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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Growth and mountains

Growth hurts!  It is painful to grow, and while growth is part of life it can suck!  I think this is true on all parts of our lives.  Weather growth is physical, mental or spiritual it can cause pain and discomfort.  I am finding myself in a season of spiritual growth and am finding it uncomfortable.  I am so wanting a time on the mountain a time when things are easy and faith is abundant.  But instead I find myself in a valley looking up and asking questions.  I have asked God to take me back to the mountain and let me rest.  I know if it's God's will that's what will happen.  Not much growth happens while on the mountains.  I guess that's why there are no tall trees on the top of the mountain.  I have a mountain climber friend who talks about how great it is to get up so high you are looking down on the trees and get to be above it all.

I have preached 2 sermons in my life.  I won't say the name of the church to save them the embarrassment of having to admit I preached the message (twice).  One of the my sermons was on staying up when you're knocked down.  I am finding it hard to live the message. God does not want us to worry and we were created by God for God.  That's just a small part of the message.  That's the part I'm having troubles with.  I know God is in control, there is no place I can go where He is not.  But it's hard to live this. When life gets yucky, it's easy to want to take back the control that's not yours to begin with.  I will continue to pray that God's will be done in my life. I am His creation; He has paid for me with blood.  So while it would be great to live on the mountain for a while, to rest and take it easy, I know the true growth is being in the valley where I am now.


Sunday, June 26, 2011

June 24th 1995

As I walked through the doors into Salem Hospital I was as nervous as I had ever been in my life.  I kept thinking to myself, this is crazy my whole life is about to change.  I don't know how to be a father, and at some point today I will become a dad.  Maybe the doctor was wrong, maybe today isn't the day.  But we were there as scheduled by the doctor.  It was time to induce labor, Doc says the boy's got to come out and today is the day.

So in we go, Melissa is put in a bed and hooked up to the liquid that will induce labor.  Me I just pace around the room trying not to freek out and wanting to be supportive.  The first hour passes with minimal issues, but the promised labor is not happening.  Hours two and three go by slow as well, still nothing.  Melissa is slowly becoming less fun to be around, she isn't laughing at my jokes any more.  She seams to be getting more serious about this child bearing thing.  Hours four through six are painfully boring for me and At this time Melissa is really not fun to be around, The magic drugs are working some but not enough to really get the ball rolling.  More hours slowly, painfully go by, things are not working as they should.  The nurses are in and out checking things, making sure mom and baby are doing ok.  At one point the doctor comes in the room with a plastic hook thingy and hands it to me "hold on to this, you will need it soon".  I ask "what is this thing"?  the reply "it's the tool your going to use to break the water and get this party going"   "Ummm  NO"  I don't think that's a good plan.  It turned out after an exam things were going any where our doctor called for a consult and it was decided that a C section was needed to get Vincent out.  At this point Melissa had been in labor for about 11 hours with nothing really moving along.

So within a few minutes of the decision to do the cesarean Melissa was wheeled out of the room and I was left alone.  After a few moments a nurse came in the room with a pair of scrubs for me to wear.  I changed and the nurse had me sit in a wheel chair.  I protested and said I could walk just fine.  She informed me that she was not allowing me in the ER and having me pass out, sit down!  I follow her directive and she wheels me into the ER.  If I was nervous walking into the hospital, I am now in full on panic mode.  The surgeon tells us, all will be fine, it wont be long now.  With in 15 minutes, I hear the nurses and surgeon and our family doctor saying how good he looks and he has red hair.  My son, they are talking about my son, fear is now replaced with and intense longing....I want my boy!  They hold him up so I can see him, YUCKY!  OK, I want him after you clean him off.  I hear him crying, that's a good thing!  The surgeon says all went well everything will be fine.

Finally after what felt like an eternity a nurse hands me my son.  I cradle this small child in my hands, holding him so Melissa in her drug induced state can see her son.  I never wanted to let go.  This is my child, a part of me and part of his mother.  The nurse says she needs to take Vincent for some standard tests and then we can have him back.  It felt like I had only held my boy for a few seconds but it had been 20 minutes.  I had the boy over and go with the nurse to get the official measurements.  During this process my mom would first see her first grand child.  As I looking Vincent over good counting fingers and toes, every thing seams perfect, his right thumb is normal that bums me out.

