Sunday, March 28, 2021

Wait too Long or Do too Much?

It was a busy week in the quad life, but not quite as busy as it could have been. However, what did happen continued to linger on for a time.

On Thursday and Friday, I had doctor's appointments scheduled in Des Moines. My primary day nurse, Sara, generally takes me to all my outings, whether for pleasure or health. Unfortunately, Sara called Wednesday night that she was ill and would not be able to come the next day. Dad has also been very busy at work and couldn't take the day off. Therefore, I called my doctor as soon as the office opened and rescheduled in a month.

Friday started out the same with Sara still unable to come due to illness. Dad was still busy, but was able to get the day off. Thankfully he, and mom, both went with me to the city to get my visit complete. While dad and I waited nearly an hour for my five-minute visit, I felt some junk start to come up in my lungs. It isn't anything too unusual, and I was able to do version of coughing to clear my airway.

Next on our excursion was to find, and eat, lunch. While we dined on our fast food, I kept feeling more stuff accumulate in my chest. As always, I had my portable suction machine with me, but it's hard to use in the tight spaces of the van. I continued to try to cough and move the junk around so I could breathe and hopefully wait until we got home to suction. After lunch, the three of us headed to our favorite fish store to restock my aquarium after most of the tank died.

Driving through the city streets, my lungs started to get more sore and I was having a harder time breathing. At this point on doctor days, Sara and I would have been heading home, but we weren't yet. Getting to the parking lot, I considered how dad could clear my lungs in the confines of the vehicle, but it didn't seem likely. I continued to try my breathing techniques to do what I could to wait.

Fish selection took some time, but the three of us eventually headed to our last stop, groceries. As dad navigated the streets, I had a few times I could hardly get any air. When he parked in the lot, I had him try to suction so I could get relief. It took some trial, but he figured out how to do the procedure. However, by this time, I had waited so long the junk was hard to get out of my airway and my lungs were very sore. Dad cleared out what he could, but it only provided a little relief.

Upon entering, the store had signs stating face masks required. I can't breathe with the covering on anyway, and the sore lungs made it even harder. I was very glad when our list was finished and I could exit the building to breathe easier. Finally, six hours after leaving home, we were home again.

With hardly going out for over a year, I'm not used to being gone for extended periods. Friday night into Saturday, my lungs remained sore and needed more suctioning than usual. By late Saturday, they were finally feeling back to normal, but I felt hot and tired after the experience.

As the world opens up, I need to be more careful in not overdoing. Also, I'll need to do better at not trying to hold off on needed assistance. I'm thankful for God's care through my parents and hope to continue heading out, but not too much.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Samson, Braun and no Brain?

For the last few days, my morning daily reading has been in Judges. The entire book recounts a repeating cycle for the nation of Israel. After the death of Joshua, and his generation, the people abandon God and follow the pagan practices of the surrounding nations. As a result, God follows through on His promises and gives Israel over to oppression and enslavement.

When this happens, Israel cries out to God for forgiveness and deliverance from their enemies. God responds by bringing up a leader, or judge, and restores the nation's freedom through that person. Israel then serves God during the lifetime of the judge, but then quickly falls away again after the leader's death. Then, the entire cycle starts over again with the people forgetting lessons from history.

One of the more well-known judges during this time period was Samson. The account of his service was all of yesterday's reading and part of today's. Before his birth, Samson was to be a Nazirite, set apart by God for a unique service. As a Nazirite, he needed to follow strict laws for behavior and how he lived his life. These rules included not cutting hair, going near a dead body, and much more as given by God through Moses.

While Samson was set apart as a Nazirite, he broke most of the rules during his life. Through strength God gave him, this judge killed many of the Philistines that were ruling over Israel. He also ate honey from the corpse of a lion and lusted after women. As part of the last one, Samson had more opportunity to confront the Philistines, until he met his final wife, Delilah.

Delilah was given over to greed for money and agreed to learn the secret of Samson's strength. He gave her several false answers, all of which Delilah did to him. Samson didn't learn from any of these lessons though and finally gave the answer of his long hair. After a barber cut off the judge's hair, his strength left him and he was captured by the Philistines, blinded, and put in forced labor. However, the Philistines also didn't pay attention and allowed Samson's hair to grow back. At his last act, Samson was strengthened by God one more time to take down idol worship and many of the Philistine followers.

One of the main points of this book is to teach the Bible, God's law, to younger generations. Remembering what God has done, and will do, is a key to fearing Him (which is the beginning of wisdom) and living as God requires. It also demonstrates that God uses people He chooses, no matter how flawed, to serve His purposes.

Therefore, be sure to study God's Word daily and teach others as well. Learn from history, and if you keep giving into temptation, do anything to get away from it before it blinds you and costs your life.

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Spring Fling

Today marks the first official day of spring in the northern hemisphere. It is when I stop hibernating at home and venture out into the world again. Last year, winter hibernation never really ended, but I'm ready to roll.

After more than a year off from going to church in person, my parents and I made the adventure today. We are out of the Sunday morning routine, but will get back in the habit easily enough.

My typical first visits after winter are also scheduled for this week, doctor's appointments. I often hear people comment they know it's spring when road construction starts. For me, it's medical visits that were missed in the winter. My very first appointment will be with my dermatologist to check on my pressure sores.

Depending on which nurse I ask, and what day, the holes in my skin have either improved, stayed the same, or become slightly worse. My doctor doesn't take measurements, but relies on what the supervisor from my nursing agency says. Her last visit didn't show much progress, but that is typical for my years of dealing with sores.

