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Blog Description:

Information, reviews, insights for men over 50 on outdoor activities, trips, health products, amateur sports, hobbies, spiritual health, vacations, and other topics that will help have a full, healthy, whole life.
Blog Added: July 06, 2017 11:13:06 PM
Audience Rating: Parental Guidance
Blog Platform: WordPress
Blog Country: United-States/Texas   United-States/Texas
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Blog Rating: 3.00
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Carnival Cruise, Most Active, Royal Caribbean, Best Food, sort of

I took two cruises recently. Both were out of Galveston, Royal Caribbean, 4-day Vision of the Seas and Carnival 5-day Valor. Both were very enjoyable and both were needed breaks from the routine and the stress of day to day work. We had very different experiences on both and hopefully our experiences will enhance or … Continue reading "Carnival Cruise, Most Active, Royal Caribbean, Best Food, sort...

I took two cruises recently. Both were out of Galveston, Royal Caribbean, 4-day Vision of the Seas and Carnival 5-day Valor. Both were very enjoyable and both were needed breaks from the routine and the stress of day to day work. We had very different experiences on both and hopefully our experiences will enhance or help you decide on your next cruise or 1st cruise.

Royal Caribbean had the best boarding process and “drink” package. We received our Sea Card as at checkin. Go to the dock when your scheduled time is, we did and walked right up to the counter, checked in and when we finished checkin, they called our boarding group to board. We weren’t in the terminal for more than 5 minutes. Since we had our Sea Card our “drink” package began immediately. We used a parking service that carries you in a van, right up to the terminal.

Carnival’s boarding process was even faster, but they did not take our pictures and did not give us our Sea Card. We boarded with our boarding passes and had to pay for every drink we ordered, even though we had purchased a drink package. We used a parking service for this cruise as well, which also took us right up to the terminal.

Royal Caribbean had high quality food in the dining room and average food at their other locations. They charged for room service, which is the only source of 24 hour food. They also had tremendous service, never letting you sit long before some asked you if you needed anything. Our rooms were kept clean with fresh towels daily. The entertainment was OK. The outdoor movies were dated and not appealing. The main show was great, one out of 4 times. The comedian was terrible. The music around the ship was average. The activities stopped around 10:30 or 11:00 and the ship closed up, nothing opened. For many that is great, for me, I am a nite owl and love late night snacks…Pizza, Sandwiches, Ice Cream, but they were not available 24 hours on Royal. There were not a lot of activities either, that were free and alluring. My wife loved the cruise, I thought it was boring.

Carnival had average food in the dining room. Great hamburgers at Guy’s Hamburgers. Fresh sandwiches at the deli. An assortment of great food filled the buffet and good stir fry was available at the Mongolian Grill. Great street tacos and burritos were put together as ordered daily. They were good too. Carnival also had BBQ at another location, which I did not get around to. Pizza, Ice Cream and cookies are available 24 hours. The deli is open late as well. The food was better than average at all the locations, the dining room was the only average food. I didn’t use room service, but it looked like it was free and 24 hours.

Carnival’s activities continued past midnight and were fun and entertaining. The main shows were average, except the last one, it was great. The music around the ship was exceptional. The whole atmosphere was much more upbeat. Of course there are louder cruisers on Carnival and some that were a little over “baring” and they didn’t enforce the dress code in the dining room. The outdoor movies were good. All in all the entertainment was much better on Carnival, for me anyway. And since they went into the night, I was not bored. And fun activities on Carnival were free.

When we got home at departed the ship, Royal Caribbean was much faster and organized than Carnival. But we got off both ships fairly quickly and with no problems at all.

You will enjoy both Royal Caribbean and Carnival. If you are looking for a peaceful retreat with less activity, Royal might be your best choice. If you are looking for entertainment, excitement and fun while getting away, then Carnival might be your best choice.

We have one more this year. I’ll let you know about it when we take it.



How to Clean Internal Locking Trekking Poles!!

I was surfing the web this morning, looking at Backpacking items, blogs and articles. I ran across this and said, WOW! I needed this video. I use internal locking trekking poles and have been worried that when they stop working, what will I do. I much prefer internal locking poles, but so many of my … Continue reading "How to Clean Internal Locking Trekking...

I was surfing the web this morning, looking at Backpacking items, blogs and articles. I ran across this and said, WOW! I needed this video. I use internal locking trekking poles and have been worried that when they stop working, what will I do. I much prefer internal locking poles, but so many of my friends say that once they start slipping, there is nothing you can do, but purchase new poles. Wrong, I now know how to fix and maintain them if they start to slip. I have years of backpacking on my REI poles and look forward to more.

