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

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

Monday, November 11, 2013

Thanks for Praying

While I was traveling, the exterior of my house was pressure washed in preparation for a new paint job.  This past week our painters were able to cover the house and trim and I think it looks quite nice.  This is a quick peek at the entrance. To see the rest of the house you will have to come by for a visit.

Friend Stuart came through both the nuclear blast and stem cell transplant on Thursday and Friday very well.  He told me that he was even able to sleep through a good share of the blast.  The next couple of weeks are anticipated to be on the tough side for him with extreme reactions to the previous procedures.   I talked with Donna today while he was having his daily dosage of meds administered through a drip tube.  They are most appreciative for all of our prayers but we do need to continue to uphold them.  It still sounds like they will have to stay at Duke until sometime early December which will depend upon the response from his various systems.

As I think about Stuart, I see him as an excellent example of applying Jesus provision for each of his children; “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart.  And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give.  So don’t be troubled or afraid.”  Each time I talk with Stuart that peace comes through loud and clear as his faith is based in THE GREAT PHYSICIAN who in turn is working through the medical people there.  Thanks for joining me in prayer for him and the family as they travel this very winding road!

This evening I am taking some friends who are volunteering for a few weeks here, to a special concert at church in honor of our veterans.  I find that there is never any lack of activities here in the village, at church and in town.  They do a great job of providing an excellent selection of events to select from.

Love to you all,

Chuck

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Prayer

These have been some busy but fun days.  Driving nearly 3,000 miles, spending two days at our Charlotte office, visiting friends and family members on my way to Chicago, then hurrying back to Sebring to pick up daughter Sue who flew into Orlando from Michigan.  The days flew by rapidly with her here, but we were able to spend a lot of quality time together and enjoy several tourist things between entertaining and visiting friends here in the village.  Sue spent most of the daylight hours in the air returning home yesterday, and then had about a five-hour drive to her home.  It must be nice to be young!

Last evening I had a call from friend Stuart who had arrived at Duke continuing preparations for a stem-cell transplant.  Tomorrow he will undergo a “nuclear blast” of chemo to kill the balance of his cells and prepare for the actual transplant of “cleaned” cells which is scheduled to take place on Friday.  Please join us in praying for Stuart and for the medical people attending him.  This is not going to be any “picnic”!  Pray that he will not pick up any infections during this time when his immune system is completely ineffective.  Pray also for strength and endurance for his body.  The process is extremely hard on the body and all systems as it attempts to eliminate the cancer cells.  Depending upon his recovery and the restoration of his immune system, it is anticipated that he will be confined in semi-isolation at Duke until sometime around the first of December.

As I think about Stuart, I am reminded of the Apostle Paul’s words to the Thessalonians which is so fitting for Stuart: “As we pray to our God and Father about you, we think of your faithful work, your loving deeds, and the enduring hope you have because of the Lord Jesus Christ.”  (1 Thess. 1:3)  He has been a special blessing for so many!

Thanks so much for your prayers and concern.

Love to all,

Chuck

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Trip Progressing

My trip is continuing to go well.  Unfortunately I was unable to spend time with Justin and family due to a flu bug that had attacked Laura and Ella.  I did not think it advisable to run the risk of taking the bug with me on the remainder of the trip so had to bypass them.

Presently I am enjoying a relaxing time at the lake.  It has been great to spend time with Karin but I missed Keith who is on a business trip in Italy so I will see him on the next trip.  Gavin and Calli came to the lake from college today to spend some time with me.  It was great to see them and hear about their classes and college life.

Tomorrow I will continue on to Chicago and have lunch with Justin, Julianna and Judah then spend the afternoon with them prior to continuing on to the motel for the night.  Monday I have some meetings at Moody and then will return to the lake that evening.  I  need to hurry back to Florida for Sue's arrival on Thursday.

Thanks so much for your prayers and encouragement as I travel.

