Friday, November 6, 2015

What's Up?

Here is a little catch up for the last few weeks.


World Series Champions 2015 - #KCRoyals

Here is a follow up to my World Series Statement post a few days ago.

We Won! and I had nothing to do with it other than just being an obnoxious fan. Would have loved to have been there for the celebration on Tuesday but did watch a little of it online.

It sure was a fun season and anytime you see me post #KCRoyals on social media, it reflected a win. I posted that about 110 times this past season. Sorry if you got tired of seeing that in your feed. You get a break now until April when the Mets come to the K to start off the season. How fun that will be to invite them to our season opening World Series Championship Celebration.

I have not posted any workouts in a few weeks but that is not indicative of me not working out. I have been giving you a little bit of a break. Those posts are not designed to be self-righteous brags but a form of accountability. After Ironman Chattanooga, I took about a week off from any heavy exercise but am back at it now and am in training for another Ironman to take place in March. (I will post more on this upcoming race in the future.) Some of you know but others of you do not that this will be somewhat of an epic race location-wise, but I am training much more economically and only looking to finish. No trying to better the last one on this particular race. There will only be 21 weeks from the last Ironman I completed to participating in the next one so I am doing a kinder, gentler training program.

Next Friday, we all (Sondra, Morgan, Wil, Mark, Shelbi and I) will be in Phoenix, AZ for Ironman AZ. I am going as a spectator this time and Mark will be competing in his first full Ironman distance race. He has trained well and we are all excited to be there to cheer him on. Sondra, Wil, Morgan and I are looking forward to conquering Camelback Mountain on Sat. if all works out. Sondra and I climbed it a couple of years ago when we were there. Fun stuff.

I will post again soon.


Tuesday, October 27, 2015

World Series 2015 Statement

I am a KC Royals fan through and through. I want them to win the World Series this year. I also need to make a statement for all of you friends of mine to help you understand where I stand on all of this stuff.

1. If the Royals are winning, I have absolutely nothing to do with it.
2. If the Royals are losing, I have absolutely nothing to do with it.

Many of you may feel inclined to text, FB, or tweet me some things like this; "Dude, you guys are killing it." "Dude, you gave up three runs in the 8th with 5 errors." and other well meaning things. If you feel compelled to send me a message through any means, make it something like, "I'm pulling for your Royals" or "I am NL guy and can only pull for the Mets because of that" "Or I am a Mets fan so that's who I'm pulling for." I can respect and handle those messages.

I don't need, "The Mets Suck!" "The Royals Suck!" or anything negative related to either team. You might mean well or you may just be a jerk, but either way, I would appreciate you sending positive messages and that includes Go Mets! if that is your honest bent.

I am pulling for the Royals. Hands down. Been a loyal fan since 1969 and that is not going to change. I don't hate the Mets (or the Giants who beat us last year in the World Series). I do however, strongly dislike the Yankees and would never pull for them, but you will see no messages from me hating on the Yankees. (That would be easy though.)

Looking forward to the games and Go Royals.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

#IMChatt (Warning - Sort of a long post!)

Some of you know that I have been training to complete an IRONMAN competition. Some of you know it all too well. I have posted to Twitter and Facebook incessantly and you have endured those posts. What you may not have known is that the reason I post my silly workouts is because there are many folks who hold me accountable to do the workouts. Twitter and FB are the easiest way to keep those few informed. Thanks for enduring.

If you have known me for awhile, you have known that I enjoy being outside; I enjoy physical exercise; I like to set some goals that I just cannot go out and accomplish without some pretty strong disciplined and regimented plans; and that I am a tad bit obsessive. (I may have understated that last statement.) I have a friend at work who has completed 8 IRONMAN competitions and a couple of years ago I went to support him at IRONMAN Florida. I wrote about it here if you are interested. It was at that event that I realized that I believed I could finish one of these events. I signed up for a half IRONMAN that I completed in April 2014 in New Orleans and then volunteered at IRONMAN Chattanooga in Sept. 2014 so that I could get a slot to compete in 2015.

