I am in the process of combining two blogs and my personal website. I'll leave this blog up for a while, but will no longer be creating new posts. New blog/website is:
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Saturday, August 20, 2011
Today was a milestone that was 4 years in the making. Actually, it started back in 1996 when I first became interested in cycling. Several friends from church had started riding and encouraged me to join them. I struggled to keep up with them on my off brand mountain bike with a "fat-boy" seat. After a couple of brutal rides, I headed to the local bike shop and purchased a Schwinn hybrid.
Over the next four years, I continued to ride, logging 50 to 70 miles on most Saturdays, shorter distances during the week, and trading up to a Cannondale road bike along the way. During the same period, I rode Oklahoma Freewheel (week long ride from Texas to Kansas across the Oklahoma) twice, did the MS150 once and participated in a number of other organized rides in the area.
In 2000, my oldest son and I were training for Oklahoma Freewheel--would have been his first--when I "wrenched" my knee about half way through a 60 mile ride. The pain was horrible and worse yet, my bike riding days were over for that summer. We didn't do Freewheel, either. I hung up my bike, started physical therapy with the idea of getting back on the road as soon as possible.
Weeks turned into months and months into years and before I knew it, the bike had been hanging in the garage for a little over 10 years.
Backing up a bit to 2007, I decided I needed to get myself in shape. The bike was still in the garage, but I was in no shape to jump back on it, so I joined Owasso Fitness Zone, a local gym. I told Paul, the gym owner, "I want to get back on my bike." I changed my eating habits--a little--worked on building some much needed muscle...and I started riding the stationary bike.
This Spring, I took my bike down, took it to 360 Sports in Owasso for a tune up and I hit the road. At first, just a few miles at a time, then 10 miles, then 15 miles. It was was frustrating not being able to go the distance I once had, but I kept at it. I set a goal for myself: I wanted to ride 30 miles in less than three hours. Days and weeks passed and I noticed my time/pace was getting better and I was riding more miles. I also sold my old road bike and bought a new Cannondale CAAD 8 105. I have been averaging 12-14 MPH on most rides.
This morning, I decided was THE day. I checked the air in my tires, turned on the GPS and set out...and 2 hours and 15 minutes later, I had ridden 31.5 MILES!!! That's an average of approximately 14.0 MPH! Not a world record, but for a 53-year-old that hasn't ridden in 10 years, I thought that was pretty good. I've also lost a little over 10 pounds and I definitely feel much better. Next month, my youngest son and I are register for a 55-mile ride. I'm looking forward to it!
Monday, August 08, 2011
We moved our youngest son into his apartment at college this weekend. All of his worldly possessions were neatly packed into boxes. His books, iMac, TV, CDs/DVDs, electric guitar, clothes, a few pots and pans, toiletries, and a hand-me-down bookcase case were all loaded into two vehicles for the short drive. He's attending a college within half an hour's distance, but the program he's in requires he live on campus the first year.
Our oldest son moved out a couple of months ago, but due to the economy and severe cuts in his hours at work, he moved BACK home this weekend. He has one year of college left and hopes to get married next summer, so he decided it would be better to be somewhere a little cheaper (free rent) so he can save some money. I'm good with it.
At the end of the emotional day--on several levels--I was thinking how fast the last 20+ years had flown by and how things were going to be quite a bit different. The youngest will come home most weekends; how much we'll see of him during that time is still up for debate. The oldest already had a pattern of coming and going as he pleased before he left, and I'm sure that's how it will be now. They don't depend on us near as much as they used to. They have grown up; they have very distinct personalities, talents, beliefs, etc. They are--and have been for a while--pretty independent fellas. They are both quite talented musically. Both of them have a warped/unique sense of humor (don't know where they got THAT!), and they inherited the "height" gene that apparently missed their mother and I.
We're proud of them both. The youngest told us once: "You guys got off easy," and you know what? He's right. Both of them have participated in their share of mischievous acts, but for the most part, they have been really "good kids"...now young men.
Yep. It'll be different not having them both around all the time. Not hearing them laughing in their rooms at some stupid video or post they've read on the internet. It will be quieter; it could become a little unnerving when they both broke out the guitars and keyboards and began playing...in two separate rooms and two completely different tunes!!! I'll miss having them come into the living room, paying no attention to what's going on and immediately just start talking, reading something THEY think is funny, or playing a new tune they've figured out without any regard for the fact their mother and I are in the middle of a conversation or trying to watch something on TV.
I'll miss waiting on them to show up for dinner on time. I'll miss telling them for the 1 millionth time to "pick that crap up and put it in your room." I'll miss hearing them say: "Mom, I'm gonna be in college and you won't know what I'm doing all the time there. Why do I have to text you, now?" There are lots of other things I'll miss, but you get the point.
