Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day evening


Maddie and Caroline. Caption contest anyone?

Lester - grill master

Ben and Lester corn hole competition

* * *

We've had a nice Memorial Day. It began with the 10K Cotton Row Run at 7 a.m. I asked Ben if he would like for me to run with him, and he said, "yes." So I did. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and we cruised the hills in 54.20, which was not too bad on a very humid morning. Ben was very pleased with his performance, and I was very proud of him. Kedra and Rebecca walked the 6.2 miles in a little less than 1.40. They were happy.

Soon after the race, we cleaned up, packed up, and headed up 1-65. The traffic was surprisingly less heavy than we expected, and it was flowing well. We made it home in plenty of time for a cookout at my parents' place.

We have more Luke news. He was able to call this evening. Here's what they have lined up (of course they are in a 3rd world country so things can change):

A guaranteed flight out of Guatemala City on Saturday (pushed back from Tuesday)

A flight out of El Salvador on Wednesday

So I THINK the group is going to try drive to El Salvador and fly home from there. There are some risks in all that, so we would appreciate your continued prayers. Luke sounds tired. He is eager to get home, and I am sure the rest of the team is also.

I appreciate all your prayers thus far.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Sunday evening

We’ve had a nice day today!

We worshiped at the Mayfair Church of Christ. This is the church (village) that helped raise Kedra. It’s a rather large village; about 1500 worship there each week. The building is huge and expensive, which bothers me a bit, but they reach/work with an upper middle to upper class people. That is their ministry context. They also do a tremendous amount work in the inner city and overseas. It’s all OK; just not my comfort level or culture. They are a wonderful group of people. Years ago I had an opportunity to work there but opted to stay in Indiana. No regrets.

After church we drove the (very hilly) Cotton Run Row course before settling in at Red Lobster. Did you know they have a bacon wrapped shrimp? Wow, it was as good as it was unhealthy! This should really help me run well tomorrow. Bacon shrimp power!

We picked up our packets at the Von Braun Civic Center. As I was going in there were two ducks–a mama and a baby–waddling across the road stopping traffic.

At the expo we met Janet Cherobon. Who is she? She is the 4 time winner of the Indy Mini, including this year. She is also a graduate of Harding University. As we spoke to her we learned that she married a man from Huntsville. As he and Kedra talked they learned that they had many things, including people, in common. It was a nice chat. She’ll probably win the women’s race easily tomorrow. Did I mention that she is originally from Kenya?

Well, the situation in Guatemala is not good. The ash from the volcano dropped inches of ash in Guatemala City where Luke is supposed to fly from on Tuesday. The president announced yesterday that the airport would be closed until Thursday to clean up the ash. Now the tropical storm is dumping 10-20 inches of rain. So things are not looking too good for Luke to get home on Tuesday. I just hope he makes it home in time to go to Crane on Monday.

We did hear from him briefly today, via a short email. He was in Coban, which is a couple of hours from the remote village where he has been working for the last 3 weeks. He said he is fine and hopes to communicate more fully later.

Sunday morning

I love Sunday mornings in Huntsville. Since we are on central time, I am up WAY before anyone. This morning I went out and sat in the garage and watched the morning unfold. No traffic noise; just birds waking up. I enjoyed a (small) pot of strong fresh coffee. I watched a chipmunk scurry across the driveway. I read from the Psalms. Life is good.

I love my job, but the week after week of striving to say something significant and meaningful while being true to the biblical text is a pressure that never goes away. As soon as one Sunday is over, I am thinking about the next one. A break, like today, is so wonderful. I can go to worship this morning and not be distracted by all the things that I am usually responsible for and thinking about. After a week off, however, I will be eager to jump back into the normal routine. Like I said, I really do enjoy my job.

My Sunday morning set-up, pictured above, includes two lawn chairs - one to sit in and one for a foot rest. The cooler is there to hold my Kindle, coffee, a book (Eats with Sinners - Reaching Hungry People Like Jesus Did), the Huntsville Sunday paper, and my glasses case. My computer is discreetly hidden in the garage (and so am I right now).

