November 2nd, 2013 | No Comments | Posted in » My Life / Family
Over the past five years, I’ve written on and off about my battle with cholesteatoma. I’ve detailed some of my surgeries, shared the emotions I’ve experienced in getting news from the doctors. I’ve even shared some photos for you to caption when I was bandaged up, looking like a warrior in a sci-fi movie.
What I want to share this morning is simply this: there’s a lot of people out there that are cholesteatoma survivors, but it’s a group that’s not all that easy to find.
I don’t pretend to know the statistics. Doesn’t really matter.
What DOES matter is that people facing cholesteatoma need encouragement. They have questions. Fears. Hurts. Worries.
Talking to a cholesteatoma survivor may be one of the best things they can do.
Fact is, I get web traffic here every day from people searching for answers. Wanting to know what it’s like. Asking the all-knowing “Google” any number of things about cholesteatoma. Sometimes I receive e-mails like I did this morning.
I pray that my story makes a difference. That any words I can share with others struggling will bring hope and comfort.
Fact is, it’s becoming more and more obvious to me that we need a survivor’s network. A place for people to connect with one another. To ask questions. Hear each other’s stories.
I’m not sure if I’m the right person to get this going, but I’m going to take a small step in that direction this weekend. I just created a Facebook page for “Cholesteatoma Survivors”. If you want to connect with others who have been through this, now we’ve got a place.
I don’t know what this looks like long-term. Maybe I’ll be the only one who “likes” the page. Whatever the case, I’m giving it a shot, and I’ll be there to interact with anyone that visits.
Hope to see you there.
For more readings on my battle with cholesteatoma, check out these posts:
- “Life Update”, November 2008
- “Surgery Update”, December 2008
- “Cholesteatoma Update”, March 2009
- “Cholesteatoma Surgery, Round 2″, December 2009
- “We Don’t Always Get What We Want”, November 2012
- “Cholesteatoma… Again.”, November 2012
- “I Am a Bad Man…”, December 2012
- “Bionic Hearing”, December 2012
October 27th, 2013 | No Comments | Posted in » My Life / Family
Over the past year, we’ve been through a LOT as a family. While I won’t go into detail on that front (those of you who know us best already know most of that), suffice it to say that this has been a year we’re looking forward to having over. One of the hardest of our lives. And conventional wisdom would indicate that life surely can only be looking up… 2014 has got to be better.
So whether that’s true or not remains to be seen… but that’s not the point of this post. We KNOW we’ve got more difficult days to walk through. All of the “stuff” we’re dealing with isn’t over yet. And we don’t really know when it will, or to be completely honest, even truly if. The ends of these stories have simply not all been written.
What IS true though is that Nancy and I have learned this: in times of difficulty, when life throws us so much “stuff” we don’t know what to do, we need a sanctuary.
And no, I’m not going hyper-spiritual on you to say that it’s solely our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Quite honestly? Though He IS truly enough spiritually… sometimes He seems distant. Fact is, though good Christianese would tell us that all we need is Him… that He bids us to come and He will give us rest… sometimes, His peace is truly hard to find. Sometimes it just doesn’t seem like enough. Sometimes it doesn’t even feel available.
What I’ve found?
We often need a PLACE of refuge, not just a God who offers it. We need a place of refuge to RECEIVE what He offers.
That place for us?
Nope, not our home. We live there. We can’t help but have our home invaded by the “stuff” of this world. Problems simply can’t be left on the doorstep, tucked away in a closet, or stashed in a corner of the garage. The phone doesn’t stop ringing there. E-mails and texts still reach us. The day-to-day still exists there.
No, our sanctuary is this place:
My mom and dad’s home.
When we’re there, we can forget about everything else for a while. We can sit by the pond and fish. Dad makes sure the ATVs are always ready to kick up dirt along the trails he’s made. Baby and Butch (their cats) are there to be chased by my girls. There’s plenty of room to shoot targets with air rifles. And an AWESOME back deck where we can just sit, listen to the birds sing, and relax. It’s a place where Mom always stuffs us with more home-cooked goodness than we can handle. A place where the kiddos are truly free to run and play.
Troubles seem far away. Peace seems readily accessible. You can almost tangibly feel stress disappearing as we drive closer.
It’s truly a sanctuary, for all of us.
Mom, Dad… I know we haven’t told you often enough, but thanks for always making home a safe place for us to get away. I’m not sure how we’d be getting through the “stuff” of life this year without you guys.
September 12th, 2013 | Comments Off | Posted in » My Life / Family, Pictures
As I was wrapping up my day at work this afternoon, I got a call from Nancy. I couldn’t take it at the time, so responded via text that I’d call her back as soon as I could. She texted me back that she just need to know if I could pick up Allison at her gymnastics class. I replied that I could, and that I’d call later.
Once I was on the road, I called. I had assumed she needed me to pick up Allison because it would help with our busy evening schedule. As we talked, I found I was only partially right… she needed to take Jeffrey back to the eye doctor.
I had completely forgotten that he had an appointment today, and was confused why it was so late. Nancy clued me in: she was going BACK.
Yep. Jeffrey needed glasses.
When I was 10 years old and in 5th grade, sure enough… I found out I needed glasses. Jeffrey just turned 11, and is in 5th grade. And now needs glasses.
Like father, like son.
That phrase took on a whole new life this evening as I posted a photo of Jeffrey on Facebook. Almost immediately, my sister commented:
“OMG, he looks SO much like you! Ha! I just had a major flashback!”
A little while later, my childhood best friend commented:
“I don’t feel old enough to have a 25-30 year flashback like this!”
Yep. Jeffrey looks an awful lot like his Dad.
Like father, like son.
Curiosity kicked in. I dug through some of Mom and Dad’s scanned photos from my childhood. Found me, circa 1986. A bit of photoshop, and…
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but…
You’re not gonna like what’s happening to your hair in about 25 years.
Like father, like son.
September 12th, 2013 | 1 Comment | Posted in » In the News..., Just For Fun...
As a dad of two girls, I sincerely hope that I never have to go to these lengths to make a point about appropriate attire:
Apparently, a dad in Utah decided to don the above pictured shorts to do just that.
Sorry about your eyes, folks.
September 11th, 2013 | Comments Off | Posted in » My Life / Family
So the Royals won again, and are now just 2.5 games back of Tampa Bay for the 2nd wildcard. The Hunt for Blue October is ON!
I can’t begin to explain how happy this makes me… so how about this?
Yep. I’m happier than a camel on Wednesday.
Which, coincidentally, it is. Yeah.
April 28th, 2013 | Comments Off | Posted in » My Life / Family, Pictures
As human beings, we really do like to think we’re in control of everything. Our career paths. Our families. Our finances.
Yes, even our faith.
But we’re not. Not even close.
Only God is sovereign. Only He knows all of what has happened, what is happening, and what will happen.
Doesn’t absolve us of responsibility for making good decisions, of being good stewards of everything He’s given us… time, talents, money, decisions, etc. But there will ALWAYS be circumstances and situations utterly outside our control.
We received a big reminder of that today:
Yep, that’s our van. While sitting innocently at a intersection, two vehicles violently collided in front of us. The silver Traverse you see in the photo smashed in our front bumper, and gave all of us a big jolt we weren’t expecting.
It happened in slow motion (don’t all events like this?).
I was sitting in the driver’s seat, stopped at the red light. Nancy and I were having a good chat with the five kids in the back (ours and two friends). Everyone was having a good time, looking forward to a fun lunch together. We’d had a great morning at church… my best in probably four months.
I’m shocked into attention, and spot a silver Mercury flying in front of us left to right. I have no idea where it had come from.
I see the silver Traverse had spun towards us. Collision imminent.
I considered throwing the van into reverse. Nowhere to go… there was someone behind me.
I yelled to Nancy and the kids. “HOLD ON!!!”
I grabbed the steering wheel firmly. Stepped on the brake as hard as I could.
I turned to my family. “Everyone okay?”
I hopped out, knowing our part of the collision was minor. I ran to the door of the Traverse. Checked on the passengers, who were piling out. They seemed shaken, but okay.
I looked over toward the Mercury. It was a mess… a kid practically fell out of the driver’s seat. Blood pouring down his forehead from some good cuts.
Injured, but okay.
People were coming from everywhere to the scene. Police had been called.
I double-checked my family. Still okay. Made a few calls.
Police and ambulance arrived. The scene was replayed in everyone’s mind. Questions swirled. Organized chaos.
