Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Link to Facebook photos

I think this will work. I will try another method as well.

Honduras February 2012 Final Report

I was not able to blog consistently on a daily basis on this trip, so I will provide you a summary. It was an unusual trip in lots of ways but a good trip. Steve Gilstrap, Dan Kerr, and Warren Crawford left Indianapolis for Tegucigalpa on Saturday, Feb. 18. I arrived on the 22nd.

Steve, Dan, and Warren did lots of good work before I arrived. They visited our adopted village of Guajire to build a house, distribute food and clothes, and to further build relationships with members of the church and the community. They fed people at the dump, and they worked at the school across from the dump, installing a new pump. The school had been without water for many weeks. Getting the water back at the school was a huge event in many ways.

When I arrived on Wednesday, the 22nd, Marc Tindall picked me up, and we headed straight to the Mayor of Tegucigalpa’s office. There we met with the Mayor’s wife. She is genuinely concerned about the poor people who live in and around her city. She and Marc have worked together on several projects. The main focus of the meeting was to partner in rebuilding the downtown market that was destroyed by fire. The fire destroyed the meager livelihood of 1000s of people.

We spent a couple of days, Thursday and Friday, at the Farm at Zambrano. I really like this place and project. The dream is that it will feed lots of hungry people, employ several people from the dump, and provide a revenue stream to do even more ministry. Our two days there were focused on helping to build a building out of block made from the dirt on the farm. Our job was to move these 20 pound blocks. We moved 1200 of them, handling them 3 times before they got where they needed to be!

Dan and Steve left Saturday to come back home. Warren and I stayed behind to finish some business that we, mostly Warren, had been working on for a year. After leaving our 2 amigos at the airport we went back out to Guajire to visit some of folks from church. I got to see the newly constructed house and meet the grateful family living in it. We visited other church members and did a little scouting for our summer trip.

On Sunday we took off for Santa Rosa de Copan. It turned out to be about a 7-8 hour trip, twice as far as I thought it was going to be. Why did we go there? To see the ambulance that IU Health donated to our work. It is now in use there, helping a medical mission group. They are using it and will soon be using it even more. It was great to see it and meet the wonderful servants who doing great things for the Lord. The ambulance is a useful tool in their hands.

On Monday we returned to Tegucigalpa and then to Santa Anna, where we stayed. On the way back we stopped at some Mayan ruins, which was pretty cool, and we ate the fish you see pictured above. It was caught out of a lake next to where we ate. After we got back to Santa Anna, we started packing up, anticipating our trip home. We flew out Tuesday about midday and made it back to Mitchell around 12:30 a.m.

It was a really good trip! Perhaps one of the most significant things to come out of this trip is how we plan to build houses in the future. We plan to make the move to building block houses, which will take considerably longer, but they are so much stronger. We think it could take 5 days to build a house, and we really like this. Our plan is to partner with the church and the village of Guajire in constructing a couple of houses this summer, perhaps building 2 at the same time.

We like this idea because it will allow us to work side by side with Hondurans. We may not be able to speak to each other fluently, but working side by side is a loving way to communicate about God’s love. We think building block houses will really help us deepen our relationship with the church there.

Thanks for all your prayers! Our summer trip is scheduled for July 8 - 18.  I hope to post more pictures from this trip soon, so come back.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Honduras Day 3 February 2012

[Photos related to this post are below - click on the picture to go to the album]

I’ve got a little time this morning to write this morning, since Steve and Dan are leaving. Mark will take them to the airport in a little while. I think Warren in going with them, and I am going to stay here and try get a 10 mile run in. That will be a challenge with the hills and the altitude. I’ve run the last 2 mornings and have done pretty well, getting a 3 and 5 mile run in, shortly after daylight.

The last 2 days have been spent at the Farm. I really like this developing ministry. It’s creative and has the potential to change a lot of lives. Nathan Hale and Donnie Anderson are living there and working to develop the property. We’ve have helped out this week, as we have done on previous trips. We have moved tons of blocks. Literally!

The work on the farm is different in that we do not interact much with Hondurans, beyond the few men who are working with us. There are no children around to play with, but that’s OK. We have those opportunities everywhere else we go. The time at the farm is helping us develop a strategy for our work in Guajire.

We talked a lot how we can build block house out there (Guajire), partnering with the locals over a week’s time to build 3 houses, perhaps even sleeping in the village some. Our goal has been, and is, to develop relationships with the locals, sharing our common love found in Christ, providing loving encouragement and support, without enabling. It’s all pretty exciting, because it seems like we are moving toward doing that in a better way.

One of our friends who lives here, Byron Sommardahl, opened a coffee shop yesterday in Santa Rosa. We were his first customers. Byron is a really neat guy. He recently married a Honduran woman and now lives here. He runs a computer business from Honduras now. He is very talented.

This afternoon we are going out to Guajire to visit some of friends. The weather is perfect: 60s in the mornings and around 80 in the afternoon. Keep praying for us.

Honduras Day 3 February 2012

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Honduras Day 2 February 2012

Today we worked at the Farm at Zambrano. It was a beautiful day, right around 80 with brilliant sunshine. Our task today was to move blocks. Our Honduran friends poured a slab, and tomorrow we begin constructing another block house. The blocks are made on site out of mud. They weigh about 20 pounds each, and we moved about 1,000 of them today. Yes, we are tired.

It was interesting watching our friends mix the concrete on the ground. They worked hard, and the slab is a little rough. It will do the job!

The view from the farm is amazing! It is a pleasant place to work. It's a behind the scenes Kingdom work presently. The farm will eventually be a wonderful blessings to many, many people, feeding the hungry and employing people who live in the dump, amongst others.

Steve and Dan will have their last work day tomorrow. We will return to the farm. They have been quite busy. They did some work out in Guajire, our "adopted" village. The built a house and passed out food and clothes.

Keep praying for us!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Day 1 Honduras February 2012

The way to climb a hill on a bike!

As I mentioned in a quick post earlier today, I had good flights from Indy to Houston and from Houston to Tegucigalpa. It has been a long day, since it started at 2:30 this a.m.

I had a little while in the airport while I waited for Marc to pick me up, which was fine. I had a chance to eat and relax a little. He picked me up and we headed straight over to the Mayor of Tegucigalpa's office. There we met with the Mayor's wife.

