Inactivity

I lament that I have been unable to post anything to this blog in over a month. Part of that was due to the intense-preparation I had to put into getting ready for the CNA Spring Conference, which was February 24-26. I spent over six weeks getting ready to speak during the Sunday morning service, and then just a week before the event, I was asked to also speak on Saturday morning. That last one had me scrambling for material. Thankfully I had plenty of material at my finger-tips.

I went into the Conference already dog-tired, and the Conference didn’t help matters in that regard. Between being sick for the first two weeks after the Conference, and having family (mom was hospitalized for a week) and personal emergencies (my refrigerator died) to deal with, I have “lost” three weeks since the Conference. I finally had to go to VA Urgent Care on March 10th if I was going to have any chance of getting well anytime soon. IV fluids, IV antibiotics and a prescription for more antibiotics have slowly done their job. I am finally “on-the-mend” and starting to feel like a human-being for a change.

In addition to my personal-issues, a close friend lost both her dad and her best-friend this week, and I am about the only “support-system” she has. She also lost her mom about eighteen-months ago, so she has taken a huge emotional-toll.

My mom has now been put in a Hospice House, and she is dyeing by inches. She has a whole host of health problems, probably including cancer, and she is also 86 years old. She is my only remaining blood-relative since I also lost my dad 3 1/2 years ago. This is taking a huge emotional and physical toll on me, so I am pretty much a “basket-case“.

Hopefully I can get back “on-track” in the coming weeks and get back to writing and posting regularly. I will be posting my material for both Saturday and Sunday shortly. Until then, please keep me and mom in your prayers.

Update 4/4/17:

My beloved mom went to be with the Lord this morning at 2:00 after a long illness. She passed peacefully in her sleep at one of the Hospice facilities in Ocala, Florida. I am already badly missing her. Please continue to keep me in your prayers.

In Christ,
Steve

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Mistakes…

I make mistakes. YOU make mistakes, and everyone who has ever lived, with one exception, Jesus Christ, has made mistakes. Making mistakes, or whatever you want to call them, poor choices, bad decisions, is part of our fallen human-nature. Jesus Christ, although He shared our human body, did not share our fallen human-nature. He alone was the sinless Son of God.

Consequences…
ALL mistakes have consequences! The consequences for some mistakes may not be serious or long-lasting, but the consequences for some mistakes may even be disastrous and very long-lasting. Consider the person who has sex with someone they are not married to. What if they contract a sexually-transmitted-disease, such as Hepatitis, Syphilis or HIV? Yes, some of those diseases can be treated, maybe even cured, but there are no guarantees, particularly if it is not discovered until it has started doing its dirty-work.

How about marrying the “wrong” person? Some prospective-spouses may seem “nice” on the surface, but turn “ugly” later in the relationship. Domestic-violence and sexual-abuse are but two of the “ugly” manifestations that they were the “wrong” person. My dad was a very domineering man, so my mom had to “tread-lightly” when he was around because he also had a very violent-temper. Mom put up with that and his many affairs throughout their long marriage.

I am living where I am because I made a very-bad decision to marry the “wrong-person“, the woman who left me for another man less than six-weeks after we got married. Yes, that decision, that mistake, has had, and continues to have lasting-consequences, because since she has NOT divorced me, I am NOT free to remarry if I so choose. BTW, even though I have been divorced twice, I have never been the one to file for divorce, and no, I am not going to file for divorce this time either. SO, I continue to live with the consequences of that bad-decision. Unfortunately, I have “looked for love in all the wrong places” more than once. Even though some “good” has come out of my “bad” decision, that doesn’t make my decision any less “bad“. It just proves that “We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28) is still as valid as it was the day it was written.

If we didn’t learn…
If we didn’t learn from our mistakes, we are doomed to repeat our mistakes until we DO learn from them, which may be too late to correct them. Yes, I have “been-there, done-that, got the T-shirt“, too many times. Yes, sometimes I am a slow-learner. How about you?

My neighbor-gal is a slow-learner. Some of the things that she has done have had serious-consequences. She has had her car wrecked because it was at the wrong place at the wrong time. Her life has been threatened, she has been detained by the police, but she kept going back to the same bar (hell-hole), because that is where she likes to watch “her” team play football. She has been assaulted and beaten-up twice because she was at the wrong-place at the wrong-time. Will she never learn to stay away from those places?

