Sunday, June 26, 2016

For the Love of Money is a Root of all Kinds of Evil.

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. … 1 Timothy 6:10

Like an old, wrinkled dollar, 1 Timothy 6:10 has been bent, folded, and flattened in every way to purchase mental real estate in the minds of believers. It’s been forced on the wealthy to squeeze out their offering, and slipped in by others to justify their thirsty savings accounts. Was the Apostle Paul getting ready to ask for money? Was he trying to make himself feel better about his own lack of a nest egg? Was he saying money is bad and we should do everything possible never to have much of it?

Let’s hunt for some context surrounding Paul’s first letter to Timothy.

 To Timothy, a true son in the faith:Grace, mercy, and peace from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord. 1 Timothy 1:2

Many scholars believe Paul wrote this letter on his third missionary journey, a few years prior to his arrest. Paul had long abandoned comfort and steady income for life as a nomadic leader of the early Christian church. In fact, Paul spread God’s word without requiring payment.... 

Even so the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should live from the gospel. But I have used none of these things, nor have I written these things that it should be done so to me; for it would be better for me to die than that anyone should make my boasting void. 1 Corinthians 9:14-15

....and at times made tents to support himself.  

After these things Paul departed from Athens and went to Corinth. And he found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla (because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to depart from Rome); and he came to them. So, because he was of the same trade, he stayed with them and worked; for by occupation they were tentmakers. Acts 18:1-3

So, we know Paul was sharing a deeply held, lived-out belief with Timothy.

What will Paul’s words to Timothy speak to us? Paul began chapter six with a servant-and-master theme. Later, he described false teachers who think godliness is a way to secure financial gain. 

useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw yourself. 1 Timothy 6:5 

One verse later, he flipped the coin by claiming godliness paired with contentment are great gain. Paul continued to make his case by reminding us what we get to take with us when we die. He called the desire to get rich a way to destruction.

But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. 1 Timothy 6:9

Then finally, he explained all this with....

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. 1 Timothy 6:10

Paul was not denouncing wealth, he was denouncing the lack of contentment. A condition which dethrones God as master and enslaves people to the pursuit of money. Jesus also used servant-and-master imagery to discuss money. In Matthew 6:24, our Savior plainly stated, “You cannot serve both God and money.”

Let’s think about it this way. Why do we all want to win the Lotto? Somewhere in our sinful nature is a whisper that says more money will mean more security, happiness, significance, generosity, and even godliness. But where do those things actually come from? God, our true master. What Paul and Jesus were warning against is this: the evil that promises good life through any currency other than crowning God your only King. Is money bad? No. Can it be put in submission to God to accomplish great things for Him? Yes. Is that an easy pursuit? No. How should we start? Godliness with contentment. How should we finish? Godliness with contentment.

Consider: Have you replaced the peace, satisfaction, comfort, love, strength, and direction that comes from God with any other “master”?

Eugene Thompson

ET This I Believe

Taken from my morning devotionals 

Saturday, June 25, 2016

F.E.A.R. and P.U.S.H.

Some days we really need to have all the help we can get. Struggles and trails usually strike at times that are most inconvenient. Never do they happen when your best prepared to tackle them. There are times when the whole world appears dark. We feel engulfed and swimming in a lake full of ALLIGATORS with no sight of escape. 

Today I am honestly scared if I'll ever be able run again. Everyone is supportive but I know it's a long road ahead. It's easy to look back on your path, your journey, your trails, your struggles and say it "Look at how far I've come." However to be at the starting line and stare at the distance without the ability to see the finish line......well it's just daunting. 

So what can I do? I have one thing I need to do first and foremost. That's prayer. I have only one strength right now that I can draw upon and that is the Lord's. Mine's pretty fragil at the moment. Not trying to wallow in self pity. Really trying to be strong and motivate myself including others that I promised to support. It just stinks. I just wish I could rewind like you do on the DVR for the television and go back......I want that 30 seconds of stupidity back so I can make a wise decision. Don't we all?

So today I'll do my routine the best I can (sans running) and focus on what I need to accomplish everywhere else. I'll PUSH and not FEAR.

Thank you friends for all your support and love.

Eugene Thompson
ET This I Believe

Thursday, June 23, 2016

I Can Do All Things Thru Christ

Philippians 4:13 is used by so many as a motivational scripture to use us beyond what we ourselves can accomplish. So often it comes across that WE can DO ANYTHING with Christ's help. I don't disagree with that statement but I also don't want to get lost in what Paul is sharing in all of the surrounding scripture.