Probably more later today. Stay tuned.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Round we go!


We made it to Alabama without incident. We let the kids leave school at lunch yesterday so we could beat all the holiday traffic. It was still pretty heavy. As we approached Nashville it was really backed up on the interstate, so we decided to stop and eat at Cracker Barrel. Our original plan was to get through Nashville first, but they call me "Bil," because I am so FlexiBIL. Stop laughing! It was a great stop. The food was good, and by the time we got back on the road the traffic was flowing good.

This morning I got up early and ran 6 miles in the humidity. Then the next activity was eating breakfast at Gibsons. This is a regular activity, and it is always good. Country ham is really good for you! The salt helps keep your blood pressure up. You certainly don't want your blood pressure to get low. That's my philosophy.

This afternoon Ben and I went on a good bike ride. We road to the Tennessee River and then along it for a while. We stopped at the gas station above for Gatorade and Doritos. Not sure what to make of the "Pure" sign out front; couldn't quite make a connection with anything around the premises. There was a friendly Asian guy running the store, dealing with various rednecks who stopped in for beer and/or fishing worms. He was very observant. I know this because as we left he said, "Have a happy riding." I said, "thanks, you too." Not really. I did say, "thanks."

Ben rode 21.25 miles and me being me wanted to go 25, so I did. I dropped him off and went a few more. I really enjoyed it. It was a lot fun spending time with Ben. It wasn't fast but it's done. It provided valuable "seat time," which I need to toughen me up. Mental toughness and other kinds.

Luke is still in Guatemala. He is supposed to leave there Tuesday. Have seen what all is going on down there? They've had a volcano that closed the airport. Hopefully it is back open, but now there is a tropical storm (near hurricane force) that is supposed to hit Guatemala about Tuesday. Luke doesn't have to report to Crane for his internship until Monday. He should be able to get home by then.

Well I am sitting in the garage watching it rain and "borrowing" some kind neighbor's unprotected wireless internet signal. Hey, my machine connected to it! I hope that's not stealing.

Better go. I think the internet police are lurking around the neighborhood.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Running on water??

Thursday morning

Luke called from a mountain top in Guatemala last night! I guess some of their work of installing a solar-powered phone charging station worked?? I don't really know. He was using someone's phone. All I know is that it was great to hear from him. He'll finish his nearly month-long mission next week and be home on Wednesday. Can't wait to see him.

Smoked meat on Tuesday and yesterday! Brisket on Tuesday and pork yesterday. We had nearly 80 people show up last night to eat it, and we made more than $1400, thanks to some generous donations. The money goes toward building houses in Honduras.

My running is getting back to normal, which feels really good. I have 16 miles in 3 days and plan to hit the 30 mile mark this week. I want to slowly move that up to 40 miles per week over the summer. Bike riding is going well also. Still haven't fallen over. I know I will; just don't know when. I rode with some hard core guys Tuesday night. Fortunately for me I had to turn around before they got serious. I had to be at school function, so I cut the ride short.

We are heading to Huntsville tomorrow to see Kedra's parents. Kedra, Ben, Rebecca, and I are all going to participate in the Cotton Row Run. The girls will walk the 10K and Ben and I will run. I have no idea how I'll do; don't really care. I just want to enjoy the weekend and relax some.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Sunday afternoon

Wow, I remember it being cold and damp just a little while ago, and now it's 90? Feels pretty good, actually.

The end of the week got really busy. I don't even remember what all happened, but it kept me busy. I think this coming week will be a little less busy, especially since I will be gone next Sunday. That eliminates several hours of study for sermon and class preparation. It will be a nice break.

Yesterday I ran 13 miles with several folks. It went pretty well but I did get tight on my right side near the end of the run. I think this week could be the week that I head back toward normal running. I hope so. 30-35 miles? I haven't had a chance to bike much; hoping I can go this evening.

We heard a little from Luke a couple of days ago, Thursday I think.

