Back to the Arboretum

We’ve got about one week left here in Dallas as we await followup visits I need with the sleep doctor and the cardiologist. Since it’s stinkin’ hot in Dallas (it will get hotter) and humid (it will get more humid), and since the arboretum is open 3 extra hours on Wednesdays (when there is a little more shade and breeze), and since we still have access to a free entrance pass, we went back to see what we missed last week.

On our way over to the arboretum, we stopped by Best Buy, and I picked up a primary lens to bolster the kit lenses that came with the Nikon D3300 that I purchased a few weeks ago. I am new to interchangeable lenses, but after some research, I discovered that the primary lens was something in which I really needed to invest. Nikkor makes a very good and affordable 35mm lens that I decided would best suit my needs. It will probably help me more with indoor shots as it will work much better in low light situations as we typically find in our Mexico environment. Even so, I found it to take excellent outdoor pics as well. There is a good 50mm lens that some photographers prefer, but for group pics and indoor pics with limited space, it would be difficult to get back far enough to frame the subject, so I chose the shorter lens.

I”m still barely scratching the surface with learning how to use the lenses and the camera functions. I’m mostly doing a little bit with aperture and shutter speed, but I took many of the pics using autofocus. I didn’t even attempt any pics with any of the on-camera effects. There is a lot to learn. I’m enjoying this hobby. I’ve never before really had or done anything that I would consider a hobby, so this is a good thing for me to develop, and it’s useful for recording our ministry events with better image clarity as well.

That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.

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Dallas Arboretum

Through our mission we have access to an annual free pass to the world-renown Dallas Arboretum. It normally closes at 5 p.m., but throughout the next few months, closing time extends to 8 p.m. on Wednesdays. We didn’t know that when we stopped by the office for our mail in the hot afternoon. So on a whim, we checked out the pass, checked the schedule and found out about the evening extension and talked ourselves into a hot and muggy 90 minute walk. It was good exercise for me.

I tried out my new camera which I’ve been taking in the van anytime we go out for “just in case.” Finally, today was the day I was glad to have taken it. I am quite novice to say the leas (as you can see), but it is fun to finally find some scenery that is good for practicing and learning. Here are my “top 20.”


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A Sleep Solution

I’ve not been keeping up with the blog much on this trip. That’s mostly because there hasn’t been much to write about without getting into a ton of medical details. I can’t imagine anyone want to read all that, and I probably would be wise not to post all that publicly!

However, I can post that the sleep lab visits are probably complete for this summer. We did discover that a device known as an ASV holds an excellent chance of resolving my complex sleep apnea issues. The main importance of this is that the sleep apnea almost certainly was the stress that caused the heart attacks, so alleviating the apnea is important for avoiding future heart problems.

Just today I met with a respiratory therapist who introduced me to the ASV device that I took home with me. In last week’s testing, this device did prevent all episodes of central and obstructive apnea and hypopnea events at certain settings. It did not work so well with other settings that were tried. So, the machine is set at about where it should be. It has the ability to adjust to my breathing on a continual basis. Also, it has a transmitter that continually communicates recorded data to the nearest cell phone tower and on to the Cloud. For at least the next few weeks both the sleep doctor and the respiratory therapist will be monitoring this data on a daily basis. Any tweaks to the settings on this device can be made remotely via the Cloud by either the doctor of the therapist.

I’m encouraged and pretty excited about this development. It may end up being a difficult process to tweak the device to suit my breathing, but we’re quite hopeful that within a few weeks the device will be giving me the best sleep I’ve had in decades. Amazing thought. Oh and I’ve been able to sleep the last three nights (unbeknownst to me!) without taking a sleeping pill. That’s another positive development!

Here are a couple pics of my ASV…

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18 years ago today, about this time of day, in a third-world hospital operating room (more of a stall than a room), crammed in there with a pretty good teaching doctor, an anesthesiologist (who doubled as a photographer), a few medical students, and a nervous first-time momma, A&B became ABC. The doctor couldn’t assure us that all would go well. There had been a chance of losing them both, and just a few weeks before this special day, we almost did. But God had other plans and a powerful purpose.

So, 18 years later, to the day, Happy Birthday Cameron Alan McManus! (“Es Cameron no es Camarón,” as I said to the Spanish-speaking nurses writing down the all-important name for this miracle baby.)

What a life God has given to you, Cameron. You’ve  already slept in more beds and floors than most Americans sleep on over a lifetime…including four different beds just this past month. Your “home” has never been a place. It never will be, at least not on this side of eternity. Keep pursuing God with all your heart. He is the only home you’ll ever really need.


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The Test

So we made it to Dallas on Sunday evening, a day earlier than expected. Just before leaving home, I decided to try to drive to the border in one day rather than two days. We made it without any problems. We both now have prepaid Verizon cell phones. Email us if you need the numbers.

