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Dubious

Tuesday, November 7th, 2017

Some memories are, shall we say, dubious. My post today is in memory of one of those dubious anniversaries-ones that remind you of something you are not so fond of.

One year ago today this happened to me.  The date is today. The day is yesterday. So I guess it depends on how you look at anniversary’s as to how you will see this. Doesn’t matter though. It happened and it began a spiral downward in the health department but it also began a very, very slow process of spiritual awakening and renewal (which actually took on a more earnest effort in February.

I wanted to ride yesterday and today but the weather has not cooperated (nor has my life). I was busy from the time I got up to the time I laid my head on the pillow yesterday. Today, we host Dine with a Doc and then Jo and I are taking off for Sandusky, OH to visit her sister. Things are really improving there and we need to help her get a new washer/dryer (and be there for the delivery) and get her duplex ready for when she comes home.

I wanted to ride past the scene and stop for a moment of gratitude for God’s protection. I realize some will say, “Well, if God protected you why did He allow it to start with?” Fair question and all I can say is, “I don’t know. He could have but chose not to.” But I also don’t think He put His finger on the driver and said, “Hit him!” Some people are either just evil or distracted. I consider His protection because it could have been worse. He missed my spine by two inches. I shiver at what the two possibilities are with that. Yes, I just had surgery in July which was required due to a bone fragment laying on a nerve in my spine, but the reality is I could have been paralyzed with 2 more inches. So, in my case, I relish God’s protection.

The saga is ongoing. I suspect they will never find who did it. I am okay with that. He/she has to live with it. Will I ever be back to the way I was? No. Physically, I now have limitations. Mentally, I sometimes relive it and realize how close I came. Spiritually, it began a good process. It still has not been settled with the insurance company (and who knows when that will be? I refuse to get a lawyer.) So it is before me. Or is that behind me?

No matter how you look at it though, it is a dubious anniversary. One I’m grateful to be celebrating. And I can also say I love Jo more today than I ever have. She’s my “knight” in shining armor. I put her through the wringer this past year and she stood solid as a rock. Cried a bit. Okay…a lot. But she stood strong next to me. For that, I will always be grateful.

Jo’s sister does not have wifi so I may be out of the loop for the next couple of days. I’ll use my phone to approve comments but I despise using it to make comments. Please be patient. And thanks for your prayers.

ForgivenessIsNot

Tuesday, August 1st, 2017

I delayed this post due to the one about ME. But don’t think for one moment that means it is any less important. In fact, there may be a “reason” why I was led to delay posting this. Only God knows I guess. 🙂

This past Sunday I preached on Forgiveness. I told the folks as I was studying for the message I scoured my books for help. I think I almost went book for book, shelf for shelf, looking for ways to help the sermon be a bit more relevant. I found something in a book by Sheila Walsh called The Storm Inside. The chapter was titled Navigating Treacherous Water: From Unforgiveness to Freedom.  I hit, as they say, the mother lode! She began the chapter with a quote from C.S.Lewis:

Everyone says forgiveness is a lovely idea, until they have something to forgive.

Before I share what she wrote, let me preface it by saying that I think many people have the wrong idea of forgiveness. We often think forgiveness = forgetting. I, for one, don’t know that it is humanly possible to forget what has been done to us. So I focused on what forgiveness is not (from her book written in blue):

  • Forgiveness does not say that what the person did was okay; people do many things that are far from okay.
  • Forgiveness does not say that you have to continue in a hurtful relationship with someone who has harmed and will continue harming you. Don’t let anyone tell you that you should stay with someone who is beating the tar out of you or molesting you. GET OUT!
  • Forgiveness is not burying your head in the sand and pretending the offense never happened.  That’s what got you into the mess in the first place.
  • Forgiveness is not denying the pain.
  • Forgiveness does not mean we don’t take the wrong seriously.

Forgiveness is not about removing someone’s liability, but about setting your own heart free. It’s not about the other person’s sin; it’s about your freedom.

I hope you are living in forgiveness and experiencing freedom. If not, maybe these will help.

SafetyWeek

Sunday, July 23rd, 2017

I am writing this particular post on Sunday and plan to post it early Sunday afternoon. I think many of you know I will be having surgery Monday morning (10:00 EST) so if you think about it prayers would be appreciated. I trust the doctors and nurses, but also want the Great Physician’s guidance for them and healing for me. Jo and Tami will be waiting so please say a prayer for them as well.

