Miscellaneous

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Discipline

Tuesday, October 16th, 2018

Discipline. I didn’t like it as a child; I don’t like it as an adult. Even though I know why and understand it better, that does not mean I like it any better. Hebrews is very clear as to why God disciplines us: “…but He disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness, for the moment all discipline seems painful than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”

For the rest of my thoughts on this topic, please check out my other blog here.

You might be thinking, “Boy. Bill sure took the easy way out today.” Well…yes and no. Tomorrow (Wednesday) is Braden’s (our grandson) 12th birthday. Since we are unable to get there, but more importantly we would barely get to see him due to football practice tomorrow night and school on Thursday, we couldn’t see much sense in driving 4 hours for an hour peek at him. But he is off school on Friday so we plan to leave Thursday and spend the whole day with him on Friday then return Saturday morning.

So with the short week and a very busy 3 days, my priorities have to shift some to getting things done among the visits I have with various people Monday through Wednesday. My plan is to post one more time this week (the weekend) and then hopefully find my life back to normal…whatever that is. 🙂

Have a great rest of the week!

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).

Tips

Tuesday, September 18th, 2018

Not restaurant tips but helpful tips. Further explanation: I just finished a book by David Furman entitled Being There. David lives with a chronic nerve disease so he was passing along what it was like and also how we as friends and followers of Christ can just “be there” for people. One chapter was titled Whatever You Do, Don’t Do These Things.  He gave a list of 10 infamous things to remember when trying to help/minister to those who are hurting.

He introduces the tips with a story. I’ll abbreviate it. Two pilots were landing in a small city and accidentally touched down at a much smaller private airport seven miles away from their intended destination. They barely survived a crash landing. During their approach they were in touch with the control tower and were told they were 15 miles away from their target.  They responded they had their target in sight and were going to land.

Upon landing they had to stomp on their brakes extra hard to avoid going over a ledge, and nearly crashed the plane. They admitted to being shocked at their mistake and told investigators that they saw the lights of the airport in front of them and so they landed there. They honestly thought it was the right airport!

How crazy is that story? But it lends itself to what David is about to tell us.  It doesn’t matter how sincere you are if you are landing in the wrong place. We can be really sincere in trying to help people but saying and doing the wrong thing can be (or should I say “is?”) bad. It can be devastating to the hurting person. Okay…so what are his 10 “laws?” I’m going to split the 10 into 2 posts so as not to overwhelm or go too long.

#1. Don’t be the Fix-it Person.  Don’t be the person who offers unsolicited advice or unsolicited medical “miracles” to the person who is hurting. Don’t you think they have tried about everything already? I’m sure if they are seeking to be free from the chronic pain they have gone to a ton of doctors and have probably tried every homegrown recipe there is. Instead of advice, ask questions to understand them and their situation better.

#2. Don’t Play the Comparison Game.  When you talk to people don’t try to compare their sickness, pain, illness to yours or someone else. Your occasional gout flare-up is nothing like the pain from chemo. Your granny’s (from your third cousin removed) illness is not the same. Don’t compare the person with yours or anyone else.  Above all…don’t start with “At least”…they are better off or something cockeyed like that.

#3.  Don’t Make it Their Identity.  In other words, every time you see or talk to that person don’t ask them about their illness or their bank account or whatever it is that has them in pain. Don’t make that their identity. In fact, sometimes it is best just not to bring it up. Maybe a slight mention when it arises but stay away from identifying them with the illness or pain.

Okay…I’m going to stop there. This is getting way too long. I’ll continue with the next post. Hope these help.

Disappointment

Tuesday, September 11th, 2018

We all have our share of disappointments. Some have more than others and they run the gamut of examples.

Disappointment for a grade lower than I thought.

Disappointment for being passed over for a promotion.

Disappointment in losing the big game.

Disappointment in one of our children making wrong choices (although we don’t stop loving them).

The list goes on and on. I’m guessing there is a different disappointment for every person who might read this.

So when I write about my disappointment it might seem sort of silly. Juvenile. Frivolous even. So be it. We just had some folks come back from Disney World (Florida).  I can guarantee they would have been disappointed if their trip, planned for close to 6 months and costing them some hard-earned money, was not all they had hoped. Fortunately, it was and their three children can attest to that. When you work and plan and work and plan then work the plan and it is not what you thought disappointment is sure to set in.