Read Paul's full statement in context:
“But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at last your care for me has flourished again; though you surely did care, but you lacked opportunity. Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Philippians 4:10-13 NKJV

Im reading into his statement that he is content in whatever situation he is in. And he has learned to accept it regardless of the situation. He has been very "FULL" and he has been very "HUNGRY" and he is happy that God has provided. Regardless of his situation.....he can do EVERYTHING because Christ will strengthen him. 

I don't think he arbitrarily is stating that he will be able to accomplish anything. I believe that he is stating that what he does.....for God.....he is capable.

My thoughts.....share yours......would love to hear from you.

ET This I Believe
Eugene Thompson

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Problem Solving with Diabetes

Have you ever had one of those days wherever you turn you are faced with problems?
Areas you thought were 100% under control turned out to be in chaos? The world begins to spin and you cannot seem to grasp back onto solid ground? too.

It can be normal everyday issues or even work related. Whatever comes up you need to not stick your head in the sand but rather resolve the issues. I know easier said than done. I have this often. I want to run away. I call it my hermit-itis......(is that a word? It is now).....I'd rather be a hermit.

As a diabetic I've often been faced with imaginary issues that seem much more grand than they are in reality. Don't tell my brain thinks they are real. Blood sugar controls so many things one of them being your emotions. You certainly could call it depression..... I'd rather call it emotional delusion. I know that it is just a chemical imbalance and I should try and work myself out of it. 

So how do you do that? Well I've gone through this enough times that I have learned a few lessons.

Lesson learned: 

1) Suck it up and walk it off.
Ok so that is harsh but I tend to be a bit tough on myself and really don't want to drown in my sorrows. I feel that the best medicine is to get up and keep moving. After all nobody ever drown by falling into water......they drowned by staying there.

2) There is no time for me to be off of my game. 
Have you ever went on vacation and then came back to a pile of work? Isn't it crazy how much builds up even over a short time. So think about that when you get overwhelmed and want to retreat. More than likely you are a person that is in need. Staff, Family, Friends.....try to stay on your game. Many people rely upon you but more importantly you rely upon yourself. Take a breath and get back in the game.

"I know I have said this a thousand times. Just Keep Working. No matter how bad things are or how bleak the future seems. You are giving up on things by not getting up early, showing up late, or not finishing what you started. Neglecting your work just paralyzes your chances of getting through the darkness. So if you are going through tough times. No matter what they are. Just Keep Working." - Jesse James

3) I realize that I need to more analytical and less emotional in my dealings.
Science! It will solve anything. Okay maybe not exactly. Try to flip the switch and pretend it is someone else's problems and you are asked to solve them. Would you jump up and down and freak out? Probably wouldn't help that individual much. Try to put it in the right perspective. There is some issue that needs to be addressed. Whether it is work related or any other issue look at it as a regular problem solving task. 

Matt Damon said to those students at the end of " The Martian" ...when things look bad just do the math and solve the problem. Then move on to the next problem. You solve enough problems you get to go home. 

4) Write the issues down.
Whether they are real or doesn't matter. In your head they are real....or real enough to make you worry about them. Then after each one.....write a solution. Don't worry about how practical the solution is.....just write it down. It will start your brain thinking about various possibilities to resolve the issues. Sometimes by writing them down it will bring a bit of reality to the situation and you will realize that it wasn't that big of a deal after all. Sometimes FEAR freezes us and makes us IMMOBILE to any action.

5) Reengage.
Once you've gone through these tasks don't keep hibernating. Get out there and keep doing what you do. Re-engage with others and interact so that your brain gets back on track.

Diabetes is a real struggle as well as depression. Don't let it get out of hand. If you see yourself slipping further than don't be afraid to get some help. Sometimes just chatting with a friend can get you through some tough issues.

I'm here if you need to chat about your diabetes struggles. You can contact me at

Eugene Thompson
Runner + Diabetic

Website coming soon with menus and exercises to help us all.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Bible Scriptures

Here is a few pictures of scriptures I have been reading and studying in the mornings.

Hope this gives you some inspiration and encouragement like it has me. Tell me which is your favorite. 
Feel free to use any for yourself and share with others.

