Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Give Thanks Always

Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else. Be joyful always; pray continually; GIVE THANKS in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:15-18

Have a great Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


Everything in the world is about to be wrapped up, so take nothing for granted. Stay wide-awake in prayer. Most of all, love each other as if your life depended on it. Love makes up for practically anything.

Be quick to give a meal to the hungry, a bed to the homeless—cheerfully. Be generous with the different things God gave you, passing them around so all get in on it: if words, let it be God’s words; if help, let it be God’s hearty help.

That way, God’s bright presence will be evident in everything through Jesus, and he’ll get all the credit as the One mighty in everything—encores to the end of time. Oh, yes!
1 Peter 4:7-11 The Message


Good morning! I hope you are doing well on this new day, another gift from our loving God. I feel a little older today, but I guess I should since my birthday was yesterday. ha ha. I had a pretty ordinary day, which should be expected for a pretty ordinary guy. There were some highlights to the day that ended with an 800 yard swim. And that was not one of them.

THE highlight of the day was a nice dinner prepared by our children. We had all 6 of them there. I'm including Lydia now, since, at engagement, she has crossed over to nearly official status. We joke about family pictures when the kids are dating. We take one with the prospective spouse and one without, saying we never know how things will work out. Lydia is always in the picture now.  June 8th seals the deal for real.

Our celebratory meal last night was two-fold. My 55th birthday,and the thing I was most aware of is that I am now in a new age group for athletic competition. It is much better, usually, to the be the youngest in your age group. Sorry, I digressed. The second reason to celebrate was Kedra's completion of her second degree. She is now a licensed math teacher looking for a job.

It was perfect timing. Her diploma came in the mail yesterday from Western Governor's University. She has worked really hard for the last 2.5 years to complete everything, while holding down a full time job. Math teachers are in short supply, so we think should find a job nearby in the fall. In the meantime, the high school held her position as tutor, so she is doing that again, after student teaching this fall.

It was a nice evening of good family time. I received a few nice gifts, including a couple of books. We had yummy stir-fry with cashew nuts, followed by my favorite cake, angel food. You are aware that you are what you eat? Yes, angel food. OK, some smart-alecky person is saying, "Yeah, and you ate nuts for the main course!" OK, whatever.

The Give Thanks 4 is coming quickly! Wow, preregistration is doing really well. We ordered more t-shirts yesterday. I am down to my final punch-list of things to do. I have some really good help, which makes it possible.

OK, gotta get after it. Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, November 25, 2013


Give Thanks 4 course
Good morning! I hope you are doing well on this new day, another gift from God. It's going to be on the cool side, but that's OK.  Looks like a few snowflakes could be flying around the area.

Did we have a weekend? Sure didn't seem like it to me. My trip Thursday pushed my work to Friday, but Friday got crazy in the good sort of way so my work got pushed to Saturday. All of that's fine, because Thursday was a really good and needed day for me.

This week is going to be short and extra hectic. I usually get energized and super-efficient in times like these. I sure hope that happens. It needs to happen. This week is Thanksgiving, which means I have a road race to direct. I have lots of good help, thankfully. Our pre-registration has doubled over previous years! Yikes!

The kids are all around for a few short days, so I want to spend some good time with them. It was so nice having them all around yesterday. They all seem to be doing well and enjoying life. They are full of energy and ideas. I love them all so dearly.

I am going to venture out after while for a few miles. I aggravated my hamstring by playing with the kids Wednesday night after church. I was kicking a ball back and forth. I kicked it pretty hard and felt the undoing of my rehab. I don't think it's too bad. My goal is to have it ready to roll on January 1. I ran 4 easy miles Saturday. I need to get that up to 6-7 by January, with a view of weekly 10 milers all winter.

My bike trainer is all set up in the Brick House Energy Lab. This is Jim S's creation in an old house he owns. Several of us plan to spin 2-3 times a week. It's so much easier and whole lot more fun to spin with others. I hope to rack up a lot of trainer miles this winter, but I also plan to ride outside as much as possible.

OK, I need to get after this thing.


"The Law for the Wolves" by Rudyard Kipling is worth reading and reading again.

Probably the most popular and quoted line is this:

"The strength of the pack is in the wolf, and the strength of the wolf is in the pack."