I’m disappointed. The MS ride I had planned for; raised money for ($800 thank you everyone); trained for and have been looking forward to was canceled. There was a good reason, obviously, or they wouldn’t have canceled it. It is called M-O-N-S-O-O-N. That’s right…a monsoon. I know. I know. Indiana doesn’t have them. Oh yes we do! Especially when Hurricane Gordon decides to send his remnants to the Midwest.  It started raining Thursday night/Friday morning sometime  and eventually developed into that monsoon I spoke about. By the time Jo & I had driven to Indy; picked up Dave (who flew in from Arizona); and made it to the MS kick-off site, they had already canceled it. Friday. The ride was Saturday. Disappointed yes. Wise decision? Most definitely. It would have been totally stupid to ride in the driving rain and on the slick roads. We received somewhere (I heard) between 5-12″ of rain.  I don’t know. What I do know is it was wise to cancel. Not only does the pavement get slick, the lines get like ice. There was a potential for devastating wrecks.  And trust me when i say riding in the rain in wet cycling clothes is no picnic. In fact, it just might give new meaning to “Ride from (you know where).”

So…for all of you who gave toward my ride. Thanks. The money still went to the MS Society. For all of those who prayed for a safe ride. Thanks. It was better being safe than sorry.

There is light at the end of the tunnel though. Sun too. 🙂 Dave has asked me to come to Arizona to ride in the MS ride that takes place in Phoenix this coming March. If we can swing it, I plan to do that.

I’m a firm believer there is a purpose and meaning in all of God’s workings. One of these days I’m sure I will see His reason for this disappointment.

 

Test

Wednesday, September 5th, 2018

Although I don’t subscribe to everything in his books, my favorite of the ones he wrote was Wild at Heart. I’m speaking of John Eldredge and what became his seminal book. He had a statement that became a mantra for many men, me included, for a long time.

Every man has a battle to fight, an adventure to live, and a beauty to rescue.

The beauty to rescue is easy for me. It is Jo.  She is my #1 priority.

It is the other 2/3 of that equation which is my challenge.

I fight a daily battle with sin. Since I live on Planet Earth; I am a man i.e human; I am a sinner. True…a sinner saved by the merciful and powerful grace of Jesus, but a sinner nonetheless. I will battle my flesh til the day I breathe my last breath. (I don’t believe in sinless perfection here on earth).  Ephesians 6 is clear that my battle is “not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (6:12 ESV).

Every man has an adventure to live. It is easy to settle in. No excitement. No adventure. No challenge. While I love what I do as a pastor, I also realize there is “another part of me” that wants a challenge. I know not all men feel this way. Some are content…way content. I am content to a point. I love Jo. I love my girls, son-in-law and grandson. I love my brothers and their families. But those don’t count in the contentment scale.  Neither does loving what I do.  Some men hunt. Some fish. Some build things. Some snow or water ski. Some play competitive basketball or another sport. Me? I cycle. I love the challenge of climbing a hill (even if it is super slow). I love sweating. I love the euphoria of coming down a hill much faster than I went up. I love the tired feeling when I am done. It is a good tired.  I love it when my legs are toast after a ride and “toasty” for the rest of the day.

Maybe that is why I am challenging myself with the MS150 this coming Saturday. But I do know it was the reason I got up early to have my Quiet Time on Monday (a holiday) before I headed for Linton, IN on my bike. It was 15 miles of hill after hill. Then it got flat about 1/2 way through, but the 9 mph wind was against me for the next 15 miles.  It was a test. A challenge I wanted to take. Jo stayed with me as she followed me in my truck. And if the truth be known…it was for her too. I wanted her to be proud of me (it’s a man thing trust me).

I finished the 30.9 miles in 2:15. The heat index had climbed to 85+ by then (10:30) so I called it a day. I do have some sense about me still. 🙂 🙂  In my head, I passed the test. And yes…I was proud of that. We did go out to eat and then I took a nap in the afternoon. On purpose.  But it was good.  I could wax spiritual about all of this. But why? I found out something about myself…and the God to whom I prayed for strength. We did it.

