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Wikipedia defines the condition: “It consists of a downward displacement of the cerebellar tonsils through the foramen magnum (the opening at the base of the skull), sometimes causing hydrocephalus as a result of obstruction of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) outflow. The cerebrospinal fluid outflow is caused by phase difference in outflow and influx of blood in the vasculature of the brain.” There are a lot of words there aren’t there?
When something in the health realm invades the body of someone you love it is always taken as a threat. I don’t like it and have never met anyone who has. Everything and I mean everything falls into the realm of the lesser when you face this kind of serious matter.
Our youngest son was diagnosed with this malady. It is congenital. He was born this way. The lay vernacular is that his brain is too big for his skull. As a result, the brain pushes down toward the spinal cord. A cyst has formed due to the pressure that then complicates the spinal fluid flow.
Symptoms of numbness, headaches, neck pain and discomfort are common. It doesn’t get better on its own. Surgery is the best option for our son.
The surgeon will open up the lower back part of the skull. This will give more room for the brain and relieve the pressure. Hopefully, the amazing body that God has given to all of us will then adjust, dissolve the cyst, rectify the spinal fluid flow and all of the symptoms will disappear. That is our prayer. It is our hope.
No matter how optimistic the prognosis is the notion of brain surgery is always challenging. Our trust in God is resolute. We are entrusting the surgeon’s skill into the hands of the Great Physician.
Monday is the appointment for surgery. Our son will get prepared in the late morning. Our family will gather, pray and cheer him on. Together we will trust God to bring him back to us whole and on the mend.
The hours of waiting for surgery to be completed are some of the slowest in human experience. Tough stuff is a part of life. Trusting in God during these tough times is our best hope. That is what my family and I will do.
photo credit: yahoo image
San Francisco is as diverse a city as I have ever lived. The differences here are seemingly endless. From all that I have read about our new home, people take great pride in the cosmopolitan flavors of our world-class peninsula on the Bay.
Some of the differences are ethnic. Languages vary immensely within our 49 square miles. Cultures are concentrated in different parts of the city limits.
Political variations are not as apparent on the surface. Everything here indicates a far left leaning. There is pride by the left in that too. Tolerance is the watchword for San Francisco.
Social variations are replete here. Moral boundaries are publically cast aside. Lifestyles in almost every extreme are applauded as personal choices.
But, as wildly varied as our city is, baseball unites it. Yes, a ball, bat glove, bases and American tradition brings it all together. The unity is astounding.
People pay exorbitant prices to get into the stadium. They celebrate without apology. One man stood proudly with a sign, “This is heaven.” Hmmm…that is an exaggeration. But, at least the entire experience is pointing in the right direction.
Our city and all of its population is drawn together. There is a unity in our celebration. Suddenly, the diversity which is the pride of the city is overlooked. We become one in our celebration for the city’s World Series San Francisco Giants.
As I write this I don’t know the outcome of the series. Certainly, the Texas Rangers are a worthy and competitive team. After all, they beat the New York Yankees to get here.
But, for now, we San Franciscans are enjoying our celebration. The party is going on and on. The second win has fueled the ecstasy.
People find a way to smile together. They scream with joy together. The fun is inviting to all.
We were out to a pre-planned dinner. All four of us kept checking on the score of game #2. Silly, eh? We were enjoying a delicious French meal but we regularly checked my texts to find the current score.
Our meal was delicious. The company was delightful. But, we were all interested in cheering on the Giants.
We said our “Good-byes.” It was a quick farewell. The Giants were ahead and we all knew that we could get home to watch the last inning. Yeah, the whole city is cheering!
photo credit: yahoo image
Humans have a wonderful component called memory. This aspect of humanity is both wonderful and disappointing at the same time. Good advice from days gone by fail to emerge when a perfect moment of application appears.
God has assigned pastors to help people remember what people so easily forget. While selective forgetfulness is customized to every human, we all share several common topics that slip most memories. Pastors can help here. We are to remind our people to be subject to rulers and authorities.
During this election season, this is a good reminder. Every Christian should vote. Our community responsibility is to be an active and model citizen. If we do this then we must also follow our civil leaders as long as their directions don’t violate Biblical principles.
Christians must be consistent in their obedience to Biblical truth. This includes obedience to our authorities on this earth. Following our authorities both good and not so good makes better sense when we are acting as good citizens and casting our vote. There is a clear disconnect when a Christian does not vote and yet complains about those who are in authority over them or even worse use their dissent to disobey.