So true!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Be Careful What You Say

A 5 year-old girl goes to the hospital with her mother to visit her grandfather. When they get to the hospital, she runs ahead of her mother and bursts into her Grandpa's room.

"Grandpa, Grandpa!!" she says excitedly, "as soon as my mother comes into the room, talk like a frog!"

"Well okay dear, but why?" replied her Grandpa.

"Talk like a frog because mommy said that as soon as you croak, we're all going to Disney World!"

Thursday, November 21, 2013


Good morning! Wow, now that was a good night's sleep, a rare 8 hour event. I'll take it. That, coupled with some strong coffee, means I am good to go. I'm headed to Nashville, TN in a little while. I'm going to see a good, good friend who had a hip replaced yesterday.

While in Nashville, I get to have lunch with my beautiful daughter. Luke is tied up at work, unfortunately, but he, along with Lydia, will be home on Saturday. Rebecca is coming home also. They both have all of next week off. I think all my kids and future kids will be around next week for a little while before spreading back out. I am looking forward to the time with them.

Wow, sermon prep is going to be a challenge this week. Gone today. Tomorrow I already have most of the morning filled with activities. I'll get it done one way or another.

Thanks for stopping by!

Precious Memories

The other day I was going through some books and found this sweet little note from my sweet little girl. Still so sweet, she’s 20 now, so this note is several years old. It warmed, and continues to warm, my heart.

I have little notes and cards from all my children, scattered in books and in drawers. I love bumping into them from time to time, even though they sometimes make my eyes mist a bit.

Soon we will decorate our Christmas tree. On it will be crudely crafted ornaments made by little loving hands. The cards and crafts transport us back to days of loving and adoring innocence.

Good days from back then provide precious memories now. It reminds me of that old hymn.

Precious memories, how they linger,

How they ever flood my soul;

In the stillness of the midnight,

Precious, sacred scenes unfold.

As I travel on life's pathway,

Know not what the years may hold;

As I ponder, hope grows fonder,

Precious memories flood my soul.

My hope is to live forever in the presence of a God who highly values childlike innocence and love.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Wednesday a.m.

Good morning! That was a short night and sleep was not friendly to me, but I am ready to go again. I am loaded with coffee. That should help for a while. Poor old Tommy.

Yesterday I ended up in Jasper for a while. It's a nice place. I had a good lunch at the Schnitzelbank with a good friend. We talked about life in lots of different ways. Then I made my way to the hospital to see a dear lady who had her hip replaced. It was a nice drive home with a stop in Shoals to see a lady struggling with cancer and the loss of her husband.

Before I took off yesterday, I had some good time with Isaiah and especially old Uzziah, the king who died, leaving everyone wondering about the future. It was in that context that Isaiah sees the Lord in the Temple (Isaiah 6).

I love this from Dallas Willard. He is talking about Uzziah and then Isaiah:

Vision of God secures humility. Seeing God for who He is enables us to see ourselves for who we are. This makes us bold, for we see clearly what great good and evil are at issue, and we see that it is not up to us to accomplish it, but up to God—who is more than able. We are delivered from pretending, from being presumptuous about ourselves, and from pushing as if the outcome depended upon us. We persist without frustration, and we practice calm and joyful noncompliance with evil of any kind.

Did I tell you I'm getting new glasses?

Can you see it?

Earth’s crammed with heaven,

And every common bush afire with God;

But only he who sees, takes off his shoes —

The rest sit around it and pluck blackberries.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning, "Aurora Leigh"

Lord, open our eyes!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


Good morning! How are you on this nice crisp morning? It's going to be good day, a beautiful day of cool sunshine. I'm ready for it to unfold. I told someone yesterday that my favorite part of the day is waking up. Coffee awaits me, and there is something about holding that hot cup with both hands that warms me to my soul.

Sorry about more Ben pictures, but he had the remainder of his senior pictures taken on Sunday. This was one of them. He is really turning into a good young man. I appreciate him so much.

Yesterday was a busy but good day. Lots of activity. I had another good run early yesterday. I think I may be getting out of the bad hammy business. I sure hope so. I really enjoy running and have missed going longer and faster.

