Saturday, July 31, 2010

Right Foot, Left Foot

Among the many occurences this past week, I had two separate foot procedures done.

One was on Tuesday.  On Monday, the ball of my right foot was extremely tender and gave me tremendous pain.  So, on Tuesday, I went to the doctor at the VA hospital for a same-day appointment.  I had to wait for a "slow" time for them to squeeze me in.  They checked out my foot, sent me to Xray and then the podiatrist.  They found a small piece of glass imbedded under the calloused part of my skin.  Fortunately, they did it without causing me to cry......ha ha.  Seriously, the doctor was very cautious and caused me no pain during the removal.

While talking to the doctor in podiatry, I mentioned that my left big toe continued to cause me some discomfort, due to the toenail growing in at an angle and growing quite thick (causing problems for clipping purposes).  During my college years, I had surgery on both feet for ingrown toenails and the ensuing problems that went with that issue.  The left big toenail grew in dysfunctionally!  Can that be?  Oh, yes.

Anyway, the doctor told me to come in on Thursday and they would remove the nail completely.  So, Thursday came and Sondra accomnpanied me to the hospital for the procedure.  Fortunately, the local anesthetic worked very well and I did not feel a thing.  I did not look, either, as it was being done.  The lady doctor pulled the nail off, just as if you would pull a tooth.  That's how she described it.  I must soak in Epsom salt for the next two weeks, but I can wear regular shoes.  So, it's done and over.

Our feet are really important things to take care of, that's for sure.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Sleep Well, My Friend

At 10:39 am this morning, David Zimmerman went to be with Jesus and the angels of heaven.  He fought hard against the liver disease but now the battle is over.  Victory has been won.  David is no longer in pain.  He will rest in the warmth of God's everlasting love for all of eternity now.  We who are left behind feel a void and a loss and a sense of sorrow.  But we know that God's plan is always best.  We trust in the mighty love and great promise of an awesome Lord.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Miracle of Heaven or Miracle of Healing

Tonight we went to visit a good friend in the hospital, by the name of David Zimmerman.  He has liver damage and has been in and out of the hospital several times this past year.  He is relatively young, with a wife and four kids (the oldest is fifteen, a 10-year old and 3-year old twins).  He and his family were in church this past Sunday.  On Monday, he was bleeding internally and the ambulance was called.  They did emergency surgery to remove some colon yesterday, but he took a turn for the worse and the wife was told to consider last things.

I was asked to come in and pray with him by his wife.  I prayed for healing, for a mighty miracle but I also prayed that we would be able to see God's will at work.  Whatever that may be, of course.  We placed everything in God's hands and left it there.  According to all the signs and doctor's prognosis, David was not supposed to make it through the night.  I wondered if I would receive a call in the middle of the night with painful news.

This afternoon we spoke with David's wife (Heather) and she said he was awake and conscious.  He squeezed her hand during a conversation.  We went and prayed with him tonight again, and in our talking at one point he raised his eyebrows up and down.  We continue to wait on God's plan to fully unfold in these next days.  There are times we see God's hand of healing in calling a person home to heaven or healing in the physical realm for all to see.  We wait now.

In this past Sunday's worship, we baptized four (three teenage boys and a young adult lady).  It was a wonderful time to see God's touch on these four individuals.  Monday was a fun day, as we watched grand-daughter Bailey for a few hours for Shawn and Crystal.

Yesterday (Tuesday) was a very long day.  Up at 4:30 to be at work to unlock and open up the Census office by 6am.  Worked for 2 hours, then drove over to the VA hospital for them to look at my right foot, which had something imbedded.  Was there for several hours, seeing nurses and X-ray and podiatry.  They took a small piece of glass out of my foot!  It was painful but now is doing good.  While there, got the phone call about David Zimmerman and went directly to another hospital for that.  Took some McDonald's food to the Zimmerman kids and then back to the hospital.  Home for dinner, and then an hour with Pastor George (who is starting a church with us as mother church) as we talk and share and have a  time of mentoring.

Today was work and hospital visit again.

Tomorrow I go again to the doctor for a surgery procedure on my left big toe!  I will have the nail removed permanently as it is hard to take care of because of previous surgery many years ago.

That's it for tonight.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Another Week Gone By

Time seems to zoom at a higher speed than normal,  It's hard to believe that July is quickly going to be history.

Last Sunday was a good day.  The attendance was a little lower but the spirit of the worship was wonderful.  We have a church where ones can lead in the music worship time, even though they are not the best of singers and musicians.  We even had a new young man (a youth) on the sound board for the very first time.  It gave him a sense of worth and belonging with us.