May God bless our days.

Eugene Thompson
ET This I Believe

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Father's Day - Some days....Not so easy

I personally have a lot to be thankful for on Father's Day. But when this day comes around it's not always that easy. This years Facebook reminded it often does from time to time.....especially as much as I play on it.....of what you did on this day. Sometimes it sucks. A story I wrote about my dad popped up earlier this week. So I have been thinking about him a lot. I have shared many stories about my father on here in the past. Most of them funny because I choose to remember those moments over any other to share with my family on how I remember my dad. 

I have lived more of my life without my father alive than I have when he was with us. He died the summer between my first and second year of college. He died at age 52. I have 671 days to reach that same age. And yes, it often haunts me as each day passes. Although I have many memories of him, I have far more wishes that I wish I could have had. I wish I could ask him about things. Maybe how he dealt with something in business. Maybe something about his childhood. Maybe something just about life in general. Unfortunately none of those conversations were ever able to occur. I was never able to have a heart-to-heart talk with my dad. I was never able to go have a drink with my dad. And as I flipped through photo albums trying to find an image this morning of just me and my father side by side…… There isn't one.

So this morning I'll share a story. One that I have recited many times to others about that summer day in Stillwater Oklahoma when I was embarrassed of my father. It is usually better told then read. My father provided or his family the best that he could. He was an entrepreneur at heart. He had three tax accounting offices in Oklahoma, held several patents on a non-aerosol spraying device and sold ice machines to fishing boats in Mexico. However, his decisions weren't always that well thought out in other things. I guess really many of ours aren't either at times. He thought that the best way to help me through college was to open up an office in the university town. He rented a place right down in the middle of all the apartments on the main drag through town just a few blocks from where I would take the majority of my classes in architecture. He remodeled all of the place that once housed many students I imagine. The front part of the house was more like an office while the back bedrooms served as a residence. 

So one day after class that second semester of my first year, I don't recall the date but I believe it had to be somewhere around this time of year. It was warm and the grass had grown needing to be mowed. My father's physical health had continued to decline due to the effects of diabetes. He believed that he was much stronger than he actually was but in reality he was very frail. We all knew it and could see it but apparently he was oblivious. It'd been a long day of classes and I was absolutely exhausted. I was ready to sit down and flop on the couch while watching some TV.

That wasn't going to happen today. As I approached the house with my backpack hung on my shoulder I happen to see my father getting ready to mow the front lawn. That in itself wasn't really a shock however the way that he was dressed was the real issue. I mentioned earlier that my father didn't always make the best decisions.….Choosing his casual attire was one of those decisions.

So let me try to describe what my dad was wearing. It was even disturbing back in the 80s. You have to imagine how he looked physically as well. So first he had these blue psychedelic shorts on.….We used to call them jams! I had a pair of purple ones exactly like them….I wish I still had them. That wasn't so bad however he chose to wear a white collared polo shirt that covered up his potbelly. I remember it had some sort of black-and-white striped collar. His bone white legs stuck out of those jams and he sported pea green dress socks with blue velvet running shoes. Those shoes never saw a day of running in his life. On top of his sparsely haired head he wore a black and red "Chicken Annie's" ball cap. Don't ask. The whole scene could've been placed in an episode of Twilight Zone.

So here my father is dressed viciously atrocious in front of the entire student body population of Oklahoma State University that chose to drive by that afternoon. As he attempted to mow the front lawn I quickly discarded my backpack inside and ran to take over the mowing. "Dad, dad, dad here let me do this. I've got it." I cursed under my breath because I really didn't want to mow the lawn today. It was hot and I was tired.

Before I'm finished I glanced over and saw my dad with the weedeater. What the heck was he trying to do? I quickly finish the mowing and then ran over to my father. "Dad, dad, and dad let me do this I've got the weedeater." This was crazy. I trimmed and edged the entire front lawn and before I knew it there he was again this time with the hedge clippers. Holy cow dad! Finishing up the trimming real quick I ran over to him once again, "Dad, dad, dad give me the hedge trimmers and I'll finish it." Yes of course I had to do all of the hedges that afternoon. I'm just glad he didn't get a wild hair and try to paint the entire outside of the house too.