Today I  need to spend some quiet time with Isaiah 6, which records Isaiah's call and commission. I am working on a sermon called The Transforming Vision. Isaiah 6 records Isaiah seeing a new reality in the presence of God, a new reality that sends him on a difficult mission.

Also today I head to Jasper. I will have lunch with a good friend from the past and then head over to the hospital to see a dear lady who is having a hip replaced this morning. It should be a nice drive today. I think Jasper is in the acceptable range for my nearly 256,000 mile Ranger. It looks so bad that I try to park where others who don't know what I drive don't see it. ha ha It's embarrassing when the police think it's an abandoned vehicle. Well, that really hasn't happened. Yet.

Wow, the Give Thanks 4 is bearing down. I always really enjoy the day. The time leading up to it is not easy but it is worth the payoff of seeing others enjoy it all. The extended forecast is interesting. I will just leave it at that.

OK, lots to do today! Thanks for stopping by.

Old Farmer Wisdom

Your fences need to be horse-high, pig-tight and bull-strong.
Life is simpler when you plow around the stump.
Words that soak into your ears are whispered not yelled.
Meanness don't just happen overnight.
Do not corner something that you know is meaner than you.
It don't take a very big person to carry a grudge.
You cannot unsay a cruel word.
When you wallow with pigs, expect to get dirty.
The best sermons are lived, not preached.
If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop diggin'.
The biggest troublemaker you'll probably ever have to deal with watches you from the mirror every mornin'.
Lettin' the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier than puttin' it back in.
Good judgment comes from experience and a lotta that comes from bad judgment.

Monday, November 18, 2013


Good morning! Sorry about the picture. I saw it and laughed, which means most of you will think it's not funny. I hope you had a good weekend. Mine was good and fine. It's a busy season and some of that carried over into the weekend, which is fine.

On the endurance front, I was able to do a 5 mile run Saturday morning, which was good. It was the least amount of pain I've had on the run in a long time. I was very happy about that. After the morning run, I came home and cleaned out my gutters and worked on leaves for a while. It was cool, damp, and windy.

I had planned on riding Saturday, thinking it was going to be warm and windy and possibly sunny. As I was working in the yard, I was doubting the warm and sunny part, which was making me question why I was considering riding. I decided I would go anyway, working on my mental toughness, which is an essential in Ironman.

It wasn't long after I made my decision the temps warmed up and sun starting peeking out. I went to the Park and got ready to roll. The wind out of the south was strong and sustained. I knew heading out was going to be a grind, and it was. I also knew there would be a great payoff when it was time to head north, and it was. I wandered around to position myself for a straight shot back to the Park. It was tough getting there, but, boy, was it fun on those last few miles. I ended up with a little more than 30 miles and a really good day of activity.

I guess we all survived the storms yesterday. Our advances in weather technology are interesting but I wonder if we are not creating a "boy crying wolf" problem with all the hyping of storms that don't live up to their billing. Oh well.

Thanks for stopping by.

God is our Refuge

Let’s get the week off to a good start! You know there will be all kinds of challenges and tests this week, as usual. Remember, you are not alone.

Psalm 46:1-3

God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.

Friday, November 15, 2013

New Half Marathon

This should be a great event! Click here for more information.


Good morning! It's Friday! It has been a good week, and let's wrap it up with a good day. You in?

I have lots of odds and ends to work on today. Now, isn't that an interesting expression? I wonder about its origin but not enough to find out, so you are on your own.

The odds and ends to which I refer includes getting the Give Thanks 4 race under control. Like so many things, it seems like a burden for a little while, considering all the stuff that has to be done, but as it gets closer, I get excited. It is a really good race, and it is a favorite for many. It is a fun day.

I hope to get on the bike at some point today. I will look for a window of opportunity a long the way. I hope to get out again tomorrow. There may be a couple of short runs in there also. My running is limited right now, due to some pain in the hamstring and north. I am being patient with it. Biking does not hurt, nor does swimming, so I am focused on those two activities right now. Running will come along.

OK, I need to get moving on all this. Have a great weekend!

Two Boys Two Views

Once there were five-year-old twin boys, one a pessimist and the other an optimist. Wondering how two boys who seemed so alike could be so different, their parents took them to a psychiatrist.

The psychiatrist took the pessimist to a room piled high with new toys, expecting the boy to be thrilled. Instead he burst into tears. Puzzled, the psychiatrist asked, "don't you want to play with these toys?"

