Thursday, January 31, 2013

Dying Regrets



Bronnie Ware, an Australian nurse who worked for years with people who are dying, took notes about her patients. She put her findings in a book, The Top Five Regrets of the Dying.

These are the regrets that were stated repeatedly by her Australian patients:

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
2. I wish I hadn't worked so hard.
3. I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

She said that nearly every man stated the 2nd one. Men, you might want to read it again.

Can you imagine your own funeral? It’s a good exercise. Any idea about your epitaph?

It’s good to imagine your regrets and take action now, while you can, to remove them.

Know regrets (now) = no regrets (later).

Thursday a.m.


Good morning! Guess what's on my mind this morning? That's right! Honduras. I love going there for many reasons, and one of them is the children. They are so precious.

Today I plan to get the bulk of my packing and organizing done. I have a procedure that involves putting things on a spare bed. I start a week or two before I travel. When I see something I'm going to take, it goes on the bed. I will also put little notes there of things I need to get etc. Today I start compiling and organizing all that. By doing that today, I should expose things I forgot and still have time to make the needed corrections. Now, didn't you find that little foray into my mind interesting? Wake up!

I managed to crank out another 6 miles yesterday morning, before the temps dropped and the wind blew too hard. I now need 9 more today and tomorrow to get my 30 miles before flying out on Saturday morning. I also hope to get on the bike trainer each day and then add the pool on Friday night.

January is just about over, which is hard to believe. I don't think I mentioned it, but January was a fairly strict diet month for me. I gained about 5 pounds at the end of last year, which was not surprising since I was eating like a pig. I don't really enjoy doing that in lots of ways but it happens at times. Anyway, January was my month to reverse that, and I actually dropped 7 pounds and feel really really good. I'm down to a little less than my Monumental Marathon weight, so I am right where I need/want to be. Maintain! Ramping up miles on the road, bike, and in the pool should take care of that part.

Yesterday was a good day. There was a project that I was working on, trying to get someone some heat after a furnace failure. Partnering with others and seeing a project through is always satisfying. Hopefully this woman, who works hard, had a warm house last night. I don't know this person very well, but she represents the working poor. They just can't afford a thing like this. Related to this is my frustration when gas prices rise 50 cents at a time. It hurts us all, but it really hurts people who are barely making it. Some faceless greedy manager somewhere decides to make a few extra bucks, perhaps pushing a poor person back onto welfare because he can't afford to get to work.

OK, I better get after it. Lots to do today... Thanks for coming by.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Enough


Enough.

That’s an interesting word, pregnant with lots of ideas.

How do you define and/or measure it? What is enough? How much is enough?

That’s really hard to figure out, isn’t it?

I ran into this recently in Proverbs (30:7-9)

"Two things I ask of you, O LORD;
do not refuse me before I die:
Keep falsehood and lies far from me;
give me neither poverty nor riches,
but give me only my daily bread.
Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you
and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’
Or I may become poor and steal,
and so dishonor the name of my God."

The person of wisdom prays for enough. Are we bold enough to pray for that? It is a prayer of faith and trust.

My wife recently pointed me to this poem, written by Bob Perks:

I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright.
I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more.
I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive.
I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger.
I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.
I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.
I wish you enough "Hello’s" to get you through the final "Goodbye."

If I read the Story of God correctly, then I think there is consistent call from God for us to believe that he is enough. That realization leads to peace, joy, salvation, and the ability to deal with whatever happens.

Wednesday a.m.

This first paragraph is dedicated to all the Garmin haters out there. Just kidding. Garmins do seem to be a bit polarizing. I love mine but only use it as a tool. It does not perfectly measure things, but it's pretty close. The people who are enslaved to them, and like to argue about distances based on Garmin's measurements vs. wheeled distances, make it hard for all of us. ha ha. Hey, you know what? I know that most of you do not care in the least about this. I was just looking for a fresh way to start this blog post.
 
Well, that was an interesting night. I knew going to bed that life-threatening, end-of-the-world, storms would arrive in the middle of my precious sleep. Sure enough they arrived. I woke up when the power went off, which was some time before 3, I think. Then Kedra's phone went off, saying that we were under a tornado warning. I had no way of seeing the radar, and she wanted to go to the basement. I usually just stay put, especially if I can see the radar and see that the warning might be for north or south of here.
 
To the basement we went. Luke's room. Good-bye sleep. At least the power came back on pretty quickly. Our  house did not blow away. Have to focus on the positive, right? ha ha. Oh well.
 
Last night was Tempo Tuesday. I missed last week, and the week before we just did mile repeats. This was my first effort of this training cycle. I did not want to make the mistake I made last training cycle, which was to set the bar too high so that improvement was hard to come by. I decided to run with John T, who is running pretty well after a long injury. He said something about 7:10/7:15 pace. I liked the idea.
 
Off we went. First mile: 7:12. Not bad, just about right. Mile two is the hard in some ways, because it begins on a grade. I did it in 7:06, which is fine. The third mile has two uphills in it, including a long uphill to the finish. I managed it in 7:13. My overall time was 21:31, for an average of, drum roll please, 7:10 per mile. ha ha. I was pleased with it. I hope to move that down below 7 minute miles over the course of the next few weeks. I have a long way to go to get to 6:26, which is what it will take to break 20 minutes in the 5K. One step at a time...
 
OK, enough of that. I had another interesting day of helping people yesterday. The need is overwhelming at times. It's messy and confusing a lot of the time, but it's what I am called to do. I enjoy it most of the time.
 
Today I am focused on getting more ready for Honduras. I've been enough times, 8 I think, that I know what to expect and what to take. It still takes a little while to get it all together. I am really looking forward to this trip!
 
Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Can't take it with you



I once thought I was clever when I said, "You never see a hearse towing a trailer." Well, then the internet came along.

The point I used to make is still valid. When you die, you cannot take your stuff with you.

"For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it." (1 Timothy 6:7)

Money is pretty tricky stuff, dangerous stuff, especially if you love it.

"For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs." (1 Timothy 6:10)

Richard Foster, in the wonderful book, "Celebration of Discipline," says this about money and stuff.

1. Recognize that it is all a gift from God.
2. Hold it lightly not tightly.
3. If someone needs it more than me, then I’ll give it to them.

Jesus presents a lot of different thoughts about money. I like this one, found in Luke 16.

"I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings."

He is saying to help people in need, and by doing so you are investing in them and in your future. You are showing that you trust God and understand what he’s done for you. It all makes a difference now and later.

Don’t be afraid. Go out and use your money to help people. You can’t take it with you.

Tuesday morning


Can't wait to see smiles like these! Good morning. How are you? It's Tuesday and it's going to be windy today. And warm! Weirdly warm. I'm not much of a believer in man-made global warming, but our weather does seem to be different than it used to be.