I finished putting away all the tools and strolled in the house where my father had finally retired, thank God. He had prepared dinner for me that afternoon. It was never a TV dinner. It was always a fully cooked meal. I don't remember exactly what it was but I know it came with a nice cold glass of iced tea. Perfect for the guy who somehow conned me into mowing, edging and trimming of the entire yard in record time just so that I could protect him…. or was it me?…… from embarrassment concerning the most odd collaboration of clothing attire you would ever witness.

I wish I had a picture of my father that day as vivid as it rests in my memory. Maybe it's just better that way. Some memories only I can treasure. I'm sure nobody that ever drove past and saw that goofy old man even remembers it. They probably didn't even care at the time. A pretty stupid thing to be embarrassed about. You know what? I would wear a matching outfit with him today if he could be here beside me for a picture that I would surely post on Facebook
Chicken Annie hat and all!

Isn't that what Facebook and selfie's are all about!???

This week has been a pretty amazing week. Last Saturday I was able to play Top Golf with a bunch of my EO friends where I was introduced as the next year's Learning Chair. On Monday I was recognized as one of the Hampton Roads Entrepreneur Excellence Award recipients. I even served on the panel sharing some of my story. I wonder what my dad would've thought about that? A busy time in the Virginia Beach office the rest of the week. And Friday I headed over to the Richmond office to work in the morning but joining the staff at the minor-league ballpark. Go Flying Squirrels! And on Saturday afternoon became a third time recipient of the grandfather award as my daughter gave birth to another son. 

Yes, I have been blessed abundantly, more than I could ever imagine.
Happy Father's Day to all those lucky dads and grand dads out there. Rejoice in the blessings that you have today. Since I've probably done a pretty good job of embarrassing my kiddos (Love you guys!) I choose today to begin embarrassment on the next generation. Selfie's with mygrand babies. Because that's what I do!

Love you Dad.

Eugene Thompson
ET This I Believe

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

RUN BIKE RUN - my first duathlon

Not only was this my first duathlon but it was my first time riding a bike in nearly 20 years. Leave it to me to go overboard with my goals. I think it might be wise to remember I'm not a young man anymore.......nah.

So a few months ago a friend asked me if I wanted to do a duathlon down in the outer banks for an MY EO event. I said sure.......not having ridden a bike in forever much less even owning a bike at that time. That was before the clock ticked down to me having done nothing to prepare for this event.....including buying that bike that I needed. My schedule collapsed around the many things in my life (like it always does) and left me ill-prepared. My normal operation system.

So my forum group decided to go to the Dominion Republic the week before and since I was on the learning chair for the EO chapter I needed to go to Bangkok for GLC (Global Learning Center....I think) the week after. Yeah my schedule, let's see if I can pack it completely full. I do this really well. Doing all these things and trying to run two architectural offices and get RUN EUGENE RUN off the ground too.

So time really nears. The weekend before we fly out to DR I finally register for the OBX Duathlon, go to the new local REI store and buy a new bike with gear.....I have no clue what I'm doing....but I do it! 

I figure I should put be too bad.....after all I should have the 5ks pretty easy. The 20 mile bike ride.....I have no idea what to expect. I watch YouTube videos to see how to jump off your bike and jump back on......okay I got that. Pretty sure I'm not going that fast. Thankfully this one has no swimming component in it. I bought the bike on Saturday and went for my first 5 mile ride on Sunday afternoon. I have no idea how to properly change gears.....I'm a mess. I actually think that maybe the gears aren't working. But no time to figure any of it will have to wait.

While down in DR I managed to get a few runs in even though it was raining most of our trip. I even ran on the beach....just for fun......not knowing that the last 5k for the duathlon was actually ON THE BEACH. I should read better! Anyway....good practice. Running on the sand isn't easy!
So in the middle of all this, my wife will be flying out to Texas to visit our kids and granddaughter. We will basically pass in the air on my return. I fly back Thursday afternoon and thankfully had a smaller bag for carry on otherwise I wouldn't have made it through customs in Philadelphia. Only two of us caught the last flight home on schedule.....four others enjoy the airport hospitality for six more hours!
Made it home late, collapsed and went to bed. Got up Friday morning and handled a few things at work before heading down to OBX for the registration. And yes, I tried packing more in on Friday than I should have.....stressed out about getting there in time for registration. Being a new type of event I really wanted to check in and make sure everything was set to go. Oh hotel registration yet. I'll figure that one out on the fly!
I get there in time and Chip helped me look over the bike and made sure everything was in working order. A quick lesson on shifting gears and setting up our race numbers etc. and I was ready to go....I hoped!
I got up early the next morning thankfully my hotel was one block away from the pier where the race started. Everything was good and I was set. The group from OBX Running Company was great getting us started. I felt much more comfortable that this was going to be less stressful and I wasn't going to be as bad as slacker as I thought. I just reminded myself to have fun.
The first 5k was great as I did about a 9:30 pace which was ran on asphalt on the edge of the roadway. Piece of cake. Now the bike ride. I had to make sure I walked the bike out of the transition area properly or I would be disqualified. Chip was cranking on his run and was off quickly on the bike. He was flying!