David went to church in Fontana to hear Roger preach, as Roger is the Executive Pastor there and does not preach every Sunday.  The senior pastor is on vacation, and therefore Roger will be preaching for these two Sundays.  After church, we met up with David and Roger and Julie at Cal Baptist for the Sunday brunch in the Dining Commons there.  It is always good.  David ended his meal with his own kind of dessert - a waffle with a topping of strawberries, then whipped cream and then cherries!  He said it was delicious.

This past Tuesday was Shawn's birthday, as he turned 34.  Crystal wanted us to go to dinner with them, so we did.  Sondra, Alden, David and I joined Crystal, Shawn and Bailey for dinner at a place in Claremont called Casablanca, a Mediterranean restaurant.  It was awesome.  For appetizers, we ordered it all - hummus, pita bread, falafel, grape leaves and cheese pies.  For entrees, I had a filet mignon shish kabob, as well as a lamb shish kabob.  There was rice and vegetables on the side.  It was so good and tasty.  We will go back some time soon.  We ordered just a few baklavas for dessert.

After dinner, we went back to Shawn and Crystal's for more dessert and gifts.  Sondra had made a homemade German chocolate cake, and we had ice cream too.  It is always fun to watch someone open their gifts on special occasions, and this was a fun night.

Wednesday was church, and I am continuing to lead a study from Proverbs chapter three.  It is a wonderful chapter that calls us to live according to God's ways.  On Thursday evening, I led a Bible study at the ladies' Sober Living House that is close to the Mission Inn in downtown Riverside.  The women who attend this study are just like sponges who want to learn and grow and ask questions.  It is quite satisfying to share with them.  Sondra goes with me, and they really enjoy talking to her.

Last night, Sonda and Alden and I went to the Black Angus restaurant with a coupon.  For about $15 each, we could order a triple entree meal - top sirloin, baby back ribs and fried shrimp.  Oh, so good.

This has been the first full week for me to use my sleep machine every night.  I have not noticed too much diifference in my level of "tiredness" yet, but am told it takes a few weeks to feel better with it.  It has not been too much trouble to get used to wearing a breathing apparatus at night.  It makes iit hard to talk and kiss (ha ha).  Anyway, I am only getting about 5 hours sleep at night, due to early work hours, so we will see what difference it makes when I can get a full 8 hours sleep sometime soon!

Well, I go to work again today (Saturday).  David went with Roger yesterday afternnon up to the mountains near Big Bear.  Roger has a popup tent trailer that they were going to spend the night in.  I was invited but there was too much going on with church and work for this weekend.  I'll do it with them the next time.

Our cousin, Jimmy, died this week in Poteau, Oklahoma.  He was one of the cousins I knew as we would vacation in Oklahoma when I was growing up.  He was 66 and fought with his diabetes these last couple of years.  It continues to remind me that our time here on earth is short, and we must make the most of it for the Kingdom's sake.  God has been good to me and I want to honor him with all my time.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Catching Up

I didn't want to make the last blog too long, so I am separating this and writing again.

This last week has been memorable and interesting.  Last Sunday, we had a guest music leader with us at church.  We are currently without someone on a regular basis who leads as Jennifer (niece and Cal Baptist student) is on a long mission trip to Japan.

The previous Thursday evening, I had been invited to lead a weekly Bible study at a ladies' Sober Living House in Riverside near the Mission Inn.  Sondra went with me as I led a study on commitment and following Christ.  There was about 8 women, and they were ecstatic that I would come a lead a study just for them.  I am excited about what God is doing there.

This past Monday, we drove over to Huntington Beach as I was asked to do a wedding in the sand by Lifeguard Tower Number 11.  Jim Lunak and his fiance Katie tied the knot at about 6:30 pm that evening.  What a gorgeous evening with sunset and ocean!  Afterwards, we all went to the pier and had dinner at Ruby's Diner.  It was great fun and celebration.

On Tuesday, Sondra went with her best friend (Sharon Harrison) for a four-day "girls getaway."  They went over to Pismo Beach for a couple of days, and then down to meet two others for a couple of days at the Hilton at Mission Bay in San Diego.  Sondra is off this month from her part-time Intervention Teaching job in the school district.  She had a great time and needed that kind of break.

So, us guys (me and David and Alden) made the best of it.  Went to Chili's Restarant the first night.  David made stew the next night.  McDonald's the following night.  Pizza the next.  With a couple of coconut cream pies from Carrow's, just for good measure.

I bought a new wireless printer this week too.  I can't wait to get it hooked up and try it out.

I went to the Loma Linda VA hospital for blood tests and to pick up a machine for my sleep apnea.  My coagulation level is doing well, with taking coumadin (Warfarin) pills.  I was given the Bi-PAP machine to help me sleep well.  It is one notch above the CPAP machine, as the Bi-PAP has pressure both ways, both to inhale and exhale.  The CPAP only helps to inhale.  The doctor said I have severe sleep apnea, and this should help a great deal.

That's it for now, as I am doing last-minute preparation for Sunday worship now.

