Thursday, December 24, 2009

Celebrating in the Locker Room!

I have been called Coach for 28 years now. (Sidebar----as my friend Mark asked me years ago, "Why are you called by your chosen profession?".............we don't say, "Salesman Bob, Mechanic Bill, Technician Mark, Store clerk Sara,..........oh well, I digress!) One of the toughest things in my profession is losing and winning. I know, you would think that the winning would be easy. But remember that so many times, when I win a game, I have a friend who is the coach of the other team and he just lost.

Years ago I began the practice of teaching my players that we cry or celebrate in the locker room. It is the place where emotions can be let out without offending or being judged by others. It is hard to celebrate a win when you know that a colleague just lost a game that might endanger his job. The other team has worked hard. The opposing coach has prepared them. But I also learned that you MUST celebrate the wins or the game is not worth playing!

Yesterday Chris and I received the best Christmas gift ever..........completely clear scans and tests. We both cried tears of joy as our oncologist said, "I truly think we can call this a solitary plasmacytoma. Your disease is still myeloma but I do not think it is multiple." What a year and words I thought I would never hear. The normally stoic Dr. Wyzynski hugged both of us in a huge bear hug. He said, "Please go tell your children Merry Christmas and you will live a long life."

I have spent many hours of the last year in the cancer center. Chris and I have precious friends all over this huge complex. Who do we tell first? My nurses in the infusion center. The radiologists who helped kill the tumor. My radiation doctor, who was so compassionate with me during the pain. Paul, the vampire, who takes my blood, and has become a precious friend. Sara, Shawn, Reba, Dr. Lei, Steve......................... but.....................we rounded the corner and saw our other friends, my fellow patients and sufferers.

The couple in infusion who are both going through chemotherapy together, the man and his wife who we have been praying for and they received the news she has Stage 4 cancer, the sweet lady in the wheelchair who is my fellow reader,..........................the eyes of pain that smiled as they saw us and said "Merry Christmas!"

Coming from a long line of "starched underpants, southern Baptist ministers", I am still learning the art of celebrating. Praise God for answered prayers. WOOOOOO HOOOOO! I am in my locker room and I am ecstatic, but my heart still breaks for my cancer brothers and sisters. My back still feels the pain of radiation, my stomach easily remembers the rejection of any nourishment because of the poison of chemo, the sleepless nights, listening to your wife and best friend cry herself to sleep, and the pity in the eyes of friends.

I celebrate, but my prayers are with you! May this be the best Christmas ever!

A Year of Change

This has been a year of change. In his book "Developing the Leader Within You", John Maxwell writes, "Change means traveling in uncharted waters, and this causes our insecurities to rise." Chris and I have definitely seen uncharted waters in the year 2009. Here are a few of the changes:
  • Our youngest daughter, Callie, had major reconstructive knee surgery in January
  • I not only missed my first basketball game in 28 years, I missed 16 of them
  • I finished 5 weeks of radiation in January
  • Our second grandson, Rance was born in March
  • My wife, Chris, graduated with her masters degree in May
  • I turned 50 years old in May and I was thrilled to see it!
  • Our superintendent retired and we lost our principal & friend to that position
  • Our oldest daughter, Kati, graduated from high school in June (valedictorian!)
  • Our youngest son, Derick, moved to Maryland in June
  • I finished 3 months of chemotherapy in June
  • In July, we were able to hold Rance for the first time
  • We lost our dog Gracie, an Akita, after losing her sister Maxine, last year
  • Our children, Ryan and Amanda, became church planters as they began a church in MD
  • I began my masters' degree and principal certification (BACK TO SCHOOL!)
  • In August, Kati moved to Denton to attend North Texas University
  • Callie became an only child
  • I had my second round of scans and tests, with no signs of new tumor
What a year! It has been a year of tough times, challenges, and extreme blessing. The uncharted waters have been scary but the journey is great!

Saturday, September 12, 2009


My life is filled with passwords. I may be required to use them, but I am such a creature of habit. Recently I have tried to follow the advice of my friend, Mark, who is our school's computer technician. He has repeatedly told me that I should use a password that includes a variety of lower and upper case, numbers and letters. I have failed miserably for the last 12 years to fulfill his wishes.

A couple of years ago, Mark was leading a computer inservice for our school district and using the LCD to demonstrate. He said he would log into this particular program as a teacher to lead the discussion. He typed in my name, hesitated, while staring at the screen and promptly entered my password on the first attempt. One faculty member was shocked and asked how do you know Coach Weaver's password. He replied, "I had a one out of two chance, and it was his cat."

You won't get into our bank account though. When I was setting up our online account, I was asked a series of questions. I guess I didn't pay attention to what they were asking and the first time Chris was logging she kept missing the answers. I had supplied several right answers to the wrong questions. Now that, my friends is security. Example: my maternal grandmothers' first name is not Chris' grandmother.............I guess since Chris is Mom at our home I thought........................................oh , never mind.

This year I have become an improved, computer savvy user of encrypted security. It's not working very well. I am just like the freshmen at our high school, who are issued a combination locker and then tape the combination to their locker. How do I remember all of these passwords? I keep getting frustrated, embarrassed, and even locked out of accounts. I feel like a criminal. Then I had an epiphany. No one wants into anything that I have anyway! I don't need this. Sorry, Mark!

It's the cat!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Oops, Please Look Below!

I have some new posts. They are out of order because I started them on earlier dates. Please look below and enjoy!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Sleepless in Seattle......NO....Portless in Honey Grove!!

On the first week of February, I had the this port placed in my body. It was a blessing. It prevented my veins from collapsing and I did not have to wait for an IV drip. The nurses were able to administer my chemotherapy and other drugs straight into my body through this port. It was in my chest and the tube went through the vena cava into my circulatory system.

Our good friend and sister, by choice, Kathy Clark, who you can see on a previous blog, called it my "man boob." For some reason the port always bothered me. (Not that I have anything against "man boobs, manzeers, or bros") It burned at unusual times, my blood pressure was always extremely low, and it was a constant reminder that I was fighting cancer. I wanted to return to an active lifestyle quickly and a medi-port in my body was an obstacle.

