30 October 2008

Happy Reformation Day



Something worth reflecting upon... thanks Lane!

Coffee with Ben Stein

I had what I thought was a brilliant idea and I can't seem to make myself do it. Laziness or the Lord's intervention? I don't know. I have written a note to the doctors who did my surgery. I wanted to tell them how much I appreciate their skill and care, but mostly I wanted to tell them that all the events that took place to bring me to the emergency room were carefully orchestrated by God and that he had chosen them to be the tools He would use to save my life. I want to encourage them that their sacrifices to become surgeons have been an excellent way to use the skills and abilities God has given them. Here's the idea I had.... I wanted them to see how many people's lives they touch when they operate on someone. I thought I would ask all the folks who care about me to write to them and encourage them by saying thank you. I want it to be completely about the doctors and not me, but I can't seem to solidify or carry through with this idea. I would really like to bless this husband and wife surgeon team but I am stuck.

Ever been stuck? How do you determine when it is the Lord holding you back or your own procrastination or other character flaw rising to the surface?

I had nightmares last night. I dreamt of being in a house I was sharing with people I don't know and there was gun fire, people playing with guns in unsafe ways. I also discovered body parts hidden in various places in the house. I was terrified that I would be charged with homicide and debated whether or not to call the authorities. I was bitterly disappointed in my dream because I went along with the other people in the house and remained quiet. How could I do that, especially after working in law enforcement for over a decade? I need a Joseph to tell me what that dream meant.....or to forget it and never dream anything like that again.

I feel sort of dazed and confused. My friends tell me to lighten up on myself, I just had major surgery and need time to recover. You know what I fear? I fear being one of those people folks talk about and say, "She was never quite the same after that emergency surgery." Only they don't mean that I was kinder, gentler or wiser. They don't mean that I was obviously closer to my God. What they mean is my intellect has misfired and I never could put a cogent thought together after my surgery.

I think I need more coffee. I rented the dvd Expelled. Perhaps I'll spend some time with Ben Stein and get back to you. I'll leave you all with this question. If pro generally defines a positive position or stance why is procrastination a negative thing?

28 October 2008

Not for the Faint of Heart

I was blessed today. Two women from my church came over and cleaned my house. They came in with their own supplies and dusted, vacuumed and polished. It was a humbling and delightful. They even brought me some delicious chicken salad with yummy grapes and nuts in it and let me tell you, it is tasty stuff.

Just before they arrived my home health nurse came and checked my wound. It is looking better, praise God for antibiotics, but it is still open and oozy in a couple of places. While the two lovely women from my church went from room to room blessing me, my nurse decided it would be a good time to begin preparing me for the next stage of wound dressings and recovery. I think she was hoping I wouldn't create a scene with company there.

Currently each day I pull out about an inch of packing material from each open wound and cut it off and throw it away and then redress the top of the wound with gauze. It's quick and painless though somewhat gross. Think of a cross between excising a tapeworm and the movie Aliens. The nurse tells me that when all the packing material has been removed, we will be doing wet to dry dressings. We will be packing wet gauze into my wounds, allowing it dry and pulling it out. If you just got shivers going up and down your spine then you probably understood completely what I am talking about. I will be letting gauze dry in an open fresh wound....you know, so it sticks to the tender raw flesh and then pulling it out. And I will be doing that every day.

The nurse was right, I didn't create a scene while my friends were over. Make no mistake though, I wanted to. Instead I told the nurse that I was going to try to keep unsanctified words from flying off my tongue during that process. She smiled an apologetic smile and said, "I wanted to warn you so we could work up to it. It's going to hurt." Great. I will have nearly died because my pain tolerance is so high that I ignored the excruciating pain I was in for hours thinking, "It's just a reaction to the antibiotics, it will get better!" only to cry like a scared baby at the thought of having wounds dressed.

It's sad that the first thing I want to do is negotiate with God. "Did you save me just to torture me with bandage changes? Can't we talk about this? Isn't there another way?" So I am making myself count my blessings and instead of fretting over something I can't change, I decided to take action about something I could. I figure if I am going to go back to work in a room with 50 or more people, a flu shot is definitely a wise preventive measure. I called the clinic to see if they were still offering flu shot and then drove down to get one. No one was in the waiting room. I walked in, got my shot and walked out in less that 5 minutes. That's a huge blessing right there.