Hey! We got to the hotel earlier today and got to meet up with the other team tonight. We leave again for the valley at 7. The first part was really good. A lot of hard labor. We got a bodega nearly completed, basically a pole barn. The cell phone team was able to put in two charging stations. For the base, we were able to level the site with a huge excavator and dig the footers. So this week we have to pour the footers, put up a block wall, and pour a slab. The problem is that we have to carry every bucket of gravel, sand, cement and water to the top of the hill for mixing. The weather was really good. The first several days were dry and partly cloudy. The last few it has rained about every afternoon but hasn't gotten in the way of work much. We were able to bathe at a spigot just down from the school we stayed at. So I only had a couple sponge baths for the 8 days. The shower today was really good. We got to play with the kids quite a bit and participate in a few religious ceremonies where they had a small sacrifice for opening up the earth, pretty cool. I had better get to bed.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Needing some sun

What happened to the sun? I'm needing it!

Taking a little break from sermon prep. I registered for the Cotton Row Run in Huntsville, which takes place on Memorial Day. We are going down that weekend to check on Kedra's parents. Her father has had a lot of health problems of late. The CRR is a race that I have run multiple times over the years. It is a tough course with an incredibly steep hill in it. It is a great race with a very neat atmosphere.

I went for a hilly 5 miler this morning. I got stuck on sermon prep, so I ran. It's amazing how that frees my mind. Thoughts started flowing and coming to me. I need to learn to carry pen and paper, because I'm afraid I'll forget a bunch of them. The run itself is the best one I've had, as far as how I felt, since the Louisville marathon. Actually I'm getting to the time that full recovery should be taking place. They say, whoever "they" is that you should take one day of recovery for each mile of the race. Marathon = 26 days of recovery. I'm not sure what running the mini hard did to all that, but I am beginning to feel better.

It looks like the rain may clear out in time for a good bike ride this evening. I got my shoes and cleats all ready to go. I gave them a brief 10 minute test yesterday and did not fall over. EVERYONE says that I will fall, and I believe them. I'm just waiting to do it in front of a bunch of people; got keep up my "specialness" you know.

Yesterday I finished a wheelchair ramp for a young man. I ended up doing the project mostly by myself, which was fine. It is solid and looks pretty good (if you don't look too closely). I'm sure it is not done like an experienced carpenter would do it, but it works and is safe. The family was grateful. That's sufficient.

Thinking about this 6th Commandment - Do not murder. God is pro-life, right? Then why does he direct so much killing in the Old Testament? I think it's because he is pro-life. This is hard for us to accept, I think, but God deems it necessary to kill off some people/peoples in order to preserve his mission to bring Life to all who will receive it. God is pro-life; he is dead serious about it.

Back to work...

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Good Question

Doing some reading this morning and I came across this question:

What are you doing right now that requires faith?

Hmmm. Need to ponder that one today.


Hebrews 11:1

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.

What difference does it make?

Monday, May 17, 2010

Monday evening

I hope the rainy day and the Monday didn't get you down! You don't want me to the sing the song do you? I don't mind this weather too much, but I will be glad to see the sun and feel the warmth again.

We had a surprisingly nice turn out for our bike ride and picnic last night. We had right at a dozen people start out from the church building for the Park. A few took the shortest route, which was less than 10 miles. A few more of us took off on a longer route, and then we extended it a little further, ending up with a little more than 12 miles. I was really pleased with my bike, even without the proper shoes. At one point Ryan T. came up from behind and said that I was riding 23 m.p.h. Surprising. Later he helped me fix my computer so I now I can tell how fast I am going.

The picnic was good! In spite of the weather there were about 50 people there. We had a fire in the fireplace and a good hot grill.

Today I spent some time starting the construction of a wheelchair ramp for a classmate of Ben's who was in an accident. He will be in a wheelchair for quite a while. I went to Lowes to get all the lumber and supplies. There I ran into one of my former students from OCU-B. He works there part time to help pay bills. It was nice to see him.

I took Redneck Roger (pictured above), my deaf neighbor, with me to set the posts for the ramp. He is pretty lonely, I think. He enjoyed helping me, and I appreciated his help. It rained on us a couple of times but it was light.

