Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Vacation Travel - Should I Exercise?

Someone asked me the other day if I did any exercise while on vacation. Without a second of thought I replied YES……but then I had to think about it. I always want to say yes but it isn't always that easy. I started thinking about all of my travels, from vacations to marathon races to business trips……do I exercise on all of these? Really? Do I?

Well on trips where we do the marathons that would be the first area you could say of course not! You are about to run twenty six point freakin two miles. But actually I do. The day before I spend an inordinate amount of time stretching, short running, resting in thought and doing various exercises. I wouldn't say they are heavy exercises but they certainly are training tips.

After the race I'll repeat the same routine as the day before. Sometimes run even a little further…..certainly do more stretches.

So let's throw that scenario out.  How about a business trip? Absolutely yes! First of all I don't consider it any different than any other day at the office…..I've just added travel to my agenda. I have two typical kinds of travel for work. Long distance where I fly someplace. And then my normal overnight travels to my second office in Richmond.

For Richmond, this is like my normal routine. I travel there most often once a week. If I forego a workout, I'll really going to screw up my exercise routine. I can't have this. I am more of a runner than I am a gym rat. I don't like the treadmill especially not other cardio machines. It's just plain running for me. I always pack my running shoes, shorts and t-shirt when I go. My travel bag has all the "race goodies" that I might ever need so they are handy at all times. You know the stuff: gels, band aids, rubbing cream, etc. It's like a cosmetic bag for exercising or running.

Because I've been there so often, I know of a few running routes where I stay. I get up at the same time (regardless of my late night meetings) and do my coffee and plan for a run. It isn't as easy for the longer runs but I can do short work outs so I get my satisfying  need for cardio and complete my task of exercise so I don't get out of sync. Exercise in the morning starts everything off in the right frame of mind.

How about long distance travel? Whether it is a vacation or a business trip I treat them the same. Honestly I get up every morning at 5AM thanks to the Miracle Morning  routine established by Hal Elrod. I've modified mine a little different and call it the MARVELous Morning….after all I am a super hero!

Getting up at a regular time…..again, NO MATTER HOW OR WHAT YOU DID THE EVENING BEFORE keeps you on track and in sync with your physical and mental schedule you have established. Once I get up and run in a new town or a new country I've really energized my day…..all day!

If time restricts, I will head to the hotel gym and do a quick workout. Treadmill some and some free weights. But obviously the drug of choice is hitting the pavement. I set my Runkeeper and take off. Maybe the clerk at the front desk is a fitness guru too and will know of a trail or park close by…..if not…..I explore.

I have maps from all over where the Runkeeper logs my routes. Sometimes I have to go back and forth like in Milwaukee. There were canals that made me run some circles. Or Vegas when I had to do a bit of stopping at traffic lights. All of it is fun when you see different sites that you wouldn't typically if you walked or drove a car. Crabtree Falls required some steep hills and trail running. Vacation in Disney required some running in and around the resorts. Those things are huge, plenty of running room. Plus they probably have a gym if you really wanted to workout before traversing the day in the park with Mickey.

Best one ever was a trip to Punta Cana in Dominican Republic with a bunch of buddies. Yes, late nights made it difficult to get up early but I still did it. Nothing better than lacing up your shoes and heading out to the path right there on the beach. Try doing a sand run! I pretty much had the entire beach to myself with the exception of a few other ladies who apparently had the same running addiction that I did. Best way to make new friends!

The key here is not letting go of your scheduled workouts even during the travels of vacation or work. It's important for your body and for you. Treat it that way and as a reward rather than a torture.

I have a series of simple stretches/exercises I do in my hotel room that I'd be glad to share. Write us and we can even work up a simple plan fit specifically for you regarding a workout or running.

So here is the biggest thing you can do for exercising while on vacation....PLANNING!
We have spent all your time planning you flight, hotel and things you are going to do....don't forget to plan for your exercise. So as an example, I'm flying out with a bunch of buddies to Vegas......yes same set of buggies as Dominican Republic.....and yes I'm in trouble....LOL.

I will be preparing to rebound off of my Achilles fiasco and don't want to miss my training opportunities. Also, I don't want to miss the sites. Can we do both? Sure! Here are some of my ideas that I easily searched to figure out serval options during my trip. Not all of them will work but if time permits id surely like to get several of these bucket runs accomplished.

Here's what I found for VEGAS....given these have mostly incorporated running:
(click the link and find all the wonderful deals on

Located about 20 miles west of the Strip, RED ROCK CANYON NATIONAL CONSERVATION AREA offers more than 30 miles of trails, most of which are suitable for running including a semi-technical 12 mile loop through the interior of the park. The 200,000 acre park has stunning mountain vistas, an array of cacti (don't step on any!) and desert wild flowers....Oh and the wildlife! Bighorn sheep, coyotes to rattlesnake....(There's a snake in by boots....errrr running shoes!)

Another option is the 32 mile RIVER MOUNTAIN LOOP TRAIL southwest of Las Vegas, which includes the 7-mile HISTORIC RAILROAD TUNNEL TRAIL, a rail that snakes (no more snakes!) through 5 tunnels as it meanders from Lake Mead National Recreation Area entrance to Hoover Dam.

