Posted by: Chuck Farley | June 11, 2014

The Time Has Come – A Fresh Start Running & Blogging

LAST POST ON crazyoldmaraman.wordpress.com

 “The time has come,” the Walrus said,Walrus and Carpenter
“To talk of many things:
Of shoes–and ships–and sealing-wax–
Of cabbages–and kings–
And why the sea is boiling hot–
And whether pigs have wings.”

(This has nothing to do with my post, but anytime I say “the time has come”  I think of this line from Lewis Carroll’s The Walrus and the Carpenter.)

I have made attempts ever since my knee surgery back in early 2011 to:

  1. start training for another marathon
  2. start writing consistently and seriously

Physical TherapyRehab & Running: I was diligent in the rehab of my knee; that is until my ‘official’ physical therapy was complete.  Once that accountability was removed … performing calf raises and single leg balancing and stretching exercises just did not seem that exciting.  I tried running a few times and even got into a routine … sort of … only to have lifeprioritiesdistractions, laziness move me in another direction (generally toward the couch).

I think I have attempted 4 restarts the last being about a year ago.  I did pretty well for a month or so and then vacation, summer chores … the couch played their dirty tricks on me.    Each restart had it’s own list of excuses.

Writing: My writing tends to follow a similar process of deterioration.  My motivation to write is pretty much directly proportional to the passion I am showing to some other part of my life.  When I am hot & heavy into coaching or training hard for an event, I have no problem finding subject matter and time to write.  When the passion for life wanes and writing becomes nearly impossible.  (I do not find it easy to write from the couch.)

couch-potato

Why now and what makes me think it will be different this time?

Back when I was writing consistently, I started following a few blogs.  I could at least follow these blogs from the couch even if I was doing nothing else.  The first blog that I followed was Unshakable Hope.  Although Bill does not post very often, his writing always lift me up an reminds me that we serve a God that has a plan for each of us no matter that circumstances tin which we find ourselves.  Additionally, between his blog and the experiences of a friend of mine (Silver for my friend) I have developed a need to help in the fight for a cure for ALS. About the same time I started following Kenny over at Morning Story and Dilbert.  His blog has been my devotional when the couch has overcome my desire to spend time in the God’s word.

Those two blogs have been instrumental in keeping me uplifted over the past few years, but is another blog that has continued to kick me in the teeth just when I needed it.  I remember the first post I read should not have grabbed me.  How many men would be not only moved by, but been able to relate to an article about … wait for it … menopause?  But Annie at Eyes Wide Open had me from that first post about “Brain Fog”.   A few weeks back I was catching up on Annie’s posts.  Her transparency about her feeling while battling Fibromyalgia convicted me and when I read about her desire to run again in “How Fibrmyalgia is Helping me to Know God Even Better” I knew that I could not let the call of the couch keep me from fulfilling the plan for my life.

That very day after dropping a comment to Annie, I registered for the Air Force Marathon on September 20th.  Am I even close to ready? Absolutely not! I realized though, that I needed a goal and some accountability (I do not intend on paying an entry fee for something I do not participate in!). I was not ready the first time I ran a marathon in 2008, but with a goal in front of me, I knew that it was impossible (Why a Marathon).

It is not easy and I am still having some stop and start issues, but if it is God’s plan, I will be running 26.2 miles on September 20th in Dayton.  If Annie can get on that treadmill when it every movement is causes pain and Bill can continue to encourage others when he his body has trapped his mind in a non-responsive body for over ten years, then I can resist that seductive sofa and press on. I should have plenty of subject matter for this here new self-hosted blog.

So why a self hosted blog?

For the same reasons that I signed up for a marathon.  I am by no means a professional or accomplished writer. My writing is raw and unpolished and I am too impatient to spend time proofreading.  Still I have been contemplated this for quite a while.  If I shell out the investment to pay for a domain and hosting,  I better get serious about this writing thing.  It is time to hone some skills, meet some needs and find a niche.

