Carol Wilson Update

Stage 4 Cancer brought many challenges--and also a host of loving and praying friends. Almost-daily postings to this site are to help my friends walk with me through this journey, and to express my gratitude to them and especially to God...On 7/8/08 Carol passed through that final curtain of death and is now healed. We thank God for her life and "arrival"! Chuck

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Rain Continues

The street is full of muddy water and my house is completely surrounded from daily rains that are expected to continue for a few more days.  The only way I can get in and out without getting my feet wet is to use my golf cart or the car.  I attempted walking through the water to the mailbox yesterday and ended up with black mud caked to the soles of my flip-flops and between my toes.  The mud is from a load of topsoil that I had delivered for the front yard.  My timing sure was off that time!  This is one of the “benefits” of living in a lower area a few steps from the lake, but thankfully no water is coming inside.  I have been assured that not a single house has flooded since the 1967 dedication of the property.  I trust that we do not break that record this year!

Yesterday while the rain was pelting down, two Sand Hill Cranes were looking rather forlorn as they peered into my house dripping wet and the alligator appeared a bit confused when he was on the grass but still covered with water.  This afternoon I had a variety of 21 birds fishing in the water at the side of my house.  This has been interesting to watch but a bit of a nuisance for all of us. 

Between two of the downpours I saw a beautiful rainbow that appeared to end close to the other side of the lake and I was reminded of God’s Word.  “When I send clouds over the earth, the rainbow will appear in the clouds and I will remember my covenant with you and with all living creatures.  Never again will the floodwaters destroy all life.”  (Genesis 9:14-15)  It is great to be reminded that God is in ultimate control!

Have a blessed new week!


Chuck

Friday, September 19, 2014

Fantastic Trip!

We are having a torrential downpour so it is a good time for me to sit down and update the blog.

My trip went extremely well and I appreciate all of your prayers.  Several have asked for statistics so here are a few.  During the 27 days away, I drove 4,100 miles, visited in 16 homes, slept in 8 different beds, and with the exception of Lisa who is in DC, was able to see all of my children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.  I’ll make a trip to DC later to catch up with Lisa.  Toward the latter part of my trip, I received word that a good friend, Jay Tolar who had been battling ALS for many years passed on, so I adjusted my plans and was able to attend his memorial service.  All in all I was able to see a tremendous number of people in that short time.  What delightful memories!

While traveling I heard a speaker say; “Remember as you say good bye, that could be the last time.”  I was impacted by that statement at each visit, asking the Lord to make me sensitive to their situation and be an encouragement while visiting.  I certainly was encouraged by each one that I visited!

Being able to attend the memorial service for Jay was a high point for me.  While serving as a missionary in Nigeria, Jay was forced to return with his wife and family to the States when diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease).  I saw him frequently during those five years as the disease took its toll on his body.  During that time I never heard him complain, but he always was cheerful and ready to encourage whomever he was with.  As his body became weaker and speech became imposible, he did not give up.  He would be navigating his specially equipped wheel chair even when it was necessary to control it and communicate with his eyes through the computer.  He would type a sentance and after a few moments the computer would speak what Jay's eyes had typed.  His love for the Lord and people was always evident.  Do join me in praying for his wife Heidi, and their two young children.  It is difficult losing your husband and father at such an early age.  He was only 48!

The rain continues to pelt down and I see considerable flooding in the yard while getting warnings on my phone about flooding conditions in our area.  Thankfully my house is still a few feet above the lake level!

Love to you all,


Chuck

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

True Joy

I have been “on the road” for three weeks and anticipated heading home by now, but hearing that a friend who has struggled with ALS for many years in South Carolina passed on this week, I have altered my route to attend his memorial service in Charlotte on Saturday.  I now plan to return by way of Raleigh/Durham and Charlotte to visit others and attend his service.  Presently I have returned to our Indiana lake house but will be heading out early tomorrow.

This has been an encouraging trip visiting in thirteen homes so far.  The Apostle Paul said; “When we get together, I want to encourage you in your faith, and also want to be encouraged by yours” (Romans 1:2) and I have certainly experienced that encouragement.  Hopefully I brought a bit into their homes also.  Several I have visited are in their later years, and it has been a delight to see the joy in their lives even when experiencing continuous physical challenges.  During my travels I heard Chuck Swindoll say; “The obvious is often not the most significant” and I couldn’t but help think that is so true in their lives.  True, they were not thrilled with some of their circumstances, but that joy in knowing the Lord and trusting him fully was clearly generating great joy regardless of circumstances.

James tells us; “When troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great Joy.  For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.”  (James 1:2b)  Not only did I see joy in the lives of those visited, but I saw an amazing example of true joy in the life of my departed friend, Jay.  I believe it was about five years ago that he was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) while he and his wife were serving as missionaries in Nigeria.  At his early age (30+ years younger than me) with a small family, while suddenly facing a fatal disease causing an extremely difficult future, he continued to encourage multitudes right up to the end.  He certainly faced the test of his faith using it as an opportunity to continue serving his Lord regardless of the circumstances while radiating his underlying joy.

All of this has caused me to reflect much upon the contrast between joy and happiness.  The media constantly brings us all sorts of items for our happiness that may be useful for the moment, but real lasting joy is the rare commodity that we should be seeking.  Yes, that message is for me!

Hopefully my next blog will be from home...tired but filled with fond memories of my visits.

Love to you all,


Chuck

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Enjoying the visits

After a fairly rigorous road trip, I am taking a few days to relax with Sue and Jeff at their home overlooking the Lake Superior entrance to the Sault Locks.  I always enjoy watching the freighters slowly passing by, headed for the locks that will drop them some 26’ from the Lake Superior level to the Lake Huron level so that they can continue on to their many destinations.  Occasionally we even see ships from other countries that have come through the St. Lawrence Seaway.


