Sunday, April 27, 2014

Institutions, or Individuals?

I didn't have to teach Life Group today, but I did prepare, just in case my co-teacher was called away to help an animal. Even though he's not supposed to be on call this week, sometimes he still gets called out. So I prepared, then didn't have to teach.

The passage was Ephesians 6:5-9, the one about slaves and masters. It's a tough lesson because it causes us to have to answer the question: Did the New Testament condone or condemn slavery? What did Paul the Apostle say about it? What did Jesus say about it? Yes, we can take that passage and make it about employees and employers, and gain much insight from it. But the original readers, the church in Ephesus and whatever other churches it was circulated to, would have understood it in the context of the time. Something like 2/3 of the Roman Empire was slaves, owned by maybe 1/100th or at most 1/10th of the Empire. They were owned. They had meaningful work, true, including trades. But they did not have freedom to leave their job and go elsewhere.

Some have said slavery was a different animal in the 1st Century than it was in the 16th through 19th Centuries. That's correct, but only in the fact that race wasn't the basis for one's becoming a slave, and kidnapping or bribing a tribal leader wasn't the basis for acquiring slaves. How one became a slave was a complex situation, resulting from many things, none of them racial, none of them as a matter of a system of trade and procurement. Yet, slaves were bought and sold. Some were held to breed more slaves. Many or most were mistreated. Few were ever freed. If they became too sick to work they were kicked out of the house, not nursed back to working health.

If this is so, why didn't Jesus condemn it? Why didn't Paul? Paul says, "Slaves, obey your masters," and goes on to explain what this means. He tells masters to treat their slaves well, true, but never does he suggest they set them free.

In search of an explanation, I found guidance in John MacArthur's commentary on Ephesians. I'd love to develop his full argument, but afraid I'm almost out of time and words on a Lord's Day where I really haven't taken the time to rest as I should, so I'll give the short version. Perhaps, in a follow-up post down the road, I'll expand on it more. MacArthur's take is that the Bible isn't a textbook on how to structure social systems. It's a textbook on how to structure our relationship with God, and what this means to our relationship with mankind. He says the best social institution will be wrecked by sin, and the worst social institution will be improved by righteousness.

I find a lot of truth and wisdom in that. I'd love to take more time on it, and will someday. In fact, a book about it has been occupying space among my gray cells for some time. Perhaps that will someday find its way out. For now, however, it's just this post. As Christians we can change the world, but it won't happen because we jump up and down and insist the government end this program or start that one, or improve this social institution or scrap that one. It will happen one person at a time, until critical mass is reached and the institution is as it should be for the benefit of mankind.

Of course, that all depends on Christians following Christ—fully, wholeheartedly, unwaveringly, boldly, and lovingly. Since I don't see that happening, I'm not optimistic that the world will improve.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Once Again, an Idea Lost

"That would make a great blog post."

That's what I said to myself at some point yesterday. Knowing that today was my day to blog here, I was looking about for an idea of what to write about. Something came to me that I knew was a good idea for a post, and I spent a little time trying to lock it into my mind. I don't remember where I was, but I guess I was at a place where I couldn't write it down.

Then, last night at home, while I was fighting through a low blood sugar episode, and the usual stuff an evening brings, I realized the idea was gone. I tried to remember what it was, but nothing. I tried to remember where I was when the idea came to me, but nothing.

This is the second time I've written about this, the other time not so long ago. And to think that, just a little before that, I had been thinking that I was doing a good job of capturing ideas. I really do need to get some kind of notebook that I keep with me, to jot down important items that I want to act on at some point in the future, especially writing ideas.

So what do I write about today? I thought of the weather. I heard the wind in the night, which I thought would be a good first line of a haiku. Today it was cloudy and sprinkling as I left for work. I could write about my health, and the fact that my weight is down to the lowest it's been since 1992. Just another pound or two and I'll be passing through another weight loss milestone. With my blood sugar readings being mostly good, and the doctor putting me on a six-month appointment schedule instead of quarterly, there's much to tell about health. But how boring that would be for you all.

I could talk about writing. But that's what my other blog is for. I finished some song lyrics yesterday. I should say that I don't really write song lyrics. What I do is improve lyrics in songs that I think can be improved; I add verses to songs that need another verse; and I take rock and roll songs and write Christian lyrics for them, typically following the same theme of the original song. Some time ago (meaning perhaps a year or so), I began working on Christian lyrics for Chuck Berry's "My Ding-A-Ling". When I say "working" I mean when I'm walking, especially my noon walks on weekdays. I sing or hum, which is why I walk alone, I suppose.

