Friday, May 27, 2011

Reading the Culture

I want to be like the “men of Issachar, who understood the times and knew what Israel should do.”  -- 1 Chronicles 12:32   

Allen Burris


I think who and how we are is determined by memory. What do you remember?

Allen Burris

Listening for God




It's really ironic. I've been thinking some about the social media bootcamp I attended last week. There are so many really neat ways to communicate, but it is much harder to do. All the ways to do it should make it easier but that's not the case. This irony was brought to my attention recently.

When I was organizing the trip to do disaster relief in tornado torn Tuscaloosa, I was working with 11 others guys. Some of them used email but not all; some texted but not all; some used Facebook but not all; some used cell phones to talk but not all; one did not have a cell phone. I could go on about categories etc., but my point is this: I could not communicate with everyone at the same time in the same way. This made organizing the trip harder. It wasn't that long ago that you could simply send out an email and have everything covered. Those days are gone.

I'm not sure how communication will continue to evolve. Doug Pagitt, the guy who led our workshop last week, says it will soon be visually based. We will use short videos. I'm not sure about that. I just don't know. I do know that it is getting harder to communicate with the church family outside of assemblies. We need to have multiple points of contact with each person and then use different media to send out a message.

Wednesday evening we cancelled all activities at the church building due to the dangerous storms approaching (and what a good decision that was!). I sent out an email, texted several, tweeted on Twitter, and sent out a Facebook group message. All of these need to be updated and refined. I am looking at website called Posterous as a possible solution.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Got close!

We had a big tree, less than 50 yards from our house, go down last night, and another tree close to it snapped off. This was during the 2nd tornado warning. We went to the basement and had not been there very long until Ben said, "I think I heard a tree fall." My 52 year old ears did not hear it.It is a really big tree. The root ball is about 15 feet tall.

This damage is so minor relative to what others in the area experienced and is not worth mentioning in the context of Joplin and Tuscaloosa. I was a little surprised to find these trees this morning. I really thought the 2nd wave of storms seemed minor. It didn't seem like the wind blew that hard.

My brother-in-law's mother was one of the ones hurt in the storm last night. She lives around Heltonville and sought shelter in a neighbor/relative's home. That home was destroyed, and she was hurt. I think she will be OK.

I'm sure the daylight and time is going to reveal lots of things today. As a friend wrote this morning, "Let's all pray for those out on East 50."

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Hanging around

Last night was my first ride since the hilly 50 miler on Saturday. I rode with 6-7 guys from Parkview, since our route south from Spring Mill Park is still flooded. All the guys I ride with are much faster, stronger, and more experienced than I am. This is good! That means I will improve, if I can hang with them for a while. I got dropped at about 8 miles last night.

I could only do 20 miles last night, due to wanting to watch Luke and Ben play softball. I missed their first game but got there for the second. I think the ride turned into about a 40 miler for the other guys. My plan is to ride at least once a week with the fast guys and ride a few times on my own.

Looks like we are in for some bad weather this afternoon and evening. Crazy! I am trying to figure out if I can go to Joplin to help out for a few days. I need to sit down and take a hard look at the scheduled activities for the next few weeks. Today, weather permitting, I hope to help a couple of people locally with their downed trees.

Yesterday's container load was neat. I've had a little time to reflect on it. One of the neat things was the teamwork involved. It was fun! After it was all over, people stayed around. I think everyone was simply enjoying being around each other, feeling a sense of accomplishing something eternally significant.

I think I could start rambling here... Lots of things going on with lots of people. Some good. Some bad. That's life, eh? Luke took off this morning. He will live in Nashville this summer - his first summer to not live at home. I'm OK with that. I want him to become his own guy. He is getting quite involved in Guatemala and hopes to do his senior engineering project there - building a bridge. If he does that, then I want to go down with him to watch construction. We'll see...

Lester has finished his course work at Butler for the most part and is now doing his pharmacy rotations, learning pharmacy in different contexts. He will become a doctor of pharmacy in May of next year.

Rebecca graduates next week and is looking forward to being done with high school. She did not like the first 2-3 years but seems to have enjoyed the last part of high school. She has done really well. Ben is looking forward to the new football coach and the "pukeful" workouts this summer. Part of the last statement is true.