Instead, there is something very right about Christians who are always prepared to do whatever is good. They are looking for opportunities to serve others with the values that God has ingrained in them due to the presence of the Holy Spirit in their lives.
As wonderful as this is, it is an initiatives that humans often forget and pastors need to remind his people to do it. There are few specifics. This kind of good is wideranging.
One negative reminder is in this list. People easily forget that slander is not an option for believers. Talk that hurts the reputation of others is an easy temptation that we all often yield to. Yet, slander is always bad. Paul tells pastors that this applies to all people that might be the target of our stinging tongues.
High on our interests as believers should be peace-making, and consideration of others. Humility matches this and should be a big part of our lives. These are important reminders. Let’s remember to remind others, my fellow pastors!
Sara Palin is living what all of us who are in leadership know too well. We live a life that subjects us to a high standard of life. Criticism, disagreement and opposition are constantly waiting at our door. The only way to even hope to keep that ugliness at bay is to live openly and honestly.
One of the annoyances of “little foxes” that nip at Palin are the news headlines. They are experienced in using words to break a story with carefully selected language. They spin the announcements to emphasize the “might” or “may have” or “possible” to cover their options including an escape. At the same time they feed the natural frenzy for a scandal.
My eyes have scanned a number of internet articles. I try to capture the jist of the highly subjective reports as quickly as possible. Frankly, it sounded more like a gossip column than a news report.
My first reaction was to patiently wait for Sara Palin’s own news releases on various subjects. I wanted to hear from her before I formed a prejudicial conclusion. It is so human to take initial information and form a negative opinion. Prejudice is alive and well inside of every one of us.
I remember once when Sara Palin released an article online. I read her statement and was impressed with the difference from the “news”. She outlined the issues that were pertinent, responded in succinct language, and then listed her scheduled efforts to address the matter. There was no attack against her detractors.
Absent from her presentation was any whining. She didn’t make light of the matter. Her actions and plan in place all spoke of a responsible and appropriate and factual statement.
Speculation is a distraction. The temptation to form a rigid opinion with limited facts and more extrapolation seems to be the fodder of the general public. This is a phenomenon where talk is a profuse and opinions driven by strong personalities want to be taken as valid but in truth they are very rarely helpful.
If you are a committed follower of Jesus Christ then remember some very important truisms. A sure way to avoid any criticism is easy: simply never say anything, never try anything, never do anything. But who wants to live a vague, dull or useless life?
The hunger for every leader is to initiate. Every problem is simply an opportunity. Criticism just comes with the territory.
photo credit: yahoo image
“Yvonne wants you to call…” he said with an urgency in his voice. Mentally, I was preparing to make the call after my afternoon meeting was over. But, Marco continued, “she said that it is an emergency.”
That’s all it took. I was on the phone. But, I needn’t have dialed so fast. Yvonne was on the line and she was calling me back. ”Someone broke into our apartment. The front door is push in.”
“Call 911. I’ll be right home,” was my reply. My office staff waved good-bye and assured me of their prayers. They are an encouraging bunch and I appreciate them all so much.
The short drive home seemed to take forever. Traffic patterns seemed bizarre. Pedestrians walked slowly across the streets. Eventually, the urgency of being home subsided when I drove up to our apartment building.
My keys allowed entry through the security door. That was a puzzle. How could the thief have gotten into the building?
I climbed the stairs rapidly. Once I rounded the corner, I saw our apartment front door. It was a mess.
Wood splinters were all over the front mat. The door frame was split and violently shredded. All of the hardware was disheveled and scattered on the ground.
Entry to our home was forced. The thief had used a crowbar of some sort to pry the door open until the pressure exploded the wooden frame. Even the dead bolt lock was bent as it hung helplessly from a broken screw.
The sentry locks are damaged beyond repair. It was as if the last line of defense had given all that they had but it was not enough. Someone wanted in and were both experienced and determined to do so.
Yvonne was shaken. She was upset. We were both shell-shocked. Having your security violated is always unsettling.
Thieves have broken into my life before. One hacked into my computer stole stuff and got away without prosecution. Another broke a window in our house and climbed in to ransack our dwelling. It is no fun. There is no easy way to regain confidence or serenity.
These robbers of other’s property are testing the Lord’s patience. Some day they will face Him and their eternity will be forever impacted by their heinous violation. May God have mercy on their souls.
photo credit: yahoo image
When history remembers a young man who makes a difference in a world filled with racial prejudice, I pay attention. Throw in some great football and I’m hooked. Add some great actors and I’ll watch for sure.
