For what are you longing?

In a world where we rarely agree any more one thing is for sure. We all long for this time of sheltering in place and social distancing to be over. Living our lives via Virtual zoom, FaceTime, youtube, etc. is wearing on us all. How that happens and when is a different question but it is impacting every one of us. Some feel strongly we need to stay the course and not have folks venturing out to fast. Others have lost their patience and are saying enough is enough. Like the newscaster in the movie, Network, they are acting upon their feelings “I am mad as hell and I am not going to take it any more.” They are going to take their chances with the hope I won’t come down with Covid19 or give it to someone else. They are willing to risk “the long term consequence for the short term opportunity of being with friends again”.

My hope is we won’t be too quick to judge others. That we will extend grace to one another understanding we are all dealing with something that is new. When faced with adversity, we all are not going to react in the same manner. It is no surprise that one recent study shows, 30% of us show symptoms of clinical depression. It begs the question, for what are we longing as we wait? If we can get our arms around that question, I think it can help us persevere through and relate better with those around us. It certainly did for me as I battled back from Guillain Barre Syndrome during the spring months of 2019. Little did Dottie and I know we would once again battle through another type of adversity during those same months in 2020. Hopefully what we have learned will in some way help you during this challenging and stressful time. Which brings me back to the importance of longing for something.

When things were at their worse, we chose to focus on staying in the present with our motivation being what’s next? What can we do next? Longing for an unknown future did us no good. All we could control was what we did in each moment that would hopefully make me better the next day trusting in verses like Psalm 46:1,2 “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way  and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea” As an example, I went into the hospital on March 1, 2019 and we honestly never asked when the experts thought I would be able to go home. We sensed longing for something given our uncertain situation would just lead us into discouragement. We chose to stay focused on OK this is where we are right now, What can I do next to get me a little bit better tomorrow.
I believe there is a parallel between this thought process for my GBS recovery and how we all should be dealing with this season of Coronavirus. Taking it moment by moment, day by day helped keep us from spiraling down into discouragement. Interestingly enough, the last two weeks in rehab were the worst. Why? Because once they told me I would go home on 4/25, I lost my in the moment thinking. All I could think of was going home. My rehab room felt like a prison. Sound familiar? Most of us have handled this stay at home order well but we now can see the light at the end of the tunnel. It is causing all of us to lose the discipline of staying in the moment. We are losing our patience because we desire and want something we can’t control which creates angst & frustration.

Staying in the moment is essential when we face a challenge but thinking of and serving others can also help you through this difficult time. When we start succumbing to the desire for a “pity party” try getting outside yourself by doing something for someone else. My good friend Bill Clark shared in a recent blog post that understanding we are all in this together is critical. “Romans 12 “the body” United upward, inward, outward. indispensable every part matters. Each of us matter. Interdependent and connected as there are no such things as an isolated walk w Christ. Most of the Yous in the Bible are You all. Therefore resentment and bitterness is like a cancer. We are the body to shine the light of Christ. We are to follow Him so he can lead us outward to serve and care for one another so the world can see what God is like. Others are to encounter God through us.

I long for the world to be a better place than it was before Covid19. A world where we learned a slower pace is good for our health. A world where we see we are all in this together with a keener awareness of those in need. A world where we believe and stand together knowing each one of us is precious in God’s sight. A world where we don’t think as much about our rights but instead, as we venture back out, we think about how our actions are impacting those around us. It won’t be easy but if we try it moment by moment “What can I do next to serve someone” mentality we will have done our part in making our community a better place.

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For Better or For Worse?

I love the show Family Feud. Steve Harvey makes me laugh. What do you think about when you see this question? On the Feud, there is no doubt the #1 answer would be marriage. These days however, the question challenges me in my relationship with Dottie but also, will I be a better or worse person when my life after Covid19 begins. Dallas Willard writes in his book Life without Lack, “It is not pretense we need, it is understanding.  A life without lack his faith in God and in God‘s full capacity and willingness to meet all of our needs and more.” The three words “willingness to meet” jumped out at me. Do you want your relationship with God, your spouse, significant other, friend, co-worker, etc.,to get better? If so, there has to be a willingness to meet. A decision to stop walking your own way and turn toward the other. These are trying times. There is such a temptation to crawl up into a ball saying, “let me know when this is all over” versus having an attitude of “what can I do today to make myself better”along with the relationships I mentioned earlier. Thankfully, God already knows how we would feel while being sheltered in place with the uncertainty of the Coronavirus. Could it be that is why He had Paul write those letters from prison? How bout the words He gives us in James 1:2-5.

