Category Archives: Philosophy

All Gave Some, Some Gave All

We interrupt your regularly scheduled stream of blogs about our trip to Italy to pay a special tribute to all veterans. I spent last night on the USS Cobia, docked at the Wisconsin Maritime Museum in Manitowoc, WI with my scouts. Plenty of places on board to think about the veterans who have served our country, for all of whom I am thankful!

Yes, space was tight on the USS Cobia. Seventy submariniers, seventy days, eight hours on the surface running the diesel engines to charge batteries for every twenty two hours submerged. Three bathrooms like this one.

There was one shower in the officer’s quarters. The rest of the crew washed at small sinks. We joked about launching any scouts who got too “energetic” out the forward torpedo tubes…

World War II submarines aren’t very big…but this shot through the bulkhead leading to the officer’s quarters and mess makes it look long…

One of the things they did while they were running the diesels on the surface to recharge batteries was desalinate water. These two “stills” distilled 1000 gallons of freshwater from seawater during the 8 hour charging stint.

One of the benefits of sleeping on the USS Cobia, besides the overpowering aroma of sweat in confined quarters, is the opportunity to go a few places where the daytime tours don’t, including the conning tower and lower level of the engine room.

The “wheel” on the right controlled the trim of the “wings” or hydrofoil near the bow of the submarine while the one on the left controlled the rear hydrofoil. Note the “saltwater depth to keel” gauge with three key depths noted by a red mark.

48 feet was the maximum depth where the radar mounted on the conning tower could be used

67 feet was the maximum depth where the periscope could be used

150 feet was the minimum depth where the subs were safe from enemy aircraft and also the depth where they switched to the “deep range” gauge higher on the wall between the two wheels.

I asked Matt Karolek if he wanted to be awakened in time for sunrise through the periscope…but he passed on the opportunity.

I like the composition and content of the shot I took of the port side of the large deck gun better…but the lighting on the starboard side makes this a much better picture. The submariner who sat on this side adjusted the elevation of the gun. The guy on the other side turned the gun. They were both quite exposed to enemy fire. Because of this only a few men were allowed on deck at any given time.

Submariners who worked in the engine room or who shot the deck guns sacrificed their hearing for our freedom. 52 US WWII subs were “lost”, including over 3100 submariners. All gave some, some gave all.

Fortunately, there are places we can go to learn about their sacrifices and reflect on the things we have because of them.

 

Make The Trend Your Friend

There’s an old saying, “The trend is your friend”. I’m not sure where, when or how this saying originated but it is probably related to Sir Isaac Newton’s first law of physics: “Every object continues in its state of rest, or of uniform motion in a straight line, unless compelled to change that state by external forces acted upon it.”

When applied to weight loss and health enhancement, I find the law to be applicable, because our state is a result of our behavior, and our behavior is largely a result of habits. Until we are compelled to change our habits, our behaviors won’t change and our state (health, weight) won’t change.

We’ve all run into someone we haven’t seen in a while and heard “you haven’t changed a bit”. Sometimes they’re being kind, and sometimes they’re pretty accurate. Because we experience most of the changes in our lives in increments too small to easily observe, we need an objective external measure to provide a true reflection.

One of the measures important to this stage of my journey is my weight. I know, its just a number. An arbitrary number at that, and only one of many that need to be understood in relation to each other in order to have a good picture. But it is a number that is easily obtained and whose history is easy visualized. And, for this stage in my journey, its a pretty good measure of progress. So, I track it.

Since most of us are impatient creatures, it is important to look at the short term. So, I pay attention to today’s weight, and the default view on Lose It! is a week. Over the past week, I’ve done well, as you can see below:

Its also important to look at the long term, in order to understand where we’ve come from, and whether we’re heading in the right direction overall. A one year trend helps with this:

Hmmm, as you can see, I’ve made significant progress over the past year and things appear to have been “stalled” for approximately the past 6 months. With the data, I can look at various ranges to see what was going on with varying levels of detail. For example, look at the past month, which shows a disturbing pattern…

 

Looking at the past three months exposes an even more disturbing trend:

I’ve got to admit it is awfully tempting to look at those lines and note that low and high weights in the range are separated by less than five pounds. I know I’ve said it before, some days I feel like I pee more than 5 pounds away in one trip to the necessary room. Not a big deal, right?