I began a pretty rigorous training program in January preparing for a half iron distance in Georgia that Mark and I were going to compete in together. The weather turned bad the morning of that race and we were not able to do it. We did get a nice hoodie however. The training schedule I did was a 30 week schedule and I modified it a little, but I trained from 10-18 hours/week either swimming, biking, or running. It got a little tough to get the workouts in while traveling but I jumped on a lot of spin bikes at YMCAs. Throughout all the training, Sondra was my greatest supporter. She put up with me being out either biking or running on the weekends. That girl is so supportive of me and for that I am grateful.

I raced this past Sunday and many of you have already expressed your congrats and that sure means so much. We started out the race in the Tennessee River where about 2300 of us jumped in and started swimming DOWNSTREAM which was huge help to me. I pretty much claim to just survive the swim. Coming out of transition from the water to the bike, I saw all of my family and I have to tell you that seeing them throughout the day was the BEST part of the whole race experience.  I got changed into my biking clothes, saw my family again and got out on the bike for a pretty long ride. You ride a little through Chattanooga and then head south down into Georgia and some beautiful country side. It was fairly rolling terrain and picturesque. The temps were in the low 70s and it was overcast so it was not too hot. It is a two loop, lollipop shaped course, so you get to see everything twice. I felt good on the bike and averaged a little over 17mph. It was very humbling when the first Pro athlete lapped me when I was at mile 50 and he was at about mile 90. He was flying. You ride back into town and back into transition and as I dismounted my bike I saw my family and we hooped and hollered and I went into the transition tent to change from my bike to running clothes.

My friend Dave was also doing the race and I had not seen him since we jumped into the river together to start the swim which had been 8 hours earlier. He was killing the swim and the bike. I did see him in the changing tent, said, "Hey! How ya doing?" and fist bumped him and headed out on the run. Saw my family two more times coming out of transition and mentioned to them, "I just have a 26.2 mile cool down run left to go!" I felt really good and settled in to my pace. Two miles in I realized that I was soaking wet from sweat and that the sun was out and the humidity was high so I adjusted my mental state some to slow down and conserve some energy. There are aid stations every mile on the run so you never go far without something to eat or drink. There are pretzels, Gatorade, cookies, Red Bull, GUs, and many other assorted energy supplements. I saw the family again at mile 8 and was feeling good. Crossed the Tennessee River and got over to the Northshore section of Chattanooga and ugh! there were some major hills. I mean, HILLS. I slowed down, walked some and
realized I would see these jokers again since it was a two loop course. Came back across the River and started my second loop and had about 13 miles to go. Saw all of the family again, stopped and talked for a short minute (Wil caught me up on some ballgame scores) and then I set back out. I realized that I could do about a 2.5 hour .5 marathon and be finished by 9p so I was feeling okay about where I was out. Then . . . a short couple of minutes later I started feeling a little nauseated and just generally not very good. Not horrible, but not great. Drank some coke, ate some salt (sounds terrible I know) and then drank some chicken broth (really sounds terrible, but man, was it oh! so good). Got my feet back under me and started running again but not quite as fast. Saw a couple of friends who were volunteering and that gave me a boost. Passed the 20 mile sign and realized I only had a 10k to go and said out loud to whoever was around me, "We've got this! Anyone can cover a 10k!" Got some laughs and some thanks for saying that and then I picked it up a little. Saw Shelbi and Morgan just past the 20 mile mark and grabbed a glow ring so people could see me because it was starting to get fairly dark. Crossed the bridge again, up and down those stupid hills and then found myself about 2 miles from the finish. (The last 8-10 miles of the race I had been intentionally cheering for others on the course and hollering at all the volunteers in the aid stations thanking them for their service. They were wonderful!)

The last aid station is about 1.5 miles from the finish and the theme for that group of volunteers was
the Minions from the Despicable Me movies. I love the Minions and they make me laugh, so that group was my favorite! I hollered for them on my way by them and told them they were awesome and they hollered back, "No! You're Awesome!" I guess it fired me up because I picked up my pace quite a bit and was beginning to realize that I was going to complete this race. My feet just started carrying me to the finish. I had prearranged with my family that I wanted to stop and high-five, holler, kiss and celebrate with them before crossing the finish line. As I started coming into the finish chute it was pretty dark, but there were bright lights shining into my face drawing me to the finish line. I was slapping hands of spectators on both sides, I was hooping and hollering and my head was on a swivel trying to find Sondra, Shelbi, Mark, Morgan and Wil. I actually passed them about 10-15 yards and circled back and we had us a celebration! I mean, I was acting like a dumb fool celebrating with them and it was AWESOME! They had helped me so much leading up the race and definitely during the race. It is hard to describe how I felt. I hollered that I was going to cross the finish line and see them on the other side of the finish. I took off for the last 100-150 yards or so and slapped some hands and just drank it in. I slowed down because there was a guy ahead of me who was crossing the line and I wanted him to get his moment of YOU ARE AN IRONMAN! and I wanted to make sure that I heard and experienced, "Paul Turner, YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!" It was pretty cool.

