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

Making Sausage

They say you don’t want to see how sausage gets made. The idea being that over the years people have been rumored to put some pretty unsavory things into sausage. Yes, even savory sausage!

This week I broke the proverbial rule and watched sausage get made. I actually went beyond watching and actually made my own sausage. It turned out pretty good.

When we get involved in recovery, it’s a bit like watching them make the sausage: you don’t know what’s gone into a person’s life. Yet the end product can turn out wonderful. All those bits and pieces that might seem unnecessary or down right horrible, those all add up to make their own particular flavor.

Let’s not worry about what into it, let’s just enjoy them and celebrate the fact that we have sausage. And don’t forget to…

—Rise Up!!

Changing

I’ve been spending some time with my newest grandson this past week. It’s fun because he’s so tiny and cute. You know how babies are. He smiles and coos. He eats and wiggles. He burps and cries. And he poops!

We change a lot of diapers here. He is a diaper destroyer. It’s like his super power! We give him a new one and sure enough, a little while later he’s gone and messed that one up too. C’mon little man, those things aren’t free!

It would be easy to get upset when he does it. It’s a waste and everything. But it’s just how things work. Even his little sister knows that his job is to eat, sleep, and poop. It’s no use getting angry, we just give him a freshie when he needs it.

In recovery, people are gonna mess up their diaper. We have set backs. It’s part of the deal. It’s just how it works sometimes. Getting upset about it doesn’t fix the problem. The immediate need is to get people back on the right path. We can potty train later. Get out their and help them to…

—Rise Up!

Looking Forward

It’s a big day for your MoM – I’ve got a job interview. Actually, it’s a second interview, following a successful first interview last Thursday. It’s pretty exciting to think about having a “job” job for the first time in many years. I have always been a person who enjoys a job interview. I like the unknown of the questions. I like the puzzle of finding a good answer. It may seem strange, but I really enjoy the process.

But now I am up against the reality of the possibility. Of course I would like to have the job or else I wouldn’t have taken the time to apply. Having a positive cash flow on my end of finances would also be a nice thing. Yet after all these years as an “unemployed” blogger, podcaster, and author I’ve gotten used to doing things a certain way. That certain way is having the freedom to pick up and go where ever and whenever the wind calls me. As the saying goes, it doesn’t pay well, but the benefits are outstanding!

So which is better: paying your bills or having your fun? It’s like being in recovery. We know that we need to make changes for a better life, but sometimes the allure of our wandering is strong. Sometimes the thrill of the sin in our addiction has a stronger pull than the promise of a healthy lifestyle. Change can be scary and uncomfortable. But sometimes it is necessary.

All this, and I don’t even have the job yet! But we need to have our dreams. So here’s to change. here’s to new opportunities. It’s time to…

–Rise Up!!

Next Gen

Being a tech nerd I love to see the new technology that is coming down the road. New phones, new app, software updates…all of that stuff grabs my attention. Something just feels better when it is “next gen”.

This past week we had our annual Celebrate Recovery Summit. This year the ministry was celebrating it’s 30th year. It was also the 27th Summit. There was hoopla and special speakers. It was quite a big deal for us in the CR community. It was our first year back with an in person Summit after the trauma of COVID and 2020. Hope and joy was everywhere.

But there was also a cloud over many of our hearts. In late February we had lost our founder, John Baker. While on a walk with his wife he had collapsed and died in her arms. We had never done a CR Summit without Pastor John. No one really knew what to do or how to do it. Over the past several years he had struggled with some major health issues which had caused him to pull back from his day to day duties, but this was different. This Summit was definitely going to be “next gen” without Pastor John. At the foundation of CR philosophy is the idea that each leader should be preparing someone to step into their role. We are always looking to have someone who can carry on if we cannot be there. Thankfully Pastor John practiced what he preached, and had his son well groomed for the job. Johnny stepped up to stand in his father’s stead. Talk about next gen!

It’s not that Johnny replaced his father. Rather, John had created a situation where he could be multiplied. Replacement leaves things as they were, but multiplication creates growth. Summit was not the same without Pastor John. We all missed his charm. We all missed his grace and love. We all missed his corny puns (especially me!) But to use his own words, “This was the best Summit we’ve ever had.” By going “next gen” we all were able to…

–Rise Up!!

Thunder

I’m fixing to go hiking with my wife. We are headed up into the Sierras to escape the desert heatwave you may have read about. I just went to the same place a week ago with my grandson and nephew. We got wonderful fellowship, gorgeous views, and hail…

Now I’m headed off again to see what happens. Thunderstorms are always an option in the Sierras during the summer, so we will be prepared. I guess the question is why go if you think you might get rained on? It all comes back to one of my favorite songs by Mercy Me “Bring the Rain”. The song talks about going through struggles. It continues by reminding us that the rain is just that – just a little rain. We will be fine, albeit wet, if it does rain. No problem. I can assure you that at 9000 feet we will certainly be able to…

–Rise Up!!