Sunday, July 31, 2011

Honduras Summer 2011 Day 3

It was another great day in Honduras! It was the Lord’s Day, so we celebrated the Resurrection by assembling with Honduran churches. All of our group, with one exception, attended with the Santa Anna church. The children from the children’s home attend there. Everyone had a great time.

I was the one exception who did not attend with the group. Because we were picking up Steve Rose at the airport, Marc Tindall took me with him to the Los Penos church. It was a wonderful experience. We had to leave before it was completely over, but there were going to be 4-5 baptisms today.

After picking up Steve, we joined the rest of our group at a restaurant called Carnita’s. It was about as Honduran as you can get, and it was good! Riley was not feeling too well, so she and Lori stayed back at the mission house.

After our yummy lunch we went to Hospital Escuela. Wow, it’s a pretty sad place. It is not particularly clean, and it is full of people in great need. I spent my time in the pediatric wing, visiting and playing with the kids. There are some really sad stories and sights, but the kids are really sweet.

There was one little girl who has been in there for about 3 months with a broken arm and complications. Marc said her mother is dead and her father has nothing to do with her. She is 13 and was living with her brother out in the country a long way from Teguc. She only receives visitors every 2-3 weeks when her brother comes by.

It not unusual for children to stay in the hospital for a long time, even for broken arms. We saw kids with cancer and other problems. One little boy had fallen out of a tree and broke both arms and his right femur.

After the hospital we went to the warehouse to get supplies for our visit to Guajire tomorrow. Unfortunately someone did not show up with the key, so we could not get to what we needed. Some of us will return at 6 in the morning to get everything.

Keep praying for us!

Honduras Summer 2011 Day 3

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Honduras Summer 2011 Day 2

What a wonderful day! The weather was so nice, around 80 degrees, and we had a great day of service. I think most everyone slept well or well enough last night, so we were prepared to work hard today. Good thing!

We are staying at a place called Julio’s, and right now there is another group here as well. I think there are around 40 of them, and most of them are students associated with Mississippi State University. They are great! We have thoroughly enjoyed interacting with them. They also really know how to sing. Most of them are leaving on Monday.

After enjoying breakfast and a devo with our MSU friends, we headed our separate ways. We piled into a mini van and headed out to a farm that is being developed by some guys that have strong ties with Lipscomb. One of the guys, an engineer, is a friend of my son Luke. We were very impressed with the 2 guys we met today and were especially impressed with what they are striving to do.

With the help of others they have purchased 3 acres and are in the process of developing an aquaponics farm. This farm will raise fish that will be sold. In the water above the fish they will grow vegetables. There is a wonderful symbiotic relationship between the fish and the vegetables. Everything benefits, especially the humans. Jobs and food and revenue will be the end result all done for the glory of God. Wow!

The farm is in the early stages of development. We were blessed to contribute in a significant way today. We helped work on the house where a caretaker will live. We worked to create mulch for the garden, and we spread some of it. We helped clean up some the land that will be tilled in the future, and we did a few other things. I also killed a scorpion today, saving Laura Barlow’s life.

The guys at the farm commented that our team accomplished more than most teams do. That was encouraging for all of us. We hope to go back on future trips and work some more.

Tomorrow we worship with the church at the children’s home, visit a hospital, visit a boy’s home, and get organized for our first construction project on Monday. We are going to build a classroom for the church in Gujire. While there, we will also pass out clothes and food. We have equipped our 2 nurses, Lori and Teresa, with nice medical bags. We expect that they will stay busy treating people with various problems.

Our team is doing really well. I can tell we are going to have a very special and significant trip. We sure appreciate your ongoing prayers!

I've included some photos for you.
Honduras Summer 2011 Day 2

Friday, July 29, 2011

Honduras Summer 2011 Day 1

Just a quick note to let you know that we made it safely. We are had a very smooth trip without incident. Quince and Nick Earls safely transported us from Mitchell to the airport at Indy. We left a little before 3 a.m.

Check-in was smooth, and so was our connection in Houston. We arrived in Tegucigalpa a little early (around 1 p.m. your time) and went to a mall for lunch. We are now at Julio's, the place where we will stay.

