Sunday, June 26, 2016

Haircut

I gave myself a haircut yesterday afternoon. Used a #2 all over. It's the first one since I tried to do it in Myrtle Beach with sunscreen in my hair. I did it while the grandkids were here for the night. They were all watching TV while I did it. It always feels good to get a haircut.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Death, diet, downstairs and downtown


Several random events occupying our mind and time lately:

DEATH
Drew's grandfather passed away late last week. We knew him through Drew Carrie, but I also knew him through my job. One of his son-in-laws is one of the owners of the company I work for. He was a super guy, and seemed to have an impact on everyone he knew. None more than Drew, I think. He was instrumental in helping to shape him into the man he is. We've been trying to help out simply by watching the kids when we can, but it's also been occupying quite a bit of our thinking and prayers.

DIET
We have once again been doing the 'Candida Cleanse' this week. This is the third time for us. If you follow the highlighted link you will see what the diet entails. Basically it's this vegetable soup 3 times a day, everyday, and then one day you can also have fruit, one day you can have veggies, one you can have both, one you can only have milk, bananas and plain yogurt, then you can add some protein the next day, and so on. I lost about 10 pounds the first time we did it (in a week), but not so much the second time. I could stand to lose about 25 right now. The first 3 days are the worst for me, but for some reason adding the milk seems to help. Of course, probably the hardest part of all is you can only drink water and tea. We'll see how it goes.

DOWNSTAIRS
They finally started working on our basement following the water damage on May 10th. We are having Eagle Contracting do both the construction work and the carpet. They came yesterday and started putting up the bits of drywall and installing the wainscoting. They are supposed to finish it today. Then once the carpet is in (we ordered it last week) it will be as good as new (hopefully). The cat might be the happiest of all of us to have it done. Although I do miss taking naps downstairs in the cool dark of a Sunday afternoon.

DOWNTOWN
I am live writing this today from the Downtown storage facility. We had several people take today off, so I started at my usual facility, then came down here to cover for this manager's short day. He was sick earlier this week, so the first hour or so was spent disinfecting the office. Since then I've pretty much just been sitting here doing this.

Well, that's about it for today. I really am running out of things to say. I'm also starting to wonder if I need a break. I'm just not into it lately. I'm not really into much of anything. Meh.... we'll see.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Seeing my story differently


The other day I met with the pastor of the church we've been attending lately. He seems like a super guy. He is very low-key, humble, yet also has a good sense of humor. It was a nice meeting and I left feeling fairly upbeat.

Before the meeting, though, I was not feeling that way. When Brian contacted me he said he just wanted to get together to "hear my story." While I appreciated the contact, I dreaded having to go through my story again. Because I assumed he wasn't talking about my story of how I came to be a follower of Jesus, but rather the story of why I'm not longer pastoring a church.

Even after we met I found myself wishing I had a different story. My story sucks. It's a sad story of heartache and betrayal and abandonment. But then it occurred to me - just this morning, actually - that it's not my story that is bad.... it's the way I've been looking at it.

Everyone has a sad story of some sort in their life. I have been letting my sad story (or at least THIS ONE) define me. I have also only been looking at it from one angle. I've only been seeing it from how it effected me; and how it effected me at that point in my life. There could be (and probably is) an entirely different angle, and the things that have happened so far could have ripples and repercussions far and wide across many lives. Maybe those things happened for a very good reason in the grand scheme of things. Who knows.

Perspective.... is rather important.

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This morning I was reading through chapter 3 of the "Learning From Jesus" spiritual formation guide from Renovare. The chapter title is: 'Experiencing the Second Birth.' They discuss Nicodemus and Zacchaeus, and how they had very different experiences of coming to accept Jesus and learning to see their own lives through the lens of his story.

On p. 30 they quote from Malcom Muggeridge's book 'Jesus Rediscovered':
"The only ultimate disaster that can befall us, I have come to realize, is to feel ourselves to be at home here on earth. As long as we are aliens, we cannot forget our true homeland, which is that other kingdom You proclaimed."

Ah yes... I am so often prone to forgetting that this is not my home. Granted, we pray and work for His Kingdom to come on earth as it is in heaven, and we may get little glimpses of it here and there, but we should never find ourselves too content in this life.

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It's funny... This is nothing earth-shattering; nothing I haven't heard before or didn't already know; but sometimes it can make all the difference in the world to just take a moment and look at things from another angle.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Father's day weekend 2016


Me holding the youngest g-child at Ribfest.