Do you want your life and the way you relate to others to be better or worse? Then follow advice of James. Look for the joy in your life even when you face whatever trials that come your way. Lean into knowing God promises that this season of adversity will produce perseverance. Look back and recognize how you have persevered already in these last couple months. Allow it to encourage you onward. James says, “perseverance will make you more mature and complete, lacking nothing” My take on this statement is I will be stronger in the Lord because I chose to turn toward Him in this time of trouble and found that He provided all the peace and freedom from fear I needed. Finally, we all lack wisdom and are asking, is there anyone we can we trust to give us the right answers in this incredible season of uncertainty? The answer is found in what James wrote and also in Proverbs 3:4,5.

Let’s all commit to being better not worse. Ask God into the dark and self-centered places in your heart. James promises “God will give generously to all without finding fault,.” When you receive this generosity, turn your caring heart toward each other asking how can I serve? Wonderful things will happen when we have a willingness to meet. You will become better and so will those around you.

Know that I am grateful for all of you. I look forward to hearing from you. Please subscribe to and comment there or email me at [email protected]

We are no doubt in a crisis, how are you responding

Thanks to my son, I heard a great sermon by Carl Lentz- He shared about three friends who were held up at gun point. He used what happened to share this Palm Sunday pressure message. “When faced w a crisis one can do 4 things. 1) Freak out, 2) Freeze up, 3)Flee…or 4) Face it head on with the faith God has given us to trust Him with the outcome.”  My question today is “How are you dealing with the challenges of Covid-19?”

As you know, I have written about choices in other entries here and that we all need to take our own responsibility for what our attitude looks like. Each of us has the opportunity to be a true champion. Doing what it takes to be one, no matter whether it is home, at work, or striving to make a difference in our every day world. It takes us having a PRIDE in how we live our lives no matter what obstacles we face. I think of pride as being Personally Responsible for our Individual Daily Effort. It is a matter of chose. It is always a matter of chose. ThankS to many of you for being real life examples of choosing hope vs despair, trust vs fear, gratitude vs wantedness. You are figuring out the How because you know Who provides the strength to see the  Joy through the sorrow As Psalm 30:5 says,”Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.“

Our identity has been shaken because of Covid-19. We are asking, “do I really trust God with the outcome? Will me and my family get through this OK? Why am I feeling anxiety? We need to look back to look forward. The Bible uses the word remember 130 times in the Old Testament and more than 30 times in the New. So, remind yourself from where does help come. Psalm 121:1 “ I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord,the Maker of heaven and earth..” Be encouraged that He wants to clothe us with a new identity. One that restores to us the abundant life he has always wanted for us. As we face whatever crisis you face due to COVID-19, may we look for a fresh revelation of his love for us. Allow it to guide you into greater depths of faith. Remembering out of adversity comes strength and that what you once thought was weakness God will use for good.

I read a devotional Randy Wolfe wrote where he shares this story. “An old Indian chief told his son that there are two wolves that live within us. One is full of fear and doubt that wants to destroy and kill. The other is filled with confidence, faith, and assurance. “Which wolf wins?” asked the young son. His dad said, “The one you feed the most.” Carl Lentz says we have a choice when faced with a crisis. The Indian chief is making the same point to his son. “No matter what our tough times look like from one year to the next, we have a decision to make. Interesting that the only exhortation the bible uses more than remember is “Do not Fear.” So today, remember, feed your faith not your fear

To learn more about the Guillain Barre journey, visit [email protected]

In adversity, Can we Count it all blessing….

Today is Palm Sunday. Over 2,000 years ago, Jesus rode into town hearing the crowds shouting “Hosanna; blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord” (Mark 11.9). Mistakenly, They were celebrating that he was “the Messiah coming to renew the kingdom of our father David!” (Mark 11:10). They had no idea what was to come just a week later. As I thought about this fact this morning, I couldn’t help but think of how a month ago none of us could have imagined we would be sheltered at home because of Covid-19. Each of us has been thrown into uncertainty because our before Coronavirus lives have been turned upside down. The same question needs to be asked, just as back then. Where does my trust lie? Who can I believe to tell me the truth of what is happening and how long will it last? We have been thrown into uncertainty as our lives as we know them have been turned upside down. I am grateful that I count it all blessing because I trust the One who said this to those that were looking for someone to trust. “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.” John 14:27. I, we, certainly need to be concerned but we need not fear. Why?

