Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Photoshare Christmas Families

Family Christmas 09 130, originally uploaded by rcelliott.

mclatcher 043a

Monday, November 23, 2009

A Long Road

I know I haven't posted text in a while. It isn't for lack of ideas, it may have to do with too many ideas. I can tell you that I want to write about a million and one things lately, but haven't been able to. Just to prove it to you, I will tell you some of the things I am not going to write about today.

I was added to the pastoral team at Lord of the Harvest on November 1. Though I am very excited about this I am not going to write about it now.

MTB-Life/Soul Cycles won another Michigan Endurance series. I was a part of it. I actually rode well for a fat guy, but, I am not going to write about that today either.

My boys also won the points series for two man endurance team. They did an awesome job. They really tried and pushed themselves pretty hard. I am very proud of them.

I coached a perfect season of soccer this year. We didn't win a single game. That being said, my girls, and the other girls on the team all played well. They worked hard and learned a lot about the game. But, this post isn't about that either.

I want to write a number of faith topics as well. I want to write about the error or placing Conservatism over Christ. I want to talk about this badly... Some other time.

I want to look at the church. I want to dive into the concept of the Bride of Christ. I will do this as I am studying it, but not today.

I want to talk about the log and the speck. It needs to be addressed. Just not in this post.

Okay, Rob... What in the world DO you want to write about today? Well, I will tell you. On August 1, I went to race. I entered as a solo racer for the Stony Creek Endurance race. I had no intention of winning. I am still very out of shape for that. I entered to push myself and see what I can do against other riders who are in shape.

Less than 10 miles into the race I was in trouble. I was having a lot of pain in my left knee. It hurt to pedal. By mile 30, I gave up and called it a day. It was very disheartening for me. I know I won't be as thin or as fast as I used to, but I hate the feeling of taking steps backward in my health when I am trying to get some things stabilized.

August then became a month of finding what happened to my knee. Several visits to a specialist and an MRI ended up not with results, but insults. I further learned that I am fat. I don't need a guy with a PHD to tell me the obvious. I need him to diagnose my knee and get me back in the game. He finally told me to go ride and see how the knee holds up.

September 1 I got back on the trail. Nathan and I went out to Stony Creek to spin some miles together. About 3 miles into it I had to shake my hands out from riding on the gravelly two track. I did this as I entered a fun section of single track known as the Pines. I was just coming out of a left turn and into a little rolling down hill when I went to put my right hand back on the bars. Unfortunately I didn't do it in time. It ended up being a long endo. So long, in fact, that I nearly wrote a book by the time the crash ended. I was thinking to myself, "Hmm, knee isn't bad... When I get back to the car, I am going to post ""Back in the Saddle Again"" on my facebook... Oh no! This is gonna hurt... Why??? I can't believe I missed the bars... Try not to land on my head and break my neck again...OOOOOOFFFFFF... Was I really going that fast... OUCH... I hope Nathan doesn't have a camera... OOOOOOHHH... How many times can one guy hit the ground anyway??? OW!!! Why can't I breath??? Did my handlebars just go through my ribs??? Not on that shoulder again... Andrea is going to kill me..." Until finally I ended up in a heap on the bottom of the trail.

Nathan came upon me and helped me get myself back together. We limped out of the trail as I broke my shifter, possibly losing it somewhere in my body. I was also hurt pretty bad. So, one month to the day later and I knew I was facing another setback. What I didn't know was how long I would be set back.

After about three weeks the ribs started to feel a little better. They felt well enough for me to try to spin on my trainer. As I tried I noticed it was hard to put weight on my right arm. I had noticed that it was hard to move, but didn't think much of it. I thought that I had hurt it, but it was still a little bruised and it would go away eventually.