I thank God that I have a doctor, my oncologist, Dr. Wyzynsky, who will listen to his patients. After the good report from the scans and tests, I asked if could I have the medi-port removed. He reminded me that I would be having monthly medication and I was not in remission yet. I guess he could read my face because he then said, "We could take it out and if we need another one, we can put one in, right, Kevin Von?"

We made an appointment with the surgeon who "installed" the port. He looked at us and said that we should not remove it. I was not in remission and this type of cancer, in his experience, always came back. Ports weren't a big deal to live with and they certainly didn't cause problems with blood pressure. Thanks to my beautiful partner, Chris, who has walked every step of this battle with me, who said, "Our doctor said Kevin should have this taken out. He's had problems ever since you implanted this port. Have you ever had one of these in your body?" Well, needless to say, the port's out! The moral of the story is..............DON'T CROSS MY WIFE!

If I need another medi-port at a later time, I will get another one! In the meantime, the following slightly used port will be for sale. You can stop by and look at it at anytime. I can't list it on e-bay, because it's classified as a biohazard. I also spsort a "sweet" scar, that I will tell everyone on the beach, is from:
A) Knife wound from saving an elderly woman from a mugger, or
B) Removing a bullet from my chest in battle, by myself, or
C) Misjudging the basket while dunking, and cut my chest on the rim?

I am trying to bring humor to all of this, but I cannot praise Chris enough for all of the things she has done for me the last 9 months. She is the most loving, beautiful, and unselfish woman in the world. She prays with me, holds me, chauffers me as my driver, lets me cry when needed, holds my hand while suffering and my head while puking, lets me be honest about the pain, dresses me, pulls me out of "the cave" when I'm down, laughs with me at highly inappropriate times (like when I learned what a catheter was!!), and always reminds me that we can beat this.

I love you, Christine Dawn!
(This is Chris & me in Colorado this summer!)

Friday, August 7, 2009


I believe that poetry, music, and writings, many times allow us to see
into the soul of the creator. Music has always been a big part of my life.
When I was training for marathons, running
sometimes 50 miles a week, my music was a big part of my runs.

Last winter, while I was in the tough part of my cancer treatment, my son, Ryan wrote a
blog and included this song. He called me and told me to listen to it.
It is a song by Jack's Mannequin. The writer and singer of the song is telling his story
of his life with cancer, the treatment, and life on the other side of treatments.

Mount Rushmore

Have you ever wondered how much discussion there must have been to decide on the four presidents that were sculpted on Mount Rushmore? President Coolidge insisted, that along with George Washington, there should be 2 Republicans and 1 Democrat. Can you say "Politics?" The sculptor, Gutzon Borglum, chose Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Jefferson, and Theodore Roosevelt to join the image of George Washington. He said he chose these four presidents because of their influence on preserving the Republic and expanding its territory. Of course, the final choices were announced after funding was approved by Congress. (ha!)

So let's have some interactive fun, class. I am going to share with you my "Mt. Rushmore" choices in various areas. Post comments and enjoy!
*(The ideas shared on this blog are strictly the opinion of the blogger. They do not reflect the opinions of other Americans, Texans, or Fannin County residents, Microsoft, Macbook, basketball coaches, Republicans, or any other groups. If you don't like any of my choices................MAKE YOUR OWN DANG LIST!!)

Mt. Basketball Coaches - John Wooden, Red Auerbach, Bobby Knight, Roy Williams
(Why? Wooden = 10 championships and never wore a cap with "X" on it or told us how great he is. Auerbach=devotion to a team and players, helped break racial boundaries. Knight=beneath the crusty language and f-bombs is a great bb mind and loves his players. Williams=genuine, every time I have been around him, he has his feet firmly planted on the ground.)

Mt. Guitar Players - Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Johnny Lang, Tyler Dow Bryant
(Why? Buy some cd's and listen. Sorry, you will have to get out of the "Christian" genre but I know 2 of these artists are believers. Remember christian is a great noun!!) Honorable Mention...Dave Matthews, Phil Keaggy, and Chet Atkins.

Mt. Authors - Patricia Cornwell, Mark Driscoll, Dean Koontz, Max Lucado, Donald Miller, Mark Buchanan, Michael Connolly, John Grisham, Mark Twain, James Grippando, .....okay, so this is why I have a Kindle, we can't build this mountain!!!

Mt. Musical Artist - The Beatles, Chris Tomlin, Led Zeppelin, Charlie Hall.
(Why? Beatles- changed the world of music. Tomlin-great song writer & praise music -Grand Saline, TX. Led Zeppelin- cause I like to run to their music. Charlie Hall- another great musician and my nephew went shopping with him!! Shout out to ADAM!!)

Mt. Athletes - Mohammed Ali, Michael Jordan, Roger Staubach, Nolan Ryan
(Why? Ali, while one of the greatest athletes of all time, has now become a champion in saving lives. Jordan.....enough said. Staubach, great on field accomplishments & just a CLASSY gentleman. Nolan Ryan, continues to help my Texas Rangers compete. Always has time for the fans.)

Mt. Restaurants - Starbucks, Saltgrass, Marble Slab, Starbucks
(Why? I really enjoy food, but my dream day.........start the morning at Starbucks with a great cup of joe, eat a medium rare ribeye at Saltgrass (caesar salad & baked sweet potato), ice cream at the Slab, and then back to the Buck for a "Triple Grande, skinny, Vanilla Latte!"

Mt. Football Coaches - Tom Landry, Vince Lombardi, Tony Dungy, Bud Wilkinson
(All four were GREAT coaches and CLASSY!)

Mt. Bicyclist - Lance Armstrong (in 4 different poses!) LIVE STRONG!!

Mt. "Places I Want To See" - New York City, Boston, Italy, Europe
(Why? Not giving up on my dream to run a marathon in NY or Boston, Italy for the food, and the rest of Europe for the history & castles.)

Mt. "Young Heroes of the Faith" - Jeremy Higle, Ryan Weaver, Adam Hendrix, Bruce Kendrick
(Who are these young men? Men who have found their passion and followed God in a way that amazes me! Jeremy is my cousin. He and his wife are missionaries in places that I cannot name for safety reasons. Ryan is my son. He and his wife are now planting a church on the east coast. Adam is my nephew. Adam and his wife are serving a church in Chicago that takes Christ to the streets in a way that is unbelievable. Bruce is a former player. He and his wife have begun a full time ministry for orphans. I will let each of these young men share more and with their permission will share web-sites later.)