I do remember, as a kid in school, that the big concern then was that another ice age would overtake us. Glaciers would descend from the north and flatten us. I don't care much for this word, but it works for me in this issue: whatever. Don't take that to mean that I endorse irresponsibility when it comes to caring for the earth. Why am I talking about all this?? I don't know. Let's move on to the usual boring stuff.

Yesterday was an ordinary day in that it saw unusual things. I'm still working with some people to get someones heat fixed. There is so much waiting involved, and it's hard to tell what the wait is about. I do know that it can lead to frustration. We'll try again today.

I spent some time yesterday afternoon in court. It was a pre-trial hearing involving a case where someone died. I sat with the deceased's mother, listening to lawyers do their thing. The mother had to listen, yet again, how her son died at the hand of the young man sitting in the room. I can't imagine how hard that must be. She did well.

The court session ended just in time for me to connect with 2 Tims for a run. I was thinking 5 or 6, but Tim S said, "8." I said, "I think so." I had to figure out if I had enough time to do that, clean up, eat and get to another meeting. "Why not!," I said. We had a nice 8 miler. It rained on us some, but I didn't get cold; felt pretty good really.

I made my next meeting, which I will tell you about some other time. It ended just in time for me to get to the pool for a swim at 8 p.m. I managed another 750 yards, so I was pleased with that. It was a good day in the world of endurance training.

Today I have a couple of meetings, prep for Honduras, a few people I need to see, and then I will end the day with Tempo Tuesday. Should make great time heading north on the run! Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, January 28, 2013

What to do in a difficult spot

You know that old expression, "between a rock and a hard place"? A lot of people find themselves there from time to time. Maybe you live there. Maybe that’s what you think about when you go to work.

A long, long time ago, the people of God found themselves in a spot like that, but it was literally between a sea and an army. With their backs to the Red Sea, they looked out and saw a cloud of dust. It was the Egyptian army–horses and chariots–bearing down on them.

I can imagine the earth beneath them vibrating from the thundering herd of horsemen. They were terrified! They were critical of God but still cried out to him.

Moses, God’s man, speaks words that I believe I can use today.

"Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today . . . The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still."

The battle belongs to the Lord. When will I learn that? Maybe when I get still long enough to listen, learn, trust, and obey?

Monday a.m.

Good morning! I hope you had a good weekend. Went fast didn't it? My weekend included a trip to Lipscomb. Actually it just involved a long day on Friday and a little bit into Saturday. In other words, I drove down on Friday morning and got home at 1 a.m. Saturday. I debated about spending the night but decided I wanted to be at home for Saturday.
 
When I woke up Friday, I was a little concerned about getting to TN. My concern was justified/confirmed by the number of wrecks and stories circulating about slick roads, especially in Kentucky. I decided to give it a go and took off. I got 3 miles from home and had to wait 10 minutes for a wreck to get cleaned up. After that, much to my surprise, I really had no other problems. In Kentucky there were signs that things had been bad, but by the time I arrived the air temp had warmed enough to melt the ice on the road.
 
I spent 5-6 hours in meetings at Lipscomb. It left me excited and energized. There are some great things in the works, and I'm glad to be a small part of it. I plan to go back down in a month or so to talk some more about some things.
 
Part of the reason I returned Friday night/Saturday morning was so I could run with the group. It made for a short night, but I had a decent 10 miler. The weather was cold but not too cold. I had 29 miles for the week, but missed Thursday's planned run. This week I will try to get 30 miles in before Saturday.  I leave home about 4:30 Saturday morning to fly to Honduras. I hope to get some good miles in there at altitude. In Honduras, I get up and run a few miles before breakfast. It gets light at 6 a.m. Where we stay will be 60 at night and around 80 in the daytime. I know, it's a sacrifice...
 
This week will see me getting ready for Honduras. There will be lots of other things going on as well. I have a few things going on that I hope to get wrapped up before the week is over. I also hope to get in the pool tonight and Friday night.
 
I hope you have a great week! Thanks for coming by.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Liar Liar

 
A minister was walking down the street when he came upon a group of about a dozen boys, all of them between 10 and 12 years of age.

The group had surrounded a dog. Concerned about their intentions, he went over and asked the boys, "What are you doing with that dog?"

One of the boys replied, "This dog is just an old neighborhood stray. We all want him, but only one of us can take him home. We've decided whichever one of us can tell the biggest lie will get to keep the dog."

Of course, the preacher was taken aback. "You boys shouldn't be having a contest telling lies!" he exclaimed. He then launched into a ten minute sermon against lying, beginning, "Don't you boys know it's a sin to lie," and ending with, "Why, when I was your age, I never told a lie."

There was dead silence for about a minute. Just as the preacher was beginning to think he'd gotten through to them, the smallest boy gave a deep sigh and said, "All right, give him the dog."

* * *

We have a lot more influence when we admit our faults, and that’s exactly what God wants us to do.

1 John 1:8-10 – If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.

That’s the truth.

Friday a.m.

Lipscomb University

Good morning! It's Friday again. Another weekend awaits, and it will be a short one for me. I'm headed to Nashville today to spend time at Lipscomb University. Specifically, I am on the advisory board for the Hazelip School of Theology. We will have meetings all afternoon and evening and maybe in the morning. I'm looking forward to it. There are lots of exciting things going on in the field of theological training.

Yesterday proved to be a little different than usual and different from what I had planned. I almost am ready for Sunday. I didn't quite get there due to holy interruptions and other things. I spent some really interesting time with some interesting people. I can't really write about it because it would violate confidentiality. It was a good day.

Due to the length of some of the things I did yesterday, I did not run or ride or swim. A day of rest is not a bad thing at all, but ask anyone who trains like I do and you'll likely find that we do not delight in or enjoy the rest that much. We would rather do something. I was really hoping for at least the swim, but the pool was occupied last night by others.

I get to see two of my beloved children today! I will arrive in Nashville early enough to connect with Luke and Rebecca for lunch. They worked out a schedule and a meeting place, so I just show up as a loving funding source, I mean loving father. ha ha. I can't wait to see them!

Well, I better get things finished up for Sunday and get ready to head south after while. I hope you have a good weekend! Thanks for coming by.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Day by Day



Probably the most helpful way to measure time is by the day. We receive a 24-hour day every day.

Ephesians 4 warns us the days are evil, adding that we should make the most of good opportunities. Are the days evil because of deception, the deception of the everyday?

Days arrive and all seem the same, lulling us into a false sense of security about time. Procrastination. The next thing you know you have regrets about what didn’t happen.

Psalm 90 lodges a bit of a complaint about days. Verse 10:

The length of our days is seventy years—
or eighty, if we have the strength;
yet their span is but trouble and sorrow,
for they quickly pass, and we fly away.

In verse 12, the Psalmist prays, showing a better attitude.

Teach us to number our days aright,
that we may gain a heart of wisdom.


Jesus says we should live fully present in each day.

Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

The daily trouble is trumped by trust, trusting in God’s loving care and provision. See Matthew 6.

