How I spent my summer vacation…

In honor of tax free weekend I’m reposting  this.

 

I’ve not written anything for quite some time because honestly I’ve just been too tired. As previously mentioned in another post, we have had some unfortunate things happen here at the homestead this year.  We are happy to welcome some new additions to our family though, a beautiful 300 pound water heater and along with the arrival of our brand new roof (I’m told they look just like me.)  No matter the blessings these bundles of joy have brought to our family, they have definitely brought about changes, such as turning our “emergency fund”  into more of a “really petty cash” fund.  The end result has caused my wonderful wife to work outside the home to literally put a roof over our heads.

As much as I appreciate the sacrifice she has made, I have now become a “Mr Mom” in the afternoons and on Saturdays.  I don’t mind making dinner, or doing  the dishes or even making sure our teens get to where they need to be.  Today I have been made to suffer far beyond what any mere mortal should have to endure.  That’s right, I was forced to experience a fate worse than death, back to school shopping.  To make matters worse, this is “Tax-free” weekend or as its better known as the “Trail of  Tears”.  My two daughters and myself, along with every person in the state ventured to the mall.  When they were younger, this trek would involve some number #2 pencils, a new back pack, and  whatever currently popular TV character lunch box.   Now that our youngest is starting high school, my wife informed me that today’s jaunt would involve something every father dreads hearing, bra shopping. The love of my life was laughing ,she assured me with me and not at me, as she told me that my young daughter would need to be properly measured so that the trip would end with a positive result.  It took me exactly 43 seconds to locate and purchase my undergarments at the first store we entered.  My daughters spent 1 hour looking for their purchase.  After having no luck procuring the appropriate size garment, they asked for assistance in measuring my daughter.  They were informed that it was only the second day of the associate  that was helping them.  Apparently tape measure usage is an advanced skill.  I volunteered my daughter’s shoe size but there is evidently no correlation between those two garments. We left the store empty-handed and dejected.  The second store we visited,  advertised “specialists” in the area in which we were searching.  My daughters were quite embarrassed when I asked to see the professional’s degree but one can never be too careful when dealing with such delicate matters of loved ones.  I must confess that the salesperson was efficient and helpful while choosing the appropriate undergarment for my daughter. She informed me that the one that fit her best was the “Cadillac of bras”.  After looking at the price and experiencing sticker shock, I knew why.  We quickly parked this vehicle and found something in her size that was more of  a “Chevy Lumina”.  I did feel like a successful hunter as we left the store with our bagged quarry.

After this episode of back to school shopping, I’m  seriously considering home schooling.

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Middleman (Middle -FiveMinuteFriday prompt)

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Middle.

I saw today’s writing prompt and thought I’ve got this. I mean I’m a middle child. I have an older brother and a younger brother so I know what it means to be in the middle. The middle can be a difficult place.  There was this one time my younger brother was selected to be on the cover of a denominational magazine.  My mother let him borrow my favorite new shirt.  I didn’t even get a mention in wardrobe by..  On top of that, the photographer made sure none of my pictures even could be seen on the shelves in the background.  Talk about being left out.  Growing up, it sometimes felt like I got blamed for everything. Older brother was too old to have done it; younger brother was too young. I was sure in my heart of hearts that I was being treated unfairly.

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Looking back honestly, I probably got blamed for stuff I didn’t do but on the other hand, got away with stuff I did do.  My parents didn’t love me any more or less than my brothers, just different.  My brothers maybe did “gang up” on me because they are so much alike.   I may have often been on the outside looking in or at least that’s how I saw it then.  Now I’m equally close to both of them and know I could depend on them if needed.

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Middle kids are supposedly the peacemakers. According to psychologist, we’re also supposed to be good negotiators (some would say manipulators} A quote from some 2010 birth order literature states ” It’s common for middle children to be sociable, faithful in their relationships and good at relating to both older and younger people. ” It kind of makes us sound a little bit like a good dog, doesn’t it? I guess it’s OK to be thought of as that dependable.  There is nothing I can do about birth order.  I was born the middle child and will remain so but I need to be careful about other things where I am in the middle.