October came and the middle of the month held the last of the Michigan Endurance races. The boys needed to race one more time for points (BTW, they got robbed this year as the promoter put them in a wrong class for one race forcing us to have to make a decision about which class to race as he refused to fix his error. Did I mention that it ultimately caused the boys to win the series but NOT get the title and jackets they earned even though it was his error. Way to go in not encouraging the future of the sport and your future bill payers..) We hooked up with the team and got the last race going. The team had had a little rough of a year so I did my best to cheer them up. I was sending out emails telling them that I was at 80% and should be ready to kill it by race day.

On my first lap I knew by the first bump that something was more than sore in my shoulder. I only rode the minimum of the day because that was all that my arm was capable of. I was in a lot of pain by the end of the night. I knew I had to go to the doctor.

I will not bore you with the visits or the MRI details. I will just say that this time I was not picked on for being fat. This time I was told I have some sever tearing in my rotator cuff, and that I needed surgery to get back to normal. Since I can't pick my arm up without help this is the boat I am in. The surgery is scheduled for this Friday. I don't want yet another set back to losing weight and getting healthy, but since I can't function properly right now this is mandatory. I am hoping I recover quickly and can get back to normal as it has been a very long few months. I have been averaging about 3 hours of sleep a night and am feeling a little out of it more and more each day.

But, this Friday offers me hope. If all goes well, I will be recovering and sleeping like normal very soon.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Photoshare Skate

Bday and Skate 109, originally uploaded by rcelliott.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Photoshare Maternity

195c, originally uploaded by rcelliott.

Monday, October 5, 2009

On this Day in History

18 years ago, on this day in history, one of the most wonderful things happened to me. I was standing there in a white suit watching the most beautiful woman in the world walk toward me and commit to share the rest of her life with me. I remember the feeling of awe and amazement I had as my pastor and I both remarked on how beautiful she looked. She could have had any guy in the room, or the world for that matter, but she chose to spend her life with me.

She decided to spend her life with me. We have had some big extremes in our marriage. Both of us have seen each other near death. I am not exaggerating that either. I have seen her on life support and she has seen me with a broken neck. Fortunately we both fought through that to spend more time together.

She decided to care for me. She has supported me through thick and thin. She has covered my weaknesses and faults. She has been patient when I had no clue. She has been firm when I was out of line. She has encouraged me to reach my potential.

She decided to love me. She puts up with my love for things that pedal. She leans on me during church. She makes hot tea on cold nights. She holds my hand. She talks to me about everything. She has been my best friend and has let me be hers.

She wanted to raise a family with me. We have four of the best children that a family could ever have. Each unique. Each stamped with a little of mom and dad. She cares for them and teaches them to be all that God created them to be. I look at them and love them each individually for who they are. I also look at them and thank Father for the woman who willingly shared her life with me and desired to raise them.

She is awesome and special in so many ways. She could have been anything she ever wanted to be. She is beautiful enough to catch the eye of anyone, but chose me. She is smart enough that she could have done anything, but chose to give her life to me. She is pure enough that any man would know she is "a keeper", but she chose to "keep" me.

Today I celebrate my wife. I thank God for her. She is truly a gift of His great love. She has modeled His love to me in so many ways. Her love has been greater than anything I could ever imagine.

Thank you for sharing your life with me! I love you with all my heart!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Another Sport I want to try... Cyclocross

I gave up riding as a road biker back in 1990. After getting run over the sport didn't seem as fun to me. As a matter of fact I haven't really ridden on the road since.


My buddy Andy, who races with me on the Soul Cycles / MTB-Life team, is also a cyclocross racer. He and I have been talking about the format. From his description it sounds pretty fun.

My other buddy, Matt, is an avid videographer. He shot Andy's last cyclocross race. I don't know about you, but I watched this and was inspired to give cyclocross a shot!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Photo Share 9-11-09

Detroit Zoo 099, originally uploaded by rcelliott.

I had a chance to sneak away with the wife and kids for a few minutes at the Detroit Zoo. It was a great time and I got some good shots of the animals.