When I returned home I got my mail and in it was a bill for about $50, 000.00. It was the first one and only a partial bill for my surgery. In the box where it lists the amount of the bill the patient responsible for there was a great big, beautiful zero. My insurance is going to pay that bill. Again, what a huge blessing.

I go to the doctor who did the surgery on Friday and he will either clear me for work and keep me out longer. My job is waiting for me. Big blessing #3 there. It's going to get down to 25 degrees tonight. My house is not only clean but has a programmable thermostat that runs the heat. My animals and I will be comfy and warm and we will all snuggle beneath down blankets tonight. You may be thinking, so? Don't most houses have heat like that? I live in a place where many folks depend on a wood stove or fireplace to keep warm. I am remarkably spoiled.

Does acknowledging these blessings change how much it is going to hurt to keep changing the gauze in my wounds? Not a bit. BUT focusing on them should make it harder for me to complain to God and say silly things like, "Why me?" Why not me?

Romans 4:7-8

7 "Blessed are those whose lawless deeds have been forgiven, and whose sins have been covered.8 "Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will not take into account."(NAS)

25 October 2008

Continuing to Come Undone-But Learning to Ask the Right Questions

I found this gem at my friend Turretinfan's blog. It is well worth the time to watch it and it is exactly what I need to hear given my current state of mind. Our God is so economical. He weaves everything together so perfectly. What a 'coincidence' that I should find this clip now. The man speaking is Voddie Baucham and you can find out more about him here.

24 October 2008

Coming Undone

My home health nurse came to check on me today and she didn't like the looks of my wound so she called my doctor's office. My doctor wanted to see me immediately. Today it rained for the first time in a long time. This was my first adventure driving since my surgery. Ever diligent about safety, I got into my car and while still on my driveway I made certain I could stomp on the brakes and turn my steering wheel sharply before I would drive the 8-10 miles to the hospital where my doctor's office is located. But this story isn't so much about going to the doctor or the state of my wound. It is more about the state of my heart and emotions.

The doctor repacked my open wounds and redressed them. He also put me on antibiotics and then sent me home with instructions to see him in a week unless of course I had any trouble or the nurse wanted me seen earlier. Somewhat relieved that he didn't want to throw me back in the hospital, I filled the new prescription and headed home. That's when it happened.

There is a particular place on the highway I live off of that has a small hill and just about at the bottom of the hill is where the back parking lot is for the high school. The buses and the students use that parking lot and driving can be chaotic there. The road also tends to be very slick, much more so that in other places on the highway after a rain. There are lots of accidents there. As I was coming down the hill the car in front of me stopped in order to turn left into the high school parking lot. I applied my brakes and for some reason they locked up. I have anti-lock brakes but something caught and I found myself sliding sort of diagonally down the middle of the highway. I knew if I allowed my car to go completely sideways it would likely roll. I was headed for a ditch and a couple of cars. One was coming toward me and one coming from behind.

There were a lot of things that went through my mind. The tightness of the seat belt across my tummy made me fear undoing the surgery or opening my wounds more significantly. I could hear my father's voice saying, "Steer into the skid! Cars don't lose control, drivers do!" And mostly, I feared hurting someone and being saved from the brink of death to be killed in a freak accident. Then, as if I was a stunt driver with mad skills, my car slid its way to a stop, avoiding all the obstacles; cars, buses, people, ditches, poles, and came to rest at a 45 degree angle to the road and at the very edge of a ditch. Everyone stopped, I backed up, getting back onto the right side of the road. I drove slowly, trying my brakes a few times and when nothing happened I decided my house was closer than the Toyota dealership and I continued home.

I drove home telling myself, "God has done it once again. He has saved you." I was only about 5 miles from home and drove the distance carefully. I decided I couldn't think about it, but it wouldn't go away. I am not good with emotions. I am undone by the recent events. How do you respond to God sparing your life? I didn't feel a moment's angst while everyone around me worked so hard to save me. No, the only thing I wanted was to be out of physical pain. Death was a suitable way for that to occur. Absent here is present with the Lord. But for what purpose did He spare me? Why has He has his hand on me this way? What do I have to offer the world that He would keep me in his tool chest?

