Go South, Young Man!

Last Friday my wife and I visited a Celebrate Recovery group so that she could share her testimony. It was a great experience. As she spoke we were literally about 10 miles from a volcanic eruption that was shooting lava 30-60 feet into the air. God was moving earth as Bev’s story was moving hearts. Afterward she said that more than anyone else in the room, it was she who needed to hear herself the most that night. She needed a reminder about her own recovery and how much God had done in her life.

Tomorrow night we will share at another CR. This time it will be our couple’s testimony. This time we will be down at the southern tip of the island, which makes this particular meeting the southern-most CR meeting in the country. Kind of a neat thing. (I love that kind of stuff.) I don’t know who will be there. I’ve never even met any of the people at the meeting before. But they’re my forever family, so I know it will be good. Maybe it will only be Bev or myself who benefits, but I know that even though our day will go south, by night time we will…

—Rise Up!!

Good

Sitting in my daughter’s living room, listening to the sounds of my 7 month old grandson, on my wife’s birthday, IN HAWAII and I’m wondering what to write about…

It’s not always going to be like this. We are going to have to go back home in two weeks. The grandsons will stay here. Life keeps moving on. But I can always think back to now. When I feel a bit sad, when I feel a bit down, when I feel a bit blue, I can think about….

Ok, I’m back. You didn’t know I was gone, but the grandson we just mentioned needed a diaper change. It was nuts. As soon as I undid the old one he did an arch/spin move on me, dunked his foot in the “stuff”, then tried to crawl off while I wrestled a poopy foot! Talk about someone with the will to rise up!

Anyhow, back to my original thought. Times will change. Good will shift to “less good”. Keep focused on the next time it cycles back to wonderful and…

—Rise Up!!

Going in Circles

Yesterday was a hoot. We got to go to Disneyland with our 2 1/2 year old granddaughter for her very first time there. If you’ve never had the joy of taking a kid to the Magic Kingdom for the first time, you have truly missed out on one of the best things ever. The looks on their faces are just amazing. Everything is so magnificent for them and watching their little brains try to take it all in is so much fun.

We had made a pact with each other that the day would be all about Eleanore, no adult rides were on the docket, and that was just fine with us because her happiness was infectious. She really had no concept of “rides”, having never been to anything like an amusement park before, so we just kind of took her from place to place, unveiling a little bit of the park at a time. As it turns out, she likes to ride rides that spin.

That’s not a great thing for Papa, because I’m pretty much done after my first complete spin. A full minute or two of going in circles puts me down for the count! Enter Grammy. That lady LOVES to spin too, so they were a perfect fit. As we made our way through spinning rides we eventually got to the Astro Orbitor. This one gives all the spin you want and adds a lever to control the height of the car. This was a mind blower for Eleanore. I asked her after if she liked the ride. Her response: “I went up and up and UP!!!” Music to your MoM’s ears right there.

So next time it feels like you are just spinning in circles, find the lever and pull back hard and you will be the next in line to…

–Rise Up!!

Oh, Hello!

This past weekend I had the opportunity to run into an old friend that I hadn’t seen in the better part of a year or more. I was getting ready for my regular Friday night group and reviewing my notes for my lesson. As I read through them I noticed that I quoted someone that I used to see quite often, but that had been out of touch of late.It made me smile because I have a true fondness for this person. After reading through my notes and feeling fairly well prepared for the night I looked up, and who do I see but this very person!

It was a weird thing to look up and see the person I was going to be quoting soon walk through the doors after such a long time. It was a great lesson to never give up on something. People all have the choice to do whatever it is that they are going to do. Heaven knows that I’ve made some choices that have left people wondering what was going through my head. The important thing to remember is that you never know when a long lost friend will walk back into your space. Keep their memories alive, and when they return they will help you to…

–Rise Up!!

On the Rise

A few weeks back my wife made a comment about the blog. She said that perhaps I was writing about soccer too much. Her thought was that not everyone shares my enthusiasm for the Beautiful Game. Noted…

At that point I was wallowing in the misery of our worst start in team history. English soccer started in the late mid 1880’s, so we are talking about 130+ years of history here. Fast forward to this Saturday. “My” Arsenal defeated our arch rivals. These are the same rivals who sat at the top of the standings three weeks ago while we languished in dead last place. Now we are 10th while they are 11th.

“Alright MoM, what does this have to do with me?” you ask. Well, in my life I’ve had moments of abject failure. I’ve had times where I wanted to chuck everything into the toilet and just flush my life. There have been episodes that make me want to do anything but what is happening right then. But the sad reality is that sometimes we fall deep in the water and need to hold our breath until we hit the surface.

If we quit, it’s over, but we never get the joy of the victory. Hard times and trouble beg us to hold our breath, swim hard, and…

–Rise Up!!

