Saturday, March 25, 2006

Writing Idea

Kick But

This week an idea came to me while I was working out. I think well in the morning and the endorphins must have really been flowing this day.

Anyway, my mind started playing with word pictures. I do this quite often. When I’m walking or driving I’ll just start down this trail chasing thoughts and words, it’s kind of fun really. Some of the ideas would make great devotionals but I tend not to write them down and they just float off never to be shared.

Today, I decided to challenge that pattern and I wrote down what I was thinking! So here’s the way it went:

I set the machine at a more difficult level and was really feeling like it was “kicking my butt.” And that phrase began to trip around my mind.

Kick “but” out of here. Peter in Acts 10, when confronted by his vision responded with “Yes Lord, but…” I have often preached that you can’t do both: He is either Lord or not, there is no room for a “but” in following Him.

Get your butt out of here. From physical temple concept of caring for one’s body. I carry around way to much butt and that’s because I sit on it when I should be exercising it. I eat poorly, wrong food, wrong times, wrong reasons. I am responsible for the shape my shape is in and I am trying to act more responsibly and kick that butt out of here!

Another but out, came as I was thinking about where I stick my nose. Isn’t that a weird one? We stick our nose in someone else’s business and we’re told to butt out. Anyway, I had to think about where I’ve butted in and where I need to stop and how many conversations I don’t need to be a part of.

Put your butt out. Thinking of prayer posture. This thought came to me during a particularly moving praise song. Part of me wanted to stop and just fall prostrate on the floor—but since my time was running (and running out before work) I prostrated myself in my heart and remembered that falling at the feet of God is not such a bad spot to be, and if he spanks my behind while I’m there—I probably deserve it!

So then a couple days later while listening to music and working out another word play came to mind: rain and reign. And then a dim little bulb clicked on in my brain: what about writing these down—you know like in a book. (Novel idea: hahahahaha) I love word plays. I love writing devotionally. I could write a book and call it: Homonyms for the Heart. I liked the idea so much that I even started to do some research on homonyms. There’s quite a list. My mind was racing so fast that my fingers couldn’t keep up.

Anyway, I’m just a little excited about this. Then I got this really cool idea: maybe the people I know have some ideas to share. So if you do email me and I will consider adding your thought to my collection. Now excuse me, I have some research to do!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Round About

Friday I got up early and went in to work. I worked out for 30 minutes on the elliptical trainer. I really liked the machine—I felt like I got a wonderful workout and nothing hurt (like knees or hips).

Saturday I walked in the afternoon. I just took off out of the house and 50 minutes later I got home. It was such a beautiful day I just kept walking. My feet didn’t even hurt!

I rested from exercise on Sunday.

This morning I got up and went in for another 30 minutes on the elliptical. I still like it.
I was thinking when I was walking on Saturday. I do that sometimes. I learned that one of my closest friends from High School is a professor of cardiology at the University of Michigan. Another friend is an associate professor and associate dean at the University of Connecticut. Another is Director of the Northern Illinois University School of Music.

When I learned these things, my first thoughts were sad and regret-filled. Imagine that. Then my thoughts took a turn. Instead of continuing down Bemoaning Avenue, I headed straight towards Gratitudeville.

Instead of dwelling on what isn’t or what might have been, I began to consider what I had done. I’ve taught at three seminaries, amongst a whole list of other accomplishments. I was a pastor/chaplain/counselor for a total of 21 years and I was good at what I did. I don’t mean that arrogantly, but I have worked hard on being able to own that. One of the most powerful things ever said about me was said by my chaplain supervisor when he said (in an evaluation) that I was “good for people.”

I may never know who’s life I touched at the right time in the right way because I chose to be faithful in spite of the “smallness” of the assignment. I may be only making hoses right now, but I may not see why I am here doing what I am doing, I have to believe that there is purpose and continued plans for me.