Mt. "Best TV Shows" (after 1999) - Lost, Fringe, Boston Legal, The Office
(Why? Cause I said so!)

Mt. "Best TV Shows" (before 1999) - Andy Griffith, Seinfeld, Friends, Bewitched
(Why? Andy is my life and I learned to whistle while watching this show in my dad's lap, Seinfeld is truly hilarious, Friends because it makes me laugh, and Bewitched because Samantha always had a crush on me.)

Mt. "Movies" - Young Frankenstein, Sixth Sense, Apollo 13, Hoosiers
(Why? I really don't know!)

Mt. "Most Beautiful Women" - Chris Weaver (4 different poses)
(Why? Because it is true and I care for my life!!!)

Well, it's late and I am tired! Let the discussions begin!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Fire & Rain

What is the hardest thing that you have ever done? Before this year, I would have quickly answered, "training for and running marathons." This has now changed. I have survived six months of fire and rain; radiation and chemotherapy. This process reminded me of a long-ago conversation I had with my dad, a pastor for 35 years. An elderly man in his church had suffered relapse with cancer, and this man had chosen not to receive treatment a second time. I remember quickly telling my father that I couldn't understand this - why would anyone not do everything he could to survive and prolong his life? I now understand.

I thank God daily for providing treatment for my disease, but the provision was a tough ride. On June 16th, I took my last chemotherapy treatment. In addition, I endured a day of tests and scans. While the doctors will not say that I am in remission at this time, they are encouraged that there are no signs of other tumors. My diagnosed cancer is multiple myeloma. Even the name suggests the biggest characteristic of this disease - multiple. Only 5% of those diagnosed with MM are distinguished as Solitary Plasmacytoma, and right now, I am a part of this five percent. Even the oncologists seemed shocked, yet elated, that no other tumors were detected. Praise God!

This picture shows a few of my care providers. They are my infusion nurses who have administered my chemo and medication. I still go once a month for treatment. What a calling these nurses have, not to mention they are the CRAZIEST people I have been around during this chapter of my life! They refuse to let you be sad or withdraw. It's a therapy that's been good for me. God has shown me laughter even on the darkest days through these "angels."

I look forward to another year of school, basketball, and time with my family. I look forward to seeing what other miracles God will bring my way. I look forward to sharing my thoughts on my blog. STAY TUNED!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Lions,Tigers, and Bears...........Oh my!

20 Benaiah was the son of Jehoiada, the son of a valiant man from Kabzeel, who had done many deeds. He had killed two lion-like heroes of Moab. He also had gone down and killed a lion in the midst of a pit on a snowy day. And David appointed him over his guard. 2 Sam 23:20,23 (NKJV)

One of the books I am reading is In A Pit With A Lion on a Snowy Day by Mark Batterson. He uses the scripture above to define people that are lion chasers and then tells their stories. I hope I have raised my children to be lion chasers. Lion chasers are willing to take a chance. They realize that life is short and sometimes you have to risk it all to obtain the prize. Lion chasers win games, succeed in life, help others, and..........................plant churches.

This last week our son and daugher, Ryan and Amanda announced that they will become church planters this next fall. They are in Salsibury, Maryland. Ryan is serving as a youth minister at this time, but he has turned in his resignation. He will be starting a church. Is it a safe move? No; but it is needed.

When we talk about stewardship, most think that we are talking about our money. That is only one tiny part. We must be stewards of our imagination, our dreams, our talents, our energy, and even our humor. Stewardship is all-inclusive.

I am proud of our children who are lion chasers! Ryan and Amanda, we are proud of you and we will pray for you daily.

For more information you may go to

Happy Birthday! A Kindle!

My birthday is approaching, more quickly than I would like, but it is not this month. Chris can never tease me again about not being able to wait. Years ago I bought Chris a complete cookware set from Pampered Chef. They were delivered to me in October and I planned on giving the gift to Chris when we moved into our new home in January. That evening, Chris looked at me and said, "What's going on with you? You have a funny look on your face." I answered with a "poker face," "Don't move! I bought you something and I can't wait to give it to you!"
Saturday morning, we were in the kitchen preparing breakfast for the kids and I walked out to the porch. Chris asked me to stay right there because they had something for me. My "other" parents (you might call them in-laws) and Chris had bought me a Kindle 2. What is a Kindle? It is an electronic device that will wirelessly download books, hold over 1,500 books and magazines, and will read aloud to you, if you so desire. Wow - unlimited access to literally tons of reading material!
By noon, I had twelve books downloaded on my Kindle, including two versions of the Bible - and I was in heaven. Wow! I sat and read for hours. I have always loved to read, but with my new life, I have been reading even more. Doctor appointments, waiting rooms, chemotherapy treatments, VERY early mornings...........all of these are times that a book helps me keep my sanity.
Thank you, Chris, for knowing and loving me! Thank you, Dad & Mom-2 (Danny & Zora) for giving me a special treat. Gotta go, I have books to read!

Pushing The Monster Back In The Box

In November, I was diagnosed with cancer. I had surgery to remove the majority of the tumor. This was followed by five weeks of radiation and I just finished my third cycle of chemotherapy. This is the halfway mark for the chemo and I should finish on June 19th. After that, I do not know what is ahead. I will have scans and tests and we will make the decision for the next step in this battle.

In my real life, B.C. (before cancer), I was a math teacher/basketball coach. I am now trying to fight cancer and still fullfill these responsbilities. As a basketball coach, we have our own special language. My wife, Chris, is used to going on "scouting dates," discussing things like hedge, double, slam, open, baseline leg, flex, motion,.....................Yes, we seem to have our own language. I have learned that there is also a language spoken at the cancer center. I have had to learn it. Port, accessing the port, platelet counts, white blood cell count, red blood cell count, chemotherapy, radiation, myeloma, solitary plasmacytoma, stem cell transplant, bone marrow biopsy, etc... but the word we, as cancer patients, are all striving for is remission. Remission is defined as the reduction of a sentence or a temporary recovery.