So my day broke down like this - In the water about 7:40a for a 2.4 mile swim in 1:12:03; 116 mile bike ride in 6:47:53; and a 26.2 mile run in 4:41:42. My first transition was 11:04 from swim to bike; and the second transition was 7:54 from the bike to the run.

Total time - 13:00:36   I have been asked a couple of times about why just not hurrying up and beating the 13 hour mark. My two answers: 1. I had no idea that I was that close to breaking 13 hours, and 2. I don't care.

Thanks for cheering me on. Thanks for supporting me. You guys are great.

Yes, I will do another one. No, I will not train as hard and will not try to beat my time any time soon. Yes, you could do an IRONMAN. Seriously, you could. Discipline. Training and Desire. No. You do not have to do one. And yes, you can drive that far.

Total mileage - 144.6
Total calories burned - 10,046  I lost about 7 pounds and have only regained about 4 so far.

Post race report - I am not sore. Really have not been very sore. Yes, I am hungry. I have eaten a lot this week. And yes, I am tired. Monday was pretty good. Tuesday I was exhausted. Wednesday and today I am feeling more rested.





Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Trust

Recently I have been reading a book called Crucial Conversations that I am finding to be very beneficial not only in a work setting but in all relationships. This morning in our team devotions this book was mentioned again and then it was asked, "What instances in Scripture come to mind where you see crucial conversations take place." It was a good exercise and one of the things that I was reminded of was the issue of trust and how trust is pretty foundational in relationships and in crucial conversations. I remember running across some key elements to trust that I have shared in conferences and in conversation. I would like to give proper credit to the source of these but they really are a mash up of things I have discovered and learned so it is not intentional not to cite sources.

Keys to Trust
- Tell the truth. Always.
- Be transparent. Always.
- Extend trust and respect. Always.
- Be vulnerable. Always.
- Don't play games with people. Ever.
- Keep your promises. Always.
- Communicate clearly (and often). Never assume the other person gets it. Clarify. Always.

I think these are applicable in interpersonal relationships; job settings; friendships, and definitely marriage.

Let me know what you think. How have you seen these played out in your relationships?

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

#KCRoadTrip

Sometimes I get more than I aimed for. I realize that is a terrible way to start a blog post and to end a sentence, but it is very true.

Sondra will always be the one that I out punted my coverage on. As a young teenager, I made a list of what I would look for in a wife and then I met Sondra in college. I looked at my list, wadded it up and threw it away. She was and continues to be more than I ever had dreamed of as a mate.

Then God gave us two daughters. I have written much about each of them. Shelbi and Morgan are truly delightful, wonderful and far more than I ever dreamed gifts from God. Sondra and I made some mistakes along the way in rearing them but we intentionally purposed to help them love the Lord their God with all their heart, mind and soul. As they grew and matured and headed off to college, God brought a couple of young men into their lives. Mark grew up as an east Tennessee boy where I think they got indoor plumbing about the turn of the century. ;-) He and Shelbi celebrated their 3rd wedding anniversary last week. Wil grew up down in the 'boro, Murfreesboro that is and managed to not let being a Siegel Star warp him too badly. Both Shelbi and Morgan met their beaus at Union University and quite honestly, Sondra and I could not be more thankful or proud of the four of them.

James, me, Wil, Mark, Dad
This past weekend was a self-declared "guys weekend" and Mark, Wil and I climbed into the car early Saturday and made our way to KC. We landed at my dad's mid-afternoon, were spoiled by my dad's hospitality and then we headed to The K.  Kaufman Stadium is a beautiful baseball stadium completed in 1972 as a part of the Truman Sports Complex which also includes Arrowhead Stadium where the KC Chiefs play. The Royals were playing the Los Angeles of Anaheim Angels (or whatever they claim their hometown to be) and we watched the Royals beat the Halos 9-4. On Sunday, I got up and ran and then we headed to church with my brother's family to Sheffield Family Life Center. A church that is reaching the eastern part of KC with the gospel. It was great to worship with them.