OK, see I did ramble, so now I must Ramble On to something else. Why am I thinking of Led Zep??


The old song says, "life is filled with swift transition..." It may not always be swift but it's always happening. This time of the year is one of those for me, and it always seems to unsettle me. I think it has to do with school ending and all the schedule changes. I always enjoy it but it takes a few days to get used to it.

I hope to do something this summer that I have a really hard time doing: relax. Even though the summer is relaxed, I seem to always place pressure on myself to get ahead on a project or prepare for something in the fall, etc. It usually ends up being a point of frustration before it's over, so this summer I am hoping for a one day at a time approach. I will do plenty of work, hopefully a lot of reading, but I am not going to strive to conquer any big project.

This last year has been crazy, hectic, productive, and a host of other things. I need to cruise through the summer with faithfulness to the day to day duties. This I will do, along with lots of riding and some running. I am going to be gone a fair amount also. It's all good.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Help Build Hope

I am excited about this upcoming project! It's so simple and easy and a great way to get lots of people involved in doing something so real and so good. It mostly happens on Saturday June 11.

On that Saturday morning we are hoping to have 200 volunteers show up at the Mitchell High School front parking lot. There we will build walls that eventually will turn into 9 houses for people living in Haiti - people who are still recovering from a devastating earthquake.

How does it work? About 15 people will gather on Friday to organize all the materials, cut boards, etc., in preparation for the big build day on Saturday. Then on Saturday these 15 will lead 200 people in building 8 x 8 foot walls. All the materials and tools will be provided. After the walls are constructed they will be loaded on a container and shipped to Haiti. A team there will receive the walls, place them on lots, and roof them for people desperate for housing.

We are looking for 200 people to come and help, hoping some can bring $65 OR find someone who will sponsor them for $65. We are also looking for individuals and organizations to provide sponsorship.

Let me know if I can provide any information!

I really like Reinhold Niebuhr's Serenity Prayer. You can see why it's so popular. What strikes you about it?

I try to read/say this prayer every day, along with the Greatest Commands, the Lord's Prayer, the prayer of St. Francis, along with a couple of Psalms.

The line in this prayer that strikes me is this:

"That I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him forever in the next."

I will settle for "reasonably happy," in light of all the suffering and injustice in the world. Seems to me it would be irresponsible to be totally happy!

Container Tuesday

I don't know how many times I loaded that container last night! Today we are supposed to transfer everything from the semi trailer to the container that will be shipped to Honduras. I dreamed about it all last night. I spent a significant amount of time yesterday getting ready.

Luke, back from Guatemala for a few days before heading to Nashville, helped me build a platform that will bridge the semi trailer and the container. We got the forklift from the store and used it lift the bridge into the trailer. We moved the heavy metal stairs around to make it possible to put the bridge in place. We will use the forklift to lift the heavy and awkward eye exam chair. And we got two more things yesterday that will require the forklift.

A doctor called yesterday and said he would like to donate 2 exam tables. Four of us went and got them. They are pretty heavy, so the forklift is going to be a big help with them. The container is going to be pretty full. I was skeptical early on, wondering if we would have enough to justify the cost. I said all along that it really was a "faith thing" for me. God has proved faithful in spite of my little faith.

The last few days have been kinda crazy. Friday I attended a Social Media Bootcamp in Indy with Doug Pagitt. Doug is one of the leaders of the Emerging Church movement. I found him very interesting and helpful. I learned some things that will help me. Saturday was the big bike ride. Friday and Saturday night we had social engagements.

Sunday we had a breakfast at church, Bible class, worship, a graduation open house, and a graduation dinner. In the midst of all that I performed a wedding ceremony. It was a pretty busy day. Of course Sunday is the only day of the week I work, so I am not complaining. I will have six days to rest up.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Riding Bikes at Crane

Yesterday was Crane Cyclefest. It was a great day, very enjoyable for the most part. I am training for RAIN, and yesterday was a great training ride. I rode the 50 mile course.

Several of us met at the registration area and waited through a rather long opening ceremony. Once that was over we, along with 400+ other riders, made our way to and through the Crane gate. This part of the ride was slow and a little tricky. I had to clip in and out with my shoes a few times. There is always a danger of falling over. I sure didn't want to do that and take a bunch of people down.

