Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Tuesday a.m.

I have bird feeders right outside my home office window. I enjoy watching them eat. Does this make me old? Anyway, something unusual happened overnight. I noticed when I shut things down last night that a bird was sitting on one of my feeders, and he is still there this morning. I am wondering if he camped out to get a head start on everyone else or did he get lost? He looks cold.

Lester put a bird feeder on his Christmas list this year; made me very proud (ha ha). Ben has trouble with this; it bothers him. He also has trouble with Luke's interest in clothes and shoes that are a little too trendy for Ben's taste. One day Kedra mentioned to me that Lester wanted a bird feeder. I heard Ben mutter something, so I asked, "What did you say?" He then repeated it a little louder, with disgust, "My brothers!"

Yesterday was a good day. I got more done that I thought I would. The sad part was learning that a friend has stage 4 cancer. I spent some time with his family yesterday afternoon. Playing Santa (I must confess I just typed Satan and had to change it - wow, what does this mean??) was fun (see yesterday's post). Last night we had a party for the leaders of the church; most came. It was a good time. We have some elders that really know how to table dance! Just kidding; they are not very good dancers - no rhythm.

Today I am going to read some, make a couple of visits, hang out with the food pantry workers and clients. This evening Ben and I will run with our Bedford buds. I had a good 7 miler midday yesterday with some friends. I think I will run 10 on Thursday, getting a long run in before the possible big snow. We have a 5 mile "Santa hat" run on Christmas Eve (Friday) morning. It will be lots of fun!

Monday, December 20, 2010


So much of my life, it seems, centers around school and its schedule. I still have 2 in high school, and now Kedra works there as well. Their schedule sets the tone for what happens around here, and of course it simply reflects the broader community. I said all that to say that the next couple of weeks I will be operating in "holiday mode," which means a more relaxed pace.

The weekend was good. Kedra and I left here late afternoon Friday to go to Bloomington for our Christmas present, which was the Mannheim Steamroller concert. Being old and practical, we added other things to the trip. We went to Sam's and got some things we needed for a party we are hosting tonight. We went to Office Depot to get some stocking stuffers. Then "the present" started - dinner at Olive Garden, followed by the concert.

The meal was great and so was the concert. The concert lasted a couple of hours and was really enjoyable and pleasant. Wisely, they did not have the sound cranked up so high that it hurts your ears.

We had one interesting/amusing thing happen. A very young couple was sitting next to us. As we were sitting there, an usher came up and asked, "Are you the couple that got engaged in the lobby?" They laughed and said, "Yes." Then an official from Mannheim Steamroller came and talked them, asking for a photo. Their photo is now on the MS website. They seem like a very nice couple. Kedra sat next to them, and she commented how nice that was. The couple was so busy snuggling that Kedra did not have to compete for the shared armrest.

Saturday Ben and I ran 5 miles with the group in Bedford, and the rest of the day was fairly uneventful. I did not get my work done Thursday and/or Friday, so I spent a couple hours doing that. I also smoked some pork shoulders for a party we are having this evening, and I smoked some ribs for us to enjoy Saturday evening. Yum, yum!

Yesterday was good. We had a pretty good crowd at church, in spite of the icy parking lot. Everyone listened well and seemed to be in a good mood. The afternoon was great. This was helped by the Colts winning. Our Life Group had a pitch-in party and a nice time together.

Today I get to be Santa. I get to deliver Christmas, in the form of gift cards, to a family that can't afford anything this year. I hope to include a gift card for a nice meal at a restaurant, because I know they can't afford to go out to eat. It should be lots of fun.

You watching the weather? The thing to watch is Christmas eve into Christmas day. Hey, hey! Could be some good snow. There is, however, a lot of time for the track to change. Stay tuned.

Friday, December 17, 2010

It's slick out there! Yesterday I had to go to town to meet a couple for counseling, so got in the beastly Bronco and took off. It did great! The road I live on had been sanded, so it was not too bad. The city streets were very slick. I drove to the school parking lot to see if they had done anything to it, which would be an indication of whether school would be closed Friday (today). It was hard to believe how slick it was. I did unintentional donuts! The church parking lot was the same way; not sure how we are going to get it ready for Sunday.