We live in a polarized society and as believers, we need to be aware of places where we are in the middle. The dictionary defines middle as the halfway point between two extremes.  With that being the case, the middle can be a dangerous place. Another one of my favorite movies is The Karate Kid (the old one,).  The character, Mr Mayagi  counsels Daniel when he says he guesses he is ready to train for karate, “Walk on right side of road, safe.  Walk on left side of road, safe.  Walk in middle of road, sooner or later, you get crushed like grape.”  I’m not trying to make a political statement about the left versus the right. The song says “clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right, here I am stuck in the middle”.  We need to make the main thing the main thing and not get stuck in the middle over things that don’t really matter.  We should focus on the truths that are non-negotiable.  They are the things where there is no middle ground.

Whoa!  I’ve gone way over my five minutes and in an entirely different direction than I started so I’ll stop before I get in the middle of something I might regret.  I really don’t regret being the middle child but before I go, I couldn’t resist one more middle child meme.

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Revelation 3

14 “Write to the angel of the church in Laodicea:

“The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Originator[h] of God’s creation says: 15 I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish that you were cold or hot. 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I am going to vomit[i] you out of My mouth.

(Check out more blogs by Christian writers @ FiveMinuteFriday.com hosted by Kate Motaung )

Making Memories

This weekend we went to our recently married daughter’s new home for a surprise party for our son-in-law. Our daughter was so excited to throw him a surprise party because he had never had one. It was really tough on her to keep the secret because she likes to share everything. It was fun to watch them began to “make memories” that they will look back on in the years to come.

I couldn’t help but be reminded of a time my wife decided that we needed to “make memories” as a family. Our kids were young and we were planning a trip to Western New York to visit her family. We had always stayed at her grandparents farm but they had sold it so we were going to need to make other arrangements. Her cousin, another option we had used previously, had someone staying with him but said we could stay in his yard if we had a tent or a camper.  My wonderful and beautiful wife had an epiphany upon hearing this.  She pictured an idyllic time of family bonding.  She made the proposal to me stating the economical angle along with the opportunity for our family to “make memories”. Camping was not something we did as a family growing up.  My dad’s idea of roughing it was a Holiday Inn with a black and white TV so I was less than enthusiastic about this idea.  I quickly replied with what I thought was a safe response , “Yeah,that would be fun. Too bad we don’t have a tent.”  You know how sometimes you think you have given the perfect excuse to avoid something you don’t want to do?  Well, this wasn’t one of them because she had already outmaneuvered me by borrowing a tent from my brother.  She went on to extol the virtues of this adventure by stating how much money we would save by camping on the way to and from New York.  Still not completely enthralled with the idea, I accepted my fate agreeing with the concept of happy wife, happy life.  As usual, I researched the possible camping locations along the way and settled on Mohican State park just  outside of Mansfield, Ohio because it was about the half way point.

