Monday, September 29, 2008

"Not me!" Monday

I did not break the speed limit driving to work every day last week for the sake of just 10 more minutes of precious shut-eye. So much for hypermiling. Not to mention law-breaking.

I did not tell a group of friends that it was Ron Burgundy who should have gone to Doggy Kindergarten, and not the dog, so much. (Fortunately, he agreed).

Despite buying a container of Oxy pads for only a buck at the dollar store, I did not cut them in half to make them last twice as long like I did with the full-priced ones from Walm@rt. Cheap, cheap!

I did not throw every single piece of clothing I wore last week in a pile on my dresser (which eventually tumbled to the floor) rather than hanging it up. Nope. What kind of slob would do that? Nor did the clean laundry stay in the basket and dryer all week, unfolded (yes, it was the laundry from last week's post!). And who would restart the dryer twice to get the wrinkles out with every intention of folding it in the next few minutes, only to leave it there for another day? For shame.

I did not, in the throes of hunger and an empty refrigerator (since it died and everything was spoiled), resort to a desperate pantry/freezer concoction of whole wheat orzo, french green beans, peas, sun-dried tomatoes, and corn....and eat the entire thing. What self-respecting Queen of Culinary eats a combo such as that, with a dash of thyme?

I did not cry incessantly through every single praise song except one during the two church services I attended at two separate churches yesterday. Only blubbering emotional wrecks do that. Nope, that wouldn't be me now, would it? Some days I'm simply a meltdown on the move, just waiting to happen.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

I was right.

God did do something awesome today. I just returned from my walk around the neighborhood, around the neighborhood, around the neighborhood (that would be 3 laps). I have 86 podcast episodes on my iPod. Tonight I just happened to pick one of Craig Groeschel's sermons smack in the middle of the series "So You're Dead, Now What ?"(8/17/08) It made the walk perfect, but there was one line where God really spoke to me through him when he said " be absent in body is to be present in the Lord." So that's what this feeling is about! I'm definitely going to chew on that one a little more the next time I'm feeling like I've been feeling. Perhaps tonight. Yep, it's a sign. Heading to bed for another listen. It was that good.

Tea tonight: opting for the psyllium husks

Out of my body and into Him

***Update - original post is below***
Church services this morning were perfect. From 9-12 I cried, albeit holy-grace-and-mercy crying. "Why?" you ask?
  1. Glorious One
  2. So High
  3. How Great Thou Art (as only the PLC praise band can do)
  4. Made to Worship
  5. You are Mine (Jan sang it just like she will will sing it at my funeral. Ever felt like you were crying at your own funeral?)
  6. Pastor John's sermon - Game on, Fuller. (Praying my family will listen to the audio or watch the video online)
  7. Saw an old tennis friend I haven't connected with in months. In a service of 700 people, how would it come to be that she sat right behind me? Coincidence? I think not. Someone put her there.

So I'm much better now than the post I did earlier, and I'm ready to tackle this messy life, one dog hair and laundry load at a time.

All. Is. Well.

And I anticipate that God is going to do something awesome today.


Yesterday was a horrible day for me. I can't explain it, but this morning I'm bound and determined to make it a better one. I felt so "not of this world" that I was in. I was extremely tired, puffy, and nauseated all week long, and yesterday was no different and perhaps worse. I felt profoundly lonely, though there were family and friends around me all day long. I know everyone has days like that - some people can just blow through them and usually I can, too. But yesterday was deeply different. I was with people to whom I should have been more affable, more gracious. But I felt like my spirit and legs were knocked right out from under me and I couldn't function. I had not one ounce of energy. I felt robbed, broken, and left at the side of the road.

All. Day. Long.

I'm convinced that Jesus uses dark days to bow to Him, to bring us closer in our relationship with Him, and submit to Him things that darken our hearts and minds that the "average Joe" wouldn't think He could fix. I went to bed very early and read and listened to His word before drifting off to sleep. It was probably the best nights sleep I've had in a couple of weeks, and when I awakened long before sunrise today, I felt extreme gratitude for that (the good night's sleep, not the "before sunrise" part).

This morning I'm going to church-hop for 3 hours of nothing but Him and me. I'm going to try to put some semblance of order to my emotional and physical houses. Both are in horrible disarray.

Yes, it will be a better day.

Despite still being puffy. And nauseated. And lonely.