Today I am finishing up my sermon, slide show, and discussion guide for life groups. I should be finished by mid-morning. We are planning a family breakfast around 9, I think. Luke's girlfriend, Caroline, is here, so she'll get to join in on the fun. Then I hope to have a meeting in town with a friend to discuss some things on my mind. Then a workout - looks like another bike trainer day, coupled with some core work. This evening Kedra and I are going to the Manheim Steamroller concert at IU Auditorium. This is our Christmas gift to each other.

Tomorrow I will venture out for a run of some kind, probably slow and slick.

Back to work...

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Good morning! Well, I was expecting to wake up to a few inches of snow, but, NO, it's only thin ice. It was enough, however, to shut down the schools. Ben is one lucky boy. He did not study for the final exams that were supposed to take place today. He was trusting the weather forecast.

Today I hope to be able to get my sermon on the Incarnation done. There is so much to consider, so the task, as usual, is try say the most significant thing and say it in a way that will keep the interest and attention of the listeners. Part of my doctoral thesis was understanding how people listen to sermons, and guess what (?), people listen in different ways, which makes it even more challenging. For Sunday I want to try balance emotion and information. I am thinking of doing imaginative vignettes of various characters' thoughts, mixed with short bursts of doctrinal information. We'll see...

I had a good run yesterday, and I look forward to getting on the bike trainer today. I hope to ride for an hour or so. I have the bike set up in front of an old TV in the basement, and I have recorded several documentaries for my viewing while riding. I love multi-tasking.

Luke arrived home last night from Lipscomb. It is so good to have him home for a couple of weeks. He leaves for Guatemala on New Year's Day. He will be down there for a week or two doing survey work along with some construction. Then he will return to Lipscomb for the spring semester.

Did you see the police report regarding the superintendent that is supposed to begin work at Mitchell in January? Wow. The best and honorable thing is for him to resign. That is my hope and prayer. People need to calmly and civilly call for this in various public ways. There is too much silence, and silence can always be misinterpreted.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Today is my first day of a new schedule, so it is time to adjust. Of course going into all the holiday "interruptions," which are wonderful, is not the best time to settle into anything too firmly. Yesterday I finished up at Oakland City U., and I am not teaching next semester for several reasons. I'm not sure about the fall. It's all good. Peace.

Sounds like the weather could get interesting again tonight and into tomorrow morning. It's not good for the kids to miss school this early, but what can you do? I hope we get more snow than ice. Ice is really hard to deal with!

This Sunday I am going to talk about the Incarnation, so today I will spend a lot of time studying/thinking about it. It's really an amazing thing to consider. God became flesh. Why?

My public move regarding the superintendent (see previous post) has been interesting already. It also makes me uncomfortable, but I feel like it is necessary. What does it say when there is much more interest regarding coaching changes than this issue? That's my perception - people may be concerned but there is not much being expressed, unlike coaching controversies.

I had a very good cyber conversation yesterday with a person whom I respect. He was gently challenging my thinking, I think, by saying that the new superintendent has done a lot of good and cares about kids. I would agree with both of those ideas, and I know that we are all very flawed. He also mentioned that there might have been provocation that lead to the bad behavior, and I think that might true also. But I believe even, and especially, in the face of provocation, someone in this important position of school leadership must maintain self-control, trusting that truth will come out.

Enough of that for now. Ben and I joined our Bedford buddies for a nice but cold (could add another t to the word before cold) run last night. I love running with these folks. It is so much easier when you are engaged in entertaining conversation. I hope to have a midday run today, and then I think I will look at hoping on the bike trainer for tomorrow's workout.

Here we go...

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I went to the Mitchell school board meeting last night. I am concerned about recent events regarding the new superintendent. He is supposed to begin work at the first of the year, but last week was arrested on various charges. If you don't know about them, then you aren't paying attention (ha ha)! Based on all that, I feel it would be a huge mistake to allow him to come. I was open-minded and hopeful before the arrest, but all that has changed.

