Thursday, May 31, 2012

Thursday a.m.

Good morning! Thursday already/again! I woke up really missing Luke this morning. He's got a little over another week in Guatemala before he returns home and begins working in Nashville.
It's such a beautiful morning! Rain is promised for later today, and that's a good thing. We need it. I was going to take this morning off and ride, but I'm having second thoughts after looking at my training log and how I feel. The holiday weekend really changed my training routine. (I loved it, so I'm not complaining.) As of yesterday, I had run 6 days in a row (several of them bricks) and had ridden 176 miles in a week's time. I think a rest day may be on the schedule. I'm not guaranteeing that, but I am leaning that way.

I ran 5 miles yesterday, and toward the end of the run, I could tell my heart rate was up again. I adjusted my workout, which included some speed work. I think it is a cumulative effect, which, again, points to rest. If I rest today, then I will run 7-8 in the morning. I plan on riding 80 miles on Saturday. The group ride calls for 60, so I will tack 20 on at the end or some at the beginning and some at the end.  If I do the 80, then I will have 175 miles this week. RAIN is only 7 weeks from Saturday! I hope to do 2-3 100 mile rides before then.

Today is sermon prep day. Same sex marriage. We had a very interesting class last night as we discussed the issue. There is so much involved in all this.

Yesterday I saw lots of people and found it interesting. Hospitals. Nursing homes. Assisted living. Subsidized housing. I spent time at the Store as well and the church building and ate lunch with a good friend. We ate at Lilly's in Orleans. It's connected to the Marathon station and has good food.

OK, here we go...

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Tuesday Time Trial Numbers

I think you can see my numbers from last night by clicking here. My Garmin was set in run mode instead of bike, but you can still see my mile averages, elevation, heart rate, etc.

Wednesday a.m.

Photo courtesy of IronBill
Well, hello Wednesday! How did you get here so fast? It seems like Tuesday really.

It is such a beautiful morning! I just stepped outside for a little while. Hard to beat 61 degrees in the morning.

Yesterday was filled with all kinds of things. I spent considerable time reading news articles about same-sex marriage, which is what I am going to talk about Sunday. That should be pretty interesting, even though there is nothing controversial about it - ha ha. I like a challenge, so here we go.

I spent a lot of time at the Store yesterday. We are having a guy redo the front window panels. They have become faded and need to be painted. In fact they need to be replaced, so that's what we are doing. I made trips to Ace for paint and to Lowes for plywood. A lot of times we have things done around the Store to help those who need some work. It works out well for everyone involved. I will need to be there quite a bit today to help get things going.

"Out of the blue" last week a young man contacted me. I had talked/worked with him 2-3 years ago. He is severely depressed and has addiction problems. I talked with him briefly and prayed with him last week. I sent him a note after that, and got a note back that included these words (of hurt):

i appreciate your prayers, but right now i am so angry with God I want nothing 2 do with him. i went to rehab 2 get help and came out too sick togo back to work. i have stopped going to AA meetings as well. right now if God where a man i would beat him to death. i am not able to experience him the way others are, and honestly i am very pissed off about it right now.

I so desperately want to help him and will try getting with him today or tomorrow. He is open to spending some time together. I don't think any of you would know him but please pray for him. Disappointment with God is such a huge issue, and it originates in misunderstanding and unmet expectations. I just finished reading the Book of Job. God never answers Job's questions regarding suffering and apparent injustice. God says, basically, "Trust me." It's very hard for some to do. That, though, is the essence of faith: trusting God with/ in spite of all the unanswered questions of life.

Yesterday had other stuff too, but let's get to the fun part! Our Tuesday night ride switched from a paceline ride to a time trial. We had 11 riders, and we were launched from the Washington county line 1 minute a part, from predicted slowest to fastest. The idea was that everyone should finish pretty close together, and we did. 

I was sent off in 4th position but improved by 1 notch, so I was pretty pleased with that. There was a headwind, which slowed everyone some. Jim said it was good for 1-2 mph. I wanted to average 20 mph over the 10 miles of rolling terrain, but ended up at 19.67. I was happy with it and believe without the wind that I can go north of 20 mph. If  you want all the details, you can read Bill's account.

After we got back to the Park, secured our bikes, and switched shoes, 6 of us ran 3 miles. I am getting used to the weird feeling of running right after riding. These "bricks" are helping me prepare for the triathlon. Following the run we gathered at Wendy's for some refueling and story telling. It was a pleasant evening.

I'm getting to go for a run, followed by another day of living in the Kingdom of God, trying to do good.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Tuesday a.m.

The run course of the Me N Steve

Good morning! Combining a holiday weekend with the end of school sure has a way to making a major shake-up in the routine. Wow! Now I have to develop a routine of routinelessness. Do you know what I mean? I'm not sure I do.

I'm not sure where to start on reporting about the weekend, which was one of my favorites in a long time. I can say that all the activity wore me out. Completely! I slept well last night, and I am hoping that it is enough for me to recover.

Friday morning I went for a nice 5 mile run. It was pretty humid - a foretaste of what was coming. I worked for a while on Friday, getting ready for Sunday. That all came together pretty well. We went to a graduation party Friday night.

Saturday morning was my first major brick workout of the year. We rode 43 miles from Parkview school, which went well. I am feeling so much stronger on the bike than last year. Following the enjoyable ride, we went for a run. Some went 5; others opted for 3 miles. I did the 3, anticipating what was on the morrow.

We had a good day at church Sunday morning. Then it was off to Kenray Lake for the Me N Steve triathlon. This is a friendly informal event that has its origin in the friendship of Steve Black and Jim Sowders. They were  roommates in optometry school. There will be a corresponding Jim N I triathlon on June 23rd. It's all a lot of fun, followed by a feast.

The Me N Steve, which can be slurred into "The Mean Steve," provided me an opportunity to do 2 things related to water: 1) attempt to swim in open water, and 2) wear my wetsuit for the first time. I'll spare you a lot of details and just say that I did not drown.  I have SO MUCH work to do. I did learn that you cannot sink with a wetsuit on. I am floating on that line that divides giving up and the determination to go on.

I was glad to get out of the water and on the bike. I rode pretty well in the heat, and it was hot. We rode around 25 miles, mostly rolling terrain. We rode from Kenray over to Norman and back. I connected with the fast group going back, which was fun. The run followed the ride, and I was happy that it went well also. A wonderful feast followed all the activity. Jimmy knows how to do a feast!