Recently she went to meet a man who she had only met online, who has a dubious-background and just got out of prison. She thought that he had “turned-his-life-around“, so “he deserved another chance“. When she finally got home, she was dopey, half-naked and hurting badly from being beaten-up. She said that she didn’t meet the man, and that she had gotten assaulted at a service-station, because had she turned around before she got to where he was staying and come straight home, she should have been home five-hours earlier. She can’t account for at least five hours between when she should have been home and when she got home. I suspect that someone at the service-station slipped something in her drink, and after it knocked her out, they started ripping her clothes off to rape her, because when she got home, she was missing one of her shoes and her shirt, and her pants were ripped up. Maybe she woke up during the sexual-assault and fought him off, at which time he beat her up. Things were still pretty fuzzy the next afternoon. This isn’t the first time she has “looked for love in all the wrong places“.

Better people…
If we DO learn from our mistakes, we MAY become better people, and hopefully resolve to not make those mistakes again. I say “May become better people“, because if all we are trying to do is avoid the consequences of our mistakes, we may not learn anything but “consequence-avoidance“. We need to learn the life-lesson as well.

Spiritual-consequences…
Even though a person may use “protection” or only have sex with “safe-partners”, thus protecting them from the physical-consequences of their sin, they can’t escape the spiritual-consequences. Casual and extramarital sex does have spiritual-consequences, because the couple isn’t just “swapping body-fluids”; they are joining themselves to each other in a much-deeper sense. They are becoming “one-flesh” as they have sex and if they move on to their next “conquest”, they have left a piece of themselves behind, a piece they will never regain.

Dr. Tim Keller, in his article entitled “The Gospel and Sex”, describes sex as a “covenant renewal ceremony for marriage, the physical reenactment of the inseparable oneness in all other areas—economic, legal, personal, psychological—created by the marriage covenant.” He continues “Sex renews and revitalizes the marriage covenant.”

Sex is meant to affirm that two people “belong to each other.”, and that trashes any notion that sex is just “swapping body-fluids”. That is one of the reasons divorce and bereavement are so difficult, because both spouses are losing a part of themselves, a part they will never recover.

My own experiences…
If anyone is tempted to put me on some “pedestal”, please don’t. My life has been far too “messy” for that. I am only a sinner saved by Grace. I have had sex with women I wasn’t married to, both in and out of marriage. I have experienced the spiritual-consequences of my sin, and they aren’t “pretty”. I have been married four times, widowed once, divorced twice, and I haven’t seen my “wife” in almost three years. She is still carrying around a piece of my heart; a piece she ripped from my chest when she moved out to go live with another man.

Final thoughts…
There is only one mistake that has eternal-consequences, not placing your faith and trust in Christ alone for your salvation, but I have GOOD NEWS:

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

In Christ,
Steve

Unlikely Nudist…

I have told bits and pieces of my story, how I was raised, and how I became a nudist, but those pictures have been far from complete. I certainly wouldn’t have made anyone’s “Most likely to become a nudist” roster. I was raised in a clothes-compulsive family, and I was terribly-shy.

The more you read, the more you will see that the fact that I have become a nudist was a HUGE change in my life. SO, sit back, relax and buckle-up as I unfold this for you.

“Born-clothed”…
We all know that babies aren’t born with clothes on, but if someone had never witnessed the miracle of child-birth, they might think that babies are born with clothes on. That was the environment I entered in 1956. I was taught from a very early age that the only people who were allowed to see me naked were my parents. That haunted me for many years.

Ouch…
When I was about eight years old, I got my arm gouged up by a rusty nail while I was at a friend’s house. His parents took me to a doctor to get my arm fixed up, and because it was a rusty nail, I had to have a tetanus shot. I still vividly recall my relief that I didn’t have to get that shot in my bottom. What if?

Thirteen…
About the time I turned thirteen, my “privacy” was further-reinforced by my parents. My mom, who had been in the habit of coming into the bathroom and visiting with me while I took a bath, abruptly quit doing that. I also got not-so-subtle training that, from now on, the only female that should ever be allowed to see me naked was my wife. That training dogged me for the next forty years.

