Saturday, October 22, 2011

20/20 Vision


Julie Bowles shares this -- ever since I was fourteen years old, I have worn glasses for a medical condition. I go every year to have a check-up to monitor this. This year when I went, I was met with a surprise. My glasses are bifocals, and I was asked to read, with my glasses on, the chart at the end of the room. The optometrist was standing beside me as I did this, and he then asked me to read it again. After repeating this process a few times, I was getting a little concerned. How hard is it to read a bunch of letters on an eye chart? To my knowledge, I was doing this correctly. He then asked me hold my head in a certain position and do it again. As I did this, the whole chart went blurry, and I could not read it. He then said, "Read it again your way", which I did, and I was able to do it.

He then shared with me that I was using only the bifocal part of my glasses for all my reading, both up close and distant. I was not using the top portion of my glasses at all. I wondered how this could have happened without my even noticing, and he explained that over the year, there would have been a gradual deterioration in my eyes, and more and more I would have relied on the bifocal -- the stronger part of my glasses -- for both distance and up-close work. He explained that I would have been adjusting my head to use the lower part of my glasses to see. In fact, as I wait for my new glasses to come, I am now aware that I am holding my head upward to look out towards the computer screen to see.

How often we go through our day and our spiritual walk not noticing the subtle changes in our time spent with our Father! Then someone comes along and points out our practice to us. We then become aware of what we are doing, and we make the changes to re-align ourselves with the Father. Things become clearer, and we begin to walk with a new and clearer vision before us.

Prayer: Dear God, we thank You that we are always able to come back to You and have our vision re-aligned. Thank You for the people along the way who are also there to help us in our walk and to point things out for us. Thank You for sending Your Son to die for us so that one day we will stand before You and see You clearly in all Your splendour and glory. In Jesus' name, we pray. Amen.

Blessings, Don

Friday, October 14, 2011

'I was miserable, and I don't ever want to feel that way again'


The following is a story concerning former NFL quarterback, Ryan Leaf, from an interview with Kathy Goertzen of KOMO News in Seattle...

Blessings, Don


Ryan Leaf has set a lot of records for Washington State University. Even though the Cougars barely lost at the '97 Rose Bowl, Leaf's success as quarterback prompted him to leave WSU and become a first-round draft pick in the NFL.

He bombed, was booed and benched.

"For that reason, I stayed away from WSU and Cougar nation for a long time -- for all the wrong reasons," he said. "What I should have done was run back to the family that always supported me. And I pushed them away, because I was embarrassed."

Leaf will be the first to tell you he did not know how to focus his intensity or handle his failure to win.

"But for sure, it was an embarrassing moment in my life at 21 years old," he said. "But I think a lot of people do embarrassing things when they're 21 years old. And if that's my truly embarrassing moment at 21, I'll take that one over some of the other stories I've heard.

"I just think everyone grows up and everybody changes in their time. Mine just happened quite publicly -- a lot of it."

His disappointing personal behavior and failure in the NFL only deepened the pain that led to an addiction to prescription pain pills.

"All my life, whenever I had surgery, they gave me prescription pain killers for the physical pain you have. So when I had this emotional pain, or this other pain I couldn't define, this was the only thing I ever knew that worked," he said.

Leaf hit rock bottom when he was convicted for stealing pain pills from injured kids he coached. He finally entered rehab. It would be the beginning of his metamorphosis.

"The self-centeredness, the dishonesty, the inability to be social and be a good person - all those things that change when you become happy - are such a bigger and better highlight," he said.

Leaf was learning a new, more positive outlook. He says that helped him deal with his next challenge.

"When he said it was a brain tumor, it never once crept in my mind that it was cancerous. I said, 'OK, who do we get to fix it and how do we do that?'" he said.

Leaf had surgery for the benign tumor. Though it's not the same tumor as mine, doctors were not able to get it all, because, like mine, it wrapped around some critical nerves. He'll know after an MRI next month if the tumor is growing and he needs radiation.

Through it all, he did not take medication for pain.