On Sunday afternoon, we headed to my brothers for tacos and then I showed the guys around my hometown of Independence. We saw most of the historic areas including the convergence of the Santa Fe, California and Oregon Trails. We saw the Harry S. Truman home and Truman Library and will have to return to actually tour those facilities. I took them to a couple of homes that I lived in growing up in Independence and managed to not bore them too much.

The K
Sunday evening we headed back to The K for the ESPN Sunday Night Game and watched the Royals score 2 in the first and then not get another hit until the tenth inning and win on a walk-off single in that same inning. We had tied it up in the bottom of the ninth without a hit. Crazy.

Early Monday morning we climbed back into the car and made our way back to Nashville. It was a quick trip, but a very fun one. It was good to be with my dad, brother and sister-in-law and a couple of my cousins. It was good to worship at Sheffield on Sunday. It was just big fun to get to see the Royals play a couple of games this year.

And it was good to be with Wil and Mark. Those two guys are a huge blessing to our family. I am honored to be their father-in-law. Thankful for how God has blessed us as a family and thankful for what God has done and is going to do in our family in the future.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Makes Me Wonder (But not in a Maroon Five or Kenny Chesney sort of way)

Overwhelmed. That is how I feel at times. Not to the point of depression (although my dad and I have discussed how depression has been a part of our family for generations) I don't think, but then again denial is usually first the sign that you have something. :-)

And . . . I do believe that depression is real and it is more of a "fix" than most believers will say. I do grow a little weary and annoyed at people who say, "just pray about it; spend more time in Scripture; etc. and everything will work out okay." Sounds good and all but I believe depression is more than just a "spiritual fix". There are too many physiological issues going on inside of us. I know that we don't tell cancer sufferers to just spend more time in the Bible and prayer and that cancer will go away, so I am not sure why we thing depression is less than a similar type of illness or challenge. (Enough rant on that.)

I know Jesus drew away from the crowds. I know he suffered and needed to be alone with the Father and because of His example, I know that is something I need to do as well. I enjoy being around people and I enjoy being away from people. Not because I don't like people, but because sometimes being around people is overwhelming. I think that is one reason I have enjoyed running and now triathlons is because it gives me some alone time. I have spent many hours on foot; in the water; and on a bike just enjoying being alone. And, I enjoy the time alone to pray and wrestle some things out with God. I have been known to do some of these things out loud while exercising: singing, praying, praising and even hollering at God. I have laughed and cried many times and have been angry and sad too while exercising.

I have wondered many times about many different things. Most of the time I wonder about my own worthiness. Have I done enough? Am I doing enough? Should I spend time swimming, riding and running when I could be ministering more? Should I spend money on things? Should I go on this trip? Should I be more intentional about this or that?

Am I doing enough? When will I ever stop struggling with the same sinful thoughts? When will I truly love my enemies (or even some folks that I don't put at enemy status, but I just don't like 'em.)

For many years I have thought about these things and I have learned that it is not based upon what I do or what I have done, but based upon what Christ has already done. I am thankful for this reminder mostly recently shared this past weekend as we celebrated Easter. It is hard to unlearn some patterns of thinking. In fact, I can't on my own, and thankfully I don't have to do it on my own. It just involves surrender. And for me, its seems like constant surrender many times a day.

I don't have to wonder if He really loves me, but I can easily fall into that trap of "am I doing enough, that He would love me?" My prayer continues to be, "Lord, teach me to surrender to you completely."

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Secret Life of Pets

We saw this preview last night. Sure looks like it could be pretty funny. I am thinking this is pretty accurate. Enjoy.


Monday, July 13, 2015

How Much Does It Cost?

One of my favorite memories of being a dad while Shelbi and Morgan were young girls, were the times that they would take their own money to the store to buy something. Most of the time it involved something Barbie but sometimes it would be something like rocks. You know those bins of rocks that were so mesmerizing for young eyes. So many small things in a various array of colors. It was always a "fun" time trying to help the girls understand their options based upon the amount of money they had to spend or the packable space still left in the '95 Saturn. (Still driving that beast by the way! I know you are jealous.) Invariably, the question, "How much does it cost, daddy?" followed by, "Do I have enough?" Sometimes when they did not have enough, I would make sure that they were covered. It's what we dads do sometimes.