When you think about it, each day is a reminder of the death and resurrection of Jesus. We die in sleep and experience resurrection when we wake up. That’s good to think about.

The new day of experiencing resurrection should find these words on our lips:

This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. (Psalm 118:24)

Thursday a.m.

Good morning Thursday! It’s going to be a great day, isn’t it? I’m writing this offline, because we have no internet access presently. I’m hoping it will be restored soon, but in the meantime I’ll keep plugging away at things. It’s a bit disturbing how dependent I am upon the internet, and I don’t think I’m nearly as dependent as some. Oh well, life keeps moving on and moving us along. We adapt and adjust as we go, striving to keep a good attitude.
 
 
I woke up around 3 this morning and really struggled to stay in bed. I did but I’m not sure I slept much. I reasoned that it was better to just rest in bed, even if not asleep, than to face the day I have planned, which won’t end until 9 p.m. I have a couple of unusual activities today that have specific times tied to them, so there will be little opportunity for a power nap.

Because I did not preach last week, I have a really good start on my sermon. The problem is that I think I want to change it. My class last night was really good and thought provoking. I need to figure out a way to capture some of the thoughts that flew around the room. 

Honduras is starting to be at the front of my mind. I leave a week from Saturday. There are five of us going. Steve and Dan are flying out of Indy, while Scott and I are departing from Louisville. We’ll all meet up in Miami and be on the same flight to Tegucigalpa, I think. It’s easier for us to all book our flights separately. Lester will fly out on the Monday after we leave. He has to work Saturday and Sunday.

Lester, Scott and I will return on the following Saturday, while Steve and Dan come back on Sunday. Confused? It’s not as bad as it sounds! I’m flying out of Louisville so I can fly back with Lester. (He booked first.) Scott is flying out of Louisville so he can ride back from the airport with me. Somehow I don’t think that helped clarify anything – ha ha. Oh well, we will get a lot of good work done and have a wonderful time with each other.

Wow, I just looked out my office window. I have an outside light, and guess what that light is shining on this morning? A big fat skunk! He is eating the left-overs and spill-overs from my bird feeders. I think I will be very careful not to disturb him. That reminds me of a story.

I had heard that a family had a really bad skunk experience. The skunk sprayed them as they were getting out of their car. One day, several days after the spray, one of the family members approached me. The smell of skunk was strong. I could smell him coming. As he got closer, I said, "I heard you had a skunk experience!" He quickly said, with a sense of appropriate pride, "Yeah, it was bad, but we finally got rid of all the smell!" I was thinking, "not really," but I did not have the heart to tell them that he stank.

I better get busy. Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Sunrise Sunset

I can get emotional when I think of the old Fiddler on the Roof song, "Sunrise, Sunset." It measures, by sunrise and sunset, the lives of two children who are getting married. The sun rises, and the sun sets. Time passes by and we don’t notice what is happening, right in front of us.

Is this the little girl I carried?
Is this the little boy at play?

I don't remember growing older
When did they?

When did she get to be a beauty?
When did he grow to be so tall?
Wasn't it yesterday
When they were small?

In the end, everyone sings,

Sunrise, sunset
Sunrise, sunset
Swiftly fly the years
One season following another
Laden with happiness and tears

To me, the swiftness of time’s passing is troubling at times. Where does the time go?

I need a reminder to measure my life by sunrise and sunset, living one day at a time, being fully present and aware.

I need to frame each day by praying prayers like these.

Psalm 5:3 — In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.

Psalm 4:8 — I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.

Sunrise. Pray. Sunset. Pray. One day at a time.

Wednesday a.m.

Good morning! Wednesday - the long day. I like it just fine, because it ends with my Wednesday night class. We have a nice group, a diverse group, and lots of good discussions about lots of interesting things.

Of course Wednesday for most people signals a move toward the weekend, which is a time of rest from their work. For me, it just points to the one day of the week I work. You know that joke is so old, but it keeps coming up. I just go with it. It's hard to measure what people like me do with typical measurements, I think.  I find that the results of some of my work does not show up until years later. I believe that's nature of the Kingdom of God. A lot of times it is surprising to me.

Yesterday I ended up, again, on top of scaffolding on a ladder, and I had to go a step higher than the previous day to reach what I needed to help out with. I think I reached the end of my comfort level yesterday, which is fine, because there was no need to go higher. I helped our maintenance guy with this. He was grateful, and I felt useful. I should have had some pictures taken, I suppose. It was Tuesday, not Wednesday, and I was working.

We ran 7 miles last night as darkness descended. The darkness is a little slower to arrive these days, which is nice. We deemed it too cold to do a tempo run, so we did a couple of miles of fartleks. Now isn't that a funny word? It is Swedish for "speed play." You run hard for a little while and then back down. Repeat several times. It was a good workout. The cold was not that bad really. Even though the temps on Monday were higher, I think it was more challenging to keep warm then. One word that makes a huge difference: wind.

I spent some good time with some good people yesterday, all the way from a fellow minister to an old couple who struggle to make their limited amount of money reach to the end of the month. Some months they don't make it. They are simple, frugal, and I enjoy talking to them.

So what are you doing today? I am going to let this day unfold and remain flexible. I have several things I hope to accomplish that involve the usual things of study and people.

Have a good one!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

God in the Rear View Mirror


Recently I read a book about giving thanks as a way of life. Perhaps you’ve heard of it or read it, "One Thousand Gifts," by Ann Voskamp.

Toward the end of the book, she says something that really catches my attention and helps me think through some things.

God reveals Himself in rearview mirrors. And I’ve an inkling that there are times when we need to drive a long, long distance, before we can look back and see God’s back in the rearview mirror. Maybe sometimes about as far as heaven—that kind of distance.

Wow, now that’s a helpful image for me! Sometimes it seems God, in the midst of our struggles, is absent.

Inaudible. Invisible.

Walking by faith allows of us to trust that he is present, and those eyes of faith often allow us to see, well after the fact, that indeed God was right there with us, even though we did not see nor hear him at the time.

This helps us in our present struggles. Right? Some day we will look back and see God was there. When I look back over my life, I can see this being a truth proven by one experience after another. Can you see it in your life?

Perhaps there are some things that you are still waiting to see evidence of God’s presence. Keep driving. Don’t give up.

Keep driving!

Check your mirror from time to time, and keep driving.

Tuesday a.m.

Tuesday is on a 2 hour delay, at least for the schools around here. It's just another sign of the softness that rules our culture. Back in the day we went to school when it was 50 below and 100 mph winds swirling about. No problem.

Good morning! It hope you are surviving this cold morning. I am looking at 8 degrees, which, really, is not that cold, is it? I remember a few years ago when it hit -14 or 15. Now that was cold. The daytime highs struggled to reach single digits. That was really cold. Enough of that for now, I suppose.

Yesterday was a good varied day. It ranged all the way from seeing a lady who is dying to helping change light bulbs in the ceiling of our gym, standing on a ladder on top of scaffolding. I only had to use 1 or 2 steps of the ladder. I also saw a guy yesterday who has dementia. His wife died a few days ago, but he doesn't remember it. That's a thought that I can't seem to shake. There's a lot to ponder about that.

