Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Today's Visit to Wound Care

I went to the Wound Care Clinic in HEB today. Dr. Sotman says the foot is doing well. The nurse had me look at the bottom of the foot for the first time in a long time. It is now no longer one big wound, but two much smaller wounds, one of which is not so very far from being completely healed. The other wound is where the surgery to remove the toe bones occurred and it is progressing slower, but Dr. Sotman says the tissue is nice and pink and looking good as well. The best news is that Dr. Sotman thinks a Christmas trip to Birmingham, AL to spend Christmas with our daughters is absolutely doable. That is indeed good news! The foot is slowly but surely healing and my goal is to be back at work when everyone returns from the holidays in January. Pray to that end and that the foot continues on its present progress!

Thursday, November 25, 2010


How does one really give thanks to God for all the blessings one has?

I have so much this year to be thankful for. Actually, I have always had so much to be thankful for in a life full of good things. But until now my senses, my awareness of things, has been dulled by a cold kind of selfishness that has governed my life. However, my brush with death this past summer brought me face to face with my mortality and I am now truly reminded of all of the good gifts I have been given.

I am thankful beyond measure tonight for my life, a gift that we simply too often take for granted. I am thankful for my Mom and Dad and brother and sister and the rich Christian heritage given to me by my family of origin. I am thankful to God for my loving, caring wife, Karen, who has been by my side in all of this and her gifts of loving and caring for people. I give grateful thanks to God for my two wonderful daughters, Katie and Mary Beth, for their husbands, Matt and Caleb, and for the commitment of all of them to the faith. I am thankful for the gift of pets and their delightful little personalities as they brighten my life. I am thankful for extended family and a wealth I have of wonderful friends. It is in moments of crisis that one realizes just how many and how wide that circle is. I am thankful beyond measure for my church family at Broadway Baptist Church in Fort Worth. The wideness, deepness, and richness of their caring and compassion during this period of my life can neither be measured nor repaid. I love you, church family, and am honored and blessed by God to be a member of such a community. And finally, I am thankful to God for His Son, Jesus and the mercy and grace God has shown to such a pig-headed, stubborn human such as I am.

I am reminded of a song by Billy Crockett...."Let us be thankful boys and girls..." for so many things!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Advent Conspiracy

Advent is upon us and I have a suggestion...no, really a request for all of you....

As he got older my Dad and I used to have conversations about Christmas and all the hassle of buying gifts for family members, finding just the right gift, how much money to spend, etc. I would ask him what he wanted for Christmas. He would always reply that he had enough, and really didn't need anything else. He suggested that we give gifts to those who really needed them in the family's name. We never really convinced the other family members about this wish, but it has become even more importnant to me now.

My near death experience this summer has caused me to do a great deal of thinking. I look around myself and realize that I have all that I really need...a lovely, loving wife, two wonderful daughters and their wonderful husbands, my dogs and the cat who give me great delight, great extended family and friends and a loving church home. I have enough to eat and a warm place to sleep. But what I really have is the one gift that God gave me this summer, more life to experience all of these wonderful things.

Because of this I want to invite you to join the Advent Conspiracy. This year instead of spending all of that money on gifts we don't need or will return the day after Christmas, why not spend that money on real gifts? Give the gift that you have been given to others, the gift of life. Spend your money on gifts that will really make a difference in the lives of people throughout the world. Join the Advent Conspiracy...and change the season to one of true gift giving. If you want to know what I would like for Christmas, then understand the conspiracy! Give the gifts of life...clean water, animals, school supplies, meals....real hope, real change.

Here are several places to find real opportunities to give the gift of life:

http://www.adventconspiracy.org - Watch the video! Give the gift of clean water to people who need it...a thing so simple that we take for granted.

http://www.heifer.org - give a charitable gift to provide animals to change people's lives.

http://www.thefellowship.info - Check out the CBF Gift Catalog and find multiple opportunities to change lives world wide.

What if Christmas became a world changing event again?

Come join the Conspiracy!