Unanimity

We had a special business meeting yesterday at my church. There are very few things that we vote on, but among that small number of things is loan encumbrance. With rising costs of materials we needed to change some things with the building loan, so a meeting of the membership was required.

The pastor and board members were noticeably anxious. The vote was a big deal and you just never can tell how things are going to go with something like that.

The case for changing the loan was made by the pastor. He handed out a chart comparing the current situation and the proposed solution. He gave several points of evidence to support the change. The floor was then opened up for questions. After more than an hour we were still trudging along, and I was just waiting to vote so I could get back to Giselle’s birthday party!

Eventually, after almost an hour and a half of discussion and debate we were able to cast our votes. 104 people were there, so it wouldn’t take that long. There was a moment of awkward semi-silence while the votes were counted in another room. Then the time finally arrived where we would get the results…

103 in favor, none opposed, and one abstention. It was a veritable slam dunk and yet still we spent 90 minutes in the struggle!

How often do I spend a lot of time worrying over nothing? How often do I find a mole hole and anoint it as Everest? In retrospect it seems silly, but in the moment it just feels like the right thing to do. I supposed we could all stand to learn to sit back, breathe in, and…

—Rise Up!!

Glad

My friend Dan is glad to be in the hospital right now. He’s been there for almost one week, and yes, he’s happy that he has had to be in the ICU for the better part of a week.

Last Monday his wife got the call we’ve been waiting for: a liver donor had been found and Dan was going to finally get the liver transplant he’d been hoping for.

Surgery on Tuesday went well and he’s been in recovery since then. On Sunday they moved from from ICU to a regular room. Things are moving forward.

Hat is not to say that it’s all rosy though. While his new liver is doing very well, he is having other issues that make life difficult. He’s had one seizure that is still unexplained. He has difficulty communicating. He breaks down sobbing several times a day. Talking to him is sometimes normal, but sometimes like talking to a small child. The doctors are pleased with his progress and are of the mind that things will continue to improve, but it’s still a struggle.

And we are all glad for where we stand.

Progress and success are not always easily measured. Sometimes we need to zoom out and take that 30,000 ft view rather than the close up in order to see that things really are better than they were. In life and recovery we often have to make an exchange of one problem for another. The choices aren’t always easy, but that’s the way life rolls.

For most of us, the idea of being in a hospital bed for weeks would not be a good thing, but it’s just what Dan needed. Now we watch his body do the things that God made it to do, and soon we will see him…

—Rise Up!!

This is a good thing!

Hold On

This week was a “good news, bad news, good news” kind of week.

I was supposed to be going to Hawaii next month to visit the grandkids again. That’s good news. Then Friday I got an email saying our flight had been cancelled. Bad news. There was no indication as to why it was cancelled, just the fact that it was. I suppose with rising COVID rates this was to be expected, but still, bad news.

After going to bed bummed out I woke up on Saturday and checked my email. What’s this from Hawaiian Airlines? “Recently we sent you an email in error. Your flight has not been cancelled. Here is the most current flight information.” Back to good news!

I didn’t do anything to create the bad news or the good news, it just came my way. There’s a whole lot of free will in this world and sometimes it bumps into us. The important part for me is how I react. I could have thrown a fit on Friday night. I could have binged on my habit of choice. I could have thrown my recovery out the window because I wasn’t getting things “my way”. But I’m not Frank Sinatra, I’m just your MoM. By keeping an even keel, I didn’t have that far to go in order to…

—Rise Up!!

Family Time

Last week I was planning to leave Portland and make a quick overnight stay at my daughter’s house on the way home. We would get to see our 2.5 year old and our new 6 week old grand kids again. It was great. Then we found out more news: our son in law was planning to go hiking for 5-6 days and our daughter would be left home with both kids. Sounds like a great exciting spend more time with the fam to me!

I’ve gotten to spend the better part of a week with my daughter and her kids. We’ve been to the park a ton. We have gone for donuts. We even did a “drive in” movie of The Princess Bride at the fairgrounds (hosted by her employer with FREE food trucks and soda!!!). It’s been a hoot.

It wasn’t what I had planned. It was even something I had thought about, but sometimes God has a better idea for us. All we need to do is sit back and…

—Rise Up!!

Watching The Princess Bride

Big Day

Yesterday was a pretty big day for your MoM. I got my ministerial license at Redemption Church in Oregon City. It was an emotionally and spiritually rewarding experience.

There’s a big difference between ordination and licensing. I’m not the “Right Reverend” Minister of Mocha or anything like that. What licensing means is that I have a local church who has come around me to support and encourage me in my ministry. I’ve got a family of believers who will pray for me as I try to follow God’s leading in my life.

I don’t have the authority to go and open a church. I’m not drawing a salary. What I do have is the ability to lean into God and my work in the prisons with the knowledge that a church has my back in prayer. They give me the support that lets me…

—Rise Up!!

Pastor Dan licensing your MoM