These were a few of my favorites.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A Mixed Bowl of Thought

Well, I have had a lot going on lately. There are so many things I don't know where to start, but I figure I better write something.

It has been one month exactly since I have been on my bike last. I can't afford injuries that have no explanation and lay me up so long. My visits to the doctor were nothing more than insulting moments in my life. I shouldn't have to go to a knee specialist to tell me I am fat. I also don't like the idea of taking drugs, then riding. Furthermore, I don't like the idea of going there and not getting any real information, other than being told I am fat.

So, I haven't been on the bike for a month to learn I am fat. I now have the ok to attempt to ride, though. I hope to give it a shot this week and see how it goes. If I run into the same feelings, then I am going to seek a second opinion. I don't want anything to be wrong with the knee, I just don't want to ride and have it hurting as bad as it does.

We had our Vacation Bible School several weeks ago. Ah, another time for me to be myself! I can be as obnoxious as I want to be, and people love me for it. Our theme this year was based on the sea. We wrote the plan for this VBS as we couldn't find one that went well. Andrea and I came up with the theme, the main stories, and the music, then everyone else worked like crazy to put the rest together. Everyone who was involved, I thank you.

Overall the VBS went well. Several things worked against us as far as turnout, but in the end it was possibly the best VBS in a long time. The kids got into it and were blessed.

Along with VBS we put together a tutoring program. This has been a blessing to our kids and to us. This would never have happened if we had not backed out of going to Colombia. It was a challenge for us to do that because our hearts are in missions, and we had planned to take the entire family, but it was God. I don't think it was a week after we made the decision to stay home that the door opened for us to do this. I will say all I really do is eat animal crackers with my pastors grandkids while the smart people actually do the tutoring, but hey, someone has to do it.

This past Saturday we took part in Summerfest. It went really well. Normally our church has its own event, but this time we partnered with about 11 other ministries. We held our event at a park across the street from the church. We did hair, nails, family photos, bike repair, food, clothing, and a ton of other fun stuff throughout the day. In the end we ministered to 3,000 people and saw over 200 saved. It was a good time.

Other than that, I have been gearing up for Kitty's soccer season. I will be coaching again. This year she moved up to U12. It should be fun.

Beyond that I have been thinking about a number of things. Planting a church has come back up on my heart as things are starting to level out with our friends. This has been on my heart for years. Due t the craziness of the past year I put the whole thing on hold. I have to say that it is a heaviness now to me. I need to start moving again.

We have been several months without XBOX. I am not sure I like it. Ours hit us with the red ring of death, and hasn't recovered. We tried to fix it. That was a mistake because after we tried we found out it was still under warranty. Needless to say the fix didn't work anyway.

I guess that is about it. There have been some other things going on, but I can't type them now as I have to get ready for work.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

6/12 Hrs of Stony Creek

Novi Stony Creek 083, originally uploaded by rcelliott.

Well, on a whim, Andrea decided to let me and the boys race. We were at a wedding when I got the ok. I quickly called the boys and they started getting everything ready.

Stony Creek is one of my favorite trails. It is local, which is a big plus. It has a variety of terrain. It is very fun to ride. All of this added to my excitement as I pulled up to the park.

We unloaded quickly. We signed in quickly, and got ready quickly. The boys entered the 6 hour team event. I decided to go solo for 6 hours. The team was in it for the long haul as they were geared up for 4 person elite.

So I get out on the trail a little behind everyone. I hate to say it, but I really had to go to the bathroom. No matter, I had no intention of actually winning. I just started riding my own race to see if I could hit my goals. Since the course was a little under 11 miles with a lot of climbing I decided to set my goal at about 6 laps. It felt doable...

That is until about mile 4. I was catching up to the last rider ahead of me. My feet decided to ache something fierce. I slowed down to adjust my shoes. I got back in the saddle and caught up to that rider again. I wasn't able to pass because for no reason that I could tell my knee started to hurt.