Monday morning we met to ride and run again. I felt really over trained going into this, but I knew the vow was to ride easily. We did. Twenty miles. I felt fine. I felt pretty good at the start of the 3 mile run, but about half way through the 2nd mile, I looked at my heart rate monitor. I couldn't believe what it said: 203! In theory (and there are lots of them) my maximum heart rate should be 167 (220-age). I slowed down and got it down into the 180s, but I looked again and it was back up to 206. Time to walk in. I did 2 miles.

The rest of yesterday I rested and smoked ribs and chicken for a family gathering last night. It was a nice day that capped a good weekend.

Now back to the reality of the fallen world...

Friday, May 25, 2012

Friday a.m.

Good morning Friday! Good morning summer vacation for Mitchell schoolers! Good bye routine! See you in August.  Yes, routine will be hard to come by for the next several weeks. Everyone in my house will be doing the late night, not so early getting up, thing. This makes for an interesting challenge for the old man who likes the opposite. It's OK, though, I like the summer and the fun it brings.

I had a nice ride yesterday morning with Tim the Elder. We made our way through Amish country and back - 32 miles of good riding. Then it was back to work for me. It was a good day. Productive  any way you measure it.

This weekend is going to be about endurance. First there are all the graduation parties, which are really nice. I think we have a total of 4 venues to visit Friday night and Saturday. Some of the venues have more than one graduate being celebrated. We'll make 3 visits Saturday before ending up in Jeffersonville Saturday evening for a wedding.

As far as endurance athletics is concerned, there is a lot going on there too. First, I will go for a 5-7 mile run this morning, hopefully around 7 a.m. Tomorrow morning at 7, several of us are doing a 42 mile ride, followed by a 3 mile run. Sunday afternoon, Jim S. is hosting the Me N Steve Triathlon. It's an informal gathering that includes an open water swim, followed by a bike ride of about 25 miles, followed by a 5K. Yes, it is going to be on the warm side, especially during the run.

I'm not sure what the plans are for Monday, but I hope to ride and run some more. I remember last year riding my first Metric Century on Memorial Day. The distance is 100 km or 62 miles, and I did it by myself. I've already ridden 750 miles this year and have a 50 miler and 65 miler in, so I am literally miles ahead of last year. This should help when it comes time for RAIN.

OK, need to run and then I have some work to do the rest of the day.  Enjoy the long weekend!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Helping God?



"I've always wanted to ask God why He allows hunger and poverty, but I'm afraid He'll ask me the same thing" - Author Unknown

It’s really a fascinating thing to think about - God employs us, partners with us, in working in this world.

1 Corinthians 3:9 — For we are God’s fellow workers . . .

There is a helpful way of thinking about my life and God. It goes something like this:

Try to figure out what God is doing or wants to do in the people around you and then allow him to use you to help.

I wonder what I will see today? I wonder what I will do with what I see?

Thursday a.m.

Paradox
Imagine if every Thursday your shoes exploded if you tied them the usual way. This happens to us all the time with computers, and nobody thinks of complaining.

That, my precious readers, is the best quote I could find regarding Thursdays, and it is worth thinking about. Don't you think?

And that last question was not a general question. It was specific to the matter at hand regarding the Thursday quote. Taking the question generally would be related to one of my favorite things people often say, but you can't laugh at because of the serious nature:

"Yes, they did a brain scan, and they didn't find anything."

Hello Thursday! Today is going to be different for me. I am going to work for a while and then take a break to ride with a couple of friends, beating the heat. Then I turn into a bit of a furniture mover. I'm going to buy lunch for some guys and then take them on a Store pick-up. It should work out pretty well for everyone.

The heat is coming! The heat is coming! I have a weekend that is about as full as any I can recall in a while. Maybe I will give the exciting details (sarcasm) in tomorrow's post. The weekend involves lots of riding, some running, some not drowning, and lots of high school graduation parties. My graduation tour continues. We had 2 college graduations in a row, last week I attended a preschool graduation, and this weekend it's about high school graduation. Oh, and let's throw in a wedding on Saturday night. I think I'm tired already.

Yesterday morning included a really good hilly run. I felt the best I've felt since the Boston Marathon. That was encouraging. I am trying to manage triathlon training. It sure is different. I'm trying to find the balance between running, riding, and swimming. As I move toward an Ironman, which is more than 2 years away, I will adjust and increase. The swimming... More pool time tonight.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

How will you vote?


It’s probably too much of a simplification, yet it is rooted in truth and helps us think about the decisions we make for life and for today. Here’s the line to think about:

God casts a vote for you and the devil casts a vote against you. You cast the deciding vote.

Wednesday

So I'm trying to figure out a fresh way to start this blog post. I'm getting tired of the way I start it, so you must be too. Of course that is an assumption, and we all know about those things. But anyway... let's Google "Quotes about Wednesday." OK. Here's what I found:

Today is Winsday try to take no loses! Find the winner circle and claim your prize! Winner!

I'm not making this up, AND I don't know what it means for sure. All I know is that I feel a lot better about everything. Don't you? How can you not?

And let me go ahead and apologize for the picture. I need some new material, some new photos, but for now the old stuff will have to do. Of course the picture is somewhat relevant, since last night was Paceline Tuesday. It was a great night to ride, and things went pretty well. More about that in a paragraph or two.

Yesterday I went to a meeting at Burris school for the summer meals program. I took Alex with me, and we learned how to be sensitive and not discriminate against certain things. We also saw posters about how not to bully. My friend Darrin was there, and he noted that this was quite a contrast with some institutions of old that had this motto:

You get what you get and you are glad to get it.

I think they used waterboarding also, but I'm not sure about that part. Life used to be simpler, seems to me. Oh well. After the meeting, I took Alex with me on some errands around the county. We had a good time. Then it was to the Store. Then to lunch with a young man. Then to lunch with my wife. Then to the food pantry. Then to the next thing, followed by the next.

Finally it was time for Paceline Tuesday. We had a big group last night. We had 13 riders all rolling down 337 for a little while. There were 10 of us who were going to paceline, so we broke into 2 groups, mostly based on ability and experience. I went in the "less" column for both categories. Both groups had a good run. We ended up with a 21.7 mph average for the 10 miles, and the other group averaged a little north of 24 mph. It was fun. We did have a little episode at the end. I will let Bill tell you about it:

The real excitement came moments later. A car screeched to a halt beside Miller, pretty much forcing him off the road. I was 100 yards away, turning around, watching it unfold. This guy was going aggressive, so I was hurrying back. About that time, Miller got on his back, took one more disgusted look over his shoulder, and started to ride away. The guy jumped out of his car and began to chase Miller.