Love to all,

Chuck

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Pray

Our dear friend Stuart is returning home today from Duke after several very painful days of initial preparation for a stem cell transplant.  The doctors determined that his Multiple Myeloma is continuing to advance rapidly and that it is urgent to proceed with the next preparations rapidly.  After a week at home recuperating he will return to Duke for stem cell collections. 

The report from his visit at Duke is that "this has been a rough time with some 'atkypical' awful side effects."  Please pray for Stuart and his family.  This has to be extremely difficult for all of them as it is for us that watch from the sidelines.  It is so easy to want to ask why but I suspect that we should be more focused upon WHAT God is going to accomplish for His glory through this. 

I had a delightful brief visit from my dear friends from Charlotte as they returned home from a vacation on Marco Island.  It was a special time to catch up with them over lunch Saturday.

Later this week I plan to drive to Chicago for some meetings.  On the way I will spend time with grandson Justin and family in SC, spend a couple days in Charlotte helping a bit at the office and taking care of some miscellaneous items, spend the weekend with daughter Karin and family in IN and spend a bit of time with grandson Jeremy and family in IL.  Then I will hurry back to Florida to welcome daughter Sue who will be flying into Orlando to spend some time with me.  Due to the colder weather that is moving in, I suspect that this will be my last trip beyond the Carolinas until the temperatures warm up next year.  I will appreciate your prayers as I cover the many miles over a period of eight days.

This week I heard Chuck Swindoll make the statement:  "The person that knows how usually will be found working for the person that knows why."  I have found that an interesting thought to ponder since I heard him say it. 

Thanks for your love and prayers!

.Chuck


























Monday, October 14, 2013

Truly Glad

I find it amazing how rapidly the days go by.  It seems like I sent a blog out just a few days ago and I see that it is more like two weeks ago.  I have a coworker from Charlotte staying here with me for a few days who will head back home tomorrow.  I always enjoy the visits!  I am also trying to get my mind around the accounting system here to be of help in that area.  I am amazed at how much is accomplished with a relatively small and extremely dedicated staff here.  It is a blessing to work with them and be a part of the village. 

I have found that my favorite location in the house is the porch.  I do as many things as possible there where I can watch the birds, alligators, beautiful cloud formations passing by, and outstanding sunsets.  I am pleased that I included that room in my construction plans.  Yesterday as I drove around the end of the lake returning home, I found a large alligator on the drive with several large birds encircling him.  I am not certain what was going on but wondered if he had just dined upon one of their friends?  I was amazed at how fast he moved when I got close to him.  Like a shot he dove into the lake!

Recently I finished reading the book of Hebrews and was again challenged by the responses of the men and women of faith in chapter 11 as they faced extremely difficult situations.  As I reflect upon my move here, I am reminded of my lack of faith at times when it seemed like an impossibility with the serious breathing issues and then an extremely painful back that I was dealing with.  I am embarrassed to say that there were times when I had great doubt that the move could ever be accomplished, and I don’t believe that it could have happened if I had insisted upon “calling all the shots” myself.  It was at those times that I relearned the necessity of committing the project to God and he did amazing things through circumstances and people.  Today I was reading 1 Peter 1:6 “So be truly glad.  There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while.”  I sure can relate to that even if my trials were minor compared to what the Jewish Christians were facing at that time.  Their intense persecution was something that most of us have not known but is being faced by many in other parts of the world today.  I wonder how well I will face that kind of persecution should we find ourselves in that situation? 

Do keep in touch.  I always look forward to you cards, emails, letters, phone calls and visits! 

Love to all,


Chuck

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Blessed

While eating lunch today, I had a visitor stop by to check out my menu.  Our lone sand-hill crane stood at the porch window as long as I was eating.  He lost his mate to an alligator shortly before I arrived and often is seen with another crane couple.  Today he was alone and looking for some attention.  I told him that he would not like my lunch, but he continued to take great interest in it.  (Note his intent interest)


I have been blessed with several visitors recently.  Ruth and Paul visited from the Bahamas, Don came down from Charlotte to spend a weekend with me, Ralph and Carol came by having returned from Michigan, and Fred and Grace coming from Charlotte, joined me for church Sunday and for lunch.  It’s always fun to have visitors.

