3 rough months

22 09 2022

For 3 months now, I’ve been working through the pain, weakness, and exhaustion that covid left me with. I stopped counting the number of things I wanted to do but cannot. I have stopped counting the number of days I desperately wanted to stay in bed. Certainly, many people have experienced worse.

Every day I look to God, follow Dr’s info, and pursue natural remedies as well. My healing will come, by a miracle or other means. So far God has chosen to not heal me, and yet I believe that He may do so at any time. This ailment will leave my body one way or another, eventually. The steps I’m taking will be beneficial regardless. I’ve lost 10 pounds over the past 3 weeks by changing my diet to eliminate possible contributors to inflammation. My insurance does not cover the effective treatment available at Baltimore’s covid long haul clinic, to reset my immune system. I will pursue a request for coverage to go there.

Our family, friends, and spiritual family, City Harbor, have been wonderful despite several people facing more significant health challenges than I am.

This has been a challenge to every aspect of my health, including my mental health.

Today, I wanted to share a few lessons I’ve learned….some tools that have helped me experience peace.

Take a Breath
Today, I still cannot do the breathing exercise provided by my Dr. As a recovering workaholic, I have learned that powering through my physical limitations to work harder is not always a good idea. There’s a distinction between good pain and bad pain. Ignoring symptoms won’t help. I can be more effective if I will stop, take a breath, and after a moment of silence consider my current reality. What is my body saying? What can I do? What can I not do?

Relationship Time
As humans, we are wired for relationships. Over the past three months, I have received amazing benefits from the long-term relationships that have been built. My most important relationship is with God. Now I spend time breathing and thinking about WHO God is and WHAT God has done. I focus on God’s faithful love, provision, protection, and the miraculous gifts of forgiveness and new life given to me through Jesus my Savior. I focus on the positives. Then, as I continue my breathing, I say “Thank You God” over and over.

Processing Power
After the breathing time, including an awareness of my very real challenges and a focus on God…I remember that God’s love will outlast my problems and my pain. Healing will come. Now it’s time for me to use the full Serenity Prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr to process. It becomes a practice of drawing spiritual strength from my relationship with God and discerning what can be done about my present reality.

Listen and Write
These practices allow me to hear from God and recognize truth. As a spiritual person, I must listen to find powerful peace. Profound truth rises from these times. I write down the truth. Then I reflect on these truths, at least once daily. This includes Scriptures I believe about God’s healing power. I have seen God provide medically documented miracles to people I’ve prayed for. These memories are an encouragement, within these practices.

Avoiding Poison
What won’t help? My past tendencies to obsess about a problem, focus on the negatives, and allow for selfishness. My past tendencies toward discouragement, depression, anxiety, or anger.

My hope is that this post is a helpful encouragement to you.

Here’s the full Serenity Prayer:

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time; accepting hardship as a pathway to peace; taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world as it is; not as I would have it; trusting that You will make all things right if I surrender to your will; so that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with You forever in the next.”





Billy Graham

22 02 2018

Finding peace in Jesus changed my life forever. Helping other people find the same truth became the passion of my life. Billy Graham helped me understand that the love of Jesus could be explained in a simple way. By listening to him I learned that this was possible on a massive scale without the trappings of, or ego of a celebrity culture. Please take a few minutes and listen to one of his messages.

He had a positive impact on me. My family found him to be a hero in the faith. My extended family, my church family, and many of friends were personally affected by him. Many people that we know found faith in Jesus through Billy Graham. I learned that you don’t have to criticize people, but instead you can speak the truth in love.

His two crusades in Portland, my hometown, were historic. This video shows the connection between them and the spiritual movement that shaped my own life in different ways. I was in a few of the meetings shown here. Today I share Jesus with others in a way that was shaped by this. Today I gather monthly with other pastors for prayer, relationship, and serving God’s purpose in Baltimore (in part because of what happened, shown in this video, with other pastors). Let us learn from heroes of the faith. Let us grow from how they lived and what they did. Let us pray for people who do not yet know Jesus, every day!

 





Can we learn anything from football?

5 09 2012

First lesson that I learned from sports, through my Dad, was a decision before the season even started…no matter what – never give up!