We are getting ready to assemble food packets for distribution tomorrow in Guajire, which is the village where we are concentrating our work. We will build a classroom for the church tomorrow also.

Everyone is doing really well! We certainly appreciate your prayers.

Here's who is on the trip:

Laura Barlow
Allen Burris
Lori Day
Riley Day
Linda Gilstrap
Steve Gilstrap
Midge Hendershott
Denis Ingram
Hannah Ingram
Teresa Moon
Drew Myers
Hannah Myers
Beth Parsley
Curt Parsley
Steve Rose  (He will  join us Sunday.)

Monday, July 25, 2011

This week

I found this sign at a gas station in southern Indiana a few weeks ago. Don't you just want to go eat some of that pizza?

This week I am going to spend a lot of time at Bible Camp. Most of the time I will be smoking and hanging out, catching up with some people hopefully. I plan to run in the mornings and hopefully bike Tuesday evening.

I need to brainstorm my Honduras trip. There are a few things I still need to get and take care of. It's mostly minor stuff.

In Honduras I hope to blog and post pictures on a daily basis. Of course this is always a little uncertain due to Internet issues.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Fry day

I think yesterday was the true Fry Day. Today does not seem as bad as yesterday. It's still a fry day!

Yesterday I got back on my bike for the first time since Saturday. Tim S., Frank, and I did a nice 32 mile ride. A couple of others guys joined us for a few miles. It was a nice relaxing ride, but it was really hot and humid. The good news is that I did not require medical care.

Today I am working on getting ready for Sunday and a few other things. I am going to be at Camp next week most of the time. I am going to smoke meat for everyone on Tuesday, and I will probably smoke something everyday for some of us. I said all that to say that I am getting ready to get my smoker ready. I am really looking forward to all of it.

We leave for Honduras a week from today. Yikes! That last sentence really smacked me around into a near panic. I'm OK now, but, wow, the trip is coming quickly!

We have some exciting Honduras news. Thanks to the persistence of Warren Crawford, IU Health Bedford (BRMC) is donating an ambulance to be shipped to Honduras. Someone else is going to pay the shipping, so it's a really nice gift all the way around. It all came about because Warren Crawford had a conversation with Marc Tindall. Marc said an ambulance would be so helpful in Honduras. That was all it took for Warren, an amazingly persistent man, to begin the successful quest.

I went for another 3 mile run this morning. I was pretty drippy when finished but it went well. My focus has now shifted to running.

Have a great weekend!

Beat the heat

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Yesterday evening

From 6-7 yesterday evening I stood in the Mitchell cemetery with 15-20 people. I only knew one them - a former student. She and her friends were acknowledging the one year anniversary of her only child's murder.

It was an interesting and powerful experience. She warned me that her friends were a "little rough around the edges." Cigarettes. Beer. Rough language. I told her I like rough people, and I do. They are friendly and accepting. A lot of them are rough because they have had a rough way to go and are still traveling on that path. I felt compassionate and somewhat helpless. My friend wants to love and know God but is having trouble getting there. Lots of questions for which there are no answers. I'm trying to help.

The most interesting part of the gathering was right after the releasing of the balloons. They talked about singing "their song." One the guys downloaded it on his phone, and as it began most everybody started singing. It was Nickelback's Rock Star; the lyrics are in the previous post. It was a little different than singing in church but not much. Some sang with passion; some remained silent; some mouthed the words.

I guess I was struck by the message - the desire for change, for improvement in life, for significance. That's what we all want and need. I believe it's found in the Rock of Ages instead of being a rock star. How do you communicate that to people who have been burned and harshly judged by the "righteous," the representatives of the Rock of Ages? My former student has told me a few times about "Christian people" who have made comments about her tattoos. The comments were not compliments.

My prayer for myself and for the church is best articulated in Brandon Heath's song, Give Me Your Eyes.

Give me your eyes for just one second
Give me your eyes so I can see
Everything that I keep missing
Give me your love for humanity
Give me your arms for the brokenhearted
The ones that are far beyond my reach
Give me Your heart for the ones forgotten
Give me eyes so I can see

Wanna be a rockstar?