Don and I explored a bit of Highlands Hammock State Park and were pleased to find board walks through areas that are severely flooded.  Some of these walks were a bit narrow and required full attention to avoid going for a swim.  The scenery and wildlife were great!


This morning while reading Hebrews, I was reminded of the importance of maturity for the believer.  To gain that maturity it takes time (Hebrews 5:12), growing in the knowledge of the Word of God (vs. 13) and experience in using the Word to discern between right and wrong. (vs. 13-14)  I am certain that it is a continuous growing process until we pass through that final curtain of death.  I am so thankful for those in the past as well at those around me now that continue to challenge me in my maturing.

I suspect that in most areas of the country you are experiencing the beginning of the fall season as we are here in Florida.  I am sure that I will miss the beautiful coloring leaves here, but I can’t say that I am sad about missing those white flakes falling from the sky.

I am always thrilled to hear from each of you, so keep those lines of communication open!

Love to you all,

Chuck

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

The medicine of hope

Recently I read; “There is no medicine like hope.  The expectation that tomorrow will be better than today.”  I see that played out here in The Village among our residents as they move into those final days upon this earth.  Jesus told us “Don’t let your hearts be troubled.  Trust in God, and trust also in me.  There is more than enough room in my Father’s home.  If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?  When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.  And you know the way to where I am going.”  (John 14:1-4 NLT)

This past Saturday I attended a memorial service for Carol’s 92 year-old uncle in Orlando.  This Saturday I will be attending a service for a considerably younger friend who served in Charlotte for several years and moved here a couple of years ago.  Both of these men were “going strong” until just a few days prior to their deaths.  We never know when we will take that final breath, but these times certainly remind us of the importance of being prepared when the Lord comes to get us, and what a tremendous blessing it is to possess that hope and the complete peace that comes with it, as we wrap up this life.

I can’t believe how busy I continue to be just getting settled in.  Today I spent nearly four hours on the phone (and on hold) getting mailing addresses changed for a batch of mail that was forwarded here.  I have also been blessed to have visitors stop in, giving me welcome breaks in this settling in business.  Carol’s sister and her husband came in from The Bahamas early this week and I anticipate the arrival of friends tomorrow from Charlotte. 

Like several locations in the country, we are having excessive rain.  There is hardly a day that passes without a heavy thunder shower which has caused our lake to rise to a level above which most residents have ever seen.  Occasionally someone will suggest that I had better be ready to lay sandbags to keep water from coming into my house.  That is quite unlikely, but the high water is bringing lots of shore birds close by which is most interesting.

Thanks for your encouraging calls and emails.  May we all be filled with hope anticipating that day when Jesus will come for us.


Chuck 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Excitement on the lake

It has been an interesting experience watching all of the activity just outside my porch window.  Today I saw an alligator watching the shoreline as a bird came walking by.  For some strange reason, the bird stopped to closer examine the “bump” in the water.  (Just to the left of the bird’s leg)  I though the bird was a goner for certain, but he moved on and the alligator seemed to be focused on something else.  I was working on some files on the porch while keeping an eye on the water from time to time.  After possibly a half hour there was a big splash and the alligator had something.  I thought it was a fish at first, but then realized that it had fur.  Our lawn man came by on the mower at that time and he suspects that it may have been an otter.  I trust that the pictures copy well so you can see my “neighbor”. 


I am finding that I can be as busy with activities here as I wish.  Last evening I attended a prophecy meeting with some friends.  The events we are seeing on TV and reading about, are not all that surprising as we examine prophecy.  Recently I heard Chuck Swindoll make the statement; “Time is like a coin.  You can spend it any way you wish, but you can spend it only once.”  Even here it is important to evaluate the opportunities available.  Many good ones but not necessarily the best for that time.

