Follow by Email

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Day 14

Well I know its been a while since I have posted.  I have found that it is quite a bit harder blogging when you can't drive to a place with internet access or even pull up what you want if you were to get there without significant help, so thanks Shea for helping me today.  Well, its been an interesting week.  Winterfest with thousands of teens and and mischief-minded chaperons made it even more of an adventure that it it normally is.  I will have to say that everyone has been wonderful.  There has been just the right balance of help and respect people have given me during this experiment so that I don't feel like a complete heel asking everyone to help me all the time.  Being guided through crowds and accepting reliance upon others has been difficult but wonderful.  Everyone was great giving me warnings about landmarks and obstacles.  I heard that the crowds parted around me, so I felt somewhat mosaic.  The only difficulty seemed to be with the word "step".  Step for the blind is way too ambiguous.  Step up or step down? When do you start stepping, when do you stop stepping? I am sure we made for some comical viewing.
I am learning to perceive differently.  Sometimes as I am staring into the blackness vivid images appear in my sight, sometimes my imagination, sometimes my perception (which is always very inaccurate) of what a room may look like.  It got me thinking about 2 Cor. 5:7.  We live by faith, not by sight.  Losing one's vision dramatically reorientates how one interacts with the world.  Losing one sense changes everything.  What if we thought of faith as a sense?  Would the world change even more dramatically with or without faith than it would with or without sight?  I think so.
See, having a limited vision has not detrimentally affected my friendships and interactions with my friends and family in the least.  Sure, it is limited in some ways.  But in some sense it has been enhanced.  More time with those I love and who love me can only be a good thing right? Those relationships stay strong because they are based on faith and a mutual commitment to each other. A physical perception doesn't change that.
 Also, many interesting conversations with strangers have arisen, which is encouraging.
I definitely feel the way I think about things changing. I don't necessarily think about different things, just think of them in different ways.  I like it.  Well I don't want to ramble too much.  Just wanted to give an update.  I am alive and well and will try and be more consistent if I can.  Hope you are all well.  Hebrews 12:2 says fix your eyes on Jesus.  Follow this metaphorical admonition wholeheartedly guys and he will definitely change all our heart perspectives for the better.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Day Seven

I just finished my first TV night blind.  Quite the interesting experience.  Got the play by play on the Clemson game.  Evidently we played horrible down the stretch.  Since I didn't actually see it I wasn't nearly as angry.

The office and Community were still funny even though I couldn't see them.  Its definitely a plus not being quite as hypnotized when the TV is on.  I am ashamed to say that if a show is on that I thoroughly enjoy and you are trying to have a conversation with me and it is not life altering I am probably not giving you my full attention.  Not so while watching blind however.  So if you want to speak with me about anything....on Thursday night between 8 and 10......the next 33 days is the time to do it.

I have thoroughly enjoyed every moment I have spent with everyone the last few days.  I have enjoyed listening to the Bible.  I have enjoyed my thinking time.  I have enjoyed the "extra" time I have not been perusing the internet, watching shows and movies, or reading magazines.  I love to read .....this I miss....but its interesting how once you have "space" in your schedule that is radically reoriented, how you can learn to appreciate new things.  I
I feel very strongly that the 1 John 2:16 lust of the eyes is intoxicating, controlling, and wonderful to break free of.  I have felt a strange appreciation for people and things over the last week that I have always hoped for.  To be able to start.....and I don't claim to have mastered this....but to start seeing people without the trappings of superficial judgments is quite refreshing.  Again, I know the eyes is not the root of all evil.  Unfortunately, as Jesus warned us about and as I believe we fail to be self aware of.....if the the eyes are good the whole body is full of light and i the eyes are bad the whole body is full of darkness (Mt. 6:22?)  I don't think we should see this passage in entirely metaphoric ways anymore than we should try to "spiritualize" away plain language of what is practically, physically and spiritually healthy for us.

