Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Day-O-Fun

Yesterday, we had one of those not-very-popular trips to the urgent care center. It started in the morning. We decided to have a family outing day and had settled on miniature golf, some shoe shopping (surprisingly, not for me), and dinner out. Before we headed south for our day of fun, my husband needed to head north and run a few errands. I’d been lounging around all morning and still needed to shower and get ready. He took our son with him, I jumped in the shower and in an hour we’d be ready for the day-o-fun.

When the boys returned from town, I heard commotion as they came through the front door. I thought maybe my son had been in trouble in the car or something because he was crying. Turns out that immediately after he left the house with Dad, he began to have some sort of stomach cramps. Apparently he wailed all the way to town and back. He was pretty pathetic. I found him lying on his bed crying, “I don’t want to go golfing today.” Hmmm, I knew this must be some serious pain.

We cancelled all plans and hung around the house while every 15 minutes, my son cried out in pain. It was a sad sight to watch, but we had the feeling that he just had some gas and eventually it would pass (pardon the pun.)

However, as the hours wore on, we began to get a little worried. I knew that in addition to stomach pain, the symptoms of appendicitis also include fever and nausea. He didn’t have any of that but I decided to call the doctor and make sure we shouldn’t bring him in to be checked. It had been about 3 or 4 hours and the wailing continued. The nurse said unless he had more symptoms or the pains were worse, that we should just watch him and wait.

Another hour or two of carrying on and things were getting bad. The crying spells were coming every 30 seconds, rather than every 5-15 minutes. He began to moan, “Mommy, please, someone make it stop!” It was getting late in the afternoon by now and we were really starting to worry, so we packed him in the car and headed for Urgent Care. All the way to town, the screaming continued. In the waiting room, the screaming continued. Then, they led us into the examining room. My son’s stomach was hurting so badly, he could barely climb onto the exam table. The nurse talked to us and left. My son was quiet.

Then he started to crack jokes. No screaming. Then he was singing. No screaming. Then he was jumping around the room. No screaming! I could not believe my eyes. This kid had been in writhing pain all day and now a miraculous recovery. Suddenly, an odor wafted through the room. My earlier prediction had come true. One hour and a $20 co-pay later, we were heading back home. Thankful that nothing serious was wrong with him. So much for the day-o-fun.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Anxiety Cure

You may or may not know that recently I've had some random problems with anxiety. I've posted a little about it now and then. Well, the other day I happened upon an article in my "Today's Christian Woman" magazine about overcoming worry. The author said that whenever she tenses up and feels nauseated, she medicates and breathes deeply. I cracked up laughing, mostly because, in a way, I could relate. At one point, my doctor had given me some anti-anxiety medicine so it was a familiar mental scene.

As I continued reading, however, the rest of the paragraph didn't make sense to me. I mean, it made sense, it just didn't "go" with the opening sentence. It was talking about worshipping God and reciting his blessings to yourself and to him. Of course, I totally get that, but asked myself what it had to do with anti-anxiety drugs. Then I went back and re-read the first part...

"Whenever I tense up and feel nauseated, I meditate and breathe deeply."

Oops.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Sanity: Going Once, Going Twice…Gone!

I’m not really a girl who likes yard sales. I’m not sure why, but there’s something that makes me feel funny about looking through the leftovers of someone’s life while they sit off to the side and watch me. At the same time, I’m not crazy about airing my wares for others to paw through, either. Admittedly, I’ve picked up a few treasures at yard sales, but I’m never really that proud of it. I’d just as soon run down to Wal-mart and buy a new, clean one of whatever it is I’m looking for.

All that being said, in a moment of weakness, this weekend I agreed to go with my husband to a farm auction. I guess it wasn’t really so much a moment of weakness, as it was me not understanding exactly what a farm auction is. In case you’re not familiar, let me enlighten you. A farm auction is like a yard sale on steroids, with a few exceptions. Exception number one, you can’t actually buy anything until the item you want comes up for bid. Therefore, you must stay at the auction all day in order to get your two dollar pair of hedge clippers. Exception number two, it really is an auction, therefore, there’s no guarantee that after waiting all day to purchase said hedge clippers, that you will actually be able to buy them. Finally, exception number three, a farm auction is full of rusty, old, tools, car parts, ropes, gears, tractors, and other such gadgets. Rarely have I seen such a vast amount of stuff that I had absolutely no use for.

This particular auction was at a beautiful country farm. There were several out outbuildings; little sheds and barns and such. The auctioneer moved from place to place around the farm; in and out of the barns and lean-tos, and a crowd of people followed. We’ve been having unseasonably cold weather and the day was about 50 degrees, at most, and there was a steady pouring rain. Not helping.