Nickelback's Rockstar

I'm through with standing in line
to clubs we'll never get in
It's like the bottom of the ninth
and I'm never gonna win
This life hasn't turned out
quite the way I want it to be

(Tell me what you want)

I want a brand new house
on an episode of Cribs
And a bathroom I can play baseball in
And a king size tub big enough
for ten plus me

(Tell me what you need)

I'll need a credit card that's got no limit
And a big black jet with a bedroom in it
Gonna join the mile high club
At thirty-seven thousand feet

(Been there done that)

I want a new tour bus full of old guitars
My own star on Hollywood Boulevard
Somewhere between Cher and
James Dean is fine for me

(So how ya gonna do it?)

I'm gonna trade this life for fortune and fame
I'd even cut my hair and change my name

'Cause we all just wanna be big rockstars
And live in hilltop houses driving fifteen cars
The girls come easy and the drugs come cheap
We'll all stay skinny 'cause we just won't eat
And we'll hang out in the coolest bars
In the VIP with the movie stars
Every good gold digger's
Gonna wind up there
Every Playboy bunny
With her bleach blond hair

Hey hey I wanna be a rockstar
Hey hey I wanna be a rockstar

I wanna be great like Elvis without the tassels
Hire eight body guards that love to beat up assholes
Sign a couple autographs
So I can eat my meals for free

(I'll have a quesadilla on the house)

I'm gonna dress my ass
with the latest fashion
Get a front door key to the Playboy mansion
Gonna date a centerfold that loves to
blow my money for me

(So how ya gonna do it?)

I'm gonna trade this life
For fortune and fame
I'd even cut my hair
And change my name

'Cause we all just wanna be big rockstars
And live in hilltop houses driving fifteen cars
The girls come easy and the drugs come cheap
We'll all stay skinny 'cause we just won't eat
And we'll hang out in the coolest bars
In the VIP with the movie stars
Every good gold digger's
Gonna wind up there
Every Playboy bunny
With her bleach blond hair
And we'll hide out in the private rooms
With the latest dictionary and
today's who's who
They'll get you anything
with that evil smile
Everybody's got a
drug dealer on speed dial
Hey hey I wanna be a rockstar

I'm gonna sing those songs
that offend the censors
Gonna pop my pills
from a pez dispenser
Get washed-up singers writing all my songs
Lip sync em every night so I don't get 'em wrong

Well we all just wanna be big rockstars
And live in hilltop houses driving fifteen cars
The girls come easy and the drugs come cheap
We'll all stay skinny 'cause we just won't eat
And we'll hang out in the coolest bars
In the VIP with the movie stars
Every good gold digger's
Gonna wind up there
Every Playboy bunny
With her bleach blond hair
And we'll hide out in the private rooms
With the latest dictionary and
today's who's who
They'll get you anything
with that evil smile
Everybody's got a
drug dealer on speed dial
Hey hey I wanna be a rockstar
Hey hey I wanna be a rockstar

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

That's me looking for my bike at the lunch stop. Just kidding. Not sure where my bike is.

We've got another warm day coming along! I went for another easy 3 miler and had no trouble. Tomorrow morning I think a group of us are going to ride 30 miles, including Frank from Colorada. I think we will take a nice easy ride through Amish country into Orleans and then come back on the otherside of 37. It's one of my favorite routes. We start at the Lighthouse bookstore between Mitchell and Bedford.

Working on Honduras stuff this morning. The trip is rapidly approaching! We leave a week from Friday. I think everything is just about ready to go.

Early this evening I am going to the cemetery to be with one of my former students. Her only son (only child) was murdered a year ago today. His friends are gathering for a balloon release, and I am going to be there as well. This is a really rough day for her, and tomorrow she has a court hearing about his murder trial. Wow, that's a lot.

Stay cool! Well, at least don't get too hot!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Thanks, Mike Church!

Tuesday morning

Good morning! I slept well again last night. Good sleep is such a blessing. I got back a little while ago from an easy 3 mile run at the Park. I felt good and could have gone a lot further, but I want to be careful. "Duh!" you say.