I hadn't crashed that day. Come to think of it I hadn't crashed on that knee at all the whole season. What the heck was going on???

I got done with the first lap. I kept going. I just rode at my own pace at this point. It was becoming clear to me that goals were not going to get achieved. To say I was disappointed would be an understatement. I am fitter now than I have been in a long time. I can ride way more than ever. But, I can't seem to lose weight, and now this... To say I was upset would be a minor understatement. I pretty much wanted to fall down, crawl into the woods, curl my bulbous body into the fetal position, sob like a schoolgirl, and have the biggest pity party known to man during my second lap.

So the knee is pretty bad by now. I get near the end of the second lap and decided to pull off the course. I was a good boy and listened to my body. Hey, with a body this big shouting at you, you had better listen!

My buddy Andy (pictured) has a sister who is a physical therapist. She took a quick look at it and gave me a couple possible solutions. After sitting for a good portion of the race it felt better. I decided to go do one more lap, just to say I did. I rode out and was quickly passed by Marty, another friend from a long time of riding. We were on the first big climb when she passed me. She reminded me of my granny gear, which I think after that I spent most of the lap in. It was apparent t me that this was going to be my last lap that day... Possibly this year.

All things said and done I finished that lap with a lot of singing to my knee to get through the ride. I was singing like Joe Cocker, telling myself I would get by with a little help from my knee. I pulled in and parked the bike. Disappointed, I packed my stuff and sat. I hadn't really broken a sweat the whole day. I wasn't winded. I didn't feel like I had even gotten started riding, but my day was over with close to 2 hours left in the 6 hour event.

The boys worked hard and ended up with a 7th place. The team won. I was able to hobble out and get some pictures. You can see the rest here:

Friday, July 24, 2009

12 Hours of Ithaca

12 Hours of Ithaca 007, originally uploaded by rcelliott.

I finally had a chance to contribute to the team at a race. As a bigger guy it can be a real challenge keeping up with the fast riders. This race, though, was right up my alley. I was able to keep on a pace slightly slower than my teammates.

The boys did well, too. They ran very consistent laps for the 6 hour race. We changed things up a bit to keep them going and I think it really helped.

The rest of the gallery can be seen here.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Things I saw on my vacation

Well, the family took its first official vacation. Andrea and I loaded up the kids and went up north to my parents house just south of the Mackinaw Bridge. We enjoyed some great time with my parents, tried our hand at fishing, shot bb guns, walked, cooked, took in the sites of Mackinaw Island, and took lots and lots of pictures!

Some of the more interesting things I shot were:

Abraham Lincoln
The Oqueoc Falls

Complete Falls Gallery is HERE

We also saw some amazing architecture at the Earl Young houses

and we took in a concert

That Gallery can be found HERE

Our family also got to see Mackinaw Island

The whole Mackinaw Island gallery can be seen HERE

All in all, it was a great time and the family really enjoyed it. Thanks Mom and Dad for letting us stay the week with you.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Karl Malden

I always liked Karl Malden. I liked all the movies he was in that I saw as a kid. When I heard he had passed I was bummed. I wanted to take a minute to share one of my favorite Karl Malden minutes on film. It is from the movie Polyanna. I know it is a hokey old movie, but I like it.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Photoshare 7

Nick and Julia Wedding 225, originally uploaded by rcelliott.

Yeah, this is the girl I love!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

A Song for my Wife

I just wanted to take a minute to tell the world how I feel about my wife, Andrea. She is the best!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Daddy Daughter Ride

Yesterday at around 4:30 I got this text from Andrea.

"R U Biking?" was what it said.

In my car, I read this message while nursing some really bad pain in my shoulder from three consecutive crashes. "Biking? All I want is an ice bag and a pillow." Was the thought in my little head. I thought of an out.

"Do the boys want to go?" I knew they didn't. They were still recovering from the race last weekend.

"No." Was the reply. I thought to myself how I could relax and let my shoulder heal...