At the gate we had to slow down and go through a few at a time. The guards had to record our bib number to make sure we were weren't two wheel terrorists. The guy with the machine gun made us see they were serious. Once through the gate the fun began. I immediately got separated from my friends who are faster than me AND better climbers. The first hill was grueling, and I was slow. Plus I had overinflated my front tire. I had to stop 2-3 times to adjust the pressure. I finally caught everyone at the first rest stop at the 20 mile mark.

We started out again, and it was another huge hill. Again I got separated. Rand H. came back to get me, but I told him/them to go ahead. I was fine. I really was. I rode most of the 50 miles by myself. There were other bikers around, and an occasional conversation took place. I just enjoyed the scenery. I blew through the 29 mile rest stop. I felt fine.

At about 40 miles I climbed this long, cruel hill. IT. TOOK. FOREVER. As I was beginning the descent in areobar position, someone came up the hill and said a biker was down at the bottom of the hill. I made my way down the hill at about 30 mph, watching for the biker down. As I came around a curve I saw all my friends standing there. Oh no! I looked on the ground and it was Rand H sprawled out in the middle of the road.

He had hit the curve at about 40 mph and the force pushed him off the road. He tried to get back on and, as he did, he hit the payment very hard with his shoulder and helmet. He was in the road for about 30 minutes while we waited on the ambulance. They took him to an ER and did all kinds of tests. Amazingly he is OK! He is a tough one.

I finished the ride at the 50 mile mark (really about 53 miles). A few of the guys went on to do the 65 mile course. I thought about it, but I was so tired and the thought of having to climb all those hills again made the decision pretty quick and easy.

Dan D and I rode back together and then enjoyed a wonderful meal while a band, dressed as clowns, performed. They were good and very entertaining. I felt really good about completing 50 very hilly and hard miles. I had never ridden that far. I will now move on to the Metric Century - 62 miles and then keep progressing toward my first 100 mile ride in the next month or so. RAIN is about 160 miles, so I need to spend a lot of time on the seat.

Yesterday was encouraging and fun. Early on I thought I would not make it, but I settled in and just worked through it all. It was a confidence builder.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Here we go Thursday

I've been reading and studying Ecclesiastes all week. Wow, it sure fits the weather and lots of other things going on! Solomon (or a Solomon-like character) wrestles with the (to use a deep theological term) stinkiness of life. There are a lot of inexplicable things that happen. "Meaningless, meaningless, all is meaningless!" Of course at the end he bows in submission to the will of God.

Some think that Ecclesiastes, along with Job, are "corrections" to proverbial wisdom. In Proverbs you get statements that say, If you do this, then this will happen. We all know from experience that life does not always work that way. There seem to be exceptions to everything. For example, not every child raised right stays on the right path (see Proverbs 22:6).

Job helps us understand inexplicable suffering - there is much more to life than we can see, and we can never understand it all. Ecclesiastes is along the same line, and it frustrates the "Teacher." He tries everything to makes sense of life, including wisdom. All of it is frustrating. There is more "out there" that is beyond human knowledge and experience.

In the end the conclusion is that you must fear God and do what he says. That is the only way to make sense of life. Faith is the key.

Luke Timothy Johnson, in The Creed, writes this:

Christians need to begin by insisting, first of all to themselves, then to each other, and finally to the world, that faith itself is a way of knowing reality. They need to insist that faith establishes contact with reality in a way different from, but no less real than, the very limited (though, in their fashion, extremely impressive) ways of knowing by which the wheels of the world’s empirical engine are kept spinning. Christians need as well to cultivate practices that reveal and reinforce perceptions of the world that include “things invisible” as much as “things visible.”

He echoes the writer of Hebrews.

Hebrews 11:3 — By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was made from things that are not visible.

Hebrews 11:6 — And without faith it is impossible to please God, for whoever would approach him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.

Life is full of frustrations and meaningless, mindless junk at times, but to makes sense of it, you have to have faith. There are times when you simply bow before the mystery of God and press on!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Wednesday a.m.

I will not complain about the weather. I will not complain about the weather. I will not complain about the weather. OK, at least not too much!