Several of the people we work with have developed a good working relationship with her. She has a genuine concern for the poor of this city. Marc has partnered with her on several projects. The meeting today invovled partnering to rebuild the downtown market which burned last week.

The loss of the market has been devastating in many ways, so rebullding it and as quickly as possible is important. It was neat to sit in on the meeting and to meet the Mayor's wife. After the meeting we went to the store to get things to fix for the evening meal.

We are staying at Marc's house, since there are only 4 of us. When we arrived, Steve, Warren, and Dan were back from repairing a pump at the school. They had a successful day, and it was good to see them.

Tomorrow we are heading out to the farm at Zambrano to help build a block building. The plan is to spend the next 2 days out there. I am looking forward to that.

OK, I am tired, so I will quit for now. Please pray for us.

Safe in Honduras

Just a quick note to say that I made it to Honduras without any problems. Pat A met me in Bloomington and dropped at the airport a little before 5. I didn't check any bags, so I went right through security to the gate.

The flight was on time, smooth, and far from full -- all good things. I got a lot of reading done with a small nap at the beginning and at the end, when Kindle use is prohibited.

In Houston I changed terminals in plenty of time, and I have the same good description for the flight to Tegucigalpa: on time, smooth, and far from full.

Once I landed I did not see any of my folks to pick me up. I've been here enough to know some of the locals. They also recognize me. (Must be the stunning good looks.) Anyway I was talking to one of them, and he offered to call Marc. I said, "No, he'll be here." He called him anyway, so Marc was able to tell me he is on the way.

My friend, of course, wanted a tip for his services. I gave him a tip. "Don't call when I say don't call." Just kidding. I was glad to give him a few limps. Anyway, by talking to Marc, it allowed to him run another errand, while I am eating lunch in the airport.

He will be here soon, and the fun will begin!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tuesday p.m.

I think I'm just about packed and ready to go. I've got a few things in the washer to add/wear. Three a.m. is going to come quickly. Hopefully I can sleep some on the plane going down. (I think I should rephrase that -- the plane heading south.)

Well tonight was Tempo Tuesday. I had hoped to have a great night, but you don't always get what you want/hope for. Ryan ran with me, and the first mile was into the wind, both the south and west parts of the first mile. It was tough. Everyone had a slow first mile. Mine was not only slow but draining. I hit it in 6.40, which was 5 seconds off my goal pace. I literally stopped. I didn't feel right.

After catching my breath for several seconds, we started on the second mile. I still didn't feel too great, but we cranked it out. Then on the third mile we got going again and hit it in 6.40. It was not what I wanted, but I'll take it. I wasn't too focused tonight and things just didn't flow well. Maybe I shouldn't have worn that hat??

Seven hours from right now I will be on my way to Indy, so I guess I better go get the final prep in place. I sure appreciate your prayers for a safe and productive trip. I'm not sure about posting from Honduras. I will if I can, but don't worry if you don't hear from me for a while.

An Instrument

"Lord make me an instrument of your peace."

I love St. Francis of Assisi and his prayer! (Google it.)

It makes me think about lots of things, but the main thought for me is this. I need to make myself available to be an instrument in the hands of God.

It’s not about me and my service. It’s about me being available and willing to be used by God to accomplish his will in this world. I can be one of his instruments.

I’ve learned that most of the time it is in the simple, mundane things where I can be the most instrumental.

How can I can be an instrument in the hands of God this day?

Tuesday a.m.

It takes a long time to make iron, right? I mean there was the Bronze Age for a long time before the Iron Age happened. You know what I mean? It took a long time for iron to come around, so I should be happy with my progress toward being an Ironman. For some, my progress would be/is laughable, but I am making progress. If I can entertain people along the way, then that's even better (ha ha). Actually everyone is very kind, encouraging, and supportive. "Let's help that old man in/out the pool." "Sir, would you like some water wings?"

I did make good progress in the pool last night. I covered around 600 yards. I'm still using flippers and a kick board, but just a week ago, I couldn't make it across the pool. I also made some moves last night toward getting rid of the kick board. Old dog. New trick. Not easy.

"The desire to succeed must be stronger than the rationale to quit."

My day ended in the pool, but it started in my office. I made my final list of things to do, things to buy, people to contact, etc., before heading to Honduras. My flight leaves at 6:10 in the morning. I think I have everything organized for the final packing, which I will do this evening. My 3 amigos are having a good trip so far. They left on Saturday and doing good things.

I had a couple of interesting meetings yesterday. One of my good friends/ministry partners had Kedra and I over to eat with him and his wife. We talked about life in our town and how we can improve our service to the poor. It's almost overwhelming how many people are really struggling. A lot of them are trapped in generational poverty. We know the answer is Jesus, but how do you make the connections?? We've tried a few things and are going to try a few more. We are doing lots of good things through the church and through the ReGeneration Store to help people, but we feel there is a lot more to do.

The second meeting was with Congressman Todd Young. A friend of mine invited about dozen people to meet with him. He seems like a good guy, and he had lots of interesting things to say about lots of things. I didn't ask any questions. I don't know what to ask. The whole political process almost sickens me. The obscene amount of money spent on campaigns and the obscene amount of debt. It just makes me want to ramp up the Kingdom work (see paragraph above).

Today I get to load a semi with Bryantsville Hunger Relief Project corn. That's always a lot of fun and rewarding. The corn has already been placed on pallets, so we just need to roll it onto the semi. The rest of the day will be about knocking out the list I referenced above.

The day will end with Tempo Tuesday. I will make my 2nd attempt to go 6.35s for 3 miles. The added challenge tonight is going to be WIND. Oh well...

Monday, February 20, 2012

That's serious discipline!

In case you can't quite make it out, the headline says, "Purdue Player Killed off Basketball team..."

I think they meant "Kicked?"


Why? Just about every week, and I’m sure this week will be no exception, someone will ask me that question. It’s usually in the context of suffering of some kind. "Why did/does . . . ?"

Why? I ask the same question to myself and to God a fair bit also. Do you?

The further I go on my faith journey, the more I seem to ask it, AND the more comfortable I am with the question.