I had quite the Father's Day this year. We were busy most of the day both Saturday and Sunday. Plus Jane bought me the book Don Quixote. So I should be set on reading for quite some time. I am anxious to read it and see what I catch since last reading it while in high school. All in all, it was a swell day, and weekend.

RIBFEST 5K -
After the 5k.
Things started off at 8 am Saturday with the Ribfest 5k. This was the fourth year they've had it, and my fourth time running in it. Jane ran with me, and we came in at just under 10-minute miles. I was happy enough. We didn't push too hard, but did better than the last couple times we'd been out. It was a nice morning before heating up in the afternoon.

This is not necessarily the most well coordinated event, but I like it. By signing up for the race you get a t-shirt which gets you one free entrance to Ribfest, and then you get two additional tickets for use another time. So we never did have to pay to get in.

GEARFEST -
After running, then going out for breakfast with Carrie, Anna and Caleb (to Fortezza), we went home and showered and then decided to head to the Sweetwater campus. They were holding their annual "Gearfest," and I have always wanted to attend. Holy cow. I did not envision the number of people that would be there, nor the number of vendors and musical equipment. It was amazing. I'd visited the store, and even had a tour of the facility, but it was nothing like being there for gearfest. Below are a few pics from the day (which do not even come close to doing it justice).

Mountain of Marshall amps.

Sweetwater food court.

My sweetheart in a Ferrari.

ROCK THE PLAZA -
Saturday night we went to our first "Rock the Plaza" of the summer. I love that the Fort Wayne library hosts these free concerts every Saturday night during the summer. There is food and drink, and usually 3 or 4 bands every night. What I especially like is that this is somewhat the heart of where many homeless and less fortunate people hang out, so it's nice that they have a place to go and are allowed to socialize. We enjoy just bringing our lawn chairs, listening to music, and people-watching.

RIBFEST -
I also like that Ribfest happens to fall on Father's Day weekend every year. It is generally my favorite of all the festivals in town. What's not to like about BBQ'd food and blues music? This year was a little "off." The music wasn't quite up to par. I think they are transitioning to a new person handling things, but hopefully it will work out in the future. I also have a problem with the sound crew they use for this festival. About 3 or 4 years ago - I don't know if they switched who they use or what - but it really went downhill. It is really, really loud, and it's top-heavy. I have nothing against loud music, but this hurts my ears, and it's not the kind that you can feel in your chest. I wish I knew someone to tell but... what are you gonna do... I still enjoy this festival. Again, the two of us pretty much just hang out. This year we went Thursday night, Saturday afternoon, and the we had lunch with the Feipel crew on Sunday and Jane and I hung around into the evening hours.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Spring green lawn visit #3


Yesterday we had our "early summer" lawn fertilization done by Spring-Green. It says they applied 25-0-3 fertilizer at a rate of 7 pound of nitrogen per 1000 square feet and spot treated broad leaf weeds as necessary.

I see we also finally got our schedule aligned with several of the neighbors. I do have to say, the lawn is looking much better already. I'm hoping once they do the aeration and overseeding this fall it will be even better - especially out front where it really needs it.

I'm glad we went this route.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Recovering


Oh man. I was deeply saddened late last night to hear of Andrew & Debbie Jones's situation in Africa. They were both seriously ill. Then this morning I read where Debbie did, in fact, pass away.

These are people I never knew in person. We weren't friends or anything. I had met Andrew once, maybe twice. He was actually the first person of any notoriety who commented on this little blog of mine. He was like the king of blogging at the time - at least in Christian circles. I read his blog everyday, and was heavily influenced by him.

Anyway, they've been living a nomadic lifestyle for many years now. Missionaries in its purest form. I've not heard any of the details yet, but the news is weighing heavy on my heart. I'm wondering, when you've dedicated your lives to serving God and people, how do you recover from something like this? I know people do, or at least they move on, but.... I don't know. My heart mourns for Andrew and his children.

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Also in the news recently was the little boy dragged away and killed by an alligator in Florida. Jane and I were talking about it last night. How in the world are these parents supposed to recover from seeing their 2 year-old snagged by a gator, pulled under water, and not be able to do anything about it? I think it was Jane who noted they may not ever recover. I don't see how they could.