We even had a dry run, setting up the tent in our playroom.   As I laid in the tent on the carpet, watching the TV through the open flaps, I thought that maybe it wouldn’t be so bad.  My wife was almost giddy thinking of our impending journey and making memories became her mantra. The day for departure arrived and we loaded up all the borrowed camping gear.  Luckily the forecast for our first memory making stop was favorable.  The kids had been so primed for this adventure, I lost count of how many “Are we there yet. ” and “How much longer?” were verbalized before we arrived at our destination.  The park ranger advised us to drive around and locate an available camping spot before paying.  It was quite lovely but I’m not too sure I didn’t hear two banjos playing in the background on our search for the ideal spot.  Images of a newly discovered gold strike were brought to mind as there was not a square inch of available land that was not covered with some form of canvas along the creek.  When we returned to the park ranger after our fruitless search, he informed us of a campground outside the park that should have space but that it would cost a little bit more.  The economy of tent camping was losing a little of its luster in my mind but my bride was still sure we could make memories in this alternate location.  We identified the campground by the gigantic authentic fiberglass Indian totem by the side of the road.  Visions of a back to nature encounter were obscured  by the asphalt camping spots filled with multiple recreational vehicles.  Imagine my delight when I was informed that the tent camping was on the other side of the lake but they had only port-a-potties available for calls of nature.  There was also a choice of two classifications of tent camping- primitive and “developed”.  Since the primitive was the cheapest we decided to check them out first.  We could have chosen multiple spots if we had thought to bring along a machete.  I don’t mean to seem judgemental of the campers that had chosen this area but I really wanted to avoid questions like “Daddy, why does it smell like burning rope here?”  We decided that this was not the type of memories we were hoping to make so we opted for the “developed” area even though it was more expensive.  By developed, I mean it had a fire ring and  a water spigot shared by everyone with even two electric outlets for the entire area.  We also noticed a Mennonite family had camped with their bus on the opposite side of the place we had chosen so we felt more comfortable.  After unpacking, I realized that it is way more difficult to pitch a tent when you don’t have chairs and couches to attach it to.  The next job at hand was to prepare dinner.  I had the kids forage for fire wood only to realize that perhaps the area had been over foraged. Unwilling to brave the primitive area on foot, I drove to the camp store to procure some fire wood.  I assured the clerk at the store that I was not planning on building a cabin when the price was quoted.   Taking in account the price of the wood plus our dinner, made me dream of the repast we could have shared at a median priced restaurant.  I guess I needed to prove myself as a hunter-gatherer so told my wife to go make memories in the lake while I prepared the meal.  The logs should have spontaneously combusted with what they cost but such was not the case.  I think I used every bit of scrap paper I found in the floor board and between the seats trying to get those logs to start.  Finally, my Mennonite neighbor offered in what sounded like a New England accent, “I have some kerosene if you would like. ”  I thanked him but not having a great desire for kerosene infused burgers and s’mores declined.  He did give me some dry kindling though that provided enough heat to at least take the chill off the food by the time my family had returned.  After eating, I thought we had made enough memories so we decided to walk to the other side of the lake for showers to get ready for bed.   When we returned to our tent, it appeared that the camp had apparently been offering free or discounted spots because our wide open spaces had become more like a low rise  over-crowded tenement.   We weaved through the maze so we could enter our tent.  Now I don’t believe in karma but it is true that what goes around comes around.  Included in this horde that had invaded while we were gone was a church youth group that was planning to canoe the nearby river the following day.  I paid for every youth trip that I had allowed our group to be distracting to those around us.  There was the constant laughter, loud voices, and the eventual sneaking out of their tents noises that teenagers tend to make when they get together.  About 1:30, their leader had finally reached the breaking point and threatened to pack up and leave if everyone wasn’t immediately asleep in their tents.  My children and wife are gifted sleepers so they missed the majority of these happenings.  I think I had just dropped off to sleep about 3 o’clock, when Mennonite baby began to cry.  Mennonite mamma decided to walk him around the port-a-potty to settle him down.  My wife, who can sleep through anything, happened to raise up to see what the commotion was about.  I caught her eye and couldn’t help but whisper, “Just making memories, baby. Making memories.”

You would have thought we had made enough memories for our initial camping experience but sadly there is one more part of the story.  We had planned on getting an early start so we could arrive at my wife’s cousin’s house early afternoon.  Imagine my surprise when I discovered that sometime between 3 and 6, two motorcyclist had pitched camp literally right on top of us.  I have no idea how they accomplished it but the wheels of their bikes were around the tie ropes for our tent.  I held my breath breaking camp fearing that at any moment I might knock over their motorcycles.  I had the family in the car in case we had to make a quick get away with Hell’s Angels following us across New York.

There are plenty of phrases that cause people to remember like:  Remember the Alamo! or Don’t Tread on me.  I wouldn’t trade the experiences we had as our kids grew up.  Making Memories always makes me smile and makes my wife grit her teeth a little.

 

Deuteronomy 32:7

Remember the days of old;
consider the years long past.
Ask your father, and he will tell you,
your elders, and they will teach you.

 

 

Not Home (A Five Minute Friday on Distant)

Today’s prompt word for the Five Minute Friday Challenge is distant.  With this week being the 50th anniversary of man walking on the moon. I so much wanted to write about that.  I was always fascinated by the whole space thing and thought I could whip out 5 minutes about how people thought at one time that would be impossible.  As hard as I tried, I kept getting stuck so I had to abandon that idea.

I had absolutely no idea where to go with this  so I looked it up in the dictionary hoping to get some direction. I read all the definitions and still had no inspiration so I clicked on the thesaurus link for synonyms. There were words like far, aloof,  and inaccessible but one jumped out at me.  It was not one of the direct synonyms but I noticed not home listed. Not home.  I hadn’t thought of distant in that way.  My son lives in Mississippi and my oldest newly married daughter lives about an hour away and even our youngest who is living at home while she pays off college loans was away this week. Even though they aren’t at home, they are not distant because they each know that they can call at any time with a problem or just to talk. I hope they will always feel close enough to Sherry and I that they will do that.

