Sunday, July 31, 2011

First Gift

During creation, “God said, ‘It is not good for man to be alone. I will make a helper fit for him’” (ESV, Genesis 2:18).

It seems God wanted to make sure Adam knew it was not good to be alone and needed a helper, so He brought every living creature forward for Adam to name and Adam would have been hard pressed not to notice they always came in pairs – male and female. God also had Adam name them as Adam had dominion over them. The Bible says it this way, “And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him” (Genesis2:19b-20).


The symbols above occur in the Genesis 2:20 and are commonly translated as helper or help meet and you will find it in Strong’s Concordance with a transliteration of “ezer.” It is the very first time it occurs in the Bible. In Strong’s it is preceded by and followed by “Ezer.” In the entry that follows in Stong’s, it has the same exact markings below the letters, while the preceding entry has the three dots under the third letter as under the second letter above. Nonetheless, in both cases we are told Ezer = “treasure” and operates as a proper noun – a male name.

In Psalms 33:20, 70:6, and 115:9 the help provided is by or from God.

This is important because the woman, Eve, is a gift from God to Adam. She is his treasure. She completes him. She is no ordinary gift. She is a divine gift, from God to Adam.

When God made Adam, He formed him from the dust as a potter would create a pot from clay. When God made Eve from Adam’s flesh and bone, He built or erected her as a house is erected, so Eve was created much differently than Adam was. Perhaps because she would give birth to new life – this is implied in the use of the same word for her to build a family by giving birth (Gen 16:2 and 30:3).

Adam seemingly gets that Eve is special, built by God for him because when God brought her to him, Adam said, “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh” (Genesis 2:34a) is here. Note how he makes the statement, “This (Eve), at last, finally, is here” (paraphrasing). He knows. To state “at last” tells me he has been waiting for her, his treasure and helper given by God.

I believe the above has tremendous implications for us men (me) when it comes to how we view and treat our wives. It has changed how I look at my bride of 40 years and how I treat her now that I recognize her as a divine gift from God.

According to God’s word, my wife, a divine gift to me, completes me and with her I am made complete. This is a game changer in our marriage.

About Sharon, My Bride

Sharon and I just passed our 40th wedding anniversary, a milestone of sorts. Four decades after eloping from Bossier City/Barksdale AFB, LA to Marshall, TX on a Wednesday morning July 27, 1971 and we are somehow still together.

No small part of the why we are still together is that on our 25th anniversary we had a full wedding ceremony where her father got to give her away and finally forgave me. But that is not the why or our marriage success. The why is that on our 25th anniversary we formally dedicated our marriage to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. That was/is the why.

But that is not what this is about – this is about Sharon. You see she retired from her civil service position with the U.S. Air Force after 31.5 years when we had been married almost 36.5 years. At her retirement ceremony in December 2007 I was permitted to speak. The following paragraphs reflect closely what I said about Sharon then followed by a few updates.


Some things you should know about Sharon.

She has worked in a directorate at Air Force Material Command (AFMC) Headquarters for a number of years in education and training. Specifically, she worked in education and education requirements for AFMC for many years. She did this with only an Associate’s Degree, but things are not always what they seem.

You see I got a B.S. E.E. degree at age 41, but there was a problem with the diploma. Sharon’s name was not on it along with mine. I would not have that diploma without her help and assistance. She took care of everything – the house, the car, our two children, our two dogs, and me – so I could chase that degree.

Prior to my graduation, Sharon became ill, deathly ill. We were afraid she would die. Feeling great guilt, I went to her in the hospital, poured out my heart about how I was going to quit school and be a real help at home and with our children.

She crooked her finger and motioned for me to come closer. I did and when I was close enough, she grabbed my collar and pulled my ear near her lips. Then in a dry raspy voice she said, “IF YOU QUIT AND I LIVE, I WILL KILL YOU.” I didn’t quit.

I tell you all of this so you will understand when I say Sharon has a PhD in motivation.

She also has number of Doctorates you may or may not be aware of and I would like to list them for you. She has

- A Doctorate in Dedication – she never does a job halfway

- A Doctorate in Character – she never compromised her values

- A Doctorate in Get It Done – she was never deterred by having to learn something new or acquiring new skills, doing whatever was required to get the job done

- A Doctorate in Caring – she always strives not to hurt others, even if …

- A Doctorate in Parenting – while working full time and helping me chase a degree and with me traveling often due to work, she raised (with some small help from me) two wonderful children

- A Doctorate in Love – For God, for Family, for Country and I would have to say the one defining Doctorate for Sharon Driver it would be her Doctorate in Love.