Here is a statement that I read at the meeting:

Thank you for the opportunity to say a few words. I appreciate your hard and careful work as school board members. My concern this evening regards the decision regarding the leadership of our school system. I firmly believe that leaders should be exemplary and model the behavior that we expect from all staff and students.

Leaders are called to a higher standard, and if we don’t hold them to that standard, then we lower the standards for everyone. We cannot afford to do this now or ever, but especially now with an increase of fighting and intimidation in our schools.

I trust that the board will make the right decision, a decision based on integrity and for good of all.

I am praying that this matter can be resolved quickly and peacefully. People do need to speak up, calmly and with civility, regarding this matter.

Sunday, December 12, 2010


I'm sitting in front of the fireplace watching the snow fall. I love it! I'm also thinking about the wonderful weekend that is winding down.

Lester and Maddie came down Thursday evening, and we left Friday morning for Huntsville. The trip down was uneventful and fun. It was good to spend time with L & M. We stopped at a Cracker Barrel in Cave City, KY before completing the trip to the Rocket City. We went straight to the race headquarters to pick up Lester's race packet. They had a nice little expo, and Lester snagged some really good deals on some technical shirts.

We made our way out to Kedra's parents for spaghetti, and then after supper we did a little shopping. Time for bed. I think everybody slept well. We got up, ate, and made our way down to the starting area. There we met Jon Sullivan, one of my running acquaintances from Bedford. Jon was wanting to run in the 3.45 range, and Lester was thinking the same.

The gun fired and the race started. Lester and Jon ended up running with the 3.40 pace team, which I felt was a really good move for Lester but might be a tad fast for Jon. They ran together through 15 miles. That's when I jumped in to run with them. It was soon after that Jon faded somewhat on a hill. Lester stayed steady.

The miles clipped by, and then we hit the hard part - the miles north of 20. Lester let out a few loud sighs of fatigue, which I know too well. It's tough territory! He's always been mentally tough, and he proved it again. He held a steady pace through the whole 26.2 miles, even the latter miles. This is very hard to do but he did it. I am very proud of him. He finished in 3.38 and change. His goal was simply to run one and finish, and now he will begin training to qualify for Boston. Since he is so young, he has to run a 3.10, which he is confident he can do. He is looking at a spring marathon in Toledo. I believe he will do it. If so, then we can run Boston 2012 together, which would be amazing!

Even though Jon faded, he still finished well in about 3.49. We enjoyed taking his wife, Renee, around with us to support Lester and Jon. I enjoyed running the last 11 miles with Lester. The 3.40 pace team was mostly young girls (insert jokes her). Why? Because that is the Boston qualifying time for younger women. I felt good because I feel I helped a couple of them qualify.

One was really fading, so I gave her a pep talk, water, and Gatorade. She responded well and qualified. The other one was walking when we came up to her. I said, "Come on!" She started running, so asked her if she was trying to qualify. She said, "Yes." We talked for the last 2.5 miles. She was in pretty bad shape, but she made it. I have received so much encouragement over the years from others, so it was nice to give back.

After the race, we cleaned up and ate at P.F. Changs with Kedra's parents - yum! Then we headed to Nashville to meet up with Luke and Caroline. It was raining hard! Kedra's car has some alignment trouble and it did not do well in the rain. I didn't know if we were going to make it home.

We had a nice visit with L & C at Cracker Barrel. They got there a little early and got a meal, and we joined them for dessert. It was a nice visit. Then we headed back out into the rain on I 65. We got home around 11, which is past my bedtime, but, hey, it was a good time.

I was pretty out of it at church this morning. I didn't sleep too well. Tonight in the night!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Good morning! I need to make this quick; got a meeting at 7. Then I have to take my computer to the shop to get a tune-up. Then we are leaving for Huntsville! The weather for Lester's marathon is looking even better now - mid 30s to start, little wind, dry, and in upper 40s for the finish. Hard to beat!

BFN = Big Fat Nothing! That's how I described hyped up weather that doesn't materialize, and that looks like what is happening for Saturday/Sunday's storm as far we are concerned. I like the drama and the beauty of a big snow storm, but it looks like I will have to wait.

Mitchell's new superintendent got arrested for drunk driving yesterday afternoon. Wow! He was supposed to start in about 3 weeks. I'm wondering what is going to happen now. I'm glad I'm not on the school board!