Youtube video on maintaining or cleaning internal lock trekking poles.



Pay Attention to Pain!!

I’m back running… Pay attention to pain. I was doing very well running, increasing distance, bettering my pace, lowering my heart rate and pressure…preparing for 3 different 1/2 marathon events. But, because I didn’t pay attention to pain, I was out for 3 weeks of recovery. My injury started with helping some people move their … Continue reading "Pay Attention to...

I’m back running…

Pay attention to pain. I was doing very well running, increasing distance, bettering my pace, lowering my heart rate and pressure…preparing for 3 different 1/2 marathon events. But, because I didn’t pay attention to pain, I was out for 3 weeks of recovery.

My injury started with helping some people move their household goods to a different home. I didn’t notice it at the time, but through the lifting and twisting and turning, I threw my hip out of alignment.

About 4 days after the move, I noticed a pulling sensation in my right leg when I was running. After about 2 miles, the sensation eased, and I was able to continue running. I noticed this sensation each time I ran, but like any runner, I ran through it. I noticed pain in my abductor muscle, my right quadricep, and tendons or muscles attached to my right knee. I kept running until the pain no longer subsided. The pain increased as I ran and stayed around after I finished. I iced, but that didn’t take the pain away. I had also noticed a pain at the point of my hip. This was actually the first pain I had felt running, but before that I had experienced a familiar lower back pain, that should have caused me to pay attention and do something about the pain.

Finally, I went to the chiropractor for my lower back pain. My hip was out of alignment which caused the pulling of the tendons and muscles over my hip and caused my gate to be different. The chiropractor made several adjustments over the next week. WOW, instant relief. I ran to see how I felt. The pulling that started from my hip was gone, but too late, I had injured my quadricep and abductor beyond strains, I had pulled them.

I iced daily, twice per day, 15 minutes at each injured location. I used a Soft Comfort CorPack made by Core Product. It is frost-free, stays cold or hot, and does not get wet. Great product for icing.

I rested and didn’t lift any thing heavy. I walked, but slowly. I did this for 3 weeks. I also bought new shoes, mine were close to maximum mileage. Same shoes, Altra Torin 3.0

I’m back. I ran this morning, 2.5 miles, a long way from the distance I normally run, but I ran. I ran a slower pace and iced immediately following my run. 15 minutes on each area of concern. I felt some low-level pain, so I will be careful and only run short distances every other day until I fully recover.

Pay attention to pain!! I probably would not have had to rest or ice for nearly as long, had I taken care of my hip alignment and pain immediately. If you experience pain when exercising, running, biking, hiking, etc., take care of it immediately. You may have to stay out for a short period of time, but it will keep you from being sidelined for an extended period of time.

Next post, I will share my recovery smoothie, that I drink daily.



Committing to Clean Eating, Sort of…

I have been reading a lot of articles and blogs on Clean Eating. Some of what I read makes sense, but some seems impractical and almost impossible to practice. I like the approach, but 6 meals per day each being 3 hours apart, for most of us is at the very least impractical. So, I … Continue reading "Committing to Clean Eating, Sort...

I have been reading a lot of articles and blogs on Clean Eating. Some of what I read makes sense, but some seems impractical and almost impossible to practice. I like the approach, but 6 meals per day each being 3 hours apart, for most of us is at the very least impractical. So, I am going to adapt the principles so I am able to apply them in a practical way in my life.
I found two great sources, Tosca Reno and The Gracious Pantry. Tosca advocates eating 6 meals per day. Both have great information on Clean Eating food and principles. Plus, I’m not sure how healthy it really is to eat 6 meals per day 2-3 hours apart. Some say, including The Gracious Pantry, eating small meals more often increases your chance of diabetes, since your insulin stays spiked all day.

Anyway, here is what I am going to do. I will eat 3 meals per day, with snacks throughout, to keep me from getting “famished.” I will shop for and seek to eat only “clean” foods. I will stay with MFP, MyFitness Pal, recommended calorie intake for my goals. I will continue my physical activities and exercising. So, I am going to Sort-of take the Clean Eating approach, adapting to my situation and life.