I can't begin to answer these questions. I am getting teary and emotional just writing this. It's like a flood of gratitude, fear, appreciation, and apprehension all at once. It's a debt I can't repay and I know that... but it's more. It's knowing that my sinful flesh is in full rebellion now and wants desperately to eliminate that tiny little piece of me that knows how helpless and insignificant I really am. It's the fear of finally being broken beyond my ability to will myself into repair. Fear of submission and true humility butting squarely into the terror of not being truly humbled and submitted to God. I am really undone and that is good I think. I don't know. I want to understand it but I don't.

Hebrews 10:31 It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

Psalm 51:1-4
1 Be gracious to me, O God, according to Thy lovingkindness; according to the greatness of Thy compassion blot out my transgressions.2 Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.3 For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.4 Against Thee, Thee only, I have sinned, and done what is evil in Thy sight, so that Thou art justified when Thou dost speak, and blameless when Thou dost judge

The Coveted "Mona" Award

My friend Vicki has what I would call a unique sense of humor. She sent me this pillow saying:

"Just wanted to give you a heads up that I have sent you something. It needs no introduction....I think you will get the drift when you open it. You have earned it...very few people earn these, but you definitely did."

When I wrote her to say thank you and that I laughed my steri-strips off, she responded with:

"You do remember that the ONLY other person to earn THE PILLOW is my mom????? Display it with pride, my dear!!"

Vicki's mom, Mona is almost a bionic wonder. She has endured more surgeries and maladies than anyone I know and keeps right on with life as usual. You can find Mona in the kitchen fixing dinner after shoulder surgery. She's that kind of woman. I am pleased to accept the award so long as I don't have to keep up with your mom, Vicki. She may have 30 or so years on me, but I am no match for her!

23 October 2008

A New Look

I know, you're asking yourself, "When did Rosemarie get so computer savvy?" Rest assured, I am still a computer idiot. I do, however, have friends who are not and who happen to be generous with their time. This new look is brought to you courtesy of Hobster, who has a pretty splendiforous blog of his own you can read here.

A new look for a second chance. I am liking it. Thanks Hobster!

22 October 2008

The Details

I have had several people ask me how my 'near death' experience started and it is a fair question so here are the details as best as I can remember them.

I had been feeling poorly for a long time. Most of it was what I thought came with being overweight, under-exercised and over fifty. The last couple of months I have been miserable with allergies. My allergy meds made me sleepy and I was already exhausted. I thought it was normal to be this tired because I had gone from not working to working full time and doing a lot of training. I thought my allergies had morphed into a sinus infection or something creepy and my throat was sore. I had lost my voice and couldn't work. Since I was still on probation at work, I needed to see a doctor and have a doctor's excuse for not being at work. So, on Thursday I went to the local walk-in clinic.

The clinic doctor came in and looked me over and said, "You look like you may have strep throat. You feeling miserable?" I confessed I was and she prescribed some antibiotics and warned me that they may upset my stomach. She also said I was sick enough that if I wanted an excuse for the next day off of work I should just call her and she would write one. She also said that my fever should be reduced in 24 hours. I went home, took the antibiotics and collapsed into bed.

The next morning I felt like I had been dragged through a knothole. My stomach was tender and I decided that work was a bad idea. I called, told them I had been tested for strep throat and wouldn't be coming in. I called the clinic to see what the results of my strep test had been. The doctor said it was negative but that I should continue with the antibiotics because something was clearly going on. I popped a pill, noted that my throat really wasn't too sore anymore and that my stomach was pretty tender. I decided to eat a little something to see if it would settle down. It was a bad idea, my guts hurt.

Saturday is a bit of a blur for me. I was in miserable pain, felt ghastly and couldn't seem to get between my couch and my bed without retching. I began to wonder if I had the flu. I tried drinking some water and had no luck what-so-ever. I went to bed and woke up doing the "technicolor yawn." In fact, I christened just about every room of my house and then began the dry heaves. I was diaphoretic, writhing in pain, retching and unable to think straight. The only thing that was clear was that I couldn't take any more of those antibiotics. I couldn't tolerate so much as a drop of water in my mouth without retching. By now it was Sunday and I kept thinking, "This is going to get better, you're not taking the drugs."