For a shorter urban run from a hotel, it's easy to create a 4-6 mile loop that incorporates the sights and sounds of Sin City, including the iconic WELCOME TO LAS VEGAS SIGN and the fountains at the BELLAGIO hotel-casino. You got to do this....and take a picture and send it to me!


Read more at Hidden Running in Vegas

Other options include a few of the following that I found interesting.

Sunset Park

Just south of McCarran airport is Sunset Park. Not easily accessible by foot from downtown Las Vegas or the Strip, but it’s the closest ‘green space’ to the city. There’s a small pond with a perimeter path and it’s easy to put together 2–3 miles on the trails within the park. Some paved, some not paved.
Mt. Charleston
35 miles northwest of Las Vegas. Numerous trail options
A significant mountain, rising from 3,000 to 12,000 feet. 52 miles of trails featuring trees like juniper, mountain mahogany, Aspen and Ponderosa pine. In summer, it is significantly cooler than Las Vegas. In winter, there can be snow…and skiing. Many of the hiking trails are run-able. For experienced, endurance trail runners, there are the North Loop and South Loop trails.

Valley of Fire State Park
6 miles from Lake Meade and 55 miles northeast of Las Vegas. 

This is another opportunity to access some desert/red rock trail running. It’s 6 miles from Lake Meade and 55 miles northeast of Las Vegas. A great destination if you’re near Lake Meade or on your way to Zion National Park. Note: bring water. No facilities whatsoever.

Please let me know of any other locations that YOU found interesting. Id love to try them out too!

Eugene Thompson

Founder + Marathon Runner


Sunday, September 18, 2016


Listened to a great lesson this morning at church regarding grumbling and complaining. We are a nation of complainers. It doesn't matter what it is about, we grumble about it. If we get 100%.....we complain that we didn't get 110%. There is always something and it's never good enough. 

Our resulting feelings are that we never happy. Never satisfied. Never content. As Christians that isn't how we should be or act. We should lead others and not follow suit with all the other grumbling people around us everyday. We become like them if we listen to them or associate with them. This spins out of control. 

Chapter 4 of Philippians gives us a powerful message of hope and encouragement. 

“Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.”
Philippians 4:4-9 NKJV

Think on this things and remain positive. 

ET This I Believe. 
Eugene Thompson

Saturday, September 17, 2016

The 50 Mile Challenge - Run Eugene Run

Today was a pretty amazing day. So much work leading up to this event by so many people. I am so humbled and grateful. Waking up this morning I was a little depressed. Race mornings are always so exciting...and stressful. But today I knew I should be the one who was doing the running......but I can't. Not because of nearly 50 days ago I ruptured my achilles ending this year's challenge for me.

Thankfully some wonderful people and supporters helped me shift my goals and agenda this year and they picked up where I left off. They were able to accomplish the 50 Mile Challenge as a relay on my behalf. I'm so THANKFUL to Unify Health and Fitness for their support and coordination.

The morning started off with a brief talk sharing my story about diabetes in my life and how we got to this 50 mile challenge. It was nice to see all the support of approximately 25 people getting ready for this challenge. As always.....I had to take a pre-race photo. I needed a wide angle cell phone! Didn't get every in the picture.

The course was a quarter mile loop around the office park. It was a last minute decision to do this race as a group since my injury. It wasn't easy to find a spot to run as a group. Everything required reservations and permits.....I thought it was a loss until Melissa and Brian of Unify offered to create this run at their complex. There was no clue how many runners would show up a plan was developed to use sugar cubes as a marker of how many laps were completed. 200 laps were required and as each runner/walker completed a lap, they picked up a sugar cube and dropped it in the bucket.


So many were doing the original challenge of running miles up until this day. The added focus for this event was the ability to run through their gym after every lap or every other lap (their choice) and do a circuit of exercises like a boot camp. What a brilliant idea.

And the reward after everyone's hard work.....THE BLING! Our first medal, our first race, our first everything. Will there be more? I think so. Challenges for everyone by virtual racing, running or walking. Watch for some upcoming events. We hope you will join us as we continue to fight diabetes.
Thanks again to everyone for helping us start our dream. Without each of you we couldn't have done it.
Eugene Thompson
Founder + Marathon Runner

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

MARVELous Morning Routine

What is your schedule like in the morning? How about during the day? When do you find enough time?These are the questions I often hear. I have had so many people ask how I am able to accomplish so much every day. So I thought I would share what I do everyday and how I start off my morning. This is just MY methods. You should develop or figure what works best in your life. It's important that you utilize a plan that means something to you. Modify and adapt something will be relevant to your beliefs. MARVELous Morning is mine.

So yes, it has a lot of similar characteristics to Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod. If you haven't read his book, well...What are you waiting for?! A piece of his plan is part of what I do. I read my affirmations to myself. Sometimes there are multiple thoughts or affirmative actions. I don't always read them all everyday. I also get up early every morning. I like to get up at 5:00 AM but that doesn't always happen. I lose time if it slips too late, but it is my early morning routine.

So why Marvelous? Well Hal already has his.....since this is me and for ME's marvelous! Also because of MARVEL comics. I want to be a superhero and if I do this on a continuing and regular basis.....I'll become MARVELous too...every morning. Now that's settled.....we will move on.