Well, I need it to be a big deal. If every time I gain a few pounds in some social celebration the new high is a bit higher than the last one, and every interim low between highs is a little bit less low than the last one, the ultimate trend is not in the direction I want it to go. This needs to stop and it needs to stop now. My task this week is to make sure the second half of Newton’s law applies to continue this week’s downward trend. I’m following my program and there’s no social celebrations coming up until 7/4. I need to build the momentum and roll through the 4th without a “social celebration bump”.

Are you with me? Make the trend your friend!

Do As I Say…

There are a few pieces of wise advice I remember hearing more than a few times from my Dad. Two in particular come to mind this morning:

  • Always use the right tool for the job, and,
  • Do as I say, not as I do

Well, OK, I don’t know if I ever heard you say “Son, use a real edger!” and I can’t say for certain that I ever saw you try to use a string trimmer to edge your driveway or sidewalk. But I know you had a real edger (it was green and black) when we lived on Denton Ave. and I’ve struggled enough trying to use a string trimmer to edge so I gave up a few years ago.

For fathers’ day, my extremely perceptive family picked up on my hints and I got a Black & Decker “edge hog”. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

The right tools for the job!

A half hour in the hot sun and my driveway and patio are edged like a pro would edge them, with the help of the edge hog, my electric tornado and a nice heavy duty extension cord. Thanks for the advice Dad! Your driveway and walk next week?

FTC 16 CFR, part 255 Disclaimer: The Black & Decker “edge  hog” link above is an affiliate link to Amazon.com. If you click the link and buy the product from Amazon, I may earn a few cents. I only link to things I use and truly believe are great products, in hope that someone who reads my blog will also find them useful. This is not a significant source of income for me and the few cents I may earn does not in any way influence what I link to.

The Easter Special – A Blessing of Thorns

Sandra felt as low as the heels of her shoes as she pushed against an April gust and the florist shop door. Her life had been easy, like a spring breeze. Then in the fourth month of her second pregnancy, a minor auto accident stole her ease.

 During this Easter week she would have delivered a son. She grieved over her loss. As if that weren’t enough, her husband’s company threatened a transfer. Then her sister, whose annual holiday visit she coveted, called saying she could not come. What’s worse, Sandra’s friend infuriated her by suggesting her grief was a God-given path to maturity that would enable her to empathize with others who suffer. “She has no idea what I’m feeling,” thought Sandra with a shudder. “I should be thankful? Thankful for what?” she wondered aloud. For a careless driver whose truck was hardly scratched when he rear-ended her? For an airbag that saved her life but took that of her child?
 
“Good afternoon, can I help you?”
The shop clerk’s approach startled her.
“I . . . . I need an arrangement,” stammered Sandra.
 
“For Easter? Do you want beautiful but ordinary or would you like to challenge the day with a customer favorite I call the Easter Special?” asked the shop clerk. “I’ m convinced that flowers tell stories,” she continued. “Are you looking for something that conveys ‘gratitude’ this Easter?”
 
“Not exactly!” Sandra blurted out. “In the last five months, everything that could go wrong has gone wrong.” Sandra regretted her outburst, and was surprised when the shop clerk said, “I have the perfect arrangement for you.”
 
Then the door’s small bell rang, and the shop clerk said, “Hi Barbara . . . let me get your order.” She politely excused herself and walked toward a small workroom, then quickly reappeared, carrying an arrangement of greenery, bows, and long-stemmed thorny roses. Except the ends of the rose stems were neatly snipped . . . there were no flowers.
 