…because our trust is found in the Lord. This is Holy week where we prepare for what God did for all of us. He sent His Son to live amongst us so that He could be sacrificed to fulfill the prophecy of the Old testament. Zechariah 9:9-10 “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon a colt the foal of an ass.” Yes, then beaten, hung on a cross, and died so that our relationship with God could be restored. Psalm 22, “”They have pierced my hands and my feet.” and in the chapters of Isaiah 52 and 53 where what happens is written in specific detail. I count it all blessing because God knew what was going to happen to His son and was with him throughout the pain and anguish even into death. This gives me renewed confidence and hope that God knew that Covid-19 was going to happen and will be with me and you as well. I use the word renewed because I saw this and continue to see this play out in my Guillain Barre Syndrome recovery. I have written about it on this blog in the past. God made His presence known time and time again in my darkest hours of GBS so I, and I promise you, can count on Him doing it again now. So…..

Count your blessings always being humble and give thanks for everything in life. Be thankful that God through Jesus Christ is with you and promises to walk you through this storm. Be thankful for food, friends, family, but most of all God’s Love. Appreciate everything you have and remember there are people who are in a way harder situation than you. Use this special Holy Week to reach out to those who are alone or are in need. Ask God to show you how He wants you to make a difference in your world. Who knows, maybe you are the one who God uses to show someone He is with them during their darkest hour,

Matthew 25:40- “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” Romans 15:4 For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.” And in doing so, maybe others will count it a blessing for what you did for them.

How can we not fear?

As I thought about what I would write this week, I received this CaringBridge post from a good friend whose wife is in the same rehab facility while recovering from Guillain Barre at this time last year. His perspective is right on and reminded me of an earlier post where I wrote about how close I felt to God when things were the darkest. People would ask me, “are you not afraid”? My answer, honestly and I don’t know why, was no because God is with me and He promises to be with me not matter what.” Fast forward a year and we are all facing the fear of coronavirus together. Here is what my friend wrote about it.

“I don’t know about you but these virus precautions are getting to me. Our lives have been turned upside down.No dinning out. No church. No school. No NCAA basketball. No Masters! No easter services. Is this surreal or what? The final epitaph for COVID-19 has not been written yet but somewhere in there will be the damage from fear.

This is a good time to test your personal fear barometer. Do you let events unsettle you? Fear overwhelm you? To a degree, most of us probably do. For me, during the COVID-19 crisis I have tried to gauge my trust in God. Is it enough? If not, why not? My fear of losing my wife has made me face these questions. 

God shouts to us in our pain and suffering. Are we listening? I don’t want to miss anything when He has something to say to me. I am listening closely these past few months.

We have told you about how she on occasions can’t see or hear well, so she mistakes us for someone else. She sees things that aren’t there which confuses her and those talking to her. These are normal results from brain trauma but no one prepared us for how this manifests itself. My fear of the unknown strikes at me as I struggle to deal with my response to her.

So, as we live through COVID-19 and her recovery let’s face our fears with Him. Let’s give them to God. He is our great healer. He cares for us. We can rest in Him. He is our rock. He does not change. He is our refuge and strength. He is always near. As I tell my sweet bride, there is power in the name of Jesus. If you need help, call out his name. He is mighty to save!

Thank you for your persistent prayers and support. We are encouraged by each one of you. We will pray for your courage as you face COVID-19 and life.

Yes. It does take courage to face your fear but I can tell you from 1st hand experience, that is much easier to face them when you look back on adversity and remember that God was there and got you through it just like the psalmist promises in Psalm 23. I posted this the other day on my Facebook page. It came from me thinking about what I wanted to share with those who follow this blog.

Where is God wanting to take us? What does He want to teach us?
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me (Psalm 23:4
Greg Laurie-“Yet the Lord is saying, “You see that mountaintop in the distance? The way to that mountaintop is through this valley. You come with Me now through the valley.”
We all go through those valleys in life, those hard times. Whatever valley it is, remember this: You are not alone. That is God’s great promise to those who believe.”

In closing, I want to repeat something my friend wrote above with the hope that you will try and apply it to your life these days. ” God shouts to us in our pain and suffering. Are we listening? I don’t want to miss anything when He has something to say to me. I am listening closely these past few months. ” Many distractions have been removed from our lives. Sports, concerts, movie theaters, and restaurants to name a few. Why don’t we take this time of isolation from the distractions of the world and have a personal revival where we focus on what should have been our 1st priority all along. God. Psalm 22 shows God knew that His Son would be crucified. We can count on the fact He knows what we are going through now. You can call out to Him trusting He hears your voice. Move toward Him to hear His. Fear not and Trust in Him for all things.

