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The Boy Scouts of America is under a lot of pressure to allow openly gay boys and men to be be part of and serve in the organization. I am opposed to changing their 100+ year standing policy against allowing open homosexuality.
Here's my response to a survey, that I suspect went to all Eagle Scouts, in response to the question, "What is your greatest concern if the policy is changed to allow charter organizations to make their own decisions to openly admit gay Scouts and leaders?"
I am an Eagle Scout. I served in every available position as a Scout, and as Assistant Scoutmaster and Scoutmaster as an adult. I am heterosexual. I never openly admitted to being heterosexual, and aside from an occasional visit from my wife, no one would have know my sexual orientation. Likewise, if someone is "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" gay, and serves in the BSA, I am not opposed. I am opposed to open, and potentially rampant sexuality in the BSA. These are boys. Sexually curious and impressionable boys. I'm not saying that all gay boys and men prey on other boys and men, but this is an especially vulnerable time in a young man's life, and (back to my first point) the BSA should stand for something, not cave to community, social, media or political pressure. Stand for something, BSA. If people don't want to be involved because of what the organization stands for, so be it. Let them start a Gay Scouts of America.
For those of you whose blood is boiling at this point, and you're ready to fire back with a "Damn you, bigot. Homophobe!" comment, allow me to explain. I don't care if you're gay. I don't care if you're atheist. I don't care if you're not white. I care that in this country we have organizations that CAN create and uphold their own values without a minority winning a lawsuit on grounds of offense. Get over yourself.
Much of what I read on blogs, in forums, and in books are words from people who seem to have it all together. The advice given is often from people who have “walked in your shoes” and are simply re-telling their own story. While their advice worked for them, and often their experiences began as a result of discontent and unhappiness, I wonder where are the words for people who don’t need advice for how to improve their lives? Who is speaking to those who already have what they want, and are content with who they are?
The advice is often categorized into family (or emotions and/or relationships), health and finances. Here’s my message to those of us who are content: CELEBRATE!
Celebrate your FAMILY.
Stop reading. Get up and find your spouse, or (if they’re not around) grab your phone and call them. Say to your him/her,
“Thank you. I love you, and I love us. I’m so grateful that we are where we are today. We may not be perfect, but we can be better tomorrow than we are today. Of this I’m sure, because we are better together.”
If you have children, stop reading. Go find your kids and scoop them up in your arms. Kiss each of them individually and tell them you love them, even (and especially) if they’re too young (or too old) to understand. It’s important that you spend time with them, and shower them with love and affection.
* The best way for you to show your children that you love them, is by loving your spouse. If you’re a father, show your kids how much you love their mother. If you’re a mother, show your kids how much you love their father. Lead, live, and love by example.
Celebrate your HEALTH.
Step 1. Throw out your scale. You’re likely causing yourself too much stress and anxiety by constantly monitoring gravity’s pull against you.
Step 2. Be grateful for where you are, wherever that is. If you’re thin because you’re genetically predisposed to a higher metabolism, be grateful. If you’re thin because you exercise regularly, eat healthy and worked hard to be that way, be grateful. If you’re a little pudgy because you eat foods that make you feel good, regardless of their affect on your overall health, be grateful that you live in a place that affords you that choice. If you want to do something about your weight, do so only after celebrating where you are.
Step 3. Tell someone how grateful you are for who you are, and the freedom to choose.
Celebrate your FINANCES.
If you’re living paycheck-to-paycheck, good for you! You have a job that allows you to plan your life around a steady income. If you’ve saved thousands for a rainy day and/or retirement and you’re living comfortably on your earned income, be grateful.
You are who, where and what you are based on the choices you have made; good, bad or otherwise. It’s the ability to choose, the freedom to act that you’re celebrating.
Today is just another day, but it could be your last.
- Renounce regret.
- Make a healthy choice.
- Meet one new person.
- Do something amazing, memorable.
It doesn't have to be harder, or more complicated than this.
We are creatures of habit, and it is habit that determines what/when/where we are, and how we got there. I'm on a mission to change habits in my life, in fact I have been for quite a while. There are always setbacks, but I feel that I've gradually been moving in the right direction, until recently.
I lost a ton of weight, nearly 70 pounds to be exact. I've since re-gained just over 10 pounds. Although most people can't tell, I can and it makes me sad.
I've been going back to school, full-time at a local community college the last two semesters. During both semesters, I started out strong setting aside chunks of time each day/week to focus on classwork and homework. Each time, I quickly fell out of the not-yet-established habit of consistently working on schoolwork leaving me feeling stressed, overwhelmed and guilty.
What do I do now?
I've decided to conduct an experiment, a sort of "shock therapy" if you will. It's (as of this very moment) 11:17 PM EST on February 18, 2013. For the next 24 hours I'm going to conduct an experiment, or exercise in self control. It's been said that anything the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve. Here goes...everything.
The Will List
During the next 24 hours, I will...
- Wake up at 5:58 AM.
- Drink 8 bottles of water.
