Wednesday, October 12, 2016

“Some people never take a chance and never know what it's like to live life to the full.” ― Chloe Thurlow

I see “bucket lists” every now and then on Facebook, and if you will excuse my sometimes self aggrandizement, I will submit some of the highlights of what I have done in my life as they don’t fit in the forms on Facebook (in no particular order):

Swam across the Amazon river in Peru (it’s narrower there)
Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon with my wife and three-year-old son and camped out for a week at the bottom (see picture at the right)
Snowshoed into a wilderness area with wife and same son and got caught in a blizzard and had to be rescued by rangers
Wife and I went on a mission trip to the slums of Curitiba, Brazil
Wife and I went on a seven-day cruise in the Caribbean with many friends on a ship with less than a thousand passengers
Was at the helm of an America’s Cup racing yacht off the island of St. Martin
Was at the helm of the full-sized replica of the schooner America and took her out of Boston harbor (the ship that started the America’s Cup)
Sailed a sixteen-foot Hobie Cat from Long Beach, California, to Catalina Island (about 26 miles)
Have no piercings or tattoos and no plans to have either
Have stood on the top of one of the World Trade Towers (outside, in the wind) in 1976 with my brother, Robert
Was present for the births of all three of my sons
Never met a man or a woman I didn’t like, some made me dislike them later, but hey . . .
Have been betrayed and humiliated by people who were good friends—and survived
Had lunch with a Nobel Peace Prize winner and, on a different continent, with the Ecumenical Patriarch (head of the 300 million Orthodox Catholic church)
Led mission trips to the Peruvian Amazon and to Tanzania in East Africa
Have visited nineteen countries on five continents
Have been arrested, handcuffed, booked, and jailed
Have struggled with alcohol and drug problems in the ’70s
Been declared dead by an ER doctor in 1996 (he was wrong)
As a passenger in a Ferrari Testa Rosa went 155 miles an hour between Bentonville and Gravette in Arkansas (I was scared)
Have had surgery without anesthetics in a bush hospital in Africa
Climbed and stood atop the highest mountain in the continental United States (Mt. Whitney) and three others
Rock climbed in Joshua Tree National Park
Rode in the “Maid of the Mist” underneath Niagara Falls
Walked across Walden Pond when it was frozen
Prayed illegally in Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey
Spent the night atop a 300 foot rock in a monastery in Meteora, Greece
Have distributed 500 Bibles in Spanish with my youngest son from a canoe up Amazon tributaries in Peru
Raced my motorcycle (Kawasaki 350cc Big Horn) in the California desert for years
Preached in a church in Edgartown on Martha’s Vineyard where Francis Asbury once preached
Was the first protestant to preach in St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church in Boston (got a standing ovation, too)
Worked with the president of a synagogue in Stoneham, Massachusetts, to deliver food to the hungry
Was fired from a very large United Methodist Church in Arkansas
Have been (and are) a non-paid volunteer missionary in Bunda, Tanzania
Was made a Bishop of the Methodist Church in Tanzania
Bishop of Arkansas stripped me of my credentials and membership in the United Methodist Church for being a bishop in Tanzania
Am finally living and doing what God has called me to do and am happy and blessed 
Will serve and continue to expand the Kingdom and educate and feed orphans every day till God calls me home
Camped out at a three-day rock festival with Led Zeppelin, Janis Joplin, the Grateful Dead and many others the summer of Woodstock
Camped out in the Serengeti National Park on several occasions
Have an undergraduate degree in Education and Master’s Degrees in English, Philosophy, Theology, and Ethics
Have written for Hollywood and television (never rich or famous)
Have been to 46 of the 50 United States
Have lived in Los Angeles and Boston as well as West Texas and Northwest Arkansas
Helped found and build the Maisha Na Maji mission in Bunda, Tanzania
Have had some truly great professors and teachers
Taught in a Los Angeles ghetto (second grade)
Taught English at the University of Arkansas (grad assistant), at NWACC in Rogers, and at Boston University
Pastored churches in Arkansas and Massachusetts
Served the United Methodist Church faithfully for twenty years before retiring in 2008
Am who I am because of the many wonderful friends and family who have touched my life in so many ways in so many places
Have lived over fifty-one years with my life and my love by my side (love you, Karen)
Am blessed even as I have struggled with massive health problems and still do—and am still blessed
Have never had less but never had more
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