Late in the afternoon I ran with Tim S. We cranked out 7 miles as the sun was moving toward the wind-swept western horizon. Maybe it was that slipping sun that caused the problem. Was the sun in her eyes?  I'm speaking of the lady who just about ran over us.

I hit a car to keep from being hit by a car. It was really close. We were running along and a lady literally turned into us, as she was turning into a small side street. I reached out with my left hand to stop myself. Her front wheels missed my feet by less than 6 inches. I banged her hood with my right hand, to get her attention. Everybody was scared, I think. We stopped. She stopped. She didn't get out, and we chose to run on.

Last night I went to the pool and managed to get 800 yards. I am very pleased about my swimming right now. I'm starting off better than where I left off last year. Compared to others, that's not saying a whole lot (ha ha), but for me it is significant.

Today? Lots to do. If I told you, then I'd have to kill you.

Thanks for stopping by.



Monday, January 21, 2013

Monday Prayer


How about a prayer on Monday, a prayer that is so real and helpful, especially if we are wrestling with our sins and failures?

It’s from the Psalms (51) and the headline introducing it says, "A psalm of David. When the prophet Nathan came to him after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba." Wow, what a failure, yet David knows God will forgive him. Do we believe the same?

See if these excerpts are helpful to you. They sure are to me.

Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.
Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin.

For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is always before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight,
so that you are proved right when you speak
and justified when you judge.

Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart,
O God, you will not despise.

Amen.

Monday a.m.

Hola! How about a little Spanish to begin the day? Two weeks from today I will be in bed in Honduras, waiting for the sun to come up at 6ish local time. They are presently 2 hours behind us. I will be there stocking up my coffee supplies (amongst other things). I've run out of Honduran coffee, which is really sad. I wonder how many pounds you are allowed to bring back without an import license? I think my record is 12 pounds. I will probably top that on this next trip.
 
Honduras is on my mind a lot. I am thinking of our man Marc T. this morning. He is driving, by himself, from Texas to Honduras in a pickup truck. I told him there is a fine line between dedication, commitment, faith and plain crazy. He should have me riding shotgun. Not literally. I do believe he will be fine, and I don't think he is crazy.
 
How was your weekend? Mine was intense, instructive, and helpful. We are working with a church consultant to help improve our leadership and effectiveness. This weekend some of us spent around 10 hours with him. Lots and lots of question, challenges, dialogue, as he gathered information. It's going to be really helpful I believe.
 
One of my former students, a guy who has battled all kinds of addictions and anger issues, had a great weekend. He has been sober for a little over a year and is really working hard on his relationship with God and others. He wrote me and told me that he walked in on a guy that was literally about to kill himself at that moment. My friend believes God directed his steps to this desperate man. He talked the guy out of it, sharing his faith and hope for hours. The man in despair listened and the next day went to a meeting to get on a path toward redemption. I'm leaving out lots of details, but it's a really neat story. Encouraging.
 
I finished up my 30 miles of running for the week on late Friday afternoon. Getting 30 this week is going to be a little more difficult with the cold weather, accompanied by strong winds at times. Our old expression will come into play this week: "There are no bad days in which to run, just bad running clothes." I've got some heavier layers located, so I will be fine.
 
Swimming is on the agenda for tonight. Eight o'clock is late for me, but that's when the pool is open. I think I had a dream about swimming last night. I am now recalling it, and it was weird. Not too weird, just a little weird,  you know, like me.
 
I hope your Monday, as well as your week, goes well! Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Don't Miss the Point



One Sunday a fiery preacher had a great illustration to preach against the vices he saw in others. He was bold, confident and knew he could wow the crowd with some wiggly worms.

He took four worms and dramatically placed them into four separate jars, as the captivated church watched every move.

The first worm was put into a jar of alcohol. The second worm was placed into a jar of cigarette smoke. The third worm was put into a jar of chocolate syrup. Finally, the preacher, after pausing for effect, gently placed the fourth worm into a container of good clean soil. Then he preached.

At the conclusion of the sermon, the minister went back to the jars, opened them, and then announced, in his best preacher voice, the following results:

The first worm in alcohol: Dead!
The second worm in cigarette smoke: Dead!
The third worm in chocolate syrup: Dead!
But the fourth worm, in the good clean soil, was Alive!

The proud minister asked the congregation, "brothers and sisters, what did you learn from this demonstration?"

Old Maxine, sitting in the back, quickly raised her hand. The preacher pointed at her, asking again, "What do we learn from this?"

Maxine said, "Well, it looks like as long as you drink, smoke, and eat chocolate, you won’t have worms!"

That pretty much ended the service.

There’s probably a lesson there about making and missing points. You can take it from here.

Friday a.m.

Well good morning! Are you up and at 'em? I must confess for a long time I misunderstood that expression. I thought people were saying, "Are you up and Adam?" The logical reply was, "No, I'm Allen." Of course, in a sense, we are all Adam, i.e. sinful people, but I don't think this is a conversation that we should have right now. It's Friday. For me that means a lot of work to do, because I didn't get it all done yesterday.
 
Yesterday was a good one, fairly busy, one with those "interruptions are my work" situations. But that's all good. Someone will stay warm next week when the cold comes, thanks to someone interrupting. There were other things of lesser importance along the way as well.
 
I drove a bus to Salem last night for a junior high basketball game in Salem. I wandered around the school and found a spot in the cafeteria to work. There was a very nice custodian there who was hospitable. He seemed like such a pleasant man. I witnessed several people interacting with him as I was working on my sermon. He was simple but respected and loved.
 
Rebecca came in last night! It is so good to have her home for a very short visit. She returns to Nashville tomorrow afternoon. She came in for one of her friend's grandfather's funeral today. I'm going to the funeral with her.
 
I need 8.5 miles to get my 30 for the week. I'm thinking I get those late afternoon with a Tim? I'm "planning on it." The weather sounds decent, maybe a little breezy. I am low on swim time and bike time, so I need to figure that out a little better.
 
OK, I hope your Friday goes really well! Have a good weekend.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Found by God



Someone needs to hear these words today. I know they do. Let’s read them carefully.

For most of my life I have struggled to find God, to know God, to love God. I have tried hard to follow the guidelines of the spiritual life—pray always, work for others, read the Scriptures—and to avoid the many temptations to dissipate myself. I have failed many times but always tried again, even when I was close to despair.

Now I wonder whether I have sufficiently realized that during all this time God has been trying to find me, to know me, and to love me. The question is not "How am I to find God?" but "How am I to let myself be found by him?" The question is not "How am I to know God?" but "How am I to let myself be known by God?"

And, finally, the question is not "How am I to love God?" but "How am I to let myself be loved by God?" God is looking into the distance for me, trying to find me, and longing to bring me home.