I got everything done yesterday, but I'm not that crazy about my sermon [sigh]. Often the ones I do not like turn out to be more liked by the church than the ones I like, so we'll see. It's all a mystery.

Need to go...

Thursday, December 09, 2010


Hello Thursday! Today is going to be a good one! How do you like my new bike trainer? She's a beaut, ain't she? Oh, what do you mean you don't care? Even if you don't care, I will tell you that I got it all set up and ready to go. Now I have to develop a training plan. It is positioned in front of a TV in the basement, so I plan to use it while watching news or sports.

Yesterday came and went, as all days do. My computer was in the shop all day, so I was thrown off just a bit. What does that say? Am I too dependent? I'm not sure how I would do all I do if I didn't have one.

This morning it looks like the big storm is tracking a little farther to the north, which means less snow for us. It's still too early to tell. One thing everyone agrees upon is that it will be very windy on Sunday and then very cold on Monday. Next week is supposed to be even colder than this week! Ouch.

I want to get all my Sunday prep done today, which is a tall order. Lester and Maddie are coming down this evening, and then in the morning we are all taking off for Huntsville. We'll return Saturday night after a stop in Nashville to see Luke. It's going to be a quick but fun trip. I am so excited about Lester's first marathon. Here's the weather forecast for him:

Showers likely. Highs in the mid 50s. Light winds becoming southwest around 10 mph in the afternoon.

That'll be good, if it is not raining too much/hard.

I'm looking forward to thinking about Anna today -- the one in Luke 2. We had a good class last night. I always enjoy hearing what everyone has to say. It always stimulates my thinking.

One of my students, some time back, gave me Led Zeppelin's "box set" of work; whole lotta music. I listen to it some while I'm driving. Back in the day, they were my favorite band. I even saw them in concert. Stairway to Heaven was the 20 minute encore! Anyway, coming back to their music some 25 years after leaving it behind is quite interesting. I have a different perspective and understanding. There are some real theological gems in their work. For example, look at this from Kashmir:

“To sit with elders of the gentle race, this world has seldom seen. They talk of days for which they sit and wait, all will be revealed.”

This made me think of Anna and Simeon. The Mystery was revealed. Their waiting was over at the First Coming of Christ. We’re still waiting.

Keep waiting and be a good waiter today.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Yesterday I was trying to find a little warmth for my 5 mile run, so I decided on a late morning/early lunch meeting with Tim S., one of my running friends. I worked hard all morning getting lots of stuff done and then I met Tim. The run went well. As we were getting in our trucks to leave, he said, "Hang on, I have something for you." You know what he gave me? A bag of Starbuck's coffee beans! I cracked up and told him he would also once he read my blog post (from yesterday). Wow, I wish I would have blogged about receiving a new truck.

My truck has 232,000 miles on it. I'm hoping it holds out until someone gives me a really nice one, one with like 150,000 miles.
[Let's see if this works.]

Thanks Tim, I really enjoyed the Christmas Blend this morning!

Yesterday was a good one. I got both of my final exams written and ready to go. Wow, I'm glad I don't have to take them! ha ha. I also got some significant study about Anna done. I think this sermon has lots of potential. They all do, of course, but sometimes you really connect with a passage.

Preaching is an interesting thing. I take it seriously of course, which means I feel that every week I need to be able to communicate effectively something that is important and significant. Some weeks I feel like I do, but other weeks the blank stares and yawns tell me otherwise. Some compare preaching to baseball batting averages. Hitting 300 is good, right? It's best not to think on these things too much.

I'm still watching the weather for this weekend, and it's still very interesting. It may make my sermon prep a little less important. It all depends on the track of the storm and the timing.

Lester runs his first marathon this weekend. I am so excited for him. Back in 1984 I ran my first one--the same one--in Huntsville. They've changed the course since then, but most of it is the same. My first one was a disaster. It was freakishly warm, and I got dehydrated at 10 miles. I gutted it out and ended up in the medical tent after collapsing at the finish line. Hmmm, seems like I have a history of doing that.