This is what we cancer patients & survivors are all waiting to reach. We sit in our infusion contraptions receiving our chemo, and someone walks through the door. Although they are not quite treated like a "rockstar," they seem to have a celebrity status; they are family. As the person is introduced, (and they are always introduced) you are told, "This is _______, he/she has been in remission for the last ___ years/months." It's like a goal to reach, the prize at the end of the journey.

Why radiation? Why chemotherapy? We want to put the monster back in the box! It takes two years of clear tests and scans to be awarded the title of "in remission." Of all the titles I have obtained in my life, this is the title I covet. I want the monster.......................BACK IN THE BOX!!!!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

A Cancer Patient, Contender, & Survivor....SMILE!

I have had many of you say to me that I do not talk about my struggle with this disease enough on my blog. I do want to keep everyone informed, but I have enjoyed using my writings as an outlet. I guess in a way it is still hard for me to realize that I have cancer. Yesterday Mrs. Jones, a fellow math teacher, called me to her room to hand me a Relay For Life form. In my mind, I was already thinking how neat it would be to walk and participate, and then I realized that the form was for a cancer survivor. Reality..................I have cancer!

Why cancer? Why me? Instead of training and running to raise funds for others, I am the person with the disease.

What are the struggles? Some mornings, simply getting out of bed. Some days, failing to smile at others when the pain is intense. Some evenings, letting Chris rub my hands and feet because of the neuropathy that numbs,burns and stings. Some mornings, waking up at 2:30 a.m. when sleep is not an option. Some days, the chemotherapy makes me sick and I ache. Even through these struggles, I want to SMILE!

Reality of cancer is everywhere, but I choose to ignore it. Life is a vapor, and I choose to smile. I will let my daughter, Callie, share her feelings about a poem, Smile, that she read for her English class. This is her paper explaining why she chose the poem, Smile.
When I first spotted this poem, the only reason I really enjoyed it is was because it was so short. But as I read it over and over in the day, the meaning began to crawl out. I relate the word sunshine in the poem to time. Nothing big or fancy, just simply, time. It's a word that doesn't scare me by its meaning, but by not getting enough of it. I always dwell on having 3 long and boring more years of high school, and then right after that, 4 or more years of college! But I'm not so sure anyone stops to think about how quickly time slips away, not just by getting older, but by nagging about all the time. It's ironic really when in all honesty, we should be celebrating the fact that we have more time with our best friends, we have more time with our favorite sports, or in this case, I have more time with my father who has cancer. Time is a scary thing that people continue to take for granted. For others, time may be replaced with a certain object or a certain someone, but my time has been replaced by a cancer. It's a cancer that has a mind of its own. It's a cancer that has a ticking clock that can go off at any moment. It's a cancer that has its own time. So this poem opened my eyes to smile while time still hangs delicately in the air. So I say smile while you still can, smile while American Idol booms from your speakers, smile while it's your birthday, and smile while your father still lives! Don't wake up wishing you would have smiled a little more than the day before.


Smile, my sunshine,

for I am smiling, too.

All the while

that I've got you,

smile, my sunshine,


Innocent Once

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The List Blog

I had to keep (babysit) a class the other day, so I grabbed a few magazines from the library to peruse while I was sitting. One of the mags was Time, and it was the "list issue." Of course, my brain began to assemble some of my own lists and I thought .............I feel a BLOG!!!
These lists are for the last month and I reserve the right to change my mind. These lists are strictly the opinion of the author (Kevin Weaver) and do not reflect the opinion of any other person. No animals were harmed while writing this blog. Opps, I lied, I just kicked the cat off of my legs!

Top 5 Things Beside The Road While Running
1) Bungees (broken & not)
2) Bottles and cans
3) Cigarette butts
4) Diapers (yuck!)
5) License plates

Top 5 Books I Read Recently
1) They Like Jesus But Not The Church Dan Kimball
2) Scarpetta Patricia Cornwell
3) The Jesus of Suburbia Mike Erre
4) Lance Armstrong's War Daniel Coyle
5) About Myeloma Asad Bashley, MD,PhD

Top 5 Songs On My IPOD
1) I Will Rise Chris Tomlin
2) Caves Jack's Mannequin
3) Thankful Johnny Lang
4) Better Together Jack Johnson
5) Curbside Prophet Jason Mraz
Top 5 Foods Eaten In Our Kitchen Recently
1) Milkshake (Blue Bell- Moo-llenium Crunch & Non-Fat Milk!)
2) Oatmeal Cookies (Chris, I love you!)
3) Cilantro Crusted Tilapia
4) Mandarin Orange Spinach Salad
5) Chris' Meat Loaf
Top 5 Noises You Hear In The Morning At Our House
1) Coffee Pot Perking (It doesn't really percolate?!?)
2) Alarm clocks going off (Some for a long time!)
3) The shower upstairs.
4) Music upstairs, three different players in 3 rooms, all playing different music!!)
5) Shouts of "You have ___ minutes before it's time to leave!"
Top 5 TV Shows that are Weaver Tivoed
1) Lost
2) Fringe
3) 24
4) Grey's Anatomy
5) Diners, Drive-ins, & Dives
Top 5 Unused Biblical Names
1) Dodo (II Samuel 23:24-No matter how smart, the boy will never live down that name!)
2)Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz (Isaiah 8:3 - Boy would have to go by a nickname!)
3)Bukki (I Chronicles 6:51-Might be used if boy has large incisors!)
4)Hoglah (Joshua 17:3 - Only should be used if girl is a feeder of swine!)
5)Jezebel (I King 19:2 - No explanation necessary.)
To Be Continued.................................................................................

Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Comfort Zone

Chris and I would like you to meet our new grandson, Rance D Weaver. He is the son of Ryan and Amanda, & the brother of Ryland Von. His middle name is D, with no period and no ee's. Even though he is in Maryland, you might notice that he is dreaming about Texas and the time he will spend with Pops and Lolly.

So what about his name? What is the big deal with names? By the way, the name Rance means "shield and defender." Names symbolize who we are and what we represent. There is nothing more special, nothing that will stop you more quickly in your tracks, than hearing someone say YOUR name. During our lives, we become comfortable, or get used to, hearing our names.

So, who are you?
We spend most of our lives answering this question. Our name represents who we are, but it is another journey entirely, to get comfortable and secure with who we really are.
At the end of Romans there is one verse that is simple, but profound.

