Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Amazing Grace, the Power of Prayer and Where's George?

Good movie alert: Amazing Grace.

I haven't been much for watching movies lately. The Prednisone left me feeling all sorts of fidgety and unable to sit still for very long. I'm better now; more about that later. About the film...Amazing Grace is a very good movie about an antislavery pioneer from the 18th century named William Wilberforce. Wilberforce spent over 20 years trying to change the hearts and minds of the ruling class in Britain who believed it was their right to trade and own slaves. The movie gets its name from the 18th-century hymn, Amazing Grace, which was written by John Newton, the captain of a ship used for transporting slaves from Africa to Europe. Newton nearly lost his life in a storm at sea and prayed to God that if he survived the storm he would change the direction of his life. He would later become a confidant of Wilberforce.

While watching the movie I couldn't help but see similarities between the people of a more ignorant time who supported slavery and the pro-abortion people living among us today. Do you suppose it's possible that in a couple hundred years from now textbooks will write about a time when abortion used to be the law of the land much as slavery is written about in history books today? A new generation will wonder how it was that civilized people ever embraced and vigorously fought for such a thing.

Al Gore stated a few months back that the debate about global warming is over and that science has proved that global warming is real. Can't the same be said of the debate about a developing human life?

Speaking of Al; I think he's a fraud and a hypocrite and I'm disappointed that so many in the media have accepted his theories as fact. It's nice to know that not all the media has been duped. John Stossel gets it. That's not to say that global warming isn't happening; just not the way Al would have us all believe.

I got my medical back to perform my air traffic duties. It was nice to be back in front of the scope again doing a job I love to do. I was a bit concerned with having been away for the past 4 weeks then getting right back into the thick of it during what is historically the busiest travel week of the year. It was nice to have a week of working traffic before I begin working with my trainee again next week.

Coming off Prednisone is always a difficult ordeal as it leaves me feeling tired and in a funk, maybe a bit depressed. That feeling usually stays with me for a month or two. This past Sunday Tammy suggested that we step inside Hosanna's prayer room on our way out of church. I don't know why it is but this difficult part of my life has always been something I feel I need to just deal with on my own. I take my meds and then endure. I pray about all sorts of other things which concern me but not this. That makes no sense. Anyway, we stepped inside the prayer room and were met by a couple guys who offered to pray with us. They asked us what we were seeking prayer for and then we were joined by another man who opened his bible to some scripture in James where it talked about gathering together and calling on God to bring healing while anointing with oil. We did that. They laid hands on me and invited Christ to restore my health in ways that I wasn't even expecting.

I had walked into the prayer room with a heaviness which was weighing me down. 15 minutes later after some serious prayer, I was no longer feeling the heaviness which had been with me for weeks. There was no question that I'd received the healing we prayed for. No doubt people reading this will discount it as the power of suggestion. That's fine. I know better.

I had some spare time on my hands while I was off work this past month and spent some time at a site I used to visit a few years ago: Where's George? It's interesting to see where your bills end up months and years down the road. I sent off $20 worth of $5 bills with the Davannis pizza delivery guy last night. With all the traveling people do during the holidays those bills could find themselves spread out across the country in no time. Tag a few and see for yourself.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Break-up, the Project and the Miles

I've got a couple of the sweetest pups you could imagine in my lap as I type. I think dogs should be one of the 7 wonders of the world for the unconditional love they have for us.

I was talking with Rachel last week about her noticeable lack of texting and I said I didn't mean to pry but I was wondering if everything was okay between her and Grant? I mentioned that it seemed things had cooled a bit since Homecoming. She said their relationship was a bit rocky and she wasn't sure what to make of it. She planned to see a movie with him last Friday night and get a better feel for which way the wind was blowing. I was curious to see how the night would go.

She phoned when the show was over and I drove to go pick her up. I waited in the truck out front and when she got in the tears began to flow. I felt so bad for her. She said the entire night was awkward. She tried to make small talk but he had nothing to say. She wanted to tell him that maybe they should break it off but knew that if she said those words she'd begin to cry and she didn't want that to happen. I asked her if she could text him and tell him what she felt but she didn't think it should be done that way. I told her that since they go to different high schools it's not quite the same and maybe it would be alright, at least I thought it would be okay. It's not like she's going to see him again and his lack of input during their date wasn't helping matters.

I stopped to put gas in the truck on the way home and while I was outside she sent him a text breaking it off. She was crying pretty hard. When we got home she gave Tammy and I each a big hug then went to bed.

Her dad picked her up the next day and while she was away a couple of her friends came by and dropped off some things they'd put together to cheer her up. They obviously spent a bit of time baking the cookies and making the signs. She's got some thoughtful friends.

It's been several days since the break-up and she's already back to her usual self. I never want to discount her relationships as just so much puppy love. I'm not sure how quickly she'll want to get involved with somebody else but I'm pretty sure there are a few guys waiting in the wings for when she's ready. Her life is pretty full as it is without any added distractions.

I finished working on the stained glass project I'd mentioned in my previous entry. Ron was happy with it and that's what matters. Me, I wasn't so thrilled with the design but I'm not paid to like it—just build it. It measures 24 x 30" and Ron is going to mount it on a lightbox and hang it on the wall above their kitchen sink. I'd like to see it when he gets it hung. It's going to be a few months yet as they're in the beginning stages of a full kitchen remodel with Keith doing the cabinets for them.

One thing this project has taught me is to help me get a better idea of what to charge per square foot. For all the effort and expense which went into this on my part, I probably should have figured just a bit more for the final cost. I easily had $120 of my own into the project and I estimated the price to Ron at anywhere from $100 to $125 per square foot. It was easily every bit of $125 sf but I only charged $115 sf. The project presented some problems I didn't anticipate but I didn't feel right passing that on to Ron.

