Coming Attractions


So I abandoned this blog for six months. It was one of the casualties of my decision to go back to school for another Masters degree. Also among the casualties were Tuesday night basketball, reading books for pleasure, and keeping a clean office.

But no more! I am planning to modify some work I’ve done on Tolkien, chop it into bite size pieces and begin to post snippets here on the blog. That’s the plan anyway. Because I am in an academic phase of life, this blog will probably begin to divert from fitness topics and towards the things that are occupying my mind these days.

So here is the coming attraction: a series on the theme of HOPE in J.R.R. Tolkien’s legendarium. Literary types and nerds, rejoice. If uninterested, pass on by.


A New Blog Plan for the New Year

One of my resolutions for the new year was to have a better plan for this blog.  And so here are some things I’m working on right now, or at least some things to expect from me in 2012.  My goal is to:

1) Write more freely on non-fitness related topics.  One piece of advice that I received when I started the blog was to write for a specific audience.  Since the majority of hits on my site come from either people interested in CrossFit or Tough Mudder, “fitness-types” has been in large part the group I’ve been writing for.  This has, however, kept me from things that I felt wouldn’t be super interesting to those crowds.  So my new plan is to use this blog more broadly to write about things that are interesting to me, rather than writing for a specific audience.

2) Write more intentionally on matters of faith and ministry.  This is what I spend the bulk of my time thinking about, and so it makes sense that I would write about it more consistently.

3) Finish/Continue some of the series that I’ve started or promised to start, notably: Denali Trip, Life Story, What is Success, and Balancing Family and Ministry.

4) Write at least two posts per week.  Here’s one (ha ha)!  I have returned to school for another Master’s degree, which means that I have less time to write, but also more things to think about/process.  So we’ll see how this goes…

Question: Anyone still out there? Anything you’d like to me to write about?

Upcoming Series: Thirty

I am turning 30 on Friday, and so in honor of the end of one decade of life and the beginning of another, I sat down and wrote a couple of lists that I will be posting over the next week.

Here’s what’s coming in eight total posts:

The 30 Most Important Truths I’ve Learned/Experienced (3)

The 30 Coolest Places I’ve Been (3)

The 30 Most Important Books I’ve Ever Read (2)

Thirty years isn’t a long time to have accumulated wisdom and experience, but hopefully some of what I share will be helpful to someone!

Question: Any other lists of 30 you’d like to see?

Upcoming Blog Series

After a month of blogging, I have to say that I’ve enjoyed the discipline of writing consistently.  Discipline is the right word, because there are plenty of days when I don’t feel like writing.  But I’ve found that it is a lot like working out, praying or practicing an instrument: motivating yourself to do it is the hardest part.

Setting parameters for myself (no more than 500 words per post), scheduling out time to write and planning future series has also helped immensely with the process.

I am currently working on a couple of series, which I will plan to begin posting this week.  (My series tend to grow as I write them, but this is the basic framework I’m starting with.)

1. The Paleo Experiment

My wife and I just finished a 30 Day experiment with something called the Paleo diet.  It’s pretty popular in the CrossFit community, and involves limiting your food to meat, vegetable, fruit and nuts.  That means no processed food, no refined sugar, no grains, no dairy.  In this series, I plan to share my experience trying to eat like a caveman for 30 days.  Here’s the outline:

The Paleo Experiment (1): How to Eat Like a Caveman

The Paleo Experiment (2): Retraining the Appetite

The Paleo Experiment (3): Food or Fuel?

The Paleo Experiment (4): Takeaways and Tensions

2. Ministry and Family

Another series I am working on has to do with balancing ministry with family.  Pastors are notoriously busy; one of the questions I am asked most frequently is how I structure my time, specifically as a husband and father of two children under 2.  In this series, I am plan to share how my approach to balance has shifted as my family has grown.  The road map:

Ministry and Family (1): First, Decide What is Important

Ministry and Family (2): Before Ben, Busyness

Ministry and Family (3): When Two Becomes a Three

Ministry and Family (4): When Double-Team Becomes Man-to-Man

So that’s what I’m working on.

Here’s my question for my readers: which series would you rather read first?

What’s In a Name?

So I thought I would write a quick post explaining the reason why I have called this blog, “Meditations in a Toolshed.”

First, the picture in the header is of the shed in my backyard.  Since we moved in, I’ve hated the shed and wanted to tear it down. The doors are about to fall off.  The prior homeowners left a ton of garbage in it.  Skunks moved in for a month a few summers ago.

But when our friend Irene came to visit, she took this picture of the shed, and since then it has grown in my estimation.  It looks like a place that has a story, character, and mystery.

In other words, sometimes it takes another perspective to open your eyes.

But the main inspiration for the title comes from the title of a short C.S. Lewis essay entitled, “Meditation in a Toolshed.”  In the essay, Lewis tells of a time when he was in a toolshed and began to look at a beam of light shining through the door. He then moved into the light and looked along the light, up through the door, through the trees and into the sun.  His conclusion: “looking along” is very different than “looking at”.

He goes on to describe that the view is very different when you are inside an experience (“looking along”) than when you are outside of it looking in (“looking at”).  He writes:

A young man meets a girl. The whole world looks different when he sees her. Her voice reminds him of something he has been trying to remember all his life, and ten minutes casual chat with her is more precious than all the favors that all other women in the world could grant. lie is, as they say, “in love”. Now comes a scientist and describes this young man’s experience from the outside. For him it is all an affair of the young man’s genes and a recognized biological stimulus. That is the difference between looking along the sexual impulse and looking at it.

For the person in love, the world is alive for the first time.  But the person looking at it from the outside picks the experience apart, reduces it it, demythologizes and debunks it.  “All it is,” he says, “is hormones.” He might be right.  But he is looking at the world as an outsider.  He unable to really see, since he is not in love himself. He knows how to look at the world from the outside, but not from the inside.  And so he is blind.

My goal is to see the world, not through the eyes of a detached observer, but through the wide eyes of wonder, entering in, drinking deeply, not merely knowing but tasting.

Perspective. Wonder.  These are my meditations from the toolshed.


Yes, I’m Blogging Again

I think I have started and stopped blogging as many times as Brett Favre has retired and un-retired.

First there was Xanga (2002-2005)

Then Blogspot (2004-2006):

Then I did a lengthy, dated, albeit still relevant study on blogging (ca. 2004) that can be read here.

Then my own site, hosted at our church’s website (2008-2009):

Then back to blogspot, team blogging with my friend James (2010):

And now I have waded into the world of WordPress.

Like Brett Favre, I may change my mind and stop again after a few months.  But that’s o.k.  I promise not to do anything else that Brett Favre has done.

For now, I decided that I might be more successful if I came up with some sort of plan, schedule and realistic expectations for my writing. So I decided that I wouldn’t post anything until I had written at least 15 posts, so I have at least that many before I retire again.

I’ll try to post at least 3 times per week, and each post will be no more than 500 words. (For reference, this post is about 250 words). To help focus my writing I have planned a few different series.  So stay tuned!

On a related note, I am also blogging through the New Testament (along with other youth group leaders) from now until Easter at

In the words of Samwise Gamgee: “Well, I’m back.”

Question: I have a handful of things I will begin to post, but until then, and assuming someone is reading this, anything you’d like to read here?  Requests?  Buehler?  Buehler?