“Want this in a box?” asked the clerk. Sandra watched for the customer’s response. Was this a joke? Who would want rose stems with no roses!? She waited for laughter, but neither woman laughed.
 
“Yes, please,” Barbara replied with an appreciative smile. “You’d think after three years of getting the special, I wouldn’t be so moved by its significance, but I can feel it right here, all over again,” she said as she gently tapped her chest.
 
“Uhh, “ stammered Sandra, “that lady just left with, uhh . . she just left with no flowers!”
 
“Right . . . I cut off the roses. That’s the Special . . . I call it the Easter Thorns Bouquet.”
 
“Oh, come on, you can’t tell me someone is willing to pay for that?!” exclaimed Sandra.
 
Barbara came into the shop three years ago feeling very much like you today,” explained the clerk, “She thought she had very little to be thankful for. She had lost her father to cancer, the family business was failing, her son was into drugs, and she was facing major surgery. That same year I had lost my husband, and for the first time in my life, I had to spend the holidays alone. I had no children, no husband, no family nearby, and too great a debt to allow any travel.”
 
“So what did you do?” asked Sandra.
 
“I learned to be thankful for thorns,” answered the clerk quietly. “I’ve always thanked God for good things in life and never thought to ask Him why those good things happened to me, but when the bad stuff hit, did I ever ask! It took time for me to learn that dark times are important. I always enjoyed the flowers of life, but it took thorns to show me the beauty of God’s comfort. You know, the Bible says that God comforts us when we’re afflicted, and from His consolation we learn to comfort others.” Sandra sucked in her breath as she thought about the very thing her friend had tried to tell her. “I guess the truth is I don’t want comfort. I’ve lost a baby and I’m angry with God.”
 
Just then someone else walked into the shop.
 
“Hey, Jim!” shouted the clerk to the balding, rotund man.
 
“My wife sent me in to get our usual Easter arrangement . . .  twelve thorny, long stemmed stems!” laughed Jim as the clerk handed him a tissue wrapped arrangement from the refrigerator.
 
“Those are for your wife?” asked Sandra doubtingly. “Do you mind me asking why she wants something that looks like that?”
 
“No . . . I’m glad you asked,” Jim replied. “Four years ago my wife and I nearly divorced. After forty years, we were in a real mess, but with the Lord’s grace and guidance, we slogged through problem after problem. He rescued our marriage. Jenny here (the clerk) told me she kept a vase of rose stems to remind her of what she learned from ‘thorny’ times, and that was good enough for me. I took home some of those stems. My wife and I decided to label each one for a specific ‘problem’ and give thanks to Him for what that problem taught us.”
 
As Jim paid the clerk, he said to Sandra, “I highly recommend the Special!”
 
“I don’t know if I can be thankful for the thorns in my life,” Sandra said to the clerk. “It’s all to fresh.”
 
“Well,” the clerk replied carefully, “my experience has shown me that thorns make roses more precious. We treasure God’s providential care more during trouble than at any other time. Remember, it was a crown of thorns that Jesus wore so we might know His love. Don’t resent the thorns.”
 
Tears rolled down Sandra’s cheeks. For the first time since the accident, she loosened her grip on resentment. “I’ll take those twelve long-stemmed thorns, please,” she managed to choke out.
 
“I hoped you would,” said the clerk gently. “I’ll have them ready in a minute.”
 
“Thank you. What do I owe you?” asked Sandra.
 
“Nothing, “ said the clerk. “Nothing but a promise to allow God to heal your heart. The first year’s arrangement is always on me.” The clerk smiled and handed a card to Sandra. “I’ll attach this card to your arrangement, but maybe you’d like to read it first.”
 
It read: “Dear God, I have never thanked you for my thorns. I have thanked you a thousand times for my roses, but never once for my thorns. Teach me the glory of the cross I bear; teach me the value of my thorns. Show me that I have climbed closer to you along the path of pain. Show me that, through my tears, the colors of your rainbow look much more brilliant.”
Disclaimer: I don’t know the origin of this and apologize to the author for sharing it without permission. Thanks to my friend Warren K. who shared it with our choir.

