Friday, December 23, 2011


Mary did you know...

The more I hear this song, the more I like it.  As the lyrics played again last night, it struck me that Mary had to wait thirty whole years before she saw God finish the work He started.

...that your baby boy would one day walk on water?

There was a lot of excitement surrounding the angel's first appearance to Mary, and then again at the birth of her baby.  But then...nothing.  Life as usual.

The Child that you delivered will soon deliver you.

What did Mary think as the years went by, as she and Joseph eeked out a living to feed and clothe their family?  What went through her mind as she taught her Spirit-conceived baby to walk and feed himself, just like any other baby conceived by man?

When you kiss your little Baby, you kissed the face of God...

What sort of future did Mary see for her boy as she watched her husband's skilled carpenter hands teach the family's livelihood to a set of awkward teenage hands?  Did she wonder about his future of public speaking as he taught his circle of peers in the dusty streets?  Or did he prefer the quiet and lonely comfort offered by wood, a hammer, and nails?

Mary did you know...

When her son became a man and joined the ranks of humble carpentry, did she start to question the events surrounding his birth?  Did she wonder if she heard wrong, believed wrong, misunderstood?  Did she start to question God and His plan?  Did she start to give up on hope for the miraculous and settle for ordinary instead?

...that your Baby Boy is Lord of all creation?

Or did Mary hold God to His promises?  For thirty uneventful years, did Mary trust God and believe unwaveringly that He would come through?  Did she pray "May it be as You have said" just as fervently in the third decade as she had when the angel first appeared?

The sleeping Child you're holding is the Great I Am.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Homesickness finally hit me this week for the first time since I moved over three months ago.  I'm finally slowing down long enough to start processing my new life.  At the same time, five hundred miles from me, precious hearts are being broken, and I am too far to be close.

My friend and I have been chatting this week, and there is a steady pattern to our conversation.

Sam made it home. 
She made it home for Christmas.

One by one, saints whose lives I only know from a distance are going home.  One in high school, another in a nursing home.  As I type, I am waiting to hear from another friend who is spending her December sitting bedside in a hospital, waiting for her mother to make it home with the others.

What a homecoming it must be.

Not that long ago, I walked this same path that these friends now tread.  I remember the night my dad made it home.  I can't help but wonder if these friends are experiencing the same thoughts and emotions I did.  Pain, yes.  But more overwhelming than that was the peace.  Peace that transcends all understanding, that guards our hearts and minds.  Peace that makes the whole process somewhat bearable.  And hope.  Hope in knowing that this is not the end.  Oh no.  Definitely not the end.  Merely the beginning.

I wonder if, instead of the shadow of death, my friends see their loved ones in the very presence of Christ.  That is the thought that consumed me during that late-night drive home from the hospital.  It was overwhelming and I couldn't think on it more than a few moments at a time, for it was too much.  When we walked out of the hospital room for the last time, we left my dad's body laying in the bed, cold and silent and still.  But he was not dead, and I knew that as tangibly as I knew the sky was black and the stars were shining over the dark county roads.  I cried, not because my dad was dead, but because he was in the very presence of Jesus, and it was more than my heart could contain.

These saints, young and old, knew Jesus.  They believed Him and knew Him and loved Him in this life.  And because of their faith and His grace, they stand with Him now, more alive than ever.

I wonder if my friends are brought to their knees in the hope and peace and wonder of this beautiful mystery.


They made it home.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Case Study: The Long-Term Effects of Kinesio Tape on Hallux Valgus - Week 2

(To read the first installment of this seat-gripping self-study, click here.)

Honestly, I haven't been expecting much in the way of results this early after starting my little experiment.  So I was a little surprised with my first follow-up measurements.  Let's review.