Last night I went to Bedford to ride my bike, hoping that a group decision would be made to cancel the ride and run instead. It was 49 degrees and very damp! We're having to ride from Bedford right now because Orange county still has major road closings due to continued flooding. The Lost River system drains very slowly. When I got there I found only a few riders, mostly the fastest guys. I knew I would get dropped and dropped hard, plus it was so cold! I took some abuse as I announced that I was going to run instead of ride.

I ran a little while and my niggling pain started up, and I was having this angel/devil debate on my shoulders. "You came here to ride! Why are you running - by yourself?" "Yeah but it was going to be hilly and I would have been dropped early, plus it's freezing!" This went on for a while. Then I realized I could still ride, at my pace, in town, waiting for them to come back. This is what I did, and I froze. We ended up in a heavy mist (commonly called light rain) At least I did not sail down the rock cut on 37 at 30+ mph. I rode about 11 miles and finished with the group.

After that Jim Sowders and I went to his house and got his trailer. He is sending an old eye exam chair to Honduras, along with a refractory, for future use in eye clinics. He hopes to go with me in the future. That chair was/is HEAVY! We could barely scoot it, but we managed to get it out of his office and loaded onto the trailer. Then we hauled it over to our church building. It will take several men to get it loaded on the container.

Today I need to have some quiet study time. Then I will go to Bloomington to see a couple of people. I am studying Ecclesiastes. It is a fascinating book that really wrestles with a cyncical view of life before emerging with/to a very profound conclusion. I'm working to get my mind around all that the writer is saying.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Tuesday a.m.

Good morning!

I'm trying to get back in the habit of blogging, so here we go...

The photo is from the Central Church of Christ in Tuscaloosa. I was struck by all the computer cables and other wires simply dangling. It was such a mess!

Yesterday was a busy day with varied activities. I spent a little time getting organized and then it was time to simply go do the day. There were lots of little things going on yesterday including a couple of meetings. The container we are shipping to Honduras dominated the day. I received a couple of phone calls and had a few people drop things off.

I went to one lady's house to pick up some things. I thought it was going to be a one-trip-to-the-truck-as-I-leave type pick up, but it turned out that I made about 10 trips. My cab was full to overflowing, and most of the bed was full as well! Wow! We are getting a lot of last minute things, which is good.

My biking really picked up last week. I got 71 miles in 3 days, which is a good start. While my biking went north, my running went south. I didn't say much about it, but I ran the Indy Mini in a quite bit of pain. Not sure what it was/is. I don't think it is anything serious at all, but I've taken some time off. That's all OK. I rode rides of 15, 36, and 20 last week. The 20 miler on Saturday was followed by a 5 mile run, where the pain came back.

The big 65 mile ride is Saturday at hilly Crane. I am considering scaling back to the 50 mile route. To do the 65 course you simply tack a 15 mile loop on at the end, which means I can make the decision at the 50 mile mark.

OK, better get focused on this day: study of Ecclesiastes, Honduras stuff, counseling, 26 mile bike ride at 5, followed by a Honduras pick up of heavier stuff. Let's do this day!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Tuscaloosa, AL May 2011

Tuscaloosa, AL May 2011
Photos for those who don't do Facebook!

Tuscaloosa, AL May 2011

On April 27th parts of Tuscaloosa were totally destroyed by a massive tornado. It only took a few minutes to maim, kill, and destroy much of what was in its path. Dozens of people were killed, many were injured, and I think some are still missing.

A few days after the tornado came through, I received an email from the Churches of Christ Disaster Response Team. They go wherever disaster goes to help in various ways. I always wanted to work with them, and I felt like this was the right time. Tuscaloosa is only 8 hours away.

I put out an email to my church family and got some response, and then I decided to make this a community effort. I invited, via Facebook, anyone who wanted to go to come along. It was risky, but it worked out really well.

We ended up with 12 men:

Randy Andrews
B.A. Barlow
Darrel Burkett
Allen Burris
Brad Clark
Troy Guthrie
Greg McBride
Bob Miracle
Ryan Roberts
Zach Seaton
Ken Sullivan
Alex Thoms

Bob, Darrel and Zach left at 1 p.m. on Sunday, May 8th, and the rest of us left at 3 in a church van without AC. (It got hot, especially on the return trip! It was 94 in AL.) Seven hours and 45 minutes later, after two brief stops, we arrived at the University Church of Christ. There we had a large class room where we inflated air mattresses and unrolled sleeping bags. The DRT supplied us with meals and a shower trailer.

