Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘passport’

This post will be pretty brief and to the point. With the cancer thing dragging me down, my immune system thought a UTI would be nice. But not just any UTI, one that turned into Sepsis. I got very sick the same day we got 24 inches of snow. Great. Wendy dragged me to the ER Wednesday morning. They checked things out and sent me home. I made it home and Wendy called 911. Fever of 104 was enough for her. And I’m still in the hospital but hopefully on the mend. Fever is down and the morphine is controlling the pain. So I came in at 😡 and currently at 😠. Wednesday night I made MY decision to be put on Hospice. By Thursday night Wendy decided that I had decided wrong. So…I’m still here. Yay me! For any further updates please annoy, I mean call Wendy.

Read Full Post »

Greetings to an audience long since gone. It has been so long since I logged in here that I had to look up my login information.

I wanted to pass along some information about my youngest daughter, Ariel.

Just three more days and she will be finished with her MAT. (Masters of Art in Education) Her diligence has amazed me. I do remember being her age once upon time, but I get tired just watching everything that she does.

Her entire life is centered around serving God in whatever capacity that would be. She has always had a heart for missions and has eagerly prayed that a door would open for her where she could serve best.

Well, the door has been opened. She will be leaving in July for Mexico. There she will be teaching a classroom of 5th and 6th graders at a school belonging to New Tribes Mission. You can check out there web site at New Tribes Mission

She is currently in the process of raising support, both prayer and financial, and is busy getting out to churches, writing prayer letters, prayer cards, and many other things that I know little about. I believe her old dad is becoming technologically challenged. lol

She has also started her own blog. This blog will be her way of staying in touch with people interested in her ministry/adventures in Mexico. And yes I believe she will have plenty of adventures to share. The name of her blog is Lion Of God

I hope that you will check it out and follow it to offer her encouragement along the way. When she was young, she was terrified to not be within reaching distance of her mother. So watching her grow up into a confident young lady, who has such a passion for people, has been an amazing journey.

She leaves for Florida mid June for some training before heading off to Mexico. I personally covet your prayers and well wishes for her mission, purpose and safety. I have no doubt that she has become a Lion(ess) For God and am eager to see the fruits of her ministry.

 

 

Read Full Post »

My beautiful family

My beautiful family

All good things must come to an end. When we left Crete, we were going to spend the last day of our cruise on open waters as we sailed back to Italy. The last day and half on the sea was a chance to wind down from the rapid pace tour we had just finished through five countries. I personally was ready for some down time.

I had taken the many pictures off my camera card and uploaded them to my laptop. It was fun going through them as each one brought back a different memory: The majestic sights of ancient civilizations, unfamiliar languages being spoken all around us, and delightful smells of the new and enticing foods we got to sample every day. Even the Mediterranean Sea wanted to leave us with a memory. There were storms that night, and in the darkness we could see flashes of lightening with distant rumbles of thunder. The water was a bit rough and it could be felt aboard the ship. It was nothing drastic, but there was a definite gentle rocking of the floating city that we were on. That next morning as I brushed my teeth, I would start out at the sink in my wheelchair and then slowly roll across the bathroom stopped only by the opposite wall. I kept brushing as the ship slowly rocked back the other way rolling me back to the sink. It was like the cartoons I remember as a kid of people trying to eat on a ship and the food would slide across the table each time they reached for it. Wendy and I found it quite amusing and fortunately neither of us are prone to sea sickness. Some in our group were not so lucky.

Our group had two final get-togethers nicely wrapping up the past 15 days. Wendy and I wandered around the ship enjoying the afforded pleasures one last time. That night was also our last formal night for dining. One of the couples sitting at our table was celebrating their 55th wedding anniversary and of course I had to put the dining crew on high alert. At the end of the meal they were serenaded by the staff from our section in English and Italian. They also got a special cake with a large candle to blow out. All of it made for great fun and a great memory.