Starting toes

Starting Measurements (11/21/11)

L MTP:  35 degrees valgus
R MTP: 30 degrees valgus

Measurements after Taping

L MTP:  15 degrees valgus
R MTP:  20 degrees valgus


I've been keeping to a consistent wearing schedule of three days on, one day off.  That means I've taped my toes four times since starting.  I've been using the same taping pattern each time.  After this fourth taping, I measured both immediately before and after I removed this fourth round of tape.

Measurements with tape on (12/7/11)

L MTP 21 degrees
R MTP 18 degrees

Measurements with tape off

L MTP 25 degrees
R MTP 22 degrees

After I'd had the tape off for a full 24 hours, I re-measured.  Then I measured one more time with new tape on.

Measurements after 24 hours

L MTP 28 degrees
R MTP 28 degrees

My toes a full 24 hours after removing the 4th taping.

Keep in mind that my original measurements were 35 and 30 degrees (respectively).  My left toe valgus showed a 7 degree decrease, and my right a 2 degree decrease!  Like I said at the top, I wasn't expecting to see any change this early.

Measurements with new tape applied

L MTP 24 degrees valgus
R MTP 20 degrees valgus

In NWB (non-weight bearing), the amount of correction from the tape is much more obvious!

So, there you go.  And by the way, I appreciate those of you who have voiced your interest in following along with these reports!  (Granted, most of you are fellow therapists...)  Knowing you're paying attention will help me carry through with this.  Thank you!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Case Study: The Long-Term Effects of Kinesio Tape on Hallux Valgus - Week 0

This past weekend I took the final of three courses in Kinesio taping.  A couple of weeks from now, I will hopefully have taken and passed the test for certification.  (Which means I can add "CKTP" behind my name.  Not gonna lie, I'm kind of excited about that.)

Over the course of the weekend, I decided to do a case study/experiment with the taping.  I'm excited that the subject of my study!  (There's gonna be a great deal of excitement in this post...)

I have weird toes.  They've been this way as long as I can remember.  My big toes point outward instead of straight ahead.  See?

The technical term for this is "hallux valgus," which I more commonly refer to as "crooked toes."  I don't know if I inherited this trait, or if it's a combination of being a toe-walker and running around barefoot my whole life.  (I can safely say it's certainly not from wearing too many tight pairs of high heels.)  They don't really cause me any problems, except some occasional soreness after running longer distances.  But I could eventually end up with painful bunions, which does not sound all that exciting to me.

Anyway, I'm going to see if Kinesio taping my toes for a length of time will correct and reverse the crookedness.  The instructor of my course told about some women with this same condition who managed to change the bone structure of their toes after only two months of taping, which they evidenced by x-rays.  I don't expect a complete correction of my toes, but I do wonder if I can permanently alter the valgus angle by a few degrees.  Here comes the technical information:

11/21/11 - Starting Measurements

Left (L) metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint:  35 degrees valgus
Right (R) metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint:  30 degrees valgus

Taping Technique

Measurements After Taping

L MTP:  15 degrees valgus
R MTP:  20 degrees valgus

It just now dawned on me that this will be the most boring blog post some of you have ever read and that not everyone shares the same happiness over seeing my toes taped.  I apologize.  I'm posting anyway.

Anyway, if you happen to still be paying attention, you will have noticed that the tape decreased the valgus angle of both toes.  Not enough to make them completely straight, but enough to make a significant difference in the joint alignment.  I'm hoping that, over the course of a few months, my foot muscles will be retrained enough to hold my toes in a slightly better position and maybe even change the bone structure.

Enough geeking.  I'll try to post an update every few weeks for your reading pleasure...or non-pleasure.  Mostly it's just more fun to blog about it than to write up a boring research paper.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Overdue Confessions

I have some 'fessin' up to do.  Remember that one post I wrote back in January?  (Maybe you don't remember me.  Hello, my name is Elizabeth and I used to write.)  I made some non-resolutions for 2011, one of which involved me losing forty pounds by the end of August.  Well, August has come and gone, and I've been a little preoccupied in the meantime, so here's my long overdue update.

I did not meet my goal.