"Yes," the little boy bawled," but if I did I'd only break them."

Next the psychiatrist took the optimist to a room piled high with horse manure. The boy yelped with delight, clambered to the top of the pile, and joyfully dug out scoop after scoop, tossing the manure into the air with glee. "What on earth are you doing?" the psychiatrist asked.

"Well," said the boy, beaming "There’s got to be a pony in here somewhere!"

~ Author unknown ~

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Thursday a.m.

Good morning! It's Thursday and will be all day long. It's going to be a bit unusual today. I have a meeting that will last several hours, including lunch. We have a different thing going on Sunday, so my usual Thursday routine is not required. It's a nice change of pace.

The weather is inviting me to ride outside. Look at Saturday! I know it will be cloudy and windy, but it will be good enough to rack up several miles. Sunday's forecast of 78 looks a little off to me, but we'll see. If you don't like cold, then you don't want to look much beyond Monday of next week.

We had a good class last night, discussing the tension between unity and truth. Which do we value more? Do we want unity it all cost, even if it includes compromising important truths? We were based out of 1 John 2. Both are important in the economy of God and both are emphasized.

OK, I need to keep rolling... Thanks for stopping by.

Throwback Thursday

To participate in Throwback Thursday, using social media, on Thursdays you post a picture of yourself from the past. It’s fun and funny in lots of ways. I suppose it is a healthy way to remember the past.

A lot of us participate in another kind of throwback, which is not healthy and is every day, not just Thursdays. We remember the wrongs others did to us. We become amateur archeologists, digging up the painful past, demanding wrongs be made right.

One day a man was talking to his friend about his wife. "Every time we argue, my wife gets all historical." His friend, correcting him, said, "You mean hysterical." "No, I meant what I said. She gets historical. She brings up everything from the past."

Grudges are heavy things to carry, harming mostly the carrier, but also destroying the possibility of relationships being restored. What’s the answer? Forgiveness.

Forgiveness in many ways is complicated, yet in other ways it is fairly simple. Jesus provides the perfect example. Peter, writing to persecuted people, reminds them they are following in the steps of Jesus. I love what he says in 1 Peter 2:23.

When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.

Jesus absorbed the pain and the injustice of people behaving sinfully. The key, it seems, is found at the end of the verse, "He entrusted himself to him who judges justly." To forgive, I must follow the model of Jesus absorbing pain and injustice, while trusting in a God who will make things right.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Wednesday a.m.

Uh oh! Guess what day it is? Makes me laugh every single time. This probably reveals something about me. I'll leave that analysis up to you. We see camels on one of our regular bike rides. They are on the Amish Super 2, out in Orange county. We always try to speak to them, but we are not usually out there on Wednesdays, so we don't know if they are happier on that day.

How are you this morning? It's a little on the chilly side for sure. It looks like a nice warm up is coming, so I am thinking outside rides Friday afternoon and Saturday too, hopefully.

There is not much to report this morning. Everything I could/would tell you would either require, 1) that I kill you, or 2) you would die from boredom. Either way you are dead. Most do not desire a premature death, so I will spare you that. I do have a meeting this morning.

This is the week for meetings. I can tell you that. I had a meeting yesterday with the Marriage and Family Alliance board, and this morning it is with the Mitchell Area Ministerial Association. This of course is reduced to MAMA, and of course I like to make jokes about the name. My favorite, which I have shared here many times before, is that we should called ourselves, since we all live/minister in Indiana, Hoosier MAMA.

Yes, I know, I should go for now. Tune back in for all the excitement tomorrow!

Great Qualities

Two of the greatest qualities in life are:

1. Patience

2. Wisdom

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

On the Other Side

A terminally ill man turned to his doctor as he was preparing to leave the examination room and said, "Doctor, I am afraid to die. Tell me what lies on the other side."

The doctor humbly and quietly said, "I don't know."

"You don't know? You're a Christian man and don't know what's on the other side?"

The doctor was holding the handle of the door. On the other side was scratching and whining. As the doctor opened the door, a dog sprang into the room and leaped on him, clearly delighted to see him.