The Workplace Is A Place Of Ministry

It has been many days since I last wrote.  This indeed is a busy time for me with work, church and family.  It seems that there are ebbs and flows to our lives, as far as trying to maintain a "normal" daily schedule.  This is one of those periods of time where the time is packed very tight with ministry, errands and work.  It is a good and productive time, I must add.  But I am sure looking forward to the "slow down" in schedule when it comes.

For the last two weeks, I have been asked to work Saturdays as a supervisor for workers who came in to the office to help the flow of paperwork be kept up to the benchmarks assigned to our office.  It is an amazing process that is used for the census, no matter what different people think about it.  The government is simply trying to gain an accurate count of population at a given time each decade.  I really feel honored to be a part of something so historical as this, something that is done each 10 years.

Again, my workplace has become another means of ministry for me.  I don't "preach" and I don't "judge" those around me.  Simply through my conversation and actions, they see my lifestyle as something of note and worth.  People share intimate pain and thoughts and joy with me in the course of my daily work.  God has brought me more ways to minister than simply through the venue of a church.

For this week, we have worked 6 hour shifts.....from 6 am to 12:30 noon time.  That's why it was important to work Saturdays to get more hours in for the paycheck.  The week prior, we were working again from 3:30 am (yes, early in the morning) to noon for a full 8 hours.  This workplace is very flexible about changing hours because of the demands of the workload.  The fact is, we are winding down and I may only work another three or four weeks.  Then we will see what happens after that.

As a sidenote to those I work with, let me give you an illustration of the relationships that have been made.  Last Wednesday morning I was scheduled to lead the 10-minute devotional Bible study at Coronado Stone manufacturing plant nearby (where I used to work).  I was at the Census office, getting ready to go and my car would not start.  I immediately went into the office and announced that I was having car trouble and "could I borrow someone's car?"  A young 20-year old Hispanic man gave me his keys with no hesitation.  It showed me again how God provides our needs at any given moment through ways we would not know of.

I drove this borrowed car, a little late because of my car trouble and got caught in a traffic jam due to road work.  I'm a few minutes late to the devotional (but I had called to let them know, so they were waiting), my car wouldn't start, I get caught up in traffic and guess what my devotional is about?  Patience!  I was given the assignment to speak on chapter 1 in the book of James, and "patience" was one of the key topics.  God sure has a sense of humor!

Let me tell you about someone else in my workplace.  One of the lady couriers was talking to me on the phone, and she knows I am a pastor through previous conversations.  She is a Christian and wanted me to know about what God was doing in her life.  She was at a gas station the other day, filling up her tank and saw three young women on the corner with bags of clothes, sitting in the 100-degree heat looking helpless.  She went over to them, found out they had been kicked out of a Sober Living House, and were praying in their own little circle.  My friend (the courier) found out their circumstances and took them immediately to a local motel and paid for two days.  She said that God had recently blessed her with some money she was not expecting, and she knew this was what she was to do to help the women in their desperate times.  This touched me, as this lady shared the story with me.  I was blessed just to hear about her act of kindness and mercy.  I see it more and more, and that's a joy.

I am getting to spend more time with the Manager of the entire office, in my "doings and goings" with my job.  We have developed a deeper friendship, and he has given me favor and personal plaudits for my work.  It has been quite rewarding of late.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Fourth of July 2010

This past Sunday was very special indeed.  My brother David gave the morning message, and we were all blessed throughout the time of worship.

After church, we went to Crystal and Shawn's house in Ontario nearby for a Fourth of July barbecue.  The hamburgers always taste better when grilled outside!  Little Bailey is always fun to have around, and we had a wonderful afternoon there.

That night, there were fireworks displays at multiple locations close to us.  The biggest fireworks show was being held at the Fontana Speedway not too far away.  We did not want to get caught up in the traffic jams and the expense of going in, so we drove a couple of blocks away from the Speedway, put down the top of the convertible Sebring and had a blast watching the fireworks from our car.

Later that night, it was fun to watch the Fourth of July celebration on TV that was held in Boston.  Last year, we were in Boston for the Fourth and had a very memorable time there.  It did bring back some very special memories.

Yesterday (Monday, the holiday observance), I took two of our high school youth to the Ponderosa Pines Christian Camp up near Big Bear Lake.  It's about 40 miles away going up into the mountains near us.  It was an amazing set of circumstances.  I got a call late last week from the camp, asking for us to send youth campers this week because they did not have a full camper turnout planned.  Because of a friend of our church giving our name, we were offered the opportunity to send our youth for free for a five-day camp.

Because of short notice, only two were able to go, but I was excited.  I took two young men (going into the 9th grade) to something they had never attended previously.  Neither had attended a Christian camp, and the parents were about to burst with excitement and joy as well for their kids.  God continues to truly bless us with his favor!