Sunday, November 29, 2020

Thanksgiving 2020

Thanksgiving is a great reminder to stop and give thanks for the abundance of God's blessings. However, it is also becoming a time to realize how quickly those blessings can be taken away.

Last year, the holiday was kind of blur of activity. My paternal grandfather had been in an accident and passed away just a few days before Thanksgiving. I had an abbreviated lunch with mom's family before my parents and I joined dad's family at the funeral home. The next two days were taken by the visitation, funeral, and being around family. It made us remember to be thankful for those around us as they can quickly be gone.

With all the restrictions and quarantine this year, I didn't expect we would have much of a get-together this year. We had hoped to have mom's mother join us for lunch, but her retirement home discouraged it and she couldn't come. As has become usual, my parents joined me around the computer in my bedroom to watch the morning church service. I did actually get in my chair for our turkey lunch that mom made for the three of us. After we were full, we went out to the cemetery to put a wreath on grandpa's head stone.

I miss my grandfathers, but I am thankful that everything happened when it did. At his funeral last year, none of us could have guessed what would change in a few months. A number of elderly members from my church, some who I knew well, passed away this year. For the most part, they hardly had any visitation, funeral, or recognition of the life they lived. Small graveside services for family and online obituaries are about all we see. Many Thanksgiving tables were missing most of their extended relatives, and ones that will never return.

No matter what, I am thankful for all those God has put around me. Living the quad life, I have had opportunity to get to know more people than I likely would otherwise. However, it gets hard when some of them are gone and you don't get opportunity to say good-bye. It has been well said that we are living a new normal. I fear more the old normal will not return and lonely holidays with not being surrounded by family will be a distant memory. Any chance you get, be thankful for who, and what, we have been given, before they are gone as well.

Sunday, November 22, 2020

More Ups and Downs

Earlier this month, I saw my dermatologist to check on my skin sores. One are still looks basically healed, but the other two are pretty stagnant since my last visit a few months ago. I did miss a few weeks of biking due to caregiver's illness, but the doctor also suggested a change in my sit schedule.

For at least the last three to four years, I have been sitting in bed for 45 minutes and then lay flat for three to four hours before sitting again. It's a schedule I made on my own, but I thought laying flat longer would be the most helpful. Now, my doctor said to try sitting after only two hours of flat time and getting more movement.

Most people get familiar to a set routine, and I'm definitely one of them. Trying to do what I consider a major change has been fun. Instead of getting four sit times during the day, I now get five. Therefore, I have basically increased my day by 25%. I have found myself doing tasks while sitting that I usually did flat, or a combination of both.

I was scheduled to preach next week and have been preparing my sermon, but the service has now been cancelled due to the virus. Instead of looking at my notes and reviewing while laying flat, I have partially done it while sitting. My head says I should be doing something more active while upright, but I am still doing something productive. Work still remains pretty non-existent as well, so I see more book progress in my near future also.

Living the quad life is a careful balance between managing the mind and body. For the one, I stay active in doing activities other than zoning out to entertainment. For the other, it's a game of give and take trying not to make any one area upset.

I'm thankful for the time I've been given, in any position, and try to use it to God's glory. This sudden addition is one I think I will quickly learn to enjoy, but be careful not to over work those that help me change positions either.

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Reading Front to Back

On Friday, November 13, an annual event occurred. In my nightly Bible reading, I finished Revelation and moved my marker back to Genesis 1. In early high school, I started reading one chapter a night, most nights. That schedule continued through college until I increased to three chapters at the end of every day. At that rate, I go through the Bible about once a year.

Now, the only days I miss reading are when I'm in the hospital or my volunteer week at camp. Those times are only because I'm either too sick to comprehend or don't have everything I need to be able to read (table, book board, Bible, and stick).

Around 2010, I also started doing a daily reading plan through Bible Gateway. With that, I also read through the Bible front to back in a year. Therefore, I start and end the day with God's Word and read the entire Bible twice a year. In 2020, I added another study time of reading the same 1-2 chapters in the New Testament every day for a month. I started with Jude, then 2 John, and a few chapters in Romans. For the last six months, I have been reading two chapters a month in Revelation. Parts of it sound very close to what we're experiencing in the world today.

My night reading is in The Evidence Bible by Living Waters. In order to not always read the same passage morning and night, I adjust my night reading every time I go through. This year, I read every piece of the commentary that went along with the text. It meant some nights I only accomplished one chapter, and others not even that much. I don't remember when I started in Genesis in my night reading in 2019, but I'm positive it took over a year this time.