Tea today: a Salada green something or other, free sample, it will do

Friday, September 26, 2008

Catch Phrases for my heart and soul

For the last many weeks I've driven two hours a day to work and back. Not my choice but a responsibility that is partly self-imposed, but mostly done out of commitment to a job I'm paid to do. It has been draining - emotionally and physically it is taking its toll. But it's become a way of life. This picture is from my cell phone driving into the beautiful sunrise today. I've become quite enamored with podcasts from my very favorite pastors, only two of whom I have actually met. But I feel like I know each one of them up close and personal because I've literally gone back since the inception of each of their podcasts to listen to these. Yes, that's how much I drive. Not much time for some of you, but for someone who must squeeze every minute of productivity out of every hour of the day, while feigning off sleep all the way, it is two precious hours each day I don't feel I can afford to lose. But it has become the best part of my day.

There are themes. There are sermon series. And then there are the unique little "catch phrases" that each pastor uses that makes him so endearing. They probably don't even realize they're doing it - it's just their personality and God shining through their voices. It's fun to see how they have emerged over the years, grown in their communication and delivery style, and in each of them, have spoken so relevantly to my life. Here are some of my favorites.

Pastor John Fuller (Prairie Lakes Church): "Here's what....I ...knaoow...." (yep, that's just what it sounds like, and with a subsequent pause, it really makes you sit up and listen - and really, really believe. Love it!) and "Let's go to the Word...." That's my favorite. "Let's be Jesus with skin on." But I can't leave out "Step over the faith line..."

Pastor Justin Wise (Immersion/Lutheran Church of Hope): "This is huge...." & "This just Blows. My. Mind..." (Yeah, he actually talks like the punctuation is in there. Very effective.) & "Context is King!" This young whippersnapper is "wise" beyond his years, yet maintains his GenX/Y credibility while enlightening us boomers. He craves Jesus. His mind is always churning deeply, and he is very well prepared for his sermons on a level that is so relevant not only to the 20s and 30s in Immersion, but to their parents! Relevancy. What a concept. Sometimes his sermons are so perfect for me or my family during a particular need, I refer to him as "Justin Time." Whoa.

Pastor Mike Householder (Lutheran Church of Hope): "God is on the move...." & "Praise God for that..." Coupled with his personal stories, quick wit, and obvious passion for his congregation, it's not hard to see why this will be my church should I ever have the opportunity to live in Des Moines.

Pastor Richard Webb: (Lutheran Church of Hope): "Let's pray" (I can't do this one justice because words can't express the inflection or the timing in there, but it is spontaneous, very quickly and softly spoken, and seems to come most unexpectedly...out of nowhere. It's like an instant piece of peace. No other "catch phrase" from him as no two of his sermons are alike, and he uses really cool big words that just roll out of his mouth (along with that inflection and timing gift), and I'm telling you, this guy is smart. As in ::genius:: smart. A brilliant theologian who can pull the stories out of the Bible at will and tell them with drama and flair. He also remind us, now and then, that "God is not your housepet."

Pastor Tommy Sparger (North Point Church): "...and I believe this...I really do..." Perhaps it's that Texas twang, the folksy delivery, or if you're watching the video, the pity for the video dude who must constantly try to keep this cute little man of God within the viewfinder as he sprints across the stage. He's really a Holy Hoot. "'s the dill" (in Iowa we say "deal"). And at the end he recognizes new believers with "...will you raise your hand so I know who you are. I want to pray for you..." Though I'm not a "new" believer, I would raise my hand so Tommy would look right at me and pray for me. God knows I need it.

Pastor Craig Groeschel ( "Lift your hands up now, lift them high..." He does this recognizing new believers at the end of his sermons. Again, I'd be one raising my hands. I could really get into that one. He gets deep into my head, is extremely creative, and the pre-sermon videos are amazing.

The thing these guys all have in common is their humility, their love of Christ, and their shared times of shaken faith. They are admitted sinners (what? them too? is the world full of them?) and have fallen short. And they give illustrations in their sermons that bring us all down to earth, yet give me cause for pause to admire them. Better yet, they empower me to look more closely and where I am in my life and why that's ok. Because it's where God put me. Yet these "church dudes" are all so different from one another. What a party it would be to have them all together. With Lutheran jello. I praise God for them.

I have grown so strong in my faith because of these gifted people that even during a sheerly exhausting, refrigerator-dying, patient-crumping, car-clunking, sick dog meltdown, they push me toward Him. And He carries me. And He is really the only one who cares. I've certainly felt that this week. Romans 5:1-5

Need further proof of God's promise? How about newly blooming water hyacinths on my pond today - in September!!

Tea tonight: Young Hyson

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Baby Got Book

I nearly spit my grapefruit out my nose this morning reading Stacy from Louisville's blog with her SFLBC Fight Song. It makes me want to go to Bible College. Or makes me wish I did!

Tea today: Bigelow green, to go

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Not Exactly Your Itsy Bitsy Spider Bite

OK, it's been exactly 3 weeks, one round of antibiotics, multiple doses of steroid cream, and this spider bite isn't looking a whole lot better. Different, but not better. Before I get my leg amputated, will someone please tell me what to do? (Kindly refrain from commenting on the similarity to your latest MapQuest route with regard to the leg.)