Have a blessed week!

Chuck

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Never Give Up

At last I found the box with my camera attachments so I would like you to meet my frequent visitors…two Sand Cranes.  They frequently come up and look through the glass in my porch door, cocking their heads from side to side.  They are beautiful birds and quite something to see lift off in flight.  I enjoy watching the wildlife along the lake outside my porch windows.  Today I saw an alligator also watching the birds along the edge of the water.  They also kept an close eye on him, so he didn’t find his lunch while I was watching.   

Last evening I was invited to have dinner with several retired missionaries.  After a delicious meal, we shared some of our career experiences and I was captivated by the stories they told of God’s provision and answers to prayer.  Every answer did not come quickly and some were not answered as they had planned.  But in every situation after time, they could see that God had responded in the best way to accomplish the greatest good for His purpose and glory.  We chatted rather late into the night, but I could have listened much longer.  

As I was reflecting on our conversations I was reminded of the importance of never giving up when praying.  In our fast-moving, get-it-now society, we tend to expect an immediate response to everything including prayer.   Luke reports that while teaching the disciples about prayer, Jesus told a story about persistence and then said; “…keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for.  Keep on seeking, and you will find.  Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives.  Everyone who seeks, finds.  And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.”  (Luke 11:9-10) A good reminder not to give up praying!

In my search for a church, I visited the third one today and enjoyed having dinner with a couple of friends that are members.  We are blessed with a variety of good churches in the area, so it a matter of selecting the one that will best meet my needs and provide the proper outlets of ministry for me.  Please join me in praying about that decision.

I suspect that many of you may be visiting family and friends this weekend, but as much as I would love to do that, I felt a greater urgency to deal with a few more boxes. 

Enjoy the long weekend!


Chuck

P.S.  I just realized that this did not publish...so here goes again.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Giving up

I just read a quote by Malcolm Muggridge “One of the pleasures of old age, is giving things up.”  In my younger years I would have had a difficult time believing that, but I have experienced it…it is true!  When the children left home we downsized from our large colonial home to a ranch, and upon moving to Charlotte downsized again.  In Sebring I have again downsized and it is a real pleasure.  Don’t worry, I still have more that I really need, but it is a delightful experience and I feel extremely blessed to be part of the SIM Village!

Last weekend was spent with Justin, Laura, Ella and one-week-old Sophia in Sumter, SC.  She is a real doll, and unlike new born Ella, she sleeps through the night and rarely cries.   We had a bit of a scare one evening when Justin and I took a bike ride in the neighborhood with Ella riding in the little trailer.  As Justin turned, apparently Ella leaned with the turn and caused the trailer to upset and dump her onto the street where she got a small cut on her forehead and a couple other small “bumps”.   The cut generated a lot of bleeding, making the upset appear more serious that it really was.  A neighbor drove them home and then came back for me and the bikes.  Fortunately there was no serious damage to Ella or the equipment!  From there I drove up to Charlotte and picked up a few things I had left, spending time with several people at the office.

I am still opening miscellaneous boxes…those with a vast number of unrelated items, most of which should likely be discarded.  So far I have not found my camera attachments to recharge the battery and connect with the computer so that I can transmit pictures.  One of these days I will surprise you with a photo or two when I find it.

Your emails and calls have been a tremendous encouragement.  Hopefully I will be able to be organized to promptly respond shortly.  The internet connection still has not been established at my house so I am having to transmit this from the Fellowship Hall or Lodge where we have Wi-Fi available.

Love to you all,


Chuck

Friday, August 16, 2013

Blessed

I have been greatly blessed as I settle in here at the SIM Village.  The workers did a excellent job of renovation and construction and the residents did a great job of cleaning and preparing for my arrival.  I have had workers each day making improvements and changes to meet my needs but I believe that everything is about complete now.  The major item that remains to be done is to get the internet set up at the house.  I purchased some new equipment yesterday so that I can interface efficiently with both our Sebring and Charlotte offices.  The final task is getting it all hooked up which appears likely to be accomplished next week.  Until then, I am relying on some rather slow wi-fi connections which can be a bit frustrating at times.