I'm old school so I like writing my lists. All my morning work is on my iPad. It's easy to keep with me when traveling and has all my quick notes, readings, bible thoughts, agendas, friends, etc. I use my Penultimate app which ties back to my Evernote Account. My MARVELous Morning List is copied from day to day so I don't have to re-write everything everyday. Just the check in the box and my assessment/progress. And no.....I don't make it to 100% everyday......or often.....or regular......or maybe even EVER. Maybe a weekend day I've been able to accomplish every item, but then again those days are less full.

Use whatever programs work well for you. I try to keep mine simple. These tools link together and allow me to track my progress. Tracking is my way of holding myself accountable. If you don't know where you came from how can you know how far you've come?

I use the 5 minute journal app. It allows me to add visual motivation and plan for the day's short agenda....its just a big picture....not a task list. It also allows me to write a quick motivator or how I'm feeling that morning. Even the opportunity to provide an affirmation for some big I'm going to accomplish. My gratitude reward at the end of the day sends me back to this app to plug in my accomplishments. It's important to recognize your own successes.....even if they are small. One small step at a time.

I use the YouVersion bible app. Gives devotionals that is backed up by reading scripture. My faith puts me in the scripture DAILY. This is important to me. The app allows me to pick images of my own and place scripture on them. A daily visual motivation with scripture allows me to continually focus on good things. I also add these images on our church's Facebook page. It's quick and simple and allows me to encourage others while serving.

I once was a terrible reader. I'm still not the best but I work at it. I have a stack of books from business related to fun related. It's important to get a mix of both. EO has a blog post from various members. I try to read them often. If not, I'll switch to Kindle to read a chapter or so in the morning. This is short readings at this time of the day. If I'm reading something that I'd prefer to take a lot of notes on then I'll find another more opportune time to do such. Also, early in the morning it's still pretty dark. I can't read a hardcover book. I save those for sitting at my desk or even traveling. Kindle is nice when you travel because you can flip through several different books and carry them on your iPhone or iPad.....everywhere. If I find myself stuck in a waiting room or for a plane, I can pop open Kindle and pick up where I left off.

Currently I'm using blogger to post my stories, thoughts and other bits of data that are bigger than a social media post. There are some limitations with the iPad app when it comes to editing. However getting the thoughts down quickly works well. I come back to it later on the computer for final review. I have three blogs I am currently writing for. That is my most challenging effort.....finding time to imput my own original content.

I use my notes a lot. Wherever I am and I run across something I'll jot it down here. My devices sync so I can coordinate my thoughts in other areas. By doing this I'm able to capture great ideas and keep from loosing them. My memory isn't what it used to be.....but my note taking skills are excellent. I use this app also for my Mental Workout. This piece was take from Dr. Jason Selk who wrote Executive Toughness. Breathing - Identification or Affirmations - Visualization. I have a quick list that I can change add or modify without much effort. This same list I return to each day.
For tracking my exercise.....other than at Unify.... I use the RunKeeper app to log my miles. It ties in with the Heath and Human apps where I can track my weight and blood sugar. All things that are critical to me when fighting diabetes. Again it's good to know where you have come from to understand where you are.

I don't often just listen to music (except when I'm running) especially in the car. A thirty minute drive to work allows me to catch a short podcast. A drive to my Richmond office which is two hours away, gets me three or four podcasts. I keep track of them and organize my next one using the Podcast app. Currently I'm way behind.

The rest of the MARVELous Morning Routine relates toward performed in the office. Regular tasks that help me focus on the organization and growth of the company. It doesn't log my specific tasks as I use my Calendar and Reminders for those. Each reminder gives me detailed scope, deadlines and timeframes to complete. Each have categories for work, personal and play.

Speaking of PLAY. We really never watched live television. Too many commercials that wasted my time. Why would I sit around waiting for them.....I watch tv on MY time. We used to have DISH. Everything was on the DVR. Now we watch more Netflix. (We decided to save the $130 a month on DISH and use the money elsewhere.) We have been hitting the recorded seasons lately which again.....its on my time.

That's my planning process and how I'm able to accomplish as much as I do. I continually work on being more efficient with my schedule and my time. There are so many things that I want to do, try, see etc. that I must be better organized. Management of my time helps me be a better person to others in my life. Hopefully I'll be able to continue sharing with them to help them reach their dreams too.

ET This I Believe
Eugene Thompson

Saturday, September 3, 2016

The Achilles Chronicles - The First Steps

Week five since my accident, four weeks since surgery and two weeks since the cast was removed.....the first time I'm allowed to put some weight on my foot.......with doctor's permission.
I know, I know, I know.....I'm supposed to follow the rules.....and if you know me.....I never follow the rules. That being problem number one. Problem number two is I'm so impatient.

Today I went to UNIFY for the first time to do an upper body workout. It felt good but I certainly wish I could do more. Returning to a routine is rewarding. I've missed my workouts. With both my wife and I being out of commission these last months we have both found blessings and comfort in the support of our friends there. I posted a few videos of us working out that Michelle took of us on the YouTube page.

