Sunday, January 15, 2017

Truths I Know: Above all - Serve

Serving can come in many forms. It can be in a very public way for a cause. You can serve privately in little ways. You can even donate money or goods. The point is that you are giving of yourself in some way. I've never wanted the spotlight myself. I'm not the type to toot my own horn. The point of serving in my opinion is to be Christ like, not to get accolades.

When Jesus was on the earth, he served like no one has ever served. Of course he gave his life in the ultimate service, but he also gave in small ways in nearly every act he did upon this planet. One of my favorite stories is the time Jesus humbled himself so much that he washed the feet of his disciples.

Jesus knew that the Father had given him authority over everything and that he had come from God and would return to God. So he got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist, and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel he had around him. When Jesus came to Simon Peter, Peter said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus replied, “You don’t understand now what I am doing, but someday you will.” “No,” Peter protested, “you will never ever wash my feet!” Jesus replied, “Unless I wash you, you won’t belong to me.” Simon Peter exclaimed, “Then wash my hands and head as well, Lord, not just my feet!” Jesus replied, “A person who has bathed all over does not need to wash, except for the feet, to be entirely clean. And you disciples are clean, but not all of you.”  For Jesus knew who would betray him. That is what he meant when he said, “Not all of you are clean.” After washing their feet, he put on his robe again and sat down and asked, “Do you understand what I was doing?  You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and you are right, because that’s what I am.  And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet.  I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you.  I tell you the truth, slaves are not greater than their master. Nor is the messenger more important than the one who sends the message.  Now that you know these things, God will bless you for doing them.
John 13:3‭-‬17 NLT

You see, at this point the disciples were all in, fully committed to Jesus as Lord and savior. They did not know he would die and rise again, but they definitely trusted him and believed his story. So when Jesus knelt down and very carefully and lovingly washed the feet of his friends, they were taken aback. He wanted to show that he was willing to serve, willing to go to any lengths for his message. Hand washing is a very traditional cleansing symbol . Washing your hands of something says that you are divulging yourself of any resposibility, because you have cleaned yourself. You really don't hear much about someone washing someone else's feet. Feet are generally dirty, smelly, and many times just not pretty at all. Humbling yourself by washing someone's feet is the ultimate respect for them.

How willing are you to humble yourself? Are you willing to sacrifice to serve? Are you willing to forgo your image to better your fellow man?

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Truths I Know Pt 2 - - Eternal Life

From time to time something happens in our everyday lives that just jars us to the core. Something that makes us stop, look at life and really reflect on what our purpose is. This was one of those weeks.

As many of you know I am a paramedic. I work 24hr shifts in Van Buren, Cass and Berrien Counties. On Wed 9-7-2016 I was working my normal shift. A call went out for Paw Paw Fire, Paw Paw QR and Van Buren EMS for a car vs semi truck on I-94. (Paw Paw is not my area) You have to understand that we get dispatched by the local counties with the best information that they have at the time.  There wasn't many details, but it's just one of those calls that sounded really bad. We didn't hear many updates on the county radio after that, but a couple of our trucks were traveling back and forth to Kalamazoo and kept updating that the freeway was still closed eastbound. There could have been any number of reasons for having the road closed for an extended period of time from extensive cleanup of cargo, fire, number of cars involved, damage to the freeway or the worst case a very bad injury that has or might lead to a death. I really didn't think too much about the whole incident, but the delay in opening the road started to seem excessive. Fast forward to around 4pm. I got an email from Paramount Charter Academy notifying us of the death of Ryan Cramer. Former beloved teacher of my two middle kids and husband of a current teacher Krista who also taught my youngest son Nick for two years. That's when my mind joined the two incidents together. The sudden realization that the I-94 crash was Ryan hit me hard. It couldn't be. He was only 38. I had been listening to a few updates from the call and had no idea it was him.