One of my favorite of Jesus’ parables is the prodigal son.  The son takes what he thinks he deserves, wastes it completely, and is destitute in a distant land.  I picture him laying in that pig pen (about the worst place for a Jewish boy to be) wishing he could eat what the pigs were eating when the light goes on.  Most modern translations say he came to his senses but in this case, I like the way the King James says it,  He came to himself.  He looked at himself and realized that he wanted to go home.  Now comes my favorite part.  When the son is still a long way off, the father sees him, runs, and embraces him.  Of course, the father represents God but I so want to be that kind of dad.  The son had really messed up but his father was never inaccessible to him.  Long Way Gone, a novel by Charles Martin, is a modern re-telling of this story.  The father writes in a letter to his wayward son encouraging him that no matter what he’s done he can always return home.  He writes, “No far gone is too far gone”.

And that’s the way God feels about us.  There is nothing we can do to where we are to far gone for Him.  He is never inaccessible. He is never aloof.  He is never distant.  He is always calling us home into His presence where He waits to embrace us when we come to ourselves.

Luke 15

The Parable of the Lost Son

11 He also said: “A man had two sons. 12 The younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of the estate I have coming to me.’ So he distributed the assets[c] to them. 13 Not many days later, the younger son gathered together all he had and traveled to a distant country, where he squandered his estate in foolish living. 14 After he had spent everything, a severe famine struck that country, and he had nothing.[d]15 Then he went to work for[e] one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to eat his fill from[f] the carob pods[g] the pigs were eating, but no one would give him any.17 When he came to his senses,[h] he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired hands have more than enough food, and here I am dying of hunger![i] 18 I’ll get up, go to my father, and say to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight. 19 I’m no longer worthy to be called your son. Make me like one of your hired hands.’ 20 So he got up and went to his father. But while the son was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion. He ran, threw his arms around his neck,[j] and kissed him. 21 The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight. I’m no longer worthy to be called your son.’

22 “But the father told his slaves, ‘Quick! Bring out the best robe and put it on him; put a ring on his finger[k] and sandals on his feet. 23 Then bring the fattened calf and slaughter it, and let’s celebrate with a feast,24 because this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found!’ So they began to celebrate

(Check out more blogs by Christian writers @ FiveMinuteFriday.com hosted by Kate Motaung )

Stay in Your Lane Bro

I received a re-post of an article that appeared on Baseball Life that really got me thinking. I’ll summarize it but here is the link:
https://www.sperrybaseballlife.com/stay-at-17-inches/ .
Its really worth the time if you have the opportunity. Its about a speech that retired Cal Poly Pomona baseball coach, John Scolinos made in 1996. Mr Scolinos appeared on stage with a home plate on a string hanging from his neck. He spoke for 25 minutes never mentioning his unique accessory. Most of the audience had some doubts about his mental health until he finally addressed the elephant in the room. He asked  any Little League coaches in the room to raise their hands. He then asked one of those with uplifted hands how wide the plate was. Someone finally answered 17 inches. He repeated this process going all the way to the Major League professional level. The answer was the same through all the levels- 17 inches. He went on to explain that if a pitcher can’t throw a pitch consistently within that 17 inches that they wouldn’t be successful no matter what level they were playing.
He further explained that home plate wasn’t widened to accommodate those who were unable to throw strikes. From there, Mr Scolinos spoke about accountability and not changing standards to reward mediocrity. As I said earlier, the review of his speech is definitely worth a click.
I won’t go into a rant how we have become a society that applauds mediocrity with participation awards but this article did sound an alarm about how we have changed our standards to the point where most aspire to be only OK.

I’ll admit that one of my favorite commercials is the ATT tattoo one about OK is not OK for a wireless network. (Here is a link if you have not seen it:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ClXfWgKAIEI
I can’t help but laugh every time I hear the tattoo artist makes statements to the nervous young man like : “I’m one of the tattoo artist in the city.” and ” Relax, it’s going to look OK.” and finally when the young man asks if isn’t the artist going to draw the design first, the tattooist replies, “Stay in your lane, Bro”.  Nothing he says speaks to an effort to strive for excellence in his work.
Needless to say, this tattoo parlor would probably not receive very high ratings on Yelp but unfortunately it may be a case of art imitating life.

I’ll try not to get up my soap box but I fear that we are headed for trouble when OK becomes the gold standard so someone won’t feel bad if they don’t make it. Changing standards to fit the culture isn’t the answer.