I hate to say that, because now it's going to draw your attention to my body next time you see me, and quite frankly, I prefer to pretend that no one ever notices my physical flaws.  (Kind of like putting my hands over my eyes and playing the if-I-can't-see-you-then-you-can't-see-me game.)  But part of the reason I announced my plan to lose weight in the first place was to have additional accountability.  If I tell you I'm going to do something, then I'd darn well better get it done, even if you never say another word about it.

The eight month weight loss journey was quite amazing in itself, primarily because of the Spirit working in my heart through Lysa Terkheurst's book Made to Crave.  It's an incredible book, and I highly recommend it to any woman who struggles with identity and self-worth.  Anyway, by the beginning of August I had lost twenty-five pounds.  Not that close to my goal of forty, but certainly nothing to be ashamed of.

Unfortunately for my bathroom scale, I let life get the best of me and haven't been able to keep up with my new eating lifestyle.  As a result, I've gained back some of that twenty-five pounds.  However, I can't tell you how much exactly, because (fortunately for my bathroom scale) I've been too afraid to step on to assess the damage.  My pants still fit, so I know I'm still ahead of where I was at the start of the year.

The dust around me is settling just a bit, and I'm hopeful that I can soon pick up where I left off.  The challenging part is examining my motives behind losing weight.  I want to do it for purely selfish and cosmetic reasons.  God wants me to do it because I am to honor Him through obedience and the decisions I make, including the choice between eating a cookie or an apple with my lunch.

Don't hear me wrong - I'm not saying God has pre-ordained every single bite I'm supposed to eat or that I'm only allowed carrot sticks and water (ew).  But I do believe that the quiet decisions I make regarding my food - even cookies vs apples - matters in how He is glorified in my body, which He created for His desires and purposes.  He gave me this body to look after and tend to while I'm on this earth, just like He has given me a job to work at with all my heart (Col 3:23).  It's my job to take care of it to the best of my abilities so that I can offer it back to Him as my living sacrifice (Rom 12:1).  I want to give Him my best.

Friday, October 28, 2011

From One Chapter to the Next

For the past several months, life has had a way of sprinting ahead and leaving me in a perpetual state of trying to catch up, all the while huffing and puffing.  (Not hard to do considering how out of shape I am lately.)  Now here I am with a brief window of opportunity to catch up just a bit while I spend the weekend out of town by myself.  I'm attending a continuing education course, so while my time away won't be restful, I am still away.  For just a few hours I can sit in this hotel room and have nothing to distract me from relaxing - no dishes to wash, no clothes to fold, no leftover paperwork to finish up, no boxes to pack.  I can sit...and be.

When I start to think about all the changes I've had in the past three months, it makes my head spin.  Sometimes I look around me and can barely remember how I got here.  I mean, I saw it all coming, and I prepared for it along the way...but I still can't always get my mind around it.

Three years and almost three months ago I moved to South Dakota.  Home.  Three years and one month later, I moved back to Kansas.  Home.

I have two homes, one just as real and true as the other.  That has been a blessing as well as a challenge.  Two homes would be much easier if they were in the same place.  Nine hours is a very complicating distance.

The magnitude of what I left behind two months ago doesn't escape me.  I had many good things, and I miss them.  Even though God used my time there to break and rebuild me, He didn't leave me unblessed.  I miss those blessings.

I miss my chatting with my girls at work.  I miss my church family.  I miss leading worship.  I miss living in a region that grows only small spiders.  I miss the town.  I miss the South Dakota license plates on my car.  I miss my best friend.

I miss my home.

But mingled in with that is the overwhelming joy of new blessings.  I have a new job that I enjoy, complete with new coworkers to chat with.  I am closer to my family and old friends.  I have a beautiful home.  I found a new church family that has welcomed me enthusiastically.  I am becoming part of a wonderful new praise team.  I am building new relationships.

I am home.

I have never felt more alive than I have these past two months.  I don't know for sure what God is doing, but I know He has changed me.  I can see what I was, and I can see what He has made me.  He has restored me, transformed me, and He is pouring so much on me now that I don't know how to receive it.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Hell Is Real

Life does a good job of distracting me, of keeping my mind and heart apart from each other.  But this past week, in those moments of stillness when my mind has had a chance to wander a bit, it goes to a place of horror and torment.  The toes of my imagination have dangled in waters not even the demons want to swim in.


At the LifeLight music festival last weekend, I had the privilege of hearing Bill Wiese speak about his trip to Hell and back.  It was awful.  But I believe every word he shared.  Heaven and Hell are part of the foundation of my faith, as is Christ, who can choose to reveal whatever He wants to whomever He chooses.  I have no doubt this man visited Hell in a vision, and I have no doubt what he describes is just as physical as the chair I am sitting on.  Bill's experience has made the unseen world more tangible to me, and because of this, my heart trembles at the thought of any human being spending eternity in Hell.

Hell is hot, beyond temperatures any living being can survive.  But in Hell, the heat doesn't kill you.  Because you're already dead.

In Hell your body is weak, exponentially weaker than what the worst bout of flu does to you.  You can hardly move your body, because on earth it is God who provides your strength (Ex 15:2).  You can't turn to God for strength because it is too late.  You are already dead.

Hell is full of gruesome demons who hate you and physically beat and shred your body.  At the start of creation, God created man in His image.  Demons hate God.  Because you're made in the image of God, they by default hate you.  But their beatings will never kill you.  Because you're already dead.

In Hell you don't bleed, even though demons rip chunks of flesh from your body.  There is no blood in Hell, because "the life of a creature is in the blood" (Lev 17:11).  You will never bleed to death because you have no blood to bleed.  You're already dead.

In Hell your body is consumed by fire.  You feel every ounce of pain.  But like the burning bush (Ex 3:2), your flesh never burns.  There is no water to quench the fire, because there is no water in Hell.  You never burn to death.  Because you're already dead.

In Hell you can't breathe, even though your lungs scream for oxygen.  You gasp for air like an asthmatic, except the asthmatic can still (though laboriously) overpower the inflammation in his lungs and take life-giving breaths.  In Hell your lungs never inflate because on earth you breathe the "breath of life" (Gen 2:7); in Hell there is no life.  You are already dead.

In Hell your body is consumed with maggots.  They crawl and wriggle and chew and gnaw, and they never stop (Isa 66:24) because your flesh will never be fully consumed.  For your flesh to be fully consumed, you would have to reach a point of death.  But it is impossible to die.  You are already dead.

Hell is a place of fear, worse than darkest nightmare you've ever experienced.  There is no comfort, because only God gives comfort (Isa 49:13).  You are consumed with a terror that never ends.  You will never wake up from it.  You can't.  You are already dead.

In Hell you are devoid of all hope, and this is the worst torment of all.  Hell is just as eternal as Heaven.  Once you reach Hell, it is too late.  Every torment you experience is made more painful with the knowledge that there is no end in sight, no relief, no break, no second hope.

You see, Hell is a place completely devoid of God and His attributes.  We don't realize the extent to which He infiltrates our daily earthly lives, evil-filled as they are.  He gives us water, breath, light, strength, protection, healing, comfort, peace, hope.  He is the Sustainer of all life.  He holds back evil so that it never completely overpowers.

In Hell, no part of God is present.  Demons reign and unleash unchecked evil and terror.  Torment is constant and permanent.  Life is completely and utterly absent...and you exist in this state for all eternity, just as real as everything is for you right now.

I deserve this Hell.  So do you.  Every single one of us deserves to spend eternity in this place, because every single one of us has sinned against a perfectly holy God.  Sin cannot exist in the presence of God.  But by His incredible grace, through Jesus, He offered us a way to become pure and perfect before Him.  Those of us who believe He did this and receive His gift of grace also receive the gift of Heaven, which is as wonderful as Hell is horrible.

I'm going to Heaven.  I want you to go with me.

It scares me to think you might not.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Latest Eye Update

Last week I returned to the retina specialist for my follow-up appointment.  My mom went with me, and our waiting room experience was quite different from the first time.  At the first visit, I arrived early, got in early, and got out quickly.  This time, we arrived early and spend a solid two and a half hours inside their massive clinic in exchange for about twenty minutes of service.

But as a health care professional myself, I can't complain about making patients wait to be seen.

The doctor numbed my eyes and probed the back sides of my eyeballs with his probey stick, then delivered some very good news.  The holes in my retinas haven't changed at all in the past three months, which means they're not getting worse.  Now that he knows they're not getting worse, he is very adamant in his recommendation to just let them be.  I will continue to follow up with him every six months, and that will be all.  Laser surgery is always a possibility to prevent further tearing, but he says that as long as the holes aren't changing, he doesn't feel the risks of surgery are worth the benefits.

This is very good news as I can carry on with life as usual.  I don't have to make any decisions about having or not having surgery, which (for those who have witnessed my decision-making skills) is a very huge relief.

God is good.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

This Is the Reason for the Hope That I Have

My job, if I take the time to notice, continually reminds me of the fragility of life.

In the past week or so, two patients have stayed close to the surface of my memory.  The first, a middle-aged man who died suddenly and unexpectedly only hours after I first met him.

The second, a young girl not yet old enough to go to school, body weak and head bald from intense chemotherapy to kill off a fast-growing brain tumor.  Doctors don't put the odds of survival in her favor.

I took a coworker with me to this little girl's house, primarily because her home life is such that I did not feel safe going on my own.  After our visit, my coworker commented that seeing things like that "really makes you question your faith."

The conversation didn't go any farther than that, but I thought to myself how the opposite is true for me.  Seeing and experiencing hopeless and unfair and tough situations drives me closer to God, deeper in my faith.  To me, going through the trials of life without God seems worse than the trials themselves.

This day, Resurrection Sunday, is my most favorite day of the year.  There is a joy that fills my heart to overflowing when I stand up and sing praises to my risen King.  I get excited to be with my fellow believers and share this joy with them, because this faith we have is what binds us together as family.

Today, after a weekend of remembering the brutal death of Jesus on the cross, we celebrate His victory when He came back to life and conquered death once and for all.

You see, this is why I live.  When I see little girls with brain cancer and feel the pain that comes with life, this is what keeps me moving forward.  This is the reason I am able to get out of bed every morning, because truthfully, if not for this hope in Christ, I would find no purpose in life.

Because of what Jesus did for me and for you, I have an undying hope in His promises to come.  I know that when I die my life isn't over, but rather just beginning.  This whole life is just a single page in the book of eternity.  There is more to come, something greater, and that is the purpose for which I was created.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Eyes Update

Saw the retina specialist on Thursday in Sioux Falls.  They had asked me not to eat or drink anything before coming, so with those instructions and the urgency they felt to schedule me right away, I went with the full intention of having some form of surgery that day.  My friend came along, as regardless of the outcome, I would be unable to drive afterward.

Once my eyes were dilated to the size of basketballs, the doctor came in and began his poking and prodding.  And by poking and prodding, I mean digging for gold.  I had no idea it was possible to palpate the back side of the eye with a stick.

He told me I have a condition called lattice degeneration that comes with being near-sighted.  Basically, my retinas have become so thin that they have torn in a couple of places, one on each eye.  He thinks they've been there probably three to six months already.  There's a 20-30% chance they will worsen at some point, which can be reduced to 3-4% if I have laser surgery to scar down the damaged areas.  Regardless, he wants to see me again in a few months to determine if these holes are growing or not.  I decided to wait until that time to see what he finds and make a decision about surgery then.

All in all, good news.  I mean, it's not good to have holes in my retinas.  But the condition isn't serious, and I feel like I'm in the care of professionals who know what they're doing.

I celebrated by having drinks from Sonic and Caribou.  Happy hour at both - can't beat that.

I deeply appreciate all the prayers and support.  I had no doubt I was being prayed for by many people.  From Wednesday night on, I had a sense of peace and no presence of anxiety or nervousness (until he was ready to deliver the diagnosis).  That kind of peace can come only from the Father, Who watches over us and cares about even my eyes.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


That's how I felt this morning when I first opened my eyes as all three alarms were blaring at me to get out of bed.  That's how I felt as I watched a beautiful sunrise in my rear-view mirrors on my way to work.

Would it be the last one I ever see?

A routine eye exam last night revealed holes in my retinas that need immediate attention.  And while my vision this morning was the same as it was before my appointment, I woke up much more aware of how precious this gift of sight is.

I'm not in grave danger of losing my eyesight.  But I know enough to recognize my increased risk for retinal detachment, and that it can happen at any time without warning, or without anything to stop it.  So tomorrow I will venture out to see a specialist, who may or may not decide I need surgery.  I'm not too excited about all these unknowns, or the prospect of having sudden and unplanned surgery.  But I go in the care of the Father, the Great Physician, who has my days planned out and will keep me close.  I am in good hands.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Disappointment in Obedience

I thought I did really where are the results?  I worked really hard to shift my focus, rely on His power, and practice self-control.  For two weeks now I've been at it.  But according to the scale, nothing seems to have paid off.

I shared in a previous post that I'm on a journey to lose weight.  Forty pounds, to be exact.  And not just to lose it (because I've lost and gained it many times over), but to keep it off.  For good.

This is a subject that I prefer to avoid and address quietly, on my own.  It's one of those things that if I don't point out or draw attention to, then no one will notice.  Or so I pretend.  But here is where I blog my thoughts and lessons and ponderings, and this is where my life is at right now.

I had a successful January of counting points and ended up losing five pounds.  But from the get-go, I've been hesitant to launch back into my standard diet routine because it's never lasted.  There's something deeper that needs to be addressed besides simply limiting my food intake.  So I started reading Made To Crave by Lysa Terkhurst and embarked on a new journey, this time with my focus on obedience to God, practicing self-control, and living/eating in the healthy way God intended for each of His creations.  For the past two weeks, I've ditched the points and prayed to God for strength and His power to make good decisions.  I've been successful, and it's been empowering.  I've avoided the bottomless pit of Girl Scout cookies that sit next to my desk at work, chosen to eat fruit over chocolate, taken smaller portions in the cafeteria lunch line, and yesterday (my greatest achievement yet) passed up multiple plates of pizza at the Pizza Hut lunch buffet in exchange for a healthier salad bar plate, one slice of pizza, and two small bread sticks.  Still not the ideal lunch...but it was a triumph for me and it felt great.

So when it came time for my weekly weigh-in this morning, I was excited to step on the scale.  Excited, as in I had been anticipating this moment for a couple of days.  Excitement that was quickly dashed to pieces as the scale told me I had gained two pounds.  After seven weeks (minus a week of vacation from my diet) of hard work, my net loss is three pounds.


Crushed.  Disappointed.  Things like that surrounded me and I pointed out to God that I had been obedient.  I had refrained from naughty food and deprived myself of many treats.  I thought He had been pleased with me.  Why, then, didn't I lose?

I have managed today to continue to make good choices, though my emotions would much rather throw me into despair and have me "take a day off."  I'm trying to remember that obedience is more important than results.  I may have slipped up a few times, but I am satisfied that I did a good job and believe God is pleased.  Part of this journey is to find peace with my body, and I am obviously not there yet.  But it's only been two weeks.  And I have to remember that I was up a couple of pounds this time last month as well.  So maybe it's the timing.  Maybe it's simply water weight, caused by the diet soda I drank yesterday or the antibiotics I've been taking this week.  I am trying to remain hopeful.

Regardless of today's results, my job is to keep on, to remain obedient and self-controlled, seeking His power and promises and truths.  The journey is what gets me to the destination.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

I nervously peeked through her slightly-open door.


Well, here goes.  I took a deep breath and walked into her room.

I putzed around for a few moments.  She needed help pouring water into her cup, so I did that for her.  Then handed her the glass to take a drink.  Pretty soon there was nothing left to distract me from doing what I came to do without creating an even more awkward presence.  So I sat.

Is it ok if I talk to you for a few minutes?

She nodded.


...I was thinking about you yesterday...and...I feel like God wants me to ask you this...I know you've had a lot to think about lately with everything...

She muttered her agreement. you confident with where you're going when you die?

She didn't miss much of a beat.  Told me she's ready to go, but doesn't understand why she has to go through all this.  Started to recap her experience over the past several weeks, and then an aide entered the room to take her into the bathroom.  At some point she had pushed her call light.  If it was before or after I showed up, I have no idea.  For all I know, she pushed it as soon as I started stammering around so someone would come relieve her of the situation.

So she and the aide headed to the bathroom.  And I left.

I don't know what I was expecting.  I couldn't help thinking how cool it would be if I could've left her room celebrating a new conversion to Christ.  Or at least having a long conversation about heaven and what it's going to be like.

I can't say I was prepared for the brief two and a half minutes that had caused my tummy to ache over for the past eighteen hours.  Or for the fatigue of waking up early to see her before work.  Or for the crazy whirlwind day that followed.

Yesterday kicked my butt.

I don't think I regret doing it.  I'm mostly sure it's what God was asking me to do.  I can't see any immediate benefit from the situation.  No one was saved who wasn't already reportedly saved.  Friends prayed with me the night before, and I have no exciting answered prayers to share with them and rejoice over.  I was stretched and stepped out in faith, and I'm pretty sure next time isn't going to be any easier.  I have no solid conclusions to come to, other than I did it and now it's over.

Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give 
the reason for the hope that you have.  
I Peter 3:15

Sunday, January 9, 2011

She sits alone in the nursing home these days, too weak and sick to go home to her husband.  They keep trying to make her my patient, but I can't.  I won't.  She won't, either.  Right now, therapy isn't a priority.

They tried chemo.  But her heart was too weak to handle it.  Now there's nothing they can do.  Her heart will probably give out before the cancer gets to her.  "They're leaving me to die," she will say to anyone who listens.  "There's nothing more they can do."  And her eyes fill with the fear and sadness of not yet being ready to embrace the end.

Today in Sunday School we read and talk about why we call ourselves Christians and won't share our faith.  And it convicts me.  More people than not are headed straight to hell.  And I do little to nothing to try to change their course.  Why not?  I believe hell exists, and I know it's more terrible and awful and eternal than my mind can grasp.  So what's my problem that I keep my mouth shut and don't share the great news of Jesus with others?

This isn't the first time I've written about this subject.  Exactly a year ago I faced a similar situation with a similar patient.

And now I've returned to this place yet again.

All during class I thought of this woman.  All through church and lunch and my nap she was on my mind.

She's dying.  And she knows it.

Her heart could fail any day.  She could be gone before I get to work tomorrow.

Maybe she's ready; maybe she's not.  Her eyes tell me she doesn't know the peace of heaven.

I should tell her.  Because I know.  He offered it to me, and He offers it to her.  Someone needs to tell her.

Pray for her.

Pray for me.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Losing Control

I left the nursing home this morning after another demanding and frustrating morning.  As I started my twenty minute commute to my next destination, a friend's invitation surfaced in my mind:  Instead of asking Him, 'What should I do with my day?', ask 'What do You want me to do with Your day?  How do you want me to do Your job today?'  Because it's His anyway...

Sensing a need to change my attitude and crabbiness, I thought I'd give it a try.

God, how do you want me to do Y...Yo...Yooouuu...r...

I couldn't do it.  I couldn't bring myself to call my job His.

It's my job.

I may not like it much of the time, and I may constantly complain about it and dream of greener pastures...

But it's mine.

If I call it His (as though He didn't create it and give it to me in the first place), am I going to be stuck doing it forever?  Am I doomed with no way out?

Will He make me do something I don't want to do?  Something even worse than poop and puke?

What will I have left?  I won't have any control...

And I think that's supposed to be the point.  I'm not supposed to have anything left; I'm supposed to give it all to Him.  All of me.  I'm not supposed to have control (as if I did anyway); I'm supposed to trust and lean on Him.

I wish I could say that realization made everything better and I fixed it all immediately.

But I didn't.  In fact, on the way home I did the exact same thing.

God, what do you want me to do with Y...Yo...Yooouu...r... my evening?

Saturday, January 1, 2011

My Non-Resolutions

It's the first day of a new year, and this is the post where I'm supposed to write about my resolutions for the year, what 2010 meant to me, what my hopes and dreams are for the next twelve months...but I can't say I'm really into all that.  At least not at this moment in time.

But I do like writing today's date:  1/1/11.

That's only the second time today I've had reason to do that.



I've long since given up on making New Year's resolutions.  I find them to be a little silly.  However, I do have two sort of looming clouds over my head right now, and I'm hoping to do something with/about them in the days and months to come.

This first one actually tops everyone's resolution charts:  I need to lose weight.  Again.  And it just so happens that I'm going to tackle that at the start of a new year.  Not because it's a resolution.  More because once Thanksgiving arrived, there was really no point in even trying to diet until all the holidays were over.  So today I started mapping out my plan, and having to face this reality has been a bit discouraging in many ways.  But I'm glad to be doing something about it, because that means things are only going to get better from here.


I've made it a long-term process.  I've dieted many times in the past, and I like to shed many pounds in as few weeks as possible.  The problem I have, however, is keeping it off.  So this time I'm going to practice patience and take a little more time finding my skinny jeans.  I'm hoping that if I take a little longer to lose the weight, my body will adjust better and not feel the need to hoard away every single calorie once the diet is over.  That...and making a better effort at lasting lifestyle changes.  My goal:  lose forty pounds in the next eight months.  Believe me, I have plenty more than that I could get rid of.  But I think this is quite reasonable.  And now that I've broadcast it to the whole world, maybe that extra accountability will help.

The other thing hounding me stemmed from a conversation I had with a friend last week.  She challenged me to see what direction God might be leading me in life by paying attention to the things that "ring my bell."  In other words, figure out what things really strike a cord in my heart and mind, what things get me fired up and excited and passionate.  I've been trying to ponder this to see where it goes.

Problem is, it took me all of ten minutes to reach a final vision, and now I'm having a hard time backing up and figuring out if I did that on my own, or if God did it in me.  I know a small handful of things that I feel passionately about.  (And by passionate, I mean it in the truest sense of the word; not the casual "I have a passion for that" that seems to be thrown around a lot these days.)  So I took these few things and started putting pieces together and wound up with a grand design.

I'm not sure what to do with it now.  It's huge, more than I'll ever be able to accomplish by my own energy or money or power or resolve.  So for now, I'm just waiting.  And learning.  Because I need to be prepared.  And I'm asking God to open my mind enough to allow me to start over and think things through again.  Because sometimes I get my ideas confused with His.  And I really don't need to be wasting time with stuff that will only end up distracting me from the real picture He's trying to show me.

Anyway, I wait and wonder.  I want answers now.  I want to know for sure right now.  If nothing else, I just want to know that I'm on the right track.  But in my immediate-do-it-right-this-second lifestyle, I recognize that God doesn't work on that timetable.  I'm not very good with working at His pace.  But I'd like to think I'm trying.  So we'll see what happens.


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