, angry. When we got home however, I used it to make people laugh.

In June of 2018, I was finally taken in to hospital for triple bypass surgery. It was a terrifying time. I was stone cold scared of the thought that someone was going to stop my heart, take veins form my leg as replacement for the blocked ones, then try and get my heart going again.

When I awoke, I felt better. Two days later something went wrong and I had a bad reaction. I genuinely thought I was going to die. I remember hallucinating during the event. Later, as I began to heal, I noticed a blind spot in my vision. My left eye was distinctly missing part of it’s sight. Eventually, after several visits to doctors, and having many tests, I was told that I’d had a stroke during surgery. Many people die from that. I only lost part of the vision in one eye.

When I got better, it all became the source of much laughter. That’s the way I do things. I’m not proud of it, I’m just telling you how I operate.

Finally, came the pain from sciatica in my back. I’d had it for years, but the pain became excruciating in 2018. I can’t even describe it. I’ve had many scans and doctor visits and tried multiple medications. It is awful, and sometimes debilitating.

I’m 62 years old. I’m not a kid anymore. Something has to give. I have to take action, or give up, fall apart, and, die.

I tried counting calories. But honestly, the discipline required in that, was too much for me. I lost a few pounds, but it was so much work I just lost interest. I gained the weight back.

Recently, two things happened that clicked my brain. The first was my pain was so bad that I would have to lay down for at least a couple hours a day for relief. My wife would take walks and go to the gym with her friends leaving me alone. I felt lonely, and I got jealous. Seriously. I’m not proud of it, I’m just saying.

The second thing is, all my clothes became uncomfortably tight. My entire wardrobe is too small. Every day, I wrestle with what I’m going to wear. Fortunately, I have a few large sweaters. I can put them over a too tight shirt, or just wear the sweater. For trousers, I have two pair of jeans, 1 dress pair of suit trousers, and one ratty old pair of casual trousers that are fraying at the cuffs.

I couldn’t bear it. I was literally dying, plus hurting, plus looking like a homeless man each time I left the house. I wept. I tried watching YouTube videos for fitness ideas, but those are all young studs and beautiful women, and frankly, I couldn’t relate to any of them.

It was at that point, I discovered, or I should say, I started paying attention to, the Ketogenic Diet. My wife had been talking about it for a while, and had even played with it off and one. I might add, she played successfully.

I headed straight for Google. I read everything I could about the eating plan, both pro and con. I watched dozens, maybe over a hundred videos on YouTube. I got the basic understanding of eating high fat, moderate protein, low carbohydrates. I loved and hated the idea of cutting out refined sugar and flour from my diet.

I hated it because I love bread like I love my heartbeat. And I loved it for the same reason. I knew, and have known for at least 5 years, that I am addicted to bread. I don’t understand all of the reasons, but I know it’s true. Bread, donuts, pizza crust, pie crust, rolls, hamburger buns, cupcakes, you name them, I’m an addict. Give me a toaster, a loaf of bread, some butter, and honey or jam, and I’ll clean it all up and ask for more.

I’m not here to discuss the reasons for it, but I know it’s true. Simple carbs, especially highly processed ones are a huge source of weakness for me, candy bars, potato chips, fries, onion rings, you name it. They are all a part of the problem. My mouth is watering, just thinking about all these yummy goodies.

Anyway, 10 days ago, we made the jump. I haven’t had any bread, sugar, potatoes, rice, pasta, or highly processed carbs. The first week I lost 5 pounds. That was all water weight, I’m sure. But it’s still encouraging.

At the moment, I do not believe potatoes will be gone forever. They are really tasty and healthy, but for now they are totally out. I believe the junk is gone forever. I’m not convinced that after 10 days, I’ve broken my addictions, but I’m doing pretty well.

I’m not yet able to exercise. My pain is still inhibiting me. Soon I will go to the gym. I have no expectations, but I’ve got to do it. Whatever that means. Treadmill, weights, stationary bike, I’m not sure. The thought of my leg and back hurting turns me into a whimpering 3 year old. I want to cry, fuss, and beg mommy to take me home.

The only appealing thing about the gym is the sauna. When I’m warm, my leg doesn’t hurt. I’m relaxed and in a good mood. Maybe I could start in the sauna, get loosened up, do my workout, then go back to the sauna to finish up. I don’t know. I’ll let you know what happens.

