The Whistler's Dream

Everybody needs a dream...
Mine is to go to Oklahoma and play whistles for The Pioneer Woman. (Having been invited, not in a "creepy stalker" kind of way, for the record.) Heck, I'd play in a pup tent in the backyard for the joy of the cows and critters. What can I say? I'm a fan.
Everybody needs a dream...

Random Fluffy Foto!

Random Fluffy Foto!
Writing in bed, and Beka editing by ear. Really. The ear typed some letters. Really.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Riverside Park ROCKS!!!

OK - I know a lot of you out there are going to say, "Duh..." to this, but honestly - I had no idea that the bike path at Riverside Park was that cool!

I awoke at 7:30 this morning, tried to doze off and had no success, got up at 7:45, and Vicki wandered out at 8am, saying "Haven't you been to bed yet?" (She was so zonked, she didn't hear me come in at 1:30am :-) Since we were both up, I suggested we go for a walk, and she picked the park.

(to those who don't normally read this prattle, when I refer to going for a "walk," I'm usually refering to wheeling in my chair. Vicki walks, and sometimes pushes, and I wheel...)

9am, hit the bike path near Ann Street, and off we went. Beautiful morning, lots of folks running, walking, and on bikes, and the pleasant experience of having complete strangers say "good morning" to you. :-) I had no idea it was that pretty back there, nor how much fun it would be.

So, my wife and I are going to try and make this a daily thing, weather permitting. It means getting up a lot earlier, but it's worth it.

We're going to get my old recumbent bike (my ReBike) out of storage and to the bike shop to get it running again. Don't know if I can even ride anymore, with my knees being this bad, but we'll see. A trike would be better, because I wouldn't have to worry about balance along with everything else.

And, if I can get a trike, Vicki can use the ReBike. :-)

So, if you'd like to donate to the "Buy The Round Boy A Trike" fund, just let me know. "A little from a lot will put us over the top!" (I miss Mel Johnson...)

(the preceeding was purely for fun. Knowing the folks that read this thing, y'all don't have surplus funds any more than we do. But, if an eccentric philanthropist just happens to stumble across this blog, well, feel free to drop me a note. :-)

Maybe WCSG can do a Trike Friendraiser... Nah. :-)

Have a happy holiday!

Friday, May 27, 2005

OK - I'll admit it... (weekly weigh-in)

Had another gain this week - 4 lbs. There are just some issues going on that are deeper than just cheating on the program or whatever. So, counseling is on the horizion. And, going back on the anti-depressant meds. A little discouraging...

BUT at least I'm open to it, finally. I've been resisting the counseling for a while now, but it's become clear that in order for my new behavior to really take hold, there's some junk that needs to be swept out first.

It's tough for a Christian to admit to mental issues - after all, aren't we supposed to be able to handle anything? Aren't we supposed to rely on Christ for our sufficiency? Does this just prove that I simply don't walk closely enough with Him? Believe me, I've kicked these questions and more around in my noggin for a couple of weeks now, especially when it became evident that the depression symptoms were surfacing again.

So, where does all this pondering leave me? Ready to admit that I don't understand all the complexity that makes up our brains, especially when it comes to something like a chemical imbalance. And, ready to accept that while I can work on modifying my behavior and thought pattern, sometimes it takes an outside source to identify clearly what is going on inside. And, feeling a deep desire not to wallow in depression again - losing hours just sitting, eating, and not doing much else.

And, it leaves me hopeful that these steps can clear some of the fog, the flatness that comes when depression sets in, so that I can work my way back toward the joy of my salvation. Easing the greyness of my thoughts these days so that the Son can once again reign in my life. Getting back some balance so I can continue the journey forward. Maybe even actually having something cheery to blog about, instead of the ponderous writings of late. Blame it on Topher - he's the one who talked me into doing this thing in the first place :-)

Hey - I made a funny. Things are looking up already :-D Have a good holiday, friends - I think mine's gonna be better than I expected!

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Welcome to 46... yipeee. :-D

Yup. It was birthday time again on Saturday. Turned 46. One step closer to the BIG 5-Oh. But, as I think about approaching 50, I have to admit my response is "Fifty-schmifty. Big deal."

A friend at church is just a day after me - mine is May 21, hers the 22nd. The difference is, she turns 32 today, while I'm at 46. And, I wouldn't have imagined that I was that much older than her, or a lot of the people we hang out with at church, especially in the contemporary service.

Vicki reminded me that we tend not to act our age, so we don't seem like a couple crusing through their mid 40's. And, I have to agree. Evidently, I don't have enough experience being middle aged, because I can't seem to act like it. And, working in kid's radio does add to that.

Thanks to Hannah for the balloons on my birthday. I've still got the mylar one back at my desk - the other two were dead by Sunday afternoon when I came into the office. And, thanks to Vicki for the lovely pictures - now we just need the new house to hang them in.