Because I’ve learned that true faith comes from doubt, and that the essence of faith is living with unanswered questions and still trusting God.

What do you think about "Why?"


Holy Moly Batman! The Boston Marathon is 8 weeks from today. Eight weeks from right now I hope to be eating breakfast in Boston getting ready to head to finish line to be bussed out to the start line to begin the completion of a dream. The picture on the left is of an aid station at the top of Heartbreak Hill. I hope to cruise over the top of that bad boy and run strong the to the finish.

I had a good 20 miler on Saturday morning. I started at 7 a.m., and John H was there to run the first hour with me. It was nice to have the company. We came back to Parkview and joined with a dozen other runners; several of them were doing 14 miles. We took off on a nearly perfect morning for distance running: upper 30s, light to no wind, and sun. I really felt pretty good the whole time, and actually cranked out my last mile down in the 7s, which was a nice confidence builder. I actually ended up with 20.7 miles, which made me 51 for the week. Now, I usually like nice round numbers, but I will make exceptions if the numbers are bigger than my goal. ha ha. Yes, I know I'm weird.

Saturday evening Kedra and I did the old couple Valentine's Day celebration. You know you are old and comfortable with each other when: 1) you move the celebration off the actual day, and 2) after you eat you go to Sam's Club to get stuff. We are party animals, I tell you!

Yesterday was a nice enjoyable day. Church and Life Group went well, and I had a nice nap along the way. I took my nap during the afternoon, not during the sermon, unlike some. Hey, there was no lamb making noise yesterday, so sleep came a little easier for some of the saints. I had a nice surprise after church. A business man from the community came by and gave me a gift for our trip to Honduras. That will buy some food for some hungry people. Thanks!

Today is another one of those holidays that is not recognized very well. People all across the country will go to their mailboxes and say, "Hmmm, we didn't get any mail today." Kedra and Ben are home today. No school! I will spend the day doing various things, getting ready to go to Honduras on Wednesday at 3 a.m.

I think I'll run 7 miles today. I want to be ready to bust a good tempo run tomorrow night, so I want to be careful today, especially after 20 on Saturday. The rest of my week will be top secret training at altitude in the mountains of Honduras. I really would have to kill you if I told you, so don't ask.

Tonight is going to be a breakthrough night for my pursuit of the Ironman! Yes, I am a master of the overstatement. Really though, I think tonight could be the night I make some really good progress in the swimming pool. Some things are starting to "click" in my mind about what I'm doing, plus I've been reading some things that really helped.

OK, off to it!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Nice ride!

Got out on the bike this afternoon! It was really nice. Troy Y. and I had arranged to ride after he got off work, so we met at the church building. I wanted 20 miles and not too hard. Troy liked the idea.

We left the building and wandered over to Sping Mill Vet and crossed Highway 60. Then we headed out Meridian until the next road to the right, which takes you to Highway 37 at Park's Implements. We crossed the highway and headed west until the road Ts. We took a left and headed south until we got to the road that heads back into Orleans, the one that comes out at Huck's.

We crossed 37 again and headed east until the street Ts. Then we turn left, going less than a mile until we hit 337. We follow it east until we head north on the road right before REMC. We follow that for a couple of miles before turning east again. Then we turn north on the road where Amy's Birds is, but we don't go that far. We turn left on DNR and head west. It turns into Merdian, which we take across the highway and wander back to the church building. The map below was recorded by my Garmin 405.

20+ miles. Great course. Great weather. Great company. Now it's about time for popcorn, followed by some rest. I've got a 20 mile run in the morning. It's kinda scaring me.

Be Still?

I’m in a hurry to get things done
Oh, I rush and rush until life’s no fun
All I really got to do is live and die
But I’m in a hurry and don’t know why

"Seven days without rest makes one weak." Rest seems to be hard to come by in a culture that celebrates busyness. What’s that all about? A search for significance?

God says, "Be still and know that I am God."

Being still leads to and involves worship, knowing that we are dependent upon God for every (hurried) breath. Can you slow down this weekend and take the time to worship?

Will you?


Good morning and hello Friday! It's a rare Friday for me. I have only a few things left to do for Sunday, far less than usual. I like this feeling! That means I can do a little extra reading today and a few others things that I don't usually get to. I need to start getting my mind around my trip to Honduras, which is rapidly approaching. I leave around 3 a.m. on Wednesday.

Kedra and I are going to get some practice at being empty-nesters this weekend. Ben, along with about 50 other people, left this morning for Winterfest in Gatlinburg. The highlight of our weekend here will be celebrating Valentine's Day tomorrow evening. We'll enjoy a nice meal somewhere.

Yesterday was productive no matter how you measure it. I got a lot done and had some really good conversations with some folks facing some real life issues. It was a blessed day. Included in that day were a couple of training activities. I managed a nice hilly 10 miler, and I went to the pool last night. I think I had a little breakthrough there, so I'm gaining some confidence. I'm not truly swimming yet, but I am getting closer. 

Tomorrow is my first 20 miler of this training cycle. Looks like the weather will be decent. 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Grinding it out

Yesterday I had to go to the dentist, which is not one of my favorite things to do, although I don't dislike it like some. A little while ago I had a filling come out, and when it came out it took part of a tooth with it. It didn't really hurt, so I've been ignoring it.

As I was thinking about going to Honduras next week, I thought I would be wise to get it fixed. I didn't really relish the idea of Pedro and his channel lock pliers probing around in my mouth, although it would be cheaper.

We don't have any dental insurance, so it makes the visit a little more painful. But I went anyway. The dentist looks at the crater and says, "Whoa! Have you had a root canal on that tooth?"


"Wow, that's really, really deep."


"Hmmm. I'll try be really careful so we that don't break through there and cause you pain. But I'm not sure..."


First he used the high speed drill. Then he said, "I think I'll use the slow drill, the big grinder, just in case. It's going to vibrate a lot. Let me know if hurts. You can holler if you want."


I must confess I was getting a little nervous at this point, but it never got too bad. I never had any pain. That will come when the bill comes.

Thursday a.m.

