2014 Challenge, Week 47 Nature & Wildlife – Litter & Trash

One of my first opportunities to get out and create an image for our weekly challenges at PhotoChallenge.org. This metal bar appears to have been an old sign post, in near a group of oak trees. We’re in Cameron Park, CA for Thanksgiving with my in-laws. This was taken on a walk with my wife.

2014 Challenge, Week 47 Nature & Wildlife – Litter & Trash

f/2.0, 35mm, 1/1600, ISO 200, Fujifilm X-T1

 

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Self promotion: Need a 2015 Calendar?

So, a few months back, my co-authors at PhotoChallenge.org conceived an idea for how they and our numerous participants could help our family out, by purchasing a calendar of  PhotoChallenge.org submitted images. So we announced the idea, asking for submissions. The four of us authors voted on our faves, and 12 images were selected. Jeremy, one of my 3 co-authors, designed the calendar, and last week we announced the final product on our blog. The profits are coming to me, to help Deanna and I with finances, etc.

(If you didn’t know, I publish a themed photography challenge blog. I have 3 co-authors that also contribute.)

As of today, at 10 am, 51 calendars have sold. I figured that I’d promote it here, for any of my readers who might want to help us out in this special way, and also get a calendar out of it. I know a few people have bought more than one, to give away as gifts. That helps us even more. Don’t sweat it if you can’t.

We love you all for you continued prayerful support!

dscf0981

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Been a while, sorry

Hello all! First I want to apologize for not writing any sort of update for a very long time.

When last I wrote, I had just spent a weekend back in the hospital with a little setback. Thankfully, I recovered and was sent home, and that’s where I’ve been since. I’ve had weekly, then bi-weekly clinic appointments, but no more admissions back into UCLA.

I started out on a ton of meds, and they’ve been slowly decreased. A few have even been discontinued. Other than that, my clinic visits have been consistently simple and boring, and that’s great!

Since August, we’ve continued to have several wonderful people who have blessed us with financial help that arrived at just the right time. It’s amazing how God continues to care for us, while I’m on disability. We are so very grateful!

One of the important emotional milestones I’ve arrived at, has been releasing the notion that I’ll have improvements from day to day. Yet on the other side of that coin I’ve embraced the notion that I can experience improvements from week to week. Once I embraced this, I found my spirits lifted quite a lot.

About a month ago, I was given permission to attend church again. That was a HUGE milestone!

You see, there are basically two things that have much room to improve. The first is my strength and endurance. The second is my immune system. When I received the transplant, and began to rebound, my immune system was more diminished than a new born infant. They had the benefit of their mother’s antibodies. So, early on, I was susceptible to the simplest of sicknesses. That’s why I spent that weekend in the hospital. And ever since, I’ve been slowly getting healthier and healthier. So once I had been well enough, long enough, my Nurse Practitioner let me start going to church again. Crowds are not a good thing for me, which is why I was denied the opportunity to attend the annual LA Auto Show. :-( Another tradition I’m having to forego, for now.

On the strength and endurance issue, is where I ask for the most prayer. I am not as responsible at getting out and walking, which I need. I was cleared to start cycling again, and I did my first ride a week or so back; 2.7 miles. Any riding is good riding! I’m hoping to start riding once a week, soon. My mileage will remain quite small, but even a short ride helps me out a lot.

I think that about catches y’all up with how my recovery has progressed over the last few months. Thank you again for your support and prayer!

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Going home…again

Ok folks, I spent the weekend in the bighouse admitted back in UCLA. As you may know, I spiked a fever last week. So they bring me down and immediately put me on antibiotics. When the fever didn’t break, they admitted me. It broke immediately, and I haven’t had a fever all weekend. So the treatment worked. There ended up being evidence of one bacteria when they cultured me. Apparently I did have something. So the meds continue until I’ve had a nice long course.

Today I’m being released, and headed back home. They’re continuing my antibiotics, which will be administered by a nurse at our home everyday, until it’s done.

Thanks for the continued prayers! We know we’re loved and prayed for and it’s such a blessing!

We cannot fathom how much we are blessed through this whole process!

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This was expected

Hey all, I just wanted to fill y’all in on a secret. No stem cell transplant patient has smooth sailing. Everyone has some setbacks. We knew I’d have one eventually, and it’s come as no surprise.

Of course we don’t want it, and it’s inconvenient. But, it’s happening. There is no crisis, and no one is panicking about it. I received IV antibiotics yesterday, and just finished an other for today. Once I have my room, I’ll get even more, over the next few days.

They expect that I’ll spend the weekend “upstairs” as they treat my infection/fever. They’re pretty sure the infection is from my central line, which is installed in my chest. So they’re gonna pull it, once I get upstairs. Then once my fever and infection clears they’ll install a PICC line, which is another kind of semi-permanent line, so that I don’t have to be poked all the time for an IV.

Today my fever was the biggest concern, but I also had a low blood pressure, that was concerning. It made me light headed and loopy.