We still haven't heard from Luke in Guatemala, but today we were pointed to a neat article in the Tennessean about the work he is involved in with Lipscomb.

Started studying today for the next Commandment: Do not murder. This could be a surprising one. Most of us think that this is the one that least likely applies to us. Right? Hmmm. We'll see...

Saturday, May 15, 2010


It has been a good day so far, and there is more to come. I left the house a little after 6.30 to meet some people to run at 7. I got there a little early. John H., Tim B., and Robin D. were already there. As I was visiting with them, I looked over at my truck. The rear driver side tire looked low. "It'll be fine - it's only flat on one side." As I moved over to inspect it, I heard the hissing sound that signaled that not all would be fine for long.

I fumbled around and found the jack and got it under the axle, saving me from having to jack it all the way from completely flat status. The Hammels and Bill D. showed up, and we all took off on run that would bring us back at 8 a.m. to connect with the group that would show up then. The pace was quick and the conversation good; the weather was perfect. I'm still feeling the fatigue from the trauma of the marathon and the half-marathon collaspe last Saturday. I decided that I would forgo the 10 miler that I had planned. I ended up with a little more than 5 miles. Enough for now.

We arrived back at the truck well before 8 and started visiting with the 8 a.m. group. I started loosening lug nuts and getting ready for the big change. Several offered to help, but I encouraged them to go run. After they left I got busy. It wasn't an easy change, thanks to the Reese hitch. It was in the way in a couple of ways. Thanks to a pair of cheap channel lock pliers I was able to get the spare down and on. It took me about half an hour to get it all done. Now a trip to Tieman's is in my immediate future. Ain't the spare perdy, though?

Worked in the yard today. It was relaxing. I took out my old smoker and gave it to my nephew, Matthew. He was happy! I delivered it and gave him a bunch of hickory wood to use. Kedra and I created a flower bed where the smoker was. We thinned out some flowers from church and moved them here.

This evening we have a little family party planned for Rebecca. Should be good.

We have not heard directly from Luke in Central America, but we did get an email from someone who had spoken to a team leader. The report is that everyone is healthy and that the construction is going well.

How do you like my bike? I think I am going to love it! I can't ride it properly just yet because I don't have the right shoes. I ordered them; they should be here Monday. I hope to ride with a bunch of people Tuesday evening from Spring Mill Park. They have a regular 32 mile route. I will probably only do part of it initially. They do 10 miles of pace line riding (averaging more than 20 m.p.h.), and I'm not ready for that yet.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Rebecca and her special dad

Rebecca is 17 today! She was born just before midnight, and I remember it very well. After having 2 wonderful sons it was neat to have a little girl. Still is, especially with 3 wonderful sons.

Before the mini I said that I didn't want to be "special" during the race. Of course it turns out that I was more special than ever, and there are pictures to prove it. Oh well...

I ran 5 miles yesterday; it was OK. I was hoping to bike some but I have to get some biking shoes first. Maybe today. I think I am really going to like the bike. The cross training should really help my running.

We had a good class last night, discussing honoring parents. One of the most helpful things came from a guy who had a pretty harsh father. He commented that forgiveness is a key component in honoring a parent who didn't do particularly well and the understanding that he was probably simply following what he knew from experience. One way to honor the role of parenthood is to break the cycle of poor parenting by seeking to be a better parent yourself.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Honoring Parents

Been studying the 5th Commandment today - Honor your father and mother. It seems that the commandment is the transition between the first four, which deal with our relationship to God, and the last 5, which deal with our relationship with each other.

The first four are about loving God, and the last 5 are about loving our neighbor. The fifth command bridges the two ideas.

The family is where the two ideas meet. Parents parallel God in providing unconditional love to completely helpless children. Eventually the children come to love their parents, as we come to understand and love God.

As I think about this passage it comes to my mind that honoring parents (which involves obedience), from a very early age, is the first and most fundamental response to God. What makes that sobering/awesome is that it is up to parents to make sure that it happens.

Children don’t come into the world seeing or knowing God. They come into the world seeing and knowing their parents. What do they see? What do they know? It’s up to us to show them and to teach them about God. Honor of parents creates an environment for learning and transmission of God's love.