It’s tough sledding for a man my age, to admit he’s past his peak, but determined to do something about it. It would be easier just to let myself go, and enjoy myself. But enjoyment has brought me little joy. I’ve got to stretch myself and see what happens. Here I stand.

I made my goals for 2019 back in November. I’ve still got time to meet them. Stay tuned. I’ll keep you posted on this whole Keto experiment. TTFN (ta ta for now).

Off The Wagon!

wagon

I’ve really been spotty about updating this page. I kind of hate that. But I’ve got so many irons in the fire, that some things just have to give. Sadly, this page, which is lots of fun for me, drew the short straw.

What I love about this page is, this is the page I use to process. I take ideas and throw them around and get them out for the world to see what’s going on in my mind and in my world. It’s fun. It’s just that sometimes I simply don’t have time for things like this.

Anyway, today I want to update you on my diet. Or lack of one. Brittan was out of the country for 3.5 weeks and I was cooking for myself. I was going to say I fell off the wagon, but that would not be correct. I drove the wagon off the bridge and drowned it in the river beneath. Bye Bye wagon. I made some great foods, but I ate a lot of junk. Especially bread. Oh, and white chocolate.

When you’re cooking for one, it’s just easy to make, say a meatloaf and rather than make potatoes and green beans, to slap a slice of it on two slices of bread or a hamburger bun, and be done with it. That’s what I did. Everything became a sandwich of some kind. Even my curry. It was just so easy.

What’s worse is, every night I’d sit down with a cup of tea and eat half a bar of white chocolate. Every single night.

So you can imagine, I didn’t lose any weight while she was gone. In fact I gained everything I had lost in January. That means, I’ve had to start over.

This is the scourge that torments fat people. We do well, then something comes up and we fall into old habits. It’s not something I’m proud of, but I’ll confess it, build a new wagon, and get back to eating right.

I haven’t had any bread in 4 days. I’m Jonesin’ something awful. I want cheap white bread. That’s the only kind I like. I don’t like whole meal or ordinary brown. I like the cheap stuff. Actually, I like rye bread too, but that’s outrageously expensive here.

I very seriously considered switching to the Keto diet. I watched hours of YouTube videos and read everything I could get hold of. But I have a problem with almost any diet plan. It’s the whole foods you must give up. I’m not talking about junk, like white bread, or granulated white sugar. Or nasty frozen things full of MSG and stuff. I’m talking about potatoes, rutabaga, parsnips, winter squash, grapes, bananas, honey, and other good things like that.

I believe God made those things for our enjoyment. I believe the right way to eat is to eat whole foods, and when possible, to eat with the seasons. God made potatoes. They are good for you. They are full of vitamins and minerals. When potatoes where brought to this country, it literally saved the Scottish clans and the people of Ireland. I cannot accept that they are bad.

Honey is a natural sweetener and tastes great. Natural honey made a major difference in my allergy issues more than twenty years ago. Natural, local honey is a different beast from most of the sugary stuff with the same name that you find in supermarkets.

I think you get my point. For the next thirty days, B and I are going to eat only real food. Nothing that comes from a box. No lunch meats. No bread. No processed sugar. I’ll keep you posted once or twice. I really believe I will notice the difference in my health before I see it on the scales. I think the first thing will be the disappearance of sluggishness and bloating.

Let me be clear, I’m not bashing anyone’s diet. Especially if they’ve been successful. I haven’t been. This is brand new. I think Keto, Paleo, W.W., Atkins, and a hundred other plans are great. Find one that you like and try it. If it works for you. Great. I’m just sharing my thoughts and what I’m going to try for the next 30 days. I hope you’ll stick around and see what happens.

2019 – Here We Grow Again

aztekI’m really excited. It’s garden planning time. For the first time since early 2016, I actually feel like planting a garden. It’s only now that I understand how bad my heart was the last few years. I had bypass surgery in June. Now, my brain is more awake than it’s been in years.

My only problem is, I have so little space to grow anything. We live in a small upstairs apartment in the North Eastern part of Scotland. I have no yard at all. That’s a big change from our acreage in Georgia. Fortunately, I’ve found a couple small spots the used to be  for trash cans, where I can put up a couple rather small greenhouses. And I’ve had to be choosy on varieties and even how much I can grow.

