Zombie Update – Day 12

If you didn’t read my blog day before yesterday…..this one won’t make much sense. I’ve been dealing with an eye problem for, now, twelve days. Hence the blog title…..I look like a Zombie!! It came on, totally out of the blue, first in my right eye then in a few days….both eyes. I’ve never in all my years had anything quite like it. Started on antibiotic drops early on but it just kept getting worse. Then started taking an oral antibiotic…..still kept getting worse. No way to go to the doc through the weekend….then Labor Day. So the earliest I could get to the doc was on Tuesday. Met with my regular doc Tuesday morning and then with an eye specialist later that day.

The eye specialist identified it immediately as a virus (no idea where/how I got it). She said she hadn’t seen one like this in a long time….and this was one of the worst she’d ever seen. She said the virus had ‘set up camp’ in my eyes and under my upper eyelids. It had developed a ‘membrane’, kinda like a film over my entire eyeball and under my eyelids, as well. She put some deadening drops in my eyes, cut the membrane on one side and peeled it off like you’d peel a sheet back off a bed. It was a little painful but I was ready for anything to get a little relief. I could immediately see better. I could only see with a great deal of blurriness for the few days before.

This past Sunday was the most miserable day that I can remember. There was just no way to get away from the discomfort. I could only sleep when my need for it rose above the uncomfortable factor. I really do appreciate the prayers! I know it helped. My eyes are still red and somewhat swollen but I think I’m on the mend. Still lookin’ a little Zombie-like but I’m sure a lot better than I was a day or two ago. Thanks again!

Here’s a pic from Sunday…..my worst day!


‘Ol Mile Marker #62 – Well, That Sure Didn’t Take Long!

When they were telling us all that stuff about how fast life goes by….I was listening. But I had no idea it would happen this fast! I didn’t think I was ever gonna turn 21….Now I can barely remember when I was. It is amazing, looking back, how fast the years do go zooming by. So, here I am clipping along at 62, ….with 70 in sight. And, as it appears….no slowing up!

There’s a good number of milestones along the way, as I see it. It’s kind of a big deal when we hit 13 and become teenagers. Then, of course, 16’s the next one….when we start driving; that was a big deal. Next stop, 21….we can ‘legally’ go to the bar then! After that it’s 30 then 40. You know, “Life begins at 40”.….Makes me kinda wonder what was over at 39! Yep, 40 seems like a big one. It’s kinda like saying, “Adios” to the young life and “Hello” to middle-age. Then it’s 50…and the time between 40 and 50 went by in no time at all for me. I enjoyed my 50th birthday. The Perry’s (Daryle & Carrie) totally surprised me with a party at their place with about a hundred friends and family there. It’s one of the most memorable of my whole life. I tell everyone when they’re approaching 50, ’cause there’s usually some kind of thing to commemorate it, to really enjoy it….’cause when you turn 51….nobody cares!! lol

Then it’s the Big ‘6’ ‘0’!! Survived that one without much hoopla. And the 60 thing….it wasn’t painful at all. After all, 60’s the new 40, you know?! Well, that was two years ago. So here I am at the ‘ol #62 mile marker today and wondering how I got here so fast. I’m guessing 65 will arrive at my place in record time, and without much warning as well!

If you’re a youngster reading this I’d encourage you to ‘get ahold’!! It’s all gonna happen pretty fast. The Bible even says, “Life is a vapor”. I can totally relate. So, what’s a feller to do?? Well, to each his own but for me….I’m gonna keep my body movin’, I’m gonna try to worry less and laugh more. I’m gonna love and enjoy my wife more than ever. I’m gonna keep on enjoyin’ watching my kids become great parents themselves. I’m gonna keep on doing the one thing I know I’m good at…..being a Grandpa! I’m gonna see my Mom & Dad as often as possible! I’m gonna keep on enjoyin’ my friends! I’m gonna keep on helpin’ anyone who cares, …..to know God as a Father.

And, I’ve took a look out there; I can see out there a ways….65, 70, 80 ……….It all looks good from here!


“It’s Just Like Riding a Bike!”

I’ve used that phrase more than a few times. In fact I  used the reverse of it just a day or two ago when someone asked me if I played golf. My answer was, “Well, most people wouldn’t call it ‘golf’!’. I then said, “You know, golf’s not like riding a bike”. Which is true for me! The phrase has been used by people for a long time to indicate, “Something that, once learned, is difficult to forget how to do/easy to recall how to do” (* From the Urban dictionary)

Well, I learned to ride a bike at an early age. My dad commandeered a little used bike from someone. The little bike was fine except for the right handlebar, which had been broken about half off. We made ‘er work, though….and I learned to ride it out on the Thurmond Ranch red dirt roads. And true to form, I’ve been able to ride a bike ever since.