Turning to the patient, the doctor said, "Did you notice my dog? He's never been in this room before. He didn't know what was inside. All he knew was his master was here. When the door opened, he sprang in without fear. I know little of what is on the other side of death. But I do know one thing. I know my Master is there and that is enough."

Tuesday a.m.

Good morning! How are you on this cool morning? Listening to some you would have thought that would be snowed in this morning, but, alas, it didn't happen. Life continues. It is going to be on the chilly side today, but that's fine. I will get my old bike on the trainer this evening and start using it.

Yesterday was a good day. The dentist appointment went well. It was the best repair I have ever had. I hardly felt anything. That's a good thing. The eye appointment went well too. My vision has slipped some--I knew that--but it had not slipped much.

I spent some good time with my good friend Pat yesterday. We are going to collaborate on a few sermons during the season of Advent. That's always a fun thing to do. I am looking forward to it.

Last night was the football awards banquet. Ben did well, winning a few things. The biggest honor was being named PLAC All Conference again. The coaches from all the teams in the conference vote on that, so it's a nice honor for him. He's a good young man.

Today I have a meeting or two and lots of things to work on. It should be an enjoyable day.  I hope your day goes well as well!

Monday, November 11, 2013


Good morning! It's Monday and will be all day long, but I hope it's not a long day for you. It's Makeover Monday for me. I have dentist appointment to deal with a broken tooth that I have been dealing with for a couple of months. Then I have an appointment with the eye doctor to deal with my declining vision. Then I'll top it all off with a haircut. How can you top all that excitement?

Hmm, it just hit me --- all this activity is north of my neck. Maybe I should get a psych eval as well. Nah. I'd probably fail and that would be discouraging.

Lester and Ben went to the Alabama/LSU game in Tuscaloosa on Saturday. They had a great time! On the way down they stopped in Nashville for lunch and were able to connect with Luke and Rebecca. They got someone to take the photo above. It was neat to see all four of them together. Of course to the original four we have added Maddie. Next we will add baby Cora Jane, and then Lydia will come in on June 8.

The addition of 3 females will shift the balance of power in the family. I told Maddie the next baby has to be a boy. This would restore the proper order of things. Oh, just save your critical comments, I'm just kidding. We could not be happier to have Maddie, Cora Jane, and Lydia. The boys managed to marry UP.

It was a busy but good weekend. I did manage to take Friday afternoon off. I rode 35 miles on my bike. It was cool but nice. The best part was riding with Troy. Right as I was getting ready to roll, he sent me a text saying it would be a good afternoon for a ride. I called him, and we arranged to meet in Orleans 45 minutes later.

We rolled through Orange County and had a nice time. He continued on and racked up 70 miles. He is an animal on the bike. It was good to have the company. I got out again yesterday for a short 21 miler, along with Scott and Bill. It was on the windy side, but it was good to ride. The company was great and entertaining, as usual.

Saturday was a busy day. I got an early and short run in, and then it was off to spend the day at church for the ReGeneration Christmas Decoration sale. That went well, but it was tiring. The clean-up is the hard part, but it went well. I think I was home by 5.

Yesterday was good. Sunday is always busy. Hey, it's the only day of the week I work. We all know this. Squeezing in a bike ride meant not watching football, which seemed to be a really good thing, since the Colts forgot to play yesterday.

This week is going to be a little different, due to a different format for Sunday. Hopefully it will give me an opportunity to catch up on some things and to get the Give Thanks 4 race a little better organized.

I hope you have a great day and week! Thanks for stopping by.

Hello My Name Is

Hello, my name is regret
I'm pretty sure we have met
Every single day of your life
I'm the whisper inside
That won't let you forget

Hello, my name is defeat
I know you recognize me
Just when you think you can win
I'll drag you right back down again
‘Til you've lost all belief

These are the voices, these are the lies
And I have believed them, for the very last time

Hello, my name is child of the one true King
I've been saved, I've been changed,
And I have been set free
"Amazing Grace" is the song I sing

Hello, my name is child of the one true King
I am no longer defined
By all the wreckage behind
The one who makes all things new

Has proven it's true
Just take a look at my life
What love the Father has lavished upon us
That we should be called His children
I am a child of the one true King
                                    –Matthew West

Friday, November 08, 2013


Good morning! It's Friday! A nice cool start to a nice cool day. I didn't get my work done yesterday, so I have a very busy morning. I am hoping to carve out a bike ride this afternoon. We'll see. Tomorrow is going to be a busy day, so this afternoon is it.