My wife sews and she knows how much a yard of material is. Before a standard was set, a yard was determined to be the length of the king’s arm from finger tip to shoulder. The buyer hoped the king was a Shaquille O’Neal type where the seller was hoping for more of a Tom Thumb type. Now Sherry knows exactly how much material she’ll get when she goes to the cutting counter.

We had an adjustable basketball goal when our kids were growing up. I would often crank it down to a level where I could dominate dunking the ball at will. My kids couldn’t understand why I couldn’t do it on a regulation rim.  I changed the standard so that it appeared that I was better than I was.  Instead of being ready for Hoosiers, I was, in actuality, the stereotype  for White Men Can’t Jump.  Standards aren’t really standards if they constantly change.

Now its time to climb down off my soap box and stay in my lane.  I can’t control others but I can determine when OK is enough and when it is not for me.

I have my last physical therapy session this week for my rehab from my surgery.  As well as I’ve done so far, after walking with my wife and our dog last night, it became quickly apparent that my leg is only OK with still a long way to go.  I don’t want to be satisfied with only OK; I want to be at least the level I was before the injury if not better.

On the other hand I sometimes rate myself as an OK christian when I take a look around at others. That’s the problem.  When I compare myself to others, I’m lowering the standard.  Jesus is our example.  Even aspiring to be like godly Christians falls so far short of the standard that God expects. God, through Jesus gave His best.   I’m a sinner so I will always fall short but that doesn’t mean I should stop trying or lower the standard by making excuses so that I can feel good about where I stand.  Thankfully, I can depend on the fact that I’m not judged on my righteousness but His.

That’s why I’m so thankful that Jesus is always the same.  He promises to always be with us, even to the end of the age. One of my favorite verses is:

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
He is a standard that will never change, never fail.  He is not dependent on culture, political correctness, or popular opinion.
I know this is a departure from my normal and next time I’ll probably go back to telling stories on my crazy family or my weird self but I wanted to share this warning from a wise man.
I’m also sure that some may read this and tell me to “Stay in your lane, Bro.”

Willing -TBD (FiveminuteFriday)

Although I’m not really a total rookie at this five minute Friday challenge (A writing exercise hosted by Kate Motaung on fiveminutefriday.com for Christian writers. Check out the website for other similar blogs), I’m still rather new at this. I have exceeded the five minutes in each of my previous attempts and will probably do so again today. Never the less, here goes.

Willing. I know that it’s more than a coincidence that on the way to work this morning, the question was asked on a sports radio station to a NFL coach what he would be willing to do to win a Super Bowl. The answer was a bit shocking but probably unrealistic if he actually performed said action to ensure victory.

Prior to discovering willing was the prompt for today, I was already thinking about things I was willing to do to accomplish certain things.

I would love to have a lush green lawn. I can grow grass but not keep it. I think I have tried every type of grass known to man with little permanent success.  I have had lawn experts tell me the only way that would happen is to cut down 2 large maple trees in my front yard.  My kids loved to climb those trees and sit in them and read or do nothing at all. We were growing kids not a lawn. The shade from those trees was so refreshing recently as the Backyard Kids Clubs met under them.   So even though I would love a nice, thick lush carpet of a lawn, I’m not willing to cut down those trees to realize it.

I want to get full use of my left leg back after torn quadraceps tendon repair (see Writer’s Block -April 25 for further details.).  I have been willing to follow the doctor’s and physical therapist instructions for rehab as boring and mundane they were at first.  Even as those instructions and exercises have become more challenging and difficult, I have endured.  I don’t say this to brag about what a good patient I have been, it’s just that I want to be able to do normal things when this is all over.  I was willing to have the surgery, persist in the rehab, and be patient in the healing process because I want to fully recover.

Then there are those things that my willingness are TBD.  I work in the medical field and when I check my work schedule sometimes the patient’s procedures are listed as TBD – to be determined.  For whatever reason,  the outcomes are dependent on something else.  I feel that far too often with a lot of things that I want to do, my willingness to accomplish them are to be determined.

I would like to lose weight but am I willing to make the changes in my diet and increase my exercise to reach that goal?  Once I fully recover from my injury, I think I can increase my exercise regime but will the pain or the monotony of the regimen wear me down? To be determined.   More importantly, will I succumb to the Turtle Moose Tracks ice cream in the freezer calling my name?  To be determined.  My success is based on if I am willing to do what is necessary.  Unfortunately the answer is as of yet -to be determined.