I’ve decided I can grow several bags of Potatoes. I can plant them at the Church building. I tried growing them last year, but did something wrong. Mostly, I think I was just so ill after my surgery that I didn’t take care of them properly. This year will be different.

I have ordered 4 dwarf tomato varieties. Two reds, one yellow, and one orange. There won’t be enough to can, but maybe next year. I think I might plant one Green Zebra.

yellow morugaFor peppers, I’ve really had to put my thinking cap on. I know that if I grow them in small containers and top them, I should be able to grow them shorter and bushier. I will plant two Jalapeno, 1 Yellow Moruga Scorpion, 1 Ghost Pepper, and 1 Carolina Reaper. I haven’t decided on sweet peppers yet. I also have Cayenne seeds. I might grow 1 of those too, because they have so many uses.

I intend to grow Partenon Zucchini. and Socrates Cucumber. These are both Parthenocarpic and should grow well in a greenhouse. I will plant them in succession to save on space and maximize the amount I can grow. socrates

I also have  Yellow Crooked Neck and Spaghetti squash. they will not grow in the greenhouse so I’ll have to take special care of them and watch over them.

That will be all the things I’ll be able to grow. It’s not much, but it’s a start. I have plenty of bags so I could grow carrots, but they are so cheap here that it’s foolish to waste the space. Brittan wants me to grow some strawberries, so I’ll try. I have some doubts but it’s worth the risk.

I guess that’s it. Just had to share the news. Pepper seeds will be planted next week. Tomatoes will be about a week behind the peppers. I have my seed trays and my heat mats. All systems are grow!

Best Dogs For Preppers

I’ve wanted to write this article for years. Dogs are one of the few subjects I’m truly literate on, and I’ve given the subject a great deal of thought. I’ve avoided it because I know it’s somewhat subjective. But perhaps it will get you thinking, so here goes.

Dogs can be appropriate to us for many reasons; they are useful as companions, hunters, load bearers, transportation, care for other livestock, and even protection. But our tastes and needs differ, so our personal choices will differ. I get that. I understand.

Do we live in town or in the country? What will things look like if our world melts down? What will our needs be?

siberian huskyMy first love in the dog world has always been the Siberian Husky. They are loving companions, and using my dogs to pull sleds was my hobby for many years when I lived in a climate that allowed me to do so. I operated a husky kennel for over 30 years.

If I lived in the north, I would still consider them quite valuable to have for transportation purposes in case of a bug out situation. They are strong, athletic, and can travel for miles pulling a sled or cart loaded with camping gear and people.

When I lived in Iowa and Maine, people had their snowmobiles. They loved them for recreation, and they provided an excellent method of transportation in harsh conditions. The downside is, they require fuel and frequent repairs. I had a snowmobile. I hardly ever used it, because it was always broken down. My dogs, on the other hand, were always ready to go.

When I lived in Georgia, however, it was too hot for most of the year. Huskies were not practical. I gave up riding sleds in 2007. I still miss it. I will never have a hobby I like as much.

But huskies would not be practical for the many tasks expected of a Prepper dog. For that, my first Choice is an English or French Mastiff. First, their size alone makes them ideal protection dogs. And their temperaments are ideal for families. Protection comes naturally to them. They aren’t aggressive and don’t require a great deal of protection training. Secondly, they are naturally watchful over those they care about, and their property. Ours would lie down between my wife and visitors in our home. They would put themselves between strangers and their mistress.

French Mastiff

I also knew our property was safe. If strangers pulled in the drive, the dogs would go straight to the gate. They knew the entrance to the property and that’s where they stood their ground.

Mastiffs also don’t require a great deal of exercise or grooming. They can exist happily on acreage , in a subdivision, or even in an apartment.

English, and French (Dogue De Bordeaux) Mastiffs are also excellent choices for backpacking and carting, because of their size and strength.

