Sunday, September 18, 2011


Many times I use the phrase "Hold Fast" at the end of my notes or letters.  I usually list II Timothy 1:13 beside this phrase which says:

13 Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.                         II Timothy 1:13 (New King James)

As sailors traveled to far off countries, they encountered tribes who used the art of tattooing.  Sailors then began to use tattoos to tell their stories, celebrate milestones, and fuel the superstitious beliefs in these body markings.  Many sailors had the phrase "HOLD FAST" tattooed on their knuckles.  This was to remind them to hold tightly to the lines.  Their ability or inability to hold the line would decide the fate of the very life of the sailor or the lives of their shipmates.  The tattoo was usually written to face the sailor so as he was gripping the line he would see the reminder, HOLD FAST.  An interesting fact I learned is that many of the sailors were unable to swim.  Their determination to hold on literally meant life or death.

I love quotations of famous people. I even have several books of only quotes.  This verse I have quoted says to hold fast to the pattern of sound words.   But the sound words I have hung on to during tough times in my life are not the quotes of theologians, presidents, or philosophers.  I remember the wise words of:

  • My grandmother, Ma-Ma.
  • My father, Von Weaver.
  • My mother, G-G.
  • My "other mother", Zora McBride, Gammy.
  • My wife's father & my friend, Danny McBride, PawPaw.
Each of their lives has told me a story. Each of these loved ones has given me sound advice, with a common theme.............."Don't Give Up!"

I hope you enjoy this video - "Hold Fast" by Mercy Me.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Don't Hang Up Your Harp, Keep Singing!

My wife, Chris, and I have many things in common. We both love to work outside, play sports, exercise, cook new foods, read and watch the Cooking Network, ..................but we also have differences. Recently I have realized a puzzling difference between us. Chris uses music and her songs to give her strength and express what she believes, not what she is feeling. If I may quote my sister Karen, "I sing because I'm happy!"

One of the first queries I heard Chris ask her surgeon last week was, "Will I be able to play the piano and sing this Sunday?" My brain was filled with many questions but this was not one of them.

In Psalm 137, the Israelites are recorded with the same logical feelings that I have, you sing when you're happy. The harp was used to express joy and happiness. The Israelites had been taken to Babylon into captivity.

Psalm 137:1-4
1 By the rivers of Babylon,
There we sat down, yea, we wept
When we remembered Zion.
2 We hung our harps
Upon the willows in the midst of it.
3 For there those who carried us away captive asked of us a song,
And those who plundered us requested mirth,
Saying, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”
4 How shall we sing the LORD’s song
In a foreign land?

Right now we revisit the foreign land, the world of cancer. I write, plan and speak to others about my feelings. My wife sings. Last Sunday Chris sang a duet with our music minister & dear friend, Rex Jackson. Rex's wife, Cathy, is a breast cancer survivor. Here is the song "Faithful" from Sunday:

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Don't Ever Drive The Course Before You Run It!

In April of 2006 I ran in my first marathon.  A marathon is 26.2 miles and was on my bucket list.  I didn't tell many people that I was going to attempt this and Chris and I drove to Oklahoma City for the OKC Memorial Marathon.  I had trained for 4 months, but in the program in which I participated for this first marathon, my longest run was 20 miles.  This training program said that anything after 20 miles only destroyed tissue, so my first time to run 26 miles would be in a race.

We arrived in OKC to attend the Marathon Expo on Saturday.  We picked up my timing chip and race bib and listened to speakers.  The last thing we had planned was to get a map and drive the course.  We wanted to find places for Chris to drive and meet me & I wanted to get an idea of what I was about to do.  As we were getting our map, I heard a race official speaking to a group describing the race, elevation, and the layout of the course.  A runner that I was standing beside asked, "Are you running the marathon tomorrow?"  I replied that it was my first and he said he had run marathons in every state.  He then said, "Don't listen to what they are saying.  The worse thing you can ever do is drive the course and realize exactly what you are going to do."  He saw my puzzled look and he said again, "Don't ever drive the course, you will never run it!"

There are so many times I wanted to know what tomorrow holds.  Worry can consume us.  I am so glad that God does not allow us to "drive" the course.  In a marathon you literally will yourself to run to the next water station, or the next group of encouragers, or to put one foot in front of the other, or finally to reach the finish line & your family.  

Matthew 6:34

The Message (MSG)
 34"Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don't get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.

Tomorrow my wife, Chris, will have surgery.  I refuse to "drive the course."  I know we will have some more challenges in the next few weeks and months.  Tonight I will not focus on any of those. I will take one day at a time.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Advisory: This Blog Has Been Rated M, H, T

***Disclaimer*** This new post is rated "M" , "H, & "T".
M = Only should be read by the spiritually mature.
H = The author is hurting & asks not
to be judged.
T = The author will be transparent. (Some might not like what they see.)