Since her retirement she ran the Dayton Chess Club for over a year by herself when I took a job in the sandbox. Afterwards, she also took on almost all the family and chess club duties while I earned a Master of Arts degree in Christian Studies, even tolerating rising at one and two a.m. to proof read papers week after week over an 18 month period.


As we just celebrated our 40th anniversary, I think it is all right to provide my concluding remarks at Sharon’s retirement ceremony where I presented her with five individual flowers brought forward by our two grandchildren at the time – Ethan and Rheya. The thoughts behind the flowers still apply today.

First - A Yellow Rose to signify gratitude for the deep friendship God has granted us

Second - Another Yellow Rose to signify the promise of a new beginning that awaits you (us)

Third - A White Rose with Red Tip to signify the joy and happiness we have enjoyed together

Fourth - Another White Rose with Red Tip to signify the joy and happiness that awaits us in our future

Fifth (and final) - A Single Red Rose to signify my love for you and it is without thorns to symbolize “Love at first sight” from the first moment I set my eyes upon you, when God placed you in my heart.

(For those who want to know, just as different flowers have different meanings, the same flower may have different meanings for a given occasion.)


Sharon continues being Sharon – now accepting my plan/desire to Pastor a church or to go wherever God may send us.

In the interim she helps me with a Monday evening Bible study, running the chess club so I can play on occasion, running an online ‘bingo’ game for a quilting group, solving jigsaw puzzles online against the clock to see just how fast she can do a 48 piece puzzle, setting up a craft day at church about once a month, volunteering us (!) to cook lunch at church, she has also remodeled a mezzanine from office space to our new home and took care of the lion’s share of the move, providing incredible support to me on my new diet (no sweets) and walking regimen.

Oh, did I mention she quilts?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Grand Kids

Grand kids, three to be exact, are truly a wonder, at least at a young age. And all of mine (ours) are of a young age – 6, 5, and 4.5 months.

The one in the middle recently captured my heart – again. Her name is Rheya which I believe is my name unconsciously modified by her mother (our daughter). Just imagine if you will, a horizontal bar connecting the “I” and the “l” in Riley and you have a backwards (flipped horizontally) “h” when turned around makes a normal “h” then add an “a” to feminize it and you have “Rheya” …

Okay, I know it’s a stretch and Rheya’s mother denies it, but she would have to do so, wouldn’t she? Could she really admit our first granddaughter is named after her grandfather and not her grandmother?

More to the point, all of “our grandchildren are a crown to us as we age” (Proverbs 16:6 paraphrased). How is this so and how did Rheya recently capture my heart again?

It was during a ladies day out – Sharon (my bride), Jennifer (our daughter), and Rheya (our granddaughter). Sharon and Jennifer set up a surprise meeting between Rheya and Grandmother which Rheya liked, but would rather have known so she could plan on the meeting … sounded like she wanted the joy of anticipation to me.

After the surprise was over as well as lunch, it was over to half price books – a favorite of all three ladies. There Rheya got another surprise – a half price books gift certificate from grandmother.

Then Rheya surprised everyone by insisting on buying grandfather (me) a chess book. Side note, everyone in the family knows I have a serious fondness (love?) of this ancient board game. Anyway, grandmother accompanied her to the shelf with the chess books and as they looked through them explained that grandfather actually already had all of those there.

So what was Rheya to do now? Well, while I don’t know how it came about, she ended up buying me a small very nice journal or diary.

For some reason this really touched me and I felt blessed after I opened the self-addressed package from Rheya for Grandpa – see picture of same below.

I am a man blessed in so many ways, but this blessing, this gift of love from Rheya, I shall carry with me to heaven.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Rebuild – Part 1

I am on a vacation, a rebuild vacation and the rebuild is only part 1.

Am I ever glad the rebuild, part 1, is occurring during my vacation!

Yesterday, in the heat of the afternoon, my bride (Sharon) and I walked four miles in the heat of the day, the hottest day of the year according to the newscasters. Sharon had a tough time of it – we had walked three miles earlier in the day – and she was worn out.

This morning (7/22/2011), to prove her pluck, she chose an eight mile round trip walk on what turns out to be the second hottest day of the year. This one wore me out. The stops at the bank, at the four mile point, to make a deposit and at the coffee shop, a short distance closer to home, for iced tea did not help me. I am made to sweat and the A/C just chilled me to no end.

When we made it home I had dropped five lbs. in sweat. That is a serious walk. My blood sugar was up, but my body was consuming it at a rapid rate so that was okay. Sharon? She continued walking about downtown to complete two other tasks.

So where am I after two weeks of a rebuild vacation? My blood sugar levels are almost normalized. Before it was difficult to get them to drop below 150 or 176 hours after eating and rising after a night of sleep they were often 140 to 155. Now after sleeping they are generally 80 to 120 and often 90-110 which is a major improvement and seldom over 155 at all.