No birthday cake, but I am eating some now, in transition to regular food. Although, since I never went totally off of food, it's really not a biggie. We're just working through everything and seeing where I go from here. I gained 3 pounds this week, which is what I expected because of my legs. Sleep is a little better, and Dr. Osborne gave me an Rx for sleeping pills - just enough to hopefully shut down my brain when I'm having one of those nights, but not enough to like knock me out and mess with my breathing.

Not much else to say. I got married when I was 23. Now, I'm twice that. So, I'm almost at that point where I'll have been married to Vicki longer than I was single without her. Woo hoo :-)

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

The high price of being me...

Next time you see Vicki, give her a hug for me. It's not easy being married to the Captain, so she deserves all the "attaboy"s that you can give. :-) For example...

This weekend was one of those rollercoaster weekends for my sleep schedule. I think most of you are aware by now that I have sleep apnea (Severe Obstructive Sleep Apnea, the docs call it), which means I use a CPAP machine to aid my breathing each night. In other words, I'm a hosehead (which is how we describe ourselves). "Up your nose with a rubber hose" comes close to it, although it's more like "over your nose with a silicon hose... and mask."

So, Friday night I was up all night, into Saturday. Saturday night, I got 7 hours into Sunday morning. Sunday night into Monday, no sleep. And, Monday night into Tuesday, 4 hours. Normally, (can I even use that word in this context???) I can handle one night of no sleep, but having two of them that close together has really zapped me. So, I hear you ask, can't you just take a nap? Nope - wish I could. Taking a nap moves me further away from getting back to a regular sleep schedule.

See, at least for me, my body tends to store up extra sleep. So, even when I've gotten 10 or 11 hours, I'm still a bit tired because all I did was recharge the sleep batteries - didn't actually create a surplus. 2 or 3 nights of 9 or 10 hours would create a surplus, but that never happens. My usual pattern is get a long night, then a lot of short ones in a row, then a long one, and so on. And, right now, the batteries are nigh unto dead, so I've got no reserves to compensate.

The other down side is what being awake all night does to my legs. The excess fluid starts to pool in my legs, and without a long night of sleep (not just sitting with my legs elevated, but actually sleeping), they don't get a chance to get rid of it. So, my legs are pretty big right now. Unless something changes, I'll probably have a gain at the weigh-in this week. The excess fluid adds a lot to the scale...

Why this long, L-O-N-G missive? Well, first, to make sure that Vicki gets a lot of hugs - she rides through these things with me, never complaining when I'm restless at 5 in the morning, but always wanting to do whatever she can to aid me. And, to give you a little glimpse into another's world, so that you might see God's goodness in your own life.

Do I see it in mine? Oh yes!!! Even with all this, I see His grace, His mercy, His ever-present care. If you're really curious, chat with me sometime and I'll tell you about it - it's just too long to add to this already-massive post. After all, telling each other our stories of Him and how He moves in our lives in so many ways is what we're supposed to do - to cheer each other on as part of the great cloud of witnesses from Hebrews 12 and to encourage each other to press on in the race. Be encouraged, dearhearts - He is there, and He cares for you!

As for the title of this post, sometimes I'll be doing something and just sigh when things are weighing me down. Vicki will ask what's wrong, and I'll often respond, "It's just the high price of being me..." :-)

Thursday, May 12, 2005

What do these stones mean? (weekly weigh-in)

Lost almost a pound this week. (.8) Normally, that would make me really discouraged. But, I'm going to try something different...

In Joshua 4, we have the Israelites crossing the Jordan, and placing 12 stones there as a memorial. The phrase that gets me there is "When the children ask, what do the stones mean?" , and then it goes on from there. Lots of places in the OT, you'll find stones being placed as an altar or memorial - an 'ebenezer' to remind them of something.

So, I need to trace my milestones. I need to see how far of a journey I've made since April 1, 2004. At that time:
- I could not stand for more than a minute or two without my knees giving out
- I was 14 pounds away from 500.
- I was depressed, losing entire hours in a fog, just sitting in my chair staring at the tv.
- I had just started using my wheelchair, but could barely move it without Vicki's help.
- I couldn't dress myself - couldn't reach my feet.
- I was a diabetic.
- Any wound to my left leg would take months to heal, leaving me open to another leg infection.
- Any time we would go to the store, my beloved would have to go in by herself, while I sat in the car, unable to walk. (that was just before the wheelchair)


- I only use the chair for exercise, or for a long time like in the store, at the mall, etc.
- I only use my cane if it's a "bad knee day" or I'm going to be walking and standing a bit.
- I can dress my own feet.
- My wounds heal normally.
- I'm not a diabetic.
- I get to go places with Vicki.
- I don't have to ask her to wait on me hand and foot, because I CAN get up and do things myself.
- I like who I see in the mirror.
- I can stand up to play my bass at church, not to mention movin' and groovin' a bit. :-)
- I can walk as fast as my wife.
- Many of the negative things I once believed about myself simply aren't true anymore.
- I have hope.
- I have energy left over to serve God, to love others, and to praise Him with all that is within me.
- I can sleep on my side.
- My meds have dropped from 14 pills a day to 6 or so.
- I smile a lot. :-)
- I can stand and play catch with Vicki. Or Ezri. Or both when Ezri snags a ball intended for Vicki...
- I fit in more chairs, but not the Van Andel Arena chairs... yet...