Today (Tuesday) I had my initial consultation at the sleep clinic, and tomorrow night I will go in for an overnight sleep lab test. Next week, I will have a followup evaluation of the test results. So far, so good. I am looking forward to all of this as I hope we will be able to resolve the sleep issues. It will be a process that will take some weeks to complete, but it looks like we can still leave Dallas for our trek further north and take care of some followup issues via phone and the Internet. We’ll see how it goes.

Appreciate your prayers.

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Before We Go

In just a few days, we’ll be back in the van, loaded to the gills (not quite like when we return in 4 months), and looking ahead to another epic road trip. This time, we’ll mostly be staying put in just a couple places for most of the trip which is something we’ve never experienced.

We’ll be in Dallas for up to 4 weeks living in an unusual living arrangement. We like to stay in our mission’s apartment that is like a really small home, but it’s not available so we’ve opted for two rooms that have just enough room for their respective queen beds and share a bathroom. We’ll have access to an open kitchen, dining, and living room that is used for staff functions and other events. I think most of the time we’ll have that area mostly to ourselves. The main thing in Dallas is I will be getting checked out by a sleep clinic and seeing what issues I seem to be having with sleep apnea and what can be done to improve the situation. I don’t know how long that will take, but we have to be out of the rooms by June 2, so hopefully from the initial appointment on May 10 to that date, we’ll be through whatever process I need to go through.

From there, we really don’t have an exact travel plan, but we do know we have a house that has been made available to us in Michigan (near Grand Rapids) for June and July. We’ll pay the utilities there, but the house is rent-free. Our focus there is to rest, relax, and focus on our health. The town is small, but there are plenty of streets and sidewalks for taking walks and that’s what I need to do. I need to take in a good diet, regular exercise, rest, and build up my stamina and heart-health.

By early August, we’ll head to the Chicagoland area and by mid-August we’ll be helping Cameron with his transition to MBI. He’s never really been away from home and having been missionaries pretty much his whole life (that he remembers), who knows what we’ll all be feeling at that point. We’re not looking forward to living here without Cameron, but that’s the way life works and it’s a step we all need to take.

For the next couple days we have a team retreat in the same place we’ve had this annual retreat for several years as well as our mission’s annual conference. It’s a thermal water “resort” with some water slides and a couple of big pools. They have a new tower hotel that is really nice, but it’s pretty expensive, so we just stay in the old hotel that has leaky pipes and rustic amenities, but it’s really cheap. We take our own fans and electrical cords and stuff so that we can be a little more comfortable. There’s no central air or wall A/C or even a ceiling fan. It’s been in the 90s here the last few days, so it’s warm. I guess all that is to say that we’ll be in a resort but don’t think 2 or 3 or 4 or 5 star. I don’t think it has a star.:)

Within 24 hours of coming back from that we’ll be on the road and headed north. I’m able to drive and expect to be driving all the way to Dallas and beyond. We’ll see how it goes. We’ve planned our first road day to be a short one. We can get to a familiar travel hotel in about 4.5 to 5 hours. That gets us almost halfway to the border and the next day is then a lot easier to get to the USA and then decide if we’ll stay in Laredo overnight or push on a couple more hours up to San Antonio. Either way, we’d expect to reach Dallas the following day.

We had our last church service on Sunday at the home of Lupe and Rocío. Since the weekend celebrated “Day of the Child” which is a big deal down here, I shared some thoughts on parenting and our walk with Christ as it relates to raising our kids. Nothing too fancy, but it seemed to “hit the spot.” We’re sad to be leaving these disciples for four months, but they have a Good Shepherd who does much more for them than we ever could.

Maybe we’ll see some of you folks as we travel. I hope so. It would be nice to catch up with you. Well, I see it’s nearly a quarter til 1 a.m. and as you can imagine, I’m not doing a good job of getting to bed on-time. Maybe we’ll have some interesting experiences to share with you over the summer. I suspect we will.

Thanks for praying for our safety in travel. We are planning on driving to Dallas May 7-9 but we could possibly leave a day earlier and take three or four days.



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Baptizing Them in the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit

Today was an important day in the life of our little house church. We’ve not been growing in numbers, but we’re growing. And part of that growing was the commitment that 5 adult believers in the church made to obey the Lord and be baptized in water as a symbolic representation of their faith in Christ and their decision to follow Jesus.

At this point, all the adult believers in the church are now baptized. For a variety of reasons it has taken some time for these to reach this point, but the joy of following Christ through these baptisms today was evident to all.

Our good friends, Paul and Denise Lambert, hosted us in their home. Their co-workers, the Bedfords helped out with music along with two of the Lambert’s kids. Our teammate, Bryan Smith, gave an excellent message on the theme of baptism.

The water in the pool was chilly and took a bit to get used to. I wasn’t sure if I could handle the water temperature ahead of time, but I was determined to get in and participate. Bryan also led the baptism for me as I assisted and mostly was just glad to be there. I’ve had a rough few days health-wise and for the first time in about three weeks, I struggled to breathe in my attempt to sleep through the night and only slept a couple hours. I wasn’t feeling up for much today, so having our missionary friends run the entire service was a much needed help and blessing.

Here are some pics from our special time together today:

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