Monday, August 28, 2017

See You Again

Yesterday we said goodbye to Kelly and Abigail. Kelly is someone we've known and loved since we met her many years ago at Okoboji Lutheran Bible Camp when she was on staff there. She told her life and faith story the first time we met her, at a campfire, and it was her story that drew us to her. I remember seeking her out right after that campfire. Over time we've become like a second family for her.

After Okoboji, and after some time spent with a production in the Western USA, she came back to serve with Youth Encounter, on staff there, and on a team that traveled to East Africa (not necessarily in that order). Since that time she moved to Africa where she's been working with children, at a quasi orphanage called Neema House. She came to visit us this summer and now is back in Tanzania. We hope to see her and Abigail again in 3-4 years, and hopefully her husband Dixon will be able to come too.

When I get sad about goodbyes, of which I've had to deal with many over the years, I have to remember the promise of the Lord, and of the grand reunion to come. And I still desire, and go out of my way, to make contact with people near and far, with people who have been, and always will be, very important to me. I don't let go.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Brag or Example or Praise God

It was a little rainy when I got up this morning, but after it got light out I decided it wasn't too bad, so I went out for a little run, the same run and route that I used when I was training to be a "running buddy" for my nieces this spring. The doctor I saw yesterday about my arm doesn't want me to do upper body exercises, but she said running was fine.

I'm not fast. Never have been. And slower now that I haven't been training lately. Still, it felt really good. I'm thankful for almost no pain. 5.8 K.

I like to post things like this but I don't want to do it on social media. That would seem too much like bragging. I'll post here though, on my blog, because if anyone wants to see it they will need to do it intentionally. Social media is more like a push.

I do want to set an example for others though, so I hope this is part of that. Plus I want to praise God for giving me the health and energy and motivation to do this. I know how privileged I am.

Friday Night Lights

Toni and I went to the State Fair last night after I got back from work. We drove down Fairview to a local church parking lot and took a bus from there. We shared a "Spicy Pork Bowl" from the "Blue Barn," walked through the crowds, stopped in the Heritage Center and the Education Building, tried going to the Fine Arts Center but it was closed at 9:00 PM, stood in line and then rode the "Great Big Wheel" where we saw lightning on the horizon, got 2 cream puffs and got on the bus back to our car before it started raining. A pretty perfect way to end the week.

(Toni had already been to the fair with friends during the day yesterday, so she didn't have to get a ticket. In fact, their tickets were free because they played with a band in the afternoon State Fair parade.)

It's a rainy day today so I'm glad we went to the fair last night. Now I've started a list of things to do today. Great to have a day off.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Muscle or Tendon?

Today I went to see a family practice doctor about my right arm. It was hurt sometime during the first full week of this month. Since then there's been a "stinging" or "burning" sensation whenever I extend the arm fully, especially when I do pull ups. I've stopped doing hard exercises with that arm -- and I'm trying to be good to it. Next Tuesday I'm scheduled for an "MRI of the upper arm to evaluate for a distal biceps or triceps tear."

I'm thankful for health insurance, and for the fact that it doesn't hurt when I drive.

Thursday, August 24, 2017


Many times I don't remember what I've written previously on this blog, at least not without looking back, or searching. I did a quick search right now for a particular word and can't find that I've actually written anything on this one word, so I guess I haven't.

The subject isn't "self," but, instead it's the word "self." At the beginning of 2016 God gave me that word as a sort of "theme" -- a central concept or organizing idea, an idea that has held my attention now for more than a year, a word I keep coming back to when I get bothered by things beyond my control.

When I read Oswald Chambers' My Utmost for His Highest, I'm brought back to that theme. When I read scripture or hear a sermon I'm called to self-examination, not to being critical of others. And when I wake up in the middle of the night, and find my mind rushing to so many things that I can't do anything about, the Lord brings me back to "self." Not self-ish, self as in "Let God work in YOUR life, and let Him have his way with others in His way."

I don't need to manage anyone else's life, not even those closest to my heart.

Here are three examples of what I've written on this topic before:

A facebook post from May 7, 2017
A blog post from the beginning of this year
The last half of a blog post from 2015

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Off My Work

They took me off my work* this morning so I'm home at this relatively late morning hour. I'll go out in a few minutes and get some exercise, maybe walk, maybe run. I've hurt my right arm so I won't be doing any pull ups. Today I'll go back to the doctor to see what's wrong with the arm.
*Margie, a dispatcher, sent me a message yesterday early evening telling me that I'm off for this morning only. I'll be back this afternoon. The contract between the union and Metro Transit says that part time bus operators need to be replaced with full timers when part time operators drive more than 30 hours a week. Dispatch tends to take us off before Friday (when we part timers actually would go "over our hours") if it's seen that we've been coming in late on Monday, Tuesday etc. It's a sort of preventative measure because there are fewer full time drivers who want overtime on Fridays.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

One August Evening

Right now, at a little after 9 PM, I'm at the desk that Toni usually uses in the little multi-purpose room near the back door of our house here in Roseville. Through the open door I can see the fridge in our under-construction kitchen. It (the refrigerator) had been out in the garage during the demolition and during most of our kitchen project, but now that the walls and ceiling, for floor and cabinets are pretty much done, we could bring it back in. It sure is nice to have it back in the house. We still have no counter tops or kitchen sink, and there's a lot of trim work to do, but we're getting closer to being able to fully use it. The oven is in place, a microwave is mounted above (though it's not the one we paid for... ). We're still doing food preparation and cleanup down in the basement laundry room, but, as I said, we're a long ways along in the project. Paul Currie, our contractor, will be back at it tomorrow after his vacation. I'm glad he could take the time off.

Toni's outside talking with a friend on the phone. Kelly, here with her daughter Abigail from Tanzania, is in the living room while her daughter is asleep in our guest room. Our "renter" Nelly and her daughter are downstairs. And Charlie the dog is where he wants to be, outside with Toni.

There's always a lot going on -- with family and work and all the house projects -- plus the reading and conversations I'm involved in. I don't feel like I have much time for writing these days. I miss reflecting in words, getting things down in a way that are at least somewhat organized. Maybe there'll be more time for that in the future. I still do writing, but mostly in conversations, usually on facebook.

I'm going to get ready for bed. I get up early.

Peace and love to you in Jesus' name

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Pastor Driver Connections

Many things connect my life as a pastor with my current work as a city bus driver. Among these are hundreds of opportunities to interact with people of all sorts, lots of great people to work with, more complexity and decision making than you might imagine, and reasons to be grateful for the work of other professionals -- including (again today) officers of the law. And, in both occupations, I have so many chances to treat others with respect, including people who others tend to ignore. I'm more thankful for both of these careers than anyone knows. Praying that Jesus would shine in my work. And in yours.