The next morning we headed down to the Central Church of Christ. Immediately we were struck by the devastation everywhere, as we had the benefit of the morning’s light. We had arrived in the dark and only could see bits and pieces.

The Central Church was a mess. It will have to be bulldozed. We were one of the first volunteer crews to arrive, so we began doing whatever we could do as organization was unfolding. We started by unloading supplies and sweeping the parking lot. Then the opportunities to go out and help specific people started happening.

Before long all of us were out helping people remove trees and debris from their properties. It wasn’t glamorous or heroic work by any means. We didn’t rescue anyone trapped in rubble, but we did was what was needed. There was a lot of chainsaw work, which I love, a lot of limb dragging and brush piling. It was hot, and it was difficult. But it was rewarding.

A lot of times we did not meet the owners of the properties. They were not there; their houses were inhabitable in the present state. We did get to talk to people however. Some were in stores. Some were neighbors. All had a story to tell. Most spoke passionately about and with faith. They brushed up against death and survived. Some were assaulted by death and by the power and grace of God overcame it.

I was struck by the humility and the resiliency of the people. They have a perspective that one can only have by living through such a nightmare.

So what sounds like a joke...

Four Church of Christ guys, including a preacher, along with preachers from a Methodist church, a Pentecostal church, a Christian church, along with 3 Baptists, and a house church guy, go down to Alabama...

turns out to be a blessing in so many ways. We laughed together, prayed together, worked together. Together we accomplished a lot, but in the grand scheme of the all the destruction, it seemed like a proverbial drop in the bucket.

BUT, it wasn’t! This story came to my mind:

As the old man walked down a Spanish beach at dawn, he saw ahead of him what he thought to be a dancer. The young man was running across the sand, rhythmically bending down to pick up a stranded starfish and throw it far into the sea.

The old man gazed in wonder as the young soul again and again threw the small starfish from the sand into the water. The old man approached him and asked why he spent so much energy doing what seemed a waste of time. The young man explained that the stranded starfish would die if left until the morning sun.

"But there are thousands of miles of beach, and miles and miles of starfish. How can your effort make any difference?" The young man looked down at the small starfish in his hand, and as he threw it to safety in the sea, said, "It makes a difference to this one!"

I love the prayer of St. Francis and had not thought of it in the context of disaster – until last week.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen

To seek photos go to my Facebook photo album.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Good Mini

What a wonderful day it was! The weather was about as good as it gets for a half marathon in May, and most of my running friends had a good days today.

Kedra ran her first 5K today! I am so proud of her. She has been engaged in secret training all this year - ha ha. She did really well and enjoyed the experience. Maddie and Rebecca walked the 5K, which wasn't much of a challenge for them. They walked the Mini last year but didn't want to do it today.

I ran with Jean Sowders, my niece, today. Our goal was to get her under 2 hours for the Mini. We started in corral F, which is considerably different than starting in B, where I've been for the last couple of years. There was constant traffic - runners in the way all 13 miles.

Jean took off and naturally wanted to run faster. I kept holding her back to around a 9 minute mile. I've seen too many times someone go out fast and then bonk later on. She felt good the whole way, so once we got to the 9 mile mark we started picking it up. She ran negative splits all the way in. The last mile was an 8:16 mile! She finished in 1:57 and change. Could she have gone faster? Maybe! She looked awfully strong. My concern, again, was going too fast early on. Future races will allow her to experiment.

Lester had a good day. He ran 1:30:09! Ben had a rough day. He lost a lot of training during driver's ed, and really never got back into the flow of things. He gutted out a pretty good performance, considering his lack of training.

After the race we had a nice celebratory meal at PF Chang's, our favorite Indy place to celebrate. It was so nice! I love being with all my children.

I am trying to get ready for our big trip to AL for disaster relief. I hope to be able to blog from there, but I just don't know if that will be possible. Check back.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Hey, it's Friday! Today I will make a trip to Indy - 3rd day in a row! Yesterday I went with Jim Sowders to pick up the packets for Indy Mini, which is tomorrow. Lester and Maddie were there, so we got to see them too. We also put them to work, helping us pick up packets.

After we picked up the packets we brought them back to Mr. Gatti's for pick up. Many runners also brought in shoes and clothes for our container going to Honduras. I ended up with pick-up load of things, which is great!

