Sunday, November 2, 2014

Sunday Morning Sermon

From the Mouths of Grandsons

Chris and I awakened at Medical City this morning.  Yesterday was pretty tough with 5 types of chemo and lots of nausea.  After our quiet time and prayer together I know we were both wondering about another Sunday in a hospital.  We always miss being with our church family, Chris helping lead us to worship with the most incredible praise team in Texas, and hearing Brother Rodney preach.

But what a surprise.................Our grandsons led us to worship!  They are in Maryland with our sons and daughters in law, who are pastors at Remedy Church in Salsibury.  Enjoy!

Matthew 18:1-4 says:
AT about the same time, the disciples came to Jesus asking, "Who gets the highest rank in God's kingdom?" For an answer Jesus called over a child, whom he stood int he middle of the room, and said, "I'm telling you, once and for all, that unless you return to square one and start over like children, you're not even going to get a look at the kingdom, let alone get in. Whoever becomes simple and elemental again, like this child, will rank high in God's kingdom.

Eating good food & watching games!
Cooking with Lolly
More cooking with Lolly!
Thank you Ryland Von and Rance D for leading us in worship this morning.  Your Lolly and Pops miss you and we will beat this cancer with Jesus and have many more adventures.
Cleaning the woods!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

No Heroes, No Capes, No Veils

No Heroes, No Capes, No Veils

 I treasure some special memories of my childhood.  I know it will shock you, but I loved to play!  G.I. Joes (not the little, wimpy ones), a Scat car (I even tied a wagon to it), BB Guns (to my Mom's surprise, I kept both of my eyes), model airplanes (Dad had as much fun as I did)...........but I have a confession.  At the age of 5 or 6 years, my favorite game was being Batman.  I never had a mask; just a cape, a towel or one of Mom's aprons, but that was enough.  Mom clipped it with a clothespin, but my younger sister, Karen (the evil villain), pulled my "cape" and it would pop off.  A superhero CANNOT lose his cape!!  Then it was back to Mom for two large safety pins and "Shazam!" - the wardrobe issue was fixed.  Batman was back!  Bam!  Pow!  Invincible again, a superhero must have his cape!

Our grandchildren, Ryland & Rance
Reflecting on this fun, I do see some truth in the pretending. We share a common flaw........we want to appear stronger than we are.  A hero is a person acclaimed for unusual deeds.  So we, as limited and broken individuals, create fictitious"super heroes," bestowing magical powers or strengths.  Humans have done this for years, in every culture, many years before comic books.  Many times we want to appear stronger than we are. But we also need to believe that there are others who have powers or strengths that we lack, and we will go so far as to create these characters to deal with our weaknesses and flaws.

The number one fear in a recent poll was speaking in public.  Number two on this list was the fear of death and dying.  Fears are real. If we try to maintain our images as heroes, we lose the chance to connect and form personal relationships with others through humility, honesty, and transparency of our fears and challenges.  My quote of the weekend on humility is from legendary Coach Robert Hughes.  Coach Hughes won 1333 high school games (a national record) and won five state championships, and now ESPN is creating a movie about his life. Hughes was interviewed and asked what it was like to be a basketball hero. The interviewer commented that people might see him in public and not know who he was, now retired, living his normal life, going to the grocery store.  Hughes' reply was, "If you gotta say who you is, you aint."  

Even Biblical heroes struggled with the desire to show no weakness.  Moses, a well known Biblical character,  has movies about his life, The Ten Commandments and Prince of Egypt. After Moses would meet with God, he was instructed to cover his face with a veil to protect Israelites from the shining of his face from standing in the presence of the glory of God.  The glory would then fade. In II Corinthians 1:13 (The Message) we learn:
"Unlike Moses, we have nothing to hide. Everything is out in the open with us. He wore a veil so the children of Israel wouldn’t notice that the glory was fading away—and they didn’t notice. They didn’t notice it then and they don’t notice it now, don’t notice that there’s nothing left behind that veil. " 
     Moses wanted to keep on wearing the veil, like a hero's cape, maybe to give the illusion of strength or to hide his fears and weaknesses. Sometimes, we do, too.
One month ago while doing blood work at Medical City, my stem cell team saw a drastic rise in my cancer blood markers.  A PET scan and bone marrow biopsy came back normal, but one week ago Chris noticed a knot at the base of my neck. So we returned to the doctor's office. After a biopsy, we received a call Wednesday evening, learning that the "monster" is back.  You can read about my last autologous transplant in previous blogs, but for now, the plan is extensive chemo and another transplant; this time an analogous with a matching donor.

On Thursday, there was an assembly at Whitewright High School.  The gathering was not regarding school safety, drugs, or campus issues.  Chris and I wanted to make sure that everyone, students and staff, knew that we have no capes or veils.  As their principal, I wanted my staff and students to know that this tough journey begins again for us. Everyone was extremely loving and supportive.

People in these tough conditions ask, "Why?"  There are no answers for us. However, there is our faith. We believe that just as important as student test scores, grades, and future plans........our students need to learn how to deal with inevitable adversity. As disciples of Christ, this is our calling.

We are are now at Medical City.  Please text or e-mail.  Please share this blog with others.  Please follow this blog to get updates. And above all, please pray. Pray for strength for the journey and courage to show weakness and vulnerability.  Pray for the students of Whitewright High School.  Pray for our four children and their spouses.  Pray for our parents, brothers and sisters.

Hold Fast!!   (II Timothy 1:13)

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school twitter   @WWHSPrincipal
school cell        (903) 271-2450  

Time with Tigers before leaving for hospital!  Hold Fast!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Seventeen years ago the most beautiful woman in the world chose me!  She is the most incredible person I have ever met.  Christine Dawn.................and she is the love of my life!

I could share many reasons why, but we share a passion.  We want to love people, especially young people, and to leave this world a better place.  Chris and I have been a part of the Honey Grove ISD family for seventeen years, that is right, we married in July of 1997 & began to work in Honey Grove in August of 1997.  This year God called us to another school district.  As of July 1st, I am the high school principal at Whitewright High School.  Chris will serve Whitewright as the district test coordinator and instructional technologist integrator.

Why is this woman the most incredible person I have ever met?  I asked Chris how we should spend our anniversary, and she quickly answered......." I want to say goodbye to our students of Honey Grove!"  Last night we had approximately thirty five students from Honey Grove at our house.  We ate hamburgers, chips, and homemade ice cream.  We played croquet, ping-pong, and monkey balls.  We sat on the patio until the mosquitoes drove us in. Dreams were shared and tears were cried.  A new chapter begins.

Of all the things that my wife could have asked for, she wanted to spend time with students.

Seventeen years ago I promised this beautiful woman that I would love her and love our children.

In 2008 I was diagnosed with cancer.  We found out that Chris had breast cancer in 2010.  The cancer monster attacked me again in 2012 and I had a stem cell transplant.  Chris was beside me through it all.  Happy anniversary, Chris!  Life is good & I am blessed for every moment with you.