Sunday, February 7, 2016

February Observations

For the past few months, Iowa has been getting inundated with political commercials, phone calls, and politicians stopping everywhere. With caucuses held on February 1, it has thankfully come to an end, at least for now.

I don't get into politics much at all. Unfortunately, it looks like most politicians primarily just follow their own opinion or that of whoever pays the best. Our pastor at church gave a couple sermons on the importance of being involved in the political arena and making a difference for our country.

What he said is correct, I should get into it more, but I guess I don't see much good to try to promote. I'm not registered with a certain party and see good points, and bad points, from each. I always say I vote for the better of the two evils at election time and would have a hard time promoting one particular candidate.

Now that political reports are calming down, the nightly news has turned to other topics. For two nights, my local CBS station has been reporting on head injuries from playing football. One particular item was something called CTE from having too many concussions. It has no cure, or treatment, and causes many significant problems for sufferers such as memory loss and other symptoms. A man in central Iowa recently committed suicide after suffering from CTE.

A study of former NFL players showed that over 96% of the population has the condition. Multiple suggestions were given for better padding and improved testing after head injuries to try to improve the statistics. With this and other physical problems due to football, why don't they just outlaw playing it?

No, you will never eliminate absolutely everything that causes long-term injuries of any type. However, you can improve lives by stopping harmful behavior. As our pastor also said last week, it's just a game.

Maybe living the quad life with daily experience of physical problems makes me see it differently. At least after today one sport will be done for several months. We'll see what comes up in another week.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

January Rails

With work being busy in 2015 and requiring weekend attention, I didn't get out to watch trains very much. Saturday was another nice day for January in Iowa so my caregiver and I went and did some rail fanning.

Just as we were getting to Ottumwa, a train was leaving town. When this happens I always wish I had been just a few minutes faster with my morning routine and caught the train on video. At least it was within sight and a nice greeting for the day.

After briefly checking out the Amtrak station, we parked at a place where two sets of track cross over each other and form a diamond. After about 30 minutes of waiting, a single loan train horn sounded in the distance. A few minutes later the lonesome call was heard again.

My ears listened attentively to hear it again, trying to determine which of the four directions it was coming from. My watch beeped at the new hour sounding like a trumpet blast as i continued to wait. Finally, the headlights of the train came into view and passed our location with the camera recording. The rhythm of the wheels pounding the cross over almost having a soothing feeling.



Shortly after, we quickly grabbed lunch and returned to dine by the rails so as not to miss anything. Unfortunately, the next two hours of waiting did not result in another sighting. With time up for taking care of physical needs, we started the 45 minute journey home.

Hopefully 2016 will allow for more time on the hunt for rails. Getting out to enjoy God's creation and anticipating oncoming trains is a fun part for this quad life. With a blizzard predicted for later this week, it will be a while again, but the year has just begun.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Be Prepared

A lot can happen in a week's time. In the blink of an eye a life can be changed and in the span of a few hours, everything you knew can be gone. That happened this week for my family.

Last week Monday, my uncle, mom's younger brother, went to bed early because he wasn't feeling well. Tuesday morning when his wife went to wake him, Denny had gone on to his eternal home. At age 55, he was still working as a farm implement dealer and enjoyed watching his young grand kids.

Through the next few days and during the visitation and funeral, a common sentiment was how unexpected this was. It is true that we often expect people in good health to live well past retirement age into the 80's, 90's, or even more than a century. However, these losses serve as a reminder.

At any time, any age, any health, our time on earth can be complete. Everyone is part of the ultimate statistic, 10 out of 10 people will die. Some pass on after battling with cancer or other terminal illness while others don't make it home from work. Therefore, we must always be prepared.

Having finances and household affairs ready for someone else to take over is always a good idea. Making sure your life is prepared is another plan entirely. I have heard people say they will ask God for forgiveness when they are near the end of life. Knowing when that time is at hand is not guaranteed.

There have been times I haven't done as I should, letting work wait a day or not getting information out as quickly as possible. Asking God for a heart to do His will alone is something that cannot wait.

Living the quad life, I've seen many friends pass on with fewer years than I've been given. Before your, or my, time comes, be sure to take the time to repent of all sin (lying, theft, covetousness, etc.) and ask God for forgiveness. Then take what time you have left to fully live for Him.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Offline

The cold streak is continuing this weekend in Iowa. With temps just above 0 and wind chills well below, I didn't dare venture out today. So that means all weekend has been spent with my computer. That's not unusual, but yesterday added a twist.

About 2:00 in the afternoon, my Internet stopped working. It's not too uncommon, but usually just restarting the modem gets everything going again. Unfortunately, it didn't make any difference. Two hours later, it was still off.

Multi-tasking farming
I placed a call to my provider and the automated answer said their was an outage in my area, but it would be working by 6:00. The hour came and went with no change and service wasn't restored until this morning. As a webmaster, I depend on a good connection for work, but I use it for much more as well.