I’m not sure what kind of week I will have. Up to this point in my life, God has granted me the ability to recover quickly from surgery. I’m praying this will be the same. I know there will be restrictions and I have absolutely NO DOUBT Jo will make sure I hold to them-30 days of no cycling (her particular favorite); no lifting more than 10 pounds; and no bending at the waist. I think the latter will be the hardest.

Why surgery? In spite of being told to stop telling my story, I can’t and I won’t. After all it is now my story.  On Monday, November 7, 2016 I was riding my bicycle when I was hit by a cowardly hit-n-run driver. I recovered fairly quickly from that…or so I thought. There were some immediate effects and then some residual effects which showed up later. One of them was the back issue I am now having to have surgery for. It is my understanding the doctor will be going in to shave the disc as well as the bone spurs which appear to be impinging the nerves. Hopefully, 45 minutes or so later, it will be over with and my nerve pain an issue in the past.

My incident with disaster has led me to become involved in and an advocate for 3FeetPlease. I have distributed stickers, shirts, information, and bears to local bike shops in the hopes that Indiana will join other states (like Ohio and Arizona and others) to enact a “3 Feet Law.” To help me out this week I have asked some others for their help. My first guest will be Dave Waechter, who leads the 3FeetPlease organization. I’ve asked him to write something I can post. His story is gut-wrenching. I have also asked someone many of you are familiar with, Floyd, from theregoI to write a post. He has two stories within a story. Dave will post late Monday/early Tuesday and Floyd will post late Tuesday/early Wednesday.

I’m also having a give away. I am randomly giving away this bear from any who comment or respond to any of the posts this week. I have 6 bears to give away so the more you respond, the better chance you have. Also, thanks to Dave’s graciousness, two T-shirts will be given away (one by him and one by me). If you win, I’ll contact you and ask for your size and address and send it to Dave who will mail it to you.

THE BEAR:

THE SHIRT:

All week long. You have a chance to hear some terrific stories. You also have a chance to win a bear for yourself or as a gift (which I just did and hope to have a picture for you).

Meanwhile, your prayers for surgery and recovery will be much appreciated.

Comfort

Wednesday, July 19th, 2017

Confession: if you haven’t already figured it out yet, I am sometimes an emotional writer. I sometimes write what is on my heart-filtered and unfiltered depending on subject matter.

This is one of those posts.  If you are looking for a “Smile. Be happy” post then I’m going to say you won’t find it. However, I do hope you will read to the end.

As many of you know, I have back surgery scheduled for this coming Monday. Until then, I have to live with occasional intense pain. I have given up riding my bike because it was no longer fun. It hurt too much whenever I hit a bump or missed seeing a small hole in the road. I woke up this morning and within 10 seconds made the decision not to go to the Y (where I do upper body work) because of the pain. Even putting on my shorts would have been a nightmare, let alone my shoes.

I was whining. I was crying. I was definitely feeling sorry for myself. Wallowing in self-pity. Then I read this from New Morning Mercies (NMM) by Paul David Tripp:

God puts me in hard moments when I cry out for His comfort so that my heart becomes tender to those near me who need the same comfort.

Strange that 20 minutes or so earlier I was whining and feeling sorry for myself. But Tripp wasn’t done.

The hard moments are not just for my growth in grace, but for my call to be a tool of that same grace in the life of another sufferer. In difficulty God is softening my heart and sharpening my edges so that I may be ready to make the comfort of the invisible Father visible in the life of the weary pilgrim He has placed in my pathway.”

The Scripture reference was 2 Corinthians 1: 3-6.  If you get a moment, take a peak at it.

So I need to change my attitude. Stop complaining about the pain. Stop crying and belly-aching and start trusting and seeing it as a ministry opportunity (now or future).  I’ll be honest. I’m not there yet. Least not at this moment.  I can only pray that time will come soon.

Thanks for listening. (And yes, I shared this with my small band of brothers who are working through NMM with me).

Countdown

Tuesday, July 11th, 2017

No…I am not going to play one of my favorite “secular” songs for you. I usually save that for the last post of the year or the first post of a year.

It’s not the countdown that is already beginning around here for the first day of school. (August 8th…seriously?)

It’s not the countdown toward the Pittsburgh Pirates march to the World Series. (No comment from the peanut gallery).

It’s another type of countdown. One that ends with a request.