I was surprised to see Ben's picture on the sport's page last night (above). The article was about Paoli, but I liked seeing 33. Tonight is the first Friday night at home for me since football ended. Last week I was in Florida. Kedra and I are going out to hit dance clubs, I think. Some of this paragraph is true.

Ben and Lester have a big weekend planned. They are heading to Alabama for the huge Alabama and LSU game. ESPN's Game Day is going to be there. It will be college football at its finest. I'm glad they get to experience it.

I need to get after it, so. . .

Thanks for stopping by.

Be Real

Bill grew up in a small town and moved away to attend college and law school. He decided to come back to the small town, thinking he would be honored for doing well. He really wanted to impress everyone, hoping to find significance from the praise of others.

He opened his new law office, but business was very slow. One day, he saw a man coming up the sidewalk. He decided to make a big impression on this new client. As the man came to the door, Bill picked up the phone, motioning the man in. Bill began talking.

"No. Absolutely not! You tell those jokers in New York that I won't settle this case for less than one million."

"Yes. The Appeals Court has agreed to hear that case next week. I'll be handling the primary argument and the other members of my team will provide support."

Bill continued in similar fashion for about five minutes. The man sat patiently through it all. Finally, Bill put down the phone and turned to the man. "I'm sorry for the delay, but as you can see, I'm very busy. What can I do for you?"

The man replied, "I'm from the phone company. I came to hook up your phone."

Some spend a fair amount of time trying to find significance and validation by impressing others. If we belong to Christ, then our significance and validation are found in being his brother and being a beloved son or daughter of our Heavenly Father.

Galatians 3:26,27 — So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.

Thursday, November 07, 2013


Lydia & Luke
Good morning! How are you on this new day? Looks like the rain brought in some cooler temps. And what is this I'm hearing about some winter weather next week? I guess it's getting to be that time of the year. It's all good. The seasons pass so quickly, so I try to enjoy it all.

I failed to tell you that Luke and Lydia set a date for their marriage. It is Sunday, June 8, 2014. Evidently Sunday weddings are becoming a bit of a trend in Nashville, and that's where they are getting married. It will mark the beginning of an exciting summer. Their wedding will be 2-3 weeks after Ben graduates from high school.

Today is prep for Sunday day, and I'm praying for a good day of concentration and clarity. I have a lot going on, so it would be helpful to get Sunday's things done. But if it doesn't happen, then I'll get it later on. OK, I think I'll get going! Thanks for stopping by.

Facing Fear

Recently a few friends and I volunteered at Ironman Florida. An Ironman is a long course triathlon consisting of a 2.4 mile swim, a bike ride of 112 miles, followed by a 26.2 mile run. It’s truly an endurance event lasting all day and, for many, into the night.

Some of my friends have done them, and I want to do one too. (Insert "Crazy!" "Nuts!" comments here.) I can ride and run the distance. My problem is swimming. Two years ago I couldn’t dog paddle to save my life. Literally. The water terrified me, but my desire to learn to swim was greater than my fear of drowning.

It has been a long journey and I’m still not there, but I’ve never been alone. From the first frightful night in the pool, my friends have encouraged and helped me. While at Ironman, I donned my wetsuit and made my way into the rough water. Two friends went in with me, while two watched from the shore.

The nearby presence of accomplished swimmers, coupled with watchful eyes on shore, took away (most of) the fear. I gained confidence and believe, a year from now, I will complete the open water swim.

Reflecting on this experience, I see a picture of God’s presence and protection. God, I believe, often makes his presence known through other people, reminding us we don’t have to face our fears alone. I am thankful for supportive and protective friends. I’m sure you are too.

I am thankful to receive support and protection, and I hope to be a representative of God’s support and protection in the lives of others facing fears. Maybe you would like to too? Let’s keep our eyes open for opportunities today.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013


Ironman Florida 2013 Swim Start
Good morning! How are you on this new day, another gift from God? I slept well, but it was not quite as many hours as I would like. It has been that way for the last several nights. I need a good, long night soon, and by that I mean about 7.5 - 8.0 hours. I can operate pretty well on 7, which I'm not getting presently.