Sports…
As I was moving up into high school, I started getting an interest in sports, that was, until I found about the mandatory “sports-physicals” and realized that I would be seen nude in the locker-room every time I changed into and out of uniforms. Thanks, but no thanks. Being in band was much “safer“.

“Nail-biter” physical…
I was recruited by an out-of-state company as I was finishing college. That company required a pre-employment physical, so they sent the form to me to get it filled out by my own doctor. The only doctor I knew at the time was my wife’s doctor, an older lady. I had seen her before for a couple of minor problems, but not for a physical. My wife made the appointment for me, and thankfully was able to go with me for the physical. Imagine my trepidation…a physical, performed by a female doctor. The exam was supposed to be comprehensive, and was…until…that point…yes, the genital exam. The doctor must have sensed my trepidation, because she simply asked me if everything was okay “down there“. My wife and I both nodded yes. Whewwwww…. close call. What if?

Every five years…
The company had its own medical department, and each employee was required to have a complete physical every five years. About a week before the actual physical exam, each person had to go to medical for lab-work, a hearing test and other preliminary tests. Some of the doctors were female, but I was fortunate that I never got assigned to one of them. Whewwwww…

Snip, snip…
After three children and many years of supporting the Trojan company, I decided that it was time to have a vasectomy. One of my friends recommended the urologist who had performed his vasectomy, so I made an appointment. When I went for the preliminary appointment and met the doctor, he had great patient-manner and inspired a high-level of confidence in his abilities. My friend also highly-recommended him.

On the day of the procedure, my wife went with me, consent form in hand, because I really don’t get any warm fuzzy feeling about having sharp objects anywhere near my family-jewels and Mr. Happy. After I paid the tab, $200.00, cash, in advance, insurance not accepted, we were shown to the room where the procedure would be done. I was instructed to strip from the waist down, use the restroom, wash my hands, lay on the table, and wait for the doctor, who would be in “shortly“.

As I lay there waiting for the doctor, the door opened, but it wasn’t the doctor. I didn’t know who she was, but she had no business invading my room. She looked at me as she came in, and after she used the restroom, she looked at me again on the way out. WTH??? Was she in the habit of “checking out” all the male patients? I was NOT a happy-camper, and I am sure that my wife wasn’t happy either.

1997…
I was under a lot of stress, particularly at home, so I decided I need a little break. I had read about a nudist resort in northern Oklahoma, and even though I still had a lot of body-image issues, and was still heavily-influenced by my upbringing, I decided that a trip there might be the kind of break I needed. How could I go to a nudist resort and be seen nude by lots of people when I went ballistic when one woman saw me essentially-naked? Good question… When we are all nude, we are all equals. Everyone is equally-vulnerable.

I went there twice, and both times were for long weekends. I enjoyed both weekends immensely, but I always had to go back to the textile world and my family.

OUCH!!!
Yes, it hurt, my badly-swollen testicle hurt, and I needed a doctor STAT. After calling nearly all of the urologists in the area, I finally found one that could see me the next day. That was another adventure… The doctor was okay, but he must have flunked out in patient-manner, because he was pretty brusk with me. After checking both testicles, he told me that he was going to do a prostate exam. Yes, bend over and put your elbows on the table. The prostate exam (DRE) was more like an anal-invasion. He also ordered a testicle ultrasound…

The ultrasound tech was female, and there was another woman in the room also. The tech announced, yes, I said announced, didn’t ask permission, ANNOUNCED… that the other woman was in there to learn the procedure. I was in no position to argue with her, because I still hadn’t received the prescription for the antibiotic that would take care of the infection and end my pain. I suppose she must have learned her patient-manner from the doctor.

Medical voyeurs…
I used to belong to a Medical Exam and Diagnostic Procedures forum, and my rants about “medical voyeurs” were legendary. A “medical voyeur” is someone in a health-care situation who makes it their business to see what they have no business seeing. If they were in public, they could get thrown in jail, because voyeurism is illegal in most places.