This evening my neighbors are having a block party to welcome me as a new resident. With all of the invitations for meals, I am having to watch my intake or I will not be able to fit into my clothes.   Tomorrow I plan to head for Sumter, SC to see my new great granddaughter...Ella's sister.  I had hoped to get up there sooner, but the tasks here seemed to take priority.  Now that things are pretty much in place, I should be able to get away for a few days.  I suspect that when I return it will be much like moving in again, attempting to find where I put things. Wow...this old guy finds this all to be a rather steep learning curve! When I can get a better internet connection, I will attach some pictures that you may enjoy.

Yesterday I took a picture of two sand cranes that were intently looking in my door off the lake.  I stepped outside and they were extremely tame.  They are large birds, about three feet tall with bright red caps on their heads.  I'll save their picture to send later.

Thanks so much for your prayers, calls and emails.  You are a great encouragement!

Love to all,

Chuck

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Still unpacking

All is going well and I know many of you are looking for an update. Due to a potential storm coming in on Wednesday, we decided to make a quick change of plans and pack Tuesday evening. I wasn't able to organize my last minute items too well but it all worked out. I drove down here on Thursday and we unloaded the truck Friday. Since then I have been buried in boxes. Finally I am beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Things seem to be fitting in quite well and I am certainly thankful that I got rid of so many things before moving. Everyone has been most helpful so that is a tremendous blessing. I anticipate that tomorrow I will complete emptying boxes. I admit that there are some in my storage roomthat are not urgent and I can deal with later.

I have not had time to get hooked up to the Internet so I am dictating this on my cell phone. Please excuse any strange words or misspellings. Dictation is fast but not always that accurate.

Thanks for your prayers and your frequent emails. I was also thrilled to find several notes and cards in the mail when I arrived. It is a mighty good feeling to be getting close to the end of this unpacking project. It will be great to get started with my responsibilities at the office soon.

Love to you all,

Chuck

Monday, July 29, 2013

Faith


Here is a quick up-date for you faithful friends.  I can’t tell you how much your encouragement, calls, emails, invitations and assistance has meant to me.  I couldn’t have accomplished this without you!

Thankfully my back has “stayed steady” with all of the packing.  It is not back to normal, but I have been able to continue packing by exercising extreme care not to lift too much or reach out too far which I know will set it back.  I can see the “light at the end of the tunnel” on this end now and I am praying for health and strength to get things unpacked on the other end and in place so I can then give my back some good needed rest.  I have also been able to control my lung/chest congestion with medication.  I know that my allergy to dust does not help with all this packing.  It is amazing how much dust I find hiding behind and under items that have not been recently moved.

Plans are in place to load the truck on Wednesday (7/31) and unload in Sebring on Friday.  I am blessed to have a friend from Sebring that will fly up here on Tuesday, help pack and then drive the load to Florida.  All I need do is recruit some men to help to carry things to the truck.  I will try to take it easy on my back, but I know that will be a challenge.  I do not like to stand by and watch others do the work.

I have been reading the Gospel of Mark and was reminded of the great importance of our faith in Jesus.  We read about so many miracles that he did in his travels and then he returns to his home town were everyone is amazed by his wisdom and miracles, BUT “He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them.  And he was amazed at their lack of faith.”  (Mark 6:5-6)  That is a good reminder to me to keep my full trus/faitht in him.

Thanks so much for your encouragement.  Feel free to contact me, as I suspect that it may be a bit of a challenge getting set up to be on line for a bit after the move.