When we docked in Italy, I had my private van waiting for me with the same driver that I had at the start of the cruise. It was nice to recognize someone. He drove us to the airport and made sure that all of our luggage and us were being assisted by an agent before he said goodbye. The agents at the airport were great and personally ushered us through customs so that we would not have any holdups. Our group started to disperse at this point since we were flying back to different destinations. I think there were about 10 from our group that was on the same plane.

We had a night flight back to the USA and I dozed off and on. I never sleep very well on planes but being very tired helped. After one layover in Philadelphia, we were bound for Greenville, SC. Kara and Ariel were there waiting for us with big smiles and hugs.

Without a doubt, this particular trip was one of the best that I have ever been on. But as we all learned from the Wizard Of Oz, “There’s no place like home.”

Read Full Post »

IMG_0615IMG_0614We left the port of Piraeus and set sail for the port of Chania in Crete. Wendy and I didn’t have any set agenda while on Crete since there were no planned tours for our group. We were actually looking forward to a quiet and relaxing day.

A couple of friends and us decided to get off the ship and just leisurely stroll around the port village, check out a few shops and then head back to the ship for lunch and a lazy afternoon. But of course what would be my life without at least one amusing thing to pass along.

Some of you reading this have known me for years, so it will come as no surprise when I tell you that I live my life “as a man with a mission” attitude. Everyone has their own word to describe a person like that. My wife is polite in just calling me stubborn, but I assure you that others are not always so polite.

Anyway…when we left the ship, one place that Wendy and I wanted to see if we could find was a pharmacy. We had picked up a cold along the way and needed some cough drops. The ship did have some but had actually sold out. I guess we were not the only ones with a cough. Unlike America, there was no Walgreens or CVS on every street corner. We have no understanding of the Greek language and had no idea what a pharmacy would look like even if we found one. We enjoyed the numerous shops and cafes in our travels, while I kept a watchful eye for my pharmacy. Success! We found a very obvious and modern pharmacy. The inside was very much like being in a nice small town “drug store” back in the States. I found some small bags of cough drops by the register and thought “this was easy.” So I waited in line listening to the people speaking in Greek around me and figured I would have no problem making myself understood to the cashier what I needed. When it was my turn, with the cashier understanding a little English and me pointing and mimicking a cough, it was easy to have her take two bags of my desired item to pay for. “Euros? You only take Euros? Can’t I use my credit card?” (As I showed it to her) She continued to say no and sorry. She was doing her best to be helpful as she pointed up the street and said “bank.” Wendy by this time was ready to give up and let us live with a cough. The cough drops cost 8 Euros which is very expensive. But if I find myself stubborn, I found my friend even more so. He was now a “man with a mission” like me, so his wife and Wendy gave up and said they would wait for us to return with the Euros.

IMG_0620So Craig and I headed down the street for about a block and found the bank. Outside of the bank we found an ATM and thought everything would be fine. So I took my card, inserted it into the ATM, while Craig was looking at the screen since it was too high for me to see. Uh-oh, no English at all. Only Greek. But do we quit? Never! So pressing a button with a red X on it (hoping to get my card back),  into the bank we must go.

Security at the bank was very tight and nothing like most banks at home. A security guard inside would press one button and the first of two doors would open. The person going in would then close the door they just went through and they were now in a very small space about the size of a phone booth with a second door in front of them. Then the security guard would press button number two to let you enter the bank. This worked fine for Craig, but certainly was not designed for people in wheelchairs. There was absolutely no way of me getting into the bank that route. So Craig went inside to explain the situation while I sat outside watching him attempt to explain the problem with lots of arm motions while pointing at me and the door. He stood there a moment waiting while the security guard left and returned with a lady that I imagined spoke English. I watched Craig go through all of the motions again explaining to her the situation. She took a key from the security guard and opened the exit only door to allow me inside. She did speak a little English but it didn’t go much beyond hello, ATM, and customer service. So now Craig and I are both looking like we are trying to “lift off” flapping our arms around to explain that I need some Euros. We are finally escorted to the customer service line where we take a number and wait for the six people in front of us. By now we had put on quite a show for everyone so we just stood quietly to the side while people stared at us.