It was in those times that I realized that I was investing in their lives not only for the "here and now," but in hopefully helping them to understand the importance of anticipating how much something was going to cost them as they grew and developed.

I have been rather mum on the state of US affairs in the last few weeks, not because I did not have an opinion, but because I have been thinking, meditating and calculating some of the costs of many different things. Costs like:

  • What will it cost me in friends if I post this or that thought?
  • What will it cost others around me who by me stating my opinions will cost them something?
  • What are the costs that are yet to be realized because others have made decisions that I do not agree with but effect others and myself?
  • Are the costs I imagine to be legitimate or are they contrived in my mind to fit a particular agenda that I want to see realized that may differ from yours or others?
  • What will it cost in the short run?
  • What will it cost in the long run?
  • What will it cost me in reputation or future social profitability?
These all sound like noble and worthy things for me to ponder, consider and calculate. I am a practical sense kind of guy. I am also most times very self-centered and quietly manipulative. I usually have opinions on things that in my mind really matter. I am the INFJ personality type. I like to be right. But quite honestly, sometimes I am right in the wrong way, if that makes sense.

I still do not know what all the recent Supreme Court decisions will mean for us as a nation. I do know that God has never put a prerequisite on loving those He has created. I do know that God has called me to the ministry of reconciliation as found in 2 Corinthians 5:16-21. I also know that my sin cost Christ His very life. He alone has the right to judge and the right to do as He chooses. I know that as a follower of Christ, He has called me to love and to be filled with GRACE and TRUTH. That is hard for me. I cannot do it on my own and God knew that so He gave His Son and provides His Holy Spirit to lead and guide me. Christ's death is a huge cost because of my sin. He made the One who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (v.21)

I can't get my mind around that incredible cost, but I am grateful. Because of my sin, the wrath of God could only be satisfied by Him taking His Own and sacrificing Him because I could not cover the cost. That is the message I want to be guilty of sharing with whoever, wherever, whenever.

That's not too high a price for me to pay. "Daddy, do I have enough?" No son you don't. You never will. But through my Son, I've got you covered."

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

A Little Catch Up

Photo by Harrison's Lens
It has been a bit of a whirlwind since the Big Day of the Wil and Morgan wedding. They honeymooned in Mexico and came back relaxed and tanned and ready to start real life together and 6 weeks in to their marriage they are doing great. Their apartment is set up and they are back into a routine of work and living life. I do want to share this picture with you of Morgan and me walking down the aisle. The first time I saw it, well, I might have teared up a little. So honored to be dad to both Morgan and Shelbi and now dad-in-law to Wil and Mark. Who knew it could be this good?

Mark and Shelbi are doing great and extremely busy. Mark's season of work is much like mine in the summer. We work about 10 months behind the scenes and then summer hits and we run like crazy as campers hit our respective sites. Mark is training for IRONMAN Arizona which takes place in November so he is swimming, biking and riding whenever he can between a busy work schedule.

Summer means that Sondra's work slows down a little but as the bookkeeper for McGavock High School, the year end happens the end of June so needless to say, she is a different kind of busy. She renegotiated some of her work responsibilities going into the 2015-2016 school year and so we are anticipating a little kinder, gentler workload for her in the future.

We have a young adult living with us named Joannah Crosby who is an intern at LifeWay for six weeks. She is from Texas and is a student at Texas A&M and has been a delight to have around the house. She took in the full Nashville experience of CMA Fest this past week and hit all the big time concerts.

Sondra and I got away for a few days after the wedding. We so enjoyed the beach in Alabama. The weather was wonderful and the company I had was beautiful and gorgeous. We hung out at the beach and pool, ate some good seafood, read a lot, rested and of course I did some crazy triathlon training stuff. It was not too terribly hot and the terrain is very flat so that made the workouts a little more enjoyable than what I normally get to do here in hilly, Middle Tennessee.

We had a couple weeks of training our summer staffers for World Changers and P2 Missions and it went well. Our team moves into Belmont University along with the summer staff and we go through some pretty intense training and then send them out to serve for 7 weeks this summer. We kicked off projects this week and will serve 12,000 participants and many more who live in the cities and neighborhoods that we will be in. It is a great privilege and responsibility and an honor to serve the churches.