YES…WE DID IT!

Advice

Friday, August 31st, 2018

Several thoughts go through my head concerning advice. It is warranted? Is it kind? Harsh? Does it come from someone who cares about me? Is it solicited or unsolicited?

It’s not always easy listening to someone else, whether they have our good in mind or not. None of us like to be someone’s verbal punching bag.  Admittedly, the hardest advice to take is that which is corrective. The passage of Scripture I’m speaking about this Sunday is one of those: Proverbs 6:1-15. I’ve titled it Pull Up a Chair because I want it to be like we are asking someone to come sit with us for a spell and chat.

There is so much practical advice in this passage of Scripture!  Here is how I’m approaching it:

Don’t get entangled.  (Verses 1-5)  Some very practical advice tangled up in things we need to avoid. In particular, co-signing on a loan. There is a lot to say about getting ourselves tangled up.

Don’t be lazy. (Verses 6-11)  No one wants to be compared to a slug let alone be called one! Laziness is something to avoid.

Don’t be divisive. (Verses 12-15).  There is no doubt we get our fair share of snakes in the grass. Divisive people are charming on the outside but snakes on the inside. We are being warned against them.

These are all common everyday issues. Solomon gives some very wise advice. I’m praying I share it with loving candor, sort of like pulling up a chair and having a heart-to-heart chat.  Your prayers would be appreciated.

Friendship

Thursday, August 30th, 2018

As I write this I am anticipating spending time with an old friend today. When I say “old” I mean it in various ways. Doug is about 6 months older than I am so that means he is 66.  He’s old; I’m not. 🙂  But even more than that: we have been friends since we met in college. I was a second semester freshman at my college when this hippy-looking dude came onto campus driving an AMC Javelin. Long hair. Big mustache. Yeah…neither were allowed at the school. He had attended Milligan College in TN for the first semester but transferred because many of his friends attended where I did (although I did not really know them except by name). I said, “Hi” and we chatted for a few minutes. We went our separate ways as he did the “check in as a new student” thing and I had other things to do. Doug joined the basketball team and integrated himself into my world. Our friendship could really be called an acquaintance at that point since we ran in different circles. He ran with a group who called themselves “H Bomb,” named after the dorm complex they lived in. I ran with Jo and a few others.

It was during our senior year in third year Greek (we both questioned our sanity) that we really got to know each other. His future wife was also in Miss Morgan’s Biology class (we sat next to each other). Graduation time was approaching and Doug asked me if I would be interested in a youth ministry. It was then he told me his dad’s church in Akron, OH was looking for an Associate/Youth Pastor. I attended a weekend youth retreat, interviewed, preached and was hired. Doug became the Youth Pastor at a church in the northern part of Akron and it was then we developed our friendship. We met each day to play one-on-one basketball (1/2 way for both of us), planned youth retreats and outings together, and attended multiple youth conferences together. We had an affinity for laughing and joking and eating pizza. Over time our ministries have taken us hours apart but we somehow made a way to get together. Whether it was to stay for a day or two or just meet for lunch (always pizza), we made a way.

That’s what friendships do. They make a way. He has retired now from being a full-time pastor. He sits around and watches Kentucky anything and eating bonbons.  Kidding.  He is retired now from full-time ministry (pastor) but still preaches at a little country church on weekends. But his greatest love, besides Vicki, is he is a full-time grandfather. Gotta envy that sometimes. 🙂

Anyway, today we meet for lunch. You guessed it: pizza. Topp’t in New Albany, IN. A very small homegrown chain his son manages. As MWS sang, “Friends are friends forever if the Lord is the lord of them.”

MS#3

Monday, August 20th, 2018

In two other posts I have mentioned my MS150 ride set for September 8th in Lebanon. Indiana not Lebanon, Middle East. 🙂 You can read about it here and here.  I’ll not insult your intelligence by reiterating the whole thing again.