- Run 6 miles in under 48 minutes.
- Read the Book of Mormon for 30 minutes.
- Pray at least once.
- Compliment everyone with whom I speak.
- Smile until it hurts.
- Drive the speed limit.
- Put back everything I get out.
- Give something to someone else, for FREE.
- Get caught up on all my classwork, homework and tests.
- Share this list with at least one person.
The Won't List
During the next 24 hours, I won't...
- Drink coffee.
- Drink Diet Mountain Dew.
- Play video games.
- Worry about money.
- Check our bank account balances.
- Peruse the job market.
- Stare hopelessly into the refrigerator.
- Forget my wedding ring.
- Use my iPhone.
- Get on Facebook.
Those are exhausting and overwhelming lists. At first glance, it seems almost impossible; however, the WILL list adds value to my life or someone else's and the WON'T list eliminates unnecessary worry, carelessness, and clutter.
I can do this.
I've shared a delicious smoothie
recipe in the past, and in my continued quest for the best-tasting and healthiest smoothie, I have discovered a new ingredient: egg.
In the spirit of giving credit where credit is due, I owe this idea to my wife, Sarah. I'm always sharing my experimental ideas with her, and at one point I told her I wanted to try to further reduce the amount of sugar in my morning smoothie. She suggested replacing the banana with an egg. I did, and it's delicious.
Why banana (in the first place)?
I love research, knowledge and information gathering, but I also love just doing and learning by experience. With that said, I have no idea why bananas do what they do, but they do; if that makes sense. As an experiment, I've tried removing the banana from the list of ingredients, it just doesn't work. :(
Bananas, for whatever reason, cause all the ingredients in a smoothie to blend together really well, and add a sweet, creamy texture to the mix. Without it, if you use frozen fruit it's much colder, thinner, and less filling. Add a banana to any smoothie and
Why egg, especially in place of banana?
Eggs are notorious for being used in myriad recipes for their health benefits
and their ability to bind ingredients together
. Much like bananas, eggs (if I may quote myself from the previous paragraph) "cause all the ingredients [...] to blend together really well".
It's important to note that there is no noticeable egg taste
! My smoothie didn't go from tasting like a delicious banana-inspired treat to a fart-smelling mess. In my experience, it tastes almost exactly the same.
"Researchers conclude that an egg breakfast helps overweight adults lose more weight and feel more energetic than those who ate a bagel of equal calories." Source: Mark's Daily Apple - "Eggs are Healthy"
"As their proteins coagulate, eggs bind ingredients together." Source: The Science of Cooking, "The Amazing Multi-tasking Egg"
Add a raw egg to your smoothie!
Frozen Fruit Smoothie Recipe
In case you didn't click through to my previous post with the Kalueberry Smoothie recipe, here's what I whipped together this morning (very similar with a few minor changes):
3/4 cup frozen fruit (I used a Great Value brand mix of peaches, strawberries, pineapple and mango)
1 raw egg
1/2 cup powdered oats*
1/2 cup Simply Apple juice
1 tbsp ground Chia seeds
2 tbsp plain Greek yogurt
* I use a single-serve blender that has two blades. The flatter of the two is designed to grind coffee beans (according to the package/instructions), but works really well to turn steel-cut oats into powdered oats.
Many people are familiar with Gary Chapman
's "The 5 Love Languages
". If not, here they are:
- Words of Affirmation
- Acts of Service
- Receiving Gifts
- Quality Time
- Physical Touch
It wasn't until yesterday that I read (started reading) the book. It's been on my list of books to read for a while, so I couldn't resist when I found it available for FREE via Amazon's Kindle Owner's Lending Library. While reading, I found a few passages that really resonated with me. I read them to my wife, and feel compelled to share them with the world.
Here are a few statements that can be universally applied.
The object of love is not getting something you want but doing something for the well-being of the one you love.
Forgiveness is not a feeling; it is a commitment. It is a choice to show mercy, not to hold the offense up against the offender. Forgiveness is an expression of love.
We forget that marriage is a relationship, not a project to be completed or a problem to solve. A relationship calls for sympathetic listening with a view to understanding the other person's thoughts, feelings, and desires.
This was a concern of mine (that my wife hated my job), and I misunderstood how she really felt; now I know.
She doesn't really hate your job. She hates the fact that she feels so little love coming from you.
...more to come as I finish the book.
Ah. The ubiquitous and all-too-necessary email address. If you're like most of the world, you probably have, or are at least familiar with, @gmail.com. Of course, the other big players in the email arena are @aol.com, @hotmail.com and @live.com (Microsoft), @yahoo.com and @ymail.com (Yahoo!), and many more. I've had close to 100 email addresses
(collectively) at these extensions, and many more!Side note - I just realized that not long ago I could have listed the email address extensions as @gmail, @aol, etc., and you would know exactly what I mean. I can't do that today in order to differentiate between an email address and a Twitter username, for example: @sbruington. :)
I have too many email addresses and have for a long, long time. Call it OCD, a careless waste of otherwise available virtual storage space, or a weirdism. In addition to owning my own domains...
