Sunday, December 27, 2020

Successful Year

Today marks the last Sunday for 2020. The next regular entry for the quad life will be next year, just a week from now. I have heard many people say they are looking forward to this year being over, along with all the changes. I can understand the feeling, but it has also been a year of success.

It started unintentionally, but I made a goal of including a picture with every post this year. With this final message, I did make my goal. Some of the topics were a little challenging to find an appropriate graphic, but I think it worked well. Looking back on older posts this year, seeing the image helped me remember what I wrote, even before reading anything. I don't plan to continue the goal for next year, but I do want to aim for at least one picture for every 2-3 updates.

With not much work, and no place to go, I have made a lot of progress in writing my autobiography. I don't remember where I was at in January, but I am now to the end of 2017. Originally, I planned to stop with the end of 2015. However, I decided to add one more chapter as a short summary from 2015 to maybe 2019. The problem with an autobiography is that it is always developing as the writer lives. Therefore, I will definitely stop in early 2020 with the 35th anniversary of the accident. If anyone wants to read further, I still plan to keep writing here. Maybe at some point it will have a second edition, but I'll focus on completing this one first.

Nobody planned to have lock downs this year, but it is what happened all over the world. As a result, many schools, and doctors, quickly adapted to virtual classes and visits. I wrote a few months ago about having an opportunity to work with another college as a result. In January, I am planning to try and contact a few colleges and offer to help virtually. I have no idea if it will be a failure or a success, but I'll do what God allows.

Finally, this year taught many people how quickly life can change. It has been a reminder to not wait to repent of sins and turn to Jesus for salvation. The next day, or hour, isn't guaranteed and we need to always be ready. I don't know what will happen from now until the end of 2021, but God is in control and I trust in Him alone.

Sunday, December 20, 2020


Every day around the world, over 151,000 people die. Many of them likely had plans for the next day, but a sudden heart attack, accident, or some other cause took them from earth. We never know when our end will come our when a regular activity will be the last time it's done. In some sense, that is what I feel like is happening before my eyes.

An annual event at church is the candle light service just before Christmas. In order to try to accommodate more people and maintain social distancing, the service was offered on two evenings. I had hoped to attend one of them, but didn't get to either. Therefore, as I have for the past nine months, I watched the service online while sitting in my bed.

For several years, my church has wanted to build a new facility. After much discussion and fundraising, a new building is under construction and is planned to be in use sometime early next year. This summer, it was also voted to change the name of our congregation. The new name will be used starting in January, with the old identity only being maintained in legal records.

Therefore, as I feel, the church I grew up in and learned to come to the Lord will cease to exist. The last church building I physically walked in and have learned to call my church home will be bulldozed to the ground without a trace remaining. Watching the candle light service was the last time it will be done at this facility as the congregation I knew.

Yes, the same people will be worshiping God together, just under a different name. The location of worship is also not important, but it quickly becomes part of the feel of church. After nine months away, it also feels like I'm only an outsider looking in and not an active part of the body of church.

Watching activities, and regulations, around the country, I also see major changes coming in the next few months. I have concerns that church gatherings will have increased pressure not to meet except in very small numbers. Living the quad life, I also wonder how long I'll be able to live at home and have freedom to attend church.

As we head toward Christmas in a few days, remember Jesus came to save the world through Him. He warned about tough times and persecution, but we can look to Christ alone for peace and joy.

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Stick Up

Even with mostly being home this year, I have tried keeping up on doing videos about how I do daily life. This week, I showed my attempt at helping decorate my Christmas tree and the different type of mouth sticks I have used.

One of my dresser drawers has become the collection point for everything stick related that I find. It has extra pads for my mouth grips that get replaced every few months. I also have an abundance of tips that rarely replaced, and a few brand new sticks in case of some unforeseen disaster. However, it also contains relics of times gone by.

Over the years, I have tried, and used, an abundance of different types of sticks. Early on, my parents made them from arrow shafts and molded plastic that I used to grip. It was with these that I learned stick skills while playing with toy tractors, trucks, and building Lego structures. Most were just straight rods, but others were more specialized.

In order to help stack blocks, I had a suction stick that was hollow and had a rubber suction cup on the end. I could plop it on a flat surface, suck, and pick up the item. Another allowed me to push on a button, extend a gripper, and pinch an item to pick it up. Still more had the same button, but would just add more length to the straight rod. However, the button would constantly rub between my teeth, so I didn't care for them very much.

More specialized sticks were available that could hold a pen or pencil and allow writing. By the time I received it though, I had already mastered writing with a pen in my mouth. Finally, after participating in a mouth stick study, I received a stick made for use with touch devices such as tablets or smart phones. It's so heavy though that it is very hard to use.

After a few decades of being tossed around, not all of the archival mouth devices have all of their parts. However, they still provide memories of what God has allowed me to do over the years and even with new technology, a simple rod held by mouth still works best in this quad life.

Sunday, December 6, 2020

Decorating for Christmas

If you looked at store displays, if you actually can go in, Christmas decorations start in late summer. I know some people that would even like to have their house ready for the holiday all year long. For me, I want to first recognize Thanksgiving, celebrate the day we have been given, and then decorate for Christmas.

In order to distribute responsibilities, I generally have one of my day assistants do my window lights and the other work on my tree. Therefore, my window lights were up the day before Thanksgiving, but I didn't plug them in until the holiday was complete. That way, I wasn't violating my own rule, at least not entirely.

My train tree has been my primary, if not only, Christmas decoration for many years. Mom discovered the first ornament in the late 80's and has been able to get a new ornament every year since. They are becoming hard to find and more expensive, but they keep coming. With the increase in trains, the tree has also had to get larger in response.

I used to be able to set a small, maybe two-foot, tree on my table and I would carefully put each item on the branches. It would take a fair amount of time to accomplish, but I enjoyed it. Now with limited sitting time, the task would likely take me a few days to accomplish. I also can't reach the top of my larger tree, so I now just let my caregiver decorate while I observe. I no longer participate as much, but sometimes I have to decide what is the best use of time.

After the new year has started, everything will go back into the one large box they reside in for eleven months. While I don't have decorations up all year, I do try to daily remember why we celebrate Christmas. Jesus, God's only Son, came to His creation to reconcile us to Himself, so that we may have eternal life with Him. That is something worth celebrating this week, and every day of the year.