If you have livestock that needs guarding, Anatolian Shepherds and Great Pyrenees are anatolianexcellent choices. They are not town dogs though. They bark pretty much at everything, especially at night. Out in the Country, though, they could be excellent choices. For me, the Pyrenees, have too much coat. I have never owned an Anatolian, but would love to. They would probably require more exercise than a mastiff, but could easily adapt to backpacking.

smooth collie
Smooth Collie

Also, any of the breeds like German Shepherds, Belgian Malinois, Dutch Shepherds, and Smooth Collies would be excellent choices. Any of them can be trained for protection, backpacking, or even to pull a cart. I have a soft spot for Belgian Sheep Dogs, and Smooth Collies, as I’ve owned and loved both breeds. Honestly, for me, either Belgian Sheepdogs, Tervurens, or Rough Collies, simply have more coat than I want to deal with. And all of these breeds will require a lot more exercise than an English Mastiff or Dogue De Bordeaux.

If you live in the country, there are a variety of hounds and gun dogs I’d recommend. They can be great for helping you get game and sounding the alarm in case of intruders. Bloodhounds, most coonhounds, foxhounds, bird dogs, beagles and even basset hounds can be extremely valuable for training to hunt.beagle

Most of them require a huge amount of exercise and they will bark excessively if under exercised, so I don’t really recommend them if you live in town.

Same thing with most bird dogs. They have stamina aplenty and can run all day. Just ask anyone who has ever tried to keep an English Springer or Brittany Spaniel. The exercise requirements may just be too much for you.

airdaleLet me mention the benefits of terriers for a moment. As hunting or pest control varmint dogs, most terriers are unbeatable. They were bred for that job. Some for hunting small game, some for rat control, and some of the larger varieties, like Airdales, are phenomenal dogs to be trained for protection. For me most require too much coat maintenance, and I like big dogs.

I know I’ve left out your favorite breed. This article isn’t really about favorite breeds. It’s about some of the dogs I think are best for a Prepper lifestyle. I am fully aware of the many Mastiff varieties. I could own most of them. Especially Great Danes. I know I didn’t mention any sight hounds and some of them I adore. I’m not much of a toy dog or utility dog fan. But this post wasn’t about my favorite breeds. It’s about what breeds are the best choices for me as a Prepper.

So let me hear your thoughts. What breeds that I didn’t mention would you rank highly for prepping for a melt down? Give me the breed and some of your reasoning. I would love to hear your ideas.

Confessions and Evolution of an ‘End Times Prepper’

In late 2008 I became a Prepper. A Prepper is someone who wants to be ready when disaster comes. It was fun, hard work, and extremely exciting. But I must confess, I did it for some bad reasons. I did it for some good reasons. I’m going to lay it out here. Judge me, if you must, but please recognize that sometimes people do the right things for the wrong reasons.

We moved from Maine to Georgia in January of 08. Later that summer, the economic world started melting. First, the housing market blew up. Our house lost 25% of its value the first 6 months we owned it. That was tough to swallow. Especially since we had bought a big house with a half an acre yard.

The next thing was the stock market. It crashed and burned. My 401k turned to dust. At the same time, I was a senior manager in a publicly traded company and began to see the ugly side of those companies. My attitude went from trust, to disillusionment, to outright disgust and hatred. Someday I’ll tell you all about it. But by the beginning of 2009, I wanted nothing at all to do with the stock market.

Thirdly, Barack Obama was elected president. I believed that was going to produce a disaster for America. Before you go there, race played 0 part in why I thought he was a mistake. Anyone who knows me, will vouch for that. I believed his extreme left wing policies would take us down a hole from which we might never recover. Frankly, I believed his was a nice person. I loved the way his family was presented. He was someone I would like to go to dinner with and talk about things. I think it would have been great to go to a basketball game with him. He loves basketball and I’m from Kentucky. Instant room for rapport. But as a conservative, I found his fiscal and foreign relations policies a nightmare.

Finally, my wife and I had begun to be concerned about GMOs, the issues of highly processed foods, big Agra, the severe cruelty in the meat industry, and other health related matters. We began thinking about growing some of our own food.

Then, I heard about the Prepper movement. People, some like us, and others for different reasons, were starting to take matters into their own hands to make sure they could survive anything, from an economic meltdown to a zombie apocalypse. I was attracted and jumped into the pool head first.

First, I bought guns and ammo. I bought lots of both. I bought a huge gun safe for my basement. I filled it with hand guns, shotguns, rifles, a crossbow, two sling shots, and thousands of rounds of ammo. Each pay day I purchased ammo.