I’m doing ok. It was a super bummer to accept the news that I’m being readmitted. But it didn’t take long to get over. It’s more frustrating logistically than anything else. We don’t have any supplies. Deanna had to buy an iPhone charger last night, and I don’t even have any underwear, other than the pair I’m wearing.

But seriously, that’s such a minor issue that can easily be overcome. If Deanna and my VC family can’t work out some sort of handoff of important stuffs, I’m sure I could get a package of chonies from the local Target.

God is good! We continue to be cared for so well, by UCLA, family, and Element family! Our community is just so fantastic!

“How much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.” – Hebrews‬ ‭9‬:‭14‬ ESV

This verse has encouraged and comforted Deanna and I both, separately and at different times this past week. I hope it comforts you too.

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2014 Challenge, Week 32: “Tilt Shift” Quasi-Landscape

2014 Challenge, Week 32: “Tilt Shift” Quasi-Landscape

 

My submission to this week’s PhotoChallenge.org theme.

This shot is from one of my favorite cycling routes near my home. It’s a beautiful view that I get to see, near the end of this ride. I miss cycling so much, and so today I drove this path, to be inspired!

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Moving back to the Book.

IMG_3993

For quite some time I’ve been partaking my daily reading in the Bible with an app. The reading plans are cool. They even remind me when I’ve missed. But honestly, it’s turned into a guilt trip. It may seem weird to some of you, me being such a nerd and techie, that I’d want to switch back to a printed book. And with all my novel reading and whatnot, I still prefer my iPad w/ the Kindle app.

But, reading the Word, I miss the printed book. I miss the thin pages. I miss being able to underline and turn back and forth. I also miss the Study Bible notes that accompany the scripture!

I saw this post in my Facebook feed today, and it got me thinking…I miss writing in my Bible. I miss turning to older notes and underlines, and being inspired again.

So today I’m switching back!

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Take a ride, Northbound 405.

Fujifilm X-T1
18mm
1/56 @ f/3.2
ISO 100
2 sec. timer.

Transferred from X-T1 to iPad mini. Processed with Snapseed and Camera+. Uploaded with Pressgram.

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Fill the void

“Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.” Hebrews 13:7 (ESV)

As I reflect on the loss we experience in life, I’m interested in the generational loss. If the Lord had taken me, or still wills it sooner than later, there will be an unavoidable void. It cannot be overlooked. Yet, I praise the Lord that He will provide.

With all the activity happening in our community and around the world, I’m seeking to engage where it matters. I’m passionate about it all, but can’t let myself jump into every issue. I will fail, and get distracted. Forgive me.

I DO however, really want to engage the issues that matter. Those issues that have eternal impact. My filters must depend on the Holy Spirit for that to happen. It’s only then that I believe I can fulfill my role right now.

“Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with the one who teaches.” Galatians 6:6 (ESV)

You see, as the mature veterans in our communities move on, some retiring away, but most passing on from this life, we’re faced with the reality that they create a void. We miss them. We need them.

“Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.” James 3:1 (ESV)

We could choose to turn into ourselves, become depressed, and make it about “me”. That is failure. That is selfish. Yet the maturing, those aware of the void, and aware of the need, will embrace the truth that those voids are meant to be filled! They’re meant to be filled by us! We grow into those roles, to care for the next generation. It’s our responsibility to let the Lord mature us into that new generation of elders.

“So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.” 1 Peter 5:1-4 (ESV)

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I am home.

My journey has not been as long as we expected. I was back at UCLA for my transplant on June 23rd. That week I had experienced a few pre-treatments, to prepare me for the upcoming work. Then, my first week in I did some more. All of it was designed to get me ready for the transplant.

Then on July 3rd, my scheduled transplant day, the unrelated donor’s donation arrived. They processed it at UCLA, and brought it up to me in my room. For me it was a little anti-climactic. It was basically a blood transfusion. They started it late that evening and it finished in the early morning hours of the 4th. For a bone-marrow donation/stem cell transplant, that made the 4th like a new birthday. In fact, I’ll be free to celebrate July 4th as a new birthday for the rest of my life! This stems from the idea that I have been made new, through the donation. They tell me that I’m like a new born baby. Especially as it pertains to my immune system. At some point, I’ll even get new immunizations.

My recovery has been kinda quick. They told us a while in the hospital, after the transplant. That went quick. One month. Then they said that I’d spend a week or a month released, but at the Tiverton House across the street. Weekly visits to the clinic, until my numbers grew to support my health and comfort. I spent a week there. So now I’m home.

There’s more, but that should sum up where we’re at now. One last thing, I realized that at UCLA visitors were limited by access to me and the distance from home. But now that I’m home, it will be easier for many to come see me. Overall, I’m good with that! Seeing and hearing the encouragement is uplifting and raises my spirits.

However, my personal limits directly effect my growth and health. I won’t be venturing out a lot, with out a little protection like a mask, etc. I won’t be attending church or eating out or going places where my path will cross with large groups.

So if you want to come see me, please above all, I need to know beforehand. No one should show up unannounced. Message or text or email me, with some notice and expect to be grilled a little before I hand over the approval. :-)

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