Good morning! It's going to be another good day! Poor old winter -- it's just not getting any respect this time around. As much as I like snow and don't really mind most of the other aspects of the season, I must confess that I am ready for Spring to go ahead and fully arrive. There are hints of it all around. Yesterday morning, even though it was in the 30s when I ran, it had the feel and the sound of a Spring day. The birds were singing their Spring songs.

I went for an easy 6 miler yesterday morning, making 20 miles for the week. Today, at some point, I am going to go for a 10 miler, probably the hilly course, which will make me 30 for the week. Who says I'm not good at math? The plan is to run 20 on Saturday, which then will make 50 for the week. This will be my first 50 mile week in this training cycle.  I did several in prep for the Monumental Marathon, back in 2010, but this time I am less focused on overall miles and more focused on quality miles.

The Boston Marathon is just 2 months from today. Yikes! Part of me wants to panic, and I don't even know why. I'm running well and strong. I think it is because I haven't cranked out any 20 milers or 50 mile weeks. I should feel better on Saturday night, right? ha ha. Ah, mind games.

Today is sermon/Sunday prep day. I'm farther along than usual. Pat A and I met yesterday, due to scheduling problems today, and made a lot of good progress. This week we are dealing with Joshua and Judges. We picked up the theme/idea of:

How do you live life in a chaotic world?

Things go pretty well in Joshua, as the people finally move into the Promise Land, but because they do not fully obey God, they leave room for problems. The influence of the pagan culture creates chaos for them. Judges pictures that, and, man, it is crazy stuff! You might want to read the book of Judges. You'll find all kinds of stories, like a man who buries his dagger in a fat man's abdomen, like a woman who drives a tent peg through a man's head. You'll find the Sampson story. It's interesting reading.

How do you live in a world like that?

The key is found in Joshua 1, where God speaks to Joshua. The words contain principles that are woven throughout Scripture and apply to us as well.

No one will be able to stand up against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.
Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.

Blame Shifting

"I didn't say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you."

Blame-shifting - it’s what we do. Some of us are quite good at it!

It really starts in the Garden of Eden. Adam blames Eve. (He really blames God, "the woman YOU gave me . . . ") Eve blames the serpent. It seems that no one wants to take responsibility.

Do you remember this old line? "For every finger you point at someone else, three are pointing back at you."

During a conflict/problem, it’s a good practice to pause before we shift the blame to someone else, thinking about our role in the problem.

How can we better assess our responsibility?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Words Create Worlds

The Story I live in says that God spoke the world into existence. His words created a world. Powerful!

Your words are powerful also and also create worlds. Do you believe that?

Part of being image-bearers of God is that we can speak words, distinguishing ourselves from animals. Clearly God wants us to speak, and he is concerned about what and how we speak.

Speak carefully because you are creating worlds with your words. Are they worlds of encouragement or discouragement, worlds of hope or hopelessness?

What kind of worlds are you creating with your words? At home? At work? At church?

Wednesday a.m.

Good morning! I hope this midweek finds you moving along well. Don't you love Pepe Le Pew (PLP)? I do. In fact, last night I fully intended to wear my Pepe Le Pew necktie as a part of my running gear for our Tuesday evening run, but I simply forgot. As I shared my intention and forgetfulness with the running group, Rand, stimulated by the reference, shared that he had heard, and he wasn't clear about a connection with PLP, that February is the month that skunks mate. The conversation deteriorated from there.

I had a surprisingly good run last night. As I planned, I did not run a tempo run but rather just a longer easy run. Tim G and I ran together and did 9 miles. I was pleased with it. It was a decent pace and my heart rate stayed relatively low  and I felt fresh, which means my recovery from a hilly half was pretty quick. I took some abuse for not tempoing, but I know my body and my plan. I am on a 50 mile week plan this week, so I need to be careful about intensity.

Ben is one happy young man! He got his driver's license yesterday! He took the driving test right after school and passed, and then he took the written test. He passed that without any problems as well. He has patiently waited for a long time. Three lives changed pretty dramatically as a result. Kedra and I will not have to transport him to all his activities any longer, and he has some new freedoms. It's all good!

This time next week I will be getting ready to board a airplane heading to Honduras. Yikes! This will be my 6th trip. I've got to start thinking about getting prepared really soon.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

So did you have a good day?

Baptism is Beautiful!

If I have a favorite baptism, then it was about 3 years ago when "Tiger" was baptized. As I raised him up from the cold creek water, the watching kids on the bridge shouted, "Snake!"

I looked up and watched a snake swim away, making Ss across the water. For me, it was interesting with goose bumps added.

Lots of mystery there, and lots of mystery in all baptisms. Baptism is a lot of things, and it is beautiful!

It’s beautiful because it pictures the amazing love of Jesus in his death, burial, and resurrection. Have you reenacted that? Die to sin. Be buried. Rise again. Have you been baptized?

Happy Tuesday!

Good morning! I hope you are ready to enjoy this day that we have received as a gift. Today is Valentine's Day, which is not one of my favorite days of the year. You see, I'm not much into "card holidays," as I like to call them. I know such an attitude/statement is fraught with danger. In a former life, between full time ministry jobs, I used to work with mostly women. I sure learned a lot -- mostly to keep my mouth shut. Anyway, I'm thinking of doing something special for Kedra today. There might be hints on this page? Maybe not?
Last night after my "swim" session, I was talking to one of my friends who is still in the dating game (good morning, J!). He announced to me, regarding tempo Tuesday, "I won't be there tomorrow night." I looked at him with a "why?" expression. Before I could articulate my expression, he said, "It's Valentine's Day." I said, "Yeah I know." Then I added, "I've been married a long time AND I have made arrangements to celebrate The Day on the weekend." He smiled a smile that later found a conversation about why he had to do the Valentine thing and why I didn't on the actual day. Have fun tonight J.

Lester, who is staying with us again this week as he does he pharmacy rotatation in Bloomington, is in another stage of marriage. He's not been married that long, so he, very wisely, is returning to Indianapolis this evening to spend the night with his lovely wife. He will forgo tempo Tuesday. Good choice. Good choice.

I am really looking forward to today. I'm going to get to study hard this morning, have lunch with a good thinking friend, hang around the food pantry, have a meeting or two, talk to several people, and end the day on the run. I will not tempo tonight, since I ran hard on Saturday. I will probably run 8-10 miles while a few are doing longer tempos tonight. I'm looking forward to it.