We met Krista first when we came to Paramount Charter Academy. Our son Nick is special needs with cognitive and emotional impairments. We really needed to find a school and more importantly a teacher that he could connect to. To say we hit the jackpot with her would be an understatement. Krista provided the patience, understanding and most of all compassion that Nick needed to thrive in school. Because of his disabilities, Nick repeated the 1st grade and we were blessed to have Krista teach him for another year. Nate and Madi were lucky enough to have Ryan teach them once they got to 5th grade. Immediately I knew that Ryan was special. I really didn't grasp it until Madi got him as a teacher. She connected with him as a teacher, father type figure and a friend. I really think that he thought of Madi as an adopted daughter. Very down to earth, very caring and most of all very attentive to her. I would like to say that she was unique and that no other student got the same love and attention from Ryan, but that wouldn't be true. I noticed that most of his students felt the same way as Madi did. He quickly developed a reputation of being able to work with and turn around the most difficult students. I'm not just talking academically, but kids that were in danger of getting expelled from school because of their disruptive behavior.

I knew that Ryan had a good heart and that Krista and he were involved in their church. I didn't know to what extent and really didn't know his whole story and how he had given his life to Jesus. Ryan was one of the very best God gave to us. The more I learned about Ryan, the more I respected him. You're not forgotten and especially when it comes to my family, very privileged to have known you.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Truths I Know Pt 1 --- What If

I've included a link to a great song that I hear many years ago. It's a modern Christian Contemporary piece that just speak to me and asks, What If?

Sample of some of the lyrics....

What if you're right?
And he was just another nice guy
What if you're right?
What if it's true?
They say the cross will only make a fool of you
And what if it's true?

What if he takes his place in history
With all the prophets and the kings
Who taught us love and came in peace
But then the story ends
What then?

But what if you're wrong?
What if there's more?
What if there's hope you never dreamed of hoping for?
What if you jump?
And just close your eyes?
What if the arms that catch you, catch you by surprise?
What if He's more than enough?
What if it's love?

What If YouTube Link  -

I think this song is so powerful for anyone who is questioning their faith or has any inkling of needing something in their life. What if he's just a great historical figure? What if he was just a nice guy? What if all the naysayers are right?

But....What if it's true? What have you got to lose? What if the most wonderful love ever possible was washed over you? What if you were able to right your life with a simple act of faith? What if you could change things with a prayer? What if the next time you fall His arms are there to catch you?

I leave you with that big thought. What If it's true?

Just the beginning of many more posts.

God Bless

Kazoo Spartan

Truths I Know Intro

I'm by no means a trained preacher, but I'm going to start posting some of the truths that I know and really feel I need to share. I've got friends from many different upbringings and backgrounds. Some are very immersed in their faith, some are not interested in any type of religion and some are believers in some way but have not yet felt God's love directly in their lives or better yet haven't recognized it.  If you chose to read and ignore that's cool. If you want to engage me publicly with responses, I'm ready and willing to discuss. If you want to PM me with questions, we can do that too.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Wed, Mar 24, 2010 - 11.34 mi [Cycling]

Wed, Mar 24, 2010 - 11.34 mi [Cycling]
11.34 mi in 00:45:26 hours at 14.98 mi/h on Schwinn CrissCross. [Cycling] Nice ride. Just a little chilly Cramped up on a climb too.
Posted from My Cycling Log

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Tue, Mar 9, 2010 - 11.23 mi [Cycling]

Tue, Mar 9, 2010 - 11.23 mi [Cycling]
11.23 mi in 00:53:02 hours at 12.71 mi/h on Schwinn CrissCross. [Cycling] 1st ride of the year. Lots of cramps. Good ride though.
Posted from My Cycling Log

Monday, November 9, 2009

Rhio Scholarship Essay

This essay is for the Rhio Scholarship 2009.

Life sometimes has a very unique way of presenting subjects or challenges to you. I find myself seeking scholarships and financial aid for school now that I am nearly 40yrs old. I thought after a little college 10yrs of marriage and 4 kids I was well beyond the school thing. After being of of many people who have recently been downsized or laid off, I needed to return to school. The other happenstance here is the fact that my mother in law passed away in December of 2008 from breast cancer. Then I came across this scholarship.