All human relationships, for good or ill, develop in association with the relationships that emerge in families.

I read last week that 41% of babies are now born outside of a marriage relationship. I wonder what that does for this concept of honoring parents. What about divorce? What about step-parenting?

And what do you do if your parents do not deserve honor or respect?

God is redemptive, meeting us in our messes--we all have them--to help clean them up and make something good come from them. This is good news!



Ben and I are going for a bike ride after we eat. Then after that I am going to look at a bike that a friend has for sale. Right now I have a borrowed bike, and I need to return it. I really want to do a lot of biking this summer.

Tomorrow I begin running again; five miles in the morning. All the runs now are running toward the Monumental Marathon on November 6. Boston, baby!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Monday evening

Luke arrived in Guatemala yesterday. He'll be there for a little more than 3 weeks helping to build a compound that will be used to serve the poor. He wrote this last night:

Hey, we made it here fine today. We are actually still in Guatemala City, with Steve's (one of the guys that came) in-laws. They fed us fried chicken, really good cake and coffee. I got to take a two hour nap on a hammock. It is about 75 and sunny here, just about perfect. Tomorrow we are going to get with the lady that will cook for us and buy food then head 4 hours north to Coban. We'll meet the others there. I need to get to work on making some changes to the building.

We will be eager to hear from him again but it may not be until he gets ready to come home. Where he will be working is a pretty primitive area.

I saw an old lady today; she lives in a nursing home. Can I confess that this is one of my least favorite things to do? I don't feel that I am very good at it. She talked and talked, and I found myself getting sleepy and not paying much attention. Then I had a sudden awareness that this could be one of the most important things I will do all week. She needs someone to listen to her, and very few people come to see her. God's view of what is important could very well be different from mine.

No running today. I did scout out a 25 mile bike ride for Sunday afternoon. It was enjoyable and relaxing. It was just what I needed.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Sunday afternoon thoughts

That's a picture of yesterday's start. Lot of people! I started in gate B, which put me ahead almost all of them, so I had no problem with runners being in the way. Rebecca and Maddie started in X. It took them more than 30 minutes to just reach the start line.

Through conversation and returning memory I figured out part of what I wrote below is not quite right. A couple guys helped me up from the fall and then I started running again. I was about to fall the second time when Ryan caught me and was helped by another guy. Ryan told me this morning that I was heavier than he thought I would be. He should have said, "He ain't heavy, he's my brother." AND he should have said to the guy who said I was old, "Yeah but he was ahead of you for 13 miles!" ha ha.

We had a nice mother's day celebration. Everything went well. All the guys cooked, and the young guys and girls cleaned up.

I find mother's day awkward at church; never sure how to handle it. While some love to be honored and appreciated, and some love to remember their mothers, for others it is a very painful day, due to death, barrenness, rebellious uncaring children, neglect, etc. For the last few years we have acknowledged the day at the beginning and then continue on with something else. I always feel conflicted by that. Oh well...

Rest is going to be the key for me this week. I don't feel real well today. I will run some this week but not a lot. I want to map out my running plans leading up to the Monumental Marathon on November 6. I think I want to race some 5Ks just for fun and to work on speed.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Good day!

Top photo: before. Middle: after. Bottom: read below.

The results are in, and everyone had a really good day, in spite of the incredible cold wind.

Lester, 1.29.59
Allen, 1.39.31
Ben, 1.57.32
Maddie, 3.14.51
Rebecca, 3.14.51

Everyone beat their goals. Lester beat his by a whole second.

Why is there a picture of me in front of the medical area? Well, it's because I spent 45 minutes in there. It probably was not the wisest thing to do only two weeks after a really tough marathon, but I decided to push things today. I wanted to salvage my months of training with a satisfying sub-1.40 run. So I pushed and pushed and pushed.

When I got to mile 12 I knew I was getting in trouble. I felt out of control. I was talking to myself out loud, "Stay straight up, stay up!" I could feel myself leaning, not sideways, like in the Louisvile marathon, but forward. I couldn't slow down. Long story short: I fell flat on my face about a 100 yards from the finish.