After church today we went out for dinner at a charming oriental restaurant in Canada.  I remembered to bring my passport so we were able to cross the border.  After dinner we took a drive to the Canadian Locks where we are allowed to walk over the actual locks and take an interesting trail over to the rushing and very full rapids.  Since 9/11 we are not allowed near the locks on the American side.  Due to the heavy snow fall last winter and heavy rains this summer, the lakes are extra high and we had to remove our shoes and socks and walk through about a foot of very cold rushing water to get back onto the board walk along the edge of the rapids.  We were unable to make the whole trail loop due to much deeper water farther on, so returned by the way we had come.  We spent a bit of time watching both a tour boat and a pleasure boat pass through the locks.  Sue talked with the Harbor Master about arranging a trip through the locks with a group of friends in kayaks while the weather is still favorable. 

It has been a blessing to connect with numerous friends and family members along the way.  The main challenge has been to limit the time of each visit so I can make all of the stops as planned.   There have been a few people that I missed due to their being out of town, but I have been pleased at how well my hastily planned schedule has worked for Indiana and Michigan.  I am praying that the balance of the trip will work as well.

I trust that each of you will have a blessed Labor Day weekend as we are reminded that fall will soon be upon us and the weather will be cooling rapidly, especially in the north.

Love to all,


Chuck

Monday, August 25, 2014

Get Out of the Boat!

I arrived safely at the lake in Indiana Thursday and have been keeping quite busy catching up with the family and dealing with little maintenance items that always seem to accumulate.  I just came in from removing a large paper-wasp nest for the next door neighbor.  This seems to be that time of year.  We had to deal with a big nest of yellow jackets earlier that moved into the partition, entering through a small hole next to the gas line.  I gave up counting them after going beyond 150, but fortunately they seem to be conquered now!  Sunday we saw Keith off on a business trip to Germany, and today I spent a few hours mowing the lawn which is growing well with the warm weather and a heavy rain.  Tomorrow Karin and I will drive to Bethel College to spend some time with Gavin & Calli.  It’s hard to believe that this is Gavin’s last year at Bethel, and the start of interviewing medical schools for next year.

During my trip I received an email from friends in Lansing asking if I could stop by, so I am planning to travel that way as I visit the family.  I know that there are far more people that I would like to visit than time will allow, but I plan to connect with as many as possible along the way.

Sunday we were challenged by Pastor Denny to “Get Out of the Boat” and exercise our faith.  Reminding us of Peter’s exercise of faith in stepping out of the fishing boat to go to Jesus (Matthew 14:28-32), we were challenged to examine what our “safe boat” is and to step out like Peter, in faith, proceeding toward what God is calling us to.  Some things mentioned were being more intentional in our conversations, giving God more of our time, being more purposeful in our giving, and expanding our involvement in Christ honoring activities.  We were warned of the ease of becoming “boat potatoes”.  I had to stop to think about that for a couple of seconds! 

I trust that your weeks is going well and appreciate so much your encouragement and prayers.

Love to all,


Chuck

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

He is merciful!

I plan to leave early in the morning for the lake in Indiana.  I’ll spend the weekend with the family located in that area, and when I am a bit rested up, I plan to continue on visiting as many family members and friends as possible.  I have no itinerary at this time.  That will develop as I see how travel-weary I get.  I notice that I do not have the stamina that I had a few years ago, but I am thankful for the strength and health that the Lord continues to provide.  As always, your prayers for guidance and safety are greatly appreciated!

Thinking about prayer, recently I read “We do not ask because we deserve help, but because you are so merciful.”  (Daniel 9:18b)  It is so easy to get into the rut of thinking that we never should encounter any “problems” but how many times have we seen a situation that at the moment appeared to be a disaster, turning into a huge blessing.  Our “vision” is so very narrow and we tend to be so self-centered that there are times when we are far better off not getting what we ask for.  Recently I heard Warren Wiersby say “sometimes God’s greatest punishment is to give us what we ask for.”  That has caused me to more closely examine what I pray for to be as certain as possible to be praying according to God’s will and for His glorify!

Love to you all,


Chuck

Monday, August 11, 2014

Times flies when having fun

I am amazed how “busy” I can get when not going to a regular job Monday through Friday.  I even find myself getting behind in keeping up on the blog each week. 


We have been having some rather humid and rainy weather causing me to focus more on inside activities because my repertory system does not respond well to that weather, requiring additional medication which I prefer to avoid as much as possible.

Saturday morning we had a bit cooler and dryer air, so I did some minor yard work around the planting areas.  I was amazed to see that the 20” papaya tree that I planted three months is now about 10’ tall and I counted 21 papayas from 3” in length to small nubbins that have appeared. 

Speaking about being busy, interruptions like the wildlife around the lake takes some of my time.  The vast variety of birds, huge turtles, alligators and my favorite, the Sand Hill Cranes.  While typing this there was a knock on the glass door by my computer desk.  Glancing up I saw two of the cranes trying to get my attention.  When I didn’t respond to the knocking, the male started pecking loudly on the door knob.  When I opened the door and went out, they jumped into the air with their huge wings outstretched and seemed to be begging.  I cut a slice of multi-grain bread, tearing pieces for them to gobble down.  That seemed to satisfy them and they continued on searching for tasty tidbits under the sod as they continued around the lake.

I suspect that you have seen news reports about the challenges in Liberia at the ELWA Hospital.  Kent and Nancy continue to slowly improve,  our non-essential personnel have been evacuated and continue to be healthy as they are closely monitored for any indication of the Ebola Virus.  Please join us in thanking the Lord for answered prayer and continue praying for those infected along with the dedicated people ministering to them in extremely uncomfortable conditions with hot protective clothing in extremely hot temperatures.  They need great wisdom along with good health and extra stamina.  We are thankful for them and for those arriving to assist them.  It is our prayer that the Lord will be glorified through many lives!  The Psalmist says “My suffering was good for me, for it taught me to pay attention to your decrees.”  (Psalm 119:71)

Have a blessed week,

Chuck

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Don't be Afraid or Discouraged

I am safely back home with the only casualty being an encounter with fire ants.  I decided to would check my oil before heading back and had parked with the front of my car over an area of landscape covered with pine straw.  Unbeknown to me, there was a nest of angry fire ants underneath.  Before I realized what was happening, I had hundreds of the little fellows on my feet, which only had sandals for protection.  Fortunately the car wash was close by, so Keith directed me there and he blasted water on my feet and legs to wash them off.  The cold water was momentarily soothing and fortunately Keith had some medication to apply that helped relieve the burning and itching.  I have a few dozen small red welts as a reminder of the incident, but no further reaction, for which I am most thankful.

