Welcome to the Journey

As you read through these journalings, I ask you to enjoy the ramblings and jestings but to also ponder the thoughts that are being pondered.

Feel free to join me on this journey through the trek of life.

Randy ~ The Toolman ~ Whistler

Saturday, May 4, 2013

What About a Dream?

A few years ago, a dream of hiking the Appalachian Trail hit me. It’s been on my “Goals” list for that many years. Events come up and the dream is still there but it re-positioned to another part of my life’s journey. (by the way … grandkids are awesome!) 

 As I’ve grown in age (as well as weight) I am realizing that I need to put this dream to rest or fruition. I have chosen the latter. With prayer, discussion, pondering, and worrying (see below) I have set into motion the process of Hiking a section of the Appalachian Trail. It even has a name ~ ” 2014 Appalachian Trail Venture!” Catchy, isn’t it! 

 As I am sitting here thinking, about hiking a section of the Appalachian Trail next summer, I have a feeling of uncertainty – Can I do it? Can I plan well enough to get the others on the trip ready? What about my wife? What if her health bottoms out while I’m gone? What if her health bottoms out between now and the start of the trip? What about money? What if I forget something important? There are MANY more questions and thoughts that wander in my wanderers brain. While this is going on, I can here Jesus’ words … “Worry?! Stop it!! Look at the birds of the air. They are taken care of and I love you more than them!” 

 So, as I begin the process of planning a “roving retreat” for some guys for next summer, I am relying on the wisdom, strength and heart of my favorite outdoor venturer ~ Jesus! With that said, I will also be putting together a smaller trip (2-3 day/1-2 night) here in Wisconsin. There are so many places to hike and beautiful place to see. If we are going to hike the Georgia to North Carolina section of the A.T., we need to be in shape, and what better that some backpacking in the wilderness of Wisconsin. (oh, I’m sure there might be some better places, but I’m already here!) So, on this beautiful Saturday in Wisconsin … I am ready for the next venture of the trek on this journey! 

 Happy trails and we’ll see ya in the woods! Randy ~ GeoJavaMan ~ the Toolman ~ Whistler

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Phenomenalness of the Journey

Wow! It’s been January since I’ve logged a blog. So much has happened on our life’s journey. During the first part of the year – we had been praying about where we were in ministry and where God wanted us and was leading us. There was a lot going on and we were praying for God’s wisdom, grace, and peace. (we’ll leave it at that.) During this time, we reconnected with some friends from our past – Rodger and Charlene Peck. God sent them back into our lives to make us re-think ministry and the “church.” The thoughts that came out of our fellowship, praying, and eating together have put a new slant on how we present ministry and a life with Christ, to those we come contact with now. Things maybe didn’t go as we had expected but God knows best. In April, my adorable wife of 31+ years, Melinda noticed something different about her and went to the Doctor to get things checked out. After more doctor visits, mammograms and tests it was discovered that she had breast cancer in her right breast. The same day that we found that out, I called to let our supervisors know what was happening. Before the end of our conversation, we also found out that The Salvation Army was transferring us to the Fox Cities are in Wisconsin. “You have cancer and you’re moving to Wisconsin!” WOW! Questions to God were entering our minds a bunch! We let people know what was happening and the prayers around the world were going up on our behalf. We were praying for God’s will through all of this – His instant healing would be awesome but however His name could be glorified was what we needed and “wanted” to do. (although in the middle of it, that wasn’t always easy or wanted!) Without going through all the tests, surgery, test, exams, recovery time, more tests, scares, questions and all – yesterday, August 6, 2012, my wife’s breast surgeon said she was cancer free and cured. We found out, last Friday, that there is not going to be any chemo-therapy! Then yesterday, we found out there will not be another surgery! We are very excited and are praising God! Melinda starts her rounds of radiation next week and then she will most likely take the “pill” that many to most cancer patients do, but over all – She’s doing wonderful. If you ask her by the end of most days, she may not agree but she is healing and getting better every day. Through this whole ordeal, there have been wonderful people surrounding us to help us and to protect us. Terry and Kyle helped me move up here to Appleton when I needed to be here. Cathie and Mrs. Christina hosted Melinda (and Fred and Ethel) in the first part of her recovery. Then Cathie and Maxine brought Melinda and the dogs up here and helped unpack boxes and get the beginning of the ‘home’ started. Michael and Rachel came from Denver to help us get settled and used there vacation time to work with us getting settled in. Krista, Kaylee, and Ella joined us in getting settled in and gave us some awesome PaPa and NaNa time! The church family we left in Alton was wonderful and very helpful in getting us packed and the house cleaned all while Melinda was recovering and wasn’t supposed to be doing anything. They were there to help us get on our way with no problems and to get the place ready for awesome new leaders coming to Alton. The church family here, in the Fox Cities, has been wonderful. They are helping us get settled in and helping us feel a part of the family. The leaders, staff and volunteers here are phenomenal! And one of main staff guys loves GeoCaching as much or more than I do! How cool is that?! Fred and Ethel are getting settled in. There are squirrels here and they come into our yard – so … they have helped Fred and Ethel feel welcome. All in all – God is continuing to show us and remind us the He is ALWAYS good and HE is always GOD! (not me) HE always provides sufficient grace! As you journey this week – be Jesus to someone. Share your story of Jesus with someone. For now … Happy Trails and we’ll see ya in the woods ~ Capt. Java Man Randy Addendum - Stardate 2012 August 16 - When we found out in April that Melinda had breast cancer. We wanted people to understand that even in the middle of the big "C" scare that ... God is still phenomenal! He has seen and is seeing through all of this. Her first surgery is over, there is not going to be any chemo therapy needed, and God is phenomenal! REGARDLESS!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