I heard some of the crowd of literally 1000s shouting, "Get up! You're almost there!" Of course I knew that, but I was in trouble. A couple of kind runners stopped and helped me to my feet, and honestly I am not exactly sure what happened after this. I think they put their arms around me and helped me finish. Once I crossed the line I gently went down to the ground. I remember medics saying, "get the stretcher!" I was too zonked to be embarrassed.

The stretcher ride, which I faintly remember, seemed like forever. Once in the medical tent they drew my blood and hooked up an IV. Then the cramping started! A physical therapist came in and worked with me for about half an hour. After rubbing them down, he wrapped both of my legs, from the knee to the ankle, with tight bandages to keep them from swelling and cramping.

Finally they released me. As I was walking back to the Indiana Running Company hospitality tent, I met Jim Sowders. He was looking for me; he walked me to the tent to meet Kedra, Lester, Luke, and Ben. As he walked he told me that one of the guys who picked me up and helped me finish was Ryan Roberts, a person I know very very well. I was amazed that I was so out of it that I didn't even recognize Ryan or know he helped me. Ryan and I talked later, and he told me that my eyes rolled back in my head. He was pretty sure I didn't know much of what was going on. He was right!

Even though I had the collaspe, I thoroughly enjoyed the day. It was so much fun running with so many good friends and family. A lot of people had really good runs today, including John Heatherly and Rand Hammel. Both of them ran the Louisville marathon also.

I think the most impressive time might be Maddie and Rebecca's. That's a pretty fast walk! Ben had a great run for his first time, and Lester's sub 1.30 says that he has a great future ahead as a runner.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Mini Eve

Well, here we are - 3 runners and 2 walkers. We are all ready to go!

We got to the Expo at 5.30, and it was crazy busy. We got our packets and picked up a few freebies. Ben bought a shirt and some gel, and Rebecca got a sticker, which is pictured above.

After the Expo we made our way to Lester's place. He and Maddie had a nice carbo-loading supper ready for us. We celebrated Mother's Day for Kedra, since we are all together this evening and won't be on Sunday. The only thing left to do is to go to bed; won't be long.

I'll try have a report sometime tomorrow about our run/walk.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Smoking & Sermonizing

Another multi-tasking day. Smoking, which is very relaxing, mixed with sermonizing, which can be quite stressful -- not a bad combo. I have the smoker strategically located where I can see it from my desk.

Inside the smoker are a brisket, 2 chickens, and a rack of baby back ribs. The brisket and chicken are for mother's day. The women folk of the family have decided that the men should do all the work, so my contribution is smoking meat. The ribs are for this evening. Luke is home from Lipscomb, so we'll celebrate with some ribs.

I am using a combo of hickory and apple wood on this smoke. I started out with hickory and am adding nothing but apple. I have an abundance of both. I also have a nice stash of mesquite from Texas. I use it sparingly because it's precious to me. Yes, I am nuts. Oh, that reminds me, I would love to have some pecan wood. It is supposed to be good smoking wood.

The weather for the Mini in Indy on Saturday is looking great for running! Not so great for spectating, which Kedra and Luke will do. It will probably be in the 40s most of the time. I'm not running today or tomorrow, hoping I can gain some more recovery from Louisville. My back muscle is still a little messed up; hopefully it will clear up and not give me problems on Saturday. I don't want to be "special" again.

OK, time to get back to work! This Sabbath study is wearing me out (irony). I am really going to need to rest.

Sabbath thoughts

From Barbara Brown Taylor in Leaving Church - A Memoir of Faith:

I decided to take a rest from trying to be like Jesus too. No, I won’t. No, not today. Today I will consent to be an extra in God’s drama, someone off to the side watching the scenery unfold with self-forgetfulness that is not available to me at center stage. Today I will bear the narcissistic wound of knowing that there are others who can say my lines when I am not there, including some who can say them better, and that while God may welcome my willingness to play a part, this show will go on with or without me, for as long as God has breath to bring more players to life. Today I will take a break from trying to save the world and enjoy my blessed swath of it instead. I will give thanks for what is instead of withholding praise until all is as it should be. If I get good enough at this, I may even be able to include my sorry self in the bargain, O men and women everywhere, glorify the Lord, praise him and highly exalt him forever.