As many of you know, I was hit by a car going about 60 mph while riding my bike on November 7, 2016. I rebounded pretty quickly from that… or so I thought. About 2 months ago my left hip started hurting and since then I have been through 4 diagnoses- with the last one the one that matters. A sciatic nerve issue. Nope. A slightly herniated disc (somewhat close). An unbalanced sacrum. (Possible but not the culprit). The final one involved an MRI which showed a bulging disc and bone spurs which were combining to squeeze the nerve in my vertebrae. The hit-n-run did not cause it but did accelerate it. Long story short I’ll have surgery on Monday, July 24th. They will be going in to shave off the bulging part of the disc and shave the spurs to open space for the nerve. People ask me if I’m nervous. The answer is no. If they knew the pain I was in; the sleep I wasn’t getting; the effort it takes to get dressed; and a myriad of other things, they wouldn’t ask that question. I’m looking forward to it. I trust my doctor. I trust my nurses. I trust Jo to take care of me afterwards. Most of all, I trust God to guide the hands and eyes of those doing the surgery. There can always be complications…I choose not to think of that. I choose to look forward to resuming my life. I will be out of commission for at least 30 days, i.e. no cycling, no lifting, no bending at the waist (may be the hardest of all), and generally taking it easy.

There is one downside to it right now. And here is where you come in. No meds. That means (in my case) no ibuprofen for 2 weeks prior to surgery.  I abhor pain medicine. The doctor gave me a nerve-deadening med which helped zero…or so I thought. It may have been helping more than I thought. Needless to say I could use some prayers as I wait for the surgery, not for my fear (because I have none) but for some pain relief. And you can also be praying that I will be able to rebound quickly. Thanks.

Someday

Sunday, April 9th, 2017

I was sitting in my chiropractor’s office Friday and since I had forgotten to bring something to read (DUH!), I picked up a Men’s Health magazine. I ran across an article about a trainer named Bobby Maximus. (Sort of reminds me of Gladiator.  🙂 )  I give you that, not as a stamp of approval on Maximus, but as a “give credit where credit is due” thing. Anyway, they had some sayings which Maximus is fond of using.  Several of them struck a chord…one I’ve heard before: “Do what’s right, not what’s easy.”

But the one that stayed with me so much I wrote it down and use it now is this:

There are 7 days in a week. ‘Someday’ is not one of them.

It is easy getting into that mode-whether we talk about our physical condition; our exercise program; a relationship we want to cultivate; a goal we want to realize; and especially our relationship with God. I don’t really need to go into detail as to each of these modes, so to speak. We all know how it applies to our physical condition or an exercise program, etc.

I do find it somewhat disconcerting when I consider how I have used the “Someday excuse” when it comes to cultivating my relationship with God. “Someday I will have that Quiet Time.” “Someday I will pray.” “Someday I will learn that verse.” Someday. Someday. Someday. And Someday never gets anything accomplished.

I’ve written about my two bike wrecks. No need to go into them again. If you want to read about it go here. But those two wrecks have taught me some serious lessons…one of them is don’t use “Someday” as an excuse to get things done which need done. Don’t keep putting things off.  For example, Jo & I are in a much better place than we have been for years, largely because of this philosophy.  Talking more. Hugging and snuggling more. Kissing more. I’ll stop there. 🙂 🙂  (I know Tami…TMI)

Don’t keep saying “Someday.”

Evolution

Sunday, April 2nd, 2017

In my last post, I showed  a picture of my new steed. 

Two items are in that picture. Yes, the new bike but please take note of the T-shirt. Last November I was hit by a car while riding. For Christmas my daughter, Tami, bought me this shirt. Actually, she had it made just for me. She thought she was being funny. (In reality, I gave the okay). 🙂

Then on Friday, February 17th, I had another accident, an accident of the I-don’t-know-what-happened variety. I did a face plant (I split my helmet in three places); broke my collarbone in 4 places; broke 3 ribs, suffered multiple contusions; and still am dealing with a huge hematoma on my right hip.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But all is well and healing. I still do not know what happened. Shortly before the accident Tami had ordered me a new T-shirt made by the same people. She ordered one (hi-viz yellow) and I ordered one. The hi-viz green one had some stitching issues so she ordered another. Here is the green one:

But Tami’s “evil” friends were not done. Along with the hi-viz green (sense a color scheme here?) T-shirt they sent another one. “Tami, your dad seems such a good sport we wanted to make a T-shirt for him.” And below you see the T-shirt my daughter and her evil twins designed for me.