Here’s a few of my favorite quotes:

The difference between successful person & others is not a lack of strength or knowledge, but rather in a lack of will. – Lombardi

It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get up. V.Lombardi

Leaders are made, and they are made by effort and hard work. – Vince Lombardi

Winning means you’re willing to go longer, work harder, and give more than anyone else. -Vince Lombardi

The spirit, the will to win, & the will to excel are the things that endure. -Vince Lombardi

The harder you work, the harder it is to surrender. V.Lombardi

The strength of the group is the strength of the leaders. -Vince Lombardi

The real glory is being knocked to your knees and then coming back. That’s real glory. -Vince Lombardi

Football is like life. It requires perseverance, self-denial, hard work, sacrifice, dedication & respect for authority. V.Lombardi

If you aren’t fired with enthusiasm, you will be fired with enthusiasm. -Vince Lombardi

My attitude has always been…if it’s worth playing, it’s worth paying the price to win. – Coach “Bear” Bryan

Football is an honest game. It’s true to life. It’s a game about sharing. Football is a team game. So is life. -Joe Namath

When you want to win a game, you have to teach. When you lose a game, you have to learn. -Tom Landry

Show me a good and gracious loser & I’ll show you a failure. – Knute Rockne won 105 games in 13 seasons, winning 3 championships.

I’ve learned that something constructive comes from every defeat. -Tom Landry

There is a different between conceit & confidence. Conceit is bragging. Confidence is believing you can get the job done. -Johnny Unitas

Nobody who ever gave his best regretted it. – George Halas

You’re never a loser until you quit trying. -Mike Ditka

Winning as a team is better than anything. It’s great to share success. -Jim Harbaugh

Teamwork is the fuel that allows common people to produce uncommon results. -Unknown

It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it. -Lou Holtz

If you aren’t going all the way, why go at all? -Joe Namath

The principle is competing against yourself. It’s about self improvement, about being better than you were the day before. -Steve Young

If you train hard, you’ll not only be hard, you’ll be hard to beat. -Herschel Walker

Do you know what my favorite part of the game is? The opportunity to play. -Mike Singletary

We do not quit playing because we grow old, we grow old because we quit playing.-Oliver Wendell Holmes

“Christ wants not nibblers of the possible, but grabbers of the impossible.” ~C.T. Studd (famous athlete and revivalist)





Can we learn anything from a US President?

18 08 2012

Well, yes of course you can learn something from anyone. I do believe that everyone who can vote – should vote…and that everyone who can vote should read (for themselves) as much as possible about the person and topic for which they are voting. Beyond that, any Christian should pray for all of their leaders!

On a lighter note, we recently had a vacation and visited Monticello (the house built by Thomas Jefferson) on a beautiful summer’s day.

Here’s his “Canons of Conduct” for your consideration:

  • Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today.
  • Never trouble another with what you can do yourself.
  • Never spend your money before you have it.
  • Never buy what you do not want because it is cheap.
  • Pride costs us more than hunger, thirst and cold.
  • We never repent of having eaten too little.
  • Nothing is troublesome that we do willingly.
  • How much pain have cost us the evils which have never happened.
  • Take things always by their smooth handle.
  • When angry, count ten before you speak; if very angry, a hundred.




What does your marriage mean to you?

8 03 2012

There are some things in life that we just don’t think about often enough.

Here’s a question that you should think about, “What does your marriage mean to you?”

Just over half way through this video you’ll hear something that answers this question for me:





ear candy – your emotional baggage just went gold

6 08 2011

My favorite guitar ad came from Gibson. It read, “Your emotional baggage just went gold.” It seems that heart break can lend itself to some of the best song writing. The struggle of life and the search for something better can cause an artist to write some of the most honest lyrics you’ve ever heard. You know it when you hear it.

Ear Candy Saturday Morning and how about starting off with a cup of coffee and some music you just haven’t gotten around to listening to yet???

One thing is certain: new music is being made every day and there’s something new out there for everyone!

Mat KearneyShips in the Night

This song expresses that longing for something better. The new album “Young Love” from the Oregon boy is making a splash right now. He has benefited from the work of fellow believer and celebrity photographer Jeremy Cowart (who is definitely worth checking out). Honestly, I don’t care what you think about my musical taste (with this pick). I just wanted to promote Mat. As a fellow Christ follower and Oregonian. I respect his work ethic as an artist.

Kye Kye – Rooftops

Listening to music can be some of the great stuff of life! Listening for what the artist is really trying to communicate can be even more rewarding. Rooftops speaks of the element of faith you want to shout about. Estonia born siblings can make some great music, including a cover of “With or Without You”. You have to appreciate the way that they are not shy about their faith and conversion experience.

Eisley – Smarter

The DuPree sisters have been honest about the faith in Christ, struggles in walking away from Warner Bros., and the pain of divorce. Honesty is always worth a listen.