Here are the basic principles of Clean Eating that I will implement:
1. Eat Lean Protein, Complex Carbs and Healthy Fat at Each Meal.
2. Never Skip a Meal. Make sure you eat breakfast daily!!
3. Read Labels. No more than 5 ingredients for the item. No “chemical” wording accepted. No preservatives. No processed ingredients. No added salt/sodium. No added sugar of any type. If you don’t understand or know what the ingredient is, don’t use it. (Organic is best)
4. No Refined Ingredients or Foods. (No sugar, refined grains, refined fats). Ezekiel Bread is a great bread source, it is in the freezer section due to no preservatives.
5. Eat Fresh Vegitables, Fruits, and Nuts. Stay away from juices.
6. Eat Lean Protein. Cold water fish is best. Skinless chicken breast. Skinless turkey breast. Grass fed beef. Venison. Pork tenderloin. (No ham, no processed meats, no deli meat).
7. Drink 8 Cups of Water, Daily.
8. Portion Size and Calorie Intake Suitable for Your Physical Type and Goal.
9. Plan. If you do not plan your meals, even going out, you will not be successful. If you do not plan your grocery store trips, you will not purchase what you will need or eat.
10. Freeze Food. Learn how to freeze fresh vegetables, fruits and meat. Most people give up, because it is expensive when fresh food ruins in the refrigerator.

There are plenty of resources to find lists of healthy fats, complex carbs and proteins. However, I provide a short list of nuts (some of the healthy fats), complex carbs and fish protein below.

Notice the Raw Nut list shows number of nuts and calories in 1 ounce.
Type of Nut # of Nuts in 1-ounce Calories
*Almonds 22 170
*Brazil nuts 6 to 8 185
*Cashews 18 160
*Hazelnuts 20 175
*Macadamias 10 to 12 200
*Peanuts 18 165
*Pecan halves 20 200
*Pistachios (shelled) 47 160
*Walnut halves 14 185

High Water Content Complex Carbs
*Artichokes
*Asparagus
*Beet Greens
*Broccoli
*Brussel Sprouts
*Cabbage
*Cauliflower
*Celery
*Cucumbers
*Eggplant
*Kale
*Lettuce
*Okra
*Onions
*Spinnach
*Tomatoes
*Turnip Greens
*Watercress
*Zucchini

Complex Carbs
*Apples
*Berries
*Citrus Fruit
*Grapes
*Kiwi
*Lychee
*Mango
*Papaya
*Pear
*Plum

Best Fish
*Mahi Mahi
*Grouper
*Snapper
*Char
*Salmon
*Halibut



Introspection of My New Year’s Eve with Friends

When I was sitting in a stool at our kitchen island, about 11:00 p.m. New Years Eve, I contemplated how we spent that evening. We had just finished an evening that included playing a game of “Hand and Foot” and eating homemade chili, tortillas and quesadillas with two friends, a couple we have grown to … Continue reading "Introspection of My New Year’s Eve with...

When I was sitting in a stool at our kitchen island, about 11:00 p.m. New Years Eve, I contemplated how we spent that evening. We had just finished an evening that included playing a game of “Hand and Foot” and eating homemade chili, tortillas and quesadillas with two friends, a couple we have grown to know well.

We had a wonderful evening. We quit early, before midnight, because my wife was ill. She would not have been able to last till midnight. Our friends noticed, so they left in order to allow her to get her needed rest. They noticed this, because they are friends, not acquaintances, not companions, not peers or just fun people. They are authentic friends.

We said our goodbyes and our friends drove home.

Whole living includes friends with whom you are able to enjoy a meal, talk about dreams, share relaxing entertainment and laugh at each other (with each other). Then, even after spending so much time together, you still look forward to the time you are able to do it again.

Friends are unique treasures, not often found. There are plenty of acquaintances, companions, peers and fun people, but not many genuine friends. Friends are dependable, empathetic, and encouraging. They are able to challenge you and be truthful (even when being truthful is remedial). Because, friends truly want what is best for you, always.

Friends develop strong bonds with you. Friends are there for you, without an agenda or desire for reward. Friends find joy in your joy, and pain in your pain. Friends however, don’t let their friends campout in their pain or joy for too long. Friends help you move forward in healthy ways, not let us hang on to the past.

We have some friends, not many, because being a true friend cost…cost time, heart ache, resources and openness and transparency. Friendship exposes one’s heart, leaving it vulnerable. Yet, friendship has the greatest benefits and advantages for one’s total well-being. We are made for relationships, and the best relationships (outside of marital) are real friends.

Spending time with acquaintances, companions, peers or just fun people is enjoyable. But, spending time with real friends is soulful, empowering and life-giving.

Don’t be too quick to make “friends,” but make sure you find those treasures who are real friends. Life is far less than full without them.

