Love/Marriage

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Sunrise

Tuesday, October 17th, 2017

One of the values of being on vacation is one has a choice: do I get up or do I stay in bed? Except for one morning, I chose to get up early. I got up, had my Quiet Time of reading my devotions, Bible and New Morning Mercies. I journaled so I could contribute to the online group “discussion” I have with 5 other guys, then I headed to the fitness center. I was impressed with the size and machines available. I didn’t get any pictures of my working out because I didn’t want anyone to be blown away by tested muscles…or by asking, “You work out?”  🙂

But what getting up early and heading downstairs to the center afforded me was opportunities to see scenes like these: 

And my favorite:

The latter was Sunday morning as we took our last walk on the beach before we left. We flew to Orlando on Monday, the 2nd, then on to Daytona Beach. But we needed to leave the timeshare by 10:00 Sunday and head back to Orlando. We were meeting old friends from OVCF, Caleb & Wendy Petree, for lunch. That was our timetable. The rental had different ideas as it wouldn’t start. So we waited for over an hour for a jump. We did get to meet up with the Petree’s.

I told the folks this past Sunday, “You can take the preacher out of his church but you can’t take the church out of the preacher.” So while we were walking the beach I had an audience.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yeah…they didn’t listen very well. I couldn’t even keep the interest of the guy riding his bike. They were, for the most part, ignoring me. Go figure.

As I mentioned earlier, we made our way to Orlando to meet the Petree’s and went to an Irish pub at Disney Springs. The food was okay but the entertainment was superb! I felt like I was back watching Riverdance. The three musicians were fantastic, especially the female fiddler. The 4 dancers (2 guys/2 girls) were absolutely phenomenal. We sat right by the stage and saw it all up close. Their feet moved faster than my eyes could take it all in I think!

Monday, the 9th, was monumental on several fronts. First, we flew back to Indiana. Second, it was my 65th birthday. I can’t think of a better way to spend my birthday than with my bride of 44+ years. We owe a debt of thanks to Jerry & Gail Horn who made it all possible with the gift of the timeshare. They have yet to realize the “salvation” they brought to me and Jo. After two bicycles wrecks, 2 surgeries, 2 brushes with death, it was much needed. So a very public thank you to Jerry & Gail. I kept their names quiet until after the fact. 🙂

That was our first walk on the beach. This is one I captured and I’m not sure she even knows.

And this tells our story. Tami says it is sappy. But…oh well…

Thanks for coming along on my journey. Hope you enjoyed it. I will be back to my regularly scheduled-type-of-posts in my next one.

RestAway

Sunday, October 1st, 2017

This has been “one of those years.” I’m not complaining, mind you, but informing.

November 5th: my first bike wreck. I was hit by a hit ‘n run driver on my left cheek. The lower one. 🙂  Seven weeks were spent sleeping in my recliner because I could not lay down.

February 17th: my second bike wreck. This one I have no clue about except it ended up in a broken collar bone, 3 broken ribs, a face plant and a split helmet. Yeah…thank God for the helmet.

February 22nd: surgery to repair the collarbone. More sleeping in the recliner.

July 24: Back surgery to correct back from November 5th hit ‘n run. The previous 2 months I was unable to sit in a chair or couch except for the dining room table. I slept 2 hours at a time then roamed the house between sleeping spots.  The surgeon cleaned out arthritis, shaved some spurs, shaved the disc, and found a bone fragment resting on a nerve. A sweet relief almost immediately. I still have some residual (and may always have it) but least I can sleep in bed and sit in my recliner!

Enter a friend. “Bill & Jo, (name of husband) and I, would like to give you a gift and hope you will accept it. You have been through so much and we feel led to offer you a week at a timeshare. You pick the time and the place and we will make the arrangements (and pay).” She hands us this h-u-g-e book of possible places-from Alaska to Hawaii and from coast to coast- and says, “Choose.” Since Jo has never seen the beach (except as a little girl) and it doesn’t matter to me (I wanted Alaska) we chose Daytona Beach after our first choice of Destin was not available.  I told someone several weeks ago we were going to Florida “if it was still there.”

We fly out Monday morning, October 2nd from Indianapolis, and will come back home Monday, October 9th.  If something good can come out of something so ugly as two bike wrecks and 2 surgeries, it has. Jo & I have reconnected in a way we have not known for some time. Like many marriages, we had allowed things to build up and take the place of meaningful communication and time with each other. We loved each other but had allowed other things to take precedence.