Well I am going to Winterfest this weekend.  Can't wait.  If my friends don't play too many mean jokes on me it should be a great weekend.  I guess it will be a few days before my next blog though.  Peace guys!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Day 5

Two days in a row ! how bout that?  I have been hanging with Matt some the last two days.  Its interesting seeing .....well hearing people's reactions to a blind man.  Some ask what happened?  Some treat you just like they would anyone else.  Some seem to be a little reserved and intimidated.  Of course, unless you know how these people normally act its hard to know if they individually are acting differently.  Most everyone is super nice and much more likely  to start a far.  I get  the feeling some people who ask think it's silly that I'm doing an "experiment" but  it could just be my imagination.  Of course, I haven't been out and about all that much yet so I will keep listening and observing.
On thing I have definitely noticed about myself is a strong desire to converse.  I seem to be able to jabber on about just about anything when I get the chance.  I don't know if I am simply craving these conversations more, I am more bored and trying to fill the time, or I have more time to actually think and share the great depth and magnitude of my insights with everyone I meet.  lol.  I don't know.....I just know I have enjoyed talking.  The church may start to look forward to the day I get this blindfold off if I wax on too poetic........
I am so thankful for the folks I get to spend time with.  I have definitely taken many of my good friends for granted too often.  Do you ever feel like you are always planning the next activity or project without stopping to enjoy the one you are on?  It is nice to just be quiet and be still .  And I don't mean occasionally......regularly......I can see the most vivid pictures forming in my mind.  It's almost as if these images are really in my field of vision.  I almost forget that I am not looking at something.  The appreciation I have for my eyesight grows everyday even as I learn to adjust more effectively without it.  I am going to ask everyone at church in a couple of weeks....I know we are the church......I am going to ask everyone at "services" in a couple weeks if they want a million dollars.  Then I thought I would ask them if they would trade both eyes for a million dollars.....Interesting question heh?....Would you trade your two hands? Your two feet?  two ears?....we could keep going down the list......There are tons of things I would never trade for a million dollars.....doesn't that in effect make us multimillionaires?.....I mean....really....we get upset because we may want/need a couple thousand here or there for some widget or useless plastic item or maybe even something relatively important.....however....we would almost all acknowledge that we all already have what we self acknowledge is worth millions to us.  It's like the Rich man crying to the poor orphan sitting next to them that they are so upset because the blackberry they ordered didn't arrive on time.....kind of silly when we put it in that perspective eh?  But we manage to do that all the time with our two eyes, two hands, two feet, two ears, seeing and hearing, and doing and going all over the place experiencing all sorts of things that most  people in this world could only dream of.  We all have so much to be thankful for.  Thank you Matt, Zac, Rachel, Kim, Savannah, Lauren, Brianna, Emmanuel and everyone else that has already helped me the last few days.  five days down....almost....thirty five to go.....!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Day Four

Well I'm typing blind.  This ought to be interesting.  I have not been doing any blogging lately for obvious reasons.  I will have someone do some spell checking unless this is too unintelligible.  Did you know there were indentions on the f and j keys on the keyboard?

Well its been interesting not seeing things.  I can't say I have developed super sense perception or an uncanny ability to identify people when they walk into the room.  However, I am getting more comfortable stumbling around in the dark.  I don't want anyone to worry about a complete plunge into utter darkness.  I do get a little light around my nose giving me about a 4% range of vision  I have also gotten frustrated and peaked a couple times.  At night when everything is pitch black I take off my mask and just enjoying the minimal amount of light in the room--like the charging light on my cell phone, the light on my alarm and space heater. But for the most part I still can't see hardly anything in the room. But it's better than not seeing anything at all. I've yet to stub my toe, or have any major injury so far. My biggest worry is still to mistake Icy-Hot for toothpaste.  I have only had one or two major mishaps.  On the first day I accidentally used the wrong facilities.  Wrong being the trashcan that was sitting on the toilet.  I don't remember putting it there but I have been making sure the toilet is primed since then.

I keep thinking of that passage.  "seeing though never perceiving, Hearing though never understanding".  I know there are some things I have been blind to in my life.  I just need to take some quiet time and think about some of these things.

