Tag Archives: Health

My Leg Was Broken?

Not So Funny

Let’s begin with the not-so-funny part of this story, shall we? My right leg hurts.

Yes, it hurts, and it’s been hurting for a while. As a matter of fact, it hurts to cross my leg over my left knee, rest my right foot over my left, and even to walk. Generally speaking, my right leg – most of my tibia – aches.

That is why I went to an Orthopedic, yesterday. I wanted him to discover the source of the pain and to tell me whether or not I can go back to walking. Come to find out, the pain is muscle and ligament-related. The muscle that lies deep behind the tibia, along with the tissue that attaches to the side of the bone, is inflamed.

The sad part is that had I gone to a doctor about this pain a long time ago, it wouldn’t have had to get this bad.

The Funny Part

But here’s what I find amusing (I hope you do, too). When the doctor pulled up the x-ray, he pointed to some cloudy images on the bone. He asked, “Do you remember any trauma to your leg?”

“Uh, no, not really. Why?” I asked.

“Well,” he began, “do you see these two cloudy-white areas on the bone? This is evidence of a healed fracture. At some point, you broke your leg.”

Yep, you read that correctly – I broke my leg and didn’t even know it, or at least I couldn’t remember when I did it. Either that or I didn’t think much about it at the time.

Who has their leg broken and doesn’t remember it?

Now I Remember!

After a few minutes of discussing the pain in my leg, how to fix it, and such, a memory popped into my head. Totally changing the subject, I interrupted the doctor and exclaimed, “I think I know when it got broken!”

Back in the late ’80s, I was heavily involved in martial arts (the real-life Cobra Kai kind). I remembered this one time when I was doing drills with a new student, a BIG guy, who knew nothing of “control.” To keep the story simple, he did a round kick the same time I did, except with a good amount of power. Our shins locked with an audible “whack,” and for several days I walked with a limp.

it's only a flesh wound - it's just a flesh wound | Meme Generator

Imagine that! I fractured my leg and didn’t even know it! Well, I felt it, for sure! However, I didn’t have a clue of the severity of the injury – I just kept working out.

Eventually, I healed.

Time, Tibias, and Trauma

Before I say anything else, time does not heal all wounds. However, most wounds do heal over time, even the painful ones.

Only a fool discounts the severity of an injury, whether it be physical, emotional, or spiritual. And when it comes to trauma, what is terribly painful for one person might not affect another the same. Every trauma, every pain, every wound, though very similar – like one snowflake is similar to another – all are unique.

But the discovery of my long-forgotten battle wound has led me to ponder some encouraging truths.

  • Time can heal memory. For some people, the wounds of the past are as fresh today as they were 30 or 40 years ago, therefore the pain never goes away. But when we learn to focus on moving forward, given enough time, most of our hurts will heal and the pain, even the cause, will be forgotten.
  • Some trauma NEEDS to be forgotten. My broken leg incident probably happened between 1984 and 1985. If I had been talking about it, rehashing it, trying to figure out the why and how it happened, the trauma inflicted on my right leg would continue to afflict me, and others.
  • I’m so glad that, because of the blood of Jesus, God has chosen to remember my sin no more! Can you imagine what eternity would be like if the wounds inflicted by us were never put as far as the east is from the west? Yeah, it would be Hell.
  • Sometimes we are more broken than we realize. Fact is, my leg was broken and I didn’t even know it. It wasn’t broken in two . . . there was no bone sticking through the skin . . . but imagine what might have happened if I’d locked shins again in a tournament? What kind of life-threatening situation might I have faced? …and without a Mr. Miyagi!

Better than an Orthopedic

I’m sure we could go on and on with analogies and comparisons, but the fact is that all of us are broken in one way or another. Some know what complete healing is like, while others are still wiping away the initial tears.

Ultimately, Adam’s sin was the ultimate trauma inflicted on mankind; it left ALL of us broken. Unfortunately, though the healing balm has yet to be applied, many, many, many broken people don’t even realize their brokenness.

Then finally, there are those – praise God! – who are pleasantly surprised to be reminded of how God healed wounds that were once so painful the future, even survival, looked insurmountable. Sadly, some of those broken legs were brought about by our own rebellion . . . NOT the Shepherd.