People have asked us, “What are your plans this week? What are you going to see? Where you going to go?”  The answer is easy: we have no clue. We have no agenda. No preconceived plans of where to go and what to do. Rest. Reconnect. Relax. Restaurants. Read. That’s it. If something strikes our fancy…then we will do it. It will be the first time in 44+ years of marriage we will be taking a vacation where we know no one.

So…I am unplugging all week. I’ll see you when I get back. I am unconcerned about things back here. Ryan and Diana will be fine without me. Ryan will be preaching Sunday. Until then…I will see you later…here or in the air.

 

ProblemSolved

Monday, June 26th, 2017

Jo saw this and sent it to me. I laughed.

There are all kinds of leaders and all kinds of people. Some are “take charge” kind of people. Some are “sit back and see what happens” kind of people. Some are “bull in a china shop” type of people. Some are very “laid back” kind of people. Some are “bury their head in the sand” kind of people.  And there are some who are “go with the flow” kind of people.

I am an extreme extrovert. Jo is the opposite. But God has made us this way and put us together for some “odd” reason. She needs my “get-up-and-go” influence and I sometimes need her stabilizing “just slow down” influence. She needs my “here, let me introduce you to my wife” approach and sometimes I need her “let’s just wait to see how this develops” approach. We make a good team.

One of the things that makes me the most upset is when I hear her say, “I’m not a very good pastor’s wife.” WRONG! WRONG! WRONG! And I tell her that. She thinks that way because she doesn’t fit the mold of the “model pastor’s wife.” I’m sorry to say my late mother was one of those and never gave Jo a chance. No, she doesn’t sing solos; lead a ladies Bible study (although she can); speak in public (in front of big groups…although she has done a superb job on Mother’s Day); play the piano; or take charge. She prefers quietly encouraging me in the background, being a fantastic mom and mamaw par excellence; typing the Power Point each week; and a whole host of other things.  I wouldn’t trade her for the world or for any amount of money nor for any woman on the face of the earth.

We make a great team. I’m honored she still wants to be my wife. 🙂

And it is amazing how a post develops because all I started with was a funny saying. (And for the record, that saying describes her. I suspect that is why she sent it to me).

44

Thursday, June 15th, 2017

 

Okay so this will post a day early. This weekend is Father’s Day (as you probably already know) and I plan to use the weekend post for my sermon.

However, Friday, June 16th is mine and Jo’s 44th anniversary. I’m not going to get all sappy on you. (I’ll save that for her).  🙂  We got married between our Junior and Senior years in college. We dated for just over two years before that.

I could tell you we used to hang around with a group of other students and did some things that we cringe at today. Like crawling through a cave at Carter Caves State Park. Filled with bat guana. Holes so small I wonder now “what were we thinking?” An adventure I’d “shoot” my girls if they ever did. Yeah…our parents never knew.

I played basketball. She tried out for the cheerleading squad but was never chosen. But she was one of the biggest cheerleaders there. She was mine our Sophomore and Junior year. (I didn’t play our Senior year. Thought I would concentrate on studying.  Didn’t help).

We have served in all sizes and shapes of churches. From vibrant to dead end. From pastor to youth pastor. I’ve been asked to leave a few times (no morals charge) and I have left on my own. Ohio to Ohio to Ohio to Indiana to Ohio to Indiana to Ohio and back to Indiana (where we are now).

She never complained. She never balked. She never left. She never left kicking and screaming. She trusted my judgment (Hmmmm) and more so, God’s plan for us.

She hates public speaking. She doesn’t sing solos. She doesn’t play an instrument. But she was and is a fantastic mom and mamaw. She shines in the latter. She does the Power Point each week, faithfully typing it even when we are going to be gone. She loves behind-the-scenes.

She loves me. I have seen how deep her love reaches the past few months as I have had to deal with the two bicycle wrecks, the one in February bringing me close to checking out (if not for my helmet).  She wants to do more and bristles when I do it myself.  Neither one of us looks like we did when we got married.  (I was 6’3″ and 170 lbs. I am now 6’5″ and 215 lbs. I value my life so don’t even ask about her. LOL

I could go on but this has gone on long enough.  Or I could ask, “How much time do you have?” She is my treasure. We have had our ups and downs but have never thought about closing the door. No…we love each other too much for that.  Besides, where else will I find someone who will put up with my cycling nonsense (some might say obsession) and weird humor?

I love you honey. Happy 44th.  https://youtu.be/PEENq0d6fWI

 

MDRecap

Tuesday, May 16th, 2017

In my last post I asked for prayer for several folks and ended with saying my next post (this one) would be a recap of Mother’s Day. If you look here you will see I had help Sunday. I asked three women to speak alongside me. I thought I would give a synopsis of what they spoke about.