Yesterday was a good day. I got it going with a little run. My hamstring is much better, but I'm not pushing it presently. I have a big picture--Ironman--in view, so the key is getting/staying healthy. I am thinking the Rocket City Marathon is not going to happen for me this time. I just haven't got the miles in and it's only 5 weeks away.

I wish I could tell some big, exciting story about yesterday, but it was a typical day of life. It was a day of being faithful in the small things. That's what I tried to do. Each encounter with a person was an opportunity to be helpful. Hopefully I was.

Today I have 2-3 meetings along the way, plus lots of others things to think about. I suppose I best getting doing it. Thanks for stopping by.

What do you think?

If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care— then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends.

Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.

Think of yourselves the way Christ Jesus thought of himself.

— Philippians 2:1-5a

All sin and all problems are rooted in selfishness. Jesus was selfless and sinless, thinking of others before himself. A friend of mine once said, "I’m not much, but I am all I think about."

That made me laugh, but there is a lot of truth in it for most of us. Read those words from Paul again. Wow! This could really change the world.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Tuesday a.m.

The Prince of Bahrain's bike
Good morning! How are you on this mild morning? It's going to be a wall to wall day of activity for me, which is fine. I never get bored. There are some things starting to push me a bit, so I have to push back a little today. The Give Thanks 4 road race is one of them. It's a matter of making a list or two, and it should be back under control. This is a busy time of the year.

I am still reflecting some about the weekend at Ironman Florida. It was a blast! We left around 11 a.m., due to some appointments etc. Then we went through Evansville to pick up Steve B. This, coupled with strong winds and rain, led to a fairly long--13 hour--trip. We arrived around 1 a.m. our time, but Panama City Beach is on Central Time. That was a bit helpful.

Upon arrival we checked out our spacious condo, arranged by Smiling Jim. There are good deals in PCB at this time of the year. Next it was off to the beach. Yes, a beach excursion in the wee hours of the morning. The visit was brief, just like the sleep that followed. Friday morning we woke up to run.

We were going to swim in the Gulf but it was angry, double red flag angry. Looking at the water, I began wondering why I was here and what I was thinking in regarding to doing an Ironman. I can barely swim in a pool.

The rest of the day Friday was spent at the Expo, lunch at Pineapple Willy's and relaxing a bit before our big volunteer meeting. I think there were more than 3000 volunteers, so the meeting was a bit chaotic. We found our place and got a few instructions from the race director himself.

Following another meal and more walking around, Saturday morning rolled around. We left a little after 6 a.m. to go watch the start. Nearly 3000 athletes lined the shore waiting for the gun to fire. I can't imagine how much anxiety there was.

The Gulf had calmed considerably but was still choppy. It was cool, in the 50s. The water temp was 76, I think. The pro men start 10 minutes early, the pro women leave 5 minutes after them. Then the main event gets started. It was wild, watching all the men and women launch into the surf and the decent-sized waves.

After watching the start, we checked on our volunteer assignment, which was scheduled to start around 11 a.m. We walked back to the condo, which was a little over a mile away. It was time to get in the water.

Jim and Rand donned their wetsuits, as did I.  Mike and Steve came down to the water also. I made my way out into the water, carefully watched by 8 eyes. It took me a while but I did get out fairly far, farther by far than I have ever been.

After getting past the breakers, it got easier and I relaxed a little more. I'd be lying to say I was totally relaxed, but at the same time, I was not scared. I mostly bobbed around and did a few sets of strokes. It was a confidence builder in lots of ways and a reminder that I have lots and lots of work to do. I am determined.

After cleaning up, it was time to go do our work. We got there early and waited for the first bikes to come in. Our task was to receive the bikes from athletes who had just completed their 112 mile ride. We had to position ourselves in such a way to not trip the athlete and get a good grip on some very expensive bikes. With the bike in hand, we then either passed the bike off to someone else to place on the rack or racked it ourselves, depending on the location.

It was a lot of fun! The pros came in first and were focused. Most were grateful and kind; none were rude, at least I didn't experience that. We got to see some very amazing athletes, including the female winner of the championship in Kona. That was pretty cool.