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So, of course, you know me, I started thinking about my own recovery process. A couple months ago I made yet another attempt at reconciling with some of the people at my former church. Still, there was no response at all. I mean, it's been what... 3 years, and they absolutely refuse to speak to us, listen to us, or have anything to do with us. I was actually trying to apologize, and lamenting the fact that I miss this person's friendship. But I did mention that I didn't know if I would ever get over what happened. So I suppose they took that as some kind of slap. I didn't mean it that way - I don't think.

The truth is, I'm pretty sure I still haven't recovered, and I don't know if I ever will. Which is sad on my part, I know. I mean, plenty of people have gone through much worse than what I/we went through and they seem to. You hear horror stories of people in ministry and some folks are actually able to laugh about it later. So why can't I? Well, maybe, just maybe, I'm not supposed to. Maybe we never really do recover from things, and that's what steers us along life's path and shapes us into who we are. I don't know.

I don't much care for the shape I'm in. And that's about all I've got to say right now.

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"You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth? That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you." (Galatians 5:7-8)

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"Lord, I'm tired. So tired from walking..."

One of my favorite songs, from David Crowder (All I Can Say):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s_7H1Z53g6g

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Serenity now


It's not that I don't have anything to say.... I just don't feel like saying anything right now.

I'm tired of reading about guns, and politics, and sexual orientation, and whatever else is in the news. What's more, I'm disgusted with MYSELF for getting caught up in it all and letting it enrage me.

I don't want to think poorly of people I disagree with, and the truth is, I do. So it's not someone else's problem; it's my problem, and I'm trying to deal with it as best as I can.

It's possible I might write ten posts and store in the archives later this afternoon, or I might take a break from the blog. I don't really know, and I'm not going to worry about it. Life is feeling pretty short right now and I'm just going to take it as it comes.

So.... peace out; and in.

Psalm 119:141-144
  I am insignificant and despised,
    but I don’t forget your commandments.
142 Your justice is eternal,
    and your instructions are perfectly true.
143 As pressure and stress bear down on me,
    I find joy in your commands.
144 Your laws are always right;
    help me to understand them so I may live.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

A picture from church

As I was sitting in the Sunday worship gathering this past week I was thinking about taking a picture of the place. But, it is always pretty dark, and the walls and ceiling are all painted black, so I didn't bother. Then it occurred to me that they post the services online. So, if you're at all curious about the place we've been worshiping lately, here's a video from this past Sunday. We were hiding in the corner to the left of the camera. You can see us go up to receive communion around the 1:23 mark (on the left). And, fyi, one of the singers was kind of off key. I know. It's not a big deal there though.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mmoi591fzEo


Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Bible bullet points


One of the things I like about the church we've been attending on Sundays is that the pastor isn't one of those people who makes statements about the bible as though they are definitive facts - or that his understanding is the only possible understanding. Not that there aren't facts in the bible, but many people seem to claim certain truths that, really, are nothing more than educated guesses.

At any rate, this past Sunday the message was on the last part of 1 Thessalonians chapter 4 and into chapter 5. Verses 12-22 of chapter 5 weren't really the bulk of the message - we just kind of touched on them at the end - but the speaker said something like, "I know there aren't bullet points in the bible, but if there is anything close to bullet points on what it means to be a Christian, this is about as close as it gets." I would tend to agree.

Here is 1 Thessalonians 5:12-22 in the New Living Translation:
12 Dear brothers and sisters, honor those who are your leaders in the Lord’s work. They work hard among you and give you spiritual guidance. 13 Show them great respect and wholehearted love because of their work. And live peacefully with each other.
14 Brothers and sisters, we urge you to warn those who are lazy. Encourage those who are timid. Take tender care of those who are weak. Be patient with everyone.
15 See that no one pays back evil for evil, but always try to do good to each other and to all people.
16 Always be joyful. 17 Never stop praying. 18 Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
19 Do not stifle the Holy Spirit. 20 Do not scoff at prophecies, 21 but test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good. 22 Stay away from every kind of evil.

Our challenge from this is to pray this each day:

TODAY I WILL...
  • Honor my spiritual leaders
  • Live peacefully
  • Not be lazy 
  • Encourage the timid
  • Take care of the weak
  • Be patient
  • Be joyful
  • Never stop praying
  • Be thankful in all circumstances
  • Not scoff at prophecies
  • Test everything
  • Hold on to what is good
  • Stay away from evil

Again, I like that. While I don't believe it is prescriptive, it is a very good description of what a Christ-like life should include. I am going to try to pray it each day for awhile. God knows I could be better at just about every one of them.

Monday, June 13, 2016

I am a child


I know it's a Neil Young song, but that's not what this is about. Well, not really.