Before the trip to Indy I had quite a exciting, hectic day. I tried to get my sermon done - didn't happen. I had so much communication going on about our trip to Alabama that I couldn't concentrate on anything else, which is fine. I am excited about the trip! I think we have 12-13 going.

I participated in the National Day of Prayer at Mitchell. It was a small but very nice ceremony. Four of the guys going to 'Bama were there, so we got to talk a little bit. After this ceremony I knew I had a small window of opportunity to ride, so I made my way out to the Park, changed clothes, and hopped on the bike. It was the first ride in 2.5 weeks. I tried going our usual route and ran into water. I tried a different way and ran into water; tried a third way with the same result. I managed to wander around and pick up 15 miles in about an hour. The picture above was from one of my roadblocks.

OK I have to get this sermon done! We are leaving at 4 to go to Indy for the Mini. We are staying at Lester's place. Matthew and Jean and girls are staying at a nearby motel. They will eat a carbo-loading meal with us. I am running with Jean tomorrow, trying to help her break 2 hours. The weather is looking pretty good.

OK, bye!

Thursday, May 05, 2011


Most people don't know that back in 1912, Hellmann's mayonnaise was manufactured in England. In fact, the Titanic was carrying 12,000 jars of the condiment scheduled for delivery in Vera Cruz, Mexico, which was to be the next port of call for the great ship after its stop in New York.

This would have been the largest single shipment of mayonnaise ever delivered to Mexico. But as we know, the great ship did not make it to New York. The ship hit an iceberg and sank, and the cargo was forever lost.

The people of Mexico, who were crazy about mayonnaise, and were eagerly awaiting its delivery, were disconsolate at the loss. Their anguish was so great, that they declared a National Day of Mourning, which they still observe to this day. The National Day of Mourning occurs each year on May 5th and is known, of course, as Sinko de Mayo.

Missed a day

Sorry about not posting yesterday! Let me explain my excuse. Of course I am not under contract to do this, and so far no one has paid me. Oh, that's right - I do it for free! Anyway...

I had a really good smoke on Tuesday. While smoking I got a lot of stuff organized for our disaster response trip to Alabama - lots of texts, phone calls, emails, facebook messages, etc. [There are too many ways to communicate right now, in my opinion. Not everyone uses the same method, which makes it harder. The days of one email to everyone are over.] I also got to look over our Honduras trip and container stuff; both are moving along.

Tuesday late afternoon/evening I took the smoked meat to church, and a few people gathered to pull the pork. The perk in this is that you get to eat it as you go. I got interrupted a couple of times by phone calls, which is fine, and I ended up going with Darrin C. to get a pick-up truck load of stuff for the container. Good!

Yesterday I had a 6.30 breakfast meeting with Jason P. from Washington. He loaned me his Rosetta Stone a while back. He asked if I was using it, and I had to confess that I was not. We met so he can give to someone who will hopefully use it. It was good to see him and catch up.

Then it was off to Indy to see a couple of people in two different hospitals. The plan was to see the first one around 9.30 and then wait for Lester to finish his final final exam at Butler. I had about a 2 hour window to run the Monon trail. The plan was to run 7-8 miles. As I was about half undressed I made a disturbing discovery. I had my shoes, sox, vest, gloves (42 degrees and windy!!), hat, and shorts... wait, where are my running shorts? Not present! You can't run without running shorts and not get arrested (Google "Flying Pig Marathon no shorts taser").

Now what to do? I immediately set out to go buy some. Long story short: I bought a camera at Wal-Mart instead; did not run. Missed a day - which I do not like. Oh well I've been thinking of this camera purchase for a while. It was small, relatively inexpensive camera I can take to Alabama and biking.

I had lunch with Lester at the Spaghetti Factory. He just finished his final final exam at Butler! Wow, where did the time go? He now has a year of rotating in/out of different pharmacy contexts. He has to write reports about each one and then do a final research project. Then next May he will be a Doctor of Pharmacy.

After my "Lester time," I headed home, took the trash off, came to Wednesday Evening Meal, taught my class (if you could call it that), came home and crashed. Now it's time to start all over again. Going to Indy again today to help pick up running packets with Jim Sowders. Before that: sermon prep, National Day of Prayer event, and hopefully a short bike ride. Tonight is the runners' packet pick-up at Mr. Gatti's. I think a lot of folks are bringing running shoes for the container.