We are so fortunate that Jesus left nothing to be determined.  We were separated from God and He wanted to be with us.  Jesus came to bridge the gulf between God and us.  He was willing to take on our sin, to suffer, and to pay the ultimate price for us.  The thing I find most amazing is not that Jesus was willing to do all that. I mean, He’s God, right?  It’s amazing that He also had to power to stop it completely.  He could have said, “Father, they’re not worth it.” and it would have been over.  He was willing to do everything that was necessary to give us the opportunity to have fellowship with God. Unbelievable, but He did. Because He was willing, there is nothing left to be determined. It’s all signed, sealed, and delivered.

 

But God proves His own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

 

I Can Do All Things?

I have a confession to make. I have a secret passion. Well maybe not so secret if you ask my family. I love (use your best WWE announcer voice) American Ninja Warriors. I have always been fascinated with obstacle course competitions from Superstars to Wipe Out and now Ninja Warriors. Even as I watched last night, I thought to myself about which obstacle I could do. Of course, I would have to fully rehab my injured leg, then lose some weight, and train really hard at a Ninja Warrior gym plus possibly have surgery on an old left shoulder injury and then just maybe I could… Who am I kidding?  The possibility of my ascending  Mount Midoriyama or even completing the simplest obstacle is about as likely my wife watching an entire Friday night movie without falling asleep.  As much as I daydream of standing before the crowd as the Nuclear Ninja (the name that I would have Matt Iseman and Akbar Gbajabiamila announce me as), I know that it’s not going to happen.    I only need to recall an incident last summer to bring me back to reality.  Sherry and I were serving as counselors at the camp our church youth group was attending in Kentucky.  It was a pretty awesome camp with some great amenities.  This included a lake with a blob, slides, trampolines to do flips and a zip line.  I was able to  drop on the blob and launch one of our young men into the stratosphere but then I began to have visions of grandeur well above my capabilities.  After watching lots of teens doing flips off an floating island with a couple of trampolines, I thought, “Why not?  It’s just a coordinated fall and you land in water.  What could go wrong?”  Maybe I should have consulted my knees before making the attempt because they both elected to not cooperate resulting in hitting the lake face first on one half flip that would have scored in negative numbers.  If my total humiliation wasn’t complete, another of our young men wanted me to go on the two person zip line with him.  The safety equipment did not include a harness.  You were supposed to simply grab the handle, jump, go whizzing across the lake to eventually drop safely into the water.  Not learning from my prior lake encounter, I thought , “What could go wrong?  Worst comes to worst I drop into the water a little early.”  I think the saying goes, “Fool me once shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me.”  It was definitely shame on me.  Everything was going fine right up to the point that my feet left the platform.  The old softball injury in my left shoulder allowed me a nanosecond reprieve before it decided that it didn’t sign up for this and quit in protest.  My right joined in solidarity after a brief holdout.  Luckily I cleared the platform but I think I had several come to Jesus moments before I hit the water.  I’m not really sure how but I hit on both my front and back at the same time.  I hit the water with enough velocity that it took hours to get my swim suit out of where it didn’t belong.  On top of that I was convinced that I  left parts of my shoulders attached to the handle because I wasn’t sure they were attached to my body any longer.  It was Ninja Warrior blooper level at best.

With that being said, I guess that precludes a trip to stand in the walk on line at the next city Ninja Warrior trial.  This also makes me rethink my understanding of the verse “I can do all things…” .   Too often I stop there.  When I leave off the rest of the verse, then I’m only relying on me and what I can do.  There are some things I can’t do no matter how much I want or how hard I work at it, like climb Mount Midoriyama or be an all star shortstop for the Atlanta Braves.   I may not have that talent or physical capability to do all things.   If I leave the rest of the verse out, I leave out the One who makes all things possible.  “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”  The through Christ is the important part.  I need to ask Him first what it is He wants me to do and if it is through Him, I can do it. He will give me the strength.  I’m sometimes guilty of making plans, asking God to bless them, and then fussing if they fail.  I need to first go ” through Christ” to find out what “all things”  I need to be doing.  When I do that, He will give me the strength to do what He wants.

Unless I hear it directly from the Lord, I guess the Nuclear Ninja will never be the next American Ninja Warrior.

Philippians 4:13

13 I am able to do all things through Him[a] who strengthens me.