I bought it all for hunting, for self defense, and as an investment. As I already said, I was no longer even remotely interested in the stock market. The morality in that industry was directly opposite of my core values. For those who care about such things, I never purchased an AR, although I wanted to. Prices went through the roof and I didn’t want one that badly. Besides, hand guns, shotguns and hunting rifles were still extremely affordable.

In the spring of 2009, I planted my first garden. My wife was, I think in Florida, and I planted. The first year was tomatoes, peppers, kale, cabbage, and green beans. Later that year, we bought a freezer and my wife also learned to can. We were on our way.

We had a few problems. Primarily because we lived in a Home Owners Association. The rules didn’t allow for livestock. Heck we weren’t even allowed rabbit hutches. We figured out a way to keep rabbits without making a scene. We bought 6 of them and cages. We set them up in the basement of our house. I wheeled them out in the mornings about 6 a.m to empty the cages and clean them. Rabbits are great, but you have to keep them clean or the stink will run you out. All the waste went into a compost pile in the garden. The rabbits had a duel purpose. One, there is no fertilizer like rabbit dung. It’s the best. Secondly, rabbits are a phenomenal protein source. They reproduce quickly and the meat is really good for you. Some people can’t get past the cute factor and that’s unfortunate.

We also put bees in the Garden. That was against the HOA rules too. But bees are essential to pollination and honey is so good for you. They are also easy to hide.

I began to learn about aquaponics and hydroponics. Our basement and garage became home to several tanks of Tilapia, catfish and bluegill. I was having the time of my life. And breaking every rule of the HOA. I was such a rebel.

In the spring of 2010, a friend from Church offered to rent us some land for grazing livestock. I was ecstatic. The price was cheap and the place already had a barn, electricity and water. We installed some fences and brought in chickens, turkeys, sheep, goats (dairy and meat), Dexter Cattle, pigs, donkeys as guardians, and our biggest mistake two beautiful, huge, draft mules.

When the goats had babies, we took the babies home and kept them in the basement for about 8 weeks to care for them. Yep, at one point we had 8 baby goats living in our basement. See the land was about 5 miles from where we lived, and we had to bottle feed them, because we were milking the mothers. So to make that easier, we build a stall in the basement.

In 2011, we raised 150 chicks in our garage and the HOA never suspected a thing. Obviously, we took them to the farm once they got big enough. What a rush, keeping goats, rabbits, bees and chickens right under the noses of our Home Owners Association. We bribed our neighbors with fresh veggies, eggs and meat.

I was blogging about it, and writing articles for online magazines. We had people contacting us about eggs, chickens and ‘how to’ advice. We had a group of teachers come out and visit the place to see what we were doing. It was all great fun. We even had a national television program ask to come out and film at our place. We were having discussions about it, but 5 days before the cameras were scheduled to show up, we backed out. First, we didn’t want our secret to become public and secondly, the program was pushing me on some things that we weren’t ready to do. And I didn’t like their pushing. Especially since it was going to cost me some considerable coin to do it. So I missed my chance at television fame.

By 2012, we had gone from Preppers, to suburban homesteaders, to small farmers when we found a repossessed farm in a nearby county. We purchased it, moved there, and sold our big home in the suburbs. We didn’t make any money. In fact, we had to take $5,000 to the closing table. Our house was still slightly underwater.

But out in the country, we weren’t breaking any rules and life was great. We loved our simple, sustainable life. We had blankets, bandages, tents, extra fishing lines, knives, matches, candles, light bulbs, batteries, lanterns, heck we even had toilet paper. We had bug out bags for each of the cars. And we had very large dogs. Dogs who were big enough to defend the homestead, or to backpack with if we had to walk away. We provided most of our own food. We had stored up 2 years worth of supplies, seeds, and cash. Life was good.

Then in 2014, what we were prepping for came to pass. I lost my job. Its a long story. It wasn’t personal. I hadn’t done anything wrong. The company was making all kinds of changes and I was let go. For that matter, so was our boss, and his boss. It was devastating. Except my wife and I were prepared. We had food, seeds, livestock, supplies, and cash, and we kept right on going. During that time, my wife had begun making goat’s milk soap because of the excess milk our girls produced. That business became our primary source of income. We also sold eggs, pork, vegetables, rabbits, goats, and starter plants.

