My Covid Journey

For most 2020 was a year to forget. The Covid Pandemic turned most of the world upside down. We watched in horror as we watched so many people and families suffer tremendous suffering and lose. As my wife and I watched all this unfold, we were thankful that Covid19 had not touched us. Until it did.

On Super Bowl Sunday 2021, I woke up a little tired. It had been a long week so I did not think much of it. I took my temperature, but thankfully it was normal. I headed off to church excited for the day. You see, I am a life long Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan and they were playing in the Super Bowl. After church, I headed home and had a little pregame nap. When I woke up everything changed. I woke up with my shirt being soaked in sweat. I took my temperature and it was at 103,6. It would later jump to 104.2 and stay there for several days. I immediately went and had a Covid test. Of course this was on a Sunday, so my results would take a few days. I went home and basically slept through the Bucs winning the Super Bowl. Go Bucs!

On Monday morning I woke up feeling much worse. My temperature was now at 104.2. I also had a terrible headache, body aches, terrible cough and did not want to move. Later in the day, it was determined I needed to make my way to the ER. Once inside the ER, test revealed I had Covid and double pneumonia. I was headed to the Covid floor.

During my stay at the hospital I received Blood Plasma, Steroids and Remdesivir. Being isolated on the Covid floor was tough. When I have been hospitalized in the past, I was used to having visitors and walking the halls. This hospital stay was filled with staff in protective covering and closed doors. Complete Isolation. After more than a week on the Covid floor, I was released. Time to recover from Covid and double pneumonia.

After arriving home, I waited to get better. Surely I would feel better in a few days. But that has not been the case. Today is just under two months since my diagnosis. Unfortunately my symptoms have not gotten much better. My CT Scan shows my lungs are still filled with Covid. I am still dealing with headaches, breathing issues, cough, no appetite, hoarse voice, fatigue and brain fog. Most of my days fill like the movie Groundhogs Day.

My medical team has classified me as a Covid Long Hauler. Not a club anyone wants to be part of. Everything is wait and see at this point. So, what do you do with that news? When you cannot rely on anything that was once reliable. When you have taken every step you know how to take-what then?

You Hope. You Never Give Up.

My life is totally different than it was a few months ago. At times I stand up having no idea where I am going. Trying to process new information has become a challenge. But here’s some good news. God is still in control. His promises never change.

So, I will focus on the unseen. I will continue to pray with great expectancy to wake up one morning with no Covid symptoms. That day when I am renewed physically. But until that day, I will live in Hope. ~OC

“So no wonder we don’t give up. For even though our outer person gradually wears out, our inner being is renewed every single day. We view our slight, short-lived troubles in the light of eternity. We see our difficulties as the substance that produces for us an eternal, weighty glory far beyond all comparison, because we don’t focus our attention on what is seen but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but the unseen realm is eternal. ~2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Keep Overcoming

The enemy will try to knock you down. Keep Overcoming. The enemy will tell you your not good enough. Keep Overcoming. The enemy will try to put fear & doubt in your mind. Keep Overcoming. Whatever the enemy throws at you today, Keep Overcoming. ~OC

GPS

Today’s a new day! No GPS will take us where Jesus wants to take us. Keep pressing forward. ~OC

Where Are You Running?

At some point in this journey called life, we will face a giant. That giant could be a health issue, a financial need, a career decision or a relationship struggle. These giants can hit us out of nowhere. Sometimes we want to wish our giants away. But we know we cannot just wish these giants away.

Each day these giants are staring you in the face. These giants just will not go away. Sometimes these giants can define us. These giants can overshadow all the great things going on in our lives.

The giants can turn a beautiful life into a hopeless and joyless existence. So what do most people do when facing giants? We usually run away from the giants in our lives.

Where are you running to? When Goliath was raising havoc over Israel, the people were running away from this giant. Except for one boy. When David showed up he had a different plan. He decided to face Goliath head on. No running away for David. No, David had a plan. He had a sling shot and five smooth stone. He only needed one. Most importantly, God was standing with David. God had prepared David to take Goliath down. David decided to run towards what everyone else was running from.

Are you running towards your giant or away from the giant in your life? Our journey is not about running away from our giants, but facing them head on. Maybe we do not have a sling shot and stone, but we have to have a plan. When we decide to run towards our giants, we must run with purpose.

After you decide to face your giants, make sure your running towards God. Only through him can we face and defeat our giants. Trust God with the giants in your life. He will give us the tools to defeat every giant that comes our way. God is our safe place. When we are facing our giants, putting our hope and trust in God is the only way. God will give us victory over every giant we face in life. Run towards that victory. ~OC

My Weakness

Today’s a new day! My weakness makes room for God’s strength. In times that are tiring and uncertain, when I feel I have nothing left in the tank, He shows up and reminds me that there is indeed nothing I can do… and He offers me His strength… because it is more than enough to carry this weight. ~OC

My Journey As A Bucs Fan

Well my Tampa Bay Buccaneers are going to the Super Bowl in Tampa. That’s right. The Bucs are the first team to ever play in a Super Bowl in their own stadium. A lot of folks are jumping on the bandwagon and I am okay with that. Me, I have been rooting for the Bucs since the very beginning in 1974.