22 I, Tertius, who wrote this epistle, greet you in the Lord. Romans 16:22 (NKJV)

I am astonished by this short, simple verse. Tetrius was the scribe for Paul in writing the book of Romans and he sends a "shout out" to other believers. This one verse is all we know of this man, but I sense that he is very secure in himself, as he sends out a short greeting to the church to which Paul was writing. So what prevents us from having this security?

I think that the biggest obstacle we have to overcome is "others." We worry about what others think of us and what we look like in the eyes of others. This concern can infiltrate all areas of our lives - our occupations, our vehicles, our houses, our clothes, and even our religion. We should focus on ourselves, who we are on the inside and who we believe ourselves to be, rather than being preoccupied with others' notions of us. There is another Bible story that helps us realize this truth. Jesus is with His disciples, after the resurrection, and he reveals to Peter how the twilight years of his life will be. Instead of standing there, amazed at what Jesus has just told him about his own future, he is immediately concerned about John's years ahead. Why?

21 Peter, seeing him, said to Jesus, "But Lord, what about this man?" 22 Jesus said to him, "If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you? You follow Me." John 21:21-22(NKJV)

Jesus is saying, don't worry about others. Don't look around you! Be comfortable with yourself, secure in who you are and the life God has prepared for you. I wonder how many seconds, minutes, days, months, or even years I have wasted by worrying about others, what they think of me, or what their lives hold for them?

This day I choose, just to follow, with my eyes on Him!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

There's An Elephant in the Room (Shorty's Sermon)

If you have read my blogs at all, I am sure you realize that I am a follower of Jesus Christ. You might not know, that I am not only the son of a Southern Baptist minister, but my grandfather was a minister, and now my oldest son, Ryan, is an ordained minister. It breaks my heart to tell you some troubling news. The church, as I know the church, is suffering and quite possibly dying. I do not want to bore you with the statistics, I want to ask you, if you attended a church growing up, to describe that church now. How many people between the ages of 21 and 35 attended this church? Use one word to describe the church of your childhood.
I love Jesus. I love the church. Change must happen if we want to connect to culture around us. I am reading an informative book, They Like Jesus, But Not The Church, by Dan Kimball. This man is a pastor, and one of the things he did was to get out of the church office. Now you must understand that his church allowed him to do this, but would you? He began to get his hair cut in a different area of town, prepare his sermons at the local coffee shop, and began to get out of the Christian bubble. As he talked to people, he found out that they respect and like Jesus, but they don't like the church.

So why am I calling this Shorty's sermon? We have an aerobic septic system and have a maintenance agreement. This last summer Shorty came out to work on our system. Chris and I visited with him and he shared how he was attending a cowboy church. We had a great conversation. Little did we know what the next few months would hold for either of us.

This past fall, I was diagnosed with cancer. During the same season, God called Shorty to start a church outside of Sulphur Springs. He started this church with 2 families. They now have 70-80 in attendance each Sunday. They have purchased an abandoned Methodist church building and he said that each Sunday he waits to see who will attend and what they will be wearing. He said he's even attended dressed in overalls to let the people know it's not what's on the outside that's important. His last sermon series was on refusing to judge the world around us, just to LOVE. I truly believe his heart matches Jesus' heart. People are drawn to Jesus.

As Shorty shared his story, Chris and I were captivated. I can't share everything he told us, but this part tells enough. According to Shorty, one Saturday night he was invited to a cookout and country singing. Of course, he said that most of the group was getting drunk, but he said he stayed anyway. He realized that some of the group didn't have tables at which to eat, so he said if someone would help him, he would get tables from his church. One of the men volunteered to go with him. Shorty said the man asked how he had keys to a church, to which Shorty replied, "I am the pastor." The man remarked, "If I ever went to a church, the ceiling would cave in!" When Shorty and his new friend arrived at the church, and the man got out with beer in hand. Shorty said that he turned around because the man had paused outside the door. He asked Shorty, "Aren't you going to tell me to leave this longneck outside?" Pastor Shorty replied, "That's between you and God." Needless to say, the man left his drink on the steps. This man and his family are the most recent new members at Cross Timber Cowboy Church. Shorty finished this account by adding, "His wife and kids are believers and strong, but God's Spirit will fix the man soon."

We must learn the lesson of allowing the Holy Spirit to convict. Our job is simply to love. We must reach out to the world around us, not hiding behind a tract or telling them to meet our pastor. Get to know people, connect to them and love them! Be to others what Jesus has been to you. On Sunday, we should gather and worship Jesus together as His body of believers. On Monday, we should head back to the world ready to love without judgement.

And Jesus said to her, "Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more." John 8:11 (NKJV)

11 And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to His disciples, "Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?" 12 When Jesus heard that, He said to them, "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 13 "But go and learn what this means: 'I desire mercy and not sacrifice.' Matt 9:11-13

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Look! Up in the sky!

Yesterday as I was driving to chemotherapy, I heard a news report that really got me to thinking. The report said that three more major newspapers have closed their doors just in the last week. I can't remember all of the numbers and statistics, but the business of printing and selling newspapers is in a precarious state. Will our children even ever buy a newspaper at a newsstand? Will the newsstand be headed to extinction to join the phone booth?

So when was the last time that you went into a phone booth to make a call? When is the last time that you even saw a phone booth or a public phone? I think we have survived very well without the phone booth on every corner, but didn't you worry where Superman would change into his suit, as these public utilities began to disappear?

I don't want to be a dinosaur. I want to accept change and to also embrace change, as I use technology in the classroom and in my everyday life. I like this quote that I had on my board at school.

"Disconnecting from change does not recapture the past. It loses the future."
Kathleen Norris

I have to admit that I was a little sad as I listened to this news report and I realized that newspapers are on the way out. I am the first to admit that I now go online each morning and peruse at least three newspapers. Many of our young people have rarely, if ever, read a newspaper in the print form. But wait, there are things that an online newspaper cannot provide! I feel these things will be missed:
  • What will we use to start our fires? Newspapers have provided country boys with free kindling for years. E-news does not provide this dual use.

  • The crinkle of the pages of the newspaper being turned at the Saturday breakfast table. Will our children have memories of the the computer booting up?

  • Memories of fighting over the "funnies." You can't separate sections of the electronic news.