It is hard for me to believe it is just over 3 weeks away.  Yesterday I crossed the 1100 mile mark for the year. Not bad since a late winter and wet spring made it late April/early May before I could get out and ride. But God has been good-providing protection while riding and giving me some good health-in order to get those miles. But even with 1100 miles and counting, riding the MS150 will be a challenge. My longest ride at one time has been 32 miles. Time has not allowed me to go more than that. (I still do have a job to perform). 🙂  The lengths of the MS ride are 25/50/75/100. Dave says 50 is just a warm up. I gulped and thought, “Well Lord, if that’s the case You are definitely have to show up big time.” To top it off I am preaching the next day. Do you think they will be understanding if I am unable to stand to preach of if I fall asleep during my own sermon?

All that to say this: if you have not had an opportunity to sponsor me while I ride and would like to, go to this link. Then hit the donate button and type in my name. Thanks again.

MSagain

Thursday, July 26th, 2018

This early Thursday morning finds me driving to Methodist Hospital in Indy for a lady in the church who is having a very delicate brain surgery for what is called AVM. It is way too complicated for me to tell you about it so I have given you the link. Her name is Karen and I know she would appreciate your prayers.

So rather than write a new post, I thought I would ask you to pray for her.

But I’d also like to draw your attention to my MS post. I received an email yesterday (Wednesday) telling me I had reached my fundraising goal. But I want to keep going!! If you haven’t already done so and would consider helping out, please follow the prompts from the MS post.

I sure do appreciate your help. Oh…one of the comments to the post is from a woman named Amanda. She attended the church I pastored in Terre Haute (I left in 2000) and I had the privilege of performing the marriage of her dad and his wife. Please take the time to read her comment. I’m making a donation in her name to MS.

Thanks again.

MS

Tuesday, July 24th, 2018

No, I am not writing this post to announce that I have MS. It is an announcement…an announcement of a different kind. It is actually an announcement welding together two parts of my life-one a passion; one a concern.

Anyone who knows me knows of my passion. Hint: take a look at my header. I have a two-headed passion. No, I am not two-headed. 🙂 I am a cyclist and I heavily support 3 Feet Please.

But I also have a concern, made more important because I have some friends who are sufferers. MS or Multiple Sclerosis. Marge is a vital part of OVCF, the church I pastor. Marge is involved in our worship team; her husband, Ray, is the primary “runner” of our soundboard. I have grown to love them both. Marge was diagnosed in 2000 with MS and was told it would be just months before she would be in a nursing home and to get a wheelchair. She refused to then; she still refuses to. She recently changed to a much less stressful job so that should help even more.  Her MS flares up upon occasion which makes it difficult for balance, but other than that no one would know.

Kirby Stogsdill is a well-known individual in our community. I’ve come to know Kirby through my involvement with the community in various ways. His two children graduated from Owen Valley with some of the kids from OVCF. Kirby and his family attend the local Methodist church in town. Super nice guy. I noticed him having trouble walking one day and a few days later I saw his daughter and asked her if her dad was okay. She said, “It is just his MS.” Well, knock me over with a feather. He was diagnosed in 2006 (shortly after I moved here and before I knew him). Every 6 months he receives an infusion (basically chemo he said) to hold his MS at bay.

On September 8th I am molding my passion for cycling and 3 Feet Please with my love for Marge and Kirby and others like them to take part in the MS150 ride in Lebanon, IN. Dave (from 3 Feet Please) and I formed a team…oddly enough 3 Feet Please…to ride in the MS150. He is making the trip from Arizona to do so.  A young lady, Cassie, who is Marge’s daughter, has also signed up to ride with us.

HERE IS WHERE YOU COME IN!  The team has committed $600 and we have already reached that goal. I have committed to raise $300 and am 1/3 there. I would be honored if you would donate to MS in my name. Here’s how you do it. Go to the MS150 site. Go to the Donate tab and type in my name: Bill Grandi. It will show you my name and click on View. Yeah…you get a picture of me and Dave. I’m the good looking one. 🙂 Above the picture is DONATE TO BILL. Click there and follow the directions. And just to be clear: I receive nothing from this except the satisfaction of riding for a good cause. All donations go to MS Research.

Marge says thanks. Kirby says thanks. All the MS folks say thanks. And I say thanks. I’d like to blow the lid off the donation box. (Note: I received permission from both Marge and Kirby to share their story).