That is a quick catch up on us. It is a busy summer. I will update as I can!

Friday, May 22, 2015

And then . . . There Was a Wedding.

I realize that is has been almost three weeks since the wedding for Morgan and Wil and it is time for me to give you a little insight to what happened.

I want to explain it in just a few short words - God-honoring! Beautiful! Humbling! FUN!

God-honoring: Wil and Morgan have been a wonderful example of how to honor one another in a dating/engagement relationship. It has been a joy to watch them interact; learn one another; and figure out how two people who are different temperaments and personalities learn to accept one another just as God designed them.

Beautiful: Okay, so I am a biased dad, but Morgan was just beautiful. She glowed. She beamed. She was just . . . well, beautiful. My mom always said that I would have made a beautiful girl and since Morgan has a tendency to look like me, I take mom's words as a compliment. Wil looked fairly handsome himself and to watch him watch Morgan walk down the aisle was pretty awesome. (I had a great vantage point.)

Humbling: It was quite an honor to be both dad and officiant. I can't really explain it. It was just so
humbling to be able to stand there in the moment and lead these two into marriage. God has allowed Sondra and me to steward these two beautiful girls (Morgan and Shelbi) lives and to see God at work in their lives is just a humbling experience. We have made our share of mistakes in rearing them but His grace really is more than sufficient. As a daddy standing there looking at Morgan and Wil it is just a hugely proud moment in a non-haughty way. Grateful. Thankful. Humbling.

And also humbling, knowing that God was preparing a young man through a family who loves Him and desires to honor Him in their own lives. We love the Sloans. Kevin, Cathy, Sam (who graduates from the Air Force Academy next week) and Gracie are a blessing in our lives. Thank you to each of them for loving Wil and teaching him to love the Lord his God with all his heart, mind and soul.

FUN: The whole days surrounding the wedding and the wedding day were just so much fun. There was no drama. No pettiness. No silly antics. Just good fun. Morgan and Wil's wedding party was made up of their friends (many of whom Sondra and I have known for 2-3 years) and they were great. The rehearsal dinner that was put on by the Sloans was so nice and so much fun hearing stories about Morgan and Wil through the eyes of their friends.


It was just a beautiful time of worship, celebration and fun. We are honored to have Wil as our son-in-law. He is an answer to prayer.

One last word: The most beautiful person in the room that day (and everyday for me) is my beautiful
Sondra. The way she helped prepare our girls for their lives and their mates is simply incredible. She is the love of my life. She is my heart. She is my wife and best friend. I clearly remember that day May 11, 1985 when she said, "I do." Here she is praying over Morgan just minutes before the wedding. I am one blessed dude and our girls and sons-in-law are blessed as well to have her as a mom and a mother-in-law.

All pictures are from Harrison's Lens. Harrison and Hailey were amazing capturing the images from the day. 

Monday, May 11, 2015

30 for 30 - Happy 30th Anniversary!

So ESPN does this documentary series called 30 for 30. Some are okay and some are really good. Today, Sondra and I celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary and quite honestly, all 30 years have been incredible.

I remember May 11, 1985 like it was yesterday. Sondra and I were both young (see the picture) and were smart enough that we did not have it all figured out, but we committed to figure it out together and so here we are 30 years later, with much still to learn, but more in love today than ever.

May 11, 1985
Here are a few things (I might make it to 30) that have been a highlight of these 30 years. (This will not be an exhaustive list by any means either.)
 1. We had 4.5 years of just us before Shelbi came along. I think it helped us solidify our relationship in those early years.
 2. We moved 500 miles away from our parents and had to make it on our own. Man, we had so little money, but we had each other and a sweet couple, the Reynolds, who took us under their wing.
 3.We have godly parents who set the course for us by showing us how marriage can be wonderful. And we have their constant prayer support.
 4. Just being together. How cool is that you get to hang with your best friend, every day!
 5. Shelbi and Morgan. Wow! These two kids, now beautiful young adults, have brought us so much joy! And now they have husbands and I am no longer outnumbered! Mark and Wilson are answers to many years of prayer. Few things are better for a daddy of daughters than for God to provide young men as husbands who love Him and his daughters.
 6. So many trips to the beach together (and another one coming this weekend!).
 7. Panera - it really is not the restaurant, but just the times to sit and talk life each week.
 8. Her forgiveness the times I have been a knucklehead. (They are many, but her grace is unending.)
 9. Our desire to let Christ lead us.
10. The countless people who have impacted our lives; loved us and our kids.
11. A couple of dogs. Sir Chauncey of ShelMor and Sadie. (Okay, these may not be a highlight but are a part of our experience.)
Why would she put up with me?
12. In-laws. We have always lived too far away from our parents but God has kept those ties strong through the years. Charles and Joyce are both still going strong at 75 and 81!
13. Losing Bernard and Frances (Sondra's dad and my mom). Not a highlight, but beautiful how God has extended grace and comfort like we have never experienced.
14. Sondra's amazing support of my travel (related to my job) over the years. Travel has slowed considerably now but those days when the girls were young, she went way above and beyond and  I know she did a good job by seeing how Shelbi and Morgan are today.
15. Cooking. She is amazing. Running the vacuum and doing the laundry. We split the work around the house and she still is "the only one who does anything around here!" ;-)
16. Blackie - our '95 Saturn. Been with us almost 2/3 of our marriage.
17. Our move to Nashville in 1989. This place is home. We have so many incredible friends and support.
18. Hands down, the greatest gift in friends that God has given us in Nashville are really more like family. Mitch, Christy, and Graham Fuller. Simply the best!
19. Our homes. We bought a HUD deal duplex and lived there for 10 plus years. Eleven years ago, our friends, the Burdens,who are more like family blessed us with an amazing deal on their house and we have loved living there and doing ministry out of that place. A huge thank you to Jerry and Carol!
Friday, May 8, 2015
20 - 22. Lindsy, Alysha and Evelyn. We have hosted these three ladies who lived with us for various lengths of time. Lindy and Alysha are beautiful young ladies who God allowed us to learn from in a time in their lives where God was doing an amazing work. Evelyn is from China and even though the culture was a huge barrier, Evelyn taught us how to stretch ourselves and listen and learn like we had never done before. Lindsy is happily married, has a beautiful one-year-old daughter and lives in Michigan. Alysha is one of the funniest young ladies we know and is living in Nashville and is loving her job. Evelyn is enrolled in Auburn University and seems to be doing well.
23. $6 tips at the Chinese restaurant. It is a Turner classic. Ask Sondra.
24. Paul giving away secrets or forgetting to tell the latest news. It is always done innocently, but done none the less.
25. That stupid kitchen trash can liner that is always forgotten to be replaced after emptying the trash. Ask Sondra. (It must just be blocked in my mind.)
26. Churches - Casa View, Dallas; FBC, Donelson; New Hope; Hermitage Hills - grateful for the investment made in our spiritual walk and the opportunity to minister to others through these great churches.
27. Tears. Hugs. Laughter. Sorrow. Joy. Pain. Fear. Uncertainty. Covenant. Our marriage is not perfect. But it is pretty darn good and we are committed to sticking it out through Christ, together.
28. God's grace and provision shown in so many ways over these 30 years. We have always had what we needed when we needed it.
29. Bronwyn (Sondra's sister) and her family and James (my brother and his family). Miles have always separated us but the love and support and incredible times when we are together. Priceless!
30. Love. Best friends. Not as young as we once were. But, more in love than I ever thought possible. 30 years. Grateful. Humbled. Honored. Blessed.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

St. Patrick's Lorica

St. Patrick
During worship today I was reminded of this hymn that was said to have been on the breastplate of St, Patrick. He is much more than green beer and I have posted his story many times in commemoration of St. Patrick's Day. You can find it here.

I do want to share this with you this week this Lorica. I find it beautiful.



I bind unto myself today
The strong Name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same
The Three in One and One in Three.

I bind this today to me forever
By power of faith, Christ’s incarnation;
His baptism in Jordan river,
His death on Cross for my salvation;
His bursting from the spic├Ęd tomb,
His riding up the heavenly way,
His coming at the day of doom
I bind unto myself today.

I bind unto myself the power
Of the great love of cherubim;
The sweet ‘Well done’ in judgment hour,
The service of the seraphim,
Confessors’ faith, Apostles’ word,
The Patriarchs’ prayers, the prophets’ scrolls,
All good deeds done unto the Lord
And purity of virgin souls.

I bind unto myself today
The virtues of the star lit heaven,
The glorious sun’s life giving ray,
The whiteness of the moon at even,
The flashing of the lightning free,
The whirling wind’s tempestuous shocks,
The stable earth, the deep salt sea
Around the old eternal rocks.

I bind unto myself today
The power of God to hold and lead,
His eye to watch, His might to stay,
His ear to hearken to my need.
The wisdom of my God to teach,
His hand to guide, His shield to ward;
The word of God to give me speech,
His heavenly host to be my guard.

Against the demon snares of sin,
The vice that gives temptation force,
The natural lusts that war within,
The hostile men that mar my course;
Or few or many, far or nigh,
In every place and in all hours,
Against their fierce hostility
I bind to me these holy powers.

Against all Satan’s spells and wiles,
Against false words of heresy,
Against the knowledge that defiles,
Against the heart’s idolatry,
Against the wizard’s evil craft,
Against the death wound and the burning,
The choking wave, the poisoned shaft,
Protect me, Christ, till Thy returning.

Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

I bind unto myself the Name,
The strong Name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same,
The Three in One and One in Three.
By Whom all nature hath creation,
Eternal Father, Spirit, Word:
Praise to the Lord of my salvation,
Salvation is of Christ the Lord.

Monday, January 5, 2015

What? What! Morgan is Engaged!

It has been a sort of busy December but an incredibly relaxing one for sure. There is some big news to pass along, so here goes.

Back before Thanksgiving, Wilson approached me about "meeting for breakfast" one morning while I was on vacation. I said yes, and knew that this conversation was going to lead to some pretty serious conversation about Wilson's and Morgan's future together. We had a great conversation that morning at Panera and I was able to share with him that we have been praying for him long before we even knew who he was or what he looked like. It was an expensive conversation for me and a nervous one for him. :-)

On a mid-December weekend he planned a trip for Morgan and he to jet away to Washington, DC to meet up with some friends and just enjoy the sites in DC. Morgan was not aware that many of her friends would be meeting them there so that was a nice surprise once they arrived in DC. They explored the city, saw many of the great sites there and had a great time on Sat. Sunday morning, Wilson and Morgan met for breakfast alone and Morgan began to really sense what was about to happen. She said she was pretty nervous and really just pushed the food around on her plate and made it look like she was eating. They left the restaurant, made their way to the National Mall and ended up close to the Lincoln Memorial sitting on a park bench. Wilson pulled out his iPad and had created a video of their times together (which by the way I have yet to see) and ended up on one knee, presented her a pretty magnificent ring I might add and asked her to marry him. She said yes! and then heard someone sort of applauding from a slight distance away. A lady happened to be passing by, kind of caught wind of what was going on, had her camera with her and snapped a couple of pictures of the whole thing going down. Introduced herself, congratulated them and sent them some of the pics she had taken.

Ok, so that was the second or third hand dad's account of the whole thing. So I am not big on all the intricate details but I think I most of the gist of story correct. Needless to say, Sondra and I are excited.

I like Wilson (Wil). He has been hanging around basically since Mark and Shelbi got married in August 2012. He is incredibly smart. He reads all the time. He brings up subjects that I know little to nothing about and try to bluff my way through the conversation. He is incredibly competitive. We have had the privilege to be around his whole family and picked up quickly from where his competitiveness comes. he is from Murfreesboro (just down the road from Nashville for you out of towners) and he and Morgan met in college at Union. He likes to be busy and it is a bit of an adjustment for him I think, because the Turners are a laid back bunch. He seems to be settling in and understanding that and actually enjoying it some. He loves life and he loves his family. We are thankful that God has chosen him to be Morgan's mate. For the last year or so, people would ask me what I thought of Wilson and my answer has been, "He loves Jesus and he loves Morgan." I think that is a great combination.

His desire for a career is to be a Physician's Assistant and has completed the prelim work and is waiting to apply to three or four schools. The window for applying and being accepted is in the spring/summer of the year with classes starting in January. So he is waiting for that window to apply, be accepted and start in 2016.

The wedding will take place some time this Spring!

I really have not waited to post this because I was secretly hoping it would go away. Far from it. I have just been on vacation and extremely lax in doing much of anything.

And . . . Happy New Year!