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Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit


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BJ McHugh: Mother’s Day Marathoner

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Betty Jean McHugh

While working out at a local weight room, I had the privilege of getting to know Betty Jean McHugh, the world’s fastest 83-year old long-distance runner.  Interviewed on TV and newspaper, she has been called the flying granny.  Jack Taunton, Chief Medical Officer for the Vancouver Winter Olympics, called her one of the most remarkable senior runners we have seen.  Betty Jean is so positive and energetic that she inspires the rest of us to not give up on our health goals.  Recently I met her at the Parkgate Village right next to the Bean Around the World coffee shop.  She told me of her tri-generational plans to run in the December 2012 Hawaiian Marathon, along with her son Brent and her grandchild.

After reading her book My Road to Rome, I knew that I needed to celebrate BJ’s achievements as a Mother’s Day marathoner.  One of her great lifetime highlights which she talked about extensively throughout her book was an all-expense-paid trip to run in the Rome 2009 Marathon.  There are now five million North American women running, compared to less than one million in the 1980s.  Women, many of whom are mothers, now outnumber men at running events.  BJ has run in 14 marathons and over 300 road races.  Running four times a week at 5:45am, BJ has broken a dozen Canadian and world records.  She started running at age 55, a time when many others were hanging up their running shoes.  While BJ has been injured many times over the years, she never gave up, saying that she ‘was not going to accept the ravages of time without a fight.’  Running has become for her as much part of her life as ‘brushing her teeth’.

BJ’s determination is an inspiration to watch. She not only runs and works out at the gym, but also has been an avid North Shore skier since the early 1950s.  BJ even climbs the Grouse Grind with her grandchild.  Such athletic involvement helped condition her to become a leading octogenarian runner.  She acknowledges that there are thousands of times when she felt like not bothering. “Excuses are easy; commitment is hard”, says BJ.  But she just keeps putting one foot in front of the other and goes for it regardless.  Every marathon, says BJ, is a journey into the unknown.  You train and train and train again, and think that you are ready. But you never really know how your body is going to fare over 42 kilometres of running.

One thing that keeps her going are her running partners to whom she is committed. “How can I sleep through an early-morning downpour”, says BJ, “when I know that my friends will be waiting for me at our meeting place in ten minutes?”  Running, says BJ, has given her friendships that are powerful and lasting.  Through her running with her partners, they experience ‘the elation of reaching the top of a hill, the pain when (they) increase the distance on a training run, the slogging through rain and dancing through a sunlit forest.’

In BJ’s book, she talks about being raised in the poverty of the Great Depression in Stanwood Ontario.  The local church was the centre of the community.  BJ comments that ‘as a child she liked everything about church but the Sunday service…The minister droned on about subjects I never understood, and I had to sit in the pew with my hands folded politely.’

Once while running in a Vancouver marathon, she became more and more concerned about finishing well: ‘I feared hitting the dreaded ‘wall’, that point at which the body has used up all its reserves.’  Finishing well is a challenge for all of us, whether in a marathon, in our business, or in our family.  It  is about ultimately facing the question: will my life have made a difference?  BJ is an example of someone who is finishing well, whose life is making a difference.  She has chosen to give her best into what she believes in and is passionate about.  BJ is leaving a legacy that other younger people will be able to tap into.

One of my mentors, Paul, said that he fought the good fight, he finished the race, he kept the faith (2 Timothy 4:7). Even though Paul was tragically killed, he finished well.  Paul also recognized that physical exercise was of real value, but he pointed us to the even greater significance of spiritual exercise (1 Timothy 4:8).  Part of finishing well is a commitment to being healthy in body, mind and spirit.  If we neglect any of those three, we are the poorer for it.  Life is a marathon. Life is about discipline.  Life is about finishing well.  My Mother’s Day prayer for those reading this article is that BJ McHugh’s example will inspire all of us to discipline ourselves in body, mind and spirit so that we may truly finish well.

 

 

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-an article previously published in the Deep Cove Crier/North Shore News

-award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

 

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form.  Dr. JI Packer wrote the foreword, saying “I heartily commend what he has written.” The book focuses on strengthening a new generation of healthy leaders. Drawing on examples from Titus’ healthy leadership in the pirate island of Crete, it shows how we can embrace a holistically healthy life.

In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook. It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 


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Father of the Fatherless

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Imagine a world in which all dads were suddenly removed from the face of the earth.  What would be missing?  In a nutshell, we would be missing a lot of ‘player coaches’.  Dads at their best love to root for their kids, to cheer them on, to give them tips.  Dads are natural coaches.  But dads are also player coaches.  Dads at their best love to play.  Most dads at heart are over-grown kids who wish that they were back on their childhood baseball diamond, soccer field or hockey rink.  Having kids of one’s own is the perfect excuse to cut loose from adult pressures and reconnect with what really matters.  I want to say to dads: ‘We need you, we appreciate you, and we value your contribution to making our lives a better place’.

I am deeply grateful that family matters so much to my own father.  He invested in me in countless ways that I am just discovering fifty-five years later.  While I loved my father, I took so much of his generosity for granted.  It is only as I invest in my three boys with my time, talent, and treasure, that I understand what an enormous commitment it is to be a caring father.  Commitment is a scary thing.  Family and marriage require from us Dads 110% and more.  I am so grateful that my father never ran from my family.  One of the greatest gifts that my Dad could ever give me is that he showed much love to my late Mom, whom he was married to for 66 years.

The longer I live, the more grateful I am for my father.  He has always cheered for me when I have faced life’s obstacles.  As I look at my father, I see confidence, competence, and creativity.  My father never lets anything stop him in his tracks.