WOW! 2012 and I'm Posting a New One

Its Sunday afternoon of the 29th anniversary of day I heard my little baby girl cry for the first time! (happy birthday, Krista!)

I find, often, that sharing a message from God to the family that gathers in His house, can be and is many times exhausting. Thus ... This is a short post. I'm taking a nap before the events of the evening.

Happy Trails and we'll see ya in the woods!~ Randy

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Journey of Your Heart

I recently read in Dan Nold's Blog about a youth pastor, Stacy Sublett, who has a blog post about Dr. Livingstone. I copied most of it because it reminded me of another story from Livingstone’s life/death. David Livingston was a man who gave all that he had to serve Christ. He very easily could have spent hours working in a plush, luxurious office, but instead he chose to go to an area of Africa to serve on the mission field. For years, Livingston was the only white man there, sharing his Christian beliefs with the natives. On December 4, 1857, Livingstone, made a stirring appeal to the students of Cambridge University,

"For my own part, I have never ceased to rejoice that God has appointed me to such an office. People talk of the sacrifice I have made in spending so much of my life in Africa. …Is that a sacrifice which brings its own blest reward in healthful activity, the consciousness of doing good, … and a bright hope of a glorious destiny hereafter? Away …with such a thought! It is emphatically no sacrifice. Say rather it is a privilege. Anxiety, sickness, suffering, or danger, now and then, with a foregoing of the common conveniences…of this life… All these are nothing when compared with the glory which shall be revealed in and for us. I never made a sacrifice."

You understand what Livingstone was saying? He was saying that serving God, even suffering for God, brought so many rewards — in fact God Himself was such a blessing — that a seeming sacrifice was not even a sacrifice because you can never outgive God. After years of service, Livingston contracted a disease in Africa, which eventually took his life. The natives were crushed; they dearly loved this man who had introduced them to Jesus. They loved him so much that before his body was shipped to England, the natives honored Livingston by cutting out his heart and burying it in African soil. They felt that after all of his years of sacrifice and service his heart belonged there.

When you come to the end of your days…where will your heart be buried? At the office, in the mall, underneath the TV set, in the safety deposit box at the bank? In your dream house? In a box with your summa cum laudes? Another way of asking the same question is, “where is your treasure?” Jesus once said that where our treasures are, our hearts will soon follow. Where is your heart?

What specific ways can you respond to God's leading this year?

Have fun on your heart's journey! Enjoy God's leading!

Happy Trails and we'll see ya in the woods ~ Toolman

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Coming to the End of Another Year in the Journey

2010 is drawing to an end. Thanksgiving with family will soon be here. (are you giving thanks already, in preparation for the special day?) Christmas day will be here with all the decorations, family, presents, stories, songs, pumpkin pie, and sweet potato casserole. (Are you telling others about Jesus in preparation for the anniversary of His Birthday?)

This year has had a multitude of stories to add to the praise book! From new family members and in-laws to many people coming to meet my best friend, Jesus. We have seen many healings and freedoms from cancer to some beautiful birds in our back yard. We have the excitement of a young lady going off to train to be an Officer in The Salvation Army to the taking on of a cool young couple as our new Youth Ministers. (and Barista!)

We have also seen some things that make us not so excited. These also challenge me to ask what I can learn or at least what am I supposed to learn from these situations. Death is a big one! Friends and family members passing away never gets easy. The Salvation Army calls it "promoted to Glory." That still doesn't help in the "missing them" part. Not in the time I expected is another. "Am I alone in this?" is another. ... But, if you know me, I ain't one ta focus on the bad fer to long!

So ... with the end in mind and drawing up fast I want to also remind us that the beginning is right around the corner. The new ministries of the Underground Coffee Shop and the Underground Worship; Tim and Stephanie and the new ministries that they will inspire; a new grand daughter and her awesome big sister and wonderful mommy and daddy; My son and his "Cool Beans" wife; a new niece in one of the biggest states in the US; the celebration of being married for 30 years to the most long-suffering, enduring, smoking-hot-gramma and wonderful woman of my dreams whom I just adore!