That’s from Henri Nouwen in The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming.

Who needs to hear those words?

I do.

Thursday a.m.

Hello Thursday! How are you? Are you going to be good to me today? I sure hope so. And how are you, oh faithful reader of this stuff I write? You know what's strange? I don't know who most of my readers are (but I do know how many I have). I know some of you who read this on a regular basis, and it is a very diverse group. The majority of you? No idea really, so I try not to think about who is reading and just write what's on this feeble mind. There is probably some PhD student in psychology recording every word for his/her dissertation regarding... Some kind of disorder or how to endure boring wrting.
 
This week has been unusual in some ways. The main way involves bus driving. Due to a death of one of the main driver's family members, I will take my 3rd trip this week. Tonight I go to Salem for a junior high basketball game. Salem is not a bad trip. The roads are good and easy. It's a lot better trip than Crawford County.
 
Kedra saw the surgeon yesterday and then a physical therapist. Everything looks good with her wrist. Wow, she a couple of really wild looking incisions. They opened up her pretty good to put the plate in. No wonder she was in some pain. She's doing much better now and has removable splint for the next few weeks. We enjoyed our date to the doctor. You know you are getting old when. . .
 
Somehow I've managed to crank out 17, mostly ugly, miles this week. I need to get 13 more before the week ends. That should be manageable. I need to get on the bike also. I think the riding is going to take place inside for a while, based on the forecast. The bus driving is keeping me out of the pool this week, which is not the best. I'll get back into it next week.
 
Today is busy. I have a couple of meetings this morning, along with some other things this afternoon. The day ends in a Salem gym. Something tells me I will be sitting there working on my stuff for Sunday. I can't see how I'm going to get it all done before then.
 
Alrighty then! Time to get after it all. Thanks for stopping by.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Voices in Your Head


Do you hear voices in your head?

Of course you do!

And whose voice is it? Yours!

We all talk to ourselves, mostly about ourselves. Not only do we hear things, we "see" things also. We can see "video clips" of our experiences.

What do you say and see? Is it mostly negative or positive? When you think back over your life, do you see/hear "clips" of your failures or successes?

A lot of people see and hear a lot of negative things. There are lots of reasons, and we won’t explore them in this brief space.

Henri Nouwen’s "Life of the Beloved" is an excellent book that helps us understand who we are and warns us about self-rejection (often disguised as humility).

"Self-rejection is the greatest enemy of the spiritual life because it contradicts the sacred voice that calls us the ‘Beloved.’ Being the Beloved expresses the core truth of our existence."

The Good News, life-changing news, is that God, when we embrace Jesus, calls us his beloved.

Beloved daughter.

Beloved son.

Beloved. By God.

Wednesday a.m.

Good morning to you! It's Wednesday. Already. Looks like a nice day awaits us. I found yesterday really cold again. I think it was the dampness. I ran late afternoon, and it sure felt like it was going to snow. I will welcome some sunshine today.

Today, at least a lot of it, is going to be involved with getting Kedra back up to speed. We see the surgeon this morning. It's a routine check up on her wrist. Then we see a physical therapist to get her fitted for a removable splint. Do you think any of this will involve waiting? I'm taking lots of reading/study materials.

I drove a bus to Paoli last night. The game turned out to be disappointing. Our girls simply could not get their shots to fall. It's a game. Life goes on. There was a time in my life that a ballgame could send me into depression for a while. Not anymore.

Marc Tindall, our guy in Honduras, called me the other day. It was really good to talk to him for a while. We talked of our summer trip and the Great Banquet we are planing in Guajire. He also told me that he bought a truck and is going to drive it from TX to Honduras pretty soon. He is going by himself. I wish I could ride along. I know, I know...

Well, I just looked at the clock. I'm running a little behind this morning, so I better get moving. Thanks for coming by.



Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Stop waiting


Stop waiting.

If you wait for perfect conditions, you’ll never get anything done.

There is a lot of wisdom in those words, wisdom worth thinking about and acting upon.

What do you need to do? What do you need to get going?

Let’s go!

Tuesday a.m.

Good morning! How's it going today? It's a little on the cool side isn't it? Wow, yesterday felt colder to me than the thermometer indicated. I guess it was because of the really warm temps on Friday and Saturday. I struggled to feel warm most of the afternoon and evening.
 
Yesterday was a good one! I'm not sure there was anything to write home about or to blog about, but that hasn't stopped me before. I just had a good day of productivity, which I enjoy. Talked to several folks, got some good reading done, got a good grip on the week, etc.
 
All day I was thinking about my bus trip to Crawford County. I found out the bus left at 4.30, which presented a challenge as far as running was concerned. I decided to run at 3 and then meet up with 2 Tims at 3.20. This would give me to time to get 5 miles in, do the superman change, and drive the bus. I got off to a late start, so everything became a little tight. I did manage to get 5 miles in, and I got the girls to Crawford County and back. The run was cold. I thought I dressed properly, but I did not account for the wind, I guess. Anyway, it's in the books, and I enjoyed, as always, the Tims.
 
The trip to Crawford County was fine, and the games were long. I got home at 10 p.m. I did get a fair amount accomplished while in the gym. They had unrestricted WIFI, which is always a good thing, and I had my computer.
 
Tonight I am driving the girls' varsity team to Paoli. My nephew is the coach, so that's nice time with him. It's going to be a really big game as well. I'll leave my computer and reading material at home this evening. I found out last night that I need to sub drive again on Thursday evening, to Salem. Hey, it's not a whole lot of money, but I'll put it to good use.
 
I'm going to miss tempo Tuesday this evening, so I am going to have to do something sometime today. I'll have to see what gives in the old schedule as the day unfolds.
 
OK, I hope your day goes well, and I'm going to keep going on mine. Thanks for stopping by.
 
 
 

Monday, January 14, 2013

Trust God



Hello Monday!

How about some short, simple, and powerful words to get this week going?

Trust God from the bottom of your heart;
don’t try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;
he’s the one who will keep you on track.
Don’t assume that you know it all.
Run to God! Run from evil!
Your body will glow with health,
your very bones will vibrate with life!
Honor God with everything you own;
give him the first and the best.

Proverbs 3:5-9 The Message

Monday a.m.

Good morning! Are you doing well on this new day and new work week? I hope so. I wonder what this week holds? Yesterday we defined a wise person as one who understands that all of life is connected and lives like it. What I do today will influence what happens tomorrow, etc. So on this Monday I have an awareness that the things I do today will in some way or another impact what happens the rest of this week and beyond.
 
I had a good weekend. The mild weather was nice, and I took advantage of it. I got a nice 20 mile ride in Friday afternoon, fully utilizing the last couple of hours of daylight. John H and James F were my riding partners. It was a nice pleasant ride over to Orleans and back via Amish country. On that route you have to watch for the "exhaust" from the Amish horses.
 
Saturday morning was group run time. There were 27 runners in the starting group on Saturday morning. That's a lot. The group quickly broke into smaller groups going varying distances and speeds. The group I was with did 10 miles. It was a good run.
 
