Monday, December 21, 2009

The Blessing Lady went home!

A few years ago I wrote about a lady that I used to see all the time while working out at the gym at FT Jackson.

. She would come up to everyone that she saw in the gym and ask, "Have I blessed you today?"
I always said, "No! You haven't belssed me...please do!" She would then pray a short prayer of blessing. What an encouragement she was to me and many others.
I got this note from her daughter today in the comments section and thought is was nice and I'd like to share it with you all.

Dear Brad, My name is Cyndi Jones. I am the daughter of "The Blessing Lady" that you met out at Ft. Jackson at the Perez Gym in b2006. I just wanted to let you know that she went home to Heaven yesterday. She hadn't been sick, she just went to sleep and didn't wake up. I used the blog that you wrote about her as part of her obituary in The State newspaper...hope that you don't mind. May God Bless you!

Cyndi, your mom was a blessing to us! Now she's home waiting for the rest of us and I'm sure she's still blessing people!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Being in the Army, physical preparedness is of utmost importance, your life can depend on it. I'm always looking for challenging routines to push myself to newer levels of strength and endurance. I've been working out in one way or another since I was 7 years old, from soccer, to high school football, basketball, tennis and even a few triathlons. But I have come across a training regimen that is pushing the bounds of what I thought I could do. Its called Crossfit. It combines functional movements with short high intensity routines that continually change. SSG Russ Robinson, my phenomenal Chaplain assistant and I have been pushing ourselves to the limit. Russ is a beast and can do about 30 pull ups, which is not fair at all. If you go to the Crossfit website at you can see the workouts and follow them. There are video demos and instructions on how to do them. Best part is, the workouts are scalable to ability and age, which for me is a blessing. Some of the workouts are named after girls and many of those are particularly brutal. So we decided to name workouts after the women in our lives. So we have the Jenn and the Tammy after our wives. We are soon coming out with workouts named after our daughters and I'm going to have a "hero" workout for my son Jack. Should be a hoot. So if you are interested in following along with us here is what we did today...its called "Tammy"

15 Decline situps with a 25 Lb. plate
15 overhead squats 80lbs (bar held above your head)
50 reps on speed rope (jump rope)
15 45lb Kettlebell swings

20 minute time limit as many sets as you can do in that amount of time. We did 6 and I about puked!

Was thinking of this and it dawned on me that being disciplined to workout each day, to follow through and restrict myself from giving up actually brings freedom in my life. By training I limit injury, sickness and my overall well being is enhanced.

On a spiritual note, being disciplined to pray, seek God in personal time, to give up maybe an hour sleep a day to rise early and long for His presence like two friends meeting, will also bring freedom in our lives. I have recently picked up a small book that has nearly revolutionized my prayer life. Its called "The hour that changes the world". The author challenges his readers to pray for an hour, because it is through prayer that God changes things. Does God need our prayers...well....thrologically speaking no, God needs nothing. But Jesus gave us in his life an example of prayer and very often early in the morning long before anyone else was up.

I thought long and hard about this, being a Chaplain and a Pastor people kind of expect me to have a solid prayer life. I can honestly say that there has not been one day in the last decade where I did not pray. But sitting down to pray for an hour solid and me having untreated ADD that was asking too much.

But I thought what can I lose. So one morning on leave I jumped out of bed and cracked open this little book, my Bible and my journal...all the things that help me to pray. I used the author's suggestions of 5 minute section of 12 different types of prayer. Guess what, I couldn't pray for an hour....I prayed for an hour and half! I got lost in it, talking to God, reading His word, meditating, confessing, listening, interceding, petitioning, even singing. The next day was similar, and now I find myself going to bed itching to get up and spend my least with Jesus.

What has it produced...freedom for me! Freedom to follow Jesus daily in this place called Iraq. Freedom to hear from Him. Freedom to interact with those that He loves empowered by His Spirit.Even today as I spent my prayer time I was praying for one of my friends here who is a true seeker, I has spent a couple of days with his team and we had a long conversation of a particularly spiritual nature. I my prayer time I felt prompted to pray for him and that God would reveal Himself. Just as I was praying that there was a knock at my door....guess who it got it!

He walked in my room and said, "So, we've all got to be saved...right?"

It was on after that. I just laughed inside all the way through at the way God works.
I could go on an on.

So my challenge to you is spend some time changing your world through time with Him. You'll be different and the world around you will be different!

Have yourself a great day!

So be Crossfit!

The songs of life- Thanks to mom

My home was filled with music and people growing up. Mom loved music and can play an assortment of instruments but her favorites are th...