After all the tests were done we were moved into a room where we could be together and have family come see us.  After several family members stopped by to say hi and congratulate us, it was just the three of us.  I sat for hours holding my son, feeling like this was why I was created.  This was one of the most special times in my life.  I write this to share my story with anyone who would want to read it.  I write it because Vincent turned 16 two days ago.   June 24th 1995 my son Vincent Joseph Garner was born and radically changed my life.  I love this boy very much, he is my son!  I strive to be a good father, to teach him what is true.  To help him grow in his faith, as he becomes a Godly man.  I can't believe he's 16 already, those year flew by.

Father God, thank you for blessing me with a son.  I will try to be worthy of this blessing.  And to my wife Melissa sorry for all the times in the hospital when I pushed the button on your PSA pump so I could laugh as you got all drugged up.  I was fun to watch!!

And just a FYI...Vince is doing great, he is working this summer for the YMCA at a summer camp and is having fun.  He is growing fast into a Godly man.  I pray today as I did the day he was born for the girl he will eventually marry.  I pray that God protects her and keeps her safe and that she will grow into the Godly woman who will one day marry my son.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Fathers day

This is a subject that means a lot to me, a day that holds special meaning to me.  I first want to start by thanking my father for all he has done for me.  My dad has helped raise me into the man I am today.  He has taught me about Jesus and has walked with me in my journey to faith.  I think maybe I should take a time out and go back and explain how it all started.

My Mom and Dad got married when I was five years old.  When they were dating, there was a time when I needed surgery to have tubes put in my ears and the tonsils and adenoids removed. The ears were a big deal,. Mom was told that I would lose my hearing without the tubes.  My biological father declined paying for the surgery even though it was part of the divorce.  My dad informed my mom that if my biological dad did not want to be my father, he did.  To this day I am amazed by this story. My dad chose me. He wanted me to be his son.  I think there are very few men who would have done this.  To this day at 39 years old, I know I am loved and wanted by my father; he has lived this for me many times over.

So at five, Mom and I moved to the farm on the hill.  I still today live on this same farm today.  My children are the seventh generation to live here on this small piece of the planet.  Its on this farm I was raised and here that I learned to first drive a tractor, then later a car.  Dad has always been one my biggest teachers. When I needed to learn about cars, fishing, girls and how to fix things, he was the go-to guy.  When I first started dating my wife, dad was there with the fatherly wisdom that only comes from age and experience.  Some of this advise I failed to listen too and years later would kick myself for not listening.  When we got married, Dad was there giving me advise and thoughts on how things should be done and how I should treat my wife.  My father adores my mother. She is his world and he is very quick to tell he how much he loves her.

When my kids were born dad took it to a whole new level.  He started teaching me how to be a father.  This I have to say: he has been doing almost all my life - teaching by example.  Today I still look to Dad's wisdom at times when I need his guidance and strength.

I will never forget my first driving lesson. Dad was in the passengers seat riding with me as I pulled into our gravel driveway going way too fast. The truck spun sideways as I slammed on the brakes. Dad calmly said "little too fast." His attitude was - it happens, take it easy, you're doing fine.  When I raced my first kart race it was Dad watching from the fence.  His wisdom was "don't go too fast too soon." When I crashed the kart his words were "that can happen".   There have been several times I have failed in my life and dad has always been there for me.  When I spent 18 days last summer in the hospital it was dad who was there every day sitting with me as I slept.  During that time I took a ton of pain meds and watched a lot of Fox news channel.  Dad is about as conservative as you can get.  Dad still calls me almost daily to check in and see how I am doing.  Dad is a man who loves deeply and is passionate about his family; if you're around him for any length of time you will be reminded you are loved.

Well, that's about it for my thoughts on my father - this special day that we celebrate fathers.  It's one of the toughest jobs ever (if done right).  Happy fathers day to all dads!     ~Rick

Thursday, June 9, 2011


Dear Mr. Gopher,

  Your destructive presence in my back yard is no longer wanted.  I have warned you many times that your feloniousness and destruction was no longer going to be tolerated.  I do not understand why you would choose to destroy my back yard when there are hundreds of acres of fields you could live out your life in, in peace.  But you have chosen to take up residence in my back yard and treat it like its a buffet line for you to devour.  I have decided that your life will be ending shortly.  You made a mistake when you started digging in a yard that is not inside city limits, and a yard owner that is armed.   The next time I see you making a huge mess of my yard your life will end.  I wish it did not have to come to this, I try to be non violent and live and let live but you sir have crossed the line.  The damage has been done, and the war is on!  

Thanks for your time
Rick  (the guy pointing the shot gun at you)