Yet, isn’t it wonderful how He rescued us, picked us up and carried us until we healed, and never even brought it up again? Or did you forget?

Thank you, Lord, for this pain. I needed to be reminded of some things.

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Filed under Depression, fitness, Life Lessons, Struggles and Trials

The Hilly Straight and Narrow

Working Out

As many of you know, I have committed to exercise and to lose weight. In other words, I want to look like Tom Cruise.

But even more important than looking like Tom Cruise (because he still looks awesome as an old man – like he’s never aged! …which is a little creepy when you think about it), I want this body that the Lord has given me to be the best “temple” it can be for His glory.

However, remodeling this temple of the Holy Ghost has not been easy.

Walking and Riding

I’ve been doing two kinds of exercise, walking and riding my bicycle. Each has it’s benefits, and each has it’s drawbacks.

For one, it takes longer on a bike to burn as many calories as walking, if, that is, the walking is fast-paced in sync with a song from Building 429. Riding, though, is more fun.

Last Saturday morning, with rainy mist in the air, I rode a 13-mile circuit around our little community. It was an enjoyable, scenic ride with very little traffic (I only saw 4 cars in the first hour). It took me 1 hour and 58 minutes to complete.

Today (a Tuesday), I rode 8.23 miles, and I did it in 1 hour and 3 minutes. The only thing is that I was less tired after the 13-mile ride than the one I did today!

I think I know the reason.

The Straight and Narrow

As I was riding this morning, I came to a point where I had to peddle in 1st gear for what seemed like an eternity (maybe 5 min.). You see, although the road I took was a straight shot from our community to the next town, there were some places where I had to ascend over a period of time. These inclines didn’t look like hills, yet what I rode added up to 196 feet in elevation.

While pacing myself, and while reminding myself of heroes like Marcus Luttrell (Navy SEAL) and all he went through to survive, I peddled in 1st gear until I reached the point where I could finally coast. It was then that a profound thought managed to form inside my brain, despite the 146 heartbeats per minute.

“The straight and narrow is not always the flat and level.” 

Yes, much like the “straight and narrow” path of faith (loosely based on Matt. 7:14), the road I traveled was straight and free of any hidden obstacles or traps. Yet, “straight and narrow” should NEVER be interpreted as “flat and level.” No, there were more ups and downs than I could count! It took more energy to finish than the longer, more curvy road I was on last week!

If you’ve never heard it said, the Christian life is a joy, but it’s not easy. As a matter of fact, if you want an easy-peasy life, stay a tool of Satan; he’ll keep you comfortable till your dying day. But for the true follower of the One who carried a cross up a hill, why should we expect a road without those slow, aching, 1st-gear inclines?

God bless! Keep peddling! 

 

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Filed under Christian Living, Christianity, fitness, Life Lessons, Struggles and Trials

Terrible Endeavors Require Tangible Incentives

Allow me to begin with a quote:

“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.” – Zig Ziglar

I have some goals… some very specific, personal goals. Should I achieve those goals, I will “get” – I will receive – some tangible rewards for my accomplishments. They will instinctivize me and motivate me in ways that verbal support cannot.

However, as Zig Ziglar pointed out, what I will achieve by meeting my goals will be far more important than the tokens of my success. I get that. That’s why I’m setting the goals in the first place.

But knowing myself and my history, without some kind of tangible reward on the other side of the tape, I will, as I have so often done before, quit the race before it’s over, before I reach my goals. I need more than the satisfaction of a race well-run to motivate me through the pain and sacrifice needed to be a winner…

I need a trophy

The HUGE Announcement

I mentioned on Facebook that I had a HUGE announcement. Actually, I didn’t say that I had a HUGE announcement as much as I said that I had made some goals.

I’m establishing a HUGE goal for myself. I need your support. For the glory of God and the advancement of His kingdom. Details coming soon. #leanandmean

Therefore, here are the details . . .

I am tired of my appearance. I am disgusted with my weight. I regularly look in the mirror and hate what I see. Yet, since I know myself better than anyone but God, I am not one who sticks with any weight-loss plan, diet, or workout schedule for very long. Just seeing the number on the scale reduce is not as comforting as buttered cornbread or BBQ pizza.

“Terrible endeavors require tangible incentives.” – A. Baker

 TI1 (Tangible Incentive #1)

So, what’s the deal with the watch? Well, I really, really like nice watches. I will never spend the money for a top-tier luxury watch (Omega, Rolex, etc.), but I do enjoy the look and feel of beautiful and functional timepieces with a little history.

What’s the story with the above watch? Well, first, it’s a Casio MDV106-1AV 200M Duro. What makes it special? Why is it an incentive? Simple: It only costs $45 and it’s worn by the 2nd richest man in the world, Bill Gates. Honestly, who would have thought, right?

Below are four other tangible incentives (TI’s).

TI2

TI3

TI4

TI5

Now comes the time to announce what these incentives are for. 

  1. Casio Duro: losing 10 pounds
  2. Seiko 5: losing 15 pounds
  3. Orient Bambino: losing 20 pounds
  4. Seiko SNN241: losing 30 pounds
  5. Orient “Mako II”: losing 40 pounds

My Goal: Lose 40 pounds and 9 inches! 

Are there other watches I would like to add to my collection? Sure. But these are not terribly expensive. And, as you can see, they are all beautiful watches with different purposes.

And for those of you who might question the cost, at least I don’t have a smartwatch!

Nothing else has worked. But if these watches can motivate me to lose 40 pounds, I will consider them well worth the money, especially considering the savings in long-term health costs

All that will be left is buying new clothes that fit 🙂 

Will you help hold me accountable?

10 Comments

Filed under fitness, Food

It’s Been A Year…I’m Still Alive!

1st Stent-iversary!

Today is a very big day for me, even though it will pass by with little to no fanfare. Today marks one year since two stents were placed in my heart!

A year ago, yesterday, my wife and I had driven down here to Warthen for a face-to-face interview with the search committee at Bethlehem Baptist. Just a few hours later I was in the local hospital with odd chest pains.

A short while after that I was being transported by ambulance to Macon, Georgia where I was admitted and prepped for heart surgery.

You can read how it all unfolded – the rest of the story – by clicking here. 

One year ago I almost died from a heart attack. Now, a year later, I could end up dying from a virus!

You Never Know

I’m glad to be alive (even though Heaven would be great). I’m thankful to God for sparing my life and answering the question, “What’s a person supposed to do if they have a heart attack in this town?”

But, seriously, none of us know what tomorrow holds, do we? One day everything could be perfectly fine, normal, no problems, and then the next day your world could be turned upside down.

What started out as a Chinese thing has now infected most of the world. Literally, just one hour ago (as of this writing), I was told by a Sheriff’s Deputy that our rural county had its first confirmed case of Coronavirus and that the Mayor had declared a state of emergency. Then, not even 15 minutes after that, my wife informed me that her cousin’s wife, Amber, tested positive for the virus.

Again, one never knows from one moment to the next what tomorrow holds. It could be a heart attack, a virus, an accident, or even cancer – you just don’t know.

But God knows.

That is why He says “now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2).

An Invitation

The Lord is calling YOU. Are you going to answer?

We are living in a very dangerous time, and it’s only getting worse. Add to that the already uncertainty of life, what confidence do you have that you’ll be around a year from now? Even a month from now? It’s impossible to know!

Therefore, if you are in the least bit unsure of where you would spend eternity, PLEASE take a moment and read this simple explanation of the gospel and how to begin a relationship with Jesus Christ. And if you do, please let me know!

My heart attack was a wake-up call. This virus, I believe, is God’s wake-up call to the world.

While YOU are still alive, take advantage of the opportunity to live forever.

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Filed under salvation

You Could Be the “Shift Change”

Command Staff Meetings

Some of you know that I am a chaplain with our county’s Sheriff’s office. It is a great honor to be allowed to serve our men and women in blue, for they are the ones who put their lives on the line every day for us.

Myself and Chaplains Rich Payne, Allen Lindon, and Sergio Freeman (who is also a Chaplain with the Air Force and the US Secret Service)

But about twice a year the rotation comes around and it becomes my time to speak at the Command Staff meeting. This is the meeting where the Sheriff and his captains, along with public relation heads and personal staff, meet to discuss everything from the general budget and how much should be allocated to new body armor, to the number of hits the office’s Facebook page received and when the next Presidential visit may be.

Needless to say, these meetings involve some very important, professional, and intimidating people…including a chaplain. And let me tell you, it’s one place I ALWAYS feel intimidated. But it’s always an honor.

Go to some places and you will have a hard time finding anything having to do with God in the public square. But if you were to visit Hamilton County, TN, you would find a highly professional Sheriff’s office, along with “In God We Trust” on ever county police vehicle and a time for a chaplain to open up the Command Staff meetings with a short devotional and prayer… per the Sheriff’s orders.

No Meeting Today

However, yesterday I got an email notification that this week’s Command Staff meeting was cancelled. Therefore, even though I had set aside time in my schedule, the encouraging words I was planning to share with the Sheriff and his team will have to wait till another time…

Unless I share them with YOU! 🙂

The Shift Change

A little over a month ago I suffered a heart attack. Actually, one may label it more of an “event,” not an actual full-fledged “there’s an elephant on my chest!” type of attack. Had I not gone to a hospital when I did, I might have lived through the night, but I was well on my way to assuming room temperature. I had block arteries and my heart was in distress; it was only a matter of time.

That type of heart attack is so dangerous because it doesn’t show up on an EKG. The only way you can tell you are having that type of heart attack is when blood is drawn, then drawn again, and then the Troponin levels are compared. Troponin is a cardiac marker that increases when the heart is being damaged.

On the evening that my wife and I went to the emergency room, all the usual tests were done and came back negative for a heart attack. As a matter of fact, I was dressed and ready to go home because the first doctor didn’t see any reason to keep me. However, before I was to be released, there was a shift change and the new doctor had other plans.

“Before you go,” said the doctor, “I want to run one more blood test, just to see if there have been any changes over the last couple of hours.” “That’s fine,” I replied, not expecting anything at this point.

No more than 30 minutes later the doctor came back to our little room and said, “Well, there’s been some changes…you need to see a cardiologist…. Now.”

You see, what had happened was that from the time of my last blood test my Troponin levels had doubled, indicating a serious problem. By the time I got to the hospital in Macon, GA, by ambulance, my levels had double again. By the time I was taken to surgery later that morning, they had more than doubled again.

If it had not been for a shift change, I would be dead.

You Could Be the Shift Change

Folks, you never know how God is going to use you from one minute to the next. What may start out as any other shift, that shift could be the one that make an eternal difference in the life of another.

Had that doctor stayed home or been late, I would be dead. Had that doctor decided to just let things be and not follow protocol with a new test for his own records, I would be dead. But when he came to work, he did his job, so I’m alive.

Whatever you do, do all for the glory of God. Do the best you can. Be there, be committed, and understand that you might just be the one who’s fresh perspective and energy, who’s unique abilities and instincts, could make all the difference.

Even the difference between life and death. 

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Filed under Life Lessons, ministry

A Heart Update (May 5, 2019)

I just wanted to share an update about my heart and other medical issues. 

As most of you who read this blog know, I had a heart attack a little over a month ago. That resulted in me receiving 2 stents and having to take a lot of medication – ugh!

Yesterday, I finished my first round of cardiac therapy – it wasn’t that bad, just a little trip to a nice gym where nice nurses and technicians treated me like an invalid and made me wear a heart monitor while I worked up a sweat.

I am scheduled to do therapy for two days a week, then up it to three. I may even get into shape when it’s all over!

Today I went to my cardiologist, endured a painful echo cardiogram, and, to be brief, got a good report. My heart is functioning just wonderful and there is no damage as a result of my heart incident. Hallelujah!

Now, as Paul Harvey would say, here’s the REST of the story…

I have a mass in my chest, just above my heart, close to the aorta. I will be having a PET scan sometime soon to find out if it is malignant. Regardless, because of the size and where it is, I am told it must be removed. If it is cancerous, it must be addressed sooner than later.

The only problem is that having any kind of surgery any time sooner than at least six months after a heart attack (and being on blood thinners) is a risky procedure and ill-advised. If I do have to have surgery soon, then it will require me having to be admitted to the hospital at least 5 days prior in order to be put on a drip to take me off of the Brilinta.

Nothing is easy anymore, is it?

But here’s the good news – yes, there is good news. The constant pain in my chest may be related to the mass in my chest, not my heart. Well, fact is, it’s NOT my heart! So, whatever the other thing is, once it’s removed, I will not keep having these pains that make me think my heart is hurting. That’s awesome!

Funny thing, though… the pain of the mass in my chest may have actually saved my life by getting me into the hospital to find out I was having a heart attack that I DIDN’T feel. On top of that, the heart attack may have opened the door to the early discovery of what could be cancer (hope not).

While I was in the waiting area waiting for the echo cardiogram to be done, I met an 85-year-old man named Hyman. To make a long story short, with the sweetest and calmest of temperament, he began to talk to me about life, his lack of worry, his marriage to his bride Rachael, and his life-changing faith in Jesus Christ. We had a wonderful discussion, which leads me to my final thought.

As I told the elderly saint in the waiting room, my wish is that people not necessarily pray for my healing, but for me to be a faithful witness of the love and grace of Jesus Christ while God allows me to endure whatever He has planned for me. Sure, I want to be healed, but I’d much prefer to be able to point people to Jesus.

As I told Hyman, sometimes, when the people in the hospital won’t go to church or seek after God, God sends the church to the hospital to be a witness for Him. When the hospital won’t go to church, He sends the Church to the hospital.

I appreciate your continued prayers… and pray for Rachael, Hyman’s wife. He really loves her. 

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Filed under Christian Maturity, Church, Faith, Life Lessons, ministry, Struggles and Trials

Things to Do In 2019: Lose an “X”

Honesty Is the Best Policy

OK, I am going to be completely honest with you, dear reader, and the rest of the world – even Dr. Phil…

I’m overweight! 

If the truth be known, I could stand to lose 40 pounds and at least one “X” from my clothing. My current collection is 2 X’s, including an extra “X” for more casual occasions. Believe it or not, my first new suit in years had a coat size of 50R!  I should be in a 44, or less.

Needless to say, I am not as photo-worthy as the sleek version of myself in my header pic, that’s for sure. That’s why I haven’t changed it in the last 8 years!

Not My Temple

But the thing that is so hard to remember when I get a hankering for fresh-baked bread is that this body does not belong to me – it belongs to the Lord.

What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost [which is] in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s. – 1 Corinthians 6:19–20 

God not only owns my soul, but He owns this old (literally) body, too. My body is His temple, and I have never been given permission to build any extensions.

Therefore, it is my intention to restore the condition of this fleshly temple, making it more usable and more profitable for the One who owns it in 2019 and beyond.

To do otherwise would be a sin.

Literally.

Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth [it] not, to him it is sin. – James 4:17

 

Oh, and I’ve got to average 83 views a day to break that 30,000 mark.

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Filed under clothing, Food, the future

Have You Done a Self-Examination?

A Doctor’s Instructions

I don’t want to get too TMI-ish, but as we get older the doctors say we should do more self-examinations. Have you ever been told this?

Doctor visits can be depressing 😉

You ladies are regularly told by your physicians to check for unusual or suspicious lumps in certain places. We men are told the same thing, just not as often (it’s not a subject we’re comfortable with).

But despite the awkwardness, all of us need to be reminded that it’s our responsibility to examine ourselves in between doctor visits. Fact is, embarrassing as it may be to discuss, a self-examination can mean the difference between life and death.

An Apostle’s Instructions

But as awkward as it is to discuss our bodies, the spiritual lives of people tend to be much more private and less likely to be examined. Yet, what does the Apostle Paul (a true Doctor of the Faith) recommend?

Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? – 2 Corinthians 13:5 (KJV)

Or, as another translation interprets it…

Examine yourselves to see if your faith is genuine. Test yourselves. Surely you know that Jesus Christ is among you; if not, you have failed the test of genuine faith. (NLT)

Believe it or not, there are many, many people who think they are in perfect spiritual health, but in reality, they are terminal. Consider the following examples.

  • Bob goes to church every day the doors are open, including cleaning day.
  • Henry gives 20% of his income and 10% of his time to the church. If there’s a need, ask Henry.
  • Margaret goes to a fundamental church, uses the “right” translation of the Bible, and never wears anything but a long dress (except when she wears culottes to the beach).
  • Mary would never say a dirty word, tell an off-color joke, or even permit foul language in her presence.
  • Sharon put aside marriage and gave her life to helping orphans in the streets of Mumbai.
  • Frank and Karen have Bible studies in their home, take the kids to Sunday School, have gold crosses in every room, not to mention on their necks.
  • A rich young ruler has kept ALL the commandments (not just the big 10), even since he was a boy.

Are you like Bob or Mary? What about Sharon or Frank and Karen? Are the above people spiritually healthy, or could there be hidden cancer not yet removed?

Remember Ephesians 2:8-9? Works don’t save people; faith in Christ does. It’s not about the life you live; it’s Who’s life is in you.

My Advice

Look, I’m not an M.D. or an apostle, but if you’d like my advice, here’s what I have to offer.

  • Listen to your doctor and do what you need to – check for those lumps and things. Your life could depend on it.
  • Listen to the words of Paul and do a spiritual self-examination. Is your faith genuine?
  • Go to the top of this blog and click on the “Eternal Life” tab and consider what is written.

Don’t neglect the health of your body… or your soul.

 

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Filed under Christianity, fitness, Life/Death, salvation

Post-Surgery Update 1/22/18

Greetings! Good morning!

I hope to make this brief, so read quickly 😉

Today is a big day, and I would appreciate your prayers for godly wisdom, composure, and … for the sake of all my charismatic friends … “favor.”

On the healing front, I am getting better every day and a half, or so. I’m getting a little more flexible with time, and the pain is not constant, only symptomatic – that is, it only hurts when I move my shoulder, try to catch something, or stretch in my sleep. So, sleeping still isn’t the best part of my life.

On the job front – and this is a big one. This morning at 11:30 (eastern) I will be entering into an interview with the VP’s of a major transportation company. This could be a big career move, so please be in prayer for me at this time. No, I’m not leaving the pastorate (I’m bivocational, you know), but driving a school bus might become a part of my history, not my present.

Have a great day everyone, and I’ll keep you informed.

God bless!

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Filed under current events

Surgery Day!

I don’t have a lot of time to write, but I wanted to take a moment to type away on this wonderful little keyboard. There is such a wonderful feeling I get when typing out words with both hands buzzing along, rarely misspelling a word… yeah, right.

You see, my wife and I are preparing to walk out the door and head out to the hospital for my rotator cuff surgery. This afternoon, not long after 2 p.m. (eastern), my right arm will be completely useless. I have no idea how long it will be before I am able to type the way I am doing right now, and that’s a little sad.

But on the other hand, I am going to do everything I can to keep my spirits up. This is a terrifying day, but it’s also a very exciting day! I am about to undergo the most radical surgery of my life….I am about to become handicapped… I am about to become totally dependent on my wife for things, as of this moment, I can do for myself…. I am about to sleep in a recliner… I’ve never owned a recliner until today 🙂

This day is also exciting because it is going to be the first day on a journey in which I am going to be able to prove my God is real. Already, even as of yesterday morning, the Lord has been opening my eyes to the reality that He will take care of my family and me through this challenging ordeal. We will not starve…we will not be destitute…He will supply all our needs according to His riches in glory!

I will do my best to keep you guys updated along the way (the best way will be through Facebook). Even though I would ask you to keep me in your prayers, would you please keep my wife, Valerie, in your prayers? She will have a lot on her over the next couple of months as she is not only going to be taking care of me, but still taking care of my grandmother (she’s 95). Keep this in mind – my wife also had torn tendons in her right ankle!

Well, I guess I’d better go and get some more things done before it’s time to leave. In the meantime, go back and look at my previous “appeal” post, and if you can help in any way, it would be most certainly appreciated.

“My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name. On Christ the solid Rock I stand; all other ground is sinking sand.”

– Anthony Baker

FYI, my surgery will be at 2 p.m. at Erlanger East, Chattanooga. Pray that Dr. Lund doesn’t slip up 😉

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Filed under current events, Faith