I’m a bit of a fitness addict. You can’t tell by lookin’ but it is true. Several years ago I started thinking about biking and how good it’d be for me. I don’t have much left in the ‘knees’ department; a couple of surgeries and half a dozen injuries down through the years. So, I’m thinking the bike would be a good way to get/stay fit. Julie did some great covert research and bought me a really nice hybrid variety bike for Christmas. She did great….I loved the bike and rode it a lot.

I started getting more serious about the biking thing and began to consider a road bike. I mentioned that to a close friend, who is a hardcore IronMan Triathlon competitor. He said, “Don’t buy one….I have one I’ll give you!” And he did….he gave me a really nice, expensive road bike. It‘s a bike with pedals that are designed to ‘clip’ your feet in. (a first for me!) I mean, once you’re clipped in….you’re ‘committed’!! You can ‘unclip’ by moving your foot with an outward motion but it takes a little practice to master it.

My first ride on the bike, clipped-in, went without a hitch. I took every precaution and made it fine. That was late in the fall. Colder weather set in and I brought the bike in a vacant bedroom in the house. When spring rolled around I brought the bike out and prepared for a 35 mile ride. One of my beautiful little granddaughters, Preslie who was about 4 at the time, was staying overnight with us. She’s a cutie! Tons of personality and not afraid to use it! She has a little lisp which just adds to her personality.

Preslie is standing on top of the dog house on the patio….looking over the privacy fence when I mounted the bike. I clipped in, threw my right leg over. Just about the time I was clipping in on the right….the bike ‘locked’ up and I’m down in the driveway! It hurt. Preslie said, “Pa, are you OK?” Disgusted I replied, “Yeah, I’m OK.” I turned the bike upside down and got the tire turning freely. Obviously the chain had been messed up, somehow. So, I’m ready to go again. Same plan…clip in on the left, throw my right leg over and here we go. Only this time I went about 5 feet and it locked up again. Down in the driveway again….this time it really hurt. Rocks poked a gash in my leg and blood was dripping down into my shoe.

Preslie, still watching from the top of the doghouse as encouraging and consoling as she could possibly be said, “ITH OK Pa, you’ll get the hang of it.”


Keep Your Eyes On The Road!

Well, it’s just good advice….especially when you’re driving. I’ve got a habit of ‘gawking’, as Julie calls it! I don’t want to miss anything on a road trip. I’ve been known to ride the rumble strips quite a bit and have nearly ran off the road a few times. I know, it’s a bad habit. I’m working on it! (Seems like I say that a lot!)

But keeping your eyes on the road is not just good advice for us while we’re driving….it’s good advice to adhere to while we’re on the ‘road of life’, too! It’s awful easy to keep looking back at the past. There’s lots of people out there who spend most of their time looking back at the past. And most of the time it’s dwelling on mistakes, wrong decisions, hurts and regrets. Don’t get me wrong, I think glancing back at some of these things can be productive….as long as we can learn from our mistakes, correct whatever needs to be corrected and move on. But living in the past is not a good thing, especially if you’re gazing at the negative things. It makes for a discouraging, depressing life.

When we’re anchored in a relationship with the Father we’re able to be encouraged in that….wherever we are in life….it can get better. I think we should at least consider that our best days are in front of us. Looking ahead has some profound benefits (Especially if you’re driving a car!!). But it has some extremely encouraging benefits in life as well. Looking ahead gives us something to ‘live for’. It gives our life meaning. It keeps us growing and evolving into our true identity. 

Experience is a great teacher. We should realize that and make the best of our ‘snafus’. We should approach our life like we do when we’re on a road trip down the interstate. Check the rear-view mirror occasionally, don’t be gawking…..and by all means…..Keep your eyes on the road!


Are You A ‘Kingdom’ Person? Part 9 – Learners

Kingdom people think different….and behave differently than the regular, normal, bored, Bible-belt church guy. They have a keen sense of destiny and are serious about allowing the Father’s plan for their life to be fulfilled. The kingdom person is committed to the process of spiritual maturity and fully understand that it doesn’t happen overnight.

Committing to the Father’s plan for our lives requires us to be ‘learners’. He has us in the ‘school of life’. Every incident, every event has potential redeeming value for the kingdom person. They even have a keen understanding that even the obstacles, challenges and trials have a way of forming and shaping them into the image of Jesus. The kingdom person knows that the Father has an intricate, detailed, plan for their life….but they’re learning not to take themselves to seriously. They laugh at their mistakes, learn from them….and move on!

My dad, Cliff Taylor, gave my brother Monty and me some profound advice growing up; “When you think you know it all, you’re as smart as you’re ever going to get”. If you think about that it proves to be true if you’re a plumber, a doctor or an astronaut. That little piece of advice has caused me to be in the place of a ‘learner’ my entire life.