I phoned work today to let them know that I'm ready to return. I've been off Prednisone since Sunday and I'm headache free. In years past that's all they've needed from me to reinstate my medical for working traffic. I've yet to get the green light—hopefully, tomorrow. It's been nice being away for the past month and I can't say that I'm ready to go back but I do need to, just in time for the busiest travel week of the year.

I've been able to do a bunch of miles the past several weeks and I'm thankful for that. Being on Prednisone allowed me to ride as I did 30 years ago with no aches to remind me of my age. Many times over the past few weeks I've contemplated what my riding means to me and how grateful I am for that outlet in my life. The weather has been cool but that can make for some ideal conditions if you know how to dress for it and by that I mean not overdress. You want to be cool, verging on cold when you begin your ride knowing that within a few miles if you're working it you'll begin to warm. With too many layers on you'll sweat too much and the clamminess which follows will chill you to the bone.

I began Monday's ride planning on 30-35 miles but once I got out there I scrapped those plans and headed on a route I hadn't taken in a while but one I enjoy a lot. I considered doing one last century ride for the year but I didn't feel that would be so smart my first day off my meds so I brought it home after 70 miles. It was a nice ride and possibly my last longish ride of the year.

I got a start on our outside Christmas lights this afternoon. I'll finish the rest tomorrow. It's always a bigger job than I think it should be but in the end, I'm glad I took the time to do it. If I'm going to do the lights I figure this week is the week to do it before the cold weather arrives to stay and makes the job a miserable one. I don't mind doing it with a temp in the 30s and 40s, just not the 20s or less.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Missed Opportunity, Time Off, Celebrating 79 and Where's the Respect?

There's an old farmhouse I pass on the way to work on the southeast corner of Cedar Ave and Hwy 50. It's tucked back in off the road but it occasionally catches my eye. It's tattered and has loads character and could make for some interesting photos. It probably hasn't seen an occupant in over 30 years. Rachel mentioned a few weeks ago that she'd like to get some b&w film and shoot some pictures of it. Great idea. We talked about it again yesterday and I told her we should try and get out there this week. Tammy said she was worried that maybe it would be bulldozed if we waited too long. Not to worry, it's been there this long, it'll be there for a while longer.

I couldn't shake the feeling that Tammy was right and that we should make some definite plans to get out there more sooner than later.

I tossed my Panasonic Lumix in my truck today and set out to see what I could get of the old house. Rachel and I would come back later in the week. I had a strong urging that I needed to do it now. As I approached the house I could see in the distance a large truck with a crane. I couldn't see the house. As I got closer my heart sank when I eyed the leveled remains of what had quietly stood begging me over the years to pause for just 5 minutes and photograph it. And now it was gone. The countless opportunities I'd had left me feeling disappointed for not acting sooner—just a few hours sooner. There's a lesson to be learned.

I've been off work for nearly 3 weeks. I lost my medical when my latest phase of Cluster headaches returned. With the FAA's new work rules for Controllers, they require us to use our sick time rather than come into work and perform other duties if we're medically disqualified from working traffic. It's possible that they may have an occasional job for me to come in for but I'd rather they give that to somebody who doesn't have a bank of hours to work with as I do. I certainly don't mind being away and I'd rather not be at work when I've got as much Prednisone in me as I have as it leaves me a bit edgy and irritable. If all goes well I'll be back on the 17th.

It's been nice to be away from work. I've been getting in a good amount of riding and I was able to finish updating all the photo pages on our website. What a job that turned out to be but it's done for the most part and that's a monkey off my back.

My mother turned 79 this past weekend. Tammy and I took her out to one of our favorite places...Timber Lodge Steakhouse. We've never been disappointed with either the service or the food there. After dinner we came back to our place and spent some time at the computer showing her our website and looking through the photo pages. It was good for her to reminisce. I showed her some video from Christmas 1988 with Dad.

I don't know that she's heard his voice since he died 12 years ago. I was trying to be careful in taking the trip down memory lane with her as I didn't want to sadden her but I don't think that was the case. I felt she really enjoyed looking back on those earlier times. She kept commenting on how cute Dad was and I thought that was sweet.

Rachel had never tasted Vernors Ginger Ale before. I bought a 6 pack of the diet and she liked it. I went out and got her some of the regular stuff. We used to drink that when we'd vacation in the U.P. of Michigan when we were growing up. At the time I think that was the only place we could get it until years later when the local grocery stores began stocking it. It's got a nice little kick to it—give it a try.

I've got a stained glass project to do for one of Keith's clients. I suppose he'd be our client now as well. He wants a 24 x 30" panel done which will be mounted on a lightbox in his kitchen above the sink. He stopped by a few days ago to discuss the project and give me an idea of how he'd like it to be. I've been hesitant to get into any commission work as there typically isn't time in my week for it but since I'm off work for the next couple weeks I thought I could work it in.

This is news from a few weeks ago but I just came across this. It's an article from Urban Legends with video of Barack Obama disrespecting the American flag by refusing to place his hand over his heart during the playing of the Star-Spangled Banner in addition to his refusing to say the Pledge of Allegiance. I'd watched him in an interview a while back where he was talking about not needing to wear an American flag on his lapel to show his patriotism and I agreed with him. He felt that patriotism was something more than wearing a lapel pin and better shown in other more meaningful ways. He's right. Anyway, here's the link. Judge for yourself if you think his approach is disrespectful to our flag and the men and women who have given their lives in honor and defense of it.