One of the great opportunities I've had is to work on my listening skills.  I am hoping to listen to the whole Bible in the the course of this 40 day run.  This works out to about 2 disks a day and 30 to 40 chapters.  I have also been listening to some other books on cd.  A Fannie Flag book about a cardinal and Christmas.  Very cute.  And a cd on Christian history.  Although it takes me much  more time to do even the most basic tasks, time does move rather quickly.  I have my phone set to go off at certain hours of the day to give me some scale of what time it is.  But like I said ......things move right along.  I have appreciated so much the help I have received and am definitely feeling my dependence on my friends.

My studies for church consist of listening to selected passages over and over and over again.  Some ways this is much more difficult although with a lack of reliance upon my notes I am able to internalize the material more effectively

Temptations are still tough.  Being more alone with my thoughts now more than normal makes it extremely difficult to keep my thoughts from wandering.  Hopefully I can be more and more disciplined as this time proceeds.

Well I am not going to bore you guys.  I will probably blog much less frequently during the next few weeks.  I hope you are all doing well.  Love you all and please call anytime.  I love getting phone calls.  lol.  Although I may not be able to call you back.

Weight: 193.5 lbs

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Day 40

This was my day.....

OHhhhhhhh celery sticks with ranch dressing........if you were a music masterpiece you would be Bach's mass in B minor.
Sweet sweet carrot stick with ranch dressing.......where have you been all my life.  As Badfinger would say I can't live if living is without you.
Hello Mr. Saltine cracker I believe we have an appointment today.

Progreso Minestrone soup.....your spices explode in my mouth, a flavor kaleidoscope of culinary perfection
House Salad....with tomatoes, bacon bits, croutons, honey mustard dressing..... you almost made me cry.
And loaded potato soup.....what can I say about are my inspiration.

Seriously was a really good day.  I enjoyed eating again.  Didn't eat tons but ate well.  no indigestion, no upset stomach.  I am so thankful for the last 40 days and the lessons I've learned.  Prayer is a beautiful thing....and so is God's gift of fasting.  I hope you all give it a try sometime.  I plan on trying to make it a weekly part of my life once I finish this next 40 days.

Father, please help me stay close to you in prayer.
Help change my heart, transform my will,
Humble my pride, crush my addictions, bad habits, and evil desires
Help me see you new everyday,  who you are,
What you do now,  what you have done, and promise to do.
Encourage me, strengthen me, and help me experience your love anew.

Your love reaches to the heavens
Your faithfulness to the skies
Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains
Your justice like the great deep.
Psalm 36:5-6

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Day 39

One more day.  One more day.  One more day.

lol, I am not obsessing.  I am, however, becoming quite excited.   Introducing milk and broth in my system has reinforced the idea that I need to go slow.  After fasting for so long, new drinks have almost day long residual effects.  I could still taste the echo of milk and broth in my mouth until I went to bed last night.  I am still drinking water and juices.  

So.....tomorrow I think I am going to start with some combination of celery and carrot sticks, crackers, and maybe.........some soup.  We will see.  The possibilities are endless.

My good friend and adopted sister (we adopted each other) here in SC just texted me about the conversation she had with her son about fasting.  Ben, 13, said he knew why it drew you closer to God, because you had to keep praying that you wouldn't die!  lol.   Now........That isn't exactly why I feel closer God.  At least not in the way he meant it.....but symbolically its true.  We have been given a way to realize how dead, and lost, and hopeless we are without Him.  Until we realize these things...we can't fully comprehend the significance of the need we have of life in Him.

Only by his grace (getting what you don't deserve) and mercy (not getting what you do deserve) am I able to faithfully serve Him in a way that brings me joy and Him glory.  Its not an easy way.  Yet its a satisfying way.  There are so few things in this world that can adequately quench our thirst.  He is the only one who can bring true contentment to our souls.  No salves, distractions, or anesthesia needed.  Actual peace from a genuine relationship and  real trust in the one true God of the Universe.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Day 38

Almost had to do jury duty for the whole week today but thankfully the case settled and we all got sent home.