By this time I was close, maybe 20 yards. "Knock it off!" I yelled as I moved quickly toward him. He might have been drunk or high, but obviously he could still count. He had the one he was chasing at 12 o'clock, a biker chasing him at 3 o'clock, and 10 more coming at him at 12 o'clock. He darted back to his car, got in, and peeled out. Sure, he cursed something unintelligible as a parting gift, but no one got hurt.


The Rumble in Orleans was averted.

OK, on to another exciting day!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Pray for others




Do you pray for others?

Who? How? Why?

I found another interesting verse tucked away in the Old Testament. These words are a part of Samuel’s farewell address, found in 1 Samuel 20.

As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by failing to pray for you.

Interesting.

James, the brother of Jesus, in his fifth chapter says this:

. . .Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

How about we do this today?

Intentionally select some people (5? 10?), pray for them in specific ways, and then let them know about it? Let’s see what happens.
Good morning Tuesday! You're feeling a bit on the cool side. What's that? Really! It's supposed to be well into the 90s by the weekend? OK, I will enjoy this day. I'm not sure what's up with Weather Underground, but their extended forecast has 2 days with a predicted high of 100! Oh well...

So how are you this nice morning? I'm enjoying my second cup of nice coffee from Honduras. Mike C. and Don E., I want you to know that it is amazing! I wish you had some. I feel ready for the day!

Yesterday was a good one. I was in touch with more people than usual, and I was able to get a few extra things on my list done. I make a list every week, and it has all the usual stuff on it -- stuff I have to do to perform my duties faithfully. On the list, also, are other things that will require me to move beyond the routine. Yesterday I was able to knock a couple of those out. Feels good.

I spent considerable time yesterday working on implementing my FOCCUS training. I have a couple I am marrying later this summer. I got them set up to take the inventory online. This tool is really, really good. They also have a product for those who are married. I'm really interested in using it, maybe in a small group setting with younger married couples. I think it could be a very useful tool. Also, if you are interested in it for your marriage, just contact me privately. I can help you out, and it is not very expensive.

A hilly five miler is what I used to start my day yesterday, and time in the pool is how it ended. I think I did fine in the pool but not as well as I thought I would do. That kind of approach leads to frustration, but I also think it leads to progress. I am pressing on. I have my first open water swim this weekend, which should be really interesting. I had a friend do the Ironman Texas over the weekend. I've been following his progress over the last several months. Interesting. I will get the swimming piece under control.

Tonight is Paceline Tuesday! I am looking forward to it. I cleaned my bike up thoroughly after the Crane ride. I took my wheels off, cleaned everything, and then I put my race wheels on. See the picture above. I am ready to roll. Hopefully I can keep up with everyone. We may have a headwind tonight but it shouldn't be too bad.

There is lots to do before pacelining, including some meetings and other things, so I guess I better get going. Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Monday a.m.


Good morning! You ready for this? Monday. I am. It's going to be a great week!

The weekend went well for me/us. Friday I smoked meat all day, plus I did yard work and finished up a few things for Sunday. It was a beautiful day. I decided to not run Friday. I did a brick on Thursday--ride followed immediately by a run--and was a bit tired. Knowing that I had a big ride on Saturday, I decided to rest.

Saturday was wonderful! I met Bill and Dan at McDonald's in Bedford for some pre-ride oatmeal and fellowship. Then it was time to make the drive to Crane. We were met by 1000s of flags as we turned to Westgate, which was the staging area for the ride. I heard there were 500 riders participating. We got our bikes all prepped and then met for the (too long) opening ceremony. Mike and Tim had their wives with them. Lori and Jamie were riding the 30 miler.

Mike, Tim, John, Bill, Rand, Dan, and I are planned on 65. After we passed through the gate, John saw a faster friend. We did not see him/them the rest of the day. That left 6 of us. It was a fun day. Lots of hills and considerable heat made me careful about hydration and nutrition. I had a couple of minor bouts of fatigue (expected) but felt really strong at the end. Compared with last year, I am in a lot better shape. Part of that may be due to a better bike? We shared lots of laughs and simply enjoyed the ride. We saw a snake and an eagle, which was pretty cool.

Saturday evening we had a nice family meal. Lester and Maddie joined us, and Luke "Skyped" in from Antigua, Guatemala. He gave us a detailed description of the bridge construction. It was very interesting and so nice to see/hear him. I think you can see the photos/description here.

Well, Blogger seems to be messed up this morning, so I will end this here and hope I can post it.

Pray First



When do you start to pray?

How bad does a situation or circumstance have to get before you start looking beyond your ability to control it?

There is an interesting verse tucked way back in 2 Chronicles (16:12).

In the thirty-ninth year of his reign Asa was afflicted with a disease in his feet. Though his disease was severe, even in his illness he did not seek help from the LORD, but only from the physicians.

Wow! Sounds pretty modern in some ways, doesn’t it?

We need to pray early, often, and first. I like to ponder this expression attributed to various ones.

Pray as if everything depends upon God and work like it depends upon you.

Think about that today, but the main thing to take away is to begin with prayer. A Monday morning prayer will make a difference in how this week unfolds.

Why not go ahead and say a prayer now?

Friday, May 18, 2012

Life's like This

Think Along 65

What is it with these numbers? Tomorrow I am riding my bike 65 miles with a bunch of other people. It’s the Ride 2 Recover ride at Crane.

This is the elevation chart for the first 50 miles. The last 15 are essentially the same.

It’s not quite as bad as it appears, but it is hilly and will be hard.

There are a lot of similarities between a ride like this and life. Sometimes you fly down the hills with exhilaration, but then you must slowly and painfully grind your way up another hill.

Then you go back down. Then back up.

It’s so much easier when you ride in a group. It’s hard to do this by yourself.

It’s wonderful when you take a break every few miles and people provide some encouraging snacks. It’s fuel for the ride and an anticipation of the big meal at the end.

And when the ride is over you sit down at a table with friends and enjoy a meal and tell stories punctuated with laughter.

Yes, it sounds like the Story of God to me.

Friday a.m.


Good morning! And what a beautiful morning it is! It's nice and cool and promising to be pleasantly warm. What a nice day for a smoke. Meat. Today I am smoking meat, but I will also be doing all kinds of other things, including some work for Sunday. Mostly today, however, will be about a neglected yard.

Yesterday was a good day. I ate out three times, but didn't overeat at any of them. Two out of three times someone else paid, so, hey, that was good! Lots of life goes on, and we need each other to make it through.

Last night we ate at Stoll's Lakeview restaurant just north of Loogootee. We met some of our Honduras team from Washington. We had a nice meal and meeting. I've been to Honduras enough that it is almost an ordinary trip in some ways. Being around people anticipating their first trip helps me to relive the excitement of going. Refreshing.