Yesterday I had a very interesting conversation with a 25 year old man. He's been in/out of jail since he was in his mid teens. He's really ready to turn things around, and I think he's going to do it. I hope to walk with him on a path to a new life. We had a good start yesterday.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Monday afternoon

Thanks Pat! You are just a plain freak. I am a running freak. We both like cheeseburgers. ha ha.

Wow, it has been a busy, packed day so far. And it's not over. I want to be an Ironman, so I need to leave the warmth of my comfortable house and chair and drive to Bedford North Lawrence and jump in water that seems pretty cool at first. There is a fine line between commitment and stupidity. I know this. ha ha.

We had such a nice time this weekend. We left early afternoon with Lester and Maddie and made our way to Nashville. We met Luke downtown so we could see where he is going to be working as an intern and hopefully as a full time employee. It's a very nice building. While there we ate at a very good restaurant.

After our meal we made our way out to the Lavenders. They have been wonderful friends for about 30 years. Earl has influenced my ministry more than anyone I know, and I continue to learn from him. Time with him always equals encouragement and good counsel. This time was no exception.

Our Rebecca had to work Friday evening, so she did not get to the Lavenders until bedtime. I waited for her and then crashed. The next morning we had a nice breakfast before heading out to run the Frostbite (see below).

Following the race we came back to the Lavenders to clean up and pack up. We then met up with Luke (and his friend Lydia) and Rebecca at Jack's BBQ down on Broadway. We had a wonderful meal together. Then it was time for the somewhat sad good-byes. I miss my kids a lot, but I am very pleased and proud of where they are in life.

OK, now you are up to speed. Now for some supper and then off to the pool. Eight is late! But...


I was in Nashville, TN recently and drove past this place of business. I guess Grumpy owns it? Maybe the nature of his business made him grumpy?

How would you like to have a nickname like that? Grumpy.

Maybe we don’t have that nickname, but maybe we are described that way? If you belong to God, then there’s no need to be grumpy. In fact we just shouldn’t be, right?

Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God, says Paul in Philippians 2.

Might be a little more challenging on a Monday, but we can do it, right? We are children of God! Think about that. Good news!

Live on Stage!

For some reason I can't embed the video I want to show you, so you will have to go here to watch it. It seemed like a good idea at the time! Bring a live lamb on the stage and have it there during the whole assembly as a powerful visual. We'll talk about Passover and then we'll talk about Christ as the Passover Lamb.

Sure it will make a little noise, but then it will settle down and sit there like a nice little lamb. Quiet. Obedient. Respectful to those talking. This particular little lamb had not been to obedience school! It cried constantly! I finally, with help from Lester, had to move it into a closet so I could be heard. Oh well, I think people will probably remember this assembly for quite a while.

A big thanks to Robin Roberts for doing all the work to get the lamb there yesterday!


Tennessee has a neat state park running tour, and one of the stops is Cedars of Lebanon state park, which is less than an hour east of Nashville. They host a half marathon that runs around in the park as well on some of surrounding country roads. Some of the roads are paved, and some are gravel. All of them have hills! There is nothing super steep, but it seems that you are either running up or down and rarely run on the flat.

All that's good and just what I need for preparation for the Boston Marathon which is 9 weeks from today. I think the Boston course is similar. I've run the Cedars course twice before. The last time was 2 years ago, and at that time I was in pretty good shape, preparing to attempt to qualify for Boston at the Louisville marathon in late April. (The attempt failed.)

Lester decided he would run with me. He could have gone a lot faster but doesn't have the base miles to really do his best. My good friend Earl needed to go slow. He has been fight hip replacement talk and has managed to avoid that, but he needed to be careful.

The race didn't start until noon my time, which I am not a fan of. I would rather run early, but they didn't ask/consult me. By noon on Saturday it was in the upper 20s and the wind, oh, the wind, was blowing about 20 mph with gusts up to 30 mph. My goal was to run at a 7.45 pace per mile, which would put me in at 1.41.36. That overall time was not as important to me as the pace per mile.

The bottom line is that we started out well. Actually we started out a little fast for a couple of miles and then got adjusted. We were on pace for 5-6 miles, and then we reached the bottom of the map you see pictured. Then we turned into the wind and started up a long grade. Wow! We lost some time. Then, at about 10 miles, we hit a stretch that has to be the worst thing I have ever experienced in a road race.

We turn onto Highway 231, where there was no cover, no protection, no windbreaks. We ran straight into a sustained strong wind with a few gust thrown in. I have never been that cold in a race before! I thought my face was going to freeze! I had stuff to put on, but was I too cold to get it out my pocket and I didn't want to slow down even more than I already had. We had more than a mile of this strong headwind. Finally we made the turn toward the finish.

The last mile or so was sweet. A tailwind and rolling hills, with a downhill finish. I completed the course in 1.42.50, which is a little more than a minute slower than I hoped, but I managed to run 7.50s, which, considering the conditions, I am pretty pleased with. I also looked at my time from 2 years ago, and I run about 30 seconds faster this time.

I really enjoyed having Lester with me. He really helped keep me on pace. Even though the conditions were pretty tough, especially the last 7 miles, I enjoyed the day. They had pizza afterwards, so, hey, that made it even better!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Four years ago...

On the way to Russia (and there)

Around Moscow

From Russia with love

Imagine Self-Control

This little diet kit came into the ReGeneration Store the other day. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I opened the box! When I saw the spoon with the hole, along with the half fork and knife, I laughed out loud.

I suppose that’s one way of losing weight. Do you think it would work?

It makes me think about the real issue: self-control. Disciplined self-control will not work unless there is a long term, "later on" view.

Hebrews 12:11 speaks to that. "No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it."

What do you need to imagine to exercise self-control this weekend?


Hello Friday! How are you? How about this to think about today?

The desire to finish must be stronger than the rationale to quit.

I wrote this line after being inspired by a quote from a Tour de France rider last summer. It's a good thought! Sometimes just keeping on keeping on doesn't seem quite rational, but a long view of the situation, infused by faith, keeps us moving.

Yesterday was a good day. I didn't get my sermon done, but I got pretty close. It shouldn't be too hard to finish it this morning. Pat A and I met for lunch to hammer out some of the hard work of sermon prep. It's so helpful to me to bounce ideas back and forth, even about the technique of delivery.