Yesterday, after singing the usual songs on the first lap, I wanted to "write" on the second lap. That song came to mind, so I started working on it. By the end of the second lap I had recalled what I'd done with it before, and finished the five verses I wanted. All in my head, of course. I would have to write them out when I got to my desk after walking. At that time I first went to the break room and drank a glass of water to re-hydrate, then went back to my desk and...forgot that I had something to write down. Can you believe it? Two minutes and 50 feet to and from the break room, and I forgot what I had to do. Kind of like an idea for a blog post.

By mid-afternoon I remembered that I had forgotten to write the lyrics down, so I took a break and re-created them. As best I could. I'm sure they aren't the same as the brilliant ones I had when I was walking, but they aren't bad. Now that I have them on paper I can continue to refine them into perfect lyrics.

But, how interesting will it be to bore you all with the story of how I came up with some song lyrics? So, I apologize, everyone who reads this blog. I guess I don't have a post for today.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Forty Years Ago Today

On top of Mountain Napf, photo by Dirk Beyer
I'm interrupting my Sunday series on our Life Group lessons on Ephesians, because today is a very important anniversary in my life. Actually, it wasn't April 20; it was Easter Sunday, 1974. I suppose I could look up the date; I believe it was in early April. But I've preferred to celebrate this particular anniversary on Easter rather than the exact date.

It was senior year in college, spring semester. I was a part-time student, needing only three credits to graduate but taking nine, working some, basically having a leisurely time heading toward graduation. I was engineering job hunting, and having some success. As Easter came, I had four job offers on the table: three in Boston and one in Kansas City. Boston was an easy drive up the road from my native Cranston, RI; Kansas City was another world. I didn't know what I would do.

That morning I took my grandmother to the Episcopal church in Wakefield, RI, and attended Easter high mass with her. My spiritual status was up in the air at that time. The previous summer I had made a profession of faith after watching a Billy Graham Crusade on television (with prior assists by other devout Christian friends and acquaintances), but it really hadn't stuck. Sin took hold, sin such as I hadn't experienced before, and I was not walking as I should. I wasn't hostile to God, and was feeling the weight of guilt of sin, but nothing was nudging me to get back where I should be.

After lunch—or perhaps it was before lunch—I was in my room at my grandparents house (7 miles from campus, I stayed with them the last year and a half I was at URI), looking over the four offers and wondering what to do. I ruled out one of the Boston ones, so I was really thinking of three. The one in Kansas City was actually the most lucrative, though it would take me half a continent away from family and friends. What to do, what to do? I decided I should pray about it. God would make the way clear for me.

I started to pray, but stopped almost immediately. I realized, "How can I pray to God? I have no standing with him, having not acknowledged him as Lord of my life, living the kind of life I wanted to live, not the life He wanted me to live. I had come to the crossroads: My way, or His way? I didn't struggle long with the question. I again bowed my head, and in Jesus' name asked God to forgive my sins, decided to turn from my sinful life and live as I should, walking in the light.

No ray of light came down from heaven; no fireworks accompanied this. I wasn't surrounded by trained altar workers, intense in prayer. It was just me and God, my grandparents being off somewhere else in the house. Yet the change was immediate. I knew it had happened, and that my life had changed forever. I continued in prayer about the job offers, but didn't feel comfortable asking God to show me which one to take. Rather, I felt led to ask God to direct my decision making process, and lead me to the right decision, whether I felt and recognized His guidance or not. Within a couple of days I was overcome with the idea I should take the one in Kansas City. A little over two months later, everything I owned packed into my 66 Plymouth Valient, I headed west on a three-day, one-way drive.

That day is the most important of my life. More important than my wedding day. More important than the day my mother died. More important than those days when my children were born.