While in Raleigh/Durham I was following the Ebola outbreak which has been a real challenge at the ELWA Hospital in Liberia.  The wife of one of our SIM missionaries and a doctor have symptoms of the deadly virus in spite of major precautions being taken while treating patients.  As of last report, the doctor is showing a slight improvement, Nancy is holding her own and one of the Liberian nurses is showing symptoms.  All are being carefully monitored and our SIM team from three continents is doing all they can to serve and provide support.

With our Charlotte leadership deeply involved in this challenge, I was asked to handle some of the routine things possible while being many miles from the office.  Thanks to the miracle of smartphones, I am able to take care of a few things to relieve a bit of pressure back at the office.

Pray with us for those showing symptoms and those ministering.  The SIM Rapid Response Team along with Samaritan’s Purse personnel are working around the clock ministering to needs and doing everything possible to prevent further spreading of the virus.  The ELWA Hospital was temporarily closed down for full decontamination of the facility.  Pray for the teams, personnel and Liberians working at ELWA.  Pray for protection, stamina, good health, strength and great wisdom.  Pray for all of West Africa where the Ebola situation is critical!

It is easy to become anxious or fearful as we assess all that is going on in the world today, but I am reminded:

“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you.  Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you.  I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.”  (Isaiah 41:10)


Love to all,

Chuck

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Exalting and Praising

Today as I was on the computer and not paying attention to the activity outside, I heard a knock on my door and when I looked up there were two sand cranes looking through the glass.  Apparently they felt ignored.  I thought that you would enjoy seeing the big guys.  They must be about three feet tall and most interesting to watch.

Today as I was reading the last Psalm that David wrote I couldn’t help but notice how he both began and ended the Psalm giving an indication of his feeling toward his Lord:  “I will exalt you my God and King and praise your name forever and ever…I will praise the Lord and may everyone on earth bless his holy name forever and ever.”  (Psalm 145:1& 21)  I was thinking how great it would be to begin and end each day in the same way as my daily focus, so that is my goal.

Tomorrow I will be leaving early for Raleigh/Durham to visit friend Keith.  He has been putting in many extra hours on the job and is ready for a few days break so he asked me if I would be available to come that way to share his few days of vacation.   I am finding a benefit of retirement is the extra freedom to take advantage of spur-of-the moment activities.  I am praying for safe travel with minimal delays and for a good time together catching up on our lives.

Love to you all,


Chuck

Monday, July 14, 2014

Safe Travels

I safely returned to Sebring on Thursday, with Stuart, Donna and Rachel arriving on Friday beginning our day together with lunch here.  It was a delight to have them here looking for a possible home, and a special thrill when they selected one which they will be occupying as soon as he gets medical approval from his Oncologist.  This will most likely be some months away but it is great to anticipate having Stuart and Donna joining us here in The Village!  The home has had numerous updates already so will only require window treatment, appliances and a few improvements to adapt it to their needs.  They left for Charlotte this afternoon, planning one overnight stop during their around 10 hour trip.  Please join me in praying for them.  Rachel has been experiencing some challenging health issues, and Stuart is quite weak from the heavy chemo treatments which will again be commenced shortly after his return home.  The trip will be a much more difficult one than for those of us in good health.

It was a special time for me to be with Keith and Karin, my college grandkids Gavin and Calli along with Justin, Laura, Ella and Sophia at the lake in Indiana.  We managed to pack a lot of talking and together time into a few days.  I plan to take another trip in the not too distant future to visit other family members and friends in Michigan, Illinois and Wisconsin.  As we get located further apart, it gets more difficult to get together with everyone at the same time.  I won’t mention that Chuck could be slowing down a bit too!

As I traveled back I heard Jack Graham make a statement that has continued to challenge my thoughts.  He said that our focus should be on God’s will, purpose and glory.  As I thought about that statement I could recall too many prayers and desires just to heal a sickness or get through a difficult time with my thoughts were far from God’s will, purpose or glory.  Was that situation actually his will, for his purpose to accomplish his glory?  Shouldn’t every moment of every day including every situation we find ourselves in, be usable by HIM?  Instead of complaining and trying to minimize those undesirable situations, I am now trying to focus on what can be accomplished for God through it and thank him for the “opportunity” to be used by him.

As Jesus faced much discomfort, pain and ridicule he said; “Now my soul is deeply troubled.  Should I pray, ‘Father save me from this hour’?  But this is the very reason I came!  Father bring glory to your name.”  What an example Jesus gave us!  I need to keep that at the forefront of my mind…Gods will, purpose and glory no matter what!

Love to you all,


Chuck

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Six Years Ago

Six years ago we were at Carol’s bedside as her breathing became more labored and we were aware that she would soon pass through that curtain of death.  The memories continue to be fresh in our minds, especially at this time of year as we are aware of our own lives fleeting by to our final breath here on earth.  Remembering those days, daughter Lisa sent me the following email: 

“Six years ago we sat by mom's bed as thunder rolled outside and the elements seemed poised for an earth-shaking event.  Somebody wondered if it would be her Independence Day.  Today hurricane Arthur hovers over DC and I am reminded of how that day felt.  Having each of you present was a significant part of that experience for me and I know we're in this day together, again, even though we are miles apart.  I love you and am thinking of you.  My wish for this day is that we live into the freedom and joy that was mom's truest desire for each one of us.  I am so grateful to be in this together”.

I am enjoying the weekend at the lake in Indiana with Keith, Karin, Gavin & Calli.  Today the flotilla of decorated boats passed by the lake house and tonight we will watch the fireworks over the lake with Justin, Laura, Ella and Sophia arriving late.  It was a long drive for me but special to spend time with family members, catching up on their lives.  

I suspect that many of you will be spending time with family members also, and praying that you will enjoy safe travel and a blessed time together.