Tomorrow is the big ride at Crane. I am really looking forward to riding with several friends. Some of us are doing the 65 mile course. Above is the elevation chart. It's not quite as bad as it appears, but it is hilly. Last year Rand crashed at 45 mph going down one of the hills. Yes, we will be careful.

Enjoy the day and the weekend!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Old Love



Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I’m sixty-four?

For some reason that old Beatle’s song jumped into my head this morning!

It got me to thinking about love and marriage and divorce. Have you read about the new trend called gray divorce?

The divorce rate for those over 50 has doubled in the last 20 years. Sad.

Marriage has to be based on unconditional love, a decision to love "no matter what." It’s a decision that outlasts physical attraction and emotion. Both of those things can fade as the years add up.

There is something sweet and sacred about a couple growing old together. It takes a lot of work that is rooted in the kind of love that God has for us: an unconditional commitment.

I want to love and be loved like that. Don’t you? Let's commit to it.

Thursday a.m.




Good morning! This came in from Luke overnight:

I made it back in to Coban today! We stayed at the bridge site for 6 nights. We finished everything today. I just put a picture up on facebook. I'll be in Antigua through at least Saturday night, so I'll have better internet and should be able to call some time. Here are two more pictures.

I add this from a Facebook post from Luke:

Proud to say that the bridge is up, completed, and fully functional (as indicated by the 55 people gathered on it for a prayer service)!!

In the middle picture you can see the old bridge that the villagers used. Yes, it makes this old man proud of his son.

So how's it going on this amazingly beautiful Thursday morning? I love this weather! I ran 5 miles yesterday morning while it was still around 60 degrees. That is such an enjoyable temp to run in. And the run went well. I ran the big hill out of Spice Valley and felt pretty good. Today, later this afternoon, I am going to do a brick: ride followed by run. It's going to have to be short, due to time constraints. I hope to ride 15-20 miles and then run 2-3 miles.

Yesterday was full of activity. My run was followed by some study followed by a meeting followed by several stops to see several people. Everything, I suppose, would be described as uneventful, but uneventful is fine. I've come to understand that the mundane uneventful things make up the vast majority of faithfulness. Right?

Today I do the triple. Triple? Run, ride, swim? NO. Eat out three times? YES. It just worked out that way, so I am going to have to be careful about how much I eat today. I had already scheduled lunch with someone when someone else called wanting to eat lunch. I asked the first lunch person if we could do breakfast. Yes. Then this evening we are gathering in Loogootee for a Honduras team meeting. We have 6 people from Washington going with us and want to spend some time with them. Our trip is July 8-18.

Amongst all the eating today I hope to get mostly prepared for Sunday. Tomorrow I am smoking meat all day for a friend's wedding reception. I am really looking forward to Saturday. Several of us are riding at Crane - 65 miles of hills!

OK, here we go...

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Gossip


As a child, were any of you made to watch Hee Haw?

Or, like me, did you make your child watch a few minutes of reruns on RFD-TV to expose them to classic and classy TV from the past?

And do you remember this song from the show?

"Now, we’re not ones to go ’round spreadin’ rumors
Why, really we’re just not the gossipy kind
No, you’ll never hear one of us repeating gossip
So you’d better be sure and listen close the first time!"

We often laugh about gossip, but it really is a dangerous and usually divisive practice. Here are a couple of proverbs that speak about it (26:20 & 16:28).

Without wood a fire goes out; without gossip a quarrel dies down.

A perverse man stirs up dissension, and a gossip separates close friends.

I can participate by speaking it and/or listening to it. Which is worse?

Wednesday a.m.


Good morning Wednesday! Hello long day! It's going to be another beautiful day in the neighborhood. I love this weather.

Looks like the Guatemala bridge team is making good progress. I really, really want to go down there sometime with Luke to see it. I'm pretty sure he will be making regular trips, so the opportunity should present itself at some point in the future.

A good chunk of yesterday was spent in a training session for a pre-marital counseling tool. You can go here to see about it. I have unofficially used this tool 2-3 times and was impressed by it, but now, having been trained in its use, I am thoroughly impressed with it. It is excellent! I am also interested in the RE-FOCCUS product, specifically using it in a small group setting.

After the training I met with my Capstone Ministries buddies. The ReGeneration Store continues to be blessed, and we continue to fund various projects and things consistent with our mission statement.

Capstone Ministries
a 501(c)(3) non-profit Christian organization, exists to partner with the community to serve people in need.

ReGeneration
a non-profit thrift store, sells donated household furnishings and clothing to support Capstone Ministries’ efforts to serve people in need.

I put the Store statement in there for you as well. We have invested north of $85,000 in the community so far and continue to do lots more. We greatly appreciate our dedicated employees, volunteers, and customers.

Last night was Paceline Tuesday, our 32 mile bike ride from Spring Mill Park. We ride from the Park out to the Washington County line, which 16 miles, and then paceline back to Orleans, which is 10 miles. Pacelining is where the cyclists line up one behind the other, creating a nice draft for those behind the guy(s) in front. The front guy "pulls" for a while and then drifts to the back of the line. The bikes are separated by just a few inches.

Last night the plan was to go 22-24 m.p.h. Since I am not as experienced as the others, I decided to just stay on the back and not take a pull. That worked out well for me and was a confidence builder. I felt good the whole way. We had a couple of interuptions. Mike had some major bike trouble at the very beginning and then about 4 miles in. He did a nice job of field repair and was able to finish well. We had 9 guys on the line last night. Next week I am putting my race wheels on and hope to get the full experience. Afterwards we went to Wendy's for food, laughter, and story telling.

Today is going to be a good, long, busy day. I'm going to start with a run this morning and then keep running all day long -- people to see, places to go, you know, that sort of thing.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Prop me up


Someone sent this to me. It’s worth sharing.

Prop Me up on the Leaning Side

Every time I am asked to pray, I think of the old fellow who always prayed, "Lord, prop us up on our leaning side." After hearing him pray that prayer many times, someone asked him why.

He answered, "Well sir, you see, it’s like this... I got an old barn out back. It’s been there a long time. It’s withstood a lot of weather; it’s gone through a lot of storms. It’s stood for many years and is still standing. One day I noticed it was leaning to one side a bit, so I went and got some pine poles and propped it up on its leaning side so it wouldn’t fall.

Then I got to thinking about that and how much I was like that old barn. I’ve been around a long time. I’ve withstood a lot of life’s storms. I’ve withstood a lot of hard times, and I’m still standing, too. But I find myself leaning to one side from time to time, so I like to ask the Lord to prop us up on our leaning side, ‘cause I figure a lot of us get to leaning at times.