I wish I could say that these forty years have resulted in my making all the right decisions, in my conduct never being sinful, in my walk always being one that others could point to as the way a Christian should walk. Alas, I know that all isn't true. But I consider my walk unbroken from that Easter Sunday, 1974. Life has taken me on paths I never would have expected. I can say this: The journey was a joy, and still is.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

How a Boy's Mind Works

Ezra goes home today. He's been here nine nights, and would have gone home Tuesday except Lynda took sick and couldn't take him, and I couldn't get off work to do so. He's three, and has all the negatives of a 3-year-old. He resists potty training, and we more or less gave up (though we had a few successes with it while he was here). He wants his food at a perfect temperature, and served in the form he likes, though he eats almost anything. Don't stick his cantaloupe wedge with a fork, we discovered. He does not like holes in it. He doesn't like the taste of the toothpaste his parents sent with him; consequently it was a battle most mornings and evening to brush his teeth. Also, whatever book you pick to read him is the wrong book for that time.

But, he is a joy to be around most of the time. It's been amazing to watch him play. He loves the iPad, and, if left to his own devises, never do anything but watch it. So we had to be careful about how much we let him watch it. He's very adept at pushing a button or two and using the touch screen to get the game or children's show that he wants.

One thing we noticed is that he doesn't get into things he shouldn't. He seems to understand what are his toys, and only plays with them. All week he never touched any glassware or papers or things we have strewn about our most un-child-proofed house, all the more so right now as we are dealing with Lynda's mom's papers and surplus things from her moving to her smaller apartment. This is so unlike his older brother, Ephraim, who when he's here is always picking up glassware or trinkets to see what they are. We have some glass bells at different places around the house, and don't think to put them away before Ephraim comes. He's broken one, when he was about Ezra's age. But Ezra? He could care less. Toys and iPads are what he wants.

One day Lynda said he couldn't have the iPad, that he needed to play with his other toys. So he took his vehicles and made a line out of them. A bus was first, a tow truck second, and a helicopter was the last of the fifteen or so in the line. Once he had them all in a line, he moved them across the room, one at a time, and formed a line in another part of the living room, in the exact same order as the first line. Then, vehicle by vehicle, he moved them back to the first location. Moving them one direction he rolled them across Lynda, who was laying on the couch, going up the "hills" her knees and hips made. Or, if she wasn't there, he did that to me where I was sitting with my legs crossed in my reading chair. He did this for what seemed like a couple of hours.

What's going on in a boy's mind that causes them to be so organized, so methodical about their play? How does he do that same thing over and over again, with only the variation in the words or noises he's saying? How does he make his decisions? When we went on walks he always wanted to go downhill on our circle, not uphill. Then, on the other side of the circle—the "big hill" going up—I always had to carry him up the worst of it. When we finally got out to the next road, which takes a fair amount of traffic, he insisted on going all the way to the end. Then, on the return trip of the 1.5 miles total, he wanted to be carried some. Why insist on going the full distance and then want to be carried. A boy's mind. Who's to understand?

Yesterday when I got home from work I drug him away from the iPad, out to the driveway with his cement truck, airplanes, and trikes. He played with them for a while, but then wanted to walk. Fortunately, he accepted going up the circle from our house instead of down, and off we went. At the main road he wanted to go to the right instead of the left. We did, until we were getting ready to go down the big hill that takes you to the foot of the dam. I told him we had to go either left or right at a crossroads before going too far down the hill. He chose the right, and we walked down this road I've never been on before. It was a very pleasant road, with gentle grades and expensive, well kept houses. It circled back to the main road, and we turned left and headed home.

Except, when we came to the road to turn on to go home, he wanted to walk straight ahead, on this main road, as we did other times. I said okay, and we continued. Now, I'm walking on the edge of the pavement, but Ezra wants to be off the pavement, down in the grass, the leaves, the ditch. So his walk was harder on him than mine was on me. But he goes slowly, plodding through, having fun ducking under mailboxes and stepping over sticks, looking in culverts under driveways, sometimes picking up a rock from a xeriscaped yard and dropping it in a slightly different location. We went almost to the highway, but I talked him into taking a certain side road that looped back to the main road, and then to head home. I pointed to the sun low in the sky, and he understood darkness was coming and we had to head home.

As we got closer to the house he walked slower and slower. Yet he insisted on climbing up open areas on the back side of the ditch. He still resisted my taking his hand when cars came in our direction. I finally explained to him that I did that not because he might bolt out into the street, into the oncoming car, but so that the drivers of the cars could have confidence that he was under control. After I said that, he didn't object again. When we got to the house he still wanted to play some in the driveway, iPad within the house far from his mind, supper seemingly unimportant.