  • The newspaper that is left at the coffee shop or restaurant for others to read. You won't leave your laptop to share the news with others.
  • Rolling up the newspaper, placing it strategically in your back pocket, and going to the bathroom. Much of the news has been read by Kevin Weaver while sitting alone on the porcelain throne. I can honestly say that I have never taken my laptop to the toilet.

  • Holidays at G-G's house (my mom) as my two brother-in-law coaches and I fought over the sports page. To the winner would go the spoils, and to the loser, the sale ads. Guess those fights will soon be over.
  • The all-important paper-boys (speaking as a former paper deliverer) have all but vanished. Not quite the same "zing" in a double click as in hearing that paper bundle hit your front porch (or roof top - whoops!).
Evolution is defined as "a process of change in a certain direction." I might not always like the direction, but if I want to be a valid, functioning part of this ever changing world, I must embrace and connect to it.

Sunday, March 1, 2009


My wife, Chris, used to jokingly call me the "Energizer Bunny," because before I was diagnosed with cancer, I could hardly sit still. From vaccuming the carpet to washing the laundry to mowing the lawn, she would say that I made her tired and she could never seem to keep up with me. It think it's just my personality to constantly be busy - but an energizer?

A study from of the University of Virginia found that "someone who is energizing elevates the performance of other people around them." So exactly what does it mean to be an energizer? I don't think you can "google" it, but I know the traits of the people I have known that have elevated my performance.

First, it might help us to understand what an energizer is not:

  1. It is not a person who is a cheerleader, full of false enthusiasm.

  2. An energizer is not a wild-eyed optimist.
  3. Any particular personality type.
So what is an energizer? An energizer is a person who brings out the best in others by investing in them. How? By making sure the person that they are with feels that he or she is the most important person in the world. For example, if you are an energizer and a person comes to talk to you, then you devote your undivided attention to that person with eye contact and a conversation filled with questions and interaction.

An energizer can be a shy person, but he or she focuses on possibilities, not restraints. Negative comments and put-downs are not a part of the energizer's vocabulary. When you walk away from an energizer, you are glad you had time with them and in some way, he or she makes you proud of who you are and what you do. An energizer genuinely cares for others.
23 And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, Col 3:23 (NKJV)

I am learning that I have a long way to go. I need to improve - first at home, and then at school & church!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


Have you ever had something happen that should really make you angry, but it is just so bizarre that it is funny? I had one of those moments at ..................................................THE

That's right, sing it with me, "Working at the car wash, .......whoa, whoa, whoa..............
My car wash story goes like this. We were going to Plano last Saturday, so Chris could pick out her desk for her office at the new Honey Grove High School. We were going through McKinney and we decided to pull through the car wash, for a quick $4.95, exterior wash. We live on some "rustic" roads, so our black car was brown at this point. The car wash line was long on this beautiful day, as many patrons were waiting for their chance to be clean. I waited patiently with my five dollar bill in hand, and even planned on telling the lucky worker to keep the change. After about 20 minutes, the car wash employee finally walked toward our car and said, "Sorry, man, we can't wash your car today. It's too dirty."
I quickly looked around because I knew there were two options. We were either on Candid Camera, or one of my coaching buddies was sitting inside the car wash building and had paid this young man more than a nickel tip to tell me my car was too dirty for the car wash. Well, I didn't see any cameras and the young man seemed quite solemn. You see, at this car wash, it is automatic. There's really not much manual labor involved for the wash I was asking for. I just pull through and sit in my car while machines do all the washing. Here is a picture of the car. Let me add, we had not been 4-wheeling, and our car has been dirtier.
Thinking I had possibly mis-heard this young man, I replied, "You are kidding, aren't you?" The employee answered, "I wish I was." Chris was outraged and my daughter, Kati, was livid. We continued to sit there with my mouths open and waiting for the punch line. It occurred to me that we were melded into the line of hopeful, and somewhat impatient, drivers, so I asked the employee, "So how are we were going to get out of this line of cars?" The young, master -judger of filth, said he would ask people to back up and he would help us. So he felt very sure it would be an easier task to move 15 cars out of the way with hardly a 3-foot lee-way than to allow our car to go through the wash! I then asked why they didn't tell us about the "too dirty" problem when we entered this line appoximately 25 minutes ago. He answered, "That probably would have been a better way to do this." Wow! Rejected at a car wash.
I am so glad that this is a story that is strange & humorous, but doesn't match the other places I could have been rejected in my life's journey.
  1. Thank you, Mom and Dad, for not making the choice of saying, "That oldest boy of ours just requires too much time and effort." "He's just too needy!"
  2. I appreciate Mrs. Tuttle, my 1st grade teacher, who continued to check the box on report cards.......*Talks too much.........but never stopped teaching me.
  3. I never thought I would say this, "Thank you, Coach Jones, for believing in me and whipping my hind-end when I needed it." You never said I was "too mischievious."
  4. Ever since I was diagnosed with cancer, my friend and principal, Jeff Clark, has shown grace to a teacher/coach, by allowing him to try to do his job, even though he is dealing with disease and treatment. Not once have I been told that I was too sick.
  5. Do you know that the most beautiful woman in the world married me? Why, you ask. I truly do not know. I have never been too poor, ugly, immature, etc.... Thank you, Chris. You are truly my best friend, and I adore you.
  6. But the thing that I will never comprehend is that the son of God, Jesus Christ, died for me. I was not too dirty! I did not have to clean up, straighten up, or fix-up. While I was covered in dirt, Christ died for me.
8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8 (NKJV)

Sunday, February 1, 2009

It Is Good!

The word "Christian" is a great noun, but it can cause problems when we use it as an adjective. I am not an English teacher, nor a son of an English teacher, but my best friend, Chris, is an English major and she proofs all of my ramblings. I think I remember that a noun is a person, place, or thing. And an adjective describes. But, since Chris corrects for me, you will never know if I was right or wrong! Anyway...a Christian is a believer or a disciple (learning follower) of Jesus Christ. The word Christian is a type of person, thus a noun.