Then the phone rang. It was Allyson. "Dad, the boys don't want to go riding, but can we go? We haven't ridden any trails with you all year."

"Are you sure you want to go?" was my reply. Ally isn't the first kid in the family I think of when it comes to biking.

"Yes. Should we get the bikes out now?"

In my body, all I could think of was pain, but in my heart, all I could think of was my girls and how I haven't gotten to spend time with them lately. This was the easiest "YES" any kid has gotten out of me to date. Time with my girls??? Absolutely.

I got home and we loaded up the bikes. I chose to take them to the skills park at Stony Creek because I felt it would be safer if I didn't have it in me to ride. This way, they could ride and I could enjoy.

It ended up that we all rode. We all rode and had fun. We had a great time! We got to ride, then we rode around the park and took some pictures. We even got to see a male turkey showing off for some females! We capped it off with chocolate shakes and came home. My shoulder didn't matter one bit. Take a look at the rest of the gallery HERE.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Thanks to my Wife

Andrea and I like a lot of the same things. We like to figure stuff out, we like to try new things, we like a lot of computer related stuff, etc. One of the things we both like is blogs. We read different blogs and like the look and feel of the different blogs we go to. (You can see Andrea's blogs HERE and HERE)

About a month ago we were talking about blogs and layout. We both agreed that we liked some of the other layouts that we have seen over the "standard" blog look. We decided that at some point we would like to update our blogs.

Two days ago Andrea decided to work on a blog a little. At first, I thought this was going to be a little adventure to do in her spare time. I forgot... We are talking about my wife. No, this led to two full days of her life locked at the kitchen table. This led to a quest. A quest to accomplish a completely new layout. A quest for a clean look. A quest for organization. A quest for boldly going where no man had gone before.

For two solid days she neither ate, nor slept. She never moved from her computer. She never faltered from her goal. She had a plan and NOTHING was going to stand in her way! She had to change MY blog! It was gnawing at her... Gnawing... Gnawing like a relentless rat. My blog must be cool. It must be cool and Andrea was on that quest until it was, indeed, cool.

I really appreciate this. I think she did a great job. She gets a thought in her head and she sticks to it, and this is no exception. Everything is laid out and categorized. Everything is clean. I think it is pretty doggone cool! Thanks Andrea, for taking the time to work on my blog! I love you!

Without further ado, I give you the new

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

8 Hours of Cannonsburg

8Hrs of Canonsburg 165a, originally uploaded by rcelliott.

Well, the 2009 Michigan Endurance Racing season has had a bumpy start. First, Addison Oaks, which is the season opener, got rained out. It got rained out not once, but twice! Then came the 12/24 hours of Boyne. We couldn't make that race.

Finally a race came that we could make. It was 6-13-09 at the 8 Hours of Cannonsburg, in Grand Rapids. Nathan, Jordan, and I packed up the car and drove out early in the morning, despite the lack of sleep from the Detroit Redwings debacle the night before. We unpacked with our team members Nate, Andy, and Justin. But, in the clouds, was it... Yes it was. It was raining.

Fortunately the rain didn't last very long and before we knew it we were riding in prime conditions. The course was nice and had some great, flowing singletrack coupled with some long climbs. There was a great fast descent that led into the start/finish area.

We all had a great time. The boys finished third in their class, and we finished second overall in the elite class. Pictures can be found HERE

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Gratiot Car Show

Gratiot Car Show 007gimp, originally uploaded by rcelliott.

The kids and I took a spur of the moment detour to Continental Lanes for their weekly Friday Classic Car Show. The rest of the gallery can be seen here.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Photoshare 6

099a, originally uploaded by rcelliott.

Just testing the blog function of Flickr to my blog. This was a shot from Florida last winter.