But first, they all did a phenomenal job! First to last. I could have totally stayed out of the picture (but I couldn’t) and it would have been fine.

AMY HAMLIN

Amy has been married to a phenomenal man with a very muscular physique (so he says) named Dan (is that good enough Dan?) for 21 years; a mother of 2 boys and a girl; and takes her desire to follow Jesus seriously. Amy spoke about Hannah, the mother of Samuel, who gave her long-awaited son to God. She and Daniel had waited over 7 years so Hannah became very alive to her. Eventually, Hannah’s (and Amy’s) waiting was fruitful and a son was born. Amy did an excellent job of tying in waiting on God and faith. {Note: My apologies to Amy. My original said “close to 18 years” but Dan said, “I know Amy looks young but it has been 21 years.”} I also apologize to Amy for underestimating her time with Dan. 🙂 🙂  And in case you can’t tell, I love these guys.

DIANA MARKLAND

I happen to know Diana pretty well. I work with her everyday. Diana has been married almost 30 years and has two sons. I asked her to speak on being a “warrior woman.” Conversations we have had over the past year or so precluded me asking her on that topic. She has a picture in her office I bought her of a warrior woman.

Diana spoke about being a woman who fights for her marriage, her children, her life…like a warrior. It was very inspirational and challenging to the women who were here.

JO GRANDI

I happen to know this woman!  This June will be 44 years together and that love has brought 2 adult daughters, a son-in-law we love as if he is our own, and of course, the best grandson in the world. (And no, I am not prejudiced! Just the facts). 🙂 Anyway, Jo spoke…haltingly at times…about dealing with my 2 bicycle wrecks and the possibility I could have died on either one, especially the last one. (The face plant and helmet split in three places is a dead giveaway). Jo spoke about feeling “closed in on,” of being rushed before the wreck and how the wreck caused us to slow down and breathe. She closed with a video. Enjoy! I cannot tell you how proud I was of her.

Actually, I was so pleased with all three ladies. I could see a “fear” in them of standing before people, but I also saw a strong confidence because they were God’s spokesperson for that time.  If you would like to hear their talks you can go to the church’s website and listen to the podcast. The strange guy’s voice you hear is mine. 🙂

It was a good and enriching day. Thanks Amy, Diana, and Jo for making it extra special. Now…next year? Look out ladies! I’ll probably be avoided for the whole year now.

Mothers

Friday, May 12th, 2017

If any man is tempted to question the wisdom of God, it is only because that man has never paused long enough to consider God’s remarkable creation called woman. When God saw Adam alone it was the first time He said, “It is not good.” Eve was His crowning achievement. “And it was good.”

My life would not be what it is today if not for the women in my life. First (obviously) is my late mother. Although married, she did not have much support (except her own father and mother) in raising her 4 boys to love and serve God. Her influence lives on in me. I would not function very well without the love of my life, Jo. We have had our ups and down, our struggles, our quiet times, but most definitely time of laughter. The past couple months has brought a renewal of our love for each other. I am deeply and profoundly affected by the love of my two adult daughters. I marvel at how well God has molded them into beautiful young ladies.

There are many, both in the religious world and non-religious world, who want to rip apart the Bible and its Author and authors as being chauvinistic pigs. Even a recent comment I have heard shows the ignorance of taking that accusatory stance. God and His Word give women the highest place of honor. “Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” Pr. 31:30.

Doesn’t sound like a put down to me.

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY

to all you women. Guys! Let’s stand up and be one of their voices as we scream from the mountaintop of our love for them and their meaning to our lives.

Sunday, 3 women will be speaking to the church during the morning worship. I have asked them to be part of my “sermon.” I’d like to ask for extra prayers for these very nervous ladies. Thanks.

BeingThere

Tuesday, September 27th, 2016

One of my favorite quotes by Jim Elliot, the martyred missionary to the Auca Indians, is “Wherever you are be all there.” Lately I have had trouble being here. Shoot, I’ve had trouble being anywhere. It seems like I’ve been going a thousand different directions lately. Then I read this:

“When George Mallory was once asked why he wanted to climb Mount Everest, he famously answered, ‘Because it is there.’ But in a personal letter to his wife, Ruth, he revealed even more about what drove him to climb the mountain. ‘Dearest,’ he wrote, ‘…you must know that the spur to do my best is you and you again…I want more than anything to prove worthy of you.’ George left a meaningful legacy that proved worthy of history’s remembrance. But George’s son John wrote something that has challenged me. Proud of his father but sad too, John wrote, ‘I would so much rather have known my father than to have grown up in the shadow of a legend, a hero, as some people perceive him to be.'” (The Imperfect Pastor by Zack Eswine-p.78)

I’ve noticed (as I’m sure you have also) life goes in seasons. Busy. Not busy. Crazy busy. Not so busy. Steady. Lull. You get the point. Today is one of those crazy busy seasons. My mind has wandered. I stopped and got both Jo and me a Polar Pop (yeah I know it isn’t good for me) and almost made it to the office before I remembered I had her pop. Sheesh!