By Sunday evening I had writhed in pain so long and hard that I had managed to slide my mattress off the box springs and halfway onto the floor. My faithful companion of the last 11 years, Chet the Wonder Dog, never left my side. I credit him with saving my life. It is because I realized I had not let him or Thibodeaux out for almost 24 hours that I knew I was sick beyond the reactions of antibiotics or the flu. I knew I had to call for help but the phone wasn't in the cradle in my bedroom where it belonged. I had to let my doggies out. Poor things! The fabulous Ms. Thibodeaux was in her crate as quiet as a mouse. I put a robe over my nightgown and stumbled to the kitchen to get her out of her crate and let them both outside. I found my phone and my wallet and called for help.

My sister, Karen, was out of town. She has been caring for her ailing father 24/7 for the last 3 months. She was stressed and needed some time away. I was supposed to be her back-up in case her husband and son needed help. I had encouraged her to go away for the weekend and see her daughter in New York. Now I was calling her house hoping that her husband or son would be available to take me to the hospital. Her son, Andrew, answered the phone. Now, I have to tell you in all the years I have lived in Kentucky, I have talked to Andrew on the phone less than 5 times. I have never seen him answer a ringing phone, he has no use for them. If Andrew had not answered the phone my next option was 9-1-1. I am certain I would have tried to wait it out before trying the ultimate cultural experience- utilizing the public safety services in small town Kentucky. I don't mean that condescending as it might sound, please remember I worked in public safety for 17 years, several of those were as an EMT and I know what to expect in California. I don't know the rules in Kentucky. That's what I mean, not that I would have received poor quality services. I just don't know how the system works here.

Fortunately, Andrew, whom I also credit with saving me, answered the phone. He was home alone with his grandfather and needed to call his dad to come home from the golf course and either drive me or watch grandpa. I put the dogs back in the house , grabbed my cell phone and my wallet so I would have my insurance cards and I sat outside waiting for someone. Andrew arrived, took one look at me and asked, "Am I driving or flying you to the hospital?" I told him to drive safely and get me there.

There are some details I will leave out. I felt like I was going to pass out each time a wave of pain came over me. I got to the ER, filled out paperwork, waited for what seemed like hours but was probably only minutes. The triage nurse saw me, called for a wheelchair, and then whirl of activity began happening around me. I was begging for drugs, anything to stop the pain. They were apologizing telling me that the pain was the only thing that they had to diagnose me with and they would give me drugs when they knew what the problem was. I knew that but I had to ask. I was willing to undergo amputation at the neck if it would stop the pain. They were starting IV's on me- poking here and prodding there. The ER doctor said something that included the word, 'specialist' and ran out of the room. Within a few minutes the ER doctor came back in and patted my hand. I asked him if he had said 'specialist' and he said, "Oh yes, you are far too sick for a smart alek ER doctor like me." I remember laughing and thinking, "Bless you, someone with a sense of humor."

Then Dr. Tom came in and he poked and prodded. He asked me if I always had that big bump in my belly. I said, "Bump?" He touched it and I wanted to smack him. He told me he was certain I had an incarcerated hernia and was sending me for at CAT scan. He said I needed surgery right away, that this was potentially fatal and then he said the magic words to the nurse, he said I could have drugs. Now I had another dilemma on my hands. I did not want my 19 year old nephew to be the one the doctor told that I needed life saving emergency surgery. I knew I had to exchange my nephew for my brother-in-law, Mike. I grabbed my cell phone and called him. I think I said something like, "Mike, I need you to come down and talk to the doctors, they are talking surgery." Then I was wheeled off to get a CAT scan and I was so disappointed because the nurse had not returned with my drugs.

Laying flat on my back, holding my breath and trying to lie still for the CAT scan was horrific. I remember asking God if we had any unfinished business or if He could just take me home. Then they wheeled me back to the exam room where the nurse ran in and gave me drugs. She gave me a shot to keep me from retching and a shot for the pain. I praise God for drugs, wonderful, marvelous drugs. At some point my brother-in-law came in and discussed my options with the doctor. I was listening but in a drug induced fog. It didn't last long though, it seemed to be wearing off as Mike and I discussed what the doctor said. I wanted more. "If I say yes to surgery will you give me more drugs?" Dr Tom didn't think I was grasping the seriousness of my situation. I didn't think Dr. Tom grasped how serious I was about getting either surgery or more drugs before the pain returned. My poor brother-in-law had to call his wife and tell her that I was in the hospital and could potentially die. He had to call everyone else too. That's not a job anybody wants.