About two or three hours into this thing, as we entered one of the barns, I saw something that caught my eye. A very new looking, Maytag double oven. Mom and I had just been having a conversation about how cool it would be to have a double oven for hosting parties and large holiday meals. Of course, I have no place to put one, but I eyed the oven anyway. It was the only thing that remotely interested me in that barn. I stood in amazement as bales of old wire sold for 25 bucks, mismatched window panes were argued about, and highest bidder got their choice of pitch forks. Then the auctioneer turned to the double oven. All right, I thought, now we’ll see some real action. I suppose those who attend farm auctions are more interested in tools and wire and tractors…the double oven went for five bucks. I was dumbfounded that these people would pay $40 for a box of rusty screws, but barely give one bid on a cool double oven. At that moment I knew if I didn’t get out of there quickly, my sanity, like the other people’s there, would be going…going…gone.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

The Turning Point

This post is a bit longer than usual for me, but just so you don't think I've been slacking off...here is a devotion that I'm working on for my Christian Writers Guild class.


The impatience of our society astounds me. And, by “our society” I basically mean me. Nobody drives fast enough, or at least not smart enough for me. My fast food isn’t fast enough and my on-demand Internet doesn’t keep up with my demands. My instant pudding doesn’t set up quickly enough and sometimes I think my friends have dropped offline because they don’t reply instantly to my instant messages.

As impatience takes over, I find myself drawn into the myth that my problems can and should be solved quickly. I expect to have a revelation from God and instantly make every needed change in my life. I want an immediate turning point.

The turning point is a concept I love. I see it happen in movies. I read it in novels. I watch the illusion of it happen on Dr. Phil and Oprah as guests leave the stage with their relationships mended or their will power bolstered. The lights come on and immediately the necessary changes are made. And so for myself, I expect the same.

I delight in the idea of realizing a change that needs to be made in my life and then actually having the spiritual maturity to immediately implement my new found wisdom. I love it when the lights come on to my own blindness, the truth is revealed, and I’m quickly able to act on it. Sadly though, that’s not usually the case.

Instead, I wrestle with God about why the process of change is so slow. Why, even though I recognize the change to be made, I feel powerless to act on it. I want a closer marriage relationship, to be a better mom, to eat less carbs and exercise more. I often know what I need to do to obtain these goals, but the changes come slowly. I identify with the apostle Paul where he says in Romans chapter 7, “For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.” I chase after my turning point and feel I catch glimpses of it, but can’t quite reach it. It’s elusive, intangible, and anything but instant.

In Mark, chapter 8, Mark tells the story of Jesus healing the blind man at Bethsaida. “When he had spit on the man’s eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, ‘Do you see anything?’
He looked up and said, ‘I see people; they look like trees walking around.’”

Although, he certainly could have, Jesus didn’t completely heal the first time. We’re not sure why, but he chose to do this miracle in stages, rather than instantaneously. However, in the end, he did finish his work. The next verse tells us, “Once more, Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored and he saw everything clearly.”

Whether we are talking about learning, healing, or our spiritual maturity, we need to understand that God is going through a deliberate process with us. He wants us to be mature and complete, not comfortable and mediocre (James 1:3-4). His interest is not in taking us down the shortest path, but in our ultimate good. God leads and we must choose to follow, even when the way seems murky and we can’t see our own feet on the path we are walking. No shortcuts allowed.

The Bible speaks over and over of God’s ongoing work in our lives; how he is making us into a perfect image of him. We are a work in progress. When I’m aware of this work and that it’s a process that takes time; when I realize that my life will be a slow progression of maturity and when I remember that “he who began a good work in me, will carry it on to completion”…that’s my real turning point.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Time Flies

I'm absolutely sure that I just made my last blog post a day or two ago, but as I look at the calendar, I see that I'm extremely wrong. (somehow that happens to me a lot). I've been a bit shell shocked by life in the past week, so I'm trying to decide what would be best to blog about next.

I think I'll go with the fact that my son got his hair buzzed off last night and I barely recognized him when I went to get him out of bed this morning. He was thrilled that he didn't have to comb his hair before school. (It's pretty hard to comb what isn't there.). He and I were discussing this last night before he went to bed. I was making a big deal about him having more time in the morning, because he's always running late. I said now that his hair was basically non-existent, he could skip combing it...he said, "Oh! Can I skip brushing my teeth too?"

If you're not from around these parts, this last fact won't mean much to you. However, if you are from around here, this is breaking news. There's one consoling thing about about letting my son buzz his hair. The haircut was part of a trade and there's a logger from our church with the initials BJ who's minus one mustache he's had for 20 years. My only regret is that I don't have the picture to post!

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