After the run a few of us went to breakfast at McDonald's. Their oatmeal was only $1, and I took my own water. It's hard to beat having breakfast with friends for only $1. After I got home I got organized for a solo bike ride. It was little warmer for Saturday's ride, but the roads were really wet. I was feeling my 10 mile run, so I only did around 15 miles on bike. Hey, to get 35 miles outside in January is pretty good!
 
This week is going to be quite challenging in lots of ways, especially in the area of endurance athletics. One of my friend's father died, so I need to drive sports buses for him tonight and tomorrow night. This is going to eliminate my scheduled swim for this evening, and eliminate my participation in the group tempo run tomorrow night. My long run on Saturday is going to have to be moved, due to a meeting. Life is always full of change and challenge, isn't it?
 
I have a lot going on, as usual, so I guess I better get started on it. Thanks for coming by.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Pray for those guys?



There was a little boy who wanted a $100 very badly. He believed in prayer and prayed for two weeks but nothing happened. Then he decided to write God a letter, requesting $100.

When the postal authorities received the letter to God U.S.A., for some reason, they decided to send it to the President.

The President was so impressed, touched, and amused that he instructed his secretary to send the boy $50, thinking $100 excessive.

The little boy was delighted with the $50! He immediately sat down and wrote a thank you note to God.

"Dear God, thank you very much for sending me the money. However, I noticed that for some reason you had to send it through Washington, D.C., and, as usual, those devil's took half of it."

* * *

A lot of us complain about government, and rightfully so at times. I need to be reminded of these words, however.

1 Timothy 2:1,2 — I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.

Roman 13:1,2 — Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted . . .

1 Peter 2:13 — Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right.

Have a great weekend!

Friday a.m.

Good morning! I guess you know it's Friday? And it's warm outside! Today is going to be a nice little warm treat for January. All but the big piles of snow will disappear, so we are ready for the next round. Looks like the next round is going to be rain, however. That's OK too. I'm fairly easy to please when it comes to weather. One of our endurance group sayings goes something like this, "There are no bad days to train, just bad training clothes."
 
I've got a fair amount of work to do this morning, but this afternoon I hope to get out on my bike. One of my unwritten goals for the year is to ride my bike outside in every month. I'm thinking January could be the most challenging month to do that, so to get that done today would be great. We're meeting at 4 p.m. at the Mitchell Church of Christ to ride through Amish country to Orleans and back. It's right at 20 miles at an easy pace, around 15 mph ave. So far there are 3 of us.
 
Tomorrow morning is a 10 mile run, and then I am hoping to do another 20 mile ride, either around midday or in the afternoon. I'll see if there are any other riders, and then we can set a time. If I understand the forecast correctly, then we should have another dry slot in the afternoon. The temps could be around 70. Wow!
 
Yesterday I had one of those days where everything seemed to flow pretty well. My mind was clear. The thoughts came and were written down. I love it when that happens. I got a lot of my Sunday prep finished. I have just a little more to do this morning, followed by a committal service in the cemetery, followed by a meal.
 
I hope also to do a little more organizational work for our Honduras work. I will be there in a little over 3 weeks. I am really looking forward to it. I think this will be my 8th trip since 2009.
 
OK, I need to going. Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you have a really good weekend!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Where do you see God?


Recently, I listened carefully as an old godly gentle man asked, "Where do you see God?"

He spoke in reverent tones about seeing God in nature, in places that few see because to get to them requires an effort (a long hike).

I agree. Some of my most wonderful moments with God have been in beautiful places of his creation. A few years ago a single shaft of sunlight, illuminating a thick mist, stopped my run on trail 7. I stopped in awe and praised.

It’s different, a lot different, but we can God in human beings. Isn’t that a major point Jesus makes in his story about feeding him when we feed the poor (Matt. 25)?

As I listened to the old man talk, this little Old English poem came to my mind.

I met a stranger yest'-er'en.
I put food in the eating place,
drink in the drinking place,
music in the listening place,
and in the name of the Triune,
He blessed myself and my house.
My cattle and my loved ones.

And the lark sang in His song:
Often, often, often goes
the Christ in the stranger's guise.
Often, often, often goes
the Christ in the stranger's guise.

I’m thinking it’s easier to see God in nature than in others, and I’m also thinking God wants us to see him in others more than anything else.

He knows if we do, then we’ll treat each other a whole lot better.

Thursday a.m.

Hey, good morning! How are you on this new day? It looks like it is going to be a rainy day, which is fine with me. Warm weather, really warm weather, is coming, which is also fine with me. I am thinking bike rides outside on Friday late afternoon and Saturday afternoon with a 10 mile run in between. That would be really nice and a nice surprise for early to mid-January.
 
Yesterday was a good day with a lot of good busyness. We had a nice ministers' meeting, meaning the meeting was nice, not necessarily that the ministers are nice. Well, I guess most of us are nice, at least at times, so I suppose it works both ways. Actually we have a very good group that gathers. We really do like each other and work well together. We are talking about have a bigger day of caring this Decemember. Last year, which was not very long ago, we had the ReGen toy sale, a coat giveaway, a hat and gloves giveaway, and a free meal offered by various churches in town. Now others are considering adding other things to do on that day. I like it.
 
I spent a fair amount of time thinking about Honduras yesterday. I have a trip coming up pretty soon, which I am really excited about. We'll build a house or two, maybe a couple of outhouses, and feed a lot of people. Oh, did the outhouse thing catch your attention?
 
Last summer our team spent a night out in the village of Guajire, which was really neat and helped draw us closer to our Honduran friends, literally and spiritually. The problem was that there is not a decent outhouse closer than a 5 minute walk. We hope to help the church and village by constructing a couple of outhouses. These could then be used by us this summer. I'm hoping we can stay at night or two.
 
We may also construct a shower box or two. This would be a place where we could bring in those portable camping shower bag things. That was a technical description. My vision of the great banquet in Guarjire this summer involves us working side by side with our Honduran friends preparing food for all those who will come. I believe it could be, as they say, epic!
 
Cranked out a few more miles yesterday, feeling Tuesday night's tempo. It got them in and done. That's about all there is to say about them. Today I hope to find 5 more. Tomorrow will be a break from running and time on the bike. Then Saturday I hope to do the double: 10 on the run and 20 or so on the bike.
 
I have lots to do today in preparation for Sunday, and then, and I think this is a first for me, I have a funeral this evening. It's going to be a good and long day, so I guess I better get going on it.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Trailblazer



I have this image in my mind. It’s of a thick, thick jungle. It’s damp, beautiful, green and so heavily canopied that only little shafts of sunlight hit the floor.

There are trees, bushes, and vines. Everywhere! It’s virtually impossible to move. Each breath is full of refreshing life, so clean and so pure. Yet I can’t move.

The only way forward is with a guide with a machete. Thankfully, the Guide is present. He carefully and lovingly blazes a trail. It’s slow going but we are moving.

As it grows dark, He continues, and He says, "I know you can’t see, but I can. Just place your hand between my shoulder blades and follow me."

That’s one of my favorite images of Jesus. It comes out of Hebrews 12.

The concept is that Jesus leads the way and prepares a path for us, even when we can’t see it. The idea is presented to those who are struggling and suffering. The life, the death, and the resurrection of Jesus are held up as comfort, encouragement and a very real way to live.

Ultimately he blazes the trail out of the tomb! Hallelujah!

Wednesday a.m.

Good morning! Did I miss something? Why is it raining this morning? I admit I did not see any TV weather forecasts yesterday, but I don't think this was supposed to happen. It's fine with me, because it will help melt the snow a little faster. Then we'll be ready for some more! You know, you really should watch your language! ha ha  It's nice to wake up to mild temps, and I am very excited about the very warm weather coming. I may get a couple of rides in outside (interesting wording). Bill and I tentatively set up a ride late Friday afternoon, and I'm thinking maybe another one Saturday afternoon. We'll see. I want to get a lot bike miles in early on this year. I would love them to be outside instead on the indoor trainer.
 
Kedra had a good day yesterday. Her pain decreased dramatically. She is not using the prescribed pain meds -- something about not trusting the pharmacist (little joke, since Lester is her pharmacist). She is managing the pain with over the counter stuff. We are going to sell the other on the street to help pay for a dishwasher. Just kidding. That was my idea, since I am now washing most of the dishes. Our dishwasher went out before Christmas, and we decided not to replace it right now in order to avoid some expense. I didn't know Kedra was going to break her wrist. It's tough sometimes.
 
In between waiting on my queen yesterday, I got a considerable amount work done. I got a lot of good study done, and with cell phones and email, it's easy to do a lot of other work as well. Today I need to venture out quite a bit, but I will check in between meetings to help her out. She is doing well, but she has very limited use of her right arm presently.
 
Last night was Tempo Tuesday. We are easing into our normal format, so last night, after warming up for a couple of miles, we ran a mile hard, regrouped, ran another mile hard, regrouped, and run the 3rd mile hard before regrouping for our 2 mile cool-down return to our vehicles. We had 16 people participate last night! That's the most I've ever experienced. We have a lot of new Let's Go members. Let's Go is Jim Sowders' Marathon Training group. It's designed primarily for new runners, helping them on the journey to distance running.
 
I was fairly pleased with my performance this early in the training cycle. My goal was to do 7 minute miles. I ended up with 6.59, 6.51, and 7.05. The last one frustrates me slightly and is instructive. I gave up on it. I thought I was very slow, so I just kinda cruised it in. Bad boy! I should have pushed, even though I thought it would be slow. If I had pushed just a little harder, then I would have gone sub 7. That's OK, part of the tempo run is to train the mind to be tougher as well.
 
Alrighty! I hope you have a really good day today. Thanks for stopping by.
 
 

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Which Way?


We can live one of two ways.

Here is a pretty good description of each way.

It is obvious what kind of life develops out of trying to get your own way all the time: repetitive, loveless, cheap sex; a stinking accumulation of mental and emotional garbage; frenzied and joyless grabs for happiness; trinket gods; magic-show religion; paranoid loneliness; cutthroat competition; all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants; a brutal temper; an impotence to love or be loved; divided homes and divided lives; small-minded and lopsided pursuits; the vicious habit of depersonalizing everyone into a rival; uncontrolled and uncontrollable addictions; ugly parodies of community. I could go on.

This isn’t the first time I have warned you, you know. If you use your freedom this way, you will not inherit God’s kingdom.

But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.

These words come from God and are found in Galatians 5:19-23 (The Message).

God’s way is all about loving Jesus and striving to let him live in and through you. It’s not easy, but he makes it possible and helps all along the way. It’s truly miraculous!

Tuesday a.m.

Good morning! I hope you are well on what is going to be a nice and warm Tuesday. I like snow. You know that, and you should know that I take abuse for my love of snow. Anyway, I also like it when an old snow melts off. Today should bring about significant melting. Certainly it will all be gone by the end of the week. If the forecast holds true, then I'm going for a good bike ride Friday afternoon. Outside.
 
Well, Kedra did fine with her surgery. We were delayed by about an hour, but you almost expect that don't you? She now has a plate held in place with several screws. We got home around 2:30, I think, yesterday afternoon. She was in a fair amount of pain but was managing it well. She slept in the guest room last night. She was afraid of getting it hit by me during the night. I guess I am a violent sleeper? Actually, she needed to prop it up etc. and thought it was the best place to do that. I'm waiting on her to wake up. I think she will start feeling better today. I'll hang around most of the day to help. She has this little bell she rings... Just kidding.
 
Most of the day was consumed with Kedra's surgery, but I did get to go for a run in the evening. Ben was home, so I went and got some good miles in. Lester came over for a late supper, around 7. We have a traditional around big football games of having hamburgers etc., so last night I did the hamburger thing before the boring national championship game. I was glad it was a blowout. It allowed me to go to bed at a decent hour.
 
Maddie, my best and favorite daughter in law, came by late afternoon to check on Kedra and to bring us a few things from the store. She is getting ready to start an RN to BSC program in Vincennes and needed to be there last night. She's a great nurse and an all around wonderful young woman. Lester certainly married UP!
 
We are starting Tempo Tuesdays tonight. I'll get my patient secured so I can participate in this torture that I enjoy - ha ha. Yes, that is SICK. Hey, at least I know it. I actually love the feeling right after it's over. (Yes, it's like hitting your thumb with a hammer over and over, because it  feels so good when you stop.)  I love the results down the road, as in latter on during a race.
 
January is the strict diet month for me. NO sweets, no soft drinks, no butter on popcorn, no lots of things. I'm getting down to a good fitness performance weight. I want this to be a banner year for endurance athletics. I think I am more focused and aware earlier in the year than usual. I want to pace myself carefully, avoiding burnout. I think I've got it right in my head. We'll see.
 
Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, January 07, 2013

Time


Time by Pink Floyd

Ticking away the moments that make up a dull day
You fritter and waste the hours in an offhand way.
Kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town
Waiting for someone or something to show you the way.

Tired of lying in the sunshine staying home to watch the rain.
You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today.
And then one day you find ten years have got behind you.
No one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun.
So you run and you run to catch up with the sun but it’s sinking

Racing around to come up behind you again.
The sun is the same in a relative way but you’re older,
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death.
Every year is getting shorter never seem to find the time.
Plans that either come to naught or half a page of scribbled lines
Hanging on in quiet desperation is the English way

The time is gone, the song is over,
Thought I’d something more to say

* * *

Ephesians 5:15,16 — Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.

It’s a little late, but Happy New Year!

Monday a.m.

Good morning! How are you on this good Monday? Today is the day I get fully back into the swing of things. I eased into several activities last week, but I didn't make it up to full speed. That changes this week. I'm ready, I think!