I have soaked up a bunch of information and encouragement from Amy Lynn Andrews (If you are serious about writing or blogging on line and not subscribed to her site … don’t right another thing until your have checked it out! Start here) Of course being impetuous and impatient, I have jumped in and skipped quite a few steps (sorry Amy), but if I put it off and wait … well … those cushions still have the impressions of my backside.

So if you followed me over at crazyoldmaraman.wordpress.com switch those bookmarks and follows to runningwiththefootmen.com

My random thoughts and daily training babble will be posted on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RunningWithTheFootman

Posted by: Chuck Farley | November 12, 2015

I Am Not Proud To Be a Veteran

I understand this is likely to be a very unpopular post, but I have to be honest. Veterans Day is not a day of celebration, pride, or flag waving to me.  This is a day of sadness, regret, and dishonor.  And that is not a bad thing.

When I think of my service to my country,  I am glad that I served. I am proud to be an American. We live in a world that is dangerous and riddled with violence I did my job to as best I understood it. I would probably even do it again under certain circumstances. I support my sons decisions to serve, and I pray that will always remember that they serve a broken and hurting world.

But … I am not proud that I am a Veteran. I wish that no one had to serve. Our violent and vengeful natures are proof of our fear, despair and lack of love. I wish that my son did not need to strap on his firearm and don a bulletproof vest each day when he enters his police cruiser.

Last year I explained my feeling about the who hero thing: You Keep Using That Word Since then I have reflected even more about what really brings honor. Some questions have surfaced I have a hard time answering.

– Are the sailors, soldiers, marines, and airmen I served alongside among the most honorable people I can imagine?
– Should taking up arms against other human beings be a source of pride?
-Why do we place such high value on our ability to dominate in defence of our values?
– How is it that despite our nations military superiority, we cannot achieve peace?
– What does it say about us as a people that no matter how much we evolve as a civilization, we continue to regress back to violence as our measure of strength.

I served our nation for over 12 years. I was indoctrinated into the ways of the brotherhood of undersea warriors.  I was enraged by the the knowledge that a dirty “Commie’ Soviet submarine had passed within our waters and felt the joy of chasing it out again. I slept between nuclear warheads with the capability to devastate large portions of the human race.  And … I felt the fear and turmoil that surged through me when it occurred to me when during the simulation of a nuclear launch. I with struggled with an anger that began to simmer within as I worked alongside shipmates and people of Kuwait recovering from the atrocities of the Iraqi invasion and subsequent withdrawal.

Five years later, that anger surface on Sept 11th, 2001. I supported our fear driven retaliation. I watched as that fear was covered in nationalistic pride and a resolve for vengeance.

Vengeance is not justice … Vengeance is action driven by fear and hate. I saw that desire for vengeance in the eyes of Kuwaiti children and parents. It is the evident in the desperation of people in our own society due to perceived or real inequalities. Yes, it is even the same force driving the ISIS conspirators.

I am sad that we have failed to achieve relative peace in our world and that we are a world encompassed by fear.

I regret that I allowed that fear to override my faith and that I could not even effectively love my enemy or even my neighbor.

I find no honor in taking up arms to bring about peace. Although it may protect us for a while and may seem to be the best we can do at this point, I think it is ineffective and frankly the cowards way.

Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? But earnestly desire the higher gifts.
And I will show you a still more excellent way.

1 Corinthians 12:27-31 ESV

What is that more excellent way?

My son in law posted today every veteran signs a blank check. I have to disagree. Each of us signed up With the knowledge that we might die in the line of duty, but that is far from a blank check!

For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 5:6-8 ESV

I did not sign up to die for my enemy.

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.  Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.
John 15:12-13 ESV

Laying one’s life down is much more honorable and difficult than dying. Each of us can live a life for others and possibly even defeat some fear and hate.

That not excellent way…

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.  Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.  Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.  So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

1 Corinthians 13:1-13 ESV

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Posted by: Chuck Farley | September 3, 2015

Life Goes On

Unshakable Hope

“Life Goes On”

Whether we’re going through the worst of times or the best of times, history and our own experiences show us that life does go on. This is true, but I don’t recommend saying “life goeson” to someone who is grieving the loss of a loved one.