I eventually got him inside, he ate an enormous amount of food, and went back to his line of vehicles. Getting him to bed was a challenge, as he was over-tired, but all in all it was an evening I can't complain about. I figure we walked about three miles in just under two hours. I observed him closely, wondering all the time how his mind was working, never figuring it out. I hope, however, that my mind will always be as active as his, my methods as organized, and my energy as high.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Ephesians 5:21-31: Husbands vs. Wives

I had a week off teaching Life Group today. That was good, as I found it difficult to carve out time to prepare. Grandson #2, Ezra, has been with us since Tuesday, consuming plenty of time—enjoyable time, I must add. Saturday morning he and I worked out in the yard. Of course, at 3-years-old he sees it as a game. Still, he loved picking sticks up off the rocks, breaking them, and putting them in the bucket. Twice he carried the bucket (it's pretty light, even filled) into the adjacent woods and emptied it. Then we worked on cutting down a dead tree. He even helped me with the bow saw. It's about 12 inches diameter at the base, so I didn't intend to do it all yesterday. Then it was lunch and time for a walk. He wanted me to go with him, not grandma. So he and I walked about a mile all together. He insisted going downhill from out house first, which meant we had a big uphill to do, and I had to carry him part way. When we got back he sure took a long nap.

I was ready for something light and easy to do, when I remembered I still needed to complete my mother-in-law's income tax forms, which I do every year for her, Esther. Mine were turned in several weeks ago, but I was waiting on finding a few of her tax documents that were misplaced when she moved to an independent living apartment at the beginning of March. The day of her move I saw that bag and said to myself that I needed to take it. But did I? No. A couple of days later I asked my wife to find it in the new place and bring it to our house. It took her a couple of days to remember to look for it; she found it, but somehow it never made its way to our house and be found. So yesterday, after Lynda, Ezra, and I went to the nearby Mexican restaurant to celebrate Lynda's birthday, we went by Esther's place to make one last look for the bag before going through check registers and bank statements. Alas, we didn't find it.

In the afternoon, while Ezra was napping, I pulled up the spreadsheet I had already began for her taxes, took the tax statements that I had, and began entering information in the spreadsheet. I pretty much completed the Federal portion, not including deductions for charitable contributions and medical expenses, which were the main things lacking. In the evening I began going through bank statements for all entries on the dozen or so charities she donates to, and for payments to doctors, dentists, and pharmacies. Lynda then read off pharmacy receipts to me. She had previously gathered them all and arranged them by payee and date. As I went through the bank statements, and as Lynda read from receipts, I made the entries straight into a spreadsheet on the laptop. We were done around 11:00 p.m., I saved so I could access it from the desktop today, and tumbled into bed, quite exhausted.

It's now Sunday afternoon, around 4:30 p.m. I finished everything on the taxes about a half hour ago. I discovered a couple of changes in Arkansas taxes that resulted in me having to revise my spreadsheet. Missing that bag (which included her Social Security statement), I'm not 100 percent sure the figuring is correct, but it's the best I can do. Her mail is now coming to our house, so next year I shouldn't have the missing forms problem. This is two years in a row that's happened.

By the time I went to bed I was having rib cage pain. It hurt to breath, just at one spot. By the time I rose this morning it was worse, and getting even more worse as the morning wore on. I also felt I had no energy. Sitting in church was painful. Hopefully it's just aches and pains from bending, stretching, and sawing yesterday, not a return of the ehrlichiosis I had about three years ago.

All this is to say that I was in no condition to be studying, preparing a lesson for, and teaching the "Wives, submit to your husbands...husbands, love you wives" lesson. I decided not to study, as it wasn't my week to teach, although my co-teacher sometimes does get called in on large animal or other pet emergencies, even on his weekend off. Fortunately he was there today, and handled the lesson with great skill and grace. He separated the men and woman (all of whom were married and most of whom had spouses there today). In the men's group I summoned enough energy to write a summary of the discussion. Then the combined discussion afterwards was quite good. I'm very glad I didn't have to teach today, as I probably would have handled it quite a bit differently and not as near as well as he did.