In 2017, we decided to move to Scotland. I had lived here in the 1980s and we had a chance to come back, so we sold off everything and moved in July. We live in a 2nd floor apartment with no yard at all. I miss my animals, my land, and sometimes my life. But, I still have seeds in the freezer, candles in the drawer, and have all the knowledge we gained stored on flash drives and my memory.

I’m still a Prepper. I have learned all about how to live off the land. I can do plumbing, electricity, and other basic maintenance. My wife can make soap, fix a car, milk animals, and a hundred other things. We learned those skills. We are still prepared. If society goes crazy, we can take care of ourselves. And we can help others do the same. I am not afraid.

Prepping is not much of a thing these days. It has run its course as a fad. A lot of Preppers have become homesteaders. Some have become strong voices in animal management, gardening, and care of the environment. A few have gone off grid. And a small minority have become end of the world hermits.

The U.S. Election in 2016 oddly killed off the Prepper movement from public view. Frankly, that’s odd to me, because the choice between Trump and Clinton scared me senseless. I didn’t vote for either one. I wrote in my choice. He wasn’t elected. Prepping, though, is not about presidents or congress or the supreme court. It’s about taking responsibility for yourself. Its about budgeting and being wise with your money. Its about being able to adjust to the circumstances of society and thrive.

What would happen to you if you lost your job tomorrow? What if you lost your house? What if the economy collapsed? What if something went wrong with the grid and you didn’t have access to the supermarket and were forced to rely on yourself. Could you do it? Are you sure? That’s what prepping means to me. Developing the skills and resources to be able to do more than survive a crisis. I sleep well.

Image result for working out images public domain

I joined the gym today. Let me explain. As you know, I started a new eating plan about 4 weeks ago. And I got off to a great start. I lost about 10 pounds in 10 days. Yay me.

Then I had to go to the hospital for a health problem unrelated to my weight. The doctor put me on some medicine to relieve my long term pain. For the first three weeks, there was no effect. Not any pain relief. She told me to expect that. This week, the medicine is beginning to take some effect, I think. The problem is, the medicine has caused me to gain back 7 of the 10 pounds I lost.

I gotta tell you, that has been discouraging. I was excited about the possibility of pain relief. I’m not so excited at the moment. Partly, it’s because I haven’t had a great deal of pain relief. Just weight gain.

Here’s the deal. I’m eating less than 2000 calories a day. My target is 2350. That’s a lot of calories. My personal target is 1900 calories. Most days I beat that. Some days I get a little closer to the 2350. Only twice in the last month have I gone over the 2350. I should have lost considerably more than 3 pounds.

I have a Dr’s appointment tomorrow morning, in which I hope to either get some different medicine, or to get some understanding on what I can do besides starve myself.

In the meantime, I’ve decided that it’s time to try had get this old frame into some kind of shape, one last time. I know how to do it. I was once very active in the gym, and trained with some of the greatest Body Builders and Wrestlers in the USA and here in Britain.

The basic problem is I have an obstacle. Something unexpected hit me from behind. I was so frustrated. I wanted to scream. Getting on the scales is so hard. But I refuse to give up or give in. I’m going to go to the gym three days a week to begin. And we’ll see after that. After I see the Dr tomorrow I will decide whether or not to reduce my calories even more.

I have a goal. I have an obstacle. I refuse to give up. I’ve got to understand all the circumstances and consequences of my situation. And then I must adjust as needed. Giving up is not an option.

Right now I’m frustrated and discouraged. Tomorrow is a new day. Let’s try again. Let’s do this.

Good Bye NIV, Hello ESV

Image result for ESV images public domain

Today’s topic is rather personal, and spiritual. I know some of you are not even remotely interested in Spiritual things, so I’m warning you ahead time. I hope you’ll keep reading, because you might get something out of it. Besides, it’s just us, so of no one will know you’re reading someone discussing the Bible.

The year was 1972. I was a teenager. I was skinny and had a full head of hair. My how things change with time. I already loved the Bible. And I loved Jesus. I had submitted to Him a few years before and loved reading His Word.

In those days, that was the King James Version. That’s pretty much what everybody read. I did have a Good News For Modern Man (Today known as the Good News Version, or Today’s English Version). but I read about a brand new translation that was hitting the market called, The New International Version. I raced out to a Christian Book Store and bought one. It was only the New Testament, that’s all that was completed at that time. It was brown leather. Just like a Bible should be. Kidding. Mine was a large print edition. In those days that was an option I didn’t need. Now it’s a requirement.

This new Bible was like magic. I understood it. Every word. It was like it was written just for me. I absolutely fell in love with it. In 1974, I went to college at Ozark Christian College in Joplin, MO. In the bookstore, my first day, I saw and purchased, a whole Bible in the New International version. I was in heaven.

Throughout my college years, I was introduced to many translations. I liked some. Disliked others. Some I have to this day. A few I have as an app, but no actual hard copies. But I always loved the NIV.

Then in 1979, I went to Cincinnati Christian University, called Cincinnati Bible College in those days. One of the professors there, Lewis Foster, had been on the team of translators for the NIV, especially the Gospel of John, and played a role in the Book of Joshua team as well, but I don’t remember what he told me his role was. I will just say, Dr. Foster was an awesome man who loved the Word and the God who inspired it. I truly enjoyed his classes and spending time with him. I treasure those memories.

I was ordained into the ministry in 1978 in Cynthiana, KY in a Church where the minister was King James only. He was adamant about it. He disliked me very much for the fact that I was sold on the NIV and even used it when I was preaching and teaching. He only agreed to participate in my ordination because my dad was an Elder in the Church. I remember some dandy conversations with the Pastor as we would go about our days.

I also remember NOT getting hired by a church in KY once because I used the NIV rather than the King James. Those were weird times in churches. In fact, I would carry a King James AND an NIV with me when I was traveling and raising support to be a missionary, so I wouldn’t offend people if their church was still sold on the KJV.

When I got to Buckie, Scotland in 1980, I boldly preached from the New International version. Most of the people stuck to their King James, but converts used the NIV. Eventually, it became the majority version in the Church in Buckie, as well at in Forres which I planted in 1986, and in Cumbernauld, born in 1988.

I stayed true to the NIV, even when The New Living Bible became so popular in the late 90s. My wife loves that translation. She uses it all the time. There is absolutely nothing wrong with it. It’s just not me.

I received a beta version of Today’s New International Version of the New Testament to read and comment on sometime in 2000 or 2001. It was published in 2002. I read it and HATED it. It was, lets say an attempt at political correctness. It was just awful. And I said so.

The Old Testament was finished in 2005. The translation was totally unacceptable to serious believers in Jesus and His Word. Eventually it just faded away and ceased being published.

Then in about 2012 a new edition of the NIV came out. I had bought a new Bible and was teaching a class at Northwest Christian Church in Acworth, GA. As I was reading, I became aware that some of the translation was just terrible. I laid my bible down and told the class that this version was crap. The NIV had implemented some of the translation model that had been used in the TNIV and the NIV was ruined.

The next week, I went back to my 1984 edition of the NIV. It was the last sound version of the NIV. It is now only possible to buy it from used bookstores or backrooms at Christian bookstores. Despite all the furor, I stuck faithfully to the 1984 edition of the NIV. And I will continue to use it in personal study.

But today, I am announcing, primarily because the 1984 NIV is so rare, that I will begin this week, preaching from the English Standard Version. It is considered a literal translation, yet it reads pretty smoothly for one. It is used by many conservative Churches in English speaking countries. In fact, it is the translation used at Brittan’s and my home Church in GA, Crosspoint City Church.

Frankly, this was an extremely difficult decision to make. I wish the publishers of the New International Version had never forced me into it. But they did, and that’s that. It’s done. Here I stand.

If you want to understand more about translations of the Bible, I recommend my book, (Re)Discovering the Bible Vol. 1. Its a short book. And inexpensive, too. Just click on the link. You’re welcome.

So, farewell, New International Version. You have been a faithful translation. You have served me well. I cherish the many memories I have had using you to reach people in the U.S.A., Great Britain, Jamaica, Canada, and any other English speaking country I’ve visited. But it’s time to move on.

Hello, English Standard Version. You have big shoes to fill. But I believe you have what it takes. Let’s do this. The Gospel of Jesus is too important. There’s no place to go but on.

Thanks for listening folks. At least now you understand a little bit about why this is so important to me. Use the comments section and tell me about your favorite, or least favorite, Bible translation. See you next week.