Mark Buchanan in his wonderful book Rest of God says:

Sabbath is both a day and an attitude to nurture such stillness. It is both time on a calendar and a disposition of heart. It is a day we enter, but just as much a way we see. Sabbath imparts the rest of God—actual physical, mental, spiritual rest, but also the rest of God—the things of God’s nature and presence we miss in our busyness.

Then he adds:

Taskmasters are masters of half-truth. They couch their language in just enough reality that the whole thing has the ring of authenticity. It’s true, in part, what they say: there is no end of things to do. I am a touch on the lazy side and disguise this with busyness. There is a crowd of people disappointed with me, who find me, by turn, indecisive, despotic, timid, rash, evasive, blunt, foolhardy, wise in my own eyes, foot-dragging, impulsive. I do procrastinate overmuch and at the same time make too many snap decisions. Most of my life is unfinished. Many of my efforts are slapdash and slipshod.

It’s true.

So? The lie mixed in here is that, because it’s true, I have no right to rest.

Actually, that’s true too. I have no right to a lot of things: my health, my home, my family, my salvation. May as well add rest to the list.

But thank God that God could care less about our rights. What God cares about, and deeply is our needs. And it’s this simple: you and I have an inescapable need for rest.

The lie the taskmasters want you to swallow is that you cannot rest until your work’s all done, and done better than you’re currently doing it. But truth is, the work’s never done, and never done right. It’s always more than you can finish and less than you had hoped for.

So what? Get this straight: the rest of God–the rest God gladly gives so that we might discover that part of God we’re missing–is not a reward for finishing. It’s not a bonus for work well done.

It’s a sheer gift. It is a stop-work order in the midst of work that’s never complete, never polished. Sabbath is not the break we’re allotting at the tail end of completing all our tasks and chores, the fulfillment of our obligations. It’s the rest we take smack-dab in the middle of them, without apology, without guilt, and for no better reason than God told us we could.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Sometimes things just don't work out


The Nashville floods are almost unbelievable! We've been communicating with Luke some. It's been crazy down there. He had a final exam postponed and spent a fair amount of Sunday working with other students helping people with flood issues.

Luke will be home late tonight. But not for long. He leaves Saturday afternoon to go to Guatemala for almost a month. While there he is going to help construct a mission compound that will be used to serve the poor. He'll be back in time to work for Crane this summer.

Went to the doctor this morning. This is a rare thing. I went because I've been having some pain in the back, where I think a kidney is located. They ruled out any kidney problem, which is good. The pain is likely muscular and associated with my major marathon cramp. I have a high tolerance for pain and can run with it, as long as I know that I'm not doing any damage.

I ran 3 easy miles this morning in the Park. Simply Beautiful!

We were supposed to load out a semi today with bales of clothes from the ReGeneration Store, but there was a miscommunication between the buyer and the trucking company. Maybe tomorrow; probably Friday. Did you know that there is market for baled clothes, used shoes and purses? The market flucuates. Right now the prices are good, so we are pretty excited about selling this load. It will provide a lot of dollars that can be used to help people.

About time to go pick up Ben...

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Little break from thinking...

My head is full and my brain is tired.

I’ve been studying the 4th Commandment this morning. This is what I am speaking about on Sunday. Was the Sabbath instituted at Creation or post-Exodus? Was it only for Israel, or is it for today also? Has Sunday taken the place of the Sabbath, or is Sunday disconnected with Sabbath?

As J. Douma writes,

It would be nice if we could draw a straight line from Paradise to the present. Some interpreters insist that the Sabbath was instituted in Paradise, kept by the Patriarchs, repeated as a commandment on Sinai, moved by Christ from Saturday to Sunday, and therefore observed on the basis of the fourth commandment from the very beginning of the New Testament.