Out of brokeness can come beauty

Phillippians 2:4 “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”

bottom left picture is from my “Self-Isolation Rapunzel Self-Isolation Tower” above our garage

I shared my word for the year was Generosity in my 1/1/2020 blog post. My friend Liza Borches Myers in her keynote speech to my company shared her company’s word was Courage.  Little did we know then how both would be so desperately needed at this time due to the Coronavirus world we live in today. “Things are bad and probably are going to get worse” Do you remember these words? They were shared by a doctor friend of mine right after I had been admitted to the hospital. He then said, “but you will get better.” That gave me hope then and it gives me hope today. It took courage for me to battle back from the effects of Guillain Barre and the generosity of so many to encourage us along the way. Dottie wrote this on our CaringBridge a year ago this weekend. “Meals delivered, overnight help, visitors, cards and notes of encouragement, and prayers have sustained us. We are blessed and grateful.” That statement is as tru today as it was then. Like my recovery, I have hope that the world will recover from this Coronavirus and we will find it better. There are reasons for such confidence. We sit in this incredible dark time and yet can glimpse the first slivers of the dawn’s light as we watch the Coronavirus’ impact releasing its grip in China and South Korea. Even in Italy where things are at its worse there are signs that have brought hope. I shared the following on Facebook a couple of days ago.

 In attempts to see the positive out of this pandemic, here is a quote translated by an Italian journalist to read whenever we feel worried. I added a few things in parenthesis. “The people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still. And listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced, (many sang to each other from their balconies. A US ship in port played the Italian national anthem from their PA system.)And the people began to think differently. And the people healed. And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal. When the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully (as evidenced by the canals cleaning up so that dolphins have been spotted swimming there) and they had been healed.”

Further proof of the world being made better is found in this quote “The bottom line: “Beyond the public health and economic crises, [Riccardo Valentini, a professor at Italy’s University of Tuscia] said, the pandemic ultimately could trigger the most significant reduction of greenhouse gas emissions of the past century.” God’s Word is true. Paul wrote about my sickness and the Coronavirus challenge we fact today in Romans 8:28  “know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

I love the song “I can only imagine” by Mercy Me. It talks about what it will be like in heaven. If you haven’t heard it, google it on YouTube. Philippians 2:4 says, Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Could it be that with, what is going on and how we are generous and mindful of others, itwill make a very positive difference in our world going forward? We can only imagine.

Even in darkness, the light always prevails. Candle in the “Rapunzel Tower” window

What motivates you?

I have spent this week preparing for a special night on our company’s calendar. Each year we set aside an evening to congratulate those who have achieved great success in 2019. The theme for this year’s program is how it takes Courage to reach your goals and how we all need to be encouraged to realize the potential we have inside us. The message is that Courage comes from Believing in yourself so you cross the T out in I Can’t so that you have an attitude of I Can! We then need to trust the process and make the decision to keep moving forward even when there are setbacks and obstacles along the way. For those of you who have been following my recovery from Guillain Barre either on or here on the blog, you know it was one year ago this week (3/1/2019), where GBS rendered me paralyzed unable to move for close to three weeks. I then spent 43 days in a rehab facility working hard to regain my strength. Gratefully, I ultimately walked out to head home on April 25th about 6 weeks sooner than those caring for me expected. Guillain Barre took me down just a couple of days after last year’s company celebration so You can understand why preparing for this company event this week has been a soul searching time.
I wasn’t sure what to expect as I approached By day of GBS infamy, March 1st. Walking into JPJ on 2/29 to watch Virginia beat Duke was crazy because the year before I was in the ER while they played their last game of the season against Miami. My friend Dr Diduch coming in after the game with his son Tyler to share 4 things which I will never forget. God loves you. It was going to get worse before it got better. I couldn’t be in a better place to get treated. I was going to get better. He was right on all 4 accounts. What we didn’t know was there would be a fifth. I was going to be given a platform to share the lessons learned from my journey Through adversity

March 1st has come and gone. I was grateful for the folks who remembered and reached out to mark the day but, in all honesty, I was struck by how it came and went without much fanfare. Another day in my “GBS recovery likes routine” new normal lifestyle. Not over doing so that Dottie can relax knowing I am doing everything I can to take of myself. I guess what I am saying here is the answer to the title of this blog is “what motivates me” has changed because of Guillain Barre. I am a little bit closer to living out this scripture in my life. 2 Chronicles 15:7 “But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.” My work now is living a life of faith that encourages others who are struggling in one way or another God does indeed love them and will be there no matter what. After all I have been through I now have the platform from where I can say, “I Can” because “I Believe” and now can move forward knowing God was there before, is with me as I continue to recover, and will be with me always no matter what.