Sometimes we get to leaning toward anger, leaning toward bitterness, leaning toward hatred, leaning toward a lot of things that we shouldn’t. So we need to pray, ‘Lord, prop us up on our leaning side, so we will stand straight and tall again, to glorify the Lord.’"

Tuesday morning


How are you on this beautiful morning that is breaking? It's going to be such a nice day! This picture is from Guatemala. Luke is on the left, and it looks like the 2 sides of the bridge have been connected. I assume the picture was taken from the old bridge. It's amazing that communication can take place from such a remote place. There is no electricity in the village, so a solar powered cell phone charging station was installed a couple of years ago. People all over Central America have and use cell phones. Interesting.

Monday came and went didn't it? It seemed like a pretty ordinary day to me. The most notable thing was the beautiful weather. I could take a whole week of it, and it looks like that's exactly what we are going to get. I had a few meetings and a quick trip to Bloomington, along with some "Internetless" computer time. The Internet is so wonderful and such a time waster! ha ha I got some stuff organized on my computer that has been on my list for quite a while.

I attended a couple of softball games last night. Our church teams, men and women, played at the same time, so I spent a lot of time looking this way and then that. Ben and Rebecca played, so they were my main focus. Lester and Maddie were absent. Lester had a law review before taking his big test.

After the games I made my way to the pool. I had a good night in the pool overall. I think I can make my way across a lake now, but I need to improve upon a few things. Bill and Jim were there with me last night, so I provided them with some entertainment. On my last lap, for some reason, my googles filled with water, something that's never happened before. Anyway, I swam right into the side wall. I think there is a video of it floating around out there.

This evening I ride. It's Paceline Tuesday! I am really looking forward to it. My short run of 3 miles went well yesterday. I had no pain at all. Of course a two + week layoff makes running again a little hard, but I will be back fully within a couple of weeks.

I have a pre-marital counseling training seminar all morning today. That will be followed by a meeting or two. Here we go...

Monday, May 14, 2012

Who do you work for?



"I may look calm and collected when I stroll in to work on Monday, but really, I've killed all my employees in my head like three times."

Did your boss say that?

It’s actually attributed to that famous person called Unknown.

It’s Monday and a lot of people are dreading going back to work. Perhaps that dread is associated with a bad boss.

How can you work for a person like that? Truth is, if we follow Christ, we are working for Him. Colossians 3 provides this nice reminder for the week ahead.

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

Monday a.m.


Good morning! Are you ready for a new week? Ready or not... This is going to be a busy week for me. The last two weeks were really compressed, because both involved Friday ceremonies for Luke and Lester, followed by all day activities on Saturday. This week involves 2-3 extra events as well, although of a different nature.

The "extras" this week include a 5 hour training tomorrow about how to use a pre-marital counseling assessment. I have used it through other trained folks, but now I will receive the training to administer it myself. I am looking forward to it. Another extra is a big smoke for a friend's wedding reception. Today I need to go buy the meet and then I will take another day to smoke it, which, of course, I enjoy. The third extra is a 65 mile bike ride at Crane on Saturday. That will be challenging, since it is very hilly.

Kedra and I are still catching our breath from watching our two oldest sons graduate a week apart. It's a nice feeling, and I don't think it has really sunk in yet. Lester has to return to Butler today for a seminar on how to take the law portion of his licensure test. If I understand it correctly, now that he has his degree, he can take the 2 tests required to be a licensed pharmacist. He should be able to take these tests really soon. Of course he is already employed, but it's always about paper work. Right?

Luke called Kedra last night from Guatemala to wish her a happy mother's day. The bridge construction, as expected, has a had a few challenges, but they have been overcome so far. Luke told Kedra that he has been working really long hours and is getting run down. He's sleeping on site in a hammock. Some of the team members are battling sickness, and Luke is running a low fever. He does that when he gets really, really tired. He was going to try get a good, long night of sleep last night. I'm sure he would appreciate your prayers.

We had a fun day yesterday. I thought church was good, and then we had a nice meal at our house. I smoked brisket and chicken. All the woman went first, and following the meal, the men cleaned up. I didn't help much--let's just get that out there right now--but I spent 12 hours or more in meat prep! I was actually watching my daughter open her birthday presents. The other guys were not that interested in that, and no one wanted to interrupt their work.

Today I am going to resume running. I was going to do that in Indy on Saturday, but the place where we stayed had a pool. I decided to work on my swimming instead. I'm glad I did. So today, after 2+ weeks off, I will hope the last vestiges of my bike spill are gone and I can run. This evening I will head to the pool. My first open water swim is only 2 weeks away. I have lots of work to do before then.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Sunday afternoon


How's it going? It's Mother's Day afternoon,and I've had a nap. This week is going to be crazy busy, so I am going to go ahead and get a jump on it.

We had a great weekend. Friday was Lester's hooding ceremony. This is where he received his hood to wear over his gown that signifies he has earned his doctor's degree in pharmacy. It was a really nice ceremony, and to say that I am proud of him wouldn't quite do it.

After the the hooding, we all went out to eat. I think there were 14 of us altogether, all family, including my parents, Kedra's parents, Maddie's parents, my sisters, Ben, and Rebecca. We had a nice meal together and then parted ways.

Saturday was graduation day. It was such a nice day! Butler has a long graduation. It was about 3 hours and 15 minutes to be exact! It was in Hinkle Fieldhouse and was a very nice ceremony. The pharmacy students were near the end of 880 graduates, so we waited a long time to hear Lester's name called. It was a moment worth waiting for.

Last night we had a family party at Maddie and Lester's new place. It was a nice gathering. Enjoyable. Maddie did a great job of planning and executing the evening. Maddie is such a wonderful young lady. Lester certainly married up - ha ha. She worked so hard for the last 4 -5 years to help get Lester through school. Now it's her turn to take a little break.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Friday


Good morning! It's Friday!

The picture above came in from Guatemala and is of the construction site for Luke's bridge. I believe the black rectangle is the beginning of it. The scaffolding below shows how steep/deep the gorge is.

We are leaving in about an hour to go to Indy. Lester gets hooded this morning as a Doctor of Pharmacy. Where did those 6 years go? It seems like yesterday that we were talking about careers that were good for people who loved chemistry, etc. He gets hooded this morning at 11, and then we are going out for a celebratory meal. I think we reserved a table for 14, since a lot of family members are coming to the ceremony. Tomorrow Lester goes through the graduation ceremony in Hinkle Fieldhouse. He was limited on tickets for that, so only a few of us will attend.

Yesterday was a good busy day. I got everything finished for Sunday, so I can let it all go until tomorrow night. I also smoked 2 chickens, 2 pork shoulders, and a brisket. I mowed the grass, and got a bike ride in as well. Multi-tasking to the max.