It's now time to relax. Ezra will be up soon from his nap, and I'll want to give him some attention. No writing today, unless I get some time to read for research this evening. I may even take a pain pill tonight, something I rarely do.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Milestones in the last week

That's what's happened to me: several milestones over the last five days. I don't know that my brain will allow me to make a lengthy discussion of these, so let me list then, then come back to them and see if I have the wherewithal to add commentary.

  • Participated in my first 5K event last Saturday, April 5
  • Was able to learn G.I.M.P. enough to be able to create a cover for a print book
  • Had a good enough regular check-up at the doctor that he has reduced the frequency of my check-ups to every six months instead of three months.
  • Figured out two sticky problems at work. Neither is done yet, but the way is clear to both of them.
  • Had the book cover I created accepted by CreateSpace, and I was able to order the proof copy.

Concerning the 5K, I need to make it clear that I participated, I didn't run. One of the routes I take on one or two weekend days is 5K, so I knew I could finish it. Based on that route, I was hoping to beat 50 minutes in the competition. Then last week I went to the track and did a two mile hard run, to see how I might do. Based on that I had an unofficial goal of 48 minutes. I finished the event with a time of 45:44, last among men in my age group, but I felt good about it. I jogged about a minute or two during the race, maybe even three minutes, and that seemed enough to help me get my time down.

I discussed G.I.M.P. in my other blog, and won't take too long here. It's a graphics editing program, not at all intuitive to use. Over four days of the last seven I worked my way through it, and was able to put together a cover for the print version of Thomas Carlyle's Edinburgh Encyclopedia Articles. I turned that in Tuesday night, and Wednesday afternoon received the e-mail from CreateSpace saying that the cover (as well as the interior, which I had already formatted a few days before) met all specs needed for printing, and they could proceed. So my first print cover was acceptable. I ordered the print, and can't wait to see how it looks on the book.

With my blood sugar measurements as low as they've been for years, and still trending down, the doctor was wanting to give me four months between check-ups instead of the normal three. But that doesn't work so well for prescriptions filled on a quarterly basis. So I suggested that I continue to come in for my lab work quarterly, but that I see him every six months. If the labs show any sign of trouble, either his office or I can schedule a visit. He thought that was a good idea, so it's done. I won't see the doc again, except for the labs, until October, which will be my annual physical.

And, one other thing that's positive this week is getting up to three book sales for the month. I sold one e-copy of Documenting America, one print copy at work of Operation Lotus Sunday, and an e-copy of the Carlyle encyclopedia book. I'm not really expecting to sell many of this oddball, public domain book, and to sell even one so soon after publication is good.

So I'm feeling good about things right now. Next will be to finish my novel-in-progress, to make a proper cover for The Gutter Chronicles (including a print cover), and to do a print cover for In Front of Fifty Thousand Screaming People. Then it's onward to who knows what after that.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Looking for Positive Instructions

Once again it was my week to teach Life Group. My co-teacher had an adjustment in his schedule, and was on call this week and will be off next week. As it turned out he wasn't able to make it to church and Life Group today. He texted me around 9:15 that he had to perform a C-section on a heifer and was expecting a dog to be brought into the clinic.

But I knew I was teaching and so was prepared. Actually, all I had to do was review my preparation for last week, when we were able to get through only a fraction of the lesson. I was able to do this in a short time last night and this morning, and was ready to finish teaching Ephesians 5:1-20.

My study has shown me that this is an amazing passage of scripture. Paul packed so much into these few words. It is mostly a series of commands, of things not to do and to do, along with a few reasons why and a few consequences for disobedience. I chose to focus on the positive commands, saving the negative ones in reserve in case the normally talkative class clammed up. But they didn't. After we read through the verses, I asked them to go through the verses and pick out the positive commands, adjusting the language slightly if needed to put it in the form of a command. Here's what they came up with, which was the same thing I came up with. The first two were the ones we discussed in detail last week.

  • Be imitators of God
  • Live a life of love
  • There should be thanksgiving
  • Live as children of light
  • Find out what pleases the Lord
  • Expose the fruitless deeds of darkness
  • Be very careful how you live
  • Live as wise [people]
  • Make the most of every opportunity
  • Understand what the Lord's will is
  • Be filled with the spirit
  • Speak to one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs
  • Sing and make music in your heart to God
  • Always give thanks to God for everything

That's a good list. We decided that several of these would be an hour's study each, so focused our discussion on the ninth and fourteenth. Somehow the discussion found its way to dealing with Christian attitudes while driving. It seems we get to this point often, which shows what's on peoples' minds.