While running I was re-thinking Saturday. I simply goofed by not taking enough Endurolytes early on. Silly mistake. Even with the bad finish to the day, I really enjoyed the experience - well, at least most of it. I've already been invited back for next year. I can't reveal what I'm thinking because Kedra might read this post.

Before RAIN I asked several of my rider/runner friends which was easier: marathon or RAIN. Most of them said, with some caveats, that RAIN was easier. Of course they are experienced cyclists, which I think makes a big difference. I've only been riding since last May. My cardio fitness from marathoning comes over to help a lot, but cycling is a different sport.

I think the challenge of RAIN is how long you are engaged. Marathons last 3.5 - 4 hours. I was planning on doing RAIN in 12 hours; really hoping to do it in about 11.5 hours,including stops. Even with stops/breaks that's a long time. Proper nutrition/hydration are crucial. I almost had it right!

My focus now turns to running, but I will keep a couple of 30 mile rides per week in the schedule. It's good cross-training. I want to focus on the Persimmon 5K, the Monumental half marathon, maybe the Huntsville marathon, and hopefully Boston (getting registered could be a challenge, even after qualifying).

Yesterday I got a lot of things done for our Honduras trip, which is rapidly approaching. We leave a week from Friday (July 29) and return on August 7th. This will be my 5th trip. I am looking forward to it.

Well, I have lots of stuff I need to continue doing, so I'll catch you later.

Monday, July 18, 2011

RAIN Report

We, Kedra and I, met Tim and Jamie Strunk in Bedford, put my bike on Tim's carrier, and took off for Terre Haute for RAIN - 162 mile bike ride across Indiana. There we met my cousin and his wife, Brent and Suzanne Roberts. After registration it was off to Olive Garden and then bed.

We left the motel at 6:15 and got into a lot of car and bike traffic as we made our way to the start at St. Mary of the Woods. We pulled into the campus at 6:55.The start was at 7:00, though there seemed to be no official start; it’s not a race, just a ride. As we found a place to park, we saw a couple from Colorado that we knew. What are the chances of that happening? Kedra had told me the day before that Frank, who married a Mitchell girl years ago, was coming in from CO to ride. We spoke briefly, saying we’d see each other later, and we did.

Since we were late, we quickly got everything together, had a team prayer (effective? Well, at least no one died!), and took off. We probably finally got off campus at about 7:15. There were still lots of people leaving. We rode into Terra Haute and had to stop a time or two at stop lights.

At one of the stop lights, right by the courthouse, I clipped out of my left pedal and leaned that way to stop. I have no idea what went wrong, but the next thing I knew, I could feel my balance shifting – straight up, then right. Oh no! I’m falling over. In front of all these bikers! When I first starting using pedals with clips, I was told by everyone, “You WILL fall over; everyone does a few times.” Somehow I had managed to have never fallen over. Until then.

Talk about embarrassing! But that’s not the bad part. When I went over, I fell into Tim Strunk, who man managed to stay up. As I gathered my self and got back upright, the light changed and we took off. As we did, Tim said, “Something’s wrong with my bike.” We pulled over about a half block from the courthouse. His rear wheel was badly bent. Evidently I did it with my shoulder when I fell over. I FELT HORRIBLE. I can’t recall a time when I felt worse. We were only 6-7 miles into the day. Tim was gracious and calm. We tried to figure out what to do.

Tim called his wife and asked her to come and pick him up. She kept asking what happened, and he just kept answering in vague language so as not to make me feel worse. After several minutes, Tim finally convinced me to go on. By this time I was alone on the course. I missed a turn evidently and ended up doing an extra mile in Terre Haute before getting back on the course. I called my cousin and found out where he was. He waited ‘til I got there.

Brent is a more experienced and stronger rider than I am, so I asked if he would be interested in pulling me to the first stop at 36 miles. He was more than willing, so we took off at around 20 miles an hour. I used a lot of energy early on, but we made good time, catching up with lots of riders. I checked in with Tim by phone, and he was in Plainfield getting a new wheel. That was his best option, after exploring several things.