When we finally got up to the front of the line, we started our arm flapping explanations again to the customer service agent, only to have him point to the ATM outside. We tried to explain that it was only in Greek and we needed help using it. He called for the same lady as before to come over and see if she could understand us. I would show her my card, point to the ATM and say “no English.” She got the key again and the three of us were escorted outside by the security guard to the ATM.

Meanwhile, back at the pharmacy, Wendy and Lauri thought we had be abducted or something and decided to head to the bank to find us. About an hour of time had passed by now. When they got to the bank they found the four of us around the ATM trying to figure out what to do. The bank manager put my card into the ATM and the screen came up as they say “all Greek to me.” Craig and I started pointing and trying to explain that we did not understand what buttons to push. She just held up her hand and said “wait.” We just all stared at the screen for about 30 seconds and then it flipped to English! Lots of thanks, smiles, more pointing and very red faces on two impatient Americans.

Wendy was giving me one of her “glares” that most husbands get I’m sure. But I at last had my Euros. We headed back to the pharmacy, I bought my small bag of cough drops for about $12.00, and we headed back to the ship while Craig and I spent the entire time explaining to our wives what had happened. They were laughing, but I think at us, not with us.

Oh well, such is my life.

Read Full Post »

When we left Athens, we started the drive along the coast to the ancient city of Corinth. Before we got there, we stopped at a place to eat lunch that was right beside ofIMG_0610 the modern day Corinth Canal. Construction on the canal started in 1881 and was completed in 1893. It is four miles long and about 23 feet wide. Cut through solid stone and built at sea level, there are no locks involved. But because of the canal being so narrow, it serves very little purpose economically today and is mostly used by tourists with small boats. Even so, it is still impressive to see.

If you were to study the geography of Greece, it is easy to see why the ancient city of Corinth was such a strategic place for military and commercial reasons. Located on a narrow isthmus connecting northern and southern Greece, Corinth was the first century hub of Greek civilization. The narrow isthmus virtually provided southern Greece from any land invasion. A very small military regiment would be able to defend the land with little difficulty. And commercially, anyone traveling north, south, east or west would pass through Corinth with money to spend.

IMG_0602At the time of the Apostle Paul, first century AD, Corinth stretched the four mile distance across the isthmus. It would have been thronging with merchants, IMG_0605sailors, travelers and military. The central focus of Corinth, the Agora, was located near the Corinthian Acropolis which was close to 2000 ft. above sea level. This was the main thoroughfare to go from the Mediterranean Sea to the Aegean Sea, and Corinth took full advantage of that. The merchants shouting to the passing crowds to buy their goods, eating places with delightful smells enticing people to spend their coins, places to rest and spend the night, and many temples for the gods making their fortunes from the very old profession of prostitution. It is believed that the temple of Aphrodite had over 1000 temple prostitutes.

Because of an earthquake in 1858 which destroyed the city of Corinth, people rebuilt the present day city of Corinth about three miles away on the coast. This allowed unhindered excavation of ancient Corinth that has been going on since that time. One of the most imposing structures found was the temple of Apollo. Seven of the 35 original IMG_0607columns remain standing. And in the middle of all of this hustle and bustle, the Apostle Paul arrives to preach Christianity to the Corinthians. There was a large Jewish population in Corinth that did not like Paul’s message. They accused him before Gallio of breaking the law. The bema, that Paul would have stood on for his trial, has been found in the center of about 30 shops and businesses. Surrounded by unbelieving gentiles and Jewish people, Paul was prepared to defend himself and his message, but Gallio spoke before Paul could utter a word. He told the people that Paul had broken no laws and that they needed to deal with it themselves. So basically the case against Paul was thrown out of court. For those of you that might be interested, the account of this can be found in the Bible in Acts chapter 18.