As I sit here tonight, I replay the scene in my mind. Nothing could be done differently. We were innocent bystanders, and our whole day changed in an instant.
My safe driving didn’t matter. Our plans for the day… out the window.
Any control I thought I had… gone.
As if it were ever truly there.
I guess that’s the point of all this, if there is one.
We’re NOT in control, no matter how much we like to think so. Life is fleeting, and can be taken from us in an instant… whether we’re ready or not. As Scripture says:
James 4:14, ESV
What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.
I don’t mean to be dramatic, but seriously… do you ever realize what little control you really have? How you live by faith moment by moment that nothing outside our miniscule window of control enters the picture and throws our perfectly planned lives into chaos?
And if you live by faith, what are you placing your faith in?
Is your object of faith worthy? Is your object of faith reliable? Is your object of faith in control at all?
Worth thinking about, because you’re not, and neither am I.
Personally, I can be okay with that. Then again, I know where my faith lies, and I know that He IS reliable.
April 22nd, 2013 | 1 Comment | Posted in » Christian Living, My Life / Family
I’m not sure I know exactly how to put my thoughts into words tonight, but I’ve been thinking. And I’ve got more questions than answers as a result. So, for all three of you that may actually still read this site, bear with me as I pour out my brain and heart here through this poor medium of blogging. This may be tough to follow. But I guess that’s alright.
If you’re a close friend of mine, you’ll know that the last four months have been rough for us. We’ve been dealing with some family troubles centered around the dreaded c-word: cancer. I won’t go into detail more than to say it’s a close family member out of respect for that person’s privacy, but suffice it to say that the news we received was not good. Not just any kind of c-word… terminal c-word.
We’ve been riding a roller-coaster of emotions. We’ve travelled more in the past four months than we perhaps even over the past four years (or maybe it just seems that way). Nancy and I have had to go separate ways far too often, and split the family more weekends than not to try to keep juggling all of the various balls we find ourselves tasked with keeping airborne. Our church attendance has been a joke. Stress levels way too high. And our faith… challenged.
Throughout this same general time period, there have been some horrific news stories. Sandy Hook. The Boston bombings. West, Texas. Tragedies, all.
And there has been societal change, political turmoil.
I’ve watched “the church” respond to all of this in interesting ways. Anger. Outrage. Political maneuvering. Calls for organization. Calls for prayer. Calls for activism. Prayer.
Rarely with peace.
I don’t know that the two are related in any way, to be honest. But there is a common theme running through my head… a difficult thought.
In times of troubles, Christians are faced with tough questions.
Where is God during _______?
Why didn’t He do something?
Why would He allow _______?
Is God hearing my prayers?
Why isn’t He listening?
Are you even real?
Do you even care?
These questions have become very real to me through our times of trouble. I’ve read of Job in the Old Testament, and how God allowed his faith to be tested… how He gave Job over to Satan to do anything except take his life. I’ve wondered if God does the same nowadays… “Have you considered my servant _______?”
Has my name, Nancy’s, or others we love deeply been in that place?
When trouble seems rampant, and God seems distant? As if He’s not listening?
Why? Did we do something? Do we deserve this somehow?
I think Christians as a whole react the same way during times of trouble; even societal troubles.
We wonder if God cares. “Can’t you see what’s happening God?” “When will you do something?”
We look at ourselves, collectively. Where have we failed? What didn’t we do to prevent this? What if we only _______? Would God listen then? Could we change things?
I know this is disjointed. The point I’m trying to get to is that I see a parallel. What I see in our lives during our time of trial is not that terribly different from what I see in “the church” when everything seems to be going wrong with the world.
A test of faith. A lack of peace. Perhaps, a lack of trust.
Maybe it’s best summarized by questions (after all, that’s mostly what I seem to have right now).
Is Jesus really enough?
What if turning to Jesus for answers is the only answer?
What if letting our questions go is His only response… just to trust Him?
Will we really be satisfied with Jesus alone?
Or must we have Jesus + _______?
Sure, we all know the good “Christian” answer. But do we truly believe what we profess? What we sing about on Sundays? What we tell others? What we preach to our kids? What we read in our Christian books, or hear about on our Christian radio stations?
Is Jesus REALLY enough?
Perhaps that’s the question God has been trying to get us to consider all along.