When I'm flat, I often watch YouTube or watch videos on Amazon. With no Internet, this wasn't an option and neither were most of my games. I could play Farm Sim 15 though and watch movies that are on my hard drive.

You don't realize how dependent you are something until it's suddenly taken away. I was somewhat disappointed in myself to see how much I felt like I was missing out on something. As a child, before computers were easily accessible, I watched T.V. almost all the time. I was reliant on it for entertainment, but I did also play with Lego and toy farm machinery. Times have changed so that now I barely watch the actual T.V., I have Internet instead.

My lesson this weekend was to be careful not to be too dependent on any one thing. All we can truly depend on is God's leading and knowing that He will never forsake us. I'll see what lessons come next week in the Quad Life.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Early Morning Post

As I write this post, it's coming close to 1:00 AM. My main night nurse went on a cruise and the agency could not get tonight covered. Thankfully two other nights that were open did get covered and we didn't have many late nights.

On these nights, dad goes to bed early and mom stays up first. I help her stay awake, so we both stay up until about 2:00. Then dad gets up and takes over and mom and I go to bed. It's an odd way to spend the night, but it keeps everyone safe. I'm thankful to have parents that are willing and able to continue to do these nights.

The cold finally hit Iowa today with waking up to -5° on my thermostat and -16° wind chill. I didn't dare venture out to church this morning but did later when it was a balmy 9° in the sun.

On Facebook and the news, the main talk has been of the large jackpot in the lottery. The last I heard it was up to $1.3 billion. A few people have been saying what is the first thing you would do or where would you donate funds. I know that I would be able to pay my caregivers what they should receive and no longer have to worry about state funding.

I think I would maybe try to do more speaking engagements, but setup a funding source where other people needing 24 hour care could live independently as well. It's nice to imagine, but reality would be a challenge to get everything setup.

However, money can also be a root of many problems. Jesus said that it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven. He who is given much, much will be expected of him.

The quad life may be a bit easier with unlimited funds, but I wouldn't want to imagine the hardships that follow. If you do choose to go in with the gambling fever, be sure to be responsible and seek God's will for your life in all things first.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Busy Year

It's late on Thursday and this is the first time I've been able to write. So far, 2016 has been a busy year.

One of my long-term web projects went live to the public Monday. Unfortunately, Monday is also my day for getting church sermons online. Combined with getting monthly invoices out, Monday's workload spilled over in to Tuesday.

Unfortunately, the new site encountered some problems that had to be fixed. That took up more time and as of this moment, mostly everything is finished and working correctly. The second large project received final touches today and will hopefully go live in the next day or two.

Finishing large projects is a nice feeling of accomplishment. These two had a few challenges to tackle, but I'm glad they are now complete. Hopefully I can continue to use these new skills and apply them to future projects as well. However, not all of my time has been spent with work.

In September I went to my friend's commitment ceremony as best man and met a few of his friends. One in particular, Robin, has me making a welcome commitment of time as well. Nearly every evening since our friend's ceremony, Robin and I have been talking together via electronic communication. In mid October we officially became a dating couple.

We spend anywhere from one to two, or more, hours talking about everything under the sun. In these short few months, we have grown very fond of each other and find our love for one another increasing. I joked about finding a girlfriend, but gave up seriously looking several years ago. As I go throughout my busy day, I find myself looking forward to our time together more and more and want to sneak quick breaks for updates on how her day is going.

With just one week in, 2016 has been an eventful year. I don't know what the quad life will be like in the coming weeks and months, but I look forward to what God has planned.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

End

With the end of the year just over a day away it concludes a year of endings for me. Last night, I finished reading through my physical Bible again. I have been to this point many times and it's always refreshing looking back all the way through God's Word and His plan for salvation.

Sunday was the end of my three-year term as deacon at church. These years have taught me to better see how my church is run and how decisions we make can have a lasting impact on many people. It has not always been easy and I am glad to be finished. However, going back to a regular member will seem strange for a few weeks as well as not knowing more of what's going on at church and my fellow members.

October was the end of using a full trach. I'm completely familiar with a free neck now and feel pretty used to just having the button. Unless it gets bumped, I don't even notice it's their anymore. With being completely dependent on mechanical ventilation, I may have to go back to a trach again sometime. For now though, I can say I ended the year without having one.

This year finally saw the end to working on a new chair. This has taken many years and I'm very thankful to be finished with it. I believe the final solution was a good choice for my needs and is working out quite well. Their are a few things I liked better about my old chair, but I guess having it be completely the same wouldn't be a change!

My legs also ended their complete laziness this year and biked over 15 miles. They still do a lot of just laying out in font of me, but at least they did something for a change this year. I measure the circumference of my arms and legs every four months to see if I'm loosing muscle or staying constant. Both legs grew in the last four months, when doing the bike, than they have in years. Yet another reason I hope to continue biking next year.

The coming year will likely have more beginnings and ends as the days go on. The quad life has many unexpected turns, but I know God is in control of it all. I pray your year will go well and I plan to continue regular entries here, and possibly elsewhere.