Cold War Kids – Sensitive Kid

Nathan Willett lost his faith in Christ through his parent’s divorce. Both parents worked in Christian ministry and the divorce left him adrift.

Bon Iver – For Emma

This handheld camera walk around Montreal’s not so tourist areas…a perfect palette cleanser from the previous songs.





Saturday Ear Candy June 18

18 06 2011

Ear Candy Saturday Morning and how about starting off with a cup of coffee and some music you just haven’t gotten around to listening to yet???

…these posts may or may not actually represent my musical taste, but they do represent an artistic creativity…are you still looking?

Peter Bjorn and John – Second Chance

Some times I just like to laugh and these guys make me laugh. Enjoy!

Owl City – Alligator Sky

I know understand just how entertaining it is when your kids think that you’re crazy. Here’s a video that you might enjoy.

Shad – Keep Shining

Quality hip hop should make you want to move and play it again so you can think about what’s being said. Shad pulls it off…over and over.

Bellarive – Sing

This video is from a small private show where everyone in attendance brought light bulbs that provided the only light for the evening. The song is from their album “The Being Human Project” This video doesn’t really start the song until 3 minutes in, but it’s worth it. There are times when simple translates the meaningful.

Hillsong United – Father

Here’s a great song that’s worth a listen…even if you’ve already listened to the album. Go back and listen to this one again.

The Library of Congress has rolled out the “National Jukeboxwith access to more than 10,000 songs recorded between 1901 and 1925. You’ll find some dandies like The Original Memphis Five and their “Meanest Blues”.





Rough Day?

17 05 2011

“He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.”  2 Corinthians 1:4

We have depended on God’s grace, not on our own human wisdom.  2 Corinthians 1:12

We want to work together with you so you will be full of joy, for it is by your own faith that you stand firm.  2 Corinthians 1:24

Maybe 2 Corinthians 1 is worth a read. Please let me know if there’s anything I can do to help.





Ear Candy Saturday soft and crunchy distraction from the news

9 04 2011

Ear Candy Saturday Morning and how about starting off with a cup of coffee and some music you just haven’t gotten around to listening to yet???

It possible that you are looking for a distraction from your weekly grind…or more likely a distraction from the frustration (news and other media as enjoyable as chewing cardboard) waiting for your return from this week’s activities to see what is going on in the world.

Maybe it is a better idea to see what is being created this year…instead of what is being reported.

My wife and kids have been sick this week and I’ve been playing nurse (not a possible career path for me) and trying to get as much done as possible. My prayer is that we don’t have to relive this week, ever again. God is gracious and in truth we don’t have any big problems. I’m very grateful for my amazing wife and kids!

Here’s a few soft and crunchy items I thought you might enjoy.

Heath McNease – Too Much Love

“I can’t hold back now!” My kids, Charlotte and Gideon, are simply amazing! Spending a bit more time with them this week has provided some fun lighter moments. My love for them just swells up and I can’t hold back. You have to hug those beauties! I definitely understand why people spoil kids! 

This is a light-hearted track from a talented artist. I found it both soft and crunchy.

Kye Kye – Broke

F ormerly known as Paper Rings, Kye Kye is a good example of what soft tones can be produced by siblings.

The Running Back – Break Away

“If you need to break away, if you need a clean escape, look up to the sky and say, “I need you, I need you here.”” Honestly, I prefer a couple of their other tracks, to this one, but the title is genius for being “searchable” online! You could just hear Chris Berman, “WHOOP stumblin’ bumblin’ he could go all the way!”

Reilly – Around the World

A bit more on the crunchy side – there’s some good stuff going on here. It’s the title track from an album with proceeds going to the poor.

Brian Wurzell – Grace Ocean

Love this title! There’s good lyrical content here. This is worth a listen!





Ear Candy Saturday on the Rooftops with a Beautiful Step

2 04 2011

Just for the love of listening to music for the first time. I have found that there are times when the less you know about an artist before you hear their song – the more likely you are to actually hear what the lyric is expressing.

Ok, sorry, too deep for an Ear Candy post with your morning coffee.

I say that to say…try listening to these tracks without pre-judging the artist by name or reputation. You just might be surprised.

Rooftops

A Beautiful Exchange

Go

One Thing Remains

Beautiful Step on the first link you have to wait out the audience clapping over the first 60 seconds to get into the song, kind of annoying, but worth it.

Happy Saturday morning to you – enjoy the tunes here…keep looking for something new and always support artists who write, play, and record their own material!