While I'm looking forward to getting out, not everything is opening up. In early March, applications went out for CHAMP Camp counselors, and campers. It had many restrictions and I wasn't planning to go again this year. A week later, the campgrounds CHAMP Camp uses decided to cancel all camps this summer. Therefore, applications were no longer needed and 2021 will be another virtual year. Without traveling or long days in my chair required, I did apply to be a virtual counselor. I'm not sure their will be much I can assist with, but I'll see if I'm accepted.

In a few weeks, I'm scheduled to visit with my first grade schools in over a year. I'm looking forward to it and once again being Mr. Joel for short periods. Teaching children how to use God's gifts in any form is a fun part of the quad life I have missed.

I will see what the outside world is like again and report back next week!

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Took a Year Off

The first few days last week felt like spring with highs in the 70's. With the temporary warming trend I took the opportunity to do something I haven't in over a year, run my own errands.

Living the quad life, I'm dependent on others to help me with pretty well everything. I can blink without assistance as well as chew and swallow, but only if someone gives something to eat. Therefore, what I can do that resembles anything of independence, I try to do as much as possible. One of those items is being responsible for the supplies my nurses and I use.

Usually a couple times a month, I would get a list together and go to Walmart, or elsewhere, and get whatever I needed. Purchasing vitamins, protein bars, toilet paper, and other items isn't anything too extraordinary. However, it's a little part of independence I could do without relying on anyone other than my caregiver and I. It wasn't uncommon to get home from the store and immediately find something that was almost out and I would have my parents get it if they were heading out.

Then, like everyone else, March of 2020 hit with a pandemic and everything changed. With all the regulations and trying to avoid people, I gave my list to my parents. That has now been the case for at least a year, until this week.

Getting out and doing my normal routine felt good again. It was different seeing people at check out behind shields and marks all over the floor indicating six feet separation. I didn't see many other people in the store anyway, so it was a simple task to complete.

Hopefully, this won't be the only outing for this year. With so many uncertainties and rapid changes, we can never be sure what's coming. No matter what, I'll continue to trust God in all ways and do as He allows.

Monday, March 8, 2021

Take Your Pick

It has been a few weeks since I posted about daily Bible reading. The previous entry was commenting on Leviticus and how it still pertains today. Since then, I have read through Numbers and most of Deuteronomy. Today's reading was Deuteronomy 28-29, warning Israel to follow God's laws and ordinances.

The first 14 verses of chapter 28 cover the blessings the nation will receive for obeying God's commands. One of them was financial freedom, lending to nations and borrowing from none. Other blessings were abundance of crops, livestock, and children. However, the curses for not following God are many.

Going from verse 15 all the way to 68, God details what will happen for disobedience. First, the opposite of the blessings will happen, financial problems with going into debt to other countries, lack of crops, and decreased birth rate. If Israel didn't listen to initial warnings, the situation would continue to get worse with starvation, wars, and eventually being taken captive by foreign governments.

When an individual sins against God and does not repent, they receive a sentence of eternal punishment and torment in hell. Everyone needs to repent of sin, turn away from them, and trust in Christ alone for salvation. A nation sinning against God receives an earthly reprimand. Many of the curses listed in Deuteronomy 28 sound familiar to today.

According to the US debt clock, the country is in debt $82 trillion in debt. In less than a year, three bills passed with well over one trillion in expenditures, much of which was to superfluous items. I also recently saw an article that the birth rate in the United States was down from previous years. The echoes of Deuteronomy ring loud.

What can a nation do? It needs to return to following God and His laws. I pray the nations of the world will heed the warning, before more dire consequences come.

Sunday, March 7, 2021

Watching and Waiting

It's March 7 and even though the calendar still says winter, it's starting to feel like spring in Iowa. In a few days, we are projected to have a high temperature near 70 with thunderstorms. Like many people, I am looking forward to getting outside again, but it isn't possible for some.

A year ago tomorrow was the last day I was physically in church, except for preaching. At the end of the evening service, a doctor and county health official told about a virus that was especially hard for older people to withstand. It was advised elderly stay home for a few weeks. Not long after, the entire world shutdown due to the virus, but it would only be for two weeks.

Now that it has nearly been 52 weeks, most areas still have restrictions on how many people can be together, how close, and other regulations. Churches in particular have been hit hard with regulations and told not to have full capacity, don't sing, or not meet together at all. Some congregations have looked to God's Word for their foundation in all situations, even pandemics. They have seen government going beyond what God has given for the government's responsibility and continued worshiping. I follow one of these congregations.

In Canada, Pastor James Coates leads a congregation that has seen how the church was singled out for restrictions. As a result, he preached to a full sanctuary on February 14 and preached an excellent sermon on Romans 13. Two days later, he was arrested and taken with handcuffs and leg irons to a maximum security prison where he is in isolation 23 hours a day. He can be released at any time as long as he agrees not to preach.

Two days ago, a hearing was held to get the release conditions dropped, but they were upheld. Pastor Coates will remain in jail until his trial in May. Jesus said that just as He was persecuted, Christians need to expect the same.

We often think of situations like these happening in Asia or the Middle East, not North America. Unfortunately, with a current bill being debated in the Senate, I and others think it will be happening in America as well. I'm thankful this past week went well for the videos I produced and I pray God uses them for His glory. For another week, I will watch and wait to see what happens while living the quad life.