After we took off out of stop 1, Tim called and said he was fixed and ready to go. We started talking about meeting places. He ended up meeting us in Stinesville, I think. He missed out on about 45 miles of the ride, due to my embarrassing problem of leaning to the right (thinking of my Louisville marathon finish where I leaned to the right so badly).

Tim was again very gracious, forgiving, and full of humor. When we got to the 2nd stop at 60-something miles, he quipped, in response to our wives’ question about how were feeling, “Man, I feel fresh, kinda like I just started.” There were also the requisite jokes about keeping distance from me.

As the day progressed it grew warmer and more humid; the dew point and heat index were rising. The segment from stop 2 to stop 3, Plainfield to Franklin, was the best one for me, even though it had the most traffic challenges. The course took us around the south end of Indianapolis. I left a little before Tim and Brent, knowing they naturally go a little faster than I do. I connected with several bigger groups which made it so much easier. Drafting is a great thing.

At mile 92 we made our lunch stop at Franklin High School. It was a good stop. I was concerned about the next leg - going through the 100 mile mark and beyond, but it went well. Again, I connected well with lots of people. Jamie and Kedra pulled over about a mile before stop 4 at 115 miles. I was starting to feel a little tired but was still OK. The next stop was at mile 131.

Unlike the previous 2 segments, on this leg I found myself often isolated, working by myself. I used a lot more energy, and it was getting really hot. I could feel the heat of the sun on my back. I was drinking lots and lots of water out of my CamelBak. At each stop I would fill it with ice and then add water. I found myself drinking from it and not from my water bottles, which were filled with Gatorade.

By the time I got to Jamie and Kedra at mile 132, I was in trouble and knew it, but it was only 30 miles to the finish. I could not quit! Brent and Tim went ahead, which was the right thing to do. I sat down in a chair and drank another bottle of water. I had been taking Endurolytes all day, but I was not taking nearly enough, especially since I was drinking water exclusively. At this stop I took 3 of them.

Kedra looked at me. She could tell I was in trouble. My eyes would not focus, and I was a little “out of it.” She said, “You are not going to do something stupid are you?” I think she was referencing a couple of race finishes where I required medical attention. I said, “I can’t answer that.” Time to go before there is further interrogation!

I told the girls to go 17-18 miles and wait. I wanted to get past halfway to the finish for a psychological boost. As I left mile 132 I started feeling better. I called Kedra and told her to forget about the next stop. “Just go to the finish - I am feeling fine.” I felt much better for a few miles. I was going along pretty well. Then all of a sudden I started getting in big trouble. I had major cramps and was exhausted.

At this point I got off the bike and laid down under a tree in someone’s yard. People kept stopping to check on me, but I waved them on. I got back up and walked the bike a little. Then I got on and fought through cramps. I think there was 15 miles to go. The next 10-11 miles were agony, but I was so close to finishing. I did not want to quit, so I kept pushing and pushing. I would lean over my areobars and pedal a little and then coast, surely I was weaving all over the road like a drunk cyclist. I had to stop a few times to sit or simply walk a little. My legs were cramping so badly I had trouble getting both feet clipped into the pedals.

I made it to Centerville, which is 4-5 miles from the finish. I found a park bench and slumped down. People kept stopping to help, and I kept waving them on. Frank from Colorado stopped and waited with me for a while. By this time Kedra was on her way, after calling to see where I was. Tim and Brent had finished. I didn’t want their wives to miss that, so I delayed calling for help. While I waiting on Kedra, a policeman showed up and then another. I told them my wife was coming, refusing an ambulance.

Kedra and Jamie arrived. They, along with the help of the policeman, got my bike on the rack and me in the back seat of the SUV. I hated putting all my salt crystal slime on the backseat, but I had to lie down. I felt like puking but didn’t. They carted me to the finish and found a couple of EMTs. They said my vital signs were good but suggested the ER. I remember protesting. Overridden!

