A visit with special friends

This past Saturday we traveled to Longview to visit and spend the night with the Langstons.   As most of you will know Keith was my living kidney donor.   By way of background, Keith and I have known each other for over 5 years through our work.  I had met his wife, Kate, on one other occasion.  I don’t think I had met the Kids.  Keith and Kate have four children: William age nine, Adeline age 7, Margaret almost 4 and Thomas almost 3.  Sheila and I have two children: Lauren 13 and Allison 9. 

You would have thought the kids had been friends all there life.  Allison and William hit it off playing soccer and they were thick as thieves the rest of the weekend.  Adeline was drawn to Lauren and before long Lauren was giving her piggy back rides and watching movies.  Margaret entertained us all and Thomas was fun too.   (The adults had a great evening too.)

We all had a great time visiting and are sure that there will be many more in the future.  We hope to get to see them  Easter when they are in Lufkin visiting Kate’s family.

I go to the clinic Wednesday.  Should be uneventful as all my labs have been good every week. I report after I’m done. 

Take care all.


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The sanctity of…..

Sanctity:  noun. ultimate importance and inviolability.

Just wondering.  Have we lost the sanctity of ….. you fill in the blank.  Family, relationships, worship?  I don’t mean in the political correctness sense.  I mean in the “true meaning” and “of first importance” sense.   It seems to me that every thing is faster, busier, bigger, showier, more over the top, etc.   Where is the time for true relationships, conversation and meaning?

One of my friends writes on her Facebook page about sitting on the porch in a rocking chair watching her children play in the front yard with neighborhood friends.   This almost seems “Mayberry” in 2009.  But it shouldn’t.  It should be the norm.  We should take time to sit, listen and watch.   We should take time to “Be Still and Know…..”   Know that God is God and we aren’t and that he has a plan for us if we will listen.  Know our spouse.  Know our children.  Know our neighbors.  Be still and know.

Have we filled up our lives with showy fluff.  Or is our life full of meaning and substance.   When we worship are we focused on God or the script (of the show)  and whether we “like” it.   What are we at worship for anyway?   

I like, no love, modern life.  I like the convenience.  I like the connectivity.  I like the information.  I like the productivity.    

But I don’t like the speed, hurry and fuss.  And bigger and bolder is not always better;  often not. 

If we are not careful we will lose the sanctity of living and worshiping and serving God.  If we are not careful we will lose the sanctity of thought, reflection, prayer and study all in the name of speed and multitasking.  (Can you keep from texting and checking email on your phone during church?  Mostly, I can’t.)

I don’t have this figured out or even thought out.   I’m just thinking and thanking God for sanctity. 

Remember the things of ultimate importance. 


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A weekend of normalcy….

We spent a normal weekend — well at least for us.   We went to Clear Lake, Texas for a upper level competition soccer tournament.  Our girls are trying to make the jump from Division II to Super 2.   We have won two State Championships in D2 and it was time to go to the next level.   To do that we have been playing tournaments this spring to play a higher level of competition.  They played in Austin while I was in Dallas recuperating.  This weekend was the 2nd of four that we will play.  We improved and even won one game.  You can really see the girls learning to play at the higher speed and with more aggressive competition.   See the photos that I’ve attached of Lauren getting her body on a girl trying to take a shot.   The girl was knocked to the ground and took some time getting up.   Pretty normal at this level. 

I continue to do very well.   Labs look great.  Exercising daily.  Even did 30 minutes a night on the treadmill at the hotel.  At home I’m on my mountain bike.  I really like that for getting a good workout.   Plus it helps with stemming the potential loss of bone density due to my medication. 

Next weekend we go to spend the night with Keith and Kate and their kids.  Keith, Kate, Sheila and I are going to a dinner where Everson Walls is speaking about his kidney donation to Ron Springs.   It will be fun to have our two families together. 

We have been very blessed and we continue to appreciate your prayers and thoughts.   I go back to the Dallas Transplant institute on April 1st, but expect no surprises. 


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Labs remain good….

I got to see lab results from last Thursday today.  The levels remain very good.  Some are even better than when I left Dallas and none are worse.  I rode my mountain bike 6 miles last night and 10 miles today.  Not bad for less than five weeks after surgery.   Have now been working full time since the day after I got back to Lufkin. (Really, I was working full time at my apartment in Dallas, but whose counting.)   So things continue to go well.   

The girls are off for Spring Break.  We went to Austin on Sunday for Allison to be a Page in the Legislature on Monday.   She had a great time and we stayed with are Representative and his wife, Jim and Judy McReynolds, who are long time personal friends.  They made it truly special for Allison. 

Lauren has a soccer tournament in Houston this weekend and I start coaching Allison’s soccer team on Thursday.  

So we are back to normal.  If you call this normal…….


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One Month … Four Weeks … 28 Days — What I Learned

Four weeks ago today I had a kidney transplant.  I gift of a better, more normal life.  A gift of friendship and selflessness and yes, love.  A gift from Keith – but also from Kate and their whole family.  Many might have “saved” their kidney to give to a family member who might need it later.  Not Keith and Kate,  they lived by faith.  Reminds me of the scripture that says, “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.”   Applying this scripture to living on the earth plane?  Others first.   The gift also begs the question: “Who’s your neighbor?”  Who are you willing to put first?