Today was also the last half-day Friday at the office that signals the end of summer. With Labor Day on Monday we all get the opportunity for a long weekend. With the hurricane/tropical storm approaching we will have a holiday in doors! That figures! I'll miss the Rock-N-Roll half marathon in Virginia Beach....but then again maybe everybody else will to unless the winds calm down. I couldn't do much this weekend anyway so I'll do some reading and resting......that'll work!

Today was also the second physical therapy appointment but more importantly I was given permission to apply some weight on it. 10% 19 pounds? Sure why not! That sounds about right. Toes tingling a bit. Incision doesn't really look so pretty. The healing process is going well but it less than desirable looking. I guess that might be normal. PT was a little too light for my preferences (of course) by picking up marbles with my toes.....really? Come on guys....PUSH ME! I know I know I know....patience. We already talked about this.....I don't have any.

All in all, things are going well and I should be careful not to create any setbacks. Ok.....I guess. 

Registration for The 50 Mile Challenge for RUN EUGENE RUN. If it wasn't for UNIFY we wouldn't have much. I'm thankful for all of those that contributed and are helping. Two weeks away from the run. Everyone jumping in to accumulate a total of 50 miles on 9.17.16 will be outstanding and humbling at the same time. I looking forward to being a spectator (not really but that's all I can do right now) and cheering everyone on!

Everyone can still sponsor and still run. I just won't be able to get you a shirt or medal until later. All those contributing will be our sponsors throughout 2017. We will have your link on our website and posts. We will add late sign ups to our official race shirts. I'll be preparing for a full recovery and begin running by (or before) the Shamrock Marathon in Virginia Beach. I think that will be a rewarding and significant return for me. 

Look for updates and follow-ups as we continue......again I want to thank EVERYONE.

Eugene Thompson
Founder + Marathon Runner (soon once again)

Monday, August 29, 2016

The Achilles Chronicles - Recovery Update

First of all let me apologize to my followers, friends and family. I've been less than motivated lately to post updates to my progress......mostly because there hasn't been any. Most of you already know of my set back in late July when I ruptured my Achilles. That quickly ended my journey to run my 50 mile challenge I have been planning for so long. I have had the feelings of letting myself down but more importantly of those who had been counting on me. I am so sorry to have let you down.

The 50 mile challenge was to happen while I was still 50 years old. Unfortunately the doctor says I cannot even begin running until after my birthday if at all this year. Patience has never been my best trait. Struggling with depression seems to have escalated. Diabetes does that. Running helped with it. The inability to walk without crutches, to drive, to do just about anything without assistance or depending on others has just thrown fuel on the fire. Some days are better than others. Some worse. Life goes on and I strive to focus on the issues I can address.

The definition of SETBACK is shear daunting when I think about having to start all over. The fear of ever returning to where I once was haunts me. It'll be a long road.......longer than 26.2!

Well that's my emotional state......sorry if it lacks positivity......that's today's mood.

Here's the recovery story....or at least my update for the last four weeks:

07.28.16  Snapped Achilles went to ER

07.29.16  Saw the orthopedic surgeon


08.25.16  First visit to physical therapist for evaluation


Two weeks of no weight bearing then two more of minimal weight bearing from 9.19.16
That'll put me at mid to late October before I can begin walking without crutches entirely.

09.16.16  Return to surgeon for follow-up
09.17.16  50 mile challenge day. Thankful for others who will be running in my stead at Unify!
That's about as far as I can see into the future. Each day I grow more anxious to begin.....begin doing something! Anything! Did I say patience wasn't my best trait? It's hard to plan my schedule even months in advance because I just don't know how well I'll be walking or if at all yet. That's frustrating.

Running by end of November.
First marathon......Shamrock in Virginia Beach by J&A Racing
50 mile challenge redux......9.16.17

Wish me luck and send your prayers. Thank you to my friends.

Eugene Thompson
Marathon Runner + Founder

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Prevent Sugar Spikes and Crashes

Credit writing to Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM

One of my clients told me about a high fat diet her medical doctor prescribed for the treatment of heart disease. As a long-time nutritionist and doctor of natural medicine I am well-versed in the benefits of healthy fats, but would never recommend the fatty bacon, sausages and other foods this patient ate as part of her prescribed eating plan.

Too often people assess a dietary strategy by one factor only: 

does it work? But that should not be the only factor to consider when it comes to your health. In addition, you should ask what the diet does for your overall health. This has never been truer, particularly with the high fat and high protein fad diets on the market right now.

New research published in the medical journal Experimental Psychology confirms this fact. In this study researchers found that a high fat diet can harm the kidneys as much as type 2 diabetes. The study found that these dietary habits caused a significant increase in blood sugar levels, which is to blame for the kidney damage.

Blood sugar naturally fluctuates in response to the various foods we eat. Glucose, one of the body’s energy currencies, powers our muscles, brain and other aspects of our bodies. But, when we eat high amounts of sugars or refined starches, our blood sugar fluctuates wildly, causing spikes and crashes that result in the same fluctuations in our energy levels, mood and over time, our weight.

When high levels of glucose build up in the blood—an extremely dangerous state—the kidneys come to the rescue in trying to filter it out before it can cause damage to the organs or tissues. But, sometimes that comes at the cost of damage to the kidneys when the problem occurs frequently or is ongoing. Many diabetics experience a state called diabetic kidney disease due to high blood glucose levels over long periods of time which results in the kidneys straining to filter out waste products from the body. This new study found that a high fat diet can have the same type of effect on the kidneys. I’m sure it will come as no surprise that diets high in junk food were also found to have the same effect.