I remember being wheeled into the ER and being grateful that the pain would stop when they put me to sleep. I had been told death, a colostomy or bowel resectioning were all possibilities. I was told it was likely my intestines had been dying because they weren't receiving blood. I was told I would wake up with an NG tube down my nose into my stomach, a central line for drugs and blood drawing, and a catheter. After 4+ hours of surgery, I emerged looking not unlike Neo in the Matrix right after he took the red pill. However, I felt notably better. Much better. I heard my dear brother-in-law say, "It was the best possible outcome." I asked, "My guts were alive? " Dr Tom said, "They all looked viable it was a tough surgery but a great outcome." I realized I hadn't been at all worried about a colostomy but now I was glad I didn't have that challenge to face. I felt good, I looked scary. My sister had flown back and saw me the next afternoon. She said I looked very scary.

The part of the story that amazes me is realizing all the tools God used and how the timing was perfect. My faithful doggies were used to show me that I was beyond a little sick, or I know I would have lay in bed until it was way too late to get help. My nephew answered the phone. The specialist happened to be in the hospital for another patient, my brother-in-law was the right person to ask the doctor all the questions I could not. Everything fit together as only God can mesh things.

My recovery will be slow, but the lesson is huge. I don't want to waste this second chance. I don't want to return to status-quo. I want to be all in. That's my dilemma now, not to be complacent or presumptuous with this second chance. Whatever it is He has for me, I am all in.

19 October 2008

More Thoughts on Recovery

I went to the doctor yesterday for a follow-up to my surgery. My doctor walked into the exam room, shook my hand and sat down and scrutinized me. His gaze held mine and I finally asked, "Are you just going to stare at me?" He smiled and said, "Yes, for a while. Is that alright?" After a time he said, "Wow, you really look good." To which I responded, "I feel really good. " Sheepishly I told him, "I probably look much better than the first time you saw me." We exchanged smiles for a moment then he got up and started his exam. He said something that made my head spin, "You were a dead woman on that table in the ER."

As I lay on the exam table I was lost for anything meaningful to say. I think I managed something close to, "I am very appreciative and glad to be alive." How lame is that? Of course, that's not what I really wanted to say. What I really wanted to tell him was that I believe in the absolute sovereignty of God and that not an atom moves unless He bids it. I wanted to go back to where we had our eyes locked and I could see his face so I could tell him that I was grateful that the Sovereign God of the Universe had seen fit to educate and prepare him to be the tool He would choose to use to save my life. I wanted to encourage him by remarking about what job satisfaction he must feel seeing folks like me before and after surgery. Certainly a surgeon can be humble and still marvel at that!

I wanted to point out that God had seen fit to bless us both, him the positive outcome of the surgery he performed and me with a second chance at life. And even though God has ordained the number of breaths I will take and neither of us can change that number, for reasons we may never know, God had prepared him for such a time as this- when my need of his skills would be so great.

I wanted to tell him that whatever sacrifices he had made in order to become a surgeon, however many sleepless nights he spent or years of schooling, that he had been used by God to save my life and no doubt the lives of others and how much that really means to me and those who love me. I wanted to tell this kind man that even if I had died, he had been used by a good and merciful God. I wanted to say so much, but I didn't. The words got stuck behind a fictitious sense of decorum and propriety. . . some imaginary boundary that keeps us from sharing ourselves from the depths of our souls. I am hoping to put pen to paper and write to him and fear that whatever words I sprinkle out onto the paper will have precious little resemblance to what I am trying to impart.


Proverbs 16:24 Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.


Proverbs 25:11 {Like} apples of gold in settings of silver is a word spoken in right circumstances.
(NAS)

16 October 2008

Recovering

It's a slow road to recovery, but each day I feel a little better. I am trying to focus on the providence and mercies of our God as I continue healing. I so appreciate the prayers that have been offered to our Father on my behalf. I get a visit from my home health care nurse tomorrow and hopefully she will give me a good report. Monday I hope to see my surgeon and begin having the staples removed.

For now I wish to focus on this second chance to serve God. I read this today and I am asking that God brand it in my heart- that I should be drawn to Him like a needle to a magnet.