Tommie, my mother-in-law, was diagnosed in March of 2006 with Stage 4 Inflammatory Breast Cancer. She had not gotten regular checkups, was a lifelong smoker, had taken hormonal replacement therapy, and most importantly ignored and hid all of the obvious warning signs of her condition. Things were not looking good at all. She was told that these things can never be predicted exactly, but she has between 3 and 6 months to live. They could start some therapies for her, but she had better get her affairs in order because she was not going to beat this. Of course this came as a huge shock to all of her family. The cancer was one thing. She also had to deal with the guilt and shame of not seeking help or treatment much earlier. With a very strong support network of family and friends around her she decided that now was the time to throw everything she had at this disease. Her husband Bob is one of the strongest men I know. Never, ever did he look at her and ask why? He was supportive of her from day one. Looking forward and not backward was the key to her fighting. Tommie was able to live a very good life for much longer than any of us ever expected. Only in the final two months of her life did the quality of her day to day health suffer. She was able to golf, travel and spend time with family pretty much until the end. We all miss her very much, but are very thankful that we had the time that we did.

Rhio O’Connor believed strongly in the importance of educating current and future
leaders about the value of “thinking outside the box” when it came to the cause of cancer
and its rational treatment. To read about his story please visit the Surviving Mesothelioma website. Rhio's story sounds so much like my Tommie's. Not in the details of course, but in the spirit that they both had when they found out they were sick. Neither one hoped for anything else except for complete healing. Going into a battle with a demon like cancer and praying for anything less than complete healing is like a football team saying, "gee, I hope we score 14 points today, that should be enough to win." You cannot fight for anything without putting all your heart and soul into it.

Rhio took his fight one step farther. While respecting and listening to his doctors, he took it upon himself to be his own "general contractor". No one other than the patient has their interest more in mind. Like Rhio, I would take everything to the extreme. If I was looking at a particular treatment, I would find all of the information on it I could. Rhio did not have the benefit of a strong Internet when he got sick. Today you can find just about anything on the Internet. That is where I would start. I would find out which hospitals and professionals are the top in that field. I would then go directly to them. The next thing I would do would be to rally as many of my closest friends, classmates and church members as I could. The wonderful thing about friends is they are better than any Internet search could ever be. Too many people curl up and go away when they get sick. They don't want to seem like a burden or seem like they are looking for sympathy. I could care less about the sympathy part, but if my life is on the line I want all the help I can get.

Communication may be the strongest medicine we can administer to ourselves in the time of crisis. Being fulling informed does not mean just asking your doctors questions. It means finding information on your own. It means making those connections that will change the course of your treatments for the better.

A friend of mine was in a car accident 5yrs ago. His small pick up truck was struck broadside at 60mph. He rolled an estimated 5 times into a telephone pole which fell upon the upside down cab of the truck. The rescue crews did not believe he was alive because of the lack of space in the cab area. His wife was told to meet the helicopter at the pad at the hospital to say goodbye. He was paralyzed so badly that he had to be on a ventilator for almost 6 months. Through his persistence, faith and his wife's devotion he is now wheeling himself around in a wheel chair. His wife found treatments that have made significant progress in his recovery. His father-in-law started a web site that mainly provided updates on treatments and allowed friends and family to post prayers and well wishes. Through information received on this site they got some direction and inspiration for some specific new treatments. They are going to Russia every 6 months for stem cell treatments. It is not covered by their insurance or endorsed by his doctors here in the states, but through diligent research and prayer they decided to give it a chance. The results have been amazing. Their goal is for him to walk one day. Based upon his determination and progress so far I believe he will.

That is the type of determination and ingenuity that I hope to be able to exhibit if I myself or one of my family members is diagnosed with cancer. I would engage everyone I knew and let them know I will need their help with my illness and support. Cancer has touched so many lives. Just about everyone has someone who has suffered. That community knowledge base can be more valuable than any electronic search engine.

If you want more information on mesothelioma please visit