How to Prevent Blood Sugar Spikes and Crashes

Fortunately, there are some excellent natural ways of preventing the blood sugar spikes and strain on the kidneys:

1) Significantly reduce your intake of junk food. I’m sure I don’t really need to tell you this.

2) Avoid high fat diets. They are the nutritional equivalent of choosing a career path as a bank robber. Sure, you may reach some of your short-term goals like weight loss, but a life of crime will definitely catch up to you before long. And, as you’ve learned, high fat diets can wreak havoc on your kidneys.

3) Eat more fiber. A diet high in fiber helps to evenly release sugars into the bloodstream so your body will have the energy it needs without the rollercoaster spikes and crashes.

4) Eat protein at every meal. That doesn’t necessarily mean meat, which is often high in fat. There are many excellent sources of plant-based protein. Check out my blog “Top Vegan Sources of Protein” for more information.

5) This one’s another no-brainer: reduce your sugar consumption. For ideas on how to do so and how to curb cravings, check out my blog “A Guide to Cutting Sugar Out of Your Diet.”

Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM is an international best-selling and 20-time published book author whose works include: 60 Seconds to Slim: Balance Your Body Chemistry to Burn Fat Fast! (Rodale).

Run Eugene Run

Eugene Thompson

Marathon Runner + Founder

Friday, August 19, 2016

Diabetes epidemic growing

CDC: Diabetes epidemic growing at an alarming rate.

This was the headline a few years ago. Has it changed? No, we haven't gotten any better. We rarely do until we decide as a whole to embrace change. Change isn't easy but necessary. Necessary if you want to make REAL PROGRESS in your life.

Yesterday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released its 2014 National Diabetes Statistics Report indicating growth in the rate of Americans with diabetes and prediabetes. The report garnered over two minutes of coverage on one major network news program as well as coverage by major wire sources, newspapers, and consumer medical websites. 

In a segment on NBC Nightly News (Williams), NBC News correspondent Tom Costello reported that the diabetes “epidemic continues to grow at an alarming rate.” Currently, some “29 million people in the US have diabetes...yet a quarter of those people don’t know they’re diabetic.” 
The AP (Stobbe) reports that CDC “scientists calculated that more than nine percent of Americans have diabetes — or one in 11 people.” 

The Los Angeles Times (Healy) reports that the CDC “said an additional 86 million American adults – nearly one in three – has prediabetes.” Approximately 15 percent to 30 percent of people “with prediabetes will go on to develop the full-fledged metabolic disorder within five years, a transition that can sometimes be averted with substantial weight loss and increased physical activity.” The CDC’s latest “statistics are based on national health data gathered in 2012 and represent a nearly 12% increase in the number of those with diabetes since the last statistical report was issued in 2010.” 
TIME (Goldberg) reports that according to CDC estimates, “the direct and indirect costs of the disease have reached $245 billion, with direct medical costs making up 72% of that amount.” Patients with “type 2 diabetes incur medical costs on average 2.3 times higher than people without the disease, the CDC found.” 

The CNN (Kaur) “The Chart” blog quotes Ann Albright, PhD, RD, the CDC’s director of the division of diabetes translation, who stated in a press release: “These new numbers are alarming and underscore the need for an increased focus on reducing the burden of diabetes in our country.”

How far will we allow ourselves to fall prey to this disease? When will we realize that by just taking a pill will cure, heal, fix, stop or solve our issues with diabetes. We need to take it serious and take our lives serious if we want to get better. It takes work. It takes lots of work. Really lots of work! Run Eugene Run and our volunteers care about you and want to help in any way we can.

Do you need diet plans? Do you need exercise plans? Do you need an encouraging word everyday? We are here to help find answers for you. We are here for you.
Running for diabetes awareness

293 Indepedence Blvd, Suite 310
Virginia Beach, VA 23462

Eugene Thompson

Monday, August 15, 2016

Sermon on the Mount - The Summary

I've just finished teaching a class at the Princess Anne Church of Christ on Sunday morning that ran for over 18 months. I was asked to prepare a detailed study of the the chapters in Matthew. I have studied it before but not necessarily in detail, nor did I ever think that it would take that long. A lot of information and sharing was done over that time. I just hope others got as much out of it as I did. I probably have 280 pages of notes on Matthew 5-7. Far more information written and prepared than I could ever share during the class. Teachers often learn more than the students just because so much time was done in preparation of the class. I know I did.

Here is a quick summary of the sermon in the mount as we quickly hit highlights last week to close out the class. Feeling blessed that I was given the opportunity.

The Sermon on the Mount describes what our life should be like while we live in faith, in our thoughts, words, and actions. Jesus said six times in Chapter 5, “You have heard it said”, or “But I tell you..” He was calling people to a new life instead of a legal system, that the Pharisees had put upon the people.