Next week I should be off from teaching, and get to sit and listen. My co-teacher will get to teach the husbands and wives section of Ephesians 5. You would almost think I manipulated things to avoid that.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Unfathomable Energy

One summer evening in 1991, we were out walking as a family, on the London Road/Chelsea Road loop where we lived in Bella Vista. Down the hill, cross the ravine that drains a major area into Lake Windsor, then up a steep hill. From that point on it's fairly level, minor up and down hills until you get back on that part of London that led to our rental house. When we got to the flat-ish part, Sara and I decided to run, and did so up to Chelsea. Or maybe we did a little way on Chelsea also. I believe it was almost dark or may have already been dark by then. Two things she said at the end of the run that I still remember. "Wow, you have very quiet footsteps when you run," and "I can't believe how much energy I have."

Remembering that very clearly, even almost twenty-three years later, that got me thinking energy. Last week I came through a period where I had very little energy, and I didn't understand it. My routines were normal. To bed about as normal and up about as normal. All body functions functioning as they should. I little more pain in my right knee than usual, but not by any means excessive. My weight was down a couple of pounds in a week. Yet, at work and at home, I felt that I couldn't do another thing. This actually started around March 23, Sunday. I had gone for my 3.1 mile walk on Saturday, pushing it hard. That was after the usual morning chores. Sunday, however, I felt the lack of energy and didn't do the walk. I worked on writing tasks, but didn't get a whole lot done, if I remember correctly.

This continued in the next week, and even last weekend. I forced myself to be productive at work, and went for noon hour walks (typically 1 mile) most days.  I skipped my walk on Saturday, though on Sunday I again forced myself to do the 3.1 miles, not as hard as the previous Saturday. During the week I mainly worked on publishing activities rather than writing. I was formatting my latest book for e-book and then print book. On Saturday I did the final few tasks and actually uploaded it. I first didn't realize I failed to click the "Publish" box, and four hours later checked to see why it hadn't moved to the next phase. I did that, and almost immediately the Amazon review came back with an error needing correcting. I fixed that, and waited. By the time I arose Sunday morning, the book had published. And Sunday afternoon I found enough energy to go for that walk.

This got me thinking about energy: how we get it in our system and sense that we have it. What takes energy from us, what feeds it to us? We all know a huge meal saps energy as the digestive system parts talk back and forth. The over-full stomach alerts the small intestine that a slug of stuff to digest is coming, etc. But lack of food will also sap energy. Why should a 12 year old girl and a 39 year old man gain energy by expending energy (for I, too, remember that I had a lot of energy that evening, same as Sara) but a 62 year old man loses energy by doing very little? It's a mystery.

Maybe those publishing tasks were looming before me, and dislike of having to do them was what was driving the energy out of them. Then, once completed, I began to get my energy back. And it's not that I don't like the publishing tasks. I actually like formatting books, looking into the minutia of what makes a book look good, learning new tricks of the trade, getting it done. But it's not as much fun as the writing and editing. Now, I have the print book ready to go with the exception of the cover. I did the e-book cover, and will incorporate that into the print book cover. So far I've begged my print covers done, and did some hiring of it done. But I'm determined to learn how to do it. I'll never be artistic, and my covers may never be the best, but I will learn the mechanics of putting them together. Facing this, however, is continuing to pull energy from me. The last two nights I could have been working on it, and yet, I did other things, not even necessary things.

On Saturday I will participate in my first 5k event. I plan to walk it, although I reserve to job some at the end if I feel good. How much energy will I have? On Monday I went by the track and walked a mile at what I felt was a competition pace. I completed it in 15:22, and did another quarter mile at the same pace. That's faster than the 50 minute goal I have for this first 5k. Will I have enough energy to complete it? Maybe, if I find a way to do things that increase my energy over the next couple of days. If I work on that print book cover, I'm not sure what that will do to me.

And no, I'm not going to drink one of those hyper-energy drinks. I see no reason for monkeying with the artificial stimulant cocktail that they are, not give that I take a handful of medications. I need to figure this out by natural means. I'll have to see how I feel after the 5k. If I break 50 minutes, or even as low as 48 minutes, and still have plenty of energy for the tasks that I face over the next days, maybe I'll know something more about personal energy.