I'm not sure exactly what got me started thinking about it. Maybe it was a week ago when the speaker at church made the comment, "If we define ourselves as anything less than a child of God, then we have a problem."

Then the other day, while listening to my meditation CD, it crept into a little brighter light. There is a part in the meditation where we are supposed to picture Jesus in our mind and imagine him holding his arms out to us and calling us to him. Then we're to imagine him holding us. If I can be a bit vulnerable here.... I really like that part. Of all the lame-brained, stupid, shameful things I've done, to imagine Jesus still lovingly calling me to him and embracing me..... I'm not much of a hugger, but that one thought is probably my favorite part of the meditation. It's one of the main reasons I keep coming back to this particular recording. It fuels my soul and can lift me like little else.

I think it's hard for adults to put ourselves in that position of need, vulnerability, innocence. I know it's hard for me. I've often thought it must be really lonely to be one of those big muscular super-tough looking guys. I mean, I bet they have the same thoughts as most people when they put their head on their pillow alone at night. I dunno. Maybe they don't. Maybe no one does but me.At any rate, the thought of Jesus accepting me, being there for me, loving me in spite of all I am.... That's some good news.

One of the more memorable times for me working as a "parish priest" was sitting in a nursing home with a gentleman who was in his 70's or 80's. He had just been admitted to the memory department, quite against his will, and he felt totally alone and hopeless. I hated going to visit him because it's such a sad place, but on one particular occasion he put his head on my chest and wept. He had become like a child and was beyond trying to keep up appearances. I will forever remember that afternoon. It brings a tear to my eye still today. Now I miss those times.


Sometimes I wonder who we think we're kidding; who I think I'M kidding. Who are we trying to be?

"Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—" (John 1:12)

When I think of that I think of innocence, purity, honesty, hopefulness, and a sense of awe and wonder. And that is my prayer for today.

Peace out, my friends; and in.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Out on the weekend


Here it is Sunday night. The last few days are kind of a blur. Actually.... geez... life seems to be getting like that. Anyway......

Friday was my annual golf outing at work. One of the owners of our company also owns a non-profit company that holds a golf fundraiser every year. He pays us to take the day off and drink beer and (hopefully) donate lots of money to his charity. So, you know, I felt obligated to do my part. I rode in a cart with Colin (who also used my clubs, because he doesn't golf). The other two in our foursome were Karen and Kendra. Karen has golfed, but Kendra, like Colin, only plays at this event. It was a "best ball," and for as terrible as I am at golf, we actually used my shot many times. Eventually one of the guys in our other group just decided to leave, so Drew and Grant joined us. After that we pretty much just let them play and we watched. I remember last year I said I would never do it again, but it was pretty fun this year. I'm glad I went.

Saturday we babysat the grandkids overnight. Poor little Caleb was diagnosed with the hand, mouth & foot virus earlier this week, so he was still battling a mouthful of sores a little bit. He was pretty good though. It's funny, because he can be both the wildest and sweetest of the three all at the same time. All in all we had a great time though. Anna graduated from her 16" bike to the 18" bike. She is a bicycling machine. Bennett is just.... Bennett. Such a tender and sweet/funny kid. The craziest part of the night was when Anna fell asleep on the couch and Jane carried her to bed, the two boys just took off running for their room and both of them jumped into their beds. I didn't even say anything to them. It was a little weird.

This morning we all kind of overslept. I woke up around 9 am and Jane and Caleb had just gotten up. I was thinking we probably wouldn't go to church then, but we did. And I'm glad. Jane and I went to C2G, and it was there we learned of the mass shooting in Orlando. That's where the pastor is from. It was a somewhat emotional service. Like I said, I was glad we went.

After church Jane, Carrie and the kids left for Illinois to see my parents for a couple days. So I've just been lazing around the house. I will miss my dear, but I am actually kind of looking forward to some alone time.

So.... that's about it. I need to go do some laundry.

Peace out; and in.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Leaky shower faucet handle


A few years ago I posted HERE about fixing the leaky shower faucet in my bathroom. The video I watched is on the link.

Well, now I have a leak just from the hot water handle. So I found THIS VIDEO that shows how to fix this. Apparently the packing washer needs replaced. If I remember correctly, when I fixed things last I didn't use a washer, but some packing string. So that is likely the problem.

So... I wanted to keep this video handy. I need to fix it before they put the new carpet down in the basement, so maybe I'll try to do it tomorrow.