I started broths and milk today.  Heavenly.  Advice.  Straight chicken broth or beef broth is gross.  I made some soup a friend gave me, strained out the few veggies, watered it down a felt like a feast.  I'm serious.  I felt like I had experienced nirvana.  lol.  It was incredibly satisfying.  Just did a cup full to start off.  After my juice fiasco on day 21 I am going to try to ease into everything from here on.  

This week is quite exciting.  I have some energy....for which I am thankful.  There is so much to get ready for with my new schedule starting Friday.  I need more speed dial numbers.   I am trying to figure out things that will require my touch.  I've already stickered the microwave.  I'm getting the dishwasher, dryer, and some cds today.  I am also starting to memorize phone numbers.   So I can call all my wonderful friends.

The plan is to listen to about 1-2 hrs of Bible on CD every day.   This way I can help prepared for lessons.  I have to label my Bible class material so I can listen to it multiple times to become familiar with it.  This is going to be difficult.  However, I expect it to be incredibly rewarding.  If I have to memorize everything and not rely on notes I will need to internalize things more thoroughly.  

I keep thinking about John 9:41

John 9:41 (New International Version, ©2010)

 41 Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.

I don't expect to be absolved of sin because of this experiment (although I do expect to become more thankful for my eyesight).  I do wonder if I am more enslaved to the lust of the eyes (1 John 2:16) than I realize.  I want to be able to wholeheartedly acknowledge that I am blind without my Lord.  I want to experience this truth (physically and spiritually) firsthand.  I am nervous, anxious, excited, and hopeful.  We will see what happens.

Haven't been around a scale today but am feeling as good as I ever have.   Hope you are all well.

I use a lot of "I's" I notice.  Seems mighty narcissistic......but this is a blog about my experiences and guess its OK.  lol.  

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Day 37

Weight 177.5 lbs

In some ways I feel like I have already reached the end of my fast.  Starting last Wednesday I started thinking.....this time next week I am going to be eating.  Each day is like that.  And now its .....this time next week I won't be seeing anything but the back of my eyelids.   Started  putting stickers on things today so I can differentiate some things by touch.  When I get started with this next week please feel free to call.  I'm sure I will be "looking" for things to keep me busy.  lol.  Although I imagine the first few days everything ....even menial activities will take me much longer to accomplish.

Tomorrow, I'll start back with broths and milk, and various other liquids.  And Wednesday I will start eating again.  Kind of sad to see it go.  God has been so good to me this last 37 days.  I felt so blessed going to the grocery store today.  When I choose.... I can start eating again.  Millions can't.  It made me thankful and hopeful that we as the church can do more to help the multitudes in need.

Super Bowl Sunday.  My prediction is the Packers.  I don't care too much as long as its a good game.

Ezra 8:23 (New International Version, ©2010)

23 So we fasted and petitioned our God about this, and he answered our prayer.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Day 36

Sorry I didn't post yesterday.  I just got busy and it slipped my mind until after I got home.

Weight 181lbs.

I can't believe how close its getting to the finish/beginning.  Just 4 more days.  I can hardly believe it.  I'm already starting to get fixated on the vision thing.  I don't want to.  I want to soak up every moment of this experience now.  One thing I read recently that has really helped is in Elmer Townsend's book The Beginners Guide to Fasting.  He talks about a "fasting to hunger".  In other words, we know how hungry we get physically when we don't eat.  But do we develop that hunger spiritually as well?

He gave the analogy of a baby that starts crying when they are hungry.  Its obvious to mom and food is shortly provided.  When I was younger I used to tell my mom....I'm starving.  Of course I wasn't starving but it did let her know how really hungry I felt.  Townsend questioned whether sometimes we as Christians.....for various reasons.......don't try to let God know how hungry we are?  I think its a good question.  Of course God knows when we are hungry....but maybe its a good thing for us to let him know how hungry we are.   Fasting is a good way to accomplish that.

I have been loving the last couple days.  No hunger, no pain, feeling great.  God is good.

Its almost like every moment is .....what cool thing do I get to do next?

Matthew 5:6 (New International Version, ©2010)

6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
   for they will be filled.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Day 34

Weight - 181lbs

I slept wonderfully last night.  9 hours!  Which I guess kind of makes up for the 2.5 I got yesterday.

I like 2 Cor. 12:10.  "...for when I am weak, then I am strong"  Paul is talking about the persecutions and difficulties he must face because of his commitment to Christ.  This is one of those verses that is truly hard to appreciate unless you have endured something for God.  Its incredibly revealing.  Weak and strong are somewhat vague.  Strong in what?  Christ.  Weak in what?  Self centered behavior.  We can't be weak in both or strong in both.  If we are strong in one we are by definition weak in the other.  Most of us will never completely eradicate our selfishness entirely but we CAN weaken it.  How?  By becoming strong in Christ.

Isn't that cool?  I think the converse is true as well.  I think by becoming more selfless we can also grow stronger in Christ.  I think we forget that our will and want are two different things.  God wants our will to be committed to him.  We shouldn't feel guilty if we have a morning prayer time and our bodies don't want to get out of bed.  We get up early to pray because we know how good it is despite how our bodies want to stay asleep.  Our will submitting to His will, despite the fact that we may want to do something else, does not make us selfish.  Thats selfless.  Not doing what you might want to do.  Why do we sometimes beat ourselves up over the way we feel sometimes?  I don't get it.  We make ourselves feel guilty when there is often no need.

God wants us to rejoice in Him always.  Lets get to it.

Praise God.  Looks like all the papers have been signed for little Levi.  Just a court date and some processing time away from finalizing.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Day 33

What a wonderful day!!!!!

My nephew Levi Michael was born about 4:30 this morning weighing about 8lbs 5ozs.  Perfectly healthy.  10 fingers 10 toes.  I got down on my knees and started thanking God for his graciousness.  I am so excited for my brother and sister-in-law.

Then as a little icing....Clemson has one of its greatest recruiting days ever.

I am so thankful and tired.  I went to bed about 11:30 and woke up at 2am.  Not a big deal.  Got lots of wonderful things done today thinking about these beautiful gifts.... and then I started wondering.

I am having one of the better days of my life today.  Been having some great days a lot lately.....with family....finances....ability to  My prayer life has never been more committed.
Could there be a connection?  How could there not be?

All the while....not eating a thing.

I have already been thinking about fasting once or twice a week.  I would like to do a Daniel fast (which is basically a vegetarian + water diet) one day and/or may a John Wesley diet (whole grain bread and water) fast on another.
I don't want to lose my prayer time when my schedule starts reorienting......of course that really won't happen til next year.  I'm aware how easy it is for practiced disciplines to be short term.

Well God is good.  (I am still excited about eating).  This is about thankfulness after all.

Prayers go up and blessings come down

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Day 32

I thought about counting down now that there are less than 10 days left but for consistency......

H.I.: I found myself driving past convenience stores... that weren't on the way home

D.V.: I found myself I found myself walking through grocery stores....with no intension to buy

I did that today.  Aldi's.  You may ask....why put yourself through the torture?  well.....its kind of interesting....I'm really not hungry in the slightest anymore....not that I wouldn't mind eating.  I just like thinking what it will be like in a little over a week.  It really made me kind of happy and thankful to be walking around the store thinking how good all these things were....How good anything would be.  And being able to do that without being upset to not be enslaved by that physical need was really a pretty wonderful thing.  To be able to recognize the gifts of God and not be enslaved by or dependent on those gifts is great!!!!

I feel blessed today.  Physically, emotionally, spiritually.  Its quite nice. 

Weighed in at 184.5lbs today.  

Starting to mentally prepare for the next "fast".  Getting excited.  I have pretty much been resolved that I can't be on the computer for anything meaningful.  I am going to just be resolved to leave a message on my email letting everyone know and to call me if they need anything.

I am also going to try to start tonight memorizing some phone numbers.

Talked to a friend overseas today and after hearing a little about his living conditions thanked my God above for the wonderful country I live in and the infinite amenities of life I often take for granted.

Hope you are all doing wonderful today!