An adjective is a term used to show a quality of a noun or the quantity of something that it might possess. In other words, if we attach "Christian" as an adjective to a noun, then we are a labeling this person, place, or thing as possessing Christian qualities. Rob Bell, an author and pastor, while I do not agree with everything he believes, writes about this in his book, Velvet Elvis. So who decides if music is "Christian?" Wal-Mart employees, as they stock CD's? Who decides if a television show is "Christian?" Direct TV or perhaps the networks? I am a Christian, and God does speak to me and teach me through some bizarre circumstances and unusual avenues, that others might not label as Christian. All of this foreward is to begin to explain a recent "Amen" experience.

Chris and I love to watch the television show, The Dog Whisperer.

I do not know if Cesar Millan is a Christian. I know his show would not be considered a "Christian" show, but it is entertaining and many times educational. As Cesar likes to say, he trains people and rehabilitates dogs. I think that Chris, with her counseling background, is intrigued with the way that the dogs usually display the problems and shortcomings of the owners. I just enjoy watching the dogs try to bite him!

Last week, Cesar was at a monestary in Washington D.C., that is in a bad part of town. The priests had obtained a German Shepherd to help them protect their property, but the dog, Jerry, was out of control and violent. Cesar was called to the scene. He then began to teach a lesson of balance to the priests. He described the spiritual world and the earthly world. Cesar said that his grandfather taught him two important lessons. First, do not go against nature. Do not try to humanize a dog. A dog is a part of the "earth world." And the second lesson was that activities require balance. A dog becomes a reflection of you and the balance that you have in your life.

One priest then asked, "Why did we end up with a dog that requires so much?" Cesar Millan answered the priests by saying, "God does not give us what we want. He always will give us what we need to help us grow." Yes, Cesar, I agree! Isn't it awesome to hear God speak through a venue that we don't expect? A scripture that was shared today in worship agrees with the Dog Whisperer.

19 And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus. 20 Now to our God and Father be glory forever and ever. Phil 4:19-20 (NKJV)

Why do I have cancer? Why not? C.S. Lewis says, "Do not ask why the righteous suffer, ask why not? We are the ones who should be able to handle it." Thank you, Cesar, for reminding me (even through a show that is not labeled "Christian") that God is more worried about my character than my comfort. The praise be to God!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

It Takes A Team!

Marathon running, like mountain climbing, is not for the faint of heart. Of course, that hasn't stopped people from climbing mountains or running marathons. While parts of both of these endeavors, (serious, determined effort), involve individual passion and committement, the success usually is determined by the team. I learned this lesson of survival in my scuba-training, as we were taught to "never dive alone!"

Mount Everest has claimed many lives and they say that there are over 120 bodies still on the mountain today. In 1935, climbers found the lone body of Maurice Wilson, an Englishman who had sneaked into Tibet and tried to climb the mountain secretly without government approval. He hired only three porters and as they approached the North Col, those men refused to go any farther with him. Wilson decided to go alone and that decision killed him.

John Maxwell, writes, in his book, The 17 Indisputable Laws of Teamwork, that you can never build a team during a crisis. The team needs to be assembled and ready to help when the crisis or problems begin. Last Sunday, I had a wonderful reminder that I am not alone.
Chris and I are a part of the greatest Bible study class in the world. That's right, you heard it hear first. They have allowed me to teach and study God's Word with them for the last four years. We have struggled with the name of this group because we don't fit into a proper normal category. This group consists of all ages, some couples, some half-couples, and a diversified group from many walks of life. We jokingly call ourselves the Misfits, and one of our ministers, Rex Jackson, agrees with this name. (Ha!)
Last Sunday, I was sitting and enjoying a special time of worship. We had participated in singing a couple of my favorite worship songs and my favorite hymn, (a separate blog), when our pastor, Lyn Holly announced that we would have a special presentation. NO! Not now! I quickly perused the bulletin, and there it was, a special presentation. That settles it, if it is in the order of worship, we have to do it and, of course, if it is not in the bulletin, we can't. It's the Baptist Way! Would this be for a SS pin and years of unbroken attendance? Perhaps a donation for the clothes closet? Then, Mike Jones, a special friend and fellow misfit walked to the front. Misfits rose from their seats to come join Mike at the front of the church. Don Winkler, another special friend, had made a beautiful wooden shadow box and the class had signed and writtten notes of encouragement on my race shirt that I had worn on my first marathon. Yes, tears soon followed.
I have pre-op work on Tuesday, 2/3. On Wednesday, I will have day surgery to have a double mediport implanted. I will begin chemotherapy the next week and will continue this treatment through June. On my mind right now, is a group of young men I am honored to coach, who depend on me as we try to obtain a play-off spot in a very tough district. During this time I do not know what to expect. But I have been reminded that I am not alone! My team has been prepared ahead of me. I promise to tell this group of prayer warriors and friends, (the Misfits), what I need and how they can help during the months ahead.
The Race of Faith
1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, Heb 12:1-2 (NKJV)

Thank you for the reminder, my friends. Chris and I love you more than you know. This "season" will be over soon and I look forward to the day that I will lead this group again. Keep praying and keep cheering! I will finish!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Your Life Is An Occasion, Rise To It!

Our friend, Kathy Clark, bought us a decorative plate that we have in our kitchen, near our coffee pot. I read it each morning, usually as I wait patiently for the first cup. The plate has written on it:

"If You Can Walk, You Can Dance! If You Can Talk, You Can Sing

This is the way that I want to live my life. Jesus said He came to give us a life of joy! Can I live with the courage to be filled with this joy that I was given

C.S Lewis said, "Joy is the serious business of heaven." The apostle Paul wrote, "Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say rejoice." Every breath is a gift from heaven. I will visit with you later about some of the things we celebrate as a family, because the Bible is filled with holidays, "holy days," that were times of joyful celebration. Instead, I would like to let my daughter, Kati, share with you her writing skills, as she describes a movie that made a profound impact on my family and me.

Kati wrote the following paper this fall for her English class. After I read it, I asked her for a copy of it because it not only describes the movie and the main character, but she does an excellent job of describing what the movie taught me. Enjoy!