“There is an appointed time for everything.
And there is a time for every event under heaven —
A time to give birth and a time to die…
A time to weep and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn and a time to dance.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-4)

I thought about the above passage last week when our daughter gave birth to a beautiful seven pound girl on Wednesday, then a close friend died of cancer on Friday – “A time to give birth and a time to die.”

Those who are grieving and those who are rejoicing have this…

View original post 549 more words

First let me preface my letter with a word about all of my children.  For 31 years, Lynn and I have lived a life that has centered, for the most part, around our children.  At times, having a large family has stretched us close the breaking point.  Not because of them, but mostly due to our own weaknesses and shortcomings.  As a Navy family with for a significant number of those years, finances and time together were not optimum conditions for raising a large family. Still, we had raised a loving a family that has endured many trials.  Each of our children are unique, talented and caring.  I am proud of everyone of them and have never expressed it well.  Over the last year or so I have been trying to right that ship through blog entries on their birthdays, but my inconsistent nature has tripped me up a few times.  So I am pressing on.  I missed Josiah’s birthday so I figure a graduation is a great time to reflect. (C, R, & E I have not forgotten you)  Being the last at home, this is not only a graduation for him, but it is a graduation of sorts for Lynn and I as well.

Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned thirty-one years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Jedidah the daughter of Adaiah of Bozkath. And he did what was right in the eyes of the Lord and walked in all the way of David his father, and he did not turn aside to the right or to the left.” (2 Kings 22:1,2)

Josiah,

01_JTF_NewbornThe Year of Your Birth:  1996 marked events that would change my life for ever. The year started stress-fully enough with your eminent birth in January.  I had never missed the birth of one of our children, but it was not looking good. I was preparing to head out to sea for 3 months and you were fighting hard against being born in a timely fashion.  Although I missed our shakedown trials, we were able to coerce you into entering the world before I left for sea. My little 3 month voyage was cut short by maybe the saddest event in my life.  My Mom, your Grandma, passed away that spring. Grandma would have adored you and I wish you could have gotten to know her.  She would have been so proud of all your accomplishments, your drive to succeed and she would have learned to love soccer. (yes, you missed out the best clothing provider ever)  07_JTF_Cats I do not think that it was a coincidence that the Cats won their sixth national championship the year you were born.  They must have known that a rabid Cat fan had entered BBN that January.  I have enjoyed sharing your love for the Cats with you these 18 years

FamilyFamily:  You are the youngest of 7 siblings and no child could ever have been more loved by his brothers and sisters.  This made parenting easy with so many older sisters and brothers to help out.   Your three oldest sisters were there at your birth and became surrogate mothers for you as a baby and I think still feel that way at times now.  You always shared a special bond with the youngest of your four sisters.  In our need to classify the  family it was always “The girls”, “The boys” and “Lizzy and Josiah”.  You started public school together and shared all of those struggles together.  Your brothers (and Rebekah) made sure that you did not forget that you were a boy and instilled a love for competition and sport in your being. As they slowly drifted out of the house, it was painfully obvious how much you missed them and how much you valued your family.

“And the king stood by the pillar and made a covenant before the Lord, to walk after the Lord and to keep his commandments and his testimonies and his statutes with all his heart and all his soul, to perform the words of this covenant that were written in this book. And all the people joined in the covenant.” (2 Kings 23:3)

graduationSchool:  In fifth grade, after being home schooled for your entire life, you entered public school for the first time.  After being surrounded by siblings for ten years, you had to enter a new world without them.  you were terrified, but overcame your fear to excel at every turn.  It was the first that we observed of your steeled determination. As the years went on, we watched as you worked hard to prove yourself academically.  You never had to be reminded to study or do your homework.  Failure was never an option and although at times you struggled, you always conquered the tasks set before you.  To be accepted at every college that you applied is no small feat.