"Going through a of days of pain and discomfort in a hospital bed is well worth it, than feeling the way I did for three years previous," he said. "I remember what it was like. I was miserable, and I don't ever want to feel that way again."

At 35, Leaf says he's changed for the better and is looking forward, not back.

"My life for the next 35 years will be defined by how I become a better person and help people. I think I'll have a much more drastic effect on people's lives than I ever would have had as a football player," he said.

Leaf thinks college athletes should get paid to play. He'll tackle that issue when he comes out with the first of three books this October about the greatest four years of his life at WSU.

Friday, October 7, 2011

On a Rather Insignificant Sphere


Phillip Yancey in "The Jesus I Never Knew” tells the story of a senior angel who showed a very young angel the splendors of the universe. They viewed whirling galaxies and blazing suns, and then moved across the infinite distances of space until at last they entered one particular galaxy of 500 billion stars. As the two of them drew near to the star which we call our sun and to its circling planets, the senior angel pointed to a small and rather insignificant sphere turning very slowly on its axis. It looked as dull as a dirty tennis ball to the angel, whose mind is filled with the size and glory of what he had seen. “I want you to watch that one particularly,” says the senior angel, pointing with his finger. “Well, it looks very small and rather dirty to me,” says the little angel. “What’s special about that one?” To the little angel, earth did not seem so impressive. He listened, in stunned disbelief, as the senior angel told him that this planet, small and insignificant and not overly clean, was the renowned Visited Planet. “Do you mean that our great and glorious Prince…went down, in Person, to this fifth-rate little ball? Why should He do a thing like that?” The little angel’s face wrinkled in disgust. “Do you mean to tell me,” he says, “that He stooped so low as to become one of those creeping, crawling creatures of that floating ball?” “I do, and I don’t think He would like you to call them ‘creeping, crawling creatures’ in that tone of voice. For, strange as it may seem to us, He loves them. He went down to visit them to lift them up to become like Him.” The little angel's look was blank. Such a thought was almost beyond his comprehension.

Blessings, Don

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Rangers Advance...and Other Playoff News

Friends, much for the Tampa Bay Rays being a team of destiny. I was among those who was concerned that the Rays would carry their momentum into their ALDS series against the Texas Rangers and make life difficult, if not even upset them. Ahhh, but the Rangers were like a tiger lying in wait for its prey, or should I say, Ray. :-) The Rangers pitching was strong enough, despite a bum outing by C.J. Wilson in game one. I believe he will be better in the ALCS. As usual, it was the Rangers bats that carried them. How about that Adrian Beltre? He looks like a pretty decent off-season pick up at this point. His three home runs in the clincher against the Rays is the stuff of legend...and if he continues to hit like this, he might just have a legendary post-season. I wasn't certain going into the post-season, but I do believe the Rangers are hungry. It remains to be seen whether they will be playing the Tigers or Yankees (and this will be determined tonight in game 5 of their series), but either way, I like the way the Rangers are peaking at this time. I hope that they can fulfill heir dream and win the World Series that eluded them last year.

Speaking of series ending games, all three remaining LDS games (today and tomorrow) are going to be game 5s. This could be interesting...and hopefully exciting. I doubt that it will be as exciting as the final day of the regular season...which was only the most exciting day in MLB history, with the Cardinals and Rays getting in to the playoffs and the Red Sox and Braves completing their September collapses. Nonetheless, this post-season is just as unpredictable in so many ways. So far, the home team has won every game in the Brewers/Diamondbacks, it would seem to be advantage Brewers, but anything can happen. The Cardinals have been hanging tough with the Phillies, but I have a hard time not seeing the Phillies advance at home, but once again... The big question that Rangers fans have been asking is -- who would they rather have the Rangers face in the ALCS...the Yankees or the Tigers? The opinion seems to be split. I said that I would rather see them face the Yankees early on in the playoffs, but now, I think the Tigers are less fearsome...but either opponent is going to be tough. All I can say is -- go Rangers!

Blessings, Don