On the tale end of that whole set of thinkings came a thought that sort of tickled me. The core issue is widely debated in theological circles—a debate I chose to stay out of for many reasons, the main one being I think we use a whole lot of time (not necessarily to be confused with waste) debating that could be used to creatively bring us together rather than drive us apart.

Anyway…here’s the thought: If it was ordained (or pre-ordained) that I should be ordained, was it ordained that I become un-ordained? And if so why? And trust me, the question is rhetorical. I’m not looking for an answer. And I’ll tell you why: I’ll stand with Job on this one: the Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away, blessed be the name of the Lord. It’s not my place to argue, or even understand. However, whenever he wants to use me I’m there and I’ll try not to muck it up too badly this time.

Well, I fell asleep last night while writing this one. I’m still trying to get up at 4:30 and that’s hard when the shows I like are on at 9 and 10. Getting up early has definitely curbed my TV viewing time.

So I’m off to the elliptical…see you around…..

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Early Rising

Day One
That's what the clock said when I woke up this morning.
I had been dreaming about running water...never something to be ignored--especially at my age!
At first I groaned.
Then I got up and colored my hair.
Then I did the rest of my morning routine and got to my work place at 6:28.
I put on my headset and listened to the music for this coming Sunday's service and walked really hard for 25 minutes.
I feel good. Real good!

Day Two
Okay, not awake quite as early, but bame it on American Idol.
Got to work a little earlier and got a full 30 minutes of walking in. It felt good--really good this morning. I work tennis shoes instead of my work (steel toes) shoes. At one point the coolest thing happened. I was listening to a worship song and just really got into the praising and it felt like I was walking on my toes. I was dancing, no it was lighter than that--it was like soaring. It was like a wonderful softness lifted my heart and I was lifted above some of the weightiness of recent days, or months. What a super blessed moment!
I noticed that my pants felt loser. I know that I haven't lost any more weight (as of this morning I'm still at nine pounds down), but perhaps things are shifting around a little. And that's all good!
Now I'm heading off to bed. I stayed up to watch the Idol results and switched over to Criminal Minds on a commercial. Before I realized it Idol was over. Guess I'll check out the results in the morning. Right now I'm just going to turn off the light and catch some serious zzzzzzzzzzzz.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Good Day

That was too much fun to be considered work.
This morning the music went very well in the first service. Even the part where I accompanied the worship team solo!
Then I had the blessing of joining our fellowship. It was an exciting moment for me. At one point I looked up and caught the eye of my favorite prof. He smiled such an approving smile. It was a sweet moment.
Then it was time to teach the Sunday School class. Magical. Energy zapping. It was so wonderful. Each time I have an opportunity to speak/teach/preach I draw from this bottomless pit of energy. I hit the floor running. This group was so easy to teach. They were with me from the git-go. And then, when it was over there were sooooooooo many strokes and soooooo much encouragement. Prof came up to me and complimented me. The owner of our company came to me and told me it was a good job. Several people asked if/when I was going to teach a quarter. Nelson told me that it blessed him, too. He loves to hear me speak.
After class we came home, nabbed the baby, and went to lunch at Applebees. Little Asher is definitely an Applebaby. All the servers and managers stopped by the table, many took a few moments to hold him and love on him. It’s so sweet.
And now I’ve got my feet up and am enjoying a cup’o coffee and resting before the race. It’s definitely been a good day!

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Roller Coaster

Please keep hands and feet inside the ride at all times! (Can you tell I worked at an amusement park?)

It has seemed like a bit of a roller coaster this week. Just an update of sorts on Nelson: work conditioning is back on. Nelson had an appointment with the PA at the surgeon on Friday. He watched Nelson walk. He prescribed a cane and told him to get rid of the crutch. And even with what the report from the 2nd opinion doc and the physical therapist, the PA went the route of the surgeon.