02_JTF_FirstGame

First Soccer Game

Soccer:  Watching your soccer career has been one of the most enjoyable and yet painful periods of my parenting.  To watch you overcome physical and mental challenges as well as major disappointments has been an inspiration for me.

It is not your accomplishments that have filled me with pride, but your diligence and persistence that make me such a proud Papa.

Josiah’s Highlight Video (Musically Enhanced by Switchfoot)

The Future:I could not be more proud of the man that you have become.  You have brought joy into my life that I did not know I could feel.  I look forward to watching you strive for the dreams that are before you.  Your love for your Savior is apparent in everything that you do and for that no father could be more proud .

15_JTF

 Before him there was no king like him, who turned to the Lord with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his might, according to all the Law of Moses, nor did any like him arise after him.” (2 Kings 23:25)

 

I love you more than you will ever know.

Dad

Posted by: Chuck Farley | May 26, 2014

Remembering the Sacrifice – ETC(SS) Hill

21 Gun NavyHonoring the heroic comes so naturally to most of us. The soldier who sacrifices his life to save the life of his comrade is a no-brainer for the average American with any heart at all.  Those who return home from overseas at Dover AFB in flag draped caskets leave an image that draw us all in and help us to memorialize those who have fallen to protect our freedoms.  We will observe haunting sounds of the report seven rifles fired three times and the sounding of Taps at the grave of those who are killed in training accidents and un-explainable murders while on duty receive on their home soil.  We rightly honor these service members and acknowledge the their sacrifice.

I have only personally known one individual who died while on active duty.  It is for him and all who have fallen at the hands of an enemy that attacks every service member that has chosen to put on the uniform and service his country in peace time or on the battle field.

Fouled AnchorETC(SS) Hill (Alias) reported to the USS Albany (SSN753) during our post-commissioning shakedown period.  A newly frocked Chief Petty Officer reported to take the reins of our Reactor Controls division.  Chief Hill was making at a major cross roads in his career and his life.  He was a young ambitions submariner who had risen quickly to join the “Goat Locker” (Chief Petty Officer Mess) at the earliest opportunity. Add to this that he was only one of a handful of nuclear trained African-American submariners that I had ever met and it was obvious that he was a star on the rise.  Unfortunately, he was also making a transition that any career sailor is forced to make – transition to a non deploying command.  Although not quite shore duty, we were home most nights.

To most this would be perceived as a great opportunity to reconnect to the family.   To a sailor, this is often the most stressful time in their career.  Life for the service member while deployed although difficult and sometimes wrought with danger is “comfortable”.  Each day is filled with structure, focus, and purpose.  He is doing exactly what he has been trained (programmed) to do.  Yes … he misses his family and the life that he left behind, but that is something he does not have any control over so he loses himself in duty.

What about his family while he is gone?  They have to go on without him.  The spouse takes over the tasks in their marriage that he would fulfill if he were at home.  Mom’s become both Mom and Dad.  Yes … the family misses the service member and they acknowledge the hole that has been left, but that is something they do not have any control over so they loose themselves in their duty.

CasketDuty changes everyone.  Often times, the end of deployment finds strangers reunited without common purpose.  Chief Hill found himself locked in a battle between family and duty and there is rarely a winner in this battle.  He and the stranger that had once loved could not find enough common ground to rebuild and a divorce was eminent.  A young, intelligent, and intensely proud man could not bring himself to surrender to defeat and succumbed  to the enemy of our soul.  Without note or notice, Chief Hill took his own life.

Chief Hill represents a casualty of war that is a constant threat to not only to those who put on the uniform, but for those that take up the duty of the military family.  No service member walks away unchanged.  Under the best circumstances, we leave stronger. but in too many case families are destroyed and in some cases lives are lost.

No shots will be fired.  Taps will not haunt our dreams.  Heroes rarely are counted in their ranks. But as I reflect today I chose to memorialize the service members and families that have been sacrificed to serve you and me.  The ones who have fallen before the true enemy and author of all war.  I ask that you pray for those that are serving today that they will be stronger and better prepared than Chief Hill to face the unseen enemy of our souls.