     God, who gives seed to the farmer to plant, and later on good crops to harvest and eat, will give you more and more seed to plant so that you can give away more and more fruit from your harvest.
     Yes, God will give you much so that you can give away much, and when you take your gifts to those who need them they will break out into thanksgiving and praise to God for your help.
     So, two good things happen as a result of your gift - those in need are helped, and many overflow with thanks to God.
     Those you help will be glad not only because of your generous gifts to themselves and to others, but they will praise God for this proof that you really do love the Lord. 
     And they will pray for you with deep fervor and feeling because of the wonderful grace of God within you.
     Thank God for His Son - His gift to wonderful for words.
                                         - II Corinthians 9:10-15 from the Living New Testament

My New Blog

This is the irrational season
When love blooms bright and wild.
Had Mary been filled with reason
There's have been no room for the child.

Madeleine L'Engle

The above is just a thought for the Advent season.  I've created my own new blog to share my thoughts and contemplations for any who are interested in reading.



Real Worship...The ordinary and extraordinary aspects in the movement of God's grace

"Mass had already begun, and the priest was reading the epistle. Then a brother in a brown robe came out, and you could see he was going to lead the children in singing a hymn. High up behind the altar St. Francis raised his arms up to God, showing the stigmata in his hands; the children began to sing. Their voices were very clear, they sang loud, their song soared straight up into the roof with a strong and direct flight and filled the whole church with its clarity. Then when the song was done, and the warning bell for consecration chimed in with the last notes of the hymn and the church filled with the vast rumour of people going down on their knees everywhere in it: and then the priest seemed to be standing in the exact center of the universe. Then the bell rang again, three times.

Before any head was raised again the clear cry of the brother in the brown robe cut through the silence with the words: 'Yo creo...' 'I believe' which immediately all the children took up after him with such loud and strong and clear voices, and such unanimity and such meaning and such fervor that something went off inside of me like a thunderclap and without seeing anything or apprehending anything extraordinary through any of my senses (my eyes were open on precisely what was there, the church), I knew with the most absolute and unquestionable certainty that before me, between me and the altar, somewhere in the center of the church, up in the air (or any other place because in no place), but directly before my eyes, or directly present in some apprehension or other of mine which was above that of the senses, was at the same time God in all His essence, all His power, all His glory, and God in Himself and God surrounded by the radiant faces of the uncountable thousands upon thousands of saints contemplating His glory and praising His Holy Name. And so the unshakable certainty, the clear and immediate knowledge that heaven was right in front of me, struck me like a thunderbolt and went through me like a flash of lightning and seemed to lift me clean up off the earth."

Thomas Merton quoted on pg. 151 of The Seven Mountains of Thomas Merton, by Michael Mott

I love my church, Broadway Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas and I am grateful to have had moments like Merton describes in the serious work of worship that goes on each Sunday there.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Christ the King

Tomorrow is the end of the church liturgical year. It is Christ the King Sunday. We began the seasons of the church year last Advent with anticipation, but we end the seasons of the church year with a certainty. In Advent we waited for the needed and longed-for definitive and ultimate self-disclosure of God in the birth of Jesus of Nazareth. On Reign of Christ Sunday we celebrate the fulfillment of the biblical revelation of God in Christ.

Here in light of Christ's triumphant presence we find our voice and declare once again, Jesus Christ is Lord of all and shall reign as Lord in my life.

Revelation 1:4-8


So, Friday was a lovely day...my pcp decided it was time for me to have a colonoscopy and an upper GI. My iron was very low when I was in the hospital in June and my doctor wanted to rule out all possibilities other than the infection I had. Besides, everyone over 50 should have one. So mine happened Friday morning. I must say that the procedures were not that bad since I was out most of the time, particularly for the upper GI. The preparation for it the night before, however, was no fun at all. Taking all that stuff to empty you out is bad enough when you have both legs and no wound vacc. Since I have one leg and a wound vacc, it meant camping out in the downstairs bathroom until all was done. Let me tell you, that's no fun...lol. We had to be there at 7:15 Friday morning which meant not a lot of sleep. We were finished and out before 9:30 and then went and had the best tasting breakfast I ever had. The good news is that everything is normal and I don't need to have it again for eight years.

The following is a nice video sent to me from my friend, Charlie Shapard, in honor of the event!


Friday, November 12, 2010

What to do?

I've been pondering what to do with my future a lot lately...and I came across this quote from Frederick Buechner. It is great advice for all of us, but I post it here mainly as a reminder to my daughters.