I Believe

The beliefs below were sent to me by Kirk Weisler, a friend who helps me stay motivated each and every day. For more information about how, see the link at the bottom. But first, enjoy!

I Believe

I believe- that we don’t have to change friends if we understand that friends change.

I believe- that no matter how good a friend is, they’re going to hurt you every once in a while and you must forgive them for that.

I believe- that you can do something in an instant that will give you heartache for life.

I believe- that it’s taking me a long time to become the person I want to be.

I believe- that you should always leave loved ones with loving words. It may be the last time you see them.

I believe- that you can keep going long after you can’t.

I believe- that we are responsible for what we do, no matter how we feel.

I believe- that either you control your attitude or it controls you.

I believe- that regardless of how hot and steamy a relationship is at first, the passion fades and there had better be something else to take its place.

I believe- that heroes are the people who do what has to be done when it needs to be done, regardless of the consequences.

I believe- that money is a lousy way of keeping score.

I believe- that my best friend and I can do anything or nothing and have the best time.

I believe- that sometimes the people you expect to kick you when you’re down, will be the ones to help you get back up.

I believe- that sometimes when I’m angry I have the right to be angry, but that doesn’t give me the right to be cruel.

I believe- that just because someone doesn’t love you the way you want them to doesn’t mean they don’t love you with all they have.

I believe- that maturity has more to do with what types of experiences you’ve had and what you’ve learned from them and less to do with how many birthdays you’ve celebrated.

I believe- that it isn’t always enough to be forgiven by others.  Sometimes you have to learn to forgive yourself.

I believe- that no matter how bad your heart is broken the world doesn’t stop for your grief.

I believe- that our background and circumstances may have influenced who we are, but we are responsible for who we become.

I believe- that just because two people argue, it doesn’t mean they don’t love each other And just because they don’t argue, it doesn’t mean they do.

I believe- that you shouldn’t be so eager to find out a secret. It could change your life forever.

I believe- that two people can look at the exact same thing and see something totally . different.

I believe- that your life can be changed in a matter of hours by people who don’t even know you.

I believe- that even when you think you have no more to give, when a friend cries out to you you will find the strength to help.

I believe- that credentials on the wall do not make you a decent human being.

I believe- that the people you care about most in life are taken from you too soon.  (even if you get them for 90 years)

I believe it’s important to keep believing

I (Steve) believe you need to know more about Kirk Weisler…

Kirk provides a free service he calls “Thought for the Day” or T4D. Sometimes you get what you pay for. In this case, free means “priceless” not “worthless”. You can visit his site at your convenience to get a shot of inspiration. Or you can sign up to receive each installment via email as soon as it is available. You can also follow Kirk on twitter. However you meet Kirk, your life will be enriched!

 

Hanging On

Last tree that still has leaves

Every neighborhood has one…

Well, first some perspective on my neighborhood. My niece and nephews think I live “out in the boonies”. It doesn’t seem remote at all compared to some of the places I’ve visited. Yet it is a world away from city life as many know it. Each weekday morning I drop my son off at school by 7am and head to work. I could easily hop on the Interstate, first US16 then I94 for the ten mile trip to my office. Most mornings, however, I choose the rural roads. I find the slower pace and the great scenery – I drive through two small towns, past Pewaukee lake beach, fields, woods and wetlands, and the road undulates over and around the terminal remnants of the last glacier to pass through – to be a great way to get to work in a relaxed mood. Its not that I dislike commuting on the interstate with a few thousand of my closest commuting friends, its just that I like the scenic drive more.