Fair winds and following seas ETC. Rest in peace

Navy Bugler

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:12 NIV)

Posted by: Chuck Farley | May 6, 2014

Here am I … Sam I am

Sam & Sarah KissLynn and I stood on across town on Hampton Blvd in Norfolk after another post-due-date prenatal visit.  Since this was our fifth overdue pregnancy, we were not really surprised.  It was a nice day and we could not get hold of our ride, but we new her route so we decided to start walk toward the house.  5 miles later, we finally got that expected ride.  The following day, with Lynn exhausted and in pain from our little stroll, Sam decided to grace us with his presence.

9 days later we were back in the hospital.  Spinal taps, little baby IVs and sleepless nights, oxygen tents and quarantine.  (Maybe this is where he got his love for camping)  Sarah had had some health issues, but Sam was trying to catch up quick.  Turned out to be RSV (A relatively new diagnosis back in that day).  This began two years of non-stop ear infections, respiratory issues and camping at the clinic.  Good thing he was the only sick child … oh wait … there were four others, including the also plague ridden May baby Sarah.

Sick child equates to miserable pitiful bed ridden child …NOT!  Sam was everywhere and into everything. He was Ninja (mysteriously appeared on top of the refrigerator) and a miniature mechanic (Removed every nut and bolt from my wheel barrow without it falling apart … until I went to use it). He was a good natured little boy, but pretty non-verbal and hard headed.  He seemed to not listen to a word you said … unless he was looking at you. Wait could that be a symptom of something?

Sam i amSam – I – Am.  At two years old, it was finally decided that antibiotics were not the answer to these constant ear infections.  Let’s try tubes.  Did I say non-verbal. Overnight he went from non-verbal to very verbal.  Enter Green, Eggs & Ham.  If you would like … I can quote the whole book to you right now.  If you asked Sam his name, was Sam-I-Am.   Am would talk non-stop for hours.  He did not really care if you listened or not.  I am not sure if liked to talk or just liked to here himself since for so long he could not.

Silence of the Sam: As much as one might think that the constant noise would be a problem, it probably saved his life on occasion, because when the noise stopped, we knew that there was a problem… the silent alarm.  Silence in the back yard – the shed is on fire.  Silence in the living room – crayons in the VCR.  Silence on the stairs – beautiful pictures on the wall.  You get the picture.  We loved Sam’s voice.

The ears were better, but the lungs were not quite right.  After another hospital stay, the doctors finally concluded at age 4 that Sam was asthmatic.  So this non-stop little boy was forced to succumb to the nebulizer several times a day. Five or ten minutes might seem like a short period of time, but to Sam it was an eternity.  He had had about enough.

Faith of a child: In 1994, shortly after moving to Georgia, we were attending a Sunday evening service at church.  Pastor Jim asked if anyone wanted to be prayed to be healed.  Before we knew it, Sam had jumped out of his seat and run up to the alter.  He told Pastor Jim that he was tired of having asthma and wanted it gone.  Prayer was given, prayer was received, asthma … gone.  Coincidence … change of climate … or the faith of a small boy believing in a big God.  All I can say is that we have a nebulizer in the attic that has not been used since that day.

“The greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” (Matt 23:11,12)

Sam & MalakaiServant: Born with a servants heart, same has always wanted to be a helper.  From the nursery (when he was in it), to JBQ, to youth group and missions trips to Nicaragua and Mexico, and now to the friends, Sam will often work for others and neglect even his own needs at times.  I have often been angered by those that have taken advantage of him and hurt him at times.  People have stretched him beyond his ability to give at times.  Obviously, saying ‘no’ is an option, but it is really not in his nature.  He is happiest when he is helping and feels a part of success.