Love to all,


Chuck

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Know God Intimately

Today as I was doing a bit of cleaning in the house, I heard the sound of a mower working in the yard and was reminded about what a blessing it is not to be responsible for all of the yard work.  While the lawn was being mowed, I heard the hum of a chainsaw and saw a couple of our yard men trimming two of my trees which were starting to brush the roof.  Shortly there was a pile of limbs that they scooped up with the tractor loader and moved them to the disposal pile.  In no time the yard work was all done and they went off to their next project.  WOW that would have taken me most of the morning! 

As I approach the sixth anniversary of Carol’s passing, I am reminded of some of our last conversations.  I suspect that final words can stick in our minds far more than many earlier conversations.  Thinking about that, I read King David’s final instructions or words to his son Solomon.  He challenged him; “Solomon my son, learn to know the God of your ancestors intimately…”  (1 Chronicles 28:9)  That was a concern for David that he wanted to pass on to Solomon, and I suspect that is something that we fail to accomplish if we don’t make it our focus.  It is easy to get all wrapped up knowing about God but fail to get to really know him intimately.  I am taking that as a challenge for my life too!

I plan to spend a few days with several of the family members later this week in Indiana, but with us being so spread out geographically, it will be impossible to get together with everyone at once this time.  I will be taking another trip later in the summer to connect with the rest of the family.  It is always a blessing for me to spend time with them.  Your prayers will be much appreciated as I travel those many miles.  There certainly are plenty of hazards and at the same time I am very much aware that I am getting older and a bit slower in my reactions.

Love to you all,


Chuck

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Now and Forever!

Friends, Bud and Anne arrived safely along with all of their remaining worldly possessions after major downsizing, and are busily adjusting the location of major pieces of furniture and unpacking piles of boxes.  It was just about eleven months ago that I was doing the same.  It is great to have them here to add to our fantastic group of residents that are truly a family!

Speaking of Friends, please pray for Beverly and Royce Friend.  Royce has been having his share of medical problems and they have decided that it is necessary to make a major change not feeling able to maintain their home, yard and garden that they have enjoyed for many years.  They have decided upon an apartment and now need to dispose of many years of memories and pack up the balance to move.  They also need to sell their lovely country home.  Royce will not be able to help as much as he would like, so Beverly will be stretched to get the job done.  Do join me in praying for them!

It has been a real delight for me to take plenty of time to study the Psalms this year.  I have been following a study guide from my Charlotte church that I originally thought was for too slow moving, but have been blessed with the slower pace.  Psalm 121 is only eight verses in length, but how encouraging it is for every believer!  As the Israelites travel through potentially dangerous territory headed for Jerusalem, they sing together these encouraging words:  “My help comes from the LORD who made heaven and earth!  He will not let you stumble; the one who watches over you will not slumber or sleep. The LORD himself watches over you!  The LORD stands beside you as your protective shade…The LORD keeps you from all harm and watches over your life.  The LORD keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever.”   Did you get that?  Both now and forever!  WOW!

As I plan to take a rather lengthy trip to visit family members shortly, those truths are a tremendous encouragement for me.  I trust that they are encouraging for you also as you plan trips and vacations this summer.

Love to you all,


Chuck 

Saturday, June 14, 2014

A Safe Return

I was blessed by wonderful visits with friends and family in South Carolina and North Carolina.  I enjoyed a special time with grandson Justin who is a dentist with the Air Force.  His wife was visiting her folks in Michigan with their girls, so we had a delightful “bachelor” time together.  From there I celebrated the 44th anniversary with Stuart and Donna, continuing on to Salisbury to spend the weekend with dear friends in that area.  From there I went back to Charlotte to check a few things at our office and also visited several dear friends in the area.  On the trip I was able to visit two couples that I suspect it is possible never to be able to see two of the guys again this side of eternity.   Age is taking its toll on all of us but it is always hard to say those final good byes.    My return trip went well but was a bit stressful with several extremely heavy downpours of rain putting me through Orlando at high traffic time.  What normally takes me only about 10 hours driving was extended to over 12, but I am thankful that I arrived home without incident!

During the past week or so I have been reading Psalm 119, taking only one section at a time attempting to find undiscovered truths that I have not seen in previous readings.  This is the longest chapter in the Bible and has much to say about God’s Word as it reveals His will, its authority, permanence, authority and direction.  I realize how much I missed by just quickly reading the whole Psalm in one sitting previously.  The extra time available these days for study is certainly one of the great blessings of not having to maintaining a tight daily schedule. 

I have been invited to join some friends for Father’s Day dinner tomorrow and trust that all of you have a very special and blessed weekend.

Love to all,


Chuck

Sunday, June 01, 2014

David's Response

While reading Psalm 109 I observed an excellent example of how best to respond to a slanderer.  David’s accusers used some rather strong words to make their point (verses 6-20).  I am afraid that I might have been most likely in this case, to come back with similar strong words.  But David characteristically responds with; “Help me O LORD my God!  Save me because of your unfailing love.  Let them see that this is your doing, that you yourself have done it LORD.  Then Let them curse me if they like, but you will bless me!  When they attack me, they will be disgraced!  But I your servant will go right on rejoicing!  May my accusers be clothed with disgrace; may their humiliation cover them like a cloak.  But I will give repeated thanks to the LORD, praising him to everyone.  For he stands beside the needy, ready to save them from those who condemn them."  (verses 26-31)  A great reminder to avoid an inappropriate quick response, but immediately turn the matter over to the Lord, fully trusting him, while thanking and praising him.  That is good to remember!

I had a delightful visit from one of our “adopted” daughters last week.  Unfortunately I was limited with my time with her and her sister because I got hit with a “bug” going around putting me out of commission for several days.  I find that I still am mighty short on energy but also remember that I am no longer 30 years old.   Sue will be returning to Benin after spending time back here in the states.  Oh yes, I am doing much better now.  The holiday weekend caused a bit of delay in getting an antibiotic so it got more seated than it should have.