Lesson 1   Matthew 5:1-16

Jesus teaches us the eight attitudes. These attitudes or beatitudes explain that we are to live differently than the world for Christ’s sake. Blessed means happy. So when these attributes become part of us God is pleased and we are blessed. The beatitudes are to be poor in spirit,  mourn for sin, be meek, and to hunger and thirst for righteousness. We are to be merciful, pure in heart, and peacemakers. When we follow Christ in this manner we may become persecuted for our faith, but this too becomes a blessing and we will receive a heavenly reward.

We are called to be light and salt of the world. Salt has two functions. It flavours and it stops corruption. We must not lose our saltiness, because if we do we will lose our ability to be a committed Christian, who does not think or act like the world. Salt also creates a thirst, a thirst for the Lord and His righteousness.

Being light in the world refers to the way you show others in public what being a Christian means. How many of your friends see your personal commitment to Christ? How bright a light are you?

Lesson 2   Matthew 5:17-26

Here Jesus explains the Christian’s relationship to the law, and that he did not come to abolish the law but to fulfil it. The Old Testament continues until all things are accomplished. He warned the disciples to do and to teach all the commandments, and that a better righteousness than the Pharisees’ is needed to enter the kingdom of heaven. And how can we keep God’s laws? We can’t. The Pharisees’ couldn’t, and that is one reason why they created their own set of laws. It is the indwelling Holy Spirit that empowers us and convicts us. Where do you need to let the Holy Spirit help you obey what Jesus has taught?

God’s Word does not change over time. His standards for behaviour or morality does not change. It does not change from one situation to another or from one century to another.

Jesus gives illustrations of our relationship to the Law. The Pharisees often taught about people’s actions, but Jesus always goes further by raising the bar. He speaks of our thoughts, emotions, and attitudes of our hearts.

So what does He begin with? What is the most condemning sin you can think of? Murder. Jesus expounds on this and says that wrong attitudes and words count the same as murder. How could that be? Murder begins with anger, unforgiveness, hatred, contempt, envy and bitterness. All of it sin. To be full of such things reveals a heart condition that is condemning.

What is the remedy? It is the spirit of love and reconciliation. We must be reconciled with each other, no matter who the fault may lie with. Come to one heart and mind with that person, so that we can have an open relationship with the Lord.

Lesson 3  Matthew 5:27-37,   6:22-23

Here Jesus teaches that lustful imagination counts the same as adultery. Being tempted is not a sin, but we must reject the seed that get planted in our mind, so that sin is nipped in the bud. He said if necessary we should cut off whatever causes us to sin even if this causes discomfort or pain. What causes immoral thoughts in your mind? What books are you reading and what TV shows are you enjoying and what are you laughing and joking about? What do you need to cut out of your life to live a life of pure actions and thoughts?

We are reminded that marriage is a lifelong commitment. God hates divorce but it is a forgivable sin, and he allows it for infidelity. Let’s remember to love and pray for those who have been hurt in abusive relationships and know that God would not want them to stay in this treacherous situation.

Lesson 4   Matthew 5:38-48,   6:14-15

So what does “an eye for an eye mean?

The next topic was retaliation or getting even. Again Jesus quotes an OT command, one that was meant to limit the penalty for a wrong action. The person who was treated wrongly was only to demand repayment that was fair and fitting. And again Jesus asks us to go even further. He says to give to the person who asks, even when that person is asking something that may be unfair. Jesus’ disciples had been taught to love their neighbours and hate their enemies. Once again Jesus wants you and me to go beyond the old teachings. We are to love our enemies and pray for them. Will you ask God to give you His love for those who are unkind or unforgiving to you? What can you pray for them?

Lesson 5   Matthew 6:1-18

Here we learn that our righteous deeds are not so righteous when they are done to impress others. Therefore they are to be done before God and not before people. Jesus was concerned that the people, especially the Pharisees, wanted others to see them give to the needy or pray in public so that they would be noticed. They were pretending to pray with a sincere heart but were more concerned with what others thought of them. To do this is to lose our reward with God because our reward becomes an earthly reward of wanting praise from men.

The Lord’s Prayer was given to the disciples as an example. When we say it we should repeat it thoughtfully and not aimlessly. The point is, that we should pray, and we should have a regular time each day to pray privately. If you do not will you set aside a regular time and place to establish this time to spend with the Lord?

Lesson 6   Matthew 6:19-21, 24-34

Here Jesus teaches that faith is having a trusting heart knowing that He will supply all our daily needs. If we put these worries aside and first seek the kingdom of God all things will be given to us. He knows we need these things. Often in this life especially in the US we are bombarded daily about material possessions. We are told that we need many things to be successful and happy. So Jesus was concerned about people’s attitudes toward their treasures and possessions. He warned them about storing up treasures on earth. They can be lost, stolen, destroyed etc. We can set our eyes on power and wealth instead of God and what really matters. We cannot serve both God and money. We cannot have two masters.

We are not to worry. Worry is a lack of faith in God’s care. Worry and fret lead to sin. Remember to put God first in your life and to live right for Him. Live one day at a time doing your best to please God. He will supply your needs in His timing.

Lesson 7   Matthew 7:1-12

The judge not passage. The person who makes a practice of judging others will be judged with the same measure. Judging ourselves instead prepares us to help others. Also we have to judge between good and evil and we must make determinations each and every day. We have to separate truth from error or we will believe lies. We must pray for wisdom in this area. If we know of sin in our lives, and try not to remove it, yet try to help others with the same sin, then we are hypocrites, like the Pharisees. There is no room for pride or stubbornness when we are trying to help others.