Kedra and I are excited because Lester and Maddie are going to ride down to Huntsville with us, so we'll have lots of time to visit and talk about marathon strategy. Kedra is really fired up about that part.

Today is the long day, so I best get moving...

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

The Joy of Stats!

Good morning, Tuesday! It's good to wake up to a pot of freshly brewed coffee. I set the coffee maker the night before so it will be ready for me when I get up. It is one of those simple pleasures. I'm just about out of the bag of Starbucks beans that I received for my birthday; hoping for some more for Christmas!

Yesterday was a good day. It sure was cold! I opted not to run and then had twangs of guilt the rest of the day. I know, I know! I will run today, and it will all be OK. I've ordered a bike trainer, so soon I will be able to "spin" on days like yesterday/today. My focus for 2011 includes much more time on the bike and RAIN - Ride Across Indiana in late July. Biking will help my running, plus it is very enjoyable, especially when it's hot outside. Speaking of that, do you remember how hot it was just a few weeks ago??

As a rule a man's a fool
when it's hot he wants it cool
and when it's cool he wants it hot
and he always wants what's not

Sounds like we could get a really big snow storm late Saturday/early Sunday. It's still a long way off, but I am watching all the guys watching all the computer models. I find all that interesting. Several say that the weather we are experiencing now may be the coldest that we will have all winter. We are under the influence of La Nina, which usually results in mild wet winters. I'll tell you in March what happened.

Yesterday was my penultimate (just love that word) class meetings at OCU-B. Everyone was in a goofy mood, following my lead I suppose. We had a lot of fun. One more class session and then a couple of final exams.

This week I am studying Redemption through the eyes of old Anna the prophetess. You can read about her at the end of Luke 2. I find characters like her very intriguing. They get a brief mention in Scripture, but I like to imagine what their life is like. Anna seems to be north of 100 years. She's been waiting for a long time, just like Simeon, to see the Lord's Christ.

Lot of waiting going on in Luke 2. Just as they waited for the first coming, so we wait for the second coming of Christ. We wait, with all of creation, for the final redemption of all things (Romans 8). Be a good waiter today!

Monday, December 06, 2010

It's a little chilly out there this morning! To run or not to run? Hmmm. I'm having this internal conflict about it, and I know most of you don't care. It's a running thing, you wouldn't understand. (Thought I would steal that from the Jeep marketing folks.)

There is not much exciting to report from the weekend. The older I get the more I like not having much to report! I kinda like the quiet weekends. Kedra and Rebecca went to Indy Friday afternoon, along with some other women, to see the Nutcracker at Clowes Hall on Butler's campus. This left Ben and I batching it. This can mean only one thing: eating out.

I picked Ben up from school Friday afternoon, and we made our way over to the FLC to re-hang the cross. It had been taken down as a part of a construction project. Earl W. was going to join us to help in the re-hanging. Mark R. was there working on something else, and I'm glad he was. The cross is heavy! [Insert sermonic thoughts/ideas here.] The four of us got the job done, and then it was time for Pizza. Three of us, Ben, Earl, and me, ate an extra-large. That was a lot of pizza!

Saturday morning arrived, wrapped in a beautiful coat of white. Ben and I made our way over to Bedford to run. I was going to run 10, but the slush and my very wet feet, along with Ben not running 10, reduced my run to 6+, which is fine since I'm just maintaining fitness until the first of the year. The rest of Saturday involved mundane trash duty, checking on the coat giveaway and toy sale, reading, basketball and football watching, along with preparing for Sunday. ZZZzzzzzzzz

Yesterday was cold! We did all the usual things we do. Faithfulness.

This week should be good. This is the last week of classes at OCU-B; finals to follow next week. This semester has been tough, so I welcome its end. I will miss my students, however. I am not teaching next semester.

Lester is running his first marathon on Saturday in Huntsville, so Kedra and I are going to make a quick trip down to support him. I will probably run the last half with him. He is just doing this one with no particular goal beyond finishing; good plan. He hopes to qualify for Boston in April in Toledo, which would be awesome. If he does, then we could run Boston 2012 together.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Friday. I hope your week ends well! I am still trying to get ready for Sunday, but that's OK. I think I can get it all figured out today, which will leave me tomorrow to relax some.