After our lunch meeting/prep, I was crashing from my cold, so I found a secluded place in the Wal-mart parking lot and took a nap. I always fear that someone will think I am some kind of creeper. These ideas come from years of living with a teenage daughter. My desire to sleep overcame my concern about being perceived as a weirdo. See quote above - related somehow, I think?

A brief nap and I was ready to go again. I texted my friend, Tim S., to see if he was running after work. He was. Even though I felt cruddy, I knew a run would be good for me, so having his company was enough to motivate me to do it. So I did it. It went fine. Take that you stupid cold!

Didn't make the pool last night -- just not enough energy to go. Also, Maddie came down, so we had a bit of a birthday dinner for Lester and her. Her birthday is 2 weeks after Lester's. Both Lester and Maddie are off work today, so we can leave for TN early afternoon. Ben has opted to stay home.

Tonight we will get to see our kids and spend the night with the Lavenders, some of the most influential people in our lives. Encouragement! It's going to be a good evening. Tomorrow, Lester, Earl, and I are running a half marathon. Sounds a little on the cool side, but that's fine.

My goal is to go out and run 7.45 miles as long as I can, hopfully 13.1 miles. The temptation to run 7.37s is present. That would put me in in under 1.40, but that's not the goal/objective of this race. I need some practice at my goal pace for the first 15 miles of Boston.

OK, need to get after it!

Thursday, February 09, 2012


"It’s called perseverance! Perseverance," Noni explained/emphasized, as she handed me the rather tall flower last week. She’s a regular giver of flower gifts. This flower now has a prominent place on my desk. Perseverance.

At 94, Noni is a picture of perseverance, a kind of feisty defiance of the aging process. She’s an inspiration to me. Failing eyesight and other health problems have not dampened Noni’s determination to enjoy life. Perseverance!

Got perseverance?


This is probably the only kind of riding that I could/will do this week! It would be all that I feel like doing anyway. I'm trying to contain and fight off a cold, which is more of an annoyance than anything. The fact that we can't cure the common cold ought to do something to dampen the arrogance of humanity.

I paced myself along yesterday, spending a lot more time at my desk than usual. Since I have a cold, I didn't want to go to the nursing home, which is what I usually do on Wednesdays. I did go for an easy 4 mile run, pretty early. I felt decent on the run, but then things went south the rest of the day. I slept well last night, so I'm hoping to get it out of my body in the next couple of days. I hope I can run a few miles today. I think running, even though it doesn't feel good at the time, helps cook the cold a little.

Today is sermon prep day. The focus is on Exodus through Deuteronomy, which is a huge amount of material. I'm going to settle on the Passover as the center of the conversation. The Passover looks backward to see the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob--the great I Am--delivering his people from oppression and it looks forward to the Promised Land and it provides perspective for the present. Hmmm, sounds a lot like the Lord's Supper.

Lately I've had lots of props on stage. If things go well, then on Sunday I will kick it up to a new level. Can you say live animal? Don't tell anyone, OK? I'm not totally sure it's going to happen, but I think it will. Hopefully it won't be too baaaa aaad.

Tomorrow sometime we are heading to Tennessee to see Luke and Rebecca. I can't wait to see them! Lester and Maddie are going with us, so it will be a nice little gathering in the Music City. On Saturday, Lester and I will run the Frostbite Half Marathon in the Cedars of Lebanon State Park. I've run this hilly course a couple of times and really like it.

I hope I feel well enough to go the pool tonight!

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Weird Dreams

I woke up a lot last night. I have a cold and my throat was bothering me, and that discomfort woke me up on a regular basis. The weird part is that I would kinda fade in/out in a dream state of some kind. My dreams were consistently focused on this bike cassette (the rear sprockets). I need to get one for my new carbon wheels, so I've been reading and talking about it a fair amount.

I'm looking for something deeper, however, with this dream experience. Perhaps it has something to do with being a useful cog that is driven by the chain of life? OK, I'll give up on dream interpretations. ha ha.


Do you know all of your Facebook friends? Me neither. Facebook has really dumbed-down the idea of friendship, I think, but that’s OK. Really.

What or who is a friend?

Jesus talks a lot about friends. When he does he invokes the idea that a friend is one who will lay down his life for you, AND a friend is one who will speak truth honestly and boldly. The idea of is his time was that lack of truthful boldness is not friendly. Interesting.

We need friends like that don’t we?

But can we handle friends like that?

Can we be friends like that?

Wednesday a.m.

Good morning! It's Wednesday. I find it amusing, only slightly, that in some nursing homes that they have a sign displayed that tells what day of the week it is, along with the date and year. I actually find that helpful on some days. Along those lines, part of my routine daily is to write the day and date on some of the things I do. That helps me know where I am in life, I suppose.

Today is Lester's 24th birthday! I remember pretty well his birth in New Zealand so long ago. It was summertime there, a warm, humid day. It was one of the most amazing days of my life! Now to watch him as a young man is one of the most satisfying parts of my life.

Lester, after the spending the weekend at his place in Indy, resumed his pharmacy rotation at Bloomington Hospital, which means he is staying with us at night. He joined the running group last night for Tempo Tuesday. We had a good turnout in near perfect weather.

Lester, Jim, Bill, and Tim M. all run/held around 6:10 pace. I didn't fare as well, but that's fine. I ran a 6:34, a 6:37, and then fell apart my last mile, running a 6:48. I still managed to do it right around 20 minutes, which works out to a 6:40 average. I'll take it for my first attempt at holding 6:35s. My running partner, Tim G., had given blood yesterday and was feeling that, so he had to back off some. Next time!

I am developing a little bit of a cold. I felt it coming on yesterday. I'm hoping I can manage it and keep it from getting too bad. I knew in my over-trained state last week that I was setting myself up for something like this, plus Kedra had a cold+ last week. If I have to get one, then I guess now, 9-10 weeks from Boston, is not a bad time. I hope it does not interfere with Saturday's half marathon in Tennessee.

Speaking of TN, I am really looking forward to seeing Luke and Rebecca this weekend! It has been a while, and I miss them so much.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

May do this if the swimming doesn't work out

Rocks in Trees?