Oh, if it were that simple! It’s not - not by a long shot. Oh well, I’ll keep wrestling with it and will speak about it on Sunday. I think it will end up being about a principle of rest found in Christ, which is best articulated by him in Matthew 11:28. My guess is there are some things we need to learn and probably change about the way most of us rest. We’ll see.

My study was interrupted by a lady who came in with arms full, literally, of groceries. I asked her if I could help her. “I got food from your food pantry last week, and I want to donate some things to the pantry.” I told her that was nice. She added, “That’s just the way I do things. I made need help again sometime, but for now I want to give back.” Wow, we don’t see that everyday.

Funny about the timing of this encounter. This morning some of us, yet again, were discussing, almost agonizing, over how to really help the poor and needy in our community. The success rate is so low that it is discouraging. I’ve really tried a few times to enter into the lives of some folks who are so different from me. I just can’t seem to make much difference, or that’s how it seems. Oh well, enough about that. I think we are called to be faithful with what we have and use it to help others however we can. Somehow I’m not satisfied that what we are doing is the best approach; still waiting on the epiphany.

Going to run this evening with my friends in Bedford. It will be a short run of 4 miles, but the fellowship of friends is worth the drive over.

Monday, May 03, 2010

I don't really mind Mondays. They're fine with me, or should I say, I am fine with them. Sure was a beautiful day! Now I am waiting for a line of storms to come through. I really like storms; probably go out on the front porch and watch.

Today was fairly uneventful and fairly productive. I got a few projects done; one had been sitting on my "to do" list for too long. Saw a few people. Got a few things. Fell asleep in my truck (in a parking lot - intentionally for 15 minutes).

Running was nice this morning. I did 5 miles out at the Park. The fog, the sun, the new leaves, all provided inspirational beauty. I guess I am tapering for the Mini on Saturday; kinda in an in-between spot with running. I felt better today, so I am hoping I will be recovered enough from Louisville to make an attempt to go under 1.40 in Indy. Four miles tomorrow; 3 on Wednesday. These are the doctor's (Jim Sowders) orders.

Time to go watch the storm show...

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Wrapping up the week

Got a little busy the last couple of days... We had a good trip to Nashville on Thursday. We delivered about 100 boxes of various supplies that will be shipped to Honduras. Healing Hands International is doing the shipping for us. They have a most impressive warehouse and do a lot of good in this world. It was neat to visit their headquarters.

Luke came over from Lipscomb and helped us unload, and then we went to lunch. Luke’s girlfriend, Caroline, joined us. We had a nice meal and visit together. Then it was time to head back north. We got in about 6.30, and I was too tired to run and/or bike. Rest is a good thing too.

All of my usual Thursday work got pushed to Friday. It all went well, I think. I guess the church on Sunday will decide whether my assessment is right! I managed to get a three mile run in. After the experience in Louisville, specifically the way the hills beat me up, I am determined to run more hills from now on. I parked at Spice Valley church and ran toward Bryantsville. The first mile is literally all up hill; cruised up with no problem.

I loved the rain this morning. I actually managed to stay in bed past my usual time of arising. The rain stopped just in time for the 8 a.m. run in Bedford. We had a nice 8 miler. All of last week’s marathoner’s were there, so we told a few stories. The funniest one was that Jim’s daughter, who does not know me, saw me running last week. It was late in the marathon, and I was all bent over to the right. She saw that and said something to the effect, “Look, a special needs runner!”

The run this morning wore me out; still feeling the residual tiredness. Hopefully I will feel better/stronger for the Mini next week. I would love to have a good run. Thinking past the mini, it looks like John, Tim S. and I are planning on running the Monumental Marathon. Sure there will be others too. If the weather is not too warm, like last year, it should be a great place to qualify for Boston. Rand is not going to wait that long. He is going to Grandma’s Marathon in MN in June to do the deed. It’s tempting but for me I thinking waiting is a better idea.

After the run this morning we were going to eat at the Pancake Festival, but the line was really long. John, Tim S, and his wife Jamie, and I ended up at Bob Evans. It was a nice way to finish.

Looking forward to tomorrow...