Let’s see if I can describe this so you can picture it: when you walk you roll from toe to heel and your knee bends in the process (take a couple steps and see what I mean). Nelson hasn’t got the ability to bend his toes up like that and therefore his knee doesn’t bend. The left foot is sort of stationary and the weight goes down on the outside of his foot. So he takes a step with the right leg/foot and there’s a hop/step with the left. This process is painful for the left side, but we think it’s exactly how his back went out: his right side has to totally overcompensate. What fun is this?

Work had some really good moments this week for me. I got at least a cursory inventory completed so that I know what’s on my shelves—and what’s not. The down side was that I really messed up on the first big order I did. I missed some things, just completely overlooked them. They also said I forgot some other stuff, and I just don’t see how. I felt pretty bad for what I know I did wrong. I’ve already implemented tools to keep this kind of thing from happening again.

But bigger than work, something sort of major occurred. I have been in contact with the district office of the Church of the Nazarene where my credentials were being held while I was under discipline. Before we moved here, I had been working with them to resign my credentials. The issue had been presented to the District Advisory Board and they approved the request. The request was to be presented by the District Superintendent to the General Board in Kansas City. He didn’t do it. Twice. I stopped pursuing the matter until February when I began the process for joining the church we are now attending. That’s when I learned nothing had been done.

Fortunately, I didn’t have to deal with the District Superintendent directly. I was able to connect with the District Secretary who made several calls. It turned out that the new manual of the Church of the Nazarene went into affect on March 1, 2006. The new procedure doesn’t require that the Board of General Superintendents address these matters. The responsibility falls back on the District Advisory Boards—and fall it did. So since they had voted unanimously to recommend my resignation, this was accepted.

So I am no longer clergy. I am laity. I’ve been functioning that way since Oct. 2001, but now it’s official. It’s good to have that be official and over, but I must confess I feel sad. And now, like Nelson, I wonder what lies out there for me.

I do know this: tomorrow morning I’m going to teach our Sunday School class. There are 60 in the class on average. Two of my most favorite professors are there. My supervisor and the owner of the company. One of my co-workers and the office assistant. And all the rest of those folks. I need to finish my presentation so I should probably jet out of here for now.

Wait for the ride to come to a complete stop before exiting the car. Thanks for riding with us!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Medical Update

Nelson is resting right now. He’s exhausted from all the walking. He thanks you for your prayers—and so do I!

He spent 45 minutes with the second opinion doctor. First, this doctor said he probably would have done the same thing as the ER doctor: pass the case off to Dr. K (Nelson’s surgeon). Dr. K is quite well know and respected.

He did a lot to check Nelson’s mobility and examined the x-rays quite closely. He had read and was familiar with the recommendations of the physical therapist and rehab director.

He felt that Nelson may actually take up to 2 years to fully rehab and during that time he might want to consider taking college classes or vocational training to prepare for the probability that he won’t be able to return to construction work. He also said that Nelson does need rehab/PT, though not work conditioning at this time, to strengthen his whole leg and improve his ability to walk—without the crutch.

Nelson was able to ask some question and got a lot more information in that 45 minutes than he has since last June. This new doctor pointed out that Nelson’s pulse was good in his left foot, that hair was growing—which indicates good circulation. When Nelson asked about the horrible dryness (that just defies all lotions) of his foot, the doctor said that the problem is related to the extreme trauma that the foot/ankle endured and it will take quite a while to improve.

The doctor asked about the possibility of light duty work with Nelson’s former employer. Nelson had checked on this before the visit and was told that the there was not much hope of that, and definitely not on a regular basis. So, I’m not sure what we’re going to do financially for the next couple years. But it looks like Beth will have someone to watch Asher.

The next step is an appointment on Friday with the assistant to the surgeon and then a PT session. But how we will proceed will be the decision of Workers’ Comp based on the report from the second doc.

So nothing is definite, but it feels good that we were heard and have a few more answers.