Jesus commanded his disciples to think before giving sacred and precious truths from God to unholy people. Sacred things could be worship or communion or the Bible. These things are not holy to those who do not believe in God and they will ridicule the truths told to them. It is in this way they trample them under their feet….Christians are to be discerning but not condemning.

Prayer comes up again, in that we are ask, seek and knock. He wants us to be persistent in our prayer. And He gives good gifts to his children as a good father gives to his son. He wants our hearts in our prayers and doesn’t want us to give up when we think a prayer has not been answered quickly….Continue to pray. God will give you what is right and he will answer your prayer His way and in His time. What kind of things are you praying for? A car? Fame? Sunshine? Or are you praying for things that will please Him? A good list would be something like wisdom, love, healing, increased faith, boldness to speak for God, the filling of the Holy Spirit, forgiveness, etc. If you are persistent in asking for things that please God, He will give them to you.

Lesson 8  Matthew 7:13-29

As we end the Sermon on the Mount Jesus now speaks of our life in faith, and the dangers of not following His teachings.

Those who go their own way will have difficulty discerning that there are two pathways. Jesus only gives us two. There are not many paths to God. False teachers offer a wide gate that welcomes many. It may seem kind and loving to accept all religious teachings, but it is not. The broad road leads to destruction. In fact the way is narrow and constricted and it will not be an easy path…but the end result is well worth it. Everlasting life with Jesus. Which path have you chosen and how are you persuading others to choose?

To ignore biblical teaching puts you in danger of listening to false teachers. Knowing scripture is important so you can recognise a false teacher by their faulty doctrine and bad fruit. Paul commended the Bereans for comparing his words against scripture. We must do the same. Those who say they know Jesus by using the phrase, “Lord, Lord” or even perform miracles may not truly know the Lord. Many will hear from Jesus on judgment day…”I never knew you.” The false prophets will be in the church itself. They will be disguised as sheep, but truly they are wolves.

Finally we are given an illustration of the person who is wise and the foolish person who does not obey the teachings. The obvious teaching is that Jesus is the rock and foundation and this is where we are to start building. This foundation is firm and solid. But there is a condition given in this passage. We must hear Jesus’ words and we must practice them. Then we are able to withstand the storms of wind and rain that will come upon us in this life.

The people were amazed at the authority that Jesus taught with. Whenever God’s Word is presented as it truly is, its power is unleashed. We too should be amazed and astonished with these teachings. God’s standards are high and today we have the Holy Spirit to help us live for God, illuminate scripture and lead us into truth.

There wasn't a lot of time to do a complete review of the study on Sunday but maybe a few of these highlights noted here will allow you to study further to become a better disciple for Christ.

ET This I Believe
Eugene Thompson

Saturday, August 13, 2016

What I've Learned

The pros and cons of having the use of only one leg (or foot):

- saved laundry by reducing socks by 50%
- increased skills of balancing on one leg
- learned how to go to the bathroom on one leg.....use your imagination
- opening door with automatic closer while on crutches
- building strength in my left leg
- a very tired left leg
- inability to drive a car
- ability to creatively enter a car
- learning how to carry everything in a back pack while on crutches
- losing weight.....too much work to get to the kitchen
- finding out I only have two pairs of pants that fit over my foot 
- get to wear shorts to work
- building strength in my arms using crutches
- having sore armpits using crutches 
- bathing is a chore
- having very tan toes......or is that dirt?'s all in how you look at it.

Eugene Thompson
Runner + Founder

Monday, August 8, 2016

Comfort or Pain?

The history of the word “comfort” reveals an important narrative. The word is made from two Latin word parts, com-, an intensifying prefix which means “together with,” and fortis, which means “strong or strength.” Later, the Latin word confortare comes to mean, “to strengthen much.” Eventually, an Old French word, conforter, would add words like “solace” and “help” to the definition. In the 14th century, another French word conforten is defined as, “to cheer up, console.” Finally, by the 17th century, the English version of the word implies the sense of physical ease that we understand today. In about a millennia, this word went from meaning, “together-strength,” to meaning “pain-barrier.”

So which do you prefer? Comfort or Pain? When I first asked this question to my friends they immediately responded by saying COMFORT of course. Why wouldn't we all?! There aren't many of us that wouldn't automatically respond with anything else. Our life seems to exist surrounded with trials, work and effort to eventually gain an opportunity to COMFORT. Isn't that sort of the definition of vacation? 

Everyday opportunities allow us to enjoy comfort but we don't often recognize it. We hide it behind levels of achievement never reaching the ultimate goal of fulfillment. A hurdle set by many entrepreneurial minds. There is always another goal to reach. Never do we take the time to smell the roses.....of course unless it's on our calendar and cleared with others between two conference calls, production meetings and various other task generated objectives. How about when we finally rest in our bed? Is it comfortable? Or did we go find a bed of nails to relax on? We find COMFORT in our bed of course.....because we value a good nights sleep.