Love to you all,

Chuck

Friday, July 19, 2013

Wisdom needed


Last Thursday, daughter Sue arrived from Sault Ste. Marie, MI to give me some more help in getting things packed.  Now that is quite a drive…around 20 hours!  We accomplished quite a bit so felt we could take some time off to drive to Sumter to spend some time with Justin, Laura and Ella.  I actually believe that it was a good thing for me to get away from the boxes for a bit and relax my back.  I feel much like I am camping out in my home now with so much packed for the move.  The kitchen is pretty much packed leaving me 2 bowls, 2 glasses, 1 saucepan, and 1 small fry pan.  Not enough to have any more parties here.

As the time is getting shorter, I am trying to sandwich in as many opportunities as possible with friends in the area.  Later today I am going over to Raleigh/Durham to spend some time with former neighbor Keith.  It will be good to be able to catch up with him again.  Telephone calls are just not quite the same as sitting across from each other face to face.

My back is doing quite well but seems to be at a standstill in regards to improvement.  I suspect it is due to all of the extra things I have on my agenda that requires using it more than usual.  I also picked up a bit of a bronchial congestion a few days ago that hopefully I can eradicate quickly with a dose of antibiotics.

We have another delightful group of 26 adults and 21 children at the office preparing to go around the world to serve the Lord.  Each morning during our prayer time we hear several testimonies of how the Lord has prepared and guided them.  It is exciting to hear them!

As I sort, dispose of and pack items I often pray for wisdom.  This is a bit of an emotional event for me.  I would like to take everything but don’t have room for it and know that I need to do some dramatic downsizing.  I often am reminded of James 1:5-6; “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God and he will give it to you…Be sure your faith is in God alone”!

Love to you all,

Chuck

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Packing Progress


I trust that you all enjoyed your weekend.  It was a tremendous blessing for me to have Karin, Keith & Calli along with Justin, Laura & Ella here.  They helped me with much sorting and packing and also were able to use a number of items that I needed to dispose of.  The house is looking a bit torn-up with walls bare, several pieces missing and boxes all around.  At this point, I will truly be glad to see it move out of the door and into the truck heading to Florida.  My back pain sure does slow me down, but I believe with all of the good help, I will be able to get everything packed and ready to roll within the next three weeks.
I am thankful for the wonderful friends here that continually encourage me.  Rob has been keeping my grass mowed which is a great blessing and a relief for my back.  Our frequent rains keep it growing much faster than usual and my back does not much like the mowing process.  Sunday evening Rob and Connie had me over for a delightful dinner and then took me out for frozen yogurt at the Sweet Frog which acquired the name from Fully Rely On God.  I have numerous frogs around the house and in my office that friends gave to us during Carol’s battle with cancer.  Being that this is the 5th anniversary of Carol’s passing, they thought that the Sweet Frog would be the appropriate place to go for dessert.  Carol often referred to “FROG” in her blogs.

Later in the week I am expecting daughter Sue to arrive to give me some more help with the sorting and packing.  Hopefully I can get it all accomplished within the three weeks that are remaining before move day.  It is amazing how much stuff can accumulate without realizing it.
This is certainly a good time to practice full trust in the Lord and know that at the right time he will make it happen, as the Israelites were reminded in Isaiah 60:22.

Thanks for your calls, notes and prayers!
Chuck

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

My Favoirite Things


I awoke this morning with the words of “My Favorite Things” from The Sound of Music going through my head.  I don’t believe that I have thought about that song for years, but possibly “the raindrops on roses” fit with all of the rain that we have been having and “brown paper packages tied up with strings” fit with the boxes that I have been packing in preparation for my move.  I had a call from our driver this week, advising me that he will be here ready to pack on Wednesday 7/31.  With my back still giving me a fair amount of trouble, it means that I need to keep focused to make the deadline and at the same time keep all of the routine things at home and the office up to date.
Tonight Keith, Karin and Calli are driving through the night to arrive here early tomorrow.  They will be helping me with packing and will take a trailer load of items back with them.  Justin, Laura and Ella are also coming to help and will also be renting a truck to transport items back home.  I am thrilled that the family is able to use so many of the items that I no longer need.  The BIG challenge is to know/guess what I will not need on the other end.  I am sure that I will likely take a bit too much, but will be disposing of many items.  This will be the third down-size and I am anticipating it to be the last.  When it comes time for me to move the next time, I suspect someone else will be in charge!