There were a lot of Roy Wheeler awards given out Thursday night. Folks were recognized for their achievements in 2019. One person stood out that night. When announced there was A heart felt response and a long standing ovation. It was for the person who motivates me to e the best I can be. Wife of the Year, Dottie Guthrie

How one prepares for the onset of adversity.

I went to a concert last night. Unfortunately, because of my recovery routine, I did not get to see Mercy Me perform. I did get to practically apply a lesson I learned earlier in the week. “Discipline is doing the right things even when you don’t feel like it. The picture here is me getting up early to row

Last night I left the concert before Mercy Me because I need to be in bed no later than 9:30. I was tempted but knew the decision to exercise this discipline was the right choice. I did get to enjoy Jeremy Camp and look forward to the new movie, I Still Believe, coming out soon.

Matthew 6;33,34 says, “But first and most importantly seek (aim at, strive after) His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be given to you also. So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Jeremy Camp shared this verse and then said and sang a song that prodded me to write this latest post

?Singing oh Lord, keep me in the moment
Help me live with my eyes wide open
‘Cause I don’t wanna miss what you have for me
Singing oh Lord, show me what matters
Throw away what I’m chasing after
‘Cause I don’t wanna miss what you have for me ?
Keep me in the moment
Oh, keep me in the moment
Keep me in the moment
‘Cause I don’t wanna miss what you have for me?

My moment for almost a year now has been dealing Guillain Barre And the serious impact on my body and now slowly but surely doing everything I can to fully recover. Whether it is exercising when I don’t feel like it or having to leave something early from a concert are “keeping me in the moment” decisions. Jeremy went on to talk about Ebeneezer Stones. “Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen. He named it Ebenezer, saying, “Thus far the LORD has helped us.”(1 Samuel 7:12) Ebenezer is only mentioned three times in the Bible. By definition Ebenezer means “stone of help.” This reminded me of a book, Hinds Feet in High Places, which brings me back to the title of this post. Like the character, Much-Afraid, I prepared for my journey through adversity by experiencing God’s presence in my life when I faced struggles, fears, anxiety, etc. The God figure in Hinds Feet shares, “Whenever you are willing to obey me, Much-Afraid, and to follow the path of my choice, you will always be able to hear and recognize my voice, and when you hear it you must always obey. Remember also that it is always safe to obey my voice, even if it seems to call you to paths which look impossible or even crazy.”

I was called into a sickness where recovery at the onset seemed impossible and yes, not being able to move was even crazy. It would have been easy to succumb into fear and discouragement. Instead I chose Hope in what was to come because I had my own Ebeneezer “stones of hope” experiences. Did I not want to go work out? Did I not want to leave the concert? You bet. However, I did both because I knew having that discipline would allow me to be a little bit closer to a full recovery and encourage me to make my life even more dependent on the One who loves me and wants what is best for me. He promises to do the same for you. All you have to do is ask. Hallelujah.

A chance to hear a little bit of my story

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4

If you are a regular follower of this blog, it will come as no surprise when I write “we absolutely need others’ support and encouragement along the journey.” I can’t imagine doing this on my own. It has been the biggest lesson I have learned in my recovery from Guillain Barre Syndrome. I was time and time again “comforted in my affliction” and it has given me a new purpose to bring comfort to others so that “they may be comforted. Many of you have asked me to share my story not just from a faith perspective but also as to how this relates to reaching your full potential in life. I have been asked to speak to Realtors, college fellowships, sports teams, real estate/auto management teams, and men’s fellowship groups. I have learned in a new way that GBS has given me a platform because of what I have gone through. You can get the back story of my health challenge that started March 1st by going to Posted below is a talk I gave back in November where I dig deeper into how we are called to help each other using the story of Jesus raising Lazurus from the dead (John 11). In this story we realize that Lazurus can only be freed from his dead clothes with the help of others. I also talk about the four friends who bring a paralyzed man so that Jesus can heal him (John 2). Jesus tells them that the man was healed because of their faith not the one who needed healing. My hope is that it will help you see why I am trying to be “Thankful in All Things” and that if we want to reach our full potential we need the encouragement of others.

grateful for this wonderful family who played a huge role in my recovery.
Some of the many people who time and time again showed up for me and Dottie as we fought back from what has been the biggest challenge of our lives.