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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?

Christmas’18

Monday, December 3rd, 2018

The past few Decembers I have taken to posting something about Christmas. A song. A devotion I read. A quote. I plan to do that this month as well.

My first post is by my favorite singer probably of all time. He made his mark with a group in the 60s and then went solo in the 70s and beyond. He put out a Christmas recording (what else should I call it?) back in 2008 and it stays close to my truck CD player for the whole month in December.  One year it never left the player. 🙂  What’s funny is I have a compilation of his 40 greatest hits and the title tune from his CD is on it: “I Love Christmas.” When that song comes on it truly is Christmas in July.

Anyway, in keeping with the real meaning and spirit of Christmas, I’d like to feature what I consider one of the highlights of the CD. Hope you enjoy it.

And Floyd: you know I had to do this.  In fact, I included this just for you!

Bucket

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2018

Once a month I read to Mrs. Lee’s Kindergarten class for what is called Real Men Read. There are a number of men in Owen County and Monroe County (and perhaps others) who go into a class to read to kindergarten students. This is my 3rd year now for taking part and I honestly believe that I receive more than the students do. Mrs. Lee does a wonderful job with the children and has them prepared for my visit. After the first year I requested the children wear name tags so I can call them by name. She willingly obliged.

But that is not why I am writing this post…although Mrs. Lee and her assistant deserve a lot of praise. It was the book I just read that I want to write about.

The name of the book was How Full is Your Bucket? It was a delightful book about a young boy named Felix whose grandfather told him that everyone has a bucket.  For every kind word said to them, a drop of water goes into their bucket. For any kind thing they say or do for someone else, water drops into their bucket but also into the one who gives the compliment. It works sort of like the old “change in the pocket” idea.

One day Felix was having a bad day and his bucket was about empty. His sister was not nice. He reached for and dropped a box of cereal. His mother yelled at him. A school bully was mean.  He was wiped out. Then came a class where the teacher praised him for his essay. A drop of water went into his bucket. The class loved his story-laughing and clapping when it was done. More water. Another student said something nice to him. Drop.  Soon Felix was complimenting people and putting water in their bucket, but also in his.  He came home with a full bucket. He even put water in his sister’s bucket by letting her build a tower out of his blocks.

The implications should be easy to see. Just one from me: encouragement goes a long way. Not only do we brighten someone else’s day, but we shine some light on our own. While we are putting drops of water in another’s bucket, we are also adding to our own.

I can attest to that. One of the most thrilling parts of my month is my visit to Mrs. Lee’s class to read. They are fun to interact with (I’m sure they can be pistols as well), and certainly fun to read to. It makes my heart feel good to walk into class and hear, “Hi Mr. Bill!”

How much do you add to someone’s bucket?

GetEven

Thursday, October 11th, 2018

Okay…so I posted a picture of my office on Monday morning after the young people were done.  You can see it here.  

So when Ryan got here on Monday morning he found his office covered in green balloons. Balloons under his desk and on his desk chair…which he did not see until he got into his office.  I may or may not have done that. I’m not telling. 🙂

Diana took Monday off because her son was married on Saturday (and no she was not in mourning). In actuality, not only was she tired from the affairs of the wedding, she and Jim celebrated their 29th anniversary on Sunday so I told her to take Monday off. When she got here Tuesday morning someone (but I won’t mention Ryan’s name) took the balloons and put them in her office. I should have gotten a picture but failed to. Diana should have been mature enough to stop it but no-o-o-o-o-o-o. What can you expect from a 40 something year old lady?

I got back from a bike ride on Tuesday (I treated myself for my birthday) and I came back to this:

Children! She actually took some time to do this because when I may or may not taken the balloons to Ryan’s office, they may have wanted to cling to whomever did the dastardly deed.  So I did what any mature individual would do the next morning…no I didn’t take them back to Ryan’s office…I took my knife and busted all 25 of them. Such maturity and restraint shown don’t you think? However, it was a pain to clean up all the balloon pieces which flew everywhere.

But there is something good here. Since you are here I’ll take you on a partial tour of my office. At the very top are two puzzles of Titanic I had framed, and display of Titanic books. To the left is my set of the ESV Reader’s Bible. Above that is a canvas sign given by Janna which says, “Life is an Adventure…Enjoy the Ride.”  To the right of it and hidden by something is a picture from several years ago of Braden, me and Optimus Prime we had taken at Pigeon Forge. Just above my desk chair is a card from Jo which she gave me on Valentine’s Day (one of my favorites from her) and to the right of that is a card I put into a frame of George Bailey and his family with “Bill Grandi…the Richest Man in Town” inscribed on it.  To the right are some tricks of my trade: books, Study Bibles, and some note cards. On top is a display of bicycles people have given me.

So much for the tour. I could show you the rest of my office but I don’t have those pictures. 🙂

And in case you read the previous post: Ryan did not inspire the young people to decorate my office with balloons. I got the confession out of Hope. She’s a lousy liar so I simply had to ask and all she said was, “I may or may not have.” Guilty!!

Today is Thursday as I write this. I am finally finding time to do this. Hope your week has been a good one and filled with mischief, good things, laughable moments, (fill in the blank).

Mondaysurprise

Monday, October 8th, 2018

I walked into my office this morning and saw this:

There were actually more under my desk and behind my chair. All told there were probably 20-24 balloons just laying around in my office. Somehow I think the Great Instigator aka former Youth Pastor or Youth Pastor’s wife allowed the teens to go into my office. Actually, I leave my door open during the day so he wouldn’t have had to let them in but I’m suspecting he or his wife may have been behind it.  I was excited though. It actually went with my office decor i.e. Hi-viz lime green bicycle sitting in my office.  (I leave from the office during my lunchtime ride so I just leave my bike here).

What’s the occasion? Well…other than being teenagers (whom I may or may not bug from time to time), tomorrow (Tuesday) is my 66th birthday.  I’d like to think they love me so much this is their way of showing it.  Ice cream would have been much better but then again, it would have left quite a mess. So, I guess the balloons will suffice. 🙂

Ryan & Hope do a superb job with the kids (all ages).  They love them unconditionally. They listen to them. They laugh with them. They go places with them. Ryan visits them at school during lunch time. They even get into trouble with them. AHEM! But he is also teaching them a servant’s heart. This week they are on Fall Break and two of the days will be spent serving.  Wednesday is an all-day event at IDES in Indianapolis.  They will be paying for and packing meals for disaster relief.  They have a little fun afterwards by going to some climbing wall and adventure place. Friday they will be serving in the community after working some around the church building.  Ryan and Hope have servant’s hearts and I’m glad to see they are trying to teach and instill that in our teens.

And what better song for this occasion can there be than this one? Trust me though when I say it was not one of my favorites as a teenager.

So…how is/was your Monday?