This was following my opening the package.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The is a better picture after I “settled” down and got the look off my face.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Actually, I think it is funny. Laughter is good medicine. I certainly can’t change what happened for either accident. So…I can choose to wallow and whine or laugh. I choose the latter. I’m wearing the “stunt” one to preach in this morning. Might as well get others to laugh with me (and they will).

And one final message for my daughter and those “evil” twins. I know where you live Tami. Thanks for being good sports. And I wear a lot of T-shirts so keep the cycling ones coming. 🙂 🙂

Interrupted

Tuesday, March 7th, 2017

If you saw the last post, it was a description of Sunday’s sermon: Black/white.

Well…it was supposed to be. Until that Sunday morning when God interrupts the thought-process and says, “I want you to go in a different direction.”

So “Black Hats/White Hats” was held over until this coming Sunday. God had other ideas. I want you to know I’m not really into that. I prepare for a reason. I study for a reason. I practice on Sunday morning to an empty auditorium for a reason. I am a firm believer that if people come on Sunday morning to hear “me speak” (to hear a word from God as He has taught me), they need to hear something worth listening to. Half-baked, half-prepared sermons which use the inspiration of the Holy Spirit as an excuse for not studying and preparing tell the people they don’t matter and the pastor doesn’t care.  That’s not me. So when I no sooner begin my sermon and I sense the Holy Spirit prompting me to put it all aside and talk from the heart, I don’t jump up and down like Horshack on Kotter saying, “Ooh ooh ooh.”

That is what happened though this Sunday. I no sooner made two comments:

“Along with the fake there will always be a real.”

“Underneath it all we need to see that Looks can be deceiving.”

At that point I told the people to put their Bibles and notes away. I confessed to them that for the past 9 months or so I have been wearing a mask. I wore a mask so when they asked, “How you doing?” my stock answer was, “I’m fine.” Problem is Bill wasn’t fine. Bill was running on fumes.  He was empty.

It took two bicycle accidents to get my attention. The first didn’t work because it wasn’t my fault and I was able to move on too quickly from it. But this second one was a doozy. I’ve written about it here. I’m healing physically, but spiritually is taking longer. If you would like to listen to the podcast of Sunday’s talk, you can link here.

Your continued prayers are very much needed. Priorities need realigned. Relationships need mended and realigned as well. Thanks ahead of time.

Released!

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

Needless to say, after this post, I’ve been waiting for this day.

WEDNESDAY

MARCH 1

1:20 P.M.

After having the 22 staples removed, a series of x-rays to check on healing, a chat with the doctor, a visit to the therapist (physical smarty pants), I was released to go my own way! I will check back in at the end of the month, but for the most part I am free and clear. The only restrictions are physical pain and movement. I’m allowed to return to the Y (but I have to be smart obviously). No incline bench presses. No shrugs. No…no…no.  I have to be smart he says and I hear the peanut gallery (composed of my wife) saying, “No. No. No.”  🙂

It felt good to be released. To be able to drive my Frontier to the office without being chauffeured. To experience that sense of well-being which comes from something new.

There have been several “something news” which have come as a result of this accident. I’d like to share some of them with you in a future post or two. But time has run out for me on this one. I have a bike to ride.

OOOPS JUST KIDDING.  🙂

And here, for your viewing pleasure, is the xray of the repair. I think it is safe to say no airport security line will be safe for me.

AFather’sPride

Tuesday, February 14th, 2017

It was sort of hard to keep up with the one word titles I have been using for close to three years now so I had to put three words together.  Ha. But I figure it is my blog and I can do whatever I want.  🙂

I have two daughters as many of you know. The youngest has been married for almost 13 years now and is the mother of the greatest grandson in the world. Our oldest, Tami, lives with us for now. After 15 years teaching in mostly inner city schools in Knoxville, she decided a change was needed and moved closer to us. Real close. I mean, like in the same house close. 🙂 She took a huge pay cut ($20,000) to move back and to teach K students in a Bloomington, IN school. Ironically, it was like the previous 15 years were preparing her for the past two years at Bloomington. She is “falling in love” with teaching again, which is thrilling to see. She loves her kids and is a really good teacher.

Tami has battled some health issues over the years, some we were told she had as a child and possibly was born with. We never knew. But she has put her trust in Jesus and relies on Him to help her deal with the pain of those illnesses. She has refused to give up.

All that to say I would be honored if you would read the newest post on her blog. You can link to it here.