So, the commute is part of my neighborhood. And, the pace of the commute gives me plenty of time to notice things in the neighborhood. Like the tree. Every neighborhood has a tree that hangs on to its leaves, in splendid color, long past when all the other trees have let go. Sometimes, I wonder if it is the same tree each year. Unfortunately I’m getting to the point where things like that don’t really stick in my memory. Other times I wonder why. Haven’t all of the trees been exposed to the same wind, rain, cold and shorter days? What makes that one hold on so tight? Is the tree hanging on to the leaves or are the leaves clinging to the tree?

I recently had the opportunity to change roles at work, and with the new role came a new office. Being energy conservation minded, I was careful to sort and toss things that didn’t need to move before moving them to avoid handling them multiple times – pack, move, unpack. I have to admit I was amazed at the number of things; reports, files, CDs, conference binders, etc. that I had no desire to move. Why then, had I hung on to them in my old office? Surely they weren’t clinging to me.

As we look at the neighborhoods of our lives, most of us can probably find some things that we’re hanging on to. Maybe it is a box in the basement that has never been unpacked following the move from our last house 11 years ago. Maybe it is those record albums that I might get transferred to CDs someday. Maybe its an eating habit that isn’t as healthy as it should be. Maybe its a recreational or entertainment activity that wastes precious time which could be spent in more positive ways. Perhaps you’re battling an addictive behavior, or stuck in an abusive relationship. Sometimes letting go is hard, even when we know its the right thing to do.

Is now the time to stop hanging on?

Outlive Your Life

For the past month, the morning show hosts of the radio station I listen to most while commuting have had a daily segment with Max Lucado. They’ve been discussing his book, “Outlive Your Life: You Were Made to Make a Difference”. This is not a review of the book, there are plenty of those on Amazon.com. This is, rather, a reflection on a few gifts I have received – things which will long outlive the giver.

Last weekend, I rode a portion of the Elroy-Sparta bike trail (http://goo.gl/dliX)with some of the Scouts from BSA Troop 24 in Hartland, WI. They’re in better shape and rode many more miles than I, but we had a great time doing it. Purchased by the State of Wisconsin in 1966 for $12,000, The Elroy-Sparta was the first conversion of an abandoned railway to a recreational trail in the nation. I’ve visited this trail, with beautiful scenery, cool damp tunnels, and friendly faces, many times, with family, friends and scouts. Likewise I have enjoyed the Sugar River trail, the Glacier Drumlin trail, the Bugline trail and the Lake Country trail closeer to home and the Paul Bunyan trail in MN. Why? Because my Dad introduced the family to these trails many years ago as a relatively inexpensive way to see cool places while getting a little exercise and enjoying nature!

This morning, my wife referenced a copy of the Wisconsin Natural Resources Magazine, pointing out some fabulous photos of “The Ledge” and how we should put it on our bucket list. I knew in an instant the reference must be about the Niagra Escarpment. As I read the article, I smiled as I recalled the portions of the ledge I’ve already visited – Cave Point and Eagle Cave in Door County; Ledge Park in Dodge County; Lime Kiln Park in Cedarburg and countless rock outcroppings in the Kettle Moraine overlooking scenic vistas along twisty roads and hilly trails. How did I know of these things? Of course, my Dad introduced and reintroduced me to them years ago and I have done the same for my children and my friends.

Tonight, my brother will take his sons and other scouts from their troop to Devils Lake. Along the way they’ll probably cross the Wisconsin River via the ferry at Merrimac. While the foot bridges haven’t yet been rebuilt from the 2008 flood damage, they might hike into Parfrey’s Glen nearby. They may have started conditioning earlier this year with a hike along the Root River trail, as I have dozens of times. How do I know of these things? Yes, Dad’s influence again.

Camping. Hiking. Biking. Canoeing. Scouts. Ping-pong. Church. Family. Friends. Driving down random roads and finding wonders like Kitchi t kippi springs (http://goo.gl/f741) and always having a camera to capture some of the memories to rekindle the magic when it begins to fade and blur with time. These are but a few of the many things my Dad has done to outlive his life and help enrich the lives of others.