...and each with its own email address, I've created and maintained (although rarely if ever used) tons of Gmail accounts. It all started with firstname.lastname@example.org, which I still use. It then spiraled out of control some time during 2009. I remember having (what I thought was, but cannot remember) a really
good reason for creating a Gmail address for every social network account, or online registration I owned. Seriously. I couldn't just create email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org because those types of addresses were already taken. I used a prefix...i83.
What is i83? The History
I don't have an image to share, but when I write my initals SB, it looks as though I've written 83, according to my wife. It's too bad it doesn't look like 82 because I was born in '82. I've a huge fan of Apple products and while I don't know why they started putting a lowercase i as the first letter of their product names, followed by a capital letter (iPod, iPhone, iMac), I like it. I decided to call myself, as an alias or short-hand, i83 instead of using my initials. I didn't go around introducing myself in this way, but I used this as a X has been here type of thing.
There you have it - i83 = SB with an Apple-inspired twist.
My thought process was, at least in part, I have an account online so I need a Gmail address for that account. It didn't stop with social networks like Facebook, Myspace and Twitter. It got really, really out of control (which is almost too embarrassing to admit)! Here are the ones I can remember, and in no particular order:
There are a lot more. In fact, there's probably at least double this list and that doesn't account for all the other non-i83 prefixed email addresses.
I am ashamed.
I realize I have a problem and I'm finally doing something about it. It's hard too explain, or understand, but I have a hard time letting go of these stupid accounts. I haven't used them. I don't need them. Most of the online accounts for which I created a Gmail account have been created, so by default the Gmail account is no longer needed, but still exists!
I sat down today without a plan and just started deleting. I couldn't remember my password, so I ran a recovery, reset passwords and started mowing the list down. It's been...uplifting. I actually feel better. I feel physically less stressed out and cluttered than I did before I started.
Stop creating unnecessary Gmail accounts.
In all seriousness, I've learned (as an aspiring minimalist) to not get attached emotionally to things that don't matter, and to avoid making stupid decisions that have no point. These accounts serve no purpose. I appreciate that a lot of sites allow you to log in using your Facebook credentials; this eliminates the need to create an account on their site, ergo - no longer the need for a separate email address!
I'm learning to live with less and this is one of many important steps in that direction.
I mentioned above that I own bruington.com. I use that domain to host the contents of my website development business and to provide @bruington.com email addresses for myself and my family. Oddly enough, but not surprising, my family has asked me which email address to use more often than friends, colleagues or acquaintances. In spite of having had all these other accounts, since its creation I've always used email@example.com, and as part of my affection for all things Google, firstname.lastname@example.org.
I'll continue using those two accounts, although I use Gmail more as a portal through which to access my @bruington.com emails. I'm working on not being mired down by the virtual world and trying to live more freely and disconnected. It feels good.
On my way to work this morning I passed a car with the license plate ‘Y WORRY’. What great advice! When you think about what it is, or means to worry, you quickly realize there’s absolutely no point – and it’s a complete waste of energy. Worry leads to anxiety, and stress, which can cause health problems and manifest itself in surprising ways.
So, why worry? The truth is no one worries about now. People worry mostly about what could happen, or what should have happened, but no one worries about what’s happening because they’re consumed in and by the moment. As usual, I looked to Dictionary.com for a more formal definition of the word:
worry (verb) – give way to anxiety or unease; allow one’s mind to dwell on difficulty or troubles.
The difficulty or troubles that most allow their minds to dwell upon are things that haven’t happened, and in many cases aren't likely to ever happen. So, why worry? People just do. The reality is, some people worry more than others for unknown reasons, and some people don’t worry at all. (I’m sure there’s some scientific basis behind it which speaks to their upbringing, parental influence (or lack thereof), peer pressure, etc., but I like to think of it simply.)
As I thought more about worrying, the reasons behind it, when and how people do it, I came up with a few ways to beat worrying and get on with your life. I hope these ideas are helpful. Your comments are appreciated.
I'm conducting a visitor evaluation which I hope to be able to compare to site traffic data I get from Weebly and Google.
Please take a moment, vote in the poll and share with me how you got here.
Likely my favorite food ever, lobster tail tends to be one of the most expensive items on any menu. Of course, at places like Red Lobster
($10.99) and Outback Steakhouse
($8.99), you can order a lobster tail in addition to almost any regular entree. The problem is it comes at a price, and usually isn't very good.
I was pleasantly surprised when I cooked lobster tail at home this evening. I don't have a secret, but I wanted to share the process I used so you too can have a delicious (and relatively inexpensive) meal.
I've broken this down into four simple steps. Where you purchase the lobster is entirely up to you. I found two tails sold together for $5.99 each at The Fresh Market
in Roanoke, VA. In terms of size, they were as big or bigger than any I've ever eaten at a restaurant. I've always been pleased with the food selection at TFM, and they didn't disappoint this time either.