The first 10 miles on the bike wasn't bad. I had the wind to my back and was able to get accustomed to the bike pretty well. Was actually passing a few people. I amazed myself at that! 
And then.....
The turn around point......with the headwind returning. Not good! My legs were beginning to get tired. This type of use was far different than just running. I usually just shuffle along. On the bike I had to lift my legs much higher to peddle. Oh yea......and my butt began to hurt. I ran through my head a gazillion  reasons why in the world they designed these bike seats so hard! Yes I had padded bike pants on but at this point that wasn't helping at all.
I got the end of the 20 miles and Chip was there recording my less than graceful dismount from the bike.....How did I like it? My butt hurt! Lol. I lost some time on the last part of that bike ride. I just couldn't keep up my speed. Now off to the last 5k......on the beach.
Nothing harder than running in the sand.....well maybe running up hill......thankfully that wasn't the case. I was exhausted but determined to keep pushing the best I could. A few people assed me up here but I could tell I wasn't going to be last.......55 out of 69. I'll take that as a win!

I finished and that was my victory. I'm pleased with that. Chip cranked, won first in his age group and 6th overall. Excellent work! We celebrated our completion of the MY EO event with our shirts! 

Am I ready for the next bike race? Get me a little time.....and some practice.
Until then......RUN EUGENE RUN.

Enjoy your day my friends ad never be afraid to tr something new!
Eugene Thompson

Saturday, June 4, 2016

BANGKOK - Day 1 thru 3 - The Travel Begins

So this first piece of our journey covers Friday, Saturday and Sunday. It was the travel component of this crazy trip half way around the world. Because of the juggle of plane trips and customs we elected to take our kids up on their offer to drive us up to NYC to catch our flight. They wanted to see the city and we needed a ride so it all worked out.

Friday was pretty much a big drive day. Good to chat along the way.....for six hours but that's okay. I had a plan go and eat at Katz Deli in NYC as it was one of my bucket list items. Not all times on my list are huge and crazy. Some are pretty simple. This was one of them and I was glad we got to share it with our kids. We sat right next to the location where Harry and Sally'd have to watch the movie to understand. Yes a tourist trap. No they don't take credit only. Yes, it was like cattle moving in a back out.....but the sandwich was pretty tasty. Best of all....another item on my bucket list was marked off.

We got the good nights rest at a hotel near the airport so we could get there quickly and easily. A quick shower in the morning......nope.....water line being worked on and there was NO HOT WATER! You have got to be kidding me! I'm getting ready to go around the world on an airplane without a shower? Wet wash cloth bath....the adventure begins.

So it's Saturday which is also our 28th anniversary. Special breakfast? In the airport? Well coffee and a croissant will have to do. Yes, being together is the most important part. My wife is the most awesome to join me on every crazy adventure.

Our flight is a crazy one. We elected to fly Emirates. It proved to be like a flash back in time to something like Pan Am. First leg is 12-1/2 hours to Dubai with less than a two hour layover. The next was 6-1/2 hours to Bangkok. We weren't going to land in Bangkok until Sunday night.....what a crazy time change....11 hour difference between there and home. The staff on Emirates was fantastic and helped us celebrate our anniversary with a glass of champagne from first class.

Such a long flight. We were exhausted. Seemed like we lost half a day during our travel. Made it to the hotel with several others that we met up with in Dubai which made the transition so much easier. Glad we shared a common flight. Stumbled  into the hotel and then had a quick bite of dinner with the others in the hotel. I guess that was my wife's Mother's Day meal! We weren't adventurous enough to explore outside this first evening.

The end of the first few days of travel.
The rest of the adventure coming soon.

D. Eugene Thompson
ET This I Believe