That’s right, I started following the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on April 24, 1974. That is the day the NFL awarded Tampa with a team. Wow, that was 46 years ago. I was born and raised in South Florida, but just never became a fan of the Miami Dolphins. No disrespect to the Dolphins or their fans. My grandfather was a huge fan and tried his best to make me a Dolphin fan. Heck, I even wore a Dolphins shirt for school pictures one time. But I could never get behind the team from Miami. Then that day in 1974 happened.

Once the NFL awarded the city of Tampa with a team, I was immediately onboard. Even though the Bucs did not start playing until the 1976 season, I was a fan. My parents even bought me a Tampa Bay Buccaneers shirt. Yes, I walked around proudly in my “Creamsicle” Bucs shirt.

After two long years, the 1976 NFL season finally started. Most people don’t remember that the Bucs were originally in the AFC West. I was so excited to see my Tampa Bay Buccaneers finally start playing. The Bucs were playing, but not winning. Tampa ended that first season 0-14. That’s right. A winless season. But I was not deterred. I still proudly wore my Bucs shirt, even though I was heckled by family and friends. I would not give up on my favorite NFL team. I was all in.

My journey as Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan has been a roller coaster. I remember fondly my Bucs winning their first regular season game against the New Orleans Saints in 1977. Oh what a day! Finally able to celebrate a win. Then celebrating a playoff berth in 1979. Then celebrating a Super Bowl victory in 2002. So many great memories.

In 2021, my Bucs are back in the Super Bowl. A lot of people are jumping on the bandwagon. But I have no hate for those bandwagon fans. Welcome aboard! I hope you will truly fall in love with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers like I did, as a child back in 1974. Go Bucs! ~OC

I Am

As I was on my morning walk, these words came to me:

I am a white man. I bleed red.

My brothers and sisters of color bleed red.

I am a white man. I love to pray.

My brothers and sisters of color love to pray.

I am a white man. I love my family and friends

My brothers and sisters of color love their family and friends.

I am a white man. I love to laugh and cry.

My brothers and sisters of color love to laugh and cry.

I am a white man. I love to praise God.

My brothers and sisters of color love to praise God.

I am a white man. I want the best for my family and friends.

My bothers and sisters of color want the best for their family and friends.

I am a white man. I love to read and listen to music.

My brothers and sisters of color love to read and listen to music.

I am a white man. I love great conversation.

My brothers and sisters of color love great conversation.

I am a white man. I have the right to share my opinions.

My brothers and sisters of color have the right to share their opinions.

I am a white man. I love diversity.

My brothers and sisters of color love diversity.

I am a white man. I reach out with love to my brothers and sisters of color. I am blessed that my brothers and sisters of color have always reached back with open arms and love.

Why did I share this blogpost? Because We have more in common than we have differences. There is no Them. There is only Us. As a world we are better Together. Celebrate Diversity. ~OC

Never, Never Give Up

At some point during our various journeys we get to a point where we feel like giving up. Sometimes we give up before we even start and other times we give up just before that big break-through.

Here is a list of reasons why we should never give up. I hope it encourages someone.

You Have Purpose: As long as your alive you have purpose. Sometimes the storm you’re going through is preparing you for your purpose. I can honestly say my health journey gave me real purpose in life.

You Are Strong: You are so much stronger than you think. Don’t allow a setback to stop you from achieving all that God has in store for you. I would have never completed all my marathons, if I had given up when my body and mind said stop.

Your Family and Friends: Let those close to you be your inspiration and motivation to keep pushing forward. My wife, family and friends encourage me to keep fighting.

There Are People Worse Off: Right now people are dealing with storms we could never imagine going through. When you are going through a tough time, think about that family member or friend that is pushing through a storm and not giving up.

Improve Your World: Use your life to make a difference where God has you planted. God has allowed me to be a Missionary at doctors offices and hospitals. To be an Encourager.

Ignore The Haters: You will encounter haters during your journey. That’s just life. Some people just enjoy tearing down others. Don’t allow them to rent space in your life. Keep being you.

Reach Out to Others: We cannot do life alone. Please don’t try. When the storms are raging, reach out for help. I am always here to help anyone I can.

Inspire Others: Be an inspiration by never giving up. The journey might not be easy, but it’s worth fighting through the tough times. You never know how your story of overcoming, might encourage someone else not to give up. ~OC

Walk in the Holy Spirit

Today’s a new day! When we walk in the power of the Holy Spirit, we walk in a more victorious, fruitful life as a follower of Jesus. As we walk in the full power of the Holy Spirit, we will be more aware of the needs around us and how to respond to those needs. So by faith, I pray each of us receive and embrace a fresh infilling of the Holy Spirit.

As I continue to learn more about the Holy Spirit, here are some things Jesus has brought to my heart and mind. I pray they will encourage you. Remember, we are all clumps of clay being molded daily by our loving Savior. Sometimes we will miss the mark. Don’t give up! Keep walking out the beautiful journey Jesus has for each of us. ~OC

1). Each day we have to make the choice to live a life of obedience to Jesus. Don’t beat yourself when you lack obedience. It’s a marathon; not a sprint.

2). Throughout the day, remember to ask Jesus to continuously fill you up with the Holy Spirit. Just like we need to fuel our bodies with food, we need to actively fuel our hearts and minds with the Holy Spirit.

3). Keep your eyes on Revival. As we continue to be filled with the Holy Spirit, revival will come.

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