A man of many companions may come to ruin,
but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.
—Proverbs 18:24



Sometimes, Time Alone and Away is Needed

I went to Lake Brownwood State Park for 4 days. I rented one of their rustic cabins. I stayed there spending time alone with God, nature and “myself.” I needed the break, the withdrawal, the rest. However, I didn’t just need a “retreat,” but a retreat with a purpose. A retreat without a purpose is … Continue reading "Sometimes, Time Alone and Away is...

I went to Lake Brownwood State Park for 4 days. I rented one of their rustic cabins. I stayed there spending time alone with God, nature and “myself.” I needed the break, the withdrawal, the rest. However, I didn’t just need a “retreat,” but a retreat with a purpose. A retreat without a purpose is just that, a retreat with no intentional desired result, just a rest. With a purpose, one is able to reorient, reprioritize, and renew. A purposeful retreat helps move forward with a new vigor, a new drive, a new energy for life. Without a purpose, nothing is gained, not even real rest. My method, retreat with a Bible, 2 books focused on my present challenges, plenty of water, a secluded site and no food. Yes I fasted for 4 days. I’ll explain fasting fuller in a future blog, but suffice it to say, fasting intensifies one’s experience.

After my purposeful retreat, I came back with clarity–having recommitted to my spiritual, emotional and physical priorities,goals and needs. My goal was to clearly understand the direction my ministry needed to go, how to improve my relationships, and how to be healthy in every aspect as I live day-to-day.

I went to Lake Brownwood State Park, because during mid-December, mid-week, no one is at the park. The cabins are empty, the park is empty and the campgrounds are empty. I am able to spend 4-days walking all over the park, by the lake, through the walking trails and down the roads, without coming in contact with anyone, but an occasional Park Ranger driving by.

Everyone needs some time alone and away from his or her normal environment. But it is only a “rest,” without having a specific purpose and desired result. General purposes are clarity, new energy, and reorientation. My purpose this time had to do with my stage in life and the new launch of a ministry I am involved in, Heart to Heart Christian Fellowship. I needed clarity as to what kind of church God wants Heart to Heart to be, on upcoming decisions concerning Heart to Heart and to let go of feelings and emotions that are hindering my progress in life. All this happened!!

Here are some pointers on taking a “retreat” with a purpose:

1. Find a place you are able to go where you will be away from people and your normal environment. Plan to be gone 4 full days, so make all the arrangements before hand letting people know you will not be using your phone or answering any communication for 4 days. Turn off your phone!! I call my wife each evening, but leave it off before and turn it off after the call.
2. Begin your fast the day you leave by eating a large healthy breakfast. I fast completely except I drink water and coffee. If you are not use to fasting, prepare yourself in advance by fasting 24 hours to 48 hours several times before your fasting retreat.
3. Take plenty of bottled water, because you do not know how the water will be wherever you go. I took a case so I could drink at least 8 cups per day. Do not take food! You will be tempted to cheat. Plan where you will eat breakfast when you are finished.
4. Answer, why do you need a retreat and what area of life do you want to improve. Answer what major decisions, challenges and changes you have ahead. Decide what focus you want to make, before you leave.
5. Take reading material based on the focus you want to have. Example: I wanted to focus on the upcoming ministry decisions, my relationships, and letting go of hindering feelings. I took my Bible (I always take my Bible). I took two books recommended to me, Circle Maker, and Beginners Guide to the Gift of Prophecy. I took another but didn’t read it, feeling I had come to clarity and needed to read the last book at a later date. I also took a blank spiral notebook for note taking and several writing instruments, pens and pencils.
6. Spend each day praying, reading, note-taking, walking, contemplating and meditating on what you have read. I do not follow any “daily” plan. I read as I want to, pray at the beginning of the day and through the day as well as take notes about my thoughts, dreams, visions and my readings. I do not start planning or writing down my strategy for the future until I have had time for reflecting. I usually start writing down my future plans, strategies and actions on my 3rd day.
7. Turn off your phone! I did already say this, but it needed to be said again.
8. Talk out loud to yourself, you are not crazy, that helps work things out.
9. Be open.
10. I usually leave on Sunday afternoon (having eaten a large breakfast that morning). I head back on Thursday morning, finding a great restaurant to eat breakfast on the way home.

I am going to do this 2 times per year. I use to do it 1 time per year, but this purposeful retreat is so beneficial, I am increasing it for 2018. I’ll go in June or July then again in December. I will look for a different place for my summer retreat.



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