Tea today: Green with pink grapefruit

Sunday, September 21, 2008

"Not Me!" Monday

Props to MckMama's idea for the inauguration of the "Not Me!" Monday blog carnival! This is going to be sooo cathartic! So freeing! So human! Yes, we have all fallen short of God's glory and dare I say she's exposing us??

I totally did NOT buy a take-out meat loaf dinner from HyVee deli and plate it up nicely for Ron Burgundy, allowing him to presume it was made especially for him.

I did not wear the same pants to work two days in a row, because I was working at different places each day and who would know?

I did not find a container of yogurt at the back of my frig that expired 5/1/08 and no, I did NOT eat it. Nope. MckMama would never do that either.

Worst of all, I did not tell Ron Burgundy that I'd pick him up tonight after his last 20 mile pre-marathon training run in the near 80 degree heat and bring him the rest of the way home. Nope. He didn't think that and he didn't end up running 22 miles in the heat because I was not a dip-wad and didn't understand that he wasn't going to call me. He just expected me to show up, cold water and bananas in hand. (He didn't call me because his phone was at home). Nope, didn't let him down that time. Poor boy isn't walking too well yet. (And he was furious - yeah, right, like he's ever gotten angry over anything....).

I did not just pretend I heard the dryer shut off and will not ignore the laundry until tomorrow. Or Tuesday. Or Wednesday.

Holy Cow!

In true testament to the popularity of MckMama's blog, y'all have been so kind to email me with sweet words and blessings! Thanks so much for the visits - I'm honored to be a part of the prayer/blog community that MckMama has created. Isn't she a trip?? But more awesome than that, isn't our God HUGE??

Let's keep those prayers coming for MckFamily. And for those of you who noticed that today is 1 month, 1 week, and 1 day to Stellan's due date, don't think I wasn't reminded of this post!

Peace to you this Sunday,

Tea today: Genmaicha

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Just a little more Life in my Day. Please.

***After-church update***
What an uplifting service and I have to say, that pretty-please prayer was answered. Not sure what kind of a funk I was in when I posted this morning, but I snapped out of it with the awesome Praise band, the sermon, and a great grilled chicken salad after Ron Burgundy and I got home. OK, I'm better now....but I still love this song!

Can't find video OR audio of this awesome NewSong song other than on my "Most Played" list on my iPod. But listen up - says it all for me today. The emphasis is mine. All mine.

My cell phone's ringing and I'm running late
Morning traffic's got me
Time is ticking away
A few more hours is all that I need
Seems like there is just not enough days in a week
But then it hits me
Time is not the answer
You've given me all the time in the world
All that I need is
A little more life in my day
A little more of Your life
A little more faith
A little more life in my day
A little more of Your light
To show me the way
If I'm gonna be in this world but not be of it
Lord, I need more of You
In all that I do
Put a little more life in my day
Sometimes I guess I get lost in the race
Trying to make a deadline just to keep the pace
I can't help feeling I'm always behind
So much that I can do if I could just find the time
But then it hits me
Time is not the answer
You've given me all the time in the world
All that I need is
A little more life in my day
A little more of Your life
A little more faith
A little more life in my day
A little more of Your light
To show me the way
If I'm gonna be in this world but not be of it
Lord, I need more of You
In all that I do
Put a little more life in my day
Lord, don't let be in such a hurry
Trying to live my life
That I miss You in it

Help me to take the time to see
All that I need, yeah
A little more life in my day
A little more life in my day
A little more of Your life
A little more faith
A little more life in my day
A little more of Your light
To show me the way
If I'm gonna be in this world but not be of it
Lord, I need more of You
In all that I do
Put a little more life in my day

(Pretty please???)
Tea today: Bigelow green

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Me, a Respectable Sinner

Still thinking stewing prayerfully pondering about Bible study last night on the seemingly oxymoronic book Respectable Sins. It's about confronting the sins we tolerate in ourselves and others - you know, things other than like being an ax murderer or robbing banks. It's really fascinating and soul-baring. Some of things we talked about:

Unhappiness (huh? yep.)
White lies (as in "no, your butt doesn't look fat in those pants").
Telling someone you'll do something, then you don't.

Those were a few of the things we discussed, but I haven't gotten too deep in the book yet. It was such a powerful evening for me and I'm really enjoying the book along with the referenced Bible passages. My favorite reflection thus far is Galatians 5:22-23. It's such a good starting place for all of our daily actions (and reactions) to things, and how we are supposed to treat others on a daily basis.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

There was one really sweet girl there who is bearing the burden of a "Mean Girls" sort of experience, and is taking steps in her life to slowly move beyond it. Oh how I felt for her, but am so encouraged that she found peace and comfort in the group. What was really neat was that we ranged in age from 20ish to 50ish (yes, I was close to the oldest one there) and yet we had so many things in common and things to share. Perspective is everything. Looking at something with someone else's eyes can totally change the view. After mulling the Fruits of the Spirit over in my mind, I sure would like to see how Jesus sees things that I see. Or perhaps I wouldn't.