The Prince of Bahrain was in the race, along with several of his countrymen. They put on quite a show all weekend. They had a huge entourage that included around 15 black SUVs prominently parked right at the finish line. I think I saw the race director rolls his eyes when he talked about the Prince participating.

Guess who got to handle the Prince's bike? That's right, me! ha ha I just happened to the be the next handler when he came in. He had a police escort, so I figured it was him. I had Jimmy snap a quick shot. The Prince is a really good athlete, by the way.

We saw lots of emotional things. We saw pictures on bikes, pictures of loved ones who served as inspiration on the ride. We saw personal notes and reminders to do well, to work hard, to give it all. Nearly all of the riders coming in were very kind. Some laughed, some cried, a lot just said, "Take this thing! I never want to see this bike again!"

We worked a long time, probably 6+ hours. It was tiring work but lots of fun. Wow, there are some really nice bikes out there! The bikes, along with their riders, came in all shapes and sizes. We liked the small women's bikes the best. They were light and easy to rack. Big and Tall, now that was a different story.

Saturday night, after eating, we went back to watch the finish for a while. That was really cool. I found emotion rising often as I watched people finish. Most had nothing left. They had given all they had. I imagined being there next year.

Sunday morning we got up early and got in line to register. I know it sounds crazy for most of you, but, yes, people lined up a couple hours (or more) early to sign up for next year's event. It was going to sell-out and it did. One local guy managed to get in online, but I think that was rare. The whole thing sold out in minutes. Six local guys are in for next year: Brent V, Rand H, Jim S, Roy R, Steve B, and me. It should be fun.

The ride home was great! Jim borrowed a neighbor's full size van, so we had plenty of room on the trip. It was a great weekend with a great bunch of guys.

In This House

What’s your home like?

We are getting closer to experiencing the empty nest, but that transition will not exert its full-force thanks to the arrival of a grandchild before our last child flies the coop. Regardless of how all that plays out, it’s a time in my life to reflect a little about how we did "home."

The picture is pretty close to what we intended to do. One key element in our home was/is the table and simple meals shared together with a loving prayer. No TV; no distractions. Our intention was/is to reflect the love of God and his way of dealing with us. We want our kitchen table to reflect the communion table.

Centering a home on a table that reflects the unconditional of God allows it to be a place of peace and joy, a place of security. It’s not easy, but with God’s help and intentional practices, like the ones pictured, it can be done.

May God bless your home.

Monday, November 04, 2013

Waiting in Hope

Lamentations 3:28-33

When life is heavy and hard to take,
go off by yourself. Enter the silence.
Bow in prayer. Don’t ask questions:
Wait for hope to appear.
Don’t run from trouble. Take it full-face.
The "worst" is never the worst.

Why? Because the Master won’t ever
walk out and fail to return.
If he works severely, he also works tenderly.
His stockpiles of loyal love are immense.
He takes no pleasure in making life hard,
in throwing roadblocks in the way.


We ain't at Kenray anymore

The double red flag angry Gulf
Professional bike handlers
Good morning! I hope you are doing well on this wonderful new day! I'm back from a wild week of travel and adventure. It was all good, all the way from scholarly engagement to handling bikes that had been ridden 112 miles by sweaty athletes.

I hope to be able to give you a good report at some point, but for right now, I need to keep moving toward catching up and getting organized for the week.

The bottom photo: Roy Ritter, me, Mike Jarrard, Steve Black, Rand Hammel, and Jim Sowders. We had a good time, and 5 out of 6 us are signed up for Ironman Florida for next year. Mike's knee will keep him out, but his prior experience in completing this event has already proved helpful to me.

Have a good one!

Friday, November 01, 2013

New Location

I read about a law firm that sent flowers to an associate in another city to celebrate the opening of a new law office. Through some mix-up, the card that accompanied the floral piece read, "Deepest Sympathy."

When the florist was informed of the mistake, he cried out, "Oh no! That means the card that went to the funeral home reads, ‘Congratulations on your new location’!"

If we are in Christ, then that is appropriate!

2 Corinthians 5:8,9 — We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it.

I don’t know fully the nature of the New Heaven and the New Earth, but I know people who have seen it. Jesus, Paul, and John all saw it and communicated it is the ultimate place to be. I’m staking my whole life on it, living in preparation and anticipation.