Wet paint…
My wife and I bought a house that had been foreclosed, and to get it sellable, a contractor had painted the interior with cheap, white latex paint. One of my wife’s brothers, who was a remodeler, came up to spend a few days with us. He helped us select new colors for the interior. After we bought the paint, I started painting, fortunately in the master bathroom. I was doing some trimming with a brush and had put the paint can on the tank-lid of the toilet. Big mistake, because the toilet lid wasn’t flat. Before I knew it, the can of paint was on the floor and there was paint EVERYWHERE, including on me and my clothes. Thankfully all the floors in the master bathroom were tile and the majority of the mess was confined to the cubby where the toilet was. I stripped off all of my clothes and threw them in the trash so I didn’t track paint throughout the rest of the house. After cleaning up my mess, I finished painting that area au naturel.

Even though my wife wasn’t enamored with the idea, I painted the rest of the interior of that house au naturel. I tried to do all of the rest of the painting while she was at work, so by the time she got home, I was cleaned up and dressed, and all she saw was the results of my labors. The whole job took a couple of weeks, but it looked nice when I got done with it.

She dumped me a few months later, so even though she got to enjoy the fruits of my labors, it was love’s-labor-lost for me.

Home nudist…
I only got to enjoy clothes-free life sporadically for about the next five years, and only when I was home-alone.

Trouble in pee-adise…
No, that is NOT a typo, but it does set the stage for my next set of life-changing adventures. About seven and a half years ago, I started having trouble peeing, not bad at first, but getting worse with time. I did some research which led me to believe that I had an enlarged prostate.

I enrolled in a clinical-trial of a medication that the manufacturer was hoping would provide improvement in the peeing problem and improve the quality of life for men taking the medication. To make a long story short…the medication didn’t help me because having an enlarged prostate wasn’t the cause of my peeing problem. The medication did cause other problems, but you will have to read “Reclaiming Our Manhood” for that part of the story.

I went along for another couple of years, with my problem getting worse and worse, before I finally got real help. I had already had one urinary-tract infection(UTI) that was so bad that I was also peeing blood, so when I got another UTI, and was seriously-sick otherwise, I headed for VA Urgent Care. When you go to urgent care, you get whatever doctor is available when your name is called. I was assigned to a…female doctor, an older lady, a LADY. I had forgotten what good health-care was like before I saw her, but she raised the bar on caring health-care. Yes, she saw it ALL, but in a way that didn’t cause me any embarrassment. The male nurse that came in the catheterize me was a jerk, but the doctor was a lady. She ordered antibiotics for my infection and sent a consult to urology, something that I had been trying to get my primary-care doctor to do for several months.

Urology…
I was assigned to a female urologist, a nurse-practitioner, an older lady, and she was a gem. She treated me with dignity and respect, and never gave me any reason to be embarrassed. The first item of business, even before she started looking for the root-cause of my problem, was to take care of my problem, which was getting me able to pee again. She ordered catheters for me so that I could drain my bladder whenever it gets full. Then she sent me to a nurse who showed me the proper method of catheterizing myself to help avoid more infections. That nurse, an older lady, was also a gem, and she never gave me any reason to be embarrassed.

What is the common thread here? Treating others with dignity and respect helps them not be embarrassed, even in a potentially-embarrassing situation.

My urologist ordered several tests to help get to the bottom of my problem. I had a urodynamics test series, and the young lady who did that test was a HOOT. Even though I was fully-exposed to her for about forty-five minutes, she treated me with dignity and respect, and never gave me any reason to be embarrassed.

I also had a cystoscopy, which is procedure in which a doctor inserts a flexible scope through the urethra into the bladder. I got a guided video-tour of my urinary-tract, which was fascinating, and also showed that my prostate was NOT the cause of my problems.

After several more tests, the final result was that nerve damage in my lower back was/is the cause of my problems in pee-adise.

When I moved to where I am now living, I was no longer in the area of where I had been getting my care, so I was assigned another urologist in this area. She is also a gem, and I am no longer afraid to see and be seen by a female doctor or other health-care professional. It “only” took forty years to finally get over that early indoctrination.

Unlikely nudist…
Yes, if you had know me forty-some years ago, you would never have thought that I would ever be sitting here typing this au naturel, or that I would ever be completely-comfortable au naturel in mixed-company. I have been a full-time home nudist for over two years, and during the last two or so years, I have been to Playalinda twice, Cypress Cove over a dozen times, and to two nude bowling events.

I blow doctor’s minds with how quickly I can and do get undressed, and if they need to bring other care-providers in to see me, it is no big deal. Go figure…

If I can become a nudist, anyone can.

Steve