Four weeks ago about right now I was in the ICU at Baylor waking up from a surgery that has changed my life.  Yes, I’m changed physically.  However, I’m more changed spiritually, mentally and emotionally.  After the transplant I just can’t look at the world and the people in it the same way.   I feel that my actions demand an even higher standard now — that maybe people are watching to see what I will do with this gift.   There is a song that says “the world is going to change.”   How am I going to change it?

Am I going to be light and salt?  What gift do I have to give?   I know that I’m special in God’s eyes, but so are all of you.   I have no more talent in helping others that any of you.  I’m no more innately good than those of you reading my thoughts. I’m not better at reaching out than the next person.  

So what is the answer?   I believe it to be “others first.”   

We are basically born selfish in order to survive.   When we are infants we demand all the attention of others simply to keep living.  Others must take constant care of us.   But as we grow up, as we mature, we are supposed to grow out too.   Grow out of being selfish.  Grow out of an attitude that life is all about us   Grow out of feelings that our needs must always be met first.  Of  course, one of the operative words here is “grow.”   People who never change from the ways of infancy are called “narcissist” as adults.  Not something any of us want to be labeled.  But some times we all revert to this.  We want what we want and we want it now and we don’t think of the needs of others. 

Four weeks ago I was in ICU at Baylor and now I home with my family leading a normal life.  Going to work, going to church, taking Allison to dance and Lauren to soccer.   We have a soccer tournament next weekend and Allison’s recreation soccer league will start next week.  Essentially life is “normal.”   

Only it’s not.   

You see I have someone else living in me.   Yes, there is the obvious answer: Keith’s kidney.   

But then there is the one that has always been there.   The one that I should be in tune with, but I’m not always.   The one whose light I’m suppose to reflect.  The one who’s example I’m supposed to follow.  The one who put others first like no other.  The one who, if we followed completely and honestly, we would have no problem growing up or out.   The one who reached out and touched every life he came in contact with and continues to touch every life he enters to this day.  The one that gives hope, life, light and love.  The one who love all and died for all.   The one who put all others first and himself last.  The one that gave the gift that is better than a new kidney and that gives longer lasting life. 

You shouldn’t need a kidney transplant to learn the lesson of others first.   Most of us learned it long ago in a class or a sanctuary or a devotional time.  

So what did I learn?   

I learned that the greatest gift that you can give is to put others first.  It is really what we were made for.  It is what we are called to do. It is ultimately what gives us the greatest joy and the most satisfaction.  It is what makes the earth a better place and what makes us most like our savior.  But, we must open our eyes and our hearts in order to see where we are needed and how to respond.   We must get over our fears  and hang ups.   And most of all we must get over ourselves and let God lead us where he would have us. 

So the lesson has been learned.  Now the hard part.  Living it.   My job, and yours too actually, is to see who and what we can put before ourselves and show the world the love of Christ. 

Four weeks ago today I got a new kidney, but I also got eyes that see the world a little differently and a heart that feels for the world differently.   Twenty-eight days.  Four weeks.  One month.   No matter in what time you frame it, the world has changed — for me.   How are you (we) going to change the world?  Others first. 


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All is well…Go see my local doctor today.

All is going very well.  All my vital signs are perfect.   My blood pressure is good, blood sugar is good, temperature is normal.  I still weigh 178.  So things couldn’t be better in that regard.   I’m going to see my local nephrologist today just to check in.   He hasn’t seen me since the transplant and I need to get back with him.   He deserves a great deal of credit for working with Dallas Nephrology to keep me off dialysis before the transplant. 

Some of you may have known that I owned two motorcycles.  However, I have been thinking of the ramifications of an accident with only one kidney and that one being relatively unprotected.  Therefore, I sold both of them yesterday.   I just decided that I couldn’t deal with the results if I hurt this kidney doing such a discretionary activity.   I have many, many other hobbies,  so I’ll just concentrate on one of those.  Plus, I’m not too far from having to buy Lauren a car.   So we needed to clear some space in the garage. 

Keith and I continue to get media request.  We continue to try to promote organ donation.  We hope we are making a difference.   I have had several people tell me that they have signed up to be organ donors through Donate Life Texas.  There is a link on the blog to go to their site.  I encourage you to do that.   

Keep us all in your prayers.   We continue to pray and hope that things continue to go well.

I’m back working full time and being a full time dad;  taking the kids to all of their activities, being President of Angelina Youth Soccer, working at church.   All is getting back to normal very quickly. 

Tomorrow is four weeks post surgery.  I’ll try to write something meaningful about my journey on this one month anniversary.


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Lauren made the Lufkin High School Soccer Team!

After trying out for 3 days this week the new members of the Lufkin Lady Panther Soccer Team where announced and Lauren was one of them.   They introduced the new members for next year at the Lady Panther game tonight and I went to watch.


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