As I continue to nurse my ailing back along with sorting , packing and disposing of items, I frequently think of Isaiah 40:29-31 describing some of the attributes of our Lord:  “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.  Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”  That certainly is my prayer; to keep proceeding forward as the Lord provides the strength.
I trust that you will all enjoy a blessed 4th as you hopefully are able to celebrate with family and friends.

Love, Chuck

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Submit to Him


I feel a bit like a juggler these days as I attempt to keep up with everything at the office, sorting and packing for the move to Florida and directing preparations for completion of the place down there.  All of the major construction is completed and at this time only the finishing details like paint, counter tops and floor coverings and many “little” things need my attention.  The next BIG event will be the actual move.  Fortunately a good friend has volunteered to come up from Florida and take charge of packing a truck and moving things for me.  What a blessing!  The actual date has not yet been established, but I will let you know when that has been set.
Last weekend I was with Justin, Laura and Ella celebrating their 5th anniversary.  It is hard to believe that it was five years ago that Carol and I made her final trip to Michigan to be part of their wedding.  That certainly is something I will never forget!  I am so thankful that the Lord made that last wish possible for Carol.

Today I will be attending the celebration for a co-worker and neighbor that passed on last week.  This is a most difficult time for her 92 year-old father and her sister, along with other members of the family.  Stuart has been asked to co-lead the celebration with the pastor so he had to change his chemo treatment today in order to accommodate their wishes.  Do join me in praying for all of them as this will be a very “draining” time for everyone.
Recently I heard Chip Ingram make the statement; “Do not attempt to use or manipulate the Lord, but rather submit to Him.”   I have thought much about that statement and recognize how easy it is to be so self-centered about my own desires that I miss the tremendous blessing that He has for me.  I often recall the words of one of our former leaders that frequently reminded us to “keep the main thing the main thing.”  I can see how easy it is to get “off track” and so focused on myself that I can miss the main thing that needs to be the priority for me…a good challenge every day!

I trust that your week is going well and that you are experiencing the blessings of the Lord as you submit to Him.
Love, Chuck

Monday, June 17, 2013

Ending well?


Over the weekend I was reading about King Jehoshaphat (2 Chronicles 17-20) and impressed by his early years as king.  We read in vs 17:6 “He was deeply committed to the ways of the LORD.”  Later on in his reign he was terrified as several armies were about to attack, and again he looked to the Lord for guidance.  After assessing the situation he said “We are powerless against this mighty army that is about to attack us.  We do not know what to do, but we are looking to you for help.”  (vs. 20:12)  His twenty-five year reign was certainly not perfect but he was considered a “good king” following the ways of his father King Asa and doing what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight.  Unfortunately the last thing we read about him is when he made an alliance with King Ahaziah who was considered very wicked. They built a fleet of trading ships, but because that bad alliance, the Lord blocked their plans “So the ships met with disaster and never put out to sea.” (vs. 20:37)  What a sad final report on his life!
I found that to be another excellent reminder of the importance of not becoming too self-confident or proud after we have been blessed by a hand full of successes and believe that we can handle situations on our own.  I am afraid that as we get more years behind us it is easy to forget to continually seek the Lord’s guidance in all of our decisions.

I have been pleased by the way so many details are “falling into place” for my move.  I certainly am seeing the Lord answering prayer!  Thanks to each of you who are praying!  I am thankful for the tremendous improvement with my back pain.  While it is not completely gone, I am able to do some serious sorting/discarding and will be able to start packing soon.  I understand that the painting in Florida should be wrapping up in a couple of days so then it will mainly be counter tops, vanities and floor coverings which will not take long to install when they arrive.  While no date has been set, I anticipate settling in on that end by August.  I will be mailing out moving specifics with date, new address and phone number prior to the move.
Love to you all,

Chuck