I have several travel plans in the works during the summer but nothing completely worked out yet.   There are a few things on this end that I need to work around here as well as confirming availability of people that I want to connect with.  Hopefully those plans will be coming together shortly.

I trust that you are all doing well and am always thrilled to hear from you with any updates.

Love to all,


Chuck

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Gratitude

This morning as I awoke, I was reminded that this would have been Carol’s 77th birthday today.  I greatly miss her but am so thankful for the nearly 49 years we did have together!  Then as I read Psalm 103 I joined David in gratitude to our amazing God who; “…forgives all my sins, heals all my diseases, redeems me from death, crowns me with love and tender mercy and fills my life with good things, renewing my youth like the eagle’s.”  (Verses 3-5)

Yesterday morning while attending a coffee/goodie time with a large group of our residents, I was asked by our head nurse if I would be available to go to the hospital.   A resident was taken by ambulance to the hospital earlier in the day with severe chest pains.  One of our nurses accompanied the resident to the hospital but was needing to return and join our other nurse staff to deal with health issues in the village.  It was one of those busy days for the nursing staff, but a tremendous blessing for me to spend five hours with this dear resident reflecting upon God’s mercy and goodness.  We were thrilled that no major problem was found and I was able to bring the resident back with me to their home here.   I have been so impressed with the loving care from our staff and residents.  It is truly a blessing to be a part of this wonderful community!

Tomorrow daughter Lisa is scheduled to return from a month long vacation in India.  Her access to the internet and phone system has been rather spotty as she traveled about the country.  It will be good to hear all about the trip when she returns.  She has been flying and connecting to flights since Tuesday so I have been praying for safe and pleasant travel.

I will be staying here for the Memorial Day holiday because a long-time friend will be arriving here tomorrow to spend a week.

I trust that you are all doing well and a blessed weekend!


Chuck

Sunday, May 11, 2014

The Influence of Women

This morning as I was reminded that it is Mother’s Day, I thought about how many women have had a profound influence upon my life.  From the early beginning of memory, my mother and grandmother, than my predominately female teachers in elementary and high school, my greatly missed wife, three wonderful daughters and numerous other wonderful women along life’s way.  My grandparents had a profound influence upon my coming to the Lord at an early age and my wife was a tremendous encouragement and example to me in my walk with Him.  What a heritage and blessing to have such experiences from the women in my life!

As I thought about that this morning, I was reminded that to my memory, in every case that wisdom is mentioned in the Bible, giving it a gender, it is a female!  Thinking about that I recall numerous occasions when the wise council of a woman prevented me from making a serious error.  Our loving Father certainly knew what He was doing when He provided women for us men that can become rather hard-headed on occasion.  I wish that I could say that was only seldom for me, but that would not be true.  Women have been an extremely positive influence in my life, which is true in the case of every successful man I am certain, if he is honest.

In Proverbs 31 we are reminded from the words of King Lemuel about the tremendous blessing it is to have the wife chosen by the Lord for us.  He points out what a treasure she is (vs. 10-19), her compassionate spirit (vs. 20), the loving devotion to her husband and family (vs. 21-29) and her full dedication to the Lord (vs. 30-31).  I confess that I was choked up with tears of gratitude recalling the nearly 49 years with the wife of His choosing and I look forward to seeing her again on that day when I also pass through that final curtain of death! 

I trust that each of us will remember the tremendous blessing of women in our lives on this Mother’s day, and where possible, thank them and our gracious Lord!

Love to all,


Chuck

Friday, May 02, 2014

Remember, Pray and Trust!

Sorry to let so much extra time lapse since sending the last blog.  I cannot believe how busy I can get just handling personal matters, entertaining a bit and responding to invitations here in the village.  Today I am taking time to touch base with you before anything else is started.

I have continued to read the Psalms this week, and after reading Psalm 85 reportedly written by the sons of Korah, I liked their plan of attack to an apparent national setback.  It seems like the appropriate plan both for a nation and for us individually when we face setbacks.

They recommend; (1) REVIEWING WHAT GOD HAS DONE in the past, (2) SHARING THE PROBLEMS AND CONCERNS WITH HIM, and (3) TRUSTING HIM for deliverance in the future.   I suspect that we could condense the entire thirteen verses of Psalm into three words; REMEMBER, PRAY and TRUST.  It sure sounds simple enough but from experience I find that it takes determination to fully put that plan into action.

I then wondered; who are the sons of Korah that are worthy of a listening?  After some digging I found that their father, Korah, was one of the three that incited rebellion against Moses and Aaron in Numbers 16:1-50.  Korah, his two friends, their families, 250 other leaders and everything they owned dramatically were “removed” when the earth literally swallowed them alive!  Interestingly, later in Numbers 26:11 we read “However, the sons of Korah did not die that day.”  We also read that the very next morning over 14,000 ended up dying for muttering against Moses and Aaron.  So the sons of Korah are writing from the first-hand experience of their father and likely many friends and acquaintances facing very untimely deaths at the hand of God for rebelling against God’s commands relayed through Moses and Aaron.

I find it is so easy to read Scripture without stopping to ask myself the 5 important questions; who, what, when, where and why.  It takes a bit of extra time, but it then gives the account real credibility as in reading this short chapter.  That has been one of the great blessings of having some extra time to really think (meditate) about what I read!

I trust that your week has gone well and that you have a blessed weekend!

Love,


Chuck

Thursday, April 17, 2014

He Cared!



One of the benefits of spending more time at home, is becoming a bit more familiar with the lake wildlife.  Most every day I see the alligator come up to sun himself and the sand crane frequently stops by to tap on my door.  I don’t believe that he is wanting me to come out to play but rather is curious about his image on the glass. 

As I read Psalm 78 today I was impressed about the importance of passing the history of God’s miracles on to the next generation, recognizing how easy it is to talk about the problems and challenges of life rather than putting our focus on the amazing miracles and provisions of God.  As we fail to respond appropriately as individuals, ignoring the tremendous history of God’s blessings, we impact the entire nation as was the nation of Israel in this Psalm.  We see there the result of ingratitude, expecting everything to be perfect without obedience and then becoming demanding of a gracious God.  In spite of their disobedience, Asaph wraps up the chapter saying “He cared for them with a true heart and led them will skillful hands.” (Vs. 72)  WOW isn’t that an example for us!