At the ER I got really really sick. They did blood work and then hooked me up to an IV. They forced 2 bottles in at a rate of 15 minutes per bottle. When I told Maddie, my daughter-in-law who is a nurse, she kinda laughed/gasped and said, “That’s what they do when people are dying!” Well, I don’t think I was close to dying, but I wasn’t in the best of shape.

The doctor came in with an interesting look on her face. She started asking all kinds of questions about my kidneys etc. She finally said something about heat exhaustion, acute kidney problems, muscle deterioration, and a bunch of other things. The official diagnosis was rhabdomysolysis. The bottom line was that she wanted to admit me, adding that she thought that I would be fine after the fluids were all in. She was right of course!

Admitted I was. I felt so much better after the bags of fluid. I finally got into my room and was able to take a shower and get something to eat after 13 hours on the bike and a few more in the ER. I think I got to go to sleep at 2 a.m., after a really nice turkey sandwich. I woke up at 6 and ate some more and then again at 10:30. The doc came in and said that my blood work showed that I was not quite back to normal but was close enough that he’d let me go.

We got out around midday. Since we rode up with Tim and Jamie who went home Saturday night, after so kindly take care of Kedra and me, Kedra and I asked Lester and Maddie to come from Indy to get us. They took us to Greenwood, where we met Luke. We all had a nice meal together at Ruby Tuesdays. Luke got us home around 4:30 I think.

Someone said that I would do anything to get out of preaching on Sunday. So funny. I hated missing the one day of the week I work (beat you to that old joke), and I hated that we had to cancel our annual church gathering in our yard (rescheduled for Labor Day weekend). It ended up raining, so the postponement worked out well.

What went wrong on the ride? I think I drank too much water and not enough Gatorade. I did take electrolytes along the way but not nearly enough. I think if I had taken more electrolytes I would have been fine. I think I was properly trained. I am not sore and feel fine now.

It was an interesting experience to say the least. Tim and Jamie are wonderful people and were so good to us throughout the whole weekend. Kedra and Jamie, along with Suzanne, Brent’s wife, did a super job providing SAG. We saw lots of interesting things along the way, including 3 weddings where people were waiting outside for the bride and groom to appear.

I appreciate all the prayers and concern expressed by so many of you.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Yikes! It's the day before RAIN! Actually I'm not that nervous. Yet. It's different than a marathon where you don't want to stop and you want a certain time. This ride, at least for me, is simply about getting it done. You take short breaks along the way. My biggest concern right now is hydration and nutrition. Both of those should be manageable, but it is supposed to be pretty hot and humid. I get really tired of drinking and eating during long rides, but it is vital to do so.

We are going to Terra Haute this evening to spend the night. The ride begins at 7 a.m. and ends in Richmond whenever you get there. My goal is to do it in 12 hours. We'll see. I'm not sure how many calories I will burn during the ride, but I think it will be around 5000.

I have all my Sunday stuff ready, so that's a relief. Hopefully I will be able to function on Sunday morning after a long Saturday. My 100 mile ride did not seem to take that much out of me, so I am hoping that I feel good on Sunday.

Thursday, July 14, 2011


Two sisters, one blonde and one brunette, inherit the family ranch. Unfortunately, after just a few years, they are in financial trouble. In order to keep the bank from re-possessing the ranch they need to purchase a bull from a stockyard in a far-away town so that they can breed their own stock. They only have $600 left.

Upon leaving, the brunette tells her sister, "When I get there, if I decide to buy the bull, I'll contact you to drive out after me and haul it home."

The brunette arrives at the stockyard, inspects the bull, and decides she wants to buy it. The man tells her that he will sell it for $599, no less. After paying him, she drives to the nearest town to send her sister a telegram to tell her the news.

She walks into the telegraph office, and says, "I want to send a telegram to my sister telling her that I've bought a bull for our ranch. I need her to hitch the trailer to our pickup truck and drive out here so we can haul it home."

The telegraph operator explains that he'll be glad to help her, then adds, "It's just 99 cents a word." Well, after paying for the bull, the brunette only has $1 left. She realizes that she'll only be able to send her sister one word. After a few minutes of thinking, she nods and says, "I want you to send her the word "comfortable."

