Sunday, September 24, 2017

Return to Normal

Normal is a very relative term that is different for every person. My normal day is very different from most people, but it is my version at last. This week felt more like a return to normal.

After completing my exam, it was a relief not trying to study every free moment. Not long ago, a new web client approached me about moving their site to a new location and making some updates. It felt good to make progress on the site and get back to doing some actual web work.

On Friday, I had my first grade school visit for the year. Doing my regular presentation and hearing the kids' questions and reactions was somehow calming. It has been nearly a year since my last school, but my presentation is almost permanently in my memory and it doesn't take much review. However, the week was also a bit abnormal as well.

My parents were able to go on their annual fall trip and returned Friday evening after ten days away. Watering flowers and taking care of the house isn't my regular routine, but it developed fairly quickly. Whenever I get the house to myself it feels like when I lived on my own in Des Moines. Getting groceries and planning meals is the normal thing to do for most people and one I enjoy for short periods. Now that they have returned, everything seems back to the regular routine.

The bad part about a return to normalcy is that I have trouble getting out of it. There are times when a change can be good and break up daily routines and may be helpful to someone else. The remainder of September and most of October look to be pretty busy in going to schools and web work, so I don't think it will be an issue.

For nearly the past year, my church has been looking at merging with two other congregations in town. The final vote whether to merge or not is scheduled for tomorrow evening. My prayer is that everything will stay as we are familiar with, but it may be getting used to a new normal as well. The quad life continues on and I will see what God has in store for another week.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Progressive Week

The past few weeks have felt like I keep working toward eventual goals, but never get anywhere. This week was a nice change with a lot of work seeing completion.

In May, I was fitted for a new back rest and in August it still hadn't arrived. Thankfully, after more than three months, I received the new cushion. After getting it fitted, I sat much straighter than before and more comfortably. It will take a while to get adjusted to sitting correctly again, but this is a great step in the right direction. In talking with the technician though, he said his company has changed policies and it usually takes 3-4 months to get anything done. Therefore, I will be very thankful for times of having a working chair.

Speaker Joel
The biggest milestone came yesterday morning. I have thought about getting my license to substitute preach for a few years, but never pursued it. In July, I finally felt led to go ahead and try for my license and get tested. Yesterday morning was finally my time for examination.

It consisted of three parts, first giving a short sermon for devotions, then questions about my spiritual journey, and finally questions on church doctrine. The final section was my most concern as I do not spend any time studying doctrine. After a full hour of talking and answering, the structured section was complete. A few questions were asked by the general audience and I tried my best to get everything answered.

Afterword, I was asked to step (roll) out while the delegation discussed my fate. I barely got out the door and adjusted my seat before I was asked back in. It was a unanimous decision to allow me to have my license to exhort.

At church this afternoon, I barely arrived on time for our annual outdoor picnic. Shortly after getting a place to sit I was told that I would be leading the congregation in prayer for our lunch. Maybe one minute later, it was my time to lead already. I guess I learned to always be prepared to be asked to lead.

I don't know where this new venture will take me, but I will continue to follow God's lead. I'm somewhat excited and nervous about what may come, but I know He will be with me and let it work for His purpose.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Time is Short

Most Sundays during the summer, we grill for lunch. Sometimes it's just meat of some variety and other times it's nearly the entire meal. Whatever the case, dad usually monitors the grill's temp and I keep track of time.

While the minutes tick by, I usually try to multitask and get in some tilting while waiting and sun on my legs. I normally don't change from my dress pants after church and only my feet get sun, but at least it's some vitamin D and tanning.

Our driveway faces north, so I must compete with the shadow from the house in order to get any rays. Today I noticed it's getting late in the year and the sun is really starting to dip south. My quest to find the correct angle while grilling almost put me halfway down the driveway. It does make me wonder what people think when they drive past and see a barefoot guy in a wheelchair staring up in the sky in the middle of nowhere.

Soon enough, grilling will be over again for another year. My weekly tanning sessions will also be over and the time of cold will be upon us. Every year as the seasons change, they seem to start to move more quickly. It's also a reminder to take advantage of time while it is here.

As I write this, Florida is being hit by Hurricane Irma. Just over a week ago, it was barely a notice on the radar, but it is now damaging and destroying communities and changing lives. A lot can happen in a short amount of time, either good or bad.

Since my last entry, five schools have contacted me most have times scheduled. These are generally short 30 minute visits, but I try to cover as much as I can and still have the kids learn. I don't know what my quick visit does for a lasting impact, but I keep praying I use the time God has given me to serve Him. This week of the quad life looks like one that could have lasting changes. It will be exciting to see what all God brings my way.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Virtual Railfan

I enjoy trains, but you wouldn't be able to tell by my activities this summer. With the busyness of life, hobbies tend to get a cut in attention. If I'm remembering correctly, the last time I officially went to watch trains was back in March. That doesn't mean I haven't been watching trains though.

A few months ago, I went to watch something on YouTube and I had a suggested video of a live camera watching railroad tracks. I thought it was pretty cool, so I watched it for a while and saw a few trains. Once you view one video a particular type, more are suggested to watch. Therefore, I now watch trains in Ashland, VA, Horsehoe Curve in Altoona, PA, La Plata, MO, Galesburg, IL, and others. I also have dad watching them through the Apple TV.

Just like railfanning in person, you often have to wait between trains. However, unlike being stuck in the van out in a parking lot somewhere, I can still be active. It's a great time to read a book, study doctrine, or it provides a back drop while doing body maintenance. I still prefer watching trains in real life, but this makes for a great substitute. I think it will be especially nice in winter to watch trains in the snow without ever leaving the warmth of the house.

We live in a time where literally anything we want, or don't want, is available at our mouth stick tip (or finger tips). However, I've been finding lately I'm very quick to complain as well. If something isn't exactly as I want or fast enough, I'm too quick to say something. I've been given more gifts than I can ever use, but still want more or don't appreciate what I have.

Recognizing a problem is the first step to fixing it though. I'm planning to make more of an effort to give thanks before criticizing and being very careful with the latter. Yes, the quad life can be a tad annoying at times, but it's no excuse to look down on everything.

With the unofficial end of summer this weekend, I'm looking forward to opportunity to speak at schools again and even testing for my license to exhort (preach). I'm thankful that while flat in bed, I can still even do things like watch trains. I'll see what this week brings on the rails and regular life.