A perspective on prayer from one of the pastors at one of the churches on my "Someday I'm Going to Visit" list:

Sometimes prayer moves the hand of God, but it often changes the hearts of men and women as in prayer we capture something of God’s heart and are brought into agreement with and trust in Him.

Wow, that works for me.


Now something from the Are you serious??? category:
Margarita and Bloody Mary mix in the Food Bank??? I'm not getting that one.

But it's still a place where God lurks in every corner. I saw Him everywhere.

Finally, why in the world does the label inside the fly of my capris I'm wearing today say "Find Adventure, Find Yourself?" I wonder if the previous owner asked that same question at some point. Just wonderin'.....

Tea today: White cantaloupe

Friday, September 12, 2008

The Family Stone, version 137

OK, so I haven't written about all versions of my family's propensity for forming kidney stones (it would take volumes), but today it's time again.

My baby. Alone. In a strange town. 110 miles away. No family doctor - until now. And though he wouldn't ever admit it... scared to death. I first heard the shakey uncertainty in his voice yesterday when he called about the blood and the tender, achy "brother." (What, you didn't know those two little things down there are called brothers?) First the blood, then the pain, then the SCATHING PAIN, the doctor, the barf-in-the-biohazard-bag, the CT $can, the drugs....oh my, what's a mother to do? I called too often. I heard about the worst of it after the fact, and I prayed. Oh, did I pray. Like a...


For 36 hours.
Thank you, my God, for Your answer!

KT said she felt in her heart it wasn't really serious, that her gut said he was going to be fine, but Moms don't think that way and the nurse brain totally loses reason and critical thinking when your baby's involved. But after gallons of Crystal Light, a shot in the butt, a trip to the pharmacy, and a subsequent drug-induced coma, I think the worst is over. Or seems to be. And I so wanted to be there, to do something, to, yes, baby him. He is and always will be, after all, my baby.

The worst part of this, really? Now that it's over? Now that I know he's ok?

::: He really didn't need me after all :::

Selfish, selfish me.
Tea tonight: Harney & Sons Green with citrus & ginko

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Praying for....the balance sheet??

Over the past few months I've found myself praying more for my job - that the circumstances (and yes, admittedly, some of the people) would change, that it would bring me more joy, that it would turn once again into a 40-50 hour a week pleasure, rather than the 60-70 hour obligation it has become. I hoped "the suits" would start to "get it" rather than insisting on conforming to the lowered standards of care that unfortunately are a result of their beefed-up productivity demands. In this world of older, sicker (and in my case younger and sicker and going back to work) patients, the convoluted data on the spreadsheet cannot possibly allow what is right for our patients.

Let me start with the premise that no healthcare provider would even exist without the patient. That is why the industry was created in the first place - because of the need to care for the ill, the infirm, the broken, the terrified. I work under a Mission Statement (and was asked to sign a paper that I agreed to uphold it) that declares we are "..committed to living out the healing ministry of the Judeo-Christian tradition by providing exceptional and compassionate healthcare services that promotes the dignity and well being of the people we serve..." Sounds great, huh? In fact, this statement reflects exactly my heart, my beliefs, my spiritual journey - everything I believe God has called me to do. So what's the problem? Sounds like a perfect work/life balance, doesn't it?

Not so fast.

Let's call it The Gap, since I haven't shopped there in several years. It appears I'm at The Gap - the huge Gap between what we say, and what I, as a follower of Christ first, and a health care provider second (or third, or fourth) am called to do. Minister. Serve. Witness. Not just to the patients, but to colleagues, fellow employees whom I have never met, and strangers walking the halls. I will never leave my profession. (Note, I didn't say my job). I will never compromise my standards or my values. But tonight there's tremendous cognitive dissonance as that gap widens because of the ever-present balance sheet, and the people who think that you can provide compassionate care with the formula function in Excel. I am unable to fulfill my personal mission OR my employer's mission, and what is really hard to understand is this - THEY ARE EXACTLY THE SAME. What's up with that? I wonder if this post will get me fired. In the meantime, I feel like I am being called to close The Gap, if it means walking away from 35 years of loyalty, sacrifice, joy, Godly coworkers. I regret the lost time with my family. Even my dog wonders who I am these days. And I guess I do, too.

"Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving." Colossians 3:23-24

Tea tonight: Mai Feng