My bike ride late yesterday afternoon was from my house over to Williams and back. Can you say HILLS? My speed varied from 39 mph to 7 mph. My bike computer showed it being 12.5 miles from my house to the railroad crossing in Williams. I felt good the whole way, and the more I do the hills, the easier they get to do. That's what I was hoping for. I have a 65 mile ride at Crane a week from tomorrow. It is a very hilly 65 miles.

After the ride, Kedra and I went to watch church softball. Rebecca and Maddie play for the girls, while Ben and Lester play for the boys. It was a pleasant evening to watch. Ben could not play because he had football practice. He did not get home until after 9:30, which I think is... Well, let's keep it positive this morning.

I left the boy's game in time to get to the pool at 8. I had my best night ever in the pool. I still have a ways to go, but I am making good progress toward becoming a triathlete and hopefully an Ironman. Long, long way to go.

OK, off to Indy we go!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

God is Patient


God is patient.

Wrap your mind around that for a moment or two. The Story of God, revealed in Scripture, testifies over and over again to his patience with us.

His patience, along with kindness, and tolerance has a purpose.

Roman 2:4 — . . . Do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?

God’s patience, which comes from his love and his desire to be in relationship with us, is designed to bring us to him.

I wonder if my patience toward others would do the same thing?

Thursday morning


Good morning! It is going to be a great day today! The weather is going to be super, and I am smoking meat for Lester's graduation celebration and for Mother's Day. While smoking, I will be preparing for Sunday. Living the dream... ha ha!

Here's a note from Luke. He's in Guatemala with a team of folks from Lipscomb and other places. This picture is of the bridge construction. To the right you can see the bridge that he is replacing. It's just a couple of feet wide, and it spans a deep gorge. Luke's bridge is being made of steel. Since there are no machines available and no electricity, he designed it in small sections that will bolt together. He told me it was like putting Legos together. The locals, with help from the missionary, poured the concrete bases. They mixed all that by hand.

I’m pleased to report to you from the comfort of our temporary home.
We made it safely from Coban to the Valley today, where we will be
staying for a week. We had a very productive afternoon after arriving.
The solar team was able to get organized for their upcoming tasks. The
water team was able to see their work site and made some very
beneficial adjustments to their design and is ready to begin tomorrow.
The finished bridge pieces arrived to the Valley today with a fresh
coat of paint. 50 eager men arrived at the top of the mountain to
carry every piece of the bridge to the site. They made quick work of
the transportation and the bridge is ready for construction tomorrow.
Kris Hatchell and I were able to go to the bridge site to see how the
scaffolding, that will hold the bridge during construction, looked.
Attached is a picture of the scaffolding. We are very thrilled with
the quality of work by everyone involved in the bridge. We are
confident and excited to start tomorrow!

Thank you for keeping us in your prayers. God has been good to us.
Update you soon!



Yesterday was another good day. We had a very long Hoosier MAMA meeting. OK, that's an old joke. MAMA stands for Mitchell Area Ministerial Association, and we are all living in Indiana... Anyway there were lots of good things discussed - things that matter and will make a difference in our community. Details will come out later.

I went to Bloomington for my weekly meeting/time with Pat A. We worked through a preaching text and talked about life and its challenges. There are always challenges!

After a brief stop at Sam's to get a brisket (for Mother's Day), I made my way to see a few people in various places and stages of life. I finally arrived home in time to prep for today's smoke. Then it was off to lead my Bible discussion group. One of our group members could not decide if it was Eunice or her Greek boyfriend who was the "hottie." I was challenged to use the word "hottie" in the sermon. Should be no problem really.

Speaking of challenges, oh my... I made a causal comment on the bike ride the other night, and that little comment got carried back to Wendy. This little comment got Wendy fired up, so she wrote this piece. I think I now have my motivation for training hard all summer. Wendy is sharp, smart, competitive and a very fast runner. I will have to be a couple of minutes ahead of her going into the run if I am to win this challenge.

Today is a bike day! Not sure when, but I will get it in. Then the pool... Running resumes, hopefully, Saturday morning.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Listen!


Have you noticed that we have 2 ears and 1 mouth?

What do you think that tells us?

Listen more than we speak?

James, the brother of Jesus, says this in his first chapter:

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak...

How can we listen better today?

Wednesday a.m.

Wednesday! It's the long day for me, but I like it just fine. I've got a lot to do today - places to go, people to see, and all the cliches of life to live out. I hope you are doing well today.

Yesterday, let's see, what did I do yesterday? Oh yeah, now I remember. I spent the first part of the day studying about a couple of ladies called Lois and Eunice, the grandmother and mother of Timothy. I plan to weave an imaginative story about their lives into a mother's day sermon. I think it has potential to be interesting and helpful. I think Eunice was a rebel. She married a Greek, you know! God was redemptive, as always, working in the poor choices we make to make something good come from it, IF we will seek him. So that's how the day started.

Then it was off to see 3 different people in 3 different locations and places in life. Each has a story and a whole life full of experiences that come to bear on the present situation. The last fellow I saw is an old man. He can barely live by himself. I watched him slowly, very slowly, so slowly, move through things that would take most of us seconds to do. We talked for a while. We ran out of things to talk about several times, and when we did he would say, "It's good to see you, Allen." Somehow, I don't think that was totally conversation filler.

I had lunch with Kedra, which is my custom. I try to do this as much as possible. It's such a brief time together but so pleasant and enjoyable. It kinda helps reset my day and recenter me. After lunch I went into school with her for the academic awards ceremony. Ben got a couple of awards, including Student of the Month. Ben does not have the same academic confidence that my other 3 had, so I was pleased he received a little recognition. As I watched him, I was almost overwhelmed by how much I love him. I think watching my 2 oldest transition from college to career makes me want to freeze time for a little while. It doesn't work that way, so I must savor each moment.

The ReGeneration Store continues to do very well. We have had record months every month of the year so far. I try to spend some time there everyday. Our employees are amazing and handle lots of situations with grace. I love hanging out there. It is such a positive, encouraging place.

Well, last night was the first "official" bike ride of the year. It was a pleasant evening. Just a little on the cool side and a lot on the windy side. While I've been hanging around the "big boys" for a couple of years, I never have done the official pace line with them. I have done some pace lining on different occasions and in different contexts. Last night was my introduction to the big time. It was a little rude. ha ha

There was a strong headwind as we headed back to Orleans from the Washington county line. I was third in line. The plan was to hold a rather pedestrian 22 mph, which was about how fast we went out, thanks to the tailwind. Bill pulled first, and he pulled for a long way. Jimmy pulled next for about 45 seconds and took us to Bromer and right into the strongest wind of the night. My turn!