So when do we or should we choose PAIN? We've all heard the saying, "No Pain, No Gain". Mostly used in the gym or during some physical endurance. I once lifted weights in high school and was 4th place in the national powerlifting championships. To reach that achievement I had to work hard daily at lifting various levels of weights. The next day I was sore. It didn't matter how long I had been lifting, when I worked out different muscle groups strenuously I was sore the next day. Why? Well because it pushed my body past its limits to eventually gain strength. Without the pain.....I wouldn't have experienced the reward of gain.

So does that happen in our everyday lifes? Do we create PAIN? In our business world? In our home? Within our family? We should. We should find a way everyday to push the limits of ourselves to gain the opportunities. Opportunities for each of us to better ourselves. To be better bosses or employees; better spouses, parents or children; better Christians, servants, stewards. How about just being a better person in general. We must challenge ourselves to become stronger.

Some times these opportunities come to us in trials. We face trials, struggles and obstacles in our lives that gives us (mostly unwanted) experiences that eventually builds our endurance and helps us to rise to the occasion, face the challenge and persevere the trail. Once we come out of such trials we are usually much stronger, wiser and more than likely more humble. It's the reward of the trial.

But He was wounded for our transgressions,He was bruised for our iniquities;The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,And by His stripes we are healed.
Isaiah 53:5 | NKJV

ET This I Believe
Eugene Thompson

Friday, August 5, 2016

Day Zero - Surgery for RUN EUGENE RUN

Today is a day of excitement.....nervous excitement. I've never really had any major surgery before so I'm not entirely comfortable with the thought of someone cutting on me. In the world of Internet and google it is best not to ever such for images of your upcoming surgery......too late.....I'm anticipating become a science experiment. Remember those labs in high school? Frogs, baby pigs......a worm? I didn't do well on my experiments. I'm glad my doctor is a pro at this!

Sure, it's easy to say you'll be brave. Sure I'll put up my facade. I'll joke about. I'll make others laugh. But honestly I'm scared. Scared I'll never be the same, to be able to recover. It's easy to say......but it's a long run. At the beginning of every marathon I've ran I've tried not to think have long the road will be. When it's at the's so much easier to look much easier.

Those of you who have had surgery before know the rules. No food or drink after coffee either! What?! Ok ok.....whatever you say. At least they moved my surgery time up to morning instead of afternoon. 

Out of all this I hope to encourage others in their own struggles. Their struggles with diabetes.....and now I can add recovery from a ruptured Achilles. God figured that he wanted to be a more powerful message.....that's the only thing I can understand. I imagined the story of Gideon and the 300 that lapped water like a dog. Just a few warriors to accomplish what an army would be needed for. Or how about Goliath vs a small young man? He didn't need a sword, spear or shield. Just his sling......and just one river stone. Unrealistic battles.....but not when the Lord is in control.

So that's my plan....a bit of arrogance and pride. I've been humbled. That might hurt more than my Achilles. I'm just a man. He is so much bigger. 

I had a great team with me today. A whole host of pre-op nurses prepping me for the surgery. I don't remember all your names but I appreciate you so much. I do apologize if my lovely green surgery garment happened to gap......honestly I don't remember a knocked me out before I left the room. That was some good stuff! The anesthesiologist told me to imagine the best cocktail.....Hendriks and Tonic? Less than 60 seconds later and I was out! Wow!

Then there was a whole team of surgeons and nurses inside the surgery room. They were great......they took this picture.....I don't remember it! Lol. But I was smiling. I wonder now what I might have said during that time.....hmmmm? You guys were awesome and took great care of me.

And probably the most important team members were the whole slew of prayer warriors from all over the country. You are the greatest. Thank you so much for lifting my name up. I can't thank you enough.

So now the journey begins. I was released pretty quick. The doctor said it was a strong repair. I gave him some strong muscles and tendons to work with. He said there was a gap about two inches apart so surgery was really the only way to properly repair it. My leg was numb from the knee down. It weighed a ton with all the wraps around it. Thankfully I had been practicing with the crutches before hand. I can't let it touch the ground. Balancing on one foot.....getting up....sitting down.....lying down.....everything.

No pain at all......until.....about 4AM the next morning. Wow.....just wow. Now this is tough. Really tough. Crazy pain.....but I'll get through. NO PAIN NO GAIN

So that brings you guys up to date. Today is DAY ONE of recovery. There will be rest but I'll put together my schedule. The doctor said I'll be in the wrap for two weeks, no weight bearing. After that they remove it and begin PT while I'm back in the boot for two-three more weeks. I'll begin using foot for balancing. Afterwards I'll be able to trying on shoes and work up to walking. In three to four months I'll begin running. He did say my full strength won't regain for a full year......but I did ask about being able to run the Shamrock Marathon in March.....he said YES!

Now it's up to me.....yes the road is long.....I doubt it'll be easy. Follow my journey. I hope to share each step (no pun intended.....ok......yes it was).  

RUN EUGENE RUN will continue. Others at UNIFY will pick up my goal and run on September 17th as a relay. Others can join in too. Wherever you live. The plan has changed a bit however the goal remains the inspire and encourage others about diabetes awareness. TEAM UNIFY, you guys are awesome.

My goal.......50 miles on September 16th, 2017!


Eugene Thompson