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Thursday, May 13th, 2010

Time Event
9:48a
Still snortin' salt water
Day 11. Been 2-3 days w/o significant change. Left side is almost normal, right side feels puffy and full of pressure, though breathing is clear. Right side is where the cyst was removed.

Popped a little nosebleed from the left side this morning. Haven't done that this whole long time. Immediately went and did a thorough salt water irrigation. Sooner or later, things have got to relax in there, and then I'm thinking it'll be pretty much over.

Some numbness may remain for a long time, though, particularly on my upper lip and left front tooth. Well, we'll see. Once I get my strength back, how my cheek or lip feels at any given moment will be far less noticeable or disagreeable. Hope that's soon. I got places to go and things to do.
10:14a
A timely prayer
Synchronize your calendars, please. Anna's due date is somewhere around July 7. I leave for Philmont July 5, arrive July 8, then disappear into the mountains for ten days on July 9.

So, while I'm sure my personal desires are largely irrelevant in all this, I'm suggesting gently to God that it would be really nice if Anna could be delivered of her child (my grandson) on or before July 4; second-best would be before July 9, when I will be out of touch for a while. I'd just like to know that everything's OK before I step off into the hinterlands, you know?

In 1998, as my father lay for months on the edge of dying, I asked God for grace to endure whatever might come, and made arrangements for how to handle things if he should die while we were backpacking at Philmont. Dad died on June 14, we had his funeral and wrapped everything up, and our backpacking trip took place in July as scheduled, free of worry and strain. So, God's been known to work the little details like that before.

For that matter, Deanne's due date when she was pregnant with Anna was Easter Sunday. Extra joy, you say? Not if you're the pastor of the church. Anna came in the wee hours of Tuesday of Holy Week, on my father's birthday.

So, Lord, I realize that Anna and Brian have a bigger stake in all this than I do, but if it fits in with your plans -- and theirs -- couldja make sure I get the good news in a timely fashion, here? And let it be good news in every respect. Amen.
11:09a
I'm game
I took one of those Dungeons and Dragons conversion quizzes to translate my actual abilities into game terms. I thought it rated my actual intelligence a bit high, and my actual constitution a bit low, so I swapped some points, and my stats are now:
STRENGTH 9
INTELLIGENCE 14
WISDOM 16
DEXTERITY 9
CONSTITUTION 15
CHARISMA 11

Which makes me some sort of Cleric, I suppose. A rather beefy, over-educated one. Imagine that.
2:31p
Bishop's Award of Excellence status
This year, all three BSA units at EFUMC have qualified for the Bishop's Award of Excellence. I'm informed that it will be presented at Annual Conference, though apparently not in any way that would detract from the true wonderfulness being arranged by the Powers that Be. In other words, they are willing to show slides of our kids doing cool stuff while they say we earned it; whether or not any actual Scouts get to mount the stage and be recognized is pretty iffy at this point. And that's assuming we can get any of them there at all, since they intend to recognize BAE units on Thursday or Friday afternoon around 2:45 p.m.

I have a long history with this award. Units under my leadership have earned it now around 18 times, which is a staggering statistic. Still, it's not the Art Collins Award.

The BAE was started in the North Carolina Annual Conference, and then adopted by the Office of CYSA/Scouting to share with the whole UMC. It was originally a very tough award to earn. The unit had to do three different kinds of service projects, have half the youth members working on or have earned their appropriate religious emblems, have half the adult volunteers show membership in The UMC, etc., etc. The requirements, however, were meant to illustrate what a Scouting program truly integrated into the youth ministry of the church would really look like. And the award was launched in the hope that it would catch on, and as more units stepped forward to be honored by their bishop at Annual Conference, Scouters and clergy would covet that honor, and move to fully integrate their Scouting program with the rest of their church program.

I was elected Annual Conference Coordinator of CYSA/Scouting Ministries in 1994, a position I held for the next ten years. I felt it was incumbent upon me to demonstrate that these things were possible and desirable to do. So, in 1995, my Scout Troop became the first unit in our Conference in many years (and only the second one to that date) to earn the BAE. In the years since, I have led two Boy Scout Troops, two Cub Packs, two Venturing Crews, and one Explorer Post, in four different congregations, to earn the BAE -- because I believe in the program; because I practice what I preach.

Sometimes I wonder what other people believe in, though. The Office of CYSA/Scouting has two or three times reduced the criteria for the BAE. Their thought was, if we made it easier to get, then more units would earn it. Precisely the opposite has happened, though. As the requirements have gotten easier, fewer units have earned the award. Last year, only thirteen BAEs were earned in the whole country (including our two here at EFUMC).

Meanwhile, our Annual Conference just wishes we would go away. They refused to give any time for the presentation at all last year, though the Bishop did come down to EFUMC in person to present the BAE to our two units here. That salved my anger a great deal, but it wasn't and isn't a fix for the problem. This year, the Annual Conference will make it as inconvenient as possible for us to come claim it.

All of which leads me to the sad decision that this is probably the last year I will file for the Award. I will continue to lead our youth and our church in doing Scouting as Ministry. But I will no longer frazzle myself getting awards signed off on and filed, no longer spend the congregation's money for patches and certificates (these things ain't cheap), no longer try to figure out how to get actual kids in uniform to wherever Annual Conference is meeting.

Maybe I'll just invite all our kids and volunteers and church members out to the park for a gigantic cookout and an in-house thank you for a job well done. I could then send the Annual Conference leadership an invitation to our get-together, and any of them that bothered to show up would receive a Give a Damn Award from us. And if they didn't bother, nobody would miss them.
11:28p
Update
The old Schnozz continues to improve, though all out-of-sort-ness isn't yet resolved. I go see the surgeon in the morning for follow-up care.

I ran some minor errands today. It wore me out to drive around town, but it was good to get out and not be stuck at home.

We'll see if he releases me to do whatever after tomorrow. I certainly hope so. I'm not going to be going full speed come Sunday, but, man, have I got a lot to do, one way and another.

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