Photoshare 5

This was a Bible on one of the tables at my friend Jeremy's church. You can check out his church at

Friday, May 29, 2009

Photo Share 4


This was a flower I found over Memorial Day weekend. I just liked it and wanted to play with it a little.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Photo Share 3

This was from a recent photoshoot with one of my favorite girls. We took about 700 shots and had a great time together.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Marriage Song for Husbands

Photo Share 2

Friday, May 8, 2009

One of my all time Favorites

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Another Inspirational Video

Here is another inspirational video, though not from a topic you would expect.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Not Your Typical Parallel

Saturday, April 11, 2009

First Dirt 09

So, the kids went to Grandma's to die Easter eggs, and Andrea had to wok for the Detroit Partnership. We toyed with the idea of putting in a gravel patio, but It would take longer than a day, so we passed on that. I thought about going on the roof to fix the leak, but my neck and shoulders are really hurting for some reason, so I didn't want to risk it. Andrea always gets crabby when she has something to do and I don't so she made me go biking.

I was a little afraid to go biking today because my neck and shoulders hurt so bad, but you never argue with an Italian. I don't have an xc bike set up right now, but you never argue with an Italian. My favorite riding shorts are in the wash, but you never argue with an Italian. So... A few minutes later, and Big Brown, my Enduro, along with my gear was in the van and I was on my way to Stony Creek to ride the pump track and see if I could get my upper back moving again.

After going through all of the construction I arrived at my destination. It appeared that the skills park held up great over the winter. I unloaded my bike and started rolling. Nothing too hard. Just rolling. One thing I can say is my Enduro is a fun bike to ride.

I must have done about 30 laps on the pump track, and about 25 on the jump line by the time I had left. I lost count at 20 of each, so I might have done more on the jump line. I had a total blast. I got to help some young new riders and teach them how to maneuver through the pump track without pedaling. I also helped them on their jumping.

I considered going over to the trail, but after two or so solid hours of pumping and jumping, my neck was feeling pretty rough so I just called it a day.

Here is what I have to say. All that time on the trainer has been good to me, but nothing beats actually riding. Also, no matter how much time you put on the trainer, you can't get ready for pumping. My upper body burns and my neck and shoulders are totally in pain, but I am glad I listened to my wife. Sometimes it really pays not to argue with an Italian!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Trial and Jesus

This is a great video by Marc Driscoll about the effects of trial in our lives and how we handle them. I recommend, whether you are young or old, that you take some time to watch this video.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Photo Share

I decided I am going to try to share some of my pictures when I get a chance. This was from the old cross out in front of our church.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Piper on Psalms

A while back I posted some of the links to the video series our youth was watching. It is a very powerful series on basically finding yourself in the book of Psalms. I wanted to make sure everyone had all of the links so I am posting a summary of them here:

Thinking and Feeling with God part 1

Thinking and Feeling with God part 2

Thinking and Feeling with God part 3

Thinking and Feeling with God part 4

Thinking and Feeling with God part 5

Thinking and Feeling with God part 6

Main Link to the Series

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Video Credits

I was so excited to post the video that I totally forgot the story. I have had this idea for a long time. I wanted to post something that would inspire my team to train in the off season, and still be .... well,,,, me.

I was talking to my friend Randy, who I go on missions trips with, and I told him about the idea. He is pretty good at filming (as you can see), and without hesitation told me, "I'm in. When do we start?"

From there, Randy did all the work and I did the riding, as you can see. I need to throw another shout out to my son Jordan. He served a vital role as "key grip," and was in charge of lighting and placement of disco glow.

Thanks guys. I really appreciate the help.

Monday, March 2, 2009

My Inspirational Workout Video

Saturday, February 28, 2009

2009 Season Training Video

rob elliotts work out video from caveman on Vimeo.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Another One for Mark Freer

When I was young I was subjected to a lot of Joe Cocker music. At one time in my life I was pretty sure Joe sang every song in the world. Never in my life did I actually understand what he said, but I liked his voice enough to learn to do a pretty good impersonation of him.

Joe made many appearances in my family when I was young. He sang birthday wishes. He sang the children to sleep. He was a big part of our family. There was a long stretch of time when I would do something Joe related at every family gathering. It was kind of like a tribute to my mother, who was very into his lyrical ability. He has been pretty quiet in the family for about the last year... until today, when my dad and I were chatting on google. Dad shared a link with me and that is the reason for this post...

As you know, my friend, Pastor Mark Freer is interested in music. I wanted to share one with all of you, but also one I thought Mark would get a laugh out of. This video clip is an interpretation of what Joe Cocker actually sang at Woodstock. Watch it and enjoy.


Monday, January 12, 2009

So What About 2009?

My last blog entry was about a theme the Lord gave me for 2008. I walked through a number of areas that He showed me this theme. Well, that was last year. What about this year? That seems to be the big question…

As I mentioned in that post, there were times I really wanted 2008 to be over. It seemed that there was an intense about of struggle in my life and in the loves of those around me. Though 2008 had its highlights, there were many times I just wanted to get away. I even remember asking Andrea on several occasions when we were going to get some good news for a change.

It was with this type of feeling I have been approaching the Lord. Through all of what has been going on, I have just been learning from the Psalms, how to let it all out to God. I seem to have been able to relate to David as he was in Psalm 42, though not all enemies were just about me, they have been surrounding my family and closest friends as well. I have learned a lot from him in his tenacity and will. Though everything on the outside is going wrong, David closed the Psalm with preaching to himself to trust in the Lord. Though it sucked around him, David challenged himself not to get overwhelmed by his surroundings, and forced himself to put his hope in God.

So in asking God for some “good news” for a change, I was given a challenge by the Lord. At this point, I don’t know if this is a theme, or the only theme, or what, but I got a sense from the Lord that this had to be a year of Good News. I got a sense from the Lord that I had to look to the Lord; after all He is where my help comes from. I have a challenge to look for what He is doing. This is a year of good news and I have to preach that to myself.

In saying that, please understand that I am in no way preaching any prosperity messages or anything like that. With our economy and everything going on around us, I am not expecting “Good Things.” I am expecting to see His goodness.

One of the things that I automatically go to in “Good News” is the Gospels. In this year I plan to take a long and extensive look at the Gospels. I hope to see Him in different ways and learn more from His message. I am hoping that I can learn more about His love and ways from the four different accounts of Him.

Another thing that I feel the Lord challenging me with this year is to go out and make some good news. As I mentioned before, when it gets really tough I feel overwhelmed and want to throw in the towel. I feel like this year I will need to take risks. I will need to take challenges and build on them. I feel this year I will need to put more hope in Father. What is good news? Good news is Jesus! How do we go out and make good news? We go out and share his love with those who don’t know Him. I have a feeling that this will be a big theme for me this year.

I am not sure if this is all that Father is putting before me as a theme for the year. I get the sense that this isn’t all, which is why I have hesitated in writing this post. I feel like another thing that is going on this year is the year of accepting challenges. I think this might be the theme, and the Good News might be the first of the challenges I face this year. That being said, it is an adventure and we are 12 days into it…

Monday, January 5, 2009

2008 Review-The Year of Getting Fit

Rather than post 2008-2009, I have opted to break it up into two posts. I just feel like it will help me clear my head properly.

Well, we have exited 2008. Some would say good riddance to this past year. It was a rough, challenging year. It was a year filled with tension. It was a year filled with fear. It was just a tough year all over.

2008 had its theme early in the year for me. I really felt a sense from the Lord that it was a year I needed to start getting fit. I feel big changes are on the horizon, and I felt the nudge from Father to be ready for them. How did this sense from the Lord show itself in my life? Well, let's take a look.