The operator shakes his head. "How is she ever going to know that you want her to hitch the trailer to your pickup truck and drive out here to haul that bull back to your ranch if you send her just the word "comfortable?"

The brunette explains, "My sister's blonde. The word's big. She'll read it very slowly...

Thursday a.m.

Good morning! Too bad it's not RAIN day today! Wow, this weather would certainly make the ride across Indiana better and easier. Looks like Saturday won't be too bad: low 90s with humidity rising but not quite where it was recently.

I had my first RAIN related dream last night. My seat came loose going down a hill, and then I had a flat tire - rear tire of course. There was other weird stuff associated with it as well: it was along an ocean course and a guy was changing my tire but not really getting the job done. Normal stuff, I guess.

Yesterday was a pretty good day, and it ended with a great meeting about our rapidly approaching trip to Honduras. I think we are just about set. I am excited about what we are doing and plan to do.

Comfort - that's the topic for this week. Here are some working definitions, English and Greek.

a state of physical ease and freedom from pain or constraint, consolation for grief or anxiety, cause to feel less unhappy; console.

to call to one's side, call for, summon, to console, to encourage and strengthen, to comfort

Comfort only comes to those who can see the future. Sometimes, when our faith is weak, we cannot see beyond the problem in front of us. That’s when it is so vital that comfort, which is just the flip side of encouragement (same Greek word), is provided by those who can see the future. That's what I'm picking up from reading 2 Cor. 1 and beyond.

Comfort comes from God, as he reveals the future to those who have faith in him/it, but it is administered and mediated through believing, future-seeing humans who come alongside strugglers to help them see what they know and see.

Oh, just about forgot! The picture above is what we saw when we finished our dolphin cruise. I wanted to take Ben deep-sea fishing, but it didn't work out this time. Seeing these fish made me wish that we went! It brought back a lot of memories from New Zealand. My buddy Greg and I would go out on  regular basis and come back with fish like these. Yum yum!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Wednesday a.m.

Good morning! This picture is of a mommy dolphin and her pup. Rebecca and I went on a dolphin watching trip (one of the few things we did). It was neat. We actually saw several dolphins from our balcony and from the beach. They would come in pretty close to the shore.

I guess we all survived the heat wave. It was nice to see the clouds and cooling breezes from the storms roll in last night. It would have been better if I had not been out on my bike! It wasn't that bad actually. I went to the Park at 5.30 to meet some other riders. As I started getting ready I came to a disappointing (dumb) realization: I left my front bike wheel at home. I take it off to mount my bike in the back of my truck, and I forgot to pick it up.

After a brief discussion I told the others that I would meet them in Orleans. Kedra was coming to town, so I got a hold of her just in time for her to bring the missing wheel to the church building. The newly re-united wheel and I headed to Orleans as ominous clouds darkened the southern sky. I had been watching the radar and knew that there was a lot of activity just south of Paoli, but it looked like it was staying there.

Parking at the REMC in Orleans, I unloaded my bike and got ready. I took off to meet my friends coming from the Park. Perfect timing - they were just north of the railroad tracks. After a little tour of Orleans, we headed southeast on 337. The sky was growing more ominous and I was growing more concerned. I only wanted a short ride, and the other guys were a lot faster than me. I decided I would hang on for a while and then head back.

On a hill outside of Bromer I got dropped as usual. About that time I saw lightning. Time to turn around. At this point I was wondering if I would make it back to the truck without getting wet. I made it back - still dry. I loaded up and headed out to check on the other guys. They were pace lining back. I went back to Orleans and they arrived shortly. I followed them back from Orleans, waiting to rescue them, if needed, from the storms. They didn't need it. Right as they went through the gate at the Park, the rain started. Pretty good timing.

I run this morning, and then one more ride before RAIN. Ready or not, here it comes!

Today I am working on my sermon and getting ready for our big party Sunday evening. It's a good combination. I am working on a sermon about comfort. It's an interesting concept/thing. My main text is 2 Cor. 1:3-11. My thesis is that comfort, even from God, is mediated through humans. We need to pay attention to this.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Tuesday a.m.