If struggle makes us stronger, than my boy is strong beyond measure.  He has been fighting and overcoming from the day he was born.   I often envy his determination and drive to learn despite the many difficulties he has had to overcome.  His optimism, although often dampened by circumstances always shines through.  I look forward with great excitement to great things that are in store for this young man of God.

Sam & DadSam, you have been an encouragement to me for years.  God has used you to change me.  Your faith and enthusiasm have bolstered my own faith on many occasions.

I love you Bud and look forward to pressing on with you.

“Talk no more so very proudly, let not arrogance come from your mouth; for the Lord is a God of knowledge,and by him actions are weighed. The bows of the mighty are broken,but the feeble bind on strength.” (1 Sam 2:3,4)

“And the Lordcame and stood, calling as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant hears.”( 1 Sam 3:10)

Posted by: Chuck Farley | May 5, 2014

“God has made laughter for me” – Sarah

Sarah Funny FaceAnd Sarah said, “God has made laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh over me.” (Gen 21:6)

When Sarah was about eleven years old, I was walking through our kitchen in Georgia when suddenly, I was soaking wet.  An evil little young lady had drenched me with the hand sprayer from the kitchen sink … I was so proud!  Knowing full well that she would pay, she counted the cost and determined that it was worth the risk.  Finally, I had not only children to terrorize, but I had a nemesis and ally in one.  One without fear.

“Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening.” (1 Peter 3:6)

Sarah Renee’ has been “different” from the start. A month late, and after a difficult labor, the doctor scared us when he checked Lynn and got a concerned look on his face and stated there are two … (pause) … cheeks. (everybody is a comedian).  Yes, , she backed into the world just like her father … butt first.  A head full of black hair that stood straight out and a peculiar, frog-like sleeping position, we knew that she was going to be different. After being nearly drowned in her crib by an overflowing sink in the apartment up stairs we decided that she was destined for an amphibious life so I enlisted in the Navy.

From the beginning, she has loved people. Everywhere we went she made friends easily, but always found that one intimate relationship.

  • Norfolk,VA – Savannah: Savannah was very important in fostering some of her more critical virtues … a love of football and more importantly a love for the Redskins.
  • Sarah & SarahSt Marys GA – SarahTucker (Yes … one word in our house. Sarah Lutz is not one word, but is more complete):  Sarah Elizabeth was more than a friend … she was a sister and a cohort.  There were very few days while we lived in St. Marys that the “Sarahs” were separated. Out of this relationship, God began to develop a love of worship. Through dance and music, these two began to feel God’s pleasure moving through them.
  • Sarah LynsayLexington, KY – Lynsay: On my desk in front of me sits a picture of my children from Sarah’s early adult years and it is appropriate that Lynsay is included.  Sarah and Lynsay became women together (Sorry Lynz, but it is true).  High school, missions trips, work, boys … they shared all of the joys and pains associated with making this huge jump.

(This week the wedding dress is on the other sister … exciting)

As a baby, Sarah had a special affection towards men.  She really did not want to be held by women (except mommy).  Although she always had some close friends that were guys, (Gus, Ben, Eric..), her real friendships were always her girls … until Michael.  I have spent enough time writing on that subject previously and let’s just leave it at “he was the one and only” (and he was in that same family photo)

One would think that from my description of Sarah that life has been a piece of cake.  Both of our May babies (Sarah and Sam) were afflicted with less than normal long function when little.  (It took some time for Sarah’s amphibious gills to develop into fully functioning lungs).  Sarah had a volume I and volume II of her dependent medical record. For years we cycled been in and out of the pediatric clinic, but on Christmas morning of 1996, I carried Sarah into the ER for what would turn out to be a two week hospital stay.  God showed grace to us and allowed us to bring her home and decided that we it was time to replace that gill with a lung and her days of inferior lung function were over.

The teen years brought the beginnings of a more mature and independent young lady.  At 15 she started working, learned to drive (including a stick shift), got her own cell phone, and started dating (much to my displeasure). 16 brought a license and more independence. Although I knew that this was the natural way of things and that this what Lynn and I had raised our children to do, it was hard to become less a part of that life.  We watched as she bought her first car (and then her first bee-induced wreck).