This week, I watched a documentary called The Insanity of God that covered persecuted Christians in various countries. One gentleman lived in the former USSR and was arrested for reading the Bible in his home to 75 friends and family. He was in prison for 17 years. Any time he found a scrap piece of paper and piece of coal or charcoal, he would write whatever passages he could fit and remember. Then, the writing would get stuck to the damp cell walls.

However, it wouldn't be long before prison guards found the writing. They would destroy the paper and mercilessly beat this Christian for his actions, for 17 years. Other countries had similar accounts of imprisonment while some would just kill anyone found to have a Bible or professing to be a Christian.

I can't recall now how many times I've read through God's Word in its entirety. Each time, I still look forward to the accounts of creation, the flood, Abraham, Israel, Joseph, the nation of Israel, and most of all, the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. In America, many Christians have multiple Bibles and can easily access them, but how often do we read them? Do we truly understand we have all sinned (lied, stolen, lusted, committed adultery, blasphemed, etc.) and deserve God's eternal punishment in hell? However, Jesus paid the fine and all who repent and trust in Him alone can be set free from the sentence we deserve.

Living the quad life and laying flat 20 hours a day, I have time to read. However, it needs to be a habit everyone does daily. It may be something we can't always do, and may regret not taking the time to be in God's Word.

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Convienient or Creepy

 With this last week in the 70's, it feels like late summer instead of fall. However, the calendar does say November and I have been getting my final doctor's appointments finished for the year. I've had two the last couple weeks and have one to go.

At most appointments, I'm greeted with questions on my health, have my temperature taken, and attempt to wear a mask. At one office, an older gentleman went in ahead of me. He was directed over to a cell phone sized device on a stand. It took his temp without any outside action by anyone I observed.

Electronics can make many parts of life much easier. I utilize technology every day and receive a breath every four seconds due to advances in medical technology. Having automated and hands-free options expands uses of these devices and allows for many applications in different roles. Who has control of these resources can use them for good, or bad.

As I posted last week, I suspected election results would not go easy. I watched poll numbers come in and then mysteriously stop as President Trump took the lead. As I write this, the winner has not been announced and the looks of extreme fraud are increasing. A fair election where all valid, legal, votes are counted no longer looks possible.

With workers getting harder to find and different economic plans, I see an increase in automation. I do not think robots will replace nurses though, at least not in my lifetime. In places such as manufacturing, it has already happened with robotic arms doing welding and other jobs that used to be filled by human operators.

If administration changes in Washington and the proposed tax and business regulation changes occur, more automation will be needed. If a business can't afford workers, and stays in the country, it's the only solution. The question will be, when is too much given to computer control? Are we possibly already there?

Electronic world or not, God is ultimately in control. This country will drastically change in coming years depending on election results, but I look forward to a new heaven and earth where righteousness dwells.

Sunday, November 1, 2020

Freedom or Loss

Two days from now, Americans will officially cast their ballots to elect the next leader of the United States. While votes have been getting mailed in for a few weeks already, they don't get counted until Tuesday, hopefully.

Photo from Answers in Genesis
Reports of fraud and mishandled ballots have been coming since they started getting returned. The likelihood of a fair election where all real votes are counted seems unlikely, but I continue to pray that the person selected will seek God's will first and uphold the constitution as it was intended. Today's lead story from Answers in Genesis, Voting and the Ark, was originally posted four years ago, but still reminds us of our responsibility as Christians.

For the last two days, my house was without phone and internet. That means I'm actually writing this on the day it goes live instead of a day or more before. However, it also meant a freedom of sorts. It was a break from the frequent political calls that have been coming and also a time of relaxation.

Instead of quickly trying to complete online activities while sitting, I could do other things with my time. I did a fair amount of work on my book and progressed in pixels on my virtual farm. My parents also took the opportunity to watch old videos from 1991 when I was a nine-year-old experiencing camp in Florida. While the temporary adjustment was nice, I wouldn't want it to be permanent.

Many commentators and political experts have said if Democrats win this election, the country will be turned into a communist style of government. It will mean an end to religious freedom, have a drastic economical change, government-run healthcare, and more. As a Christian living the quad life, much of what I do now would likely not be allowed.

Whatever comes this week, or after recounts, will be under God's direction. He is the king of kings and Lord of lords and even though His thoughts and ways may not be what I think, they will be done. I encourage everyone to go vote, and pray for wisdom of all those in power.