“Thirty-Seven Seconds”

“We breathe. We pulse. We regenerate. Our hearts beat. Our minds create. Our souls ingest. Thirty-seven seconds well spent.” These are the words of one of the greatest fictional characters to whom I have ever been introduced. This man recognized that each second of waiting was not meant to be spent in vain. To him, each moment served an important purpose to the rest of his life. Yes, this man made sure his life was purposeful and different than anyone else’s around him. It is such an admirable aspiration to decide to live a stress free life and know it isn’t solely about you. Although fictional, this person takes up that challenge and can truthfully say he lives out both these ideals. His name is Mr. Magorium from the movie Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium. When I first saw this movie, I was enchanted, inspired. “I want to step into his shoes even if it’s just for a day,” I thought to myself. I mean, who wouldn’t want to be Mr. Magorium?

You see, Mr. Magorium runs a magical toy store and has fun with his life. I know many of you are thinking that this thought is simply absurd, positively juvenile, but I honestly would love this type of life. Mr. Magorium doesn’t have a simple and worry-free daily routine either. He just chooses to live that way. Daily, he makes the choice to smile and not fret about every little detail. I, like many others I know, cultivate a crop of ulcers in my stomach when inevitably a minor part of the puzzle ceases to fit into place. Instead of logically trying to fix the puzzle piece, I throw my hand to my forehead palm outward and cry, “What ever shall I do?” Mr. Magorium realizes that this is no way to live. He enjoys the children running through his emporium. He enjoys watching their wide eyes sparkle in awe as the big book makes toys come to life. He enjoys the quizzical looks on the parents’ faces as the store lives and breathes. While many would pass by these small details without another glance, Magorium stops and bathes in the moment, soaking up all its beauty.

That’s just the beginning of the wonder. Magorium is a 243-year old man who desires to make every person smile. Most old men I know are choleric and only concerned with themselves. In contrast, Mr. Magorium is certain of and lives his purpose, and even though to some it might seem insignificant, he accepts his calling and finds it rich. Many self-centered people would refuse to accept this seemingly insignificant role because it means sacrificing self to others. In today’s society, it is always about me, me, me. Insightfully, Mr. Magorium chooses to live for everyone else. He concerns himself with Mahoney, Eric, Bellini, the mutant, the children in the toy store, etc. Even as his last pair of shoes wears out, along with his life, Magorium never stops smiling, proving that nothing is ever about him. Just stop and imagine how different the world would be if no one was selfish.

Magorium’s attitude is so amazing. I’ve never known anyone with this kind of outlook on life. His gift to humanity can be summed up in his response to self-doubting Mahoney’s questioning statement, “There are probably a million uses for this block of wood, but I don’t know what to do with it.” Magorium simply replies, “Yes, there are probably a million uses for the block of wood, but just think what it could accomplish if someone just believed in it.” Magorium helps others to believe in themselves. He is the type of person that sparks a smile. He is the type of person that finds purpose in helping others find theirs. He is the type of person that leaves a lasting legacy—the type of person I’d like to be. I want to lead a life seeing the good in people. Helping others without a thought for myself. Living in wonder and in enjoyment, touching the lives of those around me. In each moment, I want to breathe, pulse, and regenerate. I want my heart to beat, my mind to create, and my soul to ingest. I want my thirty-seven seconds to be well spent.

Thank you, Kati! I want my time to be well spent also!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Home Alone : All Dressed Up & No Way To Go!

Welcome to my world of change. I am trying to begin the transition back into the real world...but what does that mean? Actually, it means I am struggling with my return to the real world in many ways.

Many people have "stood in the gap" for me as I have begun this journey - through surgery, through treatment. Now I am finding out what I can really do. My principal and close friend, Jeff Clark, is so patient with me as he helps me find a new role at the school. Ruth Ann Jones, a collegue and friend, has taken over the responsibility of teaching my three geometry classes. My assistant coach and former player, Gabe Lane, is incredible as he has filled (and continues to fill) my shoes. He now is working with me as I rediscover the art of coaching and connecting with students. I have forced our girls coach, Kathy Clark, to become a "techie", learning to replace video cameras and dubbing tapes to DVD's for me, so I could keep stats updated and watch our games. Steve Arthur, a dear friend, has taught, and continues to teach, our SS class. He has been such a blessing to this special group of friends as I have healed. But the one person who has picked up the slack most of all is my beautiful wife, Chris, as she has taken over all the little jobs, been my caregiver, continued to meet the needs of our students, as the HS counselor, and still maintained her 4.0 GPA as a graduate student.

Chris' parents, Danny and Zora, who I have already written about, brought their RV and stayed with us during the toughest, uncertain times. About a week and a half ago they needed to travel back to their home and business. They wanted to leave their RV to come back when I started chemotherapy and when our daughter, Callie, will be having knee surgery (a whole separate blog), so they drove my truck home. [Yes-I AM beginning to get to the meat of this blog - All Dressed Up and No Way to Go!] Over the holiays, Chris and I bought new matresses for Derick, our son, and Callie, so last week we needed a truck to transport. We borrowed Coach Lane's truck and picked up the matresses. Before our game last Saturday, Gabe gave Chris my keys back and Chris gave Gabe his truck keys.

Sunday morning came. I was pretty sore and tired from coaching on Saturday night. Chris and I enjoyed a beautiful Sunday morning, as we sipped coffee and she played through the music for Sunday morning worship. We decided that it would be best for Chris and Kati, our oldest daughter, to go to Sunday School and worship practice and I would bring our youngest daughter, Callie, to worship with me in our vehicle. Around 9:15, Chris and Kati left and we were home alone.

The wonderful Sunday morning continued. Callie and I ate breakfast and I built a fire so we would have hot coals for us when we would return home. Callie bounded upstairs to finish getting ready and I decided to start the car, so it would be warm. Hm...That's funny - no keys in my briefcase or on the catch-all desk. Where are the keys? Maybe in the car or on the key holder. No. No keys. (Ah-Ha moment) I wonder, would Chris possibly have both sets in her purse?

Have you ever tried to contact people at church? It doesn't work. I knew Chris would be worried sick, so I left messages with as many people as I could, hoping she would realize why I wasn't sitting beside her on the front pew. Later, I found out Chris didn't hear much of the sermon that morning (sorry, Brother Lyn) - the keys fell out of her purse during the service!

So - what to do? Callie and I climbed back into "comfortable clothes" and had a good laugh. Callie cleaned her room - I thought that would replace worship in a special kind of way - HA. I began preparing lunch and listened to music. Yes, we were "Home Alone." Dressed up with no way to go! Oh well, maybe next Sunday!