Thanks Dad, for making a difference! I hope and pray that I will be able to outlive my life in ways you are outliving yours!

Memorial Day – The Reason For The Season

We all may celebrate Memorial Day in different ways, thankful for a long weekend which includes a paid weekday away from our normal work routine. No matter what your traditions, please consider taking some time to ponder “The Reason For The Season”, an opportunity to remember the sacrifices made by those who have served in the military and their families. Some ideas for things to do this weekend, in addition to, or instead of, picnics and parties, include:

Go to a parade or cemetery service in your community.

  • If you see a current soldier or a veteran in uniform, look them in the eye and thank them.
  • Watch a related movie (e.g., Saving Pvt Ryan, We Were Soldiers, Band of Brothers, The War Tapes, etc.) and discuss it with someone
  • Display the American Flag and a POW/MIA flag if you have one
  • Spend some time in quiet reflection on all of the freedoms we enjoy and the tremendous sacrifices made to defend them

Have a great Memorial Day Holiday, and THANK YOU to those of you who have served in the military and/or sacrificed to support others who have served.

What’s Wrong With Us?

Last week there was an op-ed piece in the New York Times entitled “What’s Wrong With Us”? It was the author’s thesis that we’re not paying enough attention to some of the basics in life, taking too many things for granted. (You can read the original here:http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/16/opinion/16herbert.html)

Some of my peers responded in agreement on a discussion forum, adding some color to the commentary. Mike Toecker observed: “What’s wrong is that there is an entire generation of Americans who were born and live without the knowledge and experience of the massive infrastructure works and disasters of the past 100 years. To them, it just works, it always works, and when it doesn’t they are incredibly surprised. It’s the greatest triumph of engineering that we construct monumental infrastructure that can outlast our children, but it also makes our children woefully ignorant of the consequences of ignoring that same infrastructure.”

Jake Brodsky elaborated further: “This is the curse of infrastructure. People are simply unaware of what it takes to make their daily life possible. The notion of clean water, inexpensive energy, abundant food and transportation at a whim, impressed my grandparents, but doesn’t even get noticed today.”

“One thing we should consider is whether we should attempt to scale up or down. Personally, I like to scale downward. A person who lives on city water doesn’t usually think about the water coming out of the tap. But a person living on farm with a well does. People who heat their houses with oil have a pretty good idea how much is available in the tank. People who live at the end of long rural driveways know all too well what it takes to keep a road passable. Those who farm their own food know exactly where it comes from and what it takes to grow it. And those who live off the grid know exactly how much electricity is available and in use at their house.”

“These things are not easily known in large cities. We tend to hide these supporting details and push them out of the way to make room for homes that have no visible means of support. People don’t like to see the plumbing, the electrical lines, the heating ducts and so forth inside their house. They hide all this stuff –out of sight and outof mind.”

“This is one reason why I think the smart grid effort is going to take a lot longer to happen than most people think. The issue is one of training people to think this way, teaching them to manage a resource and teaching them to consider alternatives to the on-demand view of daily life. It’s not that I don’t want the smart grid effort to work. I do. I simply doubt that a public that has grown up with simple light switches for three generations is going to suddenly consider how much energy that chandelier uses, or how much natural gas it takes to heat the water for their shower.”

I ponder these opinions, one inspired by a politician who, at least in the context of the linked op-ed piece, makes sense to me (not many politicians make sense to me) and two from colleagues I have learned to respect through our online discourse, from my own unique perspective. I was born in, and spent my early life in the city. At school age, my family moved to the suburbs. My college life, and the first 14 years of married life following was spent in the city. And the past 10 years I have lived way out in the burbs…on the edge of rural. (OK, you got it…I’m 50 🙂

Our water comes from a private well. It is pretty deep and flows strong, clear and cold. However, communities nearby are having serious problems with both water quality and quantity, from both public and private wells. The health of the Great Lakes is discussed in the news at least weekly, and sometimes daily, in the local and regional media. Yet I sure enjoyed my 10 minute shower this morning!