Exercise (walking) and weight loss? Slowest day was four miles, maximum day was ten miles walking and the weight continues to drop, today I saw 223.2 lbs. after walking eight miles. That’s an overall drop of 21 lbs. in three weeks (started walking a week prior to vacation). Not bad, not bad at all. When I return to work in 8 days the walking will drop to three miles prior to work and two miles after work when our schedule permits the 2 miles in the evening.

Sleep study showed a mild obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) with the two prime improvement areas indicated for me. One – exercise and weight loss, man oh man, am I ever on top of that one! Two - sleeping on my side much more vice sleeping on my back where most of my OSA occurs oddly enough. I can find a number of ways to increase sleep time on my sides. Yep. Plus an oral device to keep my airway from closing off the breathing passage and an oximeter with memory to record my oxygen saturation levels while sleeping. The latter will let me know if more or less OSA is occurring as the saturation levels usually drop during an OSA episode.

Diet? Major improvement. No sweets, none, zero – that is good. Carbs are few and far between – way lower than before, but some carbs are necessary.

Bottom line: I am responsible for my health.

I permitted my health to ‘drift’ and ‘drift’ further and further away from a norm and had quit checking my blood sugar for 2-3 months. Why check? After all I knew I was cheating and then over compensating from time to time. God has given me the gift of type II diabetes which requires I eat healthy (very healthy) and exercise (sufficiently to keep my weight and blood sugar down) and I can live a long and healthy life. If I don’t do that … well, I have had a glimpse of that future and it’s not one I want. Praise God for his discipline

Psalm 94

8 Take notice, you senseless ones among the people; you fools, when will you become wise?
9 Does he who fashioned the ear not hear? Does he who formed the eye not see?
10 Does he who disciplines nations not punish? Does he who teaches mankind lack knowledge?
11 The LORD knows all human plans; he knows that they are futile.

12 Blessed is the one you discipline, LORD, the one you teach from your law;
13 you grant them relief from days of trouble (boldface and italics added).

Friday, July 15, 2011

Breaking Down

Breaking down, not broken done, that’s me and I don’t like it.

I am 63½ years old. I remember when I used to look at people in their 60’s and think they were ancient, especially those who were broken down by life or health problems.

Now I am one of them, someone in his 60’s and breaking down, not broken down, not yet anyway. But I am concerned.

Let’s be clear, all is not bad. Not even close, my bride and I will celebrate 40 years of marriage on July 27, 2011. I completed a master’s program in Christian Studies in late April. Second granddaughter (Emily) was born in mid-March this year, what a wonderful blessing. Made a tandem skydive last October during a visit to Oshkosh, WI.

I lead a blessed life, no matter the sound of complaining herein. I know I am a future citizen of Heaven and have the promise of a new body as well. To tell you the truth, I am looking forward to the new body now. I can look forward to that body because I know Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. Everything pales beside this knowledge.

Still, I have two new knees from just over two years ago and I love them. Prior to the new knees, I was like one of the walking wounded, always walking about in great pain. Reading glasses are a must, as my arms are way too short to read most printed material. And my hearing is going too with over a 33 percent loss in the past year alone. And of course I am diabetic, type 2, and 40-50 pounds overweight. The weight aggravates the diabetes, so I am working at dropping it down. Even though I have put on 10 pounds (it was 20) in the past 6 months.

I am very concerned about my current blood sugar levels. I used to be able to bring the level down to 70-100 with walking and eating the right foods. Now no matter what I do, the low numbers are 120-150. Not good. I am headed towards becoming a type 1 diabetic. Not happy about that.

My greatest concern though is something new. Nodding off. Falling asleep. Micro-napping. No idea what is going on or causing it. Have increased my sleep to an average of 7½ hours per night which helps, but only helps. The occurrences are fewer in number, but continue.

To attack the problem I have a sleep study scheduled for Thursday night next week. Do you have any idea how silly that sounds to me? Nonetheless, I will do it. This last problem has to be resolved. To not solve it places my job in jeopardy. Not good.

In spite of everything, I think God has use for me on this earth for another 10 or 20 or 30 or more years. To keep myself available I must, I shall, do my best to improve my health. However, to be clear, if I should pass tomorrow, there should be no sadness and no tears for I have had an incredibly blessed life in so many and varied ways. More on that at a later date.

Postscript: Sleep study complete, will discuss results next week with our family physician. Weight is down to 230 lbs. (40 to go) and blood sugar has dropped as well. Walking 4 to 10 miles a day has its benefits, especially if you are walking with your bride and discovering how much you enjoy each others company during an hour plus stroll … stopping to look at different things, taking a few pictures, and holding hands throughout. I said it before and I will say it again, “I am blessed.”