As Bill and others would later tell me, I pulled too long and too hard up the hill and into the wind. I was dying trying to keep the pace up. I finally tapped out, moved over, and tried to reattach. Jimmy shouted, "Getting back on is going to be the hardest part!" Well, he was right. I tried but was spent. I was off, and once you are off, you are off! Gone is the all the benefit of drafting. Bill came and tried to help get back on, but it was too late. My rookie mistakes were pulling too long and trying to keep the pace up the hill and tapping out on a hill. Lessons learned? I hope so.

In spite of my mistakes, I had a very enjoyable evening and a great training ride. My quads were burning. The hill work from Monday probably contributed to that. Following the ride, a few of us gathered at Wendy's for food and fellowship. It was great way to end a nice day.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Quit?



"Quit Now!"

That’s what the poster said. It was held by a young man surrounded by a bunch of other young men, all standing along the course of the Boston Marathon.

They invited fatigued runners struggling in brutal heat to simply quit and join them in a tent stocked with cold drinks.

I don’t know if anyone succumbed to their tempting plea. It seemed cruel to me, slightly angered me, and made me more determined to finish the race.

Are you ever tempted to quit, quit something that you have worked hard for, maybe even dreamed of doing? But things are tough, circumstances are challenging, and a voice (or a sign) says, "Quit Now!"

I say, DON’T QUIT! Work through the problems and keep your eye on the goal. Finish! You have lots of people to encourage you. Look for them. Listen to them. Here’s a nice voice from Hebrews 12:1,2.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Don’t quit!

Tuesday a.m.


Hello Tuesday! How are you? A couple of cups of good coffee and I'm feeling fine and ready to take on a new day, a gift from God.

The picture is from last Friday, after Luke's Order of the Engineer ring ceremony. This is my family as it is presently composed. Luke's in the middle; it was his day. Ben is slightly taller than Luke but is still growing. Actually Ben has put on 20 pounds since football season ended. He's been working hard in the weight room and in the kitchen.

Yesterday was a day to catch my emotional breath. The weekend was wonderful and a huge life event. It's hard to believe that both of my boys are making the big life move from college to career just one week apart.  I'm trying to get a grip on where that places me in life. Old, I think. ha ha

Uneventful. That's how I would characterize yesterday. Uneventful is good and preferred most of the time. I saw several people, helped a few, encouraged some, and generally tried to be good and do good.

As far as my move to becoming a triathlete is concerned, it was a pretty good day. Running is still on hold, which is fine. Late yesterday afternoon I got on my bike and rode from my house, which is located in a very hilly region of our fine county. I rode down my hill, hitting 38 miles an hour without being in aero position. That's fast for not being warmed up.

What goes down must go up! I rode over to 450 via Stumphole bridge, which provided me lots of opportunities to work on my climbing. I made it a 20 mile ride by doing a couple of short side roads. The hardest hill? Coming back home, just past the Stumphole bridge. I looked at my heart rate and wished I wouldn't have. In theory my maximum heart rate is [220-53 (age)] 167. On that hill I saw 179 before I looked away. It was a good workout.

After supper I went to the pool. It was my best night there by far. Bill D. built upon what Rand has been patiently teaching me. Some would say I am swimming now.  I'm almost ready to say it. Maybe Thursday?

Tonight is our first organized Tuesday night pace-line ride from Spring Mill Park at 5:45. We'll ride 16 miles out to the Washington county line and then pace-line for 10 miles back to Orleans. After that we'll ride easy back to the Park. I am really forward to this! Fun for 32 miles.

I've got a lot to do before this evening, so I best get busy!

Monday, May 07, 2012

Monday prayer



St. Francis provides a nice prayer for a Monday, doesn’t he? Works pretty well every day, actually.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.

Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

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

Now, to put it into practice. . .

Monday morning

Good morning! How was your weekend? We had a long one full of activity and joy. It all started on Thursday afternoon when we left for Nashville with Ben, Lester and Maddie.

We were heading to the Music City for Luke's graduation. And we were pulling a trailer to take things to him for the house he is renting with a few other guys. To prepare the trailer for the long trip, Lester and Ben, on Wednesday night, took the wheels off my truck and put them on the trailer. The trailer tires are not very good.

The trip Thursday evening went well. Ben did a great job of driving us there. Of course I took the usual abuse for giving him helpful, positive, encouraging, friendly driving tips along the way. Hey, it's my job as a dad! We got to Nashville about my bedtime, but I manned up and stayed up. We unloaded the trailer and then headed to the Lavender's, our friends in Nashville.

Friday was nice. Luke received his Order of the Engineer ring in a nice ceremony at Lipscomb. The room was full of engineers and those who gravitate toward them. There was lots of geekiness and nerdiness in the room, which made me look uber-cool of course. Following the ceremony it was time to eat, and then after that, it was time to eat some more, followed by more eating. The eating was interrupted by Luke taking us to his new work place. He gave us a nice tour! This is the company that he will soon work for.

Saturday was the big day! Graduation. The ceremony was nice, nice and long--nearly 3 hours long. But it was enjoyable. My eyes kept watering during the ceremony. Must be those stupid allergies! Luke made us proud. He graduated magna cum laude and won a couple of awards from the engineering department for leadership and service. He was also recognized as a SALT scholar for his work in Guatemala. SALT stands for Service and Learning Together and is a program where students complete service-learning experiences as a part of their academic graduation requirement. Luke's bridge work qualified him for the award.

Following the ceremony we had a nice gathering at the Lavender's to celebrate. My parents and sisters joined us for a while before the long late drive back to Indiana. Nikki Arnold, also from Mitchell, graduated. She and her family joined us in the celebration. It was a nice time of food and fellowship. Celebration!

Yesterday we got up and went to church with Luke, Lydia, and Rebecca at Ethos. We had a nice time of worship, followed by more eating. We said good-bye to Luke, which is always hard. He leaves for Guatemala tomorrow and will be there for a month. He will then start his job. We made the trip home without incident. We got home with just enough time to unload and go the graduation dinner at church, which was very nice.

This week we start the process all over again. This time it will be about Lester. He graduates from Butler on Saturday as a Doctor of Pharmacy. Wow, it's all hard to believe!

I had hoped to run a lot this weekend. I got 75 miles of riding in last week, but NO running. My bike spill a week ago Friday banged my knee pretty hard. I tried to run a couple times after the spill. It hurt, so I stopped. In Nashville on Friday, I tried again, and it still hurts. I talked to Earl, an experienced runner and cross country coach, and he said it is a bruised bone. So I am now doing the ice/ibu treatment. I think I will stay off it for this week, hoping that it will get lots better. My focus is in the water and on the bike right now anyway.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Proverbs 15:1,2


A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly.