A Prayer Request

Today, my husband has to travel to two hospitals and a clinic to retrieve all the x-rays taken of his ankle last summer and subsequent to his surgeries and take them to a new doctor to get a second opinion. The travel isn't easy, but much more difficult (and painful) will be going into each place and getting back to the car. I'm trying not to worry, or even concern myself, but it's hard.

Will you pray for Nelson today for me? Pray for the stamina required to get all the x-rays and get to the new doctor. And please, please pray with me that this new doctor will take seriously our concerns, watch Nelson walk, and make recommendations that we can live and work with.

Thank you.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Weekly Review

In many respects, this was a better week for me. That’s not to say it was without many challenges, but somehow I handled them better.

Nelson’s back has finally stopped hurting so terribly. That’s not to say that it doesn’t hurt at all, but he can live with the pain once again and not keep moaning. He battled a bit with a cold this week, but it didn’t go full blown on him which is a miracle and quite a blessing! He has been kinder to me also which has also made my responses gentler.

Beth is back to work full swing. Nelson watched Asher three times this week and I had duty (such a burden—ha!) last night and again tomorrow. Beth also did battle with some kind of bug. I think it was partly just about getting back to work. Asher is growing so!! He’s also sleeping for about 5 hours at a time at night.

Sunday night we got a call from Pastor and he asked to meet with Nelson and I on Monday. My first thought was that someone had raised issue with my being there due to my crime and status. That wasn’t exactly the case. Pastor did however wonder if we needed to make the worship team aware since one of the couples’ (the piano player and bass player) children (teenagers) have started helping out in the band. I agreed and on Tuesday before practice I talked to the team leader and then afterward to the wife of the couple. I was nervous and somewhat fearful that sharing the issue might result in my needing to back out of the team. Once again grace paved the way for a receptivity that I wouldn’t have imagined. I am abundantly thankfull.

Thursday was a really rough day at work. D, the gal I trained to take my place in packaging, and I were going to do an inventory in my new area. The more we tried the more ridiculous it seemed and the more frustrated I got. If I had been given some of the things I had been asking for (over and over)—items to help me understand what I was working with and on then it might have been different. I really felt like my hands were tied and I was being asked to turn off my brain. I can’t work that way. The frustration built to where I finally confronted the guy who should have trained me better, who was “withholding” information, and making my job hellacious. I told him I was ready to quit. I told him that when I asked questions I wasn’t questioning his authority, I was just trying to understand so that I could do my job and do it well. If I can’t do a good job, I’m not going to do the job. I think he finally got it. He brought out some really helpful schematics and took some extra time to explain things. I felt so much better about what I learned. What I don’t feel better about is that it is beginning to feel like I have to threaten to quit for him to finally hear me. That piece is going to have to change.

D is the gal that I took to the clinic on Feb. 14. She finished her round of prednizone on Tuesday of this week and immediately proceeded to get sick again. On Thursday after helping me for about an hour she could barely breathe. She was afraid she would lose her job if she had to leave work. I worked with her in talking to Ed about that and she did go home. She called me about an hour after she left and had decided to go to the ER. She spent half the day there. She called me when she finally got home. They gave her 4 breathing treatments and an IV antibiotic and then sent her home. They gave her a diagnosis of COPD. I had to talk with her about what that was and will be getting her more information. My heart just aches for her. She took Friday off and so hopefully she’ll be feeling better on Monday.

Friday night there was a gathering for the women of the church. It was a game night. We were instructed to wear our jammies or comfy clothes. I went with the jammies and donned my Pooh slippers as well! Since it was my night to watch Asher, he came along. He was quite the little man of the hour! The other instruction was to bring a snack to share. Oh, the goodies that were there! I brought my NutriSystem snack and drank my water and was totally satisfied and content. I sat at the mature women table and ended up playing dominos (Chicken Foot—new one to me). It was fun.

And now it’s Saturday. Toilets need to be cleaned. Laundry needs washing. And I think there’s a little money left from last week’s check to get some groceries. TTFN…