Tomorrow I plan to go to Orlando for a get-to-gather with Carol’s family and the wedding of cousin Sherri Saturday afternoon.   Carol’s brother Phil and his wife, then plan to return with me for a few days.  It will be a great time to catch up with that part of the family.

Have a blessed Easter weekend.  HE IS RISEN!

Love to all,


Chuck

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Asaph's honesty

The Doc’s wife just sent this photo of Sue and me at a dinner with the Medical Group one evening after my “problem” on the ship.  I was surprised to see how much of the bruise on my chin still showed.  Thankfully that is now all gone and the bruise on my shoulder and arm which had turned green has now mostly disappeared.  My rib cage is also much improved and I have been able to sleep the past four nights.  What a blessing!  I am not certain how many of you received Sue’s email as I was being transported to the hospital, but your prayers were most appreciated!

This morning I was intrigued by Psalm 73.  Asaph, a gifted musician, apparently a part of the Levitical choir in King David’s day, asks the question:  “Why do the wicked prosper?”  I appreciated his humanness when he stated; “For I envied the proud when I saw them prosper despite their wickedness.”     He gained perspective and a solid foundation for hope as he focused on God’s justice and faithfulness to his people as he reviewed his nation’s history and examined his own heart.  Even as he wrestled with the issue, he said; “My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever.”  (vs. 26)  That reminded me that I should not be too quick in evaluating the day’s news before reviewing the historical account of similar situations and see that ultimately God does respond to the prayers and needs of his people at the appropriate time.  God really does care about our daily challenges and he ultimately rewards godliness even when his timetable may differ from ours.

I am so thankful to be feeling much better after a couple of difficult weeks and realize how easy it is to neglect being thankful for good health.  Hopefully this will be a good reminder for the future!

Love to you all,


Chuck

Friday, March 28, 2014

Safely back home!

Thanks so much for your prayers as we travelled.  We had a delightful time with a small “blip” along the way.  I picked up some sort of “bug” and was bothered with chills and a temperature so they put me on an antibiotic on the ship.  Apparently I became dehydrated and suddenly lost consciousness heading for my stateroom.  I was transported to the on-board medical center and given IV’s, lacking any memory of the whole event.  I could write several pages about the events and miracles that were orchestrated by the Lord.  Thankfully I am now home, very weak, but slowly recovering.  If you are interested in more details, let me know.

We stopped at eight ports but I decided to stay on board at one of them in the West Indies, and it was fortunate that I did.  It could have been very serious if I had collapsed on the streets there.  I was sent by ambulance to the local hospital for additional tests but after over three hours I “discharged” myself and got back to the ship.  It would not have been a good experience to stay there!

Each of the ports with one exception, were deep water so we could dock directly at the pier as you can see above, making it very convenient to spend as much time as we wished on shore.  Each port differed from the others and it was interesting to learn a bit about their history and people.

I am getting great care here back in the village and I am certain that I will be 100% very soon.  Thanks so much for your concern, prayers and encouraging messages.

Love to all,


Chuck

Friday, March 07, 2014

Planting Progressing

Here is a photo of the plantings that we completed this past week on the lake side of the house.  With Dave’s help we completed foundation plantings at the rear of the addition which should look even better when they get a bit of additional growth on them.  The irrigation is all installed so now I can sit back and just watch the plants grow.  Also, yesterday our crew did some additional work on my storage room and added a work bench which will be most handy for working on small jobs.  It is great to have such wonderful help with my projects.  They do a great job and turn it out quickly.

On Monday I will be leaving on a cruise, visiting the southern Caribbean with daughter Sue.  She will be serving as nurse on the ship so I will be staying with the medical people during the trip.  I was thrilled to get a call that my good friends Bud and Anne will be joining us.  They will spend the night with me prior to the trip so we can travel together to the port.  During the eleven day trip we will be visiting eight ports, several of which I have not previously visited.  It is always a delight to take cruises with Sue.  Bud and Anne are also a fun addition to our travels.  Your prayers for safe travel and good health are always appreciated.

As I was reading about the greatness of God today in Psalm 48, the final verse in that chapter was a great reminder to me of his goodness and mercy.  “For that is what God is like.  He is our God forever and ever and he will guide us until we die.”  That is a reminder that I need to stamp indelibly upon my mind, seeking his guidance in what ever I face!

Have a blessed weekend!

Love to you all,


Chuck

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Let the Lord keep me in his thoughts

I have been enjoying studying the Psalms this month.  Often in the past I have had a goal to cover a certain amount each day, but I am taking the Psalms at a slower rate.  Usually focusing on one a day, looking for previously unnoticed messages and then reflecting upon how that reading applies to me personally.  As I read Psalm 40, I was visualizing how “down” David appears to have been…possibly in the pit of depression?  But he recalls “I waited patiently for the LORD to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry.  He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and mire.  He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along.”  What a testimony of the Lord’s goodness!

I have thought about that frequently since reading it, questioning myself about how often he has lifted me out of what seemed to be an impossible situation, but how faithful was I in giving HIM the glory on each occasion?  How easy it is to focus on our own cleverness, or the advice and council of another human being and forget who really provided the basis for the solution.  It is a good reminder to me that I like David, give glory to the Lord’s faithfulness, unfailing love and saving power!  I like that 17th verse; “As for me, since I am poor and needy, let the Lord keep me in his thoughts.  You are my helper and my savior.”

As I look back over my calendar, I am amazed at how many things I have managed to squeeze into my schedule.  It is a delight to have so many opportunities and the health and strength to participate in a good number of them.  It is encouraging to be among very active seniors here that continue to be involved to the maximum that their strength allows, and graciously adjust as their activities need to be reduced.

Next week I plan to get some landscaping work done around the new addition.  The irrigation has been run to that area and the sand has been replaced with good soil which should encourage the health of the plantings.  With the help of a Master Gardner friend, I have staked the location of each plant and expect the plants to arrive later in the week.  Hopefully the addition will look more inviting from across the lake when the planting is competed.