One of the things that I feel we fail to do is allow others to truly see us. For the last few months I have been writing in my journal again instead of blogging. I tend to use my blog to be uplifting and encouraging. Today I cannot be a hypocrite. Wikipedia says, "Hypocrisy is the state of pretending to have beliefs, opinions, virtues, ideals, thoughts, feelings, qualities, or standards that one does not actually have.[1] Hypocrisy involves the deception of others and is thus a kind of lie[1].The word hypocrisy comes from the Greek (hypokrisis), which means "play-acting", "acting out" [3] The word hypocrite is from the Greek (hypokrites).
The Greek actor (hypocrite) would play a role to interpret the proper emotions for the character they were playing.

We are taught many things according to our gender. As a man I should provide for, protect, and cherish my family. When there is a noise outside, I should go investigate and see what it is, even if I am the one most afraid. Tears equal weakness and the "man-mask" should stay intact, unless alone, and then when one is done with the showing of emotion, the mask is to be promptly back in place.
For a Christian the stakes are raised. Pray without wavering, exhibit complete faith in God, trust that "I can do all things through Christ", and "all things work together for good." Both of these commonly misquoted scriptures, Romans 8:28 and Philippians 4:13 should never be quoted without the verses that are to go with them. (Rom. 8:28-29 & Philippians 4:12-13)

My wife, Chris, had a mammogram this past Monday. That evening she called me to tell me that she was on her way home; I though I could detect something different in her voice. Maybe she was stopping to get us supper or going to prepare us some bizarre dessert for which she found the recipe while in the waiting room. It is safe to assume that in my world, surprises involve food. Much to my dismay, when Chris arrived home, she stepped into the bedroom not to tell me about a sweet treat we were going to enjoy, but that the doctor had found a mass on her breast. We needed to make an appointment with a surgeon.

I was caught with my mask not in place. I was not a rock. My world caved in. I walked outside and collapsed on the ground. Alone, I didn't plead with God, but I ranted and wept. My praise through all of my journey as a cancer survivor was that it was me and not my wife or children having to fight the fight. Now I learned that the monster was after my wife.

I was living Psalm 88. Scholar Walter Brueggeman calls this psalm "an embarrassment to conventional faith." He even asks, "What is a psalm like this doing in our Bible?" Maybe he never felt his world collapse or been thrown into the cave or maybe he's stronger than me or maybe he always kept his mask. Mark Buchanan writes, "Psalm 88 gives us language that transposes agony into prayers. Sorrow seeks to render us mute. Psalm 88 gives voice to what is most angry and grief-stricken and frightened inside us."
1 O LORD, God of my salvation,
I have cried out day and night before You.
2 Let my prayer co
me before You;
Incline Your ear to my cry.
3 For my soul is full of troubles,
And my life draws near to the grave.
4 I am counted with those who go down to the pit;
I am like a man who has no strength,
5 Adrift among the dead,
Like the slain who lie in the grave,
Whom You remember no more,
And who are cut off from Your hand.

6 You have laid me in
the lowest pit,
In darkness, in the depths.
7 Your wrath lies heavy upon me,
And You have afflicted me with all Your waves. Selah
8 You have put away my ac
quaintances far from me;
You have made me an abomination to them;
I am shut up, and I cannot get out;
9 My eye wastes away because of affliction.

LORD, I have called
daily upon You;
I have stretched out my hands to You.
10 Will You work wonders for the dead?
Shall the dead arise and praise You? Selah
11 Shall Your lovingkindness be
declared in the grave?
Or Your faithfulness in the place of destruction?
12 Shall Your wonders be known in the dark?
And Your righteousness in the land of forgetfulness?

13 But to You I have cried out, O LORD,
And in the morning my prayer comes before You.
14 LORD, why do You cast off my soul?
Why do You hide Your face from me?
15 I have been afflicted and ready to die from my youth;
I suffer Your terrors; I am distraught.
16 Your fierce wrath has gone over me;
Your terrors have c
ut me off.
17 They came around me all day long like water;
They engulfed me altogether.
18 Loved one and friend You have put far from me,
And my acquaintances into darkness.

The journey begins again for our family. Chris is the most incredible person I have ever met. She sings like an angel and is more competitive than any athlete I have ever coached. My wife is the best cook and can make a gourmet meal without a single recipe. Chris is a beautiful servant, as a high school counselor, as she puts her students above herself daily. She is my inspiration as a parent, as she shows unconditional love for our children and grandchildren. Her outward beauty is breath-taking but her inner qualities astound me. I have always been astounded that she chose to marry me (her Dad feels the same.)

Chris and I are often teased how we do almost everything together. We will now change roles on a race we have run before. While the news is grim at the time, we have many things on our side. The tumor is small and Chris is young and in good health. We already have a team of cancer doctors & nurses who are ready to lead us through the next leg of the race. We serve a powerful God, who is our healer!

Chris will have surgery next week. We will go to our oncologist to develop the game plan. Please pray! Pray that I will be strong enough for Chris, but weak enough to trust my Father. Pray for our children! This is not new to them, but it still hurts. Ryan, Amanda, Derick, and our grandsons, Ryland & Rance are in Maryland. Distance is tough. Kati & Callie are in college at UNT in Denton. Our parents and siblings are suffering with us again.