"The kind of work God usually calls you to do is the kind of work (a) that you need most to do, and (b) that the world needs most to have done. If you really get a kick out of your work, you've presumably met requirement (a), but if your work is writing deodorant commercials, the chances may be that you've missed requirement (b). On the other hand, if your work is being a doctor in a leper colony, you've probably met requirement (b), but if most of the time you're bored and depressed by your work, the chances are you've not only bypassed (a), but you probably aren't helping your patients much either. Neither the hair shirt nor the soft birth will do. The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet."

I think maybe I know where that place is for me...and will try to go there.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Marathon Doctor's Visits Day

Well, it's been a long day. I've had three doctor's office visits today. We left at 9 a.m. and didn't get back until after 4. I went to the eye doctor, the surgeon, and my infectious disease doctor. Here are the reports.

The eye doctor's visit was just a couple tests and was very quick. Went in at 9:30 and was out before 10. The results of the main test will be given to me tomorrow afternoon via phone call. The tech also checked the pressure in my eyes and it was down from last time. We'll see what tomorrow brings.

The second visit was to my surgeon at 11:30. He is very pleased with the healing and doesn't need to see me for a month. He also gave me a prescription for shoes for diabetics which he said were very good, but were ugly and expensive. It won't be much longer (about a month?) before I will have two feet for walking again. He sent me on to my next appointment with my infectious disease doctor to get Dr. Sotman's (my infectious disease doctor) advice about where to go from here. It appears I will NOT need a skin graft as things seem to be progressing well.

We ended up at Dr. Sotman's office at 1:30. Dr. Sotman looked at the foot and was very pleased. (He has been working on it since the beginning.) I will now being going back to see Dr. Sotman at his wound care clinic in HEB where I was before. (I love the staff there!) I'll be on the wound vacc maybe at least for another month (depending!) as he believes there is still great benefit to be gained with it. As long as the wound is open, I will still be on antibiotics to kill any unwanted critters that try to grow there. Dr. Sotman said the wound on bottom of my foot looks like Batman's mask...lol. That's a good thing because it means it's closing up in the middle and filling in.

Karen and I are tired from the long day, but are pleased with the results we heard. There is at least an end in sight.

We appreciate your thoughts and prayers. We've come a very long way and now we just need to persevere to the end.

p.s. A bonus...I don't have the wound vacc on tonight...:-). We'll put it back on tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Trying my Wings

I have just returned from three days of travel. Yes, travel to Norman, OK for a missions fair at North Haven Church and then to McAllen, TX for meetings at the BGCT. I did it! I was able to make the 3 hour drive each way to OK and stand at the booth and was happy to be there representing CBF. I returned on Sunday evening and left on Monday morning for south TX. That trip included a little more than a car ride. This was the test - the airport and rental car lot!

I managed to park the car, ride the shuttle to the terminal and check my bag only to learn that the gate had been changed to another terminal. Security was a whole new experience. I knew I would set off the alarm and sure enough I did. I was asked to step aside and a female was called to "pat me down". She did and explained that I would have to do this every time I go through security, no matter if I have a card from the doctor or not! I might as well get used to being patted down from now on - unless the airport has those new machines that do the body scan. I will just need to allow extra time to clear security!

I did however make it through security and rode the Skylink to my new terminal and board the plane. Whew, I made it my destination! Rented a car and toted my luggage, a display and my rolling backpack to the car and then to the convention center. But I did it and was so pleased that I was able to do that because 3 months ago - I could not. I participated in several meetings, walked the convention center several times and managed to return the rental car, make it through security (patted down again) and return home safe and sound last night. I was tired but no worse for wear! I made it - my first trip to fly since my surgery.

My new hip is doing great, still have some muscle healing and strengthening to go but I'm walking and carrying and doing good.

Thanks be to God!

Thank you!

Thank you!
Two short words that express our gratitude to so many people who have helped us during the past several months. We have had people bring meals, provide transportation to doctors' appointments, mow our grass, shop for groceries and deliver, and run errands of all kinds. These beautiful roses were our way of saying thank you to so many people. I hope you were able to enjoy the beauty of them in worship last week!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Another antibiotic...

So, I went to see mt infectious disease doctor, Dr. Sotman, today as I do every Thursday...to get the dressing on my picc line changed and to get my weekly antibiotic supply. Today, Dr. Sotman had finally tracked down the culture they did on the foot bone removed during my surgery almost 3 weeks ago...he's very persistent...lol. It seems there are some new bacteria trying to grow there, so I now am on a third kind of antibiotic. Unfortunately, this one degrades quicker, so I have to pick it up twice a week and I can't get it out of refrigeration too early. This is not a problem for my 2:00 p.m. and 10 p.m. infusions, but 2 to 4 hours before my 6 a.m. infusion will be interesting...:-). C'est la vie!