How can I be discouraged, for the One who has brought me this far will surely continue on with me. He will continue to be my strength and my song. So, I'll keep on the path. For as long as it takes, as long as He gives me to carry on.

And, maybe, just maybe someday I'll ride a trike. Maybe even a Windcheetah. :-D

Final water class... for now...

This morning was our last water aerobics class for the year - I can't believe that 5 weeks have passed already! We found out that our teacher, Joey, will have a class again in the fall. So, we've just got to find some things to do over the summer until then - maybe a few classes at the 'Y' or somewhere else.

What I do know is that I can't go the whole summer without the water exercise. It hasn't done anything for reducing my weight, but what it does is keep me flexible. The value to my legs and knees is well worth the effort. So, we'll find something somewhere to keep going.

Now, off to weigh-in. We'll see how things go, and I'll let you know later. :-)

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

A huge milestone for His Kids Radio

This is one of those moments when my old self would have gone trolling for every special snack food in the house...

1 year ago, HKR took over an hour-long kid's music program called Toonz. The show had successfully run for a number of years, and had a loyal following. Well, the folks producing Toonz decided that they couldn't continue to provide the program. We wondered about being allowed to continue Toonz, as a production of His Kids Radio, and the Lord worked it out so that we could.

We aired our first show last June, with a promise of 40 new programs this year to our stations. My dear friend and fellow HKR'er Amanda became the new host of Toonz. And I had the honor to take over the producer role of the show. Which means anywhere from 2 to 5+ hours per program to complete a 1 hour show. At times the albatross around my neck, Toonz is the very best of His Kids Radio, and is one of the most fun and creative things I get to do.

As of 9:31 this evening, we are done with season one! We promised 40 shows, and ended up providing 47 shows to take us through May. We get a couple months off, and then on to season two.

So, rejoice with me, friends! I am both humbled and honored to be the producer of Toonz, and quite proud of what has been done. Proud, in the sense of seeing what great things God has done, and how His hand has been on us the whole time. And, if you're ever interested in checking out Toonz for yourself, go to, and click on the link for Toonz. Or, catch me sometime, and I'll slip you a demo CD. Great music, tons of fun, and it all points to the Lord. What more can anyone ask?

Now to take a two month nap before season two!

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Something to look toward for inspiration

This is a Windcheetah - one of the fastest recumbent trikes on the planet, if not the fastest. But, you have to be below 280 lbs to ride this bad boy. And my goal is 10 pounds below that number. So, will I ever have a Windcheetah? Probably not. Something similar? Hopefully... But the thing I keep in mind is, by reaching the goal, I could ride a Windcheetah. Whereas, at 486, there was no chance at all... And that, class, is one form of motivation. :-)

Tiny progress (weekly weigh-in)

Another pound lost, to 365.4, and I'm weary of the journey. Dr. Osborne talked about diet fatigue today, and that's kind of how I feel. Just tired of the whole business. Seeing the goal as about as far away as Mars. Having trouble staying totally on the fast for just one day.

But one day is what it boils down to. If I can just hang on today, that's all I need to do. I don't have to look at tomorrow. And I certainly don't have to look at another 95 pounds to the goal. Although I look longingly at a recumbent trike, that's not even on the radar right now, either in the realm of one that will hold me, or financially. I could pay $5000 for one that is made to my size, but that's not going to happen anytime soon. So, my focus gets narrowed to one day. No more.

And, I've talked about that here in this journal. But just because I can spout off some of those pleasant platitudes, doesn't mean they've penetrated into my mind and heart enough to make a difference.

Can you tell that today is a tough day? Thought you might be sensing that. Told Hannah earlier it's one of those days that I rode my broom to work. I'm trying to focus on doing the tasks that need doing, and kind of staying out of people's way, lest my black mood spill over to them, and trying to retreat to the solitude of my home studio as quickly as I can. So everything is tough. Even a good workout in the pool today didn't do a whole lot to change that. I've been short with my beloved way more than I ever should. And, for our class today, we got to watch the first half of "Supersize Me," which is NOT the movie you want to see when your emotions are on the edge to begin with. God seems silent, although I know I'm the one who moved away, not Him. Prayer? Not right now - I'm not even able to enter into thinking about communicating with the Father.

So, I'll shut my focus down to the essentials.
Who He is. Who I am in Him. How I got there. ("not of works, lest any man should boast...") I'll ponder things like His unfailing love. His faithfulness. His grace. His mercy. And, in so doing, take my eyes off of myself and put them where they belong - on the Author and Finisher of my faith. It'll take however long it takes, and then I'll be ready to place my foot on the path once more, and move ahead.

Psalm 121

A song of ascents.
1 I lift up my eyes to the hills—
where does my help come from?

2 My help comes from the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

3 He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;

4 indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.

5 The LORD watches over you—
the LORD is your shade at your right hand;

6 the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.

7 The LORD will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;

8 the LORD will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.