Better get after it...

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Smokin' Tuesday

Today is going to be one of multi-tasking. I will smoke meat all day, and while I am doing that, thanks to modern technology, I will work on some major projects: Disaster Response Team trip, Honduras container, Honduras trip, organizing my reading, and a few other things. The meat I am smoking today is primarily for our Wednesday Evening Meal at church. Some of it could possibly get consumed in other contexts. You never know.

See how my smoker is strategically placed so that only the chimney is in the weather? That's the beauty of having it on a trailer. If it was nice outside, then I would move it to a sunny location. Not much chance of that happening today! Last summer I built a little lean-to to house the smoker/trailer. It has been a wonderful addition, especially appreciated on days like today. And,

Still I wonder, who'll stop this rain?

Monday, May 02, 2011

Monday evening

It's been a good day! I got fairly organized for the week and then squeezed a 5 mile run in. The run was not the most pleasant one, due to mist and wind, but it goes down in the log book. I have 521 miles for the year. My goal is 1560, so I think I am pretty much on pace. My miles are going to go down as soon as the weather permits biking. My 65 mile ride coming up on May 21 is looking more and more like a bigger challenge.

Today was one of lots of conversations - much more than usual. I got more calls, texts, and emails than usual today. I don't know what that's about! Just interesting.

Our disaster relief trip to Alabama is coming together nicely. We are going to leave Sunday afternoon and return late Wednesday night. We will work all day on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. We are going through the Disaster Response Team. I talked to them today, and they are very excited about us coming down. I still have room for more!

A couple from Ohio came over today with a big trailer load of clothe. It's all going on the container to Honduras. Alex, Laura, Melissa, and I helped them move it all into the semi trailer. Then we went out to lunch. We had a nice visit.

I did some counseling this afternoon, and then Kedra and I went to Sam's to get meat. I am smoking for this Wednesday evening's meal. Boston Butts = pulled pork = yum yum!

Just about popcorn time!

Monday morning

Proverbs 24:17

Do not gloat when your enemy falls;
when he stumbles, do not let your heart rejoice...

Did you have a good weekend? I hope so. Saturday was such a beautiful day and so was Friday afternoon. The highlight of my weekend was spending the day in Louisville. Several of my friends were running the marathon in Louisville and Michelle S. was running the half-marathon, her first.

I left home a little after 5.30 and made my way to race. I parked about a mile from the start/finish and ran to watch it. There were 15,000 runners, so I managed to not see a single one of my friends! After the start I ran straight out to the 6 mile mark, which was considerably less for me since they were wandering around downtown. I waited and watched for all my marathon friends. I ran a little while with each of them.

Then I ran up to the 7 or 8 mile mark to wait for Michelle. When she arrived I could tell she was having trouble. Her foot was going numb and getting very painful, all at the same time. She and her mother went around the track at Churchill Downs, and I, along with Jean S., waited for them to come back out.

We all four ran together for a while. Michelle was in a lot of pain, but she kept going. Jean and I ran with her down to about the 13 mile mark. About that point I thought she was going to pull one of my stunts and pass out. She got very wobbly. She was in a tremendous amount of pain, but demonstrated a great deal of perseverance and determination. Jean took her to the finish line, while I jumped out of the chute. Michelle was disappointed, which I understand, but to me and others it was quite an amazing performance. She'll bounce back and I predict she will do very well next race.

My marathon friends all had rough days also, with the exception of the always amazing Jimmy Sowders. He ran 3.18 on a warm day with not enough training miles! Everyone else could not reach their goals, not even close. It was not that warm, but it was too warm for great performances, plus there was a lot of humidity early on.

I ended up running 14+ miles on Saturday. I loved it! I got to see everyone and experience a lot of the course in different parts. Louisville is still poorly organized, compared to other races. They brought the marathoners back onto the mini course around mile 16, which meant the fast marathoners had to dodge the slow walkers who were trying to finish the mini. Unbelievable!

After a meal at Logan's with several of the runners, I made my way home in time for Prom pictures and all that. Rebecca looked beautiful of course. She went to the prom with several of her friends. They had a nice time.

Busy week ahead...