In Yellowwood State Forest, near Bloomington, Indiana, there are 3 large rocks firmly resting in the tops of 3 tall trees. The largest rock is estimated to weigh several hundred pounds, and the tallest tree is around 80 feet.

The locals call them URBs - Unexplained Resting Boulders. (That’s kinda funny.) Mystery!

There are so many things that we cannot explain. Mystery can point us to God and lead us to worship.

Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! (Romans 11:33)

What do you do with mystery?


So how are you this morning? It's Tuesday, and I'm looking forward to it. I hope you are. Yesterday was good but busy. I don't know why, but there seemed to be a lot more going on yesterday than usual. It was all good. I did notice a very bright moon last night, so I wonder if there is a correlation? I'm half way joking, so don't think I'm a lunatic or something like that.

Today I wrestle more with the Story of God. Trying to summarize and capture the essence of Exodus through Deuteronomy is quite a task, just like capturing the essence of Genesis was. I do think, however, this week will be a little easier. There is more of a linear easier to follow flow to the Story, I think. I have lots of reading and processing to do today, which I find very enjoyable.

Well, I went to the pool last night. Progress! That's the right word. I made progress last night. I'm certainly getting more comfortable in the water and made several trips from one end to the pool to the other. There are so many parts to swimming. If you have children, please teach them to swim while they are young. This last line was sponsored by an old dog learning a new trick.

I ran easy yesterday, thinking ahead somewhat to this evening. Tempo Tuesday! Tonight is the 3 mile version. Two miles of warm-up, 3 miles of tempo, followed by 2 miles of cool-down. I am shooting for a 6.35 pace, which is out of my comfort zone and would/will be the fastest I've run in years. I don't know if I can do it, but I'm going to try. If I can/do, then I am thinking of trying to find a 5K and look to go under 20 minutes, which would stretch me out just a little further.

I hope your day goes well!

Monday, February 06, 2012

Diet plan

This little box came into the ReGeneration Store today. The picture shows the cover and the contents.

Might just work?

Who do you work for?

A bus station is where a bus stops. A train station is where a train stops. On my desk, I have a work station. . . It’s pretty much a joke for some isn’t it? Working hard at hardly working.

Even if we are in a bad job with a bad boss, we can still find the motivation to work, work well, and work honestly. Right?

Don't just do what you have to do to get by, but work heartily, as Christ's servants doing what God wants you to do. And work with a smile on your face, always keeping in mind that no matter who happens to be giving the orders, you're really serving God.
– Ephesians 6

Work just got a little better, didn’t it?

Monday, Monday...

Here we go again! My guess is there are a lot of people dragging around this morning. Too much eating and drinking while watching the Super Bowl = a slow start to the week. I really enjoyed the game. The halftime show? Well, it's interesting to me to watch the divide the show created. On Facebook, several loved it and several hated it. I guess I just didn't get it. The real issue: I don't care. That's why I only watched some of it. I still think John Mellencamp would have been a nice Hoosier choice.

I'm still kinda dragging around, so today it's going to be an easy shortish run this morning. I'm going to be really tempted with a bike ride this afternoon. A little peer pressure and I will probably cross over to doing it. I will end the day in the BNL pool from 8 - 9 p.m. That's late for this old dog, but he really wants to learn a new trick.

What will this week hold? I like this expression, "I don't know what the future holds, but I know who holds the future." There is a lot of security in that, if we access it and sustain it by faith.

My son Luke got some really good news last week. He will graduate from Lipscomb as a civil engineer in May, just one week before Lester graduates from Butler. (We were concerned that they would graduate on the same day. Relief!) Last week he began a paid internship with a large civil engineering firm in Nashville. They also strongly hinted to him that this could turn into a full time position once he graduates.

Luke is going to Guatemala again in May to be involved with his senior project, which is designing and building a bridge for a remote village. He hopes to stay a few weeks. The company that he works for had a team of engineers go to Guatemala several weeks back to do some work. I think Luke will fit in well with this company.

OK, here we go.

Saturday, February 04, 2012

I'm there

I saw this earlier this week:

The only way to discover the limits of the possible is to go beyond into the limits of the impossible.

While I'm certainly not in the realm of the impossible, I think I have crossed over into being overtrained. I knew I was doing it, but, in the spirit of the quote, how am I going to know for sure unless I get/go there?

I've had a good week of training:

2 hours in the pool - which is not that strenuous yet, but it is not rest either.
40 miles on the bike (in 2 rides)
40 miles running in 6 days
Core work 2 days

My plan calls for biking once a week (on Friday, a day off from running), and I usually only run 5 days a week. The nice weather this week allowed me to push/test my limits a bit. I biked Monday afternoon, after running Monday morning. Then I went to the pool Monday night. Tuesday evening I ran really hard on the tempo run. Wednesday was easy, but Thursday I increased to 15 minutes of hard running on hills, up from 9-12 minutes. I went to the pool that evening. Friday I biked and then followed it with a run (called a brick in tri language). Today I ran 12 miles in wet conditions. I originally planned to do 20, but since I did some yesterday, I didn't have to do as many. I also lowered my weekly total from what I had planned, knowing I was really pushing it.

The significant variations this week are adding a bike workout, increasing the hill repeats, and running after biking on Friday, resulting in no rest days this week. This is not rocket science and is easy to see why my heart rate was way too high on my run today. The danger of being overtrained is getting sick and/or developing an injury. I don't want either of those.

The long-term correction is to go back to my plan, plus I think I am going to have to eliminate one intense workout most weeks. I am thinking about doing hill repeats one week and then a long run the next week but not doing both in the same week. Last week's 18 miler was really tough, and it followed Thursday's hill repeats.

This coming week I will do an easy run on Monday and Wednesday. I am going to tempo hard on Tuesday, shooting for 6.35 pace for 3 miles. I will do an easy run on Thursday, instead of hill repeats. On Saturday I am running a (hilly) half marathon in Tennessee. Right now I plan to do it at 7.45 pace, which is my goal pace for the first 15-16 miles of Boston.

My main focus right now is the Boston Marathon, but I am also looking ahead and past it a bit, thinking of the 162 miles of RAIN in late July and my first triathlon, Lord and swimming willing. The Ironman looms large in my mind also, but it's still more than 2 years away, I think.