Our electricity and gas come from a company who appears to do a lot of things right. Yet could we be even better? We keep looking at solar panels. We have a nice large SW facing garage roof that would be a great place to mount a rack of them. I haven’t had a professional in to do the math but it is my gut feel that we could be close to grid-neuteral and maybe even a net generator, if we used the space well. Will the neighborhood association allow it? Should they even have a say in it? Without running the math in detail, it looks like the ROI breakeven point is about 10 years. I’m having a hard time convincing myself I can be that patient. Still looking at the panels.

Our primary vehicles are both over 5 years old and my Goldwing is over 25 years old. We’re saving for replacements. What will we wind up with? A truck/SUV that can haul scouts, gear and equipment trailers on campouts or a mileage and space friendly Smart car? I lust for a new Goldwing with ABS, GPS navigation and heated seat/grips. But do I need one? There’s less than 50,000 miles on the odometer of my Wing. And I choose the car (20mpg) over the Wing (35-40mpg) on more cold or rainy mornings as I age.

How about you…how are you part of the problem? The solution? What things do you take for granted? What can you change? How will you approach change?

Life’s Not Fair

How many times did you hear that phrase as a kid? Awww, that’s not fair! Well, life’s not fair, you’ll have to get over it. Ever catch yourself saying it? Sure you do… If you know me you may know that I’ve been planning a trip to Peru with my wife and 20+ folks from our church. We will depart Friday 12/26, take a limo/bus to Chicago, fly to Miami then after a layover take the red-eye to Lima, Peru. Another layover to freshen up a bit and a local flight from Lima to Piura where we’ll be picked up by volunteers with pick up trucks and taken to Santisimo Sacramento, our “sister parish” and return to the frigid midwest a week later.

You’re right, this isn’t going to be your ordinary winter vacation. It will be warm and should be sunny. Piura is a desert area, with daytime highs around 95F and overnight lows around 70F. With the current Milwaukee temperatures, Piura weather sounds rather wonderful. So, what will we do in a desert? Anything the pastor needs us to do. Feed the hungry. Clothe the poor. Distribute supplies, gifts, visit an orphanage, help build new thatched roofs for some of the “houses”, meet the families we support, go to church, visit, pray.

If you’ve seen me recently, you may have noticed I’m walking with more of a limp than usual. Early this month, I had two days of flu-like symptoms that turned out to be the onset of a nasty infection – cellulitis – in my left leg. I’ve been on a program of injected and oral antibiotics to kill the infection, a diuretic (sp?) to help reduce the swelling, culturel to combat one of the side effects of the antibiotics and a steady diet of Alleve to help with the pain, itching and swelling.

Last Thursday I saw the doctor again and there was good news “I think we’ve killed the infection” and bad news “like a war, after you’ve killed the enemy, there’s a lot of cleanup and rebuilding to do”. My leg has a number of open sores that need to heal and the real bad news is that I can’t go to Peru due to fears that the sores will get infected with no decent treatment options available.

Did I mention we’ve been planning this trip for a year? Paid for it months ago? This was my Birthday and Christmas present to Teresa, and her Birthday and Christmas present to me. Now I’ll be staying home. That’s not fair!

Well Steve, life’s not fair, deal with it. Fortunately American Airlines will let us change my ticket to our 14 year old son. Lan Peru is not so accommodating. They’ll let me use my Lima – Piura – Lima ticket some other time in the next six months and we had to buy a ticket for Matt. Ouch.

Matt was really looking forward to staying with some friends from his Scout troop. We think he’s really looking forward to Peru now. I asked him if he’d take my camera to take pictures for me. Wow…

Obviously God has some reason that Matt has to get to Peru or that I have to stay here. I wonder what’s in the plan? I wonder if we’ll recognize it when we see it? Will it be fair?