I'm also going to miss the things I wanted to do with them, but never got around to. I got busy, they got busy. We didn't have the money. We didn't have the time. The oldest and I planned on riding Oklahoma FreeWheel together, but it never happened. I planned on taking them both white-water rafting. I planned on taking them both deep-sea fishing. I planned on us renting an RV and just getting away for a week. I wanted to take them to a Shepherds' Conference. I meant to spend more time with them, doing things they enjoyed, talking about all kinds of things, picking their brains, giving them some "fatherly advice." I meant to do all that stuff and more...but it didn't happen.
I wish I'd had a little more time...
I did what I could within the time I had, and all-in-all, they didn't turn out bad. They don't seem to be too upset about the things we didn't do, so just maybe, things will be alright. And you know what, God willing, we still may get the opportunity to do some of those things...as long as it doesn't interfere with school!
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
During the time you will read this, your heart will beat approximately 60-70 times per minute, pumping nearly five quarts of blood through your body with amazing efficiency. At 70 beats per minute, that equals over 100000 beats per day and the equivalent of 2000 gallons of blood! It is estimated your heart will beat about 3 BILLION times during a 70 year lifetime.
During this same time, you will take anywhere from 12 to 20 breaths per minute. In taking those breaths, you will pump almost 10000 quarts of air through you lungs in a day! The air contains oxygen which is added to your bloodstream and carried throughout your body—at the same time, carbon dioxide is extracted from the blood and expelled from your body.
You will have gazed at a computer screen with eyes that send signals to your brain as you scan thousands of dots, representing words, sentences and images, which are instantaneously processed and converted into comprehendible ideas and thoughts. Some of those same thoughts/images will be stored and retrieved with amazing recall and accuracy until the day you draw your last breath.
You can pick up a flower or cradle a child's face with hands that respond to your impulse to do so---in NANOSECONDS! You put one foot in front of the other and effortlessly walk or run to wherever you desire. With your mouth and tongue working in concert, you speak and communicate you love for your wife/husband/child/friend. You express yourself with words, facial expressions, and body movements all controlled by mere thought or emotion.
And the most amazing thing…all of these things you do, your body does without your having to remind it, to program it or to teach it! Where did this incredible thing we call the human body come from and how does it have the abilities it does? GOD. God planned it, created it and HE sustains it. Life is no accident. Look around. Look beyond the wonder of the human body and see the amazing world we live in. This planet sits at exactly the right spot in the universe that it's not too cold or too hot. It sits at the EXACT angle and spins and travels about the sun within a precise timeframe and path. Consider the "laws" of gravity, force, etc. All constant. All designed and implement by God. Evolution?! Hardly.
God is REAL. He is not "mother nature." He is THE God of this universe. THE CREATOR.
Friday, May 20, 2011
In spite of Jesus' own words, "no one knows about that day or hour..."(Matt 24:36) 89-year-old televangelist Harold Camping has figured out that May 21,2011 is THE day the world will end. Actually, according to Camping, following what is referred to by many Christians as the "rapture," i.e. believers suddenly disappearing:
That will be followed by five months of fire, brimstone and plagues, with millions of people dying each day and corpses piling in the streets. Finally, on Oct. 21, the world ends exactly as the Book of Revelation says it will — with a bottomless pit, a lake of fire and, at last, a new heaven and new earth.
This view (in a nutshell) is commonly known as a Pre-Millennial view of the "end times" spoken of in the Book of Revelation. Basically, the Christians disappear, there is world-wide famine, wars, etc. and a new world leader known as "the Beast" who requires everyone to take a mark--the number 666-- on their forehead and hands in order to buy or sell goods. After seven years--during which time the Jewish temple is rebuilt in Jerusalem, Jesus Christ returns, the world-leader is deposed, Satan is defeated and God creates a new heaven and earth.
I tend to lean toward what is know as an Amillennial view: one day Jesus simply returns. Christians go to heaven; non-believers don't. No "beast." No rapture followed by pestilence, no 666, etc.
Regardless of what you believe, or don't believe, about the Book of Revelation, Jesus is coming back. I believe that with all my heart. The how and when, could and has been argued from multiple angles, but it doesn't change the end result. Frankly, I don't think Camping has guessed anything. What I do believe is that life on this earth could end for me--for any of us--at any given moment, whether it's "the Rapture" or an accident or my earthly body simply breaking down.
I have a friend that got up one morning, ate breakfast with his family and went to work. The rest of the family went to work and school, just like they had every day before. By noon that day, his entire life was turned upside down. One of his family members was involved in a horrible accident which left them with an irreversible condition for the rest of their life. As I sat with him in the emergency room that evening, he said: "Life can change so fast. I never imagined I'd be sitting HERE when I left for work this morning."