Love is an expansion of soul, or the inflaming of the affections, by which a Christian breathes after God as the supreme and sovereign good. Love is to the soul as the weights to the clock, it sets the soul-a-going towards God, as the wings by which we fly to heaven. By love we cleave to God, as the needle to the lodestone.-- Thomas Watson

14 October 2008

Incarceration: My Unauthorized Absence

I have been absent because of an incarcerated/strangulated umbilical hernia which tried to kill me and for which I needed emergency surgery. The story is a great one of God's providence and care for me. It has done much to increase my gratitude for the simple blessings of life and I hope to blog all about it later. Right now I am exhausted and need to spend time mending. I was 4 hours in surgery, 5 days in ICU, 3 days more in the TU and have been home for about 24 hours. I need more rest and more time to reflect. I do not want to lose the significance of this blessing in my life. I don't want to go back to life as it was before. I want to retain this appreciation for my insignificance and my utter dependence on Him. As my physical strength returns I don't want to my faith to diminish. That and the risk of infection are my two greatest obstacles if God should lead you to pray for me.

03 October 2008

Sympathy vs Empathy

As I sit alone in my home, feeling poorly because of whatever cooties are coursing through my body, I realized I was having a pity party. Feeling sorry for yourself is such a useless endeavor and yet we always seem to go there as if it is a profitable enterprise. We know we will not derive the tiniest bit of benefit but we go there. Why? Because, "Ah! It hurts so good!'

You know how your mind sort of skips around when you're feverish? Like you cannot quite hold on to a cogent thought but you can't keep yourself from thinking? Perhaps I am the only one who suffers from this phenomenon, but when I am feverish my mind whirls and skips in slow motion. I decided I would try to concentrate on something profound rather than feel sorry for myself. Here's what I came up with.

One of the books I am reading is "The Heart of the Cross," by John Montgomery Boice and Philip Graham Ryken. It's a small book and an easy read but it is packed with things that my heart needs to hear and grapple with. One of the things that came to mind while feeling sorry for myself for being sick is a paragraph from the book on Christ:

The forsaking of the Son of God on the cross is a fearful thing, but it is good news for sinners who repent. It is good news because it means that when you meet Jesus Christ at the cross you are meeting someone who has experienced the full measure of the tragedy of human existence. Out of his own experience of physical suffering and spiritual rejection, Jesus not only sympathizes with your pain, he empathizes too.

Hmmm. Empathy and sympathy. Did you know that the word empathy has only been around since the early 1900's with the introduction of modern psychology? Sure, it has its derivation from a Greek word, but we can thank the Germans for its modern use although we don't seem to use it as it was originally intended.

Empathy is a difficult term to define. It's like trying to catch fog in a jar. You can see fog, you can know that it is there and it has form and substance but you cannot hold it and you can't take a glass jar and scoop it up. Sympathy is not so difficult as it has been used a long time. Aristotle was familiar with it. He used the term sympathy and it has been around ever since. Sympathy is the ability to relate to what someone is experiencing because we have been there and done that. Empathy is the ability to project or imagine how someone would feel although you have not experienced the same thing.

The modern ideas of empathy and sympathy aside, it is a blessing to realize that my Savior is not unfamiliar with my emotions nor is he unaware of the frailty of my human condition. Whether lounging on the couch feeling sorry for myself or wrestling with my flesh, Christ has met my needs with his life, death and resurrection. He is the one upon whom my hope rests. My peace with God is not the absence of conflict but the presence of hope, the hope of Christ, despite the conflicts that terrorize my soul.

A little further in the book Boice and Ryken write: "You are helpless, hopeless and unrighteous- unless, that is, you come to the cross to ask for the help, the hope, and the righteousness of Jesus Christ. Then the cross is full of the hope and help you need."

Now that's what my soul needs to hear. Can someone give me an amen and pass the antibiotics?

I should have known....

I am sick. Not quite 'Nearer my God to Thee' sick, but sick enough to be miserable. I went to the doctor for a flu shot and she said, "Uh...no. You're sick. Your throat looks wretched and I want to do a strep test. You have a fever." So much for a prophylactic injection of weak flu cooties to keep me healthy. I was a day or too late. If I survive this, (which I will but I am just that miserable as to wish that I would not) I can come come back to Dr Betsy and get some shots to prevent flu and pneumonia. You know what? It's a sign of getting old when they want to give you a pneumonia shot.

I have decided I am too miserable to write. Well, at least too miserable to be trusted to write something that is edifying. I did watch the debate between Governor Palin and Senator Biden. I wasn't overly impressed in either direction. This election isn't going to be about making a good choice, it is going to be about making a better choice. I am still voting McCain and Palin. Senators Obama and Biden scare me silly.

That's all for now, perhaps I will write more when the fever subsides.

02 October 2008

Our Economic Crisis

A friend of mine sent me a link to a YouTube video and said I should watch it. She always gives me something to think about so I happily sat down with my coffee and clicked THE LINK. She was right, it gave me a good deal to think about and google. I hope it will do the same for you. I couldn't figure out how to embed this particular video or I would have.

Hope your Google fingers are ready for a workout!

01 October 2008

Thoughts on Clam Chowder, Frogs and Crabs

When I am fixin' to be "Nearer My God to Thee" sick, I crave clam chowder. I have been this way for as long as I can remember. It's not a comfort food because I am the only one in my family that likes it or makes it as far as I know. Apparently at the age of about 3 I collapsed in my mother's lap and told her I could prolly die if I didn't get some "clamp chowder." I have also been one of those people whose body temperature goes from 98.6 to 104 when I am sick. If you see me shopping for clams and clam juice, better go the other way as I am probably contagious.

Tonight as I was driving home from work I started craving soup. My first thought was that it is a cool night and I am tired. A can of soup would be easy and not too awfully bad for me. Then I started noticing a tickle in my throat and I began to wonder, "Am I getting sick?" I am not off probation yet, I don't want to be sick. It's not authorized for me to be sick for another 14 days. I am ignoring the tickle but I can't help but think about it. It's like if I tell you not to think of a tomato the very first thing that pops up in your head is what? A tomato. There is switch that gets flipped and suddenly tomato is your most used vocabulary word and your most frequent thought. It's like you're programmed to tomato think of tomato every couple tomato of seconds, right? Tomato.

So, what does it mean when I know my soul is sick and I am miserable but my first thought isn't to spend time with the one who can heal my soul? Why do I ignore my God? Does it mean my faith is puny? Do I need to worry about my salvation? Or does it mean I am stark raving normal and a saved sinner wrestling with my flesh? If I am depending on Jesus' life, death and resurrection to get my soul into heaven where it will ultimately be healed for good, should I worry that I don't crave time with Jesus like I crave clam chowder when I am sick?

Is there a time in our sanctification process where we honestly get to the place that we want Him more than we want out next breath? I know my soul gets parched without Him- but it sort of happens like the story of frogs getting acclimated to the water heating before it boils and they forget to jump out while it is getting hot until it's too late and they are dead. I don't want to be a frog.

When I was young a friend of our family, Susie, called my step-dad to ask him how to cook Dungeness crab. Susie was newly married and her husband loved fresh crab. Though she had never cooked crab before she had gone down to the local pier and purchased a few live ones to cook for a dinner party that night. Dad asked her if she had a big stock pot and she said she did. Next he told her it was easy to cook crabs, you just wash them off and put them in a pot of water and boil them until their shells turn an orange-red color. Satisfied that she could handle the task, Susie hung up. About an hour later we received a frantic call from her.

I answered the phone and heard a terrible commotion and Susie saying, "I need Ed! I need help!" I yelled and dad picked up the other extension in the living room immediately. The next thing I heard was him telling her to calm down and a terrible noise in the background. Finally through tears and what sounded like mortal fear I heard, "How do you keep the crabs in the pot???!" Susie had filled her stock pot with cold water and placed the pot on the stove. At first the crabs were content to be there but they must have gotten wind about what was coming next or she had turned on the fire and the water was beginning to heat. Soon it was every crab for himself and they were scrambling with all eight legs and snapping with both claws in an effort to vacate the stock pot. Susie was trying to beat them back into the stock pot using the lid as a shield and a big wooden spoon.

Dad, though laughing somewhat hysterically, told her it was best to have the water boiling before the crabs went into the pot. Susie was traumatized, the crabs eventually got cooked and her husband enjoyed a fine dinner. I have never forgotten the story. I have this mental image of Susie with her kitchen artillery trying to fend off the angry Dungeness crabs.

Hmm, I am trying to make a spiritual application out of this. Wouldn't it be good if I put on the armor of faith, took out the sword of the Word and did battle with my flesh lilke Susie fought to cook those crab? Or maybe it is better to think of myself like a crab and not a frog when I am in 'hot water.' Or perhaps it's just a fun story to tell at the end of a long day..... you decide.