Tuesday, November 29, 2016


I don't ever remember being accused of being normal, which I think is a good thing. With black Friday and cyber Monday past us, Americans have started the purchasing frenzy toward Christmas. The thing I wonder about, is the packaging for all of it.

In modern society, almost everything we purchase comes in a package of some sort. It can be a box of various sizes, plastic wrap, or a combination of items. For those that shop online and have everything shipped, like me, it adds another box and packing material to the already packaged item. With Christmas presents, we adorn these outside coverings with printed paper, bows, and cards.

What's the first thing that we do after receiving our item? We dig through the protective packaging to get to the adorned object and discard the container it came in. Much of it goes to trash or recycling never to be seen again. However, some items pause before their final departure from our houses and businesses.

No matter what toy a child receives, they favorite item is often the box it came in. As imagination takes hold, it can turn into a car, plane, train, tunnel, fort, or anything else that can be imagined. Kids aren't the only ones that find joy in these items, adults can as well. I have often heard protective bubble wrap popped in my house by various people around me. Alas, after the fun is gone though, the fate of a lowly package is out to trash bin.

Not all packages contain items to be given though. Our bodies are also temporary containers for our souls that will one day release its contents. Just as every item has its purpose and container, so do the lives we have been given.

As you go throughout the next few weeks, likely giving and receiving, pay attention to every container of every sort. They may be something handy in the quad life, or in the one to come.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Three Seconds

Since February, I have been going to Des Moines almost every week to use the FES bike. My caregiver and I know the routine very well after so many sessions. The bike does a warm up for two minutes, then for the next 25 it's a combination of the bike's motor and my leg muscles. After this, it's just up to my legs to do the work. They go for 24 seconds before the speed drops too much and I'm just along for the ride, except once.

A few weeks ago the routine was broken, my muscles decided to add a bit of effort and went another three seconds longer. Granted, this is a pretty minor amount of time, but it is an improvement. I've wondered how long my legs would go if I had my own bike and did it more often, but I am thankful for the ability to get to use it as much as I can.

Ken and I after his baptism
Several times the past few months, I have visited my friend Ken in the hospital after my bike session. He has been in and out of the hospital all year and I'm one of the few people that visit him. I did again this past Friday and was glad to see an improvement in that he recognized me and responded correctly to my bad jokes. The previous week, I didn't get the same response as he was having more problems. I visited him again this afternoon, but not after biking.

I received a message when I sat up after lunch that Ken wasn't doing well and I was the closest one to try to get to him. After a few phone calls, my dad and I were on our way to Des Moines. We found his room and was thankful to see a handful of his cousins were there. About half-an-hour later, the order was given to stop artificial breathing, and Ken passed on from this earth.

Three seconds is a small amount of time, but it's enough to thank those around you. You can thank God for the life He has given you, no matter the circumstances. I'm thankful for the times I was able to help celebrate Ken's birthday and witness his baptism almost exactly one year ago.

As we head into Thanksgiving, remember to take a few seconds even to look at the gifts, and people, around you. In another three seconds, they could be gone from this life and on to the next.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Presentation Prep

Today was my last scheduled school talk for 2016. For this school year, I went to four grade schools, one college, and today a high school.

Speaking at a high school chapel service is something I haven't done in several years, so I wasn't sure how it would go. My voice drys out quickly and I have drink breaks worked into my regular presentation. With only 15 minutes to present and not having regular audience input, I didn't have my routine stops.

As I usually do, the first time I did my talk verbally was when I was with my audience. Reviewing in my head the past few weeks, I had several different directions I could have taken and couldn't fully decide on which one to take.

Of course, my night nurse was out Monday night due to an illness, so mom and I stayed up until 2:00. Thankfully, I didn't yawn my way through the presentation and it went pretty well. One student tracked me down afterward and said I was an inspiration for her. A few of the instructors, some of whom were my teachers, thought it went well also. They were happy to see I was able to keep the students' attention!

After I got home, I opened a package from one of the grade schools filled with thank you notes. Many of them said they were glad I came to class, I'm fun, and God loves each of us. Since that is part of what I teach, I love to see they were listening.

Some days are a challenge and I wonder if I should still be trying to live at home. However, days like this when I can fully work to help others make a good argument for keeping on as we are. Another week will come in serving as I am given opportunity.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Time for Pause

A post I put on Facebook four years ago popped up this weekend as a memory. In it, I listed 1 Timothy 2:1-2 "I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone-for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness."

Last week, two police officers were killed in Des Moines just while sitting in their cars. Unfortunately, this is not a new occurrence as it has been happening all over the country. We have gone away from praying for those in authority, or even respecting them.

With elections tomorrow, we need to be praying that godly men and women are elected in every position. Whoever does win, those persons still need prayers to faithfully serve in their office. Normally, I often think of federal and state officials, but church yesterday also reminded us to pray for those serving in the county and city levels.

It gets very difficult to remember to pray encouragingly when our leaders make decisions that go against God's Word. I think these times are when it's needed the most, that errors would be overturned and the person who made the ruling return to God's direction for his or her own life.

Tomorrow night, I don't think I'm planning to watch the news much if at all. Polls won't be completely in until after I want to be asleep, so I'll learn Wednesday morning who our new leaders will be. At this point, I can be thankful for the freedom to vote, and pray all votes are counted accurately and recorded honestly.

This next week in the quad life will continue to be busy and require prayer. I will see what direction God not only takes our country, but the state and local area as well.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Talkative November

Blogging late on a Wednesday means one thing, another busy week. It seems like I just keep getting further behind the more time passes.

Monday was Reformation Day, better know as Halloween. It was a slow year this time with only handing out 35 packages of goods. I gave out 3-4 pieces of candy with a gospel tract geared for kids. One beggar said he remembered the tract from last year, so I guess they are looking at them!

Both yesterday and today had talks at different schools. Yesterday was three classes of second graders and today was EMS college students. Each class was unique and I love getting to talk with them. One boy wanted to know where I live so he could come visit. That was a first, but I said he needed to ask his parents first. Maybe I should expect a ring at the door after school someday.

Going from eight-year-olds to adults is a bit of a change, but I think I managed. The class seemed to pick up on everything pretty well and were comfortable in asking questions. One wondered if I have trouble with blood clots since I don't move. Thankfully I don't, but I can't say it's one I've thought of before. I haven't heard of it from other quads, but I should maybe ask around and see.

Along with speaking schedules, it's also a new month, which means getting billing out to my clients and making new paperwork. I finally finished this evening, about a day later than usual. My hours for last month were double what I had earlier this year, so it was a very nice change. This month will likely be the same with an ongoing project in progress.

I'm always thankful to be busy, I've had a lot of slow times that I know to appreciate it. I never know quite what God has planned, but it makes for some interesting times. Next week doesn't look as full for outings and the quad life should be updated earlier. More projects await, and little up time to get them accomplished.