Time passed and I never made it to the theaters to view it. Finally, it came on the cable channels and I happened to be free to watch it. Previews promised an inspirational story.
Quaid plays Coach Schartzwalder of the Syracuse Orangemen. Their football team had never won a national championship, but that was Schartzwalder’s vision. He recruited with the passion that knew nothing but that single lofty climax. The athletic talent of Davis was central to that achieving that objective. But, Davis’ skin color and the national attitude of racial prejudice became a greater obstacle than the seemingly insurmountable challenge of competitive college football.
When Schartzwalder shows up to recruit Davis, the story makes you smile. He brought the famed Jim Brown to help him influence the young athlete’s decision. Racial undercurrents began the film and never left it. Yet, Schartzwalder overcame them socially, professionally and ultimately in his own personal life.
Rob Brown fills in the role of Davis. He is quiet yet resolute. His determination is simple and practical. The results would speak for themselves.
I liked the casting of Rob Brown. He made Davis completely likeable, admirable, respected and admired. Both his athletic prowess, work ethic, soulish sensitivity and discernment of racial issues made this story worth watching.
While I have been a Quaid fan of many films, I kept waiting for his character to take charge. He could have given the role strength but did not. That was the missing piece that could have made this movie inspirational.
It was a movie worth watching because the story is very good. This movie could have been powerfully inspiring but it was not. Glimpses of how minorities feel when the ugliness of racial prejudice expresses itself were some great flashes of filmmaking at its best. Watch it for those. See a courageous young man live the best he could and touch a lot of lives and start some lasting changes in a world far bigger than one man.
photo credit: yahoo image
The internet gave me a chance to schedule a rental car for our foray into Stone Mountain just outside of Atlanta, Georgia. This massive city and very busy airport is easy to negotiate. You just need a lot of patience and good walking shoes.
We had several options for our transportation. Stone Mountain is about 25 miles from the airport. The hotel where we were booked for our stay did not have a shuttle. However, they recommended several transportation choices.
We could hop on a private shuttle bus. That is sometimes appealing because it is usually cheaper. But, they were charging a fee that made me hesitate.
For a few bucks more we could hire a limosene service. But, when I checked the price was only one-way. Yipes.
It was time for an internet search. I surfed the automobile rental agencies on-line. Wow! There are a lot of cars and a lot of agencies who want to rent you a vehicle.
One agency actually changed it prices while I was shopping. The prices went up! Of course!
I booked a compact car. Yvonne didn’t need much. A reliable car was fine with us.
After we landed at the Atlanta airport we walked several miles. We collected our baggage and hopped on to another train that took us to the car rental area. The agent was very efficient.
“What kind of hot rig are you going to put me in?” I teased.
“Oh,” she smiled, “you get to choose from whatever is out there.”
To my surprise the lot attendent directed us to the blue cone and then to turn left and go to the end of the aisle. When we go there there were NO cars in the compact area. I was flabergasted! Yvonne suggested that I ask the lot attendants who were visiting near the intermediate cars.
“There are no more compact cars,” I pointed out with a smile.
“Oh,” she cheerily said, “you can take any one of these.”
“Fabulous,” I offered back and smiled at Yvonne.
When I was checking in, the agent commented, “You signed up for a compact. Are you sure that you don’t want something bigger?”
“No,” I assured her, “not unless you have a free upgrade today.”"
“Nothing is free,” she laughed.
Yvonne and I looked around and then one of the cars just called out to us. It was a Nissan Cube. Yeah, some people think it’s ugly. But, I think that it is unique, cute and full of character. The Cube it is!
photo credit: brucefong photography
God shows no favortism to anyone. Instead, He has given His grace to all men. This universal offering is enough to amaze us toward His goodness. While people live on different economic levels in this life, all have the same opportunity to lock up their own eternal salvation.
At the same time we can be assured that our eternity has present benefits. When a person has been regenerated by faith in Jesus Christ, they are reborn. This automatically causes some changes to occur.
For one there is a new sense of what is right and wrong. Our conscience is given a new sense of sensitivity. We hunger to do what is right. Our guilt is not just psychological but spiritual. Now, we want to please God with a life that matches His standards of purity. We feel the guilt that comes from living for ourselves.
Paul tells Titus that the temptations to live an ungodly and worldly life may seem attractive at first, but it will be frustrating and more and more unstatisfying. Yet, when we yield to it we are all too aware of our guilt. Instead, we long for the new passions of self-control, upright living and lives that enjoy God’s values and standards.
There is a motivation that fuels this desire. Once a person has been redeemed by Christ, that believer longs to be with Christ. He wants to see the Savior face to face. Jesus said that he would come back and maybe in the life time of the believer that return could happen. This eventual reunion could have a surprise early fulfillment if this “blessed hope” happens.
We have all experienced a glorious sight in our lives. For some of us it is an amazing sunset. For others it is the unique phenomenon of an erupting volcano. Of course for many it is the runion of reconnecting with a longtime friend or family member. A Christian longs to see the Savior face to face. Aferall, He redeemed us, cleaned us up and gave us a new appetite for what is good.
When a pastor teaches his people these truths he is advancing the will of Almighty God. A ministry like this gives him an authority that both encourages and rebukes for the purpose of helping others. Opposition has little impact on a person like this. Truth prevails and efforts to despise such a servant of God is impotent.
Yvonne and I made it on the plane with plenty of time to spare. We are not frequent fliers with this airline. That’s why they charged us $20 per piece of luggage. Of course that added up to $40 for both of us and ultimately, $80 round trip.
Once we were on the plane I mentally made a check list of all of the options that I had put on my master list to distract me during the 4 hour and 30 minute flight. This air carrier was sure to have at least one movie on a flight that was over 3 hours. Wrong! This carrier didn’t have any movie. Phooey! I had to scratch that idea off of my list.
Many passengers were still filing on to the plane. Two of them smacked with their carry-on luggage that they didn’t want to check so they brought it on the plane. They were thinking ahead! Most likely they have flown this carrier in their past and didn’t care to send me a heads-up notice. Oh well.
Next, I picked up their carrier on-board flight magazine. I would order something for Yvonne and me to share from their in-flight menu. If I can find a cheese or fruit option that would keep me entertained for at least 30 minutes.
“Yvonne,” I asked with a puzzled mind groping for answers, “do see an in-flight menu?”
“No,” she replied, “it doesn’t look like they have one.”
“Rats,” I muttered loudly, ” I guess that I’ll have to scratch that one off of my list too.”
By now the plane had taken off, the attendents had completed their in-flight do’s and don’ts and I was fumbling in my backpack for my book to read. Finally, I opened my novel to the marked page and began entering the world of the wild west, hearing guns blazing, horses racing and eating the dust from a frenzied chase through the high plains dessert. But, that was as far as I got before I got too antsy to read further.
Next, I retrieved my i-pod and listened to one song and one narration of Scripture. I yanked it all off, unbuckled my seat belt and went for a stretch walk. When I sat down, I took the temptation to look at my watch. We had been in the air for 1 hour and 12 minutes. Only 3 hours and 18 minutes left to go. Rats, I just don’t fly well.
photo credit: yahoo image
Have you had your routine disrupted by the break down of a modern convenience? We get comfortable with those additions that we too often take for granted. But, when they stop working, the moan from our voice is loud and long.
In my hand I had my truck keys. Just to keep that hand occupied and my load balanced, I was also carrying two books to bring with me just in case I could find a few moments to do some reading. It wasn’t too challenging of a balancing act.
That’s why the modern convenience of an automatic garage door opener is so nice. All I really needed was one finger to poke the button and raise the gateway to a new day. At least that what has been true for the past seven years.
This time the garage door raised about a foot and a half above the ground and stopped. That stopped me in my tracks. God gave us humans that quickness to assess problems and look for solutions.
I put down my items for the day and pushed the button that operates the opener again. This time the door lowered completely. I approached the door and looked for any obstructions.
Satisfied that nothing was in the way I pressed the button and watched for whatever was causing the stoppage. Again the door abruptly stopped part way up. Then I looked up and saw the problem.
The two massive springs that enable the weight of the door to be handled by a small electric motor were out of balance. One spring was broken. The imbalance could not be compensated by the rest of the system.
Now for a temporary measure I had to press the start button and race to the door and lift it up by hand. At least I was able to move the vehicles out of the garage. That would give me time to figure out a repair plan.
I had done such a repair on my own once in the past. I read my home improvement manual. It described the procedure simply and clearly.
The biggest drawback to this repair these springs is to deal with the massive tension. They had to be loaded properly, tightened equally, and secured. Any slip up and the powerful spring could unwind and send the tools flying through the air like a lethal weapon. It was time to call a professional.
photo credit: yahoo image