Sarah  LauraWe watched stress begin to take hold as she struggled on balancing relationships, college and a full time job.  We ached as we saw her wearing out.  When our little girl who had always been defined by joy was losing her identity, we knew that a Sabbath was in order.   So it was agreed that she would head to the place of her birth and some quality time with my baby sister.  God was faithful and in time was able to bring restoration and joy.

Cain FamilyAt Sarah’s wedding, I spoke of Sarah’s heritage and that she comes from a line of women with hearts that champion broken people.  My baby girl has taken the baton from these ladies and is running the race with joy.   A father may think that he wants his children to be successful, but success without joy is not success.  Glance through Sarah’s photos and blog and you will see a woman who cherishes joy and desires above all else to share that joy with you.  http://littlecains.blogspot.com/

_M & SNow … she is no longer a “young adult” … but full fledged 30 year old adult.  Year 29 has brought a year of struggle and change.  She moved back to KY to be near family while trying her hand a single parenting of three very active preschoolers as Michael took a long “vacation” to the mountain regions of Afghanistan.  Anyone who thinks that the military wife is any less heroic than the one that is deployed is gravely mistaken.  Sarah … following in the footsteps of her awesome Mom, not only taking over the Dad duties, but doing it while missing the one who God provided to complete her, support her. and love her.  Add to that the stress involved with having her lover in harms way and you have a lady that defines heroism.  I am proud beyond measure of this woman of God.

Happy Birthday Sweetie.

 

Posted by: Chuck Farley | June 12, 2013

When the Mountains Come to You

 Mark 4:35-41:  Jesus Calms the Storm

Sea story … December 1992 on the USS LY Spear, crossing the Atlantic on our way home from the Persian Gulf. We were experiencing heavy seas for 5 days straight.  The Spear was a flat bottomed, 645 ft monster of a ship.  Being a flat bottomed vessel allowed her to give us an exciting ride with 6 to 10 ft swells.  Standing on the covered quarter deck beneath the helicopter pad made for an interesting ride.  While riding the mountains of ocean, one moment as we rolled to starboard looking down over the side, I could not see the ocean and then as the she rolled back to port I could no longer see the sky.  At first it was a bit novel for most of us who were submarine sailors.  Some of us who had stronger stomachs made fun of those who were sick, after a couple of days, the ship reeked of vomit and all of us where vying for a piece of floor near the waterline where the effects of the waves was the least.

rough-seas1

On day 5 our chaplain, a medal of honor recipient from Vietnam had had about enough.  During his 1700 (5pm for you civilian types) prayer he cried out to God on behalf of the crew. He quoted Mark 4:35-41 and then prayed, “Father, we have had about enough of these crazy seas and we would real appreciate it if you could give us some relief.”  Within the hour, the seas calmed down.  He was an even more beloved chaplain after that.

For 4 chapters, Jesus has been doing amazing miracles and telling stories about the power of this new kingdom.  He tried to explain how little is actually expect of us and that all we need to do is place our faith and confidence Him.  He’s got our back.  He is a little disappointed in their ability to get it.

I am looking forward to getting it.

“By awesome deeds you answer us with righteousness, O God of our salvation, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas; the one who by his strength established the mountains,  being girded with might; who stills the roaring of the seas, the roaring of their waves, the tumult of the peoples, so that those who dwell at the ends of the earth are in awe at your signs.You make the going out of the morning and the evening to shout for joy.” (Psalm 65:5-8)”

Posted by: Chuck Farley | June 11, 2013

The Unseen Farmer and an Unexpected Harvest

 Mark 4:26-34:  More Seed Parables

Again I find myself reflecting on thoughts that I here expressed over and over again.  Thoughts that have flooded my mind at times. Thoughts something like this. “Is this all that there is?  I get up, do the daily routine, go to sleep and then start all over again.  I barely see myself moving much less a move of God!”  I remember thinking this when I had a young family and, although I do not really see the growth in my own life, from that “daily grind” God has produced seven young adults that love God and are beginning to make an impact on the world around them.  They have started their own invisible farming process.