Paul, the apostle, took a similar position; “I don’t count myself as having attained (arrived)”. As a result of that mindset, he remained a ‘learner’ his entire life. Today, and it’s events,  holds the incredible possibility of teaching us all kinds of things. There are plenty of people out there in the church today who act as if they have ‘it all knowed up’. ……..but kingdom people are ‘learners’!!


VIP #4 – Paul Luchsinger

My rodeo career was just finishing up and Paul’s was just getting in full swing. We’d crossed paths a couple of times but we didn’t really know one another. Fast forward a few years and we had moved from Texas to Oklahoma and started the church in Sayre in ’89. I started hearing about Paul and, his then wife, Susie’s (Reba McEntire’s sister) ministry, which was pretty significant to say the least. We, again, crossed paths a time or two but I never got to spend much time with them.

In about 2008 I bumped into Paul in Wheeler, Texas. We had just finished a leadership training event in a church there and went out to eat. He was in the restaurant with a friend. We talked briefly and went on our way. He said later that the Lord told him that night that he needed to move to Sayre. He came over for a visit or two but it was a full two years before he moved here permanently. After being here a short time, he confessed that he should’ve been here all along.

Paul was not good. Diagnosed with terminal liver cancer and in the process of getting a divorce. His relationship with his kids (all grown) was strained, at best. He was angry, bitter and pretty hard to get along with. He had so many regrets about his life and just couldn’t find any peace to move on. He sorely regretted doing ministry from a condemning standpoint (his own testimony). And just when he’d be at his worst, someone would inevitably show up or call and tell him that 20 years ago, something he said to them totally changed their life. We included him in every single thing we did here. This story’s not about us, but there are some people around here that just won’t let you stay in a defeated mode. We propped him up, we encouraged him, we chastised him when it was unavoidable, we straight-up told him to quit beating himself up,…..but most of all we just loved him, ……and he started to change.

It was a process…but he caught the significance of having a real relationship with the Father, which in turn began to affect every other relationship that he had. He caught the tsunami of God’s grace and he was never the same after that. He started backtracking and repairing broken relationships, none of the least of which was with his children, E.P., Lucchese and Samuel. He was determined to love them and to be there for them in a way, which he said, he’d never really done before. He got that accomplished!

I often compare Paul Luchsinger with the Apostle Paul of bible fame. Both were full of dead religion until their ‘encounter’ with the God of grace. And after that….neither one was ever to be the same! His bitterness was totally gone and he was a blessing to every single person he came into contact with. There’s no telling how many people he helped as he pointed them to the Father. Even when his health was deteriorating he never complained….he always made it about everyone else. He ‘fought the good fight’ like nobody I’ve ever seen before….and may never see again.

I was in North Carolina when Paul graduated to heaven. Not embarrassed to admit that I shed quite a few tears when I received the news. I’m a little sad for us….but not sad for Paul at all. Paul Luchsinger got well in Sayre, Oklahoma! He finished STRONGI’m sure that he’s not just a VIP in my books, but undoubtedly a VIP in the Father’s eyes! 

**Paul Luchsinger was promoted to heaven on May 12, 2015


Are You Living Longer….or Just Growing Old?

There’s a difference! I remember when I was a kid, when anyone hit 60 that was old, really old!! But I ran past 60 last year so fast it wasn’t funny. And the fascinating thing is….I don’t feel old at all. Maybe it’s just because it just happened so fast. I mean, the years do go flying by. I heard that enough times when I was younger but I had no idea it would happen this fast!

Some people, I’ve noticed, start getting old in their 40’s and 50’s….they just seem determined to do it. But there are others who just keep thinking young. I like that…..I think it’s a mental thing. I think, somewhere along the way they just decided not to be old in their thoughts and actions. Yep, there is a difference in ‘living longer’ and just ‘growing old’. I’m thinking we would be making a huge mistake if we really stopped living our life and just settled in to growing old. Life is a precious thing. It can be pretty vicious at times, but still precious, nonetheless. I say let’s keep squeezing all we can out of life. And while I don’t have all this figured out, here’s a few things I think’ll help:

1) Realize that the Lord’s not through with you! It’s the truth! Even the Bible says that we’re to ‘bear fruit’ in old age.

2) Invest in the next generation! The things we’ve learned through our life experiences are invaluable to them.

3) Stay Active! Make a bucket list…..and why not a long one?! Get busy about doing those things you’ve always wanted to do!

4) Keep using your mind! Challenge yourself and don’t allow your mind to get lazy!

5) Keep Moving! Do something physical every day and don’t wait ’til later on to do it!

6) Take care of your body! Eat good, don’t be dumb about that!

7) Try your best to keep a good, positive attitude! 

8) Be relational! Life is really all about relationships! Engage, interact, enjoy!

Let’s ‘live’ longer…….and not just grow old! *Reply with your ‘tips’ on “Living Longer”