Kedra has surgery this morning to fix her broken wrist. She was supposed to have it last Friday, but got sick and had fever. She is ready to get it over with. Our life group has meals planned for us all week, and one person is coming over to do household chores one afternoon. I asked her if she minded changing the oil and washing my truck. This request was not well received.

Looks like warmer weather ahead for a few days. I hope to get outside on the bike, maybe Friday? Last week I got in the pool, spent some time on the bike trainer, and ran 28+ miles. That was a good start to the year. I am thinking of focusing on a 10K for my spring race. I need something different, and a 10K would be different.

Four weeks from now I will be waking up in Honduras, Lord willing. I'm getting excited about returning there to see people that I now know fairly well and to continue building good relationships/work in Guajire.

Well I don't feel too talkative today, so I guess that's I'll I've got for right now. I appreciate your prayers for Kedra's surgery today. We should be home be mid-afternoon.

Friday, January 04, 2013

2013 Endurance Goals


I've had these written down for a few days but haven't taken to the time to publish them, until now.

First, a look back at 2012. Here's what I wrote on January 10, 2012. That post included some non-athletic goals, which I will save for another post, but in case you are curious, I did meet those goals.

2012

Last year was a pretty good year for me.

Running

My running goals included 1500 miles, which I met. I did not meet my goal of 3:29:59 at Boston. It was too stinkin hot to even try! If you want the details, then go back and read this. Boston was a great experience, and, as things like this do, it is getting sweeter the further I get from it. I had a vague goal of doing well in the Persimmon 5K. I guess I met it by finishing 2nd in my age group with a decent (but not great) time. My other goal was to do a fall marathon as a part of Ironman training. I ran Monumental in Indy and met that goal.

Biking

My biking goals were, for the most part, vague and not too specific, not measurable.  My main goal was to do RAIN - Ride Across INdiana, and I did. Here's the rather boring report, but it does include a link to the rather dramatic 2011 event. My other goals were to get stronger and faster, and I definitely did both of those. I did do 3 centuries, I think, leading up to RAIN, and my total miles for 2012 were 2247. I did not have a mileage goal last year. That changes for this year.

Swimming/Triathlon

Again, I had goals that were not that measurable. The biggest goal was not to drown. Clearly I met that one. I did a couple of informal triathlons but did not do a sanctioned event. The one I hoped to do was cancelled due to the drought. I can't say that was super satisfied with my progress in swimming, but if you look at where I started, then I did go a long, long way. Measured against what I need to do to complete an Ironman--2.4 miles--there is a long, long way to go. It is a process and I am looking for really good progress this year.

2013

OK, here we go for this year.

Running

I hope to cover a total of 1560 miles this year. That works out to 30 miles per week. I have friends and acquaintances who run 50-100+ per week, but they are rare. Most of my friends run in the 1000 to 2000 range, which I think is reasonable for me at 54 years old.

This may be the biggest goal and the most difficult goal for 2012: I hope to run sub 20 minutes in the Persimmon 5K. I think I am capable of getting back there, but it has been a long, long time. It will take some work, but, hey, I like work.

I plan to run the Monumental Marathon and qualify for Boston again. If my Ironman goal of 2014 works out, then I will consider running Boston in 2015. The race this fall would qualify me for 2015. Have to plan ahead! If Ironman gets pushed off a year, and I don't plan for it to, then I would not do Boston in '15.

Biking

My bike goals will be a little more specific and measurable this year. I hope to cover a total of 3120 miles for the year, which is a 60 mile per week average. This is a considerable increase from last year. I will have to spend some time on the trainer to do that, and I plan to. The bulk of the miles will be from April through August.

I hope to do BAIL, which is Bike Across ILlinois. This is an informal ride being organized by Jim Sowders and others. We are looking at a 2 day event, probably early in the summer. That should be fun, and it is motivation to do some trainer miles to be in a good shape early in the summer.

My other goal is to average 20 mph in a triathlon.

Swimming/Triathlon

My goal this year is pretty simple: become proficient in distance swimming, which will be measured by completing sanctioned events.  I have a fairly ambition goal of doing the Terra Haute triathlon on May 21. It has an 800 meter swim, followed by a 25 mile ride, followed by a 5 mile run. It's all about the swim. It will be a wet suit swim, and I have one. The wet suit makes it easier, providing buoyancy.

From Terra Haute I was planning to progress to a Half Ironman, which is a 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile ride, followed by a 13.1 run. I was hoping to shoot for the one in Muncie, but it takes place while I am in Honduras. I will half to look for other options. I hope to do a few other tris throughout the summer. The ones I do will be dictated, likely, by what my friends are doing.

While I hoped to do a Half Ironman this summer, I am not too concerned about it. I think I can do one next year as part of a build up toward the Full Ironman (2.4, 112, 26.2), which hopefully will happen in Panama City in November of 2014. We'll see...

Other

I plan to work on my core a little more this year and to maintain better eating habits throughout the year. I tend to eat really really well or pretty poorly. I want to strike a better balance. I know, I know, no measurable goals present. Maybe it's just a guide for this year?

I am really looking forward to this year and these goals, hoping and praying to be blessed, again, with a year without injuries. I thank God he has given me a healthy body and hope to use it to bring glory to him. I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). I've been bought at a price and want to honor God with my body (1 Corinthians 6:19,20).

My enduring friends are so important to me. I wouldn't be considering any of this without them. They have stretched me, supported, and encouraged me. There is so much power in community!

Thanks for stopping by.

Friday a.m.



Good morning! It's Friday. I should be getting ready to leave to take Kedra for the surgery that is to fix her wrist, but that has to wait until Monday now. She was really sick Wednesday night and ran a fever yesterday, so that have postponed her surgery until Monday. I think she had a decent night last night, so hopefully she will feel better today.

This is Rebecca's last day at home for a while. She leaves in the morning to go back to Nashville. I think she is ready to go. I don't think we are quite to that point - ha ha. She'll only be 4 hours away. It's nice, also, that Luke lives in Nashville. He is very good to help her with anything she needs.

Last night was my first time back in the water since August. I was pleasantly surprised by my effort. My main goal last night was to get back in the water and try to find some comfort there. I did 500 yards with a kick board and then another 100 with my unique free style - ha ha. Anyway, it was a very good start for me. I am way ahead of where I started last year in February. My Ironman dream is alive and energized!

Today I am going to get on the bike trainer for a few miles, and I may run a little. We are planning on a 10 miler in the morning, which will be really good. I have 27 degrees this morning. I thought it was supposed to be colder than that? The sky is clear, so maybe we are going to get a lot warmer today than predicted? That would work for me. I love snow, but I would like to melt this one off and start over in a week or two.

I hope you have a great weekend. Thanks for stopping by!. Oh, I think I am going to post my 2013 Goals, mostly about endurance athletics, today, so if you have any interest in that, you may want to check in later.