So in goes the sickle and because the harvest is come!  I often do not recognize the harvest that God has already brought.  If I did, I might be more excited for the harvest yet to come.

“Put in the sickle, for the harvest is ripe.

Go in, tread, for the winepress is full.

The vats overflow, for their evil is great.

Multitudes, multitudes, in the valley of decision!

For the day of the Lord is nearing the valley of decision.” (Joel 3:13-14)

 

If in the years that I barely knew whether I was coming or going, God brought about such a great work from the unseen seeds in my own family.  What great things are on the horizon with the seeds that are being planted today.  I am actually getting excited about the harvest that He is preparing today.  Even the smallest word or deed sown today, God can use to bring about new and abundant life beyond anything I can imagine.

Every day seed is planted, everyday seed is growing and every day His Kingdom is spreading it’s branches to make a home for a world that needs Him so desperately.

So I every night I will go to bed with excitement and every day I will get up expecting the wondrous work of those unseen hands and the harvest that is sure to come.

Hand & Seedling

Posted by: Chuck Farley | June 10, 2013

Get out of the Mud / Regaining a Grip

Yes, I have slipped on my commitment to sharing my journeys with Mark.  I will pick it up again tomorrow.

I loved mud.  Walking in it, playing in it, slinging it … the boy in me has always considered  mud to be an oozing, gushy, slimy delight.  Mud between the toes is an experience to be relished.  One of my greatest childhood memories is of the days John Coyner and I spent days jumping into a huge mud pit. the mud was so deep that it we sunk almost our arm pits.  It was an awesome bluish/black slimy that had been dredged from the bottom of the Tred Avon River and deposited within a berm just for our recreation. We would jump in, claw our way out and then go lay on the beach until it dried and our skin looked like it was cracking.  Then we would jump in the river to clean off and then go right back to the mud. In those carefree days of childhood when I was free of responsibilities mud like such an appealing distraction.

Pig in the mudOne of the things I think I love about mud is that it is so slippery and hard to handle.  It makes every action unpredictable.  I makes walking difficult, climbing nearly treacherous, and grasping objects nearly impossible.  In sports like football and horse racing, odds makers often have to change the odds completely when the event is held in the mud.  It often a great equalizer.

I have been reminded over the past couple of weeks that when I allow my priorities to be “muddied up”, my walk becomes more difficult, climbing up from a stumble becomes treacherous, and maintaining a grasp of situations become nearly impossible.  The harder I seem to try and get a good hold on my life, the more it tends to slip away.

A couple of weeks ago, I made some life changes.  Just some dietary changes and a re-commitment to improving my physical health.  As is often my habit, I did not really do this prayerfully and as a result, my priorities became quite muddy.  I tried hard to better “manage” my time to clarify things, but I kept falling farther behind.  The main thing I stopped doing was writing.  This may not seem like a big deal to most people.  It is not like a make a living writing or that people rely on my daily blog posts. Writing is my accountability.  It is a check point that is crucial to the race course that God has set before me.

So the question has been for me, “how do I get back on track?”

GRACE!

Until I realized that I was too slimy to get out of my predicament and that I would need to rely on Him to clean me up and pull me up, I was going to continue to slip back into the mud.  Grace says you don’t have to worry about catching up and making up for past failures.  I don’t have to do two weeks of blogs over the weekend to get back on track (which was my plan).  I just need to seek His face and His will for me today.  Yesterday is gone. (Also see Taking Advantage of a Mulligan)

I understand that in some cases, restitution for our sin is required, but God makes a way for us in those cases.  He does not leave us to deal with those on our own.  If we try to make everything right in our own power, timing, and ability, we may very well end up in a worse condition.  I have many examples of messing this up as well.  His grace is sufficient in every situation.

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, 7casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.  Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.  Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” (1 Peter 5:6-10)

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