I got quite a lot done yesterday, and then last night I sat down and watched the first part of the Heat vs. Cavs NBA game. I felt kinda dirty doing so. Why? Because I really, really don't like NBA basketball, so I was watching only to see how the Cleveland crowd would treat their savior turned traitor. Nothing really happened. King James quieted them with good play. Back to not caring...

My good friend Ryan R. is running the Tecumseh Trail Marathon tomorrow. This will be his second time. I ran it twice in the past, once with Ryan. It is a grueling course over very steep hills, up and down, over water, and through mud. It is fun! The possible snowy weather makes it just about perfect.

Tomorrow I will do my first 10 miler since the marathon; shouldn't be any trouble. I think Ben is going to join me for most of it. He is wanting to do really well at the Mini in May. I've started my Road to Boston training strategy. I will share it with you sometime soon. My Boston Marathon is exactly 500 days from now!

OK, time to seize the rest of this day!

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Thursday! Reminds me of the old joke about some old guys sittin' on the front porch of the nursing home. The first one says, "It sure is windy." After a few seconds of contemplation the second one says, "It's not Wednesday, it's Thursday." Then the thirds says, "I'm thirsty too. Let's get a drink!" I say this as I finish my second cup of coffee. This coffee has been especially enjoyable. Luke, for my birthday, brought home a bag of Starbucks Guatemalan beans. So good!

Today I will be working on my Mystery sermon. I hope it goes well; praying so. Last night's class was really good; lots and lots of conversation and ideas. We looked at the mystery of the birth of Jesus through the eyes of Joseph and Mary and wondered what it was like for them to reveal this mystery to their families. Can you imagine? If Mary's mother was alive, then I wonder how she reacted to the news of Mary's impending pregnancy? We wondered if Mary's 3 month trip to Elizabeth's house had anything to do with the reaction/response. Elizabeth would certainly understand, since she also was experiencing a miraculous conception/birth.

Mysteries revealed usually retain a mysterious quality, right? Joseph and Mary are told by angels some of what is going to happen, but certainly they did not understand it all. Who does, even now? We talked about how human testimony helps reveal that God's mysteries are to be believed. If Mary's mother was sceptical, then her scepticism slowly dissolved as various one testified. Joseph, Zachariah, and Elizabeth all could testify that God was up to something. It's all fascinating to think about.

Busy day ahead...

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Wednesday a.m.

Wednesday already, again! It's all OK, all good. Kedra beat me up this morning; one the few times in our nearly 26 years of marriage. She got up at 4 to take someone to the airport before she reports to school at 8.

Yesterday was a good day! I drove a bunch (must have been a 100 of 'em! Sure seemed like it) of 3rd graders to the Children's Museum in Indy. As I said yesterday, I did this to help out some, plus it provided an opportunity to see Lester and run in Indy. I dropped the kids off and parked the bus. Then I changed into my running clothes and took off. I ended up on part of the Monumental Marathon course, which brought back some great memories; went 7 miles which included some along the downtown canal.

While running I saw this neat looking place to eat, Side Street Deli & Grill, which was only about a mile from the bus. Right when I finished my run, Lester pulled in to pick me up. A quick change of clothes and I was good to go. We had a great lunch, and the Side Street turned out to be an excellent choice!

Lester dropped me back at the bus, where I was able to do some study about mystery. I've done a lot of reading/studying on bus trips over the last few years. I don't know why, but it is really easy for me to think/concentrate in the big twinkie.

I took the kids past some really cool sites yesterday, including Lucas Oil Stadium, the Circle, and the Capitol. Clearly many of the kids had never been to Indy. They were really cute. One boy got so excited when he saw a taxi! Of course they all loved Lucas Oil Stadium.

The video below was done by one of my running friends and reflects a lot of inside jokes, but you get the main point. I haven't mentioned something that happened during the Give Thanks 4 race. Several of my buddies re-enacted my famous "unconscious" finish at Indy. It was pretty funny! They had two guys dragging a third guy, which would be me, across the finish line.

OK, here we go... Wednesday!

There's alway more going on than you can see