Thursday a.m.

Good morning! It's 70 degrees! Yesterday (today will also) reminded me of the way it felt in Boston for the marathon a couple of weeks ago. As I mowed my grass yesterday, with sun beating down on me, I began to appreciate more finishing a marathon in the heat. 

I feel really unsettled, which is mostly a good thing. Both Lester and Luke are graduating from college, just a week apart, and Rebecca is moving back home for the summer. There are lots of powerful emotions running through my heart. Graduating from college is a big deal. I'm proud of both boys for going through quickly and according to plan. Both of them have good jobs awaiting them.

Today is mostly about getting everything together so we can head to Nashville this afternoon. We are towing a trailer with some things Luke needs for the house he is renting (along with some of his friends). On the return trip we will have other things to tow home. Ben and Lester got the trailer all ready to roll last night.

Sometime today I hope to get on my bike and go for a good ride. Running and riding are so therapeutic for me. I can think about things or not think about things. Today will be a pleasant day for a ride.



Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Sad Songs


Some of you are going to think of this post all day long, because some of you are going to get a song stuck in your head. Ready?

Sad songs, they say, sad songs, they say, sad songs, they say, sad songs they say so much.

It’s true, and the Scriptures are full of them. In fact there is a whole category of Psalms classified as Psalms of Lament. And what about the Book of Lamentations? It’s a sad song, and it says a lot.

Sadness is a part of the human experience, and it’s OK to be sad from time to time. You would be odd not to be sad occasionally, in my opinion.

What’s interesting about lament in Scripture is that it usually ends up praising God. Lamentations 3 is typical.

I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD'S great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him."

Those sad songs sure say a lot.

Holy Smokes, It's Wednesday


Some don't know this, but some people call me The Holy Smoker and some call the work I do as that person Holy Smokes Barbecue. OK, it's mostly me who uses that terminology, but if I don't, who will? Good morning Wednesday. Yes, I am smoking this morning. It's been a while, quite a while since I've smoked. I do find it relaxing and somewhat addictive.

Sometimes I smoke for Bible Camp. There is always some misunderstanding when the kids tell their parents who then communicate to others things like these.

"WELL, I heard that that liberal preacher from Mitchell was seen smoking out at Bible Camp!"

"Me too! I heard he hides behind the canteen and brags about smoking all day long!"

Anyway, today I am smoking meat, Boston Butts to be exact (and boy, the jokes that line up waiting to be told here are just too easy). They are really hard to light, those Boston Butts, but once you get them going... That was another joke, just in case you missed it. ANYWAY, I am smoking meat for Luke's graduation party in Nashville on Saturday. He graduates Saturday after an engineering ceremony on Friday. Nikki Arnold also graduates and is having her party with Luke/us.

Luke, after graduation, takes off for Guatemala for about a month. Then he comes back to a real civil engineering job with a large firm in Nashville. He/we are so blessed and thankful. While in Guatemala he hopes to help with the construction of the bridge that he designed for his senior project. I miss having Luke around here, a lot, but I'm very proud of him and the way he lives his life.

Smoking today will be a challenge. I will multi-task and work on several projects while glancing at the temperature gauge, but I have to leave for a little while this morning to do a graveside service. I know my smoker and it knows me. We have this mystical union thing, so I think I can get it set just right and let it coast while I am gone.

Yesterday, I carefully watched the weather, weighed out the work I needed to do and the nature of it, and decided that I would ride mid-morning, which looked like the only dry opportunity for the day. I had talked to Tim the Elder the night before about riding. It worked out for us to ride the Amish Loop together. What I didn't expect was those morning showers that dampened our way a little bit on the way back. We still had a good, enjoyable ride. My wrist, while sore, is getting better.

Better go. I smell smoke. Ah, and it smells so good!

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Love



It’s probably the most overused, misused word in the English language: love.

We love everything from our families to pizza.

The kind of love that we need to make relationships work is described in a 1 Corinthians 13.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

That’s a nice list of love’s qualities and characteristics! Don't you love this list?

An interesting exercise is to replace the word love in this passage with the word God.

A challenging/convicting exercise is to replace the word love in this passage with my/your name.

Looks like I have some work to do!

I’m so thankful that God love me perfectly, even when I fail to love as he does.

Tuesday

Good morning! Do you remember that Village People song, "Macho Man?" You do? And you admit it? OK, anyway, there are times that I want to break out in song, changing the word macho to iron. Honestly it doesn't work very well, but, still, I want to be an Ironman. That's the goal!  Kedra really would like for me to become an iron man also. What we've got here is a failure to communicate, I think.

Well, I went to the doctor yesterday and everything is fine! And there was no charge! Can you believe it? You go to a doctor, he treats you well, and there is no charge. You need to choose your doctor carefully. I went to this doctor, and he took my wheel off, trued it, put it back on and adjusted my derailleur. I didn't even have to wait for it all to happen. It was painless!

While I was there I saw Jay E's new bike. Wow, another Kestrel Talon is soon going to be cruising the roads of Lawrence County. Tall Jay is going to be quite a sight rolling down the road. Once he gets up to speed, then he will be great to draft behind. He is supposed to pick his bike up this week.

While in Bloomington yesterday, I took advantage of the opportunity to meet/eat with Pat A. We had a nice time together talking about various things and working toward sermons on Mothers Day, which is rapidly approaching. I am not preaching this week, since we will be in Nashville Saturday night for Luke's graduation and party. As I have written before, not preaching on Sunday changes my week considerably, providing me more time to do other things.

Yesterday was an interesting day. I had lots of unusual calls and contacts, including some people from KY who want me to do a graveside service for someone in Mitchell on Wednesday morning. This is interesting for lots of different reasons, and confidentiality keeps me from telling you anymore. Ha ha - don't you hate that? I would have to kill you if I told you. I will just say that it involves Russian spies and some things that happened when I visited Moscow, back in 2008. Part of my job is to mix truth and fiction in such a way that you cannot tell the difference. Oh, did I tell you that I swam 2 miles last night?

I managed a short bike ride yesterday afternoon before the rain came. My wrist hurt some, but it was/is much better. No, I did not go to a people doctor yesterday, just the bike doctor. I could tell things were better yesterday, so I decided that my own diagnosis and treatment were the way to go. Hey, I didn't want to disappoint you OR have anyone question whether I was a stubborn-medical-care-refusing man.

Need to go - got calls from Moscow and Istanbul coming in here shortly.