Thanks so much for all of your kind notes, phone calls and emails.  They are always appreciated!

Love to you all,


Chuck

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Amazing weather

This evening I took a quick look at the weather around the country and was reminded to pray for so many of you that are challenged with difficult driving conditions and power outages.  Snow can be beautiful, but after so many years living with it, I have to admit that I do not miss it.

I am amazed at how rapidly days pass here, but in my spare time I enjoy watching the wild life activity from my porch windows.  The osprey have returned to take over their relocated nest.  This past summer the power company carefully removed it from top of a transformer with a tall cherry picker, added about a six foot extension to the pole, secured a large dish at the top and swung the nest into place.  This removes the danger of their shorting out the transformer.  During the past two days the birds have been adding twigs and large tree branches to the nest.  It is amazing to see them carry the large pieces and weave them into the fabric of the nest.  They are located directly across the lake from me so I have a great view, especially with binoculars.  I have a small alligator that swims by often as well as our big 6-7 foot friend.  Fortunately he is rather shy and keeps his distance when anyone is near the lake.

Thanks for praying about my meeting today.  It was fun talking with the group and I was pleased to have the opportunity to share with them and become better acquainted.   I was surprised to learn that one of the group attended the same church that Carol and I attended in East Lansing, so we enjoyed comparing updates and information about mutual friends in that area.

Today I read Psalm 31 and enjoyed David’s desires and honesty.  Here are some phrases that especially spoke to me; “Oh LORD, I have come to you for protection”…”You are my rock and my fortress”…”I entrust my spirit into your hand.” And then he inserts; “I am dying from grief!”  But quickly responds; “But I am trusting you, OH LORD, saying you are my God!  My future is in your hands.”   A good reminder to keep our focus clearly upon Him, regardless of our circumstances.

I was delighted to have another couple from Charlotte visit me this week.   Hopefully they will delay their return until the weather and roads clear up.  It is always a bit difficult to really believe that there can be such a contrast in weather only a few hours away.

I trust that each of you is comfortable this evening even if the weather outside is frightful.

Love to you all,


Chuck

Saturday, February 01, 2014

Memories

Having been asked to speak to a group of senior missionaries, I was thinking about what to say as I drove back from a meeting from across the state yesterday.  I am to tell “the story of my life” in approximately 30 minutes.  So where do you start in distilling 80 years into 30 minutes?  While staying with dear friends after the meeting last evening, I was given a book that the wife had written about her childhood that filled 280 pages!  That triggered my thoughts, reminding me that I needed to decide what I should focus upon to make my “story” meaningful and yet fit into 30 minutes.  I decided that I could only touch a few high points but to focus on three of the most influential people in my growth as a Christian.  Who should they be?  Quickly three came into mind.  Grandparents (together I saw them as one), a long-time friend and my greatly missed wife, Carol.  Each of which continually reached out to others and were praying for the needs of many as they strived to glorify their Lord and Savior, Jesus.

My grandparents taught me so much about Christian character and complete trust in the Lord.  Many weekends and most summers during my pre-teen and teen years were spent with them on their farm which was a short distance from my parents’ home in town.  They were hard workers and considered rather successful, but they always strived to be obedient to God and His Word.  I was especially impacted by their consistent Bible reading after breakfast, church involvement and concern for others that were hurting.  In spite of the potential loss of a crop, my grandfather never panicked as a storm drew near at harvest time and neighbors were feverously working in their fields nearly around the clock and all day Sunday.  He simply continued his church and people involvement and trusted the Lord to provide as he did his part working diligently during six days of the week.  When he took his last breath on earth well into his 90’s, I experienced a huge loss! 

I became acquainted with a popular department head at my university who was my teacher in a class at church while I was a student.  A verse that he often quoted came from the sayings of Agur in Proverbs 30:7-9; “Oh God I beg two favors from you; let me have them before I die.  First, help me never to tell a lie.  Second, give me neither poverty nor riches!  Give me just enough to satisfy my needs.  For if I grow rich, I may deny you and say ‘Who is the LORD?’  And if I am too poor, I may steal and thus insult my God’s holy name.”  His love and character was a great influence in this young man’s life and I was honored to serve with him on numerous boards and committees during later years.

Do pray with me as I put my thoughts together.  I pray that I might be used of the Lord to encourage these dear folks, some of which may feel that they are of minimal influence in their retirement years and some that are now limited in their physical activities and dealing with considerable discomfort.

Have a blessed weekend,


Chuck

Friday, January 17, 2014

Temperature Surprise



What a shocker to step outside to retrieve the paper early this morning and find the temperature in the upper 30’s.  Fortunately it was into the mid 60’s later in the day.  As daylight was breaking, steam could be seen rising from the lake making a huge cloud.  The temperatures are to get back into the more normal 70’s in a couple of days.  Fortunately we did not have frost here but some areas were concerned about their crops.

We have been well supplied with citrus fruit from our orchard here in the village.  Recently I was surprised when I pealed what appeared to be an orange turning out to be a lemon.  We have quite a variety of citrus, so it is fun checking out the different tastes and textures.  Some are unable to be pealed without the juice running down your arm…but they are delicious!

With the cooler weather the turtles and alligators are not as often seen around the lake and the birds are slower moving as they survey the shoreline.    The Osprey have been circling around this week apparently looking for a good nesting site.  I saw one of them check out a former nest but they seem to still be exploring.  Today one of them that was perched upon the tall flagpole on a peninsula in the lake, took a dive into the water and come out with a nice fish for his lunch.  I have to be careful or watching all of the wildlife activity can keep me from the more urgent tasks at hand.

This morning I read; “Satisfy us each morning with your unfailing love, so we may sing for joy to the end of our lives.”  (Psalm 90:14)  That was likely written by Moses while spending 40 years in the wilderness doing his best to serve the huge Israelite group as they wondered about.  That was no small task for him and a good reminder for me as I meet the challenges each day!

I trust that His unfailing love will satisfy you each morning and throughout the day!
.

Chuck

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Happy New Year

What a delightful way to wrap up 2013, with ten family members spending Christmas week with me.  I was humbled that they wanted to spend their valuable vacation with this old guy!

Christmas morning I was surprised to find my golf cart decorated front and rear causing it to be included in the family photo.  Two year old Ella was especially thrilled to take frequent rides with “Boppi”.

We delayed our actual Christmas celebration until Friday because daughter Sue was unable to leave her Emergency Room duties until the 26th.  Being that she was flying into Tampa that afternoon, we drove to Sarasota to visit Lisa’s friends and spent the day at the beach and on their boat. 

Our traditional gingerbread village construction produced a beautiful candy covered house and a large fortified castle.  I am certain that we all had well over our allotment of candy!  After Christmas we visited a farm with many unusual chickens roaming free, a friendly hog and a large field of hydroponically grown strawberries.  We enjoyed picking a basket of the luscious berries from their suspended containers without bending over.  The real treat was eating them!

As we begin a new year with many challenges, I am reminded of the Apostle Paul’s words regarding the problems of life; “So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen.  For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever”.  (2 Corinthians 4:18)  I’ll take that for my New Year’s resolution.

Love,


Chuck

Monday, December 23, 2013

The Work

In the final prayer of Jesus before going to the cross, he says; “…Father, the hour has come.  Glorify your Son so he can give glory back to you.  For you have given him authority over everyone.  He gives eternal life to each one you have given him.  And this is the way to have eternal life -- to know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth.  I brought glory to you here on earth by completing the work you gave me to do.  Now, Father, bring me into the glory that we shared before the world began.”  (John 1:1-5)

Living here among some very senior citizens, it is refreshing to see them still extremely active in completing the “work” God has equipped them to do, and doing it such a positive, cheerful way.  The majority are still very physically active but those who have limiting physical problems continue to be as active as possible.  Some getting around with their walkers, and occasionally one holding a friends arm, do to their very limited vision.  But each one continues to be “active” to their ability, rarely feeling sorry for themselves but looking forward to their new eternal home while at the same time doing all they can do to encourage others in completing the work God has given them to do.  It is an inspiration, never to give up as long as God gives us breath!

My family arrived safely on Saturday with flights all being on time.  The only problem was several extra hours on the road for Justin and family with extreme traffic backups on I-95, delaying their arrival until around 1:00 AM.  With the ten of us here, it is rather cozy but working out extremely well.  Fortunately I was able to put some of them in a couple of our guest houses which helps by providing extra sleeping space and bathroom facilities in the morning.  It is a real joy for me to have so many of the family here for the holidays and Sue will also be joining us for the few days between Christmas and New Year’s day while still keeping the ER room at the hospital going back in Michigan during the two busy holidays.

May you each have a wonderful Christmas and a Blessed New Year!

Chuck

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Indestructible

It was a joy to be with Stuart, Donna and their family over the Thanksgiving holiday while they were still at Duke Medical Center in Durham.  As you can see, there was some fun with the “turkey” that arrived.

Stuart is making progress but continues to be extremely weak and is extremely vulnerable to infections.  Plans are that he will return to Charlotte this week to continue his recuperation from the stem-cell transplant.  He will be in frequent contact with his oncologist there to monitor his progress.  They tell him that the next three months are critical as his immune system is rebuilding.  Do continue to pray for him!

Today as I read chapter 11 of Revelation about the two prophets/witnesses that were on mission for God, I was reminded of a quote I read regarding that passage; “You are indestructible until God’s purpose for your life is completed “.  Those men accomplished amazing tasks before being killed.  But after 3 ½ days God breathed life into them and took them into heaven.  I can just imagine the scene as a terrible earthquake came after they were raised from the dead, killing seven thousand people and “…everyone else was terrified and gave glory to the God in heaven.” (11:13 b)  I found indestructible an encouraging thought to ponder.

I had a delightful time with friend Keith and his family, enjoying a delicious multiple course Thanksgiving dinner with turkey and all the trimmings.  A cold-front arrived along with me which brought a few snow flurries and freezing temperatures, quite unusual for that time of year. 

I was thankful for a wonderful time with friends and safe travel as I drove the many miles during the reportedly busiest travel time of the year.  Thanks so much for your prayers!

Have a blessed week!

Chuck 

Monday, November 25, 2013

God's Love

My personal Bible reading recently took me through the Gospel of John.  In addition, my class at church has also been studying the book of John.  Repeatedly I am reminded of God’s love for all the people of the world and the importance of our love for each other.  That love is so very evident in those here in the village.  Calling this a retirement village is certainly a misnomer.  These folks are anything but retired!  Their love for fellow residents and the peoples of the world is most evident.  Even when their bodies no longer allow them to be out and about, they are busy communicating by phone and email and always ready to pray for those in need.  It is a tremendous blessing for me to be a part of group here!

Due to the age of we residents, there are fairly frequent memorial services, and they too are a blessing as we reflect upon lives of faith that were been lived well for the glory of the Lord.  Today we celebrated a resident's life that was 98 years old, having passed into eternity a few days ago.  Yesterday I read a quote by Dean Register that I thought worth repeating:  “Deep faith is sometimes wrapped in grief, because deep trials are the pit from which Jesus displays His transforming power.”  I hope that I will remember that as the inevitable trials come my way!

Stuart has been having challenges after his stem-cell transplant.  His temperature has gone into the danger zone twice this past week which put him into the ER for fear of an infection.  Thankfully no infection has shown up.  It appears that the temperature is being caused by the regenerating cells, which is good news…But he is at a very low level of energy/strength at this time.  Do keep praying.  Much still needs to be accomplished to restore him to good health!

I plan to be in Durham for Thanksgiving to join friend Keith and his family for the weekend, so I will be joining the crowds on the highway.  Your prayers are always appreciated!  While there, if he is up to it, I will stop in to spend a bit of time with Stuart at Duke Medical Center.

We have so much to be thankful for, and I trust that you all will have a blessed Thanksgiving with family and friends.

Love to you all,


Chuck