Whether he has worked on his computer or in his workshop, he never let failure discourage him.  He just tries and tries again, always experimenting with a slightly different technique.  My Dad’s willingness to keep on learning has kept him young at heart.  I pray that in the years ahead that I too may remain teachable, flexible, and willing to take risks.

When a prison chaplain once offered free Mother’s Day cards to inmates, they were all snapped up in minutes.  But when he offered free Father’s Day cards, there were few takers.  Sadly many young men and women today have grown up with little or no experience of a father’s love.  There is often no ‘player coach’ in their lives.  More than ever before, our youth are a fatherless generation.  So much crime, violence, drug usage, and promiscuity flows directly out of the pain of fatherlessness.

One counselor said that fathers are meant to be the ‘halfway house’ between childhood and adulthood.  As Dads bless their teenage sons and daughters, they empower them to be courageous and yet wise, bold and yet discerning.  Without the father’s blessing, many teens feel unwanted, uncared for, and unaffirmed.  This can be equally true for single parent families and workaholic two-parent families.  The tragedy is that fatherlessness so often carries on generation after generation.

Our hearts need to go wide open towards the fatherless.  As the good book tells us, God is the father of the fatherless, the defender of widows and orphans (Psalm 68).  God is turning the hearts of the fathers back to their children and the children back to their fathers (Malachi 4:6).  My prayer for those reading this article is that each of us would experience the Father’s heart of love for his lost sons and daughters.  The Father loves you more than your wildest imagination.  The Father is cheering for you to make the best of your life.  The Father wants to wrap you in his loving arms.

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier/North Shore News

-award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

 

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook.

It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, Canada V4A 0A5.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, Canada V4A 0A5. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 


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My Dad has always stood with me…

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Ed Hird Photo Jpeg May 2004

I remember when I lost my voice for 18 months back in 1980.  I will never forget resigning my job, going on sick leave, driving to the Government Employment office only to find out that my company did not have any long-term disability insurance.  In the midst of those devastating experiences, my strongest feeling was that I was disappointing my father.  However my dad was not feeling that way at all.  He was just concerned that I DSCF2160recover my voice and get back on track.  Deep within most of us is this inexpressible desire to please our fathers.

In the early 1980’s, I spent almost five years in Abbotsford, during which time we had our second child.  Each week I went to visit the sick in the local hospital.  While visiting the psychiatric ward, I met a man who had Anglican and Roman Catholic parents.  He said to me that he hadn’t seen a priest in thirty years.  Out of the blue, he told me that he never prayed to God.  ‘God was too angry’, he said. ‘You just couldn’t talk to him.  He would always blow up.’  The man went on to say that he only prayed to the Virgin Mary.  ‘She was kind, loving, gentle, and would always listen’, he said.

I said to the man, ‘Does God ever remind you of your earthly father?’.  ‘Funny you should say that’, he said. ‘ They are just the same.  They never listen and they always blow up at me.’  I went on to say, ‘What about your own mother? Does she remind you of the Virgin Mary?’  His eyes brightened up, and he said to me, ‘You must know my parents.  My mother is just like the Virgin Mary.  She always listens to me’.

I said to the man, ‘Your problem is not with God.  It is with your earthly father.  If you are willing to deal with the pain of your relationship to your dad, you will find that DSCF3371you will be able to talk to God.’  A week later, a local psychiatrist phoned me up and informed me that this patient had experienced a major breakthrough in his counseling as a result.

In A.A., they say that you are as sick as your secrets.  I would agree, but also add that we are as healthy as our relationship with our fathers.  So many men nowadays are caught in painful ambivalence and confusion, because they have never really felt affirmed and blessed by their own fathers.  The gift of a healthy father is the gift of courage.  The gift of a healthy father is the gift of being willing to lay down our lives, if necessary, for our families.  In this age of compromise, I give thanks for my own father who has not been afraid to stand up for his family and his convictions.

Without a father who believes in you, it may be very hard as a teenager to feel that you are going to make it through.  They say that teenagers experience most things far more intensely than many adults.  Their highs are twice as high and their lows are twice as low.  That is why premature sexual intimacy and the usual relational breakups are so deeply devastating for our teenagers.  A courageous father does more than just give a condom to his kid.  He explains to him the real risk of broken hearts and diseased bodies, as well of the benefits of waiting for real commitment.  By our faithfulness to our wives, despite the ups and down of life, we give our children courage to believe that they too can enter faithful lasting relationships.  The concept of future marriage for many teenagers and young adults has become filled with so much fear and uncertainty.  Yet as Dr. Laura put it, ‘Without commitment, there is no future.’  Courageous fathers give to their sons and daughters the courage to commit to the unknown future.

One of the things I love the most about the DSCF1656North Shore  is the beautiful trails that are woven throughout our area.  Recently I encountered a neighbour walking his dog.  Out of the blue, I said, ‘What is a courageous father?’  He said, ‘Someone who holds down a job and cares for his children’.  Simple words, but very true.  In this age of compromise, in this pressure-cooker world, so many fathers are tempted to run away from it all.  The stress just becomes too much.

 

I thank God for my own father who never ran from our family during good times and bad, during sickness and health, for better or for worse.  I thank God for being the father of the fatherless, the one who gives me courage to not run from stress, who gives me the courage to stand my ground when everything else is falling apart, to stand for truth when many seem to be compromising.

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-author of the award-winning Battle for the Soul of Canada 

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

 

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook.

It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, Canada V4A 0A5.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, Canada V4A 0A5. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca