Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Our school sends out a weekly newsletter to all the families.  Mike, as head of school, writes a little article of sorts.  He is so good at this. He communicates wonderful truths to the families.  This week was so good that I've copied and pasted it.

In watching wife Libby train for her first half marathon from my comfy sofa (ice cream in hand), I’ve picked up a thing or two about running distance. Mainly, I’ve learned that it takes a LOTS of work and LOTS of time. That’s what makes the story of Georgene Johnson of Akron, Ohio so remarkable.
In 1990, the 42-year-old Johnson arrived bright and early at the start line for a 10K run (about 6 miles) in Cleveland. The gun sounded and off she went with thousands of other runners. After about 4 miles with no turnaround point in sight, she asked, “This is the 10K, isn’t it?” When told by another runner that she had actually just begun the 26-mile Revco-Cleveland Marathon, Johnson said, “I felt so dumb that I just stood there and started to cry.” She asked a policeman to drive her back to the start so she could run the race she’d trained for, but he didn’t have a patrol car. Never having run more than 8 miles at a time, Georgene Johnson was stuck on a long, hard path she hadn’t expected, hadn’t trained for, and absolutely did not want.
Ever been there? Places like that can be frustrating, scary, and very lonely. Places like that make us want to give up altogether, or at least find a way back to the path we’d expected. Sickness, relationship stress, financial distress, a bad grade, a bombshell layoff…you name it, the unexpected path can take lots of forms, and none of them are easy.
So what about Georgene Johnson? "I thought about stopping,” she said. “I mean, ME running a marathon? But right in front of me there was a runner with a shirt that said, 'Just do it.' So I did." Four hours and four minutes later, she finished, placing 83rd in the women's division.
Johnson attributes her success to a friendly runner who gave her some encouraging advice: slow down, and once you reach the halfway point, you can get a ride back. So that’s what she did. But halfway through, she was feeling pretty good, so she carried on. A couple of sore knees and 13.1 miles later, Georgene Johnson had a finisher’s medal and a great story to tell.
"I feel great," she said. "As stupid as I felt on the course, I feel that good now."
I have 3 main takeaways from this story:
First…run the race you’re given. Run it well and don’t give up. We can’t always choose our course, but we can choose our response. (school senior MN is a gold medal example of how to do this well.)
Second…don’t try to run your race alone. Accept help from others, and be an encourager yourself. In some way or another, we are ALL in this together. Support those around you and be the “Just Do It” guy for someone today!
Third…train for whatever may come. Let’s face it, four hours isn’t a bad marathon time! This lady was in shape, and that gave her a tremendous advantage. Scripture tells us in 1 Peter 3:15, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” Be as ready as you can for whatever may come. In terms of spiritual training, this means spending time in God’s Word, praying, serving others, practicing gratitude, being actively involved in a body of believers, and allowing yourself to be challenged now and then.
It’s also a good idea to make sure you’re at the right start line 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

We bought a "new" family car and I refuse to be miserable

I struggle with guilt
There, confession.  I'm was beating myself up about getting a newer (2011 Quest) and much nicer minivan.  It is lovely, let me tell you, it is beautiful I dare say.  Everything works!  There is a back up camera---what in the world did we do without that?   The side doors actually open with a button push and then close again without getting stuck open.  Who knew??

Our extremely loved and used Honda minivan was clearly falling apart.  It had 238,000 miles on it.  I know I could have gotten 6 more months out of it.  But, every bump it sounded like all the metal was about to collapse.  It was time.

Why have I been plagued with deep sense of guilt?  Well, first of all, it is a flaw of mine and I'm my worst enemy.  I want everyone to be comfortable around us.  That hail dented van made me feel like I was relatable,  non-intimidating if you will. The what ifs were swirling in my mind:  What if an amazing adventure/blessing/opportunity/need came up and we had to say NO because of debt on a shiny piece of metal?  What if a precious child needed a momma and daddy and we said NO to adopting him/her because of something stupid like not having extra money? Are we being snobby and forgetting to care about the poor and the orphaned if we spend more money on a car? What if people think we are rich , which in and of itself is already a fact because here in suburban middle class America, we are wealthier than about 99% of the world's population.  We would be crude and arrogant to deny that we are. FYI, if your family income is 10,000 dollars a year you are wealthier than 84% of the world's population. Read this for info:     http://www.oregonlive.com/hovde/index.ssf/2012/08/income_in_perspective_americas.html )
  What if Carter changes his mind and wants to go to DBU soon but we can't afford to help pay for it because I'm driving a pretty minivan?   On and on the self doubt and irrational thoughts swirled.  My hubs was very frank with me.  He said "Libby, this is a 3 yr old minivan, this isn't extravagant."  Then, 2 wise young women gave me these words just when I needed them.  They said  "Opportunity/blessing/adventure don't always const money though. You can have debt AND minister the way you love to do."  "The guilt is probably an inner vow that people with fancy cars don't care about the poor and needy.  But that's not you." "Lib, we all struggle with people pleasing to a fault. But at some point, you have to say it doesn't matter what others think.  God knows my heart."  "Your car doesn't make you relatable. Your real-ness makes you relatable."
And so, after cleansing my heart of anxiety and guilt, remembering that we both work very hard at our jobs and try to be good stewards, we signed the papers and are enjoying our blessings!  It was so special because the manager of the car dealer recognized Mike.  He loves Mike's school and wanted to bless us.  We got an amazing deal and a laughably large trade in for our old van (bless the heart of whomever has to fix it up for resale).  When we had to clean out our old car my eyes brimmed with tears!  Oh the memories and life we've lived in that van.  In the back pockets were Legos, rocks, wadded up tissues from Dillon's allergies, an old roadmap, a water hose adapter, and a first aid kit. It was like closing a chapter on our lives with lots of little children. So long old friend.  Hey, now I can get my groove on...my stereo works in the new car :)

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Because HE lives

I can face tomorrow
Because He lives
All fear is gone
Because I know-oh-oh
He holds the future
And life is worth the living
Just because He lives!

Throw back to the 80's praise song by the Gaithers.  Happy Resurrection Day.  My most favorite day of the year.

And, now we head to our wonderful, fun, sweet, quirky, rockin' church to remember that Christ conquered death.  Carter is playing acoustic guitar, snare drum, and tambourine during worship. Dillon and Mike are official door greeters. I'm keeping the 2yr olds during the second service.  Abby and Hudson, well, they will probably just look darling and smile at people.

May you be blessed today.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Prayers for South Korea

If you have had your head in the sand, then you don't know that a ferry carrying 325 high school students, teachers, and other passengers sunk yesterday off the S. Korean coast.  I was going to post something about our Eater plans and fun weekend.  Alas, it seems irreverent to talk of eating food, hunting candy, and cousins playing when hundreds of teenagers are drowned in the ocean.  A piece of our family is forever interconnected with South Korea.  News that hurts them hurts us.  We pray for peace, for miraculous survivals.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

The worst part about being a nurse

is loss of control....sometimes I can't make things better.  That is a hard reality to deal with.  Recently, I worked intensely with 1 patient.  Literally, from 7:00 am to 6:22 pm I only left the room 3 times; one time in the morning for a bathroom break, lunch break while my supervisor stayed in the room, and one time in the afternoon for a potty break.  The patient was that sick.  The patient is 20 something years old with a chronic illness that has devastated the lungs and needs a transplant.   At the beginning of the shift we placed the patient on the ventilator,  had 8 life support iv drips going. Despite this, the patient's oxygenation levels were so poor and blood acid levels were so high, the docs decided to try an oscillating ventilator. I've been an acute care RN for 18 years and have never taken care of a patient on this type of ventilator (and the real thanks goes out to the awesome respiratory therapist who sat at the bedside and managed the machine).  I've read about it and listened to a few lectures at critical care conferences, but never seen one. For hours and hours, the significant other, parents, the respiratory therapist, critical care doctor, and I all stood in the room watching the monitors and drawing blood samples;  willing the patient to live until the specialized SWAT team from a huge university hospital in Dallas could get to us and take the patient to their higher level of care.  It was emotionally, physically, and mentally exhausting.  We racked our brains trying to make sure we were doing everything we could possibly do to help this young person.  The helpless feeling of watching a very young person on the brink of dying is super frustrating. It is simply terrifying to understand that if you let one of those iv drips run out and don't have the replacement ordered and ready to hang, the patient could die.  There was nothing we could do but wait, and Pray!  Late in the afternoon, the specialized team, including the cardiovascular surgeon who'd flown in to help us out, arrived and placed the patient on a type of lung bypass machine...WOW, that was incredible to get to watch! We all breathed a huge sigh of relief when they drove off toward Dallas.  Then we hugged and high fived each other. What a humbling privilege to get to work with such a team of professionals and help save one person's life. After that, I went to our break room, plopped down and stuffed my face with carbs:  pizza and cupcakes!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

When the wackos come picketing

Yes, the wackos came picketing our awesome church recently. It was rather amusing, too be completely honest.  For the sake of safety, privacy, and to not give them any more fuel to their quest for a fame flame, I'll refrain from giving any names.  Their message of controversy and hate came and went.  Our church took it all in stride ad used it as an opportunity to show grace, love, peace,and even a sense of humor. We had a huge crowd in church that day.  A huge crowd to hear the gospel message of Jesus, and huge crowd to see our fun-loving and people-loving church in action. Oh, man I wish I could share a picture that was taken of our pastor standing outside with one of the picket signs in the background that says "your pastor is a whore." Not really sure what that was all about.  It seems they felt that way because we have a female children's pastor and we offer divorce care for families. Whatever!
 Below are some of the words that our very succinct and wise pastor wrote in response...  (fyi, the ___ is where our church's name was, and the W is where the picketers name was).

It seems to me, the biggest different between _____ and W is in how we read Romans 2:4: "Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?"
At _______ we believe that when it comes to repentance, kindness is always more effective than name-calling.
I can see what they are doing. I even understand it. They want their tactics and message to be so shocking, so offensive that it will rouse people from their sin-induced trance and cause them to fall to their knees in broken repentance.
But W has forgotten that offensive signs with repulsive messages will never be as outrageous or as shocking as God's patient, persistent offer of unexpected, undeserved grace. Here is the difference between _______ Church and W.
W says, "God hates you." _________ says, "God loves you."
W says, "God rejects you." ________says, "God is wooing you."
W says, "God despises you." ________ says, "God died for you."

I leave you with this picture.  Hudson wrote out this precious and simple theological truth on the back of a worksheet at school  It says "I love God and Jesus, You are good and even if I don't see you, I love you"   The wisdom of a 6yr old

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

When you have little boys and it is Spring....

there are "projects" all over the backyard made of sticks
fingernails are full of dirt
finding an earthworm is a prize
imaginary baseball games happen in the front yard--1 child and invisible opponents and cheering fans
bicycles are "coupled up" with bungee cords to wagons to make Thomas the Tank Engine
rocks "accidentally" get thrown
nightly baths are a must
the old cruddy play shorts come out because they will ruin nice clothes in seconds
they pretend to mow with the mower
Such fun with little boy in the warm sunshine! I'm so happy to have shorts and flip flops on again