This is the last day of 2010. Its a good time to reflect back over the year and put closure to the things that didn’t go too well. At the beginning of the year I was diagnosed with severe blockage on the back side of my heart. I’ve worked hard to keep my weight down, avoid grease and sugar, and work out on the treadmill. I haven’t felt that angina for months.
Then I had to deal with unresponsive hypertension. My cardiologist put me on a heap of medicine to control it. By year’s end my blood pressure is usually perfect.
Then my doctor diagnosed me with pre-diabetes and put me on diabetes medicine. That scared me enough that I went on a serious sugar-free diet. Soon I went through episodes that were like sugar lows, with what I called anxiety attacks and shakes. In December I had a follow-up test and the doctor said everything was normal and took me off the diabetes medicine altogether.
By mid-year I had been diagnosed with prostate cancer they did not get when they removed my prostate two years ago. I went through a round of hormone therapy and radiation therapy that took the stamina right out of me. But by December I am recovering well and slowly getting my strength back.
2010 was a difficult year for me, but 2011 promises to be brighter and healthier. What was your biggest struggle to overcome in 2010?
This week I’m taking a vacation and Anita and I are in Nashville, Tennessee. They have nearly as much snow here as we had on the ground when we left Tuesday morning. It won’t last as long, however, because the temperature is supposed to go up to about 50° this week. It was nice getting out of our car in our shirtsleeves.
This morning I noticed I may have parked in the wrong place. We’re staying with our daughter and family in a Nashville suburb called Antioch. Her husband works late, so I pulled to the side of the driveway so he had room to get around. First thing next morning, I noticed the tree hanging over my car was full of robins eating berries or seeds off the tree. I think we’re going to need a carwash before long.
Today we will celebrate Christmas with them, opening gifts and having a good time. After that, Jenny has some maintenance jobs for me around the house, installing some under the cabinet lights and cutting some replacement plywood seat cushions, which she can later recover.
What helpful thing(s) have you done for someone lately?
When I reflect back over my life, I have plenty of regrets, even as a Christian. You probably do, too. I wish I could go back and do things differently. I wish I could undo some things, or at least make them right.
The power of regret moved an ex-GI back in 1974 to send a note to the US government that read, “I’m sending $10 for blankets I stole in World War II. My mind could not rest. Sorry I’m late. I want to be ready to meet God.”
His money was placed in a “Conscience Fund” begun in 1811, which receives an average of $45,000 each year and has taken in a total of more than $3,500,000.
The Apostle Paul had regrets, too, when he wrote, “I am…not worthy to be called an apostle…But by the grace of God I am what I am” (1 Corinthians 15:9-10. What is one regret you have from 2010?
Tags: conscience, regret
Hurricane Katrina left displaced families and individuals that were often referred to in the media as “refugees”. For some, this term was viewed as insulting, so it prompted reporters to scramble for another word that would not be perceived as negative. They decided on the word evacuees.
In truth, however, the word refugee is filled with hope. One dictionary defines it as “one who flees in search of refuge, as in times of war, political oppression, or religious persecution.” Refugee comes from the root word refuge, which speaks of safety, protection, and care for the hurting. It speaks of a safe haven in a storm-filled world.
Jesus said to the broken people of His day, “How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings” (Matthew 23:37). Seek and you shall find.
Tags: refuge, safety
Following Sunday morning’s worship service, Anita and I picked up Anita’s mother and went to Nathan and Emily’s home to help celebrate Raegan’s first birthday. Raegan has several cousins around her age on Emily’s side, so there was a lot of energy in the house. And she made us proud by being fairly tidy with her piece of birthday cake.
Sunday evening Anita and I got with Adam and Layna and took them to see the new Narnia movie: Voyage of the Dawn Treader. If you’ve seen The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, you will like this one, as well. There is a lot of symbolism like the first one, and does an excellent job of visualizing spiritual demons and the Holy Spirit. There is also a great visualization of dealing with temptation. I recommend this film.
What’s the best film you’ve seen lately?
Today is Christmas Eve. The church office is closed and we’re having Christmas with our family. Children grow up and then there is the conflict over holidays like Christmas. Its overwhelming when you have to lug children in their car seats to more than one house in one day, and the kids hardly get to enjoy their gifts. So, this year, we arranged with our sons to let them have Christmas Day with the other side of the family provided they spent Christmas Eve with us. So today is our Christmas.
Anita and I have determined we will allow our adult children to make whatever arrangements they choose for Christmas and other holidays. We refuse to add to the stress of parenting by demanding they accommodate our schedule. The Bible says, “It is not for the children to lay up for the parents, but the parents to lay up for the children” (2 Corinthians 12:4).
How do you deal with family gatherings for Christmas?
Tags: Christmas, fellowship, stress
Every December I make a special appointment. I always take the man I consider my pastor out to lunch and treat him like I want to be treated. He has a great interest in the Civil War, so I try to give him some unique gift with a Civil War connection. This year I gave him two DVDs: The 1980s mini-series The Blue and the Gray, and a 2007 movie called The Last Confederate. I also gave him a rather worn 1864 5¢ currency bill printed by the government to replace coins because of a shortage of metal during the war.
I love to see the lights go on in his head when he opens the gifts. I make sure to tithe my Christmas bonus to him and pick up the tab! We have a delightful time talking about our mutual friends in ministry and, of course, our mutual aches and pains. I know this luncheon will happen each year just before Christmas, so I plan all year long what to get him, which gives me time to be creative.
That is one of the highlights of my Christmas celebration. Do you have a special friend you get a special gift for each year? Tell us about it.
Tags: Christmas, Civil War, gifts