While we were there in the middle of the excavations, looking around me, it was very easy to picture the entire scene of that time. I was asked to share a short devotional here which was very humbling. I say humbling because I had to ask myself “would I have had the courage of Paul, to stand so strongly for my beliefs, facing the opposition that he did?” I doubt it. Like many, I am content to live my faith in a very mediocre version. I certainly left Corinth with much to think about in my own life.

Read Full Post »

imagesIMG_0577Welcome to Athens! Named after the goddess Athena in Greek mythology, Athens is a beautiful city with its highest point being the “The IMG_0569Acropolis,” home of the Parthenon. For those of you that may not be familiar with Greek mythology, Athena arrived on the scene springing from the forehead of her father Zeus, being fully grown and clad in armor. Now I have two daughters, and I might even have had one or two headaches over the past 25 years induced from being a father of daughters…but nothing like the headache Zeus must have had! lol

We docked in the Port of Piraeus at 6:00 AM and were eager to get started on a full day of site-seeing. Once again we were on a smaller private bus equipped with a wheelchair lift and our own guide. When we arrived at the Parthenon, the larger tour buses were parked near the bottom of the Acropolis and everyone was faced with a long walk ahead of them. Our bus had permission to drive us to a nice parking area right at the base of Mars Hill and the Acropolis.

When I got off the bus, we started a fairly steep climb to the main park entrance. The path was flat but certainly was not smooth. Remember as a kid when you would jump from rock to rock to get across a stream? Maneuvering my wheelchair here was something akin to that. I would jump/bounce my chair from one flat surface to the next trying to avoid the cracks and holes between the stones. Of course considering the stones had been set in place around 450 BC, it was actually pretty good. Wendy of course was helping me and taking it slow and easy I made it just fine.

IMG_0554IMG_0555Once we got to the main entrance, everyone else geared up for the long walk up the trail and stairs to the Parthenon. We veered left and took a trail that went up around the side of the Acropolis. It was pretty steep but made out of some decent pavement. Our guide was bringing us to an “elevator” that would bring us to the top. I’m still smiling thinking of the look on the face of a friend in our group as he saw the elevator. What it actually was, was a caged box that went up a sheer cliff wall on a single geared monorail type of IMG_0581system. The closer we got, the more nervous he got. I on the other had found it fascinating and looked forward to the ride up. We finally arrived at the bottom of some stairs where I rode a wheelchair lift up to the elevator. The operator, our guide, and Wendy and me piled into the small box, cage doors slid down with a bang behind me, and the entire thing rattled and shook as we started our ascent. Once above the tree tops, the view was breathtaking! There were holes and crevices in the cliff side that birds were sitting on their nest in watching us as we continued up and up. We finally reached the top with a slight jolting stop, the cage door slid open on the opposite side and I rolled out onto a ramp that hung over the top of the Acropolis. And there in front of us was the smaller Temple of Erechtheion and the Parthenon.

IMG_0575IMG_0564The smaller temple was dedicated to the Greek hero Erechtheion. The most fascinating feature to this temple was the “Porch of the Maidens.” Each maiden was uniquely sculpted and served as the columns to hold up the roof. There was a street that curved aroundIMG_0574 and up from here to the Parthenon. This was some very rough going for a wheelchair. However, once again people that I did not know at all came to the rescue. A guy volunteered to pull my wheelchair up the steep and rocky street so that I was able to sit right at the base of the Parthenon. I got to take plenty of pictures of the amazing structures that surrounded me. When I started back down, the same guy appeared and carefully brought me all the way back down to the ramp. I always found some amazingly nice and helpful people wherever I went.

I rolled out to the end of the ramp hanging in space and waited for the lift to come up for me. We got into our clanky little cage and started our descent down. Once at the bottom I “jumped” my wheelchair from stone to stone working my way back to the bus. Any accessible issues were minor indeed. I was just sitting in front of a 2500 year old temple from the past. Now how cool was that?!