He's right. There are no guarantees in this life. Tomorrow may be our last day on earth (whether Camping says so or not). Tomorrow may be the day life deals us an unexpected blow. That doesn't mean we live with a "doomsday" attitude, though. In fact, it should spur us to live each day as it it were our last, making the most of every opportunity.
So today, say "I'm sorry." Say "I love you." Hug. Laugh. Enjoy. Thank God for the gift of another day. Consider where you will spend eternity. Tell someone about Jesus. Pray. Read God's promises. Keep the faith. Call an old friend. Revel in the fact that God is a God of grace who saves those who put their faith in Jesus Christ.
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
I'll just warn you from the beginning: I'm probably going to tick a few people off with this post.
I recently saw a news story where a mother had gone back to school and earned her Bachelor's degree. She was obviously excited about that achievement in her life, and rightly so. However, her celebration was short lived when she learned her graduation ceremony fell on the same day as her son's. She was now faced with a decision: attend her own graduation and miss her son's or miss her own graduation and be there to see her only son cross the stage to receive his diploma. She made the decision to attend her son's graduation...his KINDERGARTEN GRADUATION where they both were their cap and gowns!!!
I have two sons, one in college--the other headed there this Fall. I am very proud of them. They are both very intelligent; both scored low 30s on their High School ACTs and both had 3.5+ GPAs. The youngest will be attending college on a full-ride, academic scholarship. But, one thing they never did was "graduate" from kindergarten.
I'm sorry, but I think Kindergarten Graduation is just silly. And it doesn't stop there--there's Sixth Grade Graduation, the Sixth Grade Spring Dance (Prom), the Eighth Grade Spring Dance (Prom), the Junior/Senior Prom, and finally High School Graduation. Seriously, by the time a kid actually graduates from High School, it's become old hat. None of the things we used to look forward to as kids (I'm talking back in the 70s) are any big deal today. Nothing special.
What is it with us as a society? Why can't we wait to experience certain special events? "It's cute! They look like the big kids," some will say. Buffalo bagels, I say! Most of them won't even remember it.
Kids grow up fast enough as it is. And, frankly, they don't need to "graduate" from every stinkin' grade they pass. What's wrong with having just one or two special formal/type events IN YOUR ENTIRE schooling, i.e grades K-12? What in the world is there to look forward to if it's a yearly event?
I was talking with an individual the other who volunteered at a clinic some time ago. She said they actually had an ELEVEN-YEAR-OLD come in for a pregnancy test...and she was!!!
(It wasn't a case of rape or incest, either) Let that harsh reality sink in for a moment.
We push our children to grow up too fast. Consequently, they sometimes do "grown-up things" (like get pregnant at 11) and then we're all upset, wringing our hands, hollering "how did this happen?!" I'm not saying that every kid that goes through Kindergarten Graduation is going to get pregnant, but you know what, maybe if we just let kids be kids and quit dressing our grade-school daughters like two-dollar hookers, maybe...just maybe, we'd be dealing with fewer situations like the 11-year-old Mommies.
Saturday, April 09, 2011
I am on the Board of Directors for a local "crisis pregnancy center." The center began over 20 years ago as a ministry/vision to help young girls who are pregnant. When we started, we did pregnancy tests, counseling, etc
Today, we are a certified medical facility offering FREE ultrasounds, as well as information, counseling (obviously pro-life), baby strollers, clothes, diapers, formula, parenting classes, car seats, etc. ALL FREE!!!
Not once in 20 years have we received a single penny from any government agency. All of our operating expenses have been covered by the generous donations of individuals and churches in the community who believe in what we are doing. We have a small paid office staff, including a registered nurse and over 40 volunteers who help with everything from organizing the clothing and answering phones to mentoring the girls who come in to the center.
So can someone explain to me: If Planned Parenthood is such a much needed, necessary organization, why haven't people/private citizens stuck a crowbar in their wallets and funded it?!! Why do Democrats/Liberals feel it's the government's responsibility to provide a service like Planned Parenthood with MY tax dollars, but expect those of us with an opposing view (i.e. pro-life) to pay own own way?
Democrats/Liberals/Pro-Choice advocates need to put their money where their mouth is! If you fall into that category and believe it is a vital, necessary service, then support it. The idea that the majority of the people (taxpayers) should finance YOUR ideology, but not support MINE makes absolutely no sense. What I think they really fear is that, without forced support, aka TAXES, the pro-abortion services will not be available...and just maybe that is a more accurate opinion of the American people.
If the pro-choice side wants these services and feels they are necessary, then pay for them yourselves. Find the donors. Raise the money, pay your own rent, solicit your own donations. (Maybe you could persuade people like Al Gore and Joe Biden to be a little more generous with their charitable giving). We did it...and continue to do so after over 20 years.