Good morning! Man, I am missing the sights, sounds and cool breeze from the balcony of our place last week! The heat and humidity were similar to what we are experiencing here, but there was a huge difference. You could feel the sea breeze and go cool off in the water, which felt like bath water by the way. I'm not much of a swimmer, well, not a swimmer at all, but I enjoyed getting in the water up to my neck and bobbing around in the waves. Yes, that is a beautiful mental image for you to carry the rest of the day! Enjoy.

I did determine on the trip that I am going to learn to swim, do triathlons, and complete a half Iron Man, which is 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike ride, and a half marathon (13.1 miles). I know I can do the latter two. I just have to learn to swim. This old dog is going to learn a new trick. Hopefully! My plan is to do triathlons next summer and see how it goes. If I can get the distance swimming down, then I will look at what's available in late summer, early fall. Gotta have dreams!

Yesterday was a day of trying to get reoriented. I did fairly well I guess. It's summer, so everything is little more relaxed. I saw/talked to a few people, including our leader/guide in Honduras. Things are shaping up for our trip. We ate at Rings and Wings last night. Ten percent of their sales went to Help for Honduras. It looked like we helped them draw a pretty good crowd last night. We are awaiting the re$ult$.

It was hot yesterday. Did you notice? I ran 5 miles fairly early and was sweating pretty hard. I ran at the Park and included the long hill out of the village. I felt surprisingly good. All the biking is really helping my running. I am getting excited about ramping up my running miles after RAIN. I am going to focus on 2 events: Persimmon 5K and the Monumental half marathon. It's a weird combo, but I think I can make it work. I am getting my motivation back. I put so much into qualify for Boston last fall that I kinda need a break. Now I am ready again.

I read a good book on sports psychology while on vacation. It really helped me get focused on some things. This, of course, carries over to other areas of life as well. I like endurance athletics, and it serves me well in ministry. The writer of Hebrews (chap. 12) as well as Paul make references to the parallels of running and living the Christian life. Both require a lot of discipline, perseverance, and focus on the future.

This evening I plan to do a 30 mile bike ride with some friends. (Yes, I know it's going to be hot.)

Monday, July 11, 2011

Good morning! Surprise! I feel like writing a little this morning - not sure what or how much...

We got back last night from 10 days away, which is one of the longest stays away we have had in a long time. We left on Friday July 1st and went to Kedra's folks in Huntsville, and then on the Monday the 4th we headed to beautiful Orange Beach for the rest of the week. We returned to Huntsville Saturday night, went to church Sunday morning and after lunch made the trip home.

It was good to be away. I took a techo-fast, meaning I did not take my computer and did not check email, Facebook, or Twitter during my time away. I did receive a few tweets on my phone and had a couple of text messages, but for the most part it was a break from all the usual stuff. I loved it! When I checked all my messages last night, I was pleased to see that I did not miss anything crucial. I may have missed an opportunity to teach a class this fall, but maybe not. I am at peace either way.

We did not do much on our time away, which is my idea of what a vacation is. I am not much of one who likes to go away to do all kinds of things. Having said that, I do like to run etc. This time I took my bike. I found some great places to ride and logged 125 miles, including a 50 mile ride from Alabama over to Florida (sounds impressive but it was only 6 miles to the border). The roads were great! It was hot though! The dew points were way into the 70s, which made it very very humid. I managed to run 24 miles along with the biking.

RAIN (Ride Across INdiana) is this weekend. I think I am as ready as I can be. It is not a race, so there is not much pressure to perform. I just have to get it done, and I believe I can. It should be fun. I know some of you think that's sick, but, hey, some think shopping is fun!

I've got less than 3 weeks until I travel to Honduras, so that's going to be my focus over the next several days. That and trying to get organized, figure out where everything is and what's going on, etc.

Friday, July 01, 2011

Guess you figured it out

Wasn't really planning on it, but one thing lead to another and I've taken a blog break! I think I will continue with it for a little while. I'm in full-blown summer mode.

The picture is from my first century - 100 mile bike ride. I think I am ready for my Ride Across INdiana (RAIN), which is July 16.

I will be back...