Friday, February 03, 2012

We fall down...

Joey’s OK!

Sorry, Joey, but I cracked up watching you get cracked up!

We fall down, we get up.

We fall down, but we get up. For a saint is just a sinner who fell down and got up...

What do you need to rise from today? (Maybe some laughter would help the process?)


Good morning! It's Friday! Do you remember the TV show Flipper? I've always been able to do a pretty good imitation of flipper. Really! I use my hand, making it "dance" backwards, and make that noise old Flipper used to make when he "talked" to Bud and Sandy (I think that was their names?), kinda dancing in the water backwards. Now, I am working on swimming like Flipper. "Channel your inner Flipper. Flipper. Flipper. They call him Flipper, Flipper, faster than lightning."

How's that working out for me? Well, so far I have not drowned! I did make it all way across the pool and back twice last night, with a kick board and flippers. I am making progress, and Rand Hammel is a patient instructor. My determination is very strong and getting stronger, which means that, at times, my frustration level rises as well. Frustration is a key part of learning, so that's a good thing. I have to couple it with patience as well.

I had a great hill repeat run yesterday. I wore my heart monitor for the first time in a long, long time and was pleased with what I saw. I reach maximum heart rate, but it goes back down very quickly. I did more repeats yesterday and included a sharp downhill repeat, which is highly recommended for the Boston Marathon course. There are lots and lots of hills, and experienced folks say those downhills destroy your quads. Downhill repeats are the best prep for avoiding that problem.

Yesterday was a busy day but a good day. It did leave me unprepared for Sunday, so this morning I need to finish my sermon, get my slides together,  prepare for my class, prepare next week's Text Experience Sheet, and prepare a Life Group Discussion Guide, along with a few other things. I am hoping for a quiet morning of clarity and focus.

My goal is to have everything done by Noon. Then I will take the rest of the day off. My plan is to meet Kedra for lunch, which is one of my favorite things to do. Then I hope to go on a 20 mile bike ride. The weather looks good for that. The weather is not looking so good for my 20 miler in the morning. I don't have to do 20 just yet, but I want to. We'll see how all that plays out.

OK, time to get going!

Thursday, February 02, 2012


Forgive and Forget?

Forgive and forget? Is that possible?

It’s pretty hard when you have scars from an injury that constantly calls you to remember.

How about forgiving while remembering?

Isn’t that where the real power of forgiveness comes from? If we ask God to allow the forgiveness he extends to us to flow through us to our offender, then things change. We remember in a new way, a forgiving way, a way that reflects God’s way.

Who needs your forgiveness today? Remember to do it.


Good morning! What do you think of the number 14? When I'm running marathons, I find 14 to be a little disheartening. You've barely passed the half way mark of the 26 mile course and you're feeling tired. Yet you know you've trained for this, so you push through it.

Yesterday marked the completion of my 14th year of my work in my present job. That's along time: 14 years. I think it's unusual for someone to be in one place that long doing what I do. I'm not sure what that says. I was discussing this with a friend last night. He asked, "Did you ever want to leave?" I told him, "I've left a few times, but I never quit."

Originally I had planned to devote a blog post to some of thoughts regarding the past 14 years, but I don't feel quite up to doing that right now. For now, I'll say I've started the 15th mile, and 15 is usually better than 14 for me. Recently I found a couple of Henri Nouwen quotes that somehow speak to me.

Jesus asks us to move from a leadership built on power to a leadership in which we critically discern where God is leading us and our people.

Jesus asks us to move from a concern for relevance to a life of prayer, from worries about popularity to communal and mutual ministry.

Interesting. As the old song says, "Where He leads, I will follow." That's the goal.

Yesterday was a day packed full of activity. People. Places. Things. All good. Today I've got to get started on a difficult sermon; probably not going to get done today. I need to see a couple of people in the hospital, and then I go to another hospital for an ethics committee meeting. I enjoy this meeting because it involves a free lunch! Who says hospital food is not good? I find it quite yummy.

Here in a little while it's time for hill repeats. I slept well last night, and I think I'm about to shake the over trained feeling. A hard workout today and then a bike ride outside tomorrow afternoon is my plan. Then Saturday I hope to complete my first 20 miler of this training cycle. Sounds like it could be raining. At least it's not supposed to be ice.

Oh, and speaking of getting wet, tonight I'm going to the pool again. Eight is late, but I'm committed. I hope to purchase some water wings today. Just kidding. Think like a fish. Be a fish. Ohmmm, ohmmm...

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

A Concealed Weapon

How do you feel about the controversy regarding carrying a concealed weapon? Regardless of your view you carry one, but it’s not a gun.

"The tongue has the power of life and death," says Proverbs 18:21.

That’s quite a picture isn’t it? And it’s true, even literally at times! People have taken their lives over what people have said to them. Others have stopped short because someone spoke life to them.

Words can crush, discourage, and destroy, and/or words can encourage and put a person on a road to life.

How will you use your words today?

Who needs to hear words of life from you?


Good morning! It's Wednesday again! How the time flies... I hope you are doing well at this midweek point. The weird warm weather continues, and it sure feels good for February 1st! January went easy on us. Earlier in the week, computer models were suggesting the possibility of some cold and snow this weekend, but now all that talk has been replaced with the promise of more mild temperatures. That will be nice for the visitors in for the Super Bowl.

Lester moved back in with us yesterday! Now before you start rumors about his marriage, you should know that he is doing his next to last pharmacy rotation at Bloomington Hospital. He will stay with us Monday through Thursday during February, while Maddie stays in Indy and works. They are doing great! It's so hard to believe Lester is nearly a pharmacist. He already has a job waiting for him in Bloomington once he graduates. He has been blessed beyond measure.

As I thought about last night's run, I started feeling better about it. My overall pace wasn't that far off what I was trying to achieve. It was just uneven, which is fine for now. Today I will do an easy 6 mile recovery run, hoping that I will feel up to a full hill repeat workout in the morning. Looks like Friday may afford another outdoor bike ride?

Today is going to be a busy one. I have lots of things planned, so we'll see how it out pans out. I hope your day goes well!