Read Full Post »

IMG_0459Our first stop in Turkey was the ancient port city of Miletus. Visiting Miletus today certainly gives no indication that it was ever a port city. Over the centuries, the Maeander River has been depositing heavy silt, and the “port city” of Miletus is now 5 – 6 miles from the Aegean Sea. It was difficult to imagine that Miletus was once on a peninsula withIMG_0472 three major sea ports.

The focal point when driving in was the large and dominating Roman theater. Built in the 4th century BC, it was the second largest theater in Turkey with a seating capacity of 15,000. Still remarkably preserved, the larger part of our group was able to explore it uninhibited. And it was fun to watch all of them come pouring out of the “vomitoriums” (I just love that word!). Since the theater itself is not wheelchair accessible, I remained in front of it and was able to roll back and forth looking at all of the architectural wonders.

IMG_0462I want to mention something here that highly amused me but has absolutely nothing to do with Miletus or the theater – dogs. Most countries that I have visited always seem to have an abundance of stray cats. Miletus however had an abundance of stray dogs. Like the cats, they are homeless, skinny and I wanted to bring all of them home with me (Nasty look from Wendy). The amusing thing about theseIMG_0476 dogs was their behavior. For the most part they just sort of roamed around following our group hoping for a handout. They acted very “doggy” with slow wagging tails and their tongues hanging out. But they had one habit that made me snicker. They would be walking around with us, when without any warning they would just tip over and take a nap. And when I say “tip,” I mean it. At first I thought they must all have some medical condition to cause such strange behavior. I asked our guide and he just shrugged his shoulders, saying they all do it. It mattered not if they were under a tree, on a rock or in the middle of the road. Then some sound or smell would make them jump back up again until their next nap attack would strike. They actually reminded me a bit of myself!  Lol

We left Miletus and headed for Ephesus. The ruins of this ancient city were remarkable and it was very easy to see what a splendid city it must have been. We were looking at about 10% of the original city that has been excavated and that took approximately 140 years to accomplish. The main emphasis now is more on conservation and restoration of what has been unearthed rather than on further excavations.

IMG_0534The streets here are paved with very large stones that are worn smooth, cracked and some pretty rough going for wheelchairs. But my guide and bus driver were eager to help so I was able to move slowly along the streets and see everything. Once again the key is to have patience and take it slow. Three things here that I want to point out that have been excavated: the Celsus Library, the theater of Ephesus and the Temple of Artemis.IMG_0520

The one that I enjoyed seeing the most was the Celsus Library. It looked exactly like the pictures in all of the history books but it was so amazing to actually sit in front of it and take IMG_0537it all in with its surroundings. Some of it had been restored, but much of the original was still intact. It gave off an aura that bespoke of splendor. Ephesus, which had an approximate population of 250,000 in the first century BC, was one of the largest and busiestIMG_0504 commercial port cities of its day. The library certainly gave testimony to that fact. We also saw the theater of Ephesus which once again dominated the entire area. It was the largest Roman theater which seated approximately 25,000 people. It was still in remarkable condition and restoration projects were in progress to maintain it. The Temple of Artemis, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, was no longer much of a wonder. When the temple was built it had 127 columns that stood 60 ft high. Today, only one column has been partially resurrected to indicate where an ancient wonder once stood. I did include a model picture of what it would have looked like.

Miniaturk_009I end with a quote – “I have set eyes on the wall of lofty Babylon on which is a road for chariots, and the statue of ZeusIMG_0488 by the Alpheus, and hanging gardens, and the colossus of the Sun, and the huge labour of the high pyramids, and the vast tomb of Mausolus; but when I saw the house of Artemis that mounted to the clouds, those other marvels lost their brilliancy, and I said, ‘Lo, apart from Olympus, the Sun never looked on aught so grand.’”

Antipater, Greek Anthology (IX.58)

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »