Little Bit of Fun

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#ChristmasChallenge#Post1

Sunday, December 1st, 2019

I’m going to try something I did several years ago. It was a good exercise for me in that it kept me focused. My plan is to post a new Christmas thought each day for this month. It could be a poem. It could be a song. It could be a written thought. It could be a spiritual thought or it could be one that is not spiritual in nature but has a focus on Christmas.

Since today is December 1 it calls for a post that will focus us on the importance of the season. The past few days I have listened to some random Christmas music and heard this song for the first time. Unfortunately there is no video with lyrics so I am unable to show that. However, the song is beautiful and clear.

Enjoy listening to it here.

Would anyone else like to join me in this challenge? I’d love to share links with each other.

#Whirlwind#FunTime

Monday, June 10th, 2019

As I mentioned in my one and only post from last week I would be absent from this blog. It was a whirlwind week. We left Sunday after church for Ohio where we promptly got detoured in Indianapolis which took us out of our way.  The state bird of Indiana (the orange barrels used for construction) was clearly evident. They took us about 20-30 miles out of the way.  Monday we took off for PA and enjoyed a great time (Rob did an excellent grille job) with 2 of my younger brothers (I have 3). We laughed a lot. Tami rolled her eyes a lot as she watched the 3 brothers “show off” their humorous tendencies.  Tuesday we drove to my old hometown and saw the house I grew up in, the high school I attended  (which has totally changed), the “projects” where I spent the first 12 1/2 years of my life, where my grandparents lived, and where my mother was living when she went to see Jesus.  What Tommy James sang about in his song Smokey Roads is true. Braden was not impressed at all.  I guess I should have expected that. What 12 1/2 year old boy wants to spend time in a truck looking at relics?  🙂  The house I moved to in the middle of 7th grade and graduated from high school living in. My mom lived here for a few years after my dad left her and now my brother, Garry and his wife and daughter live there.

Eventually we got to our destination after some other stops along the way.  Here is one of our stops. It is called Mount Washington and it overlooks the Three Rivers area.

Finally, our destination.

The Pirates lost 12-5 but we were not there to see the end. After the Braves were ahead in the 8th inning Tami was content to leave. She was bummed, I think, because she missed the Freddie Freeman Home Run in the top of the 9th. I’m glad they won for her birthday present. The Pirates won the next two.  🙂  She left PNC park a happy girl.  I made her ride hooked to my bike rack on the way back to Rob’s.  J/K.  We did make national TV though.

We drove back to Ohio on Wednesday, stayed the night, then drove to Sandusky for the less thrilling part of our trip. Jo’s sister was in the hospital so that is never fun. But we saw she was taken care of and returned on Friday about 7:00.  I was ready for bed for sure!

Our “adventure” in Sandusky isn’t over because there is so much to do now that she is in a long-term facility. So my next few weeks are up in the air. Your prayers would be much appreciated.

 

#GoodFeeling

Monday, May 6th, 2019

I don’t know about you but seldom does a good feeling or contentment hit like it does when I have done something for someone else. But this post is not about me; it is about others.

Ever since 2009, the church I pastor (OVCF) has been having what I call a Day of Service (DoS). We started simple with one in the Fall of 2009. The church was struggling. We had gone through an ugly staff dismissal. We had seen our youth group drop like a rock due to kids graduating and going to college. We had experienced what every church hates: a small group use their time together to kick someone in the teeth (that would be me). I chose not to respond and we lost that whole group except for the elder and his wife who chose to stand up for me. Our attendance had fallen from close to 200 to about 120-130. I chose to challenge our people to take our eyes of ourselves and reach out. We had a phenomenal day.

Ever since then we have chosen to a DoS to people in our community. We expanded by asking another church to join us. Except for a few minor doctrinal points (they are Calvinists and I am not), we get along well. They also wanted to do something so we joined forces. We expanded the DoS to twice a year (Spring and Fall) with an emphasis on different projects. The Spring projects are larger involving small businesses like Horse Angels (a horse rescue place), Humane Society, a rescue dog kennel, as well local people who need help. In the Fall we change oil for those who need it free of charge. We also do the bulk of our local work for the people during this DoS.  Last year in the Spring we invited the Chamber of Commerce to join us. They also helped with the Fall event and then this Spring’s event.

That event was yesterday (Sunday). We were a bit more energetic in our approach. Our list included Horse Angels, the Cunningham dog rescue kennels; Humane Society, MyPath (a local effort to get a walking path going), Uplands Peak (a vegan farm animal rescue work); Roadside clean up; Spencer lawn and home help; and Gosport (a local town) clean-up.  We had some good cooperation from both churches and the Chamber. The weather was absolutely gorgeous, especially considering we have had nothing but rain the past year. (Okay slight exaggeration but close).  🙂

I was really proud of the 40+ people who represented OVCF during that 3 hour period. I drove around and they were working hard. Cleaning out dog pens. Mucking long overdue horse stall (and yes, the smell was as bad as you can imagine). Helping mulch. Entertain animals. Clean up litter from the side of roads. (Why can’t people throw things away, but not outside?).

All in all it was a good day. Thanks to all who helped make this a good DoS. And most of all, I pray Jesus was glorified.

#Poppingbuttons

Sunday, April 28th, 2019

Last week Jo and I took off on Tuesday morning for Ohio. We had received word from our daughter, Janna, that our favorite grandson was going to be receiving an award but that neither she nor Jason were going to be able to go. So we begrudgingly drove over to be at his award ceremony.  The catcher of this is that he did not know so we simply told him we wanted to see them all…which was true! We just didn’t tell him the whole story.  Tuesday night we all went out to Texas Roadhouse, which is typical when we do go.  He didn’t know we were celebrating him.

Anyway, the next morning we made our way to his school, signed in, got our visitor tag and sat and waited. He did not know we were there until I had to scratch my head and he saw the movement. So I smiled, wiggled my fingers underneath my chin, and watched him smirk.

Here is his award:

We were so proud of him, hence the #poppingbuttons title. He was excited about receiving it (can’t you tell?).

He may have not been too excited about receiving the award but we were!!  Here are two more pictures from his award day. One when his principle was taking his picture and let me horn in on it and the other with his mamaw (and yes, he is getting taller and getting close to her).  🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was a whirlwind trip. We came back Wednesday right after the ceremony. But it was well worth it.  Now you know what we did for two days last week. I love this boy…er soon-to-be-teenager…er young man. And he really is my favorite grandson!

Surprise!!

Monday, April 8th, 2019

This past Sunday the church I have pastored since November of 2005 surprised me and Jo. The picture which follows will tell the story.

Yeah…you’re seeing that right. It has been a bucket list of mine for a long time. Jo’s bucket list got lighter almost two years ago when someone gifted us with a week’s stay at a Timeshare in Daytona Beach. She has always wanted to go to the beach. They felt after my two bike accidents and major back surgery as a result that time away was a good thing. We agreed. 🙂 🙂

The back story to this trip is several months ago I asked Jo what she thought about a a cruise to Alaska. We contacted an old friend who had renewed her travel agent license (and whom I also think was in on this “deception”)  but after getting prices to the cruise and flights to Seattle we decided to back off and save for another year. We were okay with that. We would just take little junkets to Ohio and other places to get away which didn’t require a lot of money.  Combine that with the need for a new roof this summer and a new driveway and some needed house repairs and you have a recipe for waiting.

Fast forward to yesterday. It has been a really emotional week and weekend (see my other blog for April 8), even several months, so this could not have come at a better time. We were both stunned when Ryan put two chairs down where I stand to preach and asked us to come to the front. He started by asking me how long I have been doing this (being a pastor) and I said 45+ years. He then asked Kris, a lady whose family is going to Alaska this summer and close friends to the agent in Florida, to come forward. Kris presented us with the bucket and an all-expenses paid trip to Alaska, including air fare.  Can someone say, “Knock me over with a feather?” Jo & I were both so stunned we didn’t even cry.  In all my years as a pastor I have NEVER been treated by a church to something this magnanimous.  It looks like we are going to shoot for the first of September when they have an opening rather than wait until next year.

I thought I would share my/our surprise with you. We are blessed. And this is just a small part of the heart of these people. I have never felt so loved as I have here.  This is just a minor reason why. And I can honestly say that even without something this generous, I love these people.

Appreciation

Sunday, March 24th, 2019

Tonight is one of my favorite nights of the year.

IT IS VOLUNTEER APPRECIATION NIGHT!

Once a year Ryan, Diana and I give a night to honor our volunteers.  In the past we have done skits; shown videos of Tim Hawkins and other Christian comedians; provided a full-course mean (catered not cooked by either of us); given away prizes and just had a general all-around good night. I like to spend the night personally thanking each volunteer for making things go this past year.

Last year we switched things up a bit by renting our local Tivoli theater and showed The Incredibles. We gave each volunteer a ticket for free popcorn and a drink, gave away prizes, and had a great time. We decided to do the same thing this year. Good thing because all three of us have been swamped with life and this takes a bit less effort than doing skits, finding and paying for a catered meal, setting up tables and chairs and clean-up. This year we will be giving each volunteer a ticket for a free popcorn and drink and also have some door prizes to give away. What are we showing this year? The movie I consider one of, if not THE best animated movie ever made. CARS. A movie with a message about cooperation, pride, teamwork and getting along. All essentials for any team-volunteer or paid- to be successful.

If you are from OVCF and have volunteered and happen to be reading this, strap on your seat belt, grab some popcorn and a drink, and enjoy the ride with us! By the way, we never turn anyone away who wants to join us. I’d like to invite you to come join us if you are reading this from somewhere else on the planet but you may find that hard to do. Come virtually. About 6:00 pop in CARS in your DVD player, make some popcorn and grab a pop or water and join us. Sorry we can’t share our door prizes with you. The M&Ms might get melted or old (or eaten) by the time they reach you. 🙂

Anniversary

Wednesday, February 20th, 2019

Oh, for the ease of emojis. It is not as easy putting pictures on a blog as it is to use an emoji while texting. If so I would find one that pictures a celebration.

Today is the anniversary of me starting Cycleguy’s Spin. February 20, 2008. This is post #2,837.

It is hard for me to believe I have been at this for so long. A lot has changed. A lot has happened. I have seen people come and go. Some who used to blog don’t any more. For what reason, I don’t know. Blogging used to be “the thing” but FB, Twitter, Instagram and all the other newer, shinier models have stepped in. I’ve stuck with blogging because I am not into social media. It used to be a joke in our house that Jo got to do FB because I had my blog. She originally connected to it to keep up with the girls, but she is hooked. Me? I am glad I never got involved. They say it would be better for blog traffic but I’m okay with that. They also say I would be able to keep better track of “my people.” That’s alright. They don’t need a hound dog. Besides, I have spies all over the place! 🙂

A lot has happened. The church moved its location from the sports complex to our own building (we bought an already existing one). That was in 2010. In January of 2011 I found out we were being embezzled. But God was more than sufficient.  In 2009 I was riding with a friend and a dog came out of the yard and took me down. I was hit by a hit and run driver in 2016 and in 2017 I had a horrific crash (which Tami was kind enough to remind me that this past Sunday was the date of my two year anniversary). I became a board member of the Owen County Chamber of Commerce about 6 years ago. The church has seen its ups and downs but God has been good. We paid cash for a renovation in 2012 and for a much-needed youth addition in 2017-2018.  Our sights are set on an adult worship center now.  We had our first Day of Service in 2009 and now partner with The Connection church for a semi-annual Day of Service (Spring and Fall).  Our 2009 launch of a now annual Thanksgiving Dinner was one of the best things we have done and it has morphed into a Christmas breakfast as well.

I started another blog, more of a devotional one, in 2018.  It was called Be Transformed and was focused around New Morning Mercies by Paul David Tripp. I changed its name to Living in the Shadow at the beginning of this year and also changed my focus. I invite you to check it out here.

But through all of this and more, God has been the mainstay.  He has given me a love for the people of OVCF and for the community I never thought possible. I love living and serving here and honestly see myself nowhere else.

This is getting way too long so let me wrap it up. I thank you for being one of my readers. I appreciate it more than I can express. I know some of you are praying for me. That means even more. I’ll keep writing as long as I feel I have something to say. From the very beginning my guiding theme has been Live the Adventure.  I have received a few momentos along the way:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My firm belief and guiding principle:

And finally: I was listening to Switchfoot while working out yesterday and heard this song for the first time. It has been on repeat since then. It sums up my theme for my life.

Thanks for being a part of my life.  Live life well. It is an adventure.

Over/Start

Monday, February 4th, 2019

Please tell me it’s over.

Football.

The Super Bowl.

To let you know how I feel, watch this clip.

Football season couldn’t end soon enough for me. Basketball might run a close second or maybe just ahead of football. But that also means that soon…

CYCLING SEASON WILL BE IN FULL SWING

As will

BASEBALL SEASON

We had small group last night and since I wasn’t planning on watching any part of the SB (not even the commercials) it gave me something to do besides watch NCIS: Los Angeles with Jo or read or ride my bike inside (which is another name for boring).  I took a peak at the score before going to bed and I laughed out loud.  All that hype for a 3-0 score at halftime.  I read where someone wagered over 1 million dollars in favor of the Rams.  I think he lost…big time. Anyway, this means that football season is about over except for minor stuff. Again…YEAH!

We had a big tease of a day yesterday. It reached 60+ degrees! All that after -35 on Wednesday.  I didn’t get a chance to get out and ride due to other commitments. That was a bummer.  Maybe it was better though.  A day like that and getting out to ride makes it even harder to get started inside again.  And I guarantee you we will have some more nasty weather come our way before winter is over. But hey…I live in Indiana.  Who knows?

Well, that’s all for now. Hope you have a good week.

 

January??

Monday, January 7th, 2019

If I lived in Arizona as several of my online friends do, what I am about to write would not sound too crazy. If I lived in Florida, where some folks from the church are visiting and some old friends from the church now live, you would not think I sound crazy.

It’s January here in Indiana. January 6th (yesterday) to be exact. You know…the land of cold and ice and snow. Not like Norway, Sweden or even Canada. But the land of cold and ice and snow. (Cue Led Zepplin here)

I rode my bike yesterday. I rode my bike Saturday as well. 14. 5 on Saturday. 17.5 on Sunday. What gives? A bike with snow shoes or ice crampons? A road bike with huge treaded (not a word) tires made for mountain biking? Wrong on both counts.

Weather in the high 40s/low 50s on Saturday. When I started on Sunday my truck thermometer read 60+ degrees.  I was wise. There have been times I have ridden and been under-dressed and shivered my way home.  I recently found out the gloves I bought for winter riding were only good down to about 30. After that…shiver me fingers. They hurt so bad I cut a couple of rides short. But Saturday I worked up a good sweat. Sunday I worked up a good sweat but was also smart in that I packed some liners for my short-fingered gloves and a headband for my ears.  It is crazy how quickly it cools off when the sun goes down.

I enjoyed my two days of decent-weather riding. Makes me long for warm weather riding which is just around the corner. (I’m an optimist).

Some things never change though. Thinking I was okay and forgetting that  in cold or warm weather proper nutrition is a must, I failed to hydrate and eat right when I was done. I paid the price during small group last night when an inner thigh cramp seized my whole upper leg and I had to get up and massage and stretch. Some things never change I guess. You’d think at the age of 66 and after years of riding I’d learn my lesson. Some heads are hard.

If I may, allow me a spiritual application. Learning from our mistakes is essential. Proverbs tells us “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” The moment I get hard-hearted or hard-headed, I’m in trouble spiritually. I’m convinced a follower of Christ is never too old (or too young) to learn. I pray I never stop learning. I’d like to stop learning from all the dumb mistakes I make, but you gotta stop making them and that might never happen! 🙂

Afterglow

Wednesday, December 26th, 2018

I’m going to put your mind at ease to start with. This is not going to be a super spiritual post about reviewing 2018. I trust you will do that sometime this week. My past weekend was the “Christmas weekend” which defies description. It was such a hodge podge of stuff. I look forward to going back to the office to get some rest.  Taking naps in my chair never sounded so good.  🙂 🙂

Thursday morning I worked at our local theater popping popcorn for a children’s movie for a group of school children. Later that afternoon I went to Spencer Elementary School to do my Real Men Read with Mrs. Lee’s kindergarten class. I left them with a treat bag of a gingerbread cookies (I read “The Gingerbread Man” to them), a candy cane, and a “3 Feet Please” bear.  By the way: would you like to have one? I will be glad to send it to you if you will use it as a reminder to pray for me.

Friday I had to take my truck in for service in Terre Haute (an hour away), which ended up taking much longer than they thought.  That sort of threw us off our game a bit since we had to do some shopping for our Christmas breakfast, but we also knew Janna (our daughter), Jason and Braden were coming in to spend the weekend with us.

Saturday I studied early, went to the Y with Jason and Janna, studied some more then met some folks at Abram Farm to set up. We had so many show up to help we were pretty much ready within an hour.  We had our family Christmas Saturday night.

Sunday I was up at the normal time to make my way to the office to study and prepare and to be at Abram Farm at 8:00. I’m not OC by any stretch but I did want things ready to go. We had a wonderful service!  I think people were pleasantly surprised I was done earlier than I normally am.  (They may protest in weeks to come for a return to Christmas!). 🙂  But the real surprise was I had planned on folks being back at 2:00 to put things away. Lo and behold, my early dismissal meant some could not get to their planned family reunion for at least an hour so they asked if there was anything they could do. They started putting chairs away and those standing around talking decided to help. When I left for lunch, everything was done! All I had to do was sweep (someone else did), pick up and load some of our own equipment and was gone by 3:00. That was fantastic because that evening we were heading to our local theater for a sold out showing of The Polar Express.

Monday we had our traditional Christmas breakfast of Jo’s sausage gravy and biscuits, eggs, bacon and friendly banter. J, J & B left about noon and we headed up to the the church building to prepare for the church’s Christmas breakfast at the local Lion’s Club.  Lots of moving and lifting and getting set up. Monday evening saw both Jo & me sort of collapse and not do much moving except to go to bed.

Tuesday morning we were there at 4:30 so Jo could get started. (That’s not counting the 3:10 wake up of “Bill, I think I forgot to lock the LC. And I can’t find the key.” So I drove there (it was locked) and in the meantime she found the key on the kitchen table underneath stuff. WHEW!The breakfast went well. We had 25 deliveries to people; over 30 to service personnel (gas station workers, sheriff and police, etc). We had about 15-20 who came in to eat. Interestingly, I heard several say, “I came for the socialization.” Cool! We took all the leftover food to the local EMT folks.  After cleaning up we went home. I spent some time doing my NMM, reading and then with a sunny 44+ degree day shining through my window I broached the “Is it okay if I go for a ride?” question. She must have been expecting it. She said, “Yes!” After 45 years together she still  says, “Yes!” (I am blessed). So I was able to get in a 14.7 mile ride on a beautiful sunny day on Christmas Day. Who woulda thunk it?

All of the above did truly happen.  And all of it while fighting flu-like symptoms that stole my sleep. Except for the ride of course. You know THAT made me feel better.

Well, sorry. This has got to be the l-o-n-g-e-s-t post I have written in a long time, maybe ever. Nothing earth-shattering. Just a whimsical look at my weekend. So…in a much shorter version…how was your Christmas weekend?