Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Thinking Time

I was running the other morning for 19 km. That was a lot of thinking time - 2 hours, 39 min and 51 seconds to be exact.

As I run, besides trying to remember whether it's time to do my short "leg" or my long "leg" of my circuit, thoughts fly into my head regularly. Some are rejected immediately, some slow me down, some speed me up and a few are occasionally worth spending some time on.

As I was coming down the home stretch on this run, I started thinking about the references to running that are used in both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. This one from Isaiah 40:31 came to mind:
"But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles. They shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint."
That was certainly an encouraging verse to pop into my mind as I was definitely starting to grow a bit weary at about the 17th km.

That thought took me to other thoughts about how running a long race and running the race of faith are very similar.

To run any race, preparation has to be done, and in the Christian walk (race) that preparation consists of making the decision to humble yourself, admit you're a sinner, accept Jesus's sacrifice in your place and submit to Christ as Lord and Savior and walk with Him. In my running, that preparation was making the decision to run, downloading the Couch to 5k app and getting started. It also involved many little daily decisions - the decision to jump out of bed, put my shoes on and run; and the decision to not let anything stand in the way. That's exactly how we walk out our faith - by making the daily decision to die to self and let Jesus live through us.

Along the way on my 19 km run, I drank water - little sips but at regular intervals. Those sips of water refreshed me. And in the Christian walk, those times of being together with fellow believers on a regular basis are what refresh us spiritually.

And then there were the occasional boosts of hydration drink along with BCAA's, a few dates, a gel supplement, an energy shot (a healthy one; not those horrible ones you get at gas stations), etc. Each one was well-timed and kept me going by giving me an extra boost of energy. I thought about how when the going gets tough, we sometimes need a little help, some encouragement, a retreat, that message that spoke directly to us, extra time to meditate on God's word and pray, or a thoughtful note of encouragement from a friend.

But underlying it all is good solid food, without which I couldn't even hope to run, especially at 72 years of age. I choose my food wisely. So in our Christian lives, we need the food of the Word of God. It is manna, it is living water, it is the bread of life. And we need to be taking it in daily, not just on Sundays. We need to be feeding ourselves by reading, hearing, studying, memorizing and meditating on God's Word. That's what sustains us and keeps us going when the going gets tough!

As I ran I also had my eye and my mind on the final goal - both the goal for that day as well as the eventual goal of being able to run the 25 km Piney Woods Ultra. I knew this long run was necessary preparation. No matter how difficult, I was determined to get it done. And in the same way, I thought about what the Apostle Paul wrote in I Corinthians 9:24-25:
"Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown."
My hope as I run is that I will finish the race and perhaps go home with one more medal. But those medals only represent a tiny victory in comparison to the crown of life we will receive when we have run our earthly race. That will be real victory; a victory we can't even begin to comprehend. So my question to you is, are you running to receive that crown? Are you willing to stay the course and run the race even though no one runs it with you?

So now you know what I was thinking about on that long 19 km run  I'd love to know your thoughts.

And if there is any way I can serve you, I'm happy to do so.

You can email me at: hww.reece(at)gmail.com.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

My Newest Love!

He asked me what I wanted for Christmas! So I told him.

I'd had my eye on an Instant Pot since I sat in on a workshop on how to cook with an instant pot 2 years ago before I even knew what they were!

So he sheepishly asked whether I wanted a small one or a large one. So there was no doubt about what it was when I saw his gift under the tree!

And now after 2 meals made in it, I'm in love! I can't believe it took me so long to jump on this bandwagon. Today for our New Year's Day meal, we decided on Brazilian Feijoada. So I asked Google and found a wonderful recipe for it designed to be made in the Instant Pot. So easy! So perfect! From dry black beans to finished meal in about an hour. That was amazing.

I told him that now I understood why people raved about their instant pots. He just smiled. Of course, he gets to eat the lovely meals that are going to come from it so he's happy and I'm happy.

Just so you understand, I have cooked with a pressure cooker for years and have always loved my pressure cooker. However, it has now been permanently shelved. (Well, maybe I'll pull it off the shelf again in a pinch, but the Instant Pot has taken over in my kitchen.)

I can understand that he was a little hesitant to get me an Instant Pot especially since he got me a great big pressure canner a couple of Christmases ago and it has hardly ever been used. In my defense, I got busy with other things and lost interest in being the resident canner, leaving that task to my son and daughter. But I'm sure he's pleased that this particular appliance looks like it will get plenty of action and will actually be worth the purchase price.

If you've been hearing about the Instant Pot and wondering if it might be for you, let me just give you a way to evaluate that. If you prefer to eat out most of the time, don't bother with getting one. It will probably just sit on your shelf. However, if you make many of your meals from scratch, you would probably love one and it would save you a lot of time and fuss.

I worried about the weight of it, but the actual cooking pot of the 8 quart Instant Pot (the original, not a copycat), is very lightweight. I was surprised at how easy it is to handle. And I can saute, pressure cook and keep warm all in one seamless process without having to switch pans.

Today's meal was prep, set, go away and come back to a finished meal. Absolutely amazing!

Just to be clear, I may receive a small commission if you click on any links in this post at no additional cost to you. And please feel free to add your comments, especially if you have an instant pot. I'd love to know what you think of yours.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015


I woke up early today just like I did 38 years ago on the day John Cameron Reece was born. Today would have been his 38th birthday so I suppose if birthdays are counted in heaven, he is now 38. But I doubt that time matters there.

I can't let this day go by without dedicating a post to him. And wondering what life would have been like, had he not disappeared almost 16 years ago. Would he be married? Most likely. Would he have children? Yes, he probably would. Would he have contributed extraordinary discoveries to our world? I believe so. But instead, what he left behind was a legacy I hope to be able to pass on to my grandchildren. A legacy of love for God and His Word, of dedication to whatever task was set before him and a remarkably sweet temperament that endeared him to all who knew him.

I'll keep this short today since I know that he would understand all the tasks that await me for the day. He would be saying, "Bravo, Mom. You can do it!"

And I say, "Bravo, Son. You did it! You ran the race that was set before you. As Paul wrote to Timothy in II Timothy 4:7, 'I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.'" That was you, John. My prayer is that I can live up to that high calling just as you did.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

5 Biblical Principles That Can Help You Be A Better Parent

If you ever have the thought, “Am I a good parent?”, you are not alone. It is hard to determine what defines a “good” parent when there is no rubric for success. There are no simple tests to determine how your child will turn out in their later years when they start having an effect on society.

As a parent it is your job to constantly evaluate yourself, learn from your mistakes, and raise your children to the best of your ability. To improve upon your parenting, you can turn to the Bible for some overarching Biblical principles to follow.

1. Set a Good Example

First and foremost, it is important to set a good example for your children. Not all learning will come from the classroom, textbooks, or Wikipedia. Even from the earliest of ages, children pick up on the habits of their parents.

They hear what we say and do what we do. Ask yourself if the person you are portraying is how you want your child to act. You truly are a mirror that will reflect upon your child.

Every principle following this one can be factored into setting a good example. If you are following these Biblical principles, chances are your children will too.

2. Give

Matthew 6:2 says “So when you give to the needy…”. The key word in that portion of the verse is “when”. If the verse said “if” it would have much different implications. However, the word “when” tells us that we are expected to give to those in need.

Giving teaches values to your children on a humanitarian level. It shows that living with excess is unnecessary and often times selfish. Giving does not imply a monetary value either. Simple providing a helping hand to those in need through volunteering opportunities can create excellent values within your children.

The other aspect of giving, is giving for the right reason. Matthew 6:2 continues, “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do to be honored by men”. You should give without the expectation of anything in return. There is not a reward for every good deed to be done. Instilling this view within your child will allow them to learn to give unconditionally.

3. Do the Right Thing

As a parent it is important to do the right thing in every situation, not just when it is convenient. You are only as good as your latest action.

Telling the grocer they forgot to ring up one of your items does not excuse you from lying the next day. There is no balance or tally of number of wrongs to rights.

James 4:17 says “So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin”.

4. Discipline

The Bible has quite a lot to say about discipline. You’ll find many verse discussing the “rod” and its use in discipline. It is important to not take this in literal terms. Often discipline comes in the form of lectures and lessons. Stern but fair.

Punishment and discipline can often be uncomfortable and hard on a parent. However it is necessary in order to raise a child with good values. The lessons and discretions a child learns early in life will often stay with them forever.  “For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” - Hebrews 12:11.

5. Forgiveness

There may be no stronger principle in the Bible than forgiveness. It is also an incredibly powerful principle live by as a parent.

Your child will make mistakes regardless of how great of an example you set or how often you give. Mistakes are part of the learning process for a child and how you handle it as a parent can often supercede the lesson they learn from the mistake. While forgiveness may seem like a contradictory principle to disciple; they often go hand in hand.

Your  child needs to know right from wrong, but they also need compassion. Forgiveness will show them the unconditional love you have for them. Resolving conflicts with your children will show them they are not neglected and will bring them closer to you.

Showing forgiveness to others will help set an example for your children as they grow and are wronged by other individuals.

Andrew Fujii is a marketing professional with expertise in digital/web and content marketing. He is also a copywriter for multiple agencies producing copy for blogs, articles, websites, product packaging, mobile apps, and more.


Friday, March 7, 2014

Final Expenses: Saving Money on Funeral Costs

Few things in life are more traumatic than the death of a loved one, particularly if it is unexpected and the survivors are abruptly faced with the sad task of planning a memorial service and burial or cremation. There are dozens of details to handle, at a time when the bereaved are in deep shock, overcome with grief, and often not capable of making the most rational decisions. Add to this the understandable desire to see their loved one off in a suitable way that reflects well on everyone – and it’s easy to see how people can be manipulated into spending much more on final expenses than they need to spend or can truly afford. A payday loan could help in these situations to make it possible to give your loved one the service you would like, even when savings are low and this may not have seemed possible initially.

Even people who pre-plan funerals for themselves or a loved one can be vulnerable to the subtle and dignified  –but nevertheless very manipulative – marketing for which the funeral business is notorious. Granted, funeral directors have to make a living like everyone else, but some are truly exploitative and are masters of the unnecessary up-sell.

Whether you are pre-planning arrangements or have been hit with an unexpected need, there are some things you can do to ease the monetary strain if not your heartache. You do not have to simply accept the default or traditional way of doing things. Here are a few points to keep in mind.

1. There is nothing shameful or undignified about wanting to economize. This may be the most important point of all, and the most difficult for some people to accept. A simple, basic funeral or memorial service is just as dignified and respectful as the most lavish, expensive event. There is absolutely nothing shameful about needing or desiring to save money on final expenses, and economizing certainly does not indicate a lack of love and respect for the departed. If you really feel that you must splurge, do so with an after-party that is a true celebration of the person’s life. That’s a more fitting tribute than a solid gold, silk-lined casket or a limo parade.

2. The government may be able to help you with costs. If you or your partner are on a low income and receiving any of a number of specific government benefits, you may be eligible for a Funeral Payment and/or Bereavement Payment from the Social Fund. Check this page to find out more about these benefits: https://www.gov.uk/browse/benefits/bereavement

3. There’s no law that says you have to use a funeral home. Certainly there are laws in place regarding the handling of remains, but there is absolutely no law that says you have to use a funeral home, with all of the expense that involves. More people these days are opting for “do it yourself” arrangements, handling most or all of the details without going through a traditional funeral home. And increasing numbers of funeral directors are adopting more flexible policies where they offer “a la carte” services. For a cost that is much less than an entire package, they will assist the bereaved with certain details, such as keeping the body cool whilst the family is tending to the other arrangements. The Natural Death Centre (www.naturaldeath.org) is a wonderful resource for exploring your options and planning a “do it yourself” (or a partially or mostly “do it yourself”) memorial service.

4. You can still save money even if you don’t “do it yourself.” You can economise on virtually every aspect of the funeral: the casket; the handling of the body (embalming is not required by law); vehicles; flowers; memorial marker; the service itself… and the list goes on. Do not let that earnest, soft-spoken sales director talk you into spending more than you can afford – remember, there is nothing shameful or undignified about wanting to economize. The aforementioned Natural Death Centre has a page of suggestions and links for economizing on funeral costs.

As is the case with many choices in life, it’s always better if you can plan ahead – even if you do nothing more than sit down and think about what you want, and write down your wishes so your family will know when the time comes. But sometimes planning ahead is simply not feasible. The important thing to remember is that there is plenty of help available to assist you in making the best decision, making this difficult time a little easier on everyone involved.