In getting fit this year a highlight for me would be finishing Bible College and getting ordained. This was a big challenge. At times I felt as though I would never do, or get through this. It was a challenge for so many reasons. It forced me to sit down and work day in and day out. It forced me to study things. It forced me to take a big look inside of myself. It forced me to look at my faults and weaknesses. Each week, new assignments, new papers, new studies, new words, new sermons, bombarded me until I could feel the weight of it in every area of my life. Then suddenly… It was over. I was able to walk down the aisle Suma Cum Laude. I was able to say I completed this challenge.

Another area of getting fit for me was obviously the physical area. Did I succeed? That’s a mixed answer. If you were to ask me if I am able to see my feet yet, I would have to answer no. I did not seem to lose any weight. That being said, I did work out more this year than I have, or have been able to, in a long time. Starting last winter I was on my cycle trainer regularly. As soon as the weather broke I was out on the trails. I was able to ride a 40 mile ride in the woods of Addison Oaks. I was slow and fat but I was able to go further than in a long time. This year I raced two endurance races with my team, MTB-Life Racing. Though I was slow, I was still part of the team and worked to see us win. One of those races I actually did a 6 hour solo against my teammates. I met almost all of my objectives. I was in the lead group for at least 5 feet (small goal, but when you are as fat as I am, you have to count your victories). I kept up with my team for a lap, despite flatting early in that lap. This, however, is what kept me from attaining one of my other goals. I did all of this on the first lap of the race. Because of this, I pretty much blew up and was only able to complete 7 or 8 laps (I have to look it up) when I knew I could get 10. Reminder to self: Pace yourself.

In our family it was a good thing I started getting fit. I now have 2 teenage boys. This is a new challenge that I think I needed to prepare for a little earlier. I think we have made positive steps as a family, but, if I had known then what I know now… This is still something I am working on. Since it is not a project made of wood, I know I will never finish, and will always be able to improve it. I think this year taught me a number of things regarding my family. We are a good family, but I have always been a “loosy goosy” type of father. I tried to be the more relaxed one. Not that I wasn’t involved, or was just a total goof off, but I tried to give everyone something to smile about. I started to see, however, that I needed to establish some things. In the end, I am learning, things are getting established, and the family is growing. As I said before, this is something I will always be learning and changing, so I am looking forward to learning. I love my wife, my sons, and my daughters, so I will continue exercising in this area.

What else??? Oh, all of this getting fit really came in handy in a number of other areas. One of which was our mission trip. This was the first year we led the team. We went to Tijuana Mexico. We took a team of 10 from our church and 2 young people I am close to. While we were there we led a team of 17. Over the week I had to preach in 3 churches, minister millions of times, make decisions I never knew of prior, care for and encourage my team, and the larger team, and do a bunch of other things I have never done on previous trips. In the end, we saw a lot of people get saved and we saw the lives of our young people touched like never before. Not to mention that the getting physically fit helped me pull a couple of kids out of the Pacific Ocean, but I won’t get into that here.

The year of getting fit taught me some lessons about life. It is still teaching me about life. One of the harder lessons I am still learning and working to get fit in is my job. I have always been very good at what I do. Sometimes I take that for granted. I am learning to work as unto the Lord. I need to, especially in this economy.

Getting fit came with challenges. I have watched some of my closest friends go through some major challenges. I have watched some get setback after setback, and watched others get bad report after bad report. Andrea and I have had to do things I don’t think we ever thought of before with all of these challenges. We haven’t had the answers, but we have had to support and love amidst the confusion.

All of these challenges have worn me out at times. I remember sitting down with the weight of everything and not wanting to get up. There were times this year where I felt like Oscar De Lahoya when he fought Manny Pacquaio, just being up against a foe that was always faster, bigger, and stronger. One that had no mercy and was just taunting me to throw in the towel. I remember telling Andrea a couple of times that I wish we could just get away. I wish there was some good news somewhere. It was in those times where getting fit paid off. I was able to wrestle through them, not run from them. I was able to see Him move when I needed the encouragement. I was able to take one more step when I needed to.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Jaw Dropped!!! Uh