I love loving people to Jesus and I pray that as this path comes to an end and meets at the fork that will guide me into the new path that I will demonstrate this. I pray that God will use me to be the husband I need to be, the daddy I should be, the best Papa I can be, the shepherd that smells like sheep, and servant that He desires me to be.

There are times when the overwhelming "failure" feeling is there and the tears of the same are hanging out in the corners of my eyes. In those times, when I'm at the point of "I can't do this!" is right there ... That's when Jesus comes and says, "It's about time! If you could do it, then you don't need Me! I AM! Here to help and take over! Let's have a great time, okay? How about some coffee for the journey? (I love that part about Our creating!) Come on, Toolman, let's go on another trek!"

Until next time ... See ya in the woods! ~ The Toolman!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Java Journey

It has been discussed that coffee, java, cup-a-joe, cup-of-mud, and more are a favorite of mine. I will admit, I do enjoy coffee. I enjoy espresso and I enjoy a great cappuccino. I praise the Lord for allowing me to be a part of the ministry of the Underground Coffee shop. I even enjoy roasting my own coffee.

So, what does this all have to do with the Java Journey?

First, I remember that time of being in college and loving the smell of coffee. When you take that lid loose from the top of that can of coffee and that aroma hits you in the ~ WOW! I loved that smell. But the taste ... I think I would have rather licked dirt than drink the stuff. I like the smell of it brewing also. I would brew coffee in the morning so others could enjoy their morning wake up but there was no way I was going to drink any of that muddy brew.

Years later, this underwhelming feeling was ... if I was going to be "grown up" I needed to drink coffee. I joined the US Army - This had to be my turning point - the Army would help me learn to drink coffee. That's not why I joined the Army, but why not 'learn' to drink coffee while I'm at it?

It was a cold day in the winter of 1985 at Ft. Leonard Wood, MO. We were on a bivouac. In the morning we had a smattering of snow and it was cold. The cooks had a hot breakfast and hot coffee to warm us. This is definitely my time to learn to drink coffee. I filled the cup, added some cream and sugar (enough to make dessert) and the taste was still that of sweet mud ~ disgusting!

I was willing to live with not being a grown up - coffee was bad and I was not going to be a part of it.

Fast forward to 2004 ~ someone offered to buy me a cup of coffee and I turned them down with an explanation of the previously mentioned. They told me that I hadn't tried a Carmel Macchiato. Correct ~ I hadn't ~ it had coffee in it. The purchase was made and the gift was sliding across the table. I have to admit; it looked good.

That's where it started. I have to tell you ... I don't even remember who it was that introduced me to this strange brew (aye!) but I do know that they changed my way of life. We now have a coffee maker in our kitchen, one in the family room down stairs, one in my office, I own a BMW Serena Espresso machine and "love" coffee in different forms ~ iced, black, espresso, with milk, with foam, but I really like it with caramel.

All of that to get to this ... I want to share a cup of coffee with you some time and share what God's Son is doing in my life and how He can make a difference in yours. I'm buying! Call me. We can trek the Java Journey with Jesus together.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The End of One Man's Journey

As I sit here putting these thoughts down, I'm reminded once again that life is to short! I like to say that Life is to short to be grumpy (but never to short to be Jesus to someone.) It also brings to mind a book by John Piper titled "Don't Waste Your Life." - There's a new one ~ Life is to short to waste it!

I just finished writing a Funeral message to be delivered for the funeral of the father of one of my dear friends. He died early Friday morning. (Thank you for praying for them.) in talking with her and her husband, it made me realize how much we need to draw close together with our friends and family. My folks are older than this man was ... I don't ever expect to get "that" call. My folks will live forever. It seems to be a running thought in the minds of most people that get along and have a deep love and respect for their family. Or ... at least in my head its that way.

As this man's journey of life came to an end on Friday - after dealing with health issues - it brings to my thoughts about what are we doing to show people that regardless of what others believe, there is an after-life. And if they don't believe ... at least play it safe and ask Jesus into your heart and live that life ~ the believing will come as He shows/reveals Himself to you. At the end of life, we have the God of comfort. We have the God of grace. We have the God of peace ~ a peace that most of the time is at least on step past our understanding ~ but its there.

So ... the end of one man's journey has me thinking about who is going to be there when we are hurting and wanting to challenge anyone who reads this or stumbles across this. Here's the challenge: Do your best! Don't give up! God is there for us when we're hurting; when we're lonely; when we need a hug; when we're angry and need someone to yell at. God is there - He is FOREVER FAITHFUL! He is FOREVER STRONG! He is FOREVER WITH US!

For those of us that are still among the living - Enjoy the journey! And remember ... Life's to short to be grumpy! (but never to short to be Jesus to someone!) Live the dream ~ Randy "The Toolman"