So this small section out of this excellent book stopped me dead in my tracks. As Tim Hawkins says in his video, “I need to be centered.” Watch him. He is a hoot.

I’m preaching to myself here. Maybe you too?

43

Thursday, June 16th, 2016

I’m going to be absent today from this blog and any other blog.

Today I celebrate #43 with my bride. I plan to ride early this morning. We will be making our way to the church camp to visit some faculty and campers. Lunch, I suspect, will either be Chipotle or HuHot Mongolian Grill. We like them both.

They said we were too young. (She was 21 and I was 20).

They said we should finish school first. (We only had one year left so we finished together).

Some doubted it would last.

I was athletic; you were not. I was tall; you were/are not. I was/am a morning person; you were/are not.  🙂

Two adult daughters. One son-in-law and one grandson. 8 churches. More vehicles than I care to admit. Several pounds. Less hair.

We are still in love. Still together. Still serving. It has been easy. It has been hard. There has been job losses. There have been joyful ministries (like now).

We will continue to serve Jesus.

So…why am I writing this? Well…it is way too early for Jo to be up.  But I must bid adieu so I can head out for my early morning ride. It is 6:15. {My note: 26.2 Yeah…I’m bragging} 🙂  Have a great day!

RealLifeAdoption

Thursday, May 19th, 2016

familymatters

Last week I spoke about the biblical basis for adoption. Here is a short recap:

  1. We were meant to enjoy an intimate relationship with God. That was ruined by the Fall.
  2. God has adopted us into His family. According to Romans 8:17 that adoption makes us children of God, and if children then heirs. We are called sons of God.
  3. All the rights, all the privileges, all the benefits of being an heir are ours.

I want those truths to serve as a basis for this week’s effort. I’m taking a totally new approach (at least for me) this Sunday. We have had several in our church fellowship who have adopted children. One family has a natural son-and could have continued having more-but chose to go the adoption route. Their natural son is 16 now. But in early 2005 they went to China and adopted a baby. That little girl was a gymnast for several years and is now a dynamite high diver. Then in 2011 they all made their way to China and welcomed an 8 year old girl. She, too, has turned into a fantastic gymnast, as well as a pretty young lady with a beautiful smile. She also recently became a Christ-follower. Chad and Terri are their parents.

My new approach? After showing a video of some friends who have since gone to Bulgaria to adopt a sibling group of four (13 years ago they adopted their son from Russia), I’m going to “interview” Chad & Terri. They have a fantastic story to tell of love that reached beyond their borders and the country’s borders to take in two girls from China. I met with them about a month or so ago and got the “scoop” on their adoption route and decided to use their story to bring home the validity of adoption.

I know several of my readers could also speak of their road to adoption as well: Kari, Jason & Andrea, Pam, and I’m sure others. I’m hoping we can make the recording happen since it might take more than we have the ability to do. But then again…I have Ryan (Mr. Techgeek).

I’ll let you know how it went. In the meantime, would you please pray for Sunday. I know they will be nervous, but am convinced will relax quickly. Pray for impact. Thanks.

Unique

Thursday, May 5th, 2016

familymatters

I’m going to jump the gun on this!

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY

I know there are some woman who truly hate this day. It reminds them of what is not to be. Or it may remind them of what once was. Or it may remind them of when their mother walked the earth. My mother went to see Jesus in March of 2004. Fortunately, I have been blessed with a wonderful wife who was also a terrific mom.

Abraham Lincoln is reported to have said, “No one is poor who had a godly mother.” I can echo that. Although I did not always agree with my mother, as I grow older I realize who much of an influence she had upon me. Or as Mark Twain said, “As I get older I realize who much smarter my parents have gotten.” There are times I want to call her and say, “Now I know mom.”

This Sunday, called Mother’s Day on the calendar, is a special day. It’s a day of celebration. In reality, it should be every day of the year. This Sunday my sermon will focus on the unique design of a woman. We are all one in Christ. Male/female. Slave/free. Jew/Greek. Obviously different but also one. Men and women are equal in value but the woman is unique in design (besides the obvious).

Hope you have a fantastic Mother’s Day…either celebrating the women who have made a difference in your life or being the one celebrated.