I see my surgeon next Thursday, but my wound care nurse says the foot looks better each time. It still looks a little funky since its missing the two bones. My fourth and fifth toes are sort of out there on their own. But the wound is getting smaller bit by bit and the wound vacc is now only on the bottom of my foot. The hole that was in the top of my foot is almost completely gone and just needs a little band aid now. Hope that is soon ture of the bottom.

The healing process is slow, but sure and....complicated. So, what's new? lol

Monday, November 1, 2010

We Fall Down....

I have loved being back in worship at Broadway these past few Sundays. This past Sunday there was a time of remembrance for all the saints of Broadway who died in the previous year. Again, I realized how close I came to having my name on that list and it has again set my mind to pondering exactly what this "saint" (I use that term loosely...lol) needs to do with the rest of his life.

For those of you who can understand...I have been broken and am being remade (on several levels).

A couple of Sundays ago Jorene Swift's sermon asked a very important question about what you would do if you knew you only had a short time left to live. My summer experience has brought the reality of that fact home to my heart. First of all, I agree that I would want my wife and daughters and family and friends to know how much I love them...something we fail to say not nearly often enough. But the question remains for me, what will I do with whatever time is left to me...and that is the center of my "remaking." Jorene quoted a line from one of my favorite poems "Who Am I?" from Dietrich Bonhoeffer who wrote it during the last imprisonment before his death. (I love it because I have always identified with it and find the words express my own struggles.) I give you the last stanza here. (If you want the whole poem it is in an earlier post on this blog under "Who Am I?").

Who am I? This or the other?
Am I one person today and tomorrow another?
Am I both at once? A hypocrite before others,
And before myself a contemptibly woebegone weakling?
Or is something within me still like a beaten army,
Fleeing in disorder from victory already achieved?
Who am I? They mock me, these lonely questions of mine.
Whoever I am, Thou knowest, O God, I am Thine!

I've often pondered the word "saint." If I am, I am like Bonhoeffer's saint above, struggling with my own inner hypocrisy while others think something different of me. But I think sainthood is more like the understanding found in Bob Carlisle's wonderful story told in song "We Fall Down."
In it a man goes to the market everyday bearing a heavy load and everyday passes a monastery. As he goes by he often ponders what life would be like in such a place away from the heavy load he bears. One day as he is passing by he meets a priest coming out of the monastery and he asks the priest what life is like for the "saints" in that place. The priest replies:

We fall down, we get up,
We fall down, we get up,
We fall down, we get up,
And the saints are just the sinners,
Who fall down and get up.

In the end, being remade is just another time of getting up, and in doing so remembering, "Whoever I am, O God, you know I am thine!"

"There remains for us only the very narrow way, often extremely difficult to find, of living everyday as if it were our last, and yet living in faith and responsibility as though there were to be a great future. It is not easy to be brave and keep that spirit alive, but it is imperative."
-Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Tegel Prison

I think the following passage from my daily devotional guide illustrates how I really want to be "remade."

"'It's time,' announced the Other One.
'I know,' responded the man. 'Could you explain the choices to me again?'
'Of course,' said the Other One. 'I will write one thing in the dust and one thing only. I will write whatever you ask me to write, and whatever it is will become a part of your life. You may ask for anything, any knowledge, any virtue, any gift, any hope, any dream, any grace, any possession, anything. I will write it in the dust, and it will become a part of you and your life.'...
Everything good he could think of to ask for was incomplete and flawed in some way. While each choice fulfilled one hope or dream, it left some other hope or dream unprotected and potentially unfulfilled. That is why he had been sitting there for so long.
'It's time,' the Other One reminded him again.
'I know,' replied the man. 'I know.'
'What shall I write in your dust?'
The man took a deep breath. He was ready to make his decision.
'Your Name,' he declared to the Other One. 'Write your Name in my dust.'
Suddenly it seemed as if